The recent “Walking” fad

While India and Australia are battling out in the heat and humidity in the current Test match series, an interesting thing that is happening and which is creating a small storm of controversy by itself, is the latest fad of “Walking” in test cricket, led by a bunch of Australian cricketers (can’t believe it, eh ? ) and also by a handful of Indian cricketers. “Walking” is the art of a batsman “to proclaim himself out without waiting for the umpire’s decision” – of course, it is a perfectly honest thing to do – but then, one must remember that this is modern-day cricket where the stakes are high and so is the competition for your place in the team.

Despite all this, there have been some cricketers, who constantly have followed the moto to walk – Adam Gilchrist is probably the best example amongst the modern day cricketers. In the high pressure game of the World Cup semi-final against Sri Lanka, he “walked” although there had been so conclusive proof that he was out. Australia won the match nevertheless but he ended up receiving quite a bit of flak from the Australian media. Nevertheless, Gilchrist has been true to himself and he seems to have rubbed that character off onto some of his colleagues in the current series, namely Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasparowich. The Indians, not to be left behind, have followed suit – Yuvraj walked without even looking at the umpire and so did Patel. But all this begs a point – at what cost are you going to do this ?

I think that has been the subject of debate all over the world – former England captain Mike Atherton calls it “Australian hypocrisy“. This has been seconded by other former Australian greats Ian Chappel and Bill Lawry. Even some current Indian cricketers such as Mohammad Kaif have joined the debate and have categorically stated that they wouldn’t walk by themselves and that it was the responsibility of the umpires to give them out.

Of course, in the end, it all boils down to a personal decision. On one hand, there is the true emperical rule to play the game in the “true spirit” and on the other hand, there is the hard truth to “win at any cost”. What do you think about this ? – send me an email or post your comments.

Cheers,
Thyaga

VVS Laxman – “Clean Bowled” tendency

Have you noticed how often VVS Laxman gets Clean Bowled of late ? I used to admire his batting but his recent mode of dismissals have just left me a little frustrated. The “Clean Bowled” trend started off some time during the India-Pakistan tour in the beginning of this year and it has just continued on. For some reason, no one has raised this topic and neither does the batsman seem to remedy this problem.

I dug a little into the Statistics of VVS Laxman (courtesy of StatsGuru on the Cricket Info site) and what I found were not surprising. I compared his stats with the other 3 key Indian batsmen – Sachin, Dravid & Ganguly. The stats clearly show that he has indeed the highest tendeny of getting bowled among the current key Indian batsmen. Also, Ganguly has the least tendency of getting clean bowled. Also, the ranks of the 4 batsmen is the same in both the forms of cricket. In short, VVS Laxman has the highest tendency among the 4 batsmen to get Clean Bowled.

Here is the data (updated till the Bangalore Test, 2004) :

Player Test Innings #Clean Bowled %
VVS 89 18 20% (highest tendency)
Dravid 136 23 16%
Sachin 184 29 15%
Ganguly 123 17 13%
Player 1-day Innings #Clean Bowled %
VVS 79 13 17% (highest tendency)
Dravid 221 37 16%
Sachin 330 48 14%
Ganguly 253 33 13%

Can someone inform him about this ? – it’s about time !

Google’s latest toy – Google Desktop

A couple of days ago, Google introduced the Google Desktop application, which is basically a Search utility for your entire desktop. You can download the software from Google and installation is pretty much straight forward. Some of the salient points are as follows:

