Why does Apple get away with it all !

Apple recently announced that they will not be taking part in Macworld from next year and Steve Jobs will not be presenting at this year’s (2009) keynote. The blogosphere as usual hasn’t taken very kindly to this news. According to Apple the decision to pull back has been based on the fact that they’re a big company now and they have other avenues to reach the customers.

I don’t have a doubt about the statement. Apple is a really big company now. But, have they ever given the fact a thought, that they’re big because of the users. Apple is not big because their operating system is bundled with 90% of the computers sold in the world. They’re not big because their phone is the most stable platform in the world. They are big because their community of users hasn’t left them for greener pastures … yet.

Apple is probably the onle company in the world that can get away with anything. And I really mean anything. DRM, faulty hardware, sub standard OS performance, “Apple Tax” … anything !

And now this.

Is it really time to look for alternatives. Is it time to really think why we use Apple products anyway !

I’ve been an Apple user since some time. Owned an iBook sometime and when it failed with the infamous logic board failure, I saved up money to buy the latest greatest Macbook – which I’m glad I didn’t buy.

I also own an iPhone and have gone through all the hoops to make sure it works with my provider. Will I buy an iPhone again. Short answer – No !

Long answer is a bit complicated. The reason I didn’t buy a Macbook is the same as the reason why I’m not going to upgrade to a newer iPhone. Freedom. Or the lack of it.

In all these years of using Apple products, I’ve never felt more crippled. Apple’s products are priced more than any of their competitors and don’t really provide any real benefits. Why should I buy those products anymore. Apple is now crippling even the display ports with DRM and they still want us users to endorse their brand.

One thing I really don’t understand is why are more and more developers developing open source application drifting to the Apple world. Attend any open source conference and you’ll find atleast 50% of the developers using Apple machines. Don’t they feel the pain ?

I really hope that Apple doesn’t cripple the Mac mini this Macworld with the display port nonsense. As far as I know, that’s the only decent mac that is left.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Apple. I like the fact that Apple products apparently … just Work. I just don’t like the freedom that I have to give up for that. And I still don’t think OS X has anything great going for it. Its the hardware that Apple is good at.

Thank you Apple …. for showing me the path … for guiding me towards the light. I don’t need to take any more crap from you and I can go back owning my computer and using it the way I always wanted to. Thank you.

Internet Goals for 2009

This post is a part of Daniel’s Internet Goals group writing project. My Internet goals for 2009 are:

1. Launch a new blog dedicated to tech tips and trick. I have the domain up and will start posting soon.

2. Reach atleast 200 subscribers for the tech blog.

3. Contribute more guest posts and build up readership on the tech blog.

4. Reach a 1000 daily visitors.

5. Increase online income. I don’t have a number in mind, but I’d definitely be writing more this year and have my fingers crossed 🙂

That’s all for me, I think. You might have noticed that all my goals for 2009 are for this new blog that I haven’t even launched yet. I’d have given the URL to you guys but I just don’t think the site is ready for the public yet so that’ll have to wait.

In the meantime, you can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email or follow me on twitter and I’ll make sure you guys are the first ones to know about my new blog.

Power.com helps manage multiple social networks with ease

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The Internet has never been more social and the large number of social networking sites popping up every other day is a testament to this fact. Not a day passes by without the introduction of atleast a couple of social networks. And social animals that we are, most of us like to be active on more than one network. But, as most of us realise, managing those account becomes a nightmare pretty soon.

Power.com is here to save the day for all you social animals. It is an interesting tool. Instead of working with and adding to the feature set of a particular social network, Power.com, lets the user login and stay active on all the networks that it currently supports.

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What that means is that a user who logs in to power.com will be able to interact with all his/her contacts across facebook, orkut, hi5 and myspace from right within the power.com window.

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While the interface could have been better, the integration of the all the different networks that it supports is pretty consistent. One can see all messages from the supported networks on a single page and also see all your friends on the same page. Power.com displays this information in a layout which looks a lot like the default orkut homepage, although the color scheme is different and very easy on the eyes.

