30 January 2007

Far Reaching Implications

In a move that could have far reaching implications, the Linux kernel community is making device driver development free. Yes, you heard it right, free as in free beer. In case your organization has a device and wants a driver to be developed for it, no need to think about stuff like time to ramp up engineers and stuff. Just publish your specification sheet and bingo. An army of developers are there ready to write a driver for you. More details on this are available Here.

Personally, i think this is a good move. But the point to ponder is this. Companies could have released their spec sheets all these years too and for sure, someone would have written drivers for it. But i think that the difference now would be that instead of waiting for *someone*, there is now someone.

Slowly and steadily, Linux is coming out into the mainstream. As the saying goes, "No force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come". Has the time come for Linux ? Looks like it.

K.Shyam
Tags: ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:37 PM 4 comments

Vista

Amidst all the hype about vista's launch, a critical thing has happened. The DRM in Vista, which was touted as a major improvement to the operating system itself and runs at an operating system level, has been cracked. More details are available Here. As the author says,

"_but as long as it’s in kernel-mode, and I’ve got code in kernel-mode, I can patch it._"

Seemingly simple isn't it ? As long as there is no clear demarcation of users this would always be a problem for windows.

Also look at what the author says:

"It’s quite ironic — Microsoft claims driver signing is to fight malware and increase system stability, so if I get sued under DMCA, wouldn’t that be an admission that driver signing is a “anti-copyright infringment tool”?."

In another DRM related news, the Defective by Design folks protested against vista's DRM in front of the place where vista was supposed to launch. Details are available Here.

One really fails to understand why M$ took all the trouble of putting in DRM and stuff and that too at an operating system level !

PC world has carried two vista articles. One about why you should switch. Read it Here. A simple glance tells you that most of the reasons seem to be things like GUI and stuff. Eye candy. The author says better wireless. What better ? How is it better ? Are there any statistics to say it is better ?

The same PC world also has an article saying why it is better to adopt a wait and watch. Read it Here. The author quotes from various websites of sound cards, graphics cards and other peripherals about the availability of device drivers for vista.

Now in case you want to upgrade, i suggest that you either read that article, or check out the microsoft website Here. Chances are, most of the old devices you have will not be compatible with vista. And yet, the biggest irony is that microsoft cliams that the vista is supported by a wide variety of devices.

And finally, even if you have been a long time Windows user, try running Ubuntu or Kubuntu linux distributions. You will see a pretty much similar interface, and most of the tools that an average home user uses, like firefox webbrowser, music player, skype, etc are already available for it. Plus, the added advantage is that you never need to invest for a anti-virus software.

This website gives you the equivalent softwares for the ones you are comfortable on windows.

Update-1: Engadget has carried a Two Part article to help you decide whether to upgrade to vista.

Update-2: Tom's Hardware has an excellent comparison of Xp Vs Vista Here.

To quote from their results:

1. "Windows Vista clearly is not a great new performer when it comes to executing single applications at maximum speed."
2. "Overall, applications performed as expected, or executed slightly slower than under Windows XP."
3. "There are some programs that showed deeply disappointing performance."
4. "We clearly advise against replacing Windows XP with Windows Vista if you need to run professional graphics applications."
5. "We are disappointed that CPU-intensive applications such as video transcoding with XviD (DVD to XviD MPEG4) or the MainConcept H.264 Encoder performed 18% to nearly 24% slower in our standard benchmark scenarios."
6. "Our hopes that Vista might be able to speed up applications are gone."
7. "No new Windows release has been able to offer more application performance than its predecessor."

Now that we have some properly documented results with benchmarks, you know what to do. Stick with XP or move to Linux. Take a bow, Steve Ballmer and others. Five years and five hundred millions of code later, the improvement is marginal or non-existent.

