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The Curse of Sourav Ganguly November 29, 2006

Posted by planetsk in Blogroll, Cricket, cricket - क्रिकेट, National, Sports.
26 comments

Curse?? I did not know what title should I put for blogging about the recent performances of Indian Cricket Team. There are too many holes to be filled in the team before Indians gear up for the world cup. In the first place, batting order is screwed up, except Dravid and Dhoni no one can bat, why the heck do we have Agarkar in the team, bowling was never good. If I go back 3 years when Sourav’s team drew the test series against Aus in Australia and won (tests and ODI’s) against Pak in Pakistan, team then was much better. I haven’t seen good wins since then. Yeah, with Dravid-Chappell combo, there are a few good victories but most of them were in India and against weaker teams. Indians did have a great chance playing in West Indies in conditions similar to the upcoming world cup but it was a nightmare series.

Before WI, there was Pak’s series. I remember in that series Ganguly was made a fool by selectors. The way Ganguly was treated by the board was senseless. He was in and out for no reason. India kept on losing starting from Pak’s series. I agree that he wasnt a good test player. IMO, he’s  a better one-dayer than Dinesh Mongia ( for some reason I hate this guy). There weren’t great wins since Ganguly was ousted from the team both as a captain and player. I am not here to support Ganguly, damage was already made to his career both by himself and selectors.

If one looks at the recent games India played, it’s hard to believe that is this the same team that had a winning streak last year. Hmm…after losing One-Day series in SA..now Ganguly is in contention for the test matches in South Africa. I don’t know on what basis he will be selected. And with a few months to go for world cup and Australia and SA going stronger, chances for India to make it to playoffs ( or Super Six or Eight) are very bleak. I guess things went from bad to worse since 2003 world cup (except Aus and Pak series in 2003-04). If I compare the teams now and then we got a good captain and a keeper and lost Ganguly. So, is this really a curse of Ganguly?? I don’t know..again..I want our team to win matches with our without Ganguly but I dont see it happening..

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Google – overpriced? November 29, 2006

Posted by sk in Computers & Internet, Google, Microsoft, Technology and Software.
4 comments

Dave Winer says Web Bubble Burst 2.0 will come about when Google’s stock crashes and that we’re safe as long as Google is doing well. Scoble believes there’s nothing that can stop Google. Even if the domestic market stops growing, he says there is a lot of scope for growth in international markets and as long as that potential exists, Google will continue to grow at alarming rates. He further goes on to say that Google is in the same position that Microsoft was in 18 years ago and we all know how far Microsoft has come.  I guess he’s right too. For a long time Microsoft had just one source of revenues – Windows. Even now, about 90% of their revenues come from Office and Windows. Most of Google’s revenue comes from advertisements.

Speculators are having a field time predicting their next move. I don’t want to go down Will-Google-Get-Bigger-than-Microsoft lane here. There are many other bloggers who are devoting ample time, energy and resources in putting together those arguments… oops… posts!!! With due respect to their endeavors, let me proceed to my main point here. With Google’s shares trading at $489.50 currently, I have been obviously intrigued. Is it overpriced? Of course, yes! Duhh… stupid question??? So how overpriced is it? Is it overpriced enough to bring the entire market crashing down? If the prices were to climb up to $1000/share, then yes. Speculators would try to sell their shares in lots and cause rapid fall in share prices. Obviously, for this to happen, the volume of the stock controlled by these traders need to be substantial enough to cause any change in the price. But at what price will this happen? I don’t know! My guess is as good as yours. But I do feel that Google has the potential of bringing about a bubble, if not another crash.

I tried to calculate the Intrinsic Value of Google’s stock. This would tell me how much the stock may be worth depending upon the current earnings of the company. Even though this is not a definite yardstick for quantifying whether the present market price is good for investment purposes or not, it will definitely give you a good idea regarding your position. Of course, all these calculations require a great deal of discretion on the part of the investor to make a rational and educated judgment.

