16 Jan 2008

Random strings

This is just a string of random, but inter-related, thoughts that made their way in and out of the varied grey dunes of the brain...

A young gum chewing smartie was arguing with an intently listening aged man in the bus. The younger one was saying that there is nothing left for the new generation to invent because everything that could have been invented is already out there. So, the younger generation can just stay laid back and not do anything at all. The experienced man countered this by saying that if every generation thought like that there would never had been the airplane or sliced bread or the chewing gum or even orange juice. Somebody out there tried squeezing out the juice of the orange and figured out that it was tasty. What about cow juice? Some guy must have thought one morning that I should squeeze those things under the cow's belly and drink whatever comes out of it. The accidental success would have got everyone around to try the same with different things. Someone might have rubbished the claim stating that his bull could squeeze out only a cupful and it did not taste good. Or worse, someone might have got killed when the elephant sat down on him/ her during the trial. Who knows! I know a nerd who could spoil the fun by giving me a logical repartee saying that the cow's milk was invented by the calf sucking on it mother's udder.

So what could be possible inventions? My shot to some possibilities...
  • A wall that can change its colour or its scene like a desktop wallpaper... a big digital photoframe?
  • A device that stores all the energy created by the rotating wheels of a car and then use it to fuel the car itself... after all isn't water used to rotate the turbines, which in turn convert mechanical energy to electricity?
  • An optical lens that automatically changes its refractive index depending on the vision of the user... how does auto-focus in a digital camera work?
  • An inoculation for common cold
  • A formal shoe that does not crease in 2 days... at my last visit to a shoe shop, the salesman was selling me dryme leather shoes that look the same throughout its life; mainly because they look old when they are new.
  • A small locket that acts as a translator and transmits the wearer's speech into a pre-set language... a speech to text converter > language translation tool > text to speech converter?
  • A theatre that allows the viewer to select the actors on-the-fly while buying the tickets to the movie... when they can make Beowulf, why not!
Yea, why not?!

15 Jan 2008

Moviethon 2

Are you confused between which copy of the movie to be downloaded when there are multiple versions available? There is a plethora of sites that provide
movie files or torrent files. Some of the sites are religiously documented and some are very stingily detailed. You are in luck in the case of the former, however all is not lost if you are dealing with the latter.

I normally expect the movie file to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Acceptable audio language or subtitles - If it is an english movie, the audio language better be english and not the dubbed version. However, if it is Chinese, it better be an English dubbed version or the one with proper english sub-titles. If this has not been specified anywhere, I normally do not start the download.
  • Good video quality - It is no fun watching the movie where everything seems to have shot in the dark or if only half the screen is shown. This has been detailed in the paragraph that follows.
  • No lag between the audio and video - One of the more frustrating features of a free movie would be to see one thing and hear something else. Imagine the audio saying - "What is this?" while the visual is showing hero's pelvic thrusts!
  • Decent number of seeders - applicable if it is a torrent.
  • File size less than 800 Mb - If you are downloading a file directly, file size is shown as part of the 'Downloading' window. If this is a torrent, file size would be a part of the general information tab in the BitTorrent client. This is partly because I run out of space very frequently and mostly because the size packs in enough clarity for the laptop theatre.
If the file is available on a forum, scroll through the thread to check if someone else has left a comment regarding the quality of the movie or if there is a sample screenshot provided. Some of them even provide a few minutes of the video for sampling the audio and the video quality... on the lines of the
customary - aaoo, dekho, parkho, phir khareedo... except that it is free. If nothing else eases the confusion, the name of the movie file or the torrent file should give a few hints. Most of the times, the file name provides clues to determine the type of video, the language of the movie and even links to the source. Most of the movies that I have watched have been of the following types:

Cam ripCAMMade by sneaking a digital camcorder into a theater and taping the movie. Usually poor quality of video with people walking in front of the camera, shaking, poor resolution and contrast. Since, the audio source is the microphone of the camcorder, it includes voices of the audience. This is the best you can get if you want to experience movie watching the Indian way where the audience gets involved in the movie. I still remember the whistles, the excitement and the aarti in the 'Sivaji' cam rip.
TelesyncTSMade mostly using the same method as the above; extra efforts go into ensuring that the audio quality is better. The audio is recorded using a direct link with the theatre's audio system or using a hearing aid for the deaf.
ScreenerSCR, DVDSCRMade by ripping from a DVD or a video tape that is sent to the reviewers. The original DVD or video tapes are not meant for sale and are not of the best possible quality as they are not a direct source of income to the promoter. These copies have messages at the bottom like 'This is promotional copy' that flash intermittently. There could also be less content and some black and white scenes.
DVD ripDVD, DVDRMade using a ripping software from a retail DVD. The seeding of such a torrent is quite high when a DVD rip is released. Most times they do not include the extra scenes or footage or interviews that accompany a DVD. If the file includes multiple subtitles or multi-region support, the size of the file tends to be more than a Gb... sometimes evern 5 Gb.
HDTV ripHDTV, DSR, TVRip, PDTV, DVBRipMade by recording using a TV card or from a digital satellite or an analog capture card. This is the method used for providing famous TV serials like American Idol or Nach Baliye. The quality is quite high due to the availability of DVD quality digital signal. This is similar to the live TV streaming that one gets to view online.

12 Jan 2008

Stumped vision

They have got it all wrong... the allegations, the man of the match, the principle of host, and even the reasons.

