You are on page 1of 112

NOVEMBER 2009 ● RS.

50

IT magazine for the contemporary woman

TECH SAVVY STARS


THE MAGIC OF
SPECIAL EFFECTS
NEW TELEVISION
TECHNOLOGIES
SCI-FI IDEAS
COME ALIVE

CELEBR IT
PRIYANKA’S IT MANTRA
Y SPECIAL
Vol. 2 Issue 14 feature
30 The Magic of Special Effects
36 Celeb Blogs Rule Cyberia
50 Smartphone Fitness Apps

106
Profile
53
74
Future Phones for Fun Unlimited
Demystifying Benjamin Button
39
Do You
Need Blu-ray?
76 When Sci-fi Makes It to Real Life
81 New Television Technologies

contents tech tip


november 2009 57 Save Notes Online Using Evernote
58 Merge, Split and Repair PDF Files

24
Tech Must-haves for
Tech-savvy Stars

59 Get More Out of Your Notebook


60
61
Defragment Hard Drive to Speed Up PC
Use Scrape Torrent to Search Torrent Sites
56
Best Tips for
MS Word Users
62 Invest in IPOs with HDFC Securities
63 Search in Google & Yahoo! Simultaneously
64 Soapdish Becomes Cradle for BlackBerry

42
Style IT
65
66
DAP for Speeding Up Downloads
Get Parrot Minikit for Voice Dialling
67 Google Trends Track Online Behaviour
how to
104
Boost Your Wireless
Router Signal Founder
Vishwa Nath (1917-2002)
90 Get Back Missing Calculator in XP
Editor, Publisher & Printer
92 Encrypt Your USB Flash Drive Paresh Nath

Editorial Office
94 Optimise Outlook Express E-3, Jhandewalan Estate,
Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi-110055
96 Upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 Phones: 41398888, 23529557
E-mail: delpress@bol.net.in
102 Capture Screenshots from Advertisement Department
E-3, Jhandewalan Estate,
Videos and DVDs Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi-110055
Phones: 41398888, 23529557
E-mail: delpress@bol.net.in

68
Abducted by Aliens
spice IT
13 Buzz Byte
Classifieds Department
M-12, Connaught Circus,
New Delhi-110001, Phone: 23416313

Regional Offices
Ahmedabad: 503, Narayan Chambers,
18 Live IT or Leave IT Asharam Road, Ahmedabad - 380009,
Phone: 26577845

22 Chatroom Bangalore: G3, HVS Court, 21 Cunningham


Road, Bangalore - 560052,
34 Snapshots Phone: 26577845

Bhopal: 12-B, Maharana Pratap Nagar,


Zone No. 1, Bhopal - 462011,
Phone: 2573057
regulars Chennai: 14, First Floor, Cison’s Complex,
Montieth Road, Chennai - 600008,
6 Letter from the Editor Phone: 28554448

Jaipur: Geetanjali Tower, Shop No. 114,


8 Tech News Opp. Vyas Hospital, Ajmer Road,
Jaipur - 302006, Phone: 3296580
12 Did You Know? Kochi: G7- Pioneer Towers, 1 Marine Drive,
Kochi - 682031, Phone: 2371537
peek & pick 15 Care IT
Kolkata: Poddar Point, 3rd Floor, 113 Park

108 HTC Hero & HP Pen Drive 17 Letters to the Editor Street, Kolkata - 700016, Phone: 22298981

Lucknow: B-G/3, Sapru Marg,


109 Car Charger for iPod & Logitech 88 Interview - Sunny Vaghela Luck now - 226001, Phone: 2618856

Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 114 Shopper’s Guide Mumbai: A 4, Shriram Industrial Estate,
Wadala - 400031,
Phones: 65766302, 65766303
110 iPod Touch 115 Q&A Patna: 111, Ashiana Towers,
111 Logitech QuickCam Sphere MP 116 Glossary
Exhibition Road,
Patna - 800001, Phone: 2685286
112 HP All-in-One Printer & 121 Supplement - Photoshoper Secunderabad: 122, Chenoy Trade Centre,
116, Park Lane, Secunderabad - 500003,
Morning Walker Phone: 27841596

113 HCL TFT Desktop & Printed and published at Delhi Press Samachar

85
Patra Pte Ltd., A-36, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad and
Delhi Press, E-3, Jhandewalan Estate,
HTC Touch Diamond2 Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi - 110055.

No part of this publication may be reproduced in


Tech Career any manner without the written permission of
the publishers.

111
This copy is sold on the condition that
jurisdiction for disputes from sale, subscription
and the published matter will be handled at
courts/forums/tribunals at Delhi.

Netgear Wireless Title Live IT is registered with Government of


Router India as trademark.

2008 © D elhi Press Patra Prakashan Pte Ltd.,


New Delhi - 110055, India.
Letter

From Editor’s Desk


Celebrity Watch!
Priyanka Chopra has been on it for quite some time. So have Big B, Gul Panag, Mallika Sherawat,
Preity Zinta and Shahid Kapur. As is common with film celebrities around the world, even our dear
Bollywood stars like to keep a track of the number of stargazers who closely follow the latest
happenings in their lives. Not that they are always in a number game; but it is natural to get an
ego kick to find out how eagerly they are being watched by their fans. And the latest fad in this
age of stargazing is to maintain a Twitter account and keep a tab on the online users who follow
your updates.

But for once, the glamorous world of Bollywood was trumped by the dreary world of politics when
it came to celebrity stalking. It was in the month of September when this great debacle
happened and a quirky politician from down south Kerala clocked in more than 100,000 Twitter
followers, making him the first Indian celebrity to cross that milestone. Thanks to Shashi Tharoor’s
relentless ‘tweeting’ about the austerity measures that were being implemented by the Congress
government, and his now legendary ‘cattle class’ remarks, a new dimension was added to
India’s yet nascent world of celebrity mania in the cyber sphere.

All of a sudden, Twitter became a household name and Tharoor, the poster boy for this micro-
blogging service. With the growing popularity of social networking sites and developments in Web
2.0, more and more Bollywood stars, much like their counterparts in Hollywood, are now
maintaining blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts – all in the name of reaching out and
connecting with their fan base. Social networking sites have brought our favourite stars (and the
not-so-favourite ones too) closer to us than ever before.

But it is not just for reaching out to their fans that most of these young generation film stars have
embraced the wonders of IT. For them, tech gadgets and gizmos serve the dual purpose of
utility and fashion statement. Much like the expensive cars and designer wear, cutting-edge IT
gadgets have also become a part of the persona donned by movie stars.

In this issue of Live IT, we take a close look at the IT mantra of India’s celebrities. From the
gadgets they love to the blogs they write, we explore the star-studded IT quotient that our fabled
celebrities have built up for themselves – both to suit their personal needs and to project a
trendy image.

Anant Nath
Managing Editor
News

Compiled by Priyanka Dey

GOOGLE DOODLE MARKS


MAHATMA’S BIRTHDAY
It was Mahatma Gandhi’s 140th birth anniversary on Oct. 2. And guess
who had come forward to celebrate the memorable
the search engine giant featured a doodle on its home
occasion in the most unique manner? It was none other than Google and
page as a mark of respect. Google featured the face of
Mahatma Gandhi on its logo, a touching gesture, even
as people across the globe celebrated Bapu’s birthday
and paid homage to the Father of the Nation. Even
today, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi remains the
undisputed political and spiritual leader of modern
India, and Oct. 2 is marked around the world as
International Day of Non-Violence.
Conceptualised by Dennis Hwang, Google’s doodles
are created to remind people of important dates or
events. Other prominent figures who have been
featured here include Albert Einstein, Leonardo da
Vinci, Confucius, Louis Braille, Pablo Picasso and
Michael Jackson.

FREE ANTI-VIRUS SOFT WARE


FROM MICROSOFT
Are you tired of shelling out big buck
s to companies like
Norton and the likes? Don’t worry –
it is now possible to
bid adieu to paid anti-virus software
and opt for a totally
free version. In October, Microsoft has
officially released
its new computer security programme,
Microsoft
Security Essentials, although the beta
version has been
available since June this year. With the
official release,
users can download the software for
free from
http://www.microsoft.com/Security
_essentials. The
company provides regular updates, so
that one can stay
abreast of the latest malicious program
mes, which can
steal passwords or turn PCs into spam
servers. What’s
more, the programme will not slow dow
n users’ systems,
claims Microsoft. The IT giant has also
made it clear that
it does not intend to steal business from
companies like
McAfee and Symantec.

liveit.in 8 November ‘09


TRANSCEND’S EXTERN
COMPATIBLE WITH WINAL HARD DRIVES
DOWS 7
Transcend, a global leader
Windows 7 compatibility
in storage and multimedi
a products, has declared
that its StoreJet external
test. The latest among Mi hard drives have passed
be fully compatible with cro soft operating systems, Wi
applications and hardware ndows 7 is an evolutionary
Research, the current sat des ign ed for its predecessor, Wind upgrade that will
isfaction rate for Window ows Vista. According to
s 7 is four times higher tha ChangeWave
n Windows Vista.
In order to ensure comple
te functionality when
used with the new Wind
ows 7 operating system,
Transcend’s 2.5 inch and
1.8 inch StoreJet
external hard drives hav
e been thoroughly tested
to meet Microsoft’s strict
standards. Those using
Transcend’s external har
d drive can now rest
assured that their Transc
end products will have
no compatibility issues wh
en they upgrade to
Windows 7.
Says Mr. Austin Huang,
Regional Head
(Sales) for SAARC & AP
AC: “We always strive
to keep pace with technolo
gy. Our incessant
R&D has made our produ
cts highly acceptable
in the market. Now that
Microsoft is launching
its latest version of Wind
ows operating system,
Transcend users can freely
use their external
hard drives on Windows
7 computers without
worrying about compatibi
lity issues.”

WORLD’S MOST
EXPENSIVE
BLACKBERRY
Made of 18 carat yellow gold and studded with 4,459
diamonds, the world’s most expensive BlackBerry is bound
to be the darling of every heart. It has taken designer
Alexander Amosu nearly 350 hours to create this eye candy.
What’s more, the owner of the piece can personalise the
product with his name or company logo inscribed on it. The
stunning handset in glittering gold and dazzling diamonds
comes at a staggering 125,000 pounds. An anonymous
millionaire from the Middle East has acquired the first of
the three limited-edition handsets.

November ‘09 9 liveit.in


News

ADOBE FLASH 10.1 FOR


SMARTPHONES
Adobe has recently announced that Flash 10.1 will
be available on a wide range of smartphones and
beta version of Flash for Windows Mobile and Palm handheld devices. A
WebOS is likely to hit the market later this year,
followed by Google
Android and Symbian versions in early 2010.
Many interactive pages and videos that you see on
the Web are
powered by Adobe’s Flash technology. Till now,
smartphone users can
only access Flash Lite which cannot show anything
better than a subset
of Flash pages. Then there are quite a few cell phon
es which are unable
to display Flash content.
But the tech constraint seems to be over now and
almost all
smartphone users will be entitled to full Flash suppo
rt. “Flash on
Windows Mobile will require OS 6.5 and Flash
for Android will run on
OS 2.0, codenamed Eclair,” said Anup Murarka,
director for
technology strategy and partner development within
the Platform
Business Unit at Adobe. On the other hand, the
Palm Pre, HTC Touch
Pro2 and BlackBerry Bold will all have in-built Flash
. But what about
Apple’s iPhone? Well, there is no hope yet, unles
s both companies
decide to work in sync.

Y L E B R O W S IN G W IT H
MAGAZINE-ST LIP
GOOGLE FAST F
Google Labs has launch
ed a Web application wh
ere use rs can sea rch and
features, and enables use
share news articles as nev
rs to ‘flip’ through pages
er before. Named Googl
online. Be sid es, use rs
e
can
is
bin es Pri nt and We b un d sea rch es. The Web application
Fast Flip, this application
com
t and cre ate the ir cus tom magazines aro
ics, discover new conten
also follow friends and top
available at
com/. The
http://fastflip.googlelabs.
er of pages
window presents a numb
can search
in thumbnail style and you
magazine
for most popular news and
the left and
sites. There are arrows at
nails to let
the right side of the thumb
es like a
you flip through the pag
that is
regular magazine. Now
rks more
certainly unique and wo
pages one
quickly than opening the
by one.

liveit.in 10 November ‘09


F U J IF IL M L AU N C H E S
FIRST 3D CAMERA
Now you can enjo y thre e-di
one of the largest photographic solu
men sion al (3D) images and movies without wearing
tions companies, has launched its grou
those cumbersome glasses. Fujifilm Indi
ndbreaking imaging tech nolo gy – the Fine
a,
Pix
special
3D digital imaging system that lets users enjoy 3D images without wearing
REAL 3D Syst em. It is the worl d’s first REA L 3D V1 (an eight-
camera), FinePix
ses. The revo lutio nary 3D syste m includes FinePix REAL 3D W1 (a 3D cisio n prod uctio n
3D glas t (Fujifilm’s high-pre
images can be displayed) and a 3D Prin
inch viewer on which spectacular 3D
t 3D images).
technology that enables users to prin believes in bringing the latest
ichi Tan aka, Man aging Director, Fujifilm India, “Fujifilm
Acc ordi ng to Mr. Ken egy to become one of the top digital
to its disc erni ng buyers in India. In tune with our strat era
technolo gica l inno vatio ns shall continue to introduce digital cam
bran ds in Indi a and acqu ire 15 per cent market share in three years, we inno vative
camera d on our exclusive and
in some aspects, award winners or base
models which are either world’s first
l
technologies.” is also added. Moreover, the RP (Rea
click a 3D ima ge, two Fuji non lens es are installed and a 3x optical zoom hron ises the data it
To film over the years, sync
technology marvel developed by Fuji
Photo) Processor 3D, another photo shoo ting conditions such as focus, brightness and
from both lens es and two CCD sensors. It then determines
receives
into a single symmetrical image.
tonality, and instantly blends the data leading Fujifilm stores across the coun
try. I
Fine Pix REA L 3D W1 cam era costs Rs 39,999 and is available at all
The

November ‘09 11 liveit.in


Did You Know

round 210 million handsets are ompuServe, currently owned by AOL


A manufactured by Nokia every year,
which means the company produces up to
C Time Warner, was the first Internet
Service Provider.
6.6 phones per second.
ccording to Mercury Research, over 80

T he name Joomla is derived from the


Swahili word ‘Jumla’, which means ‘all
A per cent of the world’s computers have
Intel processors.
together’ or ‘as a whole’.
he 216 hues, rendered on Windows

A round 6,000 new computer viruses are


released every month.
T computers and Mac operating systems,
are called Browser Safe Colours.

he first hard drive available for an highly educated chief priest of Daioh
T Apple machine had a capacity of
five megabytes.
A Temple in Kyoto performs memorial
services for lost data through his online
virtual temple. Lost data, rest
f the National Science Foundation had not in peace.
I
?
announced paid domain services on

w
September 14, 1995, we would still be

o
enjoying zero domain

n
registration charges.

d U k
di O rkut, Google’s social networking
service, was named after its
creator Orkut Büyükkökten who was a
Google employee. Initially, Orkut
accounts were available by invitation only.
uring their historic first flight, the But in 2006, it was opened for all –
D Wright Brothers covered a distance less
than the wing span of a jumbo jet.
so that everyone can easily create an
Orkut account.

ewlett-Packard was the first corporation n average computer user blinks seven
H to move to the Silicon Valley in 1938. A times a minute.

s number ‘4’ is considered unlucky in n 1998, Satyam Online became the first
A major regions of Asia, Nokia has never
launched any phone model in this continent
I Internet Service Provider in India.

that begins with the digit ‘4’. he World Wide Web had 50 million

oeing was the first airline to discover the


T users in around four years while the
television took 13 years and the radio
B Y2K problem in 1993. took 38 long years to reach out to as
many users.
obert T. Morris (Jr.) created the first
R Internet worm, which attacked more
than 6000 Internet hosts. F acebook has taken three years to reach
out to 50 million people. I

liveit.in 12 November ‘09


Buzz Byte
Buzz Byte oes the world of digital entertainment amaze and enthral you? Do you

D love to tinker with the latest gizmos and bring to life your very own
concepts? Digital tech is changing at lightning speed and you need to
stay up-to-date about the latest happenings. So try out these SEVEN
brain teasers to test your ‘digitainment’ knowledge. All set to take the quiz now?
Let the show begin …

Q enab les us to ex tend a website so that


we can play
A programme that
m ore is called:
usic and
Spades
A. Diamonds and
es
B. Hearts and Spad
C. Hearts and Club
s
Q cture with a digita
l camera,
When you take a pi rm at?
stored in which fo
the picture will be

Q ecifications m en tioned, ho w many


A. gif file.
B. bitmap or bmp.
According to the sp ct disc (CD) hold ?
can a compa C. jpg or jpeg file.
minutes of music
A. 90 minutes
B. 60 minutes.
C. 76 minutes.
Q d clip in a website
design,
When using a soun
you should p.
that it does not sto
e it loo p continuously so
A. alw ay s m ak site cannot hear it.
e it so th at th e pe rson looking at the
B. always mut it on or off.
the option to turn
C. give the visitor

Q about a dual-layer
DVD?
What is so unique
d increase.
layer to offer a spee
A. It uses a second
tive sound tracks.
B. It creates alterna
e data.
C. It can hold mor

Q Q t to change a picture of your dog


into a horse, what
Good Privacy (PGP
)? If you wan
Who created Pretty software should yo
u use?
n.
A.Marc Andreesse A. Animation softw
are.
.
B. Ken Thompson B. PowerPoint.
an.
C. Paul Zimmer m C. Morphing softw
are. Check out the next page to
see how well you scored!

November ‘09 13 liveit.in


Buzz Byte

Congratulations!
You finished the quiz! Now, calculate your score. A carries 1,
B carries 2, and C carries 3 points. Did you check mostly A, B, or C?

:
If your score is
it
tw e e n 1 6 -2 1 D ri ve n . G o a ll out to make
Be y Very
a re th e tr u e DVD – Digitall e y o ur footprints in
the
You a n d leav
nology space
big in the tech
virtual world!

Between 8-15
Your k nowled
ge of the tech
good but a litt terminology is
le Photoshop
would make it e n h a n ce m e n t
picture perfec
Double -click th t.
e effort button
before your ey and see the re
es! sult pop-up

B etween 0-7 d g e is in m e ga bytes but


ch k nowle grade it to gig
a
Your current te t y o u c a n u p
h promise tha onstantly and
there’s enoug g e h a rd w a re c
your k nowled
bytes. Add to
n ce !
feel the differe

liveit.in 14 November ‘09


Care IT

Beat that
Throbbing Pain Mehak Siddiqui

A
ccording to a recent survey, more than 10 million Tension headaches may be caused by various medical
people visit their doctors every year because of disorders, but one malign factor behind the throbbing pain
headache complaints. Some of the commonly has already been diagnosed. It is the growing use of
reported maladies are migraine, cluster headache computers and other electronic devices that seems to be key
(frequent headaches of short duration) and tension headache. reason. Tension headaches range from mild to severe and
The last one is a medical condition that may affect even usually manifest as a tight band of discomfort around the
teenagers, although those aged between 20 and 50 tend to suffer head. The tension normally results from tense muscles around
most. Around 69 per cent men and 88 per cent women fall prey the eyes, head and jaw bones. Those constantly stuck to their
to tension headaches at some point of time or other. systems, cell phones or even televisions are most likely to get

November ‘09 15 liveit.in


Care IT

this kind of tension around the eyes, as well as in the neck and If you still find your head throbbing after spending several
shoulders – leading to terrible discomfort and annoying hours at the computer, PDA etc., try these simple measures.
tension headaches. However, do remember that none of these remedies are
An effective way to keep the tension headache at bay (or alternatives to professional help. If your headaches persist,
preventing it from getting worse in case you already have an consult your doctor immediately.
attack) is to adjust the ‘refresh rate’ settings of the
monitor. Although we cannot notice it physically, the Go for medication
computer screen refreshes itself hundreds of times a second. While medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin are commonly
To understand the concept better, think of the old black- used to treat headaches, there are specific ones prescribed
and-white movies where one could see each frame flash on for tension headaches. These pills contain active ingredients
the screen and the characters move in a jerky manner. This such as high doses of acetaminophen and caffeine to
is due to a slow refresh rate, which makes the screen flicker relieve muscle contractions and reduce tension. However, do
like a fluorescent light and gives many people headaches. not go for these medications unless you have consulted
The default setting on most computers is set to a slow refresh your physician.
rate, which triggers the problem. In order to change the
settings and minimise the strain on your eyes, follow Reduce stress
these easy steps: Stress often triggers chronic tension headaches; so it is important
to adopt stress-busting techniques. Do breathing exercises,
 Go to Start menu and choose ‘Control Panel’. meditate and hold on to a positive outlook. Also, try and get
adequate rest, exercise regularly and organise your work-life
 Now click the ‘Display’ icon (located below ‘Appearance more efficiently. Keep anxiety and depression in check, which
and Themes’ in Windows XP). indirectly improves your emotional well being. Talk to your
doctor about anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications and
 In the window that opens, click ‘Settings’ followed by take natural mood stabilisers.
‘Advanced’.
Massage helps
 Now, click the ‘Monitor’ tab. Under ‘Monitor settings’, Gently massaging the temples will calm your nerves and
there is a pull-down menu that says ‘Refresh rate’. relax the muscles. Every hour or so, close your eyes and
slowly massage the temple area for a couple of minutes to
 Choose the largest number there. Then click the ‘Apply’ ease out tension.
button and close the window.
Take frequent breaks
In addition to resetting the refresh rate, you can also try these Taking frequent breaks is extremely important. Staring at a
useful strategies to prevent computer-related headaches. brightly lit computer monitor for several hours tires the eyes
and causes strain. So take short breaks after every 30
 Try and place the monitor right in front of you. Keeping minutes or an hour, stretch yourself, take a brisk walk and
the monitor off-centre results in neck and shoulder pains as keep your eyes closed for some time. All these may help you
you have to twist your body to see the screen. beat tension headaches.

 Keep the monitor at an arm’s length when you are working. Adequate rest is required
Sitting too close to the system or too far away from it may Lack of sleep or rest can trigger tension headaches.
cause eye strain, resulting into headaches. You must sleep seven to eight hours to beat the fatigue
and start afresh. If you find it too difficult to sleep or wake
 The screen should be at eye level. So adjust your chair up several times during the night, drink herbal non-
accordingly. caffeinated tea before bedtime or take a natural
supplement to calm your nerves. This will help you rest
 Increase the text font size so it is easier to read. and sleep peacefully.

 Adjust the monitor’s brightness to suit the surrounding light. Opt for heat and cold therapy
Make sure that your home and workplace are well-lit as Heat and cold are both effective treatments for tension
poor lighting can cause severe headache. headaches. Heat relaxes the muscles and eases tension, whereas
cold reduces pain and inflammation. Apply a heated cloth or an
 Place the monitor in such a way so that you can avoid the ice pack (wrapped in a dry cloth) to your forehead several times
glare. If that is not possible, use an anti-glare screen. a day and you will feel better. I

liveit.in 16 November ‘09


Inbox

Letters to the Editor


OCTOBER 2009 G Rs. 50
Dear Editor, I’m a great fan of Live IT. The
The October issue of Live IT Anniversary issue on Lifestyle
was information packed. In was excellent. All the sections
IT magazine for the contemporary woman
the Access Total supplement, were loaded with great
Label making was well
SITES TO SUIT information. The Best of Style
YOUR MOOD explained. ‘Different Sites to
IDEAS FOR MODERN
IT pages were simply
Suit Different moods’ features
HOME DÉCOR
a very useful listing. Virtual gorgeous. The Access Total
GEEKY GADGETS FOR
BEAUTY & FITNESS Card also provides useful tutorial and the interactive CD
FASHION PAIRED were good. Congrats for your
WITH TECHNOLOGY
information. My best wishes
WEARABLE TECH to one and all at Delhi Press good work!
GADGETS
and Live IT.
TECH BRANDS FOR
{USB JEWEL }
BLENDING JEWELLERY
WITH TECH GADGETS:
GLAM DOLLS Sincerely yours, Shruthi Rajaram
Bangalore
LIFESTYLE n IT M R V Nath
SPECIAL Chennai

Please mail your comment/opinion to us at editor.liveit@delhipress.in or write to us at:


E-3, Jhandewalan Estate, Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi - 110055
Live IT or Leave IT

Little Miss Mobile Socks


Looking for a new outfit? For your mobile or MP3 player, of course. Little Miss
Mobile is just the thing you need. It is only 60x100 mm in size and comes in three
stylish designs. Choose from Chatterbox, Sunshine or Naughty, or buy all three –
these are very reasonably priced.

