Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kabul Express Review

Rating: 4/5. The movie did not have a story or anything, but locations, direction, acting, cinematography were good. There are hardly 10 main characters and the movie revolves around them but definitely worth it.

What to look for: Fight between Arshad Warsi and the Taliban guy over who is better between Kapil Dev and Imran Khan. The cool eye candy, Linda Arsenio (one sitting on the jeep below) looks and acts really good. Lots of deserts and broken buildings. Last but not the least Arshad Warsi's comedy :) .

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bhagam Bhag movie review

Rating: 2/5 . This is just for the 45 minutes I saw the movie. I did not have patience to watch more of it. How could such good stars (Akshay kumar, Paresh rawal, Rajpal yadav) suck so badly in a movie. It looked to me as if they had made the movie thinking that any movie with good star cast can make people laugh. 150Rs, total waste.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I See you - Subha Subha ye kya hua lyrics

The latest Arjun rampal's movie song. Lyrics taste so fresh and beautiful..reminds me of a beautiful sunny morning with nice fresh cool breeze...here is the trailer and the song lyrics



I See you - Subha Subha ye kya hua lyrics

some music...
Subha subha, ye kya hua
na jaane kyon ab main hawaon main
chal raha hoon

nai subha, nai jagah
nai tarah se nai dishaon main
chal raha hoon

nai nai hain meri nazar
ya hai nazaren naye
ya dekhte khwab
main chal raha hoon

subha subha ye kya hua
na jaane kyon ab main hawaon main
chal raha hoon

nai subha, nai jagah
nai nazar se naye nazaren main dekhta hoon..


ye gungunata hua sama
ye muskurati fiza
jahan ke saath main
chal raha hoon...

subha subha ye kya hua
na jaane kyon ab main hawaon main..

chal raha hoon

ri ra ra na rim ne na na rim ne raaa
ri ra ra na rim ne na na rim ne raaa

jo abhi hai..
usi ko jile
jo jiya vo je liya
vo nasha pee liya

kal nasha hai
ek naya jo
na kiya to
kya jiya

har pal ko peeke agar
dil na bhar diya

subha subha ye kya hua

na jaane kyon ab main hawaon main..
chal raha hoon


nai subha, nai hawa
nai tarah se nai dishaon main
chal rahaaa hoon


subha subha
ye kya hua
na jaane kyon ab main hawaon main..

chal raha hoon

nai subha, nai disha
nai tarah se
nai dishaon main
chal rahaaa hoon

ye gungunata hua sama

ye muskurati fiza
jahan ke saath main
chal raha hoon...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tryst with Cooking - part 2

The part one (gobi paranthas) was not as good, but still a decent start. Part two was much better. This sunday when I got up at 12:30 PM (dont curse me, internet is free in night) my mom asked me what I would have in breakfast? Uhu Uhu! breakfast at 12:30? how about a quick snack!! sounds good. And I jumped :) , time to make Omlette.

Making an Omlette is much easier than Gobi paranthas definitely, you dont have to try hard to make it circular :), any shape will do. Here is a quick recipe.

- Cut half onion, and half Tomato
- Take two eggs and break them with a knife
- pour the eggs in a small container (bowl or sth) and stir
- Add onions/Tomatos and some salt (sth like 1/4th of tablespoon should do)
- Put some more spices as per taste - red chilly or whatever
- put some oil (1/3rd of teaspoon should do, use butter if you like that way) on the frying pan and let it pre-heat for 3-4 minutes
- pour the egg mixture on the pan and level it by bending the pan in different directions
- wait for some 1-2 minutes and turn the egg upside down
- just 1/2 more minute and ummmm!!! time to eat

Have to learn cheese omlette next :))), and french toasts .. shit , when is the next holiday!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

StumbleVideo, a new product of Stumbleupon

A nice idea, and must have been pretty simple and intutive for them to implement having made Stumbleupon. But Stumblevideo is a website in itself which gathers videos from google/youtube etc and plays it in a flash player. Tags are a plus. I was going through some computers tagged videos and see what I got. Microsoft has really done its voice recognition well. Hilarious!!! Just like the Windows 98 crash few years back.

My sister's Marriage

I am not an eternal believer in the institution of marriage, but I do believe that the functions and celebrations involved in marriage are a very good way to get together and catch up with people. Tenth december 2006 was my sister's Marriage, and what a marriage it was.

I met more relatives in three days than I had met in the last 5 years I was away from home. My house was always full of activity in the last 2 months. Shopping/ preperations/ arrangements/ card distribution , huh! what not. So much so that after all functions completed and all relatives left I was feeling very lonely :( . The functions - Shagan, Ladies Sangeet, Milni (when baraat comes) were all great. I was really amazed by the number of formalities that the groom and the bride and their relatives had to go through. The worst part for the groom and bride is probably to face the cameras continuously for 3-4 days with so many lights flashing and getting clicked with different people surrounding them :). An experience in itself, ok for once in a lifetime.

Anyways, the best thing for me was my friends (thanks guys) who took so much pain in coming from Hyderabad (err! Gwalior/Agra) (Manjeet, Amal, Abhishek, Manoj) and also those who didnt take so much pain and came from Noida (Abhinav, Basu, Sourabh, Piyush, Ajay, Kumargaurav, Jagan) and Gurgaon (Ankit and Sreejith). They really made the event happening with their dance on Ladies sangeet :P. The best part was their stay at my place when we played Dumbcharads and cards all through the night on 9th december.

I was really lucky to shift to NCR just in time and spending last 3 months at home with my sister after which she had to change her place forever :( . What a rule of society. Anyways, thanks to that tradition that I finally got one full room all to myself in my home. I have lots of plans to re-invent the room - putting wallpapers, removing the bed for more space, having a small gym inside, and a jacuzzi :P .. lets see how many of them materialize :).

Many people asked me for photos, but ummm wait people, time will come for photos...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Had a Blast in Haveli (Team outing)

The outing was long overdue and it happened yesterday. Haveli restaurant, 16Sector, Noida. Really a decent place to eat, drink and have fun. We left office on friday evening at 7:00 o'clock and reached there within 15 mins (Thanks to lot of traffic, the drive is just 5 mins). We had got an enclosed (almost) space with capacity enough to hold 28 of us.

Though I was surrounded by some unknown people, but thanks to the party that they are not unknown any more. Huh! I laughed so much after so longgg I cant even remember. The best guy who stole the show was Raja Ashok who was just sitting beside me and was a bigger PJ master than I myself am :P. Had beer also after a long time. Haywards works for me :). With the special 'paid peanuts' and lots of non-veg starters in the beginning which were delicious we were already full when our Program manager Sarandeep ordered main course. Uhu Uhu! nice chicken tikka masala. And then it all ended with a cool butterscotch icecream.

Had a real good time. Looking forward to more parties of that sort. Free as in Free beer :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Harry potter and the Order of Phoenix Teaser: Releasing july, 2007

Got this Harry potter and the order of phoenix trailer on youtube. Posted yesterday.

Cant wait to watch the movie...releasing july 2007

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The gobi paranthas...

