Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Smile your Life Away

Smile your Life Away

If you aren't happy and feel depressed
Try to laugh away all those problems
There are many things for which joy can be expressed
For our being alive, smile is an emblem

Look away when someone stares with rage
Turn deaf ears to someone abusing you
Take every frustration with calmness of sage
Just for the sake of smiling; smile all life through

Realize life cannot consist of only pleasures
Its needs to have its own share of strife too
Why not find the in-hidden treasures
Why not be satisfied with God’s gift to you

Do not be scared of trouble’s slimy hands
Shed not even a drop of tear
Against time not even the cruelest stands
When God is our guardian; then why fear?

Do not be always receiving from everyone
Remember, there is joy in giving too
From right path be distracted by none
Be happy if you harm no one and are true

Do not feel sad if you have no wealth
Do the happily chirping birds possess money???
Great wealth is your happiness and good health
And wealth is your words, if sweet as honey

Be happy for you know not death’s pace of creeping
Laugh as you know not when life declines
Life when it came to you had found you weeping
So shouldn't death find you in all smiles?

By Farida Rizwan

Monday, August 22, 2011

Waiting for the Right TAB… Is Samsung Galaxy TAB 750 the one?

Update: Fortunately Apple iPad 2 has walked into my life through the Get Smart Contest and I love it...

Is it time to TAB? Are PCs and laptops being pushed to background? My children say, “YES”. Gadgets are an important part of my life. I stay connected with almost everyone important in my life through my gadgets…I could have easily said each and everyone if only I could have God’s personal number, facebook connection or email ID. With my limited budget, it is important for me do research, ask people and find out the virtues and vices of every device before investing on them. It is worth the effort as most of the devices I opted for have served me faithfully for a long time.
Since the joke was posted on my facebook page,
Knock Knock …
Knock who?
Ipad 2….
announcing the arrival of Ipads and Tabs, my family of three (hubby hates our gadgets) have been yearning to hold those sleek, beautiful things in our hands. Farheena is facebook addict and a gadget freak too. She was watching the you tube reviews from behind, when Rayyan and I were checking out the I pads and tabs available in the Indian market. Since then she has decided that she definitely prefers the tabs over laptop and PC. The price, OS, my budget and appearance of the devices; everything taken into account, I could not find something we could invest on last year other than the Ipad. There was nothing noteworthy from the world’s largest technology company (by sales) and second largest producer of smart phones, Samsung either. In fact it was lagging behind in the Tab Arena, which was an indication that they were about to come up with something smart soon enough.
I waited till mid 2011 and found nothing to grab my attention so far. Apple ruled the Tab world. After investing on two smart phones for my two teens; if I had to buy a tab with my limited budget, then I had to compromise on specifications which were important for us. So, I have been procrastinating buying tablet PC. Some tabs were written off for the sake of price and some for lack of our specific requirements. Again some of them, though wonderful devices were to be given up because they were not being updated anymore. We have to keep in mind the applications available in future for the tablets too, as we cannot keep investing on purchase of applications.
Watching the launch of Samsung live from the widget on my blog, I was thinking whether this is the nearest to what I have been waiting for in a tablet pc?

As the usual procedure, I started the evaluation of the tablet pc through the internet sources, keeping in mind the people who are going to use it in my house hold.
Android honey comb is what we have zeroed in after checking out all other OS for the tabs. The applications are easy to find and the operating system is the best we have come across yet. Of course we cannot rule out the champions from the Apple company who can brag about their superiority in OS, but then Android is good enough too with its easy available applications and user friendly interface. Apple has an obsession with tightly controlling its OS which makes it difficult for simple users like us to make any changes to its looks and functions.  Android allows us to mould its appearance to give us a highly personalized experience of using any device. So the Samsung tab met our first criteria of OS with the latest Android Honey comb though we would not mind the apple OS.
For us, the most exciting feature of the Samsung tab 10.1 has been its outstanding design which has made it the lightest and thinnest tab available in the market. Even though the margin is negligible it counts, as it does in an Olympic race.
Ask P T Usha, how the 1/100th of second took away the Olympic medal from her. Teens love to own the ultimate devices; the reason for which the words, thinnest, lightest and such ultimate specifications mean a lot to them. Initially, I couldn’t believe that Samsung beat the weight of the Ipad2 with that 10.1 inch screen. It looks like the Samsung Tab 750 is the first Android tablet, which has given a lot of importance to both the hardware and software designs. Most of the reviews on technical sites that I have come across tell me that the PLS-LCD display of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 is the best. It has a resolution of 1280 x 800 which can give us vibrant and sharp details.  Also it is stated to have iridescent color production to produce potent luminance which is very pleasing aspect. It has no problems when used outdoors in sunlight; since the colors remain constant from different angles.
With our huge and frequent power cuts, we could spend time watching movies on its rich graphical screen.

