Tuesday, April 25, 2006

New to LA; Not new to LA

New to LA: You expect that on the freeway people will overtake (ok, pass, for all the Americans reading) you only from the left.
Not new to LA: You follow the Boy Scout Motto: “Be prepared”.
Comment: Almost all freeways have at-least 3 and many have 5 plus lanes of traffic, and as the Hollywood cliché goes, “There is just one rule and that is there are no rules”.

New: You enter a parking lot of a Kmart and are still looking for parking when 5 cars that entered the lot after you have already found parking.
Not New: You are one amongst the 5 people who have already found parking!
Comment: Spotting an empty parking space is an essential skill that people driving in Los Angeles have to develop for their own good.

New: You are looking for parking and see a spot on the street, but drive past it, because just yesterday you caused a traffic jam while trying to parallel park.
Not new: Parallel parking, no problem.
Comment: Not comfortable with parallel parking, consider public transport.

New: No parking tickets.
Not New: At-least one parking ticket.
Comment: I know of only one person I my office who has not got a parking ticket in Los Angeles, and that is my wife, and that because she does not drive here.

New: Proceed cautiously at every freeway interchange, have their rental car map unfolded and do a lot of pointing.
Not New: Why should that fact that you are in a car and do not know the route interrupt the given agenda.
Comment: Everyone is perpetually late here, because of the “traffic”

New: You ask more than one person for directions.
Not New: Everybody here has a friend, whose navigation skills they trust, and whenever they need directions, that friend is the only person they call.
Comment: Every person has their own version of how best to get from point A to point B.

New: Try to drive during a long weekend. (You poor man)
Not New: It’s a long weekend, you have 70 miles to travel on I-5 and so you rent a room in a motel for the night.
Comment: This is a true story.

New: Expect rush hour to start at 4:30 pm
Not New: What is rush hour?
Comment: The freeways are pretty much densely populated between 3:30 and 7.

New: Talk about the weather to make polite conversation.
Not New: Talk about the traffic.
Comment: Enough said.

If you are not already full of me going on and on about traffic in LA, read this post about a person whose wife faces difficulties in paying a simple traffic ticket in Los Angeles.

PS: This article is inspired by the article “You know you are new to Mumbai When..

Outgoing links:
Hollywood Cliche's
A Kafka day at the Los Angeles traffic ticket office
You know you are new to Mumbai When..

Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekend of 4/22

This weekend was very very tiring, but we got a lot of stuff done. After a marathon 7 straight days, unpacking is finally over! Not that I had so much stuff, but after 10 hours of work everyday, the motivation level for unpacking is very low.

Then instead of relaxing my wife and I started the long overdue applicance hunting. My wife had been reviewing microwaves all week long. So we finally got a Sharp from BestBuy. Along with that we got a Oster toaster as well.

As if that was not enough, we decided to go for the trifecta. We had really liked a 9 piece dining table and so we got that too!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup calendar

Yesterday I was playing around with Google Calendar, and I wanted to check out the Shared calendar feature. On the other hand I was looking for the ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup calendar, which I could not find anywhere. So I ended up creating one on Google Calendar. As far as I know, this is the only ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup calendar.

I have shared it here (XML) (ICAL) so that you too can import it into your calendar program. (To add them to your Google Calendar copy the URL of the calendar feed into the "search public calendar" textbox at the bottom of the Calendars sidebar and press Enter.).

The ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup calendar contains all the matches from the opening ceremony to the finals. Each match contains venue, stage and group information.

If there is anyway in which I can make the calendar better or if you find any errors please let me know.

On a side note: I already have the FIFA 2006 World Cup calendar as one of the shared calendars. You can find it here.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Google Calendar - Live

Google Calendar (screen shots) was released yesterday. After Windows Live Mail, Google Calendar was second on my list of most awaited online applications. The entire blogging community has gone crazy. Suddenly people who did not need calendars, now feel the need to use them.

I have not had time to review it in detail, but here are my initial thoughts:

Things that I liked:
Natural language recognition: In the few tests that I did, it really worked. Google Calendar automatically understands “Dinner with LA Lukhas at 9 pm on Saturday”.

Integrated with GMail: When I receive an email in GMail that contains event information, GMail automaticallrecognizeses it and allows me to add it to Google Calendar with a couple of clicks. HOWEVER, a GMail account is NOT required to use Google Calendar.

Integrated with Google maps: For events that have a valid US address as their location, Google calendar automatically picks it up and adds a Google Maps link next to it.

Calendar Searching: ItÂ’s Google, so ofcourse itÂ’s going to search the hell out of the calendar. I can search for events by subject, attendees or location.

AJAX based: So you know what that means, a slick user interface. And itÂ’s fast, really really fast.

Open platform: It uses the open iCal and hence data exporting/importing should be really easy. Google has got help sections which describe on how to import data from Outlook and Yahoo Calendar.

Invitation management: Sending of Outlook style meeting requests and attendee management is possible. And since itÂ’s integrated with GMail, it automatically recognizes the names that are part of my GMail contact list.

Things that I did not like:
Year view: There is daily, weekly and a montly view, but no yearly view.

Mini calendar: The previous and next month links do not automatically open the calendar for the month.

Time Zones: There is no support for time zones.

Categories: There are no categories as yet. So If I want to see a list of birthdays, I cannot do that. Yes, I can search for them, but then I need to add the name of the category to the event title.

Things that I have not tried yet:
API: I donÂ’t know how good/bad the API is.

SMS notification: There is an option for SMS notification of event reminders. I have not tried that. There seems to be a list of US cell phone providers, donÂ’t know if there are any for other countries.

Calendar sharing: This is the biggest feature that I am waiting to use.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Google Calendar - screen shots

This morning I read about Google Calendar on this article. I really need a good online calendar and what I read makes me happy :). They also have a few other screen shots there.
Check them out.

(Click to enlarge)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

4th ODI, commentary and cricket

So, yesterday night as I was getting ready to dose off, my brother called me and gave me a link to the 4th ODI between India and England. As soon as I started the web stream, a flood of emotions came rushing back. It brought back so many memories of watching hours and hours of cricket and even more time spent on discussions with friends. Leaving out the last world cup, I’ve hardly watched any cricket in the past 6 year. But inspite of that the sport just feels so intimate, so familiar.
---Being rant
Even after all these years, the commentary left much to desire. It’s still the same old, formulaic and full of cliché’s. "The ball is coming on to the bat", "Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties", wonder where I have heard that?
When will the commentators stop insulting the intelligence of the people that are perhaps the most knowledgeable listeners of any sport; by saying "the best way to stop the runs flowing is to take wickets"? We know that since a long time.
---End rant

Other than the unimaginative commentary, it was nice to see the familiar faces of Dravid, Bhaaji, Vuraj, Kaif, Agarkar etc. And also to finally put faces to the now familiar names of Pathan, Dhoni, etc. Saw a couple of run-outs being decided by the third-umpire and a questionable lbw decision (that of Batty). I tried to stay awake for the Indian innings, but could not. Ahh, how I miss watching cricket, discussing cricket, analyzing every shot, commenting on every ball being bowled, reading about cricket, thinking cricket, playing cricket, breathing cricket, living cricket.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Sorry for the infrequent posts. I have been very busy lately. On the weekend my wife and I drove to San Francisco to meet a few Syracuse friends.

Then yesterday after office, we moved a few of the boxes to the new apartment we will be moving into in a few days. Finally got a chance to click a few snaps. You can see them here, or if you prefer a slide show.

Update: For San Francisco snaps click here, or for a slide show click here.