Sunday, 7 October 2007

Mousetrap - 121

Go ahead, take the food from my table
This is a scary site. For me, that is. Because it could cost me a lot of site design work. For you, however, it’s good news. Especially if you’re the type who goes cross-eyed when someone mentions things like DNS settings or FTP. First, it’s ridiculously simple to use: click, drag, drop, you’re done. I created a basic site layout in about 3 minutes without a moment of uncertainty. Aside from the basic templates, customisable layout elements and pictures, there are simple tools to bring in content from other providers (like Google Maps, Flickr, YouTube) and bung them in. There’s more. You can publish to a sub-domain on Weebly ( for free; or if you already own a domain, simply point it at your site here; or buy a domain through them. I say, Editor Sahib: you know that raise you promised me..?

Beyond the spectrum
Invisible Light
This column has a weakness for unusual artists. Among its many other obsessions, that is. Anyway, he’s a photographer, and as we all know, photography is all about using light to give you an image. Except that this happy soul likes to play with light we can’t see. He shoots photographs that use infra-red light. To fascinating effect. It can be quite illuminating (heh!) to see what his shots throw up; some look familiar, others like they were shot on an alien planet.

Home of the Ig Nobels
Improbable Research
Way back in the early days of this column—the second, to be precise—I pointed you to this site’s original home. It has, since, moved to its own domain. The site hosts a blog, has links to its creator’s magazine and newspaper articles, and so is a good read all year. Most famously, though, it is the home of the Ig Nobels, which reward some rather strange scientific research. It’s all great fun and, strange as it may sound, some of it could actually be of practical use. Most of the winners do come to receive their awards (which are presented by real Nobel laureates). Among this year’s winners (announced on Friday), the Chemistry prize was for extracting vanilla flavour from cow dung (a certain political party will love this), and the Literature winner published a study of the word “the.” The US Air Force didn’t show up, however. They won the Peace prize this year for their much-ridiculed proposal to create a “Gay Bomb.”

Some of my best friends are in HR
Evil HR Lady
The Human Resources department gets a bit more of its share of the flack in any organisation. Not that they’re blameless, mind you. It’s just that part of the job is to play the interface when there’s blame being passed around. This blogger writes about the profession with wit and candour, and answers questions as well. She operates in America, in a Fortune 500 company, according to her site info, so her advice is rooted in US labour law, and may not be applicable in this country. But she’s a good read, so go visit. And when your HR cell sends out new paperwork, casually mention the URL in their hearing.

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, 7th October, 2007.

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