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Sunday, 30 December, 2007

The grim reality of Chocolate and slavery!

Yesterday, I happened to watch a documentary on slavery in Coco Cultivation in W.African States esp. Ivory Coast on BBC world channel. People especially children are forced to work in the coco fields day and night while there counterparts in Asia and America can enjoy chocolate! They are abused, tortured and face starvation. Many leaders in fact plead ignorance over this issue! The prices of chocolates have risen 300% in the years, however the W. African producer still earns what he used to earn earlier!

This grave issue was taken up some US senators and tried amending the child labor laws. However the chocolate industry opposed it tooth and nail. They have even stopped or reduced the funding promised to minimize the child labor and building schools. Lack of funds is killing the projects initiated to protect the children. Giants like Nestle have done little or nothing to assuage the pain of these farmers and children. These companies have failed to meet the deadline ( July 2005) to end child labor abuse.

Check for this logos before buying choco products. It signifies that no child labor or slavery was used in making the product and workers were treated and paid fairly.

It would be worth checking out these sites dedicated to this issue.

Chocolate & Slavery
IRLF Cocoa campaign
BBC News
Democracy Now , Audio/Video
Fair Trade
Equal Exchange
Global Exchange Campaign for fair Cocoa Trade
Yale Global Online

Fair trade companies for chocolates

Thursday, 27 December, 2007

Benazir Bhutto assasinated !

Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and leader of Pakistan Peoples Party (P.P.P.) who recently returned from exile to Pakistan was attacked for second time within a year . However this attack proved fatal. Reports suggest that two AK-47 bullets hit her and then assassin blew himself up close to her. It is still not clear whether the bullets or sharpnel or both proved fatal. She succumbed to the sharpnel/ bullet injuries on her way to the Hospital. Many of her supporters accompanying her entourage also died. This comes just on the heels of another terrorist attack where around 50 innocent people offered namaaz died when bombs targetting former minister blew near a mosque.

With this, The Bhutto dynasty seems to have ended. Its really sad that her father and the two brothers also had unnatural deaths. Her father was hanged despite clemency pleas by many nations and skepticism over the fairness of the trial and both brothers were shot dead under mysterious circumstances. One in France while other in Pakistan. What a Fate! May their souls rest in peace and attain Moksha!

Her reign in power has and will always remain controversial for her open support for Talibans and the worst money laundering and kick-back scandals ranging from Dassault to Gold -imports! Recently she did a volta-face and took a tough stance against Taliban and their brotherhood! Though I would say it was a little late, still worth it!

Though speculations are rife that Army or even ISI might have plotted this. However I feel its the doing of extremists. It was believed that PPP was the favorite to win the coming election and Benazir Bhutto is its head. So targeting her would help in destabilizing the country and the sub-continent as a whole. These fanatics will stop at nothing to take over entire Pakistan and create a new haven for Talibanic fanatics. These mindless and irrational fundamentalists desperately need new grounds to unleash their terror.

Its actually strange, that Bhutto once a key supporter and aide of Taliban has now become its victim. This must be taken as warning shots by the Government of Pakistan(esp. ISI and Army) and the people of Pakistan . These fundamentalists share no allegiance to any country or religion. They are simply parasites in dormancy waiting for opportunity to strike at all, even hosts.

Though its a little late, still it can be made over. Pakistan Government and especially ISI must come clean over its support to militancy in India and must work hand in hand with its neighbours to comb this parasite. It must stop looking at India as a foe and work together for overall peace.

My Moto !

Well, after a long time I decided to play with my mobile Motorola SLVR L7.
Here are some of the things i played around with.

Itunes Corelets
It comes bundled with L7e or i.
Yes, Itunes from Apple! Its a good music player corelet that unlike java midlets is loaded when mobile starts. Its functioning is similar to ipod. I simply liked it. In legal versions media files are uploaded using Itunes. others use a nice software called Mototunes!
However this time(after I had my mobile serviced at Moto centre) it failed to run! God knows what those fellas at service centre have done. Still working on that!

Seem editing
This is the best part.
You can use it to edit and bring about excellent changes in your mobile.
I unlocked the different presets for video recording!
I used seem editing to increase video recording limit to 10Mb. (Thats a lot for a simple mobile camera!)
You can also edit gain table( increase/decrease sound levels of your phone)
The list is endless! Some person at Howardforums has charted a map for seem-editing.

P2K Tools is a good tool for seem-editing.
Motomidman is a good choice for loading midlets and corelets.
RSD Lite2.5 for flashing/flexing.

Though many sites are not known for Moto applications.
Two excellent sites that make up for this loss are mobilejunkies and howardforums.

Mobilejunkies seems to be an Indian-subcontinent based one. I like their rapid response and clear, concise tutorials for modding the Motorola mobiles.

Its really fun playing with hex and binary codes and manipulating tiny things to get such a reward. I am proud that I own a moto L7 rather than any rigid phone.

Thursday, 20 December, 2007

My stealth infra-red camera!

So, finally out of hibernation!

The past month passed with lots of activity and curricular happenings leaving me with no time to spare.I happened to come across an interesting article in Chip India Magazine. It was on how to check whether a remote control's (working on Infra-Red) battery has drained out or not.

Their advice was to use a digital camera to check the front portion of the remote control keeping any button on the remote control pressed. (ie. check the led in the front). You will see a white light beam on the LCD of digi-cam coming out of the front portion of your Remote control. Infact its the infrared beam shooting out of your remote onto the TV. So if beam is visible, baterry and the buttons are working else not.

My friend, Fish and I came to the conclusion that the light sensors in a digi-cam must be sensitive to spectrums other than visible range. Wow, I never knew that Infra-red spectrum can be seen on digital cameras. Though it can be explained easily by science, but the fact that seeing something invisible to naked eyes using common minimal tools as in here a little mobile camera is really fun!

Though the beam is not strong enough, I still managed to use it to click and shoot pics n tiny movies in pitch darkness. Voila! I have a stealth Infra-red camera! He.He.He..

Check them..


1)keyhole in Infrared and visible light

Pictures. (my remote, before pressing a key, after pressing a button )

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