Pokemon Go – love it, hate it or just don’t get it?

By now you must have already played it, heard about it, or seen people playing it. And even if you think you have not, chances are that you might have actually already seen people playing it. If and when you see people gathered in an area, but no one is talking to each other and instead everyone is walking around in a daze with their heads buried in their phones, then those are what I call Pokemon zombies – or simply people looking for Pokemon. (Read on, I promise I’m not biased.)

I’m not going to talk about what Pokemon Go is. There are plenty of blog posts and YouTube videos on the Internet that dwell into this.

You generally will fall into one of the following categories when it comes to Pokemon Go:

  1. Love it
  2. Hate it
  3. Don’t get it

I fall under category 3 (somewhat).

I don’t get it, but I get it.

I know it’s not for me. I tried it, but I simply don’t feel the appeal. Although, I do get the appeal purely from an analytical point of view.

So what is the appeal? Why has Pokemon become such a craze?

Nostalgia


Here is a sample Pokemon Battle

Pokemon was a popular cartoon in the 90s and the Pokemon Go game gives players a very similar experience as the characters in the cartoon. Personally, while growing up I would watch the cartoon every now and then, but I was never a big fan of it.

Players get to go around (literally go around, as in, physically move and go to different places – not just virtually) looking for Pokemon, they have to capture the Pokemon and sometimes these creatures will fight back and not want to be captured, once captured players can ‘train’ them and evolve them into better fighters and eventually battle with other players.

The game keeps things very close to the original cartoon and for a lot of players it’s a way to relive their childhood.

Primal Instinct

The game at its core is a scavenger hunt. We humans evolved from a hunter and gatherer society so there is something that just clicks, perhaps the game taps into our primal instincts.

Bang Wagon

Some people just don’t care what it is, but they are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon and ride the hype wave so to speak. These drifters will drift from one hype to the other and at the moment it just happens to be Pokemon Go.

Social aspect

The game has a social aspect to it as well. There are Pokemon Go stops where there are lots of Pokemon hiding, battle arenas, Pokemon balls to collect etc… I’ve heard stories about people being glad to meet other players. Friends get to talk about their collections and have group meet ups.

I have to admit, even though I thought it was silly, I did actually meetup with a few friends to go Pokemon hunting. (My justification is that I had not seen them in a long time, and it was a call of curiosity more than anything.)

I personally will take people walking around and hunting for Pokemon over them drinking, sitting at home, drugs, fights, vandalism  etc… If this game takes people’s focus away from negatives, let it be.

Physical Exercise

This might not work if you are driving top Pokemon stops and then driving back home, however, from what I have heard from a lot of people is that they are doing some serious walking. A friend even claimed to have lost 5 pounds in the process.

Why might people hate it?

But for those of you who love Pokemon, it might be difficult (very difficult) to see why people hate Pokemon Go.

Trespassing and Traffic Chaos

This has to be the biggest problem caused by this game. Sometimes Pokemon are hiding on people’s backyards, lawns, buildings and other private property. Needless to say, most people do not like strangers on their property.

pokemon warning- tresspassing
You know it’s a problem when a game tells you not to trespass.

There have been numerous reports on the news about people creating congestion at busy places like transportation terminals, business areas and parks. It causes interruptions and delays for people who just want to go home or get to work, and try having a relaxing day at the park when you have the entire park filled with hundreds of people walking around to catch Pokemon.

All this can be a nuisance, but it becomes dangerous when people start crossing roads on red lights, or biking and playing or worse driving and playing Pokemon Go. There was an incident where a Pokemon Go player drove into a Police car. People have hurt themselves in road accidents and even hurt themselves falling of cliffs – yes that’s right people fell off of cliffs hunting for Pokemon.

pokemon warning- safety
You know it’s a problem when a game tells you to stay aware of your surroundings.

Social or Anti Social?

You might see hundreds of people gathered in an area, but is anyone even aware that there is another person next to them, much less be talking to them. I was near The Living Arts Center in Mississauga the other night and there were hundreds of people walking around with their heads buried in their phone. It was actually an eerie sight seeing people behaving like zombies.

