Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chp 316. Of guile and betrayal.

Looks like this week is going to be a bad one. It’s been raining nonstop since yesterday. And yesterday when I reached office (completely drenched) there was one really shocking news lying in store for me – somebody that I’ve trusted for the past two years, was wanted by the cops!

Dr. Shilpa Kiran Bhandare ZAF Club is one of the more renowned gyms in and around Mumbai. I even blogged about becoming a member of this gym before, and that I would reduce my tummy in three months. One of those silly things you say when you’re pumped up with testosterone, I guess.

The membership fee is at a discounted rate of just 12 thousand per annum for people in our office since we share the same building, which is like a really good bargain for us considering this is Mumbai (everything high priced) and that it is really convenient because it’s just one floor below our office.

Every morning, for the past two years, I would pass the gym reception and a smiling Dr. Shilpa was always there to greet me. We soon became friends and she would counsel me on the food that I should eat and avoid, a personalized healthy diet plan etc etc. Eventually, I enrolled in the gym.

And now she is wanted by the cops, and I am one of the many victims of her charm and charisma.

You see, when I enrolled and paid her the 12K, she didn’t give me a receipt.


I didn’t ask her for a receipt because I’ve known her so well and we both work in the same building. Plus I got my membership card immediately including a registration on the electronic fingerprint lock.


Yeah I know what you’re thinking. I’m a big sucker right? How could anyone pay 12K without taking any receipt?

Well, at least I know I’m not the only sucker in town. Seems she’s been pulling this scam off for a long time now – befriending people and earning their trust, and then pocketing their membership fees without entering it in the books. That was her modus operandi. Unofficial gossips in the massage room say she’s pocketed more than 80 lakhs!!!!

Whoah. Easy money.

It seems the gym management started suspecting something was wrong when more and more people started turning up at the gym while there weren’t that many members registered.

Yesterday, all of us who didn’t get a receipt from Dr. Shilpa had to submit our membership cards for police investigation. This morning I spoke to the gym management and they assured me I will get my membership card back and nothing will happen to my account.

I’m still trying to get over the shock. Dr. Shilpa would be the last person I’d suspect to do something like this. I guess looks can be that deceiving sometimes. Damn you – magnetic personality.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chp 315. My new Samsung Galaxy S Android

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life an Android phone.”

- Charles Darwin (with a little modification)


Two weeks I’ve been using my new phone now, and I still can’t get over how utterly amazing the phone is. Samsung Galaxy S. Currently running on Android 2.1 OS with 16GB internal memory, 32GB expandable and 1 freaking GHz processor!

A year ago, none of us would have guessed a mere phone could come up with this kinda config. And its 4" super AMOLED display guarantees that it has the best screen display in the entire phone market (currently).

My Samsung Galaxy S

29K. Bloody expensive. But totally worth it. Sure I've been eating plain roti and dal every day since I bought this phone, but believe me, I do not regret it. And there were times when my friends made fun of me because I did not have balance on my prepaid card. Lolz. A 29 thousand bucks phone with less than 1 rupee talktime balance is not something you come across every day

I did a lot of research before buying this phone. Although I wanted to get the 12K range of droids because phones never last long in my hands, my mind was secretly fixed on the Galaxy S, HTC Desire and BlackBerry Bold2, which all fall in the same price range.

I wanted a Bberry because most of the people in my office have one. Cheaper than the Galaxy S, sporting a Bberry kinda makes you a part of an elitist club, supposedly. But eventually I didn’t opt for it because I am not the kind who needs to stay connected all the time. Push mail feature didn’t appeal to me that much and I’m not that active on social networking sites. If you DM me or @Mizohican me on twitter, I won’t feel bad seeing your tweet 2-3 days later and replying only then. Plus all the people I know on BBM would be people I know professionally and not people I would want to chat with free of cost from anywhere across the globe. And data encryption is the least of my worries.

But mainly, I had a horrible experience browsing through blogs and discussion forums using a BlackBerry, and those ARE the places where I spend at least 70% of my online leisure time. Hence it is really important to know the kinda person you are and the things you do online before selecting a particular smart phone.

