Color Treat …

Sunday, November 7, 2010 Posted by admin

Last weekend me and Aruna were in Innsbruck to visit the “Kristalwelten”, museum cum shop of Swarowski. It has been my second visit to Innsbruck and especially to the Kristalwelten, yet this time the museum and the city by itself looked lot more beautiful than it did the first time around. May be because this time I literally saw all that what I saw through the eyes of my camera.

Here are the pictures. Enjoy the shapes and the treat of colors !!

Moonlit Zaunweg

Thursday, April 29, 2010 Posted by prakash

In my novice attempt to shoot the moon with my puny 45mm lens, I ended up capturing a great shot of Zaunweg lit by moon light !! As always had been, this picture too was shot well past mid-night :))


  • Manual shoot mode
  • Shutter speed: 30″
  • White Balange: Tungsten Light
  • ISO 1600
  • Focus: 10


Another Night One !!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Posted by prakash


Common man’s take on the Samsung Omnia HD i8910

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Posted by prakash

Its been over 2 months since I possess the power and the might of the Samsung Omnia HD :) and have been impressed with some features, enjoyed some with awe, but sadly disappointed at some key features !! Now i feel obliged to pass on this knowledge to the other Omnia fans !! What makes me write this is, nearly every review out there, is centered too much on the core features that makes it stand out among its peers, all the while ignoring other equally important aspects of the phone.

Ok !! enough with the crap, here we go …


@my Likes List

  • The 3.7in AMOLED display is a delight to watch. One of the best, if not already the best, displays available in the market today. Holding it in your hands,  one is welcomed with a treat of colors.
  • The Photo Contacts: One has the possibility to add pictures under the photo contacts and flip through them to get to the one, one needs. Added to that, one can draw up small rectangles and link them to a contact in the phone book. Imagine you have a picture of a friend with his family. So one can simply draw rectangles, over all the faces or where ever one likes and then link each of them to their corresponding phone book contacts. This way, i can flip to this picture and call anyone of the family, without having to search through the phone book for the contact details.
  • The capicitative touch screen, is highly responsive
  • Views: I loved the 3D view and the support for 3 desktops where one can organize the widgets in what ever order one likes.
  • Cool office applications: For people who like to read on the go. Document viewers available for Word, PDF, Powerpoint and Excel from Open office. Of course, now every other smart phone out there offers these applications. However, to create new documents(I dont see why would anyone like to do that on a smart phone) one need to purchase a license.
  • Multimedia Beast: Beast is what suits aptly to describe the multi-media capabilities of this phone. The video player is so cool that one fails to notice that it is being played on a smart phone. Moving the current play position either forward or backward(one of the most commonly used functionality in video watching) works really fast. The following codecs are supported
    1. Audio: MP3/WMA/WAV/RA/AAC/M4A
    2. Video: AVI(DiVX/XviD)/WMV/RV/MP4/3GP/FLV
  • Excellent video recording –> I dont have to say anything more about this since you will definitely enjoy it !!
  • Camera –> The 8MP camera with a whole bunch scenerios that one finds on any digital camera, and a very intuitive user menu, makes it one of the best features, why one likes to have it.

@my Could have been better list

  • Audio player: Offers a simulated, 5.1 surround sound SW button, but i failed to notice any perceptible difference in the sound quality
  • The Audio player is good but is definitely not the walkman offered by Sony Ericsson. I miss my W800i, my favorite music player ever.
  • Battery life: I guess, this is a common smart phone problem. For a device that supports, such a bright display, i find the battery life pretty impressive. However, what i find disappointing is when the top four power lines disappear, it wont take long before it starts to squeak for ‘power’. With a lot of video watching and some web-surfing with WiFi, it lasts around 1day or a max of 1.5days.
  • Widgets: The widgets are not resizable.
  • Web browsing:
    • The inbuilt web browser is not very impressive and will be annoying to an iPhone user where the browsing experience is incredible.
    • The zoom functionality in the web browser also is annoying at times, when one likes to scroll through the page by moving your finger up or down.
    • When the page is zoomed in, a box appears showing the current position of the screen. Given the small visible area, i find the screen really annoying and in no way helpful.

