Friday, December 28, 2007

Thoughts on Game Consoles...

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a thought to Anand about the gaming consoles and their controllers. The recently purchased Wii has been getting a lot of attention from the three of us at home, and I, like many others in the gaming business, am both intrigued and amazed at how intuitive the Wii's controllers are. Nintendo sure as hell got it right; look at the competition - Six-Axis was shoehorned into the PS3 release, and if recent rumors are to be believed, a motion detecting 360 controller is in the making too. Nintendo though, has run away with the grand prize in 2007 - it can't manufacture consoles fast enough, and they've sold around 15 million of them...

To get back to my thoughts at that moment - what struck me as a potentially overlooked opportunity, in a sea of missed opportunities, was Sony responding with a motion detecting controller for the PS2. I know the hardware specs for the console can't change, but they sure as hell can sell an add-on (and make a killing in the process since the accessories are where the margins are) that adds the ability to detect motion in the PS2. Can you imagine playing a game like Grand Theft Auto (or Burnout which I think exists for the PS2) with motion detection turned on? There are wireless controllers out there already, so it shouldn't be too much of a stretch for either a 1st party or a 3rd party controller that sends motion signals to the PS2's receiver. The argument that this move would cannibalize PS3 sales is specious at best. PS2 is the highest selling console of all time, and this would definitely spur sales of the console in the casual gamer category - people like me who aren't into games like the God of War and its ilk. Nintendo has demonstrated that the casual gamer market is untapped, alive, and hungry for a great gaming experience. The PS2 library has some of the greatest games of all time - why not consider upgrading the gaming experience of the console to include motion detection?

Sony, wake up, smell the coffee!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mayoneez == Soos In Face

Short Form: SIF, Mayon

1. Like a Kux in Mouth, only in liquid form
2. You got Thrown
3. Something bad happened

Soos in Your Face.
Soos in Face?
You're a mayoneez!

Just so you get the order of severity of these terms:
Soos In Face < Soos in Mouth < Kux in Face < Kux in Mouth


Between You and Me or You and I?

While hanging at Jyot's this past weekend, I stumbled upon an SAT practice test and started doing the Verbal section. One sentence correction question had "between you and I" as one of the underlined grammatical elements possibly in error. I didn't think it was, but it turns out ...
Between You and I.

Between you and I? — Between you and I? — You should be ashamed of yourself.

First, the technical explanation: between is a preposition; it should govern the "objective case." (In English, that's a concern only with the pronouns.) A preposition can't govern a pronoun in the subjective (or nominative) case, even when there are multiple pronouns after the preposition.

That explanation should be enough for the serious grammar nerds. For the rest of you, think of it this way: when you have two pronouns after a preposition, try mentally placing each one directly after the preposition. "Between you" should sound right to your ear, but "between I" jars: "between me" sounds much more natural. Since it's "between you" and it's "between me," it should be "between you and me."

Ditto other prepositions, like for, to, from, with, by, and so on. If something is for her and for me, it's "for her and me," not "for she and I"; if Akhbar gave something to him and to them, he gave it "to him and them," not "to he and they." Try putting the preposition directly before all the following pronouns, and then use the form that sounds right in each case.

The problem probably arises from hypercorrection: it sometimes seems that you and I is "more correct" than you and me. It's not — at least, it's not always. Be careful. [Entry added 8 March 2005.]

Friday, December 21, 2007

Leopard is to Tiger, as Vista is to XP

I've seen Vista get battered in the press over the last couple months. Gizmodo published an article chronicling the "upgrade" experience from Vista to XP, highlighting the many advantages of switching to the OS released in 2001. As someone who worked hard on the Vista release, all this bad press truly saddened me, but what I read didn't really surprise me. Vista is a great start, but on release, it was no where as mature as the XP release.

