If technology doesn't seem like magic, it's probably obsolete

I'm finding less time to update my blog these days, but my flickr photostream is often updated.

Playing in my house right now...

At 00:00 GMT on Thursday I was listening to:

More of what I've been listening to

Latest pictures from my phone
More pictures from my phone

Monday September 25 2006 at 20:35 GMT

It's amazing how easy it is to see English Premier League football in India. All those programmes that only seem to be on Sky in the UK are available on normal (satellite) TV here. There were two EPL games on Saturday, as well as full coverage of the Ryder Cup. These Chelsea players have even managed to get themselves a film role in Bollywood.

Monday September 25 2006 at 20:17 GMT

pigs Amusingly, these pigs are the biggest search result that provides visitors to my site, sending over 5000 people each month in my direction, with over 16,000 people a month viewing the gallery itself.

They have been used for adverts in Sweden, homework assignments in New York, research papers in Mexico and most recently a farmers magazine in Iceland. They're even the number one search result on Google Images for 'pigs'. With all that, it seemed the time was right for them to have their own CafePress store.

Whilst the capitalist gleam in my eye is there, all the products are marked at only US $1 over the actual cost of making them, so I won't be getting rich any time soon. If you would like copies of the original images to do your own thing, then just ask.

Friday September 22 2006 at 05:50 GMT

My time in Bangalore felt too short, mainly because I had some work deadlines that meant I had to sit alone at my desk, so didn't manage to spend as much time with the team there as I had wanted. Time is always in short supply!

Aside from work, we did manage to have a great team meal at Gufa. Gufa (or Guffa or Gufha?) means 'cave' in Hindi, and like the name indicated, the place was a cave. All the waiters were dressed in Indiana Jones still explorer outfits which was amusing. Being the guest, and a non-veg guest (you're either veg[etarian] or non-veg[etarian] for food purposes) at that, I got to try all the food. By the time we'd finished the starters I was almost ready to burst, although I did manage to struggle on, of course.

The other highlights were a visit to the ISKCON temple (open carefully, site has music) and a tour of the impressive building and campus I was visiting, including a stop for chaat.

Yesterday I caught a flight to Hyderabad where I am now. My ride from the airport to the hotel included an Indian first: stopping for a herd of cattle to cross the road. This weekend my plan had been to spend time here, however I've been invited to a baby naming ceremony in Chennai so I'm going to bring my plans forward and head south either tomorrow night or else Sunday morning.

Wednesday September 20 2006 at 17:16 GMT

My ISP seem to have snapped my email, so if you've sent me something urgent, please get in touch via IM or else leave a comment for me to contact you. Grrrrr.

[Update] Email is working again.

Monday September 18 2006 at 20:07 GMT

My travels have moved me to Bangalore now, after somehow miraculously getting my flight on Saturday. The plane took off at 10.05am, and I only woke up at 8.39am after sleeping through my alarm. Luckily I'd packed the night before, my taxi driver managed to wend through the trucks, buses, motorbikes, auto-rickshaws, cattle, bikes and people to get me to the airport with 20 minutes before take-off. A quick jog through the terminal and I was checked in and sitting on the plane. Easy. Did I mention I even had a shower before checking out of the hotel?

Bangalore has been great, as was Chennai, in large part due to the people I've met. On Sunday night, I met Sumit & Vishal, friends from previous projects, for a very fine dinner at Sikandar. The food was simple, but tremendously tasty.

Today I met the project team here, and had lunch on the roof of the building. They even gave me some lovely flowers, which is another first! Lunch on the roof was very similar to what happened in Chennai, and I again managed to eat with my hands, this time picking up some of the tricks, although I was still the slowest eater there. As I was reminded, my colleagues have been doing this since birth.

The traffic in both Chennai and Bangalore is absolutely incredible, and I will get a video of it before I leave. Everyone packs on to the roads (buses, trucks, jeeps, cars, auto-rickshaws, motorbikes, bullock carts, handcarts, bicycles, people), and it seems that any manoevre is allowed. Need to take a right turn in the middle lane? Just go for it. Got to take a call? Just pull over and stop in the inside lane. You're driving a bus and want to drive across two lanes? That's fine. The key seems to be using the horn. So long as you beep, you're safe. Amazingly, I've not seen any accidents at all. Once you see the video, you'll get the true gravity of that statement!

Thursday September 14 2006 at 20:48 GMT

Yahoo! Voice Phone calls to and from India are pretty expensive, so I decided to try out Yahoo! Voice. The rates are extremely attractive for outgoing calls and having a UK number for people to call me makes everything so much easier.

After some initial problems with my headset, calls seem to be working pretty well. Quality dialling out can be a bit suspect, but when people call me it really works well.

My parents picked up a headset today as well, so I've had a quick call with them using the computer to computer calling (free) and the quality is perfect. Just at that point, my sister appeared online from Bangkok, so I've been sidelined and my parents and sister are chatting away quite happily. The Internet has helped the world shrink, and it just got that little bit smaller still.

As I sat twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my parents and sister to remember I was there, I thought 'wouldn't it be cool if there was a conference facility. Lo and behold, the plugin was announced last Monday and the service should be available within two weeks.

No wonder the mobile telcos are so keen to get into the broadband market (Orange first, now Vodafone) seeing as all that will be required soon is a mobile and broadband, although even that may reduced to 'a mobile' soon enough.

Wednesday September 13 2006 at 20:17 GMT

Things done in Chennai so far:

  • met my colleagues, who have all been incredibly welcoming, helpful and happy to show me around
  • visited Elliots Beach
  • visited Marina Beach
  • Santhome Church
  • saw Sillunu Oru Kadhal at Prarthana Drive-In Theatre, then ate at Kebab KornerKebab Court on ECR (I think)
  • had discussions with extreme nice Indians in the lifts, always interested to know why I'm visiting Chennai

Tuesday September 12 2006 at 07:02 GMT

If you're looking for a P990 (and a new contract), you'd be well advised to check out the Vodafone online shop (or a branch) and get the 20/month for 12 months deal. The phone is no cost, so 240 in total. Plus, it's unlocked at the moment. Go go go!

Don't forget to post your P990 information over here on the wiki.

[Update at 11:00 GMT]: It seems Vodafone made a mistake with that contract, and now the phone will cost 270 on the 20/month contract. If you were quick & lucky, you should now have a very cool phone at an incredible price.

Monday September 11 2006 at 21:52 GMT

Next time St Mirren play in Edinburgh I'm going to go and see them. Simon, any thoughts on your boys losing at home to the Saints at the weekend?

Monday September 11 2006 at 21:40 GMT

OK, it's been another mad few weeks. There's lots going on that will be posted later, once things are further forward. All good fun!

On top of that, I am now in India to visit my colleagues in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. There are a lot of old voices that I'm going to put faces to in Bangalore, but several of them have moved on and I don't have contact details for them (you). If you happen to be reading this, please leave a comment or else contact me directly.

Recommendations of things to do are very welcome, too, although from what I read in the guidebook, I could spend a few months just wandering around one small part of southern India!

Friday September 8 2006 at 19:19 GMT [via mobile]

Pete\'s stag weekend transport. Sleeps 12. If you see the Starliner, toot!

Pete's stag weekend transport. Sleeps 12. If you see the Starliner, toot!

Friday September 8 2006 at 19:15 GMT [via mobile]

Rich has a P990. Not long now!

Rich has a P990. Not long now!

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