Monday, December 31, 2007

The year gone by...

Only a philosophical sounding title and no more crap from me for this year. But I am sure you can do with some words of wisdom from Wally. :-)




Wish you all a fun filled evening/night ahead.... :-)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Digg This!

What does one need to do to get a recording contract ? Well, one needs talent and creativity and just as importantly needs to know how to use all the technology at ones disposal.

Kina Grannis has all of the above and she has reportedly been approached with the offer of a singing contract for her toils. Here is the video she released on youtube which has gotten very very popular thanks to the obvious dedication to digg and of course the instant fan following guaranteed by youtube.



Find more videos of her here.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Love it - Love it not!

I have been following the Barclays premier league quite intently and like widely believed is the best league in the world. I do think there are other European teams that are better that those in the premier league, but overall quality of the teams is definitely better in it.

Since most of the matches are on weekends, I get to see quite a few of them. Though there is some flair missing in the game, it is definitely pacey and well coordinated. This makes for good viewing and definitely keeps me glued to the TV set. But then, along with all the good stuff comes the ever so common, acting and even worse cheating! Almost every team is full of crooks who just want to act their way into get a foul or a penalty or getting the opponent yellow/red carded. Some argue, this is part of the game. I would have bought that argument, had it not become the biggest part of the game these days. You have the most talented players acting like they were hit by a rock when all that happened was a finger of the defender just grazing the players face.

I believe there is a severe lack of use of technology in football. Every other sport has embraced it to make itself better, but football authorities stay as stone-age friendly as ever. At least use technology to monitor offsides, it does not take much time, probably a single replay would do in 95% of the cases. I don't know how of much technology will be actually ideal, but right now, its the best acting team that wins, not necessarily the best football skilled team.

p.s: I have just finished seeing the Everton vs Arsenal match, where, Arteta, Evertons best midfield creative player got sent off with a red card for a "maybe" yellow card offense all because Fabregas(Arsenal) acted like he had been hit by a bullet instead of Artetas elbow! The match lost steam after this and a close match till then ended tamely with a 4-1 win for Arsenal!

Movie Review: I Am Legend

Long time since I saw a new release, and was hoping for a winner with I Am Legend. You mix Will Smith with weird beings or aliens and you have a recipe for a blockbuster or so I hoped.

The movie is all about a virus which infects all of mankind and other living creatures, killing 90% of humans and making most of the remaining into very physically powerful zombies. The only thing that they fear is light. Will Smith for some unknown reason is immune to the virus and lives his life with his dog. His daily routine is pumping iron, conducting experiments on rats with different variants of his blood in an effort to find a cure and then wandering abandoned streets in search of DVDs to watch. All goes terribly wrong one day, when he is trapped by the zombies using one of the contraceptions that he uses to catch them! In the fight that ensues, his dog gets infected with the virus and he has to kill it. He loses his cool and tries to kill how many ever of the zombies as he can. He kills quite a few and is about to become zombie food, when miraculously, a girl and her brother come from nowhere and save him. This is the most unconvincing part of the story.

The surprise inclusion to the list of human survivors sets up for a finale, wherein Will Smiths house is raided by the zombies and he manages to save the girl and her brother but not before he magically finds a cure and not without having to blow himself up. The girl and her brother escape to meet up with more survivors (wonder where they were all along) and who are expected to help use the cure on the zombies.

All in all a disappointing fair. There were moments of tension and newness, followed by absolute ridiculous turns to the story and in the end there are just too many questions left unanswered or answered unconvincingly. Will Smith is ok in the movie and can't say much for the acting of the zombies. :-). I would give it a 6 on 10.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hopping Gavaskar!

Anyone who has been listening to Sunil Gavaskar as a commentator would have seen his absolute anger at some commonly used terminologies or common spectator practices. He almost sounded like he was from a different planet! For e.g. He doesn't like the Hindi film industry being referred to as Bollywood. He also hates it when spectators make caps out of the national flag or if the national flag is not with the right dimensions or if the chakra has fewer spokes etc etc.

Considering Gavaskar being such a strict customer, he would have gone bonkers at seeing the streaker at the MCG on Boxing Day and the preferred clothing provided to him thereof!



I must say... the picture shows some very inappropriate stop-gap arrangement by the cops. If the streaker wants to parade naked... let him! But does he have to be covered using the Indian national flag? Can't they get hold of some piece of paper or something? Even if they don't, is it more important to cover for obscenity at the cost of insulting a nations national flag?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Smart move...

ICL just finished its first tourney and gave us a glimpse of what could be. Though I didn't really find the interest to see the matches, the never before heard grounds where these 20-20 matches were played were chock-a-block. There is still no clarity of whether the young players in ICL will ever be considered to play for India. Also, international players who played in the ICL face the effects of BCCI trying to pull strings. But one section of people associated with cricket who are raking in the moolah and not facing any of the BCCI wrath are the commentators.

I remember seeing articles from Tony Greig in the newspapers and on cricinfo.com giving thumbs up to ICL, comparing it to the Packer series in the late 70s. He later went on to commentate as a special panelist for ICL. Surprisingly, I now see Tony Greig in his regular role as commentator with Channel 9 in the ongoing India vs Australia Boxing day test match!

Maybe its time for the oldies in the different international teams (Lara, Atapattu, Andrew Hall etc etc) considered taking up commentary rather than playing rebel tournaments. :-) Its less/not objectionable and yet makes lotsa money.

Slingling From Bangalore

I got my hands on my Slingbox PRO today! A minorly customized coax cable and 5 minutes later, I am Slinging! The pic below is taken with me sitting in my bedroom with my lappy and seeing Star Cricket while I work/browse at the same time...



I have to say, I have not setup any other gadget in as less time (minus the cable customization) as the slingbox. This is a really well engineering product and deserve the good publicity they get. I had my worries with coax being outdated in the US and with PAL/NTSC issues, but luckily all worked well.

Damn.... this is bliss!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The business of medicine

I have been meeting quite a few doctors in the last 2-3 weeks. There couldn't be more contrasts in any profession like in the field of medicine.

1. You are earning direct karma points from God for helping people
2. You can goof up and screw lives of people
3. You are the saviour for most and reminder of pain for some
4. Most keep money before the passion of the profession

Some of the doctors I met are established, raking in the moolah and could care less about the patient. There is another lot, though established, is trying to promote their new hospital and hence are nice to you. There are also the ones who are new to this and want to earn some "good" name which will hold them in good stead in the future. Each one did their job with a different demeanor and yet, at the end of the day, I don't see any real big difference from one to another. Its probably because, deep down, I could sense that there was no genuineness in any of them. Everyone had a hidden agenda and everyone had an angle to work. But I also thank all of them just the same, as at the end of the day they all helped in their own way.

One always feels a very special high when we get to hear good stuff from customers who have used the boxes that run the code we write and of course feel the shame when the customer is furious over some bug. Imagine living the life where you can feel this high each day and also face the complaints live from the customer!

The world of medicine... maybe its worth the money.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bengalooru Bangalore-d ?

A friend of mine recently pointed me to this article. I spent some time reading it and this was my reply to my friend.

Read the article... a very theoretical and derived view of what could be, not what is. Bangalore is still the IT capital even with all the political apathy. Like any other city, the present boom in India is not applying to all strata of society. Some of us, mostly the middle class and upper middle class seem to be able to make good in this situation along with the rich (who always make good). With all the influx of people, I, who is a thorough bred bangalorean does feel that, Bangalore is slipping away, but then, I am still part of it, thanks to IT, thanks to my pay check. But the not so well to do are feeling that Bangalore is slipping away and they can do nothing about it and have nothing to do
with it and may soon not be able to afford to be in it.

Of course, the economic disparity has increased, but Bangalore is not alone and definitely the IT industry is not the specific target of any ire.

Agree? Disagree?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Just 'E'scape

Gotta give it to Scott Adams, he sure can make every mundane yet passable situation in the IT industry abstracted into the most humourous cartoon!


:-))

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Life happens

A longish break from this blog. Not planned, not intended, but it happened.

Anywayz, life is back on track, and so is this blog. :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

That old *$/&#

The eternal bane of Karnataka and one of the shrewdest politicians around is at it again. Deve Gowda and JD(S) have withdrawn support from the 7 day old BJP government. Technically, they didn't withdraw support. They apparently put a bunch of demands which will govern the now popular term, CMP (Common Minimum Program)

Unlike the erstwhile Dharam Singh government, the BJP government realized that with these demands on the paper, its unlikely they would be doing the ruling. And hence, the BJP government resigned. Apparently efforts are afoot on one front to woo Congress to form the government or support JD(S) to form one and on the other end there is a desperate measure to split JD(S), as the party legislators are pissed off at being told to not support BJP at the 11th hour! While JD(S) is relatively quite about the whole thing, the BJP is definitely making a big hue and cry about it and that they were stabbed in the back. Trust ? Does that word have any place in politics? Who is BJP kidding? As if they trusted Gowda and gang! Deve Gowda is not dumb either. He would definitely know that something of this sort would hurt him and his party more than anyone else. Then why would the master strategist take such a decision?

