Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The peripheral ring road to open next year

The Hindu reports that the PRR should open soon. link.

Some interesting data on the projected travel time is provided.

Instead of 70 mins to travel from Meenakshi Temple on Bannerghatta road to Electronic City on Hosur it should now take around 10 mins!!

The caveat is that the road has to be completed first. :-)

I'll believe it when I drive on it. Till then I'll wait patiently in my car, in a traffic jam.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Outside the cricket grounds

The BCCI elections are finally completed and we have a winner. Sharad Pawar. Cricinfo reports. link.

This entire messy saga of who controls the BCCI is far from over. While it looks like one group has wrestled control, it will be interesting to see what happens on the ground.

As a long suffering fan, my demands are simple
  1. Make it easy for me to buy a ticket, if I want to. Have a website for goodness sake and allow me to buy online.
  2. Reduce meaningless matches and improve scheduling. The Aussie system of "world series" is pretty successful in producing great cricket
  3. Improve the grounds - both for the players and the spectators
  4. Insist on better TV coverage. The last thing I want to see is an ad blocking my view
  5. Invest in developing a great cricket team. How can a country with 1 Billion people produce a team that consistently fails?
  6. Get the stars to play in domestic cricket and make it attractive to watch First Class Cricket. If anything, work with TV channels to broadcast important matches.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Malgudi Days on Pogo

Pogo has nostalgia in the air. Everyday, Malgudi Days is aired in the evening - 8.30PM. Raj has an interesting piece of trivia link
the name “Malgudi” was formed by adding up the names of two of Bangalore’s old neighborhoods, Malleshwaram and Basavangudi.
At one point of time Malleswaram was the culture bastion of "North Bangalore" and Basavangudi was quientessential "South Bangalore". Bangalore has grown far more than what was once considered as "North Bangalore" and "South Bangalore", and Malleswaram and Basavangudi have changed forever. No longer can they be considered as quiet neighbourhoods at the very ends of town. This is one of the side effects of Outsourcing and it is with a sense of loss that most of the original Bangaloreans look back at the time when Malgudi Days was first broadcast on State TV.

As this post is being typed, I'm watching a very thin, youngish Girish Karnad in one of the short stories that make up Malgudi Days.

Malgudi days is a true classic by R K Narayan. link.

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Things to see in Bangalore

In an earlier post, I had asked the question - what cultural, and historical landmarks do we have in Bangalore? link.

Kishore has links to two of them - Iskcon Temple and the Shiva Temple. link.

I for one prefer some secular landmarks, but its true that the these two temples are quite amazing.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Greasemonkey for Technorati

A few weeks back, I added a nice greasemonkey userscript to take care of my technorati links. I had never really checked if the generated links work. Found a bug today and had to reinstall.

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Lara is the king

He's done it. After all, it was just a matter of time. Brian Charles Lara is the leading scorer in Test Cricket. link (Cricinfo).

He already holds the highest individual score.

Invariably, when someone brings up the subject of Lara's Batting, comparisions with another little master comes up. Today, there is no need for comparisions. Lara's records speak for themselves. link.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

RIP Pat Morita

Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid was one of the memorable characters of all time. Pat Morita who played the character passed away. link.

RIP and thanks for all the laughs.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Common Errors in English

Excellent link to commons errors in English. link.

The site is by a Prof of English at WSU.

I wonder how many mistakes have I made in my blogging?

Instant On from Apple

According to the Motley Fool, the reason behind Apple's huge NAND Flash deal could be to provide an "Instant ON" kind of computer. link.

An Instant On system is already present if we use a "Hibernate" or "Standby" power down mode in MS Windows. It still takes time for the PC to boot up, but its better than having to log on every morning. Hibernate works by storing the contents of RAM on Disk. When the computer is turn on again, the contents of RAM are put back from the Hard Disk and the Operating System continues from where it left off.

