Tuesday, March 31, 2009

 

Gulshan ki faqat phoolon se nahin – kaanton se bhi zeenat hoti hai
jeene ke liye iss duniya mein, gham ki bhi zaroorat hoti hai

 

Life just doesn’t seem to take a break from throwing crap towards me. I know life is filled with challenges but there should be a break once in a while.. right?

sigh.. hota hai, chalta hai, duniya hai.

TED – Sixth Sense Technology

Impressive. Doubt this would be commercially available anytime soon, but impressive nonetheless.

Chrome For Mac

Beta by fall

So when will Chrome OS X debut? "We're working as fast as possible and progressing as fast as we can without compromising security," Karen Gr├╝nberg told Ars. Although Google will not specify a target date, they assured us that they would be "very surprised" and "very unhappy" if fall came and went without a public beta. In the meantime, Google welcomes contributions to their open source project.

Link

Yawn..

Tired of waiting. Besides, with VMWare Fusion, I get Chrome anyways. Not to mention that Safari 4 isn’t too bad either.

Google sure messed this up.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Clipper Lounge - Bombay

Wonder how they came up with the name. Anyways, it’s getting really loud. Very noisy. Guess what, I am the only passenger in the lounge, and this place is so loud. It’s not the tele either. It’s the staff. Yapping away to glory. Just won’t shut up. Really don’t want to yell, not right now anyways.

Another Stupid Circular

I wish I had the camera with me or at least my cell phone with me, when i was reading this circular pasted outside the hospital. You will have to take my word for it.

This was supposed to be a notice, stating that the security personnel of the hospital are allowed to examine your car, your carry bags etc. (yes, you guessed it, security measures)

One statement read – urging the cooperation of the visitors - “The facilitator is within his rights to search the car and the dicky”

Dicky!!! after staring at that for a while, I realised they meant the trunk / boot of the car.

Really wish I had my camera. Next time, inshallah.

BTW, the roads are still bad. Rather horrible at places where they have come up with flyovers. Even in a Tata Dicor or a Scorpio, you feel and hear a huge THUMP at the beginning and the end of the flyover. That, along with the sound of your back cracking.

People have been telling me that the flyovers have significantly reduced traffic. I am literally terrified when I try to think what it was like before the flyovers!

The streets are not fit for walking, even if somehow, you can ignore the horrible stench in some of the areas. I tried the skywalk. I think that’s what they call it. It’s like a pedestrian bridge. That wasn’t too bad. Relatively cleaner. Except for this one instance where I saw a dustbin / spitbin modeled in the shape of a penguin. It seemed that people had been spitting all over and around the bin, but not into it.

Street lighting – apparently an alien concept. Still a couple of light years away from this part of the world. The major areas are well lit, but I was shocked when I was at the highway – no proper lighting. Ohh and just for the record – THAT is one of the reasons why almost everyone drives here with high beams on. well, that, and some of them just enjoy annoying people. Perhaps there might be a few who don’t know how to put off the high beam.

Shit happens.

The good part though, almost everything can be arranged for you, if you shell out money. Well almost. Unfortunately they won’t pave the road for you instantly. Or may be I didn’t throw enough cash to accomplish that.

Int’l Airport

The idea of having one or two security personnel at each gate checking your passport and ticket - it’s just stupid. Seriously, it is. Just adds up to the crowd.

Security measure, that’s what they call it. That’s become an excuse for every pointless / senseless activity being carried out.

It would be wrong of me to single out Bombay Airport for this. Apparently it’s the case in most airports in India.

now this should be of interest, I walked into the airport after having to stand in a queue for a while and explaining to the morons at the gate that I will be collecting my E – Ticket from the Kuwait Airways counter, inside the airport. The thing is, I was INSIDE the airport – without any REAL security check or passing through a metal detector. This too, I believe might be the case in many airports through out the world.

Question – is it considered a terror threat only AFTER the immigration point? The area prior to the immigration / security check in – is not considered important enough to be made secure?

