Friday, July 29, 2005

IE 7 Beta1

I just started using IE 7 Beta1 and my first impressions are this is a great browser. Here's what I like:
1. Alt+Enter works from the address bar - the URL opens in a new tab
2. Advanced Privacy controls and Cookie Blocking - this is a couple steps ahead of what Firefox has
3. Tabbed Browsing :)

What I don't like:
1. Tab Close Button is in the right hand corner - LAME
2. New Tab Button doesn't advertize its intent, till you click on it

We have finally come up with a strong response to the naysayers and there is precious little differentiating IE from Firefox now. Unless the Firefox folks really smarten up and clean up their act, their bound to be swept aside by the I|E wave.

Good job IE team, keep it up - I'm looking forward to Beta2 and the Firefox response. Begun, the browser war has...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Konfabulator is now FREE!

"Yahoo!, here we come!: "Konfabulator is now free."

For all of you who use Windows and were agape when you saw the widgets demo for Mac OS X, your deepest wishes have come true. Konfabulator, the product on which Tiger's widgets are based on, is now available as a free download for Windows XP. Even if you don't know what I'm talking about, you should give Konfabulator a spin - it's simply awesome. I have an analog clock running on my desktop at all times now, which is aesthetically pleasing and so much better than the standard Windows clock. A to-do list, a list of stocks I like to watch and the local weather complete my set of widgets. And these are the default...

You can download Konfabulator from this :site:

I'll post other widgets that I stumble upon and like. As for you guys, Enjoy!!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ayyp, also A Y Y P

Variant of Hey

Pronounced: aaaaaaaP

Used to denote surprise, react to a dis' or a Kux In Mouth

X: Why you gotta be so fat?
Y: Ayyp

A: When you smarten up, you'll realize I'm right!
B: Ayyp

Arun: Hey, I forgot to bring your life jacket along Manoj!
Manoj: Ayyyyyp!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Party...... Boaaaaat...... Life!

A whole bunch of friends got together on Saturday to celebrate Mitika's birthday (I think her 25th but I can't be sure). The plan was to go to the Marina, get on to a boat, drink alcohol, eat food, chill in the hot tub and make merry. Sid and Amit were the principal organizers of this soiree and they did a stellar job at stocking up for the event. We loaded up the boat, got all the right people on board, fired up the barbeque and off we were into Nickerson Marina.

Groups formed once the boat set sail; some of us hung on the lower deck, made margaritas, conversed and worked the bbq. The rest went to the upper deck, applied Sun Block and got into the hot tub. No one soul could help but marvel at the natural beauty around us - the shimmering water, snow-clad Mount Rainier and later in the evening, the captivating orange glow in the sky as the sun set. Ahh, it feels so good to get out and breathe the fresh air...

Midway through the boat ride, it was time to drop anchor and take a dive into the lake. The boat was equipped with a slide and one by one, we swooshed into the lake water, which surprisingly wasn't cold at all. Some slid, the others just jumped from the decks; it didn't matter how you got in but once you did, you didn't want to get out. How could I be missing out on this? Hmm, I can't swim all that well I told myself but that was no excuse - they made life jackets for people like me. So I put on my trunks, an orange life jacket, got psyched up to jump in and dove into the lake from the back of the boat. And then, my life jacket come off...

To say that panic ensued would be an understatement. Thanks to Rutu and Thibaut (pronounced TIBO) for taking turns in calming me down. Wait, they saved my life practically so they deserve a lot of credit here. There were a whole bunch of others who tried to get me back to the boat but as the winds caught up, the boat drifted further and further away from us. Saif tried to get me to the boat too but the more we tried to get to the boat, the further it drifted away from us giving us the impression that we weren't moving forward at all. We got back only thanks to the kindness of another boat's captain who came to our rescue. When he was done picking us up from the water and headed towards shore, there were Saif, Nikhil, Anuj, Tibo, ES, Sucheta, Uma and me on his boat. I don't have enough words to express my gratitude to these seven brave souls who risked their own safety and jumped in to get us out.

