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


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.