24 Sept 2008

Online Bookshops in India

Buying books has not been all that convenient for me mostly.  I almost always find about new books or authors online.  Doing a Google search would give me more than enough information about the books I might want to buy.  But actually buying them is kinda hard.  I have never liked to go to 3 or 4 physical (conventional) bookshops just to see if they have the book I am looking for.

Until some time back, I used to buy books from Amazon because that's the easiest, although a bit expensive (because of currency exchange, international shipping, etc).  Recently I found that Google Book Search provides links to online bookshops.  For example, Google Books page for Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing provides links for at least 4 Indian online bookshops.

A friend of mine today told me that IndiaPlaza also sells books.  I used to visit IndiaPlaza only for buying electronics.  I never knew they had such a good collection of books.  They have almost all the books of Leonard Cohen, which is quite impressive.

(Thought someone some day might find this page via Google search and maybe it will be useful for them :)

23 Sept 2008

IE 8 Beta 2

Just for the heck of it, I started using IE8 second beta today.  The UI is improved and it feels nice.  It has a new feature which groups related tabs together.

I started IE8 and opened YouTube to search for some videos.  From the search results I opened two videos in their own tabs.  I came across a poetic and romantic line in a video, so opened Google Notebook in a new tab to note that down.  After a while I wanted to know more about Leonard Cohen and his works.  Opened a new tab and did a Google search.  From the results, I opened Cohen's home page in a new tab.  Now my tab-bar looked like this:

All YouTube videos are in one group.  Google search results page and Leonard Cohen's site are in one group. Google Notebook is in a separate independent group.  When I am done with watching videos, I can close the entire group with a single click.  That's a cool feature I'd say.

I will try IE 8 for some more time I guess.  It's much slower than both Firefox 3 and Chrome.  But Microsoft has done a lot of improvements to the UI.  Browser war has begun again.  Winner of the previous battle is a bit late to the field now; but I am sure it's gonna get more interesting :)

Does Chrome stop responding occasionally?

Does Chrome take a while to respond when you click your mouse or type something?

Short Answer: Close tabs that have Flash content.  (For example, YouTube or any video site, Flickr slideshow, etc.)

Long Answer: I have a habit of keeping so many tabs open always.  I just don't feel like closing my tabs.  For the past few days I had about 3 or 4 tabs with some YouTube videos loaded.  Whenever I close and re-open the browser, my tabs are restored so these pages were always loaded for a few days.  This caused Chrome to become sluggish.  Every now and then Chrome wouldn't respond to my actions for a few seconds.  Suddenly Chrome would freeze and I couldn't click on anything.  I will be typing something on some page and suddenly Chrome would stop taking my text input.  It always comes back in a second or two, but that's enough distraction to hate Chrome.

Today I found that closing all YouTube tabs does really solves this problem.  Maybe some issues with the Flash plugin.  I hope Adobe or Chrome, whosoever is responsible, would fix this problem soon.

16 Sept 2008

Blog.co.in -- looks interesting; but don't use it :)

Heard about new blogging service Blog.co.in from a friend, and the first thing I liked about it was its short domain name.  I thought I'll check that out and opened their site.  UI layout was pretty decent and they have some good looking themes to choose from.  Looking at their site for a while, I was convinced that I could try.  Even if I don't end up moving this blog to the new provider I could check it out, I thought.

Registration includes activating the account by visiting the URL they send through email.  I opened the link from their email and it says "Your account is now active" in big red font.  Nice.  Oh wait!  Right below that message there is my username and my password!  In addition, they are sending an email to me with my password.

As a rule of thumb, I don't trust anyone who stores passwords as plaintext in their databases.  Given that they make a blunder in such a common task, I can't believe the rest of their system would be secure.  No one may really attack their site; but I am kinda conservative in choosing who runs my blogs.

If you're thinking whether to use Blog.co.in for your blog, my advice would be to stay away from it.

Kung Fu Panda

Watched Kung Fu Panda over the weekend and loved it. Some of my favourite dialogues from the movie:
  • There is no charge for awesomeness, or attractiveness.
  • One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.
  • Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated it becomes difficult to see. But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.
  • There are no accidents.
  • There is no level zero.
  • But a real warrior never quits; don't worry master, I will never quit.
  • To make something special, you just have to believe it's special.
  • There is no secret ingredient.

13 Sept 2008

Another night

I wanted to talk about
My love for Sandhya,
Cohen's songs and life's pain,
Our lustful honeymoon days.

You wanted to talk about
Your uncomfortable office chair,
Why I should stop smoking,
A coworker's interest in you.

We didn't speak a word;
Did what we usually do
Me, thinking of some other girl,
And you, chewing your worries.

I wake up to the sound of grinder.
As much as this is all bitter,
As much as I feel empty,
I just let this marriage go.


The hurricane shatters
My mind, my thoughts, my soul.
Everything swirls; loses identity.
Eye of the hurricane alone stands.
I see it all: hurricane's peaceful eye
And wrecked rest.
Helpless I am, I weep silently,
Gazing at your happy face
In the center of everything.

7 Sept 2008

A crazy trip to Mahabalipuram

They say one has to go mad now and then to remain sane. I guess it was my time to go mad when I decided to leave for an unplanned vacation. We (me and a few friends) kept planning and replanning all the time. Bike trip to Hampi, car trip to Hampi, bike trip to Chennai are few of the plans. At some point I realised that we are not really doing anything apart from planning.

I am kind of weird, and I need a lot of personal space. The most irritating thing for me on a weekend morning is my mom asking me "what do you want to have for breakfast?" Almost every morning my mind is kind of restless and it's at its most vulnerable to get pissed off. When I am alone I don't plan my weekends. I can just sit at home doing nothing, and that is very refreshing. I'm fully charged to work on Mondays. Since my mom is with me now, I kind of feel like not having my own personal space. I have to eat at regular intervals and it just feels like just another day. If I am going out I have to know beforehand where all I am going and when I am returning. I can't take the bike and roam around the city aimlessly.

Weekend suffocation and constant planning and re-planning drove me nuts and I said "I am going somewhere somehow. No one is in the plan, it's just me." I didn't tell anyone about my plans, even my close friends didn't know. I left for Mahabalipuram and spent a couple days there, alone. I knew there wasn't enough things to do for two days, but who cares? I sat on the rocks and read Nakulan's Ninaivu Paadhai novel. Loved the beach and also the cucumber, mango, and watermelon sold in the beach. I have uploaded photos, if you are interested.

If you go to Mahabalipuram, try Moonrakers restaurant there. That was the only restaurant with people eating on Thursday night, and their food is okay. Other restaurants, well, with space for 40 people to dine and literally no one eating, I didn't have enough courage to try out :)

Throughout the trip, one thought was constant in my mind -- "I need a car." I hate to wait for buses. I was even thinking "it would have been much easier if I had taken my bike here." Sooner or later I'm buying a car that suits the taste of the traveler in me :)

Side story: This astrologer woman asked me "Do you have father, mother, family, and all?" I guess I look pathetic when I am sitting alone thinking of something. Similar thing happened a few years ago in Villupuram bus stand. I was waiting for my bus and this beggar woman asked me if I had eaten and I had enough money to go back home.