Monday, October 31, 2005

What was that number?

The TOI has a report that makes a shocking statement - Since 1994, over 50000 people have died in India due to Terrorism. link.

The SATP website has the numbers in detail. The numbers are up to date till June 2005 and the counter is at 50937. link.

Compare that with the 2986 casualties in the 9/11 attacks. link. The response to those acts has been swift and the entire world stood as one with the victims. The report on the attacks are available on the net. link.

Contrast that with the lack of information on the Indian Govt's policy. Is there a policy?

There has been legislation to that effect in the form of POTA and there were legistative actions earlier in the form of POTO and TADA. link.

But has there been action that can demostrate the reduction of this scourge?
In light of the Delhi Blasts, the need is for action and not procrastination. Who knows where terrorism will strike next? No doubt there are people within the Govt. who are working towards a safer world, but what we need is a co ordinated, focussed, unwarying, unyielding approach.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

One Year of Ranga Shankara

Its been a year since Ranga Sankara has opened and the theatre scene in Bangalore hasn't been the same ever since. link.

In addition, the exorbitant costs of hiring such a space was adding to the problems of theatre groups. Ranga Shankara has filled that gap. Actor Arundhati Nag gave 12 long, challenging years of her life to build it. How she did it is in itself like a heart-stopping story with all its twists and turns, but with a happy ending. Shankar Nag would have approved.

Recently, a couple of colleagues from Europe had come down. Invariably, the question asked is - What's nice to see in Bangalore? My first reply is usually to point to Mysore, Srirangapatna, Shravana-Bellagola, Belur and Halebid. But none of these are in Bangalore and so I have to come up with answers such as Tipu's Palace, Lalbagh, Vidhan Soudha, High Court Buildings etc.

So, the question to ask is - what cultural, and historical landmarks do we have in Bangalore?

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Not so fast

Interesting article on why India and China have huge challenges ahead of them. link. (via)

While there is no doubt about the great potential of these two economies in the rest of this century, severe structural and institutional problems will hobble them for years to come. At this point, the hype about the Indian economy seems patently premature, and the risks on the horizon for the Chinese polity – and hence for economic stability – highly underestimated.

It is a timely reminder that one should not get carried away by the hoopla and actually get the work done.

Time to quote Robert Frost. Two Poems come to mind -
From the The Road not Taken -
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And from the Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening -
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

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Things Bangalore needs to do to reduce traffic congestion

From the US Federal Highway Administration website, some of the key things to reduce congestion are below. link (via)
  • Traffic signal improvements
  • Advanced traffic signal control
  • Traffic monitoring
  • Access management
There are literally hundreds of places where Traffic signal improvements can be made in Bangalore. One classic case where this has worked (to some extent) has been J C road. The signals are synchronized and as a result one gets from Minerva Circle to Corporation Circle fairly quickly. Another example would be Cubbon road.

My list of arterial roads that are candidates for a makeover are
  1. M.G Road. From Victoria Statue to Trinity Circle there are 4 traffic lights. The distance? 2 km. These can easily be improved, esp. at Mayo hall. Duration to cover 5 years back - 5 mins. Current Duration - 15 mins
  2. Ring Road from Silk Board Junction to Banashankari Temple. This 10 km stretch is a nightmare. There are at least 8-10 junctions, most of which are manned by a traffic cop. Duration to cover 5 years back - 15 mins. Current Duration - 45 mins
  3. Koramangala Main Road from St. John's Hospital to Indiranagar/Airport Road and continuing on 100 feet road to Old Madras road. This 10 km stretch was a breeze 5 years back. It would take 15 mins to cover the entire distance. The current duration is 1 hour.
  4. JC Road. I know that earlier in the post, I mentioned JC road as place were traffic management has worked, but I believe it can be better. Currently, the 3 km stretch has 5 traffic signals and the problem is that even though they are synchronized you end up hitting at lest 2. The last traffic light is timed incorrectly, as its only 100 meters from the previous one, and yet one has to wait 10 secs before it turns green.
  5. Nanda Road from Ring Road to South End Circle and continuing on RV Road till Lalbagh West Gate. This 5 km stretch has at least 5 traffic junctions. Most of these are manned lights and that adds to the inefficiency. By placing synchronized lights throughout, the current duration of 20 mins can be reduced. Duration 5 years back - 10 mins
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Hatred Begets Hatred

A quick look at the technorati search for Delhi shows a large number of blogs jumping to the conclusion on who is responsible. link.

Rather than pointing fingers, there is an urgent need for us to work towards returning to normalcy. The very fact that the attacks were not against any military, government or state run organization indicates that the perpetrators want normalcy to be shattered. By targetting innocent people, these ogres want us to give in into the irrational ideas they harbor. By definition, Terrorism is ignoble because there is no glory, no valour, no courage, no strength, no pride in murdering innocent people from different creeds, religions and ages.

If anything, Indian Democracy gives a clear answer. Put down your guns and participate in democratic institutions. Indian History teaches peaceful methods and the power of non-violence. Sadly, those who give refuge to terrorists believe far less in democracy and more in medieval practices. Those who proliferate terrorism sully the very ideals that they claim to uphold.

There are very few folk in India who dont believe that their future is going be better than their past. If the Middle Class and Upper Middle Class incomes have doubled over the last 10 years, then the Below Poverty and Lower Middle Class incomes have doubled if not tripled over the last 10 years. If those who think that terrorism is the way forward to a better future, cannot be more wrong.

