Friday, March 26, 2010

WMP7 review

Okay writing a blog post after around 18 months ! I guess i just have been very lazy, infact this alone took a week of lazy writing :). Anyway now to the post.

Have been reading several details on Windows Phone 7 Series lately. Here's my take on it. First of all it's a completely revamped UI, unlike any other windows phone. From the first impressions it seems visually stunning. It's minimal UI (like zune's), with just icons ('tiles' as they call them) on the home screen. Here is what i think are the goods and the bads about it.

Good

1) Tiles - It's kind of icons which can be anything - shortcut to apps, playlist, contact, bookmark, widget or hubs (see 2) or just about anything. This is highly configurable which is great. Tiles are arranged in vertical order. There can be either 2 small tiles in 1 row or a single big tile in a row. All in all a really exciting concept.

2) Hubs - This is probably the most interesting concept in WMP7 series. Hubs as Microsoft describes it is 'an app that makes sense of your apps'. There are hubs for people, pictures, games, music/video, marketplace etc. Hubs have horizontal scrolling interface with scrollable data streams. Like the 'people' hub has updates of your contacts on gmail, exchange, facebook, twitter, live etc. Fairly similar to motoblur. 'pictures' hub gathers images from various sources local/live/cloud/other galleries. Where things get more interesting is that MS has allowed 3rd party apps to integrate with these hubs. So like you can have a image editor 'plugin' installed in the pictures hub to edit any image. Fairly cool feature that.

3) Fast processor, DirectX 9 support - It uses 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 256MB+ RAM and supports DirectX 9, good for gaming.

4) Nice integration with Xbox Live - WMP7 has been neatly integrated with Xbox Live. You can play Xbox Live games over it, earn achievement points for your Xbox Live acct, see notifications to play your turn in 'Turn based games' in games hub.

5) Interesting push notification system - Like iPhone, WMP7 is not going to support general multitasking so it provides a similar notification system instead where apps can pop up notifications of certain events. With an interesting addition of allowing even the foreground apps to do notification of events instead of doing refresh every few seconds (to save battery)

6) DivX support - It supports playback of DivX videos which is great.

7) Limited hardware specs - Microsoft has standardized the hardware specs on which WMP7 can be run (See details specs in the engadget link at the end). This is a good thing IMO as they would be able to push WMP7 updates quicker to all phones, unlike Android platform where it takes several months for an update to be available for a particular android phone.

Bad

1) No flash - Really ? Well atleast not initially, lets hope they add it soon.

2) No expandable memory - This might be a deal breaker for people who watch movies/videos extensively.

3) No marketplace - There's just app store like Apple's. I just hope it doesn't have same 'random' app rejections as we saw for iPhone apps. We are told they won't reject any app for duplication.

4) No copy paste - Why ! Just why ? No we don't buy the idea that copy paste is useless just because iPhone sold several million units without it.

5) No real multitasking - Again another imitation of Apple policies. Similar substitute in push notifications. Atleast we are told they will allow streaming apps to run in background, i sure hope that's the case !

6) Customization - It's unsure how many customization options it will have. Like to change theme, blocking updates of some select contacts in people hubs, or to have static tiles (to preserve battery)

After looking at this i am pretty impressed but i don't think i am going to fall for a WMP7 in near future atleast. Few reasons:

1) With all these live tiles and their background updates i am very skeptical about its battery life.

2) It's still several months away, and it's not sure how developers are going to embrace it. Let's see the kind of apps that come up for it.

3) Having used iPhone for almost 2 years i am tired to Apple's evilness and stubbornness to add basic stuff like flash, copy-paste. By the looks of it MSFT are thinking if it worked for Apple it can work for us too. Well atleast i am not in mood to go through same cycle again. I'll probably just grab an Android :)

4) Because this is a Microsoft thing ?

5) Last but not the least, infact the biggest reason for skipping WMP7 is the upcoming HTC EVO 4G !! Sensational specs, really looking  forward to it.

