Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shopping Cart Software

Ashop Commerce is an ecommerce software that can be used by webmasters to integrate their online transaction stores with a shopping cart. It is based in the US, and provides hosted shopping cart software. Ashop's shopping cart software is an award winning software, and many American online merchants manage their businesses through this one shopping software.

The website has prominent links which you can follow to try out a demo with an online store, or check out the features of the shopping cart software, and also view the pricing plans and choose as per the need of the online store owner. The software is flexible as one can manage it easily, customize the design, update content, accept credit cards, etc. Ashop's software is now regarded as America's most intuitive software. The home page provides a list of six reasons why you should chose Ashop's software, and they are very compelling indeed. It is also very search engine friendly.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Highway to hell

At last I managed to pester my dad to allow me to drive the car on the highway on the way back from Vellore today. It was a few kilometers past Rathnagiri and I took hold of the wheel, and depressed the accelerator and roared down the road, and was nearly doing eighty in the third gear. Dad screamed at me to stop and drive more slowly, and I accelerated slower. Then he gained confidence in me and let me progress up to a 100 kmph. He kept up with a running commentary which was a little irritating, but then one can't have the best of everything. It was just short of Sriperumbudur when he took over from me again.

Please always wear seat-belts while travelling in a car if it is available. People just don't know how useful it is.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Boat Angel

Boat Angel is an organisation that works towards providing charity to those who need it in a very unique way. What you have to do is to donate boat. Yes. Donate your boat. It can be in any condition, and they make a serious effort towards picking it up without any hassles to you. They are serious about their charity work, and know that charitable people in this world are few and far in between and so they no enough to treat them with respect. Angel Ministries tries to change the world through innovative partnerships and vehicle processing. It works really simple. All you have to do is to call their toll free number or fill out a form online. They make out a receipt and send it to you via email, and also send a disposable camera so that you can snap pictures of your boat and send it back to them. Then they list it at and if your boat does not sell within six to eight business days, they pay to have your boat stored! You even get to chose the charity you wish to be served by the proceeds from the sale of your boat. They also have created a set of Children's Animation DVDS that they distribute absolutely free of charge, shipping included. So, if you wake up at night with an impulse thinking, "I must donate my boat, I really am not a good sailor", you know where to look.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I found this today

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's wrong?

Having completed three and a half years of study at my college, I have come to my own conclusions about where we go wrong. It's always been a great place to study in, and it will always be a great place to study in, but there are a few essential points where my college went wrong when they began, and a few points where the affiliating university itself went wrong.

I read somewhere (I think it was in the Hindu Education Plus) that our model of affiliation is based on the affiliation system that was adopted by universities in the UK in the 1880s, and abandoned three years later. However, why we insist on following that model even now, remains to be seen.

My college has a no capitation fee policy. They are very strict about this, they absolutely do NOT charge anyone any extra fees regardless of whether they came in through the single window system or by separate application, they have huge boards proclaiming this policy on the campus, have it running on marquees on websites and stuff. Now such a policy is great if you are a parent wanting to admit your child to a "reputed" engineering college and do not want to end up paying through your nose. Therefore, this policy would have been a great attraction to people whose kids did not have too good marks, but needed to get into an engineering college, when the college was started, some thirteen years ago. However, what they did not realize is the consequent cash loss they'd have to incur.

Since they do not charge capitation fees, they cannot boast of the funds that some other engineering colleges can boast of. This lack of funds results in lower salaries to members of the staff compared to other colleges, and especially in departments like computer science, where the man power fight is against software companies, and colleges, frankly are no match against their lures. Now, to bring about the quality education that engineering colleges boast about in their advertising material, there must be an incentive for people who are knowledgeable in required fields to come and teach. Money is the bet incentive, and in not getting capitation fees and making extra money, my college loses out on gaining that edge. And so, "for greater good" colleges should make accepting capitation fees part of their admission criteria. Of course, it shouldn't be exorbitant, and this is where the government could step in set up a regulatory mechanism.

