Paladins : A short personal preview

There has been a lot of talk about this new game from Hi-Rez called Paladins. Those of you who are familiar with their other game SMITE will feel at home with the graphics, while those of you who already play or watch Overwatch will be uncomfortably a bit too familiar with the game. I do have a few problems with the game, the game’s ideology and Hi-Rez’s business model but otherwise I sort of enjoyed the game. Continue reading

Dear Esther : A game that isn’t a game

I have been playing video games for the best part of my short life until now. I am sure my mother would be of the opinion that games are just an useless waste of time and I am sure that many would agree with her. For many games I do see her point, games like Call of Duty are fleeting experiences and even if you chose to say that it gives a way to escape from the real world, I do not see the point of doing just that even though I have enjoyed such games before, a good game of football with friends will do just the same, but feels much nicer and gives a greater sense of togetherness with your friends. Dear Esther isn’t anything like that. Continue reading

Sager NP9170 (Clevo P170EM) Review : A Personal Take

sager-np9170

If you came here looking for fps figures in games and in 3D Mark then go elsewhere, I will suggest http://www.notebookcheck.net. This is a personal review of the Sager NP9170 / Clevo P170EM. This is my first proper gaming laptop. Let me just say this right away, I have never seen a laptop like this. I have seen Alienware laptops but I knew this was the laptop for me more than 3 years ago when a friend had introduced me to the name Sager. He was looking for a gaming laptop and had planned to get one sent over from US to India. I could not do that for more than one reason, but I had decided then that a Sager will be the first thing I buy when I get to US. Call me a nerd but I like my technology stuff.

The laptop is good. Well when you are paying $1400 it better be good, but this is just better. A friend of mine had an Alienware M17x and that was nowhere near as good as this. The laptop is very well powered and at the same time its the coolest running laptop I have seen. The palm rest sure gives me shivers even when gaming, its that cold. The laptop is completely customizable from all of the sellers so there is no sense in giving a spec sheet, but since nerds (I am one!!!) may be reading, here goes : Intel Core i7-3610QM 3rd Gen, 16GB(4x4GB) DDR3-1600 RAM,  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M 2GB GDDR5, Switchable Intel HD4000 chip with NVIDIA Optimus, 500GB 7200RPM Seagate Momentus XT, 17.3″ Full HD 1080P LED-Backlit with Super Clear (1920 x 1080) Display, IC Diamond Thermal compound CPU+GPU. Add to those a Sony V6, Logitech MX400 and a SteelSeries pad and its a beginning of a pretty good gaming machine. Continue reading

Education in India – Part 3

One other thing I want to draw from a recent friendly discussion is the notion of examination in India. People seem to find the hard exams useful and the relatively easy ones as useless. People seem to look down upon the AIEEE exam, saying that its too easy compared to IITJEE, so IITJEE is a real exam. Its true that looking from the general mentality of the people, most of whom want to go to the IITs, IITJEE is the real prize and they consider AIEEE only as a consolation for missing out on IITJEE. Its a sad situation in India, but not necessarily beyond repair. They are now talking about a joint exam for all government colleges in India, with it being an option for private institutions, and doing away with IITJEE and AIEEE completely. That is a fantastic idea and I think that it should be implemented right away. Public services is a big thing in India, with high flying students from all over the country wanting to get into the IAS. UPSC is one of the most coveted exams in India. I frankly admit that I do not know much about it, most of my knowledge comes from my recent discussion with some of my friends wanting to appear for the UPSC exam. Continue reading

Desktop Replacement Notebooks : Part 3 of 3

Welcome to the 3rd part…………… This is all about the white and metallic heartthrobs of geeks around the world…………………APPLE, the fruity company.

APPLE

Another Company that I’ll want to talk about is Apple. This is one company that has continued to make profits right through the economic depression. This is almost definitely due to their spectacular product line-up. They are overpriced and not at all very accessible while you are in India. Previously the price in India used to be very skewed when compared to US, EU, or the east-asian countries, but now they are very similarly priced and one might say very competitively priced given the market scenarios in US, where volume sales help the company grow and India, where only a select few opt for these. Continue reading

Windows 7 : A New Hope


Hi, it has been sometime since my last post. Thats because I was busy trying out some new OSs – namely Windows 7, and Fedora 11. I’m not a fan of Microsoft, but I do believe their quality has improved since Windows Vista and Windows 7 has to be the best Microsoft OS ever. Its complete and packs a punch capable enough to convert even the most ardent windows-hater into a believer. Not that its perfect, I don’t think even the great Mac OSX can claim that but then the snow leopard is just around the corner. But overall the OS is great.
I tried out Windows Vista and then simply went back to Win XP. Vista is nothing but crap. Although the Service Packs did improve the OS to a point where it was almost likeble but for me that was still unacceptable. I tried out the Beta of Windows 7 and liked the first look but still a lot of my old programs didn’t run and I wasn’t that happy, although not dissapointed since itwas still a beta. Then Microsoft came out with the RC1 release and I have only recently tried it and I have to say that I was blown away. I was so refreshing from Vista. The speed was very apparant in the Beta but still the RC1 seemed to be even faster. It was amazing.

