Soundpipes…

Travelling in train, walking, or just kicking my feet up, I like to treat my ears with a nice tune.

Now, I am no audiophile but I will just pan out what I feel about the earphones I have used since first year of junior college, when I got my first proper mobile phone. A lot of them were standard earphones provided with mobiles, which were average. But here I will only describe my experience with the ones which I had to spend money on.

  1. Skullcandy In-ear Ink’d with inline mic
    Honestly, I bought skulls purely because of the hype surrounding them. My overall experience with them was pretty decent. Sound quality was good for my particular taste of music. (Which I may write about in a later post). I used them pretty rigorously for almost a year, by which time one side of it had stopped producing any sound and one of the rubber tips were lost without me explicitly removing it. Eventually I had to throw them away because a missing rubber tip made it impossible to keep the dead side in ear which would then in the crowds of local trains catch hold of a fellow passengers bag or wristwatch. A general consensus in my friends’ circle was that Skulls are pretty fragile for the price since many of them had lost one ear of their pairs within months after buying them.
    I have heard that their overall durability has increased overall since. But I am still a bit skeptical to give them another try.


  2. Sony MDR-XB 250 On-ear Headphones
    Immediately after discarding Skulls, I decided to splurge a bit and invested in a pair of Sony. These were called something else back then, but the model I have linked above seems to be the updated one. This is hands down one of the most durable electronic product I have ever used. Five years later, while typing this blog at 5 am in the morning, I am listening to a choral song on it. And guess what, it sounds just as good as it did years earlier. It’s tangle resistant cable has survived many tugs and twists over the years. There is no need of bandaging near the joints (ahm… apple ahmm…). Adjustment mechanism has not loosened a bit. The flexible band is just as firm as it was when I first bought it.
    Sound quality is pretty amazing for the price. If you like long, peaceful listening sessions, this one is perfect for you. Genres like are Indian classical, vocal, jazz, metal, rock are particularly enjoyable. I know for a fact that people who like Beats don’t like these. May god help them…
    A single point going against it is the thin faux leather layer on the ear padding. In a country as hot as India, it is impossible to use these outdoors for any longer than 10-15 minutes without wiping your ears and headphones off of sweat. But a use of about an year and a half will rub off the faux leather coating. The padding underneath it is pretty breathable. So ironically enough, the product becomes a lot more usable after a little bit of damage!
    In short, great headphones. Highly recommend them.


  3. JBL T-200A In Ear style earphones
    Now this particular model has been discontinued since I have bought it, so I have linked a similarly priced model, which shouldn’t be too different from the one I own right. I bought it in the year 2015 and have been using it since. The sound quality is even better than the skulls which I owned. My choice of music sounds absolutely amazing on this pair. Now this one has seen some serious wear. The wire is peeled from place to place, the inline button has stopped working long back and one of the ears of it don’t work. But the audio is so good that I can’t bring myself to throw these away. The rubber tips stay on firmly even after a couple of ears and the quality of the rubber used for it makes this pair ideal for continuous long usage.


  4. Logitech H151 PC headphones
    Bought these particularly to make video calls. Audio quality is average as expected. The cable is pretty long and there is an inline volume control and mute switch for mic. I was particularly disappointed by the fact that the volume control stopped working smoothly within 6 months of purchasing it. I surely had not expected it from a company like Logitech.

These are just my thoughts on the pairs of headphones-earphones I have owned. Your experience may have been different. Surprisingly enough I have never used a pair of Sennheiser for long. I guess those will be my next.

What are your thoughts on a good pair of earphones/headphones? Let me know in the comments…

Sc or E

So I was recently asked following question (translated)

What should be selected after 12th standard? A BSc or a BE/BTech? What is the situation in the respective fields now? What will it be in the next 5 to 10 years? What will then be better suited?

For the record I have done my BSc in geology and am currently pursuing Masters in Geophysics. I have strong personal views regarding the business side of things of an engineering degree but i am going to restrict myself to answering the question above.

It really depends upon what an individual wishes to do in his/her life. Engineering is usually more application based course. The focus is to find solutions to real world problems. A lot of things like programming, web development, etc are usually included in the course.

BSc goes the other way. Course is more theory based where theories are developed and taught. Focus is on research and development of the field. Geology, biotechnology, microbiology, BSc-IT are niche courses which are more applied and a student can get a job in private sector companies working in their respective fields. But I will not focus on these subjects much as they are not as common as Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.

