Sunday, December 28, 2008

Comment Promotion

This post was initially as a comment to this. But since Arun tracks my blog and my comment was more than a 'comment', I thought of posting it here. :-)

---
First off, must have been quite a lazy afternoon for you to have tried your hand/mind at sathsang. :-)

That being said, self exploration is always good and if sathsang gets your there, nothing wrong with that. My view is, I somehow don't get the core point for being stateless and staying away from 'maya'. They main 'gyan' delivered by most spiritual leaders/oraters is, "if you have no wishes, you have no disappointment". That is so obvious, I don't see the point in everyone repeating it! What is the big funda in this ?? If you have no wishes you also have no drive to be better than 'average'. So, as per all the swamis, we have to be just average to be happy. Its so easy and frankly cliché to see all the bad and say that its 'maya' which is the cause of all misery. If "everyone" in the world always strove to be average, then would we have seen all the good in this world today ?? The lives that medicine is saving ? The lives that technology is improving ? etc etc.

Till I see someone who makes more than an obvious observation and says "stay away from maya", I don't see any point in wasting even the laziest of afternoons!
---

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Movie Review: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Those who know me well enough would be shocked that I actually saw this movie. If its any consolation, I didn't pay money to watch it. ;-) If you are still shocked, well, my defence is, I don't like SRK, but a Aditya Chopra movie could be interesting.

Anyway, I ended up with a copy of this movie and decided to give it a go. The movie is no where close to the completeness of other Aditya Chopra movies, but is not a bad one either. Its rather too filmy in portions where the age old superman crap works i.e. the guy loses his glasses and moustache and voila, his wife can't recognize him any more! Except for a couple of songs, the rest are forced upon you and kinda kills whatever little narration is working. Music lacks the punch, but is adequate I suppose. There is nothing special to mention about the other facets of the movie making as such, all was pretty straightforward representation of the directors vision. The film lacks any connection with reality and that is its biggest flaw, I suppose. For this movie to be effective, it should not have been a second over 2 hours, hell there is no story depth to even last that long.

SRK has done a decent job, but he always overacts and this movie is no different. Vinay Pathak has been wasted in the movie. He needs to be careful of not losing his "charm" so to speak, with Dasvidaniya, Oh My god and this movie all coming close on each others heels. Anushka Sharma is definitely the find of the movie. She dances superbly, can act decently enough (especially for a debut movie) and except for scenes where Aditya chopra actually tries to create some melodrama, she is quite natural with her expressions. In my opinion, she can take deepika padukone head on and whip her ass!

I would rate this movie at 6/10 and have a special mention for Anushka's dance, she sure can move! :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whodunit ? Hedunit!

Sachin has finally done it! He has finally scored a century in a 4th innings victory for India. I have always yearned to see this and in fact have rated many like Inzamam ahead of Tendulkar because of Inzys ability to win test matches or Sachins inability to win them.

Finally, India chasing an epic score in the 4th innings, brings the very best out of the veteran and this 103 n.o. would be rated by many, including him, as one of his best ever hundreds! More so sweet because it happened in Chennai, which will sure help heal those Pakistan inflicted wound.

Thanks Sachin... Thanks!

p.s: Taking nothing away from Yuvraj though, he was just as instrumental if not more in winning this memorable test match! Kudos!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sense And Sensibility!

When Mumbai 26/11 was happening, all the media channels ensured that no political parlays were allowed or debated. They could afford to do this because they had an opportunity to not do any programming and had LIVE "action" to show. Now that the 'LIVE'ness of the incident is over, the media is back to the politicians for debates and gyan. Can't blame them in entirity, as they need to look at their topline too. And at the end of the day, the whole incident was covered more correctly by the media than what we see them do on a daily basis.

No, this is not a 'rant' on the media, but on the same old boring topic of politicians. Why I don't tire telling this to people I meet or writing about it in emails and now blogging here is coz, the sheer narcissist attitude of many of the senior politicians after the incident is unpardonable at so many levels. You wanna be corrupt, be corrupt. You wanna be inept, be inept. You wanna be lazy, be lazy. The people of India usually don't care. But this... this is very very different. 'Everybody', in my office, my family, my friends, whom I have personally met have had a sense of seriousness about what has happened. There are no jokes cracked, there is no blame game going on, its just sheer shock about what has happened and worry about what are we going to do about all this. And what do we hear from our politicians ?

Vilasrao Deshmukh:
i) On why Ram Gopal Verma accompanied him to the Taj : Many people come to such places
ii) On whether he is going to resign : I have offered to resign, and if the CWC thinks there is some responsibility I need to shoulder for this incident, then yes, I will obey.
RR Patil:
i) On whether he is going to resign : There is no question of resigning
ii) On whether there was intelligence lapse : In big cities, such small things happen
Achuthanandan:
i) On why Sandeep Unnikrishnans parents shouted at him : I don't know. If not for Sandeep, even a dog won't go to their house.
Mukhtar Naqvi:
i) On the outrage against politicians : All this is rubbish

There are many more examples:
1. Like how Veerappa Moily wanted a probe into why Hemant Karkare was targeted and there was BJP hand in it. Sure sir, that is exactly the problem!
2. Or how Arun Jaitley felt that the entire government should resign. Sure sir, now is the right time for elections and we can all get busy voting you guys back into power.
3. Or how Advani or Rajnath Singh cannot make it to the 'all party' meeting hosted by the PM. Sure sirs, lets win the elections in Rajasthan first, Maharashtra elections are not around for some time.

I mean... c'mon guys, even if you can't do your jobs, at least act Indian, FOR ONCE!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Two Of A Kind ?

As if having one Raghu was not enough for the MTV Roadies contestant, he now has help from his twin brother Rajeev! I can't think both of them choosing to go with the exact same goatie plus bald look plus earrings etc. Orchestrated, but yet interesting ...

For some reason, I can't embed this video, youtube goof! Anywayz, here is the link. This post is thanks to my wife. :-)

Music Review: Yuvvraaj & Ghajini

I had been thinking of writing a review for Yuvvraaj for more than a week now, but just haven't gotten around to it. So, here it is, along with a bonus Ghajini music review. ;-)

Yuvvraaj:
Subhash Ghai wielding the directors mic after a long time (I think). Honestly, I don't think much of the guy as a director, but hey, what do I know! :-) So, as a movie, I was not looking forward to Yuvvraaj, and if I go by the reviews, I was right. But w.r.t music, "anything" from A R Rahman has gotta be more interesting than the rest of the fare. And this time, Rahman does not disappoint. The album is one of the best from Rahman off late and considering Jodhaa Akbar earlier in the year, bettering that, in my opinion was a tough ask. Rahman did just that with this album. Typical Kay-Kay range melody in Tu Meri Dost Hain and well rendered by Shreya and a good start in Bollywood by Benny Dayal. I feel he has goofed up around the end of a stanza at about a minute and 20 sec into the song, but I don't seem to find support from the most musically literate person I personally know (my wife :-)). Tell me if anyone else feels that Benny lost it. Next is Shano Shano which is a typical peppy number but a little slow for being a party song though. The next one, Tu Muskura, is my favourite in this album. How Rahman got Alka Yagnik to croon like her good ol' days will remain a mystery, but hell she has delivered! And Javed Ali, what can I say, I just like his raw, rustic and fresh voice. I need to hear this guy sing more! The album probably didn't need another light song, but it has Mastam Mastam. In my opinion, this is the weakest song in the album. Zindagi has the smooth-as-silk Srinivas delivering the song beautifully. This is more a Srinivas song than a Rahman one. Dil Ka Rishta is where Rahman displays his growing prowess in western style orchestration and does a really good job. Manmohini is an ok song I suppose, probably too classical for me to appreciate it. :-) . All in all, I loved 3 songs, and find the rest of the songs also to be good. I give it a 7.5 on 10. Have I ever rated albums before ?

Ghajini:
Getting two super albums in one year from Rahman that I love is rare and getting a third was almost too good to be true. But after hearing the promos of Guzarish, I knew I could well be surprised. Its Javed Ali again and another great song! As if his souding like Sonu Nigam was not confusing enough, the humming in the middle of the song is actually by Sonu Nigam! A very nice song and sung very well. Aye Bachoo is a fast number and ever so stylishly rendered by Suzanne. I liked it more for the attitude in Suzannes voice. Kaise Mujhe has Karthik at vocals doing a decent job and the song starts off with promise, but the song kinda moves into this lazy note and kinda lacks the initial emotions till Shreya does the rescue act. This is quite rare for a rahman song, and the album has been going only downhill from Guzarish. Behka by Rahman flavour of the season, Benny and the constant of the season, Shreya. The song didn't do anything for me. The promos of the songs seem interesting, but the song by itself was not. Latoo is a true run-of-the-mill song and somehow Shreya, though does a decent job, should leave this genre of songs to Sunidhi. A rather disappointing end to a promising start. I give it a 5.5 on 10, and I guess even this rating is being helped by the latent leftover effect of Yuvvraaj.

Rahman has been very busy this year, and I am yet to hear the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire. Maybe we have more to come from the Maestro before the year ends...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yes, we live amongst them!

This is old news, but unfortunately, my ability to grasp important news has been "breaking" off late! This is extremely disturbing and hence you have been warned. But none the less, we need this kinda jolt once in a while to realize the difference between civilized and uncivilized forms of existence. BTW, I did think of writing the previous sentence as the "difference between civilized humans and wild animals", but I see enough Nat Geo to know that wild animals wouldn't be this uncivilized!



These are student clashes in chennai between two law colleges. The police apathy can prick at first, but remember, their action or inaction is not decided by them. You can see the police officer talking to someone on the phone and his apparent orders are to find a good spot from where he can watch the action rather than diffuse it!

I googled the net to know the reason behind these acts of aggression, but I surprisingly couldn't find any. All I could find was people talking about politics inside the campus etc etc. If anyone knows the reason (I am sure its going to be painfully silly!) or followed the news, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Movie Review: Quantum of Solace

Its been a while since I have written a review and what better to get back to the groove than Bonds latest movie Quantum of Solace. I really loved Daniel Craigs first bond starrer and truly had high hopes for this one and hence got the release weekend tickets.

As it turns out, the movie was not all that special. Daniel continues to be the Bond who prefers to punch his way out of trouble rather than take help from gadgets. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but a very thin and unclear plot didn't help the movie. Other than Bond, there is no character that stays back in your mind, not even the villain. The movie camera work is too fast and hence seems patchy at times. There are no ladies in the movie to note, with Olga Kurylenko merely a presence for the sake of it. During the movie I did wish for Q to come back from the dead and give Bond a gadget or two, just to spice things up. But alas, the only accomplice Bond needed were his fists. Some action scenes were good, but again, not enough action around the
action scenes, if you get my drift. The forced references to the
sequences and characters in Casino Royale was irritating, and to think that the movies climax is also driven by it was a let down.

As usual, the plot or the lack thereof is for you folks to see and savor, but my take on it is a 6/10 and I am being very lenient.

Bad to Worse

My second favourite gadget stop is teethering! How many more pins to fall ? :-((

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The New Kali

Halloween + bored of stale costumes = Indian Goddess in a new avatar!

I am sure we will have some effigy burning and destruction of public property in India if these pics makes it some desi tabloid. ;-)











BTW, This is Heidi Klum and her husband Seal.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Madness Continues...

The fall in the financial markets in the US continues unabated and the Indian markets can't be too far behind...



What's next ? Who's next ??

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sub-prime prequel

Here is a real nice article on the reasons for what transpired on wall street over the last month or so. [Thanks to Patel]



Don't miss the last line of the article. The guy still wants us to keep putting money in. :-D

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Need Solution

I have a simple problem and need a solution. I may not have tried hard enough, but I am looking for a quick answer. Power cuts are a reality we live with today in Bangalore and has been so for the last few summers. I use broadband at home and many a time use Skype for conference calls. I have an inverter at home for backup power supply and it takes over when there is a power cut in less than a second. My TV, tube lights etc don't get interrupted at all. But my broadband router is a different story. The time it takes for the power supply to get handed over to the inverter is good enough for the router to reboot and this is super irritating. I need to wait close to a minute before I dial back in and as Murphy would have it, this usually happens when I am expected to be doing the talking on the call.



I called up some UPS companies and they say "No UPS can switch over that fast". I don't get it... its a simple problem and should have a simple solution. I am sure there should be other appliances which are just as power sensitive and critical. How come we don't have a solution for this yet!! All I need is a 1 second battery backup after which the battery can give up and my inverter will take over.

p.s: Sudden motivation is, I was downloading a file for the last 6 hours from rapidshare and needed just 20 mins to complete it, but some BESCOM employee felt like testing my inverter and just did a power flip flop. Result is, my download stopped, can't be resumed and now since I am over my rapidshare limit, can't download for the next few hours!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Web Junk Confirmed!

We only had to wait a day to see the true reason behind the website.



I should have guessed as much when I saw the primarily "Orange" colour in the Ads. Looks like the real estate business is not doing too well and hence they had initially gotten into the furniture business and now travel. Or is it that they have made so much money from the real estate business and don't know what to do with it! :-) Either way, all the folks who went to the website and spilt their hearts out should be feeling pretty letdown with the true intent of the website! Crap!

Web Junk !?!

Those who listen to FM Radio in Bangalore or read Times Of India (Bangalore edition) could not have missed the rather uninspired Ads on a rather interesting topic. See below and here:



I was extremely interested to know what the intent of the website was. Was it to know why people who have settled down in Bangalore are thinking of retracing their steps (I know a few such cases). Or was it to know if Bangaloreans are contemplating leaving Bangalore (I don't know a single case). Or was it just a whacky new way of attracting readership for some newspaper like DNA Daily's Whats in Bangalores DNA or Bangalore Mirrors Get Bangalore talking campaigns.

As it turns out, its a damp squib. Its likely just a portal for people to say *something* and probably for some marketing folks to collect email ids. Unless something big is waiting in suspense, such websites just add to worldwideweb junk!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Miracle ??

People who are familiar with the stretch of Old Madras Road between Krishnarajapuram and NGEF junction know the dreaded Beneganahalli bridge. This is a real bottlneck for traffic movement throughout the day starting as early as 8AM and not ending even at 9PM. I used to frequent this section every day and every night and it took quite a toll on the emails I sent on reaching office or the intensity with which I would chew my dinner. :-)

This section had actually gotten so bad, that I had started using the Airport road to get to/from office. Just the other day, a week or so back, I took my chances for reasons I can't remember, changed loyalties and went via my ex-route. :-). To my utter surprise, I cruised at 30kmph (trust me, this is speeding!!) through the section. I thought this was just my lucky day and tested my luck in the evening. Same result again! Cruised through... I tested the stretch again and again the next few days. Everyday, same result...even at 9:00AM or 7:00PM, which are peak traffic times! There was no change in traffic patterns with respect to feeding of vehicles and yet this miracle ??

This is a mystery which needed figuring out. So, I sacrificed some of my grey cells for this noble cause. As it turns out, the traffic cops were the reason for the blockage at Beneganagalli. I actually have a lot of respect for the traffic cops who do a decent job in Bangalores maddening traffic. So, why would these traffic cops do such a stupid thing... day in and day out and then one fine day, stop doing so ??

The answer my friends is that (and here I theorize...), the next big junctions i.e. NGEF and C V Raman Nagar junctions are both heavy traffic ones. Since more people will be affected if there are traffic jams in these junctions, the earlier junction i.e. Beneganahalli bridge junction is choked on purpose to smoothen traffic in the following junctions! Then came a point when the Beneganahalli bridge junction became a bigger bottleneck than the the worst of jams on the bigger junctions. And voila, traffic cops vanish and so do the traffic jams at Beneganahalli bridge!

So there, mystery solved... at least in my mind. :-) But whatever be the reason, this sure is a blessing for people struck by traffic plight.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Movie Review : A Wednesday

I was not in town last weekend and missed the movie reviews of the newly released movies. But my sis-in-laws SMS'ed me the ratings and was not surprised to see A Wednesday got 4 stars. The movie stills were impressive coz it came through as a no-bullshit movie and catering to the multiplex audience (which is so me!).

So, not surprisingly, I saw the movie this weekend. Its a short movie by Bollywood standards and has no song-dance sequences, no mushy-mellow stuff and definitely no hamming! The actors at the helm of the movie, Naseeruddin Shah and Anumpam Kher have got a chance to work in a movie befitting their talent. The story is crisp and to the point with next to no surprises, gearing the viewers for the suspenseful few minutes at the end. Since its a short movie with a tight storyline and no frills, one doesn't get bored and this pacy point of the movie is good. The role of the journalist has been shaped out badly and doesn't have enough meaning to it. Using the media to see the happenings "live" has been seen many times in movies in the past and the same is used here too.

