Kiran's blog

Posted by Kiran

Early this year, I was looking out for a new phone. After looking around for quite a while, I finally decided to go with the HTC Desire.

Before the Desire, I had another HTC phone — the HTC TyTN running Windows Mobile 6.0. Given that I have always been — right from its Pocket PC days — a Windows Mobile devotee, my PIM is mainly based out of Outlook and Exchange. Windows Mobile 6.0 integrated beautifully with Outlook and using both of these together was extremely convenient.

Hence, moving to Android wasn't an easy decision. However rave reviews received by the Desire and the fact that I was unconvinced about the suitability of future Windows Mobile Platforms, made me take the plunge into Android.

Now that I have had my Desire for almost three months, I thought I should write about my first impressions.

Posted by Kiran

In early May, the Special Court in Mumbai convicted Ajmal Kasab for his role in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai and sentenced him to death.

Kasab is going to die, eventually. But before he is put to death, he will probably go through several appeals, mercy petitions, so on and so forth; he might actually die of old age before he is hanged! Take the case of another Pakistani terrorist on the Indian Death Row: Afzal Guru. Guru was supposed to be hanged in 2006, but still remains on death row. The government seems to be incapable of taking a decision one way or another!

When Kasab was sentenced, it was quickly proclaimed by many as a victory for the Indian judiciary. I was amazed at the number of people, including the media, who liked to believe that it meant closure for the numerous families who were directly affected by the horrible attack on Mumbai. However, I can't help but believe that this is just a shallow victory.

Kasab was undoubtedly the killer of numerous innocent people, but he was just a pawn. While there is no doubt in anybody's mind that he deserves to die, there also has to be a realization that while India has been able to bring this one man to justice the organization and the network of terrorists that backed him up that day still remain at large.

Isle of Wight

10 Apr 2010
Posted by Kiran
Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight is a small island to the south of mainland England. Accessible by ferries, the island is a picturesque holiday destination. Any tourist will immediately be awestruck by the natural beauty of this place.

Though this was our third stint in the UK we had never, before now, been able to make it to this island. Given that, we took the opportunity over this Easter weekend to make the trip to Isle of Wight. Since the island is a small one and we had ample time on our hands, we were assured that the holiday will be a relaxed get together with friends and the kids.

The planning for the trip began more than a month and half in advance. There were a lot of things to coordinate: travel, stay, sightseeing, entertainment for the kids, and most importantly food!

Posted by Kiran

Microsoft came out with the Windows Phone 7 Series during the Mobile World Congress in February 2010. With the Windows Phone, Microsoft has drastically changed the way they intend for the user to interact with their devices. It has been touted as the Mobile OS that will enable Microsoft to capture the market back from Apple's iPhone.

I have been a devoted Windows Mobile user since my days with Pocket PC 2002 on my Compaq iPAQ 3850.

When Apple came out with the iPhone, it was definitely worth sitting up and taking notice! It was a new concept and a glamorous one at that. Suddenly, the Windows Mobile looked jaded and just another old phone. However, I stuck with it primarily due to the fact that the iPhone was, and still is, too locked in. I cannot install anything or do anything on the phone without Apple explicitly allowing me to do so. The only other way is to "jailbreak" the phone; something that would void my warranty.

Devices running Windows Mobile were a stark contrast — though they embodied flexibility and customizability with numerous vendors providing applications that added great functionality, they lacked touch-friendliness. With Windows Mobile 7, or the Windows Phone 7 Series as Microsoft like to call the new version of their Mobile OS, they have brought in a whole new paradigm! It is no longer a computer on a phone; it is a consumer phone with possibilities.

Posted by Kiran

All of us know that Microsoft Excel allows us to hide certain worksheets from view. Hiding sheets helps us in ensuring that any background lookup data or reference data that you want to utilize in your spreadsheets remain neatly tucked away from general view.

You may also want to prevent users from viewing certain numbers that are used in calculation on your spreadsheets. Hiding worksheets simply makes the workbook clutter free and helps readers focus on the spreadsheets that really matter.

The only disadvantage with simply hiding your worksheets is that it is equally easy to unhide them. Any Excel user worth his salt knows how to find and unhide a hidden sheet. To prevent users from unhiding your worksheets, you may choose to protect the workbook. However when you protect a workbook, you are also preventing the users from a myriad of other functionality that they may genuinely require.

Posted by Kiran

Language is a means of communication. As long as you are able to get your message across to the other person, the purpose of communication is served. At least that is what I always thought until I read this excellent piece about the death of a language — the Bo language. The piece has been authored by Mr. Ishaan Tharoor on the Time Magazine's website.

As per the statistics published in the Ethnologue, there are around 7000 languages in the world today, 26% of which are spoken by less than a thousand people each. It also states that about 94% of the world's languages are spoken by only 6% of its population!

Please advice

02 Feb 2010
Posted by Kiran

The eccentricities in the English language has long been a subject of discussion, debate and even ridicule! English is full of similar sounding words, weird spellings and punctuation that, when in the wrong place, can alter the meaning of the sentence! While English and its eccentricities can throw off any newbie, even veterans at times fall prey to them.

This may look like a very trivial and even banal subject to blog about. However, having come across multiple instances where even seasoned veterans make mistakes in choosing the right words for their professional communication, I thought the risk of sounding repetitive was worth taking.

Among various instances of such mistakes in communication, the most common mistake arguably is the use of the phrase "Please advice"!

Shooting Snow

07 Jan 2010
Posted by Kiran

Croydon, the place I stay in London, got nearly 6 inches of snow today. As was expected train services were disrupted with only minimal services running this morning.

Given that on a normal day I take an hour and half to get to work, I decided that it was best if I worked from home today given all the snow-caused disruption. The morning was fairly busy with emails pouring in as usual. However, towards the afternoon, the load tapered off giving me some time to nip out of the house and click some shots of the snow covered neighborhood.

Here are some of the shots that I got today.

Posted by Kiran

In the year 2009, I have had many opportunities to click, what I thought were, good photographs. Hence, it might be a good time to look back on all those photographs and select my favorites.

Here are the photographs that I consider my favorites. You can click on the image to go to the original gallery where the image was hosted. Feel free to provide a rating for the image in its gallery and leave a comment.

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Posted by Kiran
I am an active user and advocate of Mozilla Firefox. I also am a fan of its Ad-blocking extension - AdBlock Plus. I have considered AdBlock Plus a very useful extension that allowed me to get rid of all annoying and pesky pop-ups and banner ads that otherwise clutter my browsing experience.

However, a recent blog by Vaibhav Gadodia titled "When will people stop stealing content" raised a very interesting point; it gave me food for thought. In his blog Vaibhav argues that since the advertising pays for the content, blocking those ads deprives the site owner the revenues that he would have earned had those ads been visible. Vaibhav goes on to compare the online content monetized by ads to an "honor system" of selling goods, wherein the users are free to pick up the goods as long as they drop the recommended amount into the jar.

Equating ad-blocking to stealing, in my opinion, is a radical generalization and I disagree with it. Here's why.