Six Months Later – My Caltrain Experience

Time really does fly, it’s march already. I got a job back in September that required I commute from Santa Clara to San Francisco. The only other alternative besides driving is to take Caltrain. It’s been 6 months and I am ready to share my experience.

The Good

Caltrain is almost always on time unless something really drastic (death on tracks) happens. It is reliable and affordable compared to driving to San Francisco. Trains are reasonably well maintained and conductors are friendly.

Caltrain no longer accepts paper monthly passes and 8-ride tickets. It’s been replaced with Clipper Card. I get my monthly pass order automatically loaded on to the Clipper card and don’t need to tag on and off. No Hassle commute…

The Bad

There is no WiFi on board Caltrain. My commute time is one hour and that means time to surf the web. Even though I have a 4G phone, AT&T’s coverage is spotty in some areas that Caltrain goes through.

Train timings don’t sometimes make sense. In the morning I have to catch Caltrain from Sunnyvale because of timing difference. Not all trains make all stops. Especially the bullet train in the morning from Mountain View that makes very few stops. It is impossible to find parking at mountain view station after 7:40 am.

Caltrain is having major budget crisis which is why they have been contemplating shutting off stations and canceling service on weekends. Final vote is scheduled for April 7 and fare hike is on the table as one of the measures to reduce the budget deficit.

Fingers crossed.

One Month with Motorola Atrix and I Love IT!

It’s been a month of discovering the new and trying to forget the old. I had never owned a Motorola before and was very apprehensive but convinced that Atrix will change my opinion. It sure did, I love Atrix.

I upgraded from iPhone 3G to Atrix so the changes were drastic.

Atrix runs on 1 GHz dual core processor and 1 GB of RAM with Android 2.2 operating system. World’s first smartphone to have qHD (Quarter High Definition) display on a 4″ screen. 5MP camera at the back with video recording and a front facing camera for video calling.

It’s a beast in terms of speed and the screen is extremely responsive to touch. Very light weight compared to my iPhone 3G.

Cool Features

[ad#left] Cool security feature: Finger print scanner let’s me swipe my index finger to unlock the phone.

Cool video feature: HDMI out let’s me watch videos on a TV in full 720p HD.

Cool music feature: ability to delete songs.

Cool contacts feature: photos of your contacts directly from their Social Media profile along with their last status update.

Cool personalization feature: live wallpapers.

I am not regretting a bit that I bought this phone. I don’t know if I will stay loyal to Motorola but I do know that I am not going to ditch Android. App Store does have more apps than Android Market but it is only a matter of time before Android catches up.

Atrix Reviews Worth Reading

Motorola Atrix 4G ReviewChipChick

Motorola Atrix 4G Smartphone ReviewShellyPalmer

[ad#468]

Facebook vs. World Wide Web

Instead if flipping channels when commercials bombard you while watching TV, try watching few ads. You will see that majority of the brands want you to check out their Facebook page. Back in the day, it used to be their own website but now its a page hosted on Facebook where the content is technically owned by Facebook.

Don’t know about you but I think that this is a significant shift. Will Facebook soon be our go to spot for everything internet has to offer? Yes, for some time it will hurt the overall eco system of the world wide web but then something new will challenge its authority. Yahoo! was the number one destination for quite a number of years. It was replaced by Facebook and some day there will be another website or service that will render Facebook obsolete.

I think the reason Facebook will not survive the tide of time is because we humans have a tendency to know that we can’t put all our eggs in one basket. Facebook is trying to be everything to everyone because it is playing the social card. That card will be useless once we get tired of sharing. Human deprogramming will take place sooner or later…

Until it lasts, Facebook deserves most respect for being extremely successful without a product or service.

[ad#468]

Time to Move On…

I have iPhone 3G and have it since it was first released. Once I learned how to use it to its full potential without jail breaking, its been a pleasure ride. “There is an App for that” was a term I used with friends and family every time I was asked if iPhone can __________ [fill in the blank].

Almost 2 years and now I am sick of iPhone. There are number of reasons and none of them involve AT&T.

