2015, or the year of going Back to the Future


(We’ll have to get back to that title in a minute.)

Continuing the tradition of sorta summing up the year just gone by is getting harder and harder, to say the least. 2014 was a year of some significant epochs, such as resetting my “time since last India visit” counter back down to 1 month.. after letting it hit 4 years and 10 months with no visit. ‘Twas a good great trip.. my biggest observation being that India is caught in an uncanny valley where they are technologically in the current day.. but in other day-to-day matters (including some infrastructure-related), they’re stuck in some bygone era. To be sure, there are some great efforts to fix all of this, but in the meanwhile, it becomes a question of how much compromise can one uncomplainingly accept. At the very least, I am still able to recognize that the India I left behind is a temporal state that India itself has left behind (if that makes any sense)1.

Other interesting developments.. hm…ugh, well, I guess tech-stuff is a good a topic as any. I’ve had to reluctantly accept that Apple appears to be the only technology company today that has truly figured UX/UI/hardware/software to a degree well beyond their competitors in any of those domains. I still maintain that it will take a lot to prise my X230T from my cold dead fingers, but even I have to begrudgingly accept that back in 2012, it was tough to say that the Lenovo comprehensively beat the Macbook. And then, of course, we got G an iPhone.. which shows off what is possible in these devices with some effort. And yes, it’s an effort I’m seeing only from Apple.

Do I sound like enough of an Apple fanboi yet?

Another observation I’ve cemented on: Google provides some amazing professional-grade services for “free” to consumers2, but ever since the death of Reader, I am wary. Microsoft seems to have some interesting possibilities in terms of providing a freemium alternative to Google, but they’re moving too slowly and shipping too many silly bugs to be taken seriously3.

2015 will mark the 5 year anniversary since I got this beast. And it still serves me well, humming along quietly in the corner. Unfortunately (for it), 2014 signified the year I was able to slowly relegate it to file server status. Probably meaning that beautiful machine will be put out to pasture somewhere4. It’s hard to accept that my computing needs have dropped down to a laptop once more, but a good run while it lasted 🙂 5

This blog itself? It got over 2000 views in 2014, probably largely led by all the interest in this post (which single-handedly contributed nearly 900 views). I am still interested enough in this space that I did some cleaning up of tags/categories prior to writing the current post, so there’s that. I am actually considering simply logging any tech research I do to this space. I’ve no idea if anyone ever finds that stuff useful though. Maybe a theme change to boot? We’ll see.

Some stuff I missed on initial posting: Thanks to the wonderful institution that is the US public library system, the little one is enjoying as many books as she can read have read to her. Et moi? This friggin’ place rents out PS3 games. And a completely delectable collection of comic books graphic novels6. The cherry on top? This place has gotten me back to watching movies more regularly, with a pretty varied Blu-Ray collection. I’ve not even started looking through the DVD section. Yeah. Me Happy7.

The other thing that just struck me is that 2014 is the year I let go of my mania of collecting (or as G would put it, hoarding). Not all of it, but still:

  • Maintaining an MP3 collection (hello, Saavn/Spotify).
  • Staying up to date with a crazy number of web comics (let go of Dilbert there after nearly 15 years of following his work).
  • Staying up to date with a crazy number of currently published graphic novels (hello, library and your insanely expansive treasure trove).
  • Boxes in which small electronics came in (yeah, you read that right).
  • Rakhis, store bought or hand-made that I’ve been preserving since 1995 (seriously, that stuff was falling apart).

Ah, and, finally.. the title. I don’t know if we’ll get ‘flying’ added to the ‘self-driving’ aspect of cars this year (probably not). But steps toward holographic interfaces and interactions? That would be interesting. And so goddamn cool8.

2015 will likely shape up to be interesting on multiple fronts, which of course, we’ll have to wait and watch for. Stay tuned.

  1. Not yet a complete NRI who finds it hard to digest (pun intended) that the price of vada pav is now 300% more than when he left, or that the latest technology products are actually available and widely used in India immediately after release. 
  2. “Free” as in “you, the consumer, will be sold and stalked rather than being sold to, deal with it”. 
  3. There is a long-unfinished post that I’ve probably restructured about 10 times where I was attempting to explain how I worked out interesting ways to use Microsoft and Google services. It remains to be seen if that topic will see the light of day. 
  4. Still figuring a replacement. 
  5. Small hardware upgrades.. an SSD, doubling the RAM, and even Windows 8.1 were all instrumental in its lifespan. 
  6. Yes, the little ‘un makes me read them to her. And yes, I do the different characters in different voices. And yes, she can recognize the main characters very well, thank you. 
  7. Can you tell that 2014 is the year I got back in touch with a bunch of my hobbies? Which means I’m ignoring something else, coz there’s no way I should have the time to do this. 
  8. Can you tell I recently watched ‘Her’? 

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