December 24, 2010

Amigos with Archos ...

December 24, 2010 Posted by Vijay 2 comments
So after a long long time, finally a post. And why not, when I am all excited about what I am about to reveal in the next few paras. The iPad launch has taken the world by storm. Prior to the launch there was mass speculation on how it will be received across the tech world. With the sales of iPad in millions within months of launch, it was no surprise competitors started hastening their own tablet plans. Though I never prefer Apple products, to be fair, iPad gave much of the tablet world the confidence to pursue.

The relevance of the tablet cannot be understated. Simply put, it is a device for entertainment and web surfing. While a laptop is heavy duty, a tablet is more mobile and portable. Unfortunately, the iPad weighing over a kilogram and being 10'' is nowhere near portable. There are already rumors that Apple may consider a 7'' tablet version, where Samsung Galaxy Tab has already taken a huge headstart. While iPad runs the same OS as that of the iPhone, the Tab runs the Android 2.2 Froyo. Though Google till date is apprehensive of how the smartphone compatible Froyo would scale up to the tablet version.

Even before the iPad though, Archos had started with their Tablet variant with an Android powered Archos 5 and another Windows powered Archos 9. With a bit of experience and vast knowledge of the multimedia experience, Archos unleashed 5 Gen8 tablets during August this year. The 28,32 are so small, many buyers consider them as mere mp4 players. The 43 is more like a smartphone. The 70 and the 101 are the real competition with other Tablets. And where Archos 70/101 stand apart is the lack of any carrier network tie up (like for the Tab or iPad), but still having commendable hardware. There is no need for a carrier tie-up to buy the Archos, no need to jailbreak it, and you can pocket an Archos 70 for $278.

August 22, 2010

Krishna's Temple of Shame

August 22, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
I had been to Guruvayoor today, with my parents, wife and grandmother. I came visiting my ancestral home here, and we all went to the abode of Lord Krishna in the evening. Both my parents and grandmother being senior citizens (who qualify for being aged 60 or more) had the option of waiting in the senior citizens queue. While my parents by God's grace can take care of themselves in the meandering queues at the temple, the same is not true for my 93 year old grandmother.

My grandma needed atleast a person or two to hold her through the rush in the queues. Our plan was that my wife and I would accompany my grandmother, and my parents will get into the senior citizen queue (SCQ) in any case. While one person could manage taking care of my grandma, we thought I could help her along in the same senior citizen queue (SCQ). However, things took a different turn once the temple was opened for the devotees.

We got inside, and reached the SCQ with grandma, and asked the lineman (helping with the queues) to help grandma get inside. He objected saying we had to wait and only one person accompanying a senior citizen can be allowed. I agreed, but asked him to let my frail grandma get into the queue with my wife, so that she doesn't have to be stuck in the congested queues. He instead started objecting violently, and started asking me of how I can accompany when my grandma can take care of herself. This maddened me no extent, but the guy had a big ego and made my 93 year old grandma wait for more than five minutes. I lost my temper and repeatedly requested him to atleast let go of her and my wife inside since she can't stand for long.

June 21, 2010

April 22, 2010

April 3, 2010

Microsoft,Apple,Google - Whose MAGic Awaits Us?

April 03, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
With just a day to go for the Apple iPad launch in stores across the U.S., it is also a good time for introspection. Introspection about how the mobile, computing and the internet world at large is shaping up. What is clear is that, as much as technology enthusiasts complain about Microsoft's lack of open source technology support, Apple is quietly doing the same, through a different route. Microsoft has achieved success imposing their own technology on millions of computers and laptops around the world, while Apple seems to be doing the same on its mobile devices. How? Simple, by tying its customers to iTunes.

Apple is what it is, due to its flawless products and amazing user friendly gadgets. I must say, as much as I am anti-Apple in terms of products, my experience of the iPod Touch for gaming purposes was stunning. Its response amazing. But what cuts the deal short of a real game winner is undoubtedly for being chained to iTunes. iTunes maybe revolutionary. But it only works for those who are willing to be loyal to Apple and its products. Else Apple's products are just bricks. Atleast as far as the iPods and iPhones are concerned. The iPad will be no different, and Apple will continue to weave its net of circumvention yet again. That the device maybe stunning or incomparable is a different matter altogether. If as a buyer I don't have the liberty to load any apps, or any games to my wish, or load songs as drag and drop is curtailed, it becomes cumbersome and downright irritating.

