Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If ever there is a GPhone, I would want...

Over the last two to three weeks, there has been increasing coverage of the various moves being unleashed by Google, Microsoft, Facebook and the likes. One of those that clearly stand out in this is the new “Android” API that Google has introduced for all cell phone operators and application developers to develop seamless applications on the mobile platform. That effectively meant that there would not be a GPhone as hoped by many.

I just imagined what I could have got if only there was a GPhone in the offing. Imagination was curtailed to the extent that I did not think about too many fancy applications like these

  1. I don’t want a GPhone, I want a GEM – OK. Let me explain better. A Gem stands for a Google emblem. And phone may / may not be just a part of it. Think something like an iPhone / SideKick / Blackberry. But not just limited to what Apple decides to put into their iPhone. It should be a truly democratic phone and there should be an ability to add on stuff (explained in the next point). Features that certainly should be supported right from beta include the basic phone, net browsing, camera, mp3 player, video, Bluetooth, gaming controls, qwerty keyboard, trackball, expandable memory, radio etc. with a couple of USB ports.
  2. I want a configurable Gem – Now comes the interesting part. I want to be able to choose what I want in my Gem. Currently even though I may not want a camera as part of my phone, I am forced to buy my phone with it since only such phones have the additional features I need. I want to be able to just plug and play these devices and configure my own phone. So if I need a camera, I will go for it and plug that in. If I need audio / video capabilities, I will plug that in and pay more for it. It is similar in case of a qwerty keyboard / net browsing capability etc. This is surely possible for the brilliant Google designers and engineers!
  3. I want complete mobility – EDGE / UMTS / ABCDE etc. Oh God I don’t want to hear any more technical jargons on what a phone supports and what not. Majority of the more than 2 billion that may probably own a phone don’t care about that. They may just may want internet browsing for example. And the Gem should certainly provide that feature irrespective of what the network supports or what a physical location supports (as long as it supports something!). Speeds may vary but the feature should be there and should not be insanely expensive as it is right now with better support and usage.
  4. I want to do things that can be done on a small screen– I don’t want to read an entire newspaper on my phone. I just want the summary of the news. Similarly, I don’t really want to play fast action games on such a small screen but I may want to play some classic games from the N32/64/Sega or Carmen Sandiego/Mario era. And I don’t want to keep downloading them from a million sites. I just want one place or better still, let them come by default maybe at some price. Google should start certainly looking at a better conduit for small-screen related content instead of just exposing the not so literate user to the big wide world from Google search results and sponsored links! Search can be considered a digression and I dont want to be searching all the time through a small screen device.
  5. I want my Gem to be the God of all things – In the long term, I would look at my Gem to be the all in one device to just connect to my monitor and look at the whole thing on a bigger screen (and the OS senses that and fine-tunes the display). I don’t need any operating system if I am in this mode, all the apps that I need – mail, docs, spreadsheets, browser, media player, messenger are already there inside the phone. In a similar fashion, you can expect the Gem to be the controlling device for your TV to get cable, satellite and internet videos all delivered. You can even look at your TV as a large screen device to play bigger and better games off your Gem. The Gem should also connect to maybe Bose speakers to play crystal clear music. The Gem becomes the all in one device with its connectivity and expandable memory. Other devices just connect and amplify!

Google’s motto is to “Don't be evil”. Hence I am implicitly assuming that connectivity across multiple systems such as live / yahoo as well as various different social networks like facebook / myspace / bebo etc. are all covered in addition to whatever I have mentioned above… Given the Google push, the Android platform will obviously provide choices for web browsers / other applications and the likes and it would be survival of the fittest then for sure – so the best would win.

It certainly is worth waiting for this Gem of a device, if and when it arrives…

Monday, November 12, 2007

O(h) So Much Hype...

On Saturday, I went and watched the most hyped film of our times – Om Shanti Om. I can now stand up and shout out to the world with my 1.5 pack paunch that it is the biggest and brightest film ever made in our country.

All the actors have put in their best performances to date for this movie. Special mention must go to Arjun Rampal, who has done one of his best roles of his career as a villain. Credit must go to the director Farah Khan for the way she has mastered her resources – including the tons of superstars, each of whom have made their presence felt. Comedy is awesome and this movie will make you keep laughing all the way. Of course, the movie has good doses of action, romance and sentiment as well to make it one solid pot-boiler for all ages to enjoy. Last but not the least, Shah Rukh is the king of the Indian cinema and his six pack abs and his humdinger of a performance proves that he is our No. 1 superstar.

