Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Movie Review : Frozen

Movie Review : Frozen
I was somewhat excited to see this movie. I love Disney animation, and had heard this movie (through its pretty solid reviews) was a return to form to classic Disney with some modern zest added.

Does it live up to that ? I'll let you decide.

The Good
  • Had some genuinely funny moments, in a whimsical sort of way. Some slapstick for all ages, some subtle jabs older audiences will like, and some satire, as many of the moments feel as if Disney is poking fun at itself and its history.
  • The movie definitely has its own sense of identity, with very different pacing & character arcs one would expect from a Disney film. Points for eschewing tradition.
  • The cast is for the most part well voiced.
  • The reindeer character and another somewhat-spoilery character I won't mention are fairly cute and funny. The unmentioned character also has probably the best song in the movie.
The Bad
  • The plot is... incomprehensible. I know it's a family animation film for all ages, but there are so many moments where anyone with the slightest common sense could either a) fix a problem, b) prevent a problem from happening, or c) realize that the decisions being made are contrary to the motivations of everyone involved. I'll include a few here!
  • Why would a foreign prince be named regent over a land he has no attachment to? And why would the locals stand for such a regency? On that note, who was regent before Elsa was coronated, and why wouldn't they assume the regency?
  • Why would Elsa's parents hide her when they knew she would become Queen one day, and would thus be woefully unprepared to assume the responsibility?
  • Why wouldn't Elsa merely abdicate her throne to her sister so she could safely remain out of the limelight as she desires?
  • Why would the Trolls remove Anna's memories from her, as it would obviously become a problem later on?
Movie Review : Frozen
I could go on, but it's really not important. Plot continuity was not a major focus for this movie, and it may have been hampered by the fact that there were two directors on the project. It just bugs me, but it probably won't bug kids watching. More on the bad...
  • The movie chugged along pretty fast, especially in the beginning, leading to a lot of emotionally-charged moments the movie hadn't really earned yet. Especially during the many, many, many songs, which while overall were well-performed, few were particularly memorable (not in a positive way, anyhow).
The Ugly
  • Reindeer spit. Ugh. Just kidding; the art & animation were pretty easy on the eyes throughout.
The Verdict
If you're looking for the modern Mulan, or Lion King, or Beauty and the Beast, look elsewhere. This movie is fun -- especially for kids

    Need for Open Source Government

    I have a pretty radical idea that I think has the potential to do a lot of good if it can be refined well enough and could get enough backing.

    The first thing I want to say is that our government and the entire way the system is set up is clearly imperfect. We can agree on that right? That things could be better? Cool.

    I also want to take the time to introduce anyone who is not familiar with it to the idea of open source The tl;dr of it all is that software developers develop software, and not only release that software for free, but also release what's known as the source code, the instructions that actually make the program work. Anyone else is free to do what the source code what they want, they can modify it and re-release it as their own product, or if they think they can make a beneficial change to it they can make the changes and then the author (which is often a community of people rather than just one person) can adopt those beneficial changes. All the work is done for free, for the purpose of bettering a tool that everyone can use.

    Now, what if our government worked that way as well? What if anyone was free to make a suggestion to how a law should be changed? And what if those changes were adopted or rejected based on what the entire community wanted? Essentially, let's say you think you have a better idea of how a law could be written, and you make that suggestion. Everyone in the country can look over your suggestion, decide whether or not they agree with you, and vote on it. If the majority of the country likes the change, it is adopted.

    What I am proposing, and feel free to make suggestions on how to improve this proposal, is that we gather a bunch of software developers to make an open-source government system that works on direct votes. The software would be open-source, so everyone is free to look into how it works and there's a guarantee of no shady business. The people would all have an identity on this system and they could directly vote on the topics that were pertinent to them. For topics that they are not knowledgeable about, they could elect to have someone else vote on their behalf. They would be free to take back those elections as they saw fit (such as if the person they originally trusted to vote for them began to vote in ways that they would not).

    Now for this to work would require the meeting of many challenges, the first and most obvious one being that all of the citizens would have to agree to start abiding by this new government, and reject the old government. Obviously, the people in positions of power in the government now would strongly oppose this shift, as all of a sudden they would only have as much power as everyone else. There would most likely also be a lot of opposition from people who simply did not trust this new system, or did not trust that enough people would abide by it to make it work.

    Another large challenge would be, who do we trust to operate this system? Corruption is what led us to the problems we face today. To make this system corruption resistant, I propose a decentralized operation, meaning no one in particular runs the system any more than anyone else. It's a completely community-driven and community-controlled government, a true For The People, by The People..

    Now for the technical part of this proposal. Open-source software, with a decentralized database. Obviously we would need strong encryption and some method of keeping the system from being hacked (hoping someone with more security knowledge could chime in here). We would also need some way to guarantee that each vote was made by an actual person and that each person only had the ability to vote once (possibly some combination of social security numbers and three-factor authentication?).

    There's a lot of room for improvement and I think my idea may be on to something. Obviously this is still very under-developed but I want to get outside opinions on it and just let the community take it from here.

    tl;dr A lot of people are unhappy with our current government. I propose we stop giving them authority over us and institute a new, honest government system.

    Fight for Net Neutrality

    The Internet doesn't function without data being transported from your machine to other remote machines. If you think the data the other machines hold you are connecting to as the "Internet", then you are going to have a bad time. If you count the "network" of equipment in between your computer and the that remote machine as the "Internet" then you are thinking we are fucked on this whole net neutrality topic. And we are, and rightfully so. We let them do this to us, WE LET THEM.

    We seem to be at a strange road with technology and society. There is this idea that the Internet is not owned by anyone, that is is a free and open zone that is somehow ethereal. This is not true, and if you think so you don't understand the Transport Layer of the OSI model.

    This layer consists of very expensive to purchase, expensive to monitor, and expensive to maintain equipment and cabling. You supposedly pay your carrier fees to cover these costs, and they make a profits on it. These carriers can be many varied types of companies, but most are re-sellers of telephone company bandwidth. Even cable companies. Mostly cable companies.

    What most people don't know is that these cable companies often don't own much of their "network" and they are just piggybacking the telephone company high speed lines (OC48 to OC192 level and such). They only cover the getting from their gateway to yours. You are paying them way too much for this and it's obvious, and you are angry, most of you.

    The problem is the telephone company isn't offering consumers any better options. They are using the cable companies as a shield from you. Know this. They don't want you to get DSL, they want you to get cable. It's like how companies now aren't even staffing HR departments, they just use staffing companies. Think of the cable companies as those people, just taking money for really nothing. I wont get into the differences in line speeds between DSL and cable broadband, and how the cable networks "pool" neighborhoods and business areas and nothing is "dedicated" like with DSL (why cable sees more extreme slow downs than DSL during peak times, but overall seems to run much faster than DSL on off hours) but know that even though you are paying Comcast, your data is using the telephone company. KNOW IT!

