Friday, April 24, 2009

GEO-Mere Laal...A review on GEO magazine

GEO is a premium Science & Geography magazine from the European printing stable of Gruner+Jahr, owned by German media major Bertelsmann. It was launched & marketed in India by Outlook Group India. Ever since then, the Globe seems closer to me.

Articles: A good article is not the one that bores you with excessive information but the one that leaves you wanting for more. GEO offers a blend of research-based articles from the History, Contemporary section from the nook of the world, Futuristic Technological write-up & much more.

Photographs: A picture speaks a thousand words & probably a million when enriched by colors and quality.GEO publishes the photographs that leaves you stunned and yearning simultaneously. Photographs are the USP of GEO, may it be a Brazilian family cladded in a simple attire or endangered species camouflaged in the woods.
Knowledge: A direction for the explorer, a memoir for the collector and a toy for the toddler...GEO serves it all.

While I subscribed GEO solely out of anxiety and an attractive rucksack, I attribute my obsession for GEO to its German edition found in Goa. I've never seen detailed coverage given to the Cover-story of a magazine and although less articles are published, they're precisely covered. I am particularly fond of the theme-based photographs in the GeoScope section.

What enhanced my obsession with GEO were the research articles on Hilary-Tensing & Charles Darwin and later the amazing art of Origamy. The insights on Leptis Magna, Crystal Caves of Mexico tickled my anxiety cells. A date with Kakapo and the honeymoon with Caribou sealed any skepticism I had about GEO.
Above all, GEO is aptly priced at Rs. 100/copy. Although it seems higher for per copy price, it is quite cheaper as compared to other magazines in the same league (National Geographic comes at Rs. 225).

Although touch to perfection, few of the drawbacks it enforces are:
#1. Temptation for uninterrupted reading, causing hindrance in other tasks
#2. A high-voltage rivalry with your room-mates/family in being first to corner GEO.
#3. An argument with the publisher in case of rare lapse in paper/photo quality or binding.


Rating: 5/5 pages

Disclaimer: The above review is based on my own senses linked with GEO since June, 2008 and the opinions/views provided by other subscribers. Write to for more details.
I dedicate this blog to the GEO-Photographers and Research-Writers who work in hostile conditions to serve us the very best.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reviewing 'Firstphera...The first Wedding Gift'

What is it?
Firstphera quotes: "A personal wedding website is a unique form of wedding invitation through which you can share all your wedding details, photos, videos, maps, local city information and more". But I would go a step further and say it's a lifetime memoir which enlivens the past happenings and enlightens the future-to-be.

What if offers?

A Personalized Wedsite - Share all your historical details as well as wedding plans with a prefed or personally tailored content. Add your favorite music and template to make it personalized. As the latest feature describes, the music is played withing the browser instead of through an embedded flash player.
Wedding Invites - Let the world know about your D-Day and invite all the near and dear ones as well as the distant ones virtually.
Details - Cover the slightest of information and the latest of happenings through a detailed write-up. Create your own pages to add stitched information.
Photographs - The Flashback, You together, Magic Moments, Spontaneous Captures, Card designs, etc. - Share it all.

Wedding Shop - Expect gifts from your relatives, Buy something for the Spouse-to-be or Order your Wedding necessities through the Wedding Shop.
To-Do List - It's a personalized diary with all the imbibed tasks that you tend to forget amidst the Wedding Stress
Security - The best thing about this site it is secure and can be viewed on invitation.
Interactive Medium - Once you're done with your part, invite your friends & relatives for discussions, views and wishes. Pay a tribute through a WedBlog.
Free - All this features are Absolutely Free for a limited period of time with an option of further Upgradation.

New features:
Gift Registry - It serves as a virtual Santa Clause which captures your wishes (read gifts), pass it to your friends and in turn get you the desired gifts.
EasyWeddings - It is a book which provides in-depth details about various wedding vendors, shops and related necessities in your area. I would say it serves as a passive Wedding Manager.
My Experience:
I was planning to launch our own Wedding Portal but considering the time & cost involved in it, I was in search of ready-to-share Wedsite. That's when I came across the Firstphera concept on Facebook. With the little know-how I toyed with it and got started as I had all the content in the world to share it. It offered us the platform to reach out with the people and our inquisitiveness made sure that it serves as a lifetime memoir. We shared our Stories which helped our friends enact a skit during Sangeet, we started forums and had opinions about the dress code and best-man at the wedding, took suggestions on the preferred honeymoon destinations.

