Mac

(Meta: First things first: 500 hits in 7 days.. thanks!)
So, the new Macbook Pro is finally here. And it realizes some of my biggest fears. Although I must admit that I have been reading a lot of Asimov recently; and that could be the Foundation(pun intended) of my fear. My roommate hasn’t read Asimov, and he was absolutely delighted by the new Mac; so that fits well.

Fear #1. Man won’t be able to make out the thin line between convenience and laziness. As long as computers were an aid to our ability to perform certain tasks, it was convenience. To be fair, one really good convenience that Mac does offer, is content-sync across devices. However, with Macbook Pro now, it does all the high-level thinking, too:
No save option. The system will now save/backup stuff for you automatically. The music app knows where to search/store music; likewise for document app. No folders/files/saving/self-satisfactory classification. No evidence of fundamental file systems and user freedom left. I think we have hit the absolute edge between convenience and laziness. Probably even crossed over slightly. Another step, and… I keep thinking of Asimov here, for some reason(although ironically, he imagined the most sane AIs)

Fear #2: Man will sooner or later discover that a UI with just 2 (or lesser) buttons can do all that a UI with, say, 100 buttons can. And Mac is going that way. The multi-touch trackpad gains even more importance, with a huge list of complicated finger swipings to do stupid things. A hypothetical combination:
Swipe only your little finger from the bottom-left to top-right on the trackpad, to show the clock.
Firstly, that clock should have ideally always been in the corner(but the new Mac hides it away when you start applications). Why on earth would anyone want to do away with that CLOCK? Are they nuts? And then, some complicated Sign language to check the time.

Fear #3: Man will be completely freed from the moral obligation to cleanup the mess that he himself created. With the new Mac, you can now forget to shut down things. Be it apps, documents, or even the Mac(even after critical software updates, I hear), you never have to worry about shutting them down. Mac handles it. You just arrive, desecrate, depart. How will man retain any sense of responsibility after such pampering?

Sure, Asimov’s laws assure that no harm shall come. But I am still scared.

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On what Godel, Escher, Bach have to say on politics

Polt(n. 1: politics; 2: the lack thereof) has left a mark on even The eternal golden braid(albeit a small one):

Tortoise: But we must be careful in combining sentences. For instance you’d grant that “Politicians lie” is true, wouldn’t you?
Achilles: Who could deny it?
Tortoise: Good. Likewise, “Cast-iron sinks” is a valid utterance, isn’t it?
Achilles: Indubitably.
Tortoise: Then, putting them together, we get “Politicians lie in cast iron sinks”. Now that’s not the case, is it?

Well, recent events seem to say that could very well be the case. In particular, when the media tries to give us an ‘unbiased’ insight(no pun intended) into the happenings, it becomes even more hilarious(and sad, too; media isn’t supposed to do that). So, if I add my own opinions here, that will only skew the delicate balance of bias in another direction (and a completely unexpected one, I assure you). Let’s keep our thoughts focused on some of my perceptions on what could be others’ interesting views of politics:

Godel: Avoid politics, the way he did. (Nothing too interesting here. Like the many empty rooms in Wolfenstein).

Escher:
1. There is no absolute right or wrong; in fact, the transition between the two is imperceptible:
2. The system to nominate the people
who will nominate the people
who will nominate the people …

…next year
…next year
is recursively infinite and self-overwriting; implying that it can seldom bring about change:

Bach:
Whatever you do, make sure you write your name on it. Bach’s “The musical offering” has a crab canon, a “mobius strip palindrome” as I like to call it, and finally, the last few bars of the melody actually consist of the notes B-A-C-H. (In his days, H used to be today’s B, and B used to be today’s B flat).

Let me finish with a statement from the Eternal Golden Braid:
… the ultimate explanation of a gas’s behavior always lies on the molecular level, just as the ultimate explanation of a society’s political behavior always lies at the “grass roots level”.

That is us.

A laptop charger

Most of you already know what this is about. For those who don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you find out the details. However, in short, I may say that this is about a laptop charger, ‘an’ email ID of its owner, and an angry to-be-IAS-officer chap.

But really, this is epic in every respect! The only thing that probably prevents me from taking printouts and pinning it next to the coffee shack, is that a DAC may probably follow (also pinned next to the shack, if the Dean has the right sense of humour there).

