Sunday, October 26, 2008

Map Mania

If you walked into the bedroom that my brother and I used to share more than a decade ago, you'd have been surprised by the sheer number of maps stuck on the walls. Other kids had Sportstar posters, we had maps. There were maps of the world, India, Kerala, Trivandrum in addition to a globe. One of our favourite games was one in which each of us would take turns to ask the other to find a particular place on the map. One of those days, appa brought home a wonder device - a Magellan GPS receiver. We didn't lose time in marking the latitude, longitude and altitude of our house on the maps. We were thrilled by the possession of secret knowledge - after all, how many people knew their exact location on this earth with such accuracy?

As we grew up, we stopped playing that game, and the maps came off one by one. But our love for maps continued. My brother makes maps for wikipedia as a hobby nowadays. Not to be left behind I too ventured into the area of internet maps - I downloaded Google Maps on my phone (hey, downloading it was pretty tough and it took me 3 days to get it to install; so don't laugh at the comparison).

Seriously folks, this is one of coolest applications that you can ever have on your phone. Haven't you always wished you knew how to get to some strange address in the city while travelling? Haven't you often wanted to know where the hell in the goddamn city you were? Haven't you gone to a new city and wondered whether the auto driver was taking you for a ride (metaphorically)? Haven't you wished you had some device in your pocket that would answer all the above questions?

Ever since I got this app, I haven't been able to stop myself from showing it off to everyone who happens to be near me. This is better than google maps on your computer for 2 reasons - firstly because you can view it on the go and secondly, it communicates with your phone to find out your current location which it shows using a nice blinking blue dot on the phone screen. I frequently open this application while travelling and see the blinking dot move around the city. You can also do a conventional search for any place and get directions to any location from your current location. All this is with a plain GPRS connection. I can imagine how good a 3G phone with touch screen and Android is going to be - nothing short of pure bliss.

There are many of you reading this and thinking that I could just ask for directions. But I'm one of those people who firmly believe that asking for directions is the most uncool thing anybody without google maps on their phone could do.

While you think about that, I'm off now, to show off this app to the kids in my flat who've come out to burst some crackers. If I can just catch them before they run away on seeing me with my phone...

Happy Diwali, folks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Desperate Times

As a blogger/blog reader, you know that it's not the best of times when:
  1. The unread items in Google Reader consistently shows over 200 unread items, in spite of your best efforts in hitting the 'mark all as read' button every few days.
  2. You are reluctant to go to the original articles (when they provide only partial feeds) to read the full thing and/or comment for want of time.
  3. Your only chance to catch up on the blogs is on your phone when you're travelling to and from work (and that gives me a bad headache).
  4. The only time you think about your blog (crying for attention and post-less for more than a month) is when you're making things-to-do lists for your imaginary long vacation.
  5. For the first time since college, your pile of unwashed clothes contains every single item in your wardrobe. This is in spite of the fact that I have not one, but two washing machines in the house compared to zero in college. [In case you are interested in buying a rarely used, good as new Haier washing machine, please email me asap. I promise you a great deal. Special offer only for my blogger pals. Please put 'Washing machine - Special Blogger Discount' in the subject line and pray that gmail doesn't send it to my spam mail.]
You guessed right, I have the the usual suspects to blame for lack of any blog activity in the last month - work (I'm talking 13-14 hours per day without the luxury of a holiday on Sundays). What makes me sadder is that things are only going to get madder from now on leading up to the big showdown around the end of this month. After that, I hope to get away from all this madness for 3-4 days with a bit of travelling. Then it's back to work again till my big break (fingers crossed!) around Christmas time.

As I type this, it sounds scary to me - what I'm looking at is 3 full months without a single post. That would be like a death knell for my blog, and I'm determined to not let that happen. Let's see how things pan out in the coming days. Meanwhile I've got a pending tag from Cris which I hope to do some time soon. Till then...