Friday, November 28, 2008

Barkha Dutt's " c*cks..." blooper on NDTV

Don't know what was in her mind but yesterday morning at around 9.00 AM when Bharka Dutt was in front of the Trident covering the Mumbai attack she certainly did not use the right words. As she was reporting she started speaking to a passer by and was trying to speak in favour of the top cops that died. And speaking of their losses, instead of top cops what came out from her mouth was " c*cks...". Barkha either pretended she didn't make the mistake but she was in no mood to go lightly over it. I wonder if she would have done so. For those of you Barkha fans and for those of you who don't like her, this is one of those bloopers you aren't likely to forget.

Here's an edited version of the video posted by NDTV on YouTube. Was it done to cover-up the damage? You bet, it was! I commented on this video on YouTube but the comment has been removed on purpose. The video naturally does not contain the blooper but try and search for the video with the blooper and send me a message if you find it.

And look at how others have handled a similar situation.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some performances worth mentioning

Here are two videos, whose links were mentioned by one of my readers, Hari. The Sarath/Unnikrishnan performance is worth watching. I thought Unnikrishnan was struggling and was also out of rythm with the beat.

The next one is of Roopa performing on Asianet plus. This must be a lot earlier to her performances on Super Star Global as her trademark smile and gestures aren't there but it is a good performance and evokes some nostalgia too. Some singers of Idea Star Singer 2007 are present in the audience. There is one "ass" in the audience caught continuously mucning and eating throughout the video. Wonder why it wasn't edited.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Help! Yahoo, Yahoo mail screwing up like crazy

I don't know how many of you are having this problem in your countries but I am having major problems with, and Yahoo mail. It is through repeated tries that I am able to read my mail. Most of the time the Yahoo home page does not display at all. If it does the page looks like it was written in the HTML 1.0 era. Images are also gone.

After surfing the net for a while and after repeated tries using IE and FireFox I am able to get through to mail. I have checked online and it looks like there are many out there having this same problem.

Any workarounds, tricks or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Adobe Reader 9 has a bug while installing

Since I was using Adobe Reader 7 I thought I would upgrade. So I check and Adobe Reader 9 is one of the top 10 downloads there. I download the file, unistall my current version and then install the new one. But things don't go right. The application does install but the wizard just hangs there saying 99.0% complete. If you click the Finish button you may see the Microsoft very familiar "Blue Screen of Death" for a fraction of a second and the system will boot as it happened to me today.

When the system is back on you will notice that Adobe Reader 9 has been installed but you will be surprised to see that it does not appear in the "Add or Remove Programs" dialog under Start->Settings->Control Panel. Surprisingly it didn't show up in my Revo Uninstaller program too. Trying to do another install will give you the same results as before.

So I deleted the folder (as I installed it on my E: drive which is not my system drive) and then ran freeware Eusing Registry cleaner and fixed the registry.

I checked Adobe's site and they seem to offer the same download as "filehippo".

Simply got the old executable and re-installed Adobe Reader 7 without any hassles.

Let me know if you had the same problem.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How to change the default program installation folder on your computer (Windows)

How many times has this happened to you in Windows? You are installing a program and you want it to install in a particular folder on your D, E, F or G drive instead of C: where you have installed your operating system and other system files. So you wait for that particular window/dialog of the installer to prompt with a field indicating where the program will be installed and beside it is a "Browse" button that helps you change that location.

But instead of showing you this screen (most programs do and some do if you click the Custom installation option) some programs directly install on your C: drive without any warning.

Now here's a trick you can do so that "these" programs will default to a particular drive or folder where you want programs to install if they don't prompt you with that "folder to install" window while installing.

Note that you will be making changes to the registry and so do be careful. Take this as a disclaimer in that that playing with the Registry carelessly can screw up your computer and make it un-usable unless you do a fresh install of the O.S. At the same time do not be paranoid about the registry editor. A little care and you will do fine. You simply tweak a registry entry and that will do the trick.

To invoke the registy editor or the regedit.exe program and do the tweak follow the steps below.