Few years back I had never thought that I would like cooking ever in life. But I did. Sometime back when I had lot of extra time to kill I thought of finding a hobby for myself. Cooking looked interesting to me. I could never start full time cooking like some of good chef friends of mine (Ranta, Vidit, Manjeet) who make lots of different things. Ranta for that matter is a passionate cook. He makes Rajma (Dal in his language :P), Rice, Capsicum, etc pretty well. Thanks to them that we had a blast at Manjeet’s place last year once when we all joined hands and cooked lots of things (Rajma, paneer pakoras, Dal etc) and ate like kings.

I was at home once for a month before starting my career full time and had thought to learn cooking from my Mom who is one of the best cooks (Thanks to her that I have grown fat at home :(). I actually made Mooli, Gobi paranthas once at home (OK! I admit that she helped me) and made them well too.

Last Saturday my Mom went to Delhi with my sisters for some shopping (My sister’s marriage is round the corner, so you can guess shopping was for what.) and gave me the RESPONSIBILITY to prepare Chapatis for Dad. Uhu Uhu! Can you digest that. Well I took the challenge.

When Dad came home I asked him whether he would like to have Paranthas or Chapatis in Dinner. Obviously he laughed at me :(. But I still took the challenge. And guess what? I did make decent Gobi Paranthas without Mom around to guide me. Ha! It felt good. 4 Gobi Paranthas, more or less round in shape, with decent looks (un-burnt and stuff) :). It was really a good experience and a good feeling of achievement in the end. When Mom and Sis came back they were amazed with what I had done in their absence.

Time to learn some more things, wanna try??

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Got a Mercedez SLR at my home..thanks to airtel..



Got internet connection at my home. So internet and internet whenever I want. The first thing I searched on youtube was Mercedes SLR and loved it more than I loved it in the Overdrive Magazine. Uhh! its just sexy...enjoy the video..and let me complete the video...Make: Mercedez, MC Laren edition. Thrice expensive as any Merc ever made. But its worth it ;)

Get an Airtel connection: 350Rs for phone instrument, buy a modem urself for 1100 or so rather than Airtel's 1500 and thats it. 250Rs for 100 local calls + 200MB daytime browsing limit + 99 Rs topup for free 9PM to 8AM free internet .. yippy :D youtube, google videos, blogging..back to the virtual world...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

apna sapna money money..

paisa..paisa paisa paisa..

just heard the song..ultimate lyrics..here goes ;) .. the last kewl lyrics I heard was pyar ke side effects song..oh paape pyar karke pachtaya...

Enjoy

Paisa Paisa

alright, play, play the music DJ
he's got the skill the way
i love to do show me
Show me the money

Everyone my love, sure enough tumhe mil jaayega...
Every pay my bill mera ye dil tera ho jaayega
Money show me the money, ha ah
Everyone romance, nahi koi chance
Oh lets do wanna spend...
Emotion's out Money is in, yehi hai latest trend
Money show me the money

Ae aa ooh, dil chaahe paisa
ae aa ooh life mein kuch to ho aisa

(Paisa, kaisa kaisa, paisa
Saradushi paisa, saara jahaan chaahe ye paisa haan haan ye paisa) - 2

everyone's have fun, listen humdum
yehi ek rasta hai
jo naa aaye, to pachtaaye
ki sauda sasta hai
Money show me the money

everyone want my pyaar, mera dildaar
show me your credit card
Money show me the money
gimme lots of checks, suno sexy
gimme ur party card
Money show me the money

Ae aa ooh, dil chaahe paisa
ae aa ooh life mein kuch to ho aisa

(Paisa, kaisa kaisa, paisa
Saradushi paisa, saara jahaan chaahe ye paisa haan haan ye paisa) - 2

Show me the money

no no, no no no, i don't play
towards towards money
you'll be now move'n ur body, roki'n ur body
catch them, no no , move them, no no stop them
baby now move'n ur body, roki'n ur body

Pyaar ki na mohabbat ki,
na khushi mujhko chaahat ki
Chaah mujhko hai daulat ki

everyone my heart, you gonna start
ah normal fancy thing
i want to look caz always gud
i want a diamond ring

Money show me the money

Ae aa ooh, dil chaahe paisa
ae aa ooh life mein kuch to ho aisa

(Paisa, kaisa kaisa, paisa
Saradushi paisa, saara jahaan chaahe ye paisa haan haan ye paisa) - 2

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A trip full of Adventure, nature and Beauty..


One would hardly get four days of holidays continuously in corporate life. We were lucky. Dusshera,sat,sunday and Gandhi Jayanti and off we went on a trip to Mussourie/Rishikesh/Shivpuri.

The plans were being made and re-made since long. People were joining and dropping, but finally Abhinav, Jagan, Sreejith, Pavan (Abhinav's teamy), myself and my old School friend Vikas made it.
The plan was made by Sreejith's roomy who was lucky to be in a adventure trip planning company. God bless him and his occupation. We got some contacts there and started off on Friday early morning 4:00 o'clock straight to Shivpuri. It was a bit tough to get up so early as we had a long game of tennis (me and Raheja) in office from 11:30 PM to 1:30 AM. So after getting a long 2 hour sleep I got up at 3:30 to kick some ....

Shivpuri: A place close to rishikesh famous for Camping, Rafting, trekking, para-gliding etc etc. The journey till Shivpuri was pretty decent. We stopped at one place for Paranthas/Chai and had a bet on the cost of the Paranthas. The bet started from 5 Rs to 12 Rs (mine) but closest was 5 as the paranthas were 15 Rs each. Guess they see the size of the Car to determine the rate. We were travelling in a Silver Tavera, pretty comfy for 6 people and less luggage.

After getting down in Rishikesh we met a dude named JP who was our contact for Camping and stuff. He took us through a jungle to a no-man's land and took Darbari with him on his Bike. We were pretty skeptical about what would have happened with Darbari when we didnt find him at the end of trek. After reaching end of it we had our first encounter with Ganga and we couldnt resist getting in. After some water play we went back to the main market, had food at a Rajasthani Restaurant and proceeded for our first Adventure-Rafting.

The place where we had to start was covered with the shadow of the hill behind. The water was peaceful at some places and thunderous at others. Other than Pavan it was everyone's first time. We had two guides with us to help us stay alive. Finally the time came and we got into the Raft with helmets and lifejackets in place. The water was very cold which made it all the more better.

Finally we were surrounded, by water!! After a brief up of the rules we started Rafting. Ummm! it was some experience. There were different kinds of Rapids all through pushing us all around the Raft. The front seaters were the most lucky in facing the cold water head-on. The best experience was the body-surfing rapid in which we could actually get down the Raft into the cold water. Wow! I can still feel the chill.

The rafting ended directly at our Camp. We were all wet so we didnt mind staying in water for more time. After few photosessions and taking a small bath in the running water we changed and got ready for snacks. We had some Tea/pakodas arranged by the Camp people and got ready for the Bon-fire. Darbari, Pavan and Sreejith went to the market to get some necessary stuff for survival. They were back just in time to have the Tea and Pakoras after which we went to sit around the bon-fire.

It was almost 9:00 o'clock and nobody was hungry. Thousands of stars were shining down at us, a scene which is impossible to view from polluted cities. The gushing sound of water was very soothing. The whole camp area was just open for 6 of us as nobody had come on a friday. We played dumb-charades in which some people had a hard time in making people guess movie names.

