Selfie Overload!

Is Social Media Making Us More Narcissistic?

Yes in so many ways. I guess we all have some narcissistic streak in all of us but at different levels. Some have very small doses of it – I for one, atleast think that I have very little of it because, hey even I have a low opinion of myself.

Once in a while taking a few selfies is well understood and it’s fun to do. Having a great hair day? Nice new outfits? At a new location or a funky, happening place? At a party with friends? At a concert or a sporting event? Sure! Meeting friends after a few years? Excellent! All of these I can understand. Your current profile pic for your various social media accounts has become a bit old and stale? Go for it!

What I do not understand is taking 100 selfies in a week! Some guys are at fault too but I notice, atleast where I live that it is mostly girls under the age of 25-26 who do this. Go to the bathroom – takes 150 selfies! What the hell? I think that taking so many selfies is akin to some kind of mental disease.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Beware Parents Of The Blue Whale Game

Just came to know about this online game called Blue Whale challenge. What an uproar on this! Parents, do some damage control and talk to your kids! This seems ridiculous to me that a teenager could actually do this but I forget that the teenaged years are filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and hormones. They are also easily influenced. I would say parents also have a part to play in this – teach your kids right versus wrong. School teachers also take heed. Let your friends, neighbours and relatives know that their kids can reach out to talk to anyone rather than get absorbed in completing the ridiculous challenges and tasks that the game gives you and then commit suicide at the end.

The list of 50 challenges has been translated from Russian and can be found here. Please be safe, please do not attempt anything from this. Parents and other adults, if you have teens and young adults in your family please ensure that you are approchable and that they can come and talk to you about anything. You could prevent more unnecessary and meaningless deaths.

Watching You Play With Your JoyStick!

Do You Like Watching Other People Play Video Games?

No! Absolutely not. I cannot think of anything more boring than watching someone else playing a video game. I myself do not play a video game, online, on pc or otherwise. I used to play a bit and that too just a handful of games. A few racing games, football (FIFA mostly but I had another one as well), EA’s NHL, Doom and Duke Nukem. I played them many years ago in the 90s and early 2000s and they were on a standalone pc with no access to the internet.

I didn’t have internet at home back then so I never played online games, I just played against the computer or if a cousin was at home visiting my family I played against them. During the summers of 1998-99, I had some cousins come on down to India from Scotland and they had a Sega video game deck and we played a lot of FIFA and Sonic the Hedgehodge and some other stuff but FIFA was our favourite as we guys were all football fans and we played a lot of tournaments.

Watching some of my cousins playing their turns were boring enough; I couldn’t wait for my turn and would read a novel or watch tv in another room in the meantime. Watching someone else play? Like on Youtube – people are crazy. Anyways, that’s not for me.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?

Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?

I think yes we need some good apps. I  go through the list of apps on Google Play store every week or so and decide if I want to try one out and see if it’s useful. I currently have apps for my fav sports teams (2-3 only), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Uber, my banks (2) and payment options, my mobile service provider, WordPress, PayTM (an online payment option that many services uses), two apps for movie tickets, TapZo (which has a lot of offers for discounts), a screenshot app and a couple of games.

I don’t like keeping too many games or apps on my phone. And oh I have two apps – one that cools down my phone’s processor when it heats up and the other cleans up data and trash. That’s it! I don’t think that’s a lot. I will have a few more as the days and weeks go by. I will surely have some photo apps and the like. I think it’s great that we can have so many useful apps. I don’t think they are a waste of time but what it does is eat up a lot of your data. I currently get 5 gigs with my new phone plan and I can easily get 2 GB more and still stay under my budget for how much I want to spend on my phone! That is awesome.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

ISP Issues….Again!

I’m getting really tired of my ISP, Asianet Broadband. For almost three years (it will be three years by the end of July) I was happy with them but nowadays, they are sucking really badly. Once in a while Asianet’s service would go down but they usually fixed it within 3-4 hours and since it’s only once in a while, that was pretty much ok. I mean, these kind of things go down right? It’s not flawless and I don’t expect any such service to be flawless. But I do expect solutions for the issues.

