Tag Archives: Featured

What do you think of Apple device pricing?

appleWell, I am a fan of Apple’s designs, and the craftsmanship of their H/W. I am also a fan of their strictly controlled ecosystem which offers high stability in most situations. But I am not a fan of their pricing.

I mean, well, this is 2015, and still Apple has 16GB models of iPhones, iPads in circulation. We will have to see if this trend is to continue in their upcoming devices, but it is indeed curious to see how a 32GB device is missing from the line up. However, a 64GB device is available for a huge asking price, effectively putting that much gap between it and its 16GB counterpart. I would ask an Apple fan to come up with any legitimate replies to that, but IMHO anyone who wants an Apple device but cannot afford one can scrape a 16GB model, with Apple hoping he will upgrade after having storage problems with it.

Honestly, one thing I hated about this year’s WWDC was when Apple was showing the slide on OS upgrades and how it was comparing the uptake of OS X Yosemite & iOS 8 to that of Windows 8.1 & Android 5.x. I would like to differ. Seriously, Apple, you are pushing updates free to all of your devices, and Windows updates are paid ones. Only a small percentile of Android devices are treated to upgrades, and while Apple continues to manufacture and maintain its H/W & S/W, Android & Windows devices do not enjoy that privilege. And then there’s that matter of affordability. When someone can afford an Apple device, he can also afford high speed internet to go with it. But while an ubiquitous network of high speed internet access is taken for granted in some places, the majority of the world does not have such privilege. So, suddenly, even small updates seem impossible.

While Apple elaborates on its designs, it does not elaborate the capabilities of its H/W (for which it demands such exorbitant prices), in quantifiable ways. Apple enjoys the position of the most valuable IT company in the whole wide world, with an unbelievably high market cap, and why has not any other company been able to do this? Because Apple exacts the highest profit from each device it sells, period. Apple says this is required for the huge amount of R&D it does. But is there no innovation outside Apple? How do they manage this? Why does Apple, with this huge amount of R&D muscle, have to resort to acquisitions then?

In recent times, all the features Apple ‘innovates’ H/W or S/W-wise, are already present elsewhere. IMHO all the innovation Apple manages is in the Design department, Johny Ive take a bow. Apple is unparalleled when it comes to design. But just as Steve Jobs’ enigma was what brought Apple to what it is today, it is Ive’s vision which still propels Apple’s legendary design department, and there is indeed nothing I can say against. Every time Apple comes up with a new design, the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘only Apple can do that’! But that’s that, when it comes to the H/W department, there are no surprises.

You get H/W which looks amazing but when you put it to its paces, and it stutters, you compromise because after all, it’s Apple. I mean, the Macbook Pro(Early 2015) range starts from $1299. Just look at what other options you have in that price range, and check out the H/W these devices offer. I dare say they will be leaps and bounds better than your Mac.

To conclude, I would like to say I do not detest Apple devices, it’s just that a company must not get greedy. While Apple makes amazing devices, and scores of Apple fans worldwide lap them up each time something new comes up, the margins that the company exacts each of those times will ultimately take its toll. While Microsoft lost its way under Steve Ballmer, the new Microsoft under Satya Nadella is as a phoenix that rose from its ashes, fresh, forward-thinking, ready to accept challenges, and most importantly, ready for business. Google, on the other hand, is a company which still makes losses on its Android platform, but guess what? All those iOS features that Apple announced this WWDC are already taken for granted by Android users. An Apple user may change his wallpaper to change his phone’s or tablet’s appearance, but that’s all he can do. Android is much more customizable. How far is it then, when people sit up and actually start noticing what they are sacrificing and push past the hype?

Jurassic World – A Review

Jurassic_World_Teaser_Poster

Jurassic World pays a lot of homages to Jurassic Park. So let’s get that out of the way! This movie wastes no time going over other subplots but takes you directly to the Park (or is it the World now?!)

