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Monday, May 17, 2010

The War Within

It is always surreal to see 'think tank' scenarios play out in real life. The recent, attempted, bombing of NY Times Square, is an ugly reminder of the disenfranchisement process faced by minorities. While listening to a report on NPR what was making the 'official' uneasy was the fact, that this particular individual was radicalized within a span of 12 months, negating any possibility of an counter intelligence effort. Now mental health experts will argue that an individual doesn't become homicidal in 12 months.... and hence once again we come to the another unsavory realization... preventing minorities from becoming disenfranchised, may be the best counter intelligence available to us.

Though I'm far from savvy about public discourse, i haven't seen the following film mentioned with relation the the NY times square attempt...
Art mimicking reality ? or reality mimicking art ?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Proud owner of Nexus One - review

I learn't about not buying first generations phones/products a while ago... so I was patiently waiting for the successor to the original G1. IMO I think it is the N1, so went online and bought it. They fedexed it overnight and I've spent a good 4 hours or so tinkering with it. Now let me admit that this is my first iclone/android phone. It is also my first experience with a touch UI. Needless to say it took me about 10 minutes to get used to it. (this was after the phone initially was buggy and refused to recognise any input for about 3 minutes. Somehow it sort of re-booted itself (didn't respond to any input) for about 30 secs. After that, no input problem at all. Its like magic, since I'm using my thumbs to type. I have big thumbs too. My left thumb input isn't perfect as yet though. Right thumb input no problem. Lets go over the features...

