Sunday, April 29, 2007

Awestralia!


The subcontinent cleanup is complete. 8 years and 3 world cups later, the Aussies are still unbeaten. No side has even come close to beating them in the 3 editions of the worldcup. In this particular edition, the only thing more lacklustre than the crowd turnout has been the show put up by the 10 teams against the mighty Aussies.
Damn! I hate the kiwis. They gave us the false hope that yes, the Aussies aren't invincible;that their bowling attack is weak if you can get past McGrath;that any total put up by them can be chased. When the big match situation demanded though, there was a meak surrender;white flags were out and not a single player did a Archilles ala Brad Pitt and put his hand up to take the challenge.

Boring it may seem to a few, the Australian show is far from that. All you can do is watch in awe the way they bat. Haydos and Gilly are the best opening pair in the world and both of them are the kings of comebacks;bull terriers who'll never give up and take the attack to the opposition, no matter how bad their form is. If either of them falls, you have the best batsman in the world (on form) who bloody murders the bowlers. If you can't get him out early, Ponting is going to kill you...its a guaran-damn-tee. And even if you get the top three out early, you cant afford to take it easy. What follows next is the best young middle order in world cricket in the form of Clarke, Symonds, Hussey and Watson. If any of them is at the crease in the 40th over, the score inevitably touches 300. The sad part is, we haven't got the opportunity to see the other batsmen bat. I can't even remember the last time I've seen Bracken and McGrath taking guard.

Their bowling is supposedly weak. But frankly speaking, I can't understand where the so called experts see a weakness. Tait has been an able replacement for Lee and with the Pigeon choking up the batsmen at one end, you have no option left but to take a chance against Tait or Bracken. And this is where the batsmen make mistakes. The Proteas tried to overcome that problem by taking the attack to McGrath, but ended up looking quite stupid. The likes of Smith, Kallis, Tendulkar and Pietersen must be heaving a huge sigh of relief at the retirement of McGrath. Guys don't get your hopes too high, Stuart Clarke seems just as capable.
So can the Aussies be beaten?Yes, but you need 11 players who are mentally stronger than the 11 players wearing the Baggy green cap. You need a team that doesn't get carried away by one off wins, who dont surprise themselves if they manage a win or two over the Aussies. Right now, there is no such team in world cricket. All we can do is hope that some one manages to come up with a team with a killer attitude like the Aussies. We have 4 years to wait and watch. Step up Dave Whatmore.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Google all the way!

The pieces in the entire google puzzle are now falling into place.(i'll explain what pieces later in this blog entry). I was just surfing around these tools on the top left corner of my gmail inbox main page. What fascinated me the most were the docs and spreadsheet tools. I believe Google has created a masterpiece. With two simple but powerful and easy to use tools, it has challenged Microsoft's Office products. As I write this, the brilliant minds at Microsoft will be at work, trying to figure out a way to nip this problem in the bud before it grows into something big and eats up its market for Office suite related products. They have every right to worry because frankly speaking Google's office products are amazing. These are true Opensource products and all you need to use them is a decent net connection.

The people at Google have done a good job in integrating the core functionalities of MS Excel spreadsheet app in its own Spreadsheet product. You can perform all the basic operations that you could in Ms Excel. Rite now, the Google Spreadsheet App (GSA) does not have advanced features like pivot tables,macros and filters but the package looks promising. You have all the basic features such as creating a new workbook, adding new sheets, deleting sheets, adding rows,columns,copy,paste,merge,formatting of rows,columns &cells,sorting and a good range of formulae. They have just added a chart feature to this application which looks good. The sheets get saved after every 2 minutes. So you can carry on working on a particular doc without worrying about backup or losing data due to network problems. You can share the docs with others having a google account and even publish the sheets making the data available to everyone. The application allows you to keep multiple versions of the same file. Everytime you make changes and save the file, the version before the change is backed up. Quite a handy feature should the file get corrupted. All you have to do is revert to the previous version. The application allows you to export and import spreadsheets and workbooks in formats such as CSV(comma separated variables) and xls. Other than this, you can export the sheets in html and pdf formats.The application allows multiple users to work on the same doc as well. Cool isn't it?

