Idiot

Hey you, yes you! If you really think some ball of gas or rock somewhere in the space affects your life in any way or you being born on a certain day after a certain number of days of some random point in human history and the assumed position of objects in space at that particular moment has any bearing on how your life will turn out to be or that you can somehow change all that by wearing some ornaments made of specific kind of material or doing silly things like throwing random stuff into fire and chanting loudly cryptic sounding nonsense, not a single word of which you understand…. then let me tell you, you are an idiot! Yes I D I O T, idiot.

Thank you.

New laptop Lenovo Y510P

My old Dell finally gave up a couple of weeks back. I used it for almost 4 years. Pretty good considering that my previous Compaqs barely lasted two. So I needed a new laptop. Unlike a mobile or tablet there’s not much variety in laptops. The new one was going to be pretty much the same as my last one. However I had only one thing on my wishlist for the new laptop – full HD (1920 x 1080p) display. It’s amazing that my phone which has a 5 inch screen has a full HD display, while laptops with 15.6” screen were mostly limited to 1366 x 768. So I thought maybe I can get a laptop with a better resolution this time.

My Dell experience had been good but I wanted to try out another brand this time. HP was strictly out of question due to the bad memories of Compaq. Lenovo and Asus were consistently rated as sturdy laptops online and I had heard some good things about Lenovo too. My wife had a Lenovo in her old job and that looked like a solid machine.

Z510Searching online I came across Lenovo Z series laptops. Z510 looked like a stellar machine with i7, 8GB RAM, 2GB graphics and full HD display. It was for around 60K (INR) and I got a 3000 off coupon from ebay so I purchased it, and my transaction failed! For the first time in my 50+ transactions on ebay a transaction failed. Money was debited from my card but ebay did not receive it because of a technical fault at the gateway level. After a few phone calls and emails to both ebay and my bank I was able to get my money back, but that meant I now had to place a new order.

Now since I had time on my hands I decided to check out the model personally at a store. A few reviews on FlipKart had mentioned that Z510 did not have a full HD display after all, so I went to a store and checked the machine and yes it was not full HD! That was an i5 model. I called up an authorised Lenovo shop and asked them if i7 model of Z510 had full HD and they confirmed to me that Z series did not have full HD, but Y series had. So even though it says so on Lenovo India’s website as you can see on the screenshot Z510 actually does not have full HD resolution.
So I looked at Y510P. The i7 model was very expensive at 84K+. I did not want to spend more than 60K on the laptop, next best was the i5 model, and searching online I found a great deal on FlipKart for 59,750. So I bought that one.

Important specs –

Lenovo Ideapad Y510p (59-389687)
Intel I5-4200M
15.6 FHD LED GLARE
8G RAM
1TB 5400 RPM HDD
N14P-GT1 Graphics with 2G RAM
2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0
Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit LAN, WiFi, DVD writer – standard stuff
JBL speakers

Looks
The laptop looks damn sexy with the red backlit keyboard and trendy looking speakers. I haven’t put speakers to much use yet, but they are way better than my Dell. USB 3.0 is really fast. I can tell the difference when I copy files over on to my WD backup drive.

Y510P
With the new laptop comes the usual pain of installing all your software and setting up things as they were on your old laptop. But this time I have decided to install the software only as and when I require them. After 4 years of use my last laptop had so much of stuff just lying around…. It’s good to start from scratch.

Now this laptop has some kick ass graphics power with 2GB dedicated graphics RAM. I haven’t played games on my computer in a long time. Actually I have never been a big gamer. The only genre of computer games I ever enjoyed playing was RTS games and Age of Empires series of games and its offshoots is all I have played. Now I am looking for some games to play on this new laptop though.

Okay Full HD resolution. This one does have full HD, AND now I know why laptops mostly don’t have higher resolution – the 15 inches screen is just too small for full HD. Things are super tiny, I set the display to 125% and that makes fonts blurry (Mac like) in many applications and images in browsers look funny. Only if I am watching a 1080p movie will the resolution be of any use, but I’d rather watch that movie on my TV rather than laptop! So full HD on laptop is not really worth it.

The only problem that I have faced with this laptop is that on the touchpad instead of having buttons for left and right mouse click, it has clickable surface. And it is hard. You have to press is hard as opposed to a gentle press on the buttons of Dell. I mostly use a mouse so it doesn’t affect much but without mouse things get a bit difficult. The touch pad also has gestures and other such gimmickry which I did not find very useful. Come Lenovo on it’s not a Macbook.

Macbook, did I consider Macbook? I did. Macbook Air. But then most of my productive money making work happens on Windows. For a couple of weeks when I did not have my laptop I was using the Mac mini, I liked a few things and I did not like some other things. But my productivity took a real hit. I am so used to Windows and there are software on Windows which I have customised according to my needs, I have even created a bunch of apps that help me manage my business. I felt handicapped without them. Now I can make a dual boot system on Mac but then why should I pay the exorbitant price of a Mac if I am going to install Windows on it! So no Mac.