You have all watched the trailers, and you all know that this kid and his brother go on a trip to Jurassic World, and turns out that they are both nephews of Claire Dennings (Bryce Dallas Howard), the Park Operations Manager. This movie takes place on Isla Nublar where Jurassic Park was staged. The old park also makes a fleeting appearance in this movie. Irrfan (Simon Masrani) is one of the richest men on the Earth and he practically owns InGen, and he is the one who still has the dream of John Hammond alive in his eyes. Well, we are greeted with lots of (Samsung) displays in (ahem…!) the ‘Samsung Innovation Centre’, and when the camera zooms in on a kid brushing dust out of dinosaur bones, God, I miss Sam Neill & Laura Dern! Mercedes has become synonymous with this franchise and no surprises there. All the 4 wheelers in the Park are Mercs. Chris Pratt likes Coca Cola, but probably you do too! So, yeah, lots of product placements, but none too awkward(I still try putting that Oracle branding in a media truck in Iron Man 3).

Soon, we are greeted by a few people in suits and, no, while they are not lawyers, they are the PR team from Verizon who want to sponsor an animal, and (drumroll!!!) we are greeted to the Indominus Rex. People who are on Verizon, be warned, not the least due to the fact that the Park has bad reception!

Anyways, with that out of the way, we are introduced to Star Lord (oops), I meant Chris Pratt, who is sort of the ringmaster for raptors, and then hell (or should I say Indominus Rex) breaks loose.

The movie is a fun ride but I need to make a few observations. Kids nowadays get scared easily compared to those from ’93. I mean, yeah, they are acting, but Jurassic Park had much more thrills and suspense than this one. We are reminded this is a sequel, sometimes when they turn up the original Jurassic Park theme, sometimes by familiar faces like Henry Wu.

Last time, Dennis Nedry (the computer guy), had a nefarious agenda. This time also, there is a subplot, which opens the storyline to possible sequels, but does not really go anywhere in this movie.

It is a lot to demand of a movie when you put it alongside a movie that you grew up loving, but Jurassic World tries, and partly succeeds, in holding its own.

The kids at the plex enjoyed the movie, and I dare say I would too, if I hadn’t watched Jurassic Park first. And yeah, if any of the people who worked on this movie are reading this, I do prefer the T. Rex to the Indominus. The T. Rex still rules!

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North – A Review

harryaugustcover

Harry August can’t die…no, actually he can, but he is born again after he dies. He is not the only one. Apparently, there is this ‘Cronus Club‘, which is made up of people like him. These people like to just be born and die without changing anything, cos, you know, that would seriously mess up the timeline. But one of these lives, there is this little girl who comes up to him on his death bed, and tells him that she is also like him and that the end of the world was speeding up.

There was someone who was introducing technologies from the future in the past which was bringing the end of the world closer than the usual. And now Harry must find out who that is…there were a few flaws with the story but you get caught up in it and it won’t let go. Go read this!

Mad Max : Fury Road – Review

“Grim never looked so good!”

Mad Max Fury Road

Fury Road brings jaw-dropping dystopian landscapes, and you gotta hand it to the people who dreamed them up. The first storm sequence of the movie which Furiosa enters on the large gasoline truck is just WOW! This movie is about a very grim future, but boy does it look great! Hope hasn’t looked so good, and despair so sickening. Theron’s Furiosa is a driven individual with hope, hope for a home where she was born, the land of the Mothers. She is one of the prize breeders of Immortan Joe. In fact, all women have been reduced to just that in this world. Furiosa escapes with the rest of Joe’s prize breeders, and we get this chase of a movie. I personally favour movies with CGI that blends with the environment so much so that it doesn’t look like CGI anymore, and Mad Max Fury Road achieves that, and I love it.

“Hope hasn’t looked so good, and despair so sickening”

George Miller is a visionary. Good performances all around also help. Hugh Keays-Byrne’s Immortan Joe is adequate and played with appropriate fury! Theron’s Furiosa drives the movie, and the parts that she doesn’t, Tom Hardy’s Max and Nicholas Hoult’s Nux take up the job. Overall, a great movie, definitely worth a watch.

