Nilesh Gonsalves

Jul 232017
 

It’s a very common thing to have multiple hard drives in our possession these days. With all the data and media that we have with us, the inbuilt storage in our computers prove insufficient. External HDDs also provide easy portability for the media. But we always face an issue when we want to share our media or even the HDD space with others in our own home or on our internal network. One solution is to attach the HDD to the computer and configure it as a shared drive. But that would require a computer which is running 24×7 so that the drives are available at any given time to anyone. Not an ideal solution.

Another method is to configure a NAS or Network Attached Storage. NAS is basically a storage attached to a network device(typically a server, but can also be a dedicated controller) which is connected to a network and runs 24X7. You do get NAS devices in market but these devices are typically as costly as a single 2TB drive and are normally beneficial for higher speed transfers. The NAS configuration which I plan to discuss here, will give you transfer speeds of about 4-5 mbps over local network and should be suitable for home/home office networks. And we use a versatile computer which has very low footprint in terms of space and power consumption. The Raspberry Pi is one of the best suited computer board for this project.

Before you go further you need:

  • A Pi with Raspbian installed and connected over you local network. Use this tutorial for the same.
  • A powered USB hub sufficient to power your HDDs. Buy here based on number of HDDs you have

Warning : Do not attempt to power up your HDDs via the Raspberry Pi USB ports since the pi can handle only about 2.5 amps of current through it and may burn out in case overloaded.

So let’s get started.

(Note : This guide has been drafted based on my installation experience, which was further assisted by the guides available at howtogeek.com and instructables.com . Any errors during the installation, you can leave me a note or you can check the guides on their websites. Both websites listed different methods and I couldn’t get mine configured using them individually. But I succeeded when I followed both the guides together)

  • Connect your HDDs to the USB hub and connect the Hub to one of the USB ports on the Pi.
  • Open up shell via SSH( or terminal in case you have connected the keyboard/mouse and screen to your Pi)
  • Run the commands sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade to update your Pi installation and repositories.
  • If your HDDs are NTFS format, you will need to run the following command in terminal.

sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

This will get you Pi ready to understand the ntfs format on your HDDs.

Next step is to identify your drives

  • Type ls –l /dev/disk/by-uuid
  • The output of this command will be similar to below:

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  • Here sda1, sdb1, sdc1 denotes the external HDDs. The number will vary as per the HDDs connected by you. We are interested in the 16 digit hexadecimal UUID against each of these. Note down the 16 digit codes and the corresponding HDD identifiers. eg. sda1 – 1C0CA2830CA25812  in the example above.
  • Next run code ls –l /dev/disk/by-label
  • The output will be something like this:

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  • As you can see, my labels are Transcend, Storite and WD for sda1, sdb1 and sdc1 respectively. These are the actual labels which you have given to the HDDs. Note these down and match them with the UUID. So in my case it will be sda1 – 1C0CA2830CA25812 – Transcend.
  • Now that we have identified the HDDs, we need to mount these drives. But before that we create a location to mount these drives.
  • Run code sudo mkdir /media/DRIVE_NAME . eg. for my transcend drive, I created directory using sudo mkdir /media/transcend
  • Do this for all the drives that your have connected.
  • Next, mount each drive with the following command for each instance:

sudo mount -t ntfs-3g -o uid=pi,gid=pi /dev/sdxx /media/DRIVE_NAME

  • Where sdxx is sda1, sdb1, sdc1 etc and DRIVE_NAME is the corresponding mount point which you created earlier. So for my transcend drive the command will be:

sudo mount -t ntfs-3g -o uid=pi,gid=pi /dev/sda1 /media/transcend

  • Do this for all the drives.
  • If you have fat32 or ext4 drives, suitably modify the command:
    • ntfs-3g for NTFS drives
    • vfat for FAT32 drives
    • ext4 for ext4 drives
  • The drives should mount everytime we reboot. So we need to add it to startup script.
  • Run sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/backup_fstab
  • Then run sudo nano /etc/fstab
  • Add the following correspondint to each drive

/dev/sda1 /media/transcend auto noatime 0 0

Use the correct drive identified sdxx and the corresponding correct DRIVE_NAME for each HDD.