I would now like to dwell on the affiliation system of our beloved university. All though I am no economics/current affairs/whatever expert, I can tell you for sure that it was globalisation of the Indian economy that has led to the current situation of more than 250 engineering colleges in a single state in the country. When India opened her economy to the world in the 1990s, more and more foreign players realized India's worth as a nation with huge human resources, and many foreign corporations decided to let this huge mass of humanity do their dirty work, leading to the phenomenon we all have come to call outsourcing. Now Indian labour was cheap, skillful, and Indians as a rule spoke better English than did their neighbours the Chinese, which too was a huge manpower reservoir. This lead to a huge demand for technically trained staff to actually sit and do the work. Faced with the problem of losing out on foreign investment to other countries, we hit upon a simple solution. Open a large number of institutions that offer technical training.

Now that you've allowed a quadrillion different engineering colleges to spring up like mushrooms, how do you keep control of all of them, and how do you preserve some semblance of sanity? You bring all those colleges under the control of one university. Now where universities all over the world were autonomous, and worked independently towards achieving their aims, here we had 250 replicas of the same system, each churning out a prescribed amount of graduates every year. Once you have managed to bring about a system where 250 different colleges are pitted against each other, each starts to vie with the other for the cream of the student community, and each college tries to achieve better results, and gain better ranks over and above their counterparts. Once results become primary in importance, out goes other factors such as student life. Students are once again forced to mug up and write exams, with no emphasis whatsoever on the actual learning process. The education system now becomes a knowledge based system, where it is desperately imperative that it be inquiry based. Students are not encouraged to indulge in co-curricular or extra-curricular activities because such activities are perceived by college managements to be a diversion from studies. That education comprises co-curricular and extra-curricular activities too seems to be lost on them. To make students study even better, college managements narrow-mindedly choose to impose a variety of other rules that allegedly free the student mind from distractions. These include unreasonable rules like restricting attire to formals, banning the use of mobile phones, disallowing motor-bikes on campus, not allowing students to go out during class hours, and a whole lot of other quixotic rules.

They have done all that with the sole aim of improving student results, but has it really improved? Are the engineers that are turned out really competent? Are they employable? Sadly that leaves much to be desired. Creative human beings cannot be fostered by stamping out their individuality.

This is the state of affairs that has come about from the primary trigger of globalisation. Globalisation of course has its positive effects, but here I have restricted my scope of discussion to the state of engineering colleges in India. It however is my personal opinion that this is only the first wave, and that things will be a lot better in subsequent waves, which maybe in the 2010s and the 2020s. In the second wave people will collectively come to realize the follies of the preceding wave, and things will turn out to be much better than it is now. (Pardon me if I have started sounding a bit like Hari Seldon)

I have addressed (ranted about on) as many issues as I could think of for now. If I do come up with a lot of concurrent ideas/opinions on any of the issues discussed above, which I will, I shall follow them up on another post. To summarize, this is what in my opinion needs to be done.
* Allow colleges to collect capitation fees. They do need the money for development.
* Get rid of the affiliation system. It has too many responsibilities and has become an unwieldy empire.
* Grade students not on their performance in exams, but on their performance in class rooms. Let the course instructor decide.
* Ensure you have quality course instructors in the first place.
* Realize that you cannot bring about a change for the positive by implementing authoritarian rules.

All this has already been said in a lot literature. I just felt the need to post them and thats what I've done. There are a few opinions that are my personal ones. I am also not sure of most of the facts that I've mentioned. Errors are of course not regretted, because I don't give a damn.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ashop Commerce

Have you ever seen an online shopping cart? Chances are, you have. If not, just take a look at any online shop and you are bound to find a piece of software that lets you add items you bought to a virtual shopping cart, keep count of your expenditure, lets you remove items, and might even remember the contents of your shopping cart over multiple log in sessions.