What Apple is doing is no different than what Microsoft has been doing with its PC marker for years now. The iPhone is proprietary to Apple and there is a strict screening process for accepting apps into the iPhone. Moreover, the iPhone platform is unique and can only make an Apple iPhone and never a Motorola or HTC phone. The extent of restriction that Apple is imposing reminds one of how it has been with Microsoft in the PC market. Apple is imposing itself in the mobile segment of music players, phones and now tablet pcs. Apple does not even support the ubiquitous Adobe Flash into its devices. Its more a statement at the masses saying, either you are with us or against us.

March 24, 2010

Lucky Is Me ...

March 24, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
Over three months back, something happened around me, the disillusionment of which will be over only post April 11. But what has been obvious since those turn of events, is the rising expenses. That, it had to happen unabated, was something I had never imagined. Except me, all things around me are moving to a status - New. Be it my mobile, be it earphones for my Cowon D2, or the strap for my watch, or just the bare minimum batteries to run the dials at home. But what is certainly reassuring is that these expenses are the harbinger of a new life, a new dawn in an otherwise boring life I have had for a few months prior to that. The reassurance will be at the cost of my bachelorhood, but I have happily accepted my fate!

 But amidst these expenses, I have had the opportunity to explore a new mobile phone, the Sony Ericsson S312, and bought the Creative EP 630 earphones for my D2. I had to let go of my Sony K510i after 3.5 long years of amazingly good response, owing to its inevitable joystick issues and the fear of the depreciation it might go through beyond a certain point. The S312 boasts style, though its keypad looks crammed up. But it fit into my scheme of things, weight wise, affordability wise, and brand wise. I had initial problems with the S312 due to battery draining,had to fight with the dealer and had it sent to the Sony Service Center. I was told to format the memory card which came along with the pack and now things seem to be better with my S312. It sure is tempting to grab one of those smartphones though!

And then, my beloved D2 earphones started acting weird. The earphones which came along with the player would crackle up, and refused to work normally. I loved the earphones which came with the player, but did not want to spoil the rich audio experience of Cowon by purchasing just another earphone. I finally zeroed in on the Creative EP 630, for their affordabilty, noise isolation and quality. After I read some reviews, most of which were positive, I was happy to shell out 999 on I must say their service is more than impressive and extremely prompt too. I placed an order on Friday night and got it delivered by Monday morning. Thus far, I am very pleased with my purchase and impressed with the earphones.

February 24, 2010

The Feline Needs A Lifeline

February 24, 2010 Posted by Vijay 2 comments
Like a 911 call in the U.S for emergencies, India's national animal too needs immediate attention. If pug mark estimates by the National Tiger Conservation Authority are anything to go by, just 1411 Tigers are left in India. The striped feline enjoyed roaring success up until the alarming poaching activities brought down the number from around 40,000 in the 20th century to hardly a thousand now. Even the number 1411 should be digested with a pinch of salt, since the pug mark census can rarely be termed as accurate.

Aircel has joined Idea in promoting how nature and environment friendly they are in their core values and mission. While Idea promotes usage of its networks, and using mobiles phones to eliminate usage of paper, thus resulting in saving trees, Aircel has owned up to campaigning for the soon becoming rare Tiger in India. To be fair to Aircel and Idea, there is nothing more pleasing than promoting responsible nature responsible ads. Our national animal needs support and lots of care and attention. Most importantly, it needs to be left alone, with as much camouflage in India's forests.

February 13, 2010

No Fuss About Google Buzz

February 13, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
Google never lets the buzz about it grow any less in the internet space. Realising that its social networking platform, orkut, is fading in its primary markets in Brazil and India to Facebook's increasing presence, Google scampered and flexed its muscle to hire stalwarts in social networking. The resulting product which Google unveiled last week, is the Google Buzz, uncannily similar to the Yahoo Buzz platform. Except that Google is taking on the best in Social Networking today, the likes of twitter, facebook and friendfeed.

Google's approach in launching the product has had mixed reactions. What Google has done smartly though, is to use its existing Gmail base across the world, to spread word about the Buzz. Google Buzz comes automatically integrated with all the Gmail users' mailbox, and this is a huge plus for Google. The simple reason being, the kind of exposure and more importantly, the obviousness of the Buzz being present atop the user's mailbox. Look at the adjacent screenshot about what I mean.

