The number of posts has been on the decline steadily over the past few years. Things have now come to such a pass that I’m really stretching myself for the 100th post of the year. I have been eagerly following people’s comments on India’s recently failed GSLV launch on CNN, Slashdot and Yahoo! News. I’m appalled at all the bilious posts and took the liberty of lashing out at some of them. I’m a tad ashamed at my cheap-talk but I’ll excuse myself this time. TeaPartyImposter: great light show. for the good really. possibly the only thing standing in the way of world nuclear annihilation, and not, these days, is the fact that these third world nuclear powers can't build rockets much better than i can get out of a hobby kit.. Me: An American hobby kit that helps ppl build rockets is very much possible...only that this 'kit' must be nothing more than a video game for the XBox. And the way the American economy is tanking, it's only but natural that these retards will pr
Blogger really gave me a scare some months ago (is it more than a year now?) when all the comments previous to a date simply disappeared. Since then, I’ve used Amazon’s web services and Wordpress to backup my posts, just in case. I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to rediscover the lost comments. I especially loved reading these (ported to Wordpress). It’s been 5 years since we were so electrified on blogosphere. Time flies like crazy!
What India and UK couldn’t do in 3 years, Canada has done in 2 months! Our ceiling began to leak early this morning. And where would all the dripping drop? Right on my laptop!! And where exactly on my laptop? On the keyboard and touchpad!!! Andromeda has been acting really weird ever since and I’ve had to restart several times since. On removing the battery, I discovered water had seeped right into the precious organs of my laptop. Current status: The touchpad buttons are completely dead and scrolling doesn’t work anymore. And the liquid that leaked wasn’t just water. This sounds the death knell. I guess I’ll now have to make do with an external mouse until the final moment arrives for my beloved laptop. I’m preparing the obituary already.
I now have phone numbers local to: London, UK Montreal, Canada Washington, USA New York, USA I can actually chain them all together! One of these numbers is via Google Voice. It’s amazing what VoIP can do to you…like living without a phone bill. Yes, it’s possible!
I paid $53 to send some documents via Canada Post from Montreal, Canada to London, UK. The tracking history speaks volumes about how ‘quick’ Xpresspost has been. It took 4 days for my post to even leave Canada! The final delivery is still awaited, though it’s now under Royal Mail . And I cribbed about India Post . I should have known better.
I refuse to be sucked into expensive contracts. Indeed while telecom policies in India, and to a lesser extent UK, make it easier for people like me who loathe the phone, to maintain a not-very-expensive relationship with the damned gadget, I am truly appalled at how difficult it is to subscribe to a minimal rental plan in North America. Getting into a contract is like selling your soul to the Devil. Breaking the contract incurs a huge financial expenditure. Pay-as-you-go is not a viable option either as you generally have to pay monthly $25-$30 anyway. You pay for incoming calls as well and phones here are almost always SIM-locked. The only option left for someone on a shoestring budget is to go for a VoIP service provider who also lets you buy a local number. Localphone , a trusty VoIP provider since my London days, has been my savior in Montreal. I pay $3.80 per month for unlimited incoming calls. Voicemail is free and call forwarding inexpensive. Outgoing calls are also insanely
PRICELESS DISCOVERY I am seated on the scooter, extreme Right. Didi is standing in front of me. The lady behind me recognized me from a snap on Facebook and promptly sent me this priceless photo! Can’t thank her enough! I went to sleep last night with a smile on my lips and tears in my eyes.
Internet Explorer 9 Beta almost has a nostalgic feel to it, except that Microsoft has stripped the heavily laden look of its browser to such an extreme that it’s hardly recognizable. The Spartan interface is heavily inspired by Google Chrome. The emphasis on screen-estate is unmistakable, though Chrome still beats IE9 to it. I’ll try IE9 before reaching a verdict.
Which is worse: being spoilt for choice or having no choice? I have been in a dilemma for some time regarding buying an ebook reader, the Amazon Kindle, to be more precise. But then, the exponentially dropping price eggs me each time to wait just a little more. Technological improvements have been another wait-maker, the crucial divide being of a certain chromatic character. You see, I love color thought I have a fetish for black. Years ago, when Dad was about to buy our very first TV set, he gave us the choice between a 21” B&W TV and a 14” Color TV. The womenfolk ganged up against me and settled for B&W. It made no sense to me at all and I would have been up in arms had I had access to them. The loss of screen width could be compensated for by sitting closer to the set, I reasoned. Want it bigger? Sit nearer! Want it bigger still? Keep nearing the screen until the tip of your nose touches the screen and electrostatic sparks fly. Simple! Well, 1 is less than 2 and Dad knew h
A very memorable movie shot in Jamshedpur, Udaan captivates the audience with its riveting portrayal of the struggles of a young lad against the stern aspirations of a father. The plot is not without pitfalls, but its overall fabric is well-woven. The fact that it was set in my hometown perhaps lends this flick some extra mileage for me.
