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Obituary of SPARKS Blogs February 17, 2008

Posted by PagMax in Blogroll.
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Long time back, when I attempted to revive sparks with my comeback post, SK had famously noted “We killed it but forgot to bury it”. The blog revived and died again with SK’s Last Post and once again we forgot to bury it. Now I come back here to complete what we always forget.

Today with tears flooding out of my eyes and pain oozing out of my heart, I lay the blog in rest for ever.

SPARKS was a revolutionary blog in the world of blogging with about 10000 regular readers and more than 200000000000 visits (only a fraction of which are recorded and displayed due to modesty of  its members).

This blog was a result of five extremely dedicated and talented writers. It had covered every topic from creation of universe to growth of riya sen’s  career graph.

Today let us all pray that this blog rest in peace and continue to inspire us from within the grave.

P.S: I will start blogging on my other blog after sometime and let it have a shot at life before burying even that.

My last post October 8, 2007

Posted by sk in Apple, iPod, Microsoft, Zune.

After more than 12 months, I’ve decided to stop blogging. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that I don’t think WordPress is the right place for me to express my opinions.  That said, I don’t plan to blog elsewhere. I plan to spend less time on the internet and more time enjoying my Zune 80, which is on the top of my Christmas wishlist (yes, I’m one of the 7 people who wants one). So, to the two readers  who were reading my posts (and to the one who turned too snarky for his/her own good), goodbye! Enjoy your iPods while I enjoy (yes, enjoy) the Zune. I leave you with my reasons for liking the Zune:

  1. Supports Recorded media from Media Center.
  2. On screen resolution is 320×240 – but new Zunes will import  720×480 @30fps or 720×576 @25fps without transcoding.
  3. Wireless sync with PC.
  4. May support WebGuide in the future. I don’t know.
  5. I am hoping that by buying the Zune, Microsoft will reward my loyalty by giving me a job.

Ta ta then. Mail me at cspkcats@yahoo.com if you have any questions or comments.

UPDATE: If you want to get your daily Microsoft fix, here are a few sites that may be interesting (organized by tone):

1. I love Microsoft so much, I want to take it behind my middle school and have sex with it:

    • Can’t think of any at the moment.

2. I like Microsoft. It’s not bad:

3. Microsoft’s just another company:

4. Microsoft’s okay, but its competitors rock:

5. I hate Microsoft so much, I want to take it behind my middle school and shove a pole up its ass:

So, there ya go. Enjoy!

P.S.: An update to a post does not constitute a new post!

Microsoft sings new Zunes October 3, 2007

Posted by sk in Apple, iPod, Microsoft, Music, Zune.

OK, y’all* knew I was going to post about this, especially after writing an extensive article about the first Zune. Microsoft released details about the v2 Zunes yesterday. They’re not revolutionary, but I’m impressed nevertheless (you knew I’d say that too). The new Zunes basically come in 3 versions – 80 GB hard drive based and 4 and 8 GB flash based. The 80 Gig Zune (aka Zune 80) is available in black and is easily the most eye catching Zune in my opinion. The 4 Gig (Zune 4) and 8 Gig (Zune 8 ) models come in red, military green (which replaces brown as the new black), baby pink, and black.  See more images here. The old 30 GB model is not being discontinued. All new Zunes come with a squircle shaped click wheel known as “Zune Pad”, which is apparently easier to use. The Zune software has also been overhauled. Overall, there’s less to separate the Zunes form iPods this year (except for Touch) and I think Zune may do better than the 3% overall marketshare that it had last year. I don’t see it threatening iPod’s dominance any time soon, though.

Here’s a comparison of Zune 80 with iPod Classic.

*the two people who bother to read my posts. 🙂

The MIT – Harvard rivalry continues… September 25, 2007

Posted by sk in Halo 3, Microsoft, XBox 360.

This is funny!

By the way, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be getting anything right with the XBox. Some Halo disks were scratched by the packaging apparently. Whoa!

I hate you, Bungie. I really do. Truly. Madly. Deeply. September 24, 2007

Posted by sk in Halo 3, Microsoft, XBox 360.

Thank you SO much for hurting my intelligence.




UNTIL YOUR HANDS START BLEEDING. Please stop questioning our intelligence by dishing out such hogwash and then acting as if you have developed the BIGGEST EPIC in the history of gaming!!!!

All you guys who liked Halo 3- Congratulations!!! GOD BLESS YOU! I’m not ready to read any shit they dish out here. And all those of you who want to tell me to stop ranting – the plot has holes bigger than the grand canyon.

I was going to buy that legendary version from Amazon. You know? Just to keep a neat copy to pass it down my family tree. It would become an antique heirloom kind of thing. It sounds corny, but I mean it. I have no kids now. damn, not even married. But I was really serious.

Okay, I know this reeks of plagiarism. Can’t help it. I wanted to write a post on all the hype surrounding Halo 3 for XBox 360, but I have no idea about the game. All I know is there is a character known as Master Chief, who is out to save the world. I’m actually ashamed to admit it. In fact, I don’t know much about two of the biggest releases this year – Harry Potter and Halo 3. I look forward to the Halo movie trilogy, though –mainly because of Peter Jackson.

