Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yahoo! Answers: A Great Hangout

It's amazing how eager people are to share their thoughts and feelings, if only you let them.

I posed 3 questions and got replies within minutes.

 

Which is a better place to live and work in, India or Pakistan?

  • If you are a rebel and killer soldier Pakistan.
    India if you like to worship rats and cows.
  • i have never been to either, but i think that india would probably be better.
  • ofcourse india
  • neither right now, have you been paying attention to the news?
  • if this place r both better then why do people frm pkistan /india move to other place for work.....?
  • Of course Pakistan. Hera at least God is one. Snakes and rats are animals like cats and dogs.Cows urine or any urine is dirty and impure.
    Pakistanis pray to God to save them from the torment of fire. They garnish their religious food with concentrate of rose and flowers. If drops urine falls on their clothes or body they wash it and clean it.
    Not India, because they are numerous Gods,always in doubt which one to worship. Rats and snakes are Gods here, Cows urine is sacred. Prime Minister of India spoke in a press conference that he drinks his urine everyday. Fire relieves therefore the burn their dead bodies in fire. Garnish their religious sweets with cows urine. They worship cow and wash with its urine
    So, naturally the better place to live is...........

Did you ever ditch anyone who genuinely loved you?

  • yes because i didnt feel the same way
  • There was this boy when I was pretty young, under 15 yrs. who left me a pack of doublemint chewing gum everyday. But when I saw him, I would walk the other way. I don't know why, it was very mean of me. I hope he found someone who truly loved him.
  • no but i have ditch people you like me
  • Yah. Ditch doesn't begin to describe it. It was more like a tearing, a rip. Not a fun experience to have to have.
  • hellno,
    because i felt the same way
    but if someone genuinely loved me and i didn't feel the same way, it wouldn't be fair to keep them on the hook
    i would make sure tho that there wasn't a chance for us, and then let them down easy
    you don't want to throw away something, and try to retrieve it later..might be picked up
  • Yep, I did!! I knew that he loved me alot, but also he was very controlling. After I woke up and realized this, I left him! I absolutely know he genuinely loved me, but I wouldnt take back my decision for the world. I am currently married with 2 beautiful sons, and know my decision to leave him was the right one!!!
  • ....not romantically,
    but I did ruin the life of the boy who probably understood me best and was the only person who truly cared about me at that point in my life. He always told me how great a friend I was and never had a mean word, he'd always make me feel special and would always tell me he loved me before hanging up the phone.
    I ditched him and ruined his life because his girlfriend and my "best friend" told some lies to me about things he supposedly said. At that point, I was too immature to do anything but give him the silent treatment and tell the whole grade his secrets.
    To this day, everybody who went to my middle school is convinced that he's some freak who should be avoided like a leper. My friends don't remember that it was me who made people see him this way (he was quite popular before this) and don't understand why I talk to him.
    Damn. Regrets, regrets, regrets.
    *sarcastic* thanks for bringing up those memories.
  • Yep, a girl I loved more than anything, and she loved me back,I think. we were best friends, clicked perfectly the minute we met and we as complete "soul mates" as humanly possible ,Ive never been anywhere near as close to any one else ,before or since, we could go all day without even speaking hardly ,like we could understand each others thoughts ,very little verbalising was needed.we shared each others every secret,no matter how dark or troubled, And when we became lovers it was purely natural and innocent, just the evolution of our bond...WRONG!!!! like Adam and Eve (funny her name was Eva) once we tasted that particular "fruit of knowledge" the relationship changed, we could no longer "be naked in each others sight" , which any one whose had a relationship can understand , theres just some stuff you cant share with the one that shares your bed,as openly as you do with your best friend..So we decided,it had to be just friends, however as Des Cartes pointed out ,you never step in the same river twice. ..Once a path has been chosen you cant go back to what was before,the bell cant be unrung, so we couldnt stay where we were and we couldnt go back,so all thats left is to move on..By mutually choosing to part ,we managed to save some of what had happend before .and in time Ive gotten to where she doesnt cross my mind for sometimes an hour or so ,on a good day...D*mn Im in a talkitive meloncholy mood, must be the holidays.
  • yah coz he is too possessive...i cant breath anymore

How does it feel to be loved (romantically)?

  • gr8
  • Best feeling ever. My man treats me like a princess and showers me with kisses and hugs. He tells me im beautiful every single day even when i feel like i look bad =] i love him so much <3 i cant live without him =[
  • Scary at first, then it just gets better unless something messes it up!
  • Warm, stable, unbelievable.
  • do you love your palms, does this answer yor question?
  • It's an awesome feeling...it just warms u up on the inside. Makes u happy and feel good about urself too, to have someone special love you.
  • Like she/he is the only person that you want to be with, like they are the only person in the world for you, you can go out in public and be around so many attractive people but still think of your boo, and miss them. To be loved is a great feeling, you should trust each other, respect each other, share things,dreams for example, or goals. Love is great, but it honestly hurts,too.
  • the best feeling in the world. Kind of like the world can be falling apart all around u but when ur with the one u love nothing else matters. Like ur heart skips a beat when u hear their voice, and a smile appears on ur face just because u thought about them. Feels like u can hate them for one sec but love them anyway.
    Warm and fuzzy should cover it, yep.
    Best feeling ever.

A sombre transition

This must be one of the gloomiest transitions into a new year. Life's complexities have spun out of control and I can only long for my halcyon childhood years.

 

Can someone please resuscitate me?

Resolutions 2007 (How I Fared)

Here were my resolutions for 2007.

  • Space Aplenty. I've lost focus. 0/1
  • Reduce Weight. Never bothered to pay any attention to it. 0/1
  • Blogging...Must Do Less Of It. Reading...Must Do More Of It. I indeed blogged less. I read lesser. 0.5/1
  • Cooking...Must Learn Some. Nay, I didn't add to my knowledge base. 0/1
  • Procrastination...Must Stop. I didn't procrastinate procrastinating. 0/1
  • French...Gotta Learn Some. I learnt none. 0/1
  • Washing Clothes...Shake Off The Lethargy. My clothes continue to rot. 0/1
  • Expense Management...Must Be Regular. It was working initially. Once stopped, it never revived. 0.25/1
  • Editorials...Must Get Hard Copies. I didn't. 0/1
  • Weekends...Spend More Meaningfully. Didn't happen. I'm not sure if the entry of Andromeda into my life changed things for the better. 0/1

Final Score: 0.75/10 = 7.5%

 

There'll be no resolutions for 2008, just a fresh start.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bumpy rides

The to and fro office rides via public transport were a real pain. The filth, noise, sweat, crowd and jerks aggravated by ill-disposition for the day. The return trip was unforgettably forgettable. The conductor walked all over the passengers (twice over me) with utter disdain and an old guy coughed over my fist and spat in the bus.

 

I now have a terrible backache.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Not the best of times

It's that time of the year when one stops to look back in retrospect at the year before it fades into oblivion. While most people are in a festive mood to celebrate the ushering of the new year, I'm slogging 12-hrs-per-workday in my blessed cubicle. To make matters worse, I'll have to be at the office tomorrow (Saturday), throughly disrupting the weekend feel.

I don't dislike working. What I hate is work spilling over.

To put it laconically, I'm seriously annoyed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Duo

Nothing is as good or as bad as it looks. Reality is always somewhere in between. When you listen to 2 very conflicting versions of the same event from 2 different parties, how do you decide what to believe and what to dismiss? That's a tricky situation confronting us very often.

 

It's a dilemma without a solution. We are left with nothing but instinct and discretion to aid us in reaching a verdict which might sometimes be flawed and aberrant.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Oscar Peterson Passes Away

Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson performs during the Gala ...

Oscar Peterson was one of the rare Jazz legends I didn't get to know through Dad.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Star for All

It's Christmas time again and discovering the occasional red star hanging from a ceiling shouldn't surprise anyone.

 

The heavens above have a real red star (Betelgeuse) that's most prominent during the winter, and forms the vertex of the Winter Triangle.

