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14 November 2013

Rapoo H3080 Wireless Foldable headset - Review

A few weeks back Rapoo was kind enough to send me the H3080 (http://rapoo.com/showdetails.aspx?P_No=h3080) wireless headset for review. It has been a fun time reviewing the headset. Rapoo, a fairly unknown brand to me did actually manage to blow me away with the quality of both build as well as sound.

A little about Rapoo, right from their site (http://rapoo.com/aboutus.aspx)

Founded in 2002, RAPOO is dedicated to offering excellent, cutting-edge wireless peripheral products to users around the world. “Wireless Your Life” is the simple philosophy that RAPOO has always adhered to.
RAPOO has constantly paid close attention to the continuous changes in user demands and to providing corresponding solutions. The RAPOO range of wireless mice, wireless keyboards, wireless headsets and wireless speakers is tailored to meet the needs of PC users. Bluetooth headsets and Bluetooth keyboards for intelligent terminals, like mobile phones and tablet PCs, are further featured in RAPOO’s broad portfolio. Multimedia keyboards and Multi-Link (dandelion technology) product suites for the home theater round out the RAPOO range.
RAPOO possesses a top class R&D design team which has a deep understanding of the industrial aesthetic standards of today’s world and can accurately grasp the end-user experiences in the market. In the IF Design Awards 2012 and 2013, four products of the RAPOO Blade Series won awards, which further strengthened and honoured RAPOO's relentless pursuit of offering the best user experience.
RAPOO was listed on Shenzhen Stock Exchange (Stock Code: 002577) in China in April 2011. In order to provide more end-users around the world with excellent products and services, RAPOO launched its global market strategy in 2011 to enable global users to simultaneously share RAPOO’s technological achievements.
RAPOO’s mission is to "Wireless Your Life”, meaning that RAPOO is constantly striving to bring more and more people around the world unique wireless enjoyment and in doing so create a brand-new wireless lifestyle.


Now about the headset. The device functions on the 2.4 GHz WiFi Channel and employs COM- Ti membrane vibrating technology which delivers a clear and bright treble and a deep and mellow bass. The device comes in a foldable design with a neat pouch to store the headphones in. Package contents included a Pouch, the Headset and a WiFi device to pair the Headset and the Computer.


The device itself is available in two colours, black and white. I found no problems pairing the device with my Windows 8 PC and my Mac at home. After pairing, the device worked without a glitch in the said 10 m range. I have tried the device with multiple types of Music ranging from Indian Classical to Heavy Death Metal. The device performed perfectly fine each time delivering true to life sound. I also managed to try the device out with few games that I had on my PC as well as Skype. The sound that was transmitted was great as well. All in all, the device turns out to be a great package for some one who is looking for something that would meet not only needs of music and games but also as a perfect companion for making calls back home or to the girlfriend in the dark of the night! ;)

The only grouse that I had was that if the connecting WiFi piece (In the center of the image above) is lost, the device may be rendered useless. I am not really sure if the spare parts are available in India already. Alternately, it would have been great if the device could connect to the PC/Laptop with WiFi support directly by the means of a software installation. This would at least reduce the number of support calls to the company.

24 October 2013

Press Release: Micro Focus Brings the Mainframe to iPads with Rumba+ Mobile

Now this is something close to my heart!

Micro Focus Brings the Mainframe to iPads with Rumba+ Mobile
Rumba+ Mobile improves end user efficiency and productivity with fast and simple access to mainframe based applications from iPad tablet devices

Bangalore, India, 23 October 2013: Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L), a leading provider of enterprise application modernization, testing and management solutions, today announced the availability of Rumba+ Mobile on iPad, the first terminal emulator and user interface (UI) modernization application for tablet devices. The new solution enables organizations to quickly modernize green-screen applications on mobile devices. The newly presented interfaces quickly improve the end user experience, boost productivity and bring a modern look and feel to legacy business applications, all without the need to change application code or use specialist development skills. 

The Rumba+ Mobile terminal emulator offers a native iPad client application, taking full advantage of iOS functionalities. It turns green-screen applications into touch-screen apps, with integrated and customizable gestures capabilities or skins, in addition to the use of controls such multi green-screen tables, tabs, images calendars, drop down menus and much more. iPad gestures are also fully integrated and can be customized to interact with the host or to control the terminal emulation session.
According to Gartner, Inc. in a recent report “2013 is the year many organizations woke up to the imperative to do something about mobile”[1].  But according to Kevin Brearley, Director of Product Management at Micro Focus: “The need for mobile apps is challenging the agility of many critical legacy applications today. Traditional 3270 and 5250 or “green-screen” applications are a good example of this.  They can be considered out-dated, difficult to learn and navigate for today’s modern user.  This not only frustrates employees, but often affects a business’ customer service. In trying to bring these applications forward, organizations often rewrite the entire green screen application, or adopt a middleware solution that connects business logic on the mainframe to the user interface. It’s time consuming and costly and can have an unacceptable time to market.

