All posts by Vineet

Amazon Prime In India: My views and a Catalog of Good Content

Important Note: This is not a promotional write up. Amazon’s not paying me to write this.

I always believed Traditional TV to be a very poor medium of entertainment. We want to choose what ‘we’ want to watch and ‘when’ to watch them, instead of letting the TV decide for us. With the pace of modern life, we want greater control on the content and timing.

Thankfully, traditional TV is now officially dead. Before we continue to the rest of the article let us take a moment of silence for the Traditional TV as our parents knew it!

Welcome Amazon Prime Video in India. With all the contents and shortcomings of it (coming below), I think the wishful thinking of a good and legal streaming service isn’t just a wish anymore. The introductory price of the subscription too, Rs 499 for a year comes to around Rs 41 a month, is highly welcoming indeed. Compare it with the most basic plan Netflix provides which is Rs 500 PER MONTH, and you can see why the price provided by Amazon seems surprising.

I have managed to start with the 30 day trial first, just to test the features of this streaming option Amazon Prime is providing. I did hear about some content being censored on Amazon Prime, but I can easily check the length of the video on IMDb, before deciding to add it to my watchlist. So far content wise its a bit of a let down, still I managed to shortlist various good stuff on my watchlist. I certainly hope new content will be added, and also browsing of content would be a bit better in future.

I tried to analyze the content provided under Amazon’s Prime Video. Here’s some from my shortlist. Do note that the genre I like to watch, which will heavily influence my opinion on the content provided by Amazon are: Sci Fi, Action, Thriller, Cyberpunk, Fantasy. I dislike Horror and (only) Drama shows in general.

Note: The direct links to the Amazon Prime website won’t work if you aren’t login to Amazon prime service. I intend to mention IMDb link in future if there’s demand.

Amazon Original Series:

This section contains few shows that I never heard. Some shows which I added under watchlist are following:

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog


The Man in the High Castle
(Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): A glimpse into an alternate history of North America. What life after WWII may have been like if the Nazis had won the war.

I didn’t add anymore shows from amazon original list, just due to my taste. But worthy mentions in Amazon Original series include, The Grand Tour, Hand of God and Bosch. Do consider that the 4th episode of “The Grand Tour” is highly censored.

TV Shows:

There are many TV shows on Amazon, thought I couldn’t find popular shows like Flash, Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow. But I found these good ones (with description from either Amazon Prime or IMDb:

Extant (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): a mystery thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. Her experiences lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.

The World’s War (Documentary, History): British historian David Olusoga, along with other historians, narrates the story of millions of Indian, African and Asian troops who fought and died alongside French and British troops to help win the war against Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

Startup (Crime, Thriller): Nick Capelli emerges from prison into a world where his once strong mafia family has eroded, leaving him with no direction, but an uncontrollable need to try to recreate his past criminal life. In the modern world where the mafia doesn’t command respect like it used to, this series takes a look at what it would take for a modern crime organization to rise today. [I JUST ADDED THIS FOR Martin Freeman!]

V (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) stars in this reimagining of the hit miniseries from Scott Peters, creator of The 4400. “Visitors” appear in every major city in the world, promoting a message of peace … but could they be a threat to our existence?

Britain’s Greatest Generation (Documentary): Documentary series on the generation who fought or lived through World War II.

Fringe (Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi): An FBI agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.

Best of AIB (Comedy, World Cinema: Indian): Do they need a description?

The Storytellers (Drama: Plays/Performance, World Cinema: Indian): Remember the good old days of sitting around a campfire sharing stories? The Storytellers is a modern day take on that. At a time when interactions primarily take place across screens, The Storytellers encourages people to look up and connect with one another by sharing their personal life experiences face to face, without inhibitions and with honesty.

Fullmetal Alchemist (Anime): On one fateful night, Edward loses an arm and a leg, and Alphonse losing his entire body in an alchemy experiment gone awry. From this point, Edward’s only concern is finding a way to return his brother to his body. He soon finds himself in the service of the government as a State Alchemist. It is here the amazing story of the youngest State Alchemist in history begins.

Chi’s Sweet Adventure (Anime, Subbed): Cause, Cats!.

