Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Phones I've owned

Sprint

LG LX1200 (08/2002)


Samsung VGA 1000 (01/2004)

Sanyo PM8200 (08/2004)

Sony Ericsson T608 (06/2005)

Nokia 6225 (12/2005)


Sprint PPC 6700 (01/2006)


Cingular

Sony Ericsson z520a (02/2006)


Sony Ericsson W600 (03/2006)

Sony Ericsson K750i (04/2006)


Verizon Palm Treo 700p (04/2006)


Verizon Motorola Q (11/2006)

Motorola RAZR V3x (11/2006)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quote of the day :)

"I do use the computer and learn something new about it every day, and probably forget something about it every day."


- probably the eldest YouTube user ( geriatric1927 ).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You have been pre-approved for identity theft!

Talking all about saving paper and things like that, I noticed my mailbox gets totally spammed with credit card offers and such, which I have never ever used. Besides the annoyance that you have to shred those "offers" so that nobody misuses them, they also fill up the mailbox and make a big mess.

Most of those companies get the details from credit reporting agencies. There is now a number you can call that will stop the credit agencies from giving out this information:

888-567-8688

It seems to be like the do-not-call list for phone, but this one is for mail.

I just got mine removed, time shall tell how well it works.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Car Value and Deprecation

I ran some numbers to find out what is the optimal time to sell a car. This is what came out of that.

As most people know, a car deprecates the maximum in first year, and then when its around 5 years old. After that, the deprecation becomes lower.



Numbers for Toyota Camry Solara SE Coupe. Original Cost $ 18,500. Source: edmunds.com

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My view on DRM

People complain about DRM a lot:
  • DRM sucks, its too restrictive.
  • I can't play a song on all the devices I own because of DRM, even though I have paid the full price.
  • My car stereo can't play the songs bought from iTunes unless I burn them in a CD.
  • My linux machine can't play the songs.
I totally agree with the fact that DRM is killing the experience, and its actually quite cumbersome and annoying to use for the end users. But, looking at what people have been doing, if there is no DRM, and if movies and songs get available to download easily, people will definitely copy them, either knowingly or un-knowingly.

DRM does give us some benefits, like:
  • Having been able to provide a eat-all subscription based service.
  • Providing movie rentals based on download.
  • Having been able to download files you have bought again, if u loose them.
  • Studios being able to monetize on individual downloads, and hence (probably), passing on the profits to content creators.
  • Stopping people from unauthorized copying the media.
What we really need to not "Kill" the DRM, but to "Fix" it. Right now, there are multiple providers of DRM: Apple, Microsoft, Real, etc. They do not work with each other, to the extent of hardware level. Creating a good DRM system takes a considerable amount of effort, and has a big business advantage for "lock-in". A person who owns 500 songs from iTunes will not switch away from Apple, just because it will all be lost. To have DRM do a little better, we need to:
  • Have just one DRM format, which is open, and controlled by a non-profit organization.
  • Make this format available for everyone royalty free, so people can get wild and implement it everywhere possible.
  • Have this format implemented in all the hardware devices, car stereos, phones, etc. and be able to authorize any device.
This will provide a better user experience, as people will be able to play their purchased media everywhere, and not locked in to a single provider. It will also be beneficial to the studios, who can focus on better content rather than fighting with the DRM companies to support more devices. People and Studios will be happy, the middle-man (iTunes, FairPlay, etc) will become redundant.

A typical use case for this will be:
  • Listening to a song on XM radio, you like it and immediately buy it in your JVC car stereo.
  • Now you copy this song to your iPod, and carry it around with you.
  • Once you reach home, you get this on your windows computer, and the linux based XBMC media center in living room so you can listen to it everywhere.
  • You can also put this song on your Symbian phone and set it as ring tone.
  • You can even buy a song from the gas station, and listen it on any of your device without worrying about compatibility issues.
There is nothing inherently wrong with DRM, its just wrong with one company controlling it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

He Who Knows...

An old poem I had learned in School (not sure who wrote this).

He who knows not and he knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him.
He who knows not and he knows that he knows not is a child. Teach him.
He who knows and he knows not that he knows is asleep. Awake him.
He who knows and he knows that he knows is wise. Follow him.

D.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

When to buy air tickets..

We all wonder what will be the optimal time to buy an air ticket. It typically is a couple of weeks beforehand, but if you have already missed that, there is this new website http://www.farecast.com which helps.

The site gives a graph of fares for your destination across a few months, and gives you recommendations on whether they are expected to rise or fall. They recently added a lot of cities (were only seattle previously), and chances are you will find your city there.

A really useful "web 2.0" website which is not about social networking :).

Friday, August 11, 2006

GSM vs CDMA

I am very passionate about cell phones, and the cellphone trend in US is quite disheartening. A major part of US wireless is on CDMA based technologies.

There is nothing wrong with CDMA in general (its a better technology than GSM), but in the implementation. Here is a list of some of the (consumer level) things where GSM has an edge:
  • CDMA was created by Qualcomm, which holds most of the patents in it. As it is mainly controlled by one company, the cost of maintaining a CDMA network is quite high as compared to GSM, which is an open standard.
  • Most of the chipsets in CDMA phones are also made by qualcomm, so there is lesser innovation as compared to GSM phones, which are made by a bunch of companies (compare any CDMA phone with a Nokia or SonyEricsson phone).
  • CDMA based phones are tied to the carrier, and there is nothing like 'SIM' card in it. You can not simply buy a phone from a store and activate it.
  • The newer versions of GSM (WCDMA, etc.) are getting mainstream, which is breaking CDMA's advantage of a better protocol (faster data transfer speeds).
Given these points, it becomes a very easy decision for the user to pick up GSM over CDMA, if there is no cost benefit. GSM is also gaining more and more ground as carieers are moving away from CDMA.

Here are some numbers on GSM and CDMA penetration (source: www.gsacom.com )

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Developer or Engineer

Someone: What do you do
Me: I am an engineer
Someone: So you are a developer.
Me: No an engineer
Someone: Isn't that the same ?
Me: No.
Someone: Huh??
Me: Engineer is someone who solves real world problems using science. Developer is someone who writes code.
Someone: Ahhhhh. Ok.

Enjoy!
D.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Plan your travel?

There are 2 kinds of people when it comes to travelling:

1. Those who plan the whole trip out in detail
2. Those who don't

I recently had a discussion with someone going to Europe through a travelling company (so was a package tour, everything included) on how in-depth they had planned the trip. They had talked with other people who had taken the same trip, and had a detailed plan on what to do each day, what to eat at which place, where to shop, where not to shop, what shows to see, what clothes to take, what care to take at each hotel, etc. They had notes that the Pizza you get at the Leaning Tower was not good, and they will need paper napkins on their first day in Paris because they will be served food out of a box.

Now, it is definitely going to make their trip a more comfortable, but then it sort of killed the whole excitement about going to a new place. There were no surprises left in the trip, everything they were doing was excepted. Also, their trip now got biased from the experiences of people they talked to. They also knew the jokes that the tour guide will make, which won't be funny any more.

Some planning is always good to do, so you don't end up in a mess, but planning like this is spoiling the trip. Next time you plan a trip, leave some place for exploration in that :). You might end up doing something totally unexpected, and will totally love it. As it is said, plan but don't overplan.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Picture(s) of the Day!

A girl wearing really "high" platforms. These bricks (oops... shoes) are the highest I have come across. Not sure about the reason behind wearing those, would be interesting to know how much they weigh.


Menu at King of Krung Siam Thai Restaurant, Mountain View. They have amongst the strangest (funniest) item names I have come across since a long time. Where else can you order "Ocean Girls" at a restaurant ;)


(Pictures taken with Sony Ericsson K750i)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Survival Guide to Indian (Gujju) <--> US English

These is a short list of some words that are useful from Indians travelling to US (and vice-versa). Words in brackets are Indian versions.

