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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 'Other' Heresies

Mexican photographer Pedro Meyer is as renowned for his powerful and provocative photographs as he is for his pioneering work with digital imaging. Meyer’s photographs consistently test the limits of truth, fiction and reality. With the advent of digital photography in the early 1990s, Meyer evolved from a documentary photographer who created so-called “straight photographs” into a digital-documentarian who often combines photographic elements from disparate times and places to arrive at a different or higher truth. Pedro's oft-expressed contention that all photographs — digitally manipulated or not — are equally “true” and “untrue” has been labeled “heretical” in the orthodox documentary photography community.

While fellow Apple-user Pedro Meyer (one of the first to adopt this platform and launch the very first intearactive CD-ROM!) may have his exhibition - Heresies - opening in 60 museums in almost as many countries (we are thrilled that T2F, where the exhibition opens on 21st October, has been selected as the Pakistani venue) there are others, like me, whose photographs have also made it to some of the greatest (virtual!) halls in the world. Here are just 4 examples.

"Happy viewing", as the Senator said!



Jehan Ara


See you at the real Heresies, where a selection of large original museum quality prints of Pedro's works will be displayed and changed almost weekly!

Please do keep checking out the schedule at T2F's website for the exciting related events, like workshops, talks, discussions, and presentations during the weeks that this unique exhibition is on, unless you're on FB and already visit T2F Pages for updates.

Oh ... did you know that you can also subscribe to T2F's Events RSS Feed so you get the news automatically? And, as the icing on the cake, sign up for SMS alerts and get timely reminders too. This saves you the task of 'remembering to remember' to go to the website and saves me answering calls - usually when an event is actually happening - Maddy, please note ;-) - about when and what time it's happening.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Sheer Magic

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

The Saturday T2F session by Jahanzeb Sherwani was a bit like its Science Ka Adda evenings. Despite the apparent geekishness of the topic, the non-techs who were there - because they owned an iPhone or iPod Touch - enjoyed it thoroughly, thanks to the lucid, layperson-friendly, informal style of the presenter who understood something most do not: he - not the Powerpoint or Keynote thing on the screen behind him - was the presentation.

The story of the development of Jaadu, the first iPhone/iPod application by a Pakistani, was almost as magical as the software itself. The timeline from the first 'proof of concept' to what it now is - an application that was selected by Apple for its What's Hot section at the App Store - was amazingly short. Equally fascinating was the way the business itself developed for his company - Jugaari

I really wish that more young people would realize what Jahanzeb did: You could be sitting in any remote corner of the world today and, like him, and many others - singly or in very small groups - have access to the markets of the world. All the opportunities are there and, generally, barring the cost of a computer, they are all FREE (rhymes with "Wheeeeee!"): Free wifi and a working table with an electrical outlet nearby { if you are in Karachi, come to T2F :-) }, free access to information, free-of-postage email, free voice calls and video conferences via iChat or Skype, free access to other developers and techie support groups ... what more can you ask for? And remember, developing a product with a coffeehouse space as your 'office' has some advantages: Caffeine Boosts Creativity ;-) as Delicious Library shows.

On the geekier side, of interest to many was the comparison between the development platforms under different OSs. Jahanzeb had been using Windows for a long while and even developed the first versions of his iPhone application using that environment but has now switched to a Mac ... so his comments on the development and usage sides for both platforms was informative.

The discussion on comparative use of Apple's App Store to market an application versus direct sales to the consumer was interesting, too, since most had felt that Apple retaining 30% of the sale price and giving the developer only 70% was a bit unfair. The argument for it, as enunciated by Jahanzeb - who made the switch to Apple's way after being on the other side (distributing the precursors to Jaadu through other sources) - rested on the number of people Apple gave him exposure to. Everyone with the iPhone or an iPod Touch was certain to visit the App Store, making for an outreach to several million potential customers. The fact that Apple also took care of several other factors that indie developers would rather not have to bothered by was a bonus. We also learnt from a member of the audience who had the experience of developing for two other mobile phone brands, that the others paid developers a much lesser %age because they had a larger market share.

