Cheap tech gadgets: can they ‘make a difference’?

Technology at its best (Photo credit: Manuel Alarcón) When there is grinding poverty all around, and you flash a  >$500 phone or tablet, the lines of embarrassment steal their way to your face when someone poor inquires about the price. The old game of showing off costly gadgets still goes on in friend circles, neighbourhoods and offices. And never was the scene so hotted up than after the coming of IT gadgets. Surely the prices are coming down as competition makes it way, and we can buy tablets under this budget. But the craze for the ‘latest’ and ‘the best’ continues unabated. The demand is maddening and most casual conversations around us are filled up with the new magic tricks of technology. If everyone was not doing it, we would have thought that the big guys playing silly sling games had not outgrown the child within and needed treatment. Crossing ten levels on Angry Birds by moving your fingers won’t make any difference...
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Think For Me

As machines take over all the most cumbersome tasks from us, in office and at home, there is one that still remains an only-human task – THINKING. It is also the supreme goal, the final dream of many a scientists and technologists. How much easier life would be if I could hold a gadget in my hands and make it think! I believe it can be done. We could gradually, personally, program a gadget to absorb our thinking patterns and enliven them in front of us. It won’t live, it won’t breathe, or make plans and schemes. But it would put in front of our eyes the exact way in which someone tends to think, or more or less the same way. It might just be a media gizmo, and nothing more. A story teller, if you would like. A dreamer. Association maker. But it would help in relieving us of many a labours. Let’s wait for the day!   ...
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The Windows revolution

The popular sentiment against its creator Microsoft notwithstanding, the Windows operating system has brought what was once a scientific and business curiosity to everyone’s homes, so much so that even toddlers today can operate machines that once upon a time only professionals did. Windows reinvented the computer, such that today the machine permeates all aspects of our lives. Giving commands through clicks made with a mouse is what Windows is all about, and it has virtually transformed the whole world. The greatness of the idea lay in its simplicity. It is innate to humans to use their index finger and thumb for manipulating and operating objects. Buttons and switches are therefore prominently used for operating gadgets and devices of all kinds. Windows uses this concept on the monitor screen – icons and buttons that can be clicked with a mouse to give commands to manage all operations. The older, keyboard-based DOS would have left us typing commands all over to manage...
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Terminator 1, 2, 3 – review

A package of action, science fiction and thriller, the three Terminator series films develop a story whose central idea is now well known to all movie lovers. Two killing machines (they call them ‘cyborg’) are sent back in time, one to kill and the other to save the leader of a war that erupts several decades later between humans and self-aware software controlled machines. The first Terminator had the feel of a ‘B’ grade film, mindless violence with poor synthesized background music that sounded disconnected from the visuals. It was Terminator 2,. the same  plot reworked, with its special effects winning Oscars, that made the series, and the name of Arnold Schwarzenneger, famous around the world. The third version, sans James Cameron, the writer of the original story, runs the same plot around quite unsuccessfully. This time the chasing terminator is a female, although it beats us how and why a machine could or should be so! The common underlying theme of...
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A cell phone is not just a phone…

The title of this article is false. Yet it fits the real picture if all the implications of this device that keeps its carrier forever in the loop are taken into account. What was once a hardly noticeable device kept in a corner, announcing its presence with a shrill trinn trinn from time to time, is now a constant companion that refuses to let go. Some half-serious thoughts on what it has done to us. The game begins with the very introduction of this device in the market. Not owning a mobile reflects on your standing – the haves and the have nots. Having it puts you on a forever alert mode. Consider this. When the device is swithced off, it carries a meaning. When it is not reachable, it calls for interpretation. If the call goes unanswered, it could be for certain reasons, good or bad. When calls are diverted, that too means something. The mobile acts like a permanent...
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