Archive for October, 2012


It was a routine Saturday evening when me with some of my colleagues were wandering inside Ambience Mall, Gurgaon. The creative media head of our team had the concern of upgrading his old and continuously wearing out handset with a top of the line Smartphone inside his head. So off we went scouring all the present showrooms for the latest expensive offering one can get his hands on.

A couple of hours later with no visible inroad I knew that the evening is bordering on being wasteful when suddenly some loud music echoed from the endmost part of the mall near the fountain area. A few minutes later we were all there and in front of our very own eyes a surprise unfolded. The empty space scouring with mall-goers made way for a few people who started dancing in the middle of the area. And very soon, more souls joined in and I came to realize it was another Flash Mob! But since most of the flash mobs in India these days are corporate affairs, it was a bit of surprise that there were no branding banners or displays around. As the performers grooved and thumped to the music in a coordinated display the crowd surrounded the mob with constant claps and whistles and a few of them even let themselves loose along with the group 😀

At first, it seemed like a routine flash mob which might end in a few minutes when other layer of the whole plot unfolded.. In came a chap to join the group and started dancing along. Moments later, his girlfriend was present in front of him to whom he proposed in a proper dramatic filmy style! The girl accepted and the revelry continued. It took some time but I eventually got my head around the fact that it was in fact the first Flash Mob Proposal ever to happen in India! It reminded me of the flash mob at Grand Central Station in “Friends with Benefits”, albeit a bit more Bollywood-ish..

But that was it and I never got to hear anything about it in papers or tabloids. It might be strange coming from a journalist who generally vies for stories like this, but I have never been the sensationalist kind and somehow I understood the low-key component of the whole act.  But that was until yesterday when I realized that it was a flash mob organized by LG. The making of the proposal video showed how a simple Facebook conversation and the LG WR Forum transformed into an event of such a magnitude. And the main schemer of this romantic gala was LG’s own WRMan Sherlock. I had seen those web cartoons at random once but this lovey-dovey idea on Sherlock’s part must have him floating in seventh heaven at this time!

And the actual flash mob was even better. The video length seems a bit short as compared to the live time duration but it is still immensely enjoyable to watch. As modern as we might have gotten with our progressive mindsets, it’s moments like this which would make any girl feel special. I am not ashamed to admit I would love such a stereotypically romantic proposal myself!

What’s even more heartening about the whole affair is that this LG World Record Team had the guts to think of such a unique and out of the box concept and have the brains and audacity to execute it in grand fashion. Yes it is a way of brand promotion and marketing but the main agenda was giving a loving couple the surprise of their life! Isn’t that what a flash mob is all about; bringing smile to people’s faces! 🙂

I am not the one who believes in doing things the old school way. Any and every little issue, whether it be a little scraping in the wall to any issue in an electrical appliance of mine, I prefer to give it a shot myself rather than straight away calling a mason or technician. Most of the times, it works but sometimes the end result is dreadful. Just ask the landlady about my Diwali lights debacle and you will have a fit of rage on exhibit!

And I have stayed honest to the philosophy when it comes to buying new products. Take for example my new LG LM6700 Cinema 3D TV which has been bought an exact 7 months 22 days and 11 hours ago J The whole TV purchase process was one hell of a rollercoaster ride for me. My slim CRT panel had undergone bypass surgeries I don’t know how many times and the need for change (or to be more specific an upgrade) was apparent. As much as I didn’t want to part with my old generation idiot box, the upgrade had loomed on the horizon and this demise just made it inevitable. The crying shame is that the CRT wasn’t in a condition to be kept anymore and one fine day we parted ways L

Now began the surveying process for the new TV. I had been so crushed with all that had happened during the past few days that my heart wasn’t yet set straight on sorting out this new dilemma of mine. I breezed through quite a few brand showrooms and multi-retailer stores without much of a purpose as I wasn’t yet clear on what I wanted. But with the kind of moolah I was going to spend on a new TV, I needed to get my head around the whole deal. And that is when the real work began as I first understood the three available display technologies namely LCD, LED and Plasma at the time. Since the TV needed to be kept in a brightly lit room, the Plasma was ruled out immediately. And with the dimensions the room had; anything less than 50” would look farcical. And since LCD models in these screen sizes are deceptive as quite a few which claim to be full HD turn out to be HD Ready and as a newbie, that was a risk I wasn’t willing to take so I singled out on going for an LED TV.

