Friday, December 2, 2011

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KSRTC has introduced new Airavat services from Bangalore to Thiruvananthapuram, Horanadu, Shimoga, Ernakulam and Kumbakonam. It has also launched routes from Shimoga into AP, as well as from Bangalore to Mangalore.



Its quite clear Yeddyurappa is showering goodies into his district with these new introductions. As such the train connectivity between Bangalore and Shimoga is sparse and this set of bus routes must add more charm for travelers to this region. Promising even full sleeper buses between some destinations, KSRTC wants you to travel like a Baby. Till now there was only KPN Travels that had buses to Kumbakonam, but with the introduction of an Airavat, the temple city of South India is now well connected to the silicon city of India as well.



To know more and to book tickets online, hit this link.





 



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Monday, November 28, 2011

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0D-mXIzlKc]


Ritchie's room recently did a quick review of the Asus Transformer Prime Android Tablet. The design elements are very notable as compared to previous tablets in this one. To understand what you will get for a sweet price, read on to know more.

Friday, November 18, 2011

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History of news flow


Autocar India, the country's premier automotive magazine reported late April, 2011 that the new Maruti Swift Dzire would get shorter and cheaper.


It also made an audacious attempt in getting an actual picture of the compact sedan and succeeded very well. The image which it claims was taken by one of its readers (not me!) is the one you see below.



(source: www.autocarindia.com)


 


Since this article many websites such as motoroids.com, bharatautos.com and indianautosblog.com have been citing the original article from autocar india, and bharatautos even went one step further in morphing the new swift with the old dzire to produce its own rendering of what the car would be like.


I even saw another launch photo of the dezire with a boot like the old premier padmini 118 NE, sort of ridiculous looking, the source of which I dont have (with due respects to the owner)



 


Well now its time to reveal some rather accurate information about the new swift dzire.


Interiors and Design


The swift dzire due to its sub 4-metre length is expected to cost lesser. For the sake of simplicity we will talk only about the high end variant the ZDi. Currently with the recent increase of prices from maruti, the on road price in Bangalore is about 8.7 lakhs. The interiors of the new compact dZire is going to be exactly similar to the existing new swift.



(source www.marutiswift.com)


The fabric quality is obviously better, and you can notice the marginal increase in space at the backseat. The gearshift remains same from the original swift and swift dZire. There are chrome bits near the a/c vents, and the dashboard itself and so also on the doors and window linings. As in the case of the swift, there is no 60:40 seat folding option here, but then when you have a boot already, you can just fold the seat completely and it will become better and bigger. Since the dZire will be a passenger car, Maruti might decide to make the interior seating Beige in colour which is yet to be seen. Even the beige interior looks pretty good in the swift as was in the case of the earlier dZire and finally its upto owners to have seats of their choice. Karlsson and Autoform are two good companies to opt for with respect to seating as their jobs are perfect and the styling is top notch.



Note that the new dZire will also sport the same stereo system as in the new swift. Its a waterfall model stereo system. I have tested this system out and it is not as good as it is in the FIGO. But that is because Ford has intelligently packaged the stereo and speakers. The speakers on the front doors have a hollow region to create an impeccable undistorted bass. In the swift though that will be sorely missed. The new dZire will not have bluetooth functionality, though it will have stereo controls on the steering and Mp3, USB ports. Which brings me to the steering itself.


The steering is an excellent creation and its electrically assisted, making it butter smooth. The churn is simply awesome when you want to use that 4.6m turning radius to turn the car into cramped places. The steering is a joy to use and is precise and accurate and smoother compared to the old swift. Do not forget to wrap it with some genuine leather and it will be the best beyond that for a car of this price range. The horn is not worth it on the stock setup and its worthwhile to install the windtone horn (skoda or polo type horn) as an after market accessory.


After having had some success with Sx4's practical design, the new dZire will carry over the same legacy with bottle holders on all doors, and a nice retractable cup holder right next to the co-passenger A/c Vent



(source: Swift brochure)


 


Exteriors, and rear assembly


The only question that everyone has about the dZire is - why should a car that has been designed that everyone should hate it named as - the dZire!? It sold in thousands, but yet everyone hated it. It had a waiting period of 4-5 months, yet everyone hated it, but yet Maruti made huge sales. So will the new dZire be again the same story with respect to styling of the rear? The big-ass boot if I may call it so? The good news is NO. Observe the first picture provided by autocar and in the rear you will observe that the new car has an sX4 style tailllamp. So now the differences between the old and new dZire models will be evident if you look below.



So if I were to hammer the boot of the existing dZire a bit from the top to flatten it, and remove its taillamps to give it the sX4 style taillamps, the dZire would then be looking much more nicer and similar to the first photograph above. You get an idea dont you? The car becomes much more buyable by nature. Given that statement, the new dZire is likely to top charts in bookings by customers when it launches.


So when then will it really launch is the next question. From sources it is likely to be launched by Christmas, and also demoed at the Auto Show coming up in January next year. The training for Maruti salesmen for the new dZire is already over and the car might be expected to hit the stockyards for display and test drives by as soon as December second week.


Performance and some other differences compared to older versions


Everyone knows the power of swift family of vehicles. No one can talk a word against the world famous FIAT multijet engines which are part of many diesel cars including the current swift and the older dZire models. I have personally driven all the vehicles which have this engine and those that have other diesel engines just to find out the difference in tuning. The new Swift and dZire have some changes in tuning. In the older cars, the torque of 190Nm started appearing around 1700 rpm onwards, but in the new cars the torque now appears only at 2000rpm. In layman's terms this means that one has to reach 2000 rpm quickly and be at that level to experience the fun side of this car. Having said that, I have driven the new swift at 10kmph speed in second gear, 20kmph at third gear, and about 30-35kmph in fourth and fifth and one of the strongest points of this engine is that it does not switch off at these speeds which gives excellent driveability. For those who have driven the old swift they will know how silent the engine was on the inside. If I were to amplify that silence and make it 10 times better by padding the right bits in and around the car interior, thats called the new swift ! The silence is overwhelmingly impressive inside the car.


The top end drive remains as good as the older versions and there is no change here barring the extra welcome silence which is appreciated. For cruising between 90 and 110 this car will be very peaceful on the inside. The new dZire also had an added armrest for the driver which was not present in the older one.


Costing and conclusions


The dZire due to its sub-4m length is bound to attract only 10-12% duty instead of the usual 22%. For an on road price of 8.7 roughly this translates to about 87,000. But due to input costs being higher, one can expect less than half that as a discount to the end buyer which means the new dZire ZDi is bound to cost about 8.3 lacs for a sub 4m sedan. For another lakh more there are bigger better sedans with fuller boot so its hard to say whether this car will find a market at that price. Given the 90bhp version of the same FIAT engine plonked into its bigger cousin the SX4, and overpriced beyond 10 lakhs for no good reason, there is a fair chance people would be better off with the 75bhp compact sedan at 8.3 lakhs rather than a bigger underpowered cousin at 10.3 lakhs.


With Airbags, ABS, a butter smooth steering and a highly damped interior, the swift dZire compact sedan will have a charm of its own. The rear styling being correct is enough reason for potential buyers to now start taking this compact sedan more seriously. With a mileage of about 15 in the city and about 18-20 kmpl on the highway this is not going to be exactly a chartbuster but reasonable enough for daily runs and nice highway trips if you are that kind.


So dealers are now discreetly accepting bookings for this new version and the older one will be phased out by mid to end december 2011. Only time will tell whether this compact sedan finally quenches the buyers dZire for the HEART CAR!


 


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Friday, October 21, 2011

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I have always wondered ever since the launch of the iPhone 4S as to how the voice recognition and support feature on the phone will fare against indian accents. the thought of spending $650 on an unlocked iPhone 4S just to see this feature did not obviously make sense. NDTV luckily has tested this feature with Indian accents and the results are very interesting. So does the system make mistakes? We all do, and so will systems designed by us. But for the voice feature on iPhone 3GS to now, the developers have come a long way in the accuracy.


So why not see the video for yourself and use the COMMENTS section to say what you feel about this?



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Thursday, October 20, 2011

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Here is a comparison of the 7" and 10" tablets running Android 2.2, 2.3, 3.2 and Apple's iOS5 in the market today. This table shows their specs, their cost and availability in worldwide markets.


(source : pcworld.com)



 


So which one would you choose? Let us know in the comments section!


 


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Friday, October 14, 2011

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This phone has a 1Ghz processor which is bound to be very fast. Take a look at the introductory video for yourself:


 


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NxNAKjZs4c]


 


 


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Thursday, October 6, 2011

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(image courtesy : www.apple.com)


A picture is worth a 1000 words.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

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So the big iPhone launch event is now over and the dust is settling down. I must say that Engadget has done a fine job of updating on the event progress while it was on. It takes a lot of effort for a tech website to be spot on with respect to the updates. Given its experience in handling past Apple launch event this was a cakewalk for Engadget this time as well. Finally Engadget also summarized the whole event in a short bulleted fashion for people who don't have the time to read the full scoop.



(image courtesy : Engadget.com)



Given this introduction let us then discuss the top 7 reasons why you should NOT buy the iPhone 4S. These reasons come out of my experience with using the iPhone 3GS for a year or more. So lets head straight on then ...





