• Eyes on Fire - Blue Foundation
  • Rooster - Alice in Chains
  • Jigsaw Falling into Place - Radiohead
  • Quien Fuera - Silvio Rodriguez
  • La Tortura - Shakira

Thursday, August 28, 2008


God, am I in love with my iphone or what?

So, here is the story. We (Aparna and I) own ONE laptop - a macbook which I bought her for business school. I use my office laptop (dell) for pretty much everything else. I was a big fan of Skype - my mom uses it to call me from India (still does) and I used it often to call Aparna from Chile while I was traveling. I also used it for work related calls in the US to save on my cell phone plan minutes. It kept costs down and was convenient.

Recently, the nut-jobs in the IT department at work forced me to uninstall Skype as it is a known security risk. A week after I did that, I realized today that I went 600 minutes over my regular plan minutes and was basically living off my rollover minutes - and I had VERY few left.

Then I start to dig on the web to see if there is any software that will let me make VoIP calls from my only other computing device - the iphone. I found just the right application - truphone. This brilliant piece of software allows me to make VoIP calls over the internet thus saving my minutes. I also realized that it will be even more useful when I travel abroad. I can make VoIP calls from my cell phone to america without paying those ridiculous overseas call tariffs.

The truphone app itself is *pretty* cool right from installation, activation to the actual usage. It ties in with the iphone contact info and lets you call from your regular contacts. The call clarity was great.

Now, if I had an iPhone 3G and AT&T 3G network *actually* worked, you needn't even be connected to a wi-fi hub. Make VoIP calls at truphone rates wherever you are - assuming you have good 3G coverage. For now, I'm pretty happy with what I can do with this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thank God I'm a tightwad

A few weeks back, I was pretty close to upgrading my old 1st generation iPhone when I found out that one could make close to $300 bucks. Call it laziness and I somehow didn't act on it. I couldn't have been happier. Now, with the 2.0 software upgrade I'm able to get office email on my phone - which is great. In any case, I had always been pretty happy with the earthly speeds offered by the EDGE network.

Of late, I've been witness to a flurry of complaints with the 3G from friends who were among the very early adopters - from reception to performance and other bugs. I think it pays to NOT be a beta tester for anything - even if it is made by Apple. I bought the iPhone (or rather Aparna bought it for me) a good 3-4 months after it was released. I got it for $200 less than what it cost initially. I hardly ever had any issues.

I loved the iphone so much, I bought the macbook for Aparna now that she's back to school. It runs vista on bootcamp - vista actually runs pretty well on it.

So, in summary - the stingy gene in me does do me favors every now and then :-).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

RAW and DxO - Before/After

I'm not sure if I did a lot better with DxO as compared to picasa for the edits below. At this point, I don't understand enough technically about RAW processors like DxO to foresee the changes to the original. Still, I think I wouldn't have been able to recover these images if I shot in jpeg mode. As Ken Rockwell pointed out, the downside to working on RAW images is you end up working on each photo for a while - you have to pore over each photo. On the other hand, you have more control on the final look.

Update: I think I'm starting to really like DxO. Hopefully, I won't shell out money to buy it - but boy I'm thrilled with this. I was able to lower the exposure on a specific PART of the image - as opposed to a global change. As you can see, I wanted to lower the high values on the boy's face but not affect the values on the girl's face. I also added some lens based sharpening to really crank up the highlights in the boys eyes.