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Showing posts from May, 2007

Call from Canada

Mithu dada called this morning from Toronto. We discussed work, life and a possible 'thing' he could possibly bring for me when he visits India in July-August. I just hope things work out as planned.

Air-Car Ready for Mass Production (reproduced from Yahoo! Green)

The world's first commercial compressed air-powered vehicle is rolling towards the production line. The Air Car , developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre, will be built by India's largest automaker, Tata Motors. The Air Car uses compressed air to push its engine's pistons. It is anticipated that approximately 6000 Air Cars will be cruising the streets of India by 2008. If the manufacturers have no surprises up their exhaust pipes the car will be practical and reasonably priced. The CityCat model will clock out at 68 mph with a driving range of 125 miles. Refueling is simple and will only take a few minutes. That is, if you live nearby a gas station with custom air compressor units. The cost of a fill up is approximately $2.00. If a driver doesn't have access to a compressor station, they will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car's built-in compressor to refill the tank in about 4 hours. The compressed air technology is basically just

Islands in the Stream

Social Networking used to be a cool hang-out for people who wanted to remain in touch with each other or get acquainted with new people. It wasn't a bad idea at all. It still isn't per se . But with the proliferation of such sites sprouting every day, each touting unbeatable features, people are being entrapped into fractured islands thats are isolated from each other. Each individual wants you to join his network; you dilly-dally for some time before agreeing to some of them, your membership gradually spans over multiple networking sites, you eventually lose interest and refuse continued loyalty to the sites that haven't gained critical mass, the islands run out of steam and you're finally left with networks that have a constantly dwindling user base and active accounts. I've lost count of the social networking sites that regularly invite me to join them. They really make me sick nowadays. The only two networks I ever joined were MySpace and Orkut. And I rarely lo

A modern art

Stone pelting is a way of life here. It's an art with innumerable advantages over more mainstream weapons. Stones are available for free and in abundance, they can hardly be identified as a weapon, you can easily dispose them and it's potential for destruction is directly proportional to your level of intent and exasperation. Sometimes we pelt stones just for fun. That's what happened when the slum dwellers lining the railway tracks of Mumbai came up with a proprietary and ingenious way of fighting boredom for free. They began pelting stones at railway passengers without any provocation. It was great recreation and it soon became a rage. Innocent passengers were injured ( I don't remember if there were fatalities although I do remember someone losing an eye), and watching them suffering had an innate element of satisfaction. Let's face it, sadism rocks! What happened to the entire and prolonged episode? It died a natural death. People gradually lost interest and t

Romance in the dark

I was already cozily tucked into my bed. It was the dead of night and I was sound asleep. That's when she literally dropped in...though, going by past experience, I wasn't in the least bit surprised. She began exploring my body but I wasn't really in the mood. My overtures were clear but she wouldn't take no for an answer. She managed to get on top of me and began exploring my body. I began to fret and meekly protested to her advances but even that wasn't enough to spurn her. I ran for cover, but she managed to squeeze in. Now this was getting intolerable and painful. She would noisily move all over me, touch me and then suck me. I gave in. When she was finally satisfied, she left without even a kind word or two. I was hurt. Does she have the right to exploit me like this so often? Damn mosquito! A local transformer went kaput owing to which we lost power last night. The mosquito repellent went on strike along with all the electrical appliances and that's when

Mantu buys a laptop!

Yeah! It's an Acer with minimal configuration to get you going. He's been fixated on buying the laptop ever since he came across an advertisement in TOI touting its features viz-a-viz price. Sure, Rs22,000 didn't look too much of an ask for a laptop. Se we visited Acer Mall (Jayanagar) yesterday after work, and after making up his mind, we had to return from home (to fetch my Mastercard) to take possession of the heavenly machine. The final price was Rs26,000 after including miscellaneous charges and VAT. The machine was preloaded with Linux. No good. Mantu will visit Manilal tonight to wish Suman a happy birthday and get XP installed on his machine. This is the cue for me!

Over to Podcasting!

