A Speaking Newspaper.

To all those Harry Potter fans who always used to wish for a newspaper that would have moving pictures in them just like “The Daily Prophet”: The day is not very far. On 20th September, 2010 The Hindu newspaper carried a next generation newspaper Ad followed suit on the next day 21st September, 2010 by The Times Of India (TOI).

On the first page of the TOI, there was a note addressed “TO OUR READERS”

The Times of India and Volkswagen have created four pages of content as part of a special media innovation. Don’t miss reading and listening to this “speaking newspaper!”.

Volkswagen is not new to innovation when it comes to Newspaper Ads. Earlier on March 8th and May 31st Volkswagen had captured readers by adding that “X – factor” to their Ads. The March 8th TOI had a car shaped hole drilled in the newspaper to promote its Volkswagen Polo and on May 31st for the promotion of Volkswagen Phaeton they had Handcrafted headlines in The Hindustan Times.

As soon as you open up the TOI newspaper dated 21st September, you would hear a Robotic voice saying

“Best in Class, German engineering is here. The New Volkswagen Vento. Build with great care and highly innovative features. Perhaps, that’s why its breaks the heart of the our engineers to watch it drive away. The New Volkswagen Vento. Crafted with so much passion, It’s hard to let it go. Volkswagen, Das Auto.”

Usually Times Of India comes in 42 Pages, but this time for the convenience of the special Ad, the paper was divided into two – A 36 Page and a separate 10 Pages supplement inside along with the usual Mumbai mirror and Economic/Maharashtra Times. It was a surprise to all Newspaper readers when they could suddenly hear a weird robotic sound as soon as they opened the 10 page supplement of TOI. Initially people couldn’t make any sense of what was being said or where the sound was coming from. So the first time when the Audio file plays, its just gibberish. Some even thought that the sound might be someone’s Mobile Phone Ringtone.  As the Audio file kept repeating itself, finally people could figure out that the sound was being emanated from the back of their newspaper! Once the newspaper was folded back or they accidentally placed their hand on the sensor, the sound stopped.

It was a phenomenal leap in marketing by the Volkswagen people. Every Single reader of TOI on this day would remember the “Volkswagen Vento”. The continuous bombardment of the Audio File was good enough to imprint Volkswagen latest Car Model “Vento” in the minds of their Audience.

Newspapers Ads before this have targeted two of the senses “Sight and Touch”. This innovative leap adds another one to the list and that’s “Hearing”. This Amalgamation of senses stands out from the usual way the newspapers were being used. The E-Paper is threatening the very existence of printed newspapers. Is this innovation an example of how Printed Newspapers are fighting for survival? Well if it is, its a really good start. Another question that arises is that “Whether this combination of Vision and Hearing can be adapted to News Articles? or will it just be limited to Marketing Ads?”

There’s also a down side to this. Some people actually like to spend their Morning Newspaper time in peace. The Audio file repeating itself might just be a nuisance. People have actually tore that part of the Newspaper and peacefully continued with their daily reading venture. Few even worry that this might lead to political parties campaigning through such media. Well, they have a point.

Another notable thing in the Volkswagen Ad was its placement. The Black box which had a magnetic chip inside with a speaker and a small sensor was placed strategically where people usually hold their newspaper. This would allow the reader to place his hand on the Sensor while he surfed the rest of the paper in peace. Only when he reaches the last page would he actually have to leave the sensor and hear the Audio clipping. Genius!

Let’s talk a bit Technical Stuff. Inside the Black casing you would find a Magnetic Speaker connected to a PCB. The PCB holds two Lithium coin cells – the power source, A LDR (light dependent resistor) that acts as a sensor and a certain black blob. Well black blob is basically Chip on board technology (COB). These are extremely crude processors with lots of mask-programmable ROM for sound samples and code. It simplifies the overall process of designing and manufacturing of the final product. Other than that it has shorter interconnecting paths which improve the performance. These are also very cost-effective.

Innovation has always had its pros and cons. Maybe in the near future we might have miniature “Press to Hear” buttons besides every headline, which when pressed would read the complete article? or say a button after the end of every Para?

Here’s a link to a Youtube Clipping for this newspaper Ad. posted by a user “TejasNair”

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Oh Shit! Not Again.