Apparently U R Ananthamurthy, the noted Kannada writer has the answer. The whole thing has as little to do with clashing ideologies as the Iraq war had to do with WMDs. Its all about the money! What is thriving in Karnataka outside of Bangalore? most definitely its the Mining industry. Lots of money and very little supervision and hence a very lucrative ministry to hold. What is the most money making business in Bangalore ? One can confidently say, its real estate. Another very lucrative ministry to hold. The JD(S) held both these ministries for 20 months and as per the deal, it was time for BJP to hold them and make merry. But of course, Gowda couldn't let that happen. He asked for these 2 ministries this time around too, BJP refused, the government fell. Its all so simple!

The JD(S) surely doesn't want to go to elections with such easy negative propaganda available in the hands of the BJP. It most definitely has some backup plan with Congress brewing. And I am afraid Congress will trust the Gowdas and will bargain for significant share of the rest of the power.

Anyway, we the poor souls of Karnataka are destined to watch this mockery of democracy at the hands of the mighty and greedy go on for more time to come. Sigh!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Catching up

I remember the time when craigslist was launched. It was late 1999 or early 2000 I suppose, and it was a San Francisco Bay area centric website with classified ads. It was simple looking but very effective and instantly became very popular as deemed by an ex colleague of mine who was a resident of the bay area.

I had wished then, "someday we gotta have such services in Bangalore". And guess what... we are getting there. We had ask laila a while back and now we have another. Now along the same lines, we have city centric news, citizenmatters.in. This I hope will make up for the lack of quality local information coverage by big media houses like Times Of India and The Hindu.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A break...

For a few months now, I have been following a strict regimen. The fact that I have stuck to it for so many months has amazed many I know, but none more than yours truly! :-) I have been getting up early, getting to office early, getting back from office early and finally sleeping early. This makes for great work timings and truly frees up time to do a lot more with your evenings, though, to confess, I haven't been doing too much.

Thanks to Deepawali, I have had a few days off now and the weekend still ahead to vile away. Normally, this is vacation time, but for various reasons, we are bound to Bangalore this time. But the last few days I have been having a vacation of a different kind. Almost like a relapse into my disorganized past. :-), with no worry or having to get up early, I have been sleeping very late (3AM+) the last few days. Watching TV, browsing the net and generally doing nothing, and before I realize it, its time for me to force myself to bed. Sigh! The good ol' days. :-)

As much as I am loving this brief peek into the past, I am waiting for Monday, to get back into my groove. Too much of a bad thing can be bad. :-)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Movie Review: Jab We Met

When was the last time I saw a movie during the weekend that it released? I think it was Matrix Revolutions. Sheer chance saw us getting tickets for Jab We Met in its opening weekend. I wasn't too anxious to see this movie, but then, 4 stars from TOI holds some promise. And there I was, at the multiplex I hate, Innovative, at 9:30PM, to watch probably the last movie starring Kareena and Shahid (they have apparently split in real life).

The movie starts off with Shahid being dumped by his girl and really despondent in life. He attends her marriage, drops everything on him and sits in some train (AC coach, no less :-)) and is off to wherever the train is off to. Enter Kareena, on her way to her hometown Bhatinda, for the last time, after which she plans to elope with her boyfriend, Anshuman. The ever talkative Kareena befriends Shahid and start their funnily adventurous journey to her hometown. Once they reach Kareena house, everybody loves Shahid and we have a couple of songs to keep us entertained. This is followed by Kareena seeking Shahids help to elope. He does manage this successfully and sees her walk off to her boyfriend. Unfortunately her family thinks she has eloped with Shahid and are mighty pissed off.

Shahid goes back to reclaim his life and does a great job at it. He sees Kareenas exuberance as his guiding force and sees things change for the better. Meanwhile, Kareena has not called her family in 9 months and when her family sees Shahid on TV, they track him down to get some answers. What ensues forms the climax and since its a hit, in typical filmy style, all ends well. :-)

But all said and done, this is a superbly directed movie, low budget, good screenplay and studded with a superb performance by Kareena and a decent one by Shahid. Its definitely value of money and more than worth a watch. I give it a 7.8 on 10. :-)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Lets Wi-Fi'fy the Cams

Digital Camera having Wi-Fi capabilities is not new. But they haven't caught on as much, because the consumers don't see the need to pay the extra bucks to get just wi-fi transfer feature.

But here is something that I think can definitely catch on. An SD card which has Wi-Fi in it. This means, even those digital cameras, considered archaic by the bleeding edge standards of the day, can have wi-fi upload services on them. Now, only if they could bring down the price from $99. ;-)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How Real is Reality?

There is a slew of reality shows on Mallu Telly Tube these days with Amrita TV leading the pack. But the talk of town in terms of Mallu reality shows is Asianet Idea Star Singer, a singing talent hunt show. And this happens to be the only mallu show I watch (only sometimes by choice :-) )

I have always been amazed by the ability of the TV channels to shoot reality shows almost live since the results are based on viewer SMS votes. There is hardly any time, and as with any live show, there is always the risk of something going very wrong, like what happened at 2005 season of TVS Sa Re Ga Ma or this year's Voice of India. And when most shows do this flawlessly, you do admire the execution of their event management team. Then... some news leak out!

About a week back, my wife told me about she having received an email which clearly stated the contestants of Asianet Idea Star Singer who would be in the danger of elimination and those that would actually get eliminated. We thought it must be some sorta rumour and didn't pay much interest to it. Come elimination day, the list of people who were in the danger of eliminations (8-10 names) and those who got eliminated (3 names) were exactly the same. The leak, also publicized in some forums (look at the post by Shivettan) went on to say that the elimination episode was shot on 21st of Oct, a good 10 days before it was aired. This by itself is not wrong, but when you request folks to continue sending sms's for the contestants who have already been eliminated on the 21st of Oct till the 30th of Oct, that is when things go bad. This amounts to cheating and if this were to be true, I can see a slew of lawsuits flying around!

Won't the contestants know this? Why don't they or their relatives (maybe the disgruntled ones of someone who got eliminated) blow the whistle on this sham? There is something amiss here and the wait for the truth continues. I have never voted for any reality show, so I am not as pissed off as someone who would have spent Rs.3 per SMS many times over. Did you?!?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Marriage-Divorce : The Gowda Play

Pardon me if this post actually gets outdated by the tomorrows morning news. Last heard, JD(S) has decided to forget their differences with BJP and have decided to keep the marriage of convenience going. Yediyurappa will be the BJP candidate for CM and the promises that the coalition will stay strong has started.

It looks like the thought of losing more than just power got the JD(S) supremo, Deve Gowda to agree to the alliance. One of the reasons for JD(S) to be so bullish about breaking the alliance instead of handing over power was because of it having comfortably won local body elections. This gave them confidence that even if there were mid term polls, they would come out better in terms of number of seats in the assembly. But after breaking the pact to hand over power to the BJP, the public backlash was so strong that JD(S) realized that things were not going to plan. One of the exit polls showed them winning a paltry 17 to 19 seats. Couple with this was senior JD(S) leader MP Prakash trying to get things going with the Congress again. With Sonia visiting China, there was no swift action on this front, but the fear of a party split was very real. The Gowdas quickly regrouped and got the alliance going with the ever ready BJP for the second time.

Lets just hope that after all this power struggle and spitfire comments we will end up having some decent governance from the next 20 months. (fingers crossed)

Feed the obese!

Harry Potter Series... by far the reading/viewing sensation for kids (and also strangely some adults) of this generation is nearing the end of its money making journey. At the end of this journey, book publications, movie producers, memorabilia makers and above all the author have made millions and billions of dollars. With the final book in the series being released and a movie to follow, JK Rowling doesn't want her current supply of millions to stop. To keep the flame burning, she has some fuel in store...

