The scary side of mobile phone innovation…

FirmBee / Pixabay

As a kid, I never knew or heard about a mobile phone…well…no one heard about it I guess. In this day and age, I cannot fathom anyone not knowing what mobile phones are and how they keep us connected.

While they do an awesome job of functioning as a computer in the palm of your hand, they have started venturing into more innovative ways to implement security.

Starting from a simple user-name/password combination, passcode locks, pattern locks,to finger-print scanning, and now iris scanning. Imagine this…until now the user had to know what the magic code is to unlock his/her phone to get access to the plethora of information the mobile phone becomes a gateway to.

Today, one does not need the user to even be alive to get access to their personal information on the phone…how hard can scanning a fingerprint or an iris be ? Why are financial institutions embracing these innovations, while it is pretty obvious they are not the right use-cases for this kind of innovation. Thankfully, they also offer the good old username/password combination, but lets be real…how many of us use that feature anymore when we can make do with fingerprint scanners.

Two-pass authentication is good, but is useless when you have the mobile phone already with you. Big shakes that they send an additional code…wonder what they are trying to secure.

Back to Windows 7

I love Windows 8. There you go…I said it. But I just divorced it, and kicked it to the curb. I have an Alienware Aurora (now discontinued for good reason I hope), that I purchased 5 years ago with the top of the line config. My entire rig including the monitors costed me approx $3000. With 2 TB HDD and 12 GB DDR3 RAM, I thought I was future proofing it. Windows 7 was a charm to work with, and when Windows 8 released, even though I did not have touch screen monitors, I went ahead and installed Windows 8 on my system. Then it all started…like my machine was possessed. Typical daily symptoms included

  • All the chasis fans were roaring non-stop.
  • Multiple blue screen of death.
  • I will be working on some document, and suddenly the system reboots.
  • Once the system goes to sleep, it won’t wake up without a reboot.
  • On the rare occasions it sleeps, and wakes up, I should have waited almost 10 minutes (no kidding)
  • My secondary HDD does not show up at times.

I lived with this for almost a year. I even tried to shut down my machine for a few days, just to avoid the noise. But work needed to be done…the show must go on…and I would turn it back on.

But enough was enough. One fine day, I decided to divorce Windows 8, and am trying to patch up things with Windows 7 now. Things are getting back to normal now. My fans don’t roar anymore, NO CRASHES, no random reboots, and it wakes up from sleep mode whenever I ask it to in less than a few seconds.

So, in retrospect, the questions nagging me are…

  • Did Alienware discontinue this because of the hardware problems?
  • Did Microsoft dump the old hardware when Steve Balmer decided to rewrite Windows 8 source code?

With Windows 9/10 on the horizon, Satya Nadella .. the ball is in your court to impress me.

Apps : The fading relevance of the Windows Phone

I love windows !….there you go..I said it out loud. I love Microsoft products as well. In fact, I rely on Microsoft for my daily bread and butter. I would not hesitate to going as far as saying that MS products helped me learn programming faster.

I have sincerely tried to start using the Windows version of a mobile phone ever since I could afford it.

Palm Treo 800 (WP 6):

Palm Treo 700w Smartphone interesting phone…And quite frankly did not use it for anything more than playing “Bubble Breaker”, making phone calls, checking emails, and yeah…some not too amazing but bearable pictures.

Samsung Focus (WP 7):

Not a bad phone at all. Worked just fine. But no apps. And this was probably 2 years  ago….around 2011. At that time, I gave Windows the benefit of doubt, and let go simply because it was new. When WP8 was about to be released, I was excited as usual, however, MS decided to change specs on me. Which basically meant …. my WP7 phone was going to be useless if I wanted to upgrade. Hmm…ended up selling it off to get myself an iPhone 4. And yeah..not many apps.  At that time, there was no Facebook app, no Bank Of America app, nothing.

Nokia Lumia 1020 (WP8):

Fast forward to Q4 2013… enter the Nokia Lumia 1020..what more could I ask for.  Amazing camera, good size, great look, some more nice software updates from MS…..but NO @#$@#$ APPS even now. Some of the fundamental apps that people have come to love are still not available for WP8. Unfortunately, even with the awesomely unique Metro/Modern design, and the live tiles, Windows is losing its relevance in the phone area simple because of lack of apps. What good is all the infrastructure, if there is no one to use it. I got the Lumia 1020, used it for a week, and found it lacking. Most of my life is around dropbox, and windows does not support dropbox…rather, there is no authentic app for it yet. No instagram either.  Inspite of the lack of apps, I have to admit the simple fact… the apps that do exist are awesome. While I am not a big fan of the form factor, it is just a matter of getting used to. Sparing that, everything else about the WP8 hardware is amazing. Oh yeah, the camera grip kicks ass. Makes it a bit bulky, but hey…it has an additional power source there too.

So, lets see…considering my history, it looks like I am going to give Windows Phone one more chance when the next big OS push comes around…WP9 I hope. Hopefully, there will be enough good apps then. Hopefully, I shall stick to it.

Because, honestly the iPhone has lost its charm. There is nothing amazing about it anymore.

Independence from what ?

Today is the 15th of August …supposedly India’s independence day…after fighting the idea of being ruled by someone else, we decided to become independent. It has been 60+ years, and coming to think of it very carefully, somewhere along they way … we forgot what independence really means , and we landed in the same spot now … of being ruled by someone with none of our interests at heart… without actually realizing it.

Every week, there is a rape case in some city…..and just when that was becoming almost daily news, raping children….are you frikin serious.
– Men in India are getting desperate….and the whole “advancement” in culture and the imbalance in population growth is putting an unwanted strain on everyone.
– Kids….seriously…kids…..how desperate you really have become to stoop that low…to rape kids in a train bathroom.

Indian flag
Indian national flag

And did I fail to mention, people turning a blind eye to such things….just to keep out of trouble. We can call ourselves independent when
– we can roam about the streets at any time without fear
– we can help a stranger on the road

Until then…we are better off calling the British or even the people from Antarctica to rule over us. Either way it does not make a difference. At least with someone ruling us before, we as a country found our balls and spine in alignment to stand as one.

As a human, I don’t expect a crime free society….but let there be some dignity in the the crimes you commit.

/Sashidhar