Thursday, November 27, 2008

TIME's 50 Best Websites for 2008

This is my next post, a sequel to the last one. Every year, or rather I should say, everyday, so many new websites come into existence in cyberspace. Some survive, some don't. Out of the few which survive, a handful are considered to be the best in some aspect. And it's not just about the site design, cool flashy looks, those catchy flash applications etc., it is about their content and its usefulness to its audience. And then, not everyone is able to see all those useful websites. This is where TIME's 50 Best Websites for 2008 comes handy.

I suggest you to go over this list and I am sure you will some new useful website, which you haven't heard of. There were some in this list, which were a pleasant surprise for me. After all, there is only a limited I spend online everyday (Those who know me know that I am kidding).

No.1 on the list is GasBuddy. Even though MapQuest was first to bring Gas Prices link on their website, GasBuddy scored over them by bringing a more comprehensive and real-time update of prices, updated by their users.

Below are my favorites from this list:

2. Howcast: A video how-to site with a Wiki section for users to contribute.
6. Tripkick: Get inside information of various hotels. Which rooms are best, have best views, and which ones to be avoided. Now, you can make a specific booking request while making hotel reservations.
7. WikiTravel: Tradition of Wiki continues with best, concise up-to-date travel & tourist information.
10.Afrigadget:"a site dedicated to simple, sustainable inventions in Africa" per TIME.
16. RateMyProfessors: Yes, now students can anonymously rate their professors.
20.MapJack: A fantastic alternative to Google Maps. High-res photos of cities and very easy to

Friday, November 07, 2008

TIME's Best Inventions of 2008

It is that time of year again. The end of the year, when you start seeing those lists, such as, best inventions, best websites, best moments, best pictures etc. And I am always waiting for these lists. No matter how much I read articles, blogs, books, etc. I am always surprised to see the new items in these lists.

This time, the surprising items were in the list: TIME's Best Inventions of 2008. Click here to see the list. Here is a preview of the list:

1. Peek Email Device
2. T-Mobile G1
3. MacBook
4. iPod Touch
5. Eye-Fi SD Card.

G1 certainly came as a surprise to me. Maybe, mainly because I am a loyal iPhone user. Actually, when I started using iPhone, I was amazed at the device's capabilities and functions. Maybe G1 has something in it to make it to this list.

My favorite was the No.5. A SD card capable of uploading your pictures directly online to any photo service? A SD Card which directly beam images to your hard-drive? A SD card which can geo-tag the pictures, right where they ar taken. Come on!!! you must be kidding me.

But then, this is purely an invention. And the bsuiness apportunity is huge here. Think about all those camera owners, who don't to buy a new camera equipped with bluetooth or wi-fi, but still want all these features. I am such a photographer and I'd love to have this card..asap!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Review: Word$uccess

If you are looking for a simple text which can provide you with some useful tools and habits to improve your communication skills, Word$uccess by Pete Geissler is the right book for you.

Author has demonstrated the importance of articulation and ability to clearly express your views in one's professional career. He has presented the art of communication through interviews of some successful professionals and also tells how they have achieved it.

Your key learning will be:

1. What habits one need to practice, to develop effective communication skills.
2. What are the simple tools to achieve Articulation.
3. Audience Profile Worksheet to understand and know your audience well and form your message accordingly.

To summarize, I learned a lot from this text and have started to practice the tools....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Statz Rappers

Who says that statistics is for nerds. It can be for cool people too....Check this video called Statz Rappers. Some people do have a lot of creativity and with the web 2.0, they got a lot pf places to show their creations too.....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fireworks Pictures

Using my new digital SLR camera, Nikon D60, I tried to take some photos of the fireworks show. Unfortunately, the pictures didn't turned out to be that great and I realized that I need to learn a bit more about the camera and photography, especially things fireworks. It seems like a good, stable tripod and remote click are a requirement for good shot. Most of mine had lot of smoke and almost no trails of fire.

