30 January 2007

No Vista for You

Windows vista upgrade advisor error

Windows Vista upgrade advisor encountered an error while scanning your system.

The helpful program that purports to advise users if their computers are ready for Vista totally failed on my machine. Interestingly it asked to go on the internet not once but 3 times and carried huge advertisements for Vista. It took about 10 minutes to run before it came up with this error. So, basically, a program which is supposed to tell the user if their computer can run Vista takes 10 minutes to scan the computer, wants to send all the information to Microsoft, and then crashes at the end. I have desktop widgets that can check my system specifications in a few milliseconds, and keep updating them as they change... shoddy job designing a front to data mine information from computers Mr MicroSoft.

26 January 2007

Blog Anniversary

It's been... a year and 2 days for the Kraal. Yay! Balloons, champagne popping and all. Just for the record, here is a link to the real first post (as opposed to the Hello world first post). I was going to blog about why one-day cricket should be scrapped (only tests and 20/20's in the future - let's get rid of the middle overs) but decided not to lose all of my readers in one fell swoop. So instead I'll highlight some posts that I remember from the year from all of y'all (plural of y'all, which is singular and what you are called in Louisiana.) It's not in any particular order.

So, here's Lova talking about the Malagasy diasporic experience and how he deals with it all. And don't forget to take a gander at the Malagasy dwarf hippo. Oh yes, and definitely read this if you consider yourself a child of the 80's.

Rohini talks about the language her son uses at age 1.5 years. It'll be a great record for him to read about when he grows up. I always have trouble commenting on her posts because a lot of what she talks about reminds me of things we've experienced with Ginga and BooBoo and I'm not sure if people (not Rohini herself) get offended by similarities between children and pets. Also, here's Rohini's husband's close escape from the Mumbai train bombings.

The ever-funny Ramya talks about Malaysian english. She also wonders how Berliners summon storks in winter and how her position in the family was supplanted by a four-legged known as Coco.

Siddhu is probably the next Sidin in the making... it's very inconvenient that his studies get in the way of blogging. Ah well... here's part I and part II of a hilarious phone call incident.

Hulles burst upon the blog scene with his own brand of humour. Here's his take on outsourcing and an ode to the caboose.

Criz has deep, meaningful posts, but I like his funny posts more. Here's Swami Greekananda and Don Whito Corleone.

Sheetal's pictures remind me of home... it's nice to have that connection. Hope she gets back to blogging soon.

Abhishek feeds the soul with this story about small gestures, Amrita talks about the one who danced, and Anali stops to smell the flowers in Boston.

Vidhya confesses about her pranks as a student and snaps a picture of lightning. Rajesh reminds us of all the knowledge that the year 2006 has brought us.

Apologies to anybody who I have left out... time issues you see... thanks to everyone for reading and commenting and sharing bits of their lives with me. Wish you guys the best for this year.

20 January 2007

News of the world

I've been very busy and nothing interesting happened outside of research. I did attempt to follow the news, reading a few snippets here and there. Since all the items got muddled in my head, the following report of the state of the world may have slight inaccuracies.

China used a missile to test its asteroid-killing functionality and the US got all cross about it because China shouldn't have the capability to be the saviour of the world in case an asteroid comes close. So now the U.S. plans to be the first country to send a manned rocket to blow up any asteroids that come close to earth. Before they blow it up they will mine any valuable minerals out of the asteroid to pay for the mission. A rescue capsule is only available for the minerals. They are attempting to recruit some suicide bombers for this wanton destruction job.

The company formerly known as Apple computers (now replaced by an unpronounceable symbol of a quarter-eaten apple) will release a phone called iPhone. That was all that was missing from the iLineup... except of course the iKill for when people realise they cannot afford the iPhone, even after promising a lifelong contract to the mobile phone company Cingular. Now if only Steve Jobs could live up to his name and provide a 6-figure iJob so I could have the promised iLife they keep advertising.

Living the iLife on video camera seems to be a good way to resurrect one's popularity. Actress Shilpa Shetty who disappeared from the movie scene after Baazigar got abused on reality TV by her housemates in the UK. Apparently this was an insult to the Indian government, not just for Shilu. They are protesting more about this incident than the IC814 plane hijacking orchestrated by the Taliban under orders from the Pakistani army which resulted in the death of one person and the release of several mass murderering terrorists from jail.

Speaking of death, now it is possible to commit suicide by water intoxication. A lady lost her life by drinking >2L of water in a short amount of time and avoiding the bathroom completely. She was not warned of this possibility before taking on all responsibility for injuries occured as a result of the competition. And for the radio station sponsoring this lunacy, your sins can be forgiven easily, read on...

