Categories
Sports

Beauty, In Slow-Mo

It seems to be a season of retirement for my favourite players. First Agassi, then Schumacher, and now Riquelme. Anyways, here is a small tribute to the greatest midfielder of our times.

I must confess right at the start that I have an extremely soft spot for Argentine players. Right from Maradona and Batistuta to Messi and Crespo, I have been a huge Argentinean fan and I was heartbroken after their exit from the ‘06 FIFA World Cup.

Some people play the game like they have just 45 minutes rather than 90. Riquelme, however, plays as if there are 180 instead. As Arsène Wenger said, “He’s always able to slow the game down, and wait for a weak moment to kill you“. He is so different from his contemporaries that football once again seems like the beautiful game when he plays.

His speed of thought, ball possession and his creative vision is what sets him apart from the pack. A master at juggling the ball, he outfoxes the defense with such ease that it induces a sense of serenity in his game. When the Argentine is at work, a certain degree of romanticism fills the game, and you are transported back to an era when the game was played for pleasure than winning alone. I always hear people say that Sachin is a great player since he makes the game look so easy. I now believe that the same is true for all sports. Riquelme, with his supreme control of the ball and a vision that sees all, does exactly that.

Born in a poor family of 10, he was spotted early by Boca Juniors (same as that of legendary Maradona and Batistuta) in 1995 and stayed there till 2001. In 2002 he shifted to Barcelona and could not adapt himself to the European style of play. His performance and confidence took and nosedive. In 2003 he was loaned to Villareal. Back in midst of Latin American players (like captain Sorin) he blossomed again. The playmaker was back and helped improve Villareal’s fortune in both the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League through the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.

He announced his retirement on September 13, 2006, at a young age of 28, a decision that shocked many who expected him to take over from Sorin. I hope he reconsiders his decision. I hope he does not retire. I hope that the game is not robbed of the beauty. I hope to see Riquelme play again.

As Argentina legend Jorge Valdano describes Riquelme: “If we have to travel from point A to point B most of us would take the six-lane highway and get there as quickly as possible. Riquelme would choose the winding mountain road, the beautiful scenic route which takes him six hours instead of two.

PS: Also posted on Pavilion Seat and Desicritics.

Categories
Business

Patents 2.0?

Only recently the USPTO suggested a peer review mechanism to ensure that bad patents are minimized. Wikipatents, launched on August 28th, aims to contribute to “the US patent system by commenting on issued patents and, soon, pending patent applications.” This comes on the heels of the IBM, Red Hat, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard backed Community Patent Review plan of the New York Law School scheduled for a debut early next year.

A Web 2.0 website, complete with AJAX and Digg options, Wikipatents, provides you with entire patent data in HTML/PDF format and allows a registered user to write a title and abstract in a layman’s language. It also allows users to vote on cited references, add comments to existing ones and add new references. A new concept here is the market review which allows a user to estimate parameters like marketing and licensing potential of a patent.

While I am supportive of the entire exercise, I have my doubts about the efficacy of the system. First of all patents hardly ever directly impact the public and it is mostly big companies (holders of huge IP portfolio themselves) who are nowadays being sued left, right and center by the so-called patent trolls that are more worried about bad patents. I mean IBM and Microsoft themselves hold patent portfolios greater than many countries. I find no reason for people to sympathize with them.

Second, patent laws are so unclear and confusing that not many people know about them. Outside the patent attorneys I think hardly anyone would know their priority dates from filing dates.

Third, it is very difficult to gather relevant prior art without a very good understanding of the technology domain and access to proper patent and non-patent databases.

And lastly, relevant prior art is not easily available and finding it requires a lot of man hours and huge effort, else the patent examiners would have found them. Further, patent valuation is a largely inexact science at the best and requires huge amount of experience and prior research to arrive at any value for a patent.

So while it would be nice to get a community review of a patent, I for one would take any information provided with a pinch of salt, or combinations thereof.

PS: Also posted on Desicritics here.

Categories
Blogging Sports Tech

Desicritics, F1 and MS

I am now a part of Desicritics.org and will henceforth be cross posting sports related posts there. My first post on the Sunday Moza F1 race is up there. Check it out.

Also this is the first post using the MS Live Writer. Hope this works 🙂

Categories
Movies Personal

Dehradun Trip

Friday night – Office party. Bansal majorly drunk. Me drunk. Sleep at 2AM.

Saturday morning – I wake at 4AM. Take bath. Try waking Bansal. Bansal says, “Wake up Modi.” Woke Modi up. Try waking Bansal. Bansal says, “Call the driver.” Called the driver. He says he would be there in half and hour. Wake up Bansal. Bansal says, “Uffo!!” and wakes up after I constantly perster him. It is raining like crazy. But we start from home at 5. Pick up Modi and some shawls. Pick up the gift from office. So final start from Gurgaon, henceforth GGN, is at 5:30AM. Neways Delhi has crappy slow traffic due to heavy rains. And we start getting delayed. But since the car was Innova Bansal was asleep and me too. Modi was not complaining.

Bansal wakes up and is immediately hungry. Further he says he will only have Pakoras (and repeated that every time he woke up for a bit) since it is raining and in the while that we find a restaurant he says he will make do with a kilo of Amroods. Finally stop at one of those restaurants at Reliance Petrol Pumps. Great restaurant. Decently priced and Modi was happy since he got Gudang Garam (some brand of cigs you don’t get in GGN). This is around 10. Then I call up Parul to find out there plans. She says they are about to start for DDN from Saharanpur and we though we would get straight to DDN. Meanwhile, it is still raining like crazy. We are all cold in the cab. The road is filled with broken trees and we keep getting delayed. Finally reach DDN at 2. I needed to buy a pair of sandals to go with the kurta so we do that. Then have some famous Kulfi-falooda. Call up Pinki’s home to find out where we could rest for a while and head off to the guest house (it is just opposite the Vidhansabha, which hardly looks like one).

After resting me and Modi are hungry and all three head off to DDN marketplace to eat. Stop at Yo!China and have some food. And then come back to the guesthouse. Meanwhile, Parul, Shammi, Munal, Raheem, Vasutaa, Rahul Singh, Subhangi and one more female were at the guest house. So come back and start chatting etc. was arnd 6 when someone from the family came and told us to start getting ready. We let the girls do that first. Meanwhile we go get our stuff ironed. Come back. Girls still dressing (expected). We chat for some more time and get ready too. Then Pratyush and few juniors (including Neharika) arrive from Pilani. Then go to the wedding place (celebration gardens). Starts to drizzle lightly after the baarat comes in and we hope that it stops, which it does. We all go meet Pinki after the varmaala thing. That is when the snap was taken. Then the non GGN people start dancing. Me and Bansal and Modi stay off due to sore backs and necks.

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Uske baad khana. Then chat some more. Then Pinki was sitting alone, just before pheras. So we go chat with her. I am properly introduced to her husband. He says “Hi, I am amit.”. I say, “Weel, You can call me Goyal”. Meanwhile, we keep calling Tarun, Bansal and lot of heads turn at that.

Parul has a train at 4:30 and Munal a flight at 12. So we decided earlier that we would start early. We start from DDN at arnd 3:15, just before the pheras began. Parul majorly upset about losing her hairband. And cribs a lot. Neways we start. Me and Parul on backseat. And us knowing the history of Modi and Munal decide to give them some privacy on middle seat. Bansal up front. Cab mein office ke funny incidents ki baatein hoti rahi till most fell asleep. Sometime around 6 Bansal wants to get some sleep and I change places. Everyone still asleep. We get to Delhi at around 9:30. Munal and Pari are hungry. We have a crappy breakfast at some Rameshwars chain restaurant in SouthEx. Then head to Airport to drop off Munal. Wahan baith ke gappe maari. Parul by now was majorly upset about the hair band (seriously is it such a big deal?? would Nadal crib as much??) and was not laughing even at great jokes.

Munal ko arnd 12:15 see off maarke we head to C’Not Place (now Rajiv Chowk). Wahan after a lot of fight we find Barista. I order a nice Peach ice tea and a donut, Bansal a choclate temptation (and complains about too much chocolate!! I mean what was he thinking, he even had it from Parul before ordering) and a cold coffee. Pari wanted to have beer but had to settle for some coffee instead. Parul, who was treating, had some coffee and chocolate temptation. After that we go on a hairband hunt. Entire C’Not and entire Palika Bazaar chan maara. Usko ek “decent” hairband nahi mila. Thak haar ke we head back to the cab and drop Parul at the station at 3:15 I guess.

We then head back home and sleep immediately. Wake up. Watch Agassi lose (what a crappy day) and go off to sleep again.

Overall trip acchi thi lekin I wish it was less hectic.

Update: Paritosh was offended by the post (as you can see in the comments) and this is to inform that the author had no malicious intent whatsoever and whatever has been said was just innocent leg pulling stuff.

What I forgot to mention was that both Pari and Bansal were extremely pissed off at the entire fruitless exercise of roaming around in C’Not. Bansal because he did not understand what was so great about Barista that we were so desperate about locating it. Pari because we overlooked a number of restaurants/bars that were advertising the facts that Happy Hours were on and beer in such heat was a thought that would have cheered him.

Also he (Pari) wanted me to mention the gala time we had at Palika Bazaar. Now for those who haven’t been to Palika in a long time, it has changed. While it still does stock foreign goods of questionable origin it also stock a few more stuff. Most noticeable are gaming devices and CDs/DVDs. Now the CDs/DVDs are of multiple types. CDs with games. CDs with movies. And CDs of a more exotic variety. While on an ordinary day I would not have noticed them, since I was walking around with Parul, the fact that shop keepers were calling me out to have a look at the more interesting stuff was, well, kind of awkward. Though I was walking aage aage with Parul, Bansal and Pari were left behind and Pari informs me that the same shopkeepers were very sure that Bansal would be definitely interested in their goods. Most interesting was a shop that had a poster of Maa Saraswati on the bottom half of its couter and CDs/DVDs named with various combinations of “Jawani, Dewani, Kamsin, Pyaasi, Hasina, Padosan” etc.

While this is true, a lot of shops also advertised the pirated versions of movies like Capote, Crash, and many more Oscar winners/nominations. I should check out the stuff they have sometime.