Friday, December 10, 2010

When can I have my Personal SuperPhone (PS) ?

There is no doubt that Personal Computers (PCs), and the mobile phones have revolutionized our lives in multiple meaningful ways. Now smartphones are redefining the way mobile computing is done. But a smartphone today, be it from any vendor, can hardly be called personal the way PCs are.

A PC allowed you to customize from top to bottom. Every thing in a PC can be upgraded or swapped out in case a particular part malfunctions. I have a host of choices of what software stack I want to run on it. Right from the operating system to the applications are customizable. And it has been so form day one.

Not in case of a smartphone. True, yon can install some apps on them. True you can increase some storage space on some of them. May be change wallpaper to make it appear "personal". But that is it. It is what I call "pseudo-personal". You have no standard way of choosing a different operating system. You can buy different hardware for different mobile operating systems. But yon can't use the same hardware for different OSes even though they might be capable of doing so.


There is no way to fully customize software stack. Hardware wise it is even more restrictive. There is simply no way to expand or add capabilities. Though one might argue that you can put something like a USB host port. But none of the major phone makers have that feature. Currently I am using an Android phone (previously a Nokia Symbian). None of them have an easy way to install or upgrade the OS. My Android device is still 2.1, new 3.0 is round  the corner. There is no way to upgrade the RAM or phone memory. You upgrade external storage, but that is too limiting and only useful as a way to store data. Thinking back, my first PC was an HP machine with AMD processor. It only came with 64 MB RAM which I later upgraded to 343 MB, upgraded from Windows 98 to XP, dual booted with numerous flavours of Linux, installed BeOS!, installed graphics card and what not. That freedom is missing completely in a smartphone available today.


Capable closed hardware, crappy software

Today's smartphone hardware is no doubt very capable. But is closed. Closed to the extent that even if you manage to open up your device you will have difficulty in identifying the essential components that make up the phone. The only parts that you could mange to remove would be the battery pack and the display panel. Possibly a key pad if your smartphone does come with one. Don't ever think of interchanging these parts with another phone: it would almost never work. Simply because there are no prevailing "Standard" as in the case of PC.

On the other side, software on these devices  is not really productive. The PC software has matured over years, to the extent that people have started calling it legacy. Note that I consider all cloud based applications (aka. web appps) to be actually tailored for PC usage, not for ultra portable device.  Eventually the productivity offered by these smart devices is but quite limited. You almost always fall back to your PC to do the actual work (why do yon think Google is releasing ChromeOS?). The phones do not truly and transparently sync with your workflow. To some extent this has improved especially with mobile e-mail clients. But not in general. Ideally I would like my smartphone OS to automatically scale its user interface form small portable screen to a large desktop scale screen, handle touch, pen and pointing as well as keyboard, seamlessly. That will make computing on the go painless and computing on desk seamless. You will always need only one device: your personal super phone.


More eco-friendly

Another important factor of these smartphones is battery. My E51 used to last for at least 3 days on a single charge. My current Android phone only lasts a day. Difference being that I am using a lot more data services than I did with E51. I would actually love if the phone operated on solar power when on move and on battery when on desk.


From Asia not America

A noted company has to take initiative and came up with a reference design for a personal Super phone: Like the IBM PC. That, this would rather happen in some part of Asia and not America is my hunch.

A reference design like Open Moko is a good starting point.

Update: Motorola just released an interesting superphone:

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

some fun with C++

Was playing around with C++, and found that you can actually use a base class member function pointer to call functions defined in derived class. Round about way, but useful for implementing stuff like:

Here is an example snippet:

#include ...
class Base {
typedef void (Base::*WhoPtr)();
class D1: public Base {
void WhoAmI() const;
class D2: public Base {
void WhoAmI() const;
void D1::WhoAmI() const {
std::cout << "I am D1" << std::endl;
void D2::WhoAmI() const {
std::cout << "I am D2" << std::endl;
void run(Base::WhoPtr fptr) {
Base base;
int main(int argc, char **argv ) {
Base::WhoPtr func;
func = (void (Base::*)()) &D1::WhoAmI;
func = (void (Base::*)()) &D2::WhoAmI;
return 0;

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Just a test post from my android phone. Essentially meaning I jumped platform boat from symbian.

