Canadian Federal Election – 2015

https://twitter.com/globeandmail/status/656420953971433472
Source: https://twitter.com/globeandmail/status/656420953971433472

A surprising sea of red! The most interesting Canadian election results I have seen. It all started when the Atlantic results started coming in. Sure there was an expected Liberal majority in those provinces, but this was a landslide victory.

Source: https://twitter.com/kapilbulsara/status/656278313070129153
Source: https://twitter.com/kapilbulsara/status/656278313070129153

As the night progressed, it was more and more evident that it was going to be a Liberal Majority, but I don’t think even the Liberals expected the result to turn out the way it did. Lot of surprising defeats. The Orange crush, crashed in Quebec. The Conservatives and the NDP’s will now try to figure out what went wrong, but there was one thing that was evident and it was that Canadians wanted change and it was all rooted in a resounding “NO” to the Conservatives.

There are so many things about the Conservative policies that I can talk about from numerous scandals to complete disregard for the environment and minorities, politics of fear and division not to mention the untimely political suicide attempt by bringing in the niqab to the table, tax policies that did not benefit the working class, to their stance on anti-terrorism with the introduction of bill C-51 and unilateral foreign policies, that only damaged Canada’s reputation internationally. I can go on. One thing to note is that when the Conservatives came into power as a majority in 2011, on one side the Liberals had a weak leader and an even weaker platform, and on the other side was the NDP which were inexperienced.

But instead of focussing on what was, I want to focus on what IS, and what does this mean for Canada?

These are interesting times and these are scary times too. But regardless of what has happened, or what will happen, this is a very different Liberal Party compared to that of 2011. This Liberal Party is more like a “Liberal-NDP” party especially if you look at their stance on income-splitting, higher tax on high income earners and tax reduction for low income and middle class families. The whole Robbin Hood/ Socialist approach is inherently a NDP signature.

Regardless of how the Party did, I can honestly say that Justin Trudeau, although as many have believed not fit to be the Prime Mister of Canada, gave the most uplifting, positive and inspirational Prime-Minister-Like speech I have ever heard from a Canadian leader. There is something to be said about the psychology of a ‘newbie’, of a ‘rookie’, of an ‘underdog’.  Maybe Trudeau will need to work extra hard to prove himself worthy to lead a nation, and he has to because the people have put their trust in him and his party.

Tom Mulcair ran a safe, steady, well composed campaign, but sometimes that is not all that is needed. Having Justin Trudeau as a Party leader was a risk, to promise to increase spending, cut taxes and run a deficit was a risk and it paid of. Also, Justin Trudeau is charismatic and the liberals have a story to tell, from 3rd to 1st. Although you may not think that holds much value, but it does. The biggest changes happen when you have a story to tell, when you sell hope and not numbers and figures and policies.

But I am also scared of what is to come. Increasing spending and decreasing taxes and running a deficit until 2020? We might end up worse than now. Letting in 25,000 Syrian refugees instead of 10,000? Is this a calculated number or did he just throw these numbers up to win votes? How will the increase in corporate tax play out into job loss/gain scenarios, foreign investment etc…?But the biggest scare is still that proposed deficit.

I was afraid of what the election results would be, but looking at the surprising sea of red, topped with Justin Trudeau’s very uplifting, very Canadian speech, I was inspired. Sometimes when people are sick and tired of what is, what is needed is something or someone they can look up to, something that inspires them.

There is a certain charm about Trudeau that other political party leaders just do not have. It causes a movement to take place. Take for example, the movement that took place in India when its people elected Narendra Modi as their Prime Minister. Of course you cannot compare Indian and Canadian politics because there are very different dynamics at play.

What I really want to say is that if the Liberals can maintain a steady economy and keep its promises of inclusion, diversity and its commitments while inspiring Canadians, I think we’re in for a very interesting era.

I think every Canadian should listen to their new leader’s victory speech

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-analysis-neil-macdonald-1.3279018
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-analysis-neil-macdonald-1.3279018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surface Book

I was really looking forward to watching Windows 10 Devices event today. I knew the Surface Pro 4 was coming out and they showed off the hololens, the new Lumia and continuum in action which was really cool and I thought okay this is all great, but then I was surprised when Microsoft’s first ever laptop, the Surface Book was revealed. I was already pretty stoked and THIS HAPPENED!

“Holy Sh!t…. This is insane!” Are the exact words that I involuntarily yelled out around 59 seconds into this video while watching the Windows 10 Devices live event today!

This is a game changer! This is Microsoft’s first ever laptop, and what a laptop it is! If what Microsoft has already done with windows and continuum was not enough(check out my article on Windows 10) Surface book definitely pushes me over the edge. I Want a Surfacebook! And it comes at the most perfect time because my 6 year old Macbook Pro is now coming to the end of it’s life and although I love Macbooks, what Microsoft is doing with Windows10 and now with Surface Book is mind blowingly awesome!