What fuel you ask? Rowling reveals that Dumbledore is gay! For all non-potter fans, and I hope there are many, he is an old wizard in the harry potter books, alike Gandalf in LOTR. :-). In my opinion, this is nothing more than adding the constant fuel needed to keep the book and characters and whatever else in the minds of the fans till the movie is out. Who would really care if the old wizard is gay?? I haven't seen any of the harry potter movies to completion and neither have I read any of the books and hence don't know if this news could have any significance in the overall context of the movies or books. I would think that this wouldn't have any relevance as the genre that the harry potter series falls into is mainly for the kids and they don't need to know these kinda details. This news was probably planted to enamor the gay brigade onto the harry potter groove and get some gay pride going. Also, this helps to get some more religious controversy going which can only help with the publicity. To be honest though, Rowling wouldn't be the first to use these kinda cheap gimmicks.

At the end of the day, the already over-fed harry potter fans get some more junk food to gorge on! Keep it going Rowling, don't let anything stop you from making your money!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

GMail ups the ante!

GMail adds the one feature that was a request from many users for a long time, IMAP support. This is quite unique when it comes to a web based email client and kudos to GMail for getting it in and more importantly keeping it free.

GMail after the initial surprise factor of its unique user interface and 1GB of storage has done precious little to forward its case. The fact that its a Google product is good enough for many (including me), but then, new features are a must! GMail, I feel, suffered from what every Google product seems to suffer from i.e. lack of sustained interest. Google has been getting new products out, but doing very little on the old ones.

Anyway, the IMAP support availability with GMail sure is good news for many!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Closing loopholes

The finance ministry in India has notified the guidelines for ESOPs given by a company and the tax implications of the same. It apparently does not cover the situation regarding a company not listed in India giving stock options to its employees working in India. A friend of mine found this doc which helps understand this more.

Lemme ask for more official help and figure this out...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

GDAD!

GDAD - Acronym For "Good Deed A Day". :-)

I aim to do one Good Deed a Day(sentance used only for dramatic effect with no real conviction), and all bloggable good deeds will be, well, blogged!

If any of you guys out there are as lazy as me, this would be a real boon.



2 Second T-Shirt Fold!! - More amazing video clips are a click away

Now, no more excuses for having a messy bedroom. :-)

Secret revealed!

India is on the verge of losing the 6th ODI against Australia. At 189-2, our required run rate was around 7.5 runs an over. With only 17 overs left, India chose to send in Rahul Dravid, who has been in pathetic form. People in the pavilion are Yuvraj, Uthappa and Dhoni himself. Why?

As I write this post, India has just lost the match. We lost the match not because of our bowling, it was again our batting. And the main culprit was our top scorer, Saurav Ganguly. He has opened the innings and scored 85 runs in 110 balls! That is equivalent to scoring at 4.6 runs per over when our required rate is 6.3!! This under normal circumstances would be considered ok, but when you are chasing 318, this is sacrilege. He has successfully managed to figure out the mantra to stay on in the Indian ODI cricket team. Keep scoring runs, no matter what the strike rate or situation. People will remember his 50's and forget how useless and sometimes detrimental the scores actually were. Here are his significant scores after his return to international cricket and the number of balls taken to get these scores.

73 in 99 balls (Strike Rate: 73)
42 in 75 balls (Strike Rate: 56)
39 in 54 balls (Strike Rate: 72)
72 in 104 balls (Strike Rate: 69)
59 in 79 balls (Strike Rate: 74)
53 in 60 balls (Strike Rate: 88) {Sachin in this match was scoring at strike rate of 120}
41 in 59 balls (Strike Rate: 69)
85 in 110 balls (Strike Rate: 77)

He is averaging around 53 in ODIs this year and we have not won a single match because of his performances. In the same time, Sachin and Rahul, the other two oldies have scored match winning innings on multiple occasions, but have a lot lesser average than Saurav. In fact, Rahul and Sachin are the first two in line to get dropped from the team in the "oldies rotation system".

Even in todays match, he played so slow that he left little too much for the rest of the folks towards the end. Today is one of the occasions where his batting has already cost us the match! I don't like Gambhirs technique, but his attitude is spot on. The selectors would be well advised to pack our team with match winners rather than folks whose performances make no or negative impact on the match!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Informed Criminal

I watched the movie My Wifes Murder yesterday. It was touted as one of the better RGV films and something I had missed watching in the cinemas when it released. Since it is not a new release, I won't go into a review per say. Its a decent movie and could have been a lot more better.

One of the things that struck me the most was how I was thinking about what the hero (Anil Kapoor) should be doing after his wife(Suchitra Krishnamurthy) is accidentally killed by him. Before anybody starts fearing the birth of a murderer in me, let me give you the reason for the same. I am an avid fan of CSI, a crime scene investigation serial. Its been on for 7 seasons and I have watched every episode and enjoyed it thoroughly. During the course of all these CSI episodes, I have seen the weirdest of cases being solved and each episode has got to be a different plot than any other that has been aired. Hence you understand the different methods used by criminals in committing the crime and the different methods used by the investigators to catch them.

By CSI standards, this movie has a lot of scope for improvement. Lemme give examples.

1. The hero mops the blood of his wife off the floor. This is absolutely useless as CSI usually have a torch which emits a certain kind of light that has blood glow in the dark, even though the blood cannot be seen by the naked eye. He had to use bleach to make this torch useless, but then, someone using bleach only for a portion of the house will also give rise to suspicion.
2. The hero dumps the body in a water body inside some forest. He places the body inside a cardboard box which he had taken from his house and dumps the body with the cardboard box. To keep CSI off his tail, he should have ideally disposed the body without the cardboard box.
3. If he was trying to make people into thinking that his wife was murdered by someone else and body was dumped, he needed to do something to make the police also think so. For e.g. he should have taken every last valuable off her body or should have cut off some portions of her body to make the police think it was some psycho at work or maybe fake a rape occurrence. None of these were done by our Hero.
4. He uses his colleagues (Nandana Sen) car to transport the body to the jungle. Another big error, as he has to now necessarily make her an accomplice at some stage, else he will not be able to explain why he borrowed her car.
5. He starts off the movement of the body from his house to the car when there were still a lot of people moving around in the apartment. Again, more leads that he has to plug in order to get his story right.

I noticed many such instances which by CSI standards would make this movie a joke. :-)

So, all in all, if someone is gonna make a murder investigation based movie, they have gotta have a plot that will have the CSI scratch their heads. If not, some sleepy couch potato like me will poke holes in the story. :-)

Disclaimer: No one be scared... I have not turned into a murderer or psycho. These are just observations. ;-)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Movie Review: Johnny Gaddar

There have been very few good movies hitting the theaters off late and a good review from a couple of friends and TOI got me off my butt to watch new comer Neil Mukesh (Grandson of singer Mukesh) get his career started.

Johnny Gaddar is directed by Sriram Raghavan, whose first movie Ek Haseena Thi was a decent start. The story of Johnny Gaddar is based on a gang of crooks trying to pull off a drug heist and of course the protagonist is part of this gang. All the money, all the lure and a bombshell as inspiration has our hero becoming the gaddar. Since the advancement of the plot is the only thing that is really interesting in the film, I will leave that to the interested to go watch at the theaters.

Neil has done a decent job with his acting, but nothing great. He does look quite handsome and this combination should keep him around for a while. Rimi Sen is the bombshell, and that is all she is. Thank god there is no expectation of acting from her in the script! Dharmendra is the leader of this gang of crooks and has actually killed a lot of his hamming and done an unexpectedly good job. Vinay Pathak is good as expected and provides the much needed comic relief. Zakir Hussain, who plays the role of Shardul bhai has gotten over the Ram Gopal Verma brand of acting, where he was expected to only look serious as hell, speak nothing and not movie a single muscle on his face. Here he has some good exchanges with Vinay Pathak and overall does a great job. The brief role to Govind Namdeo who is the corrupt cop selling the merchandise is also well scripted and well enacted. As can be figured out by now, all the main actors in this movie have given good performances and this is one of the reasons why the movie seems to somehow get out of rut that the screenplay seems to force it into and get back on tracks.

There was nothing much I could see as special in the music or background score. It is decent, but nothing really great. There is this one score featuring UK desi babe, Hard Kaur (Glassy fame), which is peppy and probably the best song of the movie.

Overall, a watchable movie and worth the 500 rupees you need to pay to get a pair of tickets during a weekend in Bangalore! I would give it a 6.8 on 10.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Too much of anything...

... is never good.

India lost to the Aussies at Kochi in the second ODI. This is not surprising and one could hardly feel bad, as the Aussies clearly were the better team. I didn't see the match live, but was witness to the last minute treatment of Sreesanth by the Aussies and later saw what Sreesanth had handed out to the Aussies.

Sreesanth is aggressive and is willing to lose a portion of his match fee every match! I must say, he is going overboard with it! Beyond a point, its no longer funny and it in fact starts getting embarrassing. I know he must have been advised by many people, but he seems to have next to no self restraint. The only way he will be back to his best senses is if he is dumped from the team for a few matches on clear disciplinary ground and then brought back.

