Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Catch 'em young

When I go back to my college days I remember many things, but one that does not crop up at all is college politics. I think it was the lazy city attitude that rubbed off on people, which made them lazy enough to not care for college politics. Then came the Babri Masjid incident and that gave ABVP the opening it was looking for. We probably had a relatively hectic college election that year. I didn't like it then and I have come to hate college politics even more.

Its true that every profession wants to catch their next stars young. The IT companies love to talk of the 16 year old whiz kid from chennai doing his MTech in IIT or the son of LN Mittal soon going to head his empire or for that matter Andy Murray beating Federer! But our politics is by far dirty and catching them young in this profession doesn't necessary mean great. Student units like ABVP and NSUI foster violence in the name of college politics and don't necessarily help the college students cause.

An incident came to light a couple of days back. A professor in Ujjain was beaten to death by students because he allegedly stalled student elections. The student(s) has been caught, will probably escape with a strong reprimand but nothing more, after all his political gurus will rescue him and set a precedence for irresponsible behavior to be rewarded. It is very irksome to think that in an India that we dream to take to the "next level", we are hindered constantly by politicians who just care to make their side of the fortune, even if were to be at the cost of the future of unsuspecting students. I don't intend to paint all the students with the same colour, but most students are quite naive before they become politicians!

Look at a state like Kerala, where engineering courses are not for 4 years like it should, but more like 5 years. The extra year because of all the days that the college is closed because of Bandh! A responsible display of democracy is needed and healthy, but to inculcate the same in (mostly) destructive means by political mentors is outright condemnable! Do we really need college politics? Can anyone vouch for something good coming of it, and if so, does the good outweigh the bad that it brings along in good measure??

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The Smile Specialist

We now have all of 5 FM stations in Bangalore:
1. Radio City - 91.0
2. Radio Mirchi - 98.3
3. Radio One - 94.3
4. Rainbow - 101.3
5. Vividh Bharathi - 102.9

Thanks to so many (by Indian standards) FM stations, the loyalty factor is long gone. If an Ad is on, the station is changed. But there is one station at a specific time that I tune in for sure and stay tuned, Radio City at 6:00PM. This is when Sunaina Lal's show starts. She is the liveliest of all the RJs on Radio in Bangalore and I am sure she will give any RJ in India a run for their money.

She started off with Radio City and was doing the morning show. The morning show is the equivalent of prime time on TV as all the car stereos are on. She was so damn good that when she took a break from Radio City, her replacement, Vasanthi Hariprakash had to work double hard to be heard. Now Vasanthi runs the morning show with Rohit Jayakaran and do a good job too, but Sunaina was Sunaina. She then made a comeback and since the morning spot was taken has settled in the 6PM slot. This again is a hot slot because the people listening in their cars (and unfortunately in their bikes too) are invariably stuck in traffic jams and just want to get out of their misery. She holds up the mood and also plays down the traffic problem with some very lively chit-chat.

I can vouch for a couple of bikes and cars who didn't hear me shouting out at them thanks to the smile specialist. nose smile Sunaina Lal.... you rock!

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

A gadgetry oxymoron

How many of you have heard of or seen a Vertu? Don't feel left out if your brain just went "What the heck is a vertu?". Thatz what majority of the world would say. These are really high end phones with all the ultra necessary mobile phone features like rubies and diamonds in them and none of the useless features like bluetooth, EDGE etc. nose smile A Nokia company, the vertu phones are so costly that only people who are filthy rich give it to people whom they really care for, like Karan Johar to SRK. wink big nose

To woo the mere mortal public, like us, Vertu have now come up with an affordable range called the constellation series. Though the price is not disclosed, my guess is that we will all be able to afford a 10 lakh rupees phone. nose grin

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Lets sue....

Thanks to the pervasiveness of the Internet and the growing urge to be connected, the laptops have come a long way in the last 2-3 years. We now get some really great computing power and they don't cost the world. When the volumes increase so very much the manufacturers slip up every now and then, and did Dell screw up or what!

The guys in US are suing Dell for this goof-up, which is expected. But how much more can you make Dell feel sorry and how much more can you squeeze out of Dell?? This guy shows the way.... nose smile

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Uncle Sams Sidhu

Navjot Sidhu is one special character. Not long ago he was this funny looking cricketer who would without fail make runs for India, i.e. if he managed to stay fit. nose smile To jog your memory, he was once accused of having killed a person during a scuffle. After his retirement days, he started doing what every tom, dick and ranatunga does these days, commentate. He again courted controversy when he showered some expletives on the unsuspecting co-commentator Alan Wilkins and was fired. He resurfaced as a "specialist" in some news channels. Some time dabbling on TV and the man decides to take a plunge into politics. Since the last lok sabha elections were supposed to be a cake walk for BJP, our man joins the BJP. His party gets booted out but Sidhu wins! Does he stop here? nope... the man is back hosting the controversial "Great Indian Laughter challenge". So.. in short Sidhu has an ability to court controversy with or without his Sidhuisms.