The phone is Samsung Galaxy 5, and is probably the cheapest and most feature rich android phone available in India. And turns out that it is even cheaper and more useful than my 3 year old nokia e51. Except that there is no skype on this phone... Yet.

Update: And Skype just released an update for Android (, which works great on my phone (audio only at the moment) :)

Location : Atmanand Park, Clover Park, Viman Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Remembering Fractal Geometry creator: Mandelbrot

BenoƮt B. Mandelbrot, most famous for the Mandelbort set, which so oftern is one of the first few and cool assignments for many graphics and fractal geometry introductory courses has recently passed away. NYT remembers him and his work (

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I believe them, they don’t ;-)

Ok. I had to express my anguish, so the post!

From childhood, I have stayed near the airforce colony. Was educated in Air Force school I which is inside the airforce colony. And have frequented to the temple there. Only in the last visit to home, I had been to my School with a friend of mine. No issues. But this time when I wanted to go with my uncle to the temple inside there they asked me for an ID card!! And they made me go home and fetch one. Made me feel: I believe they don't. Only then I remembered the reason for this paranoid behaviour: Pune had an unfortunate incidence of terror early this year and 'they were not taking any chances.' 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to home: A journalist, a seaman and a jockey

The journey back home has always been exciting. When taking a flight to or from Mumbai, I usually take KK Travels as a pickup service. They usually have Tavera or a similar four-wheel-drive and are confortable and fast.

Typically there would be 2 to 3 co passengers along with you , and is usually interesting to talk to these "strangers". Of all the time I have travelled with this pickup service, my co-passengers were largely IT professionals. Never found someone with research background or something else.

This time around, I was for some different treat :)

All started at Sydney airport when someone behind me told that my backpack zip was open. He said not worry and closed it for me. Probably he pitied on me as I was carrying 3 handbags :) After conversation with him, he told me that he is a Malayalee working with The Australian as a journalist. He and his wife were both Oz citizens and had voted for the elections just before boarding the flight. For me I was quite pleased to meet a journalist working with The Australian, which was the only sensible newspaper I found during my stay in Oz. In the end a thought crossed me: wish it was so uncomplicated to vote in India.

Next, two interesting people a seaman and jockey made the journey back to Pune fun. This time around the cab driver also did not drive like the world was coming to an end. So it turned out to be an extraordinary smooth ride.

The seaman guy seemed to have traveled the world over in the past 8 or so years he has been working with a shipping company. Being a "demanding " job, and probably pretty-highly payed (>8k $) he is fine with working 6 months or even less a year. And says will 'retire' in couple of more years. Of all the chattering he was doing one statement stood out 'I have seen the world, much closes than you have, at-times fascinating, at times pathetic, but it is only when I come to Bharat that I feel peace. There is no better place to live than India. '

The jockey was another interesting guy. I have never imagined before that a jockey was actually a sort after profession. Unlike most of the people going out of India to work, where they live in the urban world, this guy lives near a countryside stable north to London. Unlike the seaman, this guy had pretty less grab an English, and most of our conversation was in Hindi/ Marathi. This guy too had some general opinions, one that I vividly remember was 'Indians are the most cultured and caring while English are the most fit'.

Between us we had a healthy talk on wide variety of subjects during the three hour journey. At times I was stunned by the kind of questions these guys asked me. In the end thought, I felt that experience and maturity shapes a persons viewpoint towards life and others in general.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moving on..

Long time since I posted on my blog! Mostly because I have been pretty busy with preparations to move on.. Yes will be taking up a new position at from next Monday.

So just wanted to update on a few things which have kept me engaged:

- Moving is not exactly pleasant, especially if you had not anticipated it and you have too many stuff to get rid of!

- Keeping track of NotionInk Adam, but lost a bit of touch with them due to the above!

- Trying to finish up my current work.

- Getting my thesis published as a monograph :-)

- Best of all : Roaming around on Oz land :) Hope to post in some photos..

Finally, what happens to my existing opensource contributions?

- In one line: there should be no difference, I would continue to contribute and maintain the codes during my free time. All the current licenses will be maintained.

- For MeTAStudio : I would continue to update and add new features to this project. There are also a number other contributors now, whom I guess will continue their contribution as usual.