People who plan to watch the movie, please stop reading now, as spoilers follow. I will try my best to retain the interesting parts of the plot. :-)

The story is very straightforward. Its a "I have planted bombs, free the terrorists" plot. Though I liked the movie because of its intent, the possibility of something like this happening seems way too remote. No one has the time, money, will, guts or one may say, even need, to do something as what the protagonist has done. And there were some very amateurish mistakes too.

For e.g:
1. How did Naseer get access to all the money needed for something like this ? He seems like a 'common' middle class man.
2. For someone this techie about everything else in the movie, his lack of attention to detail, like getting a simple disguise while getting into the police station is stupid
3. Use gloves! Doesn't anybody watch CSI ?? :-)
4. Its fine for Naseer to be getting cooked in the mumbai heat, but couldn't he have spared his gear ?
5. If Anupam Kher had not intention of catching/Killing Naseer, why even go to the supposed site of operations that Naseer used ?
6. If Naseer was using "some" software to do number hopping, why care for changing the SIM each time ? Why even come to mumbai to do stuff ? Sit at home and have fun!

Anywayz, all in all, a decent fair, paisal vasool, worth watching once! I give it a 7 on 10.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Huh... Come Again ?!?

I have rarely liked Ads on US television and looks like internet Ads are no different. I have seen a few of the famed Apple Ads, they are OK, but not really out there funny or out there cool. Micro$oft Ads have been even less funnier than the Apple ones and they seem to be very intent on keeping it that way. They must have paid millions to get Jerry Seinfeld to do these, but then, just because you have one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time does not mean that you can get away with absolute nonsensical crap!! Bill Gates may be a saint, thanks to his charity foundation, which is cool. But damn, he is not even close to cool in the below Ads! Have a look...





Damn Bill, Damn Jerry, Damn Micro$oft... what were you guys thinking ? What was the point of the Ads ? If you plan to pass some message or slogan about Windows/Micro$oft, at this rate, you will need a 100 videos before you actually get there!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dilbert...Again

Couple of nice ones. :-)



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Idea Drought ?

As is now very common knowledge, Google took tiny steps with their big feet into the browser world with the beta version of Chrome. This is a rather confusing move on Google's part, as they have always been a strong advocate of Firefox and getting a browser, no matter how the positioning, will be a hindrance to Firefox's continued acceptance and possible domination in the browser world. So, I really wonder, who does Google plan to hurt with this new product ? Tech savvy people will choose Firefox without a doubt, but I do hear IE 8 has some nice stuff coming up. Who do you think will be using the Chrome ? Gotta be tech savvy people, again! Is Google running out of ideas for products ?

I was also very surprised by the number of people who have heard of Chrome! How did Google manage that ?? I have not seen any Ads pop up on Gmail or Google Search. I don't remember popular tech blogs reporting about the new incumbent into the browser world till the actual beta of the product. All in all, many things about this product is surprising.

Though I haven't used Chrome enough to be able to give a complete review, here is my first take on it. Its a simple browser!! There are no bells and whistles to talk about, there are no obvious eye catchers (other than its simplicity). Its definitely less memory consuming than Firefox 3. Its definitely faster than Firefox 3, at least under low load. There is no official mention of add-ons support, but I would presume that its a foregone conclusion that there would be add-on support. A simple Google search did give me a few hits about Chrome add-ons, but I haven't tried any.

In a nutshell, this is a fast browser, but there is nothing innovative about it, at least not yet. I am not even closely tempted to move away from Firefox, but then, since i use so many of Googles products, I wouldn't mind giving one more of their products a decent shot. Lets wait and watch...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Keep 'em coming!

Sushil Kumar won a bronze in wrestling!! If my memory serves me right, this is the first time India has won more than one medal at any one Olympics. Yipppeeeeee!

Why is it that when we don't win a medal we whine about it comparing ourselves with Burundi and when we win one we whine comparing ourselves with China ? Hell, this is sports... shit happens... Anju bobby george fouled all her 3 jumps yesterday. We start cursing her... just imagine, do you think she would have enjoyed 4 years of preparation to culminate like this ?? Yogeshwar Dutt missed at least a bronze in wrestling yesterday by just 10 seconds! Can this be deemed as a "dismal end" to his challenge ??

Yes, I love cricket (its been waning off late), Yes, it is the bane of every other sport in India, Yes, the administration sucks, But, please, leave the sportsmen/women alone!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Riddle me this!

There has been a lot of news about the Mehtas abortion case. There has been a zillion opinion polls already and a lot of view points. Usually most issues that we see or hear in our day to day lives (even through media) have very simple positioning, when it comes to which side of the story you are on. Rarely do you come across something that you don't know the solution for or even don't know who is right and who is wrong. This particular case was one such for me.

I assume everybody is more than aware of the details of this case, thanks to utter lack of privacy on the part of the media. If you don't, please go through the link provided earlier. Among the most popular of opinions I have heard is, "What has the court got to do with all this! ?" The Mehtas have, and with good reason, chosen not to have the baby. It has to after all be their choice, since they are the ones in a position of sacrificing a big portion of their lives, earnings, time etc etc. On the other hand, why can't this be branded as a case of 'perfect baby' syndrome ? And this can, with little reasoning, be extended to be a case of boy vs girl child. Who decides the perfectness of the baby ? What is perfect for one person needn't be so for another. Here there is a case of a child with a heart problem. What if there is a case later where the child is supposed to have one leg shorter than other and the parents happen to be athletes and hence feel they don't want the child ? As you can see, this is now a case for the court to decide, since this almost points to choosing life and death for a fetus. And choosing death amounts to murder!

Because of all the emotions involved in this, its relatively (and obviously) easy for us to find fault with the courts as being insensitive to the Mehtas. But, this is a case that will have implications in the coming years, as the high moral ground that we Indians claim to stand on erodes as the years go by. The Indian values that we pride on, have been morphed by us to suit our current lifestyles. We are making a valiant attempt at keeping them alive, while each passing day is another nail in its coffin. With more and more parents getting more and more involved in their professional careers and the rat race in general, who wants to spend more time in taking care of a less than perfect child ? On a different note, lets say the court orders the government to take care of all medical expenses for the child. I am sure a certain portion of the people protesting against the court order will be ok with this solution, but would this be good enough for the Mehtas ? Would they have then wanted to have the baby ?

The latest development in this case gives a new twist to the whole saga. A mother and father who didn't want a baby are being forced by the law to have one. Is it too much to imagine that they did whatever they could to avoid complying with this diktat ? Can it not be claimed that the Mehtas murdered the fetus ? If so, is that right ? If not, who is to get the Mehtas to justice ? Who will file the complaint in order for there to be a further probe ? Who wants to be the cold hearted impassionate villain ?

This issue may or may not be in the news for long, but this sure has had me thinking a lot!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Finally...

India wins a gold at the Olympics outside of hockey!

Way to go Abhinav... made us all very proud. Now I have the josh to watch the Olympics, even if we don't win anything else in this edition! :-)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Perspective

Japan has always been ahead of technology and development the world over. They are supposed to have the fastest trains, but this video sure gives a very different look to the whole thing.



Makes our problem with crowded cities a joke. :-) How many still waiting for the metro ?? :-))

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Need Time to See Time!

In this super charged rat race that we are all part of, the most precious possession in our hands that keeps eroding away at a pace far greater than we realize is TIME. If there ever were to be some statistics drawn on how often people look at their watches or mobiles or any device that gives them the time over the years, we would know how time-centric we have all become. I once counted more than 20 objects in my house that could show me the time at any give point of time. :-)

One way for us to reduce our fetish to be on top of time all the time is to get devices that make figuring out the current time as obscure and difficult as possible. The experience has gotta be so irritating that one should think "I am better off not knowing the time". This company, quite unknowingly, is making an honest attempt at helping us here, in the garb of fashion or attention seeking.

Here are some samples:










Now.... who can tell me the time without going through an user manual ?? :-)

Bangalore needs help!


Do your bit...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sad and Clichéd

Just got to know that Ishmeet, the winner of Voice Of India contest on Star Plus last year, is dead. As tragic as this is, just look at the last line of the article:

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the country had lost a 'gem' and a 'void had been created in the music world that would be hard to fill'.