The advantage of the placement of the Buzz in the mailbox may not seem that obvious, but what would strike all users, is its presence which gets unavoidable. Buzz is certainly too young to be declared a success or failure. But what Google can leverage on, is to provide its Gmail users one single location to access mails and at the same time follow what their contacts are upto. While twitter and facebook are purely into social networking, Gmail can now offer their mail service along with the social networking platform at the same time.

MNIK - Media Holds India Hostage

February 13, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
Though I have been trying to restrain myself from blogging about My Name Is Khan (MNIK), the outcome and the coverage it has been given warranted me to write atleast a few words about the entire episode. There are three main protagonists about the entire MNIK episode. Shah Rukh Khan, the Badshah of Bollywood, fondly referred to as SRK, Shiv Sena, and the third annoying protagonist, the media.

Frankly, the Shiv Sena's protests and insensitive posturing and violence are but sure signs that it is in its last leg as a prominent political outfit. Its protests against Rahul Gandhi died down in a whimper, and even though they threatened to cast a shadow of violence around the screening of MNIK, the film has gone on to open to full house audiences. Another blunder by Shiv Sena, which is ailing under the senile leadership of Bal Thackeray. Not only is the Shiv Sena devoid of any agenda which helps Mumbai or Maharashtra as a whole, it has brought embarrassment to itself by taking on national icons like Sachin Tendulkar, Mukesh Ambani and now, SRK.

SRK, to be fair to him has found himself in the midst of unnecessary politics, which Shiv Sena claims to have had success at. SRK had made statements on NDTV that there was a problem about signing Pakistan players in IPL. And that he wanted to have Abdul Razzak in his Kolkata Knight Riders for the IPL. Shiv Sena conveniently misconstrued his statements and branded SRK a traitor, and asked him to apologise, questioning SRK's intentions behind signing Pakistani players and his statement of Mumbai for All. SRK to his credit, stuck to his stand and insisted that no one should question his Indianness. He was even asked to go to Pakistan if he felt so strongly about his support for Pakistani players. SRK repeatedly held his ground and refused to tender an apology for something which he never alluded to as anti-Maharashtrian or anti-Indian.

February 8, 2010

Steyn Inflicts Pain Yet Again

February 08, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel sounded a warning to Australian skipper Ricky Ponting who a few days back claimed he had the best bowling attack. The pace duo wrecked India on the 3rd day of the first test against India in Nagpur. Only Sehwag could stand up to the searing pace of Steyn and Morkel. It was a true lesson in swing bowling at serious pace, especially by Steyn who claimed his best test bowling figures of 7/51. Steyn would regard it his greatest achievement yet, to have claimed a seven wicket haul on a supposedly benign Indian pitch.

Steyn was testing all the Indian batsmen with his pace and accuracy at one end, while Morkel was hitting the deck, using his height to good effect in making the Indian batsmen hop in their crease. Yet again Steyn tested the Indian batsmen with fast outswingers to the right handers, and India went in with just one left handed batsman in Gautam Gambhir in their playing eleven. Honestly, India's rise to the top of the test rankings was aided in large by Australia's dropping ratings since their series loss to South Africa on their home turf. Admittedly, India did win their home series against Australia prior to that, 2-0 in 2008. But South Africa had already begun their ascendancy by then in 2008.

It was Anil Kumble who was holding the Indian bowling high, with Zaheer Khan in sublime form. After Anil Kumble retired, post the Australia series in India, India's only notable overseas win was against a weak New Zealand team. India's bowling even then was put to the sword, and has been in constant decline. Neither does India possess express pace (which even Sri Lanka has found in Malinga), the Indian speedsters' averages are even higher than a sparingly used Kallis. While Kallis averages 31.4 in over 100 test matches, India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan averages 33 per wicket in 70 matches. The rapidly declining Ishant Sharma averages 32.85 per wicket. Kallis was even bowling much quicker than the Indian speedsters.

February 7, 2010

Fourth Innings, My Foot !

February 07, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
At a time when there is supposedly a threat to test cricket, more and more exciting matches are being turned in. Honestly, the past decade has been a blessing in disguise for Test Cricket, and not surprisingly, it has been Australia at the forefront of redefining Test Cricket. Their aggressive batting, with the likes of Hayden and Langer and then a marauding Gilchrist ensured that Test Cricket was being redefined forever. The mantle, one would say has been handed to another simple, yet devastating batsman, Virender Sehwag. Sehwag has been instrumental in India moving up the Test rankings in the past eight years, with an astonishing strike rate of over 80 and also scored the fastest triple hundred in Test Cricket.

