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Jul 172014
 

Telugu Bidda Satya Nadella Axes 18,000 JobsIndians in the U.S. are in the news for all the wrong reasons.

If desis are not groping their fellow airline passengers, butchering family members, kidnapping babies, killing grandmas, masturbating on planes, committing medicare fraud or engaging in financial chicanery, then they’re destroying the livelihoods of thousands of workers.

Today’s desi newsmaker in America is Satya Nadella, CEO of tech giant Microsoft.

Satya Nadella graduated summa cum laude from the Clueless Business School whose claim to fame is the mantraIf you don’t know what the heck to do, then fire a whole bunch of employees. That will show Wall St and analysts you are a decisive leader!

And in line with that hallowed business philosophy, Nadella fired 18,000 employees today in what is the single largest firing in Microsoft’s 39-year history.

I cannot recollect a single Indian tech leader who has fired 18,000 employees in one go (Vikram Pandit fired more but he was in the banking sector).

Does 18,000 scalps make Satya Nadella the greatest Indian tech pioneer? ;)

Firings Simplify?

Microsoft described the firings as a “a restructuring plan to simplify its operations.”

Nonsense!

As if firing 18,000 employees can simplify operations and restore a company to glory. The garbage that big corporations spout never ceases to surprise me!

Nadella promised his 18,000 victims that he’d fire them “in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible.”

I fell off the chair in a laughing fit, I swear. ;)

Now what in the hell is a ‘thoughtful’ firing?

Most of the fired employees are in the phone production business Microsoft got from its recent acquisition of Nokia’s device and services group.

Microsoft says going forward it’ll make the bulk of its phones in Hanoi, with smaller production units in Beijing and Dongguan contributing some output.

The Komaron (Hungary) unit will close.

The bulk of the 18,000 unfortunate employees will be thrown under the bus by the end of this year and the rest by June 30, 2015.

Continue reading »

Jun 242014
 

Siri Can't Understand Hindi
There are more people in the world speaking Hindi than Italian, Korean or Japanese.

Of the one billion plus people in Mera Bharat Mahaan, I’d say at least a third speak speak Hindi.

Despite the recent Dum Biryani invasion, the majority of Indians in the U.S. too are from the Hindi belt.

Siri – Racist

Folks, 400 million Hindi speakers is not a small number.

Plus, India is a huge, untapped growth opportunity for Apple.

Yet Apple includes no support for Hindi in its Siri personal voice assistant.

To rub salt in our desi wounds, Apple now plans to add Siri support to Norwegian, Turkish, Danish, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Thai and Russian.

Norwegian gets Siri support? But not Hindi or Tamil or Telugu or Bengali. Continue reading »

Jun 222014
 

Jesus Christ - Resurrection (Painting by Carl Bloch)Resurrection
(Painting by Danish artist Carl Bloch)

Billions of Christian zombies delight in the myth that Jesus rose bodily from the dead and fondly hail it as the Resurrection!

In our own times, Apple is trying the Resurrection trick for watches with the impending launch of a line of smartwatches.

Thus arises the multi-billion dollar question: Can Apple pull it off?

Jesus-like, will watches rise from the dead, returning to wrists in a smartwatch avatar and open the floodgates to a multi-billion dollar business?

Or will smartwatches fail to levitate (reminds me of the Hindu ‘swamis’ who promise levitation through meditation) and sound the first death knell of Tim Cook’s tenure as Apple CEO.

In my not so humble opinion, mobile phones have rightly made watches obsolete. Watches are as essential today as the spinning wheel or horse carriage.

But I will be the last one surprised if a gazillion idiots breathe new life into the corpse of watches at the behest of Apple.

A Smartwatch That Failed - Samsung Gear 2A Smartwatch from Apple Rival Samsung

American Consumers

Now American consumers may be a greedy, grabbing, gormandizing lot but they’re also a ruthless species.

The graveyard of American castoffs is littered with discards of ‘indispensables’ like hats, watches and pens. A few decades back, few Americans would venture outside without these items.

Changing fashion trends killed the hat.

The mobile phone made the watch unnecessary.

Why pens disappeared I can’t say but all banks, gas stations and grocery stores now keep plastic pens handy for customers or replaced them with an electronic stylus for credit card terminals).

Rarely ever do castoffs in America come back roaring. No second innings for them.

But the watch could prove different and get a new life as a smartwatch in America.

And if the smartwatch succeeds in America, it will sell everywhere because, like it or not, Americans are the arbiters of “trends.”

Apple’s Chinese slaves may build 99% of the world’s smartphones, tablets and, soon enough, smartwatches but it’s in America that the waves of the consumer electronics tsunami rise highest.

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Reviving Watches

In American cities, big and small, I’ve rarely spotted a wrist with a watch. Au contraire, the common sight is a smartphone in the hand and a Bluetooth earpiece making a semi-Martian out of a Brooklyn native or a hombre from Mexico.

I’d hazard a guess that two-thirds of Americans no longer wear a watch now.

In recent years, several companies tried to revive the watch market with smartwatches that go far beyond showing the time.

Pebble, Sony, Nike, Samsung, Berowatch, Mota, Sourcingbay, OXA, the aply-named Cookoo, MetaWatch, LeexGroup, to name just a few, put out smartwatches over the last few years. Continue reading »

Jun 122014
 

$25 Firefox OS Smartphones Unlikely
The tech world generates more hype than Bollywood babes Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha and Deepika Padukone combined.

If you listen to the tech mavens, the Utopia of cheap and wonderful gadgets is always just around the corner for Indians.

