There seem to be only two things on the online freak’s mind :- Socialize and Socialize. At least the corporate world thinks so. They are of the opinion that we, the Gen Z or whatever, just can’t get enough of Social networking websites. So, they pile them onto us as if there weren’t enough already. First you have the stalwarts, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Orkut and then you a million of others, few of which even advertise on TV hoping to garner a user base from somewhere; Ibibo and BigAdda to name a couple in the Indian market.`Now you have the ‘Buzz’ thing on Gmail, trying to coerce non-networkers into socializing if they happen to have a gmail id. Smart move by Google I must say.

When you have had enough of Social Websites, there are a million ways to actually use them. The ‘Facebook mobile’, as it is called, by Micro-something mobiles is in the market and a few others ship with the ‘F’ button (Which stands for Facebook, and not for what you may be thinking). Airtel has tied up with Twitter, of course, to facilitate tweeting by SMS (How they hope to facilitate it at Re 1. per SMS beats me). I believe there is a facility by which you can update statuses by email.

For every social networking website, you have a profile page. Understandably, each of the pages is different. Multiple identities for each person?

It’s not as if you need an identity only for these social sites. Every website you walk into greets you with a registration page before you begin to use it for any sensible purpose. A website that is as mundane as a discussion page for APIs refused to grant me access to its ‘top-secret’ forums before I painstaking register for it and confirmed my identity through email. Do we need a break or what?

It is one thing to register for a website that genuinely interests you or whose services you value greatly. But to create your identity on every website that can show itself on a Google search? Honestly, the web needs to grow up. I happen to be one of the persons who has a separate email id and a special username and password for each of these websites. At least it rids me of the burden of remembering thousands of passwords. It is a wonder why websites want such users to be registered.

I now face a peculiar problem – I wish to delete my orkut account. But I realize, there lies a stupid but steep hurdle – There is NO such option. So, if I become part of a community, there is no way I can exclude myself from it? Am I that precious? I do thank the website for my free ‘lifetime membership’ or whatever. But, somewhere, there is a problem. Either with the way the World Wide Web is fashioned or with the way website developers and owners view the public. We need respite, don’t we?

Bee Tee Pees

You know when BTP season is finally kicking in. It’s a lot like duck hunting season – only it’s not the ducks that are nervous. The first part reports were due last week and you could feel the thunder even if you were a non-BTPian. Only the 3rd years missed out on the action for they had their own SEN to worry about. There are 3 ways to tell whether BTP season has arrived.

1. The number of hits on Wikipedia doubles overnight.
2. The DA-IICT ACM/ IEEE portals are actually being used.
3. There are students in the faculty blocks.

If all the above statements are true then BTP season has well and truly arrived and is here to stay.

The other day, a friend of mine came up to me and asked, “How long does it take to come up with a new algorithm?” It is questions like this and questions like “Does God exist?” that invoke that long, deep, thoughtful silence. It is not a silence whose thought involves thinking about the possible answer but rather about what one must say to this person. It is the same sort of silence one may resort to when a friend drags you to a cricket match and then remarks, “Isn’t that Sachin?”

It was the same silence that dwelt upon the pair of us on that fateful day. My friend with his genuinely hopeful look, and me with the right eyebrow raised and with a mouth that was open but not entirely sure of what it should proceed to say. I did manage to stutter “Whaddaya mean?” after several seemingly meaningless minutes. In his defence, my friend did try his best to make matters simpler. “I mean, how long does it take to come up with a new Algorithm?”

“I am not entirely sure.” I replied, after failing to make sense of his question. It is always the safest route out of a conversation – to plead ignorance. But failed on the given day. My answer had somehow made my friend all the more intrigued. “Oh but there has to be a maximum time.” he remarked.

I decided to stick to ignorance – it was my safest bet. “I don’t know”

“What do you say about 2 months? Would that be enough?”

“Well, if you went up to Newton and said ‘I’m giving you 2 months to figure out gravity’ you think he would have accepted your statement?”

“Look man, I’m not trying to come up with something as major as gravity. Just a small algorithm. Is 2 months enough?”

“It’s not a question of time, man. It either strikes up or it doesn’t.”

“Are you saying it won’t strike me in 2 months?”

“No, I do not doubt your capabilities. You are certainly capable.”

“So 2 months is enough?”

I pretended to calculate for a while. In my head I racked numbers through 1 to 10 and added them 2 at a time. Finally, I replied “Ya man, 2 months will give you plenty of time.”

“Thanks man, I knew you could help me out with this.”


Bills and boards

No matter where you look, there are signboards. Big, huge billboards that seem to occupy more sky than sky itself. Belittling as it may be, there is more to life than that corporate world. Many of us have found it, most of us are yet to discover it and somehow all of us are still ignorant of it.