Monthly Archives: June 2012

I think I just met my new tablet PC (and it’s not iPad)

The iPad “cool” that I never quite got

Maybe I’m just a boring person because despite all the manic iPad users and gushing fans out there, I have not been able to adapt to using it. For all it’s beauty, design and apps, to me it has always seemed like a play thing. I could not figure out how to do any real work on it – productively. And I sure didn’t need an additional device just “because”.

Movies, games, books, email, browsing – it’s great for all of those things.  But, I need a lot more than that…so therefore I don’t need this. Even to, say, write this post.  iPad is just not a choice.

I see people who bring their tablets to meetings in order to take notes. Sorry but that looks plain silly to me. My paper and pen work just fine for that purpose, thank you very much.  And my fingers get some real exercise as a bonus.

A couple of years ago, I did get myself an iPad (’cause everyone said I just had to have one…). I played with it for a short time until the novelty wore off. Even the novelty of showing off. Then, I relegated it to someone who could use it for “playing” all the time.

After all,I didn’t need one more device in addition to my PC, which is what I use to do all my serious work. And if I occasionally want to watch videos or movies, it can handle that too. [Now, for reading, my personal opinion is that nothing beats the Kindle, certainly not an iPad].

In other words, I use my PC for work first, play second so therefore it’s all I require. I need it to produce content, not just consume it. Therefore, I can’t move very far without my laptop in hand. So between my PC, my Kindle and my cell phone, I could not figure out an appropriate place for a tablet like iPad, as cool as everyone said it was.

Well Done Surprise

Well, on June 18, I got a neat surprise. From Microsoft of all companies!

Watch the video beginning at 10:00 minutes to see the meat of the announcement.  About the new Microsoft Surface. Looking neat!

This is a tablet PC that combines all the great features of a tablet with the essential ones of a real PC.

This looks like it can be my tablet PC – not an additional device, but a replacement.

If you are to believe what they said, there’s significant internal strength that comes combined with its external compact-cum-lightness tablet persona. It appears to be designed for my work and play, loaded as it is with Windows 8 and Microsoft Office.

You’re getting me hooked, Microsoft and I haven’t even seen the real thing yet nor do I have but a dim clue of what it costs.

A dream package…or just a dream?

Interestingly, when I first heard about the new tablet from Microsoft, the first thought that popped into my head was – here yet again is another me-too to compete with Apple and their ultra successful iPad. And late to the game to boot.

But when I watched the entire ann0uncement, I was impressed by the innovations that had been incorporated into the product. They appear to have thought this through carefully and correctly.

What does it have that iPad or any of the other tablets don’t? Here’s my top six list (so far) –

  • A full-touch keyboard built into the “clicking on” snap-on cover
  • A built-in kick-stand that looks cool and useful
  • Microsoft Office
  • Windows 8 (which I am also told I should be waiting for)
  • A USB port (with 3.0)
  • Dual antennas for high performance wi-fi

This is a list that Steve Jobs would mostly despise but what I need in order to function.

Steve Ballmer the keynoter is no Steve Jobs. Of course, not! But the lack of style to this announcement was made up with quite a bit of substance. Here I am, as anti-gadget as you can imagine, actually ready and waiting to pounce on this neat, packed tablet when it arrives on the market. Presuming  that Surface is everything they say it will be, I will finally be ready and able to leave my laptop behind in the dust, 

Interestingly, it appears that I was not alone in having this kind of reaction to the announcement.

One quote from Microsoft worth mentioning – “It was designed so that the hardware faded to the background and Windows 8 could rise to the surface.” (Expect for the Windows word, that could be Apple talking). In other words, it brings whatever you need to do – work or entertainment to the forefront. That’s a pretty important design principle to vision and implement.

Waiting…

Now the wait starts. Please don’t disappoint, Microsoft – be what you promise! Be more Xbox, less Zune -something that has a future because it’s as good as has been showcased, rather than simply fizzling out under the mammoth Apple impact.

Let the iPad users continue to play. I could easily be a fan of one computer device that is sleek, small and light for work (with play as a nice bonus). A tablet that is really a high-performance PC? That’s something even I can get excited about.

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Taking a Breather from Maximum City

What’s happening to Mumbai?

Leave it to Pritish Nandy to elaborate in his inimitable way. His post on this topic, published in the Times of India, is very well written and says it all. It’s called (in it’s tongue-in-cheeky tone) Why I love Mumbai.  

Just in case there’s not enough of an incentive for you to read it, I have included an excerpt here:

“….

Muslims have got Satanic Verses banned. Hindus have banned Husain. So no gallery dares to show the art of the city’s greatest son. You can’t show sculptures with genitals, not even Michaelangelo’s David, though you can see any number of genitals on the streets where people openly pee. You can’t watch The Dirty Picture on 9 pm TV. That’s outlawed though it won Vidya the National Award and every kid has loved it. You are lucky Donald Duck ain’t banned because comics and cartoons in text books are banned. My Savita Bhabhi is too. So are, sneakily, many websites.

…..”

Read more here.  Now you will, right?  [And how do you like all that genuine purple prose? 🙂 ]

This write-up by him was followed by another article of the same ilk (by Nandy again) a day later – Don’t you dare sing, dance, eat out, watch films. Welcome to Mumbai in 2012. Obviously he has strong feelings about the new era of moral policing that is emerging here. As he should.

I mean, this kind of stuff happens only in cities like…Bangalore, right? My intuition tells me that the people of Maximum City will not stand for it and sooner or later, it will be nipped in the bud.

Combine this with the despairing populace of India who are wondering how and why India Shining got so tarnished, so quickly. 

With a government that is called paralyzed yet is able to introduce funky finance “reforms” (retroactive taxes, anyone?) while taking the country back to the low days of the early 1990s, with inflation that doesn’t seem to have a cap in sight, with foreign investors intent on fleeing, and the light at the end of the economy’s tunnel nowhere in sight…why, America looks downright luminous!  🙂

All of this combined with the city’s inherent humidity that gathers even more steam (literally!) in anticipation of the grand entry of Monsoon-2012 and I decided – what a wonderful time to break away, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks!

To break away and escape from madness by heading home – to my modest-sized, quiet, pristine, lovely city in the southern United States. It’s where a bright and sunny Summer, as well as friends and family await me with open arms (I hope!).  And it’s where I certainly won’t get busted by the moral police if I decide to go out for a late night drink. (Chill already, Mumbai!). Far from it.

What a welcome change it will be to go from the mega-city that never sleeps (or used to not) to one that is quiet and peaceful, if somewhat sleepy at times. The yin and the yang. 🙂

So, home sweet home, here I come!

 

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P.S.  As I was reviewing the post, I noticed that I have three of these 🙂 (this makes 4) embedded in my writing. That’s unusual for me…must be something about my mood as I head home, eh?  🙂 (and that’s 5)

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P.S. #2.  As I make my way out of Mumbai, it appears….ah yes, I hear it.   The monsoon of  Mumbai has arrived.

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Photo Credits:

Mumbai Skyline at Night: By Cididity Hat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Smalltown USA : By User:Anivron derivative work: Spyder_Monkey  [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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