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    • The Man From Earth (DVD) / DVD / 26 Readings / 22 Ratings
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      14.07.2009 14:24
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      Must watch for logicalists

      How do you explain to friends/ partners when you do something not so obvious? You probably try substantiating your reasons for doing so with your reasoning. Would others believe it? And if there is no answer as to why you did it, what would you explain it to? A phenomena or a quirk of fate?

      Let's take this further since I have space. Ok, its one of times when you have rather had a harrowing experience with life. Where you are boggled with the options and feel so small in earth's history. Even the most significant event/moment in your life is so insignificant when you consider earth's history. You are thrilled to have exemplary access to it and yet may be unable to share it with friends as they may definitely not - believe you!

      The Man from Earth is one of those movies which would best be watched in a contemplative mood when you seek to explore options. The movie itself is about a group of people chatting before what you call their last meeting. There's nothing extraordinary about the movie. The entire movie is shot in the confines of a home using standard shots.

      One of them is moving away and his colleagues decide to have a last meeting with him. But what gives? What makes it an extraordinary movie to watch? The topic of conversation starts in a genial tone and moves to some of the artifacts in the protoganist's possession. In a general piqued way, of how come you got it? And it makes them want to know more about the protoganist. The conversation moves to his life. He states that he keeps moving every 10 years. His friends comment that he is too young to have moved earlier as they attribute his age to be 35. The protoganist hesitates and then decides its ok to divulge his personal details. So he begins, 'Just suppose that I have...'

      The narration is mostly one sided and the rest are unable to believe him. He doesn't offer any proof of his side of the story, and yet, they are convinced at the end of it that it might be true. However, the insanity of it all, is just too unbelievable and they repeatedly prompt him to verify and end his story. He shrugs it off saying its just a story and he led them on. They almost curse him for it not being true and most leave.

      Science Fiction (Yeah! don't be surprised, it is a drama/sci/fi) has never received such a big boost. Believe me when I tell you that the story is a very compelling one. The movie is in the same league as timeless classics - Jules Verne and his 20000 Leagues under the sea or war of the worlds, except here we have drama. The only difference here is that there are no hitech gadgetry or telling animated/action sequences involved in the movie at any point. This movie just aims to be the ' Most easily believable work of Fiction' You are left to draw your conclusions based on the protoganist's narrative.

      Does he offer proof? Or does he leave it at that?

      Take my hint - Watch it. Enough of mindless action already, and this movie with its simple premise s definitely due. If you have a fireplace, get a crackling fire ready and pop in the movie. The story is logically presented with the discussion and rationalists like the psychologist are caught on the wrong foot. I mean you have a perspective of logic to a particular event. How illogical can it get? How can it be logical to the other when it certainly ain't logical to you? Would you still believe the other person however illogical it sounds?

      Director Ron Schenkman has done a terrific job with the presentation of this new storyline. However, parts of the movie are grainy as it was shot with a Panasonic 200x with 16 mm film as the director acknowledges in his blog.

      - This is Jerome Bixby's last work of fiction. He began on this concept in the 60s to complete it only in 1998 just before his death. His other works include a few episodes of Star Trek and Isaac Asimov's novel.

      - This movie was supposed to be made much earlier in 2005, except that the guy selling the script felt he could get a bigger deal with bigtime directors/studios due to the strong script. However, the director's efforts along with Bixby's son insistance that they stick to the original script paid off.

      - The cheapest Scifi movie to be ever made - on a 200000$ budget- Movie won 11 awards and 9 openings at international film festivals. That in itself is quite a record.

      Dialogues -

      'Have you acted on your belief?'
      'Yes, I guess so, I have a reasonably good practice but nothing out of the extraordinary untill one day, I met a man who claimed to be...'

      'Anything is possible'

      'Johnny Walker Green!'

      'Our human body ideally has the capability of lasting 119 years'

      'Have you met any person from our religious history?'

      'You are fulfilling one prophecy right, John'
      'What's that?'
      'Here you are again'

      'I am gonna go home and watch Star Trek for a dose of sanity'

      As originally posted on my spaces


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      • Freelancer (PC) / PC Game / 76 Readings / 73 Ratings
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        16.09.2008 12:23
        Very helpful



        Fight for your survival. A fight against Aliens

        Freelancer is a worthy sequel..to a rabid 2d game called Starlancer. For fans who have been playing the space based Starlancer, you would immediately recognize the difference and ease of use with Freelancer. Firstly, Starlancer is a 2D game while Freelancer is 3D based. It's an action packed game from Digital Anvil and published worldwide by Microsoft.

        By the way, if you intend to purchase Starlancer, forget it. You won't be interested in it anyway. The movement of the mouse is quite cumbersome and you would throw it away if you have played Freelancer already.