The problem with this method is the time its takes for the computer to read the stored data from the Hard Disk into RAM and then try to make sense of it all. Hard Disk access is quite slow when compared to how quick CPUs actually are. This is due to the way a Hard Disk works. A moving mechanical arm is required and this physical movement will take time. If the data saved is all over the place, then the Operating System will take longer to collect all of it.

If NAND Flash is used instead of a Hard Disk, then the time to read data is the same regardless of the location.

Perhaps, this is the thinking behind the article. I for one, would love to get my hands on an Intel Based iBook or Powerbook as soon as they are out. That's still on my wishlist.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005


A cool page with a number of illusions, perception puzzles. link.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Che Guevera anyone?

Hilarious post by Vantage Point on "why" Che Guevera didn't bother starting a revolution in India. link. Che Che....

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Top 10 Space Movies has a list of the top 10 movies about spaces. link via slashdot.

As expected the original star wars trilogy are on the list but the newer prequels are not. In terms of preference, my star wars list would be
  1. The Empire Strikes back (V) - No. *I* am your father.
  2. Star Wars or A New Hope (IV) - Use the Force, Luke.
  3. Return of the Jedi (VI) - And now, young Skywalker... you will die.
  4. Revenge of the Sith (III) - Not quite as I expected
  5. The Clone Wars (II) - Just one scene with Jar-Jar Binks
  6. Phantom Menace - Jar-Jar Binks and me-so think the miticlorians as the source for the force is a bunch of rubbish-o
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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Strike one off the wishlist

Was having a strong cases of the blues for the last couple of days.

To cheer myself up, decided to make a wishlist of the things I want
  1. Mercedes SLR McLaren
  2. Porsche Carrera GT
  3. Apple Powerbook 17" (Intel, so I need to wait for next year)
  4. iPod
  5. Townhouse at Prestige Cedars
Making the wishlist was not the cure I wanted.

So I decided to give in to the urge.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Will VW join the F1 Circus?

According to, VW may be considering F1. link.

These rumors are nothing new, but the interesting thing is that it has the name "Red Bull" popping up. Audi has a rich racing history and a long rivalry with Mercedes-Benz.

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String spin

This is a cool application. Just draw a line, click on start and watch the magic. link.

However, be warned!!. Switching away from the browser (both firefox and IE) causes it to hang up.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

DaVinci's Genius

An interesting article on DaVinci's Genius. link.

Recently, a couple of teams of engineers decided to test whether or not Leonardo Da Vinci was as brilliant as everyone thought. They decided to take two of his designs, build them and see if they would work. The two designs decided upon were: A glider, and an 80 ft weapon similar to a crossbow but firing spherical projectiles. Each team was limited in the time and materials they had to use to construct their projects.

The only thing that I don't agree with the article is the mistake comparing DaVinci's Glider with the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer. The Wright Brothers' built the world's first heavier-than-air powered aircraft. Gliders had existed well before the Wright Brothers.

Lord Kelvin once remarked that Heavier than Air Machines were impossible. link.

Talk about having famous last words!!!

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

View from the top of the world

A great photo of the world from the top of Mt. Everest. link.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

gchart - what time is it?

gchart is a pretty cool application that is a mashup using the google maps API. link.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Toyota moves to Bridgestone for 2006

According to the BBC, Toyota has joined Williams in moving from Michelin to Bridgestone. link.

This move may not pay off in the near future, thanks to the special relationship between Ferrari and Bridgestone. McLaren moved from Bridgestone to Michelin in 2001 citing the Ferrari-Bridgestone coziness as a concern. McLaren struggled to adapt to Michelin in 2002, but came back strongly in 2003.

BAR found some impressive pace in 2004 when they switched over from Bridgestone. Winter testing will give a good indication of how much of an advantage or disadvantage these moves will be for Williams and Toyota.

Whatever be the result in 2006, there is no doubt that Williams and Toyota elected to join Bridgestone keeping the 2008 season in mind. Only time will tell if Michelin decide to move on in 2008.

