10 million subscribers on WoW

One of my favourite games, although its a money and time sink also, and which I have not been able to play for the last 3 months as there is no broadband connectivity in my building ( yeah - its a fact, broadband in pune is one big deal), has touched the 10 million subscriber mark.

Not impressed cause its a game ? I know people think games are for kiddies. Well, heres something for you to think about ...

Gaming in USA is the 2nd largest entertainment industry, next only to Hollywood. Tourism comes a distinct 3rd.

Still not convinced are you ?

Lets try again. This time with WoW as the base.

WoW works on a monthly subscription. So, one pays around $15 per month to play the game - which is an online virtual world. So, in terms of the current headlines .. that amounts to :
10m x $15 = $150m per month.
x12months = $1,800 million per year ! phew !

lets do some cost reduction on this wrt expenses taken by the company for making the game available on various servers and also the bandwidth rents, as well as the dev costs. lets strike out $800 million from the list ( the company is around 300 people , so this seems reasonable). The end of year profit is a cool $1billion.

Wipro is a $1billion company ...

do the maths, how much money per head.

phew!

BikeNomads undergoes a Facelift


As some of you guys know, I am a bike fanatic. I started a group around 5 years back called BikeNomads. It got started on a whim, and I had no idea that it would grow so big ! Now, we have had 2 years running of creating calendars and having annual meets !

So, I think the time now has come to get a bit serious about developing BN. The first, immediate level of change that I have done is give the website a facelift. Check it out and let me know if it is looking better or not !

Also, I am sure you have friends who like biking. They may be passionate about it , or just getting started in it. If you can, pass on the info about this group to them. It will be great for them and for BN :)

I took the one less traveled

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost.

Pawna Dam Ride

It all started with Captain Nandu Chitnis's post on BN about an early morning ride to Pawana dam he was planning with the Photogaphers at Pune group (P@P). The ride was to be on Saturday morning, and I jumped at the opportunity. In next to no time we had a good lineup raring to go. Aditya, Praveen, Kedar, Shaunak, Seon just to name a few.

Capt was adamant of meeting at 6am at CC. For him its 'shit-shave-shampoo' and you are ready. For us late nighters, its not so simple. It takes a long time to regain the senses. Got up at 5am so that could reach at that time. And reach I did !

We were around 11 bikes including 3 from the P@P club. Chugged off towards Pawana. The initial part is taking the road which leads to Mulshi. Somewhere after the Manas resort we lost track of the people as both me and kedar were overtaking the trucks on the ghat roads. Now, there is something about the ghats that excites both of us. We like to go fast there. At the base we figured out that 'oh oh. the other guys are not here'. Back we went - nope. They are not there. Down we went, again did not see them. Back up and then down again , and i see them off to the left side of the road on a pleatue kind of place. Image - its pitch dark. All the bikes have gone off the road, and all of them with all systems off. No indicator lights - no wonders we missed them.
Lesson #1 : If you have to go off the road, and are in a convoy, leave some indicator lights on.

It seems that it was a good point to take the civil twilight pics. But by the time me and kedar found them, they were ready to move on again. So off we went, and this time we were joined by Praveen who had come a bit late.

Off again.

We got lost again. Reaching a village in between, we saw an indicator indicating left side. Took off there, assuming it was one of us. Noone else in pune is into giving indications while turning. We were wrong. Asked for directions to Pawna, and found out we were going the wrong way. Turn back, go again. Found Praveen waiting at the right turn for us to catch up.

Now the road becomes bumpy, with rubble on the patches that has gone wrong. It looks like they were going to mix tar with the rubble, but i guess some corrupt official pocketed the tar money.

Found the group on a bridge on a small river. It was a fantastic site. The steam was rising above the river, making the place appear surreal. Pictures illustrate it better :
Fog on the river
We came that way
Since we reached late, we guys took a few pics and then started off again. Kiran who had left with the main group, was stopped just a way ahead and taking a few pics. Off we zoomed in search of the crowd - which had again disappeared. Thankfully Praveen's hawk eye saw them way off the road happily taking snaps. Err.. lesson#1 ??

Since i knew that Kiran (guy on the TB) was behind us, I parked my bike just off the road, and being the big yellow tweety that she is, he was easily able to spot us. It also meant that when the sun peeped over the mountain, we got great shots of the bike! To check out an even more impressive shot, take a look at Kiran's photo of tweety.
Sunny Tweety!

There after, we were mostly in a group all the way till the damn. It's a fine dam, but the only issue was that it was a very hazy morning. Still, this afforded a good lineup shot of the bikes!
After some photoshoot session here, and btw, Aditya got some great shots, we decided instead of going back , to head over to Lonavala for breakfast. Here I gave some gyan to captain, as I was tailing him on the last section. Here also, captain wanted to ride tweety for sometime, and so i was on SF ( Street fighter is the name captain has given to his pulsar 220). Its a nice bike, feels more planted than the karizma, but ... on bad roads ... you better take care of your family jewels.
We rod on to find this amazing road cutout in the hills. There we bumped into Mr Srinivasan, who was in a m800 and he was very happy to see us young riders (he is 63 years old). All of us wanted some shots of riding here, and Mr S also wanted to take the pics. Talking to him we found out he was aslo an avid rider in his youth , having done the K1000 3 times long back ( around when i was in diapers). Sometime you bump into most unexpected people !

