Saturday, August 26, 2017

Best Wi-Fi Router for Blogging

One of the biggest issues I have faced while blogging is the frequent disconnects and slow speeds due to the Wi-Fi router at home. Despite a high speed Fibernet connection (ACT Broadband) that offered around 100MBPS speed , I realized I could never touch more than 40-50 MBPS through Wi-Fi despite sitting very close to the router. I always felt this could be an Internet provider issue, but never realized this is a "router limitation" in my very home.



After a detailed research in this space and understandig the types of routers, the different versions etc, I finally narrowed down to the perfect router ideal for my home space. When you login to Amazon , Flipkart, you'll be thrown around more than 100 models of routers and you'll probably end up something that's recognizable and within your budget. However it may not necessarily offer you the speeds you desire. So before you choose the next router, give this post a 5-10 minute read and it may be really fruitful for you. I have tried to make it as simple as possible to make sure anyone can follow it.

Types of Wi-Fi Routers


Wi-Fi Routers are  predominantly classified into Single Band Router and Dual Band Router. 

  • The single band routers are divided as 150, 300 
  • Dual band routers are divided into 600, 750, 900
You'll be wondering what these numbers mean. The 150, 300 etc are the maximum link speeds your modem can offer . Read on and your questions will be answered.

Router Frequencies

A router can operate in primarily two different frequencies 2.4Ghz and 5.1 Ghz.

In layman terms, 2.4 Ghz is "relatively" a slower Wifi Connection with a maximum speed of 54 MBPS while  5.1 GHz supports super fast Wifi connections and has a max speed of  450 MBPS.

Single Band Routers :

http://amzn.to/2xBNMme

 

A single band router operates in 2.4 GHz only and therefore cannot offer you a downloading speed  >54MBPS. So even if you have bought a 100 mbps plan from your internet operator like ACT Broadband or Hathway or YouBroadband or Tikona etc, you cannot get more than 50 mbps speed.
So its basically as good as subscribing to a cheaper 50mbps plan if you are planning to stick to this router.

Here's the basic difference between the two variants of single band routers :

Single Band 150 Router : Max Speed of 20 MBPS only , with a limited range ( ideal for houses < 600 sqft with a low speed 16mbps plan

Single Band 300 Router :  Max Speed of 54 MBPS only , with a limited range ( ideal for houses < 1000 sqft with a 50MBPS plan).

Dual Band Routers

 

Dual Band Routers can be classified into 600 , 750 or 900. They support high ranges, ideal for offices, large houses and those who have subscribed to a high speed ( >75mbps) connections.

So what do you mean by "Dual" in a Dual Band router ?

This means, you can create two different wireless networks in the same house.
One wireless network will operate in a 2.4 Ghz channel (which is the same speed as Single band 300) and second wireless network operates in a 5.1GHz channel ( which has speed of 450mbps). Therefore in mathematical terms its 300(1st network) + 450 (2nd network) = Dual Band 750.

Also there are 3 antennas in a dual band router, which helps to give a higher range compared to 2 antennas in a single band router.

In layman terms :

Let's take an example: Suppose you have 4 members in your house. Two of them use just whatsapp, Facebook, gmail and simple browsing. The rest two downloads big files, streams HD content and plays online video games etc. If everyone's on the same network, speeds are shared,and in the end noone gets to do their work easily

But if the router gives you the option to connect to either of the two networks A)2.4Ghz for just browsing or B) 5.1 Ghz for high speeds. Then the first two people will connect to Network A, while the rest two will connect to Network B.

Problem Solved and everyone can browse faster without buffering.

Key point to notice while buying Laptops & Mobiles

A lot of the laptops and mobiles that was manufactured last year or an year before still supported a 802.11 b/g standard and not the 802.11 a/c standard.

In layman terms : If you had a laptop that did not have "802.11 a/c" mentioned in the technical specifications under "wireless", it cannot detect the 5.1 GHz network even if you have a dual band router with a high speed network. You'll be forced to connect to the 2.4 Ghz network only with a max speed of 54mbps

So make sure the words 802.11 a/c is clearly mentioned in the tech specifications before you buy.

