Nokia Lumia: Phone or Camera?

If you look at all the Nokia Lumia 920 advertisements you might be forgiven for thinking that it’s a camera and not a phone. Ads talk about “optical image stabilization”, low light imaging and stuff that might make sense to a geeky photographer but not to someone who wants a nice phone with such apps.

Nokia Lumia 920 ad

The communication suggests that Nokia’s perception of the problem with its phones is the lack of camera power. What it absolutely fails to address is that the primary reason people don’t buy Nokia phones any more is the perceived lack of apps on the Nokia-Windows8 ecosystem.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the company continues to not do well in India.

Live Music at Wedding Receptions

The problem with live music at wedding receptions is with the volume. If you keep the volume too low, the musicians find it offensive. If you keep the volume high, on the other hand, people can’t hear each other talk and get irritated. And I’ve never really attended a wedding reception where the live music has had the “right volume”.

Hence, at my wedding reception, we dispensed with live music and instead carefully put together a set of trance numbers which were to be played over a CD-speaker system. And two hours before the reception is to begin, we find that there was no music player in the hall, and no one had bothered arranging for one. Thankfully the photographer, who I’d fought with for the duration of the wedding, agreed to arrange for a music system at quick notice. And then, when the reception was about to begin, it turned out that the uncle who had the CDs had gone home to get dressed.

Ultimately, I think they played the music that we’d carefully put together. I don’t know really because it wasn’t audible on stage, but we’re told by a few people it was quite good (they even asked for and “borrowed” the CDs). If you attended my wedding reception, please to be telling me how the music was.

So before my wedding, when I sent the invite to Mammo, he replied asking who was performing at the reception. When I told him my reasons for not having live music at the reception, he explained that performing at a wedding was a good chance for musicians to experiment, and in some ways it was a “paid rehearsal”. And that it really helps in the development of musicians.

On the other hand, I remember, some fifteen years back, my violin teacher being furious that he’d been called to play at a wedding, and there was no one listening to him, and his volume was turned out to be quite low, and he had a really bad experience.

So I don’t know. I still think the best thing to do would be to put recorded instrumental music that isn’t too intrusive. What do you think?

Facebook comments

I find most comments on facebook fraud and think they don’t add value. These are of the format of “oh how louuvely! you are looking grrreat in this pic”. I don’t know what value the commentor is trying to add. They are essentially of the “i vas here” kind of comments, and do nothing in order to further the conversation. Yes, I believe that pics on facebook are there so as to foster conversation. To bring people together. To get different viewpoints on certain momentous events. And you have people spoiling the show with motherhood statements.

Speaking of motherhood statements, a batchmate from school has recently put up pictures of her newborn daughter. And once again most comments ranged from “oh so pretty” to “congraaaaaaats” to just “awwwwww” – again none of them adding value (plis to be noting that this is all context sensitive. There are certain situations where any of the phrases I’ve mentioned here add tremendous value. Just that they’re mostly grossly misused). I wanted to write a comment there saying “stop making motherhood statements” but then held back since the new mother was also of hte “awwwwwww” “soo pretty” types.

When I write comments somewhere, be it on other blogs, or on people’s photos, or events, or statuses, I try to make sure that I’m adding some value to the discussion. If not anything else, I’ll write something that could possibly lead to further discussion, rather than just leaving comments to announce that I vas there. Perhaps the only place where I leave out of place comments is twitter, where I’m guilty of putting the odd “i’m listening” comment.

And then there are people who put up their own picsĀ  on facebook. Someone, in a valiant attempt to mark their attendance, comments saying “nice pic”. And then you have the subject of the picture (that is the one that put it up) saying “thanks”. Even though the nice pic was supposed to be of the marking attendance type, I suppose it was a comment aimed at the photographer. I don’t know why the subject is even trying to claim credit for the pics – or maybe they just assume that it was their extra photogenic faces that made the pic as nice as it was.

I remember that back in B-school, a number of courses had marks for CP (class participation). And professors would emphasize that it was not the quantity but hte quality of CP that would matter. Occasionally you would have a Teaching Assistant sitting there marking people instantly on their CP. The threat that valueless CP would draw negative marks was enough to keep the discussions interesting.

So yeah you have people telling me that some of my CP on their pics is usually arbit. Arbit it might be at times, but at least it helps foster discussion. It raises crucial questions that might have otherwise not been asked, and helps keeps the putter of photos honest. It helps draw in other intelligent and mildly arbit people to the phpoto, and sometimes results in absolutely brilliant conversation. Now tell me – how many times have you seen an “oh so louuvvely” comment leading to brilliant conversation?

