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WordPress mobile app

So, in one of my last post I did mention about few of my frequently used mobile apps. PB suggested wordpress app and thought that I may never need to use this app, now I had to for one thing, I am travelling and have no computer with me.

I love this app, so friendly and easy to go through. Love it.
So please try it out and share your experiences.

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Some useful mobile apps

  1. Audible: Have you heard of this “audible”? an app that provides access to audio books. It is subscription based and you accrue points or you buy points to purchase audio books. I have used it and love it, specially with commute being the longer, it aids me in catching up with some interesting books. My only problem has been focus, I get lost with my own thoughts, so I keep going back to the last “payed attention” point.
  2. Amazon Kindle –  my most frequently visited app, I have bunch of free books, yes, you can get some really good free books. I use it during my commute, when waiting for anyone, or in general if I am idle else where.
  3. Pandora – world wide music, you can practically listen to any sort of music of your choice.
  4. Saavn – Of all the online apps I explored,  this is by one of the best so far for the kind of indian music it provides. Let me know if you have any other suggestions.
  5. Yelp – you should definitely download this, it gives you information about every possible restaurant, ratings that will help you check out interesting restaurants.
  6. Uber/Lyft – great cab service based apps, I particularly find it to be useful in new york city. I use it a lot and highly recommend if you need services. I have tried “Ola” cabs service in india – it was simply great and cheaper, reliable than other standard cab services.
  7. Feedly – a place to find all articles, news and you can get information on any field of interest.

There are many other apps that I use on need basis, but the one above are the most frequently used and useful apps. Since I use android phone, google maps is default and it really really comes handy. As much as I appreciate these smart phones that make me look smarter, but I feel, I am so dependent on it, that it makes me feel handicapped if I do not have it.

Dear readers, what are your favorite apps that you use frequently?

Travelling in Era’s – Back then and Now

Have you ever thought if we lost some amazing technological advancements to time?

Airplane (Vimana) back in that era

Airplane (Vimana) back in that era

There is a strong belief that, we have had more amazing technology back then (may be few era’s back), we have lost all in time and trying to re-discover it. For instance, airplane, space crafts, ability to travel between various planets in galaxy or travelling to desired location within a split second, nuclear technology for better or worse, transforming physical body into anything one wishes, cloning 100 kids from one fetus of an human and those face time  chats back in that era. I am quoting all these from “so called” Mythological history of ancient India – Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Bridge between India and Srilanka

Bridge between India and Srilanka

For instance, researchers are still trying to find the bridge that was constructed between Srilanka and India during ‘Ramayana’ Era to get Sita who is Lord Rama’s wife been abducted by Devil Ravana and kept in an island “Lanka”. It could be true they might have had it but due to Pangaea it might have shrunken with this small island started drifting apart and India is moving up towards north increasing the height of highest mountain Mount Everest in Himalayas.

Since there is very little evidence of such great epic, it is hard to convince people. This creativity is more or less can be compared to Star Wars movies. They call it all an exaggeration but truly, when Wright Brothers initially expressed their intentions to construct a flight to fly in the air, they were only laughed at that concept. Now, after more than 100 years of their initial experimentation, we have come so far as to.. not only we could travel practically anywhere on the earth but also to nearest Planets.  Such is the Innovation. As we speak about it, they recently posted another idea of high speed transportation from NY to LA, 3000 miles apart would take just 45 minutes only (current flight time is 6 hrs).. This still is in Conceptual stage but I believe it could be a reality one day.

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla MotorsPaypal and SpaceX products, his idea of travelling from New York to Los Angeles (approx. 3000 miles apart) in just 45 minutes (yes, yes.. you heard it right) has been featured in CNN (Click here) and ever since it only increased my curiosity. I wish if I understood dynamics behind this concept.. unfortunately, I was not even remotely decent with physics.