Terra Magic Revolving


Photo Cube
It is a six-in-one photo panel on a cube that takes up the space of
just one photograph on your shelf, table or desktop. And it revolves,
so you don’t need to lean over to change the snap when you feel like
it. All you need is a single AAA battery that doesn’t come with the
purchase! But that’s a small issue for this great gift idea.

LED Torch Lantern with AM/FM Radio


There’s a power cut but do you still want to walk in the lawn or the
park with a light handy? Want an LED under the pillow at night?
Why not a bit of music to accompany the breeze or rock you to
sleep? The LED Torch Lantern with AM/FM Radio is an
absolutely handy gadget for outdoors and indoors. The gadget
includes AM/FM 2 band radio, earphone jack, volume control,
LCD clock, torch (5 LEDs), lantern (8 LEDs), siren, built-in speaker,
etc. and also a belt. The 4 AA batteries required are not included.

Diet Decision Maker


Are you on a diet and fearful of sudden snack attacks? Grab this Diet
Decision Maker and stick it on your fridge to help you keep those false
hunger pangs at bay. The size is just right at 4x10x10 cm and the three
AG13 batteries required actually come with the gadget. Just push it inside
the fridge door and hear size reminders like ‘naughty pickers wear big
knickers’ and ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’. Surely, you
would run away after such timely warning!
Sound Asleep Pillow
Hate the headphone in bed, but want to rock yourself to
sleep listening to relaxing music? Want to read your
audio books in bed? Have to finish that foreign language
lesson before you sleep? The Sound Asleep Pillow is just
what you are looking for. The speaker is built into the
pillow and your partner will never hear a ping. All you
need is a music source like a radio or an MP3 player, a
3.5 mm stereo plug to connect your pillow to and the
mood to listen. So happy listening folks!

Tripod MP3 Speakers for MP3


Player & iPod
No, it isn’t a teeny weenie satellite you need to launch from your
window, but a cool set of speakers that works with any MP3 player
(including iPods). It’s really, really light. And with just two AAA
batteries, you can keep going for a whopping 10 hours. Of course, the
colour is your favourite pink. The truly mobile speaker for your MP3
player is finally here!

Chococlock Chocolate Clock Timer


Are you a chocoholic and feeling guilty about it? Are you gaining
‘prosperity’, thanks to your sweet tooth? Here is the most unique gizmo to
control those chocolaty urges. This crazy clock will hold all your small-
sized temptations, say 25-30 pieces. And every hour, it plays ‘dance of the
sugar plum fairy’ and tantalisingly holds out a piece for you to grab. Take
it within 30 seconds or it will be gone – back into the storage room. So
now you know what to do. And yes, it has a light sensor; so it definitely
won’t wake you up at night by playing the tune.

November ‘09 19 liveit.in


Live IT or Leave IT

Digital Clock T-Shirt –


Share the Time
How about being a human clock? No, this is not a
fancy dress ball, but just a set of four AAA batteries,
which are discreetly hidden in a small pocket of your
T-shirt. Switch the battery pack on and have fun. Get
ahead, stop the clock or lag behind and watch the
people around you fuss about being late, early or not
being there at all! You can wash your T Shirt after
removing the batteries, so no sweat, buddy, literally!

Tengu – USB Character Light


Are you a solitary traveller on the PC circuit? Don’t worry, Tengu will
keep you company. It is a USB-powered device which responds to any
music or sound you hear in the vicinity. This little guy is fun to be with;
he matches his facial expression to what he hears and he has a stock of
those faces to choose from. When there is no sound, he will simply fall
asleep but as soon as he detects some noise, he will wake up again.
Bored with what is showing on his face? Blow gently, he changes his
face and guarantees your smile. Any free USB port will do for Tengu;
he is a standalone device that does not need any software on the host
computer. He is a very compatible guy that gets along with any system
and a compact one too, at 71x43x15 mm.

Pink Cyber Bank


Saving a bit here and there but have no idea how much? Keep tabs on your
savings with this Pink My Personal Bank ATM machine. It adds up your
money as you save and tells you how much you have whenever you want to
know the amount. There is a coin box with an add machine as well as a note
depositor, a password and security system, time and target setting, calculator,
alarm and even facilities to withdraw by ATM. So try this wonder machine
and also teach your kids the saving habit!

liveit.in 20 November ‘09


No Stink Cloth Kit
Do smelly kitchen clothes make your life miserable? The
No Stink Cloth Kit is the perfect solution that will end
your kitchen woes. The odour-causing bacteria and mould
are almost entirely removed by the patented technology –
so that it remains fresh and smells great. The kit includes
two nylon sponges, two tea towels and one micro-fibre
cloth. What’s more, these are machine washable and can
be used again and again.

Invaders Doormat
Who is that on your doormat? Yeah, surprise your
guests with this unique mat which blinks a welcome.
Absolutely retro stuff and it is sure to be a hit with
the crowd. Makes a great gift too and a sure change
from the doormat image, right?

USB Digital Microscope


See life kingsize with the USB Digital Microscope! If you
have a big enough screen, you can have a magnification of
up to 200 times. The software comes along with the
gadget and you don’t need any external power supply; just
plug in your USB and your digital microscope is ready.

iRecorder iPod Voice Recorder


Ever felt a dire need for a Dictaphone/voice recorder? Then the iRecorder
iPod Voice Recorder is just the thing for you. This iPod doubles as a device
to record voice without needing any additional software – it is already built
in. So go ahead and record that interview, personal memo or note. This
features the plug-and-play technology with a recording-indicator LED that
shows the recording status of the voice recorder. And it is a very compact
device at a size of 38x25x15 mm.
Chatroom

chatroom Do yo u u se any vi deo editing so


h
ftware to
ar
p u t to
e your experie
g et
nce.
h er your audio
and

video fi le s? S ar Biswal
Santosh Kum

Sarah Mendonca
Bio-tech patents
consultant
I have never done any audio
editing since it is not
required. But yes, I search the
Internet for good editing
software in case I need it.
Once in a while, when I
compile my personal video
files, I just download some
basic video editing software
and follow the instructions
under the ‘help’ menu.

Nanthini A. Soumitri
Media planner
I use Windows Movie Maker
Neeti Mehta for video and audio editing.
Student Also, if my friends suggest
I use Windows Movie some good software, I
Maker for video editing. It definitely give them a try. I
is totally hassle-free and haven’t done much video or
everyone can use it without audio editing but made some
any difficulty. However, it is DVDs from personal videos.
a basic application and And I love to watch them on
won’t help you much if you my LCD television screen.
want to try advanced
features. I had also tried


Adobe After Effects, but
faced problems with I enjoy “
certain features such as
audio rendering. compiling my
personal video files

liveit.in 22 November ‘09




the
I can modify AV files
way I want to

Reni Kurien
Student
I don’t use video/audio-
editing software as I am
not very conversant
with relevant
technologies. In case I
need to get any video
editing done, my friends
usually help me.

Trupti Meshram
Student (BA, Animation)
Mayura Athalye I have done a multimedia course
Media professional and learnt to work on Adobe
I used Windows Movie Maker Premiere, a professional video-
and Sound Forge for college editing software. It comes with a lot
projects. At present, I am using of advanced features and I can
Sonic DVD maker that came modify audio and video files the
with my Sonic DVD writer. It way I want it. Initially, the interface
allows me to add videos, music looked a bit frightening; but now I
and pictures, and edit them as can handle it with ease. I use it
per my requirements. And it’s occasionally though, as editing is
really easy to use. Moreover, I not my key area of expertise. I also
can use custom backgrounds use it for my personal works.
and music, and make my
personalised DVD/VCD
collection. It also enables me to
separate bloopers into chapters
on the DVD.

With Web 2.0 and advanced technologies, we can now create, customise and organise digital
content. Join us and share your DIY experience in personal entertainment. Send your entry with your
photograph to editor.liveit@delhipress.in

November ‘09 23 liveit.in


Love me,
love my
gadgets...
Tech must-haves for
tech-savvy stars
Uma Narayanan, Partha Mukherjee and
Priyanka Mukherjee
elebs pose for gadgets, celebs lend their names to gadgets, but do

C they love their gadgets, too? The tech age is right here and every
time you turn around, some quirky gizmos are bound to hit you
or, worse still, take over your life. All is not right with the world if
your BlackBerry or iPhone doesn’t ring every alternate minute. And you
must check your mail during that 15-minute visit to the coffee shop that
offers WiFi as a part of the ware. Go for a drive and you may find yourself
in a super car that helps you find the way or alert you when it requires
servicing (well, there’s a computer inside, of course). Tech has spread like
wildfire and caught the fancy of all and sundry – including the handsome
hunks and hot babes of the silver screen.
There was a time when the filmy crowd steered clear of all things geek.
Bollywood stars wouldn’t know how to use their gadgets and style divas
wouldn’t endorse ‘boy toys’ (read complex tech apps) that lacked typical
feminine grace. But the digital dazzle of the new millennium has changed it all.
The glam brigade is now too busy touting and tweeting that they are right on
top of tech. They love to flaunt hot pieces of hardware; communicate via social
networks and make sure that the Net revolution would radically change their
life. From macho to chic, futuristic to fantastic – every tech toy excites their
curiosity and fires their passion. Meet the beautiful babes (and a hunk, too) as
they reveal to Live IT how tech is rocking their life and style!
contemporaries like
Mallika Sherawat, Gul
Panag and director
Karan Johar in this
respect. Her fan-
following is increasing
every day, thanks to her
regular ‘tweets’.
In recent times,
celebrities like Amitabh
Bachchan and Aamir
Khan have gone all out
for blogging as this is
an effective medium of
communication. But
ask Priyanka about her
blogging experiences
and she replies, “I don’t
blog. But I’m on
Twitter. My Twitter ID
is @priyankachopra.
I enjoy chatting with
my fans and followers
there. It’s a great
feeling to be directly in
touch with them.”
Going overboard with
social networking is
catching up fast with
celebs. So it’s time to
quiz her about the new
turf and the glam queen
expresses her fascination
for latest tech apps.
“I dote on Web 2.0
applications as these help
me touch base with
friends and fans directly.
Priyanka Chopra Twitter gives me a
platform to speak heart
Geek or glam – What’s her rashi? to heart with all of them. And I don’t need a spokesperson or
Priyanka Chopra was only 17 when she was crowned Miss the media to do it for me. So I am very happy about it,”
World, dazzling the world with her victory and making every Priyanka points out.
Indian proud. Ever since, there has been no looking back for the Her profile on the World Wide Web reflects how active,
beauty queen. After making the waves as an acclaimed model, popular and impactful she is online. This svelte diva regularly
she has carved a niche in Bollywood, proving her acting updates her profile with pictures from her upcoming flicks and
potentials as well. What’s more, ‘Piggy Chops’, as nicknamed by other relevant information. That she is a big-time surfer is,
Jr Bachchan, has been fast in keeping pace with changing therefore, quite apparent.
technologies. She is one of the first few from the Bollywood This actress with oodles of oomph has a fair grasp over the
brigade to jump on the Internet bandwagon. But the tech-savvy nitty-gritty of technology. Asked about her computing
super star has gone even further. From film promotion to fan preferences, Priyanka candidly confesses her fetish for the Apple
connection – she does it all with the help of the Web. Priyanka Mac. Even though her MacBook makes a wireless lifestyle
ranks No. 1 on Twitter, the popular micro-blogging site, with feasible, this hottie is just as conversant with the regular PC.
more than 65,000 followers. And she has beaten her Priyanka is not among those who keep their WiFi on 24x7; but

November ‘09 25 liveit.in


Feature

she believes that WiFi and GPRS help her most to stay Tech’s a ‘guy’ thing, Onida Devil
connected in spite of her hectic schedule. “Whenever I have Remember the hunk from Daddy Cool or that enticing Satan
time, I try to chat up with friends and family. It is an excellent from the Onida commercial? Be it a romantic thriller like
medium to stay in touch.” Three: Love, Lies and Betrayal or an out-of-the-box TV ad, this
While keeping in touch with her loved ones has always been a young man surely makes heads turn. Starting his career as a
priority, this smart chic has also used the virtual plane in creating model, Aashish Chaudhary is all set to make his mark as an
a buzz around her forthcoming movies. Priyanka loves actor à la mode. Ask him what keeps him engrossed besides
technology and her official website, acting and Aashish confesses his passion for technology.
http://www.priyankachopra.org/, caters relevant information “Technology is to guys what makeup is to girls,” Aashish
about her upcoming projects. chuckles over his rather puckish comment.
Piggy Chops is ready to embrace any technology which That Aashish is a tech addict is apparent from his love for
promises to make life easier and it is all the better if it comes in a gadgets. And it is just not regular stuff like a laptop or a cell
chic package. Would she like to have a robot maid ever? phone that keeps him hooked. An avid gamer, Aashish has
“Certainly,” pat comes her reply. almost all latest games in his possession. “I am a heavy-duty
Her favourite piece of gizmo till date is an N95. Nokia is this gamer to be sure. Nintendo, PS3, PlayStation and Xbox 360
lady’s first love when it comes to tech apps. “Nokia has been my – you name the gaming console and I have it,” he quips. But
constant companion throughout. It’s basically an extension of his love for gaming doesn’t stop there. This game freak
myself and makes life more organised,” she remarks. Whether frequents relevant websites and plays games online whenever
it’s texting to her friends or responding to a missed call from her he gets a chance.
near ones, nothing will be possible without her smartphone. Aashish caught this fad while shooting for his latest flick
However, here is a piece of advice from the lady. Priyanka wants Dhamal. Long breaks in-between the shoots could have been
her fans to be prudent in using earphones, which come along boring otherwise. But thanks to his love for gaming, the actor
with cell phones. In fact, she is not the one to endorse ‘listening’ knew quite well how to keep himself entertained all the time.
(or talking) while driving as this may result into a fatal accident. Ever since those Dhamal days, he has remained hooked to games
The actor thinks it is “smarter to be safe than to be sorry”. and gizmos.
Priyanka is a regular netizen who manages to squeeze some “Since then, I have flown planes and landed on runways
time out of her hectic schedule and replies to most of the e-mail while my friends operated the landing systems,” Aashish takes
from fans and friends. But she admits skipping the forwarded mail pride in his fidelity to gaming technology. This upcoming star
messages that often jam her mailbox. Priyanka deletes most of goes a step further and reveals his deep fascination by saying
them except when the header promises some interesting content. that gaming is much better any day than the “frivolous
She is, however, extremely cautious when it comes to cyber flirting” in chatrooms.
safety and responsible use of technology. Piggy Chops is Our hectic to-do lists often leave us longing for some ‘me’
completely against music/movie piracy and illegal downloads. A time, some breathing space to do what we love to or to catch up
key figure from the entertainment industry, she is well aware of with old buddies. But for those in a hectic and demanding career
the hard work which goes into film-making or creating good like acting, staying in touch with old friends can be quite
music. “I do not download music or movies and appeal to my daunting. Of course, there are social networking sites that can
fans to refrain from such downloads. Being an actor, I connect you with your friends. So what does the hero of Shaadi
understand the efforts that go into making films and music. We ka Laddoo think of these popular sites?
must respect the hard work and put a stop to illegal downloads. “At first I thought only folks who had nothing better to do
One should only buy original CDs and DVDs as they do not would visit those,” Aashish admits. But his opinion changed
cost much.” she comments. completely when he could actually trace his teenage sweetheart
While films like Fashion and Kaminey have brought her critical via a social networking site. His childhood crush is based in
acclaim, two of her other projects, Chamki Chameli and Pyar Australia and ever since he has found her, the actor is all praise
Impossible, are all set for release. So which of these projects has for these sites.
been most exciting? What impresses him most are the security measures
“I have different feelings for each of my movies. Kaminey adopted by the networking sites to make sure that nobody’s
caught my fancy as it is a path breaking film. And What’s Your privacy is intruded upon. He is happy that Facebook
Rashi was a huge challenge as I played 12 different characters in programmers have done their bit and provide users with
the movie; I guess, we have not done it before. But being a part enough ‘filters’ to avert unwanted attention and intrusion.
of something groundbreaking can be really scary. Pyar Impossible, Besides Facebook, Aashish also wants to try out Twitter. “It
again, caters to a different kind of audience – it’s a sweet, cool is quite basic in functionality but I am yet to give it a try,”
story where I look glamorous and play a contemporary he remarks.
character. As cliché as it sounds, each one is special,” Priyanka Talk about blogging and you will find Aashish quite open to
affirms before signing off. the idea; in fact, he is really keen to share his views and

liveit.in 26 November ‘09


music and video from
my laptop while on the
go. Plus there is a GPS
device in the car that
helps me navigate the
crowded bylanes of
Mumbai.”
And what would be his
dream tech toy? Given his
passion for driving and
technology, it cannot be
anything but a flying car.
“It’s got to be a flying car.
It will save me a lot of
time spent in travelling.
But yes, you cannot drive
and fly at the same time,
right?” Aashish laughs as
he reins in his imagination
from flying higher.
With two of his flicks,
Paying Guests and Daddy
Cool, running smoothly at
city theatres, this
Bollywood star is all praise
for online film promotion.
“These days, it is vital to be
seen and noticed among
the clutter; hence, publicity
is the key. If top stars can
tattoo movie titles on their
bodies for the sake of
publicity, online visibility
should be pretty cool, I
guess,” he comments.
Certainly, Aashish. And
kudos to you for such wise
use of tech apps.
Aashish Chaudhary

experiences with his fans. But this guy surely knows where to Mac is cool, says Jacqueline
draw the line and his admirers are often left guessing about his Meet Jacqueline Fernandez, the svelte chic who hails from
real opinion. “I would rather wait for people to get interested in Sri Lanka and happens to be a former beauty queen. She has
what I have to say. It shouldn’t be like: Hey, let’s get on to the spent her childhood in Bahrain but returned to the emerald
next page,” the actor points out. island after graduating from the University of Sydney. A
A prudent user of latest tech applications, Aashish has both perfect blend of sensuality and sensibility, Jacqueline’s sultry
Windows and Mac installed on his laptop and enjoys the best of looks and little grey cells are sure to gain a solid footing in
both worlds. “I prefer Windows for routine work while Apple is Bollywood with time.
best for listening to music and surfing,” pat comes his reply. Jacqueline plays the female lead opposite Riteish Deshmukh
But what is his most expensive tech toy? Well, it’s his swanky in the fantasy caper Aladdin, directed by Sujoy Ghosh. What’s
Mercedes Benz, the actor professes. more, she is sharing the screen space with none other than Big B
If you are wondering whether this is a valid answer (chances who plays the genie. Looks like a glitzy acting career is awaiting
are he is just showing off), Aashish is quick to clarify. “It may this hottie and she is bang on track. Jaqueline has been a
sound a bit weird but my car has an on-board computer that popular face in the modelling world and we have caught up with
alerts me regarding servicing and so on. I can also synchronise her in a chit-chat.

November ‘09 27 liveit.in


Twitter and I am still trying to
figure things out,” she says
when asked about
the most popular
Web 2.0 applications.
The actor passionately
supports her peers when it
comes to video piracy. She
can never endorse piracy
movie or music piracy of any
sort and thinks of it as
something “cheap”.
Jacqueline buys “only”
original DVDs and CDs for
her personal collection and
takes pride in saying, “I dig
quality stuff.”
This graceful actor
appreciates the producers’
efforts to promote movies
on the World Wide Web.
This surely helps in
reaching out to a wider
audience and gives a flick
that extra boost at the box
office. “The Net is simply
amazing as a promotional
medium. It has really
helped people from our
industry to get that extra
coverage and publicity,”
she affirms.
Jacqueline is happy at the
idea of getting a robot maid
as that will surely do away
with the tiring task of
finding a good domestic
help. But more than that,
Jacqueline Fernandez
she wants to own an Osim
Well, Jacqueline loves her gadgets to be sure, but she is not the massage chair. The very thought of getting a relaxing
one to go bonkers over them as that’s a very “guy thing” to do. massage after a hectic day elates this slender beauty.
So what’s her favourite tech toy? And what is the most expensive piece of technology she owns?
The pretty woman confesses her passion for her phone. Jacqueline says it is her Apple Mac, which is a perfect blend of
“It’s got to be my phone. I just can’t live without it. These utility and style.
days, smartphones offer a lot more than just vanilla voice
and text. You can listen to your favourite music, watch iPhone is my world: Kkusum girl
videos, play games and even surf the Net – all at high speed The demure and docile young wife of the TV serial Kkusum
(courtesy 3G).” seems to have come a long way. Once a small screen
What about her next best tech toy? sensation, the lead actress of Ekta Kapoor’s daily soap has
“It’s the Apple Mac, any day,” she quips. “Once you use done her bit of tightrope walking and undergone a radical
Apple products, you are just hooked to them.” makeover to become a glamorous Bollywood babe. With
Jacqueline is not yet into blogging but she simply loves Twitter, oodles of oomph and a confident stride, Nausheen Ali
the micro-blogging site. She is new to it, but the smart babe is Sardar stuns all with her gorgeous looks and is bound to
enjoying every bit of the discovery journey. “I have just joined make it big in no time.

liveit.in 28 November ‘09


When asked about her
favourite tech toy,
Nausheen doesn’t even
pause to think before she
replies. Yes, it’s her iPhone.
The attractive techie has a
fetish for fashion and it is
the chic look of the gadget
that keeps her hooked. Her
fascination is all too
apparent as she details its
features. “I just love its sleek
look and the touchscreen
interface. And thanks to my
phone, I don’t need to
carry my iPod anymore –
my music is there on the
phone itself.”
The iPhone is surely a
charmer to keep
Nausheen hooked. But the
sensuous siren has one
complaint – there is no
message forwarding
option in the gadget.
A regular laptop user,
Nausheen sticks to
Windows but plans to
chuck it soon and go for
Mac. But why so? Because
Mac is less susceptible to
virus, pat comes the reply.
She is sure to impress you
with her knowledge of
latest tech developments.
Staying connected with
family, friends and fans
often seems an arduous
Nausheen Ali Sardar
task when you are as
As Kusum, she used to endure her husband in spite of busy as Nausheen. But the tech-savvy actor manages it well
his flings outside marriage. But now there will be a role by keeping her laptop WiFi-enabled while on the go. “WiFi
reversal for Nausheen, as she makes her debut on the big allows me to access e-mail messages in hotspot areas without
screen and plays an adulterous wife in Three: Love, Lies and a data card and cable,” she clarifies. However, unlike those
Betrayal. But there’s more to come. In Marathon (awaiting who keep the Bluetooth on 24x7, Nausheen prefers not to use
release), her second big project, she will be opposite her it unless there is an absolute necessity. And her logic is quite
real-life love interest, Prashant Chainani. As we eagerly sound. For one, non-stop use of the Bluetooth can actually
anticipate a mushy reel romance between a real-life couple, exhaust the gadget’s battery. Then, there are greater risks of
Live IT catches up with Nausheen and discusses her love getting annoying messages from complete strangers, she
for technology. points out.
So, is Nausheen a gadget girl? The diva loves toying with the idea of a robot maid and feels
“Absolutely! I love my gadgets – be it my cell phone or that a properly programmed one will surely be a boon. But
laptop,” she gushes. “These gizmos have made our life so when it comes to video piracy, Nausheen is not the one to
easy. I will be totally handicapped in the absence of my endorse anything illegal, although a bit of file-sharing is not
tech toys.” much of a crime to her. I

November ‘09 29 liveit.in


Feature

VFX: Eye-popping
visuals that thrill
& chill Viny Velayudhan
The magic of special effects

According to a media report, Jennifer is more than happy


with her unique creation. “The Americans have never seen
re you fond of a betrayal-and-revenge tale that such a snake and the Indians, too, haven’t seen a snake-woman

A comes alive with chilling thrills and a supernatural


lacing? And what can be better if Bollywood’s sexiest
siren (read Mallika Sherawat) plays the nagin this
time? Critics say that she has beaten Reena or Sridevi hollow in
Hissss – a movie directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of the
the way I’ve designed her,” she gushes. When the incredible
metamorphosis happens, Mallika is not the run-of-the-mill tiny
snake we almost always find in a horror serial. Instead, she
turns into an enormous reptile, viciously bares her fangs, looks
superbly natural and shocks you to the core. “Robert is a
four-time Oscar nominee and two-time Cannes Film Festival special effects genius and he fell in love with the snake because
winner David Linch. it’s something that he hasn’t yet worked on as far as special
But in case you think that it is just a remake of Nagin that effects and make-up go,” adds Jennifer and the outcome is,
had taken Bollywood by storm in the 1970s, well, think again. indeed, spectacular.
For Hissss features some spectacular visual effects or VFX shots
that Indian cinema has never witnessed before. In fact, Robert Watch out for these fab flicks
Kurtzman – Hollywood’s best in make-up and special effects – Hissss is a sensual story and Mallika Sherawat sans dialogues and
has been roped in to make it a Hollywood delight in the guise a lot of butt-show (some say it’s her body double) makes it even
of Bollywood. more mind-blowing. But the movie is a must watch because you

liveit.in 30 November ‘09


can experience a lot of splendid special effects in this flick – complement the scintillating stunts and action – on land
opening up a world of fantasy that is as good as reality. and under water.
Another movie in this genre is Aladin, of course, with big Among the upcoming movies, we have Rajnikanth’s Endhiran,
stars like Big B (the genie), Sanjay Dutt (he plays a cool villain which promises a rich fare of special effects. Budgeted at $24
called Ringmaster) and Riteish Deshmukh (as Alladin). Call it million and directed by S. Shankar, the sci-fi flick will feature a
the Indian version of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, for the robot as the villain while a machine dog plays another key role.
visual delights in store will straightaway take you back to the Aishwarya plays the female lead and Rajnikanth happens to be
Arabian Nights. Filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh has equated his the hapless scientist whose robot creates havoc and he is obliged
movie to eating an ice-cream with your eyes. And even Big B to work out a solution.
runs on and on about the magic moments the movie is capable The storyline may sound like a remake of Frankenstein, but
to create. The big-budget, special effects-laden film also marks when it comes to striking special effects, we have a clutch of
the entry of Sri Lankan beauty Jacqueline Fernandez, paired Hollywood biggies working for Endhiran. Hollywood studios
opposite Riteish.