Simple Router Buying Guide

If you are still confused about everything and  simple want to just know which kind of router to buy, this table summary will help you decide

Choose your apartment size, the internet connection speed offered to you currently and choose wisely

Best Routers in the market


  • Top 3 Single Band Routers

1. Netgear N300 Router (Recommended by most ISP's) : Been using it for last 4 years and definitely one of the best single band router



2. Xiaomi Mi3C Single Band Router
Hearing amazing reviews all around and has 4 antennas for good range and speeds



3. D-Link Dir 615 Single Band Router
Another good router and much cheaper than the Netgear series




  • Top 3 Dual Band Routers
1. tp-link Archer C20-AC750 Dual Band Router
One of the most popular dual band routers ( I currently own this ), the Archer series has agood reputation and one of the perfect buys in the dual band range.. Just 400 rs extra than a single band router and definitely worth it



2. D-Link Dir 816 Dual Band Router
Identically priced to the tp-link, you can choose either of the two while going for a dual band version



3. Netgear R6220 AC-1200
A next generation dual band router from Netgear, this is more expensive than a D-link/tp-link but definitely worth the price and it offers speeds upto 816 mpbs. If you can afford and want to invest in a high quality router, this is the most ideal one



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Interview Desk - On-Demand Interviews & HR 2.0 Initiative

Hiring for the best talent is one of the key things every company would be focussed to do.  These people would later form to be your core team and contribute to majority of your company's success. More than just employees, the top/ best performing employees are considered assets to a company. When the company comes out for valuation in the stock market, more than their products or services, the employees add immense value to the equation


This is why, when you buy out a company, you are not just getting their products but rather you are acquiring their key asset, the employees. Identifying and hiring such talent can be one of the toughest things every employer would face. Retaining them a couple of years later is altogether a different ball game.

Standard Hiring Process

For any opening, you'll probably be flooded with hundreds of resumes, most of which doesn't suit your requirement or the people not employable. Searching through wades of resumes, identifying the best quality ones and interviewing them could be an arduous month long task. It's critical that during this qualification process, you never reject a right candidate by mistake.



For any medium sized to big firm, the process of posting a job requirement, receiving applications, interviewing them , shortlisting them, negotiating an offer and finally giving the job can take anywhere between a month or sometimes two.

interviewdesk hr platform

So what if there was a readymade pool of "pre-qualified" candidates , who are already interviewed by an expert interviewer/panel and just waiting for you to give a final clearance? Doesn't that gets your job done in minutes and saves you all the routine outbound calls?

InterviewDesk - OnDemand Interviewer Platform 

Yes, that dream has become a reality with the launch of the "On-Demand" Interviewer platform, called InterviewDesk.




InterviewDesk works like a marketplace model service. They let companies outsource the recruitment process and leave it to the experts at InterviewDesk. Meanwhile InterviewDesk attracts interviewers, having decades of experience in different fields to ask the right questions. So across geography, across Industry, InterviewDesk helps to quickly form panels of experts in different domains and different job functions such as Healthcare, IT, Manufacturing, Analytics, Supply Chain, Marketing etc. So when you outsource this process, your hundreds of bundles of resumes gets filtered out to just handful of quality profiles which can be interviewed immediately.

interview desk hr platform

Benefits for an Employer

  • Hiring process accelerated by 10X Times
  • Expert Interviewer panel to Filter profiles and shortlist them
  • Reduces cost spent on Hiring  
  • Can focus more on In-Depth interviews to get the right talent

Earning Opportunities for Interviewers:

If you are a professional interviewer or even an expert in a particular domain, InterviewDesk offers you a great monetizing opportunity. With a flexible platform, you get to be part of a large interviewer community and get to earn a nice side income with a commitment of minimum of 60mins of your time. This not only helps to earn , but also builds a brand for you and promoting your visibility to prospective employers and other job seekers.

I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Interview Desk at GRT last week and hence the post is in collaboration with InterviewDesk.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Auto Portal - Top Auto Comparison & Reviews Website,India

Suppose you venture in the market to purchase an automobile, especially a car, you'll be inundated with so many segments, variants, brands in different price ranges. Understanding the variation in technical specifications among the variants in the same car , key features / USP of the car can be another uphill task. Once you are done checking these specs , next step is to compare it with another competitor brand. Most times, you have to make manual comparisons, with the little info provided by car salesmen and arrive at a suitable decision and definitely difficult without a car comparison website.

autoportal car comparison site


These factors generally extend the Awareness->Consideration->Purchase funnel, purely because of a lack of collective knowledge about all cars and deciding which is best.There were automobile magazines that gave a good insight on these things about cars. But you had to sit and read through pages to get a clear info on what you were looking for. Then came the car aggregator sites which helped to list the potential cars you would want to buy along with a critic & user rating, reviews and other upcoming releases in this segment.

autoportal car comparison website

One such automobile site I discovered during my recent Automobile search was Autoportal.com. Why was it useful and how do they work?

