Logical Solutions to Bangalore’s Traffic – Part V: Equipment for the cops

February 5th, 2013

…continuing from the previous post…

(and here’s the first part of the series)

The traffic police in Bangalore have got some shiny new toys. They’ve all got Blackberries and wireless printers for tickets. There’s the huge numbers of breath-alyzers and the shiny car mounted speed cameras.

But, and here’s the problem, their basic equipment is lacking. In Delhi, or Chennai, the traffic police have lighted batons which are used to indicate whether the vehicle should stop or go. Then there’s the problem with road signs and temporary barriers. The temporary road signs used by the traffic police are almost impossible to see unless you are right up against them.

And of course, the average traffic constable is equipped with nothing more than a whistle and maybe a lathi.

What we need to do is ensure all the cops have access to the latest technology. Why do the blackberries have to be only for the senior cops? I’m sure Micromax or one of the other lower cost android phone manufacturers would be happy to give away (or at nominal cost) a bunch of phones to the cops around the city.

But we also need an infrastructure backbone. The police information should be linked to the RTO, so stolen vehicles can be reported and found both by the cops and by the RTO when someone tries to register a stolen vehicle.

A beat constable should just be able to take a photo of a traffic offender and he should be sent a notice with the fine amount filled in. In fact this should be done automatically in most cases — why clog up the roads with challan filling and payments and behind the back bribes and all of that. Any offense — take a photo and automatically have a notice sent to the owner of the vehicle with photographic proof of the offense.

Apologies for the delay in putting up this final post.

Categories: bangalore, personal | Tags: , , , | No Comments

Nexus 7 and the android tablet ecosystem

February 1st, 2013

I received a Google Nexus 7 as my birthday present this year… Well not exactly birthday present since it was difficult to get a piece with all the hype and the Christmas season but I’ve had it for a couple of months now and I have some clear views about the device and the Android ecosystem.

Well as I was hoping to find a good deal on a Nexus 7 (I’m a strong believer in the nexus line of products — nexus one and galaxy nexus before this), I also thought I’d look around the other tablets in the market to see if any of them would be good enough to buy instead of the Google tab.

But you see, the market is broken into three clearly distinct types of tablets… First are the ultra cheap range from a variety of manufacturers with terrible specifications and often terrible build quality, and secondly you have Apple and finally Samsung.

There are of course a few tablets here and there from Asus and Sony but they just have something or the other not quite right with them or are too expensive. Because if you price something above 25k you’re encroaching on Apple territory and you must provide something clearly better than the iPad range! I’m an android fan and much prefer the experience to the iOS world but if I were paying a bomb for a tablet (or a phone — but we have better choices there) I’d be hard pressed to find a tablet as clearly competent as the iPad for an equivalent price. The nexus 10 comes close but it’s not easy to find and I’m not looking for a 10 inch tablet. In fact none of the big names (Samsung aside) make a 7inch tablet that could even be considered competent. Lenovo is offering a single core tablet at 17-18k. And micromax and spice and the rest? Well I’d be lying if I felt the build quality was passable let alone the guts inside.

The reason I don’t want an iPad is, as I said earlier, I don’t like the ecosystem. I am a geek and I want the ability to fiddle around to my hearts content on how my device works and the kind of stuff I can do with it. I could jailbreak the iPad but with every update Apple would be trying to lock it down again. And I don’t appreciate how Apple is patenting rounded rectangles and suing everyone who uses them!

And so we come to Samsung. The big gorilla in the Android camp. Samsung makes more varieties of Android phones and tablets than anyone else in the market at prices from as little as 6k to as much as 50k. The issues I have with Samsung tablets are both practical and philosophical. Samsung has shown time and again that they do not really care for the developers who try and use their devices. If you follow anyone developing CyanogenMod (the custom ROM) for Samsung devices, it’s a tail of woe. And practically, none of the tablets made by Samsung are all that great (for their price). The most direct comparison to the Nexus 7 is the Galaxy Tab 2 7. Yes it’s 2 and 7 — indicating that it’s the 7inch version of the second release of the Galaxy Tab. It’s priced equivalently

Categories: personal, technology | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Logical Solutions to Bangalore’s Traffic – Part IV: Pedestrian Infrastructure

August 19th, 2010

…continuing from the previous post…

(and here’s the first part of the series)

Another huge reason why traffic is so bad in Bangalore is the complete lack of infrastructure for pedestrians. So called signal free roads are planned with no consideration for how a pedestrian will get from one side of the road to the other. At the same time it’s almost impossible for the pedestrians to walk on the pavements either.

