Saturday, April 29, 2006

lil' bit of this and lil' bit of that

The week's gone and lots happened over it.

Divya and Rineesh were down and we spent time drinking and eating. Checked out 'Ice' in Taj residency. Its a lounge bar. One friendly advice - don't try their signature drink 'Ice' as it has hardly any alcohol in it. Its the same with a lot of places where when you order cocktails, they come and give you a mocktail with a hint of alcohol. Duh! So you would be better off ordering your alcohol and mixers seperately.

Picked up a few dvds: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, History of Violence, New World, Domino, Jarhead, Inside Man (need to change that - not working), Match Point and sitcoms - The Office and Coupling.

Work's picking up and am headed to amreeka most probably mid-may for a couple of months. I hope I don't miss out on the world cup.

Plan to chill this weekend, see the dvds, do some lunches with friends. And yes, the Chelsea V ManUtd match which starts in a few hours. Hope I'll have good things to write about it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Is Arsenal going to do a Liverpool (at the expense of Spurs)?

A few of us were talking about how Arsenal is going on a run like Liverpool did last year and I posted Is Arsenal going to do a Liverpool at the expense of Spurs on BlogFC. Looks like people are still not sure about the regulations if Arsenal win CL but don't finish fourth in the EPL.

The post can be found at Welcometotheballgame too.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 release

Microsoft has released the public version of its Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 version. Click on the link to download the same. Am downloading it now and will post in a couple of days as regards to how it fares up to Firefox (which is my default browser now).

Update 1: Mine keeps crashing when I start adding tabs. Happening to you too? Will hold on to firefox for now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And the beat goes on...

Kaps posted about the recent controversy over Kaavya Vishawanathan's 'Opal'. I'm for one surprised how it was discovered so late and that too by the Harvard Crimson? Random House has rejected the author's apology that it was 'unintentional and unconcious'...c'mon give me a break!!! If anyone has seen the comparisons of the paragraphs (40 of them at the last count) no one in his sane mind will agree it was 'unintentional and unconcious'!!! I was quite intrigued by all this and headed to the Crimson webzine and found this article by Elizabeth Green (a staff writer on the Crimson).

A few excerpts follow:
A little-known fact about Harvard students is that we hate each other almost as much as the rest of the world hates us—maybe more. When one of us succeeds, the rest of us go berserk. Public congratulations barely conceal private disgust, which turns out to be an even poorer mask for deep, soul-burning jealousy and crippling self-doubt. The distance from “How could she...” to “Why didn’t I...” to “Undeserving slut” is, unfortunately, short and easily traveled.

The college ultimately fulfills all of Viswanathan’s heaven-on-Earth dreams. Viswanathan’s Harvard is a place where no one has to pretend, where competition dies, passion lives, and “social life” is something richer than binge-drinking on tabletops.

Viswanathan had a chance to debunk the Harvard myth for good. Instead, she perpetuates it. Given the market power with which DreamWorks seems to have endowed her, that is truly unfortunate. The overachieving girls and boys who flock to theaters to watch “Opal Mehta: The Movie” might learn that there is more to life than can be contained in a resume, but they’ll still leave the theaters convinced that an easy pill called Harvard exists. Finally, they’ll face a Catch-22: play into the system in order to get out of it, or reject the system only to remain trapped inside it.

And unfortunately—as the press keeps telling us—just like not everyone can publish a novel before the age of 20, not everyone can get into Harvard.
As for me, I would not go and buy this book for sure - its a movie made for the Amanda Bynes and Hillary Duffs - the Mickey Mouse club. My younger cousin might have read it, will ask her.

Came up with post at Hennessy's View where he dug up Kaavya's Harvard entrance essay.

From Kaavya Viswanathan:
If you really want to, like, hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born in New Jersey, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my immigrant parents were occupied before they had me, and all that Holden Caulfield kind of crap. But I'm going to go into that, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me. In the second place, my parents would have about two hemorhages apiece if I told anything quite personal about them . . .

Actually, my childhood had its good point. It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times. It was a time when I was both wise and foolish. It was a period of belief and of incredulity. Juxtaposed were darkness and light.
Guess she has been 'internalising' stuff since beginning. Hahaha. Good one!

Spring Cleaning

Frankly, it feels more like summer than spring with the mercury soaring in this city. I've been under the weather a little for the last couple of days. Must be the heat outside and the office air-conditioner inside. So got myself a running nose and a cough as a result. Decided to pop in a pill and stay home and nurse the cold yesterday. Feeling a bit better today at work.

Last evening was nice. A nice breeze brought in some pitter-patter of raindrops which kinda cooled down the city a lil' bit. Heard it rained a lot in other parts of the city. It inspired me to clean up my cd collection which was gathering dust since I got my mp3 players. I do keep buying CDs but rip them off to the laptop and then onto the player immediately. So for a change I cleaned the cases, put in a Sarah McLachlan cd which I had bought in Singapore for a spin. Heard it for sometime, then put in the OC mixes. I still like the first volume - good indie bands who got big due to the show.

Revisited Fifa Manager. In my 8th season there. Torres is giving me joy with 23 goals in 24 matches. Van der Vaart, Messi, Diego are playing well too. Played till the battery said 'lemme-go-now'.

