Earth Hour India 2009

Earth Hour is an initiative from WWF to create awareness about Global Warming and climate change. Its a great effort, and its about time some measures are taken which can help our planet. Participate in this event by switching off your lights for an hour on 28th March 2009, from 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM.

More about Earth Hour:

Browser Internet

Google Bookmarks – Managing Bookmarks Made Easy

We all use bookmarks, and chances are we have lot of websites bookmarked in our favorite browser. And we don’t always remember each and every bookmark we have in the browser. Now you are not on your regular computer and you don’t have your bookmarks in this PC at a cyber cafe, or your university or office, or anywhere else. And you wanted to access that webpage you bookmarked last week, but you can’t recall it. So how can you still access that bookmark? Although there are lot of bookmark syncing addons available for Firefox for that, but for that one needs to install the addon in the browser. Google Bookmarks on the other hand lets you store your bookmarks in your Google account and which you can access from anywhere by either the Google Toolbar or the Google Bookmarks web page. You can export or import the OPML files to and from Google Bookmarks, even import bookmarks from Firefox using the Google Toolbar. It makes it easy to access your bookmarks from anywhere just from your Google Account. The best part is that it always acts as a backup, should anything catastrophic happen to your browser or your PC. You always have a copy of the list of your favorite websites in your Google Account.


Firefox Focus: AutoPager Addon

In continuation of the promised Firefox Focus series, its time for another very useful Firefox Addon which is a must have.

Now fancy this, we all Google a lot. And although Google is fairly accurate in the search results, and you do find things you were looking for in the first page itself, but sometimes you end up checking out some 20-30 pages or even more. More so if you are searching on Google Images. Isn’t it a repetitive process to hit the next link everytime you’re done with a page of search result? And not just Google, a lot of other websites which has paginated content give us the same situation. What if you didn’t have to hit that next button? What if the content of the next page loads right below the first page content? Wouldn’t it make our lives easier? Yes it would and Yes its possible, all thanks to this wonderful Firefox Addon: AutoPager

Get the addon

It works on most of the popular websites on the internet like Google, Digg, Twitter, deviantART, and many many more.


Super Bowl Spots Trailer Previews: Transformers, G.I. Joe, Fast & Furious

Awesome day! So many new trailers released for the Super Bowl spots.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
This is simply awesome. It looks even bigger and better than the first one. Can’t wait for it. It has some new robots and although its not that long, the first glimpse of Revenge of the Fallen is finally here.

Fast & Furious
The first trailers were already out, but this has some new shots for the Super Bowl Spot. More in my Fast and Furious Trailer Preview.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
I was waiting for this one too. And finally the first trailer of G.I. Joe is out. I didn’t expect to see the stuff I saw in the trailer, too much of effects. This is nowhere what I used to see in the cartoons. I hope they don’t mess this one up.

So there you have it then. Exiting trailers, can’t wait for the movies to be released, especially Transformers. Check out my complete preview for the movies in 2009.


Firefox Focus: Table Addons

Starting with this post, I’ll regularly post about some very useful Firefox addons, which really help me with various tasks/things. You might be already using some of those which I mention, but just incase you missed any, here they are. So to kick off the series, I found 2 very cool addons for using tabular data on a webpage.

Quite often I come across some webpages which has some tabular data, and I need to copy that to a spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. Firefox lets you select individual cells by pressing Ctrl and clicking the particular cell, but when you paste it in Excel, its pasted in a single cell. Not exactly how I wanted it to be. So I came across these 2 fantastic Firefox addons which not only solves this problem, but also gives you more ways to make use of the data.

This is the addon for the basic problem of copy pasting tabular data in Excel, which it does pretty neatly. Just right click on the web page where the tabular data is and select “Copy whole table”, and it copies the data on the clipboard. Now paste it in Excel and you’ll have it just the way you wanted. Pretty useful.
Get the addon

This is a much advanced addon, and it lets you even sort the table, right there, in a webpage. You can filter the data, and even export it as text delimited and some more formats.
Get the addon


Sahara to sponsor Manchester United?

There is news floating around that Manchester United has approached Sahara for a shirt sponsorship deal. I was shocked when I read that! Manchester United currently has a deal with American International Group (AIG) for £56.5 million (about Rs 415 crore) which began in 2006. I knew Manchester United would be changing the current sponsor because AIG is in some financial troubles of its own, and United will surely want a new sponsor. But what I didn’t expect was the sponsor to be from India! Its said that United has sent a proposal to Sahara Group for the sponsorship, which Sahara has confirmed. Its big, really big. Manchester United is the biggest football club in the world, and the increasing fanbase in Asia and especially in India might prove to be a big factor. Sahara already sponsors the richest cricket team in the world, the Indian Cricket Team, and their shirt manufacturer is Nike, who also makes kits for Manchester United. I really hope this does materialise as it will really open up big platforms for Indian football.