I might have been unaware of how TV’s have progressed, but the frequent showroom demos and visits bought me up to speed with it all. TV’s now were not only capable of providing stunning picture quality but also double up as a PC with their Smart TV functionality. Add to the fact the phenomenon of 3D visuals had already caught up with brands with most in the range of newest models were in fact Smart 3D TV. This changed the whole outlook I had and I resurveyed the models I had singled out for their 3D capabilities and Smart TV functions. It was a direct tussle between Sony 46” HX850, Samsung 46” ES6800R and LG 47” LM6700. Now here is when things got tricky as the 3D technology in LG’s TV was different to that of Samsung and Sony’s. That is when I hit a roadblock again to understand all about the Active and Passive 3D technologies. After a check on that, it was clear that passive 3D is the preferred and more comfortable option when viewing 3D for longer time periods so LG had an extra brownie point on that front.

But 3D was not going to be the deciding factor as picture quality and Smart TV functions held equal weightage for me. That also turned out to be engaging as the HX850 turned out a tad bit better on the PQ front but was nowhere near Samsung and LG in terms of its Smart TV dashboard. Plus, the Touchpad Remote and Magic Motion Remote from Samsung and LG respectively were an added plus.

With every important aspect of a new age TV clear to a layman like myself, the only thing left was a thorough comparison and then making a choice. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved some of features in both Sony and Samsung, but LG for me was the consistent performer across all the important parameters which made my choice a wee bit easier. Close to 8 months on, my LM6700 adores the main wall of my living room and I am glad that this purchase was made after proper research and not haphazard selection because that would have been annoying when there is a plethora of informational resources to learn and understand from before shelling the bucks on a TV these days!

The year 2011 marked an important step in India’s recognition as an upcoming hub for major sports. We saw a new kind of euphoria descend on the Indian continent with the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix event taking place in the lush greens of Greater Noida that is still fresh in our memories. The event was significant both from a historic as well as developmental aspect as it meant India as a nation is ready to organize top tier sporting events whilst leaving a positive impression on leading sport’s governing bodies.

It is not necessary to be a racing fan to enjoy the glorious duels that you encounter on a Formula 1 GP track whether it’s on a TV or in person. The humming of the F1 engines is capable of getting anyone’s pulse racing. Even as a common person, you gawk at the admirable technology which makes these cars a cloud apart. And a car’s construction fact-file is a fascinatingly bewildering aspect of the whole process. It might just seem a lot of fun to watch, but even something as adrenaline-filled as an F1 race is no less than a game of chess. And it’s not just about the driver, but also the likes of design and construction of the car, the speedy work of pit crews as well as the varying tactics employed during the course of the race. An F1 race is dependent on understanding the small margins teams operate under and favors the one who have the ability of split second adaptability. It’s just a moment of madness or genius which can decide a race.

The 2011 feature kicked off with much fanfare at the Buddh International Circuit on October 30th with drivers enthralling the audiences in the stand with a blistering showcase of speed, maneuverability and finesse. And since it was the first F1 race on this course, the preferential and favoring talk went out the window as no one could even remotely speculate what the outcome might be. And even though there wasn’t much of the little battles one might have expected, the inevitable conclusion didn’t disappoint one bit. Sebastian Vettel led the proceedings all afternoon and put on a driving master class to pip all the competition to the chequered flag. The German would have expected a bit of a tough run with the likes of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher in the fray, but it was Mclaren’s Jenson Button who came the closest finishing 8 seconds behind the Red Bull driver.