Really... void in the music world... really! C'mon dude, think original or real for once!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wiki Wickedness

Google is making too many business enemies while winning many many users, and they are doing both at an astonishing pace. One of the most revered and welcomes services online is Wikipedia. Google has now attacked this haven too with Knol. I am sure you will start seeing context sensitives Ads and more pretty soon on Knol, which is something that would never happen on Wikipedia. But then, knowing Google, they are gonna make this service so much more cooler than Wikipedia.

Let the wars begin or rather continue. We users have all to gain... :-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

IM Jack

I have used MSN Messenger at the start of my IM days, then moved to Yahoo messenger, then gtalk and now use skype. Skype is mainly for work related stuff and is the only one on which I am online all the time. One of the reasons I couldn't keep in regular touch with many of my friends was paucity of RAM, yes, computer RAM. If that ain't an innovative reason, I wonder what is. :-) I just don't have the RAM to run MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, GTalk and Skype at the same time. So, I prefer not to run any except the one that which gives me roti, kapada and makaan.

I have waited patiently for an app that can be an all-in-one IM tool for all these services. I was among the first beta customers for Trillian. The app sure has come a long way since its early days and is quite good. Its major drawback was/is, it can't do skype yet. In the last few years, many more all-in-one apps like Digsby, Adium and online ones like Meebo, ebuddy, miranda etc have come up. They all have their strengths and unfortunately one big weakness... yup, none of them can do skype.

The reason none can do Skype is more to do with Skype than any of these apps. Skype was very close doored when it came to integration, until recently. The first to make use of this benevolence from Skype was Pidgin (formerly GAIM). Some good samaritan (maybe from google) came up with this integration tool. This tool with a few glitches here and there works quite well with Skype. The only drawback is that you need to have Skype app running all the time. Pidgin moves it to "Invisible" mode and take control of all chat sessions, in and out. I have not tried voice chats yet though.

All in all, I have finally found the jack of all trades of the IM world and I am loving it. Try it ... :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movie Review : The Dark Knight

A master director comes with a sequel to an already very very successful prequel. Christopher Nolan brought the comic hero out of his comic book persona created the earlier batman series, and got us the very dark, more real (well, as real as can be) batman with Batman Begins. With The Dark Knight, he has taken the franchise to the next level.

The movie is again very dark, in true Nolan signature style. A warning to folks interested in watching the movie, you are hopefully a fan and hence know the characters, else do some reading. Nolan has not spent much time in delving into the past or significance of characters, so, come prepared. Though Christian Bale has done a great job along with the rest of the regular cast, the show was owned by the refreshingly cool and eerie screen presence of Heath Ledger as Joker. A once in a lifetime performance, and sadly his last, as was later pointed out by my cousin, that Heath Ledger died earlier in the year. With all respect to Jack Nicholson (ex Joker), Ledger made me sit up and watch the Joker and not find him funny. Since the plot and suspense is truly what made this a great film, I will refrain from even coming close to it. But the ending description of Batman and Gothams need for him... well, truly great writing(again Nolan and his brother!).

IMDB has given it 9.7 on 10 making it the #1 film of all time, Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 94% fresh.Needless to say junta and critics find this a great movie... and why not, It is! I give it a 9 and take away a point coz... well, I think Nolan could have been a little less caring for the bad guys in the movie, but then, DC Comics couldn't let him have his every which way, could they. :-)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

They are Legends!

I am watching the mens singles final going on at wimbledon. Another Federer/Nadal final and another great match! Unfortunately, the English weather has acted up again. The match is now stopped and the score reads 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8), 2-2 (Deuce). Can a match get any closer ? Whoever wins this match, we have been privileged to be seeing one of the greatest finals ever at Wimbledon.

Bravo Legends, Bravo!!

Edit: The match has just ended, with the final score reading... 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8), 7-9 for Nadal. The greatest match of tennis I have ever watched! Speechless...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

TRP Loses... Sport wins

We have all witnessed the TV spectacle that IPL was. TV viewership of the other soaps and reality shows took a serious beating, thanks to IPL. Many of the Bollywood filmmakers decided to delay the release of their films, so as to avoid competition with IPL. All this went according to the Modi TRP plan and guaranteed that players would actually fight with their respective boards, if needed, to get a chance to play in IPL.

Lets now talk of the most played and viewed sport in the world, Football. In stark contrast to how IPL did things, Euro 2008 has chosen to given give more importance to the game rather than the TRP or viewership. During the first half of the group matches, we had two matches per day and each being played at different times. Now that we have gotten near the end of the group matches, and many of the quarterfinal spots are going to be decided by these matches, the organisers have chosen to play both the matches at the same time. This almost halves the neutral viewership, for e.g. as in todays case, I am watching the Austria vs Germany match and haven't been following the Poland vs Croatia match. They did it so, because, no game should become a dead rubber, if they can help it. In IPL, we didn't have a single such situation of a clash in match timings. No way can the money-hungry-TRP-craving administrators afford to lose viewership.

As made note by me in an earlier post too... there is always going to be more to sport than money. And this simple fact eludes the money-ruled cricket administrators in India!

Do Not Disturb - Does Not Work!

About a year back, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) introduced the "National Do Not Call" registry. This was supposed to help reduce the number of unsolicited calls that we receive on our mobiles. I registered myself within a few months of seeing this news in the paper.

Since then I have seen no reduction in the number of "spam" calls I get. Each time I get the call, I remind them of the registry and why they don't update the databases with the information in it. Most times the poor soul calling me has no clue of the registry and feigns ignorance and cuts the call. I wait for all such calls daily and then call up my service provider (Airtel) and inform them of the numbers. They promise to "work" on it. Nothing ever happens and calls never stop!!

Do Not Disturb.... having registered for this sh*t service has only had me spending more time trying to get it to work!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Intention ?

One of the unsung heroes on the chaotic roads of Bengaluru are the traffic policemen. They usually do as good a job as can be expected, at least for the extent of monetary motivations they have. They also are now part of a chicken and egg problem on maintaining road etiquette. The growing traffic results in traffic police not able to stop people who are violating rules, because that will result in a bigger traffic jam. And since the traffic police are not hauling people up, people tend to bend/break the rules more brazenly. This has to be bettered and looks like they have found some method.

What the traffic cops do now is to be more active during non peak hours and weekends, when they doing their job will not result in adding to traffic jams. While this is all good, the intention behind fining people for traffic violations seems to be lost. We have drivers licenses which have the scheme to allow for warnings to be marked. We don't necessarily have a centralized system to track this, but that isn't an absolute must at this point. If someone is found violating rules, take note of his number and if he has exceeded the max number of warnings, send notices to him to pay the fine. This is already been done for some cases (parking violations) and needs to be made the de-facto mode, in my opinion. Instead, what happens today is, stop people who haven't broken any rules, ask them for every possible document (which is good), point to silliest of things physically not right with the vehicle (not so good) and if nothing works, use the trump card, emission test report. Most law abiding people will have all the paper work except for this, coz lazy folks (me included) can't get a lifetime emission report and hence will most probably forget about it.

By fining a person who has all his papers right, but doesn't have emission report is not wrong. But when this same person sees blatant traffic violations happen day in and day out and see them going about it merrily, while he waits behind a pile of vehicles following lane discipline or stopping at red lights of giving right of way to pedestrians etc etc. it does dampen the spirit. Why doesn't the government think of outsourcing the traffic violation fining to a 3rd party who can hire enough number of people to do the job. Assuming governement makes Rs.300 per violation, I can see several stretches from my home to office where daily collections would be more than Rs.1L. This will fill the coffers and also put the fear of the traffic police in everybody. Once the coffers are filled, they won't have to fine Rs.600 for not having an emission test report, and leave such poor souls at peace.

p.s: The above is not a work of fiction, and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely intentional. :-)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lurking for feedback

Looks like BIAL folks are on the net looking at junta response to BIAL and this does auger well it general. Being attentive and sensitive to peoples feedback is half the job done. Here is the comment I got for my blog post.

Hi Ajay,

Thank you for your interest in Bengaluru International Airport. Your comments and feedback are appreciated. If you have any queries on the airport do feel free to get in touch with us.

Regards,
BIAL Communications team


Nice!!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Reliably Stale!

One of Indias most touted people company, Reliance, has made several inroads into the retail and consumer business. One of these forays is into daily commodities, FMCG, fruits, vegetables etc. via Reliance Fresh.

