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Showing posts from May, 2009

Electronic Future & Vintage Past

The more I read about Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s Hispanic nominee to the US Supreme Court, the more I dislike her. She appears to be presumptuous, opinionated, dogmatic, intimidating, dismissive, vociferous and racial – great vices for a judge. I’m quick to jump to the conclusion myself, an aberration mitigated by our natural tendency to judge either way. My ideas are fanned by a darling icon on the right-side of my desktop that launches the Times Reader. It’s so easy to get updated on worldly events now; HTTP trickles factoids round-the-clock into my laptop to satiate my thirst for news. No more waiting for the newspaper guy to roll the day’s paper and tie it at the center or bend it like a boomerang before targeting my balcony.It may sound ironical, then, when I say that I’m not exactly a fan of the new way of news delivery. It’s more convenient, but it’s also less fun. I miss spreading the newspaper on the table or bed, I can’t  flip pages and make that inimitable sound, I …

My School has a New Homepage!

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I was hoping for this for a long time. It’s finally happened!

Y-O-Y

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I don’t like this at all. Why did Archie have to do such a terrible thing? Maybe to leave Betty for the philanderers!

Jumpcut Videos Salvage

Yahoo! is shutting Jumpcut and I spent hours yesterday downloading my videos from there and transferring them to YouTube. Yahoo! has not made the download process very user-friendly and I’ve decided it’s not worth the effort to guess which filename relates to which video. In effect, I’m forgoing some videos that I had painstakingly edited and uploaded to their servers. One such video regularly attracts traffic to my blog from Wikipedia. Damn!

What’s x64?

If you’re an IT guy, that shouldn’t be too difficult. A friend choked our bandwidth for days to download 3GB of 64-bit Linux for his 32-bit CPU! It was only when 90% of the download was done that I noticed the mismatch. If only…

The Racy TV

I have a grudge against TVs for stealing precious time. The idiot box made its intrusion when I was a 3rd grader, thought television broadcasts weren’t yet round-the-clock and the channel-selector was a vestigial ornament since we had only one channel to ‘select.’ Antennas aiming for the relay tower proliferated and jostled for precious space atop all buildings. The remote was a luxury and our set didn’t feel terribly handicapped without one. Though color sets were the object of envy, B&W set owners still had their pride – especially since India was the largest manufacturer of such sets in the world.TV watching habits were synchronized across demographics. The young ones especially loved Chitrahaar and the Sunday movie. Monday mornings in the school assembly area were spent in discussing the comic passages from the previous day’s flick. Television reruns were unheard of, the only exception being UGC’s Countrywide Classroom – a 1 hr Monday-Saturday afternoon broadcast meant strictl…

My Latest Crush

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Cambridge Soundworks 705 TableTop RadioThis will be the perfect companion to my iPod Nano, which I now refuse to twine all the way into my ears. AM and FM are the real attractions though.

The Royal Enfield Bullet Classic C5

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If there’s one bike that Indians should be proud of, this is the one.

F*R*I*E*N*D*S

A cacophony of television blare and vociferous exuberance awoke me early yesterday. Santosh had just returned from work and was enthusiastically talking to Mani. My slug vanished in a flash as I listened hard to the import of words. I soon discovered the cause behind the unusual ebullience – marriage.Santosh’s relatives have been scouting for a bride for him and they seem to have finally found the perfect match. Everyone says she’s pretty, Santosh reminds us with annoying regularity. The girl is a science graduate and can adjust to city life – just what the doctor ordered. Our newly-in-love boy is desperate to catch a glimpse of his phantom bride-to-be, but there seems to be no means to this end. He can’t visit her place for now, there are no scanners or internet access in his village and he’s too embarrassed to ask for her photo to be couriered. I hope my roommate is pulled out of this misery soon.Sam, who now visits our place less regularly, dropped by after noon and almost immediat…

The inexpensive & used things I liked on ebay

It’s not you, it’s me

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Have netizens taken to opium? I’m truly stumped by people going gaga over the new TR. I’ve photographic evidence to stake my claim that the old TR was better.The NEW Science Page (look at the ad.)The OLD Science Page (more like a newspaper and no ad.)How text appears in the NEW ReaderHow text appears in the OLD Reader (it’s clearer)Ads by Google in the new Reader (old Reader didn’t have them)Need more screenshots?

