Surface Duo and the phablet market

Microsoft has been buzzing with attention since the launch of the Surface tablet and laptop computer in 2013. Interestingly enough, the company has been gaining a steady market share since the initial introduction, currently having nearly 19% of the portable computer market share. However, it is the more recent devices like the Surface Book and the Surface Pro series that has invoked the attention of a particular niche of audience that seek functional value. And don’t get me wrong, Microsoft has done this gracefully with thoughtful design and state-of-the-art hardware packaging in mind.

With the announcement of the new Surface Duo, Microsoft is eyeing a market it once failed miserably in – handhelds. Having revisited the drawing board and improving on its many mistakes, the company claims that this device represents the next wave of mobile productivity combining the power of Microsoft 365 and Android operating system. We all know about Microsoft’s takeover of NOKIA and how the introduction of a line-up of phones with Windows Phone OS turned out for the company – Not good! Moving on, the company has used the packaging department’s full potential to create the thinnest mobile device (at 4.8mm when unfolded) in the market.

With a solid twin-hinge system, the device opens up to a high-quality, colour-calibrated 8.1” PixelSense Fusion display that maintains a similar 3:2 aspect ratio as its tablets. Btw, it’s not one seamless screen as you have seen on the Samsung Galaxy Fold or the Huawei Mate X. They are two separate 5.6” 1800×1350 screens running at 401 PPI (pixels-per-inch) each. It is easy to be fooled into thinking that the device is lighter than its competitors at 250 grams, however with a 3577mAh battery it comes as no surprise.

A decent Snapdragon 855 processor but only 6GB of RAM could mean the device is light on performance as well? The device is factory-fitted with a USB-C 3.1 port compatible with fast charging so, you could imagine yourself just hanging out in some common charging area with the other Surface Duo users, more often than with your friends in the cafeteria (so Microsoft is also revolutionizing the way people socialize now. How Interesting. Facebook, you better watch out). The phone comes in two storage options – 128GB and 256GB however, considering the devices come pre-loaded with an army of apps, you’re probably be going to be left with 75-80% of that space anyway. You can use your OneDrive storage if you have a Microsoft 365 account.

Microsoft seems to have spent a considerable time playing around with the operating system to allow various use-case scenarios. A few to name are Dual screen windowing, Adaptive modes and a few others. The one that intrigued me the most was when they flipped the second screen around into “tent mode” which allowed users to watch their favourite content in a viewing position comfortable to them rather than the user adjusting to the phone’s position. And that’s about it. It simply didn’t make sense to me to be multi-tasking or using two apps at the same time. Also, call me a Boomer but I don’t fancy watching any content except maybe YouTube for about an hour, on a screen below 6 inches. And targeting this device for productivity? I am not even going to touch on that subject, then what is a computer for? I am only imaging how hard it is going to be for someone to do Skype conference or Microsoft Teams meetings on this device while pretending to be taking notes simultaneously. It is just my opinion, I could be totally wrong.

Let us put all the things I said earlier aside because I am about to sound like one giant hypocrite. I own a Surface. No, not the Duo or the Pro, it is a Surface Book 2 15”. It is one gorgeous machine with a great keyboard and trackpad, it is great for editing content or even gaming thanks to its beefy NVIDIA graphics card but it also doubles up as a tablet when I take a break to lie on the couch and watch a movie or surf the web. It was an expensive decision, however, considering that most of my computer purchases are long term, I thought why not give it a shot especially for all the function on offer.

I am not sure I can say the same thing about the Duo. Ignoring the fact that most of the initial sales is going to be driven by the Microsoft/Surface “fan boys”, at a price of US$1399.99, what I don’t really understand is where the company sees a market for this device beyond that. To me, it just looks like a sophisticated version of the Nintendo 3DS or maybe it is the 3DS users the company is targeting? I can totally picture wealthy narcissistic teenagers walking down the street with Duos in their hands texting and chatting with each other. Sick.

Seeing most smartphones manufacturers making the switch to bezel-less and high refresh-rate screens, the Duo is definitely at a bottom-end when it comes to specs. If Microsoft truly cared about addressing its users’ mobile productivity needs and put money where their mouth is, then where is the hardware encryption chip to protect confidential information? Where is that Windows Hello facial recognition system? Where is that Bit-Locker drive encryption? Perhaps some of that could be addressed over a software update. But the real question is, what are trying to solve with the introduction of this device? Is the Duo really a revolutionary device that addresses customers’ productivity needs or is it a stunt to grab their attention and drive stock prices amidst, the tech investment boom? You tell me.

