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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Obama does a Sarah; McCain supports Obama

Moderate debate. Townhalls are supposed to be McCain's favorite hunting ground. I didn't see why. He had a couple better responses, but overall, Obama walked away with it, again. This debate will probably be remembered more for "that one" than anything else.

Couple observations:
After the VP debate, I wrote that Sarah's strategy to hijack the debate was very effective. Looks like the Obama campaign agreed. Obama annoyingly and successfully played the same trick today. On at least a couple occasions, he was answering his own questions - and to good effect. I am sure Brokaw was frustrated, as I was, but the audience graphs picked up tempo a few seconds into the response. The only difference: In Sarah's case, she didn't know the answer; In Obama's case, he believed the audience would be more interested in a different issue!

During the course of the debate, Obama also picked up an unlikely supporter - John McCain! At least twice, McCain said, when times are tough, we need a steady hand at the tiller. Finally, McCain conceded that Obama has been the cool guy thru uncertain times. McCain has now definitely put country first! So, can he ask for Obama to be nominated President by acclamation?!?!

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Friday, October 03, 2008

VP Debate 2008

1. Good night for Sarah - she held her own (relative to what I expected). She was a way better person than the one we saw on the Couric interview clips.

2. Biden executed his dance very delicately. Didn't come across as the "old" professor and was not condescending at all. Complete professional.

3. Sarah had some excellent coaching. Smart strategy. When she didn't know the answer, she hijacked the debate to talk about whatever she wanted to. Each time she did this, the audience graphs dipped, but a couple of lines into her talk, it picked up. So, even though there was no relevance to the original question, she managed to get some of the audience interested. She did have a Bush-doctrine moment when asked what her Achilles' heel was.

4. I am surprised not much is made of her approval of Cheney's interpretation of the Vice Presidency. Not surprising, given she doesn't think he did much wrong.

5. Both candidates performed beyond what was expected of them. Biden was very statesman-like. Sarah proved she is a better debater than an interviewee.

Overall, Biden did very well for Obama and won him a few independents. Sarah did very well for Sarah and prevented a complete write-off.

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Attempting another comeback...

Back again - after an even longer break. Yes, I know the iPhone has been out a while now since my last post. Already into its 2nd generation and cost me 3 times what it is priced now!

Quick thoughts on the phone: I love it. It is the best convergent device out there. But wish it had a physical keyboard. I send a lot of email from my Treo and my typing speed on iPhone's virtual keyboard comes nowhere close. Also, not to forget the restricted admin access to the phone that prevents some of the security-conscious companies from supporting it. Overall, it definitely is a killer device for consumers.

I dropped my Treo a couple weekends ago. So I am walking around with a Treo from 2004. Here is a picture! Now patiently waiting for the Blackberry Bold!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Apple iPhone has a good ring to it

Back after a long blog-break! Numerous topics bookmarked away for later blogging; but it may take a while before they get out. So decided to at least make a start with a short post.

Apple! These guys understand their customers so well. Most products in the market are not truly consumer-ready. They require some form of tweaking or the other before their true potential is exposed. Not so with Apple. Its always, IMHO, a true plug n' play experience. That leads on to the topic I wanted to write about. The Apple iPhone.

When I first heard rumors about it, I decided to wait - even if it meant a year or more, before buying a new phone. Because I knew Apple would finally get the convergent device right. For years, I have looked for a good convergent device. But either they are bulky or unweildy or lack key features (good example: Treo 680 with a less than 1MP camera! What were they thinking!!). Apple's design will hopefully change all that.

I know I may be asking too much, but I hope the iPhone gives me a phone that works (like the Nokias and not the Treo - I love the Treo but the phone sucks), a good music player (like the iPod), a good email/calendar/PIM client (Good Technology rocks), a decent camera (still & video) with at least 3MP, WiFi, QWERTY keyboard and TouchScreen! And all this in a package about the size of the Nano.

I doubt if Apple will partner with Carriers or go the MVNO route. 611 calls are not what Apple would want its customer support staff to field! My guess is they will come out with a SIM-based, Carrier-independent phone that will work across networks. Option 3 on this article. Consumers gladly pay $300 and up for the 60-80GB iPod. They will have no hesitation paying that if it adds the phone feature, even if the capacity shrinks to 20-40GB.

But as they work towards the launch, Apple may have to redo some marketing material and labels!

Apple's delay has not kept its fans from guessing though. This iPhone concept blog set up by Okan Vardarova has quite a few decent designs (but none that meet my requirements yet :))

And I pray it does not look anything like the phone in this video.

Kevin Rose's spill tho appears a little staged to me. You can never tell what a few drinks can do! :)

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Determination pays off - goes Live!

After 4 months in hibernation, Sunder, emerged from his den today with the launch of his very cool job hosting service catering specifically to fresh graduates and interns. On his last birthday he made a promise to have something to show for the year and true to form, he now does. Sunder is determination personified. Enough said about Sunder. Lets talk about I have been wanting to for 3 months now! :) is a very simple Web2.0 service that does pretty much what most job hosting sites do - connect employers to prospective candidates. The difference however is in the way the employer is interfaced with the candidate. A clean clutter-free interface, intuitive design, simple easy steps and market focus are among the key differentiators. And its FREE!

The basic service is free. Students can search as much as they want to and apply to as many jobs as they would like to. Employers can post as many jobs as they would like (unlike other services that typically charge per posting), view any profile and contact any student (contact information provided by students is always available to employers). In the future, there may be a fee charged to employers when they make an offer to a candidate and for other premium services that may be introduced subsequently. The beta release carries no ads. Limited and targetted ads to students may make a in-the-distant-future release.

