Tag Archives: gadgets

It is four asterisks

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in August-September 2013 issue.

977 magI am an IT graduate and I have been working in the IT industry for a while but if a decade ago someone saw how I was with computer, then they would have advised me to never go near computers.

While growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of playing with and learning computers like kids todays do. I don’t know how these kids’ tiny brain are wired that they know what to do with the iPhones and iPads but back when I was young, my brain was seemed to work in a straight line. I used to go out to play with my neighbours’ kids and we had dolls, play hide and seek or just run. Some days we came home with dirt all over our clothes and face but it used to be a fun filled childhood. The closest I came to technology was owning an LCD brick game. I am not sure if any of you remember those but they were Tetris type old game with awesome sounds and I have to admit it used to be so much fun. We owned only one so sometimes I had to fight with my brother to play it.

Anyway, when we were in school, computers were just coming slowly to Nepal. I was in year 5 when I saw a computer for the first time at school but not until I was in year 6 that my uncle bought a computer at home and I was able to use it. He was teaching computers at one of the schools so it was essential for him to own one. But those days not many people would buy a computer as it was super expensive, I think prices started from over RS 50,000. And those computers were not  as fast as the ones we have today being an Intel 80486 with black/ blue screen. I still remember learning MS Dos on it. And who can forget the floppy disks and the trouble we all had with them.

The new computer at home was the new toy for everyone and especially to my uncle. He used to work hours in front of the computer and used to program and do other stuff I didn’t understand. After a while, I got to know that there were a few very interesting games installed on the computer. My uncle taught us how to play some of them and they were so addictive. Not only was it fun but as a kid it was a different world. The bad part about this all was that we were only allowed to play on the computer supervised. Rest of the time the computer was out of our reach as it was password protected.

So, one day when my uncle was starting the computer, I watched what he did and saw that he hit four stroke on the keyboard where it said password. It came as asterisks on the screen.  I wanted to learn all about this new device so I tried to remember the password.

Next time when I was talking with my uncle, I told him that now I knew how to start the computer and play the games on my own. He said that I couldn’t as it was password protected to which I replied “I know your password, it is four asterisks.”

 I know everyone must be thinking what an ignorant kid I was but in my mind, that is exactly what I saw. And I had no way of knowing anything more about computers until I took computer classes in school few years later.

Today when I look back and remember that incident, it makes me laugh thinking that the girl who didn’t know anything about computers is working in an IT industry now. The girl who couldn’t differentiate between asterisk and a real password is earning her living working with computers.

Now from a super-slow computer I have moved to super-fast computers and my mobile phone alone is more powerful than my first computer.  I can’t imagine my life without computers and internet and these days any year 6 student will be a lot smarter than I was back then.

You may also like :

*Different looks of Prabal Gurung for Target collection *Recycling and reusing in Nepal *Slave of Smartphone and Instant messaging

Smartphone killed the camera star

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in July-Aug 2012 issue.

I own a smartphone, it is a Samsung Galaxy S2 and I have used its camera occasionally when I didn’t have my camera with me but I was so surprised to see many people use just their smartphones to take photos during my Europe tour. Most of the people on the tour had a Samsung, iPhone or HTC smartphone and they were using it to take the photos on entire trip. And don’t get me wrong, they were not young teenagers showing off their new toy but they all were 50+ mature people and they were making the best use of the phone. Most of them didn’t have any other camera with them.

I guess iPhone and Android phones have changed the electronics landscape and the point and shoot digital cameras are being replaced by smartphones. And it is easy to see why. For me the first and foremost reason would be the convenience of carrying only one device followed by an ever evolving technology market which is now able to provide higher resolution and quality photos using smartphones. Also, most people feel that they won’t need a separate camera if they have one already on the phone.

And to add the icing on the cake, there are thousands of apps available for both iPhones and Android phones which allowed photos to be manipulated and uploaded on social media websites and no one wants to be bothered with transferring images to a PC from a point-and-shoot and uploading them later.

I remember those days when there was a limitation on photos because buying films and developing them was so expensive. And the disappointment I used to feel when I realised that the expensive prints had half of my head chopped or were just blurry. Then the revolution came and digital cameras took over from the film cameras.

Digital cameras had a very interesting life cycle. Even though the first digital cameras was made in 1975 by Steven Sasson, it wasn’t widely used until the end of the twentieth century. First digital cameras used to be big but slowly with time, they became small and compact. I got my first digital camera only in 2004. It was a Sony slim version and I paid good AU $1200 (I know that sounds so expensive now) for that. Everyone who saw the camera was really impressed and I was so happy to have numerous photos taken without thinking about further cost. I still have that camera with me and it still works. The only fault with it now is, the battery life is too short and I am not very comfortable with its 2cm by 4 cm LCD screen.

Now things have changed so quickly that we can get a camera with a similar specification in less that AU$100. With AU$1200 today, I can buy nice SLR cameras. Just before our holiday, I went and bought another digital point and shoot camera and it was under AU$300. It has really great features and I am very happy with the photos.

Looks like a smartphone will be the only gadget we will need in a few years. It is already a music and video player, a GPS, a hand held computer, a camera, a camcorder and soon it is believed our phone will replace all the cards we carry around like driving licence and credit cards.

Personally, I am not looking forward to pack my point and shoot digital camera away yet. I still love to have a digital camera with me when I go away on a holiday. Smartphones are definitely very handy when you want to click something on the go but being a photo fanatic I definitely need my cameras on my holidays and smartphone cameras can’t replace it yet. I also realised that point and shoot cameras are much better than big SLR cameras when you need to get some random person to click photos of you and your partner but that can be a topic for discussion some other time.