Google chromecast, leapfrogging the competition!

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This article of mine got published in the Aag tv blog, here is the link:
http://blog.aag.tv/blogs/2013/08/google-chromecast-leapfrogging-the-competition/

Technology is a bliss, is an old adage that is manifested every now and then in our ‘on the go’ lifestyles. In a cut throat competition, Google Chromecast has come to the fore to out smart its (apparant) rival, the Apple Tv.

All tech savvy mavens who want an enhanced digital content screening experience on their television sets by leverage their smart phones or laptops are welcome to the realm by the tech giant, Google.

A question every layman would want the answer of, is to guage the impact of this small HDMI dongle on their routine tv experience?

Built on the same model of an Apple tv, this device dictates your television screen into what you experience on your laptop and smart phones (HTC, android and iPhone all included). In other words you can browse internet, run apps, watch videos and see images on a tv screen without wirelessly connecting your smart phones to the televison set.

As if it is not enough, an added advantage it gives predominantly to the US, Canadian and Latin American viewers is the convenience of screening a plethora of tv channels of their liking (through netflix) on a television set with a mere HDMI port. The usual cable tv model in these countries being put in a state of jeopardy because of such devices is another debate.

Being an Apple devout, i believe for the first time Apple has felt a wee bit threatened by the new gizmo launched by Google. The primary reason for this would be the disruptive nature of this technology, considered cheapest amongst all the alternatives available in the market.

The 35 $ launching price of Google Chromecast released just a few days back seems an eye cacthing one considering other major players in this market, which comprises of Roku tv, Sky tv and Apple tv.The latter one being perched on top with almost threefold the price of Google chromecast.

In defence to apple ‘s eponymous tv device, Some even took to social media to help prevent Google Chromecast from taking away the larger share of the pie from Apple in this niche. The following statements says alot to the prevailing insecurity.

“Google’s Chromecast is a Roku alternative, not a cheaper Apple TV AirPlay option”.
(Source: appleinsider.com) (http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/26/googles-chromecast-is-a-roku-alternative-not-a-cheaper-apple-tv-airplay-option)

The rumour mill has it that in order to prevent Google’s tv device from penetrating swiftly into all smart phones’ digital content screening market, Apple is contemplating denying google the space to live its dream by blocking its access in Apple’s next IOS update.

We as digital consumers have a win win situation as the best part about the ensuing rat race between these tech giants is the new crop of gadgets sprouting up expeditiously, which is eventually rendering a big service to a ‘wireless’ generation of today.

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Parachinaar: A reeking slaughter pen!!

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Parachinar — once deemed as Pakistan’s answer to Switzerland, this beautiful valley in Kurrum Agency, nestled between snow laden gargantuan mountains and breathtaking deep gorges has unfortunately become the epicentre of a mass scale genocide today.

The traumatic incident on friday night that consumed scores of innocent lives is not novel to an extremely polarized populace, fragmented into dissenting sects and clans. Infact it is the continuity of strings of heinous acts carried out by hatemongers, who have no religion or conscience. The culprits are ignominious to human race leave alone muslim faith( ie: if they mistakenly associate themselves with Islam).

The worst part about the ongoing massacre in Kurrum Agency is the lack of resolve on the part of government’s machinery to halt the blood shed and restore peace. The primary reason behind the state’s apathy and failure can be attributed to the nature of ensuing conflict in Parachinar that reeks of sectarian and religious intolerance.

During the past thirty years or so, not even a single altruistic & audacious leader has come out of his comfort zone to address the woes of Parachinar residents. All we as a nation have dealt with is their rhetorics.

Conversely, some leaders did take regressive steps towards the opposite direction, pushing the region into perennial war zone. General Zia ul Haq for one stands out for his shenanigans.

The aforementioned used the terrain of parachinar during his self proclaimed holy adventure to quell the communists, as kurram agency was the shortest route to Kabul, Afghanistan. In no time, Parrachinar became the strategic focal point to carry out assaults. It paved way to an influx of Jihadists belonging predominantly to the Salafi and Wahabi school of thought who had no love lost with the shiite tribes, already ensconced in that region.

What followed was the gravest bathos in the country’s history. With recurring sectarian blitzkrieg rampant in the region, death tolls predominantly of shiites and Hazaras population, considered heretics by the war waging militias have become the order of the day.

The ethnic profiling of shiites and ghettoizzation of Hazaras in a claustrophobically cordoned off town of Parachinar with no external help due to an inapt role of law enforcing agencies reflects a haunting future for the stranded residents.