K.Shyam

Tags: , , , ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 8:15 PM 0 comments

26 January 2007

Bang on Target

I think i deserve a Phd in Tamil Movies. I predicted This. And here is the visual confirmation of it :;-)



Remember, i said it even before the movie was released. ;-)

K.Shyam
Tags: Illaya Thalapathi Vijay, Pokkiri

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:29 AM 0 comments

The Matrix & Hindu Philosophy



After yet another viewing of the Matrix (The first part), the more i think about it, the more i get to understand the fact that it is so much based on the Hindu philosophy.
Picture this:
1. In Hindu philosophy "The One" (typically in reference to Brahmins) refers to that person who fully understand that the world around him is in effect a virtual world or maya. The same is the case in Matrix

2. The concept of a supreme being (In Hindu philosophy's case Brahma/Vishnu) being everywhere and anywhere. Lookout when Lawrence Fishburne says "The Matrix there everywhere and anywhere".

3. In fact, the entire thought process that we all live in a virtual world seems to be heavily inspired.

4. I particularly liked the conversation that happens in the ship just after Neo is liberated (BTW, Neo is an anagram for "One"). The youngest member of the crew, Mouse, asks some really interesting questions in the dining table. How do computers know taste that they fed that taste into humans ? They fed some arbitrary taste thougths to the humans and hence, they think this is how an item must taste! On a similar plane, how do we recognize those tastes ? In fact, when everything around the world is virtual, how can we claim anything for surety ? Some interesting thoughts can occur to one if he/she starts thinking along those lines.

These analogies are just a tip of the iceberg. Throughout the movie, i could find hundreds of instances where there are references to Hindu Philosophy.

I think there are some kind of references to these kind in Christianity. I am not particularly sure of them though, nor am i about any other religion.

But overall, i think The Hindu philosophy makes for some interesting reading. As my grandfather used to say "Philosophy is a way of life and hence, read it when you are young and impressionable. There is no point in reading books on philosophy when you are post sixty. You don't have much life to live anyway;-)". And once you have even a little bit of understanding about it, you will start living life by the minute. Trust me. I speak from personal experience ;-)

As they say, packaging is everything. Post this movie, a lot more number of people have started taking note of Hindu philosophies and why, even books have been written about the connection between this movie and Hindu Philosophy.

K.Shyam
Tags: , ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 1:48 AM 1 comments

Sensationalism

What do you do when you are a worthless two bit television channel who has an impression of yourself that you are the begin all and end all of news reporting ? You resort to creating sensational headlines to put up an article and then mail it across to a few people who in turn will mail to others. This chain will increase your readership and viewership. CNN-IBN has done precisely that with this
article.

I cannot understand how they allowed such articles based on just hot air. As a journalist, you need some amount of facts to back your claims !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:00 AM 0 comments

24 January 2007

Sandisk Sansa E-280 Mp3 Player



I now posses a Sandisk Sansa E280 Mp3 player. Perhaps one of the most important reason why i got this player is that it also has an FM receiver. That apart, it is also pretty cheaper when compared to a 8GB iPod as this one costs me just 150$USD.

But wait. The comparisons end there. The product finish is not exactly the quality you get in iPod. The wheel which they have copied from iPod, is very very flaky. The quality of the piece leaves much to be desired. And the player has crashed twice already. I think it needs some firmware upgrade or something. Surprisingly, most of the reviews have given it a good rating. I for one, don't think that this is a very good player or whatsoever. For the money that you pay, you are due for a better product. Worse is the fact that there is no cable provided to recharge. I had to get one at an extra 20$. How bad can this get ? You give a 8GB player and expect people to run to their computers to charge it ? Jackass.

The sound quality is pretty good. But the FM receiver is not all that great. In building corners, there is signal distortion. I will try doing a firmware upgrade before deciding that i have wasted 150$ :-(.
K.Shyam
Tags: ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:44 AM 1 comments

A Weekend that was

In hindsight, it was a pretty interesting weekend. I traveled around 700 miles by a bus, around 300 miles by car, got my mac and mp3 player; well it was indeed an interesting weekend. Read on.

First the travel. I decided to go to Austin to pick-up my laptop, as mentioned in my previous post, from Monterrey. Buses from Austin to Monterrey are plenty and quite cheap. A return ticket from Monterrey to Austin will cost you just 90 USD if you take a grupo senda bus. From what i saw, these buses are the ones that look best. Most importantly, since you have to cross the immigration on the US border, you will need a bus driver who has lots of patience to wait till you complete the formalities. In my case, i was the only guy waiting to complete my immigration and the driver was waiting for me.

