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CFLs vs LEDs vs Incandescent Bulbs

If you have noticed, LED bulbs are all the rage suddenly. They are all over the place – the Philip bulb ads on TV, the Syska LED ads on radio and everywhere else. They have been around for quite sometime – but suddenly have burst into the scene.

So, with incandescent bulbs blowing up around my house, I decided to do a full review and bought a bunch of lights to see which ones stack up.

Here are the contestants:

All types of lights tested

My Setup

So, in my house, we have all yellow lights – which are mostly bulbs and few CFLS. Hence, my test involves LED bulbs and CFLs in the “Warm White” colour – which gives off a nice yellowish, intimate light. But before we go ahead, I present to you a little information researched on various types of bulbs.

This will help you understand why CFLs are more efficient than bulbs and why LEDs are more efficient than CFLs.

It all starts with Lumen

Lumen is a unit to measure the amount of light. If you are interested in the textbook definition, please see here.

In India, we tend to estimate the amount of light given by the wattage of a particular bulb. Hence, most of us probably have a fair bit of an idea on the light given out by 40W bulbs (incandescent) – useful for lamps, etc., 60W bulbs for regular, home lighting and 100W bulbs for outdoor / brighter lighting.

“Watts” or (W) is the unit of electricity consumed.

Incandescent bulbs give us light by passing electricity through a filament which heats up and emits light. In fact, 95% of the energy in these bulbs is lost to heat and only 5% is what produces light (ref). Hence, incandescent bulbs produce only 16 lumens / watt.

CFLs in the way they are built are more efficient and can give us between 50-70 lumens / watt (atleast 3 times more than incandescent bulbs)

LED bulbs on the other hand, can output upto 100 lumens / watt – which make them one of the most efficient sources of lighting. I drew up some numbers to compare these which are in the table below.

How do these compare?

[table id=1 /]

Quality of Light

Artificial lighting sources like bulbs, tubes, etc. are also rated on their ability to reproduce colour. The standard light against which these sources are compared is sunlight and companies like Phillips claim 90 – 95% colour reproduction for even their base models. Because most of us (especially yours truly) cannot make out this difference, I have decided to skip this and instead focus on how the light “looks” to me.

As I have already mentioned, all light fixtures in my house are lamps or wall mounts of some sort. We do not have naked tube lights or bulbs anywhere.

As such, I found the LED bulbs to be quite directional. They are known to not offer the omni-directional light that incandescent bulbs offer – but it was quite apparent to me without making much effort. The light was quite ‘harsh’ for our needs and we decided to not use the bulbs for our lamps.

As a matter of fact, I found the Tornado CFLs to give the best light distribution.

40W Incandescent bulb vs 8W CFL vs 5 LED

40W Incandescent bulb vs 8W CFL vs 5 LED (click for larger image)

As you can see, the incandescent bulb gives the best light distribution – but if you had to compare the CFL vs LED, the CFL (Tornado in this case), creates a much more distributed environment and is not as harsh as the LED.

Which LED bulb should I buy?

There are a couple of bulbs available in the market. I bought and tried the Phillips LED ones and the Alva LED which is an Indian company – and it costs half of what Phillips cost. In my opinion, LED bulbs are quite overpriced at the moment.

However, if you MUST get LEDs, I would recommend Phillips over Alva as I was quite disappointed with the Alva offering.

I bought candle lights from them and this is the light that I got from them:

Comparison of the Alva 4W LED to 40W Incandescent Bulb

The light that the Alva bulbs were casting was quite disappointing – even for use as spotlights (which I did not intend to use them as) – they look quite dirty.

In Conclusion

For me, I have decided to replace all the incandescent lights in my house with CFLs at the moment. There are some fixtures which the CFL form factors do not support (especially the small fixtures with the E14 sockets) – which I am going to continue using bulbs on.

LED bulbs – though exciting – don’t offer the kind of light that I am looking for. Plus the super expensive price point puts me off.

What do you guys think? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Further Reading / Links

  1. Different types of sockets. Don’t get the wrong type of bulb for your fixture.
  2. Phillips LED bulbs on Amazon
  3. Cheaper LED Bulbs on Snapdeal
  4. Myths vs Facts on LED and CFL lighting (especially about mercury content in CFL bulbs)

Why owning a second car doesn’t really make much sense …

The title of my post says it all… Before we start, there are some assumptions to this statement.

The assumptions are as follows:

  1. Your are living in a Tier 1 / Tier 2 city in India which has decent Uber / Radio Cab connectivity (Have heard good things about Meru as well See Update 2 below).
  2. You use your car as much as an average person does – say about an hour or so a day.

Let’s pull out our calculators for this one…

Step 1: Determining the cost of ownership of a car in India

  1. Some used or new car (average make): Rs. 5,30,000.00 (A). This, again, depends on what kind of car you are looking for.
  2. Lifetime of a car: 7 years (pretty decent estimate)
  3. Fuel expenses (considering diesel without inflation): Rs. 2,000 per month (on the lower side)

    Cost over 7 years: Rs. 1,68,000.00 (B)
  4. Car Auto Coverage Insurance (considering Rs. 10k avg per year): Rs. 70,000.00 (C)
  5. Car Maintenance / Servicing: (Rs. 10k avg per year): Rs. 70,000.00 (D)
  6. Change of tyres (twice in 7 years @ Rs. 3,500 per tyre): Rs. 28,000.00 (E)

Let’s add all this up: Rs. 8,66,000.00 (T = A+B+C+D+E)

Cost of owning this car / day over 7 years: T / (365 x 7) = Rs. 338.94 per day.

Please note that these are fairly conservative estimates. The cost here will be somewhat higher due to:

  1. Rise in the cost of fuel over the years.
  2. Not considering the amount you may need to pay for parking in your society (going rate in Pune is 1.5L – 2.5L per spot)
  3. Not considering the loan that you probably need to take to buy a car @ 15% pa. (you will end up paying an additional 2L interest over a 7 year loan period).
  4. You may not want to get an average car but a more expensive one. (Add the difference in costs accordingly.)

(Adding these expenses will take up the cost of your car to about: 8.66L + 1.5L parking + 42K fuel inflation @ Rs. 500 extra pm + 2L for loan = Rs. 12.58L or Rs. 492 per day over 7 years)

What this means is that everyday your car is sitting in your garage, you are wasting Rs. 340.00 – Rs. 492.00 per day.

I am going to consider the case in which you need a second car for your spouse to go to work.

(My office is around 8 km from home and hence my fuel costs are Rs. 2k per month approximately. If it were further, fuel costs would go up accordingly)

Also, most folks I know – use their second car even more sparingly than this particular use case.

Step 2: Let us consider the alternative: Uber / Ola Cabs / Meru / Other Radio Cab Services (See Update 2)



This is what I would pay one way to travel from my house to work.

Uber - Pune 2014-10-08 00-02-17


So: Rs. 120 one way. Rs. 240 both ways per day.

Assuming that I don’t need to use my car to travel on the weekends (Sat, Sun) my expense turns out to be:

  1. Per week: Rs. 240 x 5 = Rs. 1,200.00 (W)
  2. Over 7 years: W x 52 weeks x 7 = Rs. 4,36,800.00
  3. Cost of travel per day (over these 7 years): Rs. 170 per day

    i.e. I will be saving 340 – 170 = Rs. 170 per day just by not buying a car and using Uber instead.

