The iPad – Views from a geek who sold his arm to Microsoft and his leg to Apple

As most other geeks out there, I was eagerly awaiting Steve Job’s announcement yesterday about the iPad. My buddy Adam and I were “Working” and following the live blog feed on engadget. As a person who started off his career being a Microsoft cool aid drinker, but then converted to a Mac user, I feel I am in a position to give an unbiased review of the phenomenon that is the iPad as I havent sold my soul to Steve Jobs (yet). So here goes!

1. The Name – First off, the name iPad leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I would have been much happier with iSlate or iTablet or heck iTab. iPad brings some gross thoughts in my head, especially after my buddy Jay showed me this.

2. Design – Steve Jobs said it best – “Technology meets Liberal Arts”. And just like the Mac, the iPod and the iPhone, the iPad is a beauty in terms of design. I wont go into the details, but it is a sight to behold. I also feel the form factor makes it a great eReader and potentially THE Kindle Killer. The one regret I have though is the lack of a keyboard. A tilt slideout keyboard would have been nice and made it more useful. Granted there is a dock and a keyboard that you can buy (if you are willing to shell out one trillion dollars), but its not quite the same. One of my biggest regrets about the iPhone is the same. I hate to chat/sms or send emails using the iPhone and unfortunately I think the same will be true about the iPad.

3. The User Interface – I think the UI is just a blown up iPod touch on steroids. I love the iPhone/iPod touch OS and hence feel that Apple got it right trying to use the same design for the iPad. Since the infrastructure already exists in the form of the app store with the countless developers hoping to make a buck, I think this was the right move. During his presentation, Steve Jobs showed how a bunch of developers have recoded some of the iPhone apps/games for the iPad and boy was that sweet! Shows the tremendous potential. If you thought 3 billion app downloads was a lot, wait till this puppy is out!

4. Connectivity – The iPad comes with WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n) connectivity and Bluetooth 2.1. In addition there is the OPTIONAL (yes u heard right … OPTIONAL) 3g connection. Personally, I am very happy that they made 3g optional as it brought down the price of the non 3g iPad to a price I would be willing to pay. Having said that, $130 bucks for 3g connectivity which I bet is some small chip that cost some manufacturer in South East Asia a buck to make seems a little stiff! Not to mention the 30 bucks you have to pay AT&T for unlimited broadband. So in short, am I willing to pay 30 bucks for my iPhone and another 30 bucks for my iPad and the additional $130 for the 3g version of the device?? A BIG NO! Seems stupid to me that someone with an iPhone will actually do it. But the American people might prove me wrong 🙂

5. Storage – This is an area that I (along with almost all my geeky buddies) am disappointed. The iPad comes with a 16GB ($499 – non 3g), 32GB ($599 – non 3g) or 64GB flash drive ($699 – non 3g). There is NO REMOVABLE STORAGE!!!!! Why Apple Why??? This is something I did not like about the iPhone and they have disappointed yet again! Because of the lack of removal storage, I would say that if you plan to buy one, it would be a wise move to get the model with the maximum storage you can afford!

6. Battery Time – The iPad comes with an inbuilt 25 Whr rechargeable lithium polymer battery that based on what Steve Jobs claims holds up to 10 hrs of battery time when in use and about a month of standby. That is pretty phenomenal if you ask me. But like most claims about battery life, I will believe it when I see it! Even if it lives up to 80% of the claim, I would say its pretty darn good.

7. Audio/Video Formats – The iPad supports most of the common formats (MP3, AAC,MP3 VBR, Apple lossless, AIFF, WAV, mp4, m4v, mov etc) and I am particularly happy that it supports MP4 AND M4V. I own a few Apple TVs and my entire movie collection is encoded in M4V. Now I can just create a playlist and drag and drop the movies I want on my IPad (please note how I’ve already assumed that I’m getting one.. wifey are you listening???) to a playlist and just sync. No need to worry about re encoding (as is the case with the iPhone).

8. Display and Performance – We have to wait and see here, but I am sure the iPad wont disappoint in terms of Display. As far as performance goes Apple is introducing their own custom designed 1ghz A4 processor. I don’t know if its just me, but I am sure the processor will rock. Look at everything Apple has made to date. However I am a bit disappointed that applications cant still run in the background just like the iPhone. I hope they fix this soon. I would like to listen to music and maybe play a game or browse the net. I cant do that right now in the coming version from what I understood.

With all that said, am I getting one??? HELL YEAH! Can I live without it? Probably.. If I had to choose between the iPhone and iPad what would I choose? The iPhone without a doubt. Which one do I think is a more revolutionary device? Once again the iPhone without a doubt! I dont see the iPad as a replacement to my netbook/laptop or the iPhone, but more as a entertainment device that I will use in conjunction with my other toys. I will probably use it when I travel as an entertainment source to watch movies, play games etc. I hope my insights were of use to those who read this blog. Do post your feedback. I would love to hear from you all!