Here are 4 different key sections of AutoPortal:

1.New Car Research with On-Road Price info 

This is one of the key sections of the website. You just need to click on New Car Research and it gives you the option of choosing the type of car by Body type.This includes Hatchback, SUV, Sedan, Luxury, Electric etc. Once selected you get a list of all the cars in that segment with their price, technical info etc.

    • Suppose you get to choose SUV and later filter to choose a price range of 10-20 lakhs, you'll be shown Ford Ecosport, XUV 500, Tata Hexa ,Hyundai Tucson and Jeep Compass among others.
autoportal car comparison site india

    • Select the cars that you wish to consider and click on the Compare Button on the top. This will list out the best features of each car in a single consolidated table and helps you to immediately narrow down on the car that you want to buy.
    • In fact, you even have an option "Hide common features" and "Highlight key differences.
    • Once done, click on "Get On-Road price" and you'll be given a quote, along with a loan EMI quote. If you are interested, you will be contacted by a nearby dealer and you start your booking/test drive process immediately.

2. New Bike Research with On-Road Price info

Similar to the cars section, there are different bikes(Motorcycles) listed by brands. You'll be even surprised that there are so many brands available in this space, as we might only remember the top 2-3 brands like Bajaj or Hero or Honda.
autoportal car comparison website

autoportal car comparison site


You can even get to compare upto 4 different bikes at the same time along with expert reviews and feedback. As someone, who might be upgrading my bike in the next couple of years, this will be a boon for me to get every information I need in a single page .

3. Buying and Selling Used Cars

If you are planning to sell your own or even consider buying an used car at competitive rates, AutoPortal helps you with that too. With quality assurance and great service, you'll end up buying an almost perfect car at such competitive prices, and get the feeling you are driving a new car. In my opinion, Autoportal is definitely one of the best used cars buying site in India !

best used cars buying website India

4. News & Articles

If you want updates and news articles about new releases , car maintenance tips or even expert predictions about a car, go and check out their news and articles section.

Independence Day Offer (Aug 1 - Aug 31)

So Autoportal has now come with an awesome Independence Day offer. #FreedomtoExplore
Once you are done with your auto research, go ahead and book a car with a referral through Autoportal between Aug 1st '17 & Augus 31st '17.

Steps to participate in Independence Day offer

  • Make a booking request  at Autoportal.com 
  • Visit dealer and pay booking amount to him and do inform him you have come through AutoPortal. 
  • Send your booking receipt to 99533 50171 to be eligible for the offer
  • Later make the rest of payment to Dealer. 
  • Get ready to win the awesome prizes 

Independence Day Offer Prizes by AutoPortal

You'll now stand a chance to win one among these
  • Travel + Stay Trip to Dubai 
  • Travel + Stay Trip to Goa
  • iPhone 6 32GB 
  • 7 Consolation Winners: - Rs. 5,000/ - ICICI Gift Card

Friday, August 04, 2017

Future of Televisions - LG OLED E7 4k UHD Smart TV

Televisions has always seen a sluggish growth in terms of technological innovations and development. There has been more focus given to other products such as mobiles, and we tend to completely overlook the most essential appliance in everyone's homes. The shift from a CRT TV to a LCD TV and finally a full HD LED TV has taken more than two decades. Yes, 20 years for majority of people to finally migrate to a new LED TV while we were busy replacing our mobile phones every 1.5 years. While this shift finally happened and still happening, I got a sneak peek into the future of Televisions, a  revolutionary "OLED 4K HDR Smart" TV from LG electronics.


TV : A journey from Home Appliance to Home Entertainment Industry

Before I write about the significance and features of the OLED E7 series TV, one should understand how the market is evolving. From being a "Home Appliance" product, Televisions has now become a "Home Entertainment" Industry product. TV's is one of the primary devices in this Internet of things era, thanks to products like NetFlix, Amazon Prime, ChromeCast , HotStar and the likes.

From paying a monthly rent to a cable operator for a handful of blurred channels a few decades back, we now have the option to watch full HD movies and shows live/on-demand whenever you want.

lg oled tv review
Source : Wikimedia

So what is this OLED 4K HDR Smart TV all about?

Yes, even I had to look up my notes to type the whole thing out , but the TV in reality is a whole different ball game. It's as if LG sat around a room one day and said, "ok , Lets invent what should be there in future TV's, NOW. Let's not wait for technology to catch up. Let others catch up to us".

Till now we've been primarily exposed to only HD LED & 4K UHD televisions. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. One of the biggest differences between a OLED TV and normal LED TV is that, in a LED TV, all pixels in the screens are illuminated by a LED backlight.
However in a OLED TV, every single pixel has its own illumination. This brightens up your display by several times, giving a crystal clear image that you might have never witnessed before. Especially, the contrast ratio is absolutely brilliant in an OLED TV.


