Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Apple's Sense of Humour - The Joke's on Windows (AGAIN) !!!

The title says it all - today, I noticed something strangely weird. While exploring the PC on my local area network, I had a look at how a "PC" icon looks in Leopard's Finder (the default explorer in Mac OS X). And, to my amusement, I saw the familiar screenshot of a typical Windows machine - one that defines its identity - Blue Screen of Death...

Wonder what guys at Redmond have to say over this ;). How did I miss this for so long?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"Death at a Funeral" was Hilarious

I watched Frank Oz's "Death at a Funeral" today afternoon - and I couldn't stop laughing throughout the movie. For the first time, I randomly selected a movie without looking at IMDB review - the title was a bit strange - thought it to be some kind of family drama - but it turned out to be more than that. Not going to spoil the fun by giving you any detail on what the movie is all about - just watch it :P


Friday, December 05, 2008

Me a Trainer?? No Way!!!!

It happened in November. Got a mail from my manager asking if I was willing to contribute something towards the general awareness of the employees here in my company - in other words - taking a training session on some technical stuff I have been working for the past couple of years. Having nothing better to do, I agreed.

The first series of session was attended by an abominably small number of people, but it was fun, none the less - I mean, handling a handful of people in my first EVER training session, helps you deal with LESS number of questions / doubts :) ... After putting 5 days of effort, my first session was finally over (in my opinion it was a success - that's STRICTLY my opinion)... Got a decent feedback, which encouraged me to accept the next training session in December.

Here is the thing now - there are now 25 people who BELIEVE that I can TEACH, and everything turned out to be... well, a chaos on the 1st day. I was thinking - "WHY the hell did I even think of doing this again??". Things cooled down after a day or two (as a few of them backed out) - leaving a decent number of souls (15 to be approx) at my disposal ;) . Infact, I have started liking this new role of mine so much (again), it makes me wonder "Why the hell didn't I do this before?".

I am thinking - how good am I? Teaching has always been my so-called "strength" in school or college days. I am still confused if I am going to take another of these classroom training next month...

BTW, the training is on Java webservices - and my manager thinks I have gained enough expertise to start training people - I was myself not aware of this till the 1st time I started speaking in the classroom..

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Keyboard(r) - A New Intuitive Way to Search

While surfing through the net yesterday, I stumbled into something interesting called "Keyboardr" - a search engine. Well , not exactly a search engine, but a meta-search for Google, Blogspot, Google Images, Youtube and Wikipedia on a single page. But that's not the the unique stuff I noticed. The best part is that it searches as you start typing, and displays results immediately, refining the search results as you proceed typing new keywords (something similar to many of the commonly used desktop search applications, like Copernicus for Windows, or Leopard's inbuilt Spotlight ). Also, as the name suggests, it provides full navigation using your keyboard (using just the arrow keys and the enter key). I was quite impressed...

The home page provides a plain interface, with a search box.

As you start typing, it starts displaying search results immediately. Navigate with the arrow keys, and press enter to go to the search page

Do check it out at www.keyboardr.com . Its worth a try!!! It works fine with Firefox and Safari browsers too.

The development team has its own blog at http://www.julius-eckert.com/blog/31 .

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Attacks - What Next??

I remember Wednesday night, when, all of a sudden a friend from US pinged me on gtalk, asking to check if my friends in Mumbai were safe. I didn't know what he was talking about - it was 11.30 in the night, and the last time I checked the news at 8.45, there was no mention about anything out of the ordinary. But, then, I immediately went to one of the Indian news portal, and came to know what he was talking about. People masacared in CST railway station, leaving around a 100 dead and many more injured!!?? And on top of that, the hostage situation in two of Mumbai's best hotels? Was this a joke?


The next whole day, while in office, we kept refreshing the news sites, hoping that this would stop as soon as possible. But, to our shock, it continued for the whole of Thursday and Friday. The terrorists had taken over the Taj and the Oberoi hotels, and there were still speculations going on regarding the count of hostages (the majority of them were US and British citizens). Yes, the terrorists were targeting foreigners. The incessant gun firing, and random blasts continued throughout the day in these hotels.

