Saturday, September 27, 2008

Into the Wild

I just completed reading this book "Into the Wild" from Jon Krakauer (of Everest’s [the book] fame). 

It’s a long time since I’ve almost-totally moved away from fiction. Of late, I’ve been magnetically pulled into two broad topics – adventure, and religion vs. atheism. Both topics have no correlation whatsoever, but are somehow very captivating in their own way. 

Adventure is obviously straight-forward, and when you read real stories of adventure – tries, and ultimately conquests, of the Poles, Mt. Everest etc, you somehow wish you were a part of that hardened troop, your oh-so-comfortable life not withstanding. And the more you read about atheism, the more religion seems pointless. More so, religion somehow feels too narrow-minded, and you really don’t have to be a genius to question both the existence of God(s) and the merits of the very existence religion. It seems a very antiquated idea, but the weave it’s got on masses seems almost magnetic. Of course, the catch really is to ‘ponder’ and ‘question’ religion and Gods, which most people don’t even think about, probably fearing that God might not take the ‘lessened-faith’ or apostasy lightly. Of course, there are some positives with religion – it’s like the ‘Fair and Lovely’ that gives millions of people ‘hope’, if not real substance. [Hope I can copyright this comparison. :)

Whatever the reason, both the subjects - although disconnected - are too captivating to let go, and hope I devour as many books as possible in these subjects.

Coming back after a long digression, ‘Into the wild’ has no surprises. The book is about a very educated and smart boy who relinquishes worldly comfort of all forms – money, people, warts and all – and heads into the Alaskan wild to live as a hunter-gatherer, like men thousands of years ago. The book starts with the story’s end – the boy actually dies in the Alaskan wilderness – and is somehow captivating. Just reading about someone who actually had the guts and motivation to relinquish society in favor of adventure [which is something that you can’t do], something about being non-conformist to the material society at large, something about living like our ancestors thousands of years ago (and the argument that we have actually become inferior as a race since we no longer have the real capability to live out and survive in the open]. 

If you are into adventure reading, I urge you to get hold of the book. I laid my eyes on this book after watching the movie-format of the same story in a flight some 8 months back, and this book has lived up to the expectations.

By the way, wifey says hi to readers of this blog. [On a side note, I hope I can lay my hands on the ‘Thousand Splendid Suns’ she’s reading, simply because it’s from Khaled Hosseini, the author of ‘The Kite Runner’ fame and I can’t wait to read it.]

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google's Chrome got the feather touch!

Google Chrome (the Google's windows killer) is in! It’s supposed to be the next big thing to (re)trigger the browser wars. 

I guess I’m one of the first to try – its launch was Sep 02 PST, so here's the first cut review! 

Chrome, to start with, seems very, very light and very fast (much faster than FireFox, and IE of course). It loads faster into the memory too (seems to use less page files). Interface is neat, and you have a lot of screen space to read – almost like full screen browsing. And it's got tabs.

That were the positives. I haven’t gotten any errors or problems per se, but advanced features seem lacking. For example, if I want to run an Amazon or IMDB search, I guess I need to first go to their site to do it instead of running the search from the browser… we’ll hopefully have updated versions.

I guess I will use Chrome for some days to come! It's certainly lighter on my laptop that's starting to grow beard!