- For codes developed at ANU:
A part of my work involved writing codes for performing Hartree-Fock calculation on molecular systems using X10 programming language being developed at IBM. These codes were jointly developed by Josh Milthorpe and myself. The portions of the code written by me are copyright of ANU but are available to public under the EPL. For more information visit: These codes are also linked from

More updates later :)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Laptop is dying ;-)

This is like 'thinking aloud' after reading this article on infoworld.
I have a prophesy (!!??) to make: "Laptop is dying"
Think about it:
What do you use your latops for?
- Check Mail
- IM
- Skype
- Powerpoint
- May be programming (?). Really, are you serious? ;-)
What do you use your desktop for?
- All the above
- and Programming (without any doubt)
What can an netbook do?
- All that the laptop can do
- But is very cheap and more importantly quite a lot portable (my T91MT is about 940 grms), and pretty good battery life.
What can an iPad do?
- All the things that a netbook can do (and is probably better at it), I haven't used one.
- except Programming!
How many of you program?
- Not many, I guess. Are we still short of good programmers ?

So the logical conclustion from above ;-)
# iPad is going to keep selling
# Netbook is also probably going to keep selling
# So is Desktops
## But the story of laptops don't look very healthy, unless they start making it very very portable and affordable as Netbooks are now.

Sloppy journalism

This is like the 'not again!' moment..
Some time ago I had reported about some sloppy reporting in blogs ( I would have given that some neglect thinking that it was just a blog!? But today a friend of mine pointed me to this stupid report on a news site:

Which essentially claims again that Malaria is caused by Virus! Horrible error made again! Either the quality of reporting has noose dived or as Rupert Murdoch says 'quality reporting comes at a price'. I am quite reluctant to take side with the later as I feel that there should be free flow of credible information for a healthy society rather than it being for an 'elite only'. BBC news is primary example of this 'free flow', whome I think, do a wonderful job of reporting and is accessible to everyone who as a simple radio. We still can access BBC via short wave radios, anyone remembers those?

Bharat: Bandh and Math

The opposition parties in India organized a one day 'bandh'. I guess, beining right now not in Bharat, makes me less sensitive to these happenings. The purpose of the bandh was apparently to protest again high price rise in India in past few months. I fully support this cause. But after I see that those protesting resoting to damagin public property (including expensive public transport buses), I have heavy reservations about the authenticity of this bandh altogether and all the people who promoted it. Public property is my money, and so is of every one who pays up tax in some form or another. People destorying it, makes me really worry.

In another news, this year's Mental Calculation World Cup, 2010 held in Magdeburg, Germany was topped by Priyanshi Somani from India ( Thought would mention this, because main stream media in India probably has other interesting topics to discuess ;-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Important intermediate binary release for MeTA Studio

This is with reference to the previous post for updated binaries (, just making it more clear in a separate post.

- This is an important update, any one using MeTA Studio must update to this binary release
- The current version number is 2.0.15052010
- This update, with out change in version number re-enables online updates. Any further updates to be shipped as online update, till major changes are needed.
- Also includes updated docs for API changes
- Moves the binary package download to Google code. Skydrive will still be used for hosting user scripts.

Update: There is a new online update available (now the version number is 2.0.24062010) that fixes issue with Java3D rendering. You will need to have v 2.0.15052010 installed before you can apply this update to make it work correctly.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

OneNote on Linux using Office webapps

I don't really use MS Office too much (neither OpenOffice or Google docs), most of my docs are done with LaTeX. But I have been using Office 2007 for quite some time on T91MT and I must admit that MS has done some really nice work on it. I particularly use OneNote (with inking and audio) and is probably the most used application for me from the suite.

Now MS has released Office web apps on Skydrive. Though limited, it basically serves the purpose. I am able to use them on Linux (finally!), especially OneNote (no advanced features though!). I plan to review office web apps in a few days, on how it fairs on Linux using Firefox. So stay tuned ;-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Intermediate binary release for MeTA Studio

This is a stop gap binary release for MeTA Studio. The current version is v 2.0.15052010

There are no noticeable user related changed in this release except:
- Jython libraries are integrated into binary release, so it need not be separately downloaded. Complete Jython integration is not yet done (Jython scripts for MeTA Studio cannot be run from command line yet, you can use wrapper though). You will still need to use the old procedure to get the Jython shell up : using the widgets, as described here.
- A number of bug fixes

Under the hood there are lots of changes:
- graphics APIs
- .mar - MeTA Studio archive format to package applications that run with in MeTA Studio environment
- scripting integration API changes
- added mt4j to experiment with multi touch features in MeTA Studio

None of these are currently exposed to UI and will take some time for maturity.