The National Security Guards (NSG) did their best to bring the situation under control. But some of the bravest of the Mumbai police and the NSG lost their lives in the operation.

After two days of continuous fighting, the hostages were rescued, and most of the terrorists were killed.


Now the question is, why did this happen in the first place? The news channels broadcasted the CCTV coverages of the entire attack, so why was this not avoided before so many lives were lost? A few months back, there were a series of bomb blasts in the Indian capital city of Delhi. Has there been no steps taken by the authorities to protect the lives of citizens from such appalling acts of terrorism? What do WE need to do to make sure such an incident is avoided in the future? Or are we just going to live in fear? Are we going to think twice before going out with friends to a cinema? When are we going to get a reassurance from the government? I agree, no one is safe in today's times - you keep hearing about such incidents throughout the globe - but the things happening in India in the last few years makes you think back and notice...


I pray for all the brave souls who lost their lives in the attack.... May God bless us all....

My Date with Mac OS X Leopard

I got a Mac, finally!!! I was thinking of getting myself a new laptop, and had various options - Dell was the undisputed choice, till I decided to look at the Macbook White (the 2.4 Ghz one). I loved it (and it wasn't that heavy on my pocket compared to the unibody alumunium ones recently released). So I decided on it. One of the major factors which pushed me towards Apple was its operating system - the OS X ("oh-es-ten") Leopard.

The first thing you see in Leopard is the desktop - with the trademark Dock and the menubar.
There are some noticeable difference, I agree, with Microsoft Windows, and there is a small learning curve. Let me give you some examples.

1. The Command key - This is something similar to the Control key of Windows, most of the shortcuts are used with the combination of the Command key here - like, for example, copy is Cmd+C, cut is Cmd+X, task switcher is Cmd+Tab etc. There is a Ctrl key too, but thats used for right click purposes generally.

2. Finder - Explorer is Finder here, and as the name suggests, it allows you to find stuff on your hard disks. The concept is similar, so nothing remarkable different here.
The finder, other than showing the folders etc, also shows the devices connected, the computers in the local area network, and a list of all the documents, movies, pictures in its left side pane.

3. Dock - The Dock acts as a shortcut from where you can launch various appliations, and also has the open windows and applications (similar to Windows Taskbar). Leopard has a new feature - something called as a "Stack" - which allows you to keep a folder shortcut on the Dock for easy access. The stacks, when clicked, either fans out, or is shown as a grid.

4. The Menubar - There is a menubar at the top of the desktop, and depending on the active application window, the menubar contents keep changing. Thus, each window doesn't have its separate menus. Note that in the following pictures, how the contents of the menubar changes depending on the selected application:

5. Dashboard - This is a place to keep all the widgets available. A handy tool to keep those small applications.
6. Application Installation - The application installations are generally available in the form of a Disk Image (.dmg format). To install the application, just mount the image by double clicking the dmg file, and drag the application file to the application folder in the Macintosh hard disk - and viola!!! The application is installed. To install, just drag the application to the trash bin. Its that easy.

7. Cover Flow - With Leopard, you can browse throw the files in the hard disk using cover flow (like iTunes).
8. QuickLook - With Quicklook feature, you can go through the contents of a file without opening the application in its default application. For example, to just see the contents of a pdf file, just select the file and press space - the contents of a file is seen in a preview window, and you can also maximize the preview window to fullscreen. Whats more interesting is that the entire file can be browsed through in preview mode. This feature is more useful while previewing images in a Finder window - just select all the images in the Finder which you want to look at, and press Spacebar - you can now have high resolution preview of all the selected images, or even a full screen slideshow. Great feature!!!
9. Expose - With Expose, all the open windows are exposed in a single screen, and can be used to switch the active application window. In Expose mode, just press tab to sift through all the windows one by one.
10. Spotlight - An indexed search engine, which displays search results as you keep typing. It is also a perfect way to launch applications. For example, to open Microsoft Word, just launch the Spotlight app by Cmd+SpaceBar, and type word, and press Enter.

