Spock- the best for people search

Spock Dot ComWhile the big daddies like Yahoo, Windows Live and our favorite Google fight it out for the ultimate Search Engine supremacy, here’s a search engine that actually stands out. Why? Coz it doesn’t search web pages at all! It searches people!

Spock- the best for people search

Whether it’s celebs, friends, fellow bloggers or any other interesting people you’ve met, spock.com finds them for you. What’s more interesting is that the profiles you find on Spock are editable. Infact, they are supposed to be edited! You can add yourself to their database, edit your profile, edit others’, add photos/videos and even vote on other people’s photos.

Profiles are characterised by their tags. Select from a whole range of tags or add your own. These tags eventually decide search results. My profile for eg, has tags like Blogger, Black eyes, enjoys cricket, graduate of mumbai, enjoys Chinese, From india, black hair, lives in Mumbai etc. So when you search for anything among those, you should find me.

web links page on Spock

Another interesting feature is the ability to build widgets. Apart from a particular profile, you can even create widgets from search results. The second widget below shows profiles that were tagged ‘bollywood'(http://www.spock.com/q/bollywood). The first is my own widget.

Spock.Com was started by Jay Bhatti and Jaideep Singh (people of Indian origin. YAY!) in 2006 and has been growing ever since. Clearly Spock is not just another search engine. It could well turn out to be a revolution in the making!!

Movie Review – RACE – An absolute must watch!

RACE poster on angadsodhi.com

Direction: Abbas – Mustan
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy
Banner: Tips Films Limited
Production: Kumar S. Taurani and Ramesh S. Taurani
Music: Pritam

Director duo Abbas-Mustan have created a genre for themselves – ‘Action Thrillers’. Naqaab, Aitraaz, Humraaz were thrilling, but RACE crashes em all!!

I won’t be giving out too many details this time around. Heck, the movie had so many twits n turns, I hardly remember those sudden turn of events. For most part of the movie you are left gasping, Those ‘Oh S***’s flood the theater every few minutes. Race is a very fast paced action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seats!

Ranvir Singh (Saif) is a ruthless businessman who loves his younger brother Rajeev(Akshaye). Rajeev in turn loves only his liquor! Sonia (Bips), a beautiful model, is Saif’s lady. Sofia (Katrina) plays Saif’s PA. She has a crush on Saif who doesn’t reciprocate it(Now can you believe that!).

A life-insurance clause pays one brother 100 million dollars for the ‘accidental’ death of the other brother. This is when the going gets ugly. Brothers getting to the throats of each other just for some ancestral property? I wonder where they get such ideas from!! 😉

The story unfolds with a series of unexpected twists n turns. It all boils down to a winner-takes-it-all race. This race is to be the last for one of the two brothers while the other gets to claim the booty.

Cars, babes, booty… Abbas-Mustan have struck the perfect formula. Saif looks stunning. Bipasha Basu is as glamorous as ever. Katrina looks her very best but she still needs to improve her acting skills. She looks out of place at times. Akshaye Khanna stands out for his role. Anil Kapoor provides the much required comic relief in the second half of the movie. He plays his part well too. His assistant Sameera Reddy is thoroughly avoidable. Saif is said to have done all his action scenes himself (like jumping off a 20-storey building!). Watch out for that too.

AngadSodhi Dot Com Rating: 4/5

Conclusion: Race is an absolute must watch. Expect the unexpected. Superb cinematography, great songs, really cool action scenes. The only problem I see is that the story is out of this world. But then, an Abbas-Mustan is supposed to be unrealistic!

Watch it for Saif n Bips.

Brand Identity Guru SEO review

For a company of any stature, a website can be a good asset to improve sales. For a blogger (like me), his blog or personal site can be his means to fame and even riches. The most important, and probably the most underestimated, aspect about getting more from your site is creating awareness about it. Plenty of tactics help raise awareness… Internet marketing, campaigns, ppc (pay-per-clicks) and the big daddy of them all – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

BIG logo on AngadSodhi Dot ComOptimizing for search engines requires analyzing your website, studying your target audience identifying keywords etc. You could do that all by yourself or you could just hire the GURU – TheBigIdentityGuru. More famously known as BIG, thebigidentityguru.com is one of the best companies in the world of SEO. A good SEO company must be up to date with the functionality of all popular search engines and BIG is known to be one of the best in doing just that. BIG promises guaranteed inclusion in the top 10 search results on Google, Yahoo and other major search engines. With results like those, be sure your target client will come just to you.

As the official website states, BIG promises to:

  1. A comprehensive web site analysis (goals assessment, target market profile, and surveys on industry status and past success)
  2. Assessment of your competition’s search engine positioning
  3. Keyword and popularity breakdown
  4. Search engine optimized copywriting
  5. File name, meta and body tag optimization
  6. Manual submissions to search engines and directories
  7. Comprehensive review and analysis of performance
  8. Complete maintenance and monitoring services
  9. Research on reciprocal link opportunities and implementation
  10. Online promotions for your website

Hire BIG and they’ll take care of SEO, internet marketing, directory submissions and other stuff so that you can concentrate on the real deal – making the perfect content for your site!


If you want your website/product reviewed at AngadSodhi Dot Com, feel free to contact me through ReviewMe.com or send me a mail at angad619@gmail.com


Movie Review: Alvin And The Chipmunks – disappointing!

Alvin And The Chipmunks Review on AngadSodhi Dot Com

CAST: Jason Lee (David Seville), David Cross (Ian Hawk) and Cameron Richardson (Claire).
WITH THE VOICES OF: Justin Long (Alvin), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon) and Jesse McCartney (Theodore).

I’m a computer engineer in the making and hence, animated movies are really my kind of movies. 300, Shrek, Ice Age… I loved em all. Alvin and the Chipmunks promised to fit the bill, but then it simply didn’t.

Three chipmunks join a not-so-successful song writer. Do the chipmunks talk? “well, our lips are moving and words are coming out!”, as Alvin puts it. Let alone talk, they sing their way to glory.

Problems come. Problems go. Everything is rosy in the end. How lame! How predictable! I dunno if I slept through a part of the movie, but Alvin is no way superior to his fellow chipmunks. I would rather have called the movie “And the Chipmunks (Alvin included)”!!!

But then not everything’s bad. The chipmunks are really cute. The animation is enthralling. They sing well. Their lips are in sync with what they speak. Hats off to that!

AngadSodhi Dot Com Rating: 6.5/10

Conclusion: Really good animation but lacks a gripping story. For those who don’t know anything about the cartoon series (me for e.g.), the movie seems lackluster.

WinterWolves’ Universal Boxing Manager – Game Review

This is my very first assignment with ReviewMe.Com
If you want me to review your product/website, contact me at angad619<at>gmail<dot>com

Those addicted to playing manager in FIFA titles must know the thrills and frills of playing manager. But why play manager when you could yourself step onto the football field! Logic tells me that I would love to play manager in a sport I wouldn’t dare play myself. A sport that gets you all sweaty, bruised and banged up. A sport like boxing!!

http://www.winterwolves.com‘s Universal Boxing Manager lets you play manager to a bunch of professional boxers. Hire more boxers, train them, setup and schedule matches. Manage infrastructure, medical staff, sponsors etc. If need be, even fire underperforming boxers! Feels powerful right? But with great power, comes great res…. (Yeah! Yeah! We all know that)

When you begin your new profile, you are given 150 points and two boxers to begin with. Improve training facilities, hire medics with the available points. The manager has to set up matches and schedule them in such a way that he gives his players enough rest.

Manager screen of UBM

The manager himself has attributes various attributes, charisma being the most of them. With enough charisma, he can boost the morale of his boxers. But that’s before the match. The real deal comes only when the fight begins.

During the fight, you get to instruct your boxer in between two rounds (very much like the pep talk boxers have with their managers in between rounds). You have 3 aspects to control:
Boxer Strategy: You can choose between ‘Strike Body’, ‘Strike High’ and ‘Mixed’.
Boxer Fighting Style: Choose between ‘Offensive’, ‘Defensive’ and ‘Movement’
Choose the right combination according to the fitness of your boxer and he will come out victorious. Making a bad decision could have your boxer Knocked Out!! Further depending on your points tally, you can choose to ‘incite’ your boxer, ‘heal’ your boxer or do nothing at all!

AS your wins matches, he climbs up the rankings. Higher ranked players earn more for each win/loss. In the process even your own attributes increase.

Overall, it’s a fun game to play. The 20min free trial is just a 4MB download and can be found at http://www.winterwolves.com. No harm in trying it out guys. Even the full version is a mere 24.95$ Check it out!!!

UMA screen UMA screen

http://www.winterwolves.com has many more Mac Games. Check them out too.

Taare Zameen Par MOVIE REVIEW – Spoiler Warning!