How do people get away with such stuff, I’d think. Really, how? But now I see that they don’t. And I am happy to see that. But what really amuses me the most, is that his email gives no respect to the upper case thing except “DELL”(he obviously has great respect for it, and is also inspired by the uppercase letters in the logo) and “IIT”(again, he obviously has great respect for it, and is also inspired by the uppercase letters in the logo). On the contrary, here is a URL has stunned me:

http://www.facebook.com/ABHISHEK.IITBOMBAY

Well, like everyone, I thought that URLs are case-insensitive, so I actually took the effort of retyping it in lowercase. Do try it yourselves, I won’t give away the thing.

His profile shouts. Literally, right from the address bar. And on the internet, shouting is considered to be bad ethics(during voice chat in particular; it hurts when the other guy has headphones on).

But the thing that had to suffer the most in all of this, I think, was the laptop charger. Now there is simply no way that the charger will return to its owner; it will be eventually buried with a cute epitaph on its tomb:

Here lies a babes.. please gv respect den tk respect

Update: I hear that he could, in fact, locate the charger. Well then, we must bury it all the same!

Meta: Meta

This article is a ‘meta’. For those who don’t know what meta means:
In general, whenever you encounter this prefix, you are going to also encounter awesomeness. Metapuzzles are puzzles about puzzles. Metaphysics is a study about physics, i.e. as a science in general(i.e. philosophical stuff). The HTML meta tag contains information about the page. You see, ‘meta’ stands for about. So, this post is about this blog, and although it is part of the blog content, it is still not the content in the sense of content, if you know what I mean.. it is just extra information about the blog.

In that sense, my first two or so posts, which described the reasons for naming this blog, and my posting system etc were also all meta articles. The reason I am posting this is that I realised right now that I’ll often be posting such stuff that talk about this blog, and I should make a clear distinction between them and the rest.

So, as convention, all my metas will be titled “Meta:” followed by a title pertaining to what aspect of the blog that meta corresponds to. You’ll notice that even this meta follows the same convention: the title is “Meta: Meta” since this article is a meta and it talks about a meta. So truly, it is a meta meta.

For more on metas and their awesomeness, read Godel Escher Bach, an eternal golden braid by Douglas Hofstadter.

Spam

This article is all about spam(as you may have correctly guessed). Ironically, the following thoughts were triggered of by a friend calling one of my previous articles appearing on Buzz as spam(he called me a spammer; and if he repeats that, he has absolutely no idea of what I have in store for him).

So, spam. Defined as “unwanted, junk mail”. And at this point itself, I realize that dozens of spamblockers fail simply because they pay no regard to the “unwanted” keyword in this very basic definition. Unwanted according to whom? For most spamblockers, the criterion is “unwanted according to most of the world”. That is because most of them work by ranking sources of mail on a scale of 10, say, and all those who score below 3, say, are considered sources of spam. Each time someone marks a mail as spam or not spam, the ranking of that site is inched slightly up or down. Which means that if a good part of the world thinks that a source is a spammer, and you happen to value that source more than others (for instance, you might be genuinely interested in all the drugstores and their “pleasing” products), spamBlocker doesnt care, and your marking all those mails as “not spam” will have to counter millions of others who marked it as spam; implying that for you, all such mail will go into spam.

Bottomline: If the world thinks a site is bad, then spamBlocker makes that decision on your behalf as well.
Now the funny part: this works the other way round: if the world thinks a site is good, then spamblocker will put it into your inbox, no matter how irrelevant it may be to you. In particular, if by a lucky streak, I happen to co-host my site on a server with some other reputed small-time organization, we’ll naturally share our mailservers, implying that many spamBlockers think that my site has a high reputation; consequently, all my mail has natural anti-spam protection!
Food for thought.

Updated!

Haha.. I don’t know if this post will go up or not.. depends on whether there is a bug left in my last update to the
program. I decided that I needed a decent text-editor, if I were to really continue blogging. So, I edited my program
to fire up the simply amazing ‘nano’.. now, I can blog faster, better! Also, now, I use tilda to toggle
and show/hide my program window, which means that I can basically work, hit tilda and write something, hit tilda and
get back to work, hit tilda and write some more.. I can alternate between work and blogging much better!

Really, people.. you must use this system to believe how amazing it is.. work.. tilda.. type-type..tilda..work..tilda…type-type.. This blog is literally a Web Log.

Why am I spending so much time building such an elaborate system? After all, how much time does it take to open a
browser, go to wordpress, login, click the new-post button and start typing?
Ans: Enough for me to complete forget all about what I wanted to initially write.
Besides that, this system has an immense advantage: since I can post so easily, it makes sure that I post often enough,
which in turn, guarantees that the blog will always have new and interesting content; not like
other blogs which the reader may have encountered before, that don’t have anything new for weeks.
So, in effect, I shall have ‘established’ my reader base by “aggressive expansion”!