Archive for August, 2009
Well… as the world knows it, today was the day that Snow Leopard was officially released worldwide.
Of course, I had pre-ordered it, and was waiting for the CD since early morning.
Post breakfast, I sat down and systematically backed up all my data – you know, just in case… I do come from the Windoze part of the world… Anyhow, then I plonked myself on the sofa in the living room upstairs, and added a book for good measure and waited… and waited … and waited.. for the FedEx guy to turn up with the CD.
The e-mail from Apple had said that the delivery would be made anytime before 3 in the afternoon. So… to cut a long story short… about three-quarters of my way into the book and around 2:15-ish, the FedEx guy rings the bell… sees me smile and smiles back!
So, in true Mac / Geek / Mac Fan Girl style, I decided to click pics with my cell phone camera during this momentous occasion!
So, here is the Box in which the CD arrived! (Packed with 2 more Apple Logo stickers!!)
I run down to the basement, where everything has been laid down in readiness… and boot up Leopard for the last time … and stick the DVD in the laptop!
The install process begins!
Till there are about 3 minutes remaining now….
And now, less than a minute….
And Finally! The Install is Complete!
So, the computer boots up and we see the famous ‘Welcome’ video!
And here is ‘About this Mac’!
My old wallpaper – and all my settings and data – all have been seamlessly included and updated into the install process!
All the other bells and whistles are there… so I am not going to elaborate on that! Many people have written many pages about the stuff that Snow Leopard is going to add to the laptop…
I got to report some buggy things – which are, of course, natural considering it is the first version of the new OS and whatnot….
1. My Evernote icon disappeared from Safari and won’t come back! Although, the icon is in the menu bar…..
2. My Glims plugin also won’t work anymore in Safari.
3. I cannot see the preference pane window for QuickSilver, although I can see the other panes windows like Triggers and Plugins and the Clipboard and Shelf…
So, what are the good things that I have to say? Here they are:
1. The colors look more colorful as compared to before (I don’t know how else to put this!)
2. New wallpapers are great.
3. GeekTool’s new latest release thingy works in Snow Leopard.
4. The whole ‘Minimize Window into Application Icon’ is really amazing because this way my dock doesn’t get cluttered up with minimized windows and of course, add to it the whole new Expose!
5. New Stacks are beautiful – and the ability to browse through folders is amazing!
6. Most of my apps like NoteBook (from Circus Ponies), Ecto, Hulu Desktop NetNewsWire – all are working….
7. The Dictionary includes the New Oxford American Dictionary along with the other stuff….
8. Automator also looks great!
So, so far so good!
After the install, I just went back to work doing what I was doing… isn’t it nice to have an OS upgrade that lets you do that… upgrade and go!
Well, she has written yet another book called The Host.
When Twilight came out and made such a huge noise (especially when the movie featured the dreamy Robert Pattinson as Edward), I had to rush out to the nearest Barnes and Noble and buy the entire series!
Yeah, I know, I am a little freaky that way: if I know that a book is a part of a series, then I have to buy the whole thing, because then I read all those books one after the other… if not, I go stir crazy!
Anyways. I read the whole Twilight series. And I liked it – for the most part. To be honest with you – I am a huge fan of Vampires, but I just cannot stomach the stupid Vampire books / movies. In any case, the Twilight series has all the elements to make me want to just keep on reading – vampires, a love story, a vampire and a girl falling in love with each other, the girl wanting to become a vampire, hints of a historical / mythological background … I was hooked!
But towards the end of the fourth novel I figured the author just wanted to tie up all of the loose ends she had created so wonderfully during the series of books. She just wrapped things up – suddenly. It was jarring.
But overall, I think as a series, the books are a total hit!
So, when Ms. Meyers came out with yet another book – which did not belong to this series, I was a little skeptical to say the least. But I ventured out and bought it.
The theme of The Host has been done before (remember Body Snatchers?) but I wanted to see how she had handled it.
See, when someone has written a very successful series of novels, that has a huge fan following, the movies coming out and all that jazz, it is a very, very bold and crazy move for such a writer to put out a new book that follows a different theme and does not belong to the aforementioned series of novels.
