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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Train In The Rain……And Some Regret -- By Sanket ‘not at all funny’ Kambli

No I am not getting a punishment, but I am talking about the lashing that this city has received this month.
You know who gave these lashing; the rains.
But rains or no rains, we are supposed to reach our college, OK, unless the railways are suspended.
So I leave my home, its raining quite heavily, well! Heavy enough to fill all the craters on the road with brownish water, I am busy trying to cheat the rains with my windcheater (that is what the sales guy called it!!) while making sure not to soil my flared jeans.
My vision gets hazy. Hey! I am not on drugs, it’s the water vapor. My sports shoes (they are the most comfortable!!) have turned soggy.
With all these things messing up the state of my mind, I reach the station, the place isn't much crowded clearly pointing to a just left train and one look at the indicator, I know that I am in for more trouble, it reads 00:00. I ask the newspaper stall guy, he says, the trains are just running late, Yeah! Sure! And then I see the train crawling into the station, its not crowded, but still there isn't any place to sit. I decide to stand by the door and enjoy the cool climate. As the train moves at speed exceeding 50kmph, the water drops hit my face with a sting, but with passing time, it is fine. The raindrops and the wind have given me a sleek gelled look to my hair without the need to use mousse or styling gel. Soon I am joined by this guy in this 'Jhag Mag' orange shirt, all wet he had just got in at Kanjur Marg. He seemed to be a bollywood/remix fan, because as soon as the train started moving, he broke into 'Dus Bahane Kar Ke Le Gayaa Dil’, but not before whistling to a girl in capri’s, and to my horror she shows him the finger (you know which), well even he was shocked, by the time he could react, we had left the station behind, and he had broken into another song 'Woh Lamhe’. I backed off from my place at the door, I was busy clearing my glasses, and then the train halted just a few meters from the Vikhroli station. What know! Damn the red signal, but it turned green quickly, anyways today was not to be my day, the train kept progressing at snails pace, heck! I ride my bicycle faster. The guy in orange had already started chanting an assorted array of explicit words. And it seemed to me that they must have reached the motormen’s (also called by some dumbo's as the train driver) ears, as maintained good speed afterwards. As I was enjoying my face being splashed with rain drops, I felt someone pat my shoulder, I ignored, there was another pat but harder this time, this guy was asking for my ticket, I was bored and frustrated, I asked him for his I-card, his face clearly showed that he didn't like the idea, but he showed it to me anyway. Now it was my turn, but I spent a sizeable amount of time, trying to find my pass, eventually looking at the correct location after some time, after seeing me with a valid pass, he left frowning(bakra hath se nikal gayaa), as he was hoping to get a good fine from me. The train reached vidyavihar, by then the trains had subsided, I was late for the first lecture, so I grabbed a rickshaw and reached the college. Puffing and huffing I reached the fifth floor, to see the corridor empty, damn! I am late, I ran trying to find my class, I reached the other end, but found no one, all class rooms were empty, I asked the peon, and he said, 'arre! Kisika lecture nahin hai aaj', then I remembered what I had missed when I had felt asleep in the last FC lecture.

