Get your Cricket ..
When I look at the baseball "crazzies" around me in the US, yes I am talking about the manic Red Sox fans
and the movie Fever Pitch
) and others, I only look at them with an air of "how could they be so crazy to spend all that energy and time on what is essentially some middle aged men getting very rich being watched jumping and playing ? ". I did goto Fenway Park, here at Boston and although the atmosphere was great, it was still excessively slow and a boring, moronic way to spend an evening.However, I forget, in a time not long ago when I was in India, I was equally obsessed with a sport which has been called while being compared to Baseball, "Baseball on Valium
" ( Robin Williams
) and "Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended
). So ofcourse its a "I grew up with the sport" thing, "once I know more of the sport, I know more of the strategies and the sport become more cerebral"...So I can cut the baseball freaks some slack.
Getting to the point however, it is very difficult to get any cricket here in the US. But I want my cricket. What to do ? What are the ways really ? In a similar way, as in our society, relative success is measured by your mode of transportation , so are the different ways of accessing cricket. There is the walking method, the Bajaj-Chetak method, the Maruti method and the Mercedes method.
first : The walking method. "F5" ( the refresh button ) is your friend, push it till your finger hurts a.k.a online cricket portals : Rediff, cricinfo.com, cricketnext.com and several others offer live scores on their websites in a text form. Some of them offer ball to ball commentary. Best of all, like walking, its free !
second: The Bajaj-Chetak method. Cricinfo has the live audio ball to ball commentary
feed for the matches. It costs just about 6 bucks for the 5 India-SA matches for example. I subscribed to it while the second match was going on. It reminds you of the old Doordarshan-i style commentators, indeed if my ears can be trusted the Doordarshan specialist-I-do-all-sports commentator Anupam Ghulati was one of the commentators. Not the exquisite Richie Benaud or even the always interesting Harsha Bhogle level , but good enough.
But.. you really want to see the flourish of the bat, the swing of the ball.
third : The Maruti method :Wisden in conjuction with CricInfo( ? ), gives a service with which you can watch the live video on your computer.
But if you want the full deal, not just grainy pictures on your computer screen..
fourth : The Mercedes method : Use the satellites : ... DirectTV
. Both of them offer various packages for a particular series, which are expensive but are the most obvious and best way if you already have the satellite channels. Lots of people buy the package and pool in with their friends to share the costs.
In addition there are a couple of superb blogs which track all the goings on in the Indian cricket world. Rediff's resident cricket expert, the superbly practical, cut-to-the-chase type Prem Paniker's Blog , Sight Screen
and the vastly knowledgable, indomitable, King of Funda ( Swear to God, he know every possible "effect" or "law" that ever existed ) Amit Varma's creation on cricinfo : WicketToWicket
And.. irrespective of wether I obsess about a slower sport, Baseball still sucks..
Update : I have heard that there might be a fifth cycle method : There is free audio commentary here
but the commentary is bad.
Web 2.0'ing IM.
is really taking off.
There are essentially two aspects to it.
The first one is to provide "hooks" to developers which allow then to essentially access the information that they can get on the sites pages programmatically.
Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Salesforce.com all provide "webservices" which are to put it simply an interface into their applications. So, for example you could implement your own "Google" search in your application, build your own Yahoo maps application and show prices in Amazon of whatever books take your fancy in your own webpage.
The second one is to "webify" client applications. With the sudden frenzied resurrection of AJAX
Consider the advantages, not tied to any operating system, no per client installation issues and no security issues, no version clash issues and ofcourse uinversal access.
Early successes include the email, with Oddpost
and to a certain extent Gmail
. ( The new Yahoo mail beta
which uses oddpost technology indiacate a step in the same direction. ). Kiko
for calender and scheduling, Zimbra for collaboration, Netvibes for personal dashboard are other noteworthy mentions.
IM is the latest stronghold of the client to fall. Have a look at Meebo
. Meebo allows a user to login to any of the four most popular IM clients from a webpage and allows them to chat all on a webpage ! No client installation required at all. Very cool !cross posted on the technology blog
An ode to Mithun-Da
Mithun Rocks .. See here
Confirming to persistent rumours, Google has finally released Google Talk
. The main punch line is : "Talk and IM with your friends for free".
Google has in my opinion, continously redefined well establised communication paradigms on the web. Cases in point,
- Search : Ofcourse, where it all started from.
