Archive for September, 2007

Two is the new One

September 30, 2007

Episode 2 of The Inglorious Slackers is out. The theme this week is films, but we manage to drift in and out of the main topic. Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to listen to us and offer their feedback 🙂

We really appreciate it.

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Touching Your Dream

September 28, 2007

You know when you have a dream, and you get up wishing that you were actually in it. Well, from 1930 to 2030 yesterday, I got some one-on-one time with the one and only iPhone and.I.am.floored. It is truly a work of art. The multi-touch interface works as advertised, with no asterisks in tiny font spoiling the fun. Google Maps is in my opinion the best application on it, or wait is it the iPod, no wait – maybe Safari, or is it Photos?

There are still a few rough edges – GPRS completely ruins the Internet experience, the keyboard is pretty hard to use for proper nouns (but for everything else go with Yoda Jobs and use the force), and it did seem a little sluggish sometimes (this could be due to the fact that it had third party applications installed). But all this just means that it’s a bad time to be a Motorola/Nokia/Samsung CEO when version 2 comes out.

I could keep going on and on, but that would just spoil the dream.

Postscript: In my excitement, I even managed to drop the iPhone. I know it is as unforgivable as going to the Louvre and drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa, but my sincere apologies to Choon Keat for my klutzy behaviour 🙂

The Heat Is On

September 26, 2007

Competition is always a good thing. It brings out the best in the lazy incumbent, and it always means best for the consumer – because it means more choice, and less tie down.

That is why I feel the Amazon MP3 service is a God-Send. The iTunes Music Store has in recent times (justifiably or unjustifiably) received quite some stick for its closed-doors policy, its perceived greed and its lock-down. The Amazon MP3 service, though still lacking the finesse of the iTunes Music Store, has aimed to answer some questions which Apple have been a little less forthcoming in answering:

  • DRM-free music is priced at lesser (or equal to) than the equivalent DRM-shackled music you can buy at iTunes, and
  • variable pricing makes an introduction – something which Apple have been very reluctant to offer.

Though Amazon MP3 says the service is restricted to US-only customers, I believe they do not perform any credit-card verification; so long as you to* enter a valid US address, you are free to purchase.

As for me, I’m enjoying John Coltrane‘s ‘A Few of My Favourite Things’, without having to worry about whether I’m going to hell.

* – Thanks Amma!

The Inglorious Slackers

September 21, 2007

Yup. We’ve finally gotten off our behinds and created something. It might not be the next-gen web app or the iPhone killer. But it is a first step nonetheless.

It is a weekly show which I co-host with my brother, where we talk about random things ranging from technology, film, soccer, photography, politics (hopefully minimally), religion, life and what not. We also hope to be interviewing people (mostly entrepreneurs) in coming episodes.

Inglorious Slackers is available through RSS:

http://ingloriousslackers.podbean.com/feed/

A few bits of trivia about Inglorious Slackers:

  • The pilot was conceived on a Monday, recorded on a Friday and published on a Saturday.
  • Recording for the pilot began at 2202 hours on 21st September, 2007 and finished at 2234 hours.
  • The show is powered by Mac OS X 10.4.10 – Recording done on an iMac G5, using GarageBand.
  • The title of the show is inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s yet to be released Inglorious Bastards.
  • The theme of the show is inspired by The Talk Show – hosted by John Gruber and Dan Benjamin.
  • The show frequently makes references to The Family Guy, The Daily Show, Pulp Fiction and other nuggets of pop culture.
  • The show is 100% unscripted and unedited.

Talk Is Cheap

September 21, 2007

In the split-second that I pressed tab to go from title to body of this post, I had a moment of clarity – I’m not Steve Jobs.

Let me explain. This particular post was supposed to be an Applesque teaser to a new ‘venture’ that me and a person who will remain anonymous at this point, are flinging ourselves into tonight. It is not a big deal, just an experiment in new media which hopefully will go well. If everything goes as planned, we’ll have it out by the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

But that’s when I realised, that it is a tall order to expect an Applesque teaser to have the same impact on a blog (which by the way has the default WordPress theme), as a great teaser from Cupertino.

