A big deal and a not so big deal

In the week gone by, two events happened. One was really a big deal in a lot of different ways, and that's the Microsoft-Skype deal. The other not-so-big deal was from Google, on the launch of the Chromebook. The big deal I personally think more than the money Microsoft is going to pay for Skype, there are other factors in play. 1. Skype is a well established company/product in the VOIP market. It has a few hundred million customers all over the world. As smartphones continue their onslaught all over the world, it is a matter of time before Skype-like services eat into the traditional telecom operators share. 2. Microsoft earlier got into a tie-up with Nokia. With Windows Phone 7 still receiving a lukewarm response compared to the iPhone and Android hype, deals with companies like Skype and Nokia are increasing the chance of Windows succeeding in in the mobile arena. Of course it is going to take time to integrate all the various services and the hardware. 3. While smartph

Tech - Getting natty indeed

The latest version of Ubuntu was out in April 28, following the pattern of Canonical's 6 monthly release cycle. It's called Natty Narwhal. I have been using it for a few weeks and it's natty indeed. The latest edition is very slick when it comes to the user interface. I wasn't too happy with the Unity desktop interface, I am using the GNOME 3 desktop. However, installing GNOME 3 breaks the Unity installation. I would recommend having another desktop manager like KDE. This is where the flexibility and architecture of Linux comes into play, one can do what one wishes! Based on my experience, some of the key features are: - Very simple user interface. Search is now central to the desktop experience (top right in the above screenshot). Hit the "Windows" key and the above menu appears. - The device drivers for for the keyboard, display, bluetooth, wi-fi work out of the box seamlessly (on my Acer 5738z laptop). I am particularly impressed with the trackp

Tech - Clone Wars

There was a time when the each of the browsers had distinctive features and quirks. Internet Explorer soon started to dominate the browser market. Mozilla Firefox came in like a breath of fresh air with new features like tabbed browsing, spell check and so on. However, Internet Explorer was quick to match these features and maintained it's hold. Along the way, Opera also came into the fray. But, it didn't have much to challenge Explorer's dominance. Safari continues to be relegated to the "apple world". The story started to change with a new entrant - Chromium aka known as Google Chrome (Chromium is the "open source" version). According to me it received a lukewarm response, even among geeks like me. I installed it and quickly shifted back to Firefox. I wish I could say the same now! In the course of my work and home life, I use 3 different operating systems, don't ask me why! They are - Windows 7, Mac Leopard and Ubuntu. I have Chrome in all t

A simple dish from God's Own Country

Vegetable stew The vegetable stew from Kerala, God's Own Country is a versatile dish. It can be used as a side dish for chappatis or dosa / appam. It is quite easy to make. And as all stews go, it is very filling and satisfying after a long day of work. Other vegetables that go well in this dish are cauliflower and carrots. For those interested in meat, chicken or lamb can be substituted instead Contributed by Rajan Manickavasagam . Published 07. May 2011 Ingredients 2 diced potatoes 2 sliced green chillies 4 strips of ginger 1 sliced onion 4 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 handful of curry leaves 1 clove 1 cardamom 1 cup of peas 1 cup of coconut milk 1-2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste) Instructions Dice the potatoes and cook them until they are soft. This can be done quickly in the microwave. Heat the oil in pan. Add onions, ginger, curry leaves, clove and cardamom. The clove and cardamom help flavour the oil.

Sitcom Review - Yes Minister (1980)

Posted by Rajan April 10th, 2011 Yes Minister Rating: 5 out of 5 Politics, intelligent and comedy. Often there are not words you would use in the same sentence, at least not in a positive manner. Yes Minister, is a very intelligent comedy about politics. What makes Yes Minister classic is that, the episodes and circumstances are timeless which I am sure are played about in the corridors of power even today. Yes Minister was originally written as a book by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. Later it was converted into a TV series. The TV series is true to the book in every way without any deviation or dilution. If you are an avid book reader, go for the book. For those who enjoy watching, the TV series is brilliant because of the hilarious portrayal by Paul Eddington (the bumbling and naive minister - Jim Hacker), Nigel Hawthorne (the arrogant and cunning permanent under secretary - Sir Humphrey) and Derek Fowlds (the well meaning private secretary - Bernard, caught in the

