Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Worlds Most Popular Website

Content is King. That was the conclusion in terms of getting traffic to a website. But once this important task is completed, there still lies that second big hurdle for the prospective entrepreneur... making a profit.

The World's most popular website, Yahoo has a staggering amount of visitors every single day. Visitation figures of the likes that you and me can hardly imagine and would probably make our blogs crash. Content on the site includes news, weather, finance, pictures and more that draws in people from various demographics.

Yet despite this huge visitation, Yahoo has had major trouble in turning a profit. Revenue figures for the past few months are around $1.57bn but the conversion to profit is only a relatively meagre $141 million.

So despite having a winning website in terms of visitation, converting it in to profit is still a major hurdle. They are making money, but now they're trying to figure out how they can make the most money out of their network, or maximize profit. This is easier said than done...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A 2 Year Old Comes for a Quickie

To live is to struggle
Our problems we juggle
Our worries we bury
Too much Emotion
Treat with Caution

Hold On Hold On
Lift a shield, defend
Gotta get through this bend
and so many others
For the ride to the Beyond
is a long one

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eye See a Rainbow

So I just happened to be caught in a conversation between two dog lovers during which a dog with two different eye colours was brought up. I say "that happens in humans as well". The reaction is "get out of here", that's not possible. Essentially that it is absurd.

So recalling it now I did some checking and surprise surprise, its called "Complete Heterochromia". Plain Heterochromia involves slight variations in eye colour.

Now I shall treat myself a proverbial cookie because I'm an arrogant SOB!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

War in Iraq

Invading Iraq was all about the oil. That's what everyone was saying. But recently I began to think that this wasn't the case, that there was actually a far simpler reason for the invasion. I didn't have any evidence, but now I do.

Just imagine you're running the World's foremost superpower. To maintain your prominence you use just about every trick in the book. You've been in this position for such a long time, that many believe you are untouchable. Suddenly in a seemingly absurd move, major locations of said nation are under attack.

I can tell you I was surprised at the news. Someone told me "The US is under attack". I was like "yeah yeah whatever". But when I switched on my TV it was shocking to see it actually happening.

So naturally those running the US couldn't possibly let this pass. Doing so would be a great sign of weaknesses and unacceptable to the local populace. So they went after the culprits and headed to Afghanistan. But they failed to capture Bin Laden who escaped. This seemingly appears as a failure.

To prove their dominance they go in to Iraq. I mean it's a bit strange that after all this time suddenly Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction and now it's time to invade? But if it was about the oil... well it had been there for ages. So suddenly they go in and take over. The message is clear, we can and will invade if we have to.

Both invasions were the result of defensive (in the sense of maintaining prominence) measures designed to show a sign of strength. If it hadn't been for the 9/11 attacks, I doubt any military action would have taken place. Not to mention both invasions have been costly in terms of manpower and expenses. However it seems like the damage to the invincible image has been done considering the number of nations actively defying US influence.

So what's the evidence for dispelling the oil motive? Well it turns out that since 2003 the only oil extraction in Iraq has been undertaken by China, a strong economic rival to the US. Unless major players in the US government have stakes in the Chinese firms, they would not benefit.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Creatures of the Night

So I'm strolling home when I'm confronted by these strange things proceeding across a telephone line. I tried to get a good snap, and my phone showed an excellent picture of one of them silhouetted perfectly against the sky, but it actually snaps what comes a second afterward...sigh.

These are apparently pretty common, but I haven't seen them before. I've seen bats, but not these. However I don't think its time to open an X-file just yet...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ARISE-The Music, The Life, The Reason- Sri Lankan Metal Music Documentary Teaser Trailer is out NOW!!!...

DRG and realskullzero are being busy since last November because they engaged in shooting material for this groundbreaking amateur documentary about the Sri Lankan metal music genre with the visions of the four underground bands that represent various sub genres of metal...
Now everythings being put to the right places and the film is passing its final editing stage. To give a glimpse of what it is gonna be like, we have put up a teaser trailer in Youtube for you to watch...
So just check it out and tell us what you think and most importantly spread the word around...

