Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A MNC brand might spend millions on advertising to push their products, to improve their brand recall etc. But the power of a single blog post like this one beats all that IMO.

You just cannot afford to piss off a popular blogger cos' in effect you are screwing up so much else. And when a well-known blogger writes a post this about his/her problems with something there is a chance it'll get mentioned about, linked to by her readers, followers (and fans) on their sites, blogs (Now this complaint might be about a simple broken AC.. but, if it had been a seriouser problem there is a good chance it might've gotten micro-viral).

And at a time when most buyers do all their product research online, a simple screw up by the local dealership in responding to a service call/complaint might cost it a lot of business.

The brands might soon have to find a way to make sure such 'people with big voices' are taken care of well (of course the easiest way out of this would be to provide good support to all their customers).


Sunday, May 10, 2009

A few pics from my last day at college.

My whole class

The Guys


Saturday, April 25, 2009

another site review from me... :)

qype.co.uk is a portal that indexes information like lifestyle events, shopping offers, restaurants etc for around the world. A user might choose to subscribe to city specific information through RSS feeds or throught their weekly e-mail newsletters. The content on the site is mostly/all user added, so the amount of updates/info available depends on the number of contributing members in your zone. The amount of user involvement in the site surprises me, one can add a city/town that is not already on the list and start a new network and so on..

The site layout is neat and is mostly informal throughout. The signup page itself is a breeze to fill with a simple form and lets us choose our newsletter options etc. with no hidden finetext, you can simply check a box to stop them from bothering you with any e-mails, and they promise not to ever spam our inboxes after that.

The site might have content for cities around the world, but mainly focuses on UK and London. Detailed routes, maps are available for the locations around London, and the amount of information pertaining to places around the city is huge. A search for 'indian restaurants london' gives around 400 results, a search for 'hostels london' and 'cinemas london' have over 200 results each. Each search result has a user star rating, detailed user reviews, photos, comments etc. and a simple option to locate the spot on the map. The travel info is really extensive, you could get travel directions from your current spot by giving your pincode, you also get the nearest tube & conventional rail station with distances for each spot.

This site in its current state could be useful to someone who is new to London and when the content related to the other 6000 cities gets better, qype could become a global local review site.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

On the Civil War in SL - Part 2

I don't have too much to add to my views i wrote in my first post on the issue. This is about something else...

I had to go meet a friend near college, i happened to meet his room mate then, this guy called prakash. My friend introduced him as a 'elangai thamizhar' to me, and straightway i asked him 'sinhala thamizhar a neenga'. Dumb.. i know.. This is cos' i was of the opinion that SL tamils were mostly dravidians and this guy did not look like a dravidian to me, hence the reflex question. I've seen Sinhalese people speak thamizh and i just assumed he was a Sinhala when i knew he was from SL and had non dravidian looks. He then explained the whole thing to me and basically shut me up.

Now, most of what i know about the Civil War issue, cultural setup in SL was through movies, blogs etc. so talking to someone like him who knows about the situation first hand, was new to me. We started talking about the situation in SL after a while, i straightaway told him about i was not 'pro'-LTTE, and listed a few reasons for .

Wanted to know his opinion about the LTTE cause, and if he supported the LTTE and if the stories we all here about LTTE brutality to thamizhlars was true. To this he started off with a question, he asked me 'what is your take on Subhash Chandra Bose? my POV on LTTE is just the same. He told me why he supported the tigers and what the cause was all about. I started talking to him about how SCB was a guy who fought on the battlefront and did not send suicide bombers into cities and tried to convince him LTTE and SCB were not the same. We left it there.. we just accepted we had different opinions..

On my way back i started thinking about this, i guess his opinion about the LTTE should be given more importance than mine. If a thamizhar who has lived in the conflict zones in SL says he supports the LTTE i'm sure he has his own reasons. ( Now, from the little time i spent talking to him, i don't think he's a LTTE fanatic or anything, his views seemed pretty sane and he was very much interested in having a civil discussion with me. I've spoken to a few staunch tigers supporters before, and i don't think it is possible to have a neutral discussion about the SL situation with them, cos' they never listen to anything you have to say. They always go on about how the thamizhs suffer and how the LTTE can be a solution to the issue.. no offense to anyone though..).

