Monthly Archive: June 2006

Whats wrong with the Internet?

Well, for the past two three days lots of things are not in place. First of all, my Bloglines aggregator is behaving like a total bitch. For some damn reason, Bloglines is not updating some of my feeds, which is driving me nuts.

Yesterday, Yahoo! mail, messenger and many of other yahoo services were down

Orkut has gone bonkers for the past couple of days. It was down for maintenance for quite a lot of time. Also,.. the “Bad server, No doughnut” error is back!

There were reports that even Google/Gmail services was behaving erratically for some users.

And in the next day or two, the ‘stupid’ net-neutrality bill would be passed. Sad news for the entire Internet community. Is this the beginning of, the End of Internet ?…

BTW, any alternative for a good web-based news aggregator ?
I tried the web-based newsgator – did not like it. I guess I am too addicted to the bloglines style of display.
Tried Yahoo! Mail (beta) RSS feed reader feature – did not like it either – Navigation is not that great. No import/export features yet.
Google reader – Tried my best to use it. But found it too user-unfriendly. This is one product from Google which I kind of hate now. Its such a pain.

The best alternative for Bloglines so far has been the “Sage” extension for Firefox. It works cool. But the only problem is, it does not aggregate & its not web-based. i.e, It just displays the most recent feed items that are available. So, I would miss quite a lot of news items. :(

Any better alternatives ? I would prefer something web-based so that I can access the feeds from anywhere using a browser (preferably Firefox!)

Update (10.25 PM) : Got a reply from the Bloglines customer service department for the feedback that I had given about the above problem. They are saying that they are aware of the problem, and are looking into it. I checked my Bloglines feed now, and it seems to be back to normal now!

Mangalore featured in Time Magazine!

Mangalore, my home town has been featured in Time Magazine! Came to know about this from Harsha’s blog a couple of days back.

Mangalore - Hampankatta
Hampankatta. Mangalore – Photo Credit: Bharat Sikka for Time Magazine

The article talks about the recent growth-wave that’s hit Mangalore. Sure enough, Mangalore has changed a lot in the last 5 to 10 years, and I am sure that by the time I am back at Mangalore, it would look totally different!

Main Article:

Photo Essay :

Google Earth – Major Data update

Just checked Google earth.. and it looks like there has been a major data update. Lots of places are much clearer. Not very high resolution, but much better then before!. My home town, Mangalore now looks great, and I can see my house ! :)

Check out this picture of Infosys Mangalore – My office back at Mangalore…

Infosys Mangalore - from Google Earth
Infosys Mangalore – Google Earth view – Click to Zoom

Infact, tons of places across the globe have new images!. Enjoy! I am off to side-seeing! :)

Try out Google Earth today!.

Virginia Beach – Busch Gardens Trip

This post was long due. Finally found some time over the weekend to post this. Time flies by and its already a week now since this trip. The trip it self was fun.

Our Group: We were a group of 10. 3 Couples and 4 bachelors.
Travel time: appx 7.5 hrs drive – one way
Distance: appx 440 miles- one way
Vehicles: Chevrolet Uplander & Ford Taurus. The Uplander is sort of a mini van accommodating around 7 people. We couples were on the Uplander and the bachelors were on the other car – Ford Taurus.

We planned to start at around 2 PM on Friday, but somehow as usual we started at around 4 PM. :) The drive was pretty cool. Took some breaks on the way and we reached our destination at around 11.30 PM at night. Since it was a long weekend, we could not get any hotel rooms in Virginia Beach itself at a reasonable price. So, we had booked our rooms in hotels at Norfolk which is around 15 miles from Virginia beach. We stayed at the Hilton Norfolk Airport hotel.

Since we were all hungry, we decided to go out to some place to eat. IHOP was the restaurant of choice, but it was crowded. Finally we had to be happy with Wendy’s drive-in since most of the other restaurants had closed by then.

