Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Movies of 2008 thats already in IMDB top250 movies list

Year 2008 was a great year for movies. Hollywood saw many incredible movies. Not every year lots of movies make it to IMDB top 250 movies list. Of hundreds of movies that got released this year, nine of them are now in top 250 movie list.

I feel lucky to have seen most of the movies in the list. Each of the movies are special in its own way. The Dark Knight, the second installment of Chris Nolans Batman Begins, opened with a bang. It saw its way through the top movies list and was sitting in the numero uno position for some time. With due respect to The Godfather and Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Kight is now in the fourth position.

This year saw one of the most awesome animation movies of all time: Wall-E. Wall-E, a movie about a Robot which is left back in the earth to look after the junks, is now in 34th position.

Slumdog Millionaire, Gran Torino, The Wrestler, The Curious case of Benjamin Button and Milk got released just this month, yet didnt restrict themselves from finding a spot in top 250 movie list. Iron man was in the top 250 list till December, before these movies hit the big screens!

Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle(of Trainspotting fame), is a movie showcasing the dirtier(yet terrorizing and true) face of India. Danny Boyle's brilliant direction, along with A.R.Rahman's magical BGM, takes this movie ahead of many other movies that deals with such a subject.

The Wrestler, a movie about an ageing Wrestler, played by Mickey Rourke('Sir' Eddie Cook), is the most emotional movie in the list. Being a great fan of both Mickey Rourke and Darren Aronofsky, i am expecting this movie to climb up the ranks.

Lets hope 2009 too sees a great list of grand movies! Wishing you all a happy New Year!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Search engine plugin for Firefox.

Last night i was browsing through some recipes in The site has a massive database for all kinds of recipes. One thing that came to my mind was to write an extension for this site. But they did not have any API to query through their database. So i ended up writing a search plugin for the site.

Click on the images for the installation page.

Writing a search engine plugin is one of the easiest thing to do in Firefox. It was so easy that i just had to change the icons and search url for the other search engine plugins i wrote. I finally wrote search plugin for ToonDoo(which too has a massive collection of toons and no API yet!) and ZohoShare.

Here is a simple document on creating search engine plugin for your site. Here is a site for creating base64 enocoded string from your input file(icons for your search plugin should be a base64 encoded string of your actual icon file).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes: Firefox Extension

Like most people out there, i am also a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes strips. I had earlier written a iGoogle gadget that displays Calvin and Hobbes strip of the day. I wanted to convert this gadget to a Firefox extension for a long time. Couple days back(10/24), i was struck in my office due to rains and crazy traffic. That is when i decided to finish off this extension.

Here is the addon link. This is my second Firefox extension. This is also under experimental addons currently. You will need an account to install your copy.

After installation, a small Calvin icon will be added in the status bar. When ever you are bored, you can click on it to see the Calvin and Hobbes strip of the day in a small pop-up in the same window. Links are provided in the top to view the previous strips too.

This is the first bare-bone version of the extension, so may have few bugs and usability issues. As always, report any bugs/issues here. Feature requests are always welcome!

Update 1:
1. New Icons for navigation added.
2. First Strip and Random Strip links added.

Update 2:
1. Date Chooser added.
2. Firefox 3.1beta2 supported.

Update 3:
1. Favorite button added.
2. Users can now choose either favorite mode or default mode to navigate through the strips.

Update 4[1.0.3]:
1. Firefox 3.1beta2 UI issues fixed.
2. Opening the image in new tab(instead of new window) is done.
3. Minor navigation and tooltip issues fixed.

Addon is now Public. Many thanks to the reviewer(Zadkiel M).
You dont need an account to install this addon anymore!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Long awaited due...

As usual, i left from my office around 7.30pm. It was just starting to drizzle. I convinced myself that the rain will not be heavy, and started for my house. I was not even a kilometer away from my office, it started to rain little heavily. My bikes battery gave up, so no honking or proper lights.

I still managed to drive in the pouring rain, hoping to get home and have some good dinner :). I was about four kilometers away from my office(still around 11 kms to reach home), not knowing that i would be getting my long awaited due, i took a left turn to catch the Guindy main road(as the road ahead was jammed as usual).

I would have traveled about few hundred meters, there came a dog, wanting to cross the road. Neither did the dog saw me coming, nor did i(due to low battery/light story). I spotted the dog only a few feet away from me. It was standing clueless right in front of me. I tried my best to avoid the dog, but the dog still did not miss my wheels, resulting in a skid, dragging myself for quite a distance.

The road i took is not jammed because of a reason. The reason being, it had no roads on most of the stretch!! Puzzled at what just happened, i stood up and searched for the dog that foiled this attack on me :). The poor dog was still under the bike! I lifted the bike to free the dog. It ran off the second i lifted the bike(luckily it did not bite me!). The moment i lifted the bike, few people started to gather. I never liked being in a spotlight, that too when am looking like an idiot!. So, i started the bike and sped away.

After going quite far from the scene, i checked on myself. My hands were bleeding, so as my knee. I checked on my mobile, luckily it was alright! My pant was torn near the kneecap, and i was all dirty! I had no other choice but to go home in this state. I still had about 11 kilometers to travel. I was little worried on how my parents would take it when i reach home.