- Email : Much higher storage space, tagging and conversations.
- Mapping : Panning and satellite photographs.
Desktop Search : First to integrate with web search and now increased functionality with sidebar.
So I set out to test this product with a lot of excitement especially in what innovative features Google would have added in this well known form of communication and made us wonder, WOW ! they could actually do this over the web ? However on testing it in a word, I was disappointed.
First what does it do : It is a standard IM in which you can add users and then IM/talk to them while they are online.
The good's :
- The best part is that it has the Google mark of a scrubby clean interface and simplicity. It does confirm to Google's "Dont make me think" style of UI design.
- It feeds in to your contacts from your gmail account so you can directly send invitations from there itself.
- The voice quality is very good.
- The claims are that it is sufficiently adherent to well known open source standards in IM in particular to the Jabber/XMPP protocol. Read more here.
The bad's/disappointments :
- The biggest disappointment is that it did not like Trillian allow us to migrate other IM lists in our list and we have to go about building a new list all over again. What a pain ! It does say that there is no "Service Choice" feaure in VOIP/IM where like a phone service you can communicate with users of other providers. How does Trillian do it then ?
- No new innovative features that I could see. VOIP based talk is long available from Skype and now in Yahoo messenger.
- No smileys, no avatars, no winks, no music, no games, audibles and this is a biggie NO webcam nothing.
Do leave in your comments.
The merging of Google and Keyhole produced Google Earth which is free ! Get it here : Google Earth.
Although a software engineer myself I love free software :). If you havent heard of what it can do yet, check out some cool pictures here
Blogger now has picture upload ! So know no using a kludgy Hello or Flickr solution.
Also check out (via Kurt
. Its a social browser search shortcut site. Very cool.
book tagged me. So here goes :Total number of books I own:
( I think its not a question which is very insightful though, borrowed books, library, books lent out and never returned, books read on the internet, audio books all are not factored in, maybe should be changed to books I have read ? )Last book I bought:
"To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee
( Actually, technically speaking it was Applied XML programming in Microsoft .NET, but I dont think that is the point of this exercise :) )
I know, I know, this book the favorite of scores of people I know, I can hear shocked "In your 26 years of existence you havent read it YET, how can you justify your existence and so on". There was a similar reaction from someone very recently and then I had to buy it, to see what the fuss was.
However this got me thinking, dont we all have some "popular" books or movies that we just didnt get too. Somehow you were always going to read/watch it but it just missed you by. I know StarWars is another one for me. What is it for you ?
Last Book I was gifted:
The complete Newyorker Cartoons. Hilarious stuff. Along with the Gary Larson's Far Side and ofcourse Dilbert my favorite cartoon series. All kudos to the sweet person who hauled the very heavy book.
Heaviest Book I have :
Last book I read:
The World's Religions by Houston Smith
Wondeful, entertaingly written introduction to Religions. I bought it to read about Hinduism acutally. I realised that I know precious little about what religion I am supposed to be in ? Any other suggestions for something that in some way brings together all the mish-mash that the religion seems to be ?
Five books that mean a lot to me :
Flow : The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Cary On Jeeves by Wodehouse
India : Shashi Tharoor
The Class : Erich Segal
Guns, Germs and Steel
My next list :HirakSagnik NandyGvenumKurt
Yahoo Messenger - Desi ishtyle
Instant Messenger users are fanatically loyal to their own programs and their respective program fixation is based on obvious things like on what programs most of their friends are signed on and possibly what features they offer.
Another reason is simply the first program you ever used.
I distinctly remember the first time I used IM. It was the summer of '98 and I was back home from college for the summer holidays. A friend called me and asked me to download Yahoo Messenger and off we went. I also remember jumping up and down in joy for a considerable period of time, thrilled at the prospect of simula-talking with all my friends not paying ( especially then ) the autrocious long distance phone call rates. So it was Yahoo Messenger for me.
MSN Messenger and Yahoo seem to be the most popular in India. AOL definitely seems to be the most popular here in the US. They are also programs like Trillian which combine all your accounts in a single account.
Since my first download, Yahoo has consistently added features like voice chat, avatars, audibles, stealth settings, games and several more.
Yahoo has just come out with an Indian version. Get it here
. The COOLEST thing in it are the hindi audibles. Absolutley first class and side splitting funny. If you get it just for the audibles you wont be disappointed. Try it out !