Saturday, September 13, 2008

Google does it yet again!! Picassa Updates.

Though I am a bit late to notice this, but is worth sharing. Picassa for Web now supports:

  1. Name tagging like Orkut, using your Gmail contacts.

  2. Email upload.

  3. A shiny new GUI.

  4. And introduces Picassa 3 software, with some improvements to photo editing features.

I am not detailing it here, because the experts have themselves done it on Gmail and Picassa blogs. And finally here is a link detailing the differences between Picassa 2.7 and 3.0 beta.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Google does it again. Experimental iGoogle features.

Google is constantly changing its products. First it was Google Talk Labs Edition, then the hyped browser Chrome, and now they have put in some innovation and cool user interface in their personalized (for users) Google page called iGoogle.

This is still in experimentation, meaning, not everybody will be able to see this version of the iGoogle web page. But a few users have been invited by Google to use this experimental web page when they log in. (and that includes lucky me !!). Full story can be read on Google Support page.

The USP of this new interface are rounded boxes (called canvas view gadgets) on the Home page for various applications added onto iGoogle by the user. Any box can be maximized to view the full application in its own frame within iGoogle page. Also iGoogle has a left navigation to tab through each of the frames / pages of application added onto iGoogle. These boxes can be dragged and dropped to change their location on the Home page, can be collapsed, maximized and customized.

So now I can have all my favourite web applications, web sites, news feeds, jokes, weather forecast, Gmail, Gtalk and many more added as boxes to my iGoogle webpage and use them from a single window. I can also set iGoogle as my home page to have quick access to all my favourite web sites at once.

Did I mention GTalk, yes the best part of this new interface is that it also provides a separate tab in the left navigation for chatting using Google services. And now since base code of Gmail is supported on IE6 as well, you can go invisible while chatting from iGoogle irresepective of the IE version you are using. Great !! What else could I ask for. However as of now the Gtalk tab is not available to all who have access to the new iGoogle. Google says, there are still some bugs with this, which they are working upon. For me, I do not have the Gtalk on my iGoogle as yet.

All of this is what makes me a die hard Google "Bhakt". I only wish Google to call more and more users to experience the new iGoogle, and to make the chatting tab available to all.

Here is a sneak preview of the new iGoogle, for those who do not have access to it yet:


Blogging Friends Forever Award

It has been quite some time now since Sudeshna conferred me with the "Blogging Friends Forever" award. I feel the time is now ripe to pass on this award to few of my friends as my blog has matured a lot. Also the number of hits to my blog has gone up considerably. Now going by various posts on Sudeshna's and others' blogs on cyberspace, something tells me that doing so is a must, and would rather be rude, if I don't do it.

The following rules apply to this award:

  1. You pass on the award to 5 people

  2. 4 of them can be regular visitors of your blog

  3. One (the 5th one) has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.

  4. You must link back to who ever gave you the award.

So I pass on this award to:

  1. To my friend and once upon a time colleague Kalyan.

  2. My friend, gadget mentor, and brother Aditya.

  3. Sharmila who is a new visitor to my blog.

  4. Kulprete, my childhood friend, and now an enterprising fellow.

  5. And to Alex from Russia who once visited my blog from obviously a completely other part of the world !!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Gauri Ganapati

Today is marked by the 'Visarjan' (when idols of worship are submerged in the waters) of 'Gauri-Ganapati' (Goddess Gauri, and God Ganesha), as the last day of week long 'Ganeshotsav' (festival to worship God Ganesha). Yesterday was when all families who did a 'sthapna' (setting up of idols of worship) of 'Gauri-Ganapati' at their homes, did a pooja and invited brahmin couples over for the pooja and lunch thereafter. We too were invited over by our relatives (my aunt and uncle) in Delhi, albeit for dinner and not lunch. They (my aunt's family) have been following the 'Ganeshotsav' for more than some 50 years now, and are expert at the smallest of detail, when it comes to the decoration of 'Gauri-Ganapati' and the 'sthapana'. After offering my prayers to the deities I just could not refrain myself from taking a snapshot of the beautiful setup. My aunt had taken great care of dressing the 'Gauri(s)' called the 'Jyeshtha' (elder sister) in a Silk Saree, and the 'Kanishta' (younger sister) in a Cotton Saree.

Have a look (from right to left, 'Jyeshtha', 'Ganesha' and 'Kanishtha'):

Sunday, September 7, 2008

EggVeg Ginger Garlic Maggie Noodles

Wondering what those street vendors do to a simple packet of Maggi Noodles to make it so tasty? Thanks to Google, little experimentation and this web page, I unlocked the secret to a yummy plate of Maggi Noodles. I call them EggVeg Ginger Garlic Maggi Noodles!!

Here is what you need to do:

Step 1. Boil 2 Maggi cakes with 1.5 sachet of Maggi garnishing. (serves two, increase all other ingredients as per your liking, and proportion)

Step 2. Chop tomatoes, capsicum, and any other vegetables you might have (peas, cabbage, carrot, spring onions etc). Boil an egg or two may be, and slice it into 4 pieces each.

Step 3. Keep some sauces handy. Tomato, soy, chili sauce etc.

Step 4. Prepare garlic and ginger paste. I would suggest to be generous with ginger, but a bit careful with the garlic.

Step 5. Heat some oil in a flat pan. I don't know how much, but it should be a little more than enough to fry all the chopped vegetables you have.

Step 6. Stir fry the garlic ginger paste in the oil. Add the sliced vegetables, a little salt, some red chili powder and the remaining Maggi garnishing. Add the soy and tomato sauce as per taste. Fry for 5-6 min, and add the eggs in the last.

Step 7. Slow down the heat, and add the boiled noodles into the batter. Mix well. You are ready to go !!

The recipe in images, sequenced as per steps above :-

Update on Sept 8, 2008:

This blog (recipe) is now contesting in a Non veg recipe event at Sudeshna's blog.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Beaked Visitor

It had rained a lot the whole night, and was coupled with a strong wind that just fell a bit short of being called a storm. As such, Saturday morning was very cool, opposed to the hot September mornings we had become used to. I prepared a nice hot cup of Masala Tea, and was was tattering away at my laptop's keyboard, while sipping it. Just then, it happened. Power failure. So much for the lovely morning.

Hot that it was not, I finished my tea, read the newspaper, and strolled towards my balcony, only to find that there was a lot of ruckus going on in the neighborhood. And to just let you know, my neighborhood is a lots of pigeons. Hundreds and thousands of them.

And the reason behind this was a nasty visit from a flock of beaked eagles. Aditya you can perhaps help me pin these birds to their exact name (One of my readers tells me that they are black kites, but googling on the subject has broadened my choices to four species: black kite, indian spotted eagle, greater spotted eagle and lesser spotted eagle). In the meanwhile, I shall continue the story. While all the eagles were busy in action, two of them were lazily perched on the building roof opposite to my balcony. Seemed as if they had their full. Poor neighbors.

I immediately grabbed my pristine Olympus FE-15 auto focus digicam and started taking a few shots. The results were not quite good, as the distance was very large, and my digicam has just a tiny 3X zoom. So I brought my Bushnell binocular, manually adjusted its focus and placed the digicam behind the binocular to get some zoomed in shots. And I must admit that the shots weer pretty neat and had a modest detail. Have a look!!

The two of them captured without the binocular:

All shots focused on the right birdie zoomed in with help of my binocular: