Showing posts from 2005

New Free Desktop Posted At Jaya Teas

Jaya Teas has posted the January 2006 desktop calendar on their website. Check out here for more details on downloading the desktop. Its a nice desktop with some tea tasting cups with tea on it. Nice desktop for some one who is looking for a soothing appearance of their computer!

Pet Peeve No 2: Out of Office Emails

Yes, its true...I have a second Pet Peeve: The misuse of the "out of office" reply functionality built into the email system. Now granted most of US is on vacation around Christmas, and I should not expect folks to reply to my emails. But come on! Do you need to rub it in? Every email I send out seems to elicit a "out of office" reply back from my friends! And my mail box is filling up with these out of office replies!

Hmmm, may be they are trying to send me a message...stop sending these email messages or we will fill your mail box with junk! Ok Ok I get it now. No more emails to any friends this holiday season. I will create drafts and just wait for 4th or 5th of January, and hit the send button all at once!


Don't kill me, I'm only kidding! Jeez!

Pet Peeve - Portraititis in Electronic Documents

Yes, I admit to it, "Portraititis" is my pet peeve. The electronic document formatting that the whole world follows is wrong, and I want to change that. What I mean is this...why do people who put out electronic magazines - you know the ones that come in pdf form - in portrait form? The whole purpose of electronic distribution is so that we would be able to read it on our computers. And the last time I checked, the computer screen was laid out in Landscape format, NOT PORTRAIT Format!!

ESC magazine, one of my favorite magazines has this Portratitis. And today I came across a electronic magazine put out by a - of all people - DESIGN INSTITUTE which has the same disease. National Institute of Design puts out a magazine called CUT HERE. Now, Isn't National Institute of Design supposed to be thinking about design related issues? So how come they put out a publication that cannot be properly viewed on the computer screen?

I'll tell you why. Its because of lazyness.…

Four 2006 Rhodes Scholars of Indian Origin

2006 Rhodes Scholars list was announced today, and there seem to be four scholars of Indian origin among the 32 scholars selected this year. Another proud moment for the Indian diaspora in United States.

Congratulations to all those selected! All the recepients have very interesting backgrounds, but one scholar Scott R. Erwin's story is nothing short of amazing.

One winner was Scott R. Erwin, a 2005 graduate of the University of Richmond, who founded Ambassadors of Democracy, a civic education initiative at Mustanseriya University in Baghdad. He underwent eight hours of surgery in June 2004 after the car he was riding in was ambushed.

New Jersey has one winner. Here is the link to the news item, and here is the link to the list of winners.

The Indian-American winners are: Rahul Satija, Laxmi Krishnan, Noorain F. Khan, and Samsher Gill.

ESC Magazine

Just came across this beautiful literary magazine called ESC, which presents literature of the aspiring writers and poets. Check it out if you can. PDF downloads are free but you can also subscribe to the print copies for a nominal cost. Clicking on the image of the magazine will take you to their downloads section.


Open Office 2.0 for Mac

If you were to go to the OpenOffice website it would seem that while the rest of the world has access to version 2.0 of Openoffice, Mac users would have to wait another few years. Well, not so. Below is the link for the Mac build of release candidate 1.9.128. So, download away and enjoy!

This is not a native port, and requires Apple's x11 which is free to download from Apple's website. It is also advisable to have the XCode installed from the Panther dvd.

18000 Feared Dead In South Asian Quake

Press reports suggest that a 7.6 magnitude earthquake has devastated parts of Pakistan and India. Over 18000 people are feared dead in Pakistan and about 40,000 are injured. In Indian Kashmir, 275 people have been reported dead but many are still trapped under the rubble. Army has mounted a huge search and rescue mission in both countries.

Folks who wish to help by donating money are requested to visit the Jaya Teas weblog for instructions on where to send funds.

You may also send funds to American Red Cross earmarking the money for the Earth Quake Relief fund by simply writing so on the check.