Like anything that Reliance does, they started their Reliance Fresh wing also in a very big way. They have many outlets in Bangalore and are growing. They have one conveniently close to my place and we decided to give it a try. Since it was their first couple of weeks of operation, I didn't expect things to be smooth and they sure were not. They were so far from not smooth, they were abysmal in service. We decided to never use Reliance Fresh again.

Many months have since gone by and Mango season has come around. I happened to go to Reliance Fresh with a cousin of mine to help with his shopping and I saw that they had a Mango mela on, and had the famous Alphonso Mangoes for Rs.75 for half a dozen which comes to approx 1.5kg. Seemed like a good deal, bought it, and surprisingly the mangoes were damn good! Since then, I have frequented Reliance Fresh to get these mangoes and have continued to have bad experiences with their service every time! Todays experience:
1. I got there at 7:30AM, the time the person in charge of Mango sales told me to get there to get fresh mangoes.
2. They officially open only at 8:00AM and I am told to wait.
3. It ended up opening at 8:15AM and I found only one stale box of Alphonso Mangoes. I asked the person in charge of the Mango sales and he said "I have 4 crates of fresh alphonso mangoes being unloaded", and suggested me to wait. I had anyway lost my sleep, so, there was nothing more to lose, hence waited longer.
4. I waited till 9:00AM, inquiring every 10 minutes on the status of mangoes and all I get is "They are being unloaded".
5. Finally the sales person tells me, "Sorry Sir, no alphonso mangoes today!". I asked him, "Didn't you tell me you had 4 crates of it!" He just gives me a blank face in reply. I am pissed, but what could I possibly say or do! I decided to buy some other variety of mangoes and headed towards the billing area.
6. I was among the first few who got into the store, but with all the waiting, there were hoards of people already near the billing area.
7. To my surprise, they opened only one billing counter!
8. To save some pennies, they have decided to have the person doing the billing to be the same person who does the packing! Double the work, less efficient, more than double the time!!
9. I went and complained and had another counter opened. But not to my surprise, the bar code scanner was not functioning properly and the lady at the counter had to hand edit all the items. And this of course, gets very messy for someone who doesn't know English well, but is supposed to bill Spinach and button onions and what not, while all she knows are the Kannada names for the same!! She is running all over the place to get them translated.
10. I got out of the outlet at 9:30AM, 2 hours since I started the saga of trying to buy 2 kgs of Mangoes!

Reliance is probably very good with their energy and petroleum and chemical factories and refineries. But when it comes to direct consumer service, its pathetic and penny wise pound foolish! They can learn more than a thing or two from a much smaller competitor, at least in number of outlets, M K Retail !!

Now on, never going to Reliance Fresh, even for Mangoes!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Futbol Time!

Get ready people.... Euro 2008 is here! For those who use google calendar, here is an event reminder which is smart enough to adjust the start times to IST.

Goooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllll !!!!!

SmartyPants Idea

How often have you gone... "Wow... now thats an idea!". This is something what I say almost on a daily basis, thanks to the whole lot of information at disposal these days via the internet. The ideas that people get for new products are not necessarily big money ideas or grandeur-spelling-headline-making always. But even the simple ones are so uniquely fresh!

Here is a site that helps you with auctions on products you want, but have been misspelled by the seller on the auction sites. As is the case with any auction, more people that see the product listing, the more the item is in demand, and more the cost. If the product name is misspelled (ipoo for ipod ;-) ), then there is a low chance of people having viewed it and hence number of bids on it will also be less. And since the seller is bound by the auction site to sell the item for once listed, you end up getting it for cheap.

Now how is that for a simple yet smart idea. :-)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BIAL - Howzit ?

Its almost been a week since BIAL has started functioning. I haven't been to the new airport and hence don't have any personal experience to share. But here is some hearsay stuff from blogs and friends.

1. The new airport kicks ass!
2. The Volvo bus service (for arrivals) is fantastic. And at Rs.150 extremely affordable (for somebody who can afford air travel)
3. The Volvo bus service (for departures) is slow and at times doesn't stop at the designated places.
4. There are services like this, which come close to shuttle service, but since they provide some luxury, its for the upwardly mobile.
5. Taking a generic City Taxi or the all Logan fleet is extremely costly.
5. ATC still has some issues and flights do get delayed or routed to the HAL airport.

Looks like BIAL had an OK first week.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I told you so....

Have a look at the first news heading here. Remind you of anything ? :-)

Krriminal budhi boyz and galz all over the place, I say. :-))

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ControversyTube.com

Most of us visit youtube at least one a week for watching some video or the other. The youtube service was launched with the intent of enabling amateur videographers to get their content online and get some viewership and critical feedback, maybe. But what it has turned out into is the dumping yard for anything and everything legal and illegal, just like bittorrent. :-)

Seeing the obvious interest of people to watch free TV or movie via youtube, the big honchos like viacom and warner brothers have a dedicated team (some warm bodies) of online drones/bots whose only job is to pull down content on sites like youtube that are a copyright violation. Youtube, being the good guy here, pulls down the content the minute someone raises an objection. We, of course would like to see the "objectionable" data... always! So, here is something that comes close to doing this for us, YouTomb. This is a pet project inside MIT which keeps track of all the videos that are pulled down from youtube because of copyright violations.

While this is nice start, I think there is scope for another niche web2.0 company to grow here. :-) Yes, I have another product idea and you can blame it all on this conference call I am stuck in, which I don't want to be in!! Anyway, getting back to topic. What folks (definitely me) would be more interested in would be to view these oh-so-bad banned content. Since it is copyright violation content, no legit site would want to host it. But since almost all such content is usually downloaded by someone and uploaded somewhere, there should be a bunch of insignificant sites/blogs that have the same content. The media mafia is unlikely to have the patience, energy and drive to bring down each and every such lowly site/blog. So, what we need is a service which can keep track of the content that is brought down because of copyright violations and then crawl the world wide web and find all the sites that have this content mirrored.

Since I have the time to come up with such ideas (mostly useless) with no intent of ever doing anything else with the idea, I need a sounding board, and I am gonna start being active here. :-) . Of course, feedback from the readers of this blog is always welcome! :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mr.Transformer: Tiger To Wuss

My interest in IPL has increased over the course of the tournament, simply because we are able to witness some good spirited performances from old, new and unknown cricketers. But the fact that the Bangalore Challengers team sucks has not helped my interests in any way.

Though the IPL is yet to come even close to the rage following that something like EPL has garnered, I think it has started in the right direction. So, even though I don't care much if Bangalore loses, the caring is not nil either. I think Dravid, Charu and co. have to be blamed for the team selection, coz the team does suck, comparatively. This being said, for someone who claimed fame because be brought back Tipus sword and oozing with compassion for Karnataka, and strong local interests, the business beast inside Mallya didn't take long to surface. His decisions and his comments stink of typical board room moves. You throw people out of a company and then manage the outfall. But in the world of sports, things are a little different, as he has quickly learnt. He threw Charu out and Brijesh Patel came in, what changed ? Nothing! He apparently cut short Venkatesh Prasads opinions when it comes to team selection, what changed ? Nothing! He made the worst of comments against his team captain, what changed ? Nothing! So, Mr. Mallya... understand this... this is unfortunately business in sports, but as you can see, there is a different way of going about the business of sports!

I don't know if, like the EPL, the bottom feeders are relegated and some other team is given a chance. If so, first off Mallya and secondly Bangalore don't deserve to be part of the next edition of IPL!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Needed...

Since I have gotten home early from office and since there isn't much to do at home, the devil's workshop is in full gear today. :-)

Here is another startup web2.0 idea exclusively for India ;-). Most of urban India spends at least an hour a day in front of the TV. Most people (including myself) are channel surfers. But this is probably because I don't have an easy way to know what is showing on which channel. I need to hunt for the days paper, and search through the fine print for the program schedule. What I suggest we need is an online TV guide for India, much like this or this or this.

What say ? Will it fly ?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chit-Chat

I read an article in TOI today about the WWE Wrestler Khali meeting the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil. The article seemed so improbable and meaningless, that it was funny!



I double checked with a google search and rediff too had reported the same! Imagine what a 7ft 3in 400+ pound man, who is used to shouting at the peak of his voice and a hardly 5ft, feeble sounding first lady (president?) have in common to talk about. What would they even discuss? Here are some questions they could have traded...

