Posts in Category: Technology

My Terry Pratchett Obsession, Reading and TV

(Warning: A lot of links in this post. Proceed at the peril of your own time. Or someone else’s if that rocks your boat ;-) )

So I finished Jingo, book 21 of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. It’s my 3rd book in from the series in 2 weeks (Pyramids and Unseen Academicals. I am not reading the series in any particular order but then they only vaguely refer to previous books so it’s not a big deal). So yeah, I’m sort of obsessed with Discworld. The series combine two of my favourite genres of stories: Humour and Fantasy. Well I like SF too but it’s been so long since I read SF that it’s been long. So yeah.. But I digress.

Anyway, the best part about the Discworld series is the combination of real world issues with an astonishing blend of humour and poignancy. The humour, in many cases is straightforward but on so many occasions, it just creeps up on you and you’re like, hah, that’s so funny. And then the subtle underlying message hits you that you do a double take.

In addition to reading, I’ve also been trying to watch some TV shows. Primarily The Big Bang Theory which is a brilliant comedy sitcom by the makers of Two and a Half Men. It’s about a bunch of scientists and a cute blonde who is their neighbour. The “scientists” are hardcore nerds and the many of the episodes are themed on “nerdy” concepts. I get a lot of the nerdy jokes and can’t decide if that is a good thing or a bad, I mean with many folks considering me to be a nerd on first meeting (I don’t think I am a nerd because I’m not intelligent enough :-( )

Coming back to reading, I have a huge pile of books left to read (sadly no Discworlds left), a lot of them from Devanshi, and a lot others that I’ve been picking up obsessively but haven’t gotten round to reading. The problem, as I see it is, that whenever I look at a book I want to read, I just want to read another Discworld book and that just evaporates my mood to read. So now I’ve decided, no more Discworld (I plan to eventually own all the Discworld books) until I reduce the unread pile by at least a significant amount (let’s see how long this “resolution lasts.. Hah). Oh and I need to buy a couple of books:

(The second before I watch the movie with the lovely Rachel McAdams)
I think I should dedicate a shelf in my bookcase to all the unread books and then finish them off one by one. An upcoming trip should provide sometime for reading two of the books. Perhaps I’ll also make a list of all the pending books in a next post.

Lastly, I’ve been vaguely following all the iPad hype and thought it would be nice to have one to read my comics (electronic format obviously) but then thought it might not be so nice because of a few reasons:

  • Too expensive
  • Probably does not support CDisplay
  • It’s still the first version so will have a lot of limitations/bugs
  • It’s ecosystem is too closed for comfort or usage
  • It’s too expensive

Well, that’s a long post. Long by recent standards so I’ll close this now. More coming later.

Ps. Yes, I use a lot of parenthesis.

Bookmarks for June 26th through July 11th

I don’t know what to make of it but well

I’ll throw it out for you folks to even try to figure out what MS is trying!

(via)

Piratebay sold

According to Techdirt Piratebay was sold to a public Swedish company for about 8 Million US Dollars.
Huge news and good for the Piratebay folks.

Wonder what this means for the service and its uers though..

id Software Sold

id Software, the legendary makers of Doom, Wolfestein 3D (Wolf 3D), Quake has been sold to Zenimax Media, owners of Bethesda Softworks, creators of games like Oblivion, Elder Scrolls IV.

Wolfenstein 3D screenshot
Image via Wikipedia

id Software holds a special place in my heart for the countless hours of entertainment they gave me through Wolf, Doom and Quake. Wolf was the first FPS I ever player and absolutely loved it. I played it to death, in all modes, without and with cheat codes.

Episode I: Knee-Deep in the Dead takes place i...
Image via Wikipedia

Then came Doom and Doom 2, absolute classics, amazing games. And then came the kings, Quake and Quake 3. Somehow I missed playing Quake II but the others more than filled up my time to allow me to miss it.