1. Click Start and from the Start menu click Run.
2. In the Run dialog enter regedit in the Open field and press Enter.
3. The Registry Editor opens.
4. Navigate to this folder:

Note: Since there are many CurrentVersion keys in your registry make sure you navigate to the right key as indicated above. The best way to do this is to patiently expand the folders on the left starting with HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and then gradually navigating to the CurrentVersion folder. It should look as follows.

Now here is an important tip. To ensure that you are at the correct folder look for the name of the folder displayed at the bottom of the registry window. It must display HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion under the folder the registry is installed.

5. The ProgramFilesDir key displays the current folder where new programs will be installed. In this case E:\Program Files is displayed.

6. To change this folder to the one you wish to designate as the default folder where new programs are to be installed right click it and from the menu select Modify.

7. In the dialog that opens replace the folder name in the Value Data: field. Make sure the folder exists.

8. Click OK and you are done.

9. Exit the Registry Editor program.

Now even if you forget to change the directory to the folder of your choice while installing new programs will only install in the default folder you have changed to.

By the way that was also a sample of Technical Writing.

Great concerts coming your way

This time the Novemberfest conducted by The Hindu is turning out to be a dull affair for people like me. 4 concerts featuring North-Indian music including one where South Indian singers, Chinmayi, Anuradha Sriram, Srinivas and Naresh Iyer are singing old Hindi songs. I missed last year's Tirlok Gurtu's performance and was hoping for something similar this year but it has only been a disappointment so far.

Meanwhile Bengaluru is host to some fine concerts. The ageless JethroTull fronted by Ian Anderson play in Bangalore
Spyrogyra the prog-jazz/modern jazz band play at Bangalore on the 23'rd of this month.

The Jethrotull and Anoushka Shankar concert titled A night with the Piper and Princess is on Decmeber the 2'nd.

You can book your tickets at from where I took these images.

But I'll save the best for the last. On February 15'th, 2009 Iron Maiden is back in India and at Bangalore playing their hits from the past in their "Somewher back in time" tour. I may go for this one but I hope instead of going alone I have some good company in old friends.

Shaji, TP, Binny are you reading this?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Roopa vs Gayathri

Like what happened last year with Roopa of SSG I am hunting down video after video and comments of Gayathri on Idea Star Singer 2008 and I must say I am blown away. Jaya's prophecy saying I would be jumping to another singer is almost coming true but not quite.

To me Roopa is a benchmark when it comes to judging singers of these singing-talent shows but then can somebody beat her?

Here are two of the fine videos I found of Gayathri's performances and I must admit she is a talent to reckon with.

This first video is of the song "Sharike" performed by Gayathri. It is followed by Roopa's video and so you can compare the two. My comments follow the two videos.

and Roopa's

With Roopa I found her hand, body and facial expressions dominating her performance. More energy seemed to be spent in those activities. Her singing looked strained when compared to the literally effortless way Gayathri sang the same song. And because Gayathri is more composed and with a great posture most of her energy was diverted to her song. She also seemed lost in the song and the singing as compared to Roopa who was very connected to the audience, judges and Stephen on the keyboard. I must say I found Gayathri's performance much better. It was pleasant for the ears too. I didn't find the relaxed feeling I had with Gayathri's performance in Roopa's.

Here's another song of Gayathri, "Sharapole", which the judges have lauded so eloquently you will have to watch it to believe.

There's another contender for Gayathri on the show and she is Sonia. I have seen some of her performances and they are good. I don't know if I will have the time to check her out too.

Gayathri steals the show again

Exactly one week later Gayathri gives another performance in the Medley round that leave the audience, viewers and judges spellboud. She did make some mistakes in the Tamil lyrics but by the time she came to the "May Madham 98'ill" song from JayJay she we on top of everything. I am not drawing any comparisons here but the ease with which she sang this song is unparalleled in this competition and in competitions that went by. So impressed were the judges that Ousepachan has offered a song for her and Menaka has promised her with another song in her upcoming film.

Check her out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A movie not to be missed

I remember Russel Peter, the comedian who said that even in his most ignorant state he wouldn't waste time watching a Bollywood movie. I am not against what he said. A lot of today's Bollywood movies and music are capable of bringing your I.Q down. But I am sure Russel would go back on his words had he seen this off-beat Bollywood movie. It is called "A Wednesday". Just an hour and a half long it doesn't take three hours or more of your time like the usual Bollywood ones.