Lately though it’s been bad. For a few weeks now I have noticed that the connection goes down atleast once in a week and then it started going out almost on a daily basis. An outage like yesterday, which was city wide I believe, is understandable and they fixed it in 4-5 hours. But then again today it goes down. I have had so many days of outages that it’s crazy. And their customer care is so robotic. The people who attend to your calls in their call center, have been given nothing to work with. It’s mostly girls who can check your status and then raise a complaint with a generic statement.

Seriously it’s so funny and yet not funny when I call them. Most of the girls who pick up (it’s mostly girls for some reason) try to speak rather fast when they know there is an outage, promising that the issue has been raised and that it will be fixed as soon as possible and seem in a hurry to just close the call. I get the same answer each time. Finally today I asked for a supervisor and she said the same thing. I was also promised a call back by 6pm which never happened. Shows you what kind of customer care they are running right now. It’s pathetic!

Amazon India Buying

I usually used to buy mostly on eBay but I’ve recently become an Amazon convert for several things. Back in 2015 October I made my very first really big purchase on Amazon India and that was this laptop I am typing on. My Dell Vostro 3558 Corei3 15 in. But other than that it’s been mostly eBay. However I recently began using Amazon a lot more and signed up for Prime and well, I have bought a few things online. This weekend too I was browsing and going through things and I bought just a couple of things.

First up is the first Fidget Spinner I have bought. I want to see just what the fuss is all about. I also bought this neat looking football design bottle opener for my beers. Mind you I don’t have the items yet.

Amazon’s grocery list is also kinda good. My first purchases are these two 1 litre juices from a company, Paper Boat I have known about but haven’t seen in the supermarkets in my town. They have lots of products and they come in nice packaging.

Oh and I also bought these three items that you see here for a friend who was leaving the company I work for. I knew she wanted a diary/journal with a lock that you see here on the left. This one was the nicest that I could find. Then I bought a steel travel mug for her since she loves coffee as much as I do and a leather covered pencil stand as well. I also bought her a poster but I can’t find an image for that poster.

Online Policies

How do you manage your online privacy? Are there certain things you won’t post in certain places? Information you’ll never share online? Or do you assume information about you is accessible anyway?

I think I do post a lot of my feelings and other stuff online. More so on my blog than on say Facebook and Twitter. Now, a lot of my relatives, friends, former school/college mates, casual friends and colleagues are on my Facebook. It’s different than say on my blog. I control everything on my blog whereas in Facebook it’s different. I don’t post as freely as I do on Facebook as I do on my blog or Twitter for that matter. I’m not one of those people who only posts profile pics all day long or post sugary happy nonsense.

I know people who read my blog are much less compared to those 660 souls who are on my Facebook feed regularly (well most of the 660) and the problem is not every one is on the same wavelength as me. So I censor myself and sometimes keep a few things off the TL. But I still do post a lot of things that’s on my mind, my reaction to things happening in the world. This is one reason I do not add current colleagues on Facebook – I don’t want to go to work and have colleagues commenting their like or dislike about my views over coffee. I know some people are sensitive as fuck when it comes to things that are said against what they like but they have no problem in dissing things that they don’t like or agree with. I feel that if it is my Facebook page, I should be able to post anything I damn well want to and those who don’t like it -either ignore it or fuck off. There is an unfriend button for a reason.

But I still hold back because I don’t like people writing essays attacking me on my profile page posts. So I avoid but I will also unfriend or block a person if they get too bitchy for my taste. Discussions are fine but being a prissy little bitch, not so much. Blogs, though are different. Get off my website, I will ban you from commenting if you annoy me. Create your own website and post a 1000 articles as to why your view is different. Respect the right for me to do mine.