I am hoping this one lasts for another 4-5 years.

In conversation with Arvind Kejriwal

You have seen Modi’s fixed Adalat, you have seen farcical interview of Rahul by Arnab. Now here’s an interview or rather interrogation by an openly hostile anchor and frequently asked questions asked directly by the people.

He’s not running away, he’s not blabbering unrelated things. He answers every allegation and clarifies every doubt. Do spend an hour and watch this. You may or may not vote for him but at least watch it.

A song dedicated to feku

Sun lo sari duniya walo

Kitna bhi tum zor laga lo
Karenge fekugiri hum
Jhadu mein dum hai to band karva lo

Feku all night, fekna all right
Fekna our right, fekampatti all night

Aaj trishul khulne do
Chaku talvaar chalne do
Tharre ki bottle pa ke
Dange shange karne do

Bajate raho pungi
Bajate raho pungi
Bajate raho pungi
Bajate raho

Danga all night, murder all night
Rapes all night, we do riots all night

Jisne bhi encounter karna
Aa jao mere state ke bheetar
Police lekar, sabki dhoko bindaas hokar

Jab media bajega loud, to sarkaar CBI bula legi
CBI se keh denge ye police walo ki chaal thi

Encounter all night, goli all right
Kadak image ke liye bhaiya everything is right

Bijli peena, road khana
Development ka gana gaanaa
Daddy ko tu kar de message
Vibrant Gujarat mein aana

Vikas ho raha bot bhayankar
Vikas ke gajab nazare
Dikkat hai bas ek baat ki
Debt mein doobe Gujarati bechare
Nikkar wale sangh ne yu lathiya utha rakhi hain
Aur kuchh to aata nahi hai narebazi laga rakhi hai
Nache dekh re kaise Modi Modi laga rakhi hai
Contribution to ghanta hai, aafat macha rakhi hai

Joothe daave all night, galat history all night
Radio, TV pe kehte we’ll set everything right

Feku all night, fekna all right
Fekna our right, fekampatti all night

ShopClues return policy is a sham!

My friend wanted to buy a new mobile and I convinced him to buy it online. I have been buying electronics online for many years now. So we bought the phone through ShopClues and received the phone. A Nokia Lumia. In a couple of days my friend complained to me that the proximity sensor of the phone wasn’t working properly. The phone wouldn’t lock while talking and it would disconnect if it accidentally touched his face when the call was in progress. ShopClues promises 10 days return policy in case you have a problem with your purchase. So I wrote them and asked for the phone to be replaced.

ShopClues said since it’s a manufacturing defect we have to take it to the service center and get it repaired. No returns or replacements. If we want replacement we need to a get a letter from the service center saying the device was dead on arrival. Which it obviously wasn’t. So essentially we were told to fuck off. The replacement is provided only if a wrong item has been delivered or the item was broken. They have a dropdown box on their return form which asks reason for return and manufacturing defect is one of the reasons. If I can not return an item having manufacturing defect why are you asking for it in the form? Oh and the letter from manufacturer – that has to be procured within 7 days from the date of purchase. And I was informed of that exactly on the seventh day!

Some years back another of my friends had purchased a pen drive from Croma. After about a month the drive stopped working. We went to Croma. They checked it in their computer, checked the invoice and immediately gave him a new pen drive. No fuss. My mother in law purchased a TV from the same Croma store. When we tried to set it up, we found it was dead. Brand new TV, out of the box was dead. We called Croma, initially they asked us to contact the service center, but after we insisted, they gave us another TV.

Some recent bad experiences of other people with online shopping, especially while returning goods bought online has shaken my confidence in online shopping. It looks like the sunny days are over and we are going back to the Indian way of selling. Sell and forget. Customer service, what is that?

We need to give Arvind Kejriwal a chance

Expect the unexpected from Arvind Kejriwal. When he was taunted by the politicians to enter the politics and contest the elections, nobody expected him to actually do it but he did. Nobody expected him to win, but he won. People didn’t expect and some like me didn’t want him to form the government with Congress’ support but he did. You don’t expect a Chief Minister to sit on a dharna, but trust Mr Kejriwal to defy the convention! And now he resigned unexpectedly because his Janlokpal wasn’t passed – it wasn’t even allowed to be tabled.

What Arvind Kejriwal is doing is he is defying the norms. He is challenging the conventional procedures. We are all so used to seeing the politics of a certain kind that we didn’t imagine that there could be another type of politics as well. We all used to think you can not win elections without money power or muscle power. No politician of any hue will dare to utter a word against arguably the most powerful businessman in India – Mukesh Ambani. And here is this guy fighting and wining elections without money, without goons and goes on to file an actual FIR against the mighty Ambani.

