Tuesday, 31 October 2006

FF2 v/s IE7

Within the last week, two new browsers have been released -- both of which hope to be your first choice for bringing all of that new web content to your desktop.

Firefox 2, the latest version of Mozilla's open-source browser, was released Tuesday -- less than two years since version 1 and about 11 months behind version 1.5. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7, the first browser from the Redmond giant since IE6 arrived in October 2001, was released for Windows XP users Oct. 18.
Read the Wired story here.

Go Scott!

As regular readers of my blog know, I lost my voice about 18 months ago. Permanently. It’s something exotic called Spasmodic Dysphonia. Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis. It happens to people in my age bracket.
Read on.

That's Doctor Chiru to you

We saw on TV a short while ago (and we can't find the NDTV link, so here's one from the Hindu) that the one and only megastar now has an honorary doctorate from Andhra University to go with his Padma Bhushan. We know this will please at least one resident of our blogroll. You know who you are.

Two things we thought we'd never see in Wired

: Mike, du-u-ude. That's nuts. You're crazy, man. Nine months' worth of music? You could have a full-term baby without ever playing the same song twice.
and
This is not about denigrating the comic book, or graphic novel, or whatever you want to call it. This is not to say that illustrated stories don't constitute an art form or that you can't get tremendous satisfaction from them. This is simply to say that, as literature, the comic book does not deserve equal status with real novels, or short stories. It's apples and oranges.
Both from the same column by a chap called Tony Long.

Thankfully, before we cancelled our subscription (which, we now realise, would have been difficult, because ever since we quit the agency scene, we have only read the online edition), we found this delicious take on pimping up one's MySpace page. [Required reading for all bloggers, Ryzers, and any others who tart up their pages with bundles of junk. Us? We only have a Sitemeter. And Flickr. And Blogrolling. And a some badges. And .. never mind. We'll shut up.]

Monday, 30 October 2006

Cheersh

Meant to do this an age ago, but didn't get down to it.

Please meet our old pal, former fellow wage slave and drinking buddy, erstwhile resident of Bombay and Dubai, now domicled in the frozen wastelands, Tony. He stands alone amongst our imbibing companions of choice; he's the only one who serves as mean a dish of pork vindaloo as he pours a beer. So, extra-highly recommended: his food posts.

Contrary to popular belief, we do get invited to parties.

We went to our first blogparty type thingy this weekend. We were gonna tell you all about it, but the others have, and we've always been a lazy sod, so here ya go: our generous host, Sakshi, that Varma boy, the faymbus Mistah Vij, Melody of the bunny ears, the back-from-sabbatical-Gaurav, the battler-with-dragons, Saket (Saket 1 - Dragons 0), and IdeaSmith (all in black, with litte red horns). Also present: the Varma's better half, Chronicus Skepticus (who, coincidentally, we had visited for the first time just that morn), that talented photographer Akshay Mahajan, a very quiet Anand Agrawal, and three of Sakshi's pals, who stayed firmy rooted to the other side of the room.

And now I lay me down to sleep.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

Is YouTube worth all that moolah? Well, yes, because it's just a seedy dive.

Way back when we were still earning a regular monthly salary (and PF, and medical, and conveyance, and Diwali bonusses.. sigh), a Very Senior Person in our organisation used to deliver these occasional little mini-speeches about the business world, because we lower mortals needed to be kept informed. And because he was this incredibly brainy sort, he would kinda break things down for us slower types by equating everything with some kind of, um, inter-personal activity. Like "X Group is courting Y Company," and "Q Ltd and R Inc are in bed together, but are not married yet," and, well, you get the drift.

Yennyway. FOnD* memories wafted back to the forebrain when we read this on Slate:
If the Internet were not a bookstore, or tubes, but rather a red-light district, YouTube would best be imagined as the hotel, and Napster, well, the pimp. YouTube, like a hotel, provides space for people to do things, legal or not. It's not doing anything illegal itself, but its visitors may be. But Napster, everyone more or less now admits, was cast as the pimp: It was mainly a means of getting illegal stuff. Right or wrong, we seem to accept the benign vision of YouTube as an entity which, unlike Napster, was basically born as a place to showcase stupid human tricks.


* Yes, there is a reason for the irregular capitalisation.

How many hands do you need to play this thing?



More here. Or go here, and look for Custom Design.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

A word in your ear

Interdoocing: Blogolepsy - http://blogolepsy.blogspot.com/
Reasons

This is not about displaying our own writing. (Though, truth be told, we work hard at stringing words together. And, now and then, we admit to being pleased with the results.)

This blog will search for and promote excellent creative writing on the web, with a wee bias towards the blogosphere.

What we'll link to: poetry, fiction, graphic stories and comics, great criticism, hyperfiction, lyrics, interactive narratives. Occassionally, we may link to essays, rants and opinion pieces unconnected with writing, but only if we think they're extraordinarily good. We'll also point to opportunities for writers, as and when we hear of them.

