When was the last time when we managed an escapade from the fascinating content provided by the creative OTT platforms that literally has its subscribers glued to the screens? Perhaps it would be a matter of prior engagements, over the last four years the over-the-top media service has seen a significant consumption, especially with respect to the Indian market which as of now values around INR 3,500 crores and is estimated to rise by many folds to dethrone the television industry and environment altogether. An endless supply of level original content in high definition quality is easily available with an affordable subscription fee, that seems really economical from our recreational budget matrix but the cost that the environment suffers seems extremely exorbitant.
Although streaming platforms like Netflix are extremely cautious with the provision of spectator data, their ‘Prime’ presence everywhere is as shining as a ‘hot-Star’ and hence cannot be ignored like a bad ‘Spotify’ playlist. Millions of people on a daily basis consume a large amount of data on these on-demand content platforms which is binge-watched for hours, inducing a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere we actually need. According to the Shift Project, a French think-tank that claims to advance the shift to a post-carbon economy, ‘Watching a half-hour show would lead to emissions of around 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide, that’s equivalent to driving a car for 6.28 kilometres.’
‘Digital videos come in very large file sizes and (are) getting bigger with each new generation of higher-definition video,’ said Gary Cook from Greenpeace, which is administered to look on the IT sector’s energy footprint.
Cook further adds, ‘More data equals more energy needed to maintain a system that is ready to stream this video to your device at a moment’s notice.’
Much of the energy needed for streaming services is consumed by the data centres, which further provides data to our computers and handsets. Reportedly, the centres contribute about 0.3 per cent of all carbon emissions and the ever-increasing steadfast demand for better technologies has stressed our energy sources substantially.
As matters of fact, screens with 4K resolution use about 30 per cent more energy than high-definition screens; upgraded devices and technologies require more amounts of energy to store, process, and share data and further corresponds for increased production and consumption wastes at every level of test and research development praxis.
On the contrary, we are ought to agree that these platforms are extremely entertaining and provide a good dose of change from our monotonous lives but the stringent fact remains that in such hard times where our cities like Kanpur, Gurugram, and Delhi as heavy ‘cyber-hubs’, they also hold the title for the most polluted cities on the planet. The carbon emissions caused by the digital media markers which are expected to rise and expand significantly needs alternative renewable energy sources and judicious sustainable management.
But it won’t be enough for us to rue the online platforms and their capitalist endeavors hindering the environment without realising these suggestions that are put forth by Professor Chris Priest and Dr Dan Schien of the University of Bristol who advocate terrestrial Broadcast TV to be lot more efficient than network streaming, whereas mobile phones continue to be more energy-efficient than a TV or a PC. Professor Priest even underlines the fact that a Wi-Fi connection can be more efficient than a 3G or 4G connection; downloading videos rather than viewing it online could pose as a much better alternative in terms of energy preservation.
Significant steps, conventions and debate continue to stall at the global level with increased stress and collective responsibility being observed worldwide it would continue to be an incomplete effort if small things like these go unnoticed and are not corrected or duly accounted for.
New to Podcasts? This guide will help you with a list of four Indian podcasts that will open your eyes and of course your ears to this incredibly informative platform.
There’s a war going on and it’s being fought for your attention. Every day, new applications mushroom in dorm rooms across the world. Existing tech behemoths are spending millions to convince you to spend just a few more minutes on their product. Your attention has never been valued as highly as it is today and the corporations will do just about anything to grab a larger portion of the cake.
In a war like this, you are the sole protectors of your attention and your brain, in extension. There are myriad options and you can choose where to spend that attention. It’s safe to say that for a lot of us, books have gradually disappeared as contenders and the video format is emerging as a strong winner in this race. When we’re not watching Netflix, we’re watching Prime Video.
The podcast, while being a widely known format is surprisingly not widely used. It’s probably because we as a generation have been bombarded with so much visual content that it has become our standard for stimulus. Shifting to a new format of receiving information can require a little time and effort. But, the podcast universe has plenty to offer, it has something for everybody and it’ll be nice of you to give your eyes some rest during the long metro rides to college.
The Indian podcast scene is booming with new ideas and discussions and with some research you can find what suits you best. However, to get you started, here’s a list of four Indian podcasts that will open your eyes and of course your ears to this incredibly informative platform.
Ask Aakar Anyhing
Mr. Aakar Patel is a writer and a columnist who has an answer to every question. The weekly show witnesses Aakar answering questions that readers send from across the country. Their topics of concern cover everything from architecture to pornography. The show is out of the ordinary, it teaches you and makes you think. The answers are witty and insightful and without realizing it, twenty minutes later you’re an expert conversationalist on Japanese architecture.