  • Restart the Pi using sudo reboot
  • Next step is to install samba.
  • Run sudo apt-get samba samba-common-bin
  • Once installed, backup the samba configuration file before proceeding:

sudo cp /etc/samba/smb.conf /etc/samba/backup_smb.conf

  • Run sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf
  • In the configuration file that opens up, ensure that the workgroup is your local workgroup for your network. Ideally its WORKGROUP for windows. Modify it if you are using something else.
  • In the Authentication section, enter security = user  to enable verification
  • Now scroll to the bottom of the file and add your drives as follows:

clip_image003

  • Here valid user = @pi is the username I selected. You may select anything you want eg. valid users = @josh .
  • You may also choose to share specific folders inside the HDD instead of the entire HDD. Modify path if that is the case. The read only attribute specifies the modification rights and the no flag specifies that the users on network can read as well as write to the shared drive/folder.
  • Save using ctrl+X, say yes and hit enter.
  • Run sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart
  • Add user to give access to the shared drive
    • sudo useradd josh -m -G users
    • sudo passwd josh
  • You will be prompted to enter a password twice.
  • Next enter the command sudo smbpasswd –a josh
  • Create password on prompt
  • Restart samba using sudo service smbd restart
  • The HDDs should be visible to you on other computers on your network. You can configure it as a network drive. You will need to specify username and password once for access.

Next time, we will see how to configure DLNA server on your Pi to share the media files to your DLNA compliant devices.

Jul 162017
 

If you follow tech world, you must surely have come across the name “Raspberry Pi” which has been making waves in its field for about 5 years. I had provided a basic insight regarding credit card sized(and thumbnail sized) computers in my previous post. These tiny boards cost from  about 5$ to well over 100$, each with its own specialties. And they are the favorites of the geeks for small tasks, dedicated application or plain hobby projects.

But its not just the geeks who have the competence to use them. A common person like any of us can pick one up and configure with a little bit of research(nothing anyone can’t handle. Some basic configurations are straight forward.) You can use it as a simple linux based computer, a media server, a network attached storage controller, create a magic mirror, an interactive AI and pretty much anything you may want with a bit of advance tutorials.

The aim of my todays blog is to guide you through the installation of Raspbian and create a backup image of the setup. The back up will help you to copy the sd card in an image format which can be overwritten anytime you feel that the OS is not behaving well. I will also explain how to setup your pi to be used via a remote computer, thus dispensing the need to connect it to a monitor, mouse or keyboard. We shall set it up so that the pi is on static IP and easily accessible via shell or via VNC.

Note that the Raspbian OS is based on Debian distribution of Linux, so even though you get a GUI, be prepared to try out command line for advance configurations. They are fun to learn and not very difficult to remember(or to google for that matter)

What you need

  • A Raspberry Pi 3 with a 2.5 A 5V power supply(micro usb pin)– buy it here and here
  • A 16GB – 32GB micro SD Class 10 card – better a 32 GB version if you plan to setup more number of applications – buy it here
  • A keyboard/mouse/monitor(HDMI TV will do) for initial setup
  • NOOBS – download here (NOOBS is a “New out of Box Software”, a minimal intervention installer with OS packages built in)

Whenever you plan to buy a case for the pi, consider possibility of adding a fan and GPIO headers. Also consider that you may need to remove the micro SD card time and again in case you are using another card for another project. Make sure that the SD card is readily accessible.

Install Raspbian

Before you try to install raspbian on to your sd card, you will need to format in to Fat32 file system. You can use SDformatter for the purpose. Once the SC card is formatted, extract the downloaded NOOBS image in to the root of the SD card.

The installation method below gives the installations of only Raspbian OS with PIXEL desktop. You should be able to install and use any other OS listed within the list, once you are a little familiar with how it works.

  • Insert the card in to you pi in the card slot.
  • Connect the HDMI cable, keyboard and mouse to the pi.
  • Connect the power source.
  • The pi will start automatically. You will be taken to the list of available/downloadable OSes. Select Raspbian jessie with full desktop.

clip_image001

  • On the top left hand corner, you will find a icon shaped like a hdd. It is your install button. Click on the button to install Raspbian.
  • Go have a cup of tea cause it takes 15-20 minutes to install. Yes, no further intervention necessary.
  • When you come back from your short break, you will be greeted with a message saying that OS is installed. Click ok. The system will reboot.

That completes the installation part. Once the system reboots, it will take you to the PIXEL desktop. It is essentially similar to windows desktop with the taskbar and menu docked to the top. But don’t let the appearances fool you. The core on which it is built is rock solid, highly customizable and very secure.

The round raspberry on top left gets the things started for you. Navigate around to get a feel. The other important icons which you would be using time and again are:

  • The blue globe near the raspberry, which is essentially the web browser.
  • The folder icon, which is used to navigate the file system
  • The black window, which I guess you know from your windows days, the console or the terminal

Navigate around the icons, they wont kill the system for now.

clip_image002

Let’s change the default password

Ok, first thing’s first. We secure out pi before we connect it to network. Click on the terminal icon. The terminal, as below, will open up.

clip_image003

Here, the “pi” is the current user and raspberrypi is the hostname. Let’s change the password. Type the following code in front of the prompt:

passwd

You will be prompted to enter the current password. The factory default password for user pi is raspberry. Enter the password and you will be asked to type in the new password, two times. Enter it twice and the password will be changed.

clip_image004

Let’s setup static IP

Setting up a static Ip to your pi makes it easy to access it from another machine

  • Open terminal and type in sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf
  • Here sudo mean you are telling the system to do something as a superuser. Something similar to run as administrator in windows.
  • nano is a text editor for terminal. another text editor available for GUI is leafpad. So when you are logged into desktop, you can type in sudo leafpad…… instead of sudo nano….. But it is a good practice to use nano since, once we switch off the GUI, console is all that you have until you switch it back on again. You will be able to use only the arrow keys and enter button in nano.
  • dhcpcd.conf is the configuration file for the network and etc is the directory where it is stored
  • scroll down to the bottom of the file that opens up and type in the following code:

interface eth0

static ip_address=192.168.1.95/24

static routers=192.168.1.1

static domain_name_servers=192.168.1.1

interface wlan0

static ip_address=192.168.1.96/24

static routers=192.168.1.1

static domain_name_servers=192.168.1.1

In the above code:

  • you can use either wlan0 or eth0 or both, depending on what kind of connectivity you plan. wlan0 is for wifi and eth0 is for wired connection.
  • static ip can be of your choice based on your network configuration (eg. some networks are configures 192.168.0.xxx). Make sure to keep the number /24 in the settings.
  • static router specifies the router to which the pi is to be connected. My router ip is 192.168.1.1
  • similarly static domain name servers can be as per your network configuration. My home network devices get their DNS from my router so I have entered my router address.’’

 

  • Press ctrl + S to save the settings.
  • Press ctrl + X to close the editor.

You can now connect to the home wifi, of ethernet, or both. The up and down arrow on your top right hand side of desktop will help you join a wifi network.

Once connected to internet, it would be a good practice to update your system before you go further.

Open the terminal and type in sudo apt-get update. Once this command is executed, use sudo apt-get upgrade. It is a good practice to use this two commands before installing any new software on your pi. They are used to update any packages which are installed on your pi and which have been updated ever since you installed. Fresh OS installations normally have some major updates available.

Let’s do away with that monitor, keyboard and mouse(Optional if you are comfortable running the show remotely via terminal. But that’s what these board is all about….accepting the challenge)

So now that you have changed password and set up static IP, let’s go a bit deep and dispense away that monitor. Only of course if you have a computer or a laptop from where you can control it. Remember, though the pi can be used as a regular desktop computer, it will run only may be one or two applications together because it simple lacks the resources needed for heavy multitasking. It is best suited for headless apps and servers, similar to ones which I have listed out in the beginning.

Open the terminal and type in sudo raspi-config

  • This will open the configuration tools for raspberry pi. Thins this as a BIOS for your PC with more configurations.

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  • Use the arrow keys and enter button to select Interfacing Options.
  • Select SSH and enable it. Next Select VNC and enable it. Selection is by pressing enter and arrow keys.

