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since 15/08/2007


Cannes (France) 06/04/2009

Glamorous Cannes

Cannes (France) Cannes, best known for its prestigious film festival is a glamorous and exquisite town in French Riviera. It has beautiful sandy beaches along the deep blue Mediterranean and the town harbor is packed with exquisite and expensive boats and yachts. The town is small but pretty with wide promenade bordered with plum and olive trees along the beach and red tiled French-Italian Mediterranean style mansions. The most visited place here is of course the film auditorium, just yards from the main beach. Each year it hosts one of the most prestigious world film festival and is visited by Hollywood's who's-who! The main court yard in front of the auditorium has hand impressions of renounced film stars and celebrities like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Steven Spilberg. During the film festival each year, this small place really becomes star studded. Throughout the year this is one of the most sought after travel destination for rich & famous and common people alike. We reached Cannes by train from Nice. It is approximately a half an hour journey by train from Nice along the beautiful Mediterranean coast and the trains are very frequent. There are direct trains (both high speed TGV and normal) from Paris, too. The nearest airport is at Nice. It takes about an hour by road to reach Cannes from Nice airport. Apart from rental car services, there are bus connections from the airport, too. From train station to the main beach and film auditorium is a mere ...

Best Western Krone Unterstrass, Zurich 28/11/2007

Best Western Hotel, Zurich: a decent hotel

Best Western Krone Unterstrass, Zurich We stayed in this hotel for two nights on our weekend trip to Zurich. This is a decent hotel. Our double bed room was specious and bright and was decorated in modern contemporary style. The neutral décor and dark wooden floor made the room look very stylish. Apart from the specious double bed, the room was furnished with sofa, glass top table, big wardrobe and safe deposit box. The hotel is in main road and the tram stop is just opposite the hotel. We reached Zurich by BA flight and then took train from the airport to the central station. We finally reached the hotel by tram from the central station. The train and trams are very frequent and the journeys are short and hence reaching the hotel from the airport is easy and hassle free. The main disadvantage with the room was the bathroom. It was very small, though clean and tidy. It did not have a bath, just a shower and was really small. It did not quite go with the rest of the room. The breakfast was not included in the charge (we paid about £80 per night) and was rather expensive. So we had all our meals outside the hotel. Good thing is there are plenty of restaurants near the central station. Since the hotel is on the main road, it can be a bit noisy if widows are opened. The staffs at the reception were friendly and helpful. Overall I am satisfied with the hotel, though I wish the bathroom was slightly bigger! ...

BT Broadband 27/11/2007

BT Broadband: Disappointing experience

BT Broadband I have been with BT broadband for more than 18 months, even after my 12 month contract ended. But recently I switched to another provider. This is mainly due to the very poor service off late. The Internet link used to go down every now and than, sometimes even 10 times in an hour. This is very annoying experience to say the least. I lodged an online complain but in vain. There were other problems as well, it was way more expensive than other providers and my scheme (taken 18 months back) was costlier than even some newly introduced BT schemes! They just did not bother to offer me the newly introduced cheaper price or the free wireless router which they were giving to the new subscribes. I was still using the old wired router. The switching was seamless and I am happy (so far) with my new provider. I got a wireless router and I am saving a small fortune every month as this new broadband connection is free provided by my satellite TV provider. But most importantly, I am getting uninterrupted internet connection again. Funny thing is, BT called me two days after I switched and offered a price cut on my broadband bill (though it was still more expensive than my present provider). I have a feeling that they take their existing customers for granted. With so many good alternatives around, I do not think that it is a good business strategy! Comparison (of my experience) of BT broadband with my present provider: BT: Cost: £18.99 per ...

3 VideoTalk 500 12 Month 26/11/2007

3 Pay monthly contract: A positive experience

3 VideoTalk 500 12 Month I joined 3 (pay monthly) from T-Mobile pay as you go 6 months back. I am completely satisfied with their service, the free phone and the tariff. I think they provide one of the cheapest tariffs. Yet the service is very good. I used the phone in South, South-East and South West region and never had any coverage issue. I went to Scotland for a few days and did not have any coverage problem there either. It works fine even in fast moving train/bus/car. I can also browse internet or send MMS (by paying extra as these are not included in the free time) without any problem. I pay £15 for free 500 minutes anytime any network talk time and 100 any network texts. I had to sign a 12 month contract. I also got a fantastic Motorola Razor V3 phone free with this connection. I heard from my 3 user friends that they offer new free phone at the end of the contract. They also have a good referral program; if you are a 3 customer and recommend a friend of yours to 3 then both of you will get £30 each! On the whole I am satisfied with this network provider and will probably renew my contract with them. Summary of my experience with 3 contract: Type of contract: Pay monthly Monthly payable: £15 + usage on top of free minutes Monthly Free Minutes: 500 minutes any time, any network + 100 texts Coverage: Good Connection quality: Very good Free phone: Motorola V3 Razor (could have chosen other models from the list) Internet Browsing: Supported, good connection speed. Video ...

The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins 22/11/2007

Ancestor's Tale: a chronology of evolution

The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins Ancestor's Tale is another beautiful piece of literature by Richard Dawkins on evolutionary biology. Written in a true Dawkins style, this book explains the stages of evolution in planet earth. Dawkins is an expert in this field and he explained the complex aspects of evolution in a way so that even people without backgrounds in biology can understand. According to Dawkins' own admission this book is written in the style of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales; Like Canterbury Tales, here human beings start a "pilgrimage". Just as the pilgrims in Canterbury Tales want to meet God at the end of their journey, the Dawkins' pilgrims want to meet their oldest ancestor….the ancestor who is the forefather of all living beings on earth today. In this book, Dawkins takes readers to a backward journey tracing the path of evolution. Just like in Chaucer's masterpiece, at every important juncture along this backward journey, we are joined by other "pilgrims" and continue our journey together into farther along the road. These newly joined "pilgrims" are other living beings who evolved in a separate branch of evolution. For example, in the backward journey we (the human beings) meet chimpanzees in the first junction and then we continue our journey along with them. In next junction, we (both human beings and chimpanzees) meet other apes from the great ape family and so on. At each stage, as we meet other pilgrims, Dawkins explains why we would expect them to meet at that ...

JVC Everio GZ-MG130E 21/11/2007

JVC HD Camcorder

JVC Everio GZ-MG130E I have bought this JVC camcorder over an year ago and I am completely satisfied with it. JVC is a good brand name and their lenses are of top quality. The company pioneered the HD camcorders.This camcorder is very light and handy and easy to use. 20GB hard disk is more than enough to store all your photos and videos taken in one vacation. This is a very user friendly device. The 4-way (up, down, left, right) menu selector switch allows you to browse through various settings (like brightness, aperture etc.).Apart from that, there are main mode selector (still or video) switches. All you need to do is to select the appropriate still/video mode and press the shutter. The LCD screen shows you what you are capturing. If you are not satisfied, you can delete it with the press of a button other wise save it in the 20GB hard disk! HD camcorders have a lot of advantage over the tape based ones. You can directly copy your video and photos to your computer with the help of a USB cable (comes free with the camcorder). With most non-HD camcorders, you will need to buy/download specific software in order to upload your photos to your computer. This is not necessary with HD camcorders; you can directly upload to/from computer to camcorder with the USB cable. Just connect the camcorder to your PC/Laptop with the USB cable and transfer your picture/video files from the camcorder to the PC just as you transfer files from one folder to another. After the transfer, you can delete the ...

Radox Bath Salts 21/11/2007

Pamper yourself with Radox Bath Salt

Radox Bath Salts It's been a long, hard day and you are feeling really low; Why not pamper yourself by taking a warm, relaxing bath with Radox bath salt? You can really de-stress and charge up soaking yourself in a foaming, fragrant, warm bath enriched with soothing and relaxing qualities of the Radox bath salt. Just sprinkle a handful of bath slat at yor bath tub under the running water. The effervescent effect of the Radox bath salt is really enjoyable as is its mild, aromatic fragrance. I have used it with Radox foam bath and the effect is really indulgent. The bath salt really energizes your fatigued muscles and cheer up your senses. And you do not have to spend a fortune for this little treat to yourself; Radox bath salt (and Radox foam bath) comes really cheap. To have an ultimate bath experience, put some aromatic candle in the bathroom and switch on a soothing music in low volume; you will have your own little spa at home!

Monte Carlo (Monaco) 21/11/2007

Marvelous Monaco

Monte Carlo (Monaco) The beautiful little kingdom of Monaco, situated at the France-Italy boarder along the Mediterranean, is an exquisite place to visit. This little town-kingdom probably has the highest density of super-rich people in the world. Millionaires from all over the world flock to this tax heaven. As a result, the real estate is at premium; so much so that they have shifted the train station to underground to use the over ground space for real estate! Apart from traditional red tiled villas, Monaco has now got a number of skyscrapers housing expensive apartments. Fortunately, the exquisite natural beauty still remains un-spoilt here. The sea is deep blue here with lovely pebbly beaches. The town is very well maintained and very clean. Almost from anywhere in the town you can see the palace, high up on the hills. Just like other towns in French Riviera, the harbour is a very busy place. It is crowded with boats and yachts. You can buy a ticket to the glass bottom boat and can view the under water flora and fauna under the sea. The roads near the harbour are lined with expensive and stylish fashion shops. You will also get nice cafes and restaurants serving gourmet French-Italian style food. We had our lunch in one of the beach side restaurant with lamb steak in Italian sauce, red wine and coffee. The beach is really beautiful and the sea here is good for surfing. The sea here is a bit more turbulent than that of Nice or Cannes. It is really a marvelous sight to see the ...

iRobot Roomba 555 19/11/2007

Roomba Green: Amazing automatic vacuum cleaner

iRobot Roomba 555 iRobot Roomba (Green) is perhaps my best purchase of the year. This fully automatic vacuum cleaner works fantastically and saves a lot of time and labour. Roomba is much lighter and much less noisier than the traditional vacuum cleaners and yet cleans better than them. It can move seamlessly from one kind of surface to the other (from carpet to hard floor to wooden floor, etc.) and works with minimum supervision. With just a press of a button you can set it for vacuuming a room/area and you can do your own activities in the mean time. You can even leave the house and go to office or for shopping while Roomba is at work. After coming back, you will find the area fully cleaned! It has three mode selectors. "Clean" mode means it will keep cleaning as long as "thinks" there is any dirt left in the room. "Spot" mode is for quickly cleaning a particular dirty spot. In "Max" mode, it keeps cleaning as long as the battery lasts. Roomba works in random insect like motion and cleans very nicely. When it hits the wall or any other obstacle (like furniture) it bounces back. It even has a stair detector to prevent it from falling through the stairs. That is why it works with minimum supervision. Due to its slick shape, it can also clean under the sofa or beds. Pity it can not clean the stairs; otherwise I would completely have got rid of my traditional Hoover. The only thing you should be careful about is that there should not be any wires lying on the floor while ...

HSBC 16/11/2007

HSBC Bank: A truely Global bank

HSBC This is a very helpful and customer friendly bank. Opening acount here were much more easier than other banks. They were very prompt,too. Accounts here can be managed easily by phone and/or internet. I mostly use internet banking. In last two years I did not visit the branch for more than 2/3 times. Internet banking is available 24/7 and the site is very user friendly. I have a current account, a savings account and a credit card...all of which can be accessed over the internet at the same place, Transferring money between these accounts and paying credit card bills is also very easy over the internet. I use always either the switch debit card or the mastercard credit card provided by HSBC and they can be used almost everywhere. I transferred money to/from my other international accounts in other countries and these were very easy to do. Setting up the direct debit or standing instructions can also be done easily over the internet.

Hilton Copenhagen, Copenhagen 16/11/2007

Hilton Copenhagen, airport hotel

Hilton Copenhagen, Copenhagen We stayed in this hotel in May 2007. The overall experience was fantastic. The building, the room, the staffs and the service, everything was superb, as expected from the brand name. The hotel is adjacent to the main airport and connected to the airport. You do not need to step outside the airport to get into the hotel. Just follow the directions from the main arrival terminal and walk into the main lobby. It is a big multi storied building. The main lobby, breakfast area, lifts and corridors are or paneled with Scandinavian wood work. From one side, you can get a fantastic view of the bridge connecting Copenhagen to Sweden. We booked a double room and it was marvelous. The room was specious and well decorated in contemporary style. It was well equipped with lots of storage, ironing board, working desk, wi-fi connection, LCD TV, phone, tea-coffee making facilities etc. The bath room was sparkling clean and specious. But the best part of the room was the glass wall on one side providing breathtaking views from our 10th. floor room. The breakfast in the morning was full of choices....from cooked beacon & sausage to various cereals, fruits, eggs, variety of continental breads and cheese. The charge for this buffet breakfast was included in the charge. This hotel is very conveniently located. The train station at the airport is only minutes away and you will get very frequent train service to central Copenhagen from that station. The journey takes about 15 ...

Nice (France) 15/11/2007

Nice, the French Riviera

Nice (France) Nice, the capital of French Riviera is a fantastic travel destination. It is a beautiful French town flanked between the gorgeous meditation and the mighty Alps. The pebbly beach by the deep blue Mediterranean is absolutely superb. The old town is just a few steps from the beach and its narrow alleys are lined by restaurants and shops of exquisite Nicoise items. You can get hand made potteries, wooden items, lavender, olive, herbs and other spices from these shops. If you like good, exotic perfumes, then you must visit the shops selling local perfumes. Nearby place Grasse is renowned for exotic perfume factories made from the local herbs. The restaurants are fabulous with a range of French and Italian menu. Quite a few of them specializes in sea food and you can give yourself a treat with Oysters, Crabs and Lobsters. To accompany it there will of course be good French wine or Champagne! Just Walking beside the beach along the Promenade de Anglais is an wonderful experience. Or just take sun bath in the beautiful beach. If you feel more active and energetic, then there are plenty of things to do; staring from surfing, water scootering, canoeing, parachute diving etc. etc. You can also go on trekking or hiking in the olive and pine covered Alps. There are many other places to visit on day trips...all along the beautiful mediterinian coast. You can either visit glamorous Monaco, Menton and Cannes, Saint Tropaz. Or can visit less known but more exquisitely ...

The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins 15/11/2007

The Selfish Gene: A review

The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins was first published in 1976. Even after 31 years of its first publication, it remains an international best seller. Dawkins, an expert in his field (Evolutionary Biology) explains complex biological ideas in a very interesting and lucid way so that even a layman can understand him. In essence, this book explains the theory of evolution by natural selection from genes' action point of view. He explains, through numerous examples that the ultimate goal of any gene is to survive in future generations. To do so, the genes adapt to the environment and if necessary resort to "exploitation" and "deceit"; and hence the name "Selfish Gene". The genes that are thus successful in adapting favourably towards the changing environment are selected by the nature and they pass on to the future generations. Others just get annihilated. Genes of course do not have any mind or conscience and they do not behave selfishly at their will. Genes are just chromosomal DNA sequences which can not choose to behave in either selfish or in altruistic way. So when we say that a gene is deceitful, it means that its external manifestation (phenotype) looks different from its actual "motive" (i.e., the way of functioning). The animals possessing such gene get advantage in survival (either in terms of fining food or mate or in terms of deceiving the enemies) over others who possess the non-deceitful version of this gene. Thus these animals have more chance of ...
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