ILM, Tippet and Café Efx are there, as well as


Hong Kong-based studios Centro and Menford.


Animatronics will be handled by Stan Winston Studio who
The VFX work for Aladin was the most complex has done some amazing work for Predator, Jurassic Park, Iron
of its kind ever undertaken in India. With Man, Pearl Harbour, I, Robot and Terminator. It is rumoured that
approximately 1600 VFX shots created over one year the studio is creating a robot that will be a replica of the
and at a quality level never achieved before, Aladin was a Indian film star. Indian Artiste will co-ordinate the VFX and
huge challenge – both technically and artistically. animatronics for Endhiran.
Moreover, it was created by a new company in Mumbai, One should also watch out for Priyadarshan’s De Dana Dan
EyeQube Studios, which was opened only six months and Dharma Productions’ Qurbaan; both have some special
before Aladin got into full swing. effects magic in store and Red Chillies VFX is currently
There are companies in India who have been in this working on them. What’s more, King Khan himself has joined
business for 10 years but who can never achieve the the VFX bandwagon. Shah Rukh’s next home production will
quality we have managed to produce. Personally, I think be a superhero movie with some spectacular VFX which can
work can always improve and nothing is perfect. turn out to be a benchmark in the Indian VFX industry.
However, I sincerely believe that Aladin shows that India
can be taken seriously in the VFX world if it focuses on Invisible effects that trick and treat
quality, not just quantity, and the price. So what is so special about special effects? Well, we would
– Charles Darby on Aladin. He heads EyeQube “
Studios, an Eros International company. EyeQube did the
visual effects for Aladin while Darby was the
say that the technology has gone beyond the spectacular but
the obvious. Can you ever forget Shah Rukh carrying
himself in his arms in Don where he plays a double role? But
creative supervisor. when you are watching that or the futuristic gadgets of
Dhoom 2, you are fully aware of what is real and what is not.
But if you want to move away from the domain of The visual treats in these movies surely satisfy your sense of
supernatural or fairytale, and want to be a part of the awe and wonder, but cannot trick you into believing that
‘macho’ actions movies, VFX can surely keep your adrenalin they exist in real life.
flowing. Take, for instance, Blue, the first-ever underwater Hold on! Don’t forget the breathtaking scenes that look as
thriller that promises never-seen-before visuals and stunts. real as can be. You will never suspect that they are totally
Directed by Anthony D’Souza, who can lead this top-of-the- non-existent in real life, thanks to some neat technological
rung action film except our good old Akki (Akshay Kumar)? manoeuvres. Remember, when Shah Rukh Khan jumps off
The stunning special effects and underwater photography the roof in Main Hoon Na? No, you haven’t watched a great

November ‘09 31 liveit.in


Feature

act of stunt. Instead, SRK was just acting in a studio with But that’s not all. Do you remember the jam-packed stadiums
the ‘Chroma Screen’ background. The strings that held him and the cheering crowds of Chak De? Believe it or not, the
in the air were actually placed on him in such a manner that stadiums were empty during the live shoot and the rest was
they could be cleaned up during compositing (a process created by VFX artists. Crowds were created using background
through which multiple layers of effects are merged scenes and only 300 artists were required for a day’s shoot. Even
together). The background, the flames and other visuals the scoreboards and the flying balls in penalty shots were
were later put together by the VFX team to make it look computer-generated. The last 40 minutes of Dil Bole Hadippa was
most realistic. also shot in an empty stadium. The entire crowd was later added
It was the same old story when Hrithik and Ash rode their by the studio. The benefits? It cuts costs in the first place and
bike over whirling helicopter blades and missed them narrowly also takes care of security issues. Imagine thousands of people in
in Dhoom:2. The original police chopper was a rickety wooden a live shoot with SRK, Rani, Hrithik or Ash. VFX helps prevent
dummy whose heavy blades fell off even before the shoot that pandemonium which will most surely occur in such cases.
started. But thanks to VFX at work, the rotor-blades managed
to freeze our blood when the duo took that scintillating leap.

Stunned? Well, the same thing happened in Jodhaa Akbar too.


The clean-up act was there, too; all the rigs and wires that The battle scenes of the movie do not lack the grandeur or
enabled the characters to perform some stunning actions had to impact of Mughal-e-Azam. But unlike K. Asif, director Ashutosh
go off the screen. And who else could help except the special Gowarikar did not opt for an elaborate shoot with thousands of
effects team? men on-field. Akbar’s army was created on-screen, with the help
Want to know more? Some of the mind-boggling VFX by of crowd-replication technology – thus cutting on costs, time
Red Chillies can be seen in Om Shanti Om where Deepika and efforts. Visual Computing Labs (VCL), Tata Elxsi’s VFX
Padukone dances with Bollywood heroes of yesteryear in a retro Division, not only did a commendable job in this area but also
song. It took six months to scan the negatives from the 70s created the realistic-looking palaces that wowed the Jodha Akbhar
movies and three songs from Amrapali, Saccha Jhutha and Jay-Vijay audience.
were finalised. The old negatives were then restored to the best
possible quality while the OSO shots were brought down a little Location shoot? It’s history now …
to match the overall effect. The fire scene in the climax of Om Or nearly so, if we may say so. In Karan Johar’s Dostana, Priyanka
Shanti Om was another challenge for the studio, but it came off Chopra’s luxury apartment in Miami was actually shot in Film
amazingly well. City, Mumbai. The Miami backdrop was added later – a most
convincing touch but make-believe, all the same. Once again in


The times are changing.The directors, the Dhoom:2, the entire fort heist (where Ash and Hrithik carry out
producers and the writers are now aware of their stealing operation) was computer generated in the VCL
what the VFX artists can do. Earlier,VFX artists were studio. There was no fort – only a terrace which was 12 ft high
usually called to fix the shots where the damage was with an area of 16 ft x 16 ft. The palace, fort, walls and, of course,
already done. Or they were involved at the last stage, the city far below were all CG creations, digitally added to the live
post-shoot.VFX was used as a cost-saving exercise as well. action. So in reality, Ash only climbed 12 ft instead of 200 ft to the
But these days,VFX people are called in for the creative reach the top of the fort. Similarly, the hair-rising drop of Hrithik-
part during the initiation of the film.VFX-oriented scripts Ash to the city far below was as safe as possible.
are being written also. India is almost on par with “
Hollywood in systems and infrastructure; but we are a little
behind due to the shortage of trained manpower.”
New York and Delhi-6 are no exceptions, either. While Yash
Raj’s New York was mostly shot in Philadelphia due to certain
issues, VCL made the all-important metamorphosis and
– Keitan Yadav, COO, redchillies.vfx transformed the location by incorporating the New York skyline
in the movie. As for Delhi-6, it was next to impossible to shoot in

liveit.in 32 November ‘09


Old Delhi and Chandni Chowk because of the crowd. So the Harry Baweja, the Harman-Priyanka starrer is particularly
UTV crew moved to Jaipur and at least 40 per cent of the flick heavy on special effects and gizmos. In the movie, Mumbai
was shot there – ensuring both cost-cutting and convenience. becomes a super-futuristic metropolis while a robot and a teddy
Delhi-6 might not have tasted success at the box office, but it had bear play key roles. And the result? People were delighted to
some cool visual effects done by Chennai-based post-production watch the special effects but the storyline failed to grip them.
house, Prasad Efx. The message is quite clear, it seems. Today’s movie-goers do
welcome special effects only if it contributes to the story-line. It


We are getting more challenging VFX work now. must be an integral part of the movie and must serve a purpose.
Every movie is a new challenge.There are two Instead of being mere eye candy, technology must bring a sense
types of challenges we face – internal and external.The of distinction that will help movies stand out from run-of-the-
internal challenge is creating the visuals envisioned by film- mill productions. A good story-line, a meaningful message, a
makers. But the external challenge is somewhat different. hilarious fantasy, a great adventure – such themes never lose
Here, we have to demonstrate how VFX can be used in their charm and VFX certainly adds more zing to them.
their movies. For us, the 3D animated movie Roadside Think of Jadoo in Rakesh Roshan’s Koi Mil Gaya where an
Romeo was the turning point and for visual effects, Dhoom alien charms kids and grown-ups alike. Jadoo’s spaceship and
and Dhoom:2 were the benchmarks. other ET-like wonders left the audience longing for more. So
Indian VFX movies fail when they rely more on came Krissh – with stunts, visuals, effects and gizmos that wowed
techniques than on the story. Story is the most important all, especially the sci-fi lovers. Craig Mumma, VFX director at
thing that connects with the audience. If you can’t do that, Prasad Efx, created the award-winning special effects for Krissh.
VFX will be of no use. If creative people write good Although science fantasies, both movies come with gripping
scripts for VFX movies and animation flicks, it will work story-lines and touching messages – key qualities that do not lose
for us as well. Our writers may lack experience, but they way in the complex maze of tech wonders.
are not weak. They only need to write more scripts and Soumitra Ranade’s Jajantaram Mamantaram is another
learn more. They need to figure out what works and what interesting flick where theme and technology complement each
doesn’t work. It’s just a matter of time and we will soon other. Based on Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the movie
have some good movies with great VFX and animation –
on par with international standards.
– Pankaj Khandpur
“ experiments with several visual effects and tells a much-loved
tale with an Indian touch. Directed by Kunal Kohli, Thoda Pyaar
Thoda Magic is another delightful watch with a lot of beautiful
Creative Director,VCL,Tata Elxsi VFX shots. Do you remember Rani Mukherjee cycling on a
rainbow? Or the God Almighty (Rishi Kapoor, of course) with
However, Hollywood blockbuster King Arthur has done it in the access to state-of-the-art technology? Well, there are more such
most spectacular manner. Forget the misty mountains, frozen scenes with fun, frolic, fantasy and a little melodrama embedded
lakes or the picaresque bays of the Celtic England so beautifully in them. And the overall reception was good.
shown in the movie. They do not exist in reality. Simply put, it is For those looking for a completely new genre (read Disney genre)
computer graphics (CG) at its best and what you get to watch is in Bollywood with suitable special effects, nothing can be more
an aesthetic combo of great natural elements – Irish cliffs, desirable than Roadside Romeo. Yashraj Films was once again in
Scottish highlands, French Alps and English south coast. charge of a movie with a fun story, good musical numbers and
amazing technical excellence. The full-fledged animation film
Tech or art – What makes them tick? thrived on the Disney legacy and employed some advanced
Not all VFX movies make it big at the box office in spite of techniques never used before. Directed by Jugal Hansraj, the
being tech marvels. Drona is a case in point, where the unique spectacular special effects for this movie were made by Tata Elxsi-
special effects were worked upon by EyeQube and headed by VCL in collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures. Meticulous
the renowned Charles Darby and David Bush. Consequently, attention had been paid – not only to the characters, but also to the
this Abhishek-Priyanka starrer displayed all kinds of VFX – surroundings. VCL is now working on their second 3D animation
right from set extensions and enhancements, crowd replication feature film, Arjun, which promises to be a treat for the eyes.
and sky replacement to CGI animation, particle animation, To wrap things up, it can be easily surmised that movie buffs
wire-removal and much more. Drona came with some awe- will have a jolly good time. You will be able to watch some mind-
inspiring shots and the entire movie was done in 4K resolution, blowing flicks created with the help of cutting-edge technologies
which ensured very good picture quality. Yet, the Goldie Behl that will surely redefine your movie-viewing experience. You will
flick failed miserably because VFX was given more importance be stepping into that unreal yet more-than-real fantasy world of
than the story and the film eventually failed to connect with CG – enthralled by great movies with wonderful content and
the audience. innovative special effects.
Again, the failure of the much-touted Love Story 2050 proves Let’s go get more popcorn! I
that a good story is the key to a movie’s success. Directed by Additional input: Sanghamitra Mandal

November ‘09 33 liveit.in


Snapshots

1 2

Gurgaon, a tech city that showcases latest


gizmos, isthe hotbed of the hi-tech fads.
Let us take look to find out the most in-
thing in this happening city .
Viny Velayudhan
1 Wireless home within easy reach?
In a bid to promote their wireless products and services,
Cisco and Tata sent a mobile van across the residential areas of
Gurgaon – showcasing the ease of leading a wireless life. The
demonstration focused on combining Cisco’s Linksys products
with Tata’s wireless broadband services to help create state-of-the-
art wireless homes in Gurgaon. Cisco, a market leader in wireless
home networking solutions, has developed a plethora of products
including wireless adaptors, entertainment routers, network- 5
attached storage and Internet-based home-monitoring cameras.
Another objective of this unique campaign was to make people
aware of various tech-related topics such as wireless printing,
3 Live life F1 style
So what do you think Gurgaon is lacking when it comes to
home monitoring, video streaming and Internet sharing. ‘Life after Work’? The city has all the entertainment quotients that
one looks for – dazzling malls, gourmet restaurants, decent watering
2 ID card for student tracking
Are you worried about your children’s safety when they
holes, futuristic multiplexes and jazzy discotheques. But those with a
penchant for thrill and adventure may find these too tame for their
are away in school? Take heart and smile, as stringent safety taste. Here is good news for the brave hearts though, especially if you
measures will be implemented soon to keep students safe. Delhi love speed. No, we are not talking about the multi-starrer flick, but
Public School in Sector 45 has decided to use GPRS, GPS and the motor sports city that will come up in Mewat district, nearly 60
GSM technologies for student ID cards. The hardware will be km away from the city of Gurgaon. The Haryana government has
attached to the card and the student’s movement can be already approved the plan and the proposed Gurgaon Motor Sports
tracked through radio frequency identification technology City will be spread over an area of 1600-1700 acres. The project will
(RFID). If the student leaves the school premises or gets off the feature a race track and other facilities like hotels, entertainment
school bus, an alarm will ring in the control room and the parks and a golf course. Initial investment has amounted to Rs 2000
parents will be notified immediately via an SMS. This crore, and the future projection stands at Rs 6000 crore. The new
innovative move surely testifies that the school is concerned city will also generate direct employment for 7500 persons. Now, all
about its students and their well-being. we need is some fast-track development and a speedy finish.

liveit.in 34 November ‘09


3 4

5 Gurgaon police go hi-tech


Guess who is getting tech savvy in this dynamic era of
digital revolution? The cops, of course, in case you are not aware
of it. In a recent attempt to ensure a makeover, the Gurgaon
police have decided to go hi-tech with many cool gadgets. To
begin with, all standard services are made available on their
official website: www.gurgaonpolice.net and one need not visit a
police station in person. You can register an FIR online, take a
printout of the document and check the complaint status. One
can also access all necessary information regarding missing
persons, lost/found vehicles, road accidents and so on. And if
you want to apply for a driving license, a passport or an arms
license, forget the tiresome paperwork and the long queues.
Here, you can apply online and check the status, too.
What’s more, all important city areas are now scanned by IP and
6 CCTV cameras. There are GPS locators, too, in all police
stations and control rooms. Best of all, the police can quickly
4 Rural Gurgaon gets TERI power
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has set up a
track the location of a cell phone if someone sends an SMS,
asking for help. Senior officers can keep track of the whole
solar-powered IT knowledge centre in rural Gurgaon for the first system on a broadband-based online surveillance system that is
time. And the solar-powered hybrid battery used by TERI is, connected to all police stations and CCTV cameras.
indeed, a utility item as it can provide an average electricity
backup of four to six hours. Using the latest in information and
communication technology, the knowledge centre provides a wide
range of paid free services to the rural population. In addition to
6 Drink & drive to defamation
In a bid to control drunk driving with an iron hand,
computer training and spoken English classes, services like natural Gurgaon police have come up with the novel idea of defaming
resource management and water testing solutions are also offered. the offenders. Now motorists caught in the act have their names,
The centre provides agricultural information and serves as an addresses and photographs published on the police website. But
interactive platform so that local farmers can exchange ideas with who wants that dubious distinction, that bad publicity, which
TERI experts. Solar products and culinary herbs are also may hound him (or her) for life? Not many, for sure, because the
marketed by the organisation. Encouraged by its success in plan has worked well and the number of road accidents have
Gurgaon, TERI has further plans to set up more solar-powered come down considerably. But those who still think that drinking
technology centres across rural India. and driving go together and do not give a hoot even after
defamation, will eventually lose their licenses. I

November ‘09 35 liveit.in


Cel e b B l o g s r u l e
CYBERIA
Why celebs share the
ir persona l space with fans…
Payal Shah

o you remember the trend of maintaining a personal Take the top-of-the-mind example in this field. It is one of the

D diary? Or journals? Where we recounted our daily


lives, incidents, feelings, expressions. We locked it with
a numeric code in case mom came peeking in and
discovered the latest crush or bunked classes. We wrote in there,
we coloured in it, we pasted pictures, decorated it with knick-
most talked about celebrity blogs currently in the blogosphere –
the big blog of the techno-savvy superstar Amitabh Bachchan
who is probably one of the most dedicated and genuine celebrity
bloggers today (http://bigb.bigadda.com/). More than the
content, what makes his blog interesting is the story behind how
knacks. Sometimes when we felt nostalgic, we turned back the it all started. Big B has been blogging for more than 550 days
pages and reflected upon the moments gone by. And enjoyed it! now. And it all began when the media started to misquote him
That was then, when we maintained personal diaries. Today and use his citations in twisted versions. Controversies piped up
we maintain blogs. We blog in cyberspace, pouring in our and there was a lot of negative media light on him for all the
experiences and daily dos – as much as we would like to share. wrong reasons. It was then he decided to take to blogging as his
We write, we share, we post pictures, we invite friends to read mouthpiece and an effective tool to communicate with his fans
our experiences on the blog. No wonder the blog bug has bitten and readers across the globe. As the owner and writer of the
almost everyone – be it a cyber junkie, a technocrat or a 70 mm blog, he can now cite his version of the stories in a true sense.
superstar. Blogging has become more than a trend in cyberia. The concept had been clarified in his first ever post
From Hollywood hunk Bruce Willis to Bollywood’s own Big B – (http://bigb.bigadda.com/?m=200804&paged=12): ‘Here is a
the celebrities of the world have taken to blogging as a great question on the reason for repeating my interviews on the blog
platform to speak one’s mind. even though they have been read in print. Very valid, but with a
As we all know, blog is the short form of the word weblog. It is a minor difference. Read the print in the newspaper and then
personal online log book which is open to the world to read, react minutely, my official written responses and you will discover that
and interact. And that’s what makes blogging a medium to reckon all that I have given has NOT been incorporated in the Press.
with. A medium which is respected and adopted quickly. Because it This is not an accusation. Press has the liberty and the right to
is easy, fast, editable, reaches out to the world without any hassle and, print, in their assessment, what they feel needs to go on their
most importantly, it belongs to the person who writes it. The
owner/creator of the blog has unlimited freedom to post personal
views without editorial interferences. It is a personally ‘owned’ media
space which has no restriction or segmentation of readership. No
wonder then that several celebrities including those in India have
taken to blogging as the means to share.

Tracking celeblog and more


In August, 2006, Technorati discovered the blog of Chinese Actress
Xu Jinglei as one of the most linked-in blogs
(http://blog.sina.com.cn/xujinglei). With more than 50 million
page views as claimed by the Chinese media, it was one of the most
popular blogs at that time. It’s a different thing that China imposed
a blanket ban upon blogger-powered blogs early this year. Several
celebrities from all walks of life are steadfast bloggers already.

liveit.in 36 November ‘09


paper. But at times I feel, all that I had to say and the manner in films and current
which it was said, can and does give a different mentality to the projects. May be
interview. I would in all fairness therefore, want the readers of blogging helps him
my Blog, that take the trouble to access it, be privy to facts as highlight things that
they were portrayed by me. And in the true spirit of fairness, other media would not
allow the reader to judge what he thinks is acceptable or not. do. It might have helped
The Blog shall, therefore, give all of us an opportunity to him recount the actual
interact as freely as possible and not have to wait for, or be story behind the whole
guided by, another medium, which may not be as easily ‘unbuttoning’ drama at a
approachable as this Blog.’ certain fashion show this
Blogging for Bachchan initially started as a communication year. But again, his is not
medium to put things into proper perspective. He wanted to a much-talked-about
counter negative stories and put to rest media-driven rumours that blog as his posts are
sensationalised the gossip mills. Counter-attacks were on as he infrequent, although
tackled the false allegations of ‘Big Bannerism’ published in the interesting.
Outlook magazine and then went on to clarify the family’s temple Aamir Khan’s blog on
visits as a regular act (which was quoted in the media as a way to his website
cleanse Aishwarya Rai’s manglik tendencies). And he had successfully (http://www.aamir
managed to voice his indignant reactions politely, diplomatically. Of khan.com/blog/
course, the media did help in hyping up the space – since both login.php) is a decent
blogging and AB were hot topics and they still are. affair, too. But his posts
Readers’ reactions overwhelmed him and in spite of the fact are as infrequent and
that he was new to this technology, Bachchan got hooked to come once or twice a month. His writing has a personal touch and
blogging with some help from the Bigadda team (in whose the star keeps one updated about his current projects, his interests
domain space Big B’s blog exists). He is quite regular and candidly and whereabouts. Do you know that Aamir is a great fan of
interacts with his readers. There are hundreds of comments on Roddick and Federer? In fact, he seems like a sports freak. He also
every post, sometimes within minutes of his posting a new entry. loves reading and has given up smoking.
And he even manages to reply to a few. Such is the humble Not just film stars, but sports stars and fitness experts like
grandeur of this man, deeply loved and respected throughout Harbhajan Singh and Anjali Mukerjea blog as well.
India and across the world. Being on blogosphere gets him closer Controversies have plagued his professional life but just like
to his fans whom he refers to as his ‘extended family’. other celebrities, Harbhajan has used his blog as his mouthpiece
While Big B has started blogging to fight it right against false to clarify the ‘cameraman’ incident wherein the media
media claims and directly interact with his fans, other celebrities insinuated that he had slapped the camera guy in Bangalore.
have taken to it as they feel that it is a better promotional
medium than most. Says Avis Dhir, product manager of Why would we read celebrity blogs?
BigAdda: “A lot depends on the status of the celebrity and what Celebrities are people we look up to, whom we adore and those
kind of mileage he or she is looking for. Some look to promote who have a claim to fame. As a curious species, we would like to
themselves, their activities and films; others want to gauge know more about these people we like – their work, hobbies and
viewers’ response. Again, some celebs simply want to interact thoughts. In fact, we would like to know the real persons behind
with their fans. the façade. Celebrity
Since blogging is credible and transparent, it puts these blogs are all the more
celebrities directly in touch with their fans. Moreover, it’s a appealing to fans and
simple medium to operate. So once guided, anyone can use this followers who love to
as a platform to communicate,” he adds. collect trivia and keep
But all celebrity bloggers are not as successful. “The success of themselves updated.
the blog depends on the stickiness of the content,” comments Blogging as a personal
Dhir. “Amitabh writes himself unlike a lot of other celebs who and universal medium
get their posts ghostwritten or posted by their PR managers. But offers both the celeb and
readers can gauge whether the post is genuine. Besides the the fan/reader a win-win
content, the frequency is also important. To attract more situation where the
readers, it is essential to blog at least once a week.” former gets the self-
Akhshay Kumar, too, has a blog on BigAdda, and although he owned freedom of
writes himself, the posts haven’t been too regular. If you follow speech and the latter the
the pattern, you will find that his posts have more to do with his content to feed upon.