Update: Improved Grammar :-)

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Millisecond convertor - WTF

The Daily WTF has a hilarious piece of code that describes how to convert milli seconds to seconds. link.

Given the problem of converting milliseconds to minutes, I imagine that most of us would simply divide the number of milliseconds by 60,000. That's because most of us are not experts in the art of complexification.

Had a good laugh.

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Grease Monkey to improve Fark in Bloglines

Came across a nice script to get the links from fark without going through the forum in a separate page. I can always go to the forum and post a comment later. I was about to unsubscribe from fark and as luck would have it, I stumbled across the greasemonkey script. The script can be downloaded from here.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Solar Powered Charger

CNET has a story about a new product that can charge iPods or cellphones using a Solar Receiver. link.

The 5-inch by 3-inch device known as Soldius1 converts solar energy into 6.58 volts at a maximum of 320 milliamperes of power after only about 3 hours in direct sunlight.

Given all the rain in Bangalore recently, this is one device that's going to be gathering dust, while it pours outside.

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Pit wall Celebrations banned

Doctorvee has the story. link.

It is a classic image, seen at the end of almost every grand prix — the pit crew that has worked hard all weekend to get their car to the chequered flag run across the pit lane during the final lap and climb the fence, arms waving, fists clenched, to greet their man at the finish line.

The actual FIA Press release goes on to describe the new qualifying format, the restored tyre rules from 2004 and Provisional Calendar.

What's also interesting in the press release is not just the CDG wing for 2008 but the fact that there could be only 1 tyre supplier and slick tyres from 2008. link.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The rain is going to grind bangalore to a halt

According to soultrot, the bangalore traffic police have declared an holiday for educational institutions for the next two days. link.

However, the bangalore police govt website does not have such information. I didn't expect the website to be updated, but at least its worth a try to check out. link.

I guess everyone in Bangalore will be checking the weather reports and hoping for the best. has satellite imagery of the NE monsoon. link.

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Impact of NGOs in banning plastic

Most of my posts have been on the problems that Bangalore is facing due to the explosive growth and how the Govt is turning a blind eye to these problem. In light of this, is a story of how, NGO (Non-Govt Organizations) make an impact.

TOI has a story about how banning plastic is feasible and its impact to Bannerghatta. link.

The zoo, particularly the area around it, faced a lot of problem because of visitors littering it. Almost a year ago, they started enforcing the no-plastic rule strictly and now they have achieved good results.

These are the real people from Bangalore who make an impact.
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Calvin and Hobbes - Entire Collection available

TOI reports that the entire C&H collection is now available. link.

the complete Calvin and Hobbes series has come out in the form of a 1,456-page tome and art-book.

Now, that's one more in the wishlist.

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More news on the expressway

The Indian Express says that the Expressway is a litmus test for the investment in Infrastructure. link.

Third, the success of the project is a litmus test for foreign investment—especially in infrastructure—not just in Karnataka but in India.

The article goes on to quote an unnamed official from a Japanese company and compare the situation in other SE Countries.

Firstly, I think that the comparision is unfair. There are no real democracies like we have in India in the places mentioned. For all its faults and all the problems that the Indian Politicians can cause, we have a working democracy. All democracies have different forces pulling in different directions. I'm including the western democracies to this list as well and India is no exception.

We all blame the politicians for bringing in too many road blocks, but consider the scenario where there is no one in the political class who constitutes an opposition. In that case, the govt can suddenly decide to build an expressway right through downtown bangalore, all residential areas and throw people out of their homes and the only sources of their livelihood. Given the alternative, I choose the slow and cumbersome process.

However, I would still like the politicians to have a vision of the future. But at least I can say that , so far the Indian Govt hasn't bankrolled a tinpot dictator in the Middle East only to find that the puppet has turned hostile.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

My views of flock after a weekend of use

List of things I liked about flock
  1. Its based on firefox. That means that the advantages of firefox should be carried over here. But it also means that some of the problems with firefox turn up as well
  2. Integration with Its really pretty simple to use and helps it tagging.
  3. Posting directly to Blogger is pretty good. I was able to make a couple of posts to blogger directly through flock. I also found the wysiwyg editor quite good.
List of things that were missing
  1. The wysiwyg mode is pretty good but I do require a html view mode. Being a bit geeky, I want to have a look at the code before posting. Also, I tag such that the links appear from my account rather than technorati. This can be done by adding the html code directly rather than using the inbuilt tag manager by flock.
  2. I did find that it wasn't able to post to blogger in the beginning but then it seemed to work. I wouldn't really blame flock to much here, because for some reason my atom feed wasn't working correctly over the weekend. Only after changing my template did it start to work again and flock started working too. The gist is that since flock depends on how co operative blogger is, the blog editor will be difficult to get right
  3. Firefox extensions. I know that this just an alpha and it will take time to ensure that firefox extensions work as-is in flock.
On the whole, I really liked the integration and found the Blogger integration pretty good. Keep up the great work guys and hope there's more to come from you. But did I post this from flock? No, I used the blogger editor cause I really want the raw html editor interface as well. So, I guess I will be waiting quite eagarly until v1.0 is out.

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Radical Wing for 2008

Planet-F1 has the news about the new wing proposal for 2007/2008. link.

The FIA today unveiled the design for a double rear-wing concept that they want to introduce into Formula One in 2007 to improve overtaking. In order to encourage overtaking, the FIA initiated a programme of research into improving the aerodynamic performance of a car when trying to overtake.

Can this latest change by the FIA actually improve the quality of racing? What about the bloated costs of running an F1 team. All this will definitely push the costs skywards.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

What they really mean is...

link Via imeGination.
When people say... What they really mean is...
For Engineers:
“Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive.” - The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.

“A number of different approaches are being tried.” - We don't know where we're going, but we're moving.
“Developed after years of intensive research.” - It was discovered by accident.
“Test results were extremely gratifying.” - It works and boy, were we surprised!
“The entire concept is unworkable.” - The only guy who understood the thing just quit.

Adding to this would be a list of boss-speak during yearly raises.
"You were rated amongst the top 10% in the company" - The rest have left for better jobs
"Due to cost cutting there wont be any stock options this year" - Since is the stock is at an all time low, only management has been given stock options
"Your hike is very generous and nobody in the team were given such a good hike" - The others were "given" lower hikes but then they negotiated better hikes.

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Testing out flock

Given the huge publicity that flock has received, I decided to try it out. So, here's a post using flock.

The integration with blogger isn't perfect, but its usable. I need to figure out how to add a link.

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Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

There is only way to find out. Click on the link and find out. link via bloglines toplinks.

I got an A+.

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

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Bill Waterson enjoys his privacy

Maybe someday, officials will put up a statue marking this quaint village as the birthplace of "Calvin and Hobbes."
Just don't expect cartoonist Bill Watterson to attend the unveiling ceremony. It's been nearly 10 years since he abruptly quit drawing one of the most popular comic strips of all time. Since then, he's been as absent as the precocious Calvin and his pet tiger, err, stuffed animal, Hobbes.
Some call Watterson reclusive. Others say he just likes his privacy.

Calvin and Hobbes are one of the most popular fictional characters of all times.

The love-hate relationship with Suzie, the unimpressed school teacher Mrs Wormwood, the chirpy Dad and quiet Mom all make this a classic. The very fact that BW does not support any effort in merchandizing C&H has made the strip even more popular. Though we can always buy a knock off C&H T Shirt or a coffee cup, these are not official merchandize and BW does not make even 1 cent from the sales of these item.

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Phase 1 of Blr-Mys Expressway to open soon

The question one should ask is why does the Govt. treat the Blr-Mys Expressway Project with so much contempt? link.

Part of the Expressway will be the Peripheral Ring Road connecting Hosur road to Mysore road and to NH4. If utilized correctly it can really reduce the amount of traffic by Buses and Taxis within the city. Ideally, if a person coming in from Madras wants to go to Malleshwaram, then he will have to through the city. Instead with the Peripheral Ring Road the route will change and traffic will divert from the city. The impact? Reduced travel time, lesser pollution, and less petrol consumed.

Roads such as the PRR no doubt are the concerns of the urban middle class, but what about the lower class and the rural folks. It is these people for whom most politicians hearts profess to bleed for. With the PRR it will easier for rural people to travel to Bangalore either on business or pleasure. The Urban Poor will use Buses that travel on the PRR to get from one end of the city to another faster and as a result be more productive. All this will add up.

But these are hardly the concerns of the current Govt. Why?

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8 Monkey Theory

Interesting post on how company policies, traditions etc. are developed. link via Desipundit.

Funny though the post may be, the serious question to ask is, whether this happens all that much in real life situations?

This is perhaps the reason why we could have a few hundred British civil servants rule millions of Indian people. It didn't matter whether or not the colonial masters were powerful or not. The very fact that the conquered people were been held back by Monkeys on their back is not to be forgotton. Some of the old newsreels do not show British Hawaldars latticharging the protestors but Indian Hawaldars themselves beating up unarmed and non-violent protestors.

So the question is simple. How do you beat the system?

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

No Spa in 2006?

Recent news reports all point to the Spa GP for 2006 is in doubt. Spa is one of the few memorable race tracks left. F1 without Spa is always going to be a bit less special. It has happened in recently, when we didn't have a Spa GP in 2003. News reports are here, here and here.

What makes Spa so special is the race track. High in Ardennes Mountains, the rain can sweep in almost unnoticed and the undulating track makes it a real challange.

Some of the memorable moments over the last 10 years have been at the Spa GP.
  1. M. Schumacher's win in 1995. Bit controversial and he earned a 1 GP ban because of his blocking moves on Damon Hill. If you are an MS fan then you could call it tactical brillance from him but if you are a anti-MS fan then its another example of the things that make you an anti-MS fan. But no one can deny the shear spectacle of watching him start the race in 16th and finish 1st. link.
  2. Damon Hill's win in 1998. Again race intervened and we had M. Schumacher leading by the proverbial country mile. Hakkinen was out of the race and had the win gone to Schumacher, he would have closed the gap quite dramatically for the driver's championship. But as it would turn out, he tried to lap DC at the Bus Stop Chicane and instead ran into the back of the McLaren. What makes it so memorable is that when both reached the pits, MS blew his top and went straight to DC. That made the news and it was live tv. DH won and R Schumacher came second, but it was the first win for Jordan and that makes it a bit special. link.
  3. Hakkinen's Win in 2000. This took some driving. M Schumacher had a nice lead in the latter part of the race. This was brought out by rain (as usual). But once the track started to dry, Hakkinen reeled in MS. It was obvious that the Ferrari wasn't as quick or as kind on its tyres as the McLaren. Within a few laps MH was right behind MS. He tried to pass at Les Combe Chicane but MS defended. Next lap he was right on MS's tail through Eau Rouge, and as they reached Les Combe, Zonta's BAR came up to be lapped. What happened next is sheer magic. MS moved to the middle of the race track lined right behind Zonta. Then he moved Left to Lap Zonta. MH followed for a split second, before deciding to overtake Zonta from the Right. So we had 3 cars side by side at 300 kmph just 300 mtrs from the Les Combe Chicane. MH managed to come ahead of both Zonta and MS. Wow. link.

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Political Entertainment

The best part of the current Karnataka Govt. has been the hilarious bickering by different members of Govt. The general feeling is that its the JD-S which has the upper hand over the Congress.

As a result, the initiatives set up by the previous Govt. and those who are considered as beneficiaries of the previous Govt. policies have come under the hammer. The IT industry has really grown over the last couple of years. While its got to do more with the outsourcing phenomena rather than visonary Govt policies, the industry has been identified to be close to the previous Govt.

The result? The obvious. Daily fights between the biggest gainers from the IT world and the powers-to-be are being played out in the Media. The latest act in this saga has been the BIAL (Bangalore International Airport Limited). Recently Narayana Murthy quit as the chairman of the BIAL. In return we have a story where innocence is claimed. link

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Bit Busy

Sorry folks. Not much to update out here. Have been extremely busy. We will return to normal programming shortly

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

ICC Super Series planned for failure

According to Cricinfo, the future of the Super Series is uncertain. link.

Five Reasons why the Super Series was one sided
  1. It was the Aus Team vs. ICC XI. Emphasis should be on "Team". The ICC XI was a just a group of super stars. Most members of the Aus Team had played with each other, but that was not the case with the ICC XI players. Most players of the ICC XI had played against each other at an international level rather than with each other.
  2. Held in on home ground for Australia. This gave a huge advantage to Australia. The thought process would have been based on the assumption that a group of the best players is going to crush any other team in the world. Therefore, Australia was given a huge home advantage
  3. The ICC XI were not given sufficient side games to counter the Home Advantage. Inzy for example played just the one Test Match.
  4. There was no pressure to perform on the ICC XI. ICC XI were playing for pride rather than for team and country. No doubt they trieid their best, but what was lacking was the spark needed to convert one's best effort into a winning effort.
  5. Every fan will always say that the ICC XI did not have player X or Y. Its a bit of a flimsy excuse, but could be a factor. In my case, I'm rather disappointed that Sachin Tendulkar was not part of the team
A better series would have been 2 ICC XI teams playing each other. A sort of "All-Stars" Series. My two teams for such a test series would be

Team A
  1. Mathew Hayden
  2. Graeme Smith (C)
  3. Rahul Dravid
  4. Inzamam Ul Haq
  5. Kumara Sangakara (W)
  6. Andrew Flintoff
  7. Shaun Pollock
  8. Shane Warne
  9. Shoaib Akthar
  10. Daniel Vettori
  11. Steve Harmison
Team B
  1. Virendra Sehwag
  2. Justin Langer
  3. Ricky Ponting (C)
  4. Brian Lara
  5. Jacques Kallis
  6. Kevin Pietersen
  7. Adam Gilchrist (W)
  8. Shane Bond
  9. Glenn McGrath
  10. Muthiah Muralitharan
  11. Stuart McGill
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Monday, October 17, 2005

Fire Safety

Gooze has an amusing story about how his hair caught fire today.

After a minute i got a smell of something burning. Not worrying about the smell, i just continued my Steam-inhalation for another few more seconds. I only reliazed that my towel had caught fire when the heat had started troubling me.

One of the worst smells in the world is the smell of burning hair. That's one to clear up the sinuses. I have heard of the Emperor's new clothes but this takes the cake. Truly a hair-raising story.

Reminds me of the time when I shaved off my eyebrow.

Twas in 4th standard and I had just finished my bath when I saw my dad's razor. The glint on the razor's edge was enticing. Without a moment's hesitation, I decided to try it out. First it was just the normal shaving action. Then I noticed that perhaps my eyebrows were a bit unflattering. Being quite vain, I decided that the best thing to do would be to "shape" the eyebrows. In addition to being vain, I'm also quite clumsy and result turned out to be a bit scary. Before you could has "Hair Removal", I had half my right eyebrow off.

Thats when reality hit me. Panicking, I put a Bandaid from the medicine cabinet on my eyebrow and went down for breakfast. I told myself, that made me look a bit like a pirate. Secretly, I hoped nobody at home would notice.

Nobody did.

At least for 3 seconds.

Then my mom jumped on me and asked what on blue blazes happened to my forehead. At first I tried to soften the blow by saying that I fell down hit myself against the bathroom sink. This only resulted in greater concern being shown and the bandaid coming off. What followed was the sound of loud laughter from everyone at the table. My brother found it really amusing. The one thing about family is that they don't hesitate to laugh at you when its funny. Initially, I joined in, but then found the experience a bit overwhelming.

Reduced to tears, I refused to go to school, afraid that my friends too would laugh. Unfortunately, I was told rather strictly, that one reaps what one sows. Boy! Did my friends have a ball. For about a year I was One-Brow Jack - the madman who shaves eyebrows and brings laughter wherever he lurks.