  1. Closed filesystem - While for a person who does not bother to look beyond his iPhone, he can live entirely only with the phone without having the need to transfer anything out of the iPhone. Unfortunately not everyone is like that so one would like to have the ability to transfer important documents, photos, and other files out of the iPhone. This need may arise since we would use the phone with the associated data service to download a lot of useful things from the net. Imagine not having the feasibility to transfer it out of the phone. You might ask me if this is totally impossible - well not exactly - you can do so if you transfer it to another iDevice only.

  2. Absence of ports - I do agree and everyone here would also tend to agree that Apple makes a wonderful set of products. But omitting things like a USB port or a mini HDMI port only means that Apple would want its ecosystem to be protected to such an extent that one has to buy an iMac or iPad to transfer data out or an Apple TV product to transfer video content to a TV. I have a boxee box, which does all that and more by connecting up to a simple WiFi network and it needless to say has a HDMI port, USB slots, SD card slots and wireless NAS accessibility via uPNP protocol. All at < 200$ (Rs.10000). In today's world, I cannot fathom paying 650$ without any of these just for the sake of lifestyle.

  3. Camera - When Apple launched 3GS version of the iPhone they provided a meagre 3.2 megapixel camera without flash, even when other manufacturers were already on the 5MP bandwagon with dual led flashes. While daylight photos were not so bad, night shots were pathetic. I am not even still considering the time it takes to edit that photo outside of iPhone as the transfer process itself requires iTunes software on an iMac or a PC. Arguably while apple has done away with the need for a PC anymore, can you think of atleast one time where you would love editing your photos on the phone itself. Its a small screen and you will run out of patience pretty soon. You might be wondering that it still has a 1080P full HD recording ability and hence more superior than a few other phones. Well I do tend to agree, but it all boils down to the same question as earlier - how would you transfer the content out for proper processing before sharing. For novices the phone would do it all automatically by processing and uploading to a video sharing service such as youtube, but for professionals who would like to edit the video more in depth, would find it intimidating when the device does not allow certain things. Coming to apple's claim that the camera takes pictures in 1.1 second with a 0.5 second timing after the first picture, there are many other phones which also take pictures in about two seconds or so and offer face recognition since a couple of years now and this is nothing ground breaking. If i can wait for 1 second, i can also wait for 3 seconds!

  4. Pricing and rollout countries - Pricing has always been a premium for the iPhone. It continues to be so for the iPhone 4S which will retail for $649 or a little over Rs.32.500 in India on a fully unlocked basis. If you notice carefully India is NOT one of the countries which will get the iPhone 4S on October 28th. This directly shows the step motherly attitude that Apple has towards India. It has not skimped in the same way for the iMac though so far from releasing it on time. There are a lot of factors for this attitude from Apple. In a country where 3G speeds are not as consistent as they should be and in a place where a few thousands of geeks consider that India is geeky just because they use all the tech that is available, it does not mean that there will be millions of sales of the iPhone. The real winners out of phone sales in India would be those who provide dual sim phones with music player and radio, with perhaps a memory card slot thrown in at a rock bottom price of less than 50$ (~ about Rs.2000). Given this situation, a company like Apple which is vying for market share has no business in India with its ultra high end smartphone. And they are in no mood to subsidize it either.

  5. Carrier based subsidies - Unlike in the USA, carrier based phone subsidies and exclusivity for phone launches along with subsidies is not prevalent in India. With mobile number portability in place already, there is hardly any hope for this kind of model to work in India. Without subsidies we are then only looking for a very small percentage of market penetration Apple can achieve with its smartphone.

  6. Other feature sets -



    1. Flash disk size is hardly a differentiating factor these days for phones. I would at the maximum cycle around 1000 songs in my entire phone owning history and if I have 10000 songs while its good, we are talking only of a very select subsection of smartphone owners who are bound to be such music addicts. So if I am not a music and movie addicts there is no way that I can put the iPhone's 16GB space to have anything else practically given the limitations on what can be stored and what not.

    2. GSM/CDMA universality is again anything groundbreaking. The early advent of dual sim, triple sim, and quad sim phones with multiple combinations of GSM/CDMA are more than already enough to provide the flexibility and for Indian's going abroad there is a rare necessity to use two SIM cards on the same phone even alternatively instead of in parallel.