    In most cases even those VOIP Cable Telephone are the telcos also. Wide Open West and many others simply re-brand a Sprint VOIP network that they set up to purely sell to cable companies so they didn't have to set up their own call centers. There is nothing WOW about it, 100% Sprint. Cable companies are not necessary, and they know it. They are a middle man that serves absolutely no purpose other than setting up call centers in India. Or wouldn't if the telcos would shape up and get their fiber networks ran.

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Movie Review: 2 States

    Movie Review: 2 States
    2 States Poster
    I fell in love with the story long back when I read the book '2 States' by Chetan Bhaghat. Now I get to live it through the movie.

    This is not just a story but a reminder to our future generations. Movie portrays not just the difference between our communities but also our cultures and backgrounds.

    Anannya & Krrish not only made their love impeccable but also sustainable throughout their journey of convincing their parents about their marriage.

    Movie Review: 2 States
    Anannya & Krissh
    Since this is review I won't be talking much about the plot (for that I suggest you to watch the movie) rather I'll be expressing my views, thoughts about the couple, their love & obstacles they had to overcome along their journey.

    I know this is fictional movie and does not resemble any person living or dead. but I wish it were a true story. I was so moved by the movie that I'm certain I will marry the one I love the similar way, I'll convince my parents, my relatives and it doesn't matter where the girl comes from as long as she shares my concern for convincing our parents and hold the same love as I hold towards her :)

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Was Snowden's actions futile ? Is he a traitor ? I refuse to believe that.

    You state/ask "What Snowden has done is draw a very defined and unremovable line between the government and the major populace?" I wouldn't argue that this line doesn't exist, but it may be hard to defend the idea that Snowden was the one to draw it. The line has existed forever. It was made thicker when the programs he disclosed started, by those who started them; all Snowden did was make people aware of it.

    "What's "bad" is the fact that he has sown seeds of dissent within the minds and hearts of hundreds of millions of people, which have since taken root and entrenched themselves within the collective mindset of various communities all around the world."

    Live Coverage: ISS Spacewalk

    The spacewalk or EVA (Extra-vehicular activity) to replace a defect component outside the International Space Station is about to begin. NASA provides live coverage at:

    NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson are scheduled to venture outside the space station to replace a backup multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM) that failed during routine testing April 11. The box is one of the station's two external MDMs that provide commands to some of the space station's systems, including the external cooling system, solar alpha rotary joints and mobile transporter rail car. The EVA is scheduled to take about 2.5 hours.

    The main spacewalk is over. A recording of the coverage is available here: starting at 00:53:00.

    Ubuntu 14.04 tweaks

    Ubuntu 14.04 tweaks
    Image: Ubuntu Tweak
    Using an operating system does not mean just Installing it and leaving it like that. Many people like to configure/tweak it according to their lifestyle for maximum productivity & efficiency and this applies to all the operating systems. [Maybe not for Windows, it just sucks no matter how many tweaks you apply. or Maybe I don't get it]

    So here are the 'must have' tweaks for Ubuntu 14.04.

    1. Remove those shopping suggestions. //Asap
    2. Install the restricted extras for everyday use.
    3. Check if all language packs are installed for your current locale.
    4. Set up Ponysay in your .bashrc (Optional).
    5. Browser [Recommend Firefox] - Your browser of choice needs to be secure. At the very least you should be running AdBlock Plus and NoScript.
    6. Bleachbit - to wash away old files you don't need.
    7. [For those who think Unity Sucks] I know a lot of people have gotten used to it, but I refuse to use it. Perhaps you should look into installing a different window manager. I prefer tiling over stacking, so I install Awesome window manager and use it in conjunction with Xfce4.

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Russian bloggers are now officially mass media and have to register

    Technically that makes each Russian blogger equal to a newspaper and every Russian Youtube personality to a TV station. Remember how ten years ago people argued about bloggers being new journalists and blogs becoming “Media 2.0″.

    And if you have more than 3 thousands visitors (or friends/followers) per day you have to be registered as a media.

    Russia's largest social network is under the control of Putin's allies, founder says

    The embattled founder of VK, Russia's largest social networking site, said this week that the company is now "under the complete control" of two oligarchs with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

    "It's interesting that shareholders did not have the courage to do it directly," Durov, 29, wrote on his VK page.

    Durov said he refused to do so, though he's gradually ceded control of the company in recent months and has long butted heads with government authorities.

    Link to Article

    The World has become a better place to live in

    Life expectancy is higher than it's ever been, we make more money, eat more food, have incredible technology at our fingertips.

    The industrial revolution only happened a few hundred years ago, racism and discrimination are almost gone from the world, medical science has made leaps and bounds. There's generally no place in the world that is worse than it was 50 years ago.

    We have our problems such as overpopulation, overconsumption and the threat of nuclear war, but if we manage to overcome this, then things can only get better. That, to me, is reassuring.

    The urge to use the Metric System

    "In 1875, the United States solidified its commitment to the development of the internationally recognized metric system by becoming one of the original seventeen signatory nations to the Metre Convention or the Treaty of the Metre. The signing of this international agreement concluded five years of meetings in which the metric system was reformulated, refining the accuracy of its standards. The Metre Convention established the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (Bureau international des poids et mesures, BIPM) in Sèvres, France, to provide standards of measurement for worldwide use."

    "On February 10, 1964, the National Bureau of Standards (former name of National Institute of Standards and Technology) issued a statement that it will use the metric system except where this would have an obvious detrimental effect."

    Nokia to become Microsoft Mobile

    Nokia to become Microsoft Mobile
    Nokia to become Microsoft Mobile
    Microsoft has announced the completion of its acquisition of Nokia. According to documents sent to suppliers, the Nokia brand will disappear to give way to Microsoft Mobile.

    If you want to buy a Nokia smartphone, hurry up! The iconic brand should disappear very soon to be replaced by Microsoft Mobile. This is what we learn in a document sent by Microsoft to some of its suppliers. In the letter, the editor of Redmond also states that existing contracts with suppliers Nokia will not change.
    Link to Original Source

    Apple's Billion dollar Saphire

    Apple is making a billion dollar bet on sapphire as a strategic material for mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and perhaps an iWatch. Though exactly what the company plans to do with the scratch-resistant crystal – and when – is still the subject of debate.

    Apple is creating its own supply chain devoted to producing and finishing synthetic sapphire crystal in unprecedented quantities. The new Mesa, Ariz., plant, in a partnership with sapphire furnace maker GT Advanced Technologies, will make Apple one of the world’s largest sapphire producers when it reaches full capacity, probably in late 2014.

    By doing so, Apple is assured of a very large amount of sapphire and insulates itself from the ups and downs of sapphire material pricing in the global market.

    Link to Original Source

    NSA, an obscure Indiegogo campaign and public security awareness

    I found an Indiegogo a running (out) campaign for a secure email service, based in Switzerland, that is seeking just $45,000 to start. It seems a modest amount, in comparison to many other crowfunded initiatives. Problem is, the campaign is ending in six days and the guys just got 1% of the sum.

    There is a constant talk about NSA, wiretapping, privacy intrusions, governments vs. citizens and the like. But, given the chance to be more protected, the general public seems to ignore it. How to raise awareness about personal security, if no money gets raised for it?" Would you create awareness ?