The HTC Desire was a strong contention though. It wasn’t until the very last minute that I finally decided to go for the Galaxy S. I had one of my closest pals from Engg college days advice me on which one to go for. He was my tech guru back then, who seemed to know everything about… tech. When he says buy this, we don’t ask why. We ask how many.

This is the first time I didn’t take his advice. Really sorry Paul Johny. He advised me to go for the HTC Desire rather than Galaxy S. But Desire wasn’t launched in India then, and I really couldn’t wait any longer for my dream phone.

Now apparently the HTC Desire is available in India for 27.5 thousand only, cheaper than the Galaxy S. [Source: Chhanga, who made fun of me when I lost my phone and then ironically lost HIS mobile phone a few days later. Poetic justice. Bwahahahaha.]

So coming back to this topic… from the time I’ve bought this phone, I’ve been spending all my time downloading tons and tons of free games and apps from the Android Market. In fact my girlfriend asked me if I love my phone more than her. Damn, I really shouldn’t have hesitated to answer a question like that.

Now our love story is pretty much like this


[source: Cyanide & Happiness]

But of course, to make everything alright again, all I’ll have to do is show her this mashable.com link: iPhone Owners Have the Most Sex Partners [STUDY] reported by OkCupid.com. According to this “study”, iPhone users have the most sex partners, followed by Blackberry users. Android users come last in this study, so to all the girlfriends out there -> make sure your boyfriend buys an Android phone. Geek FTW!



Yeah one of those rare moments when you can show off for not scoring

Browsing through sites is amazing with this phone. It’s fast, and automatically switches to Wi-Fi from gprs when it detects one (something that my previous phone refused to do). Like the iPhone, expanding and minimizing a homepage can be done smoothly by parting your fingers on the screen, and the view changes immediately depending on the angle you hold the phone. The best part is that I get a clear view even under direct sunlight because of its AMOLED screen, something that most phones cannot do.

My Samsung Galaxy S

My Samsung Galaxy S
[Don’t mind the bad quality pics above. They’re taken from a BlackBerry.]

The video quality is crispy clear too. The video cam comes with HD video recording and watching a movie on this phone (which can take any format like avi, mp4, wmv, etc.) is a new experience altogether. Amazing I tell you.

It also comes with a 5MP camera, but frankly speaking, I am not the type who goes for a good quality camera on mobile phones, so this is not really a plus point for me. When I go out with friends, there’s always somebody with a digicam. If you’re the one with a good cam, chances are, you will appear the least in all the photographs because you’re busy clicking the cam. Better to be in a pic than take one aye? There’s no flash on the cam, but like I said, I don’t care.

Apart from that, there are loads of apps in my phone, like access to over 50,000 E-Books by Tolstoy, Homer, Conan Doyle, Dan Brown, Nabokov, Kamasutra, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, complete Twilight series, Nora Roberts etc etc (stop drooling Jerusha, Aduhi, Kukui, Mesjay etc), thousands of free games guaranteed to keep you occupied throughout the day, dog whistle that actually works (yes, I tried it), GPS map that’s accurate like hell, various android based SNS clients for facebook, twitter, last.fm, orkut, blogger, wordpress, skype etc etc. iPod styled music player, sms and call faker (love this!), feature to sync my phonebook with my contact list from Facebook, Orkut, gmail, yahoo, outlook etc and merge similar accounts together, and even a “road sms” app, where you can type your sms and see the ground you’re walking on at the same time at the background, so that you don’t fall into a manhole while smsing! Lolzzz!

It also has FM, listed by TECHIrony as one of the advantages Samsung Galaxy S has over iPhone4. Well, to me, this is quite trivial but they had made quite an interesting comparison nonetheless. Click here to view their study. Below is their comparison.



According to “Bright Hub!” [Android Market vs iPhone App Store] the iPhone Store has over 200,000 applications and games, while the Android Market has roughly over 50,000. But Android is slowly (and surely) catching up, with more and more phone companies manufacturing Android based phones.

