16 October 2011

Top hindi soundtracks of the past decade

I have been wanting to create this list for some time now. Listen anytime, anywhere albums which are contemporary yet evergreen and with no duds, meaning all (well most) songs in the OST are worth a listen with some obvious megahits.

Who are the winners you ask? The usual suspects - Rahman and SEL, clearly our best musicians of the decade along with new recruits Amit Trivedi and Shilpa Roa. Aamir and Farhan Akhtar dominate in terms of star power.

So without further adieu, here's the list: (in descending order of release date)

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

Music director: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Best song: Khaabon Ke Parinday
Dark horse: Background score
Listen online: Google music, grooveshark, gaana.com
Udaan (2010)

Music director: Amit Trivedi
Best song: Aazaadiyan
Dark horse: Naav hai teri
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Wake Up Sid (2009)

Music director: Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Amit Trivedi
Best song: Iktara
Dark horse: Ikatara (male version)
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Rock On!! (2009)

Music director: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Best song: Tum ho to
Dark horse: Phir Dekhiye
Listen online: Google musicgrooveshark
Delhi 6 (2009)

Music director: A.R. Rahman
Best song: Arziyaan
Dark horse: Dil Gira Dafatan
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Life In A...Metro (2007)

Music director: Pritam Chakraborty
Best song: O Meri jaan
Dark horse: Baatein Kuch Ankahee Si
Listen online: Google musicgrooveshark
Dev D (2007)

Music director: Amit Trivedi
Best song: Duniya Ye Duniya Badi Gol
Dark horse: Dhol Yaara Dhol
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Rang De Basanti (2007)

Music director: A.R. Rahman
Best song: Luka Chuppi
Dark horse: Khoon Chala
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Taare Zameen Par (2007)

Music director: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Best song: Taare Zameen Par
Dark horse: Maa
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Lakshya (2004)

Music director: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Best song: Lakshya
Dark horse: Kitni Baatein
Listen online: Google musicgrooveshark
Swades (2004)

Music director: A.R. Rahman
Best song: Yes Jo Des Hai Tera
Dark horse: Saawariya Saawariya
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

Music director: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Best song: Dil Chahta Hai
Dark horse: Akash's Love Theme
Listen online: Google musicgroovesharkgaana.com
Lagaan (2001)

Music director: A.R. Rahman
Best song: Mitwa
Dark horse: O Rey Chori
Listen online: Google musicgrooveshark
Roja (1992) 
(This one's purely for old time sake, 20 years...still good enough to make the cut!)
Music director: A.R. Rahman
Best song: Yeh Haseen Vaadiyan
Dark horse: Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyara Hai
Listen online: Google musicgrooveshark

Notable mentions: 3 Idiots, Chak De India, Anjaana Anjaani, Jab we met, Omkara, Jodha Akbar, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Jaane tu na jaane na, Delhi Belly, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Saathiya, Kaminey, Namastey London

07 October 2011

One more thing on Steve Jobs

My first smartphone was a Sony Ericsson P990i which I bought in 2006 on eBay. It was cutting edge, best in class had a massive touch screen with a qwerty keypad and I was proud of it. It was a bit bulky, but what the heck, with tech like that it would have been silly to hide it in the pocket anyways. This ofcourse was before I bought the iPhone.

The phone that was the apple of my eye suddenly looked like an ancient artifact, a big and bulky stone hedge, much like how the Motorola DynaTAC looks now. Two years into it, I still love and use the same iPhone (which sadly is also dying now) and planning an upgrade to the iPhone 4S.

The iPhone was not my first tryst with the Jobsian magic though. I had wanted that thing right from the day I saw the magical keynote from Jobs in 2007 where he announced the iPhone amidst the oohs and aahs of the audience. The thing just looked insanely futuristic, yet felt so simple and obvious to use. It came to India at an insane price, so i settled with the iPod touch. A device I quickly fell in love with and which now is Apple's biggest selling product in India.

