All About Sarah Palin

Check out this comprehensive summary about Sarah Palin (I first saw it here). It is amazing how much data can be gathered in such a short time. In this age of youtube its virtually impossible to get away with false claims. As the Presidential race reaches its home stretch there should be more details coming through for sure on her. At the moment the Republicans are attempting to control Sarah Palin’s exposure to the media. This has resulted in a virtual fact finding frenzy. It remains to be seen if the Palin pick was a master stroke or a disastrous move. For the moment it is surely a game changer of sorts.

Google Chrome: Cool, But By No Means Compelling

The first time I read the news about Google’s new browser I was quite surprised. Does the world need another browser? Isn’t Google backing Firefox in a BIG way? Then, I read this and came away rather impressed at how technology can be explained so “nicely.”

So, I decided to give Chrome a test drive.

Quick Summary

  • The first noticeable feature is the speed. It installs very quickly, is light-weight and launches rather fast. Very impressive indeed.
  • The pop-up blocker is the best I have seen. Even the annoying pop-ups at the TOI site were blocked successfully.
  • The UI is uncluttered. Gone are the RSS feeds (which I miss!) and the custom toolbars (good riddance!).
  • The URL field and the search fields are merged into one and the tabs have been moved to that top of the screen. This takes some getting used to, especially if you thrive on tabs.
  • Each tab operates independently, so if one of the tabs are hung you can kill it and use the rest without having to restart the entire browser. This is probably the most attractive feature after the speed of the browser.
  • If you are more technically inclined the browser lets you see the memory usage of each tab.
  • Chrome is search engine neutral.
  • The current version of Chrome works only on Windows.

Desktop Icons

The various web apps (Google Apps, Gmail etc.) can be saved as desktop icons and can subsequently be opened like a regular, normal application as apposed to being opened through the browser like a web application. Kinda cool.

Would Google Chrome eat up market share from other browsers?

Probably, to a certain extent. Personally, I can’t see myself abandoning Firefox and IE 6, at least not for now. Like many, I use multiple computers. One of them has Google Chrome installed, more out of curiosity rather than a pressing need. As far as I can tell, there is no compelling reason to move to Chrome (unless you are tech junkie), at least not yet.

What is the future of Chrome?

It will be interesting to see where Google goes with this product in the future, particularly because there is no compelling need to move to Chrome in its current form. I suspect there is more exciting technology in the pipeline (on the web apps front) and the present-day Chrome is only scratching the surface of what is possible with the new approach to the browser.

The fact that it is completely open source is certainly in sync with Google’s “do no evil” motto and might spurn some innovation from the Open Source community.

Given that Google has a war chest of cash, its engineers can endlessly amuse themselves with cool new technologies (good for them!). But it remains to be seen if there is a revenue model (either direct or in-direct) of some sort lurking somewhere in the distant future. Or is Google simply trying to steal some of Microsoft’s IE 8.0 thunder?

Like many Google products, the Chrome is one more product that is high on the “coolness” factor.

Web application developers have one more headache to deal with — Testing for one more browser and its various flavors!

p.s: Btw, I used Google Chrome to download IE 8.0. My first impression was that it still feels a lot like IE 7.0. So I promptly unistalled it given that I hardly got to like IE 7.0. When I first tried to uninstall IE 7.0 (and return to IE 6.) it was a complete nightmare. So maybe IE 8.0 is not bad, after all 🙂

The Republican Convention: A Host of Ironies

Country First: The partisanship and divisive mindset of the Republican party was evident starting with very theme of this convention. The Country First theme automatically implies that the opponents are not patriotic and don’t put their country first. There is also an implied assumption that only the Republicans put their country first. Ironically, despite John McCain’s desire to distant himself from the President, this theme signifies a continuation of the “you are with us or with the enemy” rhetoric of George Bush.

Since America was attacked under George Bush, is it fair to say he wasn’t putting his country first because he failed to protect America from its enemies? Since the US Government couldn’t protect many of its citizens from Katrina does that mean that George Bush did not put his country first? Maybe its time to define and measure patriotism. Ironically, if Al Qaeda were to have a convention today, it would be very believable that the theme would have been “Islam first”.

Change is Coming: After holding the Presidency for eight years and controlling the Congress for 6 years, the Republicans are now promising change! Are we supposed to believe that Senator McCain after 25 years in Washington can actually bring about change? Isn’t that like saying “Just give us another chance?” Ironically, if John McCain was right when he said “Change is coming” it certainly seems improbable that change of any sort can be in the form of another Republican administration.

Sarah Palin’s Speech: After ridiculing Obama for giving good speeches, it is ironical that Republicans are going “gaga” over Sarah Palin after just one good speech (which was well delivered though high on red meat and low on substance)! It will be interesting to see if she can survive the grilling of the media like Senator Obama has for the last two years.

Bi-partisanship: Senator McCain talks about reaching across the aisle after deriding and ridiculing the Democrats and calling them unpatriotic. How can he possibly expect to work together with the “Old, big-spending, Do nothing, me-first crowd!”? After swerving so far to the right it is ironical that he thinks that he can be non-partisan and reach acceptable middle ground with those on the left.

Top of the ticket: When pressed on Sarah Palin’s lack of experience, Republicans push back saying that its the top of the ticket that really counts. While this might be true to a certain extent, with McCain at 72 years of age and not in the best of health, ironically, the VP matters more than it ever did. Claiming to have more experience than a community organizer does not make Sarah Palin better prepared to be President.

The Maverick: Senator McCain had first been called a maverick because he stood up to his party establishment. Most who called him a maverick have long changed their mind about him because he has recast himself as a traditional conservative Republican after cozying up to the extreme right wing of his party. Ironically, he calls himself a maverick these days more than others do!

The Talk about Freedom: Republicans pride themselves as the champions of freedom around the world (“And as we look to the future never let us forget that – when we are at our best – we are the party that expands Freedom”). Unfortunately, with the Republican base in complete control of the party agenda, it is selective freedom at its worst. A woman is not free to choose while a health care system is all about choices driven by the marketplace. The people of Iraq should be free to choose their leaders while the same does not apply to people in Pakistan (until recently), Palestine or Egypt.

The 36 African Americans: That is the total number of African Americans who attended the Republican convention. What is wrong with this picture? One of the two major parties doesn’t even look like America! The rich are there for their tax cuts while the middle class are there for their guns and pro-life stands. Sadly, the rest count for nothing. Not even to make up the numbers in the crowds. It is a clear sign that the Republican party has drifted too far to the right. Ironically, it does not even try to ensure a smattering of people of color on the convention floor.

John McCain: The most glaring and unfortunate irony is none other than John McCain himself. It is well accepted that Islamic terrorism (a term that McCain co-opted from Rudy Guliani) is a manifestation of the extreme right among Muslims in the world.

Assuming for a moment that terrorism is the number one threat facing America and the world today. The argument that  a former POW and seasoned Senator with a strong independent streak can provide the leadership to rid the world of war and make America safer is a powerful one. To reinforce this thought, Senator McCain himself and the Republicans repeatedly reminded Americans of his POW credentials. He talks about how he was changed forever by his POW experience. Yet he (or his fellow Republicans) didn’t consider it worthwhile to mention Guantanamo and torture in his speech. In fact, his VP pick derided Senator Obama for backing rights for prisoners.

It seems clear, that instead of speaking his mind and being truly worthy of his maverick credentials, Senator McCain pandered and sold out to the extreme right wing of his party in his quest for the Presidency. “Politics first” would have been a more appropriate theme for this convention.

After eight years under George Bush does America need another far right administration? If yes, how would this  be any different than George Bush and why would that be a form of “change”?

p.s: I am not recommending that the next President move to the far left. I am just expressing my concerns of the general direction under John MCCain based on the Republican convention.

Senator Obama’s Interview on Bill O’Reilly

Senator Barack Obama agreed to be interviewed by Bill O’Reilly.

Fast-talking, aggressive, cut-and-dry answer seeking, conservative Mr. Bill O’Reilly against the charming, suave, liberal and “nuanced-answer-giving” Obama. How cool is that for an interesting match-up?

The interview is appearing in four parts. Here is the first part that aired on Thurs night. The rest will be aired Mon through Wed of next week.

Obama did very well in this first segment. Firstly, there were no gaffes. Secondly, he appeared calm and collected and withstood the Bill O’Reilly tough talk rather impressively. On the troop surge in Iraq he tactfully defended his stand while admitting that it had worked.

One of his responses that Pakistan was using the funding from the US to prepare for war against India was brilliant for many reasons. Firstly, he is the only visible politician in the US who even pronounces the name “Pakistan” accurately. (most says “Pack” instead of “Pak”). Secondly, its a sign that the man has really done his homework and understands the dynamics of the region far better than others. Most importantly, this is the first time in this entire campaign that “any” of the major candidates have even mentioned India when referring to Pakistan.

The remaining sections should be interesting. Check out Bill’s post interview article. Sounds like the Obama magic has worked on him, at least partially? 🙂

Would Sarah Palin go in for a similar interview with Bill and possibly at one of the other networks?

Aftermath of the Palin pick

The selection of Sarah Palin as the VP pick by John McCain came as a huge surprise to all and sundry. Here is a cross section of reaction from across the web.

Check out Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (this link might not work once youtube gets rid of it)

Stephen Colbert says “women have reached the highest levels of being used as a cheap political ploy”.

Here is some positive spin from the right. There is no mention of her lack of qualifications. David Brooks biggest coneern is that Palin is a lot like McCain ( a reformer). Its amazing how he can dig out positives despite her sparse record and completely overlook blatant weaknesses.

More right wing spin. Governor Palin will make gas prices plummet!

For attacks from the Left, go here.

For now, it appears as though Ms. Palin has a fairly thin resume to take on the VP job (and god forbid the job of President). John McCain barely knew her before he signed her up though he claims now that she is his soul mate! The right wing spin machine is in full swing to counter the attacks from the left.

Obama showed that he has class by stating that kids of the candidates must be off-limits and that its not relevant. And last but not the least, women have started to argue over weather she can balance the VP job with thedaily demands of being a Mom.