World Celebrates Gandhi Birthday

Here we are again. Its October 2nd, and time to celebrate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Naturally, India is celebrating the birthday of the spiritual and philosophical leader of the nation who led millions of Indians to freedom from British rule. Here is a new report about the celebrations in India. Is it ironical that the clebrations in New Delhi were led by President Abdul Kalam, a man who led the development of guided missiles in India. Some would say that it is these missiles that have prevented the war with Pakistan, and hence led to peace with that country, a Gandhian ideal. It is also a testament to Indian democracy's adherence to Gandhian ideals that the President of a Hindu country is a Muslim, and the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) is a Sikh. Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat led the celebrations in Bucharest, Romania

Meanwhile, the rest of the world goes about its day completely ignoring the teachings of Gandhi. As if on cue, the Islamic terrorist demonst…

Last week in the news

Well, it seems that the last week was all about disasters..natural, and man made.

First, the whole world seems to be talking about how Rita was going to devastate the southern region of the wealthiest country on earth. Washington Post, NY Times, Google News, all seem to have Rita related news, when Rita was relatively milder cousin of Katrina. Meanwhile, no one seem to give a hoot about flooding in India.
There are storms brewing in the bay of Bengal. Relief Web has a map that describes the situation. Just click the picture.
Southern India had the worst floods in decades. Villages south of Hyderabad (in Andhra Pradesh) was under water. 56 people are reported killed. Hyderabad, in the Indian Silicon Valley also was hit badly and its image as a modern city to set up operations of foreign companies has also taken a hit.

City of Ahmedabad is also under water. We have not been able to make contact with my brother-in-law in Ahmedabad. Phone lines are down, mobile is also out, and we…

Sounds of Varanasi

Sri Krishna Tea & Book Stall has posted a review of a new book about to hit the stands. The book is a collaborative effort between Robert Svoboda, DJ Cheb i Sabbah and Namrupa publishing. SoulJerky has posted the soundscapes of Varanasi here which I found particularly interesting. They literally bring the life in the city of Varanasi to your door step.

I highly recommend this book to any one interested in Indian culture. I know I am getting a copy!

Funny Story of The Week: Men Smarter Than Women

In an apparent death wish, two british scientists have come out with some interesting research that proclaims that "Men are smarter than Women!". Now come on guys, we know that was never true, that it is not true today, and it will never be true tomorrow!

In another news, Queen Elizabeth had proclaimed the two said scientists, "Enemy of the State", and in United States, NOW (national organization of women) has declared a Fatwa against two British idiots, named Paul Irwing and Richard Lynn.

NAM, The national Association of Men, in an unrelated move, have cancelled the membership of the two British Scientists. Apparently, they had not paid their dues in time.

Skype, The New Standard In Free Internet Telephony

Unless you have been living in Siberia, you must have heard of Skype. Skype is an outstanding application of the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology. All you need is the Skype software, and a set of head phones.

Step 1: Download Skype from here
Step 2: Register an account with an easy to remember name from within Skype.
Step 3: Ask your friends from all over to download skype and register
Step 4: Place a call via your computer.

Thats it!

Skype offers a service called "Skype out" which allows you to call the real phone numbers from your computer. But beware, its not a free service! Infact the charges for calling using SkypeOut are quite high (they are in Euros and not dollars). Skype does not offer free voice mail service or call forwarding etc. But the sound quality is so good that you will be surprised.

These days, all my calls to my brother in law in India and Australia are made on Skype. They both have broad band so it was easy. The rest of my family u…

Beautiful Girl, Young Pilot, And A Near Death Experience

Believe it or not, once I too was a student pilot, flying Cessnas out of Mercer County airport. Most of the times I climbed into the Cessna I was with this gorgeous instructer from Columbia named Sylvia. It was Sylvia's job to make a pilot out of me, but all I cared about was the opportunity to spend the time with her.

Now, I am not much of a writer so I couldn't tell you the stories of the thrill felt when flying a single engine plane, banking left and right, circling down towards the earth with engine cut out, to learn how to land a plane that has run out of gas. Nor could I tell you how one feels to have a beautiful girl sitting next to you when you are peering out into the blue sky listening to the crackling radio voice of the control tower. So, I will do the next best...I will recommend you this story by Patric Smith, a pilot who writes for

The story line is fairly simple ... boy learns to fly, boy tries to impress the girl by taking her on a plane ride. …

Barry Goes To India

kannada film poster, originally uploaded by gbSk. This excerpt is from Barry's trip to India.
"finally i find a ticket inspector. you show him your ticket and he assigns you a berth number. he looks at my ticket and says, “sorry sir, first class cars not having. out of order and sleeper cars full. second class only”. i look inside the second class car. no f*#kin way. there is a not an inch of space in there. all you see is bodies and bags and who knows what else. there was just no possible way i was getting in that train car with my gigantic bag full of shirts that i refuse to let out of my sight for one second. the trip was 10+ hours and it’s at least 10-15 degrees hotter in amritsar. its not like i’m some first class only traveler. i just couldn’t do it. so there i stood…... as the train pulled out. soaked and tired. and still in haridwar."

