Why on earth do they do this?

Merry Christmas to you .. 🙂 It has become chilly these days in Seoul.. The winter has come but not with much snow when compared to last year’s…

Went Skiing to the largest ski resort in Korea.. Was pretty much incident-less but for a small muscle sprain on my knee. Nothing serious 🙂 .. Visiting an acupuncture clinic these days..

Spent my christmas with my favorite person.. We met over dinner and a coffee from Starbucks… Was quite fun.. I was given “BVLGARI Pour Homme Travel Trio” as my Christmas gift (For the unawares, BULGARI a.k.a. BVLGARI is an Italian jeweler and luxury goods retailer, founded way back in 1884)..

Anyhoo.. Coming to the post.. While i was coming back from the hospital today, I decided to buy some snacks and fruits. I went to the street seller and asked me to give me the snacks worth $2. I should have actually got 6 of them, but he gave me 7 with a smile.. After that, I went to a fruit store to buy apples. The apples were pretty big and costed $1 per apple. I asked the good lady there to give me apples for $10. She asked her husband to help get the apples and they gave me 11 of them with the 11th one costing not an additional $1 but nothing more than a smile and a thank you..

This is not the fist time I am experiencing such noble actions. While I agree that NOT everyone here in Korea do that, I have met with this kind of generosity very frequently. There is no relation between me and the seller and all that he needed to have given me was what I had paid for.. These instances really make your introspect…

There have also been instances where I was crossing the road and was waiting for the next car to pass me before I cross the road. The car which was coming pretty quick (which is the case with the vehicles here, where the average speed is quite high), saw me wanting to cross (but waiting for him to pass), stopped the car, let me cross and only then continued his journey…

There was also an incident right here, where the restaurant lady gave us an extra portion of food (worth about $4) for free, asking us like our own grand mom, “Eat more my dear children and stay healthy“… She gave away the food for free with a smile..

I am sure that some of my readers would find these actions/this post silly, but I for one really respect such an attitude that and I wish more and more people would be like them…

Good Day…

Advertisements

Pickup Lines!!

Here are a few interesting (some of them probably lame) pickup lines … One or more may be archaic…  Still.. For what its worth!! 🙂

  1. How you doin?
  2. What would you like for breakfast?
  3. I have never had a dream come true until the day that I met you.
  4. I’m invisible.[Really?] Can you see me? [Yes] How about tomorrow night?
  5. If you are a pirate would you want your pet to be on your this side or that side (use this to hold her shoulders standing next to her)
  6. Life without you would be like a broken pencil…pointless.
  7. If i could rearrange the alphabets, I would put U and I together
  8. Would you happen to have a band aid? [No] That’s too bad ’cause i just scraped my knees falling for you
  9. Did the sun come up or did you just smile at me?
  10. Can I have your picture? [Why?] So I can show Santa what I want for Christmas!
  11. That’s a nice dog/cat/pet. Does it have a phone number?
  12. Do you mind if we share this cab to my house?
  13. Do you believe in love at first sight or do I have to walk by again?
  14. Can I have directions? [“To where?”] To your heart.
  15. Are you a parking ticket? Cause you got FINE written all over you.
  16. Can I borrow your library card? [Why?] Cause I’m checking you out.
  17. Your feet must be tired, because you’ve been running through my mind all day long.
  18. Are you from Tennessee? [No, why?] Because you’re the only 10 I see!
  19. Got any raisins? [No.] Then how about a date?
  20. I lost my phone number, can I have yours
  21. Kiss me if I’m wrong, but isn’t your name Guadalupe?
  22. You know what your remind me of? [What?] Lucky Charms, You want to know why? [Why?] Because you’re magically delicious!
  23. I can read palms. {write your # on their hand} Oh it says you’re going to call me soon!
  24. Do you have a quarter? [Why?] I told my boyfriend/girlfriend that I would call him/her when I found someone better.
  25. Whenever I see you my heart races. I hope to win first place.
  26. Fat penguin. [What?] I just wanted to say something to break the ice.
  27. You spend so much time in my dreams I should charge rent!
  28. How much does a polar bear weigh? [I don’t know, how much?] Just enough to break the ice. Hi my name is ____.
  29. You see my friend over there? [Point to friend who sheepishly waves from afar] He wants to know if YOU think I’M cute.
  30. Did it hurt? [Hurt?] Yeah.. When you fell from heaven?
  31. When god made you, he was showing off

Best(est) Mobile Phone the World has EVER Seen!