Microsoft calls it “the ultimate laptop”. The surface pro showcases  a

  • 6th generation Intel core i5 or i7 processor
  • 13.5-inch with a resolution of 3000 x 2000
  • an integrated backlit keyboard
  • optional dedicated graphics card
  • 5 points of touch glass trackpad.
  • It weighs 1.6 pounds (728g)(am I reading that right?)
  • Microsoft claims that it has battery life of 12 hour1 for all day use
  • comes with a surface pen – the same pen works with surface pro 4

Pricing

  • 128GB  SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $1,949 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM: $2,199 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i5 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,449 CAD
  • 256GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 8GB RAM / dGPU: $2,799 CAD
  • 512GB SSD / Core Intel i7 – 16GB RAM / dGPU: $3,499 CAD

As you can see the surface book does not come cheap. But this laptop is for some serious work and of course as it comes with Windows 10 pro. This laptop is for content creators, musicians, video editors, developers, architects, engineers on the go.

The Surface Book on its own is pretty cool, but what blew my mind away was this:

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Ya..okay so that’s a laptop. ..and…
en-INTL-L-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-mnco
What sorcery is this?en-INTL-L-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-RM2-mncoSnake hinges?

 

en-INTL-PDP0-Atlas-Devices-CR9-00001-P4
Makes me want to be an architect..

 

It separates from the base and becomes a separate device that you can use in tablet mode, or as Microsoft puts it, “Canvas” mode. It’s the size of an A4 paper.

One thing that seems a bit of confusing is that the Surface Pro 4 is supposed to be the device that will replace your laptop and tablet, and then they reveal the Surace Book. From my perspective, it’s a high end laptop that replaces your Macbook Pro, your tablet and to some extent your desktop because that is the exact thing that it does for me, and in fact I had been wishing for someone to build this devices for at least 3 or 4 years.

Now it all boils down to price…Am I willing to spend this much on a laptop? I don’t know yet, but I think if there is an ultimate laptop title, then it definitely goes to the Surface Book.

That’s my take on the all new Surface Book, What’s yours?

Please leave a comment below, share if you this article! And thanks for reading!

Lessons from Cycling

I have been cycling for 2 months now and I must say it is one of the best habits that I have gotten myself into in many years. I have had my bike for more than 8 years, but I doubt that before now I had even ridden it for more than 8 hours. I started riding that old mountain bike first on a nearby multi-use paved trail, then on the road for short distances, then I pushed myself a little further and soon I realized I needed a road bike, so I went and bought myself a road bike. When came bike month, I had an extra bit of motivation to keep riding. I did the “Bike the Creek Event” in Brampton, organized my own event and overall cycling has had a manifold positive impact on my life.

There are some lessons that I have learned from Cycling.

If it is important to you, you will make it happen

If it is important to you, you will make it happen, if not, you will find excuses. I learned this lesson when I started to invite friends to bike with me. Of course, some had genuine reasons to not come. Some were too busy to come, some had not biked in many years, some didn’t own a bike and either didn’t want to spend the money to buy one or wanted to wait for the season to be over so that they could get it cheap at a clearance event and the list goes on. These are all valid reasons, yet I find these same people are not too busy to spend countless hours watching reruns of their favourite and not so favourite TV shows, cannot wait to make an expensive purchase of things which they probably don’t even need,..so on… and you get my point. I’m not judging them; my point is, if it is important to you you will make it happen.

priorityOn the other end of the spectrum, I have a friend, who didn’t have a bike, had not ridden one in more than a decade, has a bad knee, and yet somehow managed to come ride with me on a 40KM+ stretch with multiple hills with me. He asked me if I had a spare bike which I did, he went and bought himself a helmet, put a knee sleeve to protect his knee and showed up way earlier than his usual saturday morning wakeup time. Why? In his own words: being active is important to him.

So the next time you find yourself wanting to do something, but it is not something that you are actually doing, maybe it is just not that high in your priority list, and instead of beating yourself for not doing it, just figure out where your priorities lie and question whether they are justified?

If you do what you love, you’ll start loving what you do

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Source: http://www.yalovalifeisgood.com/

Let’s face it; not everything that we do, we actually like doing let alone love doing it. Most people don’t LOVE their job, most might like it, but there are very few who actually love what they do. That is the reason people need vacations and they call it a ‘retreat’. Just google the words “meaning of retreat” and see what you get.

There might be things that you love doing, but you may not have been doing them because you have other ‘important’ things do do. If you just shifted your priorities a little and allocated some time and effort to do the things that you love, that joy and feeling of accomplishment will translate into a stress buster and sip into other areas of your life, whether it be your work, your health, your relationships, your spiritual life and more. When you make time to do what you love, you’ll end up loving what you do – I speak from personal experience! 🙂

If you push just a little more, you will go a lot further

If you push just a little more, you will go a lot further than your imagined. There have been times when my legs felt the burn, my back hurt, shoulders almost gave up, but in that moment I pushed a little more and then a little more and when I checked on my GPS, almost always I was greeted with an amazing and pleasant surprise. Sometimes I end up covering more distance than I had imagined and I usually get to something interesting.

Life is like that too. Most people give up and figuratively speaking get off their bikes or turn around and go back home to a place that’s comfortable at the sight of the slightest incline. Sometimes all it takes is a little push, a bit of hard work and we can accomplish things that you previously thought were impossible. You can apply this principle to sports and fitness, education, business and finance or any other endeavour that you can imagine.

