Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why Two Blogs?

Frankly, as mentioned on some other post, I started bloggin on Blogger only because one of my friends couldn't read my blog on Windows Live Spaces and being a Google hater, going this is no less than sacrilige.

However, also wanted to conduct an experiment about which one was overall, better. And after about a month of using both, I still maintain Windows Live Spaces (WLS) is better. By far

Here's why:

1. Photos are an important part of the blog. And handling of photos in blogger sucks. It's just too painful while in WLS, its supremely smooth. Just brilliant.

2. Posting. This is such a pain in Blogger. WLS has this cool utility called Windows Live Writer, which is like a cross between a super light WYSIWYG website creator and MS Word. Its brilliant. I can type whatever i want offline, thoughts I want to pen here can come to me anytime and I might not ALWAYS have an internet connection. I can drag and drop and position images like a dream. Even format them in various ways, something NONE of the stupid tools for Blogger let me do.

3. Credit to Microsoft that they have infact made Live Writer such that I can even post it to Blogger but stupid blogger doesnt let me post images on it! Apparently for this, you must go and do it from its web interface. How stupid is that?? So, once I post text, I have to open my browser, login to my site, edit the post, put in an image and after all this, i can only put it in one of 4 formats. And god help you if you were to try and put in more than 1 image. That's so cumbersome, I have resorted to posting just one one image for most of my posts.

4. Blogger doesnt have a photo tool so I need to maintain WLS just to put up all my pics.

Coming to Windows Live Spaces, I have only 2 problems with it:

1. It has a big fat banner on top with ads which I hate completely. Blogger has a thin bar and no ads. Thats how it should be.

2. Its so idiotic that WLS does not allow anonymous comments. I mean, how thick is this!! They should give an option to the blog owner to CHOOSE which type of commenting he want sto allow, the way Blogger does.

So yeah, neither of the blogs offers the critical features that I would like to have so I guess unless one of them fixes the problems, I will have to stick to both! Pain!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The world's best love songs.

I'm a rock fan and to me, love songs are all about the strumming guitars and lyrics. I don't care whether the guy can sing to a tune or not. Lyrics are above all else. They are what I connect with.

Why am I on about love songs? I don't know. Maybe because I had coffee in the morning with my girlfriend after 7 months and found myself wishing I could do this forever.

Maybe because in 7 years of being together, we've been with each other for only 8-10 months and I really hope you have no idea what that is like.

Or maybe I'm just tired with all the travelling and working around the clock and this music is right now really getting to me and I mean in a good way.

Anyway, here goes the list in no particular order. Click on it for links to lyrics incase you haven't heard them. These are quite possibly the world's best love songs ever.

Goo Goo Dolls - Iris

Sting - Fields of gold
Dire Straits - Love over gold
Dire Straits - Romeo & Juliet
Elvis Presley - Cant help falling in love
U2 - Unchained melody

G'N'R - Patience
G'N'R - Don't Cry
Rabbi - Tere Bin
Ronan Keating - If Tomorrow Never Comes
Robert Miles - One and One

AeroSmith I don't wanna miss a thing
Euphoria - Tum
Euphoria - Ab Na Jaa
Euphoria - Mehfuz
Pearl Jam - Last Kiss

And a last minute entry, listen to Mitwa from Kabhi Alvida.. sure, the movie absolutely sucks but listen, REALLY LISTEN to this song and you'll see why I think its brilliant.

Kabhi Alvida - Mitwa

Monday, April 23, 2007

Missed chance!!

It's been a while since I've posted here. That's because I've been travelling like crazy and got back only today. Sure enough, posting soon as I'm back!

Last week, I met up with couple of Director's from Bollywood. One, the moustached and bearded Rohan Sippy (of Bluffmaster fame) and the other, Nikhil Advani (of Kal ho na ho fame)

Ofcourse, I came to know who these guys were only when I reached home and my mom asked me "where did you meet these guys?"

I have NEVER rued my inability to remember director names and match them with correpsonding faces.

Turns out, Nikhil Advani is the same chap who also directed Salaam E Ishq, the most mind numbingly devasting movie ever made. This movie is so bad, it warrants a rehab centre just for those poor folks who made the mistake of going and seeing it.

He lives another day to perhaps make a sequel (spine chilling shudder) or a worse movie. And it's all MY FAULT!! Should've just shot him when I had the chance!

And if you are about to post a comment praising this movie, please save me the trouble of coming over and shooting you. Just do it yourself.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Google says SWIM the Atlantic!

Our friendly neighbourhood search engine which seems to be blessed with a squeaky clean image (somehow!) seems to continue on its tongue in cheek ways of giving out irrelevant answers to irrelevant questions.

