Aug 282011

Finally, after months of research and analysis on the options available in the market, I bought the TV which I thought best suited my needs. The Samsung UA40D6000SR LED 3D SMART TV. I had clarified the difference between true LED and and LED LCD TV in my previous post, and as per that clarification, this one is a LED LCD TV. So goodbye rear projection and welcome to the SMART “idiot box”.Photo1329

(Relative sizes in pictures can be misleading. This TV is QUITE HUGE)

Before I go ahead with the brief description of the features, let me tell you how to not get robbed while buying this kind of TV. If you are a good bargainer, you will get a great deal. The price of this model on various online sites was about 71,000 rs. It was sold at the shop for the same price. But going to and fro between few shops, I got the idea about how much the sellers are ready to bargain. The place from where I bought this TV sold it to me for 65,000, without a haggle. I felt being robbed even then. The MRP of this 40″ model is 83,000 rs. These guys earn a lot on a single piece so don’t be afraid to quote a lower price during the bargain. Also get some free goodies thrown in.

Now for a brief review:

Picture Quality:

Very good!! I ran few HD movies through USB hard drives and had no problems at all.Photo1330 There is no visual delay or sense of multiple/distorted images or tail in high speed motion videos. The colour reproduction is very good and all the basic elements of the colour can be adjusted manually to our liking. I am yet to get a DTH connection with HD transmission since the channels which I favor are not available. So the TV had to handle the normal poor quality transmission from my current DTH provider. The picture quality is good enough if viewed from suitable distance. Photo1346The only things that bothers me are few faint white cloudy spots in some parts of screen when the picture is perfectly black. The reproduction of black colour(especially the black top and bottom bars in the movies) is more towards a blue side. I have logged a service call on their website and I got a call within 2 hours stating that they will check on site to rectify the issue.I guess India gets the lower quality of screens out of those being manufactured so may be this one is better than the one I will get if I go for replacement. Luck!!
But I would like to say that there is not difference is sharpness of the picture all along the screen be it the center of the edges. Brightness of the screen is excellent.


I will never come around  to love the sound of  todays LCD/LED TVs. Be it Samsung or LG. They manage to continuously dish out televisions with 10w speakers, which do no do justice to the size and quality of transmission. Also, no manual equalizer is a shame. They have given 4-5 preset sound settings, but these are not for audiophiles. And when I say that, I am not over-expecting. I leave the topic here.

USB playback:

The feature where I would say hats off to Samsung. I have tried it on Sony Bravia, Panasonic, LG and Samsung. Out of the movies on my 500GB HDD, Samsung recognized almost 80% of the movies. LG gives preference to AVI format and I hope they do something about it. I wouldn’t speak about Sony and Panasonic. Secondly, I detected my 500GB HDD without any problems.


Welcome to the connected world. I just don’t need to connect the HDD to my TV anymore. That’s actually to cumbersome since I will have to disconnect it from my laptop every time I want to watch the movies from my HDD on the TV.Photo1351 So now there’s Allshare, an application developed by Samsung in compliance with the DLNA standards. In a nutshell, DLNA is a standard developed to help all the media devices to communicate between themselves and share the media available with them on user demand. Setting up DLNA is quite easy if you have a home network. I physically connected the TV to the router and my laptop is connected to the router for 24 hours a day. All I did was download allshare application from Samsung website and installed it. Then, I shared all the media on my to portable HDDs and my laptop through allshare application, and voila, the entire media collection is visible on my TV when I select allshare application or select my computer from the source list on the TV(Source list is a list of all the inputs connected to the TV, be it the DTH set top box, the DVD player, the HDD, or my laptop through network). To be able to run the media on network, ensure that all the devices are wired, since wireless connectivity drops from time to time.

I even connect my DLNA enabled mobile to this network and was successful in running the HD videos on it, seamlessly.


As per Samsung, all the devices connected through HDMI can be controlled using this feature. I do not have any HDMI device so couldn’t check it, but this does help in reducing the number of remotes.

