Phew!

What a week it's been, probably one of my best after coming to Bangalore. To summarize the events,

sprint deadlines, work late, legacy systems, ecstasy(cafe), addiction(cafe),  barton fink(movie), meetings, curse IE, bamboo shoots(restaurant), bowling @ amoeba, meet family, home food, football, dostana(movie), taken(movie), skandagiri, night trek, get drenched in rain.

I doubt if I'll be able to move a muscle tomorrow. Time for some much needed rest.

Switch to Wordpress

Now that I have a domain name of my own, thought I'll move my blog to it and use good ol' simple wordpress to maintain it. Setting it up took mere minutes and thanks to ljarchive, I could export all my livejournal posts in a jiffy. Also, trying out a plugin that will apparently cross post to livejournal.

RRR (Restaurant Review Round-up)

It's been a long time since i posted here, and a longer time since i posted a restaurant review. I've been caught up with work lately, and hence the lack of time. I have been to quite a few restaurants in the past few weeks though and i thought I'll just summarize my views here. Ratings in brackets next to the restaurant name

Giancarlo's Place (3.5/5)
Went here with my team as it's just across our office. The place looks very upscale and has nice ambience. As for the food, it was good at best.The garlic bread they served us was not too good, the crust was just too hard. I had lasagna for my main course and it was decent and very filling. The selection of desserts is quite limited and falls well short compared to the choice at Sunny's next door. Service was ordinary, and i remember we had to wait at least 15 minutes for the bill.

Toscanos (4/5)
One of the new joints that have opened up in the UB City food court. They bread they serve at the start is awesome. Our starter(smoked salmon) was quite disappointing, the portion especially small. The main course(i had some Toscano's special chicken) though was heavenly. Didn't have the appetite that day to try out their desserts but i've heard they are pretty good as well. The food is served aesthetically and you might find it hard to dig your fork in!

Rajdhani (4.5/5)
This one's right next to Toscano's and is probably the most popular joint at UB City. They serve only North Indian Thalis and that in Jain style (which means no onions, no garlic etc) If you are planning to have lunch there on a weekend, be prepared to wait at least 1 hour! But the wait is well worth it, the variety and the quality of food is top notch. Veggies who love North Indian food would swear by this place for sure. And at 150Rs, it's quite a steal.

Brindavan (4/5)
This is one of those old quaint places that seem to be stuck in time. One of the cheapest options on MG Road for sure. The food is good and their coffee excellent, easily one of the best in Bangalore. The place i think is run by Tamilians and for a change you get the authentic Sambar there, not the local version.

Hyd Mahal (4/5)
Hyd Mahal is one of those many restaurants on Church street. And there's only one thing i had to try there and that's their Biryani. And it sure didn't disappoint! The biryani is authentic Hyderabad style, but not as spicy as the one they serve in Hyderbadi Biryani, it's a bit richer with raisins and nuts which I absolutely love in Biryanis. Good service as well, surely worth a visit.

Raaga (3/5)
Apparently, this place is one of older restaurants in Indira Nagar. But the place sure has lost its charm over the years. They have crammed in as many tables as they can, and the stairs are so steep and narrow, they can make anyone dizzy. All this leads to quite a chaotic ambience in the restaurant. They serve typical North Indian fare and the menu has good variety. The food was quite ordinary, with it's high and low points, the chicken shorba especially was terrible. Would not recommend.

That's it for this post. Happy dining to all!

My Top Mac Apps

Now that I've entered Mac Land, I thought i'd list out my top apps that I use almost regularly. All freeware of course.