Apartment ( Flat )
House / Studio / Condo (Bungalow / Flat)
Job ( Office )
Office (Cabin)
Soda ( Any Cold Drink )
Gas (Petrol)
Gas Station (Petrol Pump)
Last Name (Surname)
Photocopy (Xerox)
Cop (Police)
School ( School / College!! )
Grade (Standard) [ for school, like he is in 4th grade ]
Kids (Children)
Comforter (Blanket)
Shower ( Bath )
To Go (Packed)
Candy (Chocolate)
Check (Bill)
Rest Room (Toilet)
Yogurt (Curd)
Couch (Sofa)
Hood (Bonnet)
Elevator (Lift)

If you know of any more words, add a comment to this blog :)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Worst Gifts

The most thoughtless gifts I have ever seen (Unless it is extremely well thought of):

1. Photo Frame
2. Key Chain
3. Flower Vase
4. Purse / Wallet
5. Pen Set

(A gift certificate might be more useful...)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Strings Concert in Oakland, CA



Strings just performed in Oakland. They are awesome performers on stage, and it was a charm to watch them sing. They played all their popular songs, and also some of the other songe (my fav. being Dama dum mast kalender, Koi kahe kehta rahe, etc). This is what sets apart great performers from just bands. Strings really involved the crowd, and made sure that they enjoy every bit of it. I wished they would sell CDs of their albums at the end of the show.

Here is a small clip someone took off their concert.

Yahoo Messenger blocks YouTube URLs

It seems that Yahoo Messenger removes all messages with youtube.com URLs in it. I was trying to send a link to a friend, and it never reached the other side. Even though Yahoo has a right to do whatever they want on their servers, this seems completely wrong.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sony Ericsson K750i -> W800

I recently bought the SE K750i Phone. It is a great phone, with a 2 MP camera which actually takes pretty good pictures. However, there were some issues with the phone which caused a minor annoyance:
1. It did not have the "search" function in address book. You can only go to the first character of a name, but cannot actually type in the full name.
2. Even though it had walkman functionality, you cannot use it on airplane.
3. I was having issues with its reception at some places (like my living room), where my old SE z520 was working fine.

So anyways, these things were enough to do something to resolve them. Because of the poor reception at home, I was even considering getting the Nokia 6270 (Nokia has a reputation to have really good reception). On looking up the web for playing around with K750i, I found some links where people installed the W800 firmware on this phone without any problem.

I followed the guide on http://www.esato.com/archive/t.php/t-113981. It uses a software from totalserver.net (which is around 15$) to flash the phone. However, the operation was flawless and within half an hour, I had a perfectly working W800 phone.

From initial looks, W800i is almost the same as K750i. Some people claim that it takes better pictures, and has a longer battery life. I have to verify this yet. But having a searchable address book and better reception alone was totally worth it.

Final Verdict: Sony Ericsson K750i with W800 Firmware ( Highly Recommended ).

Update: There are still major signal issues with Cingular on this phone.

Friday, June 02, 2006

"All your video are belong to us."

So we posted a down page with some fun.. and cnet posted a story on it!!

This is where the tagline is from.

http://news.com.com/YouTube+Our+humor%2C+not+our+hack/2100-1026_3-6079314.html?tag=nefd.top

Friday, May 12, 2006

A practical way to learn more about a language/tool

There are 2 kinds of programmers: Creators and Followers

Creators use the existing programming techniques to create something totally new, which has not been done before in that sense (example: AJAX). Other people then follow them and improvise on their techniques to solve their programming puzzles. People get surprised how the creators come up with all these interesting solutions, which are then posted on some forum or newsgroup for everyone else to use (copy).

However, as you might have guessed, you can never be a creator by simply going to newsgroups to find a solution of your problem. Solutions that other people have posted may or may not be the best solutions, and unless you think independently, it will not be easy find out. This does not mean that you should never look how other people have done it. I think the best approach is to come up with a solution yourself, and then compare it with what everyone else has to done rather than googling it at the very first shot. In some of the cases, you will end with the similar solution as other people, and in some, you will have your own unique solution (don't forget to compare it with others). In order to do this, you will be going through manuals/documentation of the language or tool you are using, and are most likely to learn at-least one new thing, or a better solution to something you have done in the past. You also have more confidence on how things will work than just pasting somebody else's code.

So to conclude: Think before going to google for that solution.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Confusion: Funny or Annoying?

So I saw the new hindi movie 'Maalamal', and despite of my friends loving the movie, I could barely stand it. On thinking about the 'funny' stuff in the movie, I realized that there is a particular 'type' of humor that I find quite irritating.

