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Monday, March 31, 2008

Race - A Mashup Movie

What do you think of a director duo who have churned out nothing but deception, crime and passion? From Khiladi in 1992 to Race in 2008 through Baazigar and Soldier, they haven't delivered anything else. So, I never expected anything else when I went for Race on last Friday.

After having a rendezvous with a kinda Ratatouille, it was around 10 pm when the film started rolling (After those stupid jewelery ads!!). I was prepared for the worst since I have been following Bollywood for a while and had met with some scary accidents (Think of LOC, Kisna and others!!). But to be frank, Race doesn't s*ck big time!

It has all the ingredients of an Abbas-Mustan film. If you haven't missed Humraaz, Aitraaz, Ajnabee, Naqaab......(the list goes on..) then you know what is in stock in Race. It doesn't mean that you can skip it. Race gives you a proper entertainment for 154 minutes with lots of glamour, twists and some jokes also...(Well, Anil Kapoor plays the joker again after Welcome)

I am not gonna tell you the entire stuff. If you still want to hear it, check out here. I will put it in a Twitter way - "Two half-brothers in South Africa,for each others insurance money, tries to kill each other with cop Anil Kapoor helping them." That's it. Again, if you wanna read a funny synopsis, check out here. (I wonder how this has not yet been observed by the Wikipedia administrators. It's a clear violation of Wikipedia policy).

I want to talk something more about the directors. Wikipedia says that they are always dressed in white! (Maybe it helps them to see the dark side of things more clearly! Or maybe, they will be chanting, "Daag Achche Hain"!). In Baazigar, the hero-villian King Khan starts his crimes in a F-1 track. Here, it shifted to horse racing. (If it was some other director, then I would have said that they were inspired by the Hitchcock classic, Marnie!!). Well, what else should I say? Yup, Abbas-Mustan are very talented to take a sample, mix it and cook it. But is it edible? Maybe they themselves should at least taste it before selling.

When I asked a friend about the film, his reply was short and crisp. "Except two scene, 'Run Sonia' by Saif and a Vijayakanth kinda driving by Saif, the rest of the movie doesn't make you feel bad. At least, when you start getting bored and try to predict the rest of the story, here comes a twist. It happens for around six times and by that time, the movie is over!"

Another of my friend made it much more simple. "When I saw Don (of course, Khan's Don), I thought that it was the King of Twists. Now, after watching Race, I think Don's twist is just a curve and Race is like a triple zig-zag curve!"

Is the Pied-Piper in Chennai?

Last Friday, I went to Satyam to see Race. That's another story. Well, having read about the COO of Satyam and the various plans that he has poured in, I had very high hopes when I went there.

Well, it didn't turn out to be entirely false. The lobby leading to the hall was cool and well designed. The cafeteria was really great and was tempting. The interiors of the theatre was even better. With lights of different shapes up there, and large and lavish cushion seats, everything was fine. My friends and I settled down and then came an unexpected twist in the story. (Anyway, this twist is better that the twists in Race!!)

It looked like there was a fan of Saif (or is it the girls?) under our seat. I heard one of my friend shouting and looking under the seat behind. And then I saw it. It was one of those little creatures of the night that looks cute and good in toons, but not in real life. It was a rat! Anyway, it would have seen or heard our cries and ran away to find it's safe place. Anyway, it would have been dead if it had watched that movie! So, Tan Ngaronga, don't worry about it. Rats, cockroaches and lizards are part of our life. It's unavoidable.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Google Fool's Day

It's just four more days for the great Fool's day. Any guesses what Google's prank will be?

Well, most of the April Fool's day was celebrated by Google in its own way. In 2000, they went way for ahead and announced MentalPlex that will predict the search query and will eliminate the task of manually typing in the query.

In 2002, it was Pigeon Rank that was a pun on the technology behind Google's search, Page Rank.

In 2004, it was Google Lunar/Copernicus Center that planned an research center in Moon with job openings.

In 2005, Google brought out their great product, Gmail. It was announced on April 1st. On the same day, they also announced Google Gulp, a fictious drink that will optimize one's use of Google's search engine by increasing the drinker's intelligence.

In 2006, it was Google Romance, a search engine to find the perfect partner.

In 2007, it was a double prank. They announced Gmail paper which will print email (along with attachments other than audio and video) in recycled paper and mailed to the person free of cost. They also planned to put ads on one side of the paper!

