I Hate My iPad

I Hate My iPad

Can my tablet-loving Slate colleagues convince me I didn't just waste $600?


I admit that I bought my iPad for the wrong reasons. I got one because it seemed like everyone I knew had gotten one for Christmas and, well, I felt left out. I didn't think about how it would fit in with the gadgets I already owned (laptop, Kindle, iPhone), and I didn't borrow a friend's and take it on a test drive. Now I just feel annoyed, having spent $600 on a device that hasn't done anything to improve my life. Asalad spinner would have been a better investment, and I don't even eat that much salad.

I don't think the iPad is useless. There's no question that it makes browsing the Web while sitting on the couch easier. Though I have a relatively svelte laptop, it's kind of a pain to tote around the apartment. But am I the kind of person who pays $600 to save the effort of detaching some USB cables from time to time? I don't want to be that kind of person.

I also use the tablet to time-shift. I've long been a fan of theInstapaper Pro app, which allows me to bookmark articles throughout the day and read them on my iPhone during my commute or when I arrive back home. Using Instapaper on the iPad is superior to reading an article on the comparatively cramped iPhone. But again, it's not that much superior. On the subway, the small screen is actually a bonus—I find the iPad too unwieldy for rush-hour travel, or really any situation where you can't use either two hands or a hand and a lap.

When it comes to reading books, I prefer my Kindle—its e-ink technology offers a break from the brightly lit screens I stare at all day, it's light in my hands, and its single purpose means I'm less likely to be distracted by a droll tweet from @pourmecoffee. The Kindle is also economical, and not just because it's cheaper than an iPad. The money I've saved by subscribing to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on Amazon's reader has paid for the device and then some. Every time I want to do something on the iPad, by contrast, Steve Jobs has his hand out.

The iPad's interface also has some serious limitations. Typing on the thing is beastly, rendering the device useful only for consuming, not composing. And there are limits to what you can consume, as I learned when I tried to stream the Jets-Pats playoff game while traveling, only to realize that radio streaming is typically a Flash affair and thus not possible on the iPad. (In retrospect, this native New Englander was grateful to the iPad for failing me that day.)


Vexed by these shortcomings, I turned to my Slate colleagues, many of whom are enthusiastic supporters of the device. I hoped they could explain the tablet's appeal. Here's the e-mail thread that ensued:

Me: I hate my iPad. What am I doing wrong?

Ellen Tarlin: Give it to me.

Jessica Grose: Maybe the problem is that you are expecting it to be more than a toy. It is not "useful" in any meaningful sense, unless you are traveling with it. The games are super fun though.

June Thomas: Maybe you're too happy with your iPhone. I use my iPad to do the same things I do on my iPhone only on a bigger scale. I say download Angry Birds—it's 450 times better on the iPad. It won't improve your life (the opposite), but it will get you addicted.

Chad Lorenz: Download these apps: Flipboard, Flud, Instapaper, NYT, NPR, WaPo, Slate, Wikipanion, Twitter, Google, ABC Player, WikiTunes. Maybe IM+ if you use Gchat or other IM services. Set up the e-mail for the e-mail address you get your newsletters sent to. And buy some iBooks. iTunes also gives out a free music video every week, which is worth at least one viewing. Sign up for the newsletter of iTunes' weekly 99-cent movie rentals.

Farhad Manjoo: And Netflix: 60 percent of my iPad time is spent on Netflix.

Ellen Tarlin: Get married. Then you can use it to ignore your wife.

June Thomas: Or you can be considerate and use the Kindle app on your iPad to read in bed. It's much quieter than the actual Kindle.

Farhad Manjoo: But brighter. The problem with reading a book on the iPad is that there's always the Web and Netflix to compete with. I've never finished a book on the iPad.

