Archive for category Reviews

Movie Review: Welcome to Sajjanpur [Sucks]

I do not know why stereotype directors go out of their way and produce crappy movies which are completly out of their league. And I do not understand how great actors consent to such roles.

I was too excited to watch this movie partly because the music is really nice and because it’s a Shyam Benegal’s movie. However, it turned out to be complete torture. It had absolutely no storyline till the interval after which it was a little watchable.

For the first half, random characters were coming on screen and doing random stuff. To make matters worse, they threw in some songs which really weren’t necessary. Furthermore, no one probably watched the movie after the production was over, otherwise, they would have noticed that KK’s voice does not suit on the bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan.

The fact that an excruciating street play about the Singur problem was deliberately inserted in the movie proves that directors take their movies as their playground and do not even think about viewers’ reaction.

Benegal wanted to make a comedy movie. Then why on earth did he try to insert public service messages in favor of eunuchs (like he hasn’t already) and against stupid superstitions (Marrying a girl with a dog to remove some kind of astrology issue)? They were really irritating and the message got out all wrong. Also, it was a movie for villagers and illitrate people with really good songs (thanks to Shantanu Moitra). Maybe he should have made a documentary.

Stay away from this movie.

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A Wednesday Movie Review

There is nothing much to say here about the movie as most reviewers and critics have already spoken very high of the movie. The movie is simply superb. The best Bollywood movie I have seen till date. I wasn’t expecting this movie to be this good. To be frank, I wasn’t even planning on going to watch it. However, as I liked the trailer and the fact that there was no other movie worth watching the day it was released, compelled me to go for this one. And it was one of those best decisions I usually make ;).

All the actors in the movie are superb. This is a no frills movie sans any nonsense and stupid comedy. The director was so keen on keeping the movie confined to the context that he didn’t even allow any songs in the movie. And that’s probably a good approach for such movies as there is usually no requirement of songs in thriller movies.

Speaking of the director, this is Neeraj Pandey’s first try at direction. And I must say, a superb one. Hats off to the new guy who blew the old players away.

The screenplay is awesome. You might guess the ending halfway through the movie, but still, the movie will keep you gripped to the screenplay. The thrill will pump your adrenaline to the levels of Speed 1 and the likes.

This is a must watch for everyone. Watch it in a theater.

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Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi – A Nostalgic Musical Treat

The upcoming Barjatya brothers (Rajshri Productions) movie Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi might not create much hype from a box office returns point of view, however, it sure is a nostalgic musical treat for long time bollywood music lovers.

Rajshri Productions is known for its family movies. The name got famous with Hum Aapke Hain Kaun which ran in the production house’s own theater “Rajmandir” for over 1 year.

As the name suggests, Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi should probaby be a family entertainer. The music was recently released and that is what separates the movie from the rest of the crowd.

The music score is directed by the legendary Ravindra Jain. Yes, the same Ravindra Jain who judges various musical talent show across many channels. He has also composed the lyrics for all the songs.

The semi classical songs are very much different from the current Bollywood songs. The music takes you back to to the times of Maine Pyar Kiya & Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Most new bollywood music lovers might not like the songs at all and may declare them as old fashioned songs, however, they sure are a trip down memory lane for old time Bollywood music lovers. Pre mp3 era, people who used to buy Cassettes and CDs of Hindi films as soon as they got released will definitely feel nostalgic and would love the songs.

All the singers have sung very well. Voice of Suresh Wadkar has given that 90′s touch to the songs :). The various instruments used in the music coupled with duet scores filled with chorus voices form up a lively musical treat which carries you away on a musical journey.

Please do not download the music. Buy the CD. If you want to listen to the songs before you buy the CD, please go here - http://ww.smashits.com/music/hindi-film/songs/7435/ek-vivaah-aisa-bhi.html.

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woikr – Because we can

woikr Logo

Excerpt from "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization " – The Big Bang Theory, Episode 9 :

Leonard (to Penny): Hang on, hang on. Do you not realize what we just did?

Penny : Yeah, you turned your stereo down with your laptop.

Leonard : No, we turned our stereo down, by sending a signal around the world via the Internet.