Its basically when they try to produce humor with confusion and stupidity. Now, it does not mean that this kind of content is bad by its own. But when confusion is created without it being necessary, on the basis of 'lies', just to create 'humor', then it looses the funniness. An example for this will be someone will lie in the beginning of the movie for no reason at all, and then try to hide the lie by saying more lies (again, which are not required). Or someone doing something insanely dumb to create confusion.

Confusion created genuinely is funny. Seinfield or Raymond has all the confusion that can be present in the world, and that is quite humorous. This confusion is not created just for the heck of creating it, but it actually just "appears" naturally.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Voice Mail Messages

There is a very easy way to find out which cell phone carrier does a person have from their voice mail. This is the message played after their personal message.

T-Mobile: Record your message after the tone. To send a numeric page, press 5. When you are finished recording, hang up; or for delivery options, press 9. (Beep).

Cingular:
To page this person, press 5 now. (Beep).

Sprint:
To leave a voice message, press 1 or just wait for the tone. To send a numeric page, press 2 now. (Beep)

Verizon:
At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished recording, you may hang up or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5. (Beep)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Is Apple more 'evil' than Microsoft?

Its been a really long time since I've heard anything against Apple, it seems that they are doing everything perfect. People are loving them, and their market share in computers is expected to reach around 8% by the end of this year! However, we must realize that Apple was never able to gain a bigger market share because they 'locked' their users to use everything made by them. Even though they make cool products, it does not mean that they are less 'evil'. Here are a few points:
  • iPod only supports iTunes, and iTunes DRM. It can not be used with any other media player, so you are locked on it.
  • Apple DRM only works with iTunes+iPod, and not with any other hardware.
  • Mac OS X runs only on apple hardware.
  • You have to buy a 'pro' version of Apple Quicktime to watch full screen videos!
  • Apple has a reputation to destroy companies who have made innovative apps (Sherlock, Konfabulator, etc). The companies are not even credited for it.
  • They have way too many releases with really miniscule changes (Mac OS X 10.1 - 10.4 have very small changes in each subsequent release. Same with iLife. Its ridiculous how Apple makes you buy a new version of OS and iLife every year).

Now, as compared to them, windows locks you to use their software, but you are free to use any hardware. Also, they don't charge their users for Service Packs :D.

So who is more evil ?

Written on a 15" Apple Powerbook

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Lip Balm Reviews

So I realized that I have like 7 different types of lip balm sticks, so thought of writing a short review. Its not that I am obsessed with them, but most of them don't do the job well, and you are required to apply them every now and them, so I end up buying one whenever something interesting appears on the shelves.

Here is the list:
1. Chap Stick ( $1-2)
2. Neutrogina Lip Balm ( $3 )
3. Blistex Lip Balm ($1-2)
4. Some 'Nature' Aloe Vera Lip Balm from Trader Joes ($1-2)
5. Jamba Juice 'Aloha Pinapple' Lip Balm ($1.5)
6. Loccitane Shea Butter Lip Balm ( $10 )
7. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm ( $3 )

Of all these, the first 3 just feel like solidified petroleum jelly. They just form a layer over the skin, and are far away from any sort of moisturizer. You have to apply it very frequently, and it does not really help a lot. The Aloe Vera one does have something added to it which gives a slight cooling effect, but its the same. Jamba Juice one is more for the 'flavor' ;), isn't really helpful for the purpose it is made for.

I would say that the Loccitane one was quite good, it does have a decent amount of 'moisturize' effect. However, its price is quite steep at 10$ a piece. Also, the actual 'stick' has a wierd plastic case, which tends to crack. I think the clear winner in this is the Burt's Bees Beeswax. It contains peppermint, which is really awesome, and it has a good moisturizer in it, so has to be applied less frequently. Its also reasonably priced at around $3 a stick. Its available at most of the stores in malls and other places.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A way to prevent spending..

Starting March 5th, I had decided to put a 1 month moratorium on all the spending except basic necesseties like food and drinks. There were multiple instances during these 10 days where the moratorium saved me from spending, which I would have done otherwise. This is specially to stop spending money on 'impulsive purchases', which are the things that you don't need.

If you feel strongly for buying something, make sure you don't buy it for a few days. It will kill the desire of unwanted spending, and will actually make you happy that the money didn't go wasted. Now, even after a few days, if you feel the need of that item, then you can go ahead and buy it. Most of the time, you won't :).

