All Things Tarun

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  • 01:01:15 pm on June 28, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    I was invited to a VIP lunch at the new HuHot Grill in Bloomington, IN — off of 3rd street where Cheeseburger in Paradise used to be. The location is fantastic being next to a college campus, and I couldn’t wait to see if this style of cuisine would be well received by a primarily student populated community.

    HuHot is a Mongolian BBQ style grill, like BD’s Mongolian or FlatTop Grill. First you grab a bowl and “pillage” the raw food selection. The food is raw because it is cooked for you on a circular, hibachi style grill.

    There are several meats and veggies to choose from. I started with a bowl of chicken with some vegetables. Apparently, they have swordfish, but this must be a dinner item due to the premium quality of meat. After you pile a bowl (and I do mean pile — the raw food cooks down a bit), you add your own concoction of sauce based on 10 bases at the sauce bar.

    Unlike BD’s, you have to ladle the sauce directly into the bowl, instead of in a side dish. If you do decide to try the place, I recommend at least 10 ladles full to get a good flavor. When you are all ready to go, the chefs at the grill greet you and try to pump you up with excitement about your amazing creation. I thought this was a great way to get customers involved and prime them for an enjoyable experience. The food takes about 10 minutes to cook and you are ready to eat. At the table, the servers provide you with tortillas and white rice (no brown, when I asked) as well.

    The food quality was pretty good, but your experience will depend on how well you add ingredients to a bowl and how much sauce you add. My bowls were mainly chicken based, but you can add sausage, crab, and/or beef as well. The sauce mixture I made combined the spicy Kung-Pao style sauce with a sweet Hoisen mixture. If you like spicier food, try to put at least 7-10 ladle fulls of the Kung-Pao alone. In general, the learning curve isn’t too high, and a quality product can definitely be achieved with ease.

    The service was pretty fast, but my friends and I agreed that there could be an issue with waiting in line to construct your bowl when the location opens to the public. There is no real way to stand in line without interrupting other patrons; perhaps they should create a more defined queue for customers to wait in. Given that you eat at your own pace, waiting for dinner is a non-issue. However, if you want to order and appetizer or dessert, plan for the fact that they make take about 10 minutes. The wait staff were extremely pleasant and I’d like to especially thank the manager, Ana, and the professional staff for their hospitality.

    For lunch, the place is an amazing deal. There is no tiered pricing — $8.00 gets you unlimited lunch bowls and about $12 for unlimited dinner bowls. The only other location in the area that can match this is the China buffet in the strip mall adjacent to the location, which offers a similar $8.00 pricing. Your meal also includes a soft drink. College students will love this and I am confident that the business will be a booming success with a continued focus on quality and friendliness.

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  • 01:49:26 pm on June 24, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO:

    According to Elop, the N9 is a handset that relies more on the Qt application framework than its MeeGo operating system. Thanks for the Qt environment, the used applications can be programmed to work with three of the platforms used by Nokia, though not with the Windows Phone system.
    In Elop’s words, there is no returning to MeeGo, even if the N9 turns out to be a hit.

    Basically, Nokia is going to fully commit to the Windows Phone 7, which hasn’t shown its colors to be the talk of the town. Meanwhile, other companies are moving in a similar, backward trend:

    Stephen Jarislowsky, a primary shareholder for RIM:

    You should not have these two people at both positions because they have worked together all their lives and they are basically the same person, from point of view of policy.

    Two heads are clearly not better than one, and the entire world is watching the company fall into utter collapse: Their stock has hit an all time low and is still falling due to rapid speculation and selling at record speeds. And behind door number three:

    On Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO:

    Greenlight Capital hedge-fund manager David Einhorn thinks so. “His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft’s stock,” he told a recent New York investment-research conference, according to Reuters. He also suggested it was time to “give someone else a chance” at the technology giant’s helm.

    Steve has been called to step down by numerous people, and yet the board still backs him up as the future of the franchise. By the way: Gates has said no to the job.

    Three big companies, three lousy people at the helm. Everyone knows change is needed, and yet there is this strong, stubborn grip on the past. In a time of needing competition and innovation, these companies, among others (HP) are sitting at a junction where they could either make some radical infrastructure changes, or sit on their laurels and suffer into near bankruptcy.

