Archive for November, 2012


People are varied individuals and each one of us has a different definition for expression. Let’s look at some common instances. For a sportsperson going through a bad patch of form, you would have heard the “I’ll let my performance do the talking” countless times. For a writer, a pen is the most powerful and glorious weapon to own. For a programmer, his programming skills are a means of expression as to how proficient he is. And for the gung ho spirits, action speaks louder than words.

Our hectic work lives do not leave much time for catching up with friends these days and this is where a virtual social network has worked as a mode of bridging the gap. But even on a popular social networking platform, the mode of expression for users was restricted to borrowed quotes and a few relevant photos and videos till now. But the recent emergence of internet memes has put a new twist to our daily social binge. Memes are basically hand-drawn images of expressions which people have on their faces when they encounter certain situations. The ironic thing is that half of the time we don’t realize how one expression can I fact be used to show one feeling a many J Although if you peak through the internet these days, the definition of the term has broadened with the use of movie snaps and intuitive sayings to go along with it.

The first meme I encountered was a mischievous frowning face which is now famously known as the “Troll/Problem/U Mad Bro” face. It was a 4-box image about a thief bullying a guy into giving his money. The victim says he likes the thief’s knife and then uses it to take his money back. The truth is that it sound pretty lame in writing but has been made humorous and interesting by the use of expressions. And before I knew, the regularly visited pages were flooded by such memes. Not only are they fun to read as compared to standard media sharing, they appeal to the masses much more these days.

After a while, I had the impression that these memes and rage comics were just a means of some virtual tomfoolery which brings our daily life situations in front of ourselves with a pinch of wittiness. But the fact is that the use of memes is much more than that. Marketing professionals have strategized memetic marketing as one of most powerful forms of reaching out to potential customers. Not only is it cost and time effective but also much more visually engaging which makes the whole campaign easy to comprehend. People might pass this off as a current fad which will slowly wear off in the coming seasons but the way I see it, memes are now an integral part of the World Wide Web and will keep on evolving in a synonymous way with the changing times.

If you are even a little bit inclined towards the technological advancements in TV technology, you will be aware by now that the war is between the new age LED panels and Plasma panels with LCD taking a backseat. I constantly go through tech forums everyday and it’s the same old brand debate that going on every single day. While the majority is open to a healthy comparative discussion, there are always a few stubborn seasoned members who solely deride certain brands in favor of others and the noobs on these forums get ostracized more often than not.

As exceptional as LED 3D TV’s are these days, there’s no denying the fact that Plasma is still better in terms of pure picture quality. But it was all supposed to change this year with the arrival of OLED TV’s. These units do not only boast of extremely vivid picture quality but they also have the slim form factor to go along with it. Just to clarify how the technologies work, both Plasma and OLED do not need any backlighting. Plasma has ionized charges in their cells while OLED is made of organic cathodes; both emit light when electricity is applied. The major difference is, the Plasma setup is bulky and an energy guzzler while it’s the opposite for OLED displays.

 

 

The CES 2012 and IFA 2012 both witnessed the showcase of 55” LG OLED TV as well as the Samsung OLED TV and after wooing the audiences for quite some time now, it was largely expected that mass units will be shipped in the final quarter of 2012. But that was just an estimated analysis while the actual situation has panned out differently. Both the players despite the successful unveiling the plans for commercial shipments have been scrapped. The OLED TV’s will be shipped in very small numbers by this year’s end and the real splash will be made probably by mid-2013. The primary reason for this rescheduling has been the poor manufacturing yield of OLED displays for both the Korean giants. And there’s a good reason behind it. We have already been acquainted to OLED by the AMOLED screens used in high-end Smartphones. The size of the task that lies behind replicating a display technology which has been perfected for mobile use to a much larger screen apt enough for a TV display is pretty daunting. While a showcased OLED TV might have looked great, the mass production of these TV’s is an entirely different cup of tea altogether.

