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Showing posts from September, 2010

tablet PCs anyone?

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Following the launch of the Apple iPad, there have been a slew of tablets either launched or announced by different manufacturers. As different from ebook readers, the tablets are more netbook like in their functionality, while some of them double up as smartphones. Here are two of the latest and the coolest that I have been drooling over:

1. Dell Streak

I forget which ad says 'kabhi mobile, kabhi computer' but the Dell Streak is like that. It's a smartphone with a 5 inch screen - sized more like a PMP or a PSP than a phone, but smaller than an iPad. At a pinch, it can still be pocketed, but not comfortably. However, it's a delicious looking piece of hardware. It is currently running Android 1.6 but a promised update to 2.2 is in the works. You can buy it on ebay India for approximately Rs. 30,000.

Here are some pictures from Engadget


2) Nokia N900

Built on the Maemo Linux platform that will power Nokia's future handheld devices and hopefully their premium smartphon…

ABX testing - how sensitive are your ears to music quality?

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Being a self proclaimed audiophile, I have always ripped my music to lossless or high bit rate formats without really bothering to ask whether my ears were sensitive to the quality difference between different codecs. I did not have to worry as long as I had a 20 GB HDD on my MP3 player. But when I bought my 8 GB Cowon D2 and started buying SD cards to load additional music, I was forced to do a trade off. I could load lesser, and high quality songs on my player, or I could have more songs at a lower bitrate. Would my ears notice the difference or not? I decided  to do an ABX Test.

To put it simply, an ABX test is a blind test using the same song, encoded at two different bitrates.

This post on The Mistic River forums is the simplest description and procedure for ABX testing that I have ever found.

I will summarise the steps here:

1) Get the Foobar player
To do ABX testing you need to download the Foobar 2000 player. Also you need to install the ABX testing software which is a third…

Not so cutting edge phones :)

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You know, it's all very well for me to post (second hand) about top-end phones that catch my fancy. In the real world, most people I know, including me, are not buying them.

What are your options today if you're on a budget and want reliable substance, good specs, but not the BEST and most expensive? Here are some of my thoughts (Tip : some of these phones are also good for older users, so you can consider them for your mom or dad!)

This is the common feature set that I would recommend on any budget:
1.3G:
While the 3G launch has been delayed, its still round the corner and you MUST have a phone that can access it. And there is no longer any excuse to have a phone that is not GPRS enabled

2. Push Mail : 
Even if you are not a corporate power user, email on your phone is addictive. If your parents at all access their email, get them a phone with push mail and see how much they come to rely on it. Till we get 3G and even beyond that, push mail will have an edge over web-based mail…

replacement desktop

So, it's finally time for me to replace my desktop. And as I expected, I have opted for a second laptop instead of a desktop this time round.

The key reasons are
1) Space, space, space : It has been such a relief to see a clean desk surface once I got rid of my old PC. I am fed up of seeing a clutter of wires and daily cleaning the LCD monitor and CPU which are  such gigantic dust magnets!

2) While laptop prices have really crashed, PC prices have not. And the options are far fewer. I have been doing my shopping around for the following specs - iCore 3/ 4 GB RAM/320-500 GB HDD, and I find barely Rs. 5000-7000 difference in PC and laptop prices. For the small premium, I would rather get the portability of a laptop which can also be used as a backup in an emergency in case my primary laptop fails.


3) Servicing a PC is a nightmare. You need to negotiate with the engineer to come at a time which suits you (and my Dad takes his CPU to the service centre, on their demand). With a laptop…

Dell Reseller vs. Dell online store

It's been more than a month since my last post and I think I have been having withdrawal symptoms :)
No real reason for not posting since so long. First I got 'flu and then there was too much work - the usual suspects.

Anyway to get back to business, this post was about my comparison of buying from the Dell re-seller vs. Dell online. I was chatting with the Dell re-seller at Croma in Mumbai and gathered the following information.

1) The Dell reseller will sell to you at the exact price quoted on the website, plus delivery charges. If you order directly from Dell, VAT/CST and Octroi will be added to the price, depending on where in India you're at.

2) The Dell re-seller is not authorised to give any additional discounts on this price, whereas Dell online representatives may do so (if you pressurise them cleverly enough). This includes discounts on the laptop/PC, waiving of Octroi charges as well as accessories like batteries and additional services like Complete Cover and e…