These pictures are from the Jul 4th fireworks at Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY.

Friday, July 04, 2008

July 4th

Wish you all a great July 4th . Enjoy your long weekend with a fireworks show.

If you are planning to capture the fireworks show with your camera, here is an article with some useful tips. For some reason, Yahoo & Hotmail. both have have a similar link on their respective homepages.

Click here
to get some tips on taking great fireworks hosts. Below is the excerpt for digital SLR owners:

"Digital SLR users have an easier time, or at least more options, in picking the right settings for fireworks. Throw the camera on full manual mode, preselect your lens's focal length (unless you're using a prime lens that has only one focal length, the aperture will change every time you adjust the focal length), dial in a low aperture opening, and pick a slow shutter speed. Most SLRs also have a "bulb" mode, which leaves the shutter open for as long as you hold down the shutter release. You can use it to take exposures as much as 30 seconds long. If you go for super-long exposures, you might want to cover the lens."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Blogs for Sale

Yes, no kidding..this is real as I feel from this email below, which I received 4 days ago. Someone is interested in buying my blog, since there has not been much activity here lately. This has come as a great surprise to me. For one reason, there are so many blogs in this blogosphere and hardly there are as many readers. Secondly, what made this gentleman interested in making this offer to my blog. My blog's title or address do not match any company, brand or product's name either. So I am wondering, why me...????

I have asked him these questions and he maybe kind enough to respond back to my email...I hope....!!!

Dear owner of,

I noticed that your blog "" hasn't been updated for a while. I'd like to buy this blog.

I assume that you are not interested in running it anymore.

I can buy this blog for $50.

What do you think?

(Real name not shown intentionally)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Beautiful Bali

Bali, a beautiful island in far east with very friendly people and exotic locations is ideal for a romantic vacation. I will suggest spending there a week at least and travel to other smaller islands in the vicinity. And yes, do not miss the dancing dolphins and a variety of water sports. You will be impressed by the Hindu culture and historic temples there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Life, The Universe & Everything

Yeah...yeah...all you fans of Douglas Adams might be thinking that I copied the title of this post from one of his masterpieces. The title might be copied from there because I couldn't think of something else, but the content is not...certainly. Life sometimes does takes one through a path, which he has never thought of or imagined either, sometimes not even dreamt of. And at a certain instant, it feels like that everything is at stake and the worst thing is that "instant" continues to what seem to be forever and ever......
That "instant" is so tough to get along with unlike all others "instants". Especially, when one is aware that he or one of his doing(s) is compeletely responsible for the creation of this particular ever-lasting, tough-to-deal instant. That is exactly when, that "one" starts to think about the life, the universe and almost everything except the happenings of that instant. And this is solely because, there seem to be no possible way out from there. The enormity of the scenario appears to be a result of cumulative whirlpools, nested in each other. No matter, how to one thinks, or feels or acts, he is doomed to get sucked by that mega-whirlpool at the center.
And...I am doomed....!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lead India Campaign

The Times of India, a leading national daily of India had an interesting Lead India campaign some time ago. I recently saw some videos which were shown on TV channels in India. I am not sure, what exactly the campaign meant for, but the intention was to convey the message, "Only YOU can do it, if you want to do it."

There are several videos on internet where various Bollywood actors/actresses have tried to convey this message in their own style. Here is the one I liked most:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I am a Yellow Crayon

The results of this another personality quiz, do not surprise me a lot. I think they are true to an extent...or rather I must say that since results are good, I am in agreement with them :D

You Are a Yellow Crayon

  • Your world is colored with happy, warm, fun colors.
  • You have a thoughtful and wise way about you. Some people might even consider you a genius.
  • Charming and eloquent, you are able to get people to do things your way.
  • While you seem spontaneous and free wheeling, you are calculating to the extreme.
  • Your color wheel opposite is purple. You both are charismatic leaders, but purple people act like you have no depth.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blink: Power of Thinking Without Thinking

blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking, the title itself is attractive enough to make someone interested in reading this text by Malcolm Gladwell. Author has done a great job in weaving examples from a wide variety of professions, functions and areas like relationships, politics, military, medical, crime, personality, connoisseurs, etc. to illustrate his main point:
The Power of Adaptive Unconscious of Human Mind.

