Sunday, October 07, 2007

New PJ on Setu

Lord Rama surveyed the Ram Setu and said "Hanuman,
how diligently and strenuously you and your vanara sena had built this
bridge several centuries back. It is remarkable that it has withstood the
ravages of the climatic and geographical changes over centuries. It is
indeed an amazing feat especially considering the fact that a bridge at
Hyderabad built by Gammon using latest technology collapsed the other day
even before they could stick the posters on its pillars."

Hanuman with all humility spoke, "Jai Sri Ram, it is all because of your
grace. We just scribbled your name on the bricks and threw them in the
sea and they held. No steel from TISCO or cement from Ambuja or ACC was
ever used. But Lord, why rake up the old issue now."

Ram spoke ,"Well, Hanuman some people down there want to demolish the
bridge and construct a canal. The contract involves a lot of money and lot
of money will be made. They will make money on demolition and make more
money on construction. "

Hanuman humbly bowed down and said, "Why not we go down and present our

Ram said "Times have changed since we were down there. They will ask us
to submit age proof and we don't have either a birth certificate or school
leaving certificate. We traveled mainly on foot and some times in bullock
carts and so we don't have a driving license either. As far as the address
proof is concerned the fact that I was born at Ayodhya is itself under
litigation for over half a century, If I go in a traditional attire with
bow and arrow, the ordinary folks may recognize me but Arjun Singh may
take me to be some tribal and, at the most, offer a seat at IIT under the
reserved category. Also, a God cannot walk in dressed in a three-piece
suit and announce his arrival. It would make even the devotees suspicious.
So it is dilemma so to say."

"I can vouch for you by saying that I personally built the bridge."

"My dear, Anjani putra, it will not work.They will ask you to produce the
lay-out plan, the project details, including financial outlay and how the
project cost was met and the completion certificate. Nothing is accepted
without documentary evidence in India. You may cough but unless a doctor
certifies it, you have no cough. A pensioner may present himself
personally but the authorities do not take it as proof. He has to produce
a life-certificate to prove that he is alive. It is that complicated."

"Lord can't understand these historians. Over the years you have given
darshan once every hundred years to saints like Surdas, Tulsidas, Saint
Thyagaraja, Jayadeva, Bhadrachala Ramdas and even Sant Tukaram and still
they disbelieve your existence and say Ramayana is a myth. The only
option, I see, is to re-enact Ramayana on earth and set the government
records straight once for all."

Lord smiled ."It isn't that easy today. Ravan is apprehensive that he may
look like a saint in front of Karunanidhi. I also spoke to his mama
Mareecha, who appeared as a golden deer to tempt Sita maiyya when I was in
the forest and he said that he won't take a chance of stepping on earth
as long as certain Khan is around."

Jai Shree Ram

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tech can be tacky!

Last month, some Trojan virus laid siege on my Sony VAIO. It infected the Powerpoint files. Norton, AVG, Avast..... all of them caved in in abject surrender. Experts advised immediate reformatting. They showed me the process of reformatting and reinstalling the OS from the laptop itself (F10 is the magic key, they told me).
Accordingly, I started setting up the machine for internet access. TCP IP, gateway, DNS and whatever else you need to get that IE icon moving. Fifteen attempts and three days later, an expert came home, checked everything and declared that my personal firewall was “stopping” the machine from accessing the outside world! So Norton was using “Parental” control over me, I thought. He uninstalled many little “utilities” and after three hours, the access was granted!

Why was this utility blocking access to Internet? I wondered. One expert explained that many personal firewalls presume you need protection from “evil” forces in the outside world and take decisions for you.

They take decisions for me! That sounded scary.

At the same time, I felt vulnerable without Norton.


So far, I was “hard-connected” to the net, with the LAN cable attached to my laptop. Now I was about to enter the wi-fi world. A friend of mine gifted me a wonder gadget -- a wireless router – on my birthday. A tech-freak himself, he decided to set it up for me last December. He laboured for two to three days, trying to unravell the settings of the wireless box. I learnt some new jargon by the way: SSID, DHTP, etc. I watched as he went through the paces, poring over the user's manual and going through ALL the dialogue boxes thrown up by windows. The result, though, was worth it: we could use the laptop anywhere in the house!

Soon after the virus attack, I had to set up the wireless network afresh. The directions on the wireless router read, “Just insert the CD and follow the step-by-step procedure and you are wire-free!” I complied. Soon, I had a problem on my hands-- the problem of plenty.

I was flooded with a host of “Assistants” eager to aid the installation! One popped out of the balloon from my taskbar; the second one came from Windows; the third from the CD I had inserted. These three kept up a constant barrage of do's and dont's. I felt like a child facing three teachers (each brandishing long canes in their hands) at once. Worse, each was talking at cross-purposes. Sigh! Whatever happened to old-world schools that allowed us to handle on teacher at a time!

Next, the installation CD wilfully stopped short of the last step, refusing to instruct what to do next. Windows too seemed to have caught the mood. It refused to set up a new wireless as I had used a third party software earlier.

After celebrating my limited success in eliminating all my teachers one by one, I wearily summoned some expert engineers who struggled with my lap-top and wireless router for two days. When they accepted defeat, I bravely looked at all the screens all over again: DNS, gateway, DHTP, WINS and lots of new gobbledygook.

Of course, the balloons were back. They told me all sorts of things, reported problems, constantly offered help but never could. I got nostalgic about the good old macintosh days, when the balloons always gave enough hints at solving the problem.

At some point, the `experts' shouted Eureka. They'd finally got the settings right. Victory was ours, and was it sweet!

But I still hate the wizards and the balloons. They are a serious problem. These assistants were constantly with me, watching my every move, registering my movements through email accounts, surfing, credit card numbers, etc. Everything about me was online and available with them. I had no escape.

Let me take you through this torture in chronological order. When I start my laptop, so many balloons and windows “offer” to take me through guided tours: a tour of Sony VAIO, the features of Windows XP, MS office, Netgear, goes on and on.

Then I open my browser to check my email. When I start typing my username and password, a new wizard comes and offers to remember my password. If I go to check my bank balance, it again makes an uncomfortable offer.

Every now and then, a tiresome window warns me that I am about to see an “insecure” item. Do you really want to see? it wants to know. The silver lining is a cute button at the bottom, which says, “Do not ask again”. If I click on that it doesn't come your way again!

Even as I write, there is one fellow who wants to help me type out my blog post. Start Menu- All Programs-- MS word. I start typing and there he is! This assistant offers help in typing an official letter.

What is happening here? Why do these wizards assume we won't remember passwords, we can't type and official letter on our own, or format them, we can't change the gateway settings on our own, we can't decide if we need “protection” from internet?

I am afraid of the future.

A future when these wizards will enter our real world. When you get up, a wizard will peep in and announce, “It seems you are about to get up. To get up on the right side, click this. To jump from the bed, click here. To sleep for ten more minutes, click here.”

When you try to brush your teeth, one f the genies will shout, “It looks like you are going to brush your teeth. Since you are using Windows Vesta version 1000 toothbrush, Colgate gel is not compatible.

Try rebooting with Windows compatible Pepsodent XP or Close Up”.

When we take our favourite soap, a wizard will freeze your hands and announce “Jaguar shower is compatible only with Lux shower gel”.

If you go to a bar, you might hear them mumble, “Looks like you are going to drink. Please register your version of drinkingforfun software ver 45.0 and click on drink. Conditions apply.”

And let's not even think about sex!