    3. iOS5 with iCloud - While the iCloud (which I had written about here) is a brilliant effort by apple for descoping physical limitations of the device storage, the concept itself is nothing groundbreaking. Almost every other provider is now on the cloud. The difference might lie in the way the other providers (versus apple) that let you access the cloud. On windows, accessing apple cloud is the slowest so far compared to say even Hotmail. Amazon cloud is yet to be tested by me and how Google might fare is only a fair guess having used google for a lot of time now. The real problem with iCloud is the missing information or lack of knowledge of how to find the files stored in the cloud. While other providers just list what you have in the cloud, Apple has incorporated the cloud concept into every application. So if I want to open some content, the only way is to get into the application having the ability to open that content, and then find the stored cloud content which I have created. This approach is useless and in no way enables me to get what I need quickly. I do appreciate apple's clutter free approach in keeping cloud content specific to the applications that can harness it, thereby classifying it properly, but what is the use if I cannot see what I have stored in entireity on the cloud (ala Kindle Fire) ? The notification bar in iOS 5 has no quick launch buttons for bluetooth, WiFi, etc even in iOS5 !!




  7. Font and screen sizes - due to the limited screen size, even tasks such as facebooking, or emailing on an iPhone is not possible for a long duration. After prolonged use of the iPhone 3GS i have already increased the font size in order to prevent permanent damage to my eyes. Kids playing games on a small screen are only inviting a disaster as far as their visual abilities are concerned. On the outset it does not look like a big issue to many, but as a user of iPhone over a year, I cannot underline the importance of doing certain things on a bigger screen device. Atleast 7 inches of screen size, and most preferably a 10" screen. This is the most ideal for heavy multitasking even if its just gaming or browsing or reading. This is perhaps where the kindle screen is a better alternative with e-ink technology compared to a retina display which is dazzling rather than practical to the already strained eye.


So if the Apple iPhone launch was all about brickbats, are there no boquets then? Your guess is as good as mine. Apple is a company which stresses on innovation. And when the give a feature they will implement it in a way incomparable to other mobile manufacturers. The TOP 7 reasons why you MUST go for an iPhone would be:





  1. Siri voice recognition - Here is an app which recognizes what you need and contextually remembers and answers all your related questions. Going all the way upto taking the stress out of you to do mundane tasks such as sending messages, shuffling music, etc. But the big question here is whether it will understand Indian English accent? That is yet to be proven and only time will tell.

  2. iTunes match - it is not clear how well this service will function yet. This seems to be a nice feature, but not compelling enough for an iphone buyer in India even if he is a music addict.

  3. the A5 chip - Apple's processors are always a judicious choice and if you have seen the way an iPad 2 behavious with respect to screen renderings for graphical applications or games, then its not hard to imagine how blazing fast the iPhone 4S would be in the same aspects.

  4. Airplay mirroring - agree that this is a seamless feature, but it also requires equipment on the other end to support this kind of handover of content like a TV taking over from iPhone or gaming on the TV from an iPhone. We are still talking about a good six months before someone makes this possible. For those devices that already have airplay enabled, they will profit from this feature immediately

  5. Battery life - For those who own current generation apple devices they will already know the state of their battery prowess. Start with 100% at morning coffee, and you are < 10% before an evening coffee, leave alone dinner. Apple seems to have understood this and have high claims on battery life. This simply means the new iPhone would very well extend into day two of battery being in good shape kicking out those silly Mophie and other juice products into the bin sooner than later.

  6. Lifestyle device category - I cannot stress on this aspect any further than I always have. Apple makes lifestyle products. One that suits all age groups. So if I can do something on my iPhone, my kid can find something else worth doing for his age, and my aged parents can marvel and photo album swipes for their age and understanding. This is where Apple really shines and one device can keep all ages happy.

  7. App store - Apple we know pioneered the concept of app store and today they have anywhere more than 1,50,000 apps. This pretty much means you have an app that will help you brush your teeth and an app that will potty train your kids and an app which will monitor vital health signs of a sick aged person at your house if necessary. Extending the app store to iMac, iPad and the iPhone apple has ensured that they are on top of the money minting pie for a long time to come. Anybody else who makes mobile devices now has to have a store even it means aping apple and even if it means they have only two apps - facebook and twitter. For me honestly about ten apps should suffice. But it is really the needs and wants of 5% of the worldwide mobile phone market who own this phone that really matters. And the apple app store is pretty much geared to cater to this growing need in style.


So here were my 7 top reasons you should and should not go for the iPhone, now the call is yours. Tell me if you will or wont go for the iPhone 4S by answering the poll below!

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHVQD6Sddtg]


 


 


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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The TRAI saves the day yet again with their innovative measures. The TRAI has grouped SMSes into various categories since a long while now. Lets briefly understand these below:





So from today both pesky calls and pesky SMS-es from these groups of companies will stop depending on which you have enabled and which not. I however got an email from a consumer goods company from where I have previously purchased products online - HomeShop18.



