Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Entrepreneur & the Politician


I have been watching the frustration of Narayana Murthy, since he started working the Govt of Karnataka. I use the term frustration, because, it is not an easy job to run things in the Govt, especially if you think you can run it like a business. Because the Govt is not a business, alto' many politicians do treat it like one.

I have issues with people, who are ready to quit, because things are difficult, and then spend time pointing fingers. The quagmire of politics is difficult, it requires a special breed of people to enter. Tough skin being an important pre-requiste. I have great respect for Narayan Murthy, and he has achieved thing which few men, atleast in India, have achieved. He is not unique, but he is special.

But these things said and done, i believe he can handle this issue, which much better finesse. I really wish he would take up this challenge and enter the world of politics. I would vote for him, and he will be surprised, by the number of votes he would get. Does he have it in him ?

Narayana Murthy at the receiving end

Tags: india, politics, infosys, govt, democracy,
corruption

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Galileo launched

The ESA took a step forward to break the monopoly of the GPS technology currently held by the US. The bigger motivation for this project, was to enable the use of newer and more precise GPS technology in more commercial applications. Since this project is controlled and managed by more than one country, the chances of the ESA shutting down the access to this technology is remote. Although for the record, the ESA has said that they would never shut it down.



My post wouldnt be over if i didnt highlight and ask a few questions, for which i dont have the answer, nor am i expecting one. But kind of stating the obivious possibilities. I wont rant much today, but ask only one pertinent question, 'what is stopping countries from using this technology for military applications ?'.

First Galileo satellite on orbit to demonstrate key technologies
Galileo navigational satellite launched

Tags: ESA, space, GPS, USA, galileo, soyuz, Russia, Europe, satellite

Hustle & Bustle



It would seem nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fact, the time is around 11pm in the night. This the ground crew, in their back office, working on tickets, changes, excess baggage, seat adjustments fiascos, and last minute crisis etc. Pretty active in the middle of the night, these people do a commendable job of being courteous and polite. This rush goes on till around 2am in the morning, when the flight takes off. I am sure they earn a well deserved rest, only to give up their normal sleep time the next day around.

Tags: airlines, tickets, agent, lufthansa, india, crew, airport

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The art of writing

Something i read in The Hindu, prompted to start on this. It was also based on some personal experiences and observations of mine. I noticed that i am finding it increasingly difficult to get my spellings right (thanks to MS Word and other programs), making simple mistakes when i write on a piece of paper (missing the back-space key, my favourite key), and also finding it difficult to keep concentrating on the piece of paper i am writing on.


In an attempt to prove myself wrong, and think these were just perceptions of mine, i tried to sit down and write a letter. Something that i have not in a long while. And quickly i found how, how a profoundly difficult job, this had become. It was one thing to scribble notes and jot down points in a meeting etc. But an entirely different proposition to sit down and write your thoughts, specially on paper.

Technology has changed our lives so much that we have reduced or eliminated many functions we were used to in our daily lives. This may not be such a bad thing. But language skills and communication ability is not necessarily improving with the advent of technology. Thanks to SMS, people are now finding it difficult to actually spell out words. I received this message on my IM, yesterday, "k.i vl do dat". It took me a few seconds, before my sms challenged brain figured out the meaning, "ok, i will do that". It also doesnt make too much sense from a sms point of view, because most, if not all, phones support the text-complete(T9) feature that actually suggests/complete words.

Another quick comment on the technology, which is a seperate topic for discussion, but has to wait for another day. A friend of mine had this to say, "all this technology is supposed to make life easier. its not, its only making life more complicated".

A word in hand is worth...

Tags: writing, and+writing, letter, communication, technology, language, skill

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

2005 - an afterthought



Its been a year since the tsunami struck the coast of Tamil Nadu, and the shores of many other nations, causing more deaths than any other natural calamity in the recent history of mankind. Yesterday, most people in these parts of this world, spent a quite moment reflecting on the impact. The TV channels as usual had a lot of stories to share, most of them of hope and path to recovery.

A year has flown past, and has been quite eventful, and it appeared that Mother Nature, was quite furious with mankind. She let it be known in no uncertain terms, that we are not behaving well as citizens of the this planet. Our lives seem to be all encompassing on this planet, and now we are the most influential beings on this planet.

Now here is a thought. Not sure, how far, i can believe in this, but it does have some bearing on our situation. Remember the times, millions of years ago, when the dinosaurs ruled the planet. There are several theories, today, that help us understand their subsequent destruction from this planet. My mom's theory is that, 'they were wiped out of the planet, because they had become too much of strain to the planet'. Now mom is no expert in science, but she does have some wild theories. Am not sure what her network or source of information is, typically like newspapers, she tries to protect the source of her information.

But this was like a brainwave to me. No matter how much of a rationalist i am, there is a part of me that believes that many things didnt just evolve. In any case, the survival of the fittest, is very much an evolutionary theory, and mother nature is just doing that, fighting back. The climate warming, the greenhouse effect, the shifting tetonic plates, shrinking ice caps, the magnetic poles, and not to overlook the possibilty of an meteor strike, could all have devastating effect to this planet and the citizens of the world.

The human kind is supposed to be the most evolved of all creatures. But unfortunately they are the ones who kill for the sake of pleasure, more often than for the sake of food. The gradual and steady encroachment on land, water and other resources that are required for the survival of their co-inhabitants of this planet, have caused extermination of entire sub-species and in some cases human races.

No small wonder then if the planet chose to strike back.

Tags: earth, tsunami, global+warming, earthquake, evolution, god

Monday, December 26, 2005

True ?

Most certainly. Atleast as far as my observation goes. Altho' this is not directed against the blacks alone. It applies to all people who are part of the non-white community.
Many times these are subtle, and many times they are not itended to hurt. But always it does make the person at the recieving end uncomfortable. Very untypical of the culture i was born into and raised. So for me personally, the initial years in the US were a big facade.

Take for example a simple fact like footwear. Until recently when Nike and a few others promoted the alternative footwear, wearing anything other shoes, brought people to stare at you. So, slippers, pull ons etc were not quite acceptable. Yeah, yeah, arguments can be made about health, smell etc. And i agree they are not something that can be discounted completely. Yet, one must also understand and respect the differences.

Mary J. Blige says America is racist

Tags: racism, america, white, black, shoes


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Parlimentary history in India

So finally the hidden camera, and other sting operations are paying off. This has to be some kind of history. I am sure the opposition and many will think this smacks of politics. Well its all politics anyway.

Hope this starts a trend. But i am confident of the politicians figuring ways around this. Afterall these kinds of techinques were invented in the developed democracies of the west, and corruption does still exist there.

But there is hope. I believe that strongly, that there is always hope, and this problem (corruption) will reduce in its intensity and particularly will focus away from the day to day lives of people.

11 MPs expelled amid BJP opposition

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Insat launched !!

Successfully launched yesterday from the European Space Agency vehicle Ariane.


The latest in the series of INSAT, and one of the heaviest and largest launched & built by India. ISRO doesnt have the capability to launch satellites of this size at this time, and is constantly upgrading its vehicle. There are about 3-4 launches scheduled by IRSO for the year of 2006.

India has the biggest constellation of satellites dedicated to remote sensing (the IRS series), but the application of the satellite technology is lagging far behind. As i had scribbled earlier, we are way behind in weather forecasting and related applications. We have shown the capability of engineering and launching these satellites, now we need to start applying them. On the INSAT series, i would really like to know the cost savings to the Govt because of using Indian owned communication satellites instead of foreign owned ones. The point i am trying to make is that, the country has shown its strength in these areas, but we need to make sure it benefits the people.

