Friday, June 09, 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006

Today is June 9th and tonight FIFA World Cup 2006 is gonna start. Just over 5 hours remain for this biggest event of the year. So here i look at some of the World Cup favorite teams and about their chances.

1. Brazil: Any discussion about football anywhere in this world will always have some mention of Brazil. As most of the World Cups, the 5-time world cup champions start as an overwhelming favorites to win the cup. Their squad boasts of players like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Adriano, Roberto Carlos, Kaka, Cafu et al. Each one of them is playing in one or the other big clubs of Europe like Barca, Real Madrid, Inter, Milan. Ronaldinho is arguably the best footballer at present. He is currently the 2 time FIFA World Player of the Year this to go with European Player of the Year. He has already won Spanish League, Champions League and Spanish Cup for his team Barca and he is almost as eager (if not more) to win the biggest prize in the game for the 2nd year running. This Brazilian team is filled with attacking players and as one commentator said in the last world cup "Anyone in this yellow shirt can score the goal, they come from anywhere and everywhere". This phrase is pretty apt for Brazilian players. Any team who want to win against them will have to play it hard way and will have to stifle these creative players like Ronaldinho, Kaka and Ronaldo. Surely this aint the easiest of the jobs. But afterall its a game, and anything can happen on the day. Infact this is the line which will be giving all other teams the hope of winning the world cup.

2. England: For me, they have their biggest chance of winning the World Cup. They have an enviable defence with the likes of Ferdindad, Terry, Carragher, Campbell, Neville. I guess they have the meanest defense amongst all teams. Their midfield is also pretty strong with Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham. With Rooney seemingly match fit, they have a pretty good strike force as well, with Owen partnering Rooney upfront. Their bench strength though looks a bit weak especially in midfield and strikers. But still they have a pretty good squad and to me their are the 2nd biggest favorites to win the cup.

3. Argentina: Argentina's squad is a pretty young and talented squad. They have creative players like Messi and Riquelme in their midfield and with Crespo upfront they are a very potent strike force. They also have players like Sorin, Ayala. They again are one of the contenders for the cup.

4. Czech Republic: Czechs are a pretty good side as well. They are driven by there never-tiring captain Nedved. This man is full of enery and is driving most of their attacks. He is the key to Czechs World Cup performance. They have other good players like Baros, Koller, Smicer and Chelsea keeper Cech. They too are a good contenders for the cup.

5. France: France is an ageing team with lotsa players like Zidane playing there last World Cup, but as they say form is temporary class is permanent. The old war horses might just do some wonders with Thierry Henry, one of the best strikers around, upfront.

6. Italy: Italy as always are one of the meanest defences with Nesta, arguably the best central defender in their team. They are a pretty hard working team and with players like Totti, Nesta, Buffon, Del Piero, Pirlo, Inzaghi, Giardino they have a decent chance here.

7. Germany: Okay, so finally here are the hosts of the World Cup as the 7th favorite for me. Driven by Michael Ballack and kept by likes of Lehmann and Kahn they are another team in moulds of Italy. Pretty hard at defence and a decent attacking prowess.

Okay, that's all with my world cup favs. There are few other good teams like Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, who knows even one of these might just spring a pretty big surprise :).

Now just waiting for the World Cup finals to start !! May the best team win.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fanaa - movie review

Fanaa, originally uploaded by Kon ??.

Well above is a picture of a person who slept while watching the movie Fanaa on the first day. Do i still need to tell the review ?

Before telling the review, i assure there's no spoiler in the review (its a diff. matter that the movie hardly has any suspense, but still am not telling any critical story part here)

So yesterday night i went to watch Fanaa with few of my friends. The movie had a great hype especially coz of Kajol coming back to the movie after 5 yrs and also Aamir Khan was starring in it. The movie also had a good share of controversies, the best one was the movie-makers demanding more share of the profit from the cinema halls.

The movie starts with a blind Kajol :( with her parents Kiron Kher and Rishi Kapoor. After a few "emotional" scenes Kajol with few other gals go to Delhi for perfoming on 26th Janurary function. Here enters Aamir Khan, the tourist guide. His entry brings a flood of shero-shayari. There's a sher every other line. At first it sounds good, but after a while it become way too much and we kept wondering is the whole movie is going to be like this :). After about 20-odd minutes of these shero-shayari movie gets to normal dialogues !! The origin of the love story seems so fictitous. There was a song in Taxi no. 9211 - "Ek nazar mein bhi pyaar hota hai", here the funda seems "Ek sher mein bhi pyaar hota hai" :D. It was funny to see the way Aamir kept flirting with his shers, winks and fliying kisses throughout without any of the girls getting "real" angry. Man, if only it had been like this in real life :D. In just 7 days everything happens, from their meeting to them "making love" !! lolz........

The movie has a pretty typical bollywood movie story with a pretty typical ending ! Nothing exceptional, just simple and plain mundane stuff.

The 3 best things about the movie are:
1. Kajol (yes, she looks as good as ever !)
2. 2 songs (Chand Sifarish and Mere Haath mein)
3. Rehan, the kid

That's just about the few good things the movie has. I will rate it 4.5 out of 10. Vaise luckily for me i was watching it as part of a treat, not spending my money over it :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Leander Paes

'Leander plays above his ability'

The above is an article over Leander Paes and how he has fought off his various ailments to become the greatest indian tennis player (with due respect to the likes of vijay amritraj). For me, Leander has been a player with ordinary abilities who has performed extra-ordinarily when playing for the country. His best performances have come while he has been representing his country with his greatest feat being the bronze medal at the Olympics. He is one player who really lifts his game by a few levels, when he is being supported by the crowd. He has won some of the most amazing Davis Cup matches, with the best being his comeback from match point against tennis superstar Goran Ivanisevic in hot Delhi to give India a 3-2 win over Croatia. For past several years he has been the one man army for India in the Davis Cup. For India to win the Davis Cup he almost always has to win his 3 matches (both singles and the doubles). Today, he has grown old but still he is performing really well. He along with Mahesh Bhupati has been almost invincible in Davis Cup doubles ties. Very recently in a Davis Cup tie against Pakistan he again was fighting for India as tie against arch-rivals Pakistan was levelled at 2-2. Paes, despite of his ageing body fended off his younger counterpart in 5 sets to lead India to another 3-2 Davis Cup win.

