Jan 31, 2015

Asus IndiBlogger Meet 2015

Indiblogger meets are always fun filled! Yesterday’s was no different.

The venue: It was at ITC Royal Gardenia, a 5star luxury hotel. Bangalore bloggers are lucky for sure!

The meet: For the first time there was identity check at the gate to make sure nobody is sending their siblings, or friends or whoever to the meet. We all queued to display the ID cards and our faces thoroughly scanned for similarities and differences with the photo. This took almost an hour; we were 200+ bloggers you see.

Finally all settled and we were treated to mesmerizing musical performance by the indiblogger team. Couple of games were conducted which helped in interaction with other bloggers.

The agenda: This meet was hosted by ASUS. The product manager gave a brief lecture on the 2 new products. I had done a comparison on them earlier here. A short question and answer session followed. I felt good they were reaching out to us bloggers to help spread the awareness of their new products. Again goes to prove how bloggers can influence the market and purchase decisions of consumers.

Good food followed. Then more chatting, more interaction and finally it all ended.Pics from Indiblogger.


Faces of India - 198

"Aunty ennode photo" (read Tamil) "Aunty please take my photo" My heart just melted. Unlike the adults she didn't ask for any copy, she was content seeing it on the little screen. She smiled and ran off even while I was trying to get her into a conversation. My thankful eyes kept following her till she disappeared. The photo was taken in one of the temples of Chettinad, Tamil Nadu.

Faces of India, a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. See more here

Jan 29, 2015

Agora and Other Archeological Sites, Athens

The various archeological sites in Athens have ruins; some are just scattered stones which roughly etched the shapes of the foundations of old buildings and rooms. The Agora as it was known was one of the most important part of the ancient city of Athens. If you are here with a blank mind it can be quite confusing and frustrating. And if you are not with any guided tours it is best you read up about the place so that you can understand and correlate the sites and sights.

I had referred to some books. There are plenty of informative boards that describe the place. One has to use a lot of imagination. For me the very act of stepping on sites of '150BC and beyond' made me ancient! My school history textbook characters Aristotle, Socrates, Plato more seem to come to life, walking around this same site discussing philosophy, science, medicine. What I could and how far I could stretch my imagination seemed to make more meaning than what I could actually see!

The Agora of Athens was teeming with life in the BCs! A tour through the museum in Agora gives a good idea of their clothes, footwear, and head gears worn by them then. Ancient Agora, this is the same place where Socrates taught. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine and its Hippocratic Oath, and Pythagoras, a mathematician who developed the geometric theory of a triangle's sides, were both highly public figures who taught and shared ideas in their own hometown agoras.

You can read more here if you are interested in Socrates. The Agora.

Roman Agora is very close within walking distance from Greek Agora. This was built by funds provided by Julius Caesar and Augustus in 1st century BC. There is a huge gate at the entrance, the Gate of Athena Archegetis. The huge space inside the enclosure has ruins and several columns still standing tall and strong. I have this strange weakness for these columns and have taken plenty of pictures of them against the blue sky and selfies with column in the background. The Tower of Winds was shut to tourists that day.


The Library of Hadrian is very close to Roman Agora and it is possible to cover both these sites in an hour. The Library of Hadrian provided the people of Athens with a new, multi-purpose, public square and cultural center that contained a garden, works of art, a library, and lecture halls. Just imagine how advanced they were then! This complex too has a huge open area inside; earlier plans reveal a central pool and garden, surrounded by columns made from marble.


Kerameikos, in the northwest of Acropolis in fact the farthest has the cemetery and the "demosion sema" (public burial monument) where Perikles delivered his funeral oration in 431 B.C. (It is close to the metro station.) There is a good museum here with excellent display. This complex is huge and it can easily take 2 hours to cover the ground and the museum, better time yourself if you wish to visit this place.


SkyWatch Friday 

Jan 26, 2015

Temple of Hephaestus, Athens

Temple of Hephaestus, though in ruins, looked more complete compared to Parthenon. It was built two years prior to Parthenon in 449 BC. This one is made out of marble completely; and to me the pillars looked grand and strong enough for many more centuries. It gives a fairly good idea of Parthenon’s form had it been complete.