For the complete and totally hilarious account of his experiences, click here

Cold Play's Chris Martin Sexiest Vegetarian

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatmen t of Animals has just completed its annual survey of Sexiest Vegetarians, and have named Cold Play's Chris Martin to be sexiest male vegetarian alive!

Check out the PETA website for the list of sexy vegetarians and learn about how you can enjoy a good lifestyle even as a vegetarian.

Bombay Floods Update

Just heard from my brother, who told me that he had to sleep in the office for a night as there was no way of returning home.

Then, through variety of conveyence - bus, taxi, walking, wading through water, he reached back home after 5 hours. This journey normally takes about 20-40 minutes by car, so you can imagine the situation.

In Mumbai, there have been several land slides, and lights have been out for two days. Phone lines were cut for two days, and are just being restored. The water on the roads was very swift, almost like a river.

India last received similar rainfall (33 inches) in 1910 in the village of Cherapungi, which is considered the wettest region in the world. The rainfall in Bombay of 37.1 inches in 24 hrs is considered to be a world record!

Home minister of India announced that altogether over 600 people have died all over India due to heavy rains.

Today obviously the city of Bombay will not be up and running, but since the rains have stopped, a sense of normalcy is…

Mumbai (Bombay) Drowns in Record Rains!

The picture hardly tells the story of the worst flooding in Mumbai, the business capital of India. My family informed me that my nephew had to be rescued by one of our family friends when his school bus got stranded in the flooded waters. My brother was unable to return from work because of high waters.

The Times of India reports that water level was so high in Dombivli where I grew up most of my life that you couldn't tell where the water ended and the railway platform began! The figures tell of the carnage caused by the waters:

37.5 inches of rainfall in 24 hours
118 dead in Mumbai
100 dead in Konkan region
10,000 troops deployed in and around Bombay
A week ago, my brother-in-law was telling me of the floods in Ahmedabad. Waters were as high as 5 feet in some areas. Now it seems to be Mumbai's turn.

Inkscape 0.42 Release Announced - Mac Version Included

Mac users can finally breath a sigh of relief that the popular program Inkscape has been released as a dmg package for installation on Macs. The version 0.42 is the most advanced version so far and boasts of several great features such as flowed text, Text selection, gradient tools etc. SVG compatibility is still not there, but try inkscape. It will surprise you with its versatility!

My biggest frustration with inkscape had been that while windows users had an installation package from long time back, installing it on Macs used to be only through Fink. Not any more. So I'm a happy camper!

Here is the link to the downloads section of inkscape website.

PM Singh Welcomed At The US Congress

PM Singh, originally uploaded by pavansut. The picture is of the congressional record recording the speech given by Representative Rush Holt, from New Jersey, in honor of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to United States. Prime Minister Singh was invited by the US Congress to address to the august body, and joins a long line of illustrious Prime Ministers of the largest democracy in the world, India, who have addressed the US Congress.

With this trip, the Indo-US relations have reached a high point based on cooperation against terrorism, technology cooperation, trade and public policy.

United States needs to continue to affirm its committment to Democracy by supporting Indian bid for inclusion in the UN Security council where India could cooperate with United States in moving forward the agenda of freedom and democracy.

Pavansut Hanuman in Kalleda Temple

Hanuman in Kalleda Temple, originally uploaded by Kalleda1. Photo of Pavansut, The Rulind Deity of This Blog, by D. Ranjith of Kalleda Photo Project.

Pavansut is a very popular deity in India, revered for his devotion to Lord Ram and Sita, and known for his strength. Once, it is said, Pavansut was asked to go pick out a particular herb for Lord Ram when he fell sick. Not knowing what the herb looked like, Pavansut Hanuman uprooted the entire mountain and brought it back home. Such is his devotion and such is his strength.