Author states that human mind works through two strategies, the conscious strategy and through adaptive unconscious. First strategy is when use data, information and analysis to draw a conclusion and make decision, whereas second is when we make decisions on basis of that "gut feeling". This is when we act instantly on a thought which flashes in our mind and forces us to make a decision. The question now is: Is the accuracy or quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort spent into making it? Per Gladwell, "Decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately."

Author has used technique of "thin slicing" i.e. power of our unconscious (the internal computer) to create a subjective impression using very little information., to explain this kind of decision-making. He has also cited some erroneous decisions (Warren Harding Error & an encounter in Bronx) and some great decisions from medical and military, (Cook County Hospital in Chicago & Van Riper, respectively).

In my opinion, our brain certainly has that great power of making a split-second decision, but it is upto us, how we develop and tap that unusual potential. We can use these techniques like mid reading, facial expression recognition etc but it certainly requires practice and a certain level of expertise to utilize them for our benefit. I would recommend reading this book with an unbiased mind and think, don't just blink.

Read my post blink vs Six Sigma

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Real Oops!!!

This is a tribute to one of my previous post, which was dedicated to my laptop. My laptop has been one of my proud possession, as I configured a state-of-the-art system in April 2005. At least, thats what I thought at that time and my dream was to make it a multimedia powerhouse, which I truly accomplished. My laptop became a desktop connected to nine USB 2.0 devices through a hub and a great 22" monitor, keyboard, external sound card and Bose speakers. I was excited and was utilizing it aptly, but it seems like laptop didn't liked the dull and boring life of staying at top of a hutch of a table.

One Friday evening, while I was trying to connect some wires at the back, it jumped from the shelf of the hutch, bumped on the table and landed on the floor. And there I was, at the back of the table in an awkward position (which I will not describe...), entangled in about 12 wires (remember 9 devices..!) with no view of the rest of the world. The sound made me feel the real Oops...!!! I think I almost visualized the oops for first time in my life. Anyway, the sturdy system sustained a lot of damage to the hing, keys and top. It cannot be closed now, so it is essentially a desktop. This post is being posted through the same tough Dell Inspiron....Hats Off to My Lapi...!!! Check the pictures for better visualization.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Michael Jackson vs. Punjabi Bhangra

All right, I know that this blog is not suppose to be a video-blog or a photo-blog, as I have wrote earlier in my posts, but yes sometimes, when I watch a really cool video on YouTube, it becomes hard to resist the urge to post it on my blog. Well, that does increase some traffic to this revolutionary website, but the contribution might be insignificant itself.

Anyway, check this cool video where a look-alike of Michael Jackson is dancing in sync with a punjabi dancer on bhangra beats. The punjabi guy got some real cool dance steps, giving me a feel of real fusion dance. Enjoy...!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Did You Know 2.0

I recently saw the 2.0 version of the famous Did You Know presentation from 2005. This new version came out in June'2007 and is made by the same authors Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod. both the presentations are now on YouTube in form of a video (not surprised...).

This second version talks about the fast pace of development in the world in terms of internet and information overloading and asks us how well we are prepared to handle it. Most importantly, it asks how well our coming generations will be able to cope with the rapidly evolving world and become successful in increasingly competitive, informative and capable population.