Go the extra mile – it’s worth it!

To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done

I have seen and discovered more things about Brampton and the surrounding area in the past 4 weeks than I have in the past 4 years. I try to take different routes every time I go for a ride and every single time I’m greeted with new discoveries.

20150701_173633
Graffiti art under a bridge on the Humber River Recreational Trail

For the Bike The Creek event, I took my bike with me on the Brampton Transit bus which I had never done before. I used the presto card for the first time and I was amazed at how much better the bus ride has become over the past 7 or 8 years.

20150620_073844
Ride and Bike, using the Presto card on the Brampton Transit for the first time en route to “Bike The Creek” Event.

To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done – If you think about it, isn’t this true for life in general. Why is it that you have never had the kind of house, car, income, relationship, body, spirituality that you truly desire? If you keep doing what you have always been doing, you will get what you have always gotten. A great definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over gain and expecting a different result.

If you don’t want to fall, you gotta keep moving

Just recently I taught a friend in their 20s how to ride a bicycle. Most people learn how to ride a bicycle early on in their life, but it’s never too late to learn anything new. I noticed that this person was afraid to fall and so was trying to move slowly. I told them the key is to keep moving, if you stop or slow down you will fall, you have to keep pedalling if you want to stay up.

keep-moving_2
Picture taken on Humber Station Road en route to Albion Hills. (Photoshoped motion blur)

Then it hit me! Isn’t that a great lesson in life? You have to keep moving, whatever happens in life, good or bad, you have to keep moving forward. If something bad happens to you whether it is a heart break, divorce, someone dumps you, someone betrays your trust, you are faced with financial difficulty, you are having health issues, you got fired from work, you end up in an embarrassing situations, or whatever the case maybe, you have to move on with your life sooner or later. If you stop and keep thinking about the bad things that happened, you’ll fall deeper into depression, negativity, anger and it’ll be harder to get back up again.

Likewise if something good happens in life, a promotion, graduation, you achieve your health goal, get married, fall in love whatever the case may be, you still have to keep moving to the next step. If you stop and spend all your time wanting to stay in that same moment, life will pass by and you won’t even realize and you will fall. Celebrating your victories is an important part of life, but wanting to stay in that moment forever is merely wishful thinking.

What is the opposite of movement? Stagnation. Stagnation is death. Think about it. How do you know if someone is dead. You identify it by them not moving, their pupils won’t move or react to light variations, their heart won’t move – no heart beat, their brains seizes to function, blood doesn’t flow through the body.

Life is movement.

Windows into the Future

I have been wanting to write this article since I watched the Windows Keynote earlier this year!

I never imagined saying this but I believe that new the Microsoft Windows will be in the driving seat to shape the future of what operating systems look like. Engadget titled an article on it’s website When did Apple become the boring one? I tend to agree with that question. Apple has started to get  boring. In fact I am seriously considering moving back to Windows after being in love with MacOSX for the past 6 years. So why am I so excited about Windows ? One word…well.. two.. Windows 10!

Apple has Mac OSX which powers desktops and laptops and IOS which powers their smart phones and tablets. Google has Chrome OS which runs on laptops and desktops and Android which runs on phones and tablets. Microsoft has Windows for desktop, Windows for mobile and an operating system for Xbox. Most of these companies try to make their operating systems on different types of devices work together, but they are still all separate operating systems.

“10” to Rule them All

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.13.20For the first time, we will get to experience one operating system that will work on all (windows) devices. Windows 10 will work on laptops, desktops, phones and Xbox. Windows 10 will be the new Universal Windows Platform which will give a unified experience on all devices. ( One confusion I would like to clear out is that although Windows 10 will be working on all your(Windows) devices, it won’t be exactly the same. There will be 7 different version of Windows 10. I still think this is ridiculous as people often end up in choice paralysis. In this respect, Apple gets it right – one operating system for mobile, one for desktop/laptop and one for server. )

Microsoft is aiming to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in the next 2 to 3 years and to accomplish this Microsoft will be providing free upgrades to anyone who owns a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 device.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade.

Windows 10 Platform – A Developer’s Oasis

In order to make an operating system successful, it of course needs to be user friendly and robust to handle all kinds of situations, however, no one is going to use the operating system if there is a weak collection of 3rd party apps available to be used in conjunctions with the operating system. Microsoft knows this very well and that is the reason it has made sure that Windows 10 is an operating system for developers!

Web

Developers will be apple to publish web apps to the windows store. As the owner of a web development company  I cannot express enough how excited I am about this news. (Check out our services at Okinara.com or visit our Okinara’s Facebook Page. We provide end to end E-Commerce Solutions from development to marketing and hosting.)

Developers will be able to use APIs  to provide locally install app kind of experience for their web services. This can be used in very creative ways and is a win-win for developers and consumers.

.NET& Win32

An easy way to import  all existing apps to windows store and there will be an easy install and uninstall feature similar. This again is a win-win for developers and consumers. Consumers will not have to wait long for their favourite programs to be compatible with Windows 10.

Android – Java/C++

Android_robot.svgDevelopers will be able to reuse java and C++ code used to develop Android apps and for Windows. Windows phones will have an Android subsystem which will use android code and these apps will also have access to Windows-specific extras.

IOS – Objective C 

125px-Apple_iOS_new.svgDevelopers will be able to use their Objective C code for IOS and bring it to Windows. This is bold – Microsoft is trying to take a bite out of Apple.

 

This is great for developers and consumers. Developers will quickly be able to import their existing Android and IOS apps to windows, cutting cost, effort and time. Consumers will no longer be face with dreaded feeling of realizing that the app that they really want is available “only on Android and IOS” and would not have to wait for long.

In addition to that, there will be a single code that will run across all devices – this is huge! Apple developers need to code for Mac OSX and IOS, Google developers have to code for Chrome OS and Android.

There are bound to be some performance issues for ‘imported’ apps, but the ability to quickly import apps at least gives  boost to Windows development which will help developers quickly push their apps and updates to all platforms and can then later tweak performance after launch.

Store

There will be a more unified experience when it comes to shopping for apps across all your devices and as I mentioned above, even web apps will be available for installation. In addition, carrier billing will make shopping experience easier.

The Edge.

Edge is the name for the new Microsoft Internet browser. Microsoft ended Internet Explorer’s run and rightfully so. It was the stupid weirdo that no one liked. Most of you will try and run away from this new browser too, but I have a good feeling about this one, so please give it a try before you pass judgement. Check out my review of Microsoft’s new Inter Browser.

Cortana and Continuum

As a consumer I am most existed about Cortana and Continuem. Cortana is the Siri of the Microsoft world, but Cortana does a lot more than Siri. Microsoft is moving towards developing a true AI personal Assistant much like the Cortana from the Xbox Halo series. By studying they way you use Windows, the kinds of apps that you search for and use and your internet browsing habits, it will make suggestions for new apps and settings, news and more. You will be able to talk to Cortana and give it(…um.. her?) commands like “Cortana message Tim on Whatsapp that I will be late for today’s meeting” Cortana will then open up Whatsapp, search for Tim and send the message.

All this is great, but everyone owns more than one device and this is where Continuum comes in. You will be able to start and stop your work on any device and still get a seamless experience. All this looks good an ‘paper’, but will it actually work? I think there is a good chance that it will. Since there will be one operating system installed on all (windows) devices, and the code base for apps will be the same, the chance of this working is very good. We’ll just have to wait and see if it actually works in reality.

Microsoft is really getting in the driver seat when it comes to software technology with Windows 10. All this is really great, but is this cool or creepy?(especially Cortana and Continuum). Windows 10’s timing is perfect for me since, I am due for a laptop upgrade and I am leaning heavily towards Windows and Surface Pro.

Microsoft is also taking a leap forward with holograms and their HoloLens. I’m not going to talk about this, you can read more here.

This is my take on the upcoming Windows 10, if you like what I have presented for you, please like and share. If you notice errors, please do let me know as I am juggling between writing, developing and running and expanding my business.

If you have tips, or if you would like me to write about something specific that you like, please feel free to get in touch with my on Twitter, Facebook,  Linkedin, or contact me via my contact page.

You can follow Okinara on Twitter and Facebook to get web and software and general tech related updates.

 

Bike Month

I started riding my bike about a month ago and I can tell you the feeling is amazing. I started with walking, which was great and I still love it and I was meeting my 1000 point goals on my Misfit Flash(Check out my review of the Misfit Flash). But soon I realized that although walking was great at first and I was building up my stamina, I needed something faster. I was fond of running many years ago, but running just doesn’t feel like a lot of fun now.

My bike which I had not used in years was the best fit for what I wanted. I fixed it up a little, filled up air, adjusted the brakes and went for my first ride. Every day I pushed myself further and now I easily go 10K to 15K daily. I will improve this as the days go by and we’re still in spring.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 22.30.07  So why all the fuss about bikes? Today marks the first day of this year’s Bike Month in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) Check out the dedicated bike month website. It will run from May 25, 2015 to June 25, 2015. Today is Bike to Work Day! I hope those who knew about Bike to Work Day and those who could, did take their bikes to work. If you did not, you still have one month to get into gear! 😉

So how should you get into action for bike month?

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 22.33.44

Choosing a Bike

downloadThere are many different kinds of bikes. If you are reading this section then chances are you are a just starting off with your biking adventure. Decide what kind of rider you are and how often you will be riding your bike. If you will mostly be using your bike to go to and from work then a hybrid/comfort bike might be the right ride for you. However, if your road to work involves jumping and riding over potholes than a and if you already have a mountain bike then you can simply use that. But please make sure you get it checked and tuned at your local bike shop.

If you are serious about riding your bike on the road, setting aside time with the soul purpose of riding, then you definitely need a road bike. There are many different kinds of road bikes and when it comes to price, the sky is the limit. Just check out this $20,000 limited edition Audi Sport Racing Bike. Audi claims the frame of the bike weight less than the iPhone 6 Plus… haa!… That’s crazy – the fact that it costs $20K and that it’s (frame) lighter than the iPhone 6 Plus.

To get in-depth information on different types of bikes, I recommend gobiking.ca. If you’re not willing to invest time in reading, you can watch this quick video on how to choose the right bike.