 

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Groping for words

Words aren't needed to feel something, but they've always been the staple crutches for thinking people. And for reasons that have now begun to frustrate me, I feel I'm unable to think vividly about anything. Something stunts it. Is it the mounting work-pressure that's having the debilitating effect on me or the guilt-feeling that's been consuming me for being manipulative, for twisting the rules of the game, for knowing in my heart of hearts that I'm not the sweet and innocent guy I once was and known for, for not utilizing my time more constructively, for neglecting my responsibilities and for not really being me?

 

I think it's the combined effect of many factors...often disparate. I feel despondent and wanna break free.

Aurora (pix from Flickr)

Northern Lights

Celestial Bird

aurora and fog

If only we had eyes for the beauty that surrounds us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Anand

Anand is back in India (Bangalore) after spending 1.5 years in Malaysia. He leaves for Ranchi on Monday and flies back to Malaysia in a month.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Though I find it very difficult to say 'No' to anyone, I overcame my inhibition today. Feels liberating.

Yahoo! Mobile Tech Support Sucks

What ails Yahoo! so much? I know Google looks like a nemesis, but giving up so early hardly seems warranted.

 

Yahoo! Support must get people who meet the following criteria:

  • Understand thoroughly what they are supporting
  • Understand simple English
  • Have at least an average IQ

 

I'm annoyed with the support the tech team provided me when I complained about a glitch that now affects the IM status indicator (embedded to my blog) when I'm online via SMS. It fails to show my status as Online even when I am.

 

When Live Chat failed to resolve the issue, I was promised a reply via email to address it within 48hrs. They kept the promise...and that's when I realised I must have been talking to the wall.

 

Very depressing...especially when it comes from my favorite Internet destination.

When blogs are useful

A mail I received:

Deepanjan,
Thanks for the audio featuring Boots Randolph in your 07-04-2007 blog entry. I was listening to "Rockin' around the Christmas tree" by Brenda Lee and was curious about who played the sax. Turns out it was Boots.
He sure could play... Thanks again.
Regards,
Xxxx Xxxxx

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bunked Office

Ah, the joys of doing nothing are immutable!

Engaged!

The title repeats from the recent past...and this time it isn't a misnomer. Zoya is now engaged to Doron!! I'm so happy for them!!

Y

Why do women give up their maiden names after tying the knot?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Email

It's now more than 9 years since my first two email ids were created (on the same day), hosted on Yahoo! and Hotmail servers. I've come a long way since then and changed countless mailboxes.

 

I've promised allegiances to innumerable mail servers for now-unfathomable reasons: Rediffmail because it wasn't the ubiquitous Hotmail or Yahoo!, USA.net because it looked nerdy and macho, 123India because of POP support and multiple From addresses, Fastmail because it was nifty and worked well as a web-based client for multiple Hotmail accounts, HotPOP because it was eponymous, Gmail because the reasons were very compelling, and countess others.

 

I know it's a hassle for others to keep in touch with you if you constantly keep changing ids. A rolling stone, after all, gathers no moss. So I even had a mail forwarding id with BigFoot. The one thing that set my mailboxes apart from those of the others was my zero-tolerance for spam. Okay, maybe I faltered a bit during the initial days but even that was negligible compared to the crap laden inboxes of others I've seen. In fact, I used to get so worked up if a single unsolicited mail reached my mailbox, I would immediately contemplate opening a new one! It was almost an obsessive compulsive disorder.

 

I've mellowed down the years. I'm now more or less committed to Yahoo!, Hotmail and Gmail. I upgraded to Yahoo! Mail Plus earlier this year and I've just created 2 mailboxes for my personal domain this morning! Google Apps is fabulous and just what the doctor ordered. I'm truly in awe of how symbiotic all of Google's products work and hope Yahoo! and Microsoft learn from the precedence being set.

 

My protracted search for the perfect mailbox has reached fruition.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

When numbers help each other

What happens when you receive a mobile number with a missing digit? Try to interpolate, of course!

 

You're out of luck if the missing digit belongs to the lower end since that's where they're relatively arbitrary. It's only at the higher end that they tend to be more structured and predictable. But how do you know where the absconding number originally belonged? If it's a high-end 9, it's child's play. If it's the digit directly after that, and you're aware of another number from the same locality, you're in luck once again.

 

That's what I did today and it worked. I'm not a total telephone tyro after all! Social networking and stocking all those continually piling numbers can be beneficial in more ways that generally believed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Loving the robot

This is a fantastic article.

Sweet Flattery

An approaching weekend is almost orgasmic. What heightened the pleasure today was a remark from someone.

 

We were having a siesta-time team meeting, the type that drones on and on about the only three things that hog the agenda: work, work and work. It was towards the end of this stretching exercise that our no-nonsense TL abruptly asked me in all earnestness where I had received my education. Finding me flabbergasted, she asked if I had studied abroad. The disparity between the agenda for our meeting and my educational background was too much for my semi-slumbering mind to fathom.

 

That's when she said, "Your communication skills are excellent!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The usual rubbish

I have nothing to write. I close my eyes and recall all the listless things that happened during the course of the day worth writing home about. Nothing. I try harder. Still nothing. Sure, I've stocked a few ideas that I'm hoping to elaborate on in future posts but I'm not really willing to spill the beans just yet.

 

Ah, the brainwave! There's this particular document that I tried to hardcopy yesterday...at least 10 times! My desktop showed no snag messages, but as I eagerly dashed for the printer, I discovered only a stack of others' printouts each time. Whatever happened to mine and where was it disappearing ? The enigma continued even today with yet another failed attempt. Printer's devil gobbling it up?

 

On a different note, have you tried to print on both sides of a sheet using a laser printer? The printer groans aloud and rattles like crazy! Since I try to conserve paper, I often choose this option, which leaves  the heavy-duty device quite shaken by the experience, literally! Worse, it gets jammed all too often and this ends up stalling the queue until a saviour comes by and frees the machine.

 

There's fun in jeopardy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When racism is defeated

Itzhak Perlman plays a beautiful violin concerto as I type this post. I'm reminded of an incident in 2001 concerning a Wagner concert being conducted by Daniel Barenboim in Israel.

 

Wagner is serious taboo in Israel. He, though a luminary of the highest magnitude, was known to be a staunch anti-Semite. Though he died before the Nazis came into being, he did provide anti-Semitic inspiration for them, for whom he was a cultural icon. Hitler admired Wagner and his music was played at Nazi rallies.

 

Barenboim, himself a Jew, asked those in the audience who objected to Wagner's music being played, to leave. His audacious statement was cheered by a majority in the audience, though a few left in silent protest. It was a victory over hatred, it was a victory over racism and, ironically, it was a victory over a great deal of Wagnerism.

 

I'm sure the great man would be put to shame by the clemency of art-lovers who rose over personal inhibitions and racial sentiments to listen to his music, detached completely from the other things he stood for. And that's the way it should be.

 

Personally, I've never liked Wagner's music.

Do you?

F.r.i.e.n.d.s has this episode where someone (who was it?) confesses to always closing the bathroom door even when there's no one in the house.

 

Was this weird? I do it most of the time. I tried departing from the usual practice today and the exercise was kind of uneasy. I almost grew paranoid of someone wandering in and inadvertently invading my privacy. I was particularly harsh on myself trying to recall if I had indeed shut the front door.

Aurora Borealis

A band of Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights,  stretches over ...

I'm a bit confused by the coverage the Northern Lights are getting. According to AP:

Scientists think they have discovered the energy source of the spectacular color displays seen in the northern lights. New data from NASA's Themis mission, a quintet of satellites launched this winter, found the energy comes from a stream of charged particles from the sun flowing like a current through twisted bundles of magnetic fields connecting Earth's upper atmosphere to the sun.

I thought scientists always knew it. What's the 'discovery' then?

