Is This My New Computer?

So I am in the market for a new computer and it being the festive season in India, I was checking up deals online on the few online stores that I visit. After consulting with a techie cousin of mine, based on my needs and usage, and seeing what was out there on offer, he suggested this particular laptop : it’s the Del Vostro 3558 Core i3.

Here are the specifications :

INTEL CORE I3 / 1.7GHz – 4005U / 15.6 inch LED Backlit Display with Truelife and HD

4GB DDR3L 1600Mhz / 1TB HDD SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) / dvdrw

HD (720p) capable webcam, microphone / Stereo speakers with Waves MaxxAudio® 4

Dell Wireless-N 1705 @ 2.4GHz + Bluetooth 4.0 / USB 3.0 (1), USB 2.0 (2), Security slot, Media Card (SD, SDHC, SDXC)

Intel® HD Graphics 4400

It comes with just DOS but I can easily find someone to install Win 7 for me (no I do not want an upgrade to Win 8 or Win 10 or whatever). I will be making up my mind this week.

Time For A New Laptop

It’s time for a new laptop. This current one, a Lenovo G550 that I have named Samantha, is over 5 years old and it’s having a bunch of issues. Mainly that it’s aging and it’s time for a change.

Now I don’t use the laptop for anything fancy so I will go for a budget option. I had looked at laptops a few months ago and I think I can get a decent one plus I can now get it on EMI. I think I can get it on a really good deal.

I don’t want the fastest or the fanciest looking one as, well, I don’t wanna buy it and then starve for the rest of the month. Hence the EMI option on my credit card. I only use a laptop for the internet, downloading stuff to watch, listening to music, making payments online and online shopping. I don’t need the latest processor for that. I will go for a less faster one and skimp on the glitzy look and save that extra cash.

Let’s see, maybe I can go for a new laptop by November 1st.

Extinct Technologies In My Lifetime

Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?

I think, because of the amount of time I spent with it and enjoyed it, my stereo system and my Walkman are the ones I miss the most. Don’t get me wrong; I prefer mp3 formats and players and also playing music on my laptop but from birth till just a few years ago, I would always spend hours listening to the stereo system and my multitude of Walkmans. The pleasure of making copies of your favourite songs on cassette tapes was something altogether. Also CDS! Gosh I remember when CDS was sa new things for me and loving the format.

Now everything is MP3 for me. I also do miss VHS and video players – but only for nostalgic reasons. I hated the tapes and the player getting fungus and the roll of film getting stuck inside of the player. Along with those I also miss the Atari player I had! Oh my lord, how much fun we had playing those for hours and hours. And yeah an older Sega mega player. Damn, we used to play football competitions on it.

What about the joy of Polaroids? Ofcourse it can’t compare to digital optoons now but I do remember the excitement of Polaroids during the early 80s when I was like 4-6 years old. My parents let me use it to take snaps of the family. What else do you miss from the years or decades gone by?

Prompt from The Daily Post at WordPress.com

The BlackBerry Q10 – Review After 13 Days Of Use

I’ve had my new phone, the BlackBerry Q10 for almost 2 weeks now and have finally gotten used to the touchscreen aspect (after about a week) since this is my first touch screen (it has a QWERTY keyboard as well) that I am using as my personal phone, I am loving it. So I thought I should just mention a few reasons as to why I like it so much.

Excellent keyboard, best I have ever used on a phone. I love the physical QWERTY keyboard on BlackBerry phones and this is my 3rd phone and the smoothest and easiest keyboard to type on. I also like the fact that they have added an HDMI port to connect to a tv or external monitor if you need to do so. Big plus! The 8 MP camera – superb – auto-focus camera with face detection and Time Shift and an LED flash! I am taking some good photos on it and uploading it here, on Facebook & Twitter as well as Flickr & 500px. There is also a front facing 2MP camera (for selfies and vlogs). You have full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps; 720p on the front-facing camera.