"A Wednesday" is a feather in the cap for director Neeraj Pande who also roped in two veterans of our Hindi film industry, Naseerudin Shah and Anupam Kher who give some great performances. So has Jimmy Shergill and rest of the cast and crew. Editing is crisp and the action fast paced. But the beauty of the movie is that Neeraj has voiced not only his but the feelings of many of us Indians. An intense 10 minutes of dialogue between Naseerudin Shah and Anupam Kher towards the end of the film summarizes this feeling. Writing anything more will be simply giving the movie away. Watch it at any costs.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I feel somewhat embarrassed about my previous post

Was I flattered so badly? From the dismal reviews I have been getting when I showed the video to sis, who didn't even want to waste one moment on it I am beginning to wonder whether there was really something good about the Gayathri-Vivekanandan performance I wrote about in my previous post. The same old cringe-material did take me for a ride. Gayathri sure gave a good singing performance. She acted well too but the whole thing still sucks, making her enact and perform all those sensuous things. After all what is this competition about? Acting, Dancing or Singing?

In fact Asianet seems to be doing more damage than good to these young singers. I am told they are made to sign contracts that doesn't allow them to perform for non-Asianet programmes for up to two years. And on top of all this act, dance, mimic, do comical things. Roopa, last years SSG winner on Amritha channel told me how participants had to undergo gruelling hours of orientation and grooming. How many of today's singers did all this to reach their current status in the world of music. For almost an entire year (the entire duration of the ISS competition) these kids will have to forgo their careers, be that even music. No wonder several participants left half way to get back to school and college. They might have realised that ISS is only ruining even their singing careers.

I feel sad for not only Roopa but all the other top singers too. Where they just pawns in a game where television channels are at war with one another for selling more products/services, getting advertising and sponsorships via more viewership.

God save these kids.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A sensuous performance on Idea Star Singer 2008

Unlike Idea Star Singer 2007, the 2008 season completely fell out of favour on me for the following main reasons -

1. It started too soon without giving us a break from the 2007 episode.
2. Ranjini is the host.
3. Other stereotypes like dancing, acting that are getting on the nerves of everyone these days.

8:30 and the T.V at home is invariably tuned into the Asianet channel telecasting ISS but I stay in my room doing my work on my computer. There are songs that impress me and I come out and watch occasionally but most of the time everything sucks and disgusts so bad I stay away from it all. The new stars of this season are emerging but somehow the talent is not like we had last time. Prashob, Vivekanandan, Rahul, Parvathi are names that come to mind as the cream of the crop. Somadas has replaced and even overthrown Sunny of ISS 2007 for the sympathetic vote but Somadas is certainly the better singer. His rendition of Shankar Mahadevan's "Varaha Nathi Karai Oram" during the earlier part of this ISS was splendid. Catch it on YouTube if you missed the show. What a relief to see Ramya in the place of Renjini. Those days are gone.

These days better singing has been tempting me to watch some of the performances. I am going to write about one such performance, the duet between Vivek and Gayathri that was telecast last Friday. Jaya was already shouting from the hall, "Come and take a look at what's going on." and I knew instantly that cringe-material was being shown. But the female portion of the song was so good that I couldn't help listening to the song. I stayed away from watching but I didn't know what I missed. But the comments after the show was so good I realised I may have missed something.

I finally saw it on YouTube last night and I don't know how many times I watched the concluding portions of the performance. Yes, these days ISS is simply pushing their performers but it was not so bad as I thought it would be. Anyway it was simply too good to watch Gayathri. She exuded such sensuousness, honesty, bashfulness and grace that it was difficult to not fall for her. It looked as though she was really in love with her co-singer Vivek who faltered many a time during the performance. Was it because of her moves? Except for some breath control her voice was sweet and perfect. She sang with total ease, something that I have been observing of her in her previous performances too. She not only sang her parts well but did other non-singing parts too which as Sharath pointed out were done by other artistes in the original. Her gaze throughout her performance was a movie Director's delight. Her concluding parts of the song, where she sensuously says her lines and emotes as Vivek approaches her was the real killer. Take a look at the video below.

Certainly I will be looking forward to her next performances but this kind of acting/emoting may not be something we'll get to see.