It’s 7:29 pm in Montreal as I listen to a Schubert symphony on BBC. I miss London real bad. UK was picture-perfect, literally flawless. Montreal is a stark-contrast. Traffic rules are rampantly broken, I saw more beggars here in a week than I saw in UK in a year, great expanses of land are unkempt, some of the buildings are shockingly shabby and people generally lack the etiquettes I imagined all Westerners possessed. In spite of all these flaws, Montreal has a rather quaint old-world charm to it.
I remember the ebullience in Dad’s voice as I called up at 5:00pm one Sunday evening and suggested translating our family-history book. It was in Bengali and I wanted a larger audience using Engish on the Internet. I hadn’t really figured out the nitty-gritty, but that could be conveniently left for later. I suggested enlisted didi’s help as she was good in both the languages. Dad’s failing eyesight would have failed to put up with this vigor, I assumed. So it was all set. I would come home for vacation and our Bengali—>English translation project would ensue. It didn’t really happen that way. Years of nursing for someone had taken its toll on his already ailing heart. Well, cardiac ailments are generally hereditary and Dad couldn’t defy the tradition. By the time I was home, he was gone…but not before buying a notebook for our project. The notebook was probably pressed into less glorifying use soon after. But the urge to complete the project burns within me. Maybe someday…before
It seems I can still stir some emotions while writing...scant though it has been of late. Out of 150 comments till date to a news article on Yahoo! News, mine received the maximum Thumbs Up! I'm raring to go. It'll happen real soon now!
I generally hate history, but not when it comes to computers. I’ve been especially keen about operating systems and how they’ve shaped the high-tech industry. For those with little or no knowledge about the antagonistic relationships shared between IBM, Microsoft and Apple, this movie is a must-watch. Though the IBM part of the picture has been considerably dwarfed to accentuate the other two, it in no way belittles the importance of Big Blue. Well, I’ve never really liked the philosophy behind Apple, though it help us explore the possibility of seeing how tightly coupling hardware with software works. As it turns out, it works rather well. But I have a feeling that after a certain point, market dynamics no longer depend on technical brilliance, often it’s mass hysteria that sees you through the next chapter. This explains Apple’s cult following, its artistry in product innovation being fueled by the premium Apple charges on its products. Here’s the irony to it all: I watched the m
I fell in love with computers solely because of operating systems. To me, operating systems are the only reasons why computers ought to exist! DOS, in those early days, was exquisitely simple and simply exquisite. The OS was actually tiny enough to fit into a floppy disk…unimaginable by today’s standards, Years later, when Andromeda was ushered into my life, operating systems had changed dimension altogether. So bloated was Windows Vista that I never dared to share hard-disk space with any other OS. Of course, the operating system had become a lot prettier, what with fancy things like a Desktop and a Control Panel. Still, my passion was on the wane. All this lasted 3 years. That’s when I stumbled across something on the OCW from MIT and though of giving the native tongue of C a spin for a change. One thing let to another and I finally mustered the courage a seat the up-and-coming Ubuntu 10.04 on Andromeda. That’s when all hell broke loose, not because the OS was at fault but because
Never would it have occurred in my wildest dreams that a pal I had last met years ago during our ICSE would be meeting me in London one fine evening! Gurdas and I were in the same class from KG to 10…though never in the same section. The only time we shared classrooms was during computer science classes in 9th and 10th. He was mysteriously endowed with all imaginable programs in his floppy disks while the less fortunate folks like me had to made do with the demos that Gurdas and a few others would oblige us with. We sighed in awe, thanking the geeks for whatever we were allowed to see. Programs were circulated…but only amongst the privileged few. Years later. Gurdas became a regular reader and outspoken critic of my blog and even called me up a couple of times. Needless to say, reconnecting with a childhood friend felt very special. It was to his credit that I decided to buy the relatively inexpensive DELL Vostro 1000 rather than the more high-end DELL Inspiron. I sent him an MP3 CD
I was flying…well, almost! I rediscovered Anirvan Chakravarty on FB a few days ago and managed a brief chat today. The lucky chap flies for Kingfisher and has even gone international. We have a lot of catching up to do.
Each containing 14 snaps , that’s what arrived at our doorstep. And it was all for free! It’s a tragedy that the freebie was too good to last any longer. Only US residents continue being lucky for now.