November ‘09 37 liveit.in


Feature

Microblogging: The new trend anything new. A celebrity of that status must retain that aura of
For those celebs unwilling to type out a few hundred words, mystery,” he adds.
microblogging has turned out to be the best option. It is a new
format of blogging in précis and busy celebs now go with Can celebs use blogging as PR tool?
Twitter as they fire off 140 words or so. From Shah Rukh Khan “We are living in a world where perception is the reality. Stars
to Lara Dutta and Mallika Sherawat, from Pritish Nandy to are what we think they are; we only build their image. If we
Shashi Tharoor – a great many celebs are regular ‘Tweeters’. know the reality, they won’t remain stars,” says Bhagwagar. In a
The basic utility of ‘Twittering’ is the same as blogging, but the nutshell, celebrities must use blogging discretely and should not
difference lies in the size of the post. Nonetheless, the ‘Tweets’ tell people everything about their daily life and routine. It may
enable them to stay connected with fans, update information help build a relationship with fans, but it kills the enigmatic aura
and express personal thoughts. that a celeb often wears.
Thanks to microblogging, Mallika Sherawat can instantly But all in all, blogging or microblogging does help celebrities
share her experience when she was in Los Angeles shooting for a manage negative PR rising out of controversies. It is, indeed, a
film. Her Twitter posts talked about herself, the comments she great opportunity as they can personally clarify things and do
received from a particular away with confusions on a public forum like this one. Take, for
director or how she instance, the case of Dr Shashi Tharoor. The ‘cattle class’
enjoyed at the Twitter controversy (that’s how he termed the common men) had the
Head Office. Again, parties calling for his head. So he has apologised profusely and
Priyanka Chopra continues to ‘tweet’ without losing his fan following. It is because
discussed how hectic her he has built a sound relationship with the ‘common men’ by
schedules were during her ‘tweeting’ about his thoughts and activities and they have started
latest film What’s Your admiring him. So the fallout was not as bad as expected. While
Rashee and also the mass media spent hours and pages on discussions, his
‘Twittered’ happily about ‘tweeting’ habit helped retain his image.
her upcoming movies. Speaking of politicos, one can hardly forget the blogs posted by L
Karan Johar, too, K Advani (http://blog.lkadvani.in) where he tried to do an Obama
announces music releases, and garner support. He had talked about the underprivileged
press conferences and female child and other ‘hot’ issues – topics that would gain his party
movie releases on Twitter. a lot of political leverage. The blog did create a buzz, but it didn’t
help BJP win the elections. May be because blogging as a
Blogging for brand building communication tool is still not powerful enough to influence voters.
Blogging/microblogging can prove to be powerful brand Charismatic politicians should keep that in mind, especially after
communication and brand building tools for a unique ‘product’ the blogs of Omar Abdullah and Laloo Yadav failed miserably.
like celebrities. They are brands in their own right, but people
judge them too frequently and too fast. So they are always
under the threat of being misperceived. Blogging does help
these iconic figures get on a personal level with the world. The
world on whose peaks they otherwise reign. They can use the
tool to get intimate, build relations and interact with their fans.
They can re-make or break the image other people or the
media have created. They can bombard people with
information about themselves without being misquoted. Simply
put, they can communicate heart to heart and cash in on a
great many advantages.
But PR guru Dale Bhagwagar who has handled image
management for Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty et al, thinks Although the concept of blogging comes from the West, it has
otherwise. “It’s okay for less-known celebrities (say, Ram Gopal become the ‘in’ thing here in India, especially after celebs from
Verma or Karan Johar) to blog regularly. But a stalwart like all spheres decided to have a finger in the blog pie. The tech-
Amitabh Bachchan should refrain from frequent blogging. It savvy brigade has jumped on the bandwagon faster but others
would make him too familiar and he would lose that enigma are also trying to catch up. In a nutshell, celebrity blogging is
which makes him a super star. here to stay and it will evolve into something bigger, more
In my opinion it’s professional hara-kiri. Take the example of interesting and more impactful with time, if done in the right
Shilpa Shetty or Aamir Khan. Aamir, for instance, posts sense. Till then, watch out for more of these popular icons
something and then just disappears for a while before posting making it big on blogging. I

liveit.in 38 November ‘09


Feature

Do you need
Blu-ray?
Next big thing in home video technology
Sudarshan Purohit

ajal got a call from her cousin in the USA. “I am at a laser to read/store data while a standard DVD uses a red

K bookstore here and there are some great movies on sale,


in Blu-ray format! Do you want me to get them for you
when I come next month?”
“Let me think it over and mail you tomorrow.” Kajal replied.
She wasn’t sure what Blu-ray meant, and didn’t want to admit it
one. As we all know, a series of pits are burnt into
DVDs/CDs to store data. Since the blue-violet laser has a
shorter wavelength (405 nanometer instead of the traditional
650 nm), it burns smaller pits on the surface, thus storing
more data with greater precision. Blu-ray Discs can store up
to her cousin. So she decided to find out. to 25 GB data on a single-layer disc and up to 50 GB on a
dual-layer (DL) disc.
What is Blu-ray? Think about it for a second. An average DVD can store up to
Blu-ray is a recent technology for storing a huge amount of 4.7 GB data on a single-layer disc and about 9 GB on a DL disc.
data in an optical disc. A Blu-ray Disc or BD has the same So the data storage capacity of a Blu-ray Disc is five times more
size and shape as a DVD or a CD, but it uses a blue-violet than a standard DVD. What’s more, the image quality of a Blu-

November ‘09 39 liveit.in


prints left. Old movies are definitely better preserved in
countries like the USA and Japan. But even then, it takes time
and money to remaster those movies to Blu-ray quality.
Till date, Indian DVD companies have not taken the initiative
to remaster old movies. Even DVD releases of old movies lack the
required quality. The output is just CD-quality, repackaged into a
single disc. The reason for very less Blu-Ray releases is simple –
there are not enough Blu-ray players, content and buyers in India!
The Blu-ray market is picking up though, as tech giants like
Philips and Sony are working together with leading production
houses such as Eros, Yash Raj Films and Big Videos. Efforts are
on to remaster more than 500 Indian films which will further
develop and broaden the Blu-ray ecosystem in the country.

Do you need a Blu-ray – pros and cons


ray video ensures the ultimate cinematic viewing experience – Who comes first, the player or the disc?
far superior to the traditional DVD output. This is the proverbial chicken-and-egg problem. There is not
The first Blu-ray Discs came out in June, 2006; but they were enough content (read Blu-ray videos) for Indian viewers because
much too expensive and did not sell well. Blu-ray really took off there are not enough BD players which are affordable and
when Sony released its gaming console PlayStation 3 in the USA accessible. And there is no point in buying players because there is
in November, 2006. As PlayStation 3 came with a Blu-ray player, not enough content! Add to this the high price of Blu-ray discs,
lakhs of US homes were flooded with these ready-to-perform, players and high-definition televisions, and we can easily
high-end gadgets. Keen to cash in on the new technology, understand why the demand for Blu-ray products is so low in India.
renowned studios such as Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Fox,
Disney and Lionsgate started releasing movies in the Blu-ray Does movie quality improve?
format. Till date, more than 10 million Blu-ray players have Movies in Blu-ray format provide sharper images, richer colours
been sold and the number is going up every day. and clearer lines. But this is readily apparent only on a television
with good enough resolution. Blu-ray viewers must have HD TVs
Blu-ray products – at home and abroad – a new format that promises three times the clarity of normal
Around 2,500 Blu-ray products are available in the USA such as television sets. However, HD TVs are just beginning to be popular
movies, console games for PlayStation 3 and relevant software in India and haven’t yet reached the mass market. Samsung, Sony
programmes. Although some of these are available in India, and others biggies have launched HD models that cost twice or
demand for these high-end gadgets is yet to build up. Currently, more the price of normal television sets. But unlike other
Sony is the key supplier of this Gen Y home video technology as countries, Cable TV and DTH do not transmit high-resolution
PlayStation 3 and new models of Vaio laptops come with Blu- content to justify a super-expensive HD TV at home. The
ray players. Then there are companies like LG and Samsung Cable/DTH quality is often on par with average DVD output
who have also come up with Blue-ray and HD players (the latter and the only time you get to see HD-quality video on your HD
is meant for high-definition DVDs). Philips has also introduced a TV is when you connect a Blu-Ray player. The situation is
new range of Blu-ray players and home theatre systems for the entirely different in digitally advanced countries like the USA and
Indian market. However, most of the Blu-ray products are far Japan. The content transmitted there are digital and HD. As a
too expensive and, therefore, lack popular acceptance. result, you are assured of a better viewing experience even when
But what matters most is the content or rather, the lack of it. you are watching routine TV programmes.
Very few Indian movies are available in this format and all you Then, there are TV screen sizes to consider for good-quality
can buy are the deluxe editions of new releases with extra viewing. Studies show that most people are able to notice the
features and commentary. Although some of the Hollywood difference between DVD and Blu-ray only if the TV screen is 38
flicks in Blu-ray are sold here at a premium, majority of the inches or more. But in India, most television sets feature 28-32
Indian firms only roll out DVDs and do not seem too willing to inch screens and you can only see DVD-quality images instead
opt for a format change due to technology and cost constraints. of the optimum picture quality that your HD TV and Blu-ray
Converting a movie to a Blu-ray video includes a complicated player can provide.
process known as remastering. This involves scanning a print of
the movie at very high resolutions. This is only possible when Is Blu-ray all hype?
high-quality prints are available for use. It is, therefore, easy to With the right equipment – a large HD TV, the right cables
convert recent movies but not the old flicks, as there are no good and connectors, and a Blu-ray player – watching Blu-ray

liveit.in 40 November ‘09


movies is, indeed, a superior experience. But
the cost involved in setting up this system is
huge. In India, the setup can be used only
for Blu-ray content and not for TV
“ The storage
capacity of a Blu-ray
disc is five times
In a few years, movie files of 25 GB or
more may get stored in central servers on the
Internet and buyers/renters can simply
download them on to their computers or
transmissions, which makes it even worse. media players. With an infrastructure like this
But when you hear about Blu-ray being the more than a available, the only purpose of high-capacity
next big thing in the world of digital optical discs will be to take backups. The
standard DVD and it
entertainment that will optimise your movie-
can store data with
watching experience, beware! Some of this is just
hype, for sure. Media companies, the ones
“ actual data will live on hard drives.
Similarly, the capacity of flash memory
cards is increasing too. These are the tiny
making Blu-ray discs, are also to be blamed. more precision cards that we put in our digital cameras and
When the CD became popular, people mobile phones to store photos and music.
who already had audio cassettes and videotapes were compelled With the prices falling rapidly, it may soon become more
to buy their favourite movies and music in the new format. This economical to distribute movies on flash memory. Also, they are
was an unexpected bonanza for the media companies as they more sustainable than discs and there are fewer chances of data
were able to sell their products twice. The same thing happened getting corrupted.
when the DVD came out and ruled the market. The companies, So what is the best option for the Indian consumer right now?
therefore, expect that it will happen again with Blu-ray. Wait and watch, advise the experts. Better innovations may
So far, that has not happened. Blu-Ray discs are doing well, come up soon, like broadband movies on demand. In that case,
but not as well as the DVDs. It is mostly the latest Bollywood Blu-ray may become a transient technology only, without any
blockbusters that people are buying; old Indian movies lasting effect. I
already out on DVDs are not being
reformatted due to various constraints.
So you can hardly watch the old classics
in a new form even after paying for
fortune. But the hype has to be there to
make people feel that they are missing
out on something great unless they get
Blu-ray immediately.

Beyond Blu-ray
Believe it or not, hardware companies are
already hard at work trying to bring out
Blu-ray’s successor. Hitachi, TDK and
Panasonic have revealed demo discs that
can store up to 100 GB data. However, it
is the Internet and not the larger-capacity Blu-ray Disc
discs that can pose the toughest challenge
to Blu-ray.
Broadband capacities are increasing
fast and Netflix, a popular movie rental
company in the USA, has already
unveiled a service where users can
download HD quality movies from the
Web server on to a custom hardware
device. These can be watched on high-
definition television sets for two days,
after which they get deleted. Although
the image quality of these movies is not
as good as Blu-ray yet, it is proved that
consumers are more than willing to pay
for downloading movies from a network
service if the quality and the DVD
convenience match their requirements.

November ‘09 41 liveit.in


Delighting

style it You
Always

Tech innovations are impacting


life big scale. And consumer
electronics benefit most from this
fast-paced, future-perfect
technology march ahead. A
product launch brings forth a
new invention and a new vista of
technological applications –
technologies that are smart,
trendy and trail-blazers in style.
Be it a digital camera or a
sophisticated surveillance
equipment, it is all about how
innovative technologies are
packaged in most
contemporary designs to make
an indelible style statement.
Model: Anu Kuwar
Even mundane office
Makeup: Geetanjali machines like printers have
Stylist: Vikram Seth evolved into tech marvels with
multiple functionalities and chic
Photographer: Dinesh Gaur looks that complement the
Garments & accessories: workplace décor. Canon India,
KAZO/ALDO country’s No 1. complete digital
Gadgets by: imaging company, has recently
Canon Image Lounge, launched an amazing variety of
Ambience Mall, Gurgaon gizmos which celebrate the
super convergence of
technology, utility and design.
Live IT showcases some of the
most popular Cannovations
which have transformed our life.

liveit.in 42 November ‘09


IXUS 95 IS - Pink
Try this 10 megapixel wonder camera
that comes with a host of exciting
features such as Smart Auto, anti-blur
with motion detection, face detection
and i-contrast. You can also frame
and review shots with a 2.5 inch LCD
screen, which is protected against
light reflections, scratches and dirt.
Style IT

PIXMA MP988
It’s green, it’s wireless and offers
six-colour printing. The PIXMA
MP988 prints on both sides to
save paper. And it supports
Ethernet & wireless LAN, so that
you can take prints from
anywhere. Plus there is
ChromaLife 100+, a
technology to ensure that
photos will last up to 300 years.
Legria HF 200
It’s the tiniest and the lightest HD
camcorder, bringing you the ease
and convenience of Flash
memory. Now, record full HD
movies straight to a memory card
and that, too, for a six-hour stretch.
HF 200 also offers great flexibility in
file transfer and playback.
Style IT

Camcorder XL2
This feature-packed digital
video camcorder is a top-
notch performer, thanks to
outstanding optics,
ultimate control and other
value add-ons. Good
details, depth of field and
superior colour
representation are just a
part of its capabilities.
Never before so much
creative power has been
put in the hands of film
makers and video artists.
Selphy CP780
It sports a chic, simple
design and comes with
five printing options.
You also get
exceptional colour
gradations and a 2.5
inch LCD screen for
easy operation. The
printer supports multiple
languages and works
on both PC and
Mac platforms.
Style IT

PowerShot A480
Available in four colours, it’s a fun
gadget for taking superb 10 MP
photos. Just slip it into your pocket –
it’s that sleek. Plus there are great
features such as Face Detection,
Motion Detection and the power to
capture images even from a
distance of 1 cm.
EOS 5D Mark II
This superb gadget with HD
movie capability marks the
Canon initiative to enhance the
photography experience.
Compact, lightweight and
environment-friendly, EOS 5D
Mark II features a 21.1
megapixel camera and ensures
great video qualities. So it’s time
to get going and try out a
multitude of new possibilities.
Feature

Smartphone
Apps
to keep
you fit
Fitness applications on
your mobile
Puja Goyal

A
re you a fitness freak with little time
for the gym? Or a struggling
individual who frequently fails her
date to show off a wonder bod that
wows? Don’t worry even if your fitness trainer has
given up all hope. Here is the cell phone gym to
keep you going – all the way to good health. Get
hold of your smartphone now and get to know
these fitness applications that optimise your
workout, generate personal data and keep a tab
on your training. There can be no better way to
feel good and look great this festive season.

Calorie tracker
Counting calories and finding nutritional details of
any food item is easy now, thanks to the Calorie

liveit.in 50 November ‘09


COUCH to 5K
This programme is for individuals with sedentary lifestyle but
Count application on the BlackBerry App World™. Developed in who still want to stay fit. Now, iPhone users can download this
collaboration with caloriecount.about.com, one of the largest free nine-week training regimen which will help them run 5 km (3.1
diet resources, it helps you search, evaluate and compare all kinds miles) at a stretch. The application offers directions via a
of food – from apples to zucchini and even those gourmet dishes computerised (male or female) voice and beeps that are timed to
from popular restaurants, supermarkets and fast food chains. So help the user transit between warm-up, workout and interval
stay close to your BlackBerry even when you are shopping for food phases. For more information, visit http://felttip.com.
or eating out. A quick scan of the nutrition details and you are not
likely to pick up the items that your body will regret.
Calorie Count offers much more than popular diet plans.
It is a back-to-the-roots weight loss method and focuses on
what really matters – eating less than you burn. For people
who are trying to lose weight, it does not matter if they are
counting carbohydrates, protein or fat. All they need is to
keep a check on total calorie intake and exercise enough to
fight the flab.

Livestrong Calorie Tracker is available on both iPhone


and BlackBerry. This application is the mobile version of
Lance Armstrong and Demand Media’s health and lifestyle
Website. It allows the user to track calories against a
recommended daily intake, log fitness activities and chart
weight fluctuations. The application syncs with the Website,
where users can participate in community fitness challenges,
share the results of their food diaries and learn about health
issues. For more information, visit www.livestrong.com.

November ‘09 51 liveit.in


Feature

MapMyRun pattern. You can share the same with your physician, so that
MapMyRun is a he can have a better understanding of your condition. There
free application is also a medicine log which allows you to record the side
which makes use effects you may experience due to medication. This will help
of the iPhone’s you and your physician to work together and manage the
GPS technology bipolar disorder better. Since the bipolar disorder and the
and help runners medicines used to treat this condition are known to cause
in tracking weight fluctuations, the weight chart in this application will
training data help enhance weight management by recording any
including time, significant change that may occur.
distance and This application is also community connected on the Internet.
pace. Like the The Mood Journal will connect you to individuals facing similar
Livestrong problems and give you a place to share your conditions,
application, this thoughts and insights with others. It also lists quite a few active
mobile organisations and resources which may help you control bipolar
programme disorder. The only setback is that this application requires
becomes much network connectivity.
more inclusive at the MapMyRun Website. Application users
can interact with other users and share their routes on Facebook, More for the fair sex
create Google maps of their runs and join online groups. The Woman Calendar: First released in 1999, Woman Calendar
downside: It can be stalling if you are unable to connect to the is a simple yet useful application built around natural family
phone’s server, because it would delay your run. For more planning practices. The first ever application of its kind on a
information, visit www.mapmyrun.com. mobile computing platform, it has become the choice family-
planning organiser for many women.
Mood Journal
Mood Journal tracks bipolar disorder, depression, manic
conditions, SAD or seasonal affective disorder and other
mood disorders. It is one of the most popular applications
used by individuals, as mood swings and depressive symptoms
are constantly on the rise across the globe. About 20 per cent
of the US population suffer from at least one depressive
symptom in a given month while about 12 per cent report
two or more in a year. Around 100 million people worldwide
are also affected by
bipolar disorder.
Even in India,
people are under
pressure and lead a
high-stress life in
fast-paced,
competitive
environment. So
the utility of such
an application is
beyond doubt.
The Mood Pregnancy Wheel: Available on BlackBerry, the
Journal helps you Pregnancy Wheel allows you to calculate the pregnancy due
recognise the date and gestational age based on last menstrual period
symptoms and (LMP) or ultrasound. The application is provided by QxMD
patterns of your Software and developed by expert physicians. Founded by
mood swings. The medical professionals, QxMD Software is dedicated to
built-in sleep chart creating high quality, point-of-care tools for practising health
also helps you keep care professionals. It has been the leading provider of free
a tab on your sleep medical software for the BlackBerry since 2007.I

liveit.in 52 November ‘09


Future phones
for fun
unlimited
Your chic cell phone has come a long way
Preeth

Origin of wireless communication


To put things into perspective, it is important for us to
understand what happened in the year 1943. Those were tough
times and most of the progress made by the human race was for
destructive pursuits. But amid all the bang-bang and the
megalomania, there was also hope, as well as learning. One
scientific discipline that benefited most (well, I am excluding
nuclear science and the likes from this list) is human
psychology. And it was in this context that a man called
Abraham Maslow propounded a paper on man’s hierarchy
of needs.
While Maslow and his study of human motivation is
not the topic of our discussion, I would still need to
detail it to make a sound argument. Maslow classified
human need into five levels (the famous Maslow
pyramid) with the basic physiological needs at the
bottom and the highly attained ‘self-actualisation’ at
the top. In between were needs catering to safety,
love/belonging and self-esteem. Now, if you are still
wondering what mobile phones have to do with this,
here is the crux of the matter.
A decade or so ago, when Lehman Brothers was still a bank
and the dot com companies were mushrooming like there was
no tomorrow, mobile phones were definitely an object of self-
esteem. It was a sure sign of having arrived and making the

A
recent coffee table discussion has got me thinking. Is
the mobile phone a want or a need? It is a question mark. Making and receiving calls were purely incidental at that
as profound as it is philosophical. I would even go on time. But communication technology had advanced since and
to put it on the same pedestal as the thought- cell phones ceased to be the plaything of the rich and the
provoking, quasi-humorous – What came first, the chicken or famous. In fact, with the urban lifestyle demanding that we
the egg? At this very minute, if you are not wondering how spend more time away from home, mobile phones transformed
trivial and unimportant the question, the answer and everything into objects that kept the ties of love and friendship alive.
in-between are, you must be thinking about the banality of my Inadvertently, it had transcended the levels of Maslow’s need
coffee table discussions. But quite seriously, there is much to be hierarchy. It was no longer a self-esteem need; instead, it became
learned from this question. a love/affection need. Mobile penetration the world over

November ‘09 53 liveit.in


Feature

grassroot realities. Which gets back to our question – is it a want


or a need? For all practical purposes, I am compelled to think
that it is turning to be more a need and less a want.
For all that has been said to prove the need factor, here comes
the twist to the story. Ironically, according to a research, people
are not really attached to their gadgets. That explains why urban
customers constantly change their handsets and go for newer,
slicker models. The consumer, as it turns out, is more a prisoner
of the services that his mobile phone offers than the actual
gadget itself. A recent joint study in the UK by Henley
Management College and Teleconomy, a research consultancy,
has substantiated this. During a three-year survey that covered
people aged between 25 and 34, 46 per cent of the respondents
stated that they used their mobile phones as a means of personal
entertainment; 55 per cent to fight boredom and 52 per cent to
gossip. So if you have ever considered that the mobile phone is
merely a device used to make and receive calls, you may as well
rest your case.

continued cancerously. And soon, a mobile in your hand


meant that safety was just a call away. Quietly and yet
incredibly, it had become more integral to one’s lifestyle that
one would have ever imagined.

‘Want’ or ‘need’ – the debate continues


Maslow’s next level is physiological – the realm of the basic. The
food, water, sex and sleep domain. I know people who claim
they cannot do without their mobile phones and I wonder if that
would be a nice place to be. If it were a 20th Century Fox film,
mobiles would morph into humanoids and take over the world.
But I shall refrain from the lure of fantasy and explore the

Mobile phones have metamorphosed into multi-utility items


because they are more than mere telephones. The fact that you
can receive and send images, text messages, download ring tones
and games, click photographs, stream the Internet and watch
your favourite movies/videos are merely cases that prove this
point. So it is hardly surprising that they are indispensable and it
happens to be an amazing case study for that hallowed
technology buzzword – convergence.

liveit.in 54 November ‘09


There is little doubt that mobile phones have shaped up to be
the defining gadget of our times. The fact that it is an everyday
device has propelled the industry to pack more punch into it –
music, video, pictures, games, news and a lot more. However,
the curious question remains – what next?
By the look of things, the GPS can be touted as the next big
thing in your mobile. Siemens has already introduced a phone in
the European market that packs a GPS and navigation system and
there are talks of similar advancements in the US market as well.
The other big head-turner is the initiative to use the cell phone as a
media centre. While the challenges in accomplishing this are
manifold, there can be little doubt that answers will be found soon.
As is the norm in the mobile industry, things are always
moving at a fast clip. NTT DoCoMo is planning to introduce
4G in Japan by 2010, which means consumers there will soon
have faster data transfer rates and smoother video transmission.
What’s more, the current new will soon be old and another new
order will be awaiting you.

