Sunday, February 20, 2011

VW repair Austin

Most VW owners in Austin agree with me on the fact that owning a VW in Austin is a pain, not because the cars are less reliable in Austin but because of the lack of quality specialized repair shops, or so I thought.

There is one dealer in town, who from all points of view is below standard. The only option I had getting my VW fixed was to drive 35miles to the dealer in George town. For the last 8 years of the ownership of my VW, I have used the dealer in George town for all the major and minor repair services. I like the dealership, so far I have had ok experience with them. But this year when my car was at 96000 miles and had a coolant leak problem, I decided to find a local independent repair shop. After spending long enough time on Google and yelp and other such places I found this place called Austin Veedub.

Even though the reviews were very positive for this repair shop I was hesitant, but figured I had nothing much to lose and decided to give them a shot. I was pleasantly surprised when they said they can only see my car a week later for they were busy. On the scheduled day of service, my car had more problems than just coolant leak. The service manager Adam was pretty professional and he even arranged a ride for me back to work. They called me the same day with the repair estimate. The thing that really impressed me was that they worked on things that I had quoted as problems and not sneaking around to fix things preemptively. After they did the repairs they realized that one of the repairs they had quoted and performed hadn’t fixed the problem and the actual problem was somewhere else. They were professional enough not to charge me for that repair (there is no way I would have known where the real problem was).

Also, they were professional enough to honor their warranty and replace the part they had put in for free. The repair costs were also reasonable and frankly much cheaper than my dear dealer. 

It is not all bed of roses, some times they do not have parts and might have to get it from other places (dealers amongst others) and that could delay the service time. They are located near the airport and getting there is a tad tricky.

In spite of these drawbacks, I like these guys and I am willing to say bye-bye my dear dealer and hello to Austin Veedub. I wish I had tried this place couple of years earlier. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flickr, photo streaming

Ever since the arrival of my daughter to this world, capturing her beautiful moments has become my favorite past time. I have the Canon-xsi equipped with kit lens and a decent flash to help me accomplish this.

The next step was to start sharing the good ones with friends and family. I have friends who are either on Facebook or Buzz or those who do not have any known social networking foot prints.The choices were, create an album on Facebook and start sharing for people on FB and upload to Picasa web album and share with rest of the friends. I hate the idea of managing inventories at 2 different places. Another draw back with this approach is it leaves Buzz out completely (trust me, you do not want to link your Picasa account with your Buzz account). I needed the one place to put the pics and share it on Facebook, Buzz and with the rest.

Taking a leaf from my pro buddies Anoop and Madhu, I decided to explore Flickr. The good thing about Flickr is, it can send updates to both Facebook and Buzz. When I realized there is an Iphone app for Flickr (supported by Yahoo) and not for Picasa, I said “Sold”, Flickr is the way to go. Sadly, Google doesn’t believe in investing on a Picasa app for Iphone.  Thus started my share of photo streaming on Flickr.

Flickr isn’t without its quirkiness, they limit the storage to 300MB (its working to my advantage though, unlike previous times I upload only the ones I believe are the best), unlike picasa they upload the full resolution pic (eats up storage limit real fast). If the pics are not in the public domain, then sharing it is a tad painful compared to Picasa. But the ability to put at 1 place and share across different social networks beats all these inconveniences.

If interested, you can checkout my photo stream here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Movie Guzaarish

Guzaarish, a high profile movie with heavy weights Aishwarya Rai and Hirtik Roshan, movie is directed by another heavy weight Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB). I watched this movie on Netflix streaming last week. Before the movie I thought I will have something to write about and after the movie I thought otherwise. But after a few days of cooling off, I figured there are a few things I can write about.

The movie is unique for it tries to address the issue of euthanasia, and does a bad job in doing it. I think SLB didn’t want to make an art movie out of Hirtik and Aishwarya so the movie became a “commercially blended art movie”. The movie had the potential to raise to the heights of movies like Philadelphia (I know we are dealing with completely different things here)  but it doesn’t even go anywhere near.

The story line is simple, one time great magician and now a quadriplegic radio host Ethan wants to end his life. Its been 14 years since he has been bed ridden and been an inspiration to lots of people like him. One fine day he decides to end his life, so he files a petition with the court for euthanasia, rest of he story you can find on Wikipedia.

In spite of being a commercial blend, the movie does show the struggles of Ethan’s life, his never say die spirit and his total dependency on some one to take care of him. My biggest complaint is of the government lawyer who does not do his job right. From my point of view, court room was a joke. The witnesses called were even bigger joke. 

The movie did raise the question in me, who owned Ethan’s life?, The guy can’t do anything in life and he has no visible responsibilities either towards the society or towards family. He cannot sustain his life style as he is deep in debt. The only part of the body he can move is his head. His kidneys are already shot and his lungs are also failing, the chances of him getting better are 1 in 10s of millions. With all these reasons I felt the court was wrong in saying he cannot opt for euthanasia. I would have at least referred the case to the higher court to decide.

SLB had a chance to create history by making court room drama more dramatic, more involved and giving a land mark judgment allowing the person for euthanasia or at the least referred to the higher courts but I feel he failed.