People of Earth (Comedy): In this half-hour comedy about a support group for alien abductees, a skeptical journalist investigates their supposed alien encounters. The more he digs into their oddball claims, however, the more he realizes signs that point to his own alien abduction. The onetime outsider now finds himself part of this eclectic group of misfits, while struggling with the idea of life beyond our world.

Mr. Robot (Crime, Drama, Thriller): Follows Elliot, a young programmer working as a cyber-security engineer by day, and a vigilante hacker by night.
I guess Cyberpunk isn’t a genre anymore, but I was pleasantly surprised to have this show on Amazon prime. Although I am sure there will be censorship in this.

Dexter (Crime, Drama, Mystery): When blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan is not out solving murders, he spends his time as a serial killer who eliminates those who do bad things.

Constantine (Drama, Fantasy, Horror): Seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and a wicked wit. With the balance of good and evil on the line, Constantine uses his skills to find the supernatural terrors that threaten our world and send them back where they belong.

Wolverine and the X-Men (Animation, Action, Adventure ): The story picks up one year after the attack on Xavier Institute that caused the disbanding of X-Men and the mysterious disappearance of Professor X and Jean Grey. Wolverine must reunite his team to find out what happened that fateful night. Their position as mutants doesn’t make things any easier as the MRD (Mutant Response Division) is hunting down and exterminating them.

The Girlfriend Experience (Drama) : Christine Reade is a second year law student and a new intern at a prestigious law firm. Her focus quickly shifts when a classmate introduces her to the world of transactional relationships.
I don’t need to explain why I added this show.

Elementary (Crime, Drama, Mystery): A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City.

Movies:

I am surprised by the fact that I could shortlist only a few movies from the below list, but it goes on to show that movies catalogue is really small. I have added some worthy mentions below my watchlist.

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog

Mr. X in Bombay (1964): Shobha’s dad who is a scientist gets into a difficult situation after an experiment he was conducting goes wrong and kills his employee Manohar.
Indian Sci Fi movie from way back. I can’t miss to watch this.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001): In a future world, humans share aspects of their lives with companion robots called Mechas. But when an advanced prototype robot child named David is programmed to show unconditional love, his human family isn’t prepared for the consequences.
One of my all time favorite from Spielberg. Will watch this again and again until my last breath!

Saving Private Ryan (Action, Drama, War): Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out Of Water (Comedy, Animated): On a mission to save his world, SpongeBob SquarePants is headed to ours for the first time ever! When pirate Burger Beard steals the Krabby Patties recipe, SpongeBob and friends must unleash their inner superheroes in order to defeat a super-villian.

Sarbjit (Biography, Drama, History): Biopic of Sarabjit Singh, a farmer residing at Bhikiwind, Punjab, near the Indo-Pak border, crossed the border after having a couple of drinks. However, he was mistaken to be an Indian spy and was sentenced to capital punishment.

Worthy mentions for movies (which I have already watched): War of the Worlds (2005), The Godfather, Lemony Snicket’s Series Of Unfortunate Events, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, The Dictator, Into The Wild, Watchmen, Finding Neverland, Stardust, Paycheck, World War Z, Minority Report and Star Trek series.

Bonus:

The worst movie I could find on Prime: Journey to the Center of the Earth. Just watch the rating and review on IMDb. I do intend to TRY to watch this.

Conclusion:

I always thought how a Steam like model can be implemented for video industry, and how I would support it if the price is justified. Amazon’s Prime video seems like a good direction to go into and definitely the one streaming service subscribing is required to.

Resurrecting Soft Bricked Moto E

So I had a Moto E that was showing weird issues. Sometimes when it’s rebooted it stucks in bootloop and fails to finish the boot sequence. The home screen just doesn’t appear. I manage to flash a fresh ROM on it and after which it starts to work. I haven’t been able to identify the problem yet, but the turnaround is working good as of now. So I just want to document the process of fixing the soft bricked Moto E:

*** DISCLAIMER ***
Please note that this is just a documentation of the process I followed to fix my Moto E. This is by no means an accurate or official guide to fix your Moto E. If you do mess up your phone trying to follow this documentation, you can't blame me.

The simple procedure for a fresh Moto E is to first unlock the bootloader of Moto E. Which is a simple one time process which includes using the following command in fastboot mode: fastboot oem get_unlock_data. The unlock is complete when you enter a code on Motorola website and they give you a return string to unlock it. The guide is here. Continue reading Resurrecting Soft Bricked Moto E

Commands to Analyze Space through Terminal

This article lists a few ways to analyze the usage space of the hard disk through Terminal.

