Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ultrafast Internet from Charter

I am one of those people who works out of home and most of my job requires me to be on the internet. So it is quite natural that reliable high speed internet is of critical importance to me. One of my biggest hobbies is to read about new technologies. Recently while I was reading Charter’s Twitter Feed, I came to know about the company's Ultra60 Mbps internet service. Charter claims that this is among the fastest Internet speed offered by any provider in the US. This got me keyed up and I wanted to read more. The claim is that Ultra60 is the fastest internet in the St. Louis market. Well I wish I had that speed here in Texas.

Feeling interested and enthused to know more about this fast internet service of Charter I visited the Ultra60 Information Page and was pleased to know that Ultra60 will be rolled out in other areas during 2009. I am thrilled to know this and I am waiting for Ultra60 launch in Texas. With Ultra60 I will be able to do my work faster and be more productive on the job and also use it to watch movies without streaming delays.

Another area where Ultra60 will give me great pleasure is in online gaming. I love online gaming and try to catch up at least few hours of gaming every week. Now with Ultra60 I am sure online gaming will be a whole new experience. I am looking forward to Ultra60, are you?


Movie Review: Appaloosa

I watched this Western set in New Mexico in the late 19th century (around 1880s). Based on a novel by Robert B. Parker, Appaloosa has all the elements that are in Westerns: stunning photography, friendship, romance, betrayal, gun fights, horse riding, etc. But this has a little twist, there is a little politics which involves high powered people no less than the President of United States, himself.

Refreshingly in this movie there is not much "Native American Battering". There is only one brief scene when a group of natives attack the bad guys. But we will talk about it later. One thing I still don't understand about people here. Even in this day and age (Appaloosa was shot in 2008), they want to present Native Americans as Indians. I wonder when these people will understand that Indians are the peoples from the country of India. These tribals here are Native Americans

Let us get on with the movie now. Set in the city of Appaloosa, the movie starts with a cold blooded murder of a sheriff and his two deputies by a private rancher and settler Randall Bragg. The town's folk are worried about this and call in the deadly duo Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his partner Hitch (Viggo Mortensen). Two expert gunmen who are lawmen for hire, they help towns enforce law and tackle their lawless folk.

Barely have they settled in than a beautiful women named Alison French (Renee Zellwigger) alights from the train. Quite expectedly, Cole falls madly in love with her and she seems to reciprocate. But Allison is not the typical girl-next-door, she is one scheming individual who always wants to be the top-man's partner. This leads to loads of complications in the lawmen's work.

The rest of the movie is a tale of deception, gun fights, courts and how anarchic the US was during the late 19th century. The scenario was like who shoots first lives. I wonder how it would be to live in such situations. Anyway I'd recommend the movie to anyone who is interested in westerns. Otherwise just pass it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Win Grand Prizes with Charter Cable

How would you like to win $10,000 cash or a 52" HDTV? I'd say "Awesome". Well you can win just that. Charter is having its sweepstakes in which they are giving away one $10,000 prize and four 52" HDTV's. All you need to do is to visit Charter's Win 10 Grand Contest Page and answer a simple question about Charter On Demand.

The contest is open through the month of May and every week there will be a new question. Winning a 52" Sony Bravia HDTV is easy, as there are four of them being given away, one every week. You have more than one chance to win and don't miss this opportunity to have your own Sony Bravia HDTV. You answer one week you will be entered into the drawing for the $10,000 grand prize, answer all the four weeks and you will have four chances to win that fortune.

If you are not an existing Charter subscriber and want know more about its services there are two ways to do that. One is to simply follow Charter’s Twitter Feed and receive all the updates online. Second method could be simpler for some, just visit Charter On Demand website and you are bound to be amazed by the fantastic library of 6,000 plus movies and shows. There are lots of free content too and new releases too.

Last month (April) Charter conducted a similar sweepstakes and gave away HDTVs and a home theater system too along with a year's free Charter Digital Cable with HD programming. Isn't that amazing, imagine the value of these giveaways. And not to mention last year's gifts that included laptop computers, Xbox 360 consoles and a Honda Civic Hybrid too.

That is why I personally like Charter On Demand so much. Apart from providing quality programming, they conduct cool sweepstakes such as these, which are beneficial to end users. Sign up with Charter and you will be benefited immensely. And of course don't forget to enter the sweepstakes, today maybe your lucky day.


Movie Review: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Year of Release: 2006
Genre: Comedy
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Gary Cole and others

If you are not first then you are last -Reese Bobby.