Lepers: A Reflection

Before proceeding, please note this quote of a leper:
"This disease takes away the beauty of your face. It eats up your hands and feet and makes us ugly. Other diseases eat up your insides, but they leave you looking beautiful outside."
Leprosy is caused by a germ called Myco-Bacterium Leprea, it was not scientifically identified until 1874, and the cause for the disease was not proven until the 1960s.
This bacteria spreads through Air only when the infectious patients sneezing or coughing.
Now we are having Multi Drug Therapy to cure the Victims in the early stage within six months of symptoms known.
The general characteristics of the disease include, but are not limited to:
--loss of sensation at the nerve ends
--destroyed blood vessels, ligaments and skin tissues
--eroded bones
Since antiquity, leprosy has struck fear into human beings.
Seen as contagious, mutilating and incurable, leprosy continues to alienate those who contract it from their families and communities.
Earlier, the issue of a person's wealth was important when they became known as a leper.
Rich lepers were treated very differently than poor ones. The stories of Alice the Leper and Baldwin IV show that if people were leprous but rich, they were depicted as heroes. Alice was shown as a martyr, and Baldwin still ruled his kingdom in his leprous state. It was not their fault that they were lepers, whereas it was thought that most people contracted leprosy as a punishment from God for their sins. Lepers that were poor had to carry begging bowls. Societies considered them burdens because they could not work. The poor leper seems to have been relegated to the margins.
Lepers were made to wear distinctive clothing.
Leprous people were forced to live outside the city or in a separated area.
They were considered unclean and sinful.
They were a class of people who were condemned by their difference to suffering isolation and derision.
They were considered outcasts, and they kept to themselves.
In truth, leprosy is not very contagious. Only 5 percent of the spouses of those infected ever contract the disease themselves. However, since the untreated effects are very disfiguring, the fear of catching the disease colors our perception of the true risk. Leprosariums for quarantine of patients existed in many countries into the 20th century.
When leprosy declined in modern times, it was replaced by other social afflictions. Whether disease, religious belief, mental condition, unusual sexuality, physical abnormality, or political ideology, small minority groups continue to be isolated and quarantined.
Even more revealing of the power of social ostracism is how common it is for such people to choose some measure of quarantine for themselves as preferable to living among those who revile them.
Our cities are full of these collections of unusual people who band together to form a society within a society, hoping the majority will leave them alone. They build their own leper colonies, referring to them as “communities.” For many, as long as the basic human needs are available in the colony, it provides a safer, less stressful place to live. Separate but almost equal.
Everyone who experiences such an epiphany goes through a grieving process. When we lose our claim to healthy, “normal,” or even attractive, we are wounded emotionally just as surely and suddenly as a soldier shot in battle is wounded physically. It may be superficial, or it may be terminal. We may bounce right back, we may be long in recovery, or we may not make it. Unfortunately, for most of us, at the very least some of the gloss fades from our eyes. We tend to feel cheated and resentful. We are destined to go through the rest of our lives with an additional burden, and we ask, why me?
Those wounds cannot heal until we quit asking that question. No matter what affliction it was we discovered in ourselves, healing of the emotional wound always leaves a scar, and maybe even some loss of sensation. But we can learn to accept our affliction, wear our scar without shame, and make the best of the only life we have. In time, we may even perceive that our difference is not an affliction at all, but merely a marker of our uniqueness.
What might happen if we ventured into the other colonies of lepers, without fear, with respect and compassion? Our travels might lead us to understand that whatever strain of leprosy sets our group apart; we gain nothing by despising the others. Perhaps we could begin to heal our own emotional wounds if we greeted others with compassion and respect.
(With inputs from various lepers and their organisations)

Believe It Or Not!

A cockroach will live nine days without its head, before
it starves to death.

A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.

A pig's orgasm lasts for 30 minutes.

A snail can sleep for three years.

All Polar bears are left-handed.

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive
from each salad served in first-class.

Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

Babies are born without knee caps. They don't appear until the
child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an
Butterflies taste with their feet.
Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, dogs only have
about ten.

Cat's urine glows under a black light.

China has more English speakers than the United States.

Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he
doesn't wear pants.

Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are
registered blood donors.

Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.

Every time you lick a stamp, you're consuming 1/10 of a

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not
to have a full moon.
Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex
for pleasure.

I am. is the shortest complete sentence in the English

If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be

She would stand seven feet, two inches tall and have a neck
twice the length of a normal human's neck.

If the population of China walked past you in single
line, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

If you fart consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough
is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.

If you keep a goldfish in a dark room, it will eventually
turn white.

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would
have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

In ancient Egypt, priests plucked EVERY hair from their
bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.

In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been
It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.

Marilyn Monroe had six toes.

Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than
all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

More people are killed by donkeys annually than are
killed in plane crashes.

No word in the English language rhymes with month.

Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.

On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.

One of the reasons marijuana is illegal today is because
cotton growers in the '30s lobbied against hemp farmers, they
saw it as competition.

Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our
nose and ears never stop growing.

Loads Of Computer Tricks BY Sanket 'trick master' Kambli

Keyboard Shortcuts

After all it’s a machine, because there comes a time when your mouse may not function very well and you will be left solely dependent upon your keyboard (horrors!) to navigate through your PC and you start to think of all those keyboard shortcuts you had heard somewhere to make your job simpler. So here are some familiar and some not so familiar keyboard shortcuts.

