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Hyderabad! August 26, 2007

Posted by sk in Hyderabad, Hyderabad Bomb Blasts, India, Political, religion.
15 comments

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I recently had a conversation with a friend about communal violence in India. He is from Ahmedabad. I told him how Hyderabad, despite the diversity was safe and how all those terror attacks etc. were things of the past. Well, how wrong I was. Within two weeks of my conversation, two bomb blasts shook Hyderabad killing over 40 people. I am not going to blame the entire Muslim community in Hyderabad, but there are definitely people who are sympathetic to Osama and Al Qaeda and they need to be weeded out of the community. Otherwise, sadly, this is not the last of such events. I’m not really sure that the AP Government is interested in tackling this issue, as much as it is in sweeping it under the carpet. Hopefully, I’m wrong on this one too.

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The i Word August 19, 2007

Posted by sk in Apple, Computers & Internet, iPhone, Microsoft.
16 comments

The word being iPhone (well, not a word but…). It’s been nothing short of a success so far for Apple and AT&T. Apple has probably sold a million of them already or at least close to a million. The lack of applications (that’s a feature rather than a weakness), the initial bug reports (hey, bugs are for Microsoft; with Apple, they’re called eccentricities), lack of GPS support (it has Google Maps, that’s more than enough), 3G,… hasn’t stopped people from buying it in hordes. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve checked out the device a couple of times at the local Apple store and it really is impressive – not something that I would personally pay $600 for but that’s another issue.

Frankly, I think this is a device that is capable of revolutionizing the cell phone industry. Microsoft, Nokia, Sony Ericsson all have something to learn from this. Don’t throw in hundreds of applications into the phone if you don’t provide users with an easy way to get to them. With the iPhone, the applications that you see in the main menu are all that you get and it looks . Like every other device designed by them, the first iteration is simple and lacks features. With subsequent iterations of the device, Apple will add more and more complexity without losing focus on their main goal – keeping the UI as simple and uncluttered as possible. I’m pretty sure the iPhone will cause Microsoft to either come up with a better design for Windows 7 or a new OS for casual users.

By the way, it looks like AT&T too is milking the device for all its worth. Blackberry Cool reports that AT&T has locked down “the GPS functionality in their upcoming BlackBerry 8820 so that the only functioning 3rd party software will be TeleNav.” Blorge also talks about a rumor that “the device’s WiFi will only be usable if you purchase an EDGE data plan to go along with it that was reported on Engadget.” Wow!

I’ve been enjoying playing around with my new Media Center PC. It features XP Media Center 2005. I will probably upgrade it to Vista Ultimate in a few months   – after SP1 comes out. I wonder why Microsoft never really advertised Media Center. Their stupid Vista ads focused on Flip3d. Who the fuck cares about an application switcher? Media Center has an amazing UI and has tons of features. It’s not only the Tivo like functionality where you can record, pause, and rewind live TV. You can also listen to FM radio and play songs, videos, photo slideshows on your hard drive. It also has an online spotlight which features material from MTV, NPR, Yahoo!, MSN, etc. Everything accessed with one remote control. Microsoft should change its marketing agency – really. They’re idiots.

The N-Word August 18, 2007

Posted by PagMax in Blogroll.
3 comments

The word being NUCLEAR. The outrage, the accusations, the anger, all following the 123 agreement of India-US nuclear deal, has put the entire political stability of the nation (India) in question.

The complexities involved in this deal and the convenient interpretation by each political party to make their point in either supporting or opposing it, has made the specifics of this agreement more obscure to common people than Aishwarya Rai is to acting.

This article summarizes the situation quite well and he rightly ends the article with this note

“Both the left and the right are being utterly dishonest in their refusal to see the answers to the questions they raise are written in stone in the 123 agreement.”

Well politics and dishonesty do not live that far and India is no exception. When we borrowed Heavy Water from US for CIRUS (Canada India Reactor US) reactor, the terms of the agreement both with Canada and with US were explicit that India will use that reactor only for civilian and peaceful purposes. Yet a official government document on ‘Evolution of India’s Nuclear Policy’ claims that

“It (India) has not violated any international agreements either in 1974 or now, in 1998.”

Yes the Pokhran test in 1974 which used the plutonium produces by CIRUS was quite ‘peaceful’.

So my point for both left and right of Indian parliament is WHY BOTHER?  Never mind reading the agreement, lets just get the nuclear technology from US while we have a chance. Once we have it, our neighbors would give us lot of ‘peaceful’ reasons for its use. Let the US worry about its interpretation and consequences, as this guy from Nuclear Control Institute, seems worried. Just an excerpt from his article:

” Today, the U.S. government appears to be preparing for a repeat performance on CIRUS, only this time the end result may be an agreement that allows India to turn an Atoms for Peace reactor into a declared military production plant.  “

We can always make additions to ‘Evolution of India’s Nuclear Policy’  and maintain the sanctity of 123 agreement, whatever that is. 

Happy Birth Day Sparks Team Blog August 14, 2007

Posted by PagMax in Blogroll.
12 comments

As we celebrate the 60th Independence day of India, there is another reason to celebrate; 1st anniversary of Sparks Team Blog. 

 Most of the year has been a wonderful blogging experience until we all went into hibernation few months back. 

While I cannot sideline the importance of all the bloggers and contributors to this blog, I cannot thank enough to Moonmoon Sen, for giving birth to a wonderful daughter who grew up to give us our blog post of the year. (I do not even want to link it anymore, it has got its fair share of track backs and comments).

And thus, MMS (well I mean MoonMoon Sen in this case, but you thought right too) has helped us sail past 100,000 hits.

Some of the other highlights of the past year were planetsk’s take on laloo prasad’s Harvard lecture, sk’s  wide and versatile thoughts on every topic from coverage on abhi-ash wedding to intellectual reviews on some of the coolest gadgets out in the market to Sania Mirza’s sporting career.

And of course comments from our hip and happening cyber neighbor attracted lot of attention too…!!!

I hope to bring back some activity with this little refreshing post.

JAI HIND and JAI SPARKS