Competition Success Review : Code Wars 2011

What’s that?! you wonder, seeing my blog’s name pop up in bold in your feed reader. I’m sure you forgot my blog even existed, considering that the last post was months away.

But here I am. Of course, not for long. Maybe one post. Maybe two.

When Pulkit contacted me via Facebook chat urging me to write a post about Code Wars, I demanded an archive of all the questions. While he still hasn’t responded (unless you call giving the JQ finals a response), the real reason is much more different. I didn’t know if I’ll be able to bring myself to write a post about my last quiz ever as a school student. I’ve had some wonderful times while quizzing, and this was officially the competition where I retired.

Of course, my “retirement” isn’t a news as groundbreaking as I make it appear. It’s like Ramesh Powar announces retirement from ODI cricket “to concentrate on his test career”. Nobody really cares much.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, he “has had weight issues for a considerable amount of time and his weight is unknown because the ICC have yet to find a weighing scale that doesn’t collapse when he stands on it.”

But the fact is, Ramesh Powar would feel nostalgic. After all he did have his moments. So did I.

*

St. Xaviers’ tech fest Interface was supposed to be the last quiz for me. But it was so absolutely pathetic, I didn’t feel it was justified to end like this. (Seriously, look at the quiz archive.) After hours of coaxing Mom to let me go for this, I finally told my quizzing partner Saumey that I was ready to go.

Who then celebrated.

Unfortunately, the decision had come a little too late, and the school vice principal refused to send us for the competition, citing lack of transport, probably because something roughly equivalent to the size of the Olympics were being organized (aka the zonals) for which all the vehicles were needed.

Then in a move which baffled everybody, he encouraged us to go on on our own using our own methods of transport. Which was something I was initially skeptical about, but agreed. Needless to say younger kids who were enthusiastic about going to Code Wars decided not to come because “Mummy ne mana kar diya“.

Eventually, only a few of us were going and Shikhar dropped the big bomb – he wasn’t coming with us.

See, we’ve being going for competitions since the fourth grade, and I really wanted to go my final even ever with him (since it would probably be the final event ever for him too, and I didn’t want the memory of Interface 2011 to tarnish his memories of him winning at nearly every event he went to). Basically, he had the Chemistry practical the next day and refused to budge. It was disappointing, but I had to let it go.

Then on Friday (the D-Day), I got a (huge) text at 4 in the morning from Shikhar, which stated that he was coming. To this day, I haven’t quite understood the reason why it took so long for him to reach that decision, but I really don’t care.

Then I celebrated.

So basically, we were set to go. Accompanying us was the audio-cum-video editor guy Mayank (who’s Code Wars participation story is exactly the same as Shikhar’s, me celebrating and all), Shubham (a really, really weird kid), Tirthankar (Mrittunjoy’s brilliant brother – more on him later), Ashmeet (another potentially great quizzer) and of course, my quizzing partner (whose name you should remember by now). I think I’m missing someone’s name, which should be okay as long as they don’t chase me with knives or something.

Shikhar was going meet us at Chattarpur Metro station (which is the nearest Metro station to DPS VK, a piece of information I got from a source who calls himself “the dolt“).

Anyhoo, we began the long ride to the metro station, almost certain that we would be late. Finally, we made it and squeezed ourselves in Shikhar’s Swift DZire. There was little trouble in locating the school, but thanks to Nokia Maps, we made it.

(Important note here. Shikhar will tell you in the comments section or in subsequent blog posts on his blog that we took no assistance of GPS whatsoever. He’s lying. Do NOT listen to him.)

After reaching the familiar school, I saw absolutely no familiar faces. Just lots of people hustling around. Instinctively (being close to that wooden-floored auditorium), I began removing my shoes when I found out that it was locked. We were then redirected to the library, where we had to wait for further instructions. It was really odd, but I think that they did this because they finally realised that the audi simply wasn’t big enough to accommodate everyone. (I realised, later, that this was not the reason).

So after catching up on some latest Guinness World Records in the library, Saumey spots the New Era team (aka Arch Rivals #1). We go and have a chat, when Vidit from Manavsthali shows up (aka Arch Rival #1). He has the Junior Quiz prelims sheet, which, IMHO, was tough. I realized from their discussions about the questions that I had really grown old and stayed out of touch from the world of quizzing for a long time now.

After a long and agonizing wait, we were led to some random classroom (lets just call it RC1, because, why not?) for the crossword prelims.

And boy were those hard.