I personally feel that more the competition, the better it will be for the sport. Today, we decide that there should be only one tyre manufacturer. Next, some bright guy will come up with a single engine manufacturer or a single chassis. Soon, F1 will end up mirroring A1 and the sport as we know it will no longer exist.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Que Sara Sara

Lifehack has a post on the 9 tips to happiness. link.
If you want to be happy you need to understand that you can be happy and that you should be happy. Many people make the mistake of believing that they don’t deserve happiness and accept their unhappy state as their destiny. The truth of the matter is that happiness, like anything else in life, needs to be nurtured.
Useful tips indeed.

Being a happy-go-lucky person, my mantra is
  1. Don't worry about the future, plan for it.
  2. Don't regret the past, learn from it.
Que Sara Sara, whatever will be will be, the future is not ours to see, Que Sara Sara.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

History's worst bugs

The wired has a story about 10 of the worst software bugs in history. link.

Reminds me of a story that I heard sometime back.

A lot of software is being written to control cars. Nowadays, the first thing a mechanic would do with a newer car, is to plug in a laptop into the car and read out the status messages. So what happens when you combine large amounts of software, written in a matter of days, untested in a real car? Disaster..

Luckily, most car companies are paranoid about the quality of software. Typically, a car model undergoes at least a year's testing for thousands of kilometers. It so happened, that in one car model (No names here), whenever the test driver took a particular exit, the car would just die. It took some time to figure out that to that the exit the driver has to go under a bridge, which for some reason caused the GPS signal to be lost for a fraction of a second. The result? The software running on the car crashed!! Weird, huh?

Another case I remember, is of a guy who complained that his car hated Vanilla Icecream. It seems the guy used to go out for Icecream every Saturday Night with his kids. Whenever the kids took Vanilla, the car wouldn't start up unless it was cranked a bit. Whenever the kids chose different flavours, the problem wasn't seen. It took some debugging to figure out that whenever the guy bought Vanilla he too less time inside the shop and was back in his car earlier. The result? The software failed when the engine was still warm!! Weird!!

All these stories are FOAF. So, if you have corrections or comments, send them in!!!

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Newey to head to Red Bull?

The BBC reports that Adrian Newey is going to move from McLaren to Red Bull. link.

This is a weird development. Newey has been wanting to quit F1 for some time now, so that he could try his hand on other things - designing a yacht, a road car etc.

For him to move from a works team to a non-works team would be pretty sensational.
He did want to go to Jaguar in 2001, and when he was persuaded not to leave Bobby Rahal lost his job at Jaguar.

Why would he want to leave McLaren to Red Bull?
What do Red Bull bring to the table that McLaren cannot or will not?

Update: Planet-F1 says that the move has been confirmed by a press release from Red Bull. Newey to join RB in Feb 2006. link.

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Repairs to rain affected city infrastructure in Bangalore

According to the DH, repairs to the rain affected city infrastructure will start within the next few days and will be completed within 3 weeks. link.

This fall has been particularly wet. With record rainfalls, flooding in many areas surrounding bangalore was common and many roads have been severely damaged. One must only wait and see if the promised "3 weeks" is going to be fulfilled or not, especially given the weather forecast for additional rain in next couple of days.

The reason touted has been the lack of planned infrastructure development in all areas outside the BMP (Bangalore Corporation) and BDA (Bangalore Development Authority). Technically, these areas are not part of Bangalore but come under different towns. The Govt. is now trying to amalgamate all the surrounding towns with Bangalore itself.

Hopefully, incorporating the surrounding towns into a single entity will improve the quality of infrastructure on the outskirts.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

More on the Property Price correction

More information on the correction in real estate prices. link.

Parts of Bommanhalli has been affected pretty badly.

Previous Post on the same subject is here.

On that note, a small rant. South Bangalore does not mean only HSR, Madivala, BTM, Bannerghatta road. A lot of people seem to think that South Bangalore is defined by only places that are close to Software companies. That is not the case. South Bangalore has far more to offer than usual Software Hype. So, if you hear that South Bangalore has been affected by rains, it does not mean the whole of South Bangalore is submerged. South Bangalore was a far better place to live in until the software boom.