Case in point, type New york to London in google maps and you will be greeted with driving directions for the whole 4000 mile journey!! No seriously!

How do you drive through the Atlantic? Google is smarter than that! It KNOWS when the Atlantic has come and simply says "swim through the Atlantic" and resumes driving directions when you arrive in UK.

Sure, this is tongue in cheek for those who KNOW Google is kidding and its a fitting response to a cheeky "test" question. But, there might be stupid people (they are usually Americans, who only know about the neighborhood they live in) who could be asking this question and might take this advice seriously too!

Click link below to see the directions yourself. Incase Google has fixed this, click the screenshots.

Google Maps: NY to London

This is one CRAZY marriage.

I surf a lot. A hell of a lot for my own good mostly and I thought I had seen pretty much everything. In one of those rare occassions, I was wrong.

I came across this super weird website (I think I got the link from wired.com) about a couple in an open marriage. If you dont know what that means, it basically means, that the two are married and open to sleeping with others apart from each other. Also, this is not because they are having a tiff or, as Ross said to Rachel "we were on a break!" No sir. This is somehow actually supposed to "grow" the love between them and strengthen the marriage.

How? Search me! I haven't the foggiest idea.

So what is the site about? Well, it documents their life and their "experiment" with an open marriage. Basically, they write posts about how they slept with everyone else but each other.

Despite all this boldness, they are still normal people (or as normal as normal people ever are) and do the usual things like going to the super market and the office etc. so the faces are pretty much blurred out. Suits me fine.

If you are intrigued, head over to www.katieanderic.com to read more. Click on the link on top of their home page titled "Katie's new boobs" to see Katie getting herself off. Sick.

And yes, you can call me old fashioned, a puritan or whatever, but whichever way I look at it, if this site is for real (as in not a disguised porn attempt) it creeps me out.

Update: I have been told by Eric (via email) that an open marriage isn't about just going out and seeing how many people we can sleep with and they haven't, so far, slept with anyone other than each other.

Well, I have no reason not to believe him (and it isnt any of my business either), but this "open" marriage concept still creeps me out.

Eric and Katie, it was not the intention to be offensive. Just that this blog concept creeps me out. I am not prejudiced against the concept of open marriage, I simply don't understand the point of putting it online with pictures. But if this works for you, more power to you!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Great example of Megapixels aren't everything!

For all of you looking to buying a new cell phone with a camera, you must read this.


While it is almost common knowledge that megapixels in a camera are not the "all decisive" factor, an interesting comparison by Mobileburn actually shows you what this means.

5 Megapixel Nokia versus 3.2 Mgpx Sony Ericsson.

Amul. The king of Good Lines

Every one of us has stopped at a traffic light and chuckled at the Amul ad. For nearly 40 years, Amul has been giving us outstandingly brilliant oneliners and topical humor which has been appreciated by all.

Whether it is the sacking of ministers to India losing the world cup (again!), Amul has had a hoarding with a slick line for everything.

But while I do say, rather dramatically, that it all began 40 years ago, the exact dyear is 1967, when the first Amul hoarding went up and the cute round eyed polka clad girl winked and came to life. Her name is Moppet by the way.

From then on, Amul has played the role of a social observer and has been bringing to us the funny side of things. Jokes that any and everyone can relate to, enjoy and not take offence at (unless you are a politician obviously!) Plus they give you something to do in this miserable city traffic.

Incidentally, Amul, the butter was actually launched in 1945! but struggled to do well because the previous ad agency utilised standard corporate ads while what Sylvester Da'Cunha, then Managing Director of the agency, did was bold for that time. Bold because India was quite sensitive about food. We did not like stupid jokes being made about it, especially from something we considered largely as a dairy product.

Moreover Da'Cunha didn't just make timid, safe ads, no sir. A lot of his lines were quite risque and actually got them into trouble.

Their hoarding over the Indian Airlines strike actually got them a threat notice from IA saying if he didn't take it down, they would stop serving Amul butter on their flight! well, IA never ever seems to make sense to me anyway and when the Amul Moppet dawned the Gandhi cap, boy oh boy did the government take notice and immediately got it removed. Such was the national mindshare that these simple and witty hoardings enjoyed and infact continue to enjoy even today.

Such has been the power of the mascot and the lines that Amul is now vying for the Guinness book of world records for the longest running campaign ever! It is probably also the most successful, having endured the usually split second attention span that we devote to ads, much less hoardings.