 

Ah, here's the follow-up:

Although researchers have suspected the existence of wound-up bundles of magnetic fields that provide energy for the auroras, the phenomenon was not confirmed until May, when the satellites became the first to map their structure some 40,000 miles above the Earth's surface.

I'm a little less ignorant now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sound Advice

Remember the good old days of Doordarshan idiocy? Ya, it's almost nostalgic now but some of the propaganda aired back then used to affect my nerves. One of them even espoused cobwebs in the house because they trapped flies and moths.

 

Hail Mother Nature!

Beginning to notice the difference

It's easy to differentiate Bach from Handel and Tchaikovsky from Stravinsky. But telling apart Mozart from Beethoven takes its own sweet time. I've just begun to notice the nuances.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Diyasha!

12112007149

Dark Matter

A few of my friends bought tickets yesterday to the 3rd test match between India and Pakistan being played in Bangalore. I'm all for the fun of watching the action unfold live in front of you, but should we need to corroborate a widespread malpractice in order to revel in the fun? These guys bought the entry tickets in black, fishing out Rs500 for what would have generally cost them half as much.

 

Wasn't there any twang of guilt in doing so? Don't people realize they're fostering a social evil? This isn't a one-off instance. Movie-goers regularly pay for tickets in black without a moment's hesitation, so what if the flick purportedly has a social message to disseminate and the audience will have their receptors working in top-gear to assimilate as much of it. They'll emerge from the theatre all-dazed in the afterglow of their newly acquired sense of purpose in life. It was well worth the 'extra' they paid to begin with. Hypocrisy to the hilt!

 

There's now a dubious and shady unaccounted-for industry that thrives on our gullibility and lack of integrity. I'm made to wonder just how decedent we are as a society. One reels at the thought.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Papyrus & A Nouveau Niche

Typos aren't half as bad as having an illegible handwriting - a fact that's reaffirmed  each time I have to reach out for pen-&-paper.

 

But this is not a duel between Fonts and Calligraphy. This is about the tangible feel of a book verses the many alternatives we are being bombarded with everyday.

 

What's it about a book that makes it such a delight to possess, besides the carefully crafted words it contains? It could be many things - pulling a book off-the-shelf, feeling  the weight of holding it, the texture of a page (rough or glossy), factory-fresh or vintage odour, the feel of flipping through the pages...sometimes leapfrogging to the contents, index or glossary, bookmarking, cracking of the spine as you open a new hardbound book, running your fingers below the line being read...the list is unmatched.

 

The e-age has brought in a lot of also rans into the fray, jostling for our attention. Desktop PC's, laptops, PDA's and smartphones have now almost endangered posterity from experiencing the joys of reading a book. I'm not really a  Luddite forcefully trying to turn the tide. Far from it, I'm a technology buff and love keeping myself updated with the latest RSS feeds. I've long junked the morning newspaper for the comfort and ease of news from the Web. I stream audio, watch online videos, download music via torrents, dabble with online photo albums, shop online, manage my expenses via spreadsheets and keep my firewall paranoid of everything in 0's and 1's. I'm a Wikipedia contributor, blog frequently (though I never even thought of having a conventional diary), member of many forums and some social networks, frequent the Usenet, email/IM frequently and spend a lot of hours coding to earn a living.

 

While all this vindicates my affable disposition towards technology, I prefer certain things remaining old-fashioned just for the heck of it. I've never felt the advent of tech toys even remotely threatening the charm of reading a book.

 

Image:Amazon Kindle - Off 03.png

Amazon's newly launched Kindle is the latest gadget to challenge the real book. It boasts of impressive specs, great conveniences and foolproof use, portability and easy access. In a networked world, you can have instant access to a burgeoning assortment of titles. And yet, for all its conveniences, it can never be what it was supposed to be - a book.

 

If I could choose between reading a real book and its e-avatar, I would have no hesitation in opting for the former. I know it's a losing battle and toys like the Kindle will eventually rule the roost. Future generations may find my choice unfathomable, but that hardly perturbs my harmony with the book - a real book.

Friday, December 07, 2007

When 2 isn't better than 1

As opposed to what I was expecting until a few years ago, the IM fraternity, instead of unifying into a single, interoperable platform has more-or-less unified into two islands.

 

ICQ-AIM-Gtalk forms a formidable camp. The MSN-Yahoo! alliance seems similarly impressive. If we discount the innumerable social-networking specific messaging platforms, we are now left with 2 platforms that don't talk to each other. While 2 is definitely better than the fractured platforms we had until recently, I would have much preferred having only one IM client resting on my system tray.

 

While Google's disposition towards open standards has become an industry benchmark, the others are yet to follow suit. Microsoft carries a legacy thought process that it's not willing to jettison - and with good reason. Yahoo! isn't nimble enough to learn the changing rules of the web and AOL is beset with its own problems.

 

I've waited long enough to see the unification of IM. Getting so near and yet so far is very frustrating.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Keep guessing!

image

One of the prettiest women in the world

Sans Dinner

This is one of those rare nights when I'll have to forgo dinner. The burner ran out of gas just as I was boiling water for noodles. I could have asked the other folks (who were away at a mess) to get me something, but decided against it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I look forward to...

  • writing a great deal
  • reading a great deal more

I feel excruciatingly guilty when I think of all the things that I could have read...but didn't. I feel worse when I think of all the things that have yet to be read...but never will be. I feel worst when I think of how ignorant I am...and always will be.

I hate it when...

people slip into my slippers. What's really surprising is that they don't even have the ghost of an idea they're inconveniencing others.

Don't read this

People hardly take advice. Yet, I'll excuse myself once again and be foolhardy enough to advice you to stop reading this post. I know it's no use, but I'm hopeful you won't disappoint me.

 

Stop! Enough! Didn't you hear me? I've nothing to write about - no juicy stuff on the lives of my neighbours, no scientific revelation, no metaphysical banter, no cosmic insights and no worldly tale. Seriously, there's nothing here for you, nothing of interest I mean.

 

And yet, you continue in the same vein...but I wouldn't blame you. We're all equally headstrong and contemptuous of others' wishes. It's amazing how we convincingly defeat mounting skepticism even after treading past the half-way mark for substance. What is it that makes us such crazed optimists in the face of undeniable evidence that starkly point to the contrary?

 

I don't know...and yet, you continue unabated. Now that you're nearing the end, I'm sure your optimism has gradually commuted to existentialism. You're older by a few minutes, but not wiser by a new experience. You'll tell yourself it was worth reading this far even though deep down you know it wasn't.

 

Well, suits yourself!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Spaghetti

Life's like spaghetti. It's too complicated for my dwindling intellect.

I'm too enervated now to apply my brainwaves on any post of substance. Maybe this weekend...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Wild Fire

The video of our team outing spread like wild fire in office. It was a treat watching T wobbling on the dance floor!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Splitsville

My phone wasn't recharged in a long time and it kept nagging with audio alerts early in the morning. My first task when I grudgingly got out of bed was to plug my phone and satiate its appetite for charge.

 

Here's a Hindi song I genuinely loved as a kid. I remember those moments when it would softly waft through the air and captivate me. I'm still very much in love with it.

Singer: Zoheb Hassan
Song: Chehra
Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

 

The title of the post is completely divorced from the body. I used it since it kept rambling all over my head and I liked the sound of it. There, I've praised it enough and hope it'll get off my mind now!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Don't rush me

Today has been a very emotionally strenuous day. While I'm emerging through vital lessons of life dazed but wiser, I feel a tad guilty for being manipulative. I also feel terrible for having turned down a call for a casual get-together with old pals. Sorry guys, but today was just one of those days when I was not in my elements. I confess I'm really bad at fulfilling social obligations. However, I would certainly like to make it to the rendezvous that happens next time.

 

I have reasons enough to be thankful to my blog for wording my thoughts that I could never have otherwise. This post subtly words a lot of emotional upheavals. It also remains uneasily muffled.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Party @ Country Club

 30112007439

Someone said this picture would look a lot better than the ration card pic (!!!) in my blog!