I just love the BlackBerry Hub is a unified inbox of all your communication and social networking accounts, which works amazingly well. It’s easy to keep track of your messages in each application that you use – email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp etc etc. This is truly amazing edition which knocks everyone out of the park. BBM on OS 10 and above comes with video chat and file, screen sharing abilities. Awesome! You get 16GB of storage on the device and a microSD card slot (I currently have a 4GB card in it) and you also have Dropbox and Box.NET integration. The phone came with the apps for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Youtube preinstalled among others. I have only downloaded the Whatsapp & CutePress (for WordPress) apps. Even though it’s not in stereo, the speakers sound amazing for a mobile device like this. I am rocking out on the music as we speak.

Those are my views on the phone after almost 13 days of usage. Internet is fast enough and easy to use. Next I shall focus on some of the apps that I use.

Time For A New Phone

Now that I am back to a regular paycheck (and getting the best pay I have ever had till now) it’s time to think of making some upgrade to my life. I need to get a new book shelf (coming up next month) and a new phone and finally a new laptop. Hehehe no I am not making that kind of money but yeah I could get the new phone & a new laptop in a couple of months. I think I will go for the phone first and wait until I get my credit card, which I applied for, before I get a laptop.

My Blackberry Bold 3 is a good 2.5 years old which is why I want to upgrade to a new phone. Problem is I don’t want to and can’t really afford to pay too much either. Unfortunately BlackBerry’s India prices are ridiculous (as are for some other phones as well but seriously dudes) and though I want the Passport (pictured on the right) I might go for the Q10 (which is there on the left). I found the best prices from reputed vendors on ebay India and will look out for even better prices both online as well as the shops here. But while ebay and some other online stores have regular discounts and offers the shops here usually don’t have any. And hardly ever for BlackBerry phones.

I will see about an EMI on the credit card and if I can get a low interest one I might get the passport but I don’t feel good about paying so much for a phone (Passport best offer is around Rs. 35,000-37,000 and for the Q10 is Rs. 14,000-15,000). I most probably will go for the Q10 because I do like it and the price is reasonable. We’ll see!

Winamp Shuts Down After 15 Years

After over 15 years of existence, music player Winamp is shutting down it’s doors and will cease to exist after December 20th, 2013. Winamp has always been the choice of playing mp3 and FLAC music files for me from 1998 onwards and the only choice for playing music since 2006 when I gave away my stereo system and began using my computer as my main source of listening & playing music. In 2007 I even had a separate blog category for a few months as I re-ripped all my old cds (after my old hard disk had died) and did the same to my new ones.

From it’s launch in the late 1990s, every music geek had a copy of Winamp and downloading mp3 files from the internet or ripping and creating your own from your collection of cds were the craze. AOL famously acquired the company in June 1999 for $80-$100 million—and Winamp almost immediately lost its innovative edge. When iTunes took over in many part of the world, countries like India which doesn’t have the iTunes monopoly continued to be Winamp territory. If you buy a new desktop, laptop and tab in India you can be sure than among the free little applications that they give you Winamp is sure to be there. When I bought this laptop that I am typing on back in 2010, they not installed Winamp but they also gave me a few folder worth of music – all of which I deleted since Tamil & Bollywood music isn’t what I listen to.

Winamp is very customizable and best of all they had tons & tons of skins, mostly created by users. I used to go crazy over them and download a few 100 (movies, tv series, sports teams, music bands etc) that I’d keep changing every few days. For the past 7 years I have only used 2 or 3 and this one pictured here – the Star Trek LCARS themed one – is the one that I usually use. If you can’t bear to leave the past behind, you have one more month to download the free Winamp media player, along with some skins and plugins, before it shuffles into the annals of history.

What You Need to Know About the Aruba Certified Mobility Professional Certification

Earning the Aruba Certified Mobility Professional (ACMP) Certification requires you to pass a 75 question proctored exam administered in a Pearson/VUE testing center. Each exam is composed entirely of multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.

In order to pass the ACMP exam, you will need to demonstrate your abilities in deploying and managing a large scale, multi-controller Aruba wireless LAN. The ACMP exam will ask you to demonstrate your understanding of product knowledge, including the features and functions included in the base ArubaOS and the limits of Remote AP scaling. You’ll also be asked to prove your understanding of firewall roles and policies. These questions on the ACMP exam will test your knowledge of policy design, roles, aliases, source NAT, and destination NAT.

Another significant section of the exam will test your knowledge of operations. During this section of the test, you will need to prove that you understand authentication, including pre-shared keys, open system, captive portal with credentials, and captive portal with guest logon. This section of the exam will also test your knowledge of configuration wizards, management, power over Ethernet, roaming, RF management, AP provisioning, centralized authentication and encryption, and controller configuration methods. You should also have understanding of general Aruba architecture and design and wireless intrusion detection with RFProtect.

The exam preparation services provided by ExamTrace can help you review these concepts. Additionally, Aruba recommends that you take the Implementing Aruba Wireless (IAW) course and the Scalable WLAN Design and Implementation (SWDI) course prior to taking the exam.

BlackBerry Abandones Sale Plans

The state of BlackBerry (formerly known as Research In Motion but changed their name to their flagship product earlier this year) is a sorry one and a particularly sad one for me. A few years ago, before smartphones became the in thing to have, I remember watching an episode of Oprah in which she gave out the then model of BlackBerry to all her audience members. Since then I researched the company and the phones and have always been a loyal supporter of theirs. I unfortunately was able to buy a phone from them only in 2010 (Jan 1st to be exact) and have since changed the Curve 8320 to my current phone, the Bold 9780 last year. BlackBerry has been left behind in the lurch by Apple iPhones and the various Android phones from say Samsung & LG and has struggled really badly for the past couple of years.

BlackBerry went through lots of changes internally. Thorston Heins, a former Siemens executive in Germany, became chief executive in January 2012 after James L Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, the longtime co-chairmen and co-chief executives, resigned in the face of a rapid decline in BlackBerry’s business and the failure of its PlayBook tablet computer. In January of this year a lot of us BlackBerry faithfuls eagerly awaited the launch of the BlackBerry OS 10 and the two new phones the Z10 and Q10 that looked amazing. Heavily promoted the new line of BlackBerry 10 handsets as the company’s salvation they proved, however, to be a commercial failure (with some exceptions in certain areas) and there has been solid talks of an outright sale or a takeover big by another mobile company.

Now the latest news is that Heins will leave after the collapse of a tentative takeover offer from BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, the company said on Monday. Instead of purchasing BlackBerry and taking it private, the largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, and an unnamed group of institutional investors will invest $1 billion through debentures that can be converted into common shares at a price of $10 a share. John S. Chen, the former chief executive of Sybase, will become BlackBerry’s executive chairman and acting chief executive. It remains to be seen as to what will happen to the brand. Almost everyone has written them off and many long time users have move on to get either an iPhone or Android device. I’m sticking with my Bold for the time being, cannot afford anything new at the moment and will wait for a few months to see what is going to happen. I like using the BlackBerry and would want to continue using them for years to come.

Changed My Laptop’s Hard Disk

I had my laptop’s hard disk replaced today. My 320GB was having tons of issues with bad sectors up the ying yang and Windows crashing every couple of days or so. Whenever I download files and it falls on some of the bad sectors, Windows crashes and I get to see the Blue screen of death – which always sends chills up my spine. It had been going on for a long time and I had hoped to get a new one soon. Cash being the problem. Anyway I couldn’t wait any longer.

After checking around for the best options and a trusted place to go and have it done at. A few calls to some friends and I settled on IT Net at Ravipuram. I went there this morning at 11:30 and gave them my laptop. They had a new 500GB drive installed in my laptop and installed Windows 7 plus MS Office and a few other essential software that they could provide. By 4pm I got a call saying that it was completed and I went back there to collect my pc.

Goodbye old 320GB drive. You served me so well for the past 3 years :_(

Do You Use MS Outlook?

How many of you use Microsoft Outlook for managing your emails outside of the office? What about for managing your personal emails like from gmail, yahoo & hotmail/msn?

