Windows vs MacBook

I’ve been a Windows user for… well, all my life. I started with those little DOS systems where you’d to enter C: prompt commands to login. Then there were some laptops and some computers that seem tortoise-level slow today. Some worked great. Some were bad. But they were all, without fail, Windows.

In 2017, however, I switched to MacBook. It wasn’t a brand preference so much as the fact that the config I wanted was the cheapest in MacBook compared to other Windows-OS systems. About 50% cheaper.

Disclaimer: Now, before I go ahead, this has been the most powerful laptop I’ve ever owned, with SSD and all that. I’ve used great desktops but laptops were more functional and everyday.

The first week was pure hell. Apple does everything backward. Including the mouse scroll. I told myself to be patient. Any new system needs time to get adjusted.

#Con: The most annoying then was the placement of the Cmd, Option and Ctrl buttons. Awkward.

#Con: Pages app was designed by someone who obviously doesn’t do much writing. Of course, I was yet to learn the keyboard commands but a lot of things I took for granted in Microsoft Office were missing – in Pages, in Numbers. I figured out some customisations after a week (and this was why I would never go for Macs earlier – they really aren’t fans of customisations of any sort, even internally).

#Pro: But KeyNote – that was pure pleasure. As a design lover, it was wonderful designing presentations with ease. A lot of the design was instinctual and the new update has taken it to a new level.

#Con: Of course, that lasted till I made something, converted to powerpoint and sent it to a Windows user. The file was 65 MB. Needless to say, the recipient was not too happy.

MacBook, like everything in the Apple universe, works great within the universe they have designed. This universe does not even begin to acknowledge the existence of another world out there, a bigger world.

For someone who is a true fan of open source and customisation, I found it hard to work within the Mac’s ecosystem.

#Pro: While the MacBook works great for photo editing, creating powerpoint presentations. However, for other basic work, I really miss my customisation options.

#Pro: On the positives again, I do love the speed of the laptop, attributable to SSD; and of course, the battery life. I do know that Jobs’ ethos was about integrating software and hardware in a manner that it functions optimally, hence, he wasn’t really a fan of allowing people to do what they wanted. But I really do wish we could customise a little more than what’s possible right now.

#Con: The last grouse I had was about having to pay for all apps! Guys, it is 2017. I shouldn’t have to pay for a basic notepad app!

#Pro: But at the price what I paid, the laptop does work great and does everything it is supposed to. Additionally, unlike Windows systems, I get system updates consistently and do not have scrounge the internet for drivers after a couple of years. Bugs are minimal, and there hasn’t been a time that my computer has hung.

#Meh: Of course, I don’t really like the prompt asking me to create and sign in to an iCloud account, but well, Google & Windows are getting there as well.

#Meh: And then there’s the snob factor. The MacBook instantly creates a “Ooh” moment when you pull it out. And the weight factor is definitely a plus, when you are lugging around the laptop all day.

Would I have gone for a MacBook if not for the price? Nope. Do I regret buying it? Nope.

 

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The iPhone and I

Or perhaps this should be titled “One day with my iPhone”

So I finally gave in and got an iPhone.

And I started hating it pretty much from the moment I got it.

Why? *Deep breath*
no multitasking, crap battery, no speed dialling, msgs in little bubbles like it is a chat, all restricted apps, everything done through itunes, no customization of ringtones, or message tones, or alarm tones, no way to set different profiles like “silent” “for work where only messages can blare but the phone ring is a gentle beep” or “i’m partying so hard that I’d need drumrolls to get through to me profile,” and you cannot send any of those photos taken at the party via bluetooth to your friends or to your computer.

And did I mention the crap battery? And how about now all my friends have the same ring tones. But that doesn’t matter anyway because when it is silent or blaring, and at work i’m usually on silent, it so doesn’t matter what on earth you have as the ring tone.

So I managed to convince myself that I still love it and there are over “1 lakh apps” for this. Unfortunately, the most useful apps are for jailbroken phones (which I can’t do because I’ll lose my warranty otherwise). Does Apple really design this phone minus the most important features so people have to download these apps, some of which you have to pay for? Isn’t it enough that I am shelling out 35 grand for a phone to start with?

What’s more… if you want a warranty, your phone is locked in with one particular service provider, even though you pay the entire price unlike in the US, where you at least get a subsidy over a two year contract. After that they don’t care who you use the phone with.

So my friend asked me – why did you want to buy the iPhone?

And all I could think of was “it was so pretty.” If I could’ve pushed myself off the tallest building at that point, I swear I would have.

