Friday, September 28, 2007

Buying electronic goods from US

Apparently electronic and computer related stuffs are relatively cheap in US. More over one gets the latest version in US before being available in other regions. Certainly there are differences in standards followed in US and in other parts of the world. This post tries to capture those differences and ways to bridge those standards.

1. Input Voltage
  • US standard: 120 v 60Hz
  • Indian standard: 240v 50Hz
Input voltage standard is completely different. In order to match this up, one need to use a step down transformer. The transformer should be capable of handling the wattage. If the transformer couldn't handle the wattage, then it starts warming up. Sometimes if the transformer is not of good quality, you could see output voltage fluctuations which apparently could harm your delicate electronic stuff, or cause other repercussions like poor performance.

Try to have a transformer which has a wattage of 40 to 50% more than the required wattage. For instance, if your equipment requires 110v x 0.4A, then don't plug it using a 50W transformer, instead use 100W transformer.

2. Pin format

The Pin format between US and India are incompatible. However the alternate is to use the Pin converter. Try using Flat to Round model.

3. DVD Region

DVDs created/bought in US will be encoded to Region 1. Similarly the players bought in US will only support Region 1. If you have to use it in India, check if the player supports multi-region. Or else if there is anyway to change the default region.

4. Wireless standard

In India, the wireless standard that we have are IEEE 802.11b and still we do have standard IEEE 802.11g standard widely available. So see that your device supports both.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Durabrand DVD-1002 Player

If you are looking for a small no-frills sub 30$ DVD player, then this is the one. I needed one as a stop gap solution. I heard that Durabrand is a Walmart product and you get better deals in Walmart compared to any other place. Though there are other brands (Magnavox, Coby) available, I settled for this one for two reasons
  1. Build Quality is superior (on comparison to Magnavox)
  2. It had all the basic features that I want.

  • Progressive scan
  • Plays DVDs, audio CDs, MP3 CDs, CD-R, CD-RW, and picture CDs
  • Stereo audio/video outputs, coaxial digital, S-Video & progressive scan outputs
  • Built-in dolby digital decoder
  • Top loading DVD player

Input Voltage:
120v 15W (Need a voltage converter to use in other regions)

The form factor is very small and has all function remote. This player has a top open slot which I dislike a bit (if you want to put it in a small place, the tray loading will be better).

By default this player comes with Region 1 support. But you can do a simple hack to make it multi-region player. I tried with a badly scratched DVD R media and it played fairly well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DLink WBR-2310 Router

Broadband being no more fancy stuff, the next gadget to have at home is a WLAN Router. With a WLAN router, you can connect multiple PCs and Laptops to share the broadband connection. Secondly you are no more wired. You can roam freely within the router range and stay connected.

When I went for a WLAN router hunt, I ended up with DLink WBR2310 RangeBooster G Router.

  • Supports both IEEE 802.11g and IEEE 802.11b standard
  • Supports 64/128-bit WEP and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA-PSK, WPA-EAP) for security of your network
  • + rest all are standard features

Though in India we do not use 802.11g standard, the rangebooster should help (I guess). On the looks, the router is very sleek and aesthetic in design (in comparison to Linksys).

Setting up this router is like a breeze. First run the setup CD and follow the graphical illustrations. In my case I had a ADSL modem/router ahead of this router. So the default IP's didn't work. Had to find out which IP got assigned to this router. Rest all is like a cake-walk.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Canon Powershot A720 IS review

I recently bought a Canon Powershot A720 IS camera. I am happy to grab this one when it just arrived in the stores. I had been waiting for its shipping right from when Canon announced this model in August. Earlier to this I almost zeroed on A570 IS. On comparison chart A720 IS faired a lot better compared to any other recent models in Canon Powershot series.

  • 8 MP
  • 6x Optical Zoom
  • Digic III
  • ISO 1600
  • 2.5" LCD screen
  • Face Detection
  • Image Stabilization
  • + all the goodies of Powershot series (like Manual mode)

One feature which I like to have in this model, is the vari-angle LCD. But having a 2.5 LCD is worth a compromise for the smaller and bulkier vari-angle LCD panel.

Right at this moment this model gives you a better value for your money at USD249.

On Canon Website:
Powershot A720 IS

Sample Photos:
Flickr tag a720is

Along with camera it is good to buy the following accessories
Previous to this camera I owned a Canon Powershot A70 camera. I had been using A70 for almost 4 years. I had some imaging issues with A70 and I got a free replacement of the CCD from Canon for the manufacturing defect.

As obviously A720IS is generations ahead to A70 in terms of image quality and responsiveness. Another peppy with A720IS is that it runs with 2 batteries compared to 4 required for A70.

P.S: I ate almost half (1 GB) the SD card within a day. Reckless snapping.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Canadian Choco

Some Canadian Choco to munch...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Go Karting in US

Went to Boomers Park in Livermore, did some Go Karting, Laser Tag and Kids play. Nice to act like a kid and play.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

View from workplace

Some more views that I daily enjoy from the workplace. Wondering when will I have something similar in India.

Time for mexican rice

Lunched at Pronto Gourmet Burrito. Had Mexican rice with broccoli and mushroom.

Packed Mexican rice

Another shot.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

House of Falafel - mediterranean cuisine

Lunch at House of Falafel. It is a Mediterranean dish. From the Wikipedia, Falafel is usually served as a sandwich wrapped in pita bread, and outside the Middle East. See how it looks when served.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Livermore Balaji Temple

Visited Livermore Balaji Temple. Quiet a good amount of US accent speaking Indian crowd. The route to Livermore is so picturesque with mountain ranges, dry grass and wind mills (sorry, no snaps). The community in Livermore is very peaceful. Obviously one would feel jealous of missing such a peaceful atmosphere.

You get a variety of prashadhams in the temple (apparently one could skip lunch/dinner by just having the prashadhams).

Temple Profile view



Another shot

Car park @ temple premise


Prashadham tent


Sunset from temple

Profile view

WalMart is made in China

WalMart, the greatest retail chain, assures you "Always Low Prices!". They stand by this commitment. When I checked out their store in RosewoodDrive, Dublin, CA found that most of their electronics stuff is made in China. Apparels are from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and some middle-eastern and African countries.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

SFO Trip 2007

Happened to visit Market street, Bay Bridge and Fisherman's Warf in SFO over the weekend. Took Bart from Pleasanton to Civic Center and then took Muni to Bay Bridge. Used F lines to travel between Piers.




Sea lions

Flower (macro)



Skyscrapper lines

F Muni Lines


Fisherman's Warf


Market street

Bay Bridge


Cruise liner with the bay bridge background

Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge






Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

SFO Skyscrapper