Even in areas where there have been good pavements laid, there are other innumerable problems. 80 Feet Road, Indiranagar is a good example. Large parts of the road have good pavements with tiles and covered drains and everything! But some bits are inexplicably incomplete. And then you have the places where the pavement is unusable because the home owners or the shop keepers have parked their vehicles or their guests vehicles on the pavement. And then you’ve got un-pruned trees and gardens maintained by house owners who have been to stingy to keep a garden within their own plot!

So what can be done?

  1. Build proper pavements. They don’t need to be fancy. They just need to be there. Often pavements can be built as part of the covers of the drains. No need to take up extra road space for them.
  2. Put up barriers between the road edge and the pavement so that enterprising two wheeler riders don’t decide to jump the traffic by taking up pavement riding.
  3. Ensure that every major road has pedestrian over-bridges or underpasses at regular intervals. If they can be made with escalators, all the better.
  4. Ensure that all over-bridges and underpasses are open for use and are clean and well-lit.
  5. All of these pedestrian ways should have proper signs. There’s a new over-bridge near the Tin factory on Old Madras Road, but most people haven’t realized it’s an over-bridge because it’s loaded with advertising and looks like a hoarding!
  6. Seating areas at selected places. People get tired. Especially those who walk in the hot sun in India. A few seats at scattered locations would do good. Otherwise people tend to sit on the edge of the pavement with their legs jutting into the road.

to be continued…

Categories: bangalore, life | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Logical Solutions to Bangalore’s Traffic – Part III: Signage and Lighting

August 18th, 2010

…continuing from the previous post…

(and here’s the first part of the series)

Then we’ve got the problem of lighting and signage. I’ve never been able to figure out why lighting isn’t considered important enough on Bangalore roads. Even the brand new toll expressway to Electronics City has got stretches without lighting (bulbs fused or more likely no power). I think it’s important to make a plan now that would replace all the street lights on all major roads with solar powered LED lamps within the next 3 years. Firstly, moving all the street lights off the electricity grid would mean consistent lighting for the roads and lower electricity consumption for the whole city. And secondly, LED lights would last longer and have environmental impact. It may cost more up front, but it would make a huge difference in the long term.

In terms of traffic lights, I’ve been hearing about this integrated traffic management system for the last few years, but I still have to see the effects on the ground. Half the traffic lights in our city are synchronized so badly with actual traffic movement that the cop on the street turns off the lights and directs the traffic by hand. THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Firstly, the cop can’t really make out how much traffic is piled up behind a bend in the road or at the next junction and therefore lets a particular stream of traffic flow causing pile-ups elsewhere. Secondly, the drivers of the vehicles often can’t see the cop and therefore assume that the signal is a free-for-all and cause further jams. Or then you have three or four cops at a junction putting good manpower to bad use.

After a decade of being known as India’s IT city, why can we not have intelligent traffic lights at least on the main arteries? I’ve seen so many situations around 10pm or later on Outer Ring Road or the new Airport Road where there is a red light at a junction and huge volumes of traffic are stuck waiting for 30 seconds or longer even though there is no cross-junction traffic! Traffic lights based on actual traffic volume are in use around the world, why not here? In fact, I bet that if the Karnataka government made a competition for engineering students, that we’d get a half-a-dozen proof-of-concept entries which would do the same thing as expensive traffic lights but cheaper and easier to build. And then give the designs to BEL or something and build them cheap.

In continuation of the traffic light problems, why are the lights switched off at 11pm. It’s foolish. They’re mostly switched off because people jump the lights. But if the lights were intelligent, then people wouldn’t need to jump them. On major roads, the traffic lights should be on 24×7.

Signage is another big infrastructure problem. Do you know that there are still signs which indicate underpass construction for underpasses completed over a year ago? “Slow down, underpass under construction.” And you slow down to find no work and the “under-construction” underpass is already complete! Or take the signposts on Outer Ring Road between Marathalli and K. R. Puram. Earlier this stretch used to be a mess because of traffic cutting across the road, but now with a dedicated u-turn area in front of the ISRO building, it’s improved dramatically. But every now and then you find vehicles slowing down at every previously open junction. Why? Because the signs that indicate the location of the u-turn are impossibly small. Try reading them in the rain at even 30kmph without causing an accident (good luck!). Or take the signs for the junction at the old airport road – Indiranagar junction. You need to be clever or lucky or have travelled the road before to know which loop will take you in which direction. But a little distance away you’ve got huge signboards indicating the direction to M. G. Road. Why aren’t all the signs this big?

