News apps in the digital era

In the digitally-diverse 21st century, sitting at your table for breakfast with a newspaper spread out before you means you have a little too much time on your hands. But a lot of us personally love the feel and rustle of a newspaper. The fact that one can physically connect with it goes a long way in making the news personal and appreciable.

But it is news we are talking about here, not a handwritten letter. We must come to terms with the fact that newspapers have far too many drawbacks: they use paper (or pulp) which is not the most nature-friendly process around; they are half-a-day old, sometimes becoming dangerously irrelevant; they are bulky and occupy space and have a data cap.

Talking of reading news digitally as an alternative, we can divide our discussion into three: tablets, smartphones and PCs. Continue reading

How not to deal with menacing elephants

Half past five this morning the first signs appeared on local news channels. Some refused to believe it, some others decided to wait and watch. And some, like me, were still asleep.

By six o’clock it was confirmed: three elephants from a nearby forest were on a mad rampage in the very heart of our city. Two cows had been injured, add to that five people, and then one man dead—all within a couple of hours.

Certainly, the funny part was that—apart from saying some people awoke to find an elephant at their door—nobody knew which of the two neighbouring forests they had come from! And the outrageous part was that until about half past eight—almost three hours later—there was no sign of the authorities doing anything about it.

More often that once has it struck me as amusing that the media is far more punctual in, and I daresay capable of, getting to the news than the authorities are at solving problems.

The situation today, for instance, serves as an example for most of the points I wish to make clear. For starters, there is the delay in responding to the problem. It took them three hours—or, rather, the injury of two cows and five men and the death of one man—to get out of their bed and onto the streets.

And then the people, even those watching the news on their TV, let alone those on the streets near the elephants, knew very well what the next action was: tranquilise the animals. Continue reading

Bloggers, reporters, journalists and the fine line in-between

The question as to whether bloggers are journalists is a much-debated and indeed over-blogged one. Try googling the phrase are bloggers journalists and you will quickly find that almost all of the results at the top have the same title and all lead to articles where an extensive examination is carried out on the topic. It makes no difference then, if I did the same. What I want to do instead is, in giving out my opinion, also comment on what I have read so far on the idea of bloggers as journalists.

One reason, perhaps, why the issue is on an all-time high at the moment is because of the Apple Asteroid, a yet-unreleased product which Apple Inc., claims is its trade secret. The big question was thrown to the public openly for the first time recently when three blogs, PowerPage, AppleInsider and ThinkSecret carried articles on the product which was never supposed to have fallen to public eyes. The catch? Can the bloggers take cover under laws protecting journalists and legally keep their sources confidential? Continue reading

IQ comes with strings attached

Eddie Rodriguez, for Cracked.com, wrote an amusing, yet interesting, article titled 5 Unexpected Downsides of Intelligence. It was interesting, but you know how cracked.com articles can be: playfully funny at first look, with some reading between the lines heavily demanded. So I decided to examine the five traits in a more–perhaps the best way to put it would be conservative–manner (not using expletives, that is, for I absolutely detest them!) Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day!

~ To my mother–the best in the world! ~

Sometimes it’s March, sometimes it’s April and sometimes it’s May. Which ever it is, each year, one of these months have the honour of hosting Mother’s Day all over the world. This year, today, May the 8th is the day dedicated entirely to mothers, who were, are and always will be there for us. Wishing them and treating them royally at least on this one day is the least we can do for them. And, to be brutally frank, we can never do enough: one can never get even, ever. Continue reading

On the honourable Indian road laws

The reason why Indian road laws are so honourable is because, to a new visitor, they humbly make themselves inconspicuous, bordering on invisibility. On further examination it becomes clear that they do not exist. At least they are no longer in active practice. Continue reading

16 Ethics on Twitter: Think Before you Tweet

CNBC’s blog, flopping out, gave me the ‘think before you tweet.’ Given that Twitter is fast becoming the ultimate source of information exchange online, it is not surprising if you find yourself one day following President Obama or Gaddafi or the guy in the corner of your street… or even me! The important thing to know in such times is that as tweeters we have certain unspoken of, yet unanimously accepted, set of rules–or rather ethics–to keep up to. But how many of us actually do that? Below I have listed few that I could think of and you are most welcome to add to them as you please.

  1. Tweets are read by others so if you don’t want even one of them to know what you think of an international political crisis, there is no point in sharing it with the others.
  2. Nobody wants to know what you dined on so please do not take the trouble of tweeting that you are at such a restaurant, eating such a dish and paying so much for it.
  3. Tweet what other will benefit from and not the fact that a coin has two faces. How many of them do not actually know that? I doubt they would find themselves on Twitter even accidentally.
  4. Tweeting is not letter writing so do not say thank you through tweets. Or hello or good-bye or any such courtesy for that matter, unless it is so important that it will surge your tweeting community ahead in some manner.
Continue reading

Start cleaning that fan, will you!

Ceiling fanI was reading today’s paper when I came across this question somebody had asked in the readers’ column: Why does a constantly rotating ceiling fan gather more dust than a stationary table fan? It was, at least, something along those lines.

Now I do not really know why I wanted to read the answer considering I knew it already, but I did and what I read rather shocked me.

The person who had answered it, no doubt an able, knowledgeable man, took to equivocation and beating around a bush that perhaps never existed. His whole argument was based on a ‘throw’ and an ‘impact’ that he referred to ever so often. He explained that dust gathering on a fan is like throwing an ice cream on the wall. The harder you throw it, the greater the impact and hence the more the volume of the ice cream blob that stays stuck to the wall.

While, at the end of this amusing explanation, we have a dirty wall, we have not really bothered to leave square one.

The idea he intended to give the readers, as far as I could, with some degree of strain, make out, was that the ceiling fan, while rotating with great force, creates great whizzing movements analogous to our throwing the hard-earned ice cream at the wall, and this in turn results in an impact on the dust particles, analogous to the ice cream striking the wall.

He also proceeds to outline that there exists another possibility; that there are many sticky dust particles that attach themselves to the fan. Continue reading