A decade back, the made in India Simputer was all the rage.

Pundits prophesied that the Simputer would bring the magic of computers to every Indian village, town and city. Well, as we now know Simputer turned out to be like Bollywood actress Gul Panag’s political career. Failed to lift off from the launch pad.

Then there was the Congress idiot Kapil Sibal babbling about the $35 laptop.

Ha ha ha! The $35 laptop was like the Congress party at the 2014 elections – a total dud.

$25 Firefox OS Smartphone

Now it’s the turn of Firefox OS to jump on the runaway hype train.

If you believe all the stuff about Firefox OS smartphones phones, they’re going to be available for $25 and targeted at  several countries including India.

I kid you not about the $25 device. That’s the claim of Firefox browser developer Mozilla, the folks behind Firefox OS.

Here’s what Mozilla’s COO Jay Sullivan said in February 2014 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:

We are also enabling a whole new category of smartphone, priced around $25, that will bring even more people around the world online.

Coming to India

The latest buzz is that Indian mobile companies Intex and Spice will be bringing the Firefox OS smartphone to India in a few months.

These phones are to be based on chip-sets from Chinese vendor Spredtrum.

I bet – if these Firefox OS phones are ever introduced in India – they’ll be nowhere near $25.

I’d be extremely surprised if indeed a Firefox smartphone is available for $25 in India anytime in 2014 or even next year.

I’m talking of a mobile phone that can make and receive calls and lets you surf the web. Not a wooden box with a yellow and pink label that says Firefox OS mobile phone. ;)

Meanwhile, the people at Mozilla say 22 key telecom operator now support the Firefox OS devices.

With Chinese vendors like Xiaomi bringing Android smartphones with powerful specs down to $100, I’d be surprised if Firefox OS ever makes much headway in the smartphone segment.

But I desperately hope that Firefox OS succeeds because competition is always good for the consumer.

And I’m going to be rooting for Firefox OS against the key competing mobile platforms iOS and Android.

Jun 022014
 

More Cool Stuff Coming Out of Apple in Fall 2014
Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developer Conference today in San Francisco.

The conference provided Apple CEO Tim Cook the opportunity to take to the stage and present some drool-worthy facts to the audience and outline new cool stuff that’s on the way:

Apple 2014 - Hightlights

What’s Coming

OS X Yosemite – Apple’s successor to OS X Mavericks desktop operating system

iOS 8 – The new mobile OS (for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch)

Swift – A new programming language for Apple platforms that works alongside Objective C and C in an application

OS X Yosemite

Apple executives introduced OS X Yosemite desktop operating system and iOS 8 mobile OS to the developer community today.

Some nice features of OS X Yosemite include the ability to make and receive iPhone calls on the Mac. Useful when the iPhone is upstairs and SI is responding to a priceless comment. ;) Another cool feature is Handoff which lets the Mac know the last thing you were doing on the iPad or iPhone and vice versa. This means you can start a job on an iPad/iPhone/iPod touch and complete it on the Mac or the other way around.

Spotlight is beefed up to search both the local device and pull material from the Internet.

I skipped OS X Mavericks out of concern that my Mac would slow down. But when OS X Yosemite releases I might be tempted to do the upgrade. Since I have 20GB of RAM, and a quad-core i5 processor, my speed concerns are perhaps unwarranted.

iOS 8

iOS 8 enhancements include adding voice to text messages, improved photo management, WiFi calling, a Healthbook app, better Spotlight search and integration with Mac to let users start a task in iPhone and continue on iPad or Mac and vice versa.

iOS 8 should work with iPhone 4S and above, iPad 2 and above on the tablet side and iPod touch (5th generation).

Both OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 are available for developers today.

The public will be able to get them in the fall.

Did I tell you the Yosemite and iOS 8 upgrades are free? :)

Apple also talked up Swift, a new coding language to build apps for its iOS and OS X platforms and it’s supposedly 220 times faster than Python.

Other announcements included an iCloud Drive that lets users easily store and access files kept in Apple’s iCloud from all devices including Windows PCs.

Related Apple Posts:
The Many Idiots Who Were Wrong on Apple
May 152014
 

iStick - USB Storage for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

I love the idea of iStick, which debuted on crowd funding site Kickstarter three days back to a rousing response.

Against a target of $100,000, iStick has already received pledges for $413,717 (as of 2:15AM ET, May 5, 2014) and still has 33-days left before the funding campaign ends.

I won’t be surprised if funding pledges exceed $1 million.

What is iStick?

iStick is basically a USB drive with an integrated Apple lightning connector for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices (all of which by the way lack a USB port).

With iStick, you can move data between Mac/PC, iPhones, iPads and iPod touches without iTunes, Internet or the Cloud where you constantly have to worry about hackers/NSA stealing your stuff.

You can stream movies, download photos and play music via iStick. It supports a variety of video, audio, image and document file formats.

There’s an accompanying free iOS app for the device that is slated to ship in late August.

All in all, iStick looks like a cool device.

Obscene Pricing

But what I find uncool about iStick is the obscene pricing.

Here’s the retail price for various storage capacities of iStick:
* 8GB – $129
* 16GB – $169
* 32GB – $199
* 64GB – $299
* 128GB – $399

Some discounts are available for Kickstarter backers.

At the above retail prices, I doubt iStick will be a big hit with average consumers. If you ask me, Sanho Corporation (iStick’s parent company) will be forced to get pricing down to more reasonable levels.

Here’s a video on how iStick works:

Related iStick Content:
iStick Page on Kickstarter