Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Terminator - Me? Cool or What?

Terminator 2 – Judgement Day. Arnold, with his steely one-liners, an attitude that was deadlier than his shot guns and biceps that could power a truck, redefined expectations of an entire movie going world.

The movie changed me. I was fascinated with the endless possibilities of technology. At the time when the movie came out, an android that could interact with humans and also thump bad guys was a joke. Today it may be still be science fiction, but we don’t hear the chuckles any more.

The coolest aspect of the movie was Arnold could see these cool numbers and this flashing red text in his field of vision telling him his battery was running low. Quite like my laptop these days. Ever since then I wondered how cool would it be to have a heads-up display that could be just like that.

There is nothing like being able to access irrelevant data while walking down a park. A heads up display like that hooked up to the internet through your mobile device would need plastic wraps to protect it from drool.

Immediate applications could be:

  1. The moment you meet someone, face recognition could pull up details from your online photo album or LinkedIn.
  2. You could watch your favorite movie while jogging on a treadmill. (A big upgrade from your iPod).
  3. You could browse the internet or check email while taking a bubble bath.
  4. It could be hooked up to your mobile phone or car and throw up all sorts of information on traffic, maps, directions, sales at local stores, news and warnings, all the while you are driving. (In an unobtrusive kind of a way!)

Shivering Cool! Guess what, today I found the exact same device on Time magazine “best inventions of the year”! Check it out!

Remember drooling on your keyboard will not look good on your office security cameras!,28804,1852747_1854195_1854152,00.html

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A message in Public Interest!

An article in the Sakaal Times this morning, on the police imposing fines for driving without a seat belt brings up a very important, albeit frustrating, point. Yesterday, I was at a crossing in Pune where I saw people being fined for driving without seat belts on. Yet the same policemen allowed two-wheeler drivers without helmets to go free. This incident reeks of discrimination and has unfair written all over it in font size 200. 

In the article the correspondent asks if it is logical to impose a fine on not wearing seat belts when not wearing helmets (which is definitely more serious) is overlooked. Accepted this stinks of discrimination, but is in no way wrong, legally or otherwise. 

Haha. The article also goes on to question the validity of the law. In a city where average speeds do not exceed 25 – 30 kmph, it asks, what use is a seat belt? It may be useful in cities (like Delhi or Mumbai) where speeds can exceed 80 – 100 kmph. It may be useful to check for seatbelts on expressways or highways. Not here. 

This is a very serious concern. It is this very attitude of questioning laws that has prompted drivers from not wearing helmets or seat belts. They think “Why should I wear a helmet when I am Valentino Rossi’s cousin twice removed” or “Compared to me Schumacher is co-ordination challenged hobo on a tractor!” 

These laws have been mandated not just in India but across the world for a reason. Even if we have 2 PhDs in neuroscience, we should not be questioning the validity of laws that are put in place by lawmakers. These laws are meant for our safety. 

Now let’s look at a logical construct at why seatbelts are required at all speeds. Countering the argument “Seatbelts are not required when speeds are low”. 

Let me elaborate. 

  • What if you are driving at 30 kmph and are involved in a head on collision with a 10 tonne truck driving at 30 kmph. You will realize that, with belts, maybe you can escape with a whiplash injury. Without belts, severe concussions, fractures and a face that will look like a Ramsay brother’s movie prop. 
  • What if you are standing still at a crossing, (According to your logic, it is even safe to remove your seat belts) and you are rammed by a truck from behind. Same consequences. 
  • Seatbelts are extremely useful at preventing minor injuries and even deaths in low speed collisions. Especially if there are women, elderly or children in the car. 

You might have gotten the drift by now. I accept the current drive by the authorities is discriminatory, but nevertheless absolutely necessary. Do not forget to wear helmets, seatbelts and clothes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Photos of some seagulls I clicked during my trip to Diveagar, near Pune.