Category Archives: Technology

Movie Review: Jobs: A Complex Man, A Complex Story

jobs movie review

By Ankush Kumar

Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, and Josh Gad.

Introduction: Steve Jobs was a complex man as long as he lived, the film is no different.

Premise: JOBS is a competent retelling of Steve’s life till he took control of Apple Inc. in the nineties.

Plot: The film opens in 2001 at the launch of the iPod. And then traces the journey of the greatest innovator from his formative years in college to his wayward actions to his making of Apple. Likewise an apple product the movie keeps moving to one big aspect one after another.

Technical Insight: The background score in the opening scene, through its speakers is one of the best to be heard in recent times. The make up of Ashton Kutcher is a very believable Steve Jobs. The editing disappoints as the director tries to squeeze in too much of everything in one movie.

Acting: Ashton Kutcher plays the role near perfectly, the star in him is not visible as he plays Steve Jobs just well, the supporting cast is good but the man who takes home the honors is Josh Gad who slips into the role of Steve Wozniak beautifully.

Kela moment: The direction overall. Too much has been squeezed in.

Citizen Kane moment: The opening sequence.

Brownie points: 2.5 out of 5.

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An Open Letter To Mr. Milind Deora

milind deora

Dear Mr. Deora,

Thanks for a great article in TOI of August 14, 2013. It was enlightening to hear the views of one of our elected representatives on a topic that’s close to the hearts of many a youngster in this country. However, some points you raised are worthy of a debate, the benefits of which you’ve extolled in your article, and hence a response was warranted. I will try to summarize your main points so as to keep the response closely tied to the article.

Point #1: Social media platforms do not allow for healthy debate, while our Parliament does.

This point of view is expected and unsurprising within the small minority amongst us who’re on the other side of the “Great Divide of Government of India”, but isn’t substantiated by facts. I call it the Divide because our governance system, from the Parliament at the top right down to the beat constable and peon in a sarkari office, is extremely hard to approach and get service from for a common citizen, which is the very reason for its existence. For the vast majority of the population of this country, it’s almost like a government for itself, by itself, and of itself.

Therefore, we do not hold the Parliament’s ability to hold healthy debates in any high esteem when we read reports that the number of hours that our Lok Sabha sits during its five-year term has been falling steadily, and reached the worst ever record in the 15th Lok Sabha (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-29/india/38902758_1_lok-sabha-budget-session-sittings). Not only that, this Lok Sabha is also on its way to achieving the dubious distinction of having passed the fewest bills in independent India’s history.

So where does the common citizen go to express their anguish about a non-functioning government? Social media. For the first time, there is a platform that allows every individual the opportunity to be heard by millions of other people, and we’re going out there in hordes to talk about the pain we all on this side of the Divide experience every single day. For the average person, Twitter and Facebook are less about popularity and approval ratings like you mentioned, and more about spreading the word about their experiences and finding common cause with others.

Point #2: Changes that result due to outbursts enabled by social media are not well thought-through

You reference the Arab Spring and Iranian Awakening and the Brazilian protest, but miss the protests on the streets of New Delhi during Anna Hazare’s campaign and after the 2012 brutal gangrape incident. But you make a valid point. Protests by people are usually looked upon as a threat by established governments, and the point being made is missed for the noise, and slowly the protest transforms into an us-vs-them battle. However, did our government react any differently during the protests staged in India? Did we ever get closer to getting a Lokpal bill enacted or a corruption-free government? Did we ever get closer to having the streets of this country safe for our sisters and daughters? Unfortunately no. And this lack of solution-building is not attributable to the use of social media, but to the absence of a sensitive, humble, and engaged leadership within our government.

Point #3: Social media encourages pretence, showmanship, and shallow posturing

Assume social media doesn’t exist in our country. Walk out on the streets like a common man and watch how politicians, top bureaucrats, and the rich and powerful of this country move. You will see beacons, blaring sirens, police and personal security pushing everyone else aside, or stopping them altogether. From the posh NDMC areas, try walking towards other parts of Delhi where the top government officials of our country do not live. You will notice that broad, tree-lined, spotlessly clean boulevards give way to congested, filthy, broken roads that have people, vehicles, animals all crammed into every inch of space possible. If this isn’t pretence, showmanship, and posturing, what is? It’s not about the tools we use, but who we are and how we think that creates the vices that you ascribe to social media.