Tomorrowland 2015 movie Review

Tomorrowland

This is one of those movies which will put a smile on your face within 5 minutes of the beginning, and it will make you think about it long after it ends. Tomorrowland is an exhibit of a world without politics, red tape…bureaucracy. It is a land where anything is possible, and it looks amazing. Britt Robertson in the lead is quite good, but Raffey Cassidy as Athena steals the show, shining even in scenes with veteran Clooney. This kid is a star! The sequences of Casey catching glimpses of Tomorrowland when she touches the pin are brilliantly executed and they are awesome(my 2nd fav place right now after Hogwarts (: )! But it is a letdown that there isn’t much more of that later. The movie falls abruptly into storytelling mode after that and keeps explaining stuff till the end! I mean, yeah, tachyons are pretty nifty things, but we fell in love with Tomorrowland because of the gleaming skyscrapers, gravity-defying trains, jetpacks, and I really did miss that in the second half. Well, I do hope there’s a sequel to this, and we get to see much more of the future, because anything is possible!!!

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap

Bone Gap doesn’t make any sense. Finn starts running towards the corn, the corn gives way to the stream, the stream grows into the river, the river is suddenly fields, and Finn keeps running, looking for Roza. Really, no sense at all.
But who needs sense? When life is nothing but steps in a ladder made up of deadlines and rules and whatnots, no-sense makes life interesting. And that is why I loved Bone Gap. Finn is face-blind, yet he falls in love with Petey. Finn may be bad at recognizing faces, but not once throughout the book does he not recognize Petey.
Roza loves Sean, so when Roza is kidnapped, Sean should be one to go after her. But he doesn’t because he is stuck with Finn and he doesn’t believe Finn and he thinks Roza just dumped him and went away.
This may not make any sense, but in the end it makes a lot of sense. I loved this book. Go ahead and give it a read!

Interstellar – Nolan Reaching for the Stars

InterstellarHumanity is on the verge of extinction and we have to look at the stars to secure our future. There are severe dust storms on a regular basis on Earth and we will suffocate, if we do not starve first.  McConaughey is recruited to pilot a spacecraft after some mysterious incidents lead him to NASA. A wormhole has appeared beside Saturn 48 years back and they must now venture through it in search of new worlds.

Nolan loves his toys. He toys around with the idea of relativity just as he did in his earlier movie, Interstellar. That said, Interstellar is perhaps his best work yet. There are flaws, but in the end, you will choose to just ignore them. This is sheer brilliance, the way Nolan and his team go about imagining new worlds. One issue that I always have with science fiction features is that they are not believable. I would love to watch such a movie that blends the vfx with the real in such a way that the brain can process it as rational. District 9 achieved that, and, needless to say, Interstellar passes the test with flying colors.
There’s not a single member in the cast who underperforms in the entirety of the almost 3 hour long movie. Interstellar in itself is a feast to eyes sore from watching unnecessary, foolishly-made sci-fi.

About the cast, Matthew Mcconaughey goes heavy on his accent now made famous with his outing in True Detective, but he really shines as the one taking the movie forward and giving meaning to several disjointed scenes. Mackenzie Foy as the young Murphy shines as the loving daughter who doesn’t care about anything and just wants her father by her side. Jessica Chastain as the grown-up Murphy is also very good and shines wherever she is placed. Michael Caine is wasted as he doesn’t get any definitive scenes and may, at times, seem repetitive saying the same poem again and again. Anne Hathaway is good as a supporting actor. She cries her way through the film. There’s one thing about her character that I disliked but more on that later. TARS as the robot accompanying them on their world-saving mission is lovable.

The movie slows down to a crawl in the middle and we hear Anne Hathaway lecture us on love and its infinite possibilities for a few minutes. That was really unexpected!

For the rest, however, you need to watch this movie, and trust me, you will not regret it!