I’ve been using Outlook or Outlook Express for office work from 2004 onwards with the brief exception being for my last job who didn’t have their own email setup. That would be the period between March 2011 till July 2012. But strictly only for my office emails. 2004 was the first time I ever used it and I loved the application. I’m now using MS Outlook at my current office and I’m thinking of integrating my gmail & hotmail accounts to Outlook and use it at home. If any of you do use it for your personal emails as well, do you find it better than the actual websites offering the mail facilities?

I find the software easy to use and like setting up alerts, various folders and the tools. It’s the perfect option for office & personal usage.

Website Server Space Locked For Another Year

My URL having been paid & locked up for one year in November, it was now time for the server space that I use to store the files of this blog. The payment due date being today, I was sent the invoice a few days ago.

Well I just made the payment via credit card for $44 USD which secures my web server space for the next 365 days. That comes to around Rs. 2330. Not bad for a year. I was thinking about paying for a couple of years in a row but I think I might want to change the package I have with them and expand a bit in a year. We’ll see, I have some plans for this website – the blog will stay the same but I might do a few more things along with it. And I will need more webspace for the same.

Anyway rest assured regular readers, the blog will go on as usual. You can expect me to blog on a daily basis for the next year atleast, provided I don’t die or something equally horrendous happens to me.

Tied To Technology

Everything I have and most I don’t have. I want it all and I want the latest and I want more improvements and I want the kind of stuff that is still being made and the kind of stuff that is still science fiction. All the coolest gadgets, make them good and make the available for all and make it free and easy to get. Screw money!

I love my flat screen tv (although I don’t watch it), I love my dvds, my dvd player, my laptop, my Blackberry, my stereo (I don’t use it anymore). I want a bigger & more fancy laptop, a tablet pc, BlackBerry 10 devices that are now only proposals but look really awesome. I want all the stuff that I see and hear about but don’t have. I want the stuff only shown on shows like Star Trek & Farscape too.

I want replicators, flying shuttlecrafts, transporters, phazers and light sabres. I want a hollowsuite – damn you, where are the hollowsuites already. The concept came up in Star Trek TNG back in 1987. 1987, people! I want beer to flow freely from the food & drink replicators. I want tiny robots that lights the way and engage forcefields to protect you from harm. I want hover bikes & cars that can travel anywhere easily. I want terraforming devices (more stable than the Genesis device ofcourse) that make it easy for us to colonize other planets and moons and live in comfort on those planets. Spread out humanity & our animals – more free room for everyone to enjoy. I want spaceships that take you from point A in space to point B in ease, comfort and luxury and it has to be like, warp speed (they are working on that at the moment). Where are the tricorders & highly medical devices that make diseases almost extinct and pain &  hurt poof into thin air? I want those!

I want all those things that I have seen on those tv shows & movies and stuff that I have made up in my head. And I want it now!

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A Brief Absence From The Net

I’ve been having issues with my laptop and finally decided to take the help of the tech team at our office and have them take a look at it. Basically my pc was slow in starting up – two nights ago it took it exactly 20 minutes to boot up – and I also noticed that two folders – one filled with the various wallpapers I use for my desktop and the other, sadly, was a large collection of images from the 5 live action Star Trek tv series & the 11 Star Trek movies as well as various Trek related images – had become corrupt. I could no longer open them and when I double click on these folders, I get an ‘I/O error’ popup message. In fact the latter issue had come up weeks ago but the slowness to the boot up just started a few days ago. But it hadn’t taken this long – 20 minutes is a terrible nightmare – and so I got scared.

I brought my laptop to the office and handed it over to the tech guys. On booting the system they thought that it must be either a virus or that there were some hard disk issues. I asked them to format the hard disk and re-install Win 7 for me from the disk I have. So they did and it looks like there isn’t any issue with the hard disk but it was a possible virus. The drive is now clean and other than Windows 7 files it is empty and waiting to be filled again (kind of like shaving your head bald and waiting for the individual hairs to grow back to full glory). I will take the laptop home this evening and starting installing all the softwares & application that I use. Before bringing the laptop to the office, I had backed up all my files and music and movies that I had on the hard disk. That 1TB drive I bought back in November turned out to be quite handy and critical. So no lost data except for those two folders.

