Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some Photos…

…I had taken during my visit to Jamshedpur last year are now visible to all via Google Earth. You can see the snaps I uploaded here. The upload includes a few not clicked by me.

Subroto joins TATA Motors. Lucky chap!

Abhishek informs. It’ll make my annual visits to Jamshedpur that much more meaningful. I congratulated Subroto via SMS.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I want the iPad!

I know I want something when I see it. I never wanted an Apple desktop or laptop, I never wanted the iPhone, I wanted the iPod (& I got one) though I hated iTunes…and now I want the iPad. Desperately!

A device like this is what I had been longing for. It’s rather surprising that no tech giant had thought of something like this for so long. Yeah, the tablet PC has been around for some time but it’s more of a glorified laptop with a swiveling screen. I wanted something just large enough to watch movies and read books, just small enough to lug around with ease and just powerful enough to let me surf the web. It shouldn’t have a constantly whirling fan that annoys me immensely, it shouldn’t have a physical keyboard jutting out and keeping me half-an-arm’s length away from the screen and impeding any intimate relationship I might have otherwise had with it and, unlike my laptop, it shouldn’t take ages to restart. The iPad fits the bill perfectly.

The only flaw it currently has is the lack of support for Flash. Hopefully, this will change and Adobe will come up with something that makes embedded Flash videos a seamless experience.

How is this product going to change the landscape for eReaders like Amazon’s Kindle and Plastic Logic’s QUE proReader? Let’s wait and watch! Things just got interesting!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Blossom Fell

This is a masterpiece by Diana Krall dedicated to the Nat King Cole Trio. I heard the song by Cole years ago as a kid and I must say the Krall rendition is better. This is not to take away anything from the original though.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weather Forecast On My Calendar

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I love stuffing my calendar with automated updates!

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Death Wish

Communists are politically atheistic but it’s hard to find leftists who’ll carry their ‘defiant belief’ all the way till death…and beyond.

Dad and I never admired Jyoti Basu though we did probably have a soft corner for him as he was a distant relative. In death, Mr.Basu has possibly done more good than he ever did while alive. He had forbade his kith and kin from cremating his body, instead pledging to donate it to science. His corneas were extracted yesterday and his mortal remains will be handed over to the anatomy department of a hospital today.

Bravo, Mr.Basu! I salute you!

What’s my death wish? Well, mine is also a donation…but of a more selfish nature. Here it is!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Wired Up!

I’m turning my blog into the nerve-center of all my Internet tinkering. I’ve been dabbling with the idea for a long time now and though I fervently believe blogs should retain a Spartan interface, adding non-obtrusive widgets shouldn’t really hurt.

scrobble The new kid on the block is my Last.fm Scrobble widget. It’s a great way of automatically letting the world know of what I’m currently listening to…mostly on my iPod. It’s a state-of-the-art technology that’s been snooping on my musical selections for quite some time and is now mature enough to reflect my true taste.

Why’s the clarinet such a neglected instrument?

Apart from Benny Goodman and Mozart to some extent, few have accorded the clarinet the respect it deserves. I heard part of the Aaron Copland clarinet concerto on the New York Times a few weeks ago and went on a desperate drive to hunt down the whole track online, but it was all in vain. The instrument needs a savior desperately.

And I can never understand why people still play the cello. There should be a harassment tax imposed on any musician who plays this wretched instrument!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sita Sings the Blues

Rama, Hanuman, Sita, rain

And she sings it well! Sita Sings the Blues is an outstandingly humorous rework on one of the world’s most banal epics – Ramayana. The take is very unique and juxtaposes various stylistic representations to rebuild the tale of love, war, chastity and the call of duty. The elucidations are thought-provoking but casual, the kind you would have in an extempore discussion. The anachronistic croons further add to your viewing pleasure.

Nina Paley knows she’s got a good thing going. A petition to ban the movie strongly vouches for it.

It’s released under Creative Commons and you’re free to download and distribute it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Twitting without Twitter

I’ve a hunch Twitter has become the resounding success it is today not just because it’s an overly simplistic application in a world that has somehow misled itself into needlessly complicating everything, but also because of the rich assortment of clients that make sending and receiving Tweets second nature.

Amongst the dedicated Twitter clients, Seesmic for Windows is my personal favorite. Unlike Twhirl and other Adobe-AIR-based clients, it isn’t a memory and processor guzzler. Native OS clients are the most efficient, no issues on that.

But what happens if you don’t want to download another dedicated client for a trivial task? You use your current arsenal of software tools, of course! I use two fantastic tools that have made life oh so easy for me: Ping.fm and FeedDemon.

Ping.fm is a software service that allows you to send tweets via conventional email or instant messaging. All you need is a specialized mail id (which you get when you register with the service) to which any mail sent is automatically converted into a tweet. Otherwise, you can add Ping.fm as a virtual contact on your instant messenger (like Yahoo! Messenger or GTalk) and send tweets merely by sending messages. It’s that easy. Since my mail client sits on the system tray all day long waiting to grab any mail that comes my way, I generally prefer twitting via email to instant messaging.

Receiving tweets is done best via an RSS reader like FeedDemon. Twitter is clever enough to grant you a password-protected RSS feed of all the tweets sent by the folks you follow. Since the feed is password-protected, however, you can’t directly use a web-based RSS reader like Google Reader. There are other ways to circumvent this limitation, though this might endanger your account. You could also subscribe to password-free feeds of individual users, although this could mean more work.

The only problem with this approach is that you lose the ability to send direct messages or delete previous tweets. What the heck, if you occasionally need such privileges, you can always log into good old Twitter, can’t you?!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Malcolm Laycock

Malcolm LaycockI’m saddened to learn of the death of Malcolm Laycock on 8th November, 2009. Laycock had replied to me in a mail in 2007. It brought back a flood of good old memories of listening to BBC’s Jazz for the Asking with Dad.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Beer glass for the teetotaler

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My ‘specially crafted’ free beer glass finally arrived today!

UK under a cold spell

Great Britain, as seen on Jan. 7, 2010 by the Terra Satellite. Credit: NASA

Friday, January 01, 2010

London Fireworks on New Year's Day 2010

We planned on going…but it fell through at the last moment.

We’ve discovered the enemy, and it’s us!

2009 is a year I refuse to minutely retrospect, largely because it wasn’t too kind to me. I hit new highs and new lows, the latter being more frequent. The irony of it all is that I hit a dizzying high as well, when I tied the knot with the most amazing woman I’ve ever come across. She’s been nothing short of inspirational, my pillar of strength when I needed it the most. She’s also made me explore alcoves I never even imagined existed. I’ve traversed paths I never thought I would and I’ve seen things I never thought I could. The ride thus far has been rather bumpy at times, but the journey has been one heck of an adventure! The sweet-sour memories make it all the more worthwhile.

The economy continues to be in tatters and the advent of good times has been excruciatingly procrastinated. Optimism has been put to the test but mine has been unflagging even in the face of incredible adversity. 2010, pecuniary-wise, isn’t expected to be any worse than 2009. There’s hope in that!

I’m not entirely bilious towards 2009. The one vital lesson I’ve learnt full well is that the enemy lies more within than without, that imaginary battlegrounds are more pernicious than the real ones and that we often paint a picture of the world gloomier than it really is. The real world is far too pretty, far too overwhelming and far too ephemeral to be wasted away in petty figments of the imagination.

The world around beckons me in 2010…and I’ll embrace it tight! Here’s wishing everyone a VERY PROSPEROUS 2010!