INSAT 2
India To Launch Its Heaviest Satellite From Kourou
INSAT-4A Launched Successfully

Tags: isro, insat, space, satellite, ariane, esa, india

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Yahoo Widgets

Check this out !!


It used to be Konfabulator, what a name. Its now Yahoo Widgets, so much better. And typical of yahoo, they have integrated the whole thing with the yahoo portal and you can now check email, review your notes, connect to flickr, check out maps. Well thats not all, you can also download 100s of widgets built by and submitted by people. Its cool. There are few things that are real handy and bunch of others that are good for occasional use.

Well fancy youself with what you like. Check it out tho'.

Tags: yahoo, widgets, utilities, cool+stuff, downloads, desktop

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What could she be thinking about ?


sitting lonely on a bench
many thoughts come to mind
specially the tough ones
that put me in such a bind

pondering for a moment here
like that fountain up ahead
wish i could shoot my problems
way, straight out of my head


My Flickr - photostream

Tags: pondering, flickr+cksquare, poem

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is George Bush above the law ?

This is not the first time, George Bush and his presidency has attempted to hoodwink, lie, tap dance around the law, and now even break the law.

His encounter with the law began with his first presidency, when he was 'selected' as the President by the supreme court. In a highly questionable step, the Supreme Court overruled the Florida Supreme Court on the re-counting of votes, and didnt order a re-poll but said, the words of the republican politician in Florida is final, and approved the selection.

Then came the war on Iraq, which it turns out has been based on so many lies. The bumper stickers 'no one died, when clinton lied' rings loud now !! George Bush, hoodwinked the entire american public, the all too willing US Congress and Senate and the unquestioning Fourth Estate to declare war on Iraq, in search of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Now, this. In what appears a clear violation of the laws of the country, George Bush has gone on the offensive that he will continue wiretaps. Wiretaps on whom ?

In 2001, he used the sentiments of the country to push the Patriot Act into law, and also usurped a few rights and powers to himself as the President to do what was necessary to fight the terrorist. One of those steps was the war against Iraq. Samuel Johnson said "Patriotism is last refuge of a scoundrel", i wonder if he had any premonition.

Well, here is what we need to do ......

This is from a sticker available at merch-bot.com

Tags: george+bush, iraq, wmd, lies, law, constitution

Sunday, December 18, 2005

At what price - relief ?

Every day, i read or hear a story about how India is stepping forward in handling catastrophes, technology advances and challenges, nuclear arms, brain drain and brain bank issues etc, i have this great feeling inside. And then equally a sad and frustrated feeling when i read stories about mishaps, and those which could have been avoided, if there some bit of caution exercised by the authorities concerned.




I know, it is easy to blame, and difficult to actually do. But these kinds of things have been going on and on. And everyone, gives the benefit of the doubt to the Govt. And then the chief minister and few other politicians come about distributing money, and that is expected to have solved the problem.

This happened at a time, when the Govt was distributing relief to people already affected by the pouring rain in Chennai. It is quite plausible, that the officials involved in this effort, were actually thinking that they were doing a favour to people who were undeserving, and so this attitude obviously must have helped create this confusion. This, it seems is not a prerogative, of the small and developing countries only. We saw a nice sample by the richest country in the world, display the same kind of apathy in New Orleans, in its treatment of the poor.

42 killed in Chennai stampede

Tags: india, relief, rain, stampede, chennai, poor, katrina, new+orleans

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Phone call to President

I just heard the news. The President (George Bush) had authorized the phone tap of american citizens, to determine if they were part of the terrorist network or not !!

Now that he has listened in on my conversation, i might as well make it public here.

Ring Ring...

Me: Hello
Other side: Hello

Me: I am calling you today, because i understand the President is listening to our conversation, and i figured this was the best way to reach him.
Other side: huh !

Me: Well, so if you dont mind, let me speak and then you can chime in, as required
Other side: what !!

Me: So, George, whats the plan ?
Other side: my name is not George !!

Me: Do you think we should pull the troops out of Iraq ? Do you need any help in resolving this criss, let me know, i am good at solving crisis. And how is Dick ?
Other side: i am going to hang up now....

Me: You know the other day, i passed outside your house, and i could have sworn, you were doing a jig. Come, come, you are a big boy now, you can admit it
Other side: click..

Me: oops. I guess you are not allowed to listen anymore, George.

I wonder if there is a device, that you have, that is going to listen to my thoughts. Uggh, they are real dirty. So, i am sure you dont want to do that.
George, dont worry, i didnt mean to give you a hard time, i am sure there are people around you who are doing a good job. Who needs enemies, when you have the friends you got ?


Tags: bush, phone, usa, george+bush, iraq, patriot, terrorism

Friday, December 16, 2005

Shame Shame


This picture is an old one, dates back to Nov 2001

Its a shame.
- to treat a former captain, that too the most successful captain India has produced, in this manner
- for the coach of the Indian cricket to determine who must play on his team, rather than for a captain to make this call
- for the board to play petty politics (nothing new), and play people like a pawn
- for politicians to be involved in what is essentially a private matter in Cricket
- for people to protest this decision in this manner, by burning and shouting and behaving unruly
- for Indian cricket, that a fine cricketer has been humiliated so

and finally, its a shame
- for Ganguly to hang around and beg for something, that he may or may not deserve

There is lot of domestic cricket, county cricket and other options available to Ganguly. In fact, i believe the International cricket tournaments are becoming too over-rated. So it will be apt at this time for Ganguly to settle down in domestic cricket and raise the bar. I am sure people in India will enjoy this cricket too. And with players like him, it will help increase the image and fan following for these tournaments. The team-india, always used to shun playing in domestic cricket, and this will be a good way, to bring attention and focus back to the breeding ground of all cricket.


Ganguly's exclusion evokes shock and anger
Cricket-Kolkata protests at Ganguly's omission
Politicians and former players criticise axing of Ganguly

Tags: ganguly, cricket, captain, shame, BCCI, india

32 Degrees


The temperature at which water freezes. Well the temperature here in Washington DC, for the last few days have been hovering around this, going much below in the nights, and staying barely above during the day. The winter has started here, a little too early. I dont remember when it got so cold so soon in winter, usually it wasnt until January that daytime temps fell below the freezing point. Its signs of the winter to come, i guess.

It is supposed to snow today. But it has been raining, after some initial flurries early in the afternoon. But thats is mostly slushy water, which is few points away from freezing to solid ice. But it is unlikely that it will freeze. If the temp falls, then the slush will get covered with snow, and make it a hell in the morning. Like many things in the world, the snow, the ice and the cold are all nice and good to a point, after which it starts becoming a nuisance to daily life.

Such is man, or woman.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Image viewer/editor - Faststone



I discovered this tool a few weeks ago. I was a little fed up with 'picassa', and the free tool that came with my machine was nothing more than a glorified explorer. Most of the functions where available only if you bought a higher version. Nice try. Well i would have bought it, only if i trusted that the tool will be usefull enough to do most of the things i wanted to do. It would be cool if someone invented a software that allowed you to use software on a 'pay-per-use' basis. Meaning i got the base tool free, but only paid for select services as and when i needed them !!

Who am i kidding ? I need the software to work free all the time, with no catches whatsoever. Well i think the Faststone program suite, Viewer, Photo Resizer and Capture come free. And you can download it, and install it in a breeze, no issues at all.

