APPLE – THE DONGLE PHENOMENON:

Let’s get real apple, what is going on ? On one side we have the same design with more inconvenience for the iPhone(disappearing jack, that is) and on the other side we have more of the same design with even more inconvenience?! Mac with no ports?? Magsafe, is gone, replaced by USB C ports? If USB C was the future, might as well add that to the iPhone,as well, instead of a lighting port.

You need to order mac in two stages , let me show you what you need first :

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Yes, that, all of it, and you need to carry it with you, everywhere. Now apple, I understand if this is a temporary situation. I’m now expecting stuff like mission impossible tech for what you’ve done. Like, when Ethan Hunt just put’s a USB on this tablet like screen and it just automatically reads everything, like this:images (3).jpg

And well, Apple seems to be confused for some reason, if you’ve noticed the 3.5mm jack still exists in the mac line up. In order to use the ear phones provided from apple, in an iPhone 7 box, you need a dongle as well , the one that comes in the box will not help either.2604c8c350d537bb08322a3ea7a94a0fcf8606b56e39ba1f62301224aa417e84.jpg

If apple needs a wireless future, this sure isn’t the way to do it and “courage” is not getting you guys any far, for that matter. The products are good, far better than the competitors, but the inconvenience is getting high as well. Might as well shift to something a bit slower and not have to carry so many things around.

Now all I can think of, when someone mentions a macbook pro is this:B_wHRhgWcAEy3O_.jpg

 But why can’t apple just be convenient, why does so much inconvenience come with it and still people prefer buying it? Innovation, seeing the future before others or just a blind customer base. Up to you, to decide. But hey, Apple is being all sweet and giving discounts on the dongles that you don’t want. So that’s something.

The pandemonium for engineers(Indian version)

Most of the engineers out there have completed a bachelors degree of some form(like “duh”). The confusion is not when you are studying, but what comes after. In the final years if you were one of those people who plan things or just after the university gets over. Either way, you’ll think of doing one of these two things : find a job or just go forward with your masters. Unless of course your dad is like a billionaire and you have a business meeting to attend to.

For any person in this time, finding a job would be a bit difficult, who am I kidding, its a lot harder. You need to be on top of everyone if you need a job and finding one that you are actually passionate enough, and something that is on the line of your liking, in that case you’re done. I mean congrats mate, you are one of those people in this world who is just fortunate enough to get one that perfectly suits you. Or that what you think until you’re thrown into work politics, taking shit from your boss and being blamed for things that should have gone right, but was somehow brought down because of your lack of experience. Which brings me to the rest of the 99.9 percent of us who look for jobs outside the campus of the university. This picture below kind of summarizes my point when people select you for those roles :

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Or maybe something like this:

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Yes, sadly that is the case. And the fact that India is number one in producing engineers isn’t helping either. Another way of getting into an organisation is like a closely guarded secret that everyone knows but does not talk about, sort of like sex. “Recommendation” – that, right there is a very powerful tool. And it’s surprising how it works, but it does, so what the heck right. After all that, climb through the corporate ladder, pushing people around, overflowing emotions and finally get to the end and what do you do? Yes, write some recommendations. That’s basically winning in life right there, or so we assume.

Now, let’s look at what the second option takes us. These people are very interesting. Lets be honest, US has become like a second home, there are like packs of Indians everywhere. So, most of those guys who failed at the first option get here. And those people who were called by there relatives, and friends also constitute this group. Also, a few group of friends who just follow their friends and start collecting LOR’s, SOP’s, GRE, TOEFL, et cetera, et cetera, all this before you even start the application process for an university. You have to make sure, so you apply for so many, you spend so much, with mostly of thoughts like this:

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And when you finally get there, you realize it is such a pain in the back and you’ll do it anyways cause you just spent a hell lot of money and other Indian stuff like family and relatives and stuff. Showing off that you’re “enjoying” yourself on FB, and people go “wow”. And the one fine day, you finish your masters (yaaaay!), time to celebrate right? Oh no no no, you’re back to square one, which bring us to step number one, with just another thing in your resume – over qualification. Don’t get me wrong, you will somehow find a job and start it and earn, if you’re hardworking and still passionate about the stream that you took.