Within all this time, I've had the great pleasure of following Apple and Steve Jobs closely (and being paid for it!). First as a product manager for an iOS app and now as an analyst obsessed with tracking their every move. To witness the kind of impact that both of them have had on virtually everything in the past few years has been a humbling experience. He and his team took a product, pushed its technology years into the future, overturning entire industries in the process. Behemoths like Sony, HP, Acer, Nokia, RIM, Microsoft, Intel and countless others who banked on fake premiums and past laurels were left napping and forced to change strategies, management and mindsets. Thanks to Apple and Steve Jobs, our daily devices are much more sleeker, powerful and user friendly today than they were some years ago.

In India, they might not be doing huge numbers but its app store has created thousands of jobs here with one-tenth of its 500,000 app strong App store filled by apps built by Indian developers.

While Jobs is best known for turning Apple into the most valuable and revered brand worldwide, as a great leader, visionary, and for his mercurial management style and eye for perfection, his own life is no less than extraordinary. Put up for adoption on birth, dropped out from college, kicked out of his own company, its quite amazing that he came back and churned out the iPhone, the iPod Touch , the MacBook Air and the iPad, all while he was battling with cancer. The man who at the age of 13, cold-called the head of HP and cajoled him into giving him free computer chips is also considered the greatest salesperson and orator of the time. Not to mention, Steve the inventor - the man also has over 300 patents to his name.

The stature of the man is evident from the sheer volume of tributes that have flown in since yesterday, from Obama to our very own Manmohan, over 6000 tweets per sec, and in front of Apple stores worldwide. Such is the respect that among Apple's biggest foes, Google put up a link to apple.com (which ofcourse is dedicated to Jobs) on google.com and flags at Microsoft flew at half mast for the entire day yesterday.

Its weird for me, and perhaps millions worldwide, to be affected so much by the loss of somebody that they've never met. It reminds me of what he told the CEO of Pepsi when he wanted to lure him to into joining Apple -“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?" And that is exactly what Jobs did, he created products that made our lives immeasurably more easy and fun.

Oh, and one more thing....Thank you, Steven Paul Jobs. RIP. #FanforLife

Some selected links for further reading:
Steves' bio
Steves' best quotes
Steves' anecdotes
Steves' stanford speech

04 August 2011

A robot that flies like a bird, literally

Plenty of robots can fly -- but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. A soaring demo fresh from TEDGlobal 2011.

One could wonder if this thing had any usefulness, apart from the fact that it brings a smile to your face everytime you see that thing flapping its wings. Or we can think what this Smart bird can evolve to in the future.

Unfortunately, the first thing that comes to mind is spy birds, surveillance and military. Moving beyond that, this refreshes the debate about how we design our own airplanes with massive propellers, which is not quite the way nature does it. Can a passenger airplane be designed on principles of nature? A bird was designed to fly alone while a modern plane carries passengers, flies at incredible speeds and faces extreme wind and weather conditions, something that this design has not been perfected for. A personal flying car perhaps then, that could work, right? Go imagine yourself flapping away to office among the pigeons and the sea gulls.

Whats interesting is how the real seagulls reacted when this guy took to the open skies later on during the TED conference. According to a by-watcher, "At first he flew alone in the sky but not after too long hundreds of seagulls flew in from around the city and greeted this oversized foreigner with vocal bewilderment. As they circled curiously, many of them swooped in with intensity to get a closer look as the mechanical seagull flew gracefully through the sky. It was an awe-inspiring experience and very surreal to see nature interacting with science."

20 July 2011

Apple's best ever quarter. Again - Highlights from Q3 2011 earnings

Apple announced its Q3 2011 results yesterday, and as we all are quite used to by now, folks at Cupertino just dished out another blow out quarter. Basic upshot - Highest quarterly revenue and profits ever. Record iPhone and iPad sales and highest non-holiday quarter Mac sales ever.

