The world, how it works, surroundings, myself, etc.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Paranormal Activity" -- A dumb homework badly done

They played the advertisements for "Paranormal Activity" so many times on television that I decided to go for it. I repent now.

It can hardly be called a documentary. Combine a story-less series of activities with a budget-less production and a crew with a single camera (which is used throughout the movie as the lens) and you get paranormal activity. First things first, there's nothing paranormal about this movie. There's a plump girl who gets aroused during nights because her boyfriend is busy all the time with his camera, something he carries everywhere he goes. Even when she's screaming, he grabs the camera first before rushing downstairs. The entire movie is shown through the lens of the camera and believe me this is high on the list of how a movie should NOT be made. You don't want to keep watching through a jerky camera for more than a few minutes, leave alone an entire movie. The scariest thing that happens in this movie is that the girl throws the guy away a few feet. That's it. I wasn't even amused.

The boyfriend supposedly wants to help but just ends up fighting because the girl wants him to give up the camera. He does not. The guy takes his camera everywhere -- to the toilet, to the dining table, to the bedroom. I mean everywhere. He's recording even when they have supposedly serious conversation about tackling the situation. And lord even when playing back the recorded movies on his laptop.

Did you note that I did not mention about ghosts or anything paranormal above? That's because there isn't any. Save yourself the time and go blackmail a bandit if you want to make better use of your time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Items for Sale

All items are available immediately. Reason for selling: relocating.

Contact: 99086 89990 [or]

Wooden Cot (with mattress)

~2yrs old. size: 3ft x 6ft. Cost price: Rs 3000. Expected price: 2000
Mattress: Duroflex
~2.5yrs old. Fits in the above cot. Cost price: Rs 2400. Expected price: Rs 1500


Microwave Oven

Onida Power Grill. 20L. 800W Microwave power + 1050W Grill power. Easy to Use Jogwheel controls. 2 Combi Grill settings. 24 Customized Indian Auto Cook Menus.

1 yr old. Original packaging available. Excellent condition. Includes 2 free cooking recipe books and a mitten. Cost price: Rs 6500. Expected price: Rs 4500


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Items for Sale

All items are available immediately. Reason for selling: relocating.

Contact: 99892 99704 [or]

Wooden Cot

~3yrs old. 4ft x 6ft. Cost price: Rs 2500. Expected price: Rs 1500. Add Rs 200 for cotton mattress

Breakfast Table Set

1 table + 2 chairs. Totally disassemble-able. Original packaging available. Bought from Reliance Mart, 11 months old. Cost price: Rs 2400. Expected price: Rs 1500

Microwave Oven

Onida Power Grill. 20L. 800W Microwave power + 1050W Grill power. Easy to Use Jogwheel controls. 2 Combi Grill settings. 24 Customized Indian Auto Cook Menus.
1 yr old. Original packaging available. Excellent condition. Includes 2 free cooking recipe books and a mitten. Cost price: Rs 6500. Expected price: Rs 4800


Center tea table

Wooden. ~3 yrs old. Good condition. Cost price: Rs 400. Expected price: Rs 200

Steel Almirah

~3 yrs old. Cost price: Rs 4500. Excellent condition. Expected price: Rs 3500

Wooden rocking chair with cushion

~3 yrs old. Comfortable. Cost price: Rs 3500. Leg rest broken (but fixable). Cost price: Rs 3500. Expected price: Rs 2000

Acoustic Guitar + Electronic tuner + Original bag

Granada. 6 string. 4 yrs old. Excellent condition (hardly ever used). Still has the original shine and smell. Also included: a new (unopened) pack of strings set, 2-3 extra strings, pick.
Cost price: Rs 3500 (for guitar) + Rs 400 (for tuner). Expected price: Rs 2700

Book Shelf

4 levels. 50 inch height. ~6 months old. Excellent condition. Original packaging available. Disassemble-able. Bought from Reliance Mart furniture. Cost price: Rs 1600. Expected price: Rs 1250


Roti Maker

Jaipan. Used sparingly. Original packaging available. Cost price: Rs 1500. Expected price: 1000

Sandwich Toaster

Used 4-5 times. Cost price: Rs 600. Expected price: Rs 300


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why I Love my Android Phone

When I used to read fairy tales as a child, I used to wonder what if I could see what's there on the other side of the world, or where this road leads to, or how far is the nearest candy-shop. How neat it would be if I could have access to all kinds of information in the form of a magic wand. What if I didn't have to memorize the width and height of the Meenakshi temple.

We are living it today.

If you've met me in the last few months, chances are I've shown you my android phone.

