Monday, January 18, 2010

Giving them too much latitude, are we?

Received an invite to share location data on Google Latitude from a friend. When I wanted to accept, Google said it is in no way affiliated with the script and I accept at my own risk. Huh? The URL has Google all over it, the page happens to be called Google Accounts and yet Google wishes to wash it's hands off any liability for Latitude. Why?

Like most Google inventions, Latitude overwhelms with its awesomeness. Like most of their inventions, it also petrifies with its power and potential for abuse. Today, most invasions of privacy that we undertake (like Googling the street-view of the boss' fancy condo) border on the benign and the legal. It won't take an Al-Qaeda to figure out more 'profitable' uses of the same. For all you know, it'll be your friendly neighbourhood bank (that epitome of unethical self-righteousness) that starts the trend!

Even the recent Chinese comedy demonstrates Google's cult status. Despite so-called public outrage, they acted against the spirit of the Internet in 2006. For profit. What's the wager they will not someday extend their benevolent gate keeping to other or all users of the Internet? Still, we will use and need to use Google; much like how Holmes needs his opium.

While the Freemasons, Scientologists, OPEC and 'The Temple of the Four Orders' bicker over grandiose plans of world domination, it's fait-accompli for a group of nerds .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Big Shift

We are starting 2010 with a house hunt. This is not even to buy, so the sleepless nights are absurd. One would think a city like this one would have a gazillion houses for rent. One would think all houses nowadays come standard with stuff you need. One would think the recession would help in getting a good deal (like my tenant sure did when we let out last year!). One would think wrong.

I am anyway paranoid about moving. Having lived in 11 cities and moving every 2 years, I imagined myself to be a seasoned mover. But all those were managed by les parents. Doing it yourself is completely different (and that's the least of things you learn to respect about those oldies, once you become a parent yourself). Apart from the physical movement, there's all the address-proof to be updated, KYCs to be re-known, phone lines to be shifted and blah blah. Then there's the making friends with new neighbours, making deals with a nice or not-so-nice new landlord and of course, praying for a quick and complete refund of the advance from the old one.

Just deciding on a house took us 3 weekends. Starting with a lovely house that had horrendous woodwork, through a small and expensive house with lovely woodwork, we almost settled on a cozy house with no woodwork till suddenly we saw a large house with passable woodwork. Being large it is not as cozy, but it's a corner flat so gets nice light and air from all sides. The colony seems to have kids and space, even though the people there seemed extra sensitive about "non-vegetarians". While we haven't hidden this fact, we hope the good Brahmins won't end up in the shower every time we say "Good morning" to them...

The clincher was that the place has a terrace all its own. That kind of put a stop to any further deliberation, despite the slightly higher tag and slightly inferior fittings. And a nice study table to boot. So I won't break my neck typing out these blogs. Or, er, even the white papers I must write for a living. And did I mention it is right at the corner of the block? :-)

The reason for the shift was simple: Cubby needed the space and security provided by an apartment complex. He also needed the friends that such places usually guarantee. Not that people living in independent houses stay friendless, but maybe this is just the Bambaiyya in me talking. Now that we have identified the right house, it is more than just Cubby. We can't help but dream of having friends over, decorating the walls with new stuff and spending time in the gardens below. Yes, we're kind of stretching the budget. Some say we might as well have paid an EMI. In the end, will it all be worth it?

The present house has been a blessing for us (our landlord claims its the Vaastu). I look at photos of the first time we moved here. The silly grins on our face. The long videos of each empty room. It was our first BIG decision after marriage. It was also the place where Cubby was born.

Will the new one be our "home" as well? I look forward to the memories that A-307 will create... Your prayers and best wishes will make that happen.