Friday, 30 May 2014

In an Opinionated State .. And, Loving It!

I don't know if i was born opinionated or it grew on me .. 

But, opinionated, I fiercely am.  Family & friends often joke there ain't a topic under the sun on which I don't hold a passionate, informed & most important to me, individualistic opinion.

In another era (in the past), may be this would be an unrequited trait.  Not in these times :)

As an apt sign of our times, opinions are freely exchanged, sought and recently, celebrated.  Ask me how?

Thanks to BlogAdda, I discovered State.com.

To state at the beginning, State is not another social network hankering for numbers - either for them or for you (yeah, no amassing followers). The only number that matters is your number of opinions - I have 27 opinions as of last count :)

State believes rightly that opinions are powerful and harnesses opinions in what I have come to experience, in myriad delightful ways.

Please allow me to state what impresses me the most:

1. Easy sign-up, no hassles.

2. Simple but delightful user interface - everything, just about everything I need is in 'one' single screen. 



My profile, the content (horizontal) menu on State, my latest status, the conversations in my network, the trending topics, the topics I am interested in .. all show up, as you can see, in one single screen.  Avoiding me valuable time, clicks and irritation!

3. Ease of finding just about anything on the site:

I can find opinions, topics or users by just clicking on that search icon right next to the profile drop-down on the top right corner.  Finding content is blissful with this simple but powerful search.

4. Trending Topics:

State displays real-time trending topics - across various dimensions.  

I say various dimensions because, I can 'tune in' to topics I like and see trending topics thrown up against that canvas.  

The refresh button on the far right just about refreshes latest trending topics to the second.

Here is a screenshot of one of the topics I tuned into:




5. Oh wait, you can also 'tune in' to users / people:

Lest you thought its only genres / topics that you can tune into, you can choose and tune into users / people of your choice, thus developing a network:



Of course, one can invite friends from across one's social network, including twitter and facebook and choose to tune into them as well as new users (hitherto unknown).  I tuned into quite a few, depending on my like for the way they opine (no, trust me, them agreeing with my viewpoint ain't even a criteria - its the strength and articulation in their opinion). With the same equal ease, one can share with friends on these social networks as well. I have regularly shared my opinions and topics I created on twitter, inviting followers there to come, opine.

6. Create new topics of your choice:

I loved this feature - for someone like me with 69 K tweets, now, to opine will no longer be restricted to twitter.  I can not only comment on any topic / opinion articulated by anybody on the site, but ..

I can create as many topics on State - its super easy with the centrally placed red State button:



Just have to click the button and a mini window appears:



We can key in text (I have, for example, input 'example' as the text) and not only are related topics thrown up, but the 'create new topic' option flashes at the bottom.

Create a topic of your choice across category domains (such as fashion, politics & government, sports etc.)

As soon as you create your topic, you can click the 'Ask Others' button right below the topic and choose users you are tuned into or you choose to - thereby inviting them to comment and opine on your topic.  When they do, you promptly get an email in your registered email ID.

7. Sentiment Range & Top Word Groups:

This is, according to me, the most superlative feature - because it harnesses and analyses our opinions.



I opined on Sabrina's topic 'Heeled Crocs' (domain: Fashion) and for that topic, just see the analysis State does:

I get to know total opinions for that topic;
What percent of those opinions were similar to mine;
A beautiful 'sentiment range' slotting me right in :)
A nice 'top word groups' matrix (which is an aggregation from the words we get to choose by clicking, even as we opine on each topic - whether or not we created it).

Trust me, you have to get onto the site to experience the richness of these features.

8. The Stateclip:

The stateclip is just a drag and install feature that identifies the article as well as the different topics within the page thus giving you a platter to opine on. We can share opinions on whatever we are reacting to - be it an image or video or article.

Take a look at the awesomeness:





Bitten by the bug? My motto now is 'Have Opinion, Will State'. Join me, come belong..