We shared the Wedding Calender with everybody pretty early so that they can plan their trip well in advance and for those who couldn't make it, we posted them the latest updates. The amalgamation of photos on Firstphera helped us get a wonderful Video-Collage through a friend who created it with the help of our photo collection. Our personal wedblogs proved to be the trademark of our site. The site was a success with 1300+ visitors visiting it in 3 months with access limited to invites. Overall, Firstphera facilitated a well-marketed Wedding and produced a life-long memorabilia.


A Coffee Table Book - A physical version of the Wedsite. It is a compilation of 10-15 pages of your WedSite in the form of a Coffee Table Book.
Wedding CD - All your wedpages together with content and photographs can be preserved through a CD.
Printed Mug/Tshirts - Get your photographs printed on a Coffee Mug or a T-shirt as done in the neighborhood studio.
Other Souvenirs
Lifetime Memories - Get your WedSite upgraded through the renewal of subscription or a cheaper way is download softwares to copy the webpages and convert it in to pdf's.


Technical glitches - An amateur blogging tool, an outdated photo uploading/viewing screen and abrupt technical interventions and scripting errors.
Inefficient Marketing - I must say it is under marketed as all the 1300+ visitors on our Wedsite heard the name FirstPhera through us. We proved better marketeers than Firstphera.
Too Slow - The worst of all drawbacks. From Start-up screen to clicks on other links, the application is slow-paced.
Weak Order Management Process - will provide better insights on the drawbacks through direct comparison.

Rating: 4/5 garlands

Disclaimer: The above review is based upon my personal experience and is not linked commerically with any incentive-based marketing. The review covers the Firstphera usage between October to February and is irrespective of any changes made thereafter. Few of the new features have been covered in the review on the basis of general surfing. Visit for more details.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

CountryClub or CountrySide - A review on CountryClub - Bannerghatta

Country Club - Bannergatta Road (28th-Mar-2009)

Country Club - Bannerghatta is an usual case of strategic expansion --- taking over the old and forgotten clubs, renovating it and transforming it in to a luxurious property. However, it disappoints one since it's yet to undergo any changes from its existing ramshackle condition.
Precaution: Don't go over by the information (pertaining to this location) provided on the official site of Country Club (

Location: Absence of sign-posts or proper directions will force you to opt for other 'well-marketed resorts' on the same road.
The Country Club
95, Basavannapura Bannerghatta Road,
Nr. Bannerghatta National Park,
Bangalore:-560 083, Karnataka
Ph: 080-28429698

Swimming Pool
• Snooker & Billiards
• Table Tennis
• Lawn Tennis
• Bar & Restaurant
• Cottages
• Children’s play area
• Conference Hall
• Board Room
Precaution: Although all the above facilities lure you for an exciting getaway, be aware that all of them belong to pre-primitive era.
A/c Rooms - Rs. 1000/- + taxes per night
A/c Cottages (Room+Hall) - Rs. 1500/- + taxes per night
Precaution: The official site mentions "Four Cottages are available @Rs.770/- (incl. taxes) per cottage", which conflicts with the actual tariff charged over there.

My Experience: The location being near to wildlife vicinity and close to the city limits lured me but the resort is dull and dead. The rooms are very conjusted with a bad bathroom design (few feet above room level) that almost caused a fatal accident. The bathrooms are almost equivalent to rooms but rusted showers, immovable comode flush and slippery floors devaluate the returns on Country Club membership. The sound-intensive A/c didn't provide any cooling and on the contrary made life difficult creating high humidity and suffocative atmosphere. There is a scope of development but the existing site is poorly maintained with dining area full of mosquitos, reception area laiden with red-stingy Ants and toilets as stinky as skunks.

Takeaway: The only takeaway during our stay at Country Club - Bannerghatta was the food & service. Try out the Masala Omelette, Aloo chat and Lemon soda for sure.This being my first visit to any of the Country Club's, I fear regretting the amount paid for buying luxury.

Rating: 1/5 (Though I'm optimistic about the other locations)

Photos: I've avoided uploading any photos as none of them are scenic or soothing.

In case of any correspondence, do write me at