Monday, April 30, 2007

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! OI! OI! OI!

Australia! You bloody Bewdy! You did it again!

Winning the World Cup is THE ultimate dream for any team. Winning three times in a row, is just unbelievable. But when the team is Australia, everything becomes believable.

Gilly’s batting yesterday was nothing short of a demolition. Nah, It was demolition for sure. What else would you call that innings!! 13 fours, 8 sixes in 104 ball, 149!… For me, SL had lost the cup even before they came in to bat…Throughout the world cup, Aussies have been doing what they do best…i.e. being aggressive from the word go. Most opposition teams lose the game even before it starts. Case in point: Semi Final 2 Australia vs South Africa….SA tried to be aggressive...foolishly aggressive, from the start but failed miserably. They should have realized that when Plan A doesn’t work out, it’s time to throw Plan A outside the window. Instead they continued on their ‘being aggressive’ plan and were soon 27/5. Rest is history. I thought at least SA would give a tough fight to the Ozzies, but thanks to a dull, boring display from SA, it means that SA isn’t any better than other teams when it comes to facing Australia.

The way the Australians played their games in World Cup shows what exactly why they are a great team. Their powerful batting lineup, which is powerful not only on paper but powerful on grass too, annihilates any bowling attack in any bowling conditions around the world. Such is the depth of the batting, that even when the top order fails, the tail enders bat like batsmen, unlike some subcontinent teams, where tail enders do justice to their title very beautifully. Let’s put it this way, there are no tail enders in Australian team. Everyone bats!!

In the bowling category, names like Glen McGrath ( Ho Ha Glen McGrath ..say Ho Ha Glen Mcgrath) are enough. His immaculate line and length needs no description. Add to that, the superb swing from one Mr.Blond Bracken and the sheer pace of Shaun Tait and it makes a very good bowling attack. Hogg continues to impress and Symmonds and Clarke bowl some perfectly decent overs. Sad to see Pigeon retire from International Cricket but having said that Shaun Tait has been a revelation. Though this bowling attack is not as great as the batting, they are supported by some very brilliant fielding from…err… almost everyone in the team!! McGrath at the age of 37 still dives to stop the ball - Compare that with 23-year-old Munaf Patel who runs…Sorry, jogs across the ball lazily and throws underhand!! That’s not shameful…that’s embarrassing! …Oops, I get carried away in comparisons…Sorry to say , but Australia can’t be compared to any other team. Theirs is just a class of their own...where players play for their team….They are proud to represent their country not their endorsements. ( There I go…I can’t stop comparing…This is just out of frustration).

Many of my mates, were barracking for all other teams, but Australia They said it had become boring to watch Australia win all the time. But was there or is there a team who could beat the mighty Aussies?!!…Nope, I think, after all the one sided affairs. Not even a single match was interesting.

Luv them or hate them, Aussies deserved to win the Cup and they did!!…and I am not surprised, if they do that again in 2011.

Friday, April 20, 2007 real let down!, they say is the one of the best online shopping portals. I thought so too until a couple of incidents, rather the only two incidents, that I have tried to shop on

Incident One: Winter of 2004 – Melbourne, Australia:
I placed an order on Amazon for a book – “A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport" by Ramachandra Guha.

Estimated time of delivery to Melbourne – A maximum of 2 months.
I waited for three months! Still no sign of the book or an email from Amazon.
I mailed them, and got an immediate reply saying:

Our quality assurance process has indicated that although our system shows your item has shipped, when in fact is hasn't. We immediately contacted our sources in an effort to locate a replacement copy, but were unable to do so. As a result we are unable to fulfill your order. We have initiated a refund and you should receive confirmation via email within the next 1-3 business days.

Though frustrated, I didn’t bother, coz they had apologized sincerely in the mail.

Anyways, I got the refund after a week or so, when they had promised 1-3 days! Needless to say that I lost a few dollars in transaction fees. I dismissed it as a case of bad luck.

Incident Two: Summer of 2007 - India.
I asked my friend Hemant, in Buffalo,USA to get me a DVD- "Metal – A Headbanger’s Journey" from the US. Yeah, he ordered it online from Amazon.

Estimated time of Delivery to Buffalo : 3- 5 business days.

It so happened that me mate was returning to India in 10 days and the DVD was not shipped to him by that time. Which he said was strange coz all the stuff that he had bought on Amazon was delivered to him within a maximum of 5 days....Okay, didn’t matter, coz one of his friend was flying back the next week. Well after a few days, his friend, informed us that the Amazon guys had come but since he was not home, they didn’t deliver the DVD and instead kept a note saying they were at his place that day.
What was more annoying was the fact that they normally keep all the missed deliveries at the Community Center. This one, for some reason, was not kept at the Community Center and there was no communication from till date.
Yesterday, I told Hemant, to cancel the order.....

I wouldn’t recommend people not to buy from just because of these two incidents. Although, I would advise them to be cautious when shopping with Amazon.
And I know that these might just be cases of pure bad luck…But as they say-“ First impression counts” or “ The first impression is the last impression”....For me, the first two were bad! So I wouldn't even waste time thinking for the third one....(Jeffrey, Are you listening?!) ... I know what I am gonna do next… stick to my favorite and familiar online shopping portal-Ebay!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

SET Max - The Greediest of 'em all

Cricket’s premier event-World Cup 2007 is being staged in West Indies and this time SET Max has bagged the telecasting rights in India...In a cricket crazy nation like India, anything minutely related to cricket generates tremendous interest. Hence the business of telecasting cricket in India is big, very big!