Now has anyone ever thought why there are just two options? Yes, think about it, why engineering? Were you really the one who chose that? Now I don’t want this to be like the article that point out the naked truth that we are lead or even pushed into this, but what to do if you are. Try to be productive anyways, like not being “bored”. Write a blog like this(:p), also, there is no job that is below your self assumed “standard”. Any and every experience is a good experience.You can’t start your career with an armani tux and go to board meetings. Besides, there is the option of quitting anyways, but, don’t quit immediately, go with it to a point where you know you have met a saturation point. Yes, salary is another thing, but if you’ve been able to read this post, on a laptop, phone or tablet, I don’t think that will be much of a hindrance. The whole point is, you don’t have to go to an interview and tell them you haven’t been doing anything after college, but can give them the simple truth that you like exploring options and have the ability to get out of your comfort zone, you might even find your actual passion in the end, you never actually know. So, just calm down, take a deep breath, and do what you want to do, anything at all, just experiment…

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The 120,000$ electric car:

Tesla has now taken the wraps off the P85D, an all wheel drive car. Yes, it takes just 3.2s to get to a 60 and yes, that puts it on par with some of the most sophisticated sports cars of 2014. The conventional fossil fuel running counterparts use a single engine to run all four wheels or sometime all 6 wheels, thus the power needs to be transmitted through a drive shaft and a transfer box. This may seem all too easy, but still we can’t make an absolute 100% effective automobile. Tesla on the other hand has placed two motors on each of the axles, powered by their batteries. This may not be 100% efficient either but is really effective than a single engine powering all four wheels and is also said to save battery when compared to the P85.

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All of this sounds good, actually its really great. What actually troubles me is the “auto-pilot” feature that has been announced. This is a feature that allows the driver to “relax” during the “boring” part of the drive. This reminded me of another company that has planned it for a bit bigger vehicle, the Mercedes future truck 2025. The video that is shown in the Daimler channel on YouTube shows a futuristic tron looking truck driving across a highway while subtly showing a Samsung tablet (no, I have no idea why either) to control the in house functionalities. The Tesla says that they have radars around the car in all directions so they can have a sweep view of all 360-degree. These have been pretty standard in high end cars, just separate systems with names like cruise control, lane assist, electronic brakes and I can keep going on. What does put the Tesla apart is that it can read signs and choose to slow your vehicle for you, check your appointments in the morning, scan the location for any traffic, back out of the garage and pick you up from your doorstep, maybe even play your favorite tunes and switch on the air con. At least that’s what was promised by Elon Musk himself.

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What actually bothers me is that they have said that these features will be added over the next few months over updates through the software. Now, this may sound really good, but what if the software ends up as the ios 8.0.1 update. A phone that gets bricked is not exactly as dangerous as a car that can accelerate to 60 in under 3.2s. And since most of the electronics are controlled by a software, it seems kind of intimidating. But, again if Tesla has proved something over the years, they are pretty damn good with almost no hiccups. Future does look well then? We’ll have to wait and see…

Switching from democracy to monarchy:

So, let’s start this article with a disclaimer. I am not in any way comparing android and IOS, just merely stating the differences and views of a person switching from one to the other.images

I’m going to start this from the point of “why”. I have always been a fan of phones in common. And like anyone else, always had an eye for the iPhone. But, until this day the size of the iPhone always seemed a bit small. For me the 4.5” to 5” seems to hit the right spot. Yes, I am aware that taste may differ. The part of switching from an android to an IOS is not an easy task either. Downloading the iTunes and a software to transfer photos and files was also included in the process.

I have never personally used an apple product before. But, the iPhone 6 seemed right at home for me. The translucency of the software and its seamless working also seems very, appealing and elegant. The switching may have been like switching from a democracy to a monarchy, but there have been and still are places where monarchy works. I did miss the notification light, and the widgets. But as I used this device, and it seems like there’s not much that i’m missing.

The protruding camera has been an issue for the internet when the iPhone 6 was announced. There is an android counterpart that has the same design. The Nexus 5 has a flat back and a protruding camera as well. And I was used to that and hence had no issue. A feature that I also enjoyed was that each and every app could be restricted from the hardware part of the phone like the camera or mic, etc. This was just one huge list on an android phone when you download the app from the playstore describing that the app demands all of them and no way to restrict it.

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The design of the iPhone 6 can still be debated over and over again. But, it is an absolute piece of stunning aluminium and glass integrated together. Especially the subtle curve at the end of the screen. I actually enjoy the rounded off edges and sides. It’s like the whole phone just falls into place.

The IOS is not perfect though, apps did force close for unknown reasons, and i’m running IOS 8.0.2. Finding things needed inside the settings is not a piece of cake either and will keep a first timer busy or in a worst case scenario lost within itself like an abyss. And when it comes to design and customization, there’s not much you can do. Apps go to specific places, where they want to and they can also be grouped. But, that is just about it. No way to change how the icon looked or the way things moved around.