Most of my review was based upon this engadget article. Hopefully i will be lot more regular in blogging in future :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random funde

Okay i lied, not exactly random :). I wrote this for something but it couldn't be used their so thought of putting it here. These are some funde from my all time favorite movie Shawshank Redemption. If someone reading this hasn't seen the movie then they should stop right here and go n watch the movie ! If one ever wants an example of motivation, persistence and self-belief, there's none better than one from the legendary movie 'The Shawshank Redemption'. The movie is based upon a novel 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption' by Stephen King. The movie tells a story of Andy Dufresne who is incorrectly sentenced for two life imprisonments for killing his wife and her lover. The movie shows how inspite of all the difficult circumstances Andy Dufresne keeps the self-belief to not only plan his escape from prison but also motivate his friend Red to get out of it. The whole movie can be summarized by three of its dialogues (yeah it has too many good dialogues to choose from but still):

1. "Get busy living, or get busy dying.": If ever there was a list of most motivational quotes ever this will end up right at the top. The movie shows what all hardships Andy had to face, starting with her wife cheating on her, being sentenced falsely for murder of his wife and her lover, the hostile prison environment, regular beatings from his inmates and so on. But inspite of all these things he lived as if he was just living a "normal" life. He would carve chess pieces out of rocks to complete a chess board, build a great prison library, help a young inmate with his studies and not to mention helping out the guards with their tax returns and helping warden with his scams. When one is in difficult situtations(as Andy was) it is very easy to lose hope and focus, one starts to blame the other people, circumstances and infact everything for his current situation rather than trying to get over this difficult phase with complete dedication and persistence. This is what the other inmates like Red were doing, they had resigned to their situation by calling themselves "instutionalized", but Andy said that it all comes down to a simple choice - "Get busy living, or get busy dying". Either you can "die" by cribbing about the past and all the wrong things being done to you, or you can decide to "live" and find a way out of your troubles. The path to "die" maybe easier but it leads to nothing in the long run, while the path to "live" can be really difficult and long (around 20 years in this case for Andy), but the results are far greater (living a "free" life in this case). Everyone confronts diffcult situations in their lives, but its very important to keep your focus and persistence and get through those difficult periods. Overcoming each difficult situation only makes the you stronger.

2. "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of the things and no good thing ever dies": Hope. If you don't hope for anything you won't succeed in life. You have to dream in life, if you don't dream and hope for anything then you won't work to fullfil that dream and hence you probably won't succeed in life. So the key is to dream of something good, dream of something which makes you happy, dream of something you always want to do in life and then work with complete dedication towards achieving that dream. You might face a lot of difficulties in it, but that happy and successful feeling, you get when you achieve that dream is worth every ounce of effort. In the movie Andy dreamed that he will go to Zihautenejo, a town in Mexico. He went through all the hardships, "he crawled through half a mile of foul smelling shit to come out clean on the other side". It was this dream and his belief in that dream, that helped him get through each difficult circumstances and eventually get out of that prison and reach his destination.

3. "Salvation lies within": Basically you have to save you own ass :)

Yeah i know quite a serious talk, but its okay for once in a while i guess :D

Monday, August 11, 2008

Firsts

It's been close to 8 months since i came here. And in these 8 months there have been a lot of firsts for me. Starting off with my first plane journey and first foreign visit to these:

-> First snow fall experience (NJ)
-> First time watching the ocean (Pacific)
-> First time going to a beach
-> First IMAX experience (Dark Knight)
-> A road trip
-> Cruise
-> Hike
-> Walking across golden gate bridge
-> Playing soccer at beach
-> Having BBQ
-> Live music concert (Linkin' park this saturday!!!)

I hope there are a lot more to come :). Writing after a long time, have been pretty busy with work in last 2 weeks or so..meanwhile the soccer/football season is starting next week. Couldn't wait for more. Hope to write more frequently :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

A New Life

Just a couple of days ago i completed 2 months in US. It has been a start of a completely new life for me. On Jan 14th for the first time i boarded a plane and that too for a 15 and half hours flight to NJ. It was a decent experience overall. I had taken a window seat just to enjoy the view from the plane, but i realized it late that throughout my journey i'll be in night sky so nothing was visible :). The staff was quite friendly, but the in-flight entertainment was pathetic to say the least. It did had a personal screen but the choice of movies, songs and programs on those were simply awful. So i had to re read my fav novel 'Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy' by Douglas Adams. I hardly got a 3-4 hr sleep, so it got a tad boring journey. On Jan 15th early morning i landed at EWR airport took the baggage and got a shock to see my cab driver in a suit and a big car. This was all about reaching US.