Now if a developing country like India can have a talent like Sidhu, the leader of the world, US, has got to have someone damn good! They don't disappoint anyone and chose the very best among them as their president! nose smile Bush has his onliners and they are called Bushisms. I have a feeling that "Sidhuism" came from "Bushism". What y'all think? Sample some Bushisms for your laughing pleasure. nose grin

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Monday, August 21, 2006


I received an email today from Sean Bonner to become a metroblogger and start contributing at Bangalore Metblogs. nose smile I was a bit unsure of whether I would be able to do justice to a collaborative setup where your contributions are a must. The posts have got to be Bangalore centric and have to be frequent enough. I love Bangalore but do I have enough churning in my head to write about it every other day? There was only one way to find out... I have given it a shot and here is my first post. nose smile

I don't intend to cross post but do intend to provide linkys, I hope thats ok though. Wish me luck ppl.... cool

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Death Knell?

Cricket is hurting and even the weather gods are not feeling sorry. The India/Sri Lanka/South Africa tri-series which later became a bi-series is now a no series. There are other things that went wrong other than the weather here, the bombing. Bombs are not falling in South Africa but in Sri Lanka and the hosts have the audacity to not acknowledge that as a threat and understand the sentiments of a visiting team?? I just can't understand the flak that the South Africa team is taking for their withdrawal from the series! They chose to care for their life and this is a crime? And in the same vein, the Indian team is applauded for staying put? Just because the Indian cricket board/players are greedy enough to stick around, should they be made into heroes? The way the series was transformed into a 3 match series and then the first match being split over two days, desperately ridiculous!

Now, lets turn our attention to the Pak v Eng series. With a whitewash written all over them, Pakistan took the ground for the 3rd test with a face saving attitude. To their surprise England buckled and Pak had a upper hand. Now, if you are at tea on the 4th day and the opposition is 4 wickets down and still trailing your score, I think you would be considered the favorites to win. To tamper the ball at such a juncture? Moronic! angry The drama that unfolded is soap opera at its best. First the Pak team doesn't show up, then the umpires don't show up and in the end England win?? This Darryl Hair is a "Pain in the Ass"! This fellow has it in for the asian teams, be it Sri Lanka [Murali Chucking], India [LBW's] or now Pakistan. He has not officiated in a test in Australia since 2001. Anyone wondered why?? But this game we love is full of such unexplainable realities.

Now for the other test playing nations not playing any series right now...

West Indies - Been resurrecting forever! Lara doesn't help their cause much.
Bangladesh - Still minnows... will they ever become any better?
Zimbabwe - The game is gonna die here soon and no one can do anything to stop it.

New Zealand, Australia are doing ok for now probably coz they are not playing right now. nose smile A game that has its numbers dwindling in terms of teams and supporters, cricket is at a very serious risk of becoming just another sport or being reduced to something more mundane! frown

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Friday, August 18, 2006

New Joinees

Its been a while since I bought something gadgety. nose smile or maybe not.... nose grin

After 3+ years I said good bye to my beloved Sony Ericsson T610. Its not gone too far away, my wife is going to be using it. And this gave me a reason to finally buy the mobile I have been tracking for almost a year, the Sony Ericsson K750i!

I had been reading up on it on forums even before it got released and when it got to India it was 22K! I bought the T610 for 19K in 2003 and its now worth the same as a Nokia 1100. I somehow didn't want that feeling of "oops, have I gone overboard" all over again. Hence I waited and waited and waited... Then came along this deal of 0% interest EMI scheme, which compounded with the price drop to 11.5K are all the reasons I needed. I am happy! nose grin

I also did some gadget shopping on impulse... yup on impulse, quite unbecoming of me, but it happened and I think it turned out ok. I got myself "Altec Lansing" headphones.