Switched it off and as I waited for the Champions League qualifiers to start, started surfing channels till I got to Discovery Travel and Living. Watched a nice piece of travel around Japan - how the country is crazy abt technology but is also quite keen to retain its spiritual part too. Add to it the natural beauty of the country. I wouldn't mind travelling there but felt language was a huge barrier if you travelled out of the big cities. But quite sure it would be a good adventure. Some day then!

The Gunners somehow managed to sink the Yellow Submarines. This is their first ever final and can they do a Liverpool this year? And if they do win will they like Liverpool appeal to be a part of the teams to play Champions League next season - as they don't look like making the top 4 in the premier league. Liverpool's precedent would be hard to look away from now. What's UEFA going to do now? If I'm correct they made an exception, they didn't make it a rule for winners to qualify (or play the qualifiers) for Champions League directly.

Friends are in town. Would be dinner outside tonight and the scotch at home. Fun!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Schumi's back?

Well atleast he has given a hint of that by driving superbly at San Marino. And mind you, the car is till not at its best.

After claiming his record 66th Pole Position (eclipsing Senna's), Schumi started well off the blocks on Sunday. It looked like Button would give him some competition but that soon vanished in the air with some poor pit strategy by Honda (Barichello was even worse off). By the first pit stop Alonso was close on Schumi's heels threatening to repeat last year's situation. Schumi had tried really hard with a second best car to overtake him last year but Alonso didn't give him an inch. It was a complete role reversal yesterday. It was stuff which makes for a great race. Almost everyone thought Schumi would budge due to his second-best car again but he proved why he is such a great driver. He knew he had problems with his brakes and the Renault was very good at corners. So slowed down more than necessary at the corners to make sure Alonso also braked early or too late which as a result made him drive wide off the racing line. Schumi was at his wily best - bringing all his experience to beat Alonso who definitely had the better car. All through the last 20 odd laps the difference was roughly 0.2 seconds. Which would have been enough to overtake a lesser driver. But Schumi actually made Alonso commit a couple of mistakes (as he was driving hard himself) during the last few laps and when he saw him going off the chicane, he increased his pace and the difference was then 1.8 seconds which was more than enough in the last 2 laps to see you home. While I've been a Schumi fan since I started following the sport a decade back, I love Alonso and Raikonnen because they are as good as Schumi. Alonso has brought an end to the Ferrari domination but its good for the sport as you need great drivers like him to make races like yesterday's so memorable and so sweet (for a Ferrari fan). Last I heard was Raikonnen was switching to Ferrari next season.

I really hope that the rest of the races are this close - total 'paisa vasool'!

Update: This was written yesterday, but I had a few problems with blogger and was not able to post it.

Rio Ferdinand can sing

Rio sings in the Six Million Dollar Man drama in his school in London in early 1990s. He's a few more millions now though! :)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Warner Home Video DVDs at $1.50

When I got my friend to get me the complete 9 seasons of The X-Files from Shanghai, all it cost me was Rs. 50 a dvd (just over $1). Now that's really cheap for dvds which are of excellent quality. And that's because of the huge Chinese piracy market where DVDs sold are of 4 kinds I hear:
1. Original DVDs
2. DVDs sold in original packs from shops at Rs.100 (~ $2.20)
3. DVDs sold in loose packs from shops at Rs. 50 (~ $1.00)
4. DVDs sold on pavements at between Rs. 20-40 (~$0.50 - $0.90) - these you can't trust

So in a move to dent this piracy market Warner Home Video has launched a trial sale of The Aviator DVD at $1.50 in China only. This is in comparison to $20-30 that a US or European customer shells out for the same movie. The disc is sold in a cardboard folder instead of the plastic box - I don't think that is a major differentiator as a DVD plastic box I can buy for Rs. 10 (4-5 cents). If this works, the whole world would be crying out for more of these.

Airline Interior Expo, Hamburg (Germany)

Photos feature the Airbus a350. For more, click here.

The Scouse win but are also losers!!!

Chelski got dumped out of the FA Cup and 13thpsycho talks about Mour-the-Bore's stupid rants again. Poor losers - they prove that again.

I found the game last night quite interesting. Till the second Riise had that blip and headed the ball to Drogba for him to head it into the goal, Liverpool was playing amazing compact football. Great shape. Except the part which concerned Crouch, Cisse or Morientes (the last 2 came in as subs and were of harddly any use). All Crouch does is just win headers and lay them up for his mates. Thats all. He's a complete sham of a striker. But coming back to the rest of the team, they played well - short passes, crowding out Chelski, not giving them any space. Actually Mourinho is a complete idiot (I guess you knew that already). Bordering on arrogance he started with Paulo Ferreira as a midfielder (someone commented that he had done that in Porto under Jose) leaving out Robben, Duff and Cole out of the starting 11 - why is my question when all these three love playing wide and give you options from the wings. Going down the middle is not always the best option and Jose realised that after being 2-0 down early in the second half. And what do you know - all three were on the pitch! Idiot! And the scousers shat in their pants - they were tentative, pushed back into their own half. Made for some great football for the last 20 minutes but they held their defense well to see out the match and the victory. I'd say it was a good hard-earned victory and they go from under-dogs in this one to a fave in the final against either the Hammers or Middlesbrough.

On a different note, the scousers defaced OT last night at the game. See it here and here. Not winners here exactly eh? What a shame!!!

