Friday, June 19, 2009

The winner stands alone

So after travelling for a couple of weeks I was back home and I was getting bored. So I did something which, under ideal circumstances, I would never do. I borrowed a Paulo Cohelo novel from my dad to pass the time by.

The winner stands alone by Paulo Cohelo - to be honest this one wasn't half as bad as his other novels which I have read. Now don't take this wrongly ( and fan boys please don't come breathing down on my neck ). But I never seem to get around to understanding his stories. A friend once told me that this is because his stories have spiritual and moral values which I would never understand. That may be true and I do prefer stories which have storytelling values rather than any other kind of values!!

This story is about a love-burnt man (aren't we all ;) ) and his quest to get his ex-wife back from the grasp of her current husband by showing her just how much he loves her and the lengths he's ready to go for her. ( he fails ) Wrapped around a world of fame, glitz,glamour, fashion and of course the movie stars and the superclass and set amidst the Cannes film festival.

The time duration of the story is small, less than 24 hours. As a result the story doesn't really progress much, but the author has done a great job at narrating what goes on in the character's minds rather than in the real world. With lots of back history about each character ( even those which are going to be killed off minutes later ) and very insightful views about the back-stage happenings about their line of work ( which is where the author's research really shows ), the reader connects with each and every character. But the flow of the story leaves something to be desired. The ending ,especially, seems to be haphazardly put together. Some people may blame the duration of the story for that, but I believe it to be the culprit as there have been novels which have been quite as insightful, with equally livid characters and quite as short durations but much better storylines than this. Take for example "Airport" or "Evening News", both by Arthur Hailey.

But it would be wrong on my part not to acknowledge the positive parts of the book. The book is very insightful. It tells us a lot about the world of glamour as to what exactly goes on in the lives of those who are a cog in that industry as opposed to what the world sees. The characters are very lividly portrayed, as a result a reader can connect with even the most minor of the characters. And the emotional/spiritual thoughts going on in every character's minds have been very nicely conveyed by the author.
But sadly, I'm not the kind of reader who is easily bought over by such things. I strongly believe that the engine of every novel should be the story itself, which is exactly where this novel fails.

So for those who are into such kind of stories would be overwhelmed by the piece of literature which is "the winner stands alone". But my personal advice would be to stay away from it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Holiday in Goa

Goa is truly a paradise on Earth. I've visited Goa a number of times now, but somehow, every visit is unique and exciting. I always get to see some new fa├žade of this marvellous tourist haunt. But during this time of the year, the trademark beaches of Goa are not the places to go. The rains are coming down heavily and the waters are way too dangerous to wade onto.

So we looked at the other side of Goa. The truly beautiful Goa. We visited the hill stations in and around Goa, waterfalls, forts and much more. These places are far much more beautiful than the beaches for which Goa is well known throughout India and even abroad. And much much more so during the rains. The greenery, the fog, the chill, water trickling down waterfalls. This is the true beauty of Goa. To top it all, my movement in Goa was totally unrestricted as I took my dZire with me. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I drove for a total of almost 1700 kms from Bombay to Goa and back, and also within Goa.



Three more Kings

Me, Adnan and Alok at Three Kings' Point

Off Roaded

Safari : Off-Roaded


Hell, me and my friends even had an Off -Roading session wherein we put Priyesh's Safari through the worst nature could offer. It was totally soo much fun. I think I might be falling in love with SUV's - whom I usually despise.

For more pictures visit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/peekay5000/sets/72157619438345484/


Reg,
PeeKay

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ultimate oneliners

I just got back from a trip to Goa and I'm too exhausted to write a decent post. So I'm going just pull out an old collection of jokes and onliners stashed somewhere on my hard drive and post them here.
I don't really remember where I got them from but I did see them on some website which had listed a few hundred of them and I kept my most favourite ones ..

  • Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
  • I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station..
  • Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?
  • Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.
  • Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. "Yes" is the answer.
  • The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
  • I like work. It fascinates me. I sit and look at it for hours.
  • Women may not hit harder, but they hit lower.
  • Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
  • Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
Caio,
PeeKay

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekend in Baroda

I've just come back from a visit to Chirag in Baroda... or for those who prefer the politically correct name - Vadodara .  I really had a rockin' time there.
(From left to right ) Chirag Shah, Me, Ronak Patel and Shiven Singla

See full size | More Pics

Baroda is a real cool place ! Where else on the face of this third rock from the sun can you find monkeys and peacocks roaming around freely side-by-side alongside modern urban lifestyle. Not to mention, amazing food!!!!
The people are very relaxed and friendly. The climate is nice and cool ( compared to B'Bay ). I really liked the city.

And after touring the city, We headed off to Ronak Patel's ( good friend of mine ) farmhouse. We had a nice pool side party. I agree that the "pool" is much more of a "pond", but it still kicks @ss !! The party was extreme and went right into the wee hours of the morning.

Sadly, Chirag had to go off to work and I had to head off somewhere else, so I had to leave quickly, but I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Vadodara Baroda and I'm looking forward to go there soon again.

For more pics check out : http://www.flickr.com/photos/37329938@N03/sets/72157619056558249

Reg,
PeeKay
in total 'Party' mood

Monday, May 25, 2009

OMG!!

OMG!! Looks like none of my posts have been published this month.