Overall highlights
  • $28.57 billion in revenue (+82% Y-o-Y) with $7.79 billion profit(+120%). That's up from second quarter's $25 billion in revenue and $6 billion in profit respectively.
  • Over 222 million cumulative iOS device sales ever, compared to 130 million Android devices
  • The iPad is now the number 2 business for Apple behind the iPhone, overtaking the Mac
  • International sales now account for 62 percent of Apple's quarterly revenue. Sales in greater China, which includes China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, accounted for $3.8 billion for the quarter.
  • Apple now has $76 billion in cash. That’s a nearly $10 billion surge in three months.
  • Using this quarter’s net profits alone, Apple could buy the bottom 16 countries of the world outright. Its total cash can now buy bottom 40
Read below for more business wise highlights:

13 July 2011

Darwin's orchid and moth and the fascinating world of evolution

Darwin's theory of evolution has always intrigued me. I remember when I first read it in high-school, it looked so intuitive and obvious that I questioned the need of even spelling it out. Little did I know then of the prodigious implications of that simple hypothesis.

Recently while watching a TED video, I came across this fascinating story of Darwin's orchid and the moth which presents a intriguing insight into how nature has uniquely evolved over the years.

So the picture on the left is of Angraecum sesquipedale, commonly known as the Darwin's orchid. When Darwin first saw this flower, he was surprised by one defining characteristic of this species - the astonishing length of the whip-like green spur containing the nectar in each flower.

From his observations, Darwin surmised in 1862 that in order for this flower to pollinate and survive, there must be a pollinator insect with a proboscis (tubular nectar sucking organ of insects) long enough to reach the nectar at the end of the spur.

Obviously the the notion of a pollinator with a 35 cm long proboscis was ridiculed and generally not believed to exist for the longest time. Though all of this was about to change 41 years later.

08 July 2011

Top 20 things against Indian culture

An interesting topic in trending on Twitter right now - #againstindianculture. Now topics like these are ideal bait for my sarcastic jabs, so without any further adieu, here are my top 20 things which are simply against Indian culture. (Includes some of the best from fellow Twitter mates)
  1. Lane driving
  2. Not parking at places marked as 'No Parking'
  3. Buying original software or content (songs, movies etc.)
  4. Covering up roads after digging up
  5. Government authorities completing projects on time (Delhi Metro #respect)
  6. Standing in lines for taking a bus/train
  7. Throwing trash in dustbins at public places
  8. Not-crying kids, well...at all places
  9. Wiping your Dog's poop from the pavement
  10. Getting official work done in a single visit (think passport, driving license)
  11. No bargaining
  12. Removing plastic covers from seats of a new car
  13. Keeping mobile phones on silent, or speaking slowly
  14. Not throwing Beetle projectiles on walls
  15. Seeing a hot girl and not check her out
  16. Owning up to one's fault
  17. Honest politicians, or policemen
  18. Talking bad about Sachin Tendulkar
  19. Traveling light
  20. Kids thinking of becoming something other than engineers or doctors
Also, you can always head over here if case you need more pointers.

01 July 2011

Want a free Google+ invite?


Is the precious little invite of Google's latest Plus social network (Google+) still evading you? Worry not, just drop in your email in the comments below and I'll see what I can do - I have a some 500 odd free invites lying here. And till the time you get your pass, enjoy some videos from Google on what this stuff is that you want in on so badly.

26 June 2011

Plug with a switch, Laptops powered by typing [Smart design]

Plug which  come with a switch
Why did anyone not think of this before?...is what I thought when I first looked at this design concept of a plug which comes with an integrated switch. Its convenient, saves an extra switch and comes with a LED indicator which reminds the user that the switch is on. In case you are wondering, the design should work with three-pin plugs as well. The only challenge is the LED light and how much energy it consumes.

Apple might want to have a look at this for their next adapter design for the MB Air!