They were great, but hard. The grid had been shortened to a mere 20 questions, as compared to 50 from last time. I had great difficulty in figuring out some, and of course, in the process, slashing out correct answers to favour the wrong ones instead. When we were through, I had absolutely no hope of qualification. Aur mera shak sahi nikla.

We stayed back for the quiz prelims, which was equally tough, if not more. There were some silly errors, like the question in which I wrote PalmOS, when the answer was acutally webOS (which is the OS on Palm devices), in response to why HP Touchpads suddenly became so cheap. It was a little sad, as just the previous day I had seen this topic emerge on Twitter and didn’t bother to investigate.

As soon as we were through, we were notified of the crossword results. The time was about 11.40, and we decided to leave instantly, as we both had to get to FIITJEE. We caught an auto, and headed back to the metro station and back home.

–Official end of day 1–

Then the wait for the results of the quiz prelims began. Towards the end of the second class (which was Physics) my phone started vibrating with message alerts multiple times. I knew something was up. After the class was over, I found out that we had qualified. Shikhar had texted, tweeted and called about the results. I let out a sigh of relief that was characterized with such an immense release of heat from my body, I think it single-handedly contributed to the phenomenon that is global warming.

I had also learned via their website that Prempal and Arnav (AKA Arch Rivals #1) had failed to qualify again! The jinx carried out. Vidit (AKA Arch Rival #1) still made it, though.

I went home. Told parents that I had qualified (Mom: “Another day?!” Dad:”Do I have to drive you there?”) and went back to studying the wonders of alternating current. (Did you know that an inductor with high impedance can actually make power consumption negligible, thus virtually giving us free electricity?)

Also, unlike last time, Shikhar and I decided to do at least something about Techathlon. So at about 12:20 AM the next day, when I was just setting up the laptop, I got a phonecall from some unknown number.

Me: Hello?

*silence*

Me: Hello?

Person at the other end: Bhaiya, second waale ka answer ‘Seagate’ hona chahiye.

Consider this: I had just studied physics for three straight hours and Tirthankar (who’s in the seventh grade) calls up and gives the answer to techathalon! Holy crap is this child dedicated!

Me: Whoa, well done. Go to sleep now, it’s midnight for heaven’s sake!

I’m still reeling in shock for a while. He also cracked one or two more. This is a sizeable chunk considering we got about six correct.

So after some clue solving with Shikhar, we decided to end the session and go back to sleep.

–Finally, the end of day 1–

Oh and if you thought I was making up that story about Shikhar texting me at four in the morning…

Next morning (wait, actually this morning, considering I had already stayed up until the next day) I was ready for the challenge. Dad was faced with the task of driving me to Saket, which is not really cool because I had to listen to an hour-long lecture about how studies are ridiculously important and how I’m not putting in the required amount of hours for cracking the JEE. Of course, I did have my trusted earphones with me to bail me out at precisely timed moments.

We finally reached DPS VK. It was almost 9, when I got a call from the other people who had to arrive at school via Metro. Turns out, the Metro had stopped at Qutub Minar. Which is why they requested me to ask my dad to pick them up. Dad had already left, so I had to ring him up again, much to his anger. He returned, I sat in the car, we were driving, and I got a call from Saumey explaining that metro trains alternate – one stops at Qutub Minar and the other runs the whole duration. Who knew?

Anyway, after an awkward explanation to dad following which I was dropped off at the school again with multiple swear words uttered under his breath, I was reunited with the kids. The time was now well past nine and all the quizzers were apparently waiting impatiently for me. This is weird, because this is India. 9 AM means 10 AM. I was early!

Before the quiz began, something strange transpired. The VGA cable for the monitor wasn’t working apparently, so the projector couldn’t be connected. Naturally, the obvious solution was to get another cable from somewhere.

Me: Jaldi la yaar cable.

Pulkit: Kaha se? Ek hi hai.

Me: (eyebrows raised) Abey tumhare school mein monitors nahi hai kya? Kisi se bhi cable nikal le.

Pulkit: Aren’t the cables fixed to monitor permanently?

At this moment all the quizzing teams are looking at each other awkwardly wondering if this man standing in front of us was really the quizmaster.

Me: Er, dekh le. Try kar le.

The quiz started. Now, nearly two years have passed, so details are a little hazy, so forgive me if I get something wrong (factually). What I do remember is that Namunay was in prime form nailing questions. Saumey was also getting the occassional guess right. One question which distinctly stands out was one about some “music service”. It was some screenshot, if my memory holds well, but Saumey was quick to spot “London” before the question “bounced” to us.

Saumey: Bhaiya shayad Spotify hai.

Me: Kyo? Crossword ke baad kuch aur galat karana hai, abhi?

