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ISP Issues….Again!

I’m getting really tired of my ISP, Asianet Broadband. For almost three years (it will be three years by the end of July) I was happy with them but nowadays, they are sucking really badly. Once in a while Asianet’s service would go down but they usually fixed it within 3-4 hours and since it’s only once in a while, that was pretty much ok. I mean, these kind of things go down right? It’s not flawless and I don’t expect any such service to be flawless. But I do expect solutions for the issues.

Lately though it’s been bad. For a few weeks now I have noticed that the connection goes down atleast once in a week and then it started going out almost on a daily basis. An outage like yesterday, which was city wide I believe, is understandable and they fixed it in 4-5 hours. But then again today it goes down. I have had so many days of outages that it’s crazy. And their customer care is so robotic. The people who attend to your calls in their call center, have been given nothing to work with. It’s mostly girls who can check your status and then raise a complaint with a generic statement.

Seriously it’s so funny and yet not funny when I call them. Most of the girls who pick up (it’s mostly girls for some reason) try to speak rather fast when they know there is an outage, promising that the issue has been raised and that it will be fixed as soon as possible and seem in a hurry to just close the call. I get the same answer each time. Finally today I asked for a supervisor and she said the same thing. I was also promised a call back by 6pm which never happened. Shows you what kind of customer care they are running right now. It’s pathetic!

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Amazon India Buying

I usually used to buy mostly on eBay but I’ve recently become an Amazon convert for several things. Back in 2015 October I made my very first really big purchase on Amazon India and that was this laptop I am typing on. My Dell Vostro 3558 Corei3 15 in. But other than that it’s been mostly eBay. However I recently began using Amazon a lot more and signed up for Prime and well, I have bought a few things online. This weekend too I was browsing and going through things and I bought just a couple of things.

First up is the first Fidget Spinner I have bought. I want to see just what the fuss is all about. I also bought this neat looking football design bottle opener for my beers. Mind you I don’t have the items yet.

Amazon’s grocery list is also kinda good. My first purchases are these two 1 litre juices from a company, Paper Boat I have known about but haven’t seen in the supermarkets in my town. They have lots of products and they come in nice packaging.

Oh and I also bought these three items that you see here for a friend who was leaving the company I work for. I knew she wanted a diary/journal with a lock that you see here on the left. This one was the nicest that I could find. Then I bought a steel travel mug for her since she loves coffee as much as I do and a leather covered pencil stand as well. I also bought her a poster but I can’t find an image for that poster.

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Online Policies

How do you manage your online privacy? Are there certain things you won’t post in certain places? Information you’ll never share online? Or do you assume information about you is accessible anyway?

I think I do post a lot of my feelings and other stuff online. More so on my blog than on say Facebook and Twitter. Now, a lot of my relatives, friends, former school/college mates, casual friends and colleagues are on my Facebook. It’s different than say on my blog. I control everything on my blog whereas in Facebook it’s different. I don’t post as freely as I do on Facebook as I do on my blog or Twitter for that matter. I’m not one of those people who only posts profile pics all day long or post sugary happy nonsense.

I know people who read my blog are much less compared to those 660 souls who are on my Facebook feed regularly (well most of the 660) and the problem is not every one is on the same wavelength as me. So I censor myself and sometimes keep a few things off the TL. But I still do post a lot of things that’s on my mind, my reaction to things happening in the world. This is one reason I do not add current colleagues on Facebook – I don’t want to go to work and have colleagues commenting their like or dislike about my views over coffee. I know some people are sensitive as fuck when it comes to things that are said against what they like but they have no problem in dissing things that they don’t like or agree with. I feel that if it is my Facebook page, I should be able to post anything I damn well want to and those who don’t like it -either ignore it or fuck off. There is an unfriend button for a reason.

But I still hold back because I don’t like people writing essays attacking me on my profile page posts. So I avoid but I will also unfriend or block a person if they get too bitchy for my taste. Discussions are fine but being a prissy little bitch, not so much. Blogs, though are different. Get off my website, I will ban you from commenting if you annoy me. Create your own website and post a 1000 articles as to why your view is different. Respect the right for me to do mine.