This being said, the Aussies have no right to criticize Sreesanth. He was just giving them a piece of what they dish out to everyone in world cricket. What credentials do they have to say that he is crossing the "line"? What about McGrath going after Sarwan a couple of seasons back? What about Ponting shoving Sharad Pawar off the stage so that he and his team can jump around on the stage after winning the ICC Champions trophy? Or all the close-in chit-chat that Steve Waugh and Co were so famous for?


Those who stay in glass houses....

Once M$ always M$

Micro$oft released the next gen of its Zune media player, Zune 2. Though they have managed only some 3% of the number of Ipods sold, they are not giving up without a fight. They have added wireless sync to PC and also opening an iTunes like store for songs. The best thing about the store is that it sells DRM Free music. This means that you buy a song from the Zune store and transfer it out of your Zune player and still hear the song. You can give it to your friend too, but here is the fun part. Your friend can hear the song, but only 3 times, after which it will be automatically locked! I don't understand how they would do it, but they allegedly do it.

Trust Micro$oft to make DRM-free music DRM!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Avaya gaya...

In what has become the trend of the season, big private equity players are gobbling up some big names in the tech. Not so long ago freescale went to Blackstone group and co. Now its the time for a very accomplished player in the voice and system integration space, Avaya, to get bought over by Silver lake partners. Also, 3Com, perennially part of every networking race, but the winner of none, has also got bought over by Bain Capital and Huawei.

Its so crazy to think that such deals, done in the plush corporate boardrooms, could decide my money investing decisions. But strangely, it does. And paranoid as one has got to be in the high paying tech industry, I think I will wait and watch for a while...

mera number kab aayega?

Smoke?

India has won the T20 world up quite handsomely. There was a lot of vindication of the selection of the team, of the captain, of the playing eleven etc. Very sunny days for Indian cricket these.

While all looks well and wise, there are some administration woes under the carpets. The ICL has got as much sympathy or support because it has pointed to many of the problems that ail BCCI and vouched to fight or get rid of them. One of the biggest of these ailments being zone politics. Look at the selection of Team Managers for the last few tours. Ravi Shastri for Bangladesh tour, Chandu Borde for England tour and Lalchand Rajput for the T20 World cup, all from Maharashtra. Now, the post left vacant after Kapil Devs resignation as NCA chairman goes to Ravi Shastri. Ravi Shastri, after his retirement, has been more of a businessman and at best a commentator than an active coach or mentor. I don't have an alternate candidate, but I do question the merit of this decision. Is this the smoke that indicates fire?

BCCI may have bought some time thanks to the distraction from the World Cup win. But if it doesn't get its act together, the well preparing ICL could take the game away from them, pun intended.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Epitomizing Thick!

We have known George Bush to make some really stupid gaffes and here is the latest. He has pronounced Mandela to be killed by Saddam! :-)) In fact, Saddam has killed all the Mandelas.

Since you can get almost anything on YouTube, here is the video of the famous words being uttered!



If people find public speaking scary or difficult, you cannot find better inspiration than this. Here is the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, making the most ridiculous of blunders one after another and still on song for a encore the next day. :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rail Rescue

A year or so back, I could feel a distinct improvement in the road conditions across Bangalore. A lot of pot holes had gone missing, many roads were widened and many flyovers became operational. The traffic had in no way reduced, but was made more bearable.

This years rains have come and maybe almost gone and they have taken the roads with them. Majority of the roads have now been revisited by the pot holes and flooding due to rain is almost passe. With the "Namma Metro" taking its time in coming and being limited in nature, at least to start with, I think Bangalore should start thinking of solutions for the next wave of traffic troubles. Its unlikely that our metro will have the reach like the famous Paris or London metros, and hence we need more alternate mass transit system.

I have heard Narayana Murthy talk of mono rail and here is an example of it in action in Sydney. Look at the support pillars, they don't seem to occupy much space and the rail seems to fit into the narrowest of roads.





pics courtesy wikipedia

I know there is plan of some kinda mono rail for Bangalore, but I think we will need a lot more like these planned and done so very soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I am...

ecstatic!!!

WE HAVE WON!

We have beaten the champions!! And my cocky comment in the previous post of an India vs Pakistan final... well, Nostradamus, thy successor is me! :-)))

Can't Walk, Can Dance

The 20-20 cricket world cup has reached its final stages and India surprisingly finds itself still in the reckoning. Even the Pakistan team should be feeling the same, considering the dismal performance of the two teams in the 50 over ODI world cup.

While I await the India vs Australia match, the other semi-final between Pakistan and New Zealand is currently on. The Pakistan opener Imran Nazir complained of a thigh strain within the first 2-3 overs of their innings. He claimed that the injury happened during the course of this match and nothing to do with the previous match. Remember he got a knock on the family jewels in the last match and had to hobble out retired hurt. The NZ captain, Daniel Vettori allowed him to get a runner and no less than the team captain Shoaib Malik walked in. This of course helped the Pakis tactically, but I wondered how restricted Imran Nazir movement at the crease would be, considering his injury.

I first tried to spot some discomfort when he played the back foot cut. He had no problems and was getting on top of the ball easily. I then tried to see if he can play the front foot cover or straight drives. Though he didn't play any of these shots, he did play the sweep, which needed him to stretch his front foot, which was done quite effortlessly. Next came the towering sixes of Vettori, for which Imran danced down the track should to get to the pitch of the ball and then whack it, again all this done with no discomfort. Before Imran got out, he went on to score a crucial 50 and take Pakis very close to victory. And once Shoaib hit the winning sixer, there was Imran Nazir, running full hilt to congratulate him on the victory! Vettori must be thinking that he shouldn't have been the good guy and should have in fact disallowed a runner, as everyone could see that he sure didn't need one!

Go on Pakis, do what you have to do to get into the finals... we will meet you there. ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Niyatthu!

The title of this entry is a kannada word which means something close to mix of "decency" and "honesty" but maybe a more stronger version of the same. Read the rest of the post and you will know the reason for the title.

Some 18 months back an almost unexpected turn of events happened in the political scene in Karnataka. A young aspirant politician, HD Kumaraswamy, pulled off a true political coup. He took a bunch of JD(S) MLAs and went to some resort in the outskirts of the city as JD(S) pulled the carpet from under the feet of the then Congress government. HD Deve Gowda, then, couldn't believe what was happening. Kumaraswamy's elder brother, and a more seasoned politician, HD Revanna stood at the sidelines with wide eyed and open mouthed. BJP was becoming a force to reckon with in the state over the last 2-3 elections and they wanted a stint at governance to prove their mettle. They were more than happy to side with JD(S) to form the government. To add, their leader Yediyurappa was aging and wanted to be a CM before his time is over. All these put together, Karnataka saw a successful political coup.

What followed was political drama at its best. Deve gowda was distraught. There were talks of him taking political sanyas. Every interview of his in the days that followed showed a dejected and teary eyed former PM, totally at loss of words. Senior JD(S) leaders wanted the "rebel" MLA's expelled. This would of course mean the end of JD(S) as everyone knew since the majority of the MLAs were with Kumaraswamy. As days went by, a deal was made for splitting the governance in 2 stages. First 20 months to Kumaraswamy and next 20 months to Yediyurappa. Somehow, Deve Gowda slowly warmed up to the whole thing and all was well then. This brought an end to the political careers of many senior JD(S) CM aspirants like MP Prakash. Deve Gowda gets back to his good old irritating ways and look like things are actually gonna work out.

18 months go by, we come to the present day and close to the day when JD(S) needs to transfer power to BJP. But now, we suddenly have all kinda problems to get this done. Kumaraswamy who brazenly went against his dad when he had to form the government, now swears totally by his father and says he would do whatever his dad says. Deve gowda says he will talk to Vajpayee and they will decide the future. Yediyurappa is already seeing his dreams of his tush on the CM gaddi fading. BJP feels betrayed, JD(S) does what they do best... hold on to power or pain the people in power(Dharam Singh can vouch for this). Where is the niyatthu?!?

When I first heard of the Kumaraswamy move a year and a half back, I felt sorry (very very little) for gowda, but when I saw them patch up in a week or so, I figured this was a well planned show for the people. And now, the real face of the drama comes back. We bring these jokers to power and these guys play their games while the people who voted them in.. well, they wait for these guys to finish making their crores and then do something to make the common mans lives better!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Love-Hate!

It has rained real crazy in Bangalore for most of last week. Its good to see Bangalore at its gloomy best, reminding us Bangaloreans of the good old days. I see many complain off this gloomy weather, but this is exactly the weather that sets Bangalore apart from the rest of the big cities of India.

