Gadgets

Shaving Razors – Manual or Electric

I have written earlier about how I solved the problem of maintaining my moustache trimmed regularly using Philips electric beard trimmer. Going by that experience I purchased online a full Electric Shaver – Philips AT 620 for Rs.2200. It turned out to be a mixed bag experience. While the Electric shaver gives a great shave, clean and soft, it has turned out to be more work.

Electric Shaver and Razor

Electric Shaver and Razor

With the manual Razor shaving once in 3 days takes me about 3-4 minutes from the time of washing my face, applying cream and actual shaving. I am careful and with 3 blade razors it’s rare for me to get the small razor cuts. With the Philips Electric Shaver (AT620) it’s an elaborate ritual. I have to plan the shave the day before so that the Shaver can be charged the fully overnight. Unlike the Beard Trimmer, the Shaver doesn’t work when plugged in, it needs to be charged before hand, a quick 10 minutes charge doesn’t help either. If that’s not enough, each shave takes about 10-12 minutes in total. The actual shave, the cyclic motions as shown in this tutorial (yes you need a video to use this), makes it a slower process. Every rinse after few strokes is not as easy as the manual razors. At the end of it, most often I had to use a razor to do the small leftover areas I couldn’t get off with the Electric shaver. What I found irritating the most compared to razor was the washing of blades, drying and storing away after each shave. I have to be careful not to leave the parts in the wash counter, for risk of losing it.  I suppose expecting a Rs.200 bag is too much for the manufacturer to provide to store safely the unit and charger. My Rs.300 Gillette Razor gives me a good store-away case.

Do I recommend an electric shaver?

Yes for those who care about how their face skin feels, needs extra close and soft shave. If you are getting photographed in close-up and for models/actors, electric shaver is a professional investment. For mere mortals who are impatient, a Razor blade is good enough. For myself, since I spent the money on buying the Philips Aquatouch I will be using it till it dies, that too only over weekends when I have the time.

While on the subject of shaving, I have in the past posted about how irritated I get whenever I had to use Gillette shaving foam can. For one the can is made by Gillette to get rusted in the first use, second the press button is designed poorly as to not work or break easily on the slightest touch, inducing you to buy a new one more often.

Gillette shaving foam. New can, button came off, sprayed all over

Gillette shaving foam. New can, button came off, sprayed all over

I never liked the foams from other brands or they were not suited for my sensitive skin, that was all until I found the one below - Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel Ultra Glide with 0% alcohol. The can of this gel is powder coated, so doesn’t rust, the button is broad and wide making it less likely to break on regular usage.

Nivea Men Shaving Gel with a well designed can and easy to use button

Nivea Men Shaving Gel with a well designed can and easy to use button

Disclaimer: I don’t work for any of these brands, I am not a professional or qualified stylist in any sense, I haven’t been paid in any fashion by these brands or their competitors. I have paid on my own for all these products and tried it for my personal usage.

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Flashback, Gadgets

Apple iMac Summer 2001

Today I had my computer gallery moved from office to my home. After unloading the boxes in my room, I remembered an old iMac G3 being in one of the boxes and got curious to check out whether it still worked. It was a iMac Summer 2001 model, Power PC 600Mhz with 256MB RAM. The machine should have been last switched OFF around 2005, a whole decade ago.

iMac Summer 2001 - 600Mhz PowerPC G3

iMac Summer 2001 – 600Mhz PowerPC G3

I got busy in connecting power cable, USB Keyboard & Mouse, Ethernet LAN and powered ON.  To my surprise the machine booted up after several minutes and I luckily remembered the password to Login, which was totally fluke!

About iMac  - 256MB RAM, 600Mhz Power PC G3

About iMac – 256MB RAM, 600Mhz Power PC G3

I checked out the apps that was there, first was Safari, I was able to  browse websites, even this blog using the Safari 1.x  that was present in the iMac G3.

Safari 1.x displaying this blog in March 2015

Safari 1.x displaying this blog in March 2015

I got curious to try the Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac, I suppose this was the last version that Microsoft released for Mac, 11 years ago. Even that worked but layout of  this blog was  broken.

Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac working in March 2015

Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac working in March 2015

Being adventurous I inserted an audio CD to the CD bay, it went in and that’s all. It didn’t appear in the Desktop, iTunes or Disk Utility. Rebooting machine with Mouse button being pressed or physical insertion of a pin into the right hand side edge of the CD bay, nothing got the CD out. I think I stretched my luck too thin for the day. I could hear wife shouting to me to store away all the boxes and come for Dinner, so I have  shutdown the iMac for one last time, packed the iMac in a carton and dutifully cleared my room. I hope to unbox and switch on the iMac 10 years from now in 2025 and see what happens.

