Monday, February 28, 2011

Apple iPad features, hitches, prices and deals

Life takes a full circle” – I guess Apple iPad is another gadget that stands testimony to this saying. Moses came back with the 10 commandments inscribed in two tablet and the tablets became the means of communication. It has now, once again – only that this electronic tablet may not be sacred to the Vatican masses but it is demi-God for its users! The sheer beauty and style will mesmerize you. There has been several arguments made about ‘why I don’t need an iPad’ just as was the case with iPhone (read smart phones – coz  android phones is breathing down iPhone’s neck in terms of features and market competition). Even some of the ardent Apple customers needed persuasion to see the whole new cool way of doing things. For those who are still saying that the iPad tab seems an evolutionary link between  Laptop and iPhone, I will not greatly disagree. Even if it were going to do just what the laptop did, isn’t it cool that such a cute 10 inch beauty does all that?

ipad features

The Technicalities:


iPad has this beautiful 9.7 inch LED backlit, glossy, widescreen, multi touch display with a resolution of 1024 * 768 pixels (132 ppi) and finger print resistant coating. Try however it may, the Samsung Galaxy tab (even though the colors were more prettier there) looked too petite with its 7 inch screen. iPad wins hands down

Processor and Memory:

1 GHz, Apple 4 processor which boasted high performance coupled with low power system on a single chip. If this processor definition fails to awe you, I wonder what will (Can’t wait to see what’s in store in A5) .

Here comes the first hitch (trust me there are only very few of these – is it blasphemy already to find hitches with the demi-god?) – No external memory. Not that I am complaining, it was perfectly ok to run the iPhone with just the internal memory, but I personally feel that an external SD memory would have been simply great! Standard Apple memory sizes available – 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB


Inbuilt non-removable battery (the second hitch). The battery lasts up to 10 hrs when used with Wi-Fi (which includes watching video and audio). If you are running on 3G data network all through, the battery runs for 9 hrs.

Other WOW Features:

1. 3G enabled through micro sim

2. External keyboard (an excellent accessory!)

3. Runs all iPhone/iPad apps (including apps that can replace a kindle)

4. Web, email, maps, GPS and much much more

Other Hitches:

1. No camera – one blogger had written this - on saying why he thought not having a cam in iPad was not that bad at all  “If I am driving and I see a beautiful sunset, I will not reach out for my laptop to take a pic”. Very true. You will not want to take a photo with the 10 inch tab every time. But an avid blogger who blogs on what he sees around him, will definitely want to click and write from the same device. Also, in the age of video chats and face time, single camera system by itself is being frowned upon. In that aspect yes, this is a hitch.

2. No USB/HDMi port – when an iPad almost takes the place of a laptop, it is a disappointment to see no USB or HDMi ports in the iPad. Every single piece of electronic junk on the planet seems to have a HDMi port these days… what were the iPad designers thinking?


What I loved the most was the pricing. It was neither too high (to make it another of those unreachable desires) nor too low (to look worthless). The prices at the time of launch was:

Size Wi-Fi only Wi-Fi & 3G
16 GB $499 $629
32 GB $599 $729
64 GB $699 $829


And it remains the same till date. The best deals that I’ve seen so far are from (the difference in price is between few cents to $5 – if you can call that a deal )

Are you a proud possessor of iPad – share your pleasure. Or are you waiting for the next gen iPad, do share what improvements you want to see there.. I am doing that list next :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Android OS Versions Comparison

Android OS started off as a small competition to the iPhone from Apple. But its popularity and market presence growth has been exponential in the recent days. Android sales has surpassed iPhones since the 3rd quarter of 2010 (with respect to the number of units sold) and there has been several comparisons made between the market competitors iPhone and Android. At the same time, Android also keeps releasing a new OS Update once in every 6 months. Since its modest version 1.0 in September 2008 to the most awaited version Ice-cream sandwich (expected in April 2011), there has been constant improvements in OS functionalities and features. I have given a pictorial representation of the various features in each of the Android OS since Cupcakes till Honey Comb.

Android OS Versions features

The Cupcakes version 1.5 experimented with capturing videos through the inbuilt camera and enabled sharing it with your friends on YouTube and Picasa. The key improvements were the ability to have widgets on home screen. The next version 1.6 - Donut came with the voice search and voice dial enhancements. Nearly 6% of users are using this version of Android OS

The next update of OS was Éclair OS 2.0/2.1. This enhancement saw a lot of improvements and additional features over its previous versions. HTML 5 was introduced and Microsoft Exchange server ActiveSync was supported. This is one of the popular versions of Android OS and has close to 31% of users.