Young Ricky Bobby is waiting for his father to show up for the school's career day and talk about what he does. All other kids parents come and talk about their jobs but not Ricky's dad. After a while a totally stoned-on-pot Reese Bobby arrives and starts talking about his job: Part time racing driver and pot dealer. He makes a nuisance of himself and is thrown out of the school. As he leaves the school he advises his son: "If you are not the first then you are last". A statement that stays with Ricky.

When a quirk of fate gives him a chance to drive on the racetrack, he remembers his dads words and wins at all costs. Soon Ricky Bobby becomes a NASCAR stock car racing sensation and a national hero. Along with his loyal racing partner, childhood friend Cal Naughton Jr., call themselves the "Shake" and "Bake" team and always come finish in the #1 and #2 positions.

When everything is going fine flamboyant (gay) French Formula One driver Jean Girard arrives on the scene and challenges the "Shake" and "Bake" team. In the first race Ricky crashes and becomes a nervous wreck. The crash not only makes him lose his health, but also his career, wife and home to his best friend Cal. Devastated he moves in with his mom and starts delivering pizzas on a bicycle.

Reese Bobby once again enters the scene and helps Ricky get out of his nervous breakdown and hit the race track again, where he wins his title, fame and money.

The entire movie is one hell of a comedy with a number of amazing car races thrown in. Dialogues of Reese Bobby and his grand children are funny. Ricky's experience with the Cougar and his driving test all make it one entertaining film. Definitely worth watching once.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guaranteed Car Repairs

During the past year and a half in the US I have come to realize one thing. It is near impossible to live in this country without a car. Public transport facilities are abysmal and even the poorest sections of the population have a car. Anyway cars come with their own costs and problems. One of the main issues with owning a car is its maintenance and god forbid if you get into an accident.

Getting a real good autobody shop to restore your car to its gleaming best and guarantee the repairs is probably tough to find. The internet perhaps is the answer, everyone searches for an answer on it. The internet is where you can find America's best autobody shops. The auto body shop yorba linda offers guaranteed repairs for life, all the body work, paint work and engine work will be done here to your complete satisfaction. What more would you possibly want? Oh! Yes, are these shops insurance approved? Is it possible to run a successful autobody shop without getting insurance company approval? Quite impossible.

So be rest assured if are in Yorba Linda, CA the best autobody shops are found online just visit the website and find the nearest auto body shop yorba linda.

Revisiting the Blue Bonnet Trail

On couple of occasions I had blogged about Blue Bonnet Trail in Plano. What is so great that it needs to be blogged about again? Plain and simple, I love cycling on this trail, it is great exercise and a wonderful way to get fitterr and slimmer. Apart from the exercise it provides, the trail offers a variety of scenes for the discerning/ observing eye. First off there is the soul soothing greenery.. though manicured.. occasional clumps of trees. The creeks that wind their way across the trail. Whenever I ride above the creeks the bridge feels different... yes I may be sounding ridiculous but the bicycle seems to glide smoother on the bridges than the rest of the trail.

Yesterday I took the racing bicycle for a spin on the Blue Bonnet trail and was surprised to see the number of people riding road bikes on the trail. It has been the opposite experience for me when I ride on the Univega road bicycle on this same trail. And yesterday I saw a couple laboring on a bright yellow tandem bike, riding really fast. And surprisingly there were lots of walkers all over the trail. There was one solitary rollerblader who was trudging along. His expertise didn't seem as good as the others I had come across on other trails, but he nevertheless was doing the full ten miles of the trail. I am waiting for the day when I will be able to do that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Summer without air-conditioning

Before I came to Texas, I heard from loads of friends that the weather here is similar to India. But what they didn't tell me was that the weather here resembled Delhi's and not Bangalore's. Coming from Bangalore I was expecting a nice salubrious climate throughout the year. But no, Texas is characterized by extremely hot summers (100+) and bone chilling winters.

We moved to Texas during winter and were hoping that we would experience mild summer and wouldn't need air conditioning in the house. But we were grossly mistaken, it is impossible to survive a Texas summer without air conditioning. But what we did was to minimize the use of air conditioning so we could save some valuable $$$s. Something that everybody would love to do in this tough economic times.

Anyway as a first step effort we maintained the indoor temperature only slightly cooler than the external temperature. Say when it is 100 outside, the inside would be 80. Next step was to insulate the home by placing barriers to prevent heat from coming in. Yes we have double pane windows, but they are not much help during summer. First step, we installed wooden blinds and heavy curtains, always drawn during sunny days. The ceiling fans are always on to keep air circulation going on. The patio is west facing and the maximum heat comes from the afternoon sun into our living room. We tried to avoid sun coming in by installing bamboo shades and it worked pretty well.