“Our innovative Rumba+ Mobile solution enables businesses to extend existing application investments through the modernization of mainframe and iSeries green-screen applications.  Adopting new trends and technologies allowing mobility like this can enhance a business’ agility and ultimately their competitive advantage. We are helping organizations to improve end user productivity, shorten business process learning cycles and cut through laborious data input/retrieval processes to respond faster to market dynamics. As a result, customers will realize the benefits of increased efficiency, whilst any investments and knowledge present in the existing mainframe applications will be preserved.” 

Rumba+ is part of a family of enterprise application modernization technologies from Micro Focus, which help organizations transform the value of their core business systems.  In addition to Rumba+ Mobile, companies can also take advantage of Rumba+ Web to enable remote access to centralized applications through web browsers, and Rumba+ Desktop for simple but efficient improvement to their traditional Windows client view of these legacy applications.

Rumba+ Mobile apps is now available in the iTunes store.

- Ends –
About Micro Focus
Micro Focus, a member of the FTSE 250, provides innovative software that allows companies to dramatically improve the business value of their enterprise applications. Micro Focus Enterprise Application Modernization, Testing and Management software enables customers’ business applications to respond rapidly to market changes and embrace modern architectures with reduced cost and risk. For additional information please visit www.microfocus.com

23 September 2013

Lenovo debuts a range of multimedia gaming PCs

Lenovo, one of India’s leading PC players, today announced the launch of a new range of feature-rich gaming PCs, powered by Windows 8 and the Intel® Core™ i7 processor.  This move signifies Lenovo’s entry into the high potential Gaming space that caters to the Next Gen PC user with products that offer robust performance.

The new range includes the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p which boosts multimedia gaming with stylish looks along with easy options to add more storage or graphics. Equipped with high-performance graphics and premium audio that makes it a true multimedia powerhouse, the Y510p is a perfect option for the serious gamers.

Also part of the new portfolio, the much-awaited, CES award winner, Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27 is the world’s first multi-user, multi-touch, multi-mode table PC with hundreds of pre-loaded games that can be played anywhere at home. This interpersonal device brings families together for a shared computing experience over the solitary computing nature of most other devices. Its USP includes a supersized screen, dynamic graphics and touch screen and it also doubles as a user’s high performance, all-in-one 27-inch desktop. Horizon brings a new perspective to computing - one that makes the experience shared, collaborative and personal.

Shailendra Katyal, Director- Consumer Business, Lenovo India said, “We are happy to enter the gaming sphere with a complete portfolio of gaming machines that cater to both individuals and families. Lenovo is fostering its growth in the PC+ era through these multi-media devices that will add a new dimension to our existing portfolio of Consumer products and redefine the concept of gaming in India.”

Lenovo IdeaPad Z510, a multi-media notebook with a good balance of features and performance is the third member of the gaming family. The laptop is equipped with a powerful processor, graphics performance along with an integrated DVD drive and superior audio quality.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p – Key features:
·         Boosts a unique Ultrabay feature which enables instant swapping for dual capability and increase in storage space
·         Runs on 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7- processor and operates on Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro
  • Enabled with speakers supporting Dolby Home Theatre designed by JBL for immersive sound
  • Integrated Dual graphics support; NVIDIA SLI – up to NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB dual graphics
  • Backlit Accutype keyboard with individual rounded keys, offering easy typing even in the dark

Price: Rs. 69,990/- (taxes included) – The product is also available on thedostore.com

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27 – Key features:
·         Winner of 14 + awards at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2013
·         With integrated Aura interface activated, it enables two or more people to access content, videos, pictures and play games
·         Comes with unique Table PC accessories such as Joystick, Striker and E-dice, in addition to preloaded games, wireless mouse and keyboard.
·         Supported by NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 620M 1GB/2GB graphics with DirectX® 11
·         Operates on 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7- processor for smooth multi-tasking
·         Features stereo speakers with Dolby® Home Theatre® V4

Price: Rs. 1, 36,500 /- (taxes included)

Lenovo IdeaPad Z510 – Key features:
·         The 15.6” laptop runs on 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7- processor
·         Up to 16GB DDR3L memory
·          Enables users to stream the content wirelessly to a big screen with Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) Technology
·         OneKey® Recovery makes data backup and recovery simple
·         Offers stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theater certification for immersive sound

Price: Rs. 50, 990/- (taxes included)

10 August 2013

Honda Amaze–An Amazing Drive

I have been fairly busy off late which has led to a lot of back log in terms of blogs pending work. Honda Amaze was one such. However, this is one such experience that I would not have forgotten about even if I had chosen to write about it a few months down the line. It was a drive that not only left me exhilarated but overly amazed as well! Truly a drive to Amaze!

The experience started from the Taj Vivanta, ITPL and extended until Narsapura and back. 7 cars and several drivers, AKA us. All in a team each and all with a mission! A mission to enjoy the drive.

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Now a quick review about the car:

  • First Impressions

The first impressions that the car would leave you with is probably that of a very sedate car. One that you would use with your family alone and probably not pump down the gas too much. The looks are fairly timid and leave you wondering if the car can really Amaze you. Of course, once you see its tail, all such thoughts are swept aside. The car has a definite Honda look to it that it manages to carry off with elan!