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My Twitter Follower Analysis

  • 40% of my followers are from India – no surprises since I am from India myself and a lot of these tweeps are people I know personally.
  • 21% are from the USA and 18% from Canada – no surprises due to my love for movies, music, NHL, tv shows, scifi and horror.
  • 10% is from the UK – mostly Arsenal FC fans.
  • Arab nations, a few African countries have 0.1% each – no surprises there. I’m not even sure about the 1.7% from the UAE! Mostly ex-Muslim Atheists Tweeps I guess.
  • And 0.4% in Pakistan! OK, I am aware of one person, anyone else?
  • 2.4% is from Australia – and 0% from New Zealand! C’mon Kiwis, show me some love!
  • 0.4% from the Phillippines, 0.1 each from Malaysia, Indonesia & Vietnam!
  • Assorted Western European nations all have 0.1% each but none from Russia! With my ardent love for Vodka??
  • My fellow Malayalees consist of 17.2% of my followers – next highest state or provincial area is Ontario with 6%!
  • 7.1% are from England (not a state I know)
  • 4.4& are from Karnataka, mostly Bangalore and mostly my fellow Mallus (c’mon, I see you hiding behind your plate of beef fry)
  • 10% of my followers live in my hometown of Kochi, the next highest at 3.3% is from Toronto!
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Freedom Of Facebook

Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

This one is interesting. If we are talking about Facebook then I think that everyone should be able to say whatever they want and post whatever they want on their personal page as well as any page or group that they create. And unless they are calling for harm (like physical harm or murder / killing and or destruction of land or property) to befall other people or animals or something like that. Then Facebook should intervene and either give a warning before yanking away the page or group or go ahead and pull the plug.

Otherwise I think everyone should be able to say whatever they want and then sit back and listen to the comments and criticisms, satire, jokes and poking fun at for saying what it is that they just said. You can and have full rights to delete, block or ban such comments or people as long as it is your own page or group. And ofcourse the spam. Everyone hates spam and spammers and spam bots. Get them off.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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Uber Useful

Uber to me is relatively new. I first started using the services of the multinational transportation company in December of 2015. At that time I was stuck doing excessive shifts due to a crunch situation in our company. Hence 12 hours or more was the norm and because I was in a day shift I wasn’t eligible for the company cab option. I don’t have a vehicle and public buses stop running after 8pm in that area as well which made it difficult for me to get back home. I didn’t have the Uber app as I used a BlackBerry and hence I would ask help from colleagues to book me an Uber. Once the driver reached the office, I would go down and tell him that I would pay in cash.

In December and January I must have used Uber in this manner, borrowing a colleague’s phone to do the booking, atleast 10-12 times. February came along and I didn’t have much use of it but I knew that this is a great way to travel in Cochin, unless it was within the main city areas, for which the autorikshaw is the best option if you don’t have a vehicle of your own. In mid February I was told that I would be sent to Gurgaon for 2 weeks and I knew that getting the Uber app was a necessity while I stayed there.

As it so happened I was also looking to change my phone from a BlackBerry to an Android based device. So in late February I bought a new Samsung Galaxy and the very first thing I did as soon as I put in my SIM card was to install Uber. Even before any other app (to be fair, it came with Facebook, Twitter and a few others right outta the box)! And a day or two later I booked my first ride using my own phone. Since then I had used Uber quite a few times; to and fro the office, going to Lulu Mall, booking it for my parents to go for a wedding and come back.

It’s become an essential option for people like me and I don’t see me using the normal taxis unless it’s for a much longer distance like to another city or so.

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Personal Facebook Policy

I wonder what other people’s Facebook & Twitter rules are. I usually will add / accept invites from people I know and even people I haven’t met but who I share common interests with. These are usually from FB groups on Star Trek, Atheism, Horror movies, other science fiction shows like BSG, Stargate and music groups. This is usually after we have had quite a few interactions on the group in questions and or notice that we have several groups in common.

I do not add my uncles and aunts (except for a couple who will be cool about most of the stuff that others will balk at) and no kids! My nephews and nieces are a no no. Hmmm what about colleagues? I have a policy – I do not add people who are working in the same office as I do. No way in hell. Unless ofcourse I knew them from before and I had already added them, then it’s fine. But otherwise I do not add them or accept friend invites no matter what. It is a policy I stick by. Ok, I might make an exception if they are super friendly with me and we are really close. But otherwise no. It’s just not a good thing to do.

I often have to delete or ignore friend requests from colleagues because of this. When I meet them I will apologize and tell them and explain and hopefully they get it. I just don’t like it if an issue comes up and then it is discussed in details at work the next day.

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Google & Rescue

What was the last thing you searched for online? Why were you looking for it?

I use google a lot. For a lot of things, day in day out. Sometimes for checking on spellings, meanings and usage in sentences. To check for facts, to find out new things that I do not know about or had ever heard about before, to reconfirm and get the details that I need for something that I need to have details for.

I search for movies, music, details of movies, images, wallpapers, themes and everything else on sports and television series and all that. Google is my dictionary, novelty store, entertainment search, my library and my think tank. We are so reliant on Google and yet people are still so ignorant in these times when information is at the tip of their fingers and all it takes is a little typing of the keyboard to find the needed data and educate yourself about the topic at hand and yet stick to their biased opinions.

Use Google, find the right websites, go through the details and see if they make sense, are from a legitimate source (check if the data is genuine by rechecking as to who posts it) and then make your points based on it.

