Archive for March, 2010

I’m Listening…

It could be a media stunt or it could be a genuine concern, but all I can see is a group of people accusing one person for expressing his/her opinion. Be it Taslima Nasreen or Shashi Tharoor, they are in news for one reason or another. But, mostly for the wrong ones.

What good can a free country offer to its citizens, if it doesn’t allow one to exercise a fundamental right, freedom to speech. I was wondering why people blame these guys for nothing more than expression of personal opinions. Are we deprived of this fundamental right..? What good does it make to call oneself a free man, if he isn’t allowed to even speak freely.

As usual, I decided to dig upon this. First thing I realized was not to generalize the idea and to analyze it case on case basis.

I decided to start with facts about Shashi Tharoor and his much discussed tweets. what makes his opinions so much more important than other’s. Yes, of course he is a very important person, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs. I researched to find if ministers have legal exceptions in the fundamental rights. Well, I guess not. I Looked into the definition of ‘Democracy’, the political framework our country runs on. It clearly says that, in a democratic country, people are represented by one person they have collectively chosen. Which I think, I can safely take as an evidence to say, Shashi Tharoor is a representative of people which in turn implies that his opinions represent people’s opinions. Now, if a minister has to speak an opinion, it definitely has to be in terms with that of the people he represents. Otherwise, you better choose silence.

Yet another case I was interested in was Taslima’s controversial article. she is only a writer and doesn’t represent any group, formally or informally. Then, why should she not speak freely.

I found this,

Article 19 clause 2. (Constitution of India)

” Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. ”

The word to look for in this Article is ‘public order’.

Which means that anybody can speak anything they want unless what they say leads to a public disturbance. One can be legally deprived of the freedom to speech if his/her speech affects public order. So thats it, Taslima is legally in fault for expressing something that led to public disturbance.

Finally, all I could say is, the rules can be taken for refuge or for an armlock. But, as a responsible citizen, everyone is morally bound to speak about what is socially acceptable (I wont promise you publicity for this though). When someone is addressing a group of people, he/she is directly or indirectly affecting their collective opinions.

So, listen all you big mouths, we are all ears…

How to show Flickr Images on your personal photo gallery

Although this is a semi-technical post, all you non-techies who have a personal Homepage can still be benefited from this.

Here, I have guided you through few steps to embed your Flickr images to a personal photo gallery on your homepage.

Requirements

  • A personal homepage which is hosted on a web-server supporting PHP/ Remote Images Hot-linking (most Free hosting doesn’t support this)
  • A Flickr Account
  • A desire to have a photo gallery on your homepage

What do I get from this…?

You can save storage space on your web-hosting by hosting the Images on Flickr. Managing Image Uploads is simple, since it is done one-time on the Flickr, your personal Homepage picks up from there dynamically.

Alternatives

There are many ways of doing this. Flogr and FlickrViewer are good examples. But, these are pretty complicated and an overkill for what we need. So, I decided to make it myself.

Disclaimer

Well.. by profession, I am a mobile application developer, and nowhere near to web-technologies. But as a hobby, I do some stuff in JavaScript and PHP. So in case, I say something stupid, forgive me… 😉

Step 1:

  • Download LightBox (this will be used to display the gallery images in an animated fashion)
  • Extract it to a folder, say “photos”
  • Download this text file and rename it to flickr.php and save it in the “photos” folder. You are welcome to optimize this php script further.

Step 2:

Step 3:

Upload the “photos” folder into you webpage through ftp/online file-manager.. what ever your hosting provider supports. If your webpage is http://www.example.com after uploading the photos folder, your photos page will be http://www.example.com/photos

Step 4:

Creating a link to your personal Flickr Gallery/Photo album (whatever you might want to call). You can use this link anywhere on the web (mostly on your Homepage). It will take the visitor to your Image Gallery.

flickr.php takes 3 arguments

1. user_name

The name which you want to display on top of the page as a Title.

2. user_id

This the ID which Flickr assigns to you when you open the account. If you know your Flickr user name (which I assume you will), you can fetch the ID from this link here

3. api_key

this the api-key that you would have generated in Step 2.

Example:

The final link would look something like this

http://example.com/photos/flickr.php?user_name=Sunil&user_id=47379418@N02&api_key=33197b5a6fcc629b4f4ee5011654986f

Click Here for a working example.