08 June 2011

Implications of Apple's WWDC announcements: iCloud, iOS 5 and Lion OSX

Apple hosted its 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 6, 2011, which focused on its new iCloud offering, iOS 5, and Mac OS X. Here is a brief summary and analysis on the various announcements.

The Numbers

Over 200 million iOS devices sold, 44% market share among mobile operating systems
25 million iPads sold in 14 months (up from 15 million in Dec, 2010)
54 million active Mac users worldwide, Laptops outsell desktops (accounting for 73% of Apple PC sales)
425,000 apps on the App Store; 90,000 iPad apps
14 billion apps downloaded by Apple customers (up from 10 billion in Jan 2011)
$2.5 billion paid out to app store developers
130 million books downloaded for the iBookstore
225 million iTunes accounts with credit cards

30 May 2011

Dhoni: From Ticket Collector to Alchemist

Few would have put their money against Dhoni picking up the IPL 4 trophy last week. The man, as they say can simply do no wrong. Under him we've now won both the One day and T20 World cups. We are the No.1 Test team with significant overseas success. Add to that the back to back IPL wins and Champions trophy triumph. He is No.1 on the ICC top ODI batsmen list and is a two time ICC ODI Player of the Year. Sachin thinks he is the best captain ever and the Time magazine just included him in the top 100 most influential people in the world. Endorsing an upwards of 22 brands, he is also the richest cricketer in the world.

The basic upshot you ask? This young lad from Jharkand who once collected railway tickets at the Kharagpur station, is well and truly sitting on the pinnacle of success in modern India.

26 May 2011

iPhone 4 to finally launch in India on May 27th, price starts from Rs.34,500

So its finally official that Airtel and Aircel would be launching the iPhone 4 in India tomorrow.
Aircel is offering the 16GB model of the iPhone 4 at a price of Rs 34,500 and the 32GB model at Rs 40,900. Pricing details from Airtel are not out yet but are expected to be on similar lines.

The Reverse subsidy model
With this iPhone, Aircel is trying an innovative hook. They are offering a reverse subsidy plan under which the buyer pays the full cost of the handset upfront and recovers the entire amount over a period of two years through monthly credits on the subscription plans. Atleast this is now it is being pitched. (more on this in a separate post)

Is it unlocked?
Yes, it is factory unlocked which means you can use it with any operator. The only hook here is this reverse subsidy model where you would be tempted to remain with the operator for a period of atleast 2 years.

Where can I buy it from?
From Airtel and Aircel showrooms. It would also be available in  Apple premium stores.
Should you buy the iPhone 4?
My guess is that if you had wanted one badly, you would have got it already. Anyways, its still some time for the iPhone 5 to come up (Sep-Oct this year), so if you want an iPhone, you should get this one. Some people have expressed concerns over the antenna issue, but its no biggie. You should also look at some of the cool Android phones which have come up this year, specially the Galaxy S2 from Samsung.

And if you are not in a hurry, wait for the next generation iPhone 5 which promises to be a very exciting launch and then get some of your folks in US to get it for you. While folks in Delhi can always visit the Gaffar market for the latest and brightest in consumer tech.

Looking for an iPad 2 instead. Here's what you need to know.

24 May 2011

Shauk hai (Guru): The magic of Rahman

I am not sure if you've heard this one before. I was watching the movie Guru when I heard this song in the background and immediately fell in love with it. Featuring minimum instrumentals, Rahman creates magic with the rhythms we've heard earlier in tu bin bataye (RDB) with gentle light piano riffs throughout the song and a soothing female voice.(Soumya Raoh)
Kaash ye zindagi Khel hi khel mein kho gayi hoti
Kaash ye zindagi binkahe binsune so gayi hoti
Bezubaan os ki boliyon ka; Shauk hai
Roshni ka shauk hai, oh shauk hai

The song where a dying Meenu (Vidya Balan) hopes if she could just die peacefully as she yearns for all the little joys of life, urges you to take a step back and enjoy all the simple things in life while they are there.