Mashable, in their post 6 Free Android Apps That Will Make You Drop Your iPhone also mentioned about how much easier it is to customize android phones, and listed out six outstanding free Android apps you MUST install.

This is the future my friends. Putting an i before your name is no longer cool. Bye bye iKim. Hello Kim-droid. You can now even install the open source Android OS to a closed source iPhone! Lolz! PC World: How to Install Android on Your iPhone Cheers everyone. Happy droiding.


Ps. If you’re an android user, what are your top 5 free apps on your phone?


Monday, August 16, 2010

Chp 314. Indiblogger Meet – Mumbai.


Finally did something I’ve always wanted to do before I die, kinda like my bucket list – To take part in a blog meet where I don’t know anybody
personally.

And what more perfect event than the third anniversary bash of Indiblogger!

I became a member of Indiblogger a long time ago, but never actually took part in its activities. Back then, Indiblogger was just a directory of sorts, where bloggers could register their blog and edit their profile page. I used it then to search for bloggers based on location, and see how many bloggers were there from the North East.

It had undergone a lot of change after that, thanks to the relentless efforts of the passionate admins. From putting up various badges to describe what kinda blogger you are, new features like IndiRank, IndiVines, forum, occasional competitions with cash prize, incentives etc were introduced. Indiblogger meets were held regularly at various cities across India now and then, including foreign locations like Singapore etc.

Yesterday, Indiblogger became three years old. And to grace this special occasion, the admins decided to conduct the Anniversary meet here in Mumbai! Many bloggers from other cities too actually flew in to attend this meet. The 270 seating limit at the posh Hotel Sea Princess was quickly filled up. I was one of the lucky ones to register in time.

Indiblogger Meet Banner

Reached half an hour early, quite hesitantly. The signing in, was truly digital, perfectly apt for a blog meet like this. We had to sign in with our user names How cool is that.

Signing in at Indiblogger

And there was a live twitter feed on a projector screen informing us who had just signed in. Anybody who tweeted with the hashtag #indimum, their tweets were displayed on the screen too. And of course there was the free WiFi courtesy Indiblogger. Woot! (I swear it wasn’t me who was using an Android based utorrent client )

I met quite a number of bloggers and tweeple I know online, and it felt great finally putting a face to their profiles. We all had our individual 30 seconds of fame where we introduced ourselves and our blog/s to everybody. The organizers conducted a lot of events too.

The bloggers ranged from 16 years olds to 60 years olds. There was even a mother-daughter blogger duo, and a 19 years old travel blogger from Vietnam. Techie bloggers, foodie bloggers, photo bloggers, social media bloggers, P3 bloggers, social activist bloggers, the list was endless.

To me, this was one my greatest moments – getting a chance to talk to one of the more prolific blogger and influential tweeter (apart from being an actress slash social activist) Gul Panag herself, and then taking a pic together

Kima and Gul Panag

Gul moderated the discussion that took place in this meet, where various bloggers discussed about privacy, journalism and blogging, effects of blogging, social activism, blogging etiquettes etc etc. Many renowned bloggers shared a lot of insightful “two cents” definitely worth remembering, and Gul really moderated the discussion well. She’s one of the few Indian celebrities who is actually cuter and sweeter in real life, not to mention an intelligentsia.

I also finally got to meet Netra, the networking and social media queen

Kima and Netra

Lovable she is, just like her tweets Her smile could literally light up the entire conference hall. Meeting her was definitely the best part of the meet. Hugz, Netra. Also crossed paths with many people I follow on twitter (too many to be named) and started following many new ones too.

Meeting Indiblogger founder Renie Ravin was another milestone in my books.

Kima and Renie

Amazing guy, with a lot of charisma. We definitely need more people like him if we want to move ahead in the blogosphere. Also met the other indiblogger admins with whom I have interacted with before – Anwin Joselyn and Vineet Rajan. You guys rock!