Ashop Commerce is one such service that lets you as a webmaster provide a shopping cart feature for your store. Their software is intuitive, easy to use, and has won many awards. They provide the shopping cart feature for thousands of webmasters around the globe, regardless of whether they are professionals, or part timers. Ashop's service is said to be very secure. Ashop Shopping Cart Software accepts payments from many credit cards and also have full integration with third party processors such as paypal.

Their home page provides a list of six options why one should choose Ashop. Check that out. It's cool!

Monday, December 10, 2007


College is going to become infinitely hilarious. Given recent incidents.

I'm gonna love it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Fortnightly News

The Fortnightly news is back once again! In up-keeping our age old tradition of putting out an issue once every six months, we present you with the latest news and happenings of the past fortnight in a concise digest.

November 16

Macrohard wins award

Multinational company Macrohard receives an award for the best shop floor practices in following the Japanese philosophy of the 5S, namely Stupidity, Soporificity, Serendipity, Somnambulism, and Psoriasis. (The last one doesn't start with S, but that's OK. How many of the three Rs of Education actually start with R anyway?)

November 20

Stock Markets Crash

Stock Markets around the world crashed because all of them ran Cascading Style Sheets with the parameter background-repeat: "no-repeat", reminiscent of the Y2K fiasco. Of course this had nothing to with the stock markets actually crashing, but this served as an appropriate scape goat. The crash was extensively covered on all news channels, which actually helped the stock markets recover as everyone lapped up the now cheap stock prices. The real reason for the crash was suspected to be the Tamil Nadu Agricultural board's light green text on a dark green background, but such evidence is only circumstantial, and was dismissed by news channels in favour of yet another wardrobe malfunction of some skinny anorexic super-model.

November 23

Riots in Engineering Colleges.

Riots broke out in Engineering colleges with students demanding that French be introduced as a compulsory subject after reading one Mr. Ali Bahrami expound on how one should speak English for business, German for Engineering, Persian for poetry, and French for seduction. Of course, why they didn't ask for German is anyone's guess. A small faction also demanded that Seduction be included in the 5S philosophy, but no one listened to a demand as outrageous as that. The rioters indulged in the usual disobedient activities of turning up in Jeans pants and fasting between break-fast and lunch.

November 27

Eminent academicians arrested

Eminent academicians Butterworth, Chebychev, and a few others were arrested on charges of conducting an orgy on the streets of the Vatican. Butterworth had this to say to our reporters as he was bundled into the police-car, "The input to the Radix-2 Decimation In Time Fast-Fourier Transform is an 8-Point sequence in Bit-Reversed Order". This was when the charges were amended to "Drunken Orgy".

November 30

Mozart Remembered

Yesteryear's musician of note, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was honoured by displaying one of his most famous sayings in hoardings and billboards worldwide at the stroke of midnight: Hear ye, hear ye, ze fundamental key to masthery over ze grand piano zis thu remember zat ze keys C# and Db are ze zame. Rumours abound that he might have had a hand in the drunken orgy of two days before.

December 4

History reveals itself at last

A surprising new insight into the life of the great Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was gained when archaeologists unearthed his personal diary. An extract:

It is raining outside. Having nothing to do, I invented an ingenious new technique of hiding important secret romantic messages to Cleopatra from the prying eyes of my courtiers. It involves writing down the letters horizontally first. Then all you have to do is to write them back vertically, thereby making it impossible to decipher!

This is an extract from Brutus' diary:

Its raining outside. That eternal fool Caesar thinks he can fool me by writing his letters to Cleopatra vertically rather than horizontally.

A few days later:

Its raining outside. Today, when I went and showed Caesar that I'd managed to decipher all of his messages to that female, all he could manage was a pseudo-grandiloquent "Et tu Brute" before clutching his heart and dying.

A few days later:

Its raining outside. Damn it. That Cleopatra bitch turned out to be a lame-fuck after all!

Thank you for turning into this edition of the fortnightly news. Stay tuned till the next edition. Bye, and take care.