 

Being the teetotaler that I am, I kept stuffing myself with chicken in the evening while the others had their fills of beer. The dance floor was a familiar tornado of people egged on by strong rhythm-powered hysteria. Twice was I dragged there, but it was faux pas for me all the way.

 

When fatigue finally overtook and the floor had a semblance of sanity and space, an in-house singer put on the karaoke and hummed a few popular songs. He wore a terribly sad and dejected look, totally jarring with the ambience to which he was expected to surrender. He sang well, but won no adulation. Perhaps experience had taught him not to expect it either.

 

Other guests kept trickling in. One group consisted of a conspicuously shy little girl (must be 5 or 6) celebrating her birthday. An overzealous guardian forced her onto the floor and danced with her. The poor child must have cringed within. The guy looked ludicrous for reasons that now defy my memory. He became the laughing stock of all the onlookers when his clumsy feet failed to keep up with his swelling exuberance and he fell...along with the birthday girl. Poor lady, what a nightmare for her! The embarrassed couple cleared the floor after that, much to the relief of everyone there.

 

Dinner wasn't bad. Vinoth & I left sooner than most to catch a bus back home. The roads are relatively deserted post 2100 hrs and our bus rattled through the way with breakneck speed I had assumed was impossible in Bangalore. The bus wasn't really destined for my preferred stop and I had to alight a long way away from home. As I headed home on foot, I reflected on having trudged the same path during a 2-day training some 70+ days ago. Those were the days Andromeda had just entered my life. My excitement knew no bounds.

 

Things have changed dramatically since then and I wish I could undo some of them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Court of F-law

Sanjay Dutt yet again bought freedom when he was granted bail by the Supreme Court. I'm left wondering if the IPC is a commodity that can be tampered with over-the-counter by expending some wealth.

 

Should there be even a semblance of doubt that the law isn't blind to name and fame? I'm appalled when I see the outpour of sympathy among Indian masses for this larger-than-life figure - just because his on-screen heroics have fired up the imagination of our idol-worshipping (pun intended) people. Pure regressive thinking!

2 many ships

Relationships are messy and entangling. Life only gets complicated by the day because we are eternally on this crazy drive to forge relationships even when none are warranted.

 

Friendship must be the only exception. One more step and you'll be hurtling down the hole to hell!

Cognitive Dissonance

This is a very riveting account of a woman who challenged her patriarchal society. I wish there could be more of her kind. It takes a great deal of courage and cognizance to challenge social norms set by chauvinists whose only forte are ignorance and intolerance.

 

I squarely blame religion for fostering a closed disposition. I look at the world around me and realize how hard it is for us to escape the antediluvian teachings of religious texts.

 

We are born ignorant...but we don't have to stay that way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lapping the laptop

Microsoft's Windows Vista Blog contains this very interesting post about the DELL Vostro. It's an honour!

I feel jaded

Work has been draining the life out of me. I wish I could sit in solitude on wet-green grass, feel the cool breeze, listen to the birds singing and forget the whole worrisome world.

 

Something feels wrong...terribly wrong.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Desultory Posts

Blogging has become an intellectual and emotional challenge for most without them even realizing it. The  power to make your voice heard unhindered (generally) is often overwhelming enough to make many of us sit up and take notice...of what we have to offer.

 

Do we really have anything worthy of a web page of disclosures? I reckon the answer is in the affirmative for most, but we dare not make a clean breast of everything (well, almost everything) lest what is construed as innocuous by us be bilious for others. Autobiographies, the trophies of people who are convinced they are really important to others, have the luxury of time. Looking back in retrospect, it's easy to know how events turned up and people fared. And you generally couldn't possibly write anything that could invite the ire of those mentioned in your book - since some of them are dead, some wouldn't even know they're mentioned, some would have mellowed with age and some couldn't care less. Moreover, if you've actually found a publisher for your tell-all book, you're probably already too well known not to be pardoned for even the most shocking of revelations. Bertrand Russell meticulously mentioned in his autobiography his first kiss. It was with the house maid. He wanted to proceed further, but the maid would have none of it! Had he been a blogger, such disclosures (before attaining fame as the greatest thinker of the 20th century) would have been highly improbable.

 

Blogs usually don't have the luxury of time. People could be lunging at you for the silliest of reasons. Having faced the hazard, I've had to forcefully take to desultory posts just to keep off potentially awkward situations. However, that hardly leaves me with anything interesting to write...except for the tonnes of events from the distant past that have somehow survived my dismal memory. When I look within for completely unobjectionable substance, it's all hollow. That left me wondering - do we generally have something or the other to hide from others? How comfortable would I be if I were to prop my blog with personal secrets even if I were granted immunity against repercussions? Very uncomfortable! Most people, if I may think so, would feel the same way. Does that make us all imposters, pretending (at a certain level) to be what we are not?

 

What's written, isn't worth it. What isn't, mustn't. What an irony!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I remember...

...our aquariums. Dad would take utmost care of all the fish.

 

I didn't think of it then, but I feel sorry for the fish. Do we really need to imprison them just to lend some aesthetics to our living space? It's another matter that those in the wilderness are known to have a shorter life span.

 

A short and sweet life is better than a long one without freedom.

The Gum Bottle

  • Some people have slipped vision. Dad was one of them...though not by much.
  • Some people have chronic backaches. Dad was one of them.
  • Some people have sloppy memory. Dad was one of them.

 

  • I have slipped vision, though very marginal.
  • I don't have backaches yet. However, I'm in a profession that demands long hours of sitting continually, a condition that often leads to chronic backache.
  • I've inherited bad memory from Dad.

 

We had accepted Dad's unreliable memory as part of what one has to live with. However, it wasn't always easy. One particular incident was excruciatingly hilarious.

 

As school going students, Didi and I often had to use the humble gum bottle, the kind that has long been replaced by slicker types. One particular gum bottle remained with us for a very long time. Strangely enough, even after months of use, we found the volume of gum in the bottle never decreasing. Not surprisingly, though, the gum gradually got thinner and less stickier! The mystery was solved when we discovered Dad diluting the gum with tap water!

 

Dad was aware he couldn't possibly remember getting a new gum bottle from the market when the old one was exhausted. He also knew that prevention was better than cure - an adage he put to brilliant use. Each time he used the gum, he silently slipped into the kitchen to do his little trick! The enigma of our unending supply of gum was solved when suspicion fell on him for obvious reasons.

 

Didi elicited great pleasure in reciting this incident to all the guests who would care to listen while Dad could only afford a sheepish grin! But he was embarrassed enough never again to try his trick on us. 

When secrets come out...secretly

This is one of the most engrossing blogs I've ever come across. The concept is very enticing and the revelations are there for all to see.

 

On a very different note - Wordpress has been a bit of a concept blog service for long and I decided to have a look at it early this morning. I've had an account longer than my memory can stretch, but I've never bothered to actively use it since I was more than happy with the industry-leading Blogger. With Google taking it under its fold, I could rest assured that a lifetime of nonsensical posts wouldn't vanish overnight because the owners couldn't fund the upkeep of their servers. While Blogger has been cranky at times, I've had few reasons to complain.

 

Wordpress still looks too rough around the edges but remains very popular among power bloggers because of the flexibility it provides. One very interesting service it now flaunts is the ability to import posts from Blogger. I tried my luck.

 

Check the result.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dinner Disaster

I'm not sure if it was technically a dinner. Since it was past midnight, it was early morning - and since you can't have dinner in the morning, it was probably a breakfast. What the heck, I'll call it a belated dinner!

 

2 packets of Maggi noodles constituted my so-called dinner. One of the pouches containing the masala mix was not sealed - and all its content fell out. The other pouch didn't betray me but the noodles had become completely tasteless.

 

There was more disaster waiting to strike. I was surfing the Net, listening to Lady Ella on my headphones and having dinner, all at once. The awkward hunch over Andromeda made the headphones slip onto the bowl, Ella suddenly sounded distant and cold, my reflexes made the bowl slip in turn onto the mattress, spilling some of the near-inedible content over the sacred space where I do what I do best - sleep.

