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October 2002 — Monthly Archive

The Aftermath of Merit-based Scholarships


Though not exactly ordinary, Ms. Ryan’s story is familiar around here. Campus veterans marvel at all the poolside apartments that have sprung up since Georgia popped the income cap off its merit awards. Professors are testing their hypothesis that instead of increasing college enrollment, the state’s $1.7 billion scholarship program has been a blessing for the automobile industry — since so many families roll the savings into buying new cars.

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31 October 2002 10:52 am

Look but Don’t Touch

Dave: Please don’t tweak the little white-on-orange xml icon. Duh, if it wasn’t meant to be tweaked, maybe it oughtta be trademarked. It is otherwise open to re-interpretation. (Even if trademarked, the right to reinterpretation does not vanish totally.) I wonder if my xml graphic is “completely different” enough for Dave.

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29 October 2002 6:07 pm

Indiatimes’ Non-Existent Email Security

Ravikiran on really stupid security policies. I’ll add another: Indiatimes email. This site is popular in India because it’s hosted there and is fast, with a low latency connect. If we’re behind the same HTTP proxy, I can read your email (provided I know your sign-in name and you are not logged out). Considering how many people use this site for personal email at offices (where proxies are common), I don’t think is a good thing.

Update: Actually, if there are any BOFH types at office, they can probably read personal mail already - a well placed packet sniffer can do wonders, thanks to most web sites transmitting passwords essentially in the clear. (If not passwords (Hotmail and Yahoo have https secured logins), then the mail is sent in the clear anyway.) Very few mail services offer POPS, IMAPS or HTTPS access to email — MyRealbox being one, which is why I’m such a big Realbox fan.

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5:58 pm

Clash of Civilizations


More than 30,000 employees at Indian call centers, among whom Radhika becomes Ruth and Satish becomes Steve, are told to adopt American names and say they are calling from a U.S. city in order to put their American customers at ease.

Their training includes a smattering of U.S. history and geography, along with speech therapy so that they will sound “American.” Some call centers are adorned with American flags to give a cultural feel to the place.

Along the way, these employees are exposed to a way of life that can come into direct conflict with their conservative values and, sometimes, their sanity.

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23 October 2002 11:29 pm

Aggregators with HTTP Auth Support

Is there a single News Aggregator out there that supports HTTP User-Authentication (Basic/Digest)? Yes, NewzCrawler 1.3! I’d still like shared cookies, though - they are the de facto standard of logging into most intranets (along with NTLM in MSFT dominated shops).

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18 October 2002 5:36 pm

Memo to Web Designers: Google is Blind

From Mark Pilgrim via Adrian Holovaty (who by the way has a great highlighter for visitors from Google):

The next time someone stands up in a design meeting and claims that you don’t have any blind customers, ask them if they care about search engine placement. Then remind them that Google is a blind user who reads the entire Internet every month, and then reports what it sees to millions of its closest friends.

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5:16 pm

Autocomplete in Windows Explorer

From the nifty Windows tricks dept: Quicky typing the first few letters of a filename in Windows Explorer moves the highlighter to that file. Like autocomplete, except without hitting Tab. (This beats typing the first letter again and again, like one had to do in Windows 3.1) This works in Windows 2000, not sure about earlier versions. Wish it worked with the Start menu, too, though.

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16 October 2002 6:10 pm

Top ‘Dutta’ on Google

Well, what can I say, I got lucky :-) .

search results for 'dutta'

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9 October 2002 12:23 pm

Teledesic is no more

The End of the Teledesic dream. At least Teledesic will die a solvent death. Today, the market has spoken — (relatively) cheap world-girdling comm links are not to be. Of course, with the growth of xDSL and fiber (and cell towers) in dense metrops lessens any attraction satellite comms (with their expense and limited bandwidth - for example, an INSAT transponder can carry 64kbps max and costs beacoup thousands; I can get that on cable by paying about Rs 1000 a month in Madras) may have had. Of course, Intelsat and Inmarsat continue to provide great (if expensive) service to those off the beaten track, but for now, the Internet will remain very much a urban-jungle phenomenon. Pity.

PS. All is not lost. Satellite freaks (the real Wireless freaks! :-) ) still have their sugar daddy — the United States Armed Forces still have the most sophisticated planet girdling comm systems by far.

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7 October 2002 11:06 pm


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