11. Closing Applications - Unlike Windows, in OS X, the window of an application can be closed without closing the application itself by Cmd+W key combination. To close the application itself, use Cmd+Q key combination.

These were some of the features I noticed in the initial one week, and I am still in the process of exploring more... :)

The Genie Effect while minimizing a window to the dock

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My First Impressions on Google's Chrome

Ok, so finally Google has its own browser... After I heard the news yesterday, and went through the comic book by Google, I waited for it to be ready for download the first thing today morning. And this is what I think about this new browser.

First thing first - I am a BIG fan of Mozilla Firefox - and have been using it for the past 3 years now, switching sometimes to Opera (to check what the new version has to offer), and Apple's Safari (I just love the font rendering in their browser). And as far as IE is concerned, the only time I use it is to check my office mail on Microsoft Exchange from home. But, I love Firefox, and am, well, a bit too dependent on its innovative plugins. The only complaint I have about the browser is that, sometimes it takes ages to start, and occasionaly, it starts hogging CPU utilization like anything (and I do have a modest PC config - 2600 Athlon processor with a 512 MB ram running WIndows XP SP2)!!! So, I was looking forward for Google's browser.



The dowload was pretty smooth (approx 7MB), and once installed, it prompted me if I wanted to copy my bookmarks, history, saved passwords etc from my Firefox. Once that was done, the browser opened up. The first look at it gives you the impression that Google really wanted to make it as simplistic in appearance as possible. No title bar over the application window stating Google's Chrome etc. Just a tab!!! And the address bar has Google search integrated with it, 
which is kind of cool. It has the standard autocomplete feature that is seen in Firefox 3, so there wasn't anything new there. I entered a few sites, and, they loaded up real quick. (I tried to open the same sites using Firefox and Safari, and saw that there was a difference, as mentioned in the previews). So far so good.

I played around with the browser for quite some time. The preview mentioned that the browser has individual tabs running as separate processes in the OS, which means, that if one my tabs 
crash, the whole browser wont come down with it(and there had been many similar incidents with me earlier). With the SHIFT+ESC combo, it shows a task manager, showing the memory, CPU utilization and network usage of individual tabs, and allowing me to end any of the tab "processes" if it starts misbehaving. And, there is a "stats for nerds" link, which shows the physical and virtual memory usages of all the tabs PLUS similar stats of any other browser that is open :).

The best part about Chrome is the sheer speed with which it renders the web pages, and the simplicity. It still lacks Java support, but I guess, as the product matures, new addons and features will be added. One part which I didn't like, though, was that there is no way to disable automatic downloading of updates, but then, I guess, Google wants to keep us automatically updated with the latest builds released. But still, there should have been this option....

Overall, I liked the product, and it does seem to live up to the promises it made in the preview comic book.



Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Nokia E51 - My New Phone

Yesterday, I finally changed my previous Nokia 5300 - replaced it by Nokia E51 smart phone. There is nothing special about its looks (plain candybar), but what impressed me was what lied underneath - a Symbian S60 3rd Edition, a 3G / Quadband / WiFi /Edge enabled phone with an excellent battery life. Unlike the other S60 phones, the interface is very responsive, and it also boasts of a 140 MB onboard memory. The 2MP camera has nothing much to write about. But, I guess, this feature packed phone is worth the cost...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Godfather Overthrown?

Today, while going through IMDB top 250 movies list, I was surprised... When "The Dark Knight" was released, it hit the #1 spot, after displacing "The Godfather" - which was an achievement, as "The Godfather" was on the top of the list since the list was created (in 1990s). But today, I saw another difference - "The Shawshank Redemption", which used to hold the #3 spot, climbed up to #2 spot - putting "The Godfather" to #3!!!


Maybe "The Godfather" days are finally over!!!

