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Showing posts from 2011

A very special teacher

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On my list, she’s tops!

Christmas Eve Pix

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Spot the difference?

Why do people keep saying that Spotify Radio is just like Pandora? It’s nothing like Pandora. That most people are indifferent to the nuances of music is understandable. But I am appalled at how journalists in a hurry don’t even bother to check the facts before publishing their reviews. The web has given rise to a new crop of scribes who couldn’t care less about factual details.

Changes to my blog

Removed the Picasa widget from the sidebar. It was ugly and useless.Replaced the YouTube widget from the bottom of the page with a smaller and neater sidebar widget.Added the G+ widget to the sidebar. My public photo albums are accessible through it.
Hey, G+ has added my profile introductory text back to where it belongs! I’m happy and won’t obsess over it anymore.

G+ gangs up with Blogger

I've relented to connecting my blog to Google+. One conspicuous casualty of Google's social networking juggernaut is the introductory text below my profile photo that had stood the test of time ever since my blog came into existence. I was rather proud of what I had written and it required little or no editing in all these years. Since I was not willing to let go of it, I have posted a slighted altered version of the text in my G+ profile.

For nostalgia's sake, I'll reproduce the original text one last time.
As an iconoclast, I'm fervent about promulgating my dissent of discriminating institutions like caste, religion and nationality. Espousal of liberty, fraternity, equality and love is close to my heart too. Thus this diary. This is my voice, my alter ego. It also chronicles as I wander through life's myriad experiences...experiences that endow us with treasured memories that make it a joy to live. This is also my first blog post being shared on G+.
Asha fasted alongside me in memory of Dad yesterday.

Dad’s 7th Death Anniversary

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Dad breathed his last 7 years ago today.
Your memories live on, Dad.
Thanks for everything.

City of Bath, UK

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It was a most exhilarating experience. Bath just took our breath away. Not only was the city strikingly beautiful, it also hosted 2 legendary figures from history whose homes we had the honor of visiting: Jane Austen and William Herschel.The image above is a panorama. Click for the full-blown view. Clicking on the image below navigates to our Bath album.
Bath, UK

Willis Conover from Jazz Yatra 1978!

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This just blew me away. Thanks, Anonymous, for unearthing this asset!
3 mobile phones ganged up in sync this morning and alarmed me at 7.

Aloha, Huawei Blaze!

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Asha is now the proud owner of a Huawei Blaze. It’s a rock solid Android 2.3. Linux forks are invading us like crazy. First it was our Kindle. Now this. Hail Open Source!

Miles Davis

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My favorite jazz musician. The definitive star.

Willis Conover, legendary jazz broadcaster for the Voice of America

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Jazz in India (an article from the NYTimes)

India Ink: Hot Jazz and the Cold War in 1950s MumbaiMy comment:Fascinating stuff! When talking about how the Americans tried to influence the world with Jazz, one cannot afford to miss the legendary Willis Conover. People in many parts of the world knew Jazz only because of him. Indeed he was the greatest Jazz arsenal America ever had. American hegemony owes a lot to this man.
This article brings back fond memories of growing up listening to Jazz Hour on the Voice of America. The radio had a hold on us like nothing else. The experience has yet to be rivalled.

Feel the quiver?

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Google Reader sparks despair

My initial enthusiasm at Google Reader has given way to despair. Though I was agog at the aging Reader getting a much needed facelift, the end-product leaves much to be desired. The Internet is abound with people complaining about the horrible new interface…and I can see the point. It’s all white, white and more white, in keeping with the color theme of Google Plus. While a uniform interface does lend cosmetic coherency, it’s not necessarily a good thing for individual products. Not everything needs to be painted in the same color.Not only is the interface a misfit, Google Engineers seems to have done a buggy job with tag management as well.
The new Google Reader is finally here! I’m loving the new look. The wait almost killed me!

Discovered some jewels

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I need my blog more than ever. I’m mostly jettisoning Twitter.

Remembering Indira Gandhi

It’s 27 years since Indira Gandhi was assassinated. I have fuzzy recollections of a confused self amused at the sudden communal tension that surrounded us, even in the otherwise peaceful neighborhood of Telco Colony. I understood that Mrs.Gandhi was assassinated by two of her own body-guards. What I didn’t understand was how could all the Sikhs be held responsible for it.As I grew older and my understanding of worldly ways increased, I began to see how the blame fell squarely on an entire community. Sick though the realization was, it was a fact hard to reconcile with…and it remains so to this day.Mrs.Gandhi had a domineering influence on the Indian media. Open the newspaper and you would almost certainly see a photo of hers hogging the front page, her stylish image instilling pride in us. Mrs.Gandhi was definitely charismatic, and one of the most recognized leaders in the world of her day. This in spite of leading only a 3rd world country lost in the deluge of irrelevance.I remember …
The new Google Reader was supposed to happen this week. Whatever happened?
An entire day wasted.

Way to go, India!

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I wish this institute existed when I was a school-goer. Would have loved to be a part of it.
Miss u, Dad.

Diwali 2011

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Framed by Asha

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Time is nature’s way of keeping things from happening all at once.

Free Software Foundation’s Richard Stallman…

eulogized Jobs as “the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom.”Richard Stallman has always been a maverick, and I deeply respect him for his intellect and views. I am sure he would consider Gates a saint when compared to Jobs!

The hardest two ideas to reconcile

Man creates musicMan wages war

Jagjit Singh passes away

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I used to call him the Indian Jim Reeves. Though his inimitable style diluted traditional Ghazal heavily, there can be no denying that he has left behind an indelible mark.I remember hearing him for the first time as a kid and mistaking him for another legend, Ghulam Ali. Dad corrected me. Seems like yesterday.Deeply saddened by his departure.
Gotta learn how to download binaries from the Usenet. This thing is turning out to be rather confusing.
Apparently, there is no dearth of people who don’t know the difference between science and commerce. These are people who call Jobs a modern day Edison.

The picture says it all

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.NET Shortage

I’m a dedicated TechCrunch reader. This, in spite of TIME (or was it something else of equally high repute) ranking it as one of the most over-glorified blogs. TechCrunch doesn’t talk often about development platforms, which is why it was pleasantly surprising when it reported “Tech Job Site Dice Reports Shortage Of .NET Developers.”One of the reasons for the possible shortage has been attributed to the fear that if people specialize in .NET development, they won’t be able to branch out to other platforms. I can identity with the sentiment. As the devices connected to the Internet get more varied with diverse platforms, open source is best equipped to bring in innovations to its fold. .NET, being proprietary, leaves its developers out in the cold.Windows 8 is moving in the right direction with its heavy emphasis on CSS3, HTML5 and Javascript. .NET must somehow reinvent itself to protect its relevance in the brave new omni-connected world.

Times have changed

Google Chrome 14 seems to be a severe resource hog. Each time I use it, the rest of the system seems to grind to a halt. I was never convinced with the view that using independent processes instead of threads was a better idea to keep the browser components running smoothly. It seemed regressive then. It seems regressive now more than ever.Firefox, on the other hand, seems to have put its reputation as a resource hog well behind it. The latest version seems to be leaner and meaner than ever. Best of all, they have stuck to their guns and continue to rely of threads instead of processes. The memory load has been most impressive and a recent browser comparison put Firefox well ahead of all its competitors.Perhaps it’s time Google learned a thing or two from its free-spirited cousin!

Water

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Enjoyed the movie.

Ashtami, Ealing Town Hall

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Vivekananda and Sept-11

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I’ve seldom been in awe of holy men. More often than not, they are little more than clever people who tap into our gullible side and earn an easy living out of it.Vivekananda is a splendid exception. Though I don’t agree with all of his ideas, most of his philosophy is generally praiseworthy. It was Vivekananda who introduced the essence of Hindu philosophy to the West, which was largely dismissive of the shrouded-in-mystery religion. It was at the Parliament of Religions that the Swami lifted the curtains off Hinduism and showed how stupendously ignorant the West had been.An article from the venerable New York Times sheds more light on the great man. I was surprised to learn how Leo Tolstoy and Igor Stravinsky were associated with his works. It just goes to prove what a small but beautiful world we live in. Life is worthy of a celebration everyday.

A memorable day to fill a void

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Spotted: Jupiter & its 4 largest satellites

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We followed Galileo and peeped into the heavens. Jupiter and its 4 largest satellites looked awesome. I may try another eyepiece tomorrow for a better magnification.The photograph, captured thru an ordinary digital camera, doesn’t do any justice to what we saw. Along the way, Asha, true to her name (which means ‘hope’), attained the height of optimism by trying to click a flash-assisted photograph of Jupiter! Next time, I would expect her to do the same with some black holes. Astronomy awaits the genius of my wife!Jupiter VIEW SLIDE SHOWDOWNLOAD ALL
I love the Bollywood tunes being churned out of Pandora. This must be the ultimate endorsement of the latter’s fantastic algorithm, given my chronic loathe of most things Bollywood.
Will try to spot Jupiter tonight through the aptly names Galileoscope.
Don’t we Indians trust our indigenous missiles? We need to conduct test launches every other day.
This room feels like an oven. And this is London at 8pm in September.

Sharp EL-506H Scientific Calculator

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Dad bought it for me one fine morning after a little pestering. I was a 6th grader. It was my most expensive possession at that time. The initial euphoria gave me sleepless nights!
Time, if only I could buy back some of it.

A discovery on FB

Someone who had done his apprenticeship nearly half-a-century ago alongside Dad and even attended his wedding contacted me on FB today. Thanks to the reproduction of an old essay for goading the discovery.
Began the day with Pandora and XML.

Our bandwidth

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Pandora Resurrected

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I’ve been a Pandora devotee ever since discovering it during my cyber-vagabond days. The devotion was severely disrupted when Pandora restricted access to its services only to US residents. The other thing that caused endless trouble was its utter crappy Flash-laced interface. It needed a facelift for many years, but the people behind the service seemed to look elsewhere. To make matters worse, there were some near-fatal threats to the service owing to licensing issues, but that’s thankfully a resolved issue…and things have looked promising ever since.But the real rescue to Pandora’s horrendously ugly looks happened with the advent of HTML5, a technology that the whole world is going gaga over. Pandora junked Flash for HTML5 and the new look is a real stunner. If looks could kill, this must be it.The other pleasant thing to have happened to the music service is that it’s accessible from UK, though this might simply be an anomaly Pandora could mend soon. Nowhere in the blog release hav…

Stripping

Stripped my blog of a few more bells-&-whistles. Vanilla is the way to go.
Windows 8 rocks!
I prefer Liszt to Chopin.

What a movie!

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The most refreshing movie I’ve seen in a long long time. Surprisingly, it comes from Pakistan, a nation whose movie industry has suffered endlessly at the hands of Bollywood. If Lollywood can continue churning a few more of such flicks, I’m sure the ailing film industry there will be resurrected.

Notting Hill Carnival 2011

This was my very first visit to a carnival. Enjoyed it, though the experience drained me.

A humiliating defeat, 2nd in a row

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Only three people managed to get into the double-figures!

2nd Test between India and England, 4th day

I can’t believe India tanked so easily. We are being beaten to pulp!It’s high time we took another look at Dhoni. He has been consistently performing below-par.

Making a decisive change

Social Networking has been nibbling into my Blogging time. Not anymore!

News Comments

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I love reading news. More than that, I love writing comments, though it’s more labor intensive. Here’s a sample:Android May No Longer Be Free, Thanks to Apple

Tweets!

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Europe, a photo by @Twitter on Flickr. I form part of the brightest spot on the map.

This set me thinking. Can I do it too?

My current desktop

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An author responds to me

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Back to basic

I’m removing many of the bells-&-whistles that my blog had been steadily laden with over the past few years. The minimalist look is what appeals best.

My foobar2000

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I’m crazy about foobar2000. It’s the best audio player for Windows.

Beneath Hill 60

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What a movie! Based on a true World War 1 story, this Aussie flick is a must watch.