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  • Build Quality

While the body is very solidly built and inspires confidence once inside the cocoon like interior shell, the car that we had did not have it’s panel gaps upto the mark. There were several instances when I felt that probably if I used a finger nail a little too much, the part would separate and fall off into my hands. Same way, a little towards the A pillar, the plastics on the dashboard started vibrating violently on certain RPMs. I was told that may be this was an issue with just the car that I had. None of the other teams experienced or reported about it though. May be it really was my car!

The Music System on board had a definite premium feel to it and did not at one moment cause unwanted vibrations in the speakers. This definitely is a plus to me since I am a music junkie and carry my music where ever I go.

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  • Ride Quality

Now this is where Honda’s engineering steps in. With their Earth IVTEC technology, Honda has not only managed to make the engine more Environment friendly but also driver friendly. The engine in n way disappoints you. The Petrol Engine is supposed to return a mileage of 18.8 KMPL whilst the Diesel is supposed to deliver 25.8 KMPL. We were in the Diesel version of the Amaze.

While this is definitely not the first time I have driven a Diesel powered car, this was may be the first time that the car felt ever so sporty. The front Bucket seats had lumbar support and were height adjustable. Frankly, I have never found Lumbar support to be too much of  a use to me. I generally prefer to cushion my back with a small cushion.

The Back seats were also largely comfortable enough providing not only enough Thigh Support but also ample leg room with the driver seat completely pushed back. It is also large enough to comfortably seat 3 full sized tall adults and a kid or two on the lap!

  • Performance

The Honda’s Diesel Engine is a complete power horse and definitely makes for a fun drive be it in the city or the highway.

In the city, the short gear throw ensures that you don’t end up changing the gears too often leading to a more relaxed and comfortable drive in all kinds of traffic conditions. The traffic induced fatigue is also largely reduced. Now this was one reason why I said that the lumbar support was not really needed. Because I never felt fatigued either in my legs or my back.

On the highway, it’s my way or the highway feel! The short gear stick and short gear throws coupled with short gear ratios results in a very sporty feel! I felt no where lacking while overtaking or while wanting that need for extra rush. Each time I stepped on the gas, the car responded instantly and provided ample feedback! There were several instances where I overtook other teams and they were left stunned and me grinning for the instant performance rush that it gave.

  • Ratings

First Impressions: 7.5/10

Build Quality: 6/10

Ride Quality: 8/10

Performance: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

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Some Pictures from the drive!

05 July 2013

Nokia Asha 501–First Impressions

We were privy to the Nokia Asha 501 Launch at Bangalore on the 29th of June, 2013 where the handset was displayed to us and also given to us to try. Available in a range of colors, the phone which along with an attractive pricing comes in attractive packaging boasts of a multitude of features and innovations!

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The phone comes with an astounding 40+ days of standby on a single SIM and 26 days on Dual SIM and supports 3G. The phone UI looks like it has been done ground up from the scratch and borrows heavily from the interactions that were a part of the erstwhile Nokia’s N9.

The UI works entirely on swipe and boasts of a new feature called Fast Lane. What this basically does is to log 50 of your past, present and future activities that seamlessly allow multi tasking. Since the OS is Nokia’s Series 40 at the back, it has not been optimized for multi window based multi tasking yet the Fast Lane manages to pull it off effortlessly. The UI has also been optimized for maximum screen real estate usage

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The phone comes preloaded with a host of 45 apps and games which Nokia believes would more than suffice any person who would want to start using the phone out of the box.

Nokia has successfully implemented several nifty features which goes on to say how much of thought process must have gone in behind developing the phone. We were told that the average user spends 30 percent of his battery time in looking at the time and checking for notifications. Nokia capitalized on this by providing a lock screen screensaver that works at minimal power yet shows a clock and all your notification without as much as moving a finger. Of course, if you do want to make use of the phone, a double tap at the screen brings it to life and displays the notifications in detail. Making use of the Swipe UI, a simple Swipe would take you to the app and display the contents of the notification.

The phone being for the youth features a interchangeable back panel which should be available off the counter from day one.

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However, with so many loaded features, there is one trade mark feature that Nokia has managed not to let go, viz. the sturdiness feature. The phone was physically abused right in front of our eyes by dropping it, banging it and throwing it. The phone was working perfectly fine despite all this! Oh so typical Nokia!

The highpoint of the demonstration was a Gesture Based Music Player which was wonderful! It allows you to be a Mozart in the true sense! A simple wave and the music plays the way you want it to! Truly innovative!

Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Privy League–Special Cards for Special People

Kotak Mahindra Bank launched the Privy League of Credit Cards at the Hard Rock Café last week on Thursday, the 27th of June, 2013. The card has been issued only to a select few High Networth Individuals who were selected using certain undisclosed criterion. The main features of the card lie in not the look but the facilities that the bank has managed to secure for its card holders.