In addition to this, the benefits of Uber / Similar services (over driving your own car are):

  1. You don’t have to drive a car.
  2. You get a nice, air conditioned, chauffeur driven mini-sedan (UberX has Sedans).
  3. No worries of filling up fuel, getting your car insured every year, PUC, serviced and maintenance.
  4. No more driving around for hours – looking for parking.
  5. No worries about someone hitting / denting / scratching your car while driving / parking.
  6. You can use your travel time to catch up on that extra level of Candy Crush instead of cursing those taxi and rickshaw drivers.
  7. With a little pre-planning, you can use your other single car between yourself and your spouse in most occasions. Saving on money and the environment by carpooling.
  8. The extremely satisfying feeling that you get when you press a virtual button on your phone and a car magically appears in front of your door cannot be beat. The magic of technology!
  9. Let someone else worry about getting you through that rush hour traffic – while you sit comfortably behind playing Candy Crush.
  10. Did I mention you don’t have to drive a car anymore?

Isn’t this all worth it? Not only do you save 170 bucks a day (Rs. 62,000.00 per year), you pay only when you travel. So if your travel needs are more infrequent – say for example, you need a second car only 2 – 3 days a week, your costs will come down even further – to about 80 – 100 bucks a day (or 60-70% cheaper than owning a car).

Step 3: So what is the hold up?

Sigh… There always is a catch isn’t it?

In this case, there are a couple of them:

  1. Uber isn’t as widely available as I would like it to be – and this will still be in only Tier 1 / 2 cities for sometime.

    Most of the times, it takes me between 10-15 mins on an average to get a cab (after pressing a button on my phone).

    Depending on your address in Pune, it could take you longer (20-25m). So a little pre-planning is required. However for the popular areas (camp / Viman Nagar / Kalyani Nagar / Koregaon Park / Aundh / Station / Airport / etc. – cabs arrive in between 5 – 8 mins which is not bad at all).
  2. You would be dependent on public transport / rickshaws – incase Uber cars are not available tomorrow.

    So you cannot depend on them a 100% yet – but with a little pre-planning, you can get around it.

In the end, I believe it is a lifestyle choice – something that we are very interested in trying. The economies make sense and the convenience makes so much more sense. If only the service grows and has enough drivers – then we’ll be talking.

Step 4: Get your first ride free – on me – worth upto Rs. 300.00

Just because you have read this post so far, your first Uber ride is on me. The coupon for the Rs. 300 off is: ubersaurabhj

Download the App on your phone (search Uber on the App Store, Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store), sign up (most debit cards and all credit cards work), hit Menu > Promotion and enter this coupon.

Update 01 – 08-Oct-2014

Gaurav pointed me to two interesting resources related to my blog post:

  1. An interesting discussion on hacker news.
  2. A blog written by Sam Altman (in SF) with an excel sheet having the same thoughts as me.

Update 02 – 08-Oct-2014

I have added Meru as a viable option in my posts assuming their rates are at par with Uber. But I was quite surprised to see them substantially expensive. In Pune for example, their minimum base fare is 200 bucks compared to UberX’s 90 bucks. Also their price per km is 20 vs UberX’s 12. That won’t hold up to my earlier calculations.

Disclaimer:

This post may seem that it has been sponsored by Uber – but that isn’t the case. The level of service and convenience that these guys offer is giving us the first glimpses of “Transport as a service” – which we haven’t seen so far. A service which allows you to summon a ride at the push of a button gives you the ability to dream about getting rid of that vehicle you rarely use anyways and use your hard earned money smarter.


We are actually very serious about selling our second car and converting to Uber – so if you see any flaw in my plans / calculations, please leave me a comment so that I can rethink! Thanks 🙂

The iPhone vs Windows Phone 8 vs Android Phones

Disclaimer:

I work for a company which primarily makes iOS apps and games – and as such I own and use an iPhone 4S and an iPad 2.

I have owned, used and loved a Windows Phone 7.5 (Samsung Omnia) for some months before I switched to a company issued iPhone 4S.

Note 2:

This is not going to be a technical comparison / flame war kind of a post. The intention of this post is to highlight the ideologies of the three mobile platforms – and how I “feel” the future will shape up. So if you are here looking to see tech and feature specs, you will be disappointed. However, this post may still help you to buy a handset that would suit your personality.