A Killing Joke

One thing that everyone is discussing about after watching “The Dark Knight” is the Joker. I watched the movie on the first weekend it was released, and was in no mood to review such a movie – a kind of movie which has won the hearts of both the critics and the audience (Batman fan or not). So, what was so special about the movie? Was it the caped crusader himself, or the dark and realistic setting (from Christopher Nolan's previous movie - “Batman Begins”), or the action sequences? Everything was perfect in the movie, but the character of Joker outdid everything (in my opinion). I developed a special interest in this menacing character, and decided to write about him instead.

Joker is considered as one of the most dangerous nemesis of Batman. Those of us who have read the comics, seen the television series, or watched the animated cartoons from Warner Brothers would agree. The character was brought into the movies for the first and only time before in the 1989 movie - “Batman”, played by Jack Nicholson. In this movie, a gangster by the name of Jack Napier is disfigured when he falls into a vat of chemicals during a confrontation with Batman, and thus Joker originates. But this character had a history with Batman earlier too. It is shown, in the movie, that the young Jack Napier was one of the thugs who murdered Bruce Wayne's (Batman's real identity) parents when he was young – so he is indirectly responsible for the creation of Batman. The portrayal of Joker by Nicholson was hailed at that time to be one of the best portrayals of the character so far.


In the comics, a definitive background for Joker is never established, and his real name has never been confirmed. Every version of comic book comes up with a new story behind the Joker, but all depict him as the same green haired, white faced character, with a permanent smile painted on his face. And his actions – well they are notorious – like a villain always is (either in real world or in comic world). So what is so special about this character that sets him apart from all other adversaries of Batman, making him one of the most memorable criminals Gotham City ever had? Well, he has committed crimes both whimsical and inhumanly brutal, all with a logic and reasoning that, in Batman's words, "make sense to him alone."

It is this complex psyche of the character which was brought to screen by director Christopher Nolan, and by the late actor Heath Ledger. And what a portrayal it was!!! From a sophisticated Joker whose crimes seem to be childish in all the previous depiction, this version of the Joker is chilling. You detest him, hate the way he laughs, gasp at the crimes he commits, and is shocked by seeing the permanent scar on his face (not just a smile painted this time). And you applaud the performance. That is the kind of response any actor wants when he just goes out of the way to be a character. Pity, he didn't live to see his own performance on the big screen. But, surely, this kind of acting does deserve an Oscar, even if it is posthumous....


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monsoons

Its rainy season again... I remember as a kid when it used to rain - it gave me an excuse to skip school, sit at home and watch the rains from our house balcony, especially when the school is about to reopen after a long summer vacation. Or maybe, the teachers won't come to school, so we can have the whole school for ourselves.

But since the time I have started living in Pune, I don't look forward to this season that much... Any one who has stayed here would agree with me. Pune is one of the places where when it starts raining, it rains for 4 months non stop. Yes non stop. And I am not talking about the heavy downpour spells. Its just drizzling throughout the day, with a cloudy, gloomy sky. And this makes the roads (which are already in a bad and pitiable state) even worse and muddy. Not a single road is without potholes. It is a nightmare for any pedestrian to walk without getting his/her trousers and shoes completely covered in mud. And for the poor bike drivers, the conditions are obviously not favourable to drive at any time of the day. Fortunately, unlike Mumbai, there are no floods, or drainage problem, which is a relief.

But that doesn't mean that I have started hating the rains... I still love its first spell, followed by clear, blue, bright, sunny sky, the smell of wet ground, the rainbow... I wish that I was still a school-going kid, and I could enjoy missing the school for just one more day...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Exam Time.... Again

Finally I am going to do it today - I have been thinking of giving Sun Ceritified Java Certification (SCJP) exam since 2006. And finally gathered the courage this week, and scheduled it for today. And that reminds me, this it the first time I'll be sitting for an "all-important-exam" after 2 years!!! Having a bit of those exam jitters today, reminding me of the good old days....

By the way, I noticed that this post has both "Sun" and "Sunday" as labels!!! What a coincidence :P !!!!

My Birthday This Year

Last week, I celebrated my birthday, yet again in Pune (it has been my 5th consecutive birthday celebration here). And, inspite of my birthday falling on a weekday, I had time to celebrate it with some of my "no-so-busy" friends.