Of course, even now the interfaces are quite seductive. I mean… I am looking at the Xperia, which I must admit is far superior… a better camera, better battery, multitasking and no need to load itunes to do every little thing… and then i think “iPhone” and go all gooey again. Yuck! Even now, when I managed to return the phone, I want it back… despite knowing the million issues.

I know I will want to update my phone soon. Oh there are so many gadgets… which to pick? which to pick?

Is it really worth buying an iPhone to say “its so cool”

Photo of the day: ON STRIKE. I’M JUST SUPER ANNOYED. I CUD’VE GOTTEN A SEXY LENS INSTEAD!!!

Edit: A friend of mine points out that all the things I mentioned here are very “banal” and not really important. Perhaps it isn’t important to have customizable ringtones and message tones, perhaps it isn’t important to have different profiles.

But the battery and bluetooth? Those are important! Extremely important. And if the only way I can conserve battery is to turn off wi-fi, 3G and everything else this phone is known for, what is the point? Okay, this is an issue with most smart phones. I am tempted to buy the iphone… there are ways to fix most of the problems I mentioned I know… I am lured by the thoughts of Shazam and Hippstomatic (or whatever that photo app is) and google voice and online chat and all of that. But I guess I’ll hold out another year or so and wait for Steve Jobs to completely realise what other little things “banal” people like me want.

iPhone or noPhone

I walked into an Apple store to buy an iPod. And then I thought – wait… I could buy an entire phone and so save myself the trouble of carrying a phone and a music device, so maybe i should buy an iphone. But then… all those reasons why I didn’t grab one the first time around came to mind and I’m quite confused. Help me decide.

Image source: Baltimoresun.com

Glass Half Full:

1. It looks seriously cool – Frown all you want and roll your eyes and say “shallooow” but it does look seriously cool and if it weren’t for that important factor, there are a million other phones I could consider

2. It is loaded with apps, particularly Skype – Yes there are a million other phones I could use with Skype but the fact is, coupled with (1) it does make a good point. Though not as useful in India yet, it is a good idea.

3. It does have all those features like GPS etc etc which I would never use but would be good to have nevertheless.

4. There are a lot of high-tech phones for much cheaper but I somehow believe having the iPhone is like having a super cool laptop with you, from which you can even hack things (Yes I’ve been watching way too many bad spy movies. I did finish that Millennium series recently) I don’t care if I can actually do it but it is kind of cool to have that.

5. It has a decent camera.

Glass Half Empty

1. No Flash (I know that there are replacements to it but to me, that is like saying no Google. What on earth are you supposed to do but settle for the second-best. Which leads me to my next point…)

2. I don’t really like Apple’s “we restrict the world” policy. For all you know, tomorrow they might actually decide to do away with google on their phones. Or… something worse.

3. As a friend said, “it is way too expensive for what it really is – a piece of fashion technology.”
Now I know that my  Half-Full 4 goes against this but it is really a piece of fashion technology. There are phones on the market that can do the same thing and they are much cheaper, and some of them not half as unattractive.

4. Touchscreen keyboards – yes I hate them. The same thing that makes it look supercool, I hate it.

5. Not sure how the camera really is.

6. No inbuilt radio – apparently I have to download an app for it which I think it a little stupid.

7. I can’t use GPRS. I have to pay for a special “net pack” to use every fricking feature on that phone, which means my phone bills soar anyway.

This is what it boils down to -There are equal or better phones on the market for cheaper and many of them are even touchscreen too. But I do like the iPhone and if not for half-empty 1 and 2, I’d have probably bought it. And then the price… I can get a really good touchscreen phone, which is also a little lighter for something a lot lesser, loaded with the same apps and all that.

So every time I convince myself, I look at the price and realise there are other options and I sit back down to think.

Sigh.

On the good side, one of my photos finally got published in something called Schmap, which is an iphone app for maps. (karma?) Check it out.

Song of the day: Hit Me Baby One More Time – Britney Spears (I loved her in this one. Cringe all you want)

A Weekend

A saturday that did not start past noon. A saturday that was not spent sleeping away.

How rare is that! And how much fun is that!

As much as I love late nights and say that I am productive in the wee hours of the night, I have to accept that I get a lot of the more practical stuff done during day time. I had an early meeting (past noon but hey!) which meant I woke up early. The sun was already burning up all those people on the street… I prayed for rain and wished there was something I could wear on my face to keep that sticky dirt off it. Or maybe attach a little fan to my head that will keep blowing cool breeze onto my face. In the end I was just glad that there were no mirrors around me to see how tanned and yucky my face got. And this was just the beginning of the day.