So how do I achieve this task? Simple! I followed the time and tested rule of using the Earnings Per Share (EPS) and the annual returns of stocks. For the annual return of stocks, I used the Geometric Average of Stock Returns from 1929-2005. This was around 9.69%. I know that this is not a precise figure, but this is the closest to what I want to measure.

Okay, so here is the actual calculation. PRECAUTION: Read the next few lines at your own risk and PLEASE PLEASE do not use swear words when you see the actual figure!

Intrinsic Value= EPS (2006)/Annual Return

= $7.68/.0969

=$79.25!!!!!!

I got the EPS value from Reuters Website. Yes, $79.25 only!!!!

Hmmm….do you want to invest now? I still would… only if I had the money!

(with inputs from cotton)

Will Manning finally wear a Super Bowl Ring this year? November 27, 2006

Posted by sk in Colts, Football, Manning, NFL, Sports.
7 comments

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 26:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles November 26, 2006 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

He’s arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL at the moment and probably is among the best ever. His knowledge of the game is probably unmatched by any other player currently in action. Coaches apparently approach him for advice. He is apparently also a control freak and likes to be in control of things on field. This is evident from their practice sessions where his practice sessions are extremely thorough. On Sunday night against Philadelphia Eagles, Manning became the fastest player to reach 3000 completions. The team has done extremely well in pre-season. However, postseason has been a different story. In 2004 they lost 20-3 to eventual champions New England Patriots (led by Tom Brady) in the Conference Championships. In 2005 they lost in the Divisional Playoffs to eventual champions Pittsburgh Steelers (led by Ben Roethlisberger). With that loss, it marked the first time since the NFL expanded to a 12-team playoff tournament format in 1990 that a #1 seed lost to a #6 seed. This season too they’ve been the best team during the preseason. They went 9-0 (making them the first team to go 9-0 in back-to-back years) before losing to the resurgent Dallas Cowboys. They’re currently at 10-1. So, will this be the year that the Colts finally win the Super Bowl? Or will it be another disappointing postseason for their fans?

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Macs have no viruses November 23, 2006

Posted by sk in Apple, Humor, Microsoft, windows, Zune.
6 comments

 

Flamebait? No?

In other tech news, Sidebar Geek, Brandon LeBlanc has a nice video of the Zune. By the way, our team is divided over the Zune, in case you haven’t already noticed it. planetsk didn’t like it. I did. ramare is too busy wondering why the product wasn’t marketed well to care about it. parmanu is not interested in it simply because he won’t be able to install LaTex on it.

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1st gen. Zune didn’t impress me a lot.. November 20, 2006

Posted by planetsk in Apple, Blogroll, iPod, Microsoft, Music, Zune.
9 comments

Brown Microsoft Zune

 

Went to an electronic store in the weekend to kill some time and found this..Zune wasn’t the buzz..Zune is no eye-catcher..may have good features..but cosmetically ( I usually dont go just by looks for electronic gadgets but..), iPod is much better..by looking at Zune physically..I forced myself to compare it with iPod..iPod’s wheel is way better than the click thing (whatever MS calls it). Except larger display( it may matter to some) and wireless connectivity..Zune could boast of a very few things to draw attention of the consumers..Did MS make a mistake by spending time and money on this?? I don’t know and it’s too early to say..Brown color and plastic (didn’t reduce its mass a lot) looked sloppy…though Zune seems promising it looked more conservative..Does Zune work with Windows Vista?? If not, there’s a problem..Also heard Zune Marketplace wasn’t that great.. Another problem to Zune’s future is the mixed reviews..but these were expected..My so-called expectations about Zune( its sales, looks, features etc., ) weren’t met in full..Hopefully, marketing helps MS during Christmas holidays..but Zune is competing against the titanic of MP3 players..I also hope that this product gets better with time and consumer will get the best..however, Zune 2.0 might compete against iPod 6.0 PS: I have no plans to buy a MP3 player for now..pretty happy listening to songs on web..just blogged about what i felt..

