Friday, November 28, 2008

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The recent spate of rains is attributed to North East monsoons and to cyclone Nisha (I wonder what's with the Indian people to nomenclate cyclones just as with USA, but it sure does sound really funny sometimes - cyclone Narakasura, cyclone Ravana, cyclone Anajaneya - it gets funnier the more I think of it!).

The rains have only added to more gloom during the great recession of 2008 and the chilly weather has made it so dull to dampen spirits of attending office at all. The only gloom left is a pink slip with this kind of weather pattern :D

I was driving rather slowly today to office thanks to an early start and empty roads what with schools delcaring a holiday in memory of late VP Singh (yes he died today after a prolonged cancer battle). I am dreading the last day of our own homegrown prime minister - Irrelevant people would block the entire Bengaluru traffic for days, and make us all walk all over the city just to make those memories worse.

Having said that, near Hebbal flyover I saw this contraption otherwise called an umbrella, but when used in wrong situations could very well serve to harvest rain water, or even function as a mobile DTH service when fitted with the right LNB material! It was quite funny that this umbrella was still serving its purpose in some way or rather in many ways!

And finally every gloomy day has something to cheer about at the end of it, so I leave you with a rainbow over my terrace that made the gloom turn into a bit of cheer!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

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In part one of this article, I had written about how I got the need to purchase yet another digital camera for specific purpose of video recording. In this post, I ll explain a few things about the purchase and the elements of the camera in much more detail for you to read and enjoy.

I reached Croma, knowing well that I need a digicam for as-less-as-possible value with good video recording. I had heard about High Definition video or HD video to a great extent in the last one year and in the same time, I had also worked extensively with applications using HD video content in my job. But what I least expected that some camera manufacturer would plonk in that capability into a digicam, about the size of ten credit cards packed as a bunch! And add to that least of all - the guy in question to be Kodak.

The sales representative was friendly enough to explain to me the various digicams present there in the mall, the same old (or new) Nikon Coolpixes, Sony, Canon powershots, or Olympus or Casios and needless to say the Kodaks. Now most of these cameras either were sleek, with 3x optical zoom lenses, but would not take good video or had 12x optical bulky lenses and still would not take good video. Remember that my definition of good now had translated to High Definition. Also remember that though you do have high definition capable LCD televisions today, NO ONE gives you a HD channel as a broadcast. That will have to wait atleast 3+ years in India by which time buying a HD Tv would be a formidable proposition. This however is not the case in countries like USA where channels like National Geographic are available in ultra sharp quality HD mode which makes viewing TV a different experience.

Having said this, I was not really impressed with any camera he showed me just because they were no different from the Sony handycam I had written about in terms of video recording abilities. Until he showed me THIS:

The Kodak 1093 IS is an ultra sleek camera . It works on SD memory based storage with a Hershey shaped lithium ion battery that packs some punch. AND IT DOES HD VIDEO RECORDING!!! Plus its a 10MP sensor which can give some real good prints!

The very form factor of this camera really delighted me and its great to know one of the first few photography companies like Kodak who were recently hurt badly due to competition heating up, followed on their philosophy of making EasyShare based cameras, have finally woken up to be the first. The first company to pack a HD video recording ability into a camera as small as this. Coming back to the form factor, a little bit of pictorial explanation of things in this camera:

The camera came with a 1GB card and a pouch, but I denied the pouch and settled instead for a 2GB card. Knowing very well that HD videos would take lot of space, I decided this deal is better.

Having said that the top portion of the camera has four buttons, all embedded neatly into the form factor, without any projection for Power (a blue blinking button), flash setting button, a mode button which would easily help you adjust modes for this camera, and finally the shutter click button (which hardly is recognizable unless you look closely)

The bottom portion has a battery and SD card compartment, a tripod mount, and a HDTV or easyshare dock adapter, all again neatly built in.On one side is the USB charging port (for both data and power!!) and the power adapter socket in case you use a separate 5V dc adapter from Kodak. The other side has no other ports and is clean!

And finally the big huge LCD on the backside with four buttons around a joystick control, one for playback of photos and videos, one for menu options, one for deleting a video or image and one for sharing the image using EasyShare. Also are buttons for using the 3x zoom for either wide or telephoto modes. The joystick is very usable, and so are the menu options. The mode menu gives you 22 different photography situations and also offers full manual control if you want to be in expert mode. All menu fonts are readable and very usable easily which makes this camera a breeze to handle!

The only drawback if at all I felt with this camera relates to two things, one - very less optical zoom, something I can live with, and two - the image quality is a bit soft in all Kodaks that I have seen - something also that I can live with! The best positives of this camera are great video recording in FULL HD (the next time you watch those Sony Bravia ads, ask the dealer whether its 1080 interlaced (I) or progressive (P), obviously that P being the real Full HD), extremely usable form factor and easy portability with SD compatibility.

Before I end this post, I will leave you with a video review of this camera. Hope you like it! The moral of the story is prioritize your needs and go for a camera satisfying those needs. And always remember, try avoiding using the same camera for both video and photo. Both modes are different and needs different types of cameras! But for Rs.9999/-, this Kodak is a steal considering that the Sony DCR-DVD 610E still does not do full HD video!

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After one year of procrastinating on writing about my Canon Rebel Xti DSLR, and the steam off this topic, I got yet another gadget to blog on - my new possession - the Kodak Easyshare 1093 IS digital still camera. With one hell of a difference from other cameras : High definition video recording. But before that let me summarize how I really landed up the purchase and what my requirements and pointers towards buying this camera was!