Will be back online this evening I hope!

Update : It was a virus that was creating all the issues. Got my hard disk formatted and reinstalled Windows 7 on it. Works much better now.

Package From Flipkart Arrived – 1TB HDD

So I had ordered a little something online a few days ago, last Friday to be exact. I was running out of disk space on my 3 external hard drives – a 160 GB Western Digital I use only for storing mp3s anyway, a 320 Transcend I use for movies & tv series and a 1 TB with external power supply Western Digital I use for tv series. So I needed more space and hence for the few days before last Friday I was checking out the various online shopping sites for Indians – ebay, Myntra, HomeShop 18, Flipkart & for good offers on external HDDs. I missed out a really great offer that last only a week because of a delay in my salary on a 2TB WD at the same prices as that of a 1TB drive. Alas I was too late!

Anyways I selected a good price offer from Flipkart, a website that I knew was reliable based on several friends’ experiences and seemed like the lowest price at the time (it still is this week). And today:- a package has arrived!

From Flipkart. Apparently they use a courier service called AFL which has been bought out by FedEx and will soon change to that name. The customer care numbers of AFL do not work!

I love the package design. The box was a bit crumpled though.

Ohh that looks small! That’s tiny and gorgeous looking. This is actually the basic design; there are more fancier design casings for WD.

For a bit of size comparison, here’s my new 1 TB drive on the left side by side with my optical USB mouse!

My Cellphone Chronicles

Yes I do have a cellphone. I currently use a BlackBerry Bold 9780 as I have a hard on for BlackBerry. Here is my history of using cellphone and I’m gonna try and do this chronologically and as accurate as possible:

November 2002 : Almost bought a Nokia 3310 but changed my mind at the last moment as I didn’t have the money

July 2003 : bought my first cellphone, a Motorola T190. Very solid but not user friendly at all. Black and grey screen.

March 2004 : Bought a Samsung R220. Nice phone.

September 2004 : Sold the Samsung and bought a Nokia 1100 (the made for India phone)

October 2005 : Bought my first colour screen cellphone – a Sony Eriksson K500i. Colour display, camera, GPRS & MMS. Had solid sound playback but very limited storage space.

June 2006 : I wanted a flip phone so badly and got the Motorola Razor V3i. Loved it so much.

April 2007 : No idea why but I sold the Razor and got a Samsung SGH E250. It was an ok, slider phone but I have no idea why I sold the Motorola.

November 2008 : The Samsung SGH got damaged after I tripped and fell on the railway tracks and I got a Nokia 2600. I hated this phone but it was cheap and I didn’t want to spend much on a phone at the time. I also went through a ‘don’t care about phone stage for a while”. During this time I also used an iphone for 2 months that was in my possession at work. Wasn’t impressed.

Jan 2010 : Got my first BlackBerry, the Curve 8320 and I love it still. It’s a bit damaged but it still works and I have it in a drawer stored as a possible backup.

April 2012 : Bought my current phone, the Bold 9780. I had to return the first one they sent me, which was a white one, due to a software issue and then got the black one. Love it a lot!

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Tablet PC : Is It For Me?

I could be wrong but I have this feeling that a majority of folks are buying tablet pcs or tabs for status symbol reasons and not for practical reasons. And this is based solely on my observations of people in my hometown. What is the reason one would opt for a tab? And why would one go for a tab over a regular laptop? Is it worth the effort and price?

I’d think that if you have a desktop or notebook and you wanted a secondary option then yes you may look at a tab. It’s compact, it’s handy and it’s easy to slip into a cover and carry it. If you want to use it for an hour or two in a cafe or while traveling in a train or plane – perfect!

But would you choose it as your primary computing device? Not me! I hear some people saying “notebooks are passe and no longer something to be desired! Err….. Why and how come? I am in the market for a new laptop to replace my now over 2 year Lenovo. I’d go for a laptop now and later if I have some cash lying around I’d get a tab as well. I don’t have the cash to be like this one person I saw – walking around with a laptop, a netbook, a tab and an iphone! I ain’t that rich$$$