July 31, 2007

The Priceless Cog

July 31, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
As India close in on what could be a famous win on English soil at Trentbridge against the second ranked Test team, as an Indian cricket fan I start wondering, which cogs on the wheel will start coming off this Indian team soon. At the close of play on the 4th day of the 2nd test, India needed just 63 more runs to get on the final day with all 10 wickets standing. What an opporunity, and what a memorable gift it would be for the stalwarts of the Indian team for who it would most likely be the last England tour. The list includes the famous Indian batting triumvirate - Tendulkar, Ganguly and the current captain, Dravid. Maybe even Laxman's last. But none more significant than the silent assassin - Anil Kumble.
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The humble, modest man, who hurries up batsmen in the crease with his fast leg breaks, came of age during the Australian tour in 2003-04. He has been the ever-reliable bowler for India, throughout the last 17 years. His services have been nothing less than tireless. He has gone on and on like a work horse, for providing his team the breakthroughs, or sometimes, bowl within his limitations to dry up the runs. Always up for a challenge, he has always been mentally the toughest of cricketers India has ever produced. He would realise, more than anybody else that he probably has not more than 2 years of test cricket left in him.

That should come as a wake up call to the cricket academy in the country, the BCCI and maybe even the ICL. Kumble has been India's answer to the Waqar Younis or Wasim Akram, always cleaning up the tailenders of the opposition, more often than not. India has always had a history of struggling to get rid of the tailenders, but Kumble in Test Matches has always gobbled them up, helping to boost his test wickets tally to an astonishing 561 wickets in only 116 test matches. At over 36 years, and nearing the 37 year mark, there isn't much time for Kumble, nor for the Indian team to find an able replacement.

July 30, 2007

July 28, 2007

No "FLASH" In the pan this !!

July 28, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
I purchased the Cowon D2 flash based mp3 player a couple of weeks back. I am still in the U.S and got it ordered online for $190, taxes, shipping included. I have the 4GB black version of the player from Cowon. I must say, everyday I get back from office, only thing I can think of is, what is the next thing I can try on my Cowon.

An amazing player, with touchscreen. It does have a PDA like feel to it, but with a 2.5" screen, it can play videos and photos as well, without being too strenuous on the eyes. It offers a multitude of features. Here are a few to list :

1. FM Radio/Voice Recorder
2. Video playback/Photos (including slideshows)
3. SD Expansion slot (uses SDHC cards,extensible to 12GB with 4GB version)
4. Plays flash games
5. Notepad facility, to use paint like features.
6. Can read text.
7. Audio setting, allows user to change EQ settings for all modes like Jazz, Rock, Classic etc.

That is a lot of features for a tiny player. The highlight of the product thoug is its battery life. It offers a whopping 52 hours (company tests) of continuous audio playback, and 10 hours of continuous video playback. That is amazing for a player with so many features.

You can use your SD card in the player, and watch photos even as you listen to music (oddly though, not when you listen to FM). I use a Panasonic DMC FZ7 camera, and it takes photos of 2MB size. The player loads them very crisply, but not before pixelising the photo while loading.

The clarity of the screen is something one needs to see to believe. It boasts of 16million color 24 bit LCD touchscreen. I am loading some GILC videos, and converting them using the JetAudio freeware, and it plays them beautifully. And the sound quality is unbelievably good. You can crisply listen to every beat of a song clearly.

The drawbacks of the player are its frequent firmware upgrades, which can be cumbersome. But when the upgrade offers new features with such upgrades, why not take the extra trouble ? All the videos have to be convereted to Cowon compatible screen to play. Also, the touchscreen does not help in blind navigation of songs for some users.

Overall, the player is an amazing purchase. I found it in this online portal for buyers in India.

It certainly is not a flash in the pan by Cowon, who have come out with IAudio 7 which delivers a whopping 60 hours battery life !My suggestion to any mp3 player fan, who is looking for any alternative for the ipod, go for the Cowon D2. This is the player to watch out for ! Go get it !