P. How many eggs do you gobble up everyday ?
K. What kind of weight training are you on ?
P. Have you ever tried using cotton pants for your matches ? I can help you with the selection.
K. You should try the undertaker pile driver, Clears your sinus.
P. Hope you are a vegetarian. What is your favorite vegetable ?
K. Thanks, no coffee or tea. Can I have the chicken broth soup with some beef jerky to nibble on ?

I can go on... but timely inspiration eludes me.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Movie Review: Tashan

Its been a while since I have blogged on a movie review. Its not that I have not been watching movies but no movie evoked a strong enough response in me to blog about it.

Then came Tashan... wow, what a movie! As soon as the movie ended, the first I wanted to do was blog about it! The movie was horrendously disappointing!! Yashraj films never had it off late (IMO) and they have proved it with Tashan. The films has pathetic performances from everyone. The most irritating was Anil Kapoor with the screwed up Hinglish or whatever you call what he was talking. Saif Ali Khan does nothing, and Kareena's performance was a huge let down after Jab We Met. She has got a great bod, but there is only so much crap that can cover up for. Akshay Kumar was ok, let me reemphasize on the OK.

The music is decent, at least 3 songs which you can hum to. But what really lets the movie down is its lack of a concrete script. Too filmy a story for this day and age. Imagine 100 people firing machine guns at a target which is some 30 feet away and not a single bullet hitting the target! There are some gross oversights too.. for e.g. in one scene Akshay does get shot by a bullet, but the very next scene there is no sign of the bullet wound.


Anyway, a real crap movie, 4 on 10.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Keep Waiting!

The international airport at Bangalore is ready for use. Bangalore has been waiting for this airport for a long time and its now a reality. We will now have 747s and 380s taking off and landing in our very own Bangalore.

Wow... all the above sounds so good, nice and a done for deal. Just that all of the above are true and still no flight is gonna take off or land at the new airport any time soon. The politicians are at it again! Craving for election issues, they have now landed on this issue. The problem that people claim is that infrastructure to get to the new airport is bad. All understood, well intentioned and well pointed. And how is the situation being construed by the politicians ?? They are now going from Governor, to Prime Minister, to President to Supreme Court to keep the HAL Airport open till infrastructure improves! This time around, they also have all the people of Bangalore frustrated with the infrastructure in general supporting them too.

The point being missed here is... why the noise now ? Did a genie come and magically create the international airport in one day ?? Nope... all these politicians knew very well, that this day would come and there were no concrete steps taken to solve the problem before it hit us. I remember numerous statements made by one and all for each days delay in the opening of the international airport. All this pressure... for what? To see this day ?? We are now, point by point, going back on the very basic of agreements based on which we had international funding garnered for the international airport! How sick is that!

Now lets take a different view to the whole problem ? How many in Bangalore can afford to travel by air ? The answer to this question already brings us to a very small percentage of populous of Bangalore. How many of us who can afford air travel use this mode of transport ? Thanks to budget airlines, this number is quite a bit. That being said, how many times a year do we travel by air ? I would say 3 or 4 times a year should be a healthy average. Can't we take the pain of a few hours to get to the airport these 3 or 4 times ?? Is all this hoopla for a few sales, marketing, wealthy people who happen to travel every week ? If so, why don't they shift their residence to some place close to the airport and put all of us out of this constant ruckus! Lets have the politicians concentrate on getting their manifestos more focussed on the real issues!

I am in no way saying that the infrastructure is fine, no way is it even close to bearable. But then, the people who should be fried or fired for the pathetic state of affairs that we are in today are escaping it all by telling us that not having the HAL airport is bad for the public and that they will lose a tooth and limb (never will they ever) to ensure that the old airport is kept open or the new airport will stay closed!

Pricks! @#$%^&

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Obviously shocking

The Indian Premier League T20 tournament is going great guns! I seriously am not interested in the tourney as its hard to not applaud a sehwag slog or a dhoni catch just because they are playing against the Bangalore Royal Challengers. This being said, I find myself spending a good 1-2 hours daily watching live action of IPL and this is exactly the reason why this tournament has become such a big success.

One thing that has come good out of this tournament is the obvious shock that the old guard does not fit into the new scheme of things. Dhoni was right!! There is no place for a Dravid or Laxman or Ganguly in this form of the game. Sachin has not played a single match, else I think he too would have been a failure, though he is the only one who has even a slight chance of success. Each one of these stalwarts is more of a liability in their team, creating batting order chaos and nothing more. Imagine Misbah-ul-haq sitting out of the Bangalore team or Herschelle Gibbs sitting out of the Hyderabad team or Gayle/Brad Hodge not in the playing 11 for Kolkata. Look at who from India is performing well... its rohit sharma, its uthappa, its sehwag, its dhoni, maybe even yuvraj. Basically, the new guard is doing the job and justifying why Dhoni took the bold decision (and all the flak) to drop dravid first and then ganguly from the one day squad.

I hope this tournament lays to rest the otherwise constant crib of each of these states on why their star player is not part of the ODI or T20 squad!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thought for the day

There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

:-))))

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Its Different

Nice clock to stare and spend some time on... maybe even get a bit scared.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wakeup Call

I noticed the below sign board near the K R Puram bridge and was not sure if its a promo for some movie, like this, or if it was for real.




I went to their website and they look like its an honest attempt to get people out of the "hum kya kar sakte hain" attitude into "chak de!" way of looking at things. How valuable my vote is, I really don't know. But if its worth anything, I would rather give it to a party I can relate to and the current national or regional parties don't seem to fit my bill. But this party... maybe I will vote for them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We won... sigh

India just leveled the series against South Africa and have retained the fear of touring the sub continent. This is one of those very rare occasions when the result is in India's favour and yet I feel this sense of sadness. The world No:2 and No:3 test teams have lost a total of 32 wickets in 3 days. The match is comfortably finished by the end of 3rd day. Morne Morkel bowls a good length ball and the ball fights to even go above the shoes of the batsman. Harbhajan Singh bowls the first over of the second innings even though we have 2 fully fit fast bowlers in Sreesanth and Ishanth.

All in all, a desperate attempt for victory by India. We have gone to the extent of making the Green park in Kanpur void of the slightest bit of grass and in fact, it was a bigger dust bowl than one has seen in the most gloomy of days of Indian cricket. I am sure history will remember this series as a 1-1 draw and nothing more. But lest we forget, the more pitches we create like this, the lesser we become as a cricketing nation. In fact, the pitches in all the 3 matches of this series have been disappointing. The first one at chennai was a dead pitch, the second one was more green than it should have been and the last one was more brown that it should have been. I don't believe in changing pitches in India to be similar to Australia or South Africa. The Aussies or Springboks cannot be expected to create a spin friendly pitch and similarly, there is no need for us to make pace friendly pitches. But that being said, we need good cricketing pitches. Test cricket is interesting when matches go the distance, not when things end on the 3rd day, with one team having the obvious advantage, like what happened in the 2nd or 3rd tests of this series.

Anyway, yippeeee... we won! :-(

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Flattery?

Someone once said "Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery". I am sure this was coined by some guy who plagiarized his way to the bank and then when he got caught, he had a well phrased statement coined and ready for use.

During the usual weekend manga sessions, me, my wife and cousins usually discuss about bollywood, movies, music etc. One of the constant topics over the last year or so has been the hits being delivered by the combo of Pritam, Kay Kay and a band of unknown singers. The constant in the equation is always Pritams music. I always had this gut feeling that he was definitely copying stuff from somewhere, but could never really find out from where. Even while watching his latest blockbuster Race, I was getting this nagging feeling... "Man, this guy has gotta be lifting this stuff!". My dad, who could care less about Pritam and his music, actually liked the songs of the movie and therein lies the secret to Pritams success. Every song revolves around 2 or 3 notes and catchy lyrics to go with it and viola you have a hit album. His music is shallow but peppy and that is apparently all that people need.

Unlike his predecessors like Anu Malik, Pritam does an extremely good job of choosing songs that he gets "inspired" by. During some general youtube browsing I came across these 3 videos which makes quite an eye popping revelation of Pritams flattering ways.