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  • Select Back.
  • Select Boot Options
  • Select Desktop/CLI
  • Select B2 Console auto login.

clip_image007

  • Select finish and reboot.
  • Move over to your regular use PC.
  • Download and install a SSH client like putty. Run Putty on your pc.
  • Enter the IP address in the hostname field, enter a recognizable name in saved session field and click save

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  • Now double click on your saved session and a terminal window should open up asking you to enter username. Enter pi.
  • Next enter the password which you have set.
  • This will take you to console from where you can control your pi.

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Since you have configured only console login via configuration tools, you can access only via putty(SSH). If you configure to boot in desktop mode via configuration tools, you can use VNC to login to desktop too. You will need to download VCN on your computer to do that. Try it out, its easy. If in doubt, just leave a query. You can always go back to desktop login by using sudo raspi-config.

Let’s backup

Let’s try the easy way to backup today.

  • Download win32 disk imager and install on your computer.
  • Shut down the raspberry pi, remove the card and insert it in your computer(via SD card reader)
  • Run win32 diskimager.
  • Select the device to backup(our sd card).
  • Select a backup location on your computer and give a file name (eg, raspbianbackup.img)
  • Click on Read

clip_image010

  • The backup will automatically be created at the specified location.
  • Next time, the setup on you pi doesn’t work as it should, run this program again and select this image we have created. Click write instead of read this time, to overwrite on the card.

In case you have any doubts or anything very clear or seems to be wrong, kindly leave a comment. In the next tutorial I plan to explain setting up a NAS server, a DLNA server and an always on bit torrent box.

Till then!!

Feb 272017
 

Picking it up from Moto G4 line of smartphones, Lenovo has expanded its portfolio of the moto lineup with the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus. (Do not mistake moto with Motorola. Motorola no longer manufactures smartphones.) In my previous post, it was highlighted how Lenovo had departed from the Moto design tradition while creating the G series. Let’s see how they fare this time around.

                                          motorola-moto-g5-r1                                  motorola-moto-g5-plus-1

                                                                Moto G5                                                                            Moto G5 Plus

(Image source gsmarena.com)

The Moto G5 comes in two variants. The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus. Here are the specifications:

Model

Moto G5

Moto G5 Plus

Screen Size

5”

5.2”

Screen Resolution

1080X1920 (~65.4% screen-to-body ratio)

1080X1920 (~67.1% screen-to-body ratio)

Screen Protection

Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Corning Gorilla Glass 3

OS

Android OS, v7.0 (Nougat)

Android OS, v7.0 (Nougat)

Chipset

Qualcomm MSM8937 Snapdragon 430

Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625

Processor

Octa-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53

Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53

GPU

Adreno 505

Adreno 506

RAM

2/3 GB RAM

2/4 GB RAM; 3 GB RAM

Internal Storage

16/32 GB

32/64 GB; 32 GB

External Storage

microSD, up to 256 GB

microSD, up to 256 GB

Connectivity

Dual SIM/Single SIM  2G, 3G, 4G LTE

Dual SIM 2G, 3G, 4G LTE

Camera Primary

13 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, LED flash

12 MP, f/1.7, autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash

Camera Secondary

5 MP, f/2.2

5 MP, f/2.2

Video

1080p@30fps

2160p@30fps (USA)/ 1080p@30fps (EMEA)

Additional Connectivity

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR
GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
NFC not mentioned
FM Radio
microUSB v2.0, USB Host

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR
GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
NFC Yes (market dependent)
FM Radio
microUSB v2.0, USB Host

Sensors

Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass

Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass

Battery Backup

Non-removable Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery

Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery

Weight

145 g

155 g

(Data Source : gsmarena.com)

Lets check out what’s expected out of the phone.

Screen Size : The G5 seems to have brought back some sanity in at least one department, the screen size. They have brought it down from the monstrous 5.5” in Moto G4 Plus(uncomfortable to handle) to 5.2” in Moto G5 Plus, which is very sweet of them. The G5 meanwhile shares the same size (5”) as it predecessor.

Resolution : Keeping the resolution at 1080 X 1920 ensures that the user gets best of both worlds, i,e. the battery as well as the viewing pleasure. The screen shall not be as demanding on the processing unit as the bumped up resolutions tend to be. The body to screen ratio is just above 65 and 67 for G5 and G5 Plus respectively, which hints at some wasted real estate. The fingerprint sensor on the front panel is the culprit.

