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Is Zomato Broken? May 9, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Food, Review , add a comment

Is Zomato Broken? Yes, I think so and here are a few reasons why I believe that has happened. But first, am I qualified to write this post?

I am a Zomato Level 10 – Super foodie reviewer who has contributed over a million page views by his reviews and photographs to Zomato. I am an expert in Janakpuri, New Delhi and San Jose, California and nearly an expert in five other geographic divisions. I have done 117 reviews and shared 264 photos at the time of writing this post.

I am also an internet evangelist having initiated and contributed to dozens of moderately successful and seriously profitable internet projects.

Reason for me doing this post is a news item in Mint about HSBC halving Zomato’s valuation to $500 Million. I agree with HSBC but also believe that HSBC probably missed quite a few prompters, I am not sure whether real value of Zomato is even $100 Million today. There are huge data disparities between Zomato’s data available on various independent platforms, which is definitely an indicator that the data is not reliable and there is something seriously broken somewhere.

Here I go:

Amazon India is my go-to retailer, and this is why April 10, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Review , add a comment

I knew it was happening, I was sure Amazon’s India store was creeping in somewhere inside me and settling down to become a habit. Over last three years, slowly but surely Amazon has become my Go To store for anything and everything which is not needed just now.  Juices, tea, pens, watches, mobile phones and now television, Amazon is pulling out money from my wallet and I am loving it. Why is it happening? What are my internal touch points which Amazon has been able to cover? What are my anxieties which Amazon has put on rest? And hundred other questions come up whenever I place an order at amazon. In next few points I try to put together my reasons for buying from Amazon.

  1. Amazon sells what I buy.
  2. Amazon announces what I wish to hear.
  3. Deals are for real.
  4. UI (User Interface) is mature and bug free.
  5. There is no selling on my face.
  6. There is no reason why I should go and shop around after looking up a product at Amazon.
  7. It has elementary form of AI, which works for me. It reminds me on what I may need to buy now, it helps.
  8. I simultaneously buy from Amazon.in & .com using same control center and credit card.
  9. Fulfilled By Amazon and Prime are really cool things to happen to me.
  10. Tracking is a nonissue.
  11. Returns is a nonissue.
  12. Free shipping saves me money and time both.
  13. There are sufficient confidence builders on each page.
  14. Multiple address management is a boon, so is gifting.
  15. Packaging & breakage issues are less than 5%.
  16. “More Top Tips” for you makes me buy.
  17. My book reading habits are mapped wonderfully. Suggestions I am made are always good and worth considering
  18. Gourmet store is good, allows me to look at quickly procure stuff which is not available at local kityana or Easyday next door.
  19. Points which I earn are redeemed easily.
  20. I go and look-up Deal of the Day when I am buying what I need.
  21. Range and brands of chocolates and cookies is wide.
  22. Search always gets me to the product I need.
  23. SMS alerts are all meaningful.

I am sure i can go on and on, maybe some other day, maybe Amazon or Flipkart would like to pay me to say more, just maybe.

Having said all of that, what would make me buy more?

  1. I am satisfied with delivery systems, but they can improve quite a lot.  I get too many calls associated with delivery, they are an irritant. Delivery teams also arbitrarily add “not available” almost 10% of the time and schedule delivery for next day.
  2. High value items must be packed more securely.
  3. I don’t get to see my summary sheet, if I get to see, it will help. I should be able to see organized reports of my buying.
  4. I need “bill to my office” or invoice my company option.
  5. I need a short URL for my daughter and wife to add things to my cart.

I am going good with Amazon, would love to go more and more. Saves me time, money and anxiety.

 

Why I am never going to buy or recommend Honda ever again April 3, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Cars, Review , add a comment

Sharad finally sold his Honda Mobilio and with it I am surely done with brand Honda for life. A vehicle which costed on road almost Rs 13 lakhs was sold for Rs 6.6 lakhs after 14 months. What a burning.

Honda went ahead and hyped the product, priced it in a segment it didn’t belong and messed the whole after sales service and support.

Price: Obnoxious

Exterior: Looks good, but as a raw material it is worse than Datsun Go.

Interior: Looks good, but actually is all very cheap and substandard.

Engine Transmission: It is inadequate for this vehicle, car drags. Engine and body mating is imperfect.

Performance and Handling: What performance, it is a shame on cars and handling is very tentative, car never gets grip of the road.

Braking System: Never drive if there is water on the road, the vehicle can skid and kill you.