With 58% users running on this OS, the Froyo OS 2.2 released in May 2010 is by far the most used and most popular version of Android OS. This update saw drastic speed and performance improvements with JIT Compiler in place. The update included Chrome with V8 JavaScript engine, Wi-Fi hotspot, batch/automatic updates for the apps, Adobe flash support and ability to point to where the apps must be installed (internal or the SD memory)

The December 2010 released Gingerbread OS 2.3/2.4 is yet to catch up in its market presence (less than 1% use this OS as of now Feb2,2011 Source-Wikipedia). The key features of this update are the improved resolution for large screens, Near field communication, Copy-paste feature, improved graphics for gaming and multiple camera.

The last OS released of late (22Feb 2011) was Honeycomb OS 3.0 SDK. This is the first ever tablet only release of Android and has opened the Pandora box for the non-Apple manufacturers! Moto Xoom will be the first tablet to run on this OS. The attractive features are the 3D desktop with redesigned widgets, Gtalk video chat and improved performance with hardware acceleration.

Ice-cream Sandwich is speculated to be released by mid-2011 and just as the name suggests, is probably going to be an amalgamation of the fascinating features from Gingerbread and Honeycomb!

Which OS versions do you use/like? And what is your expectation from the most awaited Ice-cream sandwich update? Do share your thoughts!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Top 10 exciting cricket apps for Android mobiles

After the Top 11 cricket apps for iPhone for the world cup season, its time for the top 10 cricket apps for android mobile users for the cricket world cup season. I must say that the choices of apps were more than what I actually expected (imagining the lesser ratio of apps in comparison to iPhone apps). While all the top 11 in iPhone Apps section for cricket were free apps, there are some paid apps in this post. Here goes the list: (The links go to the page and it is indeed a shame that the certificate error has not been corrected .. grrr)

android cricket apps


Cricbuzz Cricket Scores & News

The best app for android users in terms of visual appeal, the screen design and the functionality & features. The highlighting features are fastest cricket score updates and ball-by-ball commentary. Also most of the android users who tried this app has appreciated the speed and have nothing negative to say. FREE APP



Official ESPN App. Has ESPN’s ball-by-ball commentary, breaking news and audio and video features. Includes push notification features. Has evoked mixed reactions from users. Seemingly works good in few models and raises hell in other models working on Android OS FREE APP

Xplore Cricket WC2011

By HCL Technologies

This is more of a schedule and info kind of app - must have for foreign fans - has exhaustive details like maps and directions, Food and Restaurants nearby the match venue. Also includes live score card and latest news too. This app has received mixed reactions from various mobile users. I guess, it works better with few models and not all.


ICC World Cup 2011

Konstant Infosolutions

A simple scheduling app. Again as with the other apps, few android users love this app and few others say it is slow and crashes in the midst of something FREE APP

Cricket Free

Kuchbi Inc

Features includes Live Scores (Mobile scorecards), Fixtures and Schedules, Video highlights, Ball by Ball coverage. Not many complaints from users like the other 3 above. For me personally, the visual appeal is not good enough

FREE APP (Premium Version available as paid app)

CricScoredroid - Live Cricket

Sachin Patil

A very nice app developed by a single man! The features includes current score, results and fixtures, audio Commentary, comprehensive Scorecard and ability to subscribe to notifications and alerts. Simple app with not-so-fancy look. Has received good user reviews too FREE APP

Icc World Cup 2011


Shows Live Scores, Schedules, Player stats and post match Results. Has good and pleasing screen designs



A visually well designed app for Android mobiles. Features include cricket scores, match details, commentary and cricket news. Looks cool and from user experience works cool too PAID APP

Cricket Scores - TCS

TCS 27 Limited

Displays live cricket scores from the Total Cricket Scorer website ( Has okie types visuals. But I felt it was costly for the purpose it served, especially with the availability of other cool free apps PAID APP

Live Cricket Scores

Nua Trans Media, India

This app just points to and also does not boast very good visual effects. But serves the purpose of giving the live scores PAID APP

Friday, February 18, 2011

Top 11 cricket apps for iPhones for the World cup season

Cricket fever is on and here goes the top 11 cool cricket apps for iPhone users that will keep you updated every single moment! Within one weeks time since the love season, starts another exciting season for the cricket lovers around the world. The time of world cup.. the time we were awaiting for 4 years. As is the case in all the previous seasons, every country is trying to say why their team is the best since their past victories (if there was one) and why they are the favorites to lift the trophy this time. And as usual, we the fans are going to try to keep ourselves abreast with the latest news and scores wherever we are. The savior for our cricket thirst comes in the form of these iPhone Apps which is just the answer to stay on the top of the happening cricket news! What’s better, all these apps are FREE APPS!!!

cricket iphone apps

Here goes the list of my favorite top 11 apps for this cricket world cup season:

1. Live Cricket Score By Islet Systems: This is by far the best cricket app for iPhone for this cricket world cup season and many more cricket seasons to follow. What I love the most about this app is the player stats that come up in the detailed score card view. Apart from the other features present in all the other apps here below, this also has the distinguishing score projections feature. You can receive alerts for 4’s, 6’s, 50’s, 100’s and out. The overall visual appeal of the app is also a eye grabber!

