Technology

sometimes i'm such an arrogant ass

friend: arnab ..do u know how to make a website
Arnab: no.
friend: any idea who knows
Arnab: no.
friend: ok.. thanks

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miffed at the g magic

I’m both a little amused and a little disappointed at the whole aura of awesomeness that Google seems to have. They change tabs into a stupid select box, and the whole world goes like “Whoa, interface innovation…. awesome….”. Guys, this is how they had them in 1996 ya know. They change the result page to have vertical tabs, and people are amazed… guess what, a company you might be familiar with has already been there and done that. Makes me laugh.

Then, the disappointing bit: Like Cecilia says, Google is fighting the US government because it has a good economic stand in the US; and on the other hand, it’s cooperating with the Chinese government because they realy want to get into the booming tech market there. Here’s a dictionary link to the word hypocrisy.

Forget public opinion. Every single “innovation” the big G has released on their own weblog in the recent past is a stale rehash of something others have done years before. Custom Buttons? Go look at MSN’s IE Toolbar development kit. Internationalized Software? Oh, I’m impressed. TV on Google Video ? Just like iTunes, eh? nice. New Imagery in Maps? Playing catchup with Microsoft’s Birds Eye view, aren’t you? Delete Buttons!! Don’t even get me started. Federated Google Talk Holy crap, they wrote a jabber client. And MSN and Yahoo have corporate versions that do multiple servers, etc anyway.

Cmon Google! Show me the money!

Sidenote: The real innovation is subversive and controversial, and hence not very publicized. Google now personalized pretty much everything; search results are heavily personaized according to my preferences, and when and what I’m searching for. In my view this isn’t such a bad thing, but we’ll keep this for another blogpost.

scratching itches

Was only tweaking things for a website I’ve been setting up, and ended up submitting a core patch to Drupal! Let’s see what the Bryght people think about it.

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apple macbookpro

Apple releases the MacBookPro, and I am not impressed. Actually, I’m kind of stunned. This one is way, way below Apple’s standards. Let’s enumerate:

  • No choices on size? When did that happen?
  • The color is weird. It’s not exciting white, it’s not exciting titanium, it’s… dull gray.
  • The website is weird, and looks like a last minute job, or an uninspired one (by Apple standards)
  • The design of the MacBook is… weird. This doesn’t look like something Apple made. An Apple product is almost always “aesthetically-complete”; i.e. you can’t point at any attribute and say that it does not belong there. Every part of the product is in its place, and that place is the best place for it. Can someone explain why the camera is misaligned?
  • The magnetic power cord thing is the only thing I liked, but that thing too doesn’t look that good!

Either Apple is losing its fizz, or maybe the MacBookPro was only a hack job to apease Steve Jobs and the Apple fanatics? I want my 700$ FlashRAM based 12” iBook with Intel Dual Core, and I will wait till then.

Update: Also read my post about the Apple MacBook.

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Windows Vista SideShow

The Vista “SideShow Platform”:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/features/default.aspx:

The Windows Vista SideShow platform will also enable hardware manufacturers to build auxiliary displays in a wide range of peripheral devices such as keyboards, LCD display casings, remote controls, and cell phones. These devices can then display information received from a Windows Vista-based PC, providing even more convenience to your everyday computing.

Probably the only thing they didn’t copy from Apple. I like it, because it makes a lot of sense. Combine this with E-Ink displays, and Optimus keyboards, and we’ve got a winner.

mitch hedberg

Discovered Mitch Hedberg via Anuj’s band website :

“An escalator can never break; it can only become stairs. You would never see an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order’ sign, just ‘Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.’”