In today’s job market, an engineering degree is far more likely to land a decent job than one in the pure sciences. At the end of an engineering bachelor’s degree, student is eligible to get a job straight away whereas hardly any jobs are available after a BSc degree in the fields of ones major. It is almost imperative that a student will at least complete a masters degree before seeking jobs in the field of pure sciences.

So it all boils down to what your focus after a bachelor’s degree will be. A lot of students want to pursue research in engineering fields in which case they will have to seek and engineering degree. For others who do not want to take the stress of the rat race and want to pursue their passion in pure sciences, BSc is the best option. There are a number of research institutes which offer a research position after MSc in India as well as abroad. The overall income in the research field is less when compared to engineers who work at MNCs and Indian Conglomerates. That being said, stipend given for a PhD position in a decent institute is more than some of the engineering jobs landed by the students from lower tier engineering colleges.

In next 5 to 10 years, the job situation may change. engineering jobs may fluctuate but over a period of time, number of jobs will be stable. Research positions are limited and with cuts in the funds to research institutes, everything from PhD all the way up to professorship will be cut. But it is difficult to say. I would also like to mention that dreamers like Elon Musk are emerging who want to make world a better place. If you want to be a part of some project of that sorts, see what a company like ‘Tesla’ or ‘The boring company’ requires. Who knows? may be you will start one to rival Elon.

Make this an informed decision. If you want to study in IIT because you want to, pursue it with all your might without feeling guilty. But if you want to study astrobiology and you will be thrilled to do it for the rest of your life, do not let anyone pressure you into doing anything other than that.

P.S. – It is worth mentioning that a lot of things like advance courses in pure sciences can be taken by an engineering graduate but practically none in applied/engineering sciences can be taken up by a pure science graduate without doing an extra degree. For example an MTech in Geoexploration requires a BTech in Mining engineering but an MSc in Earth Sciences.

 

A guide to the post apocalyptic world

Before I am criticised for posting things which are not so obviously useful in life, I have decided to post about survival techniques in post apocalyptic world. Why will we need them you ask? Be a lamb and google following things:

  1. President of USA
  2. North Korea
  3. Turkish president
  4. French elections
  5. Cows(!!)

You will find out after about an hour of research that any of this factor alone can escalate into something terrible. (I seriously hope it doesn’t) But in any case, you should be prepared.

You will need to learn:

  1. Constructing a makeshift shelter – Imagine cities are bombed and the area is contaminated with nuclear waste and chemicals. You are forced to seek shelter in the wild. (Again, I sincerely hope those are left by then) You will have to put up a makeshift shelter in the beginning to protect yourself from elements (and other scavenging parties).
  2. Hunting, gathering, farming – With no ways to purchase things you need you must produce your own food by foraging, hunting and farming. Familiarise yourself with plants that you shouldn’t eat. Knowing natural medications for treating headaches, fever, diarrhoea, wounds etc will help too. Learn how to grow basic things like potatoes and other roots. Making and setting traps will be necessary until you move to proper farming. (If you are in India, you know what you are not allowed to hunt…)
  3. Animal Tracking – Identifying animals by their footprints and faeces will keep you away from danger and bring you closer to food. Also there are specific ways to  encounter various animals, google them while you can. And try to get a pet canine for wow factor.
  4. Weapons – With resources scarce, every single human being will be fending for himself. To get an edge over them,  develop weapons. Start with simple spears and bows and arrows. Advance into swords, guns and eventually full-fledged artillery and tanks.

It’s funny how willingly we watch and read about post apocalyptic scenes in movies and books. There are clubs of people specifically preparing for zombie apocalypse for the sheer joy of getting to use weapons. Other theorists (conspiracy ones) engage themselves in (mis)interpreting ancient texts to predict when the doomsday will come. While we are at it, check out doomsday clock. At midnight on this clock apocalypse happens. That clock is set at just a few minutes before midnight. That is alarming. And the way this world is functioning, i will not be surprised if the clock isn’t moved backwards ever…

If an apocalypse is to actually occur, the civilisation will cease to exist as we know it. It took us more than a hundred thousand years of evolution to reach to the stage we are now. The natural thing to do now would be to forget the differences, fade the borders and focus on advancement of technology and intergalactic travel… Right? Right??