Saumey: Bhaiya yaha London listed hai. Ankur bhaiya ke bohot posts aate hai Facebook pe Spotify ke.

Me: Hmm. (to an unusually smug Pulkit). Spotify?

Pulkit’s smirk vanishes and is replaced with an expression of awe and incredulity. “How did you know that?”

I claimed that it was an intelligent guess, which it was. Only difference was, I took the credit for his. (*snort snort*)

The quiz went on. Eventually, it was poised nicely with the final three questions remaining which had to be played on the buzzer.

Now we were sitting in a conference room, which is no place was a self-respecting quizzing buzzer to be. Now being the masters of jugaad, Pulkit ordered us to shout “HALT” for the buzzer. I could not think a single way this could go wrong.

Here’s where the dirty quizzing started. DPS RK Puram and we were tied in second place. DPS Dwarka (Naumnay’s team) was ahead by 15. The rules stated that a correct answer got us +10 and a wrong one got -5.

The first question is put up on the slide: some huge paragraph which automatically had me mumbling the longest word in the English language, “Mutufalfundinvestmentsaresubjecttomarketriskspleasereadtheofferdocumentcarefullybeforeinvesting“.

But suddenly! A light bulb! One word clearly stood out. One word.

Greatbong

And in the split second when I realized it, Namunay had already pressed the buzzer… offering no answer. They didn’t know the answer. They wanted to to see off the questions, accepting penalty and ensuring their first position.

A similar chain of events transpired in the next question as well. I was once again slow to get the connect. (A bulldozer was shown – a reference to AMD).

Now, DPS RKP and us were still tied for second. DPS D had a five point lead. No one got the final question. Namunay had won, and his menacing victorious smile sparked my brain into thinking up various methods of maming or seriously injuring him (but no killings). Jokes aside, it was a fine performance deserving of a victory.

It was down to the tie-break. The first question: “name the co creators of the USB.”

Now we knew this! We framed a question on this.

Me: I think it’s Intel and Microsoft.

Saumey: Sahi lag raha hai.

Me: Par doubt hai mujhe.

Saumey: Koi nahi, likh do.

This is where the magic happens. I write down Intel and Microsoft, stand up to hand over the paper, cut Microsoft and replace it with HP, and submit it.

Pulkit: Both have got only one company right. The answer was Intel and Microsoft.

Saumey: But we got both…

Me: Yeah, about that…

The next question involved some mission about some internet giants, which we had to list. We had no clue. DPS RKP listed Anonymous. The correct answer was Anonymous and PirateBay. They had won! We finished third another time.

Disappointment. Total disappointment. Not to mention a twinge of humiliation to complicate feelings. Oh well. At least I didn’t bow out with a trophy-less final quiz…

We got our refreshments and headed to the some classroom to witness gaming. Code Wars was sponsored by FoG (Federation of Gamers), who were organizing it on consoles.

There was no Counter-Strike, or Modern Warfare. No Need for Speed, or Burnout, or Street Fighter, or Mortal Kombat or FIFA.

No kidding.

Here we had, experience and young gamers, dancing to tunes in front of the Kinect. This was followed by a round of Kinect Sports. You know, 110m hurdles, dashes, discus throws, long jumps, etc.

Now I didn’t really agree with the whole concept of asking gamers to dance and throw imaginary javelins (they had gone overboard with the shock factor they were looking for), but boy was it fun! I even recorded some videos on my phone, as did others.

The trophy presentation couldn’t be held in the Gulmohar Hall (Remember? The one outside which I had taken off my shoes?) because, as I learnt later, it was shut down due to maintenance  work. The roof had fallenYikes. Instead, the ceremony was shifted to another room.

Since there was no intro video, we were shown an exit video, which started with Justin Bieber’s “Baby” (Not linking to it because I do not want a Justin Bieber video found in my browser history. Porn is easier to explain.), but immediately ended. Masters of trolling. The video continued with “Just A Song About Ping Pong” by Operator Please (a music video so trippy, you’ll wonder why there’s a Cthulhu on your bed).

With that, Day 2 ended without anything eventful happening. Or maybe something did happen and I can’t remember.

शुभ आरम्भ

“क्या आप मुझे अपनी डायरी मिल्क का एक छोटा सा पीस दे सकते हैं? ”

“क्या में आपको जानता हूँ? ”

“नहीं.”

“तो?”

“मेरी माँ कहती है कि कोई भी शुभ काम करने से पहले कुछ मीठा खा लेना चाहिए.”

*gives piece*

“वैसे तुम कौनसा शुभ काम करने जा रहे हो?”