    LibreSSL Project Announced

    As some of you may know, OpenBSD team have started cleaning up OpenSSL code base. LibreSSL is primarily developed by the OpenBSD Project, and its first inclusion into an operating system will be in OpenBSD 5.6. In the wake of Heartbleed, OpenBSD group is creating a simpler, cleaner version of the dominant OpenSSL.

    Theo de Raadt, founder and leader of the OpenBSD and OpenSSH, tells ZDNet that the project has already removed 90,000 lines of C code and 150,000 lines of content.

    The project further promises Multi OS support once they have proper funding and the right portability team in place. Please consider donating to support LibreSSL via OpenBSD foundation.

    Why go Open Source in CMS?

    Open source is becoming a healthy trend in technological aspect both for individuals or larger entities as governments in their context as users. A particle of the open source culture is to be found in the website builders sector. Wordpress started the trend 10 years ago and now many follow it.

    The debate between custom/proprietary CMS and its open source counterpart won't end any time soon. Which is the "right" one and is there an objective rightfulness in any of the options? What benefits does open source draw for users when creating their website from scratch?

    "Open source is undoubtedly the future of internet. It is a future that equals the freedom to discover, share, communicate, and create. Who wouldn’t like to be a part of this?"

    Link to Source

    Delhi Metro Advertising to be fuelled by 67 New Metro Stations

    Delhi Metro Advertising is set to receive 67 new Metro Stations with the completion of Phase III. The phase, which is being completed at a fast pace, is set to provide newer avenues to the brands that endorse DMRC Advertising. Trial runs have already begun on the completed stretches like Central Secretariat and Mandi House. Looking at the speed of operations, DMRC is set to complete the phase well before the designated deadline of 2016.

    Link to Article

    Github founder Resigns following Sexual Harrasment Accusation

    Today, GitHub concluded its investigation regarding sexual harassment within its work force, and although it found no evidence of 'legal wrongdoing',GitHub president Tom Preston-Werner has resigned from the company saying that his presence there would be "a distraction for both me and the company".

    Developer Julie Horvath left GitHub claiming harassment — an independent investigation subsequently cleared Preston-Werner.
    In its statement, GitHub vows to implement 'a number of new HR and employee-led initiatives as well as training opportunities to make sure employee concerns and conflicts are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately'. Julie Ann Horvath, the former GitHub employee whose public resignation last month inspired the sexual harassment investigation, found the company's findings to be gratuitous and just plain wrong.

    Link to Source

    Trailer: 'How To Train Your Dragon 2' has Been Released

    Toothless is so damn goofy and I think it's brilliant that he's launching his fire to give Hiccup lift on the thermals (I think that's what's happening). The flying as a whole is amazing and I'm in love with the soundtrack (from the first, anyway, I trust this will be just as good).

    I can not wait to see this. Just the trailers fill me with such a childish, but incredible sense of wonderment.

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    Twitter bans whistle blowers accounts over complaints from Turkish Govt

    Twitter is obviously important for activists in authoritarian parts of the world, but the fact that twitter CAN ban or shut down accounts means that in some cases, by law, it WILL.

    Twitter once had promise of being a powerful platform for grassroots movements and a voice for the people. That promise is dead. Twitter has failed.

    I've seen several interviews recently with one of the Twitter co-founders (Biz Stone, promoting his book) and it became apparent in all of them that they don't give a hoot what Twitter is used for. Anytime he was asked about the positive force for good Twitter was being used for in countries with civil unrest, his responses made it clear he didn't give a damn. He actually came across as an ironically, apathetic person who really was only in it all for the money.

    Link to Source

    Google: Better to be a CS Grad than English

    In a NY Times interview on How to Get a Job at Google with Laszlo Bock, who is in charge of all hiring at Google, the subject of grit-based hiring came up.

    Bock explained: "I was on campus speaking to a student who was a computer science and math double major, who was thinking of shifting to an economics major because the computer science courses were too difficult. I told that student they are much better off being a B student in computer science than an A+ student in English because it signals a rigor in your thinking and a more challenging course load.

    That student will be one of our interns this summer." Bock also advised, "You need to be very adaptable, so that you have a baseline skill set that allows you to be a call center operator today and tomorrow be able to interpret MRI scans." Hey why not require an I.Q. of 300, two centuries of Unix experience, and a track record of winning Nobel Prizes, too? Oops, wrong HR Director.

    Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) is much Improved & Enjoyable to Use

    My experience with operating systems has always been neutral or frustrating however after checking out Ubuntu 14.04, I am beginning to feel differently. I found Unity wasn't to my liking in the previous two releases but this time round, I understand what it is trying to achieve.

    Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) is much Improved & Enjoyable to Use
    I have always liked Ubuntu and used it on and off over the years. Like all the others, it uses the standard desktop layouts, functioned pretty much the same, essentially it was just another one to choose from.

    Now, with the improvements to Unity,  I feel it looks cluttered, there is so much going on. However, in Ubuntu, there is very little going on, the menu bar is hidden, the tray icons are all the same colour. Windows Explorer filled with the various textures and multiple bars but Nautilus is more calm and softer. The start menu, though the Unity bar is not that far removed from it, seems a bit strange. The same goes with drop down menus, the HUD makes more sense. Ubuntu seems to alleviate the stress by not bombarding various bits of information all the time. It is much more quieter in a sense.

    Iphone Tips & Tricks

    Few tips & tricks that you can do on your iPhone. Personally I've seen few of the listed tricks myself. Although let me caution you, do not attempt to do anything blindly, doing so can brick your device severely.

    • Tapping "123" then tapping the character you want then finally clicking back to the main keyboard can be a hassle. Instead hold down "123", slide thumb to character you want to use then let go. The character will be inputted and your keyboard will be back to normal.
    • Tap chunk of text w/ 2 fingers to highlight the whole thing. Works only when commenting/editing etc.
    •  Tapping the clock/top bar on a page will take you quickly to the top.
    • Be careful, actually there is no proofed solution to turn this off again! If you go into the phone app, and dial *3001#12345#* and hit call, the "Field Test" application opens, which allows you to see the numerical value of your cellular reception, along with other information about the surrounding cell towers. In addition, if you hold down the power button until the "Slide to power down" slider comes up and then hold down the home button until the app exits, you can tap on the carrier name in the top left corner to change between the numerical value and the visual representation (in bars) without going into "Field Test" mode.
      The values are always negative. In my experience, around -50 is pretty much the best reception possible, while about -120 is the lowest you can go without losing reception. Anything above -80 is good, and would be considered full bars Anything below -100 is bad, and would be considered few bars

    Story of a Facebook Developer

    "The story of a brand rediscovering itself through the Facebook app"
    I was a brand, deep down the pile of other brands, competing in a saturated market. I was like an instrument which you placed in the store after buying and then forgot to use again. I thought I would never gain my prime time, ever again. However, my marketing team has a different idea. I found a visionary marketing manager, who was young, enthusiastic, and knew the importance of social media. Soon, the team created a Facebook fan page, a Twitter handler and a Pinterest profile. I got my social face, and I succeed to garner some likes and clicks, but it lacked the spark. The very spark that would bring me back into the limelight. So, the young marketing manager asked for a Facebook app that would be part of a promotion. The promotion would involve a competition (a lucky charm), a small roulette game.