Addiction

Yes, there are people who have gotten addicted to this game. Some have spent hundreds even thousands of dollars on this game. When I was out with a few friends near a popular Pokemon Go area, I saw a couple of people angrily swearing at their phones in frustration. There have been reports of physical fights resulting from Pokemon Go!

Of course, addiction is not just limited to this game or just games in general. The key is balance! I know this may sound funny, but if you see your friends or family addicted to this game, you may need to intervene.

The Neutral

As I said earlier,

I don’t get it, but I get it.

For people who think Pokemon Go is stupid,… is it really? Yes, sure there is no “real” point to the game. People aren’t achieving anything by collecting these Pokemon, but isn’t that true for almost everything. What’s the point of collecting baseball cards? Or playing video games on your xbox? Or watching TV? Sure you can come up with reasons to support doing those activities, and likewise the people who are into Pokemon have their reasons.

For Pokemon players, be safe, be respectful for other people’s properties, don’t create traffic chaos for people who need to go to work or home.

Have fun, be Safe, stay within your limits, and once in a while, just put your phone away and talk to people around you.

That’s my take on Pokemon Go, what’s yours?

5 Time Travel Movies You Must Watch

Science fiction is my favourite movie genre .I even took a humanities course in university on science fiction. Yes I’m that obsessed. My favourite sci-fi sub genre is time travel. Here are the 5 movies that I think you must watch. They are not necessarily all the very best in the time travel class, but there are a number of reasons ranging from the ‘classic’ factor to just plain fun to watch.

Primer

Source Wikipedia
Source Wikipedia

This is one the most novel time travel movies. It’s made in a very natural down to earth kind of way and watching it almost feels like you’re watching a home movie of people who are involved in a startup company that builds time travelling machines at the same time it never falls short of interesting. Most sci-fi movies are overly dramatic with extreme visual effects, however this movie portrays a very realistic looking story telling technique combined with a gradual pacing that builds in intensity and complexity while at the same time leaving the viewer in a state of puzzle solving that is required to stay with the unique flow of the movie. The entire movie was costs only around $7000 which goes to show you don’t need a huge budget to tell a very compelling story.

The story revolves around 2 engineers who while working on a device to reduce the weight of my object with 2 other people discover a strange side effect of the device that they were creating and thus begins their adventure. At first they use it to make money then things start to go out of hand with multiple time lines all intersecting, something chaotic happens, friendships are affected and then there is the way that the movie ends. Any lover of sci-fi needs to watch this movie.

Predestination

Source http://www.imdb.com/
Source http://www.imdb.com/

This has to be the best time travel movie every made. It is sad how little recognition this movie had received. I cannot say much because to tell you about the movie would be to give away major spoilers.

It has all the time travel paradoxes and time loops you can think about. It is also a bit of an emotional movie. As the movie progresses you start to sympathize with the characters in the movie. The first 20 or 30 minutes of the movie gradually traverses the conversation between the two main characters and then it jumps a level of action with a jump in the time line, each time weaving the lives of the characters into the story. One of them is a time travelling cop whose job is to prevent crimes before they takes place. One of the characters is looking for purpose after heart breaks and defeats, then there is a bomber who seems to succeed in destroying and killing lives no matter how hard the time travelling agents try to stop him. Finally there is a new time travelling agent recruit. There are major twists in the movie which I cannot say anything about. Yes it’s about time travel, but it’s also about love, betrayal, destiny, fate, time-travel paradoxes. All in all: This is a MUST see movie.

Ground Hog Day

Source Wikipedia
Source Wikipedia

Now, I know that this movie isn’t really a true time travel movie or even true science fiction, but it does have a time loop. The main character is a selfish, self absorbed weather reporter who experiences the same day again and again. Care to guess which day?

Yes, Ground Hog Day. It’s the journey of a person who evolves from a self absorbed person to a frustrated person, to someone who starts caring about other people and learns about their lives then later becoming someone who focusses on himself but in a personal growth and appreciative kind of way. In a lot of ways Ground Hog day is just about a story about everyone. It shows you the possibility of learning and mastering things in life and stimulates the imagination – what if you could live the same day over and over again? Would you be happy, sad, frustrate, angry? And if so why? What would you do? How would you handle it? Will it be a curse or a gift?