Coming soon to a river near you - sin all you want - just make sure that you do a head dip in the river and all is washed off. You can start from scratch. Of course, if you don't contract something deadly from the river itself by catching any of the sins floating off the other million people taking a bath with you. OK the washed off sins are more likely to infect you in the form of some bug.

I did not call anyone a fag (I only call cigarettes aka cancer sticks fags, I'm all for having more gay men on the planet, reduces competition for ladies you see). Luckily I don't play a hot shot surgeon on TV so don't have to apologise for 'the most gratuitious use of the word fag in real life.'

13 January 2007

How to save a life

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend, somewhere along in the bitterness and I could have stayed up…

Well as you have probably guessed by now, thanks to the promptness of Lova in getting tickets the day they were released, I attended the sold out “The Fray” concert. And by sold out I mean a few hours after the tickets were available… 6000, gone, just like that.

Mute Math opens for The Fray at Purdue U

The opening band was called Mute Math (does anyone know why mathematics is abbreviated ‘Math’ in the USA and ‘Maths’ everywhere else?) They started off well, I particularly remember a song called Control. Then they lost their way a little, with the lead singer jumping on top of the instrument he was playing and doing handstands and so on. Based on the music, I would guess that their influences are Sting, Oasis and Ross Geller. They’re not as ‘ahead of their time’ as Ross Geller was, maybe it’s a transition between what most people would call music and whatever Ross did on Friends. The good thing about Mute Math is that each member seemed to be proficient at playing all the instruments. They did have a fear of picking up after themselves, so they hired a technician to run around stage putting drumsticks and microphones back where they belonged from the floor and behind the stage. At the end the technician got a big hug from the lead singer and a cheer from the audience so he probably felt appreciated.


After an interminable wait between the opening band (foreplay band as the Doc calls them) The Fray started playing. Their attempts to get the crowd involved with Over my head (cable car) failed when the Purdue public did not quite share their memory of the lyrics. Ah well, they recovered and went back to the music. The Purdue audience got an exclusive look at a brand new song, which they wrote 3 hours before the show and performed for the first time. It’s about the rhythm guitarist’s brother who had a bad year last year. Wait... maybe the brother was the technician who had to pick up after the foreplay band. The acoustics at Elliott Hall are not the greatest so we couldn’t hear the words or the lyrics to this song properly. (The guitarist himself had a cheat sheet which he put on the floor and referred to throughout the song). The lead singer has a great voice I must say and he came on stage with just an acoustic guitar to sing one song. That’s some of the best singing I’ve ever heard at a pop / rock concert.


They finished off with the only Fray song I know the lyrics to (and it's very difficult to play on guitar) - How to save a life - and left everyone very happy. It was a little ironic that Grey’s anatomy’s first episode was skipped by all the people at the concert to watch a band that the show made popular. The only negative thing was that all of their songs sounded very similar. I think they should have changed one of the more popular songs to a reggae beat or so to make it seem less like the monotonic Indian left arm pace battery of last year (Sorry, had to throw in a cricket allusion.)


We tried to get closer to the action by using binoculars but unfortunately we did not succeed:

Interestingly the audience seemed to be about 70% women. This was great for Lova and me until we started making the calculations and figured out that the average audience member was born in 1989. We almost felt bad taking in the pulchritude on display… but not that bad.


04 January 2007

BSOD - coming soon to a car near you

As if Ford needed any more trouble, their cars are going to stop on the road while their computer software crashes and replaces the windshield with a blue screen of death. Or perhaps the car will just stop for a reboot after a 'windows genuine advantage' aka 'people using this product are thieves' update. I assume that the software will be hacked within 5 minutes of release and the cars driven to Mexico automatically when the dealers are not watching.

Why oh why did they not partner with some linux company?

Ford Aims to Jazz Up Its Fleet With Microsoft Pact
By John D. Stoll

Ford Motor Co. is hoping an effort with Microsoft Corp. to bring much of the connectivity of a personal computer into a car's cockpit will spruce up its U.S. product portfolio.

The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker will unveil next month a hands-free Bluetooth wireless system and in-vehicle operating system developed by Microsoft that will eventually be an option for its entire Ford brand lineup, according to people familiar with the matter. The new system, to be dubbed Sync, will allow for hands-free cellphone communication and other wireless information transfers inside the car, including the ability to receive email and download ...

01 January 2007