After a long bonfire we were decently hungry for dinner and so we had it served for us at 11:30. We had a mix of veg, non-veg and other than the fact that there was less salt in all veg items it was good. After dinner people started retiring to their camps. Sreejith and I sat on the shore looking at the stars and chatted for a long time about variety of topics. We finally left the place at 1:00 o'clock and went to sleep.

We had a good night sleep and the morning was much more beautiful. There were clouds all around and weather was very cold. We got tea served for us and others also got up and joined us. For passing some time we had a small Volleyball game on the shore. More people were now checking into the camps but it was time for us to leave. We had a good breakfast and we left for our second round of rafting.

This was a more challenging one. Darbari and myself were sitting on the front this time. We faced lots of rapids head on roller-coaster being the best one which had almost toppled us. But umm! we dont give up easily ;). Another good round of body-surfing and we finally reached Rishikesh where our Cab was waiting for us. After cleaning/drying up we started off for Dhanaulti.

Dhanaulti is one of those places which hasnt been ruined by lots of human presence. Its a very small non-commercialized hillstation at 2250 Metres height. We had good food at a hotel which didnt have rooms for us :( . After enquiring we came to know of some viewpoint at top of hill so we thought of covering it in evening itself. We started at 4:30 or so down the road. The road was covered with hill on one side and tall trees on other. As Sreejith put it - those were deci-ferous forests ;) a word coined by him joining decidious and coniferous. There was a narrow path going up the hill in the middle of trees and bushes. Hardly 2 feet in width. We started our way up without knowing where exactly we were going and it was getting dark. There was a small closed gate at one point which reminded us of those ghosts movies one sees in late nights. We jumped and proceeded. After sometime we reached the top of that hill and there was fog hiding our view around the hill. The hilltop was very peaceful with lots of farms and greenery. There were some bhoot bangla types houses built which were isolated. We made lots of noises and saw a figure coming out of one of the house. It was the watchman who told us to get lost asap as it was getting dark. He pointed us to a different direction for a shorter route.

We were not sure whether to take the new path as it was getting dark and the way was surrounded by dense forests. We started of happily but just as we entered the forests it became pretty dark. It was impossible for us to see the path with surity and just then we met a deadend. It was around 6:30 PM but inside forests and fog it really gets gloomy. We had two choices: either to backtrack to the hilltop or find a way somehow. We chose second one and jumped around to search for a path and to our amazement we found our way down the road. Huh! what an experience it was. We celebrated our survival with Tea on the road and checked into a small hotel after that.

The room was small but good enough. We played cards with REAL money for sometime ;) and after taking bath we went to sleep. Next day was equally beautiful. I went for a long walk when others were getting ready. I walked into the woods around small houses and was really amazed at the pace of lives in places like these. Nobody was in hurry. A small boy was playing with a monkey. An old guy was placing his stuff for his small tea shop. At lots of places I could see small chimneys producing smoke coming out of Tea Kettles. The road was mostly desolated with some people emerging out of nowhere sometimes. There were hills visible at a distance, tall and green.

Waking others was a task in its own. Sreejith and Darbari sleep like kumbhkarans. Finally everyone got ready and we went to a hilltop restaurant to have breakfast which was great too. We had heard of a temple named Sukonda Devi Temple which was up the hill and one would have to climb 1.5 kms or so to reach the top. A great idea for a trek.

Looking from the bottom of the hill itself was a bit of shock to us as the temple was way too far. But we started and after pushing ourselves to extremes and taking some breaks we reached the top. It was some experience to sit at the corner and look at all the hills surrounding the temple. The temple was good too with lots of religious devotees visiting.

We left the temple with aching legs and broken backs but with great memories. Started off for Mussourie around 1:00 o'clock and the journey was awesome. There were trees and hills all around with lots of cool breeze and good songs accompanying us. Everything was great until we reached Mussourie.

Mussourie, also known as the queen of hills is probably the most commercialized hillstations I have visited until now. We were roaming around in our gaddi for parking for 2 hours searching hotels on the way and didnt find anything great. Finally we compromised and took a hotel on Mall road. The hotel looked more like a purani haveli and I was afraid that it could be haunted. We checked in and changed and left for lunch at 5:00 around o'clock. All through this we were playing lots of games (dont ask what ;)). Mall road was just like Simla's Mall road but more crowded. We sat on the trolley too which was decently boring. After roaming around for 2 hrs or so we went to a pretty expensive and not so good restaurant at the beginning of Mall road for dinner (ask Jagan how good it was). And then we retired to our hotel.

Next morning was also beautiful and it being our last day we wanted to have the most of it too. We left the hotel pretty early and went for breakfast and a quick stroll on the mall road again. From there we went to kempty falls which is around 12 kms from Mussourie and is also worth visiting. We had a great time in the blue/white water (its a color code for sth else ;)) and the view around it. There was another stairway downwards which we didnt dare to take so we took the trolley to go downwards. It was a pretty crowded place and vibrant with energy of people inside and outside water. We left from there around 1:30 and started on our way back to Delhi. The journey back was also eventful with me and Vikas being the DJ, Jagan sleeping at the back and Darbari/Pavan/Sreejith being mischiveous all through.

Finally we are back to office working on all the same old things. And definitely looking forward for a trip like this again.

Brief: Rishikesh is 220 kms from Noida, Shivpuri just next to it (15 kms more). October-November is a good time to visit for Rafting but other sports like paragliding were closed. Planning ahead helps but you can find lots of camp organizers in Rishikesh and get a decent deal. Our night stay at camp+food(dinner/breakfast/lunch)+two rafting trips+bonfire costed us around 1750. Reaching Dhanaulti will take around 2 hours from Rishikesh with a nice view all through the journey. Getting a hotel in Dhanaulti is easy and its worth staying for a day or two to find some peace of mind. Food is good and place is cheap too. Go to Mussourie at your own risk. Getting a hotel/place can get really tricky on weekends/holidays.

Enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

height of feedback..

Just now got an SMS from Airtel in response to my call to Airtel for a query.

"Thanks for your call to Airtel. If you were satisfied with the response of Miss ABCD DEFG* then reply 'yes' or 'no' if you were not."

This is indeed the height of taking feedback...outsourcing the performance management of employees :D



*Names changed :D

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pyar ke side effects...

great comedy, good acting, nice drama...the story's moral: this song...here goes..read and take a decision abt ur status ;)

ye just move it,everybody in the party
just move it,if u feeling the spark
just hands up,if u wanna get down
just hands up,one charm let me see u 2
ye just move it,everybody in the party
just move it,if u feeling the spark
just hands up,if u wanna get down

you can be my man

o paape pyaar karke, o paape pyaar karke pachtaya
o paape pyaar karke, o paape pyaar karke pachtaya
maine socha ek akela. main rahoonga kitna re
dil kabutar ud gaya mera dekh ke chehra chikna ve
phitte muan, phitte muan, phitte muan, dil ne bura fasvaya
o paape pyaar karke, o paape pyaar karke pachtaya
o maan main pyaar karke, o maan main pyaar karke pachtaya
tauba main pyaar karke, tauba main pyaar karke pachtaya

sher sa tanke tha jeeta, yaar mere mainnu kainde cheeta
sher sa tanke tha jeeta, yaar mere mainnu kainde cheeta
o toh supankha lagdi hai, jo kadi lagdi si sita
apne ghar mein kaid hua toh ye samajh mein aaya re
main jise bulbul samjhaa tha, wo aise yaan ka saaya
ke jinda koi nai bach paaya
o paape pyaar karke, o paape pyaar karke pachtaya
o maan main pyar karke, o maan main pyaar karke pachtaya
uah aah baby be my man
uah aah love me the way u can
uah aah baby be my man
uah aah love me the way u can

dil da kamra jad si tha khali, ros goanda reha kawali
ek haath se hi bajti thi kitne taal mein meri taali
ab gali sunti hai saari, shor aisa aaya hai
usne ghar wich aake mera, aisa band bajaaya
ki mujhpe hasta hai mera saaya
o paape pyaar karke, o paape pyaar karke pachtaya