 

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Guru – Song details November 18, 2006

Posted by sk in A.R.Rahman, Bollywood, Hindi Movies, movies, Music.
9 comments

I had promised to update my previous post about Guru’s music with artist names. I found this and more on a Rahman fan site. It would have made my previous post too long so I decided to do a new post on this. Here’s some information about the songs:

  1. “Barso Re” – Shreya Ghoshal & Uday Mazumdar. Picturised on Aishwarya Rai in Athirapally waterfalls, Kerala. 
  2. “Tere Bina” – A.R.Rahman, Chinmayi, Additional Voices – Murtaza,Qadir.  A.R.Rahman termed it as his favorite song in the album, in his MumbaiMirror interview. 
  3. “Ek Lo Ek Muft” – Bappi Lahiri, K.S. Chitra, Additional Voices – Tanvi, Saloni, Boney, Jaidev. Mentioned as “Yammo Yammo and “Bolo Guru” in different sites, this is a Bengali number sung by Bappi Lahiri. This is a seven-minute song, which is reportedly used when the opening credits of the film roll up.
  4. “Baazi Laga” – Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Swetha, Bhargavee. Additional Programming – Pravin Mani.
  5. “Mayya” – Maryem Hassan Toller, Chinmayee, Keerthi. Programming & Additional Arrangements –  Ranjit Barot.  This song has been picturized in Turkey, and features Mallika Sherawat. 
  6. “Ay Hairathe” – Hariharan, Alka Yagnik. Additional Voices – A.R.Rahman, Aslam Mohammed. 
  7. “Jaage Hain” – K.S.Chitra , A.R.Rahman & Madras Choral Group.UPDATE (11/20):Here’s another review of Guru that I found interesting.Here’s a translation of some of the songs.UPDATE (11/21): Soundtrack with some nice comments is available here.

Guru music disappointing? HELL NO November 18, 2006

Posted by sk in A.R.Rahman, Bollywood, movies, Music.
47 comments

I don’t normally blog about Bollywood and I’ve never reviewed any movie or album so far, but Guru is different. This was something I was eagerly awaiting. After all, it’s the Rahman-Mani Ratnam combination once again, the same combination that delivered great albums like Roja, Bombay, Dil Se, Alaypayuthey (Sakhi in Telugu, Saathiya in Hindi), and to some extent, Yuva. After Rang De Basanti (RDB), I had great expectations from this album, but, to say the very least, I’m disappointed (it’s actually a very high quality album if you discount Baazi Laga). And it has been a pretty long wait too, after RDB. That album was released in late 2005. Wow!! Feels like eternity. Since then, I’ve shifted apartments 5 times in three different cities. On a personal front too a lot has changed since then. This blog didn’t exist then. I hadn’t even started reading about Microsoft then. So, has it been worth the wait? Sadly, the answer to that question is an unequivocal “no”. The songs aren’t great. (While this is not his best album, I think some of the songs a really good) There’s no other way to put it. Here’s the list of songs and my comments about each one (note: I don’t know who the singers are… I’ll update that later):