Some of the people were in shock for a couple of hours after the rescue mission was complete. As for myself, I was just glad that I had been given another chance. I wasn't going to spend time ruminating over other possibilities and eventualities. I'm alive and I'm going to make the most of it. No point wasting this chance, is there?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm crazy

And there's not just one reason for this statement to be true. And yes, I'm beyond medical help! This definitely has something to do with the 45 days of mental development that I missed out on by popping out from the womb after seven and a half months.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Colin Farrell's Sex-Tape Suit - Jul 19, 2005 - E! Online News

Just followed the link from
"Apparently, Colin Farrell is not interested in discovering what an unauthorized sex tape could do for his career.

The actor has filed a lawsuit against an ex-girlfriend, former Playboy Playmate Nicole Narain, in an attempt to block her from commercially distributing a 15-minute tape of the twosome engaging in a steamy mattress romp."
My simple mind cannot fathom what the deal is with video taping your sexual exploits. First it was the video of Paris Hilton, then the whole MMS scandal in Delhi, and now this. For the most part, the people video-taping their bedroom romps are exhibitionists to begin with, why else would they have the camera rolling? Ahh, maybe they don't have the foresight to envision that the "tape" will someday surface in public. Given that conventional wisdom dictates that this is typical material waiting to be released into the wild, I'm inclined to believe that these people are plain stupid. And what are those that tape and then sue? No comment.

The View from the Other Side

It's about 10 months since I've become a team lead. With the passage of time, I've started to realize some changes in my perspective on issues, especially those relating to work. For instance, I used to come in every morning between 11 and 12 when I was an individual contributor. Now, it is rare that I come in after 10:30. If I come in later than that, I actually feel guilty about being a slacker. I've realized the value of being accountable for my actions, and become more cautious with my choice of words in email and verbal communication. I'll be the first to say that there have been times when my priorities in the past have needed alignment. Though this statement holds true today, I make more of an effort to prioritize correctly and continue to get better. In my mind, I can sleep a happy person if I've shown improvement in specific areas associated with time management.

What does stand out as the biggest change in my view finder is my ability to look at the broader ramifications of a situation. I've started to get a glimpse of the bigger picture and understand how everything fits together. Sometimes, the best decision doesn't abide by the Ideal Engineer's Manual. I've learnt that this is totally acceptable and can prove to be the master stroke...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Biggest Wish of my Life

I wish I had the opportunity to be the best at A sport, that sometime in my life, I get a chance to represent myself or a team in a sport and make a difference; get recognition.

In this life, it is hard for any of us to leave a mark; most of us lead a life of anonymity, an average existence. I'd like to believe that I can buck that trend and no, this isn't hubris. This is just my desire to do something that is memorable. Maybe I'll do something great in my job and be content with that contribution...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rested and Energized

All of last week is a blur; my only distinct memory is of walking through the corridors of Building 27. We finally signed off on our work on Friday at 4:25pm after the team's herculean effort over nearly two weeks. Yes two weeks of night outs, take-out dinners and 3am trips to Denny's, we were done, at least for now! It was a very kind gesture on the part of management to give the entire team Monday off. Here is what I did over my unscheduled long weekend.

So this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well. I did it again, spent all of Saturday sleeping that is; typical after a hard week of work. As my admin put it on Friday, "You look like shit Manoj. Go home and get some rest." And rest I did, for 28 hours over 3 days. That's nearly 38% of the time - ayyp!! Partying, watching movies and playing tennis took up most of the rest. You don't say?!

Every year since I've known Arun, 7th July and 13th September have been somewhat eventful days. The former is Arun's birthday and the latter, mine. So when I went to Capitol Club this past Friday for Arun's birthday dinner, I was kinda worried that this year might prove to be the contrary, that the weekend would go by without much incident. Haa, haa, charade you are Manoj...

As I said, I slept through most of Saturday. The only reason I actually woke up was to get dressed and head over to Apurva's for Arun's pre-birthday party. Of course we were late, an hour late but we had the alcohol so all was forgiven. Damn that alcohol was potent, I hadn't eaten nothing and had slept all day. Any surprise that the alcohol went straight to my head? A couple shots of Crown Royal didn't help my cause much "neither".

Once all the alcohol had been consumed (the final shot of rum was had straight from the bottle by an undisclosed birthday boy), we walked to Tia Lou's to continue the festivities. By this time, I was a little buzzed (liar) and we partied till Rajit was thrown out sometime before 2am. So here's a statistic - every birthday party I've been to this year at a club has had one of the birthday boys thrown out because of shameless alcohol abuse induced rowdiness. I'm going to reverse that by staying sober on my birthday...