Everyone has a different concept of killing time when they are bored SHIT, I for that matter start harassing my younger brothers. Most of the times my brother’s defense is to just ignore me, or call mom. But this time he hands me a book and says ” I kinda brought this book on recommendation from a friend of mine, I haven’t touched it since the day it arrived. I feel as if the money’s gone waste. Please do me a favor and read the book, it would calm my conscience.”. I turned the book to look at it’s cover. After beholding the yellow colored background with small palm imprints carrying names of Indian people, the first impression in my mind was that this might just be a book for kids. Then i shot a look at the title and it said “Oh Shit! Not Again”. I was like “Interesting”. Usually when i plan to read a book, i just skim through the synopsis first, that’s usually at the back cover. There were some interesting stuff written on the back, I’ll quote one of them

“Have you ever experienced what happens when a porn movie is mistakenly played in front of your grandma and the CD player refuses to stop”

This sentence seem to remind me of the American Pie movies. Such weird stuff is usually shown in those movies. A few more such interesting lines and then “Are you ready to experience the roller coaster ride of events? If yes then sit back and enjoy!”. I turn back to the front cover the topmost line caught my eye “A national best seller”. Well I thought why not give it a shot. Lets see what my fellow Indians have loved so much in this book.

I open the book. First page

“Beware before you read….

You may die laughing.”

OK, here’s the thing. When you plan to publish a book that’s going to be read by a very large audience. You have to make reasonable claims. “You may die laughing”… seriously?. That’s a very big statement you pose Mr. …  I look at the page on the left, The Name of the Author of the book and just below it a picture of a rather skinny man probably in his mid twenties. I read his short description on the top “..is a civil engineer”. My whole skepticism shifted. It was one of my fellow “Engineer”. We engineers can very well relate to each other. I take the book, run to my brother’s room. I find him busy watching videos on Youtube. He looks at me and i am like “Dude, it’s written by an engineer. It’s ought to be good.” only to hear a very dull reply from him “Yeah, whatever”.

It’s a 262 pages book. I for once am not new to this realm of reading novels. For me the book was not big when it comes to number of pages. Probably I need like 5-6 hours to completely drain it up. I won’t be giving you the specifics of what i felt after reading every page, chapter or for that matter the so called “…you will die laughing” situations. That would be a spoiler. Rather I prefer to give you a overall review of the book.

If you have read my earlier post about “The Q physics”. In the last para, i mentioned a certain line stating “Everyone has his own universe. Amalgamation is accepted, intervention can be dangerous”. This is another example of “Intervention”. The book is based on a very ridiculous storyline. It’s like watching a “B” Grade bollywood movie. A story should seamlessly move capturing the reader’s attention to make him feel he’s actually reliving the things mentioned in the book. Here on the other hand, you find there is a complete lack of cohesion between the thoughts that are portrayed. At many instances I found my self skipping huge portions of paragraphs in order to actually keep my interest in reading further. Also, there were moments when I was reading the book where i had to close it and lie down only to muster up the courage to get back into it. The character buildup also lacked professionalism. The young characters in the movie seemed rather immature. I do not believe “4th year engineering” students have never seen what a condom looks like. If that’s true “What the hell is the sex – ed department of this country doing”. There is a huge amount of emphasis given on a character’s eating habits. Over Exaggeration seems to be a trademark for the author. Apart from all this a list of grammatical errors and spelling errors would be a unique feature of this book. All right lets say the Author might have missed a few “If’s and but’s” or probably he missed that “e” in James bond to make it Jams Bond. Fair enough, human error. But these mistakes make me question the effectiveness of the publishers. With today’s highly efficient computer programs in the editorial section that do proofreading and Spell check, its hard to imagine mistakes like these cropping up. Even when Steve Jobs presents his Keynote’s to the world, he prefers to rehearse almost 5-6 times! I wonder if the Author actually took pains to see to it that the book is made error free before being put to print.

It is evident that the book was directed to the young Indian audience and therefore there will be situations in the book where the native languages “Hindi and Marathi” would come in the limelight. The problem is, at few occasions the author seems to have made a direct translation from the native language to English. Imagine when you direct translate English to Hindi you get horrific results such as “Are you Nuts?” – “Kya Aap Ackrot hai?”. Similarly playing with direct translation from Hindi to English results in ineffective communication. One such example from the book is “My eyeballs tried to come out of their sockets to witness it by a higher resolution”. (One of the moment, where i probably would die laughing at the sheer degradation of English literature).

Sex sells!. Yes it surely does. Sexual encounters were cited probably in every chapter in the book. The protagonist “Raj” seems to be a “A True Pervert”. Maybe the Author tried to relive his fantasies in his main character. And by “Raj” doesn’t it seem another cut from a Hindi movie? *Music Plays in the background – Tujhe Dekha toh Yeh jaana sanam… *. It seems the author was really inspired to bring the American pie scenarios to the Indian subcontinent. The book seemed more like “soft pornography” where ideas were plucked from “Erotic stories” which did not limit itself to “incest”. And if this was not appalling enough you find one of the characters holding a used condom. That’s SICK!. I wonder today people only relate humor to “Sick Humor”?.  The Ladies in the book were supposed to have perfect figures. Now I do not know how Kareena’s Zero figure has had an impact on the girls lately, but the author seems to impose the idea that all the women that matter in the story have perfect bodies. And to add sugar to the cake, it seems he is always lucky to grab a eyeful every time hes alone with a woman, let alone be his girlfriend or friend’s girlfriend. Seems like a young teens fantasy? Hell yes.