@my Hate List

  • Kinetic scrolling: A mush have among smart phones is missing. Although Samsung seems to have promised a firmware update with Kinetic scrolling very soon.
  • Auto Image Rotation: I find it laughable that the image auto rotation does not work in the MediaBrowser application. Where as in the File browser it works. And what is even more annoying is through the file browser, once cannot scroll through the next image.
  • Lack of good apps. There exists so few apps that using the Omnia HD might at times, feel boring for lack of refreshment through new apps. Samsung launched its app store as late as September’ 2009. I’ve been constantly browsing through the store, but it constantly fails to interest me.
  • As soon as a call is made the screen is locked, guess to avoid accidental pressing. But it has been a very very annoying experience to me, especially when i like to use the phone book or even worse when i want to use the dialler. I once called a hotline where I had to choose the right menu from a list of services offered, by pressing a number on the dialler. But as soon as the call is made, the screen is locked and  I had to press the lock key to reactivate it again. Did that, chose the right menu and put it close to the ear again to hear another list of sub menus, and i once again had to press the lock key and a button to get to the dialler. It was pretty annoying, since not all hotlines have the time to wait for us to do that.
  • This is more of a third party problem than that of the device itself. One can find a whole list of must have freeware apps for the Samsung Omnia HD. One among them is Opera Web browser. It is a rather advanced browser with kinetic scrolling, but comes with some minor drawbacks. It supports its own keyboard to type in web addresses in the address bar. Unfortunately, it is pretty slow and it could be annoying to an impatient user. Also, the software is buggy. I cannot tell you how, but ever third time i used it, i was able to crash it.
  • Samsung has built-in a few GPS based applications, which i find as useless. I dont see any use and the need for such applications, when the same time could have been applied to develop other innovative applications.
  • Lack of themes and the few that are available are buggy
  • Editing: Opening and closing the edit window with the querty keyboard, takes around, 1-2 seconds.

Well, this is all, i can remember now. Will keep updating it as and when it strikes me !!

All in all a very impressive piece of hardware but with a not-so-intelligent software. In this ever competitive smart phone segment, one can only hope that Samsung gets smart enough to push for app development.


Bang ? or no Bang ?

Saturday, September 26, 2009 Posted by prakash

On the 11th of May 1998 the whole of India stood by when the then prime minister, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee made this statement:

I have an important announcement to make:

“Today, at 1545 hours, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range. The tests conducted today were with a fission device, a low yield device and a thermonuclear device. The measured yields are in line with expected values. Measurements have also confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in May 1974. I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out these successful tests.”

And the world watched in awe, and wasted no time criticizing the tests, and accusing India of destabilizing the region and starting a new arms race, all the while ignoring the threat India faced on its northern boundaries, with the monstrous communist dragon on the east and the Islamic terror on the west. What followed was scientific and economic sanctions and the nuclear isolation of India.

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However, locally, operation Shakti, as it was code named, quickly became one of the most celebrated scientific achievement, in India. We were by then a self-declared nuclear state.

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And exactly 11 years later, K. Shantanam, former DRDO scientist and one of the key players of the 1998 tests, went public with a statement as strong as the bomb itself.  He shocked the nation by claiming that the yield of the explosions was more like a fizzle than a big-bang. The media was quick to react and the concerned political, defense and the scientific nachos were cornered and are made to answer one question: So, was it a bang or no bang ??

Many, right from the former president of India and the DRDO chief during the 1998 blasts, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the defense minister, P.Chidambaram, the national security advisor, K. Narayanan, to the prime minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, chipped in to hail the tests as a complete success and as having achieved the “desired” results.

However, the controversy seizes to die down. And the war of words keeps drawing in other scientists and politicians each doubting the others credentials to judge on this matter. Although the time chosen to go public and the real motive behind his revelations remain questionable, what should India do at this juncture, where violations at the border from neighbors who doesn’t seriously believe in dialog, has become the content of daily morning news ?


Well, in my view, despite how dearly we like to play these incidents down and deny like they never happened, the credibility of the Indian scientific achievements is in question? These statements and the following controversy have laid bare India’s minimal deterrence capabilities, and sent wrong signals to the world and especially to its neighbors.

My concerns are two fold:

  • Should we let the world judge and trivialize our Indigenously developed nuclear technology?
  • Should we let our immediate neighbors take advantage of this ambiguity?

