I’ve been playing COD:M on my iPhone since the last few… months, and I’ve been really enjoying it. It’s a no-fuss game, with graphics settings to match even my older iPhone 7, and really good development cycles and fast moving seasons (storylines and season passes).
They’ve done a bit of work to gamify the interface though, with lots of pre-game notifications and pop ups that try to convince you to buy the season pass or individual weapons and characters. It’s just enough to not irritate me and feels not more than a hurdle to cross and get to the actual gameplay.
I’ve been getting good at the game. So good, in fact, that in the last five days I’ve gotten banned twice. Both times, I was playing really, really well, and came in first on the scoreboard, so I assumed that one or more players from the other team reported me as probably using a cheat.
I’m not, but that’s a sort of rite of passage of playing FPS games well – you get accused of cheating. Problem is, the first time I was banned for an hour and the second time, for a day! Now I’m worried that if I play too well and get reported again, I might lose access for even longer! And in typical fashion, there is no recourse in-app to contact the moderators when banned.
I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to the game, but who am I kidding. I’m afraid to lose access and this might affect how well I play in the future. But hey, every time I got banned, I ended up spending time on coding on side projects, which is awesome!
All said and done, I’m really enjoying Call Of Duty Mobile and I’d recommend it to everyone! It’s a free download.
The season is changing and here, in Boulder, Colorado, it means colder nights and shorter days. It’s time for animals to wrap up their food gathering operations and finish working on cozy homes for the all too familiar winter.
This hibernation is also coming to a very important aspect of my life. Last year, at about the same time, I dumped Facebook in favor of Twitter. I had been inactive on the micro blog since long and returned to it, only to discover so many new and amazing connections and services. I found people worth talking to and got help where I needed it. I also posted a lot on this blog here, taking it through many iterations, themes and (free) hosting providers. Now I’ve moved it to a paid provider – NearlyFreeSpeech in order to maintain a better uptime ratio.
I am aware that it has been many months since I have Blogged and obviously a lot has been going on in that much time(shifting to Infosys, Mysore; completion of Infy training; posting to Bangalore; getting a project). But there are certain moments in life which often take precedence over many a months of work. One such event occurred on a flight from Bangalore to Delhi on 23rd April 2010 when I was coming home to Chandigarh for a quite holiday with my family. I had been pondering upon the question as to whether truly making phone calls from within an aircraft can cause a disturbance in their communications or was it just a hoax created by airlines who wanted people to use the onboard phone lines which they provide at a premium to their users. I had concluded that the second was more plausible as airlines have always had a dearth of money and need all that extra revenue they can get.
Obviously, the person sitting next to me disagreed with my thoughts and as the plane prepared for take off and I pushed ‘Send’ on my mobile to send the last message before I went into roaming, he requested me calmly to switch off the mobile. I, being my haughty self, told him that I, being an electronics engineer knew better than him and could saw with confidence that since mobiles and airline communications worked at different frequencies, there was no way possible that my mobile could affect the flight in any way. I had noted the tone in which he had requested me to switch off my cellphone- it was calm but stern and it felt that he had done this exercise many times earlier too. Thus it seemed fit for me to snub him in such a way. But upon hearing me say my qualifications, he took greater interest in my argument and asked me to expain my side of the debate.
Here I knew I had two choices- spend the flight fighting with this fellow about how much I knew about Communications(or how little, after all, what quality is left in today’s engineering courses!) OR accept that he knows more than me and ask for his knowledge. Lucky for me, i chose the latter, as this Radio Engineer knew more about our current debate than I could have ever imagined.
He explained that it is not the calls or the smss which bothers the airlines much but instead, the small ElectroMagneticPulse(EMP) generated by our mobiles which can disrupt the electronics circuits onboard. This is a very small chance with the new and advanced circuits coming into use nowadays but as always, in terms of space and air travel, it’s much better to be safe than really sorry. He further commented that in his time the biggest fight was against EMP and the biggest contest was to be able to transmit voice across the globe at less than 10 Watt power.
Ah! It was good to finally hear this explanation from someone who was confident and direct about the facts instead of just saying that it’s part of the rules and at the end of the flight I thanked him, Ashwat Dharampuri, Managing Director of W. Diamant India Ltd, a unit of Winterstone, an international diamond tool manufacturing company and walked off the flight content that I had learnt something new simply by opening my mouth and showing my ego to someone who I knew would educate me instead of cursing me.
This is the post all you bloggers have been waiting for! Specially my dear friend Arpit Rastogi.. Hope you find this useful…
Ok, so Last time we discussed how to Make a Google SMS Channel which gives people updates about your Blog… But what good is it if people don’t know how to access your Channel and subscribe to it??
One way is to simply send email invites to everybody in your list but that’s the most un-cool thing you could ever do to yourself (of course, it’s very very effective, but we’re trying to be cool here people! :D).