To know more about State, view this video:



Cheers :) 

Monday, 19 May 2014

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Friday, 16 May 2014

Cricket is Single .. again .. just separated from Intrusive Advertising!

Well, I am not just an average sports fan.

I am a slightly more average collector.

Among the things i collect, of particular interest for this post, are 'stress' (buster) balls - sports ball shaped stress buster balls.  I have cricket, soccer and rugby balls.
This picture has the cricket ball missing because it has temporarily been hijacked out of me by kiddos (read why later in this post).

Oh by the way, I have quite a few smiley emoticon shaped stress balls as well. 

Why you ask? To keep myself composed when I am forced to watch - read carefully - when I am forced to watch - sports in between advertising

Yeah, that is not how it ought to be - it started as advertising in between sports coverage. 

So, this IPL season as well, I had gathered all my stress balls and kept them handy so I stay composed and don't miss my cricketing action because of being irked by intrusive advertising.

Then, the unthinkable happened - you know, when we are in the midst of tyranny, we stop believing that redemption is possible. Same here. I never thought I could actually watch sports and not be irked by intrusive advertising.

My favorite sport - cricket - has, for long now, been in, what I believe, is an abusive relationship with intrusive advertising.

Not anymore fellas!

Cricket is, to my delight, single again.  It just broke up with and separated from intrusive advertising.

Thanks to Starsports.com :)

And, therefore, Cricket is getting back to being in the pink of health .. relationship health. Yes, that's why this post in a font that befits cricket's new found relationship status. 

I have watched this IPL 2014 cricket matches on starsports.com without being irked and held to ransom by intrusive advertising.  Remember those tyrannical times not so long ago - on TV - the over would have begun well and truly - and we, poor souls, will miss the first ball - because the advertisement was still playing! Bid it goodbye!

Here is the deal with Starsports.com:

- the main match streaming screen is FREE of advertising

- there are advertising banners all around the window but none on the streaming screen; and, if one chooses full screen view, those banners go out of sight anyways.



The video scorecard and the replay videos all begin with (on an average) 20 second videos (that you cannot skip) but again, as soon as the coverage starts, its free of advertising on the screen.

Others, like this poll section, has advertising at the bottom, but it comes with a kill button; so that is not intrusive again.


So, take heart .. our favorite sport and a near National religion is single and ready to mingle .. with us, puritanical fans, again.

Well, I am not against advertising and recognize that the game needs to generate revenues for all stakeholders to be in the pink of financial health. Hey, but there is a limit. Intrusive advertising is a manifestation of greed and kills the game and passionate fans .. at the same time.

I am glad cricket has separated from intrusive advertising .. and here's hoping Starsports.com helps seal it with a divorce .. and generates healthy advertising revenue .. which we all will wholeheartedly support. More power to you Starsports.com.

Let's celebrate and court cricket again ..

That reminds me, do you know why my cricket stress buster ball is missing from the picture above? Its because kiddos hijacked it .. I hadn't used it all this IPL .. so its now become their play thing ;) Good riddance!

On that note, Starsports.com, can you please extend the favor to Football - the FIFA World Cup is coming and I am an ardent fan.  I want this .. there as well.

Cheers :)


This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity  by Starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

A Scoreboard that scores .. brownie points .. with video!

Scoreboards, many ardent sports fans I know, reckon, are for statisticians.

Dry, rudimentary manifestation cloaked in numbers! 

All the more so in cricket!

Despite being a classical, puritanical cricket fan, I have, in the recent past, ensured I block pop-ups & even by mistake don't get the mouse cursor anywhere near a 'scoreboard'.

I did the same preparations ahead of this IPL cricket season.  Simply because, while I respect statistics and statisticians, I have no interest in becoming one - my interests lie in a classy intake of the game, in sports broadcasting.

So, I didn't want a scoreboard cloaking more than than showcasing the game in its glory. 

Well, that indifference just changed this IPL 2014 - thanks to Starsports.com.

