Friday, December 17, 2010

Nexus S - Review

There have not been many times I have woken up early in the morning to go to an electronic store, first thing in the morning. I did once in 2009 when I got my iPhone 3GS. Last year, I went to the Apple store at 5.30 in the morning and waited in the line for a full 4 hours before I held the then coveted device in my hands. I had good fun for more than a year now with the 3GS and almost 3 years with iOS. I figured it's time to move on and I could not have a found a better phone than Nexus S to do it. This time though, I waited for 5 minutes in the line at Best Buy to get my Nexus S.


The best feature of the phone (that blows one away on the first look) is the display. It has the Samsung's proprietary Super
AMOLED display and to say it's freaking awesome would be an understatement. With the animated wallpapers and vibrant colors on the screen, any app or any browser you open stands out like you have never seen on a mobile device before. I would probably say one should buy this phone just for the display.


Secondly, the phone is really fast. It sports a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor and the phone responds like a charm to every single touch. Whether it is the camera or the maps or the email, nothing ever takes more than a second or two to show up on the screen. The menus are nicely organized (not too different from the previous android versions though).


The response to the onscreen keyboard is instantaneous too. Talking of the keyboard, I initially felt the keys are slightly smaller than the iPhone keyboard, but the more I use it, with the word suggestions and the spell checks, it definitely has become more of a 'friendly' keyboard to me now. There is absolutely no regret about the keyboard and having a Shift key on a touchscreen keyboard is a great plus too!




Next thing that was totally new to me is the Android OS itself (Android 2.3 or Gingerbread in this instance). Be informed that I'm coming from the family of iOS users and everything in the UI of Nexus S is so new and refreshing. Even something as simple as notifications is so simple and fun. Best feature of the OS is the Google maps with navigation (which is one of the main reasons I bought this phone, as I can use this in India too!). The 3D maps is so futuristic and with street view and latitude added, the whole maps experience is completely transformed.




The other part of the phone I really like is the form factor. Though the contour display and the curved back is stylish, the phone is light as a feather. When I first took the phone out of the box, I wondered if Samsung missed a component in the phone!


However, it's hard to miss a few things that were better in iPhone. The visual voicemail was one thing that I got so used to that I feel I miss in Nexus S (there may be apps in the android market but I haven't explored yet). But voicemail is not frequently used in India, so I guess I'll be alright. Second thing I miss is the app store. I feel Android store has still areas to grow.


Summary : Nexus S is definitely a great Android phone or probably the best there is, as of today. If you are contemplating whether to buy the phone, go for it. You won't regret the decision!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Series called Life - Second episode

You may want to read the first episode here.

Now that proposal is done, serious steps are being taken back home. Astrologers are being consulted, dates are being decided, hall is being finalized, friends and relatives are being told of the happening. Everything seems to happen at full speed. Too fast to fathom. It is one of those slow motion moments where one's life slows down to a near pause and things around continue to circle at full speed. While at the pause, he tries to write a blogpost.

She recently moved back to India and settled down in a job she likes. And she says it would be at least 2 years before she could think of a move elsewhere. That means only one thing: he needs to pack his bags and move back home. He does not beleive in separated life after wedding.That means change. One big happy change.

He is excited and apprehensive, both at the same time. Excitement kicks in for the known reason. But he could not fathom the apprehension. Is it the logistics to be taken care of during the move? or is it the new city he will be moving to? or is it the new job culture? Or is it missing Uncle Sam? Or is it the wedlock and the associated cold feet? He is not sure.

He tries to meticulously plan the move. He even has offers from his boss and colleagues for his car and furniture. After 6 long years, moving back seems like a big decision. As he thinks deeper, he realized there is nothing left for him in this country. He has travelled to about 40 states in this country and has tried everything from hiking to kayaking to rafting to sky-diving to para-sailing. He has done pretty much everything he felt he may not get another chance to do in his life.