You are a young and well-educated leader of this country, and we are looking to you to bring a change in our country. What we need is very simple – equal access to basic amenities like clean water, air, food, and adequate housing, and equal opportunity to fulfill one’s dreams, for every single citizen of this country. We hope you care enough for your country and its people to work towards this goal, and will not get lost in the distractions that power in our country carries with it in heavy doses.

Regards,

Sarvesh

Tragedy of Being the Bridge Between Two Worlds

By Ankit Chandra

barbed-wire_2451037b

I’ve realized lately that I have officially crossed in to the land of No Man’s Land..

Well, is it a bird? is it a plane? hehe no its MsBA in Technology Management. And this is the tale of two lands.. Technology and Management and the narrow No Man’s Land in between them

I have never been a purist. In fact ever since I learnt that Nature loves entropy, I never got around liking the idea of being a pure anything. No pure cricketer, No pure artist, No pure singer, No pure Guitar player … and the list goes on till I came to this: No Pure Technologist, and No pure Manager.

So far so good. There are many types of me around in the world. Yes yes, I know what you are mostly thinking about. But keeping perverse sexual connotations apart, its good to be jack of all trades and master of being just that! Or so I thought till I visited the countries around my narrow strip of land.

Country: Technologasia

The citizens here usually looked just straight ahead. For them everything around them was an element of a list (or array, or set, or Class, or Struct) of equations, or data members, or neurons or digital signals. I visited the capital of this country called sillicity (pun intended). I walked up to the first person I saw the town hall, and here is the discussion I had:

me: Excuse me, do you know any good restaurants around here?
Sillicity citizen: I don’t know. I am just follow this path to get to my place of work, and use my super brain to find the quickest route to my work place. So I don’t have time to look around for restaurants.
me: Oh so you don’t eat out at all?
Sillicity citizen: You silly man, I am a technologist. I eat drink sleep equations, gadgets, numbers, and circuits. (angrily) Where are you from?
me: (taken aback a little): umm… I am from Technology Managementsia.
Sillicity citizen: I’ve never heard of that school. I am sure its not ranked anywhere, and therefore I am sure you are a much lesser human being than I am. Why do you even need food! Your quota of food should be used to feed fish; which we eat to sharpen our brains!

And then he walks away.. on his Segway…

Saddened by this sudden indignation, I go to the next iPhone store, buy an iPhone and look up good restaurants. Enjoyed the food, and walked south (in some context, south of quad), and reach

Managementistan…

There were my people walking around, and they WERE looking everywhere. Dressed very nicely and had a fixed 8 cm x 5 cm smile on their faces. I walk up to a pretty looking citizen.

me: Hello, could you please direct me to a restaurant around here?
Manageristanian: (sizing me up) hmm. I know there is one somewhere here, but I don’t know how to get there. It’s a pretty nice place. They charge 5 times the price they do in Technologasia, and have exactly the same food! I love their standardized processes which they use to make the same food everywhere.
me: Oh but why would I pay 5 times the price for the same food?
Manageristanian: That’s because they serve it in a very fashionable bright red plate. Thats very today you know… But since you ask such a dumb question, where are you from?
me: umm I am from Technology Managementasia you know, the… (She cuts me abruptly)
Manageristanian: oh yah nevermind, you coders. Never get the big picture of anything. Just find some food round the corner and satisfy ur hunger and try to learn from our existence… We live by example.
me: oh I am sorry to have bothered you..

I walk away, open my laptop, hack into a nearby store’s server and get some free coupon codes and use them to get me a good suit for free. I similarly get a free coupon for the restaurant have the food for free, and ride my segway home…

Canvas 4 Review: Super Phone For A Super Price

Micromax-Canvas-4-specifications

Micromax today has 18% market share (IDC) in the Indian phone market, only second after Samsung. One of the primary reasons of it scaling fast has been its Canvas series of smart phones. The gadget has everything that best smartphones have in the country, good hardware, great screen size and resolution and the pricing is just suitable to a country like India.