Maybe the question I have posed in the post title is not too relevant as this delay is inevitably disappointing. The first lot of the new TV’s always comes as a premium and its only with the increased ubiquity that the prices become affordable. That means that owning an OLED TV (if you ever want to) has been delayed by yet another year or two for an enthusiastic mid-segment consumer like me. But hey, it’s a technology worth waiting so I am not worried too much about this pit-stop.

A Not So Black Friday

An honest take on the Black Friday deals in US!

Computer and Softwares

In the United states, Black Friday is the largest consumer spending extravaganza with the year. It’s an incredible day to buy electronics either on a Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you may even get carried away or believe that every little thing you see is an magnificent deal. Newsflash, not each very good discounted thing is usually purchased on best deals Black Friday; to create certain, listed below are the items you shouldn’t obtain on Black Friday deals.

The Microsoft Surface –Windows 8 tablets and Android tablets will probably be heavily discounted as tablet computer systems are going to be a fantastic deal on Black Friday. Nevertheless, the Surface is sold at a hefty profit margin, which suggests Microsoft is making a crazy level of dollars off each and every tablet sale.  They could afford to heavily discount the Surface once the time is appropriate – which may…

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A new 3D Spectacle: Life of Pi

“In the night, the stormy night..Away she’d fly…
And dreamed of para- para- paradise….Para- para- paradise….Para- para- paradise
Whoa-oh-oh oh-oooh oh-oh-oh!”

When it comes to 3D entertainment, James Cameron’s Avatar is the unofficial benchmark which the filmmakers and audiences alike look up to in terms of visualization and how 3D effects can be more than just a gimmick and play a pivotal role in the screenplay. As mentioned by the genius himself, Avatar was a beautiful memory that wouldn’t have come to fruition in real world was it not for the latest 3D and CGI technology that made the memory come to life.

Since then, there have been many movies which have hit the screens in both standard and 3D but haven’t even come remotely close to James Cameron’s 3D masterpiece. The only two titles worth mentioning for their 3D effects in recent years are “Hugo” and “Prometheus”. But things are about to get very interesting as Avatar might have to share the spoils soon. The latest 3D caper to hit the screens this week is Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi”. The movie is about a young kid who encounters and survives a ship wreck and is stranded on a boat with a ferocious Bengal tiger with whom he soon forms a friendly bond and a union of allegiance. The two brave the turbulent waters and witness many beautiful discoveries and thrilling adventures.

The book’s author Yann Martel has himself said that even while penning down this story he believed that it was unfilmable. That in itself was a big challenge as despite of several cohesive ideations the project never picked up. When Ang Lee finally committed to the project, it took him a good three years and the creative backing of 3D technology from Cameron’s pace group to put the movie in place. 3D has been ridiculed by majority in India and abroad for being nothing more than a gimmick and in spite of TV makers bringing 3D TV’s in the market place, the 3D hysteria is yet to actually gather pace. It’s creations like “Life of Pi” that can intrinsically salvage the 3D cause and present a strong counter argument against the visual stereotypes by highlighting the true significance of 3D. From the trailer and the short snippets that I have seen, two really tend to stand out; the night scene with the leaping whale and the other with flying shoal of fishes. Watching those scenes in 2D wouldn’t really excite you but an added 3D dimension to it is certainly bound to be breath-taking! And even if that doesn’t impress you, then you my friend are stuck in a medieval age (no pun intended.)

My first thought on seeing the trailer ranged from being curious to being eager to bask in the visual effects and I am surely watching Pi’s adventure this weekend. Shame about the fact that Delhi doesn’t have an IMAX 3D theatre because that movie-viewing experience is really something else….

After a week-long leave, it feels good to be back doing what you enjoy; which in my case is writing J The week that has gone by was filled with celebration, revelry, emotional connect and exuberance. I returned to Mumbai for a few days and met all the relatives who have been so eager to confirm my existence so that they can bore me to death with their stereotypical opinions and advice.

The first part of the whole thing was quite enjoyable if I am being truthful. When you consider that I spend majority of my time in the Capital due to my professional commitments, my social circle gets limited to office colleagues and it has to have a degree of insanity attached to it. As much as you enjoy this freedom of being independent, home sickness eventually kicks in. There were quite a few new souls I came to know about on this visit of mine. Like the new maid in our household as well as our not so noisy neighbors who have recently moved in. And the whole Diwali to Bhai Dooj was spent in constant shuttling to relative’s houses and social get-togethers.

The other part of the trip was intriguing and to an extent disappointing if seen contextually. The festive season has become a set criterion for adding something new to the household with new vehicles, gold and TV’s topping the list. Now I know as much about cars as a horse would know about an iPad so I’ll leave it at that. And I do not have too much inclination towards jewelry so let’s cut that off from the list as well. But since technology is something close to my heart, TV is where all my opinions came out and quite a few of them were a bit taken aback with my in-depth inputs. I am just going to recap a few instances which I found funny and infuriating at the same time.

Instance 1: My Mamaji (uncle) comes to our house to wish Diwali and bought two wonderful presents. Since my mom had already made everyone aware of my LG LM6700 Cinema 3D TV, he was a little curious of why I would go for LG when I could have gone for a Sony or Samsung. I explained in details the advantages the TV had and that it provided the best of all features which I guess insinuated him as he went on to rumble about how TV purchasing shouldn’t be such an inquisitive process and blatantly advocated in favor of a Sony LCD TV. I kept mum on the outside but my insides were on fire with laughter at all this naivety.

Instance 2: Our own household needed an upgrade as the 29” Samsung CRT has literally been surviving by the skin of its teeth and it was high time for an upgrade. But as it always is with parents, my Dad called up one of his acquaintances for advice. The lanky individual turned up at our place and instead of giving buying advice, he jumped on the opportunity to earn a few extra bucks. He assured my father that no point in spending big on a flat TV as he can get a 32” LCD from either Videocon or Futec (yes there is a company by that name) for next to peanuts. I had to work a lot on clearing all the brainwash and explain him about the existing display technologies. For now, he has decided to conduct some thorough surveys of the latest Smart 3D TV’s and assured me of making the final decision when I visit next so that went well.

 

Instance 3: We went to one of my mum’s friend’s place to wish Diwali and that tied up with them since they had also gone to buy a new TV. Fortunately in this case, her husband was a bit tech-savvy and did understand about the 3D functionality and Smart TV features. He had not made a decision yet but had his heart set on the Samsung 46” ES6800 Smart TV. Never the one to intentionally influence anyone’s buying decision, I showed him the pics of my own LG Smart 3D TV which left him in a bit of a fix. The good thing was that he had some awareness with what TV’s have to offer today which came as a welcome surprise for me.

Now make of it what you will, but the majority of the consumers base is still not enchanted by what a modern age TV has to offer. Instead, it’s the price which is the most influential factor in the purchase. At one end, you can’t blame them for being restrictive but it also highlights the sad fact that TV makers need to have a more cohesive campaign if the market for 3D TV’s and Smart TV’s has to grow in the immediate future.

The old model of suggestions and advice before any buying decision was to check with your elders and peers and go ahead with the purchase considering the brand reputation and the discounts on offer. Understanding the technological aspect of things was like an exploration activity after the product had reached your place. The only major task was to make a choice amongst the brands available at that time.

Things have progressively changed since then and so has the platforms for gathering information. In a hypothetical scenario, you are looking to buy a new Smartphone. Now, it’s not just the brand or price you will have to look at but also what you expect out of your gadget as a prospective owner. For a noob, it would be the screen size, the apps as well as the battery life. For a corporate guy, the phone’s capability to sync to his business accounts; while an enthusiast will look at the phone’s hardcore technical configuration as well as the scope of modification (HINT: overclocking).

