Tuesday, April 19, 2005

the best browser?

I will not agree with anyone who say Firefox is the best browser available now. The credit actually goes to the European browser called Opera. It was the first to bring tabbed browsing, superb security features, and many more that are available as plugins in firefox. They say that only OpenSource software will be the quickest to adapt to any security holes found. Even that is not true. Now, when even firefox users are vulnerable to phishing now, and the open source community is yet to come up with patches for it, Opera has gone ahead and incorporated measures against phishing in it. All said and done, Opera may be the best browser. However, it is not the most convenient one. That's why I switched to firefox from Opera. Yeah!

Doing what I like?

Finally, I did something which I like doing - designing web pages. There is this person here who lives far away from the city that he can come in late and leave early. We all have to depend on him to do the designing stuff for us. Another trouble with him is that if I give a work to him, I have to stay with him all day and tell him what to do - no delegation, as my boss found out to his shock.We are doing a monthly e-letter sort of thing for the top management (which will gain us some publicity :D) and we had fixed a date with that guy to do our stuff. Since it was going to be just HTML and CSS, I offered to do the job myself. Now, my dependency on him is reduced and I have my own webserver on my machine.

I remember what happened with another person in the same team. He is a web designer, but calls himself a 'techie'! There was this requirement for me to dynamically create charts and graphs from data taken from a CSV file. When I joined this company, I was told that I could ask anyone for help and if they had time, they will help me. I could have done everything with servlets, but I haven't coded in 3 years. So, I ask this guy who was free for a few days to help me. He refused saying all work for him has to come through his boss. Fair enough, that seems reasonable. But, after listening to me explaining for about 30 minutes what I want, he asked me 'why I want to do it?' and gave me a 'suggestion' - put it in excel, create graphs, save it as a web page. When I said it is too much work for too little stuff and also the pictures will take up a lot of bandwidth, he gave me a few more 'suggestions' - open every graph and 'optimise' it by hand, he started telling me how to do it. With about 25 (estimated) graphs, that itself would take up a better part of my day. Then I asked a busy software developer to help me with it and he promised me he would as it would be a learning experience for him. He forgot about it, that's a different story.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Gub-Bar Girls

In the last few weeks, every un-important issues like water problems, crime, poverty etc has been pushed back for the discussion of something very important to the 1.3 billion people of India - the banning of 'dance bars' in Mumbai and Maharashtra state. While millions of children are going to bed hungry everyday and thousands of girl-children are killed or XX combo foetuses are aborted everyday, the 'livelihood' of a bunch of women working as almost-strip dancers in certain places and serving alcoholic drinks are being threatened. If they are not allowed to continue what they are doing, they won't be able to send around Rs. 20 000 every month back home - that is about 1/2 - 3/4ths of their tax free earnings per month. They say that they are not 'prostitutes' but they sure do act like one. Most of the top people here have visited these places atleast once in the last one year and they were 'utterly repulsed' by them.

Even the bar-girls themselves tell stories of how they drink only the costliest fruit punch at Haji Ali juice centre and take some home and how 'morons' shower them with money (their own words). I don't think they get this money for just dancing. Now, human rights activists have struggled to get them free legal advice (at the expense of the honest taxpayer), and are protesting the decision of the income-tax department to recover back taxes for the as yet untaxed Rs. 25000 per month they earned, not to mention the hundreds of thousands they netted their 'bars'. In comparision, I earn much less than what they earn per month and I pay a hefty 30% tax (deducted at source) on my hard earned money. My father earns less that I do and still pays 30% tax on it. Also, I have to pay myself for whatever I eat or drink - whether at Haji Ali juice centre or the corner lemonade stand.

As I struggle to find a place to live in this city, where I can get drinking water that is not polluted, and can walk where I won't get run over by a rich movie star or a politician's son in a fast car, or can go to a park where I can breathe some cleaner air for atleast sometime, and don't have to worry about getting mugged or murdered, or being harassed by eunuchs or prostitutes, or don't have to worry about falling to my death from a crowded local train, the 'Honourable' Members of Parliament from Mumbai fight for the rights of these poor little working girls.