At that point of time, i did not feel any pain of any great deal. So i started home again. After around a kilometer, i began to feel the pain and it was growing on me exponentially. I had to tell myself that it has not yet reached the unbearable stage and went on. I now spotted a medical shop. Suddenly a scene from Bourne Ultimatum, where the hero gets medicine from a medial shop to treat his injuries, came to my mind :). I stopped there and got a bottle of Savlon and cleaned the wounds in my hands. I could not reach the wounds in my legs, so left home that way.

I finally reached home after about 1hr of traveling after the accident. My parents looked a bit shocked. Took a good bath after cleaning the wounds. Sprayed Old Spice(my fav. for bleeding wounds) on the wounds. Was about to have dinner(after-all, all this started because of the good dinner!), there came my dad. He insisted me to go to a doctor to take a TT shot.

We went to the doctor, took the shot, bought the medicines she prescribed and headed home. Finally had the dinner with peace in my mind :).

Having been cruising the Chennai roads for 4 odd years, this is my first big accident. I never had a fall that resulted in bleeding joints! It sure is a long awaited due. Had it not been my helmet, this could have been even worse. My helmet bares 3 deep big scratches on the part covering my jaw. Its still spooky to think that my jaw had to take those scratches!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

India Times Shopping woes

I saw an almost attractive offer in Times of India paper. The offer was for a chord-less telephone with caller-id, which costs Rs. 1999+180 delivery charge. Without having any second thoughts, we called up and booked for the phone.

We received the phone after 10 days of booking. At first look, the phone looked alright. There is one rule about this "home delivered products", there is always some hidden damages! We checked again to see charger adapter broken and caller-id not working.

We placed a replacement order. Packing back the product is bit of a pain. We had to take a printout of complaint letter too to place it in the box(yeah, tele-shopping, atleast in India Times, is not for computer illiterates!). The product was collected from our house in a days time. The replaced product was received in next 10 days.

This time we were not able to spot any damages. It was almost perfect. But the caller-id was still not working! This was suppose to be a caller-id phone. And caller-id cannot be faulty in both the deliveries. Suspecting false product delivery, we called up the customer support again, and they were not able to solve the problem themselves. They inturn gave the vendor customer care number.

We called up the phones vendor and notified him about the issue. After hearing his reply, we were a bit shocked. All he said was, we need to purchase an extra equipment(which will burn another 300 bucks from our pocket) for the caller-id to work! This was suppose to be a caller-id phone and no where in the Times of India advertisement it is mentioned that we need to buy this device. Being pissed and cheated, we called up the India time support again and asked them to take back the product.

We had to place a refund order for this, which we did. The product was taken from our house the very next day and was promised the refund within 7 days of receipt of the product. Ten days passed, no refund was sent. We called up the support yet again and they promised(again) the refund will be dispatched within ten days.

After a long wait, i received the below mail from India times support. (Issues quoted in red)

Dear $order.userFirstName userLastName [suppose to be my name, instead its some variable name]

We wish to inform you that we have processed refund against
Order No.: $order.orderNumber sub order number
$suborder.subOrderNumber $suborder.itemName
[suppose to be my order and sub order numbers]


With Warm Regards
Customer Service

Seeing the pathetic condition of their support, i decided to shoot a mail back to them to tell these issues. I had to use their grievances page. I drafted the content and sent it. At first try, the session got expired! I did not loose hope, started a fresh session, and sent it again. This time, i got the following error!

Exception occured:

The jsp file for some validation was missing in their server!! Do they atleast care to test these things? I pretty much know they dont test the products they send to their customers. They could have atleast tested the products they and their customers use.

I would never buy any products again from India Times Shopping. A lesson well learnt, again!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A day without a honk..

As I had to give my bikes battery for recharging, i was left with no choice to travel a day in the bike without the battery in it. By saying that, there is no way i could use by bikes horn, till the battery is ready. Earlier i thought, its not a big deal driving in Chennai without hoking off. But now i realized its really a tough task.

With roads blessed with jay walkers, unruly drivers, right-in-the-middle-of-the-road cyclers, jump-out-as-you-like bus takers, its close to impossible to drive in Chennai without honking. Its almost like driving without breaks. But as i said, i was left with no other choice, i had to take my bike.

Earlier i tried to take a bus, and it took me around two and a half hour to reach my office(just around 15 kms and in the bike it takes around 45 mins in peak hours)! So these days taking bus is not even an option for me(either take the bike or stay home :) is the policy).

While driving to office, i had no big problems driving without hoking. Except for few cases, like bikers who travel at less than 20 kmph(generally with a mobile in their hand), auto drivers who turn their vehicle as they wish, drives who hate using indicators, people who dont honk in turnings(hey dont look at me, i did not have a choice) and children.

Children are the main issue in the above list. While auto drivers are more unpredictable than most children, we still have to be careful driving behind children. The up-sides of driving without honking is you cannot drive faster or do rash driving in this hectic Chennai traffic and ofcourse, you wont contribute to the noise pollution(at-least for that day).

All in all, it wasn't really a terrible experience. I feel its a good practice to have a no-horn day once in a month or fortnight.

Friday, October 3, 2008

ZohoCreator 3.0 Release Video

ZohoCreator rolled out their 3.0 version few days back. The highlight of the release was their release video. The Comic Video showcasing the features/power of ZohoCreator using cartoon characters was really awesome. Embedding the same below.

ZohoCreator fans can rate the video here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cool songs in recent times

Recently i stumbled upon a cool song from FloBots called Handlebars in a radio. I haven't heard about the band called FloBots till i chanced upon this powerful song recently. Having loved this song so much, wanting to hear again, digged YouTube to find the song here . No wonder the song got over 10 million clicks and over 76,000 comments within a span of just 5 months! Below is the song.

Another song which caught my attention was Viva La Vida by Cold Play. The song is really awesome and will linger in your ears even after the song is over :). I must tell, i had become a fan of Cold Play after this song. Below is the song.

A song that truly needs a mention is, So What, by Pink. Yeah you read it right, Pink is back and the song rocks! Here is the song, below is the embedded video.

Few others that are really good are,

More to come soon....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Type in your local language - Firefox Extension

Ever wanted to chat in Tamil(or any other Indian Languages) from Zoho Chat or Gmail Chat? I have been longing to do so ever since i saw this feature in Orkut.

Google recently released their Language API, which include Translation and Transliteration APIs. Using their Transliteration API, we can convert any English text to native language(Ex: Tamil can be changed to தமிழ்) on the fly(like in Orkut). This feature is really useful while we chat or post comments.

Of-course we cannot expect every site we use to integrate this feature...but we can anytime build an extension in Firefox to fulfill our requirements. So one fine day i sat down and started writing a GreaseMonkey script...which happened to work in Firefox-2 and failed to work in Firefox-3. Dejected by the output, started porting the code as an extension, which worked fine in FF3 after a couple sleepless nights!

Here is the Firefox Extension i wrote to get the Transliteration feature plugged in to sites like Zoho Mail and GMail. As the extension is currently under Experimental category, you will need an account to install the extension. IE users please excuse :)

Currently the extension can transliterate the texts in 'textarea' alone. Hopefully will extend this feature to editable iframes very soon.

The extension is still in early stages, so bugs are common :). Please share your thoughts and report any bugs you face here.

Update 1: Version 1.0.3: Lots of bug fixes, Preference box with default language, text box support based on user preference

Update 2: Verion 1.0.4: Performance and issue fixes. Recommended Install.

Update 3: Verion 1.0.5: Textarea/textbox style corruption issue fixed. Recommended Install.

Update 4: Addon is now Public!! You dont need an account anymore to install your copy!

Update 5: I am(was) lobbying hard to get the latest version of the addon reviewed. Will try harder when I get more time. Till then please use the experimental version from here:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Firefox 3.0 Experience

The much hyped Firefox 3.0 was released yesterday(Jun 17th). I too wanted a copy installed in my work PC which incidentally is a Linux Box. I have never installed Firefox in my Linux box in a single attempt! Anyhow, i successfully installed a copy in my PC after struggling with it for some time.

Some of the good features i noted about Firefox 3.0 are,
  • A lot faster than Firefox 2.0
  • Smart location bar(which was frustating factor initially...simply rocks now)
  • Fonts looks smoother
  • Taggable bookmarks
  • Smart Bookmarks(Which lists Most visited sites and recently bookmarked pages)
  • Offline support!
  • Integrated Anti-virus(off-course for windows alone)
  • Enhanced Add-on manager and download manager
  • Integrated Feed reader
  • Cool password manager(No more ugly save password dialog)
  • Better session and crash manager.
Well, every product has its ups and downs. All we hope is lesser downs on products we use :). Some of the downsides of Firefox 3.0 are,
  • Crashed a couple of times in first one hour
  • Native look-and-feel. This totally sucks in Linux(but looks good in Mac). If i have to make it look better in my Linux Box, i have to tweak my Linux UI Manager. Even current themes dont solve the problem fully!
  • Partially lost my toolbar bookmarks(was able to recover it from my older version though).
  • Higher(yet adjustable) memory usage(noticed only in Linux box)
  • Most of the addons installed on the earlier version is yet to get compatible with Firefox 3.0
  • Will kill you with proxy username/password dialogs if u dont click 'Ok' button on time. My firefox once opened 100+ of those dialogs!
  • Ugly border appears on all text boxes while typing on it.(happens in linux, not sure in windows)
  • Had real time to get it run in my Linux box
The smart location bar that Firefox 3.0 sports was really one of the frustrating factor initially. But the bottom line was, it needed some time to adapt with our browsing habits. Firefox brings up sites list as we type in the location bar. Earlier, it was done with a simple starts-with check(if u type goo, firefox brings up in the top of the list). But in Smart location bar, if we type goo, it will bring up if you used to visit quite often than i.e. the sites are ordered based on the visits.