So my bus started from Monterrey bus stand (It is called "center de autobuses") at 8.00pm. But my journey from my house to bus stand was not without its usual excitement. The taxi i had called for did not arrive till 7.00pm and with the peak hour traffic, it would take at-least 45mins to reach the bus stand. Luckily, my colleague offered to drop me in his car and that problem was solved.

It started raining once i reached the bus stand. Actually it was pouring cats and dogs. The bus however was punctual and started exactly at 8.00pm. The buses were the volvo ones you get back home. By normal standards, the bus should have reached the US border by 10.00pm. It reached the border at exactly 12.00pm. It took another two hours for it to move to the point where we were asked to disembark. The customs guy who asked me a few questions was actually funny. Upon finding out that i am an Indian and i write software, without even blinking he tells me "You guys make upwards of 85K USD an year. Why are you taking this bus?". I was about to tell him not to piss me off at that unearthly hour, but he kind of climbed down and said it was just a joke to shake the sleep off me. The queue to get into the immigration office was pretty thin as it was not the holiday season. People who have traveled tell me that during holiday season, it takes around five hours to clear the queue.

The immigration process was actually smooth. However, one needs to have some warm clothing as it was pretty windy and cold. I had two t-shirts and a jerkin and covered my ears with a towel, a-la, Wood-Tamizhan style, around the head and covering the ears. You also need to pay 6$USD as immigration fees.

Grupo senda has a bus stand in laredo very close to the border. In fact once you clear the immigration, take the first left and the first right. You will reach a drugstore. I could not get the address as it was quite dark and there was no one in the bus stand, but i think it can be found out pretty easily. The reason why i am putting this is because of this. Typically, it takes around 5 hours for a bus to be checked. The internet is full of people reporting that you can get down at Nuevo Laredo (On the mexican side), take a taxi and cross over to Laredo (On the american side), or get down at Nuevo Laredo, walk across the bridge and get to Laredo and take a bus from there.

My simple piece of advice is to take a bus till Nuevo Laredo border, get down and walk across the bridge, get to the Grupo senda bus stand in Laredo and take another bus. That way, you can save atleast 3 or four hours. Imagine spending 5 hours in crossing a checkpost for a journey that is just 6 hours. Criminal wastage of time.

Since it was raining like crazy, the bus took another 5 hours to reach Austin, while the actual journey is four hours. The grupo senda (Turimex) bus stop in austin is here:
Gasolinera Chevron
2300 East Ben White boulevard.
Austin, Tx.
I do not have the phone numbers for this. I had asked the guy to write it on the ticket which he did. But the bus driver tore off a part of the ticket as his receipt, and thus the number is lost. But, i think one can get the number of this place by looking it up in some sort of yellow pages or something.

The other turimex stops are in San Antonio, Dallas, San Marcos etc. A simple check on google for "Turimex San Antonio" gives you the phone numbers.

SO after reaching Austin, my friend and myself proceed to houston. One of the places that pops up when you search for "places to see in houston" or "Houston must see tourist attractions" is the space center. I had already told my friend that from the website descriptions, it looked to be a criminal waste of time. But then again we wanted to see what it really was.

It turned out to be a waste of gasoline for 300 miles and 50$USD. Man such crap. Zilch. All high falutin descrptions for nothing. Check out the description for Blast off theater. What do you think of ? Some kind of simulation about how space vehicles are launched right ? Nothing. Crap. Just some Imax effects and smoke. It literally is hot air ;-)
My honest piece of advice. In houston never ever go near space center and waste your money and time. Better would be to just hit the coastline (Which we could not do due to lack of time) and relax.

However, as is with everything, there is always some good in bad. For 10$USD we feasted (feasted is an understatement. We gorged.) on some amazing Mexican buffet. This buffet is located close to exit 35 on I35 East near Houston.