The downloads are available from usual place:

Stay tuned and enjoy!

Important Update: Another binary update has been released with the same version number. This merely enables the online updates as well as updates the help set for the latest API documentation. I have also moved binary update packages to Google code as I don't expect to change their file names in near future. SkyDrive will still be used for hosting user scripts and is now managed by kritwik. You must update to this binary package, as in future I would mostly be releasing only online updates up-till a point where major update is required.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

MeTA Studio project updates

Long time since I blogged on the status of MeTA Studio. Behind the scene there is lot of work going on, but has not come up to the point for a release. In the meantime have got two more developers who have expressed interest and joined in for contribution to the project. Hope this works out well :)

I will now be regularly posting design note on the current development of MeTA Studio code base. At this moment these are available from as PDF documents.

At a later stage, as I get in contributions from other members  I would like to make this process completely open for comments and modifications.

That is all for now. Expect to hear more in coming weeks.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

‘Nameless’ people, who amused me

I keep meeting strangers, some of who amuse me quite a bit. I have met some ‘well known’ strangers: Chandra Babu Naidu, Arun Shouri and Anna Hazare are some I vividly remember. Of these I have quite a respect for Anna Hazare for the social work he has done in past and continues to do. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled with him as a co-passenger on train (from Hyderabad to Pune) quite some time ago. Had a long chat with him and he was actually fine with giving his autograph to me :)

IMG_0939 But I have also met many ‘nameless’ people who amused me, like the once I described here. ‘Nameless’ because, I met them only once, and may probably never meet them.

In Oz too, I met some of these interesting people (affectionately, Aussies :)). Both seemed to have immense interest in Science, even though their current jobs had no direct connection with Science: one guy was a cleaner and another had come to do window frosting in the building I work in.

Both of these guys seem to be well read, and keeping up-to-date with latest Science news and happenings. And I must admit that I was totally impressed with their breadth of reading and knowledge.  The window frosting guy, was quoting from Richard Dawkins, ‘The Selfish Gene’. A book that I read quite some time back, but definitely cannot remember so much that I can quote from it!!

One of the guys (the window frosting guy), was a member of Creation Ministries (, which seem to promote Science education. But am not totally sure about it, because it seems to have some church connection. Even so, talking to these guys made me feel and wish that people were like this in India :-)

Well, for some reason, I cherish memories of meeting these totally strangers … probably it makes living life fun; and I hope to keep meeting more :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

For Google and Chrome aficionados ;-)

... they do not seem to recognize each other as compatible ;-)
Or well there is some problem, but thought it was fun reading the error message.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

iPad craze, and my Asus T91MT

Well the media is all praises over how "revolutionary" the iPad is. But for me it is a no sell, primarily because it is a consumer device: a device for consuming content and less of creating content. By content I mean write applications, not just make documents. There are other things that no one has bothered to check:
- For a tablet of this size, don't you expect to have handwriting recognition? Hey but iPad has a capacitive touch screen so that probably will not work.
- Does it have palm rejection? No one seems to say anything about this.
- Then there are a whole lot of other things: no multi-task, no web cam etc. etc. that many others have pointed out as obvious omission.

For me the Asus T91MT, that I have been using has all of this. Though it is not all good with palm rejection; it only works well with Microsoft Journal. I heavily depend on the Windows 7 handwriting recognition and has become my primary means of entering notes or writing lots of text; it just works for me. And it has a inbuilt physical keypad, in case you need one (write code?!). I have not yet tried programming on T91MT, but would do so soon ;-)

In any case it depends what you are looking for: if you want a fine balance between productivity and entertainment go for a tablet like Asus T91MT which has an integrated physical keypad. If you are looking for mostly an entertainment centric and content consumption device with which you would also like to get some productivity you might think of getting an iPad. Both of these, I guess, cost almost the same.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Three decades and a DSLR

Well that is a bit of farce. I had been planning to get a DSLR for quit a long time, but just have not been convinced to spend on it, until recently, I went ahead and ordered one (from, whom I would rate as quite excellent and prompt online retailers). And they delivered exactly on the day I turned 3 decades old ;) … sounds like getting old.

