Monday, December 15, 2008

WHY AN ACER IS GOOD FOR YOU

I've bitched about Acer enough. I mean, I've ripped them apart at MouthShut, in several flowery emails to their customer care, and somewhere deep in the recesses of my own blog. I shouldn't be so mean to them, no? I mean, it's not their fault that the people who make their laptops have IQs hovering around single digits, it? I take back everything I said about Acer being crappy, shitty and all that. Infact, there are quite a few positive things to come out of my association with Acer.

And here they are.

1. Efficiency in OS installation gained - Having re-installed Windows XP at least 20 times over the last year at MICA, I've become so efficient at the process and have found roundabout ways to install it. If, for instance, you get a DLL file missing error during an install, don't panic, just pop out the CD, put in another WinXP CD and continue. Voila! I can now re-install WinXP in around half an hour and restore my system to the previous state with all software and drivers in less than an hour. Such efficiency, you will agree, comes with practice, which Acer gives you.

2. Constant backing up of documents - People with Dell and Lenovos get complacent because their laptops are made by good companies. Then in the once-in-a-lifetime hard disk crash or virus attack, people lose all their documents and this results in untold grief, suffering and heartbreak. Never with Acer. Because you're so panicky about when the next blue screen is going to come and wipe your system clean, that you end up taking a backup of all your documents and photos atleast once a week. Truly, this is a virtue imbibed in me by means of my association with Acer and their rickety computers.

3. Putting all your software installations in one place - When your laptop is such that it forces you to reinstall Windows every two weeks, you end up efficiently putting all your installation files together - from Acer drivers to Office2007, from CoolEditPro to International Cricket Captain. Why, you have all the software you need for a lifetime, and you can help others out who ask for software too! Look at the plight of the poor Dell user, who has to install Office once, and forget about it, because he is sure his system never crashes? Oh, but what happens when the pesky kid brother at home uninstalls it to get some disk space? And you can't finish your assignment for want of Powerpoint? For an Acer user, this is never an issue. He would always have all pertinent software files ready.

4. Trusting external storage - I really don't think this needs to be elaborated upon.

5. Intricate technical knowledge gained - When you interact with Acer's customer care and learns about its asininty, inefficiency and sheer unfriendliness, you take it upon yourself to do things yourself. When I was in Jamshedpur and something was fucked with my HDD, they asked me to take my laptop all the way to Patna. Where? Pat-effin'-na! So what did I do? Slam the phone down, and fix the HDD myself, all that was wrong was the pin was slightly loose. There you go. A few more years and I'll learn how to put together my own motherboard!

6. Avoiding serious injuries - Since the on-laptop mouse buttons are likely to die out in the first three days of operation, you end up buying a proper desktop mouse and hence reduce the chance of getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (okay, I made that one up, but heck...)

7. Internet and computer de-addiction - Since an Acer user will be without his laptop for atleast a month a year, he automatically gets a break from the highly addictive, black-hole-like world of the internet and computers. Why, my own Acer was in the service center for a month this year, and during that time, I learnt to appreciate the finer things in life. Like books, music, fellow human beings and writing with pens (wow!). Such luxuries and learnings are not, sadly, easily had by a Dell or Lenovo user who would be bleary-eyed after 15 hours on Facebook and Counterstrike.

8. An Acer teaches you patience - Infinite patience. Dell users are so uptight and get hassled over the simplest of things. Not an Acer user! We, who are used to waiting ten minutes for WinXP to boot up (imagine what it will do with Vista! A whole new species would be formed by the time!) do not get hassled by relatively smaller things like waiting for the bus or for boring lectures to end. We are blessed with such infinite patience, that even Chinese Kung-Fu masters come to us for lessons.

So there we are. Who says I hate Acer? Who, me? No, of course not! I positively love those penny-pinching morons who make computers out of sheer garbage. I think that itself is a great advancement in technology. Acer should be commended for making things which people can blog on, out of components that must have been rejected by Mitashi's MP3 factory.

On a parting note, here's a pic of my Craptop doing what it does best: Getting reinstalled on.

Friday, December 05, 2008

TO DE-PFAFF THE WORLD

faff: To keep speaking pompously and with a lot of jargon , when in fact you don't have a clue of the topic at hand. Often excercised by Business people (mostly MBAs), public speakers, HR guys, politicians etc.
1] The CEO got up late to prepare for the presentation and ended up faffing like mad on the podium.
2] In an interview , when you've said enough "I don't know"s , its time for faffing.

- From UrbanDictionary.com

If you're an MBA, faffing (or pfaffing, as we MICAns prefer to call it) is second nature. No, seriously. We even have an event for it during MICANVAS, where people are presented with random slides and are asked to make presentations on the spot, and they end up doing a good job of it!

Now this post is not going to be pfaff-bashing, pfaff-eulogizing or telling people how to pfaff (the last one, though, I promise to write on soon). What this post will be all about is imagining a world without pfaff, and how much simpler life would be if we didn't beat about the bush.

Imagine, for instance, the mother of all pfaff situtations, placement interviews in BSchools. Let's take a dialogue between Prospective Employee (PE) and Recruiter (R). Let's call the institute Management Institute of India (MII).

R: So, tell me something about the subjects you have studied at MMI, PE.

PE: Well, I majored in marketing, and learnt a variety of subjects such as branding, general marketing, advertising, media, consumer behaviour, etc.

R: Hmm, I see. And do you think these will help you at our company? For instance, you say you studied branding. How do you think that will help you?

PE: Undoubtedly, sir. In today's marketplace, it is imperative to look from the consumer's point of view. The brand essence that he carries forward in his mind is of utmost importance, it can make or break his decision to invest in your product or not. Hence building a brand, maintaining it, etc, are vital, and I believe the skills that I have imbibed during my study at MII will help me greatly, and help the brand grow as well.

R: Impressive. You were an engineer before this, according to your CV? A mechanical engineer?

PE: (oh-oh) Yes, sir, I was...

R: And after that you went and did a software job, and after 10 months you decided to do an MBA in marketing...? How do you justify that?

PE: Well sir, it's like this. When I started out to do my Engineering, there were a wide variety of options in front of me and I decided that this would be a safe career path, after which I could choose anything I wanted. At the end of engineering, I decided to go for a software job because it was a lucrative field. Of course, it is not as if all of my four years went to waste. My stay at college was invaluable to help me inbibe analytical skills, which I carry forward even today.

R: Impressive, PE. I think you will be an asset to our company. We would like to make you an offer, do you have any questions?

PE: Sir, what would my salary be like?

R: Your cost to company will be 9.7 lakhs per annum

PE: (kickass!) Sir, how much will that translate to per month?

R: Well, it depends on your performance and the company's performance, but I assure you, our in-hand is on-par with what the best in industry offers.

PE: It's been a pleasure, sir. Thank you so much.

R: Good luck!

==

Now, cut to the same conversation happening without all the gas.

==

R: Dude, what did you do out here at MII for two years?

PE: Laid a few people, learnt how to make better Powerpoints and speeches, a bit of guitar, Stanley Kubrik movies, Deep Purple's music, and stuff like that.

R: Why on earth should we hire you?

PE: Dude, listen, I may not have the greatest CGP thingummy, but you can bet your corporate ass that I can sell.

R: You sound pretty sure and confident. I like that. What did you do in your internship?

PE: Flirted with the other temps, and gassed out a few models and impressed higher management.

R: Hehe, buttkickin, dude! We're hiring you.

PE: Sweet. How much are you gonna pay me?

R: You'll get 45,000 in hand per month. Plus some money when you get really old and all - some PF crap.

PE/R: (laughs)

R: Though, I'll take up your offer only if --- is offering me less. No hard feelings, eh?

PE: Haha, sure dude! I understand! I wouldn't be in this shitpot interviewing nutters like you too if I had my way! Chal, man, it's been great. See ya!

==

See how simple and transparent it is? No need to build up a corporate facade, no need to use words that are over 6 letters, and no need to pretend to be a genius. Everything is truthful, in-your-face and real. And it's all over about half an hour earlier.

Another good exercise is to read interviews with CEOs of companies that have recently undergone a logo change. They spew out so much bovine feces, it's not remotely funny and you'd want to drown under the repugnant puke of corporate pfaff. Youthful identity? Energy? Symbiosis? Who the heck are you kidding? The true reason people change logos is just to create a bit of noise and to remind people that they're still around. Youthfulness? Give me a break!

Another brilliant paper I read: After 6 pages of pfaff, graphs and figures, the earth-shattering conclusion: "Young children in India like watching television". Oh, no! Really! And I thought they spent all their time solving nuclear physics equations. Oh, you've really opened my eyes now!

Imagine if all rhetoric and gas were wiped out from the world.

After every terror strike, Manmohan Singh would just say, "We have no clue who did this, and we're not likely to find out, really. Just insure yourselves!"

After a controversial Ind-Aus test match, Dhoni would say, "See, Ricky really is a bastard, and I hate the stench of him when we get onto the field. That Clarke catch was not really a catch, and he effin' knows it as well as I do that we deserved to win!"

During the inauguration ceremony for new MBA students, the director would say, "Hey there, guys. You've paid a good sum to learn a lot of gas, which you might as well have done from Wikipedia for free. All we are is really a placement facilitation organization with a few frills. Join a few committees, have a girlfriend, have fun, mate!"

During the convocation ceremony, "I told you so!"

Hard Disk vendors on Lamington Road, "Yeah, will last for about a year, and then you can come back and buy another one from us."

And most importantly, noone will justify the biggest-mistake-of-my-life-was-doing-engineering eff-up by saying "it taught me analytical skills".

Analytical skills. ANALYTICAL SKILLS? ANAL-EFFIN'-YTICAL SKILLS? What in the Lord's name are ANALYTICAL SKILLS?! You slept through four years of mechanics and electric machines and manipulated some calculations and graphs in the lab, and you say you learnt ANALYTICAL SKILLS? So fresh out of Engineering, when E&Y give you a live case on why the sales of left-handed trousers are going down in rural Itanagar, you'll actually be able to 'analyse'? Why of course, you will! You have ANALYTICAL skills now, don't you? Oooh. What rot! For what you really learn in Engineering, click here and here.

Oh, and you won't have people like Jobs bullcrapping about the iPhone being an 'internet communications device'. You can check out one of my favourite iPhone-bashing posts here.

So there we are. How we would love the world to be a gas-free, pfaff-free place. Now excuse me while I go and write a mail to my professor explaining why I couldn't finish the assignment because I was involved in an "intellectual literary activity which would lead to eyeballs and appreciation by SEC A category graduates and post-graduates which would inturn lead to networking possibilities" (viz, wrote this blogpost).