Friday, October 21, 2011

Apple to Target Footwear Market, Designs New Throwing Shoe

Apple Inc, known for its innovative technology products, has now come out with iThrow - shoes, designed specifically for throwing at people.

With celebrity targets such as George Bush, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Arvind Kejriwal, Shoe Throwing has evolved to become an activity which unites people across the globe.

Mr Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said "Given recent events, it has been a period of great soul searching for us. Our search for the soul, led us to the sole. Our motto has been simple - often the customer doesn't know what he wants, till you place it in his hands. We believe shoes designed for throwing are the next big opportunity. It's not a shoe we are selling. Its hope and experience"

A leading Tech Commentator stated "The shoe's advanced design allows seamless removal and ejection using Apple's proprietary iTouch system. Astonishingly, the shoe functions completely by touch - right down to putting it on and tying laces"

The shoe, named iThrow, will be the most software intensive shoe over. There is already a library of over 10000 apps, including apps which take a snapshot of the target just before hittng it as well as apps which help you decide the best angle to throw the shoe from. There's also an app which instantly updates your Facebook status once the shoe reaches its target.

Apple is rumoured to have included an 8 megapixel camera which films the entire throwing sequence automatically in HD. The shoe can also be synced with your iPod to play the right kind of tense / pulsating music during the throwing, to suit the atmosphere.

"Our new Siri technology will also be integrated with the shoe" Mr Cook said. "While its still experimental, some of the capabilities are truly mind boggling. For instance, you can train Siri to abuse the target on your behalf. You can also give voice commands to make the shoe change its target midway"

Nirdosh Kumar, a self-confessed Apple addict, said hes very excited about this new offering. "I have no idea why I need it, or how I will use it. But those things can be figured out later once I buy it"

Surprisingly, the shoe is not walking / running compatible.

"Human locomotion as a use for shoes is outdated" Mr Cook declared "As an innovative company, it is our duty to design products which challenge existing mindsets and paradigms and expand technology into the realm of the unknown. We made FM outdated with the iPod. I don't see why we cant do the same with Walking and iThrow"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Green Tea Speech

Ladies & Gentlemen of the Class of 2011:

Have Green Tea.

If I could offer you only one piece of advice for the future, Green Tea would be it.

Green Tea is low in caffeine and has antioxidants which reduce the risk of a wide variety of diseases, from cancer to schizophrenia to hip-hop music & hypochondria.

My other advice has no such benefits, and may seem self-indulgent, grotesque and completely incomprehensible.

Slow Down.

You rush too much for your own good. What seems like a journey to nowhere now will seem like a great idea later on. Or at least it won’t seem like a bad idea. At some point of time, you will realize that the journey was the destination. Or at least it’s more comforting to think that way.

Don’t be so serious.

No one is judging you. Heck, 99% of the time people don’t even have time to think about what you are doing, much less to evaluate you. There’s only one person who thinks you are important and that you matter, and that’s yourself. Or your kids, till they turn about 5 years old. After that, the roles reverse.  

Don’t Undo.

If there’s one function I could banish from the realm of technology, it would be Ctrl Z. Ctrl Z is a sneaky little thing, designed to lull us into a false sense of security into thinking that things in life can be reversed all the time. Don’t be fooled. Make mistakes, knowing they won’t get reversed. Creation has given you the license to fail.

Read Spam.

I love reading spam mails. If you ever needed proof that not everything in life makes sense, spam is it.


Be afraid of technology. Not from the fear that it will replace you or challenge you, but from the fear that it will make you forget how to live. Watch The Terminator, knowing that it’s a work of fantasy which will never happen. Watch Wall-E, dreading that we could be heading there soon.

Don’t outsource your life to technology.

Accept that Relationships fluctuate.

People aren’t always around. They all have their tracks to run on. Don’t take it personally. It’s better to understand and be misunderstood, than to misunderstand and be understood.

Nope, that didn't make sense to me either. But it sounded right.

That's how relationships also are.

Love your Parents.

It’s selfish. And it’s important. We all have our 2 AM friends. Sometimes, however, the 2 AM friend is the problem. Parents work 24/7. Thank God.

