Friday, November 29

The new Range Rover sport rocks!

The new rangerover sport from land rover is just awesome. Ultimate power performance and luxury mated to perfection. 

It just proved itself as the stock range rover sport easily did the empty quarter desert challenge with no major hiccups. 

Glad to see British motor genes back in action and land rover maintaining its legendary stature 

Check land rover sport desert challenge pics here on Flickr
You will get full 5k resolution images , pefect for wallpapers there. 

And catch some of their awesome videos here at their website

I m loving it 

Thursday, November 14

iOS7 caller app bug

We never expect tiny and silly bugs from Apple , but this one is both silly and curious! 

Today evening , whenever I make a call, it displays a previously made call info behind the current call in the post dial screen! 

Is it a bug that went un noticed till now ? 

Each time it only shows a previously made call to Airtel TV behind the current number I am dialling ! That doesn't change . 

No clues on why this happened and restart of app using the multitasking window didn't help. 

Should try a reboot ! 

Update: Reboot worked. 

Tuesday, November 12

pro TLH: Learning iPhone HDR :3

pro TLH: Learning iPhone HDR :2
pro TLH: Learning iPhone HDR :1

HDR sunsets
In a normal case, the sunset leaves the remaining landscape with poor color or detail. If you tune your cell cam to make surrounding more clear then the image becomes bright and the sun doesn't look like its setting .

It's in such situations that iphone HDR comes handy. As it takes 3 pics at varied exposure and merges into one with best exposures, you will have a setting sun with a much visible background like below


iPhone normal

You can see that the lawn and surroundings are well exposed, just as I saw at that moment, in the HDR versions. In normal the picture came out with a correctly exposed sun but rest of the landscape was left out 

iPhone HDR

iPhone normal

Most profound impact is the color of sky . HDR managed to keep that orange hue , a bit foggy, just as I saw while taking the pic. But the normal ones added contrast and removed that real warm feeling into a clear yellowish sky. 

One lesson I have really learned is HDR is at its best when there are multiple colors and varied light at play. 

Next I need to check on how it works on buildings! 

Disclaimer : just an experience sharing post. Not a proffessional
Pics using iphone5 cropped only using  Snapseed 

Disguised email marketing? Mahindra

The Surprise

Got this ShoppersStop first citizen email and to my surprise, it was a plain Mahindra XUV W4 marketing campaign.

I open mails from ShoppersStop as I am a regular there and love them and expected this to be some new win a car offer. 

It does make me a little annoyed and certainly dipped my impression of ShoppersStop,  which only used to send emails with relevant inhouse deals n offers. 

Here they don't sell anything Mahindra. its like they sold their mailing list for money.

Is this the new form of Emailmarketing in disguise? 

On the car

Now that mahindra is sure of can't catch up the run away success if Renault Duster n it's Nissan cousin with its sliced xylo aka quanto, they have come up with a cheaper XUV. 

Well that certainly makes more sense than a quanto! While priced a tad higher than Duster, XUV w4 is certainly a potent rival with lots of bells n whistles . 

Jus ask google for more XUV w4 info, just in case! 

Friday, November 1

Learning iPhone HDR :2

pro TLH: Learning iPhone HDR

Like I wrote in my previous post, I did try out some HDR shots on varied lighting conditions and one thing is certain. It works best when there are an array of colors and different lighting conditions over the landscape.

Meanwhile Snapseed ( now a google company) has now introduced an HDR filter which actually performs better than other HDR filters I have tried out in iPhone .

But the below pictures are shot on iphoneHDR and only brightness compensation done either through iPhoto or Snapseed app in Apple iPhone 5

IphoneHDR at night. Reduced brightness to reduce noise 

That's morning 6 30pm above seawoods bridge navimumbai. Shadows were slightly reduced using Snapseed app. 

HDR with tiltshift filter on Snapseed 

Will post more pictures as I get better with iPhone cam. 

Just personal experiences. Not a technical / other advice 

Thoughts on TATA motors


It's been long since it's much hyped Nano debuted to a disastrous opening and still continues with dismal numbers. 

Then came the hailed luxury crossover Aria which fell drop dead and the Storme fizzled into a feeble breeze. 

All this happening in the middle of breathtaking growth in both high end Crossover market and the middle level SUV market! 

All that makes you survive is your luck n courage in buying JLR

Caught the wrong side

1. Public perception 
TATA placing Nano as a poor man's car was the worst PR mistake any product company could make. Common even Rupa underwears are sold as something solid worn by superstars. Cars are still an aspirational buy for Indians and naturally Nano wouldn't fit in as none wanted to be branded poor man. 

2. Looks
TATA cars look horrible. For the exception of sumo Grande, and to an extent the Safari, all TATA cars look like tortoise! Common you aren't VW to manage selling Beetles. 

The vista, Manza, aria all are so horrible looking cars I wonder why even one car was sold 

3. Market timing 
TATA has been both unsuccessful in creating new product catogeries not have they been able to bring product upgrades at the right time. 