I am yet to use it much, but plan to use this in office which is where most of my music time is anyway.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006


India's 59th Independence day celebrations are over and a big hooray to democracy, it still survives in some shape and form. After all these years India is still fighting some inside battles. Almost all of us have one complaint or the other from the governing bodies. Strange are the ways of these political demigods and their band of bureaucrats. For e.g. I have a small stretch of road before getting into the layout where I stay. This road got into a bad shape thanks to the trucks going to and from a nearby apartment being built. After almost a year, "authorities" came and asphalted these roads. My happiness was unbound as my car would be spared its regular bumps. This lasted a little over a month and last week "authorities" dug up the road to lay down pipes. Now, we are back to waiting for "authorities" to come fix it! angry

This points to so little planning and communication on the part of the concerned authorities. Quite ironically I have been closely following a series on National Geographic(TV) called Megastructures. Each and every episode of this series is mind boggling in terms of cost, size, vision, execution and conviction. The one that really impressed me the most was the episode on Palm Jumeirah.

Of course the whole land reclamation, simultaneous construction and managing natures fury was all impressive, but most impressive was the vision of the man who wanted to make this at any cost and on time(2006). The Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, knows all too well that the oil reserves of the middle east and more specifically his country will not last forever. Understanding the urge for the average joe in most developed/developing countries having a penchant for travelling, he decided on banking on tourism to keep his coffers from running dry once the oil ran dry. His first project was the Burj-Al-Arab, the costliest hotel in the world.

He quickly realized that what the tourists love the most about his country was its luxurious lifestyle and the beautiful coastline. But unfortunately Dubai has only some 70kms of coastline. People don't want to be crammed close to one another on the beach! And here started the story of the Palm Island(s). As if the Palm Jumeirah was not tough enough, he has already started work on two more Palm islands! Does this stop the man? Nope! If we have gotten this far, why not have a bunch of islands placed in the middle of the ocean in the form of the world?? Each costing a few millions!

Now, this is vision, conviction and execution at its best!

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Blogger goes beta

Blogger is going beta again and this time for the better. Google bought Pyra Labs, creator of blogger in 2003 and since then has done precious little to make the life of a blogger any better. Now with very many new blogging platforms, google is fighting back. They have some nice features like labels, live updates and drag and drop item selection.

I for sure am gonna wait a little longer before I take the plunge. Any brave souls? nose grin

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NRIs in India?

India celebrated its 59th independence day yesterday. Most kids were excited as they had some function in their schools. The adults saw this as a good opportunity to sack out in the middle of the week and showed their patriotism by having a fluttering flag or two in their vehicles. But one thing that was common to most of the employed people was that their offices were closed. Aug 15th is a national holiday, whether you feel patriotic or not. Its more of a chance for you to do something 'if' you feel patriotic, maybe even watch some speeches on television. Though this post underplays the individual significance of this day somewhat, the bottom line is that it is important for every citizen to have the right to express his feelings/thoughts on this day and "office work" should not be a reason for the person not being able to do so.

Now coming to the culprits, the IT Enabled Services sector. Many of the BPOs and Call centers in Bangalore were working yesterday. They apparently put up a bold face and said they celebrated in office and all that baloney, but still the fact that they get to celebrate July 4th or the Memorial day and not their own independence day is down right ridiculous! How can these establishments do this? Does government give them permission to do it? Why can't these businesses stand up to their counterparts around the world and explain the significance of national holidays? Hell, why do they even have to explain anything! "Its a national holiday and we don't work today."

Well.. I guess not everyone felt independent on Independence day! straight face

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Guns go Silent

The war is over! Yup, Israel have stopped their guns, Hezbollah have stopped their guns. People have started moving back to South Lebanon slowly and some may never move back. What does Israel feel on how the war went? What about the Hezbollah? Well.. they both think they won! A nice war ain't it, where both sides have won. I did think it would come to this and probably most people watching it from the outside would have felt the same. In today's world, no single nation can win a war... no way! It has to be a collaborative effort of like minded nations. Hence, if terrorism has to be beaten, like minded nations have to join hands. Enough idealism and all this sounds great... but think of the current situation.

US Likes Israel Hates Palestine Loved by India hated by Pakistan loved by China hated by Taiwan Loved by US hated by Cuba loved by Venezuela hated by.... never gonna end. Well... welcome to "One World {Of Love & Hate}" nose smile

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Monday, August 14, 2006

M$ waking up

Micro$oft today released a free download of their blogging tool, Live Writer. They already had a blogging platform(still catching up) and have now tried to appease a larger crowd by giving away an editor for blogging with their platform and also other popular platforms like blogger, wordpress etc.