For more info visit the Facebook Group - Click here 


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Private Medical Faculty Saga

This post was triggered by a news article I saw on the dailymirror website, where Gamini Samaranayake had stated that the UGC had'nt granted approval for the establishment of Private Medical Colleges -PMC in Sri Lanka. The self appointed pundits on almost every subject on earth that take great pleasure in commenting on almost every news article on DM seemed to have had a field day in vilifying and distastefully attacking Dr. Samranayake- a very learned and one of the foremost intellectuals in the country.

First and foremost, the decision to establish or not establish a PMC in Sri Lanka is one that Samaranayake is not respnsible for, so let's stop calling a guy who has several doctorates a mutt etc. Of course this behavious is rather typical of Sri Lankans who are easily aroused and blindly start pointing fingers at people in authority, without evening knowing the procedures and protocols that are followed in the public service. It seems to me that everyone is an expert on this matter judging from the comments on DM... before I get down to the nitty gritties of the issue.. lets just say that i am not wholly opposed to a PMC in the country.

The primary issue that has to be dealt with is the quality of these so called graduates. From what i know these Med students will have their clinical appointments at Apollo and Oasis, need i even say that their exposure to severe or even mild truama would be pretty much limited. Add to that the amount of patients at these hospitals are pretty limited, as opposed to a student studying at government medical faculty who would see upto 50 medical or surgical cases a day.

So provided that these graduates pass out, pass the Act 16 exam and qualify for government jobs we would have a bunch of doctors who are book smart but not exactly geared to handle emergency situations. Which would severely compromise the quality patient care.

Not that I am opposed to the idea of PMC... personally i feel very privileged that i had enough marks to get into a government medical school, and i am fully aware that most of my class mates who were probably a lot smarter and a lot more hard working than me couldn't. The issue here is not a case of Uni students being xenophobic to private education... but one must look at the ground realities and understand that the purported PMC in Malabe is one that is destined to produce sub-standard doctors.

Knowing the Sri Lankan public and the politicians who are remarkably quick to start accusing doctors of this that and the other...(take the recent situation where a surgeon was taken to task for performing a so called cosmetic procedure at state expense.. where in fact he was treating morbid obesity in one of the most effective ways acknowledged in the medical community.) this does not bode well for the future of the medical profession in the country.

Of course the politicians in this country qwould relish such an opportunity,,, blame it all on the Docs... cant blame them really, its probably a great way to cover up their swindling of billions of rupees from the state health service.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Tale of Websites

A very long time ago I created my first website. I did so because my friend said it was kinda 'cool' and I should definitely do so. Naturally I rushed off to as he directed and created my account.

Everyone in school had a website then. My friends said "My name is XXXX. I am 12 years old. I like Cheetahs." Funny enough he soon started getting mails from a retired American Navy Man who was in his late 40's. I thought it was a bit odd, but being 12 I didn't know what it was. This guy kept mailing my friend as months went by informing him about how he just bought a new computer and it just went on. Apparently he really liked Cheetahs too! I figure now that he was definitely a Pedo...

Anyway this first site was lame, as lame as everyone else's. So I wanted to create something that wasn't crap. So being a big fan of Star Wars Jedi Knight II, I created a site to host something I made. A secret locations guide. OoooooH!

This time though not satisfied with the Angelfire web editor and also because of the significant cost associated with creating pages online I used notepad instead. These were the days when connecting to the Internet was only associated with Peeky Peeky Peeky PEEEEEKYYYYYYYYYYYY Peeky Peeky Peek.