    Okay — that’s a little strong. The fact is that Microsoft still dominates the global PC marketshare, Nokia still dominates the global phone share (though not in the US, specfically), and even RIM is still a prominent enterprise phone maker. However, short term thinking is not what makes companies successful. Apple thought about iCloud 10 years ago. Before the “digital hub” even existed (which, I believe, begins with the iPod), Apple had thought of that concept. Proactive innovation, not reactive to trends, is what brings a company forward.

    I’m hoping the days of innovation aren’t over. There is a large opinion that we live in a world where there can only be one, dominant force in technology still. This is certainly not the case. While Apple is dominant with the music industry and their tablet industry, Microsoft is still utterly powerful in the PC space. And no one has figured out TV yet — in fact Steve Jobs says there isn’t a “go to market” strategy in the first place. There exists plenty of room for innovation in existing spaces, and even more in new, emerging markets.

     
  • 05:43:22 pm on April 30, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    The iPad according to Steve Jobs:

    Is there room for a third category of device in the middle? The bar is pretty high, in order to create a new category of devices, those devices should be far better than doing a few key things.

    And he’s right, of course. The iPhone came out and introduce multi-touch capability, making it far better to surf the web on a mobile phone, but not superior to a desktop computer: the lack of Flash, small screen, and inability to see “a lot at once” is hindering. While the iPhone does have the best web browser on a phone, it does not really compare to a desktop class web browser. The iPhone also did a great job with listening to music, storing a lot of photos, being a gaming device, and handling multiple email accounts.

    The iPad, however, is a curious beast: It does what the iPhone does, but better. With browsing the web, you can actually see the entire web and touch it. This sounds cliché, but it really is a great way to experience the internet. Email looks much better with two-pane navigation and seeing rich HTML messages on that screen is a great experience. Photos are bigger and easier to display (there is even an on desk picture frame feature on the lock screen). Videos look better and do not suck so much better life out of the device. Games are a must when on the iPad — the bigger screen and accelerometer controls make for great casual and even hard core gaming. The iPad also kills many eReaders — the color screen and multi touch controls let you have the sensation of reading an illustrated book while having everything else you would want included.

    I have been using the iPad 3G for four months, so I feel it is about time I share my experience after heavy use. I have a 13” Macbook (Unibody) and it sits as a desktop computer at home. I have taken the iPad everywhere and used it to take class notes, browse the web on campus, and play games occasionally.

    The iPhone reflex

    It is reflexive to pull out your phone when you want information. My phone has a bumper on it with no case. I can flick it on, hit safari, and search. My phone also has SMS ability and emailing someone quickly doesn’t take much effort. While I enjoy having the iPad with me when I need to type a longer email message, I usually would much rather type a business-related email on a computer. The multi-touch keyboard is only good for quick bursts of typing, and long bouts of typing without tactile feedback becomes cumbersome and can even wear on my fingers with the angle that I type with on the iPad.

    Typing

    Typing with the iPad is something I still don’t get — finger peck or home-row style? Either method has its issues. With finger pecking, the distance between keys is longer and I feel like I’m punching glass because of how “hard” I type. Home row style leads me to lose my spot since I don’t have the raised F and J keys. Also, my large hands make it tougher to keep my hands locked in a position to type a long document. I pull out my iPhone when I need to type because thumb typing does not hurt as much and I am faster with it than both methods above.

    In regards to typing, note taking is even more curious. I do not want to spend $10 on Pages, Apple’s word publishing application, because I want something lightweight that syncs with Dropbox right out of the box. Elements does a great job with this, but the app is not rich text capable, so my notes on Dropbox look awful. In addition to the app problems, the typing problems above make me wish for my laptop instead. I like to be able to look up a white board while typing, rather than continue to have to glance up and down to make notes.

    Music

    Why would anyone want to listen to music on their iPad? It is a big device to carry around for just music, and finding songs from a list on a big screen is difficult. Yes there is a search feature, but I like to browse my songs more. I also want to be able to carry my music around in my pocket, so carrying a larger device is cumbersome.

    Once a laptop guy, always a laptop guy

    I think if I had been born into the “tablet” generation to come, I may find it useful to only have a tablet. Apple is going to want to continue to flesh out this product so it becomes a stand-alone device that doesn’t require tethering to a computer — something that the rumored cloud service should help with. Having used physical keyboards my whole life, there are certain comforts I am missing with the iPad. Having had a screen up in front of me (and not looking up at me) is something I will always cling to, it seems. In all, the iPad seems to be great at a few things, but it does not want to replace my phone when it comes to most other things.

