Monday, April 29, 2013

In the garden

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Models, a set on Flickr.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

London Sights

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London Sights, a set on Flickr.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Friday, November 02, 2012

TrafficView®: Awesomely solving India’s traffic problem.


Where I ramble on before getting to the point, and then get really tired so I cut it short. And also use excessive commas.

Google Maps have really upped their game in India. They've added traffic information in the Metros, and are planning to bring in street view soon too. With your Android phone, you can tell where your friends (victims) are, and what their ETA of arrival to a location is. Google Navigation has come to India on Android. Maps now have a textured background to indicate topography. You can geotag your photos and people can view them on a map. And most interestingly, Google maps now even has an overlay to show the location of Wikipedia entries on your map, allowing you to see the places of interest close to you.  Both the Traffic as the Wikipedia view can be turned on from the overlay panel on the top right.

Traffic and Wikipedia overlay on Google Maps

All in all Google Maps really shows the power that technology wields in this information generation.  And also, it’s not Apple Maps. Zing.

Hold on. Let’s not be lulled into a false sense of security. Trusting GMaps has led to some awesome fiascos, like turning off a well lit and broad highway into a narrow pitch black road surrounded by fields, which goes by an innocuous name like St Andrews Path of Redemption on Google Maps, but is probably better known to the locals as Rape Lane. After turning onto such a road on the way back to Norwich from the Peak District thanks to Google, it took about five minutes for our fear to overcome our faith in technology, and we performed a hasty u-turn, leaving the axe murderers frothing in frustration down the road.

On the positive side, Google Maps have allowed us to experience wonders previously unknown to civilized man.  Driving in Wales, we decided to toss our paper map and caution to the winds, after which Google decided to show us the meaning of fear by balancing us on the edge of a cliff somewhere in Snowdonia. The view was very nice, though.  Or that time we turned off into a dirt track and had to drive for five miles followed by an angry farmer in a tractor before we found a field to turn in. On reflection, I can’t really blame Google for that; it may have been a product of a driver/navigator conflict (to clarify, I was neither).

But as bountiful as the bloopers were while driving around the UK, they cannot really compare to the magnificence of the mistakes we made blindly following our phones, while driving around the Indian subcontinent. On our way to Choki Dhani at Jaipur (more about that later) from Bharatpur recently, we put our trust in dear faithful Google. Highway, highway, highway… oh hold on; that turn looks super awesome and will get us to our destination faster than a unicorn can shit out a rainbow. ‘Dear Google’, says I, ‘you wouldn’t ever steer me wrong; let us take this turn and embark on this magical journey hand in hand.’

This was the last time I smiled for a month.

The road tapered off till we found our self in the center of a village market in a dust patch which followed the outline of my car exactly.  Google Maps had by now decided that we were in the centre of a lake, and indicated we swim in a north by north west direction. Times like these bring out the iron in a man’s soul, and I bravely struck out in the aproximate direction Gmaps indicated, followed by feral dogs nipping at my tires and cow’s scratching their arseholes on my side view mirrors.

The aforesaid iron turned out to be not in my soul but in my head, as the road took us deep into one of those Rajasthani villages where automobiles are probably outlawed by the Khap Panchayats, and old men with bright red turbans and skin the colour and consistency of tanned nutsack stared silently at us with eyes which screamed, ’We will burn you and use the ashes to fertilize our corn’.  The road grew narrower too, obviously just meant for bicycles and lynch mobs, and sparks flew off the side of my tortured vehicle as I accelerated through the enclosing walls, knowing that to stop would be to seal our death warrant.

At one point I think I drove through someone’s courtyard.

We emerged from the village like Meatloaf’s bat out of hell, leaving a few puffs of feathers to mark where the chickens had exploded as I hit them, and were soon driving through fields of sugarcane: the kind where the axe murderer hides the bodies in all those movies. 

Scenic Detours!

The road, which had long since abandoned any pretense of actually leading somewhere, was now just a mud track, and we soon skidded to a halt in front of a pit half full of glutinous clay. ‘WE CAN MAKE IT!’, screamed my intrepid navigator. ‘KEEP ON GOING!’, screamed Google.  ‘WE’RE GOING TO DIE HERE’, screamed my bladder!  And so, I reversed for ‘bout half a kilometer , past a gawping goatherd, and drove back to the highway, rejoining it a few kilometers after where I had originally turned off, thus ending both my adventure, and the excessive use of commas in this sentence.

I once used quintuple negation separated by commas in an English essay, causing my teacher to go into retirement.

