Monday, January 31, 2011

iPhone 4 - The addiction game begins now

iphone-4This is yet another post that must have been here long time back. We got iPhone when we were at US. Till the time one buys (read decides to buy) an iPhone, they come up with 1001 reasons ‘why I don’t need an iPhone’. But once the craving sets on for an iPhone, every day one can think of  more reasons ‘why I need an iphone’

Well that happened in our case too. Till the time we could afford an iPhone 4, we were arguing what basic telephone features an iphone can do that a blackberry can’t?! With more and more friends moving on to iPhone, the craving just got irresistible and viola! we got an iPhone 4.

The sense of pride on holding an iPhone, snapping open and shut the exclusive leather case and all the related emotions that come with an iPhone are not easily describable. It is as if we got the Christmas or birthday present that we had been waiting for for the whole year.

For those who are still arguing ‘what can an iPhone do that a blackberry can’t?’ I have to say this, you’ll have to see one to know the multitude of Apps. The convenience of having all at once (a GPS, Outlook, Public mailbox, all the popular Instant Messengers (IMs) with video chat support, IPod music player, Dictionary, Barcode reader,  Doodle (for the artistically inclined – paint what you want whenever you want just with the touch of your fingers), and not to miss the 5 megapix camera) is an unparalleled experience.

Once you have had an iPhone, for about a month, the question that you’d be asking yourself changes to ‘How the hell did I manage everything before iPhone’

The ironic part now is that we have now returned to India and are still trying to see how to get our iPhone 4 working in India (I don’t like the term ‘jailbreaking’ ). My brother had gotten himself an iPhone from Singapore and that doesn’t seem to require any “jailbreaking” (huh! cant they have coined a better term) to work in India.

He took a Vodafone 3G connection and I must say the service was indeed impressive. The GPS is not precise though as in US but still I liked it. I was a bit skeptical about the bandwidth of service for an Indian GPRS provider – but after seeing the Vodafone service, I can say proudly that the service can be compared at par to any other good service providers of the west.

I have a BSNL Cellone 3G service and I must admit it works pretty well in my Nokia E51 smart phone. I can’t wait to experience the service in iPhone 4. Hope that’s some time sooner.. I can’t bear the sight of my iPhone sitting on bench like an ignored toy!

P.S. For those who are happy with the smart phone they’ve already got, apple has another option for you! Check the iPod generation 4 – the look and feel and the apps are absolutely same as the iPhone 4 except that you can only connect to an available wifi network and cannot browse/chat/check mail/use GPS ‘on the go’. If that’s not a requirement, you can get the iPot Gen 4 and experience the iPhone experience. But I give the statutory warning that after iPod Gen4, you might develop a craving for iPhone 4!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The disaster called Reliance Netconnect Broadband+

 31012011344This post was due a long time. When we came back to India, the most important necessity for my husband was the internet connection. So what did he do? Simply followed one of the promotional SMS that he received on his cell phone (mobile phone) and took the Reliance NetConnect Broadband + which offered up to 3GB speed. He failed to notice the ‘up to’ part and ordered the connection immediately.

What was the charge?

The modem cost was around ` 2500 and there were several monthly packs to choose from and we choose the Gold pack hoping to get the best available performance. The cost of that was ` 950 per month.

Ok with this we thought we were all set to experience the flashing internet service. Our hopes were all doomed on the very first day. The connection speed was in the order of few hundred KBPS. We thought we had made some mistake with the set up and called the customer support. (I must say here that my husband is an infrastructure management engineer in a software organizations and I must say is one among the best in his technology). We went through all the steps that he asked us to do. Finally he asked us to change the connection type to “Hybrid” and said it was going to be a home run from now and no more issues will come up.

Day 2: Still the same poor bandwidth problem. We call the customer support – that is the beauty with these products. Every time you call the cust supp, a new guy picks up the call and we have to start over from the beginning and he tries to make us do the exact same things that the prev guy did. So I told him to cut that crap and take up a complaint.

