Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Blockbusters - June 2008

June 2008 promised a variety of entertainment from animations, comedy, action, adventure and thrillers. And most of them were either from huge productions or had notable cast in it which added lot of expectations on them. So here they are - Summer blockbusters of June 2008.
Click here for Movies from the month of May 2008.

June 6th - Kungfu Panda
Now that is a good entertainer. An animated movie with the voices of All-Big stars including Jackie-Chan, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu and Jack Black as the Kung-fu Panda. Nothing great about the story, but it sure hell was fun from the start till the end. A definite family movie to enjoy with all the gags and cool animation put up together. The camera movements in the action sequences were so great that it makes one forget that it is an animated movie. Good watch for the summer season.

June 13th - The Happening and The Incredible Hulk
I do not remember what made me busy that I could not watch both of these movies. I did not care about the Hulk though. Even the first part was pathetic with cheap special effects. But "The happening" had a greater expectation for me. Strange that I watched only the first 15 minutes of the movie so far. And yes, I loved it. Though the movie did not go well with the Box office, I am sure it will be great to watch like "The Lady in the water".

June 20th - Get Smart
Another James Bond Parody is what I thought before going to the movie. After watching Steve Carell in "Dan in real life" and Anne Hathaway in "The Devil wears Prada", the movie appeared to be worth a try. But then I was in for a surprise. This film became the top film I laughed out loud and heartily throughout. Steve Carell and his silly jokes especially when he boasts about his hi-tech gadgets prove his natural trait in bringing out comedy so easily to all. Roc was nothing but a cherry at the top while Kali was a bonus. The million dollar question though is "Which kiss in the movie was the best?"
a. Anne Hathaway and Steve b. Anne Hathaway and Kali (or) c. Steve and Roc? Hell! Yeah baby! Do you like to guess the winner?

June 27th - Wall-E and Wanted
Though we can not call them as the two double-U (W) releasing the same week, both are great movies of their own. Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth class or simply Wall-E is an animated movie set in a reality-check in not-so-far future. I must admit that I did not hope much for the movie and feared that this would be disaster to Pixar. But against all my thoughts, this movie was sweet, cute, adorable and funny as hell with a strong message regarding the environment. The Love story between the two robots that can speak nothing much more than their names is so touching and lasts forever. I watched the whole movie with a kid sitting behind my seat who was questioning every scene of the movie while his dad was trying hard to enjoy the movie in-between giving answers to his son. The movie will be remembered for a long time.
"Wanted" on the other hand was based on a comic book which is becoming a trend these days. All film producers and digging out the old book shelves for thrown away comics and put big casts to make money out of it. Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman star as the Merchants of death working in the secret organization called "The Fraternity". The movie has its own share of twists and wicked humor that keeps everyone thrilled till the bullet comes out of Morgan's forehead in the end. It was a good weekend with the entertaining back-to-back features.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Beginning of the End

Tomorrow might be my last day in the current project. Though I have heard these words for the last 6 months, the end seems to be definite this time. The last 19 months of staring at the same status screen and recovering the same loads again and again have taught me a lot that includes both technical and managerial aspects of the project. I even learnt tips of tricks of handling the politics that run within the IT industry especially in the client space when you are not the most favorite to them and survival depends more on your smartness than hard work in creating the solution. Between the time of learning the code which God knows who developed and even He might not know who maintained, you will have to use your social skills in getting information from your co-workers who see you as a threat to their job. So it’s a tough task in getting the job done and also getting the credit for it. But there are also few good souls who would recognize your efforts in a while and you are motivated to work for those appreciation mails. This Project had not made me work longer weekends than my previous ones but this indeed made me face tougher challenges and sleepless nights as while you prepare yourself to play the blame game with other teams in the project, your offshore sometimes trip you like a lousy sidekick by pressing the wrong buttons out of sheer curiosity.
Though there are many incidents that I might be forced to create a new blog titled "My pain and the gain with the Cable Guy", I will put up a few events that are at the top of my memories.

The Beginning of the Never-ending story
Brought to onsite for created GPS reports (Please watch Wanted movie), before I could set my hands on them properly, my PM called me for a meeting. These are the exact words he said.
"Our project is in a very bad state. The client might throw us out if we do not do something about it. And it is all in your hands. I am putting you in charge of Production Support team and you must bring the team up and create a good name with the client. You can do it."
Everyone who would hear such inspiring words from your manager and assuring that the world rests on your hands; it probably would have created enlightenment in your mind and brought Goosebumps inside you. But for me, it tickled and I laughed out loud for I heard him saying the same dialogue to S to persuade him join another module. We all love our managers for their convincing words. Don’t we? But I hoped he could have changed the words at the least.

