The Evolution of communication over digital media.

With the real time communication becoming a very popular means of self expression, there seems to be a new etiquette, or “lingo” so to say being put in place. Also, there is entirely new arrangement as to who communicates to whom.  Some folks love the concepts. Others loathe it, depending on age, gender and geography of the individual, without any consistent trend being applicable.

I could start from the Morse code, and fax but I do not want to dig so deep and beat around the bush. The following are very recent trends.

First and foremost, is the telephone call. It’s called  simply a call now, and is more often used as sync up medium. It is indispensable medium for friends who’re trying to meet up to be used as a coordination tool. Sample this conversation sequence. This does happen. All on a cell phone.

1-1-2012 9:00 PM

Mr. A:Let’s meet up tomorrow, at inorbit mall.

Miss B:sure, 5:00 PM then.  cya!

2-1-2012 4:45 PM

Mr. A:I’m running a little late . will reach by 5:30 PM.

Miss B:No problem, just gimme a missed call when you start.

2-1-2012 6:15 PM

Mr. A gives a call to Miss B, disconnects after a single ring, as a response of which Miss B starts to go to inorbit mall.

2-1-2012 6:30 PM

Miss B: I’ve reached. Come to Costa Cofee. I’m waiting there.

Mr. A: Sure. I’ll take another 5 minutes. cya!

2-1-2012 6:40 PM

Mr. A: Where are you, I don’t see you in Costa cofee.

Miss B: I’m on the end close to center.

Mr. A: Oh I see. I was coming in from the north end. And I see you.

I’m pretty sure Mr. Alexander Graham Bell would not have had the vision to see this kind of use for the device he created. I’m by no means complaining, but in fact noting the use of this voice call’s use. I’m sure if dead folks can see us, he’d be happily grinning up there somewhere.

It also kind of kills the concept of relying on each other. I mean see how soon you’ll call up friend/date on a meet, when you’ve turned up on time, but the other person is late. 5 minutes? 10 maybe. The cell phones have kind of de-valued the importance of other people’s time and plans I feel. It seems so convenient to call up 15 minute before the appointment and say I’ll be late, or not coming at all. Again I’m not suggesting that one has to be on time on all the occasions. Some times, being late is not by choice, but how soon before the appointment is the correct margin to notify the other party of your inability to make it. Cell phones have blurred those margins.

Text/Instant messaging.

Good for times, when you cannot do it on voice. When you need to get reminders, or addresses. People have however developed means to converse over messages too. Blackberry phones and the qwerty key pads are (were) a step in that direction. To enable people to carry out a conversation on text messaging.

Not just those devices, there is a new vocabulary developed to facilitate the expression of the ideas, with minimal effort. Read key presses. The language seems to  be a derivative of English, with all the vowels knocked out, and numbers being used for their phonetic values. The following line is actually something which has a conversational meaning, and is English.

“I hv bn lkng 4wd 2 mtng u.”

The buck certainly doesn’t stop here. The latest in thing is in social networking sites.

Status updates.

With social networking sites being all the rage, the newest trend here is updating what you’re up to with a phrase or a line. People are doing it, and some are doing it really effectively. This kind of communication enables one to be addressing a mass audience, and with that connect, you have a real time encyclopedia with a personal touch. Use it for crowd sourcing your problems, or networking. It’s quite an amazing way to communicate.

Of course there are people who don’t quite get the idea on what’s the use of this scheme. There have been status updates suggesting status updates with a post frequency of 5 mins on the lines of :

    • got up, brushing teeth.
    • taking a bath now. water is too cold.
    • eating breakfast. milk is too warm
    • leaving for school now.
    • Reached, ready for the grind … blah.

All of the preceding technologies are based on a single idea.

As humans, we feel the need, and realize the importance of communication. I cannot emphasize enough on how important I feel communication is. The ability to express one’s idea across, be it with analogies, humor or with supplement actions, leads to a sense of liberation when the point one makes gets across.