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random click link

Firefox has this quirky “feature”; middle clicking on any part of an existing page takes you via google search tothe top searched page of the text previously selected. Since I read by selecting text, I am often taken to rather interesting websites without my intent, such as these:

Stop being a pussy! Beat your kid.
A pinky-fingernail sized diamond that costs 3.6mil green ones
My baby suddenly hates her favourite foods

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of blog names and christmas

Ravikiran writes about weblog names, and how it is hard to come up with an original title for a new weblog:

…of course, we early bloggers who are responsible for this. Firstly, we’ve taken all the good ones and secondly, the new bloggers think that they have to have some dramatic sounding name to get people’s attention. So we now have names like “The daily random ruminations of a demented maverick maniac” which, unfortunately, tells us only one thing – the blog has started recently and that they have expended all their imagination on the name.

This blog (and this website) has always been called Arnab’s World, a rather trite and generic title that many of my namesakes’ weblogs share. However, the advantage of having such a title is that you can’t really get bored of it; after all half of it is a word you’ve been trained to accept and love for the rest of your life. Changing it to a catchy “Notes from Las Vegas” would be nice, but it lacks permanency, I tend to get bored of my creativity very quickly.

Of course, “Notes from Las Vegas” would be a very apt title for this weblog during Christmas; for that is when yours truly will be trying to forget the horrifying semester that was, numbing his frayed nerves on the rides aboard the Stratosphere.

In other words, I have the most awesome cousin on this planet.

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This is Huge

Amazon Mechanical Turk — “Artificial Artificial Intelligence”:

Amazon Mechanical Turk provides a web services API for computers to integrate “artificial, artificial intelligence” directly into their processing by making requests of humans. Developers use the Amazon Mechanical Turk web services API to submit tasks to the Amazon Mechanical Turk web site, approve completed tasks, and incorporate the answers into their software applications. To the application, the transaction looks very much like any remote procedure call: the application sends the request, and the service returns the results. In reality, a network of humans fuels this artificial, artificial intelligence by coming to the web site, searching for and completing tasks, and receiving payment for their work.

It’s insanely ambitious, but I applaud the Amazon guys for coming up with something like this.

It's really about the roses you forgot to stop and smell

I’ve been following all this Web 2.0 business for a while, and it scares me. It’s hard to explain in a few lines — (I really want to, but I also have to evaluate the charniak parser, and the brill tagger, write appositions…. ) – it’s not because we’re heading towards a second dot-com bubble(we might be, but I don’t really care about it). It’s because there’s WAY too much technology out and about. There’s not enough people(or people’s resources) to consume it, and not enough data for it to be useful. The searchable internet may have billions of pages, but how much of it is really useful? Your intelligent social network may connect you to so many people, but do you really want to talk to all these people? You may relish the ability to suck in So Much Information with the press of a single button, but how much of the data you consume useful? I’m not just complaining about the fact that the information age has retarded our lives instead of making it better; I’m worrying about the fact that we’re heading towards an overprocessed, overnetworked, overmanaged world where we’re doing very little useful work.

My other worry is about the frontronners of the new Web: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, News Corp. Each one is building their own Map framework, their own index of the world and its libraries, their own social network systems, their own information monarchy. It’s all about “convergent, ubiquituous, live-your-life-on-my-website technology”. Imagine the redundancy in effort; in intellectual advancement; the waste of precious human capability because each of these players(and countless other startups, opensource mashups, and random developers) are eying the same piece of meat: the whole of your life. Not just a part of it: the only way to really strike a profit is to make it really useful for you. And the only way to make this really useful, is to take over the whole of your life. What you read, hear, see. Who you communicate with and how. Which parties you go to, What you eat, where you go to shop. And how you travel to get to party, shop and eat. It’s ironic, but from how I look at it, the global optimal(both my convenience, and their profit) is for everyone to surrender entirely to one of these Big Brothers. I’m not advocating an eventual 1984 here, just pointing out that the only way we will really ever get to the Web we dream of is by letting exaclty one of these players to win; and that situation is identical to the BigBrotherness we all have nightmares about.

(I know a lot of this text above would look like mindless drivel unless you’ve been carefully following the way the WWW has been changing over the last year. I wish had the time to hyperlink, exemplify and write this out clearly; but I’m afraid I’m going to have to sacrifice quality of writing due to lack of time.)

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