  1. Quicksilver : Trust Quicksilver to be the first app to be listed on ANY such list. It just is the most useful and amazing app on a Mac. Basically a keyboard app launcher, its has a lot more features that can be customized using some of the many plugins that are available for it.
  2. Adium : Adium is the most popular multi protocol chat client on Macs. It supports AIM, Jabber, Yahoo, MSN (in case somebody still uses it) and everything else that you can think of. You can also set the current track playing on iTunes as your status message.
  3. iTerm : The terminal on OS X Tiger is pretty basic. Therefore iTerm is not an option, its a must! It has support for tabbed terminals and everything else that you would be familiar with on a normal Linux terminal. If you are a vi/vim user there is this issue of the arrow keys not working for navigation. You could always go back to the original HJKL navigation keys but if not, this is what i did to fix it.
  4. VirtueDesktops : Virtual desktops is another feature Tiger does not natively support. Worry not as VirtueDesktops fits the bill perfectly, with Compiz/Beryl like desktop transitions as well.
  5. Growl : Growl is a system notifier, and it's highly customizable. You can set which apps should notify you and when they should do so.
  6. SizzlingKeys : This gives you the power to control iTunes without leaving your current app. Plus it notifies and gives details when a new track starts. (Keyboard shortcuts to control iTunes can be set using the iTunes plugin in Quicksilver as well, just make sure you don't enable both together, especially with the same shortcuts! )
  7. Azureus : This not an obvious choice, but in the end i use Azureus because its highly customizable thanks to plugins. SpeedScheduler is one cool plugin with which you can schedule your downloads without staying awake waiting for those unlimited download time slots(BSNL broadband users will love this) It is resource heavy and has a lot of useless and unnecessary stuff in it though.

Now here are ones that almost made the list.

  1. Yahoo Messenger for Mac : Unlike the messenger for Unix, this ones a full blown version with most of the bells and whistles of the Windows version. Plus iTunes integration for status message. Sadly, using Adium is much more convenient.
  2. Visor : This is one cool little app. Visor provides a systemwide terminal window accessible via a hotkey, much like the consoles found in games such as Quake. The way it just drops down from the top is so cool, needs Terminal.app to be running though. Don't use it since I've switched to iTerm. This ones made by the same guys who have made Quicksilver by the way.

There of course other obvious cross platform apps that are as much a must on OS X as they are on any other OS. LimeWire, VLC player to name a few.

Finally, a couple of apps that I would love to see on a Mac. No prizes for guessing which company makes them.

  1. Internet Explorer : As bad as that piece of junk might be, fact is you cannot live without it. There are several sites that work only with IE and while developing for the web, you need to make sure it works on IE as well. Have tried out IEs4OSX which uses Darwine but that didn't go very well.
  2. Zune Software : I'm trapped between Mac world and MS world to be frank, its a shame Microsoft hasn't come out with a software for the Mac. No wonder Zune is going nowhere as a product, they really cannot expect everyone to use only MS products. Lot of efforts have gone in trying to make it work on OS X but the only progress so far is that one can read its contents.

The gates to Liberty City are open again!

I'm talking about the much awaited release of GTA IV of course.The game is finally out and the critics are already raving about it. Just to give you an idea,check out the ratings given by some of the mainstream game reviewers
- IGN : 10/10 overall plus 10/10 in each of the categories,the first time they've given a perfect score since '99!
- Gamespot.com : 10/10, first game since 2001 to get that rating
- Official Xbox 360 Magazine : 10/10
- Official PS3 Magazine : 10/10
- Xbox World 360 - 98%,their highest rating for a game yet
The list goes on and on,and obviously the hype surrounding the game was worth it. This is what NY times had to say about the game "violent, intelligent, profane, endearing, obnoxious, sly, richly textured and thoroughly compelling work of cultural satire disguised as fun". I think that just sums up the GTA series as a whole,and GTA IV seems to have touched perfection. I just CANNOT wait to get my hands on it. Sadly, there is no PC version and there may never be one(i even found an online petition asking them to launch it soon,lol). The only way I could play it would be on the PS3 in office! Need to convince the necessary people to get a copy somehow!!

Edit : My wish has come true! Thanks a ton to Ankit for getting it from US. PS3, a huge Plasma TV with HDMI cable and GTA IV, what more could you ask for!