     
  • 11:51:33 pm on April 19, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    Cool idea from a friend; I hope to see some great tips myself:

    This blog is going to be used as a place to post walkthroughs, guides, and interesting tidbits I find and discover during my career — and since I’m sure I’ll come across them quite a bit, I feel this beneficial to everyone to share these experiences for anyone (and it’s free!)

    via A Technology Blog

     
  • 08:42:12 pm on April 19, 2011 | 3 | # |
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    Donald Trump is a brilliant businessman, but is also extremely loud spoken. Here’s a segment from the Today show where Trump talks about some of the high points of why he should be the next Republican candidate:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfoCrZJ8dQY%5D

    Here are the key points:

    • Trump is rich. He wouldn’t come out with a round number of his net worth, but I’m going to guess in total cash + assets, he is sitting on $5 billion. That’s not a bad amount of money to run for President with. Not to say he’ll use his own money, but if he did then the argument of getting assistance from government officials would be wiped out.
    • He is against abortion
    • His family said he wants him to run, but as a way to “do service to the country”
    • He will not cut taxes, and he certainly won’t cut taxes from defense spending.
    • He seems to have an attitude of “Screw the rest of the world, let’s let the USA be the USA.”
    • He respects all of the other republican candidate hopefuls, and he particularly thinks Sarah Palin has gotten a bad rap.

    In all, he just spoke loudly, with confidence, and with assurance that he was correct. It is tough to argue against a guy who seems so dogmatic. But, if you look at the rest of the republican candidates, he probably will stand out as the favorite. In the end, politics is about how big your wallet is and how loud your promises are (keeping them is another thing).

     
  • 04:08:54 pm on March 4, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    Samsung is Reeling after the iPad 2 announcement on Wednesday:

    We will have to improve the parts that are inadequate,” Lee Don-joo, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile division, told Yonhap News Agency. “Apple made it very thin.

    Samsung is a big company – the worlds largest electronics company with revenues of over $117 billion annually. They have the factories, parts, people and infrastructure to create an iPad killer, but their execution is best described as reactive. Apple started last year with no idea how the market would respond to a device that was really just a big iPod touch. Now, they have the product to beat. First it was the iPod, then the iPhone, and now the iPad. How can a company possibly come up with three “Post-PC blockbusters”?
    Vision.
    And it’d an obvious one in hindsight – humans want to interact more with their products, and they want to use something that is easy. First they built an ecosystem — iTunes and the App Store. Then they gathered over 200 million users’ credit card information. You don’t need to really do much else to have a revolution. People are already plugged in, now you need something that delivers content with little to no hassle.
    In this light, it is a lost cause for Samsung to react to Apple. Apple is arguably 10 steps ahead of everyone, even with the Android platform. Apple had a saying: Think Different. If you wanted to beat Apple today, you need the managerial know-how, large scale production, and visionary leader to come close. The uncanny synergy that is “just working” is leaving the competition flummoxed indeed.

     
  • 11:33:05 am on March 2, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    R.E.M. is awesome, and they understand today’s music generation. A week ago, they releases a 5-track pack from their new album, Collapse Into Now. That’s out of 12 total tracks. If that wasn’t enough, the entire album is streamed on NPR, in preparation for the album’s release in a week. Check it out!

    http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=133998085&m=133997126&t=audio

     
  • 03:06:51 pm on February 26, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    I’m excited to see the next revision of Lion previewed to developers. Here are some notable changes:

    • Autosave/Resume: It seems that Lion machines are likely to shift with a small SSD to help speed up the boot process, as well as perhaps use as an additional RAM-like storage. Therefore, features like auto-save and resume are easy and functional. Resume looks particularly nice, but personally when I close a window I don’t expect it to just remain in the original state when I return. In fact, many times I don’t want that to be the case — Firefox and other web browsers still haven’t figured out how to speed up the process of re-opening 20 tabs that may have closed.
    • Mail 5: I love the new look of mail, and conversations look spiffy. Great thing is that Apple has kept the “classic view” option for those who don’t.
    • Airdrop: Really cool concept, and it actually doesn’t need the same wi-fi network o do this from what I hear. Very interesting idea. Perhaps it is using the Apple ID as a way to prove that you want to share your machine’s information.
    • No more “quitting”: Just like on the iPad, quitting an application is possible but a little un-intuitive. The same goes for this version, with application persistance.

