Posts in Category: Computers

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.

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.

Book Review: Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers

Vacuum tubes in the ENIACRemember your high school computer theory class? References to the “ancient” (in computer innovation time) machines which utilized vacuum tubes, drum memories, ferrite rings? Remember ENIAC, UNIVAC, EDVAC etc? If these terms bring back nostalgic memories of your high school computer course and the thoughts imagining what these machines looked like, then Core Memory is the book to refer.

Random Number Generator

– I found this article quite a good take on the US Presidential race. What will it take for politicians to be more honest and actually work for a country and it’s people rather than amassing money or power. I think politicians are the worst scumbags on the face of the planets ahead of lawyers (Matko, no offense meant to you)
(I usually write about politics but this article was a very interesting analysis of the state of politics)

– Devegowda is one of the worst politicians ever to walk this country. And he is scum

– I really really want a MacBook Pro with the new Mac OS, Leopard.

– I need to sleep, write, read and work (in that order) but do not have time to do all.

– I came up with this quote

– Of late, music helps me get through a day

GPL is too restrictive

I want to base a theme on Sandbox but unfortunately it is based on GPL which I think is too restrictive. I would rather have it in LGPL/MIT/AFL (Even MPL) instead which are more open and non-restrictive.

Sigh.. I’ll have to look for another theme though I doubt any will match the awesome Sandbox. I wish Scott would provide dual licensing.

Google Analytics Invite

I have about 2, maybe 3 Google Analytics invite code available. I had signed up with a couple of email id’s since I wanted to try it out desperately at the time. Having got one a few weeks back, I got a few more yesterday which I have no use for. So I can hand them out. If anyone wants, either email me or leave a comment within the next 10 days and I’ll send you the invite code. :)
For information, Google Analytics is the statistics application which has been partly developed by Google after it’s acquisition of Urchin, at one point, one of the most hyped and expected statistics service for websites and blogs alike. For more information, visit the Google Analytics site..

Update: Sent out all the invites! None left now! Hope those who got them have fun ;)

Microsoft purchasing part of Yahoo?

Can and is Microsoft planning purchase a part of Yahoo!? Cnn Money seems to think so.
Everyone knows that Microsoft is running scared of Google‘s advancement in search and online advertising marketshare and the way it has leaped clear over everyone else. Microsoft’s own search engine, MSN is lagging quite a bit behind Google in terms of users. Even Hotmail is under serious threat from Gmail.

But will Microsoft be willing to join nay marry it’s longtime former rival (before Google) to take on Google? Time will tell. But if it happens, it will be a partnership of the decade.

Original Article at Cnn Money.

Desicritics

There is a blog I’ve recently started following, called Desicritics which is a part of a blog network called Blogcritics. The Desicritics blog consists of a huge bunch of writers who write almost daily on a wide range of topics related mainly to India and south east Asia. But they do write about some other topics which are significant and in the limelight at the time.

The articles are very well written, succinct and fun to read. But do be warned that it’s a very high volume blog due to the multitude of writers. But for good content about India, visit it and read it more often :)