Friday, September 7, 2007

Race Day

Madras Motor Club - Race Day
1.6 L and 1.3 L category.
Tried out my new 70-300mm sigma lens with my EOS 400D. Was a wonderful day at the track. Praveen, managed to take us on to the track for both the races, so, I practically got to shoot the cars from a distance of 40-50 feet.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Kattatra Kalaikananchiam - what !?!?!?

I am sure there would be a lot of happy souls to see Wikipedia now in Tamil. But, I was wondering how many in Tamil Nadu would know that 'Kattatra Kalaikananchiam' means Free Encyclopedia.

I am happy too, but am happy not 'cause I can now, read wikipedia in my mother tongue. I am just happy 'cause a popular website has recognized my mother tongue. So would be the case with most of the Tamil wikipedia users. Most of those who have gone through a decent education in India read and comprehend English faster than Tamil. English in India is not just an other language, it is a status symbol, a passport to good jobs, parents believe that it'll help their children be a part of the elite and English is a privilege more than anything.
There are of course a large number of people educated in Tamil, but they are not ardent users of the internet and those who are taking up white collar jobs soon shift to English as their primary language of communication.

The alarming low number of Tamil internet users (who use a Tamil search and search for Tamil web pages)however, cannot be attributed solely to increased use of English, but also to the low availability of quality content in Tamil. Other than popular Tamil E-zines, there is practically nothing worthwhile in Tamil, unlike the case with Japanese or Russian or Portuguese, who have created full fledged networks of information and entertainment for themselves.

So, what really makes me feel happy is that, to me the Tamil wikipedia - is not just a translated site, but a sapling of valuable content that could soon lure all the 75 million native speakers to create a vibrant interesting network in Tamil - My mother tongue.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Efficiency does not substitute Convenience

I replaced the air conditioner in my room a few days back and was so happy to see a feature - a feature I've been wanting all these years, a feature that makes me not have to put off the a/c in the middle of the night, a feature that doesn't have me searching for an other blanket, a feature that doesn't leave me cold and shivering in the morning, a feature that lets me sleep in peace all night.

I've made it sound like a major disruptive innovation, but all I'm talking about is a mode (good sleep mode) - it maintains the room temperature 2 degrees below the set temp for the first one hour (to fall asleep faster), then maintains the temperature at set temp varying fan and swing direction to try and mimic cold breeze and (the best part) gradually increases the temp by 3 degrees an hour before you have to wake up, so u don't wake up cold. Optimal temperature maintenance for good sleep - this they found out by research.
They could have just asked me :)

And am very sure, that there were a number of other customers for whom this was a problem - the room getting over cold. (25 degrees in the night is comfortable, 25 degrees early morning is COLD.) Why were they not heard?

Manufacturers primarily concentrate on efficiency. Better compressors, energy conservation, higher fan speeds, cleaner filters and other such features. All these are important features - no doubt, but while they were trying so hard to cool the room, they overlooked the fact that they could be over cooling it. They do study consumer behavior, but in terms of buying behavior rather than usage patterns. Customer satisfaction a few years back meant, deliver what was promised - which was cooling the room faster than the competitor and Convenience according to them, was reflected in climate control (maintains room temp at a fixed set temperature), cleaner air and humidity control. If they had analyzed consumer behavior better, this simple feature that I'm talking about would have been included a long time back.
Efficiency and convenience are analogous, I do agree, but they cannot be clubbed as one. Improving efficiency alone will in no way enhance the other. Ease of use has to be given equal importance. Am glad manufacturers are realizing it fast.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Inspired by Animal Planet

Have you ever wondered why some animals have their eyes on the sides of the head and some in the front?

Here's the answer -
Animals with their eyes on the side (deers, horses, rabbits etc) get at least a 270 degree view and can keep a lookout for predators at all times. Most of these animals can practically see behind their necks without having to strain a muscle and scoot when in danger.
Whereas, animals with their eyes on the front of their heads (lions, bears, cheetahs etc) can judge the exact distance of their prey. As both the eyes are in the same line, they can focus on one particular prey and accurately calculate its speed and direction.

Conclusion -
Animals with eyes on the sides of their heads are herbivores
Animals with eyes on the front of their heads are Predators

Where do we have our eyes people? ... We were born predators...culture ruined us :)))

One more reason to be a Non-Veggie

Saturday, May 19, 2007

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous

To the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. A flower is nothing but an educated weed :)))

I've given you one more reason to preserve our forests and keep it green and clean :)))

[ This photo was taken by Chandru during our last road trip to Kodai. ]

Friday, May 18, 2007

Changing Landscape

When I see tall coconut trees dwarfing mud huts, lush paddy fields dotted with white cranes, a rare lotus pond and thorn shrubs with quails - I know I'm home. This is what i yearn to see when i return home.

Especially the coconut tree farms banking the road, with trees towering towards the sky. There is something special about these magnificent trees, swaying slowly and dancing to the wind. By logic, these trees shouldn't provide any shade, but strangely, the coconut farms are the coolest and the best place to rest. These trees make me feel so calm at heart and so at home.It is also very entertaining to watch the farmers so effortlessly dart up and down those trees to pick coconuts.

Sadly, it will soon not be the same. The tall trees are being replaced by a short and stubby variety. The agricultural department has come up with a new short variety tree that bears coconuts in just 1-2 years whereas the tall variety needs 5 years before it can bear coconuts. Not having to employ farmers to climb the trees reduces cost. A success for the agri dept and a welcome advantage to all the farmers of the southern belt, but to me - it's a loss, a coconut farm will be no different from any other orchard.

I took it for granted that my land and landscape will remain the same. So many childhood memories attached to them. The drive to kodai through the winding roads will no longer be the same. It will be a picture I will miss dearly.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Damned, Freedom of Choice

Freedom of choice is what I have -
Freedom from choice is what I want.

All this freedom of choice - and Every goddamn single choice comes with it's bag of consequences. I spend most of time deciding between good and bad, right and wrong. Only if someone told me exactly what to do - wouldn't life be simpler, the way it used to be when I was a child and there was someone else to worry about the aftermath and I would have so much free time.

I strongly believe (other than the universal truths) that no choice can be completely right or completely wrong. This complicates things even more, the more you know, the more time you need to take a decision. The emotional quotient then kicks in and makes the decision subjective rather than objective. The worst part is, you realize that you can list all the pros and cons, try and make the most objective decision, but the outcome is still going to be random. :(

Now I understand why the magic 8 ball is such a success. It's one of the cleverest things invented - it makes your choices for you. Right or wrong - who gives a damn, what's important is that your choice has been made. In the end, you always have fate to blame.
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