Friday, January 30, 2015

Tribute to Cartoonist R.K.Laxman; Starting My Own Cartoon Blog Johntoons

Here's a computer sketch I drew of R.K.Laxman's character, who doesn't have a name, as far as I know.

R.K.Laxman was one of the pioneers of cartooning in India along with Shankar, Abu Abraham, Mario Miranda, and others. Unfortunately, the current crop of cartoonists can't measure up to the high standards set by these pioneers. There was one Toms who drew cartoons for Malayala Manorama and then went on to set up his own publication. Nothing much is know about him after that.

R.K.Laxman stands out with his fluid lines, elegant brushstrokes, and acerbic wit. Though his talents declined during his later years, he kept drawing and caricaturing till the very end.

In school there was this wall paper we had on which were written the day's news. There was a small cartoon space in the right hand corner. As the school's multi-talented artist, it was my duty to fill this with Laxman's cartoon of the day. I must say I honed my cartooning skills drawing in this space.

I have now gone and started a cartooning blog called "Johntoons" at http://johntoons.blogspot.in. When Laxman's journey has ended mine as a cartoonist is just beginning. I am also buying a printer with scanner so that I can post cartoons here.

Wish me luck in this endeavour.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How I Got Rid of "Ester Nutzer"

For weeks it sat on my browser - Chrome - two words I had no clue about. "Ester Nutzer." I didn't know what it meant. Was it Malaware? Was it a spying program? Was it one of those phishing things I hear about. Though reasonably tech savvy I had no idea what this was.
The Offensive Erster Nutzer. Oh it's Erster! Sorry for that typo. Who bothers now!


I was completely at a loss.

I put a message of Facebook. The replies weren't encouraging. I searched the net and found that "Ester Nutzer" meant first user in German. Well I am the first user of my computer, who else could have access to it?

I downloaded a Malaware programme, which was of no use to remove those two hateful words. Again, the sense of loss continued unwittingly. I have too many documents of importance on the computer to want to lose anything. 
Only now have I realised the importance of backing up my data.

We live in an age devoid of privacy. Whatever we do is available and visible to someone sitting somewhere. I was thinking of this: is he reading my mail, is he deleting my files? Who is he? And
, interestingly,the US administration says they have a right to snoop into our emails in the greater interest of humanity. I know the security of the human race comes before anything else in this beleaguered world, but what about my security? Is there no guaranty for that?

Then today I went to the settings of my browser. (It is the icon with the three horizontal lines right at the top end of the browser.​)​ There again I find my friend "Ester Nutzer" sitting above my name as the first user. What the heck​?​
Get away, off with you, man. I don't want you snooping on my computer anymore. There was a small button to delete him. I did it.

Mercifully now my browser doesn't have his august presence imprinted on it. I can rest content.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don’t Believe Salesmen, Or, Their Talk

Two things happened today which disillusioned me irreparably about the profession I had been working in all along. Marketing. I was a copywriter for corporate in their corporate communication departments, which was, sort of, food on the table, and kept the home fires burning. I confess I wrote pretty gooey stuff for these companies that exploited my talent. But, all said and done, no regrets. At least, no major ones, that is, till today.

Today a friend thrust a medicine in my hand saying it was good for me, apparently, for my health condition. He is an marketing executive with a pharmaceutical company and I very trustingly gave him the cost of the medicine. I swallowed (wrote “ate” here, sorry) one of his pills and towards afternoon my body was itching and my hands had swollen up with welts as a result constant scratching. The friend had pulled a fast one and I was a sucker for his sales talk. Next time we meet I will wring his neck for the welts, and force feed him his own medicine. (I look at my welted hands as I type this.)

The second one is a trial software I installed. The goddamned thing doesn't have a functionality to remove it from my computer. Every day it sends messages to me to buy it for USD 19 only, per month. Am I mad? USD 19 per month is a royal amount considering I am not working anymore and whatever I scrape from the bottom is not sufficient enough. And, there are no retirement benefits to boot. (A clerk in a government department - a distant relation - draws a pension of Rs 18,000, which is a shame. They have been parasites and will remain so.) Imagine my state: no money; no software. Then I go to the directory where the programme is installed and try to delete it from there, from the root, sort of. It says I need special permission to do that. In fact, the company wants to s**** my happiness till I buy its software. Ahem!

Both the above are instances of aggressive marketing. Face it, we are living in an age of marketing with no care for the consumer, or, what his experience is. The digital age is all about selling and not servicing the customer. So, beware, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.


Meanwhile, any help on how to remove the software?