Processing Power : The 600 series of snapdragon processors from Qualcomm are known to be the midrange processor which have the right balance of efficiency and power, required by a mid range user.The 625 processor used in G5 Plus is known to be a efficient upgrade over 617 in Moto G4 Plus. But the more efficient 650 would have been better choice, given that it was launched about a year back and should have been the natural choice based on it s efficiency results. The G5 plus meanwhile downgrade from its predecessor in terms of processor. The G4 had the snapdragon 617 at its heart while the G5 has been relegated snapdragon 430. Though a disappointment for users, it must surely be a business decision. The pricing of G5 may naturally be in a more budget friendly range. The graphics are handled by Adreno 506 and 505 for G5 Plus and G5 respectively.

OS : Both the phones are scheduled to come out with Nougat 7.0. That’s not as great as it would have been because 7.1.1 is already running on many devices across manufacturers and custom ROMS. It’s a shame that Lenovo has moved away from Motorola tradition of plain vanilla android experience and baking lots of proprietary apps in tp the ROM due to which future updates are either delayed or done away with altogether.

RAM & Storage : The phones come with the usual suspects of internal storage and RAM configurations. 2GB/4GB RAM with 32GB/64GB internal for Moto G5 Plus. It also has a 3GB RAM/32 GB internal variant which must be targeted for specific market.The G5 meanwhile comes in 2GB/3GB RAM with 16GB32GB internal configuration. Pick your choice. Its always better to pick up the highest internal memory configuration. 3 RAM meanwhile is quite sufficient for midrange phone. Go for the highest configuration in case the price difference is negligible.

Both cards support external storage up to 256 GB without a hint of the card slot being shared by second SIM card.

Camera : The Moto G5 Plus receives an upgrade in terms of f-number in that  it has a 12 MP camera sensor with f/1.7, an improvement over f/2.0 in Moto G4 Plus. Though the sensor is a downgrade from 16 MP, the bigger aperture should help in better photographs, especially in low light condition. The Moto G5 meanwhile stays at 13 MP, same as Moto G4. Both phones support 1080p video recording at 30fps.

The Secondary camera in both the phones is 5MP f/2.2, which should impress the selfie-holics. A selfie camera flash in G5 Plus would have been a item of awe, but I assume they have incorporated the selfie flash in the camera software which used the screen brightness as a makeshift flash(which is quite effective)

Connectivity : The usual connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth v4.2 with LE, GPS and GLONASS, NFC in some markets on G5 Plus and FM radio on both phones. The phones also have a micro USB port with USB host interface capability.

Sensors : Fingerprint sensor with support for fingerprint gestures are placed below the screen on front panel. The phone also have gyro sensors, accelerometer and  magnetic compass.

Battery : The 3000 mAh battery on G5 Plus should be able to see you through the day. The G5 meanwhile sports a 2800 mAh battery, which reduces its footprint but can easily take you through the day due to the low powered processor under the hood.

Pricing : Motorola has traditionally maintained the G series within a tight budget consumer group and the G5s shouldn’t be any exceptions. We can expect the G5 Plus to sell somewhere around $225(INR 15000) where as the G5 could retail at $180(INR 12000). The G4s will surely be dropped down in the price bracket and this could be a good time for those who were holding their savings for the “right opportunity”.

Going by history, you can expect Lenovo to tie up with Amazon in India for launching this phones. Watch out this space for more news availability and price.

Jan 292017
 

All of you belonging to the middle generation, that’s those born abound the 80’s surely still have the soft spot for radio. It doesn’t matter if there is a bit static but radio gives us something which the stored music cannot give. No matter what algorithm they use, a music player on a “smart”phone will never be able to top the unpredictability the radio offers. You start playing something on a music player and it keeps on looping the same music which you heard yesterday, even with “shuffle” on. Doesn’t matter if you have hundreds of gigabytes worth music on your phone.

But you start radio, and tune in to “Disco Station” and you know for sure that you will hit upon a jackpot of songs, old and new, played one after another to your satisfaction.

