Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why I will never buy a blackberry again ....

![](http://cdn.ndtv.com/tech/images/gadgets/blackberry_z3.jpg)

Image Source : [NDTV](http://cdn.ndtv.com/tech/images/gadgets/blackberry_z3.jpg)

Everyone knows about Blackberry. No not for the wrong reasons, but right ones. They were Canada's regining kings in making mobile phones, much like the Finnish Nokia. Their phones always had an aura when you held the product in your hand. It had amazing finishes and the right set of ports to get your business going. One look at the phone and you knew you had just the product you needed to start making your day good.

Their desktop software with the latest Blend made the phone usage experience so much better. Everything is hunky dory about Blackberry. Including their new passport. They had enough time on earth to spring back from the dead. But instead of arising from the dead like the phoenix from the ashes, they have come out of the dead like a half eaten wild buffalo from the jaws of a crocodile.

How many years did blackberry have till now to research on the android and apple onslaught? 2? 4? They knew that their app store was a compelling piece of bullshit, so what did they decide to do? Give away money to their developers in the hope of equalling the google or apple app store? Wrong. They decided to allow android apps to be installed on their platform through some piece of bridging much like cut up pieces of pipes being joined to make on one big one through which water will flow.

I had a chance to purchase the blackberry Z3 just now. When I enquired in the brick and mortar shops, they said they dont sell blackberry. I was not so surprised but still was a bit taken aback that when even Nokia sells, BB doesnt. When I bought the phone, there was reason enough to understand this sentiment. Boot up the phone for the first time, and I can have a coffee, breakfast, bath, lunch, and dinner by the time the phone boots up. Its 2014 and BB didnt understand what customers needed? What the heck did they think they were upto displaying messages like "Please wait, BB is making your phone secure" - Really? Wait - does it mean until I booted it up it wasnt secure? BB, just what the heck were you wanting to convey - I just dont get it at all!

It does not stop there. "Please wait, loading BB 10 features", "Please wait, loading BB10 customizations", "Please wait, we are almost done with initializations" - Seriously? Bloody duffers, I am not installing Windows on my laptop, i am trying to boot a phone. But then oh yes, we are suckers to all this so we deserve this and much more. And finally when you think its booted up, and go into hub, you say "Preparing hub" - Can i ask what the heck is there for you to keep preparing everytime I boot up? This is not breakfast or lunch to prepare. And even if you ARE preparing something don't fucking tell the users that you are upto something like that. Show something nicer on the screen instead. How about "Good morning", "Did you have your breakfast today", or something more audacious?

So with a finally "prepared" hub, you click on messages or notifications and what happens? - It takes over 2 seconds to even prepare the next screen to open up? Are you kidding me? And with the 2 years of research in preparing the z3 or whatever other shit, couldnt you guys think of swiping to delete gesture? If every screen were to take so long to open do you think users have so much time just to keep waiting forever? How about showing "Please wait we are preparing to open your message" or "Please wait we are preparing the screen to match your mood" or some other shit while opening that message?

Agree your keyboard is your best thing in hardware. But where is the swipe typing? You think you will launch it only in 2020? And by giving Hinglish keyboard you think you can market the sales of your phones to gullible indian public? You show something and I touch it, what must really happen in your opinion? Yes you must accept my choice not ignore and sit quiet about it. Perhaps you thought you could market a so-so touch screen and get away with that as well?

Talking about screens, you want us to live wide and work wide using your passport? I was extremlely impressed on seeing the passport. But after using the z3, I can only imagine what the passport would be. Irrespective of what patents you hold over it. And pricing it beyond nexus 6, and almost near note 4 and iphone 6 - i am not so sure what you want us to infer from that. Really.

When all your previous phones were as cool as cucumbers why exactly are the new ones becoming warm all the time, considering that I have not even opened anything that consumes data or gaming sequences? Is this your way of warmly wishing your customers good luck with the phone? Browse the net for sometime and I can make a dosa on your phone. This is the same thing that happened with my nexus 4. It got so unbearably hot that I had to dump it. Thankfully you are stopping short of that. After all some idiotic laurels have to be going to Google isnt it? There are sometimes bigger duffers than you.

The amazon app store shit next. Yes if you allow everything in amazon app store to be installed on your phone, then why the hell are google services not running properly on your phone? Is that because you are not a recognized partner that fulfils some obligations to google for this? Meaning your hardware?

Listen to this for good. Don't fucking release a compatibility to something if it fucking isnt compatible 100%. Do what it takes to get that to a 100%. Its like giving half cooked meat to your customers at a restaurant and expecting them to say its tasty. Your phone is not android app compatible. At all. Compatibility to me means something else not what you offer. And to most other customers it would mean the same that it meant to me, not you.

Your default "native" apps. Twitter is great. Linked in is faster than android. But what the heck have you done (or not done as the case maybe) to Facebook app? Is that the best you could do? Or did your developers doing that just resign your company? Your app world is a piece of shit. Its an app dustbin. The rest of the apps are in some other world. Not in yours. And they are happy there making money and satisfaction for themselves and the users. Clearly shows how much time you have spent on optimizing the look and feel of your default native apps or what priority you have given to this task. No wonder the operating system looks and feels so different at different places.

You launched a device with just a dual core processor and 1.5 GB RAM. Which everyone believed and understood was enough for the operating system like QNX to run beautifully. But if you yourself think its not enough, then dont wait until your customers have to write reviews like this saying so. What the heck were your QC department doing? Or have you fired all of them by now? Was it some kind of dealing with Foxconn to produce and sell such crap? Whatever it is John, its not gone well with many of your (last set of) customers.

I thought you have learnt your lession with BB10, 10.1 and even 10.2. And then you launch 10.3 with so called flimsy android support and start marketing that as a feature? To win over android fans? Sick guys.

After all this shit, you have the audacity to give a report to the press that Blackberry wont concentrate on making new devices anymore. Really? Oh yes, why will you? You have already self destructed yourself with the Z3, and now maybe passport. Then you are going back to your classic. Next what? Blackberry Visa? With that visa you wont go anywhere much. When you know you have failed dont give a statement to the press on the contrary. It sucks. I am a BB fan, I am also an Apple fan. We know what BB does well but now we also know what it doesnt do well. If you are accepting your mistake also correct it. Dont just make another product which is the same mistake.

You know how people value your phones? They are ready to take the phone for 1/3rd the original price. The dealers in brick and mortar outlets are not willing to even listen to your company name leave alone sell your stuff. And most people don't even know where your service centers are simply because - you didn't care enough to let them know. When you have people who respect your company for what you did, your job is to manage that perception for what you do. History repeats they say. But in this case your history is a one off event that does not even qualify to repeat itself.

Better sell yourself off to Apple or Samsung to pack your bags. Because even people like Nokia are back with a bang. To show their passion for what they do. And you are busy making passports to travel with. Now I dont really care whether you launch 10.4 or 11.6 or 20.8. We know the fundamental platform of yours is a failure in terms of implementation and what you could have done with it. And hence I am done with you. Forever, for good.

Bye Bye Blackberry. I did love your desk clock. But for 250$ thats pretty expensive.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Big Basket and the art of shopping groceries easily

From a long time I wanted to try my hand at shopping groceries sitting at the comfort of my home. Just imagine driving your car to a mall, climbing few floors using escalators, pushing around huge carts, with annoying kids tugging at you, and ending up in that serpentine billing queue. The headache you have at the end of the day was expected!

The first time I ever tried grocery shopping was via **Fabmart**, which later went onto become Fabmall under retail, which was then became IndiaPlaza.in after which K Vaitheeswaran considered as the forefathers of online shopping and commerce decide to sell it to Aditya Birla Group which has renamed the brand as More and the legacy goes on.

After nearly about 15 years since then, a formidable shopping experience has begun via BigBasket.com. This website basically ships its supplies from its warehouses in each city sometimes as far as about 40-50 kms from your location or even more. The whole experience of buying from BigBasket involves few important things

* Online shopping experience in terms of product selection and choices
* Payment mechanisms and their ease of use
* Linking the online ordering to actual supply chain management
* Delivery of goods at the soonest possible
* Quality of deliverables
* Discounts and customer retention policies
* Word of mouth promotion due to positive shopping experience

All this of course starts with the page you goto online to shop - www.bigbasket.com

The entire website has been designed around one important principle of shopping - enabling customers to see product choices wherever their focus is and without even pointing the mouse elsewhere be able to add/increase quantities of their choices and get it into the shopping cart.




The obvious part of having the ability to filter the search results by different type of categories or pricing is always available here as well. One of the other things which is of importance to the shopper is to have a list of things he regularly shops for which is also preserved on BigBasket. Sometimes as per the recipe I may need a few select ingridients time and again, that is stored as a list and I always have it at my disposal to reorder the items again.



For some items like vegetables which need to be fresh during delivery, BigBasket has hit upon the idea of time slots per day for delivery. Currently they divide the day into four slots when you are most likely okay to have the order delivered. This not only maintains the vegetables fresh, but also provides both you and them an opportunity to upfront agree on when you are fine to have your order delivered.



The rest is of course upto the backend supply chain. I had my order promptly delivered as per stipulated time. Further due to the uneven weight of vegetables, they also say that if the weight increase results in costs going up by more than 5% they will revise the bill, else they will not change the bill which is quite a fair argument.



Furthermore, as soon as I paid for my order, I got a call from an executive who confirmed my order and double confirmed by when it would be available. Its reassuring when someone calls you and lets you know that things are fine. This is not an absolute must but quite useful sometimes when you are unsure what you ordered or whether you ordered all the items you needed. I did not have an opportunity to change or cancel my order but then I guess due to the time slot thing, it must be quite possible to do this easily.



BigBasket ensures that customers are happy from the start until the products are delivered to your doorstep. To take it one step further each time you place your order they share a PIN number with you using which you can rate the delivery when it happens without the person who delivers coming to know of your opinion. Small steps like this will help organizations to improve on a continual basis slowly but steadily.

My recommendation about BigBasket is that I get a feeling of complete control on their website, their customer service is outstanding, and useful details are shared all along the way (including an SMS on my phone) to let me know how they are doing on my order. Last but not least, I am happy with the products ordered and delivered. I will likely shop with them many more times.

The only flipside of the experience if I must quote that is sometimes some products are not available with them and just like any other grocery store I must come back later. They must have a way of understanding what customers are looking for with what they search for. If they do the analysis on the search terms, it will give them more data to keep their inventory stocked adequately.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Norpro the chopper with a truly big mouth



Source : [Amazon USA Website](http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/415YHInf5uL.jpg)

I am a fan of kitchen tools (using gadgets or appliances here would be wrong terminology). Each time I visit the home centre I always make it a point to keep myself updated about what the latest in kitchen tools are. However I still feel India needs to catch up with the west on introducing some great tools.

In the context of this dialogue, I happened to look out for vegetable choppers on shopping sites such as amazon USA for pointers to what is the best currently selling there. After a lot of debate on multiple choppers, I made up my mind to order the Norpro Vegetable chopper. Advertised as quite a heavy duty chopper - manual of course - I was pretty impressed with a stream of positive reviews on this tool.

An unlucky friend of mine (people who bring you things from usa are always unlucky for finding you and your job for them are they not?) agreed to carry this for me from there. Priced at a little over 25$ this sounded a nice tool to invest on for my kitchen. I have used multiple ways to get my veggies chopped and have never ever really felt good at the end result each time. The point here is to have one set of uniformly chopped veggie set which was great to look at and eat as well when cooked.

{<2>}![](https://copy.com/G0XFXNXveeLp8c6u)

The Norpro chopper is a solid piece of hardware. Its build is very very solid, and thanks to its vacuum suction below the base, it sits tight on any kitchen platform. Real tight. Doesnt budge an inch even. It has two different blade sets which give different level of chop sizes for veggies. Now remember one thing - irrespective of the type of chopper you use, the basic rule of the kitchen is that you must cut your big veggies into few smaller pieces first instead of trying to stuff that huge potato, tomato or cabbage even into such tools. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And the end result wont be to your liking.

The Norpro is simple to use. Lift the lid, place the coarsely cut veggies on the blade and slam the lid down. Yes you heard me right, just slam the lid down. Absolute bliss. Carrots, onions, tomatoes, potatoes - fantastically cut and all evenly done. You cant ask for more. I mean how much more longer are you going to cry with that onion each day? With Norpro, it makes the onion cry instead in few seconds. Stainless steel blades ensure no rust atleast for the amount of time I have managed to use it. There is also a comb to clean up if things get stuck inside the blades. If you have a force tap, even this is not needed.

{<3>}![](https://copy.com/OIXFcbXJzcXv6tQN)

No post is complete without showing you the end result for such an experience is it not? Take a look yourself and judge the result.
If you have a little over 1000 rupees, and you need a veggie cutter, and want it to have a big mouth like you or me, go for Norpro. You wont be disappointed. Cutting vegetables has never been so easy or so much fun.

Holding the iPhone 6 in my hand for the first time



Today I had the chance to experience the iPhone 6 as my friend had come home with the phone. I had [posted earlier](http://chowchowbath.com/2014/11/02/iphone-6-and-6-plus-first-impressions/) about the first look of iPhone 6 and 6 plus with my opinions on which one I would suggest to buy.

I would let the picture do all the talking on how the iPhone 6 feels in my hand. For those who wish to know I have a sufficiently large hand with long fingers. The iPhone 6 feels a bit narrow than my LG G2 but only by a maximum of about 1/2 inch or so w.r.t screen. The bezel of the iPhone does not feel all that odd.

What makes all the difference though is the thickness of the iPhone compared to any other phone. Personally after toying around with the iPhone 6 and LG G2, I still feel the latter is a little bit more meatier when it comes to size and weight. It feels just about right for holding it properly compared to iPhone. But where the iPhone scores is about how thin it gets on your palm. Its absolutely gorgeous and much like the new generation of iPods if I were to give a close match. I did initially have apprehensions that the screen might be too small to read fonts on. And it kind of feels that way. But somehow if you are not the types who will be reading too much on the phone, then it is bearable for some temporary work.

Personally I feel long hours of reading on iPhone would mean strain to your eyes for sure, but then that is why safari also has Reader mode, where the fonts are enlarged so people can read more easily. That should compensate for the otherwise lousy scale of fonts on safari. If you do not appreciate slippery phones, then you will surely not appreciate the iPhone 6 as well. Its slippery as an eel and you are more liable to drop it than any other phone that you have known.



The rear is not any more beautiful in silver than would have been in space gray for example. And the antenna patterns etched onto the rear makes this iPhone more worse in terms of looks compared to previous versions. The whole backside is so slippery that the first thing you need to do is to buy yourself a super thin matte finish case for the iPhone unless you want to break it.

So after working with the iPhone 6 would I recommend it to you? Over any other android phone? If you are looking at thin phones, go no further, you will not be disappointed with this one. Absolutely gorgeous to hold and does not feel like any of the bulky phones at all. If you do not intend to use a case, god save you as you would most definitely keep letting the phone fall down even if its not of your own will :-)




The android ecosystem along with hardware is so fragmented that its really difficult to unify that anymore in my opinion. This is however where iOS scores well. The newer refresh of iOS is uniform across Mac, iPad and iPhone and each and every native app looks and feels new and refreshed to use and enjoy. The fonts, the sizes, the colors look great on screen as compared to user interfaces such as the LG G2. This level of refinement is an absolute joy to people who use it and Apple really have done well. Given the fact that all these apps run so well with just 1GB RAM but exploiting the processor and co-processor instead, Apple is managing to sell the iPhone 6 and 6+ in large quantities.

So whether you buy the iPhone 6 or the 6+, you are not going to make a mistake. And stop comparing feature to feature with other android phones for the money you pay. If money is such a sensitive thing to you, please look at cheaper options and leave Apple alone. Else you are in for a treat with the iPhone 6.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

iPhone 6 and 6 plus first impressions at Imagine store, Forum mall, Koramangala

I had a chance to visit the apple store for the second time today to try my luck at getting my hands on with the new iPhone 6 and 6 plus to be able to provide my opinions through this blog.



Image source : [Apple India website](http://apple.co.in)

To my luck, I visited Imagine store at the Forum mall in Koramangala and found these two phones there. So without much ado, here are some thoughts about the iPhone.

Apple had launched the iPhone a month ago with great fanfare in the USA and the subsequent India launch turned out to be a damp squib with delays in the phone being available. Its november now and the phone has finally hit the showrooms. With the HSR Layout iCentre not having the iPhone 6 or 6 plus I was forced to just understand the dimensions only by seeing the phone cases which was a practical joke.

However today finally my eyes could feast on Apple's next marvel of engineering.

The iPhone 6 looks like an elongated and thinned down version of the iPhone 5s. Its just not as fat, but pretty narrow in terms of width. So if you are comparing it to the Samsung Note or the LG G2 or G3, no - its not going to match at all. The latter are more wider enabling us to see more text at a single glance.

Coming to the iPhone 6 plus, one look at it and you feel that its too big to use as a phone. And there is no surprise why the mind thinks like that. Now many people have said to me both in reviews and in person that the 6 plus feels like an iPad in dimension. I beg to differ on this opinion. The 6 Plus is huge, bit longer than Galaxy note, but about similar width.

One of the things about the new iPhone is its thickness. If its selling like crazy this is because of how thin it is. I personally felt the Xaiomi Mi3 and the iPhone are of similar thickness, the latter being slightly more thinner. But then the Oomph factor still remains. Apple has managed to still retain the Oomph factor even in 2014 with their latest offering.

Coming to colors its an individual and subjective choice. I personally favor the space gray over white or gold. Frankly due to its thickness the gold color does not quite cut it for the iPhone 6 much unlike how it looked on the iPhone 5S.

Finally some things about the pricing. Many people have commented that one could easily buy a bike and a normal Android phone for the price of Apple. Yes true. So if that is what you want, please go and buy it. And you can drive the bike when you want and speak on the Android phone at other times. Now I have seen many phones with 2GB ram, 3GB ram, and other blah blah. With Apple iPhone 6 plus the new A8 processor still manages to play every game without stutter and other graphics intensive apps manage to run with just 1GB of RAM. This only means the money you are paying is not for RAM. its for the 64 bit processor architecture and the phone's ability to handle application usage elegantly.

The pricing is prohibitive. But as apple says you are getting a computer at that price packed into the phone. We can go on endlessly debating that galaxy note is better or some other phone is thinner, or Chinese phones are cheaper. All said and done, Apple manages to hold its fort this time with attributes like better processor, thinner form factor and wider acceptibility among people once again.

So what is going to be my choice or suggestion - the iPhone 6 or 6 plus? Well personally for me its anyday the iPhone 6 plus. It was confusing at first, but after five minutes of handling both, the iPhone 6 plus blew me away. Its large, yet thin. Its elegant with sharp screen, colors and font rendering. I can see a lot more than before, and the applications are tailored to show me more and look better. Yes it is large if not necessarily thick so keeping it in the pockets (shirt or pant) is going to mean it has the susceptibility to bend if pressurized. There have been reports of iPhones bending for few people, and Samsung taking this opportunity to take a dig at Apple saying their phones only bend for the worthy enough. But any sales gimmicks aside, I am already a fan of the iPhone 6 plus for its humongous screen and the usability experience. Your choice maybe same or different from mine for valid reasons which include size, thickness, cost, and so on. Happy Choosing!