Saturday, September 13, 2014

Finally, Google is copying Apple

                       Over the last few months, Google has been devising a new strategy to push its Android Operating System on various phone manufacturers. At the same time, it is also advertising its own brand of phone 'Nexus' and the 'Moto' series with full force. How do we understand this behavior of Google vis-a-vis Apple?

                      Well, Google began challenging Apple's iPhone in 2008 by saying that Apple. by tying its hardware and software into one coherent unit was denying people 'freedom'. It was forcing users to remain caged in its own garden and not allowing them to explore other options. Android, on the other hand, was a free software. It could be used by any phone manufacturer to power its device. In this way, Android was not only giving people the freedom to choose but was also reducing the cost of handsets. Google stood as a lone warrior against Apple's 'Hegemony'.

                      However, in the recent past, Google has taken a you turn. Strangely, it is now selling the fact that Nexus and Moto phones will receive Android updates faster than other Android phones. It is also asking phone manufacturers to use only stock Android on their devices and is paying them for it. Evidently, users were tired of apps not working on Android devices. Games crashed, lagged in frames, displays were weak - The list is endless. Google is definitely aware of the problem. And what solution does it have? Bring the hardware and software together! The same 'crime' which it has been accusing Apple of committing since the launch of the first iPhone. Eventually, Google is just trying to become another Apple.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why I bought an iPhone?

               Having used an Android phone for more than 3 years, I have been pretty impressed with its battle against Apple. Android as a software is independent and companies can make their own smartphones which would be powered by Android.

              I was looking for a new phone and had narrowed down my search to three phones - Nexus 5, HTC Desire 616 and iPhone 4S. Almost till the end, I had zeroed down to the Nexus 5. But at the last moment, I decided to take a serious look at my 'requirements'. These were:
  • A really nice, bright display
  • Graphics which can handle HD games
  • Smooth user interface
  • Adequate memory
  • Affordable price tag
I had a hands-on on various High end Android devices and none of them could match up to the first three requirements. And then, I decided to go for the iPhone 4S because it was fulfilling all my requirements except the second last. Going for a higher memory device would have increased the price and made the phone out of budget.

So what have I learnt? That don't go on specs like quad core, octa core, 20 megapixel, ppi, etc.

All these numbers are only to fool us. They have no meaning. All the highest specifications of a high end Android Phone cannot match to a three generation old iPhone.

But iPhone has its limitations. It is not customizable. It is very rigid. We have to use it the way it has been shipped. It may not boast of all the tall numbers simply because it is not concerned with them. Rather, it is actually concerned with performance which it delivers. I would extra-polate and say that Apple products should not be compared for specifications. Rather, they should be compared on the grounds of performance and user-experience which is unmatchable.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

First poem in 2014

आहटें आज भी हैं,
फुसफुसाहट अभी भी है

वर्त्तमान काल में धब्बे आज भी हैं,
वायु में खुशबु आज भी है

कभी देखती है छुपकर,
कभी प्यार से बुलाती है

घबराऊंगा नहीं - ये हर बार सोचता हूँ,
करूँगा सामना  - ये हर बार सोचता हूँ

वो वक़्त जब मैं हुआ करता था हैरान,
और मन की अवस्था थी विचलित

लोगों की भीड़ में लेकर घूमता हूँ वो चिराग,
जिसमे है उस समय कि हैवानियत

और रखता हूँ काबू खुदपर,
कि कहीं उस चिराग को रगड़ न दूं

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bigg Boss, Comedy Nights and other voyeurisms

Two extremely 'superhit' programs on Indian television screens these days are 'Bigg Boss' and 'Comedy Nights with Kapil.' These serials enjoy high TRPs and have made celebrities out of erstwhile cricketers and second rate and forgotten TV actors.

The analysis of the content of these programs reveals a dangerous trend setting in the social fabric of our country. While Bigg Boss primarily brings voyeurism right in our bedrooms and legitimizes it, Comedy Nights with Kapil is doing the insidious job of making fun of people and reinforcing stereotypes in the name of comedy. The comedy in the latter's case is not situation based; instead it revels in making fun of people and their lives.

Both these programs, insidiously, are leading to a point where the line between fun and bullying is getting blurred day by day. We are moving towards a society where entertainment is being defined as bullying others and peeping into other's bedrooms. A situation in which there is no critique of the current social order and its problems. Instead, targeting others for their differences is being sold.

How do we understand this phenomena?

The blatant copying of the American mode of entertainment, rise of technology based on the principle of 'selling' the product to maximum people and continued and unhindered freezing of stereotypes, among others, can be counted as reasons for this state of affairs.

