Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Let's play catchup, shall we?

With the obligatory apologies for almost an year long hiatus from blogging, I am back....

Here's what has been happening with me (Chronologically from recent):

1. I am going on a long awaited vacation to my hometown Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India at the end of this month. On my way I would stop over in Chennai for three days. Planning to meet some old friends and some new. As you might guess, I am right now actively shopping for gifts that I need to take along with me and the list is long :)

2. Talking about gifts, I have bought a Dell Photo Printer 540. It's a sublimation dye based Photo Printer and is suprising small. I think it would be an ideal gift for my doctor sister and her digital camera.

3. I visited Las Vegas during the Labor Day weekend and boy, it was a lot of fun. I stayed in Luxor Hotel (the pyramid shaped) and I hated it. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Infact we made a mistake. We should have stayed in an off-strip hotel and spent the money on something else, like some nice shows :)

4. I have finally sold my unused electronics items that I have been saving up for years (including two GSM phones, Minolta Dimage S404, Motorola Bluetooth Headset, Sony Camcorder - which I had used exactly twice) on eBay. I used iSoldIt and the whole experience was very nice. Their commissions are understandbly high but its incredibly convenient for lazy guys like me :)

5. I have incredibly and successfully resisted buying (and accumulating) gadgets over the last year or so. Let's see... I have only bought a iPod Shuffle, although had I known about iPod nano, I would have waited 6 more months :) Don't you feel that the technology that you buy gets outdated much sooner than what it was 5/10 years ago?

6. I had been a silent participant in KatrinaHelp team, although I was quite actively involved in early stages to get things going. It has been another amazing experience to see the humanity in action where unknown strangers assembled online to work on a noble cause. This time, the project was well co-ordinated and had huge number of participants. Infact we are kinda acting like a clearinghouse/co-ordination cell for various offshoot projects (PeopleFinder, ShelterFinder, PetFinder etc).

7. One of the technologically cool things that we did in KatrinaHelp is the Skype Help Line. The idea was very simple but incredibly effective. Skype (which is now eBay) was generous in donating a good amount of SkypeIn & SkypeOut dollars for us to use. So we basically a setup a local Tulane, LA number (504 area code) where people can call us and ask us for any information. The call would be answered by whoever is logged in as KatrinaHelp in Skype. The line was manned by Dina, Neha, Angelo & myself on a round robin basis. We recieved hundreds of calls from people asking all kind of information. I don't think anyone has used Skype like this before. This idea can be extended to some kind of Virtual Phone Bank that can be activated in an emergency. Update: Dina has already eloborated on this in her Virtual Light in Dark Skies post.

8. With regard to my work, I have now moved from Voice (VoIP) products to Data Products. I am working on a DSL product but mainly on the edge router. My company is going through rough times and I have survived all the layoffs so far... Dunno for how long though :(

9. This summer has been really hot in New Jersey and you won't believe the fluctuations that we get around here. You can check the weather for yourself. One day its 85F and the next day its 55. Crazy, I say.

10. Haven't seen any good movies lately. Although I finally watched Finding Neverland, The Incredibles. I loved Finding Neverland, very inspirational and moving story. Kate Winslet is as always charming. Somehow I didn't like 'The Incredibles' that much. It was okay but my question is this: Why would you want to watch an animation where characters have same issues as regular people do? I am missing the logic here!

11. On the Television front, I have been hooked on Rome, the new HBO series about the Roman Republic. Titus Pullo is my favorite character there. I have finally finished watching all the episodes of the british comedy Coupling. I also follow Desperate Housewives on ABC, House on FOX.

12. On the Sports front, the football (American) season is upon us. This is not the season for Patriots. I think Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers would make the Superbowl. I loved Andre Agassi vs James Blake match at the US Open. It was the best tennis match of the year. I don't think anyone can beat Roger Federer anywhere except French Open in his current form. That man is awesome. Sad to see Maria miss out on the US Open. BTW, Go Sania Mirza (Indian Sensation)! Just started to follow Cricket again after the Ashes.

Hope this has helped you to catch up... I promise to keep the blog updated regularly...

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