1. Ctrl+s - probably one of my most frequently used shortcuts, this saves your work in a program.

2. Ctrl+x - Cuts highlighted text to the clipboard to be pasted elsewhere.

3. Ctrl+v - Pastes text from the clipboard.

4. Ctrl+c - Copies text to the clipboard

5. Win+e - Opens Windows Explorer.

6. Win+f - Opens the Find File box.

7. Win+pause - A little-known shortcut that opens the system properties window.

8. Win+m - Minimizes all your windows and shows tthe desktop.

9. Win+d - I'm not sure how it differs from Win+m, but it also minimizes all windows. Press it again and they all pop back up...Magic!

10. Win+r - Opens the Run Program window.

11. Alt+F4 - Closes the program you're currently using.

12. Ctrl+F4 - Closes the current window, but not the entire program.

13. F1 - Probably the most famous shortcut, it's been around since the '80s, and it brings up Help.

14. Alt-Ctrl-Del or Ctrl-Alt-Del - Also a very famous shortcut. In DOS it reboots the computer, in Windows it brings up the Close Programs box, useful for closing hung programs. Press it again and the computer reboots.

15. Shift+del - This deletes a file permanently, bypassing the Recycle Bin. However there seems to be a little bug in Windows, and it doesn't always work first time. 80% of the time it does work however, so just keep trying it until it works.

16. Ctrl+i - Makes the text italics

17. Ctrl+b - Makes the text bold

18. Ctrl+u - Underlines the text

19. Alt+double-click - Brings up the properties box of a file or folder

20. Ctrl+z - Probably the most useful shortcut, this one undo's the last action you made. (not always available)

21. Ctrl+a - Highlights everything on a page

Internet Explorer Shortcuts

1. F5 - Refreshes the webpage.

2. Backspace - Goes back a page.

3. Alt+left arrow - Goes back a page.

4. Alt+right arrow - Goes forward a page.

5. Escape - Stops the website loading.

6. Home - Goes back to top of webpage.

7. End - Goes to end of webpage.

8. Ctrl+mousewheel-up - Decreases the size of the text in Internet Explorer.

9. Ctrl+mousewheel-down - Increases the size of text on the Internet Explorer.

10. Shift+click hyperlink - This opens the link in a new window.

11. Alt+d - Jumps to the address bar so that you can type a new address.

12. Shift+mousewheel-up - Forward a page.

13. Shift+mousewheel-down - Back a page.

14. Ctrl+h - Brings up the history list of visited websites.

15. Ctrl+f - Find a word or phrase in the website.

16. F2 - Used when icon/folder/file is selected (highlighted). It lets you rename the icon/folder/file.

17. Ctrl+Enter - This is a great timesaver! Type google in the address bar and press ctrl-enter. You'll notice it automatically adds http://www. and the .com. This works for any address!

Multiple Selections (how to select more than 1 item at a time)

This is quite a useful tip, and I use it frequently to save time. If you want to select a number of icons, files, items in some list etc, you can use the ctrl and shift buttons to help you. Control, lets you select individual items, and shift lets you select all the items between the initially highlighted one, and the one you click. This sounds a bit complicated, but I don't know how to word it any easier!

To demonstrate this, go to a folder in My Computer that contains many files. Highlight the first file in the folder. Now, press and hold Control, and click various other files in the folder while still holding the control key down. You'll notice that all the files that you click get highlighted. This is useful for changing the properties of numerous files, or deleting numerous files. Click on a file again to deselect it.

Now, release Control and click anywhere else in the folder (not on an icon) to deselect all the icons. Highlight the first icon again, press and hold Shift, and click another file in the folder while still holding the shift key down. You'll notice that Windows highlights all the files as far as that row, and all the files as far as that column. You can do a similar thing by dragging out a highlight box with your mouse, but the Shift key also works in other programs that don't have a highlighting box.

You can also use multiple highlighting boxes using Control and dragging with the mouse!

Google Trick (search within websites from!)

This is a really cool trick I just learnt! You can search within websites using Google. Go to and type in the search string (what you want to search for) followed by site: and then the URL (address).

e.g. "How to make pizza"

That will search for "how to make pizza", within the site This is very useful when searching vast websites like Microsoft, or just to find something that you are looking for in a large website.