I hear you.
I hear you.

Keep talking. 🙂

Story of all Indian swimming pools.

I’ve come across loads of posts classifying orkut users into some funny category or the other. Inspired by the same, I hereby dissect people seen in swimming pools.

story of a swimming pool

This holds true for every swimming pool I’ve ventured into. The people in the pool can be classified into these sets,  and these sets are found everywhere, with the exception of those die hard sports club pools. For, my discussion, let’s just focus on normal pools, say in your society,  or your chill out club. These are the categories of people that can certainly be spotted in there.

Length lappers

  • The ones who actually want to “swim”.
  • Busy doing their laps, (lengthwise laps) they seem to be following a rigours routine and seem very good at it.
  • Mostly, they come to the pool alone.
  • Their usage of the pool is about 30 mins – 45 mins

Socialisers

  • They are the loudest ones out there.
  • Their idea of being in the swimming pool is to have a nice chat with friends.
  • They hang around at the edges of a pool, and never arrive to the premises without the company of those other socialiser friends.
  • They usually use the premises for an hour, even more on holidays.

Kids being forced to learn how to swim.

  • Are usually pushed by parents who feel it’s a good activity for them.
  • Would be driven to the pool whereas the parents would sit on the easy chair outside, admiring the capabilities of their own flesh and blood.
  • They are seen grumpy faced. Usually in groups of three and four, swarming around the swimming coach, and being yelled at by him.
  • They painfully hang in the pool for like an hour, after which they just pop out as though being released from captivity.

“Newly in  Love” birds

  • They hang out in the pool to be with each other and in proximity.
  • They keep on perfecting each others strokes, and usually seem all giggles.
  • They hangout in pairs, at the very edges of the pool, only to be occasionally disturbed by the “lappers”
  • Their usage chart varies from day to day. Happy to do it for 30 mins one day to 2 hours on others.

Perennial swimmers.

  • They are there to beat the heat/lose fat cause Pippa Middleton said she keeps in shape by swimming (seriously?)
  • They hang out in the pool, don’t swim much, but are the most content of the people out there.
  • Their swimming session usually lasts for over a few hours.

The “Ace” Coachers

  • They like to give out instructions to every swimming soul they come across.
  • They themselves don’t swim much, but are “masters” when it comes to technique.
  • They follow the other swimmer who’s trying to learn it herself/himself.

The game players

  • They usually hang in groups of 3-4.
  • Always conjure up some fun game like “find the coin”, or “get on the float”, or “human pyramid”.
  • Are the happiest lot out there.
  • Are the obstacles to the “lappers”

The peeping toms.

  • Although not guaranteed to be in every pool out there (this one’s a dying breed 🙂 ), they are in the pool to catch some honeys.
  • Seen in close zones to wherever a lone and attractive girl is swimming.

Symbian walking the thin line. Android, iOS or Win7?

It seems the time of usability amongst current cell phones, and the upcoming variants is declining at an amazing pace. Sample this, my phone usage trends :

  1. My first phone, a Nokia 3510 lasted me 3.5. years,
  2. The next Kyocera something was a bad buy, and was discarded in 2 months. Let’s just ignore this.
  3. Sony Ericsson w810, my family also got the taste of the same, and we still dote on it. I hated it at times, and loved it on other occasions. I had to move forward, but I used it for 2 good years. Still think, it was the best music phone (sheer sound), and best camera I have ever bought.
  4. Samsung i450. Nice phone, lasted for 1.5 years. Music library was ahead of it’s times. Sounded great. Camera was nothing to be proud of.
  5. Nokia X6. Loved ovi maps, ovi music, the 5MP camera and the touch screen. Have used maps to quite an extent. Very recently used to route my car through villages and highways. Certainly useful features, finding it difficult to live without these now. Of course, there was music !! Have been using this for 10 months now. This phone seems neither here nor there to me now.

 

Nokia took a tumble.