This temple is believed to have been dedicated to Athena and Hephaestus. Hephaestus is the Greek God for volcanoes and metal working. Athena Ergena, a form of their goddess Athena is responsible for pottery and other crafts.

But again like other temples this Temple of Hephaestus too played the role of place of worship to other religions. In 7th century it got converted to Church of St. George Akamas. In early 19th century this became the burial ground for Protestants and for many who died in Greek war of independence in 1821. After 1834 this got converted to a museum till 1930s, since then it is in its present state and I like it a lot this way.

This is the best preserved temple I saw in Athens and liked it more after seeing the sad state Parthenon was in. The interior is out of bounds for public. There were huge statues of Athena and Hephaestus, but now it is empty, the walls have well preserved engravings and sculptures with different themes in all four sides. The frieze on the east front of the Temple, facing the Ancient Agora has sculptures depicting the labors of Hercules.

I have tried to capture this grand monument from various angles; the light was good that day thankfully!


Our World Tuesday

Jan 24, 2015

Go Sleek with Asus

Modern day sleek gadgets bring you at such crossroads of life! Finding it hard to make a choice… ‘The Sleek and Powerful ASUS EeeBook X205TA’ or the ‘Ultra-Portable and Perpetually connected ASUS All In One PC ET2040’?

A study of pros and cons of features relevant to my usage requirements of both reveal this:

The Sleek and Powerful ASUS EeeBook X205TA
  • Small sized, sleek, light weight (>1kg) hence can be tossed into my bag and no worry of damage or scratches 
  • Fairly good keyboard. Typing position and spacious palm rest. 
  • The screen (11.5 inch display) leans back to 130-140degrees, raising the laptop to a favorable typing position. 
  • Battery Life: Might pleased to read that it lasted 8 hours 47 minutes hours on a single charge. That means whole days work requirement is taken care of. 
  • Runs noiseless and no moving parts inside 
  • Speaker quality is good. 
  • Little restraint has to be exercised if one wishes to have plenty of tabs open, run videos and also run the Office pplications. 
  • Web pages with lot of elements take some to load. 
  • Advanced tasks like photo and video editing is not possible. 
  • Unable to play latest video games. 
  • Not much spare space after installing Windows, expansion of storage space possible with microSD card 
The most favorable feature of this sleek gadget is its cost. Rs.15,000. The features available for this cost are more than what one can ask for!

ASUS All In One PC ET2040
  • 19.5-inch, HD widescreen display, good brightness and sharp contrast, stunning 3D worlds full of sharp visual detail 
  • It has excellent built-in backup power, almost for an hour, plenty of time to save all docs and files. 
  • It has built-in stereo speakers, deeper and richer bass, wider frequency response, true-to-life surround sound, powerful output, distinct vocals, and pristine clarity. Sound output is better due to carefully-balanced dynamic audio. This feature definitely scores. 
  • Plenty of pre-installed apps for work or for play. PhotoDirector to efficiently manage photos, complete adjustment and edit, or use PowerDirector to produce high-quality home videos. This definitely suits my usage profile. 
  • With 3 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, recharging smartphones, tablets or other USB devices, transfer data between devices is faster. USB 3.0 is fully compatible with existing USB 2.0 devices! 
  • Multitasking is easy, quick response, smooth switching between multiple apps leading to spending less time waiting and more time creating. The smooth and fluid graphics make gaming and HD video playback smooth and stutter-free. 
 This computer can be used to control multimedia players or browse the internet from up to five meters away. ASUS All-in-One PC ET2040 makes it all possible with advanced Hand-Gesture Recognition Software (HGRS). A built-in camera accurately interprets movements, play songs or videos, adjust player settings, or zoom and rotate photos — all from a distance, without ever touching a screen, keyboard or mouse! This unique feature has left me stunned and a strong desire to own it.

Features wise this ASUS All-in-One PC ET2040 fits my requirements more but cost wise...
The cost is Rs. 26,000!!! 11 months to go for a Christmas gift!!!