Dear user because of sudden rush of people signing upto orkut is come to an attention that we are vastly running our of resources so with in a week any one who does not receive this scrap will be deleted of our server . We know that you are still using this account We want to find out which users are actually using their orkut accounts so if you are using your then please send this scrap to every orkut user that you can if u do not pass this scrap to anyone then we will delete your account

Just follow these simple steps.
1. Click on the "Messages Tab" in your account.
2. Click on the "compose mail" option which is the last one of the four icons you see together.
3. Select "all friends"
4. Cut and Paste this mail
5. Send it........

This is the content of the mail I received from two persons in just a couple of days, and I am sure I will get a few more copies of this in days to come. I could not help but remember Divya. Yes, Divya Singh of Siemens fame! The pioneer of spam mails, the savithri of 21st century, whose husband has managed to survive from the era of dial up connections and reached the era of broadband. I sometimes wonder why people are so scared. Or is it the ease of "Forward" button? I always see mails like these with lot of skepticism. I generally google to see if it is a hoax mail. Let me analyze the above mail.

  • If there is a sudden rush of people signing upto orkut, what will the guys at orkut be doing? The CEO would have thrown a party to all the employees! They will obviously like more people registering with them.
  • Assuming that orkut does not like lot of people signing up, they will stop the registration or else allow restricted sign-ins. Why will they delete the existing users?
  • The space taken for your account is for your details, friend list, community list, scrapbook, testimonials, lists and album. I bet, this wont take more than 10 MB per person. Do you know who runs orkut? Yes, its Google, who revolutionized mailing service with the insane act of providing a giga byte to each user.
  • Let us think for a moment that orkut will decide to delete all inactive users. They might check as to when you logged in the last time or the last time when your profile was updated or the last time you scrapped or tons of options like that. Definitely not by this message!
  • Even if orkut decides to do anything like that, wont they send these messages directly to you, instead of asking each one of you send to all your friends (thereby misusing the already "low resources" that orkut has got)
  • Still, if they delete my account, as feared by many, I will have no regrets. I would not like to be a user of some hopelessly illogical service anyways.

How about 'thinking' a bit before 'forwarding'? May Divya's memory fade away. Amen!

Spam Spam

I always wondered as to which was the most spammed mailbox. Is it yahoo mail? Or Gmail? Definitely not Hotmail (as it does not have enough space for normal mails at all :)) I have found out that, my physical mailbox at the apartment is the most spammed. Surprising?

I have not read the Internet spam mails in detail, but from whatever I know, they can be broadly classified into 2 categories - money power (low interest rates, great mortgage prices, win 10 million etc.) and muscle power ('enlargement' suggestions, v!agra etc.)

But, physical spam mails I get have much variety. And each day I get around 20 mails. Most of them dont even know who lives here and they start with "To the resident at apartment #...."

Here is the sample of a few mails I got.

  • "Have you seen me?" is my favorite. It will have the picture of a 10 year old chubby-cheeked girl who was lost in 1998. How are we supposed to recognize her now? She could have turned out into a shapely lass, losing all her baby fat. Or she just could have "blown out of proportion", who might look like a brand ambassador for Burger King's Triple Whopper burger!
  • This is from a restaurant called Rice King.

Open hours :- Mon-Thur : 11.00 am - 9.30 pm, Fri-Sat : 11.00 am - 9.30 pm

I did not understand the reason for not writing Mon-Sat : 11.00 am - 9.30 pm

  • "Chat in places you never dared to before", seems to be the new mantra of T-mobile 'Heaven on Earth' plan. I suspect that it is 'Heaven to Earth' plan, to beat the competition of life time sim cards.
  • Get the perfect WHITE smile! (just in time for the summer) - I had no clue as to what has white teeth got to do with summer.
  • "Ready to have a blast this summer?" The fat lady on the ad actually looks like exploding any time!
  • "Do you get heartburns?" If so, call us and if you get qualified for our research, you will be compensated for your time!
  • The majority ones are about best deals on shopping, varying in price range, but all the prices end with 99 cents. Most of them are from "Shop Wise" and "Smart Buys". Dont you think they are oxymorons? ;)

As I started carrying the huge pile of spam mails to the dustbin, I badly missed the "Empty Trash" feature that I have in my Yahoo mail!