The only drawback the radio has is that it is limited by the region in which you use it. How good it would be if you could play any music on the radio around the world. You do have internet radio, where even commercial radio channels stream their content.

But I just discovered a website which offers you a true world FM reception online, all at one location. Literally brings the radio, mapped on a globe, at your fingertips.

 

image

 

Radio Garden provides this service. You can now shuffle across any streaming radio station across the globe, visually. Its makes selection a lot easier. Just rotate the globe and place the crosshair on the particular city from where you want to stream you radio feed.To change the feed, just move the globe around. You can zoom in/zoom out to assist in precise selection.

And the coolest part is the sound of static when there is no feed.

Go ahead, try it out.

(Found not working on google chrome on laptop. Works well in microsoft edge and internet explorer. Works well in chrome on smartphones)

Jan 292017
 

This is India. A country with a special meaning to the word Family. We have many types of family setups in India. A nuclear family has its own set of living styles. It is small, it keeps to itself and handles its own problems. A large family meanwhile is totally different organization in chaos. It works on its own different set of rules and principles which are unlike a nuclear family. In a large family, all the members stay together with an important part to play in the smooth functioning of the family wheels. But what happens within a large family which has broken up to go nuclear, but is still bound together by a frail thread called relations? Ventilator, a Marathi movie depicts exactly that.

Though it’s a bit late for this, as I had seen it quite some time back, it’s never to late to log a review. Especially a movie with a region constrained viewership. And one never “wastes time” writing.

A renowned film maker, RK(played by Ashutosh Gowarikar) is called up from an important film screening to attend to his uncle who is hospitalized and attached to a ventilator, probably breathing his last. The hospital is filling up with the relatives, but many more are yet to come. The film depicts the various scenarios, intentions, agendas which pull the relatives to the deathbed of a relative who holds an important place in the family tree.The intentions could be to get the last glimpse of  the “alive him” or it could be a far more selfish motive of finalizing the property distribution. Whatever be the case, relatives start flocking the hospitals, and bring along their usual din. The lobby fills up with the relatives, grouped by intents, few chatting away discreetly while other announcing their presence to the world.

The immediate family members meanwhile are weighing their own decisions. The decision to pull the plug and let God take over or to keep the hope alive. They have to make it quick so as not to inconvenience other during the ongoing festival. But its a hard decision for the son to make, given the evidently strained relations between him and his father. The relatives add confusion to the matters. The doctor presents his practical point of view which doesn’t help much except that and ultimatum for the decision is set. He has support of the close relatives who have been in constant touch with him but the decision is his to take. His sister and his mother meanwhile cling to the thread of hope.

It all boils down to the final minutes of the movie, where the son is brought back to his senses through some poignant insight to his early life provided by his uncle. The decision is finally taken.

If you read again, the above, you will note that a renowned film maker is mentioned earlier, but with no worthwhile reference to him all along. That’s because he himself is not the center of the storyline though the story is loosely seen from his vantage point. It’s about the strained relations amongst family members. He himself has issues of his own and the events at the end of the movie help him solve those.

Priyanka Chopra in her in her production venture has managed to make a good one. Directed by Rajesh Mapuskar with another hit, Ferrari Ki Sawaari under his belt and association with other hit Bollywood movies like Munna Bhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai and 3 Idiots, this film provides him with the crown he deserves.

This one deserves a 4.5/5.

Aug 162016
 

2000 was the year when I bought my first computer. 550 MHz Intel Pentium processor, 64MB RAM(wow…..back then), 20 GB HDD(another wow…..again back then) along with all the gizmos(read modem, multemedia speakers, cd drive….no not a writer or DVD rom…..just plain cd drive) had cost me(my father actually) about 40,000 rupees. I was quite fascinated by its capabilities(current midrange phones beat it by miles). Technology didn’t stop evolving ever since. While I was sailing at a speed of 13 knots mid of Indian ocean, technology was evolving million times.

Next I bought my first laptop, the Dell XPS M1530 which was a gaming monster(at reduced graphic levels and only few select games which already had their graphic details at the lowest). I was quite happy playing Crysis which played quite well. And NFS of course. Other than that, the Rs 55,000  that I put in the laptop just gave the pleasure of owning such a ‘powerful’ system.

