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All stokked up

About a month or so ago, a picture of an American high school pole vaulter named Allison Stokke made the rounds of the internet. It was posted on numerous message boards and sites and fan clubs sprung up on facebook and elsewhere.

Apparently the picture itself was taken a while ago, but for some reason became an internet phenomenon earlier this year.

What’s interesting though is this article I read on Feministing.

Allison Stokke’s father is a lawyer who has in the past defended men accused of sex-related crimes by in essence saying that the women were asking for it!

Of course, this in no way condones the comments being made about Allison Stokke on the net but isn’t Mr. Stokke’s reaction to them hypocrictical?

*sigh*

The one good thing for me out of all this is that (thanks to reddit) I’ve discovered Feministing, an interesting feminist blog.

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Blogcamp.in – Second day

Most people dashed off for the beach party at the end of the first day, but somehow the thought of a large bunch of nerdy boys and a lot of alcohol was not terribly tempting and so I just went to my friend’s home for a quiet dinner of pizza, chicken wings and vodka! That was followed by general catching up with my friend and yakking on into the night. (When he was not whispering over the phone with his girlfriend!)

All of which meant that I woke up late on Sunday morning and so missed the first session at BlogCamp.in on Corporate Blogging. Apparently I didn’t miss much since I popped into the IRC channel caught a bit of the presentations on the live webcast.

By the time I got to Tidel Park, that session was winding down and the next scheduled session was the talk by Sunil Gavaskar and followed by Robert Scoble‘s live webcast.

Mr. Gavaskar’s talk was very measured and accompanied by a general hush around the entire hall. Only the flashes and clicks of cameras broke that silence. In fact, sitting at my table at the back of the room, it seemed like a surreal, choreographed performance as people glided fowarded, clicked a photo and glided back while Mr. Gavaskar talked in clear, slow tones about his experience with pod-casting, being in the commentary box and possibilities for blogging in the commercial sports world. While he didn’t say anything revolutionary either about the technology or the technique of blogging and podcasting it was nevertheless interesting to hear his take on things.

One of the bloggers at the conference made a rough transcription of his talk. You can read that here.

What seemed like a perfectly organised half an hour with Mr. Gavaskar was followed by a completely chaotic and pointless couple of hours as they tried to get Robert Scoble up on screen. Since apparently there was a while to go before he could come online, a couple of other guys filled with some talks. When it was finally time for Scoble to go on, numerous technical hitches held things up.

Now, I didn’t care to listen to the man, so I would have been perfectly happy to go sit in another session except there wasn’t any other going on! All the guys who should have been hard at work making sure that other stuff went on as scheduled were too busy waiting to worship at the altar of Scoble! I even heard one nerdy kid say to another, “Scoble is the King, da!!” It took a lot of strength to not burst out laughing at that!

What this meant was that the session that was to start in the other room on Community, Languages and Bridges was delayed inordinately until each speaker in that session got barely 5-6 minutes to speak!

Oh, Scoble did go online finally and wittered on about God knows what. He also pitched for PodTech India, but oh well, who cares? I was busy eating lunch and catching up with other bloggers who weren’t particularly interested in Scobleizing themselves.

The Community session was interesting with a fairly wide variety of talks. If only there was more time for discussion on those! Aparna Ray of newsmericks fame spoke on the difficulties of blogging in her native language and in characteristic style ended with a limerick!

Back in the auditorium, some twit read an interminable speech. Apparently he was a local journalist. At the time I sat there gritting my teeth and wondering why the guy couldn’t have just put that damn thing online somewhere and tell us all to go read it. Apparently he did have the whole bloody speech on his blog, but still insisted on reading it out!

The last session was the most interesting one of BlogCamp and probably one that witnessed the most participation. Kiruba, Peter and Dina lead a discussion loosely on the responsibilities of writing in a public medium.

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Blogcamp.in – First Impressions

In case the badge at the right is not “in-your-face” enough, I should mention here that I’m attending Blogcamp.in on my company’s steam.

In the interest of keeping this blog as anonymous as its always been, I’m obviously not going to mention what I’m speaking on but people who know me can obviously figure that out!

The conference is happening at Tidel Park in Chennai which is a fairly fancy tech park but with some serious security! We had to pass through 3 levels of security before we even entered the building (after passing through a metal detector.)

