Friday, February 29, 2008

crayon physics deluxe

Crayon Physics Deluxe. Watch this video:

(if you're reading this in a feedreader, you may have to click-through to see the video)

I can easily see a child playing with this for so much time, and learning so much. Just because he/she can do things and try them out and see the results for themselves, as opposed to being told how things work. It is the perfect tool to spark off that curiousness...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

demo cracy

I'm getting a Voter's ID card made for myself here in Bangalore. With the local elections round the corner, there is somewhat of a drive to get people in Bangalore to register as voters. I'm not sure who is behind that drive, though. I can't imagine any of the political parties interested in that!

I haven't voted yet. Strangely, I've always taken this democracy thing for granted. Somehow it works without me. And not many (none, actually!) of my friends or other acquaintances talk about it. Politics, yes - usually with, at worst, a cynical or, at best, an indifferent attitude. But not about the process or of participating in it. Funny how I end up reading more about the American Presidential elections than the Indian Central Government ones. But in all fairness, it is because the American elections are a larger media event.

Anyhow, this time I'm determined to vote in the state elections. I would love to get my hands on some statistics about the vote bank here - how much is rural, how much is urban, etc. With the population of Bangalore shooting up as it has in the past few years, it must have caused the vote bank to shift and become more urban. Has it really? Do the political parties know that and are they shifting focus for it?

Bangalore probably has the largest number of flux of its denizens - I would estimate a significant percentage of Bangaloreans live here for 3-4 years, not more. That could potentially create a section of people who are being governed without even getting a chance to take part it in it, what with the bureaucracy, delays and disinterest in getting electoral rolls modified.

It would be fantastic if all this data were available somewhere.

Monday, February 18, 2008

reliance retail

Anyone in the big cities in India cannot have missed the Reliance stores mushrooming with increasing frequency all over the place - iStore, Wellness, Fresh, Footprint, Jewels, Timeout etc. - the list is long.

I have been to Footprint and Timeout and both places give the same feel - an individual store with a wide variety of brands and product lines but the range in any one particular brand or product line falls abysmally short of being complete. Although Footprint had nearly 10 brands of men's shoes, I realised that by going to the Nike and Reebok shops at any mall I could get to see a better variety of, say, sports shoes. The same was the case with Timeout when it came to books and even some of their electronics range. Also, I'm not sure why they have electrical appliances at a bookstore.

Of all their chains, only Reliance Fresh is really overcrowded and has queues stretching past your imagination. But I would attribute that to lower prices and the mindset of people here to spend more time/effort/money to save a few rupees on groceries than it is worth. And even then these stores are so small that it takes a lot of determination to shop there. In fact, Tata's newly launched Star Bazaar beats Reliance Fresh hollow in terms of size and convenience.

I haven't understood their strategy. Given that this is Reliance entering retail, given their resources and given the excitement about retail in India, one would have expected Reliance to have a game-changing strategy. But they don't even offer the conveniences of everything under one roof, and aren't part of the usual malls - shoppers have to make the effort of going to a Reliance store to buy something, and to multiple stores to buy different things. And to top that, I don't see a compelling reason for a shopper to go to any of their stores. Perhaps I am missing something.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

accidental inventions

10 accidental inventions. An interesting read.