Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thought of the day - 31st Oct 2007

"Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure."
- Earl Wilson

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Little mistakes

"I never make little mistakes...only big ones!"

I am reading this book by Heinlein called "I will fear no evil". While this is the work of a master, the book itself is quite slow and uneventful; no chases, no persecution by authorities, no narrow escapes, nothing that makes me finish a Heinlein book at break-neck speed. This one I have been wading through for weeks.

However, I admire Heinlein not only for his stories, but his ideas, his philosophy, his revolutionary not-always-right-but-quite-challenging concepts. And this one caught my attention and I thought of course, that makes sense. If you are making big mistakes then you are taking big risks and ask any Wall Street financial analyst you have to take big risks in order to reap big rewards.

Oh, I can add another one to it, "If you are not failing sometimes, then you are not taking enough risks." Taking risks, as I might have said before, is an essential part of success, indeed a part of life itself. Think about it, anything you ever did, from learning to ride a bike to proposing to that wonderful, beautiful girl, anything worthwhile came with a risk.

Yes, it's scary; yes, it's dangerous, but as the man said, "Sure the game is rigged, but if you don't play, you can't win!"

Hehe...guess who said that, Robert Heinlein! :-)

Thought of the day - 30th Oct 2007

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.
-Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

Monday, October 29, 2007

A random sher

Kabhi hamse kabhi ghairon se shana_saa_i hai,
Baat kehne ki nahiN tu bhi toh har_jaa_i hai.

Some shers are so beautiful, they are worth mentioning even without any thoughts attached to them.

This one means -
Sometimes you are friendly with me and sometimes with others,
It is not mentionable but you too are fickle.

But of course, it's more beautiful in the original Urdu. :-)

Thought of the day - 29th Oct 2007

Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.
- Jim Rohn

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beauty is a sham!

“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”, we have all been hearing it since ages, haven’t we? I have too, but then I ask myself, “If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder then what the hell are all those beauty contests for?”
I used to watch as many of the beauty contests as I could. I still wouldn’t mind watching if I knew beforehand of the schedule. But I wouldn’t because I don’t read, watch or listen to the news.
There have been times when the judges have selected a beauty queen and I have said, “Well-deserved!” (Like Sushmita Sen winning Miss Universe), but there have always been times, when I have screamed, “Are you bloody kidding me!?” (No, I don’t say “bloody” that’s more of a British word and I have recently moved to Britain, but the word I was going to use is not so nice. Anyway…)
So you can say that since my idea of beauty differs from those judges, it really is in the eyes of the beholder. Are you sure?
There are common ideas of beauty, as a group of people or society at large would agree to what is beautiful and what not. That same group of people might agree on a 100 people and yet may have dissent about others.
Or, you could meet a girl you don’t find attractive at all but who is somebody’s girlfriend or somebody’s wife, the apple of their eye, the prized possession or whatever..(ack! The inscription on the knife in my back reads “Women’s Lib”). And you do see the kind of guys or girls who look to you like nobody can find them beautiful by any stretch of imagination and yet….for example I think Julia Roberts is ugly, but her fans would want to kill me a slow and painful death just for saying that. There is a quote that I read recently, it says “..in the right light, from the right point of view, in the right situation, everything is beautiful…”, something like that.
So what’s the deal here? Is it in the eyes of the beholder or is it something that can be defined?
I have been thinking about it lately, quite a lot, and I have come to the conclusion that leaving apart the extreme cases of individual preferences beauty is largely defined by society. Beauty is what a certain ratio of the population may possess. It has to be a group not so small that almost nobody has it, but it has to be something that not everybody has it. Let me take an example.
Big breasts are considered sexy and something to have, so much so that surgery and money come into play. But if all the women in the world had big breasts, it wouldn’t be sexy. If only a few hundred women in the world had big breasts, it wouldn’t be sexy. It’s something that’s possible to see in a man’s lifetime, but something that’s not common - that’s beauty!
I will take two examples to illustrate my point.
My friend N in Germany, has a preference of brunettes, dark-haired girls. I can’t understand why because I think blondes are so sexy! But, he argues, Germany is full of blondes, brunettes he doesn’t see so often. On the other hand, India is full of brunettes almost exclusively, and blondes….not really. Hence my fascination.
Second point is from a story I read in high school - Country of the Blind. Don’t ask me who wrote it, I am too old to remember that now. One peculiar thing that I never forget about that story is that the hero, who is the only person with eyes and a stranger in that land, falls in love with a pretty girl who is considered ugly in that society. The barometer of beauty in that land of the blind is skin. Yes, the smoother the skin of the girl, the more beautiful she is considered. I don’t remember the story in its entirety and I doubt that it has any statistics but I will give you even odds that smooth skin was something not every girl had in that country.
Beauty, as per my arguments, is nothing more than a statistically selected group of features, a standard defined by the society and thus, is completely worthless!
So, do you agree or do you want to cross swords with me on this one?

Thought of the day - 26th Oct 2007

If all of life and everything in it is fleeting and constantly changing, why do we cling so desperately to the idea of permanence? Can love and passion be denied out of fear that they might fade? Life without daring, without the risk of failure, is only existence and to exist is not to live!
-Unknown

Thought of the day - 25th Oct 2007

Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.
- Ovid (43 BC - 17 AD)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thought of the day - 24th Oct 2007

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
- Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California fires

Raging fires are destroying homes in California, USA. I have no comments other than to express a deep sadness and sympathy for the thousands of people who are going to lose their homes in this tragic disaster. I am relieved though that despite the size of the disaster the loss of life is not great. I hope it stays that way.

Thought of the day - 23rd Oct 2007

“Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.”
- Aristotle (Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Physician, 384 BC-322 BC)

Monday, October 22, 2007

HTC TYTN 2/Vario III/HTC P4550 review



HTC TYTN 2/Vario III/HTC P4550 review

I should actually call this review First Impressions because I have not yet fully explored this wonderful device, but I know I am too lazy to write second impressions so, let it be.

Background - Every reviewer writes from previous experience, they compare their previous phones or similar phones with the item under review. I am going to do the same, only my previous phone is a little different. I have a QTEK 9000 also known as i-mate Jasjar, quite a hefty 250gms mammoth with 3.6" VGA screen., opens like a laptop with a full QWERTY backlit keyboard. Before this I had i-mate K-Jam which was more like TYTN2 in shape with a slide-out keyboard. That said let's delve into the Vario III.

Design - Compared to my QTEK 9000 (will call it Q9 from now on), the V3 (Vario III, of course) is smaller and lighter, seemed disappointingly tiny when I unboxed it and I had to remind myself that the Q9 (which has been called Brick and Laptop by my colleagues in the past) was not my favorite for its size. I had had to settle for the size because of the advantages it had to offer, the main one being the A2DP profile that I was crazy for at the time (A2DP=Advanced Audio Distribution Profile - lets you listen to music over bluetooth). V3 is lighter, smaller, slimmer, prettier and the Q9 poses no challenge in that area to V3.

Usability: Comparing them calmly the Q9 still has those advantages, it is big and heavy but the 3.6 inch VGA screen is beautiful to watch, not just for video but also text, the V3 visibly lacks it and I felt it in every application, TomTom, SMS text, even handwriting recognition.
Same goes for the keyboard, Q9's bigger keyboard is definitely better for typing. Having said that, I had to admit that the V3's keyboard is as good as could be given the size and other features of the device. The design and keyboard layout has been improved considerably since K-Jam and it doesn't take much practice to start typing on this little keyboard. The Function and Capslock lights are a great addition and very practical to use.
The tilting screen which has attracted and fascinated most users and reviewers is a great party gimmick but hardly worth more than that. But one place where I have to admit it's usefulness is when you want to watch a video or MMS placing the phone on a tabletop. Otherwise it hampers typing, covers the soft keys on the slide-out keyboard and the top row of keys doesn't benefit from it either. But I still love it, esp. the fact that it can be adjusted to any angle up to almost 45.

