Monday, October 10, 2011

Another R.I.P.

As far as tragedies go, 2011 is turning out to be a really bad year. First M F Hussain, then Steve Jobs, and now Jagjit Singh.
Jagjit Singh was responsible for bringing the ghazal to the common man. True, there are other noted singers, like Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, Munni Begum, but few have been able to transcend from the high art and reach out to the common man. Jagjit Singh managed to do that, with his soulful and soothing voice. Ask a layman, and he will be able to recall a Jagjit Singh ghazal before one by Ghulam Ali.
His songs for films like Arth, Saath Saath right till Sarfaosh were a testament to his talent.
All one can say is,

तुम चले जाओगे तो sओचेगे , हमने क्या khoya, हमने क्या पाया

note: the trinsliteration does not work as well I ad hoped it would.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

R.I.P Steve Jobs

Today was a momentous day in tech history. One of its brightest stars, Steve Jobs passed away today. The world wide mourning for his passing is to be understood, for, in a field full of innovators, he stood out.
A lot has been written about Steve Jobs since he retired from his company last August. He has been uniformly been praised as one of the bes CEOs, who has turned Apple around, ever since he came back to its fold in 1997. From being a bankrupt company, it is now the second most valuable company.
A look at the various message boards has people discussing Jobs' legacy. While many would like to remember him as a tech innovator, who invented stuff and created products which other people had not thought about, others would like to think of him as a marketing genius, who took existing technologies made them desirable.
Personal, I always felt that Apple fell somewhere in between.
Steve Jobs had a great understanding of what people wanted, coupled with the means to package them in a manner that want became desirability. Apple products were always packaged beautifully. And that, there was the reason for the success for Apple. Though mp3 players existed before the iPod, it was the snazzy packaging of the product that made the product as a must buy. The same was with the imacs. With their colorful, translucent looks, the imacs again were great to look at, making people buy. But that is not to deny that these products were in anyway technically inferior. In fact, they were as good as, or in many cases, better than their windows counterparts, but I say it again, that was not the reason the people thought about buying them. For them, first and foremost, it was the look that mattered as it should, when buying anything.
This attention to looks and details is what led to the advancement in Apple products. The strive towards a small form factor resulted in smaller, slimmer computers. The bulky CPU was done away with, as everything was fit along with the display unit. The iPods and iPads to started becoming slimmer and packed nearly the same power as their bulky brethren.
The iPad, in fact, seemed to be a logical progression of all the advancements, since the casual use rarely uses the keyboard, preferring instead to use the mouse, using the keyboard only to update the social status.
The success of Apple, and also Steve Jobs must also be seen in view of the fact that they operate in very closed environments - interoperability with products other than Apple has always been an issue. While the Apple products seamlessly  work with each other, this is is not possible with the non-Apple products. So, to take full advantage of Apple, one has to buy Apple products from end to end. I personally used an iPod and while I liked it, I found it too restrictive  with regards to loading songs and deleting them. I later switched to Phillips GoGear, which let me listen to my music without much bother of how to load and delete the files, with the same audio quality.
Steve Jobs was able to build Apple to a cult, with loyal users who would buy whatever he built, and that must be appreciated. He was the one rare technologist, who also had the aesthetic sense in him, to make beautiful products, which people later copied. The cult like status allowed him to make risky decisions, like doing away with the floppy drive in the imac, claiming them to be obsolete and sticking with only optical drives, and then later doing away with them as well in the MacBook Air. These decisions had an industry-wide impace, and we are all the better for it.
The future technologists would do well to study the works of Steve Jobs, to learn about how he built an empire, a cult. Like or hate him, one cannot deny that he changed the world around him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

still around...

still around, with the sincerest intention to update my blog and the littlest intention of doing so. in the meantime, a new look for the blog is always welcome

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Quick Note...

To anyone visiting this page, check out the music of Shor In The City....wonderful music. I have been listening to Saibo in rotation for an hour now, and that hasn't happened in a long time.

Added later:

Contrary to reports of blogs dying, if my blog stats are true, they are only reviving. The visits to my blog have never been this high!! It seems that bloggers are only staging a fightback, proving to world that blogging is not dead.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

You're so 2000 late...

So I reconnected with a very old friend of mine, a chaddi-buddy, whom I haven't met or talked to in years. Such are the pleasures of Facebooking, your past catches up on you.
But thats not he point I am making here. We got talking and to my query about how he is, he replies' 'cool'! To put that line into context, let me tell you that the said friend is a small town guy, who was not conversant in English till the year 2005, when I last met him. Come 2011, and he is all 'cool-ed' up!! In fact, he also caption most of his photos as cool, which brings me to the conclusion that cool is the most uncool word now, from being uber hip, the word is now downgraded to ghati status. Everybody and their grandfather are using that word now.
So, to all the young people out there, stop saying you are cool, your fathers are probably cooler than you when they use that word. You need to come up with another word.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

One For The Road(ies)....

Roadies is back!! And how!!!

I am not much of a reality show person - I like my fantasy, the more fantastic the better. Hence my preference for sci-fi and superhero cartoons.