At work, there were days where he has idled away doing nothing like a lazy bum. There were days where he has worked for 15 hours straight with hardly any breaks. There were days where he has felt like a rock star. There were days where he has wondered if he is even a right fit in this place. The brunt of responsibility, the feeling of a leader, the ponderings of a loser - he has had it all.

He wonders if he'll miss certain a few things in this country. Such as his Accord and the play of Suprabatham during the morning commute to work, his infrequent visits to Patel brothers, just to get namkeens and murukkus. He might miss the freeways, service exits, rest areas and the EZPass. He might miss Dunkin donuts, iHop and Starbucks. He might miss smiling and wishing unknown people. He might miss getting everything from movie ticket to flight tickets at kiosks. He might miss explaining good stuff about India to firang clients/colleagues. He might miss Falafel and Chipotle. He might miss the snow and the shoveling of snow in winter. He might miss being pulled over by the cops.

But he feels good about the move with a lot more good things to look forward to.

All said and done, he can't believe what started a 6 week travel has transformed into a 6 year stay in this country. And after this long, it is always hard for one to say good bye to a place that has (almost) been home! With a hard feeling of thanking this country which has seen him grow from a boy to a man, he looks forward to the touch down of the flight at Anna International airport in the next couple of months!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Endhiran...

...one half of the movie is very good. The other half is as bad! Trimming about 20 mins would have made this a great tamil movie!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Deer and the midnight drama!

On Friday evening I was browsing through Star trail pictures online and got all enthusiastic about it. So, I tried setting up my tripod and camera in my balcony and took a few test pictures (each exposed for about 10 minutes), even liked one of the pictures and uploaded in Flickr. But I was not hugely satisfied due to inherent light pollution in my area (due to shops and commercial establishments). I wanted to go a remote place that’s fairly dark. So, I went to Valley forge national park (though the website said they'll close at dark, I took my chances).

Once I reached there, I expected at least one cop car, but I saw none. So, I entered the park and as I drove very slowly through the park, I saw about 10 to 15 deer every few yards. It was slightly weird as I have never seen so many deer at one place. Most of them were asleep on the roads and got up to move on after staring at my headlights for a moment or two. There is this strange behavior in deer, they stare at you for a few seconds before they make up their mind. The problem is during those few seconds, you can’t say what they are thinking!

I reached the spot where the star trails photograph will be better (or at least so I thought to myself!). That particular spot had completely open skies and a soldier's hut in the foreground (which is important from a reference point perspective in star trails photography). I stopped the car, but was very reluctant to get off the car as there were deer everywhere. I contemplated for a while and then said to myself 'what the heck?! These are deer after all! It’s not like they will attack me!'. Still to be on the safer side, I left my headlights on and took my camera equipment and started walking towards the deer.

In about 5 seconds, my headlights went off (damn those auto off feature!) and I froze right there. Earlier when I mentioned that deer stare at you for a few seconds before they make up their mind, change it to minutes. I stood there and waited for the deer to move out of my way. So did the deer. I wouldn’t say it was pitch dark, but I could not see much except for hazy things (which I assumed were deer!). After a few minutes, I lost my patience and slowly started walking towards them. As I was walking, it dawned on me that deer can see very clearly in the dark. Yet those shitty creatures were staring at me without making any move. As I walked closer, I saw them getting up and slowly moving away from me. Good for me, I setup the tripod and spent the next one hour trying to take photos from different angles, lighting (or the lack of it), etc., It was quite silent and an eerie experience.

As I was taking pictures, I kept all my senses on high-alert observing any slightest movements in the bushes or any noise around. Though the deer pack never came back, it was quite a humbling experience.

A few lessons I learnt from this short adventure of mine:

1. Never try star trail pictures on the day next to a full moon day.
2. Start a little early rather than at midnight. I think around 10pm might be the right time.
3. Select a place which has zero light pollution.
4. If you can, try and stay away from the sleeping deer.

Anyways, this is the picture that turned out:

I most likely will try this again some time!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Excitement!