Rayyan Studying for his SSLC Exams

 It is much lighter than many of the books I read. Being Mom to a kid with weird reading styles, I think a light weight tab is perfect for us. I can just imagine my son with the tab instead of that book in his hand and it looks fine to me. It would hurt him to carry a 565 gms tablet in any angle.

Trying for some secluded spot to concentrate on 

The amazing thin and light body gives it unmatched mobility… so it would be fine to carry it up those trees.

1Ghz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 with ARM Cortex 9 CPUs and GeForce GPU will appease our great appetite for games.
As a freelance writer, the research work would be comfortable to be carried on the tab. The flash player support would allow me to browse the sites without limitations. Also the HSPA+ and WiFi will give me access internet when I need it. I can surf the web without being disturbed by kids who want to check the facebook updates from PC.
The e-books are so tempting, and with its sleek design, and high resolution screen, I think this is finally going to replace the books I own.

My daughter would love to try her art on the new interactive slate. Also she could enjoy the music with its stereo speakers while creating her masterpiece.
We do Skyping with my hubby, who is away in Sharjah most of the time. The front camera of 2 megapixels will be quite ideal for video conferencing. The rear camera of 3.2 megapixels is awesome feature for a tablet pc.

The curved edges and looks fascinated us when we watched the device on you tube.For the color, I sure would prefer the pure white color over the soft black.
I wish they would have included the MicroSD card slot and MicroHDMI port, though I am sure that whether we would actually need it.
The  Li-Po 7000 mAh battery gives the Galaxy Tab 10.1 close to 10 hours of video playback.
Browser, Email, Gmail, Gallery, Maps, Books, Google Search, Google Talk, Voice Search, Latitude, Music Hub, Navigation, Places, Pulse, QuickOffice, YouTube, Music Player, Android Market, Samsung Apps are all included in the default installed apps.
Do we need something more??? May be in future but for time being this looks like the ONE we have been looking for. It is time to tab…………. Of course!

This post is written for the contest ‘It’sTime To Tab’ on Indibloggers, by Samsung Galaxy Tab 750

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review: Musings Of A Wanderer, By Shreya Chatterjee

I laid hands on Shreya Chatterjee’s  ‘Musings Of A Wanderer’ when I was very busy with life. Poetry books are not meant to be read when you are busy. We can read books like Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’ even when making love, but not poetry. I am quite familiar with Shreya’s poetry through her blog, A journey called……. , so out of curiosity I opened the book to see whether it had some of my favorite poems from her blog included in the book. Yes, my favorite poem, ‘A Perfect Elopement’ was there. As I kept reading I found more poems from her blog printed in the book. There is a special pleasure in holding the book in my hand and reading the poetry, which is never found by reading those exact lines online. I flipped through the pages and read a few lines and then went on to read more and more until my daughter walked in from school.

What kept me going through the book for 2 hours were the short and crisp lines of the poems. Most of them were like crispy snacks; you don’t feel fulfilled but feel like eating some more.  I have to say that the author has done a good job with the creation of poems, as the readers are not going to put it down, thinking of picking it up when they have more leisure. Lengthy, complicated and confusing lines which needs a dictionary and reference handy to read, are great put offs when you read a poem; so the author has taken off that hurdle from the paths of readers.

As an ardent reader of poems since my childhood, I cannot lie by saying that, ‘This collection of poems is excellent’, but for the first book from a young poet, it can be rated good. Shreya Chattejee has lot of depth and passion in her words. The verses are her feelings taking form of words, and she feels about most of the things that touches her life. There is rain, love, relationships, the city of joy, friendships, social evils, acquaintances, nature, shocking events, and life in general seeping in through her poems. 