But Roadies is a different beast. Every since I saw it from season 5, I was hooked. This is one show that has managed to be interesting throughout its run. The concept of the show is quite simple - a bunch of youngsters leave on thir bikes, with tasks thrown in. But what makes it interesting is the presence of Raghu.

Raghu is one host that knows how to make the show interesting. He has taken the shows linear format and turned it over its head, Every episode has an interesting twist - I wont call it unexpected, because we actually wait for the unexpect twist.

The past two years, Roadies was losing its unexpectedness. Gone were the youngsters looking for an adventure. In their place, there was this tribe of Roadies, people who have seen every episode, and come with their guards up, impenetrable. Roadies 6 was watchable, mainly because of Kiri, who was a treat to watch, his passion for Roadies visible to everyone. As for Roadies 7, I have trouble remembering even one memorable person from that bunch.

But now, with season 8, Raghu and team have managed to do the impossible. They have somehow managed to bring the unexpected back into the show. Quite frankly, this year's contestants are not better than the previous years, each playing their cards too close, their guards always up. But Raghu, Rajiv and Rannvijay have been able to get some interesting characters for the show. From the over confident Avtar to the totally obscure Suraj, this group has every personality type.

To be sure, this season has managed to come up with a few surprises. Firstly it was the first Roadie to be voted out, Rahul, who turned out to be quite urbane, as opposed to his village boy persona on teh show. Then there was the secret pact between Avtaar and Dev,which took everyone. When these two got voted out, Renee, with her women-versus-men plotting got our attention. These tricks have managed to get the viewers attention, rather than the tasks and the vote outs themselves.

The previous two shows were quite bloated, meaning, the tasks were too high concept to be entertaining, case in point being the season 7 finale. They actually built a replica of an auditorium for that and had the contestants running around like gladiators. Thankfully in season 8, they have shed all the excess baggage. Its back a bunch of youngsters on bikes, with a takla testing them.

In future episodes, expect to see boxer Vijendra Singh, ex contestants Ashutosh Kaushik, Nihal, Tammanna, Polomi and a naked Suchit.

With the unexpected back in Roadies, I am looking forward to an entertaining season.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Another Kranti...

A nice piece by B Raman on the recent fasting till death by Anna Hazare. I totally agree with what he has to say about the fast. the fact that the government has capitulated to the demands of Anna Hazare is down more to the youth power than to the man himself. Of late, the youth participation in social issues has been very encouraging - the caandle light vigils at India Gate for Jessica, the protests in DU for the broad daylight murder of a girl being two of them. The reason police acted swiftly in the second case was clearly because of the youth power. The politicians realize that the youth today, for all their couldn't-care-attitude, are socially aware. It takes a brazen criminal act  to get them to worked up about an issue. Mr Raman rightly points out that the recent success of the agitation has been thanks to the youth rather than because of them.

That said, I do have a point to say, namely the youth, for all their social awareness, are quite fickle minded as youth down the ages has been. The agitation is as much about social awareness for them, as it is about being in the right crowd. Indian history is replete with youth movements that have not amounted to much, the Mandal agitation, being a prime example. This agitation against corruption will be a success if the youth emerge more dedicated to root out corruption.

An asking point among the youth should be about the Lokpal Bill, which is what Anna Hazare has been demanding the implementation of. Do the youngsters taking part in the morchas know what the bill is, and what are its implications? The bill itself lays the onus of removing corruption on the civil society, since the general public can initiate corruption charges against government officers. To do so, the civil society must be aware of the laws to defend it, but we as a society with seniors included may rant against widespread corruption, but at the end of the day, we will settle for a little jugaad.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

We Are The Champions!!!

Congratulations India, you did it!!!

It was a thrilling end to an exciting match. Personally, I don't follow cricket, but this being the world cup, it was hard to stay away.

Throughout the series, India played consistently, putting up a score and then chasing it. Thought we faltered against England (tie) and South Africa (lost), we finally pull our strings together for a thrilling India-Pakistan semi-final, and the India-Sri Lanka final.

With the world cup coming to India after 28 years, I am proud to say that I was there both the times.

Jiyo India!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog?...

Still here, still wanting to post, but seems to have become reticent. Maybe just got a little too scared when I noticed that my blog resembled a personal diary, except that it was not personal. To be honest, I have come to the conclusion that to be a good blogger one has to learn to be impersonal. A blog, from a writers perspective, is a very personal thing. a bloggers uses a secret username and password to enter his or her private domain, expresses himself before a screen....its when the Publish Post button has been clicked, that the entire exercise becomes impersonal. A panic sets in...did I reveal too much, was I too evasive?
That said, blogging can be addictive as well. Its your own personal space to pontificate on all matters mundane..the occassional anonymous comments emboldens the blogger.
These past weeks when I havent been posting anything, I have still be thinking about the ideal thing to post...guess the blogger in my refuses to die!!
Si I guess, I will be around, but not sporadic. A little more blogging is what the doctor would recommend for me..

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Heres wishing the regular visitors to this blog (hello Googlebot) as well as the random visitors a Very Happy and Prospersous 2011....

...a word of caution though...2012 is very close now, so go live all your unfulfilled dreams, kyunki kal ho na ho...