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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Google Goes Minuscule

Just noticed it a while ago, I distinctly don't remember seeing it earlier in the day, the new Google favicon.

The older one (see images below) was a capital 'G' and the new avatar is in lowercase and it does look better (to me).

Google Favicon Old

Google Favicon New

In fact Google has just moved from the first letter in their name to the fourth.

The secret behind Google's new favicon

Just a thought: Why do we all get so excited (there are already hundreds of blog posts on this) about these little things that Google does?

And I'm leaving for home today on a short vacation. There might not be any new posts (as if I've been posting daily) during that period.

Click here for the complete post...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

3rd Anniversary Special: Free Ringtones

Three Years of Cutting the ChaiIn a few days it'll be three years since this blog began. And for the readers I have a special treat that should continue over the next few posts - free MP3 ringtones to download for your mobile phones / cell phones (also SMS tones, the short ones).

I've posted in the past quite a few mobile phone ringtones (some in MIDI format, a few in MP3). Ringtones are fun (though I myself tend use the same one for years together) and here at the Cutting the Chai the motto is to share the fun, at minimal or - more preferably at - no explicit cost.

This is the first batch. You can preview (actually prehear) the files before you download (just showing off the new audio player that I put up here). Some of them can be put to some interesting uses:

Aah: An aha ringtone. A female goes aah...

Download [MP3 20 KB 00:00:02 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Phone Vintage: The vintage telephone ring is one of my favourites. Does bring back the memories of the rotary dial.

Download [MP3 26 KB 00:00:03 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Phone Electronic: Before we went multi tone, this one was the universal ring. I often rushed back to pick up the phone, only to realise that it was actually the neighbour's phone that was ringing.

Download [MP3 20 KB 00:00:02 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Mosquito: Ranked as one of the most irritating noises to reach the human ear. This would make an ideal tone for the alarm, only that you might try to swat the phone in your sleep.

Download [MP3 30 KB 00:00:03 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Gunshot: Bang Bang, or in more Bollywood ishtyle dishkaaaaw... a classic.

Download [MP3 17 KB 00:00:01 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Santoor: One of the most pleasant musical instruments.

Download [MP3 25 KB 00:00:02 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

The Bell: The sound of a bell being struck and the reverberation.

Download [MP3 76 KB 00:00:09 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

The Gong: This will remind you of all the "master master teach me kung fu" movies that you saw in your childhood

Download [MP3 52 KB 00:00:06 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Big B Phone: No one else, but the Big B himself pleads you to pick up the phone

Download [MP3 13 KB 00:00:01 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Go Back

Download [MP3 11 KB 00:00:01 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As


Download [MP3 20 KB 00:00:02 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

Trin Trin

Download [MP3 50 KB 00:00:06 64kbps Mono 44 kHz]
Right click and Save Link As/Save Target As

In case you want to save yourself from the botheration of downloading individual fines, you can download all the 12 MP3 (featured above) files in a single zip folder from the link below.
Download [ZIP 324 KB]

Click here for the complete post...

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Suggest Feature in Google Hindi - Not Safe For Kids

Suggest Feature in Google Hindi - Not Safe For KidsB for बू* (B*r)...

Tej pointed this out to me.

It seems that the newly implemented transliterated suggest feature on Google Hindi search is not exactly safe for kids (This feature is also available in the Telugu and Tamil searches, but then I don't know the languages. Readers contribute).

What the suggest feature (announced on May 5, 2008) does is that while you search for a query using Hindi search you can input characters from the Roman script and Google will suggest queries based on what you type in.

For example, if you want to find information about Amitabh Bachchan, you can simply start typing "Amitabh" and we will suggest the full term in Hindi for you.

Obviously, a very welcome feature, especially, for people who cannot type in Devanagari. But then there is something that might disturb some, particularly parents who are worried about what their kids might be inadvertently exposed to on the net.

Go to Google's Hindi search page and type in any of the following letters - B, F, K, M, N, S or Y (this is correct at the time of posting this, but might - or might not - change in the near or distant future. The reasons are elaborated further down the post).

For "B" the suggested words include - बूर (bur) - Urdu slang for vagina. And then there is/are बूब्स (boobs).

For "F", फुद्दी (phuddi/fuddi) - Hindi slang for vagina

Type in "K" and you get the कामसूत्र (Kamasutra) - the ancient Sanskrit treatise advising rules for sensuous and sensual pleasure and love and marriage

Under "M" there is मस्तराम मुसाफ़िर कामोत्तेजक (Mastram Musafir Kamotejak) - roughly translates to "Jovial Traveller Lustful" and refers to (if I'm not mistaken) a - seemingly discontinued - Hindi blog on explicit fantasy stories.