Oops. Just because of the hype surrounding the movie and its reviews elsewhere, I got a bit carried away. Let me cut the crap and talk about ground reality…

The film is a completely ordinary effort. As regards the story, I am not even getting into any discussion on logic – you really cannot hope to have one where the movie starts with reincarnation and goes on to end as a ghost story. Just a couple of twists does not make an engaging storyline. Arjun Rampal has maintained his same expressionless dead face throughout the movie – the biggest advantage that he has here is that he is playing the villain and is thus able to pass off as a great performance. As regards Farah, there is absolutely no single point in the movie that has the stand-out touch of the director – it is just too normal and usual in everything. As for the tons of stars, they all could get their dancing parts long enough thanks to the super-long song in the second half that just went on and on. Except for the Sonu Nigam song, all other songs have been picturized and choreographed in an extremely ordinary manner – something that you might have thought could be one stand-out feature of such a big movie, being directed by a renowned dancer. The main climax song is not even worth humming and hence loses its complete tempo. There are three isolated pieces of good comedy – the 70s spoof and the fight sequence in the first half and the awards in the second half but that’s about it. Rest of it hardly has anything close to comedy. Action, sentiment and romance are non-existent in the movie. As for Shah Rukh, for the star he is supposed to be, there is hardly a single scene that is enterprising or brings out the star in him. Acting-wise, I am sure he did not move a muscle. It is good that his hamming has reduced – that may be because there were probably not too many scenes where he needed to; wherever he did need to, he made people believe that over-acting was part and parcel of this role.

All things said – it is still a reasonable time-pass of a movie. It can be watched once. And I certainly did like the red carpet welcome once again for all of the technicians behind the screen. Deepika, Shreyas and Kiron Kher have provided good performances – Deepika and Shreyas’s being measured ones as lover and friend respectively, while Kiron’s being the over-the-top cinematic mother. However, this movie is nowhere near the ratings and the hype created by the producers and the media’s so called critical reviewers. Even in terms of repeat value, probably a Main Hoon Na would fare better than this one on each and every single count – good songs, fast action, persistent comedy, true sentiment, rich locales, attractive choreo, eye-soothing cinematography or a fitting storyline that merges all pieces together…

One fact is proved - Marketing and hype do certainly work to make something ordinary look really amazing. Six-pack abs and the likes of seeing Zayed Khan, Aftab and Sunil Shetty in a song captures the attention of all viewers! One fails to however understand as to how it has b(r)ought into the minds of the so called great reviewers

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Solve these S/W - real life case studies

You are in an interview to get into your favourite IT services company… Imagine you are thrown these small caselets at you, and asked to respond on how you will tackle such real life scenarios. Do not despair! Since our surrounding environment has so many examples to solve these…

The easier ones…
Case 1: You have planned for a vacation with friends to Goa. Your manager does not sanction your leave – so you call for a strike. However the management has strictly said no to any strike. How can you ensure you get across your point without initiating a strike?

Case 2: You are the technical architect in a large project which has just won an award. In an interview to your internal magazone, you inadvertently say that the project leaders didn’t know or do anything and the team contributed to the success. True as it may be, the managers decide to sack you for this. What do you do to save your face and **s in this case?

Case 3: You were having a nice time as a project leader doing nothing. However, your project is nearing completion and you need to shift into another project, this time however as a resource under someone you don’t like. How would you evade this scenario?

Difficult ones… (Need more innovative thinking)
Case 4: You have been developing a module as part of a reasonably good project. However you feel it is going nowhere. You are attracted to another bigger project and want to latch on to that. How would you do it without injuring your reputation in the eyes of the public?

Case 5: You are an average worker in your company. You realize that salary hikes have slowed down considerably. You really want a bad salary hike since you had promised yourself a car for this year. No other company is going to offer you a job. What do you do?

Case 6: You are the module leader for a very important module of a big project. You are bored for sometime now and don’t feel that too many people are giving importance to what you say or do. To make sure you get some immediate attention on yourself, what do you do?

Please feel free to post your answers in the comments section. Answers basically should reference real life scenarios (either from politics or sports or cinema) surrounding you in India…

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