The biggest place where our signs are inadequate is in the under construction areas (metro, utility works and road works). The signs are often black on green which is one of the worst contrast colours. And they are non reflective and often set up too close to the construction work.

Is it too much to require the contractors doing this work to provide proper signage. At least a few hundred meters before the actual construction there should be signs in black on yellow or red on yellow with reflective paint clearly giving instructions. “Construction Ahead. Slow Down.” or “Take diversion to the left.” And construction areas should be better lit than the rest of the road. Of course this seems to be in opposition to the norm!

And other signs seem to be completely stupid. Signs indicating speeds of 20kmph in areas where vehicles travel routinely in excess of 70kmph mean that the signs are there for no purpose. 20kmph is far too slow on major roads to make any sense.

to be continued… (part 4)

Categories: bangalore, life | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

Logical Solutions to Bangalore’s Traffic – Part II: Public Transport

August 18th, 2010

…continuing from the previous post…

The next important need in terms of infrastructure is proper public transportation. The Bus Day (on the 4th of every month) is a great initiative, but it won’t work in the long run. Take someone like me who lives more than a kilometre away from the nearest bus stop. There are no autos to take me to the bus stop. There is no parking near the stop for me to take my own transport that far. When I get there, I don’t know what time the next bus will be coming. For that matter, the buses don’t even stop at the bus stop. Then I have to change buses at Marathalli which means I have to walk another half kilometre and again I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait.

What we need are the following:

  1. Fewer long distance bus routes with more hub-and-spoke systems. There are nearly 30-40 different bus routes that go through a busy junction like Marathalli. In the Whitefield direction, there are only 3 final terminal points. But all these buses with different starting points and different routes choke up the junction. Shorter distance buses with higher frequency will reduce jams and improve commuting. This should be designed with the Metro in mind for the future as well. (UPDATE: The importance of this point came home to me rather forcefully yesterday while driving the nearly 10km from Marathalli to Domlur as the road was filled with buses all running mostly empty. A round-robin route on this stretch would mean more filled buses and less traffic on the roads.)
  2. Proper bus stops. This includes forcing commuters to stand AT the bus stop and NOT ON the road. Then the buses must be forced to stop at the stop rather than in the middle of the road. One solution to this is:
  3. Conductors and ticketing counters at the bus stop rather than on the bus. This would allow an additional passenger on the bus and would make the ticketing easier rather than having the conductor push his way through a crowed bus at rush hour. Also this conductor could ensure that the passengers wait at a designated spot for the bus, inform passengers about which bus to take for which destination and force the bus driver to stop at the bus stop rather than wherever he prefers. Bigger stops could also have automated ticket machines.
  4. Single ticket journeys. As a continuation of the previous point, a commuter at a stop will pick up a ticket for his final destination no matter how many buses he needs to change. Tickets should clearly have an expiry time (maximum 3 hours) which ensures that a commuter doesn’t use the ticket for other journeys.
  5. Systems for autos to provide locality transportation. Autos should not be used for long distance transport as much as possible and anyway they rarely make the journey to any destination you want. Long distance autos should be call autos like call taxis. Locality autos should have fixed rates and their journey should only be from home to bus stop.
  6. Single number for call taxis and call autos. In Bangalore if once has to call for a taxi there are half a dozen operators each with different numbers and then you have the call auto number as well. There should be a single helpdesk with multiple lines and this should be paid for by the auto and taxi companies. The closest auto/taxi can come and pick up the commuter.

to be continued… (part 3)

Categories: bangalore, life | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Logical Solutions to Bangalore’s Traffic – Part I: Roads

August 18th, 2010

Bangalore’s traffic situation is getting worse every day. It has now reached the unenviable situation of having the slowest traffic on average among the major cities in India. For the longest time, I’ve thought that some of the solutions to the problems would be obvious, but somehow the obvious seems to have escaped town planners and traffic police alike.