For various reasons. X6 has been falling short of expectations for me. Things seemed further exaggerated when it came to my knowledge that Nokia mail does not play well with Exchange server, which is the only way to access mails at my new workplace.

Symbian seems dated when it comes to integration with Social Networking Sites, and the videos that can be played on the device also need to be transcoded first. Another deterrent for watching a movie on the move. Also, I’ve seen the Music Library navigation on some of the Droids, and the omnipresent HTC Mozart :), they seem innovative. The UI seems extremely responsive and fancy.

Maybe I’m just jealous  when I see people around me juggling Social Networking and work while sipping on cold coffee in Barista! Maybe I think it’s useful. Who can tell?

I was actually quite content using my X6, heck I even found ActiveSync, and did get a way (albeit kludgy) to access Exchange server at work. The phone was not the most elegant in the past few weeks(lot’s of reboots, and countless task kills), and one fine day the phone gave up on me. Just a random day, there was no network!

There have been no physical tumbles around that time, although I admit, in the past I have been dropping my phone at a rate of one fall a month. To be very clear, these are the types of falls that result in the case opening, battery and the back lid popping and flying out in different directions! The gentle nudges/brushes against walls and other surfaces occur almost once a week. Fortunately, the touch screen has lived on.

 

I have no clue what might have gone wrong. Sure it was not a impact related problem. I used it to make some calls in the morning, and pocketed it. By afternoon, it was zonked out. Maybe, I was pushing my X6 too hard.

I’ve given it for repairs, and it still is under warranty. From what I know, a phone post repairs is not really as fit as it should be. It might work, or it might spring up more problems. Let’s see. It’s scheduled to be in the pit for 10 days. After that, if it works good, I’ll stick to it. If it makes me take it to Nokia care in less than a couple of months, I’ll be getting me a new phone. Probably an android, on Sony Ericsson hardware! Or HTC.

OK enough fantasising! I’ll see if and when it happens.

Update : Nokia care called me back in 2 days (instead of 10), and have provided me with brand new handset. They reckon the problems I was facing were due to a faulty motherboard, and thought it’d be better to change the entire phone. Looks like I’ll  be using my Nokia X6 for some time to come now.

Deplorable numbers, for what are they worth?

It was a majorly publicized catch phrase, especially by the foreigners who’d  visit India, to get rid of their impressions of a country where elephants, and people doing some magical rope tricks, and other freaky entities co-exist.

Perhaps they had not braced up for what they did see. The sheer numbers must have made them feel dizzy, and given them a sort of high, their drugs would have failed to deliver.

The market, for anyone who wishes to manufacture and sell was tremendous. And new strategies and plans  were devised, specially called “made for India”.

Anyways, today’s screaming news headline really made it to the top. India has more cell phones than toilets. It was already, a well published fact that India does have more temples than toilets, and who would have known, the number of phones would also pip that number. I mean, it’s India, the number of toilets would be somewhat proportional to the number of people in the country.

UN, has really kicked off this extensive market research, and it seems their projected figures would still be a short fall by the completion of a certain project’s goal, by year 2015.

How important is access to proper sanitation, as a goal for mankind in India ?Well there are people discussing this problem, but my post is not focused to that problem, and if I were to discuss that, I’ll digress.

So back to the point. India has so many people, and well connected at that. Seems like cell phone is the most widespread computer in the country. Yet, apple app store, and nokia’s ovi initiatives are not specifically targeted for the country. Do they not realize the opportunity here?

It seems Indian people don’t really mind inconvenient pooping circumstances, but the hell they’d love to be connected. A huge, connected workforce. Distribute intelligence . For what it’s worth?

Shipping problem solved.

Imagine this:

Seller is willing to sell, consumer is more than happy to pay. Still, it’s a no deal. Loses for both, and why ? Because geographically speaking, the two endpoints are really far away.

People come up with wacky/intuitive ideas to offer the logistics for the problem, but it still exists, and raises its ugly head time and again. Like, often I want something, that’s available in the US, so I ask a friend of mine to carry it back to India when they plan to come.