After a long time Kabali did not feel a thing when he shelled out a little more than 1500 bucks on an electronic item. He has always observed a behavior in himself that most people might consider a little strange: Whenever he spends more than a few hours browsing about a product online, it only means one thing: he will be ordering it very shortly. However, for this one, he took more than a few days to take a decision. Maybe he is growing up. Maybe he is becoming more responsible in life.

But the bottom line is he is pretty excited right now. After much of mental deliberations, he got himself a Canon 7D Digital SLR. Having been an ardent fan and an avid user of Canon cameras, he feels the need to upgrade, as his current camera is, well, not so current. Now that Canon 7D has arrived, nothing seems more important to him - not his Macbook, not his Wii, only his camera, not even TV.

He is all the more excited as he is leaving on a week's trip to Germany and Amsterdam where he thinks he can smoke weed all day and take as many pictures as he likes. He is not sure about one thing though, as to which will get him higher, the weed or his new camera. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

For a serious aspirer in him, one has to give some time and see if he becomes a professional in getting 'high'.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Inception...

...fucking mind-blowing!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavanan

This review is in reference to Raavanan and not Ravan.

If you are a Mani Ratnam fan and you step in to the movie theatre with that notion, you'll certainly not be disappointed. Though the movie begins slowly leaving the viewer not much of a choice but to wonder what the heck is going on, it picks up pace and before you realize, you reach the intermission. Then comes the real treat.

I liked the second half much much better than the first half. All references to Ramayana (either direct or indirect) make one realize only Maniratnam can pull such things off with his well thought out story line. I loved the way how the story showcases the incidents from Ramayana such as Surpanaga (Ravana's sister and as to how the whole story erupts from her incident), Vibheeshana being a slightly good/smarter guy in an otherwise 'Arakkar' clan, the 'hide and kill' Vaali episode (though indirect), most of the actions of Hanuman and of course the 'lie detector' usage against Sita.

Some of these references while being direct, some of the others were dragged into the story, but never did I think it did not make sense at any point. Though the story itself is a major success for the movie, the best part according to me is the location and the camera work. The amount of diligent thought and hard work that has gone into researching the location for every single scene becomes evident as one watches the movie.

The 'bridge' fight towards the end of the movie was breathtaking. I couldn't say if any technical assistance/graphics went into the contribution of the fight sequence here, but my eyes could detect none. I would rate that as one of the best fighting sequences made in any tamil movie (though not long enough!). Music by thala A R Rahman was pretty decent (I refer to BGM and not songs here).

Climax is a very important part of any movie as it creates the final impression with which the viewer walks out of the movie hall and just as in every one of his movies, Mani has created a climax that can't be more fitting than this. Though I could think of 3 to 4 different ways this movie could have ended, Mani definitely steered the movie to the best climax one could think of! I liked this movie more because of the climax than all the other aspects put together.

Through out the movie, there are multiple times when you think Prithviraj as the hero and Vikram as the villain and that sort of keeps alternating. The whole flow of emotions in the viewer's mind is well perceived by Mani. The topic of who ends up as the hero/villain is indeed debatable and as I walked out the theatre, I felt neither of them can be called as the hero nor the villain. I felt the characters had their own reasoning.

I give pretty much all the credit to Mani, but to be fair, Vikram, Prithviraj and Aiswarya have all done their role very well. Prabhu, Karthik and Priyamani were so-so (not that they had a strong role anyways!)

This movie simplistically explains how an epic can be delineated in today's world, that too in a different style. Overall, this movie is a definite watch once at least, if not more than once!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Karate kid...

The movie starts like the tamil movie Anjali, moves on slowly like Kung Fu panda and then creates a style of its own leaving the viewers excited most of the time. The movie has quite a lot of humorous moments (having Jackie Chan in the movie and well thought out scenes). Jackie chan has played a different role, commendably well done. It gave me a feeling as if he was looking to perform such a role for a long time now. Will Smith's son, I'm sure has a great acting career ahead of him. Just like in Pursuit of Happiness, he has the charm of fitting to any role he plays.