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power_msgAnother interesting feature Power.com offers is the ability to send a message to any of your friends without even visiting their profile or scrapbook. Just hover over the friend’s name and a menu appears which will let you send a message directly.

In fact, you can reply to any messages that your friends might have sent you right from the Start Page of Power.com itself. No need to open multiple windows and having to login to different networks.

Power.com also provides a toolbar which is claimed to work on anything newer than IE 5.0 and Firefox 1.0.1 and provides access to most features without even visiting the website.

Oh yeah, before I forget … if, for example, your administrator has blocked access to orkut.com at your school/office, Power.com will still let you access orkut since the actual site will be opening inside of the power.com window.

Are there any other social networking tools that you guys use to manage your online presence ? Anything that aggregates different networks and provides a single view ?

RoadTrip, Indiranagar – Bangalore

Road Trip is a 50+ seater restaurant located in Bangalore’s upmarket Indiranagar area. Road Trip is a first of its kind concept restaurant that features motorcycles as a theme

The place opened in 2003 and has seen a lot of changes in the past 5 years. I believe it was also closed for some time during this period.

RoadTrip is a restaurant in Indiranagar which serves continental/Italian cuisine. To reach the place, if you’re coming from the (Old) Airport flyover, take the first left and then the first right.

Their website describes them as

“Road Trip is a 50+ seater restaurant located in Bangalore’s upmarket Indiranagar area. Road Trip is a first of its kind concept restaurant that features motorcycles as a theme.”

The place opened in 2003 and has seen a lot of changes in the past 5 years. I believe it was also closed for some time during this period. The current incarnation is not as cool as the pics on the website will lead you to believe, but I’ve been assured that the food is still the same. They still have those motorcycle headlamp fixtures and two motorcycles standing in the dining area but the rest of the stuff is gone.

Unlike most places serving Italian/Continental cuisine in Bangalore, the food here actually tastes of the real thing and the Chef is willing to listen and make changes to the dish according to the guest’s preferences.

The menu is pretty basic. Its a simple one page menu with a couple of starters (veg and non-veg), couple of main course dishes and some drinks (Iced tea – Rs 40 , cold drinks – Rs 40, fresh lime – Rs. 40 etc.).  They also serve Alcohol but all I’ve had at this place is beer (The price of which I don’t remember 🙂 ) so I won’t comment on anything else.

The last time I was there with some friends, we ordered a plate of Lamb chops (Rs. 240), a Pizza (Rs. 190), and a Penne Based pasta.

The Lamb chops, frankly, were nothing to write home about and the dish was quite bland. The meat was still nice and succulent, but it could have done with a little more spice. The chops came with some vegetables and Mashed Potatoes.

The pizza was definitely the best I’ve had in some time. They beat Little Italy (100 ft road) hands down. The toppings were ham, chicken and sun dried tomatoes. This is a thin crust pizza and, of course, highly recommended.

The pastas that we ordered were Penne based and we asked the chef to put in some extra cheese and sun dried tomatoes in it. Excellent 🙂

I’m definitely going back to this place … again.

Update 1: Was recently at Roadtrip again and tried the “Grilled fillet of fish with Lemon and Mustard sauce” and it was absolutely awesome. Rs 240 well spent. The dish is not on the menu and you can find it on the specials menu.

Reminder to Self: Check out the specials menu at Roadtrip before ordering anything 🙂

Kareem's, East Street – Pune

After successfully running 7 outlets in Mumbai – The well known Kareem’s is now in Pune. Sadly it has replaced another one of our favorite joints – Olympia Kathi Rolls.

Not to fret, though, there is some good news. Kareem’s has retained the Olympia Kathi Roll on its menu and have the same guy cooking them. 

Olympia Kathi Rolls was almost an institution, next to Portrait Studios on East Street. One can not miss the long queue outside the restaurant in the evenings. 

Olympia serves perhaps the best Chicken Kathi Rolls outside of Kolkata. Priced at a about fifty bucks it is value for money. The piping hot paratha enriched with a generous and well cooked soft covering of beaten eggs and filled with substantial pieces of succulent spicy chicken – it tastes heavenly as you dip it in the accompanying pudina chutney and freshly sliced onion rings.