I have matured ever since and currently own a Lenovo B50-70, which I got at a throwaway price and which satisfies my current needs.

But tech world has not stopped evolving. While they continuously strive to design monster machines capable of unearthly things, they have also managed to reduce the size of my first computer to a thumbnail. Meet Omega 2, the tiny computer. I was quite impressed by the specifications of Raspberry Pi 1/2/3, the credit card sized computer with all the required peripherals. But this one goes a step ahead.

This tiny computer is a quarter the size of Raspberry Pi

(Picture Source : techradar.com)

The Rapsberry Pi would beat my first computer in terms of computational power any day, but the Omega 2 matches my first computer and beats everyone else in terms of size. That sheer brilliance of the brains behind these tiny things. The possibilities are endless in this age of ‘Internet of Things’.

 

Raspberry Pi 3

(Picture Source : techradar.com)

And the best part. Omega 2 beats everyone else in terms of price. $5. Forget the usability, I would buy this one just to own a tiny computer and use it to make a doorbell if i wanted. Or a gaming console!!

So what’s next?! An invisible computer?

Jul 232016
 

Reliance is on the verge of launching its 4G services to the general public. Since december 2015, they started their beta tests by allowing selected employees to access the network and later it was extended others on invite basis. But until now, the service was available only on their LYF phones. 

Last week they launched the service for qualifying Samsung devices. But there is no word yet about the availability of SIM for rest of the population. That seems to have changed by a small backdoor. If you carry out the following procedure in order, you should be able to generate a coupon code to procure a SIM from their service centres.

So here it is:

    • Download the MyJio App from the Android play store
    • Download all other Reliance Jio applications listed in the MyJio App
    • Once all apps are downloaded, switch off the data and WiFi.
    • Close down all the Reliance Jio apps.
    • Switch on Data/WiFi.
    • Start the Reliance MyJio App Portal.
    • Inside you will find MyJio App listed on top. Open it.
    • You will get an option to generate a coupon code. Follow that link to generate a coupon which can be used at the stores listed in the app to get a SIM

      Good luck and happy 4Ging

      Jun 142016
       

      Mobile make OnePlus, which took the world by storm two years back, saw two more iterations of this smartphone last year. Continuing with the technology upgrade, OnePlus is all set to launch tomorrow, 15th June 2016, in its most valued market, India. But we already have the details regarding pricing and few features of their third phone.

      The OnePlus 3 will be sold for 27,999 INR and will be available on Amazon exclusively. But for the first two hours of the launch(1000HRS IST), it shall be sold on their virtual reality platform OnePlus 3 launch : The Loop. The app is currently available on Google playstore for download. The phone shall then be sold on Amazon India and OnePlus website. This is supposed to be a first one of the kind experience of shopping.

      Salient features of OnePlus 3:
      Snapdragon 820 processor
      6GB RAM
      64 GB Internal Memory
      Fingerprint sensor capable of unlocking device in 0.2s
      16MP/8MP camera

      The phone is said to be bundled with lots of goodies for sometime. Keep your fingers crossed and be ready for it as the goodies may get exhausted soon.

      May 182016
       

      We are just fresh out of the freedom251 news and related doubts and political interventions. While freedom251 is yet to be delivered, another firm, this time in Bengaluru, claims to have a smartphone which they will sell for Rs. 99(thats less than 2$). The mobile is named as Namotel Acche Din as reported by the newsgroup publishing the story. The name of the mobile hints to having connections to the PM of India (break up Namotel to Namo+tel, Namo being the acronym used for PM Narendra Modi, and the addendum “Acche Din” was the tagline for BJP election campaign.) It can be said with certain level of confidence that there is no such connection between the PM and this new venture of selling the phone at about Rs. 2900. discount.

      I am not going to list out the overly exaggerated specifications since I personally feel that its impossible to sell a phone with such specification for so cheap. I also caution you all from signing up for such offers/schemes as it is a gamble which will never be won.

