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Teleport Destinations #3

Monday · 30 Oct 06 · 03:09 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

A variety of links for you to visit, in this installment of Teleport Destinations!

  • Many hours of my day today were taken up by this very interesting online puzzle called Klueless2, which is part of IIM Indore's event IRIS (the Flash intro contains Clint Mansell's "Requiem for a Dream/Requiem for the Ring" musical theme!).  Kamal pointed me to this game, and the two of us were chatting using Google Talk and trying to solve it.  I've currently given up after reaching Level 9.
  • Firefox 2 crosses 2 million downloads within the first 24 hours of release, reports Slashdot, but then there is also this follow-up story called Nine Reasons to skip Firefox 2.  Regardless of that, I am currently happily using Firefox 2.
  • Also through Slashdot, I downloaded the Nerdcore Hip-Hop Halloween EP.  Haven't listened to all the songs yet, but they seem good.
  • Speaking of Halloween, Merrill Rainey has a very cool desktop wallpaper and other related stuff on his site.
  • "If it's Halloween, it must be Saw" — Bloody-Disgusting's review of Saw III also has great praise for this movie.
  • AICN posted a review for Evil Dead: The Musical with a video!  Groovy.
  • Again from Slashdot, this article talks about a method that allows for one to literally "sketch" and materialise objects!
  • And I'm downloading the recently released Linux distribution, Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) now.  Look at the Wikipedia page for interesting information on Ubuntu, especially the cool codenames for the releases (Warty Warthog, Hoary Hedgehog, Breezy Badger, Dapper Drake, etc.)!

Until next time, then!

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Now Running: Firefox 2!

Monday · 30 Oct 06 · 02:37 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Tech

I've been using Mozilla Firefox almost exclusively as my web browser for the past two years or so, and rarely find the need to use anything else.  If you ask me to compare browsers, Firefox and Opera would be almost equally placed, with Internet Explorer 6 being inferior to both.  Apart from the tabbed browsing available in these browsers, the customisability and the user-friendly features make for a far better browsing experience than using IE.  Security-wise, Firefox and Opera provide a much better alternative than IE — I've even observed in one browsing centre that Firefox is installed as the default browser, but with its icon on the desktop renamed to "Internet Explorer", so as to make all visitors use it, even those who are less familiar with computers.  Strangely, at office, only IE 6 is available; and our company's internal portal doesn't work in Firefox at all — Firefox says the site's security certificate is invalid, and refuses to load it.

Anyway, I've been hearing about the long-awaited release of Firefox 2 for a while now, but I was perfectly happy using Firefox  But then, I came across this Slashdot story, which talked about Firefox 2 getting more than 2 million downloads within its first 24 hours of release (with the peak download rate being more than 30 downloads per second!) — and decided that I would also upgrade.  I am currently using Firefox 2 — I like the improved tab handling and the enhanced visual style that it offers.  So far everything's working fine and I've experienced no issues with this version.  I'm also pleasantly surprised at the non-intrusiveness of the integrated spell-checker (I've not needed one as I'm careful with spellings).

I wonder how many downloads it has crossed by now.  Anyway, as many have pointed out, the recently released Ubuntu Linux 6.10 (Edgy Eft) also includes Firefox 2, so when calculating the number of downloads of the browser, one would also need to add the number of downloads of Eft to that!  I'm currently downloading Eft myself, and while I am happy with using Windows XP on my laptop, I wouldn't mind giving this a try, considering that I can run it from the CD itself.

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Back in Chennai, New Site Features, Movies Awaited

Friday · 27 Oct 06 · 02:33 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

I had a very nice time in Hyderabad for five days...  Got to relax and stay at home with my parents and Varun, and I also got to meet Ganeshan who's come to India now after 3 years in the US.  Got back to Chennai yesterday night, and now it's back to the usual routine.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to this Sunday.

I added a few new things to the site while in Hyderabad, which are as follows:

  • A new site theme, called A Dimension of Chaos.  This is a dark, hellish colour scheme.  Click the link to activate it, and you can have a look at the other themes at the Customise page.
  • Random one-liners at the bottom of each page.  Scroll down and have a look...  The quotes are either from movies or from Nine Inch Nails songs.
  • Site Statistics have now been added, that page contains some interesting trivia about the site.
  • The Movie List Index page now shows you the most recent five movies I've seen.

Going off-topic now, here are some movies that I'm eagerly looking forward to watching:

  • Saw III, which opens tomorrow in the US.  According to an initial review I read (Arrow — he gave it 3.5 on 4... unfortunately the review's been taken down currently — but not before I saved a copy!), it's an excellent movie!
  • Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms, which is going to premiere on Cartoon Network tomorrow again!  Can't wait to see this.
  • Christopher Nolan's latest, The Prestige, which was released some days ago.

I hope I'll get to see these movies soon.  Later in the year, there's Pan's Labyrinth to look forward to!

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Going to Hyderabad

Thursday · 19 Oct 06 · 01:43 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

We have officially declared holidays on Friday (20th) and Wednesday (25th) at work.  In addition to this I've taken leave on the 23rd and 24th, which gives me a much-needed, and long-awaited five-day break.

