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The World according to Nautiyal

Thursday, February 25, 2016

6:21PM - Gludo: Current Project


Saturday, August 5, 2006

2:44PM - Would personalized news interest you?

I started doing an India news aggregator at http://www.newscola.com and sent it out to a few friends.

Everyone came back with some request for categorization. I think the real need is for personalization. What do you guys feel about the relative importance of the two for you? Is "personalized news" with zero-input on your part (apart from reading specific news items), something that you have been looking for?

I know reddit is doing this with collaborative filtering, but I want to take a shot at analyzing the content for it - so let me know if this interests you.

2:36PM - Got a call

Caller: Sir, I am calling from I see my sea eye Bank.
Me: OK.
Caller: Would you be interested in a personal loan?
Me: No.
Caller: Any reference?
Me: I said No.
Caller: What company you work for?
Me: *Slams phone* *Slams head*

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

1:13AM - O Lame Picks

Korup Tweener was president of the IOC, and in addition, a worried man. This would have surprised anyone who had been keeping up with the news.

As Korup had planned, LaserFriedEyes had jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the 20/20 Timbuktu Olympics. He negotiated a handsome 3% royalty of future eye-correction-procedures done by LFE in return. LFE had been sold on the 20/20 sponsorship plan - he chuckled to think they had not SEEN it themselves. LFE went on to suggest the slash in the year and a respelling of the Olympics to LympidOptics but Korup had firmly resisted. He might be slightly venial, accepting a slash here and a cut there, but he was a man of ideals. The specific ideal here was that 3% was diddly squat for a full-blown renaming. He suggested 10%, but that would have a big cut and LFE, only believed in small, carefully controlled cuts.

He should have been singing this morning, but something was amiss. Count on the bloody athletes to mess up a supremely exquisite deal. If only he could have had sports without those silly sportsmen.

Every venture of his life brought him to a similar conclusion.

He had built a hotel, which took reservations over every possible communication channel. It took them over the phone, email, grapevine and carrier pigeon. He even built a site on the totallymeganet, which had replaced the dysfunctional retro curiosity called the internet.

The hotel was a gleaming hunk of smooth granite carved out of a single rock, dazzling with diamond chandeliers and fountains of wine. Korup’s office had a private indoor beach, with its own sun. He used it for surfing, beach-side drink-swilling, and arousing jealousy in his fifth grade classmates. Fifth-grade had been the last year the educational system had endured him before sobbing quietly in a corner and shooting itself in the head. The hotel had six practice racetracks for his chauffeurs, twenty frolicking areas for his masseuses, a nine-level garage and a five-dimensional hall for private parties. The hotel had been booked up for twenty years before construction. The only thing the hotel had lacked was rooms.

The irritatingly demanding customers had whined and complained and shouted. When even that failed to get any action, they shot at him. It was enough to put a hardworking businessmen off his fourth drink. If only his customers just paid up instead of wanting to stay in the rooms, the hotel would have been an outstanding success.

After that, he wrote a book on his teenage adventures as an amateur mac-and-cheese and PB&J sandwich chef. He applied the adjective "amateur" later, for which he qualified only on the basis of having been fired from every restaurant he worked at before the first payday.

The book was advertised heavily and received tons of acclaim from those critics whose children had been recently kidnapped. They agreed unanimously that it was "an awesome top-quality book, Nobel material. Also Oscar and knighthood material, a thrill-packed fantastic page-turner actually. Really, believe us. Buy the book. Please! For Bobby." It had not sold a single copy. The huge pile of printed copies had threatened to collapse and petrify under its own weight into a new mountain range.

He got around the problem by mugging people into buying the book. All over the world, people reported being held up by burly men with guns who thrust copies of "A tale of two pastes and pasta: pastimes of my past" in their bags despite all their pleas and cries for mercy. The muggers then demanded $13.75 and returned precise change when presented with $20 bills, before running away in embarrassment and pining in street corners for their previous honorable, if low-paying, careers in noose quality assurance, pet psychiatry and sewage stirring.

"People are the problem," he summarized to himself. Customers, readers and sportsmen - all people, damn them. He brought himself back to the present.

2020 had broken a record. Every single one of the medalists (including those in rhythmic solitaire and synchronized tech support) had tested positive for banned substances. Partly, it was because so many substances had been banned in recent years. Before the Olympics, there had been a flurry of news reports about new drugs and there had been talk of adding them to the list of banned substances.