We had to cut our convo short cos' i had some work to do and i had to leave abruptly. I'm hoping to talk to him again sometime soon. I also showed him my blog post on this issue and asked him to drop a comment if he felt like it.

Well this point of this post is to archive the conversation i had with him and also tell everyone else about how i feel about the SL issue now. My stand hasn't changed much .. but i'm really interested to read up more content online and from both sides, talk to people who can tell me first hand about their opinions, before making one by myself.

I'm sure my friends, my blog readers would want to do the same and make their own opinions, or better don't have an opinion and just be tuned in to the info. if they feel like it.


Friday, February 27, 2009

MMSC Track Day Experience - 22nd Feb '09


here are some pics. .

had lots of very safe fun, without maxing out the bike cos' the first priority was safety.

wrote this mini-log for the xBhp forum,

I rode 150 kms on my Unicorn, around 35-40 laps ithink, split in 4 sessions. First three sessions were spent in getting to know the track. On corners, the throttle was open just enough to maintain speed and i was on 5th gear most of the time. Experimented and learned the lines for most corners.

The C8 was a little scary, cos' of the crashes. I guess 3 riders crashed on this corner and the scratch marks leading into the grass made me take it easy all the time.

The C6-C7 ( never ender) was fun when done in 4th, like we stay at full lean for more than 5-6 seconds(ithink) and by exiting at 75-80, i could reach my top end of 105 kmph before braking hard to enter the wicked C8. 105kmph was also possible on the back straight (c3-c4) but not on the home straight, prolly' cos' i was a little scared about the C1 bumps and the front wobble, so took the main straight and C1 easy all the time.

The last session was the best, i tried increasing corner speeds intentionally by staying in 4th all the time, opening the throttle immediately after the apex. Too bad the session ended 4-5 laps after i started riding this way.

I did not push my bike to its limits, but i'm happy it went all good. The surface was really asking to be ridden hard on but i stayed within my limits.

I also found out that i had a 'very' weird riding posture, my head stays cocked against the lean and from the pics i've seen it looks quite crazy. I tried to correct my posture for a few laps, but dropped that after i almost ran into the apex and the cement edge thingy when i tried leaning my head into the corner against my natural posture.

My Unicorn was handled beautifully, not a single washout or slip up the entire time. The hard rear suspension setting does wonders on the track, the front was a little soft this made the bike wobble on C1 but otherwise everything was fine.

The first time i got to see the MMSC track at Sriperumbur was two years back, i went there on my scoot to' watch' superbikes at an official track day. I remember standing near the first corner after the straight and ogling (yep) at the bikes and cars that were on the track. And back then, I was happy just to be there and watch all the action from so close up. And now, to actually ride on the track was some huge dream come true for me.

This is not over with the one track day btw, i'm addicted to track riding and i'll try to save up money and prolly' do this once every 2-3 months. :)


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On the Civil war in SL....

this post is in response to a question( at least the Q got me started on this issue) raised in a comment on this blog post. I first wrote a huge comment, but then thought i would make a response post on my blog instead. The Q will make more sense if you first read the post and the comments following it.

Yayathy: My question is why Indian politicians keep talking about saving the people there and not about killing LTTE terrorists?

my 2 cents,

The TN political parties that protest the military action in SL are all LTTE supporters. Some, like the MDMK, VCK show their direct support, a few others like the DMK do it indirectly by claiming to support the tamils in SL, and so... they end up supporting the LTTE cos' they 'represent the tamils'. Now, the DMK has a two-pronged approach, while the TN govt. part of the DMK has a more neutral stand ( cos' they still are part of the coalition at the center and cos' they cannot possibly openly support a banned organization accused of assassinating a prime minister) and the DMK party otherwise itself has a pro-LTTE policy very similar/close to the MDMK-like parties.

The AIADMK, in my opinion have a more sensible and ballsy stand on the issue - LTTE does not represent SL tamils and they support the flush out happening right now, but as of now they've gone a little soft from being aggressively 'anti-LTTE' to just supporting the cause of innocent civillians caught in the middle of military action. By refusing to support the LTTE, the ADMK is pissing off its vote bank here in TN (i'm sure the opposition will make JJ's support to the SL govt.' a poll issue by making JJ look totally anti-tamil).