Less than a year after the Vista release came the much anticipated release of OS 10.5 Leopard. The press went ga-ga (as is expected for an Apple OS release), and critics all over cyberspace gave the OS a 5/5 rating. 2007 has been Apple's year - everything they release has the critics gushing in their panties. It started with the iPhone, the iPod Touch, so let it be with Leopard. Turns out, Leopard is an even bigger turd than Vista. This is one of many articles panning the features included in the new OS.
Rumor: Dock made less horrible in 10.5.2 Leopard update: "If ever there was a poster child for battered features in OS X, it has to be Apple's Dock. Once a contender for system-wide notification, it has mostly been ignored since the first iteration of OS X. It wasn't until Leopard that spring-loaded folders were added. Unfortunately, along with that sorely-needed pop-up functionality came a hideous 3D look for the Dock, 'stacked content' folders, and the bizarre grid and fan display of folder contents."
After the initial euphoria died down, reports of people wondering whether Apple rushed this release out the door began to surface. For the first time in many years, Apple was accused of photocopying features included in a Microsoft OS release, and badly at that. The Dock, Time Machine, the new Spotlight infrastructure, the Firewall, Security Holes, et al have been much maligned and criticized since October of 2007. Apple is more agile than Microsoft in releasing updates to its products, and within 2 short months, the 10.5.2 release is on the anvil. As Michael Howard told me over a chat conversation, Apple had it coming. There is no place for hubris in today's competitive s/w industry, and Apple had better wake up and smell the coffee...

I am so glad I didn't upgrade from Tiger!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

What's Wrong With Windows Mobile: What's Wrong With Windows Mobile and How WM7 and WM8 Are Going to Fix It

Some snippets from this article, which I thought presented a very balanced insight into the Windows Mobile world. I have always contended that Microsoft needs to create a 1st party phone that becomes the blueprint for other phone manufacturers to mimic (or ignore as the case may be). The platform is very powerful, and the only way to showcase the prowess of the product is to highlight the core strengths, while keeping its weaknesses in the shadows. Now, to quote the article:
"WM's core suite of apps include IE, the SMS client, the email client and Windows Media player; all are sub-par compared other smartphones. There's a reason why the iPhone's browser marketshare is already 0.09% when the entire Windows CE family (which includes Windows Mobile, among other things) is only at 0.06%. Why? It's because nobody wants to go online with that version of IE. They'd rather wait until they get a real computer rather than trudge through WAP decks, insufficiently optimized versions of web pages and hard to use interfaces."
The matter of fact is, Windows Mobile can do just about anything you'd want it to do. It can edit Office documents, send and receive Exchange email, browse the web, chat on IM, give you turn-by-turn GPS directions, play music, watch videos and so much more. The features are there, but the experience isn't. Turns out, the Windows Mobile team knows it.
Let's see how this cookie crumbles...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Disassociation as a technique to maximize your athletic performance

Dr. Morgan, who tested the method in research studies, said he was inspired by a story, reported by an anthropologist that, he suspects, is apocryphal. It involves Tibetan monks who reportedly ran 300 miles in 30 hours, an average pace of six minutes a mile. Their mental trick was to fixate on a distant object, like a mountain peak, and put their breathing in synchrony with their locomotion. Every time a foot hit the ground they would also repeat a mantra.

So Dr. Morgan and his colleagues instructed runners to say “down” to themselves every time a foot went down. They were also to choose an object and stare at it while running on a treadmill and to breathe in sync with their steps. The result, Dr. Morgan said, was that the runners using the monks’ strategy had a statistically significant increase in endurance, doing much better than members of a control group who ran in their usual way.

That, in a sense, is the trick that Paula Radcliffe said she uses. Ms. Radcliffe, the winner of this year’s New York City Marathon, said in a recent interview that she counts her steps when she struggles in a race. “When I count to 100 three times, it’s a mile,” she said. “It helps me focus on the moment and not think about how many miles I have to go. I concentrate on breathing and striding, and I go within myself.”
I do this subconsciously when I feel like I can't go on any more. My technique - count my breathes till a 100, and repeat. That focuses me on the task at hand, on the current moment, not on how many miles I have left to go. Do you have a similar technique? As apocryphal as the conclusion from the Tibetan monks story might appear, the strategy works for me. Two things help me go longer - dissociation and endorphins - but I know when to stop...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Twenty days till lift-off

Am headed home again in a few weeks, but before I go, I have so much
to do! Might spend New Year's eve on a plane, but that might augur
well for the future. Maybe my job will suddenly involve travelling.
Who knows!!