I decided to post by e-mail / mobile blogging this month. However it seems like everything just went to drafts rather than get published... And so apparently nothing was being posted while i was always writing posts regularly,.. i realy was ...

I know excuses are excuses, and i'll look into it that such things won't ever happen again.. I'm remedying the situation and publishing all the posts now.

Thanks to Jason_crazee for pointing this out. I.O.U.1

Reg,
PeeKay

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ocean's 40

This is funny :


thanks to how it should have ended for a hilariously funny video

Reg,
PeeKay

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things the future generaion will never understand

So I was viewing this blog post  ( must visit ) , and I realised that, albeit funny, this is matter also has a very serious note to it.

And that is because it is true. It happens to be especially true in case of technologies. I'm willing to bet that a very few of us may remember things like betamax , 8 tack tapes , Commodore 64 , Laser Disc , flash bulbs with flash powder or even the Morse Code and Telegraph services and many more important technological landmarks which were around just about a couple of decades back. With such technological breakthroughs being left completely obsolete and completely forgotten, how long will it be when modern technology may be no longer remembered.

Imagine what a time it would be! One might get to see optical mice not at the latest computer stores but in museums. Media's like the CD which are already dying fast will be long forgotten in just a few years. Newer technologies like DVD's and Blu-Ray discs are bound to have even shorter life spans. But from an engineering point of view, is it really a good thing forgetting these basics of technology. A classic example of this is the Laser Disc. Ever since the Laser Disc was invented, there hasn't been mush development in fundamentally different modes of storing data. The CDs, DVDs and the now recent Blu-Ray discs are basically just improvement on the LaserDisc. The laser disc has basically just been scaled down and more information has been crammed into it by packing it closer together.

As i say this I am remembered of a scene in the Jurassic Park movie. You might remember Jeff Goldblum's character - Iam Malcolm - saying ,in effect, that when we don't understand technology, when we don't respect the basic technology, technology won't respect us. So I wonder, will someday, this all come back  to bite us right in the *ss ...

Reg,
PeeKay

Ian MalcolmThe problem with scientific power you've used is it

didn't require any discipline to attain it.  You read
 what others had done and you took the next step.  You
 didn't earn the knowledge yourselves, so you don't take
 the responsibility for it.  You stood on the shoulders
 of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you
 could, and before you knew what you had, you patented
 it, packaged it, slapped in on a plastic lunch box, and
 now you want to sell it.
Jurassic Park ( 1993 ), Original story by Michael Crichton ( 1990 ) 

The images have been taken form Los Cuatro Ojos ( http://loscuatroojos.com / )

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Accident!!!

It's been a baaad day for my car.

Firstly, early in the afternoon, I back it into a pillar in a parking lot at a mall, completely damaging the rear bumper and boot lid. One of the tail lights cracks up too.

Then, when I'm manoeuvring through the tight streets in a village in Thane, some biker scrapes past it leaving a long full length scratch on the side.

And finally when I arrive back from some shopping, I find out that some street /stray dogs decided to climb onto the car whilst it was in the parking, laving their nail marks all over the bonnet, the roof and the boot.

I'm in soo much pain right now, I don't know what to do. I wonder how much of it will get covered under Insurance. I guess I'll just have to leave the dog marks for now and get the rest of the things done. It really has  been a sad sad day for me. And what lesson have I learned form this :
 Speed isn't the enemy, the lack of it is. ;) ( I've never have had an accident at high speed, all of my 9 or so accident experiences have been at low speed , or when completely stationary. )

POST NOTE : ( 7th May 2009 ) -  Well today wasn't such a good day either. Some guy drove right into my vehicle while I was overtaking , just off the express way. :(( I feel like crying...

Monday, May 4, 2009

the rundown on 5800 and the iPhone ( 5800 vs iPhone )

The two phones are an amazing piece of technology which are both unbeatable in their own class. So there is actually no real choice between the two as they both cater to people of different needs. While the 5800 may bowl one over with amazing usability and versatility, but then, when it comes to looks, ease of use and the style factor, not to mention the respect that comes with the "i", there is simply no match for the iPhone ( and may not be one in the near future )

With that out of the way, there are many difference in the two and I'm going to highlight the things that really matter to me :


Why 5800 is better than iPhone :


Pricing :  At 32,00 INR the iPhone is almost double the moolah you pay for the Nokia 5800

Input : The 5800 features multi-input methods like single handed ( alphanumeric ), double handed ( full qwerty ) , plectrum ( mini qwerty ) and stylus ( handwriting )
  The handwriting recognition really works and has since become my preferred choice of input because of its unmatched speed and accuracy. This is the first phone where handwriting recognition is actually a viable method of input and not just a fancy show piece.

Screen : The screen is admittedly smaller than iPhone, but by a mere 0.3 inches, But where the 5800 shines is in having excellent resolution ( 1.5 times the number of pixels as compared to the iPhone). What this translates to is ofcourse - breathtaking video playback !!

GPS : The GPS is not restricted to just online maps. You got preloaded maps with realtime voice assisted navigation . You can also see the raw GPS data. Not to mention third party applications which can tap into the GPS allowing you to make best use of the phone GPS in a number of applications like tracker, exercise manager and much more.

Camera : The camera features a higher MP rating. Though the major improvement is the dual-LED flash, video recording and secondary camera for video calling and self portraits. Also a Carl-Zeiss lens results in highly quality images ( Albeit, only in sufficient light scenarios ).  Sadly, the iPhone doesn't even support video recording.