      The websites namotel.com and bemybanker.com which can be used for registration and and upfront one time subscription payment of Rs. 199 are not running as of this moment. Whois lookup for namotel.com and bemybanker.com doesn’t shows the the administrator names for these websites are withheld. But surprisingly, the admin details for namotel.in point to one Mr. Madhava Reddy as the owner. A Similar name appears in the news article as being a promoter of the company selling these phones.

      Beware all.

      (Disclaimer : This article is based on the article published in the TOI and as such, the authenticity of the data contained is purely based on the authenticity of the news article. The details of Whois lookup have been personally checked by me. Both the web addresses mentioned in the article were checked and found to be non functional.)

      May 172016
       

      The launch of Moto G4 has been adequately covered on various forums including those which predicted its configurations, design language, pricing etc. The phone, rather phones, were launched today by the new owners of the Moto brand, Lenovo. Some predictions came true, but it seems, Moto G, the budget phone which ruled the android market for three generations, is about to be lost in the crowd. What will remain shall be the name.

      For a change, the phone had a huge bump in its specifications, right from the processors, RAM, camera, screen resolution etc. But there were few shockers too. For a start, the home button, which never was a part of Moto lineage, has arrived. I had shifted from Samsung (Galaxy SII) to Motorola (Moto X Play) and the transition couldn’t have been smoother. The home button was not missed on Moto X Play since android LP and MM were ready for button-less interface. So why the button now? All it might do is increase the non-screen real estate. Having a button in upgraded phone seems like moving back to prehistoric times of kitkat. Anyway that’s not all.

      The screen has gone up to 5.5”. Moto G4 used to be the phone for people who wanted handy phone which was useable enough without being crammed for room. A 5.5” Moto G4 leaves a huge gap between the low budget  Moto E lineage and the more premium Moto X. It just doesn’t make any business sense. First of all you create a gap and secondly you pitch your product to compete against another product by you(Moto X Play. Moto X Play may now be forgotten for good since you get better configuration for less). A more sensible strategy would have been launching the second phone with 5.5” and keeping Moto G at 5” – 5-2”(5.2” being the sweetest of them all)

      Moto G4 at Amazon

      That brings us to a third shocker. They launched two Moto G4s. A Moto G4 and a Moto G4 Plus. Both have similar configuration, save for the RAM/Storage combinations. The plus version has the option of 16/32 GB ROM and 3/4 GB RAM, while the version without the plus moniker has 2GB/16 GB capacity. The plus version has an addition of finger print reader, integrated in the home button. What could/should have been done is to create 2 configurations in 5” model without the home button(so have a good screen to body ratio) and 2 configurations in 5.5” model ( which would have justified the “plus” moniker)  and each configuration would in turn deal with the memory capacities for each size. but that didn’t happen. So we have a Moto G which is not 5” anymore and effectively competing with Moto X Play( midrange) and lots of other 5.5” smart phones in the marker, including those by Lenovo. Is Lenovo out to kill its own lineage(K series) or the Moto lineage?

      Speaking in terms of camera, the G4 Plus has a bumped up 16 MP camera. But those are just numbers. I personally like the 8 MP camera on Galaxy SII against my Moto X Play. So wouldn’t claim that the 16 MP upgrade would do much difference.

      If you remember, there was another iteration of Moto G3, the Moto G3 Turbo, which was the first to introduce the Snapdragon 615 processor as against SD 410 in Moto G3 and 2 GB RAM as against 1 GB in G3. Other than that, there was nothing much to speak about.

      And I personally dislike the addendums in name like plus, pro, Turbo etc. They seem to hint a lack of creativity.
      Moto G4 at Amazon

      Brief comparison between the three phones(Moto G3, G4 and G4 Plus):

      Specifications Moto G3 Moto G4 Moto G4 Plus
      Processor SD 410 SD 617 SD 617
      RAM 1/2 GB 2 GB 2/3/4 GB
      Storage 8/16 GB 16/32 GB 16/32/64 GB
      Screen 5” 5.5” 5.5”
      Resolution 72p 1080p 1080p
      Battery 2470 mAH 3000mAH 3000mAH
      Fast Charge No Yes Yes
      Camera 13 MP 13 MP 16 MP
      Android Ver. 5.1.1 6.0.1 6.0.1

      Moto G4 at Amazon

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