Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lawmakers Bill Taxpayers For TVs, Cameras, Lexus

After the huge scandal that has rocked the UK parliament, reports of US Lawmakers expensing their personal purchases are sure to cause a stir this side of the Atlantic. Obama's presidency has had its fair share of scandals involving lawmakers and members of parliament - first the indiscretions of the governor of Illinois, then the news of senators not paying their taxes, and now this. Mind you, these are the infractions that have surfaced; some government watchers suggest that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

When I first read about scandals of this nature, I couldn't quite fathom the outrage the taxpayers felt at the actions of their elected representatives. In India, I grew up reading about the excesses of ministers, their almost habitual flouting of the laws of the land, and witnessed their life of excess first hand. Truth is, politics corrupts even the best of us because with power comes money. I can't wait for the day when Indian politicians are subjected to the same scrutiny that their counterparts in the rest of the developed world. Until that day, I don't think India will be quite ready to usher in a new era of growth and prosperity.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Movie Critics have forgotten the script

I am beginning to think that movie critics are becoming more and more distanced from what people consider pulp entertainment. A movie like Terminator:Salvation is not designed to stimulate the neurons; its purpose is to visually stimulate, and help people get away from their mundane existence. Almost every movie recommended by critics has been a waste of my time, primarily because I don’t want to watch a director’s take on my miserable life; I’m living it already!

For what it's worth, Terminator will suck, but the thrills will make it worth the $1 I pay to see it when it arrives at my neighborhood Red Box.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Microsoft’s Ads Are Hurting Apple

The article summarizes the changes in the general public's perceptions of both Apple and Microsoft.
Apple has and still leads on: Quality (although MS has closed the gap) and Reputation.
MS has recently overtaken Apple on: Satisfaction and Value
MS has recently caught up to (i.e., virtually tied) on: General Impression, Willingness to Recommend"
With Windows 7 around the corner, Apple needs to reinvent itself or brace itself for a reversing of its growth spurt in the computer industry. I installed Windows 7 a few days ago, and even though the build is just an RC, there is very little to choose between a Mac and a PC now in terms of operating system. The build quality of Macs warranted the premium price tag, but those days are long gone. HP and Dell, in particular, have really stepped up to the plate and are building geek eye-candy. HP has the coolest people endorsing its products as well; the next year is going to be great for a laptop buyer.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

It's a lazy Sunday morning

My fortunes this past week have mirrored the swings in weather. Its fitting then that the week has ended on a sunny note. I woke up this morning, bid adieu to an old school friend who is on a whirlwind tour of the US, and before doing anything further, I sat out in the sun and meditated - some Manoj time was for the asking!

As my blog updates become less frequent and my use of twitter increases, I think any day I get a chance to sit down and pen my thoughts is a day I am blessed. Of late, I have onboarded new responsibilities and have let myself get caught up in situations that I could easily avoid. A quick note to the fledglings fantasizing about their grown-up days - being an adult sucks! Unless you make a concerted effort to keep up with your interests, something inevitably gets dropped off your list; sad thing is, most times this happens, you don't even realize what you've given up. In my case, that almost lost interest is music. Part of the reason for the diminished interest in music is ennui; the remainder is the lack of good stuff being released these days. I'll rephrase that - with my priorities shifting to work and my house, I haven't had a chance to explore my favourite genres for new music. Chalk up another consequence of quitting Microsoft - my Zune days exposed me to new artists, new music and to DJ Miss E's recommendations. Maybe it's time to reconnect with her, if only for her awesome taste in music! :)

Cricket has made a roaring comeback into my life, partly due to the IPL T20 tournament. I restored my connection with the ARCL and now play for a team comprised of Microsofties and Amazonians. My batting is rusty but my ability to track balls down (and hold on to catches) is undiminished; some batting practice and time at the crease will surely clear the cobwebs. Bowlers everywhere, watch out! Back to the IPL - I was thinking today that if the tournament is going to be held every year, cities that play host to each of the 7 teams can really profit from their respective franchises. With some creativity and updates to the existing infrastructure, the IPL can make a city a tourist haven, if only for the home games. Establish a home ground which will create a loyal fan base; upgrade the flight routes connecting each of the 7 cities to accommodate IPL fans and provide incentives to fly for a team's away games; hotels and guest services will mushroom around the grounds; voila, the city has a fresh crop of tourists that aren't visiting from a foreign country. The revenues from sales taxes alone will amount to a sizable sum of money...

Time to head out into the sun and smile through the rest of this gorgeous day!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

$999 MacBook Air deal FTW

AppleInsider | Apple lands Xbox boss, Mac OS X 10.5.7, $999 MacBook Air deal: "$999 MacBook Air and MacBook coupons

MacMall, one of AppleInsider's sponsors, dropped us a note earlier this week about a deal it's running on first-generation MacBook Airs. It's offering the original $1799 1.6GHz model with Intel graphics for $999 after instant discounts and a $200 mail-in-rebate. The deal may be a compelling option for anyone in the market for an ultra-portable Mac for basic email, internet and business use, and who isn't concerned with the NVIDIA graphics boost delivered by the latest models."