Now there’s one part of getting the phone that everyone knows and may choose to ignore or completely turn down. It is a “fashion statement”. Yes, it is. But, showing it off to friends seems to send the wrong vibe altogether. Even posting a video supporting the phone automatically makes you an iSheep and are slapped on the face with an apple fan badge. I use many different devices for different purposes and for a phone I made the recent choice of getting the iPhone 6. Firstly I have used phones from nokia, siemens(yes, the weird looking small ones), blackberry to the latest android phones from an HTC, samsung and right down to a nexus. And quite frankly the whole, “If you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone.” statement started by apple, when repeated by a fellow mate, seems like a desperate cry of “you too brutus!” and the nature of a jealous and desperate person who couldn’t get his hand on one. My friend also said a “Jesse Pinkman” style statement, “I have a nexus b**ch!”. I still don’t see the hassle that goes on and the views of people when they see a person using an iPhone. He or she is just using a phone! Mind your own damn business!

And a bonus tip, if you’re in the gulf, then the facetime and iMessage features are banned for some unknown reason. So, yes, one of the best feature is locked away from you.

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Android and world domination:

  Google has launched the “android one” program as promised, in the less fortunate places of the world. For those folks who are still staring into an open space, the program is something that promises google’s very own uncluttered and clean software experience coupled with timely and immediate updates. They are partnering with local OEM’s to make this thing happen. Sound a bit too familiar? It should, google has just taken nexus program and let it off the leash. The nexus, which is one of the most coveted devices in the mobile industry.

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This program has now started with India. People were pretty skeptical at first when google promised a clean android experience for less than 150$. Google has since partnered with Micromax, Karbonn and Spice to kick start this in India, releasing devices for just about 120$. These OEM’s have the experience of releasing phones and marketing them in India.so it must be the right move, kind of.

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Now, these people now have access to get much more affordable and “properly working” products, also it all seems like a solid move, that could just lead to world domination for android. But are we forgetting the people who have had the privilege of owning a nexus or a GPE(google play edition) device? I mean, what is google thinking? One of the main reasons of owning a nexus device is the exclusivity of the product and showing off the phone to the people who have just spent their hard earned money on devices that are small, with specifications that are barely there(yes, you know what I’m talking about). Now though, that could just have taken a turn with the A1 program.

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But, there seems to be a solution to that too, well, sort of. The android “Silver” program, that can mean premium handsets. Which is kind of the opposite of the nexus projects, since I subtly put in the word “premium”. Then again these are just rumors and even the silver program seems to be in a halt for some reason. It just may be a bit too early to predict. Or is this actually an end to the nexus program that google has been taking through for the past 5 years or so? I guess, in a more dramatic way of ending things, only time can tell…

 

 

More details can be seen at: http://www.android.com/one/

The NEW(OLD) galaxy note line:

What would you do, if you were a company with billions of dollars to throw around, didn’t give a damn about the design of a device and just unveil a device for the namesake of introducing a new device, cause the old one is about a year old?? In that case you’re name is probably Samsung. Now, I know i’m not the only one who feels this way.

So, sticking to the traditional samsungy design, the Note 4, looks more like the S5 and the alpha had a cousin. They are fused together in a clump of software and hardware combined. The ugly or the cute cousin you ask? i’ll let you decide that. Cause it seems to be an easy choice. Its got the faux leather back, the alpha inspired, contoured sides and of course the S pen stylus “adding functionality” to the device.

The interesting difference is that the usb 2.0 port has replaced the 3.0 port from the note 3. That’s a step backward, yes, but for the folks who worry about the charging, it has qualcomm’s rapid charge technology claiming to charge the phone within 30 minutes from a percentile of 10 to 50. Well, it’s kind of like the VOOC charging with the Oppo find 7.

The display might just jave captured the plus side here. A gorgeuos QHD display, with samsung’s super AMOLED technology. Brings that screen to life when compared to the LCD panels from other phones.

Camera seems to be taking on a good note here as the front facing camera has finally been amped up to a 3.7 mp shooter after many generations. The front shooter also has a wide angle for those selfie craving folks. It does have a feature where a photo can be taken by simply placing your finger on the heart rate monitor, placed besides the flash(yes, an HRM monitor, cause the S5 had one and hence the note SHOULD also have one). The front facing shooter seems to be a 16MP shooter, now don’t go all “S5 thing again”, but the camera now comes equiped with OIS(optical image stabilisation), yes, finally!! And hence, an amazing camera experience all around.