Tags: faststone, image+editor, image+viewer, watermark
, freeware, picassa, image+capture

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cruise trip to Bahamas

Just got back from the cruise to the Bahamas. From the unusually cold climates of Washington DC metro, to the warm receptive climes of Nassau, it was a nice and pleasant journey. We were out on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the 'Majesty of the Seas', supposedly not so great ship. But for a person on his first ever cruise, it was great enough. It was a corporate affair, only select team of people were invited on this most, if not all, expenses paid trip.

The company was good enough, to allow some of us to take an extra day off, and reach earlier than required and spend some time around Miami. We did, and most of it was at the restaurant/bar in South Beach, called Mango's. Fun place, good to decent food, and the crowd around me were drowning in 'Mojitos'. Then a freak bet, got me all pumped up and soon, thanks to help of another friend and colleague, i was on the bar, dancing with the bar girl. Soon the cameras were out, and i have created enough evidence, that will require me to pay 'sush' money for the rest of my life.

More time, later that night was spent at another bar, simply called 'bed', and was quickly used in sentences to create the desired effect, of doing fancy things in 'bed'. Soon people were tired of drinking in a horizontal and vertical position, and wanted to try this out by adding a few fancy jerks and hip shakes. The next stop was Mansion, nice dance place, if i am not mistaken, my first trip to a disco place. It felt kind of weird to experience this after all this years. I was not to be cowed down by this moment of discovery and soon was rocking the place down. One problem with the 'people of the night', i found out is that, they get quickly tired of one place and want to see what else is available, that could give this kind of experience. And so out we were, to find the another spot for dancing. Many were tired by now, but few were brave enough to admit the same. The few, who were brave, did make their quiet exits at appropriate places. The quest was on to see who could last the most, and stand up right. Well, finally biology, chemistry and the laws of physics did catch up, and we were in a cab, speeding to our real bed in the hotel room.

The next morning was cruise day and started of drap, with the required meeting. But soon, all boring things do give way to opportunities for fun, and we were on our way to the ship. The days and night on the ship itself was no less or more exciting than this first day and night out. The main reason was, it was more easier to lose people on the ship, and a time was likely to be wasted attempting to find them. The cruise and the ship itself was nothing great. It is impressive, but it is not the be all, end all thing in life. People can easily have more fun on land. The quest to be on a ship on the high seas is quickly lost after about the first few hours aboard it. The expanse of water all around you and all the way to the horizon on all sides, does seem impressive, and it is, but still, it doesn't create the impact, you quite expect.

What i liked most about the trip was, the fact, that we were captive to everything on the ship, meaning most if not all forms of communication to the outside world was cutoff, and so no emails, no phones, no newspaper, no internet etc.. It meant we had find fun things to do with the people around us. I was also amazed at my ability to make a few spontaneous friends on the dance floors. The spirit of the room, music and people around were good enough for me to do crazy dance sequences.

Food and drinks (the nonalcoholic kind), were another thing to talk about. No, no, before you get any ideas. The food was not great or anything to rave about. But food is served free, or rather should i say, is worked into the cost of the trip. And i always used have this tendency to feed on free food, till i can eat no more. But this trip, gave me a new confidence that i can stop way before my stomach is ready to burst. I still need to weigh myself, but i do know that there were no distress calls from the captain of the ship.

And then the most important being my friends and colleagues on the ship. It was them that made this trip very memorable. I made some new friends and developed on some existing relationships, got to know some more people, and got to know more about some people. Because many of us didn't have a choice, we had to endure the company sometimes and that helped in some cases. I had to spend more than the casual 'hello , how are you, bye for now' conversation, and had to dispense with more words and thoughts, than would normally have done at first meetings with people. And also because we couldn't get out, unless we jumped and swam a long way, we had to meet people over and over again, as you went in circles around the ship.

Oh, i also got to engage in my other favorite pastime, photography. I've wasted almost a 6 rolls of film on various things. And since i still use the traditional auto-SLR, i have to wait till they are developed too see the images i have captured. I am sure to post atleast a few to my blog and more to my flickr album.

Have to sign out now, this had to be long, and i still havent captured all my thoughts and impressions, fresh as they still are. But i do have to stop this literary explosion for the moment and create and collect more impressions and thoughts.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Citgo pumps gas



Citgo is the Venezuelan government owned gas company that is gas at almost 45% off the market price, to select housing communities in the big cities of the US. No, the housing is not predominantly Venezuelan or south-american, they just belong the poorer class. People who will have to shell out extra money this winter so they can heat their homes to make it livable. This when the other oil companies have recently reported huge profits, so big that it rivals the GDP of some countries. Then, there is the US government that was elected by some of these people, which is busy fighting to liberate the lives of poor souls in the Iraq, people who never really asked for it in the first place, but all the same a noble cause, except when you think that it barely moved a finger in Rwanda or recently in Sudan. So, let's accept for a moment that the cause, more important to them, was to protect the ever scarce oil for the benefit of the americans. The question remains, which Americans? Its quite obvious that these were not the poor people in the Bronx, Boston or most other Americans across the 50 states. It does benefit the shareholders of the many american oil companies. Well, you could benefit too, if you could conjure up the money to buy the shares of these companies. What if that means giving up a few square meals.

The motivation of the Chavez government is not necessarily to help these poor souls in america, but more to thumb their noses at the US Govt. But in the scheme of things if nations competed this way, I think the world may be a better place.

Politics or Not, Bronx Warmly Receives Venezuelan Heating Oil

Tags: venezuela, oil, gas, bush, chavez, usa

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Indian Airlines becomes 'Indian'


Not sure about this. But read this story from two different sources. Indian Airlines is becoming 'Indian'. I wonder what that means ? I am going to fly 'Indian'. I suppose they will shorten the Indian Airlines to Indian, but the airlines will still be called Indian Airlines.


The logo is changing. I searched and couldn't find any images. I sometimes wonder what the news reporters in India do. There is very little value add they do, they simply seem to report the story as issued from the press release. Even today, a paper like 'The Hindu' messes up web URL, or sometimes simply doesnt print them. It carries a report about a website without the URL !!

Anyway, the main story here is about 'Indian'. Again it sounds wierd. But most name changes do. I still prefer Madras to Chennai, but over the last year or so, i have gotten used to Chennai.

IA puts on warpaint to appear in ‘Indian’ avatar
IA gets a brand new image, changes name

Tags: indian+airlines, airlines, indian, india

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Indiscipline in BJP ?

How can a cadre based party create indiscipline? How can a party that supposedly have open elections create a situation where people are openly fighting for the chair of the CM ? How can this party that has cursed the congress for its undemocratic ways of party affairs management, now raise a finger against it ?

Much as i detest the hindutva platform, that the BJP wants foist, i had initially felt that there must be something good about the way the go about electing their leaders. But all that was nice when they were fighting for power. Power corrupts. And so as soon as they won a few elections and met a few success, many of the facade fell apart and the true colors of these leaders and soldiers in arms came through. Now their is infighting, indiscipline, horse-trading, and unprincipled politics and makes them no different from anyother party in the country.


So finally Uma Bharti is out, but i think this is only the begining, of party that achieved power riding on a horse, that has created for problems for others as well. When will the politicians realise that the short route to success does not come with the same staying power. To continue to remain in power, you must be able to fool the people all the time. Even the illiterate millions in India are smarter than the average politicians think. This december Advani is hopefully going to seek retirement from the 'presidency' of the party. Or maybe he too will create a position like Dalmiya did in BCCI, 'father of the BJP' kind of post, so he can remain in the limelight.