“मैं सोच रहा था कि आपका सर फोड़ दूँ.”

*

This because

a) It’s getting to me

b) I’m using this:

This ridiculous software has ruined my life.

Send .jar / .sis / .sisx Files Over Bluetooth

Ever tried sending an installation file over Bluetooth, and got this message?

Still thinking that you can’t send such files over Bluetooth?

Now you can!

Nokia has a strict policy of sending installation files (such as .jar / .sis / .sisx) over Bluetooth. This is understandable, as some applications have been paid for, or some may even contain viruses (my old N72 has been infected with CommWarrior in the past). CommWarrior was one of the first known mobile viruses targeted at S60 mobile devices and spread over Bluetooth and MMS.

Now CommWarrior did use an ingenious method to transfer the .sis file itself over Bluetooth. It is not impossible, as even trusted and popular applications such as Lonely Cat Games’ SmartMovie have done it in their older versions. I have no idea how to transfer them directly, but there exists a trick so simple and brilliant, that you will laugh at the mere simplicity of it and curse yourself for not discovering it earlier. It requires no third-party software at all. Keep in mind, though that this trick works only on Symbian Series 60 devices. I have tested it successfully on the N72 (S60 2nd Edition FP3), the E63 (S60 3rd Edition FP1) and the E72 (S60 5th Edition FP2). For some reason, it does not work on S60 3rd Edition devices, the non-FP ones (such as the N73).

Right, so you have to understand the principles first. Basically, the Symbian platform allows the exchange of only certain types of files on over Bluetooth. The most important one (which we’ll use here) is music files. You know, that standard .mp3 ones. The reason you can exchange songs easily is because even if you bought a song, it is likely to be DRM protected anyway, and the receiver cannot play it unless he has the certificate on his phone as well. But the primary use of Bluetooth today is still to exchange (non DRM-protected) songs, because everyone on this planet likes songs. This is what we can exploit.

Step 1: Open the File Manager and locate the installation file you want to send.

Step 2: Press the left softkey (Options) and chose Rename.

Step 3: With the help of the joystick, navigate to the end of the filename and rename the .jar / .sis / .sisx part to .mp3. Hit the center button (or the softkey which corresponds to OK).

You will get a message that changing file extensions may bring about devastating problems, some of which include a) another Roland Emmerich movie; b) Rakhi Sawant deciding to have lunch with you; and c) the answer may no longer be forty-two (OMG!).

Step 4: Send the file normally over Bluetooth. Do all that usual stuff–check whether Bluetooth is enabled on the receiver’s device, and it’s not “hidden” and it’s in range, et cetera. (Fun fact: Did you know that the call button also doubles up as a shortcut for easy access to the send menu?)

Step 5: Here’s the fun part. The recipient’s device will have a notification that a message has been received (you know the drill).

Now when you open the “song”, Symbian’s Music Player will open up and refuse to play the file, claiming it to be “corrupted”.

But what happens next, is the most important part. You will actually have the option to save the darn file on to your memory card!. Why is that awesome? You’ll see.

Step 6: Close the player and delete the “song” from the Inbox (if you wish to). Open the File Manager and navigate to Attachments in the Phone Memory/ Memory Card (depends on where you saved the file in step 5). The folder may vary in older Symbian versions (it is Music in S60 2nd Edition devices).

Step 7: You’ll find that file there, with a tiny musical note beside it.

Hit the left softkey (Options) and rename it.

Navigate to the end of the file name, delete the .mp3 part, and rename it to .jar / .sis / .sisx whatever the extension was before.

Click OK, and…

… you can open the file, and begin installation normally.

Congratulations! You have successfully sent an installation file over Bluetooth! Now since this method is file-specific by no means, you can use it to send other files as well, such as the .avi ones to be played on SmartMovie. You see, although you can send .avi files over Bluetooth, you won’t be able to save them, as Symbian will not have any default application to run those .avi files. If you still watch movies on your phone in the .mp4 or .3gp format, you don’t deserve to own a phone.Seriously.

Please try this method out, and do tell me if it worked (or didn’t) in the comments section. Also, I would really, really appreciate it if you mention the devices you tested this on.

P.S: Didn’t the first line sound like those TVC Sky Shop commercials?

Review: Nokia E63

I really, really needed a new phone. I missed my good-old. gun-metal, chick-magnet Nokia 7610 Supernova, which decided to swim in the washing machine.  It was a slider phone, with great features. Most of all, I missed Opera Mini and mobile web. So I got this new phone from HotSpot in Ashok Vihar, about which I will be making a blog post soon (which means “in the next three months”) . Also, if you notice in the pictures which follow, my E63 is red in color. It is how I publicly display my love for Manchester United. And hatred for Chelsea (the E63 is also available in Blue).