I would like to mention few of the poems that impressed me.
‘The lost roads’ – reminds me of Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ where the author decides to take less travelled path and carves a way for himself.
‘Two cups of coffee’ is again a simple and philosophical kind of poem which speaks volumes. A good read which doesn’t stress your mind
‘Queen Of Our Land’ is the poignant poem depicting the horrifying picture of the girl child. This is my special favorite in this collection. Not very often do poems wring tears from me. The plight of a woman who suffered for bearing three girls, comes vividly in front of our eyes when we read this poem. The ending lines hits out at our prejudiced society very strongly.
‘Breaking’ gives us an insight into the minds of a man and woman who have broken up. Only if they could read each other’s thoughts! Unspoken words are harmful to a relationship.
‘The New Born Nation’ is a short a crisp poem where the poet hits out hard with her words. Good enough to chase away creeping sleep and awaken our consciousness.
The rain poems are all quite nice and cute. At times you can sense the drizzle flowing through the words. With the monsoon breathing down heavily on my neck for past two months it was tough to appreciate Shreya’s love for rains, but I had to.
The poet is wanderer, wondering philosophically over the topics she is exposed to in her unfocused restless venture.
Excluding the introduction, there are all together 84 poems in this 95 pages soft bound book. It is quite easy to find the ones suiting your taste of topic considering the wide array of topics covered through the poetic words.
Off course I am not going to be all sweet to new poetess, as there are some issues she needs to pay attention to. She cannot say In Pursuit Of Happyness. Mistakes, like such are to be avoided and if it is printing errors she needs to talk to the publishers to get them corrected in re-prints. There are mistakes that need her attention.
I had seen the cover earlier and did not feel anything special about it earlier through the pictures; neither did I feel anything special about it when I held the book in my hand. I feel there was place for more color there, considering the myriad of topics covered by the poems.
Some poems were a bit confusing. For example while reading about Infant murdered in mosque, where the crisis is depicted so well, I could not relate it to any event. Actually I do not blame the poetess for this, as there are so many violence related incidents happening around us every day we can easily get confused one with another or maybe I am ignorant to certain incident which may have caught public attention.   
I could wander through the book with satisfaction; I say that because I did not read the poems in order. These poems are not going to revolutionize the society, but they are good enough to entertain one, especially when sipping hot coffee, while watching the rain.
I am looking forward for more deep and poignant poetry from Shreya in future. All the best to you!

More Information
Author: Shreya Chatterjee
Book: Musings Of A Wanderer
Editor: Joyita Chatterjee
ISBN number: 978-93-81205-00-6
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Power Publishers
Language: English
Available from:
Price : ₹100

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Basic Information about the Author in her own words:

About Shreya  "The nicer the man seems to be, the more suspicious you must become."---is it same for a woman!!! wondering

"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

I am a writer by profession and a poet at will- (well, this is how I started defining myself from one fine November morning).

I have been writing since my school and college days, and have been a ardent member of, since my college days.

Musings of a Wanderer" is my debut book- a collection of poems I have penned down within a span of a year or more.

I have got two active blogs. a journey called... contains personal poems, articles, serious social articles, reviews, a bit about my hobbies, videos created by me, lyrics of songs I love the most and all such things that serve as perfect definition of a wanderer. It also houses some of my favourite moments with "Coffee". You will also find collaborated posts- the images are provided by several of the fellow bloggers and the poems are written by me. Footprints on... is rather a dormant blog, which contains a growing draft of a novel I have been writing since a couple of years. The thought was within me since my middle school days...
Source of basic information: Facebook, of course!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Son