A few of the card features have been listed below:

  • The bank allows the customers to choose their own reward programs ranging from memberships at most elite clubs to movie tickets. Gone are the days of reward points, it’s time now for instant gratifications!
  • The card comes with a wallet assist program which promises to replace the card in case of loss immediately no matter where you are located. This is also accompanied by the Loss Protection which covers any transactions that are made after you report the loss of the card.
  • The card also provides you a Demat facility with preferential brokerage rates, after market trading orders, expert analysis and research accompanied with a dedicated relationship manager who would be your window to one call trade.
  • On the basis of the relationship value, the bank allows you not only an unsecured overdraft limit but also preapproved loans at a competitive rate of interest and minimal documentation.
  • In case of the card being linked to Current Accounts, the bank offers a two way sweep facility, preferential booking of Forex Rates online for Transactions, Customized Trade Solutions and Management of Payments and Receivables.

28 June 2013

Qualcomm Smartphone and Tablet Giveaway

Qualcomm is providing mobile developers with access to our latest Mobile Development Platform (MDP) technology by giving awaythree Snapdragon 800 MDP tablets and three Snapdragon 800 MDP smartphones, designed to provide application developers and device manufacturers with access to the high-performance Android 4.2 platform for developing, testing, optimizing and showcasing applications and games.

Developers can enter by following @Qualcomm Dev on Twitter and sending a tweet using the #QualcommDevs hashtag, or they can“Like” the Qualcomm Developer Network on Facebook and submit an entry through the QDevNet Sweepstakes tab. One entry per person can be submitted each week up until July 14.

The latest MDP is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor, featuring asynchronous quad-core Krait 400 CPUs, an Adreno 330 GPU, and advanced multimedia technology including UltraHD/4K video support. The MDPs also feature integrated hardware and software and are an essential tool for developers as they create the next generation of apps, simplifying development and reducing the time to market.

01 May 2013

California Pizza Kitchen’s Mexifornia Food Festival

We were privy to California Pizza Kitchen’s Mexican Food festival, aptly named Mexifornia! Now, being a complete foodie, it had been long since I actually tasted Mexican food other than what was already available at the Taco Bells chain. I had long been looking for something interesting. That’s when this invite came in.

Let me set the context first. I have never tasted food at CPK. This was my first time there and I am attempting to be as unbiased as I can. All that I made out of the name was that it was a place that served pizzas. That’s all! We were a group of 6 bloggers who had been invited to taste and provide feedback on the menu that was supposed to be released for the general public. Here’s a quick look at what was in store.

We were told that the Food Festival was strictly non alcoholic and hence only non alcoholic drinks would be served. We gave a few of the drinks a quick run. The ones I tried were Summer Splash, Orange Party, Cranberry Punch and Cucumber Cooler. I liked the Summer Splash really well. It was a mix of Orange and Pineapple. The flavor was so intense that it left a lingering wish to have more and more of it.

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Being Vegetarians has both its own advantages and disadvantages. But here, all that I could see was advantages! The starter, Paneer Enchilada, that was served was nothing less than a blast of calories! Filled to the hilt with Paneer, the starter set the mood going great about what next could be expected.

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This was followed by a pizza, aptly named Baja Pizza. It was a thin crust pizza with a topping of onions, roasted corn, thinly sliced mushroom, black beans and mozzarella cheese. This had been garnished with hand torn cilantro and crème fraiche. I must say. I just fell in love with the flavor. It was perfectly made and was light on the mouth as well. There were no such ingredients in this that would dull the others’ flavor! Each and every flavor stood on its own. Crunchy and crispy, this was definitely a delight to devour!

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The main course was ended with a serving of Tacos and Mexican rice. Frankly speaking, I thought this was the weakest link. Neither did I enjoy the rice which I found to have too much of lemon nor did I find the tacos worthy because the flavor of cabbage killed every other flavor.

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The finale, the best that had been saved for the last was the Dessert! I must say, it was a sin worthy of being committed again and again and again! I just fell in love with the Chocolate Mole Mousse! It was delightfully creamy, chocolaty and melted in the mouth! It left a wonderful after flavor! We loved it so much that we actually had two helpings of it! The Churros that were served with it, a one of a kind soft stick seemed to encompass the flavors of not only sugar and cinnamon but also coconut to a good extent. Together, the two were a riot!

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I am leaving you with a few pictures to take a look at! In case you happened to try out the Mexican food at the food festival, do leave me a comment about what you liked and what you did not!

