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Gmail: the email with a wicked twist

Google is so great
Well, if you have never heard about the internet or the web (not that spider web on your ceiling), it is likely that you have never heard about Google. However, you are reading Rising Stars, and like most other readers, you probably know that Google is a website, a search engine to be precise. Google is popular, really. In the US and UK, there are many people who spends more time looking at the pages of Google than looking at the faces of their loved ones.

You know, searching a needle in a huge haystack is not that easy. You can try it out yourself: take a small bowl of rice (uncooked), paint one rice red (or any other noticeable colour), put it back into the bowl and then search for it in the bowl. Unless you are real lucky (or extremely determined), you will soon get frustrated with the searching.

Well, I hope I didn't give the wrong impression about Google to you; Google doesn't search for a rice in a rice bowl. It does something way too big. It searches the entire web (that's trillions of megabytes, billions of websites) for something you have asked for. You might ask Google to search for a few words, pictures, websites, products, services, news… virtually anything that's out there in the internet. Right after you complete "asking", Google will process the query with some extremely complex servers and within a fraction of a second, you will be blessed with a result containing a few thousand web links.

Gmail: the email with a wicked twist
Now Google isn't only a search engine, it's also a good news website. Apart from being all these, Google is soon going to be a free web based email provider. Unless you are a person who is well experienced with the web, you probably have a Hotmail or Yahoo email account (I'm not talking about people who don't even have an email address). Well, both these services give you a tiny, puny email account (Hotmail gives 2 MB; Yahoo gives 6 MB). These accounts fill up in no time with spam and chain mails.

Well, the email service provided by Google will be better than those services. And just to prove that Google is the boss at whatever it does, Google will provide a gigantic 1000 MB email account. That outdoes a 2 MB Hotmail email account by a 1:500 ratio. Apart from the immense email account, there will be the innovativeness of Google. The emails you send will be squeaky clean; that means there will be no ads inserted at the bottom of the email. You won't have to delete emails either, there will be enough space to store all of them. All your emails will be available offline too. Isn't that just great?

Now, this email service is still being tested (just for perfection) and it isn't available yet. Still, some lucky people got a Gmail account for testing purposes. For the unlucky ones, the service will be available soon, very soon. Just keep an eye on gmail.google.com

My left arm for a Gmail account
Well, I certainly value my left arm more that an email account, no matter however great the email account may be. You see, I am ambidextrous (equally skilful with each hand), so I actually use both of my hands in a useful way. And I don't really think a severed hand would be of use of any human (unless he is a medical student a doctor or a cannibal). However, some people out there think that the persons owning a Gmail account wishes to trade their email address for something valuable. And those people do come close to offering their body organs for a Gmail account. For these people, a website named www.gmailswap.com has been opened. In this website, those desperate people can place lucrative offers for a Gmail account. 4 pounds of fresh fudge, some Jewish mystical knowledge, a tarantula, a week's worth of drinks in Barcelona, planting a tree in the name of the person giving away a Gmail account... Creative, huh? Well, there are also some clever ones like promising to be a slave of the person giving the email address. Oh, money is offered too, as much as a few hundred dollars.

Now if you want to trade you trade everything you earned in your life, two kidneys, black magic spells and all other hard-to-imagine stuff for a Gmail account, go on then. Nobody will stop you. You might be lucky and actually get a Gmail account. On the other hand, you can play it safe, and wait. Wait till Gmail is officially opened. Then it would be free and available for all (and you won't have to live without kidneys).

By Ashiful Haque (niloy@yours.com)

The Dhaka Deaf High School

Depressed and bored with the regular life style, I once again decide to go in search for something or someplace different. No, not another Orphanage or Exhibition, but the only school opened by the government for the dumb and the deaf since 1964.

Situated in 62 Bijoyanger (Dhaka- 1000), The Dhaka Deaf High School welcomes all deaf and dumb children who are willing to admit themselves from classes 1 to S.S.C level. It is a vocalist center looked after by about twenty people. When talking to MD. Asadullah and the head master, I am told that the syllabus for these students is exactly the same as to any student studying in a normal school. I also came to know that there are about eight such challenged students who took their S.S.C examination about a month ago and at least five of them are sure to pass, better yet, come out with outstanding results! Other then studies, the older ones can also take advantage of extra curricular activities such as sewing and cutting, photography, commercial arts etc.

There are about 250students altogether and about 70 of them stay at the hostel where everything but the meals are for free. However, some are awarded with sholarships for their brilliant performances.