Fancy lunch

Pan fried sea bass This weekend I had orders from my wife to cook something different. So, off I went looking for all the ingredients we had at home. This dish is mish-mash of different items. This recipe also happens to be the first one where I have used hrecipe tags. Contributed by Rajan Manickavasagam . Published 20. Mar 2011 Ingredients 2 potatoes 1 egg 50 grammes of bread crumbs 1 spoonful of oregano 1 spoonful of thyme 1 spoonful of basil 3 bell peppers 1 cup of diced carrots 1 cup of peas 7-8 spoonful of olive oil 2 slices of sea bass 2-3 spoonful of salt 2-3 spoonful of pepper You can use some Mayonnaise or Tartar sauce as well. Instructions Boil and slice potatoes. Dip the potatoes in egg and then bread crumbs. Fry the potatoes in olive oil for a few minutes. Slice the bell pe

Going back in time

In Bangalore, there is something different now, more than just the malls and movies. Adding to this list of pedantic attractions is a refreshing new entrant - modern art. The National Gallery of Modern Art located at Palace Road, is an oasis of old world charm. The gallery is located in a renovated old house - Manekyavelu Mansion. It was started a couple of years ago. The gallery is part of the Department of Culture, Govt. of India. The Bangalore branch joins it's older siblings in Delhi and Bombay. NGMA, Bangalore At my wife's prodding, we visited this place this weekend. The gallery is extremely well maintained and very sparse. They have a good range of visiting and permanent exhibitions. Hopefully, there are more such museums created. After all, there is no dearth of culture and history in India. If you ever visit Bangalore, try and visit this gallery. There is a cafe too, if you are in the mood for some tea and snacks. It is located in the heart of the city and

Hell hath no fury

Nature has often been quoted as a an ally of Japan. The most famous instance being the "kamikaze" or "divine wind". When Japan was threatened by Mongol invasion in the 12th century, typhoons destroyed the invading naval armada and saved Japan. But, yesterday Japan was a victim of a nature's fury and power. It suffered from one of the deadliest earthquakes and tsunami. This tsunami is several times bigger than the one that hit the Indian ocean in 2004. While the exact reasons or cause for the earthquake and tsunami are being worked out, The world is already aware of the massive scale of destruction. The japanese people are one of the most prepared against such natural disasters. But, in this case, it may be too much to bear for them too. To see a 20-30 foot high wave travelling at 500 km / hr must be terrifying. As seen on TV screens around the world, it looked like a scene out of the movie - 2012. Hopefully, much of the damage can be repaired soon and th

Tech - How to protect your computer

In the past few years, our computers at home have become more and more involved in our daily lives, be it for paying the bills or keeping touch with friends. This articles explores a few basic steps to protect your computer. Here are a set of one time and ongoing steps to help protect your computer. If you have any other ideas, please send them to me and I will add them to the list below. One time setup 1. Ensure that you have a password for your computer login and do not set the option "to login automatically". 2. Use an anti-virus tool. There are plenty of free ones available like - AVG, Microsoft Essentials and Clam Anti Virus. I would recommend Microsoft Essentials. It's quite simple to use. 3. Ensure that you set medium or high priority security options in your browser. 4. Disable pop-ups. It saves nuisance in a lot of sites. 5. If you are using Windows, enable the Windows Firewall or use 3rd party firewall. For most purposes, the Windows Firewall is a

Song Review - Saajnaa Saajnaa (2010)

Posted by Rajan March 3rd, 2011 Saajnaa Saajnaa Rating: 5 out of 5 In recent times, fancy lyrics and modern music have dictated the direction of soundtrack in Indian movies, especially the songs. Every now and then, you get to hear melodious tunes. One of the most lilting songs from recent times has been Saajnaa from the movie Lamhaa. The movie is based on the the trauma faced by people of Kashmir starring Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu and Kunal Kapoor. The song is about a love so close yet apart due to circumstances. This particular song is sung by Mika Singh and Chinmayi. Normally, Mika is associated with more boisterous pop and movie songs in Hindi and his native Punjabi. Here he sings completely out of character with a lot of melancholy. The lyrics are very elegant. Chinmayi gives a very controlled performance, a good foil to Mika's honest rendition. And finally, the music. At times, it feels as if the instruments too are singing along side the singers. In the same