Archive for 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013

For £39, Sandstrom is a Real Plastic Princes You Will Fall in Love With

If you wonder what the heck a Sandstrom is, it is my new Bluetooth headphone. If you ask what is there to write about it, the answer is, with a Sandstrom, you can experience the feeling of falling in love at first sight. If you don’t get it, mate, it is the headphone itself I am talking about.

Sandstrom SBTHP11X is a stunningly beautiful headphone!

In fact Sandstrom SBTHP11X has all the romantic qualities of someone you will easily fall in love with in real life. Weighing a mere 102 g, it is so delicate; Hilary Mantel might have called it precision made and a plastic princess.

Sandstrom is one of the best precision made pieces in plastic I have come across since some time.

It was indeed a stroke of luck. Looking out for a cordless headphone for my aging Nokia 900, which is the only Maemo5 phone ever built, I decided to take a trip to the local super store. I was shocked to see the array of head sets displayed, nearly a hundred, yet couldn’t find what I was looking for, a light weight, comfortable, blue tooth head phone with audio controls and active noise cancellation, which I could carry on my head for hours without wanting to take it away.

After spending an hour testing the audio experience from nearly all of them, some of which was really impressive, I was about to walk away as I didn’t see what I was looking for, when a young sales guy cornered me.

On hearing what I was after, he bent down and pulled out a flap packed box and suggested it might just be what I was looking for.

It was a Sandstrom SBTHP11 and amazingly he was right. The box had an impressive image of a stunning pair of ear cups and a very nice, expensive feel about it.

‘What make is it?’ I asked, not seeing a brand name or logo on the box. ‘Sandstrom’ replied the sales guy. Having never heard the name I asked ‘Where is it made?’ ‘No idea.’ said the sales assistant.
Turning the box around, both of us discovered it was made in China. Something didn’t add up.  Stunned, we went through the list of features, which sounded unbelievable for something as light as feather I was holding in my hand. It read like my own list of  what I intended to get.

                  ·        Portable wireless headphones for stereo sound
                  ·        Bluetooth 2.1+EDR  digital wireless transmission technology
                  ·        Integrated track, volume and call control
                  ·        Padded swivel cups and adjustable headband for added comfort
                  ·        Integrated microphone for hands free calling

Though active noise cancellation was on top of my list, after a fair bit of investigation and audio testing of some top of the range headsets in the store, I came to the conclusion that I can’t have it unless I go for a bulky one or an ear bud, except in a few. Besides it looked like the inherent loss audio quality in lower frequencies associated with this feature wasn't worth.

After a week of testing, including some driving around and hour long conversation with friends 5000 miles away, I am excited that what I have on my head is not just a piece of exquisite Swedish design but also a headphone which packs some sharp, high end technology.(Not sure if that is Swedish as well!)

The audio quality and the loudness you can take it to is easily comparable or even better than some of the others I had tested.

I have never accessed my music on anything by just one soft touch or cut it off by just two. Sandstrom gives you the real feeling that your music is always there with you.

You can relate to the music creator as each of his instruments come alive as distinctly as the vocal chords so much so that you become aware of the distortions and disproportion in mixing of audio levels. Suddenly music you thought was heavenly is no more flawless. You become music critic from a connoisseur.

Enjoying all of this or hour long conversation should take a heavy toll the battery you think. Amazingly, the Sandstrom battery which gets charged fully in an hour, through a US b port of your laptop or PC stays alive for more than three days on stand  by or a few good hours on full use.

However there is no instruction how you can change the battery. It is also not clear how the ambient noise is eradicated, which means that you really can retreat into your own world when listening to your music, by the passive noise isolating technology.

Nevertheless, the proof of the pudding in the case of this superb piece of technology is in the very high quality and fidelity of sound it produce with very little power consumption.

The location of the microphones which will face to the rear when the headset is worn is intriguing, but they work so well, the people I spoke to had no idea that I had not actually been speaking in to a microphone.

Over all if you are looking for a petite headphone you can carry around and use with amazing ease, Sandstrom is for you.

As icing on the cake, I was indeed shocked when I paid at the check out, a measly £39 after a incredible discount of £40 for something I thought had value for much more.

I love my Sandstrom, my Plastic Princess; irrespective of What Hilary Mantle will like to call it.

It's Now Or Never to Rename Valentine’s Day as Elvis Day!

If you are someone who feel a tightness in your chest and tear drops swell in your eyes as you listen to any of Elvis songs, perhaps no one but Elvis can make your Valentine's Day!  You are almost certainly a baby boomer and you owe this to Elvis before you go; it is time to rename Valentine's Day as Elvis day.