Check the video below:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Some Alternate Uses of a Smartphone

Yesterday I read this article on Yahoo! Travel about some uses for a SmartPhone/PDAs etc, which I was not aware of. These are some of those few applications which are useful for travelers or rather people on-the-go. Apart from checking email, web browsing, watching PowerPoint presentations, these smart devices can be used for following purposes too:
  • Checking the wait time at airport security lines.
  • Alerts about changes in flight itinerary.
  • Getting weather reports.
  • Checking local time in any time zone.
To know exactly, how to do so, check the following article:

If your CrackBerry Was Addictive Before...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Essential Drucker

These days I am reading "The Essential Drucker", a compilation of some writings of the father of management, Peter Drucker. This book has really the essentials of management as the title suggests and has impressed me with the vision of the author. Some of the writings included are very old, but hold very well in present-day environment. I expected that with the change in society and the way management has evolved over the past years, some of the writings might be very old school type. But it was actually otherwise, because the topics addressed are very generic and would any person at any level of hierarchy in the corporate structure.

A complete review will be posted here later, once I finish the book.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Post on Facebook

Being a skeptical user of Facebook (and social networking, in general), I keep looking for news articles, blog posts etc which talk about the the pros and cons of such networks. Today, I read an interesting post by Christopher Herot.

Though I understand that Facebook is a good way to keep in touch with friends and keep them updated about the happenings on your own life, but sometimes I do feel that by doing this we are making ourselves too visible on internet. Is it good or bad, that depends on one's point of view. Do I really want people in my professional network to see my pictures while partying? Do I really want potential recruiters or hiring manager to know about my personal life and social circle, even before they come to know me professionally? Probably, not. So the easy solution is to control the security settings and put only restricted content on the profile. Then, how will I keep others updated about myself?

It appears to be a Catch-22 situation. I will leave it to you to find your own suitable solution. Please let me know, if you find one.

Here is an excerpt of the post I mentioned earlier:

"It seems you can't open a blog these days without reading a post about Facebook. Some marvel at the growth in membership (and wonder what all those old people are doing there), some cover the number of applications (or conferences devoted to people who want to build one), but the most interesting are those that deal with some of continuing controversies, such as: * Is Facebook adequately protecting privacy * Is it really a good platform for building applications * Can one product serve them all."

For complete post, click here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Search Wiki: Challenging Google!!!

In present day, challenging Google in search technology do require real guts. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia is already working on it. He is on his way of making a vast search engine on the lines of his creation Wikipedia (see here for Wikipedia in Wikipedia), which has already established itself as a very commonly used and referred encyclopedia. In founder's own words Search Wikia is "the search engine that changes everything.... Just as Wikipedia revolutionized how we think about knowledge and the encyclopedia, we have a chance now to revolutionize how we think about search."

I recently came across a cover story on Search Wiki in the March 2007 issue of Fast Company. Click here to see the complete article. The whole idea behind this new search engine is really interesting and a very challenging indeed. Human contributed search results would certainly result in more meaningful results, but how fast? Is it really possible to compete with the machine generated results? The statistics in this article to show the level of satisfaction with current search engines is also interesting:

"In a blind study by the French linguistics scholar Jean Véronis and his students, Google and Yahoo tied for user satisfaction with their results, both scoring an embarrassing 2.3 out of a possible 5. About 28% of the time, users thought that all the search results they received from both engines were "totally useless." They gave fairly low marks of 2.8 and 2.9 even to the very first links listed by Yahoo and Google, respectively. About a quarter of the time, they didn't find what they considered to be even one good result from either search engine."

I am not sure about the details of this study like what was the sample of people to collect the responses, the demographics, geographical location etc., but finding the relevant and desired results from any search first time is really rare for me. In fact, I have earlier compared various search engines like Yahoo, Google, Clusty etc and it seems that there is still lot of scope for improvement in search algorithms.

Good Luck to Search Wikia for their endeavor. There are people willing to contribute and work for this project and I hope this competition will make life easier for search users like me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Facebook: Is it worth US$1 billion or maybe more?

Facebook is one name which almost every school-going kid in US would recognize immediately. Started by a group of Harvard sophomores in 2004 (see BusinessWeek's "Facebook's on the Block"), Facebook was initially just college/university based and anyone with a valid school email ID could become member of it. Once you are a member, you can network with your friends and keep in touch with them and general updates in their lives. Within a span of about two and a half years it had grew to over 9 miliion users and over 14.8 million unique visitors in August, 2006 alone. Apart from this it slowly expanded by including high-schools, organizations, companies and under its wings. Then last year it threw itself open for everyone. Today it is second biggest online social-networking website (after and being considered one of the hottest company for a sellout. Website is already profitable and is expected to generate a revenue of more that $100 million this year.

Giants like Google, Microsoft, NewsCorp etc keep an eye on these social networking sites as they give them a unique set of users, not only with a profile but also their network, likes and dislikes etc. This helps companies to generate revenues through advertising. Google bought and News Corp bought Friendster is still running independent (after refusing Google's offer) and now there is Facebook, which refused $1 billion offer from Yahoo! last fall. Now the question is: Who will acquire Facebook or maybe will we see another IPO and diversification of Facebook with other content sharing websites like Metacafe, Joost, Digg etc?

Just imagine a website which give you social networking, photo & video sharing, news content, bookmarks and online TV??? Possibilities are unlimited, so are opportunities!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Writing is an Art!

I perfectly agree with this! Writing is truly an art, a skill, which develops as one practices more. It doesn't matter what kind of writing, be it a story, biography, book, product review or blog, art of writing is certainly a required skill. Ever since I got out of touch with blogosphere, I feel that I am loosing my writing skills, which are now merely confined to responding to work emails and other job related stuff. For me, blog writing was a serious thing (though a very good friend disagrees with this and questioned it once) and I was able to organize and process my thoughts before jotting them down. Of course, that does not mean I am gonna put all the boring, lifeless and deep philosophical thoughts. But whatever it was, it was not senseless.

After getting entrapped in the vicious circle of 8 to 5 (sometimes more) work, ensure learning, paying bills with an aim of "having fun" whenever possible, I quietly slipped out of blogosphere and blogging. Now I realize what a mistake it was !!! Authors write books on Effective Writing, How to Improve your Writing Skills (I made up these title, not sure if they exist) and what not and lot of people buy them. Being a hands-on engineer, my opinion is that the best way to lean and master a desired/required skill is to start practice it immediately.

Said this, begins my quest with myself to blog on a regular basis!
Le thou blog!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

My Favorite Superbowl Ad

This one is my favorite ad from Superbowl XLI. My Indian roots are certainly working here. The BuuudLite at the end is really hilarious.

A notably difficult task is to keep up with the game and the new commercials without leaving the room for more than two hours. I was unsuccessful in carrying this daunting task and acceded to Mother Nature's force several times. In case you also missed some commercials, check AOL Sports link to watch and vote for them.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I am Absinthe ???

If you are reading this post and happen to know me, please do comment on this one..!!! Can I ever be an Absinthe ???? Is there a tiny peck of truth in this quiz or is it just randomly generated ???

You Are Absinthe

You are a sloppy drunk, purposely so
If drinking doesn't make you feel crazy, it's not any fun
Truth be told, you tend to prefer drugs to drinking
But you'd never pass up any absinthe that came your way!

Me a Multimillionaire ...huh..!!!

As the number of graduations you walk through increases, your chances of being a multimillionaire decreases ..!!!
Is this right?? This quiz says so ..

Your Chances of Being a Multimillionaire: 68%

You have a good chance of being a multimillionaire. Better than most people.
You simply have a natural knack for money and the personality for success.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Are you Left or Right Brained

You Are 60% Left Brained, 40% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My EQ ????

OMG, an EQ of 160 certainly means that I am a big liar. Do you agree with it or not ?

Your EQ is 160

50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick!
51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese.
71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely.
91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that.
111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt.
131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin.
150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

What American City Are You?