Er, this may seem like a long post (it is). So if you want, you can skip to various parts of the review: Design, Camera, Operating System and Software, Security, Connectivity, Music, Battery Life and the final summary.

Nokia E63

Nokia E63

Nokia E63

Network: 2G and 3G (with UMTS)

Dimensions: 113 x 59 x 18 mm

Weight: 126g

Screen: TFT, 16 Million Colors, 320 x 240 Screen Resolution

Storage Memory: 120MB Internal, 1GB MicroSD card included, Supports upto 16GB

RAM: 128MB

Processor: ARM 11 369 Mhz Processor

Camera: 2MP, 1600 x 1200 resolution

Video Recording: QVGA at 15 frames per second

Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g

Battery: Lithium-Ion 1500 mAh (BP-4L)

Price: Rs 10,500

Review


Design

Once you hold it, you get a nice feeling of power with the E63. The buttons are ergonomically placed, and the spacebar is convenient to use. It also doubles up at a flashlight key!  Only problem is the function key and the shift key are at the bottom right corner of the phone, and those with large thumbs will end up pressing both sometimes. The keys are rubbery to feel, which is good. The call buttons are large, and so are the soft keys. The D-pad is also easy to use. Three out of the four one-touch buttons you see can be programmed to do anything (other than cook food), irrespective of what the icons on them suggest. A short press and a long press have different functions. The screen is also quite large with a weird resolution of 320 x 240. This may be a drawback, as you’ll find it hard to search for games and themes (speaking of themes, I did find an excellent brushed-metal theme). On the other hand, the screen is very bright, a treat to watch videos on. The keyboard is really well laid out. A few minutes of practice, and you’re good to go. A problem I faced was the absence of the _underscore_ key, which should be an important part of any business device because of the plain fact that many e-mail addresses contain underscores. It can only be accessed by the Character key, which spawns open a menu.

Moving on the the back of the phone, we see the camera lens, the flash and reflecting mirror. The case is also really easy to remove – the slide that black slider upwards, and tada! The SIM card is a little difficult to push through, though.

On the sides, is a port for a hot-swappable memory card, and a port for connecting the mini-USB cable (which isn’t proprietary).

There’s a navi-light which blinks when you have a new mail, message or missed call.

Camera

The camera is a huge disappointment. I didn’t expect any dSLR-type quality, but the 2 megapixel camera is utterly worthless. It gives mediocre pictures even in very bright sunshine. The flash looks powerful, but the quality of the image itself cannot be improved. Looks like Nokia didn’t think that business guys would need a camera. Video recording is pathetic. Lets just not talk about it.

Operating System and Software

The phone runs Nokia’s very own Symbian OS (3rd Generation) with Feature Pack 1. Symbian OS seamlessly handles all the applications. Multitasking is an added bonus. There are some problems, though. You cannot disable the camera sounds, and even the flash. There is a “Flash Off” option, but doesn’t seem to work.

The E63 comes pre-loaded with some Tetris game called GlobalBloxx. But the games are not important – its the software. You have a licensed version of QuickOffice (with Word, Excel and Powerpoint support). Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with the new Office 07 extentions (*.***x), but reportedly does so with a free update, which is a whopping 6 MB and will set AirTel users back by a whopping thirty-seven bucks. There’s also this superb call manager called Advanced Call Manager, which handles all your calls and rejects the ones you don’t want. It also has an inbuilt answering machine! The E-mail set up wizard is really easy, and you’re hooked up with your mailbox in about five minutes. It supports a large number of e-mail providers and has pre-configured settings for all. You can also key in setting for your e-mail provider if it is not listed. New mail, missed calls, and text message notifications appear on the homescreen itself. So you can see who the message is from without reading it.

You all know how Symbian is. Many feel it is slow and lags dreadfully, but that is because it often doesn’t have any adequate hardware to do well. Symbian ran quite perfectly on my E63 (which has a 369 Mhz processor). But the main problem with all those third-party apps any Symbian user installs (and loves) is that they all need to pass through an application-signing test. Certain functions the app needs to access can be granted easily and any developer can self-sign them. But some of those advanced APIs which software use require mandatory signing. This is done to prevent viruses spreading in your phone and wreaking havoc. But it only turns out to be plain irritating. If you’re a bhakt of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and everything on your phone (except the OS, of course) is pirated, then you’re in for a disappointment. You. Cannot. Install. Those. Cracked. Applications.

