Tag Archives: ahmedabad

Infibeam Pi – a review

After using – playing with infibeam.com’s Pi, for almost about 4 months I thought to write about it. Many people have been asking me online and offline ‘How is it?’ And could simply respond with ‘Good’!

If you think this is smart device, can do much more like iPad, Galaxy Pad or so, its absolutely misconception. Its very very simple and dedicated eBook reader, and almost nothing beyond that. No wi-fi, no 3G, no browser, no touch-screen!
The device is meant for very specific purpose.

Battery:
The battery lasts long and the main reasons behind them is the way is designed – no backlight and E-ink  screen. This is indeed smart technique, absence of back light and flat simple screen provides very smooth, no eye itching experience. This definitely provides equally pleasant experience as if you were reading physical – paper book. Battery indeed lasts more than a week for me after a complete charging cycle.

Connectivity:
Connectivity is pretty simple way, charging and data transfer is possible with mini USB interface. It also has SD card  slot, so you every time do not need to connect reader via cable to transfer books.

Ebook reading / formatting:
Though it supports vast variety of formats including, TXT, EPUB, PDF, HTML, and more, the device converts – formats text on its own. For non technical reading, its indeed good. This may result into different placement of image, but is fine as long as you can link the reference!
However, for technical ebooks, this isn’t good. For instance, code snippet or some tips also gets converted and formatted with different font. This makes it little annoying to understand flow. Also, limited screen size may also split continuity. Reference to diagram involves multiple flips between few pages.
The best and i-like-most part is support for major Indian languages. Font support and formatting is really very nice when it comes to Indian regional text.

Audio:
It has very basic audio player which supports MP3 format. This player is indeed basic, don’t expect rocking sound experience! The ideal purpose, though not highlighted much anywhere, is audio ebook listening, and nothing beyond.

Screen / display:
It has simple 600 by 800 pixels of display which is sufficient for normal book reading. The landscape and full screen book reading experience is good for continuous reading.

  • Font families – changeable includes Georgia, Courier, MTX Bold
  • Size switches – increase / decrease actually changes font size and reformats text. For ebooks with scanned image type text, text recognition is not there, so can also use zoom in-out.
  • E-ink displays image in grayscale.
  • Refresh / response time is bit more, so requires patience after button press! 😀

Others:
No keyboard, very limited functional buttons, so no confusion for first time users.
Sudoku game, image viewer.

Minor bugs:

  • Landscape mode reading doesn’t show full title of ebook, even if it has sufficient space.
  • Header shows date, but not time – crazy!
  • For Indian scripts, specially with subscript characters and superscript characters, post formatting gives little annoying experience, for example a signle word is broken in such a way that first line terminates with consonant character and associated vowel goes to next line beginning! 🙂
  • About section – device says “GNU General Public License – this product contains software which applies to GPL. You may obtain and redistribute the GPL source code.” This is indeed crazy, GPL is license and not any type of source code. And the company – infibeam doesn’t mention which software (under GPL) is used, and from where! (consider it major, if you’re also open source promoter, like me.)

The bottom line:
This is dedicated ebook reader for India, but not as per ‘Indian Price’ – bit more expensive considering set of features. However the available options are good enough for non technical or semi technical reading.

Couple of one liners from my friends when they played with my reader.
“Please remove paper placed on screen and switch it on, I want to see!” (though actually it was on with some book opened)

“If this is offered around Rs.5000, I shall get one.”

“This is a book only, and is thinner than our technical books.” (when I handed over with leather case)
Bonus for readers of this post –

Get your favorite newspaper delivered to your e-mailbox, daily and read using this reader

  • Grab copy of Calibre Ebook Management software. It’s free and open source, supports multiple operating systems.
  • Install and open
  • Click on Fetch newsSchedule news download and you will see a window like below:Schedule news download
  • search for your favorite newspaper / magazine and click on the name. Of course, you can also add your own way – own news feed. But this requires little technical knowledge.
  • When you select – highlight the item, Schedule option on right side will be enabled, just select preferred time and frequency and save.
  • Now click on Connect / Share icon and setup your email account, make sure you enabled auto send option.
  • That’s it!

Note, this trick requires software to be open and internet to be connected, for the time you have scheduled. You can use scheduled activity to start / wake up your computer before the schedule and hibernate / shutdown post schedule.