4G to enhance mobile entertainment


For the uninitiated, it is a safe approximation to state that we are
in the third generation of mobile phones, with countries like
Japan being at the forefront. Advanced countries have
accomplished data transfer rates as fast as 64 to 384 kilobytes
per second and have had the rest of the world adopting 3G with
no reservations. In fact, the technology divide between Europe
and the USA is fast disappearing as 3G is rapidly gaining
ground as the unified global standard.
The scale and speed of innovation in the mobile
communication space has been so rapid that they are
constantly making science fiction writers appear more
prophetic than they actually aspire to be. With faster
connections and cheaper storage, the future beholds much
more than what the mobile phone can do. Mid-range and
high-end phones from the Nokia and Sony Ericsson cradle
can now store and play more than 1500 songs. For couch
potatoes, companies like MobiTV in the USA are pioneering
the idea of real-time television on cellular phones. Mobile
gaming is a rage across the globe and it is spinning as much What the future holds
money as the casinos in Las Vegas. In fact, with better 3D A quick glance at the future of mobile phones will show that a
graphics and greater user experience, it will not be long before lot more can be achieved than we can ever think of sitting in our
the PSPs and the Xbox(s) have a serious contender in the living rooms. And mobile phones will continue to be even more
smartphones of tomorrow. indispensable than what they are today. For all you know, it may
also manage to nudge into the consideration set of Maslow’s
physiological needs. But I have one small doubt – can anything
stop the pace of innovation from eventually meeting the
frontier? Battery life is already posing a seething problem.
Powering auxiliary features like a media centre will pose great
demands on battery life. Similarly, screen size and the limitation
of the visual display will eventually limit what can be achieved
with the wonder gadget. Trade-off will have to be made and
rationalisation will be called for. But with everything else that the
device will be capable of doing, there is little doubt that it will
change your life and mine. I

November ‘09 55 liveit.in


Tech Tip

tips
Anoop Verma

Best for
MS Word users
here is just one name that stands out when it comes to an easy away to put the Office Assistant to rest. Click on the

T taking care of Word processing needs – MS Word.


Well, that remains the usual pattern for students or for
those whose job entails writing essays, reports or
articles. They spend a major chunk of their work hours toiling
on Word documents.
Office Assistant and choose ‘Options’. Clear the ‘Use Office
Assistant’ check box and it will not bother you any more.

3 When you copy text from the Web or another document


into a Word file, it may appear odd because Word initially
Although MS Word is one of the most popular preserves the colour, font and size of the original
programmes across the globe, more than 90 per text from the original page. To clear this, click
cent computers in China and India are said to be ‘Edit’ from the File menu, go to the option ‘Paste
running pirated versions. If those users opt for Special’ and choose
the authorised version, Microsoft’s profits will ‘Unformatted Text’.
definitely skyrocket. You can also remove
Despite the obvious popularity of this software, formatting by
many users are still not aware of all its highlighting the
potentials. Given below is a list of tricks desired text
and tips to help you understand MS and pressing
Word better and make it more CTRL+SHIFT+N.
interesting to work with:

1 How do you open Word


docs on your system? Most
4 What are you going to
do when you need to
put some generic text in
users go to a specific folder your document? You
where the document is stored would type randomly or
and double-click to open it. But try pasting from any
that is a time-consuming process. other document. But
If you need to work on the there is a better way out
documents frequently, it is better – just type =RAND ()
to create a shortcut on your and press Enter. Immediately
Desktop. Right-click on you will get three paragraphs of
the file and choose the ‘The Quick Brown Fox’.
‘Send to’ option to create a
shortcut on the Desktop.
Now you can access the file
directly from your Desktop.
5 Want to select a sentence? Just
hold down the Ctrl key and click
the line you want to select. The
Just double-click on the entire sentence will get selected.
shortcut icon to open the file.

2 There are times when the friendly Office Assistant in the


background may feel like an irritating intruder. But there is
6 Changing the case of any text is
a breeze. Just select the desired
text and press Shift+F3. I

liveit.in 56 November ‘09


Save notes online
using Evernote
onsider this scenario –

C you are on the go, on a


vacation or an office
tour and suddenly you
are struck by an idea, inspiration or
experience you want to capture.
save it
write it
create it
send it

select it
Enter Evernote! This versatile
Web-based tool is capable of
capturing anything – from
typewritten text to website
tweet it snap it rip it collect it
materials, from digital photographs
scan it
clip it
to videos and much more. As
Evernote offers client software in
PC and mobile devices, you can
access your notes on a wide range
of supported devices. As the final
data – consisting of images, text,
clips, audio, PDF and other formats
jot it sketch it

email it
– are stored in Cloud, users do not
have to go through the rigmarole
keep it
of transferring files while shifting record it
from one system to another.
In order to start using the
drag-n-drop it upload it
magical tool, you have to sign up at
www.evernote.com. All you have to
enter is your e-mail address. Once pdf it
plan it
this process is complete, you are ready to store all your
important files in the Cloud. If your note-taking activity is you want some text, which you have photographed for posting.
limited to 40 MB, which should be good enough for most of us, Evernote will automatically extract the text for you. At one
then Evernote is free for you. In case you need more than that, moment you have a photograph and once you stick it on
you will have to fork out a nominal sum of money. Let us say, Evernote, you have the text.
The many uses of this Web-based system will really help you.
You can even use Evernote to keep track of your expenses. The
process is simple – just pen down whatever you spend, or use it
for comparing prices at different establishments. But there are
more features. How about placing the birthdays of your friends
and relatives on Evernote? That way, you will never forget to
wish someone on the D-day. And when you want to find
anything fast from all the notes that you have taken, all you need
to do is to use that innovative ‘Keyword Search’ facility on the
opening page. I

November ‘09 57 liveit.in


Tech Tip

M e r g e
s p l i t
and repair files
I
t is supposed that PDF files are like printed paper on which
no changes can be made once the initial printing has been
done. But if you have access to a versatile tool like the Pdftk,
tampering with PDF files becomes a breeze. With this tool
merge, you can easily split and repair your PDF files at a fairly
rapid pace. And that’s not all – you can also decrypt, encrypt
and rotate your PDF files. To start using Pdftk, first download
the software from http://www.accesspdf.com/pdftk. Once the
software has been downloaded, you have to unzip and store it at G Encrypt output as desired.
a location easily accessible by Command Prompt. G Fill PDF forms with FDF data or XFDF data and/or
You can copy it to a folder on the Desktop or in the C:/ drive, ‘flatten forms’.
and in the same folder, you are required to store the PDF files on G Apply a ‘background watermark’ or a ‘foreground stamp’.
which you wish to make changes. Now you have to open the G Report on PDF metrics such as metadata, bookmarks and
Command Prompt Window and type ‘pdftk–help’. This will page labels.
open a file displaying various instructions on how the tool is to G Update PDF metadata.
be used in order to rectify the PDF files. If you want to merge G Attach files to PDF pages or the PDF document.
two PDF files, this is the command that you will have to use: G Unpack PDF attachments.
pdftk 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf cat output 123.pdf. If you want to split G Burst a PDF document into single pages.
the pages of any given PDF file, the command will be: pdftk G Uncompress and re-compress page streams.
mydoc.pdf burst. The instructions are too many though, and G Repair corrupted PDF (wherever possible).
you will be surprised by the magnitude of things you can The tool does not require the presence of Adobe Acrobat
accomplish using this tool. in your computer in order to function. It is available in
From the ‘Help Page’, you will also get a comprehensive list of versions compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X,
tasks for which Pdftk can prove to be quite handy: FreeBSD and Solaris-based systems. Now you can use the
G Merge PDF documents. Command Prompt to go to the folder where the Pdftk tool
G Split PDF pages into a new document. and PDF files are stored. In this folder, you have to
G Rotate PDF pages or documents. perform various commands to make the desired changes in
G Decrypt input as necessary (password required). your PDF documents. I

liveit.in 58 November ‘09


Get more out of
your Notebook
O
ne thing is for sure – in these times of global through the rigmarole of defragmenting the hard drive,
recession, when well-paying jobs are hard to you will experience a significant improvement in your
come by, it is extremely inadvisable to splurge Notebook’s speed.
on a new Notebook. Till the job market
recovers, we need to tolerate the old system that we have Remove start-up programmes
got. Here are a few must-follow tips to enhance the  Every time you boot your Notebook, a plethora of
performance of your old Notebook. useless programmes load themselves – eating up both
the memory and the processing power. It is about time you go
Get a case to the Start section of the System Configuration Utility and
 The one thing your Notebook needs more than disable those programmes which are not essential for day-to-
anything else is a sturdy case that can protect it from day functioning.
bumps, scratches and dents while it is on the go. Leaving a
‘bare’ system on the car seat is not a good idea as it may slip Clean up the Notebook
and hit the floor if brakes are suddenly applied. These days,  Just as your home or office needs regular cleaning,
most Notebook cases offer space for storing many other things your Notebook, too, requires a date with the virtual
and that is an added advantage. brush. For this, you must go to the Disk Cleanup utility and
delete all cookies, temporary Internet files and other data
Defragment the hard drive which might have been stored on your system.
 When was the last time you defragmented your
Notebook’s hard drive? In order to maximise Turn off the screensaver
system performance, you have to defragment its hard drive  Are you one of those who prefer to keep their
at least once a month. Every time you create, delete and Notebook switched on for the entire day? If that is the
download files, your computer splits up and stores data case, you must get rid of the screensaver. Most people think
fragments in various locations. A hard drive that has not that their systems consume less power just because they have a
been defragmented for a long time will have large amounts screensaver on. That is simply not the case – the screensaver
of scattered data, which tends to slow down the consumes almost as much energy as a fully functioning
performance of your Notebook. Once you have gone Notebook. Remember that your screensaver just prevents your
Notebook from fully going to sleep, but you do not get any
power advantage.

Clean and defragment the registry


 Buying an extra RAM should be your last option. It
will cost you at least Rs 2000-Rs 5000. So why should
you spend so much money? Instead, you can clean up and
defragment the registry – so that programmes will load faster.

Protect your notebook


 If your Notebook is misplaced or stolen, you not
only lose a costly gadget but also a lot of valuable
data. So you must be doubly careful. If you leave it
unattended in a public place, you might as well have a ‘Steal
Me’ sticker pasted on top of it. The same goes for a system
that is left in your car where people can see it. Your
Notebook is a valuable device. You need not be paranoid
about protecting it, but you must be on your guard. I

November ‘09 59 liveit.in


tech
Tech tip
Tip

Defragment your hard drive


to speed up your PC

A
re you plagued by an exceedingly slow PC or laptop The Disk Defragmenter window will open up.
that simply crawls and takes eons to perform even a You will see your C: drive properties (File System, Capacity,
simple task? It may be happening because the hard Free Space, % of Free Space).
drive has not been defragmented for a long time. Select the C: drive and click on ‘Analyze’.
Data stored in any hard drive tend to get fragmented since an Now the ‘Disk Defragmenter’ will start analysing your
operating system usually looks for the nearest available free C: drive to check how much free space can be generated after
space to store data. But if the new file is larger than that defragmentation is complete.
space, the OS fills it first and then searches for the next free Once the analysis is complete, click on the ‘Defragment’
space to store the remaining data. This process continues till button.
the file is fully stored and it results into file scattering in a The process of defragmentation will now commence.
fragmented manner. Depending on the state of your C: drive, it may take an hour or
When you defragment the hard drive, the fragmented files get even more than that, to complete.
saved and compiled together in an ordered manner. This Once defragmentation is complete, you will have a full report
reduces data access time and allows you to use the stored files on your screen and, hopefully, your computer will start working
more efficiently. And the end result? Your files are more faster than it did earlier.
accessible and there is a considerable boost in the system speed. As defragmentation may require some time, it is best to leave
Follow the steps listed below to defragment your system: your system on at night and let the programme run. In case of
Go to Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> Windows Vista, the process of defragmentation is automated; so
System Tools. you don’t have to go through the rigmarole of defragmenting
Here you will find a button called Disk Defragmenter. Click your system manually. But for earlier versions like Windows XP,
on it. you will have to run the process manually. I

liveit.in 60 November ‘09


Use Scrape Torrent
to search multiple
torrent sites
T
here’s no question about the rising popularity of Torrent want to look for. Just below the box are placed four buttons –
sites these days. They have become the very backbone of Seeds, Date, Name and Size. You can select the one most
P2P (peer-to-peer) sharing. We use them to share files, suitable for your search. You can also select whether you wish to
software, games, video clips, movies, music and a lot have ‘Zero-Seeders’ or ‘Duplicates’. There is a drop-down list as
more things. But searching for authentic Torrent files is a problem well, from which you can select the most likely search category.
that most users must have faced. This is where the ScrapeTorrent Once you have keyed in all the data, all it takes is to click the
website (http://scrapetorrent.com) can help you. The site allows ‘Search’ button. In a matter of moments, an exhaustive list of
you to search for Torrent files in a simple and seamless manner. Torrents matching your query will appear on the screen. You
ScrapeTorrent works by collecting Torrent search results from the can search here for the relevant file and begin the download.
biggest Torrent indexes across the Web. Once collected and The best thing about ScrapeTorrent is that it presents its search
compiled, the data are made available to users for free. results with necessary Torrent statistics like file size, ‘seed’ and
The good thing about ScrapeTorrent is the usability factor – how many times the file has been downloaded by other users.
using it is as simple as making a Google search. There is a box So if downloading Torrents from the Internet is really your
on the top of the website where you can key in the file name you kind of thing, you are going to enjoy life on ScrapeTorrent. I

November ‘09 61 liveit.in


Invest in IPOs
with HDFC Securities

F
or those who want to invest in IPOs (initial public stock 8 The IPO investment system at HDFC Securities is designed
offering), it is essential to begin by opening an account for small investors only. So you can invest a maximum of
with HDFC Securities. You will be required to open a Rs 100,000 in one IPO. If you want to invest more this
trading account as well as a banking account, both of amount, you will have to apply under the HNI (High
which will be linked. The amount you intend to invest has to be Networth Individual) category.
deposited in the HDFC banking account. Once you have 9 Click on the IPO that you wish to invest in. A trading page
opened your accounts and deposited the money, you will be will open in which you have to enter the number of shares
ready to start investing in various IPOs. you wish to apply for and the bid amount.
Here is a step-by-step guide for you to follow: 10 Input all the details before pressing ‘OK’.
1 Point your browser to http://hdfcsec.com. 11 Next, a window from your banking account will open. Here
2 Click on the ‘Trade Now’ button. you will have to authorise the capital required for the
3 A new window will open where you will have to input your purchase.
login ID before pressing ‘Enter’. 12 You will get a confirmation of the transaction made.
4 In the new window that opens, you will have to input your 13 Now, you will have to press the ‘Confirm’ button to
password before pressing ‘Enter’ again. finalise the deal.
5 Now you will reach the trading platform of HDFC 14 You will get an online receipt confirming the completion of
Securities. Here you can buy/sell shares and invest in various the entire process.
derivatives and IPOs or corporate fixed deposits. 15 If the shares get allotted in your name, you will
6 To invest in IPOs, press the button at the extreme left-hand get your allocation on the day the IPO gets
corner that says IPO/FD. listed on the stock exchanges. In case your
7 A new window will open showing a list of IPOs on offer at IPO application fails, the money you deposited into
that time. If no new IPOs are there, the page will return the your trading account will be transferred back to your
message: No issues are currently available. banking account. I

liveit.in 62 November ‘09


Search in
&
simultaneously
W
hen it comes to search engine war, Google beats Now that you have search results from Yahoo! and Google
all others hands down. But there are times when pitted against each other, you can really compare them and find
you need to hit the Yahoo! page to find that elusive out which one is better suited for your needs. You will be
link. Hopping from one search engine to another amazed to find that many of the search results will differ since
can be a real pain in the neck, especially if you are working under both Google and Yahoo! are known to use different technologies
time constraint. On occasions like these, Twingine can prove to be for search result display. To be fair to both the search giants,
really handy. When you point your browser to http://twingine.com, Twingine randomly keeps changing the sides on which results
you get directed to a starkly bare site that is quite similar to Google. from Google and Yahoo! appear.
As the name suggests, this website is a twin. Once you enter your If you get results from Google on the right side and Yahoo! on
search term in the given text box, you can avail results from both the left during your first search, they may swap positions in the
Yahoo! and Google. Enter any keyword in the box and press the next session. That is Twingine’s way of ensuring an unbiased
‘Search’ button. The new page that opens is vertically divided into attitude towards any particular search engine. This website can
two frames of equal size – on one side there are search results from prove to be very useful when you need to do an in-depth search
Google while the other half displays results from Yahoo!. You can on an abstruse topic. Try it today to find out just how easy
increase or decrease the size of any window by moving the vertical searching on the Internet can be, especially when a handy twin
barrier left/right with the help of the mouse. search engine such as Twingine is around. I

November ‘09 63 liveit.in


Tech Tip

Turn your
soapdish
into a
Cradle for
BlackBerry
A
re you a gizmo lover with a penchant for
creativity? Just look around carefully and you
will always find some inexpensive items which
not only look artistic but also have great utility
value. Take the case of the BlackBerry cradle, for
instance. Most of us find it quite difficult to find a cradle
that can safely house a large phone like the BlackBerry.
Good-looking cradles for iPhones and smaller Nokia
phones are easily available; but with the BlackBerry, there
is no easy solution.
So, how about a soap dish? Not the tacky plastic soap
dish we are so familiar with. Nowadays, it is easy to find
bamboo soap dishes which look quite chic. These soap-
dishes are large enough to carry large bars of soap, as well
as your precious BlackBerry. You can also stick a patch of
Velcro (nylon fabric for fastening) at the bottom of the
bamboo soap dish and also on the table top where you
would like to place it.
There you have it – your own BlackBerry cradle that is
firmly tied to the table. Your favourite gizmo is now safe
from being accidentally knocked off the table and it is well
within the reach. The soap dish can also store other
models, but due to its large size, it is especially suitable for
a BlackBerry. And the best thing about this new holder is
that it brings a natural touch to your gadget-laden
workplace. Just imagine what you can achieve with a
simple soap dish made out of bamboo. 

liveit.in 64 November ‘09


Download
Accelerator Plus
for speeding up your
Downloads been developed into a
suite of products. Once
the software has been
downloaded and
installed on your system,
you will find a simple,
tabbed interface, so that
you can easily switch
among three
applications – an FTP
connection tool, a
download dashboard
and a Web browser.
The next time you want
to download a file, the
DAP will automatically
start using multiple
threads to accomplish the
task, leading to a faster
information flow. The
software is capable of
looking at other websites
for the same file and
pulling from them as well.
While the download is in

W
hen every moment counts, even an extra minute progress, a multicoloured bar will appear, showing myriad file
spent on a download may seem like an eternity. connections. Users are allowed to select one or several streams for
It is very annoying, indeed! But there is help out the purpose of stopping and starting file transfers.
there. DAP or Download Accelerator Plus is a If you wish to pause an active download, a small icon next
software programme that can speed up things considerably. It to the selected transfer will do the needful. This icon is located
works by boosting your file-grabbing speed and improving in the ‘Status’ column and is viewable while you are in the
your download connection quality. In case you face a broken ‘Download’ tab. Until the ‘Resume’ icon is clicked, the paused
link problem, DAP will pause your download and restart it status will remain on the DAP interface. A premium version
once the link gets restored. of the software is available for $29.95 on the same link where
In order to download DAP, you have to point your browser the free version is found. With this version, you can preserve
to http://www.speedbit.com. Earlier, DAP was available as an your privacy as it is capable of removing all download traces
add-on for the IE (Internet Explorer) browser, but now it has by using an advanced ‘Trace Cleaner’. 

November ‘09 65 liveit.in


Tech Tip

carrying the parrot logo should help you communicate with

Get Parrot your mobile contacts; after all, parrot is one bird that
possesses the ability to mimic humans. The Parrot Minikit
Slim sports a sleek look and makes use of Bluetooth to
synchronise its phonebook with the contacts listed on your

Minikit Slim cell phone.

So, the next time you need to dial a number while you are
engaged in cooking or working on your laptop, you can use

to dial
the Parrot Minikit Slim’s text-to-speech function to do the
trick for you. This is how it works: You simply say the name
of your contact and the Minikit will recognise the name and

numbers
start dialling. In situations where several numbers are
associated with the same name, you can specify which
number is to be dialled – mobile, landline, office, residence,
etc. The voice recognition function is another feature worth
mentioning and it will always lead you to the right number

voice
with
that you wish to dial.

