Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Human Intelligence or Dumb Aggregation

Well, I've been looking all along for my perfect news source. I tried TOI's website, decided against it because of all the sleaze and modeling ads (Neelima, 20, Delhi, Mamta, 18, Mumbai. Reminds me of another category of websites I visited... I mean my friends visited back in College..). Next I moved my main news source to ibnlive. CNN-IBN I thought would be a reliable source since CNN is quite good at reporting (atleast I think so, I'm not sure if my American friends agree), but CNN-IBN turned out to be a disaster. Firstly, they were highly biased during the elections and was too sensationalist. Never once did they try to really report on facts and real issues. Timesnow was a definite no-no because their chief editor is an self-righteous, opinionated ass who couldn't understand what good journalism was if it kicked him in the head! Overall, here are the problems I had with the mainstream news sources:
  • They tracked too few stories. They always had only 6-8 stories and kept getting reactions, opinions, SMS polls and controversies around these same stories. I liked reading my newspapers because they were a good mix of different stories. I still get TOI at home, but that's mainly because my wife likes their dirt the best!
  • Absolutely everything is Breaking news. Leander Paes comes back to India; Rahul Gandhi itches nose; Dhoni didn't smile at Sehwag; Aliens are stealing our cattle and amazingly yesterday "An English poodle gets stuck in a drainpipe in the UK"! Need I say more.
  • There were more opinions expressed than facts reported. Overall, I began to get very confused as to what was really said by people and what these 'eminent' editors in chief interpreted. Everyone from Nitish Kumar to A.R. Rahman is misquoted and blown out of proportion. Barkha Dutt, someone I had a tremendous amount of respect for at one point has turned into a tabloid journalist! She's now trying to grow controversy where there is none. (Might I add that she's still miles better than that other editor-in-chief I mentioned above) Whatever happened to "Just the facts"! Nothing more. Nothing less
  • There is a very prominent bias amongst these TV channels, reporting some news repeatedly and shutting out others completely.The Teesta Seetalvad fabrication as reported in the Judicial Inquiry report. Why hide such a thing? Nobody reported it when Pramod Muthalik apologized for the Mangalore incident - I heard some logic that that would have made him look more benign in the public eyes! Frankly, that's insulting my intelligence. I want to know all the facts. I'll make my own decisions, thank you very much!
That's why I settled on my latest news source. Dumb Aggregation rather than Human 'Editorial' Intelligence picking out what I should hear. Google News Zindabad! Now I get varied news (Keep clicking 'More' and you keep getting more unique stories) aggregated from different sources (including some I mention above). So nobody can prefilter my news. It's highly unlikely that absolutely no sources of google report on a newsworthy item. Plus gives me newer sources that I've never heard off before! And what's the best? I have no intrusive ads!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


So I've really gotten into microblogging on twitter. I realize that there's a lot of stuff that can be said in 140 characters that can't be easily done in 150! My handle is @sujeetpillai and I promise you my tweets aren't just "going to work", "good night" and "good morning".

So got some Edge on my Windows mobile S710 and tried out this client called Twikini. Tried out other clients first but all of them were too minimalistic or too slow for my liking. Twikini is cool, gives u just the amount of freedom you need to interact with twitter. You can follow new users,
unfollow old ones (that's for the celebs, when you've had enough of "going to the gym", "in the makeup chair", etc.) and what I love about it is its twitpic integration.

How many times have you seen something funny, infuriating, strange or outright scary and thought, let's take a pic and email it to our friends. But the pic remains on your phone and that email never goes out.. Twikini with it's twitpic integration is just the right thing for that. Take the photograph on your phone, from within Twikini and it automatically uploads it to Twitpic and posts the link in your tweet! It's awesome.. Try it out yourself if you have a WM phone. Here's the link to download it:

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Arrrrrrrgh! Get off our cricket team's backs

You english media dimwits - You made a total mockery of election debates, we bore it. You made the 26/11 attack seem to be a bloody soap opera, we bore it. But if you think for one second that you will use your imbecilic reality show sensationalist attitudes against the Indian Cricket Team and we'll stand by and listen, you have another think coming. Take a look at this article.
Not that I'm against the reporting a rift in the cricket team, but the self-righteous, 'we-believe-our-mole-more-than-MSD-and-the-Indian-Cricket-team' tone that has been used in this and other articles about this silly rift (if there even is one) in the team makes (to use a cliche) my blood boil.
For the first time since I've been born, we have a winning cricket team who's confident. For the first time we're favourites in a World Cup and our english media is acting as if they've been paid by the Rest of the World to break our team's morale and spirit.
I don't wish to make any comparisons to former captains, but I believe MSD's modesty and down to earth attitude will make him one of the greatest captains that Indian Cricket has ever had before he's ready to retire. Hence, I understand and totally support his behaviour yesterday. The english media somehow believe that everyone is answerable to whatever nonsense they serve and somehow they are beyond all reproach. Note the line below brimming contempt when Gary Kirsten gave them some criticism:
He even chose the occasion to preach the virtues and
needs of responsible reporting
Additionally they keep plugging the term "Indian People" in every sentence as if they actually believe that they are the collective consciousness of the population of India. Utter nonsense. The last line is the one that takes the cake:

And they want the media to believe that.

My response to that: I don't f@^&ing care what you believe or don't believe. Just leave our team the F&#* alone. We believe that they know how to manage and play their game better than you guys know how to do your own f#*@ing jobs! Or else!! I'll start watching India TV (Kya aapko pata hai ki aliens aapke gaay bhains chura rahe hai?)