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

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New USB Data Card

Just went out on what is a fucking hot and humid day to go and buy a new USB data card connection from Tata Docomo. Ok, the heat and humidity is really bad, it’s probably the worst we have seen in decades. I probably say it every year but it really is terrible. Anyway the reason I am getting the USB dongle is because I will be staying in another apartment for the next 3 weeks or so and will need internet connectivity there.

So I got one and paid Rs.2000 for the device and the first month which will give me 6.2 mbps for 15 GB. After that it’s at a nominal 64kbps which is nothing really. I think I can get by on 15GB of data for 3 weeks but just in case I don’t I can add a booster pack for about Rs.200 more and which will get me another 5GB or so. I have to call them up and find out. Anyways, I have to wait till today evening to get the connection activated after pre-verification and will probably only see how it works by tomorrow, as I work in the evening shift.

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New Phone For Mum – Samsung Galaxy J1

Today I placed an order online for a phone for my mum. It’s the Samsung Galaxy J1 launched in January 2015. The phone comes with a 4.30-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 pixels by 800 pixels at a PPI of 217 pixels per inch.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 is powered by 1.2GHz dual-core and it comes with 512MB of RAM. The phone packs 4GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Samsung Galaxy J1 packs a 5-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 2-megapixel front shooter for selfies.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 runs Android 4.4 and is powered by a 1859mAh removable battery. It measures 129.00 x 68.20 x 8.90 (height x width x thickness) and weighs 122.00 grams. The Samsung Galaxy J1 is a dual SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts two Micro-SIM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, FM. Sensors on the phone include Proximity sensor, Accelerometer.

Display – 4.30-inch Processor – 1.2GHz Front Camera – 2-megapixel

Resolution – 480×800 pixels RAM – 512MB OS – Android 4.4

Storage – 4GB Rear Camera – 5-megapixel Battery capacity – 1859mAh

It’s Rs.6409 from a good seller on eBay and with some discounts, I managed to knock off Rs.518.

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Netflix And Chill In India Soon

Netflix, the world’s top video streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from a smartphones to a smart television is now launching in India.

It works with a variety of other devices like PlayStation and Apple TV, letting users stream directly onto larger screen. Netflix is also the creator of a lot of original, made for the web content, much of which is now in high-resolution Ultra HD.

Netflix India has pricing similar to its primary US market and users will be able to pay as low as Rs 500 to watch shows and movies on a single screen at one time. For Rs 650, they will get access to two simultaneous screens and four for Rs 800 — this also has UHD content. The first month is free for all users and they can pay using PayPal and credit card only at the moment. An initial fee of Rs 70 ($1) is charged during signup to authenticate the card. Netflix standard subscribers now pay $9.99 per month, not much more than the Rs 500 base price in India. Netflix was launched out of California is 1997 as a DVD rental service and now has over 69 million users globally with 42 million in the US alone.

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Happy 9th Blogaversary To Me

Happy 9th birthday to my blog Awake & Dreaming & a happy 9th Blogaversary to me!

It was on the 1st of January that I setup this blog in a day with the help of my cousin (over the phone), who guided me through the process and by night I had the thing setup. Then I installed WordPress and started blogging.

This isn’t my first blog; I first started blogging in 2002, through blogger.com,  when I lived in Calicut and continued with it when I moved back to Cochin. I was an inconsistent blogger, nothing having an internet connection at home & from 2003 till 2006, not having a computer at home. By 2005 I started getting more & more into blogging and I created a new one in blogger.com and called it Count Roshculla : Awake & Dreaming. I started spending more time in internet cafes and hence could blog a lot more consistently. But I always wanted my very own website & domain and I wanted to install wordpress. That was achieved on January 1st, 2007.

This past year has seemingly flown by and I have tried to capture as much as I can about it on my blog. Unlike a lot of people who used to blog regularly, I have continued. I don’t read much blog posts anymore, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook having taken up much of my time on the internet but I have kept my blog up. And I will continue to do so for as long as I can. I find this quite therapeutic and enjoy blogging. Here’s to another year!

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That First Email

Do you remember you very first email that you sent?

I do. The year was 1996 I think. Or 1997 maybe. I had never used the internet before but was eagerly waiting for it. I wanted to send a quick email to someone, anyone and I chose a cousin sister who lived in the UK. So I went to this place where they offered internet browsing but it was so expensive back then. So instead I asked them if I could send an email to a relative using their business email id. They said sure and I typed a small email that was like 2 or 3 sentences and one of the guys there showed me how to send it.

I must have spent about 10-15 minutes talking with the people who run the store when they told me that there was a reply back from my cousin so I got it printed out and paid for the time spent and left. My cousin had written a paragraph or two about she, her brothers and sisters were and enquired about my family and other relatives back here in India. I read it back home and showed it to my mom as well.

How things have changed since then! Also I no longer talk to that cousin, neither do the rest of my relatives speak to her or her family either.

