Monday, 4 September 2006

Mousetrap - 69

Online Etymology Dictionary
Etymology, the study of the history and derivation of words, is fascinating. And has many surprises in store as you dig around this excellent, well-written and -researched site. At the very least, you’ll have lots of fodder for small talk. “Camera,” for example, is worth the look up—and then you’ll find out why it sounds so much like the Hindi “kamara.” Or you could figure out the relationship between my first name and the Hindi “pathar,” both of which also share meanings and Indo-European roots. Actually, just look up “the.” Or “mean.” Much fun. Oh, did you know “radical” is closely related to “having roots?” Go. Goof off. (And yes, they’re related too.) Enjoy. Speaking of which, did you know... Never mind.

20 Year Usenet Timeline
In the days before the web and networked communities as we know now them, there was an online community called Usenet. Its members observed and commented on many of the developments we take for granted today. In 2001, Google made twenty years of Usenet archives available through its Google Groups service. At over 800 million messages, they claim it is “the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account.”. That it most certainly is. And this page lists links to some memorable posts and threads, including the first mention of emoticons :)

Navel gazing
India’s bloggers are planning a national meet for the first time. Based on the BarCamp “unconference” model (basic principle: there is no audience; everyone participates), the two-day camp in Chennai next weekend will feature informal chats, debates, presentations and demos by bloggers, about blogging and things related to it. Can’t make it to Chennai? Not to worry. There are plans for live text, audio and video feeds, aside from, of course, live blogging and reports on blogs.

the four Word film review
Do I really need to explain this site? Naah. I’ll just say that my opinion of most films is usually one word. Any guesses?

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, 4th September, 2006.

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