I have said this before. I don’t mind inconvenience if it helps in getting / providing security. Yes, I will crib about it, but I will see the point of it in a while.

But crap like this, hardly makes any sense.

More Nano Nonsense

Yawn… more bullshit in the media about a glorified three wheeler that people seem to be convinced is a BEAUTIFUL CAR.

ahem .. define Beautiful. Better yet, define Car

Sceptics will be in for a shock. The Nano isn’t a rickshaw with four wheels or a glorified golf cart but every inch a proper car.  What makes it special is the way it’s been designed for Indian conditions and pockets. The interiors are basic but more spacious than any small Maruti. The best bit is how easy it is to slide in and out of the flat seats.

Link

On My Way To Kuwait

At the Clipper Lounge, Bombay International Airport. (I will never say Mumbai). Flight delayed by 2 hours. Still have a lot of time to waste. 

Lounge is ok. Not as comfortable as I would have liked it to be though. The ones in Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai are a lot better. This one.. err.. it’s ok. It’s a hell lot better than the trash I experienced in Kochi in 2008.

Oh, these guys do have Wifi (praise the lord), but you have to buy an access card. They don’t have the access cards available here. You have to buy it online. Don’t really understand how it would hurt them to keep a few access cards in the lounge itself.

The ground staff at the KAC counters (yes, travelling KAC this time), was rather friendly, helpful. no complaints. Immigration – not happening. Came across a shit load of airport staff who insist on conversing in marathi alone. I think that’s stupid.

For those of you making a face because of the last statement - Oh shut up, will you. Enough of your national and regional pride crap. Had just about enough of this nonsense to last me more than a life time.

Jai Maharashtra.. yeah right.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nano Launched – Ahem.. Are You Sure?

 

tata_nano_1

 

Link

What I think about the Nano, I have made it very clear in one of my previous posts. Anyways, all this screaming about the car (if one wants to call it a car) being launched, well the booking will start only in the SECOND week of April. One will get delivery only after June.

So how does this imply that the Nano got ‘launched’. If they are talking about ‘unveiling’ the ugly crap (personal view), well that was done a long time ago.

Friday, March 20, 2009

LG X110 - Netbook

lg-netbook-x110-lg1

Product Page

Got this today, for my sister. Most probably, I will be flying down to Kuwait for a few days. And obviously, my Macbook will be accompanying me on my trip. Sister needs to check her email and papa’s emails, etc. We had left her laptop back in Kuwait. Well, I was trying to be smart and telling them not to carry anything we don’t really need. In fact, I came to India without even a single pair of shades. If any of you know me, you would probably understand why I say that as if it’s a big deal. It really IS.

Anyways, so got her this netbook. Very efficient, for it’s size. Windows XP running on an Intel Atom processor, and you have absolutely no problems at all. Doesn’t cost much. I used by credit card for this, just to see that even with the exchange rate etc, how much would this hit me in KWD. Exact amount - KWD 124.431.

Cool. 

Fat Burning Underwear

Yes, it’s the Japs again. At least for this, think properly before giving this a shot.

A new nanofiber underwear burns fat just by wearing it. But given the premise, it must chafe a bit.

From Japan chemical company Teijin, the underwear is woven from 700-nanometer ultra fine polyester that the company calls Nanofront. Originally used for industrial polishing, the fabric is soft to the skin but apparently causes enough friction in daily tasks that, when worn as an undergarment for 40 days, can successfully lower body fat by "several percent."

Link

Oh BTW, fell down today. Twisted my right ankle. Seems bad, but I am hoping by morning I should be fine. Scraped my left knee and shin.

Well, shit happens. Yes, I did get a earful about that too. See, I do give papa enough material to conclude that I am good for nothing.

