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Apr 01

The TimeTec RoadHawk DC-2 camera is a fairly high end camera for the dash-cam enthusiast in you. Whether you love to record long drives or are looking for a camera for insurance purposes, this can be your goto camera depending upon your budget. The camera’s standard price is around $179.99 which when compared to other options in the market is a bit steep, but is the price worth the quality ? Lets have a look.

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Specifications :

Real Full HD 1080p@30fps video latest A5s Processor (Ambarella).

  • High quality image sensor providing excellent video quality and tuned for low light sensitivity.
  • Gyro balanced image stabilisation
  • SD XC compatible up to 128GB (8GB included)
  • Built-in 1hz GPS Receiver
  • Built-in microphone
  • New vertical mount designed to have the lens of the camera sitting closer to the screen of the vehicle minimising reflection
  • Algorithm for detecting SD card errors.
  • Alarm input for remote triggering events and output for communicating with tracking devices.

 

Construction and Installation
The camera feels sturdy to hold and comes with some 3M stickers and a long winding cable. I have connected it to my cigarette lighter but some people may feel like attaching it to the battery directly. The mount that comes with the camera I feel is pretty useless as you cannot take off the camera in a market or a crowded area while parking the car. this is an open invitation for prowlers.

I ended up spending some more money to buy the suction mount which I believe should be standard on this. The camera also has no battery which is a big negative for me since I use it with the cigarette lighter. What that means is that if my car is parked and someone hits it, I wont be able to find out who hit my car.

Audio/Video Quality

One of the main features of this camera is its HD 1080p recording. The company takes great pride in the recording quality of the camera and to be honest it doesn’t disappoint. Here is a sample video where a jerk runs a red signal, as you can see the violation if any would have been recorded quite clearly. Regarding recording number plates, the camera cannot do much on moving cars. However if you stop behind a car you can be certain that its number plate is recorded.

Daytime Video

Nighttime Video

The internal Mic does work well, I cancelled some noise in the video but nothing that should be of concern.

GPS Logger and the G-Sensor

The GPS works great and so does the G sensor. GPS takes a minute or so to lock in at mornings and the G-sensor does go off on rough bumps so I believe if I were ever in an accident it would go off.

Offline software

The Road Hawk comes with a nice side software through which you can view videos with speed overlays and Google maps integration. The software also shows X and Y G-Force for those interested.

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Overall Impressions

Overall I am very happy with this camera. The battery is one thing I miss the most. Another thing is that the wire is so long it kind of coils near my cigarette lighter. But the joy of recording jerks driving like jerks is really priceless.


Mar 02

As digital payments grow in the US and India, it becomes important to protect your credit card from fraud. While many banks will take care of charges after you report your card lost or stolen, you may be taken for a ride if someone uses your card and the bank deems it to be your responsibility. There are some common sense tips you can use to ensure the security of your credit card. Some of these tips are common to the US and India, however most cards in US are much better protected against fraud even though they have much less security features.

1.  Get a CHIP and PIN card. This is easier said than done in the US. Most banks in US are sending these out in batches but give your bank a call and ask them to send over a chip card. CHIP cards are harder to skim. In India, do the same. Many banks will want to charge you extra for a replacement. Tell them to go and pound sand. I had an encounter with Kotak Mahindra bank who wanted to charge me Rs.100 to get a Chip card. After I invoked their social media team at Twitter, I was able to get the chip cards sent to me for free.

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2.   Scratch that CVV out. Another way to do fraud is to memorize your card number and write down the expiry and the CVV. An easy way to prevent this fraud is to scratch out the CVV from behind your card (after memorizing it ofcourse Smile ).

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3.   Swipe it in front of your eyes. Never let the waiter or the barista disappear with your card. Don’t get conscious or be embarrassed to ask the waiter to swipe the card in front of your eyes. A moment of inconvenience can prevent a large future loss. A lot of waiters would make a copy of your card using a skimmer while they take it to swipe it.