He has also won several doubles and mixed-doubles Grand Slam titles but to me his best performances have been when he is being supported by the crowd. This guy has an amazing will-power and self-belief. I think one can learn a lot from him, especially how to raise the level of your game when you are performing at the big stage. With this i end my short post which was just a small tribute to this great Indian warrior.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Greatest ODI ever

Last Sunday i witnessed arguably the greatest ODI ever. For me it was a priviledge to have watched it. The World Champions Aussies taking on the so-called "chokers" Proteas.

The stage was perfect, South Africans were looking for a revenge in their home series from the Aussies after being thrashed by 0-2 in the Test series in Australia and thrown out before reaching the finals by Australia and Srilanka in the VB series. South Africans started the ODI series against the Ponting and Symonds-less Aussies in great style much to their own surprise. After winning the first ODI a bit competitvely Proteas thrashed the Aussies by whopping margin of 196 runs in the 2nd ODI by bowling Aussies out for just 93. It was a really shameful loss for the World Champions, who after being on the pinnacle of this game for past several years, have regularly been showing the signs of being mortal. After their shocking Ashes loss,losing to Kiwis after scoring 334 runs, they lost their first VB series final match after ages to Sri Lanka. And this huge loss to Proteas, whom they have been thrashing for ages was another wakeup call to them. In the 3rd match, Ponting came back to the side and scored a vital 62 runs and then Brett Lee got back to form after being thrashed around the park in first 2 matches to keep Aussies series hopes alive. In 4th match the other injured player Symonds got back into the team and this time he did what Ponting had done in last, he scored an important half-century to take Aussies to a 1 wkt victory to tie the series at 2-2. Once again it seemed that the Proteas are letting slip away a huge opportunity to beat Aussies in a series.

So at Wanderers for the fifth and final match the stage was perfectly set, with series tantalisingly poised at 2-2. Aussies won the toss and elected to bat first. Gilchrist and Katich started extremely well for the Aussies with Gilly giving his usual start and Aussies were running at around 7 an over. Gilchrist fell when the score was 97, and Proteas would have thought they are back in the game, but least did they knew that the Aussie captain Ponting had something else on his mind. This was the same ground where he thrashed Indians in the World Cup final by scoring 141 and leading Aussies to a mammoth score of 359/2. He started relatively sedately, then started getting hot, by hitting Van der Vath for 3 boundaries in a single over. On the other hand Katich was playing the usual anchor role with occasional big shot including a six over longon. When Kallis tried to bowl a slower one, Ponting dispatched him into the midwicket stands with a slog-sweep. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Nobody would have imaginged even in their wildest dreams, what was coming. Very next ball Ponting dispatched Kallis again into the midwicket stands. Next over Van der Vath was hit for 2 fours and a six by Ponting. Ntini was brought back and he too was dispatched for a maximum. But luckily (or rather unluckily) Ntini got Katich out. And this was the start of an absolute mayhem. It wasn't out of form Damien Martyn coming out of the pavilion, it was Michael Hussey who is in a kind of form that he can do anything, in any situation. Straightaway he hit Ntini for 2 of the most amazing cover drives. Several bowlers tried their luck (or badluck) but all of them were thrashed around with Ponting hitting sixes whenever he liked and Hussey just complimenting him. Ponting completed an amazing hundred of just 73 balls, but that wasn't enough. More was in store for the Proteas. When Michael Hussey came down the wicket to Kallis to dispatch him to longon boundary it had almost become a massacre. The 300 came up in just the 40 overs, and we were looking at the first 400+ score in the ODIs. Finally Proteas had a little respite when Hussey was dismissed for 81 off just 51 balls. But then another brutal hitter in Symonds came to the crease. Langeveldt had a complete nightmare of an over, and was pretty close to creating record for maximum number of runs a single over, he bowled 4 consecutive no-balls, which went for 4,1,6 and 4, so effectively he had given away 19 runs without bowling a legal delivery. The record was on the cards, but Dippenar pulled out a breathtaking catch to turn a sure 6 into a wicket of Ponting. Ponting was dismissed for a huge 164 runs off just 105 balls which included 9 sixes. Due to this wicket the Langeveldt over was saved, and he "just" missed the record. Symonds hit some big shots in the end to take Aussies to the 434/4 in 50 overs. They surpassed the 10 year old highest ever ODI total record of 398 runs with ease. They also surpassed their highest ever total of 368 runs, scored just 4 matches ago against the Sri Lankans in the VB series finals. This was a far bigger massacre than the one Indians had been through here 3 years ago in the World Cup finals.

At half way stage it was looking like a same old story for the Proteas, and their "choker" tag seemed appropriate, else how could a team leading the series 2-0, including a 196 runs victory could let a series slip away to 2-2 and then get murdered for 434 runs in the decider at their home ground filled by their own supporters. It seemed the end, it looked like Aussies have come out on top again. Everybody was just thinking about the margin of the defeat of the Proteas.

Neither the most staunch South African supporter nor the Proteas skipper himself would have thought in their wildest imagination that they could ever get close to this everest-esque target of 434 let aside chasing it successfully. They needed runs at almost 9 an over, yes it was about 1.5 runs per ball !!