The people of the country are now more tuned to the coalition politics that has come to be the mainstay of the Indian polity since early the 90s. I doubt if a single party, even the Congress, will be able to command the hieghts of control of the Parliment like they did under Indira Gandhi. It may seem that democracy is actually working now, probably it is. But one problem with a weak Government means a strong Bueracracy. Strong bueracracy may be good for a while, but bad in the long run to hand over power to an unelected official.

Back to BJP and its problems. Uma now expelled is free to challenge the BJP at her home turf, and that is precisely what she will do. She could yet, become the CM of Madhya Pradesh, if she is able to repeat the success she achieved for BJP in the last elections. This is playing out like a day time soap show on tv.

Firebrand Uma Bharti expelled for indiscipline

Tags: BJP, india, politics, uma+bharti, advani, democracy, indiscipline

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Big Brother

The Government never really trusted its citizens. Atleast it would seem that way from the growing tendency of Governments (democratic or not) to reach into the private lives of the people to determine if a law was broken. I am talking more of mundane things. Yes they are mundane, but thats the point, the mundane things are the first step to help gain acceptance with the public. One of this is policing on the road, using newer technologies. So you have the good old, radar speed detector, and the cameras at intersection, on the highways and bylanes, the sound alarm for speeding alert, and even newer uses of technology. Two news articles, here show some of this new use of technology.

I have been the brunt of this, this past September, i was sent a picture, showing me speeding on the highway inside of DC.

I can see even more intrusive use of technology, like having manufactorers store critical information on a chip inside, like wearing seat belts, speeding, headlights on/off, wipers on/off, etc. Who could want this, the insurance companies and maybe even the police. So like the police could then have a device to read from this chip, when te car is speeding at 70 mph. Scary huh !! Well these are just some brainwaves i have had. Maybe i should shut up now.

Device stops speeders from inside car
`Smart Box' to monitor unsafe driving patterns

Tags: police, speeding, traffic, voilation, gps, technology

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Simply Yahoo

My first internet email account was a yahoo account. Thats not true, i did use compuserve and AOL accounts. But i kind of, dont want to include those, because the experience was completely different. It was like a window to the web, and not the world wide web itself. I mean the way, AOL and Compuserve connected you to the internet, then and even now.

So as an early adapter to Yahoo, i was lucky to get hold of an email account id, that i wanted, and didn't have to add fancy numerals and additions. Anyway i am not what sure what hooked me on, because the 2 MB offered at that time was good enough, but still seemed scarcely sufficient to do the regular things you do on the internet. Anyway, i managed with 2MB, until they increased it to 5MB and was happy and content with that space too. I guess i just didn't believe in storing every piece of email that i received. But more than the email component, what kept me coming back was the constant additions to yahoo; my yahoo, notepad, briefcase, calendar, finance, portfolios, etc.. I was quick to begin using the Yahoo offerings as soon as they were available to the public or beta versions.

Now here is a true product that works and does what its developers said it would do. Unlike some of the other ubiquitous software that is on everybody's machine whether they want it or not, and is always short on user expectations, because of the loud promises and their attempts to be larger than life. I dont want to appear to be raving about all Yahoo offerings, as i am sure there are better offerings out in the market, but Yahoo has done a great job of integrating many of these to work seamlessly with each other and to bring it all together on their yahoo.com site. Thats no easy feat.

For example this blogging tool, where i am making this post. I had been and am still using blogspot, but the big leap in blogging (for me) came after the advent of 360. Since its right there in front of me, everyday when i open my browser to my home page (my.yahoo.com). Still there spate of changes and improvements need to be faster and richer. There are other copy cats, Google being the most aggressive, and 'the evil' OS always trying to one up others software and internet players. Its important for me, 'cause i have a lot vested (my internet life) in Yahoo, and could be li'l painful to have to get used to gmail or other internet tools.

The competition is good. If it weren't for google, Yahoo would have been happy providing 5MB space for a longer period and kept pushing their premium email kit. And the 360 itself is a very late offering, as there have been numerous and more successful blog spaces out there for a long time. But the competition has one or two good things to offer, and not the world-wide-web itself in a browser.

So, for now.... its simply Yahoo !!


Tags: yahoo, portal, blog, 360, my+yahoo

Thursday, December 01, 2005

May the most gold win

Came across this news item today, well its not exactly news is it. People have been doing these kind trades for sometime now. What is news, atleast to me is the bidding and haggling part.

A quote from the article -
During several months of haggling, a consortium of Croatian firms tried to keep Draganja at home, but its offer of $800,000 plus perks was vastly overmatched by the oil-rich country.


For a long time Olympic games was an amateur sport. The big countries pushed to make it a professional sporting event, because they found that most of their atheletes were not particularly interested in participating in this arena, where not money was at stake. Then there was the television rights. Given that the US pays the biggest bucks for the TV rights for this mega event, the games are also tweaked to meet the expectation of the US population. Well for right now, it is just focused on timing of important events to coincide with the US primetime hours.

But even before this became a money sport, the rich countries were able to attract some talent to switch affliations of their country, to ensure a gold, silver or bronze. The south african, runner Zola Budd was a big milestone in that series of migration and 'switch royalties game'. Of course these migrations were isolated and only the rich countries benefited. Now with this news, it shows that this game is not isolated to the prowess of the rich. And more importantly it is not isolated to nation countries, but soon will be a blood sport indulged by corporations.

So get ready, buckle up and lets zoom into the Google Arena for the 100 metres finals.

Croatia's top swimmer to swim for Qatar and money

Tags: olympics, sport, professional+sport, amateur+sport

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tap Dance

Bush is still tap dancing around 'to withdraw or not' syndrome. Obviously, anyone expecting any bold decisions before the fall of 2006, is foolish. The Iraq war strategy will depend a lot on what people (politicians) think will be the outcome of the coming 2006 election, which sadly, is almost a full year away.

Here are some tidbits from the article below:
+ "We expect, but cannot guarantee that our force posture will change over the next year, as the political process advances and Iraqi security forces grow and gain experience," - There you go, from the horses mouth, nothing will change for a year.

+ "While our military presence may become less visible, it will remain lethal and decisive, able to confront the enemy wherever it may organize." - Interesting. I thought the whole point of the current discussion was that this kind of confrontation is becoming disastrous for everyone concerned.

And from the same article, about the speech given by Bush regarding this paper and strategy:
+ "That's what's important for the American people to understand -- that, one, we are not going to cut and run; two, we'll achieve our objective; and three, the president is going to listen to those who are on the ground who can make the best assessment," - we heard this before with 'Mission Accomplished'.

+ "If they tell me we need more troops, we'll provide more troops," - this is slightly out of context, but this particular quote highlights the 'tap dance' i am referring to.

White House releases 35-page 'National Strategy'

Tags: iraq, bush, wmd, war, withdrawal, troop+reduction, election, 2006

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cool Advertisement

This is in response to a posting by '--xh--' (i wonder what means, i am sure he has real nice story behind that).

A friend of mine send this (a long while ago) neat advertisement put by EA Canada. Even the name of this company is interesting.

It is a brilliant idea. Talk about targeting the right audience. You do research and sample surveys, but very rarely can you get your message across to the right people.
Here is the ad. Am sure, you can figure it out.

If not, post a comment....

Tags: eacanada, advertisement, ad, cool

Sunday, November 27, 2005

When the liberator turns tyrant !!

So you set out 'with the objective to liberate the people of Iraq and Afghanistan', ofcourse there are very few who actually believe it. And then indulge in the same practices the local tyrant did. Its very clear, that the people of America and generally the world, save a few exceptions like Poland ( i wonder why !!), are dead against this invasion and everything related to it.
But the elected Governments of these people are not so vocal about this. I wonder if they know more than i know about this. And that frightens me even more.