Back to the Future

Source: wikipedia
Source: wikipedia

There is no other movie that is loved as much as this. Back to the Future is a classic! The story is about a teen named Marty McFly who gets thrown back in time when his parents were teens in high school. He is faced with the challenge of making his parents meet and fall in love so that he exists in the future. There are moments when the possibility of his father and mother connecting and falling in love reduces and Marty begins to fade out of existence.

There isn’t much of hard science fictions in this movie, but as I mentioned it’s a classic and a much loved one. It’s a fun movie to check off your list.

 

Hot Tub Time Machine

p7820979_d_v7_aaMy final recommendation is the  Hot Tub Time Machine. This movie is actually more of a comedy than it is a sci-fi. The reason I picked this is because it takes into account the moral debate about changing the future by changing the past and the buttery fly effect. If you ever go back in time, would you want to change certain aspects of your past? If you could change the past, should you? What are the possible consequences of changing the past? If none of that interests you, then don’t worry it’s still a very fun movie to watch.

There are of course many more movies out there which might be better picks as pure time travel movies, but I had to pick 5 and I picked the ones that I think you would enjoy and plus threw in some that will leave you scratching your head like Primer, or get you blown away by the ultimate time travel paradox like Predestination.

If you are a hardcore sci-fi person, then I would add to the list, Donnie Darko, Looper, 12 Monkeys, The Time Machine (1960,2002), The Butterfly Effect, Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow. If you agree or disagree with my list, please leave a comment below, like and share!

A Simple Home Media Center Setup

Before I begin I would like to state a disclaimer. I’m not suggesting going out and buying all the things that I have mentioned below. This is more of a very basic guide of different components that you can use if you are thinking of centralizing your media and have some old hardware lying around or you plan to make some purchases in the near future.

Media Server

If you have an old PC that you are not using because it is too slow or just doesn’t function the way it used to, you can reformat the hard drive and install Xubuntu.

logo-lightbg-largeXubuntu is an officially recognized flavour of the popular Ubuntu operating system. Since it is a Linux based operating system it is very secure.  It is very easy to use compared to some of the other Linux distributions and can run very smoothly even on old hardware. I’m using a 9 year old PC that has seen better days. 

So we have the Operating System that our server is going to use, as for the actual media server software we are going to be using Plex. Plex is awesome because it is very simple to install, has a very clean user interface, keeps track of where you stopped watching a movie on multiple devices, it provides movie trailers and extras, and a whole lot more. You will need to get the premium service if you want to watch your movies on Xbox or Playstation. At little under $5 a month, it is a worthwhile investment.

Xbox

Xbox-one-logo-2

If you missed it, here are some reasons to pick Xbox as your gaming console. You can control your Xbox with the Xbox One SmartGlass app (Android, IOS, Windows, Windows Phone). You can also download apps on your Xbox which will make it easier to consume media: Youtube, Netflix, TED etc… Then you can pair the Youtube app on your  phone/laptop/tablet with your Xbox One, you can cast all the above apps and others from your phone/table to your Xbox. Leave a comment below if you need a detailed step by step guide and I’ll write up another post for you.

Set-top Box[optional]

If you want you can add a set-top box like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV to the mix, but that really just makes it redundant.I chose not to add any of these because Xbox One meets all my requirements.

If you really need to have cable TV you can add that to the mix too. Bell Fibe TV is pretty amazing. It has a very clean and fluid user interface and I have grown accustomed to the “Restart” feature which lets you restart a program if you tune in late. The only thing that bugs me is that you cannot fast forward a program that you have “restarted”. Bell Fibe TV has a very useful mobile app which you can use to control the box.

Sound Bar

513I1ZA2L7L._SL1200_Sound bars are great because they are mostly compact and a lot of them can act as a style statement. Of course they won’t sound as great as a full fledged home theatre system with a receiver and surround sound speakers but with recent improvements in technology sound bars have come a long way. I personally wanted something that was compact, had a decent sound output, fitted well under my TV, blended well with all my other devices and took in multiple HDMI inputs. The Sony HT-CT370 2.1 Channel 300W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth, and NFC is just the sound bar that I was looking for. I plug my Bell FIbe TV set-top box, Xbox One and sometimes my laptop to it. It has 3 HDMI inputs, something which is not too common in sound bars. I don’t have to go to the back of the cabinet to fiddle with wires. And everything gets neatly tucked behind the sound bar. Another thing that I later came to appreciate about the sound bar is its NFC capability. A lot of the times I simply place my Android phone on top of the sound bar and connection is established automatically.

