July 02, 2006

Mousetrap - 60

Instant web page
shortText.com
Create your own page here by just typing stuff in and saving it. You can keep it private, which means you get a pass code, and the service doesn’t list it, or make it searchable. You get a unique address, which you can then pass on freely. Your page stays online as long as it is accessed at least once a year, so can be as “disposable” as you want it to be. What use is this? See their FAQs for suggestions. Here’s a quick page I created for the readers of this column as a demo: http://www.shorttext.com/yjsr4

Make a date
indiavents
Despite the name, this isn’t a place for all you citizens of this great republic to go let off steam. It’s a free social events calendar. Register with an email ID, and you’re free to set up pages that announce your own events. You can then invite people to your events by sending them a link. They can view your event without logging in, but will need to register to RSVP. It’s a newish service which hasn’t picked up steam yet, so it’s unlikely many people you know will be registered. The service itself isn’t unique (for instance, it comes bundled within several very popular networking sites), so I’m not sure if it will take off.

Verse-us
QuickMuse
Poets are generally held to be gentle souls, abhorring conflict and suchlike. Perish the thought. I could tell you about... Never mind, let’s talk about this site. QuickMuse as an idea isn’t all that unusual: it pits poets against each other one on one, gives them a cue and a time limit, and lets them loose to write. Technology steps in here. You can “watch” the process, tracking the poet’s pauses, their erasures and editing, the speed (or lack of it) with which they put down a line or a word. And no, you don’t have to be online at the precise moment the poet is. The archives let you see not just the finished poems but also the “recordings” of the writing process. And no, you won’t be subjected to random outpourings from netizens with nothing better to do. A select list of highly-regarded poets have featured thus far, among them, Robert Pinsky, the US Poet Laureate.

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 / Outlook Traveller, Mumbai edition, 2nd Juky, 2006.

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