Video / Audio Playback : Support for a large variety of formats ( which can be easily extended by third party software ).  Stereo FM is also supported. And as mentioned, the video playback is simply superb.

Ringtones : I can use mp3 files as ringtones, even video ringtones are supported. And I can also simply copy some files from my PC and use my own ringtones. This really beats the iPhone hands down where I have to pay to download new ringtones.

Bluetooth : The bluetooh functionality of the 5800 is very extended as compared to iPhone as it can be used to send files, vCard data ( contact information), supports stereo headsets, and i can also use it as a modem.

Memory : 5800 has a small inbuilt memory but comes with a 8gb external memory card which can be easily upgraded.  The iPhone has the option of 8 or 16 gb, but no upgrade options available. The memory can also be used as a mass storage device to store your files upon, which is not possible in the iPhone

Other factors : The 5800 can be connected to a TV via the supplied AV out cables which is totally cool.
Also the support for 3rd party software is unparalled . This is further strengthened with the fact that the 5800 is binary compatible with Nokia's s60 v3 software.

Where the 5800 sucks :
( Why the iPhone is still the ruler )

  • The camera may support a higher resolution, but the camera is quite noisy in low light situations. The noise is reduced in the latest firmware upgrades, but it is still a standing issue.
  • The iPhone can be easily synced with your PC's music library, an experience which is not so good when it comes to the 5800. 
  • The 5800 may be binary compatible with s60v3 software, but then such software is not optimized for use with a touch UI and can be a pain to use at times. 
  • The 5800 available in India is a crippled one with certain features missing like sharing online with flickr and ovi.
  • The battery life of 5800 is extremely short. If you plan to use the GPS as a navigation tool, don't even dream to do it without a car charger. Although the claimed music playback time in 5800 is almost 10 hrs more than the iPhone, but then  you are not going to be doing nothing but listen to music for 34 hrs!!!In fact, the only point where the battery of 5800 excels compared to the iPhone is in the fact that it is replaceable, so you could carry spare(s) in case of a long outing.
     ( As pointed out by Shikar, this may be a one-off problem with my battery, So standby while I check it out )
  • The user interface doesn't seem optimized for touch usage and as such it feels bit odd navigating around the phone especially with the double taps required at certain points. In comparison, the navigation in the iPhone is a breeze.
  • The looks of the phone and the UI both could use a makeover.
The verdict :
Does the Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic dominate over the all-powerful iPhone.
It's a resounding NO,
 but Nokia with it advanced features and high availability of 3rd party extensions clearly dominates certain fields and as such with a few minor improvements like a better streamlined UI, cleaner camera ( image stability or maybe a larger surface area of CCD), and a reworked battery ; it would really take over the iPhone.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

voting for a change!!!!

The day's finally here...
Its time to vote..
...for the very first time ( for me ).
I read a particular blog just as I was about to leave for voting and I almost changed my mind against it.

Then my mind ran back to a couple of months ago... Me and a friend were driving along when we met in an accident. As luck would have it, the other driver involved was the son of a politician who happened to be in power. In spite of it being his fault, he raised a ruckus as summoned an group of people who just demanded that I hand him money. Even the concerned politician called me and threatened to beat me if I didn't pay up. When I suggested that he get the job done in insurance, he just would not listen and went ahead to procure a rod with which he threatened to wreck my car. After a long time and numerous threats ( and a whole lot of bargaining ) I had no other option but to pacify him with some money.

At the time I was very angered. All politicians are just the same , said I . Why should I vote for such thugs and mobsters ? And I decided never to vote again... It was another one of my friends who said - You may not vote, but it won't stop others from voting. Others like the people who brought the concerned politician in power.
And this is why I voted - I voted for a change - Not so much in favour of a particular politician for him to win, but against the others  like the one whom I mentioned, so that people like him wouldn't come to power. I know every politician is pure evil, but given the options, isn't it our duty to choose the lesser of the two evils ?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nokia 5800

As I mentioned earlier, it was time for me to get a new phone and after a lot of research I finally got the new Nokia 5800. It's an amazing piece of technology which I feel is really destined to give Apple a run for it's money.


The touch screens is totally awesome. WiFi support is great  - I can get Wi-Fi networks long after I've lost the range on my laptop. GPS receiver is sweet and the it has nifty built-in software for using it. Nokia maps come with preloaded maps on India, and they seem to be highly accurate. A 3 month subscription of Nokia's voice guided navigation system is also available. Even the multimedia capabilities of the device are great. The music player is the standard N series music player with playlist support. The 3.5 MP camera is also totally awesome. The multiple input methods ensure that I have a wide options while entering data so I can use which ever I find most comfortable at the moment. The handwriting recognition is soo sweet!!! It the most accurate one I've seen to date! And quite fast too. The pricing is also much more competitive compared to other phones I considered.

So how does it compare to the iPhone? Well I can't really tell you that truly without playing with this first. So I'll be spending some more time with this piece and I'll let you know of the verdict later.

Posted originally via my brand new Nokia 5800, edited later on a pc.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

from Hyderabad to Shirdi

I've just come back from an impromptu trip to Hyderabad with Alok. We were just sitting around doin' nothing when we hit upon the idea of going to Hyderabad, after all, it isn't too far away isn't it? Just about 11 hours by road from here, and Alok already has a home there. So, on just a few hours notice we couldn't possibly find a train ticket so we went there by bus. It was indeed an interesting journey.