The answer to both the questions is a strict “No”.

I am of the opinion, that the government should immediately appoint a high-level commission comprising of nuclear experts and scientists and reevaluate the results of the May’ 1998 tests. If the results were found to be unsatisfactory and in-line to the revelations, India should come clean and plan further tests. A minimal nuclear deterrence is the harsh reality of the modern world, and the Indian government should not falter on its commitment to the people of India, in this regard.

And should the tests be successful as claimed, appropriate action should be taken on the concerned scientists. Regardless of their stature and contribution to the development of the technology, no mercy should be shown.

However, the scientific and political community should follow restraint when it comes to matters of national security. Such issues have to be communicated at the right time through the right channels. And the government should be transparent in its actions and allow the development of science and technology take its natural course.

Tell me why !!!

Monday, March 30, 2009 Posted by prakash

I came across this incredible video while browsing through this Blog and I want to share it with you all .. The kid is just wonderful and the song is so moving !!

Free Tibet

Friday, March 13, 2009 Posted by prakash

10th March 2009, 23:15:32

Today, the people of Tibet mark 50 years of their failed uprising against China’s Occupation.

Unlike this year’s protests, the events that occurred one year ago, dominated the print and the screen media for several months that followed. What started as demonstrations against the Chinese occupation, turned violent and the anger against the non-Tibetan ethnic groups led to riots and looting.

These incidents in the run-up to the Olympics were threatening the elaborate PR stunt that China had prepared to the world to showcase its economic prowess, with state-of-the-art stadiums, fireworks and acrobats. China had too big stake in the Olympics to see it being overshadowed by a subject that could only add salt to its wounds. It responded immediately with the one thing it so capable of. Greater force.

These events led to International outrage and the “Free Tibet” backers tried everything possible to mar the Olympic Torch Relay and gain as much attention as possible. Just when the movement was at its peak, disaster struck! Earthquake hit Sichuan province killing close to 80,000 people. Critics, who have been, not so long ago, talking about autonomy, human rights, and the high-handedness of the Chinese police, were expressing their condolences and were instead talking of help, support and rehabilitation of the effected.

So, where is the movement heading and what are the chances of an ordinary Tibetan, ever living in an Independent/Autonomous region, freely practicing his culture, religion and language???

Lets face it. China has been investing heavily in infrastructure in Tibet to make it easy for its citizens to resettle in the region and to transport troops fast enough to crush any uprising. It has even enacted laws to respond to any crisis that threatens to compromise its “One China” policy. Tibet is long part of China and it will never let it go. In fact, even the Tibetans themselves do not consider Independence as an option.

So, the whole thing boils up to this point. Tibet wants to be part of China, but wants to keep its identity intact. It wants to be Autonomous. And this is where the problem comes. An autonomous region could control who could come-in and who not. It could have its own government, its own culture and religion, its own economy. Basically its own system. And this is absolutely against China’s policies. It could not give a Hong-Kong like status to Tibet. So it tries to ‘Chinize’ Tibet.

In one of the rare documentaries that i have ever watched over Tibet, I could observe the process of ‘Chinization’ going on in every frame. Billboards with tiny Tibetan Characters dwarfed by huge Chinese once, sprawling housing complexes, shopping malls, wide roads and ofcourse Chinese tourists. However, China tries to sell this process to the world, with a wrap of, “Happy and Prosperous Tibet”, under the hood of Communism. I was surprised to see how Image conscious are the Chinese when it comes to Tibet. A footage of a Tibetan businessman, showering praises over the Chinese rule, accompanied by local communist party leaders, sitting in a hall bloated in Red, and overhanging pictures of the Communist heros, is hardly beleivable.

China with its gargantuan economy is now in a position to command its terms to the world. And nations and its leaders distance themselves from the subject and are happy to maintain a status Quo, until the next big event.

I ‘feel’ there may come a day when the Tibetan culture, language and traditions shall remain guarded only in Libraries and Museums.

- Prakash

Munich @ Night

Friday, March 13, 2009 Posted by prakash

- Prakash

The Indian Slumdog

Friday, March 13, 2009 Posted by prakash

23rd February 2009, 01:00:41AM, Munich, Germany.

