Is Durability in Mobile Phones NOT Valued any longer?

Don’t confuse durability with quality. All products need to be quality products to succeed in the market.  Durability refers to the longevity of the product life. How long we are able to use the product, i.e.

A few years back, both quality and durability were considered important factors to buy a product. But with mobile phones and a few other electronic gadgets, I wonder if durability is valued any longer.

That is because, new phones with latest features and higher capacity is released so frequently nowadays that my mobile phone was already obsolete the moment I bought it!

Nowadays, at least once in a year, I look for reasons to upgrade to the latest mobile. I can just buy a new phone, but I — like many others — have this need to justify a new purchase.

Now, what if, the mobile phone stops working or develops some technical issue just after the first year of warranty? That would give me the perfect reason to buy a new phone – won’t it?

That’s why I have started thinking that durability, at least in mobile phones and a few other similar gadgets, may be a minus point.

Actually, I had one HTC phone that I used for almost 6-years. While I did not incur the financial losses of having to buy a new mobile, I did have to drop my face when everyone around me were showing off their latest mobiles with latest features. My phone was working perfectly, and hence I didn’t have a good enough reason to change it!

Same happened with my Toshiba laptop. While I wanted to upgrade to a better processor, RAM and storage capacity, the old one would just not stop functioning.

In both the above cases, losing my patience after sometime, I just went ahead and bought a new mobile and laptop although the old ones were working fine. That damn HTC phone is still working!!

If vendors can include an auto-kill switch or something in every gadget which will enable us to kill it at will, it will be great. That way, there’ll be no need to justify a new purchase to ourselves or others. What do you think? 😀

Destination Infinity

My First ‘Party’ Experience (Vegetarian & Non-Alcoholic!!)

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On the new year’s eve, someone in my house decided that we should go to a New Year party. Since we’ve never been to any, I said OK but with a condition – they should not serve liquor and they should serve vegetarian food. Actually, my idea was to cancel the party indirectly.

But as luck would have it, there was a New Year’s party in Chennai that fulfilled both my criterion. It was the Kala Chasma party and was organized by Deccan Plaza hotel @ Royapettah, Chennai. We spoke to the organizer and they told us that there was a separate kids area, they would play Bollywood songs, they would serve Jain food. That ticked a few more check boxes and we booked the tickets for us and some cousins.

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Upon entering they gave us the above-shown ticket and tied a band around our hands. We then proceeded to the starters area. Here, we had some snacks like popcorn, sevu, cutlet, corn, masala-cola & pina colada by bisleri, rose milk and (believe it or not) podi idly!! I relished that podi idly and refilled my plate multiple times with only that 🙂

Then there was a kids’ area with a few games. We could also take selfies. We also took one with wigs provided by them. Here it is 😀 😛 😀

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The dinner buffet was OK but there was too much crowd. Fortunately we went early and were able to get food soon, but people who came later had to stand in long queues. There was not much place to stand and eat as well. I think the hotel should have imposed a restriction on the maximum no. of people who can attend.

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The main place of the party was the ‘Dance Floor’. I have never danced much, not even in my college days. How can I dance now? Fortunately, since many in the crowd were dancing and since the DJ/Music helped, we too danced (tried to dance) for sometime. But for most of the time, we were watching and enjoying 🙂

BTW, here is a short video from the dance floor –

 

 

I guess these parties are for younger people, but there were many middle-aged people also who came with their family. Altogether this was a different experience and we would probably cherish that wig-photo for a long time to come 🙂

Destination Infinity

 

Indian Ethnic/Wedding Wear for Men: Manyavar

Going back to roots seems to be the trend nowadays. Be it organic food, be it yoga/ayurveda, be it dressing.

I don’t like fashionable dresses much – jeans, tie, suit, shoes… just name a fashion accessory for men and none of them impressed me.

But ethnic wear made a lasting impression even on me. There is something about a Kurta or a Sherwani. They make men stand out. It’s probably because of that reason we see men wearing traditional dresses in many marriages and important functions, nowadays.

I wish more men wear ethnic wear or Indo-Western to office, outings, etc. Personally, I like anything that makes me stand out. I would love to wear a kurta or a sherwani to office just because not many people do!

Anyway, what you need to know is: Manyavar is THE PLACE to shop online trendy men’s wedding wear and accessories including sherwani, kurta, brooch, safa, juti, kilangi, mala, scarf etc.

Have a look at a few dresses/accessories from their collection. You can click on the below links to see more dresses from each category.

Sherwani

sherwani

Kurta

kurta

Brooch

Safa

Have a look at Manyavar’s store locator to locate the nearest Indian ethnic wear/wedding wear store in your city.