Now let me get back to SET Max – Since they hold the legal rights to telecast the live cricket, they sure are going to rake in some moolah from advertisers. I read in an article that the ad rates for some India specific matches went up to Rs 6 lakh (Rs 600,000) for 10-second spots!! It’s all fair upto some limit but what really pisses me off is the way the Set MAX programs the advertisements.

Commercial breaks are scheduled to be shown in between overs or other breaks. SET Max, with its unquenchable thirst for money from ads, jumps into advertisements just as the last bowl is bowled.

Now whether the batsman reaches a milestone, a screamer of a catch is taken or the ball crosses the fence for maximum, SET Max doesn’t care about it! It wants to make money!! Imagine a batsman scoring hundred…We normally expect to see the jubilant batsman celebrating in his own way and the spectators giving him a thunderous applause or a standing ovation. But if you are watching cricket on SET Max and the batsman reaches the three figure mark on the last ball, do not expect to see any of these things but advertisments!! Fair dinkum!! Ask anyone who watches cricket on Max.

Their return back to the live cricket is equally worse. On most of the occasions, the bowler’s half way through his run up or sometimes the batsman’s played a shot!!
And yeah, Thanks Set Max for showing the replay of the last ball after returning from the Commercial break!! What’s the use of watching the replay?!! The magic of the moment is lost…What is to be enjoyed live is TO BE enjoyed LIVE!There is no fun in watching a replay as compared to watching it live... But No, Mr Max doesn’t seem to care about the intricacies of the game or those special moments!

One more thing that illustrates the greediness of Max is that when they return back live from a commercial break and if the players are waiting due to some reason like Sidescreen problems or the captain is making field adjustments ,etc, SET Max again returns to the ads!! Now if it's gonna be a big break, it is acceptable... but in such cases, the game resumes in some seconds.

Oh Yes, I forgot to mention SET Max has its own umpire counting (rather wrongly counting) the balls in an over!....Let me explain...on numerous occasions, Max has been guilty of going into the ads after 4th or 5th ball!! and when the directors realise that the 'Over' is actually not over, they come back live! *laughs out of disgustion*

Whichever way you look at it…making money this way is unfair!! There are viewers watching CRICKET, not ads! Really cracks me up, this thing by Set Max.

Set Max alone isn’t to be blamed for this.It’s been happening in India ever since cricket was shown on TV,live. And who is suffering.You and me, who watch cricket at home! Unless there is someone who steps up into this, the cricket viewers in India will continue to suffer.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Power cuts – Summer 2007 in Pune,India.

It's April-That signals the start of summer in India! Well, should say, it is already here…Coz there was this news the other day that mercury crossed the 40 degree Celsius mark in the first week of April! Which means that this summer is gonna be bloody hot and couple that with the fact that there are going to be power cuts due to power shortages this summer! This makes matters waaay worse!

Take today....From morning, the power’s gone off 3 times in 3 hours! And the supply was OFF for a good 30 mins on two of those occasions. Let me tell you, it gets terribly hot and sweaty in 5 mins without a cooler or a fan. So imagine, 30 mins! And it’s more irritating when you are working on the computer.Specially for people like me who are not used to pressing ‘CTRL + S’ every now and then. Reason: For five days, I work in an AC office where the power outages and brownouts are taken care of. So that makes life harder on weekends when working from home. (** Note to self: Press ‘CTRL+S’ after every minute**) Alrite, I did that just now…

State Electricity Boards alone can’t be blamed for the Power Cuts. We, the citizens, are also accountable.Consider this...

  • How many people in India pay the electricity bills on time?...Or do they pay it at all?!!
  • How many of us try to save electricity?…Or even bother to give 'Saving' a thought?

Well, if we can’t do these simple things, then there is no use blaming the authority.Nothing will change if people don't follow the system.

There are a couple of painless ways that we (Software Engineers/Computer Users) can implement in our daily routine which will go a long way in ‘Saving’ electricity.

Shut down the computers before leaving home everyday. Tell me a very good reason why you wanna just logoff…. Coz u can log back in again in quickly next day! Gimme a break!!I don't buy that nonsense.With hi-end computers these days,it takes only a minute to log in. It’s ridiculous when people say that they need to get to their inboxes faster. Come on! Honestly, do these people really start working the minute they log into their so called Workstations. I have seen people reading/checking/forwarding mails for the first half an hour. Yes, some people are very busy.But how many …I say, about 5% of them.Rest, 95% can manage to wait for a minute. Isn’t that a reasonable demand?

Switch off the monitor!!!! It saves about 80% electricity…It is a fact! So the next time you need go out for a smoko/coffee/cuppa, please switch off the monitors.It makes a huge difference. For detailed analysis of the savings, click here.

Pretty simple.Aren’t they? But hardly followed!Anyways, I did me bit by writing about it and Thanks to you blokes/sheilas for reading it. They say “A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step”. So I will be really glad if atleast a single person hard codes these two simple things in his/her subconscious mind and uses them daily. Cheers!

More tips on saving electricity...Visit following links



3) Energy Saving tips- ACs

4) Energy Saving tips-Refrigerators

5) Saving Electricity (Good website detailing everything about electricity from the basics to 'how-to' stuff and some pretty neat energy saving tips too!)