Yeah! I'm experimenting a lot with my humble phone and I must say it has proved more than equal to a majority of the tasks. Podcasting has been my latest craze. Though I've used podcasts on the desktop for long; traditionally, podcasting was meant for porting temporary audio feeds from the desktop to mp3 players. I'm now going a step ahead and downloading the podcasts right into my phone. The foray has been very successful so far, though the process isn't nearly as easy as on a desktop. I don't have a podcast client and I'm consequently using my RSS reader for the trick. It's a disruptive process and everything else, including the browser, is halted during the downloading. CNN and BBC feeds are the obvious favorites. Yahoo! Podcast seems to be selfish (as always) and wants me to subscribe to other podcasts only through its web interface. Maybe that's okay for the desktop, but on my Symbian  that's a compromise I'm not willing to make. The one h

Rain, Bank & Sabu

It rained heavily on Friday evening and the trip from office was a pain. It took more than 2 hrs when it normally takes 1. Parts of the city had plunged into darkness and that aggravated our problems.The bus driver, being the adventurous kind, tried a new route when he got frustrated with the jam and ended up with a detour that seemed to lengthen the trip by miles and minutes. Anyway, it was fun as it was a Friday. Visiting my bank on Saturday in continuation of my previously failed attempt to procure my Netbanking PIN and debit card met with partial success. While I got the elusive debit card, the other item was not traceable. This in spite of my clear instructions not to have them couriered to my place. While the debit card had been rerouted back to the bank, the PIN must be blissfully languishing somewhere. I am giving up. Sabu called on Saturday. He's back in Pune after having spent 7 months in the US. Lucky chap!

Like a Virgin

May there be more virgins like Virgin Radio ! I've been scouring the web (and draining the cell) for audio streams that support mobile phones. Unfortunately, there aren't too many to choose from. The only one that has been working flawlessly on my phone is Virgin Radio, though its 3 stations aren't exactly to my liking. Still, it's fun to stream audio from the Net through the phone when others around me listen either to vanilla FM or locally stored MP3. The bandwidth is generally good enough to support the streams without intermittent periods of silence (when the buffer cache is empty). There are a few mobile audio services that help provide streams from conventional Internet radio stations, but you need to pay up. One exception is Mundu Radio , a service that sounds too good to be true.Unfortunately, you need a PC to install the software on your handset. One dream product that has recently surfaces is SymTorrent , a BitTorrent client that supports my Nokia. Unfortunat

The weird logins

My latest workstation is spooky. Almost each time I try to login to any of my web accounts, I'm logged into some random account that doesn't belong to me! I initially though it was the host site that was erring. But many sites behaving this anomalously rules out that possibility.Then I assumed my primary browser (Firefox) was playing tricks. But IE was behaving just as erratically. Sometimes even logging out fails. While the confirmation message is shown, returning to the login page automatically gets me logged in...and I never save my passwords. Thankfully, not all sites misbehave this way. My conclusion: There are invisible/spiritual forces haunting my workstation.

Oft running into trouble

I'm seldom impulsive. But that doesn't mean to say that I remain indecisive for too long. Once a decision is taken, I stick to it and seldom have a change of heart. Though I would like to think that I'm flexible enough in my outlook, I guess others don't always share the same view about me. In fact, some might even say that I'm extremely obstinate and confrontational. I guess it's hard to be a self-critic. In my few years in the corporate world, none of my peers have had as much trouble accepting things as they are as I have. No one has run into trouble as often as me. Few have refused to ridicule me for the notions I bear. I find it very hard to have others dictate terms and conditions to which I must adhere. It's a fundamental question of choice, as I see it. I have scant respect for hierarchy and easily reach out to people at the top when treading the down-to-up way doesn't work or is too slow for my liking. And I've had more than my share of hig


This was a disruptive Saturday. I generally love exercising the art of doing nothing on weekends. No chance today. A much-procrastinated visit to the bank to get my netbanking password and new debit card was on the agenda. The exercise proved to be futile. Neither of the documents had reached the branch. This in spite of the much-touted 4 working days deadline...and it had been 6 working days already. Ha, such things are commonplace. A visit to The Hutch Shop at Koramangala was next. It had yet to open (11am-8pm) as I was too early for them. Visited Landmark at the Forum and selected 2 books. Buying was a different issue altogether. The card readers were malfunctioning and I was asked to return after some time. So I shuttled back to The Hutch Shop and got my mobile Net enabled via Hutch Access. I was told that the connection would be activated the following day (this was not to be). I went back to Landmark and, thankfully enough, the card readers were up and running by then. The books

Prateek, Mantu and all that Jazz

Prateek leaves Bangalore for Kolkata in a day or two. Mantu must have reached home (Bangalore) as I write this post. The TV tuner will probably be reset to the previous settings. Goodbye, Star World! I'll visit the Hutch Shop at Koramangala for a Net connection on my mobile phone, and this time I'm not falling for the your-phone-does-not-support-XHTML crap.