Destination Infinity

Surprise Gift we Ordered from IGP.com

IGP.com is a portal in India where you can order gifts for anyone in India, Online. Actually, I wanted to surprise my wife by ordering a gift that would be delivered to her without her knowledge.

But considering my dearth of gift ideas and the lack of experience in selecting the perfect gift, I thought it would be best to allow her to do the selecting part. Ya, the surprise element will not be there, but I thought at least she can select the gift that she likes.

She spent sometime browsing the various gifts IGP.com and selected a couple of gifts. Aren’t you curious to see what gifts she selected?

gift ideas

jewellery box & pillow with a custom-designed pillow cover. 

I think she found the jewellery box beautiful, so do I. I like the concept of a custom pillow cover. The design on the left side of the cover was already present and we uploaded the picture which has come on the right side. Actually, that picture was taken at a ceremony on the day of our marriage. I added our names and the heart for ‘special effects’ 😉

We then proceeded to checkout and completed the order without much of a hassle. For some reason, we got a mail from IGP that our photo was not properly uploaded. So, we replied to the mail with another copy of the photo.

In about three days (I think), we got the above two gifts delivered at our doorstep via courier. I am not sure if there is an option to gift-wrap the objects – ours came without it. It would be nice if there is or if they could add an option in the future.

Altogether, our experience with IGP was positive and I would definitely consider ordering gifts online, especially on occasions and places where I cannot be physically present.

BTW, I have changed my blog theme. I have installed the latest Twenty Seventeen official theme released by WordPress. Visit the homepage and let me know how it looks 🙂

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AK, I hope you are able to read my blog on all browsers now 😛 🙂

Disclaimer: IGP.com offered me a voucher for Rs. 1000 and asked me to select any gift for myself or someone else, and write about my experience in my blog. Since I am NEVER the person to say NO to freebies, I readily accepted the offer 😉

.blog Domain Names available to register from WordPress!!

.blog domain names are now available to register from our beloved WordPress 🙂 Visit get.blog to get your website-name.blog domain name today!

Since WordPress has provided us with an amazing free blog CMS software to use all these years, I thought why not write about their new service and create some buzz. Especially when it could be useful to many bloggers.

The yearly $30 USD asking price is a bit steep when compared to .in or even .com domains, but considering that you can get a short neat .blog domain of your choosing now, it may not be that bad a price to pay. As a blogger, I am sure many will prefer a .blog domain for their blog.

Personally, I don’t know if I am going to buy another domain (I already own four). But would love to have a .blog domain in my arsenal. Let’s see 😉

What about you? Any plans to buy a domain name for your blog? If you need help setting up a domain on your blog (Blogger, WordPress.com or Self-hosted WordPress), let me know. It’s simpler than you think 🙂

Destination Infinity

XENDER, A Mobile File Transfer App Clocks in 170 Million Users

About XENDER

Xender is a comprehensive mobile app for all file sharing needs. It allows users to share any type of file, at any time, without using any mobile data. Xender supports Android, IOS, Windows, PC/ Mac cross-platform transferring with over 200 times Bluetooth transfer speed. Xender currently supports over 22 languages including English, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Thai and Bengali. For its Indian users, XENDER has added a choice of 12 kinds of India dialect. Let’s XENDER it!

As a popular file transfer and sharing application , XENDER has announced that it has reached 50% market share in India in the crowded file transfer market. XENDER has clocked in 170 million Indian users over the last three years alone with an annual growth rate of over 100%. XENDER has long maintained a leading position in mobile sharing tool market, well known for its fast transfer, convenient using and zero cost.New slogan, new concept,new logo,Let’s XENDER it!

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XENDER also announced the launch of its new logo for Indian audience on the auspicious occasion of Diwali. The new logo captures the vibrant and dynamic spirit of XENDER and incorporates hues of orange; a color deeply entrenched in the Indian culture.

Commenting on the milestone, Peter Jiang, Founder of XENDER said, “India is an extremely critical market for us with file transfer volume scaling 1.7 million. With maximum user base in in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata, XENDER is extremely popular in metro cities and northern India. With over 500 million cumulative global users, we target to attain 800 million global users over the next 3 years”.

XENDER recently announced a new version of its app with comprehensive functions and better user experience. It offers seamless transmission between Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Windows PC and Apple MAC system.

Download Xender from Google Play. Let’s XENDER it!

