Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Train crash spotted in India on Google Earth

I was just bouncing around on Google Earth, when I saw this train crash to the south of New Delhi, India. It appears to be a freight train which is scattered all over the tracks.

To view the site on Google Earth, click here. This location is unfortunately low-res on Google Maps.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Some really cool Firefox wallpapers

Download these high-res wallpapers, one of the best I have seen !

There is another great site.

read more | digg story

Saturday, April 28, 2007

More bad news for $100 laptop - its no more $100 !

Last year, I wrote a blog about uncertain future of $100 laptop as it uses nonstandard technologies. There is more bad news that it is now more costly at $175. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) says that the rising cost of materials – in particular nickel – is responsible for the increased price of the machine. Further its roll-out had been further pushed back because of changes in the design, which were "not unusual in technology development projects."

Well, to OLPC - good luck!

Read more

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

'Kryptonite' discovered in mine

Kryptonite is no longer just the stuff of fiction feared by caped superheroes.A new mineral matching its unique chemistry - as described in the film Superman Returns - has been identified in a mine in Serbia.
read more | digg story

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Conquering Mount Kinabalu - finally!

Having stayed for more than a decade in this part of the world, one thing which I desperately wanted to do is climb the highest peak in south-east Asia. On 28th August 06, I finally stepped on Mount Kinabalu peak :). (More photos)

However, before I say about the great time I had, I will highlight few things which any of you who is planning to climb the peak should know.

The trek from the gate of Kinabalu national Park (which encompasses Mount Kinabalu Peak also) is divided into 3 major milestones:
  • Tampohon gate : It is the starting point of the gate.
    • Trekkers generally start in the morning from this point (1020am in our case).
  • Resthouse (6 km from the starting point): It is the resting place in the middle of the trek, where climbers take rest in the middle of the trek.
    • Trekkers reach this point at about 5-530 pm, have dinner and sleep for 5 or 6 hours before start climbing at 2 to 230 in the morning.
    • The temperature is generally 9 degree celsius here, so please carry some warm clothings with you.
  • Mount Kinabalu Peak (2.72 km from the resthouse) : This is the final destination.
    • You reach at about 6am, stay for 20-30 minutes and start climbing down.
    • Most of the trek while climbing is done in the night so that you can catch the sunrise just when you reach the top.
    • Low's peak is the highest point and an ideal place to catch the sunrise (4095.2m).
  • Before you plan for the climb, do not try to call any of the Rest houses (like Laban Rata, Waras Hut etc. ), you will never get it. They are all booked by tour packages. Best choice is to take tour packages. Here are the two I strongly recommend: Pinganchorage and Cuti.
  • Going up is tiring but going down is hurtful. Please ignore the comments by some climbers that you do not need to train for it. You should be fit and I personally will recommend to start jogging on a weekly basis few months before the climb.
  • While climbing down the trek, because of your and bag's weight, you will be applying lots of pressure on your knees. As a result, your knees will start aching after about 2 hours of trek and soon the time will come when you will have to hold the hand-rails on the side of the trek path. You will have to decide carefully which is the next rock you will have to step on, because if you don't, there are high chances you will trip down. You will start realizing the importance of even a small stone, which you had been kicking around though out your life :).
  • MAKE SURE, you get Laban Rata resthouse - because it has heaters inside. If you get any other resthouse, it will be freezing cold inside and you will not get proper sleep, which may ruin your next day climb.
  • Carry small water bottles, because you will be able to fill them at 7 stations along the way. Also carry small padlock to lock your bags while you leave them in the resthouses when you climb to the peak. There have been incidences of bags being stolen there. Dinner and breakfast at Laban Rata was good and filling.
  • Most of the time you will not be able to see world's largest flower, Rafflesia. However, you will be able to see a few Pitcher plants and mountain squirrels.
However, overall the trip was great and besides the beautiful views on the way, it is interesting to see how forest vegetation changes from the starting point all the way to the peak. I have never seen such a beautiful night sky and never seen so many stars as I did on the night climb to the peak. When we climb in the night, we cannot see the surrounding, but once we reach the top and slowly the sun light starts to fill our surroundings, it is almost a surreal and indescribable view.

Other sites for more Mount Kinabalu info: 1, 2, 3

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Meeting the man

I met Michael Dell today, when he came to Singapore. I sketched his portrait and got a chance to meet and interact him while presenting him the portrait. He seemed like a "down-to-earth" guy and still very interactive during the conversation.

Although he seemed a bit baffled by the gift that I gave him (Computer Engineers and artists dont go together well!), but he appreciated it with many many thanks. I hope he brought back pleasant memories of Dell Singapore with this gift. More photos here.

I appreciate him for his strong leadership and impressive business skills, he is just 41 years old and he has already grown the company over USD 50 billion. Most of the growth was made in the last decade, growing from merely USD 5 billion to USD 50 billion. Dell using the direct model, ie: no retailers in between the company and customers, adds extra profit to the company. This model also provides quick and better feedback on customer needs, thus allowing Dell to provide better customized customer products and services.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Is $100 laptop project flawed?

Recently there was a lot of news about $100 laptop developed by a Professor in MIT.

However recently there has been negative views about its success, as CNET News site says:

"The real reason that this won't be successful is a misunderstanding of the history of technology. They are looking to introduce a nonstandard, untested platform...which they will only sell to governments," he said. "The decision to buy will be made by politicians who are elected every five years, and politicians generally don't take the decision to risk their political future on nonstandard technology."