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Is "Material" ImMaterial

How often have we heard ourselves saying - "I want xyz desperately" or "Thats cool, I wanna have one". Either it be a cool red Merc convertible or a "wallpaper material" house or something like that. Which finally boils down to only one thing - yeah! thats Money!!

When we were kids we used to feel out of the world with a ten rupee note in our pocket with which we somehow could buy the world. Then we grew older and our material needs increased. We wanted video games/cool gadgets/a geared bicycle and what not. As kids having material needs is something understandable. But what about now.

We are 'supposedly' grown up now. With fat paychecks (fat?) we can really buy a lot of things. But alas! we are not even happier than we used to be when we were kids with ten rupee notes. Our bank balance is much higher than what we could imagine few years back. Our credit limit doesnt really have any real limits. But still we need more.

When I bought my first bike I felt great. But sooner or later the craze will go away (fortunately hasnt gone until now). And then I will look for greener pastures, read sportsbikes, cars (jets eh!!). Now with all the easy installment schemes its really not a big deal buying a decent car. But what then? Does the world end there. Wont I always feel like having a new new car that will come in market. Even after buying that wont I have the same feeling again. Does this end anywhere?

People like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Paul Allen, Richard Branson have so much money that they can buy half of the poorer world with it. These people have more or less (thats some 'more or less') fulfilled all their material desires and its only then that they feel that Material is really ImMaterial. But does one really need to reach there to realize that its all unnecessary? because if thats so then isnt it a big waste of effort ? Cant we learn from other's experiences.

Well thats quiet a question. Unless I have it I wont realize how important or unimportant it is. But yes! sitting in a air-conditioned santro or a brand new Merc is really a different experience. Isnt it? But is it so big a difference that I should waste so much hardearned money in buying a Merc when Santro is comfortable enough?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Commuting from home just became easier...

Got an IRiver U10 as a welcome gift in Adobe. Life is good..now I can listen to songs/Radio/FM etc while travelling to office for one hour :D (going/coming included)...Some features..
- Easy access with intuitive Direct Click interface
- Large & vibrant color LCD with dynamic GUI
혻(2.22 inch 260,000 color QVGA TFT-LCD)
- Chameleon Display, unusual ability to change its appearance
- Plays up to 28 hours
- Supports music file such as MP3, WMA, ASF and OGG Q10
- FM radio and FM recording reservation
- Voice recording
- Direct recording from a stereo (with cradle only)
- Photo album + Slide show**
- Movie player***
- FLASH player + Game****
- Text viewer
- Alarm with real-time clock
- USB 2.0, Ultra fast data transfer
- Easy synchronization on iriver plus 2 which is a digital jukebox program
혻(excluding US and EU model)
- PlaysForSure (for US and EU only, with WMP10)
- Firmware Upgradable

Source : http://www.iriver.com/html/product/prpa_product.asp?pidx=74

Monday, August 21, 2006

Movers and Packers : Hyderabad

I am writing this post just out of frustration so that if someone somewhere is looking for a movers and packers to move and pack his stuff he should learn from my experience.

I searched quiet a lot for good and economical movers and packers as I had to move my bike to a long distance. After talking to 4-5 of them "Alliance Movers and Packers" was what I chose because it was the more economical one (7300 Rs including computer, bike, and few more items). Others like Agarwal/Deepak (who are more elite I guess) were charging a bit more.

I fixed Alliance Movers and Packers for the same and the experience has been terrible

He had told 7 days maximum to shift stuff and it took him 9. Thats acceptable to me. But that idiot broke my bike's tail light, stand, and disconnected few wires. Bloody Moron!!

Now this 7300 bucks included insurance also, but who is going to go to their office (or sue them!) for 200-300 Rs worth of damages. But the point is, if he can break the tail light, anything is possible.

Not just that. Those morons sent 2 people in the whole truck to get luggage down. God damn it! 2 people for a 152 Kgs heavy bike. Obviously things will break.

But what can I do other than blabber about this to others so that they can chose some other better (or more heard of) Movers and Packers for moving their stuff.

I hope this page comes somewhere in search engine pages so that SEs like me who always go to internet to search for info come across this and could use my suggestions...

by the way, here is some more information:
Leo Movers and Packers has an office in Madhapur but is comparatively a bit expensive
Agarwal Movers and packers is supposedly ISO certified and they claim to be pretty good (ads in TV etc)
For more information here is a list of phone numbers of some Movers and Packers:
Deepak Packers & Movers
23548367
Leo Packers & Movers 27848085
Agarwal Packers & Movers 27700121
Evergreen Movers and packers: Some Mr Reddy - 9849724111

I wont list Alliance Movers and Packers phone number here because of personal differences ;) .. if you are really interested in Alliance even after reading my post (that blabbers against it) then find it urself :D

Friday, August 18, 2006

things are not the way they were before..

yeah! thats called change. The change was obviously expected. Afterall, I was shifting to a new (or old?) place, new ppl, new work, new atmos and everything. I cant really count the things which have changed.

Just a week back was my last day in CA (Computer Associates) and now I am here in Adobe. Came from Hyderabad to Noida. Left so many old friends behind, and have come here among more old friends (school and college). Coming across so many old faces that sometimes I have to think hard where I saw few of them last.

Office was 5 kms away, hardly took 10-15 minutes in peak traffic. Here its 20 Kms, takes anywhere between 25-45 minutes. Missing my bike too which is on the way as of now. Once thats here, I can try to reduce this time too :D.

Last 5 years I used to come home as a guest. And now I am a full time member at home. Have to go places to get aata/dal and stuff ;) (fortunately didnt happen til now :D). But thats a price I was willing to pay for good home food. Now I am away from all those adventures, trips we used to have on weekends. Really? I dont think so. Today only we were planning to go to ladakh :D. And weekends? yeah! we are going for a movie (great luck or sth - lindsay lohan) today night at 22:50 Hrs (has it got so late in hyderabad ever :D). And tomorrow we have a team outing with food and another movie :D.

But yes! one thing i miss most is hyderabad climate. The weather here is real bad. You sweat all the time ;) . Thanks to office/home ACs that surviving is not that tough. But I miss that cool breeze, those unending showers, the rocks which rocked, the late night talks, the cool green campus and those few old friends...

Miss you Hyderabad!!!