I also recommend Calibre Ebook Management software as it has vast options to convert ebook to multiple formats.

Update:

infibeam Pi is just a wrapper and Indian branding of netronix ebook device! I was bit surprised to find this. Also, firmware upgrade is also not smooth. Post upgrade, you may expect some bugs as new gifts! 😀

Auto fare Calculator for Indian cities

Many people either carry copy of auto fare card with them or do remember formula. However, it becomes difficult when you are roaming in multiple cities frequently.

A lot many similar apps available, however they are either platform specific, outdated or requires GPRS or other network connection. Few others are city specific.

This is a very simple attempt to overcome a couple of situations.

The application:

  • Works on almost any mobile with basic browser (internet browsing software)
  • Does not require any GPRS or other connection to run the app
  • Has support for multiple cities of India
  • Support for night fare calculation – based on device time
  • No installation required, just copy to mobile and run
  • No advertisement, no license fee – free and open source
  • Can be very easily updated
  • Has very basic and simple interface, executes and works simply

Grab it : Download http://harit.kotharee.com/app/fareCalc.htm . (Right click to the link and select ‘Save As…’ and save to your computer / or save the copy on your mobile.)

Use it : Open the saved copy of fareCalc.htm from your mobile or equivalent device, in most cases, it should open with default available browser. That’s it. No need to explain further. 🙂

Why HTMLand JavaScript?

  • Most mobile browser supports
  • No formatting / styling required
  • Widest compatibility across mobile platforms
  • No rebuild, easy to update
  • No installation required
  • Easy to share

Summer Programmes @ VASCSC

Vikram A sarabhai Community Science Center, Ahmedabad has announced schedule for special programmes for this Summer – 2009.

Click below image to enlarge.

Program Page1Program Page 2

VASCSC is really a wonderful place to learn and have lot of experiments.

It had been my favorite place to hang and do experiments in vacation time during my school days.

I highly recommend at least a visit to this organisation.

Wake Up call for Indian Consumers

CERC has started consumer grievance helpline – 1800-233-0222. This helpline is toll free for BSNL Gujarat users.

This is really a welcome step by CERC in association with Consumer Affairs, Government of Gujarat. This helpline is available from 10.30 AM to 5.30 PM as per IST. (GMT +530)

CERC is very reputed non profit NGO serving and solving sonsumer complaints / grievance for its members. Its membership detail is here. You can become member by paying online instead.

To add few lines about the organisation’s prestigeous standing I can summarise few of my experiences:

  • When Vodafone Essar was Hutch, in undisclosed billed amount about Rs.500 for my postpaid mobile connection, I requested for justification and company ignored. I stopped using mobile services by paying genuine amount along with accounting statement which was genuine. Later, the company sent a legal notice that drove me to CERC. I have been member since then. CERC did some correspondance on my behalf. Company failed to respond and that proved the legal notice was no more legally valid or important!

  • HP refused to replace damaged front panel, damaged due to its design defect. Legally and as per company’s terms it is possible to replace such parts under cosmetic damaged parts category. Again, approaching CERC solved, front panel get replaced without any legal procedure.

  • In the matter of unsolicited call from ICICI Bank, I did some correspondence with bank and just by sending copy of the same to CERC taught the bank. The bank sent letter of forgiveness through courier!

Some points about CERC:

  • Complaint department listens and guides to complaint very genuinly. Consumer can feel free to express whatever his / her experience is / was.

  • Complaint department has very systemetic approach from receiving and registering complaints from its members to dealing with associated parties / business houses.

  • Genuine complaint can be registered through email to CERC as well. CERC’s method for dealing with non local complaint is really appreciative.

  • Insight, a bimonthly magazine from CERC is really worth to read. It is a leading publication in India for consumer awareness.

  • One membership serves complaint registered by his / her family members. (of course, not a joint family! :P)

  • Membership fees are normal or perhaps nominal for the kind of activities CERC does.

  • Most importantly, an Indian can be a member, get free Insight magazine and register for grievance too.

  • Different consumer product surveys carried & published by CERC are added advantage for consumers.

I highly recommend to become member of CERC, to boost its activities, to have Insight knowledge of consumer laws and if required to solve your complaints being a consumer.

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