        What Freelancer is about: It's one of those swashbuckling, cowboy styled action packed space adventure - a space race, some bombings and killing aliens.

        The character Edison Trent is a direct copy of the hero from an earlier game - Pirateer. A war between two major factions, the Coalition and the Alliance, has been waged in the Earth's solar system for decades (see Starlancer for the video game based on this conflict). Eventually, the Coalition gains the upper hand and the Alliance, sensing defeat, builds a group of five colony ships in secret. Each ship represents one of the major members in The Alliance: the Kusari (Japan), the Rheinland (Germany), the Liberty (America), the Bretonia (Britain), and the Hispania (Spain). Fortunately, all five escape the Coalition blockade and head toward the Sirius sector carrying thousands of colonists.

        That's the opening intro for the game. The game opens 800 years later with the colonies well settled. Our hero Trent starts with a narrow escape from a bombing on Freeport 7.

        He meets with Junko Zane a cop and they are slowly involved in a conspiracy with Rhineland attacking Liberty warships... They chance across an alien artifact - the key and solution to the different jump gates left over by aliens. They realise that the aliens are slowly spreading themselves in important humans - to make mankind slaves or exterminate them eventually. The problem is the Rheinlanders attacking the heroes badly at every point to take control of the artifact.

        How they go about by thwarting the aliens and seeking new allies like the Order finally destroying the alien entrance is the main story. You get to play the character of Edison Trent. And of course Junko Zane is the lead heroine accompanying you on most missions. Unfortunately, my character Trent never gets as much as a kiss... (After all the trouble I take to save the human race from aliens.. :-P )

        The gossip in the bar and by the people is quite useful when you are looking to trade in cargo for building up your credits. That's quite useful.

        The story is level based and in between the main story, you are frequented with missions to collect credits (Credits would be money in our terms) for upgrading your weaponry. At the end of the story (Level 18) you can continue collecting credits till Level 38. You need to check the requirements at each level whether it's a mission or a credit collecting level. Once completed, you are through to the next level. For ex., at level 13-14 (Don't remember which) there is a race between a pirate and Trent. The pirate states that he has to win in a race in exchange for the information Trent seeks. Once Edison wins the race, he gains the info he seeks and proceeds to a point. At the point he realizes that he has to defend the scientist (xenearchealogist -Beats me that it actually exists) and then escorts him back to Leeds. This completes a level. The next level is about collecting credits. It proceeds in a similar fashion..

        After level 38, you are free to do as you please without any limits. However the only drawback - it is a short game. (You can complete the entire game in under 8 hours. Upto level 22 when I lost interest - Like a fast paced novel) Besides after level 38 they should have provided a feature or allow us to purchase base stations. That would have been worth it. It's lack often sees me quit after level 19. Only once have a completed the game till level 38..

        However most of the facts like collecting energy from the Sun (Dyson's sphere) is an educational view point. It remains to be seen if it is actually possible to collect energy from the sun (by surrounding it with solar plates).

        The visual graphics are stunning.. I mean, space is infinite and I didn't realize how beautiful it can be at certain places. Ofcourse, when the game released, the system requirements were quite high. (As usual for a Microsoft game) And no gaming devices were supported.(the same as in Rallisport Challenge)

        Microsoft Windows 98/Me/XP/2000/ or above with 600 MHz equivalent or higher processor
        128 MB of system RAM 900 MB available hard disk space
        8x speed or faster CD-ROM drive
        16 MB video card with TnL functionality

        Obviously, I would recommend a 3d sound card, with a 256 MB graphics card and multiple monitors or a big screen for this. The 3d effects really are astounding. I mean this game did influence a lot of the games to opt for TnL cards.

        For online/multiplay options, you can either host or join one of the hosted servers and partner with other players to fight against automatically generated enemy craft. But I seriously recommend LAN or Broadband to play this game. Dial ups are very unhelpful and you get frequent disconnects.

        Of course the requirements specified are the bare minimum, you would actually want to check the below recommendations MS suggests. 1.5 Ghz or above. 512 MB (XP) and a 128 bit TnL card (Nvidia) or above with a Soundblaster Live card. With some of the integrated sound cards, you might have to disable 3D sounds within the game to hear the sound. Otherwise the mouse might skip, sound might be erratic or other issues might arise.

        But if you have the recommended then prepare for some stunning visual effects and 3D sound. BTW, if you want to check if any game meets the system requirements or if your system is capable of playing a particular game, you can do so by checking the MS games advisory.

        As posted at Mouthshut


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        • More +
          12.09.2008 05:11
          Very helpful



          Bought it seconds at the low price of a pound

          If imitation is the best form of flattery, would an imitation murder qualify as such? Murders by notorious serial killers are one thing, but when another seeks to imitate the killings of notorious serial killers, (no, killing is not art) it still is murder in the cruelest form. The murderer might want to display his talents or killing repertoire. But if he seeks to imitate a particular killer, then there is a chance that he might get away with it; while the blame, rest assured, would be thrown on the imitated serial killer.