I haven't got much to say right now as I've just got home, and I'll be getting ready, about a few hours of sleeping and dashing right off to Shirdi - another thing we thought of on the way back. I'll post more about my trips ( or should I just look at it just one single long trip ? ) when I get back.

Also, I got a new cell phone. I'll post about it whilst I'm en route to Shirdi - I'm looking forward to blog via my new phone.

Caio.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2 iPhone or not 2 iPhone

My old Nokia has practically one foot in Davy Jone's Locker and so it's time to hunt for another mobile. I was totally into getting an iPhone and thank the heavens I decided to do a bit of research first. The first hurdle was of course getting hold of some reliable information as the most of the articles out there are crowded by Apple Fanboys. I finally happened about a few great articles about the iPhone and why it is not a good choice. Although an iPhone is still in the consideration I'll mostly be ditching if for the following reasons.

Why not ?

  1.  Ridiculously expensive
  2. Locked to particular network
  3. Battery irreplaceable
  4. No video recording
  5. No GPS navigation. The SDK doesn't even allow for 3rd party alternatives.
  6. Inability to use my own ring tones.
  7. Can't use as a modem,
  8. No flash
  9. Can't delete individual calls or messages
  10. No vioce dialling and poor speed dialling
That being said, there are still quite many things which make the iPhone stand out, like..

  1. Cool looks
  2. Incredibly clean and effective user interface
  3. Multi touch implementation, though flawed, still looks and feels very cool pinching your pics to zoom in on them.
  4. Accelerometer ensures optimal use of screen real estate by resizing and reorienting your content as you tilt the phone
  5. High quality multimedia experience.
So I'll be heading to the store in a couple of days and let you know what I get. Keep tuned.

Sorry about the delay

Its been quite some time since I posted. This is mainly due to my blogger's infamous "Page Not Found" error running rampant on the blog. But I belayed reporting it as there was a maintenance scheduled on 16th April and it's a well known fact that blogger starts misbehaving a lot during maintenance time. Well now that it is done, all seems to be working fine. But, looks like there's another one scheduled on the 21st and image uploading is supposed to be hit. I hope everything goes back to normal so that we can all get back to rambling on in our blogs...

Friday, April 10, 2009

10 things to look in a laptop

My PC is now completely redundant and it's that time again to hunt for another one which will be left equally outdated even before I walk out out that store.
 
 
So one important question comes to my mind : Desktop or Laptop. If it weren't for a few quirks with laptops, I would never go in for a desktop ever again. So here's my wish list for 10 things to look in a laptop : ( I, of course am looking for a complete desktop replacement laptop with a high degree of functionality, but I guess everyone's requirements change with their need ) 

1. Out with the wide screens
 
 
  The only time a windscreen's going to be of any use whatsoever is when I'm watching a movie. But when it comes to coding or doing spreadsheets or during wordprocessing, the more number of lines I can see the better, the width is not really of much relevance. And any time I need more desk-space, I just hook up another screen. Plus its more likely that my presentations are going to be of the 4:3 aspect ratio
 


2. No more front positioned audio jacks
  Seriously. Why would anyone ever think of something like this? Audio jacks should strictly be on the sides. The one's on the front just add to hindrance whenever I place the laptop on my lap. They also tend to break off the connected jacks easily.


3. No more glossy screens
  Glossy screens are great when I want to watch videos in the dark of the night, but I really like taking my laptop out on the college steps or on the park bench trying to freshen my mind as I trying to get my IE code working in  Firefox or the other way around. But in broad daylight, these screens reflect too much light to be readable.


4. Where are the navigation / pointing sticks?
 
  About a decade back navigational sticks were the de facto pointing devices in Laptops until they were replaced by the now-prominent touch pads. As cool as they are, they simply cannot provide the precision and speed provided by the humble navigational stick. Plus, I really use like using the middle mouse button. Many people with touch pads buy external mice any ways. On the other hand, I even take my IBM R50e to LAN parties and kick many asses with it, people are even more surprised that I use only the provided navigational stick.


5. I need my Home/End keys
  For some reasons laptop manufacturer's under estimate the Home, End, Insert, Delete and the Page Up/Down keys. I am highly dependent on those keys to navigate my way around my documents. Not only do many manufacturer's decide to move them around at their will, some actually require me to press some key in addition with the Function key to get the job done. ( I'm looking at you ACER ) Also, it's totally uncool to switch the position of the left ctrl key with your function key.


6. Ability to upgrade
 
  People use desktop PCs for years but laptops become outdated very quickly because they cannot be upgraded. Other than the hard disk, RAM and CD drive, nothing else in a laptop can be changed easily or at all even. We need the ability to upgrade our laptops!!


7. Drivers, drivers, drivers
 
  Most manufacturers provide drivers only for the OS the laptop shipped with. But I may need to change the OS from Vista to XP. Or I may even need to install Linux. But the driver support for them is non-existent. It would be great if such drivers were made available of the manufacturer's website.