But creating the site in this manner required careful planning. Having a fair number of pages I soon learned the problem of using the regular linking, which created links that led to my harddrive... very frustrating. Changes in structure also lead to broken links in multiple places. Uploading images also had to be planned to military precision to save money. All in all it was fun and had quite a few pages. I liked my site, it was cooler than the other crap everyone else had, but it never really took off. I was pleased, it had a set scope of content which I achieved and that was that. Eventually it was forgotten.

It was much later that I created a different site that actually had some traffic. In 2004 a game called Chrome came out. I kinda liked it though it wasn't great. Went on to the official forum and somehow got stuck there. I ended up answering people's queries on there, and there were a lot of ANGRY people for the game's shortcomings.

Soon the dev's asked me to become the official moderator. I did. Then I noticed that a lot of the complaints were being repeated in different threads, newer threads. So in my infinite wisdom I created a FAQ of well... FAQ's! I dubbed it ingeniously... the I'm Stuck Guide! I then needed a place to host it...

Dun Dun Dun... the birth of a new website, this time on Geocities. I started with the I'm Stuck Guide which significantly reduced the number of complaints on the official forum. Over time the FAQ grew... but then new less frequent problems came along, like how to play etc.

So then I expanded... added a full walkthrough complete with picturZ! I created a homepage (with a picture!) that led to another index page of stuffs. Soon the traffic was rolling in. My account was being taken off due to exceeding daily allotted bandwidth. But this was due to large images being scaled down. One user actually sent me a mail telling me to resize them and to use IrfanView. I still use it today.

So after resizing all the images, I still got blocked after bandwidth usage was too high. Then another user told me to switch to his brothers web hosting service, with no bandwidth restrictions. After some consideration I did. There were some relatively minor challenges, but the site was eventually completed and traffic was still good. I monitored with Stat Counter. Days with peak activity were tied to excessive activity on the Chrome official forum. I still moderated there. I created sticky threads linking to my site, and my signature also linked to my site.

The dev's of Chrome... Techland based in Poland sent me some freebies for my trouble. A Chrome mug and shirt.CoolZ. The forum was managed and the site kept getting traffic.

But then an unsolvable problem hit the game. The complaints got larger and larger, more vocal. Fusioncities was bought over and my site just erased. I wasn't making any profit from these activities and eventually exited.

Today I realize that creating a site is easy. The challenge lies in the maintenance and growth which is achieved through the creation of relevant and rich content. If you don't plan for it and successfully capture/hold people's attention, then you're pretty much doomed. Content is king.

Monday, September 14, 2009

They Must be MAD

Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Enrichment and Nuclear Programmes are something we hear a lot about these days. With states such as Iran and North Korea trying to develop their own warheads coming to much international condemnation, it seems everyone agrees that Nukes are a bad thing.

Nukes were definitely a good thing to have at one point... namely in 1945 when the US was the only nation to possess them. It gave incredible power that could not be matched by any nation. But once the Soviets developed (or stole) their own in 1953 it didn't seem like such a great idea anymore.

Gone was that Ace Up The Sleeve... instead we had Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Once a nuke was launched the other would retaliate. It is for this reason that no nuclear weapons have been fired on any other nation since 1945. Not to mention that the horrid immediate devastation and after effects are something nobody wants to see.

So when there were only two, Gorby (Gorbachev) wanted to reduce the number of warheads with that Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. A smart move since the number of nukes possessed during the early 90's was enough to blow the world up several times over and constant production of warheads was costly, more so for the USSR.

But now we see Obama on the path to try and eliminate nukes. But the truth is these actions are to benefit the US. Why? Simply because in a world without Nukes the US will have a much better competitive edge over other nations. The power of a Nuclear Weapon gives a smaller state like North Korea the ability to inflict tremendous damage without needing the support of a large army. The reverse is true for the United States.

So naturally the US wants them out. But is this really feasible? If there is a way to construct the weapons, then surely someone will always manufacture it somehow. In fact with more nations having nuclear weapons, the chance of actual large scale wars is significantly reduced as "Nuclear Deterrence" goes beyond simple 'MAD'. In fact this is one large factor to why the Cold War stayed Cold. In a way they are truly peacemakers.