 

The noodles tasted yucky.

Beethoven

I will hear in heaven!

I want to seize fate by the throat.

Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold.Image:Beethoven.jpg

I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor. What I have in my heart must come out; that is the reason why I compose.

Music is a higher revelation than philosophy.

I wish you music to help with the burdens of life ,and to help you release your happiness to others.

What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.

I think it's one of the greatest tragedies mankind has ever known - the  most revered composer of all time was deaf!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dad

I think of Dad everyday.

Is Pakistan Anachronistic?

Pakistan is a colossal mockery of democracy...and a shameless one at that. A despot is concocting his own brand of democracy and expecting people to fall for it. He is systematically purging the vestigial government and judiciary of his critics and replacing them with loyalists. He will allow people to vote...as long as they vote for him! He has the cheek to immediately send a former prime minister into exile as soon as he set foot on his country after ending a voluntary expatriation. Yet another former prime minister has been rendered completely powerless and alienated from her people. Her freedom has been heavily curtailed and none of her movements escape scrutiny and suspicion.

 

I reckon all the endless internal strife (that is Pakistan today) will tear the fragile foundation that feebly holds the country together. Pakistan is a ticking time-bomb ready to implode. But I guess all Islamic states are intrinsically on self-obliteration mode. Some are just closer than others.

 

It's time the international community pulled up the rogue nation.

I've Wondered

For a newborn, the head-to-body ratio is 1:4. For an adult, it's 1:8. The eyes are the only organ that don't grow in size.

 

I've often wondered if growing up makes things look smaller to us. Does it? As a child, I feared my favourite possessions apparently shrinking as I continued my march towards attaining adulthood! If we compare the world around us against ourselves, then this would definitely be true. But I'm not sure if this is how we perceive real world sizes. Very intriguing.

 

Schubert streams a familiar impromptu via AOL Radio as I type this post. He often wore round glasses - just like the Mahatma. Just remembered.

 

I need to get my head checked!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Labour

I worked, worked & worked today. Didn't even have the time for news.

Monday, November 19, 2007

DELL follow-up

DELL India has received a lot of negative publicity over the past few years for its poor support. The problem has become so acute that DELL has had to shelve many of its grand expansion plans for India.

 

My experience with DELL India Support has been very much the contrary. Ever since I raised the issue of the anomalous behaviour of my USB drive, DELL has been very supportive and their regular follow-ups have pleasantly surprised me. In fact, when I informed them of my impending itinerary last week, they even took note of it and SMSed me on my return to continue with the support. My feedback (for which I was asked) has been very positive.

 

DELL has also monitored my blog as part of its effort to gauge consumer sentiment. While it's regular corporate policy to monitor blogs nowadays, this definitely doesn't take away any credit from them for taking the initiative.

 

The only trouble I've had till date was in the inordinate delay in delivering my laptop. The tracking site wasn't updated (ever since the product reached India) and I was getting more and more restless with each passing day. But I guess you can't blame the good folks for dismal logistics.

 

Good work, DELL!

First Voice Chat!!

Had my first ever voice chat session today...it was long overdue! Voice clarity over Google Talk was amazing - actually better than my phone! Hail VoIP!

 

Should have tried this a long time back!!! Wouldn't have had to suffer inflated bills!

NEW!

Trying a new colour-combi.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Leonids

The eponymous Leonids meteoric shower is on in full glory, but the caving skyline of Bangalore made it difficult to spot even Leo from beyond the obtrusive coconut trees near our terrace early this morning. I was too sleepy to wait any longer for Leo to rise.

 

I'm slightly disappointed at the sparse media coverage.

My Own Domain!

www.deepanjannag.com

I suddenly feel important!

Engaged!

Nay, don't be fooled by the title! I saw an elderly couple deeply engaged in playing a game of dice during the entire length of our trip from Howrah to Chennai (14-15 Nov). They kept a scorecard and diligently updated it with each settling of the overworked but muted dice. You could easily be fooled into believing that they were indulging in a task of profound intellectual interest had it not been for the obviousness of the 5 silly dice.

 

It was nice watching their diligence in playing a game that would normally elicit nothing but disdain from most adults. Life's treasures often lie in the little things we so easily overlook.

 

A memorable lesson learnt.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes

 

Comet 17P/Holmes is currently homed in Perseus. Unfortunately, since I'm not too familiar with the constellation and since light pollution is making it difficult to spot even 2nd magnitude stars, though I must have spotted the comet tonight from my terrace, I couldn't really distinguish it from the stars. Very frustrating.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Couldn't stay away from Andro!

I've got a severe cold.

 

I'm supposed to pack my luggage for my trip tomorrow, but somehow that didn't sound half as appealing as flirting one last time with my digital better-half.

 

It's strange the way pseudosciences never die. Far from it, newer manifestations keep mushrooming everywhere. My vexation grows deeper when even corporates extend a helping hand to such spurious instruments of insight. I was appalled today when I found techies lined up for handwriting analysis, a novelty of a hoax that even has a name for itself - Graphology.

 

The craving to understand oneself is so severe and emotionally paralyzing that people will fall for anything. No wonder we have so many businesses thriving on our innate desperation to become conscious of our 'real' selves. But if being stuck within your own body 24hrs-a-day couldn't help you know yourself, how on earth can a stranger know any better by 'analysing'  your handwriting?

 

What can we expect next? Font analysis!! Just wait for someone to hit upon the bright idea and even manage to make a living out of it. The world is surely not short of fools to fall prey to it.

 

Windows Live went 'live' today and I readily upgraded from the beta installations.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dell, Microsoft, Andromeda, Vodafone...

Dell did revert with a suggestion to update my BIOS and notebook system software. I complied. No change in the anomalous behavior.

 

Microsoft replied as well...very cordially. The clarification I sought about OEM software came forth and futility in addressing my problem was expressed. I understand, you can't blame Microsoft for all the minnows being indifferent to the needs of Vista.

 

I was planning on turning up the heat on my blogging drive from November. Seems there'll be a delay. My next rendezvous with Andromeda will be possible only after 15th...when I return from my jaunt to Kolkata.

 

I was attending a tele-conference with our Italian counterparts in office today when came the deadly message from Vodafone stating that I had crossed 80% of my credit limit and that to ensure smooth continuation of services I was advised to clear the unbilled amount! The figure was staggering and I just couldn't imagine that a reticent guy like yours truly could ever have to foot such a hefty bill. Anyway, a hard decision was taken to avoid a repetition. I now have yet another reason to HATE the phone.

 

Domestic bills too have spiraled out of control (thanks partly to the extraneous souls seeking refuge at our dwelling all too often), especially  due to the hidden costs that remain unaccountable, unwarranted and shrouded behind a veil of endless numerals. The charity must stop.

 

A day of immense austerity.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A BIG Surprise

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That Windows Vista has issues with external devices is common knowledge by now. Many equipment manufacturers have failed to cooperate with Microsoft to create device drivers for Vista and the result is there for all to see.

 

Microsoft has an problem with my USB drive (this is a known issue). Awaking my Vista from sleep to active mode with the drive docked to port will inevitably hang the system within seconds. Microsoft has no patch for my particular thumb-drive (UMAX Apus Skate 2GB) yet.

 

That set me on my path to a startling discovery. Since mine is an OEM version of Vista, my POC (point-of-contact) apparently has to be DELL, not Microsoft! In fact, there's no way I can make Microsoft officially look up and take notice of me! This came as a BIG surprise to me.

 

As long as I hadn't come to this conclusion, I kept making futile attempts to getting in touch with the Redmond giant for support. I must say their Help and Support page is pathetic. IE7 offers the user the choice of either manually entering the Product ID (same as Firefox) or automatically downloading a software that send the ID back to Microsoft (exclusive to IE).

 

I tried both avenues and each time the sickening message that was sent to me was - The product ID number you entered is not valid or is not in the correct format. Please enter a valid product ID number and try again. Make sure the product ID number is of the form: 12345-XXX-7654321-98765.