Thank you, Jahanzeb, for a lovely evening. Hope to see more apps from you soon.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ten years on!

When my company, Enabling Technologies,
(later owned and run by Jehan Ara)
developed and launched the internationally acclaimed
Interactive CD-ROM: Faiz - Aaj Kay Naam
the main members of the team were
Sabeen, Jehan, Nuzhat & myself.

Sabeen has also posted an earlier picture
of this foursome!

This was the same team that
had produced Pakistan's first-ever
Interactive CD-ROM for IBM Pakistan
(ironically developed on Macs)
on Pakistan's 50th Birthday.

For the same occasion
we had also developed another CD-ROM
50 Years of Art in Pakistan
(featuring 112 Artists, Sculptors, and Ceramists)
for ABN-AMRO Bank.

None of us are formally qualified
IT or Business specialists and have learnt everything
about both these fields on our own ...
so it's rather interesting to see how our lives
have revolved around Technology and Business.

Nuzhat is an Education Technology Consultant
and has facilitated the development of many
school IT programs and in-service training.

Jehan Ara is the President of P@SHA
(Pakistan Software Houses Association).

Sabeen is the President of the Karachi Chapter
of TIE (The Indus Entrepreneurs).

And I am a blogger!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And now hear this ...

A couple of years ago a visiting friend (who has asked to remain anonymous) played me a 'boot-leg' copy of a speech. As far as I could make out - the recording was an excerpt that was missing the beginning an the ending - the theme was was Liberal Education . It was a delightful lecture and I always wished we could have heard the whole thing. Unfortunately, we knew not where the speech was given nor, even more of a plight, who the speaker was ... such is the tragedy of poorly pirated material ;-) I even took a sentence or two from the speech, at random, and tried to Google it ... but nothing was found at that time.

Last week I was gifted "The Philosophy of Religion", a course recorded by Professor John Hall for The Teaching Company (TTC). Impressed by the simple lucidity and tone of the very first of the 36 lectures), I searched for him on the internet and was delighted to be led to his homepage, which, in turn, led me to the Convocation Address delivered by him at The University of Richmond in 2005. And that's the one we'd heard!

While I suggest that you download and read the entire lecture (it's only 3 pages long), along with the Collegian piece, I would like to quote one of its sections here with permission from Professor Hall.
Liberal Education and Impracticality

One of the hallmarks of liberal education is that it is does not have immediate applications, results, or investment returns. This is what people mean when they say that it is impractical. But is liberal education really impractical?

If the desired outcome of schooling is job-skill, then Strayer would be the model school. My wrestling with the ambiguities of Ionesco, studying the complexities of natural selection, trying to figure out what the American Civil War was really about, and exploring the mathematics of musical key transposition, are not likely to increase the GNP or lower the CPI overnight, if at all. On the other hand, my learning to keyboard data into a computer, take accurate telephone messages, keep a double-entry ledger, and figure profit margins, might. Indeed, I could measurably increase my disposable income simply by addressing envelopes at home in my spare time. (Many matchbook covers tell me so, and I believe them.) But who will write the programs for me to keyboard? Who will leave a message worth my taking down? Who will create the business that needs me to keep its books? Who will invent a product that will generate profits for me to calculate? Indeed, who will create something worthwhile to put in the envelopes I address?

For individuals and their communities to thrive, people need to know more than the answers to familiar questions. They need to know what questions to ask, and that means that they need to be inventive enough to come up with new ones. They need to be able to make judgments without bright-line criteria, and that means that they must be able to wrestle with ambiguity without having a panic attack. They need to be able to make informed political decisions, and that means that they need to understand historical connections and the difference between appearance and reality. And they need to be able to function in a complex society that divides its labor, which means that they need to have some understanding of what everyone else is doing, even if they don’t have to do everything everyone else does themselves.