Saturday ended with spending some time in the 6th street in Austin downtown. It was pretty okay. But what i was surprised about austin was that the downtown looked pretty small. Heck, velachery in madras where i live is far bigger than that ;-)

On sunday, we decided to check out some natural cave formations in Austin. That was pretty good. But the best part was that we decided to check out some lakes and have a dip in them. We spent almost the entire afternoon searching for some good lakes and found out lake travis in the evening when it was almost dark and the temperature had dropped considerably. To get to lake travis, go on Texas71 East till you reach Texas 620. Keep travelling in Texas620 to see some real good spots where you can just sit all day fishing, or wallowing in the water. But as they say, we got there just around evening where we could not do much swimming or something and hence had to return back empty handed.

But the highlight of the entire trip was at the mexican border. The guys check each and every bus. How ? By just unloading the entire luggage, and loading it back into the bus ! How is that checking ? But that was not all. Picture this. The cop asks me something in spanish of which i understand nothing. There are two buttons. One for a green light and one for a red light. I presume the cop was asking me something like "do you have something to declare". I just said shook my head indicating a "No" and pressed the green light and walked away. If they really want to check something, they should have an x-ray machine or they should not check anything. My bus reached the checkpost at 3.30am (It started from Austin at 11.30pm) and left the checkpost at 8.00am. What a criminal wastage of time.

In a nutshell, it is better to take a bus till Nuevo Laredo checkpost, get down and walk to the border bridge. It is just about 500 mts or so. Once you finish your immigration formalities, just walk across and catch the bus to any point in Texas. The bus was fairly empty on both legs of my journey, so getting tickets should not be that much of a problem.
K.Shyam
Tags: , ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:57 AM 0 comments

Co-incidence ??



I first did not believe that the latest vista release was being referred to by many people as "Various Improvements Similar To Apple". I dismissed it as being similar to the Linux vs MS wars that i have been seeing/hearing for many years. But, if you see this video, you might just be thinking that it can be true.

And the chess program you see in Max OSX is incredibly cool. It speaks out the moves that the computer makes. Boy, i love it !

K.Shyam
Tags: , , ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:01 AM 0 comments

23 January 2007

Hilarious



What else can one say ? Absolutely hilarious. Youtube is growing on me every single day i say !
K.Shyam
Tags: ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:16 PM 0 comments

19 January 2007

Moving to Mac a.k.a ஆத்தா நான் மாறிட்டேன்



Well, as the title says, I am getting my MacBookPro. It is a 2.16Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB of RAM. Now, why did i choose this ? Coz the next version comes with a 2.33Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo and has 2GB of RAM. This version is 500$ more than the one i have bought. But, if i buy RAM from Here, i can get a 1GB RAM for just 100$. This would mean that i would be paying 400$ more for an increase of just 0.16Ghz processing power. Not worth it.

Over the next few days, i will post my experiences with it.

Many thanks go out to Rajesh, my co-goon from Here, for helping me out by providing a US shipping address for it ! While it would mean that i have to do a 7 hour bus ride to go and pick it up, it is anyway worth it.

This _does not_ mean that i will be abandoing linux. After all, i learn't my ropes of computers & programming using it. And one should not forget one's roots so easily. So, i will be installing linux into this along with OSX. All these days, i used to have Windows and Linux in my laptop. Time to have OSX and Linux in my laptop. Which is also why this post is titled Moving to Mac and not Switching to Mac ;-)

I think it is now time to join This ;-).

Update: And my friend tells me this when i tell him i am getting a Mac. "The Bitterness of Poor Quality remains long after the Sweetness of Low Price is forgotten" ;-) How very apt for the Mac.

As in the tagline for the Ujala Blue a few years back: எல்லோரும் Mac Laptopகு மறாராங்க. அப்போ நீங்க ? ;-)

K.Shyam
PS: Oh yes, the price tag is a little hefty, but what the heck ;-)
Tags: ,

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:58 PM 2 comments

18 January 2007

Living in Monterrey - 3

Continuing on my previous post, here is one more about getting around in Monterrey. Most taxis here are pretty okay, but some of them are the proverbial rotten apples. In case a taxi guy does not switch on the meter, do not get into it. Chances are that he will drop you off nowhere near to the place you want to go and charge you extra for it.