The better way is to add this function as a Widget to your blog and put it right next to the email invites so that people notice it. Now, since there was no direct way or a pre-made widget to do this thing for me, I mixed and mashed a few widgets and came up with the following code to Make me a widget!
Without any more festivities, here’s the code:
<a href=”http://labs.google.co.in/smschannels/subscribe/NitinsBlog”> <img src=”http://labs.google.co.in/smschannels/inc/SMSChannelsLabsLogo.gif” alt=”” height=”50″ width=”150″> </a> <br> Have GMail? Now get my posts via sms! <b> <br> Just <a href=”http://labs.google.co.in/smschannels/subscribe/NitinsBlog”> Click HERE </a> </b> <br><br>
Now, here’s an explanation of the code, the first href link within the double quotes is the link for your SMS Channel, this is the one which will be embedded within the cute little picture of Google SMS Channels which will be part of the widget… Oh and also, the second href link is your sms channel too!!!
So, all you have to do is this: Change the two href double quoted links from My SMS Channel (NitinsBlog) to the Subscribe link for your SMS Channel and post it in the Widget for your Blog and you’re done…
Oh wait! How to make your own widget?? If you are on WordPress, simply go to the Widgets page in your Admin and add the Text Widget to your Widget list and add the Code there…
One last note, make sure you change the href link and make sure you put the subscribe link for your sms channel in double quotes for it to work properly.. and if yuo don’t change it, you’ll be making sure that people join my blog instead of yours! 😀
And a p.s. No common user uses Google SMS Channels right now so they’re going to have to register themselves to it first and that’s a slightly confusing process. I have already added the whole procedure to my earlier post, here and I seriously suggest that you read it and write your own blog post about how to join the sms channels for the benefit of your readers… Feel free to copy from my post…
Finally, if you want to get a feel about how Google SMS channels treat a new user, register yourself from my blog’s channel using the widget given at the top right side of my blog 😀
Google Labs India has introduced a feature (it’s no longer new, a LOT of people are using it!) called Google SMS Channels for Indian Users.
The Basic concept behind this service is that people can get access to updates from websites which offer RSS feeds directly to their Mobiles instead of having to go Online to Check for them in services such as Google Reader, via Internet Explorer/Mozilla or via RSS software such as Great News… Websites which provide RSS feeds include News websites like The Hindu and The Times of India, Sports Websites (particularly cricket websites, so the whole of India should be headed to Google now!) and interestingly, personal and professional blogs have RSS feeds too, which means that when You Update your Blog next time, People can get an update about it on their mobile phones! Talk about Popularity!
Now here’s the deal- I’ll tell you how to make an SMS Channel in Google Labs and you’ll tell me what it is and I’ll join it! Sounds good??
At this point, If you have not yet logged into your Google Account (basically your Gmail Account, but now it’s a universal login which you can use for all your Google Services…), then you will be asked to do so.
Since this is the first time you are logging into Google SMS Channels, you will be asked to fill up a Nickname and your Mobile Number for verification. IMP- Keep Your Cell Phone Handy for this step!
Step 2. Fill up a nice NickName for yourself and before you enter your mobile number, click on the button besides the name and verify that you have it!
Next, fill up your mobile phone number and click on the Verify Button… Within a few seconds, you will recieve a verification code on your mobile as an sms and the page on your screen will change to allow you Accept the Terms & Conditions of use and fill up the verification code from your mobile…
Once you’ve done that, Congratulations! You are ready to use Google SMS Channels!
Step 3. I highly recommend that you play around with the SMS channels for a while before making your own but for those in a hurry, skip to Step 4.
Ok, now your phone is ready to recieve messages from Google, but what SMSs do you want?? The First page displays the Editor’s Picks and are a large number of very popular Channels which people access, the top-most being, No prizes for the Correct Guess, Cricket!
So what’re you waiting for? Click on the Subscribe button right now and start getting sms updates from this Channel!
User Note: It is important to understand that most of the Channels you use will be made by either websitespromoting themselves or some product, thus it is advisable that before subscribing, you Click on the Channel’s name and see it’s details, as you scroll down, you will see the POSTS being made by the Channel in recent times, thus giving you an idea about how good the Channel is…
Now, another interesting feature of SMS Channels is the search option given at the top right of the pages, simply type what you need and you’ll see a great list of Channels which provide the same!
Step 4- Till now you’ve seen how we can join Channels made by others, but what you really want to see is How to make Channels for yourself!
So here goes…
On the Right side, just below the Search option, we have the Create Your Own Channel option…
Simply Click on Try Now to get Started on making your channel…
First, you have to Give your Channel a NAME.. Remember that Spaces and Apostrophes ( ‘ ) are now allowed, so make sure you give a short and sweet name to your Channel.
Then do the Check Availability Test to see if you’re there first… In case this is a Channel for your blog, you needn’t worry much, it’ll most probably be available…
Next, put a description about your Channel… If you want more members to access your Channel, better have a good description!
