I finally dumped Opera

22 07 2006

Somehow the Indian government decided to block all blog domains last week so I couldn’t post this earlier. Anyways, not that the blogs are back, here is the latest post.

I finally dumped Opera. I have already written why Opera 9 beta disappoints. In fact some of the problems that I faced in the beta version have been rectified in the complete release. For instance, the browser doesn’t crash when multiple tabs are opened. It finally imported all my RSS feeds and bookmarks from the previous installation. But still, Opera left me with a lot to desire. I am an old pro, and have always welcomed the enhancements that they have made to their browser but this time Opera 9 doesn’t look as good as it used to be.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

For a start, Yahoo! Mail looks very different in Opera 9. I get to see a huge blank space on the webpage and have to scroll down to have a look at my mails. I don’t know why this is happening in Opera because Yahoo! seems to work fine in Firefox and IE. Read more about why Opera disappoints from the link I have provided above.

I still hung on to Opera; primarily because of its RSS feed reader. I have become so well attuned to it that I am literally in love with it. Opera takes the cake in this respect because its RSS reader can read feeds automatically at regular intervals. So if I want to know the score of a live Cricket match every 10 minutes, I won’t have to pass any command to the reader to extract feeds. I love this technology.

This is one thing that I could never find for Firefox. I mean, they have innumerable extensions and feed readers for Firefox and even the Live Bookmarks are designed to read news feeds but they cannot emulate this effect of Opera. I was on the lookout for a good feed reader for firefox and finally found Sage. I liked the way it imported the OPML feeds from Opera. It gave me summaries of all the feeds, just the way Opera does. But yes, it doesn’t import feeds automatically like Opera. Still, I thought it was good enough for me to declare Opera defunct for me, at least for the time being.

This actually leads me to follow the browser wars. IE7 has been released by Microsoft. Firefox is preparing to release version 2. (I hear that FF 2 beta is already out) and have already prepared a roadmap for FireFox 3 (to be released next year). Opera has added widgets, torrent downloader and hopefully more will come in next upgrades. I will follow the browser wars and keep posting on it here.

© Crime Master Gogo



9 07 2006

The much delayed monsoon finally reached the city today. Much delayed? Well not really, because this is the story of monsoon almost every year. The weather bureau predicts monsoon showers to start on time, i.e.: June 29, but it gets delayed anyway. But this year was different, thanks to the media and the powercuts.

The media, especially Aaj Tak channel predicted that according to their ‘weather model’ the monsoon was to reach Delhi as late as July 18. Honestly I don’t know what ‘weather model’ they were talking about because neither the weather bureau nor any of the foreign media including most weather websites were predicting this date. It was a report that could only spread some unnecessary fear among Delhiites.

Then there were the endless powercuts. To tell the truth, 5 hours of powercuts is a norm though it can be more. Today being a Sunday is a respite and one hopes that with the arrival of the monsoon, the powercuts will finally abate. Thankfully, the housing complex where I live has a 24 hour power back-up, so we don’t face many problems. Still, in the absence of power, we can’t watch television or turn on our PC, making it a very difficult for us to bide our time.

Having said it all, I want the monsoon to arrive in full force. I want it to rain as much as it did in Mumbai this year. I want to get drenched in the rain and wade through knee-deep waters. Never mind the powercuts, as long as we get rains everything will be fine. The cool moist breeze, the soft drops of rain on my glasses, the bhutta, freshly made from the roadside vendors, the pakodas that mom makes for breakfast, it all adds to the charm of the weather. Sadly the last few years haven’t been so great especially when it comes to enjoying the habits of each season.

Monsoon brings with it a sense of nostalgia too. I remember some years back, I had to cancel going to the college one day as most buses were being diverted due to waterlogged streets. Some years before that my bicycle was stolen just hours after I returned from school completely drenched in the showers. Those kiddish pranks that we loved playing on each other, making boats and airplanes from papers torn out of our school notebooks. And it also reminds me of an incident of many years back.

I think it was the summer vacation of 1991 or 1992, I was alone at home. As a pre-teen, I really had nothing on my mind and was enjoying the weather. As I was doing my homework (!), I heard some thundershowers. Then out of nowhere I heard this deafening thunder that started from west and went right above my home and ended somewhere in the east. I was terrified. I froze in my position. I sat absolutely still for a moment and then I clasped my ears with both my hands. I closed my ears with such force that absolutely no noise could enter them. I sat in that position for about half hour or so before I made any attempts to move.