You are not supposed to look

your not supposed to look, originally uploaded by gbSk. Here is a beautiful picture of a tea pot brewing a hot cup of chai on the streets of India! Clearly, the view is reserved only for those with strong stomachs!

But don't worry ye of quesy stomachs, the tea is boiled over many times, so nothing can survive in it, especially if the chaiwallah adds any masala to it.

Here is a full photostream from gbSk who went to india to bathe in River Ganga, which cleanses all your mortal sins.

Lonely Jetty

Lonely Jetty, originally uploaded by pavansut. On a rainy afternoon in Zurich, while I was waiting for a boat to take me around, the scene compelled me to snap this shot. As captured here, the scene makes you feel as though emptiness pervades Zurich. True, the jetty is empty, but Zurich is a bustling city and hardly empty. Yet this scene would have you belive otherwise.

Hot new recipie from Ity

Ity today taught me how to make a great Lasun (Garlic) chutney. Here is the recepie:

Garlic: 1 clump pressed
Green Coriander: 1 bunch finely chopped
Red chillie powder: 1 tea spoon
Coriander powder: 2 tea spoons
Turmeric: 1/2 tea spoon
Salt: to taste
Water: two tea spoons
Lemon: 1/2 tea spoon

Press the garlic cloves and add finely chopped coiander to it. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Use as dip with slices of bread.

Thats it! Simple, but delllllliiiicious!!

Name This Flower

So who can name this flower from our garden?? Winner will get a prime spot on our weblog and a link to their weblog. So send your entries in by posting comments.

Oldest Textile Mills Closes

Mount Vernon Mills announced today that the longest continuously running textile mill in UnitedStates was closing its doors for ever.
The old mill was constructed in 1844, and originally cleaned, spun, wove, bleached and dyed cotton. During the Civil War, the mill manufactured Confederate uniform and tent material and was used as an armory for Confederate troops.
Although this would seem as a shocking development, this has been going on for a long time. Infact Mount Vernon had a major layoff in 1981 when it laid off more than half its workforce.

This means that the township officials will need to think in a hurry how to attract newer business. The story of Tallahassee is likely to play itself out in many other cities, and begs for strong leaders to emerge who think strategically and plan for the future. Its calls for a different kind of civic leadership, leadership that worries less about the immediate future, but about how the town would grow 10-15-20 years from now.

More about Mo…

Gorgeous Spring Flowers

Spring 2005, originally uploaded by pavansut. Took some pictures of the flowers in our garden with the Nikon D70 we recently purchased. It was early in the morning, around 7 am or so, and the light was just perfect for some gorgeous photos.

Joshi Family Meets Baby Sanjana

sanjana, originally uploaded by pavansut. Our friends T Balaguru and Savitha were recently blessed with a baby daughter, Sanjana. Here is Sanjana in my arms with Madhu and little Jaya looking on.

Cinderella Man's Delivers A PR Punch

Could you have asked for a better PR opportunity? Cinderella Man opened to lack luster audience despite a purportedly smashing performance by Russell Crowe. So, the producers must be thanking their stars that their Star Mr. Crowe decided to throw a phone in a fit of rage. The media interest in Mr. Crowe is naturally very high and the buzz around the movie is only going to get better.

When ever an incident like this happens, the public sitsup and takes notice. The bad boy image is propagated, the news item becomes hot, and people's interest in the movie is piqued.

So I wouldn't be surprised if the next week box office figures for Cinderella Man take off. Yes, Mr. Crowe just delivered a nice one-two punch, that may cost him a few thousand dollars in fines, but may end up enriching him by millions!~

Pentagon Announces Closing of Camp Snoopy

Venerable magazine "The Onion" reports that Pentagon has announced closure of camp Snoopy.
"..Camp Snoopy is a relic of America's Cold War past. Everything in the facility—from the Petting Zoo to the Extreme Trampoline to the Pepsi Ripsaw Roller Coaster—was conceived at a time when America's primary military threat was the Soviet Union. After careful evaluation, we determined that the only thing Camp Snoopy was enabling our soldiers to fight was boredom."
Read more about the base closure here...