8. Hard disk speed
  Anyone who knows his way around a laptop will tell you that the #1 bottleneck in optimizing the performance of a laptop is the hard disk speed. Until solid state drives reach an affordable price range, we'll just have to keep wishing for faster harddisks. ( In earlier times high noise levels, vibration, heat and power requirements kept laptop makers away from high RPM drives, but newer drives overcome many of those pitfalls)
 


9. Separate OS Installation Disk
  Many laptops are available only with a certain OS.
 
May be I don't wan to use windows on your laptop, I will be using Linux instead. I should be provided with a windows installation CD so that I could use it on some other machine , after all I've already paid for the license, why should I waste it?


10. Bigger is better
  Most laptop manufacturers are now aiming towards smaller and smaller screens. Its okay if all you plan to do is give presentations hooking your laptop to a projector. But I don't give presentations on the go, I make presentations on the go and a smaller screen is just a hindrance. I'm not talking 17 or 19 inch screens, but anything smaller than 14 inch just doesn't jig with me.

BONUS :

Chill it..
  Heat!!! The number one enemy. Cooling a laptop is significantly difficult than cooling desktop because of size constraints, but I personally don't mind carrying a *slightly* larger laptop if it means it can cool more efficiently.


That's if from me. Let me know your opinions via comments

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

dealing with Sality

My desktop PC isn't connected to the internet. So I didn't need to install any anti virus software on it. Because there's no way it could get infected right? - WRONG!! That's what I just found out. I donno how the virus snuck into the computer. It must have been a infected pendrive is all I can think of. But, anyhoo, the task at me was was to first figure out which virus it was. And how did I do it? I just hooked in a pendrive , ran a few applications and presto, the pendrive was now infected. And I scanned it on another computer to find the culprit. But, was it any simple virus? NO, it just happened to W32.Sality.

About W32.Sality

RISK : It doesn't really do much damage, but it is a damn nuisance is what it is.
MO : It infects all executable files adding a small but of code to them, which results in them being detected as infected.
DETECTION : Most all anti virus programs will be able to detect it.
REMOVAL : This is the main problem with Sality. The only anti virus capable of actually disinfecting Sality happens to be Kaspersky. All other software just delete the infected files. SO if you dont have a backup of your executable files, you are pretty much screwed.
COMPLICATIONS : You cannot install Kaspersky on an infected system as the virus just courrupts the antivirus leaving it helpless.
WORK AROUNDS:
1. Install Kaspersky on a clean system. Connect the infected harddisk to the system and clean it out.
2. Start the System Configuration Utility ( Start > Run > msconfig ). Go to Startup tab, click on disable all. Now goto the Services tab, ensure that Hide all Microsoft services is checked. Click on Disable All. Restart your computer, install and run Kaspersky.

And that's how I finally won back my PC.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Another pic post

It's time for another pic post.
I hope you enjoyed my earlier pic post.Well her are a few more pictures which will get you chuckling.

Why Blu Ray is totally worth it:

The cycle of life :


The #1 person PETA should actually be after:

I cant even begin to imagine what would happen if he forgot to unchain the dog before he drives off:

Well, you wanted it cheap:

Oops! Looks like gravity's misbehaving again :

Now, this is uber-cool:

And, so is this :

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fools' day celebreation by Google

April Fool's day is a time honoured tradition of today's times. It marks the change of calendars from the old Julian system to the now-used Georgian system. It also demarks one of my cousin's birthday - Happy Birthday Pradnesh, but that apart, it is still a very fun-filled day.

Google is famous for playing pranks on this day. Like the famed Google Copernicus Center , Google Gulp and who can forget Google's future warping techonology : gDay , not to mention being Rickrolled by Youtube. Hell, even the announcement of GMail was considered to be a prank as 1GB space ( being offered at that time ) was totally unheard of at that time. Most e-mail providers provided anywhere between 5-10 MB of space.

But this time around, the mood at Google was in a down, what with all the lay-offs and all the down sizing. Many people were half expecting Google to just lay straight this year. And in a way I am happy to gee Google back at pranking everyone - it just means that hopes and morale at the Googleplex is back up.

In case you missed it, this is what google tried to fool us with :

  1. You tube tried to make us all watch our video's upside down.
  2. Google tried to change Australian Football by introducing gBall
  3. And for some reason the yellow person in google street view changed into a Panda
  4. GMail on autopilot
  5. Google Chrome in 3D ?
UPDATE : There's report of an AI singularity by name CADIE going online on the 31st of March. This seems very much like an April Fools Prank. Oh, and the Panda in Google Street View seems to be her. You can check out her homepage at http://cadiesingularity.blogspot.com/

    If any of you catch anything else off beat  with google today, do let me know via the comments.

    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    Virtual Barbershop auditory illusion

    We've all heard of optical illusions - our eyes playing tricks on us. Here is a very famous one, which many of you must be familiar with :
    It looks like Albert Einstein alright, but get up off you seat and take a few steps back , about 15 feet back, and someone else very familiar will come into view

    And there are many more such optical illusions and we've all seen so much of them. But have you heard of auditory illusions? Your ears tricking you to hear the equivalent of surround sound ( or even better ) when there's only two physical audio sources - your headphones to be precise. Sosit back, relax, close your eyes,  put on your headphones ( it simply doesn't work with speakers ) and play the following clip. 




