Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Product Pitch

I was talking about this idea with my uncle on my recent trip to Chicago.

GPS definitely has been a great innovation that has made travel easier and hassle-free. But when you are going in a big group with multiple vehicles where one is "following" another (for either directions or for some other reason) wouldn't it be cool to to be able to communicate with the the other car without having to call the other driver every now and then (probably just to tell him to switch lanes or to watch out for the next exit)? I guess an iphone app would be cool for this. But what would be cooler is to also have a simple external indicator, say a matching colored flag on top of both vehicles, so that the other vehicles on the road will also realize that these cars are together. That way, the other vehicles on the road can watch out for simultaneous identical actions of the two cars. Now that is something to think about.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twitter Apps

Some nice apps that go with twitter:
  • - Check out your tweet statistics
  • & - Get backgrounds for your account
  • - Crosspost to social networking sites and to tweet from IMs
  • - Lists trending topics
  • - Current tweets on interesting articles
  • twhirl - IM for twitter

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Thursday, July 23, 2009


At work:

Girl: "O-M-G".
Boy: "Did you just say O-M-G to me?"
Girl: "Duh."
Boy IMing a friend: "Dont believe it. G just used OMG. Not oh-my-god. OMG."
Girl texting a friend: "OMG. B got so OMG when I said OMG. OMG, OMG."

Had me in splits. Kids these days... :P

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Coraline vs. My story about Story

I watched the animated film Coraline on my trip to India and couldn't help notice how similar it was to a not-so-recent "non-bedtime" story that I had come up with for my young cousins.

I called it "The story of Story" and it was pretty much an "on-the-fly" affair with inspirations from several places.

Story was a naughty little boy who wouldn't listen to his parents (not drinking milk, not brushing teeth, etc. etc.) and was always up to some trouble or the other. One day his mother tells him that if he continues to be bad then he his father will send him to the summer camp. That night Story cannot sleep and is lying awake in his bed. He hears some noises (along with thunder rumbling etc), gets scared and hides under the bed. As the noises draw closer and closer, he finds a magic marker, draws a door on the wall under the bed, crawls through a tunnel and finds himself back again in his bedroom. He also sees that it is the next day and is time for him to get ready for school. He hears his mom calling him to wake up and to his surprise he finds another boy in his room, who looks exactly like him, who answers the call as if he was Story. As the day proceeds he realizes through several incidents that not only is he like a ghost- no one can hear him or see him, but every one also seem to think that the other boy is Story. He also notices that the other boy is very obedient and well behaved and gets a lot more love and affection from his parents and his friends. By the end of the day he realizes how badly he has been behaving and prays to God to give him another chance to be with his family and friends. Immediately the weather turns gloomy and he starts hearing the same noises that he heard before in his bedroom the previous night. He sees a floating figure that approaches him and tells him that now that he has learnt his lesson, he is free go back to his original life. Story wakes up to find everything as normal as before, hugs his parents and tells them that he loves them and that he will be a better boy. He finally returns to his room to find the magic marker next to his bed.

While narrating it, I had made it as scary as possible (as requested by my 4 cousins, who wanted "a little but not a lot" horror) which actually made the entire story not so fairy tale-ish. While watching the film, there was the obvious "alternate dimension" thing with the "other parents", there was the magic door and the crawling through the tunnel part and most importantly the really dark tone of the entire narration, all of which made me wonder about how similar the film was to my tale.

Anyways, I really enjoyed the movie, despite the less impressive parts towards the end. Since something similar has been made into a rather nice movie, I guess "The story of Story" was not that bad then. I wonder if my cousins still remember the story though. Hmm.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Border Sauce Sayings

I love Taco Bell's border sauce. I keep getting the same sayings though.

Will you scratch my back?

Ahhh... we meet again.

Will you marry me?

Help! I can't tell where I am. It's dark and I can hear laughing.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

India after Gandhi

Finished reading "India after Gandhi" by Ramachandra Guha last month. The book is a pretty good sketch of the Indian political scene from the pre-independence days to early 2000s. The book was quite a fast read which I think is a huge achievement considering the topic and my disinclination to big non-fiction books.

The book pretty much divides the 1940 - 2000 time period into decades and deals with each individually. There is very little repetition of stuff covered in earlier chapters which could be a problem for someone completely new to this area, but for a book this ambitious that is probably the only practical solution; even without the appendices and acknowledgements, the book has about 800 pages of reading material.

I really loved the first three fourths of it and got to learn a lot of stuff that I didn't know before. The last part, however was a letdown. Post 90s is covered by chapters on distinct topics rather than the chronological order followed in the rest of the book. Although the author seems to have done so deliberately, I think a slightly more chronological ordering would have helped. My another problem with this period was that it seemed to just glance over several topics rather than providing a more detailed analysis. It is quite possible that being from this decade, I know more about the issues and hence expect to seem them all tied up neatly with the rest of the political history but when the author mentions in the preface that there is not a lot known about several local Indian leaders (like MGR) who have influenced people in areas as big as several european coutries, I expected the book to cover these lesser known important people in greater detail.

Nevertheless, I was quite impressed with the book and strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in Indian history, post independence.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Movies In-flight

The best (and possibly the only enjoyable) part of sitting inside a long flight, for me, is the chance to unwind with some movies. Cathay Pacific & Singapore are my favorite airlines and offer a decent in-flight system (for me, a good in-flight entertainment system must have: a) a separate screen and controls for each person (with option to pause / rewind / ffwd), b) a decent resolution screen and sound system (at least as good as a decent portable dvd player), c) movies in dvd quality, and d) a good selection of movies!)

I caught quite few movies on my vacation trip this time; here's the rather long list:

Doubt, Last Chance Harvey, He's just not that into you, Bolt, The Game, Abhiyum Naanum, Gran Torino, Raaman Thediya Seethai, Kidnap, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Duplicity, Sunshine Cleaning, Coraline, and the first half of 17 Again.

The list is long, I know. In my defence, I really liked watching movies in KrisWorld (SIA). (If you still think the list is long, I confess, I have left out a couple of movies that I can't recall!)

Btw, without any doubt, the worst film in that list (and quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen) would be Kidnap (Hindi, 2008). Thankfully, I had very little expectations and watched it half asleep and hence was saved from having to endure it completely.

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