Taking off from the previous talk on Design Thinking and Attributes of Identity (see Design Thinking – and the Idea of India) this talk is a continuation of the exploration of the relationship between design and identity.
Through a comparative analysis of the meanings of ‘modern’ and ‘Indian’, as seen in contemporary and earlier pieces of architecture and design in India, we see how culture, society and philosophy affect aesthetics and ethics – and thus, the appreciation or articulation of design.
Both these talks were prepared and recorded as part of an online set of public lectures for the students of the School of Architecture, World University of Design in February 2021. For more information on the rest of the talks in the series, please see http://anishashekhar.blogspot.com/p/talks-and-videos.html
The world is nothing but staged, we are living each day rehearsed in our make believe world of happiness and tears and enjoying the facades of living the “real- unreal”. I see this anomaly of the world depicted every minute in the social construct of a demonic, hedonistic, ‘practiced everyday journal keeping’ of facebook and twitter.
This self indulging practice that we are consumed with, becomes thus our daily practice show, our daily practice rehearsal, and our daily practice “for viewership and arduous, colossal, consumerism”.
We are therefore living in our own moments of suspended disbelief, where we see ourselves as the ‘heroes of change’, ranging writing words of protests; enjoying the moments of glory in well taken pictures of the rising sun; or the intense moments of rising passion through well documented pictures of the white marbled Taj in pale white moonlight.
Yet, despite all these “high moments”, why do we feel alone?Why do we cry ourselves to sleep? Why do we constantly check the messages of that unknown stranger on facebook through the night? My answer might seem simplistic, the answer is nothing but the “untruth of reality”.
When we realize that we are creating our own make believe script, that is false, and that strangers on facebook might cease to be the “ideal” guy or girl we so desperately need; our myths are broken. When we see that these myths are broken we are only foolish to create more; we reuse our old photos for more such destroying social interactions.
Let us for one moment only, see this as stages of representations – as we are only actors doing functionary parts of the unwritten and anonymous text of facebook and twitter. We might cease not to laugh along with that ‘unknown stranger’ who we take to bed with us, without the feelings of being in an adulterous relationship, or even without a sense of a single minute of pride of feeling an intimate part of being a part of a stranger’s life. We are not strangers to others but to ourselves.
This terrible system of social media that we have created is only for our own downfall and decay. It’s time now to become real, to remove masks, to meet and greet the living and mourn for the living dead. Let us not get wasted by looking at the keyboard, and creating our downfall and realize the folly before we become strangers to ourselves. One never knows, one day we might not even see our own eyes and not even know for whom we are laughing or for whom we should cry. Let us, my dear friend, ourselves, only cry for ourselves today.
Sony Xperia 1 Review
Massive 6.5 inch OLED display
Unique screen size
Great colour reproduction
21:9 aspect ratio
3840 x 1644 pixel resolution, 4k display
64/128 GB, 6 GB RAM
The Sony Xperia 1 doesn’t play by the rules of iPhone, Galaxy S10 or Huawei P30 Pro. In the era where everyone is competing for a perfect notch-less edge to edge display, Sony Xperia 1 takes a different approach to the game by focussing on what the consumer wants. Let’s find out more about Xperia 1.
Although Sony Xperia 1 is the latest flagship from the brand. But it hasn’t released the Xperia 1 in India as of now. Though according to some reports, we can see it launch at ₹ 79,999 in the 3rd week of August 2019.
For starters, the Xperia 1 has a full edge-to-edge 4K screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio. That’s significantly taller than most smartphones on the market nowadays, allowing you to display much more of your social media feed, and watch the latest blockbuster movies without intrusive black bars above and below the screen. Apart from that, being a skinny phone, your hands will now be able to easily access the full-screen single handedly . Reaching the top of the screen with a thumb is now a completely different story. In terms of build quality, Sony Xperia 1 uses the latest corning gorilla glass 6 on both sides along with a robust aluminium frame and will be available in 2 colours – Black and Purple.