No .. i am not writing this as a promotional blog post and take a bet with me .. you will agree with me when I finish articulating my recently gained scoreboard love.

Starsports.com brought, guess what, video to the scoreboard! yes!

Right on the matchcentre page, below the 'match highlights' section on the far mid-left, you will see a tab called 'video scorecard':



Click it.

That takes you to, first a batting enumeration, followed by a bowling and fall of wickets enumeration; underneath, you will see a 'Full Scorecard' button as well (you could go there and get back to match center).

So, what's great you ask?

See the button I have encircled in red below:




Go on .. play them ..

The scoreboard provides a video package for each batsman and bowler. The highlights of that batting innings and that bowling spell.

Crisp - I have not seen a video yet that exceeds 2 minutes. Most are between a minute and half to a minute and three-fourths.




I adore it :)

Particularly the bowler package, because, in a game inherently and ever more increasingly tilted in favor of the willow - anywhere else, it is very difficult to get a crisp video package by bowler. 

I have longed for something like this in the days Anil Kumble bowled :)

The regular fare dished out to us has been the famous 'batting highlights', 'bowling highlights', 'Fours Package', 'Sixers Package' and 'Catches Package' on TV.  Goodbye.

I would love to see this Starsports.com video scorecard evolve further - for example, i would like to see a nice play button near every fall of wicket and near the extras [i mean, imagine when Malinga is in his elements, wouldn't you want to see an extras package? Did you know - there is a real road junction named 'No Ball Junction' near his parents' home in Sri Lanka - i saw it].

hmm.. how I wish such crisp videos existed for that last ball 6 Javed Miandad hit in Sharjah (to me, that was a precursor to further abridged version of the game) or when Jonty Rhodes flew into the stumps, ball in his hand, his entire body off the ground, to run out Inzamam (that, to me, changed 'fielding' forever in the history of the game).  Who wants to endure the entire highlights packages of those matches to get to these gems? Not me. 

You could get more awesomeness and here is how:



You can register and sign up to receive daily video fix in your inbox :)

Where even twitter needs vine, don't we need a dose of video in our scorecard? Well done Starsports.com .. take it further!

Cheers :)

This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity  by Starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Dinner Timezone is different this Cricket Season ..

IPL as we all know was held this season in a different time zone (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah) before returning back to India post the elections.

Not only did it alter its own timezone but had a chain effect on my timezone!

Sitting in India, I altered my dinner and snacking times .. to make sure I don't miss a nugget of cricketing action.

Heavy lunch (before the IPL action starts) followed by a good snack (in between 2 IPL matches) and a late dinner (after both matches end for the day) has been the routine I have adopted to keep my appetite for cricket satisfied.

Talking of appetite satiation, there is a feature integral to Starsports.com's streaming of the matches live that is very dear to my heart and has satiated the appetite of a classical cricket fan in me.

I am not sure how many of us have noticed this feature and i write this post to exclusively commend and draw attention to it.  There is nothing glamorous about it. Its very rudimentary - and yet, so fundamental to the classical edifice of the game.

That's as long a run-up as Glenn McGrath's, you say? Well, remember, it is also one of the most natural :)

This is the 'Text Commentary' feature on Starsports.com. Miss it at your own peril - and the game's!

Why do I say that?

I am a classicist at heart - in every facet of life. Cricket's and sports' edifice lies in its fundamentals. The game moves from strength to strength on the fundamental knowledge of its nuances. When I grew up, Dr.Narottam Puri, the most prominent and knowledgeable commentator of that time, used to - not just commentate - but dispense with wisdom about the game - be it field placements, player tenacity, captain and team strategies, statistics. 

For young and upcoming viewership, that builds a lifetime romance with the game. Substance seldom fades. Glamour almost always does.

Well, we no longer have Dr.Puri that active.  And, in an age and times where attention spans are as brief as 140 to 160 characters, how does one contribute to the fundamentals of the game?

This - text commentary - to me, is a great start.