The 2012 event which kicks off tomorrow is expected to draw audiences on a much larger scale with the weather conditions looking much more favorable than last year. One more praiseworthy aspect of the race is the work behind the Buddh International Circuit which hasn’t gone unappraised. The circuit has been showered with many accolades of being the “Best Motorsport Facility of 2011” by various media outlets. I might be going a bit political here, but it was the much-publicized ill reign of Mayawati’s BSP government that oversaw the development of the Buddh International Circuit by the Jaypee Sports Group in Greater Noida and for that we should be thankful. Unfortunately for the new rule is finding it hard to live up to the achievements of their predecessor at the moment.

Another important benefactor of the F1 coverage is the HD TV broadcast it will receive. Audiences in UK might be in for a bigger treat if networks like BBC and ITV decide to showcase the event in 3D. I am still trying to procure an upper tier ticket in the Main Grand Stand but the cost is proving to be a thorn, hopefully it will work out in the coming day or two. If not, I always have the option of watching it on ESPN HD here and convert to see how F1 in 3D would look on my LM6700 Cinema 3D TV!

No matter how powerful an evil force is, it’s destined conclusion is annihilation at the hands of Good

Well, this original quote of mine is just about applicable to any situation where the two sides of life; the negative and positive collide. You can relate it to a movie or a real life situation if you want but its most powerful significance can be derived from the moral of the great Indian epic Ramayana. In narration it may be a duel between an incarnation of God and a man of great wisdom who succumbed to evil ways which ultimately resulted in his eventual death for all his wrong doings. But the crux of the whole episode is that Good always prevail over Evil.

As a brief summary, prince Rama of Ayodhya is sent to exile with his wife Sita and his younger brother Laxman accompanying him. During this exile, Ravana’s sister Surpanakha is smitten by Rama’s good looks and despite of fending off her advances, Surpanakha persists which forces Rama to cut her nose. Word of the incident reaches Ravana who casts a spell over Sita and abducts her to his kingdom in Lanka. Distraught Rama with the help of his brother Laxman and the Vanar Sena make a great sea journey to Lanka and after some glorious battles, Rama is finally able to free his loving wife Sita and decimate Ravana.

The end of Navratri is marked with the celebration of Dussehra which roughly translates to removing bad fate from one’s life and society in a contextual sense. Artisans and colony associations by making large mannequins of Lankan lord Ravana, Meghnada and Kumbhakarana complete with embellishments and explosives and erect them in open spaces for the evening (Public safety is always kept in mind during these preparations). After a short intriguing nataka (play), artists dressed as Rama ignite these mannequins which lights up the skies and marks a triumph of India’s celebration of justice. The Indian sweet Jalebi is a customary delicacy which everyone enjoys after the burning of mannequins.

These times are also considered as a very auspicious and lucky period for new ventures, investments and purchases. The consumer electronic market is abuzz as people line up in queues for purchasing TV’s, mobiles and home appliances. Some even believe investment in appreciating assets such as property and gold is a solid thing to consider. I remember having a 29” LG CRT Slim TV before I switched to LM6700 recently. That TV was purchased way back in 2008 after the MRP was dropped from 20K to a much more feasible 12K during festive season along with a complementary pop-up toaster at the time. So whether it’s a TV, fridge or a juicer-blender you are looking at, this is the time to shell out the moolah and enjoy the festive season in full swing!

The second half of October is characterized by religious satiety. With the daily grind of life taking a backseat,  people immerse themselves in devotion and exaltation of mythological elements. And the utmost dedication the organizers and the participating masses exude during the course of these events in endearing.

