Thursday, January 05, 2006
Consumer Electronic Show back in spotlight
It feels good to hear about all the excitement around the Consumer Electronic Show again. The last 4-5 years have been tough for consumer electronics companies, and this change is very welcome. All the adulatory press for Bill Gates is completely out of the ordinary. 'A certified monopolist as the innovative underdog' makes for a strange story.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Amazon.com should not store all this information about me
I went to shop at Amazon again after a long time - like a year or so. The checkout experience was downright creepy:
- First of all, it still remembered an old credit card number that has long since expired.
- Then it had *every single address* I've ever lived in in the US, and some of my friends' addresses too.
- Finally, it offered me desi cookbooks on the way out, since I had bought one many years ago for a friend... Ugh!
They should definitely not store any information that's older than a few months. Outdated user information does not improve usability. The more people they keep data on, the higher the risk in case of a hacker attack.
South Africa's Lost Generation
In 1982-83, I used to collect Thums-Up bottletops because they had pictures of world cricketers underneath them. When you collected a full team's worth of pictures, you'd get prizes like tiny Thums Up bottles, 'flicker' books and a signed miniature cricket bat. That was also when I heard of the South African cricket team for the first time. S. Africa were outcastes of cricket because of their government's apartheid policies between 1970-91.
I was told that S. Africa was the best cricket team out there - better than even W. Indies, the reigning champs of the day. Some of my older friends convinced me that each person on the S. Africa team was 7 ft or taller - bigger than even the 6 ft+ W. Indians like Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Clive Lloyd etc. were all big guys.
Turns out they indeed were the best team in cricket then, but not the biggest.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Sanjay Joshi's girlfriend
While Times of India and others give away all the information except the name of the woman in the steamy Sanjay Joshi VCD, Akila matter-of-factly gives the name as a Ms. Chite from Swati Society in Sama area of Baroda.
Top Hindi movie makes $10M at the box office
'Bunty aur Babli', the #1 movie of 2005, made $10M at the box office, which - according to this article - translates roughly to $100M in US terms, far short of what Narnia or King Kong made.
A very British look at supercoach-dom
Here is a book review from the London Review of Books which makes several excellent points:
- There is nothing like a 'hot' basketball player - it is purely a matter of chance:
Exhaustive analysis ... has revealed that making a sequence of three-point baskets has almost no bearing on the likelihood of making the next one, which remains determined by a player’s basic skill level (some players are more likely to make the shot than others, but that is just because they are consistently better at it, not because they are intermittently Hotter). What we experience as the Hot Hand is simply a result of the random distribution of chance, which determines that some players, inevitably, will string together a successful series of shots, just as if you get enough people tossing a coin, some of them will get heads 20 times in a row.
- Coaches (or managers, in soccer terms) are important, but much more important are factors like home court advantage (66% or so times the home team wins - in soccer, American Football or basketball), team quality, a lot of luck, and a touch of glamor. The last is a bit tough to digest, but what the heck. The writer even tries to extend the exact same logic to politics - comparing the Manchester United supercoach Alex Ferguson with Tony Blair.
There are some interesting implications for cricket as it hurtles towards the age of the supercoach. We hope that these coaches remain grounded - like John Wright or Bob Woolmer - and don't become showboats like Phil Jackson or Alex Fergusson.
Another interesting article in the London Review of Books: In cricket, Australia = US, India = China and England = EU.
Northern California storm
After a lull for most part of the evening and last night, the storm is back this morning. The wind is blowing very hard and the sky is layered with clouds. Some furious thunder too. No electricity again. The sirens of fire trucks are blaring away on the streets. Happy New Year!
Northern California storm
It was very windy in the morning and it rained a bit too. First the electricity tripped for a few minutes, then the Internet connection went down for a couple of hours. Things are back to normal, but there's another storm heading our way tomorrow. We've stocked up on food, just in case.