Hwinfo (Hardware Information) -- (I am not sure that it works in windows XP)

If you are having a problem with your computer, this utility may help you out. I can only assume Microsoft didn't want anybody to find this program, because it is so hidden, that you can't even run it as an ordinary exe file!! To run the program, go to start>run and type hwinfo /ui. Wait a little while, and a screen will come up with reams of technical information. To be honest, most of this stuff would only mean something to a computer engineer, however some of it is perfectly understandable, and you could at least locate an error.

If you would like to put a shortcut to this utility on your start menu, you will have to do this:

Navigate to the c:\windows folder and find hwinfo.exe. Right-click it and select copy. Then go to your desktop and paste. Now drag to icon to your start menu button. Hold it there until the start menu pops up. Now, while still dragging, navigate across the menus as you would normally, except that now your left-mouse button is held down. I suggest putting this program in the System Tools menu, so go to programs>accessories>system tools and release the icon in the menu. Now, you'll need to right-click your new icon and click properties. After where it says c:\windows\hwinfo.exe add the letters /ui. Click ok, and you're done!

Thumbnails (How to get all your images in a folder to display as thumbnails)

Note: This is different from just getting a thumbnail to be displayed when you click on an image file!

So you don't have Windows XP yet, but you would like all your images in your folder to display as thumbnails. Firstly, you have to enable thumbnails for every folder you would like them to be displayed in. To do this, navigate to the folder which you want to enable. This folder must be within your hard drive. For some odd reason, trying to do this in c:\ (my hard drive) does not allow the option.

Right-click on a blank piece of folder space, and click properties. At the bottom of the box it will say enable thumbnail view. Make a check (tick) in that box and click ok. Now press F5 to refresh the folder, and right-click again on a blank piece of folder space. Now go up to view, at the top of the menu, and on the slide-out box click thumbnails. Now most images in the folder will display as thumbnails! As far as I know, gif, jpg, html and bmp images will all display as thumbnails. Some less common file formats may also work.

How to Take a Screenshot

I'm sure many of you have wondered how computing magazines (and this website) print images of windows, and programs in Windows, when there is no command for printing out the contents of the screen. Most people can print a document written in Word, for example, but how many can print the actual window surrounding the text as well. Or what if you just wish to show your friend a picture of your desktop? The following tutorial also applies to saving an image in a game.

Well, it's very simple. Go to the window that you want to "capture", and press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. This should be to the right of F12, and above Insert, on most keyboards. What this does, is it copies an image of your screen to the clipboard. That is the same place that images and text go when you press copy or cut.

Note: The following steps can be done after you are finished working or playing your game, as long as you do not copy or cut anything and you do not exit Windows. If you log out or restart your computer, the image will be lost.

Now open an image editor. If you do not have a specific image editing program, just open MS Paint. You can get there by going to start>programs>accessories and clicking on Paint. This program comes with all Windows computers.

Now go to the edit menu, and press paste. You may receive a message like "The image in the clipboard is larger than the bitmap. Would you like the bitmap enlarged?", in which case you click Yes. And there you go! The screenshot you took when you pressed Print Screen is now in the window! If you would like to trim the image, then use the trimming tool in your image editor, or...

If you are using Paint, select another tool, e.g. the paintbrush tool. This clears the selection made on the screen. Then click the dotted rectangle at the top right of the toolbox. Drag out a box over the area that you would like to have remaining. If you make a mistake, just click somewhere outside your box and drag the box over the area again until you get it right. Now click edit on the menu at the top, and then copy. Go to file and click new. Unless you wish to save the rest of the image (non-trimmed), click no when it asks you if you want to save. Now go to edit and click paste. The trimmed image that you selected from your screenshot now appears in the window. If it asks you again if you want to enlarge the bitmap, click yes.

Now you are finished creating your screenshot!! This sounds awfully long and hard, but it is just because I had to cover all possibilities while explaining. There are really only about 5 things to do, and if you are not using Paint, it makes everything a lot easier. Being familiar with your graphics program also makes it less complicated. I have to admit that using Paint is probably more difficult.

To save your screenshot, go to file and click save. Just select the folder to save the image in, click save and you're done! In almost any image editor besides Paint, you will be able to select which format you want to save the image as. I recommend a JPEG. Now you know how to print out screenshots, e-mail them to your friends, or just keep it on your hard drive. I like doing this to show my friends screenshots from games I am playing. You can capture dramatic explosions or outrageous stunts and show your friends proof that you really did it!