No political party would want to directly diss the LTTE, this is cos' popular opinion in TN is still that the LTTE are 'namma aalunga' fighting for tamil freedom. This sympathy is cos' of a lot of things, starting with 'we share the same language'. The first point that comes up when someone pro-LTTE talks about the situation in SL is the inhuman treatment of tamils by the SL army, closely followed by how the tamils are always treated like dirt, no rights, no dignity etc.

The MDMK site has a page about ' Why we support srilankan tamils' and knowing MDMK-Vaiko that literally reads 'Why I(vaiko) support LTTE'. The page starts off with pictures of corpses of tamils killed supposedly by the SL army in the offensive and goes on ( a rant imo) about the tamils oppression history in SL. I've seen some pics, and even videos of the kind of crap that goes on there, and my heart goes out for the people suffering there and i know the situation is real bad. This does not stop me from knowing that there'll surely be an other side to this.

But, there are people who base their opinion/support for the 'LTTE' on such pics, articles about the inhuman crap that goes on there. And i know of people who're so taken in by this content that they speak about 'how prabhakaran is the only hope for tamils in SL' and how we need a leader like him to further our causes. what crap ?

moving on...

About about your views and the comments on Muthukumar's suicide, i don't think it was as simple as you make it out to be. MK did not take his life after a sudden whim or a flash, but his action was a result of careful thought and was properly planned. I just think he deserves a little more respect than what you've given him, for he is someone who believed in social activism(however harsh). He believed in something, and he was ready to go as far as taking his life for that, i might not actually support the way he chose to channel his activism and i think he could've done more good by living on, and continuing his work.

Read the english translation of his last words here to read his views and to see how involved he was in the tamil cause.

Again, i might not agree on his views in the letter, but i see he was someone who believed in what he stood for and had the balls to do something.

I think i made this a rant myself,..well i hope it adds on to the discussion on this post.

more later..

comments invited btw...


Friday, February 13, 2009

Shop for East Asian Inspired Furniture @...

... lombok.

lombok[dot]co[dot]uk is a website that sells East Asian (to be more particular Indonesian) inspired furniture among other stuff like lighting equipment, home accessories . 'Lom bok' is based in the UK, and they have around 20 outlets all over the country. The site is an online catalogue cum shopping portal targeting their home customers, this is evident from how they don't directly ship orders outside the UK for now, how their pricing is in pound sterling.

The site design is soft and easy to use, the interface is fairly quick, at first it looked like just another basic html template based website, but the design also has a few cool functional flash details like 'mouse over to zoom' for the product catalogues etc. which make the page interesting without slowing it down too much. The pictures of their products are wonderfully shot and the description that accompanies each one of them is complete with info like exact dimensions etc., this should be a great help when you are looking to order furniture online.

The customer service section of the site has useful, well laid-out information about their delivery, return policy and also has other resources for furniture maintenance, warranty claims etc.

Their range is complete with all the furniture, lighting equipment you will ever need inside the house, this includes minor stuff like lamp shades, laundry baskets, candles, log baskets etc. They have products to suit all budget ranges, also the pricing seems pretty value for money to me.

Check out their 20% discount sale on their new Canton designs that goes on till March 2nd, and also their online clearance store for its excellent bargain buys or you could look at their Spring Summer 2009 collection online. You can also request for a complete product catalogue to be mailed over to you for free.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Track day on 22nd Feb at MMSC

If everything goes by plan, yours truly should hit the track on the said date. Trying to gather gear for now, i'm still a jacket, gloves, knee guards short. This ( if it happens) will be my first track riding experience. The track day is organized by a few chennai xBhpians and is a Pay & Practice session, ie. get your own vehicles - 400 bucks for 2w and 1000 for 4w.

here is a pic of the track,

we'll mostly be running the short loop, i guess the complete lap is open only for 4wheelers or proper track days.

What you need to ride on the track ?

A bike + 400 bucks entry fee + Basic riding gear ( a helmet, a jacket, shoes). The session is from 8am to 1pm and you can ride as much as you want, 30 min sessions with 15-20 min breaks would be the best ithink.

I'm a total noob when it comes to track riding, and even the simple cornering stuff. The track is not just for the good/fast riders, but is a great place to learn and perfect your riding skills. That is what i'm looking to do.


Madras Motor Sports Club site.
Track day discussion thread on xBhp.

more later..


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