The V3 has a very solid feel to it and its slim shape is good to hold in the hand and comfortable to slide in the pants pocket. One thing that was missing in the Q9 was its one hand operation without opening the keyboard. It has very few keys for that. K-Jam was better, Vario III is the best. There are a multitude of keys on the front and around the sides of the phone that let you do a lot of things without having to open the keyboard or pull out the stylus. The best of all being the 5 way block that you can use to move around or select items. The 3-way jog-dial on the left is a welcome addition that I had been missing since my Sony Ericsson P910i. That was 5-way but 3-way is good enough here.

The keyboard slides under to the right as opposed to K-Jam and other devices that open to the left and that I don't like. In time, I'll get used to it, but I still don't like it. They should have asked me first.

While on the subject of usability, thank God they got rid of the telescopic stylus. My K-Jam's stylus had lost the will to telescope in the last months and that was a chore to pull it open by hand. This one is slim and fragile-looking but quite usable and accurate. The right-bottom slide hole for the sylus is a big inconvenience esp. when you have the keyboard out and you realize that you are right-handed.

The SIM-card slot is behind the screen when you pull out the keyboard, which is not commentworthy but I am glad the SIM compartment is quite solidly built into the body with a lockable cover over it.

There is a cover over the GPS external antenna hole but no cover or recession for the camera lens. Why is common sense so uncommon? Now I have to be careful where I place this beautiful piece of art for the next one year.

Ok, let's talk about specific features now.

GPS: Of course, that's the ultimate gimmick of all so we'll talk about it first. There are other devices in the market that have built-in GPS receiver but if this is not the best, there can be none better. I was using an external bluetooth GPS reciver with my Q9 and TomTom as the s/w. I am still using TomTom Navigator 6 with V3's built-in GPS and the differences are noticeable. One thing, let me get it out of my system, the text looks crap compared to Q9's VGA screen. Other than that it's as wonderful as an obedient,beautiful wife.

GPS Setup. Once I figured out that TomTom takes some time to find the built-in receiver, it was all good. TomTom takes about 10 seconds. And after that in 10 seconds or less you get the first fix. It picks up satellite even from indoors if you have a window open. With my external GPS I had to take it to the window and then it took about 1 minute or more to get the first fix. This little guy is amazing.

Oh, one thing where my external GPS was quite unusable. If you started moving before turning the receiver on it took forever to get a fix, sometimes I simply had to pull over if I really needed directions. With the V3, no problem. 10 seconds.

Using the GPS. Fantastic! I used to have about 50-100 yards lag when using the external GPS. Now, it's so real-time like there's a camera focused on my car. You can see the street on your left when the map shows you passing that street. It's really great for people like me who get confused in the English roundabouts. Now, I don't have to count the yards to the exit, I can see my real time location on the screen and see which exit the GPS lady means when she says,"..take the 5th exit". I'd buy it just for the GPS if for nothing else.

Camera: Haven't used it much yet but it's 3MP and lives up to it. No cellphone camera with or without flash took good pictures in low-light and night and I don't expect any different from V3, though I haven't tried it yet. One thing that I have tried and noticed is the autofocus. Usually autofocus means there's no zoom, in this one it really does focus, when you press the shutter halfway you can see the focus moving and it works great. No mirror for self-portrait, very bad. You can take your own picture from the front camera but that's just VGA so, mirror was needed. Anyway, spilt milk.

Media player. The performance is great. Windows Media player works fine. But of course, you'll download other programs to play more formats on it. Oh yes, the performance is really great. My Q9 had 520 processor while this little guy has only 400, but the performance is noticeably better. It must be because of the double RAM and ROM.

The Home screen and the related features, like finger scrolling and panning are very useful and impressive.