Apps

These are some of the must have apps to make your home entertainment experience even better:

  • Xbox Smart Glass remote
  • Fibe Remote for Bell Fibe TV subscribers
  • Rogers Anyplace TV – for Rogers subscribers
  • Samsung Link – for Samsung devices
  • SongPal from Sony
  • SoundCloud
  • Crackle
  • Youtube
  • Netflix

Songza

Songza-logo-and-monster_660x660Songza deserves a spot of its own because this app is simply amazing. You can listen to this on your phone, on the web, cast it on your chrome device or simply stream it to your bluetooth speakers which is something that I usually do. Songza is a free music streaming and recommendation service for Internet users in the United States and Canada. Stating that its playlists are made by music experts, the service recommends various playlists based on time of day and mood or activity.(Source: Wikipedia) It’s best feature is concierge mode. Just chilling with friends at home on a Friday night, relaxing at home on a Saturday afternoon, need to recover from last night – no problem just make those selections on the concierge mode and let Songza provide a playlist and do its thing.

Extras

Wireless Keyboard 

If you decide to hookup your PC or if you have an Xbox without Kinect  a wireless keyboard certainly comes in handy. The Logitech K400 Wireless Touch Keyboard with TouchPad is the best wireless keyboard under $50.

TV Cabinet

It’s important to choose a cabinet which hides all the wires and is functions. Ikea usually has pretty sleek looking, compact and functional cabinets.

20150427_221216Take for example the cabinet above. It contains the following devices:

  • Xbox One with two controllers
  • Bell Fibe TV set-top box
  • Nintendo Wii
  • A wireless keyboard
  • TV
  • Sound bar
  • Subwoofer
  • DVD player
  • Bluray player

It is a simple design, there are a lot of wires behind the cabinet but they’re all very neatly tucked away. Of course you don’t have to go out there and buy a new cabinet, but if you’re in the market for a new one, these are some of the things that you might want to think about. There are also many ways you can organize your wires to keep look neat.

That’s my take on a simple home media center setup. If you have suggestions please leave a comment below.

 

 

Reasons Why X-Box One is a Better All-rounded Game Console

If you are thinking of purchasing a new game console or upgrading from a previous generation console to a new generation console you have 3 options:

Xbox-one-logo-2 downloadimages

 

  1. Xbox One
  2. Playstation 4
  3. Nintendo Wii U

If you are buying for kids, I would say you can stop reading this article and just buy the Wii U, it has tones of kid-friendly games and PS4 and X1 don’t even come close to the Wii U in that department. Playstation 4 and Xbox One is more for serious gamers and for people who are looking to setup a central home entertainment system. So in this post I am going to be mostly comparing Xbox One with Playstation 4.

One thing to keep in mind is whichever game console you chose, know that your old games from previous generation consoles will NOT work on the new generation – at least that is true for X1 and PS4.

Price

Xbox One generally has cheaper deals to start you off with your gaming. You can usually get an Xbox for around $350 (CAD) with one or two games included in the bundle, where as a Playstation 4 will usually cost a $100 more.

Kinect

To be honest, there isn’t much game development that really fully utilizes the Kinect, but if you know anything about the Kinect from Xbox 360, you know that the experience of playing a Kinect dance game was just pure fun. Kinect for Xbox One is supposedly better at tracking multiple players and has sensors with a wider field of view making it easier to track gesture for even tight spaces. I’m including the Kinect for its future potential here.

Games

2D Boxshot Wizard v1.1 mc f39dda8b-7421-4c55-be2b-26443e964323 82018ba7-8b3c-4bb6-8ef0-df470563ea50

The games department can go either way since most games are multi-platform anyway, so it basically comes down to the exclusive game collection. If you are a Hallo fan, or even just want to play a Halo Game then Xbox One is your console. The Master Chief Collection is the one thing that made my purchase of the Xbox One over Christmas a worthwhile investment. Then there is Forza Horizon 2 and Forza Motorsport 5 – both amazing racing games. Sunset Overdrive is also one of my favourites. These games will keep you entertained. Another noteworthy mention is TitanFall. When I first played Titanfall it blew me away – I think it is the best multiplayer first person shooter game I have ever played.

