alternate avatars of the personal computer

Had a peaceful weekend, leaving aside the brief exchange on the previous post. I’ve written about the washing machine syndrome sometime ago. Yesterday, I witnessed another use (or diabolic misuse, from my point of view) for the machine.

My sister got herself a Nokia 7610 (no, not an envy-rant). It plays songs and can be connected to the PC via USB. So far, so good. So she hooks up the cell to the PC. And does she back up her phone’s contents? Transfer images shot with the camera? Synchronize schedules and to-do lists? No way! She logs in to coolgoose.com and apniisp.com and downloads songs in bulk. Using the Nokia PC Suite, these find their way onto her phone.

Piracy apart, I hate seeing my machine reduced to a glorified pipeline. The phone’s loaded. It has GPRS connectivity. So why not use it? Why waste nearly four hours of machine time every week to transfer songs? I say if you download music like a vaccum cleaner (like a lot of my friends), do it only if you are going to listen to it from your PC. Why the double standard, you ask? Because I spend more than four hours every week doing ad-ware and AV scans, updates and defrag runs to make sure Windows doesn’t hang up on the user. After all this, using the machine as a transporter (highly efficient but replaceable and redundant nonetheless) is simply not fair. I wouldn’t mind if she buys CDs from the market, rips them and transfers the files to her phone – thats where a PC would be essential but as a pipeline? No way!

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My plans to persuade my parents to switch ISPs has run into a wall – tariff. With effect from November, MTNL has doubled its rates for the “Telephone for Internet” scheme. Don’t know why. Maybe they are trying to push customers to TriBand. But TriBand has serious billing issues. People using its Night Usage plan, where traffic between 12 AM to 8 AM was supposed to be unmetered, have received bills amounting to thousands of rupees. And MTNL’s policy is “Pay up first to continue on to redressal of your complaint”. Also it has serious authentication issues. It seems the username and password are stored in the DSL modem. So you can effectively use it as “roaming DSL” wherever you have a DSL-subscribed telephone line, since such lines would have the necessary splitter that seperates telephony and data signals. Convenience? Or a potential for misuse?

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I talked with Amey through Skype for fifteen minutes yesterday. He came away impressed with its quality. I wasn’t in a position to judge becuase I don’t voice-chat that often. But the few times I’ve done… Skype is better.

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4 thoughts on “alternate avatars of the personal computer

  1. Hrishi

    GPRS is god damn expensive these days.

    I did not quite get your pipeline argument, but anyway.

    Skype is definitely better than most other VoIP implementations, but Google Talk is not far off…

  2. rvbhute

    My sister gets loads of freebies as an Orange employee, the latest I know of is first 1000 (or is it 2000) SMSes free per month. Plus lots of vouchers as a post-paid subscriber, though they pale in comparison with the employee perks. I doubt GPRS would be expensive for her.Consider this. Your father gets you a McLaren F1 supercar (there is a road-going McLaren F1, trust me). You spend all your free time on it. Maintainance, tuning and all that stuff. And then, just when you were about to take it for a spin, you sister takes away the keys… to visit the beauty parlour a block away. Well, thats not a perfect analogy. But hey, you get the feeling, right? Maybe not. Becuase you don’t have a sister demanding her share of machine time to download songs to her mobile. As for Google Talk, I guess you know the story already. It happened once with Rediff Bol. People absolutely looooooooove YIM.

  3. Varun Rajkumar

    Bhute… dont be selfish… give ur sister some space….And dont be childish..I have a sis back home tooo.. and we must learn to share everything…Even if Premiership matches are on… I have to let her watch her Music shows and MTV…and its only songs…. so I thnk u are better off listening to it from her cell phone…

  4. rvbhute

    You don’t spend a part of your free time making sure the television is working just fine, do you? Even I’ve pretty much given up television to my family. What you (and my sister and parents) probably feel is the machine is just another appliance, which it is not. Sharing? I think I’ve already mentioned that its me who does all the tuning work here, while the only contribution that my sister made was installing ad-ware on the machine. Usage time has to be proportinal to the work done.Its not a TV set or a music player we are talking about. This is a different game. With different rules. If I take care of the machine, its my machine. And if I want to listen to music, I’ll do it from a proper music player – be it my PC, a stereo system or an MP3 player – and not something pretending to be one.

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