Arrgh!! Shiver Me Timbers...

St Mark's Road detour

Due to a pipe collapse, there is some emergency work to be done on St. Mark's Road. The result, huge traffic problems not just on St. Mark's Road but also Residency Road. Link here and here.

Old Madras road was jammed up pretty bad today morning. It took me 15 mins to reach Old Madras road and 30 mins from there. In short it takes 15 mins to travel 10 kms and 30 mins to travel 3 kms. The cops were controlling the traffic, which is always a bad idea. If the traffic lights are in use, then the traffic moves.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

2005 Shanghai F1 Race Winners/Losers

  1. Alonso. If the start was good every restart that followed was amazing. Made sure that nobody came even came close to him. Drove like a WDC and totally dominated the race.
  2. Fisi. Though he missed out on the Podium thanks to the changes brought about in Spa, he's the main reason that Kimi didn't win. If he kept KR back at the beginning and effectively won Renault the championship in the first 10 laps
  3. R Schumacher. Staying out when everyone else went in and to convert that into a podium from nowhere is pretty amazing stuff.
  4. Klein. Brilliant Strategy and a very clean drive.
  5. KR. Tried his best but he didn't get past Fisi in the beginning of the race. Had he gotten past he would have at least challenged Alonso. In a way, it sums up his and McLaren's season - So near yet so far.
  1. M Schumacher. To have two crashes within the span of a couple hours must be really poor esp. given that both were driver errors.
  2. Ferrari. RB did try as much as he could but for a Ferrari to finish the race behind a Jordan is really bad. Tyres cannot be an excuse, because the Jordans are also on Bridgestones.
  3. Sato. Well, this is going to his last race, unless Honda decides to put him in their second team.
  4. JV. Massa has wiped his feat all over JV this season, and this race has been equally troublesome for JV.
  5. Trulli. Whatever happened to his race? He had tyres problems but he was nowhere to be seen. Plus he finished behind a Jordan, who use a couple of evolution older Toyota engines.
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My James Bond Lists

Now that we have a new actor playing James Bond. link.

Its time for me to put down a list of lists on James Bond.

1. James Bond Actors in terms of preference
  1. Sean Connery
  2. Roger Moore
  3. Pierce Brosnan
  4. Timothy Dalton
  5. George Lazenby
2. James Bond Movies in terms of preference
  1. Goldfinger
  2. Thunderball
  3. Dr. No
  4. Diamonds Are Forever
  5. Live and Let Die
  6. GoldenEye
  7. For Your Eyes Only
3. James Bond Villians in terms of preference
  1. Dr. No from Dr. No
  2. Auric Goldfinger from Goldfinger
  3. Emilio Largo from Thunderball
  4. Ernst Stavro Blofeld from all the movies he's in but especially Thunderball
  5. Mr Kidd and Mr Lint from Diamonds are forever
  6. Jaws from Moonraker
  7. Kananga/Mr. Big from Live and Let Die
4. James Bond other Characters in terms of preference
  1. Q (as played by Desmond Llewelyn)
  2. Felix Leiter
  3. Ms. Moneypenny (as played by Lois Maxwell)
  4. M (as played by Bernard Lee and not Judi Dench)
  5. Quarrel (in Dr. No)
  6. Vijay (Played by Vijay Amritraj)
  7. St. Pepper (in Live and Let Die and to some extent in Man with a Golden Guy)
5. James Bond Girls in terms of preference
  1. Ursula Andress
  2. Luciana Paluzzi
  3. Jane Seymour
  4. Honor Blackman
  5. Britt Ekland
  6. Michelle Yeoh
  7. Maud Adams (in Octopussy)
6. Sean Connery Movies (Non James Bond) in terms of preference
  1. The Untouchables
  2. The Hunt for Red October
  3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  4. Dragonheart
  5. The Man Who Would Be King
  6. Rising Sun
  7. The Avengers
7. James Bond Quotes in terms of preference
  1. Bond. James Bond. (From Dr. No)
  2. A martini. Shaken, not stirred. (From Goldfinger)
  3. That's a Smith & Wesson, and you've had your six. (From Dr. No)
  4. Shocking! Positively shocking! (From Goldfinger)
  5. Man has climbed Mount Everest, gone to the bottom of the ocean. He's fired rockets at the Moon, split the atom, achieved miracles in every field of human endeavor... except crime! (From Goldfinger)
  6. Choose your next witticism carefully Mr. Bond, it may be your last. (From Goldfinger)
  7. What exactly do you do?
    Oh, I travel... a sort of licensed troubleshooter. (From Thunderball)
There are tons of other quotes but I cant fit them all here.

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Sankey Tank

Traditionally, agriculture in these parts depended on surface water gathered in the form of large man-made lakes called tanks. While the number of these within blr has dwindled, some of the large ones that come to mind are
  1. Sankey Tank
  2. Ulsoor Lake
  3. Lalbagh Lake
  4. Hebbal Lake
Ulsoor lake was restored a few years back and is quite beautiful. Sankey tank too has undergone some improvements. The google earth community has a placemark available here.
A couple of nices snapes are available here.

CM had a "spot visit" yesterday. links here and here. However, Govt apathy will continue unabated.