The other one was Google TiSP, or, Toilet Internet Service Provider. It was to make use of toilet and sewage lines to provide broadband internet up to the speed of 32 Mbit/s. They also explained the advertising based on the DNA sequencing from the waste products of the body!

So, what is it for this year? Maybe they will use it to announce some new features in Gmail. It has been long rumored that lots of feature addition is gonna happen in Gmail to increase its popularity. What else? Share your pranks and puns...

Black Google

Some of you will be knowing about Earth Hour. It's an initiative to spread the awareness of Global Warming among the masses. Well, Google has also jumped into this with its own initiative.

Sometime back, in January 2007, Mark Ontkush of ecoIron wrote (calculated!) about the energy that can be saved if Google converted its White background to a Black one. This got implemented by the Blackle site which offers a Google search in Black background. Google checked into this and had a detailed analysis and declared that "displaying black may actually increase energy usage". Anyway, now, for supporting the Earth Hour, Google Israel decided to go for a black background for at least one day. (Here's the page that tells about this. Wait, it's either Hebrew or Arabic)

I don't understand why they are doing this after declaring that black actually increase energy usage. Well, Michael Arrington also noticed this irony but didn't bring it up for the larger good. Anyway, Google Cares. That's it all about.


P.S - If my old friends Sreejith, George and Sivakumar are reading this, they will be remembering the presentation we did where we had a white Google page slowly morph into a Black one. I still remembering hearing a small gasp from the audience when they saw that!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Apple is Rotten

I am a fan of Apple. I love it. But still, sometimes I feel that it's a rotten apple.

I had the rotten kinda feeling from the day when I got an iPod. The dependency on iTunes made me irritated. It made me angry. But, I continue to be a loyal fan of iPod. I haven't even heard of Zune!

Again, the way Apple bundles its software raises a lot of concerns. Ed Bott from Zdnet shares his thoughts and problems (with screen shots wherever necessary) in his post, What Microsoft can teach Apple about software updates. It is a must read for any Apple user, be it be a Mac, an iPod, an iPhone; whatever.

So, what can an user do? Be always careful about the tick marks while installing Apple software. Don't just carelessly go on clicking the next button without reading what the window is displaying.

And if any privacy advocates are reading this, launch an agitation and file a lawsuit against the "Apple" (if you can find a loophole in the Terms and Conditions).


The other side of the horizon - The Golden Apple


New study points out that subconsciously seeing Apple logo will boost creativity. I don't know about the truth of this, but the study has been conducted by researchers at Duke University and University of Waterloo. Read in detail about this at WSJ biz-tech blog.

Maybe they should try this experiment on painters and research the kind of paintings the create!

सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना

It purifies the soul that sings it. It reverberates the mind that hears it. It glorifies that nation that has produced it.

सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ू-ए-क़ातिल में है

(ऐ वतन,) करता नहीं क्यूँ दूसरा कुछ बातचीत,
देखता हूँ मैं जिसे वो चुप तेरी महफ़िल में है
ऐ शहीद-ए-मुल्क-ओ-मिल्लत, मैं तेरे ऊपर निसार,
अब तेरी हिम्मत का चरचः ग़ैर की महफ़िल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

वक़्त आने पर बता देंगे तुझे, ए आसमान,
हम अभी से क्या बताएँ क्या हमारे दिल में है
खेँच कर लाई है सब को क़त्ल होने की उमीद,
आशिक़ोँ का आज जमघट कूचः-ए-क़ातिल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

है लिए हथियार दुशमन ताक में बैठा उधर,
और हम तय्यार हैं सीना लिये अपना इधर.
ख़ून से खेलेंगे होली गर वतन मुश्किल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

हाथ, जिन में हो जुनून, कटते नही तलवार से,
सर जो उठ जाते हैं वो झुकते नहीं ललकार से.
और भड़केगा जो शोलः सा हमारे दिल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

हम तो घर से ही थे निकले बाँधकर सर पर कफ़न,
जाँ हथेली पर लिये लो बढ चले हैं ये कदम.
जिन्दगी तो अपनी मॆहमाँ मौत की महफ़िल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

यूँ खड़ा मक़्तल में क़ातिल कह रहा है बार-बार,
क्या तमन्ना-ए-शहादत भी किसी के दिल में है?
दिल में तूफ़ानों की टोली और नसों में इन्क़िलाब,
होश दुश्मन के उड़ा देंगे हमें रोको न आज.
दूर रह पाए जो हमसे दम कहाँ मंज़िल में है,

जिस्म भी क्या जिस्म है जिसमें न हो ख़ून-ए-जुनून
क्या लढ़े तूफ़ान से जो कश्ती-ए-साहिल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ू-ए-क़ातिल में है


(By Bismil Azimabadi. Courtesy - Wikipedia)


Bhagat Singh, the greatest revolutionary India has ever produced, was hanged till death on March 23, 1931. A single rope might have stopped his heart, but his ideas are embedded deep in the heart and soul of millions of Indians.