This being said, I share a strange love-hate relationship with all this rain.
1. I love it being gloomy, but I hate it when it rains so much that the football ground gets all slushy.
2. I love it when I can sit for hours at home without having to bother about turning on the fan, but I hate it when I have to use the water heater to have some hot water since the solar heater didn't get enough sunlight to do its job.
3. I love it when the roads are empty during peak hours when there is heavy rain, but I hate it when the period after a heavy rain results in huge traffic jams even during non-peak hours.
4. The lazy me loves it when the rain gives my car a free wash, but I hate it when my car gets a free mud coat the day after the rains.


Rain in Bangalore... You can love it, You can hate it.... you can also ignore it, :-) which is exactly what I am gonna do.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Desperation

Watching the India vs Pakistan match which has just ended in a tie. A really good match.... had lotsa fun for a change! Would take a match like this anyday than a run blast of 200+ runs! But this could be just me. :-)

But the rule says, when there is a tie, 5 bowlers will trying to hit the wicket and get a point each time they hit the stumps. A very desperate attempt to match the soccer penalty shootout. It is funny, but nonetheless, still desperate. Its almost like, we will do anything for more acceptance of the game in the world!

... and India beats Pakistan again at the World Cup!! :-D

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The impossible!

Having watched the Aussies play cricket over the last 10+ years, I would not mind any team playing any kind of cricket just beating them black and blue. This is why the Aussie tour of India in 2001 when Bhajji routed them or the Ashes in 2005 become so important.

I was critical of 20-20 cricket a couple of posts back and I more of less stand by it. But having said that, a Zimbabwe victory over the famed Aussies is something else! Kudos to a team which was helped in no small part by the weather, the state of the pitch and most importantly the over confident approach of the Aussies. The last shock defeat in ODI's for the Aussies came on the very same day two years ago when the Bangaldeshis got the better of them.

I have to agree with a friend of mine who said, "For all the negatives of this new format, it does give minnows a chance to compete". He couldn't have been more right! This being said, what are India's chances against Scotland?? :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Simple?

We are moving offices soon and have been interfacing with an interior design company. In the last 2 months we have seen 2 people quit the team that used to interface with us. This would be no surprise if we were talking of an IT company and looks like there are other industries following suit. Why do people quit their job? What are they looking for? What should they be looking for?

These are very subjective questions, but if you have time, this could help you answer some questions. Though these are observations of one individual, see if you can empathize with his dilemmas, wishes, complains and learnings. :-)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What is the hurry?

I am currently watching the final ODI between India and England, and the match seems to be heading towards one with low scores. And after the questionable Dravid dismissal and the abysmal Tendulkar decision, things looks a little less interesting.

Nonetheless, coming to the reason for this post, I saw an Ad come up for the 20-20 world cup and also another trivia that came up which said England has played the most number of 20-20 internationals, 6! I can remember India having played only one, in SA. And the total number of international 20-20 matches is just 19! The format is at such a nascent stage and we already having a world cup for it??

Its quite understandable that if cricket has to grow, the 5 day version will definitely not appeal to other countries and the 50 over ODI format also takes a little too much time. There was an attempt at playing the "6's tournament" where each team has six players. For whatever reason it wasn't successful and we now have this variant. All this being done to cut down the time taken to finish a match, and that is needed to make it more TV friendly and compete with games like Basketball, Baseball etc.

That being said, what is going to be fed via the tube to the potential followers of the game is far from the real soul of the game. There are probably many good things about 20-20 games, I say so because I have seen very few these matches. But from a relative stranger to the game, it does present a lot of imbalances. The finer points of the game will take a bigger beating with this format of the game. Its too batsman friendly and even among batsmen, its more pinch-hitter friendly. We all love watching Afridi thrash the ball and sometimes make a fool of himself, but the fun in watching a laxman leg-flick, a ponting hook or a tendulkar drive and totally different. The McGrath line, the Murali tweak or Warne's leggie is again as engrossing as any piece of batting. These things will be missing in the 20-20 games, even if the same players play in the new format. This is simply because the new format of the game doesn't allow for much time to set oneself in as a batsman or a bowler to fashion a dismissal.

Will I be watching the world cup? Most definitely... its after all cricket. But, I am not convinced that this is the best way to present the game to the rest of the world.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Blue Friday

This is how I was greeted today morning....




Before we go windoze blasting, I saw this after the lappy rebooted from its first blue screen of death in nearly 2 years! Going by typical M$ standards, I think they have done a decent job with XP. Not so sure about Vista though....

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Creativity!

The topic of creativity can be fodder for a light hearted post and also for a serious discussion. Lemme try to walk the line in the middle.

I started off thinking in this direction after listening to the Mahiya song from Awarapan. The song is quite catchy and the singer Suzanne really caught my attention. I start thinking... man, the music director has got some creativity! I find that Pritam is the music director. Now, I like his songs, but I also know for a fact that his plagiarisms are also the most difficult to catch. I think "what creativity, the guy must have whacked this tune from somewhere". One of my cousins informs me that she has seen a version of this song on the net which is even better than the original. I hunt around and find the singer to be an UK based Pakistani, Annie. Her song is the original Mahiya and she in fact lends her vocals for the remix version of the song in Awarapan. Now I think, man this girl is creative. I listen to the rest of her album and no song in it comes close to this. I think, "what creative, she looks like a one song wonder".

Contrary to what many people think, talent and creativity are very luck driven. If you can maximize the slice of luck that gave you an opportunity to display your talent and creativity and get maximum mileage from it, you can then expect this mileage to take you much much further for far less real creativity in the future. Just get into the big league, keep your eyes and ears open and play the right cards. The rest of the story just falls in place. Clubbed with this is the obnoxious self belief in many that they are creative. What they really are is quite different. They have just fooled themselves into believing every inspired or adopted idea to be self contrived.

Really creative people are creative all the time and most probably are not blessed with the luck needed to cash in on this creativity. Most of the so called creative people are just ordinary people with one inspired, borrowed or luck induced idea which happens to strike them just in time to reconstruct their creativity halo as it started disintegrating. For e.g., I have just displayed how one such idea can present itself in the form of a blog post to leave streaks of creativity as it whizzes past your fleeting eyes, as they wander from one boredom induced blog to another. ;-))

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Indirect Answering Techniques

Though its rude to be generic, I think there is some truth in the whole "Blondes are dumb" saying...

Here is a rather simple question posed to a Contestant in Miss Teen USA 2007. As can be seen, she completely goofed up the answer, but in a strange way, did answer it too. ;-)




:-)))))

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nothing lasts forever...

... and in the case of the iPhone, their profit sharing deal with AT&T could be coming to an abrupt end much faster than they would have anticipated. A 17 year old hacker has managed to get his iPhone to work with T Mobile and these guys also claim the same.

Now for "the" bleeding edge enthusiast in my office to go get his iPhone and try unlocking it to work with Airtel. ;-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blame it on M$

As a follow up to the skype outage, here is the reason why skype went offline? As always you can blame almost everything on the big-bad Micro$oft and its primary weapon, Windoze. :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Brilliant!

I among many had written off Ronaldinho after his abysmal performance in the World Cup. But I came across this video of a game in late 2006, which just proves that the guy has still got it!



This is the first time I have someone using this trick to break the wall!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mission Critical Mission

One of the revolutions in the area of communication in last 2-3 years, in my opinion, has been Skype. An absolutely unique mode of communication, using the grossly slandered peer-to-peer method of connectivity in a legal mode, skype revolutionized use of voice data over the internet. They got bought for $2.6 billion by ebay, quite a steep amount. Skype continued to do well and slowly became a mission critical application, whose breakdown would result in productivity and money loss.

On 16th Aug 2007, Skype suffered its first major outage. Skype acknowledged it too and promised to get the service back online within 24 hours. The promised time went by and the service was not back. I use skype regularly and definitely felt the productivity loss because of this outage. Now, when you have set such a great precedent and when people have started trusting your service implicitly, such an outage sure puts you in trouble. And as a direct consequence, the parent company, Ebay lost $1 billion in market share!

So many years of trouble free service and a couple of days of trouble, and what a huge price the trouble came with! Live on, in the world of the demanding!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Movie Review: Life In A Metro

Another multiplex movie and another hit. I have heard only good reviews of Life In .... and I had to check it out to find out if it was worth all the noise. I wasn't disappointed, but no too impressed either, as many things in the movie were plain obvious.