With Xperia 1, Sony sports industry-first notch-less 4K HDR OLED display along with a uniques aspect ratio of 21:9. This also means that many Netflix films will now look stunning with no letterboxing or cut-off. Moreover, thanks to its 4k Resolution, clocking in at 1644 x 3840 pixels, the Xperia 1 is sharp, delivering over 643 pixels per inch (PPI).
Sony has always been a leader in the game of camera quality. Moreover this time it also has adopted the triple-lens system for Xperia 1. All the 3 lenses (wide, ultra-wide and telephoto) have 12 Mega Pixels. This time what sets Sony apart is its cinema pro app which is an alternative video recording tool for those who have an interest in shooting cinematic video. This app also allows user control a lot of features once reserved for professional video shooting. You can change the shutter speed, base point marker, frame rates or even choose either to shoot in 16:9 or 21:9. Furthermore, you also have the option to disable image stabilisation in case you want to use more professional alternatives such as tripod or slider.
Powered by snapdragon 855, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage you get plenty of space for all your photos and videos. Moreover this time Sony has still kept the expandable microSD card slot which can give you a boost of up to 1TB storage. With dolby atmos, the sound quality of Xperia 1 is fantastic and combining it with Sony’s HDR 4K display, the movie-watching experience becomes truly immersive. The only thing which seems to be missing now is a 3.5 mm headphone jack which now uses an adapter to connect. In terms of battery life, Sony has a 3,330 mAh battery along with an 18W fast charger. Though I think for shooting 4K content it seems a bit less, However for day to day tasks like watching movies and gameplay it works fairly well. Overall the Xperia 1 is an interesting smartphone that dares to do something different than the competition and can be considered as the most versatile smartphone when it comes to photos and videos in my opinion.
Key Specifications –
Screen – 6.5-inch OLED Display at 1644 x 3840 resolution
Samsung S10 is one of the most anticipated phones of 2019. Samsung Galaxy S10 offers a brand new look to its flagship, catching everyone’s attention, especially the dual punch holes on the display itself. This is Samsung’s way of mimicking a notch-less display experience for the consumer. With the Galaxy S10, Samsung has made a big and bold design statement as it offers the best screen estate you can expect.
The price of Galaxy s10 starts from ₹ 61,900 for the 128 GB base model and ₹ 76,900 for the 512 GB model.
Samsung Galaxy S10 is light, thin, and looks simply gorgeous in the half dozens of display that Samsung offers (Prism Black, Prism Blue, Prism White, Flamingo Pink, Prism Green and Canary Yellow). This revamped design is perhaps its most noticeable change which sets it apart from Samsung Galaxy S9. The chassis is now surrounded by an iPhone X like silver tinted trim. Moreover, the one of a kind punch-hole display also blends seamlessly well with the display which also helped in increasing the screen to body ratio to a whopping 93.1%.
Samsung Galaxy S10 sports a 6.1 inch Dynamic AMOLED QHD display which according to Samsung supports HDR 10+ content. In theory, this provides greater dynamic contrast and more inky-looking black levels. Therefore you can expect an effectively perfect contrast making this to be one of Samsung’s best-ever display.
This phone features a triple-lens camera setup i.e 12 MP wide-angle lens, 12 MP telephoto lens and finally 16 MP ultra-wide camera lens. Also, props to its neural processing unit, which allows the camera to identify the object in the frame, be it a chair, dog or even a plant and adjusts the camera setting accordingly for the best image possible. Furthermore, on the front, it uses a 10 MP single camera
This time the fingerprint reader is also embedded under the screen to make it more convenient for the users. This technology is based upon the ultrasonic sensor that is placed beneath the display which senses fingerprint more securely than the commonly used optical sensor. Overall, the fingerprint scanner is more convenient built right into the screen but isn’t as fast as traditional capacitive sensors. Apart from that, the wireless power-sharing option that has been introduced by Samsung is also pretty a handy feature. This allows the Galaxy device to work as a wireless power-bank for other smartphones capable of wireless charging. Talking about its UI, the Galaxy S10 runs Samsung’s new One UI version of Android 9 Pie which is a big upgrade over previous Samsung’s software. S10 is also equipped with stereo speakers and features haptic vibrations a mimic of Apple’s Taptic Engine used in the iPhones. Overall the performance is good, the camera’s good and the software is the start of a rethink of how we use big phones. The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner works well enough too and there’s even a headphone socket. If you’re looking for a great phone that has all the latest sci-fi features, there aren’t many better options than the Galaxy S10.