One downside of Smart location bar is, it takes the title of the site we have visited in to consideration(which means, if you have often visited gmail many times and try to type, gmail will be listed first).

On the whole, Firefox 3.0 is far better and lot faster than its earlier version(though it needs few improvements). Its sure to give IE(and other browsers) a run for the money!


A little insight on how to run firefox in Linux successfully if you ever get the below error
Error: in guard: symbol required but got: Error: fatal: looped fatal error

This was the error which made me go bonkers while installing Firefox 3 in my Linux box(Mandriva 2008). After a lot of googling, I found out that the issue was due to the UIM(ver: 1.4.6) installed in my machine. To run Firefox, there were just 2 options left. I either have to install the latest(1.5.1) version of UIM or uninstall UIM from the machine. 1.5.1 version of UIM is not available for Mandriva 2008, so i had to uninstall UIM(which actually is not useful for me) through drakconf to kick-start Firefox in my machine .

Friday, June 13, 2008

10000 B.C(2008): Review

I have a special inclination towards prehistoric movies. 10000B.C is one such movie directed by Roland Emmerich. Being the director of great movies like The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day and The Patriot, i expected this movie also to be in the same lines. But 10000BC proved to be one big utter waste to time.

10000BC revolves around the life of a young Mammoth hunter named D'Leh. For some funny reasons our prehistoric hero and his tribe mates could speak English real fine. A young girl(Evelot) whose tribe was ransacked by another dangerous tribe called "Demon Tribe" comes to D'Leh's tribe and its 'love at first site' for D'Leh (because there was no other girls in his tribelaughing).

D'Leh's father used to be the tribes leader once. He ran away from the tribe when D'Leh was young creating a bad impression among his tribe members. This incident made the other kids brand D'Leh as "Son of a coward". Time for the current tribe leader to pass on his throne to the next bravest person had come. One who brings down the 'Lead Bull'(Mammoth) will be termed as the bravest and hence the next leader. D'Leh somehow manages to bring the lead bull down and gets the throne and the girl(Evelot).

The very next day, the demon tribes hunters come to D'Leh's place and takes many of the tribes as slaves with them. Evelot is one among them. Rest of the story deals with how D'Leh saves Evelot and other slaves from the demon tribe people.

I, basically wanted to watch this movie for the below reasons.
  • Roland Emmerich(who eventually did not live up to his expectations)
  • Saber tooth(which actually came only in 2 scenes)
  • CGI(the only thing thats good in this movie, but for the Saber tooth parts)
But the storyline turns out to be a ditto of Apacalyto with the mixture of few parts from Path Finder, told using the narrative style of 300. The only difference between the climax of 300 and 10000BC is D'Leh did not miss his target!. I could recommend this movie to one who haven't seen the above movies(coz, this is a 3-in-1 movie).

The director even got most of the historic details (like Pyramids in 10000BC, English medium barbarians laughing, mammoths in desert) wrong. Bottom line is, 10000BC is watchable once if one has the ability to watch movies with their brains switched off!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time to become a vegie

I have been a non-vegetarian(even though not a hard core meat eater) for most of my life now. I am(again) trying to be a vegetarian from now on. I had given a couple of tries previously, but never could keep up to it. One way or the other i end up eating meat(usually happens in the very next treat).

This time i hope to keep my oath as long as possible. The only problem being a vegetarian is the parties! The restaurants don't have much of a choice for vegetarians. Its same old potatoes and mushrooms all i can think off. The waiters come to take orders only after he finishes off with non-veg guys. The orders come late. "It really sucks to be a vegetarian" is what i would feel when i see vegetarians trying to figure out what to eat.

I personally have teased many of my vegetarian friends for eating carrots and greens like a cow :). I am now in the receiving side. There are two things i cant live without(previously there was 3 including fish). They are Eggs and Movies :). I dont think i can sustain without eating eggs. So i have included eggs in the vegetarian basket.

Many of my friends ask why would i ever think of changing to a vegetarian?. I really don't know the exact reason. One reason is my parents are staunch vegetarians. They don't entertain non-vegetarian foods in our house(though they let me eat what ever i want). So cooking meat in our house is ruled out completely. Restaurants are not maintaining the hygiene factor. I have heard many of my non-vegetarian friends telling, non-veg is best ate when cooked in ones house. I agree on that. More over, every restaurant i have been since today, the food is either soaked in oil or tastes bland. So by avoiding non-veg in restaurants, i am actually avoiding non-veg fully :).

And the other more important reason is the animal slaughters involved. Many ask, "will the animal killings stop just because you stop eating meat?". My answer is 'no'. But I am at-least taking a step to stop it and I can be least assured that no animal is killed for the sake of feeding me!

Those who want to become a vegetarian, here's couple links
Hope things go well and i stay as a vegetarian for rest of my life.

p.s: I am posting this as a blog just to remember the day i became a vegetarian. My previous attempts failed just because i don't remember since how long i have kept my oath, and will end up eating non-veg food the very next day to start all over again....the recursion never stopped till today :)

Fish and Prawns: Restaurant Review

Fish and Prawns was opened near my house few months back. I wanted to give this restaurant a try for a long time. Finally me along with my friend decided to try this place last weekend hoping to eat some fish.