Monday, August 7, 2006

Movie reviews: Shaadi kar ke phans gaya, Omkara, Anthony kaun hai

Last weekend was movie-full. Saturday evening we decided to watch Shaadi kar ke phans gaya because of the law of proximity. It was being played in the nearest theatre around - Hitech. Getting tickets was not a problem. The theatre was so empty that we could have started bargaining ;) but we didnt :D.

Yeah! movie was surely miserable. We entered the hall at 9:05 and after 10 minutes and 2 songs we were already frustrated. Not just the star-cast, but the direction, dialogues, presentation all sucked big time. So we got an idea!! 9:45, Sterling, Anthony kaun hai. Bingo! lets rock. We left the Hitech theatre at 9:23 and were on our seats in Sterling at 9:55 to watch Anthony kaun hai.

Anthony kaun hai was much better if not too good. But is really worth watching once. Some scenes are really funny. Sanjay dutt could have been given more involved role but his lack of presence was still ok.

Yesterday was omkara day. We bought the tickets for 70 (in black, original price:35) and it was total waste of money. I have heard some people who really liked it and cursed me when I told them how I hated the movie. The plot was ok, the non-talkative nature of everyone sucked which lead to lots of misunderstandings and leading to killing of lotsa people. Big starcast, but expectations not met. And PS: dont go with family/girl-friends if you dont want to get embarassed.

Coming weekend is Kabhi alvida na kehna...lets c what karan johar has for us this time...

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Are you Hot!!

http://www.ruhotquiz.net/

Came across this link in Gmail (Gmail tip at the top). This is the result for me :D

Are You Hot?

Your hotness score is: 224

Your quiz results make you a Fit and Fun

Your quiz results make you Fit and Fun Staying active and in shape is your mantra. Hiking up a mountain, biking in a race, or slicing through the lane to make a lay-up, keep you hot. You like the nightlife, and can fit in at the jazz martini bar just as easily as the bass-pumping techno club down the block. You're keeping that core temperature nice and hot and having a great time doing it.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Bachelor species

An year back when we were searching for a place to live we were shown the door many times after hearing 'we wont give the room to bachelors' or 'bachelors! sorry :)' or 'we dont have any problem but neighbours wont like having bachelors around'. Huh! god bless those few who dont still think the same, thanks to them that we have a place to cover our heads now :).

Why are bachelor's so unwelcomed everywhere ? Well! only bachelor's can answer that :) and may be those few who were haunted by this species. Bachelors do everything that a simple family man can not even imagine. Getting up at 1:00 o'clock, going to office, hitting the disc or a pub (or a simple long chat) with friends in evening, coming back at 1:00 o'clock in the night, playing football in drawing room (doing this on 2nd floor! what wil 1st floor people feel ;)) , playing music at peak volume, jumping , shouting and what not. Obviously this is unbearable to married/old people who like to live life like a machine (getting up at 6:00 o'clock damn it!).

Bachelor's life is so appealing to some guys that they dont even want to get married :). Afterall handling a wife and kids is indeed a herculean task. And then what will happen to late night parties, the frequent outings, the dirty room and endless chatting with friends. But then what can a poor guy do if his parents are pestering him (dont get any ideas! my parents are cool. Atleast till now :D) and forcing him to see pictures of gals etc.

Another problem is falling in love. It is indeed a very hypnotysing phenomenon. Once a guy is in love he cant do anything but love. He forgets his friends, those outings, those chattings, those pubs etc and only thing he likes is sitting under a tree with his beloved. Now obviously if one is in love like this (they say 'truly,madly,deeply') then nothing can stop him from getting married.

But while marrying a guy doesnt realize that its finally first year or two of enjoyment after which there are so many responsibilties to be taken care of that life goes for a toss. Kids, bills, taxes and everything. A married man cant even go for a trip once in 6 months. And even if he manages to save enough money for 4 people (unlike one for bachelors :D) and enough time for a trip, what a trip it will be. A family will go to a place, stand there for an hour, eat stuff, take pics and come back. They wont be able to have late night walks, trekking, rock climbing, travelling at night etc.

Basically a married man doesnt live for himself but for his family (the wife and kids). Luckily the perception is changing nowadays that people are living more for themselves than their family with the culture shift, earning women etc. Everyone has a life of its own. Yesterday itself I was reading in TOI that the chances of a person getting married at the age > 40 were minute 10 years back. But now its not so. People are choosing to live as individual, postponing their marriage for long. Afterall It aides in their personal as well as professional development. A guy who is getting married at 25 wont have enough savings for his family and will always be paying installments. As compared to a guy who marries at 32 or so who has 7 more years of savings, fun, and experiences which will probably make him a better family man. Not just that, if a guy has more years for himself he can try to change his career according to his liking, he can start a venture without any obligations/responsibilities towards his family. He will be more free to try anything before tying the holy knot.

Finally its not just the choice of a guy but also the people around. But bachelor life is indeed the best and most carefree. Three cheers to all the guys who are bachelors by choice:D

bartrip 1.0 @ mahabaleswar

Name has been derived from the funda of barcamp which means an unplanned conference. Yes! Bartrip means an unplanned trip :) (I coined it:D) . Thats what we had last weekend. An unplanned trip to Mahabaleswar/panchgani and pune.

Friday afternoon Vidit and I was discussing about this Hackathon that was being held in pune on saturday. We thought why not club this participation with a day's trip to pune. But after checking the details we noticed that it was for 2 full days and so our trip would not be possible. Great! then lets cancel the hackathon and go to pune for full time masti :). We started calling/pinging everyone to find out details and to check who all are interested. Initially it was me, Vidit, Rakesh and Aditya. Then Nitin also agreed. Adi had to drop the plan becoz of some personal issues so only 4 of us were left. Then Vidit and I convinced Gaurav and Ketan too. And Nirnimesh joined with a very short notice. So finally we were 7 of us. Rakesh had booked a qualis. Vidit and I enquired with Tarun about where all he went and fixed the plan.

We started in the evening at around 10:00 o'clock. After a night long drive with few stops on dhabas for tea etc we reached pune in the morning around 9:00 o'clock. On one of the dhaba we came across a tarzan boy who was hitting a dog consistently :D. It was mostly raining all around with lots of greenery everywhere. Some of us didnt even sleep and chatted for long hours accompanied with mild music from Gangster and Bluffmaster to name a few. We were welcomed by Asheesh at his place. The apartment complex was prettty cool. The weather offcourse rox in pune. After freshening up and 'checking mails' we went for breakfast. While waiting for others, Gaurav and I went for a small walk inside the township and came across some good eye-tonic. There was a small swimming pool also beside the tennis court for entertainment in the township.

After a good south indina breakfast in which we ate lots of Vadas and Dosas we started our way to Panchgani. It was really raining very badly. On our way we stopped at a Shop as Vidit and Gaurav went for shopping for stuff that matters. There were some landmarks on the way with very funny names like 'khadi machine' on the way. The journey was pretty cool with rains all around. The roads outside pune are also good and unbroken (unlike inside pune).