Taare Zameen Par Movie Review on angadsodhi dot comSpoiler warning?? That means I’ll be giving the details away!! Actually yes. If I don’t do that, all I can say is that it’s a flawless movie. Every creature on this planet (Yup. I took my pet roach to the movie and he came out sobbing too!!) would say that it’s a must watch. But that’s not all I have to say. At AngadSodhi Dot Com, things are done differently! OK enough bragging…

First of all I’d like to clarify that the movie is not at all about parenting. Maybe people have interpreted it wrongly, but it is definitely not about how parents must behave with their kids. What I mean to say is, what if your child is not dyslexic at all? And even if he is, a 3hr movie won’t do you any good! It’s just the chemistry between the two and the little guy’s acting skills that take you off your feet!

Ishaan Awasthi (Darsheel Safary) is a sweet innocent child whose dyslexia is detected only in the mid second half of the movie by his arts professor Nikumbh Sir (Aamir Khan). Just as they say that people with such disorders have some other talent etched onto them, Ishaan is good at drawing (hence those weird promos showing octopuses which relate neither to taare (stars) nor zameen (land) from the title).

Dyslexia (“Dys – impaired | Lexis – word” as my Homeopath sis clarifies every time the word is mentioned) is a disorder where the brain maps certain characters as a mirror image of how they actually are. So ‘d’ will look like ‘b’ and so on. A list of famous people with dyslexia include Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo DaVinci and (surprise! surprise!) our very own Abhishek Bachchan.

Ishaan’s falling grades prompt his parents to put him in a boarding school because they want him to excel in life. But the separation traumatizes the poor kid. Aamir is actually a teacher at an institute for the mentally challenged and detects Ishaan’s disorder. People do overcome this disorder and Nikumbh Sir (Aamir) himself had had that problem in his childhood! Thus the two bond well and their chemistry steals the show. Aamir is a temporary arts teacher at the boarding school and Ishaan loves drawing. Together they work hard to improve his writing and Ishaan shows signs of improvement.

The movie has plenty of scenes that bring tears down your cheeks. A very touching song titled ‘Maa’ just fits the bill. Ishaan makes a flipbook that shows his being drafted away from his family. In the end there’s an all school drawing competition that has plenty of emotional scenes (OK I won’t reveal those! See them for yourself).

The first half is all about the little boy’s carefree, sometimes careless but very innocent nature. Reminded me of my school days – almost always late to school, many a times out of the class if not on the bench! The lad’s acted really well I must mention. Does some really tough scenes really well. Put Aamir in his place and probably even he’ll make a fool of himself. But the kid does it really very beautifully.

+ves:

  • The little guy’s acting.
  • Aamir’s acting.
  • Aamir keeps himself offscreen wherever not necessary.
  • The little guy’s acting.
  • Other actors too chip in well.
  • Just the right use of animation in the movie.
  • The little guy’s acting.
  • The song ‘Maa’.
  • Well thought about characters. No villains here! (Is this actually Bollywood??)
  • Err.. The little gu…… (Heck! I’ve already become a fan of this guy)

-ves:

  • Rest of the songs are crap!

AngadSodhi Dot Com Rating: 9/10

Conclusion: A movie worth watching. It can probably win us the Oscar! But my foresight tells me that we’ll submit OSO. Why? Because it has SRK in it!! TZP is now taxfree! Do check it out in a theatre. If you find your eyes getting moist, “Ya Bindhaas”, as Ishu cutely puts it. Don’t hesitate. The entire theatre would be having tears streaming down their cheeks in a while!!


Useful Links:
The very cute official website
Lyrics of the song ‘Maa’ (also it’s English translation)


FIFA 08 PC review

FIFA 08 on Angad Sodhi Dot Com

The ‘much awaited’ tag has never really been attached with the year-end FIFA releases. When you have two FIFA titles (the other being FIFA Manager) released every year, the hype doesn’t really build up. But FIFA 08 promised to be different. And different it was!!

In the year 2007 came Konami’s Winning eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 07 which made FIFA 07 look really passé. FIFA had to do better. FIFA’s developers have shown tremendous improvement in the gameplay as well as the player modeling. Let’s take a closer look at what FIFA’s latest installment has in the offing for those hardcore soccer enthusiasts.