Biometric security – In Display Fingerprint sensor
Samsung Galaxy Fold Review
Image Source: www.samsung.com
Innovative Folding Screen
Massive battery life
Multitasking of up to 3 apps
Samsung’s most ambitious project the galaxy fold which was scheduled to be launched in April is still waiting to go public. Though Samsung is still delaying the launch due to reports of screen durability issues. Though there isn’t still any official date for its release as of now. But what makes this phone to be worth a $2000 smartphone? Let’s find out.
Unlike other phones, which might stand out in terms of the multitude of cameras, notch- less display, massive battery life, the galaxy fold is a massive 7.3-inch foldable screen. This takes the innovation to the whole another level as the day it does become available for the general public, more competitors will try to indulge in this game of foldable screens. Which in my opinion will benefit the crowd since as the demand increases, the Chinese companies like Xiomi, Oppo, OnePlus One will try to play the price game which could mean that a budget model for these foldable smartphones is also possible in the future.
The entire purpose of a foldable phone is to provide an immersive experience for displaying videos, playing games and reading a book. The Galaxy Fold has two screens, but it’s the 7.3-inch inner display that’s your real living space. This inner screen is sadly made from plastic which makes it prone to scratches a lot easier. That means the screen’s about as soft and tender as a young shoot, and just as easily mangled. On the outside, there is a 4.6 inch dynamic AMOLED panel when you want to use it as a phone. All this setup is backed by a complex hinge mechanism which Samsung calls as the infinity flex, is capable of folding the screen up to 200,000 times which is quite impressive. Apart from that, the galaxy fold will be available in 4 premium colours – Space Silver, Cosmos Black, Martian Green and Astro Blue. Moreover, Samsung also gives the user the privilege of customising the colour of the device’s hinge, allowing up to 16 possible combinations!
The Galaxy Fold has total of 6 cameras in it, On the rear, there is a 16 MP ultra-wide lens, 12 MP wide lens and 12 MP telephoto lens. On the inside, it has a 10 MP lens and 8 MP depth camera. Finally, in the front it has a 10 MP camera lens. This is the most amount of camera lenses ever placed in a smartphone so far. Though quality wise, its par with the S10 lineup.
This device has a lot of powerful features. Some of them are – Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, Wireless power-share, allowing to wirelessly reverse charge smartphones. It also supports UFS 3.0 which allows lightning-fast data transfer rates. Though unfortunately this time the fingerprint sensor isn’t ultrasonic in-display sensor (as seen on Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup) a dedicated physical unit on its side. It has the base option of 512 GB of internal storage along with 12 GB of RAM which honestly seems optimal for a smartphone like this. Furthermore, it also packs in 4380 mAh battery along with 18W fast charging. Though it’s still not clear when can we see its release. However, Samsung seems to be in no hurry right now. According to rumours, the Samsung Galaxy Fold will not be unveiled before the “Unpack” event for the Note 10 on 7th August.
Key Specifications –
Screen – 7.3 inches Dynamic AMOLED display at 1536 x 2152 resolution
Main camera – 10 MP + 8 MP (wide + wide with depth sensor)
Battery – 4,380 mAh
Charging – Fast battery charging 15W and Fast wireless charging 15W
Software – Android 9.0 Pie
Biometric security – Fingerprint (side-mounted)
Redmi Note 7 Pro Review
Dual Camera Setup
Long Battery Life
Fast and smooth performance
Priced at ₹ 15,999 in India
Xiomi launched the note 7 series back in February. Though it got its media attention back last week when Xiomi announced a new variant of the Note 7 lineup with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB inbuilt storage. Moreover, on Xiomi’s official website, there is also a Jio cash-back offer going on which provides double data benefit on all prepaid recharges worth ₹ 198 and above. So now let’s dig into the specs of this smartphone.
