Sunday, 29 October 2006

Mousetrap - 76

A beginners’ guide
If you’re one of the three people in this country who don’t grok Bollywood, here’s where you can find your crib sheets. This site aims to make our films “accessible to fans everywhere! — er, well, as long as you speak English.” Originally it offered plot synopses, glossaries, transliterated and translated lyrics; now the site has expanded to include bios, gossip, filmographies, recommendations. And it does it all with a nice mix of fun and genuine affection for its subject. A great way to get yourself up to speed on the national obsession. If you want to, that is.

Yer Granny could do it
Grandma’s Tales & Hip Hop Grandmom
Bloggers, so the cliché goes, are immature, maladjusted, geeky young men whining at the world. That may be true of some parts of the ’sphere, sure, but it’s by no means the rule. At any rate, these two ladies are about as far from that stereotype as one could get. Both teachers, they live in different corners of the country, and far from being socially inept, both project an immense sense of joi de vivre. And just in case you’re beginning to think they’re twins or something, no, they’re very distinct personalities. Go visit the ladies. They’re helping make blogging respectable for the rest of us.

Web Pioneers on the Wayback Machine
This paper has written about the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine before so I’ll only remind you that it is “an ongoing archive of the web” that gives you snapshots of sites as they once existed. This special collection points you to the archives of the sites that pretty much defined the web at the very beginning, before the dot com boom and bust: Yahoo!, the Trojan Room Coffee Machine (the first ever webcam), the NCSA, IMDB, Amazon (the first major e-tailer), NASA, WELL, even the White House. ( commenced work in ’96 , so you’ll only get ten-year-old snapshots.)

The 50 Worst Video Game Names Of All Time
Self-explanatory, that title, no? I’ll just give you my favourites from the list. There’s Spanky's Quest. (The protagonist is a monkey. Get it? No? Never mind.) And Boobie Kids. And Sticky Balls. Really. Go see. [Link courtesy Ashwan Lewis.]

You’ve got book
Books by email? A chapter at a time? Not as strange as it sounds. As the site explains, many of us who find ourselves with little or no reading time spend hours a day reading email (or, if you’re like me, generally reading online all day). So the site offers you books mailed to you in bite-sized segments that should take you around five minutes to read. If you find yourself with a little more time on a given day, simply mail in for the next bit to be sent immediately, rather than the next day. All books currently available are public domain, so while you’re not going to get the latest bestsellers, you will get quite a few classics. [Link courtesy Chandrachoodan Gopalakrishnan.]

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, 29th October, 2006.

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