Well so, I have done quite a bit of photography before but have never handled an SLR before. So the piece I ordered for is quite an entry level but good camera from Canon: EOS 1000D. This came with twin lens : 18-55mm and 75-300mm. Both of these lenses are with out IS, so essentially for the later one I would need a tripod (which I already have).

In any case, I am still learning to use this camera. In the mean time I tried to take various shots with varying settings to see how the photos turn up. These are just a some of ones that turned out to be reasonably good. All photos are taken in and around my home and other places in Canberra. All shots were taken mostly with manual settings, and no flash turned on. More to follow, as I learn more. Just got another reason to travel more :-)


IMG_0069 IMG_0081
IMG_0099 IMG_0100
IMG_0108IMG_0143 IMG_0114IMG_0089
IMG_0150 IMG_0161
IMG_0162IMG_0189 IMG_0176IMG_0220
IMG_0211 IMG_0200
IMG_0404 IMG_0405
IMG_0412 IMG_0429
IMG_0551 IMG_0553

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spammed by Comments!

This has never so been bad. Over past two days I have been spammed by some Japanese comments littered all over my blog. So, from now on all comments will be moderated on this blog. If I still continue to be spammed, I would consider disabling comments all together for some time.

Cheers & Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Why Windows 7 is still not "that" touch friendly?

#1 lesson about UIs I learned today ;-) : Without using the stuff, you don't really know how good or bad a piece of user interface it.

I have used iPod touch quite frequently (I don't own one, this one is used by my friend) and have been using Windows 7 on my T91MT for a few days now.

After using both these interface for "reasonable" amount of time, I do really feel that Windows 7 UI is not exactly optimized for touch screens; at least if they are the size of T91MT (8.9" screen). On a larger screen (like the all-in-ones), the story might be different.

What is good?
#1 What ever the MS marketing has advertised ;-)
#2 The super bar, the desktop and explorer arrangements are well done
#3 IE8 is quite well touch friendly
#4 The handwriting recognition and the math input panel are simply fantastic and work very well

And whats not so good?
#1: In the tablet mode on T91MT, there is no replacement for Alt-Tab or Win-Tab. I think this is a way big omission. Given a multitasking OS, I did expect to flick through open applications (only the super bar, and the live preview is *not* the solution, there ought to be something better).
#2: Any dialog with options in it to select, is simply not usable by finger, you end up using the stylus to operate it.
#3: Third party applications are not touch optimized. To me, most notably, Google Chrome.
#4: Interface elements need to scale appropriately for smaller screens with finger touch enabled.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Experiences: My first convertible, Asus T91MT

Ok, I was going to type the title of this post as “Experiences: My first tablet”. But then realized that, I in-fact have a tablet: Mobilis, even before I got myself a Netbook (MiLeap). That is partly because I don't like laptops: primarily because of their form factors and secondarily because of the price factor (they were too expensive back then, well still are!).

This made me first buy the Mobilis. However that experience was not exactly pleasing. I am still trying to figure out how best to use this device!

Then I got HCL-MiLeap-L. Which was a terrific machine. But when Windows 7 was released, I really missed the touch feature. So I installed Ubuntu 9.10 on this kid and gave it to my parents as a backup machine for Skype call in event of power failure (the primary desktop running Windows 7).

In the mean time I got an office laptop (Dell XPS). Though pretty good performance (well good for doing some serious work!), it has two major problems: Weight and Heat. Either of these makes the device not so mobile. Also even if Windows 7 is there on this machine, there is no touch screen. To be fair, I was looking for a very portable, light weights, not to expensive machine that I owned ;)

I have been searching for this kind of a device for couple of months, and finally zeroed in onto Asus T91mt (or its successor T101mt). But eventually decided not to wait for the successor and ordered one from (who, I guess is fairly good online retailers/ re-seller, that is my experience). Prime reason for that being that there is no public set release date for T101mt, and there is no concrete info on if this will sport an SSD or an HDD. I really did not want to get an HDD based device. For MiLeap too I wanted an SSD based model, but they were simply out of stock when I ordered one.