          Detective by Arthur Hailey is not exactly a novel I would recco. But for people interested in crime fiction, this is a passable read. Let me go straight into the story which is based on the above theme.

          The story is presented in flashbacks through detective Ainslie on his way to meet a serial killer. Looking forward to a vacation, he is intent on wrapping his cases at office when he receives a phone call. Doil, a serial killer, Ainslie had caught earlier wants to confess about the murders he has committed. While Ainslie is not exactly looking forward to it, Doil is one of the killers who constantly refused to accept any of his killings in court. It was only the overwhelming evidence against him and his style which made the judge's decision. A confession now would convince all the critics and would be testimony to the verdict.

          As Ainslie makes his way to hear Doyle's confession, the writer gives us the flashbacks detailing how Doil has committed 14 murders(7 couples). Half the book details the murder investigations and how he was caught. So far, so good. The narrative upto this part is interesting and offers insights into the characters.

          Once Ainslie meets up with Doil, Doil confesses to 14 killings, allright, but only 12 of the killings are in Ainslie's list. Two of them go unclaimed by Doil. Doil then proceeds to give him evidence of where the tools lay buried to claim two other unclaimed killings not present in Ainslie's list. He refutes the allegations about the remaining two murders in Ainslie's list. Ainslie is puzzled and does not believe him. But why would a dying man to be electrocuted in a few minutes lie about it? Doil, in effect seeks forgiveness for the murders he hasn't committed.

          Note that I have referred to Doil as the serial killer while the one who imitates him is a murderer. That in effect should define the act and the purpose of the killings/murders.

          That gets Ainslie to reopen the unsolved murders. He realizes that someone else had imitated Doil's style so that Doil could take the blame. Now the only question arises, who?

          It's no whodunit, as the murderer is revealed sometime immediately after Doil's execution. Ofcourse there are also innumerable reasons why someone would choose to imitate a serial killer whatever the sadistic reasons.

          The initial half of the book is quite good. You begin to loose interest once the identity of the imitative murderer is revealed. The rest of the story is in patches, at times told through the murderer's eyes. The way the serial killer is caught is good detective fiction. However the writer hits the block during the latter half. Two personalities get to play the first person as the read progresses though it is a good read at times. But when there is no other subplot left to reveal, why would I touch this book? Doil's version is narrated through the detective's work.

          That leaves me thinking. Why does it have to be that a murderer or a serial killer always has to leave behind a clue? Is it impossible to catch them otherwise? Any murder/ fiction novel you read and the gist is the same - A murder, clue, a circuitous plotline and the suspects. For once, I'd like to read about a detective who solved a murder without any clues, motives or otherwise. Just plain plodwork by the police and negating most of the options has solved a few real life murders too. So what exactly is holding them back?

          Worth a dekko ...

          ISBN 0-385-40964-8
          Publish year -1997, 461 pages
          Purchase year price - 6.99 pounds
          This review is available at Mouthshut


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          • google.com / Internet Site / 65 Readings / 59 Ratings
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            20.08.2008 06:52
            Very helpful



            Average tech company

            In 2000-01, Caltiger might have been at its peak, a free ISP who followed the Google model in India. In the age of dialups, this ISP (Netzero was free in the US) had a subscriber base which touched 650,000. Ofcourse without adequate infrastructure to support it, it was bound to fail. They had around 12-17 crores INR in ad revenues for that one year, but how long can you survive if the free product is bad is just a matter of time.

            Firstly Caltiger was quite slow. Existing users preferred paid since you got better speeds with other dial up ISPs. Secondly, Caltiger literally bombarded you with ads, half of them are now classified as spam. The dialer was a free download and you had to download it from the internet and then transfer it to your system using a floppy. It was a good one while it lasted, but at 3-6 kbps, and the ads loading faster than what you were expecting to see, got us. We probably loved it since it was free.

            So why am I writing on Caltiger when the company is no longer? Discussing. Google search is free too and that succeeded. And that company thrives on ad revenue. Most of Google's softwares are free. Their mergers have been with companies whose focus has solely been on free versions. Star office is one case in point. Their only two big tickets are Double click and Adsense. Think of any other?

            Their model - Their biggest gainers from adsense and other revenue streams are takeover targets. (Youtube, Orkut, Blogger, Earthviewer, Doubleclick and Postinionline opensource tools). So for the year 2006, their ad revenue was around 10.5 billion dollars, but revenues from other streams (Actual products, licensing) was only 112 million.