4.  Turn on mobile alerts. Most banks and credit card companies allow mobile alerts. These mobile alerts serve as an early warning system to you incase your card ever gets compromised and banks can immediately shut down fraudulent use of your card.

5. Never share your OTP. This is mostly with the Indian context. OTPs or one time passwords are issued by banks in India to authenticate card not present transactions. Never share those passwords with anyone including someone claiming to be from your bank. Also never share your card number, expiry or any other sensitive information with your bank either. They will never call asking for such information.

OTP


Feb 24

Air India

I had the opportunity to fly Air India after around 5 years. 5 years ago I was a flying returns member, however I stopped flying them after they would always not track my journeys for frequent flyer miles and then subsequently would make me go around in circles to get the mileage claim. This time on my India visit, I had to visit Bhopal and only 2 airlines give DEL-BHO flights, Air India and Jet Airways. Air India was a bit cheaper on the date I was looking for.

Anyway, the opportunity slowly turned to misfortune. So sit back, relax and enjoy the flight as I narrate my experience with India’s national airline.

Continue reading »


Feb 20

I am on vacation in India and have nothing better to do than to browse facebook all day long while mom dear pampers me. While browsing Facebook I am seeing a disturbing/new trend, most of the videos are pure shock and awe. For example a girl denouncing rape throws out a few expletives to everyone and that spreads like wildfire. Another girl sends a ‘rap’ to Honey Singh in another shock and awe style video. Then celebs join the bandwagon with Twinkle Khanna of all people coming tot he defense of AIB roast with random crap which didnt deserve any attention.

However the social media of India which I believe runs with money to promoted videos and nothing else still made that viral. All this saddens me as many people take these videos at face value without understanding the buzzfeed kind of sites promoting these videos for profit and the so called social message is not genuine in these.

Anway before I go into depression, I am going to be sharing my views about some of the recent videos I have seen on social media, ofcourse I am not that big that I will go viral, but I still want to pen down these thoughts about one of these actors :

Varun Pruthi – I have mixed feelings about this guy, on one hand he has in the past blatantly copied videos from other US youtube stars (10 minutes of walking in Delhi streets, domestic violence etc.) (Which I should warn him if he ever moves to the US, he would be sued for everything he is worth) , but on the other hand atleast on camera he seems to be a really compassionate person.

One of his videos about emergency vehicles in India was a really nice one but in some of his other videos while he blatantly showcases the poverty of certain people he always helps them out with money.

So I feel happy that atleast he is using his fame to really help people in the case of the ambulance video.

But he should do it in a better way for poverty  instead of exploiting a small kid. And you have 20 somethings going awww and aaah over his antics. If you see the video below Vrun Pruthi starts by bringing the kid into the McDonalds and then proceeds to buy him food. The kid may feel its a selfless act but its not because his stooge has a hidden camera and is recording his every move.

So he tells him things like buy anything you want, eat everything etc. which seems so stupid for the poor kid. And then he proceeds to buy all his pens. Had he done it anonymously it would have been a much better thing to do rather than making poverty porn.

In other news, the girl shouting expletives apparently against the fictitious rapist (at a standup comedy event?) doesn’t deserve your views.


Feb 14

So this month Fiber One sent us a few bars to review for their 2 new flavors : Strawberry Greek Yoghurt and Chocolate Peanut Butter. This was sent via the Bzzagent program  (#GotItFree) which lets one review new and upcoming products and share the stories around them.

As regular readers of the blog know, we only promote and review healthy products. So first and foremost, this has no High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The bars themselves have a lot of whole ingredients and are full of fiber and protein. The manufacturer claims 10gm of protein and 9gm of fiber packed in each bar. Fiber One also claims they have 40-60% less sugar than comparable special K meal bars so they are that much more helpful for sticking to that diet plan.

The taste is also pretty good, you don’t feel like you are eating processed junk, on my bar I could see many whole nuts including almonds. However some of the stuff on the bar is processed.

