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Oct 172014
 



Your infinite fascination for all things Apple matches mine.

Alas, your time is finite.

So which Apple blog should you spend more time on for the latest news, reviews and how-tos of Macs, iPhones and iPads.

To gauge the popularity of the major Apple blogs, I took a dekko at Alexa rankings (not perfect but all we have) and then added my own observations.

BTW, did you know most tech blogs including dedicated Apple news sites get a good chunk of visitors from my two favorites – U.S. and India. This is not surprising considering Apple and most startups are based in the U.S.

When it comes to India, the huge number of visitors to tech blogs owes to the strong IT outsourcing industry and relentless breeding that has produced a litter of several hundred million restless youngsters with too much time on their hands.

Popularity of Apple News Sites

Apple Blog Winners

If you go by Alexa ranking and the voluminous number and quality of user comments on the site, Macrumors is hands down the must-visit blog for your daily Apple fix.

Macrumors has a superb comments/forum section and when they’re behind on exclusive news the site atones for it by rehashing stories from other sources.

For How-Tos, OSXDaily is the clear winner. They just can’t be beat on all kinds of how-tos for Macs as well as mobile devices like iPad tablets and iPhones.

If you’re hankering for exclusive news, 9to5Mac is the blog to bookmark and read. These guys are cited in Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other tech blogs.

But my major complaint against all Apple blogs is that coverage of Steve Jobs, Apple and its products is for the most part uncritical and bordering on hagiography.

Except for rare instances like antennagate or bendgate where every media site piles on, Apple tends to get adulatory coverage in hushed tones.

Every Apple story has the breathless air of a vaccine discovery for Ebola or AIDS being reported for the first time. :(

I refuse to believe that Apple is run by saints who do nothing wrong. The problem is that both bloggers and mainstream media reporters have failed to cultivate strong sources at Apple who are dumb enough to leak critical stories.

Now for a quick look at the pros and cons of the major Apple blogs and news sites:

Winners

Macrumors

Pros
Covers all things small & large at Apple. Includes pictures of planes leaving China with iPhones with weight of cargo. No kidding.
Excellent forum/comments covering all facets of Apple
Cons
Few exclusive stories
Generally uncritical coverage
http://www.macrumors.com

9to5Mac

Pros
Exclusive stories, breadth of coverage
Cons
Weak on forums/comments and analysis. Pitiful on how-tos Continue reading »

Jul 292014
 

South Indians Ruining America - New Book

Forgery, favoritism and corruption have enabled Telugus and Tamils (the South Indians referred to in the book) to dominate and ruin the U.S. IT jobs market, according to a new e-book published on Amazon.

If the broken U.S. IT job market has to be fixed, the monopoly of Telugus and Tamils over these jobs must be ended, argues the author (supposedly an Indian) writing under the nom de guerre Trueblue

The title of the e-book is: The Rise of South Indians: Invisible Dimension in Decline of Jobs for Americans in US Economy. It costs $3.80 on Amazon.

Valid Points

Although the book is riddled with vexing grammatical errors, it makes several valid points on the fraud pervading the H1B Visa program (which allows Indians to work as IT programmers and consultants in the U.S. for up to six years).

Indians in the U.S. are already familiar with H1B Visa fraud since they are the ones committing them.

But for the unaware, the book provides a quick overview of the growth of the IT outsourcing business in the U.S. and the ensuing H1B Visa fraud that has severely impacted prospects of American workers.

The various illegal practices cited in the book will come as a surprise to a lot of Americans who have been misled into believing there’s a serious shortage of skilled IT personnel in the country.

H1B abuses cited up by the author include benching, resume inflation, interview malpractices, fake degrees, ethnic bias in hiring, bribes and manipulation of references.

The e-book is written against the backdrop of the U.S. proposal to grant Employment Authorization Documents to H4 Visa holders (i.e. spouses of H1B Visa holders) to let them work anywhere in any job.

The author makes several good suggestions to fix abuse of H1B Visas such as not allowing H1B Visa holders to work at third party sites, charging a $5,000 fee to H4 Visa holders before providing them with employment authorization to work in the U.S and the need for vocational programs to train American workers.

South Indians in IT

It’s no secret that South Indians dominate the IT jobs market among H1B Visa holders in the U.S.

Among South Indians, it’s Telugus and Tamils who fill most of the IT jobs, be it at JP Morgan Chase, DuPont, Citigroup, Bank of America or hundreds of other organizations that rely on outsourced personnel to keep their IT systems going.

