Give us Thou a new Vista!

I don’t like Windows Vista.
Wait, I’m not going to launch into a debate about why Linux or Mac or whatever is better, but here are some facts:
1. Its expensive (in countries like India, make that VERY expensive)
2. Its hungry. In fact, I estimate over 75% of PCs in existence right now don’t have enough juice to run it.
3. Inspite of all this, it doesn’t give you much.

Lets take a look.
If your PC is over a year old, don’t even imagine installing vista on it. And even on much acclaimed ‘Vista Ready’ PCs that came a while ago it feels like running Need For Speed Carbon on a 486! It's simply not fast enough.

Okay so probably all good things come at a price. And the price for Vista is having a ultra-high config PC that will eventually slow down. So what are the good things?

Well, even though Microsoft is riding high on the claim of Vista being ‘secure’ and ‘immune to attacks’ (heck, they even feature Bit-Locker™ for encrypting entire hard drives and secure online storage of passwords) we’ll have to admit that most of the apparent changes are in the looks. True, the API has been re-built from scratch, FAT is history and “Save My Search” abilities bring new methods of data retrieval. But boot it up and the first things everyone will notice are the color schemes, the new start menu and a bunch of nonsense on the desktop called a ‘side bar’.

Clearly, Vista is a newbie heaven, but it seems to insult more advanced users. The ‘live search’ all over the place seems to imply the user doesn’t even know what he’s looking for anymore. I mean, we love to search – especially with data flowing into terabytes – but do we really need to search for everything everywhere?
And what kind of an idiot would leave a tiny slideshow of pictures running in a corner of your desktop all the time?

Almost makes me wonder if the whole thing was designed to eat away your resources while simply sitting there and looking pretty. I mean good-looks aside, does anyone really need the 3D flip while Alt-Tabbing multiple windows?

Don’t get me wrong: I love advancements. And when Vista (codenamed ‘Longhorn’ back then) was still in the labs, it was a dream beyond its years. Longhorn was originally designed to ship with a brand new SQL-based file system called Win FS that promised to send FAT and NTFS back to the stone-age! Unfortunately none of that happened (it still runs on NTFS) and the only new things are the bells and whistles!

A meter Matter

I don’t know how many people realize this (or even care to bother), but come 26th and it would be exactly 5 months to the day when autorickshaw meters were made “mandatory and non-negotiable” on the streets of Chennai.
5 months and several pot holes later, things are no different.

For those of you who don’t live in Chennai (or wondering what the hell an autorickshaw meter is), here’s some update:I guess it is safe to declare auto drivers as the most despicable, hated, and rude people in all of Chennai (since how much you pay depends on various factors like what language you speak, what you wear, and how lost you look) and anyway, someone decided to bring back order by revising tariff and making meters on autorickshaws mandatory. Of course, passing a law is only one side of the story. The other side, is implementing it.
Surprisingly, that went on pretty well too. Every auto rickshaw (can we just call them ‘autos’?; I’m getting tired of typing ‘autorickshaw’ all the time) fitted with a mechanical meter was given a revised fare-sheet and a deadline to go digital. Any auto already fitted with a digital meter had to get recalibrated and re-certified.

Then, they figured, things would 'auto'matically (pun intended!) fall into place with auto drivers charging you by the meter - not a rupee more, not a rupee less. They would benefit from the transparent system and we would go home happy knowing we didn't pay 30bucks more than the other guy for the same distance. Too good to be true?

Yeah, right. For the rest of us its a different story. Ask any auto driver to charge you by the meter, and you get laughed in your face. Or maybe insulted. In fact one guy went as far as to explain why they couldn’t use digi-meters: Apparently the IC goes haywire after a few potholes and ends up running crazy. Now that’s an answer worth an electronics engineer!

Anyway jokes apart, the law is still in place, meters still run but we still pay by their own rules.

And unless something concrete is done soon, the Meter is still a mile away!

Hel (met) of a Law!

This just in:
The latest crime spree doing the streets of Chennai is not flicking wallets or cell phones; it’s something much ridiculous – helmets. Yup you heard right, the latest fashion accessory sporting everyone’s head ever since the helmet law came in two days ago was reported to be the most frequently stolen item. And that’s just in two days!

For the uninitiated, Chennai’s just taken the plunge to make roads much er…safer by re-introducing the compulsory helmet-for-everyone law since June 1. That means, every single person – rider or passenger – on a bike will have to either wear one or risk getting caught red handed (not to mention bare-headed! :-0) .

Now on the face of it, this sounds like a pretty good idea. But when you get down to it, Chennai’s not exactly known for its one-person-per-bike phenomenon. That means either the bike owner buys a couple of spare helmets for the occasional backseat rider or everyone in town buys (and carries) one since you never know when you might need a lift and if the other guy has a helmet or not.

And oh yes, we’re forgetting something else. What about whole families that sometimes travel together? Yup, the wife, kids and sometimes the mother-in-law, all on the same bike (trust me, this really happens in Chennai) with helmets on them…kind of crams up the headroom.

Don’t get me wrong: Helmets are a great invention. Yes, helmets save lives; more than people think. A cousin of mine owes his life to a helmet that saved him in a bike accident a couple of years ago.
But with any invention, forcing a law onto people is not gonna make things safer. It has to come from within.