    The game would give my fans a chance to play and participate in the competition, which would give them a chance to win hefty prizes and gift vouchers. The Facebook app (game) was an instant hit. As soon as it was shared by my official Facebook fan page, my existing fans started to play it.

    Created my first Repo at Github

    I haven't created anything useful in a while. For the first time I developed a template for blogger.

    I've been working on it tampering the lines of code to see how it looks & feels, finally was able to finish it 2 days back. I'm new to github and it took me a while to learn about it, pushing commits, forking, and learned what it means to contribute on this platform.

    Right now I feel good, if you're new to blogger or just want a change in template. You can download this template from github repo. You'll find more of my work As I develop more templates.

    Sunday, April 20, 2014

    Performance of Transcendence at Box Office

    Well folks its really a bad time of the year for this movie to come out. Captain America is on a rampage, Rio 2 is getting the kids to pull their parents to see that and studios have their major summer tent polls ready to open in the coming weeks. Add the fact that this weekend is already a busy weekend for most folks with Easter, not a good sign.

    Secondly, This is Wally Pfister's first time directing and he was given $100 million to play with. I'm a believer that when you begin your directing career, you should have a smaller budget so that you are forced to be creative with what you have, if that makes sense. Basically, I think Pfister may have bit off more than he could chew. I bring this up because while I currently can't comment on the movie's quality, critics sure can and reviews play a part on box office results (most of the time).

    Performance of Transcendence at Box Office
    Also People are tired of Johnny Depp. Seriously, there's no denying that he was one of the rulers of the previous decade at the box office (Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, etc etc). But after 'The Tourist' and last years 'The Lone Ranger', people seem to be on to better things.

    Lastly, the trailers for the film we're very cluttered and didn't give you a clear picture of what was happening. I understand its a thriller movie and you don't want to give everything away, but the trailers seemed like a mess.

    Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

    "The government is not the only American power whose motivations need to be rigourously examined," writes The Telegraph's Katherine Rushton. "Some 2,400 miles away from Washington, in Silicon Valley, Google is aggressively gaining power with little to keep it in check.

    It has cosied up to governments around the world so effectively that its chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a White House advisor. In Britain, its executives meet with ministers more than almost any other corporation. Google can't be blamed for this: one of its jobs is to lobby for laws that benefit its shareholders, but it is up to governments to push back.

    As things stand, Google — and to a lesser extent, Facebook — are in danger of becoming the architects of the law." Schmidt, by the way, is apparently interested in influencing at least two current hot-button White House issues. Joined by execs from Apple, Oracle, and Facebook, the Google Chairman asserted in a March letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is not in the economic interests of the U.S.; the Obama administration on Friday extended the review period on the pipeline, perhaps until after the Nov. 4 congressional elections.

    And as a "Major Contributor" to Mark Zuckerberg's PAC, Schmidt is also helping to shape public opinion on the White House's call for immigration reform; just launched new attack ads (videos) and a petition aimed at immigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King. In Dave Eggers' The Circle, politicians who impede the company execs' agenda are immediately brought down. But that's fiction, right?

    Universal Truths

    • I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. 
    • Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.  
    • Was learning cursive really necessary? 
    •  Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. 
    • Bad decisions make good stories.  
    • I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste. 
    • I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.  
    • I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option. 
    • I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in. 
    • Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.
    • I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. 
    • How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?  
    • As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists. 
    • Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.  
    • Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

    The World We Live In

    This week has been a merry-go-round in a lot of ways. Instead of enumerating all of that I want to try to get to the higher-order thinking I've been doing. My face contorts in disgust when I see yet another liberal screed on some well-connected political 'news' site, hammering on the same ideals over and over again as if a continuous stream of complaints is the secret to fixing everything that is wrong with this country and the world that exists around us.

    We rail against corrupt politicians and evil corporations, all the while wearing their clothes, sitting in front of their television shows, and sucking down their sugary drinks without giving it a second thought. We blame advertising, we blame the previous generation for not doing as great a job as the previously-previous generation; in this self-centred world it seems the only thing that doesn't revolve around the ego these days is responsibility for the fucked up sorry state of absolutely everything else.

    We sit here and rationalize this: 'oh, I watch Koffee with Karan, I listen to News, I know what's really going on,' but that doesn't actually mean anything. You're a demographic. You buy Apple products because you're cool enough to walk around with them. Their advertisements told you so. Maybe you like Karan because he's funny. Or because he's gay. Either way, Program Operator knows who you are. They are targeting you with that program. You're just another part of the same old machine doing the same old thing.

    Review : The Internship

    I watched the movie last night for the first time and it wasn't as bad as people say it is.

    Review : The Internship
    'The Internship' is a throwback to the days of The Wedding Crashers and Old School, with Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson playing essentially the same goofy characters as talkative underdogs with chemistry, charm and charisma. However the setting is different, instead now they're laid off sales people working at a competitive internship at Google for a spot at their future. The movie also doubles as an almost 2 hour long commercial for Google.

    I hate to admit but I found the movie funny, even though the plot line was ridiculously predictable and formulaic. Sometimes that's just what the audience needs, a no brainer comedy.

    The best part is when they play a game of Quidditch because you know everyone involved with computers loves Harry Potter. Without fail. All of the "computer nerds" in the movie were outrageously hostile, spiteful, and elitist.

    The laughs were typical, awkward sexual encounters/phrasing, humorous incompetence, scumbag entitled villain gets hit in the balls , Charles Xavier etc etc. Nevertheless if you are a fan of Vaugh or Wilson's comedic work, its worth one watch.

    Google's Modular Phones are not for an Average Consumer

    I appreciate Google's thrive for trying out new things and not being afraid to sell it to customers. But first we have to understand why a user wants to upgrade a phone.

    In USA alone every 2 years you have a free upgrade, so why not use it? Plus people don't upgrade because the phone is slow, instead, the phone is abused so much, in 2 years, we want to replace it.

    Google's Modular Phones are not for an Average Consumer
    Phone is more of a personal / fashionable item. I would say it is more of a personal luxury. So they really want to try out a new one every few years. There is very less form factor to make phone, if you want to modularize it, then there would lot of waste space in modularizing them, which isn't worth.

    Phone has to work 100% all the time. Too many moving parts cannot guarantee you 100% uptime. Phone makers went to the extent of soldering the battery to keep the phone compact.

    This is a great idea for a laptop. But nobody tried that route. We upgrade laptop because it is slow. Basically people will stand in line to buy this item for "newness" factor. But after that it will be a dead product.


     As for the picking and choosing components, the modules will be so much more expensive that it will probably work out the same, if not cheaper to buy a regular flagship model with all the bells and whistles.