            The company has to diversify into revenue based streams where a steady income is guaranteed due to sales. Depending on other companues for ad revenues can affect their bottomlines. For ex., if the current recession lasts longer than 2-3 years in the US, their ad revenues would certainly decrease. In the meantime, if Microsoft go ahead with the takeover of Yahoo and then refine their search engine to somehow club both to one, then they have a clincher. From a 35 % marketshare it can only go upwards with refined search features. (You must know that the more you search using a particular search engine, the more refined the search becomes) Even if Google's ad revenues dipped by 50 % in any one year, it would be a major concern. In contrast, Microsoft does not have to worry as they have a solid revenue based model on operating systems and enterprise client softwares. They can afford to undercut Google. Even if that fails, there are more reasons why Google can't afford to get complacent. Already its stock has been battered from 750 to 439$

            Another case in point is the actual cash flow from its sustained operations. Below are statistics from the Google site for a heads up (http://investor.google.com/fin_data.html)
            Year | Revenues | Headcount | Expenditure
            2002 | 439,508 | 682 | 37,198
            2004 | 3,189,223 | 3021 | 318,995
            2006 | 10,604,917 | 10,674 | 1,902,798
            2007 | 16,593,986 | 16,805 | 2,402,840
            2008 | 10,553,255* | 19,604 | 1,539,114

            The figures are the latest for the two quarters of this year. It looks on its way to exceed the 20+ billion in revenues.Note that the increase in revenues are partly due to the rise in ad rates in the earlier quarters. But in the current market scenario, given the downturn, which looks set to exceed its first full year downturn, I doubt Google will be able to survive only ad revenue especially when companies are increasingly doubtful of the internet route for advertising. Secondly, the only source of income for Google is ad revenue, which means a bad recession would really pinch Google's bottom.Google has not seen any layoffs so far since it is a relatively new company and still needs the size.

            Another major factor for Google is that it does not sell any products. It just leases ad space. That in itself is a pointer to what Google's strategy for expansion is. They have so far only focussed on big ticket acquisitions like Youtube and Orkut for the ad space. So they end up buying their biggest source of revenue crunchers. But if the activity on these sites were to decrease due a lack of interesting features or if the novelty were to wear off, would Google advertise on its own websites?!? Unless Google goes the Microsoft way of peddling products and softwares, its services would not offer any inducement to users.

            What we have forgotten is the yield per employee which is quite a crucial factor. While Google has increased its staff strength to nearly 20k, the revenues have not seen a similar increase. So while costs are going to increase over the years, Google needs to touch atleast 60-75 billion to shrug off the costs and keep itself in the 30 % growth rate stream. Just have a look at the expenditure for the initial 2 quarters of 2008.

            Google has a lot in drawbacks. The above is just one of them. Click Fraud is another. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_fraud) Click fraud accounts for atleast 30 % of Google's ad revenues. (Employees tacitly do it too) The rest by click for pay sites. If Microsoft offered a solution to it by decreasing ad rates by around 25 %, imagine the cascading effect... Google would be forced to reduce rates or loose customers.

            One more point would be the investments it makes. If they make a wrong move in their investment decisions, they are 'it'. There are atleast 2 such examples already. Offering a free version of Star office is a bad example and the continued faith reposed by companies in Microsoft Office just proves MS's leadership.

            It's a sad story and usually the market leader is the one under pressure, in this case, Google. I bet it would survive a 5 year long recession, but would it eat into its market share? Microsoft can afford to undercut costs and ad rates as it does have other sources of income which far exceed the income in Ad revenues. But would it take more concrete steps to undercut Google's share?


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            • More +
              18.12.2007 12:22
              Very helpful



              Excellent one time read!

              Without the least intention of making any purchase, I sauntered across making offers I knew wouldn't be sanely accepted, while feigning eagerness to accept any reasonable proposition having already decided to reject all his offers. Unluckily the salesman* accepted. I was trapped. All in the name of the first 'boney karde, saab'+. And at 20 bucks (a quarter pound), it was difficult to resist The shepherd .

              While I prefer to read stories in solitude, loneliness is something else - the thought of which makes me shudder . There's something positively refreshing about solitude while loneliness is felt best under pressure or extreme circumstances - you end up exhausted. Of course, its you, who wants solitude to avoid breakdowns . But that's a general term - having some time for yourself. In contrast, you are extremely lonely when you have too much time to yourself, and you have a general inclination to shrug it off. The key differentiator between solitude and loneliness is - you seek solitude while you avoid loneliness.

              Frederick Forsyth is an exceptionally complete writer, not just because he writes factual stuff based on his research, but the way complicated plotlines are woven in his stories. He has written on a multitude of topics, & well known as the author of political suspense drama. However, one of his lesser known works is the shepherd, which does not fit any category as described, but displays only his story telling skills.

              The entire book focuses on a simple plot and presented in a straight forward manner with more focus on the details. On closer observation, half the book is on the plane itself! It's not a short story and yet umpteen short versions of it have already found their way - including school text books. It clearly made me realize the difference between solitude and loneliness.