2. Xplore Cricket WC2011 By HCL America Inc.: This was more of a schedule and informational app when it was initially launched. A must have for foreign fans who have travelled to India / Sri lanka or Bangladesh just for the passion of the game. The app has exhaustive details on the match venues like details about the maps and directions, Food and Restaurants with Tourist Places and hotels. The directions includes the details of route from the nearest airport using bing maps. Their latest version (Version 2.0) includes live score card and latest news too.

3. iCricket - most popular Cricket app By Kuchbi Inc: I am not suggesting that - they are! ‘the most popular cricket app’, that’s what the kuchbi guys have named themselves. Heights!! But they are arguably the best after the one by Islet systems. They also boast player statistics of over 1500 players. They also have the ball by ball commentary feature and live cricket videos from internet.

4. Cricbuzz - Cricket Scores and News By This app sends alerts (as push notifications) for every 5 overs for the subscribed matches, has comprehensive player profile and the distinguishing feature is the availability of radio commentary and access to the executive editorials of cricbuzz.

5. ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 – Official By STATS LLC: This is an exclusive app for ICC Cricket World cup 2011 and has ball by ball score updates, commentary, teams and players stats features. It also has links to related photos on internet. This app can only be evaluated more once the matches actually start

6. ESPNcricinfo By ESPN: This is for all the ESPN lovers. Features include Live game coverage , Commentary, scorecard, match graphics, photographs, reports and player profiles, Push notifications for wickets, batsman milestones and score updates during live matches, Video/Audio podcasts, selection of the best features from ESPNcricinfo Magazine, News, Results, Fixtures, Records and Rankings.

7. NDTV Cricket By NDTV Convergence: This one is again another official app. Live match coverage - scorecard, photos and reports, Videos from web are the features of this app.

8. Yahoo! Cricket By Yahoo!: Yahoo!’s very own app for the cricket season. Features are live scorecard, batting line up details, match stats and Yahoo! news articles. This app is only available in India!!!

9. CricketWC2011 By Divum: It has a Live Scores ticker running on the top. But otherwise, I’ll use this app just for the schedules and fixtures.

10. ICC Cricket 2011 By Fafadia Tech: Another app basically for scheduling. Just add matches to your calendar and receive reminders (not that we are going to forget the dates anyway :P )

11. WorldCupInfo By AppInternals: Another informational app. But here goes the disclaimer of the app “All the information provide in this app is best effort. The Application Owner does not guaranty the accuracy or any change in schedule and team information” So use your better judgement :)


If you were wondering why this odd number 11… that’s the playing team size :)


Have you downloaded these apps already and love them? Do you have other better apps to suggest?? Please do drop a line in the comments section.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Android vs iPhone - A fair, unbiased comparison of iPhone and Android

Many comparisons have been made between iPhone and Android phones, most of them biased towards one or the other. I have tried to bring out an unbiased comparison and truly enough not going to take any side and say either iPhone beats Android or Android beats iPhone. The purpose of this post is just to bring out a brief fair comparison which can be based to make a decision depending on what feature you want the most in your smart phone.