And this is where a liberal education is most liberating. By freeing us from the expectation of an immediate payoff for each thing we learn or do, it opens us up to learn and do things that, while they may lack an immediate payoff, may have long-term potentials that we cannot even imagine in advance. This is why a highly placed corporate officer once told me “when we want worker bees, send us trained technicians; but when we want leadership send us people who have studied history and literature and science. We can train new hires to run the machinery if we need to; but we are not equipped to teach them how to use their minds.” So the “impracticality” of liberal education is not necessarily impractical at all. By allowing students to go beyond job training, it encourages them to stretch themselves to the absolute limit of their potentials and, unhampered by external or artificial constraints, to be flexible and to grow.

[I am not sure if the good professor will be willing to talk to a T2F audience in far away Pakistan via Skype - but I'd love for him to spend a few minutes with us during a Science Ka Adda evening on another topic he enjoys: Pseudoscience and the Paranormal.]

I had, very recently, finished listening on my iPod - overflowing with several audiobooks and brilliant podcasts - to Professor Esposito delivering his balanced and very informative TTC lectures on Islam (as a part of The World's Great Religions series). The Philosophy of Religion course promises to be an even more enjoyable learning experience.

The range of subjects that TTC courses cover is extremely vast. I wish Dr Atta ur Rahman (HEC) or Dr Naveed Malik (VU) would strike a deal with those guys and make several of these courses available locally at subsidized rates. I'd be willing to enroll, even at my age (and with the way I feel about educational institutions), in a college to take advantage of such a deal, if it was required.

Postscript: Lest some of you worry, no, I am not about to be 'born again'. Religion has always been a subject of great interest to me and the current revival (in its worst forms, I might add) and its political impact, globally, has just re-kindled that. But next on my course list - if I can raise the money (HEC/VU are unlikely to even consider this one) - is Professor Greenberg's How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. 48 lectures of 45 minutes each. I can't stop drooling.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Biting Apple Back

The Apple-Microsoft wars are, now, nothing but infotainment ... or, at least until very recently, were just that. They helped sell magazines (Steve Jobs had only to sneeze to be on the covers of Time, Newsweek, Fortune, even The Maori Tribal News!), newspapers, books, TV spots. Even a movie or two. (Watch out for the September Screenings at T2F!) Let's face it: how could there be a real fight among a 2% market-share holder and someone that, once, all but held the remaining? (Yes, there were other OSs around, too, guys, like the OS2 ... just like there are Linux and others today).

Some, of course, found in this unequal battle the symbolism of David slaying Goliath ... an image that Apple's 1984 SuperBowl Ad (Thank you, Lee Clow!) planted by equating IBM with Big Brother. Others continue to see it as the battle of two young hippie kids in a garage taking on a big corporation despite the fact that Apple, itself, has become one. No surprise there, for - in any battle, large or small - you eventually become what your enemy is.

The "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads were satirical, hilarious, even lovable. OK ... that's how most Mac lovers felt. To many, and not PC users alone, they were 'rude'. But that's a matter of taste, I guess. I love irreverence and black comedy, grew up on sick jokes, chuckled at the macabre cartoons of the totally brilliant Gahan Wilson and still rotfl (admittedly with an occasional wince) at the grotesqueness of JoeCartoon.

Did I say 'were'? Once I used to download every one of them as soon as they aired. I admired the fact that they didn't resort to outright lies ... but then why would they? One could never run out of material while poking fun at the real flaws in Windoze. Lately, though, I don't even click to view most of them with anything remotely resembling my past urgency. In fact, I am sure I've missed watching many. No, they haven't lost on quality, or humour, judging by those I have peeked at ... but, in terms of quantity, there have been just far too many of them! Why didn't anyone at Apple say "Enuff already!" ... ? (Of course, those who know Steve Jobs know why.)

"All is fair in Love and War" goes the cliche ... and Business, now, is War! So the Apple ads got noisier and noisier and more and more aggressive and while Bill Gates poohpoohed and chastised them for their attitude and Microsoft turned up its collective nose at them, the strategy made waves. The brilliantly simple iPods and the simply brilliant much-in-demand iPhones (13000 orders per second in the UK alone today!), working in tandem with these ads in a 3-pronged attack, have helped Apple's market share grow beyond the industry norm.