I thought I was pretty sober all night long till someone made me realize that I might've been too buzzed to actually know better. I danced with Kristina (wrong, wrong), ate onion rings among other fried substances from Jack in the Box and then proceeded to chug down a whole litre of water before going to bed. The water should explain why my shirt was drenched when I woke up the next morning. And oh yeah, there was the shameless ............ and I'm that only when I'm buzzed. Maybe not.

Woke up with a wet t-shirt (it's only good to see them women in wet t-shirts) and caught up on the escapades of the birthday boys over brunch. Do you feel lethargic and nasty after a night of food, alcohol, cigarette smoke inhalation and debauchery? Well I do! How do I flush these out of my system? In one word, tennis.

My schedule was pretty tight for the evening - Mitika had invited a whole bunch of us to watch Sarkar that evening at 7:30. The clock was about to strike Five when Daniel and I got the game started - this session had to be quick. When I was the first to get to the cinema (driven by Amru), I felt pretty happy about how I had managed my time. Hey cut it out, it was a Sunday for crying out loud.

After the final reel of Sarkar had played out on the silver screen, I hugged Mitika out of gratitude for her invitation, without which I would've missed out on the best Hindi flick I've seen all year. Amitabh and Abhishek have been directed immaculately by Ram Gopal Varma through a great adaptation of The Godfather. I'm tempted to see the movie again, but will I honestly pay $10 to see it in that nasty theatre - no! I'll get me the DVD and check it out at home on my re-organized quasi home theatre.

Spent Monday chilling out - watched Gol Maal, gave my racquet to be re-strung and played a couple sets of tennis. When I walked in to work this morning, I wanted to be sitting in front of my computer. Though I was dragged into more meetings than I'd like, I thoroughly enjoyed my day. And, I topped it off by beating Sameer 6-1, 6-4. That's Manoj-2, Sameer-0. If I keep improving the way I am, I don't see how Sameer is going to overtake me ;) Lights out...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Blogging from home

Before I go to bed. It's late, I've eaten like a pig, worked hard and worked out hard today. Great way to start a week, thank god it didn't start on a Monday :) Objective of this year, get invited to a 4th of July bbq next year! Small, achievable goals I must set for myself. I've given up on the lose weight one a long time ago.

I did something different today. I wrote an email to someone I met just once, hoping that she'd get in touch. Hmm, the last time I did that was when I first came to the US. I take that back, that was different. In that case, the girl gave me her email address. This one, I got from a friend, who is really proud of the fact that he's a P*$P now :) More on that later. So, where was I again? Oh yeah, I'll let you know if she does get in touch with me. It was an interesting meeting I'll say, but I'd like to write about my trip to Chicago before I delve into this topic. Sufficeth to say, it might be worth it ;)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Getting Over Bad Habits

A pure nugget of information

3. Not Sleeping

You can't steal time from your sleep schedule, you can only borrow it. Eventually you have to pay it back. With interest. Yes, you *have* to get XYZ done by yesterday, or... or... Well, *something* really bad will happen. Take a minute to consider most deadlines you've had. Is the deliverable going to ship the day after the deadline? Of course not, this is just the regular monthly deliverable. By the time the shipping deliverable rolls around you'll be paying back your sleep debt, with interest.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The exact form and date of the final deliverable doesn't matter all that much. Market research always says it would be best to be five years ahead of everyone else in terms of functionality, and able to ship tomorrow. You don't even need surveys to figure that out. The only way to make a useful schedule is with a healthy attention to reality. If there won't be time to include a feature, trim it, and if the bare minimum functionality can't be done in time, let the deliverable date slip.

In the end, all that matters is the code you write, not the hours you put in. If you find yourself falling asleep in your chair, forcing yourself to type to avoid nodding off, go home and get some sleep. You'll more than make up for the lost time the next day.

I'm done with work today. I came in around 7:30am and now desperately need some shut eye. If I leave now, I'll do much better work tomorrow. If I don't, I'll waste the rest of the evening away and achieve nothing. Worse, I'll regret how I wasted my evening tomorrow when I wake up and tomorrow will be wasted too. And so on till it's Tuesday. Must stop before the dam bursts...