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Ensemble Studios is getting shut down :(

Posted by Sankar on September 22, 2008

Ensemble Studios, the studios behind the successful Age of Empires series and games like Age of Mythology is apparently closing down. I just read about this earlier today and it was definitely a shocker. The age of empires series is one of the most popular RTS games and a very profitable one too. Currently, they are working on a RTS version of Halo called Halo Wars. It looks like Microsoft Game Studios (which owns Ensemble Studios) is shutting it down after the completion of Halo Wars 😦

Check out the post here.

I just hope that they are just being absorbed into MSG and not really being shut down…

Posted in Articles/Links | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Google Chrome – open source browser from Google

Posted by Sankar on September 1, 2008

A few years back I had blogged about some rumors in the industry about Google coming up with a browser. Well, it turned out to be a rumor then. But now, it looks like Google is coming up with a browser of its own. In fact, the browser is getting released as early as tomorrow. I hope this is not a rumor/hoax.

A fresh take on the browser

They also have a comic that highlights the features of the browser. Looking forward to trying it out. Firefox and IE especially have to be on their toes now.

Posted in Software | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Top Thrill Dragster – 120 MPH in 3.8 secs

Posted by Sankar on August 4, 2008

I went to Cedar Point, OH this weekend and there was this coaster which was unlike anything else I have seen. It is called Top Thrill Dragster which is based on the concept of Drag Racing.

The actual ride lasts only about 10 secs. But it reaches 120 MPH in 3.8 secs and that’s the acceleration you get. It is just amazing. I was at the first row in the coaster and tears started coming in my eyes literally because of the speed. Look at this video below. Not mine, but had to post something so that you get an idea.

The waiting time for this ride was 90 minutes, but it is worth it. If you are planning to visit Cedar Point, make sure you don’t miss this one.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price

Posted by Sankar on June 25, 2008

Following An Inconvenient Truth, this (Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price) is another documentary that caught my eye while I was looking for some DVDs to watch. The synopsis pretty much lured me into watching this.

Everyone has seen Wal-Mart’s lavish television commercials, but have you ever wondered why Wal-Mart spends so much money trying to convince you it cares about your family, your community, and even its own employees? What is it hiding? Filmmaker Robert Greenwald takes you behind the glitz and into the real lives of workers and their families, business owners and their communities.

And the outcome was pretty startling. It is like the ones handled by Michael Moore. You wonder if the information is true, how come no one seems to be doing anything about it.

This documentary deals with issues like deliberate understaffing in the stores, the benefits offered by the company to the staff, how the staff is treated at overseas walmart locations, working conditions, environmental impact and much more. And the big issue of all – how walmart affects local businesses in each and every town. The documentary also features lot of interviews from past and present Walmart employees (both in the US and overseas).

Do watch it if you get a chance.

Posted in Movies, Reviews | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

An Inconvenient Truth

Posted by Sankar on June 23, 2008

I got to watch this documentary on global warming and climate crisis just recently and it is something that has to be watched by each one of us.

The documentary (by Al Gore) primarily focuses on providing data that global warming is real and is not a hoax like some people claim. The data provided is pretty exhaustive and it looks like we are headed for unimaginable things in the near future if we don’t change our way of lives.

I wish the documentary also touched on how every individual can change in order to have less impact on the environment. But please do watch it if you get a chance.

Posted in Movies | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Firefox 3.0 – Initial thoughts

Posted by Sankar on June 19, 2008

It has been a couple of days since Firefox 3.0 was released and I have been using it since the release. I was a big fan of Firefox, but stopped using 2.0 because of memory hog issue. This has been fixed and 3.0 is much better in terms of memory handling.

One huge improvement is the way it processes javascript. So if you are big user of web 2.0 apps (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Google Reader etc), you will notice huge improvement in Firefox 3.0 compared to IE7. I use Google Reader several times a day and I was definitely impressed with the speed at which the pages were loaded in Firefox 3.0. Try it out and I am sure you will definitely notice the difference.

I think I might stay with Firefox for a while unless IE8 comes with a load of features.

Posted in Software, Technology | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

10 avatars of Dasavatharam

Posted by Sankar on June 18, 2008

Got this piece of information in a forward. Thought it was interesting.