  1. After the installation of the software, there is an initial period where the indices are created by the Google Desktop application (running on your system tray). Of course, this will only run when your system is idle and so, it does not harm you in anyway. In short, it will take a few hours after your installation for you to be able to search through your Desktop completely. (it also depends upon the amount of data you have). In my case, it started sometime in early afternoon and ended in the late evening. The total idle time must have been around 4 hours.
  2. Clicking on the Google Desktop icon on the system tray will bring up a Browser window from which you can search for any text in your desktop. The results are organized into the following categories : Emails, Files, Chat and Web History (and there is another category called All, which puts all together).
  3. Currently the Google Desktop application searches through the following types of files: Outlook, Outlook Express, AOL Instant Messenger, IE, Text, MS-Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. I am not exactly sure how this would work if you had any other application as your Email client.
  4. I found the Email search really very useful – I have stopped using the Search utility that comes with Outlook and Outlook Express. When you click on the link in the Search Results, you can not only read the email, but also reply to the email.
  5. I already found a practical application for it yesterday. I was looking for the address of a friend of mine. I know I did not have the address in my Outlook Express address book, but I definitely knew that it was present somewhere in my machine – either in a file or within some email. I simply launched the Google Desktop application and searched on my friend’s name and lo! – I found the email that I was looking for. In short, it works 🙂 !

Of course, people are bound to find issues with it. This is a beta version and it will take some time for it to be production quality. There are quite some areas where they can improve. Some of them which I noted, are:

  1. Support on multiple platforms [currently, it’s only supported on Windows XP and Windows 2000 SP3]
  2. Ability to search through other file formats such as PSD, GIF, JPEG, WAV etc.
  3. The Email interface is neat but can still be ramped up – for instance, it doesn’t provide a way to forward the email, when you click on the Email link in the Search Results.

This development is definitely going to have some impact on some companies, most notably Microsoft. The Software giant was working hard on a similar kind of search for it’s new Longhorn (Longgone ? ;-)) OS, which has already been heavily affected by Project delays. This release by Google has just heated up the Search Engine battle – the coming months are really going to be interesting. Let’s just wait and watch – to be honest, we only stand to gain from all this :).

Signing off !

Listening to Mahalaya in the USA

Durga Puja, 2004 is just around the corner and for all us who have grown up in West Bengal, there is no sweeter sound than hearing the mantras and songs early in the morning on the day of Mahalaya, which marks the official beginning of the Pujas. Ever since I have lived in the USA, I have always missed this important event every year. This year, it turns out, is going to be quite different :). There are a couple of ways in which you can listen to the Mahalaya event this year:

(1). On FM Radio – 90.1 FM in the Bay Area, this Wednesday (10/11/2004) at 6:00 am. This is a show which is conducted by one of our friends (Mamta) and she wants to play the Mahalaya mantras and songs in her program. This is the site for her program http://kzsu.org/~btb/

(2). Streaming on the Internet :

The above program will also be streamed live. So, you can listen to that at
http://kzsulive.stanford.edu/

Other sites where the Mahalaya will be streamed online are:
http://www.rumela.com/events/festival_mahalaya.htm
http://www.bangalinet.com/mahalaya.htm

Happy listening !

.org vs .com – A very thin line indeed

The Vice Presidential debate showed to the whole world, something what software engineers world over are familiar with – that, there is indeed a very thin line between a .org and a .com :). Dick Cheney, in trying to defend his role at Haliburton, spoke about the site http://www.factcheck.com where he actually wanted to refer to the site
http://www.factcheck.org. The former site received so much of traffic just after the debate that the Site administrators (intentionally ?) transferred it to this site http://www.georgesoros.com/. George Soros, as everyone knows, is one of the harshest critics of George Bush ! – so, a small slip-up caused quite a setback to the presidential campaign.

I saw the debate and well, it looked as if 2 men of totally different nature were trying to talk and communicate. Dick Cheney reminded me of a school principal, who believes that what he does or says is final and that he could never have done anything wrong. Some might look at this as confidence – I felt that that was arrogance. John Edwards, the latest pin-up boy in the presidential race, was trying to be as suave and charming as possible – the fact that he was indeed a successful attorney was evident by the way he spoke and worked himself out of tight situations.

There was another slip up from Dick Cheney – he mentioned that he had never met John Edwards before ! – of course, the Democrats were quick to capitalize on that and publish photos showing Cheney and Edwards holding a press conference together, having dinner together etc.

Anyway, the stage is now set for the remaining 2 presidential debates. With the race wide open, it does seem to be a mouth watering prospect. Let’s just wait and watch …