Monday, August 03, 2009

Blogging to micro-blogging

Since I like to say things in very few words and I can't really find things to fit into 100 words or so for a blog, I've started liking microbloggin a.k.a twitter than this.

So, over to twitter till I get some really good stuff to blog about.

This is my channel

Why sandysmobile? Coz, I'm mostly tweeting and reading tweets from mobile. Unless I've to checkout a link or to post a link.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A malayalam paper on 24-02-09?

How will a popular malayalam news paper 'malayala panorama' look like on 24th feb 2009?

Ok, whats special about this day? Two Indians got Oscar awards and a movie shot in Indian background won many awards.

Can you imagine how malayala panorama will put their paper together on the next morning? (24th)

Let me try..

If they could, they would have added a diagram showing resul vanna vazhi, award vangiya spot, acceptance speech deliver cheyta sthalam and poya vazhi etc, to the front page of the paper.

Long live malayala panorama.. :-)
Calendar panorama thanne..

Disclaimer: I've atmost respect for the Oscar award winners Mr Resul Pookkutty and A.R Rahman. Don't get me wrong there.. You've made us proud...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Travel year - 2008

It was last year that we(soo and me) decided 2008 would be a travel year. And we accomplished that to some extend.. :)

Everything started with a wedding anniversary celebration at Sahib Sindh Sultan..

Followed by a small Nandi hills trip.

The actual wedding anniversary celebration was next. At Ooty. 3 days trip, by car. We decided to skip the usual stuff (like botanical garden...) and explore places like emerald lake & the heritage toy train to Coonoor.

Next in line was a big one. End of March it was.. A 5 days trip to Singapore. First international vacation.. :)

April was somewhat dull compared to March.. Just went to Athirappilly from home.. Family trip. Seen this place many times.

Came May and came two trips.. One local and one interstate.. :)
We went to Kannur for Binoy's bro's marriage. Thalassery and nearby areas. One surprise was a parasailing event at Muzhuppilangad beach.. Flew parachute for the 1st time.

June was time for an overseas trip.. official though.. unlucky Soo couldn't get a taste of it..

So when I came back, the 1st thing we did was to go to Wayanad. 2 days trip. Nice place and nice (rainy) weather.

A trip to the jungle (lodges and resorts) at Kabini in July. A team outing. One more trip in the same month to Pune.. This was for a recruitment program.. :)) Again Soo wasn't there.

End of July we went to Mattanchery - Jews' town and nearby areas. Wasn't a planned trip.. On the way planning while roaming around EKM.

Yet another Nandi hills trip in August.. Took achan, amma, sree there..

It was September and we had a long pending trip to Kolhapur. Uncle visit, but the place was new as well.

To Nelliyampathy in October.

November was a busy month with KK's marriage & Deepa's marriage. No time for trips other than those to Angamaly & Plkd.

And concluded with a grand vacation in Rajastan.

What was missed? We had a plan to go to Gokarna. That didn't work out.. Hoping to cover that next year.. bon voyage... :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chrome now, what next?

Have you tried the new google chrome browser?  

Google has been telling for years that "We're not going to make a browser!".    So, why now?  They say things have changed in the past few years.  And today's browsers are simply not ready for tomorrow's world.  Google see's tomorrow's computing as a set of web-apps, a gradual deviation from the install-and-use desktop scenario.

Google already has a powerful set of webapps including the ubiquitous gmail, google docs, google reader, maps, orkut and many more.  Rumours are there that they are going to provide a web storage as well.  (Note that the gmail drive was not from google)

The benefits of web-app based computing are many.  First thing, most of these services are free. (At least in the case of google, where they source their $$$ from advertising)   The next reason is that working on mulitple computers is quite easy.  You don't have to carry around your settings or data between your office PC and home PC in a USB stick any more.  No more painful merging  or synching of your documents as well.  Also, its quite easy to share your work/data with your friends/family.  It's not only sharing, but collaborating.  

Fine, but why do you need a new browser?   
Most of these web-apps are written in Javascript and AJAX.  The existing browsers started as HTML viewers.  Though there have been improvements for most browsers over time, they were incremental (Except, may be Firefox 3).   Currently the bottleneck in attracting users to web based computing is the speed of webapps.   Think of this - for viewing a spreadsheet in google docs, you need to start the browser(assume you are connected to net), launch google docs, login, select your spreadsheet and open it (opening is the slowest among the others).  It's quite reasonable that users ditch google docs and use MS office - you only need a few clicks here.  So, there comes chrome.  Along with google gears, and its improved js engine, chrome aims to bridge this gap.  

So, what next?
I think, an OS from google.  

Once you are fully into web based computing, you only need a minimal OS and a browser.  You don't need massive hard disks or optical disk drives.   
You hear music through streaming.
Your favorite videos and movies are on youtube.
Your documents are on google docs.
Your mail is in Gmail 
You chat with your friends through gmail chat.
Your photos are hosted by flickr or picasaweb and your camera directly uploads them.

Why you need a windows PC then?  You dont need it.
Imagine this.. 
Google launches a linux based minimal OS.  Itegrated tightly to it is Chrome, the browser. Once it boots (say in 15 sec), you are shown a new look desktop with an address bar on the top.  There is no minimize/maximize/close buttons. There are no icons on the desktop.  Instead, there are tiles of frequently used web pages.  On left bottom, there is a menu named favourites instead of the start button.  On the task bar there are tabs instead of task buttons.   