Sweating profusely, I realised that it is gone. The rains had eased by then and I finally had the courage to move. I opened the front door and saw that the sky had cleared and the ground in front of my home was waterlogged. Though I was scared I put up a brave face when mom and dad returned home in the evening. Since then I have never had any fear of thunder and lightning.

I sometimes wonder if anything like that would happen again. I would love to relive those moments again, just to see how I will react now that I am grown up.

The Malgudi Magic

6 07 2006

Ardent readers of R K Narayan’s books must have often wondered what the fictional town of Malgudi used to be like. This picture is an artist’s attempt to create the Malgudi magic in the form of map. Whoever did it, its simply brilliant.

My Ordeal with Nimmo

4 07 2006

My grandmother came visiting me last week and spent the entire week with us. Being an 80 plus years old lady, she has little to do than to do her regular poojas and watch television. And when she watches TV, what better thing can she watch than the dreaded Kekta serials? Its not that she religiously follows these serials, its just that she doesn’t mind watching them and when she watches TV serials she invariably starts taking out flaws in them, just like me. Okay, not exactly like me but yeah definitely her reasonings are more interesting than mine.

So it was one fine night when mom called me to have dinner. 10pm and it was Nimmo time. As I saw the closing shots of Heartbeat on Star One, I began wondering whether to start flipping through the channels or not. I didn’t go for the remote and instead carried on eating my dinner. Moments later it was Nimmo on screen.

Ouch! Can somebody tell me if there is a worse looking actress on television? Yeah, I judged her by her looks and believe me, she didn’t fit the image of a typical Kekta heroine that I have seen in some of her other serials. This actress (what’s her name? Sanjeeda or something?) looks like a girl fresh out of college and taking up her first modelling assignment where she has been rejected. The freckled face doesn’t look good on screen.

Interestingly, when this Nimmo serial started, I thought that it must be some comedy show. Luckily for me, I had other things on my mind and forgot about it. Grandmother came and started watching this serial and it brought back those funny memories of Kekta serials. I have observed sertain characteristics in all Kekta serials.

  • All scenes are shot in slow-motion, making me wonder why they can’t speak in slow motion!
  • The camera will zoom in on each character from all directions.
  • All characters will be ‘standing’ at the time of something important.
  • The most dreadful scene of each episode will happen when all characters of the household are either having their lunch/dinner or are having a group-chat session.
  • There will be at least one vamp in each serial.
  • The vamp’s age/hairdo will not change even over a 20 year leap.
  • Oh, not only the vamp, but almost all characters follow the same path!

Nimmo follows this same path. And one more thing that I have started to wonder is that why do these serial-makers (killers) create their stories based on Gujarati families? That ’20 year jump multiplied by 3’ saga a.k.a. Kyunki… was the first one to be based on a Gujju family. Well, actually before that Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka was also based on Gujju family (this serial was initially good but became boring as it went on). Khichdi was a funny take on a stupid Gujju family, Sarabhai had a Gujju background but it was too funny really. Now there is weirdo serial on Sony that’s on a Gujju background and finally Nimmo.

To further drift away from topic, I want to ask madam Kekta Kapoor whats the secret of Ba’s energy at 104 years of age! My grandmother is in her mid-80s and she looks really old, but Ba of Kyunki fame looks like 69 going on 70.

And now coming back to Nimmo, it’s an achievement for me for the way I endured those 20 minutes of this serial without uttering a single pearl of wisdom! (When I say pearl of wisdom I really mean criticism). Grandmother said beta aam khao, and yes I did start eating that delicious mango kept in front of me. Maybe that kept my mouth busy; else I would have spoken and made Nimmo look worse than the sluts of some other Kekta serials. Yeah, I call them sluts because some of those weirdo characters got married to 2 or 3 or maybe even more men.

Let me predict the future of the story of Nimmo. In a few weeks time, she will be pregnant and will declare to her husband main tumhaare bachche ki maa banne waali hoon. Both will forget their contract marriage and live happily ever after. Only thing is, that in Kekta Kapoor serials there is no such thing like living happily ever after. So, she will super-fast-forward this serial some 20 years and then Nimmo daughter will grow up to become a Kimmo and her love story will start all over again. Meanwhile Nimmo’s husband will have 2 extra-marital affairs and 1 other wife, who will bear him an illegitimate son who will grow up 20 years later and return to fight for his haq in the Nimmo family.

Wah! Kya story likhi hai. I should be the scriptwriter of this serial.