Case in Point : I tried to take a taxi yesterday and with the limited Spanish (actually nothing) that i knew, tried to tell him where i wanted to go. When the driver started telling me (in his limited English which was actually nothing), that due to heavy traffic he wanted 10 pesos extra, being schooled in the autos of madras and bangalore, i though its kind of okay. But when he pretended not to know the place where i wanted to go, and said he will drop me off elsewhere, i did the thing we usually do; get down and fight with him, pay him some token amount and walk away.

I was in a mood to tell him: யார்கிட்ட ? என்னாது இது சிறு புல்ல தனமா இருக்கு ரஸ்கல் ! ;-)

So the moral of the story is, Do not take the taxi if he does not switch on the meter and till such time you know the route very well, do not take taxis itself. You can manage with the buses. They are in plenty. There are instances where people i know have been cheated with double fares and still more instances when they had been shown the town in all glory and splendor, when the actual distance that needs to be traveled was just a few kilometers.
K.Shyam
Tags: Monterrey, Mexico, Taxis

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:16 PM 0 comments

16 January 2007

Gymming Away

So you have wanted to have that killer body but did not know how to proceed ? Here is a solid one year plan for getting a well sculpted body. The best part of this is that, the workouts are intensive, but you do them only three times a week ;-)
K.Shyam
Tags: Workout, Gym

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:33 PM 5 comments

Borat - Review

Borat ( Full title "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" ) is the story of a Television reporter from Kazakhstan who travels to USA to learn what people do there and how it can be used for the benefit of the Kazakhis. Well if i do a complete review here, i may end up revealing most of the story and stuff. (Yes, I do know that a good reviewer is one who can write a review without revealing any plot details, but i am not a good reviewer).
I would just say that the movie is laugh riot. It is unlikely it would be released in India due to censor issues, and even if it is released, i suggest you rent a dvd and watch it.
Particularly funny are the episodes involving the high society party and the car purchase.
K.Shyam
Tags: Borat

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 1:05 AM 0 comments

அனைவர்க்கும் எனது இனிய போங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:19 AM 2 comments

12 January 2007

Not a Wood-Tamizhan



If the above drum beats do not make you dance in traditional tamil "dappan-kutthu" ishtyle, you are by no means a wood-tamizhan ! BTW, the guy who is drumming away has an amazing sense of rhythm !
K.Shyam
Tags: Kutthu, Tamil Dance

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:15 PM 2 comments

11 January 2007

Its a "J" Dude

Most of the mehicans (opps, no that was not on purpose. Mexicans do not pronounce the letter 'x'), do not pronounce the letter 'j'. Hence, Rajeev becomes raheev, Jose becomes hose, and the icing on the cake is Gaudalajara becomes "valahara". Man, these guys are tricky ;-)
K.Shyam
Tags: Mexico

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 8:47 PM 2 comments

Uh-Oh

This should be an interesting battle ahead ! Cisco Sues apple over iPhone !! Boy, things are getting murkier, after apple stocks soared when the announcement was made. Like all apple fans and enthusiasts, let us hope that things are settled amicably.
K.Shyam
Tags: iPhone, Cisco

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 5:29 AM 0 comments

10 January 2007

Yen Chella Peru Apple

Mirchi Suchi (RJ of Radio Mirchi 98.3FM in Chennai), has a pretty interesting voice. Listen to her in the song "Yen Chella Peru Apple" Here, Especially when she says the lines "ஜில் ஜில் ஜில் ஹாற்மோனேகல்" (Jil Jil Jil Harmonegal). Oh boy, she does have a very interesting voice.
That aside, a little birdie tells me that this song might have Mumaith Khan, the current "Item Song" queen ! And this Movie is not releasing where i live. Can anyone sponsor a return ticket for me from Monterrey, Mexico to Chicago ?? உங்கள்கு நூறு கோடி புண்ணியம் ஆகும்.
K.Shyam
Tags: Illaya Thalapathi Vijay, Pokkiri

