Admissions Insanity

A hilarious piece (albeit dated) from the always funny Andy Borrowitz, about the “crazed competition for  admission” to the top schools, which is even more relevant today.

Degrees of Matriculation” from the NY Times’ Op-Ed.

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Pirates and their Servers in the Sky

The Pirate Bay, the hugely popular BitTorrent tracker site based out of Sweden (effectively, the world’s largest file sharing site), is planning to “send out some small drones”  to float servers “some kilometers up in the air”, in an attempt to avoid jurisdiction over copyright infringement and to evade law enforcement on land.

Their idea involves sending unmanned Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) into airspace miles above ground, aided by the growing availability of cheap radio equipment and tiny computers. These floating servers will be connected to via radio transmitters at potential speeds of (according to The Pirate Bay) 100Mbps per node up to 50km away. Moreover, for law enforcers planning to crackdown, the servers “will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.”

As a Business Insider article points out, the well-hidden servers,whose locations are known only to the site’s administrators, may end up violating air traffic rules and be easily brought down by the militaries’ own Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the technical name for ‘drones’. The premature/ unrealistic plans are, nonetheless, an indication of the direction the technology of cyber piracy is taking. Soon, as The Pirate Bay puts it, “when time comes we will host in all parts of the galaxy, being true to our slogan of being the galaxy’s most resilient system.”

A Celebration of Sentences

Below is an endearing piece from the Bengali American author Jhumpa Lahiri. It is at once a celebration of the enchantment of sentences, which are but words in harmonious array, and an introspective narrative. I would recommend reading the comments section as well, where contrasting views are expressed.

My Life’s Sentences” from The NY Times Opinion Pages.

AAPL: To Buy and To Hold

Apple Inc (AAPL) shares have hit an all-time high of $600.01/ share (before closing for the day at $585.56/ share), giving the company a $545 billion valuation, making it the largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization. This happened right after the first batch of “the new iPad” was sold in Australia (from telecom company Telstra’s stores); soon to be followed by sales in Japan, Germany and the US, from retailers like WalMart, Best Buy & Radio Shack apart from Apple’s own Apple Stores.

The company shares reached $500/ share only a month back and the share price has jumped 44% this year alone.

Apple could be valued even higher, according to Morgan Stanley Analyst Ms. Kathryn Huberty, who revised her target price from $515 to $720, predicting that the company would go to $960 (or higher) on a $80 Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2013. This is based on a Price-Earning Ratio (P/E) of 12, which is at the lower end of Apple’s historical forward P/E (currently at approx. 17). Morgan Stanley is not the only firm revising their prices upwards, earlier Piper Jaffray and recently OppenheimerUBS also have revised their target prices for AAPL. I am sure, others institutions will soon follow suit. IF Ms. Huberty’s price predictions for 2013 come true, that would give Apple Inc. a market valuation to the tune of a mythical $1 trillion!

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Publicly Quitting Goldman Sachs: Uproar on Wall Street

Wall Street is in a whirlwind after disgruntled Goldman Sachs executive, Greg Smith, tendered his resignation via the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and in the process, publicly blasted Goldman for betraying its historic culture and putting profits ahead of client interests.

Mr. Smith described himself as an executive director and head of Goldman’s US equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. According to him, ” the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.” He further adds, “Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement.”

Goldman Sachs wasted no time in rejecting Mr. Smith’s claims. “We disagree with the views expressed, which we don’t think reflect the way we run our business,” a Goldman spokeswoman said. She added, “in our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful.  This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves.” Moreover, Mr. Smith’s position was identified as vice president, a relatively junior position held by thousands of Goldman employees around the world.

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The Late Tribute: Jobs is No More

It has been five months since Steve Jobs passed away (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011). While the world has moved on from mourning the passage of the maven, not a day passes that some blog, some tech site does not reference his contributions. This will persist for a long time to come – such was the gift, the genius of Jobs.

In an amazing coincidence, I was in the US, in fact, very close to Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California – the HQ of Apple Inc., when news broke of his passing, and had come out of an Apple Store less than an hour back. As a latecomer to the world of iPods, iPhones, Macs, OS X and Apple in general, I was nonetheless swept away by the marvel of Job’s creations, his farsightedness and above all, his boldness in defining what the user experience could be. His death came as a shock in slow motion, increasing in intensity, rather than diminishing.

In an earlier post, I had talked about his life and philosophies a little. Here is just a throwback to the inevitable questions, “Will there be another Steve Jobs?”

My answer, “Never”.

It is the same answer I would give to the question, “Will the world ever stop celebrating the life, times and works of Steve Jobs?”