It's नंगी लड़की (nangi ladki) - nude girl - under "N"

The suggestions under "S" are almost exclusively devoted to सेक्स (sex) and related entities. For starters there's सेक्स कहानी (sex kahani) - sex stories, then comes सेक्स करने (sex karne) - having sex, followed by सेक्स (sex). Then there's सेक्स संबंधी (sex sambandhi) - sex related, with सेक्सी महिला (sexy mahila) sexy female - for some company with सेक्स के बारे (sex ke baare) about sex completing the 'sexy' list.

Typing in "Y" yields योनि (yoni) - this Sanskrit word has multiple - albeit related - meanings, in this context it would refer to the vagina.

When a kid is using this search feature to look for something else and suggestions appear, it would obviously tickle the child's curiosity and lead him/her to explore that might not be suitable for his/her age.

Many parents use parental control software to regulate their children's internet usage, but such regulations wouldn't necessarily exist at all places where a child can access the internet from. And Google is an immensely popular online service provider.

Now why do such terms crop up? It is because:
Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers.

So if people are searching for such non-kidsafe terms, it isn't exactly Google's fault. But again it is a vicious cycle, since the suggested terms might induce people to search for them more than they otherwise would and hence these terms would remain atop the Zeitgeist lists, for a long time.

To be fair to Google, it does offer an option to shut this off. Clicking on the वरियताएं (Preferences) link, a user has the option to deselect प्रश्न सुझाव खोज बॉक्स में प्रदान करें radio button under विचरण सुझाव. But then it should have been deselected by default and a user could activate it voluntarily.

Moreover, Google's Hindi search (or for the matter Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil) do not have the safe search option that is available in English and other languages.

Given the limited growth in the Indian language content on the web (compared to other languages) it might take a while for all the features to trickle in, till then keep you fingers crossed every time your child types in a "B" in the search form.

Click here for the complete post...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mentos Kiss Cam Video

Mentos has launched an interactive website, where you can virtually kiss a sexy babe/hunk. I've specially ripped out the video - a version you won't find elsewhere - (and a few images) of the hot female. Enjoy!

In case you are unable to view the interactive flash on the site (it's not up at the time of posting this) try this link.

Here's a special Cutting the Chai edit of the video:

To share/embed this video click here
Download video [00:00:29 FLV 817 KB]
Download hi-res video [00:00:29 AVI 2.04 MB]
Download for mobile [00:00:29 3GP 982 KB]

And here's the one floating around on WWW:

To share/embed this video click here
Download video [00:01:18 FLV 1.68 MB]

And some images (click for high-res versions)

Mentos Kiss Cam

Mentos Kiss Cam

Mentos Kiss Cam

Click here for the complete post...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Download Files from eSnips - the Easy Way

We all look for music (and other stuff) online, but it often happens that what you are looking for isn't available there. Some of the places where you are most likely to find what you are looking for (beyond the P2P networks) are CoolToad and eSnips. CoolToad (when I last checked) allows registered users to download the stuff, but eSnips has of late kept on changing their code (and the players), making it difficult for users to download from there.

Even my trusted software Orbit didn't work here (it has a nice Grab++ utility), nor did other download managers. The guys at eSnips have seem to have nullified the tricks that I found via a quick Google search. Therefore I resorted to the tried and tested cache trick (as the initiated would already know - this works in many other cases too).

This works since eSnips doesn't do Real Time Streaming (else we would have to use other tricks).

[Update: There's an even easier alternate way to do it. Go to the bottom of this post for details]

Since I recommend and use Firefox, the following instructions are Firefox specific (on Windows XP).

1. Search for the file you want to download on eSnips

2. Delete your browser's cache (press Ctrl+Shft+Del or go to Tools > Options > Advanced > Network > And click on the Clear Now button under the Cache section) - I'll explain the need later

3. Let the file play/load in totality (this involves a bit of waiting)

4. On the browser's address bar type about:cache

5. Under the Disk cache device copy the path of the Cache directory.
It would be something like this: C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\6q1bkcu8.default\Cache

6. Paste the copied path on Firefox's address bar

7. Look for the file with the heaviest size (this is the one in most cases and it is why I asked to delete the cache in the first place, to avoid any confusion with a large number of files)

8. Right click on the link corresponding on the file and select Save Link As from the right click contextual menu and save it where you want to.

9. While saving give the file an .mp3 (or whatever is relevant) extension, you can also rename the file and you are done.

I suggest this trick since nothing else seemed to download files from eSnips for me. If you know of easier better tricks please share them in the comments.

Update: I later realised that the Firefox addon DownloadHelper performs the task with lesser sweat.

This post just might be redundant for registered eSnips users. eSnips seems to have added a direct download link to the media files to save users all the effort. A welcome initiative indeed. Time for YouTube to also implement this. But you need to be registered to benefit from that, in case you don't want an eSnips account, this post will still be of some help.

Click here for the complete post...