Since its unlikey that this info will ever reach the bigger audience, the hit music director, Pritam, will continue to make oodles of money on someone else's hard work. :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spoiler



Had a hearty laugh when I saw this. :-))

Friday, March 14, 2008

Product Idea

I am a reluctant orkut member. I don't necessarily like the idea of orkut, but apparently many near and dear ones of mine do like it and hence I am on it. Another such social networking website which is gathering some momentum in India is facebook. They have smartly tied up with the yuppie youth channel, MTV, whose VJs try to coax you into getting onto facebook. We also have fringe players (in the world scene) like hi5 which are quite popular in India. Similarly it won't be too far in time when other sites like myspace or bebo, which got bought for $850M by AOL try to expand their horizons and get to India in a big way.

With such a plethora of social networking sites, the story is going to be very similar to the Instant messaging world. It started with AOL, then ICQ, then Yahoo, then MSN, then GTalk, then rediffbol etc etc. People will try all and eventually will have settle on one. They will do so not because they don't have friends on the other IMs but because they do not have the patience to manage multiple apps and also the CPU sap that would result out of running all these apps. Similarly, people will want to receive scraps or whatever from all these sites, but their inability to spend the same kind of quality (questionable) time on each of these social networking sites will hurt them socially, so to speak.

I think, in this crammed world of web innovations, here is a niche space for a company to flourish. How about a website that aggregates your data(scraps) and contacts from popular social networking sites and show them on a single page ? Something like a trillian or an orgoo for the social networking world.

Will this fly ? Anybody interested in funding me ? :-)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Beat this!

I remember having a discussion with a NRI a while back on the telecom sector in India versus the one in the US. He was talking of how fantastically cheap billing was in the US and that he had to pay only $60 for a fantastic tariff plan. I of course countered his tariff plan with my Rs.250 (then $6) tariff plan and then factored in all the freebies he got and had my total bill come to less than 50% of his. He then shrugged it off by telling, "Wait for the market to mature, and then lets talk".

Well, its been 2 years since this discussion and even as I agree that its not enough time for the market to "mature", it sure is long enough to know the general direction of the maturity :-), and this is the way its headed. Virgin Mobile has launched its CDMA services in India and apart from having attractive phones on offer they have a very unique feature in their plan. You will get paid for incoming calls (10 paisa/minute)!! US is still trying to get free incoming for prepaid and here we are... paying people for getting incoming calls. Damn, c'mon market, mature! ;-)

On a more interesting note, lets see if we can run a scam here. I am sure we all have changed mobiles in the last year or two. Lets assume we have not sold the old GSM mobile we had. Now, I am relatively confident that if I hunt hard enough, I can get a tariff plan from some service provider which will have all calls to one mobile free or some ridiculously low price of 1 paisa or something. Now start a call from this mobile to the virgin mobile and leave it on the whole day. You will be making approx 9 paise/minute. I am sure someone will catch this and ban the number or something, but by that time we would have made some money off the service providers.! :-)

... And it gets better!

I had already blogged about MTV Roadies 5.0 and how I have really gotten into it. Now, the folks at MTV and of course GiftMate have sweetened it for me and I am sure for many others.

Giftmate in an attempt to get more popular and gain userbase have tied up with MTV and have made the Roadies show not only entertaining to the eyes, but also very pocket friendly. Though Roadies is not a SMS based voting system, they have a number that people can SMS too, to voice their vote on who would go out. Giftmate will give a Rs.200 voucher for anyone who sends an SMS (which costs Rs.3) to MTV Roadies. These vouchers are accepted at almost any e-retail site in India, like indiaplaza, rediff shopping, indiatimes shopping, bookmyshow etc etc.

I have sent the SMS, got the voucher and used it already, so it all works. :-) So, what are y'all waiting for...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Brave or Cornered ?

In what can be considered as one of the bravest decisions by the software giant, Micro$oft has decided to provide online access to their office suite of products. We all know that the cash cow for the company has always been its office suite of products and providing online access to it is proof of 2 things:
1. The other online office competitors like zoho and writely (google) etc etc have gotten to M$
2. M$ realizes that with net becoming so big, exposing itself to this market sooner than later makes sense.

None the less, it does come with a catch, as its meant only for those who already have an office license. Anywayz, if anyone wants to give it a shot, here is where you can do it.

Enzoy maadi!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obvious Design... but, money ?

I use skype everyday mainly for office and sometimes personal stuff. A lot of the time on skype is spent on conference calls and I have many a time felt a need to avoid the headset with mic as I don't have access to it all the time.

Some company has apparently seen a significant enough business case of people who will pay to solve this problem.



Though the pic is obvious, a little explanation. This special keyboard automatically selects the onboard receiver to be the audio in/out for skype and makes skype more mainstream, so to speak.

Smart idea but wonder if people will spend money for it! I love it, but I won't pay for it if I have to spend 10% more than a normal keyboard.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Road Rage Is Fun!

Don't read too much into the subject, as road rage is never fun. But when this rage is from a bunch of guys and girls on a show which is always on the road, then, well, it sure is fun! I am referring to the MTV reality show "Hero Honda Roadies". The show is in its 5th season, and is unique among the plethora of reality shows that flood all the tv channels these days. For a change the channel is not trying to fleece you off your money, at least not directly. There are no sms based voting eliminations! Yipeeee!! The commercial breaks are also less than 6 minutes, which is about 3-4 minutes less than the average commercial break time for other reality based shows. Add to this, the creative team behind the Roadies earnestly works towards making every episode unique with a guaranteed surprise element to boot.

This year the roadies selection process, which is one of the highlights of the show was as entertaining as ever. And when the actual show started with the 13 finalists, there was bound to be a lot of fun. Since this is their 5th season, people came in more strategically prepared, more emotionally prepared and most importantly more prepared attitude wise.

Its been a treat watching the first 3 episodes and sure promises to be a great season ahead. When I talk of surprises, lemme take the example of the first 3 episodes.

1st episode: All the contestants know that they had to vote one contestant out of the show. The groups have already started forming, the votes had been more or less decided. The surprise factor: Change in plans, they now had to vote 2 people out of the show. This changes all the equations and in fact 2 of the stronger contestants leave the show, instead of the forming villain of the group.
2nd episode: The villain of the group continues to be the overwhelming favourite to leave the show. But again, 2 relatively strong contestants seem to have polled all the negative votes and one of the more confident looking contestants leaves the show. The villain doesn't get a single vote against him!
3rd episode: Again, the group villain goofs up even more and looks like the absolute bakra to go out. But again, the person who was thought of as one of the most scheming guys on the show is voted out.

Watch it guys... its definitely much better than the rest of the crap reality shows on tube these days! I am loving it!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Its Working!

I don't know if anybody has ever used my method of getting Google calendar notifications to on your mobile as an SMS. This post of my mine was specifically meant for Airtel Karnataka subscribers and I have blissfully used this feature for all of 1.5 years and was very very happy with my improved productivity, thanks to Google calendar doing the remembering and my mobile doing the reminding.

About a month or so back, as a new year present, the email portal for Airtel Karnataka subscribers stopped working and promptly so did my productivity enhancement tool. I resorted to only email reminders and since I am not always in front of the comp, I have missed many an appointment (movie :-)).

Some 4-5 months into me using this tool of mine, Google introduced reminders to be sent to your mobile and this worked in India with some service providers and unfortunately Airtel Karnataka was not one of them. I did give it a shot then, and as documented, it didn't work. At that time I could care less, as I had my tool working and that was good enough. But after the Airtel folks blocked the email portal, the desperate me just gave the Google calendar to mobile one more shot and to my surprise, it worked! I promptly got an SMS from Google with a reminder I had set in the calendar. Airtel Karnataka is still not listed as a supported carrier, but I guess Google just got lazy (who doesn't!) with document updates.

Go ahead people... give it a shot and get productive! :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ban them all!

I was getting back from office today and it was 7:30PM. This is peak traffic time in the evenings and I was having enough trouble already with the unruly traffic. Add to this is my current tryst with ligament tear, which make the continuous use of the break/accelerator to give me enough pain to last me till I sleep.

As if this was not enough, some genius big shot (dunno if its a politician or movie star or whatever!) decides to have his entourage go right through the city. To make his/her life easy, traffic is halted and re-routed. Traffic police are doing their job, but there are now a bunch of well minded Samaritans who also wanna help! They helping is fine, but who gave them the right to hurl abuses at anybody who is just trying to get home and doesn't know the reason for the detours or the detour routes ? I didn't get any abuses as I just followed the car in front of me, who got a healthy dose of expletives in Kannada.