10 April 2013

Nokia Lumia 520–A Phone for the Masses

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Nokia has been striving hard to get their Lumia series bang on target but somehow seemed to fail until now. The newly launched Lumia 520 hopes to set right the wrong that Nokia was said to have done to its loyal customers. Nokia that was known for its Series 60/Symbian series was cursed and abused for jumping the bandwagon and joining hands with Microsoft for the software. It had been termed as the Dell of the mobile industry. In fact, rumours were rife that Nokia may be bought over by Microsoft as an investment opportunity.
We were privy to the launch of the Nokia’s Lumia 520 in Bangalore a few days back and had an opportunity to touch and feel the device. Available in flashy colours that are no less than a rainbow themselves, the handset is aimed at the masses or to be precise, College crowd. People who have a limited budget available to themselves yet want the best. Priced at a range of Rs. 10,000/- to 10,499/- the phone is now available for sale at all leading outlets both online as well as offline.
The phone made entirely of plastic, though may appear cheap at the first look makes up for the impression when taken in hand. A texture of velvety finish makes the phone a pleasure to hold. This velvety feel also ensures the phone is anti slip when in grip. The raised plastic buttons allow for easy access as well as give an assuring feeling when being touched and depressed. I am slightly from the old school of thought where buttons attract me. Specifically when there is a button for the camera. I prefer the half press for focus and full press to click. Also I love it when depressing the camera key allows me to bring up the camera app.
With a specification having a Dual Core Snapdragon S4 CPU clocked at 1 GHz, 512 MB RAM and an Adreno 302 GPU, the Windows Phone 8 OS complements the hardware well. The phone feels snappy to use and also offers a wide array of customisation options. I particularly liked the red colour on the handset and a matching red theme for the tiles. Available from Nokia as a standard accessory, Nokia Drive and Multiple lenses in the Camera App are sure to be picked up as a favourite among the crowds.
The phone offers Nokia music subscription with 80 Lakh DRM free songs available for download. In addition also available is Nokia’s primary offering of 150 Ad free streaming music channels. Nokia has also partnered with BigFlix to offer 3 months of subscription consisting of unlimited movie streaming.
The phone is available in five eye catching colours – Yellow, Red, Cyan, Black and White.
Nokia Lumia 520 - Specs
The entire list of specifications can be found here.

Contemplating another series.

It’s been a while since I gave the thought of the series a serious look. I have still neither finalised nor decided on the story line. The inspiration is lying some place waiting for me to pluck it! I am letting it take it’s own time. However, I am also sceptical about it. I have received no feedback for the earlier series. Either it was really that bad or may be no one read it really. This has put me off guard. I know it was my first series but then… I hope you understand.

Samsung transforms television viewing experience with its 2013 Smart TVs



§ New Smart TVs offer an even easier and intuitive way to discover content with a new Smart Hub and advanced Smart Interaction
§  Unveils its UHD TV – the ultimate blend of technology and craftsmanship
§  New LED TVs series developed for India

Bangalore, April 09, 2013 – Samsung Electronics has reinforced its technology leadership through the introduction of its new Smart TV lineup that responds to consumer demand for premium design, smarter features,
superior picture quality, and larger screen sizes. Samsung’s new flagship Smart LED and Plasma television series allows users to enjoy seamless navigation, intuitive control and personalized user experiences. A new ‘Made for India’ LED television series too is being launched in the Indian market. 

“In the Year 2013, we will strengthen our legacy of introducing televisions that have the best in class design, superior performance as well as feature innovations that our customers have grown to love us for. Consumers require innovation and Samsung has responded to this need by launching televisions that are clearly category defining products. These products have given our consumers a reason to upgrade and what we are witnessing in India is a dramatic transition from CRT to Flat Panel TVs and now to Smart TVs,” said Mr. SK Kim, Sr. Vice President, Consumer Electronics, Samsung India.
Samsung today announced the introduction of 20 new television models across its flagship Smart TV Series 8, 7, 6 as well as the LED TV Series 5500 and 4500. Designed to deliver the ultimate lean back experience to
consumers, the F8000 and F7500 are the first Samsung televisions to feature a quad-core processor. Available in 46”, 55” and 65” class screen sizes, the F8000 and F7500 feature an ultra-thin profile, a quarter-inch thick
bezel and stands that are truly spell binding. Both the F8000 and F7500 offer brighter, more vibrant pictures with richer colors, deeper black levels and higher contrasts. The ultra-thin design profile and Arc style stand in
F8000 makes it appear to be floating in the air. The F8000 is also among Samsung’s first line of Smart TVs equipped with Intelligent Viewing, which creates an optimized picture quality dependent on the source of
content, and a quad-core processor – making it even easier and faster for consumers to toggle between apps, online services and on-air TV.

Also, the F8000 and F7500 provide advanced Smart Interaction that responds to your motion and voice in a more intuitive way making it easier for you to navigate and control your TV. With the newly improved smart
interaction, users can now rotate images, or simply zoom in and out with two hands. Voice control capabilities have also been enhanced. Samsung Smart TV is now able to understand more than 300 commands with much better language recognition rates. In addition, a new Smart Touch Control is provided with the Samsung’s new Smart TVs, wherein all number keys have been replaced by a touch pad, on which users can simply write the channel number they want and flip and scroll the screen. It can also control devices made by other manufacturers through a very simple set-up.

Samsung is providing consumers with a simpler way to embrace the discovery of new content and experiences with a completely redesigned Smart Hub. The 2013 Smart Hub provides consumers with an easy way to organize and navigate personalized content through an updated interface and dynamic thumbnail previews within three newly designed panels: Apps; Photos, Videos & Music; and Social. The new Apps panel of Samsung’s Smart Hub allows users to display up to 30 app icons on one page, which users can customize so that their favorite apps are easy to access. Combined with Samsung’s enhanced Motion Control – which allows users to swipe, pinch to zoom, or use a flip motion to easily move between Smart Hub panels – consumers can now navigate and control their TV like never before.

This advanced TV user experience has been expanded to smartphones and tablets, thanks to Samsung’s leadership in connectivity. Viewers can use their devices as a remote control or simultaneously enjoy two different pieces of content from a TV or Blu-ray player on a second screen. They can also mirror their Smart TV content on a tablet to take it with them around the home.  “Our 2013 Smart TVs offer effortless, intuitive ways for consumers to discover and share more of the content they love while creating the ultimate home entertainment experience,” said Mr. Kim.    

Samsung also is delivering on its promise of bringing evolutionary capabilities to its TVs with the introduction of its Evolution Kit. Available on select 2012 Series 7, 8 and 9 Smart TVs, the Evolution Kit provides both software and hardware updates that include access to the 2013 Smart Hub and other Smart features, and transforms the set’s dual-core CPU to quad-core, resulting in faster internal processing speeds. Samsung’s 2013 Smart TVs will also be equipped with slots for Evolution kits. Samsung current Smart TV range is available in screen sizes between 32” to 65” priced between Rs 37,900/- to Rs.367,500/-.
Samsung today also showcased its first Ultra High Definition TV (UHD TV), the 85S9. The 85S9’s stunning Timeless Gallery design sets a new standard for TV craftsmanship, with the TV appearing to float within its frame and juxtaposing its classic minimalism with the striking 85-inch display. Both aesthetically pleasing and functional, the 85S9 includes Samsung’s “One Connect” feature, which eliminates cable clutter by requiring only one cable to connect to the TV and creates a perfect “Clean Back” look. The UHD TV’s larger screen size is part of Samsung’s efforts to meet consumer demand for larger-screen TVs – the fastest growing TV segment in the region. 

Blending technology excellence with fine craftsmanship, the 85S9 offers four times the resolution available on existing Full HD displays to deliver beautiful detail, unmatched clarity and vivid picture quality. The 85S9 also includes Samsung’s proprietary up-scaling engine which can up-convert HD or Full-HD to UHD-level picture quality by restoring information details to create greater precision for real-life picture quality. In addition to the up-scaling engine, Samsung is addressing current conflicting UHD content industry standards in several other ways to ease purchasing concerns and to ensure that users will be able to view UHD content for years to come. 

Five new Plasma televisions across 43”, 51”, 64” screen sizes were introduced in Series 8 priced between Rs  35,500/- to Rs 209,900/-.
“Even as we work towards enhancing the Indian consumers’ experience by introducing India relevant applications for televisions, we are also introducing new models that have been especially developed basis feedback received from Indian consumers,” said Mr. Mahesh Krishnan, Sr. Vice President, Consumer Electronics, Samsung India. Samsung LED TV Series F5100, F4800, F4100 provides easier connectivity options through its key feature – ConnectShare Transfer – which allows consumers to share content between devices via USB, eliminating the need for a computer. These LED TV series offer two USB ports on the side of the TV to plug in pen drives, smartphones or other storage devices, resulting in a more convenient, and efficient home entertainment experience. SRI, Delhi and Samsung R&D center in India especially developed this feature keeping in mind the feedback received from Indian consumers. While these LED TV series are scheduled to be launched globally, India is the first market where they have been introduced.

Designed to delight, these television Series offers amazing picture quality created by Samsung wide colour enhancer and clean view that deliver richer colours while deleting digital noise. They also feature Triple Protector that ensures protection against electrical surges, lightning as well as humidity. Samsung LED TV Series F5100, F4800, F4100 are available in screen sizes between 22” to 46” across Series 4 and 5 priced between Rs.15,900 to Rs 76,500/-.The F4800 series of LED TVs is sound oriented with Front woofer and speakers with an output of 800 PMPO Sound.
“With the launch of our 2013 Smart TV range, we are looking to consolidate our leadership in the Panel TV market in India. We expect LED TVs to drive our Panel TV growth, with Smart TVs contributing atleast 20% of our Panel TV volumes this year,” said Mr. SK Kim. Samsung’s entire Flat Panel TVs product portfolio has 43 models across LED, LCD and Plasma technologies with screen sizes ranging from 22” to 75”, priced between Rs. 14,500/- to Rs.750,000/-. 

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in technology, opening new possibilities for people everywhere. Through relentless innovation and discovery, we are transforming the worlds of televisions, smartphones, personal computers, printers, cameras, home appliances, LTE systems, medical devices, semiconductors and LED solutions. We employ 236,000 people across 79 countries with annual sales of US$187.8 billion. To discover more, please visit www.samsung.com.



04 April 2013

Ricoh Innovations Teams up with Disney UTV to launch their middleware Occutag

Ricoh Innovations, a company known for its mastery in the printing business has developed an image recognition and matching solution that allows the developers and stores alike to provide customized information regarding their products by using the Occutag APIs. The solution available as a limited period free trial would have to be paid for after the end of trial period. The APIs make use of the phone’s camera hardware and query back the database with the results as a response.