Crossposted on Welcometotheballgame

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Self-cooling Beer cans

Miller is going to introduce self-cooling Beer cans sometime next year using Tempra Technology's Cooling Cans which would lower beverage temperature by a minimum of 30° F (16.7° C) in just three minutes.

Only if this kind of option was available when we were in campus. The ice-cubes wouldn't have been needed and the beer wouldn't have been chucked away after just one sip!

FIFA Rankings: A joke surely!!!

Please have a look at the FIFA Rankings and tell me you think its a joke with USA ranked as number 4th while Argentina, Portugal, England, Spain don't get that spot!!!
I'm not exactly sure of the ranking mechanism but I'm quite shocked.

Rank Team +/-Rank
Mar 06
Apr 06
Mar 06
1 Brazil 0 830 -5
2 Czech Republic 0 779 -10
3 Netherlands 0 774 -14
4 USA 1 760 -4
5 Spain 1 759 -4
6 Mexico 1 758 -4
7 France 1 754 -6
8 Portugal 2 753 -2
8 Argentina -4 753 -12
10 England -1 744 -12
11 Denmark 3 738 2
12 Nigeria 0 737 -1
13 Turkey -2 733 -10
14 Italy -2 731 -7
15 Cameroon 0 723 -3
16 Sweden 0 717 -8
17 Japan 1 709 -3
18 Egypt -1 708 -6
19 Greece 2 699 -5
19 Germany 3 699 -1

And for the record India's at 117. Singapore's at 92.

Crossposted at

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Respect beer

Here's something that you might or might not have known about my fave pint - a tall glass of Guinness. When is it ever going to come to India? Sigh. More on the Guinness Story. The site doesn't let you enter if you select India as your country. Hmmm. Interesting.

And by the way, I hope you don't like Kilkenny - that's too light and if you love a Guinness you'll just hate it. I promise you.

Cheers anyways!

Here's more on Irish breweries.

Doin a Ronaldinho

I posted this Ronaldinho Nike Ad a while back where he tried a new pair of shoes and kept hitting the crossbar and controlling the ball time and again. And I asked if anyone could do this?

Well, looks like someone tried. In a very funny way!!! Hahaha.

Crossposted at Welcometotheballgame

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mix 046

The new mix (046) is up at Pop77. Have a listen.

(192 kbps mp3/108.5 mb/79 minutes)

Young Bride - Midlake
Throw It All Away - Zero 7
Ants - Dr. Octagon
When I Come Back Around (Freeform Reform) - Jamie Lidell
Black Sweat - Prince
Rick Rubin (XXXchange Electro Remix) - Spank Rock
Way Out - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Rough Gem - Islands
Don’t Smile, It’s Post-Modern - Ghislain Poirier
Couldn’t Sleep - Milosh
Playhouses - TV On The Radio
Organ Donor - Lefties Soul Connection
Just - Mark Ronson feat. Alex Greenwald
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
So Many Ways - Mates Of State
Ballad of Big Nothing - The Thermals
Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura
Our Swords - Band Of Horses
24 RobbersApostle of Hustle feat. The Husky’s
Trains to Brazil - Guillemots
The Feelings Of Love - Tender Forever

Pregnant Robot - Birth Simulator

The name's Noelle - the blonde, life-sized mannequin. Costs $20, 000. She's a lifelike, pregnant robot used in increasing numbers of medical schools and hospital maternity wards.

Noelle models range from a $3,200 basic version to a $20,000 computerized Noelle that best approximates a live birth.

She can be programmed for a variety of complications and for cervix dilation. She can labor for hours and produce a breach baby or unexpectedly give birth in a matter of minutes.

She ultimately delivers a plastic doll that can change colors, from a healthy pink glow to the deadly blue of oxygen deficiency. The baby mannequin is wired to flash vital signs when hooked up to monitors.

More on this on Yahoo News.

Gavaskar willing to sweat 365 days in a year for India

Hmmm. Its good to make these sweeping statements once in a while. But doesn't everyone feel the number of games a season (tests and ODIs) a player like Ponting/Dravid plays has increased compared to the Gavaskar era? I did a small check with Statsguru in Cricinfo.

What it says:

Gavaskar: (considering 86-87 as his benchmark year as this year he played the max ODIs)

season 1986/87 (ODIs)        19   623  78*  36.64   0   7   -   -       -    -   3  0
season 1986/87 (Test)        10   755 176   58.07   2   5   0   -       -    0   8  0
Compare this with Dravid's for this season:

season 2005/06 (ODIs)      28   948 103*  41.21   1   8   -   -       -    -  14  0
season 2005/06 (Test)      11   857 128*  57.13   2   6   -   -       -    -  15  0

In a nutshell, a player like Dravid plays 10 more matches per season now. And I don't understand this part:
"I would be willing to sweat 365 days in a year for India. Those who can't stand the heat should stay out." - Gavaskar
Why would you willingly play in temperatures in soaring 40s??? Does it prove a point - we are Indians, we can play in this temperature, can you? Or is it like the case of getting discounts in hotter places in summer and colder places in the winter??? I don't think that not all players are breaking down because the commitment is not there. The heat takes it toll on everyone, specially if you are playing in Abu Dhabhi in back to back matches to raise money for the BCCI! He should be asking BCCI why the playing schedule is like what its like before he questions players!