My first big gripe about the conference is that during the registration (when we pick up our freebies, which by the way are fairly decent) is that we had to fill out a short form from Yahoo! (who are the “platinum” sponsors of the event) where we basically agreed to let them spam us. I quickly overwrote the bits where they said “I agree” and “Yahoo can” blah blah changing them to “I DO NOT agree” and “Yahoo can NOT.” The guy at the registation desk mutely took back my form, I’m not sure if he actually saw what I did! 🙂

The entire morning I was offline since in a very “doh!” moment, I remembered that I should have packed my wireless network card only after I got to the airport. I thought this place would have ethernet ports around that I could use, but no. And that was my second gripe. The connectivity is provided by Sify and they have a pretty decent WiFi zone set up but if you want to plug in through ethernet, you’re out of luck. I’m also carrying along my portable HDD which has all my portable apps on it so I thought I could just plug into the desktops they have around for free access. Except the desktops were the junk iWay systems which wouldn’t let me plug in my HDD into their USB ports. Gah!

I only managed to get online because I had a crossover cable and connected it to a helpful guy’s laptop. Phew!

The talks in the morning were quite blah. Someone from Sulekha was up first and I missed the bulk of his talk since we got here late. An open session where bloggers shared their experiences followed which had some fun anecdotes but also had some guys drone on about some story that only they got the point of. After a coffee break, Atul Chitnis was up with “Blogging in the 90s: A Dinosaur’s Tale.” The only thing to like about this was that Toolz is finally calling himself a dinosaur. Lets hope he goes extinct soon!

The parallel session going on in another room seemed interesting on paper. Intro to WordPress, WordPress Hacks were a couple of the topics. But when I popped into that room, it was mostly geek boys using the word “like” altogether too many times!

Lunch followed which was quite yummy but only veg.

I’m sitting right now in the afternoon session which is on “Collaborative Blogging” while a session on Podcasting is going on upstairs.

More later or tomorrow if I’m too bored today! 😀

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Social network madness

Wasn’t the acronym YASN coined at least two years ago? So what’s with all the new social networks springing up? And why don’t any of them work well? Gah!

What I am on…

I was also a GNE prototype player and someone might eventually invite me to Wallop too..

*sigh*

UPDATE: I forgot to add Hi5 (a piece of crap) to the list and I’m also now on Wallop. Yay me!

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I used to be able to handle this…

There was a time I was pretty cool with whatever went on in the world of computing. I was a mad code monkey that wrote programs in assembly for fun, wrote DOS utilities, batch scripts and some simple database programs (for a library and a hospital.) The Internet came to India and I was on top of things since a geek friend and I hacked into the VSNL server in Bangalore and created accounts for ourselves. (Well, not really, it was simpler than that, but if I tell you how simple, I can’t brag then, can I?) That time has long since passed.

All my friends went on to be computer engineers and I studied biology. I finished a bachelor’s degree in biology and got a master’s too. My metamorphosis from computer geek to biology geek was complete.

Nevertheless, I still played with computers a lot, never did any coding ever though. I surfed and surfed and then surfed some more. I had a million (some would say zillion) accounts wherever they were free and some paid accounts too. I was active on newsgroups, on fledgling social networks, played online games, and chatted with friends across three networks and IRC. Phew. And all this while being a grad student at university.

Today though (and for a few months previously) I can’t be that active anymore. I barely make the time to read and reply to email. I check friends’ blogs for updates maybe once every two days as opposed to several times a day! I rarely ever login to orkut when I used to be on for most of the day earlier. Yahoo! Messenger which would have me logged in even while I was asleep, hardly gets a workout these days. And I login to MSN only to play Minesweeper Flags with friends.

So why am I boring you with all this? Well, it’s just so if I don’t comment on your latest blogpost, don’t read your new 360° page/blog, don’t reply to your email as often, you know why! 😉 (Yes, Yahoo! 360° yet another social network is out and I have a page there…)

The funny thing is, just about this time last year, I was writing this post about how cool (sort of) my online existence was! One year later…

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The family that bots together


The family that bots together
Originally uploaded by Shambly Hermit.

Kingdom of Loathing was this funny, weird, and fairly simple (in terms of interface) online game I played for a few months last year. Many of us from flickr/GNE really got into the game and spent a lot of time on it. We even had a clan of our own.

Then, quite as suddenly, many of us got bored with it. Some though, were still very into it. Notably Shambly Hermit. He kept playing and playing and eventually worked his way into the 1337 crowd. He is now a member of some warehouse whatever clan which apparently controls a lot of what happens in KoL.

Shambly also spends his time commissioning art and avatars for other KoL players. He also runs my two players on KoL. Shambly is the dog you never know is on the internet. (I bet his dog is online too!)