Starting from right to left (home screens)....
Camera: press screen 'button' to click. Camera autofocuses and then takes a picture after a few seconds. The LED flash seems to be ok indoors. Autofocus works in macro positions (very impressive) but with the flash on, it ruins the picture (obviously) so Macro mode will only really be effective in well lit conditions. Haven't gotten around to testing the white balance in different conditions as yet, but 'auto' did a good job of handling the mixture of white and yellow light in my living room. No complaints on that front. Interesting side note. You can get an app from the android market place that allows you to use the LED flash like a flash light - haven't downloaded it as yet, but there were some user comments that it doesn't work with the N1 - it was made for the Droid.
Gallery: For those familiar with the Cool Iris plugin for firefox - you will feel at home with the UI of the 'gallery'. for those note familiar with it, check it out, it's pretty cool. The phone synced my picassa web albums and also created a separate folder for the pictures that I transfered from my n95. via Bluetooth, by itself. Most impressive. I still haven't been able to browse my memory card a la windows as yet. I had transfered some songs to the phone again via Bluetooth, they magically appeared on the music app. Haven't plugged it into my computer as yet. Cool function in the Gallery is the ability to crop pictures and then use them as 'backgrounds'
Apart from that there is the usual 'sharing' options.
The phone app is cool looking nothing extra-ordinary there.
The browsing on the phone is nice. Data loads well (I have a T-Mobile data connection and it access the data with a 3G symbol on my phone. Ported the settings from my previous phone as they default setting sent to my phone from T-mobile weren't working) Double tapping on a web page enlarges the page and a subsequent double tap shrinks the page again. Finger Strokes move the page up and down (note this is counter intuitive initially if you think that using the scroll bar in windows is the opposite action - takes about 2 minutes to get used to it) The default graphic settings (from my limited understanding of these settings) enables a smooth transition from one part of the page to the other. Very cool. Voice search works well with western words/names. Not so much with indian names - so far, the one's that I've tried. - haven't tried english cusses as yet. I've made it a point to share all my voice mails from google voice (predominantly indian accents) in an attempt to get the google ppl to release an 'accent' update for the voice search. Interestingly, the voice to text function was able to transcribe 95 % of my sentence. Since I only attempted this once, need more rigorous testing. As expected, was able to look at all my google stuff (apps et al) calendar/gmail/voice/contacts/etc... all nicely synced. Haven't found a specific 'tasks' app as yet. It has to exist. There has been much said about the 'live wallpapers' and the 'weather/news' app - so won't bring it up here - needless to say, the 'live water' background is very cool. However, one could get bored playing with it after a few minutes. Looks very cool though :)
What else... can arrange the icons/widgets on the various 'desktops' just like a pc.
Video content played well - however, will have to see proper content (not vids from the n95) to really compare video rendering. The Samsung Omnia does an outstanding job at HiDef content.... if the N1 can do something comparable, i'll be very impressed. There doesn't seem to be a podcast 'reader' installed into the phone, though I could be wrong... there are like about 20 apps pre installed. haven't been able to get around to all of them. Though the concept of apps are similar to the symbian n95, there still is a learning curve associated with going from 'hardware/button' interface to a touch UI.
There is no video-out on the N1. the N95 does have one... and I feel a little sad that the N1 doesn't have one. I don't think I'll miss it as much, but its still a cool feature to have.
Interesting cross application feature which I discovered. If i click on an address in the email, the phone tries to find it in Google Maps. Very Cool !
Now if anyone reading this already has an android phone may find my enthusiasm at 'discovering' android features quaint, well so be it. I haven't needed the N1 until now, as the N95 can do everything that I need it to do... it doesn't live on google, as I do now; hence the switch from Nokia to HTC.
The maps features and gps navigation have been well documented and there is a voice step by step offered when you put it into navigation mode. I've had the Garmin on my n95 for a while, so can effectively compare performance after a test drive. From the cursory fiddle that I did with the maps, it seems comparable, map wise. GPS and positioning wise the N1 was able to accurately tell me my position indoors whereas the n95 can't.
What else, the engraving feature is cool. Haven't tested the headphones as yet. However, I'll be using it with my bose in-ear plugs so not too concerned about it. Engadget mentioned the 'trebly' nature of the in-built speaker. This is true, is does sound a bit 'trebly', however as easy way to compensate for that is to place the phone over some 'hollow forming' object/place/angle etc.... For example, I placed the phone up against a pizza box, with the phone at 45 degrees to the box/table and the sound quality audibly improved; it was less trebly and provided a better viewing angle. Since the speakers are small, for the rare times that i'll be using the m, i prefer the 'treblyness'. Its easier to hear higher frequencies at a distance compare to lower ones. For the times that sound will matter, say in a conference call - maybe- i'll place it over a plastic cup or something.
Apart from these observations nothing to add, which hasn't been mentioned elsewhere.
My cousin is bummed about not having a lens cover, I agree it should have come with a lens cover. I also don't know what kind of a screen protector to use on a capacitative screen... must ask other omnia owning cousin about that. lol
all in all happy with the new phone... lots to discover still. Since it can integrate various 'accounts' google or otherwise, its a great place for putting everything in one place for when you have the ability to connect to the internet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Glen Beck Cont... uhh! - no, national hero !

So you think I forgot ! - Admittedly I'm only mentioning Beck because he dissed India (in a sense). I had thought that this was the first time. However, a cursory google on "Glen Beck India" returned results as old as 2006. He's being going on about Indian doctors and the river Ganga etc... This one is just another string of his rants. Mmmm it's good to look outwards - from a psychoanalytical point of view - having a 'world view' is good, for sure. It deters from obsessing about one's self and helps alleviate neurosis. So if viewers of Glen Beck's show get off on making fun of others countries and cultures then so be it. I think there is a place for such incendiary commentary; if only to relieve their isolation and neurosis about their own culture and society. For this alone, Glen should be commended, as well as the owners and sponsors of Fox News (fair and balanced of course). Mmm I almost regret watching Avatar now... money goes to Rupert Murdoch. Must stop reading WSJ too. oh no ! For the rest of humanity that doesn't prescribe to the 'adventures' of Glen Beck ? We must wait till his demographic changes its perspective on things. Long wait you say ? Well, there is a generational change in America - this is its last throes.

Stimulate your brain - avoid chemicals

Live and Let Live


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