What’s new: A truly next-generation ball-striking engine has resulted into better passing, more precise long balls and accurate shots on target. Here even ball spin, pressure from defenders, player attributes spice up the game. The ball doesn’t stick to the player as in previous versions (therefore you probably can’t just run through defenders and score goals at will). A much improved AI lays greater emphasis on good passing. Team formations plays a very big role in winning matches. You probably need some basic knowledge on how to counter your opponents formations. So it’ll probably take a couple of games to get into that winning streak (even if you are playing Italy v/s New Zealand!!). Another noticeable feature was the ability to create custom team formations. All teams have their original formations as in real life. It was very pleasing to play with Barcelona’s trademark modified 3-5-2 formation. You can actually place players anywhere you want.

You can now take full control of your goal keeper. Did a striker just run past your defenders? You still have the option of manually controlling the goalkeeper! Another added feature is the ability to make through passes. You need not always pass to a point where your teammate is present. You can just pass the ball into void and have another player reach to the spot and take it further. Really useful when you are outnumbered as a striker.

‘Be a Pro’ is probably the most exciting feature this game has to offer. Start with a player and have him rise to fame with the game teaching you all the way through. Each match has certain tasks listed out. A defender can have objectives like ‘Win 10% tackles’, ‘50% successful passes’ etc. listed out to him before the match. Defenders, midfielders and strikers all have different tasks to perform.

But then everything isn’t rosy here! One look at PES 2007 makes you wonder, “What have EA been doing all year??” Here’s a small comparison between FIFA’s Thierry Henry and PES’s Thierry Henry. (Both the images are my screenshots from the games played on the same rig).

FIFA 08 version of Thierry Henry at Angad Sodhi Dot ComPro Evo Soccer 07 version of Thierry Henry at Angad Sodhi Dot Com

(Psst: Here’s an actual photo of the French bald wonder)

Actual photo of Thierry Henry an Angad Sodhi Dot Com

As it is clearly seen, Pro Evo Soccer 2007 clearly has an edge over FIFA 08. Even the grass looks livelier! It’s players even show various emotions whereas FIFA players don’t. Key layout has changed (again???). The ‘Manager Mode’ is the same as of the 2007 edition. Gets really boring after a couple of seasons. With the PS3 and XBOX versions of the game you can create and execute signature moves. With the PC version, the developers decide to totally give it a miss (how rude)!!!

AngadSodhi dot Com Verdict: The FIFA 08 version is very analogous to Windows Vista. Vista is a step ahead of Win XP but not as good as Mac’s OSs! Put FIFA 08 and PES 07 head-to-head and the winner is obvious (hint: begins with a ‘P’ ). Hopefully FIFA Street 3 can live upto the hype it is generating!!!

AngadSodhi dot Com Rating: 7.9/10


Price: INR 999/-
USD 39.95$
Developer: Electronic Arts
Requirements: Win XP/Vista – 1.3GHz Processor, 256MB RAM, 128MB video card, 3.92 GB HDD space.
Official site: http://www.fifa08.ea.com/


PS: This is my first game review!! Tell me how you like it.

W890i PREVIEW – too good on paper

W890i on angadsodhi dot com

The W890i, yet to be launched, is Sony Ericsson’s latest addition to it’s repertoire of ‘walkman phones’. What makes the phone so hyped-up even before it’s release anywhere in the world is a really impressive spec sheet released by SE on their site.

Let’s take a look at what the phone has to offer:

  • Size: 104 x 47 x 10 mm
  • Weight: 78gm
  • Screen: 240X320 px, 262,144-colour TFT
  • Memory: 26MB internal memory, 2GB Memory Stick Micro (M2) bundled!!

Other Features:

  • A 3.2 MegaPixel camera!
  • 4X digital zoom
  • RSS feeds
  • A2DP – Music from phone to headset over a wireless connection
  • MegaBass – enhance Bass frequencies
  • PictBridge – print straight from your phone
  • SensMe – Listen to, and create, playlists of songs sorted according to the mood of the music.
  • TrackID – Record a few seconds of a song and get track details sent to your phone in seconds.
  • FM radio also supports TrackID feature!!
  • Mobile Blogging
  • Video Blogging
  • 3G
  • Video Conferencing
  • Subscribe to Podcasts

Available Colours: Sparkling Silver, Mocha Brown.

I on angadsodhi.com would like to have a small competition here. We have taken a look at the phone, now it’s time to predict the price! Please leave your price estimate, either in INR or Dollars, below as a comment along with your name. The competition is active only until SE hints at it’s price. (duh!!)

The person with the closest bid gets . . . . . . . . just a special mention on this blog. (Obviously you don’t expect an undergrad Engg student to be giving out prizes, do you??)

Sparkling Silver W890i on AngadSodhi Dot ComMocha Brown W890i on AngadSodhi Dot Com
Mocha Brown W890i on AngadSodhi Dot Com


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I love my alphabets!!