Key Features of OLED E7 TV


The main striking feature of the OLED E7 TV is the Dolby Vision (currently a state of art technology) . Other prominent features include  Dolby Atmos sound and Color Science Expertise by Technicolor.

  • Dolby Vision Technology 

LG is counting heavily on this Dolby Vision technology in the OLED E7. This brings out an amazing home cinema experience with vivid colors and live images along with an astonishing level of brightness . It also supports all HDR formats and thereby helping viewers to watch HD Premium content. In short, every minute detail of the content is captured in its original form, without any distortion.


  • Dolby Atmos

Be prepared for a 360 ' Sound Experience , along with an additional Sound Bar stand, which contains a Built in Woofer . Your Home theatre experience is complete with just a single setup of this television and no other additional gadgets to be procured.

  • Size Variants 

The LG OLED E7 TV comes in 2 variants, namely the 65' and the 55' with inbuilt "WebOS" platform. This helps you to integrate all the internet, smart TV features along with a classy interface for easy navigation.

The remote control has a mouse wheel function along with a single click function to access anything.
Apart from this you get Natural Voice Recognition and even an App store to get more apps.



  • Netflix & Amazon Prime Partnership

The LG OLED 4K HDR Smart TV , as the name goes provide full capability for online streaming with 4K quality. To aid this further, they have partnered with Netflix and Amazon prime, which lets you stream unlimited 4K quality content directly in your TV (with no additional costs).



LG OLED TV Price

As most people know, an OLED technology , especially in a 65' screen cannot come anywhere cheap and definitely costs a fortune. However for a true cinema lover, this can be the biggest investment he could ever think of, for an ultimate movie watching experience

Current MRP in India is :

Rs.5,85,000 for the 65' version : http://amzn.to/2uqekFh
Rs. 4,00,000 for the 55' variant : http://amzn.to/2uqbccE

In United States, prices are as follows :

Its $3200 for the 65' variant

and $2200 for the 55' variant

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Tata Nexon Compact SUV - Review, Price & Technical Specs

Tata Motors, one of the most unbeatable players in the commercial vehicle segment, is very much on course for a complete overhaul in the passenger car segment.They are attempting this through three important characteristic,namely Style (they call it an "Impact" design), feature loaded cars and more importantly aggressive pricing.

tata nexon compact suv review


When they launched the Tiago campaign a couple of years back, you got a sense of what's coming ahead in the Tata stable. Fast forward two years later, they are cruising to victory with three launches in different segments and definitely a hatrick of success. This includes the Tiago (Hatchback), Tata Hexa(SUV), Tata Tigor (Styleback / Compact Sedan) and the upcoming Tata Nexon (Compact SUV).

Nexon incidentally stands for "Next-On" and that says  everything.


Why the Sub 4-metre cars?

Before we go into the review of the Tata Nexon , one should understand why automobile manufacturers including Tata Motors, Maruti or Ford prefer to design sub 4-meter cars.

Overall the taxes for large cars had a good redutction post GST. Even the Hexa's price was reduced by INR 2 Lakhs. However when you consider the actual GST% it's lesser for "Small" cars that are lesser than 4 metres and have an engine displacement upto 1.2L in a petrol vehicle and 1.5L in a diesel engine. These attract only 29% total tax including CESS . For all other  >4 meter cars (Mid size or SUV's), it is a whopping 43%.

This is difference of anywhere between 50-80,000 Rs in taxes alone for the smaller cars. So apart from the hatchback of Tiago, Tigor (Sedan) , the Nexon despite being a SUV will still come under the 28% tax bracket, since the variants fall under the engine displacement limit and literally 5 millimeters shorter than 4 meters.

nexon gst price
GST slab for Cars

Tata Nexon Vs Competitors (Brezza , EcoSport, TUV300)

The Nexon's design combines a look of a sports coupe and a SUV. It takes head on, primarily the Ford Ecosport , Mahindra TUV 300 and the Maruti Suzuki Brezza as key competitors , the latter being more formidable and successful.

Nexon may want to edge the Brezza in several aspects in terms of pricing, style and more importantly the power packed features. 

Be it the 209mm ground clearance(11m higher than Brezza), HD infotainment screen with 8 Harman speakers or the Coupe design along with 3 drive modes, Nexon stands out tough against others. Brezza currently edges ahead in terms of performance and additional mileage of 5-6 KMs(which may or may not be an important factor in this segment)

Key Features of Tata Nexon

Here are some of the key features why the Nexon stands out in the market, much less for any segment:

tata nexon compact suv key features


Nexon Engine

Petrol Variant : The Nexon is powered with a 6 speed transmission (another first in this segment), 1.2 L Revotorq Engine 108 BHP @ 5000 RPM and Torque of 180NM. This is a significantly higher than the 89BHP present in the Maruthi Brezza. . Claimed Mileage for ARAI standard is 19 kpl (but in city conditions it should be anywhere between 11-15).