The Spoiled Brat Stereotype – Drawing lines on Autism?

“My autistic traits were obvious! But the Spoiled Brat archetype worked against the assumption that I needed support, and instead adults believed I needed chastising or ignoring”. Read this wonderful post written by the Autistic Science Lady. It is one that would open your eyes to a new reality, one you simply did not know existed.

Click this Link to visit page now.

Conscience In Our Actions

The whole world is stuck in a rut unfortunately due to COVID-19. Having “many avenues” to expend my energy, I called up a friend and asked her what she thought about Conscience. It was funny at the time because, the conversation drifted towards existence, finding oneself and building awareness when it should have, or what I thought should have, been on the feeling of guilt of breaking a promise or doing good to others. Consciousness is often misused in common speech, but they actually mean two vastly different things in psychology. Though I am not an expert in this field, I research plenty about this area to draw lessons from and improve my own.

Nothing in this world is ours. What is good and what is bad will be finally judged by the Almighty“.

Anonymous
Freud’s Levels of Mind, Courtesy: VeryWellMind

Conscience is a thought process on our core values that brings out, a combination of emotions and rational associations based on our action. It is simply a measure of a person’s moral judgement. According to a personality theory introduced by the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud, conscience is said to be part of an individual’s superego, a component of an individual’s personality composed of internalized ideals, that is acquired from parents and society. It is a culmination of all the values we picked up on what is right and wrong and basing our actions on those morals.

“If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

I remember this one incident when I was growing up, one of our neighbors came up to our house. We lived in a tiny alley, tucked in a few meters from the busy streets. This lady we knew rang the bell and asked if anyone was home. I rushed to open the doors for her, and she asked me, smiling, if I wanted a chocolate. The child in me wanted it right away (in fact later when I had discovered that it was whole bag, I wanted to literally shower in it. Not kidding. I spent two nights trying to convince my mom to get us a bathtub so I could “swim” in it). However, having watched a ton of Tom & Jerry cartoons by then, there was this moment when I had the image of a little devil on one of my head and an angel on the other. I swear, they started battling between if or if I should not take the chocolate because I just had a full meal. I ended up taking it and the whole bag, after all I was just a child. My point is, this vivid ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ or the ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ force is what one could call the voice within or guiding light.

Never ignore this voice. Never give up on your guiding light no matter what suffering you go through. Every action of ours bears some form of fruit. What you do may or may not affect you today but boy, does it have consequences. There is a saying from where I come from that our actions affect our grandchildren, two generations down the line. So act my friend, act with conscience.

Does Memory Have An Effect On Personality?

The title of this post might come off as controversial to a many. Please note that the post is not exactly about me, though it is my research and consolidation of various facts on the subject. I was reading a thought-provoking article written by Dr.Fawzy Masaoud (Accredited Senior Psychotherapist of a Private Mental Health Clinic in London, England) about the human brain and memories. Does anyone know what memories are? How do we manufacture, remember, and forget them? How does the brain process, store and retrieve memories for later use? Are memories truly accurate records of information? Are our personalities shaped around it? Well, I do not know the answers to these questions either so, let us explore together, shall we?

The research on Brain and its function is a fairly recent development. Back in the ’60s, it was hypothesized that all the cells of the human body were capable of storing memories, not only those in the brain. This idea was known as cell memory or cellular memory. Such theories never made it to the big-leagues aka, peer-reviewed science journals as they were considered pseudoscientific. More recent research in this area shines light on the fact that our Brain does not necessarily contain memories, it by itself are the memories.

“A typical memory is really just a reactivation of connections between different parts of your brain that were active at some previous time”

Nikolay Kukushkin

In more physiological or neurological terms, memory is, at its simplest, a set of encoded neural connections in the brain. It is the re-creation or reconstruction of past experiences by the synchronous firing of neurons that were involved in the original experience. From the time we are born, our brain is bombarded with all kinds of information, both about us and the world around. This information is stored in our brain as memories, a collection of neuron firing that triggers emotions or feelings, similar to how computers store various kinds of information as 1’s and 0’s and when activated shows an image or an audio. However, our brain does not store information the same way as a computer does. The memory storing process is rather complicated in human beings.

How Are Memories Stored?