Safety

Helmet

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 22.36.30I have to be honest here –  I never wore a helmet until now. I used to think helmets were not “cool”, but in retrospect, I don’t know why I ever thought that. Helmets can be both for safety and style. For bikes there are 2 main types of helmets, mountain bike helmets and road helmets. There are also ‘hybrid’-ish type of helmets which lets you clip on and and clip off the visor – I bought this kind when I started off, but now after riding for a some time, I realize that a special road helmet is the best. Whichever type of helmet you get, make sure that it has a light at the back. This will come in handy if you ever decide to right at night or early morning.

Check out this video on how to choose a helmet. 

General Tips

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 22.30.28Before you get out on the road, please check that both your front and back brakes are working. Make sure that there are no loose screws or nuts and bolts. Your seat needs to be adjusted properly to ensure that you have a comfortable and injury free ride. The biggest mistake that people make is having the seat too low. Both your feet should not be flat on the ground while you are sitting – if that happens you’re doing it wrong. Your leg needs to be extended almost fully so that you are efficiently driving power to the wheels. You should also consider the angle in which your saddle sits.

Here are a video on  How To Set Your Saddle Height – Tips For Getting Your Saddle Position Right

Clothing

If you will be riding at high speeds wearing something comfortable. Don’t wear something that is too loose – it won’t be aerodynamic and will slow you down and potentially throw you off your course which can be dangerous. Don’t wear tight jeans, you need to have free moment in your legs. If you are riding at night, make sure you wear light reflecting outfit and turn on the light at the back of your helmet. I recommend wearing a light jacket to act as a wind breaker especially during the spring or autumn months. Of course you could buy special bike wear but if you are just starting, I wouldn’t recommend this. I personally don’t have any special bike clothing.

Check weather conditions before starting your ride. This spring has been crazy – I quickly learnt my lesson.

Rules

In Ontario, you are not supposed to ride your bike on the footpath. You could be fined if you do. It is also not safe to ride on the footpath. You could easily bump into people and it also becomes difficult for cars coming out of driveways to see you. It is also mandatory that you have a front light so that other vehicles on the road are aware that you are there.

Please take a moment to read through Ontario’s Guide to Safe Cycling

Learn proper hand signals. Remember you have the same responsibility as other 4 wheelers on the road. Most of the rules that apply to other vehicles also apply to you.

Finally when you are ready, go out there, greet the road with those tires, with the wind in your face and ride…!

Happy Bike Month! 🙂

kapil biking

 

 

 

 

We NEED Clean Renewable Energy!

Today while on my daily walk I thought about what my life is worth, what my contribution to society is and will be. Then all these questions got me thinking: where is the world headed? What are we as a human species doing and what will be the implication to the future generation.

There are 5 areas which I believe we humans should be moving towards. Today I will be focussing on

Renewable Energy

The fact that we as a species are still using non-renewable energy which will eventually run out and before it does run out will cause irreversible damage to our environment is both sad and appalling. While on my walk it suddenly dawned on me that the power of the sun is magnificent. Every single day we are getting heat from our sun and all of that is going to waste because we are not capturing it. Just imagine the kind of things that we can do if we can harness the power of solar energy.

It boggles my mind that in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world the USA, coal power accounts for 39% of the country’s electricity production. That is insane! Coal power plants produce acid rain, mercury pollution, increased carbon footprint. This is just one example! There are hundreds of examples around the world that are causing our planet so much destruction.

Solar Power

 http://www.ecoworld.com/  estimate that we get 12.2 trillion watt-hours per square mile per year from our sun! Of course the calculation may or may not be 100% accurate, but the point is the earth receive a ridiculous amount of energy from the sun and it is more than enough to meet all our current and possible future needs. There should be no reason why we are not harnessing the power of the sun, or moving rapidly in that direction.

Electric Cars, next Solar Powered Cars

Thankfully we are moving towards a future where all cars will be electric thanks to the vision of Elon Musk and Tesla Motors. To take it a step further, the cars should not even need to be plugged into a charging station. The roof of cars will be exposed to the sun which can be used to capture solar energy. Up until now the only solar powered cars I have seem are the ones made by enthusiast in their garages. This needs to change now!

Homes

Picture01The roof of homes are exposed to the sun 365 days a year – or the number of sunny days in a year. Just imagine all that surface area used to harness the power of the sun. Yes, there has been progress here too. People have been installing solar panels on their roofs, but still it is not enough! More research needs to be done to make these cheaply available, and more people need to invest into this not only for the sake of saving a few extra bucks in the long run, but also because of the added benefit to the environment.

The natural question will be, what am I doing about it? Nothing really.. nothing at the moment. But I am committing myself to changing this in the near future.

Wind

Windmills_D1-D4_(Thornton_Bank)
Source: Wikipedia

Wind is another freely available resource. Wind turbines are already being using in great numbers throughout the world. However, it is still under-utilized and has lots of ground to cover. According to http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/ Wind energy is the fastest growing mode of electricity production across the planet. In 2012, $25 billion was spent on wind energy investment

Fun Fact: Did you know that Windmills have been in use since 2000 B.C. and were first developed in Persia and China.