Then the Proteas innings got started and when Dippenar was clean bowled by Bracken for duck in the 2nd over itself, it was looking like we were just seeing the last rites of the match. But Proteas skipper Graeme Smith and Gibbs didn't seem to realise that ! They came out as if they had nothing to lose. They came out with all guns blazing, their sole aim was to hit that small white object to or over the fences, no matter which bowler threw it to them. Lee, Lewis, Clark, Symonds, Clarke all tried their luck but all of them were hit to various parts of the ground. Proteas were scoring at an amazing rate of around 9 an over, but alas the asking rate was still right up there at 9. Finally Graeme Smith was caught of the bowling of Michael Clarke at 88 off just 56 balls. Gibbs and Smith added 187 runs in 20-odd overs. After the Smith's dismissal Gibbs got into the top gear (that was as if he wasn't earlier in top gear :D). He hit the very next ball for a six. Very next over Ponting chose to take the 3rd PowerPlay, hoping that after the Smith's dismissal Proteas will probably slow down. But he was wrong by a big margin. Gibbs literally went berserk in that PowerPlay, he hardly kept his feet inside the crease. He came charging down to almost every delivery from the Aussie pacers and kept hitting them up and over the offside boundaries. It was another massacre we were seeing. Meanwhile he completed his century, and then Bracken dropped Gibbs when he was on 130. It was a sense of dejavu here, as it was Gibbs who dropped Steve Waugh in '99 World Cup, which turned out to be a match losing catch. And a similar fate was pretty likely for the Aussies here. Gibbs continued his bit hitting before he was finally dismissed for a huge score of 175 off just 111 balls, with 7 sixes. If he hadn't continued to accelerate he could have very-very easily got to the first double hundred in ODI's. But this wasn't a time to think about individual records. It was a battle going on, and the team was the top priority. Lot of experts were suggesting that after Smith had been dismissed Gibbs should have slowed down and should have batted till the end, but they were completely wrong. Gibbs tried the other approach, he kept hitting and hitting, because he was in such a "zone" that whatever he hit was going to the boundaries. So it was a correct approach. It was his hitting which reduced the required rate to around 8. Bracken picked up few quick wickets, and Proteas lost AB Devilliers, Kallis and Kemp cheaply. Here they surely would have been thinking that Pollock's batting would have been real handy here. On the other end Boucher was holding his fort well, picking up 1's and 2's. Asking rate had climbed to around 12, with 70-odd runs needed of 43 balls and then came Van der Wath, what an innings that youngster played. He hit Lewis for 2 sixes, hit a six of Bracken. He was finally dismissed for 35 off just 14 balls. It completely turned the game around. Now 30 were needed of last 3 overs. With Boucher and Hall at the crease. Ponting chose to give the 48th over to Lewis who had been the worst hit bowler. And that move badly backfired as Boucher hit him for 3 boundaries to bring the target to run-a-ball in last 2 overs. Bracken bowled a decent 49th over and 7 were needed of the final over. Lee was given the responsibilty of bowling the final over. First ball Boucher took a single, 2nd ball was hit by Hall over midon for a vital boundary. Now only 2 runs were needed, but Hall tried to repeat his last shot again and he was caught at midon. Now 3 balls remained with 2 runs needed by SA, while Aussies needed only 1 wkt with Ntini on strike. Proteas surely would have been thinking about those couple of close losses in the last 2 World Cups here.Lee could have very well wrapped up the match and series for the Aussies with something close to a "yorker". But alas, he chose to ball a length delivery well wide of off-stump, which Ntini very gleefully guided to third man boundary to tie the scores with a single. Now it was Boucher on strike with a single needed of 2 deliveries. Lee again chose to bowl a length delivery which Boucher hit over the midon to win the Greatest ODI for the Proteas and give the biggest sigh of relief to the South African fans, whose heart had been broken by their team so many times with all those near misses. This surely was a pathetic final over by Lee but also a Herculean effort by the South Africans.

Not even in the dreams could anyone had imagined that anyone could achieve the target of 435. I wonder what would have been the dressing room talk at the break. I mean from where did the Proteas got as much self-belief or maybe they had a complete belief that they were going to lose, so they went out as if they had nothing to lose. I guess that was the main reason. There was an Aryton Senna's quote which i have been using as a signature of my mails for a long time now and on an article over this match Harsha Bhogle to pointed to almost the same thing. It quotes as

"On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit and you go for this limit and you touch it and you think, ok, this is the limit. As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you realize that you can suddenly go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and your experience as well, you can fly very high."

- Ayrton Senna

So it simply tells that it's us who makes limits around us and always believe that this is the maximum we can reach, but sometimes their are circumstances when u are close to ur own made maximum limit u realise that maybe you can exceed it and this is precisely what the South Africans did on March 12th, 2006 on the very same ground where Indians succumbed to a pressure of a huge score in a World Cup finale.

Now just to quote a few records made in this match which i remember now:
1. Highest team total (made twice in the same match, 438/9 and 434/4)
2. Highest match total (it had to be with top 2 highest team totals coming in the match)
3. Highest no. of sixes hit in a single match
4. Highest no. of fours hit in a single match
5. Highest no. of runs given by one bowler in ODIs (Aussie Lewis gave away 113 runs in 10 overs)
6. First instance in ODIs of one player from both teams getting 150-plus total. (Ponting 161, Gibbs 175)

These are all i can think of, maybe there were a lot more.

I think any words are less to describe this match, this surely was just one of its kind and will surely be remembered as one of its kind. With this i sign off, i have taken long to complete this post. Now probably will be seen here after a long time.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Well my last post was how eventful my past few days have been including going to Kullu-Manali, watching numerous movies n all. And since then its been a complete turnaround. Past few days have been boring like hell.

