Porcupyn's Blog

September 27, 2009

Endurance, conditioning, stamina …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 9:49 am

How are these related? As usual, I have my own opinion. But before I type them, let me do some research then I will update this post 🙂

If I were Harry Belafonte, would I sing …

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 9:17 am

come back Steffi, come back girl …? [Vinay, if you are still reading, maybe we should record a chorus and send the tape to Las Vegas]

In reference to this!

Here’s an interesting discussion …

September 20, 2009

When the GUI interferes with the user graphically … and other pet peeves

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 8:35 pm

[Long, meandering post alert]

Recently, my not-so-computer-savvy* mother tried to compose an e-mail to my sibling and was unable to find the Compose E-mail link/button in its customary position (next to the Check E-mail link/button when you log into Yahoo! E-mail). Defeated, she pottered around for a few minutes and then, to her credit, remembered that she could open one of the e-mails my sibling had written her, and respond to it.

After learning about her experience, I paid special attention to where the Compose button used to be and noticed that it has now been replaced by a demure looking New button which defaults to Compose E-mail. For whatever reason, I had seamlessly managed to transition to the new interface without even realizing that this change had been implemented.

On the other hand, I endured a lot of grief because Yahoo! switched the position of the Logout link and the Yahoo! (main page) link within Yahoo! E-mail. For those who might have transitioned into that change seamlessly, I need to explain that previously, the Logout used to be on the top right side of the screen and the Yahoo! (main page) link used to be on the top left side, and I had gotten used to moving between my e-mail and the main page using that link. I am still trying to unlearn that habit.

Which brings me to the burning question or pet peeve: Why the changes? And why the changes without a good explanation in an e-mail at least. Ah! I get it – maybe the e-mail from Yahoo! to me, my mother and other users went to the corresponding Junk/Bulk E-mail folder (which is where sometimes the e-mails that I cc: to myself end up too). That sure explains it.

Next on my hit list – Yahoo! (again) and Google Chrome. Because of frequent issues with Internet Explorer and recommendation from friends, I switched to Firefox a year or so ago. Everything was hunky dory until a recent upgrade (I assume) of either Firefox or Yahoo! E-mail – or a combination of both – that resulted in the browser (and all its tabs) freezing when a Yahoo! E-mail was opened. In keeping with my promise to stick with Firefox until hell froze over, I had to escape from Firefox. The only other reasonable option was Chrome (if you read more of this post, you will probably realize that I might have to start using Safari soon!).

So, here I am, merrily typing an e-mail in Yahoo!, when I suddenly get the urge to add a second recipient. Alt-tab thrice (again, by habit) typically takes me back from the e-mail body to the “To” field. Oh no! Chrome does not like that – not only was I still in the e-mail body, but I was three tabs down from the last word I typed. How difficult is it for Google/Chrome to provide a consistent user experience (especially when you are the almighty Google)??!!

Last but not the least, just one more – iPod. As my friends know, I am not a big fan of the latest Tech toy/fad (with the exception of the Wii, which I fell in love with the first time I laid hands on it). By happenstance, I acquired an iPod touch a couple of months ago. After worshiping it for a week, I opened it and spent a couple of days loading a few photos onto it. Traumatized by the experience, I returned it to its sanctum sanctorum and got busy with life.

A few days ago, I decided that I really need to master the iPod and checked out the iPod For Dummies book from the local library. Armed with it, I thought it should be a piece of cake. No sirree baab! It took me a whole day and help from a few friends to finally figure out what I had done wrong (not today but when I had first taken it out) – I had not done a clean install of iTunes. How did I finally realize that that was the issue?

Well, as advised by friends, when I started re-installing iTunes on a different PC, I remembered something! During the previous install of iTunes, I had purposely denied internet access to some of the quirky named services because their names had made no sense to me and I was unsure of how or why or whether they were really connected to the iTunes install.

Somebody tell me – what would an executable file called Bonjour.exe, for instance, have to do with iTunes?? I would have assumed that Steve Jobs and his friendly Mac dudes could figure out that files related to iTunes should be named somewhat similarly. I wouldn’t have minded bach.exe or mozart.exe but bonjour.exe? Pardon my French (or lack thereof!), but I would really need to google it to even know the exact dictionary meaning!

And what is with this “Sync”ing feeling that I get each time I connect my iPod to my PC? If I have a few photos on one PC and a few different ones on a different PC, why can I not “inherit” both onto my iPod? Why should it be only one or the other? And why can I not copy the photos back from the iPod onto the PC? I get it – the answer is probably OOPs! 😉

PS: Like one of my friends pointed out, this might just be a iPod-PC interface issue; everything probably would’ve worked fine if I had been using a Mac instead of a PC.

