Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami Help Wiki

They have setup a wiki for the Tsnuami help effort. A wiki is a website where any visitor of the website can change its contents (with or without registering). You end up having millions of editors and lots of content. Their blog is getting messy with the content. Changing to the wiki was a good choice. I had used a wiki when I played a MMRPG (short form for massively multiplayer role playing game) called "Tale in the desert". It worked out perfectly for the gamers for sharing information (apart from the official gaming site). Tsunami bloggers, hope the wiki works out for you. They must give you guys a some kind of international award for your effort. I vote!

Tsunami Help Bloggers

The bloggers at are doing a great job in the disaster recovery co-ordination. BBC has taken notice in this article.

Good job guys...You are making a difference.

Finally legal

After six years of waiting, we finally got our green card approvals today. We are permanent residents of the United States. It is a happy day!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Boy Wonders

At times you hear about them on TV, and they amaze you with their intellect. Here are two of such kids that I admire and respect, one of whom has sadly passed away.

Mattie Stepanek: 13 year old Poet and peacemaker, Mattie wrote poems about peace and hope. His poems got published in a book called "Heartsongs". I admire him for his strength and will to live the life to its fullest. I watched his interviews by Larry King with awe. He could talk about so many things. But he still was regular kid who liked Disney Land and traveling. Sadly, he passed away on the morning of June 22, 2004. He had so much potential.

Here is one of his poems.

For our World
By Mattie J.T. Stepanek

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

September 12, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek

Gregory Smith: Gregory is a 15 year old second year graduate at University of Virginia, a PhD in Mathematics. He started the International Youth Advocates. He says,

"You see, I have a vision. At a time when people are insecure about the future when hatred turns against the innocent. wouldn't it restore hope if children took it upon themselves to help other children. children bridging cultural, political and religious divides coming together in peace, speaking with one voice for freedom and justice and working for a future without fear and suffering. Children who have not learned to hate. Children who feel a connection with their world. Children who can define the ideal world where all have opportunity and then believe that it can happen. For the sake of all of us, we must make this happen. - Greg Smith"

Roshan's effort

I saw 14 year old Roshan on TV talking to CNN this morning. He has started a website to collect donations to help Srilankan Tsunami victims. An effort by a young boy is worth mentioning. Here is his site,


You can contact him at (240)694-8889. If you live in Maryland, you can drop donations at,

14539 Cutstone Way
Silver Spring, Maryland, 20905

Checks can be mailed in favor of "HELP SRILANKA - A/C # 003925531431".

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

DSL is up again

My home DSL is up again this evening. Big relief since I am off the next 4 days. I desperately need internet to get through them.

Humble Humidifier

Our kid is a month and half old now. Until recently, He had been having stuffy nose and breathing problems. On a friend's (Thanks Ravi) advise, I got home a humidifier (cold air one). His breathing has gotten better now and this stuff really works.

I recently purchased a nifty wall clock (for under $10) at Walmart that had a thermometer and a hygrometer. Now I can monitor the humidity level, turn the humidifier on/off based on it.

How earthquakes and tsunamis happen?

BBC has two must-read articles about how earthquakes and tsunamis happen,

1) How Earthquakes happen?

2) Asia earthquake explained

Home DSL is down

DSL at my home went down yesterday. I am writing this at the office. Tried all the things the ISP would normally suggest. Shutdown the computer, turn off the DSL modem and bring them up. Doesn't work.

I checked Verizon (local ISP) website for a contact number. There, I stumbled on this nifty little tool they have in the customer support section. It was called "Test my Verizon Online DSL line". You enter a telephone number and it runs a line test on your telephone number. It's pretty good and it said the result was failed.

I called up Verizon after that. The rep said this was a state-wide issue. It is getting addressed and they can give no time estimate. They think the weather had something do with it. It has been raining since yesterday.

Now I have to look out for free internet as temporary arrangement until the DSL is fixed. Hope Juno and Netzero are still around giving free internet. I previously had Bigzoo, but they are going out-of-shop from January. Do you have any suggestions for free internet (except AOL ...I hate them just for the junk CDs they send)?

Monday, December 27, 2004

Eyewitness Story

Source: BBC

Eyewitness: Panic in Patong

Thousands of people have been e-mailing the BBC News website about horrific experiences as sea surges hit their homes and holiday retreats.

Troy Husum, a 28-year-old Canadian, was on holiday in Phuket, Thailand. He spoke of the devastation as the waves hit the town of Patong and how survivors are coping.

"I felt the quake first at about 0915.

I went out on my balcony in the hotel where I was staying - it was a beautifully calm day - and talked to others on their balconies. The quake felt very slight so we thought little of it.

About 45 minutes later, I noticed that water had receded from Patong Bay. We'd never seen it before and we could hear people on the beach talking about it. You could even see fish flopping around on the beach, which was unusual.

I noticed small kids and tourists walking to where the water had receded, curious as to why the water had gone.

