Tuesday, December 29, 2009

3 idiots on the loose

We ran into millions of people cheering for the cast of 3 idiots at the Forum Value Mall this evening. The crescendo reached it's peak when Aamir descended to the ground floor via the glass capsule lift. Here's a small clip of the crowds cheering on Sharman, Madhavan and Aamir on the stage.

Aamir mobbed

101 million people turned out at the Forum Value Mall Whitefield to catch a glimpse of their favorite star Aamir Khan!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Google Charts

Having some fun with the Google Chart API.

Monday, November 02, 2009

NPTEL - National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning

I am proud of my alma mater and peer institutions for sponsoring this initiative. Details below.

The IITs have taken up an initiative of starting online teaching and thus have started offering course materials online for every engineering stream. Many professors from all the IITs have provided course materials for each chapter and each subject. One has to register at the link provided below and can access the course material free of cost.

Every Chapter has been described with diagrams and charts. Please spread this message to everyone, as many can benefit from this program taken up by the government and IIT. This is just a trial period going on and hence I request everyone to register at the link given.

1] Type the following address on internet explorer http://www.nptel.iitm.ac.in
2] Click on Courses
3] Sign up as a NEW USER
4] And one can access any course material.

Please spread the word, so that this initiative benefits as many students as possible.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Cabbage Pathrode

Savouring Cabbage Pathrode at Woody's. On the left is what remained of green chilli bajji.

Little Red Riding Hoodlum

So we bought junior his first bicycle today. Alongwith came a red helmet. All was well till we put the bicycle in the car's boot. Then we realized that junior and his headgear weren't to be parted. For the rest of the evening we're shopping with helmet in tow (and junior underneath it). Sure makes it easy to spot him in crowded shops though.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I posted a letter

I clutched the envelope tight as I drove to office this morning. It must be posted today, I told myself. I couldn't help notice the contrast between the dingy basement room functioning as Kundalahalli Post Office and the steel and glass Cosmos Mall gleaming on the other side of the road. I queued up behind half a dozen people at the counter (wo)manned by a nervous looking fidgety lady alone. It was interesting to see what gets transacted there. A vermilioned lady was getting her Post Office savings bank passbook updated and asking questions nineteen to the dozen. The postmistress violently stamped the receipt and sent her packing. Next, an elderly gentleman wanted to know how much it would cost to send different denominations of money to Pune by Money Order (yes, people still do those, not everyone has access to NEFT). He was given a chit of paper with the different combinations possible and politely asked to rejoin the queue after deciding. A few money orders and speedposts later came my turn. I suddenly realized that I didn't even know what denomination of stamp I needed for my ordinary post letter. Turned out to be Rs 5. I bought four of these so that I don't have to queue up again this decade. Stuck one onto my envelope and sent it snailing towards the Income Tax office in Electronic City. Another study in contrast that. I had to come to a brick and mortar post office for the first time in a couple of years, because I needed to post a receipt generated from filing my Income Tax returns (brace for this) completely electronically over the internet this year!
As I walked back to the car, I wondered when I'd possibly have to visit a post office next. Probably not in a long time. And the reason for the reduced popularity of post offices (at least in urban India) is probably not mainly due to email. I'd guess the handwritten letter was dealt a death blow more by the ubiquitous cellphone. Very few would want to write a letter when they can talk directly. And then for the purposes of sending parcels, the zillions of private couriers probably do a lot better job than IndiaPost.
Ultimately it was enjoyable to actually transact communication the forgotten way. Hope the letter reaches though.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On Twitter

I've started to microblog on link:http://www.twitter.com/chandradip

Friday, June 19, 2009

Forum Value Mall Whitefield

So the mall opened on 18th June and we were thinking of having a look especially as it was so close by. So today we went in. Parked on the 3rd Floor (free multilevel parking, enjoy till it lasts!) and went in. The first thing we noticed was that it was pretty spacious. There was a children's dance competition on at the foyer. We went down to watch. There are 2 real coconut trees in the foyer! We also went into the MegaMart store, where this picture is from. Pretty decent place overall although a lot of outlets are yet to open. Right now we're investigating the intriguingly named "rattrap". Let's see :-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

McGraw-Hill: Jacked Up : Book

I finished up reading a book by Jack Welch's speechwriter. Turned out to be very very anecdotal. Essentially it had a single central message - don't bore your audience. Rest of the book was (using one of his terms) "hamburger helper". But unputdownable nonetheless thanks to the great narrative on life around Jack. McGraw-Hill: Jacked Up :

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sony Ericsson P800

I had a fairly short learning curve with cellphones. Pretty soon I'd figured which websites would review the hottest cellphones and reveal yet to be launched ones. In fact some of my friends used to ask me for these URLs. I think Google search hadn't matured as much at that time (all the others like Altavista, Hotbot, Dogpile were still smoldering as they died down). So, I came across this excitement about the launch of Sony Ericsson's first ever smartphone. The amazing P800. It had everything you could think of - and more. I was just wide eyed in wonder at all the stuff it could do.
One of the biggest attractions to most people was the fact that it had a digital camera built in. Actually that was probably it's weakest point because it did pretty poor grainy images. However, that's what people were interested in the most. So I spent a princely sum to make the P800 my own (around INR 30k, about 750$, IIRC). Sometime in 2003.

