Thursday, November 29, 2007

Life between the Lines

Yoga in the mornings, squash in the evenings, and some work in between - that's how my days go by. I am glad that I don't have much time left to be on Facebook, or MySpace, or be at work finding new things to fix. The quest for the rest of the year is to locate, and possibly acquire some measure of Zen.

Sumeet and I hung out after almost a year last week. You know, my love (and appreciation) for friendships that require very little maintenance has never been higher. It felt just like old times with Suri - we ate dinner, drank coffee, and had a few glasses of Wine. I might've mentioned this meeting with him in an earlier post, but for some reason, it's not passed into the nether regions of my consciousness. The only difference between the Suri of yesterday and today is the philosophical tilt of his conversations. We both have wanderlust, and are slowly discovering that the rat-race is not worth running for too long. Life's about taking a pause, and ...

Got my first squash lesson in almost a year, and I learnt two new things. Two bad habits that were negating the gains my game had made over the past six months; thanks Azam! I am looking forward to the rest of my sessions with him before I leave on vacation. Oh yeah, something else I hadn't done in more than a few months is gorge on curly fries with my lunch. Just felt like I have been spending enough time in the gym to earn me a treat - a complete serving of them curlies. And they were so tasty with the chipotle sauce - Ummmmmmm!! Time to live a little eh? No! That's it for this week, except if I get my hands on a bag of Jalapeno Chips :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christian Troy Endorses the iPhone

To the few of us that watch Nip/Tuck, Dr Christian Troy is the epitome of cool, an adonis whose tailspin into dysfunction keeps us riveted to the show. I know more than one guy who hasn't felt cheaper than when someone, a stranger usually, found a striking resemblance between the guy and Christian Troy. We want to dress like him, charm women like him, even fuck like he does. So when Christian whips out his iPhone in Season 5, it's no surprise that every guy that watches the show is gonna want one. I wonder if Apple had to pay the creators of Nip/Tuck for this endorsement, but I know that Arun's gonna be jealous that I have one!! :)

The Score to Date: Manoj - 2, Arun - 1...

If you've got cable, and you don't watch this show, you're missing out, BIG TIME!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Me and my iPhone

For better or for worse, my friends call me an Apple Whore. I'm a very atypical Microsoft employee - I use Firefox as my browser, my main computer at home is my Mac Book Pro, I have owned multiple iPods, and I recently swapped out my Smart Phone for an iPhone. When the iPhone first came out, I really coveted one, but I was skeptical about its keyboard. Not getting any tactile feedback while typing is an alien concept to me.

Aware that the 1.0 release of any product is riddled with bugs, I bided my time and pushed off the purchase for a few months. In the interim, I read every review I could get my eyes on, and everything I read pointed to AT&T being a fecez. I had been a happy T-Mobile customer since 2004, the biggest positives of being with TMob were the great service, decent phone reception, the best voice plans, and the phone selection.

It's been two weeks since I took the plunge into the iPhone realm, and using another phone now is a drag. The keyboard took a few hours to get used to - I'm a fast learner ;-) - and now my fingers fly on it, using the camera is a breeze, sending pictures via email or to flickr is damn useful, and the browser is beautiful. Here are my nits though:

1. Though Mail is good, it doesn't hold a candle to mail on the Smart Phone.
2. I can't save a Mail attachment to my phone - that's plain silly.
3. Give me a frickin' back button already. This is akin to no Second Mouse Button on my MBP. WTF?!
4. The screen gets dirty too easily (fine, I sweat, a lot)
5. AT&T is the network with the most dropped calls. Their tagline is the lie to top all lies!
6. Can't change the volume while listening to music by flicking my finger up or down on the screen.

With all of these being said, I'd still recommend that if you are an AT&T customer, the $400 price tag is worth the experience. If you do take the plunge, you'll be hard pressed to enjoy another phone again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

People like Deep give the Mac a bad name

I am sitting here in Portland, catching up with a good ol' friend, and we start talking about his new Mac Book Pro. He starts to relate his experience about the love for his Mac, its display, the way it blew his mind off when he first switched, etc. And finally, the truth comes out, he thinks Mac peripherals are too expensive. "The power supply was gonna cost me $80. That's just wrong!". Then I point him to the fact that a Lenovo T60's power supply costs $140+.

To all you people out there that think the Mac is over-priced, and its peripherals cost an arm and a leg, take pause and research the cost of comparable laptops. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Deep. :D

P.S. He's sitting right here cursing me for relating thist story. All you bloggers, he says there is a reason why we have no friends! Go get him...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today is the Day!!