It started with a call from one of my friends, asking me when can I come to their place at midnight (as they were a group of girls, it was not possible for them to come to my place at that time) - well, I was expecting some kind of a surprise thing, and instead, I get a direct invitation for my "surprise-birthday-party" 3 hours before!!! 

Next day, had a busy day at the office, but finally was able to chalk out some plan with 7 of my friends for dinner. Finally free at 9 PM, we all managed to reach one of my favourite Indian food restaurants... Had fun, and came back home around 1 AM. 

I generally remember my birthdays for all the bad things for the past 10 years - once, one of my friends was bitten badly by my dogs when he had come to my house (because of my carelessness), another time, I had a high fever, and once, I had a stupid, yet important exam to give in Bangalore (and on top of that, once we landed there, had no place in the whole city to stay, as it was packed with students from all over the country). So, looking at this year, I guess the jinx was broken!!! May be this is the last year I am celebrating my birthday here in Pune, a place where, I guess, I have spent some of the most memorable days so far....

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tagging The Digital Music

I am obsessive about my music collection - you can say that I actually suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to digital music - I like everything to be properly tagged, with cover arts. I remember, last year, when I bought my iPod, I spent an entire week sorting my entire collection. Initially I was manually updating some 4000+ songs, but then, I came across some good tools. So this post is mainly about those tools.


First is the TagRunner - this software automatically searches for missing tags in your music files. So the major part of your tagging problems are taken care by it. Next, if you use iTunes to listen to music, Tunesleeve can be used to search for album arts for each of the albums. It looks into your iTunes library and updates the cover arts of most of the albums (assuming all your songs are properly tagged with the correct albums).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday!!!

Another Sunday post :) - now I have created a separate label : "sunday" ...

For the last few days, I seem to be posting a lot on my blog, a few of them being technical stuffs I have been working on this week.

In our company, we have a company blog (ChannelOne blogs by WordPress). Even though it has some advanced features (one that enables the users to upload files directly to the blog server), somehow, it seems to be too unattractive. The themes are limited (till now, haven't found an option to edit the templates, other than updating the header image), and its too damn slow. And, when it comes to posting in my company blog, I am too selective - most of the articles are transferred from this blog, after each post goes through lots of scrutiny.

Last week, in my free time, I managed to watch some old movies (not that old though) - Elizabeth (1999), The Thomas Crown Affair (2000), Cruel Intentions. Out of these, I had already watched the Thomas Crown Affair about 4 years back, but didn't remember the details of the plot. And, I enjoyed watching it again. Elizabeth was good, and was a bit too dramatic. Cruel Intentions was crap (somehow I expected it to be like that anyways, so wasn't disappointed much).

The book I was reading last week is almost nearing completion :) .

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Developing JAX-WS based Web Services using Java WSDP

After developing web services using JAX-RPC, I shifted my attention to another web service standard for Java - JAX-WS (Java API for XML based web services). It is a successor to JAX-RPC 1.1, and obviously, it enjoys some advantages over its predecessor.

The major differences between the two standards are:
  1. JAX-WS supports SOAP 1.2, and XML over HTTP.
  2. JAX-RPC supports WS-I's Basic Profile (BP) version 1.0. JAX-WS supports BP 1.1. (WS-I is the Web services interoperability organization.)
  3. JAX-RPC maps to Java 1.4. JAX-WS maps to Java 5.0. JAX-WS relies on many of the features new in Java 5.0.
  4. JAX-WS's data mapping model is JAXB, unlike JAX-RPC. which create LiteralSerializer classes for all the data elements.
  5. JAX-RPC handlers rely on SAAJ 1.2. JAX-WS handlers rely on the new SAAJ 1.3 specification.
  6. JAX-WS heavily relies on annotations.
Now, for the implementation. I created a sample web service application based on JAX-WS (the pack comes with the Java WSDP). To develop a web service, two tasks are provided: wsimport and wsgen.

wsimport creates service artifacts and client stubs by looking into the WSDL. wsgen reads a web service endpoint class and generates all the required artifacts for web service deployment, and invocation. Both need to be used together to create a web service.