Biomass

Source: http://wiredcosmos.com/
Source: http://wiredcosmos.com/

Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. It most often refers to plants or plant-derived materials.As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel. [Source: Wikipedia] The food you eat, plants that die, woodchips and seaweed are all sources of biomass energy. The future of biomass is or should be a mandatory biomass unit for houses with a backyard where all their waste can be used to produce energy and fertilizer for the soil in their gardens.

One way in which we can shape a future for renewable energy is buy using your power to shape the future. [here I talk about how we can use our purchasing power to dictate what products and services businesses  focus on].

I believe there is not only greater good of the environment involved in these three areas but also a possible lucrative business opportunity.  If anyone is interested in taking what I have said seriously, please contact me via the contact page.

 

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!

Evernote: The only note keeper you’ll ever need

186tgj38eph2cjpgI’m going to get right to the point with this one because there is no argument about Evernote being the best note taking tool/software/service.

What sets it a apart from all the others is its speed, simplicity and stability.

It has had some hiccups in the past, but overall it has been one of the most stable apps/services.

I’m not always too keen one using external products or services especially if it is software related. Even at Okinara, we try to keep it in-house as much as possible, knowledge base, issue tracking system, development servers etc..

However, I am personally relying more and more on Evernote now and so is my business.

Multiple Platforms

Evernote can be used on multiple platforms: android, iphone, ipad, windows, web and mac.

Seamless

Source: Evernote.com
Source: Evernote.com

The synchronization on Evernote is one of the things that keeps no loyal to Evernote. I can start my note on my Macbook Pro, and then continue on my Android phone, add or remove something on my Linux based server and continue the process by adding a few more notes on my tablet during my meeting with a client. All this happens seamlessly without any hiccups.

On the off chance that there are some synchronization issues for example if I made some changes on my laptop which did not have internet connection at that moment and then I went and made some changes on my phone which did have Internet connection, so now the second modification will get applied to the note on the Evernote server, but when I go back to my laptop to make chances and this time it has internet connection, there will be a conflict. Evernote is smart enough to know that there is a conflict. It will save both notes and prompt me to take a look.

It’s a very smart and practical app.

KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid

Notes are organized into Notebooks which can only go deep to two levels – a parent notebook book with many sub notebooks which can have many notes.  Each note can also be tagged with one or more tags. Using the combination of these two methods keeps the very simple and basic Eernote seems sophisticated.

If you need a deeper structure (sub category of sub categories and more), you can actually accomplish that with Evernote with notebooks and tags. If I get a chance and if there is demand for it, I’ll write an article on it.

The interface is also very simple. On the web, mac and windows, there are notes on the left and note details on the right. The notebook window simply displays all the notebooks that you have. In contrast One Note is packed with tonnes of features but can quite difficult to navigate and at a certain point it has too much going on for its own good. Then there is Google Keep which just over simplifies everything and is a very weak service/app for what you might want to do with your notetaker.

Types of Notes

maxresdefault

Evernote can record text notes, voice notes, images from your phone and attachments. It can even take hand written notes. This is something that can compete with the Note 4’s handwritten memo. This is one of the secondary reasons I chose to go with Samsung galaxy S6 (check out my take on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.   instead of the Note 4. If you want to get the the doodling feature of the Note4 on a phone that is not Note 4, then you can simply use Evernote.

Other useful features

  • Reminders – you can turn any note into a reminder and even set a due date
  • web clipper for chrome

Comes in 3 versions – which one is right for you?

free

  • all the feature I mentioned above
  • 60MB uploads

plus

All the features of the  free version plus:

  • $24.99/ year
  • 1GB uploads
  • pascode lock
  • forward important emails directly to your evernote

premium

  • $49.99/year
  • unlimited uploads
  • do more with pdfs – can annotate them
  • version tracking
  • scan business cards
  • search in office documents
  • create slides for presentation

Other uses of Evernote include:

  • keep notes
  • act as a knowledge base
  • keep track of meetings and agenda
  • shopping list
  • journal
  • photo journalism – quick snap to make a note
  • recipe book
  • project management tool
  • CRM

That’s my take on the Evernote. Do you have any other note taking service that you would like me to review. Please add a comment below, like and share this post if you find it useful.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge: Next is Now or is it?

Source: Samsung Mobile Facebook Page.
Source: Samsung Mobile Facebook Page.

By now I’m sure you have already seen ” The Next is Now ” ads from Samsung. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge is the biggest change to the Galaxy S series.

Samsung made amazing feature-packed phones that were comfortable in the hand and very functional but always lacked in the aesthetics department according to critics and consumers alike.

New Premium Design

Now with the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge, Samsung has geared to move away from the “cheap plasticy design” . The Galaxy S6 has been redesigned completely. Even the code name for the phone was “Project Zero”. The plastic is gone and it’s replaced with an all glass and metal design that honestly looks gorgeous and feels premium to the touch. I was a bit skeptical at first, but after using the Galaxy S6 edge for a week, I am beginning to love this phone. The premium design of this phone is everything.

Galaxy-S6-Edge-colorsThere are two version of the phone. Galaxy S6, which is the flat ‘vanilla’  phone that everyone is used to and Galaxy S6 edge which has a dual-curve display, the first of its kind.