Onwards to Lonavala, and after finding directions ended up at RamaKrishna (RK is a favourite hangout - its got good parking space :) ). When we reached, we found an R1 parked there, and off we went, taking snaps of it. It belonged to a scotting guy who was over from mumbai for a ride.
Breakfast over, we ripped back to pune. The plan was for most of the guys to come over to my place to collect the BN Ts and also the 2008 calendars. Initially I too ripped, till traffic cut me off from Shaunak and Aditya (who was riding crazy with his wife as pillion !). Then I slowed down. Rode behing captin for some time - and man, he was riding very well. More than riding fast, I think that a person should ride as fast as he is comfortable doing, and captain was doing just that.
Reached pune around 1pm. Nice short ride. around 140kms in all.

Happy Lohri !


May this new year bring warmth in your life.

Trapped

Sometimes I feel like the little kid in Taare Zameen Par. Trapped. Trapped inside the room, with people droning on about the presentations, the deadlines to reach. Trapped, while my mind shifts to places outside the window. Trapped, thinking that 'hey, is this supposed to be my life?'

Tata 'nano' for 1 Lakh

Tata recently launched their 1 Lack car at the auto expo being held in Delhi. Following pic from rediff :



Me, i think its a great achivement. But at the same time I can't help being pessimistic. Why so ?? Read on...

So, lets see who can afford the car now. This is gonna come in the segment of people who typically own the low cc bikes - splendors, xcd etc. Now, these guys have no traffic sense whatsoever. They ride around weaving along on the road, stop where they feel like. So, now these guys are gonna ride around, feeling all proud to own a 4-wheeler. Whereas you could have a bike going around the city, you fill up the space or 2-3 bikes with a car. Traffic Mayhem on the cards !

grumble grumble, when will they release some good bikes in the 400cc range...


Specs :
Engine Capacity : 624cc
Fuel : Petrol
Power : 33bhp
Fuel Capacity : 30ltr
Shift : Manual, 4 gear
Mileage : 23kmpl
Cost : 1 Lakh ex shoroom ( standard variant - non AC version)

In love with the iPhone


My cousin was in India for a few days, and Pune only for a day. And he had an iPhone !

Oh man ! what a sweet device. Its wider and longer than the E6 I have , but almost 1/2 as thin. If you look at the shot above, the date is Sat 5th ( this weekend). Only later did i think about having taken the pic with my E6 next to it.

It requires one to have clean hands, as we found out after eating Paranthas. The screen got smeared, even though we had washed our hands. A quick wipe from a paper napkin, and it was clean.

The slide-to-unlock was super cool ! If you have watched the introduction of the iPhone, you know what I am talking about. Well, everything about the phone is cool. Everything 'flows' together. Click on an icon, and it flows up , expanding to fill the screen.

My bro uses it as a photo album. The flick to change the pics was so intuitive. I think, if nothing else, this is gonna be a hit with people who want to show their family pics, travel pics etc. It makes all of that almost like flipping through a photo album. No scroll bars, just a flip of the page. Easy !

I also wanted to check out the typing, as on the E6 its a pain. I have tried the onscreen keyboard as well as handwriting recognition, but its really slow. With the iPhone you need to use your thumbs to type , and I was wondering how i will type properly on it. But its a breeze. Put your thumb on a character, and it ballons up , so you can see which character your thumb is on. You can then slide your thumb around if you hit the wrong character till you are on the right one, and when you leave it, the character gets input into whatever you are using ( I was trying with notes).

sms chat is like an IM chat (e.g. google talk), where the sms from you and your friend shows up as a conversation. No going to the sent items to figure out what you sent. Its right there on your face when you type. flick up to go through the past conversation. The only other phone I have seen this on is the Treo ( Palm version, not the Windows version). I wonder what's stopping other phone manufacturers don't do this, its so convenient.

The only question that remains is "WHEN ARE THEY GONNA RELEASE THE IPHONE IN INDIA ?"

Vote please !

Since I changed the theme of this blog to black, I got a couple of responses about the colour change. However, I am still not convinced that most people dont like it. I believe that humans tend to speak out only if something is going contrary to them, and keep quiet if things are ok. So, I am assuming that out of the many people who visit my site, most just kept quiet.

So, to make things easy, i've added a poll !! It just takes a click and you can vote for the theme. Check it on the top right corner of this site.

Tiger Tail Studios

pst... are you free in your office time ? Do you want to quickly play a game in that browser window of yours ?

A friend of mine started a game company (based out of Hyderabad). The company is called Tiger Tail Studio. At this point they are into making casual games. You can check out their latest game called 'Catch em if you can'.

What happened to TV?



This new year was spent at home. I was thinking, that TV should have some good programs on. How wrong I was. There was nothing interesting on TV.

What happened to TV ? I remember earlier years, where the whole recap of the year was given on the last day of the year. But this time, all we got to see were old movies which have come umpteen times, and people drunk and tripping (can't call _that_ dancing).

Does anyone know of a site which has the year in recap ?