Why Test Cricket is still alive and will thrive has been proven by just the last 2 years of Test Match cricket. And its more than just a mere coincidence that this is the same period when T20 cricket has taken the cricketing world by storm. This format has been a major boost to how Test cricket is being played of late. While Australia showed the aggressive intent in posting mammoth scores, and then pummel the opposition, T20 has increased the belief and self confidence amongst teams in chasing down astonishing fourth innings scores. A startling example is the Duleep Trophy Final yesterday, which West Zone won by chasing down a near improbable 536 to win. What stands out is the kind of innings which made it possible. Yusuf Pathan struck an unbeaten better than a run a ball double ton, and remained not out on 210 to capture the victory. Incidentally, this is the highest ever run chase in the history of first class cricket.

February 1, 2010

iS iPad an iWash ?

February 01, 2010 Posted by Vijay 3 comments
You could call it jealousy or plain refusal to acknowledge what Apple defines mobile technology to be. But I have come to admire, yet distance myself from the giant strides Apple has created in the vast technological space. No doubt, the iPod revolutionized what a mobile mp3 player should be. I have always admired the user friendliness of the iPod. But the key aspect about any Apple product is reliability. If you purchase an Apple product, you can place a safe bet that what they claim to work will work flawlessly and seamlessly.

On a personal level, I have always wished to own the not so well known brands. But which eventually still are very highly regarded in their own niche segments. Be it the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ7 (Panasonic Lumix cameras have now created a strong name, but not when I bought it in December 2006) digital camera, or the Cowon D2 mp3 player. The list of features these products give you are unbelievable. It’s just that, Apple's products are professionally done, and extremely reliable. While the Cowon D2 player for example, needs the user to be motivated and eager enough to explore and unearth the true value. And believe me you, it’s one helluva player.

Apple's announcements are so widely anticipated, that the latest one on their tablet pc, took the sheen off the CES event in Las Vegas last month. Google maybe slowly inching up to Apple in the mobile telephony segment, but the iPhone certainly has a cult following, with rapidly growing success. Expectedly, the announcement by Apple on January 27th last week in San Francisco was hyped up. Steve Jobs, who has epitomized the Apple class of products, unveiled the iPad to an audience wanting to be mesmerized. Without going into further details of the iPad, I have my doubts about the future for this segment of products.

January 31, 2010

Fedex overcomes Brit's Grit

January 31, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
I have run out of adjectives to describe Federer's awesome tennis plays and feats. He continues to dominate the men's tennis circuit and today won his fourth Australian Open title against Andy Murray. In straight sets, he doused the hopes of millions of English fans who were hoping to watch Andy Murray erase decades of Grand Slam titles in Tennis. Alas, an in form Federer and a rather subdued Murray was never going to enough to surmount and win against the greatest ever tennis player.

One shudders to think what Federer can achieve with three more years of healthy professional tennis. He is just 28, and not done yet. He will want to ensure that his twin daughters have an entire lifetime to spend, watching other aspiring tennis players trying to emulate Federer's awesome feats. Even that long a lifetime may not be enough, for Federer now has 16 Grand Slam titles to his name now, and probably can end with 20 if not more before he does eventually feel he has proved he is the greatest and none can surpass him for decades to come

Murray was slow to start in the match, and one which was reminiscent of the U.S Open final in 2008 when the same two finalists appeared for a similar result in favour of Federer. Murray was brilliant in patches, running around the court, displaying a Nadal like athleticism and finesse and fitness which he has built on over a year. He lost the match 6-3,6-4,7-6 in under 2 hours. Murray had himself to fault, for he could not afford to be not at his best for the finals. He had his chances and was up 5-3 in the 3rd set, serving for the set. The Swiss master hung in, and fought off the Brit's resistance before wrapping up the Championship winning the third set tie breaker.

January 29, 2010

Fedex Leaves Tsonga Perplexed

January 29, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
Federer tore into Wilfried Tsonga to storm into the Australian Open finals. He defeated Tsonga comfortably in straight sets, 6-2,6-3,6-2. Federer now has reached 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi finals, and has also been at the finals of all the Grand Slams, starting with the French Open final in 2008. That's an incredible 8 consecutive Grand Slam final appearances including the Australian Open 2010, adding up to an astounding 22 Grand Slam Finals appearances. The Swiss master has stood tall amongst his own generation of players like Hewitt and Roddick, and continued to dominate the current generation as well.