Cheers mate. Clink. Sigh…. (Well, I am in a hospital, there is no booze, but… it’s the thought that counts – not helping)

Things Getting Tough

Well, this really doesn’t have anything to do with papa’s treatment or him getting cranky because of the medicines. He has always been like this. Always more concerned about things that don’t matter as much. Someone who always enjoys complicating simple things. Someone who has always, and will forever (yes, I have no doubts), doubt his immediate family and is convinced of the fact that his son is the most incompetent soul to have walked the face of the earth.

So you see, there is very little that side effects of chemo could do. :D.

The reason why I say - things are getting tough – is, he is being his usual self but these are not normal times when he should be doing his normal stunts. As much as I like the idea of my father being himself, there are times when he should just chill.

Yelling at me seems to put him at ease (it always has), but there is a limit to how much crap a person can take. Anyways, my solution is - to sit and take how much I can. Smile through most of it (only when it comes to my father, otherwise I find it extremely difficult to stop my hand from doing what it does best).

When it gets too much, I stop smiling. Which is when (normally) papa realises that the issue has been dragged on a bit too much. At times, he will drop it by waving his hand and murmuring under his breath. Sometimes though, papa continues with his stuff. Then, I just get up and leave.

Did that today as well. Walked out. Went walking around Mahim. Got a few things done. To be honest, walking around Bombay is a hell lot more preferable (for me) as opposed to the local train / bus (at least right now).

An air-conditioned car is good, but I need a decent one (Just because it’s imported, doesn’t necessarily imply that it’s decent – most of the people here haven’t got that through their heads yet). And of course, the traffic on the road is always an issue.

Radio stations, err, well the DJ’s aren’t nearly as annoying as Lame Linda of 99.7 RKFM (heard she has stopped hosting the show. Praise the Lord). That said, they (DJ’s on Bombay’s FM) can be a bit full of themselves at times.

Yes, I do complain a lot. Hum to aise hi hain. Ab kahin to bakwaas karoonga.  

Undo Send – 5 seconds to pull back your email

The guys at Gmail do seem capable of thinking of everything.

Turn on Undo Send in Gmail Labs under Settings, and you’ll see a new “Undo” link on every sent mail confirmation. Click “Undo,” and we’ll grab the message before it’s sent and take you right back to compose.

This feature can't pull back an email that's already gone; it just holds your message for five seconds so you have a chance to hit the panic button. And don't worry – if you close Gmail or your browser crashes in those few seconds, we'll still send your message.

Link

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Real Nature Fresh Orange Juice

64666268_11a2ecd716

Seriously not happening. No way is this ‘Juice’. Tastes a lot like someone made a bad glass of orange tang.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Safari 4

 

overview-hero-image3-20090217

Not Bad. Reasonably fast. Top Sites feature – looks cool. Cover Flow browsing through the browsing history – TOO COOL!

Link

I Phone OS 3.0

Finally, a version of the I Phone that I might want to think about.

The new iPhone OS 3.0 software will be available to iPhone and iPod touch users this summer with over 100 new features including cut, copy and paste which can be done within or across applications; MMS to send and receive photos, contacts, audio files and locations with the Messages app; and the ability to capture and send audio recordings on the go with the new Voice Memo app. Landscape view will be available for Mail, Text and Notes. Search capabilities will be expanded, allowing customers to search within Mail, iPod and Notes or search across all key apps by typing a key word or phrase into the new Spotlight search, conveniently accessed from the Home screen.

 Link

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007. What I really want to know is, what other lousy books were considered for the Booker Prize in 2007, that this one managed to get shortlisted.

It’s not that the book is completely rubbish. It’s actually interesting till about half way. My problems - well I hate the narration style employed by the author (one way conversation with a US tourist, perhaps). Every time he refers to America as Your Country, it’s just aargh.

There are references to India (attacks on the parliament). These are just sad. When did India provoke Pakistan, does anyone seem to recall that? I sure as hell don’t. India the aggressor! damn, I have been waiting for about 20 years for India to be an aggressive force for something.. anything. I am surprised that Mohsin Hamid managed to notice the moment India became an aggressor and interestingly enough the rest of the world missed that eventful day / moment.