The film is a dig at the fast paced life in any busy city and how desperate people are to find the very essence for ones existence. The whole story revolves around a series of extra marital affairs, some seem to make sense and some are just nonsense. I honestly didn't see anything else in this film, but still it was worth a view and ended before one got bored. Performances were overall ok. I felt Irfan Khan was under utilized and Konkana Sen was just superb! The end scenes were extra filmy, but then, you couldn't have any other end to make it a hit.

I remember the movie Hyderabad Blues which was among the first multiplex movies to become a big hit. The reason I liked the movie was, I could relate to many things shown in the movie. I just hope, Life In a Metro being a hit has very little to do with people relating to it....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rich get richer...

... and its cliche to say the poor get poorer. In a fast growing economy like India, the economic disparity is evidently visible. Every big-building dotted skyline is greeted with a slum next to it. This being said, the current economic drive does touch the lower strata of the working class, even if its only the tip of the iceberg.

There is this barber who set shop some three years ago close to where I stay. He had four chairs in his shop, but he was the only one working. He kept the place clean and would wait for customers to come in from 7AM to 9PM everyday. He would have been happy if one person had walked in once an hour, and even that was too big an ask. I have seen him actually give free haircuts to people on "credit". He was sure he would never get paid, and was never happy giving the credit. But none the less, growing the business was important and he did what he had to do. I talked to him in detail every time I went over for a haircut and he would say about how difficult life was and continues to be. He talks about the money he has taken from a money lender and the interest he has to pay. But no matter what, he always kept the place very clean and kept biding time, and waiting...

Now, three years later, his business is well set. He has people who work for him doing duty at all the four chairs. All the chairs for waiting customers are occupied and he stands outside (no place inside the shop) greeting customers and overseeing the work being done. He has increased the amount he charges by 20% and has added some value adds to his business proposition now. He has bought new equipment (trimmers and electric shavers), has a person dedicated to do massages and almost no sharing of gear among his workers, which is rare in this business. His patience and his hard work are finally paying, and he sure deserves it.

Though there is a possibility that this is an isolated case, I would like to believe that the effect of the growing economy has reached the people whose economic development will push India into the developed countries list. Three cheers to our protagonist and lots of wishes to every other hardworking dreamer waiting for his crack at this economy.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Insurance vs Investment

I am gonna delve into a topic I know very little about(not that I only write about what I know. :-)), money. I have been a speculator during my last few years of investment in the equity or secondary markets and only recently have started paying a little more attention towards valid reasoning before investing. So, with this as a backdrop, please take everything I write on this topic with a pinch of salt. :-)

I have been wanting to take a good life insurance cover for a couple of years now. In the process of deciding which one to go with, I was talking to friends and family and I was in for some informative surprises. ULIPs (Unit Linked Insurance Plan) have been very popular off late because they provide you with insurance cover and also invest in the hot Indian equity market. Seems like the best of both worlds? Not quite! A couple of friends at office, nsd and patel, gave me some gyan on this and after some reading of my own am convinced that ULIPs are the worst of both worlds. They don't give you inadequate life cover and they also perform worse than many mutual funds in terms of returns.

Follow this link (thanks to patel) for those interested in understanding this better.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Movie Review: Mungaru Male

Mungaru Male is considered by many as a landmark film in Kannada film history. I haven't watched a full length Kannada film in a long time, but couldn't resist the temptation to watch this one. I just had to know what was so good about this film starring newcomers Ganesh and Pooja. The film has a very small caste other than them. Ganesh's mother, Pooja parents, notably the father being played by Anant Nag and a necessary bad guy. The star of the movie of course was its music. I suggest folks who listen to a lot of Hindi music to give this one a shot. It will beat most if not all of the regular fair on offer these days in Bollywood.

One thing I was certain about was the ending of the movie. Most hit films in India, irrespective of the language its shot in, will have a happy ending. So, since this was such a big hit, it had to of course have a happy ending! The story was very simple. Ganesh and mom get to Coorg to attend the wedding of Pooja, Ganeshs moms friends daughter. Ganesh though is oblivious of this and is coming along just to enjoy the monsoon. He inadvertently falls in love with Pooja, not knowing that she is getting married. In the one week that is left before the marriage, he becomes an integral part of the family and he slowly but surely makes his way into Pooja heart. Pooja finally agrees to Ganeshs relentless pursuit and all looks well at this point. Now, I get thinking. If it ends this way, then it just cannot be a hit! There has got to be a twist here. And surely, the story doesn't disappoint. All the parents in the movie tell Ganesh how they want the marriage to go on well and how they expect him to ensure it happens so. Now, with all the expectations laden on him, he has to give up his girl. In typical movie fashion, he says harsh words and obviously becomes the bad guy. The heroine starts thinking, maybe it was all an infatuation and gets set for her impending marriage. Our hero on the other hand is devastated. To make us really feel for the guy, he is seen saving the bridge groom from the bad guy and in fact has a heart to heart with bad guy, who is also in love with the heroine but just can't get her. Again, I get thinking. Now, that the twist has happened, lets now wait for the obvious happy ending. And this is exactly where the director took it away. Quiet uncharacteristically, the hero loses out and the marriage goes on as planned.

The ending was most unexpected and done quite nicely. The performances especially from Ganesh was really very good. I must say, I just loved the movie and now vouch with the rest of the folks who watched the movie. This really is a damn good movie! I give it a 7.5 on 10, some points taken away for the rabbit scenes. ;-)

numlanes=numlanes+1

One of the better roads in Bangalore is the outer ring road. There are lot of new projects like the peripheral ring road being planned. But I suggest one thing to all the planners. Please increase the number of planned lanes by one coz you need to plan for this!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Problem suggestion

Some brilliant bowling by Zaheer Khan ensured India a victory over England in the 2nd test at Nottingham. As Zaheer said in the post match interview, all the niggling and sledging by the England close in fielders actually pissed him off enough to bowl his best ever test performance. The England players not only lost the match but also got a wrap on their knuckles by the media and cricket thinkers alike for the jelly bean incident. It was also quite clear from the stump mic that sledging was going on all along.

In the midst of all this disgrace, the English coach, Peters Moores, suggests that we get rid of the stump mic. Is that the solution to the problem or is it to tell his players to keep it quite! He is also more than welcome to give an earful to over very own bowler in the Andre Nel mould, Sreesanth. Instead, he wants to promote this kind of gamesmanship! If his players don't have the gumption to face the music for all their "gamesmanship", they should keep their lips sealed and just play the game! Mr Moore, what you have suggested as the solution to the problem is a bigger problem!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

'Mis' things

How often do you see a misprint or wrong data or spelling mistake in the newspaper? Not so long ago, these kind of mistakes used to be rare, but Times Of India sets new lows every other day in this aspect. Thought I will start off a new section focussing on this.



The print below the headline in todays Sports section of TOI reads that Tendulkar crossed 11,000 runs enroute to an unbeaten knock of 53. But Tendulkar was overnight unbeaten on 57!

And why do I still stick with TOI, you ask? Its the known devil, unknown angel thing. :-)

A 50% Day...

Its old news that Times Of India has more Ads than news, atleast in Bangalore. But amidst all the Ads was this strange coincidence in just 6-8 pages of yesterdays supplement paper.













... and I still didn't get off the couch. ;-)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Made my evening!

Had a good day with cartoons yesterday! I saw this yesteday evening in TOI and couldn't stop laughing. Its slightly "out there" humour, but with Calvin, what else can you expect! :-)


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Miracle

As a quick follow up, India did not lose the match! Call it Dhoni's most useful test knock or the rain gods punishing England, what happened yesterday was no short of a miracle. And the experts.... well, they can wait for another day. The Indian team sure believes in giving and taking second chances. :-)

Doomsday sayers!

I remember the 2002 Natwest Series finals between India and England very vividly. Kaif and Yuvraj playing and I was reading a magazine with the TV on and waiting for it to all end. Then I was witness to some magnificent (almost dream) batting and India chased an unlikely 326 to win the match. That day for the first time, the words "Anything can happen in cricket" actually made sense. Since then there were many days when India was reduced to smithereens, but I would hope for the Natwest kinda miracle. The miracles did come few and far between, just frequently enough for me to keep hoping. But at the same time, thanks to all the non miracle performances, I have become more immune to bad performances from India.

Today, India had to chase 380 at Lords. I followed the match a bit on the net, came back home and followed it a bit on television. India are right now 282/9 and seem like losing the test. The rain and Dhoni have come to the rescue, with the latter playing on 76, but the tail didn't wag much. I switch across some news channels and I see doomsday predictions in every channel. Every "expert" in town has a comment to make. Some are talking of how India has had a pathetic start to the tour, while others talk of how India is an aging side, or on how India can't play swing bowling, or on how India is unprepared for these of pitches. But one important thing they all seem to forget... WE HAVE NOT LOST THE MATCH YET! I am sure most of these experts would have a different opinion if Gilchrist and McGrath were on crease. I can see Dhoni doing quite as bit as Gilchrist could ever do while Sreesanth can match McGrath for batting grit and determination any day!

