trenchant

about what I know and what interests me

How much Information do we need?

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One dictionary defines ‘Information’ as ‘Knowledge acquired through study, experience or instruction’, another says ‘A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn’.

We need information to draw conclusions, create opinions, and make decisions.

Yes enough information on a certain topic will give us depth and clarity of thought. We will then be able to take ‘informed’ decisions. But how much is ‘enough’ ?

Over the years, sources of information and the speed at which it reached us have grown exponentially. From word of mouth, letters, news papers, the radio and TV, to the internet and the mobile, sources and speed have changed for ever. Our current sources of news are mostly the Internet, TV a wee bit of news paper.

Most of the information we seek today, is either interpreted or is already opinionated. As a result, the opinions we make and the decisions we take are already opinions someone else made and decisions someone else took.

Another important point to note is that the more information we have easy access to, the less we tend to access it. For example, lets say, you are researching on why humans yawn, you ‘google’ – why do humans yawnGoogle returns tens of pages of results. You, like 94% of Google users don’t see beyond the 1st page of results. Is that all you needed to know on ‘why humans yawn’ or was the information redundant?

So then, lets ponder on a few questions

Is the information that we gather today more or less authentic than it used to be?Is more information today making it easy to make decisions and create opinions ? Is it really helping us?Are we losing cognitive power to rationally think, judge and assess?Are we making better ‘informed’ decisions as compared to a time when the access and amount of information was less?Do we even use all the information we have access to?

There could be a lot of such questions. But the quality of opinions we make, the decisions we take again depends on the quality of ones cognition, intelligence, emotion and several other factors that are human.

No matter how much information we have access to and the speed at which we have it, It is still inevitable to develop our cognition, intelligence and emotion.

So again, how much information do we need?

Save for you or your kid?

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Money! no matter how hard you try to ignore the subject, it always comes around. Lets face it, everyone needs money. I would not get into what money can buy and what it cant! 

Rather, the topic here is, should I be saving from my earnings? If yes should I be saving for me or should I be saving for my kids?

Well first things first. Should I be saving? There are believers of ‘kal ka kal dekha jayega, aaj jiyo’ which is Hindi for ‘Will see when tomorrow comes, live today’. That’s a perspective I’m not debating!  Might work for a few. But most of us look at a decent living even after when we were no longer working, or when we stop earning. It could be a losing a job or retirement. Don’t they say ‘Save for a rainy day’ ?

So yes we have to save. 

Should you save for you or your kid? Lets debate this a bit.

When you start earning, you have big dreams of making a wonderful living, buy a home, buy a car, may be travel the world, and retire sitting on a pile of cash. 

Come kids in your life, the perspective often takes a big turn, suddenly you feel obliged to write off that every thing you do is for the kids. Yes you love them, yes you want a better life for them, yes they could get better education, better clothes, better everything than what you got. Yes it is a beautiful feeling and a great responsibility. You have to provide for them, get them good education, teach them, guide them and so on. But does that mean every thing you do is for them? What about your life? What did you want to do? I’m sure none of us would start a life thinking ‘I would have kids and dedicate my life to them’. 

Believe me, I’m not playing anti-kid here. I love my kids, I believe having and bringing up kids is one of the finest things we experience in life. 

But the point is.. lets be more practical than emotional about it!

I have friends whose parents made no plans for their retirement. They invested it all on their kid. Many typical Indian parents put all their retirement (provident fund) money in their child’s education or buy him/her a house. And suddenly one day they realize they became dependents from providers. Things could go anywhere from there, not much in your control! Yes we believe our kids are noble, they would take care of us. They would, but what if they wont? 

The point I’m driving at is, save.

Save for you, save for your kid too in a proportion. 

I have a friend who’s saving 40% of his monthly income for his kids college education, he plans to do it for the next 7 yrs. His retirement fund gets a meager 7%. It might go right. It might go wrong. What if it went wrong? What if the kid dropped out of college? My point is, 40% might be too much, it is personal choice though.