Taige Jensen: I have mine by the TV and quickly share YouTube videos people bring up, settle inquiries instantly, use Beejive to consolidate all my chats/AIM/Facebook/Google, manage scripts on set, write, manage my calendar, watch movies in bed, make music tracks with BeatMaker, manage my Dropbox folder, take notes in meetings, read the news/magazines, and play games.

I think you're doing it wrong.

Noreen Malone: All of which you can do on a laptop …

Taige Jensen: I think if you bought it thinking it was more capable than a laptop, you'll probably be disappointed. I have a terrible HP laptop that you can only use when plugged in, so I'm obviously biased.

John Swansburg: I think it's amazing that Apple has convinced so many people to pay $600 for what seem like such marginal improvements in their lifestyles—$600 to be able to check my e-mail in bed in a slightly more comfortable fashion than I can on my laptop seems sort of crazy when I stop and think about it.

[Adopted from the Slate]

HUMAN RIGHTS: Nepal making strides



Despite persistent challenges, Nepal’s transition to peace has been marked by significant progress on the human rights front. The country has undergone different phases of a radical political and social transformation following the democratic uprising in 2006 that put an end to the decade-long war and toppled a repressive monarchy.

Though the transformation is not yet complete, the country has put an end to the spectre of violence and initiated a process to build a more equal, peaceful and democratic society. Notably, what followed the 2006 political change has been a gradual enhancement in both the people’s and the leaders’ level of understanding that honouring people’s fundamental human rights is the basic norm of democracy and any infringement of these rights is unacceptable.

Human rights defenders with years of experience in the sector look back and feel exultant at the progress made. They recount the pre-1990 days when they had to celebrate the Dec. 10 Human Rights Day literally underground. “Things have, of course, changed a lot,” says Gauri Pradhan, Spokesman and Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). “There used to be a time when we would meet underground at the houses of Tanka Prasad Acharya or Ganesh Man Singh and come out in the field in disguise … we used to organise tree-plantation programmes. The police would then pull out all the plants after finding that they were planted by human rights activists.”

On the contrary, today protection of human rights is not only an agenda of civil society groups but also a priority of the state. They have been formally enshrined in the draft of the new constitution and integrated into the government’s policies and national plan (National Human Rights Action Plan 2004), in school- and college-level curriculum and in the working modality of the security forces. Nepal has made significant progress in securing the rights of women and children. The 33 percent representation of women in the House, “outstanding” progress in reducing the maternal mortality rate as per the target of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), repeal of almost all the laws and legal provisions that were discriminatory against women, and progress made in the net enrolment of children in schools are all worth celebrating.

The positive effects of all these changes on the lives of common people have been reflected in a number of recent annual indexes such as the UNDP Human Development Report (2010), which places Nepal as one of the world’s fastest movers in HDI, and the World Global Hunger Index and Democracy Index of the Economist, which show Nepal progressing in democracy.

Statistics of human rights watchdogs that have long been monitoring incidents of rights violations do show some positive signs. “The percentage of custodial torture has gone down from 57 to 16 in the last 10 years in the 20 districts we monitored,” says Mandira Sharma, Executive Director of the Advocacy Forum.

Rights activists attribute the progress to an increased sensitivity to human rights issues within state security forces, visible particularly after the 2006 democratic uprising. “The sensitisation that has come about within the security sector is a major achievement,” says Pradhan of NHRC.



Compensation, reparation distributed to almost all conflict victims

Gender friendly budget (17.3 percent to gender)

Increased HR awareness in security forces

Draft statute upholds civil-political, social-cultural rights

National Human Rights Action Plan adopted

‘A’ grade, ‘Independent, autonomous’ NHRC

Ratification of 7 out of 9 core international treaties on HR

A bill to criminalise torture in the offing



Impunity for crimes committed during war

Weak enforcement of court judgments

Torture yet to be criminalised

New draft legislation renders NHRC toothless

Sexual and gender minorities highly discriminated

Refugees’ rights still unprotected

Delay in formation of TRC and Disappearance Commission

Draft statute has many conditions to curtail fundamental rights

As of now, all three state security apparatuses--Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police--have established their own separate human rights cells and have begun orienting their personnel on basic human rights issues. And each one has incorporated a “zero tolerance policy” against human rights abuses and launched a number of training programmes on human rights. One case in point is the human rights sensitisation programme launched by the Armed Police Force for its personnel in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal.