A few days back there was tons of water on the road in from of Lalbagh Main Gate. The impression one got was that the lake had overflown. This had occured in the past and given the huge amount of rain this monsoon, I was pretty certain that it was the case this time as well. However, it turned out to be just a bit of water logging due to a huge downpour that ended a few minutes earlier. Naturally, traffic ground to a near halt due and what is essentially a 10 minute drive on Lalbagh road, turned out to be a 1/2 hour crawl. Reasons behind the water logging has been poor drainage. Poor drainage has been blamed on plastic bags clogging storm drains. Clogged storm drains were reported to be the reason behind Bombay's woes a few months back.
A story on water logging is here.

Myopic view of

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Property Boom in Bangalore

According to the Hindu, the hottest areas in Bangalore are Sarjapur Road, Whitefield, and potentially Kanakapura road. But the funniest thing is the comment by Shobha Developers that you can buy a basic flat at 20L. Given that its impossible to buy a flat by SD for less than 50L, methinks its a bit funny. link.

Related stories from the Hindu are the Traffic Woes in Blr and the booklet on the new guidance values not available. Link here and here.

Ideally the govt. should make the guidance values available on the net and allow folks to download them for free. It costs less tax payers money and publishes the information faster.

Myopic view of

Acronyms for the institute

Disclaimer: I disclaim everything under and over the sun

Let's see what different things IIPM can stand for

Irritating Informercials for Ponytail Management (Dare to grow longer hair beyond the ordinary)
Inconsistent Informercials for Pedestrian Mistakes (Dare to cross the road before bicycles)
Involuntary Irritation of Puny Manhood (Dare to scratch beneath the surface)
Insipid Interest in the Preservation of Mummies (Dare to embalm without chlorform)

Other possible names could have been
II of Greasy Hair - IIGH (Dare to put Coconut Oil more than required)
II of Anonymous Cowards - IIAC (Dare to hide behind false blogs)
II of Marketing Masala - IIMM (Dare to put an additional M)
II of Truth Flattering - IITF (Dare to lie more than ever)
II of Chicken Counting - IICC (Dare to put two I's and two C's in one acronym)

Any more?

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Friday, October 14, 2005

A Private in Blogsphere wars!!

It all started with a story by Rashmi Bansal in a mag called jammag. Madness followed with unsavory comments at her blog here.

Then Gaurav Sabnis blogged about it on his blog. This apparently resulted in the "legal cell" from Pony-Tail-Institute sending him a cease and desist. This has led to him having to quit his job because the hardworking students at Pony-Tail want to burn there laptops made by Gaurav's Co. (LOL). He doesn't blame his employer.

I'm jobless right now so that aint going to happen to me :-)

Desipundit has been following the story continously here.

I had a look at the director of the institute from his site (I'm not going to link from here but you can google his name)

Let me follow his modus operandi
  1. I'm going to found an educational institution called TIMS (Theo's Institute of Managing Simpletons)
  2. I will be the first student of TIMS where I will take the only course available - BA (Bullshit Accredition) in Heckling (with honours). I'm the only teacher in the college and give top grades to my favorite student.
  3. Naturally, since I'm the only person in the course, I'm going to graduate at the top of the class.
  4. Next I will undertake an MBA (More Bullshit Accredition) in Planning for Heckling.
  5. Finally, as Dean of TIMS, I will grant myself a "Fellowship" of TIMS due my brilliant insight and analytical skills.
  6. I will then use these credentials to ensure that the People's Movement for Heckling, Tiptur to give me their most prestigious "Youth of the year Award"
  7. Naturally, Vegans for a Violent World will ask me to give a series of lectures on the finer aspects of heckling and the intricate planning that boisterous behavior requires, at their monthly meetings in chickenpet. (sic)
  8. I will naturally be posting all these on my website. I will also spend quite a bit on full page ads in newspapers daring people to dream beyond just heckling.
  9. Profit!!!
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Impact of Guidance Value increase on Apt Prices

The Times of India reports that an increase in the guidance value will have an impact on cost of an apt. link.

I'm not sure if the value from the karnataka government site is up to date (Very Very unlikely) but the value for Jagaranahalli is 260 to 165. Which is incredibly low because the market price is almost 2500.

Myopic view of

Surprising Traffic Woes

Yesterday was the last day of dasara. Since today is Friday, I didn't expect many people to come into work or much traffic on the roads. Most people would have taken Friday off and enjoyed 6 days vacation time.

Instead, there was a huge amount of traffic on Old Madras Road. It was raining hard all day yesterday at Bangalore, but even that shouldn't have caused so many problems. I spent almost 30 mins to move from 80ft road to BHEL road. The distance is about 100 meters and is usually covered in seconds.

Found that the cops had switched off the traffic signals at the intersection and were trying to control traffic. This is a bad idea. In Bangalore, traffic lights are the only fair way of ensuring that traffic moves. The reason - Timed lights. Cops on the other hand work on the principle of "traffic I see, is the traffic that should move". The problem with this principle is that within minutes there will be jams everywhere.

Deccan Herald has a story on the woes on Old Madras Road. Link

Myopic view of

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

South Asia Prone to Earthquakes

The wired says that its South Asia is prone to earthquakes as a result of the Indian Sub Continent continues to move into Asia.

We know that the Himalayas were created as a result of this action and therefore it comes as no surprise that there will be earthquakes.

However the interesting thing is that the earthquakes are pretty shallow and this results in the tremors being so deadly.

Myopic view of

Argument against Apple's DRM

Interesting thoughts (via boing-boing) about Apple DRM. Can we really compare the situation between Apple and the Recording Industry with the situation Microsoft and IBM had in th 80's in the PC business?