A quick search tells me that the song did not release with the soundtrack but was later released as a full song in 'A.R.Rahman - Greatest Hits' by Sony-BMG.

21 May 2011

[Movie Review] Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean has never been your run of the mill Hollywood movie. Its weird, witty, quirky and disgusting all at the same time. But if you've seen it, you'll agree that its one hell of a joy ride. So how does the fourth installment fare?

The setting of the film is mouth watering. You have three parties, the irreplaceable Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) combined with his ex-flame Angelica (Cruz) and the deadliest pirate on earth, the Black Beard, the English led by Captain Barbosa and their colonial rivals the Spanish - all sailing high waters to reach and claim the mysterious Fountain of the Youth. For all that could have been done with this exciting premise, its almost disappointing to see what they've ended up with.

18 May 2011

[Best @TED] Jake Shimabukuro plays "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Jake Shimabukuro strums monster sounds out of the tiny Hawaiian ukulele, as he plays a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." A sensational performance from TED2010 -- it'll send shivers down your spine.

14 May 2011

Chromebook vs. iPad. Does it stand a chance?

So this is the value proposition of the new Chromebook. Is it only me or all of this sounds familiar? How about the iPad - Instant On, 10 hr battery, always connected, content anywhere via iTunes and free updates. The more I read into the Chromebook announcement, the more I am confused about the product category Google is trying to define here. As usual, let's try and break this down.

11 May 2011

How the Microsoft Skype combination will change your life

So as many of you would have heard by now, Microsoft bought Skype for a whopping $8.5 billion yesterday. Let shave a quick look at what this means for you and me: 

08 May 2011

My Top 10 Best Ever Sci-Fi Movies

1) Jurassic Park

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

X-Factor: Second coming for Dinosaurs, awe and fear-inspiring sights never before seen on the screen
Favorite dialogue: John: "All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956 nothing worked."
Dr. Ian Malcolm:  "Yeah but John, if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down the pirates don't eat the tourists."

IMDB Rating: 7.9

2) Terminator 

The cyborg who once tried to kill Sarah Connor must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from an even more powerful and advanced Terminator. 

X-Factor: The ultimate action sci-fi movie ever.Period.
Favorite dialogue: "Hasta la vista, baby"
IMDB Rating: 8.6

  3) The Matrix

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

X-Factor: Ingenious blend of Hong Kong action cinema, innovative visual effects and an imaginative vision

Favorite dialogue: "You take the blue pill -- the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill -- you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."
IMDB Rating: 8.7

02 May 2011

What Hitachi can learn from Apple

When it comes to most consumer electronic devices, I have always believed that if a product requires a manual to operate, then it still has a long way to go. Apple products have minimal reading material in their packaging because they believe that their user experience is natural and self explanatory.
Makes a ton of sense...should be easy to implement right? Not quite. As it turns out, this new Hitachi room AC that we got this summer, drives home the point quite effectively.

Since the time we got this thing, I have been quite baffled by its over the top complexity of operation. Its like some Japanese Hitachi engineers saw this thing and went over the - 'We have? No Tanukasa' routine many times over. The result? We have an over-complicated AC which is excellent in doing its core job but with all these functions, features and buttons making the overall experience less than desirable.

So how complex can one make an AC?  Hit the break to read more.

26 April 2011

Top 10 cartoons from my childhood

When a friend of mine sent me this photo today, for a moment I could not figure out who the chubby dog was. I recognized his snigger well, but failed to remember the name. A little more search and it felt as if a corner deep away in my brain had been shown the light. He was Mutley, of course. And with him, came flooding the rest of the super awesome cartoons that I spent my childhood with. So for the record, here's the list of my top 10 cartoons.