“The Ending” Ah yes! The part where Bollywood movies always seem to put a smile on your face. The author tried hard to make the ending as dramatic as possible and still trying to end at a happy note. But the pace with which this was done was like the feeling you get when you sit in a car and dozed off and only to find someone waking you up saying “We have reached” and you look at their face in amazement “Its been just 2 minutes that i have closed my eyes”. In short “It was a poor first attempt”. The fact that few strings in the story were left hanging added to the disappointment. It is often said “The first impression is probably the last one”. You ought to get your stuff right when it comes to please an audience. If you fail to do so then you might just end up exclaiming “Oh Shit! Not Again”.

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I’m Already There

The song is from the album “I’m Already There” released in 2001 by the American Country music band, Lonestar. If you really love someone and you are far away from them, then the song is truly meant for you. I remember I was in my 11th grade when I first heard this song. Tears started flowing involuntarily. You know those songs that just make you cry every time you “Listen” to them? this is one such song. Just picture yourself in the situation the song portrays and don’t just hear the song, listen to it.  Once you get the feel of this song, you will also realize that the time you spend with your loved ones are really moments that are to be treasured. We don’t know what future has in store for us, so why not live this day or for that matter everyday as it was the last day of your life? I happen to chance upon a few comments that were put for this song…

When I was 15, my boyfriend sent me a text saying he loved me and would always be there for me, I never heard from him again and a week later I was sitting in the front pew at the church with his mother at his funeral, his family had had a lot of issues and he had taken his own life, this song always reminds me of him, Anton I love you , you are a part of me, always will…

This song kinda reminds me of myself, when i was young my dad was never home, and now hes gone, all my family is gone. If you read this do not take anything for granted i know i did and i regret not telling my dad goodbye.RIP Dad

Music when combined with great lyrics is indeed a divine experience.

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Successive Repetition Alarm

I and my brother are in agreement with a theory on “Waking up” and hence I wanted to share it out. I am not here with scientific proofs, just theory based on certain assumptions and experiences.image courtesy : http://blog.learninglounge.in/

When you sleep your entire bodily functions slow down as your body is relaxed. Your Brain enters a state of trance, a rhythmic state when you reach that level of sleep – “Sound Sleep”. In the dream state, your mind believes that whatever you see is “Real”.”What is real?” its just electrical impulses interpreted by the brain. The brain functions as if a song is being played. Things move so seamless in the dream that even absurd things will seem to make sense. Everything follows a rhythmic pattern. So, everyday when my dad comes to my room and keeps repeating “Hey get up fast, c’mon get up” that complete rhythm of things just shatters. My mind is reminded that it’s in a dream state and POP! I am back to the real world. Initial call is ignored, but when the thing is repeated, it becomes noise and we all know noise is unwanted, unbearable and irritable sound. I call this Successive Repetition Alarm (SRA). No wonder i never get up the moment my Alarm starts. Only after say 3-4 times it has repeated the same tune, my mind gets that kick to wake up.

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The “Q” Physics.

There I am, standing in a queue for passport control at the international airport. The one where they stamp your passport after which you are officially inside a country. I look to my left and I see another queue moving rather fast. To think of it, who isn’t in a hurry to leave the airport after such a long journey in the aircraft. So, I leave my queue and run to join the other one (The one moving fast, on my left). A minute goes by, I am still standing there and the person who was ahead of me in the queue where i was standing earlier has almost reached the counter. I find myself cursing my bad luck.

The Queue

How often does this happen to you? Frequently doesn’t it? You tell yourself “Murphy’s Law does exist” (Murphy’s Law – If something can go wrong, it will).  I think there’s a scientific explanation to all this. You see there’s a whole new physics applied when you stand in a queue. The world seems to defy the simple laws of physics.WHY? Its like when a person stands in the line, the other line/lines always seem to move relatively at a faster rate. To understand this lets say, whenever a person joins a queue he breaks out from a single universe and joins a universe specific only to the people in that queue. For him or any other person in that queue, their queue is an invariant, while the other queue seem to move relatively. Just like we people don’t feel the earth move, though it revolves around the sun, but we seem to observe that the sun is revolving around the earth. I had read in one of the comic book “Justice league Vs Avengers” that laws of physics tend to be slightly different in different universes. The force of 1000N in one universe, would not be equally strong in the other one. The laws will remain same but when you apply it to an object that is made to withstand 1000N in one universe and test it with 1000N in the other universe, it might just fail. The intensity matters. That’s why Flash losses his speed when he enters the Avengers universe.

Makes Sense? Sometimes we engineers enter the world of theoretical physics and the outcomes can be like the one above. Chaotic. That’s why every one has their own universe. Amalgamation is accepted, Intervention is dangerous.

