Monday, February 26, 2007

Feb 07 in pictures

Here are random pictures from my life in Feb 07. Yes, obviously nothing better to post...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

And the winner is: Indian Express

After Hindustan Times & DNA launched with huge budgets and much fanfare, I bet my friend that in 2 years HT would be the leading broadsheet from among the two. Well the story now is that none of them are in the lead and both seem to be flagging in content.

The surprising march ahead, atleast in content, has been by the Indian Express. Long written off as a poor second contender to Times of India, and considered by many to be a nice paper focusing on pessimistic news "Journalism of Courage", off late I have been happy to notice that the quality of content has improved to a New York Times level.

Today's (Sunday) edition is miles ahead of TOI, HT and DNA, covering indepth issues nationwide and worldwide, while the other three just seem to repeat the week's news in their "India Shining" narrative style.

IE definitely needs a new coat of paint, its antiquated layout and style hide the magnificent journalism lying underneath. Though its not much of a makeover and one done quite easily.

But is India ready for this quality of journalism? Probably not. India is still masala news country. Bombay & Delhi do not have even 1 cinema house showing Independent films, where, even cities like Columbus Ohio have one. And what about blogging, Indian bloggers are a rare lot, hardly anyone blogs here, or even reads blogs, showing the dismal state of reading & writing in the country.

But the day of Indian Express will come, not now, not in 10 years, but maybe in 50 or 60 years, but it will come. The good news is that we are headed in that direction, while in many parts of the world there is no hope even of that.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wikipedia continues to remain at the mercy of donations

"Meanwhile, a Wikimedia staff member named Sandy Ordonez has posted a comment on Nick’s post saying “Ms. Devouard’s comment was taken out of context” and that “Wikipedia will not be closing any time soon. Ms. Devouard was simply referring to the ongoing, pressing needs for funds that Wikipedia, like most nonprofit organizations, face."

It really is shocking that a globally important project like Wikipedia will not take support from commercial revenue such as displaying Google text ads on the side. Look at Craig's list, they have taken limited support from commercial revenue and it keeps them out of danger of shutting down.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bombay's new dakdak service

You read it here 1st, Bombay's has launched a new inner city low cost dakdak (helicopter) service, that can take a 3 people anywhere for a low cost. It runs by meter and gets you across town in minutes.

Well.... that's actually an art installation at the annual Kala Ghoda arts fair.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The dance bar effect

One and a half years ago the Congress & NCP party ruling the state of Maharashtra (of which Bombay is a part), closed 3,500 dance bars, making over 500,000 people jobless. They took the moral high ground that Dance Bars corrupted people and heartlessly destroyed the lives of half a million families. It was a sham, a politically motivated untruth meant to weaken their political opponents, whom they believed received much of their funding from Dance Bars

When this happened, it was the darkest days of my life. I could not believe that such a crime could occur in Independent India. I could not believe that a functioning democracy could do something like this.

But last week, my belief in the Indian democracy has been restored. In the recently concluded Bombay municipal elections, the people, realizing the injustice of this Congress - NCP government gave them a huge thumbs down, vanquishing them and electing their opponents.

The victory for the Shiv Sena BJP came despite the fact that they have performed poorly in providing and maintaining civic infrastructure and they tend to play communal politics. But the people of Bombay realising the huge crime of the Congress NCP went for the lesser devil.

It is this Democracy that makes India the "superpower" that it is. Not an economic or a military superpower, but a superpower of individual right and voice.