I strongly recommend it to every young viewer of the game; it is best to partake it while watching the video streaming - that fortifies one's game fundamentals; and of course, to those of us so steeped in cricket's classicism that we will forsake it for nothing.

I have loved the quality and multi-dimensional text commentary on starsports.com.  Take a look at some of the screenshot grabs off my smartphone:



In addition to this feature that I prize, there is another little nugget that delights me: 

Yes, i have confessed interactivity draws me.  

Starsports.com has a nice 'poll' tab / feature and one can choose to share one's view of the polled question on one's social media channels.




I shared mine on twitter and was promptly retweeted by Starsports' twitter account:





Go to polls online as well .. this season :)

Cheers :)


This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity  by Starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

I buy (viewing cricket) online this IPL season

Nobody has survived travelling in two boats .. one foot in each .. at the same time!

Has anyone survived being on two pitches .. at the same time?

I have! This IPL 2014 cricket and sale season. I know .. the guys reading this must be going nuts! 

Well, this IPL not just coincided with the election season; it also runs with the sale season.

Life, as much as cricket is a team sport - no facet can remain non-performing; so, I cannot miss the sale season to watch cricket. The trends and attractive prizes are not going to wait to grace my wardrobe until the cricket carnival concludes.

My strategy? 

Watch cricket online .. shop online :)

Starsports.com offers fantastic live streaming of all the IPL matches, as we know from my earlier posts. 

Fortunately, all the brands are extending the sale season collection as well as prices online. 

On that note, guess what connects online cricket and online shopping this season? Other than me, of course!

Think hard .. the answer is a delight .. to both cricket fans and fashionistas.

The answer and the connect is: 'fastest delivery'.

Online sites vie with each other to provide fastest delivery of our orders. The fastest thus far is a 5 hour delivery!

Starsports.com does a one up on that and provides fastest scoreboard in the world of sports and cricket .. I tried matching it with many of my erstwhile batting partners (example, Cricinfo) but genuinely admit this one is faster. A comprehensive scoreboard delivered as fast as Brett Lee or Shoaib Akhtar delivered their wares at their peak.

Speed is king in today's economy that is virtually, quite literally at that, running on nano seconds.

Starsports.com doesn't stop with the fastest scoreboard.  It accentuates it with a much useful feature 'Action Recap'.  

'Action Recap' is a video update every four overs that allows the viewer to catch up on the match very quickly and comprehensively, no matter when the viewer joined in.

Now, that is a recap of why and how I buy (viewing cricket) online this IPL Cricket and fashion sale season :) What is your take?

Cheers :)

This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity  by Starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

No missed deliveries this Cricket season ..

One of the biggest challenges in watching cricket at home .. all the more being a lady fan .. is missing (cricket) deliveries for taking (home) deliveries.

It is frustrating to miss either ..

Sample a typical day at my door:

- most courier deliveries at home tend to happen post 3 pm (yeah, coincides with the first match of the day)

- gas cylinder delivery (no, we don't live in gas piped apartments - we live in independent houses that still get cooking gas delivered as cylinders)

- drinking mineral water cans delivery

- the vendor who delivers crisply ironed clothes

- the unsolicited salespersons

- last but not the least, what goes hand-in-hand with cricket? Yeah, pizza delivery - family members ordering pizza and passing the parcel when it comes to going to the door to take delivery!

oh boy .. the list is endless.

Now, none of these can be missed .. let alone be controlled. I did the unthinkable and crazy thing of mandating almost every one of them .. to arrive at an appointed time .. either before the first match or in between the 2 matches. But, alas, many of them would just not turn up should you call them up for deferred or altered delivery. 

And, in the minutes it takes to handle them at the door, take delivery, sign off and get back to the match (even with a tablet or a smartphone right in your hand), trust me - vital cricket moments get stolen. I poetically call it as deliveries missed for deliveries.  

Take heart .. not anymore ..

Starsports.com comes to our rescue .. so there may deliveries .. on all fronts.

The live streaming of IPL 2014 cricket matches online - believe me - comes with a 'Deferred Live' feature.  Free video streaming of the match with a 5 minute delay. 
 
I have now made good use of this deferred live feature by taking door deliveries and then facing cricket deliveries .. missing neither. Played picture perfect. I even recorded a video of the deferred live .. but the size is slowing down this blog post loading time .. so retiring the video to the bench!

Much appreciate this feature .. if only life had a deferred live button .. seriously! hmm.. until then, make good use of this feature at starsports.com.

Cheers :)


This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity  by Starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

Bowled over by Colors and Graphics this Cricket Season

Well, being a maiden and either getting bowled over or, better still, bowling over .. go together!

Being a fashionista maiden and a cricket fan is such fun this cricket season. 

On the fashion front, I celebrate each day with - ah ah, no, not just the jerseys of the teams playing that day - that is passe & such a guy thing - I celebrate with stylish tops in the colors of the teams playing on each day. 

Attired in tops in the colors of the teams of the match/day - tops made of fabrics and silhouettes in current fashion trend, I watch it all .. makes me happy combining fashion and cricket as well as motivates my peer group to watch each match without missing a moment.

Lest you think this is a figment of imagination, take a look at my very own collection:









Isn't it a super fun way to ensure we don't miss any cricket action? The guys - go ahead, borrow this idea from me to get your better halves enjoy cricket with you :) And remember to send me chocolates as royalty for the idea!

Starsports.com is bathed in colors as well this IPL 2014, with brilliant Infografix - informative snippets with a visual twist, for entertainment. The cricket fan in me loves the splicing and dicing analysis whereas the fashionista and geek in me feels entertained with the plethora of colors and visual twists.  Take a look - I managed some screenshots off my smartphone:






Isn't that such a potent mix of information and entertainment? 

Every facet of the match analysed and presented very effectively in a brief format, keeping true to the abridged T20 genre and served with a tadka (sautee) of entertainment. 

I hate 'told you' dialogues, so go ahead, choose to get informed and entertained.

Choose to get bowled over .. by Starsports.com :)

By the way, talking of team colors, there is a nice fan activity going on that might get us some match tickets to the IPL finals - let's go catch it:




Cheers :)

This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity  by Starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.


I liberated myself from Line & Length this IPL 2014, #KannaKeepCalm

Liberation, always brings with it, a breath of fresh air! 

This IPL 2014 season, which also coincides with the Election season in my Country, the world's largest democracy, I chose to liberate myself. In the way I view one of my favorite sports: Cricket.

I bet that is arguably the first time you have heard of "liberation" & sports viewership in the same sentence!  

Read on to know my very own liberation story ..

I famously call myself a 'born spectator' (after Oscar Wilde's famous poem title) - with deep and passionate interests in Tennis, Cricket, Soccer (Football) & F1 principally and fleeting interest in rare Olympics disciplines (such as Swimming, Fencing & Equestrian) thereafter.

Let's come to my passion for cricket. I guess I was born with it - well, Cricket, is, after all, a religion by itself in my Country. I remember being 12 years old and bunking school so I could catch a match and of course, hearing lectures from all round! I endured far more lectures than what bunking usually invited, because .. guess what, I am a girl and nobody had seen girls bunk school .. for .. of all things, Cricket!

My passion for cricket only grew with my age and means :)

I am someone who has viewed live Cricket matches:

- at the Melbourne Cricket Ground - MCG, Australia 

- climbed the manual scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval (trust me, its as high as a storied building - i went inside the scoreboard as part of a special tour of the Oval) 

- traveled as far as South Africa (I have viewed live, ICC World Cup 2003 matches in SA with my favorite grounds there being Jo'Burg and Port Elizabeth :)

- endured watching India Vs Sri Lanka live at the Premadasa Stadium, Colombo (it was very hostile because the entire home crowd was waiting to take us few traveling spectators bleeding blue on as India did well)

Yet, most of my life, I have bonded with cricket through the Television (TV) set.  Watching cricket on TV is not just bonding, but also 'binding'. How you ask? here is how:

- firstly, I have to be 'in front' of the TV set (what I call 'Line' of sight). Can't afford to step away from the TV's view because that would be risking a ball, a hit, a catch, a run-out .. whatever! I used to take breaks, if strictly required, in a hurry between the overs .. uff, the travails of a passionate fan!

