Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What on earth is this???

Google goes guns again!
Rishi send me a link to Google Earth, the next big thing from them. Check it out!

Slashdot also has an article on this, with some intersting links and comments, as usual.

And yes, I have not forgotten about the extended review of Parineeta, just getting over the tiring visit to Vegas... will post soon.

take care, all you wonderful people!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Google Sat maps go global

Google has added sat map facility to the whole world now.
Just go to and zoom out.. then scroll and change to sat view.

My fav view is the following:,82.995529&spn=0.095100,0.125313&t=k&hl=en
Anyone know what this is?



Paheli - Short review!

Hi all,
Just back from watching Paheli at Naz8 near LA.

Since I am busy preparing for the paper-presentation I have to make in a conference in Vegas, I shall keep it short.. the longer one will follow!

So here's my review:

Do your eyes a favor: WATCH THE MOVIE!!

The visuals are simply amazing ... I am sure many Americans will get tickets to go visit Rajasthan upon watching this one [hell, "I" am going to visit Rajasthan now :-) ].

I know a lot of people will NOT like the movie... but please don't try to look for a lot of logic and story etc. in the movie. It is based on a folk tale.. and Amol Palekar has done a great job bringing this Amar Chitra Katha tale back to life :-).

Longer version coming up in some time.. once I am back from the "Sin City" :-)


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Another room to escape from

Hi all,
In my [and my friends'] quest for more room based games, I found this...

Escape: The Room[]

A nice game... not very tough but cool timepass..

only one hint... to "use" something... click and drag it on to the place where you want to use it.

Tell me how you liked it...


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Robo babies with curiosity

New Scientist is running a story about how researchers at Sony have made Aibo pups that have in-built curiosity. They seem to want to explore their surroundings and know more about it.

From the article
After several hours, however, the bots started kicking their toys and even trying to interact with conventional Aibo dogs. A short video (Windows Media Video 7.8MB), available from the researchers' web site, shows an Aibo pup that has learnt to play with its toys and bark at another robot nearby.

Fascinating.... does this mean we are moving closer to the worlds depicted in sci-fi novels and movies?

How long before Skynet becomes self aware and Judgement Day occurs?


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

No begging please, we are Indians

Rediff has an article about how the UP government is working to rehabilitate beggars.

A nice effort. However, I remember how when we have tried to get beggars to work at our homes [actually offered that very seriously], they have refused, maybe because a lot of them do not mind their state of being.

What do "you" think, my learned readers?

Get out of this room!!!

I found a couple of intersting games today... really nice.

1. Crimson Room [play from this link and use 1994 as code... the main site file does not work]
2. Viridan Room
3. Blue Chamber

The above games increase in hardness... if/when you get tired... google for some hints and solutions.

Best of luck!!


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Blogging, Plane Crashes and Credit Card thefts!

Hi dear readers,
Arpit sent me these links which he thought were worth sharing with you all on this blog.

1. Steve Job's speech at Stanford. A very good one. A tru rags to riches story... I esp like the bit about death.

2. Bloggers in India to be treated as Journos!. Cool... so when do I get my press badge?

3. 50 tools to help writers!. Very nice for bloggers and non-bloggers alike! I am going to use them in me research papers :-).

Thanks Arpit... these were nice.
And you all... feel free to send me links that you want me to post and although I may or may not post them [you can be assured that I will certainly "read" them :-) ].

However, the most important news for me was the following:

Plane crashes in southern califoria freeway []


40 million credit card details stolen! []

I guess they are important since they are much closer home... anyways.

In other news, I saw Star Wars episode III last night... nice movie... [Natalie Portman is sooooo pretty in it.. and Master Yoda is so knowledgable]. They have done a nice job of filling in all the gaps so that episode IV is now properly placed.

Happy father's day to all you father-figures out there! [Sunday June 18].


Friday, June 17, 2005

Marry me, I am [HIV] positive.

Gulf Daily News has an article about how HIV positive men are finding wives.

From the article:
HIV-positive men who placed matrimonial advertisements in newspapers in western India say they have received proposals from uninfected women who want to marry them for financial security or companionship.

It is a very nice development. What do you think? Would you marry [your GF/BF] if it was discovered that [he/she] had HIV. What would you do if you were diagnosed and your beloved did not have it?


In other news:
Interesting comments in Solaris Code
Earthquake in Southern California [yes.. that includes LA!] [use bugmenot if LA Times asks for account.]

Friday, June 10, 2005

Happy Re-Birthday

June 9, 2002 , France

Jab Axay Sharma, Ashish Chandra, Rahul Kapoor aur Animesh Pathak - hum 4 bande saath mein South-of-France road trip kar rahe thhey.

Socha tha duniya ki laga denge.

Apni lag gayi!

Indeed... the conversation went like this.

Animesh [in navigator seat of a Renault Twingo] : Abey Rahul... it has rained badly last night.. reduce speed
Rahul [in the drivers seat] : Don't worry man... I have driven this track [Marseilles to Nice] before.