Okay, now with that out of the way, lets get started.

If you would allow me a bit of a leeway and let me compare these three platforms to children, then the behaviour of these kids and their quirks are heavily influenced by their parents – viz. Apple, Microsoft, Android/Google.

If you read about these company and their founders, you will soon realise that the company policies and mission statements are in turn, heavily influenced by the thoughts and beliefs of the people who founded them: viz. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Larry-Sergey respectively.

Hence, eventually, the way these platforms are designed – are in some ways, influenced by the beliefs and principles of the founders of those companies. And if you think about it, it becomes very apparent.

Lets take a look at each of these platforms individually now …

1. The Apple iPhone

To me, the Apple philosophy can be broken down into two statements:

  1. We are artists and we build works of art.

    This is a no-brainer really – with the amount of time and resources spent on making products beautiful – you definitely cannot contest this point.
  2. The common person on the street is dumb does not know what he/she wants and we know better.

    Many things in the iPhone – viz. not able to change batteries, using special screws so that people cannot open their phones, having draconian control over what people install on their devices (via the appstore), etc. all are evidence supporting this thought process.

Interestingly, both these statements are made (in some capacity) by Steve Jobs at one or the other time in his life (according to his autobiography). And if you look at the iPhone, it holds true to both these principles.

  1. It is a beautifully designed electronic device.
  2. It simply works! (except when it doesn’t)
  3. If there is a limitation to feature, etc. – you have to live with it unless you jailbreak your device.
  4. Specs, etc. are never disclosed (because most people don’t / wouldn’t care)
  5. It is a premium product – hence super expensive to own.

So if you are a kind of person who truly appreciates beautifully crafted products and are willing to pay a substantial premium over it, don’t really care about the technicalities as long as the thing works, and importantly have the money to own an iPhone, then the iPhone is for you. Smartphones break when people don’t take good care of them, if you need to repair your smartphone contact iphone repair from I Fix Phones. However, this also puts you in the lot with those people who just have a lot of money and want to buy the most expensive phone on the market without caring about anything else. (I’m sure you know the types!)

It is NOT a power user phone. (hence the very bloody feud between iPhone and Android users).

And like I mentioned, if something doesn’t work – you just have to live with it till Apple fixes it in the next version.

But hey! You get to flaunt an iPhone!

Why is the iPhone so popular?

Statistically speaking, it isn’t. However, the iPhone was one of the first platforms which offered developers a semblance of a decent development environment to develop apps in (even though I feel it is dated by today’s standards). Hence the rich marketplace for iPhone apps today.

They made it easier to build and publish apps on their platform and invested in the entire app store verification process which substantially improved the quality of the apps available. Mind you, this is at a time when we had the horror of developing Symbian apps. There was ofcourse Java also – but J2ME app development was equally painful and distribution was zilch.

In the end, the tone of the following video very clearly defines what the iPhone is all about.

2. The Windows Phone

The Windows Phone 7x OS is the newest operating system on the block, and considered to be the most reliable by up time metrics – compared to both the iOS and Android.

Windows has been a mobile player since a very long time, but frankly, all their previous attempts sucked. They were smart to realise that continuing with the Windows 6x legacy platform would get them nowhere and they went almost back to the drawing board to give us Windows Phone 7 & 8 OS.

They have taken quite a radical approach and have gone tangential to what both the iOS and Android are attempting with their Metro based UI. Whether this will work for them, only time will tell – but its a brave new approach.

 

If you look at most Microsoft software objectively, you will find that:

  1. Though bloated, most of them are intuitive and fairly easy to use.
  2. Microsoft draws a fine line between being the big brother (Apple) and opening up completely (Android).
  3. They might not make the most beautiful software / hardware – or the most advanced of devices, but most of the times, you can get your stuff done using their products.
  4. They are extremely developer friendly and go out of their way to make it easier for devs to develop on their platform.

    (Win Phone 8 supports apps made using HTML5 + JS natively compared to Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android).