At one of our stops we came across someone who we thought of offering a lift. But that someone boarded a bus and we followed it for pretty long. Well! the bus offcourse couldnot cope with the speed of our Qualis so we went ahead. Our next stop was close to a very green hill which some of us thought of climbing. Rakesh and Nirnimesh climbed it to a good height whereas Gaurav and I came back from half way. Climbing a hill is not as difficult as coming down. I was wearing slippers and offcourse they were slipping every now and then ;). One bad slip and I would have saved a lot of energy which I used while coming down. Call it outsourcing to Gravity ;) . Nitin's slippers broke down on his way up so he came down pretty early with Ketan. In the mean time Vidit was busy clicking pics for all of us. After coming down we were bidding goodbyes to all the vehicles and the people inside but it looked like they were not interested and so were giving us curious looks. Huh! these serious people. Guess both of us were thinking the same thing - 'these people are crazy'.

We reached panchgani after asking the way to lots of people and every one had similar answers - "yahan se straight fir left se right' or 'seedha, ek dum seedha' (even if there is a deadend :D). Well! thanks to all the direction-tellers we finally reached the intended place. These hillstations have a funny taxation policy. Not just the vehicle but they charge money for every person entering. Panchgani - 20rs for vehicle and 10rs/person. Huh! god bless tourists. The first place we went in panchgani was 'sydney point'. Dont know why such a name, but place was out of the world.

The place has nothing, only a small hill top with a railing to stop people from falling directly. But beauty is not in the view, its the endless and unstoppable wind that makes it worth visiting. The wind was so furious that it could have thrown anyone imbalanced. Unlike others who take the road to reach the top of the sydney point, Me and nirnimesh took the path (not the road) less travelled. It was a direct way up the hill made of rocks and mud. We could have directly fallen down had there not been a metal pipe which I guess has only been put there to save lives ;). We held that pipe and climbed up and reached more than 10 minutes before others.

It was not raining heavily, but wind was making up for it. If the rain hits your face rather than your head, it becomes really difficult to stay put. We were being thrown around by the ferocious winds and the rains but even though the pain, the experience was worth staying for. We stood at the corner and faced the wind/rain head on. Fully drenched , we still stayed and laughed and shouted and photographed :).

After coming down we went to the market where we ate very sweet corn and great espresso coffee in a small restaurant. Hot samosas from a nearby halwai added to the experience. Our next destination was the 'table top' which every one was eagerly waiting for and it was indeed worth the wait.

Table top (or table view) is really a great place. The top of the hill is more than few football grounds put together in length and width. No hills were visible around this one. It looked like we are at the top of the world. After walking few steps and reaching the corner we could see the other small hills. While we were in the middle we were seeing something funny on the corner of the hill. There was some small fountain type of thing at the corner and water was coming out of it on the hill. It was like a reverse waterfall. We didnt quiet understand it. It was only after reaching the point of that phenomenon we realized what it was.

The rainwater that was falling down the hill from corners was actually blown off by the wind on the reverse direction, and it was coming back on the hill like a water-climb (derived from water-fall :D). It was really interesting. As we walked around we came across people playing Football on the football ground at the top of this hill. Yes! a football ground on the top of hill. People really have a sense of humour.

In few minutes it started raining pretty wildly and all the football players left the hill with a big family that had come to see the place (big as in 10+ ppl - thanks to family planning). We 7 were the only people left on the hill. There was really no place on the hill to hide. Only grass and small shrubs covered the whole hill. Special thanks to the rains that we couldnt take any photo on the hill :( . There was a big triangular hill touching the table top as looked from distance. We thought of going till there. Human sight is really very weak. What looked like hardly a kilometer away was more than 3-4 kms away. After going through half way, getting tired and drenched in rain we thought of going back. Nirnimesh who was leading the way with Rocky and me had fallen straight down once already. We still decided to go on and on. Gaurav, myself, Nir and Rocky were the first few to reach the end. The funny thing was that it was just a corner of the same hill and was totally disconnected from the triangular hill we wanted to visit. We cursed for a while made few stupid poses and started back. The rain was in opposite direction which we didnt realized while going forward as it was hitting our backs. Now it was hitting our faces, so it became all the more difficult.

On our way we got strong doubts of whether we will be able to reach home, but we did. We were the survivors :) . We celebrated our survival by having 2+ cups of tea each on the dhaba who gave us a grand discount of 4 Rupees for charging us 7rs a cup and taking 14 glasses of tea. We tried to dry up ourselves which was a herculean task and took a hotel in panchgani itself. The hotel was decent enough - Summer palace (summers? in mahabaleswar).

The morning was beautiful with a little bit of sunlight. Our wet clothes were packed in polythene bags which we had taken with us (thanks to Tarun and Raj for the warning). Vidit was really amused with the photograph he took of Nirnimesh bathing. We had a nice big breakfast with bread-omlett and poha with Tea.

The way to mahabaleswar was equally good. There were small waterfalls all over the place and it was raining real bad. We hired a guide who took us to Kates/echo/needle point. Kates point is named so because a daughter of a british guy died there when her horse went mad (what a story). Its called needle point because there is a big needle like strucutre at the corner of the hill which also looks like an elephant trunk. Nature is really funny to have so many interesting structures all over the place (remember the Santro car rock behind IIIT hostel). The waterfall close by was very inviting and so we decided to pay a visit. We entered the waters and crossed the waterfall to reach the other side. It was pretty exciting. After playing in waters for sometime we decided to start off for pratap garh fort (its hard to remember the name, I referred it as paharganj and pitampura all the time during the trip).

The pratapgarh fort was pretty interesting with lots of great intellectual architectural pieces in it. The twisted stair case because of which it looks like a straight wall and to avoid Elephants from climbing up, the watchtowers from which one guy could take on 600+ armymen at once, the suicide point from where betrayors were thrown down in a closed bori, the shiva statue (made by pandit nehru), and the slippery stairs. Everything was coool. The visibilty was pretty low due to the strong fog which reminded me of the winter tution classes at early morning 5:00 few years back.

On our way back to pune we had plans to stop at a waterfall. We stopped at two of them. One for purely photographic purposes and the other for bathing. The waterfall was real cool. It felt like stones were dropping right on our heads and it was really difficult to stay under that for long. That was our last encounter with waters so we dried up and changed to take our way back to pune.

On our way to pune we came across a very beautiful road which was in the middle of green grounds at both sides. There were hills visible around and a tunnel which we had just crossed. The place was too good so we stopped for a while. The road was pretty wide and one could easily touch 120+ on it. It was all clear of traffic mostly so we had a small football game also ;)) . After some good time we started again towards pune.

We had our dinner in pune at a bakery and that was our last stop. The next was only on a dhaba for driver's dinner where we played with the football for some time. The star player was Rocky with his strength filled leg which was boucing the ball in all directions. His head butt sent the ball across the road in total dark.

Reached home at 6:00 o'clock after a speedy drive (thanks to the driver) . It took us only 8 1/2 hours to come from pune to hyderabad. We were really tired after a nightlong drive and a pretty hectic trip that we slept in the morning. I got up at 10:30 to go to office :) . The next day I slept for full 13 hours in the night to get over the tireness.

Looking forward for another trip like this one. By the way! this was a very trip 2.0 :) (couresy nirnimesh).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

excess of baggage..

I am not talking about luggage, but referring to personal emotional baggage that people carry around. I was just thinking a few days back about relations and friends and all things attached with them, so this idea came to my mind.