Richest duck in the world, Scrooge McDuck with his little nephews, in the quest of saving his Number One coin from the evil Magica and the beagle boys - this one remains a childhood favorite!
Favorite character: Magica

The second treat of every Sunday morning along with Duck Tales, adventures of Baloo and Kit against the gang of air pirates led by Don Karnage in their mothership was always a treat to watch.
Favorite character: Shere Khan
This multi-galaxy, larger than life conquest to find the seven dragon balls is no less than a cult. Super-human extra-terrestials with their planet shattering fireball duels were a treat to watch.
Favorite character: Goku

[Best @TED] Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education

About this talk

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

22 April 2011

Is Intel on the burning platform?

On the outset, a company that just made $13 billion in a quarter seems to be far away from fire. But recent developments in consumer electronics means that if there is any company that is feeling the heat at this moment, it is Intel. Here's a look why,

  • Declining PC market. Its no secret that Smartphones and tablets are quickly displacing PCs, a space that Intel has dominated for years. In simple terms, Intel's addressable market is shrinking.
  • Dominance of ARM in mobile. While Intel dominates PC, its power friendly ARM based counterparts have beaten them hands down in the ever growing mobile market. Intel has been both late and slow and its current  line of Atom chips have failed to create any impact.
  • Windows on ARM. Microsoft's announcement to unlock itself from Intel in appreciation of the growing mobile market on ARM is no good news either. More and more enterprises are looking to adopt tablets and though they still would look to stick to Windows for compatibility, their dependence on Intel is longer implied.
Though the future looks gloomy, their game is far from over. Let's have a look at the growth areas for Intel. 

19 April 2011

[My Next Project] Personal SMS assistant: Spam SMS buster!

Elevator Pitch: SMS Spam buster is a simple and light weight mobile app which detects and kills all spam SMSes based on user preferences.

It seeks to provide respite to all mobile phone subscribers from folks hell bent on selling real estate, slimming belts, Bulk SMS and exotic holiday packages via unsolicited spam SMSes.

  • You can maintain a local list of words and senders which you want to block. Ex: Sauna Slim belt, plot, bulk SMS etc.
  • The app will intercept all incoming messages and put detected spam messages in a separate Spam folder without any notification
  • Spam folder will work like the one you have on email, with the ability to restore messages to inbox or delete
  • Your settings would be saved and synced with the cloud. In case you lose or change your phone, just re-download the app, login and have all your settings restored. Peer to peer transfer of settings would also be enabled.
  • Future versions of the app would support smart Spam filters, with an ability to automatically filter incoming SMSes based on your past interactions
  • To be made available for iOS, Android and Symbian (given their large installed base in India)
I realize that there are some apps which already do some of the stuff mentioned above. Would be indebted if anyone can point me to an iPhone app which does this and actually works.

My Next Project series is dedicated to my world of random and crazy ideas, giving a rare insight into the stuff I think about. Please feel free to pick stuff from here to build your next Google and Apple. I would be satisfied with a 30% stake, no questions asked. Deal?

16 April 2011

[Favourite Movie Scenes]: Dil Chahta Hai

Dil Chahta Hai marked a turn in Indian cinema. Real people, real talk and real situations. The movie and its music has since become a cult and remains one of my personal favourites.

This scene is towards the end of the movie, as Aakash comes back to India, he realises that life takes you around...its important to keep your close ones close.

Future projectors look nothing like the ones we have today, thankfully!

Simply put, office projectors are not the best thing we've ever made. They are bulky, unintuitive, and never work in the first go. I call myself a geek, but I always prefer to stay away from that stuff. While phones became Smartphones, PCs became tablets, TVs became Smart TVs, the projector, well, remained the same old dumb piece of hardware.

But there is hope. In this age of cut throat competition in the consumer electronics industry, as players scramble to differentiate, our long neglected friend is in with an outside chance. Hit the break to read more.