Samsung Apps:

Similar to Samsung apps on the wave series phones from Samsung, this feature gives you access to various application available on the net and which can be installed on the TV. Photo1334I downloaded AP news, Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. For now, the applications are few, but things could change soon.

Smart Hub:

The menu in which your TV shows it’s true colors. Smart hub gives you access to lots of applications which can make your day to day life very convenient.Photo1342 It is a one stop menu to access all your media types(audio, video, or still images) at one place. It gives access to various social networking applications like facebook, twitter, Google talk, you tube etc. Latest news are at your disposal through AP news ticker and TIME news application. The news ticker can be run as a widget on the screen when watching video or TV and can be enlarged on right side(just like windows sidebar) to access the detailed news. Logging on to facebook gives you all the necessary basic functionality of accessing the feed and the media from your facebook account. The controls are user friendly. But I could do with a better text input option, which is from the remote at present.Photo1343 Smart Hub keeps you connected on the social front. The Search all function on the top enables us to search through all the resources on the TV. Your video gives you list of videos available for viewing as per your preferences. Managing the number of apps is easy since they can be grouped together into folders in Samsung Hub. Samsung also has a choice of few 3D videos available on Explore 3D, and you can preview the 3D technology using the videos. I neither have a fast internet connection, nor the expensive active 3D goggles, so I do not write much. Social TV gives you live feed from all the social network sites while you are watching the TV.

Remote Control:

Photo1332Well laid out and easy to befriend. But using the remote control for typing messages in facebook or twitter is a challenge. I personally like the Samsung remote control application in my Wave mobile. I just have to start the application and it connects to the router using Wifi, detects the TV and hands over the control to me. This application has the option to call up a QWERTY keyboard on the mobile screen. I just loved it.


The connectivity options are all available on the rear of the TV, placed such that all the connecters go flat against the back and not protrude out. We have HDMI, USB, D-SUB, RF, and AV component and composite connectivity. There is a LAN port to connect to the network and a 3.5 mm port to connect audio devices. Think over your connectivity options before fitting the TV on wall, else its bit tricky. I am quite satisfied with the number of connections available.

It took me and my brother about 10 minutes to get the TV running out of the package. The installation manual is a single page leaflet, without much alphabets on it. But the pictures are quite self explanatory and it’s a fool job then on.



Gone are the days of the paper manuals. The TV manual is installed on the TV and can be called up at the press of a button on the remote. It is very well laid out and has very good pictorial representations in it.

Few other Pictures:

Photo1341 Photo1345 Photo1348Photo1349 Photo1350 Photo1331 Photo1335

I was dissatisfied with:

  • Samsung’s ploy to not include a web browser in this TV just to build the gap between this model and a higher model. But it’s never late. A web browser can be introduced later through Samsung apps.
  • Cloudy spots in non pictorial area(black bars on top and bottom). Though they do not affect the quality of video displayed, people who notice them, do not fail to notice them again.
  • Keeping a very high MRP on a product which is sold for very cheap in the market. This gives room for sellers to cheat buyers, as explained earlier.

Apart from this, I am happy with what I have bought. Do ask questions if you need any clarifications.

Aug 252011

Steve Jobs has finally resigned as the CEO of Apple Inc. The reason being inability to continue at the top any longer. This was conveyed to the board through a letter which stated, “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come”.

Having been tormented with many health problems, including pancreatic cancer, a liver transplant few years back, it was a surprise that he managed to run the show successfully for many years since the first iPhone. Speculations were high until very recently that he had very short time to live. Be he seems to have lived through those rumors.

Tim Cook, the chief operations officer will take over the reins of this winning company. But some believe that he lacks the vision which Steve has. Will Apple flourish or flounder under him? Time will tell.

Aug 022011

Hey all the guys with Samsung Wave series phones. If you had been missing the Air Traffic Control game available in Android, your wait is over. Developers on BADA have rewarded us with their own version of a similar game called as Control Tower. It’s as enthralling as that on Android but has only one level on free version. A four level version can be bought for a small amount. Checkout the screenshots.