The Galaxy S6 comes in four colours: White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, and Blue Topaz. The Galaxy S6 Edge will comes in four colours as well: White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, and Green Emerald. I personally find the Green Emerald the best looking out of all. My second best is Black Sapphire, which is what I have because the Green Emerald is not out in Canada yet – we might not even get it. Regardless of which one you get, they are all beautiful premium looking colours. I was thinking of getting the Note 4, but when I saw how beautifully the S6 edge was designed and how elegantly it reflected light, I knew I had to get it.

This is the first time I have picked look and feel over practicality.

It is mesmerizing to watch the light bounce off from the phone’s back and front(top and bottom). But the beautiful glass and metal design comes with some drawbacks. It feels smooth in the hand but it also feels a bit delicate. I have heard people say that they’re always afraid of dropping it. Even imagining the all glass phone slip and fall from the hand is a very scary. It is also very sleek and slides off even with the slightest incline on any surfaces. I have dropped my phone 3 times in the past 1 week already – not from my hand, but from the edge of a sofa, table and chair. I have to mention that the Gold Platinum colour is a fingerprint magnet.

The edge

Side by side comparison of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.  Source: Mashable.com
Side by side comparison of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.
Source: Mashable.com

The S6 edge and S6 are identical in terms of specs and almost identical in terms of software. The edge’s screen curves on both sides. It also costs a $100 more than the S6. At first I thought I am not going to spend a $100 on something I have no use for and even now it is true; the edge has no practical use. It is purely for aesthetics. There are some features specific to the edge but they’re superficial and gimmicks at most. The edge can display the time and news updates when you rub your finger against it and it can also act as a night clock – none of which I have any use for. You can pick 5 of your favourite contacts which you can swipe from the edge to call, email or text. I have found this useful, but it is definitely something I can live without.

So why did I buy the S6 edge and not the S6? The edge despite having no practical use, is just simply gorgeous to look at. It feels very different and novel in my hand. It’s unlike anything I have experienced with a phone. Sliding your fingers or thumb  to swipe right or left has that unique  hard to describe wow factor and is a joy both to the sense of touch and sight. The way objects on screen curve in from the edge or disappear into it is something that once you get a taste of, you will never want to go back to the plan flat screen – who wants that now? Not me. Videos also look better on the edge. It almost seems like videos are hovering slightly above the phone. It’s one of those things you have to actually experience it to know.

So is the extra $100 worth it? YES! I’ll be keeping my phone for at least 2 to 3 years and although I want functionality, I also want something that I will enjoy.

No removable battery, No mirco SD card slot – A no go for some

20150512_223133Before the Galaxy S6, Samsung had always boasted having in their phones removable battery and expandable memory with a micro SD card slot. But this meant that their phones had to be made of plastic so that people could easily remove the back which a lot of people found to be too cheap looking. I owned a Galaxy S3 and I thought the plastic back was fine and I say that it did look beautiful. I cannot say the same for the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S5.

Samsung ads in the past even made fun of people who owned other phones without a removable battery calling them “Wall Huggers”, so the move to not having the option to remove the battery was a surprising one but it was something that Samsung had to do to make the S6 a ‘premium’ designed phone.

Even I was a bit disappointed and almost bought a Note 4 instead of an S6. What changed my mind was the new beautiful design, fast charging, better finger print scanner, awesome camera and built-in wireless charging.

The S6 and S6 edge comes in 3 sizes, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. I had 32GB on my S3 and never carried a micro SD card so I bought the 64GB because of bigger files for the 4K video and larger photo file size.

Battery life isn’t that great, I have heard from other people and I have experienced it myself, but the fast charging compensates for it…sort of. There is a Galaxy S6 battery pack too, although I haven’t seen it in any stores yet. I might find this useful as I always carried a spare battery with me.

Camera

Samsung phones have always had great cameras and the Galaxy S6 is no exception. In fact it has one of the best camera phones out there. It has a 16M rear facing camera with optical image stabilization,  f1.9 aperture for better low light results and a 5MP wide angle front facing camera which is great of group selfies. I have found the front facing camera to have a bit of distortion. The rear facing camera seems to have it too. You might not light it if you are too picky otherwise it can hardly be noticed.

Another great feature that hardly gets mentioned is double tapping the home button quickly launches the camera. It’s one of those things you don’t know you need until you have it.

Fingerprint Scanner

The S6 fingerprint scanner is ‘touch to authenticate’ and is a definite improvement from the Note 4’s awkward swipe method.

Wireless Charging

photograph by Kapil Bulsara.
photograph by Kapil Bulsara.

At first this was something I didn’t really care about until I started using it in conjunction with upload Camera roll to One Drive while charging.(check out my article on how One Drive can be useful “Home Media Server and Cloud – Plex and One Drive”  section.) Normally I prefer fast charging, but if I quickly want to upload my pictures to OneDrive, I just place it on the wireless charger and bam! I’m charing my phone and uploading photos at the same time.

Built-in wireless charging also means this phone is future proof. Check out my article on Current trends and possible future of wireless charging. 