I demand that we stop this practice of helping these VIPs get past all the traffic mess! Let them feel the pain! Its their short sightedness which has resulted in this infrastructure chaos we are in today! Even after the last 3-4 years of non-stop abuses being hurled at the politicians for Bangalore's bad shape, they still don't do things fast enough to make a difference. For e.g. the international airport is almost ready and people will have to travel 2hrs in some cases to get to the airport for a 20 min fight to chennai! There is no concrete proof on the ground of things being improved in this regard.

Wanna be a good Samaritan ? Take a leaf off the book of the old man who stands at the Meeras school junction near Cambridge Road directing traffic and kids day in an day out without losing his cool and even in the worst of weather. The rest of the instant Samaritans are more pain in the ass than anything else!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Our Planetary Neighbours

NASA's Spirit has picked up some strange human looking life form on Mars. Yes people, the answer to our question 'Are we alone' (as if the 7+ billion was not enough) has been answered. We are not alone! Like this is what we really wanted at this time! We have so few humans around, why not get some Martians to stick around!



Too bad the Martian doesn't look anywhere as cool as depicted in the movies. :-) And since this picture is just as grainy or hazy as any of the ones of Sasquatch or Loch Ness monster, it must be true. :-)

Anyway, some more fuel for the SETI gang to continue their search.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Silly Billy

The final test between India and Australia is winding down to a draw and the main culprit for the result is probably the lifeless pitch. So much for cricket friendly Aussie pitches! :-) But then, this is apparently the first draw at Adelaide in 10 years! Can't blame the pitch much I suppose. Probably just 2 teams who played well when it mattered and hence the draw.

We had Billy Bowden as the umpire for the 3rd test match along with Asad Rauf, and the same pair officiated in the 4th test too. This was after ICC booted Bucknor off the series. After the 2 tests that Billy has officiated in, what is the general consensus on his umpiring? Was it better than Bucknors? At first glance, and considering the furore at Sydney, the answer would probably be yes. A good umpire is supposed to make the right decisions, be it out or not out. And with this as the context, on a closer look, you would see that Billy has taken the easy route out. He has played it safe by not giving any of the LBWs, even ones which were out. I think Billy's umpiring has been just as bad as Bucknors, just that people won't be as critical because, there is always the matter of the umpire being consistent and secondly, no one lost the Adelaide test specifically because of Billy decision making or the lack thereof!

Broadband alternative

Internet access in India has been around for a long time, but broadband access is relatively new and its now pervasive enough to reach the larger audience. The next step in net access is the mobile/wireless reachability. Though we have WiFi at home, we need to get to WiFi on the streets. Since that is a bit of a stretch, atleast in India it is, we have WiMax, which is much more suited for this application.

Reliance communications has gotten into this business in a BIG way and after initial hiccups have started their WiMax broadband availability.



Though this is still fixed wireless i.e. they will have a wireless modem/receiver on your roof and what comes into your house would be an ethernet drop. You can still choose to have WiFi inside your house. The dream is still to have access all over, but that will take a while. Rest assured, we are getting there. :-)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The R.I.C.E way...

I injured my leg last week playing football and it looked quite bad. I initially thought it was a fracture and that was a scary thought. I have been playing different types of sports for many years but never had a fracture or for that matter the serious kind of injury I had last week (touch wood!). I had a few friends at office who had faced similar injuries in the past assure me that it was not a fracture. This did bolden me when I went to visit the doctor.

He pressed a few of the bones and joints near the ankle area (the problem area) and since I didn't shout out, he figured it was not a fracture. A friend at office did the same to say that it wasn't a fracture. The doctor later told me to take an X-Ray and confirmed after looking at it that it was not a fracture. He later said:

"Have a lot of rest, put some ice near the swelling, put some crepe bandage to keep it tight and ensure that you put your feet "up" i.e. fighting gravity." To my surprise, another colleague of mine later pointed me to this, which is exactly the same stuff that the doctor said. Either I have an office full of orthopedics or this is very common knowledge. The doctor looked earnest in opinion till this point and then the financial reasoning came forth and he asked me to come to his hospital and start on physiotherapy. He didn't want to understand that I have to get to office and to start physiotherapy at 10:30AM is not something that will work for me at all. But nope, he wanted me to do it and didn't encourage me to get it done somewhere closer to my office. I have boldly decided not to do the physiotherapy as suggested and trust the wiki page or some other specialized website for directions on what I could do in "MY" time!

I may regret this decision to not go with the physiotherapy, but the inflexibility of the doctor to place the welfare of the patient ahead of his own business needs didn't appeal to me at all. Yes, we all work for money, but a doctor is not expected to talk like a salesman. In the software industry, we have specialists to do each job. Some of us code, some of us test, some of us manage, some of us sell, some of us do the marketing and so on. Shouldn't the practice of medicine also be similar ? Should a person in a higher position of trust, like a doctor, try to talk you into something that is forced more by the needs of business rather than the needs of the patient ? What does such talk by a doctor do to the faith bestowed on him by the patient? In our hour of desperation and pain, we will tend to listen to "whatever" the good doctor has to say. Misusing this trust points to a question of ethics, at least for me it does!

As previously written, the profession of medicine is so much more different from any other and continues to intrigue me.

p.s: I have very few friends who are doctors. :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Queen Maker?

Coalition politics are here to stay in India and since Congress and BJP can never partner with each other, the local players of each state will be the king makers in each state. At the center the story is different but not too different. The power players of each state do have a role to play, but we then have a few big players too. For e.g. the left parties and more recently Mayawati.

Mayawati understands that she has her very best chance of becoming the PM now. She sees the Congress losing in most states, BJP winning in some. If the nuclear deal results in India going for mid-term polls, she knows that there is a very good chance of neither of the big guns getting a majority. This opens the door for her and she is readying herself. If she manages to split UP into 3 states (which is good, but being done for the wrong reasons), her party will now have majority presence in more than just one state. This will give her more bargaining power and don't be surprised if she does a Deve Gowda and ends up becoming the Prime Minister of the country!

Here is a preview of her fancy plans.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not Funny!

I initially intended to post the new concept DAPs at CES 2008 by iriver, but was halted and veered away to another post by this rather bizarre happening at the CES this year.

Gizmondo is a very respected gadget guide website, one which I frequent often for getting the latest on gadgets or to catch a review of something I wanna buy. This being said, they released the below video on their blog of the bizarre happening I was talking about and I certainly didn't enjoy it!



This prank to shut off some of the LCD screens at the CES show was the brainwave of editor of Gizmodo! He has since been banned from this years show and the site probably has a lawsuit on their hands. If you have seen the above video, you would see many of the presenters being presented with their worst presentation nightmare, and not just once! The motorola guy tried to recover by moving from his primary LCD, which had stopped working, to the secondary LCD, which also went off within seconds.

Pranks are fine if this was a convention for college kids. But this is CES, one of the most looked forward to events of the tech calendar. There are serious companies showcasing there path breaking or at least money making (hopeful) products for the coming year. And to have such a serious event be disrupted like this is just childish!

Edit:
The above video has been removed by youtube. Here is a link for the video right from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Monopolistic

The Indian government supported bodies or companies always seem to get the better of the rules of the land, thus making them monopolistic in nature. I had written a while back about how doordarshan gets to relay the live feed of cricket matches from Neo Sports without paying them any money and yet make money themselves on Ads in between overs. The situation in the fuel market is not very different.

I choose to fill petrol from the Shell outlet on Old Madras Road. The reasons for choosing them over a HP or IndianOil petrol pump are many fold.

1. I don't have to keep my eyes pinned on the money or fuel meter to see if they are trying to pull a fast one on me.
2. They don't make the choice of premium or normal petrol for me!
3. They clean the windshield of my ever dirty car. :-)
4. They give me a bill for every transaction without asking for one.
5. I have a smiling face welcoming me to the petrol station, and not someone who seems to think that he is doing a favour by pouring petrol into the tank.

There are more reasons, but then, they are not big enough to mention, but significant enough to make you feel more comfortable.

Last week, I went to the Shell petrol pump and got to know that they have stopped selling normal petrol in Bangalore and Chennai and that they would now sell only their premium version of petrol and diesel. The reason cited is that the subsidies provided by the government is only for the PSU Oil companies, but the private players are expected to keep the price fair inspite of not having the subsidies. They were kind enough to warm me before they started filling up and also had the below notice given to every customer who had any query regarding this.



I better reacquaint myself with the skills needs to fill petrol elsewhere!