Priced at ₹ 15,999, Xiomi Note 7 Pro is a perfect budget smartphone with decent specifications such as 6GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. This phone comes in 3 shades – Neptune Blue, Nebula Red and Space Black. All models have a gradient tint which honestly looks great and provides a premium feel.
In terms of design, the phone offers a truly immersive and enriched smartphone experience. The Xiaomi Note 7 Pro has a 6.3-inch full HD bezel-less display with a stylish water-drop notch and 1,080 x 2,340 pixels resolution. It has a pixel density of 409 PPI for a good viewing experience and comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection against scratches and marks. Furthermore, the back is also surrounded by the gorilla glass panel thus providing a premium holding experience.
Redmi Note 7 Pro has a dual-camera system on the back – 48 MP wide lens camera along with 5 MP depth sensor. This setup is capable of shooting 4K video recording and also uses Artificial intelligence for scene detection, portraits and night mode. On the front, it sports a 13 MP camera sensor surrounded by the water droplet like notch.
Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, the phone is equipped with USB type C port and has a fingerprint scanner on the back. The Redmi Note 7 Pro packs a 4,000mAh battery that supports Quick Charge 4.0. Moreover, being a budget phone, it has a fingerprint scanner on the back instead of an in-display fingerprint. It’s also worth noting that besides the RAM and storage, all other specifications of the new model of Redmi Note 7 Pro are the same as the two other old variants. The overall performance of the device is the fastest in the segment with substantial battery backup and on-point connectivity.
Key Specifications –
Screen – 6.3-inch IPS LCD display at 1080 x 2340 resolution
Rear camera – 48 MP + 5 MP (wide + wide with depth sensor)
Front camera – 13 MP
Battery – 4,000mAh
Charging – Fast battery charging 18W (Quick Charge 4)
Software – MIUI 10, Android 9.0 (Pie)
Biometric security – Fingerprint (rear-mounted)
Oneplus 7 Pro Review
Notchless 6.7 inch QHD amoled display
90 Hz refresh rate
Triple lens rear camera setup
Motorised selfie camera
In-display fingerprint display
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
4000 mAH battery life
30W warp fast charging
Ever since OnePlus debuted with the OnePlus One Smartphone in 2014, It’s mission in this industry has been to create flagship smartphones without flagship pricing. This time they have taken this game to a whole another level. From specs, impressions, cases, and more, here’s everything you could need to know about the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Unlike most flagship smartphones that easily cross $1000 (~ ₹ 68000) mark nowadays, the one plus 7 pro’s pricing starts at $669 ( ~ ₹ 48999 ). The OnePlus 7 Pro is “fully loaded” and has almost all the features that the one-grand-and-up flagships have. With its stunning design, incredible display, improved fingerprint sensor, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the best option out there by a long shot if you are looking for a budget yet premium smartphone experience.
Coming to its design, it has a whopping 88.1% screen
to body ratio. Moreover its also equipped with dual corning gorilla glass 5 (industry’s standard nowadays) panes along with metal chassis. It comes in three beautiful shades – Aurora Blue, Almond and Mirror Gray which honestly looks pretty great in person.
With a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with QHD (1,440 x 3,120 pixels) resolution, this device features a pixel density of 515 PPI, which adds sharpness to its content. Apart from that even more impressive, is the 90Hz refresh rate. Most phone screens have a refresh rate of 60Hz, meaning that everything on the OnePlus 7 Pro moves faster and more fluid than just about anything else.
One Plus 7 Pro has a triple-lens camera set up; 48 MP main lens, 16 MP ultra-wide lens, and 8 MP telephoto lens. This set up allows it to capture vastly better photos than any of its predecessors. Coming to the motorized selfie camera, I think this is what the ongoing trend is shifting all the smartphone manufacturers too. However I think the design is pretty sturdy, also what’s neat is that if you drop it, the pop-up camera automatically retreats back into its protective shell while in free-fall.
