Jun 7, 2022

Apple's WWDC 22

Apple events are a treat to watch and yesterday's event was no different. The seamless transitions from one to the other was superbly done. I have a tweet thread on the release , and here is a summary of the Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Funny. 

The Good

  • M2 chip is launched which is about 40% faster than the M1 chip. The M1 chip is itself quite fast - so M2 is going to be absurdly fast. 
  • Macbook Airs have got the MagSafe now - so much better. And it comes in black (which they call midnight)
  • The iPhone can be used as a webcam with the MacBook. Apple does a better job of tying their various devices together than anyone else. Yes, you can use an Android as webcam and a few of my tech friends do it - but Apple makes it easier for everyone to use it. 
  • A redesigned lock screen. Android has had a few customizations on the Lock Screen for years, but the Lock Screen setup on the iOS looks just more well thought out. And you are not limited to just one, but can swipe between them. 
  • Live activities is brilliant. Instead of multiple notifications on your order, or even groping them together - these temporary widgets will show the updates realtime. Less of a notification clutter. 
  • Apple ( like other partners in the FIDO alliance ) are working on removing the multitude of passwords that we use - and which are the bane of our online hacks - by providing passkeys. I still need to look into this in detail, but this is going to be great if we can get rid of the mess of passwords. 
  • Fitness app does not need you to buy an iWatch. You can install on the iPhone and use the iPhone's gadgetry for your workout. 
  • The Car Play is a reimagining of the dashboard of the car. Simply fantastic. Its going to shut shop of most providers of the dashboard instruments as the software customizability means that they are just not needed. 

The Bad

  • Apple talked about gaming twice during the presentation. So it seems to me that they are getting serious about AAA gaming. And yet their demos were not from the latest games. The problem is that if you want to play most of the games that have come out recently, you will *need* to get Windows. A case in point is Elden Ring which does not have a Mac port. Path of Exile - another game that I played a lot also did not have a Mac port for years. Apple needs to get serious about their gaming because I believe the M chip has the capability to transform the MacBook into a great gaming laptop. 
  • Apple continues to work on the maps, but Google Maps is still way better. 
  • Apple mail still continues the catch up game. Does anyone know if it has got email threads by now ? 

The Ugly

  • Although apple talked at length about multi tasking and multiple windows even on the iPad - their tiling system just isn't up to the mark. I dislike the clutter of overlapping windows as quickly the desktop becomes a mess. I usually work with 4 windows in each quarter of the screen. You cannot do that by default in MacOS without carefully resizing windows manually. The 

The Funny

  • Craig totally nailed it. Here are a few screenshots I was able to grab at that time. 

Feb 6, 2022

Gaming on the Mac M1 vs Intel Iris

A lot of ink has gone in to how the new Mac (with Apple's homegrown M1 chip) has changed the game and also how Intel has been fighting back. 

Being a gamer, I am always looking at what next to run the games on ? Can we run games on linux ? Can we run games on linux running off a usb (no install on the pc) ? Can we play games for real on the M1 macs or it that just good marketing. 

My main gaming laptop is with a dedicated GPU, but many games I have are a bit old and so I was checking what can run on the non-GPU laptops. I also have access to the macbook (M1) and an intel based laptop (i7 1185G7). I looked at what games can run on both the platforms and also what resolution to run them in. Due to differences in the native resolution on both the devices, I had to set up a common resolution which comes out to be 1440x900 available on both. Also for the M1 I switched off the retina (2x) display. 

Following are my results. These were quite surprising for me. Intel has really upped the game and I look forward to seeing better chips from them. 

The FPS ( frames per sec) you see below are from the steam overlay.

Mac (M1)

Win (intel iris)

Crusader Kings 3 ( 1440x900 - Medium)



Pathfinder Kingmaker ( 1440x900 - High)



Tyranny ( 1440 x 900 )



Path of Exile (Oriath Docks)



Looks like Intel has caught up a lot in terms of graphics performance. 

Feb 2, 2022

Budget 2022 - Key Takeaways

Most of the predictions/asks by the industry pre-budget did not happen. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the budget:

Legitimizing digital currency:

The govt made 2 big policy changes to legitimize digital currency or cryptocurrency. 

1. Digital Rupee : The RBI will be issuing a Digital Rupee using blockchain. In effect this means that a blockchain ledger will be kept for the Rupee, but I do not think there will be any crypto mining. 

2. Digital Tax : There will be a tax of 30% on other virtual digital assets. Though the tax is very high, what it also means is that the cryptocurrencies like bitcoin , etherium etc will be legalized. You cannot tax something which is not legal. I also think that since they mention "virtual digital assets" this will also apply to NFTs. Further if you transfer the digital assets, there will be 1% TDS. Add to that - if you gift such an asset, the receiver will be taxed (which I think is not correct as the receiver may not be in a situation to pay the tax - e.g. in the case of a NFT gift) . 

Environmental impacts

1. Green bonds : A "Sovereign Green Bonds" scheme has been setup to fund "Green infrastructure". I just hope it does not end up like the Election Bonds where there is no transparency and there is just no idea who has given the money or where the money has gone. 

2. Solar cells and Solar modules are more expensive: This makes no sense as the govt is very bullish on renewable sources of energy and moving towards an Electric Vehicle future and reducing environmental pollution. 

3. Battery Swapping: Again I fail to understand why the govt needs to come up with specific policies. This should be just another item under the policies for green transport. Let the innovations decide whether it should be going towards the faster charging or battery swapping modes. If there was a need for policy it should be about standardizing the charging infrastructure so that all car chargers can charge any car. 

4. Anti-dumping duties on steel products revoked. This is a curious change as on the one hand the govt is talking about reducing pollution and on the other hand we will allow such dumping from steel imports (mostly from China).

5. Chemical free farming : This is such a mixed bag. On the one hand chemical free farming is a step in the right direction, but there is hardly any existing infra around it. I know a few enthusiasts are doing it - but that is. For a large scale push, there is nothing existing. On top of that, the fertilizer subsidy has been drastically reduced to a fourth of what it was last year. I doubt farmers are going to jump on the non-chemical bandwagon. I also wonder why the govt has reduced fertilizer subsidies - wont it have been better to say that subsidies will now apply to non-chemical fertilizers if that's where the govt wants to push the farmers ? 

6. Linking of Rivers : This budget saw another push in this direction. I am not sure why the govt is keen on doing this while experts have always pointed out that the risks in this case are more than the rewards which are being thought of. 

Infrastructure push

The govt has announced multiple schemes for infrastructure and connectivity.

1. 25,000 km of national highways. Point to note here is that the govt measures each lane individually. So say you are covering a distance of 250kms , but since its a 4 lane highway, the govt measures it as 1000kms of road building. As such, the actual distance connectivity will be much less than 25,000kms. 

2. 100 new cargo terminals. This will help the supply chains. 

3. 8 Ropeway projects. I assume this will be done at tourist destinations. Apart from this, there was nothing to help the Hospitality/Tourism industries to recover from the impact of Covid to their businesses. 

4. 400 new Vande Bharat trains. I am very iffy about this one. Do we have the railway line infrastructure to add new trains ? Or are these trains going to replace existing and aging trains ? 

5. Rs 19,130 cr allocations for metro projects

6. Rs 2,600 cr for Central Vista


1. Defense research will be opened up for startups. I think there should be a collaboration with the colleges also (I am not sure if there is). If you look at the USA, colleges get funding from the defense forces. 

2. There is a focus on drones. I personally think this is detrimental as most startups will start looking at drones. Instead the govt should be putting policies in place which help in the startup ecosystem as a whole. e.g. the Economic Survey calls out specifically the long time it takes to get the patents in India. Govt policy should be towards simplifying such things. 


1. X Ray machines are costlier. Why ? Has the govt learnt nothing from the pandemic ? We should be improving our medical facilities by leaps and bounds. 


1. Defense Sector : 68% of procurement budget of defense will be for the local industries. i.e. Buy/Build stuff indigenously. 

2. E-Passport to be introduced. 

3. 5G network : This will start to be rolled out in the next financial year. This is just catching up to the global networks. Even without mention in the budget it will need to be done. 

4. Archeological Survey of India budget increase: I am happy about this. We have some really great cultural artifacts from the years gone by and they are in shambles. A part of this budget should also go into training the ASI staff on how to properly restore buildings. Too often I have seen patchwork cement work done on buildings and that takes away all the charm of these magnificent structures. My only comment here is that historical structures be treated as historical structures from any culture/religion and be preserved as such. Deleting history to suit the political viewpoint should not be done. 

5. No new Taxes comment: Also out of sync is the statement from the FM that the PM was very clear about no new taxes, and yet the budget has many different taxes imposed on different things. 

6. No relief for the salaried class

New lingo from the Budget: 

  • Amrit Kaal
  • One Station One Product
  • GatiShakti
  • Kavach
  • Parvatmala

Jan 29, 2022

Budget 2022 - Consolidated list of Expectations

Budget for the year will be on 1st Feb. I have been going through various articles on the net on what the expectations are from various people. Here is a consolidated list.