The need: My son is about a year old, and he is upto so many new things in his life that I wanted recorded on media for later viewing for life's best memories!

The most popular: Sony DCR-DVD 610 dvd handycam. I went with my wife to see this handycam at Sony World, Koramangala. I also had the intention to buy it then and there since nothing else was even close to the sony reputation for such handycams. However the price was 17,990/- with one free handycam bag! Wow, thanks for small mercies Sony!

After seeing the handycam, I started to get less and less attracted to it for its bulk, its rather mediocre features of standard definition video capture (640x480) and the burden of carrying around lots and lots of media to record on. I just began to think of giving myself a little room to explore more choices. So returned home without the purchase.

The revised need:A digital still camera, which would help me in recording good quality video, and at the same time would use the all-famous SD card and be easily portable, small and usable for the purpose. I also set myself a budget of as-less-as-possible spending to get this new camera. This also meant obviously that I would not get any swivel LCD's and hi-fi stuff. But I decided to live with it as long as I could record good quality video in a snap!

Just to let you know I already have an Olympus C770UZ even before my Canon, with which I have taken over 6000 images before I decided to start using it lesser and lesser, the main reasons being slow boot up time and rather lacklusture performance with respect to taking photos. The photos themselves though were really good and even surpassed my Canon at times! :)

So the only good places I knew to scout for my new camera in Bengaluru, Koramangala was the Next Showroom, E-Zone (who according to me never give any reasonable discounts and only fool people all the time), GK Vale (the worlds costliest photo expert) and Croma - the rather new and jazzy electronics store which is part of Infiniti Retail and have associated themselves with the TATA brand name. Since I have had good experiences with Croma even before, I dashed straight to the Croma Store in Star Bazaar the very next weekend after the Sony disaster. What followed is something of a pleasant surprise. Continue reading more in Part II.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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I've always wanted to know more about the Nintendo DS. Its not called the worlds best handheld gaming console for no reason. The Nintendo DS games are scintillating and so popular across the world that its become a rage by now. The console itself has undergone so many feature changes that it is now truly collaborative with picto chat, and wi-fi connectivity.

Added to that was Nintendo's release of Wii, a home video game console. This also had a Wii shopping and internet channel along with Wifi connectivity and added to that a great set of games for families to enjoy together. This year, the Wii fit has been launched by Nintendo, which enables fitness programmes to be done using the console. This is a good idea for the entire family to keep fit!

And finally if you do want a comprehensive look at different pricing options for your favourite games and consoles on Nintendo, there are websites that offer these lists so that you can plan your purhcase being equipped with good amount of information.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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The last time I brought you pictures of the foggy winter in Bengaluru. That was year 2007. Its already one year now and Winter 2008 has just set in. Though the fog is still a couple of months away, I did chance upon the Pink Tabebuia tree in MG road (near the JDP signal). I could not resist taking this snap. The tree bears white, lavender, magenta, pink or red flowers. In spite of all the dirt and pollution present due to the reach one activity of Bengaluru metro, this tree was so inviting to look at!

Happy winter and chill out ! :)

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

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It could have been yet another post. But its not. This is time to thank my dear readers for making the Bengaluru blog, what it is today. That too in a short span of time.Agreed, not without turbulences, but something is better than nothing. My efforts to pass on knowledge through this website has paid off, and in a much better way than originally anticipated. And it also goes beyond saying to prove what blogging and bloggers and blog readers can do to the online world.

Here are some statistics of the Bengaluru Blog, which has made me immensely happy. And I do believe it will make you more enthusiastic in visiting this blog more often. Read for yourself ! And do visit again :)

  • 20000+ visitors in one year
  • 25000+ visitors with one and half times more page views in one year
  • PR 0/10 in 2007 to PR 3/10 in 2008
  • High quality knowledge posts to secure returning visitors
  • Worldwide reach of the blog
  • many bangalore related terms searched on google shows this blog on first page of results
  • the bengaluru blog search term shows this blog on result #4
  • bengalurus best photographic blog
  • growing Pagerank with an urge to perform better

I can keep writing more. But its finally all because of you and your continued support, that I am able to reach these heights. My quest has not ended. There is more to achieve. But I believe its a matter of time going forward.

A big thanks once again!

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Monday, November 3, 2008

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Today morning the magic finally unraveled itself in full glory. Without any official brouhaha. I was the first car at the Sanjaynagar traffic signal. And when the signal went green, I zoomed from that signal to hebbal - all in less than one minute. Kudos BDA, yet another feather on your infrastructure cap. Good work done.

I just wanted to be sure that even the return journey was profitable. I left office at 5:40pm. After a hiccup of 5-7 mins at Nagawara traffic signal, I managed to reach hebbal flyover by 5:50pm. From there I clocked my drive upto Raj Bhavan and it was 12 minutes. Fantastic!

Erstwhile one had to spend about anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes in the stop and go traffic before the CBI magic box, as you drove from Hebbal, and another 5 minutes of harrowing bone rattling car breaking drive next to it.

Today it took 10 seconds to cross all of that mess. Wonderful. I can't describe my feelings. Pictures convey more. See for yourself. :)

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About Me
Srikanth Eswaran
Bengloor Huduga

Srikanth is a blogger, reader, photographer, butter dosa eater, an urban car racer & an apple fanboy. He loves music, playing table tennis and traveling. Most times he would like to be solitary to introspect on what life has thrown to him and the bigger purpose of life.