After reaching here my new life begun. I have taken the biggest risk of my life, in what so far had been a pretty copy-book life. This is my attempt at breaking free. So the first one and a half month of my stay mostly involved studying for interviews and giving interviews. In between those i went to NY a couple of times, watched several movies, went to CA for interview, dealt with a few complex situations and that's just about it :). Till now i can say the people here are quite friendly, the country is far more organized, the place is more colder.
On just my second day here i dared to walk from the train station to my guest house which was about 1.5 miles and i was just vaguely aware of the path. And pretty obviously i got lost :). I was without a phone in that chilling winter evening, and unlike India its pretty hard to find pedestrians here whom i could have asked for the directions. I knew i was somewhere pretty close to my place but still not there. I asked for the directions at couple of shops and a few ppl as well. One of the showroom person gave me a printout of the exact map to my guesthouse from his place !! It was great. And it was only after reaching that i realized that i had passed my guest house atleast 3-4 times but just couldn't recognize it as i came from its back side ! In all i spent around 3 hrs roaming around just like that !


Since last 2 weeks am doing nothing, i've been spending almost whole of my time sleeping, watching movies and playing FIFA 2008. Meanwhile i have also broken a long dry spell of not writing a blog post for almost 2 years. Now am just waiting for my joining date to start working at a place i wanted to work at since i planned to come here, not to mention am waiting eagerly to work at hot shot company am gonna join there. With that my new life will really begin !

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Om Shanti Om

I haven't wrote a blog post in ages and today i have finally decided to overcome my laziness :). A few weeks ago i finally saw the movie Om Shanti Om. Wanted to write a blog post immediately but have been pretty busy lately with my new life. First of all this is not a review of the movie these are my general views.

I would start by saying that Om Shanti Om isn't a movie, it's a fantasy of an actor who has realized that he has now achieved everything in his career and has now decided to do things which he always wanted to do ! There will be pretty few people in this world who might be doing exactly what they want to do in life, infact some of them might just be in a completely different profession than what they love. But even if they are in same profession as what they love they still have one or more desires to do somethings the way "they" want it. Somehow there are very few people who are actually able to fulfill these desires because of lack of opportunities, lack of finance or some other reason like that. But there are a certain few people who are able to complete these desires. These people are the ones who have already achieved so much in life that they are then completely free to experiment and hence fulfill their life long dreams. This is simply what Shahrukh Khan (SRK) seems to be doing lately. He is doing roles which he has always dreamt of doing like portraying Don. A lot of people say he is copying, he is not doing anything original or things like that. But he doesn't care as he has grown in a stature which is above all these things, he now is simply living his life the way he wants it to be.

If Don was simply a remake (with a little change in story) of the original Don, Om Shanti Om was a complete fantasy. Not only did he relived Rishi Kapoor in Karz but also did things which he would have dreamt of like bringing almost entire film industry on screen in a single song and a few other things as well. As i see, the aim of making this movie seems to be that making of it should be atleast as much fun (if not more) as its viewing. Its not a movie for the critics, its a movie for people who like casual fun movies.

With this i finally complete one post after almost 2 years !! I hope to write more frequently now as i have lots to say !

Friday, June 09, 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006

Today is June 9th and tonight FIFA World Cup 2006 is gonna start. Just over 5 hours remain for this biggest event of the year. So here i look at some of the World Cup favorite teams and about their chances.

1. Brazil: Any discussion about football anywhere in this world will always have some mention of Brazil. As most of the World Cups, the 5-time world cup champions start as an overwhelming favorites to win the cup. Their squad boasts of players like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Adriano, Roberto Carlos, Kaka, Cafu et al. Each one of them is playing in one or the other big clubs of Europe like Barca, Real Madrid, Inter, Milan. Ronaldinho is arguably the best footballer at present. He is currently the 2 time FIFA World Player of the Year this to go with European Player of the Year. He has already won Spanish League, Champions League and Spanish Cup for his team Barca and he is almost as eager (if not more) to win the biggest prize in the game for the 2nd year running. This Brazilian team is filled with attacking players and as one commentator said in the last world cup "Anyone in this yellow shirt can score the goal, they come from anywhere and everywhere". This phrase is pretty apt for Brazilian players. Any team who want to win against them will have to play it hard way and will have to stifle these creative players like Ronaldinho, Kaka and Ronaldo. Surely this aint the easiest of the jobs. But afterall its a game, and anything can happen on the day. Infact this is the line which will be giving all other teams the hope of winning the world cup.

