by May 1, 2014 0 comments

Get me the juice
When you clock upwards of 400 hrs of flight time per month (as I do traveling to and from India, USA and parts of India and parts of USA) one of the first things you require for yourself is not a high-tech device, but a very basic unit – battery bank. Over time, I have accumulated various such power banks – ranging from 6,600 mAH to 40,000 mAH. Experience has shown me, that one of the most important specifications of the battery bank is not the high amperage (storage capacity) but actually the inbuilt cables. Those devices that have inbuilt cables for charging and use are the most friendly for your use.

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The next specification to choose is obviously to look for battery capacity. To decide what you need, compare this – most smart phones today come with a battery that ranges from 2200 to 3000mAH. Thus, a 9000 mAH battery device will theoretically charge your smartphone about 3 times. Also factor in, that all batteries have a charge memory, thus may not always give you 100% of their capacity and the capacity itself diminishes over a period of time. Amongst, many one of the most favorite that I use is a PowerGen 14,000 mAH battery bank. It charges my cell phone more than 4-5 times and takes care of my tablet charge as well. What you have to keep in mind is that it must have a USB port that delivers 2.0 Amp or above (most smartphones today will take ages to charge, if you have anything less than that.)

Pocket based mobile application development platform
Seriously ? Pocket based android based development tool may seem to be funny, far fetched and too cool to be real, but it is. “Tasker” along with its 10-12 plugins in the Auto-plugins actually transforms your simple android mobile phones and tablets into Android application creators. You can easily make actual Android applications, without having to write even one line of code and do some very very interesting stuff. “Tasker” and “Tasker App factory” and all the auto-plugins are available on the Google play store and using these applications you can make some very very interesting applications. I made one while I was actually waiting at the reception of a customer. This application allowed me to automatically lower my ringer volume, every time I was in the vicinity of Chairman’s office.
Now there are tools like these already available in many shapes and forms on the Google play store, but the fact that I can create my own application within a few minutes is extremely cool. There is a high learning curve of using tasker, specially its plugins, but once you master a plugin, you are in business to develop your own android apps (real apk files) and distribute to your friends and families.

Dreaming to be Fit
My friends will tell you that I have not been very successful with the battle of the bulges. When I realized that I cannot do it on my own and I needed help, I turned to a new friend – fitbit wrist bands. This nifty little gadget is one of the few ones I have seen that comes devoid of any screen but you can interact with it in so many ways. For the un-initiated, you are supposed to wear this wrist band throughout the day (a single charge can last for 3-4 days) and it is fairly water resistant (yes you can take it to shower also). As you work your way through the day, the fitbit silently records all your body motion, it syncs automatically with the bluetooth on your phone and updates the cloud, which gives you a dashboard (on your phone, PC or laptop) the number of calories you have burnt today, the distance you have travelled and the steps you have taken.
This is a must have for anyone who cares about his lifestyle – specially those who travel frequently and live their lives in two or more timezones.

My in-separable visually appealing half
Being a photography geek, I cannot shudder at the thought of ever being caught looking at a beautiful frame and not having my favorite DSLR with me. I am a die-hard fan of the rule that says, work hard but travel light – however, my more than 10kg of camera bag pack is a MUST have for me, wherever I go. Drive, flight, shopping, outdoors – where I go, this guy goes. A typical kit consists of my Nikon D7000 DSLR Camera complete with the charger kit and spare battery in the Battery grip. A battery of lenses – Sigma 120-300mm/2.8 (Bazooka ) of a lens, Tokina 11-16/2.8 Ultra wide, Nikkon 80mm/1.4 fashion portrait lens, 105mm/2.8 Nikkor Macro lens and Sigma 30mm/1.4. Cleaning liquids, soft tissues, rain cover, dust cover, ND400 filters are the other things that make up Those of you who are in this field can estimate the size and the weight of this bag now. Heavy, large, cumbersome – but not one word of complaint against it. Its a supremely pleasant feeling to having this monster visual tool-kit at your disposal.

Price: ~INR 68,950 (with AF-S 18-105mm VR Kit Lens)

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The router, access-point, repeater – all rolled into one micro device
It looks nowhere like a router, and definitely not like a sophisticated wifi repeater but it indeed has all of this rolled into one. For a mere Rs. 975.00 (available on flipkart with free home delivery in India), it is one of the most versatile tools you can hope to acquire. (Hames A15)
Checked into a hotel that charges you for each device you connect to its network – no problem, just connect this nifty router and share that single wifi connection to many wifi connections. Got your 3G dongle (photon+, MTS) but need to connect more than one device – no problem, just plug the WiFi dongle into this and you are ready to share it with the rest of the family. Power charger not available, no problem just connect your regular phone charger (with micro USB) into its power point and presto the router powers up. Or simply use any of the battery power banks discussed above for an instantaneous WiFi network setup, anywhere on the move. While HAME A15, is one of the most popular and versatile devices out there, there are many others who would also fit your bill. Hame F2 WiFi router, comes with a built in 10,000 mAH battery bank.

Price: `3,500

One for the road
Some of the most memorable times spent with the family is when the four of us decide to go for a long drive. Last year we did Gurgaon-Indore-Aurangabad-Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Udaipur-Gurgaon in 7 days. Yet another time it was Rajasthan circuit. The PCH 1, Pacific coast highway from Los Angeles to San Diego is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. However close you go to the nature, a techno-geek – well a full family of it, will never want to be out of network connectivity. In comes to the handy MTS mBlaze WiFi dongle. Now a permanent fixture in my Ford Edeavour, this device gives you a mobile WiFi Hotspot where ever you go. You can connect upto 5 end devices.

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