A lil' faith

ManUtd's turned the corner pretty well coming into the last lap of the season.

Bottomline: Still not good enough, considering the history.

Here's my take on the team this season:

Van der Sar has been the best buy of the season - he's made quite a many crucial saves which had kept the team in the hunt. Tim Howard looks like he is leaving to join Wigan (unconfirmed reports) and that could be a good option as he is not going to get a game unless Van der Sar is injured.

I'm still worried about the defense - Vidic is still settling in and could be forgiven for a few misunderstandings but Evra hasn't impressed (he needs to play but surely he doesn't think he needs 20 games to show what he's got!), Silvestre is like a lottery everytime - could be made to look quite foolish. Neville's been outstanding at this stage of his career carving out Beckham-esque crosses from the right everytime he goes up. Maybe he needs to show Ronaldo how its supposed to be done. Ferdinand has had a drop in his form and while he loves to play the cool-calm defender he's made more mistakes this season. Maybe he also needs to learn how to clear balls (like Robert Huth) without being cute. How I would love a Terry in this team! Bardseley has done well with his limited chances and so has Pique. I'm looking forward to first team starts of Pique and Spector (on loan to Charlton) and also the return of Heinze (he adds an attacking option to the left wing when he goes up).

What I'm really surprised at is how this make-shift midfield with Giggsy and O'Shea has played so well lately. I didn't have my hopes too high and I personally thought making it to 2nd would be a huge challenge. Ronaldo has had a decent season - brilliant at times but still quite selfish with the ball - he needs to learn to pass the ball more. Park has looked better with games under his belt. But we would definitely need a midfielder if not two during the summer. The likely ones would be from Diarra, Makoun, Mascherano. There's rumours of a Joe Cole raid - I think thats unlikely but Mourinho has said he would offload 3 players (who wouldn't fit into the first team or have a problem) to get 3 more. So we will see. Downing would be a good option as a left winger!

The team's scoring goals - only 1 less than Chelski and Saha's done well since he got back from injury. Nistelrooy has scored 1 less than Henry but has looked out-of-sorts for the last few games. A stint with the Dutch side at the world cup should help him out as he feels he plays better under Van Basten (where he has been encouraged to build up plays instead of being a penalty-box poacher). That has been seen in his game in the ManUtd matches too - as Saha does that so well (winning headers, holding the ball up while the rest of the team moves forward). Rooney has been the talisman for the team and though he might be battling on and scoring he looks quite tired. But you can bet on him to come back next season and start off from where he would leave this season. David Bellion is being sold to Nice. Good idea! Quinton Fortune is also heading somewhere else this summer as his contract will not be renewed.

All in all while the season comes to a close, with the midfield strengthened ManUtd should be able to give Chelski a run for its money next season. Rooney, Ronaldo, Pique, Rossi, Spector - we should be seeing them in the ManUtd colours for some years to come.

Team to look out for next season: Liverpool (if they can solve their striker issues!!!)

Crossposted at Welcometotheballgame

A case of walking too slow

Some of you might have caught this bit of news where an old lady was given a ticket ($114) for walking too slow.
"He treated me like a 6-year-old, like I don't know what I'm doing. I'm in shock that somebody's going to stop me on a green light while crossing the street."
This news immediately caught the attention of readers worldwide who had a lot to say.
In reference to the elderly woman who received a $114 ticket for crossing the street "too slowly", Officer Kelly was not doing his job (in my opinion). He should have helped the woman cross the street rather than acting in a "macho" manner by issuing her a ticket.
The office of City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is reviewing Mayvis Coyle's ticket.

Monday, April 17, 2006


After close to 36 hours of travelling (pit stops in Birmingham, Amritsar, New Delhi, Mumbai), I finally got home yesterday morning at around 5am. And while I put an alarm for 7:30am to go to work, I slept and didn't wake up before 3pm in the afternoon.

The trip was quite nice. Good to be back home and with family. Especially this time around since I spent most of the time at home. Spring was in the air. The air - nice and crisp and just the right version of cold - where you want to go out in just your sweatshirt and not wearing a jacket, where a walk home from the mall is a nice feeling. The sky was nice and blue most of the time, though there were a few odd showers and some fog. Can't win them all.

Got back to an empty home. Flatmate's in Delhi to attend a common friend's wedding ( I couldn't go as I couldn't afford to be out this week too). So at 5am, had to change sheets and fill water in the bottles. Cleaned up a bit more in the evening.

Got to work at 8am - left home early by 7:30am but there's an irritating jam at that time on BTM. Sigh! Am back to the city I'm loving to hate nowadays. And I used to love this city! C'est la vie!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Shubo Nobo Borsho!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Chelski's fanbase

Kenyon's words:
"We have seen our fan base go up by 300 percent in the last two years,'' he added to Radio London.
I wonder what the number of fans were to begin with and how they have grown only when they won a championship. Compare that with United, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool fans and their history! Remember of any other team that's hated even after winning a championship? Not even Arsenal. Jose and Drogba doesn't help their cause. The players I like personally and respect are Lampard, Cole, Robben and Cech. Don't like how they buy and sell same players over a year.

The biggest Bollywood market outside India is...?

London? New Jersey? That's your best guess?

