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May 2002 — Monthly Archive

Google’s Dilbert Logo Week

Well, glad they weren’t very serious about changing their logo.

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24 May 2002 10:39 pm

Micro Air Vehicles

Black Widow Micro Air Vehicle Micro Air Vehicles. Small pilotless flying machines for military intelligence. This one’s no more than 6 inches long and weighs around 50 grams. Interesting. Right now they’re used for intelligence only, but with the right payload they’d make a devastating weapon.

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9:01 am

Gettin’ the hang of this Open Source thang

Ok, so I’m finally giving back — albeit a teeny bit — to the community. Nice feeling.

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23 May 2002 3:15 pm

Great Writing from Ravi Rao

Ravi Rao’s (also?) journal. Wow. Wish I could write like that. :-)

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22 May 2002 12:00 pm

Riddle of the Spores

Outlook: Riddle of the Spores.

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1:02 am

New from Google Labs

Google Glossary: very, very useful. I bet there are a lot of people groaning at whatis.com. And Sets is pretty useful too, to find hidden patterns. Or for a party game :)

And oh, why are they even thinking about changing their logo? It’s good enough as it is!

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21 May 2002 5:20 am

Bad Reporting, Worse Neighbours

Very good example of very bad reporting. The tone is hysterical and the claims ridiculous. I can take the reporter to any street in any Indian city he cares to name and show him people who feel that Pakistan ought to be fed to the sharks, even if we lose one or two cities in the bargain. This does not make it the collective wish of the people of India.

On the other hand, the military establishment which rules Pakistan now does hate India — with a passion that only two humiliating defeats (1947 and 1971, which led to Pakistan’s partition) can bring about. After the Sep 11 bombings, there was a lot of talk in the western media about how many Arabs hate western civilisation and all that it represents. Without getting into the merits of that, I’ll simply say that something very similar is going on here: India’s very existence as a multicultural, polyethnic nation is a slap on the face of the two nation theory Pakistan was created on. There is a lot of very similar hate out there directed at us. And these rather pathetic hate filled creatures have nukes. And diplomatic passports. And travel around with titles like President.

How do you deal with a country like that?

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20 May 2002 5:07 pm

Consoles: The Future of PCs?

Nintendos down to $149. Almost down to impulse-buy levels. Gamers never had it so good. Question: why can’t this happen to the family PC market? With a great gaming machine that also lets you browse the web and check email, there’ll be a lot of people asking, who needs a PC? Put games, mail, web access, digital video and mp3 access, and a Office-like suite (+Quicken/Money) running part-on-the-client, part-on-the-server, and a credit card reader on the device and you have created a device that can take us back to a future of (albeit very smart) terminals. Manufacturers give away the box at a loss and make money on the apps.

Btw, I don’t think this is a very good idea for power users (I love my PC!) but I think it’s inevitable — the PC has become too much of a commodity game and volumes, at least in the developed world, have peaked. And the disconnect between the home PC — (colorful, entertaining and filled with the the latest P2P malware), and the office PC — beige, staid and utilitarian — grows every day.

A lot of people see this as an opportunity for the Sonys of this world. The PC will become a consumer electronic item, they say. Revenge of the White Goods Business. Well, as the first para said, "It’s the apps, stupid!" The real genius of Microsoft and Intel will be not delivering a glorified set-top box, but in leveraging the crowds at WinHEC and creating reference designs which will be stunningly easy to produce by any electronics factory in Taiwan. Bring PC dynamics to the consumer electronic business, and use it to drive a rich, varied platform where ease of use is at consumer electronic levels.

The next few years will be fun to watch.

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2:17 pm

Bad News on the India/Pak Front

Indian paramilitary troops now reporting to military ones. Leave canceled for Pakistani troops. The stage seems to be well and truly set. Shit! :-(

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19 May 2002 11:55 pm

OpenOffice Mini-Review

Was checking out OpenOffice over the weekend. Thoughts:

  • Someone should really start a SourceForge project to provide a Freely licensed clipart and template library for this. Maybe Creative Commons will do the trick?
  • Open Office is promising, but — even with fonts, clipart and templates (which is effectively StarOffice) — it is more comparable to Microsoft Works than Office.
  • Writer and (especially) Calc seem capable, usability falls off rapidly after that.
  • StarOffice retails for $75, probably with hefty discounts for enterprise adopters: but any company with retraining needs will probably think long and hard before dumping Office. The functionality one gets in Office is simply not there. For low-end requirements, however, it might do.
  • I’d expect to see a beefed-up version of Works — perhaps packaged for businesses — retailing for $49 if SO gets significant uptake. Or even a run-across-the-LAN version of Office with flexible pricing options.
  • While discussing Office suites, it’s sometimes forgotten that IBM actually has a more capable office suite than StarOffice itself — it’s called Smartsuite. Wonder how many people buy it for $205. IBM is slowly sending a pretty good product to the shadowlands, imho.

Completely irrelevant point, but: Open Office takes the hat for the silliest abbreviation in the software space — `OO.o’, for OpenOffice.org. Sheesh.

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7:58 am

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