The emotional upheavals over the past few days have been immense. I was on top of the world when I received a call from an onsite opportunity (6 months in Canada followed by a stint in Hyderabad). I readily consented. Then everything went blank, corporate malpractice took over and I was inducted into another project even without my approval. The opportunity was blown in spite of Zoya's sincerest efforts. I feel disillusioned and down in the dumps. The bus journey back home was a pain yesterday. We were stranded for 45 minutes because of a jam and when we finally did begin to move, the Bengali couple (not in the conventional sense of the word) sitting in front of me started talking non-stop about everything from an over fried fish and Durga Puja to Bangalore Traffic and the steep prices here. Worse, they reclined their back rests so much, I almost had difficulty breathing. Any more reclining and they would be all set to become a couple of the intimate kind. Dinner has become a ser


Ever since Mantu left for New Delhi, I've become a TV addict. There are two factors that have primarily contributed to it: No computer (so no Internet) at home & I can tune in to the channels that cater to my tastes. Mantu's tastes are very different from mine. So while the channel selector (2 of which were busted) was formerly set for the likes of Aaj Tak and Zee Cinema, I've painstakingly reset it to channels like Star World, Zee Cafe, BBC, The History Channel, Star Movies, etc. Even ETV Bangla has found its way into my list. While ETV Bangla can be a real pain back home, I rather enjoyed watching it in spite of most of its programs being no brainers or dedicated to the epitome of all sedatives the world has ever known, Rabindra Sangeet. So omnipotently placating is it that it could effectively put a bull in heat to sleep. Why do all exponents of Rabindra Sangeet sound exactly the same? I'll never know. The weekend was spent in eating, sleeping and watching the id

A question is answered

What's the great urgency in translating Java source code into byte code instead of machine code? OS independence hardly seems of any relevance today since people seldom change it. Then why...? These are some of the answers I got: Bytecodes are translated to native format on loading. Since server classes are only loaded infrequently, and thereafter kept in memory, it is not a big issue.Servers load slow, but run quick. Even you are right, OS seldom changes, it is designed for that purpose. If the conversion is made to native code for every developer, they will not know the advantage of JAVA, being "platform-independent". If you really want to make it to native code after considering in your case, you will not switch to another OS, and really want it to load faster, there are many tools available which helps you to convert JAVA source to native code. In many cases, develop on commodity WinTel boxes, deploy on expensive Sun servers. A Java source to native compiler can make
Prateek showed up at my place on Saturday and we spent the evening scaling the streets and overeating. It's Manilal birthday today. Mantu leaves for New Delhi in 2 days and will be back after a week-long stay. I've been voraciously reading The Google Story for the past two days and have been totally engrossed in it. A great read. I've just backed up my entire blog. Blogger servers have acted cranky in the past and that was enough to give me the jitters. I was looking forward to a reliable archiving service and The Internet Archive , after having indexed and archived my blog in the distant past (when my blog was in its infancy), refused to do so any further. Repeated requests failed to elicit anything positive and I was getting rather desperate for a long term solution. For a while I thought of manually copying my posts to Yahoo! 360, one of the worst products in the Yahoo! arsenal. I finally hit upon the right solution today. I got a big scare when the rumor mills began wo

A few things transpired...

...over the last few days. However, since I'm keeping my blog under heavy sedatives for the current year (!), I won't run into the details here. I met with some disappointment owing to which I had to take an important decision. I came across a law-enforcement agent who was misusing his office to dupe others. The fellow, however, couldn't get the better of me even after thoroughly checking my mobile for 'adult' content. His disappointment was clearly evident as he returned my phone and I felt like choking him to death. But what really shocked me was the way he initially grabbed my sleeve and pulled me over as I walked completely oblivious of his malicious intent. I would have probably written a complaint about the incident had I expected disciplinary action. But it's an open secret how the higher echelons of power work hand in glove with the criminal minnows. It's a well evolved and parallel machinery used as a secondary source of income forged by those who h