Destination Infinity

Freecharge App: Bill Payments are Fast, Convenient & Secure

Freecharge app enables consumers to pay/recharge their mobile bills, data card bills, DTH subscriptions, metro, utility bills like electricity, gas, broadband/landline, etc., using a single app. This post is about the highlights of a bloggers meet organized by Freecharge at their premises to explain the various features of the app.

Welcome: The Monday morning kicked off with the bloggers being served delicious breakfast in the Freecharge cafeteria. They were welcomed with goodie bags having a Freecharge Tee Shirt, a coffee mug, some tasty cookies and stationary for the day.

Freecharge Tour: The group of bloggers were taken around the work space and were introduced to various teams running the show at Freecharge. They were introduced to the Mission Control team which includes SRE, Dev Ops, cloud automation, cloud security & IT, the marketing group, the Analytics team, QA, The Design Mafia (UI & UX), the product managers, the payments team, the technology team, the mobile team!

Up, close and candid: Post the tour, the bloggers were welcomed by the CEO of Freecharge, Mr.Govid Rajan and the group had a long candid session. Govind spoke on two key areas – user interface & experience (UI/UX) and security – and how his team of 300 odd people are working round the clock to deliver consumers “first class experience”.

UI & UX:

The fundamental principles that dictates UI/UX strategy for Freecharge is ‘No typing only tapping’ and the transaction should happen in less than 10 secs. The emphasis is on ‘faster checkouts’ in anything and everything consumer does in relation to payments.

Govind demonstrated this by doing a recharge on his phone in less than 10 secs, you heard it right – he uses a prepaid connection just like the majority of Indian consumers to understand their psyche.

He spoke about the features like ‘Bill Payment Reminder’ and ‘Auto Pay’ that have been a direct outcome of the fundamental principles mentioned above.

Security

Govind spoke extensively on the aspect of security – the systems that are in place – so that consumers can have a secure payment experience.

He said that Freecharge has built its own (in-house) risky transactions management platform and has a dedicated risk & security team that looks at patterns so that they are always ready to respond to any and every kind of fraudulent actions possible. The platform has been built purely on the basis of Indian data and not global data – which makes it even more robust and trustworthy.

He added that passwords of users are never stored in the Freecharge system. All passwords are encrypted using one way non-reversible keys which makes it impossible for abuse. Freecharge has actually assigned every single bank account of the country to pin codes and have a database of risky transaction pin codes.

The eye opening fact was that in terms of risky transactions Freecharge is at 1/7th of the Indian benchmark which is better than many top financial institutions.

Govind explained that the systems at Freecharge are designed to study 500-600 parameters of the mobile phone and over time have become robust to raise flags when a suspicious transaction are recorded. Elaborating more, he gave example of the attack on Yahoo wherein Freecharge reached out to all its users who have a registered Yahoo account and made them to change their passwords.

He said that there are systems in place wherein ‘lock-out’ can happen if a consumer tries beyond ‘x’ times to login and is not able to login.

Freecharge has deployed a number of proprietary technologies to deliver best in class security. It is compliant with all major security standards such as PCI-DSS compliance. The wallet has very stringent protocols on wallet velocity, device fingerprinting, device encryption and identification and hold limits which are designed to trap and eliminate fraud.

The proprietary technology ‘On-the-Go-Pin’ (OTP) fulfills the RBI’S mandate for two-factor authentication and does not require even a single additional investment by retailers or a customer, making the transaction secure, swifter and in less than 10 seconds!

Govind concluded the elaborate discussion on security by saying “security is our number 1 priority! We have been voted as India’s most secure start-up and the 2nd most preferred wallet”.

Following Govind’s session, there was a panel discussion with Ishan Vaish Director-Products, Fareed Jawad Vice President and Principle Product Architect and Varun Arora, Sr. Product Manager for Risk and Frauds. The trio touched upon various features in the Freecharge app like WhatsApp money through Freecharge, Speed Pay etc.

An upcoming feature, ‘AutoPay’ was also introduced. Users can now activate AutoPay and completely forget about their recharge and bill due dates. Also, the category of ‘donations’ was introduced wherein users would be able to donate money to various NGOs using the Freecharge wallet and also get the certificate to claim tax exemptions.

Varun Arora covered ‘Fraud and Risk’ in the next segment and how Credit Card theft and Account Theft are part of the game. He explained how we at Freecharge are performing high level fraud checks to minimize and tackle these attacks.

The group broke out for lunch post this. The day ended after a visit to the Customer Service team in the building across the road. They were told by Mr Velu, AVP Operations that most of the customer queries and complaints were addressed within 20 minutes that they came in throughout 24 hours of the day and 7 days a week.

Conclusion: This was a session to get up, close and personal with Freecharge and led by the CEO the team at Freecharge shared lot of interesting facts about Freecharge and how they are relentlessly working to give consumers the best digital payment experience in the most secured way.

Eka Dantaya Vakra Thundaya Deemahi (Cute Dance by KG Kids)

On the occasion of Vinayaka Chathurthi (Ganesh Chathurthi), have a look at a cute dance performance by KG kids for the song, ‘Eka dantaya vakra thundaya.. deemahi’ sung by Shankar Mahadevan. According to the Youtube video description, this dance was performed by Blooming Buds Montessory Palakkad kids.

Isn’t the dance well choreographed? I wonder how little kids are able to remember and perform all the steps for such a long time!

Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi/Ganesh Jayanthi to you all! 🙂

Destination Infinity

Have you seen an Idly Steamer? (Used before Cooker)

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Guys, have you seen an Idly steamer that was used before cookers to make idlys? Looks like it is still being used at some places. I found one at a relative’s house recently. Guess what, this Idly steamer makes puffed idlys that are thicker, instead of the flat idlys we are get from a cooker. And the idly tastes nice – not sure if this is because of the homemade flour (vs. readymade flour we find commonly nowadays), or the steamer.

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Notice that the idly plates have holes underneath. They put a cloth over the plates and then pour the flour. I was told that such plates with holes were used with cookers too earlier, but even the oldest ones I remember were without holes. Probably, the idly puffs and expands on the top because of the steam that provides additional heat by percolating through these holes (just a guess). Of course the steam comes from the water put underneath, just like a cooker.

This steamer can hold a maximum of two plates with five idlys unlike the cooker that can hold more plates. The reason for this post is: Why were the steamers replaced by cookers when the idlys are clearly better in the idly steamer? Have you guys seen a steamer before – this is the first time I am seeing one.

BTW, idly has never been my favorite dish. But sambar idly (idly soaked in sambar) has always been! And I also like idly upma, kaima idly, etc. Do you people like idly?

Destination Infinity

Photo Credit: Destination8infinity (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Rio Olympics 2016: 15 Interesting Facts you should Know

The 2016 Summer Olympics is going to be held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 5 to 21 Aug. 2016. Here are fifteen interesting things you should know about the Rio 2016 Olympics:

  1. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 countries to participate, apart from a few independent candidates.
  2. 37 Sport Disciplines; 306 Events; 37 Venues.
  3. Apart from Rio – the host city, events to be also held in: Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Manaus, Brasilia. All the cities are in Brazil and the last one is the capital city of Brazil.
  4. Rio de Janeiro is the first South American city to host the Olympics.
  5. Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago were the other cities contesting to host the 2016 Olympics but Rio won the final bid with a vote of 66:32 against Madrid in the last round.
  6. Maracana Stadium in Rio is the largest venue for the games. It has a seating capacity of around 75,000. Opening and closing ceremonies to be held here.
  7. Previous Olympic Edition: London 2012; Next Olympic Edition: Tokyo 2020.
  8. The Rio 2016 games required more than 200 K.M. of security fencing; two large warehouses of more than 1,00,000 sq. K.M. combined storage capacity; 700 K.M. of plumbing connections; 70 K.M. of roads; 650 sq. K.M. of sidewalks; 15,000 trees and a new Tram line!
  9. Baseball and Softball events were excluded from the previous edition; Rugby Sevens & Golf events have been included for this Olympic edition.
  10. Rio firm Tatil designed the winning Logo in a competition involving 139 agencies. Here is the Olympic logo – have a look.
  11. Vinicius and Tom are the Official Mascots of the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Paralympics.
  12. For the first time, 85 hours of video content from the Olympics will be available in 360-degree Virtual Reality format exclusively for Samsung Gear VR devices.
  13. For the first time, a blue hockey pitch to be used in the Olympics.
  14. Real (R$) is the present day currency of Brazil. Total Investment for the 2016 Olympics games = R$ 29.6 Billion. (1 USD = 3.25 Brazilian Real.)
  15. The 2016 Olympic Torch Relay was lit in Olympia – Greece, traveled to Athens & Geneva (among other cities) and then reached Brazil. In Brazil, the torch relay will visit more than 300 Brazilian cities and will finally reach Rio de Janeiro.

120 Athletes from India are participating in this Olympics – 37 more than the previous edition. Athletics, Field Hockey and Shooting events are sending the maximum athletes. Let’s wish them all the very best and hope they get more medals than the previous 2012 Olympics, which was 6!

Here is the official website: Rio 2016 Olympics.

Destination Infinity

Reference: Wikipedia article on 2016 Summer Olympics.