Is Nokia N900 for you?

February 4th, 2010 Cyril Alex Posted in i phone, iphone, review, smartphone 5 Comments »

Smart phones have become smarter than people, of late. The dumber people get the smarter the phone needs to be. The SciFi dream cum nightmare of Machines ruling human race is well in sight. If you have doubts ask your smart phone.

Just like a movie hero the iPhone made a dramatic entrance into the Gadgets market. And like in movies many people wanted to kill the hero. And every company sent out what is sweetly named as ?iPhone killer?. And Nokia has sent their own mercenary the Nokia N900.

I recently switched from a first generation iPhone to the N900. It was an easy decision to quit iPhone. But a tough one between N900 and Nexus One or even some other Nokia Sony Ericsson phones.

N900 is positioned as a Tablet PC with a phone. (If not it should be.) Because it is more a Linux running net PC than a phone. It even takes a few clicks to get to the Phone Application. And yes it is one of the Applications run by this cute little instrument.

N900 performs wonderfully. It multi-tasks better than my low end Compaq Laptop. I could have the Internet radio running while I was browsing or playing a game. The VOIP function is extended to chat services like Gtalk. Though the call quality on these were sub par. N900 has a 5MP camera and the photos looked awesome. This was something I was looking for in my new phone.

There are some cute applications available. And I just downloaded Firefox mobile and it looks promising with the usual Add-Ons.

Firmware update is very simple and can be done directly from phone. In fact the PC sync app that Nokia has sucks big time and seems to be incompatible with the N900. It has a file manager that is a very useful and gives you ways of keeping the inbuilt 32GB memory occupied. It even allows you to download stuff from internet on to the internal memory.

N900 is not without its share of downers. The user interface is not as intuitive as iPhone. Apple set very high standards with their super intuitive user interface which included the .com key, next key while filling internet forms (this is available in Firefox mobile), portrait mode applications etc. And the learning curve for an iphone user was much shorter. N900 has very few apps that run on portrait mode.

Getting N900 to work for you fully may require at least basic PC skills. Linux skills would help even better. While the out of the box apps and utilities are simpler to use there are times when you might have to get to the terminal and run some Linux Commands. I will soon be exploring this since N900 does not have Unicode font support but they allow me to install it.

I was disappointed initially when the N900 kept restarting for no reason. A firmware update fixed it.

I love the phone for what it is capable of. It does require some level of Geekiness. All I was looking for a phone that has a tiny little keyboard, a great camera and the ability to get my mails, social networking, and a bit of internet browsing. (Yes. That?s all ). N900 is much more than this. People have installed windows OS on it.

So I have no shame in admitting, like in TV Game show, I am Cyril Alex and I am not smarter than my smartphone.

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Sivaji Review

June 18th, 2007 Cyril Alex Posted in movie, review No Comments »

Rajini enters meekly compared to other openings he has had in some movies, but it strikes harder than before, well, he looks younger.

Sivaji is a Shankar movie through and through. The Super stars image and style has fed the grand imagination of Shankar and his team to the fullest.

The story is like any other Shankar story. A social issue, a love interest, a worthy villain and dreamy songs to fill in.

NRI Rajini wants to build educational institutes and hospitals that offer free services. Imagine that. There are unexpected hurdles that make this dream a nightmare. Sivaji passes them one by one compromising on his I-will-sign-a-zillionpapers-if-needed vow. But falls to ground when the all-powerful Educationist cum Hospital owner villain hits him hard, leaving Sivaji with just one rupee. Sivaji tosses the coin in the air to determine if he needs to be a good guy or a smart guy, and that also decides how the second half goes.

In the end he becomes modern day Robin hood amidst difficulties, even overcoming death.

If you have seen enough Shankar movies all the sequences are familiar to you. Arjuns visits to Manishas village in Mudhalvan is extended in Sivaji when his family makes visits to Shreyas house to be Familiarized. The sequences in Indian about how at each level corruption prevails is presented as it is. As usual the relationship with the villain starts smoothly before getting stormy. And there are more Shankar trademarks to pick from.

If you have forgotten how Rajini used to act, with his innocent reactions, and funny facial expressions, Sivaji would remind you of that. The youthfulness that was missing in the past two movies, in looks and action has come back for the good. Some close ups make you feel sorry for him, but then he is known for his style and not for the looks. So Sivaji is all about style for Rajini. A chewing gum replaces the cigarette, but the style remains. (Chewing gum too causes Cancer Mr. Anbumani)

The movie stands out for one thing, the grand presentation of the songs and some sequences, but for them Sivaji is any other Shankar movie you have seen. The sets are mind blowing to say the least. They are mostly modeled after Las Vegas casinos. And Shankars sense for details shines from cobblestones to the colored hair. Athiradik kara machan has been shot like no other songs that we have ever seen. Even some Hollywood musicals wont match up to it.

Shreya looks apt for the roll. Nianthara has slimmed down for the first song. Vivek replaces Vadivelu and makes his debut as all too familiar heros aide in Shankars movies. He delivers some of the punch dialogues for the Superstar. Suman plays excellently as the worthy adversary. The dothy suits him better than the erstwhile bell-bottoms we are used to see him in.

Sivaji is grand. Does Shankar make an impact with his message? No. He might even be trivializing these great social causes by presenting them in a cinematic style. Shankars thirst for a societal change is only as real as Rajinis youthful looks. Spending so much money on presenting a message about poverty makes no big sense.

At the end we have seen yet another Shankar movie with Rajini in it. Could anyone else other than Rajini have handled such grandeur is the question waiting to be answered in the next Shankar movie I guess.

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