    Overall, the OS is going to feel “lighter” and more flexible from the screen shots and features added. Hopefully the light feel also means solid performance boosts. It is interesting that while Apple puts in state-of-the-art hardware, they make their OS much more lightweight so it does not get in the way. Hopefully developers via the Mac App Store can take a cut from the same cloth.

     
  • 01:35:25 am on February 15, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    I am really fascinated by the Watson series on Jeopardy thus far. What stuck out to me were not the answers he got right, but the answers that the computer eliminated or the answers he got wrong. IBM said it best: “Watson not only knows what he knows, but he knows what he doesn’t know.” This is definitely more of a challenge than getting a question right, as we have seen many computers do “well” at things.

    Watson’s quirks were due to limitations in hardware as well as simply guessing incorrectly. Watson receives the questions via a txt file from the Jeopardy board, and cannot hear any audio input. As such, if a contestent guesses an incorrect answer, Watson cannot use the information to move to his second or third guess. Furthermore, Watson will only guess if the answer is past a “guessing threshold”, indicated by a line on the screen. This threshold changes depending on the confidence of the question itself. So, there were a couple of guesses he didn’t make that were actually correct, but the threshold wasn’t high enough. Finally, if Watson guesses incorrectly, it was more likely grossly incorrect than close at the right answer. This seems to suggest that Watson didn’t understand the question, rather than just having guessed wrong. You can make that assumption because the top three guesses he would have would be not even close for a couple of mistakes Watson made.

    Right now Watson is tied with Rutter at $5000, and Jennings is at $2000. Jennings looks determined to make a comeback, so it will be interesting to see how the computer does tomorrow. The series ends on Wednesday.

     
  • 03:57:58 pm on January 31, 2011 | 0 | # |
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    My RSS reader is flooded with quotes from Netgear CEO Patrick Lo’s comments on Apple and Android:

    “What’s the reason for [Jobs] to trash Flash? There’s no reason other than ego,” he said.

    There are numerous talking points and discussions to be had in the HTML5 and Flash debate. Flash does harshly affect the battery life on devices that need not use the technology, but Flash is necessary for various applications such as intense gaming content and other useful applications that are found behind the HTML5 veil. Google Maps uses Flash for their street view functionality. Gmail also uses Flash for multiple file uploads. Yes, the front end could be saved without Flash, but the backend requires Flash for numerous reasons.

    But what’s more eyebrow raising is Lo’s comments on closed v. open systems:

    “Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform,” said Lo. “Ultimately a closed system just can’t go that far … If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it’s pretty difficult as I see it.”

    I don’t think one could possibly make the argument that a closed system can’t go far, given the resounding success of the iOS platform. People are deciding with their wallets: they want to be told what they want. And why not? You get the simplicity of a distribution system that doesn’t bother you except for some updates, and everything handles itself seemlessly through one peice of software (iTunes).

    Today I watched the “Future of the Mac” Panel with Jason Snell, editor of Macworld. In it, they talk about how the future of the Mac, while it is iOS inspired, seems to also move to an even simpler experience. On the one hand, you have users who wish to have the “truck”, with a fully-loaded OS that can be customized to the extreme (think 27” iMac with an octo-core processor). On the other hand, you have users who want a light, simple machine that uses the Mac App Store exclusively and barely has any thinking involved. Even the file system is something that a person may never see, because documents and other needs of the past are all part of “Apps” … hubs that users can move in and out of, without needing to know where a file is. This future may seem scary to power users like you and me, but the panel had a point: it seems inevitable.

    So does the closed system look like it is going to fail? Perhaps time will tell, but given the first four years of “closedness” that Apple has been shelling out, things are looking promising. Already we see developers declaring (like a Presidential candidacy backing) that they will support their application through the App Store only (Twitter). What about those who don’t wish to use the ecosystem? They will most likely be left behind by the main consumer, but there will still be a place for them for those of us who drive the trucks of the computing world — because we still need them.

    But the bottom line is this: Patrick Lo is a CEO of a router company that isn’t trying to be a front-runner in innovation. His comments are ill-supported by what we have right now, and time will probably further disprove him.

     
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