So can we ever rid the world of Nuclear Weapons? I highly doubt it. Campaigning for their removal seems like a total waste of time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creep Cover

Love this song...

Thanks to Matyrhead for giving the Korn acoustic cover eons ago...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ready for a Revolution?

Well our good friend Whackster, doing a tremendously good job with his communications efforts informed us of Beyond Borders and its work. Apparently they are open for recruitment. Might be something some of you want to check out... For more information visit their website or blog for more info.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Welcome to Nerdsville

Karl Marx was right, the human species derives a sense of worth from their employment or whatever that they are doing. Never was this so obvious to me as I was watching Harold and Kumar go to White Castle on Zee a couple of days back.

FOr all of the film's not so subtle humour, the naked girls and the exposed breasts the only thing that really struck me about the film was when Kumar treated a pneumothorax by inserting a wide bore needle into the patient's 2nd intercostal space.

Sound's like a movie full of nerd porn? For those of you that haven't watched the movie its a ninty minute extravaganza that could best be described as a slightly less vulgar American Pie movie. Anyways, what really struck me was that the movie seemed memorable only for the aforementioned incident, perhaps to a pot-head it might have struck a chord due to Kumar being a Ganja aficionado, to an Asian guy coz Harold is your typicl hard working Chinese dude.

Anyway the point am trying to make is our reality is tinted by what we do and what we are and more often that not, these two situations are a conscious choice. Personally I found it normal when I was sitting at McDonalds with a bunch of firends and when one of my friends noticed that the lady sitting at the next table had an unilateral facial nerve palsy. The ensuing conversation was about which branch of the Facial Nerve could be injured, some said it could be the buckle nerve branch.. but then how coould she eat? For the buccinator is supplied by the buckle etc. etc.

Even the jokes I hear are medically oriented nowadays( even the dairty ones). For example while I was examining a friend's cadaver for their inguinal canal...i overheard him telling a girl in the group "We should name this cadaver Brianna Banks!!! I found a spermatic chord in her mouth!!" LOL pretty sick joke ... but then again.. it was kinda nerdy at the same time.

Even the riddles that people come with nowadays are the same. Name three similarities between the Vas Deferens and a female's oesophagus.. the answer? They are both tubes, they are both 25 cm long and both can carry sperm.. LOL

Anyways... after that rather detached tangent where i managed to prove that most of Sri Lanka's medical students are sexually frustrated. My point is this: we are what we do! So would that mean that I would be a different person if i had chosen a different undergraduate degree. Would SkullZero be different if he wasnt some online marketing mumbo jumbo?

So say if i were to fail my exams and was subsequently kicked out of med school.. would i loose a part of me? If someone looses their job do they also loose meaning in their life? Strange to think that we sometimes take jobs that we absolutely hate with the reassuring thought of ..oh its only a job... its not gonna be my life.. but are we being consumed by what we do?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Walking in Another Man's Shoes

A concept brought up in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch states "you never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked around in them"

So to carry on the tale from where I left off, my illustrious sandwich scheme was stopped by none other than my worst enemy, The Pakistani Ambassador's Son. He saw it, told his mother, who told my mother and the rest is history.

Now this guy was someone I used to hate, he was the bad guy, always doing petty things like that. My view of him stayed this way until I was forced to walk around in his shoes. Due to negotiations between our mothers, I had to go to his house for an evening. Neither of us was really looking forward to that, at least that's what I thought.

But when I got there this guy was super enthusiastic. He's like "Come Come! Quickly" as soon as his mother is gone. We run in to the closet under the stairs (sounds dirty I know!) but this is where the house food hoard is kept (stacks of soft drink cans, chocolates etc) was and he quickly offers me a drink.

