Travel Diary

To: [email protected] From: "Kannan" Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 07:16:23 +0100 Subject: [e-suvadi] Travel Diary 10.03.02 Reply-to: [email protected]
Dear Suvadians: Kalachuvadu, the well known literary magazine from Nagerkoil in collaboration with Sriram Chit Funds plans to launch a web magazine in Tamil. I was invited by S.Kannan the son of well known Tamil writer Sundararamasamy. Nagerkoil has been a base for my tamil related activities for some times. Naturally, Nagerkoil will be a base for THF activities as well. The meeting was at drive-in Woodlands. Several authors and e-zine editors were present. To mention a few Venkatachalapathi editor of the book 'Barathi's editorial cartoons' and 'Puthumaipithan kathaikal', Senthilnathan a fellow suvadian and e-zine editor, Satchithananthan, author, future donor of old books to THF, Manushyaputran the poet. I initiated talks with Kannan and Chalapathi even during my last trip (before the foundation of THF) about digitizing old tamil literary magazines. They have microfilmed several volumes of Manikkodi, the then literary asylum for now well known authors such as Pitchamurthi, Chitti, Ku.Pa.Ra., Mouni, S.Venkatram, Thi.Ja and others. They have difficulties in using a scanner for direct digitization for the following reasons, a) there is no one place where those volumes are collected! The private collectors may not part with their volumes for a digitizing center such as Anna University, b) the bound volumes may not suitable for scanning if the owner does not like handling the volumes for a flatbed scanner. Kannan insisted that it should be using a digital camera. So I started my conversation with Dr.A.K.Srinivasan who had obtained recently a high end digital camera for his personal use. This camera has automatic zooming, text mode and other facilities at 5.2 mega pixels resolution. Senthilnathan has tested several such cameras before and warned us that digital photography may not suit our purpose. I instantly tried my digital Camera which I bought in Tokyo during my earlier trip. My camera has 1.2 mega pixels resolution. Of course, we could photograph para by para but not one single page (for example A4 size) with clarity comparable to 100 dpi scan! I requested Dr.A.K.S to give a try with his camera which he did. In the meantime Prof.Krishnamurti of Inforeed (OCR) informed me that even with 5.2 mega pixels we could not produce enough resolution for a OCR to read the content! We were a bit confused at that point! Kannan told me that if I could provide him with a device that could digitize tamil content directly, he could contribute regularly to THF. Dr.A.K.S saw an add for a hand held scanner from a Chennai dealer and so he called me promptly. He even organized through his nephew to deliver that scanner (Genius ScanMate-color) to my home address (this is a luxury that we can't have it in abroad. Service from private companies whether it is a cell phone dealer, laundry, grocery or computer accessory is superb and enviable. This is one of the success stories of India using its man power in a positive sense. Imagine having a hot spicy home made meal delivered to your office in the noon by a carrier boy - right on time! Did I say that? On-time? Yes at a grave personal risk of being run by a lorry or a motor car at the only highway found in Chennai namely Mount Road (Anna salai). Remember those boys carrying the mid-day meals use bicycles. Everything moves in Mount Road, the bicycle, tri-wheelers, bullock cart, buffalos, foreign cars (Mercedes included), people (as there is no proper platforms) at their own risks. I'm yet to see a car on the road without a bump somewhere. Apparently Chennaiets found no use of side mirrors and fold them in. Chennai could be the only place where people drive without using the mirror at all! I'm not joking. It is a sheer miracle that cadavers walk across live in Chennai streets. Could be the reason why there are humpty number of Gurus in India!) Alas! the scanner came at a hectic time. I was trying hard to pack all the loads of books that I collected during my trip. Luckily Mr.Srinivasan of New Book lands agreed to pack my books abroad though I could buy only two books from him. He told me that he did that favor to me because I'm a Tamil author and their main sales are tamil books and magazines. They sell books of Malaysian, European and Singapore authors as well. That was one occasion where being a tamil author helps :-)) Scan Mate is indeed an obsolete model. It runs at Windows 95 which is almost obsolete! I dared not trying in my XP. I tried using my nephew's Win-98. It worked but could not evaluate that well. So I requested Anto Peter to evaluate the scanner and buy it for THF if it was worthy. I find one important use for a hand held scanner that not all palm leaf manuscripts come in one size. I have seen manuscripts with almost a meter long palm leaf! Handheld scanner will be indeed handy on those occasions. But I'm not sure whether one could use the scanner for an endless scan (length restriction?). Please share your views/experience with me. anbudan Kannan