2. England: For me, they have their biggest chance of winning the World Cup. They have an enviable defence with the likes of Ferdindad, Terry, Carragher, Campbell, Neville. I guess they have the meanest defense amongst all teams. Their midfield is also pretty strong with Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham. With Rooney seemingly match fit, they have a pretty good strike force as well, with Owen partnering Rooney upfront. Their bench strength though looks a bit weak especially in midfield and strikers. But still they have a pretty good squad and to me their are the 2nd biggest favorites to win the cup.

3. Argentina: Argentina's squad is a pretty young and talented squad. They have creative players like Messi and Riquelme in their midfield and with Crespo upfront they are a very potent strike force. They also have players like Sorin, Ayala. They again are one of the contenders for the cup.

4. Czech Republic: Czechs are a pretty good side as well. They are driven by there never-tiring captain Nedved. This man is full of enery and is driving most of their attacks. He is the key to Czechs World Cup performance. They have other good players like Baros, Koller, Smicer and Chelsea keeper Cech. They too are a good contenders for the cup.

5. France: France is an ageing team with lotsa players like Zidane playing there last World Cup, but as they say form is temporary class is permanent. The old war horses might just do some wonders with Thierry Henry, one of the best strikers around, upfront.

6. Italy: Italy as always are one of the meanest defences with Nesta, arguably the best central defender in their team. They are a pretty hard working team and with players like Totti, Nesta, Buffon, Del Piero, Pirlo, Inzaghi, Giardino they have a decent chance here.

7. Germany: Okay, so finally here are the hosts of the World Cup as the 7th favorite for me. Driven by Michael Ballack and kept by likes of Lehmann and Kahn they are another team in moulds of Italy. Pretty hard at defence and a decent attacking prowess.

Okay, that's all with my world cup favs. There are few other good teams like Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, who knows even one of these might just spring a pretty big surprise :).

Now just waiting for the World Cup finals to start !! May the best team win.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fanaa - movie review


Fanaa, originally uploaded by Kon ??.

Well above is a picture of a person who slept while watching the movie Fanaa on the first day. Do i still need to tell the review ?

Before telling the review, i assure there's no spoiler in the review (its a diff. matter that the movie hardly has any suspense, but still am not telling any critical story part here)

So yesterday night i went to watch Fanaa with few of my friends. The movie had a great hype especially coz of Kajol coming back to the movie after 5 yrs and also Aamir Khan was starring in it. The movie also had a good share of controversies, the best one was the movie-makers demanding more share of the profit from the cinema halls.

The movie starts with a blind Kajol :( with her parents Kiron Kher and Rishi Kapoor. After a few "emotional" scenes Kajol with few other gals go to Delhi for perfoming on 26th Janurary function. Here enters Aamir Khan, the tourist guide. His entry brings a flood of shero-shayari. There's a sher every other line. At first it sounds good, but after a while it become way too much and we kept wondering is the whole movie is going to be like this :). After about 20-odd minutes of these shero-shayari movie gets to normal dialogues !! The origin of the love story seems so fictitous. There was a song in Taxi no. 9211 - "Ek nazar mein bhi pyaar hota hai", here the funda seems "Ek sher mein bhi pyaar hota hai" :D. It was funny to see the way Aamir kept flirting with his shers, winks and fliying kisses throughout without any of the girls getting "real" angry. Man, if only it had been like this in real life :D. In just 7 days everything happens, from their meeting to them "making love" !! lolz........

The movie has a pretty typical bollywood movie story with a pretty typical ending ! Nothing exceptional, just simple and plain mundane stuff.

The 3 best things about the movie are:
1. Kajol (yes, she looks as good as ever !)
2. 2 songs (Chand Sifarish and Mere Haath mein)
3. Rehan, the kid

That's just about the few good things the movie has. I will rate it 4.5 out of 10. Vaise luckily for me i was watching it as part of a treat, not spending my money over it :)