Valentine's Day is the ultimate celebration of love, the most precious of human feelings, personified by Elvis as no one else has. This is borne out by the titles he chose for his songs and their lyric, almost all of which had nothing but love to sing about. Why are we then waiting for the Kind Bishop St Valentine to abdicate to place the King himself on the throne of love?
What makes Elvis uniquely deserving is the emotional avalanche of each of his songs, delivered with powerful voice, intonation, timbre and mountains of emotion to someone in front of him, making you feel that someone was no one but you. Arguably even Luciano Pavarotti's superb delivery of the original "O Sole Mio" has never achieved the emotional turmoil of "Now or Never by Elvis" in listener's minds.
If 35 years after his death, in the age of social media, we still haven't done it, only the commercialism and short sightedness for immediate profits must be blamed.
As some one said "You can bet that Col Parker, Elvis' manager, would have been all over social media: for a price. It would cost money to click onto the official Elvis page, or even his website. If not that, you'd have to pay to use it, with a teaser front page leading to a pay for Elvis main section. Nobody got to see Elvis for free, the Colonel saw to that."
In reality, even without the Colonel around, the situation is exactly the same. Despite the social web being a free for all world on its own, nothing about Elvis is really free, which virtually destroy any chance of the legacy of Elvis being passed on to the future generations.
In today's competitive world of modern electronic media and entertainment, with different values and buckets of emotions of anger, hatred, lust, fame and glitterati, dominated by Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, the softer qualities of love, romance and angst of separation and loss, which endeared Elvis and his music to a generation, do not find much of chance to survive.
In the broken down social fabric of today, which is being dominated and reshaped by social media, where the Pope can tweet to his sheep and you can even find friends you can bang with just by a click, there is less and less people to listen to and experience the inexplicable emotional trips to fantasy worlds of joy and sorrow only Elvis songs can take you.
It is sad that whole new generations are really missing out on something which generations of parents and grant parents were granted to experience but have no real means of passing on, like lessons in text books or in curriculum. It is indeed a shame that future generations might not even know Elvis ever lived and graced the earth.
Numbers like "Can't Help Falling in Love", "Always on my mind", "Love me tender", "Are you lonesome tonight", "I will hold you in my heart" or "You don't have to say you love me" which are indeed immortal will be most probably forgotten.
When everyone is concerned about preserving and protecting our environment and a clean world for future generations and billions of dollars spent on efforts, there must be a ways to stop this being happening.
Releasing a royalty free album of memorable, evergreen Elvis songs as an ELVIS DAY album, free for all and downloadable on the net will be a good start.
Renaming Valentine's Day as Elvis day must certainly make awareness of his music and legacy for years to come.
With platforms like Facebook reaching over a billion memberships, with 6 billions more to join, the enormous power of the social web can definitely help to rekindle the dying memory of this great singer and human being among the younger generation.
For business minds in the know of the enormous power of the social web, that in itself must be ample reason for releasing at least part of the treasure on the web.
Sadly, the onus is on the baby boomers, who lived to experience the miracle in the voice and life of one of the sweetest of human beings, who gave us some of the greatest of music which could really touch heart and soul of humans, to make it immortal for the sake of future generations.
Let us show our love of Elvis, for a start, let us call this Valentine's Day as ElVIS day!

Could Romantic Elvis Presley Have Shaped the Social Web Differently from Daring Lady Gaga?

Facebook has amassed a gigantuan membership of over a billion people and Twitter aims to catch up with new features like Vine, taking micro Blogging to new levels. This spectacular growth of the social web, no doubt, is largely due to its nature as a free place for social interaction.

However, the role in the growth and evolution of social web, of pop stars and celebrities like Lady Gaga andJustin Bieber who have enhanced their fan base and interact with their fans through social web, is also undisputable.

But what about Elvis Presley, who sent millions around the world in a frenzy hardly ever stepping out of the US soil and just by singing I can't help falling in love with you, when no one had even heard of the social web? Could he have shaped the social web to be a totally different place from as we know it today?

There is no denying that without the Television neither Elvis Presley nor Lady Gaga would have reached the level of popularity they attained. So the integration of the social web with television by most recent technological advances like social streaming and social DVR, which allows for real time interaction over social media with time shift would have evolved naturally.

However, the popularity of Lady Lady Gaga, who is a singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and activist on the social web is largely based on her daring stage appearances and the issues like bullying and causes like lgbt which the artist actively support.
Her achievement like being invited to speak at Harvard is more of a reflection of her belief and support of the issues she has chosen to champion for. As a result, the technology she sought was some means to interact with her fans on the web on those issues, enhancing her presence among her fans, which created her famous back room chats with her fans and which rendered her role of counselling her fans possible.
But in the case of Elvis Presley it was his talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humour which endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. He has been described as the sexiest man of his generation, so manly yet beautiful!
In the words of music historian John Robertson, Elvis was a flirtatious teenage idol with a heart of gold, a tempestuous, dangerous lover, a gutbucket blues singer, a sophisticated nightclub entertainer and raucous rocker.
Years after his death, fans continue to yearn for him with comments like "We will never have someone like him again... Elvis, unique, wonderful, our king forever!!!!"
Obviously, the persona of Elvis Presley, which had no need of a social web for the entire world to swoon for him, might have attracted the entire world to Facebook, if he were to have a fan page!
Given the wild passion and infatuation his fans felt for him as was evident from his concerts, It is conceivable that tactile technologies like the remote kissing devices would have found their place in Facebook much head of simple chat.
May be you could have enjoyed an on demand virtual concert by Elvis Presley singing I can't help falling in love with you, just for you.
Perhaps a new version of the Aloha from Hawaii music concert that was headlined by Elvis Presley, and broadcast live via satellite around the world on January 14, 1973, in which fans could rejoice by touching Elvis, using this invention, wherever they happened to be could have been broadcast through Facebook or whatever name the media would have been called.
There is of course many things one can imagine as was possible. The predominant factors would be the key elements which made Elvis irresistibly humane and accessible to millions. One thing is sure, whatever shape the social web would have assumed, it would have done more to bind people of the world in romance, love, passion and compassion, qualities which Elvis was graced with in abundance.

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