Thursday, November 13, 2008

my half century

and didnt notice it, but that lost post was number 50!!!! patting myself on the back, even if no one else will..

applause applause!!

here's to putting up with me for a good number of more years. keep reading and keep stealing!!

It Starts!

Here we go. That was my first reaction while reading the sports columns this last week. 

While most of the focus was dedicated to Ricky Ponting’s post tea bowling options, I thought was more remarkable was the unanimity with which every cricket pundit worth his salt was busy moaning what they called was the list rites for test cricket.

Before I put in my two fils worth on that issue, let me first congratulate fellow Jharkhand leader MS Dhoni, who so inspired Peter Roebuck, that the one time reliable journalist wrote the sort of prose that besotted kids write about their favorite actress, before grammar and shame grab them in a vice like grip thereafter.

I mean, despite writing in a previous article that “India had stooped to win the Nagpur test”, Roebuck later called Dhoni “an Obama in White”. Which ranks amongst the most moronic statements of all time.

Kudos to Dhoni for boldly challenging the aussies where no one threw the gauntlet down at them before. It takes a hell lot of guts to throw etiquette out of the window and stifle the run rate with an 8-1 field. Pure genius, a move that the usually aggressive kangaroos couldn’t find an answer too.

But lest anyone start celebrating our team’s so called rise to the top, just remember that the same team lost badly to the Lankans not too long ago. And if you would like to point out that punter’s men haven’t recovered from the retirement of warne, langer, mc grath, martyn and gilchrist, don’t be too smug but we’ll pretty much face the same situation in two years time, when laxman and dravid retire. And your grandchildren will face the same when sachin retires.

Moving onto the main topic, it amazes me to see how no one saw the Nagpur test for what it was. A gritty long drawn battle of wills and test of patience. Gripping stuff that only test cricket can provide. Anyone can slog their willow to register half centuries when you only need to stay on for 20 overs. Harbhajan’s two half centuries are a perfect example. But from personal experience (which amounts to the longest stay at the crease- clocked in 3 overs before being bowled u know), staying at the wicket and seeing the opposition off is the greatest exam for a batsman.

Sure, there weren’t too many crowds at the test matches. This is right around the time when half yearly exams rear their ugly head. The time when post diwali, working people realize that their bank balance resembles a famine victim. And let’s be honest. With the state that most stadiums are in, where u inevitably focus on the electronic display to watch replays most of the time, watching matches from home is a much better option anyday.

Well, we got the poms who are still smarting over the Stanford gate and we can look forward to seeing Kevin Petersen come up with 10 new ways of saying that defeats don’t matter much.

Post that, crossing my fingers and hoping that the indo pak series happens here in the uae where things should be much safer for both teams. Not to mention, where tickets could be easier to get also.  

to end things off, having watched the ICL extensively over the last few weeks, i have come to the ultimate conclusion, that unless Subhash Chandra invests more effort and money into getting better cheerleaders, Lalit Modi's brainchild will continue to get my 4 hours of attention. l0l

Monday, November 10, 2008

leaping off the edge

this is right around the time when shopping for new games becomes a massive headache. all the best titles seem reserved for this time and you see ur good friends indulge in flaming fanboy wars that are utterly futile.

i had the followed games pencilled on my list of must haves around august.

fallout 3
gears of war 2
tomb raider underground
prince of persia 
saints row 2
mirrors edge.

since then though, i've had to scratch out fallout 3. the reason being that i had had enough of dystopia, and wanted to play some good old fun games again.

i agree gears isnt the most positive outlook on life, but any game that lets you chanisaw enemies stays in my list.

but i must admit to having been completely floored by mirror's edge so far. from what i've seen so far, this game looks to be the 'portal' for 2008. and in my books, that's just about as high praise as one can offer games.

i admit being disappointed with the games released this year thus far. it's not a patch on last year, when i tearfully parted with my earnings but felt justified with hours of pure pleasure playing Bioshock, Assasin's Creed, Gears, Halo 3, R6 Vegas, Fifa 08, PGR3 and Mass Effect.

this year, i have only been impressed by Burnout Paradise, which i think is the best reason to get the wireless steering wheel and the beloved and unfortunately banned GTA 4.

but just like Assasins and Portal(love that song btw, look up "portal- i am still alive"), Mirror's edge has become a game changer. 

a different protagonist from the usual stereotype? check.

a game world played entirely on nausea inducing rooftops? check

total dependance on wits and not guns, to survive? check

total sense of immersion into the game world? check

dont know about you, but while i wouldnt mind not getting any of the above listed games well into next year, Gears and Mirrors edge have made a move from should haves to must haves for me.

that and the nokia 5800 xpress coming to UAE and India in December and rest of the world in 2009(yay!!)