I am posting this using the editor. I have used the performancing plugin for firefox quite a bit and also tried Qumana. The reason why I still prefer the main blogger publishing interface is because we can have quite a few useful greasemonkey scripts(only firefox) to help in posting(e.g. categories). The Live Writer has also opened its APIs for external plugins and will have to wait and watch for some useful plugins. It is supposed to have support for tagging, but I am yet to figure it out. If I do, then I am gonna use this tool, else its back to blogger.

A useful and decently working tool, nonetheless. :-)


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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lest we forget...

This weekend has a hue or of patriotism with our Independence day round the corner. In keeping with the mood, yesterday we watched a mallu movie "Kirti Chakra", starring Mohanlal. Its directed by an ex-army man and the movie is good though being amateurish in some places. Coincidentally, I received an email today about "Vijay Diwas", the anniversary of the Kargil War, that was on 26th of July. We all talk about Kargil often and its entrenched in our minds, but how many of us remembered Vijay Diwas? I know I didn't! straight face Here is a reminder...

Kargils Heroes:

Lt.Saurabh Kalia

Grenedier. Yogendra Singh - Param Vir Chakra

RFN Sanjay Kumar - Param Vir Chakra

Major Padmapani Acharya - Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumous)

Lieutenant Balwan Singh - Maha Vir Chakra

Major M Saravanan - VirChakra

Lieutenant Kanad Bhattacharya - Sena Medal (Posthumous)

Captain Saju Cherian - Sena Medal

Lieutenant Keishing Clifford Nangrum - Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumous)

Captain Jerry Prem Raj - Vir Chakra (Posthumous)

Major Sonam Wangchuk - Maha Vir Chakra

Officers & Jawans from the 2nd Rajputana Rifles pray before going into battle, to get back Tololing Top. Behind the jawan in the foreground (with a 5.56mm INSAS rifle) is Captain Vijayant Thapar. His face is partly hidden and is seen sporting a beard. Lieutenant Thapar laid down his life, in the capture of Tololing Top and was awarded the Vir Chakra posthumously for his valour.

Major Padmapani Acharya, 2nd Rajputana Rifles, leads his men into battle after the successful capture of Tololing Top. The 2 Raj. Rifles' next assignment was to capture the Knoll mountain feature in the Black Rock area, which is in the Drass sub-sector. It was here, that Major Acharya laid down his life in the highest traditions of the Indian Army on 29 June 1999. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously.

Captain (Dr.) Rajshree Gupta, Army Medical Corps (AMC), salutes the tricolour-draped coffin of her husband, Major Vivek Gupta of the 2nd Rajputana Rifles, who died fighting the enemies.

Celebrating the victory:

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Indian IT coming of age?

Indian IT has been excelling in the service business for some time now, examples being Infosys, Wipro, HCL, Satyam etc. Then there were the multinational service companies that have found abode in India, examples being IBM, CTS etc. There are also big multinational companies that have housed in India, examples being Motorola, Lucent, Intel etc. There are also a bunch of small product based companies, but rarely do you find homegrown product based companies. Even if you find them, very few have hit the big league.

Over the last couple of years there have been calls for the Indian IT to push itself up the value chain. The IT enabled services, in my opinion are pushing us down the value chain and that has unfortunately been the focus. ITES does give our youngsters a lot of jobs and a good pay, but still the search for the next Elbonia will always be on and that is a permanent fear. I believe growing up the value chain is something Texas Instruments India has managed. They actually deliver products from conception to delivery from India, which is kinda rare. There are quite a few startups I can think of now which are cropping up but I will not detail them in this post. I wanted to concentrate more on companies which have gained a footing for themselves already. One such company whose products I have used before and also written about is Adventnet. What I didn't know was that its a Chennai based company and has been doing pretty well for itself. They seem to have made a quite but nice transition to the web2.0 scheme of things. Imagine making a product like Zoho and taking on Googles Writely and Microsoft Office Suite! Now that takes some guts!!

Heres wishing them the very best and hopefully more companies from India will follow suit. cool

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

SE .. Yawn

This is now getting boring. Another walkman based, candy bar phone from Sony Ericsson, K618.

C'mon SE, we got the point! Walkman branding on phones is good and the phones are also decent. But its about time SE started innovating! All they are doing is adding a button here, removing a button there! Look at the competition... as much as I hate to say this, Nokia N Series is really good! N60 is kinda sucky and slow, but the rest of the phones are impressive! Look at the N9* series, outrageous designs, the N8* series, a slider with a difference and the N73 is the most compact candy bar style feature rich phone I have seen in a while.

I also came across, this "lifestyle" product from sony.

Its basically a gaming + music console with WiFi to connect to the net for emailing. A weird mix of features... but I guess you never know what the people may take fancy to. cool

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