Apple Magic TrackPad

Is it not amazing to see the level of innovation and game-changing that Apple always try to do. They removed the floppy. They removed many other things that PC people are so used to. Why .. at some point in time, they even removed the computer – putting it on the monitor itself! Now, they are getting people to do away with the friendly rodent – the mouse – as well ! It is introducing the multi-touch trackpad that is found in the Macbooks as a separate input device.

And it looks fancy. Same style as the wireless keyboard. Same incline as the keyboard. Same brushed metal finish. Eye candy at its best.

The apple page.

(via Lifehacker. )

Craigslisting my IPAD: Vivek Wadhwa

There are two interesting themes reflected in the title. Craigs-listing is actually now a verb ! Wow. That is the impact an online sharing/marketplace site can create. For those who are not in the know, please go here and check it out. The other interesting theme is something that I will summarize momentarily below. Vivek Wadhwa writes a very compelling article on what the IPAD is NOT. Now that the hype is died down (a bit? maybe just a little?), Vivek dissects on some features that he had expected and how it is not found in IPAD 1.0. He also says that, since he is an apple fan-boy (unashamedly so!), he will check if 2.0 will have it, and stand in line, and pay his dues to Steve Jobs when it releases. Thats the fan following Apple has. Applegate, Antennagate – whatever! 😉

Now for some of the key points that Vivek points out that is not present in the first version of IPAD:

First, I can’t easily load my Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents on the iPad or access the year or more of e-mails that I carry around on my 32 GB USB drive.  The iPad has no USB port, and its means of transferring documents—through iTunes—is pathetic.

I agree with Vivek here. For the most part of the public – especially the atypical non-apple folks, who bought the IPAD, this would be a huge bummer. Also for the large non-technical populace, it would be a challenge (fondly called Grandma and the junior in the article).

Second, Apple’s Microsoft Office-like products on the iPad are just cheap imitations. Apple’s Pages is a decent word processor, and Numbers is okay as a spreadsheet manager, but these don’t hold a candle to Microsoft Word and Excel. Moreover, I can’t use the excellent cloud-based word processing tools that Zoho offers, or the decent tools in Google docs. The iPad doesn’t recognize the rich-text format that these applications use, so it doesn’t display a keyboard when you try to type.

For those people, who thought, Fine, there is no office, but I can use google docs or Zoho, Bang, it cannot be done either. Another huge bummer. For a device, which touts working off the cloud, if it cannot support Zoho or GoogleDocs, it is not cutting it, in my opinion. But then, Apple has never really cared about interoperability (until more recently ofcourse).

Third, I usually need to view different applications in multiple screens when I am writing.

Oops. I did not know about this. This is a huge bummer for the folks who live on alt-tabbing (or window-tabbing). Apparently the IPAD only lets you multiprocess one app – which is – you can listen to music, while you are surfing. Hrrm. #FAIL.

Fourth, on many of the websites I visit, I can’t watch Flash presentations.

I thought this would be #1 on the list. But it finds a mention in the list (It has to!). For those following the Adobe-Apple war, this would not be a surprise. Lets just wait for everyone to switch to HTML5 (2020? anyone?).

Last, I didn’t miss the camera that didn’t come with my iPad until I got my new iPhone, but now I can’t fathom why it isn’t there. Facetime, on the new iPhone, is a killer app. It changes the way you use your phone and the way you communicate with your friends and relatives. The iPad lets you make Skype calls over Wi-Fi, but there is no Facetime app—and that’s because there is no camera.

This is an issue too. No Camera? Why Steve? Why? How can you create a tablet which you expect non-technical people also to use, and NOT have a camera? First thing, someone is going to try and do is to do videoconferencing with grandma ! Well, hopefully IPAD 2 will have it.

I think this is a great list. Kudos to Vivek Wadhwa for his very insightful comments.

(Article found through TechCrunch)

Burn your PowerPoints!

A phenomenal slide deck – showing just how important slides design is. Tell me (a) how long it took for you to flip the slide deck through, and (b) how many times you wondered when is this going to end (like every other ppt). I am sure the answers would be (a) very soon and (b) Not even once.

Great resources for a freelancer

This post is primarily for me – so that I can refer later – much later in the years to come. I have always wanted to freelance, and my aim is to do it sometime towards the end of my career. Lets see where that goes. But then, putting this awesome link here would probably very useful to others as well.

40 resources for a complete roadmap to freelancing.

Just a fantastic collection of links.

Who let the dogs out ? BBMP?

Each day goes by, and the stray dog population in Bangalore is going up, and the menace posed by them increasing in orders of magnitude. The BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike aka Bangalore city corporation)  is mostly callous about. Recently, I read an news article, which talked about a sub-contracted Animal Care NGO, which had been drafted to neutralize stray dogs, had not been paid for a year or so, and so they were going on strike as well.

Well, all this is nothing new – inefficiency of the local government/corporation, is something, which we (unfortunately) have come to accept in our lives. We make a huge commotion when lokayukta chief decides to leave, but thats the extent to which our reactions are. Ideally, each one of us should be a lokayukta. The apathy that has grown within us, is holding us back.

Having said all of that, what brings me to write this article is not another crib on the government, or our apathy towards it, but the so-called animal rights activists, who are compounding the problem. In areas more than one, I have noticed these people bribing the BBMP not to do anything about the stray dogs. That is makes me angry. These are people who feel for the dogs, and feel it is against their (dog’s) dignity to be done anything about them. Yes, the likes of Ms Maneka Gandhi is whom I am talking about. These are people who talk their mouths off, and rush off to their air-conditioned offices in their air-conditioned Corollas. Have any of them actually tried walking on the roads? There are roads in Koramangala (why – there are alleys even in National Games Village), where if you enter into the dogs “territory”, they will form a semi-circular posse and threaten to attack you. I have seen dogs chase cars and motorcycles in other parts of the city as well. Why, recently, the times ran a story, where a stray bit the head of a small child playing on the road.

Does neutralization (the drive done by BBMP) help at all ? I do not think so. It would be another 10 years, before these neutralized dogs pass away, and by that time, new strays, would have come in. Also, in my opinion, neutralization is probably more cruel than any other method. Thats is a way, by which you tell the dog, that after the snip, his generation is stopped.

What other ways exist? Cannot the BBMP extend the model of some kind of a praani daya sangha ? There is one in Koramangala (and am sure there are others in Bangalore as well), which take care of ageing animals, who need care. Why not similar institutions for strays. Money is required for running such organizations, and let me suggest atleast two forms of income generation (and I am sure there may be other forms). There exist similar organizations in the US, which isolate the good pedigree dogs/puppies and sell them to pet-buyers. The other chief income source for this could be donations from all these so-called animal rights activists. If they truly believe in the noise they make about rights for animals (and not use this for becoming Pg3 material), they would actually donate, and also volunteer their time/energy, for such a worthy cause. What can the BBMP do? For starters, they can maybe allocate some land towards the outer periphery of the city, and allocate for this -the larger the land, the better the animals would feel. They could also run regular (or should I say restart) dog-catching vans, to collect these strays. These strays would be taken to the dayaa sangha. If people try bribing these people, these should be taken as donations and given a receipt for it !

These are my thoughts and suggestions for the dog menace. If you have any ideas, do let me know in the comments. If you know anyone (or) part of the BBMP (or any other corporation), please do take up my suggestion. Please make the roads a safer place for the pedestrians/walkers and at the same time, make a safer world for the stray dogs.