The high-end microphones and speakers built into the


system ensure that you have a great conversation even

command though the phone is not held close to your ear. When you
receive a call, the Slim will match the incoming number with
the contact in its memory (only if the number is from one of
your stored contacts, of course), and use the text-to-speech
rying to dial someone’s number while you are furiously functionality to announce the name of the caller. Therefore,

T typing away at the laptop may not be an agreeable task


for many of us. But you may not mind it after all, if
you are armed with a versatile gizmo like the Parrot
Minikit Slim. It should come as no surprise that a gizmo
you do not have to look at the cell phone screen to identify
the caller. The voice announcement will save you the trouble.
This is really one of those feature-rich gizmos which are
designed to be fun and make your life easy, as well. I
Track Online Behaviour
with GoogleTrends netizens across the world
have increasingly searched
for this term between 2004
and 2009. Below the graph,
there is a list of regions and
cities from where searches
have been made. And here
is an interesting piece of
information extracted from
Google Trends. “Bollywood’
seems to be as popular in
Pakistan as it is in India – at
least the search data
confirm it. However, the
majority of the searches
conducted are in English.
Similarly, you can find out
how other topics fare on the
Net – the Google Trends
will provide you the
necessary data. Search for
‘sex’ in Google Trends also
yields interesting results.
India ranks second in the

I
world when it comes to Net
t is possible to have a glimpse of the future by simply looking surfers searching for ‘sex’. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?
at today’s trends. What people search today may influence That the ultra-moralistic Indians are searching for ‘sex’ on the
their actions tomorrow. And that is one of the key reasons Internet in such large numbers! May be it is time that you
why Google Trends is considered such an important install ‘parental control’ software and keep a tab on your
instrument – for gaining insight into the world’s preferences. You family’s search trends. And here is another piece of news.
can access Google Trends by pointing your browser to Maximum number of ‘sex’ searches actually generate from
http://www.google.com/trends. The page that opens is very the Capital city of Delhi.
similar to what you have on a Google search page. There is a So that is the kind of interesting information you can glean
box in the middle of the page where you can input your text. from Google Trends. What’s more, this information is available
Next to it, there is a button that says ‘Search Trends’. At the for free. There is no software you need to download; the
bottom of the page, you will find a list of ‘Hot Trends’ for the application runs on the Web itself and delivers results at
day which will go on changing depending on the number of lightening speed. If you have not tried it already, it is time you
clicks they receive. should. Google Trends can be a healthy tool for researching
Let us say, you want to find out if the term ‘Bollywood’ has human behaviour and it will also help you understand new
made waves on the Internet during the past few years. Just perspectives. Media professionals can also use this application to
type ‘Bollywood’ into the text box and click on the button. A garner a broad overview of popular geopolitical and economical
new page will open up displaying a steadily rising graph. One topics. Currently, Google Trends is providing information on
look at the steeply rising graph and you know for sure that search trends from the year 2004 to 2009. I

November ‘09 67 liveit.in


Fiction
T
he bus trundled down the suburb, leaving behind the sort of whisper. As if on cue, the reporter on TV came up with
stretch of verdant greenery. The greenery had an explanation to that crucial question.
vanished to a large extent, replaced by a long row of “According to locals, after the spaceship crashed against the
picturesque houses, double-storied, with large glass boulder, it started contracting at a feverish pace,” the
windows and spacious lawns in front. Finally, the bus stopped reporter said pointing towards the group of locals who
next to a large hoarding displaying an advertisement of a newly supplied the information. “I know this sounds unbelievable
opened shopping mall. but this is what these people claim to have seen. When the
Neena, Rakesh and their three kids stepped out of the bus. spaceship had contracted to the size of a small sparrow, it
Seven-year-old Mohit looked ahead excitedly along with his twin flew away once again and disappeared in the sky. If anything,
sisters, Sanjana and Rekha. The bus trundled ahead. Just then, a the technology these aliens have access to is mind boggling. It
nine-year-old boy came running down the road dragging a is quite possible that the spaceship may already be on its way
mangled kite behind him. “Hey, did you hear about the to the planet in space where it came from but it is also
spaceship that has landed somewhere in the forests nearby,” possible that it might be lurking somewhere in these forests,”
asked the boy excitedly, his eyes focused intently on Mohit. she concluded.
“Cops are currently on the lookout for aliens who they think The entire area was teeming with cops, government officials
have escaped from the spacecraft.” and reporters from various media fraternity. The government
“Really?” said Mohit. “We were out of town so we didn’t get officials were silent on the happenings. It seemed as though they
to hear anything about these aliens and their spacecraft.” were trying to cover up something.
“Just ignore him Mohit,” Sanjana instructed looking “My God!” exclaimed Rakesh. “This is unbelievable.”
disdainfully at the boy with the kite. “As usual, Sanju is lying.” “Alien spacecraft in Dehradun! Who could have expected
“I am not lying,” Sanju replied sharply. “Check out the that?” ejaculated Neena. “What are these aliens doing out
news channels; they are all flooded with stories of the alien here?”
landings in Dehradun.” Having said these words, he didn’t “What if they are here to kidnap us?” said Sanjana frightfully.
bother to wait for a riposte and took off dragging his “We should keep all the doors and windows locked to ensure
mangled kite behind him. our security,” Rekha suggested with alacrity.
“Don’t you think Sanju was speaking the truth?” asked Rekha. “Relax girls,” said Neena. “Even if these are real aliens, I
“I think that is quite likely,” replied Neena. don’t think they travelled hundreds of light-years just to abduct
“What if the aliens turn out to be like ET? That would be my family. We are not that important.”
fun,” Mohit chuckled. “Hey, I have an idea,” said Mohit, jumping to his feet. “Let us
“Do you really believe in this alien stuff ?” Rakesh smiled at all go to the forest where this alien craft is said to have landed.”
his son. But his sisters would have none of it. “Are you out of your
“Well, I was just wondering that this town will be lot more fun mind?” Sanjana snapped.
to live in if some aliens were to arrive.” “Of course, he is,” agreed Rekha. “Only a crazy person
The family walked down the street and reached their two- would want to there to look for aliens.”
storey home. As they stepped in, Mohit and his sisters made a “Not all aliens are evil. They may have good intention,”
beeline for the TV. “Let me check the truth behind the whole Mohit ejaculated passionately.
alien thing that Sanju told us,” he said eagerly. “How can you say that?” Rekha challenged.
“It has to be a lie,” said Sanjana tersely, settling herself down “I have a feeling that the aliens are here with a good
on the couch. intention. Like mother said, they could not have travelled across
“I second that,” agreed Rekha. hundreds of light-years just to abduct our family. Since their
But the news channels proved all the sceptics in the family technology is so great, their intention must also be good. It can’t
wrong. A local reporter was walking through what seemed like be otherwise.”
a burnt and utterly decimated section of the forest in the “Very good, Mr. Philosopher,” Mukesh smiled at his son. “But
vicinity of Dehradun, while breathlessly dwelling on the it is dangerous going to the forest right now.”
rumours that the damage had been caused by the crash of an He pointed towards the TV. The three kids looked intently
alien spaceship. She was interviewing some locals who claimed at the TV screen that showed cops barricading the area with
to have seen the spacecraft drag through a large swath of the ropes to prevent public from walking all over the site where
forest flattening many trees and shrubs before coming to rest the spacecraft had crashed before it got miniaturized and took
against the huge boulder. Plumes of smoke and flames were off again.
still spewing from the debris. This was enough for Neena and But Mohit was adamant. “But dad,” he protested, “we can
Rakesh, along with their three kids, to remain glued to the always find a way to slip past the barricades if we try hard
drama unfolding on the small screen. enough. Both of us can go to the forest and leave mom and the
“If the spacecraft came to rest against the boulder in the two girls here. Just think of it, if we get lucky we might meet
forest, why are they not showing it,” Neena’s voice was a hushed some aliens.”

November ‘09 69 liveit.in


Fiction

Mukesh was happy to see his son’s enthusiasm but that didn’t It was late in the evening. The sun had started melting
mean obliging him by taking him to the forest. “We will go there behind the horizon and it was turning darker by the minute.
some other day definitely but not today,” he said quietly. Neena was preparing dinner in the kitchen and the rest of the
“But we may never come across the aliens then. It is not as if family was in the living room watching a movie on HBO.
they have arrived in Dehradun to stay on forever,” Suddenly the lights in the house began to blink. At the same
“I hope they are already gone,” Rekha added. “I definitely time, the television lost its signal. “What is happening?”
don’t like the idea of a freaky alien spacecraft loitering about in exclaimed Mohit.
the forest so close to our house.” Sanjana and Rekha seemed to be on the edge by the
“What if these aliens try to attack as like they did in the film, phenomenon of strangely blinking lights. “I hope it is not the
Independence Day,” Sanjana shuddered with horror at the aliens who are doing this to our house,” whispered Sanjana
thought of her house coming under alien attack. prophetically. Rekha shuddered with terror but didn’t say a
Mohit jumped to the defence of his favourite aliens. “You word. “Relax. I think there is something wrong with the electric
should not believe everything that they show in movies. I believe supply,” said Mukesh pressing the remote to switch off the TV.
the aliens are fundamentally nice guys. They are here to make “I will check the electric meter. It is possible that one of the
earth a better place.” switches may have malfunctioned.”
“Maybe they will help you with your homework,” said Suddenly there came Neena’s scream from the kitchen. “What
Sanjana sarcastically. happened?” cried Mukesh and rushed towards the kitchen. The
“Who knows, they might,” Mohit reposted sharply. kids were too afraid to remain alone in the living room so they
“It is foolish of you to think this way,” Rekha chided. followed their father blindly. The kitchen was awash with red
“Dad, tell them to stop or I will beat them up,” said Mohit light that seemed to be beaming in through the kitchen window.
threateningly. In the midst of this red light Neena stood frozen with terror. She
“I would like you to try,” challenged Rekha. was pointing hysterically towards the window.
It was clear that the three kids were now itching for a fight. “There is something moving outside the window,” Neena
For all this time Neena had been mostly watching the exchange panted, “some kind of a strange creature.”
between her kids with amusement writ large on her face but now “What strange creature?” Mukesh said with alarm. “I can’t
it was clearly time for her to intervene. “That’s enough. Stop this see anything due to this infernal wall of red light.”
cat-fight,” she reprimanded. Meanwhile, the two girls had started crying hysterically. “I
“But Mohit is acting stupid,” Rekha remonstrated. know it is the aliens who are behind this red light. They are
“The problem with you, Rekha, is that you talk too much,” coming to get us,” cried Sanjana. “They will surely wreck
said Neena. our house.”
“But …” Sanjana began. “We are doomed,” cried Rekha.
“No ifs and buts,” Neena interrupted. “I want all of you to go Even Mohit seemed afraid but at the same time he looked
to the study room and finish your homework. No more talk forward to an encounter with the aliens. “I hope the aliens are
about aliens. There aren’t any aliens.” the peaceful type,” he said fervently.
“But all news channels are flashing stories about the aliens Suddenly five green-coloured alien creatures, with about
landing on earth. They can’t be lying,” Mohit jumped in. five feet tall humanoid body, walked in through the kitchen’s
“I can afford to disbelieve whatever I want to disbelieve,” wall. It was obvious that conventional walls didn’t pose much
Neena said peremptorily. “This news story is completely false. of a barrier for aliens who were capable of using the inter-
There is no question of an alien spacecraft ever landing in the molecular space to cross any physical barrier. These
forest or anywhere else on earth. There aren’t any aliens out creatures had bald and rather elongated pear-shaped heads
there. I am sure they would soon come up with a perfectly with two large eyes devoid of eyelids. They were snub-nosed,
logical explanation for the devastation in the forest.” without any ear and their mouths consisted of a mere slit.
It was clear that Neena was worked up with frustration at They were dressed in green-coloured spandex type of dress
what she considered to be frivolous reporting by the TV that was so tight-fitting that it seemed part of their body.
channels. She picked up the remote and switched off the TV. They wore a logo of some kind of an alien dragon on their
“You are quite right,” Mukesh said. “The TV channels have sleeves. They had three fingers and their feet were encased
no right to telecast unsubstantiated rumours. There are nothing in tight-fitting boots.
called aliens. Human beings are the only intelligent species in Naturally the family was horrified by the sudden
the entire universe.” appearance of these strange looking aliens in their kitchen.
However, the kids were not convinced. They tried to scream but no word came out of their mouth
“Why aren’t all of you going to the study room?” Neena and in a matter of moments, they went into some kind of
glared at her kids. This time they got the message, loud trance. When they woke up, they found themselves in a
and clear. They marched out of the room with their heads strange chamber with its roof beaming down an amazing
hung low. array of colourful lights and around whose walls there lay

liveit.in 70 November ‘09


intricate-looking scientific instruments. There were five- “You people have been all over the universe, how many other
stretchers laid out in the chamber, one for each member of intelligent civilizations are out there?” eagerly asked Mohit.
the family. As they lay still on their separate stretchers, the “The universe is teeming with life of all kinds,” replied the
aliens were keenly observing them. leader of the aliens. “But as the universe is still quite young, it is
“Where are we?” Neena murmured with fear. only about 13 billion years old, most of the life is still not
The aliens did not bother to answer her question. One of evolved enough to be called intelligent. No one knows the exact
them, perhaps their chief, replied telepathically. It was clear that number of planets that are supporting intelligent civilization but
the aliens used their mouth only for fulfilling their dietary their number may well run into billions.”
requirements and they could speak only in the telepathic “Billions of intelligent civilizations,” exclaimed Rekha. “Could
manner. Soon a running telepathic conversation was being we visit them all?”
carried on between the five members of the human family and “The civilizations are flung so far apart in different galaxies
aliens. The family was convinced that the aliens were peaceful that it is nearly impossible for anyone to reach them all in their
by nature and did not mean to harm anyone. The aliens did not lifetime,” said the leader of the aliens.
even need to walk. They levitated one inch above the ground “But where are you people from?” asked Mukesh.
and so it was easy for them to move around by floating in the “We are from a civilization located in the Andromeda Galaxy.
air. Neena, Mukesh, and the three kids were no longer We have been visiting earth for the last 10,000 years.”
frightened of the aliens. Instead, they felt calm and composed. “That is a lot of time!” exclaimed Neena. “In that case, you
Even the two girls, Sanjana and Rekha, were regarding the may have goos knowledge of human history.”
aliens enthusiastically. Mohit, of course, had always been “That is true,” the aliens answered telepathically. “We saw the
enthusiastic about them. two great wars.”
When Neena expressed her wish to leave the stretcher on “By the two great wars, I guess you mean the First World War
which she was lying, the aliens said that every member was and the Second World War?” injected Mohit cheerfully.
free to walk around the spaceship. The family was now on “We did witness the World Wars,” nodded the leader of the
their feet and they were gushing at the intricate instruments aliens, “but that was not what I was referring to when I talked
that were arranged in the chamber. Even the floor of the about the two great wars. I was referring to wars that were
chamber felt strange – it was not carpeted but was covered fought in a much earlier era and were more devastating in scope
with some kind of velvet that felt very soft to the feet. The than any war ever fought on this planet.”
three kids and their parents took off their shoes as they “Which wars were those?” asked Mohit.
preferred to walk bare feet on the soft floor. Communicating “The wars that happened during the Ramayana and the
telepathically, the aliens told them that the floor in the Mahabharata era,” replied the alien.
spaceship was not only comfortable to walk on but it was also Hearing this, every member of the family came up with
outfitted with diverse kinds of sensors that could collect data many more questions about the life and society in the
from the body of humans and aliens. Ramayana and the Mahabharata era and the leader of the
After checking out the diverse properties of the chamber, the aliens was only too pleased to acquaint them with facts that
family decided to explore the rest of the spacecraft. The aliens would satisfy their curiosity. After about a long session of Q
promptly learned about their desire and by using mere thought, & As, the aliens could sense that their guests were hungry. “I
they opened in the walls of the chamber a portal through which must apologize for bringing all of you here when you were
anyone could move in or out. It was clear that the alien about to have your dinner,” said the leader of the aliens
spacecraft was unimaginably large. In response to a pointed telepathically. “Now we would like to invite all of you to have
question from Mohit, the aliens replied telepathically that the dinner with us.”
spacecraft was more than 200 sq km in area from the inside but “That is very kind of you,” Neena simpered. “The children
from the outside, it was only 2 inches in diameter. are hugry and so are we,” she looked at Mukesh, who nodded
“How can something only 2 inches in diameter from outside in agreement.
have an interior that is so large?” exclaimed Sanjana. “Please follow me to the dining room,” chief aliens. The
“Space, like time, in the universe is relative,” the leader of the family hardly needed any second invitation and eagerly followed
aliens replied telepathically. “Latest cutting-edge development in the aliens down the corridor leading to the dining room. Soon
science has made it possible to have a very large area inside a they reached a large hall in the centre of which stood a large
very small container.” dining table that could accommodate more than 100 people.
“Then your technology must be really advanced,” said “Wow!” exclaimed Sanjana. “I have never seen anything so
Mukesh, “because we can’t do this kind of thing on earth yet.” lavish as this. The walls of the dining hall were warm with pale
“Yes, it will take about 4 billion years for this kind of blue wallpaper embossed with floral designs. The floor was
technology to reach earth,” replied the leader of the aliens. made out of some kind of gleaming white marble which
“Our civilization is 4 billion light years older than your somehow felt soft to the feet. A sparkling chandelier fitted with
civilization.” real diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls hung from the roof.

November ‘09 71 liveit.in


Fiction

Even the dining table was studded with precious metals. The “One billion recipes!” Neena exclaimed. “This is
chairs were incorporated with state-of-the-art alien technology unbelievable.”
capable of adjusting themselves to the size of the person placed “So what do we order?” asked Rakesh. “We can let our
on them. imaginations run wild – almost every food that we can think of
With utmost politeness, the aliens escorted the family of five to is available on this spaceship.”
their seats. “How about letting our alien hosts decide the menu for us?”
“It is an extraordinary feeling,” said Neena. ventured Mohit.
“It is our pleasure to play host to your wonderful family,” said “That is a good idea,” chirped Rakhi merrily.
the leader of the aliens. “Now what would you like to eat?” “I agree,” laughed Sanjana.
Neena and Mukesh looked at their kids and all of them Now that the kids had made up their mind, the parents too
seemed somewhat confused about what kind of food could be preferred to let the aliens order for them. “You can already read our
available on this spaceship. Once again the aliens read their minds so you are the best people to decide what kind of food would
mind and the leader of the aliens said, “The kitchen in this be best suited for us,” said Mohit looking at the leader of the aliens.
spaceship is more advanced than any kitchen on earth. Out here “You have been coming to this planet for the last 10000 years
we can prepare more than 1 billion kinds of recipes from all so more than anyone else, you know what kind of food will be
over the universe. Whatever food you order, our robotic chefs good for humans. We will have something as per your choice
will be able to create it for you within minutes.” today,” said Neena.

liveit.in 72 November ‘09


“Well then, I will order top-class food from all over the white fur, which enabled them to survive the cold. The Geldisians
universe for all of you,” said the leader of the aliens. lived in cities built of frozen blocks of ice.
Telepathically he placed the order and within a few moments a Neena, Mukesh and their three children were swept off their
stream of robots came in carrying different kind of dishes in feet as their minds woke up to the amazing array of intelligent
silver cutlery. In no time the food was served before them. life that existed in the furthest reaches of the universe. Humans
“Won’t all of you be eating with us?” asked Mohit looking at were not alone. There were other intelligent beings around
the aliens who were seated at the table. whose science and technology was much more advanced that
The aliens looked at each other in surprise. “We don’t take anything that was available on earth. However, time was
food like humans and many other creatures in the universe do. running out. It was going to be midnight soon and post-
We get our sustenance from the air and from sunlight,” replied midnight the spaceship was scheduled to take off for another
one of the aliens. planet located in the furthest reaches of the universe. The leader
“Astonishing,” said Rakhi. of the aliens communicated this fact to his human guests.
“It’s too bad that you cannot enjoy this delicious meal,” said “I am heartened by the hospitality you have shown,” Neena
Sanjana, smacking her lip. smiled. “We would not want to delay your departure to another
“That is true. But watching all of you eat gives us just as much fabulous planet for any reason.”
pleasure,” said the leader of the aliens. “You can drop us off to our home,” said Mukesh.
“One thing comes to my mind,” said Neena, “if you people “We are so pleased to have spent all this time with you all,”
don’t eat, why do you have such a state-of-the-art kitchen built said Mohit.
into your spaceship.” “I hope the next time you are back on earth, you will visit us
“The kitchen is there to serve the needs of our guests whom again. I am itching for a sojourn on your fabulous spaceship,”
we keep bringing to the spaceship from earth and other planets.” said Sanjana.
The family had now started eating the delicious food that was “Absolutely, repeated Rakhi, it will be fun being on your
unlike anything that they had ever tasted. Most of the spaceship again,” said Rakhi.
ingredients that went into the making of the dish had been The aliens too seemed to be equally enchanted by this
collected from planets from the farthest reaches of the universe. human family. The leader of the aliens promised to visit
Even the recipe in accordance to which the food had been them again. Then the family was put into trance once again
prepared was extraordinary. After each member of the family so as to be transported back to their home on earth. When
had eaten to their satisfaction, the aliens took them to a special Neena woke up again, she found herself lying on the bed in
lounge equipped with comfortable sofa sets. her home. Mukesh was lying beside her. Her head felt heavy
It is quite natural that the five humans were eager to have a and she vaguely remembered the tryst that her family had
glimpse of the civilization from which these aliens had with the aliens. But the thought struck her mind that she
arrived. The aliens belonged to a civilization was four billion might have dreamed about going to an alien spaceship while
years older than the civilization on earth. But it was only she had been sleeping. She raised her hand and shook
after Neena, Mukesh and their children had a telepathic Mukesh from his reverie. He sat up on the bed drowsily
glimpse of their civilization that they learnt how these rubbing his eyes. At the same time, the children came
billions of years translated into advancement in science and running into their room.
technology. They were electrified and bewildered by what “Mom, dad,” shouted Mohit enthusiastically. “The aliens
they saw. There were skyscrapers more than 5 km high. dropped us back home.”
There were expressways where vehicles flashed past at “Was it all a dream? But then why would all of us have the
5000 km per hour. There were Cyborgs much advanced same dream?” Mukesh said circumspectly.
than anything Hollywood can ever imagined. There were “I have no idea,” uttered Neena.
knowledge clinics where knowledge could be directly “But it did happen,” ejaculated Sanjana. “We were with the
downloaded inside one’s brain within a matter of seconds. aliens till a few minutes ago.”
Life on this planet was a glaring example of the old adage, “We had dinner at their spaceship,” said Rakhi.
“truth is stranger than fiction.” “Well, maybe …” Neena managed to utter. “But I find it hard
After a whirlwind telepathic tour of their own civilization, the to believe. One thing is for sure, all of us had an adventure of a
aliens introduced the humans to other advanced civilizations of lifetime today.” With these words, she broke into a hearty
the universe. With their mind’s eye, the humans saw the planet laughter. While the family of five was celebrating their
Seroseum that was completely covered with water. The process of encounter with aliens, the spacecraft had picked up speed and
evolution had taken a watery route here. The Seroseumites looked was out of sight in a less than a few minutes. From the earth’s
like the hypothetical mermaids of earth. They lived in huge and atmosphere, it entered a wormhole capable of bending the
intricately planned underwater cities. Another planet, Geldis, was universe. By navigating through the wormhole the spacecraft
too far from its sun with the result that it was constantly frozen. could reach the Andromeda Galaxy, which is billions of light
The process of evolution had imparted its inhabitants with thick years away from earth, in a matter of moments. I

November ‘09 73 liveit.in


Feature

Demystifying BENJAMIN BUTTON


Ageing the reverse way with technology
Roli Gupta

Capturing the essence


“C
uriouser and curiouser,” exclaimed Alice, as she began
to grow smaller and smaller after eating some portion
of a cake in Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in So, making such a movie should have been simple, shouldn’t
Wonderland. And she might have felt just the same it? All the director (David Fincher) had to do was to get
after watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a flick different actors with the right make-up to play Benjamin
with multiple Academy Awards to its credit. Indeed, the title Button at different ages ... right? Wrong! Besides the


and the content, the filming and the technology are just too
offbeat, to say the least.
One look at the film and you cannot but agree that it richly
Technology had to be brought in, of course,
deserves the three Oscars for art direction, make-up and, of
course, visual effects. Now that your curiosity is aroused, here’s a

and the very best in computer graphics and visual
close look at the technology used – making the movie a veritable
culmination of all that present day special effects encompass. effects eased up the process.

So, what is the movie about?


The film is based on a 1921 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
intricate and uncommon plot, the other aspect that wows
movie buffs is that the character of Benjamin Button is
portrayed by Brad Pitt alone throughout the film; no other
At once tragic and comic, frightening and emotional, the tale actor plays the lead role regardless of the curious age
features a protagonist (Brad Pitt) who ages backwards. evolution that happens on-screen. While make-up was
Benjamin Button is born with the face of an octogenarian essential to achieve the desired effects, one could not
and the body of a newborn. As his biological age increases, his overdo it as subtle expressions would be totally lost under
face gets younger and the body gets older ... a curious case, heavy prosthetic make-up. Technology had to be
indeed! Mentally, he ages the conventional way. The movie brought in, of course, and the very best in computer
depicts his life from birth to death – a life that is curiously graphics and visual effects were required. And all these
different from the rest of us. Unlike a baby who ages gradually – should have eased up the process of recreating
both physically and mentally – Button ages in the reverse way. Brad Pitt at different ages. However, when it came to
Even as he becomes younger in looks and older in body and selecting the software, the wrong choice of technology
biological age, his lover Daisy (Cate Blanchett) ages the regular could have marred the film, turning it into a dud – devoid
way – a great premise for a love story with plenty of fantasy of the rich range of emotions that its lead character had
and drama. to experience.

liveit.in 74 November ‘09


It may seem that we are exaggerating the ‘portraying The expressions that Brad emoted at this stage were mapped
emotions’ bit. However, most digital performances or to those already in the emotion library. The corresponding
computer-generated characters lack the full range of emotive expression from the emotion library was then aged digitally and
expressions that an actor can render. For a movie like Benjamin superimposed on the actors who were doubling for Brad during
Button, it is important that each character, especially the lead shoots. As these actors had worn blue hoods, the digital erasure
role, should be able to emote and capture the subtle nuances. and superimposition became easy. Together, they created an
Such a movie requires a high level of animation, or else it could eerily real Benjamin Button who had the body of a seven-year-
end up like an all-too-obvious digitally generated film, old and the face of an 80-year-old. Although the face was
incapable of bringing out the emotions and the drama that entirely computer-generated, the creation was replete with the
would be integral to the story. So the real challenge lay in using tiniest of details and portrayed the entire range of Brad’s
the right technology, and using it well. expressions. In fact, the movie’s official website has some really
good graphics and videos that explain the technology behind

So how did they do it?


To put it simply, a series of well-planned, detailed steps went
Benjamin Button. It is definitely worth a dekko
(http://www.benjaminbuttonfx.com/site.html).

into the creation of this movie – a process that involved


months of hard work and the best in technology to digitally
create Brad Pitt from the neck up. And the result? A
And the Oscar goes to …
With prestigious awards, rave reviews and accolades coming
stupendous visual effect, a jaw-dropping experience quite its way, one unsung hero (besides the technicians) of this
unmatched till date. Without much ado, let us tell you what path-breaking film happens to be Contour
was actually done. (http://www.mova.com/) – a system that captures facial
The initial task was to create a Brad Pitt emotion library. performance. Simply put, Contour tracks an actor’s (in this
Wearing fluorescent make-up, Pitt conjured every possible case Brad Pitt’s) facial movements in three-dimensional

human emotion and each facial expression was recorded by space and in stunning details – gathering up to 1,00,000
high-definition cameras. From joyous smile and boisterous motions and points. All the details that make a face human –
laughter to unbearable agony, crippling grief or red-hot laugh lines, crinkling of the eyes, wrinkles, crow’s feet,
anger – you name it and they recorded it. It was a unique dimples, eyebrow movements, trembling of the chin and so
and exhaustive library that mapped Pitt’s emotional on – are tracked and reproduced digitally, allowing the
expressions as accurately as possible. Next came the part technical artist to play around with digital effects on these
where several other actors with Benjamin’s physical mappings. Thanks to this technology, the aged Brad Pitt
characteristics stood in for Pitt on the sets, shooting the looks like a ‘really’ aged Brad Pitt and not just a detached,
portions of the movie where Button is physically a child or a digitally generated image.
teenager. All these actors wore a blue hood, which was to be While several movies use special effects, it is only in this film
erased digitally and superimposed with Brad’s face at a later that the technology has been stretched to its limits. Amazingly
stage. After this filming was done, Brad lent his voice and subtle in its use, its beauty lies in the fact that most movie-watchers
facial expressions to the scenes (rather like dubbing). This would not even realise the painstaking effort that has gone into
‘visual and sound dubbing’ was recorded from four angles, making Benjamin Button an extraordinarily realistic juxtaposition
ensuring that even the tiniest change in the actor’s facial of the real and the digital. As always, this is technology at its best
expression was not missed. that not only entertains but also inspires awe and wonder! I

November ‘09 75 liveit.in


sci-fi makes
Feature

When
it to real life
Fantasy fictions make way to real-life technology Suneetha B.
I
s necessity the mother of invention? Nope! The phrase Sure enough, humans followed the concept of flying and
can be easily changed to ‘Fiction is the mother of space travel without much delay. The invention of the airplane
invention’ when one takes stock of the concepts which by the Wright brothers was soon followed by Yuri Gagarin’s
have made their way from fantasy fiction to real-life pioneering space tour and the actual moonwalk by Neil
technology. Believe it or not, most of the mainstays of Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin. Undoubtedly, it is one giant leap
modern life had once been the idea buds that took shape in for mankind and the journey of discovery continues till date.
the imagination of sci-fi writers. Just look at these But just remember, we have first read it as a piece of fiction.
illustrations and you will realise it soon.
Robotics: Will Man play God?
Cell phones: No wire, no tire When Czech writer Karel Čapek introduced the word ‘robota’
Can you imagine life without cell phones? You can hardly in his play in 1921, little did he think that the word was going to
remember it, let alone imagine, one would surmise. In those be etched in gold. Robota means forced labour and the play is
days, you booked a trunk call and waited for hours before it about a factory where artificial people are created to work for
came through; or broke your journey to make a call from a humans. Finally, the machine-man rebels and the humans meet
phone booth and waited in the queue. We accepted it and were their end.
content till Star Trek was beamed.
Captain Kirk’s ‘communicators’ in Star Trek used to talk to
the crew of the Starship Enterprise. And that precisely
inspired and influenced Martin Cooper while he was
developing cell technology at Motorola. On a fine April day
in 1973, Cooper walked down a New York Street and put
across the world’s first ever cell phone call from a handset
that weighed all of two pounds and more. The call was
made to Joel Engel, the research head at Bell Labs,
incidentally Cooper’s rival.

Space travel: Winging a new world


We all remember the humorous science fantasy From the Earth to
the Moon (French: De la Terre à la Lune, 1865) by Jules Verne or
the 1901 sci-fi romance The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells.
Taking a cue from these, Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès made the
first science fiction movie, A Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la
Lune, 1902). This was a 14-minute movie about six astronomers
who build a bullet-shaped ship; it is then fired from a cannon
and reaches the moon.

Isaac Asimov made it sound even better


in 1942 with a slight twist and coined the
word robotics in his short story, Runaround.
And Asimov fans are sure to remember the
three rules for robots. Later on, Blade
Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Terminator and
the sci-fi TV flick Battlestar Galactica made us
marvel at the rebelling potentials of the
robots. But so far, our robots are
emotionless and the farthest they have
ventured is the ramp in Japan where they
have catwalked as fashion models.

Submarines: For under-ocean


odysseys
William Bourne in 1578 and Cornelis
Jacobszoon Drebbel in 1620, as well as
Leonardo Da Vinci during the Renaissance,

November ‘09 77 liveit.in


Feature

Back to the future


As a fun discussion, we have asked a group of sci-fi enthusiasts
to open up on future-tech ideas which will change our life in the
time to come. So take a look at what they have to say.

Rohith Jyothish, an Economics student


and an avid sci-fi reader living in
Thiruvananthapuram, was all for teleporting
and jet packing. “If there is a way we can fly
from one place to another at the click of a
button, I would say ‘WOW’,” he exclaimed.
I guess the poor guy is as tired of the traffic
as we all are!
talked about and envisaged submarine designs. And once
again, Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea Sudhindra Mokhasi,
opened up the possibilities of under-ocean odysseys. That was author of the best-selling BPO
in 1870, of course. But submarines came up fast and were Sutra and CEO of e-Sutra
rampantly used during the World Wars. Next came the Chronicles, Bangalore, would
nuclear-powered subs but alas, it is not the Navy alone that ideally look forward to “a
now enjoys all the underwater fun, adventure and secrecy. notebook PC shaped like a pen,
The first tourist submarine came up in 1985 and luxury with a projecting virtual
submarines happen to be the latest fad among the uber rich. keyboard and a screen to keep it
According to a media report, an estimated 100 or so luxury on the table and bang away.”
subs are out there in the deep seas, ranging between $12 Won’t it be great when this
million and $80 million. actually happens?

Geostationary satellites: Moon-making Himanshu Gaur, an Ad


for a cause man and sci-fi writer from New
Science fiction buffs know that Arthur C. Clarke had predicted Delhi, was all enthusiasm when
the possibility of geostationary satellite in the Wireless World it came to generating futuristic ideas which might change our
magazine in 1945. Today, these are being launched left, right lifestyle dramatically. “Every advancement in science and
and centre for communications and weather observation. technology changes our life. Today, it’s most natural to chat with
These are artificial earth-orbiting satellites (you can say, fake our loved ones who are on the other side of the globe. Or we
moons) placed directly over the equator at an altitude of can fly and meet them in less than 48 hours. Things can only get
35,800 km. They revolve in the same direction as the earth better in the days to come and we can expect a lot more. Like
rotates (west to east), take 24 hours to complete one orbit and amphibious and flying cars, computers that we can control by
appear nearly stationary in the sky when we look at them from thought, Internet spectacles we can surf by thinking, backpack
the ground. The orbital path has been named the Clarke Belt, for human flying and most importantly, an increase in the
in honour of the visionary. average human lifespan – let’s say 350 years, for a start!”
And once this happens, we will have to emigrate to other
Food supplements: Survival made easy planets for sure!
Do you remember The Jetsons, a popular sitcom originally
made in the 1960s and remade in 1980s as the space-age Dr. Amarjeet Nayak, a sci-fi
counterpart of The Flintstones hailing from the Stone Age? It writer and a college teacher was all
features humans in a futuristic utopia in 2062 and shows for the invention of a vaccine so
several concepts which may become a reality soon. For that hunger pang would cause no
instance, food supplements are something most busy house pain. When pressed further, he
managers with multiple careers long for, at least on a workday. dived deep into imagination and
The people in the flick pop in tablets for breakfast, lunch and foresaw the annihilation of
dinner instead of sitting down to meals. No one can deny the mankind. Would you like to know
value of food supplements in this jet age; but will it make us the cause? No, it’s not nuclear war
long for the good, old home-cooked meals? or global warming, but flu – the
Such ideas are aplenty, but let us now go fast forward and look hate flu epidemic, to be precise. It
at the future for a bit. begins with mild symptoms of

liveit.in 78 November ‘09


‘jealousy flu’, then turns into intolerance flu, and finally acute can be converted to words without losing their meaning. And
hate flu would occur. And the symptoms? Red eyes, irritated during the communication process, words, too, tend to lose some
mental state and murder frenzy. punch. Consequently, the ideas conveyed fail to carry the real
Should we now seriously consider changing ourselves and get meaning – they are either distorted or we get them totally
over such mental blocks? wrong. Either way, the intensity or the meaning will get lost,”
Rathi added.
Anil Menon, a well-known sci-fi author and a techie residing “The social implications of this new ‘brain supplement’ will
in the USA, had a list of 10 innovations jotted down in a jiffy. be debatable though, as the boundaries of the ‘thought pool’
His fertile imagination flew from bene markets to exoskeletons concept are not clear yet. This is being branded by some as the
and climate engineering in rapid succession. new ‘toy’ to forgo privacy while others think that it may help the
Anil spoke of bene markets where financial instruments would disabled or the linguistically challenged,” he opined.
convert social goods into market goods and investors would be
able to invest in social changes. Climate engineering, on the Pervin C, a writer and English language consultant from
other hand, focused on techniques that would tweak the climate Pune, fervently wished that “we should never fall ill or become
and curb the greenhouse effect. But what I liked best was the obese. And when one has to die, one can just fall asleep and die
nictitating membranes. Present in reptiles, birds and some – not because of heart attack or any such illness. Why should we
animals, this is the transparent or translucent third eyelid, but tolerate such a prolonged period of misery, aches and suffering
Anil wanted it in humans for another purpose. It would be very before death? Why are we made that way? It will be awesome if
useful to carry around a computer display in the eyes. Need a at 70, someone can just fall asleep and die painlessly!”
screen? Drop an eyelid.
Then there is the new behavioural genetics, where some
parents will tweak their kids to give them a better future.
Imagine a kid designed to like mathematics, to concentrate, to
have no interest in the other sex till a pre-set age. Another idea
was finding the cure for most viral and bacterial diseases. It has
only taken 20 to 40 years to crack the HIV virus, perhaps the
most complex one in existence. So in another 50 years, most
‘natural’ germs would surely be destroyed by modern medicines,
he felt.
Anil, you definitely have the future mapped in your mind!

Vaibhav Rathi, a tech student at IIT Jaipur, looked forward


to one comprehensive scientific study that would span all
branches and enable individuals to communicate better. “Major
scientific breakthroughs involving collaborations from varied
fields such as Physics, Neurology, Biotechnology and Psychology
have actually opened up new possibilities in the area of It was great to hear a feminine comment at last when she
communication,” he wanted “forever contact lenses that need not be washed and
said. “So let’s have a rinsed and cleaned every night! And how about a way to set hair
newly developed ‘brain permanently so that there are no bad hair days? Want it in curls?
supplement’ that will You set it and it stays that way whether you shampoo, shower or
ensure mind-to-mind sleep ... until three months later when you prefer straight hair.”
communication – But she also wished for an invention that would ensure world
making the use of peace for ever.
language totally Perhaps that was the best suggestion! But I did wonder why
obsolete. The new nobody thought of the holodeck? A hangover of the Star Trek
technology will allow days, this is a big room that can simulate any number of
two individuals to share environments and/or experiences for the user, and can trick all
their respective ‘thought five senses into believing that it’s real. That’s the ultimate, isn’t it
pools’. – a switch from one reality to another and find out what
There’s a logic given resonates with us? Much like Richard Bach’s One that offers
by scientists and parallel worlds and endless lifetimes for us to savour! Believe it or
technicians in this not, you surely may experience it one day. Like those things
respect. Not all thoughts which were concepts once, but are realities now. I

November ‘09 79 liveit.in


Achieve academic
excellence with

Spearheaded by IIM-IT alumni, the foundations of Hyderabad, Raipur, Bhiwani, Mandi, Ahmednagar,
Career Launcher were laid in 1995. Ever since its Gurgaon and Noida under the brand name ‘Indus
inception, Career Launcher (CL) has focused on World School & Ananda’.
academic excellence, technological innovation and
domain expertise to make education accessible to all. CL also runs a business school based out of Greater
Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The business school offers a
What initially began with a vision to set up a world- Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) and a Post-
class education services corporate, CL today is one Graduation Programme in Management (PGPM).
of the leading education corporate in South Asia. CL Currently, CL is in the process of setting up a university
is led by top business and engineering alumnus from where, besides academic, technical and business
IIMs and IITs. It has learning centres spread across courses, a major focus will be on vocational training. With
130 cities in India and has an international presence this project, CL aims at generating direct employment for
in the US, Dubai and Abu Dhabi offering various 3500 people and employment opportunities for 50,000
services to students. students over the next five years.

With its focus on students’ needs, its foundation firmly A pioneer in the realm of personality development
set on its ‘Core Values’ and technology as a key driver, programmes (PDP) in India, CL has been running
CL strives to enable people to realize their potential. exclusive soft skills, communication and job readiness
courses to help candidates get jobs in IT, banking,
Career Launcher is also actively involved in the field insurance, retail sectors.
of mainstream education, mainly through its growing
network of playschools and secondary schools. CL is actively involved in pre-hire training and skill up-
Currently, CL runs eight schools in Indore, gradation for manpower requirement of corporate and
MNCs, especially in the areas of sales, retail, IT, etc. It
provides comprehensive services in this sector ranging
from sourcing, assessment and training to placements
and out-sourcing. Graduate Finishing Schools (GFS) is
another domain where CL is involved in soft skills
development and job readiness of college students/pass-
outs. CL has initiated its GFS work focusing on banking
and IT sector and engineering graduates. With tie-ups
with leading IT giants like Oracle and HCL, Career
Launcher is all set to establish academies/hubs for
technical training and IT skill up-gradation. Besides, CL
has also tied up with ICICI Bank and NCDEX (National
Commodities and Derivatives Exchange of India) for job-
oriented courses in banking and commodities sector.
Inaugural function at Indus World School, Ahmednagar.
A
re you an incurable television addict, a self-
professed couch potato who is forever glued
to the small screen and cannot let go of the
remote? Chin up and cheer up – you are not
alone. Modern homes claim to have at least one TV
set per family member as all of us have our own
preferences and want to enjoy our private space.
Times have changed since that bulky, black-and-
white ‘idiot box’ made its first entry to our drawing
rooms in the 1940s. Today, the average television set is
capable of showing 100-plus channels and tends to
drown us in an incessant shower of infotainment.
Nestled in the comfort of your sofa, you can admire
the grace of Russian ballet, savour the fine art of

Forget the idiot box… Anuj Agarwal

It’s HOME CINEMA now


Sleek, chic, light and wide – you cannot take your eyes off these tech wonders …
French wine-making, admire the haute couture on display at the inches. Up to 32 inches, images will definitely be sharper but
Oscar Red Carpet or have a face-to-screen darshan of Baba you may not be able to find much difference.
Ramdev – all in 15 minutes flat. Next comes the contrast ratio that measures the brightness
Watching television has always been fun, thanks to the fast- difference between the darkest and brightest spot on a display. But
evolving content. But why don’t you watch your favourite do you really need a TV with highest contrast ratio? There are
programme on a laptop, mobile or PDA? “No way,” says Kiran several ways to calculate contrast ratio and as per VESA (Video
Ranjan, a quality analyst by profession and a die-hard sports fan. Electronics Standards Association), a contrast ratio of 7000:1 is the
“One can hardly enjoy the world cup soccer final or even a movie best possible one. Unfortunately, the specifications provided by
on that kind of screen. Televisions are definitely here to stay.” various manufacturers are just a marketing hype. It simply refers to
But before you buy a hi-tech TV amounting to thousands or the gadget’s ability to reproduce different levels of brightness and it
even lakhs, let us take a close look at the dizzying array of new is much better to judge things with your own eyes. Go to a store
terminologies and decide which television will best suit your and check how a particular television looks. Your eyes can better
requirements and budget. So here we go … recognise contrast than resolution, which is why a full HD TV of
1080 pixel resolution and low contrast may not look as good as a
Choose a digital, high-definition TV 720 pixel with high contrast.
Great picture, vibrant colour, reverberating sound, wide screen – Now that you are shopping for a digital, high-definition
all major manufacturers are now working on future technologies to television, there will be options galore in terms of technology and
ensure these and much more. Picture quality depends on two basic display which we will discuss below. But here lies a small catch. Not
factors – the number of horizontal lines on the screen and the all digital televisions are high-definition as per the above standards.
number of pixels or colour dots (that make up the picture) in each So it is always better to find out if the DTV you want to buy comes
line. Most of us have grown up with standard-definition television with standard picture resolution and screen size.
(SDTV) that can display 480 horizontal lines and 640 pixels per
line. High-definition TVs are much better, of course, as they can The world on the wall – Plasma versus LCD
display 1080 lines and 1920 pixels per line with better refresh rate Are you craving for one of those sleek, wall-mounted models
and high contrast ratio. However, sets that display 720 lines and which are bound to give you the home-theatre type look and feel?
1280 pixels are also considered high-definition. Go for the flat-panel sets then – the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
You also need to consider the shape and size of the screen. and the Plasma are the best buy. Both look quite similar and come
Instead of the regular, nearly square screen, high-definition with full HD resolution (1920x1080), but they differ in technology.
TVs come with wide screens like the ones we find in movie Technologies: Plasma screens consist of numerous pixel cells,
theatres. Any good set should feature a screen above 32 each filled with a mixture of rare natural gases – usually xenon

November ‘09 81 liveit.in


Feature

and neon. This gas mixture is


located between two electrodes and
contains both positively and
negatively charged ions. Every pixel
of the Plasma TV acts as a source
of light and is coated with Plasma LCD
phosphor, a fluorescent material,
 Better home-theatre image quality  Sleek, less bulky than Plasma sets
which displays colour when it reacts
 Wider viewing angles  Available in a wide range of sizes
with light. Also, each pixel consists  Deeper black levels  High contrast and bright pictures
of three smaller areas – again PROS  Superior motion resolution  Matte screens keep down reflection

coated with phosphor materials  Big screens (40 inches and above)  Less power consumption

that produce red, blue and green cost less than LCDs of equal size  Better lifespan than Plasma screens

colours. These smaller areas are


 Smaller screens are not available  Picture quality is not as good as Plasma sets
known as sub-pixels.
 Heavier than LCD sets and fragile  Poor black levels
When hit with an electric charge,  Lower native resolution  Motion blur caused by display
the ions collide with each other as CONS  Burn-in problem  Relatively narrow viewing angle
they try to move towards their  Short lifespan  Bigger screens (40 inches and above) are priced
 Less energy efficient higher than Plasma sets
oppositely charged electrode. Such
 Glass screens reflect light in brightly lit space
collisions produce ultraviolet light
rays or photons which subsequently What you
react with the coloured phosphor,  Movies, sports, gaming. Best for  Regular TV shows and gaming which

coating the sub-pixels. The sub-


can watch movies on DVDs. produce static images on the screen.
pixels then release different best
amounts of red, blue or green light
and colour images are produced. the other hand, generates typically brighter pictures. If you
LCD or the liquid crystal display technology works in a different prefer watching daily soaps or news, go for an LCD display as
manner. Here, liquid crystals containing pixels are pushed in the Plasma screens tend to glare in brightly lit rooms. Also, Plasma
space between two pieces of polarised glass. When power is displays are generally heavier and more delicate to ship. So if
switched on, a cold cathode fluorescent lamp or CCFL at the back you need to relocate often, think again before shelling out your
of the screen emits a white light that passes through the liquid money on the Plasma.
crystals. Meanwhile, a matrix of thin-film transistors (TFTs) Another concern with the Plasma TV is the ‘burn-in’, where
supplies voltage to the liquid crystals, so that they can reproduce static images like a channel’s logo would leave a permanent
just the ‘right’ colours by blocking out other colour wavelengths imprint on the screen. Although measures have been taken to
from the spectrum of white light. minimise it, you must be careful and should not pause your Plasma
Let us also consider FLCD or Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal for a long time. Plasma is still considered the best by movie buffs,
Display, in this context. FLCD is quite unique compared to the fond of large-screen viewing. Samsung’s 50 inch B550 full HD
traditional LCD, since power is required only for the initial model is one of the top-rated products, but a wide range is out
switching on. This leads to substantial energy-saving, to say the there to choose from.
least. Moreover, FLCD has very fast response time. It also offers
full colour and full motion for video applications, high contrast Buy LED LCD, get brownie points
value and a better resolution – thus improving the image quality. Technology: The latest on offer is the LED backlit TV which is
Pros and cons: Plasma comes in bigger sizes and normally similar to LCDs but comes with LED (light-emitting diode)
starts from 40 inches, while LCD sets are also available in less than backlights instead of the white fluorescent light used in traditional
40 inches. But the biggest advantage of Plasma is its price when it LCD televisions. Made of semiconductive material, LEDs have
comes to really big screens. Larger LCD sets do not abound (of many advantages over traditional lighting sources including less
course, there is a 65 inch set manufactured recently) and they will energy consumption, better lifetime and smaller size.
surely cost you a fortune. However, LCD tends to consume less There are several ways of backlighting an LCD panel using
power, is lighter in weight, provides sharper images and is believed LEDs. These can be positioned directly behind the LCD
to have a better lifespan than Plasma screens. panel; or you can opt for the latest edge-lit LED where LED
There is another plus for Plasma as it is better equipped to units are placed at the right, left, top and bottom of the panel.
render deeper blacks. Colours appear richer and more natural Each unit contains a row of tiny white diodes and a thin
on a Plasma screen. Viewing angle is undoubtedly superior, and screen-sized plastic sheet known as a light guide plate. The
it also ensures better motion tracking for fast-moving pictures. combined light output is funnelled and redistributed evenly
So Plasma is best suited for movie and sports lovers. An LCD, on across the screen.

liveit.in 82 November ‘09


features, an LED LCD set will be ideal for
you. It can produce immensely bright images
and deeper blacks compared to the
traditional LCD. LED displays have higher
refresh rate, so you will get better motion
LED OLED images than the LCD. The only drawback is
the price, as LEDs are more expensive than
 Better picture quality than LCDs, almost as  Super sleek,High refresh rate those with conventional lighting systems.
good as Plasma displays  Brighter images and higher contrast ratios
 Super sleek,High refresh rate  Deep black levels,Better motion resolution
LED is as good as Plasma; all you have to do
 Deep black levels,Better motion resolution  Wider viewing angles, is to shell out some extra bucks to get this
 Less power consumption  Less power consumption,Supposed to be more beautiful, slim wonder.
 Wider viewing angle cost effective than LCDs
OLED – The new wonder
 Higher cost  Short lifespan Technology: If you are wondering what’s
 Easily damaged by water
next, we have more good news. Another
wonder gadget is on its way to hit the market
soon – the OLED TV, to be precise. Simply
put, OLED (Organic Light Emitting
Display) is an organic LED that does not
require a backlight but emits its own light. It
 Movies, sports, day-to-day programmes  Supposed to be ideal for gaming with very low is also supposed to be more cost-effective
and gaming. response time. Very good for movies, sports than LCDs.
and regular TV programmes.
So, what is so great about OLEDs?
Everything, you may say. This futuristic
Pros and cons: So, what are the pluses when you get an display comes with lightning fast response time (less than 0.01 ms),
LED LCD? The brightness is better, for one thing, and the very high contrast ratio, outstanding brightness, wide viewing
black level has gone up to Plasma-like quality. The viewing angles, exceptional colours and very little power requirement.
angle has also improved, thanks to the ‘most sleek, all screen’ The technology is simple enough, though. Instead of liquid
concept. Use of LED in LCD TV consumes less power and crystals, a layer of organic material is pushed between two
hence, is good for environment. It has better contrast ratio with conductors – an anode and a cathode. It is then put between two
high response time and is pretty much sleek, even slimmer than glass plates (a seal and a substrate). When the conductors are hit by
the LCD TV. In fact, the innovative spin-off can really add to current, the organic material produces a bright, electro-
the grace and space to your living room. For example, a 32 inch luminescent light. OLED generates amazingly pure colours (red,
LCD TV will occupy around 80 mm of your living space in green and blue) when relevant pixels are stimulated and these are
terms of thickness while the latest LED TV occupies less than further refined by a colour filter to ensure great image quality.
30 mm. It means more than 50 per cent space saving – a boon Pros and cons: As OLED TV claims to have very high refresh
for those who either love ‘size zero’ or suffer from space crunch. rate, watching fast-moving images and playing games will definitely
LED TVs are available in India and the most visible brand is get a boost. OLEDs can also be used to create flexible and
Samsung. Sony and LG have also introduced their products in the transparent displays, thanks to their simple design and sleekness. They
Indian market. Very few models are available though, and you can really replace the Plasma and the LCD if the manufacturing cost
may not find them at every retail outlet. LG does not have a large of OLEDs gets reduced along with improved lifetime.
viewing angle but claims to be a full back-light LED LCD TV, OLEDs have already found success with mini-displays (mobile
rather than Samsung’s edge-lit LED LCD. Samsung claims to phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, etc.) and manufacturers are
have mega contrast ratio, which means you will get a perfect now working to achieve the same on bigger screens. As of now,
picture with highest colour quality and improved refresh rate. efforts are on to enhance their lifespan and ensure better product
Sony is somewhat expensive, but it is the slimmest of all with only sealing as intrusion of water can destroy the organic material.
9.9 mm thickness. Samsung is a medium 29.9 mm while LG is the Samsung and Sony have already showcased several products based
thickest with 94 mm. on OLED technology. Sony has started marketing its 11 inch
Sony’s latest ZX series 40 inch LED LCD model costs around OLED TV in Japan and the USA. And the latest product
Rs 200,000; Samsung’s 40 inch model is priced at around Rs demonstrated by the company is a 21 inch prototype.
125,000 while LG’s 42 inch set is just Rs 90,000. Sharp has also
introduced a few LED LCD models with 2,000,000:1 contrast Surf and tweet – on small screen
ratio, but these may not be easily available in the Indian market. Believe it or not, technology convergence is happening
If you want a television with latest technology and better lightning fast. And your small screen is getting Web

November ‘09 83 liveit.in


Feature

connectivity. Leading manufacturers like Sony, LG, Samsung Big is beautiful, but …
and Vizio have tied up with Yahoo! to build small applications Many people wonder whether a large screen will be suitable for
and widgets – so that you can surf and tweet while watching their bedroom or should they get a larger one for their living room.
your favourite programme. Actually, the rule of the thumb is you should not sit closer than
Right now, only a few models come with Internet connectivity. twice the width of your TV display and no farther than five times
Samsung has released a 55 inch Series 8 LED LCD TV, so that its width. So if you want to purchase a 40 inch Plasma or LCD
you can be online any time and access a number of Websites such screen, your room length should be somewhere between six and 16
as Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Twitter, Flickr and many more. feet. An average bedroom also has that much space. So you can
All these can be done from the sidebar using various widgets while enjoy your favourite programmes and movies on a big screen with
your favourite programme is on. You can also have a news ticker your family and loved-ones.
and a stock ticker on display. And that should be able to put a stop
to the eternal bickering you have with your spouse or kids. Now, Size zero is not that good
they can watch the latest stock quote or cricket score on the ticker In 2008, Samsung showcased world’s thinnest OLED display,
while you watch your favourite show. which measures just 0.05 mm (thinner than paper) with a contrast
But all this comes for a price and you need to shell out some Rs ratio of 100,000:1. Then, there is the world’s largest OLED
350,000 to get this wonderful television from Samsung that has television which has a 40 inch screen with full HD resolution
increased the frame rate conversion to 240Hz. LG has also (1920x1080) and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. But we need to
introduced Internet@TV, the LG LH50 series. This is a 47 inch check whether 0.05 mm display is feasible for our living room or
model and the price is very competitive – just Rs 95,000. But it has not. It is not too difficult to guess what will happen if somebody
only 150,000:1 contrast ratio while Samsung has mega contrast touches it with a heavy hand. May be we need to have a caution
ratio. But you can still use various Yahoo! widgets, YouTube and message up near our TV saying: Please handle with care; this TV
other such applications. is very sensitive.

