Ever wonder what gadgets you would be hunting for in 2011 ? Here is my take on it...
With the cost of LCD TV's getting more and more affordable, HDTV's are getting an overwhelming response in the electronics consumable market. In 2011, LED TVs could be the hottest pic. Needless to mention full HD (1080p) that could soon be a default feature in all LCD/LED TVs, which consumers would be looking for.
My Pick: A decent Sony LED TV with screen not less than 40".
Increase in the number of HDTV owners will soon compel Dish TV Providers to launch HD services full fledged. Though all major Dish TV Providers have already launched High Definition Services, the HD Channels that are broadcasted now are very limited. We could expect all major Dish Operators to broadcast more HD Channels this year. Soon, you could watch your favorite serial in HD with 5.1 Ch sound !!! (need to hear them weep in HD !!!?? )
My Pick: Too early to decide, as most providers currently broadcast a handful number of channels.
Blu Ray Players DVDs, make way !! VCDs are already a thing of the past. DVDs will soon follow suit. With all the new films available in High Definition, Blu Ray Discs are sure to hit the market and will be a common name everywhere. Major electronic brands, would launch varieties of Blu Ray Players creating competition and result- affordable ! ( Today, an entry lever Sony Blu Ray Player costs you appox. 10K )
My Pick: Read Further !!
What's a 5.1Ch in a Blu Ray when you have just built in stereo speakers? People would become more serious about quality sound output, owing to the onset of Blu Ray Discs. Brands which bundle a home theater with a blue ray player for a reasonable price would surely be the winner. Sony, LG and Samsung seems to have smelled this already and are ready with their Blu Ray home theater models. But wait, they are too hot in the market and may be too dearer for a layman's wallet.
My Pick:Go for the brand that's the same as your HDTV (as long as it's good one). This could provide better nativity while connecting/synchronizing the Home Theaters with your HDTVs. (Sync Mode in Sony is an example) At least, you don't have to use multiple remotes to control.
Though the reviews of Apple Ipad is not as catchy as expected, tablets will definitely find its space in a techie's backpack. Good bye Ipods and portable media players. In India , Samsung has already posed a direct competition to Apple's Ipad with its Samsung Galaxy Tab. Look out for more brand to follow suit.
My Pick: Wait for the Apple's next OS on Ipad.
3g Mobile Networks:
Thanks to Indian Ministries !! At last 3G is much nearer to reality in India, while the rest of the world are heading towards 4g !! All mobile brands have started their commercials on 3G but yet to launch. India's State Government owned BSNL have already launched their 3G services. I've got my hands on it only to find speeds just about 250Kbps. Data rates are costlier and could see a drastic fall, once all major providers launch 3G services.
My Pick: Wait for the Airtel 3g.
No surprise if we see a mobile phone revolution in India this New Year. Once 3G gets launched, a humongous demand for 3g phones can be expected. When you can make video call lesser than 1 rupee per minute, why just talk when you can see each other ? A boon to teenagers, couples or a bane to Parents?. With Nokia leading the Indian Mobile phone market, let's expect some really affordable 3G enabled phones in 2011.
My Pick: A Nokia 3G Business Phone with full QWERTY keypad, dual camera and video calling facility.
Laptops: Planning to get a desktop/Laptop and confused what to buy ? Have a look here.
Will review more gadgets in the next post.
Have more gadget ideas ?? Comment it out !!
More interesting travelogues to come !! Watch Out!!
This is the final post of the 3 part travelogue Trip to Mysore from Bangalore. Be sure to read the previous posts before you dive into this one.
Having visited the Philomena Church, I still had ample time left for my evening train. I planned to visit Chamundi hills, a religious spot located atop a hill around 13 kms from the heart of Mysore city. Though there are multiple options to reach that place, I chose a call taxi, as I was already exhausted by that time and could walk no more. A 2 minute google search on my mobile, got me a sedan right in front of me in just 15 minutes. Though fare was quite costly it was worth it.
I was lucky enough to get a chauffeur who could speak in my local language. He got little bewildered, when he got to know I'm the lone person to tour around. He should have expected a family or atleast friends to accompany. After all, each one has got his own justifications !
The road to Chamundi hills is a hill-side driving experience once again. Bends and curves all the way. Fun to drive around. Being a professional driver, the chauffeur manoeuvred with ease and landed me in the temple in less than 20 minutes.