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:40 AM 0 comments

iPhone

After months and months of speculation, i think apple has really kicked some (okay, most) mobile manufacturers hard, and boy, pretty hard, right up their asses, with the launch of iPhone (Live coverage is up Here). And as the review on slashdot goes, they are going to print money with this thing ;-) !
K.Shyam
Tags: iPhone, Apple

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:07 AM 0 comments

08 January 2007

Coming Up

Coming up in this blog is a Motorcycle Dairy of my travel in a Royal Enfield Thunderbird, across Kerala and TamilNadu, a 2500km trip, that was done in 10 days.
Till such time, here is a picture of Allepey, shot with a Nikon CoolPix 3700 (which sadly has breathed its last!)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
K.Shyam
PS: If there ever was a place for vacationing in this world, it _has_ to be kerala and nothing else.

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:55 PM 0 comments

06 January 2007

Living In Monterrey Mexico - 2

Continuing on my Earlier post about living in Monterrey Mexico, here are some more observations.

There is a local preparation called Tamales which is usually served on February 2nd. So what's unusual about that ? Well January 6th is widely celebrated here as the wise kings day. It is celebrated by cutting cake, and if you get a doll in your cake you will have to treat your friends to Tamales on Febraury 2nd. More details on the reason for a Tamales party can be found Here.

Now Tamales is by itself a pretty interesting dish. You first bake corn and mash it out. Once you do that, you then take either baked beans or beef or chicken as a roll, and wrap some mashed corn around it. Then you steam it in a pressure cooker, which i guess the guys here call it a "Steamer". A full recipie can be found Here. You have it with some spicy chilli sauce. The best part of a tamales party is that it allows an opportunity for the ladies of the household to mingle and socialize while the menfolk feast themselves on it. Of course, needless to say, no party is complete without Tequila.

And corruption is a pretty prevalant phenomenon here. In fact, the local newspapers have started an anti-corruption drive and have started doing sting operations. The best part however, is that the local seem to have taken it into the stride and call it an adjustment ;-) Now that is pretty close to the Indian way of life !!

And there seems to be no reasons to have parties. They are held for anything and everything !

More posts as and when i encounter stuff.
K.Shyam
Tags: Tamales, Monterrey, Mexico

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:37 PM 2 comments

05 January 2007

Irritating

Perhaps one of the most important irritations in living half a world away from home in a supposedly "exotic" place is that i cannot catch Illaya Thalapathi Vijay's movie, Pokkiri's first-day first show.
And in case you have not checked out the songs, catch them Here. My guess is that Thalai Vijay is going to unleash some good dance moves. Well, it better be because another dancing sensation Prabhu Deva is the director of the Movie.
So in case you know that the movie is being released in Dallas or somewhere in Texas, please leave me a comment. Texas is just a hour and a half drive from where i currently live.
K.Shyam
Tags: Illaya Thalapathi Vijay, Pokkiri

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 8:41 PM 0 comments

04 January 2007

Living in Monterrey Mexico - 1

So this starts a slew of posts that intend to give a fair idea of how life is in Monterrey Mexico.

So let us start off:

1. Weather. The lesser said, the better. Since it borders a desert and is surrounded by mountains (the name Monterrey in local language means the place surrounded by mountains), you can get some amazing vagaries of weather. Supposedly, on a particular day at around 9.00am it was hot and sunny with a temperature of 20 degrees centigrade and by 10.00am it was raining and the temperature dropped to 5 degrees centigrade. In general, the days are extremely hot and nights are cold. Summer days (May to August) can see temperatures of about 40 degrees centigrade. So in case you want to travel to this place, better pack your bags with both warm and cold clothing.

2. Groceries. There is a local super market chain called "Soriana". They stock practically everything. From clothes to groceries to liquor to what not. Groceries are pretty cheap in a sense that a gallon of milk is about 20 pesos. The local currency is pesos and is equivalent to 1/10 USD (10 Pesos is 1USD). Note that almost all shops use the $ symbol to denote pesos. So do not get confused with the American Dollar.

3. Living. Monterrey is an affluent part of Mexico and hence, apartments here are on the higher side. In fact, Monterrey houses about 25% of Mexico's computer usage. A typical three bedroom apartment will cost you around 10,000 pesos with furnishing. Note that the apartments are built using hollow bricks and concrete and are not carpeted. Hence, when it is cold the insides of the apartment get extremely cold and when it is hot outside, the apartment gets hot. One definitely needs an air conditioner cum heater to ward of the extremities of weather.