And like it or not, it’s a similar story when it comes to TV’s. Gone are the days when TV’s were being bought on brand reputation and face value, which can be partly attributed to the increased number of display technologies available at this time. From a conventional CRT-powered TV sets, the television has evolved to being made with LCD, LED as well as Plasma technologies. And the fun has just started. Even the latest avatar of LED TV’s get differentiated on the basis of being CCFL-type, full array or edge-lit. The next phase of the dilemma is whether to go for a basic TV or a TV packed with 3D and Smart features. Moreover when it comes to 3D functionality, you have the active vs. passive 3D debate in full swing. In short, the list of considerations keeps on increasing.

This is where internet can be your savior these days. Instead of running from shop to shop for doing physical surveys, you can simply register on a techie forum and clarify all the doubts you have regarding the different products you are looking at. And the good thing about forums is that you get multiple first hand and unbiased opinions; something you cannot expect from sales personnel.  Most of the times you don’t even need to ask the question (or in forum lingo, START A NEW THREAD) as it’s highly likely that you will find threads relevant in solving your queries. Plus, the constant exchange of information makes you well vested when it comes to know-how, basics and thumb rules of the technology you have an interest in.

I scour popular forums like ThinkDigit and HiFiVision and have gained a lot of information from these two. And more recently, I have been browsing through the LG WR Forum started by LG’s World Record Team. A whole host of topics related to their Cinema 3D range as well as other household appliances is available with the LG WR Men playing the part of the librarian. Not only are all these forums a very convenient way of knowing about technology but it works as a unified virtual connection that keeps you up to date with all there is to know about in the technology universe.

Let the sky fall.. when it crumbles, We will stand tall.. face it all together…. At Skyfall

Yesterday’s office hours started with a bang as the senior personnel planned a first day movie trip for the latest installment of the 007 franchise “Skyfall”. With everyone being pumped up and eager to watch the movie in the evening, there was a reinvigorated approach and efficiency towards work. The editorials and research work for the next print being finalized and submitted during the early hours of evening, the whole pack left for PVR Saket.

Now everyone generally has his or her own perceptions to what they expect to see in a James Bond movie. The guys are obviously eager about the gadgets and action sequences in the movie while the girls are more inclined towards the suave charm that super sleuth field agent exudes. Since the time the franchise got an overhaul when British actor Daniel Craig took the reign of the main lead in the legendary series, there has been much hue and cry that the Brit doesn’t exhibit the smooth talking approach that his predecessor Pierce Brosnan depicted in abundance. Add to that the fact that 007 had to make do with the emergence of a seemingly superior espionage series the “Bourne Trilogy” which meant that the transition of James Bond was overseen in the shadows.

I for one had been encouraged by what I saw in “Casino Royale” but it was dampened by a not so good “Quantum of Solace” so I honestly didn’t know what to expect from it. The movie kicked off straight with a fast-paced action sequence after which the rolling credits started. This might seem unusual to a standard cine-goer but I found out it to be a very novel idea and got to listen to the melodious composition sung by Adele. The plot was very generic as it’s about an ex-agent conspiring against the organization who assigns 007 to deal with him. There are no twists and turns and it’s a solid script backed my commendable enactment and direction.

I heard a lot of disapproval in the theater regarding the lack of high-tech gadgets which are generally associated with Bond films. The most high-tech things this Bond had was a Transmitter, the classic silver Aston Martin DB5 injected with guns under the hood and a Sony Xperia T. Even the final sequence was shot in the countryside of Scotland giving this spy caper a very regional and classic feel. While a majority may feel disappointed with the lack of technology in the feature, quite a few solemnly applauded the extra layer of depth which had been rendered to the characterization of the super spy and his allies. And with the fourth installment of the rivaling franchise “The Bourne Legacy” turning out to be a damp squid earlier this year, this solid espionage flick was just what was needed for critics and fans to realize that Bond has indeed been resurrected.

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