Having said all this, their UI does take sometime to get used to (it took me a whole day) – but once you understand how it works, it is super productive and for me, I felt like someone designed a phone just for me! Your mileage may vary though …

If you are the type of person who likes the platform & apps to be flexible to her own needs (instead of the other way around) – without going to the other extreme of being completely open and transparent (you don’t care about that) – then you’ll love a Windows Phone.

This ad, I feel, captures the essence of A Windows phone perfectly and in the time that I used the phone, I found the ad to be 100% true.

3. Android Phones

Finally, we come to the most popular platform of them all (currently). Understanding the Android platform requires an understanding of Google’s philosophy (even though Android was bought and not created at Google). Don’t be evil.

If you take a look at Google’s history, they have always been staunch supporters of the “open” philosophy and having as few restrictions as possible in everything (to put it abstractly). This clearly reflects in the Android platform.

What are some of the quirks of the Android platform you ask?

  1. The operating system is given for free with the code to all manufacturers who want it.
  2. Google has no restriction on the specifications of the device or the screen size of the device. Hence, Android phones are available on the cheap end as well as the most expensive end of the spectrum.
  3. Manufacturers can modify the code anyway they feel fit.
  4. The primary store for Android Apps – Google Play – does not do any verification on the app submissions (as far as I know).

As there are very few restrictions on developing apps, developers have the maximum freedom in developing for this platform. They can write apps which can do cool system level stuff which other platforms restrict.

However, this comes with a price:

  1. As every manufacturer can do whatever they please, the Android experience is not consistent between handsets. A Sony handset may look completely different compared to a Samsung one.
  2. As there is no verification and checking, the App Store has tonnes of crappy apps and apps that you’d better avoid.

    Google displays all permissions that the app requires clearly to the user (which Apple doesn’t) – but then users need to understand the technical jargon which comes with it. Caveat Emptor.
  3. As manufacturers modify the operating system, updates to the Android operating system does not percolate to all devices as soon as Google releases it. Every manufacturer needs to update their own revision. Some models from small manufacturers might not even get updates.
  4. There is substantial more piracy on the Android platform as well – as it is trivial to copy apps from one device to another. Hence, the entire app eco-system suffers and many companies develop and release quality apps on the platform only after having first built it on iOS.

To cut a long story short, you are an Android person if you like to tinker with stuff, strongly support value-for-money products, understand technology better than most and can live with slower updates and a not-so-standard experience between handsets.

How the future might shape up?

I feel the war based on design and hardware is over. All platforms will come with all types of hardware – so the decision when you buy a phone will no longer be based on just the hardware. I feel it will depend on the price to value ratio greatly and the app eco system.

Of the three, Windows has the best tools to write apps in. If they take good care of their app eco-system and deliver a good app store experience (their appstore sucks big time at the moment) – they can eat into iPhone and Android’s share a bit.

Android will continue to do brisk business as their phones support a spectrum of price ranges – and will continue to stay on #1.

With Apple becoming the giant that they are now (ironically, they have turned into the IBM that they were fighting in  the ’80s) with innovation on the slower end, their market share is bound to dwindle. Especially after ios6pocalypse and the Samsung lawsuit, americans are beginning to figure out that Samsung and Apple are one and the same – so why pay more for Apple?

With Windows being new and still unfinished, expect tonnes of updates and innovation at their end. They are the underdogs now – so this will make for a very interesting battle. None of the Win8 phones have announced their prices as yet – but as long as the premium ones are priced around the Samsung S3 (35K) and NOT the iPhone 5 (45K), they should be good.

The money is no longer in the device. It’s in the apps. As long as the companies realise this and mine this properly, they could probably sell handsets on a subsidy. On this point, Apple already does a great job. It has a bustling app eco system and also your credit card.

I feel it is too late for Google to start doing this even if they want to (which I don’t think they do). Microsoft being the new kids on the block need to balance this well – avoid crappy apps without being too restrictive on the app store.