The first event of religious celebration during this time is the ongoing Navratri. This is a nine-day period ending with Dussehra  where Hindu devotees engage in worshipping Hindu deity Durga as well as keeping fast for the complete duration. So surprising is the cause of reverence that people negate the unruly elements as well as stay away from consumption of meat during the sacred period. Moreover, people throng the temples to get a glimpse of the embellished treatment being given to idols there. As I write this, Hindu households throughout the North will be concluding their Navratri with a very symbolic conclusion through Kanjak Puja; serving traditional food to girls who are seen in the image of goddess Durga.

The other event being the Durga Puja holds more or less the same significance and is celebrated with great fervor especially in the Bengali community. The local and regional associations set up pandals with Maa Durga decorated in variety of themes and standing in her full glory. There are some lovely performances throughout the five days and there is a lot of traditional food being served for the visitors. The event ends with the immersion of the eco-friendly idols.

The atmosphere that these festivities are capable of generating is unparalleled and pragmatic. I was able to catch a short part of Durga Puja celebrations in the CR Park area and boy was it wonderful. I am planning to be there tomorrow as well in the traditional sari to see the final phase of the Puja. The events hold immense significance in the eyes of the population and the surreal involvement by people from all walks of life is a testament to that.

And on the commercial side of it, these festivities seem to have a catalytic effect of consumer brand companies who have great deals going on both home appliances and home electronics at the moment.  LG have already begun their pre-festival offers while Samsung and Sony have their own set of innovations going on. Even camera majors Nikon and Canon are geared up for the festive season ahead. As a prospective buyer, this period is the best in terms of offers and discounts on products.

The beautiful game of football keeps millions around the world going; the viewership it attracts is nearly incomprehensible as compared to any other sport. The energy, passion and atmosphere it generates is heaven like for staunch football fans like myself. Now I support Liverpool FC so I need my staple diet of Premier League football every weekend. The international breaks which happen in between just attract criticism from all the quarters.

But there is a sad side to football which rears its ugly head every now and again but the repeated ignorance on part of the governing bodies means that we fans have become just as oblivious to it like the two biggest football associations namely FIFA and UEFA. I am highlighting the lack of goal line technology which has led to some of the biggest officiating blunders in recent memory. The most prominent one I can remember is Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal in World Cup 2010’s knockout stages. The ball hit the crossbar and landed well inside the goal line but the failure on part of the linesman to get a glimpse of that meant that the crucial strike was ruled out. The England veteran later reiterated that it was a decisive moment and the decision changed the course of the game as the Germans ran out 4-1 winners over the Three Lions.

Now everyone had expected the authorities to learn from it but to no avail. Euro 2012 in Poland-Ukraine was the premises of another wrong decision. In the final group game, Ukraine seemed to score a legitimate goal against England but the profligacy on the official’s part meant it was seen nothing more than a heroic clearance by John Terry. And the sadder part of all this is that this nuisance has also crept in the domestic leagues. The recent heavyweight clash between AC Milan and Juventus in this year’s Italian Serie A game further emphasized the need of goal line technology as Sulley Muntari was left scratching his head as a well taken shot which clearly looked like crossing the line was quickly gathered by GG Buffon.

Even in the backdrop of all this, the maximum that has happened is that Goal Line Technology has now been thoroughly considered and approved. Actual introduction and implementation might have to wait till World Cup 2014 Brazil after which it will be evaluated to introduce in all other forms of the game. The most shameful quotes have been by none other than the Presidents of the top two football bodies Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini. The top man of UEFA still isn’t in favor of this technology. It is this blatant stubbornness which has left football being in stone ages.

I do see the sentiment on their part to place full confidence on officials to get the decisions right more often than not but the bitter truth is that the relentless pace of the game is a step ahead of their decision making ability. Rather than be orthodox, the Goal Line Technology should be tested ASAP and introduced as everyone in the community would prefer to scrutinize on the tactical aspects of the game rather than cribbing about the unnecessary controversies it’s embroiled in at the moment.

London Fashion Week 2012During the official launch of London fashion week various well known designers and stylist took their creativity to a notch higher level by using the new concept of 3D technology in fashion. The fashion show was astonishing with the world’s top ranking designers showcasing their designs. Many of them revealed that they are working on their projects that are totally dependent upon the software interface, in which a designer can draw a 2d sketch of a design, which then extrudes 3d data from 3d model with full manipulation can be created. In such virtual projects they can apply different fabric presets as well as environmental effects. This reduces the need to make many real prototypes that require a lot of time and expenditure.

With such cutting edge technology, the fashion industry appears to be increasingly leaning on 3D to aid the creativity and designing. In the fashion show for the 2012 spring and summer collection, the famous designer Tri Nouio created a collection of garments with 3D printing technology. Basically, he combined the art, technology and fashion in the fabric. In an interview he said that and I quote, “…image is easier to convey the message. So, I opt 3d technology to develop my new collection” unquote.3d fabric print

Another interesting project worthy of mention is “Valentino Garavani’s Virtual Museum”, which is said to be the first digital exhibition of its kind in the world. The two year project will collect around 5000 images of dresses and about 180 fashion shows in virtual world; which would have required 10,000 square meters of prime estate; if it were to be established in the real world.

Another new concept is “3d printing” that is set to play a huge role in the upcoming fashion and apparel world. Soon we will be able to see online virtual stores where designers can add their new collections and the guests can walk around the store in the virtual world. Such is the growing impact of this 3D technology that many designers want to work with auto stereoscopic screens to share designing experiences with their audience. Definitely a shape of things to come…

Once in a while, every person likes to escape away from hard reality into a make- believe world of visual entertainment – however unrealistic and illusory it is, and even if it is only for a brief period of time. With the evolution of 3D technology, one more avenue has been added to that imaginary world.  The current surge in the number of 3D movies being made, and people shelling great sums of money  to relish them endorses the growing interest of people in the world of 3D entertainment. My experience of 3D viewing in the theatres had been phenomenal – the 3D performance was exciting and thrilling. Is the improvement in theatrical 3D experience due to the incorporation of new technology in the theatres or the evolution in the footage of 3D movies? Whatever the reason, these improvements are making the viewers increasingly addicted towards 3d viewing.

In the old days, the mere mention of 3D conjured up visions of the comical looking red and blue glasses worn in the theaters for watching 3D movies. 3D viewing at home is considerably different and comfortable – and the recent introduction of comfortable, flicker free passive 3D glasses has taken 3D home viewing to a whole new level – and it is certainly more fun!

My first tryst with 3D home viewing happened at a local store, and the 3D TV seemed a good bang for the buck.  A family movie night was something that I valued, and the increased availability of 3D movies on Blu-ray has been a cherished experience for my family. Since the time of owning a 3D TV, my house has become a movie central for our family – and we have shared many a full filled evening watching a movie together in the comfort of our house.

A host of additional feature really makes our LG 3D TV a veritable entertainment hub. For example, the 2D to 3D conversion feature in the 3d TV means that there is no dearth of 3D content that is available for viewing. The Dual Play feature is a treat for the console gamers who are able to watch two different pictures without the hindrance of split screens – giving them an exhilarating gaming experience. Among its Smart features, the LG TV features various apps that make streaming of videos and browsing the net a delightful pleasure. All in all, 3D viewing at home has become an enjoyable experience, with quality time spent with family and friends.

Despite of widespread skepticism about its future, I feel that 3D viewing at home is definitely going to be a big part of home entertainment. With 3D TV viewing becoming more evolved and additional technical improvements being introduced frequently, the beginning of the trend is already there.