Following are the list of items I would have bought otherwise:
1. Sony Erricson P910 PDA Phone
2. Building a custom DVR (Tivo)
3. Playstation 2 with Katamari Damacy

So, during this time, I have learned to delay purchasing anything by atleast 10 days. If you can live without it for that time, you probably don't need it.

Enjoy!
D.

p.s. I am not sure how long this kind of control will last, and the bubble will burst ;)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Days of a week..

Here are some views on the days of a week..

Monday
: This is the first day of the week. You just had a super-exciting weekend. You are all charged up for work. "I Love Mondays. Anything can happen on a monday."

Tuesday: Hmm.. the week is going on. Last weekend's memories are fading, and there is no weekend on the horizon. Life starts to suck. So much work to do.

Wednesday: Oh man. There are no memories left of last weekend, the the next weekend is sooooo far. There is very little work done in the last 2 days, and tons of work to do. Can there be a worse day in life ??

Thursday: Ahhh.. finally weekend can be seen. Tomorrow is friday. The best day in a week. Work is winding up. People are getting in a holiday mood. Spring is coming, the snow is over. Plans are being made for the weekend.

Friday: Needs no explaination. Undisputably the best day of the week.

Saturday: Oh man.. such a hangover from friday. Lets chill in the day, have to go out in the night. Oh wait.. we have to go hiking today and rest tomorrow before partying in the evening.

Sunday: Tired by friday and saturday, out of energy. No more holidays left. A dreadful work week waiting for u. No plans for the evening. Why does good things get over so fast?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

When will Gmail come out of beta!

I used to be a big supporter of gmail for the features it provides. I was totally addicted to the threading, and their pop+smtp support. They have some really cool (and useful) features, like the outgoing mail from smtp server will be added to the thread, popped emails will be archived instead of deleted, etc. My primary email (off dwipal.com domain) was being routed to the gmail account. However, gmail has always been plagued by realibility issues, which, even though I hoped will be resolved soon, are still there even after almost a year of usage.

1. Their pop and smtp servers go down a lot.
2. Emails get delayed, sometimes by hours.
3. I am not sure about this, but some friends claim to have sent me an email which i never received.

So i got off gmail till these things get resolved. Wonder when they will come out of "beta"!

Monday, March 06, 2006

How much space do you like to have?

I am kindof a social person, like to have people around me. Staying alone usually bores the hell out of me. So I was once having a small conversation with a friend, and she is the completely opposite of me. She likes to spend time with "herself". Her favorite dialogue is "I love my company".

Someone may say that if you have a ton of people hanging out at your place, you will prefer to spend time on your own self, and if you usually are on your own, you will enjoy some company, and there is always a balance created. But knowing my friend since a long time, I can totally deduce that some people just like to spend time on their own, and I simply to prefer to have people around me.

Just a point to ponder.. what kind of person are you?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

JMIBBrowser released on sourceforge

So I have finally released the MIB Browser on sourceforge. It now uses the SNMP4J Libraries, and provides better "Set" support.

Here is the sourceforge page:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/jmibbrowser

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Splash of Life :)

Inspired by the goldfish in "Me, You and Everyone We Know", and having nothing better to do on a rainy sunday afternoon, I decided to buy a fish. It is also a precursor of my ultimate target to get a dog.

So I dragged 2 of my friends to a store called "Seascapes" in mountain view. I wanted to start small.. just 1 fish in a hassle-free container. The lady there was very helpful, and patiently answered all the random questions we shot at her.

Finally, we ended up buying a nice bright strawberry colored "Male Betta" fish. Bettas are one of the few fishes that can survive in a small tank. They breath the oxygen from air, so don't need a filter in the tank. They also are "loners", will actually fight till death if 2 of them are kept together.

After an extremely strong and threatening recommendation from a friend, the fish has been named "Splash". In the last 20 hours, he has been pretty active. He immediately eats the food dropped in the pot (will upload a video soon). He is expected to live around 5 years under normal circumstances, am looking forward for that.

Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure...




Google eBayse

There has been some noise around google coming out with their payment option on their google base service. Having worked with paypal in the past, things like these are always interesting to dig into. I was never exactly convinced with the idea of google base to replace ebay or craigslist, their interface simply doesn't appeal. (Check out http://www.edgeio.com if you like structured blogging) Anyways, so I thought of checking it out by trying to find out tickets of "Yeah Yeah Yeah" concert due in SF on 2nd March.