As any south Indian would be, the entrance to this temple was also lined with shops on both sides, selling pooja items, idols of goddess and other tourists gadgets.
View of the temple from the sides..
Take a look at the temple timings. I was lucky again to be there at the right time. However, there was a long queue being a Saturday and I had to wait almost a hour for a "Dharshan".
View of the temple from the front..
I could not resist myself from posting this pic, as this very spot reminds me of my college days where we had loads of fun during the annual college trip.
I started back to Mysore after finishing my Dharshan at the temple. The chauffeur being a local resident, had good knowledge about the places and shared it all through the way. While descending, he halted a while for a breathtaking scenery of the city of Mysore from the hill.
Some blogs insisted me to visit the government rail museum situated close to the railway station. I asked the driver to drop me near the railway museum as the railway station is just a walkable distance from the museum.
Aesthetically designed ticket counter. Wise re-use of rail wagon.
If you are interested in history and antique stuffs, then this museum should be a must visit place in your list. This museum houses a number of antique rail engines and other rail related stuffs. The centre of attraction is the "Mysore Maharani's Saloon", a coach exclusively designed for the Queen of Mysore. There's a description plate in front of each exhibits which depicts its past stories. This blog would shoot to a huge size if I post all the pics here. I've posted the pics in picasa, have a look at it here....
Well, this is the continuation of my previous post "Trip to Mysore from Bangalore". Read it first before this to get a heads up of what this trip is all about.
The sky was overcast that day, with slight drizzle inbetween laying a perfect stage for my journey. So, the tonga finally landed me in front of the Royal Mysore Palace. The crowd was fewer than I expected (weekend though). The entrance leading to the main gate was lined with several small petty shops, that sold hats, camera rolls, batteries and other handicraft items.
Mysore was ruled successively by the "Wodeyar" generation. This palace has more references to the King Krishnaraja Wodeyar, not only for rebuilding the old burnt out wooden palace to the present Royal Palace, but also for being the longest ruler in that era. The history of Mysore is a long topic to be covered in a small blog and I'd encourage you to discover it over the web. A lot of websites are available, that throws limelight on the Vijayanagara Empire and its rulers. Mysore Samachar is one.
There is a temple inside the palace compound, which is claimed to have witnessed the various changes in the empire. That day, I was lucky enough to watch a procession, which the descendents of the Royal Family perform pooja at this temple every Saturday as a ritual. Since when monarchy was abolished in India, the Royal Family has opened up the palace to the public for visits, and they still live in a secluded area inside the palace.
The palace temple...
What's a procession without the mighty elephants ??
And now, the Royal Palace at 45 degree angle..
Front view, I had to walk few yards to capture it in a single frame. !!
Oh yes, it's me.. Thanks to the Chinese backpackers for the click.
A 360 degree video clip as seen from the centre of the palace grounds.
Mysore is renowned for its Dasara celebrations, that lasts for 10 days. The Palace is illuminated on Sundays and all the 10 days of dasara, a spectacular sight to look at. The palace houses a museum where ancient armoury, palanquins, King's Wardrobe etc are showcased for public display. It's a wise idea to hire a tourist guide to take through the palace to feel the native essence of the Palace. More about the palace...
View from the side of the Palace...
Attention folks, photography is strictly prohibited inside the palace.
After being inside the palace to my heart's content, I got on my feet again. It was almost noon by that time, I had my lunch at Indra cafe and decided to visit Philomena Church. I hired a local autorickshaw, as insisted by one travel agent and headed towards Philomena Church. It costed me 20 INR for about 2.5 Kms from Indra Cafe.
Just like any other churches, regular masses are conducted here too. Ensure that you don't disturb the church proceedings if you happen to visit the church during the masses. There is even a statue of St. Philomena kept in a sanctum inside the church. The two towers of the church raising over 175 feet are said to be inspired by the Cologne-Cathedral in Germany.
Another view of the Church...
I still had ample time left over for my evening train. So, decided to visit Chamundi Hills , where a Temple of God Chamundi for Hindus is located. Will meet you at the Chamundi hills in the next post.
Got myself a much needed break after a long span. A one day trip to Mysore. Being in Bangalore, shouldn't be this my first travelogue? I had been to mysore number of times already, but that was during my school/college days where it's always impossible to give attention to just the tourist places !!
