Sunday, February 20, 2005

Bay Area Unites concert today

This is just a quick reminder regarding the Bay Area Unites concert today to benefit those affected by the tsunami. The concert is from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

[Cross-posted to Zoo Station]

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Google Maps

[From BoingBoing via Scientific Indian]

Google introduces their new feature : Google Maps. Google Maps is another brilliantly engineered site from Google. There are a couple of really cool new features : infinitely scrollable maps, which help you visualize the map or the route much better than Mapquest and other existing mapping sites, and turn-by-turn driving directions with pop-ups that show a zoomed-in map of the turn points.
Google Maps is blazingly fast. It uses absolute URLs for the map, so there is potential for client-side and edge-of-network caching. GoogleMaps also makes innovative use of XML technologies, an area close to my heart. HTTP get's from the browser return XML embedded in the HTML, and Google Maps uses the browser's built-in XSLT processor to apply a stylesheet on the XML returned. Joel Webber talks about what else is going on under the covers at Google Maps in this post. I think Google is where the game is now.
I also think it bears noting that Google is pulling out all the stops to build rich web apps, no matter how weirdly they have to hack the browser to make them go. And I strongly believe that this is a trend that is here to stay -- XHTML Strict/CSS/etc be damned. At the end of the day, what really matters to users is compelling apps that let them get their work done quickly.
[Cross-posted to Zoo Station]

Aid for the tsunami and AID India

President Bush will ask Congress for 950 million in aid for the tsunami-stricken nations. The money will mostly go towards helping Indonesia and Sri Lanka, since India and Thailand have not sought foreign governmental aid. The bill, if approved, would be the single largest pledge made towards any single disaster in US history. This is the sort of the thing that puts compassion into conservativism, and I can only applaud Bush for this move.
President Bush on Wednesday increased the United States tsunami relief pledge to $950 million, nearly tripling America's contribution.
The additional $600 million would put the United States, which was criticized initially as reacting slowly to the disaster, ahead of Australia, which has pledged $750 million, and Germany, which has pledged $680 million, among the top donors.
The relief couldn't come at a better time. Disasters such as the tsunami have a tendency to be quicky forgotten. As a relief worker in one of the articles Amit Varma wrote on put it : 'This will also slip away from public memory'.
"I have been to Orissa (where there was a cyclone in 1999), I have been to Bhuj (earthquake in 2001), and from those experiences I can tell you, long-term rehabilitation is a problem. See, now the tsunami has just happened, the press is everywhere, the government everywhere, volunteers everywhere. But as time passes -- after the immediate emergency needs of the survivors are taken care of -- most of them will go away.
Amit Varma blogged on India Uncut about his first-hand experiences in Tamil Nadu in the days following the tsunami. (Check out his "India Uncut - The Tsunami Posts") In the article, Amit Varma also mentions AID India's efforts in the tsunami. He refers to AID as 'an organisation [he] can't praise highly enough for their unflagging relief work in the state', and goes on to talk about AID's relief strategy. I know some of the AID people in Austin and the Bay Area, and they are one incredibly motivated bunch of volunteers. Hurrah, AIDers. Way to go!

Update : Updated the post a bit. If you are interested in contributing to the AID tsunami campaign, you can do so here. Information on AID from CharityNavigator is available here.

[Cross-posted to Zoo Station]

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Bay Area Unites concert

For all the Bay Area readers of the blog out there, Vamsee Tirukkala brings to our attention a fundraising event happening over the next weekend (Feb. 20th) to benefit victims of the tsunami. From Vamsee's e-mail :
Many bay area communities are coming together like never before to remember the victims of the tsunami disaster and to raise funds for the rehabilitation of its survivors. On Sunday, February 20, join us at the HP Pavilion in San Jose at 2pm for an interfaith service led by Dr. Deepak Chopra and entertainment by Lisa Loeb, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Shankar & Gingger, Mostly Dylan, as well as a special message from President Bill Clinton, as we unite to support this important cause, benefiting the seven countries hit hardest by the tsunami.
I took a quick look at the brochure. The event looks pretty fabulous with artistes from India, Indonesia, and the United States. A performance by Shankar and Gingger alone should be reason enough to go, but it really trumps everything that the proceeds are going to benefit such a great cause. Beneficiaries will be people affected by the tsunami in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives, Malaysia and Somalia. Tickets starts at $10, plus additional contributions on a voluntary basis. Tickets can be bought out here.

P.S. For bloggers reading this, please do spread the word around if you can. Your help is appreciated.

[Cross-posted to Zoo Station]