That's tomorrow's PC for you.  

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A trip to the woods and the wild

My first trip deep into the jungle, that happened last week.

It was an official trip to Kabini River lodge, run by Karnataka govt's Jungle lodges and resorts. It's supposed to be in the top 5 wild life resorts in the world (?) and quite an old one. The trip went like this -

We were expecting a group of 20 and only 11 turned up due to various personal reasons.. :) A big 36 seater bus started with all 11 of us trying to find a way to utilize the rest of the seats, from Bangalore on Saturday(01/08/08) morning. Rather uneventful journey, we reached the kabini reservoir area around 12.30. We were informed that the reservoir is full and to take care but we couldn't find any traces of flooding. The catchment area and the surrounding villages are a superb feast for the eyes. This time of the year, its all cultivated land and greenery without any brown patches. We entered the Nagarhole national park and immediately diverted to another village road to reach kabini river lodge.

Contrary to my expectations, this "Jungle lodge" is not inside a jungle. It's surrounded by farm land on one side and the river on the other 3 sides. But there is a jungle inside the resort, literally.. :) This place is pretty big for a resort and the cottages and tents are well maintained as far as you remember that it's run by govt.

4pm was the time to start the jeep safari. After a usual briefing of DOs and DONTs, we jumped on to the jeeps to get a real taste of the jungle. Our Jungle lodge was probably around 2-3 kms away from the real jungle. We entered into the state highway connecting Mysore and Mananthavadi (Wayanad, Kerala). Quite bad road for the entire stretch inside the WLS. The guide was telling that unlike Bandipur/Mudumalai or Virajpet roads, this area has a very high probability of animal sightings on the main road itself. And to avoid speeding vehicles hitting them, the road is purposefully kept bad !!

The main road safari continued for another 10 mins and my friend got impatient.. He started telling "What kind of safari is this?? When I came last time, they took me deep inside the forest... " Finally the fun part of safari started when our jeep (Well, it's a Tata 4x4 truck with seats for 9, open seating, but with a roof) took a right turn from the main road. Guide asked us to keep quite until we hit the main road back.

So we all stopped talking and started looking around for tigers, leopards, elephants and the others.. but.. nothing came.. nothing happened for some 15 mins.. only that the jungle was good and very very silent. The first sighting was some gaurs.. we dismissed them as 'cows' :)
Then there was deers.. nothing exciting.. then there was a wild dog (or some said it was a jackal) but i didn't care.. more than anything else, i was interested in seeing elephants. expected a herd..

It was an hour, but nothing great apart from deers, monkeys, gaurs, wild dog.. The guide said we would take a different route.. That one was not taken in safaris during the rainy season.. there would be mud on the road and becomes difficult to move along. So we took a turn while the other jeeps took the usual routes.

The result has come in just less than 10 mins.. We heard the sound of an elephant and just 100 m ahead we saw a tusker running across the road. A moment of excitement and fear together.. :) It was a lone tusker. If in our own vehicle and alone, probably something we'll be avoiding. But these guys have seen a lot and have been living in the forest for years. So our jeep moved slowly without making much noise. The tusker was on the right side, some 50 m away from the road. He's still making sounds and has seen us. We stopped. He watched us for some time and was waiting to see if we're moving or staying. After a while realizing that we're not going, he made a mock charge.. I felt a chill in my bones.. Oh my god.. But our driver had no plans to move. The tusker didn't come to us.. He just took 2-3 steps and stopped. Then again watched for sometime. Finally he cross the road from behind our jeep and again made a mock charge from the other side. And then went back... It was over, felt that the was worth the time..

Didn't see anything after that, came out in another 15 mins to the Mananthavadi road. Back at the resort by 6.30.

We had another jeep safari scheduled for early morning at 6.30. But nobody woke up and it was cancelled. We thought of going for the boat safari through kabini river into the jungle again. But to our disappointment, we came to know that boat safari is permitted only till 9.30. We had to be satisfied with a "boat ride" only. And then it was time to packup. Left at around 12 and reached Bangalore back at night.

A nice trip and a totally different and new experience. Those who want to goto Kabini JLR, the booking office is in MG road, BLR. Check their website
Rates are around 2500-3000 per person per night, including all meals, safari, boat/coracle ride, elephant ride etc. There are rooms, cottages and tented cottages. We stayed in tented cottages. Though its named like that, it's a proper cottage with doors, floor carpets, beds, attached bathrooms, geyser, lights, fans, mosquito mats etc. The food is good and more like home made food. And your cellphone signal is a full 5 bars.

Photos in my orkut profile, check this video of our tusker friend..

Friday, July 18, 2008

Das auto

Das auto - translates to "The Car"..

My dream car is launched in India. The rock solid Volkswagen Jetta.. :-)

What it takes? 15 lakhs :((

Breaks down to:
A downpayment of around 4 lakhs and an EMI of 25000 for 5 years.

The dream will always be a dream.. ;-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's end of road for cabs

Click here first.

Indian cities are also moving towards huge taxi companies rather than independent taxis owned by drivers. Again, there may be protests saying that lose of employment for taxi drivers, as we saw in case of retail industry. But, I believe they sealed their destiny themselves. Asking for more than what's shown in the meter (if it exists), frauds, criminal activities and what not !!

Obviously, the corporate taxi services cost more, but people will be ready to pay that extra buck for comfort and safety.

Hope the auto drivers also learn this soon.. Else they'll have to learn it the hard way too..