I had to visit an old friend who works for a local magazine. I had been there during college days – more than 5 years ago – and honestly, not much has changed. I guess that is what “long-standing” means sometimes. The walls were still faded and finding the new wing was still as confusing. But once you get past the confusing door, the office had been upgraded into the 21st century. It isn’t as chic as my office is… nor was there as much a bustle. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of the news paper offices I’ve visited recently are quiet. Is it because all the reporters have been laid off or is it because they are all just out, I don’t know. But those days when I did my internships (here and in Australia) where the office was cramped and you’d be huddled away typing out your story, is history.

The desks though are still the same cluttered. Clippings, magazines, coffee cups and photos lying in a uncomprehensible jumble. It feels like home – almost. But the curious lack of chaos was a little disturbing to me. I wondered if I were working there, would I last?

Lunch was at Oye Amritsar – a dhaba-like place, with 5-star restaurant prices. And Himmesh Reshamaiya music. Yep. But I had a craving for butter chicken since last night and since I hadn’t eaten anything, I figured this would be a good place. I mean if you can’t trust a dhaba (or a mock one at that) to come up with good butter chicken, who else can you trust.

Except, once we settled down, the waitress told us that there was no a la carte menu. Only buffet. Now, I’ve nothing against buffet. But for people like me, who don’t eat much to start with, it is a sheer waste. And I get confused with the whole range of food, end up wanting everything and just take a bite of it all and get quite full. And the buffet did NOT have butter chicken!! What kind of a self-respecting dhaba does not serve butter chicken? Or at least chicken tikka masala. Or some form of recognized, popular chicken curry. They had fish fry, panner, some weird named dish and that was that.

My friend was enjoying the restaurant though. She, who I shall call Kit (cuz I feel like it) has a sheer appreciation of any place that we go to. The last time when we went to this restaurant that is styled like a 40s luxury railway dining car, she was excited like a little kid. Enough to make the host appreciate us and give us an inner ac table. So Kit served herself as little food as me and we wished there was better music and better food but we were starved enough to eat quietly.

It was Kit’s day to treat herself – she wanted to a haircut, so after being refused at several salons because we didn’t have an appointment… (Side note: seriously, an appointment for a hair cut as well?! What is this city coming to. True, you are supposed to get better service if you make an appointment. But it is a saturday. there are emergencies – sometimes. Every place I know and like said they were booked till late evening. Surreal!) we found one place that was willing to chop off her hair.

She began to fidget 10 minutes after being seated in the chair. And the stylist had just washed her hair. There was still, cutting, setting and blow drying. And while he was doing all of that, he started their pitch about “you need to use this for hair and hey! look we have a bottle of it and it will cost you only so much!”

I hate it when parlors do that… you go there to relax and let someone pamper you and they start forcing unwanted products on you.  Which is why I like Bounce. Snobbish as they may be, they never mess up your hair and they never offer products to you unless you ask for a recommendation.

And then there was that impulse shopping – I wanted an iPhone. I have finally gotten over all my objections and figured I wanted one. I don’t need a new phone. My current one is fantastic and has all those things that an iPhone has. But I wanted an iPod, since I sort of washed my last one in the washing machine. And I figured why carry two things when I can combine that into the iphone. So that graduated from an ipod nano to an ipod touch (free wlan and radio and FB and all) to iPhone.

The iPhone is gorgeous! it is heavier than mine and apparently I need a data plan to browse the net. But it is gorgeous. And it is a lot more delicate than my phone which I have already dropped several times and it still works fabulously. But it is the iphone. And it is expensive. and I don’t really need it but oh! i do want it! And I don’t really have the money for it!

So debating with all of this stuff, I figured I better look into my financing options (and wavered on that bit a little too when I saw the little “EMI” option there. I’ve never really bought anything on EMI. Always hated owing someone anything but it was quite tempting) I headed to Mocha to think.

Mocha – the hang out for college kids, who get money from god-knows-where. When we were in college, our hang out was a little 5-rupee tea shack. We could sit there for hours, smoke, talk and the guy wouldn’t say a thing. And we’d be poorer by say 10 bucks or a little more. Which wasn’t much but was all we could afford. Now the kids have money to pay 150 bucks for a single coffee. Where do they get the money from? And how are they sitting there in the afternoon when the colleges insist on 90 percent attendance?

I feel old!

But hey the music was good. The sheesha was good. The company was good. Kit’s appreciation of things puts a completely different spin on the places I’ve gotten a little jaded about. It is new for her and she loves it. And it reminds me of those times when I was all so excited about these places. The times before my friends started calling me a snob because I wanted to try out these new places and not all of them were cheap. Before they started complaining about the “kind of crowd” in the place.