On a related note, i wonder if Bush would attempt to bomb the BBC, or maybe even me for writing articles that he doesnt like to read.

US abuses in Afghan jails
Iraq abuse 'as bad as Saddam era'
No US charges over Afghan bodies

Tags: iraq, usa, bush, war, wmd, abuse

Friday, November 25, 2005

Bad Precedents

The match in Kolkata set a lot of bad precedents. The coach showing his middle finger and the crowd jeering the Indian team for not including Ganguly. The crowd jeering the team is nothing new, but before this, it has always been for poor performance on the field. The crowd at Eden, has been in the news before for both bad and good things.
And i think a coach like Greg, is bad news. Ever since he has started, it has been some issue or the other. Compare this with the previous coach. It could also be that, Greg doesnt put up with bull shit. But to show the finger is again pushing it beyond levels decency.

Chappell shows the finger
Crowds jeer India, cheer when Safs score runs

Tags: cricket, ganguly, india, blue, men+in+blue, eden+garden, kolkata

Cricket - Ganguly - far / unfair

Ganguly has been included in the test team as a 'bowling all-rounder' because of his prowess with the ball !!

After a long gap, cricket in India is back to its ugly game of player vs player, a peek back to the era of Sunil Gavaskar/Kapil Dev conflicts. Player conflicts always existed between people, many of these dont even deserve mention. But when the top performers, or big figure heads of the team start going head to head, the conflict starts to pour out and the stink becomes unbearable.

I am a big fan of Ganguly. I believe he has achieved more Indian cricket than most others. He is not the best player, but i think his record as a captain speaks for him. As a batsman he is probably only a tad behind Tendulkar or Dravid. And i am big fan of Dravid, 'the wall' as he is called here in India. Probably the most underrated cricketer ever, meaning all ratings that he tops, still doesnt do him justice.

My problem with Ganguly, is grace. If i have cricket in me, go out and prove. Go out show, what they miss. You still have public sympathy. You also have a big fan following, and you have a lot of cricket left in you. Go and do it !! If you have to shine in domestic, and county cricket in England, so be it. I think he could have brought a fresh life to the whole domestic cricket games. Meaning, added a lot more glamour to those matches, by playing in it more often, while he was sitting out. But his recent comments and remarks to the press could have been avoided. Kapil Dev said it right recently 'Sourav must not beg for a place'.

Anyway, now he is included in the team. And what becomes of it. Will he command the same respect as before ? He is doing well in domestic cricket. As it stands today, he has scored 159 runs for Bengal in the 2005-06 Ranji trophy match between Maharastra and Bengal. With this kind of performance, doesnt he deserve a better treatment.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Rain in Chennai

Its raining again in Madras (chennai). Its been about a week since i landed here, and the climate was surprisingly cool and pleasant. I was beginning to enjoy the current trip and then the rain starts. The rain is good. But this time, it appears that it is going overboard. We havent had decent rains in Madras for a long time, and so this is like a breather. But the city is just about recovering from the last bout of rains.


I was up and about this Sunday, and noticed long queues near the ration shops (Public Distribution Centers). People were collecting what the Govt had given out as aid. Some clothes, rice and few essentials. The queues were exceptionally long, specially in this day and age. Meaning when there exists computers and other technology to help people avoid this wait. But i am sure people know their Govt better and rather trust some person who they can shout at, instead of a letter or appointment card asking them to come at a certain time and date. And when you turn up, there is no one to receive you. To me it brought some memories of my childhood, when we had to wait it out, get sugar and kerosene, because there was a time when these things were is short supply and the price in the free marked, was beyond what my parent could afford.

Things have changed in India, we are out of the clutches of the ration shops. But there are still 1000s who are impacted by it. With all the different revolutions (IT, white, green, etc.) run amok in the country, there are still large chunks of people who are completely untouched by it. Hope the Govt takes note and attempts to understand the economic impact from all aspects before proceeding full steam ahead.

Tags: india, ration, rain, chennai, economy

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Free speech & premarital sex

Its ok to do it. Its not ok to talk about it.
Its ok for you to talk about it in private but not in public.
I wonder if the people who take exception to this, are people who missed out on this oppurtunity, and are now feeling 'j' about the whole thing !!

This topic has been in limelight for a couple of months, since Kushboo, actress from the tamil film industry made comment to India Today. The India Today article was about the 'sex' in India, opinion polls, discussions etc. And that started a spate of protests and lawsuits. Apparently the tamils took offense to her words that men in tamilnadu should not expect their wifes to be virgins at the time of marriage. A simple passing comment, may be outrageous in Indian society and context, but not far from truth and defnitely not something that people should be offended personally, to cause mental agony and trauma.

I dont support or condone it. I fear of the consequences of it. But to shy away from this and take offence because someone sought to talk about it, is meaningless and does not make the issue go away. The bigger question is, 'is this an issue ?'. I dont know. I am not an authority on this. But the impact of this, is largely felt on the women, rather i should say 'girls'. Because we are talking about the reducing age-barrier. This trend defnitely has problems for the society at large, and cannot be ignored.

The sooner you talk about it, the better it is. Filing for an injunction in a court of law, or protesting the comment made by someone is surely not going to help. Not to talk about free speech and civil liberties that are being trampled upon.

53% do it in India - The Pioneer - Nov 19th 2005
Protests in hyderabad !! - Times of India - Nov 19th 2005
PUCL flays protests against Kushboo, Suhasini - The Hindu - Nov 19th 2005

Tags: india, protests, liberty, freedom, free+speech, premarital+sex

Friday, November 18, 2005

to leave or not to leave

It is an unfortunate situation. It is very clear, when you look at things from the US point of view, again from the point of view held my majority of the people in the US, they want the soldiers back home. But the Govt has a completely different viewpoint. They know if they withdraw now, all what it thought it had gained till date, is lost. This withdrawal in their minds will not be any different from the infamous withdrawal from Saigon. A quick search on the web, yielded an interesting article, highlighting some of the same thoughts i had in mind when starting to write this.

The Democrats and the US People are getting more and more vocal about their demands for accountability and withdrawal from Iraq. The people have been divided from day one, but with each lie being uncovered on a frequent, if not daily basis, the faith in this president is shaking. The democrats, on the other hand are playing by the falling job ratings of the president. They suddenly find the voice to ask questions they should have asked almost 3 years ago.

"Yen yendra kezhvi illamal vazhkai illai", goes the lyrics of a popular song from the 70s; translated from tamil, it reads, "there is no life, if you dont question why".

Immediate withdrawal from Iraq, is bound to create more confusion and chaos, and a not so impossible bloodbath. The question again, is that, is the occupying force achieving anything different. Some of these similar questions were asked of India, in the run up to the 1947 Independence. And yes, the british troop withdrawal did cause a bloodbath, but in the final analysis of that event, it was more the ineffective policing and control that caused it, rather than the simmering discontent. But like all occupying forces that leave, they would rather the people feel the pain of their leaving, rather than help in the last minute policing. I not for a moment arguing against withdrawal, but i only wish to highlight the price that someone will have to pay.

The people of the country have to face the consequences of the actions of their government. But if they dont rise up to this occasion and teach the government a lesson, never to repeat this mistake, it will be an opportunity lost.

2000+ US (not to talk about countless iraqi civilians) lives have been lost, because someone lied. That someone has to pay !!

