Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blogging Tips for Beginners

When you need more than 140 characters to tell people about an experience / a product or just what you think or feel, blogging is a great platform. Some blog for fun, some blog for extra income; whatever the case, there are some things to keep in mind before you start blogging-


1. Language, Grammar & Spellings.


It is really important to use appropriate punctuations, proper grammar and spellings when you write a blog. It makes a difference, people will understand what you're trying to say better, and overall you leave a positive first impression to the readers. Do not use abusive language or write unethical things about someone or a brand, you are liable to get sued for whatever you say on a public platform. Do not give false or half knowledge, if you do not know for sure, use words like "Its rumoured" or "I think" or "maybe". People tend to blindly search and believe whatever is written on the internet, so do not falsely guide them. Also, proof-read your blog entry before you click publish, very important.

2. Update your blog frequently.


It is important to update your blog as frequently as you can. If you are going to type 1 blog in a quarter year of half year, no one is going to give much attention. At-least once a week, if you can, should be great. And blog about recent happenings, if you are going to blog about something that happened months or years ago, or write a review about something that launched months ago, its going to be a complete waste, because by then many must have already written similar blogs and also, no one will be interested on those topics any-more.

3.  Make it look attractive.


If you go on typing, chances are after a point people will stop reading. The best part of your blog might be towards the end, and people won't have reached till there too! Use attractive headings, fonts, colours, images etc to make your blog more appealing to readers. You can insert YouTube video links, html links to other websites, images and what not. On this note, make sure you have the permission to use the images or are using images you have clicked yourself. If someone has copyrighted their images, they can sue you for stealing their images.

4. Optimize your article for Search Engines.

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Use of appropriate keywords so that people are able to find your blogs easily is very important. At this point, think from a viewer's point of view. What would you enter in the search box when you wanted to find a blog on that topic. Accordingly, use those keywords. That should definitely boost up your audience numbers.

5. Social Media presence.


Have icons that direct to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Website etc. This lets the viewer know how socially active you are, plus you never know, where and how you shall make new contacts. Vice versa, it helps to promote your blog links on these very social media platforms.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

How Croma Electronics Made a Fool out of an Armin Van Buuren fan.


I am writing this blog because @cromaretail made no effort to respond to @koshik_sash 's tweets & DMs.

Here is what happened-

Croma hosted a Twitter contest on 22nd January that went on for 2 days.

According to what they stated, 5 lucky winners were to get to attend a #masterclass with Dj Armin Van Buuren at the Croma Store, Grand Galleria, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, Mumbai at 12 noon on 24th January 2014. The same day that Armin had his #Intense Gig at NCPA. 

@koshik_sash was chosen as one of the winners. Proof of the same-

He was sent DMs from Croma's twitter account, first asking for his details like Name, Age, Contact No., Email ID, Address. And then around midnight was told to be present at Croma Store at 11:45am. They also gave a contact no. for Mr. Lal, whom Koshik was to contact on reaching the venue. I am not uploading screenshots of the DMs because they contain sensitive information.

So, Koshik, who is a DJ himself and an aspiring sound production enthusiast, excitedly goes to Croma, Lower Parel at the given date and time. He travelled all the way from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai to Lower Parel for this.

I went along, because being a Armin Van Buuren fan, I wanted to see him too, though I was not sure if I would be allowed to. Since they had hosted contests and stuff.

At the venue, Armin Van Buuren arrived at around 12:15. He was welcomed, he spoke a little, unveiled and launched the Philips product that he was here to launch. Then the anchor announced that 10 lucky winners from digital contests would get to "meet n greet" him. 10 names were announced, these lucky ones got to click pics with Armin, take autographs etc. Koshik's name was not on this list. This got me wondering and thinking that something is fishy. I asked a security guy next to me what happens next. He said, nothing, Armin shall be leaving. And just like he said, once this was done, Armin Van Buuren made a quick leave, ofcourse, he must be wanting to rest before his gig at evening.

I was left in shock. Forget a #masterclass, Koshik was not even selected to meet Armin personally. I approached Mr. Lal, a person in charge wearing a red checkered shirt and specks, and explained the whole scenario to him. Do you know what he replied? He said, that Koshik got a chance to see Armin so up close and launch a product, that is what the contest prize was.

THAT IS SO DAMN RIDICULOUS. I did not play any contest, other customers present at Croma that day did not play any contest, but we also got to see Armin. So then, whats the difference between a prize winner and a normal customer?

Why were they lied to? Why such a big deception in the name of a contest? Making yourself look all good in front of the followers.

We tweeted to Croma's handle, expecting and awaiting a reply, some sort of apology or explanation. But none given till now. Koshik sent some 15 tweets over the 2 day period of the contest, and was really looking forward to this event.

I am sorry Croma, and Tata Enterprise, but this was just not done.

Today, we got a call from Mr. Lal who apologized for what happened. Also, the following tweet from Croma's official account-

We accept the apology, but the time wasted and the disappointed experienced cannot be reimbursed. Shall be left with a negative image of Croma.

Ola Cabs Mumbai Luxury Ride Review & Experience

Hey! So I had won a free luxury ride by Ola Cabs, as a promotion for their newly launched service in Mumbai!

I was really excited to try it out, so booked it yesterday to travel from Lower Parel to Kurla (From one phoenix to another :P)

The best part about Ola Cabs has to be their awesome app for Android & iOS. It is ingenious, accurate and just mind-blowing. It uses your phone's GPS to pick up your exact location, tells you if there is a cab nearby, or how far away it is. And then you can choose to book now or later. No more hassle of calling a cab service and giving your location & time! I used to hate having to make them understand addresses and landmarks. I mean, I don't know the road's name or pincode when I am shopping at a mall!

Take a look at how the app looks-

Since I had won a luxury ride, a uber cool BMW in white was booked for me! As soon as I selected "Ride Now", I got an email confirmation and also, the map showed where the cab was right then! It reached bang on time and showed that cab has reached. The driver called and we went. The driver was courteous and did not talk much like some drivers tend to. I like that. 

We reached our destination in half an hour. On reaching I got an email invoice that has all details like distance travelled, time taken etc. I saved Rs. 564/- by availing this free ride! (Yes, the e-invoice told me that too!). 

Verdict- The app is hassle free and awesome! It makes booking rides so efficient! I love Ola Cabs and am glad they're now in Mumbai!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nokia Asha 502 Hands-On Review

I had purchased the most awaited Asha 502 from Flipkart in the last week of December. Truth be said, I actually wanted to buy the 503 because it supports 3G (While the 502 supports only 2G) and has a Gorilla Glass. But since I needed a backup secondary phone urgently, and 503 was not launched and from what I heard it would be a month before I could buy that, I went ahead with the 502. I opted for the yellow colour, it was really difficult to choose one from all the beautiful colours they have it in (Yellow/Blue/Green/Red/White/Black). I wish they added one extra colour along for people to swap as and when they felt like! See product image in other colours HERE.

Its MRP is Rs. 6,889/- but is easily available for Rs. 5,700/- approx on-line as an introductory offer. You can purchase it directly from Nokia's on-line store too! They also keep coming up with exchange offers or combo offers, which is really nice. 

Following are its specifications-
In Sales PackageNokia 4 GB microSD Card, Handset, User Guide, Battery, Charger, Headset
Model NameAsha
Model ID502
SIM SizeMicro SIM
SIM TypeDual SIM, GSM + GSM, (Dual Standby)
Touch ScreenYes, Capacitive
Business FeaturesDocument Viewer, VOIP Support, Pushmail (Mail for Exchange), Outlook
Call FeaturesConference Call, Loudspeaker, Call Divert
Handset ColorYellow
Operating FreqGSM - 900, 1800
Size3 Inches
ResolutionQVGA, 320 x 240 Pixels
Color262 K
Other Display FeaturesScreen Double Tap, Curved Display, Multipoint Touch, Brightness Control, Low Power Mode
Primary CameraYes, 5 Megapixel
Video RecordingYes, 320 x 240, 15 fps
ZoomDigital Zoom - 4x
Other Camera FeaturesFixed Focus, f/2.4 Aperture, Focal Length: 32 mm, Minimum Focus Range: 44 cm, Flash Operating Range: 1.0 m, Flash Modes: Off, Automatic and On, Landscape Orientation, Auto and Manual White Balance, Full Screen Viewfinder, Capture Modes, Scene Modes, Colou, Image Editor

