I was intrigued by the recent Tata Photon+ unlimited wireless internet plan for 950 rupees per month, but blogger vaibhav's post Tata Photon Plus Mobile BroadBand 950 Unlimited Plan Reality Check states how (after I've cut out most of the drama in the post) Tata gives unlimited usage a new meaning:
"the UNLIMITED according to Tata Photon plus is just 5GB...calling this UNLIMITED as far as it comes under FAIR USAGE POLICY that is 5GB per month.And what [is] worse [is that] after finishing your limited [bandwidth] they will take your speed [back] to the dark age of 155 kbps"
I originally meant to comment on this post but technical issues prevented me from doing so. Here's my two cents:
Thanks for the clarification. There's always a catch with these new plans. Too bad they don't give you the fine print upfront. Then again you can't discount the convenience of a USB dongle, plug and play anytime, anywhere - just don't lose it.

Why don't you cover how existing customers with older Tata Photon (CDMA 1x), or for that matter Reliance Netconnect data cards are stuck with legacy hardware after shelling out 3000 rupees for each one. Yes, Tata and Reliance don't have any discount or buyback policy for existing customers to upgrade to Photon+ and Netconnect+.

By the way, that BSNL 750 p.m. plan is capped at 512kbps. That's not broadband. Airtel has a, albeit more expensive and possibly limited to a few circles, Impatience 899, 899+taxes p.m., 4Mbps upto 6GB, 256kbps onwards. It works as advertised. If you could provide details of similar or better fixed-line or wireless plans, that would be nice.
To be fair, the plug n' play USB dongle, take-it-anywhere-plug-it-into-any-computer (Windows 7 users will have to upgrade the device's firmware), net anytime, anywhere, is a one of a kind service in India with other companies offering non-portable wireless or fixed plans at similar rates. 5GB is more than sufficient for basic browsing (maybe not for facebook games and youtube addicts) and a few movies and songs. 950 rupees per month is certainly not cheap for a vast majority of Indians, but then again nationwide computer penetration is low, let alone internet access. We could digress into how broadband costs are high and speeds are low in India, but what would be more pertinent is how secure is a 3G broadband solution relative to, say, DSL or Wi-Fi modes.

P.S.: You want to know the real "dark age" of internet? I still have a 14.4 kbps modem! Still, that speed was sufficient for surfing the web in the early 90's.

UPDATE: Newer TATA Photon+ dongles are Windows 7 compatible.

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HTC Wildfire S Review

Echoed by Fitzgerald On 6:34 PM 0 comments
The HTC Wildfire S is the 2011 update to the Wildfire. Like the original, this phone is also an entry level model. This is apparent in the choice of processor, amount of RAM and memory, display size and resolution. Each of these factors adversely affects the performance of the phone. The 600 MHz speed will make the phone stutter even during an Angry Birds session, so gaming is best avoided. The meagre 40 MB of internal memory will prevent you from installing all but the most essential apps. The display size of 3.2" and resolution of 320 by 480 are as low end as you can get for a phone that costs 13,000 rupees. The now dated HTC Sense 2.1 overlay on top of the Gingerbread OS rounds off the internal aspects of the phone.

The external features include a well designed construction using composite materials. The phone is mostly plastic save for the front bezel. The back is a one piece battery cover with a pleasing matte finish. The touchscreen itself is made of Gorilla Glass and is responsive. However, in direct sunlight, screen visibility is low. The back exposes the camera lens and an LED flash. The 5 MP camera takes satisfactory pictures in daylight but suffers from noise and blurriness in less than perfect light conditions.

Battery life like on other HTC or for that matter, all Android phones, is dismal, lasting only a day or less. However, turning off the internet connection will allow the phone to stay on for 2.5 days.

A similar model, the HTC Explorer is available for 11,000 and has the same configuration except for Gorilla Glass. The phone has a 3.2 MP camera. However, it includes the newer HTC Sense 3.5.

UPDATE: HTC has confirmed that the Wildfire S will NOT be receiving the Ice Cream Sandwich Android OS  update. Sorry folks. Perhaps the 13k rupees price should be revised to reflect this.

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Obama at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai

Echoed by Fitzgerald On 9:35 AM 0 comments
I'm not sure if the rest of the world paid much attention to President Obama's question and answer session at St. Xavier's College - or "University" as he mistakenly called it - on November 7, 2010. But  the Indian media ran live broadcasts of it.

Basically, United States President Barack Obama gave a short speech in front of "300 carefully selected [college] students" (The Telegraph) and spent about an hour with them, giving a short speech and then entertaining question from students. I can't say what was the selection criteria for these students from Mumbai University but they are supposed to be the best students of each college, or you could imply, the best young minds from each college, or the best college minds in India ("Selected on the basis of their academics and classroom participation, the students, dressed in suits, chudidars, T-shirts and jeans, flocked in from different strata of the society." - The Economic Times) . Unfortunately the questions were posed by an even smaller section of India's youth.

The most questions were asked by those from South Mumbai colleges (HR and St. Xavier's are in South Mumbai). Actually, this is quite fitting St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, has become a popular - and over-used - venue for events of any sort. Of course, the whole event can be criticized or taken as it is. Nothing serious could have been accomplished but it was a PR exercise. I'm not sure what the American public's reaction to the visit has been - a Google search will bury you with news items from the Indian media - but it could have been better. No, I'm not talking about the President but the students themselves. They are supposed to be the finest students of Mumbai University's academia and these are the probing questions they asked. Terrorism and jihad, as one student's question was based on, are screwy topics that lack easy, polite material for debate and are bound to offend one group or another. Thankfully, the President was as politically correct as can be. I'm surprised nobody asked him about his objectives pertaining to his visit to India, but that's because every student who got the mike didn't prepare questions beforehand and was interested in getting their shot at fame.

I'm sure President Obama "won hearts over" with his namaste, but since when do college students or Indians for that matter greet like that?

Heading over the First Lady, Michelle Obama danced better, much to the embarrassment of her hosts, who looked as if they didn't know how to shake a leg to their own beat.

For further reading try Neal Rosendorf's blog post on the University of Southern California's Public Diplomacy site.

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