Feedback loops among other things

LinuxForYou have a post on the iLUG-BOM archives which is kind of strange and incomplete. Especially, This month we have chosen the topic: What would make a Windows user pick up a Linux magazine?. Kind of spooky to ask a LUG mailing list about why a Windows user might pick up a Linux magazine. Is LFY trying to do some very basic marketing research through the LUG and passing on the burden to the mailing lists ? Or is it a serious attempt by the magazine to change itself ? For what it is worth, the magazine has been going through a steady yoyo in quality of content. Save and except for the fact that it contains adverstisement from a large number of Indian businesses doing FLOSS/Linux, the pages are strangely bereft of content which proves that folks have written them after working on the various applications/OS. The advertisement bit is interesting since a base level researcher can make out the rising number of folks who are getting applications around the OS out in the market. And without passing any adverse comment on the scalability or the QA of the applications, the trend is fascinating if only the robustness of the applications were guaranteed.

The content quality of the magazine is what distresses me. Instead of improving through the issues, there is a distinct lack of editorial control on the tone and tenor of the magazine as well the layout. With an intermittent sprinkling of articles from various other magazines, the lack of control becomes jarring for an easy read. And someone ought to take a better look at the New Horizons Linux FAQ column. Pathetic would be a too gently word for it.

“Why you white people have so much cargo, and we New Guineans have so little?”

Picked up a copy of Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond and started reading yesterday. Before we begin however, here is the official site for the book/documentary and a link to the Danny Yee review. Have not read through it all but it is a fascinating read. A kind of book you pick up and then realise that it would be pretty hard to put it down. I had to since I was tired enough to doze off in the middle of the night with the book on my lap. Popular Science if well written is fascinating (example D Sobel’s books) and this one takes the breath away through the sheer expanse it attempts to cover. Arguing that the disparity in development of civilisations might have more to do with the ecologies in whose context they were nurtured, Jared takes you on a nice tour of various societies to provide ample evidence of the fact.

Before anyone developed agriculture, people lived as hunter-gatherers, as some still do. Diamond argues that Eurasian Civilization is not so much a product of ingenuity, but of opportunity. That is, civilization is not created out of sheer will or intelligence, but is more like a house of cards, each level dependent upon the levels below it. Specifically, the key to civilization is agriculture. The keys to agriculture are domesticable plant and animal species for food and work. The demands for domesticability of an animal species are particularly stringent. Diamond identifies six criteria including the animal being sufficiently docile, gregarious, willing to breed in captivity and having a social dominance hierarchy. Though not stated explicitly, his theories are similar to that of cultural ecology.

Fire one day, Rain the next

Ok..on the 14th of June 2006 a wee bit of trouble errupted at the office. The office next to ours caught fire due to some work being done at the lounge bar downstairs – here are the pictures. Since the office was closed due to outage, we (me and ramkrsna) had a good part of the day to kill and went around shopping. Went to Food World and purchased all the necessary items for daily living and then in a rush of excitement (and since an idle brain is you-know-who’s workbench), decided to catch Mission Impossible 3. Without even trying to tell you the story, the copy-paste from the site makes it out as: Tom Cruise, the most exciting and successful star in the world, returns to one of his signature roles, Secret Agent Ethan Hunt, in “Mission: Impossible III.” In this pulse-racing, mind-bending action thriller, Hunt confronts the toughest villain he’s ever faced – Owen Davian (Academy Award® winner Philip Seymour Hoffman), an international weapons and information provider with no remorse and no conscience.

The film is co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams, who brings his unique blend of action, character, comedy, and drama to the franchise. The millions of loyal viewers of Abrams’s landmark creations, the television series “Lost” and “Alias,” know what to expect: an enthralling, intricate story with an unexpected and arresting payoff that satisfies on every level.

With “M:i:III,” Abrams and Cruise turn the spy thriller on its ear as they hark back to the best aspects of the original TV series that inspired the films – a well-connected team of agents centered around a bold and heroic leader, the most exciting action stunts imaginable, and elaborate twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. “M:i:III” is the action movie audiences have been waiting for. Heed my words – go for it if you have absolutely nothing to do (or you/your beloved is a Tom Cruise fan). The movie is more like a string of Action Cuts from AXN. And the move to make Ethan Hunt appear old and bold and still with juice by making him run (and run and run…) in Gump-style stiff backed posture is as old as the hills. Too many loose ends. The only saving grace – very well placed but not in your face branding.

Just like that

Your Birthdate: October 6

You tend to be a the rock in relationships – people depend on you.
Thoughtful and caring, you often put others needs first.
You aren’t content to help those you know… you want to give to the world.
An idealist, you strive for positive change and dream about how much better things could be.

Your strength: Your intuition

Your weakness: You put yourself last

Your power color: Rose

Your power symbol: Cloud

Your power month: June