Sunday, 18 November 2007

Mousetrap - 126

Below the belt
Panties For Peace
I’m late with this one—it’s been on my list for a while, but, erm, I forgot—so let’s cut to the chase. Y’all know what’s been happening across the border in Myanmar, right? (That’s the country that used to be Burma. Everyone renames these days.) Monks getting beaten up and killed, the military junta quelling rallies and all that? Well, this activist group has this rather novel form of protest. They want you to mail your scanties to that country’s foreign missions across the globe (a list is helpfully provided). Why? Apparently “the generals ruling Myanmar are superstitious and they believe that touching panties or the traditional women’s outfit sarong will eliminate their powers.” Now, folks, any ideas on what we can send Narendra Modi? And the CPM chaps in Kolkata?

Direction finder
Free Mind
Having trouble coping with all the information you have to deal with? The projects, the ideas, the plans, the sheer masses of data? Not surprising, in this information overload age. But, worry not. What you need is a “mind map.” No, not the “Here be dragons” and the large censored bits. That’s my mind. These are the type that management mavens and suchlike recommend you use; effectively a filing system for ideas. Thing is, they can get rather large and clunky. What this piece of free-to-download software helps you do is create one of those nifty li’l things and run it off your computer. Lots of neat little things like drag ’n’ drop, clickable web links and more. Go on then, free your mind.

Picturise this
Fiickr Toys
A few weeks ago, this column suggested you look at a site that gave you helped you generate Demotivators—parodies of motivational posters. This site helps you generate your own, or, if you like, straight motivational posters too, using your own pictures and text. But there’s a lot more: you can make kosher-looking magazine covers, LOLcats picture, CD or DVD covers, movie posters, photos in the style of a Warhol or a Hockney, and lots more. As the name indicates, there are quite a few generators designed especially for users of the photo sharing service, Flickr, but there’s enough there for just anyone to have a ball with.

Except for the few with genuine talent, most of us practically have to pay people to look at our photographs. And with digital photography getting cheaper every day, every one and his chacha are clicking away happily. And now, you can take bring your friends to a whole new level. You can tell little stories with a series of pictures, add captions and speech bubbles, and hey presto, instant custom comic strip. This is nothing you couldn’t do before, of course, provided, that is that you had good photo-editing software and knew how to use it. The difference hear is you really don’t need to know a thing about photo editing. Be afraid, world. Be very afraid.

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, 18th November 2008.

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