[Click image to enlarge]

Finally, the company I love to hate for its awful OS and bloatware (but thank, genuinely, for having made computing accessible to millions) has taken notice.

As a lover of humour, a keen follower of the art and science of Advertising, someone who spends a lot of time with technology ... and a dedicated Mac user (until something better for my way of life comes along), I am excitedly looking forward to this counter-campaign. Let's hope it's as funny as the early Mac/PC ads were.

Let the games begin ...

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Checking out who's 'blocked' you? Don't!

Click on the above image to enlarge it.
Visit this site for more details.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Absolut Joy!

You deserve a really big round of



Also, a big
who helped

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Sunday, November 25, 2007


While in Lahore, I wanted to write a longish post for this blog. The internet was 'down' and the only PCs (aaargh!) I had acccess to did not have MarsEdit on them. So I thought I'd start using MS Word - an application that I used to be fairly familiar with until I banished the entire MS Office from my own Macs. I must clarify that I did so because my work no longer required any of its components and not - as some of you may think - in a fit of emotional rage (although I know that, deep down, having to use it for prolonged periods could have been a long-seething factor).

Obviously, when I'd had the Office Suite on my Mac, I'd configured my preferences the way it suited me best. The first thing to be thrown away after any installation of that bloatware over the years has been those annoying lil creatures that the designers (for want of a more suitable and printable word) at Microsoft think are 'cute' ... but on the computer I'd been allocated here, the damned Clippy, something I'd successfully erased from memory, popped up again and spoilt my mood. So the long post - one about a dear old friend and part-mentor, the late Asghar Gorakhpuri - will have to wait.

Oh ... for those of you who do need the Office Suite on your Macs (or are into Masochism), the new version promises to be really cool.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Site for Sore Muslims

MEMRI's Islamist Websites Monitor No. 5 recently reported the following, causing embarrassment, anger, laughter, and disbelief among Muslims, MacUsers, and others:
Apple's "Mecca Project" Provokes Muslim Reaction
On October 10, 2006, an Islamic website posted a message alerting Muslims to what it claims is a new insult to Islam. According to the message, the cube-shaped building which is being constructed in New York City, on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets in midtown Manhattan, is clearly meant to provoke Muslims. The fact that the building resembles the Ka'ba is called "Apple Mecca," is intended to be open 24 hours a day like the Ka'ba, and moreover, contains bars [an entirely misrepresented reference to the advice-offering counters, dubbed Genius Bars by Steve Jobs - Zakintosh] selling alcoholic beverages, constitutes a blatant insult to Islam. The message urges Muslims to spread this alert, in hope that "Muslims will be able to stop the project."
The very next day a more reliable - and certainly a more balanced website than people would expect from one presenting an obviously Islamic viewpoint - offered this piece (from which the excerpt below is taken) by its Editor-in-Chief who writes brilliantly: What if a Muslim in a forest complained about a New York retail outlet he'd never visited? Would it make a sound? If MEMRI weren't around, it wouldn't.
Muslims Aren't Offended By Apple Store
By Shahed Amanullah, October 11, 2006

Recently, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) stated that an anonymous Islamic website in the Middle East urged Muslims to show their outrage at the Apple Store in New York City, which built a pavilion coincidentally resembling the cube shape of the Ka'aba, the ancient structure in Mecca towards which all Muslims pray (the actual structure is glass, though MEMRI referenced a black plywood cover during construction). Predictibly, the post brought out cries of indignation from people upset that Muslims would be offended (yet again). But missing in the report was the name of the purported website, why it was considered authoritative on the matter, or any actual offended Muslims (our straw poll garnered a collective shrug, along with much respect for Steve Jobs, himself the son of an Arab). It's not the first time the controversial organisation has selectively framed an issue to show Muslims in a less than positive light.
Among the various comments on the post is this hilarious one, from Zahed: "It is transparent glass with an Apple logo in the middle and looks as much like the Ka'ba as the Pompidou Centre looks like the Great Pyramid. We have heard reports of Apple fans swirling around the cube hoping to touch the sacred symbol in the middle, but that is nothing to do with Islam and is entirely a different sort of creed."