Tags: Iraq, USA, bush, troop+withdrawal, democrats, polls

Monday, November 14, 2005

George Bush - falling falling falling...


Click this link to see Bush falling: George Bush falling  (if he comes to rest on the bubbles, give him a small nudge)

Bush also received his all-time worst marks in three other categories in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The categories were terrorism, Bush's trustworthiness and whether the Iraq war was worthwhile. Bush's 37 percent overall approval rating was two percentage points below his ranking in an October survey. Both polls had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.  - CNN

Tags: bush, falling, polls, ratings

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Technology and Life

Ever wonder how people got work done a few years ago, a decade, a century ago ?

I carry a laptop, a palm treo 600, another cellphone for use in the US, and am considering an MP3 player.

I switched from a desktop to a laptop from about 1998. Because i wanted to be able to keep all my stuff in one place. My consulting work had me moving to different clients sites and the laptop ensured that all my stuff moved with me. But quickly what this meant was that, i was working at home, during weekends, but the consolation was i could do it at home.

My cellphone, which replaced a pager, enables me to stay in touch with anyone, anytime from virtually anywhere. But it also meant that i was reachable anytime too. Soon there was only number i needed to give people out. My cellphone number. Although it is technically possible to carry this one number all over the world, i think it doesnt make financial sense, and so i have two cellphone #, one for the US and one for India. I am sure, i will abandon one of these numbers in about a years time.

The weirdest thing, is that, my lifestyle hasnt improved drastically because of these technologies. The biggest pain i have is the ability of people to reach me. I just cant hide anymore. There used to be a time, when i could be on vacation and people simply waited till i return back to my desk, before they bugged me with stuff. Oh then the laptop, takes this interference a step forward, by allowing me to login to my corporate lan, from my home or other network accessible hotspots. To ensure that i dont loose touch or break the umbilical cord with the mother ship, my Treo 600, has a worldwide GPRS connection allowing me to check email and read webmail and other websites in case of emergency.

All these technologies which were supposed to make life better and improve quality of life has had a detrimental effect instead. No, i am not completely dismissing the benefits of these technologies. But, as always, every choice you make in life comes at a cost. There is 'no free lunch' as they say around here.

Tags: technology, treo 600, laptop, lifestyle, cellphone

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Yo Yo Yo Give us our dough








A Novel protest started by a kid and his friend, 10 yrs and 13 yrs old.

Yo Yo Yo Give us our dough; no Mc-D on December 3!

We Want our Money Back - Luke McAndless-Davis

Tags: canada, lumber, mcdonalds, protest,

Non-Bailable warrant against Khushboo

Tamilnadu is big on defamation cases. Anything anybody says will affect somebody somwhere and the next recourse is filing a civil suit.

If the aggrieved can make political mileage out of it then there could be protests, more protests, followed by mobs running around wild, causing trouble and creating a scare, that is quickly followed by apologies. These activities could range from a legal and genuine protests, to not-so-legal gherao (picketing), to the clearly illegal blackmailing. The blackmail is subtle tho' and so can never be bought to book, like 'we cant be responsible for actions of some stupid people, if they are offended by these statements', clearly implying 'you better watch out, you never know when someone is going to get you'. Its tough not to give into these pressures. Specially since most of the people who are targetted by these mode are people in the film or politics industry. The politicians have a wider support base, and so threats dont make a big impact.

Not to digress, my worry and concern is with the courts. When the courts are having huge backlogs of cases, the judges complaining of over-work, reduced vacations, the vacant benches that have not been filled for long. And to reduce the pressure on the judicial system, the Govt has established, consumer court, Lok Ayukt, Lok Adalat (dont know if they are the same),... oh there are new ones being introduced regularly.

Yet, with all this issues and problems, our courts have time to look into a case, where the claim is that 'i am offended by what she said on TV'. Below are two cases being pursued in the courts of tamilnadu right now.

Non-Bailable warrant against Khushboo - Yahoo - Nov 12th 2005
Sivakaasi- Case filed against Vijay, Asin - Yahoo - Nov 12th 2005


Tags: India, tamilnadu, courts, defamation

Friday, November 11, 2005

a Mission Accomplished ?

It appears that US has completed the mission, not want it started out to do, but what ended up because of what it started.

Was it short sightedness, was it foolishness, was it oil, was it personal vendedtta that lead the US to fight a war, that it could never have won. What is more astonishing is the audacity, the lies, the fool-hardiness that went into the creation of the myth and rationale for war. Instead of wiping out the Al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism, the US just created a fertile ground to recruit, organize and train future terrorist. The US directly may not be affected by this group of terrorists, but the rest of the world will pay a big price for being a silent spectator to the rape of Iraq.

I have no sympathy for Saddam, like i have none for Musharaff or for that matter even George Bush. But does that mean i take my army and lead them into a war to overthrow them. Do i lead my country to believe a bunch of lies so that they support this effort to overthrow the regime ? And then expect that the people who have been oppressed for years will suddenly all rally around me, support me and yield to my every wish. A good lesson can be learnt from the Indian sub-continent, where Bangladesh that owes its very existence to India, looks upon India as a monster that needs to be controlled and curtailed. That is mainly because liberators quickly replace the tyrant they removed.

Freedom is important, but only after our daily bread. Oh, by the way, my thinking can change once my stomach is fed !!

American occupation and the rise of Al-Qaeda - The Hindu (Opinion)- Nov 10th 2005

Tags: USA, al-aqaeda, Iraq, middle-east, quagmire

Thursday, November 10, 2005

National Portal

A cool begining !!
If the Govt can really pull this off, meaning keep it current and add more e-governance content. This will be great. Everyone knows how painfull it is to visit a Govt office to get a form or deliver an application etc.

National portal of India - The Hindu - Nov 10th 2005

Tags: India, portal, e-governance

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sign of things to come ?

Elections day yesterday. And in two key, or the only elections for governorships in the state of Virginia and New Jersey went Democrats. Actually nothing changed in these states. The previous Governors were democrats too. But in the state of Virginia, President Bush had stopped by to help with the election campaign of the republican candidate.
Well he met with no success. But i dont think the democrats have anything to crow about either. Am not sure if there is any kind of movement one way or the other amongst the people who went to the polls. People seemed to be in a state of disbelief, with respect to the choices available.

No choice is good choice. or is it ? Viva Democracy !! of the fools, for the fools, by the fools

Tags: democracy, elections, bush, democrats, republicans, fools,

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Wind Power

It appears that efforts of the Govt are paying off, in pushing alternative sources of energy. But is it enough. Absolutely not. I hope that the Govt doesnt sit back and enjoy this pat on the back.
We need to be very aggressive in pushing Wind Power generation, solar energy and other alternative sources. India is going to soon run out of Oil, Gas and Water. We will need energy from sources other than oil and gas to power the industrial machine it is building, and also to power the 'reverse osmosis' plants it will desperately need to convert salty ocean water into potable and drinking water.

I recently came across an article about Energetech in Australia, who has developed a new system to generate energy from waves in the ocean. Wind, Solar, Wave, Nuclear are all options, of which Nuclear being the least desired option. But the Indian Govt it appears seeming to be pushing the Nuclear option for more than one reason. I hope it would wise up soon and push the hugh flow of funds into the country to design, develop, build and deploy systems to fully exploit these alternative sources of energy.


India ranks fourth in global wind power list - Yahoo - Nov 9th 2005


Tags: windmill, energy, india, power generation, wind power, ocean waves, wave energy,

Monday, November 07, 2005

Its a Pity



It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish - Mother Teresa

Wow. A pro-lifer slogan. I wonder then, how that a group of people who care so much for an unborn child, care so little for people who are still alive and trying to live. If only some timely help had been extended to the people in New Orleans, the fate of many would have been different.