The P800 was the first Sony Ericsson-branded smartphone and was feature rich: built-in camera, a pen-operated touch-screen, media player, Web browser, organiser functions, PC synchronisation, GPRS, MMS, Bluetooth and Java. 3rd party apps had started appearing on handango. It had a great form factor as far as smartphones go. And it was curvy in a cute way. All subsequent models from Sony Ericsson went business like steel greyesque straightlined ones.

I used it for a lot of stuff. I got GPRS enabled and even used to surf the web. And Yahoo IM though Agile Messenger was a commonly used app. I heavily used this till mid 2005. In between at one time the screen broke (I'd dropped it) and I had to give it for an expensive repair (cost about 200$). I still have this phone as a back-up and I'd last used this in 2009!

Overall, I think this was a phone much ahead of it's time and I thoroughly enjoyed having it. Many phones I had since then were lot less impressive.

The thing I like the most? The rotating jog dial on the left of the phone. This made it possible to scroll and click on this phone even with one hand. I just love this feature. I guess it's a SONY proprietary design (the j70 had it too) and I miss this on most other cellphones.

Sony j70

Well, it was not just the battery problem with Siemens c35i alone. I confess that I wasn't immune to the social pressure of possessing a smart cellphone. I had also discovered the Burma Bazaar area while buying accessories for the c35i (besides the data cable, I'd also got car chargers, covers, cases, batteries, handsfree etc). On one of these trips I saw the pleasantly trilling metallic cellphone. On enquiry, I found this to be a SONY (which was unusual - there wasn't a SONY cellphone I'd seen before) and pretty well priced. I straightaway went in for that. It was sometime in 2002.

Subsequently some of my friends also bought this very same model. It was a very elegant design. And the polyphonic tones were very pleasing to the ear. Folks with the same model could exchange proprietary canned picture messages between themselves. It also had a speakerphone built in. Overall very nice and sturdy. Battery life was never a problem. I didn't have a handsfree cable and it wasn't available in the market. I remember pestering my roommate to get me one when he was on a trip to the US. I don't think I ever got one. Because by then I was already eyeing my next cellphone. And this was completely to meet a want, not a need...

Siemens c35i

It was not for long that I could resist the allure of a cellphone. I think I succumbed in the mid of February 2001. By then many more cellphone models had proliferated. And the rate plans had also become a bit easier on the wallet. After a decent amount of research (there wasn't really a whole lot of options still), I zeroed in on the c35i from Siemens.

For it's day it was probably a fairly advanced model. And it was in the top half of the models sold in Bangalore (at that time). The more attractive aspect was the very curvaceous design. The buttons had a bluish green backlight. And it had many features. Pretty soon I discovered that a data cable would open up newer frontiers. Based on some colleagues input, I hunted out the Burma Bazaar in Gandhibazar area (near Tribhuvan cinema). And got myself a data cable. It used to plug into the serial port of the laptop. With this I tried a lot of things. Most notably ringtones and screensavers. Even though this model was fairly popular, most people had stock ringtones. So I used to bask in the glow of ringtones based on my favorite songs and guitar riffs. Folks started coming to me to get ringtones and graphics updated on their screens.
The only trouble I had with this phone was bad battery life. Initially I had a very expensive rateplan and so it wasn't much of a bother as I wouldn't make\receive many calls. But soon after I received a connection from office which started seeing very heavy usage as tonnes of official calls were being made. In fact, at some times I used to rack up some of the highest phone bills my office had seen. That time, the poor battery life started being a big problem. And I started to look at an alternative...

Early cellphone ad...

When I think back, the earliest recollection I have of seeing a cellphone was in a TV commercial. In itself, it mayn't have been original. But on Indian television (satellite had started to challenge Doordarshan) this was a big hit. I remember seeing it umpteen times at Cricket match commercial breaks. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nokia 5110

The Nokia 5110 was the first cellphone I saw up front. I was fresh out of college in my first job. One day my manager met with a cellphone sales agent in the office and bought this phone. At that time, I think, cellphones were bought by appointment. One didn't just walk into the shop and buy one. It was a more elaborate transaction. At that time in Bangalore, there were two main cellphone operators - Spice and JTM. And on all the billboards this one cellphone held pride of place. There were other models too, but this was by far the most popular. To a large extent because of (comparatively) attractive pricing.