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Alternate Explaination behind Oculus Sell-Out

    Emotions are running high and many people seem very angry with Palmer and Oculus. I'd like to present an alternative explanation of the sale that might explain why Palmer thought this was the best thing for his company. But I'd also like to examine this from Facebook's perspective, and try and address some of their motives behind the purchase too.

    Why Facebook bought Oculus?

    Alternate Explaination behind Oculus Sell-Out
    Google entered the smartphone market on the ground floor by developing the Android operating system. Amazon took a different route and developed the Kindle. Microsoft has developed the Surface, and Apple has branched out from its iPods and iPhones into music software and cloud storage services.

    Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple. What these firms all have in common is that they have strategically positioned themselves (with varying degrees of success) to have products in both hardware and software, and they all use the sales of one to drive profit in the other:
    • Amazon developed the Kindle - not because they thought they'd make lots of money off selling the devices - but because they wanted a platform to drive the sales of their e-books.
    • Google's Android phones drive their users to Google accounts and Google search, which increases Google's revenue from ads. They don't make money off the operating system or phones themselves.
    • Microsoft attempted to increase uptake of Windows 8 with their flagship "Surface" device
    • Apple is the odd one out in this group - they use their software (iTunes and the iCloud) to drive sales of their hardware, not the other way around.
    Facebook missed the boat that these other technology firms have embarked on. Their Facebook phone failed leaving them without any hardware to encourage users to frequent their social networking service. They are slowly bleeding users with no easy way to stem the tide.

    From this perspective, Facebook's purchase of Oculus looks like an attempt to get in on the ground floor with a brand new technology that has massive sales potential, with the intent of using it to drive people toward their online services. Zuckerberg has decided that not only is all the hype around VR tech here to stay, but there's also a decent chance that 10 years down the line VR headsets will be as ubiquitous as televisions. He has made a careful risk-benefit calculation and decided to gamble on the possibility that VR tech will revolutionize media consumption. Facebook is hoping that Oculus will become a household name, and they think there's a good chance that the Oculus Rift will become their equivalent of the Google's Android.

    Facebook hasn't bought Oculus so they can plaster ads in every game. Nor are they looking for a "get-rich-quick" piece of tech that they can churn out for a profit. On the other hand, I think they will integrate Facebook into the Rift somehow, because that is what will drive people to the Facebook social space, and that is where Facebook makes its money. This is strategic purchase with a lengthy ROI period, and Facebook wants Oculus to succeed as much as we do.

    Why Oculus sold out  ?

    Alternate Explaination behind Oculus Sell-Out
    Back when Palmer first floated the idea of a VR headset, he thought that there might be a small community of technology enthusiasts who were interested.

    After running the Kickstarter campaign, he discovered that there were actually quite a few people who were willing to back the idea - so many in fact, that Oculus needed to mass produce Devkit 1. As more people became interested and Oculus cropped up in the media more and more frequently, Palmer was able to secure some serious investor funding ($100 million) and the vision of CV1 changed from a hand-crafted headset for enthusiasts to a polished, high tech VR experience for the masses.
    Palmer has always had a vision of VR tech spreading until every household has one. He's always dreamed of revolutionizing media consumption. But... he didn't think it would happen this quickly. No-one did. Instead of gradually developing the knowledge and technology through multiple consumers versions and interations, now Oculus has to get it perfect the first time. And they have to do it quickly - because the competition smells blood. Just as Facebook has realized the huge potential of VR, so have the likes of Sony, Valve and other hardware companies. They are all rushing to produce their own headsets, and they have the advantage of billions of dollars in revenue behind them.

    So Oculus is, in many ways, a victim of its own success. If there hadn't been so much public interest in the possibility of VR, no-one would have bothered to develop a competing product, and Oculus would be free to trundle along at their own pace. But now that Sony and Valve have upped the ante (not to mention other potential companies who may be developing VR products in secret) Oculus risks falling into obscurity. Their relative lack of funding - million vs. billions - hamstrings their ability to be the first ones onto the market and produce the highest quality VR device.

    Oculus faced a choice: sell to a company with the resources to make huge investments in R&D and manufacturing, or become a second-rate company whose technology is inferior to the offerings from bigger players and whose products are purchased only by open-source enthusiasts.

    Why facebook ? 

    Yes, Facebook. Facebook has several qualities that are attractive to Oculus:

    • Lots of cash to put into R&D and manufacturing.
    • NO other public hardware products. Oculus is now Facebook's flagship hardware device, simply by virtue of there being no other hardware announced at present. Hopefully it will receive attention and funding commensurate to its position. On the other hand, if Google had picked up Oculus, the team would now be one of a dozen recent hardware acquisitions alongside walking robots and fancy thermostats.
    • Little experience in hardware development. This is a potential advantage, as the Oculus team will likely be left alone to develop the Rift. On the other hand, if Samsung had picked up Oculus, the team would be subsumed into Samsung's massive hardware development division and retain very little independence.
    • Facebook is thinking long-term. As I mentioned in the first section of this post, Facebook has not acquired Oculus with a view to making a quick buck. They want to integrate Oculus into their long-term strategic vision - in other words, they have a vested interest making Oculus into a leading VR tech firm rather than having immediate profit as their driving motive.

    What this means for the future of Oculus and VR as a whole?

     Let's get the negative stuff out the way first:
    • The Rift will almost certainly have some degree of integration with the Facebook platform. Whether this means a mandatory Facebook login, or something slightly less onerous, remains to be seen.
    • The Rift is unlikely to be completely open-source.
    • Oculus no longer has control over its own future (bear in mind, however, that this already happened to a certain degree after they sold part ownership in the firm to investors.)
    • Some people don't like Facebook. And there is the potential, however unlikely, for Facebook to be a real dick about the whole thing and slap adverts across a Rift login screen.
    But I think this is actually generally a positive announcement:

    • Oculus now has serious, billion-dollar muscle behind its vision. They can now compete with Sony and Valve's R&D potential.
    • With that muscle comes the potential for mass-produced custom high-def screens and more.
    • There is the possibility that with this purchase, Facebook is turning over a new leaf. They have tried the strategy of wringing every last dollar out of their online platform and have found it doesn't work. Instead they seem to be pursuing the more holistic Google-esque growth strategy, which doesn't cramp hardware with ads but instead uses it to drive revenue on the software side.
    • Most importantly, Oculus no longer has to worry about turning a profit off CV1. With Facebook's financial backing they can choose to sell at a lower price point in order to increase uptake, or else increase the quality of the rift without increasing the sale price. They just gained a whole lot of financial flexibility.
    Ultimately, the winners from this sale are all those who want to buy a high-quality VR device at a low price point as soon as possible. The losers are those who believed in an open-source, community-driven future - who believed that Oculus could revolutionize the technology landscape and usher in a new era of crowd-sourced tech development.

    I really do feel for those people who hoped that Oculus represented the latter vision. That future is now essentially gone. But I think many of you are forgetting that Palmer is not an open-source enthusiast, he's a virtual reality enthusiast. If you're like Palmer, and if what you desire above all is to hold in your hands an amazing VR headset, then I would argue that this sale is a good thing for you.

    Women abuse Men

    Abuse is abuse. Why is it OK that women slap men in television and movies simply because they're insulted?

    Why do we condone women slapping men in popular culture simply because they're exasperated with the conversation? I can't count the number of times I've seen a man call a woman a bitch in an argument (on a television show), and instead of leaving or protesting she slaps him.

    If the situation were the other way around we'd be outraged. No one has any right to put their hands on another human being unless they're in physical danger. 

    P.s Watching Gumrah, Just wanted to open a dialogue about why it's ok that women hit men on television shows, despite the fact that it's technically battery.

    Feel free to express your opinions in the comments..>>

    Video about Introverts

    The animations are awesome, they gave me a good laugh at times.

    Under his definitions I would better define myself as a shy extrovert now, it makes me feel a lot better knowing that.

    People are outgoing to many degrees, and dividing the population in half so they can label themselves as either introvert or extrovert seems counter productive.

    It just doesn't seem to offer any real insight in to how human beings work, rather its a crass categorization that creates results based on that categorization, and not the reality its based in. (Like the fun fact that 1 out of 2 people may be introverts. Very interesting, because the concept was derived by splitting the population in half in the first place).

    Hacking Everything

    Hacking Everything
    I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I totally believe that there's some super hacker out there ready to take down the technological world with the push of a button. I mean, people are smart, and computers do almost everything these days, I'm sure they're all connected somehow. Especially with all of these wireless networks.

    I completely lack the ability to do anything close to this, but where would you start? Maybe try hacking into NASA and tilt all of the satellites just enough that we can't use our cell phones anymore? Then hack into power plants? 

    I've been coming up with different scenarios for the collapse of civilization, and this one really intrigued me because I have such little knowledge on it all.

    How would you destroy our civilization?

    Only 2 per cent of professionals working in FOSS are Women

    Only 2 per cent of professionals working in FOSS are Women
    Women working in FOSS
    According to the UN "Only 2 per cent of professionals working in FOSS are women, compared to 28 per cent in proprietary software." They find this so problematic that they've, through UNESCO, have set up a community working on gender equality in FOSS.

    So, is it good that there are so few women working in FOSS compared to proprietary software? The FSF should of course primarily work for the general advancement of FOSS. But if this disparity is not a good thing, shouldn't the FSF, as the primary FOSS organization, also work to try to find the reasons for this gap, and to try and close it?

    If the gap is not a good thing, wouldn't closing it be good, both for the software development, the users and the community?

    Only 2 per cent of professionals working in FOSS are Women
    Women Working in Proprietary Enviornment
    I would like to recommend this keynote speech by Michael Schwern (Like him I am also a white male, by the way. Just to have that out there) at the 2012 YAPC, about how the meritocracy of the FOSS community is broken. Wouldn't you say that if he is right about that, then we are getting less quality and quantity of FOSS than we could've, which means we all lose out?

    Some say "this is about software and freedoms, which are not gendered, so why should we care?", but why that huge disparity then? Doesn't that indicate that there's something going on?

    2% vs. 28% probably means there's a ton of really talented female programmers who for some reason chooses to go to proprietary s/w rather than Free for some reason. And since the best female developers probably are better than the average male (just like the best male devs are probably better than the average female), we are losing out.

    There seems to be something about our community (because I can't believe women in general "hates Freedom") driving some of our best potential developers away and over to "the enemy". I don't know what (I'm guessing we could find out by asking the women and taking their answers seriously, though) , but shouldn't an organization dedicated to the betterment of FOSS and our community work on that?

    Feminism is demanding privilege, not equality.

    I've noticed that, especially in the tech industry, feminists aren't so much empowering women as they are demanding a larger slice from a pie they didn't help bake. They bemoan the fact that women only account for 3% of tech CEOs, but with women only accounting for 3% of tech startups, despite easier access to better loans... well, as Obama said, "you didn't build that."

    Ironically, those words would appear to apply better here than to those who were originally addressed, because women aren't out there building roads or laying fiber either.

    Certainly, one cannot expect, for example, women to build their own government, and we don't want a China/Taiwan situation, but there's no reason women cannot start their own companies; in fact, given women's superior access to funding, it should be easier for them, right?

    As is almost always the case, female "inequality" comes back to female inaction, rather than male discrimination; these inequalities have nothing to do with men, nor are men in positions to fix them, since men cannot simply tell women what to do .

    Feminism is, once again, demanding privilege, not equality.

    Surgery with a paintbrush

    A group of chemists has shown the power of nanoparticles for closing and healing surgical wounds. Using no more than a paintbrush they are able to close surgical openings as well as classical techniques such as sutures.

    However in fragile deap tissues such as liver even more remarkable results were found- normally fatal damage to internal organs is repaired in seconds using a nanopartilce glue.

    The results show that closing after surgery can be faster and simpler using nanomaterials to glue wounds shut.

    Article Link:

    Video Link:

    Microsoft Plans $1 Billion Server Farm in Iowa

    Microsoft will invest $1.1 billion to build a massive new server farm in Iowa, not far from an existing data center in West Des Moines.

    The 1.2 million square foot campus will be one of the biggest in the history of the data center industry. It further enhances Iowa's status as the data center capital of the Midwest,, with Google and Facebook also operating huge server farms in the state.

    Link to Original Source

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    I don't understand words during conversations.

    I've been feeling this way for some time now and its just that everyone seems to understand each other but I don't and have to ask. Basically me and my friends will be having a chat and one of them will use a "big" word as I would call it and everyone else knows what the word means and because I don't I have to ask which makes me feel really stupid it and they have to give me a simple explanation of what it means.

    It isn't even just for words but for some many other things like what is currently happening in the news etc and it just makes me feel really excluded in the group. It seems like I've missed some sort of general knowledge that everyone else has.

    I was quite a failure in school but I'm great in college perhaps that's why?

    'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

    About 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus lives a star, which, though smaller and redder than the sun, has a planet that may look awfully familiar. With a diameter just 10 percent bigger than Earth's, the newly found world is the first of its size found basking in the benign temperature region around a parent star where water, if it exists, could pool in liquid form (abstract).

    Scientists on the hunt for Earth's twin are focused on worlds that could support liquid surface water, which may be necessary to brew the chemistry of life. "Kepler-186f is significant because it is the first exoplanet that is the same temperature and the same size (well, ALMOST!) as the Earth," David Charbonneau, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote in an email to Discovery News.

    Previously, the exoplanet most like Earth was Kepler-62f, but Kepler-186f is significantly smaller. Now we can point to a star and say, 'There lies an Earth-like planet.

    Ideas - Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Spectrometer & Artificial Intelligence ...

    CFD is computational fluid dynamics, where you basically model fluids as a series of particles. The trick is to not view CFD as it pertains to water, but to view CFD as it pertains to, "flow." When you think about it, traffic, "flows." When there's a crash ahead of you, you move to the side similar to how water will move around rock.
    Positive air pressure, the idea is that air will constantly flow out. Black lung is caused by when you inhale coal dust. So if you're constantly breathing air that is being forced, "out," of your mask, you're only taking in clean air as particulates will never get into your mask. This is the same idea that they use in clean rooms. Airborne stuff needs to be able to flow out.