Coming to the specs, people expecting a 4gigs of RAM device are sure to be disappointed, just 3gigs here. Two chipsets – snapdragon 805(quadcore closcked at 2.6 Ghz) and exynos 5(octacore clocked at 1.9 Ghz). It is also about 8.6 mm thick with a 3220 Mah battery. Removable back and upto 128 gb expandable micro sd card slot. The stylus well, barely do I see note users picking out the stylus, but yes it is said to make multitasking easier and a more sensitive stylus.

Oh no, that is not the end, we have to cram in another model, cause if one fails, the other can succeed or well, one device could just cannibalise the other one. The second one is called the note 4 EDGE. Similar specs with a tad smaller battery and thickness. The screen is curved at one egde, kind of like the prototype devices being showed off last year with the bendy screens. Comes in handy when the screen is closed or multitasking. Yes, multitasking is the “only” concern here.

So, in the end, we have a somewhat similar device like last years, a better and expected bump to all the bells and whistles. The design, well, it’s a design. Who would buy the device? It is a samsung device, brand seems to talk a lot about devices these days and hence, let’s see where all this is headed, especially with a particular competitor ready to announce their flagship in about a week.

For more hands on video check out the verge, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv2xZ4A8fmA.

 

The Blackberry devices of 2014:

This week we have news from N4BB. It was said that Blackberry were going to unveil not just two devices, but five for 2014 and well, we know about the Z3, which was all bets placed on the developing markets and target crowds, where Blackberry had their forte. The Blackberry classic and the passport were the other two devices, which have been announced and speculated a lot.

 

The other two devices were codenamed “Khan” and “Manitoba”. Manitoba other than being a state in Canada, now has more to it’s name, it turns out to be a Z3 LTE edition. It’s got the exact same specs as a Z30, with 1.7 Ghz compared to the 1.2 Ghz processor and a bump up in ram from the 1.5 gigs to a 2 gigs of ram when compared to the Z3. The only difference seems to be a glass strip at the back for the camera on top with similar designs to the old and bold 9900.

 

The “Khan” other than being famous names in India and well, for unspoken reasons in the US, seems to be Porsche’s first ever take on a qwerty BB10 running device. The PP’9983. You say isn’t that what the P’9981 was, well, other than having the almost same price tag, this one is said to have “more agressive looks” or a “stealth plane” like look compared to it. Other than that it’s got 3gigs of ram, 64gigs of internals and a 1.7 Ghz dual-core chip running it. Why would anyone want to buy it you ask? Cause they can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet of things:

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  I was up one morning, as usual unlocked my phone. As a consistent habit, I became curious about my Facebook feed, to my surprise it wasn’t loading pages any faster than a tortoise in a 200 m dash (no offense TMNT). Immediately I checked my network and found my network on 2G. I don’t use WIFI (ridiculous? Yes,probably), instead I opt for the data connection in my mobile for internet. I just connect my laptop to the mobile for convenience.

 

This got me wondering. How dependent am I to the internet? For music I have spotify, pandora and sometimes tune in radio, I check social feeds on facebook, google plus and twitter. Message using what’s app, fb messenger and hangouts, watch videos on YouTube. And then it struck me. My phone is just a phone, without the internet. And that’s not all, it pisses me off even when its slow.

 

Is this a new type of addiction? Or has internet become a basic necessity like food and water? Doesn’t it scare you sometimes? Now, all of this brings me to the topic of the day. ”Internet Of Things”. I mean, checking your social feed on the phone is one thing, but using your phone to lock the front door and disengage an alarm, is quite another.

 

Letting your machines communicate with another is like a dream come true, isn’t it? Your washing machine will text you, “Yo!! Clothes done. Detergent almost over, don’t forget to get some next time you shop.” And that item just gets added to your shopping list on its own. You can command your fridge to make you ice in advance for the party tonight, pre air condition your house for beating the heat when returning home.

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My concern is a bit different though. What happens when the machines team up against you? A computer that can open the door for you, can very well shut you out. Yes, I do sound like Will Smith from iRobot, but I can’t be the only one who is concerned. The future of humankind, cannot be given into the hands of machines that do daily chores and can connect to each other. However reassuring, the people who want to sell it may be. There will always be that small concern and doubt whether that front door is actually locked or is the washing machine going to start the next world war!

 

Yes, the future does look daunting. Let’s just hope the scientists don’t get too curious or the big companies too greedy, in the name of development.