Of course, there are ways where you can sign the apps yourself, and they’ll be specific to your IMEI. But zat is hacking, isn’t it? A post on that coming soon. I promise. No! Seriously.

You know Opera Mini? You don’t? And you own a Java-enabled phone? Throw it away.

You know Opera Mini? Good. In my E63, a single press of the spacebar triggered of a series of spaces for no clear reason. So I cannot type properly in Opera Mini. The original Symbian browser is pretty good, but nothing can beat Opera Mini’s eye candy. I have to, unfortunately, switch to the normal text editing mode. However, typing messages and e-mails in Nokia’s inbuilt applications are a treat. Predictive text accurately guesses which word you’re going to type almost every time, saving you much hassle. The spelling correction is superb too, letting you add words to the phone’s dictionary. You can even tell the phone to read you messages in your inbox.

Security

Since a business person (or any of us, for that matter) is concerned about privacy, Nokia has done a decent job of it. You can set the time for an automatic keypad lock or even a phone lock. In case of theft (or pesky people), a predefined SMS sent to your phone will lock it immediately, rendering the user unable to access any data at all. There’s even an encryption feature which will encrypt your memory card and/or phone memory with a key. Surprisingly, however, there isn’t any antivirus bundled! This is surprising, since it is a business phone. And there’s also that Symbian Signed limitation mentioned above.

Connectivity

Call connectivity was good. The call quality was not bad at all, though there was initially some lag while answering calls, but its fixed now. WLAN works pretty well. The OS allows you to use a WLAN access point for any application that demands a web connection. Rejoice, Skype customers! And a special pat-in-the-back to those Fring fans too! I still haven’t tried 3G, though. You know why.

Music

In one word: disappointing. The music quality is seriously not good at all. Symbian’s Music Player tries its best by adding some standard settings such as an equalizer, loudness and stereo widening, but the problem here is the hardware itself. The loudspeaker is not very loud, so you can forget playing your favourite track to your friends and expect them to catch every syllable. I tried Hotel California by Eagles and Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin, both of which have some excellent guitar work. The instruments are not clearly audible over the speaker, though this improves considerably over the bundled earphones. The earphones are decent, but not good enough. They are strictly fro call purposes. However, Nokia has provided a standard 3.5mm jack, so you can use those $400 Bose headsets (yeah, you bought the cheap ones) with the phone.

(A note here. The best music quality in a phone I’ve ever seen is that of the iPhone and Nokia’s N91. Yeah, that old fat phone which is now obsolete.)

Battery Life

This is the big one. The E63 has a standard Li-Ion 1500 mAh BP-4L battery, which supplements the business phone. Businessmen always on the move will need their device always ready, and the E63 does just that with its battery. I had installed iON Batter Timer, and it displayed about two days till the battery discharge, which is quite good. It is definitely made for people on the go. In the real world, the phone managed about eighty hours with full brightness while I was playing Java games, browsing the web on Opera Mini (not on Wi-Fi, though), and listening to music via the bundled earphones.

Summing Up

The E63 is an excellent cheap business phone for those who don’t want to disconnect from the outside world. An ergonomic keyboard, bright screen, excellent battery life and the good ol’ Symbian help as well. Social network fanboys will be addicted too. But if you’re looking for decent music quality or a decent point-and-shoot camera, avoid.

Detailed Ratings (Out of 10)

Design: 8

Features: 9 (a mark cut for poor camera and no GPS)

Security: 8 (two marks go down for the absence of an antivirus solution)

Value for Money: 10 (You cannot get such a device at Rs 10, 500!)

Battery Life: 9 (Very Good, but could have been better)

Overall Rating (Out of 10): 8.8/10 (Superb!)

Also, do tell me how the new look is. iNove had become too old.

The Hunt For CA-101

I’m not Ethan Hunt, CA-101 is NOT a secret code for any Halloween document, nor is this Mission Impossible: 4. It is this:

That is the CA-101. I bought a Nokia 7610 Supernova in November last year, and Nokia never gave a data cable with it. Losers. Why couldn’t they have provided one small cable and increase the price by a mere half-a-thoushand bucks, for a eleven thousand phone?

So I really needed a cable for this phone, as it had a 3.2 megapixel camera, and I wanted to check out the picture quality after transfer. Initially, it did look like it would get a universal mini-USB cable into it, but I was wrong. Thank god I didn’t buy a PlayStation Portable transfer cable.

Practicals ended on Friday the 13th and I thought this was the perfect day to hunt for the cable. I knew I would get it from the Mobile Store in Pitampura. So me and my brother (Adarsh) set out to buy one. I checked it up on Nokia’s official website, and saw that my phone needed a CA-101 type cable.