Quite wrong. Horribly wrong. Its Square One (the biggest mall in Ontario) Cineplex in Mississauga, Ontario. How do I know that you ask?

My close friend is an author and his brother is an up-coming director and both are working on a movie based on my friend's short story set in New Delhi. The casting is almost over and excellent character actors like Naseeruddin Shah are set to star in it. So when he wanted to figure out how to market it to the huge Indian crowd abroad he approached the distributors in Toronto. It was quite difficult to get a foot in the door. So while he was casting in India he approached the distributors in Mumbai. And when asked they said Square One Cineplex (incidently that's a stone's throw away from our place here) is their biggest market for Hindi movies and asked him if he knew about it; its in Mississauga they added. He was like 'yeah, I live there'!!! Ask anyone in India if they know about Mississauga and am sure you would get blank stares. And here is this guy talking about it. And believe me there's a huge crowd and all new movies release the same day here. When you think about it, its quite funny to think that its easier to release a movie in Mississauga or Toronto (which have a sizeable Indian population) through a distributor sitting in Mumbai rather than a local one! I was quite amazed by this new piece of information. And you thought you knew where the biggest market abroad for Bollywood movies were!

Rush of cash makes for bad cricket

TimesOnline has this extract from Wisden, where Mathew Engel (Editor) argues that the rush for cash is merely producing more bad cricket. Expansion looks like the furthest thing from ICC's mind. How do you explain how the Zimbabwe debacle was handled, how new countries keep qualifying for the World Cup? Since Sri Lanka's slow and steady rise no other minnow has been able to replicate it. Especially when the focus is on expansion now. Expansion wasn't officially happening when Sri Lanka was coming through the ranks. Its basically about grassroot cricket and developing that in new countries, than getting new teams and letting them get hammered and as such destroy any confidence they might have had. When did you last see a Kenya match on TV? They hardly get an opportunity to play bigger teams. Bangladesh has still not played India at home, because BCCI does not think there's too much moolah in it. So they keep postponing it. I hope they win against Australia - which would prove that they can fight at the test cricket level. We care about the fight and not the results initially. You can't expect wonders with a minnow. Something that even Kenya showed initially, but then there's hardly any cricket for them other than African tournaments against a weakened Zimbabwe or South African A sides. Is this how you develop a potential test playing unit?

Engel's full interview is at Cricinfo
Link to another article about ICC's greed

Crossposted at Welcometotheballgame

MBA lessons

Amit Verma (India Uncut) has this link to an interesting post about MBA lessons from a taxi driver. The direct link is here. I wonder if this has been shared with Bangalore auto-rickshaw drivers? No wonder they want to go small distances. They wait endlessly for a Rs.200 trip and pass off 20 Rs.10 trips!


1. The Kooks - Naive
2. The Automatic - Raoul
3. The Upper Room - All over this town
4. Massive Attack - Live with me
5. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

Did you want music albums and didn't how you could get them?

Head to Aris-Music. I happened to go there through a back-link and there's a huge stash of music albums uploaded on rapidshare.

Some of the artists:
Alien Ant Farm
Norah Jones
Soundtracks - Passion of the Christ, Taxi etc.
Vanilla Sky
Chemical Brothers
Sheryl Crowe
and more. Go and check it out.

Rang de V

Dhoomketu had posted his review of V for Vendetta and so had Dibyo. I just got back from watching it in imax (this is not an imax movie) and while I agree that the movie is well made, I feel its like a firang Rang de Basanti. Its the same old people vs. governement fare topped up by blowing the British parliament (Bhagat Singh threw a crude bomb in the assembly didn't he?). Like Daljeet (Aamir Khan) and company Codename V is inspired by(?) and emulates a martyr, in this case Guy Fawkes.I think some of the graphic novels are better off as graphic novels. Else the novelty might wear off. The ending is quite lame and is a superb cliche!!! It just fails to beat the ending of The War of the Worlds.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Feeling the outsourcing

When I'm in India, there's quite a few irritating calls that come from banks etc. pestering you to go in for some stupid thing after the other. The sporadity has come down a bit, but it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Now, picture this.

A call comes on the home phone here in Toronto. Its a private number (here, you usually don't pick it up if you don't recognise the number but since my dad gets calls throughout the day from different people we do end up picking up a few) and I consider not picking it up but then my mom asks me to pick it up. Its a call from Bell - our home phone company.
Agent: Hello Mr. Saha.
Me: He isn't home, can I take a message.
Agent: You would be a family member, won't you.
Me (reluctantly): Yes, tell me.
Agent: We called you to tell you that high-speed internet is now free with your connection.
Me: Sorry, we already have Rogers and we do not want to change service providers.
Agent: But its free.
Me: So what?
Agent: You can keep 2 separate internet connections at home.
Me: No, thanks.
Hang up.
Got me irritated. Will come to it in a moment.