Ricoh claims that the software has a latency of less than a second and works all kinds of devices. Currently solutions making use of the Occutag APIs are available for the Windows, Android and iOS platforms.

Philips Healthcare Innovations–Made for India, by Indians

Philips Innovation Campus (PIC), a Division of Philips Electronics India yesterday showcased it’s made for India, by the Indians, revolutionary Healthcare solutions. These solutions targeted mainly at bridging the healthcare gap between Tier 2 or 3 cities and Tier 1 Cities aims to work at bringing the patients better healthcare facilities with better qualified medical personnel. Showcased among the many innovations were some of the firm’s new and existing equipment. Speaking at the event, the CEO, Philips Healthcare Innovations, Dr Wido Menhardt said that there is a major shift in the way things are working out of Bangalore now. He went on to further say that while in the past Bangalore was merely the executer of the work, today the roles have changed and people here are not only successfully executing but ideating and making decisions as well. The campus here in Bangalore has come up with some exciting innovations through its R&D and the same have been put down to working machines as well. These are running successfully at many of the hospitals in India. Among the showcased innovations, five held the primary interest.

Addressing a major area of concern about the lack of ICUs in the country where the existing infrastructure needs a scale up of at least 10 times what is already available, PIC innovated with a combination of hardware as well as a software solution known as eICU. eICU aims to provide the patients in the ICU facilities the care of an Intensivist by the means of Video Conference as well as remote monitoring. Based on a Hospital to Hospital tie up model, the eICU provides the Intensivist the capability to interact with the patients on a one on one mode through the video conferencing method. The entire setup is divided into the hardware at the Intensivist’s place as well as a cart designed with the norms required to be met for ICU equipment. The cart consists of a remotely as well as an onsite adjustable mounted HD camera as well as a laptop. At the head of every patient is a screen containing a chart of the latest readings, instructions as well as other details. We were told that in order to minimise the cost, the cart was expected to be present in a ratio of 1:3 i.e. one cart per three patients in the ICU. The system requires an existing broadband architecture in place, however as a fall back mechanism, the same would work on a modest 3G network as well.

Addressing another area of increasing the success rates in the cardio vascular operations in India and the world, PIC’s next innovation, a software product known as the Heart Navigator system aims at providing doctors and analysts alike a system of measuring, simulating as well as using in real time for all heart related operations and ailments. PIC has associated itself with major manufacturers of valves and vents and has incorporated their wireframe design in the product. This allows the doctor to view in 3D model the placement, the fit as well as the final look of the system when placed into operation.

PIC also showcased its Tumour Tracking application which integrates with the image repositories containing the previous as well as recent images from a CT/CAT scans. It allows the physicians to identify and track the response of a tumour to medicine. Based on a standardized algorithm, the system allows the physician to plain mark the location of the tumour on one image. The rest of the images are automatically fetched matched and the related calculations are performed. The system shows the output in customizable tabular as well as graphical format allowing much better understanding of the progress.

PIC has constantly been trying to innovate on the amount of X-ray exposure that a person receives from undergoing CT Scans from the current levels to something that is roughly a tenth of it. As a part of it’s this innovation, PIC has launched a set of new machines as well as a software solution known as iDose4 which performs iterative analysis and reconstructing on the images obtained from the scan thereby reducing the noise as well as reducing the X-ray dose that the person undergoing would receive. This is dictated up on by the rules of radiation which mandate it to be As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). This would mainly help expecting women as well as children who may be required to undergo the scans.

As a part of giving back to the community and a CSR initiative, Philips has associated itself with Udupi district’s Manipal Kasturba hospital. As a part of the initiative, PIC on a non-profit mode has gone ahead and implemented an app, Sanjivini, on the Android platform in order to reduce the paperwork required to be carried by the community workers who track everything right from birth to death to pre and post natal care of women in villages. The system works by reducing the rework as well as paperwork by updating and synchronizing familial data from a mobile device depending on the last mile connectivity available. This ranges from SMS, GPRS/3G usage to direct offline sync when the device is connected with the computer. This solution includes both a client side app installed on an Android device as well as a web application that resides at the server in the hospital.

30 March 2013

A night with the stars

Tonight, just because it is so hot out here in Bangalore, I am planning a night under the blanket of stars. I am planning on taking my Black Dog, a mat and some good old music and sleeping on the terrace. That’s my style to beat the heat. I have been doing this for years now. Earlier it used to be my Dad, my brother and I. Now it has my daughters and wife coming along while Dad dropping out. However, this year is different.
I am a free bird this year. No extra packages. That means, not only can I do star gazing with my good companion the Black Dog beside me, I can also do lots of Bird Watching. A full time khulla saandh! What I am planning to do is however, carry my Grand Dad’s telescope along. It is at least a hundred years old. It was handed down to him by his father and later my Dad inherited it. I don’t know much about the stars, however I am eager to learn. For that reason, my laptop and my smartphone go with me.
Smartphone because I have located an app that shows which constellation is right over my head and laptop to find out all about the constellation. The Bangalore Astronomical Society is a good place to start for beginners. Information about Star Gazing is freely available on their web page as well.
Another kind of star gazing that almost every Indian on this planet would have indulged in without doubt is the palm reading/future prediction/horoscope reading! I had been to one such place just to know what it is like. Man, do these guys mint money or what! That gives me a business idea. I think I must start that in my free time. What do you guys suggest? must I or mustn’t I? My previous stint trying to predict was with the stock markets, that did not work out. I am wondering what the outcome out of this other prediction profession might be!