Then we fall into this typical Indian mentality of not following up with the complaint and trying to find other alternatives. So we moved the BSNL broadband modem to another place so that our laptop can connect thro wifi with that modem and forgot all about our complaint to Reliance.

Suddenly it dawns upon us that by end of this month, we were going to get the monthly bill for this dreadful service. So we call them up again and they tell us there was a problem with the tower that was serving our area and it would take at least 2 more weeks to correct the issue. The Cust supp guy agrees that our first month bill would be waived as the service was poor – but for that we had to call one day prior to our billing cycle day and tell them the whole Ramayanam again and ask them to waive the monthly charge WTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But we continued ‘trying’ to connect to this snail speed internet and at the heights of vexation called the cust supp to cancel our account. Now, we had barely used the service for 20 days and Guess what? they refused to return the cost of the modem ` 2500 – Mukhesh bhai’s crocodile mouth account had already swallowed it.

At the end of this debacle, we are left with a useless piece of junk and a loss of ` 2500.

But I would not condemn the product as a whole because after this bad experience we talked to few others who were using Reliance NetConnect Broadband + (in other areas) and some of them were contented with the service and bandwidth they were receiving

My advice to anyone considering Reliance NetConnect Broadband+ is – first talk to friends who use the service in your area. Take their feedback seriously and then buy this product because if you ever want to cancel the account you will not receive the cost of the modem back.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Best home remedy for tanning–sun tanned hands (kadalai maavu pack, potato pack, curd)

IMG_0545Since coming back from US, I have visibly noticed how much my hands have tanned. My arms are at least 2 tones darker than my face. The main reason for this skin darkening is riding a bike under the scorching sun. Also tanning tends to be more in this season as it is really cold-dry outside - so there is not much sweat while the sun hits hard on the skin.

One best way to reduce the amount of tanning the skin has to undergo is to avoid waxing the arms. Let the natural layer of defense be the first layer of protection. The other things that can be done are:

1. Use a good sunscreen lotion – see that the SPF is 15 or more on the sunscreen that you buy

2. Use gloves that go up to the upper arm when you go swishing in the bike

3. Wear helmet to protect the face

4. Try to avoid as much travel during mid-day as possible

5. After every outing, remember to wash your face and hands with a good scrub

Even with all these done, there is no denying the fact that tanning does happen. If you live in metro cities like me, you get the bonus of pollution in addition to tanning. Be it any form of commuting, it has become nearly impossible to travel in Chennai without loading the skin with a layer of dust. The leaves on the plants on the sidewalks are visible proofs to the extent of pollution in the city.

Well, there are thankfully some home remedies that can be used for the tanning problem:

1. Potato pack – The best home remedy: Find small to medium sized potatoes when you next go for vegetable shopping. Peel away the skin and make a paste of the potato in a blender. The paste you get might be watery. Don’t try to filter the water out. Use the paste as such. Apply generously all over the arms and face. Let it dry (I hate the raw smell – but the result is worthy enough). Allow it to dry well and then wash it off with plain cold water.

2. Bengal gram paste: ( Kadalai maavu paste) : You can use the besan powder that is available in the stores or powder some whole green gram and use it to make the paste. Mix the powder in water (rose water if available) and apply the paste on the skin. Let it to dry and then wash away with cold water. This not just reduces the tanning but also makes the skin glow!

3. Curd – One of the readily available products at home. You can just use plain curd or mix 1 cup curd with 2 tsp of lemon juice and make a pack with besan powder added to it. This pack or the curd must be applied to the skin and let to dry before washing off with cold water.

Try these at home and don’t forget to apply sunscreen when you go out – Happy roaming in the sun!

Do you have other easy to do ideas to prevent tanning? Please share in the comments section

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Siruthai Review

Genre: Comedy, Action

Director: Siva

Cast: Karthi, Tamannah, Santhanam

Storyline: The usual double action flick where the one goes on to finish off the task the other started following his death.