Boarding into capsule like transportation

Boarding into capsule like transportation

Brief excerpt from CNN: A massive vacuum tube — mounted either above ground or even under water — would be combined with a magnetic levitation system used on conventional bullet trains. That means no friction, no wind resistance, no chance of collisions, and insanely high speeds. 

Infrastructure - above or below the ground

Infrastructure – above or below the ground

Here is Elon Musk for you to view.

elon musk

Facebook Time

How many times have you looked at facebook messages, comments, likes, posts, pictures of friends and unknown people and browsing your time away?

Time is Precious

Time is Precious
(Courtesy – Google Images Search)

I bet facebook is very addictive and to an extent that you make least effort to meet people in person or at least speak on phone.  And yes, the messages in facebook propagates much faster than news now-a-days, rather let’s name any social media options  like twitter, pintrest, myspace, linkedin, google plus and their seamless integration and cross posts have reached masses more than ever before.

I like this virtual connectivity, bringing people much closer and giving you the breadth and width of required information, meeting long lost friends, providing a platform to express your opinions out loud to the world, helping entrepreneurs market and sell their products providing employment to many by making life and business much simpler.

Social Media

Social Media
(Courtesy – Google Images Search)

With good comes bad, if not used properly.. all of your time would be washed away browsing  facebook, pintrest or any other social media sites. Anything extreme is not good. I have had my share of fun connecting with my friends, family and knowing what they are unto and spending hours reading random posts by  unknown people, friends activity history or family pictures by being a silent spectator and impulse to reply immediately when some one messages me. Thanks to smart phones that will always let you connect with people.. well really?  I, like many other addicts would simply go onto facebook on mobile and spend time as if that is my ONLY job.

People always show best of them on Facebook and so am I.. everyone is under illusion that every one is having great time and it bothers you more when you are in down time. In fact, statistics shows that people who browse facebook often are more depressed when they see other people being happy.  Irrespective of any of it, as long as you use it in limited fashion.. it is a great tool to connect with people.

I decided to part away with it until I control the urge to constantly open it. It has been 3 months and I used “Facebook time” for better purpose of “Reading books” and working on “Changing my life Style for better”. I might consider myself to be getting better at reading more books and read almost 14 books in 3-months which is quite an achievement for me and still working on the later one. And now, I rather call up my close family/friends than staying connected over facebook.

Dear facebook, I love you but not so much that it overtakes my life.

What do you think about facebook?

How did they do it?

Curiosity kills the cat! - some one rightly said it!

Curiosity kills the cat! – some one rightly said it!

Have you ever looked into the aspects of how cars are manufactured on a large scale?

Beer, an alcoholic beverage is produced in large quantities?

Or how 80% of world’s almonds are produced from one place?

Having severe neck pain from past few days and having a crashed computer that does not let me work from home, and right in time a possible hurricane with winds gushing 40-60mph can only make up the most memorable challenging times. Well, without computer my days have extended much longer and nights lengthier.

Always gluing to computer not only spoiled my eyesight but my sitting and sleeping postures were distorted as well. There is a saturation point for everything and it makes us pause and correct ourselves up for our own benefits in long runs. With no computer but having access to cable TV made me watch Science Channel which I never knew existed that speaks topics of my interest to satiate my unbound curiosity.

Robotics or machinery always made me wonder about how well manual processes and time consuming difficult processes are all automated. This particular science channel hosts a show named “How do they do it” and describe the processes handled by machines.

For automobile industry, the robots are used in large scale from designing the engines, to preparing the car frame, to fixing it to become full fledged drivable car and later driven by human for it to pass all the tests to be available for general public. There were 1200 bolts that needs to be fixed for every engine of Subaru on their assembly line. All of it is done by robots. It surely an interesting one. Do watch. This is about “Subaru” an all wheel drive, designed and manufactured in Lafayette, Indiana, United States.