Size59.5x99.6x11.1 mm
Weight100 g
Type1010 mAh
Talk Time13 hrs (2G)
Standby Time576 hrs (2G)
Internal64 MB
Expandable MemorymicroSD, upto 32 GB
Internet FeaturesEmail
Preinstalled BrowserNokia Xpress Browser
GPRSYes, 85.6 kbps
EDGEYes, 236.8 kbps
WifiYes, 802.11 b/g/n
USB ConnectivityYes
BluetoothYes, v3, Supported Profiles (AVCTP 1.3, OPP 1.1, HSP 1.1, HFP 1.5, A2DP 1.2, PBAP 1.0)
Audio Jack3.5 mm
Music PlayerYes, Supports MIDI, MP3
Video PlayerYes, Supports 3GP, MP4
Sound EnhancementIntegrated Hands-free Speakers, Album Graphics Display in Music Player, Audio Streaming
RingtoneMP3, 32 Polyphonic
Call MemoryYes
SMS MemoryYes
Phone Book Memory4000
SensorsOrientation Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer
Additional FeaturesSystem Connectors: Micro - USB - B, USB Mass Storage, Wi-Fi Security Modes: WPA, WEP, WPA2-Personal, EAP-SIM, EAP-AKA, WAPI Wireless Connectivity, Voice and Audio Recording, Calculator, Clock, Calendar, Fixed Dialing Number, Notes, Alarm, Reminders, Games, FOTA, Nokia Asha Software Platform 1.1, Audio Messaging, MMS Enabled, Automatic Answer, Call Waiting, Voice Mail, Call Barring, Voice Dial, Firmware Update, Device Lock, Device Passcode, PIN Code, Photo Sharing, Video Sharing, DRM Support: OMA DRM 1, Video Streaming
Important AppsFacebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, LINE, WeChat, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Nokia Mail, Windows Live, Hotmail, Direct Chat, eBuddy IM, Nokia Nearby, Nokia Music, YouTube, Instant Messaging
Warranty Summary1 year manufacturer warranty for Phone and 6 months warranty for in the box accessories

Above is the phone compared to the Nokia Lumia 520. I actually was thinking of going for the latter but since I wanted a good battery life & dual sim, I opted for Asha 502.

What I like about the phone-

1. Looks damn cute! The crystal glass shell they have given is absolute beauty, plus its size makes it a bundle of joy all in all. You just cant take your eyes off the phone!

2. Great battery life! The phone keeps it promise when it comes to a long lasting battery. On average use i.e. whatsapp, clicking a few images, using FM Radio and receiving calls, the phone's battery lasted 2 days. Which is great. Maybe that's why it comes without 3G, which is a battery eating feature.

3. Easy to use UI! The phone is not complicated at all. The Asha OS is easy to use and understand. So this can make a great first phone for people!

4. Built quality, voice clarity on calls as well as music player, the cute clock & alarm app are some of the other things I like about the phone.

What I do not like about the phone-

1. Though it supports most of the apps like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, We-chat and so on, its not very smooth & easy to use. Whatsapp is still okay, but the rest take a lot of time to load, even on wifi! I personally do not have as much patience for tweets or fb status to load!

2. The camera's LED light cannot be used as a torch. This came as a surprise. I really require a torch in the phone and am surprised that this feature is not present. (That was confirmed by nokia, check HERE.)

3. The 5 mp does not seem to be as good as should be, or maybe its that I am so used to the Nexus 4's 8 MP. But it still looks not up to the mark to me.

4. The display is very okayish, a little disappointing all in all. If you put in around 2k more you can buy the Nokia Lumia 520 , its display & touch is magnificent.

If your budget is tight, and you mainly need it for a okay camera, dual sim & whatsapp, with good battery life, go for it. If you need faster internet on the go, would suggest the 503, they look the same. But if you use a lot of apps, I would not suggest this one.

Thank you for viewing! Do give your valuable comments!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My FAVOURITE Android Apps

Hi, Most of us use the popular apps daily, like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, WeChat, Instagram and so on. I am not here to talk about these common & popular apps. Because if you are on Huawei club, you are already a tech lover and talking about these common apps will be mundane.

So, here are my TOP 10 FAVOURITE Apps as follows-

1. DROPBOX (9.5/10)

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Dropbox is a cloud based app that allows you to sync & access your data from anywhere. You can upload files from your PC and view on your smartphone and vice versa. What I really love about this is you can upload any file format, document, image, music, video etc. Other apps are usually restricted to text and image only. I use it frequently to access my documents, take tally backup, share files with folks etc. Never faced any issue with the app, and it doesn't use much space too. Only if you download the file you will consume phone memory. One bonus is if you get people to register on dropbox, you get a referral space added for free i.e. 500 mb for every user you get to register!

2. UMANO (9/10)

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Umano: News read to you was installed by me on my smartphone only a couple of months ago, and I love it. Basically, you select a article and it will be read to you. We internet addicts know how much our eyes are strained by constantly viewing the screen of our laptop or smartphone or tablet etc. But our thirst for knowledge is insatiable. Imagine using your travel time, or before your sleep to put on your headphones and listen to knowledgeable articles? You can choose your field of interests, technology, current affairs, health, the list goes on. Just select the article, it buffers real fast and you can listen to it. The voice is very clear and you can easily understand it. I love using this while travelling, because I am tired of straining my eyes.