29 March 2013

Ciao from the Series

I have had pleasure writing this series. Each character has been a figment of my imagination and a creation I cherished. I would have loved to create characters the way my favourite writers have created theirs, but then I am limited by my own imagination. While I shall strive to create one more series in the future I have not thought of what that would be. For this story I had the entire story line at the back of my head. But the next hasn’t taken birth yet.
Going ahead, I shall be focusing my personal experiences once again, probably document them in more detail; but then it all depends. For now, it’s going to be back to having a nice large peg of Black Dog tonight after my wife and daughters left to their granny’s house. I am a free bird tonight. I love the thought of savouring the world’s finest Scotch but then it has to be done responsibly. I have always advocated this. Drink Responsibly and drink in style!
So if you are planning on having fun outside the confines of your home at a bar or a restaurant, do not drink and drive. It is not safe. There are a lot other ways to get back home. It is not expensive to hire a cab. It is cheaper than your life. Life is the most expensive thing that we own. Yet we do not own our life. It is owned by the people who love us, whom we love and those who wait back for us at home. If you are going out as a group, ask a friend who is not planning to drink to accompany you. He can drive the car a lot more responsibly.
It is said that with alcohol in your blood, you are more susceptible to commit mistakes. Why, even the hot looking woman you just saw waving at you from across your table, she may not be that great when you wake up the next morning!
Until the next series, it is Ciao from me. Be safe, drink responsibly, drive safe and always wear your seat belts!

Busy past few days!

Over the past few days I have been utterly busy! So much so that I could not devote time to myself! My older daughter Jisha turned two yesterday which called for celebrations! Celebrations meant kids, their parents, hosting all of them and also taking care that every one went back happy!

Celebrations also meant that there were guests, friends and relatives alike at home. It also meant the added responsibility of seeing to it that none of their sentiments were hurt.

At the end of the day, all of them enjoyed. My Wife left for her parents’ today with both my daughters. It means many things to me. Primary being that I am going to miss my daughters like hell now that they are not around and secondarily that I am now a bachelor for a little more than a month!

Well, my wife definitely wants me to come down to Bombay for a longer duration this time around. I have been maintaining a status quo on that. I am absolutely undecided. I may or may not go there at all!

Four Seasons Viognier and Khaman Dhokla

Few days back I was given a bottle of Four Seasons Viognier wine (a type of white wine) and asked to review it. I am a totally non wine drinker and pairing Wine with food comes a bit unnatural to me. I have always known Wine to be paired with non vegetarian and non Indian food. Since none of the hotels would allow me to take my wine in and also because I would never have non vegetarian food, trying and reviewing this wine was a nightmare. However, after a lot of maska polish to my wife and mom (wife was easy, mom was hell) I managed to get to sit at the dinner table with a little wine.

I had specifically asked that a mildly spiced food be prepared. The women folk at home were already pissed off with my pestering since morning so they decided to get back at me. I was served Khaman Dhoklas. Now if one were to try and guess what my expression would have been then, let me give you some clues. It was that of a contorted owl, a wide gaped donkey and snooty rat combined! How on earth can one pair wine with Gujarati food. But I was wrong. The wine went excellently with the Khaman Dhoklas. So here I have for you the recipe of Khaman Dhoklas! Now since my mom is already asleep, I can do nothing but borrow Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe. His original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

Gram flour (besan),sieved 2 cups
Yogurt,beaten  1 cup
Salt  to taste
Turmeric powder  1/2 teaspoon
Green chilli-ginger paste  1 teaspoon
Oil  2 tablespoons
Lemon juice  1 tablespoon
Soda bicarbonate  1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds  1 teaspoon
Fresh coriander leaves,chopped  2 tablespoons
Coconut,scraped  1/2 cup

Method

  1. Take gram flour in a bowl.
  2. Add yogurt and approximately one cup of warm water and mix. Avoid lumps.
  3. Add salt and mix again.
  4. Leave it aside to ferment for three to four hours.
  5. When gram flour mixture has fermented, add turmeric powder and green chilli-ginger paste. Mix
  6. Heat the steamer. Grease a thali.
  7. In a small bowl take lemon juice, soda bicarbonate, one teaspoon of oil and mix. Add it to the batter and whisk briskly.
  8. Pour batter into the greased thali and place it in the steamer.
  9. Cover with the lid and steam for ten minutes.
  10. When a little cool, cut into squares and keep in a serving bowl/plate.
  11. Heat remaining oil in a small pan.
  12. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, remove and pour over the dhoklas.
  13. Serve, garnished with chopped coriander leaves and scraped coconut.