Anyway.

0600 SGT, 22 September 2007 – Talk Is Cheap.

UPDATE: Couple of hours ahead of schedule, but the covers are off – we present to you – The Inglorious Slackers.

First Impressions

September 11, 2007

So after recommendations from my colleague, I finally took the plunge and started seeing The West Wing. And although I’ve tried my best to try and like the show, I haven’t yet warmed up to it. Bear in mind, this might be similar to when Peter tried to read the New Yorker.

The show is interesting in parts, especially when tempers fly or when Martin Sheen is at his best. (As a side note, the only other Martin Sheen movie† I’ve seen is Apocalypse Now) But what somehow bothers me is how everyone is either too nice, too smug or too cute – I can’t believe that I’m watching a show about politicians. No one is trying to backstab one’s colleague, or get ahead and grab that promotion, or accept bribes, yada yada yada.

To be fair, maybe I’ve grown too cynical. Or maybe the smugness is because the office of the POTUS is involved. Or maybe, the show will eventually grow on me.Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to heighten my sleep alert to orange.

† I forgot, I’ve watched one more – the brilliant Departed.

Sleepless in Seattle

September 6, 2007

Billie Gee was a worried man. He had just watched his arch-nemesis Stevie Jay boast to the world about his latest toys. “At least, he reserved his digs for NBC and not us” he thought to himself. In the room with him were his trusted lieutenants Ozzie Ray and Stewie Ball.

Billie: Guys, we need to turn this around. Nerd-time is over. Time to listen to some rock, smoke some pot and turn into hippies.

Stewie (in complete anguish): But what about the developers?

Billie (raising his voice): Stewie – it’s bad enough you stole my line and my dance. You knew how much I wanted to dance around and mock those hippies from California. So shut it.

Ozzie (Zen-like): But Billie the last time we tried turning hippies, we came up with that disgrace called the Zoon. I think nerd is our thing and we should stick to it. Everyone loves the PC guy in those ads Stevie Jay makes.

Stewie (neatly rolling his joint and lighting up): You guys have your own stash right? ‘Cos I’m running a little low.

Billie (exasperated): Stewie! When I said smoke pot, I meant figuratively. Now put that away. (Stewie smiles sheepishly). You’re right Ozzie – but we need a plan to out-cool those fruit-tards from California. The world doesn’t care any more about hex numbers displayed on a nice blue screen every time your computer crashes..they want pretty pictures and effects and all that jazz. And we can’t stand around and get crushed by all this hippieness.

Ozzie (puzzled): So what are you suggesting?

Billie (triumphant): We need to be quantum nerds, that is – be neither nerd nor hippie but also both nerd and hippie at the same time.

Stewie (even more puzzled): Oooh…somebody went to Harvard.

Billie (getting more and more exasperated): We both did ok Stewie? (Sighs) Why don’t you go back to your office and write up a feasibility study of my fake blog we were talking about earlier?

Stewie (not to be left out): No no I’m totally getting this. I propose a complete renaming of our product lines. How about gangsta rap as a theme, so Windows Vista becomes BitchSlap?

Ozzie (clearing his throat): Later Stewie. But I think Billie has a point – we need to bring pizzazz into our products. And let’s face it – us being nerds and all, we just have no taste. How about bringing in Mick Jagger as creative consultant?

Billie (with wizened smile): There you go! Now we’re talking. Let’s get started on this.

Billie (leaving the room, thinks to himself): Who the hell is Mick Jagger?

Cool, Available and Addictive

September 4, 2007

I haven’t been reading the Wall Street Journal. Just watching this movie, in which the character B.R. utters this line:

We don’t sell tic-tacs for Christ’s sake, we sell cigarettes – and they’re cool, and available, and addictive. The job is almost done for us.

So folks listen to B.R. – the secret behind a successful product or idea – make it cool, available and addictive.

UPDATE: Found this interesting article on applying the cigarette effect to blogs, by Umesh.