 

Holy crap! Instead of making the end-user doubt the integrity of the OEM, couldn't Microsoft simply state that since it was an OEM copy of Windows, support would be provided only by the manufacturer? Though the support page does mention this somewhat obliquely, it looks more like a humble suggestion or an alternative rather than a stern direction.

 

Addendum: My suspicion has been vindicated as I was writing this post. A kind gentleman answered my query to finally quell any semblance of doubt. Microsoft needs to be more prudent with subtleties.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A day with email

Today was spent in romancing the vintage technology of emailing. Gmail's IMAP needs getting used to before the uninitiated can feel reasonably comfortable with its complexities and intricacies.

Windows Live Mail is a bit cranky in its own right while Google's self-confession on some issues being in the works also adds to the initial labor of setting up the system. And if you're fussy like me, you'll probably spend a lot of time tinkering before being reasonably happy with the mail client working in tandem with the mail server!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

IMAP, Ahoy!

I used to be an email and search-engine fanatic during my initial days on the Net. 123india was my favorite destination for more than a year since I learnt (via a full-page newspaper coverage) that its mail service was POP3 compliant for free. Wow! That's a great way of organizing my mails through different mailboxes and consolidating them via a dedicated inbox, I realized. I created and heavily used 6 123india mailboxes! Worked like magic.

Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail languished somewhere in my volatile memory. I had already abandoned USA.net because of its horrid interface. Gmail was yet to be born!

Being the mailbox vagabond was an adventure I reveled in greatly.  I particularly remember Sebastian springing a nasty surprise at me when he set his mailbox to autoreply to my autoreply. The replies shuttled furiously to-and-fro because of a technical oversight from 123india (I got more than 30 messages containing my own autoresponse!!!) and I got the shock of my life when I checked my mailbox in the morning. Reading the mails, I quickly figured out what had happened. Sabu was upto his tricks yet again!

MailMeToday caught my fancy immediately upon launch since it was IMAP4 compliant. This was even better than POP3. However, I was suspicious of the India Today Group being able to pull it off successfully. Their Mail With Maal punchline sounded like a very cheap gimmick and I refused to take the bait. Sure enough, the site closed shop in September, 2002. My suspicion was vindicated.

Gmail IMAP-enabled my inbox today and I'm more than happy to finally test the exotic protocol on my mail client (Windows Live Mail BETA). It seems to be a bit cranky prima facie, probably because Gmail's radical web-interface (with message-threads and labels) has no strong client parallels.

It'll take me some time to get a proper feel of IMAP. I'll then assess if it was worthwhile for much of the tech-industry to have  dumped it in favor of the much simpler POP.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Prateek, you'll like this article. Don't forget the spawner.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Deepanjan Nag's Diary
is hereby rechristened!

Information for Astronomy buffs

White light contracts pupils for about half an hour and makes it tough to see anything in the dark.

If I were lucky enough to be a US citizen, I would possibly reside here, here or here.

Changing Taste

I remember buying a copy of Money Jungle during a summer vacation spent in our only getaway from Jamshedpur - Kolkata. Big mistake. I rued my decision as the album was way too intellectual and heavy on dissonance for my school-going self.

Times have changed and I'm being increasingly drawn into Jazz trios. It's a trend that's being paralleled even in Classical music. I was of the opinion that chamber music (excepting solos) should never include the piano since it simply doesn't fit in with the strings. I religiously avoided everything other than solos or concertos that had a role for the piano to play. Dad refuted my belief but I held on to my views obstinately. The only exception known to me was Schubert's Trout Quintet. Not surprisingly, though, the piano always was and still is my 2nd favorite instrument.

I was delighted each time I discovered an 'exception.' The exceptions have over time inflated to such an overwhelming repertoire that I reckon it safe to say that they are no longer exceptions but rules.

The Last Supper @ 16 Billion Pixels!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Voices of Freedom: A Celebration of VOA Jazz and Willis Conover

On Monday, September 17, the Voice of America (VOA) and the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival (DEJF) hosted a concert in memory of VOA jazz host Willis Conover and in observance of the 50th anniversary of Dizzy Gillespie's first State Department-sponsored trip.  Conover influenced a generation of musicians around the world, including Cuban-born jazz great Paquito D'Rivera.  At this concert, D'Rivera lead a quintet made up of another Cuban-born musician and three players from former Soviet Bloc countries -- Milcho Leviev on piano (Bulgaria), George Mraz on bass (Czech Republic), Valery Ponomarev on trumpet (Russia), and Horacio Hernandez on drums (Cuba).

Courtesy Voice of America. It was a tough job creating this video...especially since bandwidth in India is poor. The editing isn't perfect and there's a long lull at the end of the presentation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wikipedia needs a donation

I'm contemplating being a little philanthropic.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Willis Conover tells his story


Video: Willis Conover
All credits go to the Voice of America. You can find high-resolution photos here. The Willis Conover page can be found here.

My First Movie via Windows Movie Maker

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I discovered a treasure trove of Willis Conover pictures and audio clips yesterday. I was so agog, I spent a sleepless night after that and sprang into action first thing this morning to get the pictures and audio together via Windows Movie Maker.

This is priceless stuff.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Willis Conover!!!

This is the most sacrosanct sound known to me! I grew up listening to it! The rediscovery is absolutely unbelievable!!!

COSMOS Complete!

The last episode to download took its own sweet time (blame the stolen bandwidth). What couldn't be done in the past one week was consummated in a matter of few hours today!

Now I don't feel so guilty of missing Mysore! A nagging pain remains though.

Hardy's Dishonesty

Robbing your country by evading paying taxes is such a fun-game, isn't it? Hardy's Restaurant exemplifies it well.

 

Though I'm not exactly a patron of Hardy's, I don't recall ever receiving a proper bill. All I get is piece of yellow chit with the bill amount written on it. I make it a point to ask for the bill, and the guy acquiesces. But what I noticed today was rather remarkable.

 

Hardy's has two sets of bills that look rather different from each other. I guess only one of them is genuine, the one quoted to make a nominal tax payment. The other one is meant for obstinate fools like yours truly, who ask for the bill. This way, Hardy's fools both GoI and customer. How convenient!

 

No matter how many rules and policies you have in place, it's hard to outsmart dishonesty. Ethics, it may seem, is going extinct.

Missing Mysore

My roommates (excluding Santosh) and the haze of people flocking around them round-the-clock left for Mysore this morning. Though I was invited, I had to reluctantly stay back.

 

Two reasons. Firstly, I badly wanted some solitude. Home is where the crowd is, and that's precisely the reason why I've begun loathing my present dwelling. Though I'm not exactly a misanthrope, being surrounded by buzz all the time isn't my idea of home. The getaway from the crowd, according to me, was more important than the Mysore getaway.

 

Secondly, I was in severe need of bandwidth. There's at least one fellow who revels in choking the bandwidth with BitTorrent downloads all the time without any concern for the other people who share the same network. So while we pay for 256kbps, listening to even a 24kbps stream has become impossible. Surfing is possible only if you have the patience of a Hindu spiritualist! I wish our friend could set curbs on downloading you-know-what or at least setting the upload and download ceiling. I guess that's too much of an ask though.

 

Though I miss Mysore, I'm enjoying some solitude and long lost bandwidth as I type this post. It's a worthy tradeoff!

Friday, October 19, 2007

NYTimes accepts my comment

I'm taken aback by the sharp and antagonistic reaction to Dr.James Watson's comments that have been projected by the media as nothing but racist. When taken out of context, it obviously looks so prima facie.

 

When scribes looking for something to goad on came across Dr.Watson's observations, it was just too good to let go. Fanning fervent notions of the intelligentsia, every Tom, Dick and Harry extracted his pound of flesh.