The day we've all been working towards is finally here. The Zune v2 hits store shelves today, and it has been a rollicking ride. I am headed to the Launch Party in the Bear Creek campus right now, but I'd like to take a moment to congratulate (and thank) everyone who was a part of this monumental release by the team. All you dogfooders, coders, forward thinkers, designers, et al pat yourself on the back.

What are the cool features of this release?
- Wifi Sync
- Wifi Send
- Zune Originals
- Podcast Support
- Excellent Radio Quality
- ...

Finally, the consumer can choose a product made by a team that actually "Thinks Different". I can hear the photocopiers in Cupertino whirring all the way up here in Redmond!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Getting squashed on the court

Tuesday night is Seattle City League Night. Teams of at most 6 players in every skill category (A, B, C and D) all over the Seattle Tacoma area play against each other on Tuesday night. The league is like social hour; I end up playing and meeting both strangers and acquaintances, and had it not been for the league, it would be very hard to play against better opponents on such a regular basis. I have played against the Pro Club members so much now that I practically know their games, know what works against them, and have figured out how I can win, if at all. So last night, when I got a chance to play Jeff Evans, the Northgate team's Number One player, I relished the opportunity, and made the most of it.

In the lead-up to the match, I ran more, lifted weights, and ate healthy, so I was on top of my game. Turned out, I prepared a little too much, because I lost in 3 tough games to Jeff. My sole consolation prize was that I won the next 2 games we played but that didn't affect the final result. The rest of my team members lost their respective matches too, and the way things are going, the team might go lossless all season.

Now that the Zune launch is done, we have a week off to recharge, connect with friends and family (once again), and prepare ourselves for the next challenge - deliver a compelling set of follow-up features that increase the value proposition of a Zune purchase. This is a tall order mind you, because Apple is not going to sit still over the next couple of months. As I said yesterday though, the heat is on Apple for the first time in the Music Player business, and their response remains to be seen.

The stock markets today took another nosedive, which means my Microsoft stock is still worthless. Maybe greed isn't the way to go here - once the market rebounds from its current bear phase, I'll sell my holdings, and invest in mutual funds or in India. The market, and the dollar need to recover lost ground though, and both will hopefully sometime soon.

You heard about the Indian girl with 8 limbs??

Monday, November 12, 2007

Long Time No Post

India brings out the hopeful despondent in me - an entity that thrives on the radiant sun, basks in the warmth of the people around him, and waxes eloquent about the Indian experience on this wall. If my quest was for literary excellence, I'd stay back. Alas, that's not the case; I eventually return to Seattle, where for the first week after I land, nothing quite feels the same. Everything is simpler in America, more accessible, therefore one could argue, less *special*. A typical day in Bombay is spent dealing with impatient, rude, rowdy, impertinent, impetuous, lazy and down-right ridiculous people. The thought of a few moments of solitude, drink in hand, within the four walls of your quiet home help you look beyond the cacophony, and takes you through the day. Survival is tougher in India, don't get me wrong, but the satisfaction of having survived another day is stupendous as well.

It is exactly 5pm, and the sun has set on what has been a cold and dank day in Seattle. Winter is upon us, and a pall hangs over the daily proceedings. The volatility in the stock market has resulted in almost all the gains of the last week to be nullified, and in the lead-up to the Zune v2 launch tomorrow, things have quietened significantly at work. People are beginning to jump ship, and I will be sad to see some faces go, though I did expect some departures. Working on a project like Zune comes at a dear price, which at first seems commensurate with the quality of work, but for some, the cross is too heavy to bear. While I definitely see my future on this team, I need to take active measures to attain a balance between my work and personal lives. Till that is sorted, I can't rest.

The beaming faces on my desktop bring a smile to my face. The fond memories from this trip involved both friends and family, and I'd like to take a moment and thank the powers that be for my good fortune. Regardless of promises kept or broken, I've returned to the US with an even stronger yearning to pursue a career in India. I just need the stars to align, and the right opportunity to present itself to take the plunge. Who knows, this might help jettison the abject loneliness too.

Friday, November 09, 2007

K L P D - Hilarious

I just found this on Urban Dictionary, and couldn't stop laughing. All you folks that don't know what KLPD stands for, here is your daily dose of worldly knowledge:

hindi/urdu slang term for getting stood up or rejected by a girl.
Acronym for 'Kheray Lun per dhoka' (translation : Fraud on an erect penis)

bhainchod .. saali nay KLPD kerdiya

Wait, not only do you learn how to use KLPD, but you also learn that the other Hindi slang, bhainchod, can be inserted into any sentence. Much like "fuck". Oh crap, I dedicate this post to all the potty mouths out there, like me!