In another couple of hours, one more call.
Agent (different): Hello Mr. Saha. I'm calling from Bell.
Me: He isn't home.
Agent: You would be a family member, won't you.
Me: I have already spoken to your colleague.
Agent: We would like to provide free internet...
Me: Don't want it, told you guys once, don't call again.
Now. Both these calls had come from India. With strong Indian accents saying 'I'm Bryan and I'm Ryan'. And these guys were cold-calling. Not updating their system for a customer who has already said no to a promotion. Now, I was more forgiving. Screamed at them and hung up. Had second thoughts to call Bell in Canada. Didn't. In countries like this people have a huge thing for privacy and they just want one excuse to sue someone or create a hue-and-cry for anti-outsourcing. If you ask me, if I were a Canadian and got these calls in a space of 2 hours, I'd be very pissed and quite agree with 'why-is-somone-in-India-calling-me-about-something-I-already-said-no-to' shake of the head! Why doesn't call centres in India be more meticulous about systems, agents who call? I guess accents might not be an easy thing to change overnight, but atleast update the systems and logs!!! How difficult is it? And how can 2 agents have the same number for a cold call? I did it when I was out of college, but back then it was a small outfit and we brought our own leads. So it was quite possible if the same person got 2 or more calls. But don't tell me, agents bring their own leads of Canadian phone numbers when they come to work! If thats a yes, then the Queen is Elvis himself!!!

In all of this other people who get calls from Bell, might call Bell's Canadian offices and complain about these calls. This in return could reflect badly on the whole outsourcing thing and as recent examples show, companies have been forced to pull out operations from geographies or switch vendors.

Just for a stupid phone call. Twice!!!

On a parting note, what about this statement:
Agent: You can keep 2 separate internet connections at home.
When did someone have 2 different internet connections at home!!!!??? Do you???? How dumb can you get!

Bad experience with a bank?

I had blogged sometime back about my bad experiences. I recently found a link to my blog on google search as 'Bad experiences and Citibank'. Its simple to find how many people crib about poor customer service. Type in your bank or other service provider and find out what others have to say about it!

Tech Connect

Focal Point has 'Smiley' cables - smiley faces embedded on the jacks, maybe they want us to show off the cables. I can't manage all my cables at home - router, dvd writer, external hard-disk, laptop (2) power cables, modem, phone charger, ipod charger etc. all I wanna do is to hide them instead of flaunting any of them!!!

My next phone (well, I would like to and had my eyes on it ever since the N-Series was introduced) is the N91. Here is a hands-on N91 review of the same.

iPod might be out with a firmware update to enable bluetooth on iPods. If the wire goes, a new market for iPod blue-tooth headset acoustics then.
Digit has the review on Bootcamp (to boot both MacOs and Windows on iMac). While that is to choose the booting OS everytime you start your machine, Parallels lets you to run both OS-es at the same time (would be split windows). Could be ok with multiple users, but if you gamer thats the last thing you would want to do. Good to have thingy.

Finally, Firefox breaks into 10% of market share. But mine has been crashing quite regularly nowadays. Don't know if its happening with others too. A small extension is helpful for that, if you don't have it already. Session Manager. Works like a dream. If it crashes, when you launch it again, voila - you have all your tabs restored. Even when you want to close the browser, you can choose to save the session, so when you launch it again, you would have the browser displaying the same windows/tabs when you last worked on it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kaiser Sose returns...(Lucky Number Slevin Review)

...well almost. That name is eteched in the mind of any movie-lover, made famous by the Usual Suspects character (the man who wasn't there). Same goes for Slevin - unusual name but unfortunately not a cracker of a movie. But its good in its own way. Shall elaborate on that.

The Plot: A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin (Josh Hatnett) in the middle of a war being plotted by two of New York's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) and the Boss (Morgan Freeman). Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci) as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat (Bruce Willis), and he finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him.


Sounds simple but the treatment is the lemme-be-clever thriller which convolutes the plot, the movie switches back and forth through past and present. If you have seen enough movies, you get the hang of it soon, but you want to see the whole movie because of the cast and the dialogues (sometimes corny, sometimes wise-guy) and one-liners.

Sample this:
Slevin: They call him the Rabbi.
Lindsey (Lucy Liu): Why is that?
Slevin: Because he's a Rabbi.
Also, the not-so-subtle hint within the movie that Josh Hartnett would have made a better Bond. Slevin is talking to Lindsey and she compares him to James Bond and he says its the greatest compliment he's ever heard. What will Craig Daniel do now? I would have liked Clive Owen. Anyways.

Kingsley would be my fave actor of the movie. Smooth, portraying the Rabbi, some awesome dialogues and tongue-twisters included. Freeman is good as usual. Willis is fitting into those roles which were made for Arnie and Stallone. No expressions, no acting required usually. Hartnett and Liu are spunky and hold the movie together. Hartnett plays the wise-guy turned ... quite well. All in all a good popcorn movie. Very slick production. Good to see it with friends on a friday night. (Thats what I did).

And yes, if you were wondering what the Kansas City Shuffle was head here.

Further reviews:
RollingStone (loved how they summed the movie up: If Pulp Fiction impregnated Usual Suspects)
Rotten Tomatoes

Oh, before I end watch the trailer of Little Man. Must be the biggest crappy movie ever made. How do they even think of these?

Personal DNA


Friday, April 07, 2006

Quote Unquote

A few Steinbeck's I liked:
No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.

Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Bong

Here's dhoomketu's funny take on Bongs. He forgot (?) to add the phootball (football/soccer) craze and the phestivals (doorga pujo, kali pujo, saraswati pujo etc.) in a bong's life. Either he'll add on that or I'll post that later.

