Monthly Archives: August 2008

Airline Operating Costs

This has been a topic of discussion and will continue to be one this fiscal year as the Indian Aviation Industry is forecasted to run into losses in the tunes of thousands of crores. (I will lose track of the number of zeros while counting the same!!)

And some low-cost airlines may even go into extinction if they don’t raise their fares. Once they raise their air fares, then which one is the premium airlines and which one is the budget. This was my dilemma when I started a scout for fares while booking tickets online 2 weeks backs. There was just 750 bucks difference between a premium airline’s lowest fare and a budget airline’s fare. The tax itself was a whopping 3500+!!

Now, how can the airlines help it? This is direct result of the aviation fuel prices. There’s nothing the airlines can do reduce their operating costs. I was reading a few articles in the daily newspapers recently which talked about reducing operating costs for the Indian aviation counterparts across the seven seas by doing obscure stuff like using disposable cutlery, reducing the amount of water bottles carried on flight, reducing the amount of reading material carried, changing the material of the upholstery and chairs. Interesting stuff but made some sense when you thought about it from a scientific point of view. The science of weight to force ratio. More the weight, more is the force required, more is the acceleration required and more the fuel.

Hopefully, our Indian aviation experts read the same articles too!! May be they have even started implementing some of the practices by borrowing the ideas of the West. We should have learnt the art of borrowing ideas pretty well by now. Bollywood makes a profession out of this art!!

If the same trend of air fare increase continues, we will be back in an era (a decade ago) when air travel was a complete luxury and the common Indian had a penchant for the Indian railways. Do I see a hint of a wicked smile on our Railway Minister’s face??


Apple iPhone in India

Finally the Wonder Phone from Apple has hit the Indian markets and you will find the Vodaphone and Airtel outlets eagerly displaying the Apple 8GB and 16GB handsets. So, will the iPhone be as much a hit in the market as the other Wonder "Stuff" that has hit world markets in the past?? The Answer is a big NO unless today’s consumer is unable to fathom the actual realities against the ones drilled in the seller through media propaganda. Surprised
Apple did a stellar job with the iPod and decided it is time to take it to the next phase, let’s add the phone feature into it. What they forgot was that only music and visual appeal with call making capabilities doesn’t make a phone that is viable to today’s business user. Let’s get into the nitty gritty details before I get accussed of bias:
Phone User: I really need to record this and put this up on the Net today!!
iPhone: I’m a phone not a video camera. Sad But I have a 2 MP camera. Smile
Smartphone: It’s quite a smart idea to have a video camera, just a basic one would do for occassions just like this. Sarcastic Some of my brothers and sisters have 5 MP cameras. Open-mouthed
  • The above was just a small issue. Another feature that was missing was the optical zoom and flash which most of the high end phones nowadays have. If you tell me that a phone that costs Rs. 31,000/- and above is not a high end phone, it would definitely raise a few eyebrows??
  • How often do you forward a SMS joke or even some contact information some one sent across to you. Well, iPhone will make sure that you get out of this habit. The forwarding habit is a lazy one and shouldn’t be cultivated. Tongue out Ever messaged a bunch of people or a group together. Group messaging promotes SPAM. This is also not available. See how the iPhone is helping us cultivate good habits. If I had to send my Team Dinner information to my team members, I would have to send it to them individually. You see adding a personal touch is always better!!! Confused
  • Also, some of the backtracking in terms of technology can only be understood and explained by the iPhone designers or may be it’s some out-of-the-world business strategy which seems to be hurting a few of the loyal iPhone fans. You cannot do any form of media sharing other than using iTunes. Nor are you allowed to install any other software that lets you do this.
  • iPhone lacks A2DP on Bluetooth which means you cannot listen to any music using Bluetooth headsets. It’s a bad habit to multi task like this. You should only do one thing at a time.
  • Do you mutiple ring tones for different people calling you or do you have a habit of playing your ringer profile. Well, the iPhone gives you no option of ringtone customisation.
  • And most importantly synching up email is one of most cumbersome piece of work. Not that setting up email synch and troubleshooting it is easy. You need to make synching it also complicated. But then again why should you be connected with office when you are OOF. It’s not good work-life balance. Wink

The Apple users sorely miss features like video camera, multimedia messaging, voice dialing, higher megapixel camera, user-replaceable battery, Adobe flash etc. Many of these users believe that Apple may add some of these features in the next upgrade, and till then iPhone rivals are a better value for money.

The bottomline is I’m not rushing to buy an iPhone any time soon. As mentioned in my last post on the iTouch, I’m a true HTC fan where I feel value for money is present and have the satisfaction of paying for technology. A lot of glitz and fancy drag/drop enhancements are not my forte. Read about it further here. From this particular blog post "Ultimately, the iPhone is stark proof of the fundamental difference between the Mac and Windows worlds. In the Mac world, you get one man’s vision, beautifully designed, expensive, and maybe, just maybe in sync with your needs. In the Windows world, you get an enormous ecosystem where you can choose from dozens of different devices using the form factors and feature sets you prefer, at a variety of price points."
One of the Apple User complains "When I finally got home I restarted the phone and when it booted back up I had reception. Also, it seems my data connection, although it says 3G, seems to be running at edge speeds." (From the Indiatimes Infotech article).Isn’t that the famous restart fix that was criticized by all Apple gadget geeks. How did this get incorporated into this Wonder Phone?? Or was this a one-off-freak incident??
Some of the feedback for this cartoon has labelled it as lame but this provides a small reality check of visual appeal versus needs in business. See it here.

Kolkata Bandh

My visits to this city would have been incomplete without a bandh!!
And lo behold, there is a bandh called out. The fact of the matter is that these strikes/bandhs/protests whatever you want to call them affect the normal functioning on the city. Read more about it here.
Techies slogging out in Sector V will either have to start for office before sunrise and stay locked till the next day, or come to work the next Saturday to make up for the backlog.
The appalling part is that the news channels are showing a small boy who is not able to travel to Hyderabad due to this "BANDH" and . Surely, Essential Services, should have been spared. Or is it that they are spared and everyone is too caught up with the AAI agenda and other agendas to notice about a boy who is fighting a life and death situation. Isn’t it a crime on humanitarian grounds to obstruct a person’s right to receive medical treatment??