4. Sticking to early successes 
Only major success for TATA has been the Indica and Sumo. TATA hence since ages been sticking to that, adding boot , making it bigger, rebadging it as Vista ,Manza etc. for sumo , suprisingly they came with a good car in Sumo Grande but for reasons only known to them, never bothered to push it well. They ran with Safari (a beautiful design of 2000's) n still make them with no much difference and then launch an upgrade Storme with barely any visiual difference. 

Why are TATAs sticking to those design guys and marketing guys instead of hiring some new ones with better perspective ? Is it because of the renowned TATA employee welfare and empathy? 

Don't hire a consultant to see how you can remain afloat now. Those guys aren't any better than you doing a google search on product development n marketing. 

Hope Ahead 

TATA has already started trying to pitch nano to the young. Added a horizon next catch phrase but that barely changes anything 

Don't go for one car fits all uses concept.

1.  Make Nano bolder. Like your MegaPixel. Like a REVA or a shrunk Beat which would be easier. Make it jus 3 door with ample space for front passengers n a jump seat behind . That cuts costs too. Most current users of Nano are people who use it as second car. For those city traffic runs . Make Nano appealing to those who commute to office by car, n the young . Parents would be happier getting em a car than a bike but the young will be happy to take a Nano only if it looks the part. A 2 door bolder Nano with great seats and you have a city roads winner. 

2. Indica and Indigo are branded taxi cars . Very few would want to own a car that's also used as a cab. TATA is no Toyota. 
Make Vista and Manza bolder, boxy n less tortoise. Once my brother said looks like Mamza can float on water! 

3. Sumo does great as a utility vehicle. Rebrand SumoGrande with a facelift, it's the only TATA car with great road presence. Do it well and you have the Scorpio market. 

4. I hope Safari storme is a stop gap arrangement until your next SUV arrives. Or was it a product of failure of Aria. Please ensure its bold n not like a ballooned Indica. 

5. Make Aria dirt cheap to compete with likes of innova and evalia. That's the only future for Aria 

6. Shrink SumoGrande (not the way mahindra sliced of xylo) and you have a ready competitor for likes of Duster. 

7. Xenon is a looker. Shrink it and you get a Thar competitor. Infact a Gypsy sizes Xenon will appeal to both city and rural rich.

Bottom line 
When you get ready made high quality engines and transmission why are you spending your time and money on that. Spend your scarse resources on making a good looking car and on reliability. You had Fiat with you for engines. You still can lisence from them or others. 

Please make your cars look like your xenon and SumoGrande, not the Indica line of design and you can be back in business. Quality anyways will remain a challenge but much of it can be answered by sourcing major components bylicensing. 

It's always been a suprise how stunning your prototypes on car shows look like and how bad the ones on road are!  

Bring out that risk taking Bold TATA that took over JLR! Bring it on. We love to see you succeed ! 

Many magazines analysts and fans have written about this. I am just adding to it, more the noise more the chances of TATA listening to us 

Tuesday, October 29

Man vs Nature

After 100s if times of me crossing the Vashi creek brige , I stopped there for once this time . Just to check our how a few odd fishermen were trying the old fashion fishing rods to catch some fish . 

Instead of lead or steel weights once used, they now use thrown away automobile parts so that their hooks sink in deep enough.  

The water was muddy as it was low tide and flowing out along with thousands of floating waste plastic around. 

Another guy ( hobbyist) showed me that he can catch wish by using the bait tied to a beer bottle n I was stumped. 

Took a video of it but that doesn't reveal much n well the bottle jus added to more waste on water. But he anyways argued that he has caught many using the technique of bread crumbs inside beer bottle n a bait hook outside.

This time no success. I just got a much clearer view of how we are damaging our environment especially navi Mumbai which is full of mangroves. 

You can see thousands of waste covers , waste wrapped in plastic n thrown to sea , all stuck up in the roots of mangrove tries.

The only positive sight was an eagle easily coming and snapping up a fish while men with baits looks on. 

Nature wins 

Sunday, October 27

Learning iPhone HDR

HDR has been always intriguing with stunning colorful & dramatic images that we all love to have as our wallpapers. 

True HDR or high dynamic range photography is about taking images at multiple exposure levels. Using a post production tool like Photoshop , these images are merged into one composite which has the best of all. 

This difficult process remain limited to professionals who live to click. They even mix slow shutter and filters to get even more vivid images. 

Going mainstream
With better cams in smart phones, most image editor apps introduced filters that emulate HDR by tweaking the levels of a single image. 

As phones became powerful, manufacturers started to include this as a part of their standard camera app itself. Here it was more of real HDR, as the cam clicks 3 to 5 images at one shot and automatically fuse them to create a more dynamic looking image.

Each manufacturer uses a different algorithm n hence results are typically varied with each performing better at different conditions.

This oppurtunity lead to true dedicated HDR apps producing better results. However, superiority also means lots of controls to tweak with for to that perfect shot. 

The slot for one click best HDR image in almost all outdoor lighting conditions remains open! Well one can say Lumia 1020 does the job fairly well. 