Hardly had any work in office for past few days apart from reading few things here and there. And as reading is the least liked thing for me, its been amazingly boring time at office. Since morning 9am after the routine mail checking (though there's hardly any mail there, but still its a routine !!) i start thinking of the time to pass by, or for the next coffee break :), after that lunch, then another coffee break. Then finally the best time starting at 6-6:30pm when i can go and play TT !! Wow what a time i am having ! In all the time in between i am either browsing here n there reading few cricket articles, tech articles, numerous RSS feeds, checking online scores (if there's any match going on). This is just about all. Hardly get any forwards too, to pass my time either :) In between, sometimes luckily (!!) i get a few issues from the previous work and i happily do those ! But they are too minor to consume much of the time. This was all about the time @ office, the time other than office time hasn't been too interesting either. Haven't watched any movie for long, haven't watched many cricket/football matches, haven't blogged for long. I seriously wonder, God , wtf have i been doing all these days ? Anyhow here is another weekend ready to pass by with me doing nothing so i decided to blog to pass my time. It's as early as 10:32 am on Saturday, so i still have a long-2 weekend to pass by. So i plan to blog a few more posts. Few of them are which i have been wanting to write for long. They soon would be coming:
1. The Greatest ODI ever (Aus v/s SA)
2. India v/s England Test series.

As a cricket buff, i just couldn't imagine me not writing about the first one atleast !! If i have even more free time and the urge to write i might just put a blog post on Ricky Ponting !

Till then its me signing off.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Last Month

Well again i am writing after a pretty long gap. Sometimes i wonder what to write, sometimes i wonder when to write and sometimes WHY to write ? Last month or so has been pretty eventful for me. Love is in the air it seems. Not for me for sure, but i have seen 4-5 love marriages happening around me. Including of two of my classmates Rumit and Nidhi.

This was a pretty important occasion, with both bride and groom well known to us :). It turned out to be a great wedding night as well. Meeting all those old friends, dancing all the way in the baraat for over an hour or so. Few of us even danced to the DJ at the wedding place. Not many apart from a few of us batchmates were dancing, but who cared. We enjoyed it to the fullest. The wedding was pretty good as well, with all those rituals n all :).

The reception was to be held in Kullu. So we 3 of us (me, Gogia n Negi) planned to go to the reception. So we took Friday off from office, and went to Kullu-Manali trip + reception ceremony. An unexpected fog delayed our journey, and we missed few of their rituals, notably their folk dance. We had dhaam. Then on next day we went for Manali. For the first time in life i saw snow :), it was few kilometers ahead of Manali on our way to Solang Valley. We came back on Sunday night. All in all it was a pretty good journey, we had a lot of fun.

Apart from these weddings i have also seen a lot of movies in last month or so. The movie list includes-
1. Chronicles of Narnia.
2. Rang De Basanti
3. Zinda
4. Fun with Dick and Jane
5. BluffMaster
6. Taxi No. 9211
7. Final Destination 2
8. Crash

Only 2 of these movies i watched on PC, rest all were on the big screen :), and luckily for me most of these movies have been pretty good. With Zinda, RDB, Crash and Bluffmaster being very good. While Taxi No 9211 was good, so was Narnia (childish though !). Final Destination 2 would be a pretty exciting movie for one who hasn't watched the first part. But as i had watched the first part it was not too exciting. To me it was the same old story, just the way in which ppl got dead was changed :). Fun with Dick and Jane was pathetic, we went to see the movie, expecting it to be a typical Jim Carrey movie containing a lot of humour, be it idiotic. But it turned out to be lot more serious stuff, which we never intended to watch. But anyhow we had to bore it.

Zinda, RDB, BluffMaster and Taxi No 9211 are all part of this new born Hindi cinema, which is producing more and more good films these days

Apart from all this i watched Barcelona led by irresistible Ronaldinho beating Chelsea to reach the quarters of the Champions League. While defending champions Liverpool were shocked by Benfica. In other major results Arsenal shocked Real Madrid. For once Arsenal are performing well in the European Competition. AC Milan cruied past Bayern Munich. While Lyon, Juventus and Villareal were the other quarter finalists. For me its going to be one of the 3 - Barcelona, AC Milan and Lyon who is going to take away the trophy.

On the cricketing front, England led by Freddie Flintoff are giving Indians a tough fight, while the Aussies after being down 2-0 in the series against the South Africans (which included them being dismissed for 93 in 2nd match) have fought back to level the series 2-2. And as i write this they are 67 for none in 10 overs in the final ODI and looking good to take the series, though a lot is to be played still in this match. And if South Africans manage to lose this series after being 2-0 up, they will really wonder what will they need to do to beat this Aussie team. This surely was/is their best chance.

With this i signoff, till the lazy writer decides to write again :)

PS: This is the first post from my laptop :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Random Thoughts

Writing after a long time, actually have been a tad busier and far more lazier. Anyhow here i am writing again :)

What a difference a few days or may a few minutes can make ? Really a lot, just a few days back i read Lebron James of Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA team) was booed at their home ground by the home fans !! And this was just a week after he was MVP (most valuable player) at the NBA-All Stars game. He followed that MVP performance by averaging over 35 points per match in next few games. Even in this game against Wizards he scored 26 points, but in second half he missed 8 consecutive shots from the open game and scored just 4 off 12 free throws. It was surely a performance which lead to his team's defeat. But did he really deserved booes at the end of the game ? It was a performance even he would be ashamed of, but this bad spell of few minutes turned the home fans' cheers into jeers for him.

This was from the sports field but doesn't the real world behaves in the same way as well. In reality too the world seems so unforgiving. People forget the good deeds pretty quickly especially when the you perform a blunder. Okay, it's other way round as well aka people forget your blunders quickly when you perform well. So what infers from here is that the world (the people around you) have short memories, so don't get affected by them at all. Don't get overjoyed at the praise/cheers and don't get disheartened by the jeers by the people around you. A line from Baz Luhmann's Sunscreen song supporting this -
"What ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either"

Few more life fundas from the same song, which i really like:

"Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts,
don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead,
sometimes you’re behind…the race is long,
and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults;

if you succeed in doing this, tell me how."