Cricket highlights on the web

If you are abroad like me, having to dish out $30 per game and don't want to and are happy with seeing highlights of the game on the net you should head to Cricket Videos Uncut. Well the videos are cut so don't quite understand the title. But it gives you a quick wrap of the day's play.

Crossposted at Welcometotheballgame.

Rs. 500 cess on air-tickets

This is what I've been reading. I think this is absolutely crazy. On a low fare tik, you pay the aiport tax. If you now add this cess, you would have a 20% increase in fare. What's the use of low fare tickets then? But the more important factor is why always take money from the public? Where are the funds from the state and central budget which should be allotted to civil aviation? Moreover, even if they impose a cess, considering the thousands or millions that travel everyday, isn't Rs. 500 per ticket quite over the top? The funniest part is I don't know where the money goes. We pay 2% on education cess. Yet, when I visited a local school, the money comes from local companies. Show me the money!!! And they talked about the Right to Information Act!

ManUtd gets the insurance

Vodafone had walked out of their shirt-sponsorship deal with 2 years left. That deal was less than £10 million a year. While ManUtd was linked to Mansion (online gambling company) that deal was scuppered due to uneasiness of aligning to a gambling giant. That deal was supposed to be worth about £70 million. That would have beat Juventus' £15 million a year deal with Tamoil (A libyan oil company). Now, Manchester United has announced AIG as its shirt-sponsor for 4 years at £56.5 million. This would be higher than Chelski's £10 million a year deal with Samsung. But Roman can always reach into his pocket for some change if they need it.

The Official communication from the club.

David Gill talks about why ManUtd selected AIG
Fergie talks about how transfers are going to be affected

What happens to my old shirts now? Does Vodafone pay me for flaunting their logo? :)

Dhoomketu posted this.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Keep Dreaming!

Alba 'forgives' Hefner

I had posted this awhile back when Alba wanted to sue Playboy. Most of us knew it was just a cheap publicity gimmick and she proves that by now 'forgiving' Hefner.
"In light of Mr. Hefner's personal apology for Playboy's unauthorized use of my photo on their cover, I have decided to discontinue my claims against them," Alba, 24, said in a written statement.
The apology was as follows:
"What was intended as a tribute to your tremendous popularity has been misinterpreted by some as something else for which we are truly sorry since we are among your biggest fans," Hefner said.
Just plain bollocks!!!

The Great Escape?

Starring: Bryan Robson, Harry Redknapp, Steve Bruce.

Last year Robbo did the unthinkable. Taking a team who was in the bottom three during christmas and staying in the Premiership at the end of the season. The relegation battle was decided in the last round of matches. Kieran Richardson scored one of the goals to keep Brum in the premiership. At the beginning of this season, he decided to stay and fight for a first team place in ManUtd - which he is getting and doing decently well so far. In contrast Robbo has been struggling with his team and its slowly going down under. Specially so in the last couple of weeks where the much-maligned Redknapp and Brucie have some re-kindled something which is making these teams start beating the teams in the top 10.

Portsmouth fixtures and results. Their current form is W-W-W-L-L
Birmingham fixtures and results. Their current form is W-D-L-L-L
Brum fixtures and results. Their current form is L-L-L-D-L

So the basic question is - who would be the last man standing? I would hate to see Robbo go down but it looks like he would. And I have a sneaky feeling that B'ham just might have enough to get away this year. A month will tell for sure.

Crossposted at WelcometotheBallGame

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Wired has this article.

Tonight at midnight
"specifically, 123 seconds after 1:00 a.m. -- the time and date, for the first time in all of humanity, will be 01:02:03 04/05/06."

The infamous Weather Channels

I have heard about them before I had travelled abroad. About how they are a part of everyone's life. About how you cannot leave home without finding out how the weather is going to be, what the wind-chill factor is.

This is my third visit to Canada over the last year and largely its all bollocks. As in when its snowing outside they will tell you its gonna snow. Thats being very clever eh? If they tell you its going to be sunny, rest assured you might find flurries or snow that day. The week's prediction was sunny, going up to 10 degrees. But it went all haywire as usual. Gusts of wind, rattling the window panes, sudden flurries. Basically anything but sunny weather.

In London, I don't think they have a weather channel. They gave up predicting the weather there long ago. If you take your raincoat and umbrella it won't rain for sure. If you don't it will rain. Sometimes it just rains. Period.

Monday, April 03, 2006

2006 Juno Awards

For the ignorant, its the annual Canadian Music Awards (like Grammies, Brits etc.). Was at Halifax last night.

Last night the show started with Pam Anderson as the hostess (who called her??!!!) and she as usual got into the whole anti-Seal mood. 'My best friend wasn't able to make it as he would be clobbered, he is Seal' - real poor taste. Opinions are here and here.

Back to the awards and most of my picks walked away with a Juno. Michael Buble swept the awards, winning for best album, best single, artist of the year, pop album of the year. Bedouin Soundclash won the best new group. BEP and Coldplay tied for International Album of the year. Nickleback won for best group and best rock album. Arcadefire also won for best songwriting. All in all a good show with Bryan Adams being inducted to the Canadian Hall of Fame by Chris Martin. There's a lot of good Indie bands and some ex-Indie (like Bedouin) which have broken into the mainstream. Canadian bands are showing a lot of promise!