So, here is my set of solutions for improving traffic in Bangalore. It consists of three heading. And to follow the clichéd trend of putting trite terminology above useful writing, I’ve decided to call my three headings the 3Is: Infrastructure, Information and Implementation. Since this topic is large and complicated, I’ll be splitting it up into multiple posts.

(Disclaimer: In this post I largely refer to roads in and around South-East Bangalore – mainly Outer Ring Road from Sarjapur to K. R. Puram, Whitefield, Old Madras Road and Indiranagar – because I have lived and worked around these area. But these problems are common to all areas of Bangalore; I know I’ve driven in most parts. If you feel that some solutions are not valid for some areas, then drop me a line in the comments.)


The government seems to believe that good infrastructure equals wider roads, but this is the most simplistic and short-sighted solution to the problem. What we most need are better roads. Take a drive along ANY road in Bangalore and I can guarantee that in less than a kilometre you will either encounter a pothole, a crack or crevice, a dug-up portion for some utility/metro construction, protruding/missing manhole covers, damaged dividers encroaching into the road or any combination of the above.

Look at the newly laid Varthur Main Road connecting Marathalli to Whitefield. It’s been built with some care and consideration. The pavements are tiled (wow!) and there are proper storm water drains with grated openings for water to escape the road every few metres (Let’s leave aside the fact that the work started in October last year and seems to have been completed just last month!). Barely a week after the road was relayed, a apartment building just after Kundanahalli decided that they needed to dig up the road to place their electricity cables/water lines/whatever.  And if you decide to take the drive from Forum Value Mall all the way down this road to the old Airport, you’ll constantly be fuming. The condition of the road is mostly great till Marathalli but the junction there is terrible. Lack of proper bus stops means that buses and people stand around everywhere and then the road is as wide as 3 lanes in some stretches and narrows to less than a lane in other bits. Even Outer Ring Road varies widely from six lanes + service lanes in say, Marathalli area to four lanes without service roads near BTM Layout. The traffic volume is the same, why the difference in widths? And this is supposed to be one of the major arteries of the city.

What we need are the following:

  1. Consistently wide roads. Two lanes means two lanes throughout.
  2. Better road maintenance. Repairing of potholes should not be a slipshod job where the cure is worse than the illness.
  3. A road maintenance department. This department should have officers in every ward with sole duties to inspect all the roads in their ward. There should also be a designated road repair contractor for the ward and the department should have priority over BWSSB, BESCOM and the like. If a water main has burst and BWSSB has not repaired it, then the road department should have it’s own team of water works engineers to fix it immediately. No more passing the buck.
  4. Better road dividers and manhole covers. These huge concrete manhole covers and easily movable road dividers cause more damage to vehicles than any other problem on the road. The road department should also ensure that damaged dividers and manhole covers are repaired immediately.

to be continued… (part 2, part3)

Categories: bangalore, life | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

On sports and the gender divide

March 8th, 2010

Yesterday, a couple of unrelated activities brought out the difference between men and women in the world of sports, even today.

In the morning, I turned on the television to see if could catch the highlights of India’s defeat to England in the Hockey World Cup. (As an aside, I wish that India would not spend all it’s efforts to beat only Pakistan – there are other countries in the arena.) After the highlights were over, I idly flipped to the Australian LPGA ANZ Ladies Masters golf tournament.

Over the course of the tournament, which was incidentally won by Karrie Webb, I found that there were a few differences between the women’s game and the one infamously made unpopular again by Tiger Woods. The most obvious difference is that the course is shorter for the women than the men – expected, I suppose, considering that women are apparently unable to hit a golf ball as far as a man (I reserve judgement on this).

The second obvious difference is the clothing.

Here is Tiger Woods on one of his better days:

Tiger Woods in Swing

And here is one of the new golfer’s on the women’s circuit, Maria Verchenova, a top 10 finisher in the European Tour LPGA championship in Wales:

Maria Verchenova

Do I really need to say more?

And the third point that struck me was the commentary.

Here’s so and so on the 13th tee. She’s 7 under for the day and is sure of making the cut. And she’s wearing such a cute top and it matches so well with her earrings.

I’ve never ever seen a man dress sexy on the golf course and I’ve never never ever heard the commentators discuss his clothing before his tee shot.

But, moving on… in the evening I was invited by friends to join them at a karting zone near my house.

