Friday, September 28, 2007

WiMax goes mobile!

We were sitting on the terrace of our house in Bangalore engaged in some hostel room style debate on the city's infrastructure woes. It was three years ago, on a clear moonlight night with lots of mosquitoes. We were on the terrace because a of power outage in our part of the city. Hence the talk about infrastructure.

And then I suggested that instead of just building more roads and offices, the government should build Wireless Broadband networks so that people can work during the commute or from their home in some obscure village. This would significantly reduce the strain on urban infrastructure. I wasn't talking about private companies providing wireless broadband to the rich. This was about the government providing it as part of public infrastructure; like roads, bridges, buses, water and electricity. After all, India is supposed to be a socialist country. Naturally, my friends thought I was just trying to be funny or something.

Today, governments around the world are turning to WiMax to connect the unconnected. And Motorola has taken it to the next level with its live Mobile WiMax demo in Chicago as part of the WiMAX World show. Can't wait to get my own WiMax mobile, hopefully before the end of next year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Book Summary: Michael Dertouzos – The Unfinished Revolution

Some time back, I went to the office library looking for a good book on HCI (Human Computer Interaction). I found just two books on the subject. (Guess that sort of explains a lot of things). One was a dated guide to desktop GUI design. The other was 'The Unfinished Revolution : How to Make Technology Work for Us--Instead of the Other Way Around' by Michael Dertouzos. Considering the author’s background and the big names on the jacket, I figured it would be worth a read.

Dertouzos starts by identifying the problem with today’s computers, the fact that they don’t often help ordinary people achieve more by doing less. He then presents a 5-point solution – Natural Interaction, Automation, Individualized Information Access, Collaboration and Customization – to realize the dream of human Centered Computing; while dismissing two of most popular themes of computer fiction - AI and Bionics - as being unlikely in the foreseeable future.

The author presents a compelling vision of how these five technologies can realistically change the way we use computers. The last chapter gets philosophical, considers the implications of Human Centered Computing and how it could change society.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Asparagus Pepper Fry

The other day I found some Asparagus at the local Safal outlet for a reasonable 19 rupees a kilo. Not something you usually find in this part of the world. So it had to be Asparagus Pepper Fry for dinner. Here is how it goes.

Wash 500g Asparagus. Chop into one inch pieces leaving the bulbs intact. Heat two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan, wok, cheenachatti, whatever. Add chopped Asparagus. Stir. Add a tablespoon of black pepper and salt to taste. Stir. Add half a glass of water. Stir and then cook covered for 5-7 minutes or till fragrant. If there is any water left, keep stirring till it evaporates. Serve immediately.

Now that’s what I call minimalist cooking.