Then I saw it - I noticed people craning their necks and looking out on the horizon. You could see a wall of water about three or four stories high.

I felt like I was watching a movie, it was completely surreal.

It wasn't moving very quickly, it took between four and five minutes until I saw it hit and in that time slowly people started to realise what was happening.

Most disturbing was I saw people literally disappear when the water hit... people were literally swept away

People were saying 'Oh God, what is that?' I thought I was dreaming.

After a few seconds the wave hit and smashed against the beach.

It was incredible, it actually bent the trees, washed everything away - at least 1,000 beach umbrellas were swept along as all the water surged through.

There is a line of cars where people park by the beach and hundreds of bikes, I saw them all picked up like toys and moved along.

Most disturbing was I saw people literally disappear when the water hit.

I saw a lot running, but there were people snoozing on the beach, I saw small children hit. People were literally swept away.

A lot of injuries occurred from people being hit by debris from cars, from bikes.

Running for safety

I thought I should get some pictures because I was staying on the fourth floor of my hotel, but other people on the balconies said we had to get on the roof.

I grabbed my equipment and ran outside into the hall. People were screaming "Go! Go!" I ran up the stairs and saw the water coming.

It flowed up to the third floor, you could see it in the stairwell, some people were completely wet.

We watched the chaos from the roof. The water had already started to recede as we got there.

The hardest part for survivors was actually when water receded - the undercurrent sucked people back into the ocean.


The most frightening part was not the wave - it was the panic that ensued.

They are still pulling people out of the debris, one was a small Thai girl - she must have been there all night but she was still alive

There were car accidents, people were trying to escape as everyone was positive another wave was coming.

People - mainly local Thais - went up the roads to the mountain and slept up there for safety.

Within an hour I went back to the beach. I saw bodies. The rescue crews were panicking and there was not much control.

Bodies were pulled from the debris - most had clearly drowned. I also saw a number of fractures - one tourist had a very badly broken arm.

You could constantly hear helicopters - they flew up to about one kilometre out to sea to try to rescue people.

Last night most hotels allowed tourists to sleep for free in their lobbies or by the pool and there was still a lot of fear and misinformation about other waves.


This morning the cleanup started. All the foreigners are in disbelief, there are two or three feet of sand in all these devastated restaurants.

There are piles and piles of rubble deep inland - it looks like a bomb has gone off.

Some bars I went to the night before on the beach are completely gone,. All of the palm trees were flatted or removed. How is water capable of doing that?

They are carting out hundreds of cars and bikes and the streets are still covered with sand.

They really should have cordoned off the streets. There has been a little looting, some last night and today. I saw guys with televisions and computers.

There are people staggering around with injuries, I saw a girl with bandage on her head. Today there have also been sirens which have now died down.

They are still pulling people out of the debris. One was a small Thai girl - she must have been there all night but she was still alive."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

What I dislike about American TV?

The whole world is waking up to the earth quake story. BBC is as usual on the story on the internet and on TV. The American channels don't really care. No breaking news of any sort. Not CNN, CBS, NBC...I am not aware of what they are playing on CNN WORLD. What we get is the USA version. Still why wouldn't the USA version play this news? I think the sheer scale of this disaster warrants a breaking news story. I checked CNN out last night, they were playing the current news story, why some people have lost bags in US AIRWAYS. Timewarner and Adelphia (the local cable providers) are not customer-friendly. If you need to get CNN WORLD, You will have to get digital cable, get a bunch of useless channels and pay about $100/month. The basic set only costs $12/month. What will it take to get CNN WORLD in the basic set?

Is this Media playing its way or is it the people? I am going to list what CNN USA is currently playing in pacific time (whenever I get a chance).

12/25 6:15 PM: Earthquake and Tsunami strikes
12/26 7:15 AM: Inside Politics
12/26 7:35 AM: Inside Politics: Winners and Losers of 2004
12/26 8:15 AM: CNN Sunday: President heading for Texas
12/26 8:16 AM: CNN Sunday: Elections in Ukraine
12/26 8:20 AM: CNN Sunday: The Year in the news.
12/26 8:20 AM: CNN Sunday: Secret Santa.
12/26 7:00 PM: CNN USA verision is finally reporting about the earthquake and tsunami. It took them a whole 24 hours and 11000 dead people before they would actually take notice.
12/26 8:00 PM: Good God. CNN USA verison finally switched to broadcasting CNN WORLD and is covering the disaster.


12/26 7:30 AM: NBC 4 morning news did give an update of the quake. Duration of the story was 30 secs.

PS: I have toned down a lot of words I would normally use. Can CNN sue me for being a critic? I have no idea. Anyways, since I am a immigrant here, better safe than sorry. Can I say "CNN (USA Version) sucks!"?

Earthquakes in South East Asia

It looks really bad. It might take a few days before the toll of the quakes is known.

BBC: Asia reels from tides and tremors

They say this is 5th biggest earthquake of the century.