1. Go to base.google.com
2. Click on "tickets". Get a long list of tote bags (wtf)!
3. Search for "Yeah Yeah Yeah" in tickets.
4. Click on one of the ads for san francisco
5. The ad is by some site called "http://www.mostwatchedmovies.com".
6. The "Buy Now" button on this ad takes you to the eBay listing! (Ahhh.. free advertisement for ebay)

This is a side effect of google base allowing people to list items for free. Because they have APIs and stuff to post, it becomes very easy for someone to dump their entire ebay items list on google base. As eBay charges for items, and craigslist needs manual involvement for posting each item, the junk stays away.

Lets see if google gets lucky on this one..

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Movie: Me and You and Everyone We Know

A friend just recommended me this movie.

Its about how people struggle to connect with each other in today's world. Its an extremely simple, light hearted movie which will leave you with heavy heart. The more you think about this movie, the more you realize how true it is.

If you watch only one movie per year, this is the one.

Here is the homepage of this movie: http://www.meandyoumovie.com/

Sunshine in Portland!

So I just visited portland and seattle over the long weekend. It was a pretty much chilled out vacation, basically relaxed and hanged out with my whole jingband of friends. We visited Multinoa falls in Portland, 2 Indian restaurants in Seattle( Cedars was one of them) and Trinity Club. The best part about this trip was there was absolutely no rain (Saturday was actually a nice sunny day). It was pretty cold, though :)

This video summarizes the entire trip..




In case you are curious how it was made:
  • All pictures and clips taken using Canon SD400 Camera
  • Movie editing done using iMovie HD on G4 Powerbook
  • Original movie encoded in DIVX Format.
  • Video hosted on YouTube.com

GSM Phone Rant..

I recently switched to Cingular because i wanted a GSM based phone. For some unknown random reasons, GSM phones are less crippled and have more "basic" features than CDMA phones. They also have a SIM card, which can simply be put in a different phone.

Most of the new GSM phones that are coming out are either tri-band or quad-band. Cingular runs on 2 bands, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. However, the new (and awesome) tri-band phones like Nokia N Series, SE W800, etc. dont have the 850 MHz band. This is probably because the rest of the world do not use this band.

Is it that difficult to create a quad band phone? Are American phone companies so annoyingly bad that they don't promote a quad band phone? People who buy these unlocked phones are paying the same service charge, so the companies actually make more money as they dont give away a free phone! If a small phone like the Motorola RAZR can be quad band, what might be stopping other phones from that?

Its so not fair.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Phone Story...

So I have been in the market for a new phone since a really long time now. After giving a shot to the Sprint PM6800 PDA Phone, which was a really bad experience in all the terms (Windows PocketPC+Mac interoperability, Sprint Customer Support and others), I decided that it was the time to move away from CDMA to the more "open" GSM phones.

After checking out all the phones, there were not many options available for Cingular compatible phones (there are very few quad-band, or 850 Mhz tri-band phones in the market). So I decided not to get something very fancy and ordered the Sony Ericsson Z520a from Amazon.com (it was -100$ after rebates!)

Having waited impatiently for 3 days, it finally arrived, and I set it up and called cingular to port my old number to this new one. They advised me to confirm with amazon if I can do this. Well, anyways, I called Amazon, and they said that my rebate will be cancelled if I ported the old number to this one !!!! Its like WTH! I could have just bought the phone from a store and not wait for 2 days !!! No wonder AMZN stock is going down.

So basically, in the end, I decided to give it all up and just got the number ported. Now I am a proud owner of the Sony Ericsson Z520a GSM phone. This phone has all the features I wanted (bluetooth sync, remote control, flip phone, good battery life) without the extra baggage. Its all going to be a happy ending with a good phone that is not badly crippled by the provider.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Web 2.0 Logos


LOGO2.0_2
Originally uploaded by Stabilo Boss.
Found this on flickr, has logos of all the great Web 2.0 companies. (No, yahoo, ebay, google etc. are not on it and yes, YouTube is there in the list.).