Two young and extremely intelligent journalists take you through a journey about India, its rich history and cultural complexities. This podcast talks about seemingly random things with global implications. Unlike the two podcasts above which talks about multiple things in one episode, the intersection chooses to focus on one topic and both the hosts have substantial and well researched material to assist their arguments. The topics range from India’s homegrown dog breeds to fundamental errors in the Taj Mahal. Random? I warned you.
Our last week is a weekly comedy podcast hosted by comedian Anuvab Pal and actor Kunaal Roy Kapur. In every episode, they discuss the week that went by in terms of the news and the events that occurred in their personal lives as well. They describe themselves as “just two guys trying to make sense of it all.”
This show can be considered a veteran in the Indian Podcast scene; it has been on air for the past six years and is hosted by well-known comedian and political satirist, Cyrus Broacha. Every week the hosts invites other Indian personalities pursuing their hatke careers and another segment follows where a panel is formed to discuss news, politics, culture, and urban life in India.
While it may not seem so, technology has considerably increased its grip on our lives this past year. While tech in our day to day lives may not have progressed at a visible rate, the sector made great strides in improving our future.
Here are some of the noteworthy highlights of technology in 2015:
Fruits from Apple
Apple came out with quite a few products this year. Some were newer generations of the existing series while others were completely new. The “fruits” from Apple were:
If it’s one thing that apple is great at, it’s creating a buzz. And this piece of wearable technology generated quite of it. Beginning with rumours in 2011, the existence of a wearable product in design and development was confirmed by the corporation in 2013. Unveiled last year, the watch then finally rolled out this year. It was mostly received positively by the critics with some criticisms hanging around the straps. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. stated that the sales transcended their expected sales.
Latest in the series of MacBook, this new laptop is almost a kilogram light than the previous ones. A persistent battery life of about 9 hours (with web browsing) and an amazing 12 inch retina display aren’t all that cover its exciting features. With a new redesigned keyboard that uses a “butterfly mechanism” resulting in less key travel and a USB-C port it has set a new benchmark for laptop manufacturers around the world.
Apple iPad Pro
The biggest ever iPad from Apple challenging the Microsoft’s Surface devices came out this year. It is the only Apple device to come with a stylus, something that Steve Jobs really hated.
Along with releasing products, Apple also made some policy changes. The “seeds” from Apple this year were:
Swift goes public
An in-house programming language, Swift was made open source in June this year. This was a very bold public move from a very private organisation.
Ad-blocking on iOS
An update to iOS this year, made it possible to install ad-blocking software on their iPhones and iPad. Though it didn’t affect the sales of such products much, it was still quite shocking to the media and advertising industry.
Peeking into Microsoft
Another giant in the big arena of technology, Microsoft released two major products this year:
Windows operating system has the largest customer base in the world. Every Windows user waits for the new release of Windows and the two year wait of users was rewarded handsomely by the company. After coming out in July this year, Windows 7 and 8 users were thrilled to know that the new update would be free for them. One of its most notable feature was Cortana, a digital voice assistant which was previously on Windows 8.1 as well.
Microsoft Surface Book
Not exactly a laptop, the Surface Book is a 2 in 1 device with detachable keyboard. It is built with Magnesium and is quite strong. The design and touch were received positively while lacking USB-C ports was criticised.
With Satya Nadella acquiring a top position in Microsoft last year, another Indian, Sundar Pichai climbed the ranks of this great tech company and became the CEO of Google. Although it was a very big news for our subcontinent, it was not all that Google did this year. The major highlight from Google is:
The company went under a complete corporate restructuring and came out as Alphabet. The company currently has more than 26 subsidiaries some of which are Google Inc, Google Capital, Calico. Google Inc still is the umbrella corporation for all its internet related businesses. The reason to undergo this change was stated to make the company cleaner and accountable. abc.xyz is the new web address of the company with a letter explaining everything about Alphabet from Larry Paige.
Smartphones-The Six Wars
Mobile Phones have evolved from mere calling devices to multipurpose computers offering great power in the palm of our hands. The three major smartphone releases this year battling to be the best were: Google Nexus 6P, Apple iPhone 6S and Samsung S6.
Apple Iphone 6S
The “S” upgrade from Apple is usually an update in hardware, but 6S and 6s plus is much more than that. Apple added 3D touch and 4K video recording giving clarity and resolution of phone recorded video a completely new standard.
