My nerdy world!

My nerdy world!

The first time I realised that I loved technology was when our nursery teacher drew a square shape on the board and said, ‘Draw this.’ The class struggled with their four straight lines and were intent on creating the funniest possible squares in their drawing books. I thought for a while, then pulled out my small rectangular tiffin box and slowly but with determination drew four really straight lines and completed the most technologically sound square.

‘That’s nice,’ said my teacher, and held my book up for all to see. The pleasure that I experienced probably made me look for better solutions every time after that.

So my nerdy world began with a square and is now held captive by a rectangular shaped gadget that we call a smartphone and those wonderfully receptive devices called an ultrabook and a tablet. I am not alone in this obsession. Of course this nerdiness went through years of being cocooned on a couch passively watching the idiotbox until I reached the new-age phase in my nerd-e-volution when I spend 70% more time with my smartphone or any other technology that interacts with me while I’m on the move.

On the move.

The keyword in this exciting phase of my life is ‘on the move’. So what if many days all the movement I do get into is walking up from my desk in my Study to go to the kitchen to see how much more junk-food we still have. I stand in the kitchen with my tab or my smartphone, either completing the drawing that I am doing or the hybrid art that I’m trying to create with the help of an app. This journey outside my study is quite exciting too… as I discover packets of wafers, creamy biscuits, khata-meetha namkeen, salted almonds, imli-goli, and panjiri in plastic boxes waiting to be consumed. I mean, if I were not so immersed in technology, wouldn’t these things stop popping up as surprises and bonuses? I think this is the real truth for my love of remaining immersed in technology. Yes, there are other real truth as well, and we’ll talk about them too, but this one is the one that has the max calorific value and I love it because it manages to fill the little blank spaces that keep popping up as I interact with technology.

I remember a friend who still had only one landline phone number mentioned on his visiting card, asked, ‘Aren’t you going away from your natural instincts? I mean don’t you ever want to return to tactile interactions? Why remain in this cold and two-dimensional world of technology?’

I stared at him for some time and said, ‘Buddy, you really haven’t discovered Whatsapp, Instagram, Foursquare, and Runkeeper… right? These are the apps on my smartphone and tab and help my natural instincts remain sane. And my nerdy world isn’t cold and two-dimensional. It is full of the excitement of updates, likes and shares!’ I know he didn’t understand a word of what I was blabbering about, but then what’s the use of being a nerd if everyone understands you all the time… right? You see, it isn’t that I wasn’t fascinated with technology thirty years ago… even then I always carried a scratch pad and my pen. Even then I slept with a copy and a pencil on my bedside table… and weren’t they the technology of those times that I was constantly using?

When I'm on the move I need Whatsapp, my voice recorder, Instagram to share, Runkeeper, Timehop to present me my past, and a lot of other apps...

When I’m on the move I need Whatsapp, my voice recorder, Instagram to share, Runkeeper, Timehop to present me my past, and a lot of other apps…

What happens when an idea for a blog post or a poem comes flirting with my grey cells? Do I just watch it flirt with a vicarious pleasure and let it fly away to some other blogger to catch it and tame it? No, why should I do that? I was capturing these free-flight ideas thirty years ago even when I was on the move… I still have old scratch pads with obviously indecipherable notations and scatter-brain sentences that were brilliant ideas that finally found their way into articles and poems. It is the same now… all I do is I jot them all down in my smartphone or tab or ultrabook, whichever is handy and near me. In addition, I can make audio notes, interview people, and even click a candid picture to capture the emotive appeal of that moment. I told all this to that friend and said, ‘Will you still call my nerdy life cold and two-dimensional?’

This friend, this technology baiter is Nerd No. 2 now. He moves fast and catches up with what is happening in the world, faster! This is what technology does… and all this is going to improve and get better.

So what do I really do when I am on the move?

Let me tell you what happened when I was zipping away in a Volvo XC60 in the NDTV-Volvo Adventure Challenge in the heart of the Satpura forest which is where tigers, leopards, and bears can meet you just about any place. I was a participant in this TV reality show and for this episode, we had to navigate through dirt roads, uncharted paths, and opening between the forested areas to reach the final destination from the next episode would be shot. We were not allowed to keep any gadget while the episode shoot was going on… and believe me, the number of lovely shots I could see walking away, the number of ideas that jumped into my mind and then faded away is so large that anything in the world cannot balance the pain of losing them.

But once we reached our destination and I took my smartphone back from my producer, I was in a different world.

There was a temple in the middle of nowhere in the forest and I took off my shoes, walked up the stairs and recorded an impromptu interview with the temple pujari who told me all about the history of the place, his appeal for some budget, and a lot about religion, faith, and the Gods. I clicked pictures and I wrote my notes on Quickoffice. I used my PopArtCam, PaperCamera, and CameraPlus apps to click pictures with the sort of effects I wanted. I used PopAGraph, Brushstroke, and PS Touch to give my pictures a unique identity. There was a fast hand-made sketch I made on Tayasui Sketches, made a poster on Phoster, used InstaMag and Studio to give instant relevance to a few of these pictures and then shared them all via Whatsapp with my family. I also Instagrammed a couple of them which were also tweeted and shared on my Facebook wall. There was one short video that I made on Video in Video where between the forest clip was another window that had me explaining my excitement. And yes, did I mention that I also shared a couple of updates in Hindi? Did I mention that I love using Notegraphy and tapbubble to create word posters of my own observations? Did I mention that I can refer to a Dictionary on my smartphone at any time or that I can read a book on Kindle or converse in any language through Duolingo?

