Quick Review of Recent Reads # 1

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After my last book review, I thought of grouping my book reviews into a separate head. This will reduce the scattering of information, as I get some extra bit of time to read many books at present. To start with recent reads I will chronologically list in the order which I have read and add a small bit of Review and my Rating to it.
Book 1:
"Fermats Enigma" by Simon Singh was the book acted as an impetus to continue my reading habit which was in quite bad shape in the last six months of 2007. My reading was in abrupt halt with some scanty reads. This book was in my wish list for long after I read Simon singh's The Code Book during my sophomore days. I accidentally came across this book in a nearby book shop, did not want to leave it and snatched it immediately. This book is a must read if you love maths and logic. I have added logic as most of the mathematicians where great logicians and vice-verse. This captures the story of how mathematicians over centuries struggled to prove one of the greatest riddle of maths. It starts with the riddler Pierre De Fermat and moves gradually across all the greatest mathematicians the world has ever seen till the year of Andrew Wiles who solved the last theorem of Fermat after struggling for eight years in isolation. I had a great learning in this book on how inquisitive the minds of every mathematicians had been, especially I loved the logician Bertrand Russels Paradoxes.
My Rating : 4/5

Book 2:
"I Too had a Dream" biography of Dr. Verghese Kurien is one of the very few biographies I have read. I rarely read biographies, because I felt they are just blowing their own trumpet. But after reading this book I had to change my mind as there was a great learning for me in various aspects of a persons life. I never knew what a Co-operative means, and what went behind the Great Operation Flood which has made India self-sustained with milk and diary products. I was asked a question recently in one of the interview to differentiate Labour Union and Milk Unions. I was so clear with my answer because the concepts were so clear from this biography. The story of Anand Milk Union Limited (AMUL) also made me understand what AAVIN means to farmers in our state of Tamil Nadu.
My Rating : 3/5

Book 3:
"The Pregnant King" by Devdutt Patnaik started to have a break with non-fictions, but turned out to be a thin line of fiction added to the Great Epic Mahabharata. Since this is the first fiction work by the author, it was vivid in his plot. I must say there was no plot actually in this book as most of the story included branches of mahabaratha which I have been reading since my childhood, so it was not quite enthralling. But I could learn some valid justification of some traditions of those ages like Niyoga, Anuloma etc which has been puzzling me a lot when ever I narrate Mahabaratha story to any one Whenever I narrate how the Pandavas where born, people who are listening will start questioning about chastity and sanctity of those days. This book could help to some extent. From this book I was able to add some of the missing branch stories in my inventory like "The story of Iravana", "The story behind Arjuna's masquerade as a women" and "Story behind Shikandi". Overall I cannot say this is a must read for all, if you are interested in Mahabaratha this would be a small addition to you and an interesting read to certain extent.
My Rating : 2/5