What is friendship? Hmm! Well asking such a question after 22 years of being with friends is indeed silly. But really what is it. I used to position Friendship above all the relations defined by our society. Thats the reason why I treat even my relatives as friends. For e.g. My sister and my parents are very good friends of mine. We all know that friendship doesnt have boundaries of age, gender etc so we can very well generalize all relation in terms of friendship.

Taking my life 5 years back when I had joined IIIT. I (like all of us) made lots of new friends (yeah same month, july 2001) with very varied backgrounds. All of them were from different parts of country. Completing the graduation took 4 years so we needed friends away from home to share our feelings with and have fun with. We used to have fights and we used to make up after few days laughing over it and getting rid of any grudges.

When we were in institute we had only a fixed number of people around us, and all those were divided into groups. So any particular group was tightly coupled and having 2 people in one group not talking to each other was not very much possible. Even if those 2 didnt feel uncomfortable, others would, and so the group will force them to talk and make up. I still remember lots of incidents like that. But life is different now.

We are not as close now as we were then. Yes! we are still good friends, we still share everything, we still trust each other and can count on them but there is a difference. Now we go to office, go to parties, meet new interesting people and make new friends every now and then. As the number of people we know (read new friends) increase , the time we spend with any of them decreases. Now we dont roam around , chat as much in fixed groups as we did in our college (graduation). I dont remember when was the last time when 4-5 of us had a big long discussion about anything over a coffee or in someone's room . Now we just chat when we go out for a movie, shopping etc. And we dont discuss anything other than just the things at hand like what movie to go, what to buy.

So to sum things up I would say that the spark in our friendship has gone away. I am probably wrong but thats what I feel as of now. I was always trying to shrug that feeling off but now I cant do it any more.

But isnt that better. If I am not able to stay with an old friend because of some ego clashes or small fights, I have so many other people to spend time with and be friends with. So am I wrong if I just leave that friend and continue with new ones? We already dont have enough time in today's world for lots of things, so is it worth to keep clinging to relations that do not work ? Probably thats the reason why there are so many break-ups, divorces all around because people just want to spend the time they find for themselves enjoying rather than making up the broken relations.

I was having a discussion about this issue with a close friend and I was telling him that its better nowadays to roam around with any body , chat with anyone who is around you rather than always calling your old pals who would be mostly busy. Also we wont have to waste time over trivial issues from past. Even our atmostphere supports this behaviour. We keep changing companies, places etc, so staying with those few old friends forever is not possible. So we should get used to finding new people and live in the moment.

Basically, we should not keep a lot of personal baggage...Find new people make new friends and part ways happily with those you can not stay any longer with :) Afterall we came to the universe alone and have to leave alone too..

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

bike trip to bhuvangiri fort..

A wonderful sunday, 4 funloving friends, cloudy sky, a straight and low traffic road and a nice ride of 60kms to bhongir. Went to bhuvangiri fort last sunday, 4 of us including me, Nitin, Manoj and Gaurav. Though there were various roadblocks and delays but we finally made it. Had come to know about the place through a colleague (Thanks Ankur) so thought of exploring the place. Who cared of the fort, it was the ride that we were looking forward to.

We went on my Avenger and Nitin's Karizma, the drive was fantastic. Started at 4:00 from Hyderabad Central where we Packed Samosas/kachoris and lots of drinking water for creating a picnic atmosphere :). While on our way we came across a huge lake and s had to meet.o we diverted from the main road and took the bikes just metres away from the lake. It was a bit sunny but the Gods of wind were all on our side. On the way there is a long and clean road on which we raced our bikes. I took my Avenger at 100kmph for the first time :) and it was as stable as at 60. Avenger Rocks.

Reached bhuvangiri around 5:15 and the fort was very much visible. Sitting tall on a giant plateau, it looked pretty cool. We parked the bikes and started our way up. After various short breaks in which we discussed how the kings and queens lived in these forts and how this fort had been a tourist spot had it been in main hyderabad we reached close to top of fort. We had taken a wrong way up and so the only way to the top of the fort/plateaue was trekking on rocks. Nitin and Manoj stayed back and Gaurav and I proceeded. It was almost 45 degree slope and we were petrified when we looked down. The best way to survive was to go on and on and so we did. After reaching the top we were happy that we were alive :) . There was a haunted house on the hill which was abandoned. We entered and found all broken walls and windows. Took some photos imagining that a ghost will come in the background but nothing like that happened :( .

The most amazing part was the two large pools of water built inside the rocky plateau itself. We called Manoj and Nitin also as we had found another way to go down. We were wating on the cannon that was lying at the top of a small room like structure. After they came we ate samosas and kachoris ;) . The scene around was beautiful. The whole plateaue was surrounded by green fields and palm trees on one side and small houses on other. We could clearly see the road which we had come from. After spending some time there we started coming down rolling and falling on the rocks ;) .

Reached the bottom pretty quickly and started our way back. Again the ride was great except that it was pitch dark at some places and we could not drive very fast. We stopped at a dhaba to eat some pakoras as it was drizzling a bit but got only tea in the dhaba. There was a big traffic jam because of some road construction work but the drive was pretty smooth. After coming back everyone's back was paining :) but thanks to my comfortable Avenger, Gaurav and I were saved from the pain.

Reached home and slept like dogs, Nitin had to take the next day off due to serious back pain. It was our first long ride on bikes, plan to have some more of such kind :D.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Airtel: ek baar bhi connection laga ke to dekho..

nigahen nigahon se mila ke dekho...the brand campaign of Airtel has done real well..But what good is the marketing, if the service sux so badly. I have seen many people who switched to or took airtel just because of its popularity and marketing strategies. But all in vague..

I took Airtel connection around 2 years back for my first phone (Nokia N-gage). I changed the handset , but not the number. I could have switched to a corporate connection, a BSNL, a postpaid or whatever. But I didnt because I was "happpy" with Airtel.

"Fate! I guess, is not without a sense of irony." (Morpheus!) that I am being forced to change my connection now. Since 3 weeks Airtel is $ucking big time. Not just my connection, but the whole god-damn network is kinda down. Whenever someone calls me he gets the sukking

"This phone is currently switched off, or out of coverage area" crap

Well! if Madhapur/Hitech region is 'out of coverage area' then really Airtel will lose not less than 1 lac customers. We (Three of us) called the customer support 2 weeks back and got all crap from them.

"No sir, the network is totally fine"
"Please get your handset checked by the nearest Airtel office"

I have missed so many important calls and so many SMSes that I feel like SUEing Airtel. But Alas! I dont have the time and money to fight against them. My phone is lying like that deadphone in Flop-show of Jaspal bhatti which rings only once in a while. I have waited long enough for Airtel to "de-bug" this problem. Cant help it if they cant make things working in 3 weeks...and pi$$ all their customers off so badly...

GoodBye Airtel!!!
I hope this message is spread across people and nobody takes Airtel connection.

PS: If anyone from Airtel reads this, file a de-famat1on suite against me, I will atleast SUE you in return...

Friday, June 9, 2006

Google Research prototypes ads based on TV

A team from Google Research has developed a prototype system that uses a home computer’s internal microphone to listen to the ambient audio in a room, determine what is being watched on TV and offer web-based supplemental information, services and shopping contextual to each program being watched.