android vs iphone




Battery: Removable and Replaceable
Battery replacements easily available in the market and if you are always on the move, you might as well have an additional charged up battery which can help your phone stay alive without waiting to charge
No replacement battery. In fact you cannot even see the battery in this cased smart phone. Any battery issue, you’ll have to send it to Apple and hope that Steve sends it back to you in one piece Android
Apps: This seems to be the major hit among all smart phone users. Android has about 70,000 apps currently iPhone boasts over 230,000 apps and is growing.. iPhone
Jailbreak: Many Android OS comes with an option to Jailbreak it from its service provider – which is a bliss to foreigners in US. The can take the phone to their home country and switch to a different SP without the hassles of jail breaking on their own iPhone does not have this feature when you buy it. Jail breaking needs to be done at our own risk and I have heard of many cases where the OS simply didn’t wake up after jailbreak. So its pretty scary business Android
Notifications: System wide notification (non-modal) and other application notifications (like a new mail / new tweet /  new SMS) in cascade windows which can be pulled down to see details. Push notifications and Individual notifications on updates Android
Internal Memory: Limited internal memory. This is a big headache because apart from photos and media content, the default memory is the already limited internal memory. Lots of apps in the internal memory will eventually make your phone less ‘smart’ Good internal memory and you have choice of different internal memory sizes iPhone
External Memory: Yes. External SD card can be inserted to store photos, media, etc. But from what I have gathered, there has been many reports of corrupted SD card and loss of data / photo / media No external expandable memory. But no complaints here because the internal memory by itself is huge and good enough. I have not had a single occasion of data / photo loss. iPhone
Dictionary: Google Voice integration and user editable dictionary. Which means more flexibility and ease of use Artificial Intelligence type dictionary. iPhone learns as you type. So if you have the habit of typing a wrong spelling often, iPhone will learn that word and it is ‘almost’ reset of dictionary to make iPhone forget it. My common mistake is ‘habe’ instead of have and it kills to see that iPhone accepts that! Android
Mail App: Separate Apps for Gmail and other mail. Other mail app is definitely given the second-class treatment. There is limited options with mail editing and other regular stuff with the client mail application. No complaints with respect to Gmail app Single e-mail app and I must say an efficient one. iPhone
Aesthetics: Visually crippled non-Google apps. The icons seem to be poorly drawn / designed. Its looking unprofessional in many cases (3rd party apps) Every single application – the $99 app or the free one developed by a small co, all of them looks aesthetically rich and has appealing icons and appearance . For some one like me that first appearance plays 90% role in deciding if I want that app or not iPhone
File Transfer / Sync: Android has the ‘plug and transfer’ feature by which you can transfer files between Android phone and your laptop just as if it were an external storage device iTunes sync model – just like iPods. This means having a separate sync folder in your laptop and transferring media content to that folder before starting up the sync. Android
Hardware Design / Buttons: If you have an android mobile and have been using it for sometime, you probably have experienced this. The menu and back buttons doesn’t always do the same thing. Their functionalities vary for different apps. Also there is that useless trackball  which does mostly nothing as of now One button – clear function. Menu and back always mean what they imply :) iPhone
Text Editing: Inconsistent text editing options again varying based on the app Text editing operations (cut,copy and paste) act the same irrespective of the app. I agree Apple has a lot of scope for improvement here.. but still iPhone
Charger: Micro USB charger which is something that is readily available in the market. Any Micro USB wire will do :) Apple charger – though it is available in the market in abundance, I hate to be dependent only on Stevie for charging the phone Android
OS Upgrade: Non-upgradable OS iPhone can support at least one major OS Update before Apple launches a non-compatible or higher configuration OS. iPhone


Apart from these, there are some common features that work good in both iPhone and Android. They are:

1. Auto suggestion by Google for search – complete as you type option

2. Back ground Apps and Multitasking

3. Google Calendar sync -

For iPhone, configure Google Exchange server in mail

For Androids, login to your Google account to sync

4. Bookmarking Sync -

iPhone  - Safari bookmark sync option over MobileMe

Android – Google chrome bookmark sync

These are the facts that I have gathered. Do you think I have missed mentioning any feature of importance or I’m wrong anywhere or if any of the feature has now been made available in iPhone or android. Please drop me a note in comments. I’ll be happy to learn and correct mistakes if any.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

7 Romantic iPhone Apps for Valentines Day

Love is in the air with Valentines day around the corner. That makes Romantic iPhone apps as my first ever review of iPhone Apps. Well that makes me doubly happy because I am going to write about romance with respect to a gadget I love the most!

There are both free apps and paid apps in this category that caught my attention and am going to write about both here.

valentines day apps

1. Poems: For those smitten lovers who want to compose a ballad or romantic letter for his/her love but is not a Shakespeare,

Love Poems - By BeamItDown Software (Free App) – huge collection of romantic poems

Love Letters For Her By Christopher Zorich (Paid app – $0.99) – Love letter collection

2. SMS: For the best one liners and SMS that can melt your loved one’s heart away, try these apps

Flirt SMS 500 By Michael Quach (Free App) – Met someone new and want to tell them your feelings – This app has ideas just for that.

Romantext - Romantic Text Messages By Joseph Nardone (Free App) – Cute romantic messages

Love & Romance Quotes By NOOCON (Free App) – Quotes that can be sent in SMS

3. E-cards and Virtual Gifts: Want to impress your valentine with the cutest and romantic greeting card in iPhone? Check these out:

Postage ~ Romance By RogueSheep (Paid App $0.99) – the best thing about this app is that you can create a custom valentine post card from the photos in your iPhone – That personal touch is worth the cost of the App

Valentine eCards Free - By SID On (Free App) – Make beautiful e-cards from among the number of images in the app and love messages.

English Rose (Free) - 3D Valentine’s Day Virtual GiftBy Kisky Netmedia (Free App) – Finding it difficult to get a gift in the high prize market, try this Virtual gift app that sends your lady a Rose for free!

4. Say ‘I Love You’: Tongue tied in expressing your love. Here are some apps that can help you say ‘I Love You’ in a way that sweeps your lover of his/her feet. Well since this is the most important part of your relationship, there are no free apps in this category.