We actually went little early to the restaurant and the place was not even 20% full. We decided to take our seats inside the AC hall. AC hall was better than the one outside with good sofas and lighting. When we saw the menu card, it was no different than some kerala-type restaurants menu card. No seafood specials, in-fact poultry items looked far better than seafood items in their menu!

Disappointingly we had to order for a chicken clear soup and a couple of sea food starters. Soup was drinkable, and surprisingly, the starters were good too. We then ordered for a egg dosa, chicken dosa. The waiter gave us a you-are-going-to-starve look. He then asked us "Enough?". We thought we will order for one more main dish and ordered for egg kothu parota. Now the waiter said we will have to order a sidedish separately for dosas. We asked him his suggestion. He suggested prawn masala and we went for it.

The dosas and parota were served and the side dish is yet to come. By the time the sidedish came, the main dishes were cold. We then tried the prawn masala and my friend gave me a what-the-hell-is-it look! The prawn masala was sour with prawns tasted like beef. Dosas tasted like it was made with the dough prepared weeks back. The raita that came with parota was no good either. It smelt like rat poison!!

We tried our level best to finish the food, but we never could. We wasted most of the prawn masala and the parota(which actually was good, but prawn masala played spoil sport on it too). We really regretted that we have stepped in to one crappy restaurant.

We actually wanted to have some seafood, and ended up ordering a big mess. Btw, how are the restaurants named? When obviously, their area of interest is not seafood, why would they name it Fish and prawns and disappoint their new customers?! They could have just named it Dine and die :)!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Dark Knight - New Stills and Official trailer released!

Well, just a couple of days back, in my previous post, i was mourning that Christopher Nolan isn't releasing any new images or new trailers of the upcoming Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight. But here we are, few more images and the new official trailer is out in the web now.

Here are the images. And heres the new trailer.

In my previous post, i got it wrong by telling Two face is also a villan, but hes kind of a vigilante who along with Batman and Inspector Gordon saves Gotham city from the dangerous claws of Joker!

More updates coming soon.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Most anticipated movies(2008)

Here is my list of most anticipated movies of this year. Its in the reverse order.

This is the year of Red, Green and Black! Hellboy, Hulk and Batman are making a re-entry in the big screen..with a bang! This year introduces a new superhero in the big screen, Hancock. Willsmith has done most of the roles that takes saving the world. Hes taking his chances in playing a superhero now...the trailer is already out and its awesome.

The much hyped, fourth installment of Indiana Jones is also getting released this May, starring Harrison Ford...again! Keanu Reeves is making a comeback with Street kings. The trailer looks promising. Even though this isn't his first film as a cop, he looks stunning in this one.

I did not like the previous version of Hulk much. Ang Lee screwed it up big time. Hoping forward to see this new Hulk in big screen. By the way, Eric Bana is no longer Hulk, Edward Norton stole his place. Hope this Hulk strikes big! Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are teaming up after 13 years(the previous one was Heat, which was a terrific hit) in Righteous Kill. Rapper 50 Cents is also starring in this movie.

Hellboy-2 is another big-budget film i am curious to watch. First installment of Hellboy was very entertaining..hope this one follows the same trait.

Being a big fan of Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale and of-course Batman, i really cant wait to see The Dark Knight out in theaters. Batman Begins was awesome and Bale as Batman simply rocks!! The new Batman movie presents two villans, The Joker and Two face. Heath Ledger as Joker was amazing and terrifying(in the trailers). The Dark Knight is easily the movie of the year.

All Batman fans are already berserk as the release date nears. I would like to ask Nolan just one thing, please, please reveal something!! at-least release some more pictures and teasers. The latest trailer which is been screened recently after Its all part of the plan event, is not yet available on net.

Overall, this year is the year of blockbusters and i am sure will be a feast for movie lovers all over the world.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Untraceable(2008): Review

Untraceable is yet another serial-killer flick with mediocre plot. This movie is about about a serial killer, who streams each of his victims murder on his site named As the name of the site suggests, more the traffic to the site, quicker the victim dies, which makes viewers kill the victim along with him.

Jennifer Marsh, a secret agent who works with cyber-crime department spots the killers site and finds him stream live video of a cat being killed. She immediately reports it to her higher authority and tries to shutdown the site. Even after several attempts, she was not able to shutdown this site(servera directa NASA space shuttlea vechurupaan pola). Finally her boss asked her to do some useful work rather trying to shutdown an useless site.

Next day, the site again streams a live video. This time its not a cat, but a man, who is chained and some poisonous chemical is injected on him. She frantically tries to locate the server only to find out that the server is mirrored in different countries! Eventually the victim dies as the viewers swarm to the site.

The killer finds his next victim. He chains him and places him in front of high voltage bulbs. The intensity of the bulb increases with the number of visitors. This time, her boss tries to use his head and comes up with a dumb idea of telling the press about it. After the press release, the visitors to the site increase in an alarming rate. Just before he looses his consciousness, he tries to tell the address, but the killer escapes from there before cops zero down the place. As a progress, the agent finds out that the killer is allowing viewers only from US. But failed to know an obvious fact that they can ban a particular site in their country!!

His next victim is our agents partner. He is kidnapped and is kept in a big glass tub filled with water. It is connected to a tube passing sulphuric acid. As usual, the rate at which the acid flows in to the tub is directly proportional to the amount of viewers to the site. This time, the victim being a secret agent, he tries to convey something in morse code using his eyes. The agent tried to tell the word 'our suicide'. Using these words alone, our super agent Jennifer Marsh finds out that the killer is the son of a suicide victim(iva oru pombala Vijayakanth!), whose death video was broad-casted in many news channels.

His first victim was the person who sold this fathers skull for a big sum. His second victim was a TV reporter who broadcasted the video and his third victim was the agent who did not do anything to stop the broadcast. All these details are surprisingly derived from the morse code!!

After solving the case in a jiffy, she drives home. For some reason she rides back(i actually fell asleep by this time). On her way back, her car stops on its own and the killer speaks with her through some wireless connected to her car. She breaks the window to escape out of the car and talks to her friend and asked him to pick her up. But, all of a sudden, the car starts on its own again, but this time the killer is hiding in the back seat! As usual, the killer kidnaps her to some garage where he hangs her upside-down with some chopper motor spinning below her head.

The rope is released with the number of visitors to his site. She being a secret agent, uses her training skills and tries to swing the rope to get hold of a pole in one corner. The killer being really smart in creating untraceable sites, failed to note people tied upside down could swing! When the killer goes near her to release her grip, she attacks him using a fire extinguisher and cuts the rope to release herself. She then attacks him vigorously and finally kills him with a gun lying on the floor. After killing him, she flashes her badge to the camera(enna oru budhisali thanam!).

On the whole, this movie is again a mash-up of movies like Saw. The director expects the viewer to be totally dumb(untraceable sites are ultimate fantasies). Looking at the poster of the movie, which pretty-much looked like Silence of the lambs movie poster, i really expected much more from this movie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cleanliness: An Indian view

Ever wondered why European and American Countries are cleaner/tidier/neater than India? Is it because cleanliness is groomed to them from the childhood and its it their blood or they use simple common sense? We(Indians) tend to learn every thing from foreign countries, but eventually missed out the most obvious and essential stuffs like sanitation and cleanliness.

Last Friday i was traveling back home from my office. It was late and traffic was unusually high at 10pm. Was patiently waiting for the traffic to clear near Vadapalani signal. I was near a tempo van. Whatever idea ran into the tempo driver is still opaque..he opened the door, and started spitting on the road. As i was near him, my foot was also not spared! I gave him a wtf-look and he gave me a i-am-an-ass-look and asked apologies. Probably he mistook my leg looked to a wash-basin ;).

Even though his intention was not to spit on me, he didn't even realize he should not spit on the road. Like vivek says, its very true that, "In our country we should not kiss in public, but can piss anywhere!".

While driving back home, with a stinking leg, was questioning myself why the Indians don't prefer a cleaner way of living and why most of the places in India is dirty and filthy...the first thing came to my mind was the illiterate and economically unlucky lots.

Most of them either open up biriyani/food stalls and wash the plates and throw the waste in the streets or encroach the platform. Couple of years back, when i was traveling in a PTC bus, i had a brawl with a passenger who was coolly smoking his beedi. I did not want to complain to the conductor like a baby, so i handled him myself....though he did not stop smoking afterwards:). I could realize now that cleanliness and sanitation is not brooded with us.

Thinking deeper, its not only illiterate people who turn streets in to garbage pits, every single citizen plays some part or the other. We drink tea from tea shop and throw the cups in the street corners, buy things and throw the trash/plastics on the road, take our pets out for a walk and make them use the road as their toilets, cleaning vehicles on the road, use the road as garage to store things while constructing a house etc.

Government does their part by not providing enough public toilets, not cleaning and maintaining the roads properly, not enforcing proper/stricter sanitation rules, allowing buses with pathetic condition to pollute and ruin the roads, allowing garbage trucks to be driven with a open top(so that they can spread garbage), unmaintained drainages, uncleared slums etc.

As a result of these, we get dustier, bumpier and dirtier roads. I am really not sure whether this condition will ever change. We are really getting degraded each year. Few years back, i still remember chennai with somewhat cleaner roads. Today, one can not stand or drive near a bus, because someone will spit on you certainly. We will keep wondering(for years) how foreign countries are spic and span, while not knowing that its in the hands of we people!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cannibal Holocaust(1980): Review

This is one of the sickest film i have ever seen. After seeing the controversies surrounding this particular movie(ex. getting banned in 50 odd countries and director Ruggero Deodato getting arrested etc.), i thought of giving it a go. Even though the movies title mentions about cannibals, the movie is more or less like an animal-snuff film! *This film is surely not for any light hearted persons*

The movie started with a basic statuary warning stating that the movie contains unedited gruesome clippings. The movie is about a missing crew of ambitious documentary film makers, who set their foot in dangerous Amazon jungle to make a documentary about the cannibal tribes living there. A highly reputed professor is sent to recover the missing crew.

