Archive for January, 2016

MUSICAL MUSINGS

Posted on January 24, 2016. Filed under: BLOGGING CONTEST | Tags: , , , |

What is music?

#Music is at times described as ‘an agreeable sound’ and that is what makes things difficult as there is no sound, other than that associated with the currency notes and coins that is to the liking of everyone.

Just as one man’s honey is poison for someone, sound becomes music for me and it becomes a noise for others.

Music has been an integral part of all cultures and traditions since ancient times and it is something that is akin to language as a tool of expression. Each occasion has some specific song or a musical instrument that is considered traditional and necessary.

The march of technology in the form of affordable smartphones, memory cards and MP3 has created a level playing field as far as music listening is concerned. Gone are the days when only the fortunate(read rich) did have to access to music in the form of Vinyl records, record players, sound systems and the like.Now, everyone is busy doing something with ears filled with some headphones or earphones. It is not the type of music or the quality of the music that matters; it is the act of listening to music.

Those who have access to the internet over the smartphone can listen to music provided by streaming services, most of the time at no cost. Listening to the FM Radio on the phone has become outdated. Thousands of songs can be stored on small memory cards.

The proliferation of music and devices like the smartphones have also led to certain unwelcome situations. There have been many times when I was unable to respond to my wife even when she shouted at full volume, thanks to the headphones that covered my ears. In the early months of our marriage she felt that the headphones and the music were only an excuse to ignore her ! After all these years, she understands, but I have become more circumspect.

In the college there are students who do not go to the classes but only listen to music using their phones. The free wi-fi has only added to the problem. Of course, with the music on the minds, the students have less time for mischief. That is certainly music to the ears of the teachers, including yours truly.

One incident has made me and many of my colleagues look foolish. I found one student having earphones plugged into his ears in the examination hall. When I went to the student, I was sorry for the student was using the hearing aid. A similar experience was shared by other colleagues.

I make it a point to have music in my ears when going out for a walk or going out for a ride on the cycle. The music keeps me going in the quest to achieve physical fitness.

Indiblogger had teamed up with TATA Motors to provide a great platform to win some fantastic prizes, including the ZICA. This should sound musical to any blogger.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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ANOTHER GREAT GIVEAWAY

Posted on January 17, 2016. Filed under: GIVEAWAY, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Techguru at techquark.com is hosting a great giveaway and this time the prize is the Nexus 6P.

Many have come to the conclusion that the Nexus 6P is the best Android phone for the year 2015 and that is not a mean achievement.

The specifications are simply out of the world giving a powerhouse performance. The hardware details are something that are clearly above the ordinary when it comes to Android phones. Added to it is the great experience of working with a pure Android version that gets updated as and when it is released. I know the pleasure of working with a Nexus tablet where there is no messing with the operating system.

In earlier giveaways and contests, I promised to give the phone to my wife but the specifications of 6P have made me change my mind. She has to wait.

To get the phone, a few simple tasks need to be performed.

Best of luck.

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NOT A GOOD MOVE

Posted on January 17, 2016. Filed under: MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I had a lot of expectation from the Bejoy Nambiar directed ‘Wazir’. I was also attracted by the cast-Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar and Manav Kaul. I was impressed by Nambiar’s earlier work ‘Shaitaan’. The trailer of the movie also appealed to me.

However, by the time I came out of the theatre, I was a different person with all expectations becoming futile. The plot was as wafer thin as can be in today’s world of instant gratification with the nearly two hour length of the movie looking exaggerated. The director wanted to have a ‘psychological thriller’ that only succeed in the paying viewer feeling anguished. I was not surprised to find the story coming out of the head of ‘the great’ Vinod Chopra.

The director struggled at every turn to reveal the plot of the so-called thriller and by the time the suspense is revealed, the viewer knows it !The Kashmir and the terrorist angle was simply wasted.

As far as the acting is concerned, Amitabh looked like he didn’t care a shit about the movie. He looked like acting in one of the dozens of television commercials that bother us everyday. Farhan tries to be an actor and that is it. Things became so boring that there were loud cheers in the theatre the moment John Abraham was shown.

Not the best move to start the new year, at least for me.

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DARK SIDE AWAKENS THE FUN SIDE

Posted on January 13, 2016. Filed under: contest, TECHNOLOGY | Tags: , , , , |

(I submitted a post with the same title and accidentally or rather in a careless act, the post got deleted. I am posting it once again.)

When I watched the Star Wars many years ago, it was like being transported into a magical and occasionally a frightening world, different from the world I live in. The start and the ending of the movie and the display of the credits etc. is still fresh in my memory. Of course, the gadgets and the gizmos had a deep impact and as some of the characters. Star Wars were the movies that my parents allowed me and my siblings to watch in a theatre near my home since those were deemed safe! That bering back memories when the world was very innocent and people (me,including were more human!)  George Lucas, still for me is the man who has the power to create magic on the screen even after all these years since the launch of the first Star Wars movie.

HP or Hewlett-Packard is one brand that I am very closely attached to. The first CD writer at home came from HP and so is the laptop that my 70 year old mother uses today. Of course, at the place of work, there are many printers that proudly display the HP logo. To mark the release of the latest offering from Lucas as part of the Star Wars saga titled-The Force Awakens, HP is offering Star Wars branded laptops which not only look good from the outside but also have the innards to justify the co-branding. Indiblogger has offered a chance to win a great laptop from the HP-Star Wars lineup.

I have always wanted to have a laptop that would not only be portable but also be powerful enough to truly replace the desktop. The Sixth Generation Core i5 processor and the 8GB RAM offer the muscle to tear through any task. The brains provided by the latest iteration from Microsoft in the form of Windows 10 is a perfect combination. All this in a package that carries the rich legacy of HP is something that surely would guarantee the attention of others, sometimes rather enviously.

The large hard disc drive can store all my documents, music, videos and photos. The 2GB Graphics Memory courtesy NVIDIA along with the HDMI out can take care of all my presentation chores. I have over the years accumulated a large number of DVDs that can be played using the built-in DVD writer. I intend to get DVDs of all the Star Wars movies and show them to my son who can be truly be fascinated. I also can recollect the great time I had in the company of my siblings.   I can also make DVDs in a jiffy thanks to the 8X Super Multi DVD writer.

The Graphic card coupled with the B & O Audio technology and the true full HD display can make watch videos-online and offline a fun. I can occasionally play a racing game even as my wife starts to lament about my neglect of her and the home ! I can of course, make amends my making her connect with her friends and siblings using the likes of Skype.

The sound schemes for notifications can make the owner of the laptop truly different from others. I can use the  pre-loaded Aurebesh fonts to great effect while making notes and presentations that can make serious stuff become fun. I am also trying to find ways of using the images from Star Wars to make my students and son learn.

As far as the Pavilion X2 is concerned, the 10.1 inch touchscreen  can be separated from the keyboard and as a result a full fledged tablet and a laptop are combined into one great machine. My son recently shattered the display of my tablet and only a couple of days ago, I ordered a new tablet for my wife. The X2 can be my digital assistant . I can have class notes in the machine and that can reduce the use of papers. The machine can also help me get my daily fix from digital magazines.

The Pavilion X360, as the name suggests is a great machine that has a great display which can be rotated the full circle to suit my requirement. I can put a good movie on the 360 to soothe the hurt feelings of my wife and not worry about the viewing angles and she can rotate the screen instead of twisting her body doing some yoga move.

I have got my bases covered for all the great machines that HP has to offer to mark the release of the latest movie. HP has done it right to #AwakenYourForce. However, instead of my DarkSide, my fun side would awake !

Take a look at the great machines.

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SPREADING THE POSTIVE VIB(E)RATIONS

Posted on January 10, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

In these times of negativity and cynicism we can hardly expect people or acts that are meant only to provide succour and not to enrich self. So one is extremely surprised to hear someone or something that brings a smile to a face when everything seems lost and gone.

During the flooding of Chennai, there were a lot of people who helped others not for a selfie or for a photo op. It was simply a spontaneous gesture. In some cases, the help providers also were affected by the flood waters. I read about a young person who opened the doors of his home to unknown strangers in those times. It was heartening to see mosques welcoming people of all religious denominations to escape the grim situation caused by the flood. There is no way of ever knowing the names of the people who came up with this idea nor are they ever going to be the recipients of any awards !

In recent times, governments believing in all kinds of ideologies have been accused of resorting to populist policies in order to stay relevant in the minds of the voters. I don’t disagree with this view and at the same time I also appreciate some of the good that comes out of such schemes. On such scheme is the ‘Aahar’ launched by the Government of Odisha on April 1,2015. Under this scheme, the government started offering meals at some selected urban centres at only Rs.5. The meal consists of rice and ‘dalma’( made up of dal-lentils and vegetables)

Critics questioned the ‘real’ intentions of the ruling regime. They argue that such a scheme would only make the poor people of the state more lazy and unwilling to do any work much as in the same way that the ‘one-rupee-a-kilogram’ rice is alleged to be. In other words, these cheap goods have the effect of reducing the desire or the willingness of the people to work. I firmly believe that there are some genuinely needy people of the society who have benefitted from such schemes. The politicians are not always known for their vision which is clouded by short-term electoral gains, but even then such schemes are laudable.

The Government of Delhi is known for staying in the headlines. Not a day passes by without any allegation of a conspiracy hatched by the Union Government to defame and destroy the Government headed by Arvind Kejriwal ! Some of the charges and counter-charges appear very silly. But then the Aam Aadmi Party cannot be accused of lacking seriousness when it comes to certain issues. I am coming to the (in)famous ‘Odd and Even’ policy where on a trial basis the citizens of Delhi are supposed the reduce the usage of their four wheelers in order to improve the air quality.

The jury is still out about the outcome of the much discussed policy that in the first place not an original idea, having been introduced in countries like China. But what Kejriwal and company should be commended for is the vision to look for a genuine solution to a very serious problem. This policy is certainly not a pro-poor populist idea that would fetch votes in the next election.
But one has to give credit where it is due. The idea has been introduced on the first day of 2016 but the foundations-theoretical or otherwise were laid out in 2015.

The Ministry of Railways managed to get into some serious media space not because of accidents but because of certain good deeds, coming from the top. Simple tweets ensured that people got what they deserved and certain ones were taken to task for their misdemeanours.

We are living in a country where the victims of accidents on the road are not helped by fellow road users for the fear of being harassed. The politicians are thinking about a law to help the ‘Good Samaritans’. Certainly, in that kind of a world where helping others where no self interest is involved is something of a rarity and one that is nothing short of a miracle.

It is said that bad news travels fast much as in the same way that bad money puts good money out of circulation. But in the end, it is the good and the positives that stay in our minds creating a hope for the future.

I am thankful to indiblogger.in and Youth Ki Awaaz who have provided me with the opportunity to speak of some good deeds.Of course, I am motivated by the rewards on offer.

Everyone at least needs to #SpreadTheVibe

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