I went home last time in July, and am now looking forward to visiting Hyderabad again.  Flight is on 20th morning, 5:20 AM, which means I should be at home by 7:30 AM itself.  I'll be back in Chennai late on 25th night (I have the 9 PM flight from Hyderabad).

Expecting a busy day at work, so I better sleep now, seeing as how I won't be getting much sleep in the next 30 hours or so (have to leave here at around 3 AM to go to the airport, so not much sleep time available!).

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New Mobile Phone — Sony Ericsson W300i

Sunday · 15 Oct 06 · 08:00 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

I bought a new cellphone today!  This is the Sony Ericsson W300i, which is one of the phones in Sony's Walkman range.  Apart from the phone's design, I really like the fact that it has a 256 MB memory card, so I've stored a number of songs on it; for listening during long bus rides to and back from office.  A few score MIDIs were also uploaded on to it — the entire Doom and Doom II soundtracks, a few select Tolwyn/Klem tunes and other game songs, and some general ones.  The current ringtone I've set is a track from Requiem by Mark Klem.  I transferred everything from my computer using Bluetooth — that's much simpler instead of messing about with the USB connector (more software to install).  The phone's inbuilt speaker is quite good, and is actually pretty OK for listening to music.  Yet to try out the headphones though, and I've heard that the quality is excellent.  The camera is quite decent as well.  For a more detailed review of the phone, you can have a look at this page on

In other news, I've been involved heavily in recruitments on Friday and Saturday.  Friday was spent at Vel Tech Engineering College, where we had conducted an online test, for screening the hundreds of students who had applied to the company.  After this, I watched Lage Raho Munnabhai in the theatre, which I enjoyed.  Yesterday we had a recruitment drive as well, and I was exhausted after being on a panel for 15 interviews.  Anyway, last night I watched the most excellent Hard Candy, and today, I plan to watch The Skeleton Key.

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Teleport Destinations #2

Sunday · 15 Oct 06 · 07:43 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

Well, here is another issue of Teleport Destinations, a collection of interesting links to visit!  So what are the destinations this time?  Let's have a look:

  • Black & Orange is an interesting collaborative project by Penelope Dullaghan (of Illustration Friday).  Anyone is allowed to participate — the task is to create a work of Halloween-themed art using a palette of Black and Orange!  I think I will participate in this too.
  • I came across Ex Astris Scientia while searching for some information on a particular episode of Star Trek: Voyager.  The site is an excellent resource for all things Star Trek.
  • Director David Fincher's upcoming movie is the serial-killer-thriller Zodiac, and JoBlo recently unveiled the movie's poster.
  • A footnote from the article linked above led me to this article, on the photography of Zodiac.  What's different is that this is the first feature film to be shot using an entirely "tapeless" process — everything was entirely digital, with data being stored on hard disks.  The article goes into some technical detail and is very interesting to read.
  • I've done a new drawing!  This one is called Eggs and Mutagen...  Have a look at the description to find out what it's all about.
  • I also watched this movie called Hard Candy yesterday, which is an unusual drama/thriller with excellent photography and acting.  I wrote a review for the movie this morning.

Well, that's all for this edition, see you next time!

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More Movie Reviews

Sunday · 8 Oct 06 · 02:23 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

Two more movie reviews added.  One is of the Paul Walker movie Running Scared, which was a nonstop thrill ride, and the second is of the ultra-low budget labour of love zombie movie, The Dead Next Door from director J R Bookwalter.

While I've added quite a few movie reviews in the recent past, I realised that I've not done the same for the Art Gallery and the Doom Reviews.  I hope to rectify that situation soon.  Possibly tomorrow, I plan to do a new painting, based on this week's Illustration Friday theme of "Trouble".

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Teleport Destinations #1

Sunday · 8 Oct 06 · 01:53 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

It all started with me sending emails to a set of friends once in a while, with "some interesting links" to visit.  Then I thought, why not make it a feature on my site?  There you have it, Teleport Destinations is a collection of interesting links around the web to visit, gathered from various sources.  Let's see what we have in this edition, shall we?

  • The publicity for the upcoming movie 300 (based on the comic by Frank Miller, directed by Zack Snyder) is beyond awesome, and I can't wait to watch the movie (March 2007).  Anyway, for now, the official trailer is online at Apple, and Solace in Cinema has a Comic-to-Screen comparison of the movie.
  • While we all wait for Hellboy 2: The Golden Army to be released in 2008, two animated features will be released earlier than that.  The recently launched has the trailer for the first animated feature, Sword of Storms, and a collection of wallpapers and other stuff.  The trailer was awesome, and I very much enjoyed the background music for the website — which is a rearranged version of Marco Beltrami's Hellboy Theme.
  • Drawn linked this video clip, about Steven Wilshire, who can draw an entire city just after a 45-minute helicopter ride over it.
  • This is an interesting game from M&M's: the painting has visual clues to 50 movie titles, see how many you can find.  I got 27/50 before I gave up and searched for the answers.
  • Welcome to the Scene is a documentary/fiction series about underground movie pirate groups.  I've so far watched 9 episodes of it and it is very interesting, with a unique style of presentation.  Also has a catchy opening theme song, which you can download from the site.
  • CNN-IBN covered BlogCamp, and their report on it is online here.  Both Varun and myself make an appearance in this video.