Free domain accounts (.in and .com) were also given away by one of the sponsors Big Rock.

All those who attended this meet also received free Indiblogger three year anniversary tee shirts, which I am wearing in office right now as I type this post I really love the slogan at the back: “Indian by birth, blogger by choice”, which made an even stronger impact yesterday as it was Independence Day.

Indiblogger tee shirt

At the end of the day, I was really glad I went to this event, as I have found a lot of wonderful new blog/twitter friends. We even had charts where new found friends commented or left their blog/twitter handle.

Kima indiblogger chart 1

 Kima indiblogger chart 1

I will be updating this post later today with more pictures of this event, taken by other photographers. The amateur pics that you see right now are from my “crappy” new phone, the Samsung Galaxy S. Ahem ahem…

So, do keep visiting this space for better and clearer pics. Cheers! (something we couldn’t say yesterday because it was a dry day. Haha.)


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Chp 313. My five stages of grief.

Misual.com, a Mizo community blog that my friends and I run, will turn 5 years old tonight! Yay *self congrats* Five years is a long time. As for me, there will be no anniversary celebration because the only five in my mind are the five stages of grief.

Three days ago, I lost my mobile phone. Samsung Omnio Pro B7320

My baby Samsung

Three days ago on a wet Sunday evening, I went grocery shopping. On reaching home, I had around 15 plastic bags filled with food and other stuff from a supermarket and I barely managed to pay the auto driver. It was dark and drizzling too. By the time I dragged all the stuff to my pad on the third floor, I realized my phone was not with me! Aaaargh.

Called my number from another phone. Son of a bitch who must have found it had already switched it off.


And here’s what stings the mostttttttt!

My Samsung phone came with an Anti-theft Mobile tracker technology. All I had to do was activate the feature and submit two phone numbers. Hence every time somebody inserts a different sim card in my phone, a notification will be sent to these two designated phone numbers. From there on, we can report the numbers to the cops who will do the rest. It’s just a one-minute task.

And guess what? Yeah you guessed right. I didn’t activate this freaking feature.

Big lesson learnt. Shoot me.

13,000 bucks down the drain. And it’s not even 6 months old. My friends used to ask me why I didn’t buy a Blackberry Curve instead as they cost almost the same. And a Bberry is highly recommended in my line of work as we have to stay connected all the time. But there were a lot of things I loved about my Omnio Pro (*sigh* it hurts speaking about it in the past tense). I visited all my favorite blogs and social networking sites using this phone all the time. In fact I stopped reading newspapers in the loo (a habit that I had since school days) and instead browsed news sites on my phone right from the loo.

I was so used to this phone that even after losing it, I would grip an imaginary phone in my hand. And then that imaginary phone would have a weak signal, so I would shake my hand to get better signal. All went well until a female colleague slapped me and later sued me for sexual harassment.



Anyway, here are my five stages of grief. Some people express grief through poetry or prose. Here is me doing this through a comic strip!

This is also my first attempt at comic stripping. Many of my favorite bloggers have their own comic strip series running. I really find this genre of bloggers interesting and maybe I will do it again later.

Mizohican 5 stages of grief - 1

Mizohican 5 stages of grief - 2

Mizohican 5 stages of grief - 3

Mizohican 5 stages of grief - 4

Mizohican 5 stages of grief - 5

For my next phone, my mind is already fixed on an Android phone. I’ll most probably be going for the Samsung i5700 Galaxy Spica. It costs around 12K and is something I can afford right now. But I also fell in love with the 30K range of Android smartphones. Right now I am stuck between the Samsung Galaxy S and HTC Desire. Both look formidable and are the clear champs in this category, even giving the new iPhone4 a run for its money.

I so want these two phones, either of them, and I have done loads and loads of research on them. I’ll most probably buy one of these 30K phones on EMIs. Or, if you really like this comic strip or enjoy visiting my blog, I really wouldn’t mind if you donate some dough towards my “Android Smartphone” fund

Galaxy S and HTC Desire
Image source: Shripad @ TechEnclave