I don’t intend to write a technical review of this product here, but just my experience of using this, in short it has been fantastic as of now.

So what do I use this device for: every thing except for serious programming. My “every thing” doesn’t include playing games or watching high-definition videos.

IM000006The best way I like to use this device is in tablet mode specifically to read news and stuff. Touch typing is accurate and handwriting recognition is terrific (of Windows 7), it also correct spelling mistakes on the fly ;) Multi-touch (two point) is also pretty accurate and works flawlessly for me.

The keyboard design is pretty good (if I compare this to MiLeap, which was quite cramped).

Heat generation is “very low”. I have a feeling that it is better than my Mobilis, which at some point got so hot that I could not hold it.

There are no fans! So it is very quite, and I am quite happy about this.

The bundled software (Windows 7 with the touch pack) and Asus touch suite are pretty good. Though I found Asus touch suite to be bit buggy and unstable some times, hope they fix it.

imageAs far as the windows experience index goes it is 1.9, the lowest one going to the processor. (Note: I upgraded the memory to 2GB, though the default 1GB is usable, I simply always have too many apps open when it comes to a desktop operating system ;)…).

Finally, this need not be mentioned, but MeTA Studio works pretty well on this device. And drawing molecules with fingers is pretty intuitive (but buggy, so expect a fix, now since I know what happens!) ;) In any case, MeTA Studio is not multi-touch capable (yet).

Update: After constantly using it for few days I have made the following changes-

- Removed all Asus applications except Hotkey, I don't see they are really useful and I find Microsoft touch pack to be much more stable and usable than Asus applications. Also the Asus applications simply make the machine too slow.

- And installed them again! after realizing that merely changing power settings to 'high power' makes it faster.

- Removed the super hybrid engine too and put the power options to High performance. With this T91 performs way much smoother even in the tablet mode. The heat is not much of an issue still. Though battery life could be, have to see how it goes.

- Installed Google chrome. But it does not support some cool finger gestures like kinetic or hold and scroll. IE is still integrated well with the touch gestures. (moved to firefox, much better integration with windows 7)

- With this (expensive ?) purchase, I plan to buy no further gadgets for next 2 years, at least ;)


One of the commentors requested me to check pressure sensitivity with Open Canvas. As far as I can see, yes there is pressure sensitivity.


I have been using One Note (2007) on my T91MT for quite a while now, specifically to quickly write design documents and record memos. And I find it to be quite usable and very productive.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Notion Ink: Another attempt at making a device in India

Wow! Now I am really excited about this one... and I really wish they can come up with a successful business model for tablet devices in India.

In my last post I mentioned about Pi, the e-book reader to be sold in India, and was not very happy about lack of "innovation" there. I also mentioned that Simputer was a remarkable product, but failed miserably in market (to read more about my views on Simputer look here:

Now, a few guys ( have setup Notion Ink with the intent of creating a tablet for Indian market ( And apparently they were at the CES.

This is good going. However, again for this to be really successful (as in consumers and developers appreciating it) there are few factors that I feel are important:

- Why would one want this device? A compelling reason(s) on why some one from Bharat will save and spend on this device, rather than just buying a mobile phone.

- The software stack. Merely porting an existing Android will not help. May I repeat, it will not help! It needs to create a whole ecosystem around it. What differentiates it from other Android devices, say for instance what Dell plans to introduce?

- What particular advantage is this device going to offer culturally? As in, culture in India. This is largely a software issue, and I think there is a lot of interesting things that can be done in this space, which address to some extent the above two points.

- Software developers are very important. You have to be able to attract "mindshare" in large numbers and it needs to be specific to your device. This cannot be just off the stock Android.

- Finally, price is a very (very) important issue in India. It has to be very rational.

I really wish that I can work with these guys. These are some of the issues that I would really like to address and seem fairly challenging to me.