The long stretched out talks about Erica. Erica this, Erica that. Chris (Erica’s dead boyfriend) bla bla bla. Not that I had a problem with it. I was just wondering what the hell does this have to do with the story? It would have made a great sub-plot but given the amount he yaps about Erica and the relationship, this seems like it was the only plot. If he didn’t yap so much, the book wouldn’t have been even the 184 pages that it is right now.

The love-making episode where Changez tells Erica to pretend that he (Changez) is Chris, boy that was horrible. There is a difference between kinky role-playing and absurd nonsense – my view.

Varun Yaps

PILIBHIT/NEW DELHI: Varun Gandhi, a member of the Gandhi-Nehru family and a BJP candidate in the coming Lok Sabha elections, has stirred a major controversy by making inflammatory remarks against members of a community over which the Election Commission has slapped a notice seeking his explanation.

Link

Beta Varun, there is a time and place for everything. Sanjay Gandhi knew that (I am a fan) and got it right most of the time, if not always. You on the other hand - have a lot to learn.

Misbehaving In Class – No promotion

6a00d83451586c69e200e54f0dea0a8833-800wi

KOLKATA: Misbehave and be denied promotion to the next class. If the authorities at St James School have their way, students will soon be graded on discipline. Even if a student gets As in all subjects, but an E or F for discipline, he will be made to repeat the class. The proposal is awaiting the governing body’s nod…………….

A student will be promoted only if he scores between A and D in discipline, whatever his other grades are…….

A watch will be maintained to ensure students do not keep long hair (against school rules), behave rudely with teachers, bully other students or act rowdy on the school premises. Initially, students of Classes V to XII will be graded for discipline. If the plan works, it may be extended to the junior school.

Link

Hmm. A bit too much, don’t you think? Making someone repeat the class for being a smart mouth or naughty, nah. Let kids be kids. I am not saying tolerate everything, but suggesting that they repeat the class, come on, mate!

Long hair being against school rules, WTF! Does having long hair affect a child’s ability to learn? does it provide resistance to information from entering into the brain. Pathetic fools.

My school too had this stupid rule. Hate it. Just hate it, absolutely pointless. But thankfully, I wasn’t being graded for discipline (Turns out, I have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks God).

If kids aren’t naughty in their school days, then when the hell are they going to be naughty? when they are 50!

What really gets to me is - the measures suggested are always in extremes.

If a kid doesn’t score well, it’s not necessary that he is a abuse victim or is from a broken family, dyslexic or has issues with his father. Some just need to put in a bit more effort. Not all kids have the same capacity to retain or grasp concepts.  But the measures suggested are - either throw the kid at some psychiatric workshop or the likes, or just neglect him all together and say he is simply dumb.

Same situation for this discipline crap too. Arrey, try to find a sensible middle ground. 

EU Gender Neutral Law

LONDON: The European Parliament has prohibited the use of the terms 'Miss' and 'Mrs' in case they upset female MEPs.

According to a new "Gender-Neutral Language" guidance, the politicians are required to address female members by their full name only.

Link

Well I thinks it’s a bit stupid if someone gets offended by referring to a woman as a woman.

Some of it makes a bit of sense. i.e. Opting to use the term athletes instead of sportsmen. insisting on use of synthetic instead of man-made - err… ok fine. But banning the use of terms like firemen, headmaster, airhostess??!! Come on!

Some people just don’t know when to stop.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cyberknife

CyberKnife-Patient(cropped)

NEW DELHI: Offering hope in several cases of technically inoperable tumours, the most advanced CyberKnife robotic radio surgery system will be available to cancer patients from next week at the Apollo Specialty Cancer hospital, Chennai

Link

I have been reading about Cyberknife for some time now. Similar news have been appearing in the papers since mid 2008. Initially (beginning of 2009) I was very excited about the new technology and was desperately trying to get in touch with the people at Apollo, Hyderabad and HCG, Bangalore. Me and Bishu Bhaiya tried alot. Finally after a lot of efforts, we get a reply from HCG, Bangalore. They say, they do have the machine, but it won’t be operational until the end of March 2009.