Federer seems to be the one everyone wants to beat. The current crop of young generation players like Tsonga, Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Cilic, Del Potro are all in the early 20s. It is their aggression, power hitting coupled with an incredible sense of self belief that has diminished the invincible aura that Federer had till 2007. It is quite astonishing that, even now he is the one who everyone is after to hunt down. Federer is now 28, and already holds records which will probably take decades to break if not centuries.

It’s not just the skill and the sublime plays that Federer brings to the game. It’s also his passion for Tennis, his modesty and appreciation for the opponents and past greats alike. He continues to march on and competes effortlessly with players of any generation. With Nadal's injury worries continuing to plague him, Federer's finesse and grace will boost his chances of bettering his own 15 Grand Slams. Murray may be leading Federer in head to head games 6-4 and may cause an upset over Federer at the finals. But Federer has already reached the pinnacle of greatness and really doesn't have to prove it to the world again.

Rakhi Rocks Censor ...

January 29, 2010 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
Warning : Some portions in this post may not be offensive to readers who wish to be perverted and thus misinterpret the contents. To such readers, no discretion is advised. For all else I highly recommend a censored approach.

After all the hunger strike for the Telangana cause by TRS, now a unique cause is building steam. I mean, steam in a literal sense too, for the voluptuous Rakhi Sawant has taken on the censor board for censoring and banning her song,  Kameeni tera bhoot chad gaya re. Rakhi Sawant has now threatened to go on a hunger strike in front of the censor office. Rakhi has always been an over the top speaker with high decibels giving more than enough sound bytes for the ravenous media. This instance is no exception either.

To be fair to her, she is quite outspoken on various matters, and has been very honest about her opinions. This instance is no different and she has more than a valid point. There are songs and serials on television and movies, which display vulgar content and even have expletives being uncensored. In fact Vishal Bharadwaj even directed a movie called Kaminey. So, Rakhi Sawant certainly has a very valid point.

All of us males are Swayam-sevaks when it comes to self pleasure drawn out of watching such actresses as Rakhi Sawant. Rakhi's Swayamvar may have gotten rid of Elesh's swayam-sevak status, but he lost the opportunity due to differences with her. Is Rakhi coming back into the minds and heads (you know which head) of die'hard' Swayam-sevaks after veiling her assets during her hyped swayamvar ? Or probably she just wants some cheap publicity by shouting over the top. Oh well, in Rakhi's case any top is too small to be over!

January 27, 2010

Indian Factionalism League ...

January 27, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
The first signs of differences between Dhoni and Sehwag came about during last year's World T20 tournament. It was more a case of Sehwag trying to come out of an injury he sustained during the IPL in South Africa prior to that which he failed to recover from. Dhoni famously paraded the entire team to show unanimity in front of a gossip hungry media. Funnily enough, another IPL issue seems to have appeared during the just concluded Bangladesh tour.

Dhoni who missed out the first test agains Bangladesh, seemed to have favoured Pragyan Ojha at the very last moment for the second test, ahead of Amit Mishra who performed more than decently in the first test. Media is always hungry for any potential controversies and groupism within teams is always a prime topic for sensationalism. Sehwag was the captain in the first test, while Dhoni came back to take the reins in the second. There was supposedly a heated discussion about the exclusion of Amit Mishra.

To be fair to Sehwag (who I am prejudiced for), Amit Mishra ha bowled well enough in the first test and deserved another chance. It is an open secret that South Africa struggle against quality leg spin and the second test would have been the right preparation for Amit Mishra to gain in confidence ahead of the visiting South Africans. I just hope there wasn't as much into this controversial selection as is being made out.

Phir Mile Sur or Frivolous Mile Sur ?

January 27, 2010 Posted by Vijay , 5 comments
India celebrated its 60th Republic Day yesterday. A moment every Indian, including I, am proud of. India is expressing itself on the global stage, and Indians are becoming confident, self-assured and assertive, all in a positive sense. Perhaps its this freedom of expression that is running deep in all of India. Especially it would seem, among the emboldened and influential television medium.

This Republic Day was more remembered for the spiced and hyped Phir Mile Sur, a rehash of the 1988 original version by Doordarshan. Spiced, because of a skimpily clad Deepika Padukone and banyan clad Salman Khan amongst other Bollywood celebrities (even Karan Johar found a place!), and hyped because it was apparently 'released' by Amitabh Bacchan. Now, what bemuses me no end is what do these esteemed figures stand for? Are they the epitome of Indian patriotism or Indian achievements?