Diesel Variant : Just like the petrol version, this also has a 6 speed manual transmission gearbox . It has a 1.5L Turbo Diesel engine . Power is108 BHP @ 3,750 RPM . Claimed Mileage is 24 kpl (though in city conditions it may come to roughly 18-20).  Fuel Tank Capacity is 44L.

Nexon Exteriors

tata nexon compact suv

 

The 3995 mm long SUV has a significant ground clearance of 209mm (11mm more than the Brezza and Ecosport). In the front, the chrome radiator grille brings out the signature Tata style, along with striking LED tail lamps. They even have LED lights for the number plate and this adds a nice touch to the detailing.


tata nexon wheelbase


On the wheels front, they have added a 16 inch alloy wheels that makes a significant difference in driving, esp in cornering and uphills. The more the wheel base , the higher confidence and grip you get on the road and this is very much true for the Nexon (the top end variant is rumoured to even sport an 18inch wheels. More the merrier I guess).


The metal roof rails at the top just makes the overall exterior all the more attractive.

tata nexon roof rails


In short the new "Impact" design methodology of Tata Motors stands out vividly in the Nexon.

 

Nexon Interiors

tata nexon interiors review

More than the exteriors , the interiors seems to take up most of the limelight. A premium finish Dual Tone front seat, comfortable rear seats that offers a lot of spacing and leg room and Air conditioning vents with individual controls are some of the key highlights.

The front floating Infotainment system with HD screens mounted on top of the dashboard is quite distinctive and probably the first thing you notice when you sit inside.  The next thing you see is a "Grand Central Console" as they refer to it right beside the handbrake. This contains a sliding tambour door with a neat storage space inside along with a Drive mode change wheel.

tata nexon central console



Glove Box : Nexon surprises everyone with a huge sliding "cooled" and "illuminated" glove box. Not only does it help to store your consumables, but you can actually fit in a 15 inch laptop inside quite comfortably.

tata nexon glove box


Overall storage capacity is 350L, altough with foldable rear seats, you can add another 100-150L to this capacity.

tata nexon boot space

Drive Modes & Performance

 

tata nexon 6 speed gear

Unlike the Hexa, the Nexon comes with a front wheel drive mode only. However this is more than sufficient for a compact SUV segment and the ride is smoothly handled with the right "drive" modes in place for the respective road conditions. The Diesel variant obviously outperforms the Petrol variant in uphills, despite carrying 3+ people inside and the Air Conditioning mode on .

The 3 driving modes : Sport, City and Eco comes super handy in different roads. If you are running low on Fuel , you can switch to Eco and this boosts your mileage , with slightly increased strain on the engine. If you want to cruise at 120+ in a highway, just go for the sports mode and for every other routine drive, switch back to the City mode, adapt for increased gear shifts. However it would have been marginally better if the petrol variant had slightly more power to get that extra boost it deserves.

Nexon Ride Quality

The leg space at the back is quite large compared to any other cars, and you can be quite assured of a very comfortable journey irrespective of where you are sitting. The rear middle seat can be converted to an arm rest . The comfort factor is excellent and the ride quality is not compromised in any way.

Nexon Price in India

The 6-speed manual transmission Nexon is "expected" to be priced between 6.5-7 Laks for the Petrol version and 7.5-8 Lakhs for the Diesel one. On-Road prices and will vary based on GST taxes.

While at it, do read Shrinidhi, Atul, Maitreni, Umang and Danish's review of the Nexon.

Conclusion

Tata Motors has the work cut out here. The launch of the fantastic Tata Nexon has certainly given them all the ammunition they want, to make the conversion happen. Yet its competition against the well settled Brezza is going to be fierce. Tata was once king in the multi utility segment with the Sumo. They tasted a fair share of success with the latest SUV "Hexa".  Now, the compact SUV segment is going to be a little tougher.

Convincing a Ecosport or a Brezza buyer to rather opt for Nexon, a new entrant from Tata Motors is going to be difficult, take time and needs a good word of mouth. Yet they have what every marketer needs under his belt : A fantastic product! This alone could sweep the tide in favour of Tata and their whole new revamped "Impact Design" strategy, as long as they play their cards right.

Instead of "Nexon", it should have rather been named the "Fight is on" !

You can check out more detailed information about the Tata Nexon here.