30 October 2017

You can check your voter details online

The draft electoral rolls for Bangalore are out already, and voters can now check/edit their details online.

There is a regional website where the backend didn't function properly, so I'd recommend going to the other regional website which takes you to the national website. Sadly, none of the websites have https, so anything you enter there could be viewed by someone else. Your browser will inform you about this the moment the webpage opens.

Once on the national website, you can search for your existing voter information. I typed in my details and it didn't find anything, but on clicking the Search by EPIC number tab, I entered my voter ID and was shown my details which were exactly what I had entered earlier, and the backend didn't even return an exact name search match. Since the websites were powered by C-DAC, I wrote to them and hope they'd introduce HTTPS.

Still, as long as you are ok with not using https, you can use the website to submit forms online and track your application status online.
Forms are available for:
  • Inclusion of names for residents electors    
  • Inclusion of names for overseas electors    
  • Any objection on inclusion of names       
  • Correction of entries in the Electoral Rolls     
  • Transposition within Assembly

Some thoughtful person has also created a nice caricature document explaining general voter information. Do go through it and show it to kids.

22 October 2017

Do a 'Google Trends' on Google Books

This may actually be quite a good incentives for scholars and literature enthusiasts, for uploading more books online.
Similar to how Google Trends gives you graphs to compare various Google search terms used over the years, Google Ngram viewer allows you to search and compare the usage of words and phrases used in books over the years. You can even add wildcard characters like the asterisk, and even specify if what you are searching for is a noun or an adjective etc. Two researchers, Sparavinga and R.Marazzato even wrote a paper on it.

For example, searching for "how are you" vs "how do you do" shows that "how do you do" was used more in the 1700's, but slowly the usage declined. On a side note: the reply to "how do you do" is "how do you do", and not "I'm fine".

More on how Ngram works: https://books.google.com/ngrams/info#

If your work is primarily on Google Scholar, there are good search tools (including advanced search) and metrics information available to gauge the visibility and influence of articles published. Useful tools.

21 October 2017

Mostly, time spent online is time well spent

Which is better? Finding a bunch of intellectuals online, who love discussing your favourite topics on artificial intelligence, general knowledge, TED talks, research efforts worldwide or switching off your phone and computer and spending time with relatives who gossip about their neighbours, discuss cricket runs scored and discuss religious rituals? *yawn*

Have a look at this toon from Wumo.

Interacting online has the advantage of filtering out a HUGE amount of irrelevant data, awkwardness and annoyances. If you like it, there's nothing wrong with liking it. Time is precious to all of us. Let's spend it doing what we like, and with the people we like. Whether the people are online or physically present with you is irrelevant.
It's the genuineness of your connection with them that matters.

That being said, physical meetings have a flavour of their own, and should be encouraged at the comfort level that people would like it to be encouraged.

As for Simon Sinek's narrow observation...

...it's easy to use the pointing finger to highlight "what's wrong with this generation", but one has to know that this is what every generation has been saying about the next generation for the past millenia.

The truth is, there's nothing ever wrong with a generation. There's nothing ever wrong with how people do things. Some people build good relationships, some don't. Some people adopt and use technology in specific ways, some don't. Some people will always be less confident and unhappy, some won't. That's how we are meant to be as a population. There's nothing wrong in that.

Every single species on this planet was not meant to live and behave in a certain way forever. We evolve. We are meant to evolve. When you see someone doing something different, it's because that's what they are meant to do. We as a generation, have better access to information. We know and understand relationships better. We know whom to connect with and when to run away from toxic people. We've even researched and spread awareness about addiction to social media. We learn from people all around the world.

Accept change for the good it brings. For as someone once said: There is only one constant: "Change". Rather than point fingers at a generation of people, see how these well informed, intelligent people can help you and you'll be surprised!