Showing posts from May, 2011

Tablets, smartphones and everything else - how many devices do you need?

Today, a friend told me that he is considering whether to buy an iPhone or an iPad. Of course, the short answer would have been 'get both' but that's just not a practical answer for most of us. I believe that every device - dumbphone, smartphone, ebook reader, tablet, netbook, laptop, desktop - has a precise application. As manufacturers flood the market with more and more types of devices and form factors, it becomes important to know what your applications and usage will be and then you can make an exact choice. Otherwise, we run the real risk of throwing a lot of money down the drain buying expensive devices that don't really do what we want them to do.

Today smartphones are like the proverbial Swiss knife, doing a bit of everything on the go - gaming, browsing, productivity, music, photography, movies etc. Yes, phones are a portable solution, but there will always be a better solution. For instance, an enthusiastic photographer will never substitute his standalone …

Activating MTNL Trump on iPad

It took me nearly 2 days and a few hiccups, but I have just successfully activated my pre-paid MTNL Trump connection on my iPad 2.

After comparing the 3G plans available in Mumbai across operators, I thought initially that I would take Airtel. I changed my mind for 2 reasons. Firstly, Airtel is only offering postpaid plans with the iPad. I have 3 net connections already and adding one more postpaid connection to the mix would spike my monthly bills very sharply. Secondly, I would get fantastic connectivity while roaming on the BSNL network, including smaller towns and sections which Airtel is yet to cover. MTNL also offers good pre-paid rates;

I have taken a SIM with lifetime validity and I needed to do a one-time recharge + activation which I did with a Rs.91 coupon.  I then loaded the SIM with a Rs.100 data coupon.
Since it is not a Micro SIM, I first had to cut the SIM Card to size. I used the excellent How-to guide on the techradar site to do this. Once the card is trimmed it cannot …

2 weeks with an iPad :)

So, it's been two weeks since I got my iPad and I am still very enamoured with my new toy. Despite it's 10 hour battery life, I have to charge it every night because its on, through the working day. Either I am playing games or browsing, or downloading, or just fiddling with it.

I have observed that the tablet has completely substituted my notebook for pure browsing behaviour. For example, I have imported my RSS subscriptions onto an iPad based feed reader and so I read all my tech news on it every morning. I still prefer my phone to check e-mail, Facebook and Twitter handily but I definitely use the tablet more to update my status or share links. While I am more likely to read from the tablet, I still prefer the Kindle for reading e-books, as I just find the E-ink easier on the eye for prolonged reading.

And for composing this blog post, I am back onto my notebook. I have still not got around to enjoying typing on any touch screen device. I have been considering attaching an …

Juice Geek

I mostly write about mobile tech and sometimes about audio tech, but I love kitchen gadgets too. I raved about some seriously cool espresso machines sometime ago. And this post is about my new favorite kitchen gadget - the Philips Juicer HR 1858/90. This machine is a serious juice monster with a 650W motor, a giant sized mouth that takes whole fruit (or at least fruit halves) and juices up anything you throw at it including carrots and beetroot, in a few seconds flat. Strongly recommended if you are a juice geek and especially if you love vegetable juice.

I have wanted to buy this juicer for sometime, but hesitated because of the steep asking price in India (Rs.6500 at Croma). Last month, I was inspired to pick it up, as the summer heat became relentless, and my desire for a daily dose of juice  increased. This is off topic, but it is nearly impossible to get a vegetable juice on Mumbai streets, while it's fairly easy to get one in certain localities of Delhi. And they are yummy v…

3G Data plans for Apple iPad in Mumbai

While it's fun to use my iPad at home, I look forward to being able to take it out with me on outstation trips and even to work, on days when I do not need to work on a presentation. For that, I need to enable the 3G connection and I have been checking out data plans that work for me. Not too many choices but I have to make do with what is there.