    If you keep the inside of a room at negative pressure and the outside of your room at positive pressure, if there is a breech in the room (i.e. you open a door) the air outside will rush inside. This will prevent infectious things from going out.

    Spectrometer. It measures lights via lenses and mirrors. The issue with these is that the instruments are extremely sensitive. Small changes in temperature for example, will change your signal. So I thought that if you mounted a small sensor and a laser at two ends and align them, any small changes in strain will show up on the sensor readings.

    Artificial intelligence. One ant is stupid. A million ants is smart. Likewise, one neuron is stupid, a million neurons is smart. Simple rules, repeated a million times can become something complicated. This is the same idea behind fractals. In nature, everything is a self repeating rule. Plants for example, are extremely self similar. So are blood vessels, and conch shells. Why would intelligence be any different? So I theorized that intelligence itself had to also be self similar.

    r/technology banned from Reddit's default status

    Past June r/atheism & r/politics were removed from the default status of Reddit & now r/technology joins them.

    When a user signs up for reddit, the few (8 subreddits to be precise) are subscribed automatically which show up in the front page of the reddit.

    With the recent turmoil among the moderators of r/technology, reddit seems to have removed it from its default status.

    Talks about auto moderator (bot) being used which banned certain words categorized as political came into light recently. Most of the users were not given a chance to discuss about this which led to internal turmoil among the moderators & the users.

    The above pic shows the list of banned word in r/technology

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Why Vote ?

    I have never voted, and I don't see why I ever should. Here are some of my reasons for not voting:

    • The chance that your vote will affect the outcome is so unimaginably small as to be practically 0.
    • In many cases, even if you convinced thousands to vote for your choice, the chance of that affecting the outcome is still very close to 0.
    • In practice, who you get to vote for is decided by the political establishment. The range of options is strictly limited.
    • Those elected are free to break any promises without consequence. In other contexts this would constitute reason for invalidating an agreement or even pressing criminal charges.
    • Those elected use their power for their own gain and for the gain of special interests like banks, corporations, unions etc. You are not of any concern to them.
    • Voting means consenting and granting legitimacy to the state, democracy and the political process. If you vote that means you consent to the outcome and you have no right to complain.
    • Voting in "self-defense" against other political camps, or voting for "the lesser of two evils" is a vicious circle that doesn't solve anything.
    • Voting is immoral. Voting means supporting and endorsing the initiation of violence on peaceful people (including, ironically, yourself) to force them to do what you (or, in the case of representative democracy, what the elected "representatives") want.

    Retarded Generation

    I'm 22. I belong to this generation, but this is just retarded. Checking facebook today.

    The equivalent of a "karmawhore" pops up, with yet another picture ( Background info : She's 16 or 18 and she posts 2-3 pics a day searching for likes, she looks like a 15 year old, nothing attractive here ) What is this photo about? It's a facebook conversation of her and a boy ( Probably of her age ) with him hitting on her, he was of course kind of panicked.

    What is the description of the photo? Of course, it's "Hahaha patethic faggot".

    Dozens of likes, her classmates laughing. I comment asking
    "what is the purpose of this photo?" 
    and I am also called "retarded" and asked to "get the fuck out". What the hell is wrong with the people of this generation ?

    Current state of Indian Political Parties

    UPA: Horrifying economics. Subsidies and bureaucracy that have collectively kept tens of millions in poverty due to lack of growth. Strong belief in divide and conquer and will play religion against religion and claim to be secular. Sophisticated thugs who are so deeply entrenched in the system that they almost can’t be kicked out.

    BJP: A mix of right wing economics (which I believe is badly required today), guaranteed to spur economic growth and better for the economy of the country. Horribly xenophobic wing exists within the mainstream. Same wing tends to also be extremely socially conservative and will ruin social liberties if not kept in check.

    AAP: A bunch of do-gooders with no concept of economics and politics. If you subscribe to the “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" these are people who want to take the fish from the fisherman and give it to those who do not know how to fish but they won’t train them. Eventually the fisherman will move away and no one will know how to fish. Also, socially these guys are bending down to appease every ideology and voter bank good or bad. Great opposition maybe but will likely form a ruinous government in the long run. Will probably be much better as a administrator at a local level.

    BSP / SP: Thugs. Extreme and unsophisticated thugs.

    Shiv Sena / MNS: Borne out of a “locals first" sentiment but fundamentally thugs. A little more sophisticated than the BSP / SP kind but that’s down to their urban roots. Nothing more.

    AIADMK / DMK: We don’t give a fuck about the country. What are you going to do for Tamil Nadu.

    CPI: Outdated and destructive philosophy.

    Trinamool: A demi-god with no administrative ability who came into power not so much for what she represents as what she doesn’t represent. No hope for bengal while the CPI & TC rule. Considering the land and the people this should be the most developed state in India. Ruined.

    National Front / BJD / TDP / JD: Opportunists. Somewhat like local and a bit sophisticated warlords. They will do what it takes to stay connected to the center for local benefit. No unified philosophy or policy. Middling administrators at union level but know how to deal with local issues.

    You can say “As a hindu”, or “As a muslim" or "As an SC/ST" or "As a poor man" etc and pick your poison. There will always be someone who has a valid point of view against you and a valid point of view for you.

    I for one believe the future of India lies in sound economic policy and in not treating every community, caste and religion as separate. But I also believe thats the union has no business in recognizing or dealing with religion at any level. There is no one who represents my philosophy. Not even close. All I know is, we can’t stand 5 more years of UPA.

    This is what we’re doing right now…

    If you put more effort, week to week, into being comfortable or entertained than you put into becoming and remaining knowledgeable about issues in politics and developing thoroughly considered conclusions about proper governance, then you are not ruling the nation democratically.

    For a democratic system to thrive, each eligible voter must take their responsibilities as a government as seriously as any feudal lord might have, without the expectation that their decisions will be absolute or enforceable.

    In a nation where the bottom line is supposed to be the will of the voters, voter apathy translates to a lack of will, which means a lack of democratic power. The absence of a form of power does not mean that less power exists; it means that whatever vacuum idle voters leave will be occupied by whatever fits. Today, it’s campaign donations and government contractors.

    Will it be a fascist oligarchy tomorrow? What are we doing to stop it?

    Tablet Prices In India

    Tablets price in India were soaring till a couple of years back with most companies happy dishing out expensive models for an elite class of consumers. 

    However, efforts of companies like DataWind, with a firm belief in the philosophy of affordability and connectivity, have seen the tablets price in India stabilize in the recent years.

    A device like a tablet computer can perform a vital social role by empowering people, especially the student community, with computing and Internet access. The government of India initiative Akash tablet- a low price device procured for the students across the country with a view to enhance the quality of education- has shown that computing and Internet access used in a blended learning environment can go a long way in encouraging the students and teachers and improving their living standards.

