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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Musings on Ads

I promised in an earlier post that I would blog about my experiences in the Bay Area. Its been very good on me so far. Great infrastructure, so many automated things, the fantastic business atmosphere in the Bay Area, the scenic beauty of the drives all add up to a very pleasant experience.

But on one count, I have been rather disappointed, and that has been the TV commercials. I am used to very energetic, colorful advertisements in India, which put music, dance and peotic sense to good use to entice you to buy a product. Thats true for almost all ads in India. In the US, however, it gets selective. Only a bunch of ads are colorful. A lot of them are very dry. Take a look at this video:

And the phenomenon of anybody suing anybody for any reason has led to a lot of the US advertisers to load up every possible warning about their products into the ads itself. Take a look at this ad for Humira:

It almost frightens you to death about Humira...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

micro-jet test-flying

I know I haven't been blogging for a while now. I just happened to be in San Jose these days on office work. And though there is an awful lot to blog about since it is my first trip to USA and there are a lot of really amazing new experiences, somehow I keep putting them off and the blog never happens to get out the door. Anyhow, while I promise to shortly write a blog about my experience so far, I will leave you with a very good video of Test Flight of micro-jet.

Thanks to Jeremy Zawodny's blog post. Though I have never met him, he is a very respected member of the Yahoo community and his latest book on High Performance MySQL just released. You might want to take a look.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

IPL.. Exciting... nah

Well, IPL is underway and it is good to see a fresh new face on cricket horizon. I am currently traveling and missed the opening ceremony and the live telecast and just following the first game on the internet.

When ICL started off with their first edition, I followed that also for the first bunch of matched before completely losing interest. There were multiple reasons - firstly, I didn't know which team to support (and the reasons for which I will speak of in a later post) and secondly, the cricket itself got boring as a lot of matches were getting one sided. Which ever team you support, a one sided match is boring. If your supported team wins, you might be happy but not entertained.

And exactly because of this, I loved the last edition of ICL, it was turning exciting and a lot of matches went to the last over. The finals were riveting affairs with both finals going to the last over and second one going into a bowl out. Now, that kept me hooked to the TV.

Lets fast forward to the day and the first match of IPL has been a complete bummer. It was so one sided that even though SRK would be happy, he would be feeling real sleepy. Sometime back I read Jug Suraiya talking about how the promoters and franchisees of IPL can make sure that all the investment can be recovered and the best way to do it would be to script matches.

There is one simple solution to all these killjoy questions: 'script' IPL events in the manner of World Wrestling Federation matches. It's an open — and fully accepted — secret that all professional wrestling matches are pre-arranged, or 'scripted', with not just the eventual outcome but all the various moves — the holds, locks and throws — which lead to it following a pre-planned and well-rehearsed choreography.

Far from detracting from spectator interest, such pre-determination of WWF matches actually adds to the drama as it unfolds in the ring. Indeed, thanks to the rehearsed moves and, of course, the superb athleticism of the contenders, a pre-planned match actually provides for a more balletic spectacle than the rough and tumble of a 'straight' fight would.

Watching a scripted fight is like watching a movie in which there is a clearly identifiable 'good guy' and an equally obvious 'bad guy'. More often than not, the 'good guy' wins, but not always.

Moreover, in the moral relativism of WWF (and of movies) a 'good guy' in one match (or film) can be a 'bad guy' in another, and vice versa.


I think it is not a bad solution, at least not as bad as the one sided match where one team loses a T20 match by over 100 runs. Time for Lalit Modi and the franchisees to put on their thinking hats and find a solution to these one sided matches...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Indian Cricket Woes

I have been very busy the last few days preparing from some travel action. In the meanwhile, the world has moved on, including India's horrendous defeat against South Africa in a recent match. I didn't give much though to the matter except hoping that India wins the third test and square the series and do not allow a third defeat in 7 years at home (Remember they did not lose a single series at home between 1989 and 2001).

Anyhow, I came across this brilliant article on Cricinfo about India's recent home defeats, the woes and what we need to fix. Normally statistics in cricket is just used for admiration of a team/cricketer. This article, however, gives a great analytical insight into whats going wrong. A must read.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My friend and ex-colleague Suvamoy Sarkar is a regaulr at adding videos to his Orkut profile. This week, he added two fabulous videos worth watching. The first one is for Tennis fans and its about Boris Becker smashing 5 consecutive aces after being 0-40 down. Mind you, unless you are down at 0-40, the opportunity of hitting 5 aces doesn't even arise. But here was Becker, smashing them all. Worth a watch.

The second one is a far more serious video of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor explaining her personal experience of sufferring through a Brain Stroke. She is a brilliant orator, and through she gets emotional in between, please see it till the end to hear what she takes away from that experience. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

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