- secondly, I have to be seated at least a mandatory 7 to 10 feet away from the TV (what I call 'Length'). Well, that is what our family optometrist told my parents ages ago and it is religiously followed at my place - as religiously as cricket, trust me!

This IPL Season, thanks to Starsports.com, I have authored my liberation.

Starsports.com streams every ball of every IPL match live (and deferred live, for that matter) on all my gadgets - that is: 

- an Android Smartphone (there is a dedicated App in the Play Store),  
- a tablet (App also exists on iOS but i use it on Android)
- a Laptop 

So, I bid goodbye to and liberated myself from the Line & Length imposed by TV.  I keep changing the gadgets depending on the liberation adventure - the laptop for the garden, the smartphone for the walk etc.





And, guess what, I am super impressed that the site is very intuitive: it gauges my gadget itself and gives me the best viewing experience tailored for my gadget - take a look:






So, this IPL season, I spruced up my wireless broadband and cellular high speed internet connections and registered myself on Starsports.com (its free) and verified my mobile number (if you register yourself, you can also get video alerts :)

So no more Line or Length while watching Cricket! phew!

I have, this IPL season done the following as I actively watched IPL 2014 ball by ball:

- happily lie down on the garden cane couch

- take nice little walks in our little strip of private road in the colony

- get to the terrace during the second match of the day and be with the stars (uffo, not the cricket stars, the ones in the sky)

- attend a blogger meet and get back in a cab (and interestingly, ended up hooking the cab driver on to the mobile app as well - as Mom condescendingly watched :)

If anything, my quality of viewing has gone up by leaps and bounds. The joy has been equivalent to watching a Gayle storm (yeah, as a fan supporting him - not the bowling team). 

There are a number of reasons why my viewership quality has gone up. I love a range of features about Starsports.com.  I guess one blog post may not suffice - and also, I guiltily remind myself: this is the abridged version of the game - the T20 - and how can I have a blog post running to a test match length; so here is what we will do - I will do a series of short (by my standards!) posts with the features highlighted.

The first feature I LOVE is the #KannaKeepCalm moments - which are focused, brief videos of the hand-picked defining moments of the match.

To me, life is a journey - and what punctuates any journey is defining 'moments' - never a day, a month - its moments! Whether one has seen the match and wants to relive it or has missed the match and is catching up, this is where I first recommend you head to. These moments define the very essence of the match! 

This is my smartphone screenshot of the #KannaKeepCalm moments as of April 18th (yes, in the very first week - this blog post comes today because I have been too busy enjoying the cricket - and also because, the last day is tomorrow, seriously dudes and dudettes, I blog in the slog overs :)



I am, as you know, a major twitter buff (with over 2000 followers and 67000 tweets :)  #KannaKeepCalm provides for great interactivity during the match on twitter and I even have Retweets (RTs) from Starsports and IPL - take a look at this tweet of mine :)



Incidentally, I love the hashtag #KannaKeepCalm for more reasons than cricket; in my mother tongue Tamil, 'kanna' is a sweet, benevolent way of addressing someone fondly (something similar to 'honey' in English or 'beta' in Hindi .. but a lot more fonder and beloved).  

So, now, in keeping with the resolution to respect the abridged version of the game, T20, this post must be brought to its logical conclusion. But, I promise more posts follow .. enunciating how you can liberate yourself with the help of Starsports.com :)

Cheers :)


This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity  by Starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.