4. Food. If you are a vegetarian, it should not be much of a problem for you ! Though Mexico is a predominant meat eating country, the current fad is to be a vegan or vegetarian. Hence, Enchiladas and Tortilas are easy to get and can be had along with Mashed potatoes or Jalapeno Sauces. It is not easy to get the food courts that you typically see in USA. Hence, one would need to know some bit of cooking or depend on junk foods like burgers etc.

5. Internet. TelMex is the main provider of Internet services and for about 300 Pesos a month, one can get a 1Mbps internet connection. Telephone (Landline) services will cost another 300 Pesos a month. I am not aware of the costs involved in CellPhone connections and will post about that sometime later.

6. Transportation. Public transportation is available in the form of Buses which are extremely cheap. The charges are in the range of 5 pesos or so for a distance of a few kilometers. However, the buses are few and far in between and hence if you do not have time to spare, buses are not the right option. One would however need a car if one does not want to waste time. Used cars typically cost 30,000 Pesos and if one is careful one can get some wonderful bargains on SUV's. Petrol here is typically quite cheap and costs around 6 Pesos a litre.

All in all, if one has around 20,000 Pesos per month, one can lead a pretty comfortable life with a saving of around 5,000 or so Pesos. However, this would mean that the house is paid for by the company and one cooks for himself with a once a while eating out.
K.Shyam
Tags: Monterrey, Mexico

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 8:57 PM 3 comments

03 January 2007

Innum Yennai Yenna Seyya Pogirai

As i have said many a time in this blog, Illayaraja is and was will always be miles ahead of any composer (Save perhaps, the divine Carnatic trinity). Another of this gems which i recently heard was this. Innum Yennai Yenna Seyya Pogirai from the movie Singaravelan. Click here to listen to that song. In what was a comedy movie, Raja unleashes out a brilliant song with some stunning flute pieces and violins set in the ragam Gambeera Nattai. In fact, if you listen to the song closely during the pallavi, you can almost see that the flute follows the singers.
And needless to say, SPB and Janaki sing out the song effortlessly. In all, a stunning song once again from the Genius !
K.Shyam
Tags: Illayaraja, Tamil Music

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:36 PM 4 comments

Pleasent Surprise

While the common sparrow is extinct in both Madras and Bangalore, i can see quite a lot of them here in Monterrey, Mexico. Brings back some real pleasant memories of my childhood ! Now, to try to get some good pics of them sparrows ! It is so sad that the current generation of kids will grow up without having any idea of what those cute little birds are :-(
K.Shyam
Tags: Monterrey, Mexico, Sparrow

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:31 PM 0 comments

02 January 2007

Repeatuu

"Every Man makes a mistake, none but a fool repeats it" has always been my favourite saying. And of late, i think i have became a fool ! For the second time, i lost my spectacles box in a flight. The previous time was on a flight from LA to Hong Kong, and this time, it was on a flight from Houston to Mexico. Except for the fact that i don't need it that desperately as i am not doing any train travel in the near future, ( i would need it when i go to sleep ;-)), nothing else gives me any sort of reassurance on having lost it !
And then, Mexico is a typical desert like climate. Days are mildly hot and nights are cold. But, having a 8km run in the freezing 8 degrees centigrade early morning weather beats the shit out of anything else !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:24 PM 0 comments

01 January 2007

New Year Resolutions

And so like many other guys i have made some New Year resolutions too.

1. Continue on my carnatic on guitar pursuit. Learn it through the internet this time.
2. Learn Swimming and spanish.
3. Run a few marathons in US of A.
4. Attempt atleast one long distance cycling effort.
5. Finish the work i started for This piece of software.

Let us see how many i do this year !
K.Shyam
PS: A deatiled post on the in-flight experiences during my trip to mexico will come up shortly.
Tags: New Year Resolutions, Carnatic Music, Marathons, Swimming

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:29 PM 0 comments