There are four telecom operators offering 3G in Mumbai - Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance and MTNL. None of them have dedicated iPad plans yet. Pity we do not have BSNL in Mumbai. They really have some good offers (the plans below are taken from their site)

Prepaid Plan : Particulars Unlimited Monthly Plan Limited Monthly Plan Daily Plan MRP of Recharge Vouchers(RCV) in Rs.^ 999 599 99 Free Data Usage Unlimited 6 GB Unlimited Validity30 Days 30 Days 1 Day Data Usage Charges Beyond Free Usage NA 1p/10Kb NA Starter Pack in Rs.100^. Free usage with activation 1GB/month for six months.^MRP is inclusive of Service Tax @10.30%.
Postpaid Plan : Particulars Unlimited…

Which mobile platform will dominate in 2011?

The reports on the growth of Android, growth of Apple and general decline of everything else have been pouring in. I've said before in this blog, it takes a brave soul to predict the future of technology, because the opposite of what you say (or something you never even thought of) is always likely to happen.

So here are some of the more interesting facts and figures that are floating around now
1) Android the Giant Google revealed with justifiable pride at I/O 2011, that Android has reached its 100 millionth activation since launch and further than 400,000 Android devices are activated every day. If that's not enough, analysts are predicting that the Android App store will overtake the Apple store by August 2011, with an estimated 425,000 apps. Currently the Android marketplace has around 200,000 apps. Pretty impressive when you consider that it all started less than 3 years ago.
2) Apple the silent growth engine Apple holds 5% share of the global cellphone market (yes, that's…

lemons I have bought

Let me confess, that I have bought my share of lemons down the years. Stuff that simply was not worth the price I paid and gave me more grief than joy. I guess every geek would have a lemon list, just as much as every chef has a list of culinary experiments that inexplicably went wrong. Here's my list of lemons:
1) Logitech Kinetik Backpack I fell hard for it when I saw it reviewed on the Net. Put down Rs. 5000 at a time when it was rare to pay so much for a mere rucksack. But I soon realised that it had a basic design flaw - the tough plastic shell picked up scratches too easily. It stands as one of the most expensive lemons I ever bought! You can read the entire story here.

2) Koss Earplugs
I bought them on impulse when I needed a back up pair. Truth to tell, they turned out to be the most awful sounding earphones I have ever had. I disembowelled them to use the silicon pads in my other IEMs and then quietly disposed of them. I confess I am an escapist and I do not like to see my mi…

Picking up my iPad 2 tomorrow

I  pre-booked my Apple iPad 2  at Croma last week and I will be picking it up tomorrow as fresh stock came in over the weekend. It has been refreshing to see Apple launch a new product in India on schedule and not after 1 year as their norm has been in the past.

Got a black 32 GB 3G-enabled model. I plan to use this as a netbook substitute and carry it with me when I travel out of station, which I do quite often. I do not plan to do my office work on it though. 3G seemed a logical choice as I do not see any extensive Wi Max coverage in India right now. I still need to select an operator and I will be figuring that out in the weeks ahead.

Oh, and in case you are curious, this is my first Apple product ever. I sprang for it after demo-ing the new iPad and finding it really fast thanks to the dual core processor. Also, I frankly don't see Android tablets catching up with the iPad for another 1-2 years, in terms of the range and variety of apps available. In the meantime, I want to en…

First Anniversary post - e-Publishing for aspiring writers

First off, it's good to be back to writing posts. Year-end project work has kept me away from blogging, and sadly, also from following up regularly on tech news. I have missed both, and intend to get back to regular posting from this month onwards.

I started this blog in March last year. It seems a great time to say a big 'thank you' to all of you who regularly visit. Thanks for the encouragement, for commenting and for giving your time to read what I write; it has kept me going strong.

Like many bloggers, I am an aspiring writer, who found a voice through the internet. If you were to ask me why I write, I would tell you that it is hugely rewarding. I read and research a lot for each post, and in the process my own knowledge has increased. In real life, I hold a demanding and very enjoyable job that has nothing to do with technology. Blogging is my way of self-enrichment, of growth beyond my profession, and maybe towards a different future!

That's enough about myself -…