I wish I weren't cynical. But the way the new Phir Mile Sur has been done up, looks very botched, annoyingly long and at times even ridiculous. It looks more like a marketing gimmick to win TRPs for Zoom television. It was good old Doordarshan days which brought about the original Mile Sur Mera Tumhara (see original below). Zoom has been one of the gossip channels promoting everything from Bollywood to Bollywood (pun intended).

January 24, 2010

Going Down Mullayanagiri Lane ...

January 24, 2010 Posted by Vijay , , No comments
Since my post way back last year about my memorable experience at Thekady, I haven't been on any trekking sojourns for various reasons. Prime amongst them was my vulnerable health which ebbed and flowed with the summer and then the winter season. Other personal and professional reasons did come in the way.

But what struck me as very demotivating was the lack of trekking companions which I had made over the past few years. It is difficult to replace a set gang of trekkers who tend to be on the same wave length and set off for on the fly treks. I lost such companions either to marital bonds or an increasing workload. It looks like an unavoidable transformation, as one gains in experience at the workplace and finds oneself at the altar of marital life (pun intended).

January 22, 2010

IPL does not imply India's Pakistani Liability

January 22, 2010 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
From the face of it, it does look like there were hardly any cricketing reasons for the IPL franchisees to dump Pakistani cricketers. What though has come to the forefront is a kiddish response from the Pakistani government attributing the non-selection of Pakistani players to a political agenda. I can't understand what will the government have to do with the IPL in the first place.

Remember last year's IPL? It was the IPL and its franchisees' decision to host the matches outside of India, despite some vague assurances by P.Chidambaram. BCCI is a body which does not come under the Indian government scrutiny. In fact, it is only beginning this year that the government is going to levy Rs. 120 crore in tax from the BCCI. When there are so many pointers that the BCCI, forget the IPL has nothing to do with the government, one can only scoff at the Pakistani government allegations.

Looks like the media in Pakistan is whipping up mass hysteria for the supposed snub to their players during the auctioneering. Cable operators across Pakistan have protested the treatment to its players and will black out the IPL games in Pakistan it is said. The fact of the matter is, Pakistan is frustrated and doesn't want to look into its own messy problems of terrorism and bombings and is trying to divert attention to a trivial issue.

January 21, 2010

China - Censored Hai Na ...

January 21, 2010 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
I am extremely proud and happy to be in India. India could have multiple issues, both regional and religious. But that speaks volumes about the strong emotional bonding that India has enjoyed all through the 62 years of Independence. Notwithstanding hostile neighborhoods, India has continued to be peace loving, and sometimes even too docile for its own good. There is honestly no comparison of India with either Pakistan or China. While Pakistan has been the rogue nation, owing to a politically mismanaged nation and a nation with radicals lurking in every corner, China has been the nation trying to bully around, not only its own citizens, but other Asian nations as well.

Thomas Friedman noted in an article that China is at cross roads of whether to adopt a new age China, or get subdued under the Communist rule. He goes onto mention how China is grappling to come to terms with an increasing knowledge consuming world, which would force the nation to embrace and gain knowledge through multiple channels for its own development. What this would do is inhibit the stringent measures of the Chinese rule, because the exchange of knowledge information needs vast amount of transnational interactions. Human rights violation has been a long discussed issue in China, with executions for crimes being very common, and no freedom for citizens.

Not surprisingly, this is the very reason the Chinese officials are wary of the Web 2.0 revolution and want to monitor human rights activists' actions. One wonders what insecurities should the Chinese have, when it is in the cusp of becoming the second largest economy in the world. The Chinese government is increasingly insecure of uprisings which could arise out of their strict policies. Why else would it raise a cyber army just to track down, hack computers across the world and steal vital information ? Google is threatening to pull the plug from China for this very issue of China hacking into accounts of human rights activists. What China is not realising is, more the restrictions, more are the chances of uprisings and revolts.

January 14, 2010

Is Google going.. going .. gone ?

January 14, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
Google has put its foot down on its China operations and has sought to not censor search results for  Google china searches. Google had gone out of its way in 2006 to censor results specific to Google China. As has been the dubious distinction of the Chinese Government, the censoring of results was to limit mutinies arising out of atrocities by the Chinese government and limit uprisings against its human rights violations. Thus the filtering done for Google China would be at the behest of the Chinese authorities. The restrictions of free expression, over the internet and access to potentially controversial information about the government thus continued in China.