Tip-offs welcome. Leave a comment, or mail us.
We (Uma, Falstaff, J.A.P., Megha, Krish, Neha and yours truly) haven't exactly been regular with updates there, but p'raps your patronage will prod us into some activity. :)

Do drop by and let us know what you think. And pass on to interested souls.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Give us a ring. Or two.



With the sun behind Saturn.

Clicking on the image will bring up a large (595.77 KB) version of the picture.

This will give you the NASA Planetary Photojournal page, and this, the Cassini-Huygens page from where we found the image, and which also told us:
Cassini scientists discovered two new rings and confirmed the presence of two others.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

In which we piss off the worker ants

Y'know, to reallio trulio appreciate a long weekend, you need a nine-to-five, five-day-a-week job.

We, who earn a large part of our not-large income sitting around in our shorts, at our messy desk, two steps away from our bookshelves, and a quick collapse away from our sleeping mat, we who prospect the net for two of our columns, grok the net for the rest of our work, and wander off to exotic spots to write about them every now and then, we who have been known to spend an entire Monday sleeping.. we kinda envy the folks who have gone tearing off to beaches, hilltops, mum's cooking or what have you.

Yes. We really do. Because we've been bored out of our little skull this weekend. All the buddies are out of town, and our net connection was down. Pity us.

Saturday, 21 October 2006

Water Colours

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From NH17, somewhere in South Goa. Taken from car window, at approx 80kmph. The driver was a loon!

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Likewise.

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Kudlai Kudle Beach, Gokarna.

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Ditto, with rather more zoom.

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On Sunday morn, you would have seen a dot in the middle of the second bay. That dot would have been this blog. Om Beach, Gokarna.

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From the inside of the only beach shack already open for business, somewhere around the bit between the middle and the furthest bay, the rocky bit you see in the long shot. Om Beach, Gokarna.

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The rocky bit between bays two and three, up close. Om Beach, Gokarna.

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Lady and little boy fetching water from some unknown point. The backwaters (yes, I didn't know you had them in Karnataka either) are in the background. Taken on the way back, also from car window. Damn good driver this time. Drove very fast, but one never felt that he wasn't in complete control of his vehicle. NH 17, Somewhere between Gokarna and Karwar.

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Random river that NH17 passes over, somewhere between Gokarna and Karwar. Taken from the car.

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And no, this picture doesn't begin to do justice to how beautiful it looked, as one swept down the slope, out from behind trees. Breathtaking. Karwar beach, Karwar.

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Taken from the heights of Estuary View. Island just off the Kali estuary, Karwar.

Wings

In the grounds of Om Beach Resort, Gokarna.

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I think this is a kingfisher. S/he was too far away to see clearly with the naked eye. This was at full 10x zoom.

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Hugely delighted with this shot. Again, full zoom, from an armchair in my villa's porch.

From the hill between Om Beach and Kudlai Beach.

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This dude was surfing the thermals coming up the hill. Missed the shot when he was overhead, and got lucky as he spiralled back. As far as I know, this is a fishing eagle. Brown body, white head.

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Same dude(tte?) making a turn.

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Freakishly lucky shot. Must have been about 10, 15 metres away, in a clear blue sky. I (don't tell anyone now) did the yeeha-fist-pump thing when I saw this on the camera display.

From Estuary View, Karwar.

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Looked up, saw this guy overhead, swung camera to eye with smooth, swift motion, almost took eye out, clicked.

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Three in the bush, erm, tree. Naah. Doesn't have a ring to it.

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Close-up of the one who, in the previous shot, was sniffing his underarmswings.

Drum solo

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Vendor (one assumes) of plastic drums and pots making his way from one village to the next. Picture taken from my taxi, as we passed him.

Rats with wings, a pal calls 'em




Ugly li'l sod, innit?

Behind the AC unit, its mama decided, was a good enough place to set up home. We wonder why pigeons aren't extinct.

Behind the facade


This what that very popular pub called Boat Club (in the Pali Presidency hotel, Bandra) looks like from above. (The letters you see are from the old signage, which is now being replaced.)

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Would you?


Saw this in a BEST (that's Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Undertaking, for the non-Bombaywallas) bus the other day.

Our question to you: would you drop off the cheque that pays your cellphone bill into such a receptacle?

Hutch, IOHO, is rapidly losing it. It's just not the same company it was when it was Orange, what with shit like this and other absurdities, like giving us a credit limit (which we didn't ask for) and simultaneoulsly sending us nag SMSes threatening to cut off services because they hadn't got our cheque in time, and other such crap.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

7.2kpbs

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You do not want to be doing anything on the net with that kind of connection. So, faithful reader, no pikchars for you. Heck, we can't even get on to our mail. (So, if anyone's mailed, pliss to hold equine creatures until Sunday, or if it's really urgent, call).

