Wednesday, August 24, 2005

New form of Internet surfing!!

Stumbling - is what its called. Its a new form of surfing provided by http://www.stumble.com

Stumble installs a toolbar on your browser, and allows you to select some areas of interest. Instead of googling aimlessly, you can select an area of interest (for eg. Classical Studies, Physics, Literature etc.) and 'Stumble'. This will select a random site on that subject and present it to you. This way you can actually 'stumble' upon some interesting sites.

Try it out - I'm enjoying stumbling on the web...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Wimbledon!

This year's Wimbledon promises to be an exciting contest.

Federer seems to be at his top form, Hewitt is blasting away, Roddick is rocking, and Safin is looking dangerous.

On the women's side Venus and Serena are playing their usual self, Sharapova looked a bit scratchy and Davenport is in good form.

Another good thing is that there have been no major upsets so far, except for Henin Hardenne. If the trend continues, we will be treated with some good matches next week.

I watched the much awaited Sania-Kuznetsova match from second set yesterday. I was really impressed with Sania - the only thing she lacked there was experience. It was a very closely contested match, but in the end the experience and big match temparment of Kuznetsova prevailed. Sania is more of a baseline player. She needs to improve in the departments of serving, volleying and net-play. She's got the age, the attitude, and the power. I'm sure that if she continues to improve her game, we will see a lot more of her (on the tennis court, that is). It is good to see an Indian competing well in top sports arenas.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Mrs. and Mrs. Smith

I just came from the movie theatre - went to watch Mrs. and Mrs. Smith.

Its a 15 minute walk to my hotel from the theatre. By the time I was in my room and thought I'd write about the movie, I remembered only one thing - the gorgeous
Mrs. Smith. I can't remember the story and frankly I couldn't care less! But then, who on earth will, when there's the sexy Angelina Jolie setting the screen on fire, literally. She steals the whole show... no wonder she was voted the most beautiful woman on earth recently.

And btw, did I mention there was a Mr. Smith too in the movie? I can't seem to remember who the actor was... but Mrs. Smith... boy - has she got the killer looks :-)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Interesting Experience with Taxi driver

I had an interesting Taxi ride yesterday, which left me in a pretty ackward situation.

When I asked the driver to take me to HP office, he looked and me, smiled and said "Well, I was also working for HP". He went on to tell me that he was given the 'package' 1 year back. Unable to find another job, he went on to take up the Taxi driver's job. I could only gather myself to mumble "I'm sorry to hear that". It was one of the few times, when I was left finding for words to speak.

Before I got off the Taxi, he told me he was working for the 'Disaster Recovery' team in HP Managed Services. I could not help noticing the irony of the situation, that he had failed to recover from his own disaster. There was a wry smile on his face, which told me he was probably thinking the same...

For someone sitting pretty with an apparently secure job in India, this was a pretty rude awakening to the hard realities of the IT industry worldwide.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Murphy's Laws of Driving

I have a lot of experience in driving both on Indian (about 80000 Km) and US (about 20000Km) roads. I don't think its even worth mentioning that driving on US roads is as easy as driving a hot knife into butter.

Past 6 years of my driving on Indian roads has taught me a lot of things about playing safe. This is the basis of my compilation of Murphy's Law applied to Indian Roads:

1. When overtaking, if you can't see the road ahead there is always a vehicle coming.
Corollaries:
If you try to overtake at a left turn, there is always a vehicle coming.
Most of the times the oncoming vehicle you don't see is a Lorry :-)

2. If you don't check the air pressure of tyres before going on a trip, then the air pressure will be low enough for your tyre to puncture at the slightest pretext.
On similar lines:
If you didn't check the head lights before going on a Night drive, one of them is probably conked.
If you don't check the petrol level, you can never make the distance between the nearest petrol bunk and the point where you realize you're running out of gas.

3 . If you eat a heavy lunch and drive in the afternoon, you will always feel sleepy, irrespective of whether you are a habitual afternoon napper. (Do I need to extend it for night driving?)

