Monday, August 29, 2011

Dean TV, don’t bother to call them

For the last couple of weeks our Samsung LCD TV was exhibiting strobe light flickering pattern. I tried some googling for the solution but was unsuccessful.  Since the TV is over a year old and Samsung website does not believe in taking complaints online, I thought of trying some local repair shop.

I called this company Dean TV and they were pretty responsive and scheduled an appointment for the same day (Sunday), I was pretty impressed then. When they came in, I was expecting 1 but 3 showed up. The lead guy saw the problem and immediately concluded they cannot fix it but have to haul it to the shop for they need to run some diagnostics on the same and it could take a couple of hours. Thanks to Sandhya’s instincts, we decided against and told them we will call back. To earn his wage, the lead guy decided to open the TV at home and checked a couple of voltages on the power board and concluded that the problem is either in the panel (costs $900+) or in the main board ($375+) and they need to take it to the shop to figure this. We paid them their consulting fee and bid them good bye.

I still had to get the TV fixed and hence called Samsung. To my surprise the call went through in no time and the person on the other side took down the complaint and said somebody will call me in a day or so. They called the very next day and gave an appointment for the same day and the technician came over right at the beginning of the scheduled time (1.5hr slot and not 3 or 4hr). Unlike the other guys, this guy was only 1. He said the problem is the bad power supply board (which the other guys had certified as good) and he replaced the same. The problem is gone for now and TV is back in shape.

On the whole it would have cost me $250 for the repair but I spent an additional $50 in the process.But I learnt a few things, it is good to call the official guys first before making an attempt to call the local repair shops and It is good to call in the repair instead of trying to submit ticket online. If the number of people showing up to repair a TV is more than 1 then know that they do not know what they are doing :). Reviews on Yelp alone are not enough to call a repair shop good.     

Friday, August 19, 2011

I wonder

Since the blog name is Manjunath’s thoughts, I think it is high time I publish a few things of thought. So, here is an effort to add some more randomness (chaos) to the blog. 

  • I wonder how long does it take for a set of good guidelines either laid out in some obscure book or taught by a great personality will take the form of a meaningful practice?
  • I wonder how long does it take for a set of meaningful practices to take the form of a belief?
  • I wonder how long does it take for a set of beliefs to take the form of a religion?
  • I wonder at what point does the religion becomes an inheritance rather than a choice?
  • I wonder how long does it take for this religion to gather enough mass and strength that people start influencing/coercing others to convert?
  • I wonder how long does it take for the religion to divide on itself?
  • I wonder how long does it take for a meaningful practice to become a blind ritual/faith?
  • I wonder how long does it take for this religion to take a violent form, either in the name of defending itself or attacking others?
  • I wonder if there is an order to all these, like first teaching, then comes practice, then comes belief, then comes blind faith and then takes the form of religion or do these things move around?
  • I wonder at what point does the religion starts to instill fear in its members (either to grow or just to sustain)?
  • I wonder if the conversion to a religion starts first or division of a religion starts first?
  • I wonder if the answer to all the above is “it depends”, it depends on the time and space and the mind state of the people starting the movement and the mental and politico-fiscal state of people following.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anna Hazare and anti graft

Make no mistake, I am all in favor of a stringent anti-graft (Local) bill and I agree with Anna Hazare that we need an independent investigating agency to investigate the charges of corruption. But I am also not really in favor of including the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court justice under the bill for I believe we need some one to look over this so called independent body, we can’t keep increasing the size of the government creating agency upon agency to monitor each other.

That said, I am proud that India has maintained a democracy for the last 64 years and whether we use it or not, once every 5 years or sometimes earlier we have the right to change our representatives. By the principles of democracy these elected representatives should be formulating laws and constitution and that’s the ideal case. But in the case of Anti graft bill, it is to an extent stupid to expect that our elected representatives will come to an agreement and pass a tough law to prosecute themselves. It is like the hindi saying “AA bail mujhe maar” (loosely translated, come on bull I am here please hit me). So, to work for this bill within the democratic frame work is difficult possible if not impossible.

The other option is to move towards referendum, gather enough grass root support and compel the government/elected body to act the right way. But the question is who is supposed to lead this effort and who is supposed to formulate this bill. Isn’t taking this approach undermining the democracy in itself?

I have the highest respect to faith in Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Sri Sri Ravishankar. I don’t know anything about Shanti Bhushan or Prashant Bhushan, I don’t like Ramdev (luckily he is not around this time). For a country of billion people, can/will the above mentioned three do justice? or is the agitation showing the negative side of democracy?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bollywood movie piracy?

There is an Indian store in my neighborhood which is fairly famous and sells good quality stuff. They also sell DVDs of newly released Hindi movies. Mind you they have the DVDs within a few days of the movie release (not DVD but movie). The DVDs are not really actual official DVD of the movie but the quality is highly sufficient enough to watch the movie.

These DVDs are what we in India used to call camera prints, till day my understanding of camera print is that some person smuggles a video camera to a movie theater and records the movie. In the olden days these prints were so bad in quality that the audio would be out of sync with the video and if you are lucky you could see a few audience moving in and out of the theater along with the movie and if you are unlucky you would just see the audience itself and not the movie at all. Those days in India was the era of VHS and depending on which video store you visit you would get different quality of the movie. Fast forward to present, The DVDs are almost passable for a near official DVD release(barring the colors being off), you only see the movie and nothing else. The audio is well in sync with the video.

I am now wondering if there is a centralized underground company that uses some high tech equipments to record these DVDs. Here is my reasoning, the Indian store charges $3/dvd and he does not rent DVD but sells it to you. If the movie happens to be a decent hit like Ghajini or 3 Idiots, he would sell close to a thousand or more of each before the official movie DVD releases. To generate such an income, I am sure he has to pay dearly to get these quality DVDs.

On one side, if you are ok with watching a decent quality cinema print on your Hi-Def TV then you get the instant gratification of watching the movie that you missed watching in theater. On the other hand, I feel sorry for the Bollywood movie makers for their loss of income due to this.

I think the reason for existence of these things arise from the fact that we would compromise with the quality for almost instant gratification (almost because one has to go to the store to pick up the DVD).

No offence to the people selling the DVDs or to people buying them for I myself have gotten them some times but just thought it is a good idea to bring to attention the scale of this.