The movie showcases a lot of chinese culture and a lot of kung fu (both of which I attribute to the Jackie Chan effect). Like many sports movies, this one ends with a nicely sequenced Kung Fu tournament where our hero wins closely.

It is certainly one of the awesomest and 'feel good' movies I have seen in the recent times!

P.S: And if you see a black kid doing some kung fu moves on the streets, he probably watched this movie very recently!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Humans and their idioms!

Today, in a meeting at work, I heard one of my collegues say 'To kill two birds in one stone'. Though I have heard it a million times, this time it made thinking. It occured to me what if birds start to think in the same lines about humans, such as 'to hit two human heads in one shit drop' or something like that. I smiled to myself gently and started listening to whatever was then the active conversation. At the back of my mind 'hit two heads in one shit drop' kept lingering on, as if it needed to be extended to other such creative imaginations or at least a blogpost.

Then I started thinking about random phrases people say without thinking of the subject involved in the phrase. Humans give themselves the right to write idioms about all random things on earth without asking anyone about it. They just gain undefined superiority over everything.

I guess the human race would understand only when other creatures start writing idioms about them. For example, a pet dog saying 'a screaming human seldom beats'. Or a little bird saying 'an early head gets the shit' or 'a head in sight is worth two in the house' might teach them a lesson or two.

But who knows if they already do in their own language! But one thing I'm pretty sure is that they don't drag everything they see on sight to write idioms, unlike Humans. Sun never says stuff like 'Make sunstroke while the dude walks' or the daylight does not say 'beat the living tubelights out of him' or the mud does not say 'as clear as man'.

There absolutely is no point in creating analogies using idioms. As if the way people formed languages and words in languages is not enough, they went a step ahead and started thinking of such idioms too.

The kind of stuff humans do with their brains, Gods like Me can never fathom!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Impulse..

I have an impulse to write a post on my trip to India, but did not want to go against my track record of keeping all my recent posts fairly small. Writing a small post on India trip is simply unfair, which is when I realized I have a travel blogspot just for this purpose. So, if you are interested, check the post here with a few pictures.

If not, forget it!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Paiyya..

...it shouldn't have been just Paiyya.

Thu!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Angadi Theru...

...too much of reality.

I have never liked it in movies.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

iSneeze, iTravel

Before I stepped into the meeting room at work, I put a gum into my mouth and sneeed four times. My colleague diligently kept saying 'bless ya' every single time I sneezed. It was not new to me. Once I'm done, he gave me a strange look and asked if I'm alright. I smiled and kept walking into the room.

Everytime I eat a gum (with mint flavor), I sneeze. I don't sneeze five times or three times. I sneeze exactly four times. I wonder if my body has a timer or something. And what is even more strange is when I see the sun in the mornings while going to work, I sneeze. I stop, sneeze four times and then get into the car. After four times, the sneeze stops abruptly as if its done for the day. I'm at a point where I consider this almost a ritual.

It is not just me who has strange mannerisms like these. There are things around me that are slightly weird too. When I unlock my work laptop in the mornings, I type Ctrl+Alt+Del exactly thrice before it wakes up. I have tried hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del twice and waiting for a few minutes. The laptop would not respond. For some reason likes to be hit thrice.

Even my iphone cranks up once in a while and when I receive a call, the sign 'slide to answer' will not respond no matter how much I slide (I have tried to slide like hell, with all fingers, even toes at times!). I need to slide slowly exactly four times before the call gets answered.

I have more rituals like these if you are interested. Every time I travel to India on vacation, I bring up the topic in any unrelated conversation (like this). And then once I reach India, as if its a birth right of every Indian who travels to India on vacation, I write about how much Chennai has changed in terms of lifestyle and how much the city has not changed in terms of climate and traffic. I consider that sinful if I don't write my thoughts on India every two years (if not lesser). Its all part of my rituals.

But then you may ask what exactly is the point of this post besides my sneezing habits and intimating people of my India trip. There is none.