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The game is available for download in Samsung Apps on Wave 8500 and Wave II. Check it out on your mobile. Also it can be downloaded for free from here and at a cost of rs. 50 from here.

Jul 252011

Press the shift key and the * key together. Then press the Space Bar once. Now type out the word BASIC. Press the Return key and then the break key”.

Those words were the milk on which I begun my nourishment in to the digital world.

The year was 1992. The Gulf war was on. The stock markets had crashed. I was in class VIII. And to escape the agony of the drawing class, and explore the new thing in India, the computer, I had got myself enrolled (paying exorbitant fees) into the computer class in lieu of the drawing class. I had no idea, neither did lakhs of people who tried to embrace this technology, how far this invention would advance. But there I was, listening ever so attentively to the instructor, as she dictated the steps we had to follow, in exactly those words. I never got the heads or tails of what I was doing, but following her instructions, I could display “Hello” or even my name as the output of the ‘program’. I was thrilled. I continued computers for rest of my school years, during which I learnt DBASE, WordStar and missed out on LOGO as I was ill during those classes. Then they taught PASCAL.

By now, I couldn’t understand what was going on. Where were we going to use DBASE, or WordStar, or why would we buy a costly piece of electronic equipment just to add two numbers? And what was this Pascal all about? But I always scored good in the computers exam since I was good at memorizing or learning “by heart” as we called it.

The real breakthrough in to understanding what programming was all about, came when I was in the junior college. As it happened, I opted for computer science since I was scared of dissecting cockroaches and rats in the lab. And as it turned out, I was scoring poorly in computer science as well. Then I joined extra coaching with a particular teacher from another junior college. And my God, that guy was amazing. He explained how exactly LOGIC was to be applied in to programming and then taught us the syntax(grammar) of PASCAL and later C. I started seeing computer programming in new light by then. 386 machines were just so common and the 486 machines were admired and envied. Windows 3.1, with its “colorful” desktop was just arriving. On the rarest of the rare occasions would we get a peek at a machine with such configuration.

But my heart was in to machines, those moving assemblies which we could see and predict and with very little guidance, I picked up Mechanical Engineering as a branch to make career in. I successfully pass through the course, within the minimum possible time for passing the examinations(no failures, straight success). Programming did taunt me from time to time during engineering studies, and I picked up FEM/CAD/CAM(Finite Elements Methods/Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) as a vocational subject.

That was the time when it struck me that I had not learnt enough of the programming. The above vocational subject involved designing using C++ programming, and I had stopped short at C during my junior college days. I tried to apply the concepts of C while programming in C++ and I passed through, miserably though.

And by the time I completed my engineering, I got my first personal computer, with the latest configuration at that time. It did cost my dad a fortune, but with the Pentium III processor, 64 MB RAM, and windows 98 running on it, I was not complaining. The year was 2000. I did learn lot of things on it. I learned how to use windows, how to install OS and other software, how to play games, rip music, watch videos. I learned to use the internet using the dial up connection, which cost my dad a fortune on telephone bills each month. I learned to assemble a computer from scratch, troubleshoot the operating system, rectify the problems. I learned a lot.

The only thing I forgot to learn was any specific programming language. I had the brains to apply the Logic properly, but didn’t have the guts to change my field from hardcore mechanical engineering to software development. Few of my friends changed, and they did succeed. I, meanwhile, was comfortable with the machineries, since they were physical, real and visible to naked eyes.

Due to lack of any good job opportunity, I finally choose marine as my career path and then invested some six years of my life into it, with good returns in monetary terms. The world meanwhile moved on from Pentium IV to hyper-thread to dual core to Core 2 Duo. Microsoft dished out Windows ME, XP, and Vista. By the time I decided to leave marine, I was a proud owner of a Core2 Duo laptop with windows vista and 4 GB of RAM. Alas, I hadn’t known how soon it would turn obsolete. Core ix series and Windows 7 was just around the corner.

I was good at computers while onboard. With almost none of them having any knowledge of troubleshooting a PC, I was the doctor whenever any PC related problem crept onboard. On ship, I was the God of that small machine. Onshore, I was way behind. I missed out on many issues of Chip, the technology magazine on which I fed for information and by I used to swear. I missed out on lots of technological advances while onboard. But then I had submitted to my life and being a genius in computers was not an option.

Now I have left marine life since about 3 years. I work onshore and my work keeps me glued to computers for about 8 hours a day. I am sure that it has become an integral part of my life. And I am even more sure that I am not making the most of it. I could have been a genius computer programmer, had I chosen to be that at a certain point of time in my life. I could have been the one who wrote the blog editing programs instead of being a lame blogger who uses it. It would have been so much different. It would have been so great to see people surrounding me using my program for their daily use. Like I do now.

But then, I wouldn’t have got the time for my blog. I am sure I would have envied those bloggers, as the programmers envy me now. I would be just a faceless programmer, unknown to the outer, real world and not a blogger with friends in that circle. Life wouldn’t be like what it is now.

And you know what, I am happy with my life now. So, even if my 18 years of close contact with computers didn’t make me someone great in in that field, I don’t care. My Odyssey is still digital, but the destination is different.


Also I have some lessons from my experience which I would like to share with you.

  • It doesn’t matter what path you choose in your life. Stick to it and make it lead to your destination, and,
  • Technological turnaround cycle has become very short, so wait for the right moment before you buy your computer. And anyway, your machine will go obsolete in six months.
Jul 202011

Great news for Bada smartphone users. The wait is over. Samfirmware has released a leaked copy of Bada 2.0.1 for Wave II(S8530). Later today, they will be releasing Bada 2.0 for Wave I(S8500). For more details visit

Mind you, this is not an official firmware so you will need to flash it to your phone. Also it might be buggy, since this is not the final release. Flash your phone only if you know what you are doing. Neither nor takes any responsibility for any damage to your phone.

Jul 122011
A friend of mine recently enquire with me about the mobile he should buy. He had a fixed a budget and had shortlisted two mobiles. I wondered how he left out one more mobile which has become a rage in India at this moment. Then it to struck me that people are less informed about new products most of the time. So I decided to pick up his budget and his requirement and create a one on one comparison between three opponents. It is not a first-hand-experience review. I have used two out of this three phones but not for a long period. Hence I picked up the available specifications from and compared as below. Note that I have left out lots of small features which have become standard in all mobiles(like radio, GPS, music players etc.) of this price range.
Feature/Specifications :
Item Wave II Galaxy Ace HTC Wildfire S
Processor 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Hummingbird chipset 800 MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset 600 MHz processor
OS Bada OS, v1.2(Upgradable to BADA 2.0) Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo), upgradable to v2.3 Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread)
RAM 512 MB No Mention 512 MB
3G HSDPA 3.6 Mbps; HSUPA, 2 Mbps HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 384 Kbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot(DLNA not mentioned, but available) Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Screen Type Super Clear LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors TFT capacitive touchscreen, 256K colors
Screen Size 3.7 inches 3.5 inches 3.2 inches
Screen Resolution 480 x 800 pixels 320 x 480 pixels 320 x 480 pixels
Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP v2.1 with A2DP v3.0 with A2DP, EDR
Camera(Still) 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Camera(Video) Yes, 720p@30fps, video light Yes, QVGA@15fps Yes, VGA@24fps
Video Playback MP4/MKV/H.263/ H.264/ WMV/ Xvid/ DivX video player MP4/H.264/H.263 player Xvid/MP4/H.264 player
Application Availability Picsel document viewer(Few inbuilt applications. App store is just building up. Good number of apps, great 3D games, but nowhere compared to Android in terms of App quantity.) Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa integration/More available in Android Market
Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa integration/More available in Android Market
Battery Life Up to 13 h (2G) / Up to 6 h (3G) Up to 11 h (2G) / Up to 6 h 30 min (3G) Up to 7 h 10 min (2G) / Up to 5 h 50 min (3G)
Built Quality Lots of Metal Plastic Plastic

Data from

I have allocated  them points based on my experience with the wave and the importance of these features/Specifications. I might have taken certain liberties while allotting the points. But then, this is my blog.