 

 

 

Mobile design rant:

            I remember, when I was a kid, mobiles used to be as popular as it is nowadays. Now, before you wonder, I was a 90’s kid(good old times). The very first phone which was mine was a Nokia. I mean these guys were the monopoly at that time. Google was just a search engine, Apple had a bunch of nerds and a mastermind working on it, Microsoft was just on computers and well, blackberry was just a PDA. And I must tell you, that was an amazing time for form factors. 

             So, we had phones that were bigger than your hand, then they started shrinking and now it seems history is repeating itself all over again. We had all sorts of phones, flip phones, gameboy looking ones (yes, the N-gage), slide phones, even phones that used to swivel open(siemens). Nokia had the N73, a huge hit, the N82,N85, then the E series, the E72 just looked ripped of a fellow blackberry device, but was a huge success. I’m not being one sided, but Nokia are the guys I remember with the utmost clarity. There was also Siemens and Motorola, I mean the razer was a head turner. With all these form factors, the mobile industry was blooming and there was a huge competition among the big boys, churning absolutely powerful and mind boggling phones. 

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             And then came along a phone, the phone that looked like a small piece of slab with an all touch screen. Something no one even thought of until then. The small bitten apple logoed phone had started a whole new design trend. a “pioneer” if you want to call it.  A boring design trend, I must say. A software comparable to that in a computer, smooth and fast. They were adamant not to make it available for competitors, driving them down. Yes, android did come and companies tried experimenting with the software and qwerty keypads. But, the luck did not seem to change. Back then Android seemed all sluggish and out of fashion. People had to choose that or a shiny new overpriced phone. What was even worse was that companies that didn’t adapt were thrown down the ditch(Nokia, Blackberry, list just goes on).

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                 But what about now? Android is as fast and comparable to the IOS( yes it is, deal with it). Companies that have money just make the phones and just push in Google’s crown jewel. So in all this commotion, what has happened to the design? HTC seemed to be going in the right direction with their flagship and mid tier phones that  looked great and were built great. Samsung, well, was Samsung, lots of marketing to brainwash people. Sony had to stick to the xperia line. And Apple made the same design for two years, then changed a the design a bit and sold it again for the next two years. Not that Apple’s phone are badly designed, it is just better compared to the others. HTC kept struggling. I thought they would not give up the idea of making a new design each year. Yes they make beautiful phones, but they might have just called the M8, the M7s. Samsung’s S5, the S4s. Sony, it doesn’t matter, all look the same anyways(Xperia Z,Z1,Z2, i mean cmon, even the leaked Z3 looks the bloody same). They all seem to be following someone now don’t they?

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               When will anyone ever come up with something other than slabs and stop following the damn fruit that got you guys kicked out of the Eden garden?! I don’t want to sound like a Luddite. I just hope companies can give something, that is not ripped off from one person, just for the money. And no Blackberry, I’m afraid passport is not the way to go.

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LCD or OLED :

I have an obsessive habit of checking what phones people use around me. I sometimes land in a spot where the person catches me red handed and gives me “the stare”. Well, I just can’t help it. As I was sitting at a terminal, I noticed the person next to me using an S4. That phone was my choice during the S4 vs M7 battle of 2013. Yes, I had good and bad times with the phone and finally also got impatient with the constant lag and months of waiting for an update, for a version announced months ago.

And thus I got myself a shiny new “bright red” Nexus 5. Now, I am plenty happy with my choice. When i see another samsung device, the only thing I miss is that AMOLED display. It doen’t matter how you look at it, the vibrant colors and great viewing angles always impress me.

The technology behind liquid crystal displays and organic light emitting diodes is both simple and complicated at the same time. LCD use crystals that can be twisted by applying voltage, and thus changing the frequency of the color passing through it. Since this is not self lit, we need a backlit screen to support it. The OLED on the other hand are small diodes that can emit colors depending on the voltage charged at them.

oled-tv-vs-lcd-tv                                                      All of these screens have certain limits at their surface covered on gamuts and that is why LCD’s tend to be washed out, when compared to a vibrant OLED’s. And since LCD’s need a backlit screen, they do consume more power than OLED’s. OLED’s do have their Achilles heel though. Visible blacks are almost absent and the image displayed tend to differ from real life colors.

Samsung is hanging onto AMOLED display like a kid hanging onto its toy. Now that seems to be a good thing, even in the latest android wear war, the gear lives display aces the LCD panel on the Gwatch. Now you may think I seem to be taking a one sided approach here, but the LCD panel just isn’t good enough for me.