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 It implies background monitoring and maintenance, and that one is not looking at outdated information.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,...
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The ‘rave party’ at Pune and drugs

A few days ago, hundreds of youth were arrested in Pune for drug related offense at a rave party organised during the festival of Holi. The offense of some of them is claimed to be taking of drugs – not committed against anyone in particular – but just a harmless, youthful urge to consume some stimulating natural substances. The magniute of the case is amusing – around 200 party goers – from all over India – from various backgrounds – college students, IT professionals, BPO workers, and foreigners. All of them had gathered at a remote place near a famous tourist attraction, through some social networking websites on the internet. It would be unthinkable to do this – gather a couple of hundred people for a festival party – and not attract serious attention from public and police alike. As the authorities go around enforcing whatever law they happen to find, the simple question for us to ask is, “Why is taking...
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Editing at work — I

My routine work involves editing and improving content meant to be uploaded on websites. The importance of the text often determines how well it is edited. This article tries to describe some of the things I look out for while doing simple editing. Editing a report or feature ranges from minor style alterations to major improvements in structure and re-phrasing of text. I routinely take care of the following simple editing aspects: StyleThis deals with how capitalisation is used (company or Company), money is expressed (USD or $, per cent or %), abbreviations (eg or e.g.), general formatting issues, etc. Spelling, punctuation, grammarKnown to all. The most basic of editing requirements. StructureThe important matter is put up in the first half — the what-when-where-who details. Quotes, future predictions and other details are pushed down. This saves on reading time of readers. Economy of expressionProbably the most important thing to look out for in any given text. Brevity is the essence of good writing, whether prose...
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In a country like India

The cliché is to be encountered every now and then, in Indian newspapers, magazines, during talks and conferences, and now on the Internet. It goes something like — “In a country like India…” — fill up your pet complaint or anomaly in the blanks and complete the sentence. It is anyone’s guess what the phrase really points to, when used without qualifications, which is the case many times when the underlying assumptions of poverty, backwardness, etc, are often left implicit and unsaid. What kind of country is India? What makes it so different from others that certain things can only be expected here and nowhere else? The phrase, even when qualified, seems to serve its own purpose of highlighting this country as a special case that stands out from the rest for some peculiarity that makes it one of its kind in the world. A Google phrase search for this phrase returned over 68,000 pages, the highest when compared with results for the...
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The world of blogging

Blogs, online versions of personal diaries, have been a craze for quite sometime now. Some of us, before the Internet age, used to maintain a small diary to jot down random thoughts, reflections, sayings, poems, and other such stuff. Their online versions, however, are much more than that. The biggest difference between a blog and a personal diary is that while the latter was a very private affair, accessible not even to family members, a blog is a public account. In fact, the whole world, yes the whole world, connected to the internet, gets to read its contents if they come across it. This is what gives blogs a whole dimension, making it a platform that can be used for multiple purposes. Here is a small list of their many uses: • A personal diary• Official company blog: recreational use• Sales and marketing: company products, latest news etc.• Online communities: a network built around a blog• Publishing medium: freedom of expression for social...
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The plays of Aristophanes

Aristophanes was a Greek playright and wrote comedies in the 5th century BC. Some of his plays include – Clouds, Knights, Assemblywomen (Women in power), and Lysistrata. The plays are are quite hilarious, and mostly fun to read. At places they are also a bit too explicit. The phrase “to be or not to be – that is the question” – occurs in one of his translated plays – Knights. In Knights, the writer doesn’t spare anybody. He mocks everyone – politicians, courts, lawyers, other writers, even Socrates. The play is replete with sexual and profane double meanings, and outright profanity. Can’t give samples here, too explicit! (e.g.”can’t row two boats together.”) When the young boy in Assemblywomen is chased by old hags, the young girl tells them they are old enough to be his mother, and the boy then says: “Who do you think I am, king Oedipus?”!!! The most hilarious joke occurs in Knights – the ‘Bakis-Fakis’ one. Lysistrata is about the...
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