I watched Steve Jobs keynote at this years Macworld the other day where he announced the iPhone. There are so many good things about this product that you wouldn’t know where to start. It is truly a revolutionary product as Steve Jobs himself puts it and definitely way ahead of current mobile phones. One feature that I really liked was the way iPhones display would automatically change from portrait mode to landscape mode the moment you place the phone in landscape mode. This as Steve pointed out was determined by the accelerometer that iPhone has. Accelerometer is one technology i am quite fascinated about. You can use this technology to sense motion and do a lot of cool things with it. We had created a device where we were using the Accelerometer to know the user feedback by just shaking the device. If they shook the device vertically, the input would be a ‘Yes’, and if they shook it horizontally the input would be a ‘No’ (similar to shaking your head for a Yes/No answer). Though it would be futile to suggest some enhancement to iPhone which already is full with so many features, there is one thing i can’t help but observe.
Accelerometer can sense the motion in any of the three axis (x,y and z). It gives you these values as and when the device is moved. Something similar to a mouse, only that it gives you change in position in only a plane. Now if you can take this input from the accelerometer and feed it to the device(iPhone) as a mouse input, you have got yourself an input device for iPhone without actually attaching anything.
Now look how beautifully this can be used in iPhone. You are holding the iPhone in your (right) hand and are browsing lets say the songs in the iPod mode. You tilt the iPhone slightly by twisting your hand (in clockwise manner). Accelerometer senses the motion, gives an input to the iPhone to scroll up, and your playlist scrolls up. You tilt the iPhone the other way (twist your hand slightly counter clockwise) and the playlist scrolls down automatically. You are scrolling the playlist without actually giving any input to the iPhone (I can hear Steve saying “Isn’t this awesome ??”). Again imagine you are browsing the cover art. A slight tilt to the left and the cover arts starts moving to the left. A sligt tilt to the right and they start moving towards right.
Same use case can be demonstrated while browsing the google maps on the iPhone. Any motion (tilt) in the plane in which iPhone belongs can be taken as an input to pan the map you are viewing. Without having to touch the iPhone. Imagine you are driving in your car and you need to browse/scroll the map to see your current location. Without taking your other hand off the steering wheel, you can scroll the map just by tilting iPhone. Isn’t that amazing?
Though iPhone is a very cool device without any keypad inputs, i think it will affect it when they would want to put some cool games. You can do away without proper keys for dialing phone, browsing and listening to music. But when you are playing a game, it requires a quick response from the game which cannot really be given from a tochpad. Again by using the motion sensor of the iPhone, you can use it to play most of the games. Infact many cooler games which are restricted because of the keypad can be played on iPhone using its motion sensor as an input. One particular game that i like is the Neverball, where you move the ball by tilting the game world. You guide the ball through a path by tilting the game world so that the ball moves due to gravity. With iPhone in your hand you can actually tilt the iPhone and guide the ball. That would be truly amazing.
Infact Amit Singh (Author of the book Mac OS X Internals) has demonstrated this ability to take the motion sensor input back as HID input on his Macbook which has a motion sensor (I believe the reason why MacBook has the motion sensor is that so that it can sense when the MacBook is falling and can safely park the hard drive before it gets the shock when it hits the floor). He also has a quicktime movie where he shows how he has used this to play the Neverball game. Its really awesome. Once you watch the movie you just feel like playing that game on the iPhone.
Lets hope Apple uses the accelerometer in much more cooler way than to just change the screen from portrait mode to landscape and vice versa.
Everybody shares their own story while buying a house. There are always arguments with respect to building your own house as against buying a flat. The second option always win's when the argument revolves around how much tension you would have to go through for sanctions and other things when you are building your own house. Well i learnt the hard way that buying a flat is not tension free either these days.
I bought a decent flat (Renaissance Brindavan) in a decent locality(Padmanabhnagar) from a decent builder (Renaissance). Hoping to get an accommodation by at least March 2006. Currently it is June 2006. The promise is that it will get completed in July end, But even the site engineers accept that that's not possible. The delay is not really the worry as much as the fact that it comes with so much tension.
During these last couple of months, i witnessed how shadily the way these developers work, holding us (literally) on ransom to deliver our flats. RHDPL is supposedly a reputed firm having all sorts of approvals. They just force you to sign the sale deed, which happens to be different from the build agreement that we signed earlier. They add more clauses to the deed to reduce interest of the owners, and have their own financial gains. They even strip us of our right to defend our rights in the deed. Everything is planned so beautifully, that people inspite of the glaring fraud are forced to sign it. The project is delayed by considerable amount so that the flat owners get restless and their financial burden increases. The copy of the sale deed is shown just a day or two before the flat owners are supposed to sign it. They can't even get their lawyers to read it if they want a legal opinion. And if objected, are threatened that the registration process will get delayed. Most of us succumb to the threat and give in.
The whole situation is so laughable. These guys are just whipping us and we can hardly do anything about it. The boom in the real estate industry, and the high demand for it has just left the common man to the mercy of these new age don's. The way their legal documents are designed, just leaves them with zero liability and we can't even question them. If we try, the answer come's, "you don't want to buy it ? don't buy. I have hundred's of people coming in everyday. I can sell it to someone else at a higher price".
I would try and list down specific instances in subsequent postings as and when i have time and am able to pen them down.