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Don't Trust The Internet On April 1

A few weeks ago the town of Topeka, Kansas changed its name to Google to impress our benevolent overlords. Google, touched by the emotion displayed by their subject, changed the company's name to Topeka as of April 1st, 1AM. One could see the changes in google.com with the familiar Google logo changed to display the new company name, Topeka, complete with a link to their official blog where the change has been described in detail by Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Topeka Inc. Fun doesn't stop there, though. If one digs deeper, he'd find several new products launched by Google the same day, including Google Translate for Animals released exclusively for Android phones. And if you are an Aussie, you are in luck because Google Maps now are able to Optimise for Colloquial Cultural Articulation. Go left is now “fang a left” and execute a u-turn is “chucka u-ey”. It even goes as far as to suggest driving styles. “Bag 'em up” is smoking the tires while “drives like my grandma” is going too slow.

YouTube, not to be outdone, released a text-only mode for their videos. That's right. A video site, but instead of videos, you have streaming semi-matrix-esque text. From their blog: “By replacing the images in the video with a series of letters and numbers, the videos are far less taxing on our system and have the added benefit of promoting literacy!”

Reddit, my favourite news aggregator, gave everyone an administrator status for the day. Once turned on, a user could edit titles, ban people, or up-vote comments to infinity. Chaos ensues. And so does hilarity. “This is what its like to be a God”, someone said. “Well I banned God”, was the reply.

DeviantART, a popular art community changed all their user avatars to something either Lady Gaga or Twilight related. THE HORROR! This was probably as cruel as ThinkGeek, an ecommerce website, faking the sales of Canned Unicorn Meat. Yes, unfortunately you still cannot eat magic, love, hope and sunshine. But some day, with the help of science, we shall! *shakes fist*

Even the bigger corporate firms are having their share of fun. I like the one by Product Support Solutions (PSS) where they launched Celebrity Voice Prompts for your IVR Systems. The classic ones are all there. Clint Eastwood: “Before pressing 0, you've got to ask yourself one question, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?” and Paris Hilton: “You called us. That's hot.” Of course, nothing would complete the prank if not for Arnold Schwarzenegger asking your clients to- “Please hold. I'll be baaack.”

The best pranks are the once where you don't realise that you are being pranked. When CNET reported that a man was arrested at the Large Hadron Collider who claimed he was from the future, this writer eagerly clicked the link and waited for the juicy news story to load. But it was only when he reached the middle where he remembered that the day was April 1. Straight from the man of the future, “Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I'm here to stop it from ever happening.”

Depressing… ain't it?

By Hussain M Elius

Apps: 102

This geek figured it was about time once again to update the knowledge of the masses. With so many bajillion softwares, hardwares and what nots out there, it can be quite confusing what's best and what's not. So, here's a brief list.

Anti-virus: For those of you who're looking for that perfect one, the near-absolute right anti-virus, you have to look no further. Microsoft Security Essential is a relatively new, and absolutely free, anti-virus that packs a really good punch. Nod32, Kaspersky, Norton, whatever else are out there are all commercial softwares. MSE is downloadable from almost anywhere. Just google it in, download the 3MB installer, install and then update the database (which will be around 50MB or so), and you'll be good to go, prepared to have a well-fortified operating system. MSE is one of the best hassle-free anti-viruses this writer has used so far. Recommended.

Browsers: This geek doesn't know about the rest of the world, but I can't seem to be satisfied with any browser. Google Chrome has recently started randomly freezing tabs on me, Opera doesn't let me login to any sites, and it feels sludgy to go back to Mozilla after using Chrome and Opera. IE is, of course, IE.

But it's probably just my PC. The latest chrome now supports extensions. It's still not as extensive (no pun intended) as Mozilla's add-on collection, it's rapidly growing to accommodate for a lot of things. Powah! users may like to experiment with it. Opera 10.51 is a nifty piece of work all-around. It's Opera. What more could you say?