The chocolate peanut butter flavor has peanuts, choco chips and a rich peanut butter taste, while the strawberry Greek yoghurt flavor has strawberry flavored pieces of fruit and Greek yoghurt. I personally liked the Strawberry Greek Yoghurt flavor better than the chocolate peanut butter, but hey, YMMV !

So the next time you are out these, give these bars a try and let us know what you feel in the comments below.


Dec 21

Here are the sectors I flew and am reviewing :

ANA 918

DEL to NRT  1:25 AM departure

ANA 1078

NRT to SEA 5:40 PM departure

ANA Airlines Boeing 787 Plane inflight

Another Asian Airlines has joined the price sensitive India to North America market and this times its ANA or the All Nippon Airways. Asiana being the other major Asian player in the market which is otherwise dominated by Emirates and other European carriers (Dump Air France and BA btw). The crash has hit Asiana’s reputation a lot, hopefully it will persevere and recover.

My previous experiences on this sector have been with Lufthansa and with Emirates and I know people who have travelled by Asiana so I was looking forward to see what ANA can bring to the table. To ANA’s credit, , spoiler alert, they do impress !

Checkin Experience at Delhi Airport – One of the drawbacks of ANA is their 1 bag policy, this would be the single biggest reason people would choose other airlines over them especially the much more lenient Emirates. For me since I was getting a special fare even after paying excess baggage, my ticket cost me lesser than what the second cheapest airlines would have cost me. At Checkin I paid for excess baggage wherein most stuff is handled by what looked like Air India staff. One gentleman weighed my cabin baggage too and wanted me to pay more excess baggage, I wiggled out of that with a smile and some old fashioned Indian ‘This isnt the 1st time I am flying jibe’

Aircraft – The aircraft are clean and spacious, and to my benefit the seat next to me was empty and so were a lot of other seats in the plane so you could see people lying down and sleeping on the seats as we went to Tokyo Japan.

The cabin staff is very helpful and serves with a smile, a stark contrast to the cold Lufthansa Delhi-Frankfurt sector staff. For the 1st time I felt like it didn’t matter to them that I was Indian and not of white skin.

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The plane has a good entertainment system with lots of movies to keep you busy and a USB charging slot. There are also a few kiddie games which I didn’t really enjoy. The headphones are of good quality and you can even flick it off while exiting if you want to. I remember in Lufthansa they come around later to ‘collect’ the headphones a good 30 mins before landing.

Japan’s Narita Airport – We arrived on time and the airport is probably the cleanest airport outside India I have seen. Indian airports contrary to what many people may feel have exceptional cleanliness and so did the Japanese Narita airport. The airport offers free Wifi and no transit visa is needed to roam within the airport’s confines. There are a large number of duty free shops selling everything from electronics to high end luxury fashion brands like Gucci etc.

Narita Airport Tokyo ANA's area

I even got to use the famed washlets of Japan. Here are a few photos incase you were wondering Smile with tongue out

The actual washlets :

Japan Narita Airport Electronic Washlet

The instructions in poor English Smile

Japan Narita Airport Washlet instruction sheet

The wait for the next flight does get a little boring though (TVs have only Japanese shows) and I did feel the airport didn’t have enough food options.Make sure you carry your laptop or tablet.

Seattle Leg – The next leg to Seattle was on a 787 plane, needless to say I was super excited as it was my first journey on the 787. The planes are again pretty well maintained, as we took off from Tokyo there was a lot of tubulence, so I did feel a little scared, but the rest of the journey was super smooth.

Throughout the flight my meal options were honoured (again unlike Lufthansa who don’t honour it on the India leg and serve the same shit 3 times on the Americas leg). The Asian meals are tasty and well cooked and you are served Haagen Daz ice cream in the flight. I don’t think the food was repeated in any of my meals which is a very good thing.

The 787 also have electronically controlled opacity on the windows, it takes a bit to get used to, but insanely cook technology so you don’t have to worry about window shades etc.

The window opacity controller on the 787 ANA planeThe window on the 787 ANA plane

I arrived in Seattle again before time, collected my baggage, completed immigration and entered the USA, all in all satisfied with my ANA experience. Will definitely fly them again.