For the heck of it

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Newest Addition to my Gadget Collection

My penchant for technology and gadgets seem to be increasing by the day. I have now added another IT product to my collection of IT gadgets and accessories – a HP Compaq Presario V5233EA notebook. The notebook made a comeback in the Middle East region and to mark this entry, HP invited selected journos from the UAE for the launch at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, at an unearthly hour – 11 pm!

However, those journos who turned up for the launch were in for a surprise. The officials gave away 50% discount coupons to journos present at the launch event. The notebook was already available at an introductory price of 3,499 dirhams (Rs. 44,500). For journos however, with the 50% discount coupon, the price of the notebook translated to just 1,750 dirhams (Rs.22,250). Plus add to it 200 dirhams (Rs. 2,550) gift voucher from Careefour, which makes the effective price of the notebook as 1,550 dirhams (Rs. Below Rs. 20,000) – which is awesome!

The specification of the notebook is also quite mind-blowing.

Microprocessor: 1.60 GHz Intel Core Duo processor T2050 with Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology
Microprocessor Cache: Level 2 cache 2MB
Memory: 1024MB DDR2 667-MHz (2 x 512MB)
Memory Max: Up to 2GB
Video Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Video Memory: Up to 128 MB (shared)
Hard Drive: 100GB (5400-rpm)
Multimedia Drive: Super Multi DVD Writer (+/-R +/-RW) with Double Layer support
Display: 15.4” WXGA High Definition BrightView Widescreen (1280 x 800)
Fax/Modem: High speed 56K modem
Network Card: 10/100 LAN Ethernet integrated
Wireless Connectivity: Intel Pro/Wireless 2200 802.11b/g Integrated Wireless LAN
Sound: Altec Lansing speakers
PC Card Slots:
• One type I or II PC card slot
• One ExpressCard/54 slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
External Ports:
• 6-in-1 Memory Reader (xD, SD, Smart Media, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Multimedia Card)
• 1 VGA port
• 3 USB 2.0 ports
• 1 IEEE-1394
• 1 RJ 11 modem connector
• 1 RJ 45 Ethernet connector
• S-video TV out
• Remote control infrared port (Remote Control optional)
• 1 Headphone-out w/ SPDIF Digital Audio, 1 Microphone-in port
• Cable docking connector
Weight: 2.98 kg (6.6 lbs)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

We've Been Expecting You!

Well, that's the tag line of Silent Hill. I saw Silent Hill yesterday and though the movie isn't frightening enough, the storyboard was great and the visuals, awesome. However a few cheesy graphics also formed part of the movie - a la "Itchy the Killer" style.

The film is about a girl called Sharon (played by Jodelle Ferland), who sleep-walks and continuosuly mentions about a place called Silent Hill, which haunts her in her dreams. Sharon's mother Rose Da Dilva (Radha Mitchell) and father have tried everything they can to cure her of these nightmares.

After being unsuccesful everytime, Rose finally decides to take Sharon to Silent Hill. However, the road to Silent Hill is anything but easy to access, and Rose creates a high speed chase between herself and a police officer only to end in a crash for them both. However, when she wakes up, Sharon has disappeared and Rose is at the entrance to the deserted, dream-like town of Silent Hill.

As Rose begins the search for her daughter, she does not realise the terror and mystery surrounding her. Rose is led on a blind search for her beloved daughter, finding herself getting more and more entwined into disturbing past of Silent Hill.

Though Silent Hill is based on a computer game by the same name, developed by Konami, I am told that the central plot of Silent Hill - a city with coal mines, that burns till now - is actually based on an existing town of Centralia, in Pennsylvania, in the US.

Centralia experienced a trash fire in 1962, which accidentally ignited an exposed coal vein. Today, over forty years later, the mines underneath the town are still on fire -- and will continue to be for at least another 100 years, say experts. The population has been reduced from over a thousand down to just eleven. Smoke and steam continue to pour out of the ground.

You might want to read about Centralia, here and here.
For images of Centralia, head over here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Online Auctions Come of Age

Lots of things have been said about online shopping and auction web sites. With millions of products and services at your fingertips, online shopping is an experience anyone can afford to indulge in, without having to venture into the hot sun. While the eBays and the Amazons of the world can rule the globe, one web site that's shaping the Arab e-commerce revolution is

The site claims to be the world's first Arabic/English online auction, and was launched as MazadMaktoob in 2000. It then slowly evolved into the present The online auction site then went onto to add an online payment service called CashU in 2002, and currently claims to be generating millions of transactions worldwide. I have been quite fascinated by the idea of online shopping for quite sometime. I have been a frequent user of an auction web site called in India, which was later transformed into eBay India, when online auction giant eBay decided to buy it. follows a similar business strategy, except that it needs a little bit of tidying up to do, as far as the interface of the web site is concerned. Nevertheless, the web site does its job quite well. The best part about the web site is that there are no subscription charges — you neither pay for putting your product up for sale, nor do you pay any charges to for buying any stuff off their web site. One of the things that caught my eye was's offer for free shipping of products that weigh up to 5kgs. This essentially means that I don't pay a single fill to get the product delivered to my doorstep. Now that's neat!

Via PC Magazine Middle and Near East