When taking a look at the place myself, I was overwhelmed by the kids' enthusiasm to attend class. It was actually a pity on my side that I never bothered to learn sign language properly, for I was envying the fact that two girls were able to sent "secret" messages to each other (probably about me!) right front of my face and I just had to watch and smile helplessly (the little devils!). Nevertheless, they looked smart in their uniforms and school bags. At a distance, you wouldn't be able to tell a thing about their unique life styles, but the progress to make such students a part of the professional world is very slow and it is very unlikely that any of them will ever have a job offer since they are not even given any opportunity to go for higher studies. But MD. Asadullah told me that he recently attended a meeting where the government is going to pay for an extension of this institute. The building will be two storages higher and thus 100 more students could be placed in the hostel. If these students were given the chance to share their ideas and fulfill their dreams, I personally think that it would make a huge difference. It would be amazing to see the wonders of the deaf and dumb people, because we all know that through all the struggles they have to face everyday, they are definitely harder working than normal people and we all know that they are definitely more gifted than us.

By Shayera Moula

Dad and I

Eighteen years ,ten months and seventeen days ago, Heaven faced a major crisis. God had been preparing for one of His dilatory siestas, when suddenly the arch-angel came running in. "Oh Almighty!" He cried "A baby has to be deliveredz right away. And, we have run short of grey matters."God had taken three minutes to create the entire earth; He took another three minutes pondering on this putrid predicament. " T'is elementary," He finally smiled. " The baby shall be given a smart father.And, he will prosper even without brains." Hence I came into existence.

As a tiny tot, I had always found in my Dad not only a spruce mentor, but also a good pal and a co-conspirator. He was always the one to back me up everytime I got caught stealing ice-cream from the refrigerator and my Mom turned into one of those horrendous terminators from the Unreal Tournament. At times when I tried to draw to draw horses and ended up sketching a yet undiscovered species, some sort of a hybrid between a horse, an elephant, and a kangaroo, Dad was the one to scrutinize the masterpiece and exclaim," Wow! What a nice flower you have drawn!" Dad taught me to play soccer, and Monopoly, and told me that the tales of the tooth-fairies were all bogus. He had never swung a web, but in the list of my favouite-childhood-heroes Dad always shared the first position with Spiderman.

As the days merged into months and the months into years, I feared that the amity between Dad and I might lose some of its chirpiness. On the contrary, the bond only strengthened with time. Of course, with his hair greying and all, Dad no longer played soccer with me, and being a teenager I had far more fascinating games to play other than soccer. (Wink, Wink!) But, in the end of the day we both managed to take some time off to sit together for a cool adda, where Dad usually told told me about his day and I told him about mine. Often, after a long, tiresome day, it was the only thing that could cheer me up.

Of course, things weren't always this smooth. After all, a teenager is a beehive for all sorts of tumultous hormones which make the world appear a bit too colourful than it really is. If not guided properly an adoloscent might fall into bad habit, thereby leading into serious self-destruction. Dad himself had lived up this age, and was well aware of the pitfalls. As an attempt to keep me out of them, sometimes he had to use harsh words which eventually paved the way to serious arguments. For example, when I was first caught smoking Dad was so upset that he didn't even take his dinner for the evening. I wasn't grounded or punished, but Dad didn't talk to me the entire week. Later on, I came to know from Mom that in his times Dad himself happened to be a chain smoker. But, the exact moment I was born he quit smoking because he didn't want to be a bad influence to his son. I was so ashamed, I never touched a cigratte again.

From an innocent teenager now that I'm growing up into a man, Dad has turned into some sort of a role model for me. For the first time in life, I've actually managed to synchronise myself to Dad's thoughts, ideas and principles. And boy, the inspiration I'm getting in return surpasses the confinement of mere words! Someday I'll be in Dad's shoes. I only hope I'll be as good as him.

By Tawsif

Giving rise to a monstrosity

Dhaka has certainly come a long way in the last thirty-three years. Places like Green Road, Dhanmondi and Nilkhet all had their names because of a reason. Now things have changed and modernity has set in. While progress is always welcome, progress in an unplanned manner somehow always defeats the whole purpose of modernity. It gives rise to a monstrosity - which is exactly what happened with Dhaka.

When shopping complexes and building developers first made their mark in Dhaka most people thought that it was a progressive step. Maybe the enthusiasm was too much or maybe it was misinterpreted. Now look around. It only takes mere months to come up with a monstrous shopping mall and mere years to demolish a single unit house and replace it with an apartment complex.

But shopping malls and apartments aren't the only things that sprout up like mushrooms in this city. Clothing stores, fast food joints, English Medium schools, gift shops and private universities are also coming out as if from an assembly line of such things. Moreover, the icing on the cake (or in this case the city) is that wherever you look there are billboards and posters glaring right back at you.

Doesn't it make you wonder about or city corporations control board? On the other hand, does a control board even exist? In most countries you need a license to open stores and plaster posters. In most countries you have to go through an education board to open an educational institution. Nevertheless, what is our education board doing?

In the end what are we giving leeway to? Is this what we're using modernity as an excuse for? You decide.

By Riyana






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