Most importantly, Sunder has already lined up employers such as Capital One, Georgia Dept of Transportation, RapLeaf, OPNet, EMG, Brownshoe and MulvannyG2. A few others are in the process of signing up. So when students sign in and post their details, they will already have someone eager to review their profiles and make the offer if their requirements are met.

Key Features:
  • Employers can create job postings.
  • Employers can tag their job postings. Employers can also select the auto-tag feature to automatically generate tags.
  • Employers can search for candidates by University, Location, GPA, Tags, etc.
  • Employers can schedule events such as recruiting campaigns or career fairs.

  • Students can create their profiles and upload relevant documents.
  • Students can tag their profiles. Students can also select the auto-tag feature to automatically generate tags.
  • Students can search for jobs based on Location, Tags, etc.
  • Students can sign up for events scheduled by Employers.

Overall, is a very practical web2.0 application focussed on a niche segment. What started off as a birthday resolution has resulted in a fun service and a fun company that is bound to grow. Sign up now!

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ustad Bismillah Khan - A Rare Jewel

Ever since I heard Ustad Bismillah Khan was ill, I have been praying that he recover well enough to play the Shehnai on Republic Day (Jan 26th) from the India Gate as per his last wish. The news earlier today that he was recovering well and singing songs to the doctors gave me a sign of hope. But unfortunately, Ustad passed away on the wee hours of the morning today. His last wish was not to be! :(

A true patriot, when he was offered citizenship during a concert in Europe, he is supposed to have asked the sponsors - "Ganga bahti hai kya idhar? (Does the Ganga flow here?)".

Just a few hours ago, I was listening to the very patriotic song from Swades in which the Shehnai plays a haunting tune. I believe the notes for this are by Ustad Bismillah Khan. The song "Yeh jo desh hai tera, swades hai tera, tujhe hai pukara, ye woh bandhan hai jo tooth nahin sakta" rings true of one of the best musicians that ever graced the Earth!

He lives on through his music.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Will Italy lose the World Cup?

There has been some talk of Italy losing the World Cup if FIFA's investigation of the Zidane-Materazzi establishes that Materazzi used racial slurs. This is of course, if FIFA decides to go to the extremes to impose disciplinary action.

Here are the rules - Amendment to Article 55 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code
...Par. 1: Anyone who publicly disparages, discriminates against or denigrates someone in a defamatory manner on account of race, colour, language, religion or ethnic origin, or perpetrates any other discriminatory and/or contemptuous act, will be subject to match suspension for at least five matches at every level. Furthermore, a stadium ban and a fine of at least CHF 20,000 will be imposed on the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is an official, the fine will be at least CHF 30,000.

If any player, association or club official or spectator perpetrates any kind of discriminatory or contemptuous act as described by Par. 1 and/or 2 of this article, three points will automatically be deducted from the team concerned...

In the case of matches without points, the team concerned, if identifiable, will be disqualified...

Very unlikely that they will take the cup away. That will cause quite some outrage. But I sure hope Materazzi is fined/suspended, if found guilty.

In Zidane's defence, if someone's on the field for 90 minutes, repeatedly heckled, physically assaulted and his family's name brought to the field, it will take a lot of determination to keep from hitting back. For a player of his stature, Zidane should have known better, but I think Materazzi got less than he deserved. Zidane should have let his clenched fist do some talking too.

Speculation on what Materazzi told Zidane:
1. BBC - "I wish an ugly death to you and all your family, go **** yourself. A high ball is "not for feccia like you". ('Feccia' is an Italian insult meaning scum or shit.)
2. Sun - "son of a terrorist whore". (Zidane's mom, Malika, had been unwell for a few days.)
3. Some others say he called Zidane's sister a prostitute.

Of course pyschologists must have their say too:
Panelist Gerard Ernault, editor of France Football magazine, suggested Zidane may have acted unconsciously as a reaction to his impending retirement. "We could ask ourselves if he refused this consecration, this crown atop his head, by making suicidal gestures as a way also to reject his exit, his retirement".

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Anger Management or Better Sportsmanship?

In continuation of the excellence exhibited in the Germany-Portugal clash yesterday, the World Cup Soccer Finals played out very well today. Unfortunately, the final verdict had to be deferred to a penalty kick-out. But more than Italy's 5-3 victory over France, more has been said of the Zidane-Materazzi incident. From the video, it appears like Materazzi got what he deserved. I would have liked Zidane to have been spared the misery of sitting out the last few minutes of what is probably his last game. But at this level, and with his experience, Zidane should have known better.

Zidane's initial response to Materazzi was subdued; but Materazzi's continued tauts irked Zidane enough to momentarily lose his cool. Even as he struck Materazzi, the look on Zidane's face and his body language exhibited the regret; but it was too late and his illustrious career had to end with a red card.

So, would anger management classes have made a difference for Zidane? I don't believe any degree of anger management is going to take out all of our anger, unless of course you are on the path to becoming a monk - a very good one at that. What could have definitely helped is if Materazzi had exhibited better sportsmanship and played the game fair instead of resorting to extreme mind-games as a few teams repeatedly do in Cricket.

I hope the next World Cup is played with more fairness, less fakes, better sportsmanship and more spectacular footwork and strategies.

Zidane-Materazzi Video:

Update (Jul 10)
Materazzi's skills: (via digg - there is no escaping the past)

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