Google Nexus 6P
Google finally added the fingerprint sensor that Apple has been boasting of since the release of iPhone 5S. The phone has a great battery life and very good camera – something which Nexus series lacked. It is manufactured by Huawei changing from Motorola which released the last version.
With 16 megapixel camera that is astonishingly fast and the life untangling wireless charging technology, Samsung has again gained its position as a quality manufacturer of Android phones. The ultra-thin metallic design of the phone shows the talents of design team at Samsung.
Behind the wheels
The automobile industry is one of the subsidiaries of technology being affected by the electronic industry, another child of technology. This year there were two major happenings in the industry that rocked and shocked people around the world:
Tesla released a semi-autonomous autopilot system for its cars this year which makes the car self-steer in some situations and parallel park automatically. Tesla is not the first company to venture into the field but what’s amazing is that this was achieved via a software update sent to its cars. So, basically, tesla gave its car the ability to think, well in minimalistic capacity, overnight.
Volkswagen Emission Scam
One of the biggest scam in technology in 2015 was Volkwagen’s emission scam where it was found that more than 5 lakh vehicles in US had a software to cheat the test for emission standards. The scam tainted the company’s image to a great extent indicated by about 20% drop in share value on first day after unveiling the fact to public. They spent around 7.3 billion dollars to recover the cost of scandal. The CEO, Martin Winterkorn resigned as well.
From the rainforests of Amazon
One of the best gadgets of the world, Amazon Echo is a beautiful and stunning concoction from the designers at the large conglomerate. With a very unconventional relationship structure, it is a marriage between Bluetooth speaker and Digital voice assistant, Alexa while they both have affairs with various smart home devices such as Philip’s Hue Light to Samsung’s SmartThings. The device plays very well with other smart home device i.e. it integrates very easily with them. You can sync it with your phone and Alexa will take care of the reading and music. It’s no wonder that that the echo of its praises are being sung all across the world.
Amazon Dash Buttons
When amazon rolled these out, people thought that they were being pranked. And why wouldn’t they, it was the 31st of March. Users thought that it the company was playing an early April fool’s Day trick on them. But it wasn’t so. These are actual products. All one needs to do is configure the button to a specific product and quantity. They are connected with the amazon app. Pressing the button will order the products from Amazon.
Science and Tech
Blue Origin, a company owned by Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon made a revolutionary advancement in the field of rocket science by developing a rocket, The New Shepherd, which went 62 miles above Earth and landed back on ground. It’s a very significant achievement as rockets cost millions of dollars and they usually end up at the bottom of an ocean after serving their purpose. This remarkable development will save millions of dollars.
Breakthrough Energy Coalition
Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Mukesh Ambani and other high profile figures came together this year to create the above mentioned organisation to take a stand on climate change. The organisations aims to provide assistance to governments with matters of renewable energy such as wind and solar energy. They plan to make contributions in amount of 20 billion dollars to the cause.
People in Tech
The return of Jack Dorsey
Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. The world of tech saw the return of Steve Jobs to Apple in the previous century and it saw something similar in this one. After almost 7 years Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter returned to Twitter after being pushed out. He officially joined this year in October as the CEO.
End of Ellen Pao’s War
Ellen Pao is very well known for filing gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins, her former employer in 2012. The result of the lawsuit came out this March which was not in her favour. After being the interim CEO of Reddit in 2013, she had to step down even from that position this year after a user revolt against firing a popular employee of link sharing site.
Amazon’s Kindle On Campus is an initiative to encourage reading amongst student communities and make it easier to do so through the Kindle app and device.
An interactive session with the Amazon leaders had students asking questions on the program and how they could get involved. The program started with a quiz where several students won Kindle vouchers.
The launch of Amazon Kindle on Campus program took place on 15th September 2015 at LSR at 1pm. The speakers of the session were Meenu Handa who’s the Director, PR of Amazon India; and,
Parthasarathy Madhukar, the head of Kindle For Education, Amazon India.
Ms. Meenu Handa eloquently spoke about Amazon’s leadership principles which had the audience awestruck.
The event was organised by the Placement Cell of LSR and the students were briefed about the program. 7 Kindle Evangelists were selected from LSR who were given Kindle Paper White and Kindle Evangelist kits. These evangelists are to be the face of Kindle on campus.
This is Kindle India’s first program for Undergraduate students. Hence, it becomes a huge step towards integrating College students at root level.
Question and Answer round took place where the winners were gifted Kindle vouchers; and Amazon’s 14 Leadership principles were introduced during the session.