I'm like that's a bit fast... but ok. He starts gulping down his one like a madman. Once's he's done he grabs another one and hands it to me whilst grabbing another for himself. I'm like "dude what's wrong with you?". He doesn't say anything but quickly pulls the ring with the snap-hiss and starts gulping.

He doesn't get very fast. "MAAAYHAAARRRR.... WHERE ARE YOU?" his mother bellows. He freezes, but says nothing. We stay still in the cupboard. It's very quiet. He quietly keeps drinking. A few seconds later the door of the closet flies open. I can't remember the rest properly, but I'm remember my visit was over and I was swiftly exiled from the premises, never to return again.

I soon realized that while I got to get to my own drink hoard whenever I wanted to, this guy was denied everything by his mother. It became clear that he wasn't the bad guy, his mother was.

Another time we had an assignment where we had to trace our own shadows on to a cardboard sheet. I remember it was a pain in the ass, requiring my brother's assistance, and we got a good silhouette. This guy, Mayhar comes in with some hand drawn cartoon shadow with a super long nose and bald head... which made him the laughing stock of the entire class. He didn't have any brothers or sisters, and probably an absent father, so I guess either he drew it himself, or his mother did to spite him.

Those days I summed up his mother was the bad guy... but really there is no such thing. I'm pretty sure she had her own experiences in life that made her that way... nothing is ever so simple.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Who is to Blame? God, Karma, or Chaos?

How does one exactly start a tirade? Let me jump straight in to a story.

"When I was a child in Iraq, I remember one day laughing and pointing out that a girl was wearing the same outfit she had the day before. Seemed like something to laugh about at the time. But I was soon sharply told off by our resident Yugoslavian, ‘We’re not all rich like you to change our clothes everyday!’

It was at this point that I looked down at my intricately woven United Colours of Benetton sweater and compared it to the generic single colour outfits worn by my compatriots that might have come from the Pettah market. It was a rude awakening. I realized I had so much more than them. I went from snob to humbled in a single moment.

Shortly after I started to give away my Nutella sandwiches that I was provided for lunch in exchange for local food from others. The country was under sanctions, nothing luxurious was available. This went on for a while until my parents found out and well told me I was quite frankly insane and did not know the value of money. Looking back on it now I guess I can see their point."

So I’m going to ask you now, what did I do that earned me all the comforts in life that included Satellite TV, a Benz, chocolate, Pepsi, Mega Drive that just about everyone else was denied? Being about 10 I doubt I had done anything to win the favour of any deity.

If it was God, why had an entire nation been singled out for supposed punishment? Surely the little children growing up in the country hadn’t committed any kind of crime, yet they were also pulled in. It doesn’t make sense. My mother said something along the lines of ‘the people here used to live in ridiculous excess, throwing away half eaten bread and not realizing the value of things, but now they realize.’ That seems to be a Karma argument, but could be attributed to God.

But then surely looking at the situation today where people in Japan’s cities are lining up at soup kitchens to receive a single meal a day, no longer having a job to sustain them, what have we done in Sri Lanka to deserve a fate better than them? Have we performed some noble feat to please God? Were we collectively well behaved in our previous lives to earn us good Karma? You could argue Japan has committed horrific war crimes, but are those the bulk of the people living in the country today? You could say Iraq invaded Kuwait, but not all Iraqi's were behind Saddam Hussein, he was a dictator.

Or could it be the scary thought that the Universe is governed by a systematic form of Chaos? Things just happen. They are unpredictable and without warning. At any second a natural disaster can show its unsightly face, much like the 2004 tsunami and wipe out lives without scrutiny.

Is it possible that we as men strive to rationalize an irrational world by easing our mental burdens with belief schemes? We implement laws, customs, practices and processes to maintain a sense of regularity and control that can rudely be interrupted at any point.

I don’t seek to rob you of the comfort that your deity gives you, but is that how we go to sleep at night? We justify all terrible events as being something we deserved either by Karma or punishment from God. There has to be a reason for misery, I mean if its all random and senseless, well that’s just plain scary.