Penny : Oh. You know you can get one of those universal remotes from Radioshack? They’re really cheap.

Leonard : No, you don’t get it. Howard, Enable public access.

Howard : Public access enabled.

Penny (after a few seconds of nothing happens) : Boy, that’s terrific. I’ll see ya.

Leonard : No hang on, hang on… (The lights in the apartment star blinking) See?

Penny : No.

Leonard : Someone in Sichuan province, China, is using his computer to turn our lights on and off.

Penny (kinda frustrated) : Oh, that’s handy. Here’s a question… Why?

Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Koothrappali (all together ) : Because we can .

With a plethora of technology blogs around, does anybody actually need another one? Maybe not.

So why woikr ?

Well, because we can ;-)

woikr team:

Anshuman Johri – A photography enthusiast, who aspires to be a world-traveler from Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Chirag Gupta – a geek, suffers from “never-ending-gadget-lust” disease and loves movies from Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Setu Garg – another geek, an audiophile to be precise from Noida, UP, India.

Swaroop T G – an avid gamer, reads too much about technology than he needs to from Hyderabad, AP, India.

We launched woikr.com at 00:00 hrs on 15th Aug 2008 – The Indian Independence Day.

Happy Reading !

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Review: Fusion Encounter EN-AT110 10” (inch) bass tube [Car Audio]

Most of us in India might not have heard about the Fusion car audio products. Fusion is a leading car and marine audio equipment manufacturer from New Zealand.

The popular car audio brands in India are Sony xplod, JBL, Alpine, Kenwood and of course Pioneer. However, Fusion is gaining popularity in India with its advanced and integrated car audio solutions.

Fusion Electronics Logo

I recently installed the Fusion EN-AT110 Encounter 10” Bass Tube in my car (Maruti Suzuki Swift ). The Fusion EN-AT110 is a 10” Bass Tube active enclosure with an amplifier integrated within. The amplifier is perfectly suited for the 10” sub woofer.

Product Features:

  • 300 Watts Max
  • Remote Level Controller
  • Speaker Level Inputs
  • RCA Line-Level Inputs
  • Adjustable Low Pass Filter
  • Adjustable Bass Boost
  • LED Power Indicator
  • LED Protection Indicator

Performance (Sound Quality):

The tube connects to the sub woofer output of your car’s audio system through the RCA Line-Level input jacks. The Fusion ET-AT110 has a frequency response of 30Hz – 250Hz which is good enough for reproducing all the thump and thud we have in our audio. I tested this beast with a selection of songs having emphasis on the lower frequencies. The output will blow you away. This tube complements the existing set of speakers in your car to give you an exceptional audio experience. There was a huge improvement in sound quality after installing this bass tube.

The standard speakers which we install either in the car’s doors or on the back tray are not able to reproduce the lower frequencies of the song the way they are meant to be played. The sound might be OK or enough for ignorant people. However, audiophiles like me will always feel the need of the something extra to enrich the audio listening experience. This tube will satisfy your audiophile lust.

The 10” sub woofer was able to reproduce the low frequencies in the songs I tested pretty well. Just like the whole track, the lower frequencies are also distributed in 3 sub levels. The lowest, medium and high. This tube was able to reproduce all the levels very well without any distortion or creak. The remote control can be used to adjust the bass level in case the sound becomes distorted which does not unless you have a bad audio source.

Rating: 4.5/5

Remote:

The wired remote can be affixed below the dashboard of your car. The remote lets you control the bass level and is pretty smooth in operation. It also has a green LED around the knob which gives it a very sporty look.

Fusion Encounter 10'' Bass Tube EN-AT110

However, no matter how you install the remote on your dashboard, the text and indicators will always be upside down. They should probably print the text and the indicators upside down in the first place. Also, knobs to control other tube’s functions such as the Low Pass Filter would have added to the value.

Rating: 3/5

Looks:

Although this enclosure will stay in your cars trunk all the time, I must say that this was the best looking bass tube I saw in the market. This scores pretty well in this segment. All the other bass tubes I saw had a standard speaker grill to protect the sub woofer. This one however, had a punk looking stainless steel grill. Actually its more of a show off thing than an actual grill. Also, the color scheme of blank and florescent green looks fabulous and adds to the visual rating of your car.

