Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ads: Don't Block

Most of us hate advertisements. Be it in newspaper, television or the Internet. One of the most popular add-ons for Firefox is Adblock Plus, which regularly update the list of the advertisers and block them before they get loaded. The other popular browsers like IE, Opera and Chrome also provide the way to block ads in some or the other way. Of course, nothing can't be done about newspapers and TV.

We do not like ads because they take space, waste our time (and badwidth too) and for those with limited data plans the precious bytes. However we forget that advertisements has made it possible for the masses to get free access to the information for free or at very low cost. We get news, articles and the very important Google (all tools with search included) for free because they draw their money heavily from the ads.
Many people are self employed due to online ads.

I feel that ads are necessary. Ad-blockers are good, but in the end it may happen that we might have to pay for monthly search on Google (ugly huh!)

But the ads on the websites today have gone frenzy. There should be at least some minimum ethics so that it doesn't hit the end user heavily. These might be:

1. Ads placed so that they do not obstruct the content. Ads placed in between downgrade the original purpose of the visit to the site.

2. Ads should be clearly mentioned as ads, not the part of the article whereever they appear. Some companies pay for putting ads and links without the disclamer from the advertiser. It reduces the credibilty of the website, if your reader is cheated by the company (even if he isn't, because you are putting things you don't know about)

3. Text ads and images are fine, but the ads with heavy flash content and recently which automatically stream audio and/or video are very annoying. They consume too much bandwith.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Avatar: The Message

The recent blockbuster 'Avatar' is refusing to leave the news. It has aroused so many criticisms as well as bounty of praises. The movie has been praised for its animation as well as the bold story - a human being choosing to live the life of an alien. On the other hand many people condemned it for wrong teachings. Wikipedia's article is protected to avoid vandalism and flooding of so many ideas.

One may see that story is not a seminal. It combines the elements from history, literature, science and philosophy that we already know.

These all are interrelated as they touch the topic not of how humans relate to each other but also to how we relate to nature - living vs. non-living. Moreover, I feel that the movie matches a lot more, than just the concept of avatar, with the Hindu philosophy.

The dark blue colour of the Na'vi people might have been inspired by the similar complexion of the God Vishnu and his avatars Lord Shri Ram and Lord Krishna.

Na'vi people have almost similar emotions as human beings. For example politics in the clan, building the trust, love sacrifice and urge for self-preservation. The living styles are very equivalent to the iron age man. They hunt animals for food and wear primitive clothes. What sets them apart is their close communion with the nature, not only as ecosystem or symboysis but the very nature of life('soul') and the communication with it not in language but in thoughts. Even this very concept of soul exists in the religious texts of Hinduism and Jainism. Many stories of Hindu mythology tell about the saints and Gods roaming in others bodies.

The movie also touches upon the fact of blind exploitation of resources for the business profit, disregard for others be it aliens or even human beings. can't we say that the Earth is the for all living beings and humans have encroached upon it. At some point one may think that how man went away from the nature. And now our environment problems are the effects of our own activities.

Avatar pronouncedly also shows the traits of the racism. The technologically advanced race killing the other race. And those from the former who cannot stand the violence switch sides to help (reminds me a lot of the freedom struggles in Asia and Africa)

The Vatican has condemned the movie as Christianity condemns worship of nature [link].