Monthly Archives: August 2008

Disks from a bygone era

While I was shifting my house, I remembered that I had some CDs from the days when the Internet was starting to boom. Here is a photo. Pardon the photo quality as I had to use a cell phone camera.

Disks from a bygone era

Disks from a bygone era

I saw a CD for the first time in my life in 1995 when I was in Class 7. It took me three more years to actually pop it in, into a friends PC and see what it contained.

The photo below contains three CDs one each from 1995, 1996 and 1997. These are from the Indian IT magazine PC Quest which started distributing CDs every quarter at the time when little was known about computers or CDs in the country.

1. The earliest one is from 1995. It contained fully functional demos of OS/2 Warp and PC DOS 7 neither of which I could try. OS/2 required 30, 1.44 MB, 3.5″ floppy disks or a fresh hard drive to install and I could afford neither at that time. Compare that to the multiple DVDs that pack a single software or a game today.

2. The one in yellow and black is from 1996. It contained Netscape Navigator 3 as the star product along with demos of AutoCAD and 3DS Max and some localized software from India’s CDAC

3. The last one is from 1997. Though I don’t remember what multimedia and graphics it contained, the star attraction is MSIE 4. In about 10 years, IE has only increased by 3 versions (leaving out the IE8 beta)

We have come a long way since then. But nostalgia strikes hard when I look at stuff like this. I even have a couple of 5.25″ floppy disks, but could not get a chance to click a photo of them.


Mandriva Linux One 2008.1 Spring GNOME – Screenshots

As I promised in my previous post, I finally managed to capture a few screenshots of the lovely Mandrvia Linux One 2008.1 Spring – GNOME edition.

Go here to enjoy the screenshots. I could not resist including the Mandriva Control Center screenshots since the Mandriva Control Center is a great piece of software that differentiates this distro from the rest out there.


Mandriva One 2008.1 Spring GNOME

I am currently playing with Mandriva One 2008.1 Spring GNOME version. It has the same polish and smoothness as the KDE version. It is a shame that I am currently running it on QEMU. In a few days I would decide whether I would replace Ubuntu with one of Mandriva versions. Their La Ora theme is gorgeous and combined with the Mandriva Control Center this distro is awesome. Here is a single screen shot. More to come in a few days. Stay tuned 🙂

Mandriva One 2008.1 Spring - GNOME

Mandriva One 2008.1 Spring - GNOME

My take on Nokia N81

After a lot of deliberation, I bit the bullet and purchased a new Nokia N81 slider phone. I got the one with the memory card since the 8GB version was out of stock in almost all the stores I enquired. It cost me Rs 14,500. I tried getting the grey colour model but ended up with Cobalt Blue since grey was fast running out of stock.

I had a Nokia 6233 prior to this and I loved it for two reasons. First, the music was so good on it and second, it could churn out VGA videos at 640 x 480 resolution at amazing clarity.

I have used my new phone for about three weeks now. So let’s get into the details.

Physical Aspects

The phone is heavier than most phones at 140g. I am OK with it since I like phones that I can hold firmly in my hand. The display is a crisp TFT at 240 x 320 pixels, 2.4 inches supporting 16M colours.

The answer and hang up buttons are placed at the edge making it quite difficult to press them. In fact there are eleven buttons on the top portion of the phone. These include the call and hang up buttons, the four media keys for play/pause, stop, forward and rewind, the D Pad with four buttons and a metallic button that leads right into the gallery.

Call Quality, Messaging and Telephony

As with any Nokia phone, the call quality was good. I had difficulty initially due to the two gaming buttons near the ear piece but have got used to them since.

Messaging was neat and easy as with any S60 series device. There is one catch here. The keypad is extremely flat and takes a lot of time getting used to. Messages can be stored in either phone memory or Mass Memory – the memory card. But I was not able to connect the phone to a PC in Data Transfer mode if I had the messages in the mass storage.

Other telephony apps like Contacts, Logs and the like were as good as one can expect from Nokia


Nokia N81 - with ear piece

Nokia N81

The N81 is being touted as a music and gaming device. So they have it spot on when it comes to the music department. The sound is clear even at higher volumes and with expandable memory it becomes a great device. The music buttons on the top of the phone makes life easy even though they are pretty tightly placed. The greatest advantage this phone has over rivals is it has a standard 3.5 mm jack which would let one use his favourite headphones.

Music management is easy and it is greatly aided by the Navi Wheel which behaves like the scroll wheel on the iPod. The Navi wheel sometimes is way faster as in my phone. But others have complained in a few reviews that it is a pain to use. For me it is just good enough.


The N81 is a n-gage gaming device. It came bundled with three Discover n-gage with three preview games. I had to install the n-gage application to get any full version game.


Battery life is pretty solid even when using the music player, playing games and using the wi-fi. I am able to hold for two days without charging with considerable amount of time spent on all the activities and about an hour of talking.

Camera and Video

The phone has a 2MP camera which is quite low when we account for the price range of this phone. The camera was good in bright daylight but only average indoors. The gallery though is pretty good and navigation is a breeze with the Navi wheel. The gallery is viewed in landscape mode thus making viewing photos and videos a pleasure.

Video is QVGA and 320 x 240 pixels at 15 fps. This is quite low compared to my old model. Also, I was able to play only the videos I had shot with the phone. Videos taken with my old 6233 were not played. I did not try uploading any videos yet.

Other Features

The phone has other standard features calendar, calculator, converter, file manager and advanced like wi-fi and maps. The wi-fi performance is pretty good. I have not got a chance to check out the maps.


I have been using the phone primarily for telephony, messaging, music and games. So far I feel it has been one great device in spite of the little shortcomings.

Nokia N81 - Keypad

Nokia N81 - Keypad