Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Play with Google Sets!

A tool called Google Sets featured on Google's Technology Playground - Google Labs is often overlooked and not many people know its great potentials.

Idea of Google Sets is quite simple and intuitive, it just automatically creates sets of items from a given few examples. For instance, you provide Google Sets few examples of colors like "Red", "Green" and "Blue", it will come up with more examples of colors which could later form a larger set.

If above example does not appeal to you then think again. I will give a more realistic scenario, say you are trying to find some alternatives for file archivers like winzip or pkzip. Try it with Google Sets and you will be amazed when it is suggesting additional terms for your set by considering words that might appear together in lists on Web pages etc. you may find the results you receive more useful.

You may see some irrelevant results but the idea here is not level of accuracy but the exposure to a set of suggestions that could give you some idea.

All said and Done:

Google Sets is really an amazing tool and can help you find suggestions for forming your set.

For further reading, please take a look at How Google Sets Works by Bill Slwaski

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Uplifting Trance Around The World!

A serious uplifting trance addict can not miss TATW (Trance around the world) weekly radio show by Above and Beyond. It is a 2 hour mix broadcast directly from Above and beyond's London studio every Friday 19:00-21:00 GMT

Since episode 227 (1st of August 2008), Trance Around the World has been available as a free podcast at the iTunes store. You can subscribe for free and enjoy :-) Every TATW episode is highly recommended and sweet on ears.

TATW is available on radios across the world and here in India, the radioshow is available on WorldSpace Satellite Radio's The System Channel 202 (Thursdays 22:00 GMT, encore Sundays 15:00 GMT).

I wish Above & Beyond folks come to Bangalore for a show :-)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ruins of Alamparai Fort

The ruins of Alamparai Fort (also called Alampara) lie near Kadapakkam, a village 50 km from Mamallapuram.

It was built during Mughal era and had well structured dockyard from which zari, cloth, salt, ghee etc were exported to Europe and the middle east.

According to history, the fort was destroyed by the British in 1760 and again by 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake which resulted in a massive tsunami.(source: Wikipedia)

How to reach:

You can either drive from Pondicherry or Mahabalipuram via scenic East Cost Road. Here is the route on Google Map for your reference.

View Larger Map

A good place to hang around and you can have a quite day with a nice view of the sea. Local fishermen will give you a ride on their boat to the adjacent seashore. You may need to bargain and if you know Tamil then it will come in handy :-)

A short walk will give an easy access to the beach

A scenic view of Bay of Bengal from the Fort

Local fishing boats

Ruins of the Fort

All said and done:

Scenic views at Alamparai Fort will definitely mesmerize you. Here, the seashore is quite without crowd and the beach is pristine. This is because, very few people know about this place and sometimes an advantage for you. It is a short drive from Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram and can be easily reached via East Coast Road that connects Chennai with Cuddalore via Pondicherry. A must try.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

What If Matrix Ran on Windows XP

This is funny but no offense to anyone!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jadoo from MTNL

Most of us spent a considerable amount of money on expensive handsets hoping that someday some service provider would offer 3G here in India! Well, that time has come at-least for folks in Delhi! For the first time in India, 3G services are available in Delhi, courtesy MTNL.

MTNL's (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.) 3G network is based on the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) technology which is one of the popular 3G technology used worldwide. The 3G network infrastructure in Delhi has been built with equipments from Motorola.

Christened as "MTNL 3G Jadoo", the services from MTNL will support new era of mobile communication in India. 3G is capable of offering advanced services such as video calls, broadband wireless data, faster online video streaming and a better gaming experience due to it fast data transfer rate which can reach up to 2Mbps.

The company plans to launch the service in Mumbai in March 2009 but I wonder when Bangalore would get it.

I think the time has come to scrap my old Imate PDAL! :-)

Source Business Standard

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bangalore traffic caught live!

If you are interested in knowing the live traffic information about Bangalore, then you should checkout Bangalore Traffic Information System. This site has been there for a while now and probably the first of its kind traffic information system in India that provides comprehensive traffic and route information such as;
  • Detailed Bangalore map with real time traffic congestion indicators.
  • Live traffic Cameras (hey! I had only seen that in the movies!) that provide images of major intersections in the city.
  • Directions around the city with rough estimate of Auto Fare.
  • KSRTC bus route information.
  • SMS based information queries.
  • A Java based map application for those who have GPRS enabled mobile phones.
  • Carpool service (still incomplete)
Bangalore Traffic Information System or BTIS in short is a service from Bangalore Traffic Police in association with MapUnity (developer) and Airtel (Sponsor).

Here is an embedded BTIS live traffic map for your reference. It is not very clear how BTIS gathers information on traffic density but my guess is that they get this from analyzing more than one source of information like the Cameras, number of Mobile phones in the area, GPS devices in BTS buses etc.

Live cameras cover quite a lot of intersections and circles in the city and provide basic lowresolution images (unfortunately they are not 360 degree views) of the current traffic conditions. This is something unheard of in India before and an amazing stuff! Certain cameras are not functioning properly but still a very good effort by the BTIS folks

BTIS can provide directions from location A to location B by plotting the route on its Bangalore map. It is convenient for those who don't have GPS in the vehicles. However, I must say that the BTIS tries to calculate the direction information based on your request but mostly may not be accurate and some times it fails to provide direction information all together. It may take a while for them to tune up the algorithms but again it is a wonderfull effort in the right direction.

Here is a screen-shot of directions for Indiranagar to MG Road.

If you are on the move, you can get traffic updates via SMS as well. BTIS on Mobile lets you query BTIS traffic information just by sending SMS to 52225 (Airtel users) or 9845027222 (non Airtel users). There are codes for different locations and are well documented on their site.

Another best feature of BTIS is that its capability to provide bus route details. You pick source/destination and BTIS shows you various ways of getting around on Buses. It provides stop and transit information for different bus routes. Amazing for those who stick to buses to ease the choking traffic.

BTIS application is available for mobile users too. All you need is a java (J2ME) enabled mbile phone with GPRS and you can browse BTIS on your phone. Here is a reference video that I found on YouTube by raghulj.

Their Car Pool service is yet to start functioning and we will have to wait to see what it offers.

All said and done:

An applaudable effort by the BTIS folks and it succeeds in providing the information that peope like me are looking for. I really wish that Bangalore Traffic Department, Mapunity and Airtel find great success and provide more goodies for us.

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