3D TV – Future tech comes home? The ‘P’ factor


Do you remember watching Chota Chetan or the 3D version of From CRT to LED LCD and Plasma, from flat screen to flat panel
Meet the Robinsons on the big screen with special glasses on? Well, – a dizzying range of models are out there which come with
now you may not have to visit cinema halls or wear those glasses to different price tags. Of course, you buying decision may get
enjoy the 3D effect. Sony has already demonstrated a single-lens influenced by various factors – looks, features, power usage or, most
camera that captures 3D images and expects to come up with 3D importantly, PRICE. But Savvy buyers like Kiran Ranjan often
TVs by the end of 2010. Research is also on to introduce 3D choose to wait and watch before opting for a new technology. “I
television with an in-built camera that will capture viewer’s prefer to wait a few months, or even a year, for reviews and market
movements and adjust the picture accordingly. And once that reaction,” the 34-year-old quality analyst confirms. “By that time,
happens, you won’t have to wear special glasses to enjoy your the price also comes down a little and you have a fair bargain.”
favourite 3D show. Also, keep in mind the cost of TV furniture and suitable
So how far are we from a three-dimensional television? To installation. Unlike your old set, televisions today do not come in
get the 3D effect, a fast response rate is required and the high freestanding cabinets. So you may have to buy a brand new stand
refresh rate of the current LCD and Plasma televisions may which will cost you quite a few extra bucks. Installation costs will be
soon make it a reality. Philips is working on this technology for there as well, especially if you are wall-mounting your hi-tech set.
the past 15 years and has demonstrated several 3D applications. You may also require new power points, new wiring and extra-strong
The global giant is confident of creating effective 3D solutions studs for hanging up your TV. As for those looking forward to a real
based on its WoWvx technology. home-cinema experience, more shopping will be on the cards in
So when you own a 3D-ready TV, all you need is 3D content for terms of additional audios such as surround-sound speakers.
an evening fun, thrill and adventure. However, companies must
come up with a device to send 3D signals to 3D-ready televisions. Ensure tech support
You can also connect the 3D TV and your system using an HDMI No, we are not talking about warranty and after-sales support,
cable and then stream your favourite 3D content for small-screen although you should have a clear idea about what the company is
viewing. Mitsubishi has already come up with a model (Laservue offering and how you stand to gain in case things are not working
HDTV) that has a standard 3D port and the 3D content can be right. But it is even more important to understand what tech
viewed by wearing active 3D glasses. support you can expect from your cable/satellite service provider,
once your new television set is safely home and correctly installed.
And finally, points to ponder Make sure that your set is able to capture high-definition signals
Now that you are more or less conversant with the existing and go for an upgrade if it requires additional equipment. Now
technologies and ready to take your pick, here are a few pointers to that you are all set, it’s time for that phenomenal click of the
ensure the best buy. remote. Happy viewing! I

liveit.in 84 November ‘09


“N
o, never ever would I approve of your joining well in harmony with the
the school of multimedia,” roared the father, storyboard, before preparing the
“better you join the coaching centre as it will final layout. The advantage? Well,
equip you with all the necessary skills to clear anything and everything can be
those competitive tests to secure a job.” He would not like any changed, if required, with the click
deviation from it. Even a decade back, such was the common of a mouse in a jiffy. Also, any
reaction if a young member from a family wanted to opt for addition or alteration, even omission
some off-beat profession. However, days have changed and so or retrieval of clips can be made
has people’s idea about career. With the advent of technology, quickly. Those stressful hours of
things have changed like what it has been in the entertainment editing on Moviola or Steenbeck
field. Initially entertainment primarily meant cinema where an have given way to latest digital
actor or a musician, an editor or at the best a sound engineer editing. Jump-cut, matching of
ruled the roost but it is a different story now. Considering time, frames, montage effect,
money and competition, a production needs the involvement of separating
experts at every stage to make a mark. While a sound engineer (segmenting;

s In
or an editor could earlier manage the post-production process editing,

t ie str y
with only a couple of assistants, today a group of technically
i
making sub-

tun du
skilled persons are working round-the-clock to give shape to the
director’s ideation. Today an actor can rehearse before a
clip), linking
(sequencing, adding),

or
video camera to shed his imperfection, if any, before
In
selecting (select, activate, mark
he goes for the final shot. The
p
p en t in/mark out), inserting (substitute,
splice in), removing (eliminate, extract),
O
r inm
replacing (permutations, replace, overwrite),

e
re rtaerjee
expanding and compressing (trim, slip, slide) on AVID
media composer have become an experience to cherish.

a
C ntea Mukh
Digital video editing can do wonders, provided one is
thoroughly conversant in the process. A career in this field can

E riyank be an interesting option for creative people to prosper in the


entertainment and media industry. But what is digital editing?
It is a process of modifying or re-arranging segments of video
P
from one or more video tapes to create a final piece of
video. The primary role of a video editor involves
editing of soundtracks, video and film for
motion picture and broadcast visual
media industries. Video editing is categorised
as ‘linear’ and ‘non-linear’ editing or digital video editing. It
involves the use of computer technology for onscreen editing. In
non-linear editing, audio and video data are captured and then
edited using various software.
A career in video editing has become lucrative with the arrival
director, in this case, can better explain where the actor fails or of movie clips and videos. The growing popularity of online
succeeds to portray a particular emotion or how he should use video clips has resulted in increased video editing activities by
the available light by watching the recorded frames. The Internet users. There are numerous job opportunities in this
presence of an expert cameraperson cannot be ignored. Not avenue and video editors can find good placements in film and
only actors but even editors are extremely benefited if they are television production studios, advertising and multimedia firms,
equipped with the latest technology and know-how of video and Web design studios.
editing. This process certainly helps control time and money – They can also try their luck in motion picture studios and
two important aspects of filmmaking. Then comes the role of a independent production companies. Most of the video editors
sound engineer, who must be well acquainted with latest work as freelancers or on short-term contracts for television
techniques and familiar with modern gadgets. Even a make-up companies, post-production studios and corporate employers.
artist can obtain enormous help from computer graphics; he can A career in video editing is open for all, as no specific
create a virtual image of a character onscreen before he puts educational qualification is required to enter this field. Yet, for a
make-up on the artist to get the actual ambiance of the good payoff you may enrol for video editing courses such as
character. A set designer can chalk out a plan on his console, Diploma in Video Editing, Diploma in Video Editing & Sound

November ‘09 85 liveit.in


Tech Career

Recording, Certificate Course in Non-Linear Editing, Post Animation awaits the present generation with a sparkling
Graduate Diploma in Post-Production (Editing), Diploma in career option even though it is still at a nascent stage in
Film Editing, etc. For digital video editors, it is an added India. Though this profession seems low-key but for a
advantage to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in media arts dedicated individual, it must make hay as the sun of fortune
or animation. shines on it.
Video editors should possess high level of self-motivation, Those not good at sketching/drawing or having poor choice
creativity, keen eye for detail and the basic knowledge of of colours should not venture in this direction. For diploma or
cameras and digital camera technology. Of course, commitment bachelor degree in animation, one needs to clear at least 12th
to the work one does is most essential. standard. For Post-Graduate programmes, one must be a
Another lucrative career option may be animation effects. The graduate in any discipline, preferably in arts. And basic
advent of cable, DTH and video as well as groundbreaking knowledge of computers is also essential.
technology in computer graphics has generated a host of As a newcomer, it is a good idea to keep a portfolio with
animation marketed to all ages. Now, that certainly means more samples of your best artwork. As an alternative, you may send
job opportunities and better scope in animation. your work samples to various studios you are interested in
Information Courtesy: http://www.3stepads.com/68241/career-animation- working for.
industry/ Institutes where a fresher can apply for, include Zee Institute
Animation is fast emerging as a multibillion dollar industry, of Creative Arts (ZICA), Industrial Design Center (IDC), IIT
generating a great scope of employment for creative bugs. Mumbai and Guwahati, Arena Multimedia, Maya Academy of
The art of animation came to being with the caveman Advanced Cinematics and TOONZ Animation India Pvt. Ltd.
drawing pictures on rock surfaces. Remember Walt Disney Information Courtesy:
creations, especially the lovable Mickey Mouse? In the present http://www.indiaedunews.net/Career/Indian_animation_industry_poised_
times, it means linking the series of drawing and simulating their for_growth_3713/
movement together. There are numerous B-schools that provide http://www.articlesbase.com/college-and-university-articles/career-in-
courses in animation. animation-industry-1147591.html

liveit.in 86 November ‘09


Hang on! There is more … undergone sea change and includes many sub-forms like
So far we have talked about only two prospective options, but broadcasting with the help of TV and radio; entertainment
there are more. Have you ever tuned in to those radio with the use of audio-visuals, films and videos; Internet with
stations? Let me rattle off their names – Radio City 91.1 the inclusion of blogs, forums, music and news; and
FM, Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM, Red FM 93.5, Big 92.7 FM, publication of books, journals and magazines. Thus, the
Fever 104 FM, etc. If the strains of music haven’t put you scope of a career in media industry is vast.
asleep, give a thumbs-up to the radio jockeys who will remove
your day-long ennui with a click-shut by matching beats of Media institutes in India
songs. So you realise the need of a DJ (Disc Jockey) in the Bangalore University, Gnana Bharati, Bangalore, University of
present world, set on a war-footing pace where you need to be Calcutta, Senate House Calcutta, Stella Maris College,
rejuvenated at every step. Cathedral Road, Chennai, MA Mass Communication and
With the boom in entertainment industry, DJs have proved Journalism, University of Calcutta, Senate House, Calcutta,
their worth to add to the zing of city life. Visit any metro and Mangalore University, Mangalore, University of Madras,
you will find it going gaga over the signature beats of the Chennai, Kodaikanal Christian College, Paradise Hill,
most popular DJ. Many pursue it as a part-time opportunity Kodaikanal, University of Pune, Department of
to earn extra lolly. DJing has now become a considerable Communication Studies, Pune, Manipal Institute of
career option. Communication, Manipal, MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, New
But there are a few things you need to be familiar with. Say, Delhi, Mudra Institute of Communication, Shela, Ahmedabad,
the concept of timing. A DJ’s basic job is to first listen to the SNDT Women’s University, Nathibai Thackersey Road,
beats of a song and internalise the same. The songs can be Mumbai, Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida (UP),
divided into a particular number of beats per minute (for the Dr. Harisingh Gour Viswavidyalaya, Gour Nagar, Sagar (MP),
sake of convenience) and, thus, essentially the DJ must match Indian Television Training Institute, New Delhi.
the BPMs (beats per minute) of the songs to play properly. One Information Courtesy: http://www.indiaedu.com/career-avenues/career-in-
mismatch and the whole rhythm can go awry. Basic mixing media.html
involves two tracks, one on the left and another on the right. It can best be described as the ‘high tide’ of technology, as
Hardcore DJs mix four-five tracks together, but you better stick every day a new career option is opening up. A career in game
to basics first. designing is one among them. It is one of the most complex
Women, too, are joining the fray and a special coaching parts of software development. Game designing involves
centre is being launched to train youngsters. “We DJs enjoy designing the content and rules of the game. The principles of
our job as we get to liven up parties by mixing tunes, forming game designing are applied to various forms of games such as
beats and creating the right ambience in the club,” says a board games, video games or card games.
local DJ in Kolkata. “There’s party happening all around and Video game designing requires the co-ordination of game
with an increase in party hoppers in metros, I must mechanics, programming, visual arts, production process, etc.
encourage others to join this profession,” she cheers up Usually, the purpose of games is to entertain, train or educate.
newcomers in this field. The game designing job sector is booming in India and it is
The radio industry in India has truly come of age. With considered a hot career option.
the growth, expansion and increased reach of the radio There are numerous established companies that offer excellent
industry, a variety of FM channels have come up offering job opportunities in game designing. Synapse, Smackall, Ishir
diverse content. Infotech and Csharks are some of the popular game designing
With renewed zing (DJing), let’s switch over to the field of Mass companies in India that cater their services to the mobile phone
Communication. With India’s media and entertainment industry industry, online games and video games sector.
opening up multiple avenues, there are many job profiles open to a Aspirants may enrol in courses like Advanced Diploma in
fresher now – from radio jockeys, actors, musicians, dancers, Game Design, Diploma in Game Design & Gaming, Video
journalists, video technology creators and managers to cameramen Game Design and Development Certification, and Video Game
and editors, soundmen and public relations managers. These are Design and Development to step up their market value. Some
high-profile jobs and help earn huge remunerations. Some of the well-known institutes in India include Colorchips Animation
profiles talked about are as follow: Training Centre in Hyderabad, National Institute of Design in
The media industry is one of the most versatile industries. Ahmedabad, Digital Academy Film School in Mumbai, Image
Mass media, as it is called theoretically, is one of the most College of Arts, Animation & Technology in Chennai, and
influential industries today as it is directly connected with Asian Academy of Film & Television in Uttar Pradesh. These
the masses. The primary role of the media industry is to institutes offer courses with genuine study material and assured
provide information and generate public opinion. The placement service.
industry started with the mass distribution of newspapers Let these be enough for the time being. More information
and magazines. Today, the definition of media has may leave you head-in-the-clouds and slewed off your dreams. I

November ‘09 87 liveit.in


Interview

Meet Sunny Vaghela -


the ethical hacker
Suneetha B.
is is the world of e-mail hacking, data theft, call that. It actually started when I was in Standard X and fell

H forging, phishing, credit card fraud, ID spoofing,


terror e-mail and Orkut hacking. He can easily send
an e-mail from your account but you will never
know anything about it. And yes, you can find that mail ‘you’
sent in the send folder.
victim of a phishing attack. I was quite disturbed and made
the effort to learn all about hacking. This became a passion
with me and I used to spend nearly 12 hours a day learning
the nitty-gritty. Later, I took up computer engineering and
wanted to unique projects because they totally engrossed me.
No, don’t dial 100; he is with them. Yes, he is on the right side In fact, I had presented quite a few research papers during
of the law. my college days.
Meet Sunny Vaghela, a 22-year-old computer engineer from During my first year in college, I took up ‘hacking’ as a project. No
Ahmedabad. And he is on a mission to make people aware of one else in the group attempted the topic; so my project got a lot of
technology hazards. His classes on ‘Ethical Hacking’ and ‘Web attention. In the second year, I took up a project on SMS control
Security and Mobile Security’ are in huge demand, and his systems and came across several loopholes in mobile networks which
lectures on cyber security and allied topics simply wow all, even might lead to SMS and call forging. The project won national
the non-technical audience. His simple words pack a punch and recognition and I came into the limelight at a very young age.
help explain most complex concepts. Vaghela has conducted At this point of time, most of us in India started using
more than 140 workshops across the globe. social networking websites like Orkut. So I got interested as
Sunny Vaghela is a pioneer in his field. A consultant in the well, and found two major loopholes in Orkut which meant
field of information security and cyber crime, he has several that anybody’s ID could be hacked. My work was appreciated
feathers in his cap and used his expertise to serve the nation. a lot and the Orkut people met me at Ahmedabad to discuss
The police achieved a major breakthrough in the Ahmedabad the issue. And next year, I did a project was on Internet
blast case when Vaghela managed to track some incriminating e- protocol techniques.
mail messages. Similarly, during the 26/11 Mumbai case, police My work brought me the Rajiv Gandhi Young Achiever’s
were able to use his expertise for accessing crucial information. Award when I was in my fourth year of college. So, I would say
At present, Vaghela is the director and CTO of TechDefense, that my interest in the technical aspects of Internet and its
a rapidly growing security services and investigation consulting peripherals had been quite rewarding even as a student. I have
organisation with focuses on cyber crime investigations, cyber always yearned to do something different, and that’s how I live
law consulting, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, even now. Be different, that is my motto.
and information security training. What’s more, he will soon
open an NGO to help the people solve cyber issues. Knowing Live IT: What are the common Internet security failures in
that only five to six per cent of Indian Web users are really the Indian context? How can one ensure minimum safety on
cyber-savvy, this is a much-needed step in the right direction. the Net?
Live IT met Sunny Vaghela and our conversation took an SV: In India, people are not all that aware of Internet security
interesting turn. So, here we go… and its loopholes. So unless you educate yourself and follow
certain ground rules, life on the Net can be tough and stressful.
Live IT: What is your background? Do you have any formal Here are a few pointers to help you out:
qualification in your field of expertise? How did you come to be Don’t disclose your password if it’s a non-secure site. For
interested in the cyber world and then become an expert in instance, you may be signing up and have to provide your e-mail
Internet security? ID, along with a password. Create a new password for that
Sunny Vaghela (SV): I have graduated in computer purpose, so that none can access other accounts or vital
engineering from Nirma University. I finished the course in information even if it is hacked. In other words, don’t use the
2008 but I had active interest in cyber issues even before same password in all your e-mail accounts. Also, use strong

liveit.in 88 November ‘09


Live IT: Tell us about your NGO. What do you propose to do?
SV: The aim is to put up a website which will deal with
complaints of the cyber variety. But we are still looking for a
name. The name we want has been taken already; so we must
finalise another and get it registered. The site is in alpha testing
and will be launched soon.
If you have been a victim of cyber crime, you can approach
us via the website. Register with us and post your problem here.
We will try our best to help you. You can also check out similar
incidents happening to other people.

Live IT: But how much will it cost?


SV: You don’t have to pay anything. Best of all, we can send the
information to cyber crime cells and alert them on time. Once
they start monitoring things closely, those crimes won’t be
repeated. Since fake profiles and other related cases abound on
Orkut, there should be a separate section for them. But right
now, we are working on some legal formalities regarding
jurisdictions. All Indian states don’t have cyber crime cells and
we are not entitled to jump borders, either.


So, it is really necessary to clarify things. Also,
In India, most in Orkut cases, most people don’t want to
passwords which aren’t guessable, like your of
the people are not approach the police as they fear bad publicity.
date of birth, phone number and so on. While
downloading files, be very careful. You must
install a good anti-virus programme and opt
for a daily system scan. This is because
aware of Internet
security and
“ Live IT: What worries you most when it
comes to cyber issues?
SV: The most worrying thing is ‘e-mail
its loopholes
malicious software programmes often make header spoofing’. This is how one can access
backdoor entries during downloads. Also, use any e-mail ID and send e-mail messages from
up-to-date, licensed software which can protect your system the hacked account. You can also find these mail messages in
from latest threats. In India, pirated software is commonly used your ‘sent mail’ folder. Although it takes a lot of effort,
by the majority, which increases the risk. authorities can determine whether the mail ID has been hacked
and used for fraudulent purposes. However, it is extremely
Live IT: Tell us more about your cyber crime probes. difficult to track the origin of that mail. So it can easily turn out
SV: When I was in college (in my third year, to be precise), to be the new hotbed for criminal activities. Also, the evidence of
I helped the crime branch solve three long-pending cases. ‘sending’ the mail is right there in your mail box and it tends to
Then I went on to help them solve 15 cyber crime cases in be a dangerous situation for you. Be careful, therefore, as
just seven months. We dealt with almost everything – a hackers can hack your email ID while chatting and use it for
phishing offence, one of the biggest data theft cases, an their nefarious purposes.
espionage ring, a credit card fraud and several profile
impersonation cases on Orkut. I was also able to trace the Live IT: Do you have any future plan regarding cyber sleuthing
location of the terror e-mail used in the Ahmedabad blast and cyber security education?
case. Then there was the Mumbai attack, of course. I helped SV: I plan to get a master’s degree from a foreign university, may
the authorities by providing confidential information related be in two or three years’ time. Meanwhile, I am very much into
to the cyber part of the crime. Internet security consultancy and plan to continue it. Another
scheme on the cards is to hack websites (with due permission, of
Live IT: So what are you doing right now? course) and find the vulnerable points. Based on our findings, we
SV: I am an independent Internet security consultant and will offer customised Internet security packages which will plug
running a consulting and training firm. We are based in all security loopholes.
Ahmedabad with operations across the country. I am also invited As for teaching cyber security, I am already conducting
by many to speak on my field of expertise. What’s more, I have training sessions on ethical hacking and getting quite a good
started a certified training programme on ethical hacking, cyber response from all verticals, not just the computer aficionados. So
crime investigation and forensics. Training sessions are held at I would definitely like to pursue it further and help people more
Ahmedabad and various other centres across Gujarat. – so that they don’t become cyber crime victims in the future. I

November ‘09 89 liveit.in


How To

Chandana Banerjee

Get back
missing
Calculator
in XP
I
t often happens that when you are busy at your laptop, you suddenly begin to speculate about
the household budget or wonder about the neat sum of money that some freelance assignment
may bring home. In such cases, all you need to do is to access the calculator tool instead of
rummaging your bag for the pocket calculator or using all your fingers and toes to add up the
numbers. But what if you go to the Calculator icon in Windows XP and realise that it is missing? This
may happen due to a number of reasons but there is no need to panic. You can easily restore it if you
follow the simple steps given below.

G Click on Accessories and click the Details button again.


G Make sure to check the Calculator box.
G Click OK and Windows XP will reinstall the calculator.

Method 1 Method 2: In case you do not have the CD, try this method
This is the easiest method and you will only require the original to get back your calculator.
Windows CD. G Here you will have to copy the calc.exe file from another
G Insert the CD in the disk drive and go to the Control Panel. system to your PC. Try the C:\Windows\System32 folder to
G Go to Add/Remove Programs and click on Add/Remove copy calc.chm to your system.
Windows Components. G Now create a shortcut to the calc.exe file on your Start menu.
G Go to Accessories and under the Utilities option, click the This should take care of the problem. Now that you have your
Details button. calculator back, go ahead with your calculations. I

November ‘09 91 liveit.in


How To

Encrypt
your USB
Flash
Drive