    The jaw dropping price of Akash made the whole world sit up and take notice. Manufacturers realized that producing good tablet computers at an affordable price was indeed possible, and as a result the low cost computer industry got a big boost and tablets price in India also started coming down.

    Nokia Created Tablet 13 years back

    Here's another story of a tech gadget that arrived before its time.

    Nokia created a web-ready tablet running EPOC (later to be renamed as Symbian) thirteen years ago. The tablet was set to go into full production, and they actually built a thousand units just before it was canceled.

    The tablet was scrubbed because market research showed there wasn't demand for the device. The team got devices for themselves and the rest were destroyed. The team was then fired.

    The lesson: Don't try to be pioneer if you're relying on market research studies.

    Adam Young doesn't write music, he writes Poetry.

    Anyone can write a song. Heck, look at Rebecca Black's Friday.

    Poetry on the other hand is on an entirely different level. Well written poetry captures imagery like nothing else; painting written art, each verse another stroke on the composed masterpiece. 
    The imagery created by Owl City songs is unrivaled by anything I've heard by any other artist, making it musical poetry.

    Adding the right music behind the poem is like sewing beautiful tapestries of word lace and artistically setting those masterpieces within a lyrical constraint. Owl City's signature "sound" (calming, uplifting synth) lends to the poetic nature of his lyrics.

    The same goes for his floaty voice. They all don't point to song, but to poetry in its musical form.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Must read Books for a Socialist

    1 The Enigma of Capital - David Harvey

    One of my favorite critiques of modern capitalism. Harvey goes into great detail about the volatility of capital flows, crises of capitalism and how these works together to ruin peoples' lives.

    2 Bad Samaritans - Ha-Joon Chang

    Brilliant criticism of globalisation, and how the richest nations force strict free-market policies on the poorest nations. Chang shows us how the poorest stay poor, and the richest stay rich.

    3 Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian and Marxian - Richard D. Wolff

    This is a book about economics, but very relevant to socialists. Wolff is one of the leading Marxian economists, and shows us the state of the different econ schools in the 21st century. Raises some key questions about how policies are decided based on the dominance of each of these spheres.

    4 The Spirit Level - Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

    Maybe not as radical as some of us my like, but still a brilliant book never the less. Probably one of the strongest cases for social and economic equality, demonstrating clearly that more unequal societies fare worse in almost all aspects. Equality does matter, and that's why a democratically-ran socialist society is important.

    5 A brief history of neoliberalism - David Harvey

    Harvey tells us how the free-market schools of economics have come to dominate, starting with the US treasury and slowly sweeping its way through China and Great Britain. Neoliberalism has been the ruling ideology of the last 10 years, attacking workers rights and zealously perusing the liberalization of capital. Perhaps laying the groundworks for the 2008 financial crash?

    I like the Idea of Religion

    By this i mean, be an atheist, but follow a religion. You do it for yourself. Example follow some traditions from Hinduism and take traits from them. Example pray for mercy and focus on important aspects like forgiving.

    This means you focus religion in a positive way like meditating would do without infecting the world with bigoted views or fights over what is true.
    Personally i think religion studies should just be you trying to get into the mindset of a religion. I know it seems weird, but having something to pray to or worship is comforting. Pick a religion you like the idea of , practice the rituals. Then when someone asks if you think God exists or no you give your honest opinion.

    Just a weird thing i came up with. I just remember how calm worship made me even thought i now in hindsight know that i was sort of being unhonest with myself. What do you think?

    I think my idea makes sure people understand religions better on a general level, know what it is, knows what it is not and fulfill a serentity that is difficult to find elsewhere. Problems arise when people claim God or religion is true, not so much if we kind of pretend religion or view it as philosophical work. Again i could hold my hand together and pray to something abstract like knowledge or goodness, but it would be too alienating.

    Free Will: How it works ?

    I don't think I'm an 'all knowing' person, but lately I've been reading about the "Free Will' stuff and our existence in this universe is not an accident.

    First of all I believe definitions are in order.  
    Free Will: The ability to make choices unconstrained by certain factors.

    The factors are the key feature in the definition of free will.

    Can we choose a course of action which is impossible to achieve through physical constraints? I would not be hesitant to say yes, for often I have chose an action which I have later found to be beyond my capability due to 'natural' constraints. The insane may have no such concept of these constraints and will chose to do things that do not happen in reality. Ergo physical constraints are not involved within my argument. What about other constraints?

    I would argue that social constraints can similarly be breached if and only if it's within their mental & metaphysical constraints. That is to say the some people can and do chose things that society condemns and prohibits.

    What remains are metaphysical and mental constraints. My argument is that even if metaphysical or mental constraints limited a view of free will that is was useful as a construct for progress.

    What do I mean when I say that free will is useful as a construct for progress? I mean that the notion of free will engenders actions of an agent with direct responsibility and this direct responsibility being an entry condition for mental constraints would cause an individual to act significantly different for the majority of cases. So to enable society to function and develop individual responsibility of actions and the free will to make the choices and bear the consequences that the choices hold should be a maintained shared illusion.

    The accreditation of one's own deeds as a direct implication of your own choices is also, I would argue psychologically healthy in that it could promote betterment of oneself.

    Feel free to bring me down on any point of inquiry you wish. And if you feel my argument is not fully tethered down feel free to attack from the broadside. I've got no formal education in philosophy so I've probably missed something.

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Indian Supreme Court now recognizes transgenders in the wake of General Elections

    • In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday created the "third gender" status for hijras or transgenders.
    • Earlier, they were forced to write male or female against their gender.The SC asked the Centre to treat transgender as socially and economically backward.The apex court said that transgenders will be allowed admission in educational institutions and given employment on the basis that they belonged to the third gender category.The SC said absence of law recognizing hijras as third gender could not be continued as a ground to discriminate them in availing equal opportunities in education and employment.This is for the first time that the third gender has got a formal recognition.
    • The third gender people will be considered as OBCs, the SC said.The SC said they will be given educational and employment reservation as OBCs.The apex court also said states and the Centre will devise social welfare schemes for third gender community and run a public awareness campaign to erase social stigma.The SC said the states must construct special public toilets and departments to look into their special medical issues.The SC also added that if a person surgically changes his/her sex, then he or she is entitled to her changed sex and can not be discriminated.The apex court expressed concern over transgenders being harasssed and discriminated in the society and passed a slew of directions for their social welfare.The apex court said that trangenders were respected earlier in the society but situation has changed and they now face discrimination and harassment.It said that section 377 of IPC is being misused by police and other authorities against them and their social and economic condition is far from satisfactory.The bench clarified that its verdict pertains only to eunuchs and not other sections of society like gay, lesbian and bisexuals who are also considered under the umbrella term 'transgender'.The bench said they are part and parcel of the society and the government must take steps to bring them in the main stream of society.The apex court passed the order on a PIL filed by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) urging the court to give separate identity to transgenders by recognising them as third category of gender.Welcoming the Supreme Court decision, Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi, transgender rights activist said, "the progress of the country is dependent upon human rights of the people and we are very happy with the judgment as the Supreme court has given us those rights."(With inputs from PTI)
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