Points Table(points out of 5):

Item Wave II Galaxy Ace HTC Wildfire S
Processor 5 4 3
OS 2 4 5
RAM 5 3.5 5
3G 5 4 4
WLAN 5 5 4
Screen Type 5 4 2
Screen Size 5 4 3.5
Screen Resolution 5 4 4
Bluetooth 4 3 5
Camera(Still) 5 5 5
Camera(Video) 5 2.5 3
Video Playback 5 3 3
Application Availability 1 5 5
Battery Life 5 4 3
Built Quality 5 3 3
Total 67 58 57.5

As per the hardware specification, Samsung Wave II wins outright and the other two have a great contest amongst themselves. But then, before you decide on buying Wave II, think about your requirement. Are you going to install lots of applications? Are you app savvy? If yes, give a pass to Wave II. Now BADA is a great OS in terms of ease of use and speed. But without the required apps, the smartphone tends to be dumb.If I had been the buyer at this moment, I would have an inclination towards Galaxy Ace, mostly due to its large application base.

But then BADA 2.0 is coming out soon and you never know what it packs.

So think SMART when you buy the mobiles.

These mobiles are available in India between a price range of 13500-15000.

Jul 112011

I am finally on Google+. That’s the good part. The bad part is, only the one friend who invited me is on it, in my Circles, so I don’t know what to do. I will have to wait for my friends to accept my invitations. Meanwhile, anyone who knows me, and requests for invitation,if I know you, I will grant it.

On the home screen, it feels just like Facebook. But am sure, at the core, it’s totally re-engineered. At least Google will not fail miserably at this attempt, since they have manage to create a huge buzz about Google+. Here’s a screenshot.


FYI, Google plus gadget is available for chrome browser in its app store, for ease of access. Also, people with Android 2.1 and above can download a native app for their phones, which is already available in Android market.

BTW, the most promising feature which I feel Google+ packs is the hangout and the Circles.

Jul 082011

You all might have noticed an ugly looking square matrix on lots of products and in media, looking something like this.

Well it is not something meant to deface a webpage. This small block of black and white, unintelligible shapes is nothing but a QR code. Short for Quick Response code, Wikipedia defines it as “a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera telephones.

The QR code is supposed to allow it’s contents to be decoded at a very high speed. Hence it found application on a large scale in the manufacturing industry in late 90’s. But as the the technological world evolved, so has the area of usage broadened. QR code can be very useful in transmitting large amount of data in a very small space. Different QR code generators can embed different functionalities in the code. Lets say for example you can have a QR code for your V-card. So instead of handing over a physical card to every person you meet, the person carrying the QR code scanner can just scan one card with this code one it, and he receive all the contact information on the scanner. Or lets say you have a link to share. But the link is so big that the space constrains on the paper prohibits you from entering the entire link. You generate a QR code for your link, and place it in a small size on the document. The space issue is solved, we do not have a big web link with ugly looking characters and the document looks future ready.

Lets say that a manufacturer of a product has some special scheme/offer for that particular product, but would not like to display the details on the packaging, due to aesthetic constrains. He generated a QR code with the details embedded in it, prints the code on the packaging. A person buying it can scan it using his scanner and get the information.

The code displayed above is the information about my blog while the one displayed below is my dummy V-Card. The one displayed below, if scanned, will give lots of details and options related to the V-card.

imageNow all that remains to be procured is a QR code scanner. Well, if you have a smartphone which runs Android or any major smartphone OS, chances are that there is an application which uses your mobile camera as a scanner, and gives you intelligent options to work on the decoded data after procession it. Just search for QR code reader or Bar code reader on application store on your smartphone. Some of the major applications are Google Goggles and quickmark in Android, QR scanner in iOS, Beetag in Bada, Mobiletag QR code scanner in Symbian etc. Now-a-days, major media houses use QR codes in place of lengthy web-urls. This helps in reducing the typing pains, and an application/video can be launched with very few clicks. Few of the code generator sites are listed below:

More information on QR codes on Wikipedia.