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Gadgets, Technology

SSD upgrade for iMac mid 2011

It was exactly three years back I purchased an Apple iMac 21.5″ Mid 2011 computer for my home usage.  I have grown comfortable with Mac OS X over the years, enjoy the media management & sync capabilities with iTunes, the ease of backup/restore with Time Machine with the accompanying Time Capsule device. I consider Windows PC is powerful and productive for work, that’s why I got recently a HP Envy Windows workstation for my office, but iMac is the best PC for home if you can afford it.

In iMac, I use Parallels virtualisation software to use Windows 7 and Ubuntu for testing purposes and when I plugin USB drives from outside. While I am satisfied with performance of my iMac, over last few months it was becoming slower and slower. Apps took long time to launch and switch. I tried moving my data (iTunes media, iPhotos, Documents) from my user folder to a new folder “data” in root, then deleting my user profile, recreating a new user profile. While this gave temporary relief, it was few days before the sluggishness came back.

Discussing with my vendor, he suggested I get the 7200 RPM, 1 TB Hard disk replaced with a Solid State Drive (SSD). Unfortunately SSD are commonly available in India  for a maximum capacity of 256GB only. To manage the storage needs, he suggested to connect the Apple 1TB Hard disk as an external drive using an external USB hard disk enclosure. After much thought I went with the option.

The 256GB SSD costed Rs.10,500 (USD 170). Apple authorised service centre charged a replacement fee of Rs.1500 (USD 25), they were nice to do a fresh clean install of OS X Yosemite in the “new” SSD. With the SSD, the machine feels better than it was when new, Mac boots within seconds (still slower than my Windows 8.1 Surface Pro) and app launches and performance are great. I highly recommend SSD for anyone with ageing iMacs.

iMac-mid-2011 iMac-SSD

One issue was the old 1TB hard disk connected through USB (USB 2.0 port as the Apple 1TB hard disk was a 3.5″ drive and there were no USB 3.0 enclosures for that) was slow. Accessing iTunes media from the external hard disk was slow (better than before, but still slow). After some experimentation, I connected a WD My Passport Studio 1TB drive through Firewire800 interface, copied the data from Apple 1TB, disconnected and stored away the Apple drive. WD drive through Firewire was fast, iTunes media were now available instantly.

WD-My-Passport-Firewire800-iMac

I recommend this combination for anyone with an old iMac with sufficient RAM – replace the iMac internal Hard drive with a 256GB or more SSD, connect an external drive for 1TB or more storage through Firewire 800 or Thunderbolt interface.

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Gadgets

High Tech Broom

Even broom in my house has gone high tech.

high-tech-broom

Today as I was doing Yoga in the terrace of my house, I noticed something “interesting” tied to the broom there. As I zoomed in, I discovered a (working) 8 GB USB drive attached to the lanyard holding the broom straws together. This was not by design, it’s the handy work of our house maid who should have used the lanyard lying around.

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Chennai, Gadgets

Lost without mobile for an hour

I dropped my wife & kid in front of the venue, told them I will park the car and call when I am inside the venue. They walked away, I had driven few metres, when I turned to pick my mobile phone, I couldn’t spot it. It was not in my pocket, not in the dashboard, not in the seat next to me. I looked around to see them, no sight of them, road was jam packed so I couldn’t stop the car and go after them. I began to panic!

My mind was playing tens of options on what to do next. It’s not going to be a simple matter of borrowing a phone from a stranger and calling. Wife unlikely to hear the ring in the high decibel levels inside the venue, even then she will be hesitant to pick a call from an unknown number. SMS will be best, but for that to work I need to be next to the stranger for ten minutes – the message has to go, she has to see it and reply to come back. She might be trying my number and since I won’t be pick up, she could be standing in the entrance.

I parked the vehicle, then in fast strides went to the venue. The place was crowded every inch. I couldn’t find them anywhere near the entrance. I am not an introvert, neither I am a socializing character, so speaking to strangers doesn’t come easy to me. I went around the whole place, searching for them or any other known face. After two rounds of the place, I went to information desk; the lady there kindly gave her personal mobile and allowed me to call. I called my wife, call was not going – there should have been 5000 people or more, so networks seemed to be jammed. Apologetically I asked the lady to try once more, this time 6 rings, 7 rings, no reply. I thanked the lady and went around looking. Then in one of the stalls I saw a friend of mine, borrowed his phone and kept trying my wife’s number. Luckily she picked the call this time and I asked her to come to the stall I was standing; disconnected I turned there she was few feet away from me. I called her to come near, introduced to my friend and we moved from there.

I explained to her what happened and got a good dose of how I should be careful with my phone and not leave it in the house. On our way back I thanked the lady in information desk and left the place feeling exhausted.

The whole episode made me realize how dependent we are with everyone carrying an individual mobile phone. I can’t seem to find my way without one for a single hour. I was recollecting the days till 15 years back on how we lived without mobile phones, still we went to places, dropped people, agreed on a common meeting point and life went on smoothly.

This incident happened to me two weeks back while we visited Chennai Book Fair. There was another instance when I was searching for my wife for 5 hours during our first Australian trip in 2002 but that story is for a different day.

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