Assembly line in Subaru manufacturing plant

Assembly line in Subaru manufacturing plant

The other thing that I could not imagine that it can be done this way too is- managed production of almonds. As you all know, how important pollination among plants is to produce what they are supposed to? Plants do not move but yet need to be pollinated and who does that job?  You are right – bees! And there has been growing concern about reduction in bee population these days and thanks to technology that is causing this shift in nature. I shamelessly use it and I cannot seem to survive without it and so as many of us.

Managed Pollination

Managed Pollination

Interestingly, this almond farm in Sacramento, California, USA produces around 1.41 million tones of almonds and through managed pollination. They have planted male haploid plant (male gametophyte) and female gametophyte across each other for easy pollination. When these plants are blossomed, the bee hives are trucked and transported from different parts of United States and are then exposed out in the farm. These bees become active during day and starts pollinating. Resulting in heavy production of almonds as well as bitter honey, oh yeah, the almond honey tastes bitter. These almonds when they are ripe are shed by machines from trees and let it dry for 10 days before they are picked up. The machines pick up those almonds and are further processed until they are separated from shell. The almonds are then spot checked by Quality Assurance people and they pick if any bad almonds out of it. Then they are sent into different streams with variety of almond byproducts, for different flavors, varieties, packaged, sealed and supplied to local vendors across the United States. The bitter honey is used in preparation of beer and wax.

Almond Shedder

Almond Shedder

Spot Checking

Spot Checking

This totally amazed me, never thought that technology is so rich and can be used this way?

And this beer factory in Belgium? They are the large recyclers of beer bottles and the machines handle approximately 40,000 yes forty thousand bottles per hour. They are cleaned; air dried, disinfected, filled with beer, air tight sealed and re-fermented for 3-4 weeks before they are shipped across 80 different countries. I am speaking about Chimay!  Everything is computerized, from mixing the proportions to testing the sugar levels and yeast in the beer preparation process. Although run by monastery, you will be surprised how well they use the technology to modernize the traditional processing of Beer Brewery. If not for their usage of technology, the profits are distributed to charities and support their monastic community.

Chimay Processing Plant(All images: googled)

Chimay Processing Plant
(All images: googled)

I am amazed at what they do. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as me sharing with you all.

Images source:  google.images.comInformation: from science channel, Wikipedia and some memory from my curious brain.

Photography isn’t that easy – upcoming Infant Baby Photo Shoot.

I proudly said to a friend of mine – “I own DSLR canon T3i camera”, her reaction – great, can you take pictures of my new born baby. And I said “Yes” without any second thought.

Photography stint with new born (Src: Google images)

Photography stint with new born (Src: Google images)

I am not good photographer but I grab every possible opportunity to click the pictures. A bit of background about my obsession of this photography, Ok, obsession is a strong word but rather let’s say – I love capturing pictures naturally than actually asking people to pose. The result is often not that great. Although, I have been clicking pictures for quite a long time with DSLR’s, I never really invested time in learning some important aspects of taking great pictures. As the thought of upcoming infant baby shoot comes to my mind – I try to Google away for some tips and tricks on that topic. The more I learn about it, the more challenging it sounds. I now realize it takes some level of understanding about the technicalities of the camera like right aperture, shutter speed, focal length, lens, lighting, angles, background and more. Also, if you truly want to do justice to the pictures you have captured, you need to know – how to Photoshop them with transposing images to get what you want.

Beautiful Capture(src: google images)

Beautiful Capture
(src: google images)

I always claim to be taking naturally posed pictures over pose for photo, more often than not you’ll see unwanted pictures that you can laugh at it if you are sportive enough. I would like to think the satisfaction that I get seeing the smiles on the people for taking their pictures is totally worth it. Everyone loves to be photographed.. well 99% of them really do and I am no exception. I actively volunteer to take pictures in any family events even if I happen to know no-one at the event except for the host or few acquaintances. Looking at my enthusiasm, people would think I must be a great photographer, but clearly am not. So, out of few hundred clicks, it is totally possible that you might have captured few great pictures.. as you can estimate, odds of capturing good pictures are high in general. I might have learned some tricks unconsciously by randomly-clicking-pictures-away talent but when you are specifically asked to do the job – Now, I am really nervous.