I have an app (Places Directory) on my phone that not only lists the nearest restaurants/petrol pumps/ATMs and gives driving directions, it points in the direction. I could literally follow the arrow and reach to an ATM. There's another app (Shazam) that can recognize any song you play it, and discover the video on youtube. Another one (Sky Map) that I can use to recognize the constellations and planets -- I used it to identify Venus, the morning star (turns out, the white dot I had been passing off as a star is actually Venus). When I last went to my home town, my brother could track exactly where in the journey I was, with the precision of a few meters, since I had Latitude enabled on my phone. It only adds to the orgasm that I did not have to pay a penny for any of the above apps -- they're all free.

India has 360 million cell phone users. That's roughly one-third of the population. By 2011, it's poised to grow to 600 million. This means that cell phone would be the most unifying thing in the country, more so than language, and much more than the number of people who vote. The most interesting aspect of this population is that a majority of these are youngsters, and many are first time users. This is their first real interaction with a technological device with duplex connectivity. Imagine what it would do to democracy. You could have an election every day (I'm not suggesting that democracy is a good idea.. just that it's possible).

There's satisfaction, then there's happiness, and then there's the ecstasy you experience when you install an OS on your phone yourself. Why? Because I can.

Oh, and yes, I did run a hello world C program on it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eye and I

So I saw the eye doctor last Friday after I experienced some minor irritation in my eyes leading to fatigue. The doc did a thorough examination and concluded that everything was ok, and that I needed to blink more. Get a load of this! My name "Nirnimesh" translates to "one who does not blink much" and the doc wants me to blink more. I'm standing true to my name. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

3 Things for which I cannot forgive Congress

It's election in Hyderabad tomorrow. And there are 3 reasons why I cannot vote for congress.

1. OBC Reservations: Nothing severs equality of opportunity more than providing reservations based not on merit but by birth. Congress introduced reservations for OBC in higher education institutions and set a precedent against merit. I remember marching on a rally against this, a few years ago. Arjun Singh, the perennial a$$hole, became an overnight champion and messiah.

2. 26/11: What do you do when a mole steals into your house and breaks your stuff? I hammer it with a broom and throw it out, as soon as I can. A handfull of armed militants attacked Mumbai and threw the country out of gear for 3 days. I repeat -- 3 whole days. For three days, the government didn't have a clue about how to sort out the matter. Instead, we managed to lose 4 top police officers, the likes of whom we can't easily get in police force. This national tragedy became an international shame for the country. A rogue state like Pakistan had demonstrated India's incompetence to protect its soverignity. No wonder then that a third rate failure like Pratibha Patil is the President, the supreme commander of the armed forces.

3. 3G Melodrama: India has the 2nd fastest growing telecommunications industry in the world. Telephones have made their way into the veins of the country in a way that roads haven't. Small-scale farmers, auto-drivers, village shop-keepers not only have cellphones, they use it. India looked ready for continuing its dominant stride in the Information Age. 3G was knocking at the door. We had to let it in. Instead, the 3G auction was delayed, license prices were doubled overnight, and lots of confusion eventually led to it being postponed forever.

These are the three things I feel the strongest about. I haven't even mentioned other things like: daily power cuts in Hyderabad, the national highway project melodrama, the royal lineage of potential PMs, the Gandi-ization of every road, bridge and scheme names, the international shame that the uncertainity over the nuclear deal brought, and Shivraj Patil as home minister.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Advani for PM

I was browsing my usual way a few days ago when I first noticed ads for "Advani for PM". What was interesting was that this ad was on slashdot. After a few days I started seeing these ads at a lot of places -- online discussion forums, blogs, news websites, and so on. These were served through some adsense account, I believe.

Ordinarily I wouldn't bother about these kinds of political blabbers. But since I had already been amused at seeing such ads on a technical website (I was searching for 'assembly language on mac') I wanted to be amused even more so I clicked on the banner labelled "My IT vision" near Advani's face.

The banner linked to a doc detailing Advani's IT strategy. And I must admit there were quite a few very interesting points there. Whether or not they can get implemented will be seen in time but the fact that someone in these scurry circles has actually been thinking not just abstract melodrama but specific numbers and figures is impressive (2 Mbps unlimited broadband for Rs 200 pm!).

I knew that techies like us hardly ever formed a voice in a political arena. We never mattered enough for these politicians. Have things changed recently? Are we a potential votebank target? Are we being noticed?

I also found that Advani has a full-fledged website being updated on a continuous basis with links to the party manifesto, documentaries, question answers, and digs on congress. I couldn't find a similar one for Congress. I'm not saying that it does not exist. I'm just saying that I couldn't find it. All I could find was a link to a .doc, which I hate to click on.

While I kept following the pages, I could imagine the rhetoric Congress has been pulling off for ages in the name of Nehru and Gandhi. I mean come on. Agreed that these people must have done good things at their time, but enough is enough. Live in the present. "Aam aadmi ka haath, aam aadmi ke saath" just gives me a feeling of one guy masturbating. If you think of more than one guy, they're gay and beating each other off. Nothing more. It doesn't tell me anything concrete. It's like an abstract class with pure virtual functions which no one wants (or intends) to inherit.

Anyways, I'm not sure Advani is the right person. But given the political chaos, if I had to choose between Manmohan (aka Sonia with beard), Advani and Mayawati (or the entire breed), I think I'd go with Advani.

Maybe I should have taken the pain to get my voter id card this time.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I See Stupid People

The punchline in The Sixth Sense went by:
I see dead people
There's this boy who could see dead people. He was haunted by them to such an extent that he could not make out the difference between the living and dead. He had been taught to fear the dead, so he did, except that he could not separate them from the living.

I see stupid people. They're all around. I don't know what their purpose in life is. Frankly, I don't think they even have a purpose. They breathe, because they'd die otherwise. They go to work, because they'd die otherwise. They marry, because the society wants them to. They breed, because the society would kill them otherwise. There's not one thing that they'd do if not by a force threatening of something more devastating. They're like a paper boat being carried along by the river's current. They don't have a will of their own. They're not alive.

The difference between dead people and stupid people however is that stupid people are easier to identify. Their actions follow no logic. You could identify them with just an imbalanced mathematical equation. It's so mundane that you could almost automate the process, the input being a stream of people and the output being a binary flag associated with each indicating whether or not he's stupid. It's a bit more complicated than that since the classification is not black or white, but a rounding off can be performed.

The problem after classification however is what to do with the stupid people. I would gladly leave them alone but they don't leave me alone. They make life difficult for me. They take my money in the name of law, they haunt me in the name of society and they try to stop me in the name of progress. They run the government, they make the rules, they pass judgments and then they decree punishment.

It's not like they'd understand logic. I don't want them to understand logic, as long as they leave me alone. Just leave me alone. I don't want you, I don't want to talk to you, I don't want to hear you. I don't want to see stupid people. I'd gladly see dead people instead.

The Sad Tale of 3G in India

What does it take for a compelling technology to go down the drains? Answer: let the government regulate it.

3G, poised as a definitive stage for mobile internet, has gone through a similar harassment through the hands of the government in India. I can recall hearing about it as early as 2008. The spectrum war, the auction, the technology and how it would prove a boon for the millions of devices carried around by millions of Indians. Alas!

The service providers geared up for 3G, pulled up their socks, deployed the technology and have just been waiting for the government's permission. The government, on the other hand, delayed the auction indefinitely, created all kinds of controversies around it, and finally let state-owned MTNL and BSNL launch the service. BSNL and MTNL, known for their indifference to customers (have you ever heard of customer service for BSNL/MTNL? have you ever been to a BSNL office? I have. It's a hole where serendipity abounds) and slow head towards new technology, choose to launch 3G in select towns in India, carefully choosing not to launch it where it might be useful. Are you surprised then that there are a mere 3000 3G customers for BSNL? 3000! That's all.

And now it's election time. All business, development, and progress must be set aside as a bunch of retards fist together for a seat in the parliament run by my tax rupees. The fate of real 3G has been put in coma, while I hold in the air my 3G-compatible phone and look up in the sky. Sigh!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Depravity of the Third Front

Communists are weird people. And not in a good way.

As the country prepares for general elections, all kinds of political weirdos are born. Third Front has been born too. The chief among this is the communists - the same people who vehemently opposed the Nuclear Deal and threw the country in a limbo for a long time, opposed any kind of disinvestment, blocked all labor reforms, discourage education in the country - basically leave everything just as it is so that "social harmony is not rippled".

"I don't see why industry or corporates should feel that this coalition will be less favourable or hostile to them," CPM leader Prakash Karat told CNN-IBN

I mean, how? How on earth do you think that after your Nuclear Deal parable anyone ever would want to support you. Have you been living in dungeons? Mr Prakash Karat, please buy a computer and look out.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Number of States in India

How many states are there in India?

I was watching this episode in Friends where Ross could not name all the 50 states in the US. And that's when I thought, wait a minute! I don't even know how many states are there in India. The last time I read a number in the text books it was 25, and I was twelve years old. Maybe they stopped putting that in text books for fear of getting outdated. I mean creating new states is in a way the piece de resistance of several budding Indian political leaders. There's a saddist who wants Telangana, a few more who want a piece out of Jammu & Kashmir, and I'm pretty sure several leaders are toying with repeating the tactics with other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka.

I think I lost interest in the count when they stopped calling Delhi a state. And whenever you raise the issue half of the people would say that Delhi is still a Union Territory while the other half would think it's a bonafide state. I wonder if I can name all the states. I know I can name the 25 that I learnt when I was twelve.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New York City

I was in New York City on New Year's eve. Yes, I went to Times Square. Yes, I was there when they dropped the ball.