* = this is not really a reflection on her, rather on the poor infrastructure – frequent power cuts and lack of uninterrupted internet access – which, coupled with the use-it-or-lose-it paradigm, handicap her.

September 14, 2009

God is human but …

Filed under: Tennis — Porcupyn @ 9:14 pm

… Enberg (PhD and all), is still Dick!

Here is a champion, not yet 21, who obviously does not have good command over his spoken English, wanting begging for a chance to say a few words in his language of choice to his fans and Dick, unbelievably and inexcusably, tells him that there is no time. Maybe Del Potro should have taken the match to a fifth set tie breaker winning 22-20 or some godawful score like that. I bet Enberg would have had time then, wouldn’t he? If I am primetime TV audience waiting for my favourite program, would I give a bleep whether I saw 25 minutes or 20 minutes of it? If I am not shown the show in its entirety, would I really care? I would surely not!

Check out the video at 0:33 and 1:05. And the comments there? O MY!!

I am upset, upset that God turned out to be human after all but, I am more upset at the treatment meted out to someone who will likely turn out to be a great champion in his own right. Men’s tennis certainly looks good at the top though, realistically speaking, at my level of play, there is nothing I can takeaway from watching it – in terms of a learning experience. There is no way I can hack even a forehand as hard as these conquistadors crack their backhands. Forget backhands and don’t even bring up my serve!!

Oh well … for the longest time, we had only Roger and Rafa at the Grand Slam summit. Now we have, in double quick time, a bunch of challengers – Murray, Roddick, Del Potro, Djokovic and dangerous floaters like Isner, Gonzalez and Verdasco.

[Update]Sujatha has written a much more eloquent post that covers this incident, using less “French” than I did.

September 13, 2009

Shot of the Tournament? Century? Lifetime?

Filed under: Tennis — Porcupyn @ 8:42 pm

It is God vs. Darwin, nothing less!

On second thoughts, maybe Federer does not want more than two kids (that makes sense too), and is trying to take his genes out of the gene pool ;-).

Tennis good. Bullying not good

Filed under: Tennis — Porcupyn @ 12:00 am

It was sad for the eagerly anticipated and much awaited – thanks to Mother Nature – semi-final match to end the way it did.

A foot fault in Tennis is very much like a No Ball in cricket – you are not supposed to step on the line before serving or delivering the ball. Though I am constantly amazed at how the cricket umpire can track no balling while keeping a bunch of other things in mind as the bowler runs in to deliver the ball, this should not be a big issue for the linesman to call a foot fault because that is their only task as the serve is being delivered. In cricket, there are just the two umpires on the field whereas on the Tennis courts, there are – let’s see – the chair umpire and what, eight folks monitoring the lines? (Granted, I cannot really compare a five-day cricket match with a two-hour tennis match where one bad call can change the game much quicker than it would do in cricket.)

All that said, while it is difficult for a cricket fast bowler to ensure that he does not deliver a no ball, it should be relatively easy for a Tennis player to prevent a foot fault; after all, you don’t see players run in to serve in Tennis (though you probably will in Volleyball). So, it is very rare to see a foot fault in Tennis and, when it is called two points from match point, it does appear a bit unfair. Don’t they permit players to challenge and request a review on foot faults when they are permitted to do so on 140 mph serves?

I have got to reiterate how USA coverage of Tennis leaves much to be desired (I really wanted to use stronger language but do not want to be assessed a point penalty 😉 ). As we all know, there were two semi-final matches going on simultaneously. However, we got to watch zilch of the second semi-final. Why? No USA player was featured. And though this (foot fault) match ended a few minutes before the other one did, CBS had to go back and forth between advertisements, interviews with Serena Williams, replays and re-replays of the infamous incident. Even more frustrating was Dick’s promise, each time they went to advertisements, that they would come back with bits of the other match.

In her post-match press conference, Serena Williams claimed that John McEnroe was one of her idols growing up. McEnroe – as commentator – confessed that he felt he was on the hot seat now, as he had similarly defaulted out of the Australian Open a few years back. What I do not buy was his – and Williams’ – explanation that they were unaware of the point penalty rules.

All said and done, Clijsters won the match more than Williams lost it and, for once, Williams was gracious enough to acknowledge that Clijsters was the better player and she (Williams) would have had to play better to win.

Will Steffi Graf come out of retirement next? Inquiring minds of fans want to know. For those who were unaware, Graf and Clijsters had an exhibition set at Wimbledon back in July. It was pretty close. Graf might even double bagel Sania Mirza (OK, maybe she might not – but I don’t think anyone on the tour can double bagel Graf, even today)

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