Since there are far more engineering colleges in South India compared to the north, it’s no surprise that many South Indians are filling IT positions at most places, both in India and in the U.S.

But fraud is not the monopoly of just South Indians. I’m aware of North Indians who too have committed various visa frauds.

Because there are not many North Indians holding IT jobs in the U.S., their fraud does not attract attention. So it does seem unfair to pick on South Indians. Continue reading »

Jul 242014
 

I’ve never seen a spectacle so perverse, so utterly ridiculous as an Indian turning into a big-time robber (stealing millions both in India and overseas) merely to help sick orphans.

Get real, P-u-h-l-e-e-ze.

As anyone the least bit familiar with the subcontinent’s ethos and culture will attest, our people are ‘devils‘ utterly bereft of the milk of human kindness.

Inflicting their logorrhoea about fictitious charity programs in every media interview, Indian ‘devils’ get their daily ‘kick‘ from murdering homeless people by running their cars over them, beating girlfriends, killing and barbecuing endangered deer, assaulting photographers and only the great Allah knows what other crimes these Shaitans commit behind closed doors.

A young orphan – sick or healthy – is the last thing on the mind of an Indian devil.

Devil’s New Tricks

It’s no secret that I loath rotten Indian films!

And by God, crappy Indian films are dime a dozen in Mera Bharat Mahaan.

So my first thought when I heard of Kick was – OMG, is it one of the dreadful Sajid remember Divya Bharati Nadiadwala junk or one of his stolen shits like Heyy Babyy?

I mean, what kind of a jackass calls an Indian film Kick. What’s the next Indian movie? Panty, Boxer, Keyboard, Monitor?

My second fear – Has Sallu bhai stopped taking his medication and starred in another southern junk clone?

After all, the Chutiya is no stranger to South Indian drivel having thrust insufferably bizarre kichdi like Wanted, Bodyguard, Ready etc on us.

Right up to the end of Kick, when, eureka, we ‘learn’ the hero is robbing crooked politicians, callous doctors and amoral businessmen not to amass money but to help sick orphan children get medical treatment, the hero acts like he’s got three screws missing in what passes for its head.

With not a single acting gene in his body, our hero is a robotic mass of muscle and bone. Even an attempt at a smile comes off awkward, more like a grimace.

Our tall, lissome heroine acts like an escapee from the local asylum, slapping her sister, pummeling the hero, smacking the comedian, kicking the hero and periodically making a face like Alia Bhatt on a quiz show.

Ah, did I tell you the hero looks older than the heroine’s father?

And the hero’s father looks like his younger brother. Incest anybody?

I swear on bhai the hero’s mother looked like his former girlfriend.

Utter Bosh

As with a lot of Indian movies these days, the tiresome parade starts off on foreign soil.

Our reluctant heroine, now living abroad, is cajoled into meeting the not-hero bridegroom just arrived from India.

Heroine and the not-hero meet for the first time on a train.

Now the not-hero has gone overseas for two reasons – To meet the NRI girl chosen for him by his family and to nab the Kick-hero who has taunted him into coming there. Not-hero is actually an Indian police officer smarting from being constantly on the losing side of Kick-hero’s devilish robberies. Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

Kindle Unlimited Review - Not Worth It

Unlike Apple or Netflix, Amazon has never had class.

If you ask me, Amazon is merely a more efficient version of Walmart and the Post Office combined.

What I mean is that Amazon lets you get cheap stuff delivered to your house or office fast.

Kindle e-reader and Kindle tablet are both cheap plastic junk targeted at those who lack the class and the ingenuity to beg, borrow or steal an iPad.

And Amazon Prime Instant Video is mostly old stuff for people who thrive on leftovers.

Given my knowledge of Amazon’s lowbrow offerings, I did not expect the just announced Kindle Unlimited e-book subscription service to be anything remarkable.

Still given my passion for reading, I took a deko at Kindle Unlimited.

My Passion

Since reading is my refuge from the tedium and turbulence of daily life, I quickly signed up for the $9.99 per month Kindle Unlimited service.

Kindle Unlimited is kinda like an all-you-can Indian buffet in the U.S. (btw, only Chinese and Indian restaurants offer buffets in America).

Of course being a desi, I quickly took advantage of the free 30-day trial for Kindle Unlimited.