100 ways to say i love you By topiphoneapp (Paid App $0.99) – 100 ways to say your love

Best Ways To Say I Love You By allmobileapp (Paid App $0.99) – Best ways to express your feelings to your loved one

What Man want to hear By topiphoneapp (Paid App $0.99) – Exclusively for girls!!

Horrible Pick Up Lines By IntroWizard LLC (Paid App $0.99) – Make sure you see this too before you blurt something out!

5. Tips to make the day special: A Variety of ideas and hints that will make this a day to remember!

Hints for LoverBy spitwebsolution (Free App) – Hints to make your Valentines day beautiful

Creative Romance IdeasBy Joviant Technologies (Paid App $0.99) – Cute ideas to impress her/him

Valentine Love TipsBy (India) Pvt. Ltd. (Paid App $0.99) – Love tips for you

Creative Romantic IdeasBy In Business Solutions LLC (Paid App $0.99) – Creative ideas to spice up the lovely day

6. Valentine DJ: A collection of romantic hits that you can both play as music as well as download as ringtones.

Valentine's Day DJ By iPlayTones, LLC (Paid App $1.99)

7. Marriage Proposals: Planning to make the day more memorable by getting down on one knee and proposing to her? Here are some apps that has unique and best marriage proposals that will surely make this your excellent engagement day as well!

Marriage Proposal Ideas By imobileyazilim (Paid App $0.99) – This has loads of ideas on proposing based on where you are spending your valentines day

Marry Me? Marriage Proposal Guide By RogueGames (Paid App $0.99) – This app is even more versatile. Gives tips of where to buy the Jewelry, Top 10 places to propose and best proposal ideas


Happy Valentines Day !!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Facebook goes secure with HTTPS

Facebook has at last implemented HTTPS. Facebook is one social networking site that is most popular among people of all age groups and all walks of life. Also this is one networking site with loads of personal info which in most cases is unwittingly shared in the whole wide web. There has been many pleas to make this a secure site over internet in the recent past and two recent events have at last opened the eyes of Facebook developers to include security feature for facebook:

1. Hacking of Mark Zuckerberg’s account

2. Stealing of Facebook passwords of Tasmanian activists by Tasmanian Government (They had inserted a JScript to Fb home page)

With internet abundant with hacking tools (Firefox recently released a plugin for session hacking – Firesheep), this was a long time due!

Well here is how you enable the security:

1.Go to Account Settings

2.Under that look for Account Security and select to enable HTTPS

fscebook https secure

And here is how Facebook is adding the extra layer of security:

1. Social Authentication: You will have to verify yourself by identifying the profile photo of one of your friends (this is a random generation from your friends list).

This might get tricky and difficult if your friends have celebrity photos or cartoon characters as their profile image

2. Captcha authentication: You will have to verify with a captcha authentication when you open Facebook from out side your home country

However, there are some fall backs in Facebook’s HTTPS implementation. Those are:

1. The loading of page takes longer time than usual when you go through HTTPS

2. Some third party applications do not use HTTPS and open with only HTTP – this is another place where your details are extracted. So be careful about the 3rd party applications that you wander out to from Fb.

3. Default page that gets opened when you just type Facebook and Ctrl+click on the address bar is NOT HTTPS. So you might want to enter the entire URL starting with https:// or just add that to your favorites.

Whatever be the case, we can be happy that Fb has implemented the security feature and I want to believe that they will go on to improve this as well – just how they went about improving Facebook over the period.

Friday, February 11, 2011

10 iPhone accessories that you can live without

Whenever a new technology / product comes out, it is evident that accessory manufactures have a field day coming up with ideas to accessorize the product. And if the product is highly successful in market, needless to say, these guys earn their share of buck too. Well iPhone is one such market for which the market is swarmed with accessories. Accessories the you’ll want/need (see my previous post on 10 ‘Must have’ iPhone accessories) is the first category. And there is yet another categories that you think you might want but will forever be shelved if you ever get them. So here goes my list of 10 accessories that you must absolutely not consider buying. There may be some exceptions (which I have mentioned in the list), but otherwise, trust me, you don’t need these!

iphone waste accessories

1. Designer Cases for iPhone: The Ed Hardy iPhone case or Hello Kitty/flowery/girly designed or the tiger/leopard skin like cases may draw you like magnets towards them when you see them first. And in some cases you might end up buying only to regret throwing $15-30 in the drains. They DON’T look elegant on an iPhone. Go with the leather case or the default glass case that Apple hands out for free!

2. Armband: I can understand having an arm band for a iPod (I see joggers having this) but it makes absolutely no sense in getting one for your iPhone. Furthermore, you’ll have to remove the case that the iPhone is in to fit into this one and when you go to work, you have to switch cases again – that is if you mind having to wear the arm band over your suit

3. Bluetooth Keyboard Case: Well this is one of the exceptions that I was talking about earlier. If you are on the chubby side with big fingers, this might be necessary. But even in that cases I’d suggest getting a stylus (see at the end of the post), instead of carrying a bulky case around.

