Tag Archives: Amazon

Die Intel!

My first PC came with an Intel Celeron 400 processor. Back then, I had no idea what I was getting; I was not aware of various PC parts & technologies. All I knew was that a friend of mine had a Pentium III computer and it was better than mine.

Dominance/Monopoly of Intel

Slowly, as I started to explore the world of PCs (with help from Chip and Digit magazines), I became aware of various components inside PCs and different technologies & brands. The market leader for computer processors even back then was Intel. AMD, Via and Cyrix were alternative brands. Over time, I began to hate Intel. I started looking at Intel as a company which made technically good but overpriced processors & indulged in false/misleading advertising.

Intel is Evil
Evil Inside, PC: LogoDix

AMD processors always fascinated me. When the Athlon series launched, I read about its performance with awe. However, AMD, VIA or Cyrix processors were very rarely seen in the real world, outside reviews. Cyrix & Via soon died completely and AMD remained elusive, plagued by overheating issues and solely in the realm of gamers & enthusiasts. When I did my first major PC upgrade, I had to get a Pentium IV because no one would assemble an AMD for me.

In the laptop space, AMD was even rarer. In fact, the first time I saw an AMD laptop was during my college days when Nihit (technically his girlfriend) bought a laptop with an AMD Turion processor.

I remember inheriting a Compaq laptop (which I still have today) from my father and it had an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. When Windows Vista came out, Intel released a beta WDDM driver for the GPU on this laptop, but later discontinued it. Consequently, the laptop couldn’t use Vista’s Aero Glass effect for themes even though the hardware was compatible. My hatred intensified and I swore never to use Intel again.

In 2000, Intel was forced to abandon its IA-64 platform for 64-bit computing and forced to license AMD’s AMD64 technology. They called it x86-64 and had to pay licensing fee to AMD for every processor sold.

My First AMD

In 2006, briefly, for the first time, Intel and AMD both had nearly equal market shares for Desktop CPU shipments. AMD would maintain the neck-neck competition till date, Intel was no more a monopoly. In fact, in 2021, AMD is arguably ahead of Intel.

When I moved to Gurgaon, I decided to assemble a new gaming PC myself, from scratch. I got the AMD FX 6300 and a Radeon GPU, shunning Intel completely. It cost me half of what an equivalent Intel platform would have cost and performed better. There were no heat issues to speak of.

Eventually I bought an Xbox and sold my gaming PC, never to buy a PC again.

Last Tryst with Intel – Surface Pro 3

I was re-introduced to the world of Intel, when my fiend gifted me a Surface Pro 3. To me, the Surface Pro 3 showcased the very worst of Intel. The external hardware, touch screen, keyboard and OS were all amazing. It was the Intel innards which sucked balls.

The Core i7 processor always ran hot, no matter how light the workload. Consequently the fan was always whirring loudly. It was so loud, you couldn’t sleep in the same room with the Surface if it was doing something. Still, the fan was not enough to efficiently cool the Surface and the CPU was throttled <50% most of the time. I had to install an external USB fan to keep it cool; which was ridiculous.

On top of that, it had issues with Sleep which remained unresolved even after many firmware updates over many years. You closed the Surface and put it in your bag expecting it to sleep. It, however kept on running at full throttle and when you got it out to use it later, you saw that the battery was dead. Microsoft blamed Intel drivers and they twiddled their thumbs, as usual.

Eventually, I sold it and got myself an iPad.

ARM and Apple M1

For those who haven’t been keeping track, Apple transitioned their MacBooks from Intel CPUs to in-house ARM based processors in 2020. We (technically, my wife) bought a MacBook with an M1 chip. After using sluggish/hot/battery sucking laptops over the years, the MacBook blew my mind away.

It is as snappy as an iPad, the battery lasts all day (My wife uses it 8-9 hours off the charger) and there’s no fan and no heat to speak of. On top of all this, existing apps made for x86 work flawlessly and with minimum performance penalty. On the other hand, my work laptop (Intel Core i5) doesn’t last more than 2 hours off the charger and any computational effort make its fans sound like a jet plane.

I would not be wrong to say that the M1 is a generational leap ahead in computing from the old/shitty X86 laptops.

The Future

All mobile phones already used ARM processors. Same for all embedded devices and IOT devices. Apple would probably transition their Macs to ARM completely within the next few years. Many custom-made servers operated by the likes of Facebook/Amazon/Google use ARM already, too. In fact, the current world’s most powerful supercomputer also runs on ARM.

Once Microsoft get their x86-64 on ARM emulation to work properly, we should see a significant chunk of Windows ultraportables and laptops move to ARM. I hope AMD embraces the ARM architecture soon, too.

