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.