While I have been trying to get my hands on the first ever hoarding, I have sadly been unable to do so. But I did manage to find a collection of these ads from 1976 till today. If you want to take a look, clik here: Amul Ads

Click below are some of my favorites from their long list. Also, if you manage to find the first hoarding they had come up with, do let me know!!

Varun's Favorites

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sony: like.no.other

If there is one company that has always fascinated me with their advertising, it's Sony. Granted, their step down from the pedestal of "Its a SONY" has been long overdue but its here. And if anything, their like.no.other campaign is probably one of the best ads I have seen on TV.

The ad is fantastic considering its a lot of colorful crazy balls running down a San Francisco street.

Its fantastic because the connection is simple. Balls represent colors. Sony TVs show you the best colors. I am so in love with this ad that everytime it airs (usually I sit around waiting for it almost!) I shut everyone up and crank up the volume.

Some trivia that I have picked up about the ad:

1. This is a real shoot. There is ZERO computer graphics in it. Several million points to Sony and the AD team for this. It makes the ad even more breathtaking.

2. The total number of balls used is 250,000 !! yup quarter of a million

3. The ad was shot in just ONE take. Obviously, with many different cameras catching many different angles.

4. Number of camera people used was 24. Usually, they shoot with just 4!

5. And if you love the background score, then its called Heartbeats, has been performed by Jose Gonzalez and goes like this:

One night to be confused
One night to speed up truth
We had a promise made
Four hands and then away

Both under influence we had divine scent
To know what to say
Mind is a razorblade

To call for hands of above to lean on
Wouldn't be good enough for me

One night of magic rush
The start: a simple touch
One night to push and scream And then relief

Ten days of perfect tunes
The colours red and blue
We had a promise made
We were in love

To call for hands of above to lean on
Wouldn't be good enough for me

And you, you knew the hand of a devil
And you kept us awake with wolves teeth
Sharing different heartbeats in one night

To watch the full ad in HD click below:

Sony Bravia AD

Monday, April 9, 2007

Femina Miss India. What the fuck?



Ok first of all, NEWSFLASH. Femina Miss India is a BEAUTY PAGEANT.

This little detail gets missed by the judges everytime they sit in olympian judgement over scantily clad teenagers looking out for World peace.

I don't want women who can speak 6 languages. I dont care for those who can juggle 10 balls at once or sing like Madonna. For the love of GOD, this is Miss India not Ripley's.

If you want a role model for your kid, would you it rather be a giggly adolescent who starves herself eating JUST an Apple a day
or would you rather choose Princess Diana, Jackie Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Kiran Bedi or Mother Teresa?

The one and ONLY job of a model is to bloody look pretty. Its a no brainer. You are either pretty or you are not. Is there any confusion about Giselle Bundchen being hot ? NO

Can any one mistake Renee Zellweger for being pretty? NO

How hard was that??

But year after year, pageant after pageant, FMI keeps getting it devastatingly wrong. And I am fed up.

I mean just look at them. Not ONE stands a chance on the global platform.Our contestants are a joke.

This is because the stage where these judges sit is too far. The parameters are too wrong and the contestant filter has holes the size of Jupiter.

We'd better fix this or the world will start believing we have run out of pretty eye candy. Which simply isn't true. Step inside our colleges or the neighborhood pub and your eyes will meet with some zipper defying beauty. THAT is what should be brought on stage, not this riff raff.

My kinda bedspread!














Now this is what would REALLY set my bedroom on fire.
Especially when my beloved is away :)

believe me, you make THIS my bedspread, and guess who will be the first person to "make" his bed everyday!!!

Plus, it might give the ladies who visit some interesting ideas :)

And no, they dont make it with guys on it. Just as well!

if you wanna buy, go here:
http://www.realitybedding.com/

Music gets you talking

This is something that just blew me away in my couple of visits to london recently.

This ad has instilled tremendous respect in me for their marketing department and the copywriter AND the photographer.

Its just so compelling and evocative that it almost makes me wanna go out and buy that phone. Something that Nokia hasn't been elicit from me for 2 years now.

The photography captures the mood brilliantly. The models used are perfectly next door and the tag lines tug at your heart. At mine anyway.

Attached here are the two slides I saw repeatedly at the various tube stations.

Click here for the entire campaign.


http://europe.nokia.com/musicgetsyou

And I agree, Music does get you talking.

How do you sleep?

kris.blog();

Surfing through one of my friends blogs yesterday, I came across this post that made me feel rather good about myself :)

U see, Kris has a wonderful habit of sleeping on his pillow like its his girlfriend. Yippeee!! my family has been teasing me about sleeping in the same manner for years!!!
Now I know I'm not the only one :) Its a good feeling. For once :)

Do post in your favorite sleeping position (when you are sleeping ALONE that is!!) lets see how many more can join this "group".