              The Story - Christmas time 1957. An RAF pilot is on his way home from the RAF base in Germany. As he wishes the Air Traffic Controller G'night and a sweet Christmas, he little realizes what is slated for him.

              The description of the De Havilland aircraft is excellent, and you immediately understand without having been seated in the plane - how to fly it! In the middle of the North sea, the instruments fail one by one. First the instruments fail one by one and then the electrical system too. Now there are two options before him.

              One is certain death in the icy Northern sea. The other is to make his way and try contacting the ATCs in immediate vicinity. He receives static mostly.

              What could be the worst that could happen to you? Death. Loneliness at such times of confronting death must be frustrating, and yet, the thought of certain death - comforting. Awaiting death is more gruesome than death itself.

              In terrifying circumstances, does it pay to imagine the worst? And then avoid it without panicking? You might end up winning looking for alternatives in a worst case scenario. You know that the situation can be the worst that could happen and any alternative must certainly be better. The best and the worst are two extremes which require an extraordinary mind, oodles of courage and talent or just pure rotten luck. The chance that you hit the extremes at any given stage of life is one in a million. There are more chances that the solution to a complex problem in your life lies in front of you. When you realize how to make the best of a worse situation, you are sure to achieve what you have always aspired for.

              At this point, I must introduce to you - the only other lead character in the story. A shepherd is one who tends his flock. A shepherd is also a nickname for aircraft which guide aircraft in trouble to safe destinations. The pilot comes across one such shepherd who wins his trust and guides him to safety.

              As the pilot glides down the runway, his life flashes by as this is the deciding factor to God's gift of life and death, his last visitor. When he does land, the next thing which occurs to you - Will the pilot meet up with the shepherd to thank him?

              Thoughts arise. What if ... the shepherd hadn't been present? The result is obvious, but if the pilot had made his way back, it would have been readable, but without an inciting end. A pilot who tottered home in his broken down aircraft is not exactly a good read.

              By ending, I refer to - when the pilot discovers the identity of the shepherd. I believe you have already read it at some point or the other. But I will not reveal it. That would be a big disappointment to FF fans yet to read it. Besides, the epilogue - post landing, is the other half of the story. But yeah, think of a few impressionable Irish stories and you might be lucky enough to register the ending. I will lay my money on it that the writer has been inspired by numerous such, and he did stick to tradition by giving us a new modern day 'ballad' on similar lines. Besides, it's in his roots and very visible by the roles, Irish characters get in his novels.

              An oft repeated story can sometimes make you look for loopholes. But on repeated reading, I am unable to find many since the author has, as in all his books, done his research well.

              66 mins of flight time. It took me more than that to read it...

              As posted at one of my other review forums.

              Terms used -
              *The salesman here was a second hand book seller on the street
              +Boney Karde Saab - Hindi - Means, please make my first sale. The first sale need not necessarily mean the first sale of the day. The first sale in the evening takes place right after the salesman has done his prayers or has lit the lamp/incense sticks. Usually, salesmen do not give or negotiate any discounts at this time as this is the first sale, but it appears there were no takers for the book, and so I got it cheap.


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              • More +
                13.12.2007 14:15
                Very helpful



                On the whole an excellent EV.

                There are a few good products and offerings which you may like from India. And I think among cars, Reva or the G-wiz from a Bangalore based firm is one of them. It's a tiny ugly looking car, but very effective as a city transporter.

                Designed by Chetan Maini who has made significant contribution to the field of solar and electric cars worldwide,he came out with his own offering. Currently there are a little more than 5000 cars worldwide including the UK. So chances are you might have already seen one. They aren't the first, but sometimes when all things, including market conditions fall into place, you have a good product. In contrast if fuel had remained below 20 bucks (less than a quarter of a pound) without concerns of global warming, would we have cared? Marketed as the G-Wiz by GoingGreen, it is currently doing well mostly in the UK market and parts of India such as Bangalore and Chennai... BTW, you may want to check out the advantages of buying an electric car before you take the plunge. Each country offers specific benefits to green vehicles. Specific benefits within the UK include a no congestion fee too. The US offers individuals a 4000 dollar purchase cashback, while Japan has a Reva specific offer of 2800 rebate. Sadly, India has none. It's a tough life!

                About the car - It's a two door 4 seater, if you include 2 kids below 6 years. If you mean adults, then the rear seats are very cramped, and work well as a two seater. It has a turning radius of 3.5 metres. There are 3 variants in the offering

                The base end - Without AC or CD player system - costs 350000 on road (India). That's 4320 pounds.
                Reva AC - Has both AC and an audio system - Less than 370000
                Reva Classe - Has the above and also offers centre locking, anti glare prismatic mirror, two tone leather seats, luxury carpets and floor mats, body colored bumpers with trendy Hub-caps and stylish decals. On road it costs around 415000

                Now all the above three had a maximum range of 65 kms (40.625 miles) and a top speed of 60 kmph (Less than 40 miles per hour) earlier. They have a new offering called the Revai. This model has an increased range of 80 kmph (50 miles)and a higher torque. You achieve a maximum speed of 80 kmph (50 mph) The above three variants you receive now are for the Revai.

