Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simple UIs for Gmail and Calendar

I switched to google docs several years back and a holiday at the end of the year prompted me to go entirely off a hard drive.  I struggled for a week, like a heroin addict left with nothing but expired ritalin, but have now got comfortable, and you can read about my struggles elsewhere on the sidebars or archives.

One niggling issue was the interfaces being cluttered with ads, which look even more overpowering in full screen mode.  I have exhausted all that labs and settings have to offer me on all my google interfaces, and am reasonably convinced that I lose no productive time or effort due to these widgets and options.  I am should read I was, since this was true only till I discovered Minimalist for Gmail and soon after for Google Calendar.

I had already stripped my searches and added fasterfox refinements and other goodies, but my mail still came with bulky sidebars and headers and footers, which minimalist handled very efficiently and I cannot wait for the same features for reader and docs.

The reason I wrote this post was how I felt after seeing a friend post a screenshot of a google search for "love" with a sidebar ad from ebay offering it guaranteed cheap, new and used, and fastest delivery.  I don't have the opportunity to see ads or even the print and expand/collapse menus anymore.  And I like it.

The Question of Valentine

My  parents are married 50 years this month.  And neither of them of are easy to be with and I love them both with all of my life.  Without them I would not have been around to be with at all, forget about it being easier or less.  Read more about them at their blogs.  Google Surajit Dasgupta and Manju Dasgupta along with blogspot and you should find them.  There are two Surajit Dasguptas out there, I am sure it doesn't matter if you do find the right one.  As they chin up to the next several decades, I salute them.  I can shout out from atop the cellphone towers that they are my Valentines.

So are you, and you, and you, and yes, you too, and you, yes, you, and you, and you.  Let's see.  And you, you, you...  No, no, not you.  The one next to you..., yes.  That's right.  Mmm.  Yes, you too.  And...

Today is special to me for a few reasons, though none of them connected with Valentine.  Other than new beginnings, today is also the wedding anniversary of my best friend, now with two beautiful granddaughters.  In a couple of days he will wake up to the day he set sail with nothing more than fire in his heart, oh it seems such a long time ago.  Like every year, I call him, early in the day, and he is in the middle of work (he is an addict), and we both get thinking about what marriage, family, children, grandchildren, relationship stability, and a host of other related things mean.  We rarely talk about it but I know he understands what I feel about being disconnected.

From reality, that is.

At the wedding of a colleague's daughter, while waiting for the rites to get over so that we can bless the couple and resume our Sunday mornings, a very senior colleague of mine and I meet after many months, and I share with him what news I have to share and he tells me what he has to, and it is all about contested annulments and denied visitation rights, and we smile at the irony of the setting in which we are discussing this, with our fists full of turmeric'ed rice with bauble and fake pearls in it, standing in a queue of khadi clad reddy politicos with cameras on cranes craning to pick out faces worthy of being picked up.

Waiting another time on the weekend, this time while my brother bought a last minute V-Day gift for his wife, the channels threw the grammy's and the oscars at me, and I think of the struggles of so many lives devoted to artistic pursuit that go unrecognized.  Over at Kolkata, at my parents place, in the morning, a gathering of brahmo thought leaders, in the afternoon, a study meeting of lay buddhists, and in the evening a gathering of islamic scholars and intellectuals, sums up the Sunday for the firework couple, and I wonder if they needed a Valentine's day to remind them of anything.  Or say a Platinum Day of Love.

I am so glad at the corrections in the market, though not that thrilled when I look at the money lost in the last few weeks.  With Egypt learning from Tunisia, and China sitting on half of everything, and the internet making all things marxian possible, it is a matter of time before the financial systems kick out the values embodied in the concept of the illuminati.



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