The battles are heating up – so we are in extremely interesting times. The tablet wars are going to be even more interesting.

The #1 spot is pretty much sealed at the moment – I think it is game on for spot #2.

So what phone are you and why?

Duracells actually last longer …

This post is a result of a proper experiment.
I have a Microsoft wireless mouse which eats battery juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I used to use Everready (Gimme red) batteries which would die pretty often and soon.
So I decided to do a little experiment.
I bought EverReady batteries for the mouse and checked how long it lasted.
It lasted me from the 15th of Month 1 to the 10th of Month 2 – so roughly 25 days.
Please note that EverReady batteries can be bought singly – for Rs. 10 a piece.
I then went and bought a pair of Duracell batteries for Rs. 40 – so exactly twice the cost.
One Duracell battery – with the same mouse usage – lasted me from the 10th of Month 2 to the 14th of Month 4.
So almost 65 days.
Hmm … So doing a direct cost to performance comparison, I would say, I saved 6 bucks per 2 months (which is almost 30%)
(I would be spending Rs. 26 in EverReady batteries for the same duration a Duracell gives me)
So there! Now it has been proved (from a real live experiment).
Just thought that you guys would find this piece informative.

Umm .. blogging !



A non – blogger friend of mine, specifically sent me this cartoon a while ago.

And as I have nothing to blog about today, or maybe I am just tired and suffering the after effects of playing a whole day of basketball yesterday (I realised that I am getting older …), I could not agree more with my good chum ! 🙂

[Please click on the image to see the actual size]

Windows Media Player 11

I’ve always used Windows Media Player 11 because it has got awesome library management capabilities.

Yes – it may not be the lightest or the fastest players – but its library is plain, simple, clutter free and very effective.

I got to try out Windows Media Player 11 beta for Windows Xp – for a couple of days now and here are some screenshots.

In short, it is much sleeker, looks a lot better and takes its library management duties more seriously.

This is the main interface screenshot.

As I said, it is sleeker and more pleasing to the eye.

Different things to notice are the controls in the bottom of the screen and to the bottom left, they have some sort of graphic equalizer display kinda thingy which looks cool.

On top you will notice a button called URGE – which is an online music store that microsoft has tied up with. Something that iTunes is to the iTunes Player.

This shows the Albums that I have on the player – it displays any album art very nicely and looks damn nice.

The albums are categorized alphabetically with each letter getting its own group.

This is one very nifty feature.

You can select an album, right click>Update Album Info and it downloads the album art and album details from the internet and updates the stuff on the fly.

Damn cool.

This is another interesting feature – the artiste view shows CDs stacked for artistes having more than one album.

And the number of CDs depicted here equals to the number that actually exist on your PC.

Very nice.

I heard the Vista version allows you to fly through the stack – though I could not manage it on the Xp Version.

And finally this is the mini player which comes onto the taskbar.

Its all black.

Though the installation was smooth – it installs over your Windows Media Player 10 and updates the library – it took a hell lot of time (maybe coz its still Beta)

Also one main feature that its missing is the Auto Playlist feature from Media Player 10.

Hopefully it will make a comeback in the final release which is scheduled for the June 6th.

Surprisingly, the player was just taking 7 MB of RAM in the minimized mode and 13 MB in the full screen mode while playing mp3s.

The beta version was a 23 MB download.

Another first time feature in this release is a “Search as you Type” feature.

Overall, its worth an upgrade if you are a Windows Media Player fan.