Damn drugs! There were the classical ones to increase muscle mass, reduce fat content and weight. There were now drugs to smooth the skin and make all hair fall for that aerodynamic body. There was a drug that made a swimmer shoot out his sweat in jets all over his body instead of passively leaking it. There was a drug that increased typing speed, so athletes could write all their emails faster and concentrate on reaching peak form. Every single one had been banned.

Actually, Korup had no problem with the drugs. He just had a problem with people making noises about the issue and upsetting him just when he was starting to enjoy his job, the perks and the bribery.

Korup had defeated Pers Ist Enbagar in the elections and that rankled. Today, Pers was waving a report stating that the cost of testing was more than the cost of the Olympics. The committee reacted to this bombshell with outraged snores. Someone in the press-box poked them with the telescopic lenses of their zoom cameras. Once the committee had digested the information and their lunches, they went to dinner. Just before leaving, they also decided that rather than testing, all three medalists would simply be declared positive on the evidence of their victories and the medals would be handed to the next three athletes.

The 2024 Olympics, were quite painful to watch. In every race, the contestants rushed to the finish line and stopped ten feet away. They then spent hours jostling and pushing the other contestants. Once three had been tossed across, there would be a mad sprint to get to the fourth to sixth places. This ridiculous situation was adversely affecting the dignity of sports and more importantly, television ratings and advertising revenues.

By 2028, there was a lot of athletic espionage to try to figure out the top few competitors in each race and the best strategies to end up fourth. Athletics became more about poker and the other person's psychology than about simply running fast. This was a welcome diversion to everyone but the purists, who are not worth listening to anyway.

Hysterically successful movies were made about this new genre. They involved a character who said, "My name is Pawn. Games Pawn," followed by elaborate explanations about being born of a mutually embarrassing union between the Goddess of Sports and one of the sixteen minor Gods of Chess. The movies consisted of weak puns and silly villains who explained all their plans before failing.

Several game theorists were able to get a job helping with the spying and they arrived at the final solution. In every event, three light and obscure competitors were allowed to waltz through the heats into the finals along with three former shot-putters. When the event began, the shot-putters threw the three flyweights across the finish line. The rest of the competition proceeded as in the good old days.

After a few races, the shot-putters went on strike. Their jobs were then outsourced to comic-book heroes because they could get themselves across the finish line first themselves. It made perfect sense that they should win everything and also that they should be disqualified for being superheroes.

Their PR folks realized the opportunity to advertise on the yards of their clothing. Even Tarzan succumbed to peer pressure and switched to trousers. He successively added a shirt, a cape, a mask and public humiliation when his chimpanzee Cheetah blasted him on Jay Leno for being a sell-out.

Around 2032, someone suggested that the IOC remove the ridiculous ban and let the athletes compete on a combination of hard work and research rather than on the mere genetic accident of athletic talent. This sounded compelling to the drowsy IOC members between their dreams of power, pelf and pineapples. Guest speakers from sneaker companies, sports banks, and cereal bar makers helped them overcome slight flaws in the argument by explaining how this was in line with the spirit of the CorpOlympic motto, "Just do outsourced IT, CitiUSA, Altius, Fortified-with-vitamins".

A motion was passed when the committee regathered after the bathroom break - since Altius reminded people of mountaineering, which had no connection to the modern Olympics, and there was no one offering a trillion dollars to keep it, it was dropped from the motto.

The committee members retired to their lives of public luxury with the satisfaction of a job done, whether well or not. And everyone lived happily ever from that day because they could safely take all the Prozac they wanted without having to worry about anything at all.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

11:46PM - Who's getting your goat? Flame the Jerk!

Something sticking in your craw?

Something annoying your eyeteeth out?

Something irritates you and you want to spout off with a swearword or a long flaming missive. I think the common prevalence of that situation was the entire basis for the creation, adoption and success of the USENET, of email, of satirical novels, of cartooning and, lately, of blogging.

So why not combine all those flames, insults and rants you have been bottling up in your gut and your subconsciousness into a Public FIR for the world to smile at and shake its head in agreement! Check out this friend's site and send me suggestions. Or of course you could put an FIR at the site itself with your suggestions.

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