My Thoughts On Cover Songs

As most of you may already know, I am part of a music community called Muziboo where amateur singers/composers/musicians post covers and original work. I always find it interesting to see how people sing covers and also how covers are critiqued. It seems that in general there are a two different schools of thought. There are those who believe that when a person sings a cover, he should try to reproduce the original as is. If he is not able to, then it shows his inability to do so and is seen as a flaw/shortcoming in the cover. There is also a second set of people who believe when a person sings a cover, he/she should be creative and add some originality to the interpretation. The basic structure and the essence of the original should still be maintained though.

I belong to the the second school of thought. I have always believed that an artist should let his/her imagination run wild when doing covers and try to bring in as much of their own individuality as possible. I dont want my cover to be known for being just like the original. I would be much happier if people remember my version of the song for its originality. The next time they hear the original, I want them to think of my version. Today I was listening to Kris Allen’s version of Aint No Sunshine, which is what prompted me to write this artice. When he sang this song on America Idol last year, I was lost for words. It was that authentic and creative.. So much so that a lot of people now remember his version first. I am posting the original by Bill Withers and also the cover version by Kris Allen. I think this is one of the best examples of an excellent cover – Keeps the essence of the original and yet stand out on its own!

Bill Withers Version of aint no Sunshine:

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Kris Allen’s Cover of Aint No Sunshine:

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Social Networking – The Endless conversation

Have you ever thought about how your life was 3 years back. I for one see a lot of difference. I used to call and talk to people on the phone as opposed to texting/emailing/tweeting and messaging over facebook, my life was much more private and I was happy like that, I used a phone as a PHONE, I used to meet people in person more often, spend more time with family and look outwards for entertainment (movies/shows etc).

In the past couple of yrs, that has all changed. Social networking has redefined our lives and most of us dont even realize it. Now I wake up and the first thing I do is check my iphone for facebook/twitter/orkut updates. I am perpetually connected – right from when I wake up to when I go to bed. Sometimes I am even woken up from sleep 🙂 I am even connected while I take the train to work, while I am at work, on my way back home, when I go to shop.. You get the idea. My life is much more open now. Everyone knows what I am upto and I know what everyone else is upto. I dont like talking on the phone anymore as I’d much rather message them on facebook/orkut, tweet them or email them. This way the conversation is much more controlled 🙂 I dont really like hanging out much (I was never a very social person, but now I am worse ), I am constantly entertained by my friends posts (whether it be some funny status message, pictures, videos, youtube links etc) and no longer find the need to watch tv or other things.

Social networking has redefined everything. It has helped some of us rekindle old friendships and build new friends, made us more aware (sometimes too aware) about the latest news and what everyone is upto, it has given some of us a platform to showcase our talent and get a wider audience, find jobs,find solutions to problems, share our happiness and sorrows with others, help and be helped. Overall I think its fair to say that it has improved our quality of life for the most part and keeps us engaged in an endless conversation.

Social networking is here to stay and the sooner we jump on the bandwagon, the better. However like everything else we need to learn to draw the limits. While being so involved in the virtual world, we should be careful not to forget the real world and the people that make us who we are. We should not forget the old fashioned gestures like calling and talking to people over the phone or meeting them in person. Let us all make the most of this phenomenon and try to strike a balance between reality and the virtual world 🙂

A Christmas Wish (Gospel Collection)

christmas wish - gk

For a few years now, its been a dream of mine to make a Gospel CD of sorts with all my favorite gospel songs. This dream has finally come true and I wanted to share my joy with you all. I hope this is a new beginning in my musical life and pray that God guides me in the right path and gives me opportunities to sing and use my talent to glorify his name.

You can play the tracks below and also download the individual tracks or the entire set. I have also included the lyrics.

Download the whole album here

Track Listing
1. Blessed Be Your Name –

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Lyrics

2. Another Day In Paradise –

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3. In Christ Alone –

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4. Who Am I –

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5. Jesus King of Angels –

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6. Here I Am To Worship –

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7. I Believe –

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8. I Surrender All –

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9. You Never Let Go –

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10. Give Me Jesus –

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A Merry Christmas to all of you in advance!

Nazara Hai (From the movie 8×10 Tasveer)

 

I decided to cover a hindi song for a change. Tara Balakrishnan bought me this track for my birthday and I’ve been procrastinating for a while. I love this song for its edgy vocals and lovely bass line. As always I’ve added some harmonies here n there. Hope this cover was worth your time.

Thanks for the track Tara!

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Still Got The Blues (Gary Moore Cover)

 

Its been a while since I sang anything bluesy. I love the progression of notes typically in blues and this song is no exception. Gary Moore has been on my daily playlist for about 10 years now and this is one of my favorite tracks of his. I’ve tried to capture the emotions as best as I can. Hope this takes you all to a special place.

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Fields of Gold (Sting Cover)

 

No matter how a day is or how stressed out I might be, this song always gives me peace. It takes me to a place I cannot describe. I felt the same when I sang this today. A sense of inner peace. This is a Sting classic from the album Ten Summoners Tales. I have added some harmonies and backing vocals, but other than that its pretty close to the original. I hope you feel the same way I do when you listen to this.

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Get Over It (Eagles Cover)

 

This is one of my favorite Eagles songs. I have performed this at numerous shows and decided to do it one more time for old times sake. I love the attitude with which Don Henley sings this and the lyrics. We all tend to feel sorry for ourselves all the time, and as the song goes – GET OVER IT!

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