Arun Sharma

Dec 26

Handbook for offending brown people

  1. Get a cop to strip a brown person
  2. Ensure that the brown person is a woman
  3. Pick a woman who is a UN accredited diplomat
  4. "Visually inspect" cavities
  5. Handcuff her
  6. Get another brown person to claim that she was treated well and that she was “fully searched” for her own security as a part of “standard procedures”.
  7. Write editorials about how brown people habitually overreact
  8. Prefix them with a primer on how caste system works in India.
  9. Educate the user on how class is replacing caste.
  10. Get more brown people to write editorials about the “feudal” system and elitism among the ruling class.
  11. Stop writing about the topic when contrary evidence is presented.
  12. Regret, but do not apologize.
  13. Find more brown people in the state dept to issue press releases.
  14. Do not write anything about the diplomat’s caste, since it’s too inconvenient for the narrative.
  15. Get white women on TV to claim what is essentially a wage dispute is actually “human trafficking”.
  16. Completely ignore the well known desire of poor brown people to take great risks to migrate to America and the willingness to do unethical and illegal things (unless they come from Mexico).
  17. Pay for the tickets of brown people using diplomatic discounts and fly them out of the country when there are ongoing legal proceedings in a court with brown judges.
  18. Write about universal declaration of human rights and purchasing power parity in the same sentence.
  19. Get brown people to fight among themselves by bringing up other hot button issues: corruption, land rights.
  20. Get the president to give speeches about the great democracies and independent judiciary that brown people have.

Oct 06

When history books are written a few years from now, they’ll probably mention 1336x768 as the number that killed Dell and the rest of the PC industry.
Well, other guys do it too, but Dell is probably egregious among the PC makers in selling $1000+ core-i7 laptops with 1336x768 resolution at a time when 1920x1080 Nook HD sells for about $100.Really, the job of the PC vendor should be to figure out what customers want and try to provide it at the best price point. On the other hand, what Dell does is to complicate the process of buying a PC by a factor of 10 by adding a gazillion irrelevant options and bloatware. Then they pay the bargain shopping websites to push this to their customers: 2.5 hour battery life, batteries that last 6 months, bad resolution, cheap plastic, extra thick form factor, power hungry CPU - pick any two and you’ll find it in a Dell laptop.They do make nice aluminum ultrabooks which are free of all the hassle you say? Just check the price. It ends up being more expensive than a Macbook Air. Given that Apple is the #1 brand in the world now, do they have any hope of selling any serious volume of those?It’s not that hard to figure out. Take a Dell 14z ($499) or HP Chromebook ($300?) and spend $50 on the high-res panel. Add some nicer materials and a mainstream PC vendor should be able to sell for $750 something with:* 14 inch body* 1080p resolution* 128 GB SSD* HDMI/bluetooth/USB * Decent webcam* Under 3.5 lbs* Nice materials (glass or aluminum)* Touchscreen* 8-9 hours of batteryBut no, everyone is happy selling junk at $400 or poor Macbook Air clones at $1200. What’s wrong with these people?

When history books are written a few years from now, they’ll probably mention 1336x768 as the number that killed Dell and the rest of the PC industry.

Well, other guys do it too, but Dell is probably egregious among the PC makers in selling $1000+ core-i7 laptops with 1336x768 resolution at a time when 1920x1080 Nook HD sells for about $100.

Really, the job of the PC vendor should be to figure out what customers want and try to provide it at the best price point. On the other hand, what Dell does is to complicate the process of buying a PC by a factor of 10 by adding a gazillion irrelevant options and bloatware. Then they pay the bargain shopping websites to push this to their customers: 2.5 hour battery life, batteries that last 6 months, bad resolution, cheap plastic, extra thick form factor, power hungry CPU - pick any two and you’ll find it in a Dell laptop.

They do make nice aluminum ultrabooks which are free of all the hassle you say? Just check the price. It ends up being more expensive than a Macbook Air. Given that Apple is the #1 brand in the world now, do they have any hope of selling any serious volume of those?

It’s not that hard to figure out. Take a Dell 14z ($499) or HP Chromebook ($300?) and spend $50 on the high-res panel. Add some nicer materials and a mainstream PC vendor should be able to sell for $750 something with:

* 14 inch body
* 1080p resolution
* 128 GB SSD
* HDMI/bluetooth/USB
* Decent webcam
* Under 3.5 lbs
* Nice materials (glass or aluminum)
* Touchscreen
* 8-9 hours of battery

But no, everyone is happy selling junk at $400 or poor Macbook Air clones at $1200. What’s wrong with these people?