I like karting and it’s fun. Of course, yesterday was a Sunday and everyone and their uncle and their uncle’s three-year old kiddies were at the track, but that’s not what I wanted to point out. I don’t know if it was sheer coincidence, or whether it was something more common, but all the women who went out on track yesterday were almost always the slowest. Most of them were overtaken at least once by other drivers on track during the course of their six laps.

The men on the other hand were raring at the bit. One driver was so intent on being faster than anyone else on track, that he literally shoved another driver off track with his kart while squeezing in a non-existent gap.

Personally, I like the slower women to the over-rash men, but I prefer the fast-but-steady men to the blocking-up-the-track-slow women. Is that a gender bias or is that just common sense?

Is it wrong for women to dress sexy and talk about accessories as long as they play the game well?

What do you think? Considering today is International Women’s Day, I thought it may be an appropriate question.

Categories: gender, personal, sports, television | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments

The Fireflies Festival of Sacred Music 2010

February 26th, 2010

It seemed like it was just a few weeks ago that I went for the 2009 Fireflies Festival. But just last week at the Fireflies Ashram I was at the Fireflies Ashram off Kanakapura Road attending the 2010 edition.

Last time it wasn’t part of the “Festivals of Sacred Music” and I didn’t hear any speeches or themes  although I may have missed them by going late. This time though there was a theme – “Environment and Climate Change” including a impassioned speech by Vandana Shiva about how we must be the change.

Still, the music and dance was the focus of the evening, and mostly it was really good.

By the time I reached there, the amphitheatre under the Banyan tree was crowded and Geeta Navale and Esperanto were playing their usual (very good) soul fusion.

Geeta Navale and Esperanto


And after they were done, we went and got some food to eat. This time, luckily there were more food stalls than last time, and the food didn’t run out! Of course, one of the food stalls was run by a bunch of guys who have a Cafe at Carlton Towers – I hope you guys are okay.

After this we managed to squeeze a place behind the huge towering speakers in the amphitheatre stage left. I wonder though, if there was not any other place to keep the speakers. Nearly 10 sq meters were wasted with the speakers and the line of sight blocked by them. And this time, it would have helped to be better placed, considering the organizers claimed an audience of 5000 people, double the previous outing.

Then we had Shabnam Virmani singing Kabir songs and explaining as she went along.

Shabnam Virmani

And then there was a folk dance from Karnataka, Hulivesha with the focus on Tigers (who would have guessed?).


Then we had Jalshaghar, who were missing for a bit – apparently interested in the offstage performance of Hulivesha. When they came on stage, the tabalchi decided that the audio problems (lots of people had complained about the mikes and the monitors) were so bad that he couldn’t perform. Here he is saying, “Sorry I can’t do this!”


Luckily the rest of the band was okay with the sound and went ahead. The tabalchi did return later, possibly realizing that he was being churlish!


Then one of the awaited bands of the night, Lounge Piranha. I had forgotten that they won the TFA awards in 2007, but their music was really good.

Lounge Piranha

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that they had a guest bass guitarist, because this was the first time I’ve seen a woman on the bass guitar at an event like this.

Lounge Piranha

Prakash Sontakke performed his fusion music; one of the regulars at Fireflies, it seems, and with good reason.

Prakash Sontakke

Then we had Bharat Sargam Group performing Qawali. Starting up with a few shayris to warm up the evening, they soon had a good thing going. The guy at the tambourine was going great guns as you can see!

Bharat Sargam Group

They were so good, that the crowd went wild especially during the performance of Dum Mast Kalandar. Some people got on stage and had to be politely asked to leave. And when it was over, they kept clamouring for more. Not that it did any good – there were more bands to come and they seemed to be running a hour late as usual!

Crowds at fireflies during Qawali

Once the hullabaloo died down, another regular band at fireflies came on – the Kerala folk song group playing on bamboo instruments – Vayali. And the crowd loved them as well.


By this time it was getting to 5 and we still had a few bands to go. Up next were Low Rhyderz, a rap/hip-hop/reggae band from Bangalore. They came on wearing their “style” statement – baggy shorts, oversized t-shirts, white Nikes and the reggae hairstyles – but had no style when it came to music.

Low Rhyderz

Their music was so bad that we decided to leave. And we weren’t the only ones. While the band was urging the audience to “clap, clap”, I overheard a gentleman next to me on the way out saying “crap, crap!”

While we could have stayed through to the end, the unrelenting badness (and not in the good bad way) of the band persuaded us to avoid hanging on for another hour or so till they took the hint and got off the stage. I’m not sure why bands in India trying to be hip-hop or rap bands can’t be better than this.