With the help of a local guide(who himself looks like a dressed barbarian) and his assistant, they start their search. The first 15 minutes went off without any bloodshed or killing. Then came first killing scene in which the assistant kills a Coatimundi for their lunch. He gives its stomach parts for a local tribe fellow(kaatu vaasi), who gets caught in the earlier scene, to eat(which he relishes eating raw).

After tracing 2 tribes, they finally found the Cannibal tribes who are locally referred to as Tree people(as they lived in trees). The introduction scene of tree people itself was gruesome. They were shown catching a cave woman(from a tree) for their dinner.

The crew attends their ritual meeting where the tribe leader chants something for sometime which the professor records. After sometime he plays the chanting to the tribe after which they are invited for the dinner(yep! the lady they caught earlier). The professor was offered the liver(or kidney or looked sick) which he had to eat(else he will be their side-dish). Finally they were able to recover the camera used by the documentary film crew along with their skulls.

Rest of the film deals with video recorded by the film crew which reveals their crueler intentions. The footage contains killing of a turtle, snake, monkey, spider and a pig. Warn you, these are real killings of animals filmed. I found really hard to watch the turtle killing scene. It was the goriest of the all(even now i feel like vomiting if i think about this scene).

In the video, the documentary crew members are shown terrorizing the local tribes, raping a local tribe girl and burning their houses. They finally meet the Tree people(who are like the head tribe of the jungle). The Tree people show them the final highway to hell. They are surrounded, beaten to death and finally torn apart and eaten by the Cannibal tribe.

I did not enjoy even a single minute of the movie(i now hope i never had watched this film). The only thing i enjoyed in this film is a background score that comes once in a while. I regret seeing this movie basically because of the animal killing scenes. I feel the essence of the movie would not have degraded even a single bit even without these animal killing scenes. They could have atleast faked those scenes! Shame on director Ruggero Deodatos part on killing helpless animals for the sake of trying to add power to the storyline(which he ultimately failed).

Finally, this movie is not worth a watch. There are better movies and better things to do for one and a half hour rather watching this sick film. Many consider this movie as a classic(the director himself considers this as his best film). I could directly relate this movie as sick. Miss this one for your own good!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mobile purchase

I had to get one mobile for my mom. I was asked to do it 3 months back. Due to few obvious reasons(one of which is, me being lazy) it was slightly delayed and i finally got one yesterday. As this is my first mobile purchase, i didn't have any idea on what are the criteria to look for.

Me and my brother discussed for few minutes and finally decided on a model(Nokia 2630). Now the problem is, where to get it. There are 4 mobile shops near my office(Subiksha, Nokia Priority, UniverCell and Mobile Store). I was not in a mood to go to all the four shops and decide on the cheapest one. I was advised not to purchase in Priority as it was the costliest of the lot. The very name Subiksha itself did not attract me (and off-course their mobile shop doest have good reviews eaither).

So the choices were rounded-off to UniverCell and Mobile Store. I had been to Mobile store 2 days back to see their quote for this mobile. Before going to UniverCell, i checked their website for their price. Their price was 150 bucks lesser than what mobile store quoted. So i thought UniverCell would be the right place to get it.

After visiting UniverCell, i regretted the decision of getting a mobile here. The price what they have quoted in their website and what the sales person said differed by 250 bucks! When i asked about it, he said its only for online purchase(which was never stated in their website)!! After saying this, the sales person stared packing the mobile to where it belonged and gave me a if-you-want-get-it-or-walk-off look. So i chose to walk off. I am really taken by surprise to see the crowd UniverCell is getting with this kind of service.

Since i badly needed this mobile to be bought, my next stop was in Mobile Store where i had a totally different experience. Their sales people were friendlier than the one in UniverCell. Even though they didn't reduce the price, i was totally satisfied with their service.

Bottom line is, purchasing a mobile is a 10 minutes job, so no point being lazy :) and never choose UniverCell for getting a mobile even if you are in a remote place with UniverCell being the only store for getting mobiles.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tatasky: pros and cons

We have been using Tatasky DTH in our house for past few months. I would say, Tatasky is not complete value for money. Listed are its pros and cons

I would start with pros,

1. Topnotch video and audio quality on most(yeah! not all) of the channels.
2. 24 hrs signal reception(apart from the time your house doesn't have power)
3. Good customer support.
4. On-screen alerts for renewal and new channel additions.
5. Easy payment options. One can easily renew through online.
6. Mobile SMS alerts.