Oh and, if you are girl who sleeps like a pillow is her "girlfriend" just post your phone number.

The NEW Seven Wonders


I finally found the website which is conducting a worldwide poll to decide the new seven wonders.

The ones we have been using till now will be scrapped except for The Pyramids of Giza which have been included in the possible candidates.

Headover and vote.

Surprisingly enough, I always believed that The Taj Mahal was in the 7 wonders. Well, it isnt according to the site, but it can be if you vote for it.

Here are the 7 that I have voted for:
1. The Taj Mahal
2. The Eiffel Tower
3. Chichen Itza
4. Easter Island Statues
5. Machu Picchu
6. Pyramids of Giza
7. Stonehenge.

http://www.new7wonders.com

One tip, read about all of them. You will then get confused. Massively.

The way I have chosen is that what you vote for should have some form of "wonder" and should exist.

For example, sure, the Acropolis was amazing but it isn't still standing is it?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Eiffel Tower


It isn't the tallest building in the world anymore, that would be Taipei 101. It certainly isn't the one with any offices in it (save for the 4 ticket counters) but if you want to really be awed and WOWed, The Eiffel Tower has no equal.

Stepping out of Trocadero station and it is almost immediately to your left. Standing tall and majestic. With a healthy tan which is surprising since they have never ending winters and summer is more like Sachin's innings. Blink and you miss it.

Its huge. And not in an "imagine making it in those times" kind of way.

Step up the small ladder and emerge onto the open air part of level 3 and the view wil blow you away. It makes up for the hours you'll wait in the long queues and the ear popping you'll endure as the express elevators do their best to zip to the top.

If you think about it, the view is no different from a city view atop its tallest building but for some inexplicable reason, when you reach the top of Eiffel you will ignore the howling frigid cold air and think of the one person in your life most important to you. It doesn't matter if she is your girlfriend, your ex or whether you've just had a fight or have recently been engaged. You will punch her number and call.

I have been there thrice and others who have been there alone concur, you will miss her and you will make that call.

I recently read somewhere that they are redoing the seven wonders.
If for nothing other than the sheer evocative presence, The Eiffel Tower must be on it.

If you are ever in Paris, make sure you land up here. Miss the Louvre if you have to. Its quite rubbish anyway.

Oh and, if you are wondering about this lovely picture, yes, it was taken by me.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Work life balance. Are we too connected?


No.

Before I continue with my rant, first, why I am the national authority on being connected.

1. My contact details are available to everyone who cares to go on our company website.

2. My email is on Blackberry and is therefore, 24x7. The BB doubles as a cellphone so its never off.

3. BB lets me connect to GTalk and Yahoo messenger. My laptop, like my internet, is always on unless I'm up and about.

So when I say, I am probably the most connected person around, I am not far from the truth.

So coming back to the quesiton, are we overconnected?

No. Quite simply, that is the answer. I am sick and tired of people saying ooooh we are so over connected its hampering the work - life balance.

WHAT work life balance? You bust your ass in school, then college and then B-school (if you busted your ass enough to get into one) for what? To get a job. To make money. So you can look yourself in the mirror, your friends and family in the face and say, "I am somebody. I have made it"

Everyone today, from the Peon to the CEO works 10-12 hours a day. Minimum. So your work-life balance is pretty bad anyway.

Save for Prince Henry, everybody works for money. Job satisfaction etc etc is bull.
And those who claim otherwise are hypocrites and I would like to see them go join an NGO and work at minimum wages.

So to say instead of money I'd rather have "work-life balance" is stupendous bullshit. It just means that you don't think they are paying you enough. This is your problem for not negotiating hard enough.

Everyone dreams of a 6-7 (or more) figure monthly pay check. Guess what? No one is going to pay you that kind of money for working 9-5. Face it. They wont. So just live with it and buckle up.

Technology and being always connected have infact restored my work life balance.

Managing a division is pretty time consuming and if it depends on building relations, doubly so but being connected in many of these ways gives me more free time than most.

The "How" is simple.

Everyone has packed days and easy days. When my days are packed. I work as long as it takes wherever I may be. But even if I get free for 5 minutes, I am already connected to the ones I care about.

Ofcourse, during the easy days, I can spend time with my family, my girlfriend and even just be by myself.

Also, since I am always connected, I never waste any time and fit in 16 hours into 8.
This means a lot more free time

I guess technology is there to help you. What is key is for you to exploit it for your benefit.

Ultimately, its about what you want and how bad you want it. Happy people are those who know what they want and go for it. Whether it is a fat pay cheque, a flashy job or family time.

