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Push technology on the Internet

All web applications are pull-based in nature, in effect meaning that the client (your browser) can request more data from a server, the server cannot send data voluntarily to the client.  Thus while a client can ask the server for the body of a known email, the server is unable to inform the client of any newly arrived emails unless the client specifically asks.  Hence, for data that may change without interaction from the current user (eg prices, bids, chat, email) the client must poll the server to discover any changes to the data set. Currently, this is how most of the web applications work. Comet Comet is a Ajax based technology which overcomes the push-limitation of the web by using the ability of a server to hold poll requests until either a timeout or an event occurs, so that the server can send a response at any time to communicate an event to the client. A very nice layman intro to Ajax-Push or Comet technology can be found here . For more info:

द्रुतगामिनी Railroad - Update

I wrote about an idea of a high-speed railway service for India which I christened द्रुतगामिनी Railroad . Indian Railways is now planning a small pilot in a similar direction - a bullet train connecting Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Pune [ HT reports ]. Inspired by China’s plans to develop the world’s fastest bullet train, the Indian Railways has taken the first step to construct high-speed corridors on the Pune. Mumbai-Ahmedabad route for bullet trains running at speeds between 300 km and 350 km per hour .. it could mean the 93-km Mumbal-Pune stretch could be done in 20 minutes. The fastest train on this route, Deccan Queen. presently takes 3 hours 15 minutes.  Similarly, 444 km between Miunbai and Ahmedabad could be travelled in 120 minutes. The fastest train on this route, Shatabdi Express, currently takes 6 hours 45 minutes. Even if it wasn't this blog post which sparked the fire, it makes me happy that the idea is going to be a reality. However, the only grouse is that the Indian rail

Google Chrome is the Google OS

Those who are Google Fans would have by now already installed the new Google Chrome browser. For those of you who have not, here is the link to download the installer (~450KB). [ Caveat : The installer downloads the app from the web, so you need connectivity for installing also. The app downloads about a 100MB of files during installation.] For a long time the industry has speculated about the Google OS and so many have proclaimed Google search engine and Google Adsense to be the [notional] OS of the web; rumor mills and fiery debates have been done across blogosphere - but none of these has been convincing enough. But surprizingly enough, since the release of Chrome, no one has revisted the debate - apparantly people are too precoccupied with testing the browser and revealing its privacy flaws .  I believe, Chrome is what we all have been waiting for as the Google OS . When they themselves proclaim in their introductory comic book - [ Ref : Page 4] "We are applying the same

To be free or not?

Note (Click to expand) This is an old blog post, I first wrote typed in 2005. 3 years later while cleaning my old Hard disk, I found it. Blogging was still a fairly new pursuit to me then and I was not sure if this post would be well received, hence did not post it. I know better now, that it is better to post than shove it away, so here it is. The question is not whether we will live or die - the question is whether we will be free or not - Subhash Chandra Bose I have been debating with myself whether to make this post or not for the past 15-20 days and finally decided in its favour. If it offends anyone in any way, I apologise beforehand. Think of all the activities that give you emotional or physical pleasures - love, food, sex, self-praise, anger and above all physical inactivity ( आलस ). Of course all of us would differ in the level of pleasure these activities give us, nevertheless it cannot be denied that all the above do give us pleasure to some extent. Notice the similarity

Politics of Clean Fuel - Part III

In my previous posts [ 1 ][ 2 ], I highlighted how intertwined energy business and politics (namely on oil) have become and how they are blocking the ushering of clean fuel technologies in the developed world. Shubham commented in response to Part II - ... the developing countries have the wherewithal to come up with alternate methods of energy. If something good and sustainable has to be found, it has to come from the developed world.... Since most of the cutting edge research in the world happens in the US, no progress has been made on finding alternate sources of energy in the recent past. The point he is making is exactly what I am refuting, that it is not merely about research any more ; the technology that is needed is already there (at least basic if not advanced) , the problems are more political in nature. Therefore, if say the Indian govt creates a legal and political ecosystem favourable for use of renewable energy, all the research which has been done (in India or abroad