It was so arrrrgggggggghhh.

Well they were better than the people at Apollo. None of them gave me a straight answer. I remember one of the calls where I was asking about Cyberknife, and the guy at the other end kept saying huh? kya? kaun? Wife?

Lets hope that at least this news, from Apollo Chennai - is confirmed and hopefully some patients will be able to benefit from this. At least on paper, Cyberknife seems like a very practical and convenient option.

In papa’s case, Cyberknife is not being considered as of now. The treatment has already started and we want to finish up this course of treatment and after that - look at the other alternatives.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chemotherapy

500_1182214743_gel_pills_ca 

Weird shit.

The treatment starts and you are pumped with medicines (basically it’s food poisoning at a slow rate but they call it medicine), which are supposed to stop cell growth and destroy cells in your body. In papa’s case, this goes on for about 5 days. In addition to the chemo meds, they give him palliative drugs as well - to avoid / limit the side-effects of chemo.

Once that’s done, at the end of the 5th day or the next day – the patient is hit with an injection. Papa’s case – Neulastim. This is supposed to get your blood count to normal.

Now, you have to get CBC tests done regularly, to ensure that your cells are back to reasonably normal levels. Once the oncologist is sure that the WBC/RBC etc are reasonably normal, they bomb you with chemo again (usually 14-16 days after the first chemo ended).

So first you destroy cells, then you give me something to boost production of new cells. Then you keep checking and once the cell levels are returning to normal, you start another chemo session to destroy them again!

no wonder medicine is ‘Practiced’.

The logic is supposed to be – Chemo destroys cancer cells, and then they need the body to produce healthy cells so your body is strong enough for another round of chemo to destroy the remaining cancer cells. The loop goes on.

 chemotherapy_injection

Whole Day Job

Almost everything over here seems to take an entire day to complete. Doctor’s visit – a day gone. Tests – a day gone (well, that’s fine. At least by the end of the day I have the report). Want to send a courier – takes a day. Other than getting a recharge card, or normal supplies (like milk, curd etc), anything else I have tried over here ends up taking the entire day!

Kind of scary. I might have to get a haircut here and I am thinking how long is that going to take!. BTW I hate switching barbers and was thinking if I could fly down to Kuwait for a few days, in addition to taking care of other things, I could also get my hair cut.

Of course all that depends on what the doctor tells us on the 18th. Papa will be getting another blood test to determine if he is healthy enough to go through the second cycle of chemo.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Google introduces phone services

Google has strengthened its mobile services with the debut of a service called Voice that could be a challenge to Skype and other phone firms.

It lets customers make cheap international calls and gives them a speech-to-text feature for voicemail.

The services are available thanks to Google's acquisition of phone firm GrandCentral which gives users a lifelong universal phone number.

"This could be big. Google is seen as disruptive," said analyst Jon Arnold.

"They are a wild card in telecoms and wireless but this is Google and they are very smart at what they do.

Link

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Between The Assassinations – Aravind Adiga

between_the_assassination

A collection / bunch of stories. To be honest I didn’t really see the point of it. Not really my type of book. One story, then another, and then another. I really wonder how he came up with the title. That would perhaps be another story.

It’s readable. Parts of the book seem like a re-read of White Tiger. It was readable, but I didn’t enjoy it (not as much as the hype suggested). There are reviews on the net calling this a Dazzling Book.

Guess my ‘different taste’ is not restricted just to movies.



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Telebanking

I don’t know if this is the same for all the banks here, but just tried telebanking and it sucks.

The IVR has it’s own issues. you have to enter your ATM Card No. at least twice (and in some cases, 3 times). After that you punch in your Date of Birth. After that you punch in the expiry date of your ATM Card.

Man! and I thought waiting through the service menu to get the option for the service I needed was annoying.

The IVR might ask for the ATM Card No: to be entered again. At this point I got really annoyed and decided to speak to a customer service rep. Big mistake.