Restaurant Serves Food On Toilet Seats

Marketing experts will tell you that if you are to start a new business, you need to have a key point of differentiation. Well, this restaurant in Taiwan has taken the advice very seriously, and designed the restaurant concept around not plates and forks, but toilets!!! Now thats an appetising thought!

Not that the customers seem to be minding. Apparently, the restaurant is doing great business. Click here for the full story.

Nicole Kidman Looses Web Buzz Log To Aishwarya Rai

Now it may come as a total surprise to some, but for us the devoted fans of the former Miss World Aishwarya Rai its no surprise that Ash beats Nicole consistently in the Buzz Log on the web. This from Yahoo Buzz Log today...

But it's the lovely Aishwarya Rai who draws the fans to the Search box. She ascended 86% yesterday alone and consistently settles herself in our top searches (beating out Nicole Kidman in popularity) .

Go Ash Go!

Flights to India to get cheaper

Flights to India from New York/Newark are likely to get cheaper relatively soon with the entry of several new carriers on these routes. Delta, for example announced that it will be starting a non-stop flight between New York and New Delhi, and Continental has started a flight between New Delhi and Chicago. Delta already has a flight between New York and Chennai.

The Indian Government recently approved two other carriers, Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines to run flights between US and India. This below comes from the Times of India...

Senior government officials told The Times of India that Jet Airways has been granted the approval to start a daily flight from Mumbai to Newark (via Brussels) in the 2005 summer schedule.

With these new entries, the price of the ticket is bound to come down significantly. Right now, if you buy a ticket from a consolidator, the ticket prices range from USD 800 during off season to USD 1500 during peak season. A 10-15% price drop would mean a significant…

Jersey Boy Competes in Beauty & Geek Reality Show

Flemington NJ hometown boy Richard is one of the seven contestants in the WB television show romparama reality show, the "Beauty & the Geek". Richard, who is graduating from Brandaeis University has been paired up with Mindy, a sorority girl from Missouri.

See what I told you? This is how they get you. Now being from New Jersey I have to watch the show.

Dammit Richard! You better win!

Stinky Flower Set To Bloom Again

Illustration: Kandis Elliott
The stinky flower growing in the green house of University of Wisconsin at Madison, called Titan arum, is ready to bloom again, and spread its stench. This rare plant blooms only every so often, so its bloomins is quite an event. For example, the picture above is that of the same flowe which last bloomed in June 2001.

Four years ago, Fayyaz and his colleagues were witness to a huge titan arum blossom that grew in the university's Botany Greenhouse to a size of 8.5 feet, just 3.5 inches shy of the then-world record set in 1932. The current world record, set in 2003 at the Bonn Botanic Garden in Germany, stands just an inch short of nine feet.

Originally a native of Indonesia, this stinky flower which is also called corpse flower, has the scientific name of Amorphophallus titanum. The blooming of this phalic flower that stinks caused quite a furor in 2001 with some 20000 people turning out to see it. So this year, UW-Madison is getting prepared for a …

Hendrickson Farm, Lawrenceville NJ

Hendrickson Farm, Lawrenceville NJ, originally uploaded by pavansut. Here is a picture of the Hendrickson Farm in Lawrenceville NJ. The farm is a stones throw away from where we live, and is on my way to work. I have often thought of stopping in and meeting the family that owns it and runs it, but haven't done so so far. My dream is to one day own a farm like this, although its easier said than done.

Thief Checks Gas With Lighter - Burns Himself

A thief in New York burnt himself when he tried to check the gas he was stealing with his cigarette lighter. Chalk it up to experience, but I bet this thief is not going to steal gas gain, or if he does, he will bring a flash light with him.

The sheriff's department says he was transferring the fuel from the truck to a gas can when he used a lighter to see how full the container had become. That sparked a fire that caused minor burns to his face and hands.

Here is the link for the full story

Natalie Glebova, 2005 Miss Universe

No, we are not above partisanship when it comes to Miss Universe, so sad we are the Amrita Thapar did not win the Miss Universe title this year. Was it the 'intelectual question' or was it the 'bathing suit' that tripped her up?

But thats OK! We will clap for Miss Glebova, who happens to hail from - no not Soviet er Russia, but from the frozen territories of Canada. Play the drum roll. New Miss Universe 2005 is