When has there been a point while one writes a blogpost anyways?!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya

After watching the movie, I remember more lame scenes than sane ones. I remember more lame dialogues than good ones. Simbu absolutely lacked screen presence and his dialogue delivery is pathetic. Script/screenplay looked very 'ungowtham-Menon-like'. Such a 'beaten-to-death' story too. Only good thing about the movie is the music. Though I sort of liked the last 10 minuetes, to sit through 2 hours of what led to it is totally not worth it.

If gowtham menon thinks he is one of the great directors in tamil film industry, its time he rethinks that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shutter Island

The movie begins with thundering bgm giving a erie feeling to the whole initial thought process of the viewer. The lighting and the camera perspective adds to the effect of the island that has the facility for the criminally insane people.

Frame after frame, the movie keeps the viewer guessing and the momemtum continues till the very end. For some people, the guessing might continue even after the end.

A great fitting climax, suspenseful storyline, excellent characterization - all make it a fantastic movie. Go watch!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Series called Life - first episode

Life had been treating him very well. He'd bought himself a Wii console a couple of weeks ago and a whole suite of games too. Amazing how the game brought forth his inner childhood. But like a reality check, his parents had been asking him about his wedding plans very now and then for a few months now, ever since they found out about the girl. He just had to to give them a date for the wedding. They are ready to take off and fly like rockets once he gave the 'Go'. But he wouldn't , not so easily.

About two months ago, he went on a backpacking trip with her to Havasu Falls in Grand Canyon area. They camped alongside a creek, not too far from the turquoise Havasupai falls. They were cozy inside the tent in spite of it being a fairly cold evening. The place was quite dark except for the moonlight shimmering slightly through the tent. After few minutes of chatting and laughing about some random stuff, he casually took a small box out of his pocket and opened it.

With his usual smile, he told her that he loved her more than anything in this world and asked her if she would like to marry him. He had a ring in his hands. She did not expect it. She was surprised, shocked and slowly smiled, only to nod her head and say 'Yes'.

To him, it all seemed very matter of fact, like asking her to go to Burger King and get some fries. More than the very act of asking her, the preparation that went into the whole proposal seemed big to him. He had to surprise her, which meant hiding a lot of information from her. He had to buy the ring, pack it in a way that she wouldn't find it, have it safe in the pockets of his Cargo pants, which he planned to wear for the 10-mile hike to get to the falls. Quite a lot of meticulous planning went into it, he gave himself a pat on his shoulder.

All the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place slowly. He looked at all his single friends and mocked them in his own style. He was almost always seen as a happy person. For a committment phobe like him, getting ready for a serious relationship seemed strange! Very much unlike himself, he thought. And then one fine day, he was bored at work. And blogged the story.

Second episode here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

3 idiots

...bollywoodish.

Fun and entertaining, but as against the whole 'Five point someone' controversy, I hardly saw the movie made out of the book. A few scenes here and there, but overall the movie is quite different from the book. Chetan Bhagat by the way...ok, why mention it.

Few thoughts:

1. Aamir khan is very good, he sure can pull off any role with ease.
2. Madhavan, in his right senses, should never accept a college student role. Not even after he loses 20 pounds.
3. Second half of the movie was better than the first half.
4. Kareena Kapoor's sister is very good looking. Sure, better than Kareena.
5. I made myself a promise to visit Ladakh once in life.

Up in the air..

...makes one wonder if people do such things in life. George Clooney is a professional hired to fire people. He travels around the country visiting companies that are downsizing people. He travels way too much (about 300 days in a year) and his sole aim is to get 10 million frequent flier miles. The movie revolves around his lifestyle, his relationships and philosophies in life. Barring a few scenes that are slightly humorous, the movie makes the audience wait for something eventful to happen in the movie, which indeed does not.

I should call such movies 'straight-line' ones.

[P.S: Unless you visit the theatre to watch a movie you want to watch and that movie is booked and you dont have another choice, dont choose this movie!]