I apologize to anyone who gets offended. It’s only a joke. Sorry! 😐

Oh, and happy birthday, Tismar. Hundreds of thousands of gamers will be on the streets tonight celebrating it.

It’s India vs. Pakistan!!! September 22, 2007

Posted by sk in Cricket, cricket - क्रिकेट, India, World Cup Cricket.
Tags: , , ,

Now for a diversion following my rants about the “blogger formerly known as cotton*”.

I’m not a big fan of Twenty20 and find some of the rules absurd but even I am interested in this one. In what promises to be one of the biggest cricket matches ever, India will play Pakistan in the final of the inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Cup at Johannesburg in South Africa. After the debacle that was the One Day World Cup held earlier this year, this is a huge blessing for the ICC**. India and Pakistan were both knocked out in the first stage and the rest of the World Cup plunged into boredom as Australia easily pummeled rivals to win it. In fact, the World Cup will probably be remembered more for Bob Woolmer’s death than for cricket. So, this couldn’t have come at a better time for the ICC. India v. Pakistan – it doesn’t get bigger than this. For those who don’t follow cricket, it’s the equivalent of the Pats facing the Colts at the Super Bowl (which, I know will never happen). Yup, it’s that big.

Pakistan thrashed New Zealand by 6 wickets while India managed to get past Australia by 15 runs in the semi finals. When the World Cup began, Sri Lanka and Australia (bboth finalists at the 2007 One Day World Cup) were heralded as favorites. No one gave India (without three of its superstars) or Pakistan a chance.

India and Pakistan have met thrice four (1992, 1996, 1999, and 2003) times in One Day International World Cups and once in a Twenty20 World Cup, with India having won all their past encounters. This, however will be the first time that they meet in a final, which means that past statistics don’t matter. Will India make it five six in a row or will Pakistan find a way to beat India in their most important meeting in a World Cup? We’ll know on the 24th.

*No relation to the Artist formerly known as Prince … I think. 

**Which makes me wonder if this was fixed. 🙂

The Tao of Steve September 22, 2007

Posted by sk in Apple, Microsoft.
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Elizabeth Spiers has an interesting post that explains the attitude of some Apple fans such as the one I wrote about in my previous post.

I blame Steve Jobs [for] seduced me into buying his sleek machines, even if their delicate organs seem to fail with alarming regularity, like the beautiful consumptive heroines in Victorian novels.

Steve–we’ll call him Steve because he seems like a first-name-basis kind of guy–is the human incarnation of the average Apple product: He’s good-looking, he overpromises, and he’s notoriously temperamental. He evokes the feel-good indie populism synonymous with the company’s brand and manages to retain a solid reputation as a creative person while managing a $118 billion business.

The image is, of course, a facade. The dollar-a-year salaryman has been rewarded with at least one corporate jet.

We forgive Steve in a way that we won’t [Bill] Gates. We do this because outward appearances are important to us, and the products are a reflection of how we think of ourselves. Apple products are stylish and innovative. (We’re stylish and innovative!) We love Steve for the same reason. He’s creative and he seems appealingly antiestablishment. (We’re creative and antiestablishment!)

Mind you that Elizabeth herself is a huge Apple fan. Paul Thurrott has this to add:

I think this hits it on the head. What’s interesting, of course, is that the bad parts of Mr. Jobs’ personality–his prickly defensiveness whenever one suggests that an Apple product is lacking in some way, for example–seem to ooze down to the fanatics as well, as if by osmosis. You can see it in their vitriolic emails and their rabid and sometimes illogical defenses of the company in online forums. As the saying goes, they are a minority, but they are a very loud minority.

I think I should make it clear here that I don’t think Microsoft is perfect. The company makes a lot of mistakes and it’s not a “convicted monopolist” for no reason. I also think Apple makes some really good products. The iPhone (whether I think I need it or not) is revolutionary in my opinion. What I can’t stand is the attitude of these Mac fanatics. I know it doesn’t justify my vitriolic in my previous blog post, but my intention was to show what happens if one lets emotions get in the way of objectivity. It’s not pretty. I mentioned this even in my Windows and crapware post. I hope the “blogger formerly known as cotton” is listening.

The EU’s case against Microsoft September 21, 2007

Posted by sk in Microsoft.

The recent ruling by the European Court of First Instance came as a surprise to me. I thought Neelie Kroes had gone too far in her efforts to make Microsoft bend or break and the court would cut down some of her powers. The strong endorsement of her methods by the court does not set a good precedent in my opinion. Neelie has taken it upon herself to reduce Microsoft’s market share. The problem is that Windows’ market share was not achieved forcefully. Microsoft never forced people to buy Windows PCs. Buy a Mac if you want to. I don’t think either the company or the Government is forcing you to buy a Windows PC. Actually, this type of monopoly by force exists only in communist, autocratic or even socialist countries. My personal opinion is that the Government should step in when a company indulges in anti-consumer tactics but not when a rival company that is unable to come up with good products complains. Excessive Government interference ultimately does more harm to the consumer than good.