My Twitter Follower Analysis

  • 40% of my followers are from India – no surprises since I am from India myself and a lot of these tweeps are people I know personally.
  • 21% are from the USA and 18% from Canada – no surprises due to my love for movies, music, NHL, tv shows, scifi and horror.
  • 10% is from the UK – mostly Arsenal FC fans.
  • Arab nations, a few African countries have 0.1% each – no surprises there. I’m not even sure about the 1.7% from the UAE! Mostly ex-Muslim Atheists Tweeps I guess.
  • And 0.4% in Pakistan! OK, I am aware of one person, anyone else?
  • 2.4% is from Australia – and 0% from New Zealand! C’mon Kiwis, show me some love!
  • 0.4% from the Phillippines, 0.1 each from Malaysia, Indonesia & Vietnam!
  • Assorted Western European nations all have 0.1% each but none from Russia! With my ardent love for Vodka??
  • My fellow Malayalees consist of 17.2% of my followers – next highest state or provincial area is Ontario with 6%!
  • 7.1% are from England (not a state I know)
  • 4.4& are from Karnataka, mostly Bangalore and mostly my fellow Mallus (c’mon, I see you hiding behind your plate of beef fry)
  • 10% of my followers live in my hometown of Kochi, the next highest at 3.3% is from Toronto!

Freedom Of Facebook

Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

This one is interesting. If we are talking about Facebook then I think that everyone should be able to say whatever they want and post whatever they want on their personal page as well as any page or group that they create. And unless they are calling for harm (like physical harm or murder / killing and or destruction of land or property) to befall other people or animals or something like that. Then Facebook should intervene and either give a warning before yanking away the page or group or go ahead and pull the plug.

Otherwise I think everyone should be able to say whatever they want and then sit back and listen to the comments and criticisms, satire, jokes and poking fun at for saying what it is that they just said. You can and have full rights to delete, block or ban such comments or people as long as it is your own page or group. And ofcourse the spam. Everyone hates spam and spammers and spam bots. Get them off.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

Uber Useful

Uber to me is relatively new. I first started using the services of the multinational transportation company in December of 2015. At that time I was stuck doing excessive shifts due to a crunch situation in our company. Hence 12 hours or more was the norm and because I was in a day shift I wasn’t eligible for the company cab option. I don’t have a vehicle and public buses stop running after 8pm in that area as well which made it difficult for me to get back home. I didn’t have the Uber app as I used a BlackBerry and hence I would ask help from colleagues to book me an Uber. Once the driver reached the office, I would go down and tell him that I would pay in cash.

In December and January I must have used Uber in this manner, borrowing a colleague’s phone to do the booking, atleast 10-12 times. February came along and I didn’t have much use of it but I knew that this is a great way to travel in Cochin, unless it was within the main city areas, for which the autorikshaw is the best option if you don’t have a vehicle of your own. In mid February I was told that I would be sent to Gurgaon for 2 weeks and I knew that getting the Uber app was a necessity while I stayed there.

As it so happened I was also looking to change my phone from a BlackBerry to an Android based device. So in late February I bought a new Samsung Galaxy and the very first thing I did as soon as I put in my SIM card was to install Uber. Even before any other app (to be fair, it came with Facebook, Twitter and a few others right outta the box)! And a day or two later I booked my first ride using my own phone. Since then I had used Uber quite a few times; to and fro the office, going to Lulu Mall, booking it for my parents to go for a wedding and come back.

It’s become an essential option for people like me and I don’t see me using the normal taxis unless it’s for a much longer distance like to another city or so.

Personal Facebook Policy

I wonder what other people’s Facebook & Twitter rules are. I usually will add / accept invites from people I know and even people I haven’t met but who I share common interests with. These are usually from FB groups on Star Trek, Atheism, Horror movies, other science fiction shows like BSG, Stargate and music groups. This is usually after we have had quite a few interactions on the group in questions and or notice that we have several groups in common.

I do not add my uncles and aunts (except for a couple who will be cool about most of the stuff that others will balk at) and no kids! My nephews and nieces are a no no. Hmmm what about colleagues? I have a policy – I do not add people who are working in the same office as I do. No way in hell. Unless ofcourse I knew them from before and I had already added them, then it’s fine. But otherwise I do not add them or accept friend invites no matter what. It is a policy I stick by. Ok, I might make an exception if they are super friendly with me and we are really close. But otherwise no. It’s just not a good thing to do.

I often have to delete or ignore friend requests from colleagues because of this. When I meet them I will apologize and tell them and explain and hopefully they get it. I just don’t like it if an issue comes up and then it is discussed in details at work the next day.

Google & Rescue

What was the last thing you searched for online? Why were you looking for it?