“Unlike before, the security forces are more cooperative these days,” says Sharma, who has been monitoring the instances of rights violations, particularly torture and extrajudicial killings in 20 districts across the country.

Sharma, however, is dismayed at the government’s reluctance to institutionalise these achievements and at the lack of progress in addressing impunity. Ratification of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), says Sharma, would have helped institutionalise the progress by providing a framework to systematically end torture and other forms of inhuman treatment by security forces. Despite pressure from the international community and rights defenders, the government has refused to ratify the CAT. Ratification of the CAT and investigation into extrajudicial killings are two of the 15 recommendations made by the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) that Nepal rejected.

The other challenges for the security forces that are often pointed out by rights defenders concern extrajudicial killings and impunity for past human rights violations.


Monitoring mechanism

Another barometer of a country’s human rights situation are the mechanism used to monitor violations and the government’s response to the recommendations of monitors. Nepal, in that case, stands out in the region, according to different indicators.

Statistics at the NHRC show that the government response to human rights concerns have been “satisfactory and positive”. The government has implemented around 90 percent of the NHRC recommendations, especially on policy issues, according to NHRC Spokesman Pradhan. There has been, however, very little progress in implementing recommendations that call for legal action against perpetrators.


Recommendations Complaints

Fully implemented 34

Partially implemented 138

Pending 214

Rejected 0

Total 386

Government officials argue there are some genuine reasons behind the government’s inability to initiate legal actions for human rights abuses committed during the conflict. “The CPA and the Interim Constitution have clearly stated that separate commissions on inquiry into enforced disappearance and truth and reconciliation would be set up to look into the incidents of human rights violations committed during the conflict period,” says Dilli Raj Ghimire, Joint Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). “Neither the government nor the court can challenge legal and constitutional provisions. But the government remains committed to address those cases once the laws are put in place.”

Responding to the concerns of the human rights community, the PMO has formed a committee to monitor the implementation of NHRC recommendations. “Our internal records show that almost all of the recommendations concerning compensation have been implemented. Only those that have asked the government to formulate laws have been pending as they have to go through a long process,” says Shankar B. KC, Under Secretary at the human rights cell in PMO.


Healing the war wounds

Distribution of reparations and compensation to the victims of conflict has been one important area where the government has made significant progress.

The government has distributed over Rs. 2 billion as relief to the victims of the war that took more than 13,000 lives, rendered hundreds of people physically disabled, ravaged properties worth millions of rupees and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Compensations distributed


13,964 (Rs. 1,396.40m)


1,302 (Rs.130.20m)


717 (Rs. 17.925m)

Property loss:

1,238 (Rs.75m)


1,633 (Rs. 84.904m)


3,668 (Rs. 91.700m)

As part of its relief programme, the government has started distributing special ID cards to conflict victims (with disabilities and physical injuries) to systematise their access to state facilities and other rights. Around 4,305 people disabled during the conflict are expected to benefit from the card--which entitles them with free treatment for physical damage, Rs. 200,000 as a lump-sum compensation, and scholarships for their children. Besides this, there is a mechanism in place under the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction that distributes relief to victims on the recommendations of the NHRC and the peace committees set up in all districts.

[Sigdel is a news coordinator with The Kathmandu Post and reports on human rights issues.]

New Prime Minister of Nepal Jhala Nath Khanal says India and China should be happy with his election


Prime Minister-elect Jhala Nath Khanal has said that peace and statute will be his government's central priority and that it will try to expand the current majority government into a consensus government by bringing in other political parties based on a common minimum programme. Khanal expressed optimism that his election should make both India and China happy. In an exclusive interview to Kamal Raj Sigdel of The Kathmandu Post right after his election, Khanal shared how he would move ahead and what would be the priorities of his government. Excerpts:

What will be your focus?