 


The flip side of the TRAI regulation also means that you will no more receive confirmation SMS on the order you placed. But once you enable the respective category, you will again be able to not only receive important SMS-es but also the junk marketing ones. It will be interesting to now see how India leads the way in blocking unwanted SMS-es or calls. still however two SMS-es never forget to make it to my mailbox - how to cure myself of baldness and how to become rich by investing into lands around Bangalore !! What say ?


 

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Friday, September 23, 2011

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The Bangalore Development Authority launched yet another mega e-auction today covering both prominent areas in the IT belt as well as areas in South Bengaluru such as BSK Vth stage.



 


In the last few e-auctions, people have had some issues with registering for the auction. One day before the auction, people could not register for the auction since the registration link was taken away hours before the auction started. While one can expect that e-auctions would not load the server as in the case of say a railway ticketing system, still BDA needs to iron out a few nitty gritties to make this system more reliable and foolproof.


Now there could always be scenarios where they jack up the price by themselves and in the heat of the moment the participants dont notice it when the auction is going on.


Further BDA's website was not renewed by them which shows how callous the government department can be at times. Somehow they have found a way to get their website back. But even then, their certificates are not trusted by a browser like Chrome that displays this message.



 


With all these drawbacks, this page will show the current auctions going on.


What is important to note is that the minimum bid amount by which an increase can take place is Rs.100/sqauaremeter. Some important information about this event is specified below:



 


So if you are participating in the auction for a slice of the Bangalore real estate pie, Good Luck!


 


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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Today's paper carries a tender call for Nandi hills to be upgraded as a tourist destination in the true sense. It is not very clear what facilities will be provided, but the nandi hills is sure to get an artificial waterfall a-la-Courtallam simulation at kishkinta water park chennai.



 


Besides that there is also going to be a splash pad which is a water area without standing water. Unlike many wave pools that are part of Wonder La, or Innovative Film city or other theme parks the splash pad is quite the contrary concepts which does not mandate any heavy cleaning procedures since the area dries up naturally. it will be a great pastime for kids as indicated by the pictures on this blog.


The estimated time for completion of these is 8 months which means by next July it should be ready for enjoyment. It clearly goes to show the importance that the GoK is giving for the development of the area next to the Airport and Nandi Hills seem to be their best bet yet. Karnataka continues to build on its tourist policies slowly but steadily and this will surely put it in the right spot given the number of yearly visitors to the silicon city of India.


 


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Friday, August 19, 2011

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I googled to the suzuki website and here is what i got :


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Saturday, August 6, 2011

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The urge to know more about iCloud made me ponder whether I could go ahead and install the iOS 5 beta on my phone. Since I knew that there was support for the iPhone 3GS, it was time to fuel that urge further. So I googled about and found a website that shared the iOS firmware.


The point here is that to install iOS 5.0 beta 4 version, you also need the corresponding iTunes 10.5 version. With some luck I could find it here and here respectively. (hotlinks to this page won't work)


You must carefully note that this link is for 3GS so if your phone is different read that homepage fully before making a download choice.


Installing iTunes was no difficult. Once done, its the normal procedure of putting the iPhone in DFU mode to start loading iOS 5 firmware. This link explains the steps better.


To continue further, click here :

Please note that in no way will the author of this article or this blog be responsible if the aforesaid procedures brick your phone.


Having said this much, I'd like to be of as much help as possible to get even your bricked phone back to working state. Remember that during the iOS 5 installation its important not to have a power failure as this could lead to undesirable circumstances. So once you install iOS 5, since apple has integrated the cloud concept into this version of software, you have to have a apple developer UDID to register for a cloud id. The phone CANNOT be setup until the UDID is registered.


So what next? There are hundreds of sites offering to register the UDID of your device for a few dollars. iPhoneism website also offers the same thing for free if you like them a few hundred times on social networks, and do what they say. IMZDL website also offers this service. Its obviously against what apple wants, but obviously for what you want.


In my personal opinion, I found this website offering UDID registration for just about $6 which in Indian money translates to 250 bucks which is the price for 1/4th of a pizza today. Or two auto rides. Or a day at the mall. Or whatever.


Alright so why the hell must you rush to create a UDID registration or for that matter download a beta iOS 5 on your phone when you can anyway wait for apple to release it for free in September mid? Its for the so called coveted "me.com" id and nothing else basically. Yes of course its also to enjoy the cloud services and see what apple is offering before they release to public, but its mainly to get your own me.com apple id before someone else takes it. For me its important. For you its your call ! If your name is suresh and you want suresh@me.com, its probably available right now, but you might end up with suresh123, suresh_123 and whatever not later on! Take your call.


But this blog post is not about telling you more about the me.com ID. Its about giving you a glimpse of the iOS installation on the iPhone itself and what it looks like with respect to feature differences.