Safety Features: Seat belts are not good at all, mechanism is not up to the mark and neither quality of belt.

Mileage: Never gave above 12.

Verdict: Don’t buy, if someone gits one to you, sell and buy whatever comes for that money.

Why we bought another Nano? January 5, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Cars, Review , add a comment

What, you are buying a second Nano? Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind? Is it not stretching your loyalty towards the House of Tata a bit too far? Are you replacing your old Nano with a new one? Tata Nano, really?

Yes, really! We did go in for our second Tata Nano. We had one, the original top of the line which was booked and came after almost an year of waiting. it is Gold color and has been doing almost a daily duty for the family. It runs a few kilometers every day and is largely a local errand car used by both my wife and me and our drivers. It has done just 15,000 KMs and smells new. The best part which we liked about it is ease of drive and parking. Two things which lack in a car like this are power steering and automatic transmission. I always thought that if Tata’s brought in these two features this car would be a darling. And Tata’s did that.

I saw an add for a fully loaded Nano Genx, it had a boot, tiny though, it had power steering and behold an automatic transmission. Brilliant. On top of it , it also had a music system. What else do you need in a small car which has to do local errands and also be part of your garage as a back-up car? Just nothing. Genx Nano didn’t come with Alloy Wheels, Airbags and ABS, I think we can live without these for a few years, I am sure subsequent versions or newer models would come with these three optional/essentials too.

The first time my daughter sat behind the wheels, she was cautious, not too sure of how it will behave. She was thrilled as she didn’t have to get to this clutch business and all, and within minutes, she was comfortable. This vehicle is so light and needs mastering only steering control.

My daughter is tall, getting in and out of the car is a breeze and the car is super spacious from inside. I think this is the most spacious fully automatic hatchback one can buy without burning a hole in the pocket. Yes, it has come with a state of the art music system and bluetooth connectivity.

What were my other choices? We could choose between Alto AT, WagonR AT, Celerio AT all from Maruti and I10 Grand from Hyundai. These are the only small cars which come in petrol versions and have an automatic transmission. For the features, the use and the price Nano looked like a steal. At 3.35 lakh on road it was almost 2.00 lakh less than its nearest competitor with full features.

So, if this car is so good, why others are not busying it? Yes, it is not selling well at all, the reason is brand perception, those who wish to make a statement with buying a new car feel at loss if they buy a Nano. For those who have nothing to prove Nano is a great choice.

If you really want a good car, go in for Tata Nano XTA, it is real value for money and a fun to own.

Bajirao Mastani – A Review January 4, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Bollywood, Review , add a comment

Rarely does one get to see a Bollywood film in its 3rd week on a big screen. Bajirao Mastani is one of those which is still running 6 shows in a cinema hall near you. Of course, it is not running houseful anymore but in the show we went to see about 40% hall was full and it was a 7:40 PM Sunday late evening show.

The film is mesmerizing, it is nothing or maybe almost nothing about history but it is all about love knows no barriers and no one can stop love from flourishing except death, and may be even death doesn’t do love apart.

I loved camera work in the movie, a few drone and a few helicopter shots were truly unbelievable, one memorable shot which is definitely going to encourage me to see this film is a dance sequence where drone footage has been added to make you feel that you are actually getting an aerial view straight and something is really unfolding in front of you.

I was not too happy with dresses of Priyanka Chopra & Deepika Padukone, they were not well researched and executed. They were expensive, rich and flamboyant, but they were definitely not period dresses.

Story was very fictional and editing could’ve been tighter. At a few places you just wished for the scene to end. Overall I liked the film, would have preferred it to be at least 20 minutes shorter. Battle scenes were compromised, needed more real impact. It should’ve been shot on a much larger scale. Using Amber Fort of Jaipur as a backdrop was a bad idea.  Chemistry between Ranveer & Deepika was not as deep as expected, Priyanka though had a second female lead role had great dialogs and she delivered them powerfully.

Go and see if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

The T3 Terminal – New Delhi – A Review August 15, 2010

Posted by simarprit in : Review, Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

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  1. The roads are painted with vehicle lanes but proper light doesn’t fall on them.
  2. Entrance and Airlines Gates require some more order.
  3. Approach to the Departure terminal was obstruction free.
  4. Airline (BA) staff looked lost amidst challenge.
  5. Hand baggage tags can become a big issue if you miss at Airline counter.
  6. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Lounge has issues, needs to put its act together.
  7. Immigration was hassle free and smooth.
  8. There is still work going on.
  9. There is more English & only English usage at T3 than even at BA’s T5 in London.
  10. You don’t get a feeling of “‘too many of us” the terminal is BIG.
  11. As a first impression the terminal looks more like a big Shopping Mall & a 100 restaurant food court.
  12. Overall the experience was a pleasant change.