It comes with Qualcomm’s latest top Snapdragon 855 processor along with your choice of 6GB, 8GB or even 12GB of RAM. Moreover it’s also one of the first smartphones to use UFS 3.0 allowing much faster data transfer rate. Furthermore, it also sports an optical in-display fingerprint sensor which is pretty impressive for this phone. Though coming to its battery, it packs 4000 mAH. It doesn’t feature wireless charging which is a bummer but it does come with a warp 30 cable charging. A full charge only takes around 75 minutes from dead. Though I think there are still some drawbacks such as the motorized selfie camera, which also raises the concern of introducing mechanical parts that can be prone to limited shelf life due to debris and dust particles. Moreover, it doesn’t have wireless charging nor IP water resistance rating. Besides that, I think OnePlus 7 Pro is a phone that undercuts rivals on price and offers a better experience in almost every meaningful way to the general consumer.
Key Specifications –
Screen – 6.67-inch QHD AMOLED display at 3120 x 1440 resolution
Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, octa-core, up to 2.84 GHz
Biometric security – In-display fingerprint sensor, face unlock
Top 5 Features in Mac OS Catalina
Sidecar convert your iPad to the second screen of your Mac
Screen time makes its entry to Mac OS
iTunes finally gets decluttered
All-new “Find My” App
Photos App gets revamped
This year’s Apple WWDC was wild from crowd’s standpoint. Whether you want to set up a wireless external side display to your Mac, or you want to keep tabs about where you’re spending your most time in your apps, Mac OS Catalina has something for you. Plus, iTunes is getting split up into different components, and so much more besides. So without wasting time let’s dig right into it.
This is one of the most impressive feature at WWDC. If you own a Mac and an iPad then there is really good news for you, You can turn your iPad as a second screen to your Mac
and the best part is you can do all this wirelessly as well. This also means that Apple pencil can be used for detailed strokes when the iPad is being used as the second screen.
2. Screen Time
Screen Time is very similar to the iOS app and is now available on Mac OS Catalina. This opens a wide range of options such as App Limitation which limits the daily time spent on a particular app, Content & Privacy Restriction which allows restricting explicit content, purchases, and downloads, Communication which limits the communication to people in your contact’s list and many more. Furthermore, it also provides you analytics about your app usage and the number of device pickups in a day and a week.
3. New Music, Podcast, and TV apps
Till last year’s Mac OS Mojave, iTunes was probably one of the most cluttered app in the mac. If you want to enjoy music, listen to a podcast, watch some shows or even sync your device, you need to use iTunes for that. This was an overwhelming issue for users which Apple has finally listened to. This year’s Mac OS Catalina declutters the iTunes by separating it into 3 different components – Music, Podcast and TV. In my opinion, this is a great move to make things more organised and decluttered. Moreover, to sync data from your iPhone to Mac, you can just go to the finder’s section and jump down to your iPhone’s tab on the sidebar to sync or transfer data.
4. Find My
This is the same app that is introduced for the iPhone in WWDC’19 . This app merges the Find My Friends and Find My iPhone into a single app called Find My. Therefore all the device tracking of your device as well as your loved ones now fit right inside one app. Though what’s impressive is that Apple now also supports offline tracking which allows finding your Apple products even when they don’t have internet access which is a cool feature. This works by sending a secure Bluetooth beacon to other Apple devices near your missing device, then relaying it back to Apple, and to you all in an encrypted manner.
5. Photos App
Apple has also revamped the photos app in Mac OS Catalina. The most notable change in the app is that it now features your best photos for you, while also removing poor- quality photos, duplicate shots and those unrelated old white documents that we clicked the photo of. Moreover, apple is using machine learning as well to highlight important moments and memories, and your Live Photos and videos will now have the ability to auto-play while you scroll through your photo library.
Oppo Reno Review
In-display fingerprint sensor
Edge-to-edge notch-less display
48 MP rear camera with 2160p video shooting capability
Oppo Reno is the latest smartphone launched by Oppo in March 2019. With similar specs to Oneplus 7 Pro, the Oppo’s flagship device is a direct competitor in the market of smartphones with notch-less display. Though nowadays a smartphone with a pop-up selfie camera is not new. You can buy one for around Rs 20,000 but the implementation on the Reno makes it exquisite.