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Munnar and Thekkady - Long Weekend Getaways

After long hours of work in Bangalore, the best thing to do would be to getaway for a long weekend. One option is Thekkady. link.

A Location map is also available from here.
Given the location, one of the ways to get to Thekkady would be to catch a train from Bangalore on Friday - Kanyakumari Express, which leaves at around 9.45PM and reaches Kottayam at around 11.00 the next day. Then hire a car from the railway station or catch a bus to Kumali which is a few kms from Thekkady. Total travel costs should be around 2500/- per person. (2000/- for the Rail Ticket and rest for Bus Fare)

There should be plenty of things to do on Saturday and Sunday, before heading back on Monday evening. The same train leaves Kottayam at 4.15PM and reaches Bangalore at 7.55AM Tuesday.

Driving down from Bangalore is not really an option. The journey would be at least 11 hours by road.

Another option would be to fly to Cochin from Bangalore and then take a car or bus from the airport. Total travel costs should be around 6200/- per person (5800/- for the air fare and the rest for bus fare)

Accomodation options are here.

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A new book on Bangalore

I haven't read the book, but according to a review the book is worth a look. link.

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Can there be Paris type riots in the US?

Interesting post on that question is here.

Some people probably think that a Paris-like scene in a major U.S. city is the stuff of fairy tales. That it could never happen here. That problems like discontent and unemployment could never have the magnitude here that they have in France. That if there ever were such profound social unrest and such pressing social problems as exist in the Parisian suburbs that our "democratic" government would take immediate steps to remedy the situation, restore order, and take responsibility.

A different POV would bring up these points
  1. The Automobile Industry isn't the only tangible industry. Defence, Aerospace, Financial Services are big contributors to the US economy.
  2. For Millenia, the West has bought goods made in the East via the Silk Route. The only century in which goods did not move from East to West was the 20th Century. Outsourcing is the same in principle but magnified 100x times
  3. The beauty of the US system is the ability to adapt and create jobs. French Style economic policies are far different from what is seen in the US. That's why its unlikely that there will be 30% unemployment in the US. At least in the near future.
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Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Blue Ball Machine

The Blue Ball Machine is a cool animation. link.

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wiki notes on windows

Using a wiki to take notes is a great idea. The wiki software takes care of linking different pages and what you get is a simple method of organizing notes. WikiNotes is one such application. link.

However, the problem with WikiNotes is that it requires OSX. An alternative is to use the tcl wikit. It doesn't require tcl to be installed on Windows. All you need to do is download tclkit and wikit and run it. link.

As a example, just download them to C:\wiki
In a command window type the following

C:\wiki\tclkit.exe wikit.kit

The wiki GUI comes up and you are on your way. Instead of having to run via command line each time, you can create a shortcut.
  1. Create a shortcut to C:\wiki\tclkit.exe
  2. Right Click on the shortcut and edit the properties of the shortcut
  3. Modify the target field to C:\wiki\tclkit.exe C:\wiki\wikit.kit
That's it. Now you have your own personal wiki.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Bangalore Airport is one of the fastest growing in the current

A small thought on the growing pains that Bangalore is experiencing. The airport is just unable to keep pace. link.

We really need the new Airport as soon as possible.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Williams confirm Nico Rosberg for 2006

Williams have confirmed Nico Rosberg to partner Mark Webber for 2006. link. Additional link.

However, its not certain what kind of impact these two will have in the 2006 Cosworth Powered Williams. In a way, its destiny. Keke Rosberg won the WDC in a Cosworth powered Williams.

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The Exhausted Indian IT professional

Very interesting post on how Software Engineers put in insane hours. link. (via).

IT work culture in India is totally messed up and has now started harming the work culture of the nation as a whole. Working 12+ hours a day and 6 or even 7 days a week is more the rule than the exception.