You can borrow  up to ten books at a time from the Kindle Unlimited catalog and read them on up to six devices or reading apps.

You have to sign up for the program. Since I already had an Amazon account it took just 10-seconds to sign up for Kindle Unlimited. And then to fire up the dormant Kindle app on my iMac and registered my account, it was another 10-seconds.

Most of the books I searched for were not available on Kindle Unlimited.

Finally, I settled on The Order of Things: Hierarchies, Structures, and Pecking Orders and a couple of other books.

Once I added a book via the browser on the Amazon web site, I could send it to both my Mac as well as the Kindle app on my old iPad 2. If the book doesn’t appear on your PC or tablet, hit refresh and you should see the e-book. It took less than a minute for them to appear on my computer and tablet. I did not test the service on my Kindle e-book reader but I have no doubt it’ll work on any device registered with Amazon.

But easy signup and fast delivery of e-books to the PC, tablet or other devices are only two aspects of Kindle Unlimited.

More important is the breadth of quality books available on the service.

Lacking Good Content

Amazon is making a big deal about the 600,000 titles available on Kindle Unlimited.

The service also includes a few thousand audiobooks.

But Kindle Unlimited’s glaring weakness is that a ton of good content is missing on the service.

Decades-old classics like Nabokov’s Lolita and Pnin are not available on Kindle Unlimited. It’s like Netflix not carrying movie classics like Casablanca, Star Wars, Citizen Kane or Forrest Gump. Continue reading »

Jul 112014
 

Caesar Loves Humans More than Apes. – Koba

I always think Apes better than Humans. I see now how much like them we are. – Caesar
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Not since the beast Salman Khan emerged out of the womb have things looked so bleak for the human race.

Simian flu and fighting have brought the human race to the brink, leaving pockets of survivors here and there in a powerless, effete state.

As the wise (chimp) Caesar says a decade later:

Humans destroyed each other.

Power – Elixir of Life

In San Francisco, a few hundred human survivors have closeted themselves in a derelict colony.

Fuel supplies are running very low!

Outlook is grim.

The dam! The dam!

Hydel power! Only hope for humans!

For electric lights and the many aspects of life that power enables.

But power inevitably flows through the barrel of a Gun, right?

What about Caesar?

Hunting deer, leaping from branch to branch and awaiting the birth of a new son.

That’s Caesar and his simian followers.

Seeking the strongest branch! Chimps do that literally and humans follow metaphorically! Continue reading »

Mar 282014
 

By Madmax673

Noah director and writer Darren Aronofsky is pretty clear about two things.

He doesn’t want all his audience to feel comfortable with his flick.

He is resolute to make you squirm.

Hey, he wants to make a statement too.

And for that, he has taken to the Bible, his own version.

Story

Following a few title fade-ins that most of us know, we are introduced with the branches of Adam and Eve – the descendants of Cain (Evil) and Noah, the descendant of Seth (Good).

Apparently God is fed up with Earth and decides to destroy it.

Unlike what Genesis says director Darren Aronofsky curses us oops presents us with VFX hints to Noah that the world is going to end in the form of a flood.

Now Noah has to create an Ark that will carry his family, animals, birds, snakes etc.

But Noah needs some form of support. That comes in the form known as “Watchers”.

Instructions are given and Noah starts building the Ark.

Complications arise when “Tubal Cain” and his group seek a place aboard and Noah denies them. Tubal Cain looks like a good guy. I guess this is where the director might have thought right out of the box.

While these so called complications are escalating along with the deadline for flood, Noah sons, Ham and Shem’s, (excluding Japheth), sexual urges are at stake.

Poor fellas need a partner for reproduction after destruction of Earth. So they keep running around. Shem has a girlfriend in the form of “Ila”. Unfortunately she is barren out of a wound early on in the story.

So how all these get fixed and Noah makes his Ark and ride forms the rest of the story.

Here is a list of what I noticed.

* The “Watchers” are easily one of the ugliest, least imaginative creatures I’ve seen for a while. The director looks clueless.

* There wasn’t a single moment where I rooted for Noah.

* Shem and Ham’s libido takes center stage for a fair bit of screen time and I found myself rooting for them instead. Unfortunately it’s a PG 13 movie.

* Even Noah’s wife, “Naameh” (Jennifer Connelly) is devastated about the fact that the flood is gonna mess up their sons’ sexual future.

* This whole Shem, Ham and Naameh sub-plot takes too much screen time. Continue reading »