First things first… let’s see what this fuss is all about.. Shall We ??? 🙂 Here you go without much more of a suspense…


By the end of this post.. You will understand why the title is so…

Hmm .. So you are here to know why is Haptic2 the best mobile phone anyone could ever have ?? 🙂 Bought today, the Samsung Haptic2 (A Computer/Mobile Phone/Television/Video and Music Player that fits in your palm) is the best mobile phone(?) ever produced by ANY COMPANY (Yes including Apple’s iPhone, which should be history thanks to Haptic2, and supposed to be a revolution because of which it is used as a benchmark)..

You will ask why ??? Here goes the answer…

Green => This feature is better than (or absent in) iPhone

Red => This feature is better in Apple iPhone

Here comes an incomplete overview of the some of the wonderful features in this “small” package called Haptic2:

Cost: 30% Cheaper than Apple iPhone 8GB Model

Screen: 3.2 Inch (240 x 400 resolution) 262K Color TFT LCD Touchscreen Display. (Touchscreen: Use your hand or use a stylus, choice is up to you, Size: Slightly smaller that of IPhone which stands @ 3.5 inches)

Design: Slim and Sleek Design boasting levels of elegance never seen before (See for yourself with more pictures coming in my next post)

3G Enabled: Yes with HSDPA Support with 7.2 Mbps max. download speed (Refer Wiki for more Details 🙂 .. )

Wireless: Bluetooth 2.0, No WiFi (but supports internet via 3G.. I have been using it and its pretty good as well)

Camera: 5 Mega Pixel Auto-focus Camera with Flash and Image Stabilization

Memory: 4GB internal Memory in SCH-W550 and 16GB Flash memory in SCH-W555 model (Expandable by a maximum of 8 GB by a Micro SDHC Card by spending about another $25)

Mobile Telivision: T-DMB with TV recording (For the uninformed – This enables us to watch and record the regular TV channels on the phone)

Radio: FM Radio, DAB with recording (I fail to understand why Apple doesnt include such a trivial feature as FM, in their products)

Music: MP3 playback

Recording: Voice, Video and TV Recording

Video Support: Support for all major kinds of video formats.

Input Specialities: Handwriting Recognition for SMS, MMS and Dictionary

Widget Support for customizable desktop about 50 widget applications supported (Can be seen in the video in my next post)

G Sensor (Gravity Sensor) – Senses the orientation of the phone. This feature is pretty useful, for example you want to browse through a list of pictures, instead of dragging, just ttil the phone in the desired direction and the pics will automatically scroll. Suppose you want to play a game of dice, Just shake the mobile phone, the dice get randomized (See examples in the videos below). The g-response is much better than iPhone (I have used both and tested them for this feature)

Personalized Vibration : Touch feedback makes the mobile phone user experience more sensory, intuitive, useful, and fun. With this feature, users feel exhilarating force feedback in mobile games, similar to that found in console games, unmistakable confirmation in response to touchscreen, keypad, and button presses, as well as unique caller IDs with distinct vibrations that reveal who is calling even when the sound is turned off.