I do agree that some of the fines against Microsoft were justified. The company did indulge in strong arm tactics to keep its monopoly. However, the bundling issue itself is kind of tricky. Given that an OS is used mainly for word processing, music, and internet browsing, isn’t it necessary for an OS to have these three programs? While I do agree that Microsoft’s motivations in bundling an internet browser and a media player with Windows in the 90s may not have been noble, things have changed a lot since then. These programs are integral parts of the OS and any Government that asks a company to unbundle these is still living in the dark ages in my opinion. I’m surprised that they really think unbundling the media player from Windows will help consumers. Also, for those who think it unbundling WMP from Windows offers an incentive to OEMs to bundle rival media players, they have no idea how these things work. My computer came bundled with all sorts of crap –even when Microsoft had similar programs in Windows– because the OEM had entered into monetary agreements with software publishers.
Ruhi has written a post that in my opinion is low on facts and high on emotions. She supports the EU ruling against Microsoft because of her dislike for Microsoft. It’s probably going to surprise her to know that once the EU is done with Microsoft (and I don’t think they’re going to be done any time soon. As mini msft remarks, “”I can’t see the EU dropping this bone while the meat is still sweet.”* What is going to happen now is that the EU is going to take a closer look at Office and Vista. We’ll probably see more versions of Windows in the future in Europe – ‘N’ version without the media player, ‘I’ version without the internet browser, ‘F’ version without the firewall and so on. Moreover, rivals such as Google and IBM will probably file more complaints against Microsoft just to keep EU’s eyes off of them.

By the way, a lot of people have drawn comparisons between Ma Bell and Microsoft. However, if you read the Wikipedia article on Ma Bell, you realize that their stories are as different as chalk and cheese or even an MBA and common sense.

<Note: After talking to my shrink, I decided to rewrite this article and remove most of the personal attacks. I also decided to refer to this anonymous blogger by her name. It’s healthier, my shrink says. :-)>

*He also compares Neelie Kroes to Dolores Umbridge, a Harry Potter character. I don’t know much about this character but the Wikipedia entry on her says she is one of the villians.

UPDATE: Ruhi is under the impression that I do not think she knows the meaning of a “monopoly”.  I didn’t say that. I would assume that she knows (or at least I hope she knows) the meaning of the word. The fact is her post seems to imply that Microsoft achieved a monopoly for its “crappy products” illegally, when in fact, that is not true. Comparing Microsoft to WalMart is also naive and shows a lack of understanding of how businesses work but I won’t get into that.

The EC accuses Microsoft of monopoly abuse because the market share of Windows Server has gone up during recent times. Can it just be because it’s a better product? Naah. It’s Microsoft. Also, the point that the EC makes about bundling is also debatable, as I mentioned earlier in this post. 

By the way, I’m not the only one who thinks this ruling is not going to help consumers. The US DOJ released a statement against the verdict. I would comment on her blog but my comments keep getting deleted for some reason.

Oh, and before I end this, Ruhi get’s one thing right: my biggest regret i life is not that I’m not on the MS payroll. 🙂

Hey Ram… September 19, 2007

Posted by PagMax in Hindu, India, Politics, Ramayana, religion, sethusamudram project.

Note: Post slightly outdated, I wrote it last week but could not find time to post it.

When it comes to protecting our protector, GOD, India has always been a step ahead. And as long as RSS and VHP are around, Lord Sree Rama has nothing to fear. Didn’t they prove it once on December 6th 1992?

Last year around this time, Indian politicians were awfully conscious about 100th Anniversary of Vande Mataram. This year, their memory seems to be little rusty on 101th Anniversary. However, they have a bigger history to protect this year. Rama Sethu (Adams Bridge) of Ramayana which Rama used to crossover to Sri Lanka!



Novak Djokovic- A good match for Roger Federer September 9, 2007

Posted by planetsk in Blogroll, Sports.

It is too early to say that Djokovic is next Federer. But, he’s someone to watch for. He matched Federer to some extent in today’s final though he lost in straight sets. I am quite happy that Federer created history by winning his 4th consecutive US open title. But it’s Djokovic who impressed more than Roger did. IMO, Roger was not at his best this year (except against Roddick in Aus open) though he won 3 out of 4 grandslams. On the other hand, Djokovic, a 20 year-old Serbian, is all set to become a great player. He ‘s good on all the three surfaces and this year he reached French and Wimbledon semis and US open final. Like Roger, he got a perfect blend of forehand, backhand and serve. Recently, he defeated Roger in US open series. He is fun to watch. 


Now, Roger got a couple of genuine competitors, Nadal and Djokovic. Being a huge fan of Roger, I want him to win more and more grandslams but it won’t be that easy with Nadal and Novak around. Djokovic, with 6 years of age difference between him and Roger, if continues to play this way, can replace Roger in future. I think we will be treated with the best of tennis in coming years.

Three more titles for Federer to pass Sampras and become the best player ever. To me, he’s already an all-time great. I wish him good luck to win Golden Grand Slam in 2008.