Chandni Chowk to China Review

Chandni Chowk to China poster
Chandni Chowk to China poster

Directed by Nikhil Advani
Produced by Rohan Sippy
Written by Sridhar Raghavan (screenplay)
Starring Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Mithun Chakraborty, Ranvir Shorey
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date 16 January, 2009

What on earth was the team of CC2C (Chandni Chowk to China) was thinking about? I mean everything went so wrong. Ok the action was very good, but that just doesn’t save the movie from being a disaster. And neither does Akshay Kumar, who in the past has saved some movies just because he was so good in them. CC2C is horribly wrong in almost every department.

Lets begin with the story. Read the plot on Wikipedia (Spoiler Warning). So it could have been much better, but it just wasn’t enough for a movie which carried so much hype and one which Akshay Kumar himself claimed to be a semi-autobiographic film. So with that into equation it makes it all the more worse.

Acting, oh dear oh dear. Akshay was trying too hard to impress, and sometimes things were just off for him. Ok he made us laugh on several occasions, but somehow, I felt he wasn’t where he usually is in performance terms. His action scenes were very good though, probably the best movie of Akshay till date where action is concerned. Deepika Padukone didn’t do much, although she had a fight scene which she did very well, but rest she was just about ok. Mithun Chakraborty was a real waste. Ranvir Shorey could have been more interesting.

Action scenes were very well done. Every scene was very well shot and done. And sadly thats the only good thing about this movie. I expected to see some more good locales of China, but all they showed was the Great Wall of China. Some songs were just not needed, and they really made a very big mess of Tere Naina. Its such a nice song, and the people in theatre broke into laughter when the song started, its supposed to be a nice romantic song with nice picturisation. But all they showed was Akshay and Deepika floating in Chinese airspace by an umbrella. I mean what the hell was that? Seriously a big blunder.

Nikhil Advani seriously needs to think more about his movies. He’s letting himself and everyone down. His first movie as a director was good, Kal Ho Naa Ho. Then  Salaam-e-Ishq failed terribly, and now Chandni Chowk to China.

So to sum it up. I’d advice everyone not to watch this movie in theatres, really a waste of money and time. I certainly regretted watching it, and learnt a lesson. Never to book tickets before Friday and always wait for the reviews and friend’s word on it.

Rating: 3/10


2009 Movies Preview

2008 was a great year for movies. Lot of big blockbusters ruled the box office and I really had a great time watching them. 2009 has some much awaited movies lined up, some pretty big names directors like Zack Snyder, Stephen Sommers, Michael Bay, Judd Apatow, and some after a long time like Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and James Cameron, so lets have a look on whats catching my eye, and probably yours too, for this year.


2008 Movies Review

I’ve been trying to do this blog entry for sometime now, but never got much time, now that I have, I finally bring out this review of the 2008 year in movies. I had a “My Summer Movie Preview” thing way back in May 2008, where I covered a lot of blockbusters in the sort of 2008 Preview, 5 months late but then the biggest and much awaited movies hadn’t arrived. So it can be considered as a Preview. Anyways, its been a great year for movies. Lot of very good movies came out and I really loved most of them. So lets begin.


Start planning for taxes now

January marks the start of a new year, but it also marks the last quarter of the financial year. Its that time of the year where you have to start planning for taxes. I have been getting some queries as to how can one save tax, so this post is an answer to that. Its always a good idea to start early and start investing, for retirement and tax saving. We’re more concerned about the later, so lets get on with the ways you can do so.

Home Loans
Your interest paid on home loans is eligible for tax deduction. So you can save upto Rs 1,50,000 per year this way.

Section 80D
Medical Insurance Premiums: This is a must have really. I suggest everyone should get a mediclaim aka the medical insurance. According to Section 80D, you get a rebate upto Rs. 15,000 on the premiums. So its really worth it.

Section 80C Deductions
These are pretty famous ones, and used the most to save tax upto Rs 1,00,000. The tax saving instruments under Section 80C are:
Provident Fund or Public Provident Fund: Provident Fund (PF) or Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a nice way to save tax, if you are salaried chances are your employer is already deducting some amount towards PF, it has a good rate of interest and the amount of money deducted from your salary, equal amount is also added by the employer towards your Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account. So the simple math is that if you pay say Rs 4,000 annually towards your PF account your employer also pays Rs 4,000 annually, so that gives you Rs 8,000 plus 8.5% interest, which is really good.
Life insurance premium: Another must have. Everyone should have a life insurance. And whatever amount you pay towards the premium, is tax deductible. So get a insurance policy with a premium which satisfies your tax saving requirements. You can use a tax calculator to get your taxable amount. These days its usually the Unit Linked Inusrance Policy (ULIP) which are most in use. They are far better than the traditional insurance policies because the amount of money you pay towards the inusrance premiums you are alloted some units, which has certain value and which differs from insurance company to insurance company. So your unit will give you the value it will have after some years down the line, which is an added bonus to your policy maturity value.

Other than the ones mentioned above there are some more ways to save tax, such as Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) namely the mutual funds, National Savings Certificates (NSC).

So plan however you want to save tax and start early. Mind you some of the options are linked to the share markets, so it might not yield instant money, but in the long run its definitely worth a shot. So if you have a risk appettite, go for the ELSS.

Disclaimer: The information on the site is to be used only as a resource. Nothing published on this site should be considered as investment advice.  I advise users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decision. I do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of any information and am not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. You are solely responsible for making your own investment decisions.