Monday, August 29, 2011

Very Impressive - Harmonize Projekt

So what can remove the writer's block in me? A musical performance as this of course! The Rosebowl Channel (I don't know how to get that channel here in Chennai) in Kerala has been churning out performances as this a dime a dozen. Sadly you'll have to be in Kerala to watch this channel. It was on this channel that I discovered Avial many years ago. And this year they did it yet again with performances by the Harmonize Projekt.

When I read about them in The Hindu I forgot to check them out but I find every reason to include a reivew of the perfomances here. If you like cover versions then you must watch them or listen to them. They are making waves on the Internet, particularly on YouTube. Their treatments to some originals make the originals sound even better though not all their experimentation goes down well with me particularly when their innovation takes out the original flavor. But otherwise their covers only deepen the existing flavors of a song making it more beautiful and that's their magic. Kalyani Nair has a great voice and she impresses with her singing. The minimal but good support from the musicians is to be appreciated too.

Here are videos to watch, ranked from best to the not-so-best. But all of them impress, nevertheless.

Lovely slide guitar solo on this one.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Don't be fooled by this trick from Airtel

If you use a smartphone and are trying to downgrade your 3G plan with Airtel, a trick is going to be played on you which may force you to not downgrade or if you have to upgrade back to your older higher priced plan, but don't fall for this trick.

Two months ago I realised I was using an average of 150 MB of their Monthly 450 plan which allows a total upload+downlad limit of 650 MB per month. So I call cusotmer service and downgrade to the 200 plan which allows a 250 MB upload+download limit per month, sufficient enough for my 3G usage. A few days after I made this change I get a call from a third party company telling me that as per information that Airtel has provided them I have already exceeded my limit by 45 MB. There was no way that could have happened. I hadn't made any unusual usage of the internet on my phone. The guy on the phone also told me that it will cost me Rs.15 per excess MB of usage. It was ridiculous. I took down his number and called Airtel. To my surprise my Airtel usage until then was just 3 MB. But the annoying part was this. Airtel tells me that I have to wait till the end of my billing cycle to find out how much my exact usage was. If that was the case how did they tell their third party that I had already exceeded my usage by 45 MB. Something was clearly wrong! I wasted valuable hours for the next three days and in vain. Finally I even stopped using my 3G till I got my bill. When the bill came I was amazed. There wasn't any significant change in charges. What a waste of my time and efforts.

I then wait for my next month's bill and I notice the change due to the downgrade. My bill slashed down by Rs.500 by moving to a lower plan which was perfect for me.

A few days after this bill arrived I again get a call from the third party saying I have again exceeded my bill by that same 45 MB amount. This time it was obvious something was fishy. When I called Airtel customer support I gave them the number of the third party and the lady answering the phone (Airtel support) even told me some marketing guys must be doing it. Just as she was saying that I could hear someone blurt out something at her end. Was it some manager telling her to shut up! The connection was terminated immediately without the usual "..Thank you for calling Airtel. Have a nice day." Really odd and something I never expected from Airtel whose service I have always enjoyed.