Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mix n' Match

Old temples had tall gopuras (monumental towers) which had sculptures and cravings of Hindu mythology or the deity of the temple. But this new temple has a gopuram with a police-man and a police-woman sculptured in it-

Found in one of the temples in the 'Temple City' aka Madurai


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why I prefer Facebook to Google+

Google+, the most happening site of the month, somehow doesn't impress me as much as I had expected! To me, Google+ profile is merely my old 'Google Profile' with friend groups and all my gchat, Youtube, Orkut, Buzz, Maps, GMail and Picasa accounts linked to it with fancy names like "circles", "sparks" etc. And yes, not to forget about "+1", which is just the same as "like" in Facebook.

But, the whole idea of having a single account to use all our Google widgets is cool. It has its own set of pros and cons. With a single sign in, we can have the entire web experience- social networking, web search, mails, photo sharing, video sharing and everything possible in a web, which is good! Given someone's name in the web, the complete history and geographical detail of that person can be tracked. Not to forget that ads will be beautifully placed as Google will pretty much know all of our interests and everything we do in the web world. Those details will in-turn be used for page ranking and ads placement by Google for obvious reasons. To know more about Google+ in an advertiser's perspective, click here. But people who are worried about privacy might not like all of these.

You would have noticed that all photos in Google+ is shared using Picasa. But a big mistake is that Google+ profile pictures have become "public" in Picasa web album. Looks like Google image search on someone's name will return his/her photo, which is highly undesirable to many. I just wish that something is done about it by making the 'Privacy settings' better.

And what's the big deal about "circles"? It is just the same concept of friend groups but with a fancy user-interface! Moreover, selecting a circle for every post is just tiring to me! Please let me know if there is a way to set a default to this. The default should have been "Your Circles" instead of "Public". And, People can just randomly add me to their circles irrespective of me adding them to mine. This might hurt sometimes when I add someone to my circle, and that person doesn't, but I still appear as his follower- This was something that I hated in Buzz and now they have propagated here too. I've always preferred the classic way of sending friend request to get into someone's network.

"Hangout" is something which is interesting, I should agree. I can create group of all my friends and just "hangout" with them. Let's see how far people would use this feature though.

BTW, what about communities/pages? Isn't there something similar in Google+ or did I miss it somehow? But people can just open a separate Google Account in the name of the community they want to start and post/share things in Google+. Others can follow them and they need not follow any. But not sure if there is any alternative to 'Discussion forum' here. But overall, wish there was something similar to the 'Facebook Pages'.

And Google should also find a way to facilitate use of Apps for games, quizzes and others to improve the social experience. We are used to having fun by using an app and publishing on the Facebook Wall and seeing people comment on it.

Overall, except for "Hangout", I am not moved by any other feature in Google+. Moreover that is the only new thing introduced here and we had everything else already, just that they were in different names. And the greatest irony of all time is that Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is the most followed user in Google+ !


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gadgets and my life

 I was deep asleep and I heard some loud music, which stopped after playing for sometime. Then again, after sometime, I heard it again when I realized that it was my alarm clock set in my mobile.  Then I got up, switched on the water heater in my bathroom and took bath. Then I prepared breakfast using microwave oven, with which I save most of my time spent in the kitchen. Then I got a reminder about few of my pending items in my checklist from rememberthemilk to my phone. I made all necessary arrangements and then checked for emails from my laptop and left for office.

On the way to office, I kept thinking of how we humans have become totally dependent on gadgets. From the moment we got up, till we get to sleep, we are always with a gadget, if not with our partner ;), most of the times. What would happen if we wake up one fine morning and see that all the gadgets in this world have disappeared suddenly.

1. No alarms and reminders. So waking up in the morning is itself a question.
2. Most of my time will be spent on kitchen to cook food as there won't be any grinder, mixer or microwave-ovens.
3. I cannot take an option of working from home as there won't be any laptop!  This is disappointing.
4. Well, if the previous point is disappointing, here comes the next. There won't be any computers at all. Hence, there is nothing called 'software' and so I am not required to engineer it i.e., I am jobless. My education on computers would go waste and my 'Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science' degree is no longer valid.
5. No more phone calls or emails. I have to communicate with my parents by post.
6. I have to go to the railway station to book ticket in advance. They maintain every passenger details for every train in separate files for easy reference.
7. I don't even know if airports would function :P
8. What about stock markets? What about investors?
9. No more forecasting of earthquakes or storms. Astrologers will be happy :P
10. Movies like 'Robot' will be used as a reference for proving the past existence of electronic devices to future generation. By the way, I don't know how data will be stored that time.

And so on...  All I can hope is that, it is just a nightmare!

Living without gadgets is obviously difficult because they 'define' us. I am defined by mail ID, my blog title, my facebook profile, my phone, my laptop, my ebooks and the list grows day by day. If given a choice to jump to past or to the future, I would definitely choose future; because the change is easy, indeed.

This post is an entry to the "Change is Easy" contest by Dell Inspiron and IndiBlogger to win a cool Dell Inspiron laptop.

To promote this post, click here.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Tamil language, an Art?

All of it started with Gopika's gorgeous yellow saree with tamil letters on it in the movie 'Autograph'. I don't know who's idea it was, but it was definitely different and interesting. Well today, it is in fashion!
Masaba Gupta, Mumbai-based India's famous fashion designer, took inspiration from it and has released similar designs. And people know to read it or not, wear it!