Meet Rayyan… The teenager, who passed through the teen years, without even knowing that it was the most troublesome period of his life.
I cannot believe Rayyan is already a young man. He was just a kid few months ago. I think he is a kid even now, what do you expect from my child. I haven’t grown up yet ;).  
I really have a good laugh at my Mom whenever I see Rayyan. I was a naughty kid and she said, “As per the rule of nature, you are going to deal with all the problems I have dealt with -> because of you. You will realize my struggle when you will have your own kids”.
Even as an Infant, Rayyan disappointed my mother by going against her rule of nature. Though she loved him the most, she was very upset that he did not do unto me what I did unto her. LOL
He has passed through his teen’s years quite smoothly. I wonder how he could not worry about those pimples, girls, clothes, hair style, friends or any other teen related problems.  Another surprising fact about my amazing son is his openness about happenings in his life. He never tries to keep secrets. I have never discovered any of his secrets so far, so either he could be a extra smart person that his secrets are so well kept that I have no clue he is hiding anything from me. He appears so crystal clear, that I never worry about him at all.
He handles every relationship in a way that I feel, if he had been there earlier in my life, I would have had better life from the one I have now.
May be people will not believe that he has not used foul language or his fists even once so far. I was quite generous with both of them as a kid and wonder how is he dealing with his problems. He says those kind of situations never arise in his life.
May be he has cursed the power cut when it took away his hard work on computer at times..but I don’t hear it out loud. I don’t see him getting angry towards living or non-living things.
He has a matured and balanced attitude towards Farheena. He has never allowed our love for her to spoil her. He reminds her often to get her exercises, be independent as much as she can and finds innovative ways of teaching her. If not for him, I would have never realized she could handle smart phones and computers as well as she is doing now. He takes out time to be with her and reminds me to do the same.
He is an amazing brother, son, grandson, nephew, student and friend to the people in life. I am proud to have known such a wonderful person in my life.. leave alone the part that I am a very happy Mom.
 Wish you all the happiness in your life dear Rayyan. May God Bless You

Some pictures from his journey through life..

Disney world
Tarpon Springs

With friends in water park

After football game
cool huh?

Loves cars and bikes

Loves roller blades and skate boarding
Sleeping on the grass he mowed.. 
BMX stunts

The school Project Work

Rayyan school in Bangalore
With Class mates from first school
First prize in drawing
Winning Accolades
On the beach 

With Cousins Manal and Shuraim
With Grandpa

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Learning can be FUN and with Intel Appups It can be FREE too

Screen shot of Solar System Download. 
I have entered quite a few contests on Indiblogger , fortunately winning some of them. Never have I felt happier to blog about a contest, as I feel today, writing about the Intel AppupsInstalling the Intel Appups setup opened a world of trial applications for free; something I have always been looking for.
Caillou Alphabet

As a mother and a teacher, the Intel Appups of Back to School are blessing for me. I love the smile on the face of the children and would not want learning to be a stressful activity for them. Contrary to general belief that children hate learning, they love to learn about new things. It is the boring methods adapted that makes it difficult for us to teach children. When one adapts colourful and interactive methods, the children show more enthusiasm in learning than we can actually cope with.
Some of the attractive kids learning apps I found for free on the Intel Appups are:
  • My little artist a simple art creator which even toddlers can handle
  • Dinosaurs , A-Z facts about the extinct reptiles in form of pictures, videos and excellent articles in addition to puzzles, magic square, brush off, memory match and quiz.It is fun and entertaining to explore the fascinating world of dinosaurs through this interactive educational app. The life and times of dozens of different dinosaurs, their evolution and ultimate extinction are covered while in an interactive fun way. The map tool shows where fossils were discovered. Children can imagine and play archaeologist by brushing virtual sand off the fossils. I loved this. 
  • Word learner, Alphabet Kits and Learn Alphabets will make the learning activity creative and fun for children, making them fall in love with words
  • Vedic Math lite for a budding mathematical genius
  • Zoomumba is the fun way to introduce children to animal world
  • A wide range of action, adventure, role play, racing, arcade and other amazing games. The old game of flipping pages to play cricket in school is also available here
  • The popular games of Angry birds and Fruit Ninja which works fine on PC
Brief Review of the App Britannica Kids Solar System
Britannica Kids: Solar System 1.0

I have to make special mention about the Britannica Kids Solar System. With this amazing application we can explore the amazing world of our Solar System with some entertaining games like Memory Match, Jigsaw Puzzles and the Magic Squares. For a person who aspired to be an Astrophysicist (me), this is very attention grabbing, as I find it a perfect app for exploring the secrets of the Solar System in a fun and engaging way with the children. The application is filled with the beautiful breathtaking images which will easily attract the attention of children No wonder I can say Britannica Encyclopedia has done a good job of providing information on the sun, planets, moon, asteroids and comets. This must-have application which would cost normally around $4.99 is available for free for new registrations along with the Dinosaurs. It has been created keeping the age group of 8-12 yrs old school children in mind.