Now they have brought another one out from their cupboard as an extension of the series. Canvas 4 aka A210 looks a superphone at first glance. Let’s look at some of its primary features and gauge the capability better.

Screen: The use of Gorilla glass puts the phone a notch above others in the mainstream. Despite its large 5-inch screen, the phone settles smoothly in your hands and gives an uber cool feel. For an 18k phone, the screen is awesome. The resolution could had been improved (still 1280*720) but the quality of picture is better. The phone’s ability to show saturated colors is better than Canvas HD. Good resolution means better clarity in text. Touch is also better and phone’s refresh rate is refreshing for the user.

Built: A notch above Canvas 4, the glossy plastic with a bit of Aluminium is definitely adding to the look value of the phone. The back cover which is removable looks good too and overall the phone looks premium and polished which was needed as this is the highest priced phone from Micromax till date. The aluminium strip adds to the sturdiness of the phone. The power button is also done with aluminium which is a good change from most of the other phones, even expensive ones.

To sum up the built and looks, at the price tag of 18k no mainstream phone has better stuff than this one. No doubt there is scope for improvement but as mentioned this is the best at the point of entry i.e. the price.

Camera: 13MP camera in an 18k phone? Yeah you heard it right. Before you get excited hear this though. The quality of pixels ain’t great so although the news of 13MP makes good hearing, the feature ain’t upto the mark by the standards. The pictures captured lack depth and detail. Bad light is further bad news and close-ups are not good either. There are focus issues too especially during close-ups. Videos are marginally better although recording in MP4 format would had been better than the 3GP it uses.

Android 4.2.1 or Jelly Bean: Smooth functioning like all Canvas series phones highlight the Android in this one. The default user interface works well as compared to customized interfaces that other makers have put on their devices. The phone’s speed is good too and while switching between tasks also the lag is not much. Games perform well and browsing is smooth.

The speaker is good and sound is good as well. Voice quality is good and signal strength at first usage also looked decent.

Differentiation Indexes: To differentiate and to showcase innovation the phone makers have come out with a few features like blow to unlock and video pause. The features are not very user-friendly though and it would had been better had testing would had been good before throwing these into the open. Thankfully the makers have given ways to turn off these features.

Battery life of the phone is decent. With 3G, the battery lasts around 12 hours.

Verdict: A good phone overall sans the camera features. Good speed, brilliant screen and fantastic performance make it a good buy at 18k. If you are looking for a great smartphone sans brand image of big phone makers like Samsung and Apple, this is the phone to go for. 

Galaxy Star Review: A Phone Worth Its Price

Samsung-Galaxy-Star-Picture

Considering the price point this could be a game-changer phone in the Indian smartphone segment. An MRP of Rs. 5000 makes this phone the cheapest Android phone from Samsung and unlike others, which run older versions of the OS, this one, runs the latest Jelly Bean Android 4.1. 

Looks like an option doesn’t it? Lets look deep and figure out pros and cons although frankly after taking time out with it we feel that at this price point this is the best you can get.

The Pros: 

Looks: Not bad for the price although nothing extraordinary considering these are the times of big screens. The cute small size though will suit a few who have been complaining of a lack of smartphone, which is small and does not look a giant. Compare it with other local brands and the finish is first class. Samsung has done a good job for the price.

Apps: Android Jelly Bean means good apps and also good games. This is where the phone steals the show. The phone gives decent experience to a user with popular services like Gmail, Google Talk, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. All this at 5k, wow.

Screen And Colors: Its OK. Again at a price point that the phone is positioned at, little can be complained about. It has good touch interface and shows bright colors but the process is fine.

Battery and others: So the battery is decent, around 14 hours on 2g connection. The camera is 2 megapixel and pictures taken are good to be uploaded on your social presence. Bad light images though is not that great and video shoot also could have been better.

The Cons:

No 3g: What? Yes, there is no option for 3g. The phone only operates on 2g and WiFi. This is certainly a let down in this quick communication world where almost everyone is moving from 2g to 3g.