From its “My own haptic” menu, Haptic 2 allows users to create personalized haptic effects through a graphical user interface based on the conventions of Immersion’s VibeTonz Studio authoring tool for developers. Users can touch and drag icons representing wave shape, duration, and intensity to create distinctive vibrational patterns. These creations allow them to personalize their phones with unique haptic experiences, such as assigning them as non-audible ring tones that signal incoming calls. (Quoted from: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Samsung-Haptic-2-Is-the-First-Phone-to-Use-VibeTonz-System-96336.shtml)

On-Demand Speak Out Translation: The mobile can speak for you when you go to other countries. Select the conversation you want to be translated from a huge list of possibilities, then select the target language and press a button.. The phone speaks for you .. It cant decode the reply yet.. Probably a firmware upgrade would fix that as well ..

Others: GSM/CDMA/3G (with USIM) equipped, Video Call, Multi-touch Touch Screen, Dictionary, 125g weight, VOD, MOD, Subway Map search (Really useful, finds out who to go between two points, where to transfer, shortest door to transfer, time taken for journey, cost … ), Mobile Banking, Mobile Printing, 3.5mm Headset Jack (Now on.. You can use your fav headset with this phone and not depend on the ridiculously expensive and flimsy ones that should be bought from the same company)

Now you know why .. I have tried to be as fair as possible in listing the features.. If you think any of the wonderful features of iPhone has not been included, then thats because I did not know it. Write it as a comment and I will include it appropriately…

I will post some pictures and videos with UI in the next post so that you could see Haptic2 in action .. 🙂

Signing off as the happiest man on earth … 🙂

Kiran

Acquiring a Korean Driver’s License

The day before yesterday I received my Korean Driver’s License Class Two. It means that I can drive cars and bikes and almost any vehicle except those the bus and truck types..

This post is meant to be a guideline for an Indian in Korea who wants to get a Drivers License. Since India has an agreement with Korea, the whole process of getting a Korean Drivers License (valid for 10 years) is really simple and would take not more than 3-4 hours including the transportation involved..

  1. Preparation: You would need to take your Passport, Alien Registration Card, Original Indian Drivers License and three Passport Size Photographs.
  2. Take two photostat copies of the Indian license and one each of your passport (first and last pages) and your alien registration card.
  3. Go to Indian Embassy, Seoul located in Hannam. This station is Located in Line 1 just above the Han river (positioned near the central region of the subway map)
    • Better plan this visit so that you reach the embassy any weekday before 12:30 pm.
    • Exit from Hannam Station, take a taxi and ask them to take you to Indian Embassy (인도 대서관, Indo Dae Seo Kwan in Korean).
  4. After getting a from from the embassy, Submit KRW 16,000 to the account specified, at the Korea Exchange Bank located down the road.
  5. Get one copy of your license attested from the Embassy.
  6. Go to the nearest Drivers License Agency (운전면허시험장, Un Cheon Myeong Heo Si Heom Chang in Korean)
    • If you are a SNU student, the nearest one is at a walking distance from Samseong Station, Exit 1.
    • If you are not, here is a complete list of locations in Seoul.
      Gangnam Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 2. Samseong Station(Exit. 1)
      Seobu (west) Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 2. Hongik Univ. Station(Exit. 2)
      – Green Bus 7016
      Gangso Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 5. Songjeong Station(Exit. 4)
      – Green Bus 6647
      Dobong Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 4. Nowon Station(Exit. 9)
  7. If you are going to the Driver License office in Gangnam, go to the second floor of the office and submit and application.
  8. You need to get an application filled from there and then go down to test your Eye (takes about 60 seconds literally) and then get a seal stamped on your application. You have to pay KRW 11, 000 (6, 000 for the license and 5,000 for the Eye test)  in this process.
  9. Go back to the second floor, submit the test reports, wait for 10 minutes.
  10. Voila!! You’ve got your new license with 10 years validity.

Note: You have to surrender your Indian License when you get your Korean License. But you can get it back when you go to India the next time by showing your Air Ticket, Passport and the Korean License (which need NOT be surrendered) . From that time forth you can have both the licenses with you.

For more details :
http://www.dla.go.kr/english/index.jsp
http://english.seoul.go.kr/residents/transport/trans_07driv_01.html

Enjoy driving in Korea!!!