Jul 012011

It happened quite some years back. To be precise in the year 2004. Four geeks from Harvard university, launched a web based application, called Facebook. Though initially meant for Harvard students, it was eventually released for the world. At the final count, this web based social networking application became such a craze, that it had more than 600 million registered users. But things started going down spirally. First the decision by the owners about access by third parties to the privacy information about its users. Then very recently, the spam attacks on Facebook has left many sore.

Meanwhile, big daddy Google had tried its hands at something, which even I fail to understand. Google Buzz just made that minimal “buzz” and was out of our mind without a fuss. But then the Page and Brin outfit, would never accept defeat, would they? Their marketing department was silent, but they had something cooking. They had an Ace up their sleeves. It seems as if they were waiting for the right opportunity. And the happenings on Facebook, were like an open invitation to launch their own Facebook killer, as many call it.

And so arrives Google+.

It is supposed to be the solution to all privacy problems.

It is supposed to be the media sharing phenomenon.

It is supposed to update you with just what you need.

It is something people are eagerly waiting for, since registrations are closed at this moment. Oh how long now!!

But while we all wait, here’s a quick glance at this new Google project.

The homepage for this project declares it as “Real-life sharing, rethought for the web

Google+ seems to be made up of 5 different components, Circle(which I suppose will be their USP, since they have place it first in the list), Hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks and Huddle. Though the terminologies are new, you might find some old product in new packaging. You never know. Here’s what they are supposed to do


Sharing media on social networks has been a nightmare, with the constant fear of personal stuff falling in the wrong hands. Creating groups in the profiles and trying to share media with them has always been a hassle. In Google+, I tried creating a circle for a particular group in the interactive tour, and it was amazing. No “select all” or “multiple select” or “add to group” buttons involved. Just drag the people from the list & drop in the circle. That’s it. What’s more, you can drag a person from one circle to another, directly. Big question is, what if I want a person in multiple circles. The interactive tour doesn’t have any indication of how to do that. If that’s left out, bye bye Google+. I mean, I may want a person to be in my “Colleagues” circle, my “Car pool” circle and my “Neighbors” circle, can’t I?


Video Conference. That explains. Of course, you can inform individuals, or the entire circles about you being in the hangout, and then wait for people to drop by. I don’t know yet if any social networking site has a functional video conference. This could click in Google+. There seems to be some sort of integration with YouTube too, but nothing explained as of now.

Instant Upload

Google+ seems to have a very good integration with mobile devices. All the clicked photos on a mobile device can be set to be automatically uploaded to your private album on the web. With whom to share, you decide later.


I can’t figure the origin for that name. You type in your interests in the search bar, and the spark gives out related feeds in search results. Select any feed you think you will like, and it gets added to your sidebar, just like favorites list. You can access daily updates from these feeds right in the spark console.


Another name for text chat with multiple participants. Most of the chat clients have this feature. Infact, no chat client is deemed complete without this feature.

And why didn’t they integrate it with hangout? Logical, wouldn’t it be?


My Final Say

Is that it? Where is the other part? Are they planning to bring out all the features in a phased manner? I don’t demand Farmville, but at least a game of Tic-Tac-Toe!! This application seems like, it has been built for bare minimal functionality, and lots of cosmetics. But on second thought, Google might want to show off the tip of the iceberg, fearing rivals copying some of the important features. Hoping for something more, something really good. Something like Google.

Till it comes out, Facebook is safe.

For registrations, visit this link. Though registration is not yet available(as a matter of fact, stopped for now), Google will inform individuals, as and when it is available.

Jun 262011

A very good news for all the iPhone/apple fans in India. Diwali has started in the rainy season here. Apple has officially lowered the price of it’s 2nd rank model of iPhone, the iPhone 3GS to rs. 19,990. This model has an 8gb in built memory. People who were looking in to buying other phones in this range, can now rethink their decision.

I guess, apple is finally becoming a people phone after all this time. Check this news article.

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