WLM: I've seen numerous people having difficulty with signing in to Windows Live Messenger through the messenger client. By difficult, I mean completely un-doable. There was probably some mess up with the main installer file or something, which resulted in the absence of a particular feature not being installed. “Contacts” it's called. And for the convenience of everyone all around, I've taken the liberty of uploading the offline installer of both the latest WLM (or near enough latest) and the Contacts.msi file on my Gmail server. Anyone wishing to give WLM one more try can ask for the link at my email.

Twitter: I've tried many a twitter app, and some of the better ones were ada and Digby. Digby crashed on me, and ada was… huh, whaddoyouknow, I don't remember what ada did. Seismic Look is a Windows 7 optimised tweet app that looks... pretty fudging awesome, really. It has a somewhat bloated feeling though, and smooth performance is NOT guaranteed on less powerful computers.

Other previously suggested softwares are still “in”. uTorrent for torrents, VLC player (or alternatively equipping WPM with codecs) for media files, Adobe softwares their according purposes (you know what they are), Daemon Tools for Virtual CD/DVD-ROMS, Sound Forge 10 for audio editing, and so on.

Well, there you have it. A short of list of a few must-have essentials for the average computer user. Any questions will gladly be answered at ssemil@gmail.com.

By Emil

Nano Tales

Home Coming
After ages passed I was returning home. I had spent the last
fifteen years of my life behind the ever-so-deadly grilled doors for something I did not even do. Will they accept me now? Will everything be back to normal? With swarming thoughts swimming in my brain, I walked towards the shabby hut, the place I called home.
Ramisa Fariha

A thing of beauty
My heart caught fire; I couldn't blink, for its beauty was
mesmerizing! My breathing had stopped for the last five seconds. I was in oblivion… my mom pulled at my hand, jerking me to reality, motioning me forward hurriedly. But I kept staring up. No, it didn't remind me of bread- it was a beautiful moon in a rainy sky.
Nabila Nowshin Anika

An evening with the Acid Survivors

When I think about all they had going for them, and how all that was screwed up because of just one man, it breaks my heart. But when I see how confident and comfortable in their own skin, and women of the world they are, the pieces come together a little bit.

My mother. All that I have known and been exposed to because of her being what she is.

This time it was a small singing event of a quiet little band. But it was not just any band. No, no this band consisted of woman who were acid survivors. This was their band's tenth anniversary, and on that occasion, they were having this gathering. Nasreen Huq, deceased, had formed this band so that these acid survivors would have some hope. She had been their guider, their protector, it was because of her that they were what they were, confident members of society, and not women with shame and insecurities like most acid survivors are.

I arrived with my mother and sat at a reasonable place in the middle, waiting for the show to begin, not knowing what to expect.

A certain young woman caught my eye; she was maybe in her late twenties, wearing a red sari with a flower in her hair, and had a very beautiful eye. I say eye because she was also an acid survivor and one of her eyes had been burned because of the acid. Her skin was all scarred and bruised, but yet she looked exquisite to me.

Then the show began. It started off with a group song about acid violence. Maybe these people were not officially professional singers, but they were doing a pretty good job, and had good vocals, I would say.

After a few more group songs, (and I was still not bored, quite entertained as a matter of fact) there was a solo by Hasina, the girl who had caught my eye earlier. She sang the first song she had ever learnt since the formation of this group, and it was really good I have to say. She had everyone's keen ear.

Followed by a round of applause after her solo was a dance by a little girl of about ten I would say. No, she was not a victim of acid violence, but she was part of the group nevertheless. She danced to an old (but very catchy) Bangla song, everyone smiled to see her dance and enjoy herself.

After that, there were probably a few more group songs, but my mother had to leave, so we made our exits right after the dance.

Seeing the survivors of acid violence sing and perform was a really great experience for me because for one thing I felt a LOT luckier than before. At least my face was acid free, right? It also made me smile to see how well these acid survivors where handling things, and getting along with their lives, standing up tall.

By Jerisa Haque



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