After upgrading to the latest version 4.2.1 of iOS, I have been having issues like frozen screen, lagging performance, slow GPS, app crash, and unresponsive touchscreen. The upgrade is not to be blamed entirely; I noticed similar performance issues even before I upgraded. I have 21 songs, 0 videos, 17 photos and 21 apps with 6.3 GB of free space.
[ad#left]

There are 2 iPhones in my household both 3G; one jail broken (wife) and one intact. The jail broken one makes me jealous sometimes with vibrant themes and the ability to reply to texts on the go. I upgraded to 4.2.1 version very late because my wife upgraded her iPhone after jail breaking it and experienced slow performance. I thought maybe it’s that way because her iPhone is jail broken. I was wrong; it’s the iOS.

iOS 4.2.1 wasn’t made for iPhone 3G because even after you upgrade, your phone can’t do many things that iPhone 3GS can do after the upgrade. Maybe that’s why they say that “one size fits all” approach is usually not the best way to go.

So what’s next?

AT&T is releasing Motorola Atrix next month; the best smartphone at CES 2011. I have never been a fan of Motorola (despised those slim razr flip phones) but this one will change my view. Not because it has an award under its belt but because its running Android 2.2 and has the performance of a PC. I need a phone that is powerful, fast and lets me customize the phone without jailbreaking.

Now that Verizon has iPhone, it makes even more sense to stick with AT&T and get Motorola Atrix which will be a 4G phone unlike iPhone 4 that will run on 3G network on both Verizon and AT&T.

I will change the category “iPhone” on this blog to “Smartphones.”

[ad#468]

Social Media: Bubble in the Making

Most people are now speculating that there is a social media bubble. First, no one really cared because tech giants with tons of cash where buying tiny start-ups with no revenue in anticipation of future success. Now that Goldman Sachs is stepping up its game and betting that Facebook is worth $50 Billion by investing $450 Million, it gets little serious.

You might not know this but Goldman Sachs has been behind every bubble since 1920s. It’s made a lot of money from the recent wall street bailout and has been dubbed “too big to fail.” Goldman Sachs will never pay a price for all the bad decisions it makes because the government can always bail it out.

Social Media: Bubble in the Making

Back to the bubble…

So Goldman Sachs decided that since social media is all the range, its about time they jumped in and made some dough. It went around SEC regulations, created a trust fund that designates Goldman Sachs as one investor and then started selling little pieces of that trust to its wealthy clients. Facebook can only have 500 shareholders because it is a private company but because of this trust, it can have 1000s of investors underneath one giant Goldman Sachs umbrella.

There are two things you need to understand.

By investing in Facebook, Goldman Sachs is legitimizing it as an investment that others should also look into and thus creating a gold rush a.k.a bubble and to prove it, here is a quote:

“Maybe it’s just envy talking—we would have killed to be in this deal—but part of me wonders if Goldman is pulling a fast one on Facebook,”

- An executive at a rival Wall Street firm. CNBC
[ad#left]

Another proof was announced recently; potential LinkedIn IPO this year. Reason: Get in before Facebook IPO and rake in a decent price. LinkedIn is just being smart and the company that will take LinkedIn public is J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs rival.

Second, Goldman Sachs is not using its own money to invest in Facebook; it’s the market.

Goldman Sachs has a free “get out of debt” card that it can use any time without any repercussions. If someone gave you $100 and asked you to gamble and if you win, money is yours and if you don’t, no worries then would you think before you leap?

By investing $450 Million, Goldman Sachs can now sell upwards of $1.5 Billion in shares to its wealthy clients. It is not a venture capital firm but bank-holding company that borrows through the capital markets all the money that it invests.

Some numbers…

Goldman Sachs invested $450 Million to buy less than 1% stake in Facebook.

$50 Billion X 1% = $500 Million (less than 1% stake)

Goldman Sachs evaluated Facebook at 25 times more than its 2010 revenue, now leaked, around $2 Billion with profit of around $400 Million.

$2 Billion X 25 = $50 Billion

Google is considered one of the robust companies and its current value of $196 Billion is only 7 times its annual revenue. Compare that to Facebook’s value worth 25 times its annual revenue…

Behind every successful man there is a woman; behind every bubble there is Goldman Sachs.

[ad#468]