Zest Restaurant, Vasant Kunj – New Delhi. A Review January 2, 2010

Posted by simarprit in : Delhi, Food, Review , 1 comment so far

Zest has been covered by most of the magazines and all newspapers since it opened its door to New Delhi’s creme de la creme on July 10, 2009. We decided Zest as the restaurant for our first family dine out of  the year 2010, yes, I did think twice about it, read few blogs and concluded that it is likely to be somewhere between OK and awesome. Mini and Mishti were as excited as me as it would be a change from our half-dozen faves.

So here we go:

Location: DLF Emporio, No 4 Vasant Kunj Malls, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj Phase -  II, New Delhi – 110 070, India – Tel (+ 91 11) 43119999  – Excellent 10/10 (Though approach roads currently are under re-routing, so be prepared to get lost and keep time to reach 15 minutes on the side of error of omission)

Interior: Bar format, wine cellar followed by semi formal sitting (formal = The Orient Express, casual = Coffee Shop at any decent hotel property). Decor is great, layout of the kitchens and food counters is a little more than a bit confusing – take time to understand before you get going   – 6/10

Reservations – Works, it is better to do a table booking well in advance maybe even a couple of days in advance. Give correct number, they would call back to confirm 10/10

Hostess: Busy, pretending to be busy, on the side of arrogant – all guests are never equal approach.  – 4/10

Staff: Senor staff fairly competent, on look out to identify regulars all others looked like on-the-job-trainees, evident lack of confidence and no long term goals. Restaurant manager couldn’t be identified, though one person looked and operated as one, but as he was sans “you may ask me smile” I concluded that he can’t be the one whose career depends on this restaurants success. Overall 6/10

Crockery: White, pure white. Fine bone china from Luxemburg – 8/10

Glasses: Wine glasses and other tumblers were all fine – 8/10

Cutlery: I was expecting much better cutlery – 6/10

Table and seating: Very cramped layout, no walkways (you have to move around all other dinners)  swill chair is an excellent idea. They couldn’t find us a table for three so they made us sit on a table for six. Overall table and seating rating 5/10.

Soups & Salads: Today they had only one soup in the buffet, an adaptation of  vegetarian Manchow Soup. I am calling it an adaptation as it was one, not authentic recipe, though it was excellent in taste . Soup -10/10.

Salads were few and Cheese Platter was missing. With Red & White wine on the house – Cheese platter missing is not a good thing., there was fresh mozzarella cheese in one of the salads. I liked Smoked Salmon and Potato salad, though potatoes far outnumbered pieces of salmon. I am sure the salmon was farm raised and not wild, but good nevertheless. Total about 10 – 12 different  salads were there. Salad – 8/10. Mini who is 100% vegetarian found the selection very limited.

Starters: No separate section for starters, you have to go from kitchen to kitchen to fill your platter. My suggestion skip this course and enjoy seven distinct cuisines however we did. I took grilled Sea Bass (it was Asian Sea Bass and not the Black Sea Bass which I die for in San Jose). It was very tasty, well marinated and nicely grilled, it was accompanied with White Wine Sauce which was just perfect. 9/10  – Mini took Hing Aloo 6/10  & Hara Bhara Kababs 7/10 (her ratings) – Mishti skipped

Main course: Portion management on the counters is an issue. You never have all to choose from.

The following is the mix-n-match as courses were not separated by them, we had it all together so covering them in the main course:

Mix Veg Pizza (Mini/Mishti) 9/10 – Thin Italian hand tossed

Shell Pasta with Arrabiata Sauce 7/10 – I would have preferred little more drained pastas and some more ginger flakes

Chicken  Indian/ Arabic Kitchen (Mishti) – 10/10 She had 4 pieces, it was spicy and very tasty as per her

Veg dumplings – 7/10 (Mishti) they were bland for her

Noodles (Chilli, Tomato, Garlic): 9/10 (Mishti)

Shrimp dumplings: 9/10 They were good – I enjoyed them

Veg Pulao 6/10 – The rice was not the ideal rice for pulao and the full aroma which Dum Pukht Pulao can get was not there