Taskbar


The taskbar is what I like the best. The start button is a little different but still the same in principle. The most important difference in the start button for me is the shutdown button is now exclusively available, rather to have to choose from a menu. other than that its mostly the same. Now the taskbar is entirely different case. The show desktop button is no longer the next button after the start button. Its moved to the right edge of the screen and is now fixed. I know many of you who have deleted the button and then cursed yourself for having lost the easy back-to-desktop button. No longer a problem. Now you can ‘pin’ and ‘unpin’ programs into the taskbar. all instances of the programs are then grouped under these buttons, and act as the quick launch when the instances are closed. Not to mention the instances are still run independently in the memory.Moreover now you can define which program’s icon is shown in the notification area and which programs’ notifications are displayed. If you start any file transfer and then minimise it to the taskbar then the file transfer progress can be viewed in the ‘pinned’ explorer icon in the taskbar as thye entire icon becomes a progress bar.
Everything about the OS screams ACCESSIBLE and CUSTOMIZABLE. The OS comes with a great collection of themes and also gives you the freedom to cycle your wallpapers automatically (no more need of third party softwares). The OS also comes with a great collectiion of sound setups. I was trully bored with the old audio themes. The new themes are very refreshing.

UAC
And then the one thing that has bugged people the most in Vista, i.e. the User Account Control. Although itcould be switched off but that required some editing the registry or the group policy – not a very welcoming thing for casual or novice users. They were forced to endure the highly annoying popups. Now the control to switch UAC on-off is given on the UAC screens themselves. So if you wish you can easily change when you are notified, or even completely OFF.
Another thing that was very important for me to try out Windows 7 was that it should have been able to work with my hardware. To my utter surprise, the OS not only worked with my hardware I didn’t even need to install many of the drivers. The generic drivers not only worked they even recognised my hardware correctly. It was great. My UPS feedback service didn’t used to work in Vista or XP, but in Windows7 it worked without a hitch and even gave proper backup time predictions.

windows 7 firewall

WMP
The new editions of the popular bundled programs are superb. The Paint with its Office 2007 style look has become highly polished and fun to work with. The Calculator seems new and has some great functions like conversions, date calculations, and statistical calculations and even base change calculations intended for programmers comes along as highly handy. The Network connect tool is now more usable and easy to configure. The Wordpad has also received the ribbon interface and is more appealing. Looks almost like a stunted MS Word. The Windows Firewall is now far more customizable and is far more secure than before. The Windows Defender has also changed a bit but the changes are mostly superficial. The New Windows Media Player, WMP12 is more capable than ever before. The Sound quality has improved and so has improved the ability to play HD videos.

explorer


The Explorer has also changed a bit. It has received the new Libraries (which is what opens when you ‘pin’ the explorer to the taskbar). Libraries consist of Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. This is the default place where WMP12 goes to look for media. Also a new preveiw pane makes a debut. The Control Panel has also changed a bit. Its now more functional and less flashy, its also more easily navigable than before. The Desktop Context menu has got three new entries – Share With, Personalize and Gadgets. The Sidebar gadgets can be accessed via the Gadgets option and can be placed anywhere on the desktop. Also gone is the Sidebar. The Personalize option gives you access to everything that contributes to the look and feel of the system – Background, Color, Sound and Screensaver. The Folder Options has also changed and has added functionality. You can now hide empty drives in the explorer and can even attempt to search through unknown filetypes.
Now comes the point about the advantage in speed. There is an unmistakable increase in speed and transition smoothness. It looks pretty although not overtly flashy. However Microsoft is still to catchup to the revered Mac OSX in this regard. File transfers are now faster. My Sandisk pendrive write speed has increased from 6~9MBps to an average of 20~30MBps for single file. The sheer speed is very visible. Its great and definitely should be made into a USP by Microsoft.
Windows 7, even the RC1 release is highly polished and is highly recommended by me for anyone fed up by the many shortages of Vista. I for one is completely sold for Win7 and will definitely get a copy for my Desktop. Microsoft should aggresively pursue this opportunity to change the image of failure that they accumulated from Vista. And without doubt this can become the highest selling software to date. People are tired from XP, they hate Vista, and many do not like the constantly updating nature of Linux distros, and for most going over to the Mac cults is simply not an option. Look out people this can be a star for Microsoft.