 

Here's my take on the NYTimes article:

It’s strange that the world is so ok with racial discrimination in practice, but will be up in arms when someone even speaks about the variance in innate intelligence of people belonging to different races. Even if statistical observations are overlooked (that show a remarkable skewness in favor of some races or people regarding intelligence), why can’t we at least try to assimilate what Dr.Watson has to say without raising a storm?


Equal treatment of all humans is paramount (commensurate to what is deserved), but does it entail overlooking natural relative deficiencies? If we raise the heckles to Dr.Watson’s innocuous observations, we’ll be unwittingly stunting our own ability to use scientific knowhow like nanotechnology for the betterment of all humans…all in the fanatic name of nominal universal equality.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The post that never happened

I'm tempted to write an account of my experience in a restaurant today. However, remembering well how I've time and again been chided for my ostensibly caustic disposition towards many things, I'll keep mum just this one time.

Malcolm Laycock (from BBC) replies!

I was in for a very pleasant surprise this morning when Malcolm Laycock personally replied to a mail I had posted to BBC 2. I remember listening to him on countless weekdays during my formative years. The memories are still so fresh. What made those occasions extra special was the presence of yet another Jazz enthusiast right next to me - Dad! We were in a trance-like state after Laycock's 30-minute program.

 

Here's the reply:

 

Deepanjan


Hi! Your message passed on to me by Radio 2.


Goodness me! I'm delighted to hear from someone who listened to my 
jazz shows all those years ago on BBC World Service!


Now, my memory is not brilliant because I've done so many different 
shows on many radio stations over the years, but I seem to think that 
the signature tune we used for "Jazz For The Asking" was "Birdland" 
by Weather Report. Great track......!


Anyway, I trust that life is treating you well.


With all good wishes


Malcolm Laycock
BBC Radio 2

Monday, October 15, 2007

The surest test of Artificial Intelligence

This is not about the Turing Test. You know AI has reached a milestone when it correctly deciphers the English spoken by an Italian!

The intimidation

I sent a group mail to our team so intimidating, even our TL patted me for driving home the message. Someone suggested I give up my IT job and write a book.

What's the most astonishing fact you've ever discovered as a kid?

For me, it must be that the stars are distant Suns.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Best Internet Radio Service

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My love for Yahoo! LAUNCHcast has remained undiminished in all these years of streaming music over the Net. There are various means of listening to it: web, Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Music Jukebox.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A great password manager

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KeePass is  free, open source and extremely versatile. Though it was one of the first programs I had installed on Andromeda, I shook off my lethargy only today and took it for a test drive.

My only gripe: I shouldn't have wasted precious keystrokes all this while in repeatedly entering login information!!

 

Hey, I still can't get used to the fact that Andromeda is all mine!! I wield absolute power over her! WOW!!

The human repellent

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(Winamp running in Windowshade Mode)

 

I'm refining a powerful weapon to ward off the unwanted people who stray into my room.

The weapon: Winamp 5.5

The ammunition: Western Classical

 

I hate new faces showing up at my room without being invited. One way of dissuading their continued presence is to launch Winamp in the unobtrusive Windowshade mode. Winamp is seamlessly integrated with two fantastic Internet radio services: Shoutcast and AOL Radio with XM. I have a great affinity for Shoutcast.

 

I've especially developed a liking for SKY.FM and its many stations available at varying bitrates (24kbps being an obvious favorite). Try Mostly Classical to get a taste of its classical repertoire. I've long been a fan on this station but it's only now that I've begun using it as a formidable foe to the strangers. So far, so good.

 

I only fear someone actually developing a liking for my kind of music!

Burned a DVD for the first time!

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Source: My 2GB USB drive.

Content: Last 2 episodes of Carl Sagan's COSMOS.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

If silence speaks louder than words, ...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The best music player

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It must be Winamp 5.5.

I'm playing Duke Ellington's Take the 'A' Train. This was VOA Jazz Hour's theme song. The last time I heard it was perhaps with Dad, after Willis Conover's demise.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

When colleagues irk

You know the feeling. The jackass is a peer in the organization and you must deal with him. It's a problem when he doesn't know the ultra-basics of using Excel (like using a mouse to increase the height of a row). It's a looming disaster when he introduces himself as - Myself (some name). I wonder which desi farm grows such grammatically altered English!

It's a catastrophe when you need to take instructions from yet another jackass whose command over English is no stronger than Ahmadinejad's over Cantonese. And if his reflexes remind you of the 8086 in the age of Turions and Core 2 Duos, well, it's time to prepare for the afterlife!

I had this near-death experience today.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

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Andromeda & I face each other on Chess Titans. I love Microsoft!

Just waiting for November to kickstart my blogging frenzy!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sputnik 1

Photo

Sputnik 1 was launched exactly 50 years ago. As a child, I used to listen to Dad - spellbound - teaching didi about the Sputnik. For a while I thought all satellites were Sputniks. I learnt that it was a proper noun a little later.

How magical those sessions were when I would abscond from regular studies (uh) just to assimilate a little of Dad's wisdom. I'm still in awe of his intellect.

Monday, October 01, 2007

First Touch!

It's 3:30 in the morning as I type this message.

 

Sittu & Viv came last night to see Andromeda. This was the first time I've allowed anyone to touch my sweetheart!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sleep Deprived

I've been spending so many late nights with Andromeda, I'm actually losing out on vital sleep time. I've slept for only 4.5 hrs for each of the past 3 days.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Laptop Insurance? Fiction!

I had been scouring cyberspace and realspace for the past few days to get my laptop insured. My Nokia 6681 finding its way out of my humble dwelling without my knowledge or consent had sped me up the learning curve and I wasn't very emphatic about history repeating itself...this time with my other half-Andromeda.

The search results were disappointing. I didn't find mention of any insurance provider for laptops. I did stumble across the following though:

  • Birthright Insurance (WOW!!!)
  • Pedal Cycle Insurance
  • Mobile/Cellular Phone Insurance (DAMN!!!)
  • TV/VCR/VCP Insurance (What about CD/DVD players or amplifiers or reverberators or pre/power-amplifiers or ...?)
  • Householders' Policy-->Public Liability Insurance (this one's a killer!)
  • Householders' Policy-->Plate Glass Insurance (give me a break!!!)

I now turned to the trusted Yahoo! Answers to pull me out of my misery. Some folks replied recommending United India Insurance...though their site didn't mention anything that even remotely suggested they could be of use to me. Still, I also chose to try New India Assurance (located in the same premises) and Bajaj Allianz (Mantu's pick).

I had the good sense to call up the guys before embarking yesterday. Bajaj Allianz saved a lot of trouble by answering in the negative. The phone numbers listed for one of other two were invalid while the other insurer's number was busy each time I tried to call. I'm suspicious of its validity though and think it's a telephonic glitch.

Anyway, the excursion was futile. I wonder why's the concept of laptop insurance so alien to India.

Mantu was luckier in that his Acer was insured directly by the retailer.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Andromeda's New Visage

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Isn't it unconventional? I love it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just warming up

If everything goes well, November is when I'll be up and running once again in the wonderful world of blogosphere. People will have continued insights into my thoughtcrimes, get to read longer articles and even chide me for taking Satan's side ;) !

One of the problems that stops me from taking the plunge immediately is the complete loss of solitude. My home resembles a cheap circus every weekend and the paralyzing buzz ends only when Monday arrives. Strangers from nowhere lodge into every available nook-and-corner and my personal space becomes as fictitious as the Unicorn. Had it not been for the negative vibes I give out, I would have long lost the rights to my room.

The weekly shock treatment is always a shock no matter how much I try to adjust to my diminished role in our once tranquil home. Strangers freely invade my relatively private room to change...preluded by a strip. So 'stripping strangers' has now become a weekly show that I'm forced to watch! I'm not enjoying it much.

I hope you can understand why I can't go full blast in describing my plight.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The most beautiful Microsoft product

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It's Windows Live Writer. I'm revisiting it after a long time. It's stunningly pretty.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wide Awake

It's past 1am and I've been continually using Andromeda for the last 7 hours, except for a brief abeyance during dinner! My experience so far has been excellent and I think I've made a very wise choice by avoding the high-end Inspiron.