One thing is for sure, more open things are the more options we will have. Naturally, each middleman gets a smaller piece of the Pie but the pie is now much bigger.

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A case for C

A nice essay on the when to C is available here.

While I don't code excusively in C, it is one of the best languages to use.

Myopic view of

Sunday, October 09, 2005

2005 Suzuka F1 Race Winners/Losers

Winners :
  1. Kimi: KR was incredible in the race, having started way back in the grid (17th) and to charge through is amazing
  2. Alonso: FA overtaking of MS was perhaps one the best ever. He too charged through the field.
  3. M Schumacher: Forgotten for most of the season, he used all his skills to hold back FA and KR as much as he could. FA maybe WDC this year, but MS is definitely the king of defensive driving. One of his best defensive drives was Sepang 1999 to hold back MH and give the win to EI
  4. DC: He's been very consistent this season. 3 more points.
  5. Webber: MW and Williams managed to score on over JB and BAR in the pitstops, but it was MW who created the opportunity
  1. Sato: What in the world was he doing?
  2. JPM: All he needed to do was finish in the points. Given KR's drive, its very likely that JPM would have been 3rd or 4th (depending on FA :-). That would have put McLaren 6 points clear of Renault instead of 2 points behind
  3. R Schumacher: Bit of glory driving with a weird 3 pit stop stgy
  4. Barrichello: Not sure if his car had problems or not. Either way to qualify ahead of MS and finish way back is a very disappointing. Hopefully, he will be at the sharp end next season for BAR.
  5. Fisichella: Starting 2nd, in the Renault and to finish behind a guy who started 17th isn't exactly the best way to complete a race. If Renault weren't leading the constructors at this point of time, then we could blame it on the car, but there's no way you can blame them for this.

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Sites with Seismic information

ASC is an interesting site about seismic activity in India. The official Govt Site is the
Indian Meteorological Department

USGS also has maps for asia.

Myopic view of

Problems with feeds

I used to have an RSS subscription to Deccan Herald via Newsisfree. Deccan Herald itself doesn't have a feed. But whenever I clicked on any item in the feed, it would first take me to newisfree and then transfer to DH. Everytime DH gives a 404. That's when I decided to do away with my feed. Now I visit DH the old fashioned way - by actually visiting the website.

Another site that has a twist to the RSS feed is wikipedia. For some reason, I get only very few articles. These are either new articles or updated articles. Either way the articles are fairly large. What I do want is an RSS feed of the front page. Everyday, the page changes and satisfies the trivia junkie in me.

Myopic view of

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sum of the parts greater than the whole

With the ICC Super Series turning out to be a Australia win-all, the question arises whether a team of great players makes a great team? If not, what makes a great team? Is the sum of the parts greater than the whole?

Some of the teams that I liked (no particular order :-) are
  • Indian Cricket Team 1983-1985 - 2 Stars (Gavaskar, Kapil)
  • Team India (Cricket) 2001-2003 - 3 Stars (Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly)
  • Australian Cricket Team 1998-2004 - 6 Stars (S Waugh, M Waugh, S Warne, A Gilchrist, M Hayden, G McGrath)
  • Windies Cricket Team 1976-1990 - 12 Stars (V Richards, G Greenidge, M Holding, M Marshall, C Lloyd, D Haynes, G Sobers, A Roberts, J Garner, C Croft, J Dujon, R Richardson)
  • Pakistan Cricket Team 1992 (Only the World Cup Winners) - 4 Stars (I Khan, J Miandad, W Akram, I Ul-Haq)
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Friday, October 07, 2005

Mysore Airport Proposal

According to the Deccan Herald, the state govt is planning to develop the Mysore Airport to allow small to medium sized aircraft. If I remember correctly, the current airport is near Nanjangud.
  1. Govt to provide free water and electricity. Stupid idea because the airport should pay commercial rates as with any commercial venture
  2. Completion to be 2 years from the day land is handed over. Stupid idea again as we don't know when the land can be acquired.
Potential impact could be
  1. Improved tourism esp. during Dasara.
  2. More business esp. services sector

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

In the Army

In Japan, the army cannot call itself "army". Instead the official name is Self Defence Forces. A result of the pacifist constitution written after World War II, the military in Japan is a strange animal. The head of the SDF cannot go to work in uniform. He goes to work in a Business Suit and changes inside barracks.

Low Geek Index

After months of curiosity and a feeling of "much ado about nothing" I registered with and have an account. Despite being a techie and geek, I find that some of the cultural aspects of being a geek are something that I lack in. Having a lot of work pressure for the last 1 year hasn't helped either. Now that I have some leeway at work, I'm able to spend some time actually thinking about techie stuff other than my day to day work. The result, improvement in the quality of my work.

This raises an interesting question. Is working more than 50 hours a week really productive? The answer most of my colleagues give is that we just waste our time at work and that we need to work smarter. But I have found that as we get more responsibility work wise, email consumes a huge amount of time. Add to that endless meetings and we have really time killers.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Google Earth's Border Dispute

After I heard that Taiwan was pissed with Google Earth for showing it as a province of China, I started up Google Earth, turned on Borders and had a look at JK. The LOC is shown as the border. Politicians and common folks on both sides of this border will be irked.

As per Wikipedia, there are only 26 states that recognize Taiwan diplomatically.