It has taken three long years, and it has taken few hackers on Google accounts of human rights activists and other U.S. companies for Google to say enough is enough. Google has gone on the offensive and now come out saying that it would either not filter Google China search results or exit the Chinese search market altogether. There have been multiple theories and arguments about this move by Google. Of course Google would continue to work with Chinese Government to understand the implications. But the hacking of Google accounts and related cyber attacks to track human rights activists and even U.S. companies is going to make it difficult for Google to trust the Chinese government.

January 13, 2010

Senile Sena Ails ...

January 13, 2010 Posted by Vijay No comments
Shiv Sena has yet again reposed the faith of the Sena brand of politics by announcing that it won't allow Australian cricketers to enter Maharashtra to play cricket matches. It seems like a blanket ban on Australian cricketers from entering into Maharashtra alone, though I am not so sure if all the Indians attacked or abused in Australia are all Maharastrians. This seems like another effort by the Shiv Sena supremo to win back the lost sheen of his party after last year's Maharashtra Assembly elections.

In the Maharashtra elections last year, the MNS made significant inroads with its bizarre and at times inexplicable campaign surrounding Marathi Manoos. Being their first assembly election, the fire brigand leadership of Raj Thackeray helped in winning important seats. On the other hand, a struggling BJP, and an inspiration seeking Shiv Sena lost out in a very big way. Shiv Sena especially felt the pangs of separation bite them badly, after Raj Thackeray had parted ways three years ago to form MNS. MNS announced its arrival by eating into the vote bank of Shiv Sena and as a result, the Sena-BJP combine.

It now seems a role reversal for Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sainiks, especially in the days following their election debacle in Maharashtra have been following the Raj Thackeray brand of politics. While MNS Woke up with Sid to remind Maharashtrians of Bombay's rechristened name, Shiv Sainiks followed suit, by targeting yet another Bollywood movie, Kurbaan. Cinema has been of late found as "objectionable by convenience" by political parties to raise their plank at the state and national level. When a bare backed Kareena Kapoor showed up on posters of Kurbaan, Shiv Sainiks protested against the screening of the movie. Though the Shiv Sainiks draped sarees and even went to Kareena's house to give her a saree, did any of them bother gifting her a blouse, a petticoat and the necessary lingerie' ?

January 11, 2010

Gowda Howled Da ...

January 11, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
Now I really can empathise with news hungry television channels. It truly is music to the media channels as it is for the thousands of bloggers not to mention those on twitter. But I so wish words such as "Bhosidi Maga" and "Bloody Bastard" could be given a tune to be made music out of. Unfortunately, Deve Gowda resorted only to these words and hurled them at the Karnataka Chief Minister, B.S. Yediyurappa. It obviously wasn't nice of Deve Gowda, to choose the NICE stir by farmers to air his more than frank views.

But Deve Gowda's remarks clearly show his skills of being multilingually adept at both Kannada and English. Not to mention his brief stint as prime minister of India, and thankfully a brief one in retrospect. It certainly is good education for the masses to learn from their leaders of the appropriate usage of words at appropriate moments. Unlike such multilingual capabilities which Indian ministers possess, the U.S counterparts are limited to just English.

January 10, 2010

See The Hypocrisy in Pravasi ?

January 10, 2010 Posted by Vijay , , 3 comments
Since Australia claimed that incidents like the stabbing of an Indian in Australia was common in big cities, there has been huge uproar amongst Indians in India and expectedly in Australia too. It has been quite easy for India and Indians to brand the spate of attacks on Indians, especially Indian students as racially motivated. What Australia has probably been right about is the hysteria around the incidents being highlighted and channeled by the innumerable television channels in India. Today has been no different with another Indian in Australia being set on fire.

What has been striking about the coverage about these incidents is the emotional upheaval the media has been able to generate. Every single attack on an Indian in Australia is being questioned and accused as racist by the Indian media. The media seems to have taken it upon itself to represent an entire nation to question the atrocities against Indians in Australia. The statement issued by the deputy prime minister of Australia couple of days back, belittling crimes and murders as being common in big cities was frankly insensitive. It has only flared tempers.

So what is so different about crimes against Indian nationals in Australia to be captured as headlines? Is it the easily available and accessible news fodder from a smaller Indian immigrant community in Australia? Is it the thirst to accuse another nation of being racist when crimes against foreign nationals in India happen quite frequently? Patriotism is most welcome from news channels. But if the media needs to broadcast respectful news stories, it needs to shed its hypocrisy.