                The advantage of opting for the Revai is also its confirmed interoperability. They are currently testing the Reva NXG prototype which has a top speed of 120 kmph (75 miles) and a range of 200 kms (125 miles) It may be released as a limited edition. However, the batteries and motor would definitely be included in all their upcoming Revas. Existing customers however would not be left out. You can upgrade your current G-wiz (or Reva) with newer batteries and motors getting the better mileages and speeds. That's one thing which works to its advantage. The entire process of replacing the batteries takes around 20 mins. The process of replacing the motors takes a maximum of two hours. There are no service hassles with the Reva. The only point which requires constant attention is the suspension.

                They offer the cars in 6 colors - Midnight Black, Cherry Red, Angel White, Silver Arrow, Blue Envy, Yellow Passion with about 2000 shades for the bumpers/lower part of car.

                Charge time - It takes 2.5 hours through for an 80 % charge (using a process called quick charging) while it takes 8 hours for the complete charge. The cost per km comes to around 25 -40 paise (100 paise is a rupee. 81 rupees is a pound) If you are wondering what's under the bonnet, there's hardly anything for an engine. It's 'engine' is a 3 phase AC induction motor.

                The dashboard is very basic - just a speedometer and a battery indicator, but if you have opted for the additionals, then you have a variable remote controlled AC and its controls on the dashboard besides the can holders. Revas use the tubeless tyres, so they might be expensive, but worth it since with these cars you are looking at ease of use. Of course, the prototype NXG also includes provisionals like internet, through GPRS and other map reading facilities through a simputer.(That's much like a computer, but has been modified to display Global positioning and other assorted features)

                Drive - After being a co- passenger in a friend's car, I took a test drive with the local showroom. They have an easy to use gear shift, but keep in mind there's no transmission, no clutch, no gear. Note that the harder you press the accelerator, the range of the car decreases by that much. Power compromises on the range directly. Most of us would love to buy the car, but hate the very short range. Handling is what you need to experience. Because the controls are totally different, except for the steering wheel of course.

                Brakes have both drum and disc depending on the variant. However, they use a technology called regenerative braking which means even the friction/heat generated by braking is used for recharging the battery.

                If I were Maini, however, there is one obviously glaring miss in their innovations department. If you have a car which uses electricity for running in tropical climates, then you can also use solar to recharge the car when parked. It is not that such cars have not been made. There have been such solar powered cars which have been tested on an experimental basis in Australia. I don't know about English weather, but my inferences from the movies, is that it is not exactly good for solar charging. A combination of power + solar would make awesome sense in regions where solar is abundant including tropical countries like India. Reasoning - Currently we have the new Reva with a range of 80 kms in the normal recharge (8 hours) and a quick charge (of 2.5 hours) can take you upto 65 kms. You wait till you reach home to recharge it. What happens in emergencies? There should be a way to extend the charge when we take it to office. When I park it, I would love to see it getting recharged. That way, I not only save on power expenses, but it would also increase my range by that much. If I take it to office, it would be parked for 9 hours at least. That means a full recharge. Imagine a busy road with about 8000 cars. Even if half of them were Reva's, splendid! They can easily use the two solar plates used for solar lamps by increasing the roof area of the car (like an estate) and providing protection so that it can't be stolen. It would reduce my electricity bills during the summer and during the non cloudy seasons (Totally 10 months). If you think that's difficult, then so is making the car.

                It was in trouble recently in the UK over safety concerns, but I guess that has been addressed by Lotus and they have included front and side impact protection, a strengthened space frame, a collapsible steering column and a hill restraint feature. That's one field most Indian companies suck. They are very bad at marketing despite having a good product. Though it's early days yet in the electric cars field, it definitely is one of the excellent options available in the EV market. It wins hands down as an excellent second car for city based driving. So *Wink* I thought I'd market the car.

                The best way to market this car in the West or in most countries is to target the Teen segment. They have a significant say in the household budget while at the same time being constrained by the price of gas. I mean a teen would probably love to spend at the movies rather than a mundane expense such as gas. And it's winning point is exactly that. No gas. Recharge at home and romp to the theatres. Besides, there is nothing more cool for the older gen to have a car which the teens prefer. So they would be targeting most gens on these lines. Is that logical?