So, besides these very minor inconveniences, Google Maps is great! It’s the wave of the future, and this brings me to the meat of this post, which hyperbole and punctuation have prevented me from reaching till now.

The problem: My daily commute to office involves driving from one city into another (Indirapuram to Sector 62 in Noida) across a national highway. It’s a 3 kilometer drive. It takes me an hour. Why? Because the average office going Delhi person is a crazed rabid wanker with shit for brains and the traffic sense of an autistic orangutan. The daily dose of traffic rage that Delhi brings will take me to an early grave. Though there are 4 routes to cross the highway, one never knows which route will be FUBAR by some asshole trying to go horizontally through a tunnel, or a pack of insane auto rickshaws driving in the wrong direction. The time and location of these traffic snarls cannot be predicted in advance and change hourly.

Route options for my commute

The solution: TrafficView ® - A web camera at each of the 4 route options steaming live video onto a site. Before I set out, I’ll just fire up the feed on my laptop or phone, and make an informed decision on which route will be less likely to make me kill myself.  The interface and pricing will be simple… an overlay on Google maps will show you which locations cameras are available at, and you can subscribe to a feed for a fee per camera per month.

TrafficView® could also be clubbed with the route options of Google and their live traffic information, recommending cameras to subscribe to based on the destination you want. As more and more people subscribe to a particular camera, its icon grows larger on the Map overlay, indicating its heightened usefulness.

I’ve just blown your mind, haven’t I? Google, are you listening?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where I cater to the common denominator... meaning YOU.

Hurricane Sandy has taken Gizmodo and most of the Gawker network down. Bereft of my daily post lunch ritual of scrolling through Lifehacker (if ever there was a life that needed hacking it is mine) and Giz, I decided to pay a little attention to my own small neglected corner of the web.

I often imagine what would happen if prospective employers read my blog before the interview. Would it garner a favorable response (you’re on your way to the top of this insane asylum, my son), or would my racism and perversion turn them off? ‘Let’s just try it once and see how you like it’, I’ll plead. 'I’ve got a lot of love to give this organization; I've done it before and people have enjoyed it. let me just squeeze the tip in…'

What were we talking about?

Well, it’s not really a problem, as no one reads my blog anyway. I've therefore decided to make this blog a lot more adult oriented, and eliminate that veneer of social acceptability that I've hitherto tried to incorporate in my posts to cater to a discerning audience. The lack of an audience, discerning or otherwise has made this now redundant. Family, friends and other prudes, please avert your eyes; I shall now sell my soul for the seamy popularity that sex brings to any publication and cater to the prurient interests of the base masses.

…lonely crickets chirp…

Hm, the problem with above bravado is that the intent is clear, but the method is lacking. How DOES one emulate the sexy formula that sells copies of Playboy, X Men comics or every single popular British daily newspaper?  ‘It’s Obvious’, you might yell, dear reader. ‘Just increase the boobage ratio of your blog and people will come flocking, just like they do to that guy who built a better mouse trap. Pocket mice or real mice, the principle is the same; the cheese is the boob.’

Well, dear reader, we all know about cheeseboob, but how do I smear it on my blog? I keep trying to cull pictures from the interwebs, but get… distracted… every time.  I was then inspired by the Kate Middleton photographs, and slotted in my telephoto lens, attached my tripod, and started peering into the neighbouring apartments from behind my curtains. The problem is, the quality of the average Ghaziabad high rise dwelling lady falls more into the ‘BURN IT WITH FIRE’ rather than the ‘So hot I assploded all over my tripod’ category.

Assploding is going to be a regular theme in this blog now.

So you see, it’s not that easy catering to the common denominator. Just like in real life, where rather than causing girls to fall over in a frenzy and start spontaneously humping the sidewalk, wearing skinny jeans just forces me to walk with my leas at 60 degree angles to each other and end the day in hospital, trying to get sexy up in this blog may just have a counter-intuitive effect.

And also forces me to write long convoluted sentences.

So, I’m just gonna throw my door open to suggestions and volunteers. Especially volunteers. If you’re a girl and want to support this blog, just email me those tittay pics. Or ass. Armpit? Chin? Whatever; just send them to Once I’m done with them (and it may take a while so be patient), you’ll get prime position on my sidebar. And the satisfaction of having done a good deed. And the knowledge that I’m gonna have to drink a LOT of Gatorade to replenish my fluids. 

Remember, the more pictures you send, the more likely I’ll perish of dehydration. It’ll be a win-win, for at least I’ll die happy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's for the birds


Bharathpur Bird Sanctuary, a set on Flickr.