Sunday, 12 February 2006

Mousetrap - 40

Shoot the Messenger
How many internet messenger services do you use? And, more important, do the sysadmin types at your office block them all? If yes, and if your social life has been suffering as a result, this nifty little service could get you right back to old times, IM-ing away the hours that your silly company expects you to be filling with *shudder* work. Meebo lets you connect to MSN, Yahoo! and AOL’s messengers, as well as ICQ, Gtalk and Jabber. All in one browser window. That’s right, browser window. No need for separate downloads of all those services. It works pretty much like the real thing, with a few raw edges. No IRC connectivity though (if you’re saying “what’s IRC?” never mind), unlike my favourite app for this kind of stuff, Trillian, which is a pretty damn good download if you want a stand-alone prog. Also, the free version of Trillian doesn’t connect to Gtalk.

Sticky with it
If, like me, and many people that I know, you have several blogs, plus RSS feeds for picture services you subscribe to and other stuff like that, you have a slight problem when you want to point people to your blog / album / whatever. This service lets you painlessly merge all your feeds to display on one web page (with links to the original, so that those so inclined can trot over and see it in situ, as it were). You can also customise the look of your Superglu page, and add on some bells and whistles. Only just signed on, so haven’t spotted a downside I can warn you of. Let me know if you come up with something. [Gra├žias, Carlos Albuquerque.]

Make my day, pink
If there was an opening for a Scrooge-type character for this Festival they’d elect me. But hey, we have a column to write. Right then. You’ve ensnared the significant other – or think you stand a pretty good chance. And if you, young man, want to stay in contention, you’d better get yourself some insurance. Like a good St. Valentine’s Day gift. And this site has lots of ideas for you. It will even help you say them three magic words in around a hundred languages. And for the rest of you, yes, there are gift ideas for those not trying to get into each other’s pants. Bah, humbug.


This week’s blog

Nine-day wonder
The Kala Ghoda Gazette
If you haven’t been able to get to South Bombay for the Times of India Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2006 (last day today! put down this paper and go!) this blog will help you catch up. A group of city bloggers wander the festival, chronicling their impressions for posterity and the city. It is an interesting effort in another way as well: It is financed by the Literature and Writing section of the Festival, as an experiment in new media, so the blog team actually gets paid to blog. [Disclosure: Caferati, my writers’ group, is hosting this experiment, and I’m one of the bloggers.]

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 12th February, 2006.

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