IE9 public Beta Review

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I have to preface this review of my past views on Internet explorer. I did shift to IE from netscape Navigator when it was just in version 3.0 and navigator was the big daddy of browsers. Navigator was slow, didn’t respond to the simplest of shortcuts and had all kinds of redundant items. I made IE my default browser and stayed. Fast forward to when IE 7 was released, I was ready to dump IE for Firefox and Chrome for the simple reason that they had fast startups and loads of short cuts for browsing.
When I first saw IE9 b1 I thought I would be ready to switch back, but alas, it may not happen. First they copied the Chrome interface(can’t blame them, even FF 4.0beta6 is doing exactly that). The thing that ticked me off most is the idea of having a resident copy of IE in the memory so that if it starts up the second time its prompt and maybe even faster than Chrome! Chrome last time I checked doesn’t hog memory that way although it could bloat after starting up. Of course another peev would be its lack of compatibility with XP which puts it out of use for most corporate networks. (This could be only a beta quirk of course)
All those corporate shill websites have been raving all about some unique drag and drop feature they put in, but I do not think its really relevant. For all the talk of cloud computing, MS has been really moderate on action. (yeah yeah, skydrive and office live isn’t exactly the biggest invention of all time) Let the websites decide what interface they want. Just keep the browser plain and simple. Thats the way to go!

Sorry Apple maybe next time

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I think we’ve already been informed sufficiently about Iphone4 various problems. From what I hear, the next version of the iphone is scheduled to ship possibly later this year with features that should have already been on iphone4. So people are just buying this only for the sake the prestige of owning an Apple product whatever that is. A new windows mobile product is due for release and if its anything like the difference between ‘7’ and Vista, then I would definitely recommend it. My preference in the smart phone market remains the Android OS due to the ease with which applications can be built for these phones.
I am mostly turned off from buying any of these phones in the US because of their attached contracts and the locked phone itself. I would rather pay more money for an unlocked phone and use it on a postpaid connection WITHOUT a contract of any sort. The FCC needs to seriously intervene in this matter if it wants any serious customer growth in the mobile sector.

Great Lecture by Austin Dacey

Posted Leave a commentPosted in austin dacey, center for inquiry, shift, utah

On February 28 2010, The SHIFT student group at the University of Utah co-hosted a lecture by Dr Austin Dacey, former Center for Inquiry(CFI) representative to the United Nations. The Lecture was truly awesome! It was pleasantly surprising to see a large audience come on a Sunday afternoon. After that there was a debate/discussion with Dr Mark Hausam, Professor of Philosophy at the Salt lake Community College. The debate was pretty interesting and intriguing.
I had a chance to interact with Dr Dacey and Dr Angie McQuaig, also from CFI before and after the event and it was most educational to know about their activities around the world including in India to propagate critical thinking and the use of the scientific method on any new theory. I hope that they have plenty of success in this area since the poorest parts of the world can be best helped if they have a hunger for knowledge.
Thank You to the SHIFT officers and other sponsors for organizing this. It was truly enlightening!

Scratch that!

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Man, I sure have noo idea how to write a personal blog. All my blogs are about non personal activities. Well I must admit I do have privacy concerns and they are indeed very well founded with all of them chinese hackers. Well I must admit that my life doesn’t change a great deal over the days but its interesting enough for me. The best part is I get to tinker around with all the stuff that parents and other authority figures told me would get “spoiled” if I even attempted to see how it worked. I’ve proved them wrong then and I prove them critics wrong since. If curiosity killed the cat, I’d say it was worth getting killed for.
I believe that critical thinking is part of our instinct even if we are not people of science. That famous example of your mom being a chemist comes to mind. Humans or even other hominids were survivors long before they were dedicated philosophers, witch doctors, alchemists or scientists. We survive because we think. Oh rats, non personal again…scratch that!

Behti Ganga/Krishna/Tungabhadra hai..toothta baand hai!

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Now for some local issues. Every year India goes through this conversation. And yet every year it happens again. For years, the drought and flood management has simply left out the people at the bottom rung of the ladder. They are left to wading in the water or waiting helplessly on rooftops fearing that the roof would collapse.
During drought, the dams store too much water and turn the deltas into salty marshes and during floods another thing happens. The dams in Karnataka and the Srisalam Dam in Andhra Pradesh started to store too much water without anticipating heavy inflows. As a result, a major town-Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh is now mostly underwater. Added to this the danger of a threat to the structural integrity of the Srisalam and Nagarjunsagar Dams not to mention the flooding of their power houses. What were the upstream engineers and flow monitors doing? Why wasn’t the water released in steps so as to not increase the water level too much AND not submerging the backwaters. And what happened to all those satellite imagery. The ISRO chairman was pretending that the military intended RISAT-2 had civilian uses to avoid flood damage. Well its time to deliver on the ruse. This is where we need you.
All fault doesn’t lie with the irrigation departments. Time and time again, there have beeen warnings to remove the settlements from the river bed which have gone unheeded. That place belongs to the river and unless u’re a fish or other water creature u don’t live there period.
Its time to buck up coz the loss of lives to a controlled river system is simply unacceptable.

