Great way mall & “Hellboy II”

Great-Way-Mall

After spending few hours in San Jose Tech Museum I took the local VTA bus 180 to travel to the Great way mall. I was not sure on the direction of the bus to take, their call centre was unhelpful answering my query, then I asked one of the bus driver who guided me to take the bus going in the"Fremont BART" direction. After Seattle Bay Area seems to have a decent public transport system, which made me like this US city a bit. There is nothing exceptional about the mall other than it is big and you get all designer stuffs here.

hellboy 2

To kill time I went to Century Cinemas there to watch "Hellboy II" – why Hellboy, because there was no other movie I would have liked. The movie’s story is completely fictitious and unbelievable, but the graphics and effects are superb.

San Jose Tech Museum and “The Alps”

I was in San Jose area and had the whole day to spend before my return flight (Jet Airways from SFO to BOM) in the evening. So I started the day with my friend dropping me in San Jose Tech Museum.

San Jose The Tech Museum of Innovation

First I went to see the IMAX movie "The Alps" which had breath taking views and an emotional story – an expert climber had been wanting to climb the "Eiger" mountain in the Alps which had killed his father 40 years back.

LIALPS011

Then I went to see the exhibits, which included a Silicon IC (Chip) manufacturing, Gene therapy, inventions, solar energy and many more. It is a must see museum for today’s students.

San-Jose-Tech-Museum Gene Structure San-Jose-Tech-Museum Chip Fabrication

I wish we had something like this in India – may be in Bangalore Indian IT giants can take a clue from their Silicon Valley counterparts to fund one. What impressed me was the web page creation kit they have – in every exhibit you can insert your bar coded ticket to get a photograph of yourself and at the end you can post all of them into your own custom web page, cool!

USB Chargers in Southwest gates

Southwest-USB-Charge-tables

This time while travelling within the USA, I selected to fly with Southwest Airlines. Most other airlines especially in the USA are using the Oil price rise as a good excuse to cut all the "services" they are offering to customers and deteriorating in every aspect. Southwest seems to be using this great risk as a clear opportunity to differentiate itself as a provider of great service. You might ask what great service, I could list the following:

  1. On time arrival and departure
  2. Courteous Staffs
  3. Accommodating change request whether it is to prepone a flight at the gates or with no fees postpone your ticket online even for the lowest fare
  4. Wide choice of beverages on board – Starbucks Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks & Juices
  5. Quick arrival of bags
  6. Affordable fares and no charge for two check-in bags (In one sector Alaska charged me $25 for the second bag)
  7. Finally, few tables in every gate with 110V Power sockets to charge your laptops/accessories and USB Power sockets to charge your iPods and phones.

Microsoft Surface

I had written earlier about Microsoft Surface, but today I got a chance to play with it in person for sometime. I am in Redmond, WA this week and was visiting one of the Microsoft offices where they had kept a Surface computer for demo. Surface is one cool technology that you got to use for getting a good feel. It definitely has great potential of changing the way we interact with computers.

Venkatarangan playing with Microsoft Surface

Visual disk space usage – WinDirStat

WinDirStat

Even if you have a hard disk with hundreds of GBs, you will run out of space soon. At that time you want to see what is taking most of the space. Using Windows Explorer and going to each folder is a time consuming job. Several years back I got introduced to a tool called "Tree Size" that displays chart like bars against each folder so that you can easily see the usage. Today I found a free tool to do the same thing better – WinDirStat. Apart from bars, it displays a beautiful squarisish picture of the usage based on file types. Check it out.