Prashant's Weblog
Random Brain "Droppings" of yet another software engineer

Monday, February 12, 2007

Riding solo to the top of the world - A Tale of incredible journey

A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places.
- Isabelle Eberhardt

Name : Riding solo to the top of the world
Director : Gaurav Jani
Producer : Dirt Track Productions
Music : Ved Nair

This isnt a review, as I would be doing a gross injustice if I were to call this words can completely describe Gaurav Jani,loner(His 350cc Enfield) and their 5000KM odyssey, a incredible journey of a lone biker who had set out to conquer the flats of Changthang plateau in Ladakh, but how, after two months with resplendent nature and the champa community, its not the Changthang plateau which he conquered but himself..

This chronicle starts with Delhi and leads you through a virtual tour of wilderness of one of the most remote places in India. What follows is a splendid tale of Champa community in the back drop of some stunning scenery, a confluence that will leave you spell bound. What makes it even more special is the fact that the whole thing is a one man show..Gaurav not only rode alone through the 5000KM journey but also directed, scripted, narrated and filmed the entire adventure all by himself.

Starting from Delhi, Gaurav takes the scenic route of Delhi- Manali to reach Manali then to Leh. Changthang is a plateau between the Karakoram and the Himalayan range. From Leh he travels to northen most tip of Changthang called Datta and from there along the Pangong Tso lake to Chusul. From Chusul to Rongo and then to Hanle to Chumur which is the southern most tip of Changthang and from Chumur back to Delhi to complete the journey.

Apart from the incredible beauty of above mentioned places that you get to see, Gaurav has also filmed the Hemis Festival which happens once is 12 years, Hanle prayer festival and the Chumur monastry(which has a mummified Lama and severed hands of a women who using her charm was responsible for death of 7 Lamas) all of which form a amazing footage which you dont get to see very often.

In short, its an really wonderful documentary. Its not just about Gaurav or his bike or about his incredible journey, its about the splendid beauty of Nature, its people and their lifestyle, their culture and spirituality. Its about the heaven on earth called Changthang. A must watch for all who love travel.

PS :
If god were to grant me a wish all I would ask is Give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feet, a winding road before me, and a three hours' march to dinner.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Futuristic White board..

I have seen electronic white boards, but this one from MIT(supposedly) is way too cool..Check it out

its amazing how a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking can help transforming a simple concept of white boards into a really powerful, interactive medium.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Speech/Voice recognition and BI

We know of the integrated speech recognition in Vista, where in you can issue voice commands to get some basic tasks done. I recently came across another interesting application of speech(voice) recognition implemented at Midomi.

They have this feature where in you can sing or hum the song or rhythm of the song and their software will decipher it and make a search for users who have uploaded the same song. It also shows you the snippet of the song by original singer and you can go ahead and buy the complete song. You can see the video of how it works here.

Though the results vary depending on the tonal quality of the singer and the application isn't perfect yet(I couldn't get it to find the song I was looking for :(, but then my musical talent is as celebrated as that of Cacofonix by Gauls), but its really a interesting concept and it can be applied to provide easy interface to end users....say for example we have a BI reporting application, instead of user selecting the columns and then submitting the request, he can just issue a voice command like "Get me top 10 customers by sales" or "Show me countries where sales greater than that in India" and the application translates these to appropriate SQL and gets the results..Wonder if anyone is doing some research in this direction.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ash-Abhi hysteria continues...

IBNLive reports that Aishwarya rai on her spiritual sojourn at Benaras, Bangalore and Ayodhya with her in-laws, married a peepal tree at Benaras, a banana tree at a Bangalore temple and a god's idol in Ayodhya inorder to appease the gods and to rectify the "Dosha" thats because of presence of Mars in the 2, 4, 7, 8, and 12 houses of Ash's Kundali..

Since "will they? wont they?" questions regarding Aishwarya and Abhishek has been answered, the whole nation and understandably is now deeply concerned about the impending Ash-Abhi marriage...The question on top of everyones mind is not about disgusting human rights violation track record of Army in North east or why we are not a wee bit concerned when this "untouchability" concept takes such ugly turn almost every day, but we are riveted to know if Mangalik traits of Aishwarya jeopardize the "made-in-heaven" marital bond between Ash-Abhi.

Such is the hysteria in this country about what Ash-Abhi do that we have a site to suggest what color undergarments should Abhi were on the day of his last bachelors party(which also happens to be his 31 birthday) and we also have people like Shruti Singh who apparently has filed a PIL(public interest litigation) saying the above act of Rai is a direct violation of Article 17(what ever in the world it is) and promotes "untouchability" and violation of fundamental human rights...

If I remember correctly, this isn't the first time we have read about weired "marriages" ...we had cases of women marrying a snake, a girl marring a dog or a women being married at gun point, but I don't remember our top notch human right activist and Saviour of suppressed and repressed classes Shruti Singh doing anything, so you wonder why now?

anyways, I seriously hope Aishwarya chants "Om gan ganpate namah" regularly...With great difficulty has India come to terms with Tulsi and Mihir seperation in KKSBKBT and it cannot take another.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sachin aala re world cup sambhaal Australia...

Talent is what you possess; genius is what possesses you goes the saying and any one who watched our master blaster's innings yesterday cannot agree more with it..watching those sexy strokes that dispatched the balls to boundaries and beyond turned back the clock of memories to days when the whole nation of billion people would come to stand still when the little master used to step on to the 22 yards. Wonder struck I asked is this the same Sachin, Hoi, ka nahi.To Sachin(yes, of course thats Sachin) came the reply.

Not long ago, people(including me to some extent) had written off the little champion saying that the old Sachin is dead and we will never again see that person who single handedly turned the Australian might to rubbles. String of injuries because of which he had to miss 11 Tests and 96 ODIs and the recent personal score card that read more like a string of binary digits rather than a cricketing score did nothing more than add fuel to this fire..

But the God of cricket had other plans for Wednesday, another avatar to take and another leela to enact and boy wasn't it a bliss to watch him. He yet again demonstrated why he is regarded as "unbowlable batsmen of this era". Such were the fireworks that like Lara, all I could do is just stand and admire. With Prince and wizard in the same team you wouldnt expect anything less.