Category Archives: Gadgets

Everything has an expiry date – except software?

I was having a discussion with my friend/colleague Amit Shinde about the quality of things, and he brought up this topic of expiry dates. Fortunately for us, here in India, we now – at least – have an expiry date for most food stuff sold on the primary economy. The underground economy – or System D as it is known – is so vast and so uncontrolled that the government cannot even dream of regulating it.

But Amit’s concern was much beyond perishables. He mentioned his iPlugs for example (I’m not a Apple guy and don’t know if they call the iPhone earplugs that). He said that although there was no visual damage, they weren’t performing as they did. After all, everything has a shelf life – which may or may not be straight-forward to predict.

Take vessels for example. The old copper & brass vessels – now costly souveniers – have served families for years. There even exists a maintence process to extend its life. But the non-stick we use today in our fast lives is not built for centuries. Who knows how the coating disintegrates or how the lower layers react with oil/soap. I’m sure there is a point at which it has to be discarded – which is left to the consumer’s discretion. And when it comes to Indians, experimenting overage tolerances on expiry dates

Continue reading Everything has an expiry date – except software?

Jargon: FITALY Keyboard Layout

FITALY Keyboard Layout
FITALY Keyboard Layout

FITALY is a keyboard layout that places the most commonly-used letters closest to the centre, to minimize finger movement while entering a word. Designed by Jean Ichbiah (Patent), it is specifically optimized for stylus or touch-based input. The name, FITALY, is derived from the letters occupying the second row in the layout (like QWERTY comes from the 1st row of standard keyboards)

The aim of the design is to optimize text entry by organizing keys to minimize key-to-key finger movement, allowing faster input through one-finger entry (compared to 10 fingers required to type efficiently on QWERTY layout).  As compared to the 3-row QWERTY keyboard, FITALY has 5 rows with atmost 6 letters in a row (as against 10 on QWERTY).

Letter Frequencies in the English language
Letter Frequencies in the English language

Continue reading Jargon: FITALY Keyboard Layout

Gazelle – Paying you for used gadgets

I sometimes spend a lot of my time and blog-space publicizing (often, through criticism) other products, websites, hotels, etc. But sometimes I just want to show respect for  great ideas. And nothing excites me more than green initiatives! While going through Gopal Shenoy‘s blog on Product Management tips, I got to learn of this cool company called Gazelle he joined. Gazelle, based out of Boston, pays you for taking away used electronics which it recycles. So instead of going to landfills, you’re gadgets are erased and either re-used or sold in the secondary market. It takes a week after receiving the gadget to complete inspect it and issue the payment. What more could you be asking for with Money in one hand and carbon-credit in the other!

I got too excited and checked what I will get for my 4 year old Nokia 6600! Have a look at the disheartening result!

Gazelle will pay me $9 for Nokia 6600
Gazelle will pay me $9 for Nokia 6600

PS: No links on this page have referral commissions 🙂

Jargon: Plug-and-Play

In computing, ‘plug and play’ describes the joint capability of  plugging devices to a computer and getting them running without configuration effort. Its a feature that, both, the hardware (the device) & software (usually a driver or operating system) The software is capable of discovering & getting the hardware ready to use; and to do this the hardware provides necessary information. USB devices are a classic example, but the term was more popularized by Microsoft to market the ability of its Windows OS to configure devices.

This term is also used by sales teams to market software and emphasize its ease of installation/deployment, configuration/implementation and quicker Go Live! However, this is not always the case! My boss once told a vendor that not matter what sales calls it, to customers its usually ‘Plug-and-Pray’ 🙂

Nokia E71: Missing & Suggested Features

After a fortnight with my new Nokia E71, I realized that there is a lot of feature addition possible with basic features. Despite of the E71 being feature rich, it has a great number of issues with basic functionality. If you know Pareto’s Law, these issues are in the 20% of all applications, which are used 80% of the time. I have listed down these issues in my ‘After a week with my new Nokia E71’ post, have a look. Here are a few suggested/missing features… Continue reading Nokia E71: Missing & Suggested Features

A week with my new Nokia E71

A new cell-phone had been on the top of my wishlist ever since I had full-filled the wish to have a website. I have been evaluating phones forever, but for over a year now, the intention has been to buy one 🙂 Last Diwali I had haunted for HTC Touch, a PDA that I had decided on buying. Unfortunately, it wasn’t readily available anywhere. At one store, I had seen the new Nokia E66 and E71 that made me rethink on Symbian phones. From that time to now, I had been saving money for a E71 that I finally got last Sunday. Here’s a quick review… Continue reading A week with my new Nokia E71