For Indian tech enthusiasts and geeks, 3D is mostly an unknown quantity. The trend is not much different over the rest of the world. Yet, we find that 3D literally adds a new dimension to many of the products we use in daily course of life. 3D is emerging as a technology that can provide that most elusive of qualities to any products or brand – differentiation. Apple also seems to have realized it – which stands to reason – since Apple has always been one of the most innovative brands over the last two decades – providing unique solutions to general users. Its range of products – Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV etc is living testaments to this.3D Technology for Apple

Apple is working on a number of innovations that involve extensive use of 3D technology. For example, a new 3D camera is reportedly in works – eventually to be added to i-products. The 3D camera will be equipped with solid graphic capabilities that will capture 3D images that will then be displayed on the screens of various Apple devices. There are also reports of an Apple patent that purports to develop 3D remote – that includes a gyroscopic sensor and a touch interface – that will work with a host of Apple devices. This magic wand sounds quite similar to the Magic Motion Remote of LG 3D TVs – though the final picture will be clear only when the device is finally revealed.

Apple has a tradition of sorts for making apps and devices that use technology in an innovative way to benefit the final user. For example, they already offer eye-tracking 3d technology for iPhone and iPad, and 3d maps in iPhone. Therefore, it only seems fit that Apple will probably establish the 3D TV technology among general users – an endeavor in which most of the other companies have achieved mixed success at the best.

Apple 3D TVApple has already adopted a technology that will allow Apple TV users to enjoy 3D TV viewing without being burdened with cumbersome 3D glasses. Apple TV has recently tied up with Stream TV Networks, a company that develops glass free 3D technology for TV sets. As per reports, Apple TV will use Stream’s Ultra-D technology – which uses a combination of software and hardware to convert 2D images to 3D, and then beam it in HD in a way that is suitable for glass-free 3D viewing. The good news is that the glass free 3D viewing will not be limited to Apple TV only – it can readily be adapted for iPad and iPhones as well.

So, is it time to take the next step in 3D TV evolution, and try glass free 3D viewing? Well, with the considerable endorsement of Apple, the 3D technology may just receive the boost that it needs and deserves. Lets us keep our fingers crossed, and see whether this new technology makes it in time for iphone 6, ipad 4 or other upcoming products.

3D and Fashion – A Natural Union

I think 3D technology in televisions is still evolving and developing beautifully, though a lot of people are skeptical – and wonder whether 3D TVs are just a fad – that will pass out with passing seasons. It is not that 3D technology is something new – it started to catch public imagination right at the start of the 20th century, and its popularity has increased ever since. The 3D technology has been successfully incorporated into the popular medium of television only recently – and its application has rapidly expanded to include other mobile devices too – laptops, Smartphones and handheld gaming consoles.

Vu Couture TV - The Designer 3D TVOne can easily say – 3D TVs are in fashion, and how! Vu Televisions recent became the purveyor or luxury televisions in India – with the launch of a “Vu – Tarun Tahiliani Counture TV”, developed in association with the well known fashion designer. The sumptuous looking 55 inch screen 3D TV is decked in Swarovski crystals – and looks like a great piece of bling for those who like to live life king-size. Not only is this TV good looking, it has got some serious specs to boot – on par with some of the best 3D TV models around. I can see one problem though – anyone seeing this TV will be so busy admiring the crystals in the TV frame – he will simply miss the picture! On a serious note, I think this is a trend of inculcating great luxury in selected products, and will only grow in the future.

The onslaught of 3D in the fashion world is spreading still further. I remember reading an article about a group of designers who are taking the advantage of 3d visualization process not just to speed up their designing process but also take their fashion design into next level. Jimmy Choo, Hugo Boss and Gucci are some of the leading designers that have inculcated 3D elements into their designs. While some of their designs look stunning, some look just average – but that is just my outlook! But what I really could appreciate was the willingness of these designers to experiment with 3D, and create new fashion statements that could create great buzz, and excite fashion lovers like me.

I think that design and 3D form a natural union. With the help of 3D, fashion designers could really bring out the details, textures, volumes and shapes of fine crafted garments and other accessories. I am very much sure that soon, more big brands and famous designers – in India and abroad alike – will turn to 3d technology to showcase their creativity and products.

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