In this section, we are going to explore facts based on an article on how memories are stored. I have included a basic overview of my observations for your viewing. For more details, please visit this page and support the author. Memories are stored as collective experiences of various senses in our body. We need to have seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and/or touched something to have some form of memory of it says, Researcher Lenka Otap. “When we give something attention, it is then temporarily saved into our short-term memory“. There are three types of sensory memories that are used to retain impressions of sensory information after the original stimulus has ceased: The iconic (visual), the echoic (hearing) and the haptic (tactile) memory. The sensory memory retains a short “snapshot” of the stimuli for a few seconds and is not a conscious choice. Most of our sensory experience is filtered without which, our brain would have been overstimulated with constant sounds, and visual and tactile impressions, the author says.

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What comes into our short-term memory stays here for 15–30 seconds if we do not rehearse it. What we repeat or continue thinking about for a longer time will be saved in long-term memory. There are two types of long-term memory: Explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious). The explicit is what the memory that you are aware of and use or practice consciously. The implicit is the things that you or your body remembers unconsciously, such as how to walk (procedural memory). In the implicit memory, we also have priming, which combines related memories to remember something faster, such as priming the word yellow, would make you answer banana faster than strawberry.

How do memories shape us?

All animals including single celled organisms, have some form of ability to learn from it is past. As amazing as this may sound, the human grey matter is uniquely flawed in its own ways, especially when it comes to accessing memories. When you remember something, the same neural network that was used for creating the memory gets activated again. At the same time, your brain tells you that it is only a memory, which is lucky because otherwise, it would be like hallucinating and being back in your memory.

In this previously mentioned post, Dr. Fawzy Masaoud claims that memories are not accurate record of events. When several people who witness the same event, they are likely to give their own versions of what they think happened. This phenomenon is called Memory Bias. When you retrieve a memory it gets influenced by newer thoughts, emotions, and knowledge which can interfere with the memory structure of the neuron connections, so when it is saved again in the long-term memory after being retrieved, it might no longer be the same as before. It becomes a memory of a memory. You will not be able to know the difference since it is not like you have “version control” of memories that allows one to compare and cross-check with a backup (unless you write it down each time, maybe?). So how do your memories affect who you are today? To read more on Memory Bias, click here.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

While we may often stumble across the above expression being used when discussing broad cultural considerations, like war, policy, and politics, it is fair to say that the less we are able to bring our past to light, the more likely it is to shape our lives in ways we don’t desire. Some of our memories of what happened to us as children are fuzzy, while others are altogether maybe unclear. In his book, The Developing Mind Daniel Siegel says that, “Implicit memory encodings shape the growing architecture of the self”.  Even though the trigger of these memories is unconscious, their effect our personalities in various situations can be unwanted and unconscious even. We are basically primed to be reactive. Read this article to learn more and support the author.

In addition, our earliest memories are known to be implicit i.e., memories that rely on structures in our brain that are fully developed before we are born. Because of the nature of implicit memories, they are often triggered subconsciously and cause reactions we do not always understand. A bad example of an implicit memory is seeing certain wallpaper that can remind a person of a room in which they were abused as a child, leaving them feeling anxious without even knowing why. A good example of implicit memory is hopping on a bike and instinctively remembering how to ride. “Our lives can become shaped by reactivations of implicit memory, which lack a sense that something is being recalled,” wrote Siegel. “We simply enter these engrained states and experience them as the reality of our present experience”.

Our implicit memories can be like invisible forces in our lives, impacting us in powerful ways. The more we can learn about implicit memory, the better we can understand ourselves and not let our experiences and reactions in the present get hijacked by our past. Often, our strongest, most intense reactions in the present come from our implicit memories, because of the intense feelings attached to these memories. However, if we can make these implicit memories explicit, we can resolve unresolved trauma and feel more integrated within ourselves. Please click here to read more about the subject.

Based on your reading, what is your opinion on memories and its effect on our personalities? Leave your comments below.

Effective Ways to Improve Communication

As humans, we have the gift of language. A gift not held by any other species. Despite this there is a known miscommunication that exists in our speech. Is it because we unconsciously speak in a way that makes sense to us? Do we do that because, deep down we just want to be heard? Let us explore more about effective ways to improve our communication in this post, so that we create a much better impact on ourselves and the dear people around us.