4. Passport Wallet iPhone Case: There seems to be absolutely no limits to integration. For one thing, why would you want to keep the credit card in the iPhone case?? A definite bad accessory that you can live without!

5. Bicycle Handlebar mount for iPhone: First thing, it is not safe! Can you imagine the distraction this can cause to the biker sitting right at the sight of vision? One could argue that it is convenient this way, but safety first is what I would say!

6. FM Transmitter for iPhone: This might look alluring.. wow you can play FM from iPhone – but stop and think – how many FM transmitters do you already own? Do you need another piece for the same job? I mean there is no ‘iPhone pleasure’ element associated with this right?

7. iMusic Pillow: Is the radiation around us just not enough that we need this to keep us in the ring of radiation even when we sleep? Absolute no to this accessory. What are headphones and external iPhone docks for?

The last three here below are in fact nice accessories, but are not real necessities. So they find their way into the list of accessories that you can live without.

8. Stylus: If you are already tired of touching your iPhone (I don’t think I ever will be), this accessory can help. But as I said earlier the big fingered do need this.

9. iPhone Stand: I won’t actually criticize this one – but it is up to one’s own interest

10. Extended battery cases: With multitude of options to charge an iPhone (wall socket, through laptop/desktop), I didn’t think this is a necessity. If you don’t mind losing the aesthetic value of the iPhone (your phone’ll look 1/2 to 1” longer), you can get this one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

10 “Must Have” iPhone accessories

Just as I had told, the iPhone addiction does not end with just the iPhone. In fact, it stretches to the whole lot of accessories that comes along. In fact we even had bought few of the accessories before even buying the iPhone. So here goes my list of 10 ‘must have’ iPhone accessories.

1. iPhone Screen Guard: Even with the utmost care, it is humanly impossible to avoid scratches on mobile phone screens. So when it is an iPhone, it calls for the extra level of caution! That’s why I have this as the #1 must have accessory. Some dealers even sells it with  a Lint cleaning cloth

2. iPhone Case: When you buy an iPhone, you are eligible to get a free glass case from Apple (from istore). If you are satisfied with that, then well and good. But we bought this leather flip type iPhone case, which is the second layer of protection to the screen as well as a fancy and executive case.

3. iPhone Car charger: The purpose of having a iPhone (to browse on the go) is defeated if you run out of charge when u essentially need it! Having a car charger always comes handy when you have a busy schedule and cannot stop to charge the iPhone. Various options are available with this accessory too. You get the regular car chargers and the retractable models too. So choose what suits you best.iphone accessories

4. Charge and sync dock: Although you can use the cable that shipped with your iPhone for charging and sync processes, I hate to have to place the iPhone vulnerably (:P) on the table in doing so. This accessory will hold your iPhone safe in place during charging and sync and hence finds itself in my list of must haves. These come in black and in white colors.

5. iPhone car mount holder: This is another piece of accessory that ensures safety of the prized possession when you have to physically part with it – while driving. There are several options available in the market – like the ones that says ‘FM Transmitter + Car Charger + Holder ~Remote Included!’ or the simple ‘Unviersal Car Windshield Mount Holder’. I personally prefer the simpler version because that is easy to handle.

6. Earbud clips: This is more of a convenience accessory. For music lovers like me, these EARBUDi Clips that can be fixed on and off the ear phones that shipped with the iPhone are just perfect. There are other variations too like the ‘premium stereo ear bud for earphone’. Choose which you like most and go for it.

7. iPOD Cradle: This and the car mount were the accessories we already had B.I (before iPhone). There are several cute cradles available in market. We had this iPod + iPhone Speaker Dock/Clock from Sony and I find it an amazing product.

8. Bluetooth headset: I know that holding the iPhone is irresistible, but there are times when you’ll need both your hands – like for driving, cooking, etc. and you don’t want to risk juggling with iPhone. That makes this accessory another must have!

9. Sim card Cutter : If you live outside America, (like us in India), this is one must have tool. Even with Mobile number portability, you will have to get a new sim card from your new service provider for porting the number. And usually we don’t get mini sim cards (as yet). This tool will give precision cut mini sim card. You cannot toy with the sim card with a pencil, scale and extra sharp scissors. One inch here or there leave you in a big mess! So get this one.

10. Micro sim card Adaptor: Well, you might think why am I ever going to need this. but I can give you one most possible scenario. Lets say you have an iPhone that you’ve been bragging about and one day your wife decides she wants to show it off too to her friends. You don’t want to be left stranded with a mini sim that will not work in the other regular phones (well the expensive alternative is to get her an iPhone too :P). That’s when this savior steps in. With this accessory you can use your mini sim with the regular phones.