Rating: 5/5

Value for Money:

This is another segment in which this tube wins well over the its competitors. Most Bass tubes from other manufacturers do not have an integrated amplifier in built. You have to purchase an amplifier separately. Finding the right amplifier for your bass tube is the most difficult task. There are many compatibility issues and the risk of even damaging the sub woofer if you get an amplifier which is not compatible with the sub woofer in the tube. With Fusion EN-AT110, you do not have to worry about that. The complementing amplifier is built into the bass tube itself. This also saves space as you do not have to install a separate amplifier. However, in case you already have an amplifier, you can still connect this tube through the speaker level inputs. Good quality wiring is also supplied in the box.

Here is what you get in the box:

  • Encounter 10” Active Bass Tube
  • Wiring Harnesses
  • Speaker Level Input Harness
  • Power Harness
  • RCA Lead (5m -161/2ft)
  • Remote Control Lead (6m – 113/4ft-)
  • Remote Level Controller
  • Manual
  • FUSION Sticker
  • Warranty Card
  • Adhesive Rubber Feet
  • Adhesive Velcro Feet

Rating: 4/5

Conclusion:

The Fusion EN-AT110 Bass Tube sells at an MRP of approx 8500 INR. You can get it for as low as 7500 INR at few good shops in local car bazaars. At this price, you get a good looking bass tube with a built in compatible amplifier, a wired remote and good quality wiring. This makes it a very good bargain.

Pros:Fusion Encounter 10'' Bass Tube EN-AT110

  • Great sound
  • Good value for money
  • Built in amplifier
  • Remote controller
  • Supplied wiring
  • Good looks

Cons:

  • Vibrations produced due to the sound might not seem enough to some people
  • Only bass level controller in the remote

Overall Rating: 4.2

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Review: Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere portable speaker system for iPod

Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere is the official successor of the largest selling iPod speakers, Logitech mm50. And this system truly deserve to be the rightful successor. Read on for more details.

Features:

  • 2-inch Max-X active, high-excursion drivers & 3-inch pressure drivers
  • StereoXL Technology
  • 10-hour rechargeable battery
  • Travel Case
  • AC (100V to 240V) or battery powered
  • Sockets for aux input (3.5 mm) & DC in at the back
  • 10 plastic dock adapters supplied for all kind of iPods
  • Fully functional wireless remote to control the iPod menu

Performance (Sound Quality):

Logitech pure-fi anywhere front

The system was tested using a set of songs encoded at 320 kbps. The sound quality is pretty good considering the size of speakers. The max volume is slightly lower than pure-FI express . However, the sound quality is definitely better in terms of bass and treble responses. This is another plug n play system. The sound is pre-adjusted for the best output setting.

This is a 4 channel speaker system. The highs and lows are perfectly divided between the two drivers. The 3” pressure drives reproduce low frequency (above 40 Hz only) pretty well even at high volumes. The 2” ones handle the middle and the highs in the right balance.  The system seems to look light but has an excellent build and some weight to keep it from vibrating and cause distortion. The legs do a good job at keeping the system steady.

If you want to experience the power of this system, hold it in your hands and then play the music. You will feel the vibrations.

Turn on the StereoXL and the sound fills the entire room. It is equivalent to the SRS WOW effect found in some high end speaker systems.

Logitech pure-fi anywhere side view

Rating: 4.5/5

Remote:

The remote provides access to all the ipod’s click wheel functions. However, you will have to come pretty close to the system to see whats happening in the iPod. So close that you will rather do it on the iPod. But this isn’t the remote’s flaw in any way.

The remote works pretty well from as far as 20 feet. It also has buttons for StereoXL on/off and iPod’s shuffle and repeat functions. The remote looks trendy with the silver round buttons.

Rating: 5/5

Looks:

Logitech pure-fi anywhere back view

This is one area in which this speaker system lacks a bit. Despite the shiny material used for the body, somehow, this system does not apeal to

the eye. This is probably due to the silver circles distinguishing the 4 speakers. Had there been a single grill, it would have spruced up this section a lot.