The night I almost screwed up
Not even a month of leading the Production support from onsite, I had a simple instruction to run specific jobs in the night. And that day happened to be a party night and everyone were at home and we were enjoying a good dinner. The clock struck 11 and I went on to my start the specified jobs only to find that a variation of that job is already active from 10. The schedule for the new jobs was at 10 and not at 11 which I completely forgot. Not willing to call the client to face embarrassment, I took the bold step of going through the entire code, understand it, find the pros and cons of running it after 11 and created the detailed steps to complete it successfully. The plan went on for the whole night and it took 20 hours to finish the whole load. But still I had to spend another sleepless night as I was not sure if I made any mistake that the client might notice the next day. But fortunately, everything went fine and nobody even suspected the manual overrides done on the weekend. It taught me a huge lesson. Always remember that you CAN do it, if you WISH for it and WORK HARD to make it happen. And also make sure you note down the time in your schedule correctly.

24 hours conference call and $25 movie tickets
Almost an year back during the labor day weekend, when everyone in the office were on their long planned vacations while I was just sitting in home with no plans, the server crashed and forced all of them to join the conference call. With everyone's vacation ruined and me with nothing to be ruined, we spent 24 hours in the call while engineers from various team tried hard in bringing back the crashed server to life. As the issue was not directly on my application, I had nothing to do in the whole time except keep the mobile charged and was left lying on the bed for the whole day. Though my brain tried to follow up the progress of the issue, my mind could not concentrate on the call owing to the sleepiness night. My only real work was running the test loads on the next day and declaring that all things are fine. And the reward: A signed appreciation letter (hard copy) from the client along with $25 worth movie tickets. Dedication pays off sometime with style.

The night I thought I screwed up
This happened few months back when we saw failure on a module which never had any problem before. With preliminary analysis done and the solution derived to solve the problem, we proceed with applying the fix. As the normal process, we are supposed to take backup of the data before doing any changes in the system. Even though I am always bit of extra precautious in handling the production systems and would rather be a road block than a open canal for care-free developers, on this particular day I was partially out of my mind and allowed the code execution on the production without any backups. As if it is a punishment for my carelessness, the tests failed and were showing weird output in the test environment. As I had proceeded with the production before verifying the results from the test environment, I knew I am in deep trouble. The whole weekend became a nightmare with all strange thoughts from being branded as the reckless guy in the project to getting fired by the client flashing in my dreams. Hard it was to understand that what was done is already done and there is nothing you can do to undo it. As we did not even take the backup, so recovery from an old backup is a costly option which was closer to impossible. With alarms running through my mind, it was Hemant's unimportant question whether I had run the tests on the Production environment itself. And that was when it struck me that we never ran complete tests in production and were presuming by looking at the similar test environment. A quick test finally revealed to my surprise that the production does not have any issues and the test environment was already corrupted before we had applied our fix. Breathing at last, I laughed at myself for making judgment calls without complete information. Another important lesson learnt from the day. Facts have better answers than your assumptions. It is never too late to recheck your results. Sometimes it is advisable to listen to your colleagues.

The Summer Blockbusters - May 2008

Summer is almost over. But the summer blockbusters are over already. This summer happened to be a great year for movies with one greatly expected movie releasing every week. "A movie every weekend" was the plan but considering the other movies that released along with the big ones and the DVD mail in subscriptions, it happened to almost a movie a day. But let’s not worry about the other movies as they did not create any surprise much. Let’s talk and rate the blockbusters now one month at a time.

Movies of the summer 2008:
Ref: (

May 2nd - Iron Man
I never thought this will be any good. Not a fan of Iron man, actually never read any comic about him, we watched the movie with very less anticipation. Even the trailer wasn’t so cool. But guess what? The movie was total fun. Robert Downey Jr did a good job as the Arms dealer turned Super-hero. And yes. The ending was in a word "Striking". Good start for the summer season.
Rating: 4/5

May 9th - Speed Racer
Opposed to Iron Man, Speed Racer was one movie that I awaited for more than a year. It is a Japanese anime turned to a flashy witty and same cartoonish thrilling roller coaster ride. The eastern bright color added a nice touch to the entire movie and even with all the fast action; it was cool to have the same cartoonish feeling all over the movie. If you haven't watched it yet, just go and enjoy the ride. The summer is getting better. Read more of my opinion here.
Rating: 4.5/5
>>More here

