How to watch a cricket match without electricity? Mobilink TV – a life saver

Pakistan vs India cricket match is always a popular event to watch not only in these two countries but everywhere else cricket is played, understood and liked. I was also very excited about the match on Saturday but was also afraid of the possible power failures. It went great for the initial hours but when the match reached the climax at midnight, power company employees showed their dutifulness and switched the power off for an hour.

Now what?

Quickly I tried a few options. First of all, I tuned into a good old FM radio channel that was quick and convenient. At least I could get live score and updates. In addition, I had a few other options for live score updates, for example:

All of the above are text based cricket score tools and eventually were much slower than that of FM radio. I was still missing the TV as I knew that the power is not going to be available. Then I recalled a service that I tried several months ago. Yes, Mobilink TV. I simply directed my browser to Mobilink TV’s wap site and launched the sports channel on my phone. Within a few seconds I could watch the match live. That was the best thing that happened to me in several days ๐Ÿ™‚

It was an amazing experience. I watched the match for almost 45 minutes. But I must warn and inform you about a few facts here:

  • The service is very expensive but at that time, it was worth it. It costs Rs. 6/megabyte plus tax. According to a careful calculation, it must have costed me around Rs. 100 or more for these 45 minutes. (I’ll post the exact amount once I get my bill)
  • The TV transmission sound was crystal clear but you need external speakers for better experience.
  • The quality of video for a 3 inch screen was moderate. I could hardy read the score at the bottom of the screen but could clearly understand what’s going on in the game.
  • Like any other internet video solution, there were points when video got stuck for data buffering. May be a few seconds pause every couple of minutes.
  • There was around 25 seconds delay as compared to normal TV or radio’s live coverage.
  • And yes, there is a specific set of compatible handsets that runs this service. Not all smart phones are compatible. Even the BlackBerries are not ๐Ÿ™
  • Last but not least, there is a separate access-point setup needed to access these TV streams. Make sure to get the settings by calling the helpline.

In short it was fun to watch cricket without electricity. Lets see how much fun it will be to pay for it ๐Ÿ™‚

Please share your experience if any.

Nokia 7705, Another Weird design or the future of QWERTY Nokias?

Nokia has been known for its innovation and in trying out things, they don’t hesitate. Launch of Nokia 7705 has come in a big way and the swivel keyboard, small size and cool design makes it very attractive. How usable is the phone itself, we cant say till we get to use it.

Fans, please note. This handset is coming exclusive on Verizon, at least for now.

The feature set in addition to the design has nothing special but its not disappointing as well. Following are a few highlights:

  • 2.4 inch QVGA screen
  • Full QWERTY keyboard for great text and email experience.
  • The big ring that works as the alert light in multicolor.
  • 3.0 Mega pixel auto focus camera
  • Good old 3G network support

Historically, Nokia has been launching unique and creatively designed handsets. Some of them were totally flop and other did not lose it at least. I’ve been a big fan of a few of them as well.

The first weird looking nokia I saw was Nokia 5510. That was probably the first ever QWERTY nokia that was ugly to look at but great for sending SMS.

Then came smarter phones and probably first series 60 Nokia was quite weird looking, especially the keypad. See for yourself, its Nokia 3650:

Typing on Nokia 3650 was a nightmare. Rest of it was heaven.

On the same platform, Symbian Series 60, Nokia launched their gaming consoles named N-Gage and N-Gage QD but the series then got discontinued. They were pretty decent as a gaming device and even other usage, but as a phone they looked quite odd:
You may come up with a few more examples as well but the most Bizarre looking phone I’ve ever seen is Nokia 7600. Its ugly to look at, boring to carry and a nightmare to use.

Finally to close this article, I cant help sharing this advertisement of the new Nokia. Enjoy!

Where the %@&# did I park my car?

If you are a BlackBerry user and usually forget where you parked your car in a large parking lot or may be in a street a few blocks away, this application named vqCarFinder is a life saver. The idea is very simple. The application uses the GPS and BlueTooth in your BlackBerry phone to do the wonders. First time you use it, you have to configure it with your car’s Bluetooth. This will tell your BlackBerry whenever you leave your car and it will save the location in the application. If you don’t have a Bluetooth device in your car, you can buy one as a bundle with this application and simply plug it into the cigarette lighter slot of your car. When you return to the parking lot, you can open the app and can see where it recorded the parking location last time.

You can buy this app for only $10 or can try it for free.

reCaptcha – Dual headed sword in Google’s hand now

reCAPTCHA is a free service that shows anti-bot distorted texts and lets the user read and enter it into a text box. This prevents bots and scripts from accessing certain areas of a site and enhances security. Most of us have known this service for only the above purpose but reCAPTCHA has another goal which happens to be more interesting one.

reCAPTCHA helps converting old books, news papers and texts into digital text. Typical OCRs are unable to read the older books with blurred ink, grained papers and even partially torn and withered pages. OCR software are confident about some words that they convert and for so many words, these software are doubtful. All these words are used as online CAPTCHAs on different sites by reCAPTCHA and human users read them and tell the right text to the service. This reduces or even eliminates the need of human intervention during the digitization process. Click here to see how reCAPTCHA works.

reCAPTCHA has been doing very interesting work and recently Google has acquired reCAPTCHA. This will not only help Google improve things with their CAPTCHA but also will boost digitization for google books and news etc.