Confronting peers for company, is always a pain and often ended in vain. So, this time I made it up to take this trip all alone. Had my tickets booked the very previous night. Took the KSRTC volvo bus plying between Bangalore and Ooty. Booked a train ticket for the return journey. It was all in a few clicks I got both the tickets in hand, thanks to the online ticket booking facility provided by both KSRTC and IRCTC. You can check out the route details on the web. The bus started at 6:30 AM and reached Mysore at 9:30 AM, a sharp 3 hour journey.
A view of the Kempegowda Bus Station, Bangalore.
Prior to the journey, I glanced few blogs on Mysore, which insisted me to have a munch at "Indra Cafe", a popular eating joint. It also warned me of over-charging rickshaw drivers on Mysore road. Every where I went, I made good use of the google map mobile version, that gave approximate distance between my current location and the target. And to my amusement, the current location kept on changing as I walk, a feature that is claimed to be present in GPS systems alone. Also, the popular Mysore Palace, Indra Cafe, Philomena Church all lie in a 2 KM radius, making travel a lot easier.
The indra cafe restaurant as pointed by the local residents, some one from mysore can acknowledge this ??!!
Had my breakfast with the localites' favourite Bennae Masal Dosa (Butter Masala Dosa). Food was good, but not up to my expectation, probably the blogs should have exaggerated. The Mysore Palace (also called Amba Vilas Palace) is just a walking distance from this hotel. So decided to have a walk on the streets of Mysore.
Sayyaji Rao road..
The KR Circle..
I reached the back gate of the Palace. A tonga (horse cart) rider, offered me a deal for Rs 20, to take me to the front gate. He also offered a free visit to the Mysore crafts emporium, which I gladly accepted.
The jolly ride...
Mysore is famous for carved sandalwood, pure silk sarees and incense. The best place to shop is the Cauvery Arts & Crafts Emporium on Sayyaji Rao Road, which is the Main shopping area. There are also many other craft shops on Dhanavanthri Road. - excerpt.
Mysore roads looked relatively neat when compared to Bangalore roads.
Be sure to checkout the Mysore silk sarees and sandal wood carvings displayed at the emporium. But watch out, a miniature sandal elephant might cost you more than a real elephant (kidding) !!
Will pause this for now and will continue with the rest in the next blog.
Meet you at the palace on the next blog !!
If you are reading this blog anywhere after Jul-2010, then this may not be the correct suggestion. Of late, I had been hunting for a laptop in the market that would fit my requirement as well as my wallet. The moment I thought about Laptop, DELL hit my mind. Thanks to the overwhelming ads, in all leading daily newspapers/journal almost on all days.
Choosing a laptop should be purely from your inner conscience rather involving your friends, or relatives'. Hmm ! Then why am I writing this blog ? :) This is just my experience and this would help you to make a better decision. (Phew!, I'm safe). Let's plunge in the topic. Choosing a laptop may not necessarily be just looking for the price tag. But you may also have to give a look at the below points.
What are you gonna do with your laptop ? List down your priorities. How much importance will you give for multimedia? What you feel would be the most resource/memory consuming program that you'll be using often ?
This is the time for 64 bit computing. Choose a processor that suites this. Thumb rule states, that any new processor is gonna burn a hole in your pocket. So before going behind new processors, better wait for a while, read the reviews and feedbacks, then go for it. To me, I chose Intel Core i3 latest in the market, fits my budget and had pretty decent performance reviews.
If you are a avid games or if you are using display centric applications, then graphics card should be the second most important thing next to the processor. Though the choice of the GPU is left to you, be sure to look for the graphics memory and the pixel shader that the graphics card supports. Normally 1gb graphics card should work great for most of the new games. My choise was the bundled ATI Radeon HD with 512 MB graphics.
This is essential for swift OS responses. RAMs are getting cheaper day by day and you should not think twice to opt for at least 4gb of RAM.
5. Hard Disk
This again depends on you budget. However be specific over the RPM(rotation per minute). The more the RPM, the faster it is. 7200 rpm should be common by now. If you store movies, music and photos your hard disk should be at least 500gb. I don't store videos and hence I chose 320 GB and it got filled up to 25% the very first week :-( !!!
