March 25, 2007

Mousetrap - 95

Found in translation
Zamzar
Web browsers and HTML, the computer world’s equivalent of Pidgin English, serve up stuff to us that most computers can read. But, like Pidgin, they have their limitations when it comes to communicating more complex thoughts than the yes-no-bathroom variety. Which is why we will continue to need specialised file formats. But there are so many of them out there (txt, pdf, rtf, doc, odp.. and those are just the more common text formats; it gets much more complex when you get into multimedia stuff), and in this hyperconnected world, we’re always sending each other stuff. Most high-end programs have conversion utilities. But what if you’re on someone else’s computer, or in a cybercafe and you need to do some conversions? This site will do the trick for you. Upload a file (or enter a URL), and you get instant conversion, right there.

All in the family
Geni
We’re big on family ties in this country. So most of you should enjoy this one. It lets you set up a family tree with a simple, elegant interface, and then, if the family members you bung in have email addresses, you can invite them in too, to do their share of the work. You can choose to add in more profile info, both for yourself and others. Pretty soon, as the connections, filial and marital, add up, you have a comprehensive family tree, and you’re probably going to find connections you never knew existed. Of course, this means that all the relatives must obligingly do their thing, but it is quite addictive (and as I said, simple), so you can be pretty sure of that. The tree you generate is only visible to the people you invite, as is your profile (which I actually think should not be the case; I’d like to invite a few trusted pals to look at mine, for instance), so go right ahead and create your own.

Value addition
The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary
A perfect site for those of you who have to deal with jargon-addicted management-wallas every day. Simple definitions that will have you nodding knowledgeably when the chap in the ghastly tie runs something up a flagpole to see who salutes. (Yes. Really.) Just promise me you won’t use them yourself, hm?

Write me a letter
Literary Stamps
A very single-minded blog, this. The title says it all: this is about postage stamps that pay tribute to literary figures. A lovely collection from all over the world. And there’s this too: when did you last see a postage stamp?

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, 25th March, 2007.

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