The name most often uttered in our home from the world of western classical music after Beethoven and Mozart was Tchaikovsky. His compositions were supposed to be ‘very beautiful’ but I really had no inkling how that translated musically. Our AM radio wasn’t much help, atmospheric interference wreaked havoc on the short waves wafting through great distances. I got a feel of the maestro from music cassettes, and I must confess I wasn’t impressed initially. Russian orchestras sounded remarkably different from their European counterparts. They were huge, noisy and pompous. Although Tchaikovsky was influenced heavily by European music, a fact that helped to pull him away from local tradition, he still sounded not much to my liking. All that changed gradually. Swan Lake and Nutcracker sounded fantastically melodic, his piano concerto was one of the best ever composed by anyone and his violin concerto has also been considered outstanding in many circles. Yet musicologists dismissed his m
Dad revered Armstrong. Though my taste strongly parallels his, I never really took a liking for Armstrong. To me Louis represented all that was too rustic and archaic in Jazz…barring a few outstanding exceptions. Today I can finally see why Armstrong was Armstrong. The Great Summit | The Master Takes is the coming together of two of the greatest stalwarts of Jazz…and do they jell! This is one album that changed my long-held but flawed opinion of Armstrong.
It’s such a sorry sight. 24 lives have been lost so far when a 150-year old building on Park Street went up in flames yesterday. Music World, one of my favorite music stores in Kolkata was housed here.
If there is one song I can’t live without, if there is one song that brings me both a tear and a smile, if there is one song that cries my heart out, if there is one last song I could play before I die, this is it.
All comments to posts prior to 10/10/06 have disappeared!!! What the hell is Blogger.com doing with my stuff? The comments really were more interesting than my posts! There was so much of nostalgia in them.
It seems our redundant gods have taken it upon themselves to reign in on India’s burgeoning population by systematically organizing stampedes at religious places! India: 63 dead, dozens injured in temple stampede (AP)
The accompanying TechCrunch article. This is sheer nostalgia! I remember coming cross mentions of 2 websites in an Indian IT magazine bought by Sebastian when he was staying with us for a few days in Pune. Yodlee.com was decidedly useful and I found its credentials impeccable. Over the years, this service invented by a bunch of Indians in the US has steadily acquired customers (though mostly through 3rd parties like Mint.com) and become the indisputable leader in financial account aggregation. Blogger.com , however, sounded very interesting but rather useless. I couldn’t understand what the ‘archive’ was supposed to do, why one wouldn’t prefer the ‘conventional’ way of publishing to the ‘blogging’ way and what blogging was supposed to achieve anyway. To put it flatly…I didn’t quite get it. But I liked its very geeky publishing tool, sort of made me feel ultra important as I waited impatiently each time I clicked on Publish to post something even as trivial as a 1-liner. I st
Our free wine glass finally arrives! Originally uploaded by deepanjannag Our first free wine glass finally arrived yesterday. The wait was so long, I had actually given up hope. We'll probably use it for aromatic candles.
Hama Star 63 My very first tripod arrived today and I’m all agog! Ever since I flew from India last year, the skies have been a bit of a disappointment. Gone are the crystal-clear tropical skies and welcome to a perennial shroud that has rendered my astronomical refractor vestigial. Still, I was nursing a hope that the clouds could be somehow wished away and then my Galileoscope would help me peer into the larger satellites of Jupiter or the magnificent rings of Saturn. The arrival of my tripod now makes me fully equipped for a night of bliss! My calendar shows me the phases of the moon and weather forecast. My RSS reader tells what to expect in the night sky, Stellarium twins the sky on my computer, my iPod stocks Miles Davis and Liszt to accompany me in my heavenly solitude and my wife stuffs the wardrobe with clothes to keep me toasted in the English chill. I must be living a charmed life! The Hama Star 63 is really tall, it’s actually taller than me when fully extended –
The Question My Reply: An organization protests Mother Teresa being honored with a US postal stamp and you hit back with a belligerent punchline. 'Protesting' and 'attacking' are the same thing to you? Even a mere dissident voice is construed as an attack on faith? Might I ask what's your Tolerance Quotient? Well, I have seen enough religious tolerance all over the world and was wondering just how well the atheists measure up against your camp's exemplary track record. If Hitler's anti-Semitism and Islamic fundamentalism are anything to go by, atheists have at least the right to voice their opinion and peacefully protest without outraging the likes of you. Wouldn't you agree? By the way, I'm a very proud atheist from India.
...it doesn’t even respond to the template editor properly! The constant tinkering over the past several years has piled up so much of spaghetti code that I shudder to think of a new template. Starting from scratch is probably not even an option anymore.
I remember the fateful day we had Internet access from home for the 1st time. The fact registered rather late since I was shaken by a rather nasty experience . Accessing the Net from home in UK has proven to be a major challenge, strangely enough. Our staple source for now is the 3G network but I’m not much of a fan of 3 , our eponymously christened wireless provider. We have a cap of 5GB per month…which is fair enough. What’s not so fair is the completely unreliable metering that comes with it. I just can’t imagine how sloppy can these people get in calibrating Internet usage. Is it really that much of a challenge? A remedy to this weird problem is Networx , a free bandwidth monitoring and usage reporting tool. I’ve been using it for a few months now and the statistical feedback it provides is a godsend.
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
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.
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!
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. 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.
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!
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.
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 ma
I’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.
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