Life would much more easier, if only one can follow all these advices. Am TRYING to follow these.

If anyone reading this blog hasn't heard this song, they can put a request here i can mail it :)

I think its enough for now. Will try to be bit more regular.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Windows "Live" review

So finally mez got some time to write this. Microsoft is going into internet services in a big way with their windows "live" platform. Very recently they've released beta of lot of their live services incl. Mail, messenger et al. I'll review each one of those one-by-one.

1. Windows Live Mail: Well, its interface looks really cool with all those drag n drop, *almost* outlook like looks, 2 gigs space (yes, finally they r on level terms with Y!, and GMail on mail space). But, the downside (atleast 4 now) is that it only works on IE6, surely not firefox, but surprisingly not even on IE7 beta 2, which are the only 2 browsers i have @ my office pc. So i haven't been able to use it much. But, on first looks it has a really easy to use interface. Just hoping that FF & IE 7 support comes soon enough, and so does the horizontal preview pane. Surprise is that on FF an error message comes "Firefox support coming soon", but on IE7 beta2 its a clear page :). Overall, its a great step forward in terms of mail interface. I wonder when is the so much talked about Yahoo ! Mail beta is coming, which was also supposed to have the similar outlook like interface, surely MS has beaten Y! on that with this live mail.

2. Windows Live Messenger: The main look and feel of WLM 8.0 remains quite similar to the good ol' msn messenger, but it has few new features. To me, the best features added are the offline messages and invisible mode. Finally, yes after a long-2 wait i am able to send offline messages on WLM/MSN ! It seems, MS ppl have finally realised that *SOMETIMES* ppl do get *Offline* and few people might need to send them some message (not email) even on those times. Also the invisible login mode is a good addon, ofcourse its not as configurable as yahoo's stealth settings is, which even lets u configure specific modes for *specific people*.

WLM's interface is *quite* easy to use, though to some ppl it is way too colorful. MSN has always been pretty good in things like custom emoticons n all. Voice quality on WLM was quite good and without any jitters or delay, though there was an echo, that might be 'coz of some loose wire or something, will have to check out on that again. Newer services like Music Mix n all hardly worked for me, i guess 'coz these are currently not available in india :(. Overall WLM is surely a quite good upgrade to MSN 7.5.

It surely is the most feature rich IM out there. Though i believe if it had been a tad simpler in looks, it might have been even better, just like Gtalk. It actually has nothing, just like most Google things its main advantage lies in simplicity. I hope it becomes a tad simpler in looks, and yes one more thing i don't like about WLM is that you just can't display the display pic of only one person, either u display of all or none, there should be something in between :)

3. Windows Live Bookmarks: Well, no comments about this one. This simply allows you to store your bookmarks on the internet publicly, its a direct *inspiration* from

4. Windows Live Contacts: This seems pretty exciting, it's bit more than the normal address book/ contact list. It will notify the person who has subscribed to ur contact info of any change u make in ur contact info. Seems pretty good, u no longer need to notify all the people about change in ur address/contact no et al manually. But, ofcourse u will have to make them subscribe to ur contact :)

5. Windows Live "": This again is a straight *inspiration* from Google's personalized homepage. But it still has lots of problems, and is rightly labelled as "beta", in general there are lots of "Ooops !!", quite often the feeds don't work, though its getting better from the time i started using. Now it also shows inline images on the blogs, which looks gud. Another problem with the is that sometimes it doesn't remember the placement of my feeds correctly ! It also doesn't work on IE7 beta 2. Still its a pretty good site and is my homepage :)

Ok, this is not in the "live" platform, but is the medium which most people will be using to access this, yes its IE7 beta 2

6. Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2: First of all, if i had to name this release then i would have named it IE 7.0 PRE-ALPHA !! Its such a buggy beta 2 that i can't imagine how would the alpha and beta 1 would have been :o ? Most of the sites i have visited works incorrectly in it, including microsoft's own - live mail,, even yahoo mail looks strange most of the times in it, and for any site that it works for, it shows a strange character at the end of the line, i guess that's the "newline" character, but wth ? They have added UDN support in IE7 but i dont think that should have any effect on the text of the page ? or should it ? anyhow till now i haven't found any setting from where i can get rid of those special newline characters being displayed, will keep finding :). Even the resized popup windows are not displayed correctly, most of the content of resized popups is missing.

Now to some good things - It has a far better look then the traditional IE, the menu bar is gone, tabbed-browsing is there, RSS integration is there, session saver is there. The best thing for me is that most used features have a 1-2 click access, including RSS feed subscription, add to favorites, change homepage n all. Another good thing seems that one can have multiple home pages, though when i set more than one homepage, the IE crashed ! maybe that was because i had set as one of the homepages :). One more good feature is the "zoom" thing, it has been missing for long, and this again has 1-click access ! It seems relatively more secure in the sense that by default it disables all activex plugins, and warns user about it. And most important thing it sucks far lesser memory than FF, but it seems IE too has memory leaks. Once i left both FF and IE open for about 2-3 days and i saw that IE is taking around 190MB memory while FF was taking around 250MB memory. So both eat memory big way, but for IE unlike FF, it surely wasn't noticeable in 3-4 hrs of usage. Another good thing, is that IE7 shows ClearType Font. After installing IE7 fonts of even the Outlook changes and it surely looks more smooth and clear.