With all these steps in place we were able to keep our electricity bills low even with the air conditioning system running. Because we cooled the house we didn't have to keep the temperature too low and stress out the air conditioning system.

Frisco public library, etc...

I am an avid reader and love books. Visiting libraries to read is among my favorite hobbies. Libraries in the US are not merely places where one can read books and magazines, these are spaces for the community to get together, foster the love of reading among kids, talk about books, etc. Every library I have been to has a community room, study rooms and computer labs. The community/ meeting rooms are usually occupied with groups into various activities such as discussing books, reading, writing, etc.

Yesterday, I went to the Frisco Public Library, sited in the historic Downtown of Frisco. Thus far I can easily say this is the best library building I have ever seen in the US. I have not seen the grand libraries in Washington DC but within the DFW metro area I think Frisco Library wins hands down when it comes to the architecture. The fact that the library shares its space with the city hall is what makes it so unique. The city hall in every city is always a grand building and Frisco is no exception. The library housed in the same building makes it all the more important and of course grander.

Here are some images of the library, take a look and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Finding Office Space

The slump in economy has not hurt only the residential real estate sector. It has hurt the commercial real estate also. But even in this economy it is difficult to get a good deal on Office Space Rental. It is in times like this that everyone would want to save more, especially on the real estate costs.
One way to get a good deal on office space rentals is to get in touch with an expert commercial real estate company. This will lead to endless meetings, showings and negotiations before you finally land in your office. There is another way, an easier method in my opinion. Just sign up with Office Space Local, a real estate search service and they will do the rest. Their website's simple search and browse features are designed for busy executives like you. You don't have to spend endless hours looking for office rental.
Office Space Rental frees your time to do what you enjoy doing and not looking for office space.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blue Bonnet Trail, Plano

Yesterday I went cycling on the Blue Bonnet Trail in Plano, Tx. The trail is within a mile from our apartment and hence very easily accessible. Before I go on to describe the 5-mile paved bicycle trail I'd like to say something about the planning that has gone behind creation of this trail. Blue Bonnet trail is the by-product of electricity. Yes the entire trail runs along high-voltage cables and electrical transformers. Town planning engineers/ architects have utilized this trail so efficiently made use of this trail to create a green space for the entertainment of all city folk.

Thinking back about my home town (Bangalore) in India I have seen similar large electrical cabling and transformers back home in India and these are usually converted into medians of main roads. Lack of space coupled with insensitive planning has led to these grotesque steel monsters being installed on roads close to homes. This is not only unsafe but also makes it very difficult to service in case of problems.

But I certainly am impressed by the thoughtfulness exhibited by the town planners of Plano who have created this unique space for sports, leisure and entertainment of the tax paying public.

Starting point/ trail head

Efficient land management between the electrical pillars

Wild flowers make the trail appear beautiful

Anyway coming to the train per se, Blue Bonnet Trail is 5-miles in length and starts at a stadium on Alma Road and ends rather abruptly at Preston Road. In my eye estimate the average width of the trail would range from 75 meters to 500 meters. The grass along the trail is neatly manicured and at places there are mounds of earth to give a landscaped effect. There are quaint bridges when a creek intersects the trail. The best part of the trail is the wild flowers, every season has its own variety of blooms giving an aesthetic feel to the trail. The trail is good for both the individual like myself who cycles for pleasure and love of bicycling and for the serious cyclist who trains for races.

Bridges across creeks make the trail more interesting

Creeks with water support aquatic life forms

PS. Lance Armstrong the 7-time Tour De France winner is a Texas Boy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Power Steering Makes Driving Easy and Safe

Everyone who owns a car knows the importance of the steering wheel. If there is any problem in this section of the automobile, it would be dangerous to drive. With advancement in technology steering has become powered. Gone are the days when one had to have powerful arms to steer a large truck or car around.

But one has to understand that modern technology will function only when one takes care of it. Mechanical parts work most efficiently when they are well maintained. Let me tell you all a bit about Power steering and its mechanism. Most power steering mechanisms employ hydraulic system which makes it easier for the driver to turn the vehicle's wheels. The power steering apparatus comprises of a steering rack, steering box and hydraulic rotary pump among others.

Spares for a power steering system are difficult to find. Hitherto only dealers had access to the high quality parts. But now thanks to several online stores end users can go online and order the same high quality parts. If you are looking for a steering box or rack for your car you don't need to spend huge amounts of money at dealerships. You can simply go online to Power Steering Pros website and order the part you need.

Whatever part of power steering you may need, has it all. In order to ensure 100 percent customer satisfaction, the company offers full warranty and free shipping. So go ahead and shop online with full confidence for your power steering parts.