My Incompatible and dysfunctional universe

No I am not referring to time and space and the planets and stars thingy… I am but a really small fly in the overall scheme of things and will leave it to the Asimovs and the Stephen Hawkings of the world to determine how good or screwed up or convoluted the universe we all live in is and where it is headed.

Light years away from all the stuff happening out in the distant galaxies, here and now, on what all of us lovingly call Earth, I encountered a peculiar problem. A problem that frustrated me no end and I wished there was an easy solution to it. In hindsight this frustration is what led me to deeper introspection and landed me in the current situation… resigning from a cushy job and trying to reimagine this problem and a simple solution. And we said “Let there be gLockr!!” … and gLo and behold Glockr was born!

It all started off many years ago with my desire to have a full fledged home theatre. After planning for many years I put up a separate room in my house to fulfil my desire. I decided to re-use the Bose Lifestyle 48 media center I had and got the new room wired to fit the Bose in there and went out and got a new HD home projector. So far so good. Soon I realised I had a ‘small’ issue. I couldnt connect the media center to the projector as the media center didnt support HDMI as it was an old one ! The best it did was a component video and I did not have room to draw more cables. To add to the woes, the media center had to support my ChromeCast, STB, AppleTV, a Nintendo Wii, Playstation and maybe more!! With all or most of them working on HDMI, I was stumped. I had already invested a lot of money in buying the equipment which wouldn’t talk to each other. And wireless was not an option! Bose support didn't help. They recommended a discontinued accessory (VS2 enhancer) and asked me to buy on eBay if available. Was I lucky? No … I didn't get one. I had planned to get the whole setup running before the Australian open Finals which came and went and the screen in my room was still not lit. My next target was to get it done before the Cricket World Cup finals in 2015! Turning to various forums on the net, I found something that worked! But it took a lot of time and I missed the World Cup finals deadline as well !!

I finally got the setup working by installing a HDMI splitter or a 4-way hub and connected all input sources to it. The splitter came with a PCM extractor and so I got the audio through the optical out of the splitter connected to the media center amp. The HDMI out from the splitter was connected to the projector. I also had to buy a new Blu Ray player as the DVD player on the Bose was rendered useless due to the HDMI connection not being there! The result … Captain America: The Winter Soldier was awesome to watch with my son and so were the Star Wars series …and of course Wimbledon. But all of this after a lot of pain researching, missed implementation schedules, additional investment and a seemingly convoluted setup. And it took me many iterations and over 3 months to get things to work without having to spend a lot and throw away stuff I had.

The whole experience left me wondering if I could have managed the whole thing better … myself. I being a techie didn’t want to call an ‘Expert’ and so the only was this could have worked was if I had prior knowledge of the limitations and capabilities of the various moving parts and their compatibility issues. Multiple searches on Google, Facebook, Whatsapp and calls to brands of course helped but not in a concerted way. A very disjointed experience. How many of us have the patience to really go through all of this? It gets more murky in situations when your father calls you and says ‘I dont know what happened but I cant watch these channels or the TV is not switching on’.

My firm belief is that the problem I encountered is not unique and it manifests itself in various avatars in our life …like a missing installation certificate for a solar water heater, a service center agent asking for Make-Model-Date of Purchase, Warranty details which many of us have no clue on as we don't bother to store the documents (Yes! I vaguely remember ! Its there somewhere in one of the drawers in some room!), an extended warranty that I purchased but conveniently forgot or someone in the family calling for help and you have no clue how to help them.

A problem like above is something that we encounter everday of our lives and needs a simple solution. A solution that helps us organize our lives around the numerous gadgets and appliances that we own. Be it a washing machine, a refrigerator, a laptop, a phone or anything that needs connectivity, maintenance, consumables and service. How would it be if we could store all information related to these devices in a simple digital locker and allow the world around these gadgets collapse to that small handheld that we carry everywhere? Wouldnt it be simpler if we could know what is happening in the world of these gadgets, buy accessories and consumables, ask our friends and experts when we have a problem, get alerted on expiring insurance and warranty and just have everything at our fingertips .. when we want it where we want it and most importantly related to what we own?

We are working on a solution to help you with all of the above and more. If you relate to my experience and want to know more on how to organize the stuff that you own for a one click access, please sign up to our beta. If you would like to contribute to the product then reach out to me on hello@glockr.io

Watch for more updates from my side on stuff that you can relate to in your day to day lives.

Feedback and brickbats welcome.