Day 1 – Saturday. Beach day. We were at the beach by around 11 AM I guess, and the beach was pretty crowded. Here are some snaps of the beach:

VA Beach
VA Beach – Click to Zoom

All along the shoreline there are hotels. Unfortunately we could not get accommodation in one of these hotels. But the rooms have a fantastic view of the sea!
VA Beach - Hotels on the Beach
VA Beach – Hotels on the Beach – Click to Zoom

VA Beach
VA Beach – Shoreline -Click to Zoom

Now this is what is called “Sun bath”…
VA Beach - Sun Bath
VA Beach – Sun Bath – Click to Zoom

Hmmm…. Nice shot… What say ?
VA Beach - Hmm...
VA Beach – Hmm… Shhhhh!- Click to Zoom

There are lot of amusement rides on the beach – Jet skiing, Para-sailing and the boat ride shown below :
VA Beach - Pirates Boat Ride
VA Beach – Pirates Boat Ride – Click to Zoom

At around 3 PM in the afternoon, we decided to go for Para-sailing. I was kind of determined to parasail when we first thought about this trip :)… …….. Para-sailing was fun. You must try it at least once in your life time. Here our snap – Me & Chitra

VA Beach - Para-sailing - That's Me & Chitra
VA Beach – Para-sailing – That’s Me & Chitra – Click to Zoom

Towards the end of the ride, if you request, the operators will give you a dip in ocean. We had a nice dip. :) the water was ice cold, and we got half wet. But we got dried pretty soon since it was sunny. For me, Parasailing was the best part of the entire trip!

After Para-sailing, we spent some more time on the beach, and all of were pretty tired.

We then started back to our hotel & freshened up. We had decided to have food at an near by Indian restaurant called Dawat (also known as Nawab). The Non Veg food was kind of OK, but the Veg food sucked big time. Definitely not a place to go again :)…

Day 2: Sunday. Busch Gardens Amusement Park.
We started at around 10 AM to Busch Gardens Amusement Park. Its located at Williams burg, which is around 1 hr drive from Norfolk.

We had to drive via the Hampton Roads. Its land, then bridge over the ocean followed by a Tunnel under the ocean, bridge again, and then Land. Very beautiful.

Here is a Bridge over the ocean…
Bridge over the ocean
Bridge over the ocean – Click to Zoom

And then the Tunnel…
Tunnel under the ocean
Tunnel under the ocean – Click to Zoom

This is how it looks on Google Earth – Satellite Image….
Google Earth Image
Google Earth View of bridge and the tunnel – Click to Zoom

As soon as we approached the exit to the Busch Gardens, we were kind of stuck in the traffic. There was a Major crowd…Looked like all roads led to the Busch Gardens….
Traffic to Busch Gardens
Traffic to Busch Gardens – Click to Zoom

Finally reached…
Busch Gardens Entrance
Busch Gardens Entrance – Click to Zoom

Even though there was major crowd, the Amusement park was well planned to manage such crowds. There was ample parking space, and we did not have major problem parking our vehicles. There were trams to ferry people from the parking lots to the Amusement Park.

The Busch Garden Amusement park at Williams burg is based on “European” theme. The park is divided into different areas named after different European countries. And each of the country has its own set of Rides, Games and Shows.

Here is one of the theatres where shows are held….
One of the theatres in Busch Gardens
One of the theatres in Busch Gardens – Click to Zoom

Busch Garden
Busch Garden – Click to Zoom

Since it was very crowded, there was a wait time of around 20 mins to 45 mins on many of the popular rides. We did manage to sit on some of the rides. Here is one of the rides that we enjoyed… called the Dark Kastle. Its a 3D ride. Thrilling…
Dark Kastle - 3D Ride
Dark Kastle – 3D Ride – Click to Zoom

Then we saw one of the shows called Oktoberfest … A dance performance…
OktoberFest Show
OktoberFest Show – Click to Zoom

This was one of the rides.. where the water splashes…
One of the rides
One of the rides – Click to Zoom

The Amusement park is very big, and one would need at least two days to see the entire park and sit on all the rides. Unfortunately we did not have so much of time with us :(. But we did have fun all the time we spent there.

We started back to Norfolk at around 10 PM and reached Norfolk at around 11 PM. Finally found IHOP not so crowded. Had a heavy dinner at IHOP and crashed to bed.

Day 3: Return. Back to Kingsport. Started our journey back home at around 10 AM after having our breakfast at a local fast food joint. We reached Kingsport at around 6 PM in the evening.

All in all, a great memorable trip!