Experience. And Share It.

Be appalled. Be happy. Be sad. Be enthralled. Don’t jump to the endpoint. Don’t conclude in advance. When your friend tells you about the new movie he saw, listen to him. Don’t Google the review. He’s sharing an experience. He’s doing it because he wants to tell YOU about it.

Facts are not important. Conversations are. Otherwise, everyone knows everything anyway.

Free yourself.

From the pressure of optimizing. Of perfecting your choices. You are not an algorithm. You won’t always get the best fit. Sometimes, it’s fine to just have a good fit. Most times, in fact. Optimization isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Don’t Pre-Live.

Don’t live life, before you have lived it. Wait for it to pan out, to flow. Your time will come. Welcome it.


No one’s important enough to be hated. Everyone is insignificant enough to be loved.

Follow my advice. Or don’t follow it. Advice is more necessary for the giver than the taker, because he wants to be sure of what it is that he thinks he really knows.

Which isn’t much anyway and could be wrong.

But trust me on the Green Tea.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Thought & The Self

She smiled derisively and said "So there you are"

I acquiesced.

"Thats the problem with you. You are everywhere"

I shifted uncomfortably. "I am with you, too"

"Ohh yes, you are with me, but you are not for me. You belong to everyone. Don't you see how flawed that is?"

"I didn't quite..."

"Understand? Of course you didn't"

"I love..."

"Hah! Was there ever a thought that was in love?"

I waited, uncertain

"You just don't get it do you? A thought, that's what you have reduced yourself to. You have no Self. You, who allowed your fears to starve and your aspirations to wither! Where are your jealousies, your insecurities? You thought, you worthless piece of thought!"

I protested. "While I may have no Self, at least you have one. Can a thought not love a Self?"

She shook her head pityingly. "It is true, I am a Self. But a thought cannot comprehend a Self. It can only comprehend other thoughts. What it comprehends of the Self will be only a thought"

"But then..."

"No. I know what you will ask next. Even thoughts can't fall in love with one another. Thoughts are abstractions. Abstractions crash against one another, as do the waves against the rocks on the sea shore, as the wind rustles the leaves and grass; touching each other, but never staying on..."


“Don’t you see what a terrible thing it was to have sacrificed your Self thus? Did you not realize that thoughts have no form unless they possess a Self?

“It was to...”

“Better yourself? You believe this is better, that you have no burdens, and no control either? That anyone may allow you to enter, grow and then be discarded as they deem fit?”

I grew sadder “At least, I am pure. Unbiased. I am not weak. I drive the Self”

“Thats the mistake you are making. You don’t drive the Self; The Self allows itself to be driven by you. You have worth only if the Self allows, only as long as it allows”

I stood shaking, trembling, defeated. “Is there then no hope for me?”

She was smiling again “No, I don’t say that. Though you may not love, you may still be loved by others”

“But this is a price too terrible to pay; Condemned, to being loved by others without the ability to love them! What would I not give for the reverse, to love others without being loved by them, for there I am doing that which is within my reach!”

She sighed. “So it must be, for remember, you chose. You chose perfection over foible, you chose strength over weakness, you chose nothingness over form, you chose peace over insecurity. So also, you ended up choosing to not love over love. But don’t grieve, for when a Self truly loves you, you may become a part of it; then you may regain that which you have lost”

And as I looked in wonder, she departed, a terrifying promise, a sobering question...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why I Love Birthday Cakes...

I love birthday cakes.

It could be because they are cut only once a year.

They cleverly make you hanker and yearn for them the full year for one perfect moment of unabashed sensual epiphany...

They are the supreme manifestation of the unbridled ecstasy that restrained enjoyment brings;

I love birthday cakes.

It could be because a birthday cake is a world in itself.

Watch the tiny candles, struggling with the icing to hold on to their own little corners; Content to burn because they were lit, not concerned about the fact that they will be extinguished soon...

Watch the knife, which must sever and destroy every crumb that comes in its way, to let the cake achieve salvation; Watch its ribbon, tied almost an apology for that which it is about to do...

