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!