  1. Barso Re – A decent song with a nice Rajasthani tune, probably one of the better ones in the album. I liked the background beats a lot. Also, I love the way the tune changes. It sounds a little bit like Yeh Rishta from Meenaxi, but there’s not much in common between the two songs to say Rahman was inspired by it.
  2. Tere Bina – As of now, I think this is by far the best song in the album. It’s Rahman’s tribute to Nusrat and the song is stylistically similar to some of Nusrat’s songs. My sister thinks it’s a poor copy of one of Nusrat’s songs and I tried to argue with her saying it’s only the style that has been copied and not any song in particular. She liked the song too. I know of many others who did too. By the way, Rahman seems to be singing better and better with age. Has anyone else noticed that?
  3. Ek lo ek muft – I think this song plays during the intro titles. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. It’s been sung by none other than Bappi Lahari and I think he’s done a pretty good job. Not bad for a tapori type song. I don’t like the way it begins though.
  4. Mayya – Now this is simply a product of Rahman’s Khalbali (from RDB) hangover (well, the song is shot in Turkey so he obviously wouldn’t use a Carnatic tune for it… d’ohh!). I don’t know what to say about the song. I hated it when I first listened to it. It’s slowly growing on me, but I still don’t think I’m going to like it much. I like only parts of the song. (It’s one of my favorites now. I love the way Rahman handles the tune-changes… in a way that only he can. I also like Maryem Hassan Toller’s voice. Who cares about the accent!!)
  5. Ay Hairathe – A good song, I guess… it’s actually not all that bad, but not all that great either. (This is one song that really grows on you. Beautiful ballad by Rahman.)
  6. Baazi Laga – Sounds similar to Yunhi chala chal from Swades and Humraahi jab ho mastaana from Pukaar. It’s a pretty bad song compared to those two. I actually liked those two songs. I don’t really like this one. It’s actually a pretty bad song by Rahman’s standards. On second, it’s a pretty bad song by any standards.
  7. Jaage Hain: Hmmm. I don’t know. Rahman hasn’t been able to get rid of his obsession with Western classical after Bombay Dreams. We saw that in Lagaan (O Rey chori), Kisna (Hum hain iss pal) and some other movies. The tune is actually pretty haunting, but.. A great song that caps a great effort by Rahman. But we all knew that Rahman wouldn’t disappoint us, right? Right?? :-))

Overall, I don’t think this is a great album. It’s not bad, but not great either. I had expected a lot more from Rahman. Come to think of it, when Rahman starts giving bad music for a Mani Ratnam movie, I don’t think it’s good news, right? Does this mean he’s on a decline?

P.S. I’m a huge fan of Rahman’s music. I have probably listened to all his songs in Tamil and Hindi by now, even those from movies that no one has heard of. Also, considering that this is a Rahman album, I may change my opinion about it later, but for some reason I don’t think it’s going to happen this time. The songs seem like rehashed versions of some of his old tunes.

UPDATE: You can watch a clip of Tere Bina here and a trailer of the movie here.

UPDATE 2: I’m beginning to like some of the songs!!! 🙂 The song Jaage hain reminds me of a Rafi song from a Guru Dutt movie, “Dekhi zamaane ki yaari”.

UPDATE 3 (Nov 21): Lesson learnt: Never review a Rahman album unless you’ve listened to the songs at least 10-15 times. Except for Baazi laga, which I think is a very pedestrian effort, the other songs are very good. I can’t stop listening to Tere Bina and Mayya Mayya. While the songs do remind me of some of his old tunes, it’s indeed surprising that even after 15 years in the industry, Rahman is able to come up with some mind-blowing numbers. I’ve updated this review a little bit. The updates are in brackets.

UPDATE 4 (Nov 23): I am addicted to Mayya Mayya and can’t stop listening to it. Today I played Hamma Hamma from Bombay after listening to Mayya Mayya and I was surprised at how much Rahman’s music has matured during the last 10 years. While Humma Humma itsself was considered pretty complicated in those days, it’s nothing compared to the kind of music he composes these days. The tunes may not have changed much but there’s a huge difference in the kind of instruments he uses and the number of layers he uses these days. Fascinating.

India’s Possible First Manned Mission – Are we ready yet? November 7, 2006

Posted by PagMax in manned flight, space.
20 comments

There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.

As a kid, I was never too excited about this vision, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai has laid for space future of India.

TODAY, for the first time (as far as I can tell)   ISRO has (arguably) contradicted this idea and has officially spoken positively about FIRST INDIAN MANNED MISSION TO SPACE.
Though they did not speak much, I am  excited!! Indian going up there from Indian Soil…!!
(Remember only Indian so far who has been to space is Sqdrn Leader. Rakesh Sharma in 1984. But he piggybacked himself on a Russian (Then Soviet Union) spacecraft).