During the Indian cricket tour of Australia, Bhajji has been charged with racism because of something that he said to the Australian cricketer, Symonds. The turbanator has been repeatedly telling that he did not call Symonds a 'monkey'. Someone raised a doubt about the allegation saying - How did the aussies understand what Harbhajan said when he himself does not understand his english? And the point was not fully wrong because the latest is that in fact, Bhajji had said 'Maa Ki...' as an apt reply to the instigation from the Aussies.
Reports poured in about the cancellation of the tour as the visitors threatened to go back home. Of course, it is not fair that you call someone home to play a game and then not let him/ her win. Even if the host has to win, it should not be done with such a thrashing. One can learn about being a good host from the Indians. When there is an international match in India against the weakest of the teams, they ensure that the visitors do not leave disappointed. Afterall, Indians believe that guests are a form of God.

The credit for maintaining the winning streak goes to the ever-ready finger of the on man. The man of the match in the second test was, undoubtedly, Steve Bucknor. He is the fearsome Ninja who is turning blind with age and so relies on his ears for the crucial decisions. His sharp hearing powers help distinguish the level of intensity and drama in the appeal of the fielders. It is not his fault that the Indians do not put in enough emotions and volume in their appeals like the Australians do by walking fearsomely close to him!

But wait, not everything went wrong for the Indians. The test matches have separated the men from the boys. It has highlighted the genius of the stalwarts like Sachin, Laxman, Saurav and Rahul, who have persisted through the tough batting conditions. When Rahul was young, he used to take his OWN bat and ball to the cricket ground and inspite of that, his friends used to make him field all day... no batting! To the frustration of the opposition, he now makes everyone field while he makes up for all the batting that he missed in the younger days. He enjoyed his batting at the crease for 40 balls before he finally ran to score the first run. Batting vasool, boss.

The tour is only getting more entertaining by the day and they ask me the reason for staying glued to the match!

5 Jan 2008

Dust Kahaaniyaan

Viewed on: 01 Jan 08 15:00
Viewed at: Home

Dus Kahaaniyaan
Starring: Mentioned below for each story

Similar movie: Darna Manaa Hai... I mean, just the theme of multiple stories in one movie. The stories in itself are all based on different themes

Genre: End mein Twist

A noble attempt at doing something different, but my preference is something like 'Darna Manaa Hai' where the stories are connected somehow and lead to an ending. As the name suggests there are 10 stories... 6 different directors... plethora of actors... no definite theme. I have mentioned below the name of the story, its director, the actors, the theme and the things that stood out enough for me to still remember.
1. Matrimony - Sanjay Gupta - adultery in marriage
*ing: Mandira Bedi, Arbaaz Khan
- Ultra chic breakfast and furniture
- Squint Julie
- 'We are sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialled.'

2. High on the Highway - Hansal Mehta - Jimmy's gf gets kidnapped on the highway
*ing:Jimmy Shergill, Masumeh Makhija
- Jimmy's hairdo
- 'Ek din isi bastard ko tum apne haathon se custard khilaaogi'

3. Puranmashi - Meghna Gulzar - Amrita gives into longing for her long lost lover and jeopardises her daughter's marriage
*ing: Amrita Singh, Minisha Lamba, Parmeet Sethi
- The typical punjabi house and the rustic wedding decorations
- The camera shot from inside the well with people watching from its rim

4. Strangers in the night - Sanjay Gupta - A couple shares intimate secrets
*ing: Mahesh Manjrekar, Neha Dhupia
- Too many unwanted explanations interspersed
-The near to 10 o'clock on the wall clock of the waiting room

5. Zahir - Sanjay Gupta - Manoj reacts to being turned down by a bar girl
Manoj Bajpai, Dia Mirza
- The large coffee mug, the large doorbell, the large balcony windows, wide screen TV, large bangles for earrings
- The idea that Saahil gives up his job as banker to attempt being a writer in 3 years
- The best twist amongst the 10 stories

6. Lovedale - Jasmeet Dhodi - Neha runs away from marriage because she thinks she has found true love elsewhere
*ing: Neha Uberoi, Aftab Shivdasani
- The most predictable story of the 10 and the most unnatural acting
- Can skip to the next story

7. Sex on the beach - Apoorva Lakhia - A book that opens a doorway to an unending date with a ghost (?)
*ing: Dino Moria, Tareena Patel
- Was it an ambigram for the book title? It reads 'life' and also 'death'
- very bizarre. avoidable. can sleep through this one.
- Apoorva Lakhia's cameo. He writes left handed

8. Rice Plate - Rohit Roy - A conservative religious lady does all that she normally despised
*ing: Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi
- Flawless selection of actors
- Shabana's style of wearing the saree so that it is tucked in a bit higher and her style of awlking with the legs spread a bit
- The hawaldaar without a pot belly
- Rs 160 for the taxi fare... could be Sion to Bandra?

9. Gubbare - Sanjay Gupta - Nana explains how small argument should not let a couple lose out on happier opportunities
*ing: Nana Patekar, Anita Hasanandani
- Nana Patekar gives a very sincere effort and so does Anita
- Bangles and mehndi on Anita's hand. Reminds me of Raveena Tandon in the scene when she raises just one eyebrow
- A copy of 'Alchemist' being read by Rohit Roy
- The red balloons with neatly drawn smileys

10. Rise and fall - Sanjay Gupta - An underworld don is targetted to be killed by his own friend
*ing: Sanjay Dutt, Suneil Shetty
- The most stylishly interweaved story of the series
- Typical names of Sanjay Gupta underworld heroes - Baba and Nawab
- The small sardar kid from Koi Mil Gaya has grown up and acted well