  • Policy to boost liquidity support to NBFCs 
    • Shachindra Nath, Executive Chirman UGRO
  • Relieve traders of the securities transaction tax (STT)
    • Puneet Maheshwari , Director Upstox
    • Parth Nyati, Founder Tradingo
  • Hike standard deductions from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,00 
    • Puneet Maheshwari , Director Upstox
  • Remove concept of Speculative Income
    • Puneet Maheshwari , Director Upstox 
  • Tax exemption upto Rs 1,00,000 lakh on short term capital games
    • Puneet Maheshwari , Director Upstox 
  • Tax exemption on dividends up to Rs 50,000 for senior Citizens
    • Puneet Maheshwari , Director Upstox 
  • Reduce TDS to 7.5% for all
    • Gunish Jain, CEO BlueKaktus
  • Reduce TDS to 2.5% for SMEs
    • Gunish Jain, CEO BlueKaktus
  • Revise GST on software services to 12%
    • Gunish Jain, CEO BlueKaktus
  • Reduce logistics cost from 14% of GDP to 8-10% of GDP
    • Kushal Nahata , CEO FarEye
  • Increase investments in AI, ML and Blockchain
    • Kushal Nahata , CEO FarEye
    • Puneet Gupta , MD NetApp
  • Tackle high inflation
    • Manish Aggarwal, Director Bikano & Bikanervala
  • Rationalize GST rates
    • Manish Aggarwal, Director Bikano & Bikanervala
  • Reduce GST slab for CNG fuel from 18% to 5%
    • Suyash Gupta, Director General Indian Auto LPG Coalition
  • Reduce GST for LPG conversion system from 18% to 5%
    • Suyash Gupta, Director General Indian Auto LPG Coalition
  • Build a countrywide cycling infrastructure - 
    • Pankaj Munjal, Chairman & MD Hero Motors
  • Subsidize R&D to promote Make In India. Only 0.6% of GDP is allocated to R&D
    • Ashok Rajpal, CEO Ambrane
    • Sandeep Narula, Chairman Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council
    • Mahendra Patel, Managing Director Lincoln Pharmaceuticals
  • Compliance should be simplified and unnecessary legislation should be phased away
    • Ashok Rajpal, CEO Ambrane
  • Lowering of GST rates on raw materials for Electric Vehicles
    • Uday Narang , Chairman Omega Seiki Mobility
  • Transparent and progressive regulations that clearly differentiate games of skill from those of chance
    • Sunil Yadav, CEO PlayerzPot
  • Clarification on data privacy and third parties to safeguard user privacy
    • Sunil Yadav, CEO PlayerzPot
  • Increased investment towards boosting tourism infrastructure - 
    • Pallavi Agarwal, Founder goSTOPS
  • Hike 80C exemption limit
    • CEO BankBazaar
  • Reduce GST of 18% on health insurance
    • CEO Bank Bazaar
  • More support on education
    • Sahil Sheth, CEO Lido Learning
  • Taxation slabs and GST to be streamlined
    • Adetee Agarwaal, CEO PinkAprons
  • Remove import duties on cotton - 
    • Apparel Export Promotion Council

Sources : 

Jan 25, 2022

#Product101 #8

 A visual product design is always better than one using bullet points.

Jan 19, 2022

Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard


What an absolute mammoth deal. Here is a list of the major game IPs Microsoft now owns (in alphabetical order)

  • Age of Empires
  • Call of Duty
  • Candy Crush
  • Devil May Cry
  • Diablo
  • Dishonored
  • Doom
  • Fable
  • Fallout
  • Forza
  • Gears of War
  • Halo
  • Hearthstone
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Minecraft
  • Morrowind
  • Oblivion
  • Overwatch
  • South Park the Stick of Truth
  • Skyrim
  • StarCraft
  • Wasteland
  • World of Warcraft
  • Warcraft

Let me know if I missed out any notables

Link : https://www.theverge.com/2022/1/18/22889258/microsoft-activision-blizzard-xbox-acquisition-call-of-duty-overwatch 

Jan 8, 2022

Snow leopard at Illinois zoo dies from COVID-19

 We have heard about cats and dogs getting infected by Covid. Now, it seems that even snow leopards have got it and died. Really sad news. 

So essentially if the bat theory is correct:

Bats -> Humans -> Snow Leopard

Here's a pic of the beautiful animal.

Product101 #6

Product designs captured on napkins outlast the designs captured in ppts.