The steps that need to be followed for creating a web service and deploying it can be listed down as follows (refer to the build.xml in the uploaded zip file):
  1. Create the WSDL (assuming top-down approach) .
  2. Generate the service interfaces using wsimport. Additionally, server binding configuration xml can be used to specify the namespace mapping with Java packages, and specifying the server side handlers. Refer to the ant task - create-server-wsdl.
  3. Implement service endpoint using the interface.
  4. Generate the service artifacts from the implemented class using wsgen. This generally comprises of JAXB objects.
  5. Create a war file, which has the following structure:
    • WEB-INF/classes
    • WEB-INF/lib
    • WEB-INF/web.xml
    • WEB-INF/sun-jaxws.xml
    • WEB-INF/wsdl/wsdl-file.wsdl
    (For steps 4 and 5, refer to the ant task - build-war)
The sun-jaxws.xml is an additional file which needs to be created. It specifies the end point interfaces, the implementation class, the port, and the url pattern for the service, which is used by the container in which the service is deployed.

Once the war is created, it can be deployed on any web server/ application server. I tested it on both Tomcat web server 5 and Sun Application Server 9.

The client stubs can be generated using the wsimport and specifying the WSDL file. (ant task - create-client-wsdl). Again, the binding configuration file for the client can be used to provide namespace mapping and client side handlers.

As with JAX-RPC implementation, the wsimport and wsgen tasks are dependent on a number of configuration xml files. But unlike the wsdeploy task in JAX-RPC, where a valid web.xml deployment descriptor is created with a listener class and a JAX-RPC servlet automatically, here, in JAX-WS, these entries have to be manually entered. Also, there is a heavy use of annotations, and JAXB objects.

The sample application, together with the build script is uploaded as BookQuoteService.zip

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Developing JAX-RPC based Web Services using Java WSDP


A bit of technical stuff today. Yesterday I tried out Sun's WSDP (Web Services Development Pack) to create client and server side artifacts using WSDL, and deploying it on a web server.
Earlier, I used to develop web services using BEA's Weblogic workshop, which had loads of automated tools to create the service en
dpoint interfaces, looking at the WSDL, and generate client proxies to invoke the web services. But, as I am currently studying about JAX-RPC, I was interested to try out the JAX-RPC implementation developed by Sun.
I downloaded the available Java WSDP pack from the Sun site. I used the tools present in the pack to compile and deploy a web service: wscompile and wsdeploy. It started by creation of a sample WSDL file. Once created, I created an ant build script which made use of wscompile to generate server side artifcats. This als
o involved the creation of a configuration file for the wscompile task to understand. Once the service endpoint interfaces were generated, I implemented the iterface with a dummy web service, and compiled the whole application.

There are 2 phases of development of a w
eb service using the pack - first a raw WAR file is created, having the server side classes, a web deployment descriptor (web.xml), and a JAX-RPC deployment descriptor (jaxrpc-ri.xml). The raw WAR file has the following structure:
  • WEB-INF/classes
  • WEB-INF/jaxrpc-ri.xml
  • WEB-INF/web.xml
  • WEB-INF/model.xml.gz
The model.xml.gz file is generated while using wscompile.
Based on the jaxrpc-ri.xml (has to be manually created), use the wsdeploy task to create a "cooked" WAR which is ready to be deployed on a web server. Again, in the original Ant build script, this task was added.

Once the service is deployed, now comes the creation of client stubs/proxies to invoke the webservice. Using the same wscompile to
ol (but this time specifying that the client side artifacts need to be generated), the client stubs are created, and thats about it.

The configuration files provides all the f
eatures to include handlers, namespace mapping etc which is generally needed in the web service.

With this development pack, only JSE (Java Service Endpoints) are created (no EJB endpoints).

For further details, and instructions (including sample applications), refer to Understanding your JAX-RPC SI Environment.

The sample application can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Angry pup, eh???

While I am posting about pets and dogs, I thought of putting this picture on my blog too... I just couldn't stop laughing when I came across this pic somewhere on the internet :)

Nostalgia....