Just as a life without food is impossible, science has proven over years of research that everything consumed by us either heals us or kills us. In a similar way, what we see, show, speak, hear and touch also has an unconscious impact on our lives creating positive or negative impacts. There are ways in which we can connect with people in truly meaningful ways – and with ourselves in this technological day and age. Is there a way for us to pick out aspects of good communication and imbibe that in our day-to-day life? Research says there is.

I am sure many of you here will agree with me when I say, ‘There is no food like Mum’s food’ (I am sorry if you had a bad childhood and did not get to experience mother’s food. You are free to talk to me and visit me – to get a feel of what mom’s food is like. I would consider my mother to be the best cook in this world and she is generous to feed just anyone). The difference is the love and compassion a Mother brings to the table; there is simply no substitute for it.

Just as we eat our Mother’s food that makes us feel extra special  inside, we must feed ourselves with understanding and compassion for our fellow human beings in order to provide healing to ourselves and to others. You might stop here and ask yourself, ‘do I need/is it possible to be conscious about what I consume?’. The answer is – Yes. In order to become more mindful in life, one needs to –

  1. Let go of Judgement
  2. Return awareness of body (breathing)
  3. Be attentive about oneself and their surrounding

Wait. Judgement? Return awareness? Breathing? What are you talking about man? Is this some kind of cult you are dragging me into or what? Let me outta here. Ok…ok. Hold up. Just breathe in and breathe out. Relax. I have got this, alright? Let me give you an example. Imagine you are at a supermarket. There are all kinds of things to shop and that much more kinds of people walking in and out of there. You see a group of high school kids come running in and screaming causing all kinds of ruckus. Then you see a family with two obedient children walking quietly besides their parents and you are wondering – how? And then there is an old man who is hard of hearing, digging his way slowly into his wallet looking for change while there are 6 customers waiting behind him, some annoyed, some amused.

As you are reading this, if you are looking at the story and going ‘Why am I reading this?’, then that my friend is your lesson # 1. Let go of the judgement and just go with the flow. Not everything in life is supposed to make sense and if everything around you made sense and you were able to see through it, then you’re probably Einstein. Not kidding. Some of you probably smiled, some probably cringed, and some went WTH! Your reaction was involuntary and independent to you. But did you stop and take the time to observe yourself and notice the way you reacted? . Great if you did. If you did not, then go back and try reading again. As you observe, stop every time you react and grow awareness on your speech and body language. That is your lesson # 2. Lastly lesson # 3 is somewhat related to lesson # 2 however, it has more to do with being conscious about what you absorb from your environment. If someone is angry and screaming at us, one of two things is likely to happen. We either absorb that energy and become angry ourselves or we absorb that energy, internalize it with emotions and become sad. It is almost impossible to imagine taking a beating with a smile. ‘That is stupid’ is what one would tend to think however, that takes us back to lesson # 1.

Thus, the steps for effective communication begins with connecting with ourselves internally. We need to clear up all the mess inside of us in order to channel mindful awareness towards others therefore helping us get out there and getting what we want. When you get better at communicating with yourself, it is easier to find happiness. Practice non-talking and non-thinking i.e., taking time in your life to not say or do anything. This gives us the space to truly listen to ourselves. With this we can get better at listening to others. Listening is such an important aspect of our lives. We often tend to ignore what the other person is trying to say, particularly over digital communication and stick to only what we want.

Always remember that the best sale happens only when a client’s needs are met. This leaves a lasting impression on the other person, the feeling of being listened to and helps reduce the risk of alienation in our lives. Lastly, do not ignore suffering. Suffering is common and will motivate you to do something to help relive it whether, it is your own, your friends, your family of just of the world. Listen with intent, love yourself, live to understand and ask yourself repeatedly if what you’ve done is enough. It will help you develop compassion for others and instill a source of eternal happiness within. Love all, Serve all.

Understanding Languages

Hello everyone. I am sure there are a lot of you readers out there who are curious about what this fool has to offer. You must have been waiting for a really long time now (since I’ve delayed this for a very very long time due to lack of what some would respectfully call, “Balls”) and some, just to see if I was ever going to start writing. So, here it is.

Languages are supposed to be an important milestone in human development. Though the origin of languages is highly debated, scientists are on a constant hunt for evidences such as fossils, archaeological samples, and language studies to attain a better understanding of the same. Heated debates often occur on the subject and experts have identified the occurrence of this phenomenon roughly 4.4 million years ago in the Ardipithecus ramidus speciesto the origins of modern human behavior.