(Update: The specs are out now, still no news on how the software and sevices will stack up, but the device has quite interesting usage scenarios. The rotatable camera is something that is cool design :) In any case, as of now this is definitely innovative than that Jojoo or Crunch Pad, or what ever...)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Indian Kindle!

The Kindle (from Amazon) is available worldwide, but is too expensive when shipped to India. On the top of it is English only (for the moment).

Now an Indian company ( have come up with an Indian clone for Kindle and its called the Pi. So much so that the site also looks heavily inspired by ... I did have wished that they would have been a bit creative here!

The plus point with this device is that it supports Sanskrit, Hindi and most of other official languages, which is missing in Kindle. The only truly missing point is wireless, the thing that makes kindle successful. To ignore it wont do good in long run, I think. Also the ability to make notes on kindle, along with the dictionary are two great reading aids, which I think would be completely missing in Pi.

The price of 10K is also too high, I think. The device should be below 5K to be popular in India. Some features like an SD card reader is actually not very useful, it should simply be removed and the cost saved.

Overall, I think it is interesting to see some thing like this come up in India. I think after the Simputer, this is the first IT hardware product made in India, and made for Indians. The Simputer was quite an innovation, which is missing to a large extent in Pi. Even then, kudos to Vishal Mehta and team for kick starting this. I hope he can open up the device for 3rd party programming too, possibly release an SDK along the lines of Amazon Kindle?

(Note: Pi is available for pre-order from

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why search suggestions need to be a little better?

Just out of curiosity, I was searching “indian people” in Google, and and I was quite surprised to find the suggestions like this:

google-suggestionPersonally, I don’t feel annoyed or hurt about this, but definitely feel sad. The world’s best search engine “suggesting” people are “ugly” or what ever, is also quite funny. I think the search suggestions are a good idea, but they should better be reasonable!

Bing, for instance seems to be not that great, but at least it doesn’t give you quite absurd suggestions.

bing-suggestionsGoogle, when are you fixing that ;-) ?!


Update: After though, just thinking how this could be automatically filtered. Probably should assign negative weights for words that qualify (living) person or words like people or person or human. Well to be truly democratic, that should not be done, but then there needs to be exceptions for the well being of society.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Alice in multicore land

.. Is a talk that I gave for a conference recently held for the 60th birthday of my Ph.D. guide Professor S R Gadre

The slides (available here) were prepared just a day before the actual talk, and that too while attending other talks! So don't expect them to be perfect.

Any how I enjoyed giving the talk ;-) Hope the ISSC public did get something from it :P

Friday, January 08, 2010

Eee of Tablet

Asus Eee T101MT. Unless some one comes with a superior model, I plan to get one of these as soon as it is available:

and ditch my heavy laptop, for ever. Well, as far as mobility is concerned. I will still use it at office ;-)

I really hope that they are fast enough to introduce it in Oz as well, given that they have already cleared FCC.

- I also found out Lenovo s10-3t
- But I also found another interesting thing, the Pinetrail processor GPU GMA 3150 is apparently less capable than the GPU used with Asus T91 MT which is GMA 500 .. Also T91 MT is mere 960 grams. Makes me think if the older version is better for me !


I was not sure if I should ever write this .. but any ways just jotting down some random thoughts...

- Being on an India tour the most asked about question is: "Whats all the media reports about Bharateeya in Oz? Is that true?"
My conclusion: Belief of Indians in media reporting (especially sensational) is dropping, for good.
The bad: I almost felt like an Oz diplomat every time I tried to address this question.
The good: My very close friends did not ask that Q ;-)

That brings me to the Hindu report ( and again a reason why I read The Hindu than any other media in India.

- Hopped a number for flights in India (10 to be precise!). Was the first time I ever visited domestic airports (train being my first choice of long distance travel). Of all the airports, I found the Kochi airport to be best managed and also cheap on food. I could get 120 ml coffee for 15 INR as against hardly measurable amount of coffee for 40 INR at Chennai airport! Also the Chennai airport was the worst airport I have visited so far. The other airports I visited (in the decreasing order of goodness): Pune, Mumbai and Madhurai.

- The rikshaw travel from Pune airport to my home (which is hardly 2.5 km) is 80 INR! For me this quite literally amounts to: looting! Or am I missing the point of Inflation? Next time I should get less luggage and just walk down.