That being said, x86-64 isn’t going away anytime soon. Gaming PCs, Enterprise workstations, legacy applications requiring native x86-64 and most servers would continue to be x86-64 based for the foreseeable future and Intel would probably continue to dominate this space. I just hope they are reduced to shells of their former selves soon and then eventually die.

Lazada sucks balls

Lazada sucks balls even worse than Flipkart does. It is one of the reasons I miss Amazon so much.

Lazada is one of the leading eTailers in Thailand and in South-East Asia. There are other options here, too, like Shopee, but they suck balls just as hard. Shopee doesn’t even have an app for app store regions set outside Thailand so I don’t use it at all. But in this post, let’s look at Lazada.

As soon as you open the app, you are greeted with a fullscreen advertisement that you can’t dismiss immediately.

Lazada Sucks balls
Greeted with a Fullscreen Ad

Once you get past the obnoxious advertisement, you go to the main screen of the app. Notice how 70% of the interface is actually just ads?

Lazada Sucks balls
Interface full of Advertisements

Not only is the interface full of advertisements, everything uses bright, garish colours. Its as if the designers targeted the app at school kids. Lazada sucks so hard, the interface is also full of useless notifications at the bottom.

Once you try to order something, you cannot see the estimated delivery date on the item page. You need to add the item to cart and make it all the way to the checkout page before you can see when it can be delivered.

Even when you get through all the cringe and actually order something from these bastards, your ordeal is not over. You sit and wonder why the item you order has not shipped yet. It is because once you order the item and even pay for it, you still have to sort through hundreds of messages in the spam section, find a message like below and “confirm” your order. When I paid money for the item, was it not confirmation enough for you pricks?

Lazada Sucks Balls
Have to confirm, lol

Once the item ships, you have to manually check the status to see where it has reached. This is because as soon as you install the app, you have to turn off all notifications from it, lest the spam notifications take over your life.

All the spam notifications lead to the “messages” section of the app. The app clearly has an identity crisis and cannot decide whether it wants to be a shopping app or a messenger.

The “messages” section is a quagmire of spam, as expected.

If they are using any AI/ML/targeting for the spam that the app is full of, I can’t see it, because nothing here is relevant to me or remotely close to what I would ever want to buy.

I wonder why these eTailers think it is OK to bombard someone with spam so aggressively when they are already trying to spend their money on your platform to buy something. I can’t wait to go back to India and start using Amazon again.

My Best Purchases-HP 3545 AIO

Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the HP 3545 Printer/Scanner which is one of the best purchases (and the most useful) I ever made.

HP 3545
HP 3545 AIO, PC: HP

I ordered this from Amazon around December 2015 after my last inkjet died. It cost me only ₹5200 which is definitely a bargain for something this useful.

The device comes with WiFi connectivity. Not just WiFi direct between phones and the device, but it can join an actual 802.11 WiFi network & stay connected to the internet. The task of joining the printer to the WiFi network is a bit laborious using the tiny display and limited controls, but is a one time job. Once it is connected to WiFi, it is very easy to access from any device (Windows, Fagdroid or Apple) on the same network. The best part is, this is the first printer I have used that requires no drivers or apps on any device; everything is native.

It prints coloured pages reasonably fast, scans photos and documents up to 1200dpi and borderless coloured photos on glossy paper up to 6×4 inches. If you’re not on the same network, you can even print things remotely using the HP app, as long as this printer has Internet access.

This is probably the most useful thing I have ever bought. From school homework to bureaucratic paperwork; I couldn’t imagine my life without this.

My Worst Purchases-Bose QC 35 II

Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the Bose QC 35 II headphones, which I regretted buying.

Bose QC 35 II
The Bose QC 35 II, stellar headphones

Don’t get me wrong, the Bose QC 35 II are great headphones, with stellar sound quality and impressive noise cancellation. I just realised after buying them that I am not a “wearing huge headphones in public” kind of guy.

A bit of history, my earphones of choice used to be the Bose Soundsport Wireless, which I happily used for a few years, but lost during my last trip to Xiamen, China. I was quite devastated and for some time, considered buying the same earphones again, but couldn’t find them anywhere in Xiamen. I almost bought Apple Airpods from the Xiamen Apple store, but somehow controlled myself because of the poor audio quality.

After returning to India, I saw the Bose QC 35 II on sale at half price and I had wanted to dip my toes into Noise cancellation, so bought it.

The sound quality & the noise cancellation blew me away (Sony MX3 performs even better they say, but I was a Bose purist then). However, after the first few days of use, the novelty began to wear off. I would feel awkward walking in public with them around my ears, sitting at my desk in office. Having phone calls on them looked even more awkward so I started regretting my decision very soon.

On top of that, Apple soon launched the Airpods Pro, which had everything I wanted in the original Airpods and I was done with the QC 35 IIs.

I eventually sold them to a couple of illiterate Gym Bros via OLX at almost the same price I bought them for, so the regret didn’t last for long.