May 22, 2011

Another drifts by

My weekends are still the same. 10+ hours of sleep and the rest on my desktop- turns out things don't change much even with a job!

This weekend was a little improvement over the previous ones though.

Atir was in town yesterday and came over briefly before starting for Bangalore. Juber joined us for lunch at Bowl O China, where the only thing good was the trance music they were playing. We departed after a couple of hours chat. And oh, we had some nice nimbu sodas too.

Went to Fast five at Talkie Town with bhaiya. The theater was a far cry from what I heard and the damned AC was off. A blower was switched on after much insistence but just couldn't take out the heat.

The movie was "cliche" from the word go. The action scenes were well shot but the story was straight BS. And (spoiler alert) the thought of dragging an ultra heavy safe through the streets damaging property and life doesn't look too "heroic" to me. The cars were drool worthy though.

One other thing which amused post-movie was the stares bhaiya's sports edition Fiesta got as we were moving out of the parking area. A nice drift would've added to the appeal :-p

Spent the evening watching "Finding Nemo" with my little cousins. Got myself a subtitled, hindi version of the movie to make things easier. Just can't stop marveling at the glorious visual quality!

That's about it.

May 16, 2011

'E'xhileration: Nokia E7

This post comes a full two months late, after all the fizz and sparkle has evidently died down. I've been meaning to "preview" it for quite a while now but time wouldn't let me *smirk*

Bhaiya bought the E7 in March(before it even released in India) for about 30k. The primary motivation for the purchase was the form factor, hardware specs, processor and the addition of a slider keyboard.

Nokia, refusing to let go of it's favorite platform tried with all it's might to revive the smartphone euphoria so brutally stolen by the likes of HTC. It's first attempt was the N8 which was a welcome change. The totally new tapered edge design was awesome and the crisp clearblack display looked to take on other establsihed display technologies.

The new E7 is an improvement in the right design atleast. The software aspect is still a mixed bag.


The device

The weight is a bit on the higher but feels great anyway. The phone is almost the same thickness as N8 even with the slider which is commendable. The build quality is awesome too. Hardware specs are dime a dozen online but here's a link anyway: link


The slider is a bit awkward the first few times. I couldn't get it open with my fingers slipping over it. The keys however are very responsive and the rubbery feel adds to usability. Tactile feedback is barely there though.


The screen is crisp and bright with great colors, text rendered sharp and the blacks dark. I can't do a comparative study here but this is good enough for me.


Connectivity options are aplenty with support for USB devices, an HDMI output, a 3.5mm socket(standard these days), and a micro USB port for charging and data. Wifi, 3G radio, GPRS and bluetooth come standard.


The battery is non-replaceable. Though it saves on space and makes the phone slimmer,the 1200maH capacity leaves a lot to be desired. It would'nt have been too difficult bumping it up to 1500maH.


The camera has a 8mp sensor which might as well been on a basic phone. The pictures are mostly washed out, underexposed and have so much noise... you'd think you used some art effect by mistake. Videos are a saving grace though and the HD
reslution is good enough for casual videos.


The homescreen is highly customisable and there are 3 screens to arrange our apps in. Navigation is great too with crisp icons that look great on the clearblack screen. However, take a look back at the older symbian phones and there isn't much difference. No froyo or mango like updates for symbian.

Nokia has been facing flak for not doing anything to revamp it's dated OS and there was even a time when biggies like Eldar and Engadget refused to review the N8 because it was still on symbian(retreating after they realised what they'd missed). The OS on this one does not do much either. Although there aren't any usability issues as such... the plain vanilla styling and wait for it... APPS is what makes it difficult to accept. Iphone and android phones have thousands and thousands of apps for every age and genre. The Ovi store on the other hand is still very nascent and with the recent Nokia- Microsoft smartphone may well end up dead soon.

Goes without's the OS that brings down this potentially deadly competitor to the big I. Throw in a Windows phone 7 on the same hardware and we'd have a winner on our hands!

The new design is awesome and we want more of these. Not the operating system, however.

Some more pictures:

Note: All photos shot with Sony Alpha 200 with 18-100mm and 50mm 1.7 minolta lens. DIY thermocol box used.

May 14, 2011

What the Font!

Ever find yourself staring at a beautiful font but had no idea how to get it? All the major brands have their own typefaces which define their "Identity and brand" as designers put it. I was making an ad for an "Education Times" competition on Brandpotion when it first occurred to me. Is their a way to know what typeface theses guys use? I found "What the font!" on,and it works as amazingly as it is named!

Here's an example:

Step 1: Get the text. Here's the iconic Nokia typeface. Along with the portrait of two people joining hands, this logo has stood out as one of the most prominent logos and is universally recognized as well. For the nitty gritty on it goto This is a great resource for typographers too.


Step 2 : Crop out everything except the text. The image I used is already clean... there was this little watermark at the bottom, which I cropped out with ACDSee. For newbies even Paint will suffice.


Step 3 : Goto or click here. Upload the cropped file.


Step 4: The scanning algorithm will now try to ID the characters and list them out individually. You can correct the software if it goes wrong or enter a blank where no characters are suppoed to be displayed. and click continue.

Ste5 5: Ta daa! A list of similar fonts is displayed. Some are free and some paid but the plus is you already have a name. Another google search and it shouldn't be too hard getting the font. In this case there is a slight mismatch between the scanned "K" and the one from the results. The rest look fine.


For graphic artists or typographers or anyone looking to do some shady favor to a friend(not recommended), this tool is a blessing.

May 11, 2011


Barring a doctorate degree in science, a job at a research facility and a general penchant for being a 'dic'tator, there are a couple of things I have in common with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Comics, and trains.

I touched on trains in my last post. Rummaging through my cupboard yesterday I found a whole bunch of dusty old comic books and magazines, inspiring my next "booky" blog post!

It all started with Chandamama. Not by definition a comic but the pictures were enough to incite interst in us kids. That scary illustration of vikram and vetal is still very fresh in my mind.

Then came Tinkle

I was in class 6 I think when I got hold of my first copy of Tinkle. I never looked back.... I still have piles of Digests, Double Digests and bi weekly issues lying around. Credit to late Anant Pai for giving us something to grow on when our english reading was still too nascent. I've held on to them inspite of Dad's insistence to sell them off.

It had all the great comings.... humor, a bit of mystery, a page or two of science and "it happened to me", a carefully selected section of interesting encounters.

Rise of X-men

As with everything else western, international comics took a while coming but pretty much blew Tinkle out of the water. But with much bolder themes and the more than occasional questionable illustration, it got little or no attention from Schools and libraries.
I bought a lot of stand alone issues ranging from Powerpuff Girls to Avengers but mostly X-men. Tin Tin and Asterix were also a major drag then and I managed to read them all from our School library. Owning one was out of the question due to their absurd prices. Enough about comics.

Now Mags...

Sometime in 1994, Dad bought this amazing photography magazine which, without doubt, is what got me into photography. Long before i knew how to load film rolls on a camera or fool around with apertures and speeds, this book served as the geek-feast for me....I knew nothing of the array of terms it used... AF illuminators, viewfinders, pentaprisms but I sat glued, flipping through the pages in fascinated glee.

More than 15 years on, it is still just as interesting. Hell, I can see some of my Minolta lenses on it! Pictured above attached to the 9Xi is my 50mm Prime lens!

Chip and Digit. I have a collection so big I can make good moolah selling them off on Abids. But then again....

Why would I? Unlike Sheldon who preserves all his books hoping to get them signed by Stan Lee, I intend to donate them to some rural School.

So what came of all this? I am not sure...but I can safely say this: No amount of TV or "GK study" can make up for what one learns from media like this. Advice to anyone who hates reading- Start with a magazine with lots of pictures. And no cosmopolitan or Stardust. That just kills the purpose.

Have informative books lying around? Don't send them to "raddiwalas", they'll end up getting used for "bhel".

There are thousands of underprivileged children out there. Donate to a school and help make a difference.

May 6, 2011

Thrifty QWERTY

GSMArena acknowledges:

"Normally, phones like the X2-01 stay under our review radar as they rarely excite much interest in our readers. However, the Nokia X2-01 is special. Its Daily Interest rating has hit 35% at the time of writing this. That’s an impressive number for a low-end handset – it equals the daily interest rating of the Google Nexus S and the Motorola DEFY combined"

Razzu managed to get himself one of these after years of frustration typing on T9 and going wary of using sub 2k phones. Now since iOS or android was never an option(for now), I pointed him to this cheap marvel.

Please note this phone was released almost an year ago and there are numerous trusted reviews on this device. This post is an attempt to "review", from my point of view, some noteworthy features in as less text as possible using mostly pictures(and a grainy video soon!)

Some features

Quad-band GSM/EDGE connectivity
2.4" 256K-color display
Series 40 UI, 6th edition
Stereo FM radio with RDS
Bluetooth 2.1 (with EDR)
Standard microUSB port
microSD card slot
3.5mm audio jack- Good audio quality

No Wifi/3G(just wishing)
Crap camera
No USB charging

From afar, this phone can be easily mistaken for the costlier Nokia business phones. Only when held in hand does it really come down to earth: a fairly light plastic chassis and creaking sounds here and there.


The size is just right for use with one or two hands. The buttons give good tactile feedback and I especially like that huge recessed center button on the D-pad. BB users will probably laugh now.


The back is smooth and bare save for the camera(duh!). With a 0.3mp pixel count this camera is as good as none.

Nokia could've skipped it altogether(In any case it was a smart decision, it's selling like hot cakes)


The battery is a standard BL-5C, it's so popular chinese vendors are supplying stuff with the same or similar batteries.


The conveniently located 3.5mm socket is a blessing. The music player complements third party earphones quite well with it's decent music playback, but the supplied ones aren't that bad either.


The device may be too "light" for some. If you feel the weight of a phone should be substantial for a good "feel", this is not for you.


The QWERTY keyboard takes a little time getting used to.


The operating system is a tweaked Series 40. Quite intuitive and fairly easy to navigate. The now standard Opera mini does a good job of rendering pages and the sweet horizontal orientation of the screen makes for a good browsing experience(as long as the GPRS is kind- WiFi is long shot for a phone at this price )



A very good phone for the price. A no brainer for easy texting or browsing - on a budget.