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Compiled by Gokhra

Those who love bikes love it for a reason. Exemplified by Marlon Brando and James Dean a bike portrays freedom in a way not experienced by other things. It's the wind in face, bugs in the teeth and sand in the mouth that creates a positively gritty experience. Okay so that does not portray a very good picture along with the fact that James Dean actually died in a bike wreckage. But that e fact remains that the danger of the two-wheeled contraption does provide a particular allure.

Of course, that particular allure is missing when you look around the streets of Bangladesh and all you can spot are wheezy sub 150cc motorbikes. Most of these are one-year wonders meaning they break down after that period. There are some funky looking Chinese and Indian bikes around but these lack that certain certainty. Proper bikes are rare like the black Harley often seen in Gulshan or the few sport bikes. The stratospheric prices and the mostly inept mechanics mean that proper bikes are left in the pages of the magazines to be looked at in awe. So look on.

What makes this bike so special? In fact, it is not at all pretty but it still manages to take your breath away. Could be that it is the biggest production bike in existence in terms of engine size? It's called the Triumph Rocket III that started as a concept i June 1999. Powered by a monstrous 2300cc the bike was screaming for some column space in Rising Stars. The engine churns out a claimed 140 horsepower and a Herculean 147 lb-ft of torque. Compare that to your average 1300cc Corolla that weighs several times as much and comes with a measly 85 horsepower. To put things more into perspective think of the bikes you see in Dhaka. They have something around 10 horsepower. Ouch! The Rocket is most powerful cruiser yet easily securing a place in the history books.

The closest contender was the Kawasaki Vulcan at around 2000cc. The Rocket makes the largest Harley-Davidson look positively anemic at 1449cc. About 1500 people worldwide have already put deposits on the bike considering the fact that so far mostly he employees at Triumph have ridden one. Just check out the specs. It has an enormous 240-section rear tire and pistons the size those found in a Dodge Viper. Its also got an emissions system with catalytic converter that passes the upcoming 2006 Euro 3 standards making it a first for motorbikes.

Story has it that during dyno testing the engine made so much power the whole exhaust system was glowing red. It actually got so hot; the extraction system could be seen glowing at its exit. This, apparently, looked cool for the designers but for obvious reasons of safety this was taken care of.

Due to the weight of the crankshaft (39 pounds) and the massive rear wheels, special machines had to be built. Triumph couldn't expect anyone to physically lift and place a 39-lb crankshaft in every 3 1/2 minutes during a production run, so cranes have been implemented. Cranes are also employed to swing the rear wheel into place, as the 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheel and tire combo is just too heavy to lift

The Speed Triple-derived twin headlights are cool though, and there is no denying the bike has a seriously aggressive look.

According to one tester, "As I donned riding gear and swung my leg over the beast, I was immediately surprised how easily it picked up off the stand, and how fuss free it was to roll around the parking lot.

With the bike immediately displaying very user-friendly manners in the parking lot shuffle, the ease of operation just carried on as I got on the move. The light clutch lets out smoothly, and on barely a whiff of throttle I pulled onto the road. Getting both feet up onto the pegs, almost before clutch was all the way out, the bike feels perfectly balanced and steers with the lightest of touches.

The bars are wide, there is no denying that, but the steering is surprisingly light. Just a small nudge on the bars initiates the turn, and the bike flicks back and forward so effortlessly, I was mentally scratching my head at the thought that this thing weighs around 750 pounds full of fluids. This light, easy steering is consistent at all speeds, but it is the low-speed agility that impressed me most. No need to muscle the bars and no drama.

A large handful is going to have you thinking you have inadvertently hitched a ride on the Space Shuttle during takeoff, however, and you better be hanging on. Producing 147 lb-ft of torque at 2500 rpm and 140 bhp at 5,750 rpm, you are in for a wild ride. As the approaching landscape goes into some sort of manic fast-forward and your stomach internals attempt to wrap themselves around your spine, the Rocket III just keeps feeling as if it is never going to run out of power.

On one particular stretch of highway, I snatched a very quick look down to see the speedometer needle approaching 120 mph, and couldn't believe how hard the motor was pulling. Feeling for sure I must be in fifth, I quickly pulled in the clutch and took a quick stab at the lever just to check. Incredibly, the bike selected fifth, and carried on pulling as if nothing had happened. By this time things were happening far to fast to be paying any attention to the small round gauges, but I have to guess I was knocking on the door of 140 mph when just seconds earlier I had been traveling around 65 mph.

High-speed run complete, I grabbed a big handful of front brakes, sunk my right boot, and quickly got the bike under control. Making this a quick and painless task is a pair of Daytona 955i-sourced 4-piston calipers grabbing 310mm discs. Being suitably complemented by a very strong, progressive-feeling 320mm rear disc, the Rocket III is endowed with some very useful stopping power.

With stunning performance, easy handling manners and very strong brakes, the Rocket III is going to be a star performer in most of the important dynamic areas. The seat is low and comfortable, and the high tank means your legs are not splayed uncomfortably wide while riding."

So what do you think? This bike won't give you much fuel efficiency but if you can afford the monster at around $16,000 then you wouldn't be too pressed about fuel costs. One tester got 190 miles from the 6.6-gallon gas tank cruising in Europe between 80-120 mph. SO expect 150 miles in the city between fill-ups. A rough conversion to something we BD people can understand is about 20 kilometer per liter. A huge, muscular cruiser that thinks it's a sportbike, the new Triumph Rocket III is just too cool.

Game Review

By Niloy

Unless you've been living down a big, dark hole for the past 4 years, The Sims will need no introduction. Not only was this game the biggest selling PC game of all time but it also offered a completely new experience for all those wannabe Bruce Almighty's out there, there was nothing like it before and apart from the numerous expansion packs.

But now, after much anticipation, The Sims 2 has arrived! If there is anyone out there still asking "but what are The Sims?" Then you really need to get out more, or maybe I need to get out more? Either way The Sims offers a simple concept, players get to create a little computer person (or a whole family), design them a house and then completely run (or ruin!) their lives from their career, relationships and even bathroom habits. So what is The Sims 2? Well take everything I've just said and make it 100 times better and you have The Sims 2!

As soon as you start the game up the first major change that hits you are the games graphics, which take The Sims totally into 3D. The 3 pre-designed neighbourhoods that come with the game are huge filled with tree's, rivers, bridges, flying birds and of course an array of houses (some empty and some housing numerous new families) and what's more, each neighbourhood is totally different with their own stories and overall style.

The next change that hit us was the "Create a family" option which has also had a major overhaul allowing players to create totally custom Sims with a number of hairstyles, hair colours, pre-set faces, types of facial hair, eye colour and clothes. To make it even more editable, players can fiddle with numerous parts of their Sim to get him or her looking just right from the shape of their eyes, width of their chin and length of their nose; everything is customisable. In short, players can re-create anyone they want to from real life family members to celebrities to a spooky likeness providing they have the time and patience to mess around with the editor for long enough!

The build tool has been considerably improved, houses can have a maximum of 3 floors as well as foundations and a roof top floor allowing players to build much bigger homes for their families than in the first game. This game offers a much wider variety of floors, doors, windows, wall coverings and fences allowing players to really design a custom home from scratch and thanks to the 3D graphics and variety of build tools homes in The Sims 2 look much more realistic than ever before.

So onto the actual gameplay and again, despite the concept of the game being the same (keep your Sims happy) The Sims 2 feels different from the very moment you being to control your families. For a start the "characters" that you create have a much deeper feel to them, they seem to show expressions, develop their own feelings and come with a host of new animations that allow them to show off their new personalities. No longer do they carry the very basic needs such as "bladder" and "hunger" (although you still have to tend to these), your Sims now come with life aspirations meaning they aspire to a particular goal in life from fortune (their goal is to be rich), knowledge (these Sims have a passion for learning), Family (self explanatory, family orientated), Popularity (these Sims "need" to be popular) and Romance (again, self explanatory).

You simply cannot explain this without an example, so take my family of Sims, "The Simtons" which consist of a mother (Sarah) and father (Dave) and a young son (Robert). Now, Sarah was blessed with the family aspiration and wanted nothing more than a big, happy family. Unfortunately for her she was partnered (by my good self!) to Dave who had the fortune aspiration meaning he was obsessed with earning money, getting the kid into private school and swatting for promotion. Down the road lived the young "Andrew" who carried with him the romance aspiration and whilst Dave was at work one day, Andrew and Sarah got to know each other pretty well, in fact, they ended up sleeping together, nothing too exciting so far right? Well unfortunately little Robert had seen the goings on and was stood outside waiting to greet his father from work in tears, Dave came home and Sarah came running downstairs all very innocent, she walked past Dave as if nothing had happened with a sheepish wipe of her mouth and a quick shake of the head Sarah thought she had gotten away with her quick rumble upstairs…
Dave however had been told of what had happened and refused to speak to her for days; in fact it took quite a while for me to get their marriage back on track! At this point, you would've been forgiven for forgetting that these characters are not real people, despite the great job they do of convincing you otherwise!

So that's the game, but the question is, was it worth the 4 year wait? In a word, yes. The Sims 2 is what everyone wanted The Sims to be, the graphics are great, Sims get a couple of days off work and school for socialising and brushing up on skills, everything is fully customisable from the houses to the Sims themselves and the aging system coupled with the aspiration system just makes The Sims 2 more addictive than ever.