I hope more people become aware of these fantastic applications. Right now people are used to Microsoft Office and Lotus Notes products;both of which are freaking expensive and require huge amounts of disk space. All you need for the Google products is a decent (64kbps will suffice) net connection and disk space for storing the spreadsheets only.I definetly dont mind a few ads on the page if you can provide me with a free office suite-hell maybe i'll click a few ads just to make the guys at google happy :-). These are products targetted to those users who can't afford to purchase expensive machines for the sake of running some sleak looking Microsoft OS and whose use of the Office suite is limited to the word processor, spreadsheet application and a presentation maker. Google Labs are already working on a presentation creating software and if the design of Picassa is anything to go by then it sure will be sleak and fast. I'm also hoping that applications like these are exploited by innovators for designing low cost computers such as the Simputer. I've seen a simputer work, it looks good but its damn slow if you run the open office products on it. Net based softwares like the ones created by Google will definetly reduce the load on such devices. I'm sure Google will be thinking of making a lite version of these products available on mobile phone devices enabled with Edge,GPRS etc. Microsoft has already started reacting to this and are planning to make window xp and office xp available for under $3.00!!So they're in a way implying that Windows Vista and Office 2007 are niche products for high end users and the XP suite is now for those who cannot afford monstrous machines for running the Vista package. Well played Microsoft!

Now to my earlier point of pieces falling together in the big Google puzzle. Sometime back, the internet was flooded with news and blogs about Google coming up with its own OS -the GooOS. Google itself hasn't announced anything from its end about any OS plans in the near future. But it seems quite realistic. What Google has now is a popular email service, an online office suite, blogging tools, the premier search service,an image editor and an excellent online storage option. If you have noticed, then all images on your blog and picassa web, your videos shared on youTube,all documents and your email are all a part of the "2.88 Gb and growing" web space. All these features seem to be a part of Google's vision of creating a free OS that supposedly is web based as well! Such an OS will cater to all devices-not just PCs. I hope that Google does come up with something so fantastic. The day of the traditional OSes mite just get numbered!

p.s. I wrote this entire entry in google's word processor :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The dame in black...

geeeeeeeeeeeee wowwwwwwwww!!long black straightened hair...almond face...smart black shirt and black trousers...she walked past us and the convo with the colleague went.."yeah i'll update the...the...a...a...umm...yeah tracker"... probably the first time i've said "uuuffff!"...god bless ur species!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The hitmen

There you have it...Superman has eaten the cake.Not just any cake, but a cake with the tricolor on it. There he was, in one of the hundreds of parties that he's invited to, where he spends 2-3 mins for some kodak (or powershot) moments, cuts a cake or pops the bubbly and leaves. But we have the hitmen ready-sharpshooters with weapons deadlier than kryptonite, well aware of what pastries are going to be served, well instructed by the mafia bosses to shoot Superman when he cuts the cake.
They do their job with ruthless efficiency and by noon next day, Superman's remains hit the front pages of "the best selling newspapers", the trashy afternoon tabloids and the thousands of "best selling regional newspapers". By the end of the day, superman is killed again in the assemblies, in political meets which are marked by the traditional effigy burning ritual. Superman has died, yet again.

One hit per day isn't enough though. They want more. The search starts for another hero to be hit.Someone comes up with the idea- why not the "to be president","the technocrat magnifico","the face of modern india" etc etc. So they head to the huge state-of-the-art campus where the commander in chief is doing what he does the best-inspire the youth. They wait for the interviews...eager to know what the two most brilliant minds in India have to say. But before all that starts, they stand up for the anthem. And there they get their next kill. The instrumental version of the 52 sec. song is played. They ask, why the instrumental version?"the president to be" gives an answer which is interpreted as blasphemous. By the time the sun rises again, some self proclaimed son of the kannadiga soil calls the possible appointment of the technocrat as the President to be a disgrace. Clinical finish again...another hero is killed. A blog written to earn two minutes of cheap publicity by killing one of the countrie's true champions. It is a highly biased, 500 word piece of trash that is politically motivated and without much research,facts or logic aimed at what tabloids do the best...killing icons;the media at work this time isn't a tabloid but instead it is the website of the country's top news channel (atleast for me it was).

Ruthlessly efficient these hitmen...God save those who want to make a difference because these hitmen will stop at nothing to kill their image.