Bookmark if you are interested in well-written News and Views, often even considered fairly controversial among Muslims (who, contrary to popular belief, do not come in one flavour). Read one such piece on the Ahmadis. Or, for a sprinkling of what the site offers, start with a look at its gender section.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rotten Apples?

When was the last time you received mail, or had to bear a sarcastic comment, because your dreamcar manufacturer, Ferrari, had a small market share? Or because your favourite CD Label had the nasty habit of packing its CDs into a non-biodegradable Jewel Case which, in turn, was placed into a 'bubble pack' twice its size that also contained unnecessary cardboard sheets? Never? Neither have I.

But, for us Apple users, this is not an option.

From dear friends who send me frequent reminders of the Mac having lost (only to be reminded, themselves, that the GUI which Mac introduced actually won and can now be seen on every computer that uses it's cheap copy)

to the not-so-dear chap who sends me updates on all Apple criticisms in the press, as if I were personally accountable for everything Steve does.

So, it came as no surprise that, when Greenpeace charged Apple with environmental irresponsibility, I got an email from a friend who is a very conscious environmentalist. Titled "yr fav slipping?", the mail quoted an article, "How Green Is Your Apple?" - from The Economist, a magazine I find deceitful and obnoxious. (Unfortunately, I am not as forgiving of irresponsible and slanted reporting as many of my more learned friends.)

But, I had also come across the charges by Greenpeace in other sections of the press, and had been following the story keenly, not because it involves Apple but because of my own interest in the Environment.

Why should Apple (in the final analysis) be expected to be better or worse than any other corporation in its pursuit of money? It has never, to my knowledge, claimed a moral high ground. True, it has not yet fallen foul of the law for the kind of strong-arm tactics and illegalities that Microsoft uses, but that doesn't 'guarantee' it never will. Who knows what goes on inside all these big companies? Corporate greed is a killer disease.

Getting back to the Greenpeace charge, they have stated that Apple's performance is very poor in terms of environmental responsibility. According to CNET, Apple disagrees with Greenpeace's assessment, saying that they have strong environmental records and follow worldwide regulations.

As an aware citizen, and a devout Mac user, such things are important for me to trace and track. I am, therefore, not entirely new to the slurs and doubts cast by (otherwise well-meaning) organizations on Apple. It's often a mere 'strategy'. After all, any story with the word 'Apple' or the name 'Steve Jobs' will draw more readers and provide publicity for the cause than would news about Michael 'Dull' or his company. In fact, even Michael uses the strategy to bad-mouth Apple so that his stupid pronouncements get press coverage!

While I cannot categorically state that Greenpeace - an organization I admire immensely - would stoop to such tactics, it is not entirely inconceivable. Truth, honesty, ethics, all go out the window at the drop of a hat in every instance. Sad, but true. The concept of 'ends justifying the means' has completely obliterated the adage which reminded us that 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'.

Those who think I have gone too far in my pro-Apple stance, by casting aspersions on a great activist organization, would do well to remember that, in 2005, the 'Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition' targeted many Apple events to criticize the company's position on recycling and takeback programs for used computers. The SVTC activists kicked off the campaign at MacWorld during Jobs's annual speech ... cashing in on the kind of photo-ops they could not have had any other way. That their charge-sheet was full of everything from suppression of truth to blatant lies, poor analysis, and false conclusions was of no concern to the many who saw the pictures in the press and read their rants and may have concluded that Apple was at fault.

I request those who raise objections - and all who are environmentally conscious - to read the post from which the following extract is quoted to highlight and underscore my point. (For those who live in countries that comprise the Axis of Insanity, where even the delightful tinyurl is banned - amazing, na? - this link may be a better option.)
The UnApple Report issued by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, and their partners, mixed generalized assumptions about Apple Computer, depictions of Apple products, and a spoofed Apple logo, with general facts about the environment and societal ills, and implied a correlation between the two. For example it stated:

50-80% of the e-waste taken to U.S. “recyclers” is actually shipped out to developing countries in violation of international law. In China, India and other countries, dirty electronics recycling has had horrendous consequences—polluting the air, land and water and endangering people’s health. Without an aggressive takeback system, including a commitment to work only with responsible recyclers, Apple is contributing to this growing problem.

