Friday, September 14, 2007

A Moment for the Technologically Inept

Things have been much easier ever since I discovered the way to blog directly from Microsoft Word 2007. No big deal, you might say, but it probably is for someone as technologically challenged, as resistant to change as yours truly. Funny thing you might say – a would-be engineer confessing about his apparent lack of technological aptitude – but it is true. I have a cell phone which I've never ever bothered to explore – all I do or rather, find reason to do is to make/receive calls, save contact information (read phone numbers) and send/receive messages. All I've done with an iPod is to ask about the storage space in the particular machine – as far as listening to songs goes, it's much easier pressing the play button and listening to whatever song that's on than to search for my favourite song.

In short, I'm technologically inept, or should I say challenged because that simply sounds better. Probably the only thing I've a good feeling about is computers, probably not because I claim to be any good at it, but more because of the ease with which I can use it. It's simple really – if you want to access the internet, just open the browser, type in the required URL and wait for the page to load. If you want to type in a document, just open a word processor, type in the content and print it out. There's no need to really know anything beyond this, especially if you are a home/office user whose profession requires computing as a cosmetic tool to improve productivity rather than as a fundamental requirement integral to success. Once though, you begin to dig deeper, it does become more and more difficult for you to have as much ease in doing your thing on the computer as you had earlier.

The point I am trying to make is that it is this abstraction which has, while attracting lots of people towards computers as tools for productivity, inhibited the integration of computing machines into our daily lives. So much more can be done with computers, but do we bother? No, because we'd much rather maintain our daily expenses in a diary than fill out the spreadsheet workspace with the same. Because the minutes wasted in just booting up the computer and starting Word might be better utilized in enhancing and embellishing your words to write stuff you're actually proud of. Because, though e-mail may be faster, longer and more intimate because of the magic of words, you'd rather call up your friend and talk to him/her just to make sure that his voice still carries that same closeness, the same confidence and the same comfort level as it once did.

So is this a pointless exercise – aiming for complete computer integration into our lives? Is it too much to ask for?

I don't think so, for even though the world of computing has become trapped into a mire of bulky programs/software slowing down the fastest processors ever (reportedly), high-end computers failing to satisfy user requirements of performance, people still asking for more speed despite the fact that our systems are a hundred times faster than systems of a decade ago and endless debates over open-source and closed-source software, I believe we will break this trap. I believe we will come up with platform-independent software that actually provide the functionality we need at high speeds by making full use of the CPU resources – that too while being fully secure. I believe we will come up with hardware components that shall reflect this change in computing – this change which shall reflect speed of thought, process and connectivity. And above all, I believe computing can be taken to the masses, by making the rules and syntaxes as simple as the rules of daily thinking.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Return to the Fold

To quote Saurya,

Blogicide. Almost.

Hell, they say 2-1 is the lightest semester of them all. I beg to differ. It's more like 2-1 is the lightest semester, if you consider the number of classes you attend. Otherwise, you find yourself drowning in a mire of mismanaged time, endless activities on campus and general wing enthusiasm.

8th September was my birthday - the first time I went through the rites of actually being on the receiving end of birthday bumps - bumps, rapid fire and what not. Eye-opening experience really. Guess all those whimpers and screams of pain are for real!

So, do I have anything interesting to write about today? I don't know. I don't even know why I didn't have anything to write all these days, especially seeing that time has been flying past me. It seems like I'm stuck in a time warp where everything else seems to have lost significance…I keep doing the same things over and over again…with varying degrees of interest – sometimes with gusto, sometimes with curiosity and at others, just mechanically pursuing the motions. All of this sounds familiar – I wonder if it means I'm getting into a rut…

The strongest feeling of déjà vu I had this semester was when I registered for the course on ASP.NET. It was the same form I'd filled up last semester when I signed for the same course (For all the curious ones out there who want to know why I signed up for the same course twice, I dropped out midway through last semester. Guess my ego didn't feel comfortable with that decision and so I signed up for the course again this time around.) and all the columns had to be similarly filled, except for the date. Depressing really. Especially when you think of the dreams of dynamism I always harbour. So does this mean I'm getting into a rut? If it does, then the reasons from my absence from the blogosphere are apparent enough..