Hate begets hate. The new generation of terrorist groups likes the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have filled in the boots of their predecessors to jockey for power in the region. In retaliation, a military wing of shiites tribe called the ‘Laskhar’ has entered the arena since 2008 as a counter punch in a land devoid of government’s writ in any form, size or shape.

A picturesque town converted into a war torn zone now, gives semblance of gaza strip with collateral damage taking place under the rule of parties that chanted slogans for eradicating terrorism from the country as part of their manifesto.

The schism between diverging tribes in the region is widening by every passing day.The damage is not confined to a particular sect or tribe now, infact it is unbridled and unchained waiting to hit anyone in the rage of tyranny.

IDP camps in Kohat comprising of displaced families from the kurram agency especially Parachinar tell the sorry tale of despair apart from giving some food for thought to the policy makers.

With no end in sight to the wave of intolerance, It seems like every innocent citizen in this country is a minority and a migrant in his own homeland.

Remembering Madiba!!

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18th July was yet another ordinary scorcher of a day until I realized its importance for something very sacred and greatly significant — It was the ‘great’ Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

Mandela also known as Madiba, attributing to his clan, is struggling to recuperate in Pretoria’s local hospital. Like many across the globe I pray for his longevity and expeditious recovery. Though I am fully aware that his exploits will remain monumental and immortal posthumously as well.

He is an inspiration and a role model to many like me who value his Heroics for emancipating blacks and at the same time keeping the whites in South African society strongly intact with the national fabric — a big feat to achieve in what was previously a very polarized country during apartheid.

There are so many fascinating dimensions to his struggle or you may call it his passion to bring social, political and economic harmony in his motherland that I get bamboozled to find any other example in modern era that could match his genius.

It was his master stroke that united a country with William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus’. I believe if he had not narrated that poem to Francois Pienaar, the springboks captain during the 1995 rugby World Cup, things would have been different in South Africa today.

Mandela leveraged sports to bring the two races, at loggers head with each other, closer and showed how black and white races can assimilate into each other to form a rainbow nation. The poem that he narrated to the springboks captain was a bouncing bag for Mandela himself while he was doing time in Robben island prison.

From 27 years of prison and straight to the presidency seems like a fairy tale to me. The saga didn’t end here. Another feather in his cap was the establishment of truth and reconciliation commission that led to fair and transparent accountability of the hate mongers during apartheid hence teaching the values of coexistence to fellow South Africans!

A Nobel peace prize recipient, his devotion as champion of peace and social justice is unmatched. Though drawing parallels would be unjust but I believe his grandeur somewhat surpasses the legendary Martin Luther king a notch, as he not only had to engage two races at daggers drawn but also had to unite a nation that was home to 11official languages.

He is not actively involved in politics today but he has left behind a legacy of compassion, tolerance, peace and racial equality that will guide many a generations to come. May he witness more birthdays in his lifetime …..it will be apt to wish him in his native Xhosa language:

” halala ngemini yakho yokuzalwa “

Pseudo religious scientists

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Ladies & gentlemen! Polio vaccine is deemed safe once again — a mufti passed a decree (fatwa) about its safety, a few days ago. Not long ago it was considered ‘un Islamic’ by the same mullahs but now all of a sudden they have revisited their claim. I am not sure if it is backed by an epidemiological test or a supernatural divine call has brought the cleric to this conclusion. The possibility of a political backing can’t be ruled out though. I can’t fathom that on what grounds was polio vaccine deemed un Islamic in the first place.

A month ago, Islamic ideological council claimed that DNA test will not be admissible as evidence to authenticate rape in any form. I can’t help but laugh at this idiosyncrasy. Such a categorical statement from the council conveys a clear message to the rapists and male chauvinists to showcase their beastly machismo without even being investigated. No wonder why human rights violations go scott free in Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

We are a nation duped again and again by their zany ideologies. Neither are they scientific scholars nor are they final word on how Islam should be interpreted. We as a nation are still divided as to which mufti is the most authentic one. It is our weakness to resort to their self proclaimed edicts without delving into the authenticity of their claims. To cut it short polio vaccine has always been by and large safe — so waging Jihad against innocent polio workers will not provide salvation to any individual. Infact, one must acknowledge the bravado of the polio workers for being the largest unarmed army in the world on a mission to eradicate this menace.

With the holy month of Ramadan knocking at the door, once again we are all set to witness a communion of myopic scholars cum self proclaimed astrologers — who will renew their delirious search for the ever elusive Moon!