Inquillab Sindabad!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Enemy of the Giant

Microsoft today added one more organization to its enemy list. It's Bureau of Indian Standards, commonly known as BIS.

BIS rejected the proposal to make Microsoft's Open XML as a standard. The proposal was voted against by 13 while it gained 5 supporters. It has been said that TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Nasscom and Microsoft voted for the standard while Department of Information Technology (DIT), National Informatics Centre (NIC), CDAC, IIT-Mumbai, IIM-Ahmedabad, Red Hat, IBM and Sun Microsystems voted against it.

Sun, Red Hat and IBM against Microsoft? Does it feel that they are planning for a shared player status by helping others?

So, obviously, the Open Source World is in all cheers. Anyway, BIS is the founder member of ISO and this vote will be considered by ISO voting that happens next month. So, has Microsoft found a new enemy other than the standard regulatory authorities? Will the Standards Organizations of the World join the Open Source bandwagon?

Well, we will have to wait and watch.

(If you want to know more about what is the fight between ODF and OOXML, check this out)

Should Sachin Tendulkar be knighted?

I had run a poll asking my readers about what they think about knighting Sachin Tendulkar. Well, it seems that they have just two opinions in this, either an YES or a NO. Here's the result.




And here's the post that I wrote about this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

YAHOO! - Yet Another Hollow Obsolete Offering!

I stopped using my Yahoo! mail account the day when Gmail came. It was the day that revolutionized the concept of email. 1GB of memory (which is now around 2.9 GB and counting!), doing away with the conventional concept of folders.......

If you haven't made the switch yet to Gmail, here's one more reason to do it now. Wall Street Journal's Biz-Tech blog has posted the worries that was caused due to Yahoo! email. Seems like Yahoo! doesn't support above a particular limit of emails in a folder. It just crashes! And WSJ was using the Plus Service ($ 19.99 a year)!

So what are you waiting for? Make the switch today.

(Here's an extra tip. When you create a Gmail account, two email ids are created internally. One is username@gmail.com Another one, username@googlemail.com is also created automatically. So you can give the one id when you sign-up for newsletters and similar services and another for personal and official communication. Then just create a rule to filter based on the id to which it is sent! What more can you ask for?

Those who already have a Gmail id, check this now itself by giving the googlemail id to sign-up for my email alerts)


Thx to labnol

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Revenge of Eric Schmidt

Eric has a reason to celebrate.

Being tortured by Microsoft all the way from Sun to Google via Novell, he can have his revenge now. Atleast, emotionally.

U.S Supreme Court cleared the way for a new antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft for crushing Wordperfect down into hell. Wordperfect being a Novell product, Eric will be happy when he hear this. And having Doubleclick takeover being cleared by EU in the same week, what more can Eric ask for?

Read this interview with Eric Schmidt at The Portfolio.

The name is Bear, Bear Stearns.

Finally, the name has been proved right.

One of the biggest name in Wall Street, has become one of the least valued one. The shares that were once riding as high as $ 158 a piece came down to as low as $2 a piece when JP Morgan bought them out on March 16th. That values it at just $ 236 million (Another of the biggest fall I have seen is that of Microstrategy. I will write about it at another point of time).

And it goes, everything in the world involves India. Satyam Computer Services' $ 10 million a year maintanence contract with Bear Stearns is on the balance as JP Morgan hasn't announced anything yet.

It's all Bears around.

Read in detail about it in here and here. And here.

Update - ET reports that Polaris can also be hit bad since Bear Stearns is one of their Top 10 clients.

Is Internet driving you mad?

Sometime back, I wrote about Googlian Thoughts - How Google has changed our life and how our online life has become. Then I wrote about websites to visit while you are in office. So here's an interesting news.

American Journal of Psychiatry now says that internet addiction is a mental illness. British Psychiatrists in the journal, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, had put down this last year itself.

Since now the psychiatrists have come to the same conclusion, ask these questions to yourself -

Am I browsing for more than 2 hours per day?

Am I feeling a kinda feeling (like depression) when I am away from my computer?


Am I feeling like a loser when internet is down?


If your answer is "YES" to any two of the above, then maybe you are showing symptoms of a mild addiction. Try these tips to come back to normal.

Take a break. Take at least two days off and go on a trip. (Don't take your cell and blackberry with you. And laptop is out of question!). Maybe a beach far off. Or a small and cool village. Take a bus or if you are in your car, park it somewhere and walk around. Listen to the sounds around you. Use all your senses and feel around. If thoughts of email or computer comes to mind, drive them off. "Think whether you can enjoy and have this feeling through a machine?" That will help to drive away the bad thoughts about hooking on to net. Do this for two days and you will get over your addiction.

P.S - This came to me all of a sudden when I started writing this post. Don't take it as a professional's advice. Take it as a fellow sufferers' advice!

Monday, March 17, 2008

26 ideas to drive your Creativity

Creativity. It's a term that spells magic. It's something that everyone has. And also, it's something that is really hard to be found!! (Am I contradicting? Think so!).

So, how to you increase your creativity? Or in better words, how can you find the latent creative genius that lies deep down in your head? How to find the initial spark which starts the fire of creativity?

Well, Hugh Macleod presents twenty-six tips (I prefer the term ideas) to lash out your creativity. Get it as a manifesto (well, in pdf format) from Change This. It's worth really the time and it has got a cartoon for each of the tip. What more you can ask for!

I particularly believe in the 26th point. "Think from your heart and the brain will take it up to higher echelons" - that's my belief.

(This is post is a part of a series of post that I about the various useful freebies available, mainly from the internet. Check out all my posts on Free! )

Sound Horn - How do you drive?

Well, I am launching a new blog. I am not wrapping up Bonchi Buji, but I am gonna write two blogs - Bonchi Buji for general thoughts and stuff and a new one for, well, a niche topic.

It's been named Sound Horn. Will be live from 24 th March onwards. Check out my introductory post at Sound Horn - How do you drive?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

7 Dirtiest IT Jobs

How many times have you cursed your job? How many times have you thought that yours' is the worst job in the world? (People, I am talking about IT jobs only)

Here's list of the "7 dirtiest IT jobs"!! If you are one of them, sorry, I pity you. If you don't see your job profile, Holy Cow!, get back to work and pity for them!!

(BTW, to be honest, every job in IT sucks!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is Wal-Mart Evil?

Wal-Mart and Google? Both started out as dwarfs and grew into giants in their fields outpacing many of the competitors. Both generates money and thus make the competitors envious. But, the similarity end there. Google, is a technology hub whereas Wal-Mart is a job generator.

This article from Seeking Alpha made me revisit the fortune site about which I had talked last week. In the Top 20 most admired countries in US, Google's came fourth far above Microsoft (16). But what is interesting is that Wal-Mart does not feature at all and its competitor, Target, takes the 11th position. So, is Wal-Mart finally losing the battle on its home ground? What do you think?

India's Rising Brand Equity & Falling Sensex

It seems India's Brand Equity is on an all time high, but still the bears are at large.

India is the 6th most popular nation in US - declares Gallop in its survey. India which shares its spot with France, comes after Canada, UK, Germany, Japan and Israel.

On the other side of the spectrum, Iran, North Korea and Palestinian Authority leads the list of most unfavorable ones. Pakistan comes at sixth followed by Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia and China comes at 8th and 10thwhich sprangs a surprise (Maybe due to Laden and lead-paint toys)

Another revelation. Apart from the worries about the falling stock market, a study by Anagram Stock Broking says that Sensex is violating its 4-year trend line. So, am I hearing a death bell for the bulls?

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Hitchcock of Malayalam Cinema

Last week, I wrote about the most discussed Padmarajan film, Thoovanathumbikal. And on Sunday, I got a call from a friend calling me an "idiotic *******" for writing about the film in such a bad taste.

So, on Sunday night, I got hold of another Padmarajan movie, Kariyila Kattu Pole (Like a zephyr of dry leaves-thanks to Wikipedia for the translation). It's a murder investigation and it shows of 'the wonder that was Padmarajan'. A multi-starrer, with Mohanlal, Mammoty, Rahman, Unni Mary, Jalaja, Karthika, Sri Priya etc, it's the best ever mystery movies made in Malayalam(Or maybe even in India).

From the starting when it shows the title, to the end when the killer commits suicide, Padmarajan has followed the same pattern that was followed by Hitchcock. The title music reverberates you with the feeling that something is crouching somewhere down the way to jump on you. That music takes you to a high altitude which is suddenly brought down by the spanning shot of a small coconut plantation (What I thought of was the introductory spanning shot in Psycho). Then, in less than 5 minutes, the murder is discovered. And what is more surprising is that the dead person is none other that Mammooty. (I think this might be the first and last film in which such a main actor will be shown dead in the first shot itself. Think of the introduction scenes in Roudram, Narasimham and Bharatchandran!!).

Then, everything moves into action. Mohanlal as the DYSP takes up the case. Now, the movie follows the way Mohanlal goes around with the case. What I am saying is that it shows from Lal's perspective. All the sub-plots and secondary characters merge into the storyline of the investigation.

Everywhere throughout the movie, I felt the Hitchcock effect. The camera angles, the background (reminds me of the innovative themes by Bernard Herrmann in Hitchcock movies) by Johnson(?), the absence of any songs, the shady past of the characters..everything is as perfect as in a Hitchcock movie. The only difference that I could find was the absence of the trademark Hitchcock's appearance. Or, a picture on then wall shows Mammooty wearing the trademark Pappetan cap and directing. Maybe it's an indirect reference.

One more interesting thing about the movie is that in the only scene where the superstars are together, Mammooty is just a . Maybe that's a shot that will be scene nowhere else.

Another interesting thing about the movie is that the story for Kariyila Kattu Pole is not by Padmarajan. He developed the screenplay based on a story by someone else. And, he rarely did that. (another one is Nammukku paarkkaan munthiri thoppukal [Vineyards for us to dwell] and Koodevide [Whither the nest]).

Kariyila Kattu Pole has become the second most watched movie in my list after Manichitrathazhu. Another murder mystery by Pappettan which features a serial killer is Ee thanuththa veluppaankaalaththu [In these cold wee hours] which was directed by Joshi. I haven't seen it, but anyway Joshi will not be able to capture the scenes a Padmarajan did in Kariyila Kattu Pole.

Last time, I wrote about how naive he had been in presenting a great love story in Thoovamathumbikal. I am not tracing back and correcting myself, but I must say that watching Kariyila Kattu Pole had been the most enthralling ever for me. Not even Hitchcock or Infernal Affairs can make it better than this.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sir Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar?

Sometime back, when Gordon Brown visited India, he had promised that he will recommend to the Queen to knight Sachin. And, now it seems to me that she will knight him soon. Having lead the attack to thrash the Aussies in the finals, one with an unbeaten century and other with an unlucky 90, the English would have become really happy about Sachin. After all, Australia is their biggest enemy and they will do everything they can to finish the Kangaroos.

So, I am waiting. What about you?

How many of you think that Sachin should be knighted? Take a look at my poll and vote your thoughts.

Here's a blog that talks about this in a very different way. Will India accept if the British wants to confer a knighthood to Gandhi....read about it here.

America's most admired companies

Fortune has run a cover story on America's most admired companies. And the winner is...Apple Inc. My personal favorite Google comes fourth behind Berkshire Hathaway and GE. And the Japs have made it to fifth with Toyota.

The full list and detailed analysis can be found here. Read it, it's from Fortune.

Also, read a piece on Steve Jobs, The Trouble with Steve Jobs.

Well, here's a list of Top 20 companies from the world, across all industries. Apple leads it, but Microsoft has stepped in instead of Google.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Again about the death of Indian Outsourcing??

Well, this is another article from Seeking Alpha that again talks about the future of outsourcing in India. The article is not worth a cent, but the comments are really worth reading. This might be the first time I am coming across such thoughtful comments for such a worthless article.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Free!" is the tagline : Part - 2

This is the second part of a series of post that I intend to write about the various useful freebies available, mainly from the internet. Check out all my posts on Free!


Maybe some of you already know this, but anyway I want to share this info. Redmong Mag, the unofficial voice of the Microsoft community, is available for free. (It has been free for a long time, anyway, for those who came late, this is the opportunity)

If you are in US, you will get the print edition delivered to your doorstep for free. For other countries, free digital subscription is provided. (But, when I searched for link for digital subscription, I was not able to find it). I am a digital-subscriber for around three years. By 3rd of every month, I get the link for download delivered to my email.

Check out the free print-subscription form (for US only). If you can't find the link for free digital-subscription, don't worry, you can read the issues at RedmondMag.com

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