Bored by the usual fare on Indian television and needing a little flexibility with what I can watch on my TV and when I can watch it, I have always wanted something like the so-called “Smart TV”. However most such TV-sets seem to cost almost twice as much as a regular TV-set and are invariably laden with terrible software. Set-top boxes like Apple TV, Google TV, Roku, etc. are either not available in India or are available at almost double the price minus half the features (e.g. Hulu and Netflix). Some of them are also not flexible enough for my needs.
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[2013-07-06] A Smart TV On The Cheap
“Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen is a novel that has been called a “Great American Novel” far too many times for me to put off reading it despite its imposing size. Fortunately for me, this novel is a relatively easy and gripping read and lives up to all the hype surrounding it. It is another shining example of good literature that is not hard to read and where the author hasn't tried to be too clever. If you haven't read it yet, it is well worth the dekko and will reward the time you invest in reading it.
[2013-04-18] “Masters of Doom”
I must confess that having spent a significant portion of my youth playing First-Person Shooter (FPS) computer games, particularly those developed by id Software, I was predisposed to read “Masters of Doom” by David Kushner with the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. I was also a budding games-programmer with a strong interest in PC-based 3D graphics, so John Carmack was (and still is) a natural hero for me. After all, he created several pioneering FPS games at id Software, including Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake and is very generous about making their source-code available. I was obviously excited to read about his life and how he got together with John Romero to create id Software and its ground-breaking games. This book didn't disappoint me.
[2013-04-02] “Behind The Beautiful Forevers”
Most of us living in the fast-growing Indian cities tend to ignore the slums that dot these cities and the slum-dwellers who live within - just as we tend to ignore the garbage strewn all around us. Katherine Boo with her book “Behind The Beautiful Forevers” manages to make us pause and think about these less-privileged folks who have been dealt a rough hand in life as well as our garbage that provides livelihood to many such folks. It is beautifully-written, especially for a first book, and is a must-read.
[2013-01-09] “Bring Up The Bodies”
“More of the same” would be an apt description for “Bring Up The Bodies” by Hilary Mantel, when I compare it to its predecessor “Wolf Hall”, and I mean this in a very good way. The author once again delivers a deliciously-written novel on the life of Thomas Cromwell, the chief minister of king Henry VIII of England, while remaining true to the historical record. The second in a planned trilogy of novels on his life, this book covers the dramatic period of about one year (1535-1536) leading to the execution of Anne Boleyn, the queen. Like the first book, this book has also managed to win the author a Man Booker Prize and the prize feels justly-deserved.