I chose an eco-friendly and highly economical transport to reach my destination. I cross the road through the subway, and approach the Mobile Store, with a familiar red-coloured banner.

Closed.

Damn. It’s always open whenever I go to Pitampura – enticing me with a display of some of the most gorgeous phones I often dream about.

But now, its closed. But wait! There’s another one! Its small, but it exists! Yay!

I enter the mobile store with a floursih, with an aura of confidence. Let’s get this cable!

Me- “Bhaiya, wo Nokia 7610 Supernova ki data cable de do.”

Shopkeeper- “Sorry, bhai. Woh to hamare paas nahi hoga.”

Adarsh- “To kis se le?”

Shopkeeper- “Wo peeche uncle ki dukan hai, aur aage computer ki. Pata kar lo.”

Meanwhile, Adarsh quietly steals takes a nice glossy looking booklet, giving info about the latest Nokia phones. 7610 Supernova is a “Hot Pick”. Doesn’t mention anywhere that it does not come with a cable.

Sheesh, man! I was positive about finding this at the Mobile Store! But hope is still there. We go to “uncle ki dukan” which is just around the corner. Its a Vodafone store.

Me- “Uncle, woh Nokia 7610 Supernova <flicks phone out> ki data cable mil jaayegi?”

Uncle- “No. Nokia Care mein try kar lo. Kohat Enclave ke paas hai”

Me- “Pakka?”

He glares at me with a look sure enough to defeat a Basilisk, and so me and Adarsh set out. We return to the Mobile Store.

“Aage ek computer ki dukan hai. Koi A-C-C-E; aisee hi koi naam hai. Shayad ass-her hai”

I think it was Acer. Adarsh tells me to try out RPG, which is just nearby. No luck. He recommends Nokia care.  We decide to go to “ass-her”, which is indeed – Acer. No luck here too.

“O jee Nokia Cee-ere par try kar lo.”

Well, you see, we were in a fix. Mom had given us about six hundred bucks to get the cable and snack about. Now we had no cable, had no clue where we would find it, and we were hungry. Very hungry.

If we eat something here and go to Kohat Enclave and get the cable, fine. But if we eat, and don’t find the cable in Kohat Enclave, we’d in trouble. Deep trouble. It would hurt our ego, and my parents would never trust me for going out and getting something expensive. I tried to find out Nokia Care’s number, but Opera Mini did not render Nokia’s store locator site. Even Google search didn’t help, as I was low on battery, and Opera Mini drains it like I drain ginger beer. Yes. Beer.

Finally, Adarsh advised me to take a risk and eat. Then we’d go to Kohat Enclave via Metro (which is a road cross away), and try at Nokia Care. His arguement was that three people had recommended it, so certainly there would be some chance. I must admit it was right, but I knew he was doing it to eat something. Bad boy.

We ate dahi bhallas at good old and not-so-economical-now BTW.

BTW is associated with discerning consumers for Tikki, Bhalla Papri, Gole Gappe etc. The success journey began years back when Mr. Satiram Yadav thought of starting this business realizing the weekness of Indian women for the delicious taste of Tikki and Bhalla Papri.

And oh BTW, did you know BTW has its own site? It would be cool enough if BTW had its own Wikipedia page, BTW. And oh BTW, you can also order BTW stuff online!

After a snack, we rush to Metro, catch a train and off to… Keshav Puram. Adarsh’s mistake. Wrong platform. So we rush back to the other platform and this time end up at Kohat Enclave. We reach the Nokia Care centre, which (thankfully) has the cable! We were told it was new cable, and so its availability in the market was sparse.

Yay! We returned home, and tested the cable. It worked. Cool, eh?

Cheap Internet for Airtel Prepaid Users

Mobile Internet can never be free. Face it. All those methods on the web are a waste of time, and will never work, unless you are an expert hacker.

Here it is! [P.S: Work only for Airtel Prepaid]

1] In the home screen/standby mode, type *567*1# and call.

2] In the message you get, you will be informed about the activation of Mobile Office, which charges you 30 paise/50KB, rather than the regular 30 paise/20KB.

3] Hit OK, or Answer, or whatever, and reply 1 in the Service Command Editor.

4] You’ll be notified that Mobile Office will be activated in the next 1 hour, but it hardly takes a minute, when you wil receive the settings. Save them, and make them the default ones.

5] Download Opera Mini, and run it with Mobile Office. It works wonders. Awesome speed, cheap internet!

