Microsoft kills DHTML to take on Google

Back in the yesteryears, Microsoft wanted to build a great browser – hence it ensured it was leading the DHTML feature list. Sites began to be developed specifically for Internet Explorer version 4 or 5. At some point however, it realised it had made the browser too powerful – and Google was taking advantage of that, releasing software as service.

Microsoft obviously hates software as service model since it doesn’t tie people down to a particular operating system. People could very much use a Linux based browser (such as Firefox) to access those services, and at the same time share documents with Microsoft Windows based users who could access those documents as well through Internet Explorer.

One of the strategies Microsoft uses to kill competition is to not support their USPs on Windows. Since most users use Windows today, that prevents those USP features to gain acceptance and die sooner or later. It understood that it could not do this with DHTML: obviously because on the one hand DHTML was its own creation and on the other it would break backward compatibility with Internet Explorer. Hence, it decided to at least halt the development of DHTML and has not added any major features to DHTML in the recent past.

Just an opinion.

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Diwali hiatus

Have not been able to post last week due to being busy with the festival of Diwali. It symbolises the victory of good over evil, and is a festival of lights. I may be able to post some pictures later. This is a major North Indian festival and celebrations typically are spread over a week.

Anyhow, I am back now and you will see some posts that I really should have posted during this period.

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The Arrow of Time

Being the fan of Stephen Hawking that I am, it’s quite surprising that I have not devoted even a single blogpost to his works. Let me do that today, with the adding of a new category to this blog: Science & Technology.

One of the most interesting of his thoughts is about the arrow of time. We take ‘time’ for granted as a fixed entity universal for everyone. However, as Theory of Relativity tells us: time is personal. Everyone carries his own clock, and they may not necessarily agree. Now, the problem is, how do we define time? I will let the master speak in his own words:

The increase of disorder or entropy with time is one example of what is called an arrow of time, something that distinguishes the past from the future, giving a direction to time. There are at least three different arrows of time. First, there is the thermodynamic arrow of time, the direction of time in which disorder or entropy increases. Then, there is the psychological arrow of time. This is the direction in which we feel time passes, the direction in which we remember the past but not the future. Finally, there is the cosmological arrow of time. This is the direction of time in which the universe is expanding rather than contracting.

He goes on to explain why all three arrows point in the same direction, and why its impossible for intelligent beings such as us to exist in conditions where the three arrows do not point in the same direction.

Read more here, or better: buy the book as I have.

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‘Lifafa’-logy

This blogpost is a contribution from Mr.Broca: an article he had written in the year 1992:

Wait friends! You won’t find this word in any dictionary! I’ll explain what it means. ‘Lifafa’ in Hindi means ‘a paper bag’ – the usual ones made from newspapers or magazines etc. ‘Logy’ means the art of gaining knowledge from these ‘lifafas’ which we normally throw away after using whatever is packed in it – be they ‘tandoori rotis’ from a ‘dhaba’ or bread from the corner booth or ‘fish-pakoras’ from a fast food joint!1

A few days ago, my Mummy purchased ‘Rakhis’2 from a seller in Sector 22 market. They were packed in a lifafa. I have the habit of collecting odds & ends, bits of information etc from various sources. So my ‘karamchand’ish eye3 fell on that lifafa. You’ll be surprised to know that that piece of paper proved to be a mine of information. It contained the following items:

  • A column on really jocular jokes
  • A crossword puzzle for children
  • Snoopy and Dennis-the-menace cartoons
  • A funny little poem called ‘a silly fellow’
  • A humourous piece on ‘kitty-parties’
  • Do’s and Dont’s for persons suffering from acne
  • Useful tips for tired eyes, tired legs, kitchen queries etc.
  • How to make a doll from stalks of corn
  • Knowledge bank.

After reading the contents of that ‘lucky’ lifafa I have gained a lot of knowledge on various topics. Do you want to know what I liked best?
Well – the knowledge bank. I am reproducing that portion of the lifafa for your comments:

“Language is essentially a means of communication through words. There are around 5000 different languages spoken in different countries of the world today.4 In India alone the number of languages along with their dialect comes to 845. Of these 15 are recognised constitutionally.

Every language has a set of letters. By joining these letters in a required order we get words. Do you know which language has of the world has the greatest number of words? It is English with 7,90,000 words. Of these about 4,50,000 are regular words and 3,00,000 are technical terms. According to the linguists no one uses more than 60,000 of these in a life-time of writing and speaking. Although more than 4,00,00,000 people throughout the world speak English, its not the most widely used language. The most widely used language is Mandarin or Northern Chinese which is spoken by about 6,75,000,000 people.

The English word which has the maximum number of meanings is the word ‘set’. It has 58 meanings as a noun, 126 meanings as a verb and 10 meanings as a participle adjective.5

See how even a lifafa can be educative! Let us all henceforth read such lifafas before throwing them. Long live lifafas – long live ‘lifafa’logists.

PS: The idea of this article came from a lifafa which I have carefully preserved. Its possible that when you sell this magazine to the ‘raddiwala’6 some enterprising person may make a small lifafa from this very page and you may read this article after some time when you buy ‘moongfali’7 in it. In case you come across it, do let me know. Thanks!

Footnotes are explained in the first comment to this post.

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300 years of blessings by the Guru

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/300_Saal_Guru_de_Naal

India is celebrating today 300 years of the inception (consecration) of the Holy Book ‘Sri Guru Granth Sahib’ as the spiritual Guru of the Sikhs. It’s a state holiday in Delhi. The celebrations have really started around a year back, on 15th of September 2007. Today the epicenter is Nanded Sahib, where this historic event actually took place years ago.

While we are organising Jagriti Yatra (awareness rally) and Nagar Kirtan (city wide hymn singing), we should also take up the occasion to look within. How many people can place their hands on their hearts and proclaim to being a true Gursikh (disciple to the true Guru)?

A friend asked me a few days back ‘How many points would you give yourself as a good Gursikh?’. I said I would fail at the very first test. He was surprised, and asked me ‘in spite of reciting the Nitnem (daily prayers) everyday as you do?’. I said yes – and I quoted from Sri Guru Granth Sahib – ‘Gur Satgur ka jo Sikh akhai so bhalke uth har Naam dhiawai’. Translated it means ‘One who calls himself the Guru’s disciple, wakes up before dawn and recites the Lords name’. I told him I have never woken up before dawn, let alone reciting the Lord’s name at that hour.

However, the most important task for us at the moment is to root out the evil of shearing of hair. This is unacceptable within the Panth, and we need to ask ourselves why do we trim hair – just to look good (in my opinion, ending up looking like clowns)? Is that reason enough to break away from the Guru’s advice? Lets remember these words:

Hoye Sikh sir topi dhare,
saat janam kushti hoye mare.


Cursed is the Sikh who wears a cap – he will die as a leper for seven births.

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