Thursday, February 26, 2009

Could it be any simpler?

Blackberry takes its first (of possibly many) potshots!

Now, if the product can live up to this, that would be something!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boon or Bane!

I received the below content in an email. Apart from the extra development fees (or whatever...) that is built in into the existing air fares out of Bangalore, we will now need to shell out an extra Rs.260 per head every time we use the International Airport. If the committee that did the financial feasibility study of the airport didn't come up with the approx amount needed to run the airport, who approved the project? If the financial feasibility committee did do its job and if the promotors/administrators didn't get the financial part of this feasibility agreed and accepted, how did they get approval to start the project? How can the common man be imposed this fee at a random point in time? Why should someone use RTI to actually know if the money is being well used or not?

I am not a frequent flyer and won't be affected too much by this. But in my opinion, this kinda unilateral writ being pushed onto the consumers is wrong!!

Dear Sir/Madam,

        Update: Bengaluru International Airport to charge a User Development Fee

If you are traveling from Bangalore, please note that the Bengaluru International Airport is now charging a User Development Fee of Rs 260. This fee will be charged effective January 16, 2009 and be collected directly by the airport.

Who will be affected?
All passengers travelling out of Bangalore from the Bengaluru International Airport will have to pay Rs 260. However, infants under 2 years are exempted.

Where to pay the UDF?
You can pay the fee at the specially built counters just outside the terminal. You will then have to show the receipt before entering the terminal.

How can I pay?
You can pay by cash, credit cards or debit (only Visa, MasterCard and American Express) at the UDF counters outside the terminal. If you are paying by cash, we would advise you to have the exact change ready.

Will it take time?
While the airport has made provisions to provide enough counters, it may take up to 10 minutes during peak hours - from 6am to 10am and 5:30pm to 8:30pm. While at other times, it may take no more than 3 to 4 minutes.

But why is this extra amount being charged?
The UDF of Rs 260 has been approved by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India. This amount will be used for the development and maintenance of this state of the art airport and to provide other services and amenities.

For any other information, you can contact the Bengaluru International Airport at 080 - 66782251 or 666782255 or visit their website:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Will we abide to ABIDe?

Bangalore infrastructure woes are nothing new and there are many things being done to address things. Unfortunately most of these initiatives will take some time before they are effective on the ground. In the meantime, ABIDe is here to our rescue. Please read the below email from Rajendra Misra of Lead India fame.

Dear Friends,

As you are aware, ABIDe (Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure & Development) Task Force, with the Chief Minister as Chairman, Mr. Ananth Kumar (MP-Bangalore South) as Vice Chairman and Mr. Rajeev Chandrashekar (MP - Rajya Sabha) as Convener, has been constituted to revive and rebuild Bengaluru through a combination of Comprehensive planning, improved municipal services and new investments into infrastructure. ABIDe also owns the task of providing a blue-print for sustainable and orderly development of Bangalore under Bengaluru Vision 2020.

I and Ashwin Mahesh (IIM-B), are entrusted with the task of suggesting solutions to the Traffic and Transport issues of Bangalore - A tough job indeed :). Please visit to read and give suggestions on our recommendations.

The Transportation team at ABIDe has identified public transport as the most important tool in reducing traffic congestion and chaos on Bangalore roads. Given that metro rail network is still some years away, Bus based public transport system is being promoted with a corridor approach.

To promote public transport and make travel hassle free, 10 major arterial roads (Big-10) have been identified as high density traffic corridors which will be made junction/signal free with dedicated point-to-point Bus Services, both A/C and non-A/C buses, named as Big-10 service.

Priority Bus Lanes, Bus Bays, Paved Footpaths, Safe Pedestrian Crossings, Cycle Lanes (proposed) will also be introduced on these Big-10 routes. We have 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 month deadlines to accomplish all these Road Infrastructure Improvement objectives on all Big-10 Corridors. Please visit ABIDe website for corridor and other details. -

However, deployment of Big-10 and Hop-on Hop-Off (HoHo) Bus Services has already begun.

Out of 10 Corridors Big-10 Bus Service is already in operation on Hosur Road (Vellara Jn - Electronic City) and HAL Airport Road (Trinity Jn - Whitefield-Hope Farm jn). This is proving to be extremely popular. Next week Bannerghatta Road Big-10 Service will start. In next 2 months all 10 Corridors will have Big-10 Bus Service with a frequency of 5-10 minutes, both A/C and Non-A/C Service.

This service CONVENIENTLY connects with Central Business District (CBD) HoHo Service (Kendra Sarige) at Vellara Jn on Hosur Rd and Trinity Jn on HAL Airport rd respectively. This makes it extremely convenient for anyone living and commuting on these routes to use this Big-10 Service in conjunction with CBD HoHo service to reach any point in the city including all shopping malls and offices, without the need to take their private vehicles to work or shop.

I have myself used these services and they are extremely convenient and efficient.

Please encourage all your friends and colleagues to use these BUS services. Traffic congestion will reduce only if we stop/reduce taking our cars to work and shop. No amount of cribbing or road widening is going to help if we keep adding private cars to our roads. Now we have the comfortable and convenient public transport in close proximity to our homes and work places, lets use it and help our city and the environment.

PS: Please send this e-mail to your friends and colleagues with suitable modifications as you deem fit. We need to popularize public transport through media, blogs, personal contacts and word of mouth, to save Bangalore from traffic chaos.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Great offer or is it!

I had a couple of my friends talk about virgin mobiles new offer for free sms for the day after you send 3 SMS's out. Their USP apparently is that you get the offer irrespective of any pack.

When you do the math, they are charging Re.1 per SMS for the first 3 SMS's which makes it Rs.3 for the day i.e. Rs.90 for the month. Most SMS packs from other vendors are same or at lesser cost. So, camaflouged as a great feature, this is nothing but another market gimmick trying to get at the yuppy generation.

I don't know of any vendor giving a SMS pack for national SMS and this is where Virgin definitely scores. So, this offer could probably work out from this perspective though for potential customers. Their costing for National SMS works out to Rs.1.50 per SMS and for the mandatory first three it is Rs.4.50 which works out to Rs.135 per month. Not bad... maybe.


Long time since I had a good laugh. :-)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Idea Sirji!

Last weekend, I was watching a football match and also a cricket match and voila, I get another pointless idea and I am bored enough right now to think its important enough. :-)

So, here goes... We have electronic boundary boards showing Ads during football. This means, its not a stagnant single company Ad made of paper and stuck on some cardboard. This is an LED (similar?) board which can show any Ad at runtime. Cricket hasn't gotten that sophisticated yet, but it will get there sooner rather than later. Lets take the case of football first. A live English Premier League game is watched in so many countries. Now, lets take a site like 888. They are a big deal sponsor in EPL and pay quite a bit to get onto these electronic boards. This site is not well known in India and the EPL folks are not going to get as much money(or viewership attention) showing this Ad while telecasting in India when compared to Airtel or similar. Likewise, the India vs SL series is mainly sponsored by IDBI Fortis, a new investment wing of IDBI bank. I am quite sure they have next to no presence in SL and hence this is meant mainly for the indian TV audiences. So, what about the Srilankans ? Wouldn't they be relate more to say, Dilmah Tea ?

In case you haven't got what I am getting at, my idea is that all the boundary boards be made green in colour, so as to make it easily graphicable, for lack of a better word. So, just like in the movies, with the help of Computer Graphics, the green coloured boards can house country specific Ads, hence increasing the sponsorship worth of events and hence more money flowing and more glamourous and all that good stuff.

There is this one glitch of the actual money paying viewers at the ground seeing just green boards. But I am sure there is some technology that can come to help in this case too.

How does it sound ? Can this fund my EMIs while the recession eats aways more jobs (me next?) ? :-)

Sunday, February 01, 2009


So... another grand slam final and another Nadal win. Don't get me wrong, it was a great match and all, but somehow I expected something different. No, I didn't think the result would be any different, but I expected something more from Federer.

Federer has played Nadal in 5 grand slam finals now, if I remember correctly. He has lost 4 of them and 3 of them on different surfaces. Now, the genius that we all know Federer is, how can he be losing so consistently. Well, this in my humble opinion is his problem. He is a one dimensional genius. He doesn't have a plan B, at least not with Nadal, And its only with Nadal that he really needs a plan B.

For e.g. it doesn't take rocket science and 13 grand slams to know who will win an endurance testing baseline slugfest between Federer and Nadal. And similarly its also straightforward to guess who would win a serve and volley contest. So, how come Federer didn't use a single grand slam final to try this possible 'Plan B' or for that matter any other 'Plan B'??

To reiterate, I do enjoy seeing Nadal beat Federer everytime as rooting for the underdog (not any more I suppose) is more fun. But still, what would Federer want to be remembered as ? The greatest player of all time or Nadals bunny ??

Music Review:Dilli 6

On the heels of the much heralded audio track of Slumdog Millionaire (I still wonder why), Rahman gives us Rakeysh Mehras next movie, Dilli 6.

Masakali - Kinda weird. I don't usually like Rahman when he tries this kinda stuff, but to the contrary to my usual assumption, Its not a bad hear. Surely a one month ear candy and some more.

Dilli-6 - The title track, this has a lot of character... kinda pacey. It has some lady rapping in some foreign language, probably french, and then in Hindi too with a similar accent. But nice mixing of styles...

Hey Kaala Bandar -  Sung really well and a very good english rap merge. The lyrics are actually good(for most part) and a catchy rhythmic tune and beat. This one will rule the radio channels for quite a while.

Bhor Bhaye - I am not classically inclined, but from what I heard, this is very well sung and otherwise out of my league. :-) One for Shreyas resume, if she will ever need one.

Dil Gira Dafatan - What does the title of this song mean ? Nice strumming and later on scottish pipes. Can't think of many music directors who can give us this kinda instrumentation feel. But that being said, the husky male vocals didnt do it for me and I didn't feel anything special in the tune either. I have an inkling that Rahmaniacs will brand this as one of the most brilliant tracks ever and stuff. To escape their wrath, lemme say, I don't have a clue of such high fundoo music, so let me be. :-) Hopefully situational song, otherwise the most pedestrian track of the album (for me).

Arti tumre bhavan mein - Whats with Rahman and devotional sounding songs ? He always seem to get it right, whether its bhajans or sufi songs. No real music to talk about, but a totally riveting tune. For reasons I can't well explain, this is winner of the album for me and would have loved for it to be longer that it actually was.

Arziyan - Again Rahman with his devotional sounding song and this one has got great male vocals. Both Javed Ali and Kailash Kher have exceled in my opinion.I didn't think there was anything out of the way in the tune, but a nice hear none the less. They neednt have had this as a 9 minute song though!

Ghenda Phool - Now this is what Rahman would call fusion, and why not. A rustic voice (Rekha Bharadwaj) mixing with club beats and yet sounding like they belong. This is the second song (first being Kala Bandar) that I would like to see the picturisation off. Though the lyrics give away the generic locale and feel, the music seems too 'out there' for it to be anything usual. Lets wait and watch....

Rehna Tu - Rahman sometimes keep the best track of the album for himself, but he hasnt done that here, since this is not a special song. Its OK sounding and Rahman sounds very Rahman like and there is nothing more to write home about.

So, all in all, we have a mixed bag with Dilli 6, with some songs that are good, some average and none that is bad per say. I would give it a 7 on 10, and the lesser rating coz, for me, there is no real cracker of a track in this album. :-(