Two Good and a Bad

I thought of writing on 3 Google tools I happened to use recently. I am not planning a techiezation of my blog, so all those people who love the non-technical nonsense I write (oh, I love that illusion, I still cant digest the fact that people don't like my blog), I will be back with some non-technical stuff soon ;)

Writely

Its been more than 3 months since I had read about Google taking over Writely. They had stopped the new sign ups, till their merger with Google is complete. However, those who had already registered before this, had an option to send invites to others to join. Somehow, I was getting restless to try out Writely, so googled a bit yesterday and found someone, who sent me an invite. So, here I am, writing this blog using Writely.

You must be wondering what exactly is Writely?

  • Writely is an online word processing tool. (Well, why do I need that, I have MS Word, you might say! Hold on, I am not done yet)
  • You can collaborate, so that multiple people can edit the document, providing visibility to everyone.
  • You can publish the document, so that others can see it.
  • It integrates with blog. Whatever is typed here can be published as a post to your blog easily.
  • You can upload a word document from your machine and edit that in Writely. And you can export the documents edited here into RTF, Word, OpenOffice or HTML format.
  • Lastly, and my favorite is, you can see the different revisions of the edited document.

Writely has many googlish features like auto saving of documents at regular intervals, use of AJAX, tags - and of course the obsession with 'beta'.

If you want an invite for Writely, leave a comment in this post, along with your mail id (I promise, this is not a trick to get more comments in my blog ;))

Google Pages

I always felt I was homeless in cyber-space and I knew for certain that I don't need a palace! All that changed when I opened this blog account. I could give my blog address wherever they asked for my web site. Still a blog is a blog is a blog, and not a web site. But, I had no plans of registering a domain name for myself. I am not at all a "happening" kind of person and I wont have interesting things to tell very regularly. Add my incurable laziness to that, having a web site is not at all feasible. Google Pages solved the clash between my "wants" and "needs".

Google Pages helps you build up your own web site, and you don't need to know HTML! It provides a space of 100 MB, and you can even upload files (a video footage you captured from your new mobile, or a speech by you which can motivate the generation Y or a PDF document you want the world to see etc)

If you are willing for a professional web site like having a blog in that, huge space, guestbook, look and feel of your choice etc etc, I dont think this is for you. But, if you are an uninteresting yet greedy soul like me, this is for you! Check out my new unfurnished cyber home.

Google Desktop Search

Last week, I had installed Google Desktop Search , or Google Desktop 4, as they prefer calling it. There was this biggest motivation for trying it. Windows XP has probably the most screwed up search feature, of all the Windows versions (The option "A word or a phrase" does not work most of the times. Not to mention the irritating dog that pops out to tell that no search results were found. Oh, I hate dogs!) The last time I had tried Google Desktop (I think it was version 2), indexing was hopeless. They claim that its better in this version, but I could not try it because of their most favorite feature - Google Gadgets (Is it not the same as plugins in older version?)

Want a clock on your desktop? How about a calendar, a WiFi indicator, a TV, or anything else you can dream up? This is what Google claims.

Tell me, how many times in a day would you look at the calendar? (You can always click on the system tray time icon to see the calendar)

Its okay to see a jazzy clock for the first time, but it gets annoying after sometime. Do you really prefer knowing the time from a heart shaped clock? (For all those die hard romantics, Valentines Day is still far away, use Windows system tray clock instead)

There are so many other gadgets which are very primitive like winamp plugin, RSS reader etc. And there are some useless plugins like Weather forecast, chinese checkers, latest news, Word of the day etc.

As far as I am concerned, a good software or tool (and even persons ;)) should make it difficult for me without them. But, it did not take even 2 seconds for me to decide that I am uninstalling Desktop Search from my machine. For once, even Google showed that they are mortal!

Quite recently, I overcame chronic orkutophobia and now I am a permanent resident in orkutopia.
It’s a nice place, with lot of fun (oh, I love scrapping!) and I am totally addicted to it now. I was wandering aimlessly from the last few weeks here, searching anything that comes to my mind and I observed some interesting things. Here they are:

  • Sharukh Khan is a member of orkut and most of his friends are from Pakistan. I am surprised that his Indian fans are not aware that he is tech-savvy. The only celebrity friend he has in orkut is Mona Singh a.k.a. Jassi. There is one more profile of SRK, not sure which is real.
  • Who are Rani Mukherji’s celebrity friends? Ganguly and Amisha Patel. Rani is also a part of Kajol fans community (surprise!)
  • Ganguly profile and pics are mostly about Chappell bashing. His celebrity friends are Sachin, Dravid, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, SRK.
  • Abhishek Bachchan has only 2 heroines as his friends – any guesses? Your answer is wrong. Its Mallika Sherawat and Diya Mirza.
  • Mallika has more hate communities, time to get dressed girl!
  • Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor are members of Emraan Hashmi community :P (Is that the reason why they were caught on camera?)
  • Surprisingly, Esha Deol has a bigger community than Hemamalini (Can anyone explain me why so many men have pathetic taste?)
  • Ash has more members in her community than Sush, but Sush has no hate communities!
  • Dino Morea is still a member of Bipasha Basu community. :-))
  • Can you guess which sports have the biggest communities? The biggest is basketball followed by soccer, tennis, baseball. But, cricket has thrice as many communities as basketball.
  • The most hated sport was cricket. There are 17 communities of cricket haters. There is only one small community of soccer haters. There were no communities, which hated tennis, baseball, basketball or hockey.
  • The popular Indian cricket players according to orkut are in this order – Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Dhoni, Pathan, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Laxman, Kumble. Bhajji is the least popular, way behind Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Balaji, R P Singh. Harbhajan is so unpopular that if you search by his name, the first community that is shown is of the singer Harbhajan Mann! ;)
  • Greg Chappell has more hate communities than fan communities. Hmm, one incident seems more important to people than the accomplishments of the entire life.
  • Gavaskar, Kapil, Vengsarkar have fan communities. Amarnath, Kirmani, GR Vishwanath have missed the bus.
  • Which cricketer is the most hated? No marks for guessing – its Ganguly. Next in the list are Dravid, Sehwag, Sachin.
  • Well, Himesh Reshammiya evokes strong feelings from people – there are an equal number of fan communities and hate communities.
  • There is a community called “Autistic Pride”, and it has only one member! So meaningful! There are lots of one-member communities in orkut. I even saw a zero member community!
  • Which city has the biggest community? Take 5 guesses, I bet you are wrong even on the fifth attempt. It is Karachi.
  • The biggest community of a software product? – Its not windows, its not office, it is Adobe Photoshop.
  • The chocolate that tops the list – Kit Kat.
  • 2 of the top 4 communities about politics are “Hate Bush” communities.
  • Most popular hobby? Photography.
  • Who has the biggest community in music? Bob Marley.
  • The biggest community is a Spanish one I guess called “Odeio Pessoas Falsas”.

Don’t tell me I am crazy. You did not know so much about orkut, right?

Auto Manja

Disclaimer: All the characters in this story are fictitious and an outcome of the writer’s retarded imagination. Any resemblance to any person driving an auto, traveling by auto or unaware of auto is, as usual, mere coincidence.

It was late Friday night. No, it was almost early Saturday morning. I got down from Airavatha and hired an auto. The driver looked very familiar. I could see a similar flash of recognition on the driver’s face. Yes, it was Manjunath, also known as Manja. I went into an instant “flashback” mode.

It was in the mid 80s and there were not many houses in my locality at that time. Next to our street lived Manjunath. Manju, as we called him, was a year elder to me, though he looked 4 years elder. He was well built and always short-tempered, a trait which was hereditary. I used to call him for playing cricket with us in the evening. He was a match winner, not because of his superior batting or bowling abilities – but because of his ability to fight. He would come in handy for close calls like run outs, stumping etc. Had he been an international cricketer, ICC would have banned him for lifetime for his misconducts on field.

After a few years, we stopped playing cricket (thanks to the irritating cricket-hating fat lady next to my house, who used to take away the tennis balls every time it went inside her compound). I used to meet Manju on the road once in a while. He had a new set of friends now – Naaga, Budda, Loki, Koli, who all had a reputation of smoking and drinking, even before entering high school.

Once Manju, or Manja, as he was being called now, came to my house along with his friends – “Aunty, Ganapathi kundristhideevi”. Like any person in the locality, we donated some money, to avoid disappointing Ganapathi and Manja’s friends. The “Vidya Ganapathi Bhakta Mandali”, headed by Manja, constructed a huge ‘pendaal’ and got many orchestra groups and drama groups to perform for a week. In the remaining time, they were dancing to some loud songs (they called it “ricaald” – their pronunciation of the word “record”) Manja fought with a couple of his friends the same week, which I later came to know as something regarding mismanagement of Ganapathi funds. Somehow, Ganapathi was not pleased with this and made sure that none from the “Vidya Ganapathi Bhakta Mandali” passed their exams.

A few of his friends had left him and he had made some new friends. Some younger “wannabe-Manjas” in the locality started calling him as “Anna” or “Guru” whenever they met him. The road-end “Saraswathi Provision Stores” had become his default hangout place, where he demonstrated to his friends, as to how to create a ring from smoke.