At last! Relieved from Haloscan

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Haloscan is a site that offers free commenting and trackback services for blogs. One of the feature which Blogger does not offer is Trackbacks. This tempted me in switching to some other commenting sites. So when I encountered Haloscan I did not even think for a moment and switched to Haloscan commenting. The problem is that to switch to Haloscan commenting, you need to download the existing template of your blogger. This has to be uploaded to Haloscan account and the template will be altered and given a new template. This new template I uploaded without even storing a backup six months back. Now if I switch to any new template all my valuable scripts embedded in the code which I have used in it for analytics and other purpose will be gone for ever.
But since them too many problems I have with the commenting system of Haloscan, though no trackbacks I have ever received for which I switched. Nowadays most of the people don’t bother to give trackback pings; instead they just post a comment with the link of their post. The main problems you will face are,
  1. It reduces the load time of the pages as the comment details are taken from a different site
  2. The Comment page also takes a considerable time
  3. No option of automatic restriction of anonymous comments
  4. No profile image shown in bloggers with each comments are far better than Haloscan’s
  5. Ad’s of Haloscan that cribs in the comment page.
Since then I have been struggling to change the code to remove the Haloscan commenting and switch that to blogger comments which has improved a lot after the beta. But since the template was in XML I used to make mistakes every time and end up with an XML which was incomplete tags.
So Today I forced myself to complete this task and finally I have converted the commenting system back to Blogger’s. For those who are having similar problem you need to follow these steps.
  1. Take a backup of your template
  2. Then you need to look for the following parts in the template
<!-- start haloscan (part 1) -->
<script src='http://www.haloscan.com/load/ username type='text/javascript'> </script>
<span class='post-comment-link'>
<a class='comment-link' expr:href='&quot;http://www.haloscan.com/comments/ username /&quot; + data:post.id + &quot;/&quot;' expr:onclick='&quot;HaloScan(&quot; + &quot;\&quot;&quot;+ data:post.id + &quot;\&quot;&quot; + &quot;);return false;&quot;'>
<script type='text/javascript'>postCount(&#39;<data:post.id/>&#39;);</script>
<a class='comment-link' expr:href='&quot;http://www.haloscan.com/tb/ username /&quot; + data:post.id + &quot;/&quot;' expr:onclick='&quot;HaloScanTB(&quot; + &quot;\&quot;&quot;+ data:post.id + &quot;\&quot;&quot; + &quot;);return false;&quot;'>
<script type='text/javascript'>postCountTB(&#39;<data:post.id/>&#39;);</script>
<!-- end haloscan -->
-- Same as above Part1, Part 2 also will be embedded in the XML.
<!-- start haloscan (part 3) -->
<a class='feed-link' href='http://www.haloscan.com/members/rss.php?user=username target='_blank'>Comment Feed (RSS)</a>
<!-- end haloscan -->
  1. Now the above tags has to be removed
  2. Now the hilarious task is to insert blogger commenting. In the place of Part 1 & Part 2 of Haloscan code the following code is replaced
<a class='comment-link' expr:href='data:post.addCommentUrl' expr:onclick='data:post.addCommentOnclick'><b:if cond='data:post.numComments == 1'>1 <data:top.commentLabel/><b:else/><data:post.numComments/> <data:top.commentLabelPlural/></b:if></a>
  1. For Part 3 the following code must be replaced.
<a class='feed-link' expr:href='data:f.url' expr:type='data:f.mimeType' target='_blank'><data:f.name/> (<data:f.feedType/>)</a>
  1. Now still you will face a problem that comments will not come for individual posts page. To fix that you need to add the following code just above the line where you have replace Part 2. Since that code is long you can get the patch here.
  2. Alas! You landed back to your home land of blogger commenting. You would have lost all the old comments of Haloscan , that you can compensate with the Haloscan widget which you can see in the side bar of this blog.
Hope the above steps would help you in removing the irritating Haloscan commenting.

Came out of the Cover

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"Under Cover Economist by Tim Harford”. This is the latest addition to my book shelf. Probably after my reading taste shifted from Fiction to Non-Fictions, this is the only book which I have taken about a month and half to complete. This long duration is because I enjoyed each and every line of his revelation about the World Economy.
This book is a real eye opener for me. Every profligate youth must read this book and understand the value of money. I found this book more relevant for every person working in the IT industry. May be this book will create the same kind of thought for people from any industry, because the content discussed is universal truth.
This introduced me to a lot of new Economic concepts for the first time.  

The cases he has discussed about Starbucks Coffee Chains, Amazon.com etc all were jelled so intricately that it re-instantiated the concepts so clearly to me. This is a must read for every youth who spend lavishly. This book could be a turning moment in your life also it may lead you to shun Pizza Huts, Mc-Donalds and CCDs (Café Coffee Day) like me.

Verbs for Modern Internet Verbosity - Retronyms

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With the advent of web 2.0 technology websites - social networking, tagging, blogging new verbs are introduced in English every day.Here a statement goes like
"I have a blog, this blog, which you probably found by googling me. I blogged about Orkut (which I'm on but don't use often). I don't IM, and I'm impossibly lax about friending people."
In the above statement :
1. Blogged-Wrote a post like this
2. Googling - Searching
3. IM - Instant Messenger /Chat
Have become the new Internet verbs you can use to show your too smart with Internet. That's why I have said its a way to be verbose about Internet. You need not ask some " Do you use Orkut ?" - Instead just ask -" Are you in orkut". Orkut is a place to be for social networking rather than a tool.
These things you can call as the adaptability of the English language to engulf new words as the world changes. The word commenting is now more prevalent as commentating because of Cricket. Same way technology pushes a lot of new words into the English language. Let us take some examples.
1. Digital Camera
2. Skimmed Milk
3. Digital Watch
In the above list one common thing that connects them all is called as "Retronyms". The advent of a digital camera forced us to create a new word in English called as Film Camera, the advent of Skimmed milk , digital watches forced us to introduce Whole milk and Analog watch into the English language. There are retronyms introduced every day into the ever growing English language. Now Internet is pushing its boundaries into the language with lot of new verbs. So we need to update ourselves with the new introductions every other day, like Podcast or cybersquatting. To keep track of the new introductions you can always refer the oxford university press' Word of the Month.