4. If you don't service your vehicle on time, Your vehicle will always breakdown at a place where there are no garages.

5. If the navigator is not talking to you, then he is asleep.
Corollary: If your navigator is sleeping, then you will probably too, irrespective of Law 3.

6. If you drink and drive, then the cop will catch you. If the cop doesn't then the Ambulance will.

7. If you don't keep distance from the vehicle in front of you, then the vehicle will apply brakes suddenly.
Corollary: If you apply sudden brakes, then the brakes of the vehicle behind you will fail.

These are only some of the laws I have compiled, mostly for driving on Indian highways.

Comments are welcome.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Singapore through my eyes - Part 1

Singapore! its quite a place. Almost everything about it is perfect - orderly traffic, great public transport system, shopping malls, the Great Singapore Sale, the taxis...

Traffic:
People are well behaved in traffic. For someone from Bangalore, it feels good not to see road rage, honking and shouting on roads. Having travelled and driven quite a bit in US, orderly traffic is not alien to me. What is surprising to me is that Singapore is quite crowded like Bangalore and still manages to maintain orderly traffic. I guess its all the planning that goes into it. And of course there is the law enforcement. I don't want to open a can of worms by commenting on traffic law enforcement in India...

Public transport:
Public transport is a great plus in Singapore. There are two main modes of public transport - the bus and the MRT. The frequency of trains is pretty good. The maximum wait time for a train is 7 mins. The bus frequency is also pretty good at an average of 8-10 minutes per route. Owning and driving a car in Singapore is pretty expensive. Wary of the fact that uncontrolled growth in the number of vehicles will result in traffic jams in the land and road scarce Singapore, the government has implemented a range of measures to manage car ownership and usage. These include the Certificate of Entitlement, Vehicle Quota System, road taxes and Electronic Road Pricing. This makes pubic transport definitely the preferred way of transport - and the govt. has done a great job at it!! No wonder people talk of making Bangalore a Singapore.

Taxis:
The taxi system in Singapore is awesome. Its pretty affordable and the drivers are very well behaved. You can hitch a taxi wherever you want and can can go wherever you want. The drivers won't refuse - nice change for someone used to the Bangalore's auto drivers. There are about 4 different companies that run taxis - 2 of them are govt run. The taxi charges vary depending on when you are travelling, and also on the traffic condition. The meter charges are based on both distance and time - the meter ticks 10 cents every 225m or 30 secs. Its pretty interesting, but the system works effectively. Also, you have to pay extra to get into the CBD (Central Business District) and after midnight. Also, you can reserve a cab, but that costs another 3.20$ extra. The Taxi drivers are quite amiable. I have seen different kinds - the stoic, the well read, the singaporean who knows tamil, the talkative, the sleepy one too!! In general I was pretty impressed with the taxi driver community. Just this sunday that impression suffered a setback with reports of Taxi drivers peddling prostitution!

This place is great! I guess its time to explain why I said 'Almost Perfect'. Unfortunately life is too monotonous here. You catch the bus at 1750 hrs reach the MRT station at 1800 hrs, the train arrives at 1802 hrs, change trains at 1807 hrs, reach destination at 1817 hrs and walk back to hotel by 1825 hrs. No offence meant - but the dreary routine has already started to get on my nerves! Nothing ever seems to change around here. I guess its just that I'm so used to the chaos in Bangalore, that the equillibrium here is surprisingly unsettling me!!

There's more - the weather doesn't change here too. Its hot and humid all over the year and it rains occassionally. Its been raining on and off since the past 3 weeks. Sometimes it rains pretty hard - with thunder showers, but its mostly manageable.

I have been to a few places around Singapore, but going around is no fun without company. The only things I have enjoyed here are catching up with Venkat, Catching up with my uncle who was here from Hong Kong and watching Star Wars - Episode III with colleagues.

I still haven't figured out whether it is Singapore that is boring or waiting for my wife to join me. I'm sure most of them would say the latter :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My first blog!

Well, I never thought I'm the blogging kind... until Harsha (http://hkanchar@blogspot.com) posted an offline message suggesting that I should start one. So, here I am...

I'll post a more meaningful blog shortly :-)