Space occupied by all folder sorted ascending order:

sudo du -h * | sort -h

The command ‘du’ is used in terminal which stands for disk usage. But the command alone gives listing of all files along with their size. The above command sorts the list, so that the highest space folder appears in bottom of the list. SUDO added since if you want it to run in root folder, normal command won’t have access to system folders.

Space on disk:

df -h

Above command is not path sensitive, which means you can run it from anywhere and also don’t require sudo.

Disk space usage per user:

sudo find . -printf "%u %s\n" | awk '{user[$1]+=$2}; END{ for( i in user) print i " " user[i]}'

Above script (combination of commands) prints disk usage per user and is not path sensitive. The script uses find and awk (extraction command) to give a list of users along with the space they are consuming in bytes.

Viewing first top directories taking space

du --max-depth=1 2> /dev/null | sort -n -r | head -n20

The above command would list top few directories along with their size, sorted in descending order.

Third Party Utility:

On debian, install ncdu by following command:

sudo apt-get install ncdu -s

Once install, you can use the utility ncdu to easily see the size of various folders through a friendly user interface right within Terminal. Here’s the ncdu manual: https://dev.yorhel.nl/ncdu/man
If above command don’t install ncdu try forcing the install by following command:

sudo apt-get install -f -y ncdu

With above command you can pin point the folder which is taking up space in little time. Also note that the sometimes you need to go deeper by using the command, sudo su, to view space of files taken up by say, /var directory.

Rocket League : Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars!!!

Rocket League, by Psyonix is a game every racer probably desired, but didn’t even know that they do. If you are also a football player too, this game could be your love you were destined to meet. What’s surprising though, is that even if you are not a fan of sports game, this game will blow your mind.

Conceptually simple and hard to master, there is just one objective of the game. Use your rocket powered cars to kick the ball inside the net of opposite team. The way you do it is what separates the rookies from the pros and the pros from the masters. You can either play as solo, or in teams of 2, 3 or 4. There are quite few training to get your feet wet and to learn some skills and you can even play with bots before you attempt to face online players.

Rocket League Poster

So how did I fare going through various levels in Rocket League?

Rookie:

I still remember the first day I fired up Rocket League In January 2016, I was blown away by the amount of detail in the city around the arena where I spawned. Being a BTTF fan, I had started the game with my DeLorean. I didn’t have a controller. I steered the DeLorean with my keyboard. Boosting the car, kicking the ball in goal. “BOOM”, the ball exploded into a zillion pieces once it crossed the goal line. Little did I knew that it was start of a long journey stretching 4 months and counting. In these 4 months I have had a range of emotions I didn’t express in a long time. Rocket League was about to change my life. Continue reading Rocket League : Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars!!!

The most awaited movies in 2016 : Hype is real!

Below is a list of 21 movies to be released in 2016 that are most hyped. If you love Sci-Fi, Superhero, Adventure, Action, Fantasy and Thriller then this list should be on your IMDb watchlist. The list is arranged as per the US release date.

1. Deadpool

(Release date: 12 Feb 2016) [Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi]

Plot: A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and adopts the alter ego Deadpool.
Marvel had a field trip with this character since months now, put in place excellent PR campaigns and been preparing for this movie since they got the Deadpool wrong in Wolverine movie. The hype can’t be more real than this and perfect to start the year!


2. Triple 9

(Release date: 18 Feb 2016) [Crime, Drama]

Plot: A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.
Added this out of league movie, just because of the tone from the trailer.


Continue reading The most awaited movies in 2016 : Hype is real!

Which Instant Messenger is best for me?

With all the advances that have happened in the world of Internet, one thing is at the core of it. That is Instant Communication. And from the ages of Internet Chat Relays (IRC) to WhatsApp and everything in between is playing a pivotal role in connecting people from all corners of the globe. And if you are confused as to what Instant Messenger is right for you, here is a flowchart that lets you decide between few of them.

IM_Flowchart

WhatsApp: Everyone uses it since everyone else uses it. But things such as dependency on mobile even if you want to chat on browser makes it a very poorly developed IM.