Head Back Home

July 25, 2007

July 24, 2007

Opportunities - Plus Or Minus

July 24, 2007 Posted by Vijay , No comments
The land of opportunities, United States. Yes, it certainly has been for some years, and will be for a few more. That, is a reflection of the job market for all Indians coming to U.S. But it is a case of missed opportunities if you are planning to buy shirts from here. Though it is a U turn from job to shirts to purchase, it goes without saying that, it can be difficult getting the exact size shirts for those who are new to the U.S of A. Atleast that's what I found out.

After struggling to get a pair of sneakers in my last U.S visit, I wasn't hopeful of getting one this time. But, even after I bought FILA shoes from Bangalore after my last visit, I was sucked into the buy 2 get 1 offer at the Great Mall in San Jose. I got a Reebok pair, and thus I had broken the ice. I went on to get a pretty good mp3 player, the Cowon D2, which sports touchscreen interface and has loads of features. I bought the 4GB one, and thus my shopping spree had been initiated.

I have always been apprehensive of buying clothes from the U.S since the same variety, you end up getting in India as well. But, in India all of them are Made In India. So, for a change, I thought I should get clothes which are Made In Pakistan or Made In Cambodia. Where else to get these than in the land of opportunities ! Jokes apart, I shoved aside my apprehensions of getting the right size of shirt, and badly wanted to get some casual shirts. The prices too are similar to those in India. So, no big deal if I buy them from India or from U.S.

July 3, 2007

Sivaji @ Silicon Valley !!

July 03, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
The last weekend, was my first weekend in Silicon Valley, in what is (currently) my second visit to the U.S. Not too confusing a line if you read it carefully, but unlike my Confucius nature, there was no confusion for my cousin as to what movie he had been dying to watch since long. He had driven down from Sacramento for a function of our mutual cousin's (@ Fremont, CA), and we decided to go for Sivaji, the boss at Camera 3 Cinemas , San Jose. Till date, Sivaji, The Boss is the most expensive movie (over Rs. 90 crores, i.e. 22.5 million USD) ever in Indian Movie History. And Rajni, the hero, with this movie, became the highest paid actor in Indian Cinema as of today (over Rs. 17 crore, 4.2 million USD !!). To think that his fee, amounted to 19% of the movie expense can be validated by his unbelievable cult following in South India, Japan and Singapore.

The hype that it had created was so huge, that it stole the thunder from the Yash Raj Production, Jhoom-Barabar-Jhoom, starring the Big B. There was also a lot of skepticism because of the hype , whether the movie will do as well as expected. Music by A.R. Rehman should have helped boost the movie, but was that enough ? Sankar, accomplished director of movies like Anniyan, Mudhalvan (Nayak in Hindi), Gentleman had to hit the right balance between Rajni's irrepressible style and his own directorial skills, with the message of the all pervasive black money issue in Indian Society.

In the past 6-7 years, all Rajni movies have been loads of style, and less of substance. Still, be it Padayappa or Chandramukhi, Rajni's films pulled it off well at the box office. His style has been so over-emphasised, that his acting skills have been all but forgotten. Which is quite sad. But hey, if he can still pull off blockbusters at the box office as the hero of a mainstream Indian movie at the age of 57, who cares ? Watching Sivaji, reminded me of Chandramukhi, which I saw couple of years back in Tamil Nadu, with another cousin of mine. Lot of style in Sivaji too, the coin flipping horizontally, then vertically and landing in his palm. Then the chewing gum going in his mouth, after rebounding from his palm, were all there (Hard to imagine eh ?).

July 2, 2007

Some random facts (About Me)

July 02, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
I have been blogging for more than 2 years now, and have seen how bloggers tag each other. It passes on from one blogger to the next, like passing a baton. I have been avoiding from getting tagged, but I guess it is time to surrender to Sakshi's tag, who I also write for at desidabba.

Here are some of my facts which could be as dull and dumb as they get !

1. Since childhood, I have been Mr. Confus(c)ious for everyone around me !

2. I have my roots in Tamil Nadu, upbringing in Kerala, though I tend to follow more of Hindi.(example of the confuscious nature). So I know Malayalam (spoken,written), Hindi (Spoken, Written), Tamil (spoken) and English of course ! But none of them well enough :D

3. I love taking pictures using my digital camera, at the cost of making people around me look awkward.