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[gyaan.in] Monthly Archive – July 2009

By on Aug 9, 2009 in Personal | 0 comments

It has been two weeks now since gyaan.in was launched. Let me take this opportunity to, once again, say a big ‘Thank You!’ to all members of the gyaan.in community and visitors of gyaan.in who have ensured that this initiative is off to a great start. We have ‘question of the day’ threads going on at gyaan.in daily, and this post is a compilation of the best questions asked in the month of July 2009. These are in no particular order. Which is the Indian city whose Maharana was the only royalty who did not attend the Delhi Durbar for King George V in 1911, and why? (by bhavika) Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur. He kept his place at the Delhi Railway Station, where the King Emperor came to meet him—as one ruler meets another with equal honour, because Udaipur is the only city which has never been captured by the Mughals. Their defence was impenetrable. 1908 Summer Olympics were actually to be held in Rome, but something happened that eventually made the venue shift to London. What was it? (by nasri) Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1906, so Italians couldn’t afford to hold the games while reconstruction was going on. Which dictator titled himself: “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor____________, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”? (by Galen) Idi Amin What is a wrackground image? (by Kush) Any kind of texture or background image on a web page that does not let the viewers properly read the text displayed on the page, due to bright colors of the image/texture. Rolex has created only one digital watch till date. Where can you find it? (by crystalunicorn) Wimbledon There are only two batsmen in the history of English cricket who have scored centuries on their away and home TEST debuts. One of them is the current opening batsman Andrew Strauss; who’s the other? (by venky) Ranjitsinhji. He scored 62 and 154 not out against Australia at Old Trafford in his first Test, becoming the second batsman after W. G. Grace to score a century on his debut for England and also the first batsman to score 100 before lunch (on the third day, moving from 41 not out to 154 not out in just over 2 hours). He scored 175 in the first innings of his first overseas Test, also against Australia in 1897 (at that time it was the highest score that had ever been made for England in Test cricket). Which noted Indian personality’s father was one of the three main (Indian) contractors who built Connaught Place? The other two were Sardar Dharam Singh and Rai Bahadur Narain Singh. (by bhavika) Khushwant Singh Which organization was started after its founder came to know about two students who had been sent to jail for a period of seven years for raising a toast ‘to liberty’? (by ankurb) Amnesty International Codenamed ‘Milan’ this piece of ‘hardware’ was introduced at the D5 conference in 2007. As soon as it was launched on April 17, 2008, it found a place in the Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, Innoventions Dream Home and was used by MSNBC for the 2008 US Presidential elections. It was the brainchild of Mr. Steven B and Mr. Andy W. (by boris) Microsoft Surface The first thing you notice about the Red Fort is the great wall or the ‘curtain’ which stands in front of the Lahore Gate (the one on Chandni Chowk). But this wall wasn’t built by Shah Jahan; in fact, it was a later addition by Aurangzeb. Why did he build it? (by bhavika) Court etiquette decreed that, as long as the nobles were in view of the emperor, they had to move about on foot and not on horseback or palanquins. They also had to keep bowing, à la Mughal-e-Azam. So Aurangzeb built the curtain wall, and the the courtiers simply became invisible to him. He probably did it because he found all this protocol irritating. What is in the dark (refer to the picture)? (by achu_182) ‘Tumbler’ (better known as ‘Batmobile‘) from Chris Nolan’s Batman franchise. Born in 1963, who holds the position of Chief Happiness Officer in the company he works for? (by achu_182) Ronald McDonald Which Bollywood film’s director offered a money back guarantee if the audience did not like it, but kept his promise to only 5000 viewers across India? (by crystalunicorn) Mani Shankar for Mukhbiir What connects the names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? (by pearlsinghal) They’re all named after Renaissannce age artists – Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo and Michelangelo. Connect Youtube, a game called Zero Wing by Sega, and Simply Awful. (by achu_182) Zero Wing gave us “All your base belong to us” which was popularised in the forum Simply Awful (similar to 4chan) and was used by Youtube as an April Fool’s prank) Fool On The Hill is a song originally written by Paul McCartney and recorded by the Beatles in 1967 eventually appearing in the Magical Mystery Tour album. In April of ’75 it also entered history. Why? (by Rhead) In April 1975, at the Homebrew Computer Club fourth meeting, Steve Dompier programmed his MITS Altair 8800 personal computer to play The Fool on the Hill. The trick was that the output device...

Launching gyaan.in

By on Jul 20, 2009 in Personal | 17 comments

At long last, gyaan.in is finally here. The concept has been in cold storage, then development for quite a while and I’m happy to say that we’re launching today. Yes, it’s been delayed for some time, but I’m quite happy that we’re launching today. ;) gyaan.in is primarily a forum where Indian quizzers can interact with each other – share questions and question archives, notify upcoming quizzes, discuss general topics. One thing we felt was that many options out there right now were technologically lacking. Most quiz forums these days are on Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups and neither of the two provide flexibility to users in terms of uploading attachments, embedding images and YouTube videos, embedding audio files. Quizzes these days use multimedia in higher proportions. gyaan.in‘s platform doesn’t restrict you in such ways. We also aren’t using old-school forum software like phpBB which, frankly, look terrible. We’re running Vanilla Forum which gives you more usability with a better interface than the others; interface is quite like an email inbox actually. The technological advantage isn’t the primary reason why we’re starting this. We want to provide a platform where there are no ‘official positions’ – the community chooses which direction to take the forum. To put it quite simply, a forum where we quiz for the love of quizzing. To this extent, we have created a charter for gyaan.in: Nothing Official About It At gyaan.in we intend to extend informal interactions between members. For too long in the quizzing circle people have considered each other in a mildly to overtly hostile manner. Informal interactions – members getting to know each other as real people – instead of simply ‘competitors to defeat’ should make a nicer quizzing world. Don’t Be Evil An extension of point 1, at gyaan.in we intend to ensure that no sort of politicking kicks in. To maintain sanity (actually, to combat spam) we will have moderators on the forum but we do not intend to have any sort of ‘positions’. You – the user – have your say in matters and the community decides collectively on its future. What we will have, instead, are evangelists / moderators within the community to spread the word. If you’re interested in being more actively involved in organizational matters then please get in touch with us at contact [at] gyaan [dot] in. Quizzing, But Not For Points We do not intend to have a league table to keep track of who’s getting how many questions right on the gyaan.in forum or events. Partly this is intended to ensure that members who arrive late to the scene aren’t disadvantaged by early adopters who have had a head-start in answering questions. The main reason, however, is that we don’t want it to become Yet Another Place To Look At Other People As Competitors. IRL Once members get acquainted with each other on the Web, we would like to extend the interaction by holding ‘offline’ meets where you can get to converse with members IRL (‘in real life‘). Some of these meets could be where a small quiz is conducted, others could be simply informal meets. Quality Content Providing regular, quality content quizzes, articles, news, archives. Giving you a platform where you can share such resources easily – with our dedicated team of gyaan.in moderators providing editorial support. Content would cover oft-ignored topics in quizzing circles too such as technology and contemporary music. Promote Quizzing In Delhi, Especially In Schools Compared to other cities like Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai etc Delhi is often considered to be ‘lagging behind’. While that isn’t entirely true, we do feel that a lot more can be done in encouraging schoolkids to take up quizzing. Our first focus would be to make significant progress on this front in Delhi. Getting started at gyaan.in is easy. Visit the site and if you aren’t already a member, then click on the ‘Apply for membership’ link. This is a short registration form which will send some basic details. A moderator will manually approve your account – this is done to ensure that no spam bots get into the system. The forum is not pre-moderated, i.e., as soon as your account is active you can start being a part of the discussions. We will not put messages into a moderation queue for posting. However, if community members report content as offensive or spam then we’ll look into and try to resolve the situation. That’s basically it! Click on the ‘Start a new discussion’ link to start a new topic. You have a WYSIWYG editor to compose and format your message. If you want to embed YouTube videos click on ‘HTML’ in the formatting bar and insert the video code. Images can be uploaded as attachments, or uploaded online elsewhere (say imageshack.us or TinyPic) and then inserted by pasting URL after click the ‘image’ icon (next to smiley icon). To send messages to particular user on the forum, click on that person’s username. This will take you to that person’s profile where you’ll find a Facebook style ‘wall’ where you converse directly with a user on the forum. I’ve been using the pronoun ‘we’ in this post, so who exactly is ‘we’? We are the moderators behind gyaan.in. I’m Ankur Banerjee, you can find out about me here. Rishav Dey proposed the idea for gyaan.in and has played a major in...

Gyaan.in logo

By on Mar 22, 2009 in On A Whim | 34 comments

A few weeks ago I had announced that I’m starting work on a new project called Gyaan.in (the domain is currently redirecting to a parking page while we work on it). To give a quick recap, Gyaan.in will be launched soon as an initiative to promote quizzing in Delhi and provide a platform to quizzers to carry forth discussions on a far more versatile platform than Google Groups or Yahoo! Groups (this is what most quizzing societies in India use these days). We seek feedback from the community. There are a few logos which we have come up with and would like have your feedback on which would be the best to go forward with. The first logo here was made by me. The idea behind the Indic script is to give that ‘Indian’ touch. The Spanish inverted question mark is used to replace an ‘i’. There were loads of other suggestions such as pencils, books, lightbulbs, etc which are kinda overused. The inverted question mark though would be quite distinctive. It does look a bit ‘plain’ but the idea behind this was that a two-colour thing would look good even when printed in black & white, or on merchandize such as T-shirts. I asked from inputs from others who’re active participants (Prateek, Karmanya, Vishesh, Chirag, Rishav) – and Vishesh came up with a few modifications. His first modification uses a mirror image of the inverted question mark and completes the bar on top of the letters. In all other aspects the idea behind the logo is the same. Please note that for both logos (this one and the earlier one) the colour of question mark is open for change. Vishesh came up with two other interesting ideas, which keep the logo the same but add a bit of gloss to the logos. The second one of the two even uses a coloured background. While these would be good for using online, it may be a problem to print these in monochrome on paper or on clothing. (We could use these as ‘official’ badges which members can display on their blogs / websites though. These two should definitely look good on-screen.) Help us out. Which logo do you think we should use? Do you think we should change the colours used in any of the logos you think we should use? What about having different looks for logos and badges? Or do we need to completely rethink the logo. Leave your comments here simply choosing a logo number – and if you feel like it with further feedback on your choice. We’re listening. Update: LimeIce has given a distinctive redesign to the logo, without using Indic fonts. What do you think? Update 2: Vishesh has sent in some updated logos. I think logo 2 in set 1 would look good with an orangish gradient bar over ‘n’, but not over the inverted question mark. For monochrome printing purposes we’ll just flatten it to one colour. You may need to click through to the full size image to see the gloss properly. Update 3: Everyone has been so helpful with the feedback. Thank you to each and everyone! :) Based on the responses I got here, on Twitter, via email / IM / phone I find that most people support the second logo. Vishesh implemented the suggested change to set 1 logo 2, and here we have it. This one’s almost final...

Gyaan.in

By on Jan 28, 2009 in Personal | 6 comments

Coming soon…a forum for quizzers at Gyaan.in. To be accompanied by offline meets under the same group for encouraging and nurturing quizzing in Delhi. Expect this somewhere around the end of February. (Because I expect that by then the school exams would have finished, thus allowing more people to join this initiative.) This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – something related to quizzing – and I’m happy to see Rishav and Prateek spur me on to do this, along with Karmanya who I roped in later. Full details would be up later when the site is launched so I’ll keep it hush-hush right now. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a ‘premium’ domain name hadn’t been snapped by anyone yet! About the placeholder pic: No, that’s not our actual logo. That will be revealed later at the launch. This is just a placeholder. Had a tough time finding out a usable logo. Why is that even after being such a best-selling book, there are hardly any high-resolution Hogwarts logos available?! (To clarify further: No, the actual logo has nothing to do with Hogwarts. Although it’s kinda poetic that there are four ‘founding members’ as of now for this initiative. I wanna be the snake-guy.) I’m leaving town for a cousin’s wedding today. Will be offline for a few days. For the ones who’ve their school exams coming up, wish you...