As for me, I want it all and so far, I have it!

I am a Geek


More than often, I've been asked to shut up! More than often, its because I started talking about some techie bits with other similarly inclined friends while in a group where non techies far outnumbered us.

Well, this is from us geeks to ALL the non geeks.
Read it. It could possibly give you other reasons to ask me to stop talking:)

Click Here

Inspiration


It's interesting actually to see just how the same things affect different people, differently. There is the folklore example of two kids having an abusive father. One grew up to be just like him and the other grew up to be the exact opposite. For he realised the error of his fathers ways.

This "realisation" bit has always puzzled me. It flies in the face of the old adage "you are the company you keep".You aren't. Everything around you affects you for sure. It is for the individual to channel it in one direction or another. I don't know why some get it right and some go the wrong way. Maybe its the genetic makeup and prominent tendencies. Scores of shrinks have made millions on this alone. But I believe everyone is born with an inherent outlook. Some are born pessimists, some incorrigible optimists and some are cynically indifferent.

This is who they are, and while you can coach someone to change their outlook to an extent, the change is never complete. An inherent pessimist will never automatically look at brighter side of things. He just wont. Sure, give him 2 hours and he will come around but the initial reaction will be varying degrees of "oh god!! this is soooooo baaaaad!! We are allll gonna die!!!!"

Below is a list of people who have inspired me to be everything that I am. I have learnt from them whether they were teaching me or not.

1. My Dad: He taught me responsibility, the sheer benefits of asking fundamental questions (amazing how many people DON'T do it) and most definitely, patience. If you think I am impatient and short tempered now, you should've seen me before dad went to work on me!!

2. Shah Rukh Khan: Energy. Never say die and that Impossible is Nothing.

3. Hitler: He taught me to challenge things as you know it. He taught me to be unreasonable. He taught me that if you have the balls, the world is yours to take.

4. Michael Schumacher: The unbelievable ability to be humble, arrogant, cocky and confident in the same freakin' sentence. Honestly, I'm still working on this one.

5. Amitabh Bacchan: Sheer grit. I hope I am as committed and energetic as he is when I reach his age. This guy deserves every bit of success that has come his way and lots more that hasn't

6. Bill Gates: Business is business. You have to stay ahead. Period. Despite all the flak that Microsoft gets, I know this guy can truly change the world with his ideas which he isn't scared of pursuing.

7. Warren Buffet: Self belief and the ability to think with simplicity through the most complex problems. The ability to cut through the jargon and devise simple elegant solutions to the most complex problems.

8. Stephen Hawking: "I am wrong" He accepted he was wrong, and had been for 30 years in a room full of the brightest minds in science today. He risked his name, and his professional fame to bring forth the truth. Of course, he also inspires me with the fact that he has the determination to be the foremost scientific thinker despite his unbelievable disabilities.

9. Lakshmi Mittal: The ability to spot opportunities where others miss out. To again cut quickly through what is nonsense and see the core value propositions of every opportunity.

10. Dhirubhai Ambani: The difference between being educated and "qualified" and the ability to get things done. Come what may. Sure, the jury is still out on his ways and people complain he bribed everyone from Peon to God but everyone had the same opportunities. He saw them first, and got things done the way he wanted.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

In desperation

For some time now, me and my friend have been reading each others blogs and, as we both have rather sharp tongues, been commenting as well. That is... I have been commenting and she has been trying to read by blog.

Trying, because I hate Google. I think its the single biggest Orwellian company in this whole world and on the pretext of "do no evil" it ends up getting away with it.

I, as a policy therefore, use Google talk less, Gmail sparingly and Google search, not at all. Instead, I use Windows Live. That's Live messenger, Live mail and Live Search.

Sadly though, my friend hasn't been able to access the blog hosted on Live Spaces. I don't know why. I can, on the 3 different computers I have at home.

I like windows live spaces simply because its more a "My Space" than a blog. I have lots of cool pics uploaded, there are links to places I like and lists of stuff (although I noticed I can have that on Blogger as well) And all this is important to me

But what is more important to me is for her to read and comment. She is refreshingly honest, funny, politically incorrect, thought provoking and bold. I like that. But above all the intellectual stimulation, conversing with her is damn good fun. To be honest, while I enjoy talking to anyone, even strangers, conversations with her are something else. Enough to make me switch from Windows Live to Evil Google.

So for what it's worth, I am planning to replicate (nopes not moving) my blog from Windows Live spaces to this Blogger place.

Lets hope she is able to access this here and I still do maintain that overall, Windows Live kicks ass and Blogger sucks. And that, as they say, is that.