    How does it work? Well we have only two ears anyway, but we can still pinpoint the exact location of sound. It has all to do with the positioning of our ears, the difference with the level of sound reaching the ears, and the way our brain interprets those differences. To record the above auditory illusion , two microphones are placed at the exact position where your ears might be i.e approximately 3.5 inches apart, and the same sound is played back to you at about the same position i.e directly positioned in/on your ears via headphones. Your brain does the rest just as if it is hearing the audio from the original sources. Such recordings are deemed as Binaural Recordings.

    PeeKay

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    G-Mail now comes with Undo Send

    Ever since Gmail introduced Gmail Labs, the face of Gmail changed forever.  With Gmail Labs, the developers at google can skip all the beurocratic redtape and launch new Gmail additions on the fly. As a result there have been many additions to Gmail adding new features and modifications to current features which have made Gmail really a pleasure to use. Now there is another addition to the the Gmail Labs features.
      
    Does this scenario sound familiar : You are composing an email and in a hurry you send it, only to realise a moment later that you forgot to mention some important point, or may be you just realise that you have made a major spelling mistake or may be your better judgement just is against the sending of the message. If only there was some way to undo the sending of the message just like you undo your mistakes in a word processor. I know this has happened to me many times before.

    But GMail now has just the answer - Undo Send. You have a 5 seconds grace period after the clicking of the "Send" button to stop the e-mail and send it back to the drafts. This really would turn out to be a life saver to  many people.

    The option isn't turned on by default and as such you have to activate it. To activate it, log in to gmail, click on settings on the top right of the page. select the labs tab and scroll down to the undo send feature. Enable it by selecting the enable radio button and scroll down and save your settings. And viola - thats it

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    music from Maruti

    The guys over at Maruti Suzuki sent me this amazing collection.

    I bought my Maruti Suzuki dZire a few months ago. Despite recommendations from friends and to be fair - even warnings regarding price difference, feature gap and everything, we decided to go in for the top end model.The one reason to do so was that in our previous purchase ( Maruti Alto ) , we had gotten the base model and every time my dad had to make a sharp turn , he always complained bout the lack of power steering which was present on the higher model. I didn't want to feel bad later,  that I should have gotten the higher model , so I personally put foot down that we were going to go straight for the top end model.

    One of the best decisions in my life - despite my dad's constant complaints that we could easily have bought a vehicle in a better class at the price we were paying for the top model of a lower class. He prefers other cars over our current one - anything else, actually.

    But everything else apart, it is a real convenience. I didn't have to put in any extra accessories at all. The car came pre-packed with a bundle of accessories - power steering, ABS, Airbags, ACC aircon , a stereo, fog lamps, alloys, tubeless rubbers, nice looking beige upholstery - everything.

    And some of those features are a nice little touch of comfort. The air conditioner has one of those Automatic Climate Control thingys, you just set the desired temperature and the aircon will do the rest. The fan speed, air intake mode, air outlet vent are all controlled automatically. I can drive all the way from the shivering  11 degrees in the morning to the boiling 40+ degrees of Mumbai's blazing afternoon without feeling even a slight change in cabin temperature.  Why I haven't touched my aircon since I set it to my temperature softspot ( 23.5 C ) about two months ago. ( alok doesn't like the acc though, so i do have to reset it every time he joins me for a ride )

    The stereo is pretty slick too. Alright, I admit that its no nightangle, but its quite good, above average sound quality, good volume, and  the radio reception is a tad bit sketcky. But it does justice to my MP3 collection ( another thing that alok doesn't like ). I felt like that the only thing they didn't dish out with the stereo was a nice little song collection, but now looks like that's taken care of too. It is a modified Signature Collection with songs from the oldie goldie songs era i.e 50s through 70s. The songs are quite good but not really my cuppa joe, my mom loves it though...

    More pics :
    ( Click for larger pics )

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    this is Chirag

    I've already written about my friend Alok . Let me introduce you to another one of friends :

    Chirag K Shah

    Our friendship was forged under unusual circumstances - me running to him any time i had emotional issues and crying out my heart to him ( at a time when we hardly knew each other )  - sorry about that dude - but then, if those events hadn't occurred , we would probably not share the bond that we do now. Being in the same class at college, housed in the same hostel and in the same room, we practically spent almost all the 24 hours of 2 years together. It's really sad to know that we'll never meet and spend time together in the same careless ways ever again. And him living so much distance from me, we'll probably hardly ever meet and since he's pursuing education in the US, probably never in the near future.

    I find this guy's mindset and ideology very interesting. He is all about spending his time efficiently , that is why he's probably the most lazy and the most active person ( at the same time ) you will in the whole wide world. He is highly opinionated person ( so am I, but then, this isn't about me ) and very interested in politics and finance especially on how the two are intricately linked together and if you get him started on it, he'll keep on talking till you are deaf in the ear -but with absolutely no dull moments, guaranteed! We used to talk for hours together, starting from early in the afternoon right through dinner and well into the wee hours of the morning when we could no longer keeps our eyes open. That's what I miss the most about him...

    I'll post more about him and more of my friends later.

    PeeKay

    EDIT : 
    You can view his orkut profile here: http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Profile.aspx?uid=1279545950610982884

    The last few years in review

    The last few years have really been something. For those who have forgotten or need a refresher, here's the last few years in review :

    Year 2005:


    Year 2006 :



    Year 2007 :

    Open video in new window

    Year 2008 :




    You have got JibJab to thank for all these. They have great video parodies of many events of the previous years esp political satires. So stick around for more...