I love birthday cakes.

They show that people are not inherently chaotic. People give Beauty a form and try to preserve it. Careful with the box, don’t ruin the icing...

Preservation of Beauty is not a futile attempt. Beauty is temporary, yes, but it must be preserved till its time comes...

I love birthday cakes.

People are brave. They make an effort. They start clapping and singing aloud, no matter if they have forgotten the words; they know their intent is clear...

They are all present in homage to the cake, the most patient embellishment for an impatient world...

I love birthday cakes.

I love the Moment. The Moment when you are just about to blow and cut; The Moment when someone is frantically scrambling for the camera; the Moment when everyone waits with baited breathe for you to proceed...

Pause. Reflect. Ponder. Wonder.

That Moment is my own.

I brought this Moment for you, the cake whispers. Because you are you...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Technology Still Can't Do (And Might Do At Some Point In The Future)

I wonder if there's a term for the set of experiences that are not shared, but that we know exist because we have experienced them ourselves. How do we know that another person experiences something called hunger? Because a) He tells us so & b) We have experienced it ourselves. Otherwise there is no proof of hunger.

There are so many of these experiences - dreams, pain, emotions, hunger, thirst, thoughts etc. Our understanding of these has been shaped by thousands of years of shared experiences. And yet we have never (in the literal sense) experienced someone else's pain or dreams or thoughts. We believe it when a person says hes in pain because we trust him. The level of trust will vary with, among other things, his physical condition. A wounded person for example, who says hes in pain is more likely to be trusted than a person who appears to be completely fine. But it still hinges essentially on our trust & judgement.

That's one real tough nut for technology to crack. Can it synthesize, and improve our sense of trust & judgement? Can you have a pain monitor to check how much pain a person is experiencing? Not in its current state.

Language is a beautiful thing. It has its set of rules, but if we so choose those rules can be modified to various degrees. Look at how much of material must have been written in English using jut 26 letters! Trillions of words! And increasingly, the written word is becoming automated. Search engines have become intelligent. You can have essay & story generators. These are all becoming increasingly sophisticated with greater processing power and software development.

However, technology still cannot generate essays ab-initio. The program needs repositories of words, it needs to be taught grammatical rules & syntax. But dont we humans learn the same way? I guess not. The base for computers was mathematics, and not language. The evolution of computers started with the diode and binary logic and Boolean algebra. Over the years, this is the paradigm which has been worked upon and developed. Thus, all computing technology based upon this will face inherent limitations because deep down, beneath all the advanced circuitry and LCD screens, it all still a series of zeros and ones. Its like a human being trying to learn English using Mathematics. Only the quantitative part remains, the qualitative gets missed out.

And this is true, not only for language, but for all art. Computing technology cannot synthesize art beyond a point so long as it is based on logic. I wonder what would have happened if the computer had been developed by the Medicine or Literature profession, instead of the Mathematicians, Physicists & Engineers. Medicine, Arts & Social Sciences are used to dealing with imprecision and subjectivity in their research and analysis to a far greater degree. What if the computer was not based on zeros and ones but on some other paradigm completely? Say a computer which would behave like a human, throw tantrums when overworked, respond with greater enthusiasm at times and so on.

Artificial intelligence will remain artificial because it is an abstraction, an oversimplification of human intelligence into only the quantitative part. Human intelligence is both quantitative and qualitative. (Diversion - to ensure your job is not made redundant by technology, try to work in an area which makes use of qualitative human intelligence) This explains, among other things, the failure of models to predict the 2008-09 Economic Crisis, even as some people were able to predict it.

To make artificial intelligence natural, it is necessary to rework from the grassroots. One can't synthesize the qualitative from the quantitative; A new technological paradigm from the ground up is needed - one which is free from the restrictions of binary logic. We need a system which incorporates qualitative-ness. And for doing that, the core computing technology will need to incorporate inputs from all spheres of human activity in its design. And who knows, perhaps, the next Siri will tell you what you dreamt of last night and help you in composing a blog on it...