May 16th - The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian
The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe though was made a hit did not dazzle me as I had seen the cartoon adaptation of the C.S.Lewis' fantasy novel. Except few special effects the movie was nothing but a film that parents can take their kids too. Also we have seen these animated wars in many other better movies like Lord of the Rings itself, it left me remembering Vivek's dialogue in the movie "Run", "ithelaam naanga ratha kaneerleya paathutomla" (We have already seen these in the old "Blood tears" movie). So I could not find the urge to watch the second part of the Chronicles of Narnia. I guess it did not any difference from the first one.
Rating: n/a

May 22nd - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Before we go into bashing and dashing about this sequel, let’s get one thing straight. This movie was made just to relive the glory days of Original Indiana Jones adventures and made by the fans. Yeah! I am talking about Spielberg and Lucas here. And it had all the fun that the original movie had. Right from the shadow of Jones putting his hat, (If it was Kollywood, there would have whistles) to the scene La Beoulf taking the hat from the floor after the wedding, it is all about reliving the good old times. This movie had all the mix and match one would expect from Indiana Jones. It has a good start, charming villain, betraying friends, families to add sentiments, and the villains getting their end by the hands of the same treasure they seek. All in all, a good entertainer if you can leave your brains out.
Rating: 3/5

May 30th - Sex and the City
Sorry guys. I am not a fan of this TV series and definitely do not find Jessica Parker any attractive or whatsoever. So this movie went outside my hook and I think it did not do any good in the box office anyway.
Rating: n/a

Shooting the moon

நித்தமும் சிந்தித்தேன்;
இருள்வரை யோசித்தேன்.
உன் புகழினை படிக்க;
கவிதை ஒன்றை இயற்ற.
தோன்றவில்லை மனதில்;
அவளைக்கண்ட மறுபொழுதில்.

[+/-]Click here for the English translation of the poem. (Not by words, but the inner meaning that the poem conveys).

Every second, I thought;
Till the night, I tried.
To express your glory
To recite a poem for you.
But no words came to my mind;
From the moment she was in my sight.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Winterbells from Ferry Hailm's Orisinal games

It is indeed a big challenge to find a computer game that does not involve kills or deaths or destruction. Almost all the classic games involve either destroying enemies or escaping from being killed. Space invaders was all about destroying the aliens while defending your base; Pacman is about escaping from the ghosts and eating the ghosts at times; Mario smashes all the creatures to the ground and throws fireballs too. If we come to the recent days, 99.99% of the games involve weapons ranging from swords, guns or even bombs to draw blood all over the screen. With many social organizations accusing video games in playing major roles in violence in the real world, a search for games to disprove that there are games without blood or deaths leaves us with only puzzle and sports simulations. Even racing simulations give you points or provides an advantage if the road safety rules are not followed. Though it is highly debatable if video games provide nothing but harm to the society which I personally disagree, it is indeed hard to find a game that does not have violence in it.

Lucky I was to find this flash game, Winterbells that provided a very good example of a game for everyone. So cute is the bunny and so pleasing is the music score that you will never want to close the game. And every time, the bunny jumps on the bell breaking it into sparkles, it really lightens up your mind. Even, when you do not get to step on the bells, you fall all the way only to land safely on the ground ready for the next chance. If you ask me for a game with no violence, here it is.
It appears that the game is one of the 60 flash games under the name Orisinal by Ferry Halim from Fresno, California and has received lot of awards for its artistic and entertaining nature. Hats off to him for all the wonderful games. More of his games can be found at his site here.

After hours of play, I have reached the highest score of 65310. Play the game and let me know your high score soon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Uncertainty

You can only hope;
Pray with closed eyes;
Dream of something big;
Be afraid to face;
Plan to conquer;
Await with raised brows;
Hesitate with doubts;
Guess like a dice;
Because whatever you do,
You can never know me.
- The Future

The Best gift of the year!

Of all my birthday presents this year, the one that tops everything else is my sister's birthday mail. Nothing to be surprised of when you see what she gave me for the last year here.

So this year's wish was more than a painting. It was the visualization of a beautiful dream. I still feel flabbergasted reading it again and again being so proud of her. Thank you Chetai.


HOW DO YOU FEEL .....................