To me it is surely more feature rich and easy to use than the vanilla Firefox (without installing all those fancy extensions), so to lot of users IE 7.0 will be a better alternative than Firefox. Ofcourse for nerds and geeks FF will remain the better browser because of the numerous extensions available. Which i guess IE can hardly catch. All this para ofcourse assumes that all the major bugs i listed above will be solved in the main IE 7.0 release :)

Just to sum it up, we users are surely in for some good times as we are getting better and better services for free :). A hearty thanks to Google for that.

I guess its more than enough, n btw mez pretty happy that i have wrote quite a part of this post on my cell-phone :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pet Peeves

Well i am writing this post coz i have been tagged by Zarine . This is the first time i've been involved with a tag :)
Anyway i tried writing 20 most annoying things for me. So here it is:

  1. Lies and Liars !! Ok mez not a raja harishchandra myself, but i lie only when its absolutely necessary. I am really annoyed by people lying even at trivial things.
  2. People not replying to messages/mails/calls.
  3. WAITING, u can say mez a tad restless, but anyway waiting for someone is pretty annoying, especially when people arrive late for movies n we miss some part of it, also seeing "brb" on messenger is hell !
  4. When my TT partner plays really bad at crucial/deciding points in match, like doing a service fault, playing a shot he shouldn't play et al. I have already lost the company doubles TT final coz of this. God i miss Poker at these times, im sure he would be my best doubles' partner :D
  5. My boss coming after 6pm n saying "we have to do this today", "shall we discuss ..." !!
  6. When some how magically my bro manages to get disturbed by my whispering on phone sitting in other room, my typing on keyboard, clicking of mouse, watching TV without volume !!
  7. People completely overlooking my suggestions n !deas.
  8. When bosses say - "You can do this parallely". Come on god has made us single tasking only. i don't run in multiple threads ! i can do only 1 thing at a time, if mez doing 1st thing i cant do second and vice-versa !
  9. Woh log jo girgit ki tarah rang badalte hain, they behave differently with "some" people and completely different with "some other" people.
  10. People who don't have any !dea what's going on in cricket field, which 2 teams are playing, and suddenly as they see someone seeing the score, start asking scores like they are the biggest cricket fans around !!
  11. Few ex-cricketers (the so-called experts) who keep giving some of the most idiotic statements, which are eagerly published by media. Latest example - gavaskar sayin india shud play 3 openers, and agarkar was dropped coz he was not in chappell's "inner circle". sheer nonsense !
  12. The flat batting tracks and one-sided series' in cricket, which is making cricket a complete bore.
  13. Chain mails/messages n Spams. I can't believe how come people believe in those lines in chain mails - "if you send this to x no. of ppl, this will happen n all". AFAIK gals are the ones who believe in these very easily or atleast indulge in sending these chain mails.
  14. People who like to show-off.
  15. People who make jokes over others and get really pissed off when someone cracks a joke over them !
  16. Power cuts, slow internet speed, slow responding PCs.
  17. Man Utd coach Alex Ferguson not buying any good midfielder for last few seasons, which i firmly believe is urgently required to revive Man Utd.
  18. Orkut, its donuts, its bugs.
  19. Writing this list !!!
  20. Did i said writing all this ??
That's it i guess. I guess i was pretty honest in writing those :). Now do i have to tag few ppl as well :o ? Ok i'll tag Sanjay and Phoenix . I wonder if they'll comply :D


Now to some of the big sporting sights of the week (wasn't this expected on my blog ??)

1. Kobe Bryant of LA Lakers scored a mind-blowing 81 points alone in a NBA match against Toronto Raptors. That's second most in the history of NBA !
Here's an article over it - link

An excerpt from the above article:
"You begin by telling yourself you've never seen anything like this. As the game wears on, you begin admitting to yourself that you'll never see anything like this again."

Yes, i am an AI fan (Allen Iverson) but still that was simply mindblowing from a player who has simply been mindblowing over the last few matches and is looking for his first MVP.

2. Well this one wasn't anywhere near to even the smallest achievement. But i am mentioning it coz this was simply a treat for my eyes ! In last VB series match between Aussies and SL, Michael Clarke played an awesome stroke which surely needs a mention on my blog.

"Muralidharan was bowling to Clarke, Clarke was looking to give him the charge, he put his front foot out of the crease trying to come down the track, seeing that Murali pitched the ball a tad shorter in length. Clarke was just TOO quick to realise that, the ball pitched just a bit outside off-stump and as any Murali off-spinner, it came back a long way into Clarke. But Clarke had the talent and quick reflexes to go to his backfoot immediately and the audacity to upper-cut the ball OVER the extra-cover fielder. This was simply a treat to watch. A young audacious batsman just dropped from the Test series taking on one of the best spinners ever in trying situation. For the record, Aussies lost the match in the end. "

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

Techdirt:Banned Searches In Google And MSN
The above article points out a few search terms that seems to be banned by the search engines like Google and MSN. This is pretty interesting and annoying (?). After this, this is just another incident showing that soon its not going to be quite safer to use search! Most of the people (atleast people like me !) rely on searches like Google to reach anything. Most people think of the search engines as the dumb things, who will just reply to their queries and help them. But i guess, these days this is not true. These days search engines seems to be analysing our queries and deciding whether search terms are "GOOD" enough that the results cannot be misused. Ofcourse this is a pretty weak attempt to improve security. Search engines also seems to be keeping track/record of what query was used by which person, which might just be asked/used by various law authorities (as in the link above) to identify people. So in future beware of the search terms you are using. God forbids you, if you search for White House and "some weapon", and the very next day some attack happens on White House! You might just end up in jail ;). Ok this is a tad far-fetched, but still quite possible seeing the current trends.

Browsing down the chain of links in the first article i read a pretty interesting quote : "It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

In this case, the "many" is Google's servers. The "few" is you. :)

Then browsing down the i get this link which points the current scenario's quote : "The needs of the few outweight the needs of the many". Its an interesting read :)

Happy searching then !!

