Sunday 15 January 2012

Hugin - Panorama Sticher

The great thing about Ubuntu (a Linux derivative, which is an Open Source Operating System) is it has got myriad of applications that are free and work exceptionally well. One of them is Hugin - Panorama Sticher. It is a great application which allows a person to create a panoramic view from a series of pictures taken in a panoramic sequence. Here is how the interface of the application looks like.

The interface is well laid out. It has got the Assistant window where one loads the images and thereafter creates a panaromic image in Tiff. It is easy to convert the Tiff file into Jpeg using another photo viewer application which I like very much, which is Shotwell.

There are other windows (like Images, Camera and Lens, Crop, Mask, Control Points, Optimiser, Exposure, Sticher, which allows a person to do specific changes to the output of the image file.

Here is a panoramic photograph I had taken today. Have a look at the quality of the image. This has been compressed from a Tiff file (70+ MB) to a Jpeg file (roughly 3.6 MB). You still wouldn't notice any loss of quality. The images were all taken using a iPhone 4S.

The link to the complete panoramic view with the original quality is here.

Welcome to the Open Source Community and Welcome to Ubuntu.

BTW, Hugin Panaromic Sticher is also available for Windows and Mac. However, the Windows version keeps crashing, which is not the case with the Ubuntu version. I will report the version on Mac shortly.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Would the RBI's move to deregulate interest rates on NRE/NRO deposits in RRBs really benefit the investors?

RBI has issued a notification on 19th December 2011 saying that the RRBs (Regional Rural Banks) can fix the interest rates for NRE/NRO term deposits exceeding one year. Would it really benefit the investors? I don't think so. My reasons are, (1) These interest rates of 7 to 8% which the banks like ICICI, HDFC, etc.. are offering are only for Rupee accounts and not on FCNR (Foreign Currency Non Resident) accounts, which are still at 3 to 4%. This would mean that with a falling Rupee rate, there is no real benefit for term deposits lasting a year. It appears that RBI has tacitly conceded that the Rupee rate will fall further by atleast 4 to 5% in the next 12 months. Thus, for those who want to invest in Rupee accounts for a year and want to repatriate the funds back to their country of origin, they would be no appreciation in the value of investment. (2) If the investors choose to use the funds in Indian markets or spend in India, the high rate of inflation which is hovering around 9% would mean that the money in a year's time would have approximately the same value as the day it was invested. Unless the conditions within the Indian Economy change for the better, which would strengthen the Rupee I don't think investing in the Rupee accounts for higher interest rates makes real sense at all.