So the next time you want to comment on a picture on facebook, think twice, and think if your comment adds value. Think if it will foster discussion; think if it will make people pull up their socks and ask themselves uncomfortable questions. Think if it will draw in other similar-minded intelligent people. And even after all this you can’t decide whether to put the CP, you only have Gandhiji’s talisman to help you.

PS: you don’t need to think twice before putting CP on this blog. however, useless CP will be ignored and not be replied to

Update

I was going through a friend’s wedding album. Here are the comments on one of the photos:

  • Great pictures! You look gorgeous, _________!
  • Aaaww…You look so beautiful __________! I’m so upset I missed it all šŸ™ Hope you had tons of fun!!! šŸ˜€
  • Congrats ___________:))

The friend (i’ve blanked out the name) hasn’t replied to any of them (and all the above comments are by girls – refer to megha’s comment below).

And then on another pic, there is a valoo-adding comment – which goes something like – “is this the part where you run around trees singing songs?” That adds great value. Unfortunately, the person who got married has replied to this comment with a fairly lame comment so I don’t know how far this conversation will go.

Weddings

I’m trying to understand the significance of attending another person’s wedding. It is very unlikely that you are going to add any significant value to the process, since the person who invited you is likely to be extremely busy with the process. Unless you know one of the main people involved in the wedding really well, there is a finite probability that your attendance might not be noted also (just in case the photographer is not diligent enough).

Of course, weddings give you the opportunity to network. Especially if it is a noisy south indian setting (I’ve attended one north indian wedding so far, and what put me off was the requirement to stay silent during the proceedings) or a reception. It is a good excuse for you to catch up with all those people who belonged to the same affiliation group as you and the person who invited you. It is a good opportunity to expand your social circle.

Back in the 1980s, when I was a kid, one of the great attractions of weddings was the food. Bisibelebath was a special item back then, as were the various “wedding special” sweets. Some of the more affluent folk would also offer ice cream for dessert (that has become a common thing now, especially for receptions). The food on its own was enough to make me look forward to weddings. Over time, the general quality of wedding food has dropped. And the general quality of food in restaurants has increased well at a faster rate. So you don’t need to go to a wedding for the food anymore.

Historically, I’ve been fairly social. I’ve usually attended all functions that I’ve been invited to, especially if it’s in the same city. I admit I haven’t really travelled too many times to attend weddings but done short trips (such as Bangalore-Mysore) occasionally. I’ve always calculated that the cost (time, travel, etc.) of attending a wedding is not much in terms of potential benefits in terms of networking, catching up, expanding circle, etc. Of course, I need to admit that over the last couple of years, NED has been part of the equation, and there have been a few occasions when I’ve worn a nice shirt and then backed off from going.

It is all fine when travel is local, where NED is perhaps the only thing that can tilt the balance in favour of not attending the wedding. When you live away, the whole equation changes. The cost of travelling goes up dramatically (in terms of time, money and inconvenience). The climb is especially steep if you live a flight away, rather than just a train journey away. What used to be borderline cases when the distance was small now dussenly become absolute noes. The obvious ayes become borderline cases. And in some cases obvious ayes become obvious noes. It is only when a wedding happens in your new city that what were obvious noes become obvious ayes.

Four months ago, my cousin (father’s brother’s daughter) got married in Bangalore. If I were in Bangalore, it would have been an emphatic aye. In fact, it’s likely that I’d’ve volunteered to take up a significant number of duties at that wedding. However, the way things turned out (my being in Gurgaon), it wasn’t tough to declare that as a noe. The work that I would’ve otherwise volunteered for suddenly became “work”, became a “cost”. Combined with a couple of other factors, it turned out to be a fairly obvious noe. And I don’t think anyone really minded.

It seems to be the season for friends to get married, especially juniors from IIMB. Two of them who have just got married to each other are having their reception tonight 100m away from my Bangalore house. A case that would have been an overwhelming yes, now become borderline. Remember that NED to travel varies with the travel-cost in a super-linear fashion, and I think it is that which has turned today’s case into a no. There have already been a few other weddings in the season for which I’ve convinced myself with a similar reason. And there are more.

So I ask myself once again – why should I attend someone’s wedding? I have so far been putting the obvious variables into my calculation – netwroking opportunity, goodwill, opportunity to catch up with people, side effects (a wedding in Bangalore is a good excuse for me to visit Bangalore, etc.), travel costs, chance of occurrence of NED, how much ‘work’ it will be, etc. and have been trying to base my decision on these.

Is there something I’ve missed out? Is there something else that I need to consider which might change the costs and benefits of going? Coming back to the more fundamentalĀ  question, why should I attend someone’s wedding?