Obeying the Rules ??

A picture is worth a thousand words. I was just browsing through my photographs yesterday, when I came across the one shown below. It was taken near Seon Yu Do Park, Han Riverside, Seoul. You can know why it is a little interesting, if you observe that in spite of the traffic pattern, which is really heavy with  line sof cars going as back as your eyes can see, on each of the lanes, there still is another lane to the leftmost side which is absolutely emtpy. Obviously intrigued, I asked my friend why it was so. His reply was that, the l eftmost lane was for emergency purposes only. It is meant for granting fast access to police and ambulances when there is an emergency situation and hence people leave it empty even if it means that they have to wait for a lot more time driving in the busy lanes. Moreover, this scene was not  a rare one around here it seems. HIs words literally took me off guard and caught me thinking..

If you know what I mean, I hope you would be impressed as well. If you have no idea of what i am talking about, then i guess you are better off not knowing it.

Adieu,

Kiran

Google and Our Daily Life

Update (16th July 2008 ): The Answer to Life the Universe and Everything (Thanks Wooster)

Technology had definitely redefined our lives. And in my personal opinion (no I am not an employee of Google), Google is one of the best things that could happen to you. From aiding you with lightning fast search, Google also lets you browse through the skies (Google Earth’s Sky Feature), get a birds eye view of any part of the globe right from your home (Google earth). There is a plethora of useful inventions from Google and you can find a comprehensive list over here.

This post is to list some of the features of our dear ol’ Google Search that you might or might not know. Just click on the links below to see the results. No explanations needed. 🙂 The words following the colon are the search terms in google search. You can replace them with your choices.

Hope this post helps you make your life a li’l bit easier 🙂

Adios,

Kiran


(References : http://www.google.com/help/features.html, http://iisc.wordpress.com/2008/06/22/googling/)

My Eternal “Wish”: Next Rebirth as a SC/ST/OBC in India

First of all I wish to make clear that, as a person, I am indifferent to the caste system we have in India and i believe in equality of the entire humanity. Honestly, I don’t support the idea of superiority and inferiority among religions, castes and creed. I don’t think that SC/ST/OBC are in any way lesser than others. They are good humans with an equal potential just like anyone else. They have equal chances for success and have a high respect for, in my mind. This post is to vent my agony and anger ONLY ON the current reservation based educational system in India and I have tried to expose my views on the whole “Reservation based on Caste” issue that has been lingering around, ever since I can imagine. Any views mentioned in this post here are purely personal and I have tried to be as objective as possible in voicing my opinions. I sincerely apologize if this causes any kind of ill-feelings in your mind.  Though there might be many advantages arising due to the reservation system, my intention in this post is to throw some light on my the negative sides of the reservations (which many of you might already be knowing) from my perspective. Hence you should expect this post to be purely critical to the system.

The point what i want to make clear is: With the kind of inequalities that is rampant in our society, there should be reservation for certain section of people, but caste should never be the criterion. (Thanks Anoop)

Before i start the post, I would like to summarize some “random numbers” that i was able to get from Central Counselling Board – Institute Wise Allotment List 2008. Let me give you the first and last ranks, with their quotas in some of the premier institutes in India (excluding IITs as I don’t have the statistics with me and IIIT Hyderabad as there is NO reservation whatsoever in the admissions to that university).

University,
Branch

First AIR
Admitted
(Quota)

Last AIR
Admitted
(Quota)

Last AIR
Admitted (OP)

NIT Trichy, ECE 219 (OP) 40808 (ST) 3807
NIT Trichy, CSE 745 (OP) 43063 (ST) 7158
NIT Surathkal, ECE 79 (OP)
44254 (ST) 4461
NIT Surathkal, CSE 756 (OP) 41886 (ST) 6848
NIT Warangal, ECE 322 (OP) 49985 (ST)
2169
NIT Warangal, CSE 159 (OP) 49015 (ST) 2854
NIT Calicut,ECE 373 (OP) 48814 (ST) 6147
NIT Calicut,CSE 2223 (OP) 43441(SC) 10134

