Come sell aircrafts to us

Now Sukhoi too will sell civilian aircrafts in our country. Bombardier (Canada) has been pushing its CRJs. Embraer (Brazil) is trying to get a pie as well, whereas ATR (France) dominates the medium size plane market. So what is Sukhoi’s pitch? Cost, right here:

The Brazilian Embraer costs $40 million and the Canadian Bombardier, $35 million. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 will cost $25 million.

Talk of costs took me back to this old post here, and made me think how much a mid-size plane could cost if an Indian or Chinese company were to make and sell them? A guess, $15-20 million? And you create a million jobs in the bargain!? What if India and China pooled together to make an EADS like consortium? Hold your jokes like “as if these planes will fly”, when these countries can make fighter jets, rockets, missiles and what not, won’t commercial jets be doable as well!?

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Just curious #5 – Tamed at home?

Why is it that none of the huge IT outsourcing deals (IBM eyes $ 1.5 bn with Reliance) announced by domestic companies go to the so called big Indian IT firms? Not enough expertise in telecom domain (Idea, Bharati-Airtel, now Reliance Comm)? Not competent enough for deals this big in size? Or is it simply a case of Indians mistrusting Indians, or as they say in Hindi – Door ke dhol suhavane (translation – drums played far away sound better)?

Bad joke and not a perfect analogy, but hope the IT story doesn’t turn out like cricket – poor domestic league could harm international competence!

Wowfee thoughts

Vista coffee

While at Jayanagar last month, cousin S and I went to a cafe. Asked for the menu card. Opened it, and wham, there was wowfee! That very first item on the list – Windows Vista Coffee – made me brew some instant thoughts:

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Instead of the 1-lakh car, what if …

… Tata thought of a Rs 10 lakh car that could do 100 kilometers per liter of petrol? While surfing around after reading X-prize foundation’s renewed challenge on 100 miles per gallon cars, I came to know of Aptera Motors. Look at their claims, rather, goals:

  • 0 to 60 in 10 seconds
  • 230 miles per gallon (~ 100 kmpl)
  • First version should cost around $20000 (~ Rs 10 lakhs)

About that mileage figure of 230 mpg, I am not sure if they are talking about a petrol-electric hybrid, or an all electric engine. (For electric engines, they have a formula to convert performance to equivalent fuel economy). But regardless, such a thing (sure looks unconventional – photo sourced from Aptera website) could be a great thing for fossil-fuel starved country of ours.

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Technology fright!

tech2Keeping the same theme as this post from RK, I could have copied the subject as well – “A TV should never let you down”. Imagine my surprise when in the middle of enjoying this cricket match, my TV started showing things I am used to seeing only in our labs at office! While Greek and Latin stuff played on, I was trying to imagine how would my mom have reacted to the gory screen had she been watching TV all by herself.

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The tech job ad punchlines

If you are an IT professional, you get to see job ads even if you don’t want to. So chances are you have seen this stuff, you may know these meaningless lines from those mass mailed job ads.

Whether you are advertising a 10 lakh per annum IT job, or a 2-rupees-a-packet shampoo, some common advertising principles apply. One of those is, your target individual does not have more than a few minutes to read the pitch. And another one is, each word counts.

Must be a self starter – I love this one. Because I am always trying to guess what it means. Why don’t they want kick-starters anymore? Not all of us have kinetic-hondas you know. Jokes apart, really, what does this mean?

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Here is my iPhone

Time for a tech break.

I am so sick and tired of these Apple iPhone rumors, that I decided to make a wish list for my iPhone – a killer consumer smartphone!

  1. Built-in noise cancelling hardware: Good thing you guys gave us MP3 players on phones. But how about providing a better listening experience outdoors? Phone MP3 player mostly get used outdoors, we all have better audio hardware at home, don’t we? Outdoor means noise, and listening to MP3s in a train, bus or plane isn’t fun. Those noise cancellation headphones are too bulky and expensive, so give me one on the phone itself. Continue reading

Bye bye cable, going Tatasky

I have been sitting on the fence regarding ditching cable for DTH. But just last week, I came to know of this multiroom scheme Tatasky has. That just assures me that these guys understand multi-TV homes. Moreover, the picture quality is really good.

Now, DishTV doesn’t seem to have any multi-room offer. Their subscription schemes are confusing and expensive for multilingual homes like mine. And it seems Tatasky has much better customer service compared to DishTV. (Disclaimer – Internet hearsay and based on what what few friends tell me). Some folks say Tatasky picture quality is better than DishTV, but I don’t trust that.

Anyways. So, I have taken the plunge. Just placed an order for 2 Tatasky boxes, and I hope to have them installed this weekend. Can’t wait for this upgrade to DVD quality video and CD quality sound. And no blackouts during bandhs and through the power-cuts. Hope it will all be as they promise!

One interesting thing. I asked the Tatasky rep if they provide DVR (think Tivo types) set-top boxes as well. DishTV offers DVR box, why would Tatasky not do it? The rep told me that their boxes are DVR ready, and they will be launching a service (via a software upgrade) sometime soon. DVR ready, what does that mean!? Do these boxes (digicomps) have hard-drives inside them? I don’t buy that, but will inspect the boxes when they arrive.

The Great Bong, Orkut and the irony

Revered (Indi)blogger GreatBong mocking at Orkut, how ironic is that!? It is like Coke calling Pepsi a junk drink. I am not sure if GreatBong wrote that post to make fun of Aurangabad Court or Orkut or both, but looked like he took potshots at Orkut culture for sure.

Well, if you get real and think about it, blogging itself is a pointless activity indulged in by people who have time to kill and no better stuff to do. But GreatBong and most of his admirers indulge in discussions of the very nature Orkut promotes and makes a business of. And when a Mohan tries to infuse some sense into the ‘discussion’ to make it a bit un-Orkut like, he gets slammed!

Communities like Orkut are here to stay, just the way these blogs are. Things we say and hear on Orkut and all those blogs, we have uttered and entertained before, but only verbally, and only in smaller groups. This “Web 2.0” thing gives our meaningless banters a lot larger audience and this power to express anything without the fear of being forced to shut up.

Now, whether this increase in meaningless banter online is a good development or not is for the fans of Orkuts and GreatBongs and Shobhan Saxenas to decide. But GreatBong making fun of Orkut, or vice-versa (if and when an Orkut community will try Bong bashing as well) is an irony of very interesting kind!

Talking of pointless activities that people with a ‘lot of time on hand’ indulge in, why site only Orkuts and Myspaces? What is cricket in India (as Shruti wondered), and all of sports for that matter!? One man’s passion is other man’s meaningless pastime. Smart businessmen recognize wasteful social needs of the rest of us and build businesses like youtube, myspace, orkut, BCCI and what have you. Whereas, the intellectually stimulated folks like the gang at GreatBong’s create ironies of the interesting kind, and in the process more customers for those very smart businessmen!

[Update: Some nasty comments make me edit this disclaimer a bit to better stress that I am a GB fan as well]

Disclaimer #1: I like GreatBong’s writing style, and am a fan. Might be silly and pointless at times, his humorous creations, his combination of very-orkut like cine-front-bench humor (“virus on orkut that eats your genitalia” style) and more mature ‘Sitaram Yechuri’ like remarks make for a really good time-pass.

Disclaimer #2: I am not taking anyone’s side or the opposite here (GreatBong, Mohan, Shruthi or whoever). And I have not expressed any opinions on the so called ‘real’ issue here – did Aurangabad Court waste time on that Orkut judgment?

Phone shopping and the information glut

It is time to upgrade from my retro phone, a 3-year-old Nokia 3650. And I have very clear requirements, decent camera (to make blog-worthy photos), a decent MP3 player (I travel), calendar and address book should sync with PC (so that I can donate my Palm T3 and T5 to an orphanage) and budget around Rs 20000. Yes obviously, it should be a decent phone as well, but that isn’t something phone shoppers really look for these days.

First round of Internet search fine tuned my specs to these. camera 2 Mega Pixels or more, expandable memory for mp3 files, and, preferably Symbian or a similar smart OS. Then, some furious googling for “as all-in-one as possible” devices threw up following models. Nokia N70, 6233, N71, N72 and N73. Sony Ericsson W810i, W700i, K750i, K800i and Z610i. Samsung D600, P850 and D900. It was clear to me that either I go for 6233 or 810i type phone in Rs 15K range, or raise the bid to ~ 22K to pick between N73, K800i or D900.

But this is where the problems began. God, it is all so-so very confusing. What the hell are these phone makers and review sites doing by throwing so much at you!?

Some sites say N72 and K750i don’t have 3G. But they won’t tell you what 3G is good for. N73 and K800i make great photos, but experts caution the camera covers are too fragile – oh, how stupid of Nokia and SE. And by the way, K800i is supposedly not a smart phone, though K750i was. N70 is seemingly outdated now, but newer model N72 sells cheaper, why? I am just lost on the model numbering schemes here! N91 has 4 GB storage and Wifi, cool! But reviews talk about low screen resolution. Talking of resolutions, every reviewer on the Internet says 352 x 416 (N80, E70) is double the size of 176 x 208. Learn some geometry, N80 has four times the real estate than N91 you dumbos, not double.

Talking of touting similar models to confuse shoppers, Samsung takes the cake. D500 did well, so they flood the market with sliders. And now, even the phone fanatics cant tell D600 from D800, D810 from D820 and D840, or D870 from E900. Oh by the way, I tricked you there; D810 is a clamshell, though the model number may suggest a slider. Oh man, these out-to-please-you phone makers, God give them some sanity.Nokia E70

Anyway, in the end, I had to selectively ‘erase’ some models and reviews from my mind, and I have decided to toss it up between Nokia N71 (a Symbian clamshell) and Nokia E70 (the best all in one for my budget), whichever falls my way sooner or cheaper. E70 is cool, Wifi, nice screen and a full qwerty keyboard. But it supposedly runs out of memory a lot, and has this problem of … … no, nO, NO. Not again. E70 it is, don’t you force any more models and reviews on me.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so they say. But in present times, too much information just kills. Bits and bytes are flying towards you, duck them all if you can.