Oil spill: The bright side

I am making a brief comeback. Much as I love blogging and writing, my work has taken over my life right now, and I am barely even getting ideas to blog about. Here’s a small one. A PJ, if you will.
Given the current issues with the oil spill and global warming, I thought we Bengalis should make hay while the sun shines. British Petroleum, here’s a business proposition for you – start your sea food restaurant chain.

New age recipe

You don’t even have to do much. Mother earth is cooking it up for you.

How long will newspapers live?

There are things I loved to do when I was back home in India – read the Sunday paper at leisure – before Mom gave me late breakfast. And before Dad woke up and came downstairs. Well, I never read all the political mumbo jumbo, but did read the full page Sunday comics. And the picture puzzles and the jumbles. And when I was youg(er) at heart, I used to read the horoscopes too, hoping that something great will turn out of the tremendously traumatic one way crush I had on this girl. But this was way way back – before I went to college. Ok, not way way back, just way back.  I am not that old.

Enough with the prologue.

Today, I (along with millions of others) read the news online. I pick and click what I want to read. Computers and ever-increasing internet speeds are making everything – EVERYTHING appear online. Is this the end of the newspaper regime? It was thought once upon a time that 24×7 news channels on television are going to make newspapers go obsolete eventually. But in reality, it never even caused as much as a dent. But let us look at the current scenario. Everything on the internetis customized based on the individual – be it news content or even advertising. People look for news and relevant things based on keywords they use. Information is presented to the individual – he/she no longer has to look for it! With an increasingly increasing number of people depending on the internet for their daily dose of knowhow/what/why, isn’t it only a matter of time when newspapers will go obsolete?

I will argue with myself here, and point out that there is a certain pleasure associated with reading a newspaper with breakfast, compared to reading something on an electronic screen. It’s the same argument you can use for whether you want read a book from Kindle‘s electronic screen or by holding it in your hands with bookmarks and all? But that is ME talking. The current generation that is growing up is already accustomed to everything being present online itself. Will they ever experience what we do? May be till our generation (people born in the 80s and before) dies and fizzes out, newspapers are going to exist. Will newspapers end up in the museum after that? Just how long will newspapers live?

On a somewhat related note, here’s one of my favorite videos called “Did you know” (thanks to Kaushal for showing this to me!). It’s Karl Fisch’s famous presentation on the blinding speed of technological progress. This is version #3 of the project – “Shift happens“.  Here’s his blog. Thought inspiring. Turn up your speakers, for the video is great with the background score!

Shift happens

Parts of this post are inspired by a very rich conversation I had had with a distinguished Indian gentleman a few weeks back. We were generally talking about how fast electronics are taking over every activity in our lives. The topic moved to the pointless ‘breaking news’ offered by 24×7 news channels, and then moved to how newspapers might actually go obsolete. Now this gentleman is in his 60s, and I am in my 20s – and I want to believe that newspapers will survive and continue surviving. He, on the other hand, differs in opinion here. Also, he has seen a LOT more life than me, or even the average man his age. I do intend to do a piece on his truly inspiring accomplishments later sometime by interviewing him myself. Till then, he remains anonymous.

Too much too fast

There are way too many electronic devices in the world. Way way way way too many. And the fact they are out with a new model with incremental advantage by the time you open all the bubble wrap. The biggest regrets are accompanied with laptops, desktop computers, digital cameras and *some* Apple products. I mean, I just bought it – you are out with a new model already? And slashed the price of my model too! Come on!

My complaint, however, is not with that exactly. I want to run a comparison with the early 90s and before. When a person used to buy something, be it a car or even a radio, the love for it used to be eternal. The affection one had for his or her electronic item was possessive and beautiful. There was no competition for years to come and one did not get envious of a friend buying a better one…

Let me take an example where I myself am involved. Way back in 1996, I was gifted a Sony Walkman. Oh man I loved it! I used to wipe it regularly, used smart battery practices and used it frequently. ALL THE WAY TILL 2002. So that lasted over 6 yeras. After which cassettes went obsolete and CDs came in. My brother gave me my first portable CD player and that stayed with me till 2007 (5 years later), when I bought my iPod Touch. Three months after my purchasing it, Apple released its 2nd generation iPod Touch which is better than mine in so many ways… but the advantages of the second model are fairly incremental in nature and one can do without them. But still, it is marketed in such a way that it is absolutely essential to have that update, because you are going to reach happiness much faster.

My point is, electronic items are increasingly becoming disposable. With huge numbers already being produced at this time, product life in the market has been reduced to a few blinks of the eye. Can anyone else see things spiraling out of control? What can we expect in 2020? What kind of choices will our next generation be presented with?

Some food for thought. (In retrospect, most of the graph also holds *somewhat* true for boyfriends/girlfriends :P)

Your love for electronicsLove thy gadget
[Left click for better viewing]

Thaw [Movie poster]

After my 2020 based news article earlier this month, and with everyone chipping in for Earth Day 2009 – I thought I should make a contribution too – to inspire people on earth day! The earth needs to be saved, people! Do your bit everyday. Here’s a movie idea – THAW.

Thaw - The movie

Thaw - The movie

Movie name based on “Saw”
“Saw” based font borrowed from JackassRules on Deviant Art.