Friday, February 29, 2008

Jambool is hiring

See here for more details.

If you know great software engineers who might get excited about working for a startup that's among the frontrunners in the social applications space -- do let us know.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Case against Macs

I recently had to get a new power cable for my powerbook. It cost me $80. Eighty dollars for a power cable?! So in some ways, four power cables = 1 phone??

My DVD superdrive stopped working -- DVDs just won't go in at all. I looked online for possible things, and nothing worked. So I went to an Apple store. Without even bothering to look at it, their solution was to replace it and get a new one. $330. Ouch.

It isn't under warranty so I have every intention of prying it open to see why it won't work. If nothing else, I might be a little bit better off knowing something I didn't earlier.

Replacing batteries in an ipod isn't a simple matter of turning it over, popping the sucker open and putting in a couple of AAs. Apple wants you to send in the ipod.

Agreed, you are trying to get the world back from Windows, but for crying out loud, do you have to make it this hard?

We should know fascism when we see it

We watched the movie Parzania. While we knew a bit about the riots, but the hard hitting movie made me go and read about this a lot more. Watching the movie and reading about the atrocities in Gujarat, it makes you detest the nationalist parties involved.

You can read more on wikipedia. The article by Arundhati Roy hit a nerve. Somewhere down the line, India will have to admit that the Gujarat violence was a pogrom, a genocide committed by the Hindu fundamentalists.

The likes of Mussolini and Hitler have come and gone, and yet fascism never stops to rear its ugly head. Yet, we as a society find it convenient to look the other way until it is too late. We are all too involved in our own daily lives to feel concerned about things that happened thousands of miles away -- until one day it blows up in our face.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Now Plants can talk

If there wasn't enough content being put online by humans, now plants can join the fray.

This is a pretty interesting setup by Botanicalls: the plant can now twitter you about the moisture content in the soil.

One wonders though... I need this twittering so that someone else besides my wife can actually tell me to water the plants. Or maybe once you start getting the twitter messages, you'll feel more compassionate to the plants -- as though they were indeed talking to you... "I'm thirsty!" I guess that would make you rush to the tap.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Couple of lectures

Over the last few weeks I had the good fortune of listening to two excellent speakers.

The first was Mohammed Yunus, who founded the Grameen Bank and was awarded the Nobel prize in 2006. Mohammed Yunus is a terrific speaker and a lot more down to earth than most other public speakers I've listened to. His story on the "poor people's bank", as he calls it, is a phenomenal story and he tells it, seemingly, without any spice. For someone to have achieved a likely unassaiblable goal of countering poverty in Bangladesh and inspiring many others around the world, his humility is inspiring.

There were a couple of points he made that I wanted to jot down and remind myself repeatedly. While companies can strive for maximizing profit for themselves, they must pay heed to the planet around them and help maximize the overall benefit to the planet. He did not advocate it as an alternative to capitalism. This is a sentiment I've heard several times recently, and it is something worth listening to.

The other lecture I happened to go to was by Larry Lessig. This was Lessig's last Free Culture talk before he moves on to something different. Lessig's well known for founding Creative Commons and pushing for reduced restrictions on copyrights -- especially as they apply to the digital medium.

Lessig's talk was impressive and it is also impressive that the next challenge he is taking on is to end lobbyism and corruption in Congress. Interestingly, among the presidential candidates there were only two who push for lobbyists not funding congressmen's election -- Barrack Obama and John Edwards.

Lessig later also posted an online video on why Obama and not Hillary, that I am posting below.