In case you are wondering where these compnies are.. someone has done a great job using google maps.
http://www.fourio.com/web20map/

Monday, January 30, 2006

Temporal Happiness

I am very happy with my life. Everything is great. However, there are still a lot of moments of "unhappiness". So on thinking the reasons for that, I realized that a lot of this is directly connected to satisfaction. If you are satisfied, you will be happy. Ok, there are some contradictions to this, like if you are satisfied with the life then you will never grow and stuff like that, but thats not the topic of this blog.

Now, if you have no "real" issues, what can make you unhappy (or unsatisfied?). For me, these are the small things that are supposed to make the life better, like the phone, the computer, the televsion, the ipod, the apartment, etc. I have realized that these things in generally keeps me more unsatisfied rather than satisfied. There is always a compromise when u get a new one, the features you want are either not available or they are not affordable. Whenever there is a compromise, the level of satisfaction goes down. It also depends upon the expectations. There are so many people who are satisfied with what they have, and do not really expect a lot from these things (these are just stupid worldly things, afterall). I have a few friends like that, and I feel they are truely happy. They don't really understand how someone can be unhappy because their cell phone does not support a software which lets you control the computer mouse with the phone.

All these materialistic things only get you temporal happiness, but then not getting these things is probably even worse (unless you are a monk). I don't know what the solution is, may be will find out some day (become a monk is not a solution) !

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Staring at the TV.. with a laptop in my hands.

My first attempt towards song-writing....

You think you like it, just because its always there
You think you know it, just because its always fair
But now you are thinking, what has it ever given to you
All this time, and nothing that you ever do

Staring at the TV, with the laptop in my hands
websites scroll and the episodes go by, but my heart dont give a damn
and my eyes say go read something, but my brain dont understand
'coz im staring at the TV, with the laptop in my hands

(inspired from a Bon Jovi song)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Challenge yourself !

As we all know, life is full of challenges. Challenge to get into a good school, good college, good job, good position, everything. Some of them are long term, and are generally resolved as time passes. Some of them are short term, and need immediate attention, for example, to finish a very important assignment at school, or to get a job after graduation. Short term challenges create a sense of tension in us, and when they are achieved, we feel happy. They also keep us busy and minds occupied until they are resolved.

However, what happens when there are no challenges? There is no tension, the mind gets free. Then we start thinking about doing new things we like in this free time. We go on vacation, eat good food, watch favorite movies, go partying with friends. However, there is still a sense of boredom. When you tell this to other people who are fighting with problems, they laugh on you. There are no problems in our life, which starts becoming a problem. There is nothing to look forward to, no big mountain to climb. Life becomes predictable. We cannot figure out how to get the zing back in life (and creating problems is not the answer).

One solution is to create challenges for yourself, doing things that you always thought to be difficult or impossible to do. For example, playing a musical instrument, writing a poem, training for marathon, learning a new sport, or simply watching all the movies involving Woody Allen. These things may not be real challenges, but they surely brings hapiness back to the life when they are achieved. So whenever you think you are bored, take up something you have never done.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Video Game Consoles: Then and Now

I have been an avid video-game player since childhood, and used to spend entire days playing games like mario, tennis, pro-am, etc. Then came the computer, and it immediately replaced the gaming consoles for me. I started with the old DOS games like cat, para-trooper, bricks on a good old hercules "soft white" monitor. They were replaced with more graphic games like gpcga, indy, prince of persia, F15 Flight Simulator, and then by the great 3d games like wolf, doom, duke, sim-city, warcraft, and the list goes on and on. There were always the PS1, dreamcast, etc. consoles, but they never got big in India.

Then I came to US to study, and got myself a nice XBOX as soon as I graduated. However, surprisingly, I never caught on to it as i was on the older games, they were all the same games with slightly more bells and whistles. The XBOX controller was same as the original nintendo controller, just with more buttons on it. No fundamental change (well, except the online gaming stuff). And before I could fully utilize it, all is upgraded again. We now have the XBOX 360 out in market, with PS3 and Nintendo Revolution following.

These new consoles are a major upgrade to the existing ones in all aspects, processor, memory, graphics capability, etc. However, there is still no fundamental change in XBOX and PS3, they are just beefier now. They are super-hyped for their graphics capability, I wonder if it actually makes the gameplay better.