The call rates would burn through the turban of any raja. Both incoming and outgoing calls were charged. And at 5 to 10 times of present day rates. So it was common to see people with cellphones who wouldn't receive an incoming call. Rather, they'd call back from the nearest landphone. So it was more like a pager. Even text messages cost the moon. And only someone extravagant enough to have a cellphone would possess the means of originating a text message. Two other acquaintances that bought this cellphone around that time were my project lead at work and a roommate. Both were the cynosure of all eyes.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thanks Google

It was very pleasing to be greeted by the above image when I opened the browser today. Thanks to Google, Rabindra Jayanti came alive on the web.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

It will be a decade...

Will be a decade since we graduated from good old KGP.

It would be nice to make a trip back.

NOTE: That's not me dancing everywhere

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tokyo! movie

I found Wired's take on Tokyo intriguing. The movie soundtrack on Youtube was more so.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trickle up innovation

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Essential Rockstar gear !

Friday, January 23, 2009

Netaji in Nagaland

I came across this TV report on IBNlive which brought back many memories. It was when I was a schoolboy in Nagaland. An aging Naga gentleman had mentioned seeing Netaji's INA march through his village. On seeing my interest he had sat down and talked long about those days. Netaji had come in from Burma with the Japanese. His eyes took on a gleam as he talked animatedly about the march of the Japanese, their food, their equipment and their medicine. The last had amazed the villagers. Apparently the Japs had a lotion that cured cuts in no time at all. The villagers had benefited well from Netaji's march passing through. And he was definitely left in awe!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our cuties

Fischer Lovebird pair for Jr

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Music aficionado

Never too soon to start!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dirty Business

At the Childrens Park Sandbox.

And now

And now, originally uploaded by stacktop.

In the previous post I'd put a picture of Achintya with his Chotodadu when he was just a few months old.

Here's a picture from 2008 Christmas day when we had all visited Innovative Film City (Chotodadu had just bought him the cycle he's riding on the previous evening).

Monday, January 05, 2009

As time flies

ChotoDadu, originally uploaded by stacktop.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cakes on wheels

For his first birthday, Achintya had a cute cake shaped like a Volkswagen Beetle. That was from JustBake in Indiranagar.

Today we chanced upon a JustBake that has opened on Varthur Road, quite near our home. And started thinking about cakes as the second birthday approaches. The proprietess told us that the current rage is a Lightning McQueen. The mischievious one that's seen in the eponymous Disney movie. Well well...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

DSC H1 works again !

At the Sony showroom, originally uploaded by stacktop.

So we made it to the Sony Service Centre in Indiranagar (Ph 25296138). And almost took a receipt for the camera. When. The engineer tried their battery on the camera and it worked! I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief. I thought I'd tried all batteries in the house after fully charging them. What a relief! Wont have to decide between the H50 or 1000D anytime soon :-)

Well well. We then traipsed down to the Sony showroom on the ground floor. Got a pair of regular batteries and a MiniDV head cleaning cassette (this one cost a bomb - Rs 875!). And kept on taking pictures with the newly recovered camera. What a joy! Achintya was thrilled with all the gadgets in the store and wanted to spend the evening dancing to VH1 songs playing on the LCD television's there. I had to haul him into the car actually kicking and screaming.

Am planning to get better with the camera. Found a nice whitepaper.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Sony DSC H1

In 2000 I'd bought an Olympus Digital Camera. The impressively named Camedia D 360L, with all of 1.3 Megapixels and an 8 MB SSFDC card, cost me a good 350 bucks.

Image transfer was via RS 232 serial cable, and I remember starting the transfer before sitting down to lunch and still having to wait for it to complete. Come to think of it, it was not that bad. I had extensively used it and some of the pictures are a pleasureable reminder of the bachelor days... Ahem, around 2004 the camera decided to go to Davy Jones Locker.

I started badly missing it around end of 2005 and started looking at what I should buy.
Based on a friends input (thanks Raju!), who'd also bought the same, I bought the then freshly launched Sony DSC H1 for around 400 bucks. This was such a pleasure. It was highly capable and was also very easy to use. We could just hand it to anyone and they'd click away in Auto Focus mode. We used it well for the first 2 years. And then in 2007, when our son was born, we just went overboard clicking away. I noticed that we'd clicked over 5000 pictures in the last 2 years. Well, all good things come to an end (I guess). The other day it stopped working. Boots to review mode, but when I put it into any of the shoot modes, it shuts down with a small noise near the lens.

I am plannning to take it to the Sony Service Center. Let me see how it goes. Meanwhile, I've already started looking for probable replacements if this doesn't get fixed. So far the Sony DSC H50 and the Canon EOS 1000D have looked good.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Everyone expects 2009 to be of unprecedented difficulty. And yet, I have received unprecedented amount of New Year Wishes (Some from friends whom I hadn't heard from in years - so quite nice actually, thanks!). Maybe this is not a contradiction really. Perhaps unprecedented challenges bring out that ultimate human ability - to hope.

Here's wishing that all my friends get the strength to get through the difficult times ahead and emerge the better for it.