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Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

C & H

Posted by Kunal on January 8, 2006

A pearl from the greatest comic strip ever:

And while we are on Calvin & Hobbes, take a look at this post by Dilbert creator Scott Adams in which he disects the humour in C & H.

The core of humor is what I call the 2-of-6 rule. In order for something to be funny, you need at least two of the following elements:

Cute (as in kids and animals)

Naughty

Bizarre

Clever

Recognizable (You’ve been there)

Cruel

I invented this rule, but you can check for yourself that whenever something is funny it follows the rule. And when something isn’t, it doesn’t. One of the reasons comics are such a popular form of humor is that they often get the cute part automatically. Calvin and Hobbes is widely considered the best comic ever, but the few times it featured the parents doing the main action, it fell flat. Whenever it combined Calvin and Hobbes (both exceedingly cute), with some witty dialog (clever), a dangerous wagon ride (cruel), Calvin acting like a typical kid (recognizable), and thinking about adult philosophy (bizarre) it fired on 5-of-6 humor elements, which is virtually unheard of.

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Feed me

Posted by Kunal on November 26, 2005

For the last many months, I have been following blogs using feed readers/aggregators. It is a very convenient way to read blogs especially if you are following a large number of blogs. Since I am a compulsive downloader, I must have tried atleast a dozen feed readers till now. Sadly, most of them don’t fit my needs.

When the company which can-do-no-evil created its own feed reader aka Google Reader, I thought that as usual it would be yet another competition thrashing product from the stables of Google. Yes, it does have snazzy UI, but its still half-baked IMHO. The problem with most feed readers is that they expect the users to read feeds in the same way as we read emails. The traditional two-paned view in which one pane has the headlines/titles and the other pane had the text body served well for emails, but I don’t like it for feeds. Feeddemon, which is by far the best feed reader I have used, uses something in addition to the two-pane view called as ‘newspaper view’. It is the best way to view blogs IMHO. The newspaper view diplays a feed like a page in a newspaper. The new and unread posts of the feed are concatenated together and displayed as one page. This not only minimizes efforts required by the user in terms on mouse-clicks, but it also makes it possible to briefly glance at all the new posts of the feed without actually reading them.

The problem is that very few feed readers have this feature. Of the ones which I have tried, I only found this feature in Bloglines, Feeddemon, aKregator (the feed reader for KDE) and Newzcrawler. Bloglines is probably the best feed reader of all, but for a dialup user like moi, offline reading isn’t possible using Bloglines so I don’t use it. aKregator is the only feed reader on Linux (from the ones I have tested, and believe me I have tried many) which supports newspaper style. I am just a recent convert to Kontact (the KDE Personal Information Manager which includes aKregator, KMail and other lot of other jazz that I don’t use), and its quite good. Much better than Thunderbird.

Incase you haven’t subscribed to this blog’s feed and if you wish to subscribe :), here is the URL:

https://zaphod.wordpress.com/feed/

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I’m Bach

Posted by Kunal on November 20, 2005

Rejoice ye all since I am back and this time hopefully for a longer duration. For those who tuned in late, let me fill the story for you. My not-so active blogging career was thwarted by the idiot who runs used to run http://www.clearphp.com. One fine day, after getting fed up with people misusing the website and being unable to stop the miscreants, the site was closed down forever. Sad end for my blog’s previous home. A free subdomain with lots of bandwidth, it was too good to be true. sigh!

After having used WordPress on kunal.clearphp.com, I was reluctant to go back to blogger. So, the wait. Finally, Kunal S. offered me an invitation to open a blog at wordpress.com and all was fine once again.
Back to infrequent posting then!

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