Windows Mobile 6 maybe the latest word from God (or Bill Gates, same difference, isn't it?), but I don't like it. So far, I have found one application, very very useful one that lets you use your camera phone as a webcam on the computer, and it runs on my Q9 with WM5 and doesn't run on V3. So, until people start developing apps for WM6, I am going to keep on hating it.

Battery - I can't really talk about battery life. For a new phone you have to fully discharge and recharge the battery at least 3-4 times to get its full potential and I have done that only once yet. I am expecting that I'll have to charge it every night with a fair amount of usage and I am ok with it. Considering that I have access to computers everywhere and it can charge from USB port, it's not a big issue anyway.

Storage - I won't give figures but on my Vario III plenty of memory is free even on the device. Must be because T-Mobile got stingy with applications. I didn't even get the World Card Mobile that I was looking forward to. On the card side, it supports the microSDHC (HC=High Capacity) cards, so far as I know, it's the only piece to support the HC part, and I bought a cheap 6GB card for it from mobymemory.com and you can too. 6gig is quite enough to live in and I am happy about it. The access performance is very fast, on the phone and on the desktop over the cable.

Connectivity - It boasts of many options for connectivity, 3G, HSDPA,HSUPA, EDGE, GPRS, Bluetooth, (no IR though), quad-band GSM and it delivers on all of them. I have very sucky T-Mobile signal where I work but it still lets me access email etc. over GPRS so that's fine. With T-Mobile's web n walk package, it's a really fun phone to own.

Bluetooth - I can see a very clear and definite improvement over my Q9 while listening to music over bluetooth with my Sony Ericsson wireless earphones.

Oh well, it's a herculean task trying to describe all the features of this pocket pc and their impact on one's life, but at least I tried.

Maybe some other time I'll talk about the applications I am installing on it. But of course, Google maps was the first thing I downloaded. :-)

Thought of the day - 22nd Oct 2007

Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.
- Jodie Foster (1962 - )

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thought of the day - 19th Oct 2007

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
- Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thought of the day - 18 Oct 2007

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
-Anne Frank (1929 - 1945), Diary of a Young Girl, 1952


--

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thought of the day - 17th Oct 2007

My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I will not resign myself...
- Trieu Thi Trinh

If you want to know who this person was, check here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pencilled Memories

Ok, I am at work. I pick up a pencil from the desk. Now, I am a software tester and my work consists of a glorious routine where I log out and log in to many computers, and so it happens that as I am waiting for the machine to come up again, I pick up this pencil and I have time to pick up a sharpner to sharpen the pencil. But then I realize I will have to stand up and walk up to the trash bin to actually sharpen a pencil that I don't need. So, like the lazyass that I am I put down the pencil.

But it reminds me of desk sharpners that have a bin to collect the peelings. That in turn, reminds me of battery-operated sharpners that I have always been fascinated by. That reminds me of the first and last battery-operated pencil sharpner that I bought. More than 2 years ago, when I was going to appear for my CSTE exams. (Just a geeky certification exam for software QA professionals).

Those exams are subjective as well as objective, and writing long answers in pencil means the need to sharpen them between answers. So, smart as I am, I bought that automatic sharpner to gain an edge. My girlfriend, who was supporting me in my mission, had an even better idea, she suggested that I take 20 pencils, all pre-sharpned and use them.

So, that's what I did. (Who can say no to a girl who gets hold of an idea?). Even though I looked like a freak with a pencil-fetish, carrying a pencil box choke-full of sharpened pencils, I did gain at least 20 minutes on the others who had to stop every few minutes to sharpen pencils (with manual sharpners), and 20 minutes for me means 20 more minutes for me to think up fancy crap to please the examiners.

The moral? "God is in the details!". Little things make for big differences!