Here are the list of irritating issues,

1. One has to use two remotes. One that comes with the TV for controlling the TV and the other for changing the channels.
2. It always shows the boring Help video on a cold boot.
3. Video quality for few channels are pathetic. Ex: HBO. The quality of HBO sucks big time.
4. Its a bit expensive. One has to burn 350 bucks a month for 30 odd good channels(i am not including all the other crap channels).
5. No reception on heavy rainy days(not so common in chennai)
6. Change of channel combination for packages done without user control(but with intimation). They remove or add channels as they like.
7. Don't have many attractive packages. One has to go for the 300 bucks or 350 bucks package for good channel list.
8. Language option is not available for most of the channels(might be the channels restriction)

I was really impressed by their support. While renewing my account, i thought i should let them know about the HBO reception issue. So i logged a complaint with my phone number in the feedback form on their site. To my surprise, the very next day, i got a call from one of their support person. Even though the issues is not solved till date, its really a feel good factor when you come to know your complaints are being listened to.

The only reason, i think, why Tatasky is able to survive with is highly priced packages is the lack of competition. If more competition spawns in this market, we can expect more attractive channel packages from all the players.

Chase: Being a cop for 10 mins...

Two days back, i was driving past Saidapet towards Velachery to my office. There used to be police checking (mostly for Helmets defaulters) near the concord stopping every Thursdays.

I was driving behind a Sumo. When we were about the cross the cops, the police asked the Sumo to stop. Apparently, the Sumo driver had different intentions and flew past the cop. As i was the very next person to the Sumo, he asked me to stop too. This time not for any checking, but for chasing the Sumo :).

I was asked to follow and overtake the Sumo. After a chase of about 2kms, we overtook and caught the Sumo. Thanks to the city traffic and the PTC bus ahead the Sumo. All the way through the chase, the police was constantly alerting the cops next signal through his radio (like in the movies ;)) about the Sumo.

One thing i learnt from this experience is, if a traffic police plans to nail you down, there is no running away. Its always better to stop and answer the cops rather get caught running away and paying a hefty penalty!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Enemy within - down with fever

Its 2.00 a.m and i really couldn't sleep. I hardly would have slept for an hour tonight. The intensity of fever and heaviness on my throat and head is increasing exponentially. Yet, i hate to take pills or go see a doc.

The same kind of symptoms were there with my dad a month back. I don't know about the sleeping part though, cause, i never could sleep(easily) back when i wake up in the mid-night.

My dad went to 3 different doctors, and almost took hundreds of pills(mostly antibiotics) for the whole time. I couldn't see him completely well even now. So i don't like to see doctors who treat patients like lab rats(and obviously all of them practice on us).

While i type this blog(almost shivering), my dog is sitting besides me and starring at me for obvious reasons. When ever some one wakes up, that some one got to let him out in the terrace. I can't do that today(since i am pretty much sure that hes gonna make an ass out of me and never would come down ;)).

Even though the clock is ticking, i really don't feel sleepy. My mom kept pestering me and made me have half a pill, so that i could feel better(and apparently i had to do).

Its been a while since i am down with fever(almost an year now). Could be because of the season(its piping hot in the day and cold during nights). I was the only one left in my (office) team who hadn't been down with fever. And finally the enemy within heard their plea and and granted their wish :P(pun intended).

If this fever continues, i really don't think i could be back on track with my normal day activities for a while. Hope this is really just a normal fever(not any kind of viral shit) and i would be back on track(and don't miss our official Cric. Fest :)) soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Joker gives a Shocker - Heath Ledger is no more!!

This probably would be one of the saddest news(recently) for all the film buffs and off-course batman fanatics like me. Heath Ledger, who had been nominated for his performance in Brokeback Mountain, was found dead in his apartment last afternoon(22nd Jan). More details on his death can be found here and here. To get a glimpse of his performance in The Dark Knight, have a look at the teaser trailer here.

A tribute to the new Joker a.k.a Heath.

May his soul rest in peace!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Indian 11 vs Australian 14!

The second test match in Sydney was full of controversies, wrong umpiring decisions and off-course, exchange of words. In my opinion, Indian players are merely cheated to loose the match! One can understand if there were one or two misjudgments. After-all umpires are humans. But more than 10 erroneous decisions (most of which against India) is ridiculous.

Once again Australians proved that they can go to any extent to win a match. The way Michael Clarke waited for the umpire decision after being caught by the slip proves the point. Australian cricket will no longer be considered as a Gentleman's game after this match in Sydney. As Steve Waugh said, "Test will be remembered for wrong reasons".

To cover up the umpiring errors, Australians have reported against Harbajan Singh, that he called Symonds a "Monkey". And the match referee Mr. Procter found Harbajan guilty of Racial comments! In what sense, calling a person "Monkey" be considered a racial abuse?? And this very incident doesn't have any audio or video evidence to prove Harbajan is guilty. Procter banned Harbajan for 3 test matches on what Clarke and Ponting said as evidence! Why is not Sachin's statement considered in the verdict? Is it because he is not white? Is this not racism? One can know the credibility of Ponting from here. If Harbajan is found not-guilty, will Symonds and co. be penalize for bluffing?

Australians lacked decency and Indian team can hold their head high for playing the whole test in true spirit. Its high time that we recall the team back to defend our self respect. If they really wanted to play the rest of the series, call back Sreesanth to make them taste their own medicine. And off-course, call back Bucknor and Benson for their outstanding efforts to uproot Indian cricket team.