Karat should draw a leaf out of Premchand’s story

Those of you who have grown up in the Hindi speaking states would have read Munshi Premchand ’s iconic story Panch Parmeshwar . Briefly it goes like this: Algu Chaudhary and Jumman Sheikh are two close friends in the village. One day a dispute between Jumman and his neighbours comes to be arbitrated by the village Panchayat , (village council cum judicial body) of which Algu Chaudhary is nominated as the Sarpanch (head). While everyone expects Algu to rule in favour of Jumman, with responsibility of being righteous upon him, Algu finds himself in tricky situation to see that Jumman actually is on the wrong side. Finally, Algu rules against Jumman leading to a major drift in their friendship. A few months later, Algu is similarly involved in a dispute. Realising that Jumman would be eager to take revenge, Algu’s adversary requests appointment of Jumman as the Sarpanch . However, as soon as Jumman assumes the post, he realizes the immense responsibility that the position comes with and

5 things I want to do before I die

Shubham strikes again - he has tagged me with this topic this time ... well to be frank all that I want to do in my life is still unfinished, so this list could as well run into 100s, but let me try to hand-pick the top 5: 5. Startup Needs no explanation - I try to keep innovating even in my job; but starting up my own enterprise could be an ecstatic milestone. Lot's of ideas keep coming to one, but as yet nothing has come to mind which can make me quit my cosy job. 4. Become a columnist As I have written earlier as well, writing is an old hobby with me. I grew up writing for my diary, then the school magazine, also becoming its editor, then kept writing in private, till I started on this blog. However, my childhood dream is to become a columnist in a newspaper. Perhaps, I have achieved that dream by becoming a Long Tail columnist (on this blog), but it would indeed be a satisfying achievement to become a 'real' columnist. 3. Drive a Social organization Well, may be an N

Politics of Clean Fuel - Part II

Continued from Part I The strategy of increasing domestic oil consumption worked well as the indigenous oil reserves were going well and sufficient reserves were secured in the middle east. But OPEC stepped in and soon after being formed, it caused havoc in 1970s with the oil embargo . Soon, a reverse trend was to set in - just as war had lead to increase in oil production, now oil was to lead to war. By the mid 1980s it was well clear that the encouragement of oil consumption had backfired on western governments and something had to be done to control the menace of increasing oil prices. Iraq presented a classic opportunity to the US in the early 90's by invading Kuwait and opening doors for a direct and legitimate intervention of the western politicians and regimes into the middle east. The war for oil has continued with stops and spurts thereafter well leading upto into the recent Iraq conflict. With more than a decade of war and 5 decades of politics behind it, governments in t

Politics of Clean Fuel

While travelling on the crowded Powai belt of the JVLR [ map ], a colleague exclaimed that it is surprising that rising fuel costs and pollution have not yet created enough concern for serious research and product development in the area of Alternative Fuels. This lead me to wonder as to why, just like an increase in fuel production in the mid 1900's cause an increase in automobile traffic worldwide, is an increase in fuel prices not causing a wave of alternative technologies? The reason, I think is - what it has always been - political will! Oil was discovered way back in the 9th century, however it did not find much use till the industrial age began. But even after the onset of the industrial age in the 17th century, coal remained the primary source of energy till the 1950s. And then suddenly, the consumption of oil started rising thereafter - why? Coal was a viable source of energy till it was used as a fuel for factories and other static energy consuming centers. However, earl

War or Peace?

Many of you must have read about the famous 'The Man in the Arena' speech by Theodore Roosevelt. The passage from the speech which has made the speech memorable and is oft quoted is: It is not the critic who counts;The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. However, I was reading the rest of the speech when I found another paragraph which was as thoughtful the first one ... here it goes: War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war. The choice must ever be in favour of righteousness, and this is whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must n