If I were a boy (Beyonce)

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The Scorecard That Says It All!

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What the World Cup means to an Indian

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A simple snap that says it all.

The way to protest in India

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You think being backward is not a good thing? This community is fighting to be labeled backward so as to gain reservation benefits!
On one hand, we are supposedly fighting caste-based discrimination. On the other, we are fighting to be called backward! This is India.
The protests have led to a complete disruption of railway services in Northern India. The Jats are now threatening to turn the standoff more violent if their demands are not met. The government, true to its tradition, remains a mute spectator. It’ll try every possible effort to appease as many people just to remain in power.

Ajit’s Funny World

Funny WorldThanks to Nitin for the email…this softcopy is now under my prized possession! Brought back many memories.

Amadeus

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I’ve waited many years to watch this movie. Now that I have, I feel fulfilled. My only rant is that this flick dwells heavily on opera, not my favorite genre.Mozart, I bow to thee.

Yahoo! Kills Alltheweb!

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It was waiting to happen. My favorite search engine before Google became the phenomenon it is today, Alltheweb was a fantastic product from Europe. Its downfall began with Overture buying it…which was itself bought eventually by Yahoo. And we all know by now what the Internet pioneer does to the products it buys: it kills them!Thanks, Yahoo! RIP, Alltheweb.

The Black Balloon

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A movie on Autism, The Black Balloon has touched my heart.

A TOI Post

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Uncle Pai dead, but his Amar Katha lives on - The Times of India

Uncle Pai dead, but his Amar Katha lives on - The Times of India
MUMBAI: It is time to bring out a comic book on the man who started it all. Anant Pai, a visionary who helped millions of children delve into the fascinating treasure trove of Indian mythology, history and legends through comics, died on Thursday at the age of 81 after a massive heart attack.

The shy but affectionate man— who signed handwritten letters to his young fans as 'Uncle Pai' — left an indelible mark on Indian popular culture by launching the Amar Chitra Katha series in 1967, after a stint with The Times of India. He was motivated by a TV quiz in which contestants rattled off answers related to Greek myths but didn't know the name of Rama's mother.

Most publishers were sceptical but Pai persisted and the series finally began with the launch of the first title, 'Krishna'. He lent it the auspicious Indian touch by titling it number 11 instead of one. The early years were tough — there are anec…

Fraggle Rock!

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I never thought I would one day rediscover these funny folks! I spent many a lazy Saturday afternoon glued to the TV, watching Fraggle Rock on Doordarshan. I was so addicted, I even recorded some of their episodes on audio cassettes!

Betelgeuse, one of my favorite stars

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It’s the most beautiful red giant in the sky. There’s an interesting article on Rediff about the star possibly exploding in a supernova next year. Though this is plausible, the chances are rather slim, I’m sad to say. If at all it explodes, I hope it happens in winter…and during my lifetime. Nights would be amazingly beautiful for at least a few weeks since the BOOM.When it happens, I know Dad will be standing beside me as we look in awe at the stellar show. After all, he was the one who told me about red giants and supernovae when I was a kid. My fascination continues to this day.

The Yahoo! saga till Feb-2010

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This is one of the many reasons why I hate business graduates calling the shots in tech companies.

A project close to my heart

Did you know that Wikipedia has only one office outside the US…and that it’s in India? This factoid may be dismissed as insignificant, but it proves beyond an iota of doubt one of India’s greatest strengths – its openness to flow of information. That we are sometimes completely indifferent to incriminating information is another issue altogether!When I became a Wikipedia content contributor 8 years ago, I found it hard to restrain my thrill of adding to what was potentially the greatest reference mankind had ever envisaged. My enthusiasm was clearly infectious cause Santosh too jumped into the bandwagon soon. Together, we spent hours (and burnt serious cash) adding and editing articles. Two of Santosh’s favorite pet projects: Jhanjharpur and Darbhanga.
My favorite: Willis Conover.Sharing knowledge…I just love it!

Black Swan

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Intensely Dramatic. Tchaikovsky would have loved it.