After this, please Select A category and your location. For Blogs, I suggest that you put the category as Other and in case you don’t want to fill up a location, choose None…
I would, however, suggest that you select a location, because some times people want to search for Channels from a specific location and they’ll sure like to join a local Channel!
Now here come’s the most important part… Selecting the SOURCE:
The source of the Channel is where you’ll be getting the updates from.
As the options Suggest, You can either select a BlogSpot Blog, A Google Group, A Google News Feed and even some other Blog or website which has RSS or Atom Feeds…
Here’s a Small explanation…
If there is a Blogspot blog you want to follow or have one of your own, Select the Blogger Option and put the name of the BlogSpot Blog, Google will automatically pick up the Updates from the Blog and serve them to you on a Platter!
An example of a BlogSpot Blog being accessed this way is given below:
and join up any group of their interest, from knitting to UNIX and even horse riding! Alternatively, you can simply follow groups via SMS Channels…
The third option and frankly the least used is Google News. This option is such that if you want Google to give you an update whenever something related is in the News, just fill in the Keywords You want.
I filled up “Nitin Khanna Chandigarh” without the double quotes as keywords iin one of the Channels I made and whenever some businessman in or near Chandigarh by the name of Nitin Khanna dies in a road accident, I get an SMS from Google! 😀
Finally, my favorite, the RSS/Atom Feed Option. This option is a little tricky to use but also the best if you have a Blog on non–Blogger sites or want to follow websites like The Hindu, Hindustan Times and The Times of India which publish their own RSS feeds…
This just shows you how to select the source for your Channel…
Ok, now that you have selected the source, you need to make sure that your Settings are right.
The Delivery Schedule is best kept at Throughtout the day and if you are making a public Channel, specially for your blog, the Allow Publishing by option should be at Only Me.
A Public Channel must be set to Any User can Subscribe and if you want only Selected few to use this Channel, you can Select the “By Invitation Only” option…
Final Step! Just Click on the Create Channel Button and Voila! Your Channel has been created… You can at any time come back to Google SMS Channels to change any of the settings of Your Channels, which will be available in a list Called My Channels when you login next time…
In case you are thinking why you don’t get more than 10 SMSs from Google in a day, Click the Settings Link at the top right of the page and hewre you may change your nickname and mobile number (You are limited to having only 1 mobile number registered at a time) and even the number of SMS you may recieve during the day and the Timings when you may recieve SMSs!
Be Warned: I once set my sms limit to 99 and Start Time to 4 AM and End Time to 3:30 AM.
That Day I recieved every News from the TimesOfindia Channel and had more GK about that day than Competition Success Review!
You have just now been informed about the Awesomeness of Google SMS Channels…
India is always fast in picking up various trends from the International markets. Whether it be clothing, fashion or foreign policy. Thus how is it possible that India not pick up international faults and repeat them in its own style? Well, I’m not just talking about the cost fluctuations due to Oil Prices and the whims of the Oil Sheikhs and those of the Federal Bank of the US. I’m talking about taking the biggest blunder of the century being adapted to the Indian scenario. We all know what the sub prime crisis has done to the United States, the world’s biggest economy is now at the brink of a recession best remembered way back between the World Wars… And its not even War right now, it least not for a majority of the world (I hate to say this, but I’m wrong, it IS war for most part of the world). But India is Unique in that unknowingly it is having a sub prime crisis too. No, not food grains, Cellular connections. India is currently one of the largest growing cellular markets and in order to woo the populace, the many cell operators in India Introduced very early various schemes for which the ICM (Indian Common Man) fell hook, line and sinker. But these amazing schemes have a draw back. Lifetime prepaid is a dream well dreamt, but most people are not staying with it at all. Thousands of free smses per month are a boon for the college student, but the companies providing these facilities are now facing the heat of not just TRAI but also the fact that they have to earn money in order to buy more spectrum in the coming years. So companies like Hutch (now Vadophone) and Spice have done a volte-face and upped their prices. MTNL and BSNL still hang on to the Great Dream but they too will soon realise that the government is not interesting in funding their whims and fancies.
Worse of all is the fact that the govt will be introducing Number Portability as early as 2009 in many circles. This will give undue power to the consumer in threatening the Cellular Operator into giving away freebies or loosing vital subscriber database which already has their favourite phone number. This will lead the companies to join hands under the Aegis of TRAI and set the minimum standards for call and sms rates. This will also lead to a uniformity not achievable as yet as each operator tries to use some loophole to their benefit.
For Example- TRAI told all operators to start charging rupee 1 per sms on goverment denoted holidays or festivals. This was a bane for prepaid consumers who had to develop strange habits of being overpunctual in wishing their relatives a day before the festival in order to save precious talktime. But odd it is when you still recieve many smses on the good day too! These are from PostPaid consumers who, amazingly have been granted the boon of being exempted of such silly reforms.
May God only Intervene in the Crisis now ravaging the minds of the mobile happy ICM.