Blue Frog

Blue Frog, in Mumbai is one of the most upscale restaurant I have been to. And it was fun. Me and my wife had a great time. We landed there for a British bands special. I quite liked the unique setup of having private cocoons all around the stage. We were lucky to get the centre spot because we came in early. The food was expensive but they had happy hours till 9pm. Prawns were delectable and the stew was warm and filling. The cocktails had a punch. But the thing that made it worth were the bands. They had four but we stayed for 3. All had unique style but -We Were Promised Jetpacks- was the most fun.

I must say, Mumbai knows how to roll. Bangalore still needs to play catch up.

Video on Instagram

Talk about timing [previous post]. Facebook & Instagram jumps on the video bandwagon and adds video capability to its prized app. Though, it seems more of ‘me too’ act, there are a few pluses that Instagram has over Vine. The first is that it adds videos along with the existing photo stream. So it leverages the existing the social fabric of users/followers for making content discovery seamless. This is major pain point for Vine. It’s just so hard to find anything interesting on Vine! Secondly, launching on the App Store and Play Store simultaneously definitely was a smart idea. I think with the sheer number of Android users these days, big players of the likes of Facebook, Instagram cannot make them feel secondary. Better to delay the app launch then have separate launches if you ask me. The next is the videos stabilization or the cinema feature as they call it. Though this feature is limited to only iPhone as of now, I think this adds to the viewer experience. It’s pleasing to see videos without the jerks. The 15 sec limit is well irrelevant. Most likely the thought process at Instagram would have been – Vine has it, so should we, but only lets make it a bit longer. Lastly, Filters, well since the photo app has it, the videos also should have it.

So has the social video scene been cracked? Well not just yet! – in my opinion

Vine

It was supposedly the next killer app that was launched in late Jan 2013 on the iOS. Of course, being launched by Twitter, the darling of social media was always going to get you top billing. At the launch, people were all going ga ga over it and almost all of them touting it to be the next Instagram. But it’s been 6 months since. And though I joined it using my iPad, I am still waiting for it to show me something interesting/ creative/ striking. I was not convinced at launch, and I am still not convinced that this app is for the masses. Just this month Vine was launched on the Google Play Store. My reasons are simple – getting something interesting/engaging in a short clip is extremely difficult. Most of the stuff I have seen on it is pretty damn stupid. Pictures capture a moment. Click! and its there. Vine requires you to spot something amazing for a full 6 seconds. And to capture a vine you need to have a device with great video capture and super quick focusing capabilities and also you need to be super still when recording so as to avoid the jerky clips.

So what do I think of the app? If you ask me, as an app, it’s really well designed. Just tap to record. But one has to be really gifted to make a clip of 6 second interesting. And after seeing the clips on Vine, this seems like a difficult task for most of us. Most vines end up being a clip of the mundane things in life.

So after it was available on the Android ecosystem, I did install it and also created my first vine, a rotating beer can. What do you think? I tried to make a few more, but they didn’t seen worthy of an upload. So, my 2 cents is that, it is difficult to see Vine becoming a huge hit like an Instagram or the likes. Where Instagram has millions creating content and millions more consuming it, Vine would need a few thousands of extremely creative people creating interesting clips for the masses. Maybe, the ad industry professional might find it interesting. Vines can play a supporting role for brands campaigns. Brands can put out short, high quality vines to supplement their media campaigns. While ads go through a whole process that involves filming, editing, post processing; Vines can be spontaneous, and involve mass social sourcing of clips for specific events.

Just my thoughts.

Cricket sacrificed

Cricket, the quintessential Gentleman’s Game, has been in the news off late for all the wrong reason. Infact over the last decade and half, from time to time, the game has been plagued with some or the other match fixing allegations. Frankly, cricket has never been the same for me since the day the news broke that Hansie Cronje was guilty of match fixing. When I first heard the news I dismissed it as some journo creating some sensation to get attention. But when Hansie Cronje, who for me was a genuinely upright gentleman, himself confessed, it just killed the passion that I had for the sport. Ever since, I doubt if I have watched any match completely. I just can’t. A far cry of my childhood days when me and my cousins / classmates set up alarms to get up at 4 odd am to watch matches in Australia.

Today, I just about manage to keep a check on the results of matches so that I don’t feel like a complete outsider in tea time banter in office. These last few days, the spot fixing scandal has once again bitterly bruised the game. Nowadays there can be no discussion on the game without someone bringing up the topic of fixing. Just yesterday, I saw this clip of Kohli being hit on the helmet by a brilliant delivery, and than there was a tweet I saw that read like this

So basically, what looked to be a great cricketing moment, due to these scandals, has been reduced to something that can be ridiculed. Infact, I am sure, if you were to bring this up in a chat in a group of friends, there will be at least one who would cheekily link it to some fixing comment. That’s what this gentleman’s game has been reduced to thanks to the greed of a few people who either play or administer the game. You and me might brush this fixing saga and get on with other sports, but I often feel sorry of that school kid who loves the game, and who idolized Sreesanth or Azharuddin, or Jadeja, but today has to shy away from discussing this sport with his colleagues for the fear of being ridiculed for idolizing a cheat!