Wednesday, November 18, 2009


During the later half of the year, I almost burnt myself down. Partly owing to my self created hyper-unrealistic schedules. After coming to Japan, especially after marriage, till the first half of this year, magically, I managed (for quite sometime) to work to those packed schedules, but slowly I started feeling like that inside my head there is no more space for my brain to maneuver. Steadily, I realized, my performance started to take a nose dive. It became notable during my Tennis sessions, I lost concentration to such a level, that, I even thought of quitting it, a month or so back.

But then, I sat back, and decided to look back, at what is really happening to my life. I am not a super-man, neither have I ever thought that I am one. Despite knowing this fact, I am a bit lenient when it comes to adding “bits” of something new to my schedule. Curiosity, at its peek, I wanted to try every single thing that comes my way. Few things that I have been doing or have tried in the past couple of years goes like, Photography, Japanese language studies, Tennis, Table tennis, Marathon, rock climbing, besides studying a hell a lot of new technologies.

I enjoyed each one of the activities, and I wanted to master them all. It seems that realization follows once something notable happens, mostly with a negative effect. For me, realization came, when I realized (after being pointed out many times), that I was not even listening to others properly. At some point, I just heard only half of what people said. For example, after returning home, my wife starts explaining the things that happened during the day, and most of the times, I would not have listened to her, even a bit. I soon realized, I was not able to listen. It was something like the hard-disk inside my head became “disk full”. Not something pleasant.

Not being sure about the cause of this, “listening disorder”, I just started to check, I called off some of hobbies one after the other, table tennis was the first in the list, just because I was reasonably good at it. And then slowly, reduced the number of times I ran in a week, and also reduced the number of books that I was reading.

Results started showing up, incredibly fast. Tennis performance improved, incredibly fast. I could listen to my wife with ease, though I acted as if I could not hear ;-) … So … 2009 taught me a good lesson ~~~~ I have to take few things at a time, and never, “Bite more than what I can chew” …

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mac or Windows …

Back in year 2000, I got a chance to use an iMac for work. The first impression was, “looks were far better than its underlying software”. I found it extremely difficult to use, the mouse, opening and closing applications, ejecting an USB disk, opening a drive and browsing for files inside folders, …, it was tedious for a normal user like me. Our company was trying hard to write device drivers for this beautiful (yet not so useful) computers. I thought, that an iMac would (only) fit well on a front-office. May be harsh, but that was my impression. I thought, Apple made beautiful yet unusable products. I was impressed with the iBook too, an Apple product, it looked very cool, and that was all I could say about it.

The impression has not changed, yet, probably because, I never got a chance to work with Mac again. And on top of that, I was (very) happy with windows.

I had been a system software engineer, churning out, firmware, device drivers, and a lot of test applications, everything in or using Windows. I find it fast and easy to work in windows, even today, working with a hardware team developing almost everything in Linux, but I still use Windows ;-) …

Long back, I had my own complaints, like “the BSOD”, that popped up more often than the dialog boxes that I had created. The kernel issues, (mostly documented, and some undocumented), caused nightmares. But, things that you coded, would mostly work, and if not, debugging support was good. It helped *normal*, *non-geeky*, software engineers write working and commercially viable applications and drivers.

That apart, in my earlier job, Mac related developments were reserved for geeky engineers, who were, probably, above normal. I would say they were hackers, who would find undocumented stuff, prodding the web, or reading sample code, or in the worst case, reverse engineer some of the already working code. Mac had virtually no (good) debugging support, and simple issues would take developers days to fix. Not only the development in Mac, only geeks could use it.

Mostly after the iPod’s success, Mac came into Limelight…

Bad time for Microsoft started (continued …), with the much hyped Vista, ending up not even better than XP, Windows users were fed-up and started looking elsewhere. Jobs is very good at attracting people hating MS, because, he hates MS more than his love for Apple. And good time for Apple, Many people, were bored to see the “same old windows screen”, which changed little after ~95, thought a hell a lot changed beneath. They also loved the Mac’s looks and sometimes started living with the interior. It’s purely my guess, sometimes we just get married just for the looks, and then live with the (odd) issues. Apple, flush with the cash, from iPod sales, pushed Mac to new levels. The best move was to junk the expensive and power hungry PPC and move towards cheap and low-power Intel. Eventually, they are poised to be a serious contender for Microsoft.

Will Microsoft bet its fortune on Windows 7 …

One main difference which is Microsoft’s strength and Apple’s weakness, is the ease with which a PC running Windows can be configured. Addition of a hardware support is easy, a reason why, it beats Mac by 9 to 1 in sales, even today. But this weakness in Apple is slowly becoming its strength. As hardware additions becomes difficult or impossible, Mac is more stable as there are no third party drivers. Hackers spare Mac and target the PC, and this would prompt Microsoft to release patch after patch, and suddenly the system would become damn slow, just because of all those patches.

Though I said all this, I want to try using a Mac. I would say, I really want to be a geek ;-) … For the time being, its expensive, and out of my reach. Somebody please gift me your used Mac ;-) …

Note: All the impression about Mac are mine, and I guess it might be mostly outdated.