Stop right there Microsoft bashers. This is really good

Posted Leave a commentPosted in apple, ipod, leopard, microsoft, nano, snow, vista, windows 7

Yes, I know its easy to lose an audience when u pander to a big company, but for once I think microsoft might be on to something. Windows 7 looks really gr8 even though its atleast 2 years late. All these upgrades were expected in Vista. Atleast we no longer have a blank progress bar while loading windows. We get video previews in explorer, the taskbar is more organised and the side bar less clunkier. Not to mention, clearly more stable. Doesn’t crash all that easily as vista. Believe me I can crash a fresh copy of windows 98 in about 5 minutes bad enough for a reinstall. No danger of that here of course. Vista did go a long way on that aspect, but it always looked like a work in progress. Clearly Win 7 is the finished product. Buy it now all u xp ppl. Yes its time! And for all u losers still running ’98 and ME and 2000- just don’t bother telling me ur reasons.
Meanwhile loads going on in the MAC world. Yes Snow leopard is here. I’d rather classify it as a service pack update. So who ever has tiger or leopard please upgade- its dirt cheap. Also Apple has answered one of my long grudges- YES THERE IS A CAM ON THE NANO NOW!!! But none of the ipod -touch???wierd.
So long story short, upgrade to 7 if u are on windows. The stability is worth the price. I recommend the pro version coz it has most stuff without the unnecessary frills. And yet yes I DON’T get paid by the devil of software.

Usain Bolt and the loons around

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What is up with this Usain Bolt guy?? Never mind the dope and gender tests plz count his chromosomes to chk if he’s human! Is he some Cheetah hybrid??
Installed Windows 7 over the week end so chk my hardware blog sooon for a review of the final version.
*******************************Spoiler alert**********: BUY IT NOW!!
Meanwhile its still summer in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. While India gets its share of monsoon, its sweating time in here. And this place looks way better snowed out believe me. Its no fun when u are sweating at 20 deg c weather when u have lived all ur life in 40 deg weather in India!
Just blogged on Bhuvan- the Indian google earth from ISRO-the Indian Space Agency.

Bhuvan-Smudged pictures Galore

Posted Leave a commentPosted in bhuvan, earth, google, google earth, india, isro, space

Recently the Indian Space Research Organisation launched a purported competitor to google called Bhuvan( To all of us Indians it appears to be a proud maturation of our space program. India now has among the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites launched by a single entity and the resolution of the satellites has increased rapidly. However red tape continues to bog the effort to market the images. For instance the Indian government started making noises about google earth when it started offering high resolution images for free especially of high security areas. I believe that the efforts for offering Bhuvan are in response to this market. I do believe that ISRO wants to genuinely market its satellite imagery to the world through Bhuvan. I do hope I am just being paranoid about this, but it could also be an effort to control the extent of satellite imagery people in India have. The Indian government could at a later date block Google Earth and allow only imagery from Bhuvan to be used for the Indian market that needs such free imagery. I have strong feelings about this after seeing this image from my home town:
Believe it or not this is pretty much the highest resolution I could get! So I am just gonna pretend that this is like the “Alpha version” or something(they call it bhuvan beta) coz only remote sensing scientists can make out the stuff in this pic.I barely found my city coz the labels of the cities are hidden pushpins whose name appears only if u click!So for now I’m sticking to Google Earth. ISRO u better release those High resolution images of civilian areas for free if u plan to have any credibility in the Indian market as well as abroad. Sure u can make money out of images of even higher resolution but we need to be able to make out the houses atleast.

February 2009 Tech update

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Looks like MS is ready to put the vista nightmare behind. Personally I have not much against it. I like visual details added to an OS. The only problem is that it is too high a hardware upgrade for most users. Anything less than 2GB of ram results in an unstable system. XP could comfortably run at 256 MB of Ram with minimum load.
While windows 7 I doubt will reduce any of the memory load, I expect it will reduce some of the problems. For one thing, the pesky User Account Control functionality can be disabled much more easily than the convoluted and potentially catastrophic registry modification things in Vista.
Google Earth has released its version 5 and it definitely has lots of improvements. So does Picasa3. But Gmail labs has really gone to the next level. Meanwhile many interesting web based applications are coming out. One shout out to which helps to create and link family trees without a lot of hassle. Facebook, Orkut has always been using up my time for a few years now and probably will continue to do so. Till the next time Ciao!

American football sure is funny

Posted Leave a commentPosted in america, football, USA

There is only one way a person could possibly like this “game” they pretend is football- you’re an American and are caught up in the adverts by corporates. It’s pretty much like 22 players hooping back and forth on the field ramming each other with a weird shaped ball in their hand!. Stop pretending it’s a real game! Just because you’re not game enough to play unpadded rugby or plain football (soccer) cannot justify the way you guys get worked up and cheer on so methodically the team. Entire universities and cities are caught up in supporting this fake game. The commercial nature is clearly shown by the huuge number of cheerleaders,fan clubs and the methodical cheering that turns a home game into a huuuge advantage instead of being fair.