Thought of the day - 16th Oct 2007

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy
- Norman Vincent Peale (1898 - 1993)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Thought of the day - 15th Oct 2007

We owe something to extravagance, for thrift and adventure seldom go hand in hand.
- Jennie Jerome Churchill (1854 - 1921)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thought of the day - 12th October 2007

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
- Cecil Beaton (English Photographer and Fashion designer, 1904-1980)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How popular are you?

This first made me laugh but as I read through the FAQ and other pages, I seriously admire these guys. Fantastic idea. Check it out here:
The Popularity Dialer .

Too bad they are only in the US. I could have used some help to boost my popularity.

Good work, guys!

Thought of the day - 11th Oct 2007

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
- Harry S. Truman (US President)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New desire - New Excitement

I don't think I'll ever cease to be excited about these little toys that I keep falling in love with.



This is HTC's new poster child - TYTN 2, code name - Kaiser. I have already ordered it and can't wait till tomorrow to have it in my hand. That way I am still like a child with a new toy. :-) May that never change! Amen!

I would write about its features, but it has tons of them and I have tons of work to get on with. So maybe later after I have checked it out myself.

Thought of the day - 10th Oct 2007

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
- Gloria Steinem quotes (American Writer and Activist. b.1935)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thought of the day - 9th Oct 2007

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
- Sidney J. Harris

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thought of the day - 8th Oct 2007

Experience is not what happens to a man.  It is what a man does with what happens to him.

- Aldous Leonard Huxley, Texts and Pretexts, 1932

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Stop waiting



....if I sleep now, I'll have 5 hours of sleep.....if I fall asleep now, I will still have 4 hours of sleep....if I could fall asleep now, I'll have 3 hours of sleep...

Have you had nights like that? I have! You desperately want to sleep and yet for some reason, being too excited, too worried, sometimes too tired, to sleep. Or maybe not tired enough, not sleepy enough, not relaxed enough. You try and try but it doesn't work, you just lie there waiting..and wishing...

There's a parallel to that in life. We are always waiting for something that's just around the corner and is going to make our lives so much happier. Or happy.

Once I turn sixteen...once this pay raise kicks in...when I have that new phone...after I receive my new, fast PC...when we go on that vacation...once I reach India...

Funny enough most of these things that we wait and wish for do come true, okay, not all of them, but quite a lot. Surprisingly though, they do not bring the everlasting joy that they seemed to represent. What happened? There are many reasons. Sometimes our expectations were so high that the actual event could not fulfill them. Sometimes, the thing, the event, the person is very very good, but still we miss something in him/her/it, but mostly, by the time we get that wish, we already have a few more that we want to come true.

Long time back I read a quote that stayed in my mind, "We never live, but kill time in the hope of living.".

This hope of living stays alive but usually stays a hope and nothing more...

To add another quote, "Death is more universal than life; everybody dies, but not everybody lives."

So what is the solution? Well, I am no expert in the art of living but I definitely am a student and most things in my philosopy come back to the same principle, "Live in the moment". Don't stop wishing, wanting, creating, getting, but don't make life wait on your wishes. If you look in this moment, you will find a lot to be happy about. Once you learn to squeeze the joy out of every moment, you'll be surprised to realize how little it takes to make you really happy. Sometimes, after I finish a meal I sit there with the rest of the Diet Coke in my glass and sip it slowly, watching TV and as I sit back enjoying the perfectly chilled Coke with 2 ice cubes, my feet up on a chair...I feel, "This is life!". None of these things are extraordinary and yet, that's how little it takes to be happy if you want to be.

I'll end with Leo Tolstoy's famous quote, "If you want to be happy, be!".

Thought of the day - 5th Oct 2007

"Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember"

- Seneca (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)

Thought of the day - 4th Oct 2007

"What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well."

 - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
(French Pilot, Writer and Author of 'The Little Prince', 1900-1944)

Thought of the day - 3rd Oct 2007

      Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new
      roads armed with nothing but their own vision.
    - Rick Mears

Monday, October 01, 2007

Thought of the day - 2nd Oct 2007

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

 - Howard Thurman

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