Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Tablets

It's been more than a year since I became a part of the Apple bandwagon. I purchased myself an iPAD about 16 months ago. I was sufficiently impressed by the same to subsequently purchase an iPhone. Looking back, this is probably because of Apple's reality distortion field.

And the wife was  impressed enough to purchase the most recent iThing with Siri. 

I can now confirm that the the iPad is pretty useless. You can't read an article on it when it's dark as the iPad is too bright. You can't read an article on it when it's bright because the light will reflect off the glossy surface. When you finally locate yourself at a convenient angle, you will find that the screen orientation will automatically flip to horizontal when you're prepared to read it vertically. 

And then there's the fiasco of trying to navigate a large multi-page article on the iPAD. It is almost taken for granted that you will click some silly link inadvertently while trying to resize an article. Some of the more sadistic webpage designers like to split a story into 20 pages with links to pages 1 through 20 at the bottom of the page. Each and every one of those numbers is hyperlinked,  (like such: 1 2 3 ... 20). Clicking these numbers is about the most difficult thing one can consider doing with one's iPad.  I inevitably click everything else on the page (including advertisements) while attempting to click these numbers.  I am convinced that my arbitrary clicking on an iPad article is to some extent responsible for the success of the ad-revenue model of some of the websites I visit.

Have you ever tried to type on the damned thing? The keyboard is evil, most likely a descendant of Josef Stalin. Yes, I get it -- the touchscreen is a wonder of the modern world, yes, yes. But what big Steve has done is that he's taken something simple and functional (the humble keyboard) and turned it into something beautiful and utterly useless.  As someone who types a fair amount, I can think of several things that are more pleasurable than typing on an iPad. Like getting waterboarded.

Sometimes, I like to mask my frustration by thinking of  the iPad as a mere piece of glass. When I watch people type on it (or shooting birds at stones on it), I imagine the screen to be blank. This immediately converts my frustration into mirth, as anyone would look ridiculous beating a piece of glass without any gratification. I usually collapse in laughter watching people do stupid things to glass.

Tablets are first world toys. They're useless for creating content (you can't really type on the damn things). You can't really consume content on them (give me my 37" TV anyday over the piece-of-crap IPAD). 

Maybe the experience with M$' Windows 8 will be different? Skeptical I remain.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Proposition: An atheist Chruch

We like spending time with like-minded people. Christians spend Sunday in the church; singles spend friday nights in bars attempting to simulate perpetuating their genes; Hindus spend time injuring the soles of their feet in the temple; Muslim (men) attend the mosque; stoned slackers attend tapings of the Daily Show in NYC. But where does the friendly neighborhood atheist go? Nowhere. He/ she sits at home browsing reddit. Reddit is a site where people post pictures of themselves and their pets doing stupid things. The goal is to be a little less pathetic.

I hereby decree that there be established something physical called the Church of the flying spaghetti monster. Its philosophy is well articulated here . Its subsidiary in China would be called the Party headquarters of the airborne soy-soaked noodle; the Indian affiliate would be the temple of the traveling Pav bhaji. But I digress.

This church will convene every Sunday morning, just like Christian churches do. It will have a service where congregants watch youtube videos of Salman Khan (the educator, not the actor, www.khanacademy.org ). After exhausting all those videos, the congregation will move on to watching Leo Susskind's talks at Stanford on Quantum mechanics. The video will be rewatched until the congregation acquires a philosophical understanding of quantum mechanics. It is therefore moot to decide upon what to watch next.

The church will be organized at some dude's basement, using his 50" (125.7cm) television for all Khan-watching purposes. In areas where basements are uncommon, the sessions will be either organized on the roof, in the garden or in the garage. The host will assume all responsibility of transporting the 1257mm (we like to keep it metric here) to the place in consideration. Living rooms will be avoided since it is assumed that the inevitable xbox 360 will provide a diversion from Khan watching.

The head church will be established in one of the poorer parts of Vatican city, primarily to troll organized religion. (There were three options -- Vatican city, Mecca or Benares. Mecaa lost out because it would be illegal under prevailing Saudi Law. Benares is a no-go, because I personally am averse to filth; the goal is to troll, not to commit suicide. Which leaves only the Vatican.

If we were to limit these atheist Churches to cities with an atheist population exceeding 1,000 that would essentially eliminate most cities in the US, India and the middle east. (The latter because the would all have been stoned to death if and when they did come out, the former because they would have been bullied to dead for being a lie-bur-ull, and India because some everyone loves their neighborhood crackpot.) For Instance, I have it from an unimpeachable source that I was the only atheist in Chennai when I stayed there.I'm fairly sure that I am the only atheist in Phoenix at this point in time. I was the only atheist in Bahrain when I stopped over there to change flights in the airport.

Sounds complicated. Perhaps it is now time to watch a fox eat a cracker instead.