A tad slow: The phone works well for search, Facebook etc. but the moment you demand a little more, the price point and the cheapness there shows up. The phone turns slow and older apps are also flushed out of memory.

Verdict: Good phone on the price point. If you are looking for an affordable android phone with basic usage like mail and social media and have a budget around 5k, this is the device. A little more though from the wallet could get you better phones.

Hashtags On Facebook: Implications For You And Your Brand

hashtag

With Facebook finally having forced to follow Twitter and Instagram and having had to onboard hashtags, there has to be implications. Here are 4 most important ones for you and your brand 

1. What’s Trending: What is most important for a marketer on a social media platform. It is to know what’s making the most noise and is being followed frantically. Twitter and Google+ are two platforms which clearly show what’s trending because these are easily captured via Hashtags. With FB now bringing Hash, it would soon make people know what’s trending on FB which is nowhere in sight currently. Imagine with the number of folks on FB how crucial this will be for brands and for common folks.

2. Increase in Exposure: Till now what you posted on facebook was limited to the number of fans you had and constantly added. Now everything that you post on the platform with a relevant and appropriate hashtag is visible to everyone who is looking for something close to that. Imagine you are a photographer and with each photo with a relevant hashtag you will be connected to folks who would be looking for services in the domain you cater to. With the kind of numbers and engagement that Facebook see’s you are in with a business once you work with good relevance.

3. Customizing your Hashtags: So you thought this will increase spam, not really. Facebook will allow you to filter and search for hashtagged comments within your social circle as well. So if you want to know what your network is saying about a get-together that you have planned, you can just filter it down to your network, thus avoiding spam that is unwanted information. Extrapolate this and imagine the same for a brand, how relevant isn’t it?

4. Massive Advertising Reach: The reach of advertising will increase massively through hashes. Imagine Tata Nano launching a new car with some feature that is worth talking. They push the ad on Facebook with a #Nanonew. Now anyone who comments on the video and uses the hash becomes a part of the thread irrespective of him/her commenting on the video post. The best part is Tata can take stock of everything that has been happening on it. Works great, isn’t it?

We all know Hash tags have been very successful for both Twitter and Instagram. It enables users from all over the globe to come over and discuss on things they want to, breaks global divide completely. By bringing Hash on Facebook, it has increased competition, especially for Twitter which had launched its advertising space very recently. How will it impact both the platform we will know in a while, for now though the brands stand to gain a lot from all the efforts.

Twitterati and the Rs. 1 Salary Hoopla

murthy

Here is a Twitter fun take on Narayan Murthy’s comeback to Infy at Rs. 1. 

Karthik Srinivasan (@beasttrall): Tell me Airtel doesn’t have a hand in Narayana Murthy and Rohan Murthy getting Rs.1 token salary.

Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt): It’s now up to ACP Pradyuman to find out who cracked the ‘Narayana Murthy / Salary Rs 1 / Airtel Video’ joke first..

Vivek Mishra (@vivekhr): Rs 1 pkg for Narayanmurty? Under GOI definition he is BPL

Ishita Vaidya (@Mindswish): Rs 1 is in trends. Then what about @kamaalrkhan who always tweets bad about #2rsppl. He should feel jealous about it.

Amit Malviya (@malviyaamit): This token salary of Rs 1 is a great idea, especially when someone else opts for it ! 🙂 #Infosys

Varun Taneja (@varuntaneja09): And I thought Rs 1 trend was another petrol price shoot UP !

And how could BCCI be kept out of anything. 

Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt): N Srinivasan: Whats the big deal with Narayana Murthy.. Even i am ready to stay on as BCCI boss for a token compensation of Rs 1 per year.

Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj): While it will certainly boost morale at Infy, don’t you feel that there’s another board that needed Narayan Murthy even more..

Soumik Sen (@bangdu): BCCI couldn’t get Narayan Murthy on its board because when he asked for Rs1 they thought he wanted to go out and toss the coin.

Mocking Now (@mockingnow): Narayana Murthy as Executive Chairman at Infy will get Rs 1 per year. Sanjay Dutt as a prisoner in jail would earn more than Rs 9000 a year.

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