Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kolkata needs to get rid of Sourav-mania

Sourav Ganguly has been one f the most successful cricket captains of our time. He has lead India to the 2003 world cup finals and has done so in many test matches over the years. He is one if the highest run fetters of the country and was and still is an immensely respected individual. Then all of a sudden he was dropped from the team for reasons which would qualify as "politics". A word we Bengalis are obsessed with. This force the man to retire prematurely from the game, something which broke a lot of fan's hearts. But it goes without saying that Sourav has had his fair share at everything Indian Cricket has on offer.

Many years after his official retirement, Kolkatans still feel an  emotional connect with Sourav. Maybe that has got to do with the bong socio-political scenario in the state. This is totally understandable. What is not though, is the fact that some people still feel detected when Sourav isn't included in "private" tournaments like the IPL. For heaven's sake its a businessman's tournament! One has to be accommodating when it acmes to the whims and fancies of the team owner to survive in a league Luke this. Sourav unfortunately brings his set of ego baggage with him. It's almost as if he is trying to prove something to someone every time he  pads up and lands on the crease. A great player and captain like him need not feel this way. And journos cash on on this. They talk of the rejection, dejection and humiliation that he had to face during his cricketing days. This without a doubt is a sure shot way to getting some major TRPs and other stupid ratings these people care about. Its therefore not surprising that every single day we have some or the other written about him, the way he gets treated etc. After a point it gets really irritating, this. We bongs need to get of this Sourav mania. The best way to pay a tribute to Sourav's achievements would be to create the infrastructure and opportunities so many Sourav's can come out in the forefront and represent the national in its unofficial national game.

Paid apps on android market

The biggest difference I have felt since I switched from Symbian to Android was the availability of good apps. Not crap ones. Not ones which are useless, but good apps. Apps which can be used on a day to day basis and for which I wouldn't mind paying.

In about a month's use, I have already bought 2 really good apps. One if them I'm using currently as I type. And the other is a really good media player. Poweramp is without a doubt THE music player for android. Not only because of its innumerable options ranging from a seriously addictive graphic equalizer to awesomely useful tweaks, but also because of the UI.

The other app I bought today is the android gingerbread modded keyboard. It is available in the market for around $0.99. Something which I'd say is a steal for the features it has on offer. This is without a doubt the best android custom keyboard out there. I'd rate it higher than swype or the default Samsung keyboard it even the other keyboards available in the market. I've used quite a few of them and found this to be the very very best. Kudos must go out to the app developer.

Compare this to the experience I've had with symbian. Nokia had actually sent me an email long back stating reasons of helplessness when I had complained about the inability to download paid apps from the Indian version of the ovi store.

I'm enjoying the android experience more than I'd imagined. I hope my opinion of android doesn't change anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And then it finally happened

Yup, it did. The inevitable.

I am now an official Android fanboy. Okay, maybe not the trolling, FUD spreading anti Apple one I used to be, but a fan of the Linux based OS I am.

Fact is, I was getting a pretty good deal on my N97 Mini, something which I thought was a decent amount considering that it was running a pretty much dead (now officially dead) OS. I exchanged that phone and spared a few bucks for a blazingly fast Galaxy S.

First impressions? WOW!

Still reading? I usually stop watching videos the moment the unboxing happens and the reviewer goes WOW! Thats a turn off. But now that I'm about to write a review (albeit a very boringly crappy one), I realise that its only a natural reaction.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. So basically this thing has some pretty nifty features with a sleek UI. The processor is decent and so is the RAM. TouchWiz never really looked like a Sense UI competitor to me, but after using it for a few days now, I think its pretty good, although Sense still gets my vote.

Audio quality on the phone is a bit on the suckier side. And so are the earphones. Apart from that its a pretty nifty phone. If you're in the market for a new phone. Get an android and let the OS take over your life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How the DTH can be made better

There is no denying the fact that DTH is pretty much the pinnacle of the tv experience here in India. With a host of mega corporations investing big bucks, this business of keeping people entertained is only likely to get bigger with each passing year. With increasing competition though, companies, be it Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel, Reliance had come up with something extra, something more than just television. They called it the interactive services. Although most of these are available to the customers for free, some like Tata Sky, do charge the consumers for availing these features.

And this is where this post of mine comes in. There are a lot of interactive features available on DTH platforms, but most of them are literally spam attempts to get money out of you. To be fair, none of these are of real help to the consumers. I feel there is a lot of scope in these services and if implemented well, some new truly interactive features could be revolutionary.

Like what you say? Okay, lets start with something basic. How about a weather application? An app which will help you get the latest information of the weather in your city. Considering the fact that almost all mobile platforms have a weather app, I assume it should be pretty easy to implement.
How about a facebook/twitter app? An app which will help you post links to facebook, post status updates based on what programmes you are watching, etc. (I do recall seeing something like this on Gadget Guru the other day, the country where this is already a reality being Japan)
How about a news app? Something which will aggregate news content from various news sources and present it to you in a reader friendly format.

Of course, these features wont be commercially viable unless some in-app ads were introduced and that is perfectly alright. I dont think many would mind paying a premium (albeit not an outrageous one) for these apps. Even then, implementing them wont be easy, a massive overhaul of the insanely ugly interface of most set top boxes is the need of the hour. User friendliness is definitely on the top of the agenda right now for most companies, but frankly, one must not lose sight of aesthtics. It seems to me that in an attempt to pack in maximum advertising and other money making options, the pure quality of the interface has taken a backseat. With the increased competition I hop some of this will change, otherwise, watching television in India (both content-wise and otherwise) is an absolute pain in the ass.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

28 Years In The Making

It has been a long wait. Almost three decades. A generation of cricketers and cricket fans have come and gone in this huge gap. And then it happens!

They say its the biggest prize a cricketer can get, the greatest privilege of them all, the moment where a simple cricketer becomes a legend. Its a World Cup victory. Not many Indians remember the time when India last won the world cup. Eg. I wasnt even born when Kapil Dev had lifted that coveted trophy in 1983 at Lord's. So for us, Indians, to have our own cricketing heroes is something special, very very special. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the man who lead the Indian team to world cup victory has now entered the history books as the most successful captain in the nation's cricket history. So has Sachin Tendulkar, the only Indian cricketer to have played in six world cup tournaments.

It was an emotionally charged final against neighbours Sri Lanka. After a controversial toss and an amazing innings by Mahela Jayawardena, it was left to the class of Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and of course, captain courageous, Mahendra Singh Dhoni to rescue the Indian team from the clutches of sure defeat. The icing on the cake was the way Dhoni finished off the proceedings, with an enormous six, which will be clearly etched in the memory of the 100 billion Indians watching the match with bated breath.

As the celebrations continue, I make it a point to savour every single moment of this amazing moment in not only India's cricketing history but in world cricket history as well.