Saturday, January 28, 2006

Vonage troubles

I have been having a hard time for the last couple of days with my home internet connection. I stopped being able to access Slashdot (and Sourceforge) and some of the pages on Rediff. I also could not connect to the Google cache and Google connectivity became erratic. I tried a couple of things myself, without luck.

I called up Vonage and spoke to a couple of their support people in India. They tried their best - changing DNS settings, rebooting the machine, rebooting their router etc. But nothing worked.

Finally they put me through to some guy here in the US who asked me to do pretty much the same things. But when I told him that the ping round-trip times are 60-odd seconds when I connect the computer directly to the cable modem, but 90 seconds when I connect through the Vonage box, he gave up.

He said the Motorola Vonage box is most likely the cause of trouble and he can do nothing about it whatsoever. Plus, the box is out of warranty and a new box would cost $100. And that they can't do anything until Monday morning.


I have gotten rid of the Vonage modem right now. But I still can't connect to Slashdot or Sourceforge. Wonder what's wrong there.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Google should not bend to China

Many have argued that Google should not do business in China by censoring phrases like 'Tiananmen Square' because its motto is "Do No Evil." Others, like Bill Gates, say that they should do business in China because it's a big market. I feel that Google should not do business in China. It's a different story if Google were a tiny company getting its feet wet. It does not need the Chinese ad revenue for its survival or for its phenomenal growth. And it has some responsibilities as the gateway to all of world's information.

Microsoft kept its ultra-aggressive behavior up even after it became the world's biggest corporation, which resulted in an anti-trust lawsuit and subsequent 'calcification'. Bending to China might do something like that to Google too.

Pothole Theory of Democracy

The Pothole Theory of Democracy suggests that Hamas will be domesticated soon enough. But there are counterexamples - Narendra Modi, the Third Reich etc.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

So Hamas won...

The IRA is and was as much a terrorist organization as Hamas, and yet you don't see the kind of visceral reaction to Sinn Fein's electoral exploits as we've seen since yesterday's Hamas win. Same with Likud and all the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties who have created settlements and caused as much misery to the Palestininans as the Hamasis have to Israelis.

Democracy has thrown up radical winners from time to time, such as the BJP in India and George W. Bush in the US. The radicals have done radical things too. And then they've mellowed - inevitably.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

onmouseover HTML attribute

Google has released a study (Thanks Slashdot) of the top keywords/elements used in a billion web pages. The onmouseover attribute, to pick an example, is used quite frequently in table and img. And yet, most tools like Frontpage or Dreamweaver provide little support for these. you can drop such an element on the screen, and select the onmouseover attribute from a dropdown. But there is no way to write custom HTML to show up when this attribute is invoked, nor readymade libraries to provide interactive features for mouseovers, as far as I know.

HTML authoring tools need an upgrade.

S. Africa bashing in Australia

The S. Africans have been complaining a lot about racial abuse in Australia. That's puzzling, because we don't hear those complaints from Indians or Pakistanis when they play Down Under.

Turns out the abuse is coming from racist S. Africans, the worst of whom moved to Australia when Apartheid ended there. They are venting in Afrikaans on the colored folks in the S. African squad.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bluffmaster soundtrack

Both Mandar and Gaurav told me about it and I'm listening to it on lo-fi Smashits, and it still sounds awesome. I was going to buy the CD yesterday and somehow didn't. I wonder who these guys are - Vishal and Shekhar. They are good. I'm not sure if I like Abhishek's voice on some of the tracks - would have been better to use a professional singer maybe. Otoh, it might sound more authentic to have his voice when the song plays in the movie.

Yesterday, Jurm was playing on Zee TV and it had a song with Adnan Sami singing - for Bobby Deol. That was utterly ridiculous.

I read somewhere that South Korean rap is all the rage in China. I wonder if Indian hip-hop has a chance there. I went to this Chinese friend's place for dinner last year, and all the Chinese folks around the table could sing "Aawara Hoon" quite well.

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