    PeeKay

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    A bloggers greatest dream

    As a blogger I come upon a major question upon my day to day blogging - What do I blog about next? I'm sure many of you are facing the same problem. Or you have an old outdated blog that you would like to bring back up to pace and aren't sure what to post first. Well this tool is just for you.
    The Lazy Bloggers' Post Generator is an amazing online tool which will help you generate a post to put on your blog. You have to select the relevant information what applies to you and presto! - your new post is ready for you, just copy it and paste it into your blog's new post.

    The lazy bloggers' post generator : http://www.aussiebloggers.com.au/blogpost.html

    reg,
    PeeKay

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Good reads

    Over the course of time I have read plenty of novels, books, publication and short stories by various authors. My favourite author so far is Michael Crichton , god bless his soul, I was really looking forward to his next book. But later on that, for that's not what this post is about. I would like to share a few of my favourite short stories with the readers. Both of these are very amazing stories which always give me goosebumps near their ends. I have to warn you though, me being a Sci-Fi fan, they are all total science fiction stories, and may sound nerdy at times so if that's not really your cup of tea, you might just want to skip these stories.

    The first one is without any doubt - The Last Question (1956) By Isaac Asimov.
    This story is about a super-computer of sorts which has been asked a very import question which it is unable to answer. It ponders over this question for the rest of eternity, surpassing trillions of zillions of years overseeing the progress the human beings make during this time. But finally at the end of eternity and at the end of time it finally figures out the answer and in one burst of brilliance its executes the answer in an act that would make any reader completely change their perspective about time, life and eternity.
     You can read the entire story here.

    The next in line is - Rescue Party by Arthur C. Clarke
    This story is timed around the time when our sun , the sol, is about to go supernova. Someone arrives at Earth to know more about the inhabitants of this doomed third planet and possibly rescue some of them. There is nobody on the planet, but they discover the trace of a not-so-ancient civilization. Their mission a failure, they  leave the solar system and following a heavenly direction pointed by a transmitting antenna array they finally make a discovery which surpasses their wildest imaginations.
     You can read the entire story here.

    So, do read those stories and let me know what you think of them. I'm post about more interesting works of literatures in a later post.

    Reg,
    PeeKay

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Where's the other Core?

    So, I get a call from this guy who's a friend of mine and the conversation goes a bit like this :
    Him : Hi there..blah blah... So I went to this place to get a new computer, I had planned to get an Intel CPU, but the guy convinced me to get an AMD, but now I find out that it's a single core, and I wanted a dual core.
    Me : How did you figure out if its a single core and not a dual core.
    Him : I checked online.
    Me : You checked the manufacturer's website ?
    Him : Nope, I checked it out on eBay, and it says that it's a single core. Do really need to check the manufacturer's website? And besides, I checked and I confirmed that it's actually a single core.
    Me : And how exactly did you do that?
    Him : There's just one CPU on the motherboard not two.
    Me : -- ** WTF **--

    And so I go on to explain that dual core does not mean two physical CPU's and stuff. To add to the gravity of the situation, the guy is actually a computer engineer!!

    And that situation really got me thinking? Does any engineer really know absolutely nothing about his field of expertise until he's been trained by the company? And the answer to that is a resounding yes. The reason may be that engineering is such a vast field that you really can't teach anyone any specifics. Take for example the field of electronics. I, myself, am pursuing a course in Electronics an Telecommunication Engineering and I definitely don't know much about any particulars in electronics - the scope is just way too large. Is it really possible for any single person to know every single thing about electronics? And then come the line separating the fields - like for example, Digital Signal Processing - Does it fall into electronic engineering or computer engineering, and why so? The lines are simply too blurred to figure it out.

    So it all boils down to this. This computer engineer doesn't understand the concept of CPU cores. Me, an electronics student am much more into computers and software than I'm into electronics. And I have a few friends who have pursued Automobile engineering and atleast one of them can vouch that he knew more cars going into the course than when coming out.

    I would really like to go on and on about this topic, but this post has gotten too long. I'll definitely pick this topic up later. Till then,

    PeeKay

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Digital Will

    So you have developed a nice little presence on the internet, have a nice bolg, a well balance paypal account, your podcasting solution, your social networking profile, your online shared photos , files and documents, may be you have pending cretits at online stores like the itunes store. Ever wondered what would happen to them in the sad event of your death or incapacitation ?
     You would think that the accounts will pass over to your family, but sadly that's not the case. If you read the entire Terms and conditions shown while registering for the website, you will realise that most of time the information there in is not actually your property - it belongs to the service and you are just being leased access to it. This is especially true in case of free services. And in most cases the access is not transferrable. So, your relatives are going to have a hard time getting access to that information, or even trying to close down public access to it - like for example : your facebook profile.
     That's where LegacyLocker comes in. You enter your account information , referred to as Digital Assets and select benificiaries for each Asset separately - for example your PayPal information may go to your spouse or your online documents to your business partners, and so on and the details are stored with them using very high level of security . On the event of passing away your death is confirmed by contacting two 'verifiers' - who are people whom you can trust to convey the true information, and by your physical death certificate and then your assets are securely transferred to your benificiaries.
    There's a one time fee or an annual fee. The service is also available for free but you are restricted to 3 assets and 1 beneficiary.

    Legacy Locker - http://www.legacylocker.com/ 

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    A picture set

    Many people like to put up funny pictures on their blogs. But, why do they do it? Does it make them look cool? Or do they think that by see the funny pictures the readers will in turn believe the poster to be a funny guy? May be they are just bored?

    Well I've decided to put up a funny picture set too. What's my reason : Because I can.

    I do this every time I get bored at work too.

    Yeah  right, I want to stay safe too, from you mostly..

    So now we all know what the sign painter's previous job was.

    The touchscreen is pretty much what separates it from my old phone too.

    He's like Obama, quick, someone make him a President too..

    How do things like this even happen?

    As long as you are going to learn swimming, you better do it from from the experts.
    C ya,
    PeeKay

    I hereby promise

    So I finally got the blog working just the way I wanted it, modified the layout, the design and all. So the first thing I do is I tell all my friends about it. They checkout the blog and just dismiss it. Why, I ask and comes the reply - will it be around for long enough to be worth following or even ( gasp ) commenting?..

    Yeah, I'm well aware that this is not my first attempt at blogging, I've tried it a few times before. I never bothered to keep them updated. And finally after waiting for a long time, I deleted 'em. Then I started a new one and the whole cycle started again. But, my friends, thims time it's different.

    I hereby promise to keep updating the blog as regularly as I can and to never ever give up on this blog...

    So, now guys, will you please take this blog seriously and keep following it, and most of all please, please, pretty please do comment. And let me know what you would like to see discussed here so that I can bring you posts that you may like.

    luv,
    PeeKay

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Font Conference

    This is sooo funny, I'm sure anyone who's used any kind of word processing software will recognize most of these "characters" :





    Reg,

    Pranav

    mind your parking

    I happened upon this interesting image while I was surfing the net.

    I'm so going to do this the next time I can't find a parking space due to people like this.

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    meet Alok

    A dedication to my friends :
    This, ladies and gentlemen , is Mr. Alok Kamat :
    ( you can't really blame me for the pic, he refused to give me a better one )

    He is without doubt one of the most influential human beings in my life.
    He's always there when you need him, what ever be your needs, your questions your problems , just give him a call and he'll be right next to you even before you hang up the phone ( he drives very fast , you see ) . He has really helped me go through the thick and thins of my life. He's an extremely cool guy to hang out with and with knowledge on almost all subjects in the world, a conversation never gets boring with him around.
    You haven't ridden in a vehicle unless you have done so with him at the wheel. He'll squeeze every last bit a vehicle has to give and have you clutching the seats screaming for more. He is not just about the driving either, he's an avid auto enthusiast with loads of practical knowledge about the inner working of auto mobiles. His number is definitely the first I call whenever I have any problems with my car or my bike. If it wasn't for him I probably would have never decided to take up biking. He's even completed his graduation in automobile engineering and he's looking forward to work in the same field. So if any of you happen to have any contacts at volvo or ferrari, do give him a call.

    Orkut users can check out his profile at :  http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Profile.aspx?uid=2651810154249718491

    oops ! i forgot to backup!

    Okay, a little bit of background information first : I've created and manage a website for the local Rotary club , the Rotary Club of Bombay Mulund East, which my dad is a member of. The website and hosting is registered under my dad's name and his card is automatically billed for it.

    The this is that dad's credit card expired and the renewal of the site was defaulted, my dad was mailed regarding it and he completely forgot about it. I realised it only after my hosting had expired and all my files had been deleted!!! And although i had the domain pointed to another hosting account immediately, the damage was already done - my data was gone. Although I had a backup of the data it was way too outdated to be of any real use as I had done a lot of changes, bug fixes and additions on the live site that I hadn't backed up to my local computer, all I was able to recover was the static content - you know, all the boring stuff...

    So here I am back to square one, trying to completely rebuild a lost site, but since I'm doing it afresh, I've decided to follow some good practices like using version control, using CSS to larger extent - I just cant get myself to give up the good old TABLE technique and actually using some of the more powerful tools that I payed for - like mod_rewrite, subdomains, php, sql, and much more...

    But the number one thing I learned from this is BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP.. And on that thought, I haven't exactly backed up any of the data on my local machine, so I guess I'll be headed to the hardware store to get an external drive soon.

    BTW although it's not much now, the site in question is http://www.rotarymulundeast.org/

    So if anyone has any tips that may help me in my journey, please do post them in the comments.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009

    why do i blog?

    why do people normally blog? Some do it for expressing their creativity, some do it for the sake of entartaintment while others do it just for the sake of money. The guys at pewinternet.com conducted a survery of the various reasons why people blog, you can find it here - http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/186/report_display.asp

    But of all the reasons mentioned in the report and many more which aren't , why is it that I decided to do it. Well most people tend to claim that they do it as an outlet for their creative thoughts, or to stay in touch or to share their knowledge and experiences.. while others are more forthcoming and just blurt out the truth that they do it for the money or for the networking or for influencing other people. But me... well I've just got a LOT of time on my hands I'd like to kill and I've no better idea how to do it. So that's what this leads to.

    I've a gap of about a quarter of an year before my college begins and I'm looking forward to use this blog to document all the interesting stuff I do ( or more likely - come upon on the internet ) in this time. So people, please do comment on the articles and I'm looking forward to your constructive criticism to make this blog even better.

    Chao,
    Pranav "PeeKay" Koli