If this happens exactly the way we plan, pretty soon they would be looking for an Astronaut Candidate. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT..!!!
I wonder who that fortunate and brave person would be. I grew up all my life dreaming to be one. Although, its highly unlikely that this person would NOT be from Air-force.
Alan Shepered,  Yuri Gagarin, and Yang Liwei (First ones from USA, Russia and China) all had Flying background through either Air-force or Navy. Its certainly a plus if you want to be an astronaut anytime.

By IAF, (where I does not stand for Israel) I am too old to fly a air-force plane now and pretty soon I will be too old even to enter the force by any means.
Summarizing, its not going to ME.  (As if..!!)

So who is left now?
Well let us see.. lot depends on what time frame we are looking at..here is what ISRO has to say..

The preliminary estimated cost for the Manned Space Mission is Rs.10,000 crore spread over a period of 8 years.

8 years…, I say too optimistic. Lets make it 16. From past missions around the world, my guess is he (yes HE, as much as we respect the power and abilities of a woman, we are not sending a girl up there on our first mission), would be in his mid-late thirties during the launch. So my guess is this guy is now about 19-20. So friends! if you are in your late teens or early twenties, I will say send that application to IAF. (You have be less than 22 to be able to fly and I  already tried to change that age-limit, did not work. So do not waste your time on that).
I cannot intelligently comment on the number “Rs.10,000 crore” as cost estimate, but in a country like India, where more than 15 farmer kill themselves everyday because they do not have enough food, its not really going to be easy for everyone to appreciate that kind of budget. Now its certainly debatable. If we pull this off, we would make LOT LOT LOT of money directly or indirectly. What if we do not..!!

Are we really ready for this..?? Is this an investment well worth? Would the pride of possibly being 4th nation to send a man to space would resolve any of our existing problems? Ironically, growing up with lunar landing pictures on my bedroom walls and dreaming one day we would Indian flag up there, today I must say I am neutral on this one..!!

Just a note: I am a doctoral student in aerospace engineering and I try my best to keep myself updated with all the recent  and past developments in this field. So dont misinterpret my neutral stand as lack of my knowledge or lack of passion toward space development. If I get into that, it would be reeeally a long post and I just want to keep arguments on pros and cons only for comments. I am hoping to have some decent and informative discussion on both the aspects of this development.

Update: Hindustan Times claims, that ISRO has claimed to send an Indian to Moon by 2020. I did not see this declaration on ISRO’s website.  If it is true, thats a ridiculous claim.  NASA is planning to send a man up there by 2020! Do I need to say more why its a ridiculous claim…!!

UPDATE 2: Article on New Scientist Space on this topic. Various interesting viewpoints from experts around the world discussed.

Windows Vista: Road to Gold November 5, 2006

Posted by sk in Microsoft, windows.
7 comments

Microsoft’s oft-delayed OS finally goes into RTM sometime this week. In response, Paul Thurrott has written a series of articles that track Vista’s development during the last five years. I’m providing the links to them for those of you who are interested:

Wow! Five years is a long, long time for an Operating System to be in development, right? If you’re only interested in the present and future of Vista, read only Part 7.

 

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Zune Update: welcome to the social November 2, 2006

Posted by sk in iPod, Microsoft, Music, Technology and Software, YouTube, Zune.
19 comments

Meet Zune

With less than two weeks to go before the US launch, Microsoft has been trying to build up excitement slowly. First it was some viral ads on comingzune.com. Yesterday, the official Zune website, zune.net finally came up. Apparently, Microsoft couldn’t buy zune.com. Also, Cesar Menendez has posted some of the TV spots on YouTube. Microsoft’s advertising strategy is clearly apparent from this. They’re following the same strategy that brands like American Eagle, Gap etc. follow – targeting the youth. Only time will tell if this’ll be successful. Oh, and by the way, Zune does have some cool accessories.

UPDATE: The Zune team has released a cool theme for Windows XP. It’s based on the Windows Royale theme with black taskbars instead of blue. Not surprisingly, the start button is brown. You can get the theme here. Sadly, the theme doesn’t work with Ubuntu.