The system has a nice back ;) and looks classy sideways. The green light on the buttons faces up and does not bug you at night.

Rating: 3/5

Portability:

The speakers are built for people on move. They are the perfect companion for those hotel stays during business conferences or family trips. The supplied bag stores the speaker system, remote and the AC adapter. You can also slip in an iPod nano. The legs rotate 90 degrees to hide beneath the system.

The built in rechargeable battery lasts for as long as 10 hrs which is enough for long outings in the woods or a beach day. The system charges your iPod only when its connected to AC power. So remember to charge your iPod if you are planning to take this to a picnic. There is a battery indicator to indicate the remaining juice in the battery to avoid any surprises.

Rating: 5/5

Conclusion:

The price tag of this system was recently reduced to 99.99$ plus taxes. This makes it the best iPod speaker system in the sub 100$ range. Overall a very nice package and a worthy successor to the top selling mm50.

Pros:

  • Best sound output in its class
  • Full functional remote
  • International AC adapter (100 – 240V)
  • 10 hours rechargeable battery
  • Extremely portable

Cons:

  • Average looks
  • No aux cable (3.5 mm male to male) supplied
  • No video out port

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

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Review: Logitech Pure-Fi Express iPod speaker system

I purchased the Logitech Pure-Fi Express today and checked them out. Here is my review of the speaker system.

Logitech Pure-Fi Express iPod speaker system

Features:

  • 2.5" Max-X™ high-excursion drivers
  • AC (100V to 240V) or battery powered
  • Sockets for aux input (3.5 mm), Video out & DC in at the back
  • Battery life: up to 10 hours using 6 AA batteries. No batteries supplied
  • 10 plastic dock adapters supplied for all kind of iPods

Performance (Sound Quality):

I tested the speakers by playing various songs encoded at 320 kbps. Sound is nice and crisp. The system produces balanced sound which is neither too heavy nor too soft. This is really a plug n play system. The sound is pre-adjusted for the best output setting.

Logitech Pure-Fi express iPod speaker system

The sound output is best when this system is kept in a corner. The air channels produce good bass in a corner. The bass might not be at its best outdoors. The system is loud enough though. I noticed that this model produces substantially loud sound compared to its competitors and siblings . Despite being loud it does not give up at high volumes. It maintains good bass and treble at high volumes.

Another noticeable thing is that the sound is best when you are at the same or at a higher height than the speakers. Hence, it is advisable not to keep the speakers at a higher level than your ears.

Rating: 4/5

Remote:

I believe that the remote should be able to provide all the functions of the click wheel sans the scroll. The remote which comes with Pure-Fi express fails in this regard. Sadly, the remote has only 6 buttons for power on/off, play/pause, forward, rewind and volume up & down.

Pardon me for the laziness but how the F am I supposed to browse the music on my 80 gig iPod without a menu button ? Seriously, getting up and reaching out to the speaker system every time I intend to listed to another album is not something I appreciate. I understand that playlists is a workaround. But hey, that is clumsy.

The sibling’s and competitor’s remotes provide these options. Why the F didn’t they give that remote with this?

Apart from the basic flaw above, the remote has a decent range and operates without any hassle. Who cares? There is nothing much you can do with it anyways :(.

Rating: 2.5/5

Looks:

This is one area in which this speaker system stands above the rest in its class. This system looks trendy as well as elegant. The volume knob surrounded by the amber light makes it look fancy.

This thing looks sexy with a black iPod. The actual product looks much better and more shiny than the product images above. Logitech should seriously consider hiring a new photographer.

Rating: 4.5/5

Conclusion:

If you can live with a basic remote, at a price tag of 80$ plus taxes, this is the best speaker system for iPod (and other MP3 players) in sub 100$ range.

However, if you are looking for a more functional remote and slightly better sound quality, and ready to spend 70$ more, go for JBL On stage 200ID *. Another alternative at a premium of 50$ is Logitech Pure-FI Anywhere . However, I will not expect considerable difference in sound quality from these.

Pros:

  • Very good indoor sound
  • Best sound output in its class
  • Killer looks
  • International AC adapter (100 – 240V)

Cons:

  • Remote suck. Doesn’t provide all the functions of the click wheel
  • Bass not noticeable outdoors
  • No aux cable (3.5 mm male to male), video cable supplied

Overall Rating: 3.6/5

*UPDATE:

The JBL Onstage 200ID does not run on batteries. I will consider that a major downer for a portable speaker system and certainly would have expected this feature at that price.

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First look: Compaq Presario C752TU

Compaq has recently launched an upgrade to its hot selling Compaq Presario V740TU notebook. The new Compaq Presario C752TU is better in terms of configuration and a bit cheaper than its predecessor.

Here is the configuration of 752:
- Intel T5450 1.66 GHz Core 2 Duo
- 1 GB Ram
- 160 GB HDD
- 15.4” screen
- 8x DVD Superdrive
- 1.3 megapixel webcam
- Windows Vista Basic

The upgrade of Ram to 1 GB in 752 from 512 MB in 740 increases the performance significantly.

The notebook is suited for casual home and basic usage. It is a good buy as a home desktop replacement and for students. The config is just enough for basic internet usage (surfing, downloading, youtube etc.) and basic multimedia stuff like watching movies, photos and listening to songs. However, it is not enough to run most latest 3D games or to run heavy multimedia applications like Adobe Photoshop, Premier or Flash.

This notebook is available at a MRP of about 36k at most compaq outlets. However, you can get it for as low as about 34k at some some shops in Nehru Place.

Here is how I rate it:

Performance: 3.5
Features: 4
Value for money: 4
Build quality: 3.5
Looks: 3

Overall: 3.5

NEW: Check out details about the latest Compaq Presario V3780TU laptop on woikr .

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Touchpad for iPhone

I am not usually impressed by any software. Because I usually know (or eventually find out) how the hell is it working. I am usually impressed by the things I can’t decipher (how they are built, how they work). Buildings in Dubai is an example of such things.

However, the touchpad for iPhone is a software that left me in awe. I have an idea about how it might be working, but I really respect & commend the person who actually thought about it.

The best part is that its a small software with great usability! Especially for lazy geeks like me. Even if I do not own a plasma, I just love to control my pointer wirelessly on my iPhone. Its great to watch movies lying all day in bed when you don’t even have to get up. You do have to get up to pee and bring some food, but who knows, we might even get something for that in the future!

You will need a jailbroken iPhone with Installer to install this. Find the installation instructions at http://touchpadiphone.blogspot.com

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First look: Sony VAIO CR35

This week I got a chance to look at the latest Sony VAIO series laptops recently launched in India.

One of my friends was looking for a laptop in the sub 50k range and we were very lucky to be probably one of first owners of CR35 in India.

I usually do not like Sony’s laptops. 2 reasons. First they do not have any offerings in the budget category. And second that their laptops are usually expensive. However, my notion changed after I looked at the new CR series.

Here is the configuration of CR35:

- Intel T8100 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo
- 2 GB DDR2 RAM
- 200 GB HDD
- ATI Radeon 128 MB dedicated graphics
- 14.1” LCD screen
- DVD Superdrive
- Windows Vista Home Premium
- Apple type keyboard (not backlit though)

Some other features include:
- AV mode (no need to boot windows to watch DVDs or watch photos or listen to songs)
- Color choice
- The black one probably comes with a fingerprint reader

This model is available at a MRP of around 54k at all the Sony showrooms. You can also purchase this from some shops in Nehru Place for about 52.5k.

As is evident from the config above, this seems like a nice deal. You cannot get a similar config in any other brand for this price.

I used the laptop for a few hours and here is how I rate it (on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 being poor and 5 being excellent):

Performance: 3.5 (due to vista. Install XP and you are at atleast 4)
Value for money: 4.5
Features: 4
Build quality: 4.5

Overall: 4

UPDATE: Thanks to Siddhartha for pointing this out. The above configuration is better than the existing CR23 and CR26 models in the Sony VAIO range. People considering to buy those should go for CR35 as it is considerably cheaper.

NEW: Check out details about the latest Sony Vaio SR 13 series laptop on woikr .

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