For the uninformed international readers of my blog, AIR – All India Rank in All India Engineering Entrance Examination 2008; ECE – Electronics and Communications Engineering; CSE – Computer Science and Engineering; OP – Open Merit Admissions (100% based on AIR); SC– Scheduled Caste; ST – Scheduled Tribe; OBC – Other Backward Castes. NIT – National Institute of Technologies are the best institutes in India after IITs and IIIT Hyderabad. ECE and CSE are two of the most sought after fields of study in the engineering department for us. Hence for making the table short and sweet, I have not considered all but two of the many fields of study.

If you observe the table, especially the last two columns you can see what i am talking about. The last column stands for the rank of the student who got into that particular university/branch purely based on his rank (read hard work and a li’l bit of luck). The second last column stands for the rank of the student admitted last into the corresponding university/branch based much more on his caste than his efforts.

You can observe the ridiculous pattern. For example, lets take the case of NIT Warangal ECE (the worst case scenario among all the cases). Among the regular students, the last rank admitted in OP is 2169. It means that any student whose rank was 2170 or above (I can safely say that an All India Rank (AIR) <10000)is pretty good given that about half a million students write the same centralized exam) was not in a position to get into this university, branch.  In the place where none of the relatively more intelligent students above ranks 2170 – 10000 got into the college (and i am sure that many of them would have applied for it, unsuccessfully) when another student (with due respect to his intelligence) with rank 49 985 got into the SAME coveted seat. So its like this, there are two students for the seat, one with AIR = 2170 and other with AIR 49 985. When both of them applied to the same seat, the latter got in (thanks to his caste) whereas spite of being a much more deserving student, the former failed to get it (due to his “misfortune” in not being in the “elite” SC/ST/OBC). All his considerable hard work he had put in over the last two years of study, could not secure him his desired seat where as someone who rank is 20 times lower, was able to get it, JUST ON ACCOUNT OF HIS “LOW” caste. (Please read “” as sarcasms).

India has about 50% seats in ALL THE National Level, Government Supported Institutes (Including IITs). It means that if you are born in the privileged group of SC/ST/OBC. Oh what a life it would be.. You dont have to study as much as the unprivileged OP students, you dont have to work that hard. Still with much minimal efforts in comparison, you can still get into any decent seat you would like to get into, no matter how ridiculous your rank is.  Due to the important of the sensitive issue on Caste based reservation System in India, Wikipedia has dedicated some considerable space for a long article which can be found here. Interested may follow the link to read more on the so called “pros and cons”.

The quality of the output from all the premier institutes in India has been rocketing downwards due to this system. You can refer to what i am saying based on the Job offers a majority of the students get.

Lemme put in my two cents at this point, WHY.. i mean WHY cant they put all these reservations and of the likes in Elementary and Middle schools. I dont oppose that since there are millions of schools in India, the case of a deserving student not getting education can be ruled out. Let all indians, regardless of their caste study together, and be in a position where they can compete with each other in the All India Entrance Examinations. Let them get the rank they deserve in that exam, and get into their dream seats with no differentiation between their ethnic background. Instead, the government targets the BEST UNIVERSTIES india to put these students in and many of them fail to cope up due to unstable foundation in their schooling.

To top it all, now that the student reservation has been a “unprecedented success”, Mr. Arjun Singh had a whim to “try out” 50% faculty reservation in IITs. Wow!! Thats an icing on the already “delicious” cake which he has made. When i say he, I dont mean to target Mr. Arjun Singh alone. I mean the entire force behind this venture of “upliftment of Indians”.

If only i was born into this “privileged section” of the society and i mean the elite group of SC/ST/OBC, my life would have been much easier, thanks to the Indian Government.. Due to the reasons stated above ,its my “wish” that I be born into that section of society where dreams come true as easily as making water from ice.

But alas!!!! I can only wish….. right?