Whether what Kejriwal is doing right or wrong doesn’t not matter. At least not now. He needs to be given another chance at power with full majority just because the kind of change he has forced in established political parties. For the first time the established parties have been forced to sit up and take notice and even follow some of the methods of this new outfit with the topics and the mohalla sabhas and the need to cater to common man etc.

Now everyone is quick to jump the gun and deride Kejriwal for resigning and calling it showman martyrdom. But we need to understand what is Kejriwal’s goal. He did not enter into politics to provide good governance, or free water and electricity. He has a single point agenda of ridding India of corruption. He is a crusader against corruption. Janlokpal bill is one way to tackle the menace of corruption. And Kejriwal entered politics, won the elections and formed the government with that one goal in mind – to pass the Janlokpal bill, so if he can’t make the very law for which he became CM, it is really pointless for him to continue to be in power. What use is the power if you can’t exercise it.

We may argue that Janlokpal is not a magic pill that will end all corruption in India overnight. No it won’t. But it is a start. And Kejriwal wants India to make that start. He fought for many years – along with many others of course – for the Right To Information Act. Nobody thought RTI would be of any value. Certainly not the government so they passed it and see what a dangerous weapon it has come out to be. Corrupt are so terrified that they go all the way to murder the RTI activists. A lot of scams have been unearthed, and lot of powerful people have been tried because of the RTI. The corrupt are afraid. It does not stop corruption but it makes easier to find and punish the culprits. Same goes with lokpal. Today we don’t know what it might turn out to be. If with the help of Lokpal even if we manage to nab one powerful politician, it will be worth the effort.

Corruption is one of the biggest hurdles that this country faces. And here is one guy who says he has a possible solution. The least we can do is get our ass off the couch, go out and vote for him. For over 65 years we have voted all sorts of people into power. Let’s give this man one chance. If the Janlokpal bill fails to live up to its promise, we don’t have to vote for Kejriwal again. We can go back to our good old Congress and BJP and let them continue the way they have done.

Samsung NX30 – camera of the future?

Samsung NX30 is some camera! The hardware is definitely stellar but the software with touchscreen and WiFi and NFC and what not is equally 2014! Is Samsung trying to repeat its success in the mobile market with the cameras? Then it is a step in the right direction.

Compact point and shoot cameras are dying because of the smart phones and the category will be wiped out soon. Camera manufacturers were hoping that DSLRs will save them but now even they have started declining. There’s a prediction that other than Canon, Nikon and Sony all other camera manufacturers will disappear and there’s a reason why. Cameras on the phones are good enough to take photos of your party or a display in a mall and post it on Instagram or Facebook. But when it comes to taking real photos – photos that you will preserve and will look at when you are old – you still need a proper camera to do that. Things like low light performance, optical image stabilization, optical zoom, larger better quality sensors, fast shooting mode and some amount of control over how the shot will be taken are important features.

The problem is that the camera manufacturers so far have only concentrated on the camera hardware. More megapixels, more optical zoom, better lens and have completely neglected the software part which is becoming more and more important. Look at any top of the line camera today and the UI is still stuck in 1990s. Hardware is important but so is Software and it seems Samsung is the only manufacturer who is realizing it, may be because of their success in the mobile market – great hardware combined with great software makes a killer product. Apple knew it long back, Samsung understood it in time and now may be they are trying to bring it to the camera world. Other than the NX30 Samsung is coming up with Galaxy Camera 2 – the Android based camera, which means the Galaxy Camera 1 was a success. Interesting days are ahead in the camera world.

Nexus 5 price comparison in India

I am mulling getting a new phone and Nexus 5 is at the top of my list. I was just comparing the prices on various price comparison sites and it turns out none of them are perfect. Here’s the price of Nexus 5 16 GB version as per different comparison sites -

Junglee 27928
MySmartPrice 28999
PriceCheckIndia 29007
MobileCost.in 29900
PriceBaba 29990
FindYogi 29999

Officially Google is selling the phone for 28,999 from the Play Store and MySmartPrice is the only site that includes them on the list. May be others are only including the sites they have affiliated it and so they aren’t including Google but then it defeats the whole purpose of a price comparison engine for a customer.

Junglee even though comes as cheapest where they show the price from iBhejo, they actually list the phone at the price iBhejo has listed that is 30,890 and list the discount separately so you have to do the math yourself.

However when I go to iBhejo I can see that they have a Christmas deal going on where you can get flat 10% off so you can get the phone for 27,801, even lower than what Junglee has listed. So obviously there’s a huge scope of improvement.

The only downside of buying from iBhejo is that the phone will be imported from the US so it will come with a US type charger – not a big deal but the warranty will be of US. If there’s a manufacturing defect within 3 months iBhejo will replace the phone, but if it needs repairs then it will be sent to the US by them and they will get it repaired there. So that is one thing that you have to be mindful of if you decide to save Rs. 1,198 and not buying from Google directly.

I would personally rather buy it from Google and get proper India warranty instead of saving 1200 odd Rupees. Yes unless I was saving a substantial amount say 5000 then may be I would consider taking the risk on warranty. The phone is available for $349 in US (about Rs. 21,650). If I use some hacks to buy Nexus 5 from US Play Store and get it shipped to India it will probably cost me about 26,000 with shipping and custom duties and all, but then again I have to forget about the warranty completely.

Why Rahul Gandhi will never become PM of India

Rahul-Gandhi1I think Rahul Gandhi will never become PM of India. Because he doesn’t want to.

Indian National Congress is increasingly being run as a corporate entity where the promoters are letting professional managers run the day to day business. Gandhi family may not be promoters of Congress but they are letting the Manmohans and Chidambarams and Mukherjees run the daily affairs while they pull the strings from behind without any direct responsibility.

Gandhi family is the glue that binds the Congress together. It keeps the egos of mighty leaders in check. It works two ways, in one way it fixes a supreme leader so there is no internal power struggle among the bigwigs for the top post and at the same time it removes a kind of glass ceiling and gives every leader an opportunity to aim for highest posts of the country – presidency or prime ministership.

Rahul Gandhi is inexperienced and naive and that gives comfort to other big leaders which in turn keeps them in Congress and keeps Congress intact. When there was no Gandhi at helm, Congress was in disarray and out of power. Sonia came and Congress came back to power. A party needs leader. BJP was disorganised till Modi’s emergence as the top leader. Having a single leader boosts morale of the grassroots level workers. It gives the party a face. Till yesterday it was Sonia Gandhi now its Rahul Gandhi. That’s why Congress needs a Gandhi – to be its face.

And then Gandhis give space to others to run the government. It absolves them of taking direct responsibility of government decisions and an escape route in case the government does something unpopular – like the convicted MPs bill scenario where Rahul Gandhi emerged as a saviour and called the bill rubbish after seeing the mood of the public. Day was saved. Rahul got to be hero and Congress saved the face.

Even if Rahul or Sonia may harbour PM ambition for Rahul, they can not risk pitting him against Narendra Modi. Rahul vs Modi is a lost battle as far as Congress is concerned and Modi has won the battle hands down. There is no Modi wave in the country but there certainly isn’t a Rahul wave either and there will never be. BJP and the Sangh parivar have systematically destroyed the image of Rahul Gandhi at least amongst the urban populace.

And it doesn’t look to me that Rahul himself has any interest in becoming PM. He has never taken any position in the cabinet. To me he seems a reluctant politician like his father. But he doesn’t have charisma of his father or of his grand mother and I believe Rahul knows it.

This is what I think but politics is a funny game. You can never be too sure.

I still use Winamp and will continue to do so

Winamp

Winamp is shutting down. It was a great music player once. It still is. But people have moved on, now the music is consumed on smart phones and instead of downloading MP3 files people prefer to stream it thorugh Pandora and Spotify. But I still use Winamp on my laptop – the lite version. Winamp is the best program for the way I like to listen to my music. I don’t get many MP3 these days. I mostly listen to Bollywood stuff and occasionally some International chart buster. I get the MP3 only if I really like an album or songs and would prefer to listen to it even when I do not have Internet access. I mostly organise my MP3 files in folders. I do not listen to songs based on genre or artist. I listen to an entire album and I like to listen in my preferred order and the order keeps changing. I might be listening to all Rockstar songs and I want to start with Sadda Haq followed by other sad songs or on some other day I want to listen all the peppy songs first from Rockstar.

Winamp in its lite version is a very simple music player, I can just double click on a file in Windows Explorer and it will start playing then I can add more songs by right clicking and adding them to the play queue. No time wasting in creating a playlist or anything. I never save playlists because my order of listening music is never same. I also like the ability to reorder songs with dragging and dropping.

enque
I do not like the way how some players only let you sort songs by track number or alphabetically. That’s why I do not like any of the mobile music players. All of them try to be smart and classify songs by genre or artist or album. Boss I know what I want to listen and where the songs is, just let me select a few songs quickly and let me listen to them in the order I want. I really liked the original music player on Android before Google tried to make it smart! It used to let me play songs from a particular folder and order songs by dragging up/down. After Google screwed it up, I had to find another player and found MortPlayer for Android. And I never listen to music on my iPad because the music player just sucks (for my taste)!

As far as I am concerned Winamp continues to whip the Llama’s ass!