6. LCD Display
The display is directly proportionate to the laptop weight and the battery consumption. The larger the display, the battery drains faster and heavier the laptop is. 15" should be a decent size for watching movies/games and great to carry along with you everywhere. Look out for High Definition display (hot in town !!). Don't forget to choose your back panel color too !! (Atlast it's the only difference that ladies visualize !!! )
By default most of the laptops come with a 6 cell battery. This should give you close to 2 hours of battery backup with moderate multimedia use. If you are a frequent traveler and tend to use laptops in disconnected mode, the it's wise to invest in 9 cell or 12 cell batteries. But beware, the batteries perform good for a maximum of 18 months and you'll have to replace it after that (no matter what brand it is !!)
8. Software/ Operating System
Windows 7 is the latest OS from Microsoft as of today. Which choosing a preconfigured laptop, watch out for the version of windows they offer. Windows 7 has got 4 versions basic, premium, professional and ultimate. Compare these versions and choose the one that suits you best. Note that it's lot cheaper to go for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) versions rather getting it separately. This applies to add-on softwares like MS-Office and other third party antiviruse too.
Finally, it's wise to choose an insurance coverage plan, that covers your laptop from accidental damage. Say, drop your laptop from 100 feet or spill coffee in it, get it replaced at no cost !!! Cool isn't it ??
I zeroed in on Dell Inspiron 15 N5010. With few tweaks and customization it cost me around 39K INR.I had to wait for 10 days to get delivery as it was in good demand then.
Feel free to write a comment or post your suggestions.
I was in my home town then, owning to the Pongal Festival (the festival of harvest) in Tamil Nadu. Nothing can substitute the happiness that one gets, when he visits his hometown after a long span. I had quite reasonable number of days in hand, that I could spare a day for this outing.
I've heard about this place Papanasam, often remembered as a town with spiritual importance, beautiful mountains and few water falls. One must be careful with the season of visit since it can be highly disgusting if hit at the wrong season. January is a perfect time, with the rainy seasons just about over and the dams in full flow. Be sure to pack your own food, as you don't find any hotels once you reach the hills.
Me and my brother in law started in our hatchback around 11 AM. The starting point of the hill station reads lower camp. The route spans nearly 62 Kms from Tirunelveli to Papanasam.
Tirunelveli --> Tharuvai --> Cheranmahadevi --> Ambasamudram -->Papanasam -->Karaiyar.
Took some breaks inbetween to enjoy the flavour of nature that the little towns enroute threw at us. This shot was made near Tharuvai about 10 Km away.
The road from Tharuvai to Ambasamudram was OK to tread, should be able to do some decent speed. Had a sip at Ambasamudram. From Ambasamudram, the road was horrible until Papanasam. Exercise caution to avoid hitting the chassis on the ground. It is said Papanasam is famous for a medical treatment, a particular family that cures people from Jaundice.It is said that the treatment is inherited from their ancestors and no others can do it.
From Papanasam begins the Reserve forest area, spread across a massive area marked as a reserve for tiger rehabilitation programme. At the lower camp, the place where the reserve starts, officials kept constant vigil for any illegal poaching and even alcohol.. They inist to swith off the music system and refrain using horns inside the forest area.
In few Kms, the road diverges into two , the left one towards Agasthiar falls and right side towards Karaiyar dam. We took the 'right' one. New road was laid by the time we visited, it was narrrow though. We also encountered a metal bridge where people stalled to have a click.
Finally we reached Karaiyar Dam. Odo zeroed before taking the trip, now read 62. Parking the vehicle alongside the narrow road was tricky, a slight miss and you park it over the vehicle behind ! The day being Sunday witnessed a pretty decent crowd, not irritating however. You gotta hire a boat to reach the Karaiyar falls, which is situated right in the middle of the forest, engulfed with mountains on all sides. Rs 300 for a boat of 15 seats. We joined along with a gang of 5 and hired a private boat for the new 7 of us.
The boat ride was amazing, giving the perfect thrill of trekking a forest.
The boat ferry, maintained by TTDC
The boat cruised thought the crystal clear taking us into the dense forest radar.
The first glimpse of the falls
After 15 minutes of travel, we reached the shore where the Karaiyar falls flows. The boatmen insisted us to return within an hour. We had to walk a bit to reach the falls. The path was lined with vendors selling mangoes, snacks, etc . where we had a smack too.
View of the dam from the falls.
To conclude, it was worth the visit, a truly rejuvenating experience. If you are visiting Tirunelveli, Kannyakumari or nearby places, Karaiyar is a must visit place and should be first in your list !!
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