Friday, 13 October 2006

Go, Goa, Gokarna

Off to Gokarna this evening, with a pitstop in Goa.

Staying here.

Back soon, with pictures.

Life is good.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Title title title

Post copy post copy post copy post copy post copy post copy post copy post copy post copy post copy post copy..

Er. Sorry. We got carried away. By this thingy we saw on YouTube. Here's the, er, liner notes, to the video:
I thought wouldn't it be a good idea if there was a band that, instead of playing instruments, just repeatedly spoke the title of their instrument to the tune of the song then I thought No it'd be terrible and they'd get nowhere So I tried it
myself.
And here's the vid.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Green and Orange and Blue

Nonsense verse that will only make sense (kind of) to Gtalk and Gmail users. :)



Every little while
the dot is seen
to turn to green—
and I, I turn too,
to a brighter hue,
and type out a smile.





But then, but then,
it fades, that glow,
and as we all know,
nothing rhymes with orange.

Monday, 9 October 2006

Simpliphone

While on Pogue, Circuits and NYT, do see this column on really simple phones. The kind that gasp just make calls.

His reviews are US-centric, natch, and for some reason he thinks that a unified Recent Calls list is a good thing. But otherwise nice.

Tech predicting

A couple of weeks ago, David Pogue, in the NYT's Circuits newsletter, wrote about the time Apple wasn't a media darling. He quoted from reports back then:
* Fortune, 2/19/1996:
By the time you read this story, the quirky cult company…will end its wild ride as an independent enterprise.

* Time Magazine, 2/5/96:
One day Apple was a major technology company with assets to make any self respecting techno-conglomerate salivate. The next day Apple was a chaotic mess without a strategic vision and certainly no future.

* BusinessWeek, 10/16/95:
Having underforecast demand, the company has a $1 billion-plus order backlog….The only alternative: to merge with a company with the marketing and financial clout to help Apple survive the switch to a software-based company. The most likely candidate, many think, is IBM Corp.

* A Forrester Research analyst, 1/25/96 (quoted in, of all places, The New York Times):
Whether they stand alone or are acquired, Apple as we know it is cooked. It’s so classic. It’s so sad.

* Nathan Myhrvold (Microsoft’s chief technology officer, 6/97:
The NeXT purchase is too little too late. Apple is already dead.

* Wired, 101 Ways to Save Apple, 6/97:
1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game.

* BusinessWeek, 2/5/96:
There was so much magic in Apple Computer in the early ’80s that it is hard to believe that it may fade away. Apple went from hip to has-been in just 19 years.

* Fortune, 2/19/1996:
Apple’s erratic performance has given it the reputation on Wall Street of a stock a long-term investor would probably avoid.

* The Economist, 2/23/95:Apple could hang on for years, gamely trying to slow the decline, but few expect it to make such a mistake. Instead it seems to have two options. The first is to break itself up, selling the hardware side. The second is to sell the company outright.

* The Financial Times, 7/11/97:
Apple no longer plays a leading role in the $200 billion personal computer industry. ‘The idea that they’re going to go back to the past to hit a big home run…is delusional,’ says Dave Winer, a software developer.

Saturday, 7 October 2006

Heh.



Sunil of Apollon dropped by to tell us that we're the new and improved Blogstreet India's blog of the day today.

Um. We're not quite sure what to think of that.

You see, It's like this. Before they revamped, we were on their Blog Tops lists. And now that they've got it all sorted out, we find, we're still entitled to use this image:



on our site since we're still on both the Top 100 and the Most Influential lists.

We don't mean to sound ungrateful or anything, but heck, we know what our statcounter tells us, and we know that we see some really cool and popular blogs listed below us..

Never mind. We're hot for the day. Bow down and worship, all ye mortals. We have the power of the the high, the middle and the low justice. And the low humour. And ze droit de seigneur. Mwahaha.

Now let's see whether that gets us asked out to more parties.

Thursday, 5 October 2006

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's..

..NTR!



Tears of joy. Thank ye kindly, Megha (who introduced this to us by saying "it's NTR without the red undies," or something to that effect) (She just corrected us. She actually said, she said, "NTR forgot his underpants.")

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Sunrise Over Saturn and its Rings



Awesome. Go see 'em all.

(Clicking on the picture above will open a large, hi-res version of the same pic.)

Wood you believe..



..that these are high performance computers?

Don't click through to the price tags if you have a heart condition. Or you might need some other exquisite wooden housing.

Anyone for carrom?

There's a prog here, about which the creator says:
Although I thought I will come back to it someday, I can see that I haven't yet done so. That is why I have decided to publish the source and encourage those who are interested to view it and if possible improve, or complete it. I hope you will let me know about your progress... The program is written in VC++ 6.0, and the source can be downloaded by clicking here.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

elbow-savers

They're the type who are always saving arse. Except that they don't know their arses from their elbows.

Also referred to as elbow-coverers