Friday, June 27, 2008

Hold the phone

You don't have to be a l33t-nerd to know this guy. You don't have to smell of silicon to know what he did. You don't even have to know all your keyboard shortcuts to know his name, because he made it possible for you to run your computer with your mouse.

He resides somewhere in Washington, but if you wear your glasses right, you know he is pretty much everywhere.
He is probably part of your computer's operating system, or your web browser. He might even be in your swank ol' HTC cellphone. He's probably even with you right now, as you read this. He is present here, as I write this down.

But now, he'll be everywhere but at Microsoft. He sort of retires, today.

His name is William, but you call him Bill.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To the batmobile!

Obviously, newsmakers have no idea where to draw the line 1 . They have this hugely insane idea about trading in paranoia for some shiny new TRP. So, the new round of their daily whatever circles around the Earth exploding sometime in 2012. Until, the next day, when they want you to believe that the Earth is imploding. That, until totally unconfirmed reports 2 suggest that the Sun is going to crash into our planet. And now, for some reason, they want you to think that the Maya Calendar holds secrets to the future of the Earth's civilization.

Well, all these speculations and "rumors" educe me, and I guess it's up to me to save the planet, again.

Pedal to the metal in my Factsmobile, I'm at the Maya station.
Now, first and foremost, let me silence the people who believe that the Maya Long Count Calendar ends on December 21, 2012 -- it doesn't. What does actually occur, is the completion of the 13th B'ak'tun cycle. Which, according, to the Mayans, may represent "a transition from the current Creation world into the next". Well, mic check.

In this age we are approaching the same count again, only there is a common misconception of the Maya's practice of abbreviating their dates to five vigesimal places. According to the Maya there will be a baktun ending in 2012, a significant event being the end of the 13th 394 year period, but not the end of the world. 3

Next stop, 'The Collision'.
Now, I don't want all the news channels to count the numbers in The Bible and cook up an algorithm that predicts an asteroid collision, as done by the author of 'The Bible Code', but if you're still betting on the asteroid, 16.6 million miles is as close as you're going to get. According to NASA, some space rock called the four-hundred-something Eros is going to pass by the blue planet. Which is cool by me, because it does so almost every 846 days.

So now, you can cross the collision off the list. 16.6 million miles is definitely a clean pass. But kudos to the author, for pressure cooking the algorithm to predict something on the asteroid line. You were good, but your calculations were just a wee bit off.


See now, this one's just plain hilarious.
"The Sun crashing into the Earth", and I cite that from some news channel's headline. Now, you don't need to be well versed with the teachings of astrophysics or any sort of super-sci-fi lingo to tell that stars aren't particularly bright when it comes to locomotion 4 . And you definitely do not need to be told that the Sun is a star. Do you see what I'm saying here?
You were taught in 5th grade what Galileo had a hard time explaining -- the Earth moves around the sun, not the other way around. Plus, if the Sun was going to collide with the Earth, what would happen to our hot little tykes, Mars and Venus? It's a shame no one ever thought of that.
Another point you should probably note is that if the Sun was ever to undergo such a sudden, massive movement, the entire galaxy's gravitational balance would be disturbed, and such a thing could only be accomplished if the galaxy's gravitational balance would suddenly, and massively, be disturbed. Just a minor Catch-22, here.


The apocalypse? I'll take a look in 2040, again 5 .
One more thing -- only Apple product launches are meritorious of such widespread speculation.


  1. Do I really need to ring it in your ears all over again? ^
  2. The "reports" are from some weird guy's dream. Apparently, he sees the world's end, there. He also checks out the calendar in time to find he was sleeping in 2012. ^
  3. [via] ^
  4. They do move, albeit smoothly enough to go unnoticed, or create rampant changes. ^
  5. What Newton said. (From an old newspaper report. I can't help but be skeptical about this.) ^

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

31 days later

Well, that's it. Mr. Jobs has done it, all over again.
In an ever so spectacular, completely-sold-out, applause-ridden performance, Jobs announced the new and improved iPhone 3G, an upgrade to the OS X, and a candy box of other cool things.
But what's really cool is that the new and improved iPhone 3G will be faster, highly secure on networks, provide more push email clients, contain a GPS receiver, have a shinier back, a flush 3.5mm headphone jack and will offer a scientific calculator! 1

And there's just one more thing -- it's going to sell for just $199 2 .

A point to note, here. When Jobs put together the price part, he mentioned it would be a maximum of $199 in almost all of the countries it's going to be shipped to. That's 70 countries worldwide.
Now, going by the current exchange rates, that translates to around just Rs.8,000 in India.
Is that really possible? Eight grand for a piece of technology that is probably more advanced than everything else we know? 8K for a new iPod+phone+hand-held internet browser+gaming device?
It seems highly unlikely, because it's just a little over the edge than the cheapest iPod we have in India. But if the translation is correct, it's is going to murder the competition, in the most literal and brutal sense.

Anyway, it was a great show, and at 1.18 gigs, it's pretty heavy, too. Oh, and seemingly, by this rate, we'll be immortal 10 WWDCs later.


  • 1: That's part of the new iPhone version 2.0. It also includes the much anticipated AppStore, amongst other things.^

  • 2: That's minus the now forced AT&T (or respective) 2-year carrier contract.^
  • Monday, June 09, 2008

    Time zones

    Four hours later, the world will be what it has never been. Four hours later, San Fransisco will see the time India already saw. But four hours later, San Fransisco will see something India is yet to have a glimpse of.

    Four hours later, WWDC is going to kick off, upgrading mobility as we know it -- the iPhone's going to celebrate it's second birthday way before time.
    While that's one interesting aspect we are certain will occur, there's precisely 931.2 kilograms of questions waiting to be answered. However, the question that takes up most of the weight revolves around the surprise (rumored, expected) appearance of the 3G iPhone. Apart from that, nobody knows for sure whether OS X is up for an upgrade, either. And it's a tight secret as to what Apple might offer as an answer to the Microsoft Surface. What about the new multi-touch patent we saw? Any upgrades to the Mini? New iPods?!An all new turtleneck?What about the graphics processor?!The speech!

    Monday mornings have never been so enticing.

    *Live coverage via Engadget.

    Thursday, June 05, 2008


    I used to be afraid of the Boards. I used to be in 12th grade. I used to have fun during class. I used to wear a blue uniform. I used to wear a couple of badges. I used to rap in corridors. I used to draw on my backpack. I used to have mommy-made lunches. I used to doodle on desks. I used to sneak my cellphone to class at times. I used to have secret crushes everyone knew about. I used to get dressed and ready for school in 15 minutes.

    I used to be in school.

    Now, I'm not.

    I'm a ronin. At least until I have somewhere to go to.