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Opera Mini and Opera Mobile

In Blogroll on July 11, 2010 by sheki Tagged: , , ,

I wondered for long what is the difference between Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. I have been using Opera Mini on my Nokia E52 for two years now. Finally I installed Opera Mobile on my phone. Opera Mobile is written specifically for Symbian and Windows mobile platforms, (surprisingly not yet available on Android) . Opera Mini is available on all most all phones. So my assumption is Mini is written in Java where as Mobile is built using specific platform APIs. Opera Mobile seems to be faster and utilize all my phone features like T9 dictionary which is not available on the Opera Mini. Opera Mobile also seems to have a better rendering engine than the Mini. Searching a bit more I found that Opera Mini uses a proxy in the middle to reduce the processing on the client phone and may be a bit faster than Opera Mobile.

There is a nice blog here explaining the differences here.

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Language Imperialism

In Blogroll on June 10, 2010 by sheki Tagged: , , , , ,

Recently I was reading No Full Stops in India by Mark Tully, he discusses a lot about Cultural Imperialism of the British which continued in India in various forms like IAS, English medium schools and disrespect for Indian art and culture. He vehemently argues that education in India should be in the native language and not in English. Adopting English as a medium of communication has only led to stunted growth of Indian languages. His arguments do strike a bell, he gives an example – yoga which lost its importance in India post independence has grown back into the cities once it was adopted by the west. But does cultural imperialism and which is largely dependent on the language still hold significance today.

But these arguments made sense back in 1989 when the book was written. But a lot of world changing processes have shaped the world since primarily – the Indian liberalization,  collapse of communism, rise of China. It can be inferred from these events that capitalism has emerged victorious and all aspects of life will be defined by free market rules in some form. What I am interested is how culture in specific language is being effected by this victory of capitalism.

One would see signs of this in India itself, after the world has been Bangalored, the BPO and IT industry which has spearheaded India’s economic revolution was based on the advantage that India had English speaking labor force. No one now debates weather we need to have English as a part of our education, it is an assumed wanted given our place in the global economy. To cope up with this challenge from India, China is training people in English at a frenetic rate.

I have generated this small map to have a look at this so called Language Imperialism:

Language based world map

The region in Blue are the English speaking nations of the world. You can make the rest out by the help of basic geography – there is Japan, China, India, the Portuguese speaking Portugal and Brazil, Mexico and the Euro zone countries Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

The language wise GDP of the world is as follows (calculated according to IMF 2009 report)

Language or Country GPD in thousand million USD
English speaking countries excluding India 17555
Japan 5068
China 4908
German speaking countries Germany and Austria 3733
French Speaking Areas 2675
Italy 2188
Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal) 1801
Spain 1464
India 1235
Russia 1229
Mexico 875
Korea 832

Now if we see that English is the market leader, the best bet to challenge this dominating position would be Japanese and German. Now these countries have for long have had a economy which has preserved their language and in turn developed the languages. China cannot be considered a market challenger because language in China itself is segmented, different regions speaking different languages and also because China is trying to copy the US, it is teaching its labor English, it is more of a follower.

India is a specific case as it definitely does not have one single language to challenge this position, Hindi came close to being the one if not for weakness shown by the Nehru government and the subsequent Dravidian movement of Tamil Nadu and India has the largest English speaking populace out of the native English speaking countries, therefore  India is not a challenger at all, it is almost a convert.

Now there are other language based economies, none of  them pose a serious threat.

Coming to the main point of this blog, because of the dominance in free markets of the English language, more and more economies will adopt English and English will become the global language apart from these there will be a lot of convert nations – a lot of them in Africa and Latin America, which will neglect their own language (also culture) and adopt English. We can see signs of this with the larger number of people learning English in most of the third world countries. English music is becoming popular again thanks to the market reasons, technology which is the biggest export of the English speaking world is making English more popular and acceptable.

A lot of the technical terms are English and have no word for it in the importing country. “Internet” and “Computer” are a few such terms. Rapid usage of English in India has stunted the growth of other languages in India – the word “internet” cannot be written as it is pronounced in Hindi but still it is adopted into Hindi than having a new word for it. The area “Lower Parel” in Bombay is Lower Parel written in Hindi, why cant there be a term for it in Hindi may be like  “Nichla Parel”. This might not be the case only in India, there a lot of  countries which will be converted in the future and then we will have a lot of “Zombie languages” –  languages in which small talk can be made but it becomes inadequate as the technicality and complexity of the subject increases. I would consider a lot of regional Indian languages in that category, they either have to borrow from Hindi or English to fulfill their deficiencies.