Mr. Brown are you listening ? Oops sorry. You are too busy worrying about your attire. Well enjoy your time off. It looks like you have been let off the hook. Because no one really cares for the many poor who are dead now. But i do hope you wake up in the middle of the night, many a time, wondering if you could have done something more, or even done anything, that could saved a few more lives.


We'll return for your sister's body, the rescuers said. Two months on she was still in the house - Guardian Unlimited - Nov 7th 2005

Tags: NewOrleans, guardian, katrina, fema, death, flood, brown, emails

Riots in France


I have been trying to get some info on what is going on in France. There is ofcourse a lot of news on CNN, Fox and other news programs in the US. But i would rather hear it directly from some of the parties affected. Another point, is that probably the coverage i am getting and seeing (on CNN) is probably more balanced than i can read or get from France or other European countries.

It is not unexpected to see these kind of happenings. This is not a new French revolution or anything, but there is increasing divide between the rich and the poor, the corporation and the individuals, the government and the people, mother nature and her residents, islam and non-islam,super powers and the other countries and on and on and on.

Hope this issue is quickly resolved. It will be, the might will always win. Be it the French Govt or the rioter who can frustrate them to get some concession out of them. But the consequences of this riot will only help fuel the divide further.

French bloggers at odds over riots - BBC - Nov 7th 2005

Tags: france, , ,

Sunday, November 06, 2005

5K in 29 mins and 40 secs

Well not from a race. Just running on the treadmill. But the last time i ran a race, i actually did better than the treadmill timing. Now i am looking out to register for a race this weekend to officially clock my time.

Tags:,

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Why the hatred ? against whom ?

There is so much hatred that Bush can generate, where ever he goes in the world. Other Presidents of the US also have had similar hatred expressed against them. But no one has had to endure so much for so long.

What's more interesting is that the countries around the world are truly aligning 'with them' and 'against them'. Of course there are shades of this. From the non-existent Taliban to the not-so-friendly France. Or the suck up Brits to the pussy-footing Indians.

World over people need to realise that the first impediment to any progress and cooperation between countries is their Govt. And when you have Govt like Bush's presidency, then the effect of their actions are mulitplied. Because they do it, talk about doing it, threaten to humiliate, publicly boast about superiority, shows no humility to other nations or people, be it big or small. This is not going to buy friends. And this is what is being demonstrated as he travels around the world. Luckily and thankfully this hatred is most cases is restricted to him , and not on the general american public.

Americas summit protest turns violent - CNN - Nov 5th 2005

One year ago !!


Does this seem so long ago !!

In Nov 2000, my mood was, 'what the f*** is going on?'.  It appeared that the Supreme Court appointed Presidents in the USA.

Then in Nov 2004, it was again 'what the f*** is going on?'. Dont people get it !!

Well its one year now, and it appears people are slowly getting it. Current Bush job ratings are hovering around 39%. Typically employees are fired for that kind of performance in corporate america, of which he is a product. But then he failed in business, why should you expect anything else. It will soon appear that the Google search on the word failure  is actually not yielding wrong results.

Have fun. But think !!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Firefox 1.5 RC 1

Check out the latest from Firefox....


What's New in Firefox 1.5 RC 1
* Automated update to streamline product upgrades.
* Faster browser navigation.
* Drag and drop for browser tabs.
* Improvements to popup blocking.
* Clear Private Data feature.
* Answers.com added to search engine list.
* Descriptive error pages, redesigned options menu, and RSS discovery.
* Better accessibility support.
* Report a broken Web site wizard.
* Better support for Mac OS X.

Firefox 1.5 RC 1

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

World will be a better place !!

This good news. No i am not bothered about SRK or his health. But it is good news. It will be better news if he also stopped smoking on the screen, meaning in movies. It is very clear and evident with all the many different studies in the US regarding patterns of cigarette smoking and underage smoking, that actors, sports, and heavy advertising showing macho-man has a major impact on children taking to smoking at an early age.

Another important factor, the age at you start smoking. Most, if not all people who smoke, started smoking before the age of 18. So for the cigarette companies, 'catch them young' is an important part of their business strategy. Thanks a lot of law suits and Govt regulations, the tobacco companies in the US have to now support advertising to stop smoking, warn about dangers of smoking and underage smoking. They cannot use popular icons to promote their tobacco products.

India has taken a step further by now disallowing smoking in the movies, tv and other entertainment mediums. The current health minister is fighting tooth and nail with the information and broadcasting, commerce ministries to impose this ban. The current date for the ban to start effect is Jan 1st 2006. (Cigarette Smoking and Movies)

SRK stopping smoking is an important step. If he really does it and like i said stopped protraying the same on screen. It will defnitely have an impact on kids and college students watching movies. One less person out there to say and show how cool it is to hold a cigarette.

Shah Rukh plans to quit smoking !! - Sify.com - Nov 2nd 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Google vs Microsoft

In another step to set itself as a rival to Microsoft, Google is planning to improve the offering of OpenOffice. Its been since i have used OpenOffice, but it sure has a few features that is still available with MSOffice. And from its origin, it has gotten better at opening, creating and editing MSoffice documents. Format changes is still an irritant.

I am forced to stick with MSoffice, because the rest of the organization does, and my using OpenOffice could create issues, which is avoidable. I see today that version 2.0 is available, which should be a major improvement over my version 1.1. Am downloading it and will give it a whirl.

Google throws bodies at OpenOffice - news.com - Oct 31st 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Festival of Festivals


Happy Diwali
Diwali as it is called in North India, is the celebration of the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, after defeating and killing Ravana. The people of Ayodhya lit oil lamps (diya) to welcome them.

Happy Deepavali
Deepavali as it is called in South India is to celebrate the killing of Narakasura, by Lord Krishna. But fireworks are an important part, because thats how the people celebrated the death of Narakasura.

Happy New Year
This is the begining for a new year for the Jains and for different communities in North India. The merchants of many communities in North India, also close their accounts and open new books for the new year.

Happy Chand-Raat
In a day or two, the moon will be out, signalling the end of the Ramzan season. It doesnt normally coincide with the celeberation of Diwali, but this year it happens about the same time, adding more people and communities to the season of festivals.
\

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Brownie points !!

Our good friendly neighbour is always better at scoring brownie points. There are more people willing to listen to him.

This is a bold step. But based on past experience, this has to be taken with a pinch of salt. We need to evaluate this offer and see how best we can use this as an oppurtunity to resolve the Kashmir issue. Here are two countries that are like country cousins. Difficult to tell apart, speak similar language, share a common bond, but yet are looked at as the worst rivals in this century. Specially since going nuclear.

I'm making LoC irrelevant: Musharraf - The Hindu - Oct 31st 2005

Delhi Blasts

As per the PTI, a new group called Inquilab has claimed responsibility for the bombing. So now we can add one more the list of the different and splintered group of terrrorists.

Who is a terrorist ? Who is a freedom fighter ? The british crucified Bhagat Singh and many others calling them a terorrist. We celeberate their birthdays as early freedom fighters. Can we equate the two !!! No for a moment i am not trying to. But to completely ignore their views may not also grant us the results we are trying to achieve.

Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Manipur, even to an extend 'Tamil Nadu', all have some festering issues. Some of them genuine, some of them crazy, like the support for Verappan the vandal shot dead a year or more ago. It is time, that the Govt starts looking at these as long term issues. To some extend the Punjab issue has been solved, or is it ? I understand change cannot happen suddenly. But what we need is bold decisions, but for that you need strong power in the Parliment. When you have strong support in the Parliment, you turn to corruption, instead of solution.

