Thursday, November 29, 2007

My first impression of was a negative one -- their TV ad where a person sees a good looking woman in a bar and removes his ring so that he can pretend to be single (what's up with these brain-dead advertising folks? [*]) -- but a visit to their web site left a positive impression on me. Clear design, works fine in Firefox, an excellent summary page where you can mix and match flight options... what more could one ask for? Not to mention the fact that you can use said excellent summary page and identify the flights you want to take, and then mosey over to the airlines' own web sites and book your ticket, saving yourself at least a couple of hundred bucks <evil grin>.

[*] Before a certain commenter (I know who you are, BTW) jumps on me and calls me dumb, let me make myself clear: it's the inappropriateness of the wedding-ring-as-marital-status indicator in the Indian context that I'm ranting against.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And the winner is...

Open source software.

For some reason, I couldn't open my Gnucash data file after installing Kubuntu. A post to the gnucash-user mailing list produced suggestions from some helpful folks, but they didn't fix the problem.

An hour or so of digging into the sources (made possible in no small measure by the log messages in /tmp/gnucash.trace) and tweaking the XML validation code, and three years of data accessible once again. Phew.

I still don't know what the long term effects of the tweaking will be, but for the moment I'm happy that I am able to make changes to the file and save them successfully.

I also have to figure out for how long am I going to be running my own fork of Gnucash. I guess the best option would be to use the 'forked' Gnucash to open my current data file as an archive file, but use the plain vanilla Gnucash and create a new file for everyday use.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Resident Non Pakistanis

Well, it's now the turn of the Pakistanis: there was this picture of a bunch of them crossing the Wagah border to attend the India-Pakistan ODI at Mohali, at a time when their country is in complete turmoil. It beats me how can these people sit in a stadium and cheer their team when their fellow countrymen are spilling blood on the streets, opposing the military crackdown.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Resident Non Indians

I've always wondered what to call folks in India who are Indians only by name and nothing else; the kind of people who go to wine and cheese parties, greet one another with pecks on the cheek instead of the traditional namaste, celebrate Halloween in Chennai (gag) and so on. A lot of colourful expletives come to mind, of course, but I'll settle for RNI: Resident Non Indians.

I came across this moniker a couple of days ago in Deccan Chronicle. Though I know it's practically impossible to search for any article older than 24 hours in the DC web site, I googled for the phrase all the same and found that it has been in existence for quite some time -- the hijacking of the original phrase (NRI) seems obvious in hindsight -- but has not exactly been used in the context I'm referring to.

Staying on the subject of Deccan Chronicle, some obligatory DC-bashing: their daily supplement contains a section called 'Party Whirl', where a stringer with a cheap digital camera goes (probably uninvited) to various parties in town and clicks pictures of guests for tomorrow's edition. The 'journalist' doesn't even bother to take down the names of some of the party goers; instead you find pictures with captions like 'This lady was seen enjoying herself' or some such tripe. Somebody just shoot me.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I left the sound on during the commercial break for a change, and regretted it immediately: a car carrying a bunch of beach bunnies stops near a surfer dude; the girls break into song -- I don't remember the lyrics, but the gist is that they are feeling naughty, and would the surfer dude like to rub some sun tan lotion on them?

How many times must it be drummed into the heads of the bozos who come up with such crap? Indians are not looking to acquire a sun tan. We want to look Fair and Lovely (tm) or Fair and Handsome (tm), depending on whether we are beach bunnies or surfer dudes.