Friday, November 27, 2009

itsy bits and phrases

Someone at ADP seems to have been sending website development work to IT yutzes with questionable chops in the English grammar department. How else can one explain an FAQ item titled I clicked a pay date and my statement isn't displaying. One wonders what the statement should display? Its blooming rear? Itself? Its innards? Bravery? Cowardice?

The next time you explore someone's Picasa Web Albums after following some URL in an email, look at that innocent line below each photograph: Sign in to like this photo. It's an interesting way of trying to appear friendlier than the average note on web pages to sign in to drop comments and the like, but it has this vibe of Big Brotherly love in it.

When Sears prompts you for a user name and password for your online profile, there's a cute hint below the text box for the password warning you that Your password is cAsE SeNsItIve. It's cute but it gives me the feeling I get when I read chatspeak.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a sight to raise you up (on the last day)

I love the many annoyances of Vista: from the beautiful dialog boxes that tell you nothing in eye-pleasing fashion to the extra barricades laid to make even an evening walk seem like a hop and skip in Purgatory; from the refusal to come to terms with whatever works to the insistence of let even the simplest task be left unencumbered. After having nearly given myself a homemade Ghajini cut (right down to Aamir's evil Spock-ian sneer of constipated rage), I can only resign myself to chuckles at the silly creativity in the error message I saw most often while I tried to get a laptop to understand what "being on the network" meant (it was only a reboot that rendered this melange of metal incapable of sending its packets across over the fence of the modem to named parties on the outside -- that I can ping it on the local network is an example of black humour in Class C). Some creative dunderhead decided to exacerbate the pain of having to switch to Administrative mode by giving it a phrase of its own. To see this phrase, all you have to do is run something like "ipconfig /flushdns" in the command window you managed to open after searching high and low for a shortcut. Since you didn't bother to use the intuitive "Run as Administrator" option in the context menu, you will now see the beatific message the requested operation requires elevation.

This suggests several possible things: perhaps administrative commands can only be run in a rarefied environment much like that in hill stations or up in the stratosphere or perhaps even in space (where no one can hear you installing updates); perhaps such commands require a bust uplift; perhaps one needs to be in an elevator going up to the penthouse when one attempts to effect a clearing of the DNS cache; perhaps one needs to be free of all vestiges of the disgust that one has been feeling so far -- flush with a smile.

Just give me some unbleached bathroom tissue instead.

PS: if anyone knows how to fix my problem, drop me a line. Until then don't even tell me that Windows 7 is better. Escaping with multiple fractures is likely to be preceived as better than death, but it ain't holdin' no candle to whooshing through life without a scratch.

Monday, November 16, 2009

accidental people

How does it feel to realise one day that you've missed the abuse of with in the United States? How does it feel when you don't understand why people stopped visiting other people and choose instead to visit with them? When did visiting with start getting used for the "visitee" instead of the sidekick? Your brother no longer visits your aunt with you; he visits with your aunt (and you are presumably left playing games on the Wii at home).

If you thought that was bad, consider what happened to meeting people. You may no longer meet with an accident; your efforts are no longer permitted to meet with failure or success. This is because people no longer merely meet their friends; they meet with them. Friends are accidents; friends are epitomes of success or failure. More is right. Less is ancient. Any efforts to thwart this winning streak of incorrect lard will be met with failure.

now it's 7: husband one locked in

If the buzz is to be given credence, Vishal's next will be called Seven (or 7) and not 7 Husbands. Given the insurmountable strength of David Fincher's moody piece on the Internet, one can see problems when using Google to find out more. The buzz also tells us that Vishal has, after much persistence, signed up the first of the seven: Mohanlal. Given Vishal's track record, this might undo the damage done by RGV's fiery in-sippy-d flick and bolster the ouevre established with Company. Now muster your best Malayali impression and repeat after me लोहा गरम है.

[Cross-posted on the Vishal Bhardwaj blog]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

geekish crapspeak

Apache POI 3.5 hit the stands last month (woo hoo!) and infoQ had a nice post about this that talks about the implications of and concerns about Microsoft's participation in the support for OOXML. Near the middle of the article we get a quote from Vijay Rajagopalan, Microsoft's technical lead for the POI project. The quote begins with this interesting line (my emphasis):

Enabling developers to accomplish their common tasks with OpenXML file formats is our highest order bit.

Those of you who managed to make sense of the binary world of computers will have, no doubt, figured out that highest order bit is nothing but the most significant bit, which happens to be the bit in the position of greatest value. The number 2 gets the highest power when you get the highest order bit or the most significant bit of a binary number. In plain English (a variant on its way to extinction) this means that "Enabling developers to blah blah blah" is the most important thing for them (Now why didn't you say so?!). I can't help thinking of signed binary numbers -- the most significant bit acquires veto status, flipping the number above or below 0. Does that imply vacillation? Or "constantly changing priorities?"

On an unrelated note, does anyone know why you would want to call a zip file an installer?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

welcome to thackerayville?

Since I'm not a newsmonger, the bit of news about Raj Thackeray's Misguided Nationalist Scum showing up to throw a tantrum at MAMI 2009 in Bombay a few days ago escaped my eyes until a random search for news about Anurag Kashyap took me a video on Youtube. Herr Kashyap is quoted as using the adjective अश्लील for HeWhoInsistsOnSpeakingOnlyInMarathiButEndsUpUsingEnglishOccasionally. The tantrum was because the MNS had decided that a certain Danish film at the festival was obscene. This is a case of sticky fingers, of course unless the confedracy of dunces had decided to pronounce judgement based on random selection.

What came as a big surprise for me was my inability to find a news article that contained the title of this "guilty" film. "Danish film" made me think of Lars von Trier's latest film Antichrist, which has been the critical hot potato this year and which also qualified for a summarily dismissive stamp of "obscene." The screening schedule tells me that the film was on display. Should I just connect the dots or did I just miss the definitive news article?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

bollywood RFC

Real-life beau Saif Ali Khan and peep Kareena Kapoor are reportedly turning up the steam in Kurbaan -- the audience draw coefficient of them as an on-screen pair has been augmented by flashes of skin (don't believe the rumours -- Ms KK has already shown her bare back in Omkara, which also starred Saif Ali Khan). The CD bears an interesting soundtrack from Salim-Sulaiman mixing rock -- Vishal Dadlani returns after singing for the Merchant brothers in 8 X 10 Tasveer, Sufi, hindustani classical (puriyaa dhaanashrii, unless I'm mistaken). The photographs adorning the sleeves of the CD tell you that things are going to be bolly-dark, bolly-bloody (some love stories have blood on them -- the blood of mosquitoes swatted on the storyboards, no doubt). It's that desaturated colour scheme with an emphasis on the sanguine.

But the promo bears the real goods. You have Om Puri's voiceover to tell you that he's probably a terrorist and this is slated to be another film in the "Bollywood 9/11" genre (see also: New York). Skip the skin and watch the captions (the scarlet fetish continues). The best one works not just as a warning to the cautious reader but also, if you think abbreviations, a tip of the hat to computer science: Feel The Pain.

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