Well this is my list. Have I missed any of the accessories that you thing must have featured in the list?-Do leave me a line in comments!

Monday, February 7, 2011

How to connect a cisco router (WRT54G2) to the ADSL BSNL Modem (Huawei MT841)

When we were at US, we had the bliss of experiencing real high speed internet through the AT&T and Time Warner cable services. Such luxury (even if it was for a short duration) made me actually forget the snail speeds that I was using in India. Though I am very very happy about being back here (at last good sambar sadham !), the internet speed is really driving me crazy. The so called ‘3MBPS’ line never even reaches a 1MB on a ping test or bandwidth test. While that is one debatable point by itself, that’s not what this post is about.

When we came back, the techi guy that my husband is, got a laptop, TV, iPhone and other similar gadgets which connect through Wi-Fi. And he also got two CISCO routers (one N (what was he thinking *$%^!) and one G type) so that our home will turn into one big Wi-Fi hot zone. With all the network architecture and explanations that he gave, I also believed that it was just going to be a cake walk to set that up.

Unfortunately that was not the case and the ADSL modem (Type IV Huawei SmartAX MT841) could not handle the Wi-Fi it had to serve and gave its life up in a matter of weeks! Thankfully only the WLAN card is dead and the modem is still alive. So I thought it was time I configured the Cisco router with the ADSL modem. I did not muster up enough courage to tamper with Frank’s N Router (I’ll be dead meat if I mess it up) so I started experimenting with the G router. After several mishaps and ‘hard reset’ of router, I finally managed to do the configuration. But during my course of Google-ing and trial and errors, I found how many were trying to do this right.

So here goes the step by step method to configure your CISCO router (WRT54G2) to the ADSL modem. Any ADSL modem is fine for this because we’ll only be using one Ethernet port of the modem.

This configuration is for those who do not have static IP. From what I have read, configuring this with a static IP is much easier.

Step#1: Switch off the router and the modem (I tried configuring keeping everything ON and finally couldn’t remember which IP is for what. I guess even the router got confused :P)

Step#2: Connect the CISCO router to the laptop through one of its Ethernet ports and power the CISCO router up. It is better to have the CISCO router at factory default settings. So I did a hard reset of the router. This can be done by holding down the reset button at the back of the router for about 15seconds keeping the router on.

Step#3: Open IE and type This will open a popup asking for user name and password which will both be ‘admin’ .  After you give that, you will see the below screen

admin screen

Step#4: In this screen, leave the “Automatic Configuration-DHCP” as such. Change the local IP address to The starting IP address will be We will make changes to this later. In Static DNS1, type (this is the IP of the modem and this must act as the Default Gateway). If you know the trace route IP of BSNL, you can type that in the Static DNS 2. Select appropriate Time Zone (not visible in this screenshot, but it is below the DHCP part) and click on Save.

Step#5: Don’t panic if the screen goes blank or if ‘Page cannot be displayed’ comes up. It is because now your router has a new IP. Close the IE, open a new session and type and you’ll see the router’s username and password prompt. Give ‘admin’ in both fields and enter into the router. Now you will see that the Starting IP Address would have changed to 192.10.0._. You can specify any IP in whichever range you prefer your devices to have. Click on save.

Step#6: Now you may want to do a ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew from command prompt. Mostly this is not needed. But it is always better to be safe. If you do a IPCONFIG on command prompt now, you will see that your machine now has an IP like

Step#7: Now is the time to switch on the Modem. If you had done everything right so far, you will see the beautiful response from modem when you do a ‘ping’ from command prompt. Some thing like this:


If you get a ‘request time out’, then you’ll have to begin all over again. Remember to revert your router to factory defaults before you begin. But hopefully that will not happen if you had remembered to keep the modem off in the first place.

Step#8: If you got a response from the modem, that means, the internet is now served to your laptop with the modem as ‘Default Gateway’. So, we can go ahead and configure the wireless part. Open your router again from IP ( with admin as Username and password. Open the Wireless tab and set Wireless Configuration to ‘manual’, Network mode as ‘mixed’ (this is because some of the recent devices have N supportable Wi-Fi only). Give a name for your Network (SSID) and select the wireless channel as 2.462GHz.


Step#9: Select wireless security tab under the wireless tab and set the security mode as WPA-PERSONAL and WPA algorithm as TKIP. Set a good WPA Shared key – if you don’t want to serve free internet to your neighbors. Now save these settings


Step#10: This is the last step (phew!) and the most important – securing the router. Never leave the router open with the default username and password. Anybody can hack into it! So go to the Administration tab and change the router password.


Now you are all set to enjoy wireless internet in your home!! Happy surfing!!