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When you first enter into the blogosphere, there is a sudden urge to start off with a BANG!!. Its like “You have some decent amount of time to spare, so you entered the blog world, you picked a catchy blog name, you even designed it all well with those flashy widgets and finally when it comes to write a article in your blog, you get stuck..and stuck real bad. Its a situation I call “BTM” (Blog Topic Mania). Symptoms include restlessness, insomnia, too much thinking, frustration, begging for ideas , thieving of ideas, surfing the internet with words that include “Blog”, trying to be philosophical, irritable behavior, increase in frequency of logging into blog accounts, starting a new post and then staring at it in hope of coming up with something. Either this or you give up on the idea of your own blog.

Most Amateur blog owners will initially start off by posting stuff that’s already online with a slight addition of their own; That’s easy. But when it comes to writing something that’s unique, it’s like searching for a specific “John” in the country, USA. You get so many different ideas in your mind, but none looks like the one you want on your blog. That specific one should just “Click”. After all everyone who starts off a blog initially needs to show off his prowess in the art of writing.

A blog could mean different things to different people. For some it a source of knowledge dispersion, Other find it a source to show the world the things they find interesting and then there are others who find blogs as a mean to improve their writing skills. Is there any prerequisite for blogging? None. Except that you ought to have a computer/Mobile and a internet connection.

All right so back to the point, “Where can you get that next idea to put on your blog?”. If you would ask people they’ll be like ” Look around, you could write about anything”. Then you look around, you see everything, but you couldn’t create a plot for a unique article.The thing is, the best and the easiest way a person can create something new is by experience and knowledge of that particular something. Let’s see, if a person does not know how to ride a bike and you ask him to write about “The thrills of bike riding” or “What not to do on a bike” or something of that sort, he won’t be able to produce a genuine writeup. Since that person is oblivious to the whole experience of biking, it will be very hard for him to put words to a vague picture that he has created in his mind with respect to biking. Things that are vague are hard to describe. Once you are clear and have a decent amount of knowledge about a idea or thing, you could describe it very well. So, write about what you experienced or what you felt when a certain incident occurred. Its only during such occasions you could come up with real genuine stuff. It’s because every human perceives the world in a whole lot different way. Ideas, Experience and Feelings for a particular human being are unique. Its a gradual process, wait for that particular experience or feeling that you feel is worth sharing. Let your blog grow organically rather than forcefully rushing over it. Now you’ll want to know “How can i know that a specific incident is worth sharing”. For that I guess you can rely on your intuition. Trust your mind, It knows more than you think it does.

Next time when you enjoy the rain, hear a really good song, see a movie or write an exam, you know there’s a new blog article in the making. Mind you, i wouldn’t have been able to picture this out clearly unless i myself experienced  it all.

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One of the first thing you were taught in English Language is “A for Apple” and then other words followed. Later you realized that a word can have different meanings among different groups of people, culture, society and even countries. Then you realized you can come up with your own word and give it a meaning by sharing it with your people and encouraging them to use it. And then came “Anywhichways”.

Just like Darwin’s theory of evolution for living beings, i suppose literature also evolves in the same way. To put it simply “more complex stuff evolves from simple stuff”. The world has seen Shakespearean English era come to an end and getting replaced by the modern English.

Darwin’s theory in a nutshell would be

“as random genetic mutations occur within an organism’s genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival — a process known as “natural selection”.

Let me just modify it a bit

“as young generations change the society’s code, the not-so-beneficial changes are preserved because they seem to be cool – a process know as “Natural Kewlness”.”

What was the above stuff all about?

Well here’s the story behind it – I was on the phone with one of my female friend. Just having the usual chat when she goes “Anywhichways” and i am like “Whaaat, is that even a word?”. She’s like “It surely is, every other friend of mine uses it”. I noted that thing down on a piece of paper and continued the rest of the conversation as nothing happened. Later that night i find myself helplessly searching on google to give authentication to the new found word. All i find is there’s a site anywhichways – they do some creative digital stuff and well none of the online dictionary says what “Anywhichways” means.. Everytime i search for it i get “Your search – anywhichways – did not match any documents. Did you mean “Anyway”. Next day i call up my friend and tell her not to use that word anymore since it did not exist. That same night i finally stumble upon this site Urban dictionary where i find

anywhichways –

A transitional word used to suddenly change topics.
Sean: So hows that new girl you’re seeing?
Jeff: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Anywhichway, want to go to John’s party tonight?

And good lord! I find a whole lot new words i never knew existed. There are moments in life that take your breath away. Well this wasn’t that moment. This was more of a WTF moment. “Complex Stuff from simpler stuff” There it is. A simple Anyway didn’t suffice, so Anywhichways took over.

I told myself “Be Calm, after all who are you to come in the way of evolution”

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