So, as the dawn began to rise, we made our long way back to civilization.

P.S. Even though I really enjoyed it, I did wonder at the wastefulness of an event touted to bring awareness of climate change to the people. Not only the obvious energy expenditure but the neighbouring farms being cleaned up for parking and the basic fact of at least a thousand bikes and cars driving thirty or forty kilometers to watch the event. Maybe next time, a big bus?

Categories: personal | No Comments

What does it take to get a great photo?

October 12th, 2009

Digital Photography School is one of the sites on my Google Reader. And today, they had a piece talking about what equipment is needed for a great photo.

Their point – it doesn’t matter what camera you have, it’s always a question of the person behind it. And while I’m a hundred and twenty percent in agreement with that perspective, I have an slightly different point of view as well.

In the good ol’ days of traditional film cameras, the biggest differentiators between the high-end professional cameras and the regular cameras were

  • The options of interchange-able lenses (and this meant you could have some really brilliant glass).
  • The perspective shift due to a viewfinder providing a different image from what actually is seen on the film.

Nowadays, interchange-able lens cameras are so easy to find at such cheap prices that the first point is invalidated. Secondly, even with the most simple digital point-and-shoot, what you see is what you get, considering that most of them have live preview which shows you the image seen by the sensor.

But, in the film world, a decent camera could take as good shots as a SLR because the quality of the film, the processing, the printing and the cameraperson could be the same and it didn’t matter so much.

In the digital world, the quality of the sensor makes such a difference that it’s hard to take the same shot with different qualities of cameras and get the same great photo.

For example, I took a photo of a table lamp at night through the glass with a Sony DSC H5. This a a nice camera, 7.2 megapixel sensor and a 12x zoom with Carl-Zeiss lens. In fact, it got a Highly Recommended rating at DP Review.

Here is the photo shrunk down to fit.

(Nice photo, no? Thank you, thank you. You can stop clapping now.)

But look at the cropped image at 100%.

Here you can make out the issues with the camera. Normally on a higher end camera, I would have used a higher ISO and a faster shutter speed to ensure that there is less shake. But most point-and-shoots and especially many Sony cameras have noise issues at higher ISOs. Even in this shot, you can see the noise in the image, at just ISO 200. But since I can’t use a higher ISO, I settled for a slower shutter speed. And the result is the shake in the image.

I took the same shot with a Canon EOS 1000D, and I could manage an ISO 800 and avoid the shake and the noise. And the 1000D really is the most basic SLR in the Canon stable. (Unfortunately, I don’t have this shot with me, since it’s not my camera but I will post it soon.)

And a few years ago when I only had a simple point-and-shoot film camera, some of the shots there were comparable to any shot (quality-of-image-wise) from a DSLR. The quality of the shot is another matter, you still need a good eye and a good hand. And that is immaterial whichever camera you may have.

Categories: photography, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A new H2G2?

August 21st, 2009

In the recent past it was discussed that Eoin Coifer (of the Artemis Fowl series) would be writing an authorized sixth book to the ever-increasingly-misnamed trilogy in five parts that is better known as Douglas Adams’ The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The book, And Another Thing, seems to be the greatest/worst thing since the discovery of DNA (if you don’t get the joke — Douglas Noel Adams was born in the same year that Watson and Crick discovered DNA). Most sequels to famous books/series end up being pale imitations of the originals, and in some cases just completely lousy. So I have been looking forward to this book with mixed anticipation and trepidation. I loved the Artemis Fowl series (the first three books — the later ones seems tacked on), but H2G2 is a tough act to follow. Wouldn’t it have been better to complete the third Dirk Gently book first?

In any case, Nicolas Botti was one of the (un?)lucky few who was given the opportunity to read the first half of the book — some three months before it is due to be released. His review states pretty much what I expected.

Is it funny? If you read Hitchhiker to have a good laugh, maybe you’re going to be disappointed. I didn’t find it very funny. There are some good funny moments (mainly at the beginning) but Colfer’s ideas being less original than Douglas’, you are less surprised. And he has not the same grip on comic timing than Douglas had.

However, he ends by saying that,

I don’t want to give the feeling that it is a bad book. It is not. But maybe I was expecting too much.

Still, I’m going to read it the day it hits the stands!

Categories: books, funny, reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments