Apple’s Vision of the Cloud and why its flawed

Apple's iCloud Service

Yesterday, Apple announced its new iCloud service along with a lot of improvements to the Max OS X and iOS 5, and while I did like what I saw, there are a number of reasons I may not use it.

First, what I liked:

  1. I like Apple’s vision of the cloud, as against Google’s. I don’t think the cloud is going to replace our rich applications. Having used both cloud as well as native rich apps – rich apps are here to stay the cloud will make them stronger. They are a lot easier to use, documents look a lot better and they are far more handy. A browser based app may be present as a fallback option when you don’t have anything handy but that’s far from becoming the default.
  2. I like Apple’s cloud being a personal cloud rather than complicating with as a “family cloud” or “friends cloud”where everything automatically gets shared with everybody. I think that just befuddles the hell out of things and these have never taken off.
  3. The iCloud makes the cloud wire-free. You no longer need to connect your PC / iPhone / iPad and sync all of them. Just importing pictures from a camera is such a big chore usually and Apple’s a master at cutting out chores.
  4. The iTunes Match service is a killer. Of course, I still wonder how they managed to negotiate out such a deal with the music publishers but the fact that they did, and hid all the junk under the carpet is very commendable.
And now, what I don’t like:
  1. Apple’s Cloud is closed. It essentially locks me in to Apple’s technology. As a person, I like to keep trying out new things – I use a
    PC, an iPad and a Blackberry and I am usually happier to navigate diversity, and the iCloud service means that I either need to change my habits or look for alternatives (Hey you dropbox, instapaper, remember the milk – you still have a future!). I would like to write a document on my PC – read it on my iPad, edit it there and use it on the go with my Blackberry. With Apple’s iCloud, my world would begin and end with Apple, which is a compromise I am unwilling to make.
  2. Apple iCloud doesn’t give me any integration options. There doesn’t seem to be a way for app developers to retrieve stuff from the cloud onto other platforms. This is precisely why I don’t use Google’s Buzz but I use facebook or twitter – because they are everywhere!
  3. I still can’t get over MS Office. I have not really found an alternative that can make me switch – openoffice, google office, pages – and I really wonder if I will be able to use anything else for sometime to come.
  4. iTunes doesn’t support enough regional content, and I hardly buy any music from there as a result. There’s a whole world out there beyond what we see – and I wouldn’t want to close my ears to it. Also, I would want my content to be available on my non Apple devices. And they may not be as good today, but I wouldn’t want to rule out innovation.
  5. Apple doesn’t give me a fallback web based interface for accessing my cloud stuff – a lot of times, I end up checking my mail from others computers since I travel a lot and find myself in places where Wifi is locked and I don’t have a data plan on my iPad/phone. I want at least some way to check things out.
I guess, I just like way too much diversity and I will continue to use all the other services that I used earlier – and use the iCloud only for things which don’t lock me in.

Bheja Fry

I have a big complaint with the producers of this movie. It should really be called Bheja Unfry, because if your bheja is really fried, there is no better movie to unfry your brain!

Vinak Pathak is a genius. I think he has long had great acting talent, and everybody acknowledges it, but this is one movie where he is really liberated and does justice to the actor in him.

It is certainly not easy to play an idiot. The comic timing has to be spot on — a Herculean task! And Pathak is Hercules. From the first scene when he is introduced in the bus, his presumptions on the co-passengers — stretching over them, engaging them in uncomfortable conversations — to the way he removes the scrap book from the plastic cover making sounds of plastic creasing all the way is excellent. This dialog delivery is brilliant — he seems to use exquisite Hindi in a number of places, and precisely in the places which would drive others crazy.

Vinay Pathak really walks away with the cake. Rajat Kapoor as Ranjit Thadani is good, but pales in comparison. Ranvir Shorey has a short and brilliant cameo as Asif Merchant. The way he is introduced — watching an Indo-Pak match patting his stomach which is half covered with his baniyan was hilarious. The other actors fail to make any mark. Milind Soman is a real disappointment. Thankfully he wore a beard all through, because otherwise noticing his always-wooden face would have been child’s play (it still is!). Sarika has a mostly inconsequential role.

The movie stands out due to its script. However, it could have been made much more crisp. The scenes where Pathak is not there are so low-energy that you almost doze off. The editors ought to have used their scissors more often. Still, a different movie — and a comedy movie after a long time which dares to be different and gets it right!

Oh, and if you watch it at a time when your bheja is really fried, it is a superlative therapeutic.

Unfry your bheja!

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