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.