Of course Playstaion has inFamous, Uncharted and The Last of Us, so we can call this a tie. But a game console is no longer just for gaming and here’s why:

Live TV

You can connect your TV Cable Box to Xbox One and be able to access the TV Guide directly on your Xbox One. You can also play games while you are watching TV, if you are into that sort of thing.

Home Media Server and Cloud – Plex and One Drive

 

OneDrive-logo-blue-bg Plex-Logo

Here is where I think the Xbox One really shines. Plex was one of the reasons which pushed me towards getting an Xbox. Now however, Playstation also has Plex. But Micrsoft One Drive still only works with Xbox One(not surprising to see why). This is really useful since you can have your phone automatically backup your photos and videos to your One Drive while you are out and about say on vacation or a trip to the each or a birthday party, you can then come home and simply turn on your Xbox One and start viewing and sharing you photos and videos.

 

 

Winter Battles – Fight The Snow

This year Mother Nature has been pounding us with large quantities of snow. Last winter I was away from home and half of this winter was spent away from home too. This was my first snow fall in many months and it felt as if I was receiving a grand welcome gesture by Mother Nature. It snowed all day! For those who are not fortunate enough to get snow where they live, yes it does look beautiful, but clearing the snow is not always a walk in the park. In fact many would say that it is one of the most dreaded and disliked winter activities. I for one quite enjoy it, and on this fine snowy day, I decided to make my excursion a little more interesting.

Check out this dramatic take on the events of a snowy day from morning to night. The video was shot and edited by myself.

Background score from The Dark Knight Rises (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

– On Thin Ice
– Mind If I Cut In?
– Why Do We Fall?
– Death By Exile
– Imagine The Fire
– The End
– Rise

If you like it, share it. 😉

The Suits Love Affairs

Before you start reading this article, please note that all this will not make any sense whatsoever if you don’t know what Suits is. Suits is a legal drama television show which in highly technical jargon is Awesome! In fact, it is so awesome, if there were only 2 shows that I could recommend that my beloved readers can watch, it would be Suits and Under The Dome .

People who actually watch Suits, let’s face it, as much as I love the kick-but intellectual and social kung-fu action that Suits is, the show would not be what it is if it were not for it’s love affairs. In fact, the Season 3 finale was all about the Suits Love Affair: Louis and Sheila, Harvey and Scotty, and Mike and Rachael.

So that led to this: A compilation of the Suits Love Affair ( I got a kick out of this one myself)

The Obvious one of course is Mike and Rachael:

Mike_Rachel

 

The Complicated Harvey and Scotty:

Harvey and Scotty

 

The short lived Donna and Stephen that makes you go, Ohhh,…aah… and then damn… that son of  B***:

1240124_522823161130652_1952287989_nDonna - Suits

 

The awkward and weird made for each other Louis and Sheila:

Suits - Season 2 Louis and Sheila

The power struggle and troubled ‘marriage’ of Jessica and Darby:

Suits: Jessica and Darby

 

Nigel and His Cat:

1233623_518944294851872_961061639_nSuits: Nigel's Cat

.

These two haven’t met, but their common arch nemesis Harvey and their snake like personality would make them perfect of each other – Tanner and Cameron:

Suits - Season 3 S02E07P02_Tanner

 

However the real Love Affairs are the following:

The tag team bromance of Mike and Harvey:

suits-usa-poster

 

Jessica and Control:

S02E05P23

 Ava Hessington and Hessington Oil:

Suits - Season 3
Louis Litt and Interns:

MV5BMTY2NTUxNjg0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDM2ODg1Ng@@._V1._SX640_SY502_hangover-intern-suit

 

Rachael and Law Degree:

rachel_zane_suits_USA

 

Donna and Donna: ‘Cause she’s that awesome!

Donna

So that’s my take on the Suits Love Affairs! What’s yours? If you like this post, please share it and leave a comment below!

 

Miss America 2014

For all those who don't know, the new Miss America 2014 is of Indian Origin.