Processor and Ram

The Galaxy S6 packs a Samsung Exynos 1.5GHz  octa-core and 3GB DDR4 RAM. That’s geek for “it’s insanely fast”!

Display

It’s a 5.1 inch 1440 x 2560 pixels (~577 ppi pixel density) Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. That’s geek for “super awesome looking screen” and frankly it is super overkill too. I doubt that anyone can tell the difference between that many ppi vs Note 4 or Iphone 6. But do I like it? YES!

So that’s my take on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. If you’re reading this, you might be wondering if you should upgrade or not. That’s a tricky question. I was always a function over form kind of person and this phone changed that. If you have an android phone that is older than a year or 2 years, I say yes, definitely upgrade. If you’re tied to the apple ecosystem and have an iPhone. This phone was designed to lure in iPhone users and I can confidently say most of you will be pleasantly surprised by the S6 edge. However, if you own a phone that’s less than a year old, my recommendation is to just wait at least a year. The new Iphone and Note 5 will be coming out this year. Finally if you are one of those people who need to get the latest and most cutting edge tech then yes definitely get the Galaxy S6 edge, it literally has an edge over every other phone,… in fact it has two!

Why I Love the Seasons in Canada

Most people who are not Canadians think that Canada is nothing more than a cold wintery land, but that is far from the truth. Yes there are parts of Canada which seem to receive more winter than there are days in a year, but most Canadians get to experience each of the 4 seasons. Summer, Winter, Spring and Autumn.

Winter

nathan-philips-square-toronto_60487_600x450
Source: nationalgeographic.com

Winter is awesome. Do you know why? Because snow is awesome,  snow is beautiful. There cannot be a white christmas without snow and honestly a Christmas isn’t really Christmas until there is snow on the ground. I know because until the age of 17 the only time I saw a  snowy Christmas was in movies. It was not until I actually experienced a snowy Christmas that I knew there was no better way to experience this holiday.

Source: http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/news/mcdonalds-fan-zone-opens-friday-at-2015-iihf-world-junior-championship-in-montreal-que
Source: http://www.hockeycanada.ca

Winter in Canada means winter sports – ice skating, hockey, ice fishing, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, building snow angels, snow fights and so much more. Ice Hockey, or just Hockey as it is called in Canada is something that helped me get introduced to the Canadian culture when I first moved here. Not only that, Hockey is actually a very fun game to watch. It’s fast-paced with constant action and has committed die hard fans of the game. In fact one of my unforgettable moments of life is related to Hockey.  Whether it’s hockey or skating on a frozen lake, winter gives many bonding experiences for families.

Niagara Falls, Canada in Winter
photographed by Kapil Bulsara. kapilbulsara.com

It also helps that winter looks stunningly beautiful. Take a look at this picture of Niagara Falls in winter.

Another thing that I like about Winter is that it gives you an appreciation of all the other seasons. As much as all the fun things that happen in Winter, it is not an easy season. It can sometimes take a toll on people especially from getting bombarded by snow storms, or extremely cold wind chills. But that is also something that I like about winter – it gives you an appreciation of the other seasons. It gives you something to look forward to.

Spring

Cheery Blossom
Photograph by Kapil Bulsara. kapilbulsara.com

The frost melts, the snow turns to rain to give much needed source of life to the earth. The joy of casting away winter boots and winter jackets and winter tires and winter everything for the first time in months gives a bright new outlook to the coming months, the same way that the ground that was frozen for months turns green to mark the beginning of pleasant things to come and the lifeless branches of trees that seemed to have disappeared start to show signs of life, declaring the start of a new season with the first flowers in months.

Many Canadians start their gardening projects in spring, cyclists start riding again and you start to see more people on walking on walkways.

Summer

source: cbc.ca
source: cbc.ca
Kapil Bulsara kapilbulsara.com
Kapil Bulsara
kapilbulsara.com

The polar opposite of Winter, Summer is the season of BBQ, outdoor sports such as soccer baseball and volleyball, picnics in parks, tanning at beaches, cottage trips, swimming in lakes, running, jogging, cycling, and a whole lot more. T-Shirts, shorts, sundresses and skirts, flip-flops and sandals and hats and cool shades – what’s not to love about summer? Summer is another big season for families and friends to bond whether it is having drinks on a patio or sleeping in a tent under the stars on a summer camping trip.

There are also many festivals and events that take place in the summer. For 3 amazing months Canadians forget that they ever knew what winter was and soak in all the warmth of the season. Summer is a time for celebration for one more reason – Canada Day!

Autumn

Source: http://crazy-frankenstein.com/
Source: http://crazy-frankenstein.com/

Out of all the seasons in Canada, the most bright and colourful one is Autumn. You will find the symbolic Canadian maple tree displaying yellow, bright orange and red across the country. It marks the end of summer as the air starts to get chilly. Shorts and dresses fade to make way for warm hoodies and light jackets. The last few trips to the cottage to experience the beautiful colours displayed by nature and to indulge in the final s’more of the year while sitting gathered around family or friends around a campfire make this season worthwhile.

That’s my take on the beautiful seasons in Canada. Each seasons makes us Canadians appreciate all the other seasons and since each season will only last 3 months we know how to make it count.