I had known about the greatness of this city, through movies (remember Gotham city from Batman?), news, elsewhere but I had to see it to really believe it. Called the city that never sleeps, New York, aka the big apple, truly is a magnificent place. The mix of people, culture, business, infrastructure I saw there is like nothing I had seen before.

After ~2 months, one thing I can foremost recall is the metro system. It's spellbinding. Not just about the punctuality and infrastructure but the planning, the day to day operations, the details, the ticket booth, everything.

I even went to Wall Street, the financial capital of US, and by extension also for the world (almost). I went there on a holiday. It seemed like any other street but I could imagine the scurry of stock brokers that must be the order of that street on working days.

I went to Madame Tussaud's near Times Square. It houses waxed life-size statues of celebrities. It became extremely difficult inside the hall, within a few minutes, to tell if a person was for real or a statue. The pictures above do not do justice (damn my cheap camera). I gawked a real person and almost touched him only stopping to think for a second before the person moved coz guess what it was not a statue!

Apart from the usual suspects like the statue of liberty, the Empire State building, I also visited the Museum of Sex, which housed this funny board.

I was amused to find a case study on necrophilia in animals.

All in all it was a trip I'll remember for years and whenever greatness is attributed to a place I'll automatically think about the New York City.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My New Toy: Android Dev Phone

I got myself a new toy - Android Developer Phone. It's an unlocked incarnation of HTC's dream phone. And I love it.

My favorite feature? I can reflash it and install the OS from scratch.
Why? Because I can.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Depravity of our Health Minister

The guy who banned smoking in public places is in the news again. This time he's trying to stop pub-culture.

Starting from the assumption that drinking is against Indian ethics, he somehow concludes that we cannot progress unless India bans pub-culture. Now, wait a minute! What's the rationale? I'm listening - explain me please?

He mentions that 40% of road accidents happen because of alcohol. Even if I believe these numbers, what he does not tell you is that 99% of those accidents would happen because the road was un-even or had spiky speed-breakers or massive pot-holes. For what it's worth, US has more cars, more roads and more alcohol. They use alcohol detectors instead of banning pubs outright.

Reminds me of a SouthPark episode where Cartman toilet-papered his teacher's house to avenge a punishment but the police booked the store who sold the toilet-paper.

I also disagree with the stupid Health Minister when he says that drinking is not in our culture. How exactly? Let's begin from the beginning. It's well known that Kauravas were to drinking as motherboard is to computer. Lord Shiva, we all know, is perennially drunk. All the members of parliament drink (they do more when they're drunk, but let's focus here), most people in villages drink (heard of toddy?) or smoke (heard of beedi or hookah?). Which culture of the Indian society is the doorknob-headed health minister talking about again?

What the government should instead focus on is to improve education and way of life, not banning everything and anything that brings happiness. Mr Health Minister, just because you coughed up the first time you tried drinking coz it was too much for you and your wife pointed and laughed and burnt your wee-wee with her smoking cigarrette does not mean that you should go ban alcohol, cigarrette or laughter.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Vicious Circle: It all comes back

I committed a sin two years ago.

I had purchased a Sony product - a laptop and that too with M$ Vista. It was for my little brother. I knew Sony couldn't be relied upon, my CD writer from sony had stopped working years ago, but still I went ahead and made the purchase. And don't even get me started about Vista!

It's all coming back now.

The laptop has performed poorly. Throwing a mere 1 GB RAM to a behemoth named Vista was like offering a gaping pig to a ravaging tornado - it can only result in destruction. And no you could not reinstall it with Win XP because several of the hardware features (like touchpad, wireless) would no more work. Why? Sony hasn't bothered to make drivers for XP (aka M$ did not want it so).

And when I say that the laptop had Vista in it, I mean it literally. It did not come with a Vista CD, it never does. All it comes with is a partition with a Vista recovery disk on it. There's a funny key-combination to activate this recovery upon boot, and can be figured out only by serendipity (the laptop didn't come with a manual either).

Anyway, after less than a year's use, Sony timer kicked in. The battery started dissipating in minutes and transitioned to a situation where it could not work at all without AC power. A Japaenese friend had told me earlier about the Sony timer - the law stating that all Sony products expire when their warranty expires. Now that I think of it, that's exactly what happened to my CD writer too.

Moving forward with life, I'm trying to purchase a replacement battery from the Sony store. Bear with me while I tell you that it costs $192.34 (excluding shipping, I think). This is about one-fourth the cost of the laptop itself. A quick Google Search tells me that equivalent batteries are available for much cheaper elsewhere.

So, to hell with Sony. I'm not going to buy anything with "Sony" on it. This includes the playstation.

Damn you, Sony! Die. Go to hell and die. May the economic recession shut you down!