I pray for the all the affected. May God be with you.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Shivana Anand

Shivana is the sweet little girl of friends of mine, Anand and Priya. Irvine World News has written an article about her and it was published today. She deserves all the attention. She amazes me with the all the stuff she can remember. When I call them up, She picks up the phone and says "Hello...This is Shivana...How are you?". She sings well too. She is just 2 years old.

Here is a excerpt from the article,

Live & learn

Shivana Anand can count to 100 and name all 50 states. And she’s 2 years old.


Shivana Anand of Irvine knows her ABCs, just like any other toddler. She loves stickers and rivals the Energizer Bunny in energy.

But this dark-haired 2-year-old is unique.

She can count to 100 and name all 50 states, their capitals and the president. Add to that all the colors, shapes like hexagons and trapeziums, fruits, vegetables, a dozen or more animals and she can identify them.


I would like to post the pictures from the article, but I am not sure about copyright issues. Please check the link to the article instead.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

My new Digic

Got myself a 5 megapixel Canon A95 digital camera from It arrived day-before yesterday. Got a deal from a Deals2Buy link, 15% off and a $30 coupon. My other option was a Sony DSC-V1. My friend advised not to go with Sony since it uses proprietary accessories. Also, I did not like the flip-flash, right where the left hand would rest. They have corrected this in DSC-W1.

Canon got a good review from CNet. I wanted a camera that gives quality pictures, smaller is size and was not pricey.

Canon A95

I got some accessories for it.

1. Dazzle Hi-Speed Universal 8-in-1 USB Digital Media Reader/Writer (from Cool gadget. Creates a drive in Windows Explorer. You can read and write files into the CompactFlash card just like using a floppy drive. It is easier than connecting the camera directly to the computer.
2. Lexar 512MB CompactFlash Card (from Camera came with a Canon 32MB card. I still need the bigger one to store more images.
3. Panasonic BQ-830 Battery Charger (from Cotsco Store). A95 runs on AA batteries. Made sense to buy a charger and use rechargeable AAs. Canon's charger is pricey.
4. Centrios Executive Camera Bag (From Circuit City Store).

The camera was put to good use yesterday on our kid's first visit to a temple (Venkateswara Temple at Malibu). Here is a snap that was taken yesterday,

Malibu Temple Posted by Hello

When I was ready to post my pictures to the web, I found the size of the images was too big. It took like ages to upload one picture to Yahoo Album. Then I googled around to find how I can batch compress all the pictures. I found this interesting article about it. That helped me find this cool tool called EasyThumbnails. It asked for a folder that had the pictures and converted all of the pictures in it to a smaller size and put them in another folder. That's is all I asked for. And it is free.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sreenath Tips

While browsing I found Sreenath Sreenivasan's tips site. I still have to read through all the links (later in the evening). His main website is here.

Is my computer secure (enough)?

Spy wares, Viruses, Hackers, Adware, Tracking cookies....the list is endless. Don't these people have better jobs?

All the above scare me...a little tech savvy guy ;). This question always bugs me...You would like everyone to get on the internet wagon...but how does one have a pleasant experience with all the above mentioned? This one is hard to explain to my mother, who wants get on to the internet to e-mail a few words to her son, without the windows or the internet going down. She is just learning to use the computer. I want to tell her, "It's not your fault". It amazes me that she can do e-mail and Yahoo chat (w/webcam) these days (all by herself, without any external help).

Here is what I did on my home computer.

1. Non-administrative user: I created a "guest" user that I use while I am browsing. When I need to install any programs, I use the Administrator logon.

2. Firewall: I got one from ZoneAlarm. It is pretty good and it auto updates. Free for personal use.

3. Anti-virus: I would like to use McAfee. But they want a yearly subscription for the Auto updates. I used them for 1 year. And I switched to AVG. I have to do a manual update. They frequently update the virus data files. Free for personal use.

4. WinPatrol: I got this from here. This one is a little puppy on my taskbar that watches changes in my registry and browsers. Free for personal use.


5. Adaware: I run this once in a while to check for spyware. Free for personal use.

6. FireFox: I use FireFox. Internet Explorer is so widely used, spywares generally target it. I use it for another reason that I explained in a previous post.

Get Firefox!

Now let me ask you, Is my computer secure (enough)? (:confused:)

Bargain Hunting

If you live in United States and you love bargain prices, here are two sites you need to visit,


Back again

My blog title is back again to its original title (back when it started), "Ganesh Blog". Simple is good.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Title change

It was time to change my blog title. The old one was as it says "ordinary". I am not sure how long I will keep the current one. Right now it stays...naming my kid was easier than this. :)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Indian journalist bloggers

I have compiled a list of Indian journalist blogs. Please suggest if someone is not on this list.

Last updated: August 12, 2008 (Added George Koshy)

Creative Commons License
Links to Indian journalist bloggers by Ganesh Krishnamurthy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.