ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 4, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 23

Gizmo gourmet

By Smriti Daniel, Pix by Bertie Mendis.

Look at Fahim A. Farook carefully. Take a good long look. The editor of the new gadget magazine C3 looks like a harmless, cheerful sort of guy. Don’t be deceived. Just beneath all that bonhomie is a man ruthlessly preparing to fan the flames of your desire. You see, he understands you well enough – he understands that you love to discuss and analyse not only all the lovely gadgets that you have, but also all the lovely gadgets that you can’t afford and may never even touch. So he’ll give them to you, in heartbreaking, full page colour. He’ll give you the juicy details – matching every bit and byte to every rupee and cent – just so you can dream a little. And just to prove he’s not a cruel man, if you’re nice, and you write in, he just may give you a fabulous prize.

Fahim A. Farook

Sounds faintly sinful doesn’t it? But perhaps that’s what these guys are aiming for. The name C3 itself is simple enough to decipher - Computers, Communications and Consumer Electronics are the magazine’s stated areas of interest. But what makes C3 special is that it’s interesting reading – not just for the local geeks but for those they politely refer to as ‘laymen’. The magazine, which is published by the Colombo based C3 Labs, is focused on providing information that’s relevant to the Sri Lankan market. “We’ll tell you what's hot and what's not, what's available here in Sri Lanka, how much it will be and where you can get it,” promises Fahim in his editorial. It can only be to their credit that in their very first issue – dated October 2007 – the C3 team delivers.

Over a hundred pages of reviews, columns and general articles are complemented by some great pictures. There are entire sections devoted to titillate your appetite for gadgets-- these are the equivalent of entertainment pages in a fashion mag. The meat is provided by articles on a variety of topics, in this case, net talk, processor speeds, and operating systems step into the light. However, the real stars are the reviews. Fahim wants the reviews to form the backbone of C3, and as much as 60 percent of space is devoted to putting new products through their paces. Divided by category in hardware and software, the reviews are often brutal, fairly thorough and quite firmly rooted in a Sri Lankan context. I’m relieved to find that almost all of it is entirely decipherable.

Relieved but not particularly surprised, especially once Fahim explains that they hope C3 will help start a trend in Sri Lanka. Most local consumers currently choose to ask a friend’s advice instead of reading a review on the internet or in a magazine, he says. C3 hopes to change that by providing information that consumers can rely on to provide accurate, informed opinions, along with actual local prices and availability. In addition to all this, the magazine is also overflowing with ‘tips and tricks’ and suggestions that will help the technologically challenged wade through the obstacles that gadgets delight in throwing up.

Columns that introduce the uninitiated to commonly used terms are also on the drawing board. And all of this at a competitive price – Rs. 300 only. When you take into consideration that they have pitifully little in terms of competition, it’s evident that the magazine is off to a running start.

The monthly publication, currently available at all major bookstores, will soon be complemented by a website. “We want to have people actively involved in commenting, contributing and participating,” says Fahim, adding that he also hopes that this will unearth more writers willing to work for the magazine. In the meantime, he and his small team of writers are having the time of their lives.

It’s thrilling to be able to share with other people all the stuff that’s out there, he says, adding that the greatest thing about buying a new gadget is being able to explore every single cool function. And there’s always the stuff that’s just out of reach to consider. “This [C3] is like doing it with an even larger group of people, it’s like saying, you can’t buy it, I can’t buy it, but at least we can read about it,” he says with a grin that promises hours of wallowing in the newest, coolest gadgets on sale.

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