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Showing posts from September, 2012

The new Sony Handycam series is a mixed bag

Just yesterday, I bought a Sony Handycam for official and personal use. Sony has unfortunately followed a strategy of increasing price while reducing the functionality and build quality. 

For example, they have done away with Hard Drives altogether in the lower end models - the minimum you need to pay for an HD is Rs. 44,000 for the HDR-XR260VE. The older and cheaper hard drive models which costed within Rs. 30,0000 like the HDR 160 series have been discontinued and are no longer found in the market.

I also found the LCD touch panel to be smaller, less easy to operate even with my (small!) fingers and the large touch buttons that surrounded the LCD touch panel have disappeared.

I don't find a built in projector to be a useful feature in a handycam - unless you are displaying home video to a home audience, you would always check and edit video clips before playback to an audience. However, it would be a great feature in a digicam since people are always dying to show their photos to e…

iOS 6 vs. JellyBean - is there really a difference?I

Today, I posted on Facebook that I am a happy camper and with good reason. I finally got  to download Android JellyBean on my Galaxy Nexus as well as iOS 6 on my iPad. It's great to receive two major operating system updates at the same time. Since yesterday, I've  been like a kid in a toy shop, juggling my phone and iPad to figure out what's new. After several hours at play, it occurred to me that we have finally reached the horizon where there is very little to choose between the two operating systems. We will continue to have our preferences between the two, and we may become comfortable with one of the two because it is better on certain functionalities than the other, but if I were to compare now, it's really 50 of one, half of the other.

The two biggest smartphone platforms are reaching parity. Part of the credit goes to constant innovation and upgradation by both companies, especially Google, which has played a remarkable game of catch-up in the last three years.…

Do you like 'Live Chat' based customer service?

Live chat has been around for ages including on some not-so-savoury online services, so it's surprising that Indian companies are electing to add this to their websites just now. Most e-commerce websites have begun to display a Live Chat option prominently on their home page.

At first glance, Live Chat seems like a win-win option for both customers and companies. Customers save the cost of a phone call and long hold times which raise their blood pressure and keep the phone busy. Also, you can save a live chat transcript in most cases, so you have got an answer in writing from the company which acts as proof in case of further correspondence. 

And companies get to free up busy call centre lines, leaving them accessible for other callers. Most non-urgent queries can easily get handled through live chat especially new product enquiries and requests for information. And it provides easier monitoring of the quality of customer support - I presume chat records are faster to scan through c…

5 innovative ways that entrepreneurs use Facebook

I use Facebook both as a way to connect with friends and to grow my business. I have observed how entrepreneurs and small businesses/ sole proprietorship firms use Facebook, which is very different from the way corporates do. Perhaps there are some interesting nuggets here that are applicable to larger companies and brands. 

Small businesses tend to be single minded and focussed in the way they use Facebook. It is either to get orders and new business or to build relationships with prospects. Seldom do they simply keep a Facebook page because it's required. And this repays them with active dividends in terms of creating awareness, revenue streams and broadening of customer base. Which also explains why they tend to be extremely active on Facebook. This research on SocialMediaToday indicates the growing importance of social media for small businesses
1. Pictures work as eye candy to attract genuine prospects to like and share
Pinterest has demonstrated the success of eye candy! If you…

Should I buy the iPad 2 or the new iPad?

It's a question which is dated till the last stocks of iPad 2 pass out of the market, and of course, there will continue to be sales in the second hand market. But it's a question I get asked frequently, so here is the answer.

Unless you find old stocks, Apple currently only sells the 16GB iPad 2 in India, in two configurations - wi-fi only (Rs.25,000 or lesser) and wi-fi + 3G (Rs. 32,000 approximately). This is approximately Rs. 4000 less than the corresponding new iPad models. In both cases, you need to add on at least Rs. 2000 to the price to purchase a minimum screen protector/ carrying case. 

If your usage is going to be mostly browsing and you plan to do that on the sofa (ie. holding the iPad in your hands) then jump and get an iPad 2 before it's too late. Apart from the price value differential, it is also lighter, less likely to heat up and has a longer battery life - all boons for someone who reads a lot. And it will receive the iOS 6 update this month, so you do ge…

Do you tweet or are you tweeted at?

With a 50 million + user base, which is growing rapidly alongside mobile, Facebook has become an established social media platform in India, overtaking the persistent Orkut in 2012. And with a user base of 14 million, LinkedIn has entrenched itself firmly in the professional space.

The growth story for Twitter has been slower among Indian users. With 15 million users and 20,000 users with more than 500 followers, it's not as if Indians do not use the site. What is more subtle and interesting is the difference in the quality of usage.

Do a qualitative check on the quality of Twitter usage among your peers in office, or your offline friends. You may hear something like this. 

Many will have Twitter accounts but everyone will surely have a Facebook account. 
Those who have Twitter accounts may use them less frequently than Facebook.
Those who are active on Twitter may be passively following rather than tweeting, or at best clicking on some links.
And those who tweet may be re-tweeting more…

Back to the future - from massive hard drives to flash memory

Those of you who browse for MP3 player and camcorders would have figured that in-built hard drive memory is becoming scarcer and scarcer. You can find only a handful of devices with 100 GB+ memory and newer launches (for example Sony's Handycam range) pass up a hard drive in favor of external SD Card storage.  Bad news, if like me, you are a hoarder and want to carry everything on board at one go. But the good news is that flash memory is getting cheaper.

We first saw the trend in high end phones which carry at least 16GB on board flash memory. Now, even 32 GB memory cards are priced at an easy Rs. 1000 on Flipkart and if you check on eBay I am sure you will find it even cheaper. And with ultrabooks setting a benchmark of affordable notebooks with flash memory, it's only a matter of time before the price of flash memory (and the amount of available storage) drops even further.

There are many advantages of flash memory over hard drive - faster read/write speeds, longer life, less…