Fish Curry – Indian Arabic Kitchen – 9/10 – very tasty though they said it was fresh river sole, which I am again sure it was not, it was King Fish and tasted like one. I have no issues with King Fish

Salmon Sushi – 3/10 It was nicely made but somehow I didn’t like the bonded taste of rice and salmon

Deserts: Fresh fruits, Cakes, Custards, Mousse, Rasmalai, Gulab Jamun. I loved Blueberry Mousse and Chocolate cake with Gold flake – Over all Deserts 10/10

Date: Jan 2, 2010 – Time: 1:30 – 3:30

Over all experience – 7/10

Price Rs 5,000/- or $ 110 – They include service charge @10% before Taxes. Base price is Rs 1,250.00 per person or $27 per person. Taxes and service charges account for about 25% and you invariably land up giving an additional 10% tip.

Valet Parking: Costs Rs 140.00 or $3

I recommend one visit, repeat is purely your call.

“Zest is now called Setz”

 

Jinnah of Jaswant Singh October 11, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Books, Review , 6comments

Question: Do I like Jinnah?

Answer: I didn’t like him before reading the book, I haven’t changed my mind after reading the book

Question: Why pay Rs 695/- for a subject you don’t like?

Answer: One should be open to reviewing stands long taken, which may or may nat have had a strong basis. Having said that I found all the reviews shallow and wanted to form my own opinion about Jaswant Singh and Jinnah through this book.

Question: Do you like the book?

Answer: No.

Question: Why don’t you like much acclaimed, and much talked about – Jinnah India-Partition-Independence

Answer: For one, Mr. Jaswant Singh had no patience to read the copy of his book before it finally went for printing. The book has typos and other mistakes which Mr. Singh could have easily spotted had he read “his life’s work” even once after compiling.  The book has been poorly researched. The author and publisher didn’t feel a need to have an editor as a result the book is loose collation of random articles which may or may not talk to each other. A good book is like a river without dams, it just flows its course, Jaswant’s Jinnah doesn’t flow – you need to turn pages to read on and do pick-and-drop till your wrist starts aching.

Question: What was that you were looking in the book and you didn’t find?

Answer: For starters, I was not looking for trash which is in abundance in this book.  What I was looking was for an insight of a scholar and a balanced book which was as detached as required to connect millions of people to an opinion other than the one they have been forced to believe. I was looking for statements, judgments and an insight which are just missing.  Loss of life & property in both Bengal and Punjab have been given at best passing references. The emphasis has been on what is written and re-written hundreds of time. I was looking for a new drink, which could have been hot or cold, any color, any density – what Mr Singh has served is a glass of polluted water from the beds of Yamuna pulled out from ITO bridge Delhi side.  Armchair rewriting at its best.

Restaurants Around San Pedro September 28, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Bay Area, Food, Review, USA , add a comment

I am a foodie and would love remaining one for rest of my life. My work place is just across San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose, this post is aimed at putting on a piece of paper on what I like most at that specific restaurant. It is not a detailed review but more like – I have been there and I have liked this.

  1. The Old spaghetti Factory – Shrimp, Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Quality and quantity both are fine 7/10 & Lasagna Vegitariano – 9/10 This is yummy Marinara sauce makes huge difference (Both have artichoke’s)
  2. The Old Wagon – Popcorn Shrimp – Yummy 8/10 & Been Fishing, there take on Fish & Chips – Chips were out of the world, fish was fine too, decent portion 8/10
  3. 71 Saint Peter’s – Pan Seared Crab Cakes 5/10 Not to my taste & Bruschetta 9/10 – the way it should be. Main course Seafood linguine - Prawns, Scallops, Mussels, Lobster, Tomatoes – this is my favorite and I give it 10/10 – very tasty, very juicy and filling
  4. Sonoma Chicken Coop – Crispy calamari – Its is flash fried and tastes awesome, good helping 9/10 & Grilled Salmon Risotto 10/10 – The Wow dish of the downtown – I’ve had it over 20 times and every time the experience is just out of the world
  5. 19 Market – The Vietnamese fine dining – Crab and Avocado Spring Rolls – a bit dry but very tasty 7/10 & Grilled Salmon with Spicy Green Beans 8/10 (2 points go the portion is slightly less at this price point) & Brown Rice 8/10
  6. La Vic’s – Best Tacos and Burritos town – Super Veggie Burrito – 9/10 – awesome taste too filling and a meal for the day and Veggie Tacos – 9/10 Wow taste – in Orange Sauce takes you there 101/10
  7. Amici’s - Artichoke Panzanella Salad – All the veggies with bread cubes thrown in - 8/10 Tastes best with some Olive oil and vinegar & Veggie Pizza – Green Pepper, Mushrooms, Onions, Black Olives 10/10 – There just can’t be any better Pizza in this category
  8. Peggy Sue’s Diner – Clam chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl – 9/10 tastes good, filling & Fish n Chips – 7/10 Chips are great, fish can be less oily, helping is generous.