One thing we had noticed is why people didnt get the real subtext and reason for the various roles and hence the title.
If you knew the real dasavatharams of Lord Vishnu and their characters you can appreciate the script more. Let me explain, starting with the best adapted role:

1. Krishna avatar – Vincent Poovaraghavan
Lord krishna is actually a dalit, he is dark-skinned [shyamalam]. He saved draupadi when she was being violated and he was the actual diplomat in mahabharatham. Lord krishna dies of an arrow striking his lower leg. Now look at how vincent was introduced.. he appears when asin is about to be molested and he saves her like draupadi. Vincent is the dalit diplomat, fights for land issue [soil issue to be exact] and dies from the metal rod striking his leg. Oh even five of vincent’s men are drugged at P. Vasu’s.. sounds familiar???

2. Balarama avatar – Balarama naidu
This is an easy given. as the name suggests and the role personifies you can easily get it.

3. Mathsya avatar – Ranagaraja nambi
nambi is thrown into water in an act of trying to save lord from being thrown into sea, though vainly. what more clue do you want?

4. Varaha avatar – Krishnaveni paatti
During the mukunda song, krishnaveni paatti does varaha avatar in the shadow puppetry. The frame freezes on it for a second. there is the clue. Moreover, in varaha avatar lord actually hides earth so as to protect life forms. Here too krishnaveni hides the germs – life form inside the statue so as to protect.

5. Vamana avatar – Kalifulla khan
remember in vamana avatar, lord vishnu takes the vishvaroopa, that is the giant form! Hence the giant kalifulla here symbolises vamana avatar.
6. Parasurama avatar – Christian Fletcher
Parasurama is actually on an angry killing spree and killed 21 generations of the particular kshatriya vamsa. Hence the real KILLER… Guess what thats what our Fletcher is! He comes around with the gun [modern upgrade for axe] and kills everyone around. I have to check if he kills 21 people though. 😀

7. Narasimha avatar – Shingen Narahashi
first of all the name itself is a play on the words singam [means lion in tamil] and narasimha [the avatar being symbolised]. Lord Narasimha manifests himelf to kill the bad guy and he also teaches prahaladha. In the movie, he shows up to kill the killer fletcher! and is also a teacher.. Lord Narasimha had to kill the asura with bare hands and hence the martial arts exponent here.. get it?

8. Rama avatar – Avatar Singh
Lord Rama stands for the one man one woman maxim, kind of symbolising true love.. Here Avatar portrays that spirit by saying that he loves his woman more than anything and wants to live for her.

9. Kalki avatar – Govindaraj Ramasamy
As you know, the hero in kaliyug can be none other than the Kalki avatar!!!

10. Koorma avatar – Bush
This is the most loose adaptation I couldn’t clearly comprehend. But if you look at the real koorma avatar, the lord is the turtle/tortoise that helps in stirring the ksheera sagara and bringing out the amruth. This essentially creates war among the devas and asuras. Similarly today Bush facilitates war between you know whom… May be Kamal also indicates that this avatar is a bit dumb like the tortoise…

Check out other movie related posts in this blog

Posted in Movies | Tagged: , , | 40 Comments »

Review system for cricket

Posted by Sankar on June 18, 2008

ICC finally did some thinking and is trying a review system where the players can ask the on-field umpires decision to be reviewed. I had already written about this in an earlier post titled “Using technology in sports“.

The system is going to be put on trials in the upcoming test series between India and Sri Lanka in July. Each team can make upto three unsuccessful requests in an innings. Good to see that something positive is happening and hope the trials prove successful and the review system is made a permanent part of cricket.

Check out the article at cricketnext for more information on this.

Posted in Cricket, Sports | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Dasavatharam – thoughts

Posted by Sankar on June 14, 2008

I think the story and screenplay meant the movie to be a fast paced racy thriller, but it never seemed that way.

In one scene, Kamal talks about Chaos theory… but I felt that the movie itself was full of chaos. Too many people talking at the same time and this was not just once or twice…. all along the movie.

Asin had only one line in the entire movie… Perumalae. And she talked only if Kamal was talking to someone else trying to explain something. And this refers to the chaos I mentioned. And I still don’t understand the 12th century piece and how it fits into the movie. Maybe I missed something.

Overall, I felt that the screenplay had the burden of handling 10 characters and trying to fit them all together, but it could have and should have been done better.

Check out other movie related posts in this blog

Posted in Movies | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Go to Mars with Virgin and Google – Virgle

Posted by Sankar on April 1, 2008

Check this out.

Looks like a Fool’s day hoax from Google. But it is creative and interesting though.  

Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a Comment »