Bold because she is really telling her fans to test her mettle. And crazy because the verdict may go either way.
End of the day, it is her talent at storytelling which will be tested through and through.
If she wins, she will remain in the limelight and be recognized as a talented writer through and through. And if not, she will be a one-series wonder – and may even be easily forgotten.
Ms. Meyers, has however, succeeded in reducing all the fears to dust with her new book.
Not only has she proved her mettle at writing with her storytelling, but she has also taken the reader deeper into a perspective of the theme, in a way that wasn’t done before. With The Host, Stephanie Meyer has proved to me, that she is, in fact, a really amazing writer and really gifted at her craft.
Smashing plot. Amazing insight into the characters. Not a dull moment in the narrative. And most of all, this time round, the plot wasn’t hastily closed or wrapped up. The story wove together well, leaving me wanting to keep on turning the pages to find out what happens next… and then too, the ending was well put together.
Hats Off to Stephanie Meyer! Ten Out Of Ten!
My recommendation: This is one writer to watch out for. Go buy her books. They are a worthy addition to your collection.
In the past couple of years, I have been fortunate enough to get the chance of reading the Dune series of novels. Written by Frank Herbert, the first book was published in 1965. And in 1966, the book won the Hugo Award and also the Nebula Award for Best Novel. A series of at least 7 novels (the last of which was finished by his son Brian Herbert), the scope of these series of novels is vast and amazing.
Of course, the series of novels had a great impact on me: first as a writer, I was spellbound by the way the author has constructed the fictional world and its mythology, geography, rituals – the whole jazz (this is called as ‘World Building‘ by most sci-fi authors); and, secondly as a tarot card reader the philosophy and the pros and cons of prescience and the ability to see (and even meddle with) the future is something that certainly made me think.
Among other things, the novel talks about a Kwisatz Haderach or a super-being. Such a super-being has been defined in the book as ‘the one who can be in many places at once’. In the novel, the Bene Gesserit sisterhood has been involved in a breeding program. The aim of this breeding program is to create this Kwisatz Haderach. Along with unlimited powers of prescience, this super-being would also be able to predict several possible futures and select certain threads from among the different time-lines, so as to manipulate and create a particular future to happen.
Growing up a Hindu, we have always been regaled by the stories of Krishna. We heard stories of his mischievous childhood, of his inimitable teenage years, and then his exploits as an adult, followed by his role in the Mahabharata where he divulged the text of one of the most sacred books of the Hindus, the Bhagwat Gita. As a human being, and as a God, Krishna stood for what is considered to be the poorna purusham – the complete man.
Krishna is considered to be the Avataar of Vishnu. He is also said to be all knowing, all seeing, and aware of the past, present and future. All this, is also combined with the power to change the future, and the ability to ‘be at many places at once’ (remember the ‘Raas Lila‘ where he simultaneously appeared to be dancing with Radha and all of her friends).
It just struck me a few days ago, that the qualities described in the book – the qualities of a Kwisatz Haderach, are pretty much the qualities that Krishna possesses.
Often enough, myths and mythological characters / ‘Gods and Goddesses’ are the sources of inspiration for many a good heroes, heroines or special / central characters of many a well known and well loved stories.
Now, I don’t know if Krishna was the source of inspiration for Frank Herbert for his template of the character of the Kwisatz Haderach. But one thing that I certainly do know is that the characteristics possessed by Krishna and the Kwisatz Haderach are pretty much similar.
Myths and Mythological characters are the main sources of inspiration for many a interesting stories – and even plots. After all, these Myths were in fact, the first stories ever told.
I personally also feel that these character sketches of these Gods and Goddesses are based on real people – perhaps a mixture of 2 or more real people, plus with a whole bunch of other characteristics that often we may like to see in us / other people. The characters of Gods often are personifications of certain good qualities which we idealize and want to idolize. But then too much perfection doesn’t set in well with our perception of any particular character. So we end up throwing in some ‘human’ characteristic or two.
In the same spirit, I feel that the characterization of Krishna and the Kwisatz Haderach are based on the similar blueprint or model.