One word of caution for the delhiites: This is not the Kareem’s from Old Delhi but Mumbai so don’t go expecting something you won’t get.  

Like I mentioned, the rolls have been incorporated in the menu, but apart from the rolls the menu has a lot of other stuff too. Recommended are the Kebabs, one can choose from a dozen or so in the menu. We had Murg Kurkuri Potli’ (Rs 119) but a good idea would be to take the non- veg platter (Rs449) to sample the assortment. Also, try the unusual Indian bread on offer like the Taftan (a soft rice flour bread) or Khamiri or kulcha or lachedar Parantha (Rs29/39).

 

 

Interesting observation: Almost every price mentioned on the menu ends with a 9, Rs 99, 119, 129 and so on as if the menu belongs to a Bata shoes shop 🙂 Don’t know why … I don’t judge, I only make observations 😉

5 free and exciting iPhone Games

Steve Jobs, while launching the iTunes app store remarked that the iPhone (and iPod touch) is the best gaming device ever made.

And looking at the kind of games available for the iPhone, I completely agree with ‘ol Steve.

The App store has thousands of games available already, both paid and free. And each one of those games has been approved by Apple, so you can be atleast sure that whatever is available on the app store right now, is high quality stuff.

In this post, we’ll look at some interesting iPhone games that are available right now and, of course, are free to download and use.

Matches

Matches is the iPhone version of the old game known as Memory or, well, Matches.

Each card on the screen has a matching that the player has to find and there is a time limit for uncovering all the matches. There are many levels and the time available to find all matches keeps shrin

king and so the game becomes increasingly more challenging as the levels progress. Exactly, the kind of thing you want to be engrossed in on a Sunday afternoon 🙂

iBowl

iBowl is from the makers of iGolf, another exciting and addictive free iPhone game. As is obvious from the name, iBowl is a bowling game – With a twist.

The difference between iBowl and the other bowling games that most of us have grown up playing on other consoles is that iBowl uses the accelerometer built into the iPhone for the bowling part. What that means is that the player presses a button and pretends to bowl as if he’s playing a real bowling game, with the iPhone in hand instead of the, well, ball.

You can even challenge a friend to a game of Bowling, althought this doesn’t exactly do this using multi player gaming. Instead, iBowl sends an email to your friend asking them to load up iBowl and then probably uses the developer’s website to keep track of scores. I’m saying probably because I haven’t personally tried this option till now. I’m happy playing and winning against … myself 🙂

WordWrap

WordWrap is the iPhone implementation of the classic jumbled words dictionary based game – You get a set of letters, jumbled up, and you’re required to form as many words as you can out of those letters. If you use all the letters to form a single word, bonus points. Each progressive level gets more difficult, or not, depending on how well you’ve studied the dictionary. ‘Nuff said … this game has to be played to really be able to appreciate it.

Vegas Pool Sharks Lite

This is another of my favorite iPhone Games. I can spend hours playing this one, or atleast as long as the battery on my iPhone lets me.

Vegas Pool sharks is like playing Pool with a twist. The Lite version is the good ‘ol Pool game which you play against an opponent controlled by the computer iPhone. The paid version promises to make the game even more fun by letting you play against stakes. Now, this is one thing every gamer knows. Put some money on the table and watch a boring game transform into the most fearsome encounter ever.

Tic Tac Toe

I’m sure this one will bring back fond memories of all those classes spent sitting in the last row playing Tic Tac Toe with your best bud, while the teacher continues with the most boring lecture ever.

It sure evokes those feelings in me. I’ve literally spent ages playing this game and the last page of all my school notebooks will testify to that. I’m just glad the game is back in its most eco friendly avatar ever. I love it.

Those were some of our favorite iPhone games and I’m sure I’ve missed tonnes more. Go ahead … type in those comments and share with us your favorite iPhone games. We’d love to hear about any tips you’ve got too … for getting past the difficult levels, you know 😉