IRC (Internet Chat Relay): It’s the most powerful IM that the netizens have ever used. You can chat privately, in rooms, on PC, on your phone, use bots, leave offline messages.. really the only limit is your imagination and skills to make more functionality.

Steam: Steam being the most popular client for gaming provides a client for both Windows, Linux and Android. So if you are a gamer you would tend to use it much extensively.

Telegram: It’s currently the most versatile IM as of now. With features such as true cross platform (you can run it on command line!), ability to share self expiring secret messages, cloud storage (so that you don’t loose your chat history) and with the introduction of bots, I am in love with this IM. Also the fact that you don’t need to share your mobile number like WhatsApp makes it perfect for privacy conscious users.

So which IM you use the most and what would be your choice, if you don’t have to come under peer pressure to choose more popular Instant Messenger?

Kanatal Trip

Kanatal, a city in the state of Uttarakhand is nearly 300 km from Delhi. I made the trip there in mid December 2015 in hopes of experiencing snow. But alas all I got was this spectacular panoramas instead. I am not complaining since I did see snow, albeit it was possibly in far distance, stretching on Horizon.

In this first panorama you can see the sun about to rise. It was freezing at this time and I was waiting impatiently for little sunshine.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Finally the sun rose a little more and illuminated the distant mountains in its captivating sunshine.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

This is just enthralling.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

We also went to Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar on the way back. Ganga river flowing with all its almighty.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Jaipur Trip

I went to Jaipur last year. And got these amazing Google Spheres. These are not perfect but I love the view.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Lodi Garden

Lodi Garden, a city park situated in New Delhi, India is a prime destination for many joggers, developed and “developing” families for a retreat.

From Wiki:

… It contains, Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad,architectural works of the 15th century by Lodhis, an Afghan dynasty, that ruled parts of northern India and Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of modern-day Pakistan, from 1451 to 1526…

I took these google sphere when I visited it first time. It shows the Bada Gumbad domb.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Click here to open this in new tab. Then click “Google Sphere” to go Full Screen.

Recap: My Year in Blogging in 2015

My year in blogging in 2015 was a good one. Specially the start. I posted 2 posts every month for at least half of the year. Total of 27 posts were written in the year.

The first post, “Year 2014 at a Glance” was a good attempt in summarizing my experience gained in the previous year. I hope to write something about the year 2015 too, although not much have changed. I started to post the Google Spheres (panorama in 360 degrees) of the places I uses to visit. I found out that Google Spheres are a great way to look the places and as a evolution to traditional images. Its better than even a video, since Google Sphere is like a moment froze in time that you can view at your leisure. Only thing that supersede this are 360 degree videos that YT recently started to support.

In entertainment section, I wrote about few movies which made me awe. The Theory of Everything was a good movie on Stephen Hawking which I loved. Bajrangi Bhaijaan was a pleasant surprise from Bollywood. While the film Ugly introduced me to the direction of Anurag Kashyap in a good way. Predestination was one mind blowing film too. Since Heroes came out with a new season with Heroes Reborn, I recollected my love for the original Heroes in a blog. I felt pretty good about it too since I shared that on Reddit and got good response. I watched Star Wars in the last days of December so I may write about it soon, but only in 2016.

A lot of stuff happened on the technical side of my life. I migrated to a new host for my site. This year I created a series of posts about Ubuntu and aggregated them under a page “The Ubuntu Guide“. I felt pretty good writing about Open source and my understanding of how Linux works grew considerably. I reviewed the phone YU Yuphoria which my cousin bought. While on the other side, Microsoft also came out with a new version of its OS, Windows 10, which made up for all things wrong with Win 8. I helped my friend Ankur assembling a new desktop PC and I wrote about our experience in buying from Nehru Place and assembling it.

I wasn’t able to write about any new places that I visit, since compared to last time I only went to two places this year. Jaipur in April and Kanatal in December. But I intend to post a few Google Spheres about them soon.

Year 2015 in Blogging: A Report
Year 2015 in Blogging: A Report

Here’s the report from Jetpack summarizing my blogging in 2015. It’s certainly to see Aaruni being one of the top commenters on my blogs. I say thanks to the readers of my small but diverse blog.

Overall, leaving behind the last couple of months, where I became super busy, my year in blogging went good in 2015, and certainly a one notch up from last year. I wish I can write more blogs in the coming year.