Nehalem headaches for AMD

oh my god!! that was my first reaction when the nehalem(aka intel Core i7) benchmarks hit the net.

they say that imitation is the best form of flattery, but what happens when the imitation outperforms the original?

Intel's version of the AMD Hyper Transport is called Hyper Connect, and boy, does it connect or what..

even in the conroe days, AMD always held the edge in Memory latency and read write tests due to the pioneering integrated memory controller design they implemented in the athlon 64 over 5 years ago. (has it been that long? wow)

well, intel decided to bury the grizzled Front Side Bus and usher in their version of the integrated controller in the core i7. where they really blew AMD away of course, was by making it a triple channel controller, over the dual channel approach that AMD has favoured.

while the Core i7 is an absolute delight for workstation applications, gaming scenarios arent all that clear.

the cheapest core i7 (which would be the 920), isnt all that faster in games when compared to the similarly price Q9770. in fact, if you get right down to it, you could get a much cheaper dual core, say an E8500, add in a solid water cooling kit, OC it to near 4 Ghz and get double the gaming performance.

this is because most of the games right now are written to take advantage of dual core systems as the lowest common denominator in performance.

the few games that do utilise the extra cores (which right now seems to be supreme commander, not convinced that Crysis, Bioshock or UT3 make good use of quaddies), benefit far more from the much higher clock speed that u will get with a dual core.

there's the rub. since the i7 is in it's infancy, u have to shell out huge money, to get a decent motherboard, DDR3 memory(it wont run on DDR2).

plus there's also the fact that intel offers much better performance when it revises and refreshes product lines. it happened when it made a transition from 65nm to 45 nm and will happen again when they move from current 45nm to 32 nm sometime next year.

bottom line is, the i7 is mostly a fancy piece of nanotech that will be an absolute must 6 months down the line, when prices drop.

my suggestion till then, is to get an 8500, OC it to 4Gs, pair it up with a pair of radeon 4850s in crossfire(much better than the 4850x2 imho) and pack in 4 gigs of ddr2 1066 ram and u will have a system that will serve u fine for atleast 2 years.

The Inconvenient Truth

well, the world has changed a lot since i last blogged.

Tina Fey blew the world away with a better Palin than Sarah.

Kim Jong II is trying desperately to prove to the world that he's still alive and kicking( or hasnt kicked the bucket).

i finally saw two programmes in HD that finally justified the promise that my LCD tv held, apart from being spectacular for gaming.

have spent 50 hours in Oblivion and have only finished 30 % of the game.

biggest whammy of all though, is that Obama won the race to the white house.

i'll admit, i was one of the skeptics who thought there was no way an african american would ever win the presidential ballot. 

i admired the guy ever since he decided to advertise on Burnout Paradise. more than his acceptance of internet donations, the burnout  decision proved to me that this was finally a 21st century candidate.

but that was always tempered with a realization that it didnt matter an iota what the world thought of him. what would matter is whether the american voting public would buy his message for change.

did they ever.

but while Obama basks in congratulations for a much deserved victory, New Delhi is rightly concerned. while the indian news media went gaga over O's victory, not ONE of them bothered to check his views and thoughts on matters pertaining to the subcontinent.

strange as it sounds, democratic presidents have never been good for India.

Obama is a guy who's against the following:

  • he's gone on record saying he's against outsourcing and would like to introduce legislature that makes it financially inviable to move jobs offshore.
  • He's also against increasing the number of H1B visas quota that industry giants like Microsoft have been clamoring for.
  • Days into his election, he issued a statement saying that he was looking into placing Bill Clinton as an interlocutor between india and pakistan, to resume the stalled peace process
  • he also represents the traditional Washington thinking that always hyphenates India Pakistan together, rather than deal with each seperately.
ironically, the greatest improvement in indo us relations after the 98 nuclear tests was reached when there were two right wing governments in respective centres.

the congress would like us believe that the whole deal was a personal endeavor for manmohan singh, but the truth is, the seeds and details were sown in by Jaswant singh and Robert mulford in the previous administrations.

Obama inherits an america that is being broken slowly in financial terms. good old companies like Ford and GM have announced they are on the verge of bankruptcy.

the 150 billion dollar bailout package that obama has proposed seems highly impractical. where's the money to put into this scheme, when america has spent more than a trillion dollars on needless warmongering?

in fact, the american press has proved more questioning of fairy tale packages, while the indian press largely ignored the 12000 crore bailout package that the government put into UTI when it crashed.

methinks that once the party is over and housecleaning begins in january, new delhi might be in for some nasty surprises.