Books that are in the Cloud

I have been a technology person all my life.

Well, that does not say a lot more than..

I love to experiment with technology and choose what “just works” at any time.

and..

I adapt to technology as it happens.

At the same time, I accept the fact that this planet is comprised of beings who like to stay behind stick on to things that worked before and they came to love. There always are and will be people who reminisce about the days gone by and try to use the bygone products – people who –

  • use Gramaphone/Vinyl records instead of MP3’s
  • play Contra when they can play Just Cause
  • love taking notes in a notebook and read physical books

I have no qualms with them. We cannot have the world full of intelligent people after all.

A recent product I came by is the bridge that for the people mentioned in the first part of the third kind. What caught my eye during my sojourn on millions of web pages was the marketing.

mod books

The product in question is “Mod Notebooks [dead]”. It comes with a catchy phrase – “A paper notebook that sync to the cloud”. My initial thought after reading the phrase was – “WTH. I am again falling behind in my holy pursuit of technology for the sake of technology”. As you may take note (mentally, not physically or virtually) – that was not to be.

As you may take note (mentally, not physically or virtually) – that was not to be.

I heaved a sigh of relief as I read through what Mod could do. I looked kindly at my loved ones, neighbours and others who are technically challenged and made a note (again, mentally) of the newest enabler that could help them come up in life. Mod was indeed the bridge that could get them the bragging rights of being on “digital bandwagon”.

The way it works is simple –

mod notebook instructions

Mod is not the technology that digitises the content on the go. It is not some new device that provides that oh-so-good feel of putting ink on the virtual paper.

Mod is a “process” by which you take notes in the physical books and get it digitised later. It is cleverly packaged to include that end-to-end process of creating content on paper as you did for millennia and see it ported to the digital world ‘by magic’. Someone “out there” enables you to become a responsible member of the digital world.

I love these innovative business ideas. I admire people with these thoughts of general upliftment. Admit it – you also recognise the genius in all this.

I am not sure how effective Mod is – it is currently enabled for residents of USA (God bless their souls). I am not sure how the OCR works for the handwriting of my friendly neighbourhood doctor (give them back an image of their handwriting? – that is cruel).

I doubt whether I would give it a try if I did have the opportunity.

But, Mod did make an impression on me. It is the way the smart people make money out of the “tech have-not’s”. The bridge that few will take but will be extremely proud of taking the “bridge less taken”.

 

10 video websites that you didn’t know

You can never go wrong if you think videos are entertaining.

You can replace one idiot box (the “TV”) with the other (the “computer”), and have the same idiot (“you”) – it is still the same lethal combination.

But, the internet is vast and there lies the problem. So as an one time favour to you, I have collated all the world’s entertainment in one post. This post alone has the potential to point you to years of fun – all without leaving your living room (or garage, or bathroom, or wherever your computer is).

 

1. Vevo.com

Head over to http://vevo.com to check out what is popular at this moment. If you are in one of the fortunate souls outside the designated regions blessed with this service, you can always head back to Veevo on Youtube!

If you ever get tired with all the popular videos at the moment, you could use different categories to head over to the past on the same website. Amazing, I know.

 

2. BestofYouTube

No, this is not YouTube.

This is the best of YouTube.

interesting video sites

 

Hand picked, or handiwork of bots that look out for most likes, or anything that the site owner fancies for, BestofYoutTube.com will get you videos of the past, present and future that are popular on YouTube.

 

3. Funny or Die

This was quite well known to me until I completely forgot it existed. FunnyOrDie has some great exclusive videos, and a lot more collated ones that are, well, funny

 

 

funny videos other than youtube

 

4. Wimp

No, I am not insulting you. Wimp.com is a real site.

amazing video collection websites

It is a collection of videos from multiple sources that are entertaining, educating, and more.

 

5. Blinkx

Blinkx gets the most viral of the videos to you on one platform.

videos to pass time

 

6. Stupid Videos

You have to watch this if you are confident about the future of humanity.

entertaining video collection

 

7. Fark

No, I did not misspell it. Fark.com has witty comments and some good collated videos. You can contribute as well if you like.

great funny video websites

8. Devour

Not the food, just the videos. Devour.com serves you hand picked videos that are fun to watch.

devour.com

 

9. Need for fun

Need for fun features funny videos from everywhere.

funny video sites

 

10. The Most Amazing Videos

The most amazing videos from YouTube (and other sites), or not. This website is most definitely comprised of videos pulled in from various sites using automated scripts, but has lately become a window to YouTube. You are forced to be a source of ad revenue by watching countless hours of fun.

amazing video websites

 

Know of other crazy video websites, comment and let me know!

Cable prices go north

We received additional à la carte rates for specific TV channels from our cable operator.

 

 bengaluru cable price revision

While this is quite common for people with DTH services, it is being rolled out to households with cable connections in the last year or so.  You could not miss the advisories on hindi language networks from the people you trust – people who acted in numerous “TV serials” (series) just to confuse you (was Aditi in Serial A, or B? Is she the mother or sister of the good guy in so & so series?).

When all this hoopla was going on,we did what thousands of others around us did. We left it to the best judgement of our cable operator to decide what is good for us. As expected, all that accumulated karma got back to us today.

Our trusted cable operator started demanding money at à la carte prices, when he perfectly knew that families like ours select the “all you can eat”, or the buffet option – families that avoid à la carte like the plague.

“There is no reason for us to select à la carte when you can get everything for reduced prices” – thus goes the reasoning.

We discussed and decided they went a bit too far with the cable prices this time. While we pay Rs. 200, which is cheaper compared to other parts of Bengaluru, we believe that it is because people in those parts do not know the “real” rates. Demanding additional money for specific channels from smart middle-class people did indeed flabbergast us. What’s more – additional money was being asked for the channels that we know only when we using remote like a machine gun – flipping channels like our life depended on it.

 

Dissection of channels that cost extra

Udaya TV group of channels  is quite well-known,  but seldom seen at home. At Rs.87 per month, we can as well settle down to DD. But I quite do not know whether our beloved DD still exists, my search is on.

More over, the entire Sun group of channels has declared war on cable operators (or vice versa) for some strange reason. The combination of Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam channels cost a whooping to Rs. 260. My nephew  helpfully suggested  that  it was the  same cost  for 26 CDs of movies that you *like*. I shut him up for the fear of my neighbours overhearing  about that illegal activity of pirated CDs – they may raid all the neighbouring CD shops to dust with their Rs.260’s.

I was the only one who saw Star Movies, Star World, & NGC. My daughters do not count since they watch any channel that is on. For the life of me, I could not remember when I switched to those specific channels to watch specific shows (except for The Simpsons on Star World). That was indeed horrifying because those are symptoms of a TV zombie. I immediately made note to remember the channels and shows that I watch. I also mentally reassured myself that the additional channels do not add an ounce of entertainment that I cannot get elsewhere.

The best part however was this – I had not even heard about some of channels that are about to have their prices bumped up. Whoever heard of Baby TV, Jalsa Movies, & Nat Geo People? 

As for the rest – it did not evoke any kind of reaction. I knew of their existence because they came in between when I wanted to flip to “the usual channel” (keying in numbers is stressful, and the back/forward buttons have this habit of taking you to a dream world).

 

The war cry

I rallied my entire family to my viewpoint, and we decided enough was enough.

“No more Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, or Bengali channels for you” – we told our 4 year old daughters. We quite cannot gauge their reaction sometimes, but I do think they completely agree. So, a decision was made rather quickly.

We’re not going to spend Rs. 600 plus on ridiculous channels. We’re not going to feed into the corporate ego  and we will not allow these entities to demand additional money  for questionable entertainment. A few of these channels are entertaining only because of the ads – we can get that for free from other channels. Why, we did not even notice that they were off air since for months already.

I was quite pleased with myself to have driven an unanimous decision, which is seldom the case in a family of six.

Once all this was done, I was again thankful to my cable operator. He helped fast forward the process of bringing some evil corporates to their knees – at least until they decide to revert back to prices and become good corporates .

5 websites that while away your time

There is never short of one thing in life – time.

But some of us seem to never catch all the time we want, while others get all the time they need for the weirdest of activities. Here are 5 websites for those of you who have a bit of time on your hands.

1. Stumble Upon

Stumble Upon is the TV for the next generation. Install the plugin in Firefox or Chrome, set your interests, and you are set to spend countless hours in front of the new idiot box.

5 websites that while away your time

You could learn, share your political opinions and give your care to the world, but why waste time doing that when you could mindlessly browse through websites one after the other just like TV channels.

 

2. Useless Web

For the people who find Stumble Upon to be too enlightening, there is always Useless Web.

5 interesting websites

If you are polite enough and say click on “please”, this website can show you wonders.

Like a website where you can hit a man with an eel – virtually of course.

2015-01-04_11-30-21

Or, a website where you can see cats falling all day long. Throw them around and still see them bounce back. Oh, what has this world come to?

time waster websites

 

3. Magic Eye

If clicking multiple times seems lot of work, I can perfectly understand.

How about staring at the screen to see what is right in front of your eyes, but not everyone can see it? Welcome to Magic Eye.

While away your time with these websites

These are the same guys who make apparently 3D pictures that frustrate people who cannot identify the picture within the picture, but delight those who can.

 

4. Pointless Diagrams

If you spend enough time with Magic Eye, it is time to get promoted and move on to better things. And, what better promotion can it be other than to identify patterns where none exist. Or, they do exist and only you can find out?

Get yourself to Pointless Diagrams, and be the delight of artists everywhere.

spend time with pointless pictures

 

5. Imgur

If you have spent all your energy on doing nothing with the 4 tips above, you have not seen anything.

Unless you visit imgur that is. Images – stupid, serious, humorous, silly and in all other formats, get uploaded here by the millisecond.

Where else can you see the great Thor in pink?

feast your eyes on images to kill time

 

Had enough for one day, or for this month, or for the year?

Thought so.

 

 

Planning short trips around Bengaluru? Head here..

If you are one of those people who get all worked up with the great traffic stories of Bengaluru, and want to stop with that – it is perfectly fine.

It so happens that a few people out there carry that enthusiasm to the weekends, and experiment. Their idea of weekends is not sitting in front of the computer to browse more pages, but going around to explore.

If you are one of those people, or aspiring to be one, it is not easy to get all the information in one place. You will ask around, explore to the very boundaries that your stamina, your bike, or your car allows. You will not like that experience.

Or, you may simply be looking for the one day trips around Bengaluru without breaking bank, or venturing into the rocking sea. You will need to be armed with more information than what is in Google maps, or in any of the polished TV shows you see.

Although there are a few websites that cover this territory, I found one of the websites really easy to understand, and more direct in their approach. That is http://theloapers.blogspot.in/.

short trips around bengaluru

Started by a few young riders, the website gives a run down of various places you can visit around our beloved city. It starts with a few easier rides, and go on to a range of places you can visit on nothing more than a 150CC bike.

places around bengaluru to visit using bike

The trips are not entirely for the “stay safe at home, and enjoy tea” kinds.

They give the places, the roads, all the little things you can do on the journey, and their own experience. The write ups are entertaining, the information is fantastic, and everything is down-to-earth and practical for your own trips.

Try the trips, and know for thyself.

If you want to know the latest road conditions, you can always ask for advice on Team BHP.