So lets begin then. I will take you through these screens and how they look different from the non cloud firmwares that have been there so far.


Find my iPhone



 


This application is the core of the cloud concept wherein apple can track down your phone if you have lost it. You might ask whats the big deal about it? Well its not always feeling bad for money spent on it. But moreso that your data, personal contacts and every other information about you can be compromised. Thats a bigger bummer than just losing the phone in the first place.


This application enables you to play a sound on the device in whichever remote corner it is, in whoseever hands. If that is not enough, you can start displaying messages on the device warning the person who has stolen to return it to you. Obviously in a country like India that wont be heeded as well. So you can do a complete wipe of the data as well which is the worst case solution. Atleast your identity and other information would be then safe from prying eyes.


Diagnostics



 


Some basic settings allow you to send back diagnostic data to apple based on your usage and then we are ready to start using the iPhone.


Note that I have already created a me.com even before the find my iphone app was displayed on the screen. You can choose your id and the installation will continue only when you confirm the id you want.


The iCloud



So now its time to explain the iCloud in simple terms. Consider that its a storage space given to you to store your stuff by Apple. Where they maintain it, how its all arranged is strictly no botheration for you. What matters is they offer you 5GB at the moment for free. This is to store your phone data as backup, and you can decide to put whatever else you need to, like documents, syncing calendars, reminders, perhaps the music, videos and emails. These options are configurable from your phone itself as shown. Note the iCloud metallic icon on the first figure.



Backing up on iCloud is done via WiFi only in this beta. It makes sense as 3G plans and pricing is always higher so backing up would make it an expensive affair. It is worthwhile to mention here that a complete backup of my iPhone without the photos and music worked out to 1.5GB !! So I will let you assume how much more you need over and above that.


Twitter integration



In the ever growing social network competition with Google+ launch, while many companies like MySpace shutting down almost, Facebook still stands tall to challenge Google with its yet another drab launch of Google+. With its recent introduction of Skype video, Facebook has everything that Google can provide on a social networking front almost. So who else are we missing here? The good old sparrow ofcourse! TWITTER!


Since the time of inception, Twitter has been a no nonsense thought sharing venture. People who have used twitter will swear by its clean interface, and simplicity of usage. Many celebrities and companies have equally embraced Twitter catapulting its popularity. The best thing about twitter is its mature users who are different from Facebook or Google+ in its own way. Its only natural then that Apple has decided to support this generic, not-for-competition service from its core of the iOS 5. So we find in iOS 5 a direct integration of Twitter in the menus. Apple still mandates that the Twitter app be installed but has ways in which one can tweet directly from certain apps or screens.


Screen and App Changes/Inclusions


As is the expected case, Apple's user interface always gets better with every release of their iOS and this one's no different. You can see for yourself how apple has included a newsstand app along with the prior iBooks. This shows the path apple is taking to include news subscriptions from various companies who are cozying up to the apple way of working.



Note the changes in some of the icons on default home menu screen. The OS now includes reminders as standards kicking the butt of apps like Remember the Milk which were most sought after earlier. These inbuilt reminders are also synced on iCloud.com which then reflects the same across all your i-devices! Its the right time to say here that app-makers always make money only with those apps that Apple does not include as standard and their revenue almost plummets to zero if Apple decides to give the same thing as default !! Note the music icon colour change while the rest of the icons remain the same.



Finer points


And finally the finer points of the iOS upgrade. The home screen now becomes more useful by showing all notifications stacked up as in the case of android phones or others. You can take a look for yourself below. Of course when you slide on a notification it directly takes you to the screen where you can act on it. For example if the notification is an SMS you can slide to reply to it !



Note also that when you double press the home key, you now get a CAMERA option next to the unlock slider. This takes you directly into the camera for that quick snapshot to be taken. Finally apple had to learn it from others who already have a camera key on the hardware itself !


So before we end, here is the cloud storage pricing and the pull down notification slider as well which are interesting to look at!



 


So I hope you enjoyed what I have shown you here as features of the upcoming iOS 5 and iCloud service. If you did like this post, please consider sharing it using the Share this button below.


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Friday, July 22, 2011

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Lets take a try at speculating what the new prices of old and new products from Apple would be so long as they dont open up their online store!



  • Apple Macbook air - starting from 60,000 upto 90,000 Rs.

  • Apple Mac mini - starting at 45,000 upto 70,000 Rs.

  • Apple thunderbold display - starting at 60,000 Rs. upwards

  • LION operating system - Around 5,000 Rs

  • Apple Macbook - might still be kept (50%) or removed totally (50%) as long as stocks last

  • Thunderbolt cables - around 5,000 Rs.

So what is your take? Let me know in the comments section of this post!


 


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Thursday, July 21, 2011

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The Apple India online store has been temporarily brought down in order that Apple can update its prices for the new range of Mac minis, air’s and LION operating system. Yesterday, Apple launched their new products the significant of which was a processor refresh for Macbook Airs which now sport Intel’s famed core i5 and core i7 Sandy Bridge processors. They have also bumped up the RAM to 4GB, the storage is now a Solid State Drive upto 256GB, they also have a backlit keypad for better visibility during darker lighting conditions. Added to this they have now upgraded the OS in all offerings to LION which claims to have upto 250 new improvements over the previous Snow Leopard variety.

The recent launches by Apple have better been described by Engadget and other leading tech websites. Apple also launched thunderbolt ports promising data transfer speeds of upto 10Gpbs on all their displays and macs. The LION OS has been extensively reviewed by Engadget and you can find that review here.

 

 

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

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This had to happen someday. Kishore Biyani's E-Zone was on an expansion spree with many outlets in Bengaluru. The Rajajinagar one was the biggest of all and the Future Group started gobbling up many more properties to open an e-zone everywhere. But what he did not anticipate is the performance of other small time players with the weapon they had against him –  ONLINE SHOPPING!

It is important to understand that when you open an physical store, it is going to cost you money. From the rentals to the employment you need to generate to keep the store going, and the miscellaneous bells and whistles like the parking space the footing of electricity bills and generator fuel and what not. Not to forget to mention the traffic jams generated due to your store, the physical store route is always the least profitable. When it came to electronic gadgets, distributors caught on to the fancy of opening their own stores a-la-ebay.

The small time players dealt everything online and slowly grew big. This included sites like the erstwhile fabmall.com which got taken over by indiaplaza.in, flipkart.com which is waiting on a potential acquisition from a bigger player like Amazon in the USA, and infibeam.com –  another suitor. Now we are not even still talking about online retailers like lootspot.com, letsbuy.com, naaptol.com, theitdepot.com and the likes who can collectively kill E-zone's entire marketing strategy in one flat year sending it into a loss making enterprise.

Kishore Biyani being an intelligent guy has understood this issue well and has decided to offer e-zone on a platter –  so that young online shoppers who do not have the time and convenience can pick up the items they need online from the same huge store across the street. What matters then are the logistics of how to overthrow established players like flipkart.com in the longer run. E-zone's strategy for sales has always been linking non moving products bundled into some ridiculously highly priced 'offers' which people with common sense can easily grasp and stay away from this store. Their products except the MRP'd ones, have always been on the costlier side of things. Given that they are entering online and the fact that Amazon is going to set up shop in India, this kind of selling strategy might fool a few people but not all those who have time and energy to search out a best deal among participating sites. Amazon can with one sweep of their hand kill E-zone's forward thinking moves with their established presence and product lines.

Better late than never is always appreciated but unless E-zone tries to price its products competitively online owing to the fact that the factors mentioned in para number two are not there anymore as a liability, this is going to be turning out into yet another dormant online shopping portal. We have see this happening with other portals before, and E-zone is not special to get itself out of this mess. Only time will then tell whether this venture is a success or not.

 

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The government of karnataka has today announced the second phase of KHB Suryanagar site allotments. The advertisement is specifically for LIG and MIG houses of 550 square feet and 600 square feet respectively. These translate to roughly 30x40 and 30x50 homes. The number of LIG houses is 110 and the number of MIG houses is 68 that are still available. The payment terms are Rs. 4lacs for the LIG and 4.75 lacs for the MIG. The total value of LIG homes is Rs.16 lacs, and the MIG is Rs. 19 lacs.

The following will be the conditions of the scheme:

  1. The application process is now open
  2. Applications which are not filled properly will be summarily disqualified without assigning reasons
  3. The rules of allotment will be as per stipulated standards of the housing board
  4. If you are from specific castes like SC/ST a certificate from tashildar is required to be provided along with the application
  5. If you are from the army or other forces a certificate from the same office would have to be enclosed with the application
  6. If you are a government employee a letter from the office you work from has to be enclosed with the application
  7. If you are a handicapped person you must enclose a certificate stating your handicap from a registered government practitioner (doctor)
  8. All senior citizens have to attach a copy of their age proof or birth certificate along with application
  9. Every applicant have to provide an affidavit stating how many other properties in the state they have purchased amongst their immediate family members (if any)
  10. The last date for submitting duly filled in applications is 8th of August, 2011 at the designated bank branches
    1. Axis bank Jayanagar
    2. State bank of mysore, CBAB complex caveri bhavan
    3. Corporation Bank, SC road,
    4. Union bank of india, Navrang Circle
  11. For those who have already applied, they need to deposit the difference of initial deposit directly in the name of Commissioner, Karnataka Housing Board, Bangalore using a challan in any of the bank branches mentioned above. All prior applicants must also mention all their personal details along with previous application number, in a slip attached with the challan compulsorily. If any of the details are not mentioned, then those applications cannot be processed due to lack of information
  12. All applicants must pay the intial deposit and the fee for application in one single DD in the name of Commissioner, Karnataka Housing Board, Bangalore. Those not providing initial amount would not be considered for allotment
  13. All allotments are using lottery basis. For those unallotted members, their money (excluding fee) would be reimbursed with interest
  14. Each allottee has to pay the rest of the amount in 4 equal installments. For those who fail to pay the 4 installments as per stipulated time their allotments would be rejected summarily without assigning any reasons.
  15. Only after all successful allotees have paid their full amounts will the house absolute sale deed be executed in their name
  16. For more information you can contact the department coordinator at Suryanagar project division, Suryanagar during office hours or by telephone on 080-27803076
  17. You can also contact Chandranayak or Rajanna at 1st Floor, Cauvery Bhavan, KG Road, Bangalore during office hours or by telephone on 080-22273511-16

NOTE: For all queries on this topic, please discuss on www.khbsuryanagar.com

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

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At a time when Apple iPad2 has already upped the stakes, and close to its heels is Samsung 10.1 Galaxy Tab with Android Honeycomb 3.1 (the latest and greatest android flavour), Blackberry has announced in the Times of India regarding its Playbook launch. It has promised freebies like HDMI cable (a Rs.300 value) and a leather cover for the tablet (about a thousand bucks worth). So is this enough to lure you to buy one?



 


Lets in short see whats going in favour of the playbook and what's not to help you decide.



 


The Pros:



  • It runs QNX real time operating system which is proven, handles multitasking effectively and is known to be similar to linux in terms of capabilities

  • The user interface has been thoroughly worked upon and there will be no doubt that this tablet will present a sweet user interface which will be easy to work with

  • Being Blackberry it will no doubt come with many options, including advanced configuration options for the technically inclined, making it a great tablet to work with

  • Its ability to run multiple applications including time and memory consuming tasks such as media playback simultaneously with other things is a good effort.

  • At 425 gms this is going to be surely one easy tablet to carry around.

  • Multitouch gestures make it equivalent to Apple, but this is now an expectation more than a feature release due to the standard set by Apple!

  • 1GHz dual core processor and 1GB RAM is good to run many applications but the video and graphics rendering performance still waits to be proven

  • Adobe Flash support is a plus one over apple which does not have it

  • 3MP front facing and 5MP rear facing cameras must be enough for most jobs

  • Both these cameras are 1080p compliant which is good

The Cons:



  • India is a price sensitive market. When the 10" iPad2 is available at 29,500 for the WiFi version and the 7" Galaxy tab is available at a little lower, would a pricing of 32,500 be justified for a 7" RIM playbook? - No, in my opinion

  • They say on their website "Application rich eco system", which is a farce. No one can beat apple on the amount of applications on their app store. Not even google for some more time. With icloud launch apple just pulled another fast one on google. RIM is left in the lurch with this kind of claim and it will be ages before they get some good apps on their store. I mean, how can the availability of Need for Speed help my productivity? Get the idea?

  • This tablet is a 7". The recommended size for good fonts and readability is 10". Which is why even Samsung now has a 10" and which is why even Apple has a 10". A 7" tablet is at best good to hold and carry across. On the usability, I have my own doubts. For media viewing anything less than 10" is like a car DVD player. eye strain comes free with it.

  • Blackberry's promised support for using Android apps, has not taken off properly yet. Without this, RIM has no teeth left to face competition. This tablet would have sold well if it were priced between 20,000 and 25,000 rupees. Unfortunately at a whopping 32,500 bucks RIM is making the same mistake Samsung did with their 7" Galaxy. Now that apple has plugged the pricing hole, it has set the benchmark on how people should price their products. RIM is on the way to disaster if the pricing is what it is on the playbook.

Summarizing the article, RIM is launching Blackberry playbook at a time when the market has already smelt the meat which Apple has launched at an USA-equivalent pricing with the iPad2. Samsung which has make a killing with its 7" tablet will soon get its Android Honeycomb 3.1 10.1" Galaxy tab which is even thinner than iPad. A failing RIM has a big task ahead with the Playbook and all its similar looking QWERTY phones which it has been famous for, until now that is. Only the true and faithful would still stick to RIM and its products. At a pricing of over thirty Gandhi notes, your guess of how many tablets RIM will be able to sell is only as good as mine.


 


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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.