I use google a lot. For a lot of things, day in day out. Sometimes for checking on spellings, meanings and usage in sentences. To check for facts, to find out new things that I do not know about or had ever heard about before, to reconfirm and get the details that I need for something that I need to have details for.

I search for movies, music, details of movies, images, wallpapers, themes and everything else on sports and television series and all that. Google is my dictionary, novelty store, entertainment search, my library and my think tank. We are so reliant on Google and yet people are still so ignorant in these times when information is at the tip of their fingers and all it takes is a little typing of the keyboard to find the needed data and educate yourself about the topic at hand and yet stick to their biased opinions.

Use Google, find the right websites, go through the details and see if they make sense, are from a legitimate source (check if the data is genuine by rechecking as to who posts it) and then make your points based on it.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

New USB Data Card

Just went out on what is a fucking hot and humid day to go and buy a new USB data card connection from Tata Docomo. Ok, the heat and humidity is really bad, it’s probably the worst we have seen in decades. I probably say it every year but it really is terrible. Anyway the reason I am getting the USB dongle is because I will be staying in another apartment for the next 3 weeks or so and will need internet connectivity there.

So I got one and paid Rs.2000 for the device and the first month which will give me 6.2 mbps for 15 GB. After that it’s at a nominal 64kbps which is nothing really. I think I can get by on 15GB of data for 3 weeks but just in case I don’t I can add a booster pack for about Rs.200 more and which will get me another 5GB or so. I have to call them up and find out. Anyways, I have to wait till today evening to get the connection activated after pre-verification and will probably only see how it works by tomorrow, as I work in the evening shift.

New Phone For Mum – Samsung Galaxy J1

Today I placed an order online for a phone for my mum. It’s the Samsung Galaxy J1 launched in January 2015. The phone comes with a 4.30-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 pixels by 800 pixels at a PPI of 217 pixels per inch.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 is powered by 1.2GHz dual-core and it comes with 512MB of RAM. The phone packs 4GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Samsung Galaxy J1 packs a 5-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 2-megapixel front shooter for selfies.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 runs Android 4.4 and is powered by a 1859mAh removable battery. It measures 129.00 x 68.20 x 8.90 (height x width x thickness) and weighs 122.00 grams. The Samsung Galaxy J1 is a dual SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts two Micro-SIM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, FM. Sensors on the phone include Proximity sensor, Accelerometer.

Display – 4.30-inch Processor – 1.2GHz Front Camera – 2-megapixel

Resolution – 480×800 pixels RAM – 512MB OS – Android 4.4

Storage – 4GB Rear Camera – 5-megapixel Battery capacity – 1859mAh

It’s Rs.6409 from a good seller on eBay and with some discounts, I managed to knock off Rs.518.

Netflix And Chill In India Soon

Netflix, the world’s top video streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from a smartphones to a smart television is now launching in India.

It works with a variety of other devices like PlayStation and Apple TV, letting users stream directly onto larger screen. Netflix is also the creator of a lot of original, made for the web content, much of which is now in high-resolution Ultra HD.

Netflix India has pricing similar to its primary US market and users will be able to pay as low as Rs 500 to watch shows and movies on a single screen at one time. For Rs 650, they will get access to two simultaneous screens and four for Rs 800 — this also has UHD content. The first month is free for all users and they can pay using PayPal and credit card only at the moment. An initial fee of Rs 70 ($1) is charged during signup to authenticate the card. Netflix standard subscribers now pay $9.99 per month, not much more than the Rs 500 base price in India. Netflix was launched out of California is 1997 as a DVD rental service and now has over 69 million users globally with 42 million in the US alone.

Happy 9th Blogaversary To Me

Happy 9th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 9th Blogaversary to me!

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging.

This isn’t my first blog; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com,  when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install wordpress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

This past year has seemingly flown by and I have tried to capture as much as I can about it on my blog. Unlike a lot of people who used to blog regularly, I have continued. I don’t read much blog posts anymore, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook having taken up much of my time on the internet but I have kept my blog up. And I will continue to do so for as long as I can. I find this quite therapeutic and enjoy blogging. Here’s to another year!