Irritating Village

According to the Indian Express, a village near Nasik, MH wants to change its name to Kalamnagar after APJ Kalam. Reason behind the name change? Not just jingoism and sycophany but the original name of Vaitagwadi. This translates to "Irritating Village". Talk about a image problem. Apparently, a few years ago they wanted to change the name to Gopalnagar.

I wonder what people from this village are called? The irritants? The ones from the irritating village? As for me, I'm in Bangalore and so, I'm a Bangalorean.

If there is a school in the village will it be called "The Irritating Primary School"? or worse "The Irritating High School and Pre University Composite College"?

Is the panchayat chief named "The Head Irritant"?

If there is a scheme to built a canal to the village, will it be called "The Irritating Irrigation Project"?

Digressing a bit to Presidents of India, the interesting (not so irritating) names that come to mind are
  1. Rajendra Prasad - First President, and honoured as such. Also the only President, to have served 2 terms. Though technically there is no bar on the number of terms, but all others have served only 1 term.
  2. S Radhakrishnan - Second President, and Philosopher. Very well known for his work on the Upanishads. Legend has it that every speech that he gave included a Sanskrit Shloka.
  3. Zakir Hussain - Third President. Died in office.
  4. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed - Fifth President. Allowed Indira Gandhi to rule by decree during the Emergency
  5. Gaini Zail Singh - Seventh President. Infamous for being the President during the Sikh riots. Even more ironic is that the President was a practicing Sikh.
  6. APJ Kalam - Eleventh President and Defence Scientist. A media darling, known for his work in DRDO. Revered by many and considered as one of India's greatest scientists.

Myopic view of

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bangalore-Mysore Highway yet to be completed

According to the Deccan Herald, the Bangalore Mysore road expansion is not yet complete. The deadline was 30th Sept as set by H D Revanna. However, looks like the construction will be completed only much after Diwali.

The 4 lane road is not the same as the BMIC expressway being constructed by NICE.

Solar Eclipse rituals

The solar eclipse was not visible that clearly in Bangalore due to cloudy weather.

As per Hindu tradition, a solar eclipse is a time when many strange things can happen. As a result, some of the rules prescribed are
  1. One cannot eat during an eclipse
  2. One must take a bath after an eclipse
  3. Food must not be cooked during an eclipse. Food must be cooked after the eclipse only.
  4. If there are any fruits, vegetables, then they need to be protected with a tulsi cutting
Yours truly forgot rule #2 and had to reminded about it quite strictly. So, with a cold brought about by dust allergy, I'm taking a shower at 9.00PM.

Monday, October 03, 2005

RSS take out a march on Gandhi Jayanti

For the first time ever, the RSS took out a march on Gandhi Jayanti and even claimed to have things in common with Gandhian Philosophy. Indian Express has the news.


A typical method of distributing software by GNU is to use autoconf, automake and related tools. A nice introduction is available here.

Dust Allergy

I struggled to get up in the morning today. I had a major throat ache. It was all the dust on the roads when I had a look at the apts on Sat and Sun.

Had to work from home today.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

More Apt Searching

Every Sunday we get ads in the classfied section for realty. Arm with a pencil and paper, one goes through the section. Ticked a couple of interesting things - GR Developers, KLM Developers. GR was on Kanakapura road just before Family Mart. Me and a friend went about trying to find the place but couldn't. Instead we came across HM constructions and a huge set of apts. Went in but found everything sold and just 1 apt for second sale. But the price was too much. Instead heard about HM World City at Konankunte. Took the flyers and went to Vijaynagar to have a look at a new property by KLM Pai.

The project was not yet launched and so we went to lunch and got home back late afternoon.

Interestingly, the underpass at Bhashyam circle seems to be done. This will definitely help traffic flow on Dr. Rajkumar road.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

apt shopping

Today was hectic. Spent a lot of time on the road, looking at different apts. This is how my weekends will work out for the next couple of months, I guess.

First, it was off to L&T South City, which is behind arakere mico layout. This has pretty decent connectivity and the construction is excellent. The road from Jayanagar - JP Nagar is proposed to connect the apt. No idea about when that will come about. Until it does, there are two different ways to reach the place. The first and possibly closer is to go through Arakere. One needs to turn right at HSBC/Mantri Paradise on Bannergatta road and weave through small roads before reaching the place. The second option is to use a direct road from Bannergatta road some distance after turn off one. I used the first option.

Next it was of to Ajmera Green Acres, which comes in Bannergatta district and not in Bangalore district. So, one has to continue a few kms after HSBC, cross the Meenakshi Temple. It comes on the right. No other option but to use Bannergatta road to reach this place.

After that, it was to Purva Belmont on Kanakapura road. The problem here is that one has to take an U turn on Kanakapura road. This comes right after Family Mart, so it has great connectivity.

Then it was of to a bank where I happen to know the loan section manager. She gave me the lowdown on loans and properties in Bangalore. Need to go in for Pre approval soon. She also suggested having a look at The Heritage, which is off Airport road. So after spending a couple of hours at the bank it was of to Airport road.

Came back via the Ring Road, which turned out to be very bad idea. It took me atleast 1-1/2 hours to get back home. That's way higher than par because the apt is pretty close to my office, annd 30 mins is par. Welll....... 45 mins is par. :-)

In terms of traffic and connectivity, Purva was the best, followed by South City. South City is bound to improve once the road is made. Till then it will be a bit of a struggle on Bannergatta road.