Sep 01

[video]

Jun 27

India and Inefficiency

You want a new landline? Someone will come over to your house and collect the documents, get an account opened and have your phone/DSL ready in a couple of days. Sounds great? Not so fast.

Here is how it works in the real world: after collecting the docs, the guy asks for a Rs 200 “service fee”. I understood it was a bribe, but told him I’ll pay a tip after the line ready. But the guy insists on getting paid upfront. Since I badly wanted it done this week, I pay him. The guy takes the money and runs away in 20 seconds leaving nothing but a cell number.

I get a bit suspicious, call the phone provider the next day and tell them what happened. Someone threatens this guy with a complaint and the guy is hugely upset. He threatens to return the Rs 200 and the application form and tells me to go to a different ISP (knowing there is only one).

I pacify him into coming over, he throws his weight around a bit by making us wait and making 3 different trips to get the wiring right. On his 4th trip, he finally gets my landline + DSL working, but doesn’t want to tell me the password! If I get a new router, he wants to be invited over.

He made sure that phone connection doesn’t work in the bedrooms, so we invite him over at least one more time.


Suddenly things clicked into place. I understand why the roads are bad, why they get cut, why they need to be replaced every 12 months.

There is a huge disparity in income between the “privileged” class and the average technician. So they probably see their behavior morally justified in some twisted sense.

From my point of view, if he just quotes a price for getting everything done without this insane/dishonest dance, I’d probably pay it as a tip.

Bangalore cab drivers about women

I was sitting in a 25 min traffic jam just to make it past one signal light for dinner with friends. As the conversation with the cab driver went from the hindi speaker invasion of old bangalore and the foolishness of his dad for not buying some land, he peers out of the window, sees a woman driver and immediately goes:

The traffic jam is caused by women drivers. They’re everywhere and doing everything - which is the root of many problems!

I was taken aback for a moment, but realized that this is not an isolated opinion and probably not very useful to get into an argument with.

I felt bad about not having made my opinion known. May be next time.

Jun 01

“Free software activist Bradley Kuhn wrote that “I’m not against the closing of this bug; however, the closed status should be something like ‘Can’t Fix.’” (The actual status is “fix released.”) Kuhn went on to note that the original bug report stated that “[a] majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software,” and that even Android devices tend to include proprietary software.” — http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/05/mark-shuttleworth-gives-up-dream-of-ubuntu-toppling-windows/

Julian Assange

In the book the authors happily take up the white geek’s burden. A liberal sprinkling of convenient, hypothetical dark-skinned worthies appear: Congolese fisherwomen, graphic designers in Botswana, anticorruption activists in San Salvador and illiterate Masai cattle herders in the Serengeti are all obediently summoned to demonstrate the progressive properties of Google phones jacked into the informational supply chain of the Western empire.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/opinion/sunday/the-banality-of-googles-dont-be-evil.html

Google phones use mostly free software and Julian Assange is not exactly a shy freedom of information activist. But getting into international politics has a cost.

May 20

marissamayr:

The great workplace dilemmas of our time…

marissamayr:

The great workplace dilemmas of our time…

Dec 16

Samsung Chromebox Review

I bought a Samsung Chromebox (core i5 based) recently with the expectation that this would be a quiet, general purpose small form factor PC that I’ve been trying to build for years. Turns out that it’s more complicated than that.

Turning off verified boot and enabling the dev BIOS doesn’t necessarily give you the ability to plug in a external USB drive with a bootable MBR like a traditional PC BIOS would. Scripts like the one from ChrUbuntu partition the already meager 16GB drive. What I’m looking for is the ability to keep the ChromeOS partition as pristine as possible, while retaining the ability to boot something else.

What has been demonstrated so far is the ability to boot a ChromeOS kernel on a Ubuntu partition. Anything else requires some time commitment and hacking on your part (which is probably going to cost you more in terms of time than the cost of the hardware).

Ability to kexec a non-chromeos kernel (or grub) on an external device in the dev mode would be nice.

Bluetooth: don’t expect to be able to connect to your audio system and stream music. Only bluetooth keyboard, mouse are supported.

Lack of hardware settings: either things work or they don’t. No ability to configure anything. Don’t like 1024x768? Get a new cable. Don’t get audio from the builtin speakers when display port/HDMI is plugged in? Get a new headphone. Don’t like headphones? Sorry. Reduced complexity is good, but this one goes a bit too far.

In spite of all the limitations, the device delivers on the promise of a fast, quiet, general purpose x86 box. Sometimes I don’t like mobile computing (= devices that I have to go looking for around the house). This one makes a great immobile computer that stays in one place.

Nov 30

WaitForMultipleObjects() on Linux

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