Update: MSN update on the 2nd link -> here

Monday, January 09, 2006

Priya Get-together + Movie Review - Wedding Crashers

Last Saturday we (me, doc, vik, gogia, ranjan) met at priya as doc was leaving for his new job @ Microsoft, Hyderabad. So he was supposed to treat us :). Plus vik had came back from UIUC for his semester break. We had planned to watch "Wedding Crashers" - 11:30 show, and were supposed to meet @ 11 am. As always me, the punctual fella [ :D], got there on time, or rather a few minutes before time. Vik came @ around 11:15, and he decided to watch the movie too (earlier he wasn't going to). The doc/ranjan jodi as always came late. Even later then the show time !! Between those two its always a competition of who is going to come later ! Gogia would join later after the movie.

We finally entered the hall @ 11:40am, to my amazement priya's security check is pretty strict ! They even made me press the cellphone keys, just to check if its actually a cellphone :D. Gosh we lost another few minutes there, then we suddenly found doc disappearing somewhere ! As always he does some doc-esque things :), we finally got to our seats after missing around 10-15 minutes of movie. With late-latif friends like these, i've now got used to missing few minute of movie almost everytime now :) . Actually i can't remember when was the last time i watched a movie from start !

So finally we began watching - "Wedding Crashers". This movie is supposed to be the number 1 comedy movie of 2005. And hell it actually deserves that spot. Its really entertaining. Really funny all the way till the end. The movie is about two guys who crash weddings (even funerals in the end !). They look out for gals @ wedding and funerals for one-night stands. Wow, what a creative !dea. Reminds me of lots of hostel mates who used to crash weddings for free n good dinner. But, hell this was no where near fun as this movie !dea :). So all was well till these 2 guys decide to crash wedding of the daughter of a Presidential candidate. As always both of them were exceptionally brilliant in wooing their targets. The "Big-guy" Jeremi got to so-called "virgin" Gloria. While the other one, John needed some more time to move his story with Claire, forward. He gets a chance when Gloria forces his father to invite both of these to their family compound. Here we get to meet an amazingly weird family, with a gay-artist son, foul-speaking grandma, an unfaithful wife (in her words - "I've been married for 30 years, but have been loyal only 3 years !"), a rich-mean Claire's boyfriend, almost nymphomaniac Gloria. The story moves forward with some witty situations, Gloria the creator of most of 'em with her too bold sex moves (including a handjob @ the dinner table with whole family around !!). As expected their lies are revealed, but not before both the couples start to "love" each other. While Jeremi gets Gloria still, John *almost* loses Claire. He decides to continue his wedding crashing, but he literally crashes most of them. He even tries to crash a funeral, where he realises that how painful its to lose one's love (thoda sa senti stuff :) ) and runs to join the Jeremi and Gloria's wedding where he *almost* proposes Claire, who dumps his active bf for her love John ! And so the movie has an expected happy ending.

To sum it up, its a great movie, one of THE best movies i have seen for quite a long time. This gives weddings a totally new dimensions. Gosh, its a damn interesting profession, now mez ruing why am i a software engg, wedding crashing expertise would have been great !! (hehe just kidding) . I really liked few of the scenes/dialogues -

1. Scene1 - Jeremi trying to propose Gloria:
Jeremi - I think its time, we should take our relationship to next level. (thinking of marrying Gloria)
Gloria - Yes, i was thinking of the same. I think we should try with another girl, i really like Brazilian girls !!
Jeremi - I was thinking of something else, but yeah, ur !dea sounds great !!

pretty witty :)))

2. Scene2 - John proposing to Claire (this is a bit senti or witty, depends upon the way u look at it !)
John: I am NOT asking you to marry me, i am just asking you not to marry him (her bf), and give me a second chance !

Ok, so that was with the movie review. If you are reading this post and haven't seen the movie go and watch the movie.

After the movie, we 4 went to McDs, gogia joined us soon and vik left after giving me the headphones i had asked him to get for me. Did i told u they rock ? Then we had lunch at "Khwaja *" in midst of some routine job and future related talks. The lunch was more or less an average one. Then did some "bird-watching" around Priya and we all left for our home.

All in all a pretty good Saturday. Though this meet also signifies that one more of my friend is leaving to different place all-together. So now almost all of my friends have moved to far away places in Bangalore, Hyderabad and some foreign lands (illinois, kobe, pisa..)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Test Player of 2005

Here Harsha discusses over the player of the year. He discusses names of 4 players, all of them were amazing this year. I will start with Warne -

1. Shane Keith "Warney" - Had an extordinary year with the ball, gave his heart out in Ashes with both bat n ball. Finished the year with record 96 wkts and 416 runs (quite good for a bowler). He became first bowler to take 600 wkts in tests and broke Dennis Lillee's record for highest number of wkts in a year.

2. Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff - Proved himself to be THE best allrounder at the moment. Almost single handedly won Ashes for England. Finished the year with 709 runs and 68 wkts. Performed with amazing consistency and with a never-tiring approach.

3. Ricky "Punter" Ponting - Inspite of all the questions raised over his captaincy, especially after losing Ashes, he remains THE most prolific batsmen of the year in both the Tests and ODIs. One of 3 (i guess) batsman to achieve that feat. Scored 2nd highest runs ever in a calendar year - 1543. Hit 6 centuries, scored runs against all teams, in all countries (ok not India). Has now scored 27 centuries. And the rate at which he is scoring runs, im sure he will surpass Sachin's century record in less than 2 years !!

4. "Sir" Brian Charles Lara - Had an amazing year again. Broke Border's record for highest Test runs. scored 1110 runs in the year in just 9 tests. Became the 2nd highest double century hitter. Scored 5 centuries in the year, n surprisingly no halfcentury !! Has now scored 32 test hundreds, another one who is seriously threatening Sachin's record of 35 centuries. im sure he will do this in this year itself !