Talking about innovation, the Nintendo Revolution is the only one that has been designed "out of the box". Nintendo always had the "less powerful" consoles, but always had the games focussed on more fun-factor and game play rather than graphics. With this new console, I have my full faith that they will be back on the top. You can check out this video to find out why its worth the wait.



Happy Gaming !!

Tea, Coffee and Starbucks

America is all about capitalism. Its about the big corporations. There are various good and bad things about capitalism, which is not a part of this blog.

However, what I want to write is what Starbucks has done to people who start their day with these beverages. Starbucks has bought a whole lot of smaller/better/competetor (Seattle's Best, Torrefazione Italia, etc.) coffee chains and replaced them with their own franchise.

A result of this is, a lot of people have gotten used to drink really crappy coffee and tea. I am not a coffee connoisour, and am mostly a tea drinker. I have tried all the different varieties of tea available at these places, and its so bad that I actually had to throw it away. Whats even more amusing that starbucks advertise themselves as selling the best tea/coffee. They call the Indian tea as "Chai Tea" made from some "powder" mixed in milk, which simply shows how shallow they are. (Chai actually means "tea", specifically from "CTC Tea", which is boiled with (optional) spices and milk.).

Well, the bottomline is that places like these are corrupting the minds of people in making them believe that the special "burnt" roasted coffee they sell is actually good, and the "chai tea" in a plastic cup with a small hole on the top (which may be designed to hide the foul smell of the beverage) is an exquisite beverage to drink. The only way that we can stop these places from prospering at the cost of good coffee is to not buy beverages from there. Because of their scale, they will probably never be able to sell the best beverages around, but atleast they will stop shutting down the smaller chains who actually care about the quality rather than fancy names and wireless internet.

"Friends don't let friends go to starbucks" (A quote from Dana Street Roasting Company, Mountain View)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Why people fail to commit in a relationship

I recently made a very simple observation that seems to be the basis of failure of people to commit in a relationship. Basically, a person knowingly (or unknowingly) sets a certain level of expectation from their partner. If the partner exceeds these expectations, then the person will be willing to commit. The same holds true for the partner. Now, in real life, people always tend to go out with people who make them feel good, and exceed their expectations. Expectations may be in different forms, like looks, money, certain hobbies, or everything ;). So, when someone is looking for a partner, they will only commit to people who are above their expectations. However, as the other person is above the expectations, the first person might not match the expectations of this person, and fall below his/her expectations and there will not be a commitment. Having a casual relationship is a completely different issue, where the expectations are not properly set. However, as it goes forward, they get more and more clear. This is probably a reason why people with different professional backgrounds get along well with each other... their expectations are completely disjoint from one another.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Why I Hate Apple

Apple has always played games with me. Here is a list:

1. I bought the iB
ook G3 (my first apple). 35 days after that, all iBooks were upgraded to G4.
2. The iBook came with Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar). It soon got obsolete and Tiger came in. So i bought Mac OS X 10.3 (Tiger). Within a couple of months it was upgraded to Panther.
3. Same thing happened with iLife. 2 upgrades in <2 years.
4. Then I bought the all new upgraded powerbook G4, with a ultra bright LCD and stuff. And now apple announced the new Intel Based Apple MacBooks.
5. Because things got upgraded as soon as i bought them, I got the new iPod Photo as soon as it came out. And then they slashed the prices in 1.5 months of that.

Well, technically, it might be my fault, that I am stuck in the wrong upgrade cycle. However, I strongly feel that a Mac should feel like its the latest for atleast 9-12 months.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How do you read the news?

Every morning, the first thing I (and a lot of people) do is to check the news. Internet has made it easy to get the latest news whenever we want. News aggregator sites like news.google.com help by consolidating everything on one page. However, I am still in the look of "the perfect news site".

Google news has a good 2-column layout, but their news are "too automated". Yahoo news has good content, but their layout sucks. I also go to some other random sites for different news. In general, no website gives the ease of an actual newspaper with the latest news.

RSS feeds from news websites can help us achieve this, but most RSS readers aren't meant for reading multiple feeds at the same time. I have attempted to create a news page according to my taste, which gives a feel of a regular newspaper. It has too much content, but the content does not change much during the day. You can check it out at http://www.dwipal.com/news.php.

Let me know if you have some good suggestions for this.