Friday, April 27, 2007

hey chum, gimme that and make it snappy

knowledge is power - so goes the adage. i really have not come across an instance where this was proved wrong.

anyway arguing about it is not the motive behind this post. what i want to talk about is the cost behind accessing the knowledge. we live in a materialistic world where everything is up for sale. money will do your talking.

people put a price on knowledge today and earn a buck out of it. legitimate or not is for the recipient to decide but if the same or higher quality of knowledge is dispensed for free, no one or very few care, just because (i think) the general masses may think it doesn't have proper credentials etc. etc. i still realize that i am not making any sense. i shall give you an actual example that i have experienced myself. and throughout the example, i want you to know that i am certainly not boasting, i am just recounting what i experienced and what i know, however if you think otherwise, i don't care!

i believe knowledge should be free. price tag on knowledge is absurd for me and i know scores of people who will concur. i had chanced upon a certain entity that helped you to enhance your skills in a particular area. intrigued i tried to absorb the information to my capacity and tried to devote time to it. i think i have learned quite something from it. with this, i wish to fulfill my part of spreading this knowledge that with capacitate people for sift information from dirt and for free. even the entity offered its services for free. more importantly, the topic isn't esoteric and will prove helpful in your everyday life!

hence, whenever people came to me to solve a query relating to the above mentioned area, i first helped them and they were amazed by the outcome. i then suggested the entity from where they could learn it. i also offered to put in my thoughts and opinions, with the intention that they would be able to fend for themselves and have no dependence whatsoever. but i was wrong. and time and time again, i was proven wrong. people are just not interested in it. the knowledge that the entity has to offer is available nowhere, and a price tag on it would be too dear. but it is for free. they are far too materialistic. materialistic meaning they want snappy results without putting effort into it. alas, this is a bane. this is not how things are supposed to be, at least in my notion.

they seek to be dependent and feel comfortable with that idea. i, however; fail to reason, how is this going to be good. if i add a price tag to my services, they are still going to come to me and others like me because they have nobody else who can do it.they could have had it for free with a lot of time and energy saved.

the world moves fast enough for anyone to stand and cogitate. but once one does, he can get things to work for him.

i have altruistically tried to help them, but they just aren't interested and so i stop telling them. they will come when they really want to know .

i take this moment to pay my respect to the those people who have strived not to make knowledge a commodity. in no particular order:
+fravia, zero, woodman to name a few amongst the scores who couldn't be named here.

pz out

knowledge should be free.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

where is india going to?

well, what is india coming to? the recent developments in india surely give out the message that india isn't a democracy anymore. i may have gone a bit far in saying that but, democracy in its true sense has lost its meaning in india.

we are a developing nation and we have tons of issues to address to, yet what do our politicians go around doing? well working tooth and nail towards materializing their vested interests. their lack of interest on issues , that were promised to be taken of and the reason why they are where they are now, is pretty evident from the current developments.

we are a proud nation which has so much diversity. i dont think a lot many people realise this. i do because i have experienced it. yet what we do about it? demand a reservation of seats based on caste and creed. while i sincerely abhor this to its very core, i do support the need for supporting those people who have the calibre but not the financial support. due to the gold mine of votes in the reserved section, officialdoms are rooting and tooting for passing this bill . and how? based on a 1931 census. surely any half witted moron could figure out that it needed a more credible need.

that narayana murthy said something objectional , that should not have been said, spread like a forest fire. he apologized for it and i guess think that should be end of matter. instead he is being charged for his comments by politicians . surely they would have better things to do!

garlanding a the statue of a man conveys respect for him. regardless if the one garlanding it wears footwear or not! na... the bjp criticizes the congress for "committing such a heinous act".

the man charged with the murder of jessica lal is contesting for the assembly polls. and his mother is going around gathering votes for him. but murderers and politicians go hand in hand atleast in india. the constituition has time and time again been sneered at by politicians with a shady past in commanding positions . the supreme court has though wisely rejected his plea to contest.

these are just the few instances that are notified to the public. there are numerous incidents that arent reported. with this awful scenario do you think it is wise to invest time, effort and money in activities that yield no fruits when we arent able to provide 3 square meals a day to the population of india? while this post has largely been critical about the politicians, it is also our (citizens) lack of interest in matters of the state. we have been promised of facilities during the elections and we know they arent going to be fulfilled and yet we decide to remain mum and complain. fews the reasons that make it into the politician's speech are the failure of the party in power to do anything better and how he will be the change they so sorely need. and next time around he will be the brunt of his rival though the situation wouldnt have changed much. they promise a better lifestyle everytime but dont you think they have gone too far with their lies and we with our hibernation?