Surprisingly, he finished his tenth in the third attempt and he was not seen often near that provision stores after that. He had joined some JOC college. Somebody told me that he was going out with some girl and he was spotted at the nearby temples with that girl.

After a few months, I saw Manja near the same provision stores. He looked drunk, his clothes were shabby and he looked completely Devdas-ish. His girlfriend had dumped him and married a guy of her parents’ choice. That was the last time I had seen him. I later moved out to Bangalore and lost track of Manja.

“Saar, do you come so late every week?”, Manja interrupted, breaking my flashback sequence.
“Yes”. He seemed better than the last time I had seen him. His auto was decorated and was in good shape. You can tell about an auto driver looking at his auto!
On one of the mirrors was a photo of Upendra and the slogan on the glass read ‘Love is blind’.
“How are you Manja?”
“Life is going on saar. Got this auto on loan. Dad is not that well nowadays. All my friends are gone now. We can only depend only on our family…” he was getting philosophical.
“Do you like Upendra?”
“Uppi sooper saar. Hudgeerna sakkattagi baythane”, he smiled.
I was in front of my home, as the auto stopped.
As the auto sped by, I could not help but notice the statements on the mudguards, even in that dull streetlight.
On the left was written “Thande Thaayi Aasheerwaada”. On the right was written “Preethisidha hudugi kayyi kottaLu”, with an image of a knife piercing a heart!

I was planning to write a blog on this from a very very long time. But somehow the narcissist in me kept on writing articles just about myself. Unlike me, this is something very useful and interesting. Yes, you guessed it right. I am talking about Opera – my favorite browser.

Before I start…
1) If you are one of the persons who are fed up of my excessive admiration towards Opera (without even bothering to know why I admire), this article is not for you!
2) If you are one of those persons who use Internet once in a fortnight just to check mails, this may not be so useful to you.
3) If you are one of those millions who still think that Internet Explorer is the only browser and don’t feel a need to change just because you can ‘browse’ with IE, this is definitely not for you (its like saying there is no difference between a 486 and a P4, because you can play Paratroopers on both ;))
4) When browsing with IE, if one of your windows hung and it killed all other IE windows, and you had felt completely hopeless and angry looking at that stupid blue icon “e”, this one’s for you!
5) If you are using any other browser other than IE(like Firefox), but having an open mind that there can be a browser having better features, this one’s for you!

Well, what can I say about this amazing browser? That it is the fastest browser on earth? That it has so many features that I have lost count? Its totally customizable? (With due respect to Erich Segal, this is not plagiarism. Its just a mere coincidence that he was as awed by Jennifer as I am by Opera!)

What do I like the most about Opera? Here’s the list. (and all these features in less than 5 MB)
1) Opera does not ask you to browse as ‘it wants you to’ – it gives you the freedom to customize ‘the way you want it’. You don’t want a button – remove it, you want to place a toolbar on the bottom instead of the top, you want to have a close button for every tab – yes, its possible!
2) Opera has a wand, which helps auto-filling forms.
3) Has an inbuilt RSS aggregator (though it is a relatively new feature and I am sure, will be enhanced in future versions)
4) Has mouse gestures to open, close, refresh page, open links etc.
5) You can include additional search engines, within a minute.
6) If you have 3 sites opened, and you want these to be opened at a later time, you can store this as a “session” and whenever you need, you can open that ‘session’ (Its an amazing feature, which I don’t think Firefox has)
7) Did you ever see something interesting in a site, which you wanted to copy for a later use and opened Notepad, copied it and wondering where to save that file? Forget it, Opera has “Notes”. Select something and do a Ctrl+Shift+C, and it copies to your note inside Opera (Yes, Firefox does not have this too)
8) Opera has a full fledged mail client facility (I have not tried this, but read that its good)
9) Did you ever feel that some sites have very small or very large fonts and you wanted that to be displayed in a size you like? You can use the zoom facility in opera.

There are tons of other features which I simply love, about which I thought of writing in detail, but came across this amazing link (I am an Opera user from more than 3 years and I felt I knew almost everything about it before going through this link. How wrong was I!).
Read it when you are free, you will know why I am an Opera fanatic.
30 Days to Becoming an Opera Lover

If you want to know why Opera is better than Firefox, read this
Comparing Opera and Firefox

Visit one more Opera lover Vijay here.

I don’t say that Opera is perfect (few sites don’t open in Opera, google talk chat from browser does not work etc.), but the benefits are so much that you will ignore those (for such rare scenarios, we have our pathetic IE anyways)

Long live Opera!

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