Google is a great friend, but would love to nail down to some specific quick-to-learn photography techniques /tutorials to capture infant babies and their family pictures. That would be great.

Appreciate if you would like to share any tips/tricks that would help me perform photo shoot better?

P.S: I’ll try and share few pictures in any case if they come out well. I mean really well, really really well.

Guns – a threat or a boon?

Gun

Don’t know where to start, how to start and what to speak about this mean machine called “Gun” and the damage it does to lives of innocent people. The incident of “Mass Shooting” by a young adult in Connecticut brought tears to everyone who could feel the pain of losing their own kin, it is disheartening.  There were 20 young students and 6 adults killed in this incident. Who is to blame for this tragedy?  Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims

There have been many tragedies so far in last five years, and what is government doing to avoid this. I feel no place is safe to be in, be it on streets, malls, theaters, schools, universities, temples , homes or anywhere else .  Before we recover from one incident there is another, and all the people who did it were categorized as mentally challenged. Don’t you think, acquiring license for Guns is so easy in this country? Recently, Florida acknowledged the fact that there have been 100k licenses issued to public for their safety.   Should we be proud of this or feel sorry for the irreversible damage it creates. Well, the ratio of people being killed versus people being safe is relatively less and when considered in large scale, it is probably “acceptable”, but when it comes to taking away innocent lives – there should/will be Zero Tolerance.

This incident in Newton, Connecticut, ignited gun-control debate across the nation. Dick’s sport stores have suspended selling their semi-automatic rifles or any kind of sport guns for time being to honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.  I can write about it, speak about it and vent out my anger and helplessness over here, but I would soon get over with it. But, it is quite un-imaginable for a family, friend, and relative, neighbor to accept and move on with life. There is always this part of them goes missing and cannot be substituted by anything else in the world. I cannot imagine the pain of a sibling, a best friend; parents for whom those kids are world to them are no more with them except for their memories.  We, as strangers can show support to them and strongly voice out our opinions to strictly restrict guns availability to public. Four of our firm employees lost their family members and our firm is raising $150k funds to support them in their tough times. I could not appreciate more. May their souls rest in peace.

So, how do we restrict guns? Learn from mistakes? All these mishaps happened in last five years have been blamed on mentally disordered people.  But, don’t you think – each one of us is mentally ill somewhere along the line? We speak about ethics, morals, conscience or anything else; you never know how our brain acts in certain situations? Too much of generalization isn’t?  Well, the fact is no one in right sense of mind would commit this kind of heinous act.  (On a side note, I would think Hitler is an example of such mind set).  The whole point is to avoid such things happening in the future.

To conclude – what measures could we take to not repeat this act in the future?  Do you have any suggestions/ideas?

Steve Jobs – an Iconic Personality

Steve Jobs is one of my favorite persons who made remarkable contributions to man kind and a person who inspires to do things in your creative way than following traditional approach. I came across this while browsing cnn.com and found it interesting to share with readers of this blog.

Steve Jobs
(src: Google Images)

Below are the “10 great quotes from Steve” (re-blogged from CNN)

 1. “What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.” (film “Memory & Imagination,” 1990)

2. “I end up not buying a lot of things, because I find them ridiculous.” (The Independent, 2005)

3. “I think death is the most wonderful invention of life. It purges the system of these old models that are obsolete.” (Playboy, 1985)

4. “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” (Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997)

5. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful — that’s what matters to me.” (CNNMoney/Fortune, 1993)

6. “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” (CNNMoney/Fortune, 2008)

7. “If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.” (Playboy, 1985)

8. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” (“The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” 2001)

9. “My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” (“60 Minutes,” 2003)

10. “I would trade all my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.” (Newsweek, 2001)

Source: Re-Blogged from CNN.com