March 12, 2006

Mousetrap - 44

Build Your Own Browser
Firefox Add-ons
Last year, for the first time, Internet Explorer lost market share. The reason? Firefox, the open source browser that geeks everywhere fell in love with instantly. Happily, that infection has spread even to non-techies. Anyway, to the point. Perhaps the most attractive things about Firefox are the add-ons created by the developer community. All sorts of simple, interesting ways to tweak and your browser and add functionality. At this sub-domain, you can check out what’s new, what’s hot, what’s recommended. First, of course, get Firefox (at http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/). You won’t regret it.

Verse for Commuters
Poems on the Underground
Twenty years ago, three poets talked the Underground (London’s commuter railway) into an act of beauty. The Underground, like public transport in most cities, carries ads. When those ad spaces are blank, said the poets, let’s use the space to carry poetry. That year, poems, some classic some contemporary, began to appear inside trains. Commuters loved it. It was so successful, the selected verses were published in a book (now in its tenth edition), and the idea has been replicated in other metropolitan transport systems. This site lets you sample those poems. Enjoy. Psst: Anyone have the CR, WR and BEST PRO’s email addresses? I tried contacting them years ago to push this idea, but I suspect my letters never got to their desks. Think about it: would you rather be perusing every last word of a Coaching Classes ad on your way to work? Imagine, instead, Ghalib, Faiz, Ramanujan, Tagore, Kolatkar or Moraes for company...

Knowing your AS from your EBLO
Financial Glossary Wiki
Financial jargon and acronyms confuse you? But you still need to know the words? This wiki (like all wikis, a collaboration open to anyone to edit - though you’ll need to create a log-in ID), will help you translate. Everything from AAA (a rating for bonds) to Zero Coupon Yield Curve (which shows the yield from, yeah, zero coupon bonds). AS? It’s a Czech or Slovak company title, like Udyog. EBLO, well we made that up to confuse you. And it makes for a better title, nay?

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This week’s blog

(Not-so-) Silent Scream
Blank Noise Project
Road-side Romeos. Eve-teasing. Quaint, boys-will-be-boys, even rakish terms. If you’re a man, that is. But ask a women about the kind of things that happen to them on the streets; about the pinching, the grabbing, the groping... and worse. Your macho toes would curl. The project ran a “blogathon” on Women’s Day, requesting posts from around the blogosphere on street harassment. See the entry for March 6th for the links. Women in any urban space will find much to relate to there. Men? Even if you see this as a problem, chances are you haven’t a clue how bad it is, so go read. If you’re one of those who is the problem, go read anyway. Maybe it will change you. Or maybe, when you see all that anger simmering, you’ll wet your pants in fear.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

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

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