I believe that delivering peace and statute in the given timeline is the main challenge facing the country at this point in time and this is also a challenge for me and my government. The time is too short and I will move ahead with the peace and statute as the central plank of my administration while taking all the political parties into confidence.

Where will you start?

Peace is the most important priority. We will prepare an action plan and build on the works accomplished so far. The same is true with the statute writing process. But before all that, we will form a government after holding discussions with the parties supporting us.

Will the government be long coming?

No, but it may not take full shape at one go.

What will be its size?

As far as possible, small. I will try to ensure all candidates in the government are capable. The government has a mission to accomplish.

Will you induct other parties too, such as Congress?

I will try to bring in all other parties starting with those willing to join immediately and the rest gradually.

What will be the basis for inducting other parties in the government?

We will form a common minimum programme (CMP), including basic understanding on peace and statute. Also, a code of conduct for the common minimum programme.

Has a leftist polarisation started under your leadership?

I am not for polarisation. It  won’t  do the country any good. I will move ahead in sync with democratic forces.

It seems this government was not favoured by India. What do you say?

Nepal is an independent and sovereign country and it is the people who decide what type of government is formed here. This is a government formed with good judgment of the people. I feel it will make our friends happy, especially India and China.

There is speculation the Maoist agenda will prevail in your government and yours will be sidelined.

We will prepare a CMP and policy. The Maoists will get more seats but we will move ahead with the CMP. We have peace and statute at the centre stage.

Can you deliver on peace and statute when a major party is in the opposition?

We will strive for both the peace and statute writing processes. We will accelerate the statute-writing and for peace process, we will follow a concrete and time-bound action plan.

How will you address the factionalism in your party?

Our party remains united. There are no any differences inside and it will perform more effectively.

(Originally published at The Kathmandu Post, http://www.ekantipur.com/2011/02/04/top-story/india-china-will-be-happy/329074.html)

CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal elected Nepal's Prime Minister, fourth communist PM

Who is Jhala Nath Khanal? Khanal is a senior political leader in Nepal. At present he is Chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (CPN (UML)) and Leader of Constituent Assembly Parliamentary Party of CPN (UML). (UML).[1] Jhala Nath Khanal was born on March 20, 1950 at Sakhejung of Ilam district.[2] He was elected as the Chairman of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (UML) on February 16, 2009.[3] He led the CPN(UML) as General Secretary from 2008 to February 2009.

He is a former Minister of Information and Communication.

He won the seat of Ilam-1 constituency in 2008 CA elections.

Before he joined UML, he was member of Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist).  He was also the General Secretary of CPN(ML) from 19821986.

He was slapped by one recently publicly for failing to act as per people’s expectation

This small incident (as Jhalnath Khanal thinks and Opines in an interview subsequently) of Jhalnath Khanal being slapped in public should remind most of us the big incident ofshoes hurled on President Bush

 by Al-Zaidi some years ago. Al-Zaidi’s shoeing inspired many similar incidents of political protest around the world and I believe this should be the one in Nepali politics. The aftermath of the Bush incident created a huge controversy and the Nepali media came in support of Al-Zaidi then. Now it will be interesting to see how Nepali media will take this news (take note of newspaper news and editorials published today). Most bloggers and the public interactions on social media are already in support of Devi Prasad though.

Devi Prasad Regmee, a former CPN-UML cadre slapped party Chairman Jhalanath Khanal at a function today in Itahari. Jhalnath Khanal broke into blush and his spectacles fell along with the slap. “I couldn´t tolerate the party leaders ruining the country and slapped Khanal to express my anger” Devi Prasad justified; speaking to the media after being in police custody immediately.


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