In my last post I had shown a preview into the portrait of the lovely Emma Watson using only 1s and 0s. This form of art is called as ASCII art.

Here’s another example. The Batting Maestro (who got out on 99 again today!!) Sachin Tendulkar in ASCII art.

Sachin Tendulkar on angadsodhi.com

Is it very difficult to create ASCII art? Actually yes if you decide to do it on your own, but child’s play if you use converters available freely on the net. What I’ve used here is one of the best and most user friendly among the ones that I’ve laid my hands upon.

iamge-text.com banner on angadsodhi.com

www.text-image.com is a brilliant site that can do the job within seconds. It also gives you three varied options namely

HTMLASCIIMatrix

Though the B/W ASCII mode and the Matrix mode are not as impressive, the HTML mode is really good.

Here’s another example of good ‘ol Hollywood hunk George Clooney. This picture has high contrast and a high level of detail. But the script ofn the site does a pretty good job!!

George Clooney

Note: Make sure you are using a resolution of atleast 1024 X 768. My site looks best at this resolution!!

So have fun creating ‘ASCII art’ and don’t forget to tell people you heard about it on angadsodhi.com!!! Cheers..
Continue reading “I love my alphabets!!”

S500i review

It is long past the time when cell phones were just communicating devices. At a time when the midrange wagon on the cell phone express is the buzziest, I was firm on staying onto the low-end wagon. I was firm I didn’t need a smartphone. But needs and wants are meant to change. Particularly speaking, the change is always on the ‘increasing’ side. One look at the majestic S500i, and I did jump into the 10k wagon. A look at these pics would tell you why:

Looks and Build Quality
While the build quality can be a matter of concern over a period of time, the looks are simply astonishing. Can’t think of another phone that can match the looks of the S500i. Since the phone is supposedly ‘inspired by nature’, SE has taken extreme efforts to make this phone special. The phone flaunts some flashy lights at the sides, a la 3220, except that they look much more classy! The phone comes to life during an incoming call. You have a default theme which changes according to the time of the day and the current season. I’ll be writing a special post on it soon. I’ve bought the phone amidst speculations that the aluminium keys crack on use!! But I’ve had the phone for a month now and (bless my stars!), the keypad’s still perfect. SE replaced all faulty phones and the new ones don’t crack.

Audio Output
The earphones provided with the package aren’t the ones provided with the walkman phones and I must say they don’t sound as good either. But you could always upgrade those. The phone manages to squeeze a speaker under the circular navigation keys! This helps deliver sound in all directions. Another breakthrough innovation in design!!

Connectivity
The phone has Bluetooth v2.0 and it also supports A2DP. This means you could pair it with stereo wireless headsets and also play music through another BT device with speakers! SE also packages the regular USB cable.

Entertainment and Multimedia
The inbuilt music player is very similar to that of the walkman phones. The ‘Play Now’ is an added feature which allows you to download music, ringtones and stuff in just 3 clicks. All regular games do play on the S500i but none of em make use of the lighting effect on the phone. We’ll have to wait for SE to release games customized for the phone.

Salient Features

  • Set 5 different alarms at a time.
  • Customize the lights. i.e. choose a particular colour for individual contacts, choose whether the phone lights up during an coming call when it is in silent mode etc.
  • Video Ringtones
  • Separate tone for individual callers.
  • Voice Dialling
  • Voice Answer
  • Flight mode
  • RSS reader
  • 2.0 MP camera with video recording.
  • Flash Support for themes
  • Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™) support (up to 2 GB)–14MB Internal Memory
  • 240×320 pixel, 262.144 color TFT screen (looks really awesome)

Now the –ves:

  • Aluminium keys feel brittle.
  • Small key size could cause problems to some.
  • Not a 3G phone. No EDGE.

The Package contains:
Phone, USB cable, manual, charger, SE PC suite CD, HPM-62 handsfree kit.

Price:
INR: 11,000/-

Colours Available:

Conclusion:
This phone is all about bling. Tailor made for the youth, it is sure to make heads turn. With little or no negatives, it is sure to be the next big thing!!!

Links:

I give you some more pics to drool upon:
S500i on www.angadsodhi.com S500i on www.angadsodhi.com S500i on www.angadsodhi.com S500i on www.angadsodhi.com S500i on www.angadsodhi.com s500i on www.angadsodhi.com s500i an www.angadsodhi.om s500i on www.angadsodhi.com