Its really wonderful to see how Google is gaining its grasp over internet, but isnt there a limit? Users might really like to know some details about stuff they are watching on Television but this really looks like an overkill. Finding what a person is watching on TV is too personal to be sent over internet. Obviously the microphone thats taking input 10 feet away from TV wont leave the conversation the user is having with a friend or a business partner. Now who will filter that information? May be google will come up with another tool that would enhance privacy for its users.

Privacy concerns were addressed in the prototype by compressing captured audio on the user’s computer before transmitting summary data to the database for comparison and by offering a mute button in the program. Given Google’s recent ethical issues, these privacy measures may not be enough to assuage some people.
Reference : www.techcrunch.com (http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/06/08/google-research-prototypes-ambient-audio-contextual-content/)

Monday, June 5, 2006

trip to srisailem

A trip so good that it brought me back to blogging world after full 40 days and 40 nights (no other meanings intended ;)). Amit, Manjeet, Nitin and I went to srisailem last weekend in indicab. After few small delays in the morning (2 hrs, thanks to AC) we started off at 7:30. The climate was in our favour all along. Thank god for that. The onward journey was pretty good with a break in an udupi hotel (thanks to AC for the great vadas we had which are nowhere available in hyderabad ;)). We had plans of going by bikes but due to some last minute (read week) changes we switched to a better means of roaming (i.e. taxi). And obviously, we are not regretting it. We saw 3 accidents in all. A bike and a scooter, an overturned auto (in front of our eyes :(, 3 seconds more and it would have hit our car :( ), and a bike hit a cow (the guy was injured badly).

The first beautiful stop was appx 70-100 kms before srisailem i.e. Dindi Dam. It was really good to see the vast water body. It looked like a sea shore with a dam (damn! thats not possible). The breeze was real cool. Curious to know the temperature of water, AC almost drowned himself. Alas! he didnt and we had to go through his torture all through the trip. We spent little time in Dindi and moved forward. The next stop was the Temple.

It was some 'Ayappa-sth' temple (sorry to forget the name). We were told (by AC) that the darshan would take nearly 3 hours, but we were through in 1/2 hour itself :D. It was a bit sunny but still climate was cool enough. There were so many gods in the temple that I got confused :(. Bothra god ashirwaad from a cute Elephant who took dakshina in its trunk. It had started raining already so we decided to take a hotel.

We took a room in Ganga Sadan.An okie dokie place to stay for night. We checked in and after putting our stuff decided to go for lunch. The lunch was close to pathetic. I dont know why but there doesnt seem to be any decent place in Srisailem to eat (finding north indian food is close to impossible..may be because mostly south indian frequent to that place). After lunch we had to visit another temple and then had to go to the Ghat for boating.

The weather was still cool. We reached the Ghat around 4:30 or so and went for boating. We had plans of playing Cricket with those already playing on ghat but the plans didnt materialize. The boat was very different from a traditional boat. It was shaped like a tasla (the small thing in which labors carry cement/bricks) and made up of mostly bamboo sticks and painted black with tarcoal from bottom. It could carry 10 people at one time but we were only 4 :) . There were plenty of fishes in the water. The shore was mostly rocky so walking barefoot was a pain, but we managed :) . After the ride Manjeet wanted to get into the river for bath. Initially I was ready but after seeing fishes inside I was a bit hesistant. Nitin had brought his laptop so we thought of finding a place where we could sit and watch a movie :D . But finally I ditched Nitin :( and went with AC and Manjeet to take bath in the waters.

God blesses us as soon as we got into water with rain. The whole place was isolated with people running for shade. Only some jigar-walas (read strong people) like us were still inside the water. The whole place around looked awesome with lush green watery hills and rain. It was awesome. We played in water until rain stopped. Nitin came back and took some photos :( .
We went for another ride in the boat and came out. While coming back to main srisailem from ghat we stopped at a site-seeing point. Bothra ate a chocobar (highly recommended to all icecream lovers if they want to stop eating ;)) and we took coffee which was really good. Bothra had heard of some tunnel where there are lotsa bats and all. The place sounded pretty creepy but we decided to give it a try.

It was 7:30 when we reached close to that place. But when we enquired we came to know that we have to take a trolley and a boat (32 kms by water) to reach that place which is anyway closed for some reason temporarily. There was another place shikharam which we had thought of going as a fallback option but on enquiring we came to know that its closed too for the day. So there was nothing left but to get back to our hotel and having dinner.

The dinner at punami hotel's restaurant was still ok. The thali was pretty good for famished people like us. The hotel looked really good though a bit expensive (for staying). We had planned to go to a quiet place with some scenic beauty in the night but all of us were very tired as we had slept less the previous night (thanks to oracle party :) and the gr8 DJ night) and had travelled most of the day. So we retired to our hotel room and watched YUVA.

Bad habits die hard. We could have slept at 10:30 but we stayed awake till 2:00 and played dumb-charades :D. Me and AC had a team and Manjeet and Nitin were the opponents. We fought/shouted so many times that I cant forget that night ;)) . Finally we slept around 2:00 AM.

The next morning was equally beautiful. We got up and ready and left the hotel for breakfast. We played football (with hands and a cricket ball) on the table of that restaurant by passing kicks (or hands :P). After breakfast we went straight to the trolley/boating place and took the trolley ride. The view was breathtaking from there. After getting down from the trolley there were two ways. One was to the boat ride (only boat ride as the caves/temple were closed) and other was an isolated broken track to nowhere. Obviously we took the isolated track. After moving for say half a kilometre and finding nothing we started throwing stones in river. Now we were not sure of whether the stones were reaching water or not. So we applied our physics skills and discussed at what angle the stone should be thrown to reach maximum distance. We literally drew diagrams, sat and started (Manjeet started) deriving the equations and the relation between distance, time and theta. Huh! after 1/2 hour or so we thought better not to waste gr8 time and enjoy. We came back and were pretty tired and thirsty. AC drank 3 Mazaas after that. We discussed about our next trip to Andaman nicobar and after the discussion we had frustrated AC so much that he was fuming with anger (What an oxymoron, fuming AC ;) ).

We went to shikharam from there and the temple was beautiful. There was a giant iron structure (around 40 feet or more) which was in the shape of shivling and had bulbs on its body. The bulbs are turned on in the night and the lighted shivling looks beautiful from far. The air here was better than anywhere in Srisailem. We could not help giving other people the way to go ahead to stay there longer. We came down and started our journey back to Hyderabad and reached pretty quick. It had started raining on our way back and 1/4 rainbow was also visible. The journey was cool (as in wow! cool) and cool (as in cold cool) :D.

After coming back we saw all pics and went to Nihal to eat. Though we felt that we were not hungry but because of eating bad food for 2 days we ate alot in Nihal :D. I slept for 11 hours in the night and am still feeling sleepy and can bet that others are feeling similar :D.

Srisailem Ratings:
place: 3.5/5 (for general people) 4.5/5 (for religious people).
time to visit: Visit in rainy season or winters
must see: ghat, the main sri-sailem temple, shikharam temple and the trolley ride
places to stay: hotels on main road (ganga sadan (3.5/5), and one adjacent to it, or punami hotel)
how to go: if u r adventure crazy go by bikes, else play safe and take a taxi
time in srisailem: One day trip is enough if you dont have enough time, else stay for the night and get out second day's afternoon.