They ask you to recollect at least the last 2 transactions effecting your account. They need the exact amounts! (imagine how horrible this is, if you use your ATM card at shopping malls to pay for groceries. You think you could remember the exact amounts, even if you wanted to?) 

Of course, you can tell the guy at the other end to have a heart, or ask him to be a bit practical. You could try to give him just a round figure of the amounts and hopefully he will agree (worked in my case).

Tata Sky

tata-sky-logo

Hmm. Funny. Tata Sky recharge (over the phone) won’t accept my Visa Card.

Customer Service says ‘Perhaps because it’s an International Credit Card’. Sounds weird, right? I wanted to ask a few more questions, but then I think my head would explode if someone says ‘Security Issues’ one more time.

Idea Netsetter - Wifi

 

IdeaNetSetterUSB.jpg 

What an Idea, sirji

Well, it was a tough time getting the damn thing in the first place, not many people actually know what it is. Shocking. Not even in Bombay. The few people who did understand what I was looking for, told me that it was new and would be difficult to get it. (same problem for Tata’s plug 2 surf thing, as well)

pl-2-surf 

Anyways, did finally get my hands on it. The guy selling this to me, seemed to have no clue how the different data packages worked. He too says – it’s new. We don’t have all the details.

Idea’s customer service / helpline is actually helpful - IF you do manage to get through.

The irritating part is the Thank you’s and all that nonsense at the call centre. So fake and so annoying and it’s after every damn sentence. BTW - the English really needs to be worked on. Anyways, I found it much more effective for me (and for the Customer Service Rep), if we both conversed in Hindi.

Like I said, these guys are helpful once you get through to the customer service line, which can be rather challenging at times.

The guys sitting at the shops (retailers) are also helpful. They might not know about the product, but once they find out the details, they will go out of their way to help you out.

The regulatory and security issues going on in India (or perhaps just bombay) make life extremely difficult and don’t always make sense.

Paper work, photograph, photo identity, address proof. Even for a bloody prepaid connection they want this (cell phone or the Wireless Internet). Address proof has to be address proof for Bombay!!.

I asked the guys, what if I am visiting India. I don’t have an address in Bombay, what the hell do I do? The answer – Passport and photograph will do. But Passport should have Bombay address. Heights of stupidity. I thought I would find more sensible people at the authorised Idea / Tata Indicom Galleries.

Hell they were even more pathetic. I knew more about the services than they did. I ask a question, the answer is – no no.. can’t do it that way. I ask why and the take the liberty explain how it should work and how it could work. The guy picks up the phone, makes a few calls, and then says ‘yes sir, sorry sir, can be done, you are right’

Excuse is – Security issues (for the paper work) and for not knowing how wifi internet works it’s - sir, new technology, will take time.

And don’t even get me started on what these guys call HIGH SPEED. (seriously, mate.. this is NOT high speed. I have surfed the net.. and what I am doing now, is NOT surfing, it’s CRAWLING). This is the case with the USB Wifi thing for now at least. The DSL and ADSL Broadband lines are fine though.

psst. 3G hasn’t caught up yet. The other day BSNL put up this huge ad in the paper that they finally had 3G but it’s probably going to take another 2-3 months (min) for these people to get it to the public. Plus perhaps another 6 months for people to finally be able to tell you how the data packages actually work. you see.. NEW TECHNOLOGY.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Things Back In Kuwait

Neelu bhaiya took care of everything back in Kuwait and even now is taking care of everything over there. Doing all of this while he is having to meet deadlines at his work, extremely difficult, but he seems to be handling everything very well. Thank you so much bhaiya.

Things at work

Guys in the office told me that I have nothing to worry about and that they will take care of everything. Yousef has been so helpful. Man, I just can’t thank you enough for everything. Thanks for the emails. Really hope that things get sorted out for you as well. All the best, mate. I am sure whatever you decide to do and however you decide to proceed, it will be well thought and the right decision. All the best.

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