Let the child earn merit, let him get into college on his own. Yes you would pay the expenses. If he cant do that there are alternatives. Teach the kid what money can buy vs what you have to do to earn it.

Your kids would naturally inherit all that you have. Do have as much. You don’t have to tell them today.

Don’t let them know today about all that you have saved, all the plots of real estate you own, all the shares you bought, all the wealth he/she would inherit from you. They might not have the zeal to make it big if they assumed  they’re sat on a pile of cash already.

So save for you, your retirement and providence. Do save for your kids future. But be practical and not emotional about it.

Thanks for reading. Please like and comment!

OK Bangaram – Movie Review

Mani RatnamA R Rahman is a combination I have never missed. Right from Roja.

To say it short, the movie is simple story beautifully told. It is a drama made so skilfully, so colourfully, so musically and so much so I’m falling short of words of expression already.

Without going into the details of the story, if you have seen Skahi and enjoyed every part of it, this movie compares. The beginning and the end of the story isn’t new, I would not particularly call it fresh. But like they say it’s not the destination, it’s the journey, it is the content, the art, the storyline and the drama the movie is richly filled with, that makes all the difference.

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Story

Written by Mani Ratnam

It isn’t unusual, Adithya is a video game developer, Tara is a budding architect and they meet in fictional circumstances. But that isn’t what interested me. What intrigues me is the backdrop of Mumbai, it’s the playful chemistry between the duo, their common disbelief in the institution of marriage, their idea of staying with each other for a while before they embark on separate journeys chasing ambition.

Not just that, what humbled me to the earth was the innocence of Bhavani, the man that Ganapathy is, their absolute love for each other.

I really wanted to guess where the inseparable Aadi and Tara would decide eventually when Adi was scheduled to go to the US on job and Tara would go to Paris to study Architecture. They would have to go separate ways but their hearts were so glued together that this would be the decision they would not be able to take. The way the story ended was sort of the typically ‘happy ending’ but it had a sense of the reality and reflects deeply upon how a couple in that situation would behave and take decisions.

Beautifully narrated.

Music

Composer: A R Rahman

Lyricist: Seetharama Sastry

I have loved the songs of Sakhi, so much so that though I could not really understand all the words of Veturi at that time, I would be mesmerised by the just the tunes and the sheer quality of the sound that A R Rahman created.

The music in Ok Bangaram is on par. I have to listen to them over a few more times to write a separate review.

The movie doesn’t seem to use all the songs on the album, though, but I have been transfixed by the rendition that swooshes through the movie – raa ra aatagada vechi unnara. It did raise the pulse every time it played through the movie.

I have enjoyed every bit of the magical Hey Amaayikaa.

Art

How about Cinematography by P C Sriram? What about it? Well, his work speaks for itself. How about Mouna Ragam, Geethanjali? Ok Bangaram had quite a lot of close-ups, capturing faces and their elaborate expressions.

I have to mention particularly the interactions between Bhavani and Ganapathy through the half-closed doors of their room. Absolutely real-life-like. The depiction of their home, the living room, the kitchen, the huge glass doors, the balconies, I have kind of lived in that house for those two odd hours.

What caught me awestruck was the Ahmadabad hotel room, the retro wall fixtures, the colourful low roof created with drapes with lights behind them. Absolutely artful, tasteful.

Actors

I have seen Dulquer Salmaan in Bangalore Days. He looked like a boy next door. He looked the same here too. Aadi here was a character that needs a lot more acting maturity, I believe it’s the amount of drama that makes any role tough. Anyone and everyone these days seem to dance and fight like everybody else. But not all of these guys can face the camera, express themselves keeping their calm. This guy can.

Oh, yea Nani‘s voice sounded just like Salmaan’s voice. Who ever thought about it, brilliant!

Nithya Menen. I’m a fan. Looks aside, it is her Telugu dubbing that gets me every time. Her voice has all the art work that goes into making an actor of her. Her energy, emotion, beauty and the nuances of her expressions, that Mani Ratnam captured on film, makes you wonder if Tara was actually characterise around her.

Prakash Raj was his usual best as Ganapathy, as a retired bank employee.

 

It has been some time since I wrote a movie review. This one prompted to write one, staying up in the middle of the night, right after I was back from the night show of Ok Bangarm. Gunyt!

Solved – Dell Laptop ‘Plugged-in, Not Charging’

Wow! This was one problem I could not get around for three days. My laptop suddenly stopped charging one day at office. It was otherwise charging fast and would last about 3.5 hrs. Now it would not charge to more than 18%.

I went online, searched the problem a lot and tried these solutions:

These did not work:

  1. Go to the Device manager, uninstall battery and ask Windows to search for new hardware. It would re-install the battery. Might have worked for a few but did not work for me. It would say ‘Plugged-in, Not Charging’
  2. Changed the power adapter. It would charge to about 11% and would stop there. It would say ‘Plugged-in, Not Charging’.
  3. Reboot and contemplate a BIOS update. Did not update since it did not make sense. It would still say ‘Plugged-in, Not Charging’
  4. Changed the power outlet (office, home, neighbors house, Spike guard power strip and what not!). Did not charge.

This one worked

  1. Then after a little more searching the unobvious solutions, I found this common-sense (well this is hard to find when you work on a computer all the time and Google everything before you even think) solution. So here it is:

Blow into the laptop power receptacle (where you plugin the power cord) to clear the dust off it. Also blow clean the plug that goes in.

Voila! the laptop is back charging to full without a glitch.

Dust on the conductor surface often reduces conductivity. That’s common-sense. Isn’t it?

Recovering Photos from a corrupt or un-formatted SD Card

I happened to buy a new camera, and it came with a brand new SD card. In all the excitement I just popped the battery and the memory card in and started shooting pictures. I was so intrigued with the new toy and the amazing pictures I could shoot, that it never occurred to me that I might have to format the card at least once before using it to its full capacity.

Then this is the order of events that ended in an undetected file format:

1. Inserted the un-formatted  yet all filled up card into a card reader. Folders showed alright. But a lot of files with odd looking characters as names appeared alongside.

2. Total size of the folders altogether was reported as 27GB while the card itself was a 16GB.

3. Copied a folder that read 4GB. A few files reported errors and I tried ‘Retry’ and then ‘Skip’ options.

4. Attempted to delete the folder I just copied, just to make space for a few more photos I wanted to shoot.

5. Shutdown the computer without ejecting the card.

6. Moved the card to the camera. Camera says the card isnt formateed and format it before proceeding.

7. Turned the computer back up and inserted the card. Same error message that the card isnt formatted.

After fussing  a lot, I used another microSD card with an adapter for the camera and shot more photos, all the while thinking what if I lost all the photos from the trip because of  a corrupt memory card. Friends consoled saying there could be ways to recover stuff from SD Cards that went cross.

So I came home and read around, downloaded a lot of the software that promise a complete recovery.

Here’s a list sdCardRevoceryPro, RemoRecover, Undelte etc. Most of them take a long time to crawl the card and present a list of all the files that can be recovered. Some give you an option to select the file types to search etc. But at the end when you get to the point where you’ve found files and ready to copy them, most of these software asked for a ‘licence’ or said ‘purchase to use’.

Then I came across photoRec. The name might suggest that it can only recover files but it claims to recover over 300 types of files. Pretty much everything I guess.

While the other S/W had fancy looking interfaces, and they first searched and listed all the files that could be brought back, this one has a minimal interface you could operate without needing the mouse.

1. Select the drive you need recovered

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2. Select the partition

 

3. Select the file system from where to recover

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4. And finally select the output folder.

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Lo there you got all your files in several folders. No fuss, just pure data.