My angry mail to NYTimes

The new Times Reader 2.0 is a DISASTER. On a Windows machine, have you ever done a juxtaposed comparison of the old and new Reader?The new Reader isn't remotely as legible. WPF beats ADOBE Air hollow. Since you're in the news business, this surely shouldn't be news to you. The new Reader takes more time for news updates. The new Reader takes far more memory. ADOBE Air applications are always bloated. The new Reader has less reading space. The new Reader bombards me with extremely annoying internal ads. and ads. by Google. When I'm paying you, I'm expecting you to remove the noise factor. You were...until now. There's no doubt in my mind that TR 2.0 is a regressive step. The only good thing about the new Reader is that it supports video.I know these are desperate times for newspapers, but is the New York Times this desperate? It's understandable that NYTimes is looking to broaden its reader base by making Times Reader more platform agnostic. However, as far …

The chimes

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As a kid, I loved looking through the glass walls of our clock. I remember mounting the cement shelves to peep into the mechanical organs, the intricate motions endlessly fascinating me. But what really stole the show was the hourly chimes. All of a  sudden, seemingly passive parts would spring into life, wheels would being to rotate at varying speeds, their collective vigor finally transferring into an arrow-shaped blade that would furiously rotate into near-invisibility and cranking up a tiny hammer that would strike as many times as the hour. Half-hourly chimes were no less fun.

A smoking gun

Personal blogs are generally so boring, I hardly read them, my own being no exception. The trail left behind by the forgotten posts of Deepanjan Nag’s Magnum Opus has sometimes landed me in serious trouble and I’ve been left ruing the fateful moment when I decided to test the murky waters of web logging. To be honest, I’m more grateful than rueful, but that doesn’t discount moments of deep anguish I’ve suffered for being proverbially BIG-mouthed while blogging.More than the trail, it’s the individual posts that are to blame for heartburns. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes impossible to give the whole picture, often it’s just an aspect that gets projected. When taken out of context, the impression painted is completely misrepresentative of the original thought. The reader isn’t at fault, but the realization that posts come with this innate handicap shouldn’t be lost on him. Some details are deliberately jettisoned to avoid chronicling the immensely painful moments I’ve lived through, whic…

Pallavi, Mani & Movie

Pallavi, her mom and some relatives left for their native place this week. When they return at the end of the month, it’s unlikely that I’ll get to see my little friend. The folks are expected to shift to a new place, the security deposit with the present landlord being the only hindrance. I miss Pallavi running into my room each morning and giggling me awake.Thursday was Mani’s birthday and we broke into an impromptu celebration late in the evening. To my surprise, even a birthday cake was smuggled into my room to mark the occasion, much in keeping with a tradition we had established and religiously followed until recently. I had always looked down upon this silly practice with utter disdain. The rekindling made me realize how much I missed it. I guess being occasionally silly is immensely wise.I downloaded Saheb Biwi aur Ghulam this week and relished every moment of the nearly 2.5 hrs that it took to watch. It’s still as riveting as it was 20 years ago when I saw it for the first ti…

A Radio Program on Jazz

My constant prowling unearthed another jewel.

Signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty

I’m unilaterally signing the NPT to reduce the proliferation of posts in my blog for the current month…and this might well be extended into the next. I’ll try to confine posts to the weekends. Weekday posts will happen only if something earth-shattering happens, like an alien coming for a visit, my lost briefs being auctioned at the Sotheby’s or my nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for finally cleaning my bed sheets.

A New School of Thought Opens

It’s amazing how indelible ideas etched on us while we were kids really are. Childhood is an age of innocence, ignorance and gullibility. Religious faith is forced upon us even before we develop cognizance to corroborate or refute its tall claims. Often, years or even decades of disciplined study of reality (an art we call science) aren’t enough to purge flawed assumptions. A healthy debate to deal with glaring contradictions is seldom or never encouraged.Humans are innately resistant to change. Ideas of spirituality and self-preservation as promulgated by religion are immensely gladdening to the self not comfortable with the obliteration of conscience. The proverbial carrot dangled by all religions (Christians are promised a halo and a harp, Hindus are exempt from the birth-death cycle and Muslims are assured infinite libido and unending promiscuity) is all too much to resist even in the face of glaring discrepancies.However, it’s hard to entirely dismiss contrarian evidence. Religio…

Some local spamming for a good (internet access block government censorship free surveillance)

If you’re in a country that heavily curtails your right to information and communication, Tor could be very useful to you.

Corrected…after my mail!

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Et tu, New York Times?

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