BUC – Bandwidth under Control

I don’t know how many of you know this, but BSNL has got this awesome feature called “Bandwidth under control” in which, they themselves help you in controlling your broadband usage.
I am using the Rs. 500 plan in which I get a 256 kbps line and a 1 GB limit for a month.
Now, 1 GB per month is roughly 33 MB per day.
I generally stick to about 25 – 35 MB per day, which keeps me in the 1 GB safe zone … however, during exams and submissions and seminars, this limit touches about 55 – 60 MB per day.
So, what BSNL does is awesome …
During the peak time, exams and practicals and stuff, my phone magically goes dead for 2 days.
No phone, no broadband.
This works perfectly.
Coz, during the peak times, when I really need to use the internet, I would be hitting about 150 MB in 2 days.
So, by cutting my phone, these guys help me save up on that.
It’s really awesome you know …
You should definitely give it a try …

My typical day

[0745 hours]
It is a Saturday morning …
Quite early for me to wake up …
Logged on to the internet to check mail …
The plan of the day : simple
Finish 2 writeups, 6 programs
[0930 hours]
Finish putting the last morsel of breakfast in my mouth.
Time to put the plan in action.
[1127 hours]
Put the finishing touches on 1st writeup.
1 big one more to go …
[1131 hours]
Finish drawing the margin for the 2nd write up and start writing
[1133 hours]
Call from mom … She’s given her car for servicing …
Have to go and buy spares and leave them with mechanic
[1203 hours]
With uncle at car shop, paying the money
[1227 hours]
Sitting at granny’s place … waiting to pick up mom from clinic.
Write ups completed : 1/2
Programs writted : 0/6
[1304 hours]
Reach home after picking up mom.
[1348 hours]
Finished lunch
Back to work
[1452 hours]
Call from Mechanic.
The right drive shaft turned out to be of a Wagon R instead of a Zens
[1512 hours]
At Mechanics
Mechanic remembers he forgot to ask me to get something else …
Mechanic gives a list of more 3 things to buy before tomorrow
[1517 hours]
On way back home with heavy drive shaft jutting out of my Kiney on potholled roads
[1526 hours]
At entrance of society
Rear tyre starts wobbling tremendously …
[1527 hours]
Rear tyre completely out of air
[1528 hours]
Kick the bike in frustruation
[1530 hours]
Finally at home, with what feels like an hour of dragging a bike with a flat rear tyre.
Dragged bike for distance of 300 mts in about 2 mins 40 seconds
Number of times bike foot stand hit calf : 12
[1547 hours]
Get up after having changed the flat tyre
[1602 hours]
Back in room
Wasting time on the computer
Write ups done : 1/2
Programs written : 0 / 6
[1806 hours]
Dropped mom to clinic on bike
[1856 hours]
At tyre repair guy’s shop
Still getting flat fixed
[1908 hours]
Leaving shop
On scavenger hunt for the remaing stuff to give mechanic
[1912 hours]
Standing in front of closed car shop which was open in the morning
[1921 hours]
Still searching for shops which have the requisite stuff
[1955 hours]
Back at home after successful scavenger hunt
[2214 hours]
Just putting finishing touches on 2nd write up
Write ups completed : 2/2
Programs written : 0/6
[2356 hours]
Finishing stupid blog
Expecting many hate emails and comments
Write ups completed : 2/2
Programs written : 0/6
Result : “Screwed” on Monday

“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong …”