That's it for this edition of Teleport Destinations, see you next time with more interesting places to visit!

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Doom: Collector's Edition

Sunday · 8 Oct 06 · 01:40 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Doom

Went to the nearby "Shopping Singappore" [sic] today, to see if I could pick up any DVDs, but none were available.  So I bought the VCD of The Armour of God instead.  While browsing their collection, I came across the Doom: Collector's Edition set, containing the original Doom games, The Ultimate Doom, Doom II and Final Doom.

I was debating whether I should buy the set or not — on one hand, I already have the games; but on the other hand, the package was nice, and I expected some extra stuff to be there, and it was priced at just Rs. 299 (if I remember right, that's less than what a single game cost when we initially bought them several years back).  So I ended up buying it.

The set had two CDs, one containing the Doom games, and the second disc with some "preview content" for Doom 3 (which had been unreleased at the time).  This seems to be a budget edition of the set or something, because the two discs were in paper covers, and apart from the cardboard packaging, there were no other goodies that came with it.  Anyway, it was worth it for the low price, and I will keep it simply as a "collector's item".

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Two Movie Reviews, UPA Hyderabad Submission

Thursday · 5 Oct 06 · 09:12 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

Added two movie reviews last night.  One is of the movie Karam, which I watched in Manipal.  The movie didn't make much of an impact during its theatrical run, but it's a pretty decent action/thriller.  The reason it came to my attention is because Varun had wallpapers from this movie on his desktop!  The second review is of the Jason Statham movie Crank, which had an interesting concept and great execution.

In other unrelated news, Varun pointed me to the UPA Hyderabad website.  They are organising a competition to recognise the "Best Personal Website" and "Best Blog".  I submitted my site in the "Personal Website" category (as it has more content than just a blog).  Results are out on 13 October, I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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TAPMI Homecoming 2006

Monday · 2 Oct 06 · 08:07 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

I was at Manipal this weekend, attending TAPMI Homecoming 2006.  It was an amazing experience.  Guru had booked the tickets for the trip, and on Friday (29th) I left office at 5 PM and headed to Chennai Central.  Boarded Mangalore Mail, which left at 8:15 PM from there and reached Mangalore at 12:30 PM the next day.  We stayed at Adamaru Mutt in Udupi.

A brief recounting of experiences from there on follows:

  • Lunch at Woodlands, Udupi was great, very nice to taste the Idly Fry again!
  • We reached TAPMI by afternoon, and it was awesome to walk around the campus.
  • Met Profs Lionel Arahna, Mohan Kumar, and Saji Mathew, and then the current PGP Chairman, Prof R C Natarajan.  It was great to talk to them after a long time.
  • Next visit was to the TAPMI 8th Block Hostel, and the Mess.  Surprised to see the new Night Canteen that had opened there!
  • Walked to MIT 9th and 10th Block, where we used to have coffee on some nights.
  • Then visited Little Chef, where I had a taste of the famous burger (see the drawing here) after 1.5 years!  Also paid a visit to the shop next to Little Chef and the VCD/DVD library there.
  • Thanks to some of the current batch students, Guru and myself got to have a look at our hostel rooms (205 was his and 206 was mine).  The hostel rooms are now all Wi-fi enabled now, and I'm told 70% of the students have laptops...  I noticed that the current occupant of 206 had a MacBook.
  • After this, paid a visit to Music World and bought the VCD of Karam.
  • Spent some time at KMC Greens.
  • Had dinner at Andhra Mess and then headed back to Udupi.  Watched Karam, pretty nice movie.
  • The next day, we visited Sri Krishna Temple in the morning.  Met a couple of batchmates and juniors there.
  • Had a great breakfast at Woodlands — the bread-butter-jam was great (you'd think something with just three ingredients would be easy to make, but it still surprises me how so many other places can get every single one of them wrong!).
  • Watched Escape from New York on the laptop.
  • Went to TAPMI again in the afternoon, spent a few hours there, and met quite a few people from different batches.  Had "double black coffee" at the canteen.
  • By 5 PM it was time to say goodbye — and considering the place, and the people, this was not at all an easy thing to do.  I wonder when I will get to visit Manipal again, I certainly hope it is sometime soon!

We reached Mangalore station by 7:30 PM, and West Coast Express started by 9:15 PM.  The train reached Chennai at 3:30 PM today (very long journey, but I managed to get part of my Movies List updated during that time — actually, a bunch of the 2006 entries), and now I'm back at the house.

Homecoming was certainly an unforgettable experience — considering the (overly) hectic time I've been having at work recently, this was certainly a much-needed dose of mental peace.  Well, I have a few more hours of "freedom" to enjoy before I have to be back at work tomorrow.

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Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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