Thursday, July 24, 2008

Getting booked for Traffic Offenses

In the recent past I have got booked for traffic offenses 3 different times in 3 different ways. I am not sure if the police have got smarter and stricter or have I been breaking the law a bit too frequently of late. Anyway what I found interesting is the different ways that you can get booked now which is what I want to talk to you about in this post.

Method 1 - Caught in the act

This is the traditional method. I jumped a traffic light and landed straight into the waiting sub inspector on the other side of the traffic signal.My bike key got confiscated till I paid up my Rs. 100 and I drove away. Well this is the time tested way where you get caught red handed and you have nothing to say to bail yourself out.

Method 2 - Notice is mailed to your house

I was surprised a couple of days ago when I opened my mail box at home and I find this inland letter from the traffic police claiming that I was in a no parking zone on April 6th and that I can go online to http://www.esevaonline.com and can pay up my fine. So I go there and key in the details and voila all my details come up successfully. What worries me about this form of ticketing people is that there is no proof that I was in that area on that day and I was parked illegally. So I wonder how valid is this in a court of law. Being a website that I normally use to pay my electricity and telephone bills I promptly paid up as I did not want any trouble.

Method 3 - Notice is served at home
Last year a person in plain clothes visited my home and presented me a letter stating that I had a traffic violation and that he came to collect the fine. First of all the letter was hand written and the registration of the car that supposedly commited the offense was not mine and also the address was not complete. All it had was my name that was correct. So not trusting the person at my door step I told them that I would go to the traffic control room and pay the fine and the person went away. When I went downstairs and enquired with the watch man he told me that they wrote the letter out in the building. I checked online and I could not find any information about this challan number online. I immediately smelt a rat here and I was sure that this was some big scam in the making.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shortage of power ? Here is a solution.

With all the scheduled power outages that we are having in Hyderabad for close to four hours a day and the central government fighting for its survival over getting nuclear fuel to meet our future energy needs here is a club in London that is generating electricity out of a bouncing dance floor. Read the explanation below about how they are generating the electricity.


You can read more about this at Dancefloor generates electricity at London’s first eco-disco!

It's interesting how once upon a time all these innovative ways to generate electricity would have just been just too expensive but with the cost of traditional ways of generating electricity going up such innovative ways are not only becoming a style statement but they are becoming affordable to implement.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is eating out too expensive ?

You hear a lot of it in the news that food prices are rising and that people are not able to afford to eat out any more.
Today we paid a visit to Paradise Restaurant in Hyderabad and ordered take away (Read my earlier post Food in Hyderabad about why you should do take-away and not eat at Paradise) and here is what we got for a gift pack that costed us Rs. 220.
  • 1 Chicken Biryani
  • 1 Mutton Biryani
  • 6 pieces of kebabs
  • 1 Butter Chicken
  • 2 Romali Rotis
We usually eat Biryani from Hyderabad House and all of the items mentioned above would have costed us nothing less that Rs. 500.
A few days ago we ate in Chutneys and for just 1 palak paneer, 4 rotis, 1 soup and 1 plate of idli the bill came up to Rs. 450. Chutneys used to not be this expensive - its only of late that they have really increased their prices. And on the other hand the small idly-dosa tiffin joints that you see all over Hyderabad have pretty much kept their prices stable.

Another kind of restaurant that most people eat from is what they call a "mess" in Hyderabad. They serve a "meal" in these messes that consist of portions of fried vegetable, curry vegetable, sambar, rassam, pickle, chutney, curd and rice. Three years ago this used to cost Rs. 30 and now this costs Rs. 60. I think this is an indication that yes prices have gone up but they have doubled in the last 3 years but they have certainly not gone through the roof as eating in some restaurants may suggest.

Prices have gone up and there is no denying that but if you pick and choose the restaurants that you eat in you can still have a great meal without burning a hole in your pocket.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Why would anyone need a camera like this ?

I came across this article on Engadget that talks of a 50 Megapixel camera from Hasselblad that costs something in the region of 37 K USD (Pricing is not yet released). Which got me thinking about why would anyone need such a high resolution camera when a 4 Megapixel camera can print a hoarding that is 12 feet X 9 feet. (Source : The Megapixel Myth).

Anyone that is planning to buy a digital camera or thinking to upgrade one that they already have should read the megapixel myth.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Firefox 3.0 officially sets the world record

Firefox 3.0 has set the Guinness world record for the largest number of downloads in a 24 hour period. And for the record I was part of it :-).



To get your own certificate visit http://www.spreadfirefox.com/en-US/worldrecord/certificate_form.

What I find weird is that all you have to do is go and give your name and you get a certificate. So even if you did not download it, you can get a certificate stating that you did. Not good :-(. If they were planning to give these certificates I am sure they could have put some thought into only giving it to people who genuinely did download the browser and thus giving some amount of credibility to the certificate.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Open ID - What, Where, How, Advantages, Safe ?

I am sure a lot of you must be reading about Open ID and are wondering what it is and how is it useful. I did not care much about it till I read that blogspot was supporting Open ID and so I got curious.

What is Open ID ?

Let me give you my understanding of Open ID. Everyone has a profile page on yahoo, AOL, Flickr and so on or a blog or a website. All these are represented by a unique URL that will give a user more information about ther real you (unless you only exist on that profile in cyberspace). The idea of open id is that instead of using a userid and password everywhere to identify yourself and setting up your profile each time you can use this URL to identify yourself and that way if anyone wants to know more about you they can visit the URL. When you use the open ID if you are logged into your site then there is no authentication required but if you are not logged in then it takes you to the webpage to be authenticated.

To get a geek view of what open ID is you can go to http://openid.net/what/ and read up more on the subject.

Where can you use open ID ?

Let us say you are signing up for something and you already have an open ID and the site you are signing up on supports open ID then you can use your open ID and sign up instead of creating a new user id and password.

If you are commenting/replying to something on a site that requires authentication and that site supports open ID then you can use your open ID.

What is the advantage of open ID ?

The main use of Open ID is that you do not need to maintain multiple profiles and multiple userids and passwords. But the main advantage that I see is that you start to get an identity on the web that is unique. This identity can be in the form of a yahoo profile, flickr photographs or a blogger/wordpress blog and this identity uniquely identifies you. You do not need to provide all your details each and every time.

How safe or secure is this open ID ?

Open ID is created and maintained by a foundation. Third party providers actually provide the service. So you are not tied into any one provider. So it is secure. All the big players are starting to adopt open ID since it is really easy to use.

How do I get an Open ID?

I have made my blog as my open id and I now use it everywhere to uniquely identify myself. On blogger all you have to do is go to your settings and there is a new section called Open ID. You can set it up there.

To get a list of other open ID providers visit http://openid.net/get/.