3. EVERNOTE (8/10)

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This one again, is a cloud based app that allows you to view notes from any device, anywhere anytime. You must be wondering that since Dropbox is already on my list why do I still talk about Evernote. That is because there is quite a difference between both apps and evernote is really good for reasons. Shopping lists, things to do, reminders, using camera to click a image, these can all be stored on evernote. It can be password protected too, in case you want to store confidential data like passwords too. in dropbox, you have to first download the word file or excel file, which can be time consuming if what you're looking for is for is instant access to data. Google Keep does the same thing, it is another beautiful app. But since I have been using evernote since atleast 5 years, my loyalty is more towards it.


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Now this is an app for individuals like me who need to lose weight but are too lazy to go to the gym. There are many fitness apps or dieting apps, but this one combines both. Basically, you get started with a few details like your age, height, weight and targeted weight/inch reduction. Choose activities that are possible for you to do (they have a huge list of them). And then what you do is feed in daily what you eat, how much you workout. It acts as an automatic pedometer, will calculate and tell you how many steps you took today. It will motivate you and give targets to reach towards your final goal! Try it, is all I would say.

5. TRUECALLER (7/10)

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I am sure most of you are aware of this app, but I could not help NOT mentioning it. It is a life saviour. Saving me from picking up unwanted spam telecallers, or letting me pick up important calls I was looking forward to from unknown no.s! Basically you register, allow it to ready your phonebook (Thats a minus if you are too concerned about your privacy). This is does for all its users, which is how it creates a database and tells you who is calling! Of course you need a internet connection to be on for the same. I love how you can directly save contacts from the app itself. The only reason I am giving it a 7 is that this is the free version, the paid version allows you to access its premium features.

6. WebMD (6/10)

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I used to log onto their website, and was really happy when they finally launched their app. I am one of those who will visit the doctor only when it's the last resort (Please do not judge.) Basically, Web MD lists all illness & diseases, their symptoms, treatment and causes. They have this really awesome "Symptom Checker" in which you enter the body part, symptoms you are experiencing, and it will give you a list of probable causes, which is usually accurate. Ofcourse, this does not substitute for visiting a doctor, but atleast you can understand things better and can try out the home remedies listed.

7. MY VODAFONE (5.5/10)

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Now this app is obviously restricted to Vodafone users, but I am sure there are many, like me. I love the app because once registered; you can view your bills, plan details, data usage, activate / deactivate services etc from the app. So it saves you the time to call them on the customer service number, or log onto their website etc. You can even pay your bills online. I wish it had more features though, like complaint registration for example.


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I think this app is a MUST HAVE for all us stressed out individuals living in metro cities, living a really hectic life. It basically has many relaxing sound clippings like birds chirping, waves, rain drop, flute, and so on. You can select any one that you find soothing, or combine them to make something you like. You can then set a timer for the period you want it to play. Use it while meditating, practising Yoga or if you find trouble sleeping. If you are new to the city and are used to the sound of crickets chirping, just play the night music! One major flaw I found in the app is that if you close the app it stops playing the music, it should be able to play in the background incase you want to use your phone to do something else. But then thats a great way to see to it you are not letting your mind wander towards the virtual world.  It also has a paid app version with many more melodies to choose from.


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We all are aware of Instagram, the photo sharing app used by so many of us. For showing of your love of food, travel, selfies and what not.  Well, this is a new app created by them to share instagram images privately! Yes! You can say its like twitter DM, but for instagram. I am sure those of you are already addicted to Instagram will love this, others who are not addicted can kindly ignore and move ahead. Just kidding. Well what I don't like about this app till now is that anyone can message you if you have installed it, it should have been that both need to follow each other in order to be able to insta-message.

10. M-Indicator (6/10)


As the logo suggests, this one is only for MUMBAI, so if you stay in Mumbai or are visiting for a few days, you should definitely have this app on your smartphone. The app very nicely compiles Railway, Bus, Auto, Taxi information. It is always up to date along with the Sunday Railway Mega-Block timetable too. It also provides with other information like places to visit or emergency contacts. I use this app daily to check train timings, and it lets me organize my routine very well. The only reason I put this one down as the last is because it is restricted only to Mumbai.

Well, there you go, those were my top 10 favourite android apps at present. I hope you find them refreshingly different from the others.  Please do comment, about your experience with any of these apps, of if there is a app you think is better than the one I talked about! Thank you.