                Oh! BTW, anyone want a car under 3000 bucks? You get the (2 door)Dolphin or the (4 door) Montana! 3000 bucks is around 25 -30 pounds. Yeah! The same car Reliant made under the Dolphin badge for the UK was made by Sipani automobiles in India (in collaboration) even before Suzuki ventured into India. But a lack of good marketing again, saw to its early demise.


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                • Mothercare Larry Ladybird / Baby Toy / 73 Readings / 59 Ratings
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                  15.06.2007 14:32
                  Very helpful



                  Buy it if you get it for the tots...

                  I frequently run out of topics to write. I guess, I am thankful to Kingfisher111 since she gave me the idea for this book on tiny tots. I mean there are multiple forums at which I blog (notably mouthshut under nick thakurman) but there is no specific category for tiny tot books.

                  So I am amazed to see three topics which come up consistently at this site. Tiny tot books & articles, the weather, (I mean the weather?!?) and of course the remaining on creams and lipo… whatever.

                  I recently went to a bookstore to purchase books for my daughter. She’s over 2 years and will be going over to playschool next week meaning all play and a little bit of coloring.

                  Anyways, one of the books I purchased was this book called Boohbah Where's Grandpappa? It is published by Ladybird. The book consists of 8 pages each about 2 mm thick. It's easy to read and a gift you can gift without any fear. The gist of the 'masterly suspenseful' story is given below. The colors used in the book are quite simple. It’s a ‘very suspenseful’ hunt for a close relative.

                  Where's Grandpapa?
                  Is he squeaking behind the squeaky sock?
                  No. It's little Dog Fido chasing a ball.
                  Perhaps Grandpapa is hiding in here...? (An image of an orange box)
                  No. It's a jumpy jack in the box. Boing-bedoing..
                  Is that Grandpappa behind the closed curtains?
                  No. It's auntie peeping out.
                  Is Grandpappa asleep in bed?
                  Yes. What a sleepy head. Goodnight grandpappa. Shhhhhhhh!

                  Now the point of me spoiling the plot is that it ain’t no suspense movie nor a suspense novel. It's just a tiny tot book. So if you'd like to hit me for spoiling the suspense, go ahead and buy the book. You may wish to purchase it at the nearest store subject to availability.

                  I would have liked it if it was a pop up book, but my daughter loves pop up books because it's easier to tear! I opted for this book instead.

                  Has it helped? Any book would help. But this book is one of her special books as I have adapted the story to suit her surroundings. I read it out while she's eating or before sleep and point out her aunty, grandma, grandpa, my wife and myself before we hunt for the sleepyheads at home.
                  Right now, she's sleeping. Shhhhhhhhh! No, its ok, she's asleep.

                  The printed price was 3 pounds while the sticker price at which the bookstore offered it was 2 pounds. (I paid 150 INR for it) The ISBN number for the book is 1-8442-2245-4


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                  • Legally Blonde (DVD) / DVD / 116 Readings / 107 Ratings
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                    31.05.2007 11:12
                    Very helpful



                    Can watch with family best on a depressive rainy day.

                    Repeated blonde jokes and stories makes you expect another Blonde clichéd story, but here is a winner to the contrary.

                    I haven’t read the novel, but hear it is from a novel written by Amanda Brown. (May the Blondes bless her!) When I set out to watch the movie, I had my expectations set high due to favorable opinions given by friends. But then, boy! it did exceed those expectations!

                    The best part about the movie is it’s humor in almost every scene… Even a serious situation like the one where she breaks up with her boyfriend has you laughing in splits… Now that’s true entertainment!

                    Story: Not much of a story. Here comes Elle to introduce herself - Hi. I’m Elle Woods and this is Bruiser Woods (The dog). We’re both Gemini vegetarians.

                    Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) a beauty queen is on a date with her boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis). She prepares to look her best as she believes it to be the night … (the night where Warner would propose to her.) Till the last moment she thinks so and even says yes before Warner completes his statement stating - he wants to break up with her .

                    Let’s ask Warner why he broke up.
                    Warner Huntington III: If I want to be a Senator, I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn.

                    When she realizes that he has broken up with her, only for being a blonde, she thinks it’s time to take a walk home, but ends up taking the ride home with Warner. That scene is comical.

                    The reason as Warner states earlier seems he wants to continue to law school and follow his dad’s footsteps as a senator. To add to the impression, he would like to marry a Black haired person. Blondes give the impression of dumbness. As simple as that. To prove her mettle, she intends to take the LSATS (it’s for law school grads).

                    Check out why Blonde jokes rule the roost. Because I think they are just being the fun persons. But the typecast in the movie adds to the fun since it’s the Blondes who win. I overheard this conversation between her friend.

                    Margot: Here, you're gonna need this.
                    Elle: Your scrunchie?
                    Margot: My LUCKY scrunchie. It helped me pass Spanish.
                    Serena: You passed Spanish because you gave Professor Montoya a lap dance after the final.
                    Margot: Yeah... Luckily!