The above are my best 8 out of about 20 and I have had food at them several times. San Jose is a foodies delight and the San Pedro neighborhood is a jewel in the crown.

Cuil – Review July 30, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Blogging, Internet, News, News Reaction, portals, Review , 8comments

Google – Cuil Comparison

Is it really Cool?

Yes, the interface is. It is too good.

I will work towards a detailed comparison of Google and Cuil, let us see what comes out.

As a starter, Cuil is to Search Engines what iPhone was to mobile devices (at least the interface). It is awesome. The interface and HCI angle is a killer. It can disrupt the party for Google. It has that in it. That’s the good news. On HCI they get 10/10, compared to Google’s 2/10. But on search terms, I am afraid the novelty doesn’t pay, they are just continents away, or shall I say halfway around the world.

I just did about 2300 searches. Random. Global. On any thing and everything. I am getting more focused as I move on with more parameters.

  1. As per Cuil there are no “Indian Restaurants in San Jose” though we have “Japanese Restaurants in San Jose”, “Mexican Restaurants in San Jose” and “Chinese Restaurants in San Jose”. LoL
  2. Search for Map and see the error
  3. Search for Sap and see the error
Parameter Google Cuil
Absolute Search 9 1
Addresses 8 3
Adjacency Checks 9 1
Adult Filter 6 2
Anti Domain Squatting 8 2
Blog Search 8 2
Brand 10 2
Bridge Page Filters 8 2
Bug Free 9 2
Buzz 7 7
City Names 8 6
Cloaking Check 8 4
Complex Search 7 3
Crawls 9 6
Customized Search 7 2
Database 9 7
Date and Time 7 1
Date Filter 8 4
Dead Link Checks 7 2
Deep Search 9 3
Default Weightage 7 1
Depth 9 7
Dictionary Results 9 3
Directory Structure 9 3
Domain Name 8 6
Dynamic Content Handling 8 6
Fake Listings 7 6
Four Words 10 1
Frame Based Content 8 4
Gateway Filters 7 3
Geo Filter 9 6
H Tagging Relevancy 6 3
Image Embedding 6 1
Image Mapping 7 2
Image Relevance 9 1
Incremental Updates 8 0
Industry Awareness 10 5
Keyword Stuffing 6 7
Keyword Weightage 8 5
Languages 9 1
Links 8 3
Long Tail Words 9 2
Look & Feel 1 10
Mathematical Modeling 9 6
Matrix Approach 9 9
Mature 10 1
Medical Terms 8 4
Meta Tags 7 5
Popularity Weightage 8 3
Proper Noun Search 8 2
Random Numbers 7 2
Reach 10 2
Read My Mind 9 0
Relational 9 4
Relevancy 7 2
Relevancy Correction 8 2
Safe Search 6 2
Search Assist 3 9
SEO Filters 7 2
Single Word 6 2
Site Map Relevancy 8 3
Smart 2 10
Social Networking Content 8 2
Speed 10 9
Spelling Correction 8 2
Stop Words 8 2
Subdomain Handling 8 6
Tags 8 7
Telephone Number Search 9 3
Three Words 9 2
Title 7 2
TLD Filter 7 1
Two Words 7 4
UGC Indexing 7 4
Video Embedding 5 1
Weighted Average 9 4
Wikipedia Results 9 3
Within top results 7 8
ZIP Code Search 9 4

 

Notes:

  1. I am still working on this post, this post is continuously changing.
  2. New Parameters are being added every day
  3. Scores are also changing – I plan to do a major update
  4. This is a self initiated review
  5. I make no claims to be an authority on this subject or methodology adopted. However I admit to be a part of the vision/ engineering/ architecture/ design and development team  of a Search Engine project which worked well as a beta product, but couldn’t find financial backing and died a natural death.