Bottomline: Action and fun– though illogical keeps you entertained all through


Of all the 7 tamil films released so far in 2011, Siruthai stands out purely for the entertainment quotient in the movie. If you think that movies are meant to be watched purely for the sake of entertainment and don’t mind having to leave your brains at home for that sake, Siruthai is just the answer for you. Some (read most) of the charades by Santhanam, Karthi and Tamannah are totally illogical but no complaints as they don’t fail to bring a laugh.

Rocket Raja is a small scale petty thief who vouches to marry a rich,white figure in a fight with the local ladies. He meets Tamannah at a marriage where he goes to steal and romance just happens immediately. Twist in the story happens when a young girl comes to Raja calling him dad. In a flashback, Raja finds that the girl is the daughter of Ratnavel Pandiyan (Karthi again) - a honest ‘Kakha Kakha’ types police officer. Villains from Andhra are behind Pandian and his daughter. How Raja goes on to finish the unfinished work of Pandian after his death forms the rest of the story of this fun filled action flick.

Karthi has ventured into a new domain – action and excels there too! Though Karthi has a long way to go to catch up with the acting versatility of Surya, he does a good job nevertheless. Tamannah has nothing to do in this movie other than shaking a leg in a couple of songs and showcasing her hips (could the director not find any heroine who does have a hip??). Santhanam rightly gives her the apt name – ‘makku figure’.  Santhanam’s comedy leaves you in splits – especially the Bomb Squad part. Don’t go laughing too much on the first line, you’ll miss the next one!! Vidyasagar’s music is enjoyable though the lyrics don’t  stand out much. Adi Rakkamma, Naan Romba Romba ( Rocket Raja) and aaraaro (thalatu song) are hummable numbers. You can listen to the songs of this movie from this link

Bright Spots: Santhanam’s one liners, Karthi’s action.

Bloopers: Not much if you don’t count the logical loose ends.

Hit or Miss: A definite hit purely for the entertainment the movie has to offer. Watch it with friends at theaters!

Aadukalam Movie Review

Genre: Drama

Director: Vetrimaran

Cast: Dhanush, Tapsee Pannu, Sindhu Menon, Daniel Balaji, Kishore, Jayabalan

Storyline: Series of unfortunate events in a young man’s life following his win in a cockfight overriding his master’s judgment.

Bottomline: A story of betrayal - interestingly told. Watch it for Dhanush and Tapsee

Vetrimaran once again proves his mettle in this movie after Pollathavan. The role of karuppu cannot fit anyone else better than Dhanush and this movie just goes to show how much Dhanush has matured as an actor. He has lived as karuppu in every frame of the movie. Unlike the other flicks set in Madurai, the director has thankfully avoided the purposeful intrusion of the ‘so-called’ slangs. Tapsee as Irene is an absolute eye-candy and has a meaningful presence in the hero-centric movie.

The movie’s core is based on cockfight – one of the cultural identities of Madurai. Karuppu is one among the many assistants of Pettaikaran (Jayabalan – another commendable cast selection). The only thing they care about in life is cockfight. Ratnaswamy – a cop in town is also cast of the same die when it comes to cockfight. He tries in vain to beat Pettaikaran in the game – fare and unfair. In one such fight Karuppu overrides Pettaikaran’s words to win the fight. The jealousy and the consequent betrayal of Karuppu by Pettaikaran forms the rest of the story.

Bright Spots: Dhanush scores full marks for his acting, and G.V.Prakash has scored 3 excellent songs( yaathe yaathe, otha sollale, ayyayo nenju ).

Bloopers: There are several loose ends in the script and the climax is totally illogical. Is it that easy to get away from a murder charge – just runaway?? The script drags a lot in the second half.

Hit or Miss: On the whole, this movie is going to be a festival feat for Dhanush fans and yes is worth a watch in theaters.