Yesterday, my sister ordered some clothes to be shipped in a similar arrangement.

I had my dinner shipped.

I had a good dinner yesterday, because I asked my friend to pack it along and bring it over. From Lucknow. For those unfamiliar, Lucknow is like a Mughal food (Kebabs, Biryani, etc.) paradise. In fact, it adds a special taste to such dishes, which is not available elsewhere. So kebabs from that city won’t be like the typical kebabs available in delhi, gurgaon. Biryani would also be different.

I had once gotten a chance to eat all this because I was there for a wedding, and needless to say, I was hooked. So I had craved for all these delicacies, for some time now, when my friend RC declared (all out of nowhere), that he intends to make a quick weekend trip to Lucknow.

I asked him to get some kebabs back for me. He agreed.

He is the one to go one step beyond, in most of the things he seriously tries.

So, yesterday, when I got a call from him, I was hoping to get some frozen/half done kebabs from Lucknow.

But I got an entire spread. No kidding. There were kebabs, Biryani, some thing called “Sheermal”, and curd to go along with the biryani.

The glutton in me took charge, and I gobbled up all those dishes, at a tremendous rate. So much so, that I thought I’ll hurt my stomach by the end of it. 🙂 But I didn’t. All is well.

Thank you RC. you made my day.

You can cook, but should you …

I consider myself a rather decent cook. So much so, that I can try out new things, and don’t mind coming up with innovative fillers when the situation demands.

Novice would be a good word to describe me, definitely not in the league of chefs such as my dad,  and those professional people.

Anyways, so for I party I  hosted on my birthday, I pitched in with my idea of “pineapple raita” . For people unfamiliar with the dish, a riata is an indian dish, made by mixing a variety of things (which range from fried crunchies, diced up vegetables to exotic fruits) in curd, and is consumed along with something in the main course, which otherwise might be dry.

So there was this unused pineapple lying in my kitchen, which I thought I’d put to good use, and so I was inspired to dish out the pineapple raita.

There were certain hindrances to what seems like a trivial thing to do, but I was a man with resolve.

One of these days, I'm gonna cut you into little pieces.
Pineapple

I could not cut a pineapple on my own.

I really does not occur to you until you actually get to doing it, but seriously how does one cut a pineapple. It is such a thing with hard and scaly exterior. My knives simply gave up, and even if I forced cut the fruit, I would have wasted a lot of that juicy part. (A pineapple is like hard from the outside, with sort of cylindrical shell which is sweet, and an interior which is more sour than that shell part).

There was no taker for the job.

So, I decided I’ll get the pineapple cut from a professional fruit seller. I was wrong in assuming that just any fruit seller would slice it up for me. For those unaware, the ones who sell pineapple, only sell pineapple. Like fruit specialists. So, I had to find a pineapple seller in gurgaon. Another task.

The pineapple I had, turned out bad.

Luckily, (oh really) I managed to find one, while roaming in a sabzi mandi. But when the guy did get to chopping off my pineapple, it was bad from inside.Like really rotten or something. He showed it to me, and I told him to discard the piece. By now, I was convinced that maybe some unseen force is trying to stop me from having the raita made. But I did not lose any determination. I told the guy to cut up a new pineapple from his stock, and give it to me. I specifically asked him to give a sweet one.

The Raita was a complete disaster.

Towards the end of my party, I decided to sample the raita myself. Unfortunately,  I had already bragged about it before tasting it myself. So the foot in the mouth situation was already imminent. :). I tried it, and I must say it was the worst tasting raita I’ve had in my life. I mean a curd gone sour, because of the over activity of   lactobacillus bacteria probably tastes better.

I’ll analyze the reasons that might have affected my raita in another post. Needless to say, a thorough investigation would be initiated. Results shall be published on a later date in a separate post.

To the people who had to eat it (out of good manners, I’m sure) … Sorry for the bad taste. I’ll make it up to you.