Thursday, September 24, 2015

On the new phone, and things that are needed

This dependence on technology is a funny thing. I didn't own a tablet till I finally gifted myself one on my birthday this year, after two years of chickening out. And barely six months later, I forgot to take it with me on one of my weekend trips, and didn't know what to do with myself on the flight.

I'm a bit of a late adopter when it comes to technology. I didn't buy my own laptop till I was two years into my first job, unlike most of my peers who had one in college. And I *refused* to get a smartphone, or even data on my phone, till four years ago. I was a Nokia loyalist (except for a brief affair with Motorola when they came out with this really cheap flip phone - *not* the Moto-Razr that everyone in college had). My last year in India, my former boss gave me her Nokia E71 when she got a smartphone, and that phone was just perfect.

Then I moved to Amreeka, and got me a BlackBerry because that's what all the gal pals back home had. And wouldn't you know it, just as I got that, everyone else moved on to iPhones and Androids. I finally moved to Android after graduation from b-school, and two months ago, upgraded from my S4 to my latest phone, an S6.

When I got the S6, I deliberately didn't download all the apps I had on my previous phone. I wanted to see what I needed and what I could live without. Turns out, I can't do without Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, and the Kindle app. Facebook came a day or two later. Skype, Saavn and Pocket followed soon after. Out of Milk was downloaded on my first trip to the grocery store after getting the phone; I still haven't got the Kroger app, which I should, because I'm losing out on coupons that I normally remember to load up as I'm shopping.

I resisted adding my work email to the phone initially, mainly because it wanted to encrypt things that I didn't understand and so didn't want to get into. But while I can do without my email, not having my calendar readily available was driving me crazy, so I gave in within a couple of weeks.

In the months since, I've downloaded a bunch of the travel apps I use regularly (including Uber and Lyft), Evernote, OpenTable, Cricinfo, Google News, OvuView, Mint, Amazon, and Unit Converter (I'm amazed myself at how often I need this app). And in the last couple of weeks, a bunch of fitness/health related apps because they have been needed to start tracking things. Of course, this isn't counting any of the preloaded apps like Gmail etc.

And while this seems like a fairly long list, it's actually much shorter than what I had on my previous phone. No games, for one. I've resisted getting Candy Crush Saga and seem to be getting along just fine without it for now (it’s on the tablet, so I’m still playing it, yes). I don't have all the bank or loyalty program apps I had previously. And I haven't got feedly yet - which I suspect won't last very long, but let's see.

And to think I used almost none of this a short four years ago.

So I'm curious - what are the must-have apps y'all need?

And since we're on the subject, does it drive anyone else crazy that the S6 won't let you swipe from the last screen to the home screen, but makes to swipe all the way back one by one? AND that you can't choose which screen you want to go to by just pressing the corresponding dots?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

On songs that stay with you

I listened to a lot of Asha Bhonsle's songs growing up. Her life caught my interest me too - the nuggets of gossip gleaned from overheard parental conversation and whatever I read/saw in pre-Internet days about her seemed fascinating.

One of my favourite songs by her is actually a duet - a duet with her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar. I always preferred the younger sister to the elder, but something about this song played so beautifully every time I heard it.

And for some reason, I think of it every time I hear another song, another duet, that came out (relatively) a few years ago. A duet between Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal. I don't what it is about this song that reminds me of that one, except perhaps the fact that you'd never think these two voices would play so beautifully together. Especially since, at the time this song came out, the two singers were on such different paths as singers - one seemed to get all the "western sounding" songs, one all the more "classical" songs. But then this song came out and blew me away.

NB: It's annoying me tremendously that I can't find the complete video for Imaan ka Asar on youtube, so if anyone finds it, please direct it my way. Thank you kindly.