Thats it.. your personal Image gallery is ready. Every time someone visits this gallery page, all the public images uploaded to your Flickr account is picked up dynamically and displayed as a gallery.

Planning Never Works

Plans are nothing; planning is everything Dwight D. Eisenhower
Plans are of little importance, but planning is essentialWinston Churchill

I remember my college days when we friends used to plan for every small activity, be it to watch a movie or just to meet up on a snooker game. And, It often ended up with one of them say sadly, “planning never works, macha”. And it mostly turned out to happen so, we seldom followed our plans.

During the last weekend, I visited a cousin of mine. She has been managing projects in quite a few IT companies for more than a decade now. On a casual talk, she asked me about my job, my career and of course, when I planned to en-cash these (the M-word has been following me since quite some time). Like, one of those MBA newbies who is obsessed with big management fundas, I explained her my plans in “detail”. To my surprise, what did I hear from her… “Planning never works”, rest is story. All that came to my mind was that, the phrase hadn’t changed much since my college days.

On the same evening, I was watching Discovery Channel at home and there was this series called Mega Builders being telecast at that time. This made me think… If, planning didn’t work, would it be possible for these bunch of guys to build a luxury hotel in Ice, and all this in a matter of few days. At such tough conditions with varying temperatures, how would it be possible to build this without a plan.

Ok then, if such is the importance of planning, why do I often hear this phrase “Planning never works”. Could this phrase have a subjective meaning..? Could it change with the context..? I dont know… I could be wasting my time…

Like all petty things, this struck to my head for a while. After googling for some time, I think, I have a vague idea of what planning might actually mean. Planning is more process oriented than it is result oriented. It helps simulate the process mentally so that any possible obstacle can be foreseen. It is a demonstration of one’s inclination towards achieving the goal, a desire for results. A good plan on paper will always help, in getting a Bird’s-eye view of the problem which otherwise might be impossible. Well, practicing what is planned is equally important, otherwise all the plans will go to trash. A plan can change over time but the goal doesn’t.

Finally, my cousin convinced me. She said, I could “plan” to use my horoscope now or postpone it for some-more time. But, the goal is to surrender for the good. And, the sooner it is, the better it is… I am still thinking… 😉

Phir Mile Sur – Yet another perspective

There has been quite a few opinions thrown at the Phir Mile Sur (PMS). A few are excited about it and a few are offended as well. But, my perspective is a little different from all these. I think PMS is one of the best representation of India’s Cultural Time Travel (1988 – 2010).

Original Mile Sur

Phir Mile Sur

The song starts with ARR playing a Continuum Fingerboard. In contrast with the good old legendary musicians who used Indian musical instrument in Original Mile Sur (OMS) to promote Nationality, ARR choose to promote (Inter)nationality. It isn’t all that bad as it sounds. Since, India-now is more synonymous to in-sourcing unlike India-then. And, ARR of Slumdog fame has taken it a step further by in-sourcing music. ARR’s latest gadget is not the only western influence on PMS, we can also see Loy Mendonsa’s Yamaha Motif, Siva Mani’s Zildjian Drums and not to miss Deepika’s gorgeous western outfit. Each one of them in there own way are contributing to our (Inter)nationality. And, nothing wrong about it though.

Yet another difference between India-then and India-now is commercialism. People behind PMS have taken every effort to highlight it. Taj Mahal in OMS as against Taj Mahal Hotel in PMS is a perfect example. Those little sponsor advertisements that come on the screen after the video… I don’t remember seeing anything like that in OMS.

India-then was in a phase of loosing the English influence left behind. But, over the last decade, I think India-now is doing a conscious effort to achieve a discrete recognition in the world. This aspect is very well shown in PMS. For those of you who have missed it, Big B’s trademark style (Song + dialog + Reid&Taylor Suit), Amir’s kya bolti tu, Srk’s iconic pose (arms wide open), Salman’s body-show and Sonu Nigam’s disturbingly over modulated voice… each one of them is shouting for recognition. Which is exactly what India-now is yearning for. And, its not bad.

Against all these odds, we continue to love one another and live with integrity. How I wish, the stars of today forgot all there altercations and came together, like the stars of yesteryears have done, singing Mile Sur Mera Tumhara (Let our tunes unite). May be I am asking for too much…