The topics covered by the application are :
  • Makeup of the Solar System
  • The Sun
  • The Planets
  • The Moon
  • Asteroids and Comets
  • Formation of the Solar System
  • Studying the Solar System
  • Gravity and Space
  • Exploring the Solar System

All the important facts about the 8 planets are covered up exclusively. Children will become very familiar with all the eight planets in no time.

There is lot of fun with the Jigsaw Puzzles, created from beautiful images of the Solar System. Though the puzzles appear easy, they take considerable imagination to be pieced together.

The Magic Square game allows you to scramble the images and throws a challenge to re-arrange the squares again.
The memory match games allows us to test our short term memory by matching up pairs of images of solar system.
 The comprehensive Quiz feature allows one to test their knowledge about the Solar System.The most attractive feature is that it allows us to tweet the answers or share the results on facebook.

Screen shots of Britannica Kids: Solar System

The list of attractive Intel Appups would be unending, as there are tons of applications available on the site along with the Britannica Back to School Bundle for free. The above mentioned apps are only the few I explored in a day.  

There are also wide array of books on topics ranging from e-content to Gitanjali. The essential apps and organizational apps are very useful for those who spend a lot of time working on computers.
The contents available are categorized for the convenience into:
Health and Fitness
Maps and Navigation
Music and Audio
Photo and Video
There is further option of choosing the OS of the computer and pricing option to refine the results. I am hooked or precisely the child in me is hooked to the Appups for time being.
The History of my Love of Multimedia 
I am a proud teacher and parent who don’t have to resort to the cane for the sake of either success or discipline, because I am a firm believer in “Learn with a smile” concept. I have been educating children in different schools and also privately at home for more than 20 years. I have stood by my principles of making learning fun and never compromised on it for success. Initially I used to find models, picture books, maps and other such accessories to make teaching simple. My son learnt alphabets through the snacks I used to make for him. He would eat words like hen, dog, eagle, rose, and other such general things around him to learn them.
No wonder it was implemented to teach Farheena few things too. A special needs child will require visual and auditory help if they have to learn without stress. I had to hunt around and shell quite few rupees to find some good educational computer applications for her. Today, surfing the Intel Appups, I was so delighted that there are quite a number of wonderful applications available for free downloads. It is not even complicated process. I already have quite few of the applications running on my computer, entertaining and educating us.
Two and a half years ago, I faced the challenge of getting the children of my school to talk in English and improve their General Knowledge. What is the challenge in it? Anyone would ask that. I grew up speaking English, even more than my own mother tongue. But to the children belonging to rural India, where they have no one to talk to other than in their local dialect, speaking English is not normal. They are afraid to be made fun of when they make mistakes.
Initially I got only giggles and blank smiley stares from the students when I spoke to them. When they did not understand what I said to them in English, I explained it to them in English in much simpler terms, with pictures or actions but stuck to the language. I tried introducing new GK books but the words did not make much sense either.
We teachers had the facility of multimedia to coach children, through a projector, which was seldom used. I took advantage of this and downloaded few programs and videos available on net to bring the children out of their shells. Also I made use of the software I already had with me for coaching Farheena to educate the children. As the rhymes and videos started to brighten them up, they wanted to know more and they had to speak in English because communication in no other language was allowed. That is how it started and everything else was smooth after that. Few months ago my son came home and told me that he met a boy from my school, who spoke to him in English for a long time. He wasn’t fluent but he was confident and did not feel shy to speak in English. My goal was achieved and my trust in the principle was strengthened once again. Learning can be much easier through visual aids. Even to this day, I refer to the Multimedia I can access, to learn about something, as it gives me visual and auditory help to understand a topic. The Multimedia stimulates more than one sense in a person, because it has audio, visual and text clues.

Having fun with My Little Artist
The apps work fine on any Win7 or WinXP, though surprisingly many are misled to believe that it can be used only on netbooks. Educators who have computers with  Windows OS should take advantage of the opportunity and get access to this great educational content.

Screen shot of the Dinosaurs Application
This blog is an entry to the "My Favorite PC App" contest. Check out numerous apps for PC/Netbooks available at the Intel AppUp Center. If you are looking for an opportunity to build and monetize your applications, check out the the Intel® Atom™ Developer Program.


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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