And of course, John Carmack was my childhood hero, always seeing his name whenever I started Doom up.
I’m glad that with this deal, id will live on and produce new games. Hopefully I will be able to make more time and play those new games as well ;)

Bonus: A nice interview with John Carmack after the sale of id Software

Success = Monopoly = Antitrust? Why the MS antitrust case is just wrong

I came across an interesting article which articulates much of my own thoughts on the entire Microsoft Internet Explorer antitrust saga. The article on a blog JCXP which I came across for the first time. The blog seems to be by MS fanboys supporters is calling for a boycott of Opera Soft, makers of the amazing Opera browser. The article, Opera Boycott: Clearing up a few things is actually a follow up article to the initial call for boycott.

I have some thoughts on the points presented in the second article but before that the disclaimer: I’m not a MS supporter or an Opera hater. In fact the two primary browsers on my laptop was Mozilla Firefox and Opera. I dislike IE (at least 6 and 7) primarily because of the headaches they have given me and the PITA they have been to the whole design and web-development industry. This article is not an evangelizing of IE or MS but broader thoughts on the anti trust calls when an organization starts to succeed and gains significant market share.

With that out of the way, I quote a part of the article:

"But it’s against antitrust laws!". Good to know. I’ll gladly admit I know very little about European antitrust laws (ie. barely anything). All I know, and this has been my stance since the very beginning, is that Microsoft has (or should have) every right to include their own Internet Explorer web browser as the only and default option in Windows. This applies to any and all companies on any matter, not just Microsoft. If Microsoft were to file an antitrust complaint agaisnt[sic] Apple for including Safari as the default browser in OS X, I would be just as peeved. Many have been saying that Microsoft has been taking advantage of its dominance of the market by bundling IE with Windows and that they are forcing it on customers. I do not see how that is true in any way. Nothing has changed in the last 15 years. Internet Explorer has been an integral and key feature of Windows ever since Windows 95, before Microsoft "dominated" the market. It’s not like Microsoft only recently started bundling IE with Windows, it has been there all along.

This is a view point I agree with whole heartedly. Why should an organization which has succeeded so wholly and entirely on their own suddenly be branded as cheaters? If this is the case, than is it not applicable for _all_ utilities being bundled with an OS, any OS (calculator, graphics program, image viewer etc). Isn’t Apple being anti-competitive by bundling Safari (and only Safari) with OSX? Or consider this – If Intel manufactured CPU cooling fans and they were bundled with the CPU, would they be behaving anti-competitively? Even though there are a zillion other brands and types of CPU cooling fans available for the buyer to choose

Let’s take another example: IPods are the most popular portable media players. They work primarily with ITunes which is what is bundled with those devices. Additionally, installing iTunes also forces a user to install QuickTime (a very bad media player and bloat ware IMO). Is that not forcing the consumer out of a choice?

Yes, there is Winamp, GTKPod and hundreds of other apps which can be used to manage the iPod and view the media files. But they are NOT bundled with the iPod. Why should they? Apple should and is free to bundle what they want with THEIR product. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. And if you still buy it, don’t install it (ITunes that is. QuickTime unfortunately is SHOVED down everyone’s throats by ITunes. Ugh)In the same vein, there are lots of other browsers available on the Internet, most of them definitely better than IE. But that does not mean that MS should start bundling everyone of those with it’s OS. You don’t like the components, then either don’t buy Windows (there is always Linux) or don’t use the browser.

I am not saying that MS is all holy. If they use their influence to force computer makers to install their software or to pressurizing them against installing competitors software then they should be taken to task. That would be an abuse of monopoly, NOT including their own software in their own product.

My Thoughts on Opera Unite

Coming a bit late but I wanted to jot down my thoughts on Opera Unite. My first thought, it is an awesome concept with the potential to change the way the Internet is used and also a huge boon for the us users, but in a different manner than envisaged by the Unite team. But I also feel it is a bit lacking as I will explain below.

Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store – A short story

Read a trippy short story recently – Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store. It is a short science fiction-fantasy about, hmm, Books :D

The story is written in a nice easy style at a good pace. It features takes on the recession, layoffs, google and other topics with a hint of geek romance thrown in..

The story is pretty nice story but I disliked the evangelizing of Google. Except for the part extolling Google, the story was good and different.