Saravana Bhavan doesn’t look like a house of secrets. Its dining room at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 26th Street is clean and bright and often attracts a line out front. It doesn’t advertise because it doesn’t need to; the fact that it’s one of the world’s largest chains of vegetarian restaurants — 33 in India, another 47 in a dozen other countries — is considered too obvious to its core clientele of Indian expatriates and tourists to be worth trumpeting. In a city overwhelmed with underwhelming north Indian food, Saravana Bhavan is the standard-bearer of the delicacies of the south, but it makes no effort to educate the uninitiated. If you don’t know what a dosa is or how to eat it, you’re on your own.
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We are going to live in the age of Iron Man’s J.A.R.V.I.S., not Batman’s Alfred. That is the gist that I get from reading Shel Israel and Robert Scoble’s new book, The Age of Context: Mobile, Data, Sensors and the Future of Privacy. Okay, I declared sides in the eternal Marvel vs. DC debate, and my pro-technology bias, but for good reason.
The Age of Context is a tour-de-force documentary of the state of technology in 2013 looking across a broad number of fields: healthcare, transportation, the electronic home, urbanization, mobile devices, marketing, and understanding customers. There are so many references to real companies, inventions, and people in this book, it is encyclopedic—yet only in 276 pages in my e-book copy.
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