Full list of Juno Winners is here. And 'live' performance videos are here.

Update: Rolling Stone features the awards here.


Movies I would love to see over the next couple of weeks:
1. Inside Man - Heard its not the usual Spike Lee stuff but him with Denzel, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster can't make it a bad one eh? Once see for sure.
2. V for Vendetta - Heard its over-hyped but everyone's still raving about it. And Natalie Portman in it. So must-see.
3. Ice Age 2 - Early news is that its hammered Basic Instinct 2 (aagain any movie would - no brainer there) but I'd go watch it just because its Ice Age -2. :)

Movies I saw which you shouldn't see:
All the three below was part of the airline fare, which I watched coz I couldn't sleep. I was suprised that seein these didn't put me to sleep!
1. Cake - Heather Graham as a daughter who is forced to run her dad's biz..tra-la-la...zzzzzz
2. Proof - Mathematical genius (Hopkins and his daughter Paltrow) and a proof about prime numbers (actually they never say what's it about - this 'proof' if its actually the 'proof' of the thing I think its a 'proof' of...gimme a break and tell me! F***all!!!
3. An Unfinished life - Thats what JLo's life is and she made a movie with Redford and Morgan Freeman - I wonder what those 2 were thinking!!! Part of that unfinished life is to perform in Mumbai soon! Groan!!! Where is U2? or Robbie Williams?

Movies I wanna see this summer:
1. Superman Returns - Bryan Singer makes good movies (Usual Suspects) and I hope this one is as good as Batman Begins.
2. X3 - Mutants were never this good. Xmen movies have not disappointed. Hope this one doesn't too.
3. Mission Impossible 3 - JJ Abrams in the hot seat to make this movie and if you have seen and loved Alias and Lost you will keep your fingers crossed that he brings some spunk to Ethan Hunt's character.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tech Connects

Engadget is looking for writers. Job desription is quite simple.
Rectangular Sony mouse - Don't know about this one.
Age-verifying cigarette vending machines up in Japan. Who is going to break this one now? How soon?
Wired has this special on Apple Ads (including the first ever Apple Ad for RAM) and one on last 30 years.
Download 'Windows Defender' if you were wondering what happened to Microsoft Anti-Spyware. This one is less intrusive and doesn't keep popping out everytime you run an application. Works quietly in the background. So far so good.
Football-beer-cooler anyone? Kau?
Volume-limiter as part of firmware upgrade for iPods.

Few miles high

This post started when I was in the air - above Iran actually.

On wed i found out I had an outside chance to make the flights on a jump seat. So went to the city office and picked up my ticket, picked up dvds and then to fabindia as a part of the last minute shopping spree. Bangalore to Mumbai was cool, best online snack (trio of breads - one with a cheese filling, one with veg filling and the other was a sweet one - better than the open cold sandwiches at 2am). Got out of arrival, took the lift and went back to departure and checked in for the Delhi flight, did my security and boarded - as a part of a continuous motion. Didn't sit for a sec till I reached the seat in the Dash-400. Having been used to business class seats, these economy seats on this older plane was quite un-comfy...the 777s are much better, good upholstery and leg space. Anyways I adjusted between 2 aunties, jostling for a lil' arm rest space. Gave up. Spent the day in Delhi and was back at the airport the following morning - Friday. Met the Captain and she was sweet and quite helpful and got me the business class seat all the way to Toronto.

On the way through customs I saw a young girl crying, not older than 8-9 years. Was along with her brother (same age). Their dad was crying too, he was taking some other flight. Guess it was their first flight alone. Amritsar was ok, except that I felt that something wasn't right when the lights keep going out and coming back again. But we took off after a short delay and I didnt give it much of a thought. Started reading 'Tipping Point' and didnt get much sleep on the flight. Tried a Glenfiddich and Black Label on the rocks. Got an hour's shut-eye. Then I saw that same lil' girl being taken to first class, crying again. Found that she wasn't well. Migraine. Got restless after sometime. So took out my laptop and reviewed a couple of green-belt projects that had come to me for assessment. Wrote my notes, saved them in my drafts folder and shut it off.

B'ham was starting to rain as we landed. Switched my sim cards as I headed to the business lounge. Dropped my stuff there and headed to WHSmith as part of my UK ritual - picking up the new copy of Empire. Spoke to Mashimoni. She got worried when I told her mom wasn't keeping well. Spoke to Anusha, Mama. Both were after my back to go through London on my way back. Maybe. But not quite sure yet. When we were called back to the departure lounge we boarded the flight only to wait for the next 5 years due to some electrical and technical problems. My dad told me later it was a problem with a part of the engine cover (which needs to stay warm to melt any ice that an aeroplane encounters on the way - else the ice would hit the engine just like a bird and destroy it). Was imperative that they repaired it. Finally we were up and away. Not much happened except that I finished 'Tipping Point' and was left wondering if I was a 'Connector' - someone who gets people together. Don't quite know. Maybe again.

Landed at 12am. Waited at dad's office as he sent the same flight back to B'ham. Helped him with some office stuff. Chatted with Sangeet (works with my dad and is a good friend of mine, my age). By the time we wrapped up it was close to 4am. Got home in the new car. Nice.

Still jet-lagged. Slept from 3pm-8pm. Wide awake now. So here's the blog. :)