January 8, 2010

They Came-back, Saw and Conquered

January 08, 2010 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
What is it about sporting stars, which inspires them to mark dramatic comebacks? The success stories of comeback stars may not be that obvious in the face of it. But few do stand out. Some stand out because of the reasons surrounding an earlier retirement. Michael Schumacher's (Schumi) comeback from retirement is probably the most recent one. Just by the stature of the man and his achievements, he deserves to be in the limelight of comebacks. But what intrigues me more, is the reminder of how many women tennis players have made comebacks and highly successful ones too!

Jennifer Capriati is a classic example. A teenage tennis prodigy at 14, she lost it to marijuana, charges of shoplifting, but struggled through to make a determined comeback. And when she did comeback, she literally dominated women's circuit. She won 3 Grand Slams during her comeback streak from 2001 to 2002, winning the Australian Open twice and the French Open. Her comeback has been regarded as one of the greatest comebacks of the past decade. The very opponent she fought out to win the French Open in 2001, Kim Clijsters also made an equally big comeback last year.

The Belgian tennis star, was touted as Grand Slam champion material since she stepped onto the tennis circuit. But somehow, unlike her other compatriot Justin Henin, never won a Grand Slam. That was until 2005 when she won the U.S Open. Two years later, she retired from the women's tennis circuit. Henin in the meantime continued her dominance. But when the spunky Clijsters announced a comeback, it was dramatic.

January 6, 2010

Google says - Next Us with Nexus

January 06, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
Google finally unwrapped an as yet rumored phone for the U.S market. While in the U.S market all mobile phones come with a telecom carrier package, Google has launched Nexus One as a direct offering to the consumer. When Apple launched its iPhone, it was priced at over $400 with a 2 year bond with AT&T, Google Nexus One is being offered directly to the consumer, without a carrier tie up for $529. Essentially Nexus One will come unlocked for those who don't want a carrier tie up, but for those who want it unlocked and have it on a carrier will have to sign a contract accordingly.

A little over a decade after Google came into being, the decade from 1999-2009 has ended with Google making giant strides in what can be called, the future of the web. Google has quietly eaten into the businesses of Apple and Microsoft, especially in 2009, with announcements of their very own Chrome browser and now the Google phone. Google is leaving its footprints on all the trends of the technical world, besides defining how computing will be in the following decades.

January 4, 2010

The Over(due)haul

January 04, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
I had been trying in vein to move my blogger template to the new version for the past 1 year or so. But, with little or no satisfying outcome. I had taken enormous pains to move it to the K2 template (by Gecko and Fly), shown below. That was somewhere in the first half of 2007. Few months following that make over I gave to my blogger template, I came to know of the layout view, which enabled simple adding of widgets or gadgets from the template in the blogger dashboard itself. I was stuck with the K2 classic template and did not have the time nor the energy to once again spend over a day or more for another blogger template update. I continued with the classic K2 template.

January 1, 2010

2009 - News-i-verse in Terse

January 01, 2010 Posted by Vijay , No comments
My personal top news of 2009 in terse with an Indian perspective.

• Picking up the pieces of a peaceful peace prize for president Obama can in no way justify the gatecrashing of his dinner party with Manmohan Singh, resulting in Tiger's crashing private life and sending more troops for justifying an already floundering Afpak policy

• Google's googlies left Apple grappling with its iPhone against an androidal invasion with Droids while Microsoft's bing could only launch against Google's chrome war on browsers

Twitter's fluttering tweets twittered the internet with raging success culminating in being the most searched word the world over

• Swine Flu flew across continents and spread paranoia which glued people to guidelines and health advisories for an as yet unknown flu

• An electorally voted unanimous Congress asserted itself in India, giving much needed confidence for a worried Indian economy with much needed political stability in the face of a slowdown

• An Indian cricket team which predictably had a horrendous T20 Cricket World Cup in England, much as Pakistan came out of a scarred cricketing image because of terror strikes and lifted the T20 world cup.

• A bruised Indian T20 cricket team could not even cruise against a crusading and injured Aussie team, thus relinquishing a transient numero uno ODI spot in a matter of hours

Tharoor's tweeting foray brought out open conflicts within the functioning of the Indian Government much to the chagrin of a Congress party in majority

• Maoist fears finally hit PC hard and now the Red Corridor is very much on guard

• Koda's corrupt Koka-ey revealed the malice plaguing Indian bureaucracy

• While Federer re-produced a double in his personal life, his double at the Grand Slams made him the best of all time with 15 slams, even as his dear friend Tiger Woods’s bootylicious flirtations left him poorer by more than a few million dollars