Having left for work at 8.30 in the morning and having returned at 11.30PM, I can only agree with the points raised.

However, there are a couple of points against the post.
  1. Respect for individuality is quite high in the Industry. Its very unlikely that a person would not be allowed to express his opinions even if they are completely contracting their boss's Point of View. This does not happen in most old economy companies and is considered a big 'no-no'. Most Indian Families value "respect to elders" above all else.
  2. A lot of software engineers still tend to behave like code generators rather than engineers. When a person buys a house, then the first thing that the buyer would demand are the blueprints. Next, the buyer would insist on shopping around for different colours for the walls, different tiles in the bathroom, different flooring options etc. One does not build the four walls, then decide where to add supporting beams. If only we spend more effort in requirements analysis, architecture, design, reviews before getting into coding, the overall efforts would be lower. Ideally, one should spend only 10-15% of time writing code and spend the rest in upstream activities.
  3. Software Engineers also need to put egos aside. A Typical Indian SE believes that he/she is the best person on the job and to ask for help is to admit failure. There is no point in re-inventing the wheel and by asking sufficient questions, its possible that there could be something that can be reused from a totally unexpected source.
  4. Software Engineers tend to focus on breadth rather than depth. A lot of managers tend to encourage this trend as well and are equally to blame. Someone who is a domain expert will not spend effort "ramping up". The result? Quicker timelines, with lesser effort. There is no shame in a 30 or 40 year old remaining an engineer and focusing on technical issues rather than management issues. Most companies assume that an expert is created in a couple of months, a domain specialist in a few years and a management guru within a decade.
  5. The software industry in India does not discriminate. It may come as a surprise to many, but a lot of old economy companies discriminate in many subtle ways. Sex, Class, Creed are irrelevant for software companies because it is a knowledge industry. Being born on the wrong side of the tracks has no relevance.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Additional Flights from Europe to Bangalore

Both British Airways and Air France have started flying into Bangalore. link and link.

This will bring in much needed competition to Lufthansa, which flies Bangalore to Frankfurt direct. Air India too has a flight out of Bangalore but requires a 5-6 hour stop over at Mumbai. I haven't seen a Lufthansa flight that wasn't jam packed as yet, and getting tickets was always a bit dicey. Now, that we have 2 additional carriers, hopefully, some of the traffic will be diverted. In addition, I hope the competition leads to a reduction in ticket prices.

Air France infact has a special inaugural return fare from Bangalore to CDG, Paris at Rs 19000/- ($421/-), which is pretty amazing. What that translates to is a price of around $1000 for return fare from the East Coast of USA to Bangalore.

Most of the people flying into Bangalore are of three types
  1. Parents flying back home after visiting children in the U.S. or folks travelling to India to meet family (40%)
  2. Business Travellers, many of whom are crammed in economy class (50%)
  3. Only about 10% travel on holiday.
By reducing the ticket prices, type 1 and type 3 are bound to increase and the additional capacity will be filled up quite quickly.

The only real problem with the flights are that they aren't Boeing 747s but A340s. I can't comment on the A340s technical advantages but as a passenger I always found A340s quite cramped The leg room is minimal and when one has a 20 hour flight (10 hours to Frankfurt and 10 from Frankfurt to Bangalore), its not easy.

FOAF said that 747s cannot land in Bangalore due to runway concerns. I don't know if that is the case, but we definitely don't have any 747s landing here. All that will change once the new airport is built.

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Correction in Property Rates in Bangalore

The New Indian Express reports that the prices across different parts of bangalore are having a downward correction due to the incessant rains and flooding. link. Due apologies to Eva for saying that it was not so.

If realtors are to be believed, the property prices in HSR layout have taken the biggest hit.

The increase in rates in Bangalore have always been suspect. Why would anyone pay Rs.2000/- per sft for land that has no roads, no water supply, no electricity and evidently no drains. The problem with the growth has been the development of areas that come under different CMCs rather than the BMP. The result, hapazard growth. Hopefully, this will be a wake up call.

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