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Star Trek : Renegades

So we have yet another fan film (or in this case a series pilot) based on the Star Trek universe. This is the 4th that I have watched and one that I like a lot just like the other 3. Star Trek: Renegades is a fan film based upon the Star Trek franchise that features several characters from commercially produced Star Trek series, played by the same actors who realized them for film and TV. Made on a budget of roughly $375,000, the film was largely funded through crowdsourcing, and the film’s producers claimed they were going to submit it to CBS as a spec TV pilot (however CBS have turned down the offer to make it into a series). The completed pilot film was released for public viewing via YouTube beginning August 24, 2015. Plans have been announced for a web based series, much like Star Trek Continues.

It is about 10 years after Voyager comes back to earth. A now 143 year old Admiral Pavel Chekov, head of Starfleet Intelligence, is worried about the crisis that the Federation is in as an unknown alien force is destroying the Federation’s main suppliers of dilithium crystals (the primary catalyst for the fuel used in faster-than-light travel). Space and time have folded around several planets, isolating them from outside contact. The phenomenon is unnatural – someone or something is causing it to happen. Chekov gets a message from his friend Admiral Satterle (Herbert Jefferson Jr.) that he is on to a conspiracy within Starfleet and that he is to trust no one. Before the message is over, Satterle is killed in an explosion, which Chekov knows is sabotage. Not knowing who he can trust within Starfleet, Chekov enlists Commander Tuvok, the current head of Section 31, to put together a covert renegade crew of outsiders who will have to find out the people behind this. Tuvok knows of an able leader – Lexxa Singh, a descendant of Khan Noonien Singh – but who is in a Federation prison!

Tuvok gets Lexxa to agree to the mission, dangling the hope of finding her older sister, and she is released from prison and joins her crew of outcasts – Dr. Lucien (Sean Young), Ragnar (Gary Graham), Icheb (Manu Intiraymi), Fixer (Edward Furlong), Jaro Ruk (Kevin Fry) & Ronara (Chasty Ballesteros) – on board their ship, The Icarus and head to investigate. They must evade the USS Archer led by Captain Alvarez (played by Corin Menec) who is unaware of the nature of the Icarus’s mission and stop the aliens led by Borrada (Bruce A. Young) before they can destroy earth using two weapons that case the folding of space. Robert Picardo has two brief scenes as Dr. Lewis Zimmerman while Richard Herd does a brief appearance as Admiral Owen Paris. From Star Trek Continues we have Grant Imahara as Lt. Masaru & Vic Mignogna as Garis coming in to support the Renegades team. Lexxa and her team are able to stop the aliens in time and also uncover a couple of conspirators in Starfleet.

In the end the Icarus crew is given two extra crew members to replace the ones they lose in this mission & their freedom in exchange for the occasional covert operation; they will never be part of Starfleet or having any status in the Federation and in fact will be hunted down as only Chekov & Tuvok will know of their arrangement. Sounds like a good premise for a regular tv series. What did I like about the show? The choice of main cast was good, having Picardo, Russ & Chekov was a huge plus. Wilkinson looks great as does Chasty B but I think Manu as Icheb was just excellent as was Edward Furlong as Fixer (check out the surprise about that character). Some of the others were really not good, including the crew members of the Icarus that die, the villains and what the heck is with that great great granddaughter scene with Chekov? That was my least favourite part of the movie. Make isn’t the best but hey they barely had a budget and that also shows on the sets where they have to be on planets. Starfleet headquarters and the Archer’s interiors looked very tacky to me. However the space scenes and battles were awesome as were the CGI effects on Icheb’s new enhancements. Very well done.

I’d give this movie / pilot a 7 outta 10, maybe an 8 considering the budget.

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Bought Another 1TB Hard Drive

So I was running outta space for my files – movies, photos, television shows, music – and hence I just bought another 1TB Western Digital hard disk from an online shopping site called Snapdeal. So that makes it my 3rd 1TB drive; I also have a 160 GB drive that serves as a back up for my mp3 files and a 350 GB drive that has mostly movie files.

All the music that I listen to is on my laptop and also saved onto 2 of my disks – one a backup and the other is the backup for the backup. I currently have a little over 60GB worth of music on around 11,000 mp3 files. I have something like 850 movies (most of which I have only watched once) shared on two hard drives and my laptop’s drive. I’m not sure as to how much GB that is (or TB). I have several tv show seasons also on the two 1 TB hard drives, some of which, just like the movies, I also have on dvds (don’t have a Bluray player as of yet). I also have roughly 70GB of my own videos, shot on my phone, which I upload to Youtube, as well. That will certainly increase as the months go by.

I thought of getting a 2TB drive but I thought I’d wait as I also plan on getting a new laptop in a month or so. I will save up some cash for it, though I plan to by it on EMI off my credit card.