Today, as I was going through my photo albums, I thought of selecting some of the cutest pics of my pets. I remember clicking so many pics whenever I bought a new film for my camera. Here are some of those timeless snaps....

Every time I look at these photographs, I miss them even more....

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Darjeeling Limited - Is that supposed to be India???

Some weeks back, I had the opportunity to watch a movie named "The Darjeeling Limited". And I was disappointed, seriously. It tells the story of 3 brothers, who have drifted apart from each other, make a soul-searching trip to India - and what a trip it turns out to be!!! They show nonsense stuffs happening to them in India.
Let me elaborate - for one, the train is named "The Darjeeling Limited", but believe me, it is no where near the scenic hill station - it keeps wandering in the desert, and sometimes gets lost too!!! Yup, you have heard me right, they show that the Indian trains get lost, even though its moving on railway tracks!!! Can you beat that???Then comes the train itself - I don't know what kind of rickety tourist train have they shown.

India is shown as a land of snake charmers - one of the three brothers, on a trip to some Hindu temple, buys a snake!!! And, somehow that snake is lost in the train. The head steward(or whatever) of the train, takes the snake, and worships him. Weird!!!And to top it all, they show some "International" airport, and my goodness, what an airport it is - it seems shabbier than the dirtiest railway stations in the smallest towns in the country!!

The way India has been depicted in the movie is seriously disappointing - I wonder what the director was even thinking... The movie has an impressive star cast by the way, and that was the only reason, I was interested to watch the movie in the first place - Owen Wilson, Andrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman play the role of the 3 brothers. Irfan Khan also has a small role in the film, even though, without any dialogs...


Firmware Upgrades - How Useful Are They?

Lately, I am seeing a lot of firmware upgrades coming up for different products - take for example, my iPod. The 5th generation video iPod (or the 5.5th generation, as a matter of fact), is no longer available in the market. But, Apple (hail Apple!!!), thought about iPod owners like us, and provided with a brand new firmware (1.2.x something to 1.3.0) - quite a jump, if you care to notice. But all I could find from various sites is that Apple has claimed it contains several "bug fixes".

Now, as a consumer, I should be told what are the exact bug fixes they are talking about - coz, after 1 year of usage, without any firmware upgrades, I haven't noticed any bugs which requires to be fixed. I am quite happy and content with my original firmware with which my iPod was shipped.

Well, actually, come to think of it, there was something that was missing in the original firmware - Apple, promply, forgot to add the Indian timezone in its time settings!!! Can you believe it? There is +5.00 GMT, and it then jumps directly to +6.00 GMT. As if the entire subcontinent populated with a billion something people is gone, vanished, disappeared!!! And weirdly, in its world clock, there is a mention of Bombay, but whats the use?? Its something like this - you are in India, but when you set the time, you cannot select the IST. So either you need to select +5.oo GMT, or +6.00 GMT. Now with either of these time zones, you actually screw up the world clocks that is displayed in your iPod. So, if you go to Bombay's current time in the world clock - its either half an hour late or early. And that is true for any other city in the world. I was actually surprised when I noticed this thing in my iPod.

But, now I hear, that they have finally introduced the IST in the new firmware. But still, I am not taking a risk of upgrading my firmware, which is working perfectly fine. It should not be the case that the new firmware introduces some new bugs together with fixing the existing bugs. Atleast, I'll wait for some further review/comments.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My Blog Needed Some Much Needed Attention

Yup, the title says it all - it had been quite some time with the same template, so that needed some change - but at some cost. The beloved "Tag Cloud" I had created some time back is now gone, and I don't have the patience to create a new one to suit this template - so, I guess, I have to live without it for some time....

I also noticed one thing - now I don't have to select a profile pic from some http url (thank God for that) - it now provides a simple option of uploading your pic from your computer (thank God for that again - high fives etc etc) - I wonder why they didn't think of this before and waited so long to implement it. At least, that was a sweet surprise :) .