it is time to change.

india prevails,

Friday, April 06, 2007

the story of search engines

once upon a time, not too in the distant past, there was a world that was plagued with unsorted files over the internet and was waiting for a messiah who would aid his believers in accessing the files from the utter chaos that was rampant or so goes the prophecy.

then came 1994 and with it the calling of the messiah! two students graduated and paved path for millions to help them access any files they chose to, with relative ease and the believers revelled in glory basking in the splendor of what became to be known as the father of all search engines - Yahoo!

five years went by and yet again another messiah answered the calling of his people. but? the world already had its messiah and who was this brat to hog up the spotlight. it so happened that the former had indexed the forbidden site and with that ensued all the commercial crap of the e-world. ensnared in its grip, Yahoo! tried to escape but in vain. no more could it cater its people with search results they desired but hiding them beneath the bloated commercial garbage.

and so the world needed another savior and then came Google and things have been pretty much the Google way. a folklore suggests it is the Yahweh of search engines.

so what was the silver bullet that Google possessed and Yahoo! didnt? before beginning, i would like you all to know that i am writing this from a totally my point of view ( which happens to be not so broad considering i am unaware of the events during 1994, so cut me some slack!)

coming back, what did Google have? from my point of view Google kept it simple. the motive of Google was that of a search engine and that it sought to provide with exemplary standards. and it did. but wait a minute wasnt/isnt Yahoo! also a search engine with more experience than Google? yes, but i think there were couple of mistakes that Yahoo! made which cost it.

Yahoo! had started out as a search engine and later on progressed to various other activities to keep its customers on its pages as much as possible and thereby earning more revenue. cool,but what happened was, it also invited a lot of commercialization. with commercialization comes degradation in quality if not watched over carefully. this is exactly what happened. it crowded its page with varieties to lure and this went on fine as long as there was no competitor. and then suddenly providing meaningful search results wasnt a priority anymore.

stating that Google didnt vie on commercialization would be wrong, but Google had its priorities straight. it started out as a search engine and maintains its image as a search engine. if one would glance at the interface that Google has provided, it hasnt changed much. the main essence remains the same. a text box to type your query in and a search button. cant get simpler than that.

where Yahoo! failed Google succeeded. i guess it understood the thinking of the common man. rather than dumping him with a plethora of meaningless options, it thought of keeping things simple and direct.when it announced of a 1 gb mailbox, all Yahoo! could reply to it was with an increase of 100 mbs.

Yahoo! revolutionized chatting (started with AOL). it mandated the download of the client to enable chatting. Google went one step further. it embedded the chat feature in the inbox. hence if you want to chat and though you dont have the client, you will still be able to accomplish your work.

Google's approach to mail- GMail is lightening fast and a clutter free interface. Yahoo! tried to give a fitting reply by sprucing up its looks but the time taken for loading, where it mattered the most, was too long.

then GMail came up with online text/document editing. this helped the user not to make any assumptions of the system he was sitting on. he would have his tools everywhere. Yahoo! was nowhere near this scene. GMail isnt commercial free either! rather than images that distract our attention as in Yahoo!, it resorted to using text that didnt divert our attention. but placed strategically enough to catch our attention.

one of the things that Google became instantly rich was because of its AdBots. these were scripts crawling through the cyber space either collecting information or displaying an advertisement pertaining to the subject of the site (if you would notice there are adwords in Gmail when a mail is read, and they are close to the words / content in the mail. and also if the mail happened to contain the number through which checking the status of an activity was possible, it would on its own provide a link to the site with the results corresponding to our number. no hassles.

these are some of the many examples that point to only one fact: Google was far adept in its social engineering skills than Yahoo!. it had the correct notion of the common man's needs and sought to it that they are catered yet keeping its focus on producing refined search results all the time. this translated as more "quality" time spent on Google's pages.

so there wasnt much to think over, quality wins over quantity.

i guess i am pretty much done now. Google seems to be the messiah and lets hope it is here to stay.


P.S.: the post might have sounded pro-Google and anti-Yahoo! but i assure you that i have given an impartial observation of what i have experienced and have not placed either in bad light.