If things proceed as they are, it will be hard to keep my parents at
bay this time around. Let's see how this cookie crumbles. For the
moment, it has been frigid in Seattle the past couple days, with
temperatures hovering around freezing. The promise of sun in less than
a month is going to make it easier to live through this winter.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

God's Gift to Mankind...

Just click the link: Gisele.

'Nuff said!?!

First post from my iPhone

In a meeting.
Unhealthiest food possible right in front of me.
Can't eat simple carbs like this.
Must control...
Ran two miles yesterday.
Climbed stairs for 12.
No bread, pasta, rice is so difficult.
Need chicken kabobs!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snow Day in Seattle, Dec 1 2007

Snow Day Dec 1 07 003, originally uploaded by jhatax.

The best way to start December off!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hunger definitely strikes at 4pm

Jeff and his girlfriend Katie are trying out the South Beach Diet. Like all diets these days, this one is divided into phases; Phase 1 - deny your body all simple carbohydrates, grains, etc. Phase 2 - slowly re-introduce some simple carbohydrates from fruit back into your diet. Phase 3 - Become Rich! No?!?

In my opinion, the trick is to avoid simple carbohydrates if possible, keep your caffeine intake to 1 cup of coffee a day, and drink a lot of water. A friend of mine commented last evening on why Americans tend to eat so much junk food - it's because real food is so expensive. Canned fruit is so bad compared to the real deal, but it comes at a fraction of the price, and isn't subject to the vagaries of season. Want Peaches in Winter, go to the Canned Fruit aisle - easy as pie...

I threw together a really tasty stir fry last night, and since that moment, I've made a conscious effort to cut out as many carbohydrates from my diet as I possibly can. It's so fucking hard though, especially between 4 and 6 pm!! There has to be an easier way that doesn't include surrendering to Obesity. Train for a 1/2 marathon???

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Killer Instinct and Sports

It is absolutely essential to go for the jugular in Sport when the opportunity presents itself. In a tight match, its not a difference in skill level that determines the eventual winner; the winner is the one that gains momentum and doesn't let go when the opponent suffers a lapse in judgment. This ability to ride the momentum out to a win by going for the jugular is also known as a Knockout punch. If you don't capitalize on a momentum switch, the tide usually turns against you, and that's the end of the match. There are very few second chances in a close match...

The Seattle Seahawks have been fortunate in their last two outings to get a second chance at sealing the deal. A lot has been written about this team's inability to deliver the "Knockout" punch when they are ahead. Their 8-4 win-loss record could have easily been 10-2, had they not left a window open for their opponents to fashion a comeback. I watched with astonished eyes as we lost to the 49ers in the final seconds due to conservative play calling and an incompetent hand-off. As the commentators said today, the Seahawks pussyfoot through the final few minutes of a game when they are leading, instead of driving their opponents into the ground. Compare this with the Patriots, who go for it on 4th down even when they are leading by more than 10 points. Something about the passive-aggressive attitude of the Seattle populace is visible in the attitude of the Seahawks players on the field. Someone needs to remind them that sports isn't about being polite; there are no points awarded for being a gentleman in Football. It's about time the Hawks stepped up and grabbed the game by its horns.

The Best Time to Score a Deal on Electronics

The link author prescribes...
In my experience, the best time to shop at an electronics store is one hour before the store closes, preferably on weekends. Sunday is the best day to shop because that's when the new ad kicks in for the week, so check your Saturday paper for any early advertisements.

I personally prefer Fridays because you have a wider selection of products to choose from, and sales reps are in a good mood when the store is empty and about to close. Another reason to shop at night is sales reps start changing the price tags, as they prepare for the big weekend sale. That's worked to my advantage several times.

Tina tells me the real reason you'll find deals at the end of the night is every store has to meet a daily sales goal, so managers will tell associates to do what it takes to close the deal before the store closes. That's probably how I got a great deal on my Blu-ray player and my Sony Bravia, both items purchased on a Friday night.
Personally, my experience has been to play two big retail stores against one another. That almost always results in quashing any price gouging tactics by the retailer, and in a way gives some power back to the consumer. Good luck with your shopping this holiday season...