Photo Credit: highheelconfidential

BTW, the lady in the photo is Masaba's mother.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Today's Movie marathon

I've decided to go for a movie marathon this afternoon. 4 movies in a row!

Thriller movies have always been good to watch and gives me a satisfaction of watching a movie! But somehow I feel an aversion to watching thriller movies today. I feel like watching some drama or documentaries or even animation movies today. So I made a list of 10 movies out of which I've selected 4.

The movies that I considered for screening were:

1. Forrest Gump
2. Mona Lisa Smile
3. Spirited Away
4. Brokeback Mountain
5. Rabbit Hole
6. Eat Pray Love
7. Julie and Julia
8. Falling in Love
9. Tangled
10. Rachel Getting Married

And my final list is:

1. Brokeback Mountain

As I said, I wanted to watch a different movie with some good performances and a different story in it. I chose this movie purely based on critical reviews and awards list. Hope it does have a good story to tell.

2. Rabbit Hole

Basically I am a Nicole Kidman fan, and so I finalized this movie just like that after looking at Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB ratings which were pretty impressive. She won so many awards for this movie and was also nominated for Academy awards- Best Actress. So I'am sure this critically acclaimed movie will not disappoint me.

3. Julie and Julia

Generally, I like to watch multiple stories that are connected in a single movie. One such movie that I enjoyed watching was "The Hours". At the end of such movies I always think, "Isn't that amazing that you are not part of just your own story, but also related to someone else's?"
Hoping that the two stories in this movie also will be interesting.

4. Tangled

Animation movie for a happy ending :)

I am sure I will be missing good stories from the other movies that I have not selected. But I am sure to watch the rest later.

Oh! It's already 2 pm. Movie marathon starts now....


It was fun to watch back to back movies in a row after a long time! All movies were good in their own way.

Brokeback Mountain show-cased even the complex relationships really well. It just didn't concentrate on two men who were involved in a relationship, but also the women who loved their husbands. But one needs patience to watch the entire movie as it has too much of dialogues than action. Although I rate it as 8/10.

Rabbit Hole was my favorite in the list. It focuses on how a relationship of a young couple could be affected when they lose their son in an accident. The couple try hard to save their relationship without falling apart, but they have to undergo emotional stress. I rate the movie as 8.5/10.

Julie & Julia managed to twine lives of Julia, a famous cook, and Julie, who wrote a blog about Julia and her cookbook. Minute details portrayed in their lives sound so familiar to me as if I had experienced them. Well, in the end after watching this movie, my indulgence in cooking got higher by a unit of scale :) I rate the movie as 6.5/10.

Tangled is a typical fairy tale but it doesn't disappoint anyone as it is full of action. It conveys the story just right. Eagerness of Rapunzel to watch the outside world was portrayed really well that I felt joy when she was finally able to watch the floating lights. I rate this movie as 7/10.

I am planning for one more marathon sometime next week as this one was successful. Thinking of what movies to watch....


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Women who inspired the world

Hello ladies! Happy International Women's day!
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first formal celebration of International Women's day in Europe in 1911. Today I would like to post about few influential women who I respect and adore...

1. Indira Gandhi

She was the first and the only female Prime Minister of India to date. She was also the only Indian Prime Minister to have declared an emergency in order to 'rule by decree'. She was assassinated in 1984 by hSikh bodyguards. She still remains the world's longest serving female Prime Minister as of 2011.

2. Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was the first female prime minister of a Muslim country. She helped to move Pakistan from a dictatorship to democracy in 1977. She sought to implement social reforms, in particular helping women and the poor.

3.  Diana

Princess Diana combined the appeal of a Royal princess with her humanitarian charity work. Although her marriage to Prince Charles ended up in a divorce, her popularity remained undimmed as many were inspired by her natural sympathy with the poor and mistreated.

4. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was the first woman to own her own talk show. Her show and book club turned out to be highly influential and successful, mostly focusing on issues with American women.

5. Marie Curie

Marie Curie was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize and the first person to win it for two separate categories. Her first award was for research into radioactivity (Physics) and her second Nobel prize was for Chemistry. A few years later she also helped develop the first X ray machines.

6. Coco Chanel

One of the most innovative fashion designers Coco Chanel was instrumental in defining feminine style and dress during the 20th Century. Her ideas were revolutionary; in particular she often took traditionally male clothes and redesigned them for the benefit of women. She was listed by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 influential people of twentieth century.

7. Joan of Arc

The patron saint of France, Joan of Arc, lead the French in revolt against the occupation of the English. The national heroine of France, at the age of just 17, successfully led the French to victory at Orleans. Her later trial and martyrdom on false premises only heightened her mystique. 

8. J. K. Rowling 

J.K.Rowling is the author of the phenomenal best selling Harry Potter series. The volume of sales was so high and the series of movies were also one of the most popular movies of the world. She wrote the first book as a single mother, struggling to make ends meet, but is now one of most successful self-made woman. Forbes has named Rowling as the first person to become a U.S.-dollar billionaire by writing books.

9. Kiran Bedi

Kiran Bedi was the first woman to become Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. As an Indian social activist, she founded two NGOs in India-  Navjyoti for welfare and preventive policing in 1987 and the India Vision Foundation for prison reformation, drug abuse prevention and child welfare in 1994.