The game was provided by AZE CD & COMPUTERS.


Review By Gokhra

Cell phones can be made to do an awesome amount of things these days except in Bangladesh where all you get to do is show it off. Other than being able to communicate and entertain with games, music and video, phones can preserve evidence by maintaining call-back records, work as emergency alarms and serve as a plot device for a movie.

The plot: Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger), a high school science teacher is kidnapped by violent home invaders and held prisoner in an attic. The men who have taken her want something from her husband that she knows nothing about. They know where her young son Ricky Martin (oh, c'mon!) played by Adam Taylor Gordon attends school and plan to kidnap him, too. The kidnappers are hard men, especially their cold, intense leader Greer (Jason Statham). The attic has a wall phone, which Greer smashes to bits. Because they've allowed Jessica to see them, she assumes they will eventually kill her.

Jessica knows her family is in danger and being a resourceful panicky science teacher cum mother, she fixes the phone and gets through to someone's cell phone right away. If it was you or I receiving the call we would probably not answer in fear of the phone bill.

Anyway, she reaches Ryan (Chris Evans), a twentysomething kid who at first doesn't believe her when she says she has been kidnapped. Jessica pleads with him not to hang up, to trust her enough to hand his cell phone to a cop. Hearing the bad guy in the background convinces him. He walks into a police station and hands the phone to a desk cop named Mooney (William H. Macy) who also later on feels that something may not be right.

The movie's surprises, when they come, mostly seem to make sense. Finding out what the kidnappers want is not the big surprise. The movies main thrill is in the unbelievable amount of obstacles that stand in Ryan's way as he races to help Jessica (without even knowing what she looks like).

So the movie turns into a race against time as well as a Ryans dying phone battery. He holds up a store for a phone charger, steals a Ferrari when a truck hits his other stolen car, and runs out to the Los Angeles airport to warn Jessica's husband. Throughout there is also a freeway chase scene leaving many cars mangled in the wake but it is all acceptable cause after all Ryan is the hero and heroes can do anything in movies. There are plot holes aplenty but you have to fish them out. The rest of the movie has Ryan eluding or battling an increasingly large and intimidating array of villains.

The director, David R. Ellis provides plenty of fast paced chases and shoot-outs but he doesn't depend on them to make his movie work. A lot of effort and detail has been attended to showing how and why the characters behave. The movie has a lot to do with what the characters are thinking. Cellular works up a lot of laughs and a lot of suspense usually at the same time. The movie is slickly produced and very excitingly made even though there are very silly plot twists. The excellent cast makes the movie more believable. Thrillers don't have to be 100 percent plausible so after the first 20 minutes or so, keep your logic disconnected.

Sites Unseen

By Niloy

100 GB email accounts, anyone?
If you think Gmail's one GB account isn't big enough for you, then head over to the hriders.com site. They are giving away 100 GB accounts! Can you just believe them? Of course, the email service isn't as good as Gmail's one… but the size is 100 times bigger. And if you are somehow able to fill up the 100 GB, they'll give you a 1000 GB account. Damn!

Discover the forces of nature www.nationalgeographic.com/forcesofnature/
Earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and hurricanes… so devastating yet so interesting. This site let's you discover things you never knew about these disasters. You can also create your own disaster and "play" around with it.

A cool game I didn't knew existed. I wish I knew about it when I was at my boring school.
The folding art game… extremely easy and enjoyable. First, take a paper and fold it twice… then draw something wicked. Pass it to someone else and let him draw something. Take the drawing back and draw something wicked again. Let someone else draw something one last time. When it's finished, unfold it and be amazed. This site has a vast gallery of drawings made this way.

The real Y2K bug: Some people just has too much time to waste
When four years ago, when the whole world was buzzing about the terrible Y2K bug, some geeky folks just discovered that they have too much time to waste. So those geeks spent six long tiresome months determinedly working to create the ultimate Y2K bug. After spending six months working on their "monstrosity", they finally came up with a tricked-out computer that looks like a real bug and can flap two wings. Pity. Maybe, it's a good thing that the world isn't run by geeks.

Just a cool optical illusion
The best illusion I've seen so far. Nothing fancy, just a tricky image to confuse the "sights" department of your brain. Worth visiting.

Awesome pavement art
Some people are just too creative. This Julian Beever is one of those people who can easily amaze you by their work. He draws brilliant pictures in pavements, pictures which are so beautiful… that you fell like stopping staring at them in awe. I especially like his "3D" illusions.

Toughest game ever!
Yes, you have my word; this game is the toughest of all games, even tougher then chess. Still, it's pretty addictive…
All right, nice folks, let's end things here. I guess these links will be enough for one week. If you need to contact me about something, mail me at niloy.me@gmail.com


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