Monday, 23 May 2011

Qik: Instant Video Sharing

I was trying to find a webcam replacement for use with skype or google video chat. The reason being: Ananya was turning crankier, having not seen me for the last couple of days. Of course, she'll get through it, but a video chat would have been of some help.
My computer doesn't have a webcam, and I forgot to bring my webcam. Dont want to buy one only for the sake of next two weeks, or next two days (incase I am able to borrow one from office tomorrow).

I had two cameras, my Nikon s8000, and the in-built on the Spice Android handset. Technically speaking, you should be able to feed the camera on to the computer, but how to get it to skype or another app.

After searching for a while, gave up the option of feeding the content directly from the camera. Another alternative I came across is Qik: Qik allows you to record video from any camera, and share it with others in a matter of minutes.

Signed up on their website, installed the app on the phone, and recorded it through the phone camera, and voila, it worked first time. 

I could see my video recording on my site live, and also as a recording. The whole process took less than five minutes. Great job, Qik team.

For now, Ananya will watch the live cam feed or the recordings.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Pier39 Restaurant Review

We happened to visit this restaurant in Jayanagar/JP Nagar on the Ring Road for lunch. It is part of the SFO hotel.

For those who have experienced TexMex food firsthand in the US in either one of the family-run Mexican restaurants or the larger chains like Chilis, or OnTheBorder, please set your expectations right. The Mexican food you get in Bangalore doesn't get anywhere closer to what get in the SouthWest in US.

Food: We ordered Chicken Fajitas (yes, the evergreen ones), a Fish Cake for the main course, and, another Tortilla soup. The soup came with a couple of deeply fried oil-dripping tortillas, that brought me down to earth. The soup otherwise was good. Let us simply say, I didn't have any expectations.

The Fajitas were served hot in a sizzler. The chicken could have been more tender, but otherwise no complaints. It was served neatly in a platter with re-fried beans, salsa and sour cream. For some reason, rice was served along with the fajitas on the sizzler. The whole dish was excellent and would get a 4.5 out of 5 on my toned down expectations. Half a point for missing guacamole.

Chandrika had fish cake, which was grilled seer fish. To say the least, seer fish never disappoints your expectations. Fish cake was also served with all the other accompaniments.

Drinks: Though they had a good selection of cocktails and liquor, neither of us were  ready to take alcohol. Having to drive back, mattered the most.

Ambience: They had a setup to reflect some underground station, much like the Pier39, with soft rock playing in the background. On a busier day, it would imagine the setup will rock. Hardly that would matter for us, who prefer the family run restaurants over the well-decorated chains.

Service was timely and courteous. The staff were very friendly. And remember the give you cloth napkins and keep up that expectations.

Moolah: A dinner for two would set you back by a cool 1000 buck. Addin another 500 bucks, if you want to have round of your favourite liquor. (Though, the menu card doesn't say so, all the charges add up to a hefty 14% VAT).

And the verdict: If your tastebuds are craving for Mexican food, this place is definitely worth a visit.