Poll: How many phones do you carry?

This poll going on at Nokia conversations has eye-opening results so far. This is a location independent poll and the results show that the number of people carrying two phones is almost the same as the number of people carrying one. This has a different meaning in different parts of the world. You can also cast your vote by visiting this poll here.

Results So Far

Why do people carry more than one phone?

Different features in different handsets
Some people carry more than one phone because they don’t find all the features in one phone that they really want. One phone has the nice camera and the other has wifi, one has push email capabilities and the other has a nice music player. The list is never ending and a lot of people own more than one set for this reason.

Different service providers
Countries like Pakistan where tel-co competition is fierce and each service provider is giving attractive packages that fit different needs, carrying two handsets is a natural choice. SMS is cheaper on one package, data is cheaper on another and voice on yet another. People buy two connections and carry two handsets. This is definitely the market segment dual sim phone manufacturers should target.

Work and Office numbers
Some people have a personal phone and a work phone. They carry both and want to keep things separate for both these connection. Its a wise idea not to reveal your personal phone number during work in some circumstances.

International Travel
People who have handsets under contract, locked to their networks, have very expensive international roaming or don’t get international roaming at all in some parts of the world will have to carry more than one sets in one situation or another.

Any other reasons?
If you have any other reasons for carrying more than one mobile phones, please do comment and let us know.

Will dual-sim phones solve the issue?
Carrying more than one phone, for sure, is not desirable. If you could somehow carry just one phone will make your life much more simple. One of the solutions is a dual-sim phone. So, in case you have two sims for home and office, have different packages, or get to travel with two connections, dual sim will solve your issue. But in case you are looking for lots of features that cannot be found in just one phone, this dual sim we are talking about should be a feature intensive phone. Moreover, battery life will continue to be an issue.

Need for speed – The craze goes on with NFS SHIFT

The new Electronic Arts game from Need For Speed series is scheduled to be released on 24th of September 2009. Need For Speed Shift is another car racing game for NFS enthusiasts. NFS is not just a game. Its a craze and a whole generation of crazy youngsters have grown with NFS. I still remember back in 1995 when I got my hands on to the first game of this series, and since then, this fever has never seen a downfall.

Every NFS comes with a great accompanying website and goodies as well. For example, last year, with the launch of NFS Undercover, EA launched an accompanying online real time racing game right on their website.

This year, NFS SHIFT website features a demo video that features you yourself. No kidding, I just mean it. You get to see yourself walking out of the pit, put on your helmet, sit in your own race car and there you go on the track. Media men are taking your photos, kids are clapping, pit crew is helping your way and pit babes are taking your autographs. You can see the screen shots from my video below:

My own car in the pit lane with my name printed on the door

Yeah that’s my name on the board there

And she actually came with my own photograph and I signed it for her.
Note: Don’t upload your photo for a bit more fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can also go to their website, enter your name, upload your photo and watch the magic video. There’s a scene in the pit and then a whole race scene that you don’t win eventually. Enjoy!

I’ll post you guys when the demo is available for download.

How to lose 16GB of your digital life, Just like that!

I’ve been using a 16GB Micro SDHC card in my Nokia N82 and it’s been less than a year yet. I have been very happy with the performance and obviously the capacity. Then it started behaving a little weird. The read and write times were taking way more than normal and when listening to music, I could hear the music hanging every now and then.

I thought I’ve not formatted my phone for a long time and so many software and data on the phone, its being over loaded. I never realized that my beloved memory card is misbehaving. One fine evening I was taking a macro-closeup of a crawling insect that my phone actually clogged, hanged and got stuck right after the photo was taken. I waited several minutes but the phone did not come back. Only thing I could do was to pull the battery and boot it again.

To my highly unpleasant surprise, the phone worked just fine but the memory card never came back. I’ve tried all the card readers, phones, converters, jackets and means to try to get it back up and running but no luck so far.

What did I lose?

I have been so confident about these memory cards that I take backups only when they get filled up. And filling up a Sandisk’s 16GB Micro SDHC for a smart phone is not that common. As a result, not only I lost the card but I lost my past 6 months of photos, videos and other stuff like music and video collection that I used to carry on my phone all the time. Alas!

Lesson learnt:

Always take backups ๐Ÿ™‚

Moreover, despite my efforts the card never came back and I had to end up downgrading to my 8GB card that continues to work fine so far.

Another Lesson Learnt
Always keep a backup storage medium. If you primary storage fails, you are up and running on the backup.

Yet another lesson learnt
Whenever you find your storage media or related devices working unusually slow or even differently, at least take a backup of your data!

I’ve learnt these lessons the hard way. I hope you learn them from my experience!