The live telecast of the Oscar ceremony has just begun. The over dressed presenter has been trying to get as many celebs as possible to get to speak to him. While the other was listing out the competition in the various categories and the chances of winning the Oscar for the German Movie, “Der Baader Meinhof Komplex”.

However, what interests me, and that have kept me awake until this late hour, is the result of the “Best Picture” category. The result however is already enclosed in one of those golden envelopes to be opened in front of millions of viewers, very shortly. Yet, to many the winner is pretty clear. The Slumdog Millionaire. The BBC seems to have gone a step ahead to promote its home talent with the following headline.

23rd February 2009, 23:26:17AM, Munich, Germany.

The results are out. Indeed it is the “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Anyways, the point is not if the “Slumdog Millionaire” won or lost it, but the very theme of the Movie: The Slumdog.

I have read several articles where authors have vehemently criticized the movie while some even called on to boycott it. Apparently even the Big B wasnt very impressed. And i pause to think: why is it so hard for so many Indians to digest the movie? All it portrayed was the ground reality. The Indian “underbelly”. Was’nt it???

To me, the portrayal of the slums of Mumbai, in the movie, was not very offensive. Although it did cause a little discomfort, to watch how graphically it was presented. In fact, i was more uncomfortable, when i saw Shahrukh Khan getting down a Helicopter, and walking elegantly down the runway and through the magnificent halls of his palace, to be greeted by his Arthi wielding mother, in the movie, K3G.

To start with, why should one feel offensive about it? Slums are just part of every city’s landscape in India. Some have even become their identity, as is the case with Dharavi. Weather one likes it or not, it is true. And there is no place for denial.

On the other side, it should however be noted that many in the west “still” see India as a place to achieve spiritual nirvana than as a place to make business, as a place with littering holy cows than four-lane highways, as a place where girl children are despised and damned to death than where they are loved and given equal opportunity in every aspect of life and as a place of slums and slumdogs than places of innovative ideas and hard-working citizens trying to make a difference, in a multi-cultural, secular, and a relatively weak democracy.

However, one should be thoughtful than ashamed and should tune-in to the melodious track of “Jai-Ho” and be inspired, than undermining one’s spirit of hard-work and the focussed goal of reaching the top.

The Indian Slumdog,

- Prakash.

Talibanized Pakistan

Friday, March 13, 2009 Posted by prakash

Many recent headlines have inspired me to start my first blog on this subject:
Mr. Zardari’s open admission that Pakistan is struggling to survive against the Taliban, the bold declaration of ceasefire by Taliban against the Pakistan’s forces and the signing of an agreement for the implementation of Sharia Law against ending violent attacks in the region.

These events not only highlight the power and the reach of the Taliban, but also the sad plight of Pakistan’s unstable government to keep in order what little of it is left in the region. The Taliban has arrived in Pakistan. It is making its presence felt. It regrouped, strengthened and re based itself in the region. The valley being just over 200kms away from Islamabad, make the matters even more harder to comprehend. Should we see it as the success of the Taliban to get a stronghold in the region so close to the capital or as the failure of the government not only on loosing control of the region but also for giving in to the demands of the group.

Implementing the Sharia law is just a pat on the back of the Taliban leadership for its performance. The region has already seen mindless destruction of schools, government buildings, implementing self-styled justice systems with beheadings of government supporters and sympathizers, and imposing a sense of fear among the people. So does this mean, its a clean chit to continue governing the region with its implementation of the Sharia. Then how is it different from what happened in Afghanistan??

Are we seeing just random incidents or is it the start of the birth of a new Afghanistan? What are the implications of these events on the World and importantly on India? Hard to understand …

Pakistan is already widely known as a base for exporting Terrorism, with the latest example being 26/11, Mumbai. However, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the siege of the Lal Masjid by Islamic militants, added to these events show that the ideology of Islamic fundamentalism is spreading and finding roots and that no region, be it the tribal areas nor the capital, is immune to it.

Formerly isolated air strikes in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan by the coalition forces, have now become regular fortnight news, indicating that the focus of war is shifting from Afghanistan to Pakistan. The so called “Operation Enduring Freedom” is spreading. Isn’t this scary ??

- Prakash