Sunday, 17 February 2008

Mousetrap - 136

Who’s the most beautiful of them all?
The Mirror Project
Verily I say unto thee, it takes all kinds. I mean, yeah, there are photo sites. And yeah, there are sites that are devoted to narcissism. But a site devoted to pictures taken of the photographers, taken off reflectove surfaces? Who’da thunk? But let’s be fair. These are not just the kind of shots we’ve all taken—y’know, aim at mirror, pretend like you’re not posing—though there are many of those. Some of these are truly imaginative, unusual and very well composed. You could browse by theme and go away happy. But hit the ‘random’ button, or, better, take a look at the link titled ‘galleries’ for user-selected mini-selections. Reflections on reflections, I could have said, but I decided not to be a smart arse today.

Per cent
The Miniature Earth Project
One simple method to simplify complex things dealing with large numbers of things or people is to state them in percentages. And this site takes that to the extreme, looking at the earth and humanity, breaking everything down into a ‘if there were only 100 people on earth’ scenario and puts them together into a short animation you can view online or download. The points the film makes are about poverty and imbalance, and, since 12 of those 100 own a computer and just three have an internet connection, it’s clear who it aims to talk to.

You’ve heard of the Hunger site, I’ll wager, or been sent there. This is an Indian copy. This column doesn’t think kindly of rip-offs that do nothing but clothe themselves in the tri-colour and proclaim that they are novel. But in this case, despite its lack of originality and the exaggerated claims (‘India's first online activism site’), its intentions are good. A click to help feed the hungry in exchange for viewing a sponsor ad; that can’t be a bad thing. Though I must point out that my clicks didn’t throw up any ads. So perhaps the site is dead or lacking sponsorship..

The news in your pocket
A clean, simple site with no frills. I rubbed my eyes. It felt like the mid-nineties! But nay, this isn’t a retro site. It’s an internet portal for mobile phones, with an India focus. I couldn’t give it a real test, seeing as I’m a poor freelance hack with a decrepit cellphone (see how cleverly we work in our semi-annual whine to Editorji?) that makes calls and sends SMSes and freezes every two days, but on a computer, it loaded like lightning, even on my slow connection (see, Respected Editor? no fat-pipe broadband). The navigation is ultra-simple, the content seems pretty decent: bite-sized news, some utilities, listings and guides, with a Bombay focus. Worth a click through. Erm. Beep through? Whatever it is you do with those gizmos I can’t afford. (Your Editorness?)

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Published in the Times of India, Mumbai edition, 17th February, 2008.

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