Friday, October 29, 2010

BMTC Bus Routes on Google Maps

Finally! And it had to come with some help from Google. We now can get bus routes with bus numbers (even broken journeys) on Google maps itself for Bangalore.

I think one of the biggest reasons why people do not intend to use public transport is because all the information is so muddled and confusing. We end up having to ask people at local bus-stands and the poor souls sometimes send us to the other end of Bangalore! :)

I have used BTIS.in in the past and the site is very good. It gives you a whole lot of information where Bus routes is just one of it. It does a pretty good job too.

But Google maps, by integrating the bus route information with their Maps, has made it much more simpler. I can use it on my mobile too. I am sure a whole lot of more people will atleast not be afraid to try public transport anymore! But one disclaimer though - Google says - "Only Vajra, Vayu Vajra (Airport Dedicated) and Big-10 services are covered by Google Transit at present.". But I am certain this will extend in the future to other buses too.

To those of you who has not used Google maps to get directions (are there any left? :)  ) - it is simple to use Google Maps to get bus routes. Get into Google Maps, click "Get Directions" on the top left corner. Enter your location in Bangalore. Here, I entered a random-on-top-of-my-head location - Madiwala. For the destination, I entered Indiranagar. Click "Get Directions". This would bring up and show on the map the driving directions.

You will need to change this to show bus routes by clicking the small icon next to the car icon - "By public transport". This shows up the route via public transport and also gives you the name(s) of buses you have to take, the closest bus stop, how far you will need to walk to and from a bus-stop etc.

Go check it out and take a bus today!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

HungryBangalore - www.hungryzone.com - Beware Do not order through them

Ok. As usual, I know that this is not gonna go anywhere. Cause in India, we follow the "Chalta Hai" attitude. Cause we have such a huge population that 1 person drops of the network, there is a potential of a million of them taking their place. Customer Service is non-existent! Or rather, not required. Simply because of the point that I have stated above.

Let me let you into the story. Here I am, on a Saturday evening (forgot that it was the Pooja holidays etc) and wanting to order some good food. As usual, I log into HungryBangalore - or http://hungryzone.com and order food at a restaurant. This is at 08:00 PM. Ordered succulent Chicken Tikka and Biryani. Waited and waited, order not arrived. Then I get a call in 30 minutes from HungryBangalore that my order could not be placed as the restaurant was closed.

Ok, no worries. I kinda got the drift and moved to place an order, again at HungryBangalore for some fast food. Fast-food = no holidays in my mind. Well, waited and waited and after 45 minutes, I get a call that my order cannot be placed since the said fast-food place is closed. Damn! So I asked the agent from HungrBangalore where else I could place an order and get it delivered. Hunger strikes!

I was told that I can place the order at any of the Pizza places - Pizza Corner, Papa John's etc. I said cool, I will place an order. Time is already 9:00 PM. Placed the order and I am waiting. There was a match running so didn't give them a call to "chase". Time is 9:30 and still no sign of the order. Give them a call at 9:45 PM and they said that the order is through. Got a call at 10:00 PM from Pizza Corner. They were asking for my address and what my order was!!

Hell - that was it. I asked them why they hadn't sent my order yet and why they didn't have the information from HungryBloodyBangalore. They said that they had just received the order from them and there was no details in it. So I ask them to go ahead with the order and they promised delivery in 30 minutes. Appreciate that.

Time was now 10:45. Still no sign of my food. Called HungryBungle-ore and they said that the order was cancelled. Said nothing can be done and cut the call. I call back, ask for a manager. There was none. Cause the poor dude was at home, eating good home-cooked food.

And now, I am left with no food. To all you dudes at HungryBangalore - please be sure that you are reading this at my blog. Aloo Patel - I have sent you a mail. Ritesh Dwivedy - CEO - Twitter it is. The rest of you, I am sure you have the memo from whoever cares. Or maybe you haven't received it.

Thanks for a good time. I am off your site. You have lost a customer. It was kinda good ordering through your site. No worries, I know that there are a million more customers waiting to sign up.

But one simple question - what happens after your million new customers run out?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thy Will Be Done

At Un-Clicked.com, we have started with our next theme - Cemeteries. Sounds a little creepy, I am sure, but it really isn't. I've been interested in shooting pictures of crosses and the statues in cemeteries for a really long time. I remember, as a kid how interested I was at the lovely old headstones for British soldiers and missionaries in Nagercoil.

Bangalore was and still is the city with a large "military" presence and there are many defense buildings in and around the city. It was also a hub of military activity before Independence. I've been intrigued by the Hosur Road cemetery for some years now and finally me, Sunil and Saravanan decided to go and take some pics at this place. Needless to say, it was a real find. We have been able to locate some really old graves - some dating back to 1870? or so. And it was nice to see that the Commonwealth still tends and cares for graves of Commonwealth soldiers. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has taken upon itself to restore, maintain, locate and build a huge database of graves to soldiers who gave their lives to a noble cause during the two world wars. But I have read on the net that there are graves that are even older and that they are unable to maintain these. Even the army is encroaching upon these cemeteries and surely, soon, one day, these will be lost for ever. Land for the living you see, is more valuable than the land for the dead!!.

But it is sad how in this country, even within a large city like Bangalore, we do not have enough Public Architecture where people can congregate. We do not appreciate it. We look down upon it.

But I also read on the net of the work of two people who are looking to change this in Bangalore. Ronnie Johnson and ex-Admiral O.S. Dawson. They have both been tirelessly working towards maintaining a database of the cemeteries, the locations, the people who have died there and trying to stop the ever-increasing population encroach into these lands of the dead. Appreciate their efforts.

Here are some teaser pics. Hope you like them. We have posted more on Facebook and hope you can take a look.