[they see a sharp right turn ahead, a minivan is coming from the other side, the Twingo's turn would not be able to be sharp enough]

Animesh: Shit [cannot hear others]

[collision of car with side of van... then to inner wall of the tunnel]

[some time passes.... dunno how much]

Animesh [wakes up with his head in a deflating airbag]: huh...

[thinks he is dead.. then realises he is not.. thinks others are dead.. realises they are not]

The car only has two doors.. one of which is not jammed. All 4 slowly come out of the car through the single door.

..... continuing in first person.. this narrative style is tiring.

So, thankfully.. the other car people [Husband, Wife and 2 kids] were all safe and not very angry. They flagged down a cyclist and used his cellphone to call emergency.

Soon the police and the paramedics were there... they offered us medical help but we were all fine [and wanting to get away from it all ASAP] so we politely refused, following which they made us sign a declaration that we declined medical help! Something weird to us Indians who are used to people (mostly) not-helping out when accidents happen.

My french came to the rescue while explaining to the policeman what happened.. and why he should let us go :-).

Then we caught a train back to Grenoble.. then to Paris, since the car was smashed completely.

Akshay is running his own company in Delhi now [after graduating from IITD]. Ashish is working in U.K. I don't know where Rahul is ... and I am here.

All I know is that if it was not for the seat belts and the airbags [and a lot of good wishes from our well wishers], I would not have been typing this today.

Happy re-birthday folks!!

If any of u three are reading this.. definitely leave your comments!


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Die! Die for stealing my cyber-sabre!

Reuters is reporting on a rather strange story about a man stabbing another for a cyber-sabre.

The stabbing was done in the real world, but the sabre belongs to the virtual one.

From the article
Qiu Chengwei, 41, stabbed competitor Zhu Caoyuan in the chest after he was told Zhu had sold his "dragon saber," used in the popular online game, "Legend of Mir 3," the China Daily said.

Does this mean we are getting closer and closer to something like the thirteenth floor?


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bunty aur Babli review

[Edit on June 6, 2005, 6:30pm PDT - approx. 130 views of this post till now, a new record for my blog... I am touched :-) ]

Finally I saw it, went to Naz yesternight and caught the 9-12 show. Yes, I am talking about the movie Bunty aur Babli, about which I had blogged previously. The plan was to watch it last week with Gaurav, but had to meet Sanjay, Anshuman and Jagadish for some stuff... so postponed the plan.

The movie is a nice timepass movie... light-hearted and full of fun. I strongly recommend watching it [and then coming back to my blog to read the review :-)].

Another interesting part was the subtitles. They converted "chaat pakora" to "pizza" and things like that.. and the song lyric conversion was hilarious [adding to the overall fun score of the movie]

Okay then... on to the review.

Spoiler Alert:
This review will go in a lot of details, so if you have not watched the movie, you better watch it before you read on.

Content Warning: This content is rated PG-13 by me, some topics may be unsuitable for kids. Please be careful

[skip summary]
The movie is about Bunty a.k.a Rakesh Trivedi and Babli a.k.a Vimmi Saluja [Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee], who are from small towns and have big dreams. They bump into each other at the lucknow railway station after having fled from their respective homes in search of a more eventful life.

However, they realise that hard work and honesty is not going to pay and turn to conning people. Once they start liking their job, there is no stopping them. They also give away a lot of money they make to the poor.

They do a lot of very brainy [and amusing] heists, you have to see it to believe it.

However, there is a police officer [Amitabh Bachchan] who is on their tail.. and finally he does catch them, when they have promised to reform themselves! The last part of the story is also interesting when he finally frees them and then recruits them as anti-conning experts [a la catch me if you can].

And now, on to my comments...
The movie started at my weak point, with scenes of Banaras, [you all know why that place is so dear to me]. Seeing the ghats, ramnagar fort, the sand on the other side of Ganga etc. made me nostalgic... I am so waiting to visit Banaras again.

The first half of the movie has a nice bunch of capers by the duo, each bigger and better than the previous one. The songs were mostly well placed [except for the nach baliye one] and the scenes of Ladakh in "Chhup Chhup ke" simply blew me away. I am putting that place in my to-visit list :-).

Rani and Abhishek share a very nice screen chemistry, which is evident in the first half in their conversations. The scenes between them showing the development of the romantic relationship fills one up with mush... as is expected from something from the Yash Raj banner. *sigh*

The second half largely belongs to the senior 'B', who amuses with his load of "UP ishtyle" dialogue delivery [not to forget that junior 'B' also refers to himself as "hum" instead of "main", a truly UP/Bihar trait]. It was nice to see them both on screen together. There were some obvious dialogues ["kahaan se ho? allahabad se.. shakal se hi lagte ho"] and the "Kajraare Kajraare" song and the scene before that bring out the father-son duo's talents.

The capers were also very witty... I liked them all... esp the Taj one... hilarious!

