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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dilliwallahs, Let's Take Errant Autowallahs to Task

Auto DevilThis service has been on for quite a while in Delhi but seems that not too many people are aware of this.

The next time when an auto rickshaw driver or a taxi driver in Delhi overcharges or refuses (even misbehaves or harasses) you. Don't just argue and move away (as we usually do). Send an SMS to 56767 (Save the number to your phonebook. It'll come handy) and leave it to the Delhi Traffic Police to take action.

The SMS needs to be preferably sent in a specified format.

In case of:

Refusal (REF)
Type REF

[Information sourced from]

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Gun Murugun is Coming. Mind it!

LogoThe early 1990s, I was still in school and we didn't have a cable connection at home. But I managed to 'boost' the antenna to catch stray cable TV signals.

The result was grainy, but good enough for me. And it was there, on a black and white TV screen, that I first met the legendary Quick Gun Murugun.

Dr Rajendra PrasadNow over a decade later the vegetarian cowboy is finally all set to shoot his mouth off on Indian silver screens.

And the man bringing the superhero with guntastic powers back is none else than the man who first introduced the character to us, Shashanka Ghosh. He was the then creative head of Channel [V].

The film is apparantly being released in four languages; English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Quick Gun Murugun is releasing on August 28, 2009. I'll book my tickets in advance.

The trailers of the Misadventures of an Indian Cowboy promise fun and Shahrukh Khan's take on Quick Gun Murugun in Om Shanti Om, would have familarised filmgoers who weren't exposed to the phenomenon.

I've put together a consolidated version of the Quick Gun Murugun trailers floating around.

And I've created a playlist a few Channel [V] Quick Gun promos here.

Shashanka's debut as a director was the sequel without a prequel (actually with an embedded prequel and sequel. Three films in one!) Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II. One of my all-time favourite songs, Allah Ke Bande, is from that film.

Mind itThe synopsis of the film on its official website reads (Mind it! All links there open in new windows):

Quick Gun Murugun is an unlikely Superhero with Gungastic powers. He is a sincere South Indian Cowboy who considers it his duty to serve and protect. The movie revolves around the mis-adventures of Quick Gun Murugun and his fight with his arch villain Rice Plate Reddy!

Quick Gun enters into an epic battle that spans time and space. From a small South Indian village to Swarglok and then finally to the cosmopolitan Mumbai. He is torn between Mango Dolly who loves him secretly and his first love Locket Girl and his loyalty is put to the test.

And the producers have also commissioned a few comic book posters:

Quick Gun Murugun Comics Quick Gun Murugun Comics
[Click for larger images]

The star cast includes, Dr Rajendra Prasad (Quick Gun Murugan), Nasser (Rice Plate Reddy), Rambha (Mango Dolly), Anu Menon (Locket Lover), Sandhya Mridul (Masala News Reporter), Vinay Phatak (Mr Chitragupt), Ranvir Shorey (Sansani Reporter)and Raju Sundaram (Rowdy MBA).

People who have already watched it at film festivals have good things to say about the film. Hope I too get added to the film's fan list. And you too. I say!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Sherlyn Chopra Whips it for PETA

Sherlyn Chopra (previously known as Mona Chopra) is one of the most 'revealing' starlets of Bollywood. And now she (following the likes of Shilpa Shetty, Mahima Chaudhary, Amisha Patel, Isha Koppikar and John Abraham) poses for a PETA ad.

Since the ad is for PETA India, we don't get to see her naked, a two piece is what the Indian sensibilities have been stretched to, yet. Though she, lying on a bed, is chained at the ankle and weilds a whip.

Sherlyn Chopra in a bikini for PETA ad

Photographed by Rakesh Shrestha, the tagline of the ad reads "Whips and chains belong in the bedroom, not in the circus." This ad is the latest in the PETA series against animals in entertainment.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

How to calculate commuting time in Delhi

Delhi Traffic"How long will it take you to reach here?" If you are not a frequent traveller on the route, this is usually difficult answer the question.

After six-years of travelling on Delhi's roads, I've noticed a relation between the distance, the time of the day and the time it takes to reach from point A to point B. And have devised a simple formula.

Let us take the first variable, distance. If you know the distance, good. If not, there's Google Maps. Just type the "location" to "destination" on the search box and hit enter (eg. Connaught Place to Noida). It'll display the suggested routes alongwith the distance in kilometres (Google Maps also tells you the commuting time, but that doesn't seem to be in sync with Delhi's traffic conditions).

Now that you know the distance, let me explain my (not-so-magic) formula.

Heavy traffic (peak hours)
(8:30 AM to 10:30 AM and 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM)

Distance in Kms x 3

(If your destination is 15 kilometres away, it'll take you approximately 45 minutes to reach there)

Medium traffic
(10:30 AM to 5:30 PM; 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM)

Distance in Kms x 2

(30 minutes for 15 kilometres)

Low traffic
(9:30 PM to 8:30 AM)

Distance in Kms x 1 (If you aren't one of those who zoom past at 120 kmph at 2:00 AM)

For Sundays

8:30 AM to 9:30 PM should be treated as medium traffic.

On national holidays (Republic Day, Independence Day and Holi in particular) - the whole day is low traffic.

It usually works for me with an error margin of 5-10 minutes, relative to the distance.

This is just for assuming the commuting time and in no way would provide precise formulas.

Denizens of other cities please provide similar formulas for your city in the comments.

Disclaimer: The author of this post cannot and should not be held responsible if your girlfriend/boyfriend dumps you (or for any other unpleasant reaction) for not being able to reach by the time calculated using the aforementioned formulae.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Secure your USB drive with write protection

Make USB drives, external hard disk write protected, read onlyMany viruses crept into my PC via the my USB pen drives and external hard disks that I lent to friends for transferring data.

If your motive is to prevent unintentional transfer of malicious and unwanted stuff on to your portable storage devices (that do not have inbuilt write-protection), this little software is just what you want. It makes your USB storage device read only.

The USB WriteProtector will occupy only about 500 KB of space on your USB flash drive and will prevent any unauthorised files from making your pen drive their home.

The good part is that it is portable, it doesn't require any installation and can simply be copied to any portable storage. It not only works on USB flash drives but also on external hard disks (I tested).

All you need to do is download the file from here [RAR 189 KB] (via Google Translate since the original site is in German).

Extract the RAR file (if you do not have an appropriate program on your PC, try 7-Zip). And copy the extracted files to your portable storage device.

Click on the UsbWriteProtect.exe file

USB write protect

The default language is German, choose English from the drop down menu.

USB write protect

Choose the 'USB write protection ON' radio button and click on the close button.

USB write protect

And your USB drive/external hard disk will now be read only when reconnected with any PC (note that the turn on feature gets activated only when you remove and reconnect the USB drive. Logical).

This also prevents accidental cut/paste instead of copy/paste of data, that removes the original data from your storage device.

If you want to write data on the portable drive, reopen the USB WriteProtector and choose the 'USB write protection OFF' radio button and click close (unlike the activation process the deactivating procedure is instantaneous and doesn't require the device to be disconnected and reconnected).

USB write protect

I've tested it only on Windows XP PCs, don't know if it'll work fine on Windows Vista or other Windows OS.

There is a small issue that I faced (don't know if it is only with me): If I have the USB WriteProtector turned on in one USB drive, it doesn't allow me to write data on any other USB storage device connected on the same PC. It's only when I turn it off and disconnect the device with the software on it, that I'm able to resume my copy/pasting activity.

Please suggest other (preferably free) software that can perform the desired task better.

Related posts:· Boost Your Netbook's Performance in 6 Clicks
· Preview Multimedia Files While Downloading
· Zip it for Faster File Transfers

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pulsar 220 DTS-i: 'The Fastest Indian' ad

Pulsar 220 DTS-iThe problem with Bajaj Auto is that they are always in a hurry to launch new products and variations and they also discontinue the old brands and variations at an equal pace.

For the consumers such a constant endeavour to makes things better is good, but then there is always the feeling that if one had waited a little longer, he might have got something better.

The latest mean machine from the Bajaj stable is the Pulsar 220 DTS-i and they are promoting it as the fastest thing on Indian roads. And they have (I assume the agency is Oglivy) put up a TVC that's a combo of slowmo and pace.

The ad (titled 'Slow Jack') has a Wild West feel. A wanted criminal is robbing a bank at his own easy pace and the law enforcers are arriving fast. The robber is nonchalant. He sits on his Pulsar 220 and poof! he is gone.

Watch the ad:

Download video [00:01:02 FLV 1.39 MB]
Download hi-res video [00:01:02 AVI 5.88 MB]

'The Fastest Indian' is the catchline. Unlike other Bajaj (particularly Pulsar ads) this doesn't have any zipping bikes. In fact in this ad you can hardly get good look at the bike. Though the idea is nice, somehow the impact is a bit amiss. The first time I watched the ad, it didn't hit me as the makers would have liked it to.

Since bringing an Indian angle in a Wild West American set up might seem a little difficult (unless you transport Quick Gun Murugan to the banks of the Mississippi), they bank robber has American Indian features (I think so), and he disappears fast before the long (and fast) hands of the law catches up with him. Hence, 'the fastest Indian'. Never mind if he is red.

And in case you like the track, you can download an MP3 audio file from here. Since Bajaj Auto have themselves put it up, I'm saving myself the hassle of uploading it.

Related posts:· Yeh Bullet Meri Jaan...
· Harley-Davidson: Live By It
· An Ad for Today
· The Legend Rides On

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fuel deo: Ignite the fire (and experimenting with HTML 5 audio, video)

Why are most men's deo ads in India the same. There are numerous other ways to be sexy. Come on agencies you can do better. Anyway another for the collection.

Download video [00:00:33 FLV 720 KB]
Download hi-res video [00:00:40 AVI 2.37 MB]

But then this is not the real purpose of this post. Yesterday, Mozilla released Firefox 3.5 and one of the far-reaching features is the native support for HTML 5 audio and video with Ogg Theora, Ogg Vorbis, and WAV formats. In the not-so distant future, this is going to change how multimedia content is served on the Web. Proprietary formats like Flash and Silverlight would not rule the roost.

A simple sample of HTML 5 embedded video and audio of the Fuel deo TVC:


Download video [00:00:33 OGG 732 KB


Download audio [00:00:33 OGG 144 KB]

But the obsolete Web browser Internet Explorer 6 is the biggest impediment to the growth of the new Internet. One of the major pains while launching any new website is the compatibility with IE6. More than a third (38 percent) of the readers of this blog are still on IE6 and that's a huge slice.

And one of the major roadblocks to existing Firefox users upgrading to the Firefox 3.5 is the incompatibility of so many add-ons with the latest version. Maybe Mozilla should put a check in place that add-on developers upgrade their stuff. But then, the free nature of the Firefox browser would go against such curbs.

Learn more about Firefox and HTML 5 video and audio.

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