Yes, I do much more when I am on the move… and it is all because of the massive and awesome power of technology that is encapsulated in a box that weighs just a few hundred grams. Would I have done all this with just a pen and a scratchbook in my pocket? Probably no… though yes, some note-taking was possible and some sketches too, if I was carrying a sketch-book and my art pencils with me. But listen, art drawn with a stylus is just as perfect and you have the advantage to undo the wrong strokes that you make… of course there are other advantages like layering, but even if you are a novice with technology, you can create lovely appreciable art in lesser time.

So, do I love being with technology?
Yes, I do.
What next?

Yes, there is always a next step… better step… and what I hate in technology now is the number of gadgets and devices that I need to carry with me. It simply adds to the clutter in my baggage and I am always stressed out about keeping them all charged and in perfect condition. This is too much of attention that I have to give my tech masters. I need more in less.

I need more in less.

I have been reading about higher configuration tablets and how they can be linked to portable keyboards via Bluetooth. Well, this does sound good but I know how these diverse devices can have sudden conflict attacks and leave you completely shattered.

So I need more in less that is paired well and seamlessly.

This search took me to have a closer look at the Asus Transformer Book T100 that has an Intel Atom-based processor pairing up with a Windows 8 tablet! When I read about this machine, I said to myself, ‘Now this is what my heart desires. Let me go out and take a look at it.’

My nerdy world needs to more but with less number of gadgets!

My nerdy world needs to more but with less number of gadgets!

So I went to have a closer peep at this machine that ‘uses a 1.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 CPU, which is from the new Bay Trail generation of processors. It’s much, much faster than the equivalent Clover Trail chip of last year.’ My first glance at it told me that here was one device that leaves out unnecessary frills and gives you a Windows platform with zero impact on its cost.

I was staring at a very powerful tablet that was carrying three different finishes with a great poise! The back of the tablet part is extremely glossy, the keyboard surround is faux brushed metal and the bottom of the keyboard bit is soft-touch matt plastic. Three different finish types can easily rob any device of design cohesion, but the T100 seemed as confident as Sushmita Sen on the ramp in the mid-nineties! No design bumps means the mind of a user is directly focused on what the device does. This is certainly one of the prime factors that draws me towards this device… and the first thing that actually hooked me on to it! No, I haven’t bought it yet, but will be pleased to win it for myself!

The store owner was a friendly one and even allowed me to install Photoshop on the machine. To be frank I did not expect it to accept such a taxing program, but the device did run photoshop without a hitch. There was also no jerkiness that one has come to expect in the low-end windows tablets. The fact that the keyboard and the tablet part in the T100 are connected by sturdy old-world metal connectors means there won’t be any of the unpredictability and speed issues that Bluetooth connectors come with. I loved this feature too, besides the fact that I won’t have an extra keyboard with batteries to be charged!

The 10.1-inch screen of 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution isn’t the greatest, but then the normal-range laptop that I have been using has a resolution in the same range… so yes, this machine doesn’t have the brilliance of an iPad’s retina display but has some astonishingly good viewing angles. And if add a solidly-made screen covering of Gorilla Glass providing good anti-scratch protection, you should be one happy man-on-the-move! So if I am one who moves around, I wouldn’t want a scratchy screen as I would be using my device sitting by the side of bushes and on rocky surfaces too!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the machine comes with Office Home & Student edition pre-installed (this is generally not there in non-Windows RT tablets). The sound quality wasn’t what Bose speakers offer, but wasn’t too harsh or tinny and the stereo sound was enough if I wanted to watch a movie sitting on a mountain top.

When I move out I generally carry my high end smartphone which has a pretty decent camera besides my DSLR, so I wasn’t really looking at any super camera in this device as I will probably need something good enough for a skype chat or a google hangout only… and the T100 had a 1.2 megapixel front camera only. This suits me, I said to myself… why pay for an addition that I would not be using. What irked me though was that the T100 had no 3G/4G. Absence of NFC did not bother me so much because the device had Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi, but one does need to connect to the net. This obviously means that the tablet cannot also double as a phone. This is a pretty sound tablet that can work as a laptop as well… and this suits me because I can use my stylus to draw or sketch on the T100 as a tablet and then write my posts fast using the T100 as a laptop. However, the trackpad of this machine does need a tweak… but then I am not the trackpad lover and I prefer my wireless mouse.

Finally, the feature that warmed me towards it was when the store incharge informed me that the microUSB can be used for charging as well as data transfer and this means that I can use my Android phone charger to charge the battery though for a full charge I would still need a 2A charger.

The day I came back from the store after my short interaction with the ASUS Transformer, I sat and dreamed about it and wrote these lines in appreciation:

The transformed 

What is it that tweaks your life –
A smooth path or presence of strife,
A gadget or the latest device,
Or just foxiness with a dice? 

‘Two faces,’ I said, ‘are what I need
And in this there’s no hidden greed.
I need two faces that work for me
And are one in form and deed!’ 

They said, ‘You are a writer on the move
You love gadgets, are a techno groove
What faces do you talk about
What are now trying to prove?’ 

I then said the faces aren’t mortals
But through them I visit portals
And that two faces in one body
Would make me work with immortals! 

Which lab will have such a thing formed?
Out of time tunnels it must now be wormed
‘I think ASUS has it,’ said one, ‘because
Only a transformer will have me transformed!’ 

Yes, I guess, only a ASUS Transformer T100 can now have me transformed… into a blogger, writer, and photographer who isn’t hassled when he is on the move! Don’t I just love my nerdy world?

ASUS - Time to transform

ASUS – Time to transform


This post is written on the prompt ‘Time to Transform!’ — on Indiblogger
What keeps you hooked on to technology even when you’re on the move? Is it playing your favourite games, talking to friends, catching up on some work you love doing? Write a blog post on the things that you think will keep you hooked to a “Transformed” T100 when you’re on the move. The most creative and original posts win exciting prizes.
Sponsored by ASUS




Arvind Passey
06 June 2014