A lot has been said about the song, about hot hot aish looks in it, but I beg to differ. I found her more attractive in "Ishq Kamina" than in this number, indeed I found her looking cheap and sleazy in this number. If this is how a bar dancer in UP is supposed to look like, then she did a good job :-).

The ending was also very nice ["agar maine ek bhi baar aam ka achaar aur banaya to main mar jaaoongi!!" :-) ]. I am sure they will have a sequal coming [like Dhoom], but more than that, I think this can be exploited more and be made into a TV serial, with Bunty and Babli fighting crime in their special way in each episode... what do you say??

The songs were nicely picturized. Did you notice Shiamak Davar in the "Nach Baliye" song? Also, I think Big B's rap song in the end was cute :-).

Acting wise I think the main characters did very well. I wonder why I still have this feeling that Amitabh could have done better. [loved the "makkha makkhi" joke :-) ]. Junior B was nice. Rani was also good. I am slowly moving towards making her my fav. actress in the current batch, having seen Hum Tum, Black, Veer Zaara and now BnB.

A nice point of the film was the presence of some good character actors in small roles [Raj Babbar, Kiran Juneja, Puneet Issar, Rameshwari, Prem Chopra, Ranjeet, Ravi Vaswani, the lady from WBHH, the guy from lagaan, Apple Singh, ...]. This made sure that even small scenes came out well. That said, the acting in some portions did leave a lot to be desired. The girl who talked to Vimmi [babli] at the Miss India content was simply horrible. But mostly it was nice.

Now, on to some controversies:
Firstly, I read somewhere that some sikhs had complained about the fact that vimmi, a sikh, is shown taking drugs! I think they were talking about the first con scene with apple singh, in which Rani is shown smoking. If these people cannot differentiate between drugs and a fancy brand cigarette, they need to do a little more homework before making allegations. Also, Rani is shown opposing junior B's cigarette habits later, which the protestors cleverly chose to ignore.

That said, I think this movie could have done with a little less alcohol and tobacco. In this time, movie stars should try not to glorify their use to the people.. because the youth "does" get influenced.

Secondly, some people have objected to the "hot" scenes between B and B just before the interval, with all the kissing and cuddling going on. My take on this is that although I agree that you may feel a little uncomfortable seeing that with parents etc, it was shown in a very artistic way. After all, they try to highlight the "love" angle of sex. This is a hundred times better than the ads of the continuous stream of sleazy movies coming out of bollywood presently. I whole heartedly welcome the sensitive show of love between husband and wife in movies.

Incidentally, just after that song, they showed a trailer of "Bachke Rehna re Baaba", the Mallika Sherawat/ Rekha version of "heartbreakers", and Mallika alone managed to show more skin in that 3 minute trailer than Rani could manage in a 5 minute song!

Finally, as an ending comment, Yash Chopra sure knows how to make his leading ladies look good :-) . Rani looked very sexy in the movie, except the disco song in which she looks like a prostitute. The dress designer has done wonders with her clothes, especially the kurtas worn in the first song - they give her the young-and-innocent-yet-sexy-in-a-nice-way look. I think they will be next "in" thing in fashion in India [and I will miss it all since I am here in the US :-( ]

Goes on to show that you do not need to take off your clothes to look sexy [a la Mallika and others currently].

Thanks for reading uptil now. I hope you enjoyed reading this review.
Please post a comment and let me know your views about the movie or my reading of it. I am sure a lot of you have different points of view than mine.


Abandoned daughter sues parents

The Times of India has a nice article about a girl who sued her parents for abandoning her as a baby.

Apparently, the parents left her in a garbage bin because they had twin daughters. Also, now when she is 28, they want her to get married the way they want!

This is outrageous. These people should be jailed.

What do you say? My wise readers?
P.S. Had an absolute ball at Eddie's birthday party last night, including a game of kings [with me sipping cranberry juice :-) ]

Friday, June 03, 2005

Hacker Hunters

Business Week is reporting on a crackdown by the feds on a group of hackers called the ShadowCrew.

A very interesting read.

Makes me want to do some security sermonizing [more so since two of my roommates have dysfunctional computers presently, thanks to running unprotected Windows machines].

I strongly recommend that all of you read this article till the end and realize that installing a firewall and antivirus is not an optional thing anymore.

Also, please update your software timely. Please do not ignore the flashing windows update icon on your desktop.

Interestingly, most of these things are free.

Windows Update - Please update your windows machines regularly. Turn on that auto update.

or better

Install Linux

Install Firefox to surf the web instead of Internet Explorer.

Install Thunderbird to check your mail instead of outlook.

Remember to use Ad-Aware and Spybot periodically to check your system for spyware.

Install Sygate Firewall. The Free version [linked here] is also very easy to use

Install AVG anti-virus. The linked version is also free.

So you see, you can secure your system for free.. it is easy and simple.. just like you can secure your home with a few simple practices [like locking your main door]

Please post a comment if you think this blurb from me was helpful.. or if you think something was missing.