Now, that also makes my second post for the day (an indication of how eventful my day was today) - and requires a celebration!!! :P

Sunday Again

Once again, today is one of those days when I let my thoughts wander, and decide to post those weird and unrelated thoughts on my blog - which is soon going to complete its 2 years (its another 3 months to go anyways). Why do I blog by the way? I guess, when I am supremely bored, and I have nothing else to do - as I am doing just now. It was an uneventful Sunday, and a long one too - really long, when you manage to wake up at 7 a.m. in the morning, and have no fixed plans for the whole day. Yikes!!! 7 a.m!!! On a Sunday!!! Are you nuts?? That what I generally get a response when I tell my friends about it - but thats the truth. Whatever, the main point I am referring to right now that today has been an idle day for me, and for some reason, decided to post my uneventful day's events on the blog, to add one more irrelevant post to it, and to remind me to "GET SOME LIFE!!!!"....

Some of the things which I did today, worth mentioning here, that is, are:

1. Trying to complete the book I had laid my hands on last Wednesday.
2. Watched a movie.

Ok, now lets be a bit elaborate - the book I am referring to, and I am halfway through reading it is called "So He Takes the Dog" by Jonathan Buckley. Nice book, revolving around a murder mystery of a vagabond in England. And unlike a murder mystery novel, this one doesn't have the kind of adrenaline rush action which is a general characteristic of book of such genre. Infact this book is surprisingly calm and slow... And till now, I am liking it.

The second task - a movie. Oh this one is called "If Only" starring the always anorexic Jeniffer Love Hewitt and not so known Paul Nicholls. Good and mushy romantic movie, and a perfect time pass for an idle Sunday afternoon.

That pretty much sums up my day till now :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Facebook Status Messages "is"....

"Hey, whats wrong with your English now??"
"Why, what happened?"
"Well, don't you see an 'is' after message's'? Where did that come from? "
"Hmmm... good point!!!"

One interesting thing that I found lately, and constantly amuses me from time to time is the Facebook status, and how people use them (including me)... I have been using Facebook for more than 6 months now, but for the past few weeks (or maybe a month), I have started using Facebook more frequently than ever - especially when you are sitting idle in 5 AM in the morning and have nothing better to do.... There are applications etc which people continuously put (or should I call install) on their profile, but the status messages are the most interesting thing that I have started noticing....

I remember till last year, Facebook forced everyone to update their status messages starting with the word "is"... And I noticed a lot of funny usage of the word "is" - and, obviously, when you force something like that, they are bound to be grammatically incorrect in large numbers - but none the less, they were funny... Something like " 'Facebook user is' got really drunk last night and is now confused to why there is an "is" after my name before the text box." Even funnier: "Facebook user is' (ignore the 'is') got really drunk last night and is now confused to why there is an "is" after my name before the text box."

Take another example: "John Smith is wanting ice cream."

There have been a few groups which tried to voice their "concerns". A description of such a group:
Is it not totally bloody annoying that you have to be 'IS' every time you update you status? I don't want to say 'Joe IS thinking' or 'Joe IS wanting' or 'Joe IS feeling', or have to make that grammatical check in my head every time I update my status, thinking, oh no, I can't say it like it IS, because the 'IS' IS omnipresent.
Another good one:
For those of us who like updating our status on Facebook, there is always one obstacle: the word 'is'. What if you wanted to say:
"Jonathan hates snow"?
Unfortunately, you are forced to say:
"Jonathan is thinking he hates the snow"
What if you wanted to say "Mary ate your mom". OOPS! You can't do that! You have to say something like "Mary is currently eating your mom".
And finally, Facebook developers listened to the users' plea and made the notorious word "is" an optional thing. But, I still like to make use of the word whenever I update my status... It exercises my brain to figure out something which will go well with the word...

Also, people do put loads of funny status messages on their profile - take for example - a friend of mine has made it daily habit to write something exceedingly stupid, yet funny, everyday. Like, for example: " 'Facebook user'... Parachute for sale - used once, never opened, small stain". Well, Facebook developers did think of an innovative way to keep the users amused and busy :)