This suggested that Apple was involved in sending toxic trash to third world countries, which isn't true. SVTC knew that, so they only implied a relationship. Reports of the protest widely linked Apple to “accusations” of third world dumping, so a vague implication was enough to fulfill the coalition’s political agenda.

Apple lags far behind Dell and HP in its policies or programs to take back its own obsolete products.

This suggested that Dell and HP have actually recycled more of their PCs than Apple has, but that isn't true either. Dell and HP have both produced far more toxic trash than Apple, and continue to generate many times more e-waste than Apple, both in sheer volume and in the degree of toxicity of the new products they ship, as noted below.

A disturbing growth trend in e-waste recycling is the use of prison work programs where super-exploited, under-protected captive workers are subject to toxic exposure. Without a system in place to ensure that Apple e-waste does not end up in prisons, Apple is contributing to this growing problem.

This similarly implied that Apple was using prison labor for recycling, when SVTC knew that Apple really wasn't.

Under a depiction of an iPod being thrown away, the report presented various facts about lead poisoning and the toxicity of burning plastics, but headlined the general statements with: Many manufacturers are addressing the problems associated with electronic waste, or e-waste. Apple, however, is compromising brand value and leadership by placing short-term financial gain over environmental concerns. Apple products include toxics, and need special care.

Was the iPod targeted because it is a serious contributor to e-waste, or was SVTC targeting Apple because their brand name and consumer popularity would guarantee it front page press coverage? Would it be better if the iPod used AA batteries, the way many other music players do? That would result in the tens of millions of iPod users each throwing away hundreds of toxic batteries throughout their iPods' lifetime.
Apple's official policy and record, too, is worth a read. A caveat: after all, it is the company's site and, like all content on company sites, must be read with a critical mind. But also worth keeping in mind is that the ex Vice President of the USA, Al Gore, one of the leading environmentalists today, also sits on the board of Apple.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

iThink. Therefore iPod.

I have been following the charges that have surfaced against Apple Computer about the poor working conditions its iPod plant in China offers its workers because it involves Apple, but - more to the point - because of my interest in the working conditions and the exploitation of labour in the majority world by corporations from developed and civilized countries. Outsourcing is merely a euphemism for this exploitation and we fall for it hook, line and sinker!

The ultimate monstrosity, of course, has been that of Outsourcing Torture. Some of the countries have even tortured their own citizens for a 'suitable' fee from the USA, or even the turning of a blind eye to the tyrannous rule in those places.
The philosophy behind this outsourcing of torture reminds me of a tale from Manto's Siyaah Haashiyay ('Black Borders' - a collection of vignettes unparalleled in Urdu) in which some people find a Muslim family hiding in the basement of one of the houses they have occupied during the 1947 Indo-Pak Partition massacre. They debate among themselves about the diposal of these Muslims: They cannot kill them because killing is forbidden by their Jain faith. So, they finally 'settle' the problem by deciding to hand them over to some other sect whose faith would allow them to kill.
I doubt if Apple should be expected to be better or worse than any other corporation in its pursuit of money. To be fair, it has never, to my knowledge, claimed a moral high ground. While it has not yet fallen foul of the law for the strong-arm tactics and illegalities that Microsoft has, that doesn't 'guarantee' that it never will. One can only hope. Who knows what goes on inside all these big companies? Corporate greed is a killer disease.

That said, I have been a Mac user since 1984 and, like all its previous versions, Apple's OS (Current version: Tiger) remains my favourite by a long shot over all else. And the next version (Leopard) is drool-cool! [Wintel users: If you switch and find that you do have an occasional masochistic pang for Windoze, the new Intel Macs run that, too. And fast.]