On a totally different note, the English version of Wikipedia crossed the 2 million articles mark a couple of days ago. Amazing success story this.
I'm using my very first PC for the very first time! This is orgasmic!

Monday, September 10, 2007

MY FIRST COMPUTER ARRIVES!!

Just when I was reaching my point of endurance, my DELL Vostro 1000 laptop arrived as my savior! Here's the tragedy: I've got clear instructions from DELL not to unpack the parcel unless someone from there comes to do the initial installation.

Can you think of anything more cruel?!

Short term memory does me in again!

Now this is becoming a serious affliction. My short-term memory is so true to its name, I'm actually forgetting how I begin the sentence by the time I near its end! My language constructs are just falling apart! Help, this is a crisis!

Can anyone suggest me some memory pills?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Visiting SP Road

Would you like to buy a tyre before buying a car?
Okay, I know the analogy is poor but I did buy my first audio CD before buying my first CD player...something that has faded into fond memory from my days in Pune.

It was time to do the old trick again. Waiting for my Dell to arrive was becoming very frustrating and after a lot of procrastination I managed to ride pillion to SP Rd to buy some laptop accessories. SP Road, and its immediate vicinity, make up a lot of clustered filth right in the heart of the city. The zig-zag paths double as a drainage system that people have long made peace with. But why visit SP Rd of all places? Because it is to Bangalore what Nehru Place is to New Delhi.

I wanted to buy 4 accessories but managed to get just 3. The 4th required some finishing touches but there were no personnel available. And we actually lost our way while trying to locate our parked bike! Luckily, I had snapped a photo of our parking spot (for my blog). Someone helped us zero in based on the photographic evidence!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Malaysia to India: Painful

I'm annoyed with the way the shipment of my laptop is being handled. There have been enough delays and now I'm being kept in the dark about the status of shipment.

My laptop was supposed to be delivered by the 6th (revised from 3rd). The grand day has come and gone but my laptop has yet to surface. Dell India shows no interest in conveying me any message and the notorious way logistics is handled in India is not helping matters much. All I've learnt is that my laptop cleared the customs on the 27th of August. What happened after that is anyone's guess!

Here's the funny part: everything was traceable and on time while my Vostro was in Malaysia. All that changed the moment the blessed machine reached Indian shores. Our concept of Space & Time took its toll yet again!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

August Lull

Hello, World!

It's been a while! August turned out to be a very out-of-the-ordinary month for me. Firstly, I was exceptionally muted in contributing to the blogosphere. Secondly, my sojourn to Kolkata also took me on a 1-day (17th Aug) jaunt to Jamshedpur, my birthplace. It's almost a decade since I was there the last time!

The surge of emotions was unparalleled. It would be imbecile of me to even begin describing how wonderful it felt visiting the place that has become a part of me. Correction, Jamshedpur is me! Unfortunately, the weather was rather inclement and I got continually drenched strolling across the locality where I spent the best years of my life. I didn't mind the rain at all. In fact, it added to the fun!

I hope to make my visits to Jamshedpur an annual affair.

Kolkata wasn't its sleepy self this time as I had a lot of commitments to keep. Meeting friends was a top priority and I fell woefully short. Subhasish badly injured a leg that rendered him immobile for days that extended well into the weekend we were supposed to meet. We had looked forward to the rendezvous and the misfortune was a real dampener of spirits.

Anyway, I was glad to meet Prateek in Salt Lake. The bugger has an uncanny ability of ducking corporate surveillance! His latest craze, building amplifiers, did manage to catch my fancy somewhat.

Meeting others was made impossible by a permanently overcast sky that threatened to let loose its heavenly reservoirs whenever I wished to venture out. In fact, I spent a substantial part of my vacation being soaked to the bones!

Ah, one important piece of information: I placed my order for a Dell Vostro laptop on the 14th after a protracted dilly-dallying. Thanks to Gurdas and Arun, better sense prevailed over buying an expensive Inspiron and I managed to win a not-so-marginal discount. My laptop (it'll be my very first PC!) is slated for delivery by the 6th of Sept, though I've requested for an adjustment keeping in mind my availability at home.

Stay tuned. My next post might as well be published via my very first PC! Blogging may then move on to top gear! I can feel butterflies in my stomach!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

!kcab m'I

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gramophone


When beauty prevailed!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Diya @ Home


Unfortunately, it was too dark!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mostly Muted Month

Most of the flesh for this month's posts so far have been via videos. My silence will be extended further by a fortnight as I leave for a vacation, only to return on the 26th.

Bye!

NASA robot may go to moon one day


Video: NASA robot may go to moon one day

Night sky for August 2007 (NASA)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Guru Calls

Gurdas called up late night, masquerading as a telecaller from HSBC! The tone was too funny and I realized someone was playing a prank...and hung up. The bugger called up again and asked me for a wild guess. I refused and coaxed for his identity, which was subsequently revealed. What a relief!

I'm entrusted with compiling and sending him an Mp3 CD to initiate him into finer music from the West. Surd has been smitten by an SOS I had sent to our school mailing-list, asking for help in downloading 2 Randolph tracks. I'm yet to receive any.

Guru lamented the plummeting quality of my blog, thus seconding what many others have already expressed. I agree. I wish I could be in the right frame of mind to upgrade the quality. I guess that'll have to wait awhile.

Hunting Habitats on Mars by Phoenix


Video: Phoenix Hunting Habitats in Mars

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Someone out there snooping?

I commented yesterday about the price difference between the 17" and 15" DELL Inspiron laptops being a staggering 14K, other specifications being exactly the same.

Someone @ DELL India perhaps went through my blog!

The price of the Inspiron 1520 has now been hiked by 4.5K on account of the NVIDIA GeForce GPU...which was previously provided free of cost. What's more, the Inspiron 1720 now costs reasonably less.

The conflict deepens! At stake is my sanity. Perhaps it's time for the 1420 to come to my rescue!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cold Feet on Mournday Morning

Washing my socks is something that I forget most weekends. But the stink was so potent last night that I had no choice but to give a quick wash to a pair, hoping that they would be dry by morning.

No such luck. I'm wearing wet socks to office today...and this isn't the first time.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Booked my e-rail ticket through the Net for the first time.

Phoenix Mars Mission


Video: phoenix mars mission

Space Shuttle Status Report

Our Nearest Galaxy

Banks & I don't mix

Mantu & I had to needlessly visit Standard Chartered Bank (Main Branch) today. I was immensely annoyed by my latest credit card statement reflecting a minimum due amount far more than the one I was expecting. My belligerence couldn't be contained and today was the best opportunity I had, I figured, to launch an all-out assault.

The visit proved to be fruitful and the anomaly was settled even before I could lodge a complaint. However, I've learned a few facts about paying your credit card dues:
  • Banks dissuade cash deposits. They'll even charge you extra to drive home the message.
  • Credit your deposit to the loan number, not the card number; if your statement carries one.
  • Don't bite more than you can chew. Don't go for too many cards.

HDFC Bank's Bill Payment facility is like a thick-skinned ass that just won't listen. After being bugged continually for months, I had finally acquiesced to avail the facility to take care of my Hutch phone bills. I regret the decision.

When the bank had failed to pay my bill last month even by the penultimate due date, I called up their support desk. The personnel was apparently clueless about the facility and gave me the impression that the bill pay facility would have to be manually triggered each time the customer intended to make a payment...no automated facility here! What the heck is the use of such a facility, I protested. The meek fellow at the other end was apparently feeling the heat as I relentless questioned him on the issue. I let him off the hook and resigned.

I paid the bill the usual way via my mobile that night. The next monthly bill was a shocker. I came to know that my bill amount was paid twice, once by me and once again by my bank owing to the Bill Payment facility!

Why didn't HDFC Bank intimate me about the payment it was making on my behalf? I just might as well embrace the fact that banks and I don't mix.