Whatever happens, my sincere request to everyone would be to keep writing. Write about your experiences, your thoughts, your ideas… Because when the dawn of next civilisation comes, your books will shed light on the past and the mistakes which are never to be repeated…

Opaques

 

The word opaque has changed its meaning for me over time. I miss the good old days when it simply meant a substance through which no light can pass through. (Yay 7th standard physics!). As the years went by, beauties of natural and artificial objects caught my eyes for the way they teased lights. The stained windows of churches, made not to stop the light entirely but to put life into otherwise mundane stroke of sun. Silhouetted buildings against the crimson sea of fire at the east. Long shadow of a pen on the letter, waiting to be completed and sent… (the latter never happened). An arm around special someone admiring the sunset…

light has a special place in my heart…

so do the things that look strangely alive in them…

The simple admiration of light became a lot more complicated when people stopped being transparent. Every action had a hidden meaning. Words were said not because you meant them but because you had to. Your own words were twisted until they lost their intended meaning and served as a poison to someone who drank it without a second thought.

In the world of supposedly increasing transparency, people started becoming more and more opaque. Not by colouring themselves to decorate their surroundings like those church windows but by painting themselves black like the sinister who hides his acts from the world, not letting a single streak of light in…

Source of Inspiration: Opaque

Stages of Blogging…

 

 

  1. New start

    ‘My mind contains a plethora of ideas that need to be put forth immediately!’
    ‘This virtual platform of mine shall achieve massive popularity’
    ‘A minimum of one post per week will be published’
    ‘I will have a consistent reader-base’

  2. Waning

    ‘Something will come to me any minute now’
    ‘As it is I am swamped’
    ‘A little delay would make no matter’
    ‘I just need to get in touch with my creative side again’

  3. Panic

    ‘Nothing of relevance comes to mind!’
    ‘Has my creativity died?’
    ‘I am going to be a subject of continuous taunting’
    ‘I will be seen as just another quitter!’
    ‘I NEED HELP’

  4. Desperation

    *Googles* ‘blogging topics’,’blog post suggestions’,’hot topics’,’11 things to write about on your blog’….
    *Types* ’13 tips to make your love life…’ NO NO NO I CAN’T DO THIS TO MYSELF!!!!!

  5. Acceptance

    Ideas flow through an irregular space-time continuum. Intersecting it requires one to be in his/her right frame of mind… Forced brainstorming is frugal… Patience is the order of the day…

Infuriating FAQs about Long Distance Relationships…

 

“How did you manage to pull that off?”

What do you mean how? Was it supposed to be difficult? Are you questioning our maturity sir? Or just because the only way movies depict long distance relationships is as an unstable form of human bond which will be broken at the slightest hint of temptation from opposite sex? Why does it seem so impossible to you?

“How often do you talk?”

First of all, stop being so nosy. We ‘speak’ to each other on the phone once every month. Sometimes once every couple of months.

“WHAT? BUT THEN…?! HOW DO YOU…?!?”

I get it. The need to be in constant touch with each other and being in a relationship are two different things. We definitely don’t have the former. Heck, most our days go by without messages much beyond daily pleasantries of good morning and good night.

This is where most of the long distance relationships fail. And funnily enough, distance isn’t even the reason behind it. We human beings can not be at two geographical locations at once. And despite thousands of centuries of evolution, we fail to understand it. Once the situation demands us to ‘be’ somewhere and ‘think’ somewhere else, we start to dysfunction.

Here I would like to bring up the controversial (!) topic of blue ticks and last seens. I have seen people get genuinely upset when someone opens Whatsapp but doesn’t reply to their message. Blue ticks took it a step further. I must say, people were a lot more understanding back in the days of snail mail, and even e-mail. Nowadays before accusing someone of being ignorant or rude, we do not even consider the possibility of a million things that could be happening in that person’s physical surroundings. This leads to ‘You don’t care about me’s and ‘You don’t have time for me’s.

All in all, the excessive possessive behaviour is the root cause behind most of LDRs not working. I mean, why would you want to know what your partner is doing every minute of the day! It portrays you as a person who has crippling insecurities about faithfulness of your partner. Don’t do that… Live in the moment… Live and let live…

But it still looks too difficult to me…

Think of long distance relationships as those times when you are saving for something big, something you wanted for a long time… Like that dress, that game, that mobile, that trip to Goa… You consciously control yourself from spending that money on short-term pleasures… Or better yet, you don’t find anything else pleasing or worth that money. And when you finally get what you saved up for, it makes the whole experience that much better.