C'mon experts, please wait for us to lose the match while in the process probably making the highest score of the match in the 4th innings before you start heaping the pearls of wisdom at the team!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Profit Booking

Another expectedly bad batting performance overseas by the Indian cricket team against England. The three stalwarts of our batting lineup didn't live up to the hype. Dravid seems to have got into some kinda bad patch, Tendulkar flattered to deceive and Saurav played one of his usual innings these days of making a score, but one that doesn't accomplish anything.

This performance not being indicative, I think it makes a lot of sense for these cricketers to retire and make good of their career. Lemme explain my logic... There are BCCI limitations on the number of endorsements allowed to cricketers in a year. The career of these three are in their twilight anyway and we all know there is not enough talent out there to replace these guys. So, they could retire now and see the Indian middle order going to absolute doldrums. Within 6 months, we will all start making statements like "What a pathetic batting display. If Sachin or Rahul or even Saurav was around, they would have help the innings together". And this kinda talk will ensure that these three maintain their star status and since they are no longer in the national team, they can do all kinds of Ads, like Big B does (Binani Cement to Navratan Oil!!).

This would be profit booking at its best.... makes economic sense, don't you agree? ;-)

Friday, July 20, 2007

So far from Reality

As the Indian TV audience awaken to the genre of Reality TV, we are flooded with contests across cable channels. They range from Singing contests, acting contents and even off beat shows like MTV Roadies and Bakra. While these shows are preferable to saas-bahu serials, they are tweaked to a huge extent for TRP ratings.

Going after TRP ratings is definitely not wrong, but reducing these shows to a farce is kinda lame. For example, I was watching India Idol - 3 today. Since sms is THE way the contest is decided, the ladies apparently never win because most of the sms voters are ladies and they prefer voting for guys. While there could be a lot of truth in this, it also shows the biggest flaw in the system. How did Sunidhi chauhan come through? How did Shreya Ghoshal come through? Some very knowledgeable music pundits made the decision and time has proven them very right. But in this day and age of sms voting, its the slightly cuter one, slightly handsome one, the hindi belt one, the south indian one, the north east one etc etc which is as big a criteria that decides the winner as is their singing. If this ain't lame, I don't know what is! This is a competition for gods sake, shouldn't all the participants get a fighting chance?

Oh well....

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Flatter to deceive

The first test against England is underway and India's bowling is not doing too well. The England weather is so finicky that its a surprise the game got underway on time. Vaughn won the toss and chose to bat and England made most of the lackluster Indian bowling attack. But as usual, its our fielding which is to blame just as much. Since our cable service provider does not give the new channel "Star Cricket", I am confined to seeing the highlights in news channels.

One of the highlights I saw of the match was Sreesanth bowling to Strauss and Dinesh Karthik dropping a dolly. This is not the first time I have seen this. Dinesh is a very athletic fielder. He jumps around, he is chirpy and is almost like the energizer bunny. All this is very good for a wicket keeper, but as a fielder, he has to understand that he has no gloves and there are said techniques to hold catches. Even in the last couple of series, I have seen him drop so many catches, that it is surprising that there is not more noise made about his pathetic catching. In fact, he is being considered a permanent in the test team, while a consistent player like Dhoni is on the fringes and as per news reports so was Laxman! No matter how spunky a bat Dinesh is, he has to understand that he is always an all rounder. Either he is a wicket keeping allrounder or he is a fielding allrounder. He has not done enough yet in International cricket to get leeway in the fielding department like Kumble or Laxman or for that matter Ganguly!

C'mon young man... catch that ball, will you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Strange Video

Have seen buildings becoming demolished or brought down by force. But a building collapsing on its own accord... is a first for me.




p.s: Pardon the sub-titles. :-)

Monday, July 16, 2007

More or Less

While watching CNBC today, I noticed a news ticker which read, Indian economy growth rate expected to be 9% while the inflation is going to be pegged at 4%. How do I interpret this ? Good or bad? Does this mean, if we don't invest in the market/economy, are we losing out on 5%? Does this mean, employers should give an extra 5% hike to folks to maintain parity? :-) or should folks be encouraged by the company to use online trading floors during office hours to make this extra money?

Damn... need to go sleep. :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bleed with 2.0

For all those who have embraced the web2.0 wave, this post will be of utmost interest. 95% of the web2.0 sites out on the net are run by startups. These companies are too small to be able to handle the kind of traffic that sites like google, yahoo or myspace can take. Hence, even if the idea they have is great, they tend to open private betas via invites as they can control the volume of traffic to their site. This definitely helps the business as they have probably created a lot of hype with people trying head over heels to get hold of invites, like what happened with GMail. But at the same time, it kills the spirit of the voluntary beta testers who would like to be the early adopters of any technology.

Here is a site that helps these bleeding edge geeks. InviteShare is a website that keeps track of invites and helps give it out to the needy. I have gotten myself enrolled and hope to get my hands on invites to a couple of sites that have left me waiting for over 2 months! Happy getting invited and inviting!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Two of a kind

This years Wimbledon has been a damp squib. But a revelation of sorts this year has been Martina Navratilova as a commentator. She had won the 2006 US open mixed doubles crown to be her 10th mixed doubles Grand Slam and has probably decided to give Grand Slam winning a rest (till she does another comeback). :-). But as a commentator, she was doing a good job and was humorous too, thanks to all her foot-in-the-mouth comments.

Listening to her commentate reminded me a lot of Wasim Akram when he had just retired and within a few months had started off as a commentator. Wasim Akram would explain the the most smallest of details that the ball or bowler could do. Things that he must have been thinking before delivering each ball. It was funny of sorts, because, he would go into the different ball grips and effects of shining the ball one way over another etc etc. I am sure these are the details that made him the great bowler he was, but this level of "heavy" commentary will polarize the listeners into the "absolutely captivated" or "he is boring" groups.

Martina's commentary is also along similar lines. Usually commentators talk of swirling winds and stop at saying "Its very difficult to play in these conditions". At the same time, Martina would talk about how the racket head should be to counter the wind. And how an almost ordinary looking shot is brilliant because the player used his/her topspin along with the wind direction to effect a winner. The good part of course is you can take her word for it, hell she has won at Wimbledon no less than 9 times!! But again, I think she too must have polarized viewers with this level of detail, but as far as I can tell, it was refreshingly different from the usually mundane commentary in most tennis matches.

And as is obvious, I belong to the "absolutely captivated" group in both cases. :-)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mystery revealed...

... for the uber geeks among you. Any mobile aficionado worth his/her salt must have kept track of the iPhone release on June 29th. Here are the gory details of the iPhone. Remember, some company sponsored away 50K Rupees($1200 for two 8GB iPhones) to bring you this one pager. :-) On the other hand the share prices of companies whose components have been used to make the iPhone have started sky-rocketing. If the sponsor was one of them, this was a very wise move.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Loving it!

I have always been a huge iriver fan and each year their products just keep getting better and better. As the brain washed ipod lovers start wondering, 'what the hell is an iriver', they make music players. :-) I can see only one reason why anyone would buy an ipod over an iriver and that would be storage. iriver stopped their hideous looking hard drive players (H series) a while back and are only flash based now. This means, almost all their offerings come with a maximum of 4GB which is good for daily use, but not good enough as a music collection storage device. But these players are way way better in terms of music quality and now looks (may be subjective :-) ) over the ipod nano (compare to clix) or shuffle (compare to s10). Even though the famous 'click wheel interface' of ipod is truly innovative, anyone who uses the 'D Click interface' of iriver will feel no different.

Before I have all the ipod loyalists blast me, let me give them a taste of this korean manufacturer's innovativeness. Here are pics of the next slew of products lined up by iriver.

From weird(proposed T70 on left ) to funny("twist" on right),





to cute(disneys mouse), these guys are truly innovative.



Now all I need from them is a flash based or hard drive based big storage audio player and I am set!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Movie Review: Oceans 13

Finally, Oceans 13 happened!. All the traffic at Silk Board ensured that we reached some 10 minutes late. Anyway, don't think we missed much and caught the story strain (to my surprise).

Oceans 11 was a really superb script interspersed with some wonderful acting and drop dead superb screenplay. Oceans 12 was another decent attempt, the plot was too convoluted for me to be part of it. It was more of a mystery of "how they did it" and that is fun only when you have been given chances to figure it out during the course of the movie, which was not the case. I didn't like it as much, but the franchise still had enough in it to bring out a third and maintain interest.