So, this online quiz "What American City Are You?" from Raluca's blog, shows that I am New York. On the basis of answers to some of the question, they concluded this representation and have a small and cool reasoning also. Check it out yourself.
I am not sure, whether this is satisfactory or not, but then rading the reasoning gives me pleasure.

You Are New York

Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.

Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

Starving the People To Feed the Cars

Recently I read this interesting article in Washington Post about the upcoming ethanol distilleries and biodiesel refineries to convert the edible oil to fuel. The problems which this civilization on-the-whole can face because of this technological innovation is really big and scary. Read the article and see yourself.

Starving the People To Feed the Cars

By Lester R. Brown
Sunday, September 10, 2006; Page B03

High oil prices are much more than just a drain on drivers' pocketbooks or a sign of tough economic times ahead; they could also prove to be a leading indicator of the unraveling of our global civilization.

That may sound unlikely, or melodramatic. But consider this: Now, almost everything we eat can be converted into automotive fuel. And once the price of oil surpassed $60 a barrel last year, the business of transforming wheat, corn, soybeans and sugarcane into fuel for cars instead of food for people became hugely profitable. As crops that have long sustained us are diverted to provide fuel, we may encounter the same fate that brought down great civilizations of the past.

Click here for complete article.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Car Wash: Process Revisited

An interesting happening with me in past couple of days (rather weeks) has relivened my long dead blogging skills. And it had made me curious that how come I stopped blogging and got out of touch of the blogger world ??? Anyway, I am back now.

So, here is this interesting story. I am living in Cincinnati and we have an expressway which connects two major Interstates here. It is just about a 4 mile stretch and carries heavy traffic always, because of "East meets West" thing. (For the uninitiated, it runs east to west and vice-versa). Now this 4 mile stretch is under construction for last 10 weeks, only on the weekends. What makes me curious is that why is it taking so looonnnggg?? Sometimes. I think to stop by there on a weekend night and ask them that what kind of technological or constructional innovation they are bringing there?? But I then refrain from doing this, you know, curiosity killed the cat, kind of thing.

What happens when you drive your car through a road construction area, where they are spraying concrete ? (yes, conrete, not tar). Well, simple. Your car gets a visibly thick layer of concrete all over in a randomly sprayed fashion. After a while, it gets all over your mind and one fine sunny evening you decide to clean it. Thats where this post comes give you the tips.
  • No matter how much high-pressure water you spray, you can't get rid of the layer of concrete.
  • The whole affected surface has to be rubbed with detergent water.
  • Once the scrubbing is done and you spray water again all over the car and start getting the feel of accomplishment, WAIT...its not over.
  • Let car dry off, and then the areas which missed your srubbing would be clearly visible.
  • Again spray water over whole car and try to clean the remaining areas. Caution: Dont rub while its dry. It might induce some scratches on the surface.
  • Repeat this process couple of times (at least thrice).
  • Finally, in a while, either you are too tired or its already dark outside.
  • Then next morning, inspect the car again for the remaining white marks of concrete. If there is no mark, bingo...take a picture and post it on your blog.
  • Thats what is known as an accomplishment..!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Featured on BloginSpace

Today my blog is featured on for the whole day with a snapshot and description. That is kind of cool to drive some more traffic to my blog, which has lost its charma nd vigor in last few months, all thanks to me and my schedule. Check for the live snapshot.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

To Be Contacted By ETs

This is an email I received from Blog in Space. As per their information, my blog has ben transmitted in space a couple of times and now it seems that some ETs are most likely to contact me through my blog. A full-heartened welcome to ETs in my realm. So, dont forget to check my blog and on May 4, 2006.


Congratulations! Blog in has crowned your blog with the title of "Most Likely To Be Contacted" for its outstanding ability to potentially provoke alien responses back to Planet Earth. This means your blog will be featured on the homepage of on May 4, 2006 complete with a screenshot and a link to your site.