So at the end of this philosophical ranting, I would like to say one thing… Calling your significant other ‘your life’ is fine in romantic context, but in reality it is a part of your life which is supposed to make your life more enjoyable…Don’t suck the fun out of it…

Library duty…

 

Mess duty… All hostelites know about this… And willingly or unwillingly (and sometimes with some jugaad!) everyone does it. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s when a student is assigned the task of ensuring the quality of the meals prepared. This is a novel way to prevent mass diarrhoea for example. But it also increases the sense of responsibility towards the system.

Speaking of messes, LIBRARIES, messes for your brains. Now, IIT Kharagpur happens to have a really good library with heaps of books to choose from on a wide spectrum of topics. The problem is that one doesn’t always find the book he/she wants where it is supposed to be. Library staff may not be at fault here. Students using these books within the library don’t necessarily return them to the locations they belong.

Solution? Introduce ‘Library Duty’. Now before people raise there technical doubts, which are very valid by the way, let me finish. It doesn’t have to be something very complicated. Students on the duty will be allotted a shelf, and all they have to do is remove the books which don’t belong on that shelf and keep them in a ‘misplaced’ pile of some kind. Library staff can take it from there.

As the name suggests, a duty should be mandatory. But not everyone likes to go to the library, let alone graze through the dusty shelves of wisdom. So as counter-intuitive as it sounds, the so called duty should be entirely voluntary. Keeping up with the style of KGP, a society focused around library activities can be found and so on…

Just a suggestion… Putting it out there…

Ctrl+c –> Ctrl+v… My encounter with online plagiarism

Plagiarism, the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one’s own (Encyclopedia Britannica).

“Citation in the first line of the article? Good going!”

It is considered to be a heinous crime in the scientific and literary circles. The most recent example of such was seen in the speech of wife of (unfortunately) current president of US of A. Parts of the speech were quite evidently copied from a speech of her predecessor. This matter did not stay in the news for long because integrity was never considered a strong suit of politicians.

Another incident i must mention, which in fact prompted me to write in the first place. Like many others searching for additional resources to learn something new, i opted for a short online course on ‘Coursera’. This particular course had a ‘Peer graded assignment’ at the end of it. In such assignments, students are expected to research on chosen topics, and prepare a report of sorts which is then reviewed by other people enrolled in the course. Each student has to compulsorily review at least 4-5 other assignments.

After undergoing my share of painful online research i compiled my report and submitted it. When the first report was given to me for review, just out of curiosity, i copied one of the lines of the text and searched it on Google. I stumbled upon on the ‘about us’ section of the company’s website. Much to my surprise the entire assignment was exactly the same as the content on that page except for the addition of bullet points for ‘organisation of information'(!). After spending 4 days of my vacation flipping through (more like scrolling through) pages after pages of annual reports of past year, making sense out of stock market squiggly lines and adding up the number of money and jobs lost during 2014-15, i was rightfully infuriated to see a 100% plagiarism. After reporting this i was presented with another one which sadly was the exact same case. I had to report that too.

The third report i saw was written by someone clever. This time, before hunting for plagiarism myself, i ran it through an online service for detecting plagiarism. I was pleasantly surprised when the assignment came out to be a 100% original one. i wasn’t convinced so i decided to keep digging. What happened next will shock you! (by this time it really shouldn’t)(also, buzz-feed like much?)

This guy (or girl), whoever he (or she) was did this:

They evaluate customer’s needs for ventilation, heating, detection and electrical systems. They also provide creative solutions that fits customer’s budget and needs. (sentence from the assignment)

We will evaluate your needs for ventilation, electrical, heating, monitoring, and detection systems. We’ll also provide creative and scalable solutions that fit your budget

(sentence on company’s website)

You don’t need a degree to understand what is done here. Now this technically doesn’t count as complete plagiarism, it still is not accepted in the academic community and is a shame that people can get away by doing this.

I guess this is why an employer probably would not take a course certificate as seriously as a course completed by being physically present with the instructors. This was just one of the courses which i did. I am pretty confident that as i venture on to other courses i will see no difference in their assignment submissions as well.

I do not have a proper conclusion for this one.

One advice though, DON’T COPY. You were given a brain (i hope!). Use it. It is not that hard…