The safer languages are the ones with the challengers, Japanese and German, the languages with lower GDP will go first. Ultimately in the free market of the world I believe even Japanese and German will give up.

This seems to be great proposition for English as it will be borrowing a lot from the languages it tends to wipe out, and in the way becoming the truly global language.

So the conclusion can be capitalism causes imperialism in many indirect ways.

Please comment.

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites India

In Blogroll on March 2, 2010 by sheki Tagged: , , , , , ,

India has around 28 UNESCO world heritage sites .

Visiting all of them is one of the things I want to do in my life. [check the few things I want to do in this list].

Here is a map of all the heritage sites: [map]

The following are the spots I have already visited and below are the ones I have to visit.

Visited:

Not Visited

I realize five is a very small number and I have to increase my travelling rate.

Post away how many you guys have visited.

A few links:

Wikipedia What is a world heritage site?

PS: Just changed it after my visit to Ajanta and Ellora

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Observing Kerala

In Blogroll on January 21, 2010 by sheki Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

On a recent road trip to Kerala, particularly the north Malabar region, I observed a few traits of the gods own country.

  • It is very difficult to get vegetarian food anywhere. Lot of the people consider chicken to be vegetarian and Beef non vegetarian, even the Hindus do not seem to have an issue with beef.
  • During December January you will find a lot of people clad in black dhotis, it is the annual Sabrimala festival and lot of them head to Sabrimala and Kerala and they stop in a lot of tourist places en-route.
  • The water is always pink in colour and hot at all places
  • Every one tells distances in meters, if you ask some one for directions instead of the usual go ahead a bit and take a left, they will say go 100m ahead and take a left. This was weird at first but a lot helpful once you get a hang of it
  • You can manage with tamil if you do not know Malayalam
  • You get alcohol in government shops and there are a very few of them. Bars are fewer in number too compared to Karnataka. But Beer is very cheap a bottle of Kingfisher costing only Rs 50.
  • Kerala Parota and apam are awesome and not to be missed

Find the route map for the trip here

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Mumbai Taxi Trick

In Blogroll on December 4, 2009 by sheki Tagged:

With a lot of people traveling to Mumbai off late for Mood-i, this I thought would be a good time to write about how the taxi drivers trick you.

As soon as you get into the taxi, the taxi driver asks you if you have change for Rs 1000. If you give him two 500 Rs. notes, and in one glance he changes them for two 100 Rs notes. and starts quarreling with you that you gave only two-hundered’s for his 1000 Rs note. For a new comer to Bombay and some with some lack of confidence usually ends up paying the additional 800 bucks. Now the way to fend off this is to fight off with the taxi driver till what ever limits he goes to and create a fuss and call more people. Be ready to even call the cops.

But prevention is always better than cure so in a Mumbai taxi never pay anything until you reach your destination.

A set of Sardarji taxi drivers who operate around Dadar are the most dangerous of the lot. Also a point to note is all the area south of Dadar is only served by taxis and not autos. So if you get down at Victoria Terminus (or Bombay Central ) or at Dadar then you would have to take a taxi and hence be extra careful.

I had this experience yesterday  at the Dadar station and hence I thought I would blog it to update others.

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Dell Pain

In Blogroll on August 13, 2009 by sheki Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

I ordered my new DELL studio laptop ( a monster machine) through the Dell India website. After completing  the payment I got a delivery date of a week later. But on the day of the Delivery the Dell website changed the status to “”Please contact customer care”. On calling the customer care, I was given the customary we will get back in 24 hours answer. This continued for 3 days. Finally I called my sales representative at Dell and threatened him, he said my laptop was stuck at customs.

Meanwhile the customer care daily gave me the answer that they have delivered the laptop to Blue dart the carriers, and there is some problem at their side. They also told that they have sent an escalated request to Blue dart. They gave me this answer for at least a week. By this time, the stipulated delivery time of 2 weeks was over.

My sales representative also stopped picking up my calls at that point. Only after a lot of begging and threatening the Customer Care was my laptop delivered after 15 working days.

This was a very painful experience, after paying for the laptop I had to wrestle the call centre and the Dell bureaucracy to get my laptop delivered. To cover up Dell gave some arbitrary reasons that my pin code was wrong where as I had provided the correct pin – code.

Pathetic service from Dell.