And more importantly, all the educated, the intelligenia and the young turn away from Politics. How can you clean the cess-pool, if you are not ready to step into it ??

There is hope. Things are improving. Only their pace needs to be increased. Let us create a new 'Inquilab'.

Inquilab group claims responsibility for blasts

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bomb Blasts in New Delhi



Images from The Hindu




















Images from CNN (ap/afp)















Libby Scoots !!



Does this help ? Is he just a scape goat ?
The bigger question, he lied to 'out' a CIA agent, because her husband gave a report that was not helping the Bush Govt's stance on 'WMD in Iraq'.
So that must mean that Govt also didnt believe that there were no WMD in Iraq.
So we go to war, killing countless Iraqis, and about 2000 US Soldiers, and number more that are wounded.
And what !!!

Serial blasts in New Delhi

Waiting for more info.... about 50+ people dead.

The Hindu - News Update Service - Oct 29th 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

Freeway Blogger


This is cool !!
America, i hope you are paying attention. Please go out and make the right choice the next time you vote. Please !!!!

Check out their very best. In the Hall of Fame.
Freewayblogger

One more to the list - BETA



This is crazy. Wilma just finished the havoc in Florida. Now a new one has formed. It is moving north. It may not be a big danger to the US right now.... but.. you never know !!
I am not trying to stir up paranoia. Just curious, where this all going to lead us ?

Tropical storm predicted to become season's 13th hurricane - CNN - Oct 28th 2005

The Rain

Looks like the rain is slowly moving from Chennai and B'lore.


Very soon the water will all dry up and normal, except some of the worst hit areas. Power is apparently back in most places in Chennai (so i hear !!).

Take a look at the Satellite image from the Indian Met Dept. The crazy thing is that in India this weather forecasting is still so specialized and not thoroughly exploited. Meaning only the Met dept has these resources and there are still limitations. The News channels have not invested big in exploiting these images available online with the MET dept or in working with the Govt to better the forecasting model.

IMD Web site for Satellite images

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

US Death toll reaches 2000


I saved this picture from a web page. It was created using pictures of fallen soldiers in the Iraq war. Today US Army reported that the official death toll reached 2000.

2000 is 2000 too much. No one should have died because of this war. But even in the US, people are not so sure about if they should support this war or not. About 30-40% still support it. The people who support feel that these people have given their lives to protect the terrorists from reaching the american soil !! And more importantly to clean Iraq of the all weapons of mass destruction !!!

CNN.com - U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000 - Oct 26, 2005

Whats with the Rain !!

I believe its pouring down like hell in Chennai. And i also saw some pictures of Banglore on Sify.com. Its crazy !!!

When it rains it pours. Or there is not a drop. Is it the climate or is it just us humans ? We seem never happy with what ever the situation is. There is always a greener side. This is just an observation. Or is it ?

Back to the Chennai problem. I hope this solves the water problem for the next summer. Bit knowing what the Govt has done so far to address the problem from a long term perspective, most of the water must be flowing into the sea. But the law on Rain Water Harvesting should help. Every home, office buidling etc, in Chennai ( i still prefer Madras, but i think i have started using Chennai too !!!), must harvest run-off rain water. This should help the water table. For years it has been going down, down and down. Hopefully this rain will help raise it a little bit.

More rains forecast; Army asked to standby - The Hindu - News Update Service - Oct 26th 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jana Gana Mana

After a long time i listened to the ARR renedition of the national anthem 'Jana Gana Mana'. The single CD contains about 30+ versions of this song, sung by the who's who in Indian classical music arena.

As Indians, and like most other citizens of the world, we are used to hearing our national anthem play out, have had many an occassion to hear and listen to it. But this collection is an unique experience. As the song is sung repeatedly my the many performers, you can actually feel the music and words of the anthem flow through you. No, ARR hasnt changed the tune or anything. Its just that you can hear it plain, with a little bit of music, just the tune, with a chorus etc, instead of the typical band music version.

Talking about Jana Gana Mana, you cannot but address the recent topic of discussion amongst the few, who are more interested in raking up issues than solving problems. Irrespective of what may have been the origin of the song. To keep my record straight, i for one, dont ever doubt the intentions of the noble man who wrote this song, as opposed the followers of RSS etc, who now tout to be more desh-bakths than anyone else. Back to what i was saying, irrespective of the origin, it is inconceivable to me to think of another anthem to substitue this. I cant even fathom how some people can suggest this. Nothing moves me more, and tugs at my patriotic feelings than when i listen to this song anywhere anytime.

Transliterated text
Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Punjab-Sindh-Gujarat-Maratha
Dravida-Utkala-Banga
Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga
Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga.
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Jaya he, Jaya he, Jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!


Source: National Anthem

Rosa Lee Parks - 1913-2005

Rosa Parks is dead. She died on monday Oct 24th 2005.

Intrestingly only yesterday i had posted some story on Mahatma Gandhi. I dont think she had heard about Mahatma Gandhi, like Martin Luther King had. But her simple act of disobedience, helped ignite a spark, in the ongoing civil rights struggle in the United States. In 1955, she refused to get up from her seat in the bus and move to the back of the bus. In some respect like Gandhi who when thrown out of the train in South Africa, began his experiment with Satyagraha, she began hers when she was asked to move to the back and refused, and went to jail because of it.

Rosa Parks defied a law, a racist law that allowed the whites to sit in front of the bus near the door. Blacks had to walk to the back of the bus. She was arrested for her defiance to sit in a seat reserved for the whites. This lead to a bus boycott, and eventually the law was declared unconstitutional. As is typical of the US, then and even today, they let the law take its course. Even though law is most times, one-side, unjust and discriminatory.

Many people in the world think that the US was always a vibrant democracy from when it started in 1776. It was not. The democracy evolved in the US, over the many years, with a struggle for women voting rights, freedom from slavery, voting rights for the blacks (rather should i say non-white), and the break down of segregation. The great 'founding fathers' as they are lovingly called in the US, didnt have the foresight to grant these to its citizens. The citizens had to always struggle and fight to get its freedom and liberty.

May her soul rest in peace.

naianam chindanti shastrani nainam dahanti pavakah |
na chai anam kledayanti apo no shoshyati marutah ||


Read more about Rosa Parks in these sites below:
Rosa Parks Library and Museum
The Mother of the Modern-day Civil Rights Movement

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gandhi and Nobel Prize


I recently came across this article, some reference to this article in an Indian paper published in the US. For quite sometime i had lost respect with the process of how Nobel prize is given out. It kind of started with Lech Welesa being given the Nobel Peace prize. But there were a few reasons before that. The Nobel Prize was originally setup only to recognize the work done by white men. People of other origin were rarely selected for this honour. This attached article is an interesting observation.

Sometimes we in India are always looking for this recognition of our deeds by the world. Actually by the 'white' world. So this leads us to exult when a movie is nominated for the Oscars. Inside the US, the Oscars is just one of the many awards that are offered to the film and movie industry. And of course, we believe that they have the most precise method of selecting the finest of movies. And yet very few black (african americans) were selected for this honour until recently. Similarly every year we rant and rave about nomination to the Nobel prize. And yet, Nelson Mandela who closely adopted Gandhiji's principles has been awarded this prize, and along with the racist South African President !!! Give me a break.

Gandhi needs no introduction to many in the world today. But yet, few people really know the impact this man had on the world.

Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate