Saturday, December 15, 2012

5 years ago

Microsoft buys Christmas



Back in 2000, Microsoft and Bill Gates were always making news. Many of us had just started using internet as the word wide web was still gaining popularity and getting adopted. During the same time, Microsoft went around acquiring smaller IT companies to increase their workforce and dominance, while Gates was still the CEO. Below is a write up from those days.
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NORTH POLE (API) - MICROSOFT announced an agreement with Santa Claus Industries to acquire Christmas at a press conference held via sattelite from Santa's summer estate somewhere in the southern hemisphere. In the deal, Microsoft would gain exclusive rights to Christmas, Reindeer, and other unspecified inventions. In addition, Microsoft will gain access to millions of households through the Santa Sleigh.
The announcement also included a notice that beginning Jan 1, 2001, Christmas and the Reindeer names would be copyrighted by Microsoft. This unprecedented move was facilitated by the recently acquired MS Court. Microsoft stated its commitment to "all who have made Christmas great," and vowed to "make licensing of the Christmas and Reindeer names available to all." It is believed that the guidelines for licensing these names, due before Halloween, will be very strict.

When asked "Why buy Christmas?" Bill Gates replied "Microsoft has been working on a more efficient delivery mechanism for all of our products for some time, but recognized that the Santa Sleigh has some immediate benefits. We'll use it first for the release of WindowsXP and OfficeXP."

In a multimedia extravaganza, the attendees were shown a seamingly endless video stream of products that make up the deal. It ended with a green and red version of the Microsoft logo, and a new Christmas XP trademark, leading into the announcement of the first product from the deal.

Vixen, the new Director of Holidays and Celebrations said, "The first step is to assimilate Christmas within the Microsoft Organization. This will take some time, so don't expect any changes this year." She continued, "Our big plans are for next year, when we release Christmas XP. It will be bigger and better than last year." She further elaborated that "WindowsXP users who sign up with MS Network will get sneak previews of Christmas[XP] as early as November first."

Christmas XP is scheduled for release in December of 2001, though it may be released ahead of schedule. An economist at Goldman Sachs explained that a slip would be catastrophic to next year's economy and the nation's tax revenue, possibly requiring the IRS to move the deadline for filing income tax returns to three months after Christmas, whenever that was. "But it could be good in the long term," he explained. "With Microsoft controlling Christmas, we may see it move to May or June, which are much slower months for retailers. This may serve to even out the economy over the year."

When asked if other holidays are being considered, Mr. Gates explained that "Christmas is the flagship of holidays, so we wanted to start there. Not all holidays are available for sale, and the remaining will have to show a good long term business," suggesting that holidays with a short history may not be in the plans.

Though specific terms of the agreement were withheld pending final FTC approval, a Santa official confirmed that the deal was "sizable, even for a man of Santa's stature." Some analysts think that Santa has saturated the Holiday market, and is looking for a means to expand his business to year 'round products and services. Others contend that the Jolly Red Man is looking to retire in Redmond.

A spokesperson for the most famous Reindeer could not be reached for comment.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

One wish

Ask Believe Receive




1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 
7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

- James 1: 1-8

Today, we will just focus on two verses: Verse 5 and 6.


Verse 5:
Those who suffer trials in life need wisdom. They need the wisdom to know how to deal with those trials. It will help them to understand the trials. And it will help them to decide what they must do. God gives this wisdom so that they can choose to do what is right. They will know how God would want them to live in their troubles. Then they can overcome them all and not give up the struggle. God alone can give this wisdom to them. All who feel the need of it must ask God for it. He will answer the prayers of those who ask for it. But they must believe that he will give it. God is kind and generous. He gives to them, freely and without limit, all that they need. God does not blame those who ask. They need not be afraid to ask too much or too often. God is always ready to give to them all that they need. He is never angry with them for their lack of wisdom. He is so often much more ready to give it to them than they are ready to ask for it  - hence Ask.

Verse 6:
When people ask God for wisdom, they must believe. They must believe that God will hear their prayer. They must be confident that God will do what they ask. Having asked, they must receive the answers. And they must obey what God tells them to do. They must be firm and constant in their trust in God. They must not doubt that God will answer them. And they must not doubt that he is able to do it. God will not answer the prayers of those who doubt. Those who doubt do not know what to think or expect. James says that persons like that are like the waves of the sea. The wind drives the waves in one way and then another. As the wind varies, so do the waves. The water moves and is never still. It does not settle; it has no rest. Those who doubt are just like that. They are just like waves that the changing wind blows about - hence Believe.

.. and Receive.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Misplaced

The companion of prudence


“Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. ’I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion’” (Proverbs 8:10-12).

We spend most of our time energy and resources to attain those things that are most valuable to us. People have their priorities and work towards accomplishing those goals. To many people money and riches are most valuable, so they spend hours working and investing to increase their wealth. To others, lifestyle is important, so all their resources go into their houses, cars, boats and the things they do.

Wisdom, now speaking for herself, claims to dwell or live with Prudence, or practical wisdom. She is the constant companion of Prudence; the two are never separated. True wisdom is the innermost life and reality, and it expresses itself in the large prudence which sees more points than can be seen by mere cleverness.

Wonder how many are willing to trade their youth, so that they can dwell with her.

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Giving up & Success


"Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else."
-Brian Tracy 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today


Hope you had a wonderful day today.

One thing remaining






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Few Quotes


10 Inspiring Quotes for Uninspiring Times

Few inspirational quotes for you to cheer up:


Your best music is still inside you. 

It’s never too late to be who you could have been.

You are greater than the problems you face. 

Challenges are simply opportunities.

Tough times serve a purpose.

There’s no excuse for giving up on your goals.

You are closer than you were yesterday. 

Your opinion of YOU is what’s important.

It’s OK to let some people walk away. 

There’s a lot to appreciate in this moment. 


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How the blind sees


A 75-year-old grandpa who has been blind from cataracts for almost 15 years said to his grandchild, “Your grandma is just the most beautiful thing, isn’t she?”

The grandchild paused for a second and said, “Yes she is. I bet you miss seeing that beauty on a daily basis.”

“Sweety,” the grandpa said, “I still see her beauty every day. In fact, I see it more clearly now than I used to, when we were young & I had my eyesight.”

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The triumph of the truth



It was a day or two before people were rushing everywhere making preparations. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. It was almost dark and some streets were already lighted.

"Daily Star, Sir", called a thin lad with a bundle of papers under his arm. He was ragged and tired and hungry and he knew that very soon he must go home. Passing a well-dressed officer, he called again holding a paper up with his right hand, "Daily Star, Sir. Only eight taka, Sir...Sir...Sir"

But the officer went on without saying a word. Little Rafiq had been up the street and down the street crying, "Daily Star" until his voice was almost gone and his heart was sad. There were still twenty papers under his arm. "An unlucky day it is!" sighed Rafiq. The shops would soon close, and all the people would go home. He would have to go home too, carrying the papers instead of money. It was hard. It was really hard for him. He had hoped to sell more papers tonight than usual. He had longed to have more money tonight to buy a cake for his mother and some bird-seed for his favourite pet Bulbul which his father had given him shortly before he died. He knew his mother had worked hard all day cooking, washing and cleaning for Mrs. Zaman. He broke down as he thought of his failure to sell his papers. He had spent all the money that both he and his mother had to buy them. It was much more than he could bear, and it seemed as though his little heart had broken.

"Hello, Rafiq. Haven't you sold your papers yet? I sold mine two hours ago."

Rafiq looked up. It was Sardul, another newsboy.

"How many do you have left, Rafiq?"

"Twenty."

"Why? That’s more than hundred sixty!"

"Yes”, said Rafiq, "And I can't sell them. Nobody wants papers tonight". Tears began to flow from his deep black eyes.

"Rafiq,” said Sardul as he drew nearer to him so that no one would hear what he was going to say.

"I’ll tell you how I did it."

"How? Do tell me."

There was a wicked look in Sardul's eyes as he said, "You must run quickly up the street and shout, "Hot news, hot news. Bomb bursting in Rangpur. Many died. Scandal in high places."

Rafiq was startled. He plunged his hand into his pocket and felt the few notes that were there. Then, looking at Sardul in the face, Rafiq said, "But Sardul, that it’s not in the paper at all!"

"No, you softy, but nobody will catch you. Just run away quickly before they have time to see, and you will sell out and get your money."

Rafiq looked down; it was a new idea to him. He thought of his little Bulbul with no seed; of the money his mother had given him to help to pay for his papers; chitai that he wanted to buy for his mother. Rafiq was just a poor ragged newsboy, but he had been taught some good things. It was just a severe struggle to feed his mother, his bird and something nice to eat in one side; and on the other side a lie. He looked up and hissed out:

"Tell a lie for this? Never!" Brave little Rafiq! With tired legs, but true heart, he had to carry his papers home. His mother was waiting for him, weary herself after a hard day's work. Like the good patient mother that she was, she said not a single word about the money she so much needed. Rafiq told her all about Sardul's tricks, and to encourage him to do right always, she told him how his father had always tried, even when it was hard to do the right.

"Mother," said Rafiq. "When Sardul first told me, I almost thought I'd do it. I thought Allah wouldn't mind if I lied just once when He knew how I love you and my Bulbul. But all at once I began to go all hot and cold and to feel queer right here," and he put his hand over his heart, "And then I couldn't do it".

The boy went to bed, but no angel came to give him any money for having done the right, as stories sometimes read. In the morning he woke up with his outward rags to cover his inward righteousness. But he was happy in the knowledge that he had resisted the temptation.

That afternoon as usual Rafiq went to the office for his papers. The boys were crowding round Sardul, who was boasting that he sold six dozen the day before. Sardul added that Rafiq lost money because he would not tell a lie. The boys were shouting and pointing at Rafiq, who didn't know what to say or what to do. But while they were pushing Rafiq and laughing at him, a gentleman of 45 or 50heard it, and that was enough for him. He took Rafiq away from the crowd and into the street, and said to him, "You wouldn't tell a lie yesterday, my boy?" The man patted on Rafiq's tender shoulder. "Brave lad!" he repeated as Rafiq innocently told him about it. They walked on together, Rafiq and Mr. Iskandar, a keen, kind-hearted businessman who valued truthfulness and honesty, for on those he could always depend.

"Yes," he said to Rafiq, as though he had just finished working out his plan that he couldn't finish for long.

"Yes, you're just the boy I am looking for. When I saw you, I was just going into the office to ask the peon to find me a boy like you."

This was the Rifles Square, and a week after Rafiq started his new job, of course, in a new mood in new clothes. He lost the sale of twenty papers because he would not tell a lie, but he got a well-paid job because he told the truth.

Moral: True boys make true men.

How to say it



Marriage teaches us several things. Especially how to phrase certain questions to your spouse. You would think that you could ask your spouse anything in plain English - wrong; dead wrong! As a married man of few years, I’ve learned (the hard way) that I need to be careful what I say, how I say and when I say. For those of you who are going to be future husbands, here is some advice on what to say, and how to say.

DANGEROUS: What’s for dinner?
SAFER: Can I help you with dinner?
SAFEST: Where would you like to go for dinner?
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate

DANGEROUS: Are you wearing that?
SAFER: Hey, you look good in brown.
SAFEST: WOW! Look at you!
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate

DANGEROUS: What are you so worked up about?
SAFER: Could we be overreacting?
SAFEST: Here’s fifty dollars.
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate

DANGEROUS: Should you be eating that?
SAFER: You know, there are a lot of fruits left.
SAFEST: Can I get you a glass of wine with that?
ULTRASAFE: Have some chocolate

DANGEROUS: What did you do all day?
SAFER: I hope you didn’t over-do it today.
SAFEST: I’ve always loved you in that dress!
ULTRASAFE: Have some more chocolate.

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Sayings of famous women

Famous Quotes about women,


The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy. -Helen Hayes (at 73)

I refuse to think of them as chin hairs. I think of them as stray eyebrows.-Janette Barber

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse. -Lily Tomlin

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being, hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint. -Erma Bombeck

A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t. -Rhonda Hansome

The phrase “working mother” is redundant. -Jane Sellman

Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult. -Charlotte Whitton

When I was young, I was put in a school for retarded kids for two years before they realized I actually had a hearing loss. And they called ME slow! -Kathy Buckley

If high heels were so wonderful, men would still be wearing them. -Sue Grafton

I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it. - Marilyn Monroe

I’m not going to vacuum ’til Sears makes one you can ride on. -Roseanne Barr

When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. -Elayne Boosler

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman. -Margaret Thatcher

I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house. -Zsa Zsa Gabor

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Gift of Love



Holiday season is here and most of us are busy buying at least few things for others. In fact, there are numerous gifts that we give others during the course of one year. Some of these gifts are for those whom we consider special in our lives as well as family and friends. Most of the times, these gifts are not something very expensive, but acknowledgements of friendship, our time, a card or so.

Of those several gifts we wrap and give, have you ever thought, how many of them were gifts of love? The key difference is that gifts of love need not be, and most probably will not be materialistic. These gifts of love can take many forms including a smile. Smile being the most inexpensive gift of love, all is takes is a willingness within ourselves.

:-)

Reason for love



Once a lady was having a the following conversation with her man:

Lady: Why do you like me? Why do you love me?

Man: I can't tell the reason, but I really like you.

Lady: You can't even tell me the reason? How can you say you like me? How can you say you love me?

Man: I really don't know the reason, but I can prove that I love you.

Lady: Proof? No! I want you to tell me the reason. My friend's husband can tell her why he loves her but not you!

Man: Ok. ok ok. Because you are beautiful, because your voice is sweet, because you are caring, because you are loving, because you are thoughtful, because of your smile, because of your every movement.

The lady felt quite satisfied with the man's answer.

Few months later, this lady met with an accident and went in comma.

The man then placed a letter by her side, and below were it's contents:

Darling,
Because of your sweet voice that I love you. Now can you talk? No! Therefore I cannot love you.
Because of your care and concern that I like you. Now that you cannot show them, therefore I cannot love you.
Because of your smile, because of your every movement that I love you. Now can you smile? No. Therefore I cannot love you.
Now can you move? No, therefore I cannot love you.
If love needs a reason, like now, There is no reason for me to love you anymore.
Does love need a reason? NO!
Therefore, I still LOVE YOU.

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Fate determines who comes into our lives, but our heart determines who stays.

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The new librarian



These days we keep hearing about opening a new library at church, and I thought of sharing this one.

At a particular school, the newly appointed librarian decided that instead of checking out children's books by writing the names of borrowers on the book cards herself, she would have the youngsters sign their own names. She would then tell them they were signing a "Contract" for returning the books on time.

Her first customer was a second grader, who looked surprised to see a new Librarian. He brought four books to the desk and shoved them across to the Librarian, giving her his name as he did so.

The Librarian pushed the books back and told him to sign them out. The boy laboriously printed his name on each book card and then handed them to her with a look of utter disgust.

Before the Librarian could even start her speech he said, scornfully, "That other Librarian we had could write."

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Allegory of the Cave



"Men of Athens, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the God rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: 
Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?"  - Plato.

Plato, (428-347 B.C.), the Athenian philosopher  is considered as one of the most important figures of the Ancient Greek world and the entire history of Western thought. The Academy he founded was the world's first University in the western world and in it he trained his greatest student, the equally influential philosopher - Aristotle. In his written dialogues, Plato conveyed and expanded on the ideas and techniques of his teacher Socrates. Plato's most famous work is the "Republic," wherein he envisioned a civilization governed not by lowly appetites but by the pure wisdom of a philosopher - The King. According to Plato, there are three platonic images of wisdom.

The first one is called 'Leaving the Cave' - where wisdom is defined as enlightenment.

(Assuming you already watched the video posted above - if not, now is the time to watch before reading further).

In the Allegory* of the Cave, wisdom is depicted as getting out of the cave and coming to see things as "they really are." It's important to note that life outside the cave is not a complete break with being in the cave. We know about the same things: dogs, cats, boats, justice, and so on. But we no longer look at shadows cast by copies of these things. We see then in a new way, but also a truer way - we see the "prototypes" for the copies that exist in the cave. "Enlightenment" is different from our previous life, but related to it.

This image of wisdom stresses that part of being wise is to having "understanding."

For those interested, here is an analysis:



The movie 'The Matrix' models Plato's 'Allegory of the Cave.' It depicts a fictional future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality or cyberspace called 'The Matrix. This matrix is created by sentient machines to pacify and subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer 'Neo' discovers this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the "dream world" and into reality.

Conclusion:
Chained from childhood, we are told and educated about several things - forcing us to view things in a particular angle. We even follow numerous customs in an orthodox way. Unless we see, learn and experience things for ourselves, we won't understand the entire truth about it. Once we learn the truth and understand things, it is solely up to us whether to go back to watch and do things with those shadow watchers inside the cave.

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*Allegory = Story or Narrative.
Socrates used to narrate numerous stories so that listeners could relate and remember them.
Jesus used parables in the same way to get a particular message out to the listeners.
Aesop used fables to communicate his thoughts.