12 April 2011

[Favourite Movie Scenes]: Taare zameen par

Taare Zameen Par is one of those movies which you can watch over and over again and never get tired. And then there are some bits which you absolutely love. This one is one of those.(pardon the foreign credits, apparently the scene is so good that some Japanese guy found and uploaded it)

A lot happens in this space of 10 minutes. Nikumbh, on seeing Ishaan's paintings and craft-work, is fascinated. He tries to explain to a reluctant and a defensive father what his son is going through. To his credit, he has no way of knowing how it feels like when you cannot understand a thing as simple as alphabets. Nikumbh then spells out the ugly truth of the Indian education system where a child is robbed off his childhood by insensitive parents and teachers who believe their job is to create race-winning rats.

Aamir Khan is expectantly brilliant and delivers a very instinctive performance with emotions ranging from fascination, disgust, comforting to just being hopeful. SEL's music complements Prasoon's lyrics to create an immensely soulful background as Nikumbh peeks into young Ishaan's thoughts and his world of colors.

A must watch for all parents and kids.

Updated: Of Facebook Friends

The story continues...

11 April 2011

The great Indian mobile pack activation scam can be worth over 450 crores! [UPDATED]

As per TRAI's latest directive, the operator now needs to obtain confirmation from the consumer via SMS/e-mail/fax/in writing within 24 hours of activation of the VAS service and charge the consumer only if the confirmation is received. Further, every service provider shall, at least three days before the due date of renewal of a subscribed VAS, inform the consumer through SMS.
This new guideline will provide huge relief to customers plagued by unsolicited activation of VAS.

The timing of this ad was very coincidental. Just days before it was aired, my mom found out that the secret behind her disappearing mobile balance was a World Cup Live Alert pack, Mitti Ke Rang Stand Alone Night Plan and an Airtel advantage trial pack. Needless to mention, none of these were solicited.The culprit in this case - Airtel.

And she is not alone, and Airtel is not the only player in this game. The script remains the same - scan and pick unsuspecting low-worth prepaid customers with positive balance on the network,  pick a random mobile pack, activate and take cash in bank! How much cash you say - to the tune of 450 crores annually  if you do a quick back of the envelope math (Assuming 5% of active prepaid subscribers which is ~500 million, are subscribed to a plan worth Rs.15 on a monthly basis) 

10 April 2011

Should you buy an iPad? Here's what you need to know

Its no secret that the iPad has taken the consumer electronics industry by a storm. With over 15 million of them sold in a year, it is threatening the pants off a giant incumbent with an installed base of over a billion devices . If you work for the PC division for any vendor, you know what I am talking about.

Reports already suggest that tablets are set to impact the sales of PCs. Many manufacturers are feeling the heat too - Acer recently saw a churn in its management citing its failure to read the demand of tablets as a chief reason for the subdued future guidance. Lenovo now believes that tablets would take over 20% of the PC market in the next five years.

So the question is, do folks like you and I need one? Will it replace my PC, or end up like the treadmill in the corner serving as a cloth hanger. Let's try and find out.

Auto Mobile Optimization For Blogger Blogs

Looks like the decision to stick with Blogger is already paying off.

Blogger has an opt-in feature which automatically optimizes your blog for all your viewing pleasure on mobile phones. As you can see on the left, mine picked up a nice and elegant template appearance with all basic attributes of the blog on my iPhone. Same template should also work well with other non-touch/trackpad based phones.

How to enable Mobile Templates for your blog

Mobile Templates is an opt-in experimental feature available through Blogger in Draft (or Google Labs for Blogger)
  1. Log in to your Blogger dashboard via Blogger in Draft 
  2. Go to Settings>Email and Mobile 
  3. Select new option available to enable mobile templates for your site
  4. Save settings
Once this setting is saved, anyone who visits your website using a mobile device will be automatically redirected to its mobile version. Now that's what I'm talking about.

I'm Back!

So after a hiatus of over 2 years, I am back to this forgotten web real estate. It has always been a love-hate relationship here, I always get back here whenever I find a chunk of free time. So now that I am on a break from work,  its only fair that I give this dude another shot.