Special Characters

You can type special characters such as ½, ë and ® in a number of ways. The easiest (but not quickest) way to do this, is to go to start>programs>accessories>system tools and open Character Map. There you can select your character that you want to insert into your document by clicking select. Then you press copy, and you just "paste" it into the relevant document.

The second way, is much quicker, but requires remembering ASCII codes. I won't go into a lot of detail as to what ASCII is, just to say that whenever you press a letter on your keyboard it is converted into an ASCII number. Keyboard keys are really just shortcuts for the ASCII numbers. What this means, is that if you don't have a key on your keyboard, you can actually type the character manually!

All you do is you press and hold alt, and then you type the ASCII number in the numpad. That is, the little keypad with the numbers like a calculator on the right of the keyboard. E.g. if you want the ½ sign, you press and hold alt, type 171 on the numpad, and release alt. The ½ sign will appear where you were typing!!

Here are a few useful ASCII numbers for you to integrate into your everyday typing:

156 = £ (useful for people with non-British keyboards)

157= ¥ (the yen sign; currency of Japan)

167= º (as in: it is 25ºC outside)

253= ² (as in: E=MC²)

171= ½

172= ¼

241= ±

Remove Outlook Express Splash Screen

Warning: Not for beginners. Always back up your registry before making changes!

This trick is a real gem! It removes the startup screen from Outlook Express, thus speeding up its loading time.

Open up the Registry Editor by going to start>run and typing regedit. Click the little + sign next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Click the + sign next to Identities, click the + sign again next to that long string of numbers and letters, again for Software, Microsoft and Outlook Express. Now you should see 5.0 (or whatever your version number is). Click once on the word "5.0" or the little yellow folder next to it.

You should now see a whole lot of text in the right-hand pane. Right-click somewhere in the blank white area in the right-hand side, go to new, and then DWORD value. Type nosplash. Now right-click the word and click modify. Now write a 1 in the Value data box. Click ok and close the Registry Editor by pressing the x button in the top right of the window or going to the menu and selecting Registry>Exit.

Now Outlook Express will open up without the splash screen!

Random Tips (Quick easy stuff that you might not know)

Permanent Delete - If you want to delete a file permanently straight away, without it being sent to the recycle bin, just press shift-del when you want to delete it. Or right-click, press shift and then delete. Due to a Windows bug however, it often doesn't work first time. Do it a couple of times and it does work though.

Open With...

If you want a choice of programs to open a certain file in, select the file, press shift and then right-click the file. You will now see the option open with... appears in the menu! (3rd from the top)

Reasons you may want to do this? Maybe you want to open up a file in a different program from normal. Or maybe you accidentally did not remove the notorious always use this program to open this file checkmark (tick) when opening a file with an unregistered extension, and now you can't open any file of this type because they always open up in the wrong program? If this sounds familiar, then this trick will solve that problem!

Folder or A: refresh

If you are in the A:\, and you insert a different stiffy (floppy), instead of re-opening the folder to see the new contents, just press F5 and the window will update itself. This works for any other folder where you want to refresh the contents.


This one helps if your computer is running low on RAM or resources, and you want to get some back, without rebooting your machine. If you keep getting an illegal operation, this might also clear it without your rebooting. I have recovered as much as 8% system resources, and 30% GDI resources using this trick!

Just press alt-ctrl-del once (not twice!!). This brings up the task manager. It says close program at the top of the box. Select explorer and click End Task. You will see the Shut Down Windows box appear. Press cancel. Wait a couple of seconds, and you will see a message telling you that the program is not responding, do you want to end it. Click end task. Explorer will reload, refreshing quite a bit of accumulated muck with it!

Note: You need to move the mouse before the hourglass mouse pointer goes away...another weird Windows thing.

Quick Resize (in columns)

This handy trick lets you resize columns in listed information without having to drag the column (with the double-headed arrow) to the correct size. All you do, is you move the mouse over the column divider until you see the double-headed arrow, then you double-click. The column will automatically resize itself to fit the biggest piece of information in the column.

Extended Scandisk Options

If you want to, there are even more options for Scandisk that you can fiddle with. All you have to do is go to c:\windows\command and open up Scandisk.ini. Inside the file are all the instructions needed to update the settings. Just be careful what you change though. If you're not sure what it does, just leave it!