It is good to discover this city… showing someone the places that made Bangalore “Bangalore”. The city has changed… the little icecream shop where we used to buy cones in school no longer exists. Road sides are littered with vendors with the backdrop of bigger malls. And boring old factory-manufactured clothes!

But with new people to see it with, it is fun to discover the little signs of old Bangalore still alive like the rose bushes in Mary’s secret garden.

Song of the day: Lamb of God (cuz they are playing in the city tonight. If anyone went to the concert, lemme know how it went) –

If marriages are really made in heaven…

why the hell is there such a huge fuss about the Sania-Shoaib deal?

Yes, I am going to devote precious blog space to this little drama that has been talked about so much for the past few weeks.

Personally, I don’t even like Sania, so couldn’t care less who she married. I could never really say if she is really talented or made it to the top 40 through a combination of some luck and a bit of talent. Or if she is really talented, she just let it all go waste due to fame. She definitely did have the potential to be one of the top players… but that is a different story.

But why was there such a fuss about the guy she chose to marry? True, he is from Pakistan but such marriages occur routinely. A mere line between two countries cannot separate the bloodlines that flow through the lands.

I read this article on The Guardian which says the Shiv Sena *rolling my eyes* called her various names which meant unpatriotic. Apparently, if she had chosen a guy from India, she would really belong to India. Which brings me to a comment someone made on one of my earlier posts. He said “No matter how much you love them (Muslims), they will always love Paks).”

If she had chosen to marry a Muslim from the US, would there have been the same fuss? Isn’t a Muslim a Muslim, regardless of the land? Or do the Pakistanis have something special we did not know about? Madhuri Dixit married a guy from the US… various Bollywood people routinely date and marry Westerners but nobody comments. So why is this little girl being parodied for choosing a guy from the neighbouring country?

The thing that struck me most from the article I mentioned is this graph about “male chauvenism” – And in a culture where male chauvinism is practically compulsory, that is precisely what has happened in the case of the Malik-Mirza marriage. The Pakistani boy is perceived to have won the Indian girl, and Indian male pride is hurt.

SERIOUSLY?!?!? Did the woman have no choice in the matter? And he won her… like what? In a game of cards? In a game of cricket?

And the other ridiculous line – Apparently they expect this couple to start of more peace talks and create a common platform for peace between the two countries.

How? If they were someone like… say Sachin, I could perhaps believe they had influence. But Sania? Really? The one match wonder? And Shoaib? Maybe Imran Khan, Waseem Akram who are legends…

Seriously… let the media get out and let that couple try their hands at marriage.

***
The iPad

I cannot believe I have not mentioned the iPad yet!! I must be slipping. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was – “I WANT THAT”. Seriously!! Apple’s products always look fabulous. And this was something out of sci-fi movie.

But then I realised… how useful is it really considering that you can’t use Adobe Flash on it? And about half the things in cyber space use flash. Least all the stuff I look for.

That is one special thing about Apple – that exclusive control they have about the gadgets allowed in their world. Add that with their current tiff with Google and you wonder what risks you would be taking by buying an Apple product, particularly something like an iPhone or iPad.

I want to buy an iPhone. Seriously… I tried to talk myself out of it for quite a while and my current phone is an absolute beauty + it is sturdy. But I want an iphone. But I wonder… what if Apple one day decides you can’t use google on it? Yes, in the land of US of A, antitrust laws will kick in. What happens in India? In fact, how useful is a phone like iPhone in India… particularly in these pre-3G days.

But my point was the iPad and Apple (and I shall not digress like Shobha De)… The only space where I can really think of using it is to read books and magazines and for that you’ve a much cheaper version of Kindle and its relatives. If you can’t use Flash on this, what is the point of having the iPad?

Now if only Apple makes these allowances, I would be the first in the checkout queue for one.

Of course, when i heard about my friend with an ipad, sitting in Starbucks, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy *sigh*

***
As I mentioned Shobha De and digressing… the reason why I thought of it was this column I read of hers in BT today morning. Of course, BT aka Bangalore Times is quite a tabloid supplement to a paper which is quite tabloidish itself. Except BT proudly mentions only entertainment news – meaning movies and gossipy cricket news.

And now they squeezed in a “column” by Ms. De.

Today’s column was supposed to be about how Goa is losing its brand as a tourist destination. Except, after the first graph (of 3 lines), there was no mention of the topic till the last line. The rest of the article was filled with mentions of how other movie stars have lost their Brand value – including Sania who was dropped by Cadbury.

Shobha De can write well. She also has a sharp brain but then she uses her brand value to write nonsense. And when she cannot come up with nonsense opinions, she just takes a topic, writes one line about it and fills the rest with, well, nonsense.

It is true that Goa’s image has been tarnished by the rise in drug-related deaths and rapes and such. It is a pity… because Goa was one place where I could go and face no policing and the one place where you could light up a joint and feel at home. The one place where you wear a short dress without raised eyebrows. And it is getting fucked up… as all things do I guess. But either you write about that or you write about your buddy movie stars. Why mix both? Unless one of them was caught doing something in Goa and was responsible for this problem.

And the last bit of the news considering brand images – why did Cadbury really drop Sania?

Let’s speculate:
A) The whole marriage drama, as Shobha De and other says

B) Sania hasn’t really won a match or played in any decent tournament since… who knows when. So they really woke up to the fact that they had a ‘brand ambassador’ who made more news via her ads than the stuff onfield. And they played it safe and dropped her.

C) They figured that age-old backlash in India that married women face – the loss of a sex symbol status (if she ever was one). And they figured they didn’t want a plain jane/married woman as their brand ambassador because Indian men are weird that way (though they would ogle at every other thing in a skirt/sari walking on the street)

D) They just got bored of her, realised she wasn’t really gaining them anything and used this as an excuse to drop her

Pick one. Or come up with another option.

Song of the day: Aaj hai sagaai: Pyaar toh hona hi tha

The iPad – iWant?

And the second big news in my world today… Apple iPad.

What is with the name? Snow Leopard, iPad… what next? Anyway… why is there so much hype about Apple? Ever since I’ve been following the stock, other than merely the products, I notice how much hype there is about their one little day when they unveil new products. And everytime, people seem to be disappointed.

Has Apple set such high standards for themselves that they end up not meeting them? Apple was started for the niche crowd. The ones who appreciated interfaces as much as what was inside. High performance was the mantra. And then they started branching out… they came out with iPod which to me revolutionized the world of music. Perhaps there were digital mp3 players and to be honest, those players ARE more convenient. You do not need a computer to charge and load them with songs and whatever else. Even Microsoft’s Zune has its own appeal. Yet iPod was the in thing. What attached the coolness factor? The whole thing about being a part of the niche crowd? Perhaps…

Then more innovations happened… and as Apple had already said they were special and different and put this whole aura of secrecy about what was happening in their labs, as opposed to Microsoft who had a lot of windows into development… there was enough hype for the new phone. I mean if APPLE was doing the phone, it was expected to be something straight out of a sci-fi movie. And despite a little bit of discontent – most of which people weren’t willing to voice out loud cuz hey! this was Apple after all – the fad caught on. Touch phones were in, despite the complaints about  non-removable batteries, bad cameras and all of that. There were phones out there which could do all of that but none of them were packaged so well.

And Apple fixed the mistakes in the next edition. And then fixed some more mistakes in the next one. And their iPods kept getting better… so better that the latest one included a pedometer. So people could listen to music and count the steps they took listening to music. And considering a lot of people listened to music while they jogged, that was a good idea. And if something interesting caught their attention while jogging, they could even take a short video of it. and then there was the wi-fi so you could read your news and listen to music. Okay, it is quite groovy… particularly in that really sleek shell.

But they can’t keep pushing on the benefits of one products. They had to surprise people… so they watched yet another sci-fi movie and said “ooh wouldn’t it be cool if we came up with a much lighter, one-sided, touch screen laptop?” They already had the thinnest laptop – which didn’t have a CD drive cuz that was like a size 0 model… you can either have size 0 and or boobs and ass. So you either have a thin laptop without the frills or you have a nice, traditional one with all that you want and strong enough to beat up any mugger. (just kidding!)

And honestly, I was zipped. Though it sounds like i’m bitching here, I love Apple. I am waiting to save up enough money to buy a Mac and a new iPod (I put mine in the washing machine along my sweat shirt but that’s a story for another day… though I should mention it survived). And I was wondering if buying the tablet would be good? And then they showed what it was and honestly? It looks like a glorified iphone!!!!

Yeah perhaps I had too much of expectations. I expected something like a real laptop (minus the CD drive of course) with all the connections and frills. but 64 GB flash drive? Okay I honestly dont know the answer to that one… so some please help.

Why am I disappointed? I am not really sure… It is sexy… and I know despite all the complaints, Apple will sell enough and more to keep investors happy. But… what is missing? And what happened to the ebooks story? wasn’t this supposed to sort of kick Kindle’s ass? It does in a way… it looks like Kindle. Only sleeker. and I could even probably get used to typing on it…

But why does Apple initially disappoint and then gather strength? I wait for the day they will come up with a holo key pad. Or something like that. If anyone can do it, it is Steve Jobs and Apple. Whatever faults Jobs might have, the man is a creative genius.