Web Sites That ‘Click’

Ever wondered what makes certain sites ‘click’ with web surfers, who then appear to get ‘hooked’ to these with regular visits? Such sites offer something of interest to the visitors with a quick user interface, who then return for updates and more information. A few stray thoughts on the factors at work behind the scenes here. Latest news and updates: A site that gives latest updates and news on the home page appears to be ‘alive’ and ‘breathing’. It implies background monitoring and maintenance, and that one is not looking at outdated information. Coverage and details: A detailed presentation of facts, specifications and a coverage of various aspects of the topic mean some amount of research has gone into writing such features and making the site. The copy-paste masters do manage to create a false impression of depth, though. Comments and criticism: Personal views, reviews and comments instantly create an impression on us, especially when they are critical in nature. Giving a perspective,...
Read More

A cell phone is not a phone…

The title of this article is false. A cell phone IS a phone. Yet it fits the real picture if all the implications of this device that keeps its carrier forever in the loop are taken into account. The game begins with the very introduction of the device in the market. Not owning a mobile reflects on your standing – the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Owning one, however, puts you on a forever alert mode. When the device is swithced off, it carries a meaning. When it is not reachable, it calls for some interpretation. An unanswered call invokes varied interpretations, good or bad. When calls are diverted, that too holds a meaning. The mobile acts like a permanent signaling device, and it is not difficult for close-knit friends to guess their meanings. The good old table phone, when it was not answered, meant that you were not at home, and that was normally it. Once mobiles began to sell like...
Read More

A Review of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe’s most famous novel — Robinson Crusoe — makes for delightful reading, even after two centuries of its publication in 1719. The author was a whig supporter, a champion of freedom, free speech and a firm believer in reason and Christianity. The story The novel — with two rather unknown sequels — is about the life of a young English boy who rebels against his parents, boards a ship to make a fortune for himself, is ship-wrecked on a remote island, and comes to repent of his actions, becoming a firm believer in God and Christ. Living alone, hunting, food gathering and cultivating his own crops, he battles natural and human enemies to survive. Clashing with savage man-eaters, he saves one of the victims and employs him in his service. Finally, in the company of several such ‘conquered’ subjects, he declares himself the ‘king’ of the island to ensure his full control over it. The final action sees Crusoe traveling through France and fighting with wolves. He comes...
Read More

A cell phone is not just a phone…

The title of this article is false. Yet it fits the real picture if all the implications of this device that keeps its carrier forever in the loop are taken into account. What was once a hardly noticeable device kept in a corner, announcing its presence with a shrill trinn trinn from time to time, is now a constant companion that refuses to let go. Some half-serious thoughts on what it has done to us. The game begins with the very introduction of this device in the market. Not owning a mobile reflects on your standing – the haves and the have nots. Having it puts you on a forever alert mode. Consider this. When the device is swithced off, it carries a meaning. When it is not reachable, it calls for interpretation. If the call goes unanswered, it could be for certain reasons, good or bad. When calls are diverted, that too means something. The mobile acts like a permanent...
Read More

Customer care, in earnest

Late in the evening, it was my seventh desperate attempt to get the MMS service activated. A customer care executive, seated perhaps in those spacious, multi-rowed back offices, greeted me with an official greeting. Here is how it went: “I wish to activate the mms service.” “Ok, may I know your name and phone number?” “Sure, my name is … and my number is…” “Ok, thank you, can I put you on hold for 30 seconds?” ‘Sure” After half a minute… “Thanks for holding on, Sir.” “Ok” “You will have to send an sms message to this number. The text is…and the service will be activated within 24 hours.” “Ok. Is that all?” “Wait, Can you tell me your mobile model?” “The model is…” “Ok, can I put you on hold to verify if it is compatible?” “Sure” “Thanks for holding on sir.” “Ok” “Yes, it is compatible.” “Ok, thanks a lot…” I am about to hang up, when she interrupts. “Let me give you full details…after sending the sms, you will receive…then switch off the phone and put it on...
Read More

An instrument called Sarangi

Music instantly hits our emotions and transports us to a sweet world of peace and harmony. Surprisingly, it comes in national flavours. Indian music has its own unique musical heritage, and one of its quintessential instruments is the sarangi, whose melodies never fail to captivate me. Sarangi is a string instrument played over the lap with a bow, and resembles a violin in many respects. The voice of sarangi, to me, represents the soul of India, and is used in movies to create a typical Indian ambience, especially for medieval and British periods. It can be heard in the film Gandhi, where it creates a mesmerising Indian ambience full of pain and sorrow. The sounds of sarangi convey grief and sorrow like no other instrument. Unlike the other famous Indian instrument sitar, whose sounds more faithfully record moments of happiness, sarangi represents the voice of pathos. It does not play or sing; rather, it seems to cry from the depth of its...
Read More