These were the 4 players harsha discussed, plus he named 2 other players because of some non-cricketing reasons, i won't get into that :). Instead i would add 1 more player who i think deserves to be atleast nominated :) , he is Inzamam.

5. Inzi - Scored 1000 runs in just 8 tests. Turned the Pakistani team on his own. Starting with that amazing 180+ in his 100th test to draw the series against India. He carried on and had an even amazing series against the Ashes victors England. He scored 2 hundreds in 2nd Test, scored 97 in 3rd. Scored pretty consistently at really crucial times in both forms of the game.

Its pretty tough for me to select between these coz all the top 4 had an amazing run, add to this the fact that Warney is my all time favorite player, Lara is my favorite batsman, Flintoff is my favorite allrounder (quite obvious) and Ponting one of the batsman i love to watch. It becomes EVEN more difficult.

Anyway personally i would select Shane Warne as the Test Player of the year 2005, simply coz of his outstanding performances throught the year. His ability to perform at his best inspite of all those controversies and family troubles. And ofcourse because of some personal bias :D

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Welcome 2006 and Bye Bye 2005

Another year has gone by, and i have gone a year more older :D than the last time. I will try to look back at some big moments of 2005.

On the personal front -

1. I switched job. Yes finally i moved on to....
2. I started blogging :)
3. Lot of friends moving away to places farther away from the NCR.
4. Ya i got my new cellphone !
5. I got my home PC upgraded, and got an upgraded office PC as well ('coz of company switch) :)
6. I got a broadband connection at home.

So in all life's has been quite a bit better this year for me. Hopefully it gets even better in 2006. Key is to remain happy :)

Mez a sport fanatic, so will surely look at the 10 biggest moments in sports in 2005 for me.

1. Liverpool winning the Champions League. They came back from 0-3 down at half-time against Milan, to complete THE GREATEST comebacks of all times in the European finals. It was arguably THE greatest finale ever played. Ironically, Shevchenko, the man who won it for Milan in penalties 2 years ago, the European player of the year, missed the last penalty to hand over the trophy to Liverpool.

2. England regain Ashes by beating Aussies 2-1. If Liverpool v/s Milan was THE greatest football finale ever played, this one was THE greatest Test series ever played. Both team fought hard and tough. And after a series of enthralling, close and nail biting encounters England beat Aussies 2-1 after being 0-1 down. Warne with 40 wkts and over 250 runs was the star, while Flintoff was THE power behind this unbelievable achievement for England with both bat and ball. Lee too fought hard for Australia.

3. Brian Charles Lara beat the Border's record for most number of Test runs with his brilliant 226 at Adelaide against Aussies.

4. Sachin Tendulkar scored the record 35th century to beat Sunil Gavaskar's record for 34 centuries in Tests.

5. Shane Warne became the first bowler to reach 600 wkts, and he had a remarkable year which saw him picking up record 96 wkts in the calendar year, breaking his country-mate Dennis Lillee's record.

6. Alonso became the youngest ever F1 champion, and Schumi could only manage 1 victory !

7. Federer continued to reign supreme in tennis , with occassional losses, notably to Safin in Australian Open semis, and to Nalbandian in Master's final (his first final loss in 20 finals).

8. Ganguly's reign finally ended, and Rahul Dravid is the new captain. Along with Greg Chappell he is taking Indian team to new heights.

9. Chelsea win the English Premier League after 50 years.

10. Ronaldinho leds Barcelona to win the Spanish La Liga.

Some of the sports person who really made their mark in 2005-

Michael Hussey - An average of over 150 in ODIs, backed up by 90+ average in Tests, with some of the most memorable centuries/innings you have ever seen played with tail and team has their backs to wall. This guy has been awesome, he has been the debutant of the year, getting chance to wear the baggy green only at the age of 30 after scoring tons of runs in domestic cricket, he has literally snatched a position in the Aussie lineup with the sheer weight of his runs.

Ronaldinho - World Player of the Year 2004, 2005. European Player of the Year 2005. Need i say more ? Words just don't describe him. Just go and watch this magician play and you will forget everyone else.

Shane Keith Warne - 96 wkts in the calendar year, 40 wkts in the Ashes, gave his everything in the Ashes by not only taking wickets but by also scoring crucial runs. This old war-horse never seem to get tired. Neither his breakoff with his wife, nor all those scandals can make this guy under-perform. A sheer genius, an all time LEGEND, a sheer magician, who has made me (and millions of others) watch cricket just to see his magic with the ball. He remains my biggest idol ever.

Andrew Freddie Flintoff - He's one guy who showed that Aussies are beatable, but that needs someone to take everything out of himself. He gave it his everything, seems to have never ending sources of energy. Has been THE man behind all the english success.

Frank Lampard - This Chelsea, England player has risen leaps and bounds under Jose Mourinho. He is not only one of the most prolific scorers in English football but has become one of the best midfielders alongside Ronaldinho.

Rest- Some of the other players who made it rich in 2005 are -
Ricky Ponting (most runs in 2005 in both Tests and ODIs), Inzamam (has shown amazing consistency), MS Dhoni (remarkable first year), Irfan Pathan, Justin Kemp, Dravid, Symonds, Bravo, Brett Lee, KP, Fernando Alonso, Raikkonen, Federer, Rafael Nadal, Nalbandian plus a few more maybe.

Some of the players who lost big time in 2005 are-

1. Saurav Ganguly (quite obvious choice, but he deserved nothing less than what he actually got !!)

2. Michael Clarke (lost his test place, a tad unlucky maybe)

3. Gillespie, Martyn, Hayden and Kasprowicz (lost their places in various Aussie sides due to Ashes loss)

I guess its more than enough.

Happy New Year 2006 to all of you :)