Oceans 13, though seems like the name for the logical next part, doesn't actually have 13 people doing the job, they added Terry Benedict played by Andy Garcia to the crew, but there was no sign of No:12 of the previous part, Julia Roberts. Maybe the role played by Matt Damons dad is the No:13. The plot revolves around the new casino tycoon, Willy Bank played by Al Pacino throwing out Rueben (the casino owner part of Oceans team) from having anything to do with a new casino to which he apparently had a stake (This is the part I missed). Ocean gives Bank a chance to redeem himself which is curtly turned down. Bank then on gets busy setting his new Casinos opening day in place and Ocean sets his sight on destroying this special day for Bank and also denting him financially in the process. Toulour (Oceans adversary in Oceans 12) has a highly insignificant role to play and would have been better off not diluting the presence he had created in Oceans 12. Like any Oceans movie, the complete plot is next to impossible to pen in a review and also would kill the fun for those intending to watch the movie. What I can say though is that the plot is pretty straightforward and is executed in typical Oceans style with some unbelievable pieces (from acquiring a massive driller to being able to tweak with the dice used in the casino).

Of the many things that I didn't fancy in the movie, one definitely was the apparent disregard for millions of dollars by Oceans team. They haven't made that much money from the plots in the previous Oceans movies :-). Another thing which doesn't gel well is how Ocean pisses off somebody of Bank's stature and still is confident of getting away with it.

None the less, the movie was a decent watch for Oceans series fans and would be a definite recommend over Oceans 12 and not quite as riveting as Oceans 11. I give it a 7 on 10.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

When you gotta go..

.. you gotta go. And technology helps you in this very urgent cause even. :-) Here is a new startup web2.0 company which is trying to help you find a place to "pee", when you need to go soooo bad! Mizpee is pee location finder which is designed to be browsed via a mobile device. You need to just enter in your location and viola, you have info on the best loo at your possible disposal. :-))

How much more can one use technology?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pressure gets to all...

There was a time when I used to watch a lot of WWF now WWE. Once I got to the age when I figured that the whole thing was staged, I got so dejected that I almost stopped watching it. These days I spend a 5-10 minute period every now and then between channel browsing watching WWE. And anyone who is a partial or regular viewer of WWE would know Chris Benoit.

On June 24, he murdered his wife and 7 year old kid and later hanged himself. He had in previous interviews attributed a lot of him maverick behavior to the pressures and rigors of life of a professional athlete. A sad end to a good entertainer and even worse that he took his family down(up) with him. All the money, all the pressure, all the fame... wonder if its ever worth it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How long before...

Wimbledon is on and like the French open is happening during back-from-office-in-India friendly times and hence am able to see a lot of it on television. And everyday, along with all the tennis I also get to see the wonderful ground covers that Wimbledon have. They bring it on and off so fast and are so effective in preventing the grass from getting any greener. In case my sarcasm is lost on anyone, all this rain at Wimbledon really sucks!

We have 4 Grand Slams in a year. Ideally speaking, we should be having one per quarter. But nope, we gotta have it as haphazard as possible. We start in Jan with Australian, wait till May/June for the French and withing 2-3 weeks have Wimbledon and wait for the end of the year for the US Open. Now, the obvious culprits are French and Wimbledon. Since Wimbledon is blessed with such lousy weather at this time for the year, what why can't they move the tourney to be a couple of months delayed or early? Cmon organizers, you see this happen every year, when are you gonna learn that tennis cannot be played in the rain and we hence needs a reschedule!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy printing!

Digital cameras are very pervasive these days and you can find many a person clicking away merrily during functions and get-togethers. One major flip side to digital camera usage is the abundant amount of photos that get clicked and the massive organizing that is needed after any clicking spree. With regular cameras, once the reel is finished, we get it developed and the story of that reel ends there. But with digital cameras, we tend to trust our hard-disks to store everything and when the space crunch hits we then need to
organize(delete) in a hurry.

If you belong to category of people who face the above problem, here is a solution that could help. Picsquare is an Indian startup which does online printing jobs. It can help you print on T-shirts, cups, calendars or take regular digital photo prints. All from the cozy confines of your computer and at 'cheaper than street' prices. Get your photos ass off your hard-disk and onto the photo paper. :-) Give it a shot!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

How times change...

India has followed the caste system since ages and probably was started with some noble intent. This has unfortunately been construed into a license for discrimination by many so called upper castes on the lower castes. Who or when this was conceived is always open to argument, but one thing that was consistent in my memory is the dual face of politicians when it comes to treating the so called lower castes. I am going to drop the "so called" from now on, for the record, I don't consider anybody to be upper or lower caste. Now to continue... most of the politicians have one and only agenda, get to power. To achieve this, they need every vote they can conjure up and hence keep the lower castes in this constant state of misery. This ensures that every election these folks suffer from memory loss of the previous time the same politician was in power and always vote on sentiments.



Nonetheless, the general talk in the "middle class" used to deem being of a lower caste to be demeaning or somehow less becoming. When I was trying to get admission after my 10 or 12th, the SC/ST quota was in play and most of the SC/STs I knew were not proud of it. They were well to do and yet were using the quota system. They would tell me that they know what is happening is not right, but then, it probably helps the needy somewhere. From the state of affairs that existed then, today we have the Gujjars fighting to be called tribals! They are a pretty big community and media reports suggest that they are relatively well to do. Why would they want to be called a tribal or crassly put "a dalit"? Doesn't this indicate something wrong with the Government policies? Doesn't this indicate that the quota system is being so badly misused that folks don't care a damn of what the society would look upon them as (which is usually a big deal in India), all just to get reservation in education or government offices?



Whether the Gujjars have the right reasons or not to place this demand, with respect to SC/ST status, the times sure have changed....





Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mr ya Mrs

A "well contested" presidential elections in India, hasn't it been a while since we have seen one? The office of the President has become a test lab for the political parties of India. The main reason that K.R. Narayanan was the President was to gather the SC/ST vote bank. Next came Mr. Abdul Kalam, through whom the BJP tried to reduce the animosity that the Muslim community in India felt towards them. Now its the turn of Mrs. Pratibha Patil. Here the emphasis is on trying to woo the female vote bank. C'mon UPA, she was in political oblivion from 1996-2004, you pulled her out of nowhere and made her the Governor of Rajasthan and since she listened to your every move, she gets the next big promotion to Presidency? Any chance of thinking of the country's good before your own?

Since the ruling party usually proposes the winning candidate, there is a high probability that Mrs. Pratibha Patil would be the next President of India. If she wouldn't be the perfect rubber stamp President, then I don't know who would be! If looks could tell all the story, she would be succeeding the most popular President India has had, to become the most meekest President India has had. She is being so well protected by the Congress party that anybody but her would do the talking for her. The biggest question the educated people of India would be asking is, "What is wrong with Mr. Kalam?, why can't he continue as the President?". An answer to which, I am sure, the politicians of UPA or NDA would not have. The left over parties, aptly called UNPA i.e. !(UPA+NDA) :-), tried to woo Kalam into the race. Kalam said the most politically naive thing and the people opposing him had a field day. He said he would contest if he is sure of winning. Duh! This is politics, you are not supported by the 2 biggest party coalitions, you stand next to no chance of winning. You had a good run and unfortunately the political masters of India care more for their next elections, than continuing with the best President India has had. Now, the UPA leaders say that this is proof that Kalam is not really apolitical and he has shown his love for the chair. I ask, what is wrong with having the love of the chair? especially when he has done such a commendable job? Does that one statement make him a political guy? By accusing him of showing his political side, are you agreeing that being political obviously means being bad? I anything, I would say the statement shows his patriotism, as he wants the office of the President to not be corrupted by politics and in that regard his credentials beat the other competitors by a long margin. BJP on the other hand seizes this obvious admiration that people have for Kalam and ask the Congress as to why they oppose Kalam so much. Hey BJP, if you love Kalam so much, why field your own candidate? Why not support Kalam? And Mr. Shekhawat, poor guy must have been waiting for this day so bad. The only rubber stamp post more perfect than that of the President is that of the Vice-President! He must have been dreaming of getting the promotion to being "THE" rubber stamp instead of the Assistant rubber stamp.

All in all, another political drama unfolding to culminate in another political fiasco. It would not be too bad to see a lady take up the post though, giving the women of India a boost. But, in Indian politics, there is no other post that is as hypocritically admired and yet disregarded like the Presidential post. If anything, this win by Mrs. Pratibha Patil would put the women trying to earn a break in the male dominated work-socio setup into reverse gear, as this is exactly the attitude that they are trying to fight in their everyday life!

Let the games continue....