Gear is just half the job
The quality or even need for HDR depends greatly on the landscape and lighting conditions. It's something one needs to master even if you hold the latest Mirrorless cam. Over the past 2 days I have been trying HDR in iphone5 and my experience is that it gives better image when there is much more varied levels of brightness n color. 

I'm still experimenting where it works well. (standard photography texts says HDR is for landscape situations with varied lighting like cloud shadows falling over distant landscape or light rays filtering through clouds). But going against rules sometimes throws up suprises. 

Below are some pics I clicked on HDR mode, but as silly as it can be, I never thought of a post on this and hence deleted the normal pic that could hv been used as comparison . In the below images, if on normal auto mode, I would either get a blue sky and very dark car or a washed out sky and a bright car. HDR brought best of both together. 

Maybe in a week time I would be able to get some stunning twilight sky shots as seen in Instagram (claimed to be shot on iphoneHDR n no filters). I am nowhere near that now! 

Disclaimer: this is just a personal experience post 


Friday, October 25

Fear! As as a boon and bane

" Do or die " it works for we fear of death. 

We often never succeed due to fear of failure. Fear that exists of loosing your current comfort zone, fear of loosing your current way of life no matter how worthless , that fear stops you from taking the jump. 

Cause the fear of death here is the fear of loosing your current comfort zone. Get out of it. 

As the old blind Doctor told Batman : "make the jump,  without the rope and fear will find you again"

Friday, October 18

Golden iPhone for Diwali Danteras 2013

So as I worked out in my earlier post and, as expected, Apple didn't do any particular favour to Indian market, making it clear that it wants to remain as a pure premium offering. 

iPhone 5s is being priced at ₹ 53,500 for the 16GB model, ₹62,500 for 32GB and ₹71,500 for 64GB. iPhone 5c is up for ₹41,900 for 16GB model and Rs. 53,500 for the 32GB model.

The champagne gold will certainly set the Diwali market on fire given our love for gold. It's 'the gift' for this season.

While 5s 64GB sounds way too expensive, the 16gb is priced just a little ahead of Samsung flagship Note3 and Sony z1 and zUltra. Well a hardware comparison on pure numbers puts the Android phones way ahead but that really won't do justice as real life performance is way different. 

It will be interesting to see how 5c sales turns out as it's priced right in the middle of all flagship phones!. We after all want maximum hardware for each ₹ and don't put enough thought on finesse of use. 

Check Apple official comparison chart here 

The Light Bulb moment

We often associate an idea with a Light Bulb over our head ! 

It's been the metaphor for that sudden stroke of brilliance, ever since the incandescent bulb was invented. 

Here, in this picture, (courtesy: my cousin Dr. Nikhil S Rajan and his iPhone 5) the idea metaphor becomes the 'idea'.  An awesome shot of a sunset as seen through the idea bulb! 

A wonderful picture where creativity and idea joins hands with their metaphor producing a whole new perspective ! 

My cousin surely had an awesome light bulb moment.

Kudos to him! Let more imaginative pics come by..

Thursday, October 17

The Return of the Octavia - India

Skoda India finally made a brave move. 
Bringing back the Octavia back without rebranding it into a new model . 

Octavia in India was once legendary and a must gave aspirational car. Skoda's attempt to revive the old charm will pay off well. 

With Delhi pricing ranging from ₹13.9 to ₹20lac it seems well placed against the Jetta & Elentra. With little competition in this range and an expected rise in demand as people upgrade from their Honda Citys, VW vento and Hyundai  Vernas, this segment certainly seems attractive. 

Having already seen a few brand new Octavias on Mumbai roads, it seems to be the flavor of Diwali season 

Catch the news and reviews from experts here 

Skoda official website

Good luck Skoda ! 

That's one sexy looking version !

Wisdom of the parables

An African proverb

"Every morning a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better start running. "

Read it on a newspaper. Thought I should have it here. 

It's so true, first we are the young gazelle , then the agile lion and ultimately the outgrown slow lion staring at opportunities it can't reach for ! 

How do we always remain agile, age no matter? 

Image courtesty: unknown contributor (amazing pics group) 

Revision: the newspaper was the economic times, India 

Friday, October 11

Thoughts On iPhone 5s 5c pricing set for a Diwali release

With latest inputs from Apple,  the iPhone 5s and 5c will debut in India just in time for Diwali! 

Well that's makes it an even more attractive gift than the already been in market samsung s4 and HTC One. 

Sony and samsung seems to have opted for navratri rather than battle it out with IPhone during Diwali Frency. 

So much similar to the way Bollywood producers unofficialy  adjust release dates to avoid split in eyeballs n interest as such. 

Given their history of releasing each new model at a price around the outgoing flagship, apple would be aiming at ₹45500 again but will that be possible given the currency rates?

A direct conversion of 5s unlocked US comes around 41k (cheaper than sticker price of 5 currently on sale in India ) and a  German one converted comes to 50k. It would be cheaper to ship to India than Germany for sure. 

What's interesting is how much it is willing to forego to penetrate Indian market in a big way. Or does it have any such intention at all.