Tech posts

Party like it’s 1997

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Arthi Meera and the members of Chicago alternative band 1997 prance around a ruined church in this moody video for ‘A Fearless Heart’.

I haven’t gallivanted about European war memorials, but the setting reminds me of this.

Baby name generator

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

If you’re having trouble coming up with a unique desi baby name, try pasting a list of existing names into this word generator (click show source; doesn’t work in Internet Explorer). It relies on frequency analysis of phonemes (technically a Markov text generator) to come up with new names.
I pasted in female names beginning with [...]

Mrs. Prabhu

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

The Silencers #1 shows why ‘comic book writing’ is an epithet. I appreciate the repping, but landlady in a hot purple sari with chunni perpetually over her head is just lazy exoticism.
On the other hand: duh, it’s a comic. By the way, the appropriately-named ‘Comics (Free)’ iPhone app is wonderful. This is how comics [...]

Burning question

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

In the early 1950s, Ray Bradbury sat with a typewriter in the basement of UCLA’s Powell Library and clattered out a book called “Fahrenheit 451“. It described a future where books are burned by firemen and the only sort of books that are allowed to survive are comic books (they’re too shallow and stupid to [...]

Phixxit, a new project

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

(Vij-vertisement) This isn’t desi-related, but moments ago I finished a techie side project. Phixxit is a place to gripe about, and vote on, issues with brand-new tech. It covers the iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre, Kindle, Windows 7, Snow Leopard and so on. It’s the nitpicky perfectionist in me writ large.
So please check it out. Post [...]

Jo pehchaana woh sikandar

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

iTunes isn’t so great at matching Bollywood tracks with their album covers. Corporate Whore is an aptly-named American b-school band, not a bad Bipasha Basu movie, a redundancy if ever there was one.
I wonder what it might come up with for songs from Don — Don Henley, ‘Dirty Laundry‘?

Voice control

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Ever since shiny little Apple products started including voice commands, I’ve wondered how they’d handle song names in unsupported languages. Would it be as bad as Moviefone’s text to speech bot?
Yes it is. Here’s how the current iPhone reads out the title track to ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hai (Please Say You’re in Love)’: ‘Now playing [...]

Wall of Awesomeness

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Bing’s Wall of Awesomeness, where all the videos play on hover, has actually been in the Live search engine for a couple of years, but nobody noticed. The experience is voyeuristic, like that crappy Sharon Stone - William Baldwin movie Sliver. Check out these walls when you’ve got a few hours to spare: Amitabh Bachchan, [...]

Quick tag lookups

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Ultrabrown now has friendly tags for those of you addicted to your keyboards. For example: for the ongoing race clashes. This one is a huge time saver when you’re trying to find that news post you vaguely remember. Tags with spaces work fine, e.g.: adiga for pearls of offbeat wisdom. for the latest news [...]

Browsing on the jetway

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Amazon’s free book trials on the iPhone are knock-your-socks-off good, being far more convenient than browsing at a physical bookstore. I managed to snarf down eight book previews in the five minutes it took to get through boarding and down a jetway into my flight, and had I already settled on a book, could have [...]

Ghetto in your pocket

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Late at night when the young Punjabi cabbies came in, my Manhattan gym would play their bhangra CDs. In Harlem it was booty videos 24/7, while the Silicon Valley TVs fixate on money honeys.
I wanted out. I wanted control of my audioscape while doing my ten thirty minutes on the treadmill. The first step was [...]

Set adrift on mobile bliss

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

A compendium of Buddhist-themed mobile phones, all very understated and subtle:

The Odin 99 has landed on the streets of Japan [China], and a single tap of the phone’s dedicated lotus-leaf button will load a private, customisable, animated altar. The idea is to allow Buddhists to perform their dedications and rituals [...]

‘Enchantress’ preview

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

You can read up to two chapters of some books free on Amazon’s new Kindle app for the iPhone. You don’t get that cool e-ink screen, but it’s a good way to pass time and check out new books.
Here’s how Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence appears:

The interface is a little hacky. The app makes you [...]

Iko Iko

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

I know that half the Office developers are Indian — most of Excel, obviously — but isn’t this screen a bit obvious?
Here’s the provenance of the title song, by the way:

Mardi Gras Indians are African-American Carnival revelers in New Orleans, Louisiana who dress up for Mardi Gras in suits influenced by Native American ceremonial [...]