Coming to its price, the Oppo Reno is priced at 32,990 with 6GB +128 GB storage. Whereas the higher-end 8GB + 256GB variant can be bought for Rs 49,990.
This particular design used in Reno is currently Oppo’s signature look. The rounded corners and curved sides are modern and sleek and the build quality on the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is par for the course. Like most smartphones nowadays, the 10x Zoom uses a glass back and metal frame. It comes in 2 shades – Jet black and ocean green. Moreover with no notch or punch hole, the all-display Reno looks pretty good in hands. Apart from that I also liked its unique pop-up selfie camera approach which Oppo calls a “Pivot Rising” structure which is also dubbed as the shark fin popup.
The Oppo Reno sports a 6.6 inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080. The display itself despite being bright and sharp, the decent color reproduction. The colours are accurate, while also being vivid enough to give you that ‘pop’ you’d expect to see when watching your favourite show. Apart from that, you can also choose to have it cooler or warmer or switch off the dynamic/vivid mode in favour of a flatter sRGB option.
The Reno has a triple camera system. It has a 48 MP wide lens, 8 MP ultra-wide lens and 13 MP periscopic lens. The triple-lens setup is capable of recording 4K 2160@ 60fps. In the front, it has a 16 MP motorized pop-up camera, capable of shooting 1080@30 fps.
Equipped with Qualcomm snapdragon 855, 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage, the Reno performs well in terms of processing. Moreover, the in-display optical fingerprint sensor is surprisingly fast. The phone also ships with a 20W fast charger. The Reno has a stereo speaker which is quite good and remains crisp and clear at max volume. Overall for everything that you’re getting, the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is priced fairly. From performance, design, battery life, and display are all top-notch thus making it a direct competitor with smartphones like Galaxy S10 and Oneplus 7 Pro.
Key Specifications –
Screen – 6.6-inch AMOLED display at 1080 x 2340 resolution
Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 , octa-core
Memory – 6/8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage with expandable memory slot.
Apple announced a separate OS dedicated to iPads in this year’s WWDC. Till last year the iPad used to run on the same iOS that also powered iPhone. However, it did limit the growth of what iPad is capable of doing. This was one of the primary reason why Apple decided to create an OS specifically dedicated to the iPad. This all-new iPad OS adds many new features to the iPad such as new multitasking options, updated home screen, 3rd part storage compatibility and many more.
1. New Home-screen
With iPad OS the widgets now live on the side next to all of your apps. Moreover, your favourite widgets can now also be pinned to the front page which is a pretty handy feature. Furthermore, now you can get more apps on the main screen as apple has added 1 more row and a column to the app’s grid. This was made possible by shrinking the icons and making the dock available for further app additions.
2. Dark Mode
Perhaps the most anticipated feature of the iPad is the dark mode. Combined with the new home-screen, this looks stunning in the night. Moreover, you also have the option to automatically enable dark mode after sunset with just a single click. This is quite useful as it means your iPad won’t glare at you when you decide you’re going to binge-watch something at 11 pm when you actually should be in bed.
3. New Multitasking Features
This is one of the biggest feature that sets the iPad OS apart from IOS. Though for the novice user this can be seen as a bit overwhelming, However, when you get the gist of it, then you can realise how easy they make our lives while multitasking. Apple calls it “Slide Over” which enables you to drag an app from the dock and float it on your screen. Though this isn’t a new feature it has several new improvements compared to the existing multitasking on the iPad. Basically now, you can have multiple apps at once in Slide Over. It’s a collection of apps you can overlay over the main app you’re working in – or over two apps you’re using in Split View. You can now also open two simultaneous tabs of the same app as well, For eg. you can open a mail on one side while composing another one.
4. 3rd Party Compatibility
Finally, you can now connect your iPad with pen-drive, external hard drives or even sync with a DSLR camera directly from your device. There’s also a new column view that’s reminiscent to the approach used in macOS
5. SideCar (iPad as a second screen)
With sidecar, you will be able to use your iPad with your MacBook as a second screen. This is quite a handy feature that lets you use your iPad as a basic display, but also as a drawing tablet when combined with Apple Pencil, which is bound to appeal to users who use their iPads creatively.