                    And luckily for her, the selectors select her too as she was a beauty queen. (Actually they seem to be carried away by her videos. Is there such a concept really?) A scene from the video

                    Elle: I feel comfortable using legal jargon in everyday life. [someone whistles]
                    Elle: I object.

                    And she did pass her LSATs! So there she is.(By giving up her makeup time!)

                    She meets Warner on the opening day and discovers that he is actually engaged to Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair) She also is sent out of her initial class with her trademark pink notepad and pink pen while the rest of the class seem to be immersed in their laptops giving a comical picture.

                    After being insulted by Vivian in a (Costume) party she decides to take up the challenge. She confronts him at the party with, ‘I’m never going to be good enough for you, isn’t it?’ She realizes that her being a blonde is working against her. And the lame half hearted excuses Warner gives makes it even worse. She decides to take the challenge more seriously. And then gradually starts working on her case presentations in class. Prof Callahan is so impressed and decides to take her into his team due to her outstanding work and gets a pink perfumed resume!

                    She even solves a murder while arguing a case for her first client. How does our blonde, not exactly bombshell, but sweet Elle do it? Remember also that she is still at law school and not exactly a lawyer. Watch the movie for the complete story.

                    Memorable performances by the supporting case include Jennifer Coolidge (as Paula the manicurist beautician), Elle’s new fiancée at law school Luke, Selma Blair as Miss Cold Vivian, Matthew Davis as the politician’s son into lawschool for a career, Victor Garber as Prof Callahan, Serena the bumbling friend, the stern Prof Stromwell (Holland Taylor) and of course the cute itsy bitsy dog. Can we forget the dog in a minor role but a major presence in the movie?

                    But then the movie itself rests on just Reese’s slim and gentle shoulders. Frame 1 to the last frame is all about the happenings in the blonde Elle’s life which Reese plays with perfection. I think she suits the role very perfectly. The accent, the hype the pitched voice all make it a cakewalk for her.

                    The soundtrack’s average, with the title song giving the movie the required appeal.

                    Cast - Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, Jennifer Coolidge, Ali Larter, Raquel Welch, Holland Taylor and others…
                    Directed by Robert Luketic Runtime: 96 min Comedy/Drama (2001)

                    All dialogues courtesy IMDB


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                    • Where Eagles Dare (DVD) / DVD / 78 Readings / 74 Ratings
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                      29.05.2007 05:19
                      Very helpful



                      Must watch

                      I keep posting this review everywhere left, right and center. Anyways, let me post it for the plotline. I am explaining a scene of 15 mins as it explains the complete plotline for the movie.

                      There are a few suspect German agents in Britain. For some time classified information which only the British intelligence and high ranking officers knew passes into the hands of the Germans. Vice Admiral Rolland plays a game to flush out the agents. He plans a crash of an American general (who is a actually a corporal) and asks all suspect agents to go on the rescue mission.

                      But then, the ace up his sleeve is Major John Smith himself who is a double agent working for Britain while passing useless info to the Germans! (Confusing? A little!) How he convinces the suspects to provide the top German operatives names in the presence of the German officers is superb drama! Read below

                      Burton comes in holding the gun against the Germans. He then threatens the American ‘punk’ to drop the gun and sides with the Germans. He begins to prove his credentials as a German agent. Then explains that the others were (his team mates) German agents but captured and now working for the British MI6. He presents his proof in 3 parts.
                      a. If he is not the German agent, what is he doing here in the company of Germans? And why would he expose the British agents if he was a British agent?
                      b. Secondly if the suspects claim to be on the German side, then they would know the names of the German operatives or their contact in Britain. He gives them slips and asks each one to note all the names for comparison with his list.
                      c. He makes them ring a Field Marshall in Italy to confirm that he is indeed a German agent. On confirmation, all the suspects, in their eagerness to prove they too are on the German side, write the names. He gives the books to a German officer and asks him to compare with his own list (Actually blank). By the time it dawns on the officer that it was a trick to reveal the names, they are under arrest again by the American punk!

                      Actually, that scene is artfully depicted. You are left wondering as to how scintillating some scenes can be. All the agents jot down one name in common as they report to him. Guess who?

                      Eastwood plays the lone American ‘second rate punk’ whom Major John Smith can trust. He can’t trust the others in the mission. I have only described a scene of 10 mins which gives you the entire plotline for the movie. After this drama, the story gets moving. Real fast paced action out here for a 68 movie!!!

                      And yes, the action scenes scintillate. (I can’t make up my mind if the movie is good at drama or excels at action.) Especially as none of it is animation. The director has not wasted a moment right from the movie title to the end. What you need to appreciate is that none of it is actually animation though most stunts are actually studio shots.

                      Performances to watch - All -
                      Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood and Anton Diffring


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