Aesthetically Apple is still the best in terms of Hardware and Peripherals, as well as its own suites (iWork & iLife) based on the original philosophy of being 'the computer for the rest of us' (although Trott finds it fun, too)! And its innovations, from the iPod and the iTunes Store to the MacMini and even the Apple Stores are blatantly copied by everyone else, as was its GUI. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of acknowledging lack of creativity!

My favourite or not, its impact has never lessened ever since it launched the personal computer revolution. Despite a comparatively miniscule marketshare, it makes ripples throughout the media everytime Jobs so much as sneezes. When did you last see Michael Dell's address to his Developers[?] shown in the TV News section? The iPod has even been the source of adding a word - Podcasting - to the English Language. It was, in fact, named the word of the year.

I am as unlikely to excuse, much less defend, Apple's malpractices as I am the Holocaust. On the other hand, as an activist, I have seen such charges levelled against many companies by Greenpeace and Animal Rights groups, but have - apart from the usual unsupported denials by the guilty parties - yet to see many other companies offer such a quick and fair response.

I must admit, though, that my love of Jobs's products is somewhat enhanced by a common affinity for the movements of the 60s - a fact that, to many of you, may not amount to much ... but means the world to me!

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

A gift idea!

"It goes to the heart of who we are and where we came from. Our human ancestors were still interbreeding with their chimp cousins long after first splitting from the chimpanzee lineage, a genetic study suggests."

The whole story, featured in the May 17th edition of The New Scientist, is one of many that this amazing magazine offers each week. No time to read? Here's a sample podcast from The New Scientist. Put it onto your iPod!

I have yet to come across a single issue that hasn't held me glued ... and, lest you think it's for oldies or science-buffs and geeks, my copies are constantly in demand by absolute non-science types who are less than half my age!!! Of course, you have to be Bright, Aware, and Inquisitive. So, be warned: You may be at a disadvantage if you've been through formal education which has taken the sheen off all these qualities you were born with. (To be fair, I've known even some of those to enjoy the magazine.)

So, why am I plugging the magazine? Well, it's part of my life-long passion to unzip minds. And I really think some parents should consider a year-long subscription as a gift for their kids on graduating. (They just lose those frigging expensive pens you buy them, anyway!)

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Dilli, jo ayk shahr tha ...

I am in Delhi (shouldn't that be Dehli --- or even Dilli?) and expect to be here for only a couple of weeks if all my medical investigations go well ... The next 3 days will govern what the rest of the trip will turn into. Regardless of the outcome, a trip to Delhi is always like an intravenous dose of Jolt Cola! I am feeling more alive than I have ever felt since the surgery in Feb.

While doctors are taking care of the body, staying at Tarun's is a boost for the mind. Shubha and Aneesh arrive on the 6th, so that should take care of the soul. Am excited about dinner tonite, at Rahul's, and am looking forward to meeting Khushwant Ji whose mental motor is still running full-speed, at 91!!! (Note to myself: Must remember to photograph his bedroom door and put the pic into a later post.)

Daykhna qismat keh aap apnay peh rashk aajae hae ...

Started on Tarun's tehelka-aamayz first novel, The Alchemy of Desire. It's fast gaining international success: he is being compared to Lawrence, Hemingway and Marquez; translations are becoming available in a number of languages; the French edition is in its 3rd printing in one month. Many are already betting that the next Booker will be his.

Nothing, not even being with friends in one of my favourite cities, exists without a downside. Internet connectivity is a nightmare in this house, made several orders of magnitude worse because of my having to use an effing PC Desktop. But for everyone used to the bliss of unanchored WiFi --- even if s/he was a Windows-using masochist --- this would be painful. To top it all, the mouse feels as if it has been part of some macabre behaviorist experiments.

I've just got to make technology work decently around here. Or find a cybercafe that provides a good mix of broadband and espresso. Have asked someone to connect a NetLink AAW (Apple Airport Wannabe) here asap. With my PowerBook connected to the Net, all the news that's unfit to print will be back here.

So, watch this space ...

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