Scenes from a Seminar Hall

We just finished our BE Seminars a couple of days ago, and I am still basking in the sense of achievement that I did not screw it up …
Oh well, some idiot messed with the projector settings and my slides got all screwed and stuff, but other then that, it was mostly okay …
Getting into the meat of things, I wanted to write about the observations that I had during the 4 gruelling days of sitting and listening to other people talk mostly about subjects which I had no interest off …
So, here goes … the people who make up a typical seminar situation …
1. The Guy Giving the Seminar
This without doubt is the most important guy in the seminar room.
The poor soul, whose worst fear is of public speaking ( even greater than death ), is made to stand up in front of 50 people, who are mostly not interested in whatever he has to say.
On top of that, he is expected to narrate and manage the slides in the 15 minutes alloted to him.
These people fall in the following category …
1.1 – The under time fellows
These are the people who prepared too few a slides, and probably did not practise enough to realise that they did not fall into the 13 – 15 minute category.
These people make up about 35% of the crowd and finish their seminar, to the delight of all others, within 8 – 9 minutes.
The number of slides are typically just around 20 and the topics covered are generally superficial, and application oriented ( non technical ) which does not allow for more matter, and hence more time for the presentation.
Notable features are lots of pausing and umms and aahhs … which basically help them get to 8 minutes …
1.2 – The good time fellows
Most of the people fell in this category. I’d say about 50% of the people …
These people have generally practised atleast once and finish off their seminars between 13 – 14 minutes.
These people generally, are not very hated and the they have a good mix of technical and non technical information, evenly spaced out …
These people probably end up with the most marks.
Notable features are generally decent presentations and many a times, elocution like speeches which come off as mugged up …
Quite a few topics falling in this category are decent and worth listening too …
1.3 – The over time fellows
These people generally shoot off their 15 minutes.
This species, has trouble, not knowing what matter to cut down and how much to speak on.
Either the person has really prepared the entire seminar on his own ( thus not being able to delete the content that he so painstakingly collected ) or the fellow just copied the entire seminar of some person from another college …
Notable characteristics are skipping through atleast 20 slides, rushing off so fast that people didnt even get the topic.
And mostly, the ability to cram 40 – 50 slides in the space of 15 minutes.
2 – The Examiners
These people are the most confused people sitting in the hall.
They either know that they have no idea about what you are talking or they ‘think’ they have an idea of what you are talking.
What students generally worry about is not whether they will be able to answer the questions these people ask at the end of the seminar, but whether they will be able to somehow relate their topic to the questions asked by these people …
Therefore, questions such as “But don’t you need some p2p network to use BitTorrents ?” after a seminar on BitTorrents, or a question like “Tell me the application of Red Tacton in touch screens …” ( Red Tacton is a method of transferring data by human touch ) are asked.
And the students are left totally bewildered and are lost for words.
We had a examiner who had his head so high up his a** that he asked questions to each and every student …
No matter if the question was the least bit related …
Naturally, most of the people trying to answer would be left fumbling and confused …
This guy would sit back, look at the hapless student and smile … thinking that he was oh, so smart and clever to ask such questions …
And sitting at the back, we would think, “What a moron !”
3 – The General Audience
These people make up for maximum of the crowd.
If you can speak well and hold their attention, you can keep them interested for exactly 3 minutes.
After which, most of them go to sleep, or put those ear phones back on …
In the very rare event, do these listen to the entire seminar …
And if they do, you can be rest assured that you have done a good job.
4 – Your loyal friends
These people are your truest buddies from the class.
They will turn up for your seminar and even sit through it, patiently, attentively trying to grasp every word that comes out of your mouth – never mind it not making the wee bit sense …
Nodding everytime you look at them – to give you confidence.
These are the people, you’d probably need most during the 15 minutes … and the ones to start clapping as soon as you’ve answered a couple of questions, to spare you from the slaughter …
5 – The Not So Friendly …
These people are the ones who have been waiting patiently, anxiously even … for you to get up there for your seminar.
They prepare, conspire, read your report, so that they can ask you questions which you probably wouldn’t be able to answer in the Q & A round.
These ploys generally fail and seldom work, thus adding more insult to injury …
Interesting attributes include, asking multiple variants of the same question and back questioning, till they get tired themselves, or the person answers with a shrug, and the words, “I don’t know …”
6 – The Plants …
These are the ones which you pass on questions to, to be asked during the Q&A round.
Probably the only ones you can answer properly … with confidence …
These are very easily noticeable, because mostly the questions are very lame, multiplied with lamer acting on the part of the person asking the question …
This is generally followed by some scratching of the head or stammering on the part of the person giving the seminar, so that it all looks authentic …
The biggest give away of this entire operation is that the plants are generally seated within a radius of 2 to 3 people of the person giving the seminar … before he got up to give it …
Helps in the easy passing out of chit questions …
Next blog, what to do and what not to in a seminar cum presentation …