I am not really sure about the configuration part for those with Static IP. Would appreciate any inputs on that!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

MNP (Mobile Number Portability)–Who said it best?

Mobile Number Portability (or MNP) is the new in-thing in the telecom world in India and every service provider (well almost) is trying to rope in customers to their network from the others. But who has put on the best show in the town? That’s what I am writing here

The major competitors for cell phone service are BSNL, Airtel, TATA DoCoMo, Reliance Mobile, Vodafone, Uninor, Idea, Videocon and Aircel (famous in Tamil Nadu at least). Of which my personal favorite is Vodafone – not just because of my partiality of that being my first service provider, but because they have the cutest advertisements among all these for MNP.



This ad is tops the list with a A+ for its cuteness and  simple to understand presentation – Vodafone has space for everyone so bring your friends along.

DoCoMo pretty much targets to convey the same message in its ad – the one where everyone’s playing trumpet for a guy. But it lacks the cuteness and clearness factor which gives it a B.

Idea has the crappiest ad where A.B Jr (Abishek Bachchan) asks ‘what will you get if you call 1800xxxxxxx?’ and answers it by saying ‘You’ll get idea’ – I mean where is the creativity here D-. 

Airtel, Reliance and Uninor doesn’t seem to have gone to the pains of making specific advertisements for MNP but simply have an additional 2 seconds of 1800 number at the end of their regular ad and might just barely scrap a pass mark.

What bites the dust and fails is the no promos by Aircel and Videocon. At least I can forgive Videocon as they are quite new and are yet to make an impression with consumers to ask them to switch to their network.  But what happened to Aircel?? Is there no advertisement department there – is it not a criminal waste to have M.S.Dhoni as the brand ambassador and not have an ad for MNP!!!!

OOPS! just realized that I missed the government service provider BSNL. This is one of its kind in being the best amongst all and having the least advertisements.

But these are just Ads.  This added freedom comes added responsibility  – responsibility to clearly analyze whose plans suits your needs the best. So people, choose well and stay connected!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mobile number portability in India

On 20 Jan 2011, a new era dawned on the Indian Telecom industry with the launch of Mobile Number Portability (MNP). The option to retain a phone number with the freedom to change the Service Provided puts the customer at his rightful place - on top of the pyramid again. 


When the Cell phone culture started heating up in India roughly about a decade ago, the extent to which service providers went on to woo customers was incredible (quite as usual BSNL didn’t break much of a sweat but still ended up with many loyal customers – thanks to Mr. Dayanithi’s (the then telecom minister’s) ingenious ‘one India’ plan). But once things got settled and when India had larger number of mobile users than the number of sanitation units (read toilets) the customers were literally pushed down to the lower most part of the pyramid.

Most people had to retain the mobile number they had because that had become their identity. In doing so, they were torn between the multitude of service plans that were all intended only to confuse the customer more and making him end up paying for stuff that he’ll never ever use (because it was coupled & charged with a service that he direly needs). Like it or not, they’d to ‘maintain’ that mobile number.

Then came the ‘dual sim-card’ option in many phones – making the already foggy scenario even more sludgy. People ended up paying for 2 unfathomable service plans!!! I guess the wheel has ultimately taken the complete turn now and the customer is the King yet again with MNP.

So what does it cost – a mere `19 – a one time MNP charge

How is it done:

Simple 4 step procedure:

1. Send a message to 1900 requesting the UPC (Unique Porting Code) which is something like this

SMS to be sent: PORT 9xxxxxxxxx to 1900 

2. Get the 8 character (alphanumeric) UNC number in a SMS from 1901

3.  Now is the time to move your backside. Head straight to the nearest new service provider showroom or outlet and fill out the MNP and customer agreement form. Also attach the Address & ID proof and a recent photo (self attested) and in cases where applicable, the previous post paid bill

4. Get the new SIM card of the new service provider

After this you wait for at least 7 days (15 in case of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and North East). After the wait, you will get an SMS with porting date and time. This is basically the time after which the old SIM’ll cease to work and you’ll have to use the new SIM card. There is a short downtime activity (almost 2 hours) that takes place after the porting time. Thankfully some intelligent soul has designed the downtime between 2 and 5 in the morning!

After the downtime, you can continue to enjoy the same number with a new Service Provider (do remember to change the SIM)

Is there any condition / catch:

Just the one catch that I noticed was that the SIM Charges, talktime and porting cost will not be refunded if you changed your mind halfway about the service provider that you want

Final Words

This is one of the best telecom initiatives in a very long time and I hope the word spreads across well and many get benefited from such a scheme.

If you are wondering why I have the Vodafone MNP banner at the top, I have two reasons

1. Vodafone was my very first individual Cell phone (Mobile phone) account and whatever crappy plans they had, I love them – customer loyality

2. In my next post I am going to write about the various advertisements by different Service providers for MNP