Miss America winner Nina Davuluri

Miss America 2014 winner Nina Davuluri

 

So this is what is happening on twitter: According to some Americans on Twitter, the new Miss America is not American, but an Arab Terrorist. Then there are people who are calling all Indians terrorists and some are bringing in Barak Obama, as if it was his "fault" ~ Some Twitter user. Some brilliantly connecting the tragedy of 911 to an Indian-American girl who won a pageant.

Here are a few samples of the whole Drama:

To take a look at more tweets from the source, click below:
http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/post/61388585374/americans-call-first-indian-american-miss-america

Then there are some who are reminding Americans that they're all immigrants, and if going by calling the new Miss America "not an American", then they're all "not American".

 

Then there are people(Indians and non-Indians) pointing out that India is not Arab while at the same time, somehow managing (or apparently) degrading Arabs, which led to some presumably Arabs bad mouthing Indians.

Here is a look at one such conversation : https://twitter.com/MarinaDiamonds/status/379478873445912576

Here is an Interesting tweet, which clearly is on the Indian defensive side by pointing out "We" are not "Them".

 

Anil Dash points out a reality that a lot of Indians living in America might actually be facing:

 

However this post particularly hit home when it comes to prejudice against Indians, which ironically comes from within India and is prominent within the Indian community more than anywhere outside of it. The fact that Indians with darker skin are discriminated in India and by Indians outside of India because they are "Too Indian"!

 

Another interesting topic that came out was the question of whether beauty pageants like Miss America should even exists. The unrealistic expectations that girls face today regarding physical beauty, weight issues and the general objectification of women. There were also questions raised on the validity and fairness of the contest.

This one kind of makes me appreciate the fact that I'm Canadian! Lorin Lee, we'll be happy to welcome you. 🙂

This one is witty:

 

Then there is the typical mob mentality where everyone is bashing everyone else:

Americans getting bashed:

Here's an interesting post. This gentleman shuns racists, but does it in “all but wrong” fashion – Arab getting bashed.

Which leads to this twitter, responding in an equally interesting manner. Indians getting bashed by Arab:
This person really needs to work on their disses – she made me laugh.

 

But for those who think this is all but too depressing, never fear, Twitter has it all covered, so on a lighter note, these following tweets made me laugh:

Here is one of my favourites – Quite clever way to be able to laugh at a classic stereotype that affects him.

 

So what's Kapil's take on this. I personally don't have much use for such beauty pageants, but I think the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri has her work cut out for her. Not only is she now Miss America, but she is the first Miss America of Indian Origin (I say that as if I'm expecting to see more Indian-American Miss Americas, but hey, how knows? Right?), on top of that she is already a target for racists across her country, but this also means she will have more support from her fellow Americans who may feel the need to stand up to racism.

The reality is that it is difficult for a person of Indian origin to be a public figure outside of India. She will have to work twice as hard and take extreme precautions to stay away from controversies and scandals.

And of course, no pressure but she's not just representing America, she'll also be representing NRIs across the globe. But then diamonds are only formed under extreme pressure! Good Luck Nina Davuluri!

Zindagi – Enigma: The Greatest Show on Earth

On Saturday, September 7th ,2013, I performed a mix of Hindi and English prose at Shri Kshatriya Mitra Mandal, Toronto's (SKMM Toronto) annual function at Rose Theatre in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Zindagi Enigma is philosophical examination of the life of an individual from the birth of his child going backwards in time, meeting his soul mate, starting work and experiencing uncertainties of his career, going to college while searching for him identity, conflicts with religious beliefs handed down to him, falling in love for the first time, growing up as child, and then finally his first breathe at birth and then it all begins – The Greatest Show on Earth.

Due to time constraints, the act was cut short. If I get a chance, I shall post record the full version some day, but for this, enjoy! 🙂

For those who have asked me whether this is story is based on my life, the answer is no. This story and the characters in it are fictitious and any resemblance to any person, living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

Number One Way To Celebrate OSCAR NIGHT!

Number one way to celebrate Oscar Night is to Blog about it! Everyone has favourites. Will there be surprises this year? Will there be upsets? You never know!!

The best way to celebrate Oscar Night is to BLOG ABOUT IT!!!

Okinara Consulting Services is giving you a chance to blog about your favourite moments. They have a special on Oscar Themed blogs and just blogs in general.