With the idea of selling everything firmly entrenching in our society, it is going to be almost impossible to stop this juggernaut from rolling. The voices of a few limited people will be suppressed in the name of TRPs and profits. Soon, bullying will become the norm while growing up in schools, followed by gun killings.

Welcome to America!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Social media and long form writing

Social media has been heralded as the ‘next big thing’ of the 21st century. It is the greatest event to have happened to humanity since we tamed the moon in 1969. Facebook and twitter, to name a few ‘hot’ social media sites, have the potential to bring people together like never before. Social media will herald the next revolutions of the world, so they say.

Social media has the ability to connect people. This argument cannot be denied. There is no challenge to it in this domain. Facebook and twitter allow people to update their ‘status’ or tell others what they are doing, watching, eating, drinking, etc.However, we need to be cautious about an insidious strand of social media which is fast trending (Pun intended).

But both of them glorify brevity. Twitter doesn't even allow more than 140 characters!

This habit of being extremely precise has the capability of curtailing long form writing. While earlier, a movie review would demand a full blog post, today, a simple status update or a tweet is enough to announce the verdict. A critical review of a novel is being reduced to a simple ‘boring book’ status. In fact, where one is posting the status or tweet from has become an added and un-ignorable dimension. ‘Sent from my iphone’, ‘sent from my blackberry’, ‘sent using the stylus of Galaxy Note 2’, etc. are becoming the cool add-ons. The means are becoming more important than the ends! The end goal of writing a long, descriptive and analytic piece is being replaced by the goal of telling the brand of the smartphone one owns and the ability of one’s status or tweet to be as ‘eye-catching’ as possible.

Where does this lead us to? Is this simply a cribbing about the good old days or are we witness to manifestation of a new and completely alien form of medium of interaction unknown to the previous generation? We need to put this question to the world to understand this complex idea. Please put this as your Facebook status or tweet it to generate the next big revolution.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What is Shahrukh Khan trying to do?

Shahrukh Khan is approaching 50. He knows his days are numbered as a superstar. At the most, he may replace Amitabh Bachchan's post 2000 manifestation of stardom. He may end up doing strong but limited roles once he crosses 50 and be content to be the father figure of the industry as well as steer his children's film aspirations. Obviously, this is what most superstars of their times have done in the evening of their careers.

Shahrukh Khan knows this. He has seen this cycle repeat one too many times while he himself reigned as the superstar of Bollywood in the late 90s and 2000s, although this notion can be strongly challenged since the mid 2000s when Salman Khan and Aamir Khan came back ferociously in the industry and challenged his supremacy. Still, SRK resides in the hearts of millions. He is a superstar and he is touching 50.

So, is SRK ready to repeat the usual cycle which stars of the previous era have gone through? Or will he try to stay at the top by doing more and more romantic films with heroines half his age and eventually end up making a mockery of himself and resigning to a painful loneliness?

It appears, SRK knows all this too well. So, he is trying to do something else, actually becoming something else. He is trying to become the SINGLE source of entertainment for the Indian public. This is how:

1. He is the comic host on movie awards shows.
2. He is the owner of one of the most popular T20 teams.
3. He has the most amazing homes in Dubai.
4. He keeps selling various products on TV
5. He develops video games and other merchandise for his films.
5. He keeps doing films on larger issues of religion or 'I am the best' kind of films.

And now, his latest ambition is to include the 'south' as well in the definition of Indian Public. This is a territory in which no actor from Bollywood has been able to make his or her mark in a substantial way.

This is what makes SRK larger than life. His presence in all forms of entertainment Indians are used to such as films, cricket, games, products, TV shows, showblitz, etc.

Let us see how this manifests in the coming times.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Masochism and Perfection

Human beings are masochists at heart. We revel in giving pain to others. When someone starts paying attention to a person and the person has no intention of returning the attention back, then in that case, he will start behaving in such a manner so that the other person (Attention giver) writhes in pain.

Perhaps, this explains why we torture people whom we intend to kill. We have this urge to see people wallow in pain in front of our eyes. Human beings are the only species known in the world which systematically kills its own kind. The cruel happiness one derives from seeing the other person in pain is insatiable. This could be because the pain giver is under control of the situation and can decide on varying the amount of pain. This gives the person a thrill, a kick which is unmatched.

The pain giver forgets that he too could be in a similar situation in future. He too could be at the mercy of someone else. However, if we learnt this, we will cease to be humans with all our complexities. It is the sadness, regret, pain and nostalgia which we romanticize in our lives. All our art comes from these sources. Art also creates the magical world of perfection. A dream world where everything is white and pristine. It forgets that such a world is devoid of all emotions.

Such a world cannot be filled with humans. Human beings can thrive only in places where there is imperfection and they use emotion to perpetuate it.