If you think about it though, speech is just controlled noise. A branch of study on this subject is called phonetics. Now observe the air coming out of your lungs. As it is subjected to turbulence/vibrations at the vocal reeds, we produce various patterns of sounds through vocalization. Field primatologists have published several papers with results that concur with this observation, particularly in the great ape communication. An example is the Vervet Monkey which is apparently capable of making up to 10 distinct vocalizations, used to warn approaching predators and identifying each other.

I know it is extremely hard but let us pretend that you are not aware of any form of communication, in short you do not understand any language. Now imagine your family/friends/colleagues as your favorite animals. Pretend for a minute that whatever they spoke – those distinct patterns of sounds (words) make no sense to you – that they were just random noises. Don’t they sound just like those of other animals? Wow, that just opened my mind to a whole other consciousness. If all these random noises we make mean something to us, that means all the random noises other animals make should also mean something to them. Cooooooooooooolllllllllllllll!

A quick search on Google.com tells us that, there are about 6500 languages spoken around the world today. Before we get drawn in deeper, we need to stop and ask ourselves, why do so many languages exist? What led to the fruition of 6500 languages? My intuition tells me that it has something to do with guarding secrets, I do not know. It is simply my speculation and I could be totally wrong. I am writing, and you are reading this article in a language called ‘English’. English has been popular for just 15 centuries. Imagine how many languages must have come and gone.

Whatever I am writing now is barely my vague command over this language so, I hope you will forgive me for my mistakes. Funny, English is neither my first language, nor did I take the time to master any of the other 3 languages I know. When I say I know, I mean I know to make random noises in it :). However, over the course of time I have come to realize the importance of the languages, at least the importance we have given to it in our daily lives. Languages have helped us communicate with one another from buying groceries, to expressing feelings and emotions to our loved ones, negotiating tough situations and several more. We have taken simple grades of sounds and turned into this wonderful medium of expression, that has over time helped us gain certain characteristics we would not have gained without the effort of our ancestors.

I hope I am not offending anyone when I say this but, we are still mostly a self-centered species. We use this acquired art and thrash it around like it is no man’s business. We often misuse it for our personal gains, and many have lost sight of the bigger picture. Life would not have been possible if the right conditions were not met, and this planet must have suffered tirelessly to the lashings of the cosmos before the first spark of life manifested. Why was any form of life created/born? And why did it have to get better and better over the years to develop into wonderful forms of life such as micro-organisms, plants, and animals and then… Us? I for one believe God is all the same, and religious texts even if scrutinized from time to time, has served well as a guiding light. If you are as rational and thoughtful a being as I presume you to be, then Dear Reader, please stop and think about what the bigger picture is. Use your language wisely.

The existence of a star like the Sun is a gift, this beautiful planet Earth and its distance from the Sun, perfect for sustaining life is a gift. Our life, even this very second is a gift, and we must all use it to create something meaningful out of it. To being the force that broke all barriers and rewrote history.

Introduction

Hello everyone. Welcome to my blog. I hail from a small town called Coimbatore, in a small country called India. Can’t say that about our population though, haha. Anyways, I’ve been the kind of person who has had a lot to say but never end up saying it from the fear of being judged or simply being rejected.

I’ve come to the realization that I don’t have to do that, especially after all these years of contemplation. I have come to understanding that we must learn to live for ourselves as we die only once, am I right? So, why the hell not?

I studied Mechanical Engineering from my parents’ pressure and pursued Automotive Engineering because I thought I was passionate about cars. Turns out I like technology, I am passionate about our planet and I have fun driving cars.

Honestly, I have always fancied the idea of being my own boss and working for myself. Working in the industry requires you to have a tough skin and face many external forces that I believe I might not have been truly made for.

Everybody has a purpose, atleast that’s what I like to think.

I will do my best to avoid this blog from being a ‘Rant-Den’ and rather focus on writing about the things that interest me and spur everyone’s curiosity a bit. Things like Tech, Cars, and even Self-Help (I was also thinking Food, Music and Energy crises but, we’ll leave that for later). Through this I wish to connect with groups and individuals who share my passions and I would love to collaborate and help as many as I can along the way.

I have spent the last few months working for myself and working on trying to figure out my true purpose. If I successfully blog throughout this year, I will have achieved something of a personal goal and overcome my fear of being judged and worrying too much about what others think of me.