Review: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Director: Aditya Chopra

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan [Surinder Sahni]

Anushka Sharma [Taani]

Vinay Pathak [Bobby]

Review

Aditya Chopra returns to direction after nearly eight years, to uphold the glory and magic of the Yash Raj Banner. Yash Raj’s most recent films, including Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Mohabbatein, Saathiya, Neal n’ Nikki, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Aaja Nachle, Tashan, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic and Roadside Romeo have bombed at the box office, and they turned to SRK, the “King Khan”, and also Aditya Chopra, to some extent, to save them some face.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi starts off as a narrative of an middle-aged, middle-class guy Surinder Sahni [played by Shah Rukh Khan] who works for Punjab Power, an electricity company. Rab di sau, he is completely devoid of love in his life. By Rab’s grace, he goes to his school teacher’s daugher’s Taani’s [played by Anuskha Sharma] marriage, and just like Rab as Rab wanted it, he fell instantly in love with her. Unfortunately, her fiance dies due to a road accident on that ill-fated day of her marriage, and out of Rab’s will, Taani’s father too suffers a severe heart attack, and has a last wish before going to Rab, that he gets his daughter Taani married to Surinder, the best match for her.

See how it feels? The word Rab, which translates into God, is used exactly eighteen times in the entire film. Try suing me if the number is wrong. I haven’t included the songs or the background music. Rab is spoken five times within the initial one-hundred-and-seventy-two seconds. Irritating? The film’s just begun.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is about this clumsy dork Surinder Sahni. The character is potrayed effortlessly by SRK, acting superbly in every scene. There’s not a single moment when you want to take your eyes off him. Living in a large kothi near the amazing Golden Temple in Amritsar (which looks absolutely stunning and gleams in the sun, excellent camera work!), Surinder is a middle-class guy who agrees to marry Taani, as her fiance dies on the day of her marriage. He wants to see Taani happy and gleeful like before, unlike her current mood of sadness and gloom. There are moments when Surinder wants to place some signs of love for Taani, but stops himself, reminding himself about her tragedy. There is this awesome scene when his Transcend 4GB Slider Pen Drive is inserted in his Compaq laptop running Office 2007 on Windows XP, and Taani turns up. In his excitement and clumsiness, he stands up, forgetting that the pen drive was strung to his neck, and thus overturning his lappie. Only SRK can pull of such an expression with extreme perfection.

So when she asks him about joining Dancing Jodi (Mumbai ki bahut badi dancing cumpanee), he agrees immediately. Taking his sidekick Bobby’s help (played superbly by Vinay Pathak), he transforms himself into a metrosexual guy Raj, as he wants to see Taani in her original naachti phudakti style, as she was before marriage.  Kyunki yeh kahani Rab (and Aditya Chopra) likh rahe hain, he becomes her dance partner for a competition Dancing Jodi.

What follows is confusion and drama, when Surinder tries to hide Raj from Taani. She eventually falls in love with Raj, as she begins to see Rab in him, and is in a dilemma, whether to run away with her lover, or stay with her boring husband, oblivious of the fact that both are the same persons. Meanwhile Bobby urges Surinder to reveal the truth about Raj’s identity, but he Surinder refrains from doing so, as he wants to see whom Taani really loves. There are some emotional moments, some cliched scenes, and some boring segments, but Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi has a fair amount of well-choreographed foot-tapping numbers. There is this song called Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte, the line SRK often repeats in the movie, which uses lyrics from songs of Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna and Rishi Kapoor (yes, in that same order!) to create a medley under a tune of their own. The effects is quite good, and I liked it, though it did look strange. There is also this juvenile bike scene, where Taani does some Dhoom action with Raj sitting behind, to chase another Jodi which picked up a fight with them. Quite funny!

Finally, when Taani has become ready to run away with Raj on the final day of the competition, she begins to see Rab in Surinder, and decides against it. The climax is absolutely stupid, when Taani realises that she has been fooled, as both Raj is Surinder in actuality.

Anushka Sharma acts pretty well, but her poorly written role makes her unable to outshine Shah Rukh Khan’s brilliance in playing Surinder. Vinay Pathak is absolutely outstanding, and potrays is character of a sidekick and barber fantastically. Hats off to him! However, the script is flawed and the story doesn’t know where its going. Although I would not recommend spending lots of money on this film, do watch it in a multiplex if you must, so that you have a comfortable chair to relax on, during the boring parts of the movie.

Detailed Ratings [Out of 5]

Plot: 2

Acting: 4

Cinematography: 3

Music: 3

Direction: 3

Rating: 3/5 (Good)