Thursday, July 30

Samsung Galaxy A7 - surprisingly good

Galaxy A7 perspective view
Samsung Galaxy A7 : courtesy GSMarena
As a mid segment phone, I presumed to be a weak on performance though packed with all goodies. But an evening at Burj Khalifa changed the whole perspective.

First, seeing the Burj Khalifa upfront and close was a jaw dropping. With an elegant design disguising all its size, it appears like a needle piercing the sky. Many hobby photographers including my brother had gathered for the evening.

I too joined the click party and the Galaxy A7 camera performance was a pleasant surprise. The Burj turned out to be a good test subject as the ambient light available dropped along its height.

shots taken with Galaxy A7

That led to a relook pushing it to the limits. Summing up my user experience over the last 2 months,

The good

  • Gorgeous 1080p screen
  • Better than expected camera performance. (to compare, Oneplus One camera was a disaster)
  • Great battery life & no overheating issues
  • Light weight and the metal body has a premium feel
  • Has LTE, yet to try.

The bad

  • Samsung apps and services eats up most of the 2GB RAM
  • Still running Kitkat 4.4.4
  • Touchwiz and basic apps feels cumbersome and outdated
  • rear speaker makes it muted when lying over soft surfaces

Galaxy A7 is a very capable performer and a vfm deal at INR 26,000.
And it comes in Gold too!

Burj Khalifa taken on a Samsung galaxy a7

Burj Khalifa at night shot on galaxy a7

Friday, July 24

Solar Palm: the next generation of solar powered street lamps

solar palm inside up view. the thin green LEDs are very capable in lighting up the floor
inside up view. the thin green LEDs are very capable in lighting up the floor 

Spotted an attractive life size replica of a Palm with glowing green LEDs at Jumeriah beach. On closer look, it was an aesthetically designed installation with solar panels disguised as leaves of a palm. In addition to lighting, this palm is also a wifi hotspot, mobile charging station, sports a selfie cam and can seat around 5 people with its circular base. 

Aptly named Solar Palm. The next generation of solar powered street lamps has arrived. Solar Palm is a right sized combo of utility and aesthetics. Hope Dubai will have more of them soon.

Green glow of the solar palm with an illuminated mosque in the background JUMERIAH BEACH, DUBAI
Green glow of the solar palm with an illuminated mosque in the background

Thursday, July 23

juxtapose - a dead shrub and fresh paddy

Juxtapose - cycle of life n death
Juxtapose - cycle of life n death

Got lucky to get this shot while on train passing through Kuttanadu. A dead shrub in the backdrop of fresh paddy. Felt like a metaphor for the cycle of birth to death. 

Known as the rice bowl of Kerala or the granary, Kuttanadu is the largest paddy fields collective in Kerala and also famed for the quality of rice. 

paddy fields of kuttanad
While Paddy has have been abandoned in most parts of kerala, the community efforts along with local governance bodies in adopting collective farming model helps kuttanadu keep costs low and remain viable. Techniques like aquaponics have been in practise here for centuries.

Canals of Kuttanadu
The place is also a tourist hotspot for its interconnected channels for navigation. There are barely any roads and people live by the water channels and use canoes to commute.

Wednesday, July 22

Landscapes: The Brown hues of Arabia vs the Greens of Kerala

Every land has as a unique charm to itself, a sense of identity and among them, oft not noticed but subconsciously enjoyed, are the varied hues of color, light playing along with the terrain and climate.

Each place or country as a unique charm to it, specially the colors that come out due to the landscape.. .
Sands of Arabia
My Love for shades of brown, the color of dry earth, clay and sands got a boost during my recent visit to Dubai. While known for its extravagant display of wealth, there is a great deal of life happening in the vastness of desert and arid wilderness beyond the city. Within the city, the older streets, mosques and entire vistas do offer an exotic assemblage of Arabian architecture and Art featuring alluring shades of brown.

Back in Mumbai, it was already midway through monsoon, all fresh growth, a sort of restart of life. Vibrance of fresh leaves, the fluorescent greens, offered such a contrast to Middle East that, I felt addicted to green.

Konkan Railway  - muat travel during Indian Monsoon
Konkan Railway  - must travel during Indian Monsoon

With my sudden love for green, I chose to return to my homeland Kerala via Konkan rail. (listed among the top must see rail routes). Konkan offered all possible combinations of green and by the end of my trip, I am like, oversaturated with green!

Kuttanandu, Kerala. Famous for its endless paddy fields, once the rice bowl for Kerala
Kuttanandu, Kerala. Famous for its endless paddy fields, once the rice bowl for Keral

Now, back at home, I again long for the browns of Arabia, the darker tans of Marrakech, Morocco or even the play of browns in Kargil, India. 

Water canals at alapuzha, kerala - Palms of Kerala
Palms of Kerala #visitkerala
Palms of Sahara
Palms of Sahara
The palms and colors, above, each have its own charm. Let the heat loosen its grip over Dubai, I need to take in a lot more of desert beauty to kill my addiction to brown.

image courtesy: