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 cheap personal loan uk 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$$$

WordPerfect Troubles

This is rather an old one, that has been around for a few years, but is one of my personal favourite jokes.

Tech: “Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?”
Customer: “Yes, well, I’m having trouble with WordPerfect.”
Tech: “What sort of trouble?”
Customer: “Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.”
Tech: “Went away?”
Customer: “They disappeared.”
Tech: “Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?”
Customer: “Nothing.”
Tech: “Nothing?”
Customer: “It’s blank; it won’t accept anything when I type.”
Tech: “Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?”
Customer: “How do I tell?”
Tech: “Can you see the “C” prompt on the screen?”
Customer: “What’s a sea-prompt?”
Tech: “Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?”
Customer: “There isn’t any cursor: I told you, it won’t accept anything I type.”
Tech: “Does your monitor have a power indicator?”
Customer: “What’s a monitor?”
Tech: “It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it’s on?”
Customer: “I don’t know.”
Tech: “Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?”
Customer: “…Yes, I think so.”
Tech: “Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s plugged into the wall.”
Customer: “…Yes, it is.”
Tech: “When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?”
Customer: “No.”
Tech: “Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.”
Customer: “…Okay, here it is.”
Tech: “Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer.”
Customer: “I can’t reach.”
Tech: “Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?”
Customer: “No.”
Tech: “Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?”
Customer: “Oh, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle-it’s because it’s dark.”
Tech: “Dark?”
Customer: “Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.”
Tech: “Well, turn on the office light then.”
Customer: “I can’t.”
Tech: “No? Why not?”
Customer: “Because there’s a power outage.”
Tech: “A power… a power outage? Aha! Okay, we’ve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?”
Customer: “Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.”
Tech: “Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got unsecured payday loan it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.”
Customer: “Really? Is it that bad?”
Tech: “Yes, I’m afraid it is.”
Customer: “Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?”
Tech: “Tell them you’re too stupid to own a computer.

Was It A Malware?

Had a close scare this evening. Around 6pm I was sitting at my laptop just chatting away and for no reason in particular I wanted to check on some old WordPress themes that I had installed. Now I have no intention of straying away from this particular theme unless I find another one with similar settings. I really like this one but was just checking on some old themes for fun. I tried the previews of a couple and then saw one called ‘Varg’ which I didn’t recognize as having installed it earlier. Instead of clicking on ‘preview theme’ I clicked on ‘activate’ by mistake and when I refreshed my blog, it showed just blank – some error! Oops, I went back to the admin page for Themes in WordPress and deleted that particular theme. That should have sorted things out.

But it didn’t. Some kind of malware I guess; Varg took all my WordPress theme, including the default ones that comes bundled with WordPress! WTF? I panicked a bit and logged off from my admin page and then logged back in. Still the same and I’m unable to access the blog. Oh boy! I used my FTP software and deleted whatever files were there in the themes section of my WordPress. Post that I transferred a couple of themes, including this current one that I have been using for 8 months now. And things were working once again. I contacted the technical help of my website server space provider and asked them to check and see if there was a Malware still remaining. A quick check later he reported that it was clean and to keep my passwords fresh and update all my software in the website.

Yes I shall do that. Then I went about re-activating all the widgets that you see on the sidebar since they got deactivated when the theme got cancelled. But I could get them back in a few minutes. Whew! Close one!

What’s Your Phone Alert Setting?

This post originated as a comment on a post in Toronto Mike’s blog post on the same topic.

Phone : currently rings the same for all callers – guitar solo from Deep Purple’s ‘Sometime I feel like screaming’

Email : both Gmail and Hotmail ids have different alerts so I know which is which.

SMS/MMS : has a bell like alert

Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and BBM alerts are unique dings so I know which is which.

I have my profile settings for sounds and alter with Vibrations+sound for only when my phone is in its holster.

What are your settings dear reader?

Lousy Customer Care Service by TATA Indicom

Late yesterday afternoon my internet connection was disrupted. Turns out that a goods lorry (a large truck to transport goods) had driven straight into one of the posts where my ISP’s cable is connected and the cable broke off as a result. Sadly this is not the first time that it has happened. We have such irresponsible truck drivers in India that they don’t bother about things like this – “our stuff has to reached on time, so we can be paid. Fuck everybody else” seems to be the drivers’ union motto!  I noticed that my connection was down at 5pm but I cannot complain to to my ISP TATA Indicom as THEIR CALL CENTER CUSTOMER CARE HELPLINE HAS NOT BEEN WORKING FOR THE PAST 5-6 DAYS!!!

Of all the fucking stupid things! Their service had been down on occasion during the last few days and each time I tried to call their customer care number but the call won’t get through. I have heard from others on Twitter that they are also facing the same problem for all the numbers that TATA has been down. Now, TATA has got the broadband service, a USB device called Photo and they are also a mobile service provider. I don’t know about their mobile service helpline but the other two has been down for 5 days by my account and 6 by some others. This is pathetic! To register a complaint I had to call my cousin and have him email them on my behalf. I also called a rather helpful payment collection executive of TATA Indicom who registered a complaint on my behalf and also conferenced me with their local technical staff and finally my problem was fixed, 24 hours later.

It seems that TATA Indicom have decided that customer concerns are not at all their concern. They are not providing a contact point over the phone and they haven’t still bothered to reply to the email my cousin sent. Shameless!

Hoping & Waiting For An Upgrade

I’ve been meaning to upgrade my phone for a very long time. I currently have my now old Blackberry Curve 8320, which is not only obsolete but after a couple of really bad falls on hard solid tiles, it’s also a little wonky.

The Curve will still accept & make calls, send & receive sms and and the normal stuff. The track ball is wonky and doesn’t work properly. I had long back cancel my Blackberry internet services, save BBM & chat services until a couple of months ago. Another issue is that phone will occasionally not read the SIM card, although the same SIM will work find without any issue but on the Curve it has an issue once or twice a week. The only thing I can do at that time is to remove then battery back, remove the battery and reinsert the SIM after removing it.

This is both annoying and can let you miss out on calls that could be important & vital for you. At the moment I can’t afford any of the Blackberry phones and I don’t want to settle for anything else. Hopefully soon I can upgrade and get a nice BB from the Bold series – 9700, 9780, 9900 or 9930 or even a Torch. Ideally I would get a load of cash and be able to get upgrade to a Bold and also get a tablet, the Blackberry Playbook. I want the 7inch version of the tablet. It would be easier to use on the go. I know some of you scoff at RIM, especially iPhone lovers, because of the recent problems that the company has suffered, but they will bounce back to being even better.  But first my situation should improve.

To Boldly Go Where No PC Has Gone Before

CASE  :    Custom-modded LanCool PC-K58
MOTHERBOARD   :  Asus P8Z68 Deluxe
CPU  :   Intel 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K
COOLER  :    Cooler Master Hyper 212-Plus
RAM   :  16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3/1333
GPU   :  EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked
SSD   :  240GB OCZ Vertex 3
ODD  :   LG WH12LS30
HDD  :   Two 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT
DRIVE DOCKS  :   Two Icy Dock MB 877SK-B
PSU   :  Corsair TX850
SOUNDCARD  :   Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty
OS  bad credit unsecure loan :   64-bit Windows 7 Profession

When Kids Should Get Cell Phones

Ok here’s my point of view – don’t give you kids a cell phone at all until they turn 18!

I’ll let that be digested for a while; which kid actually needs a cell phone? I never needed it, most of my friends didn’t need one and none of you readers who are my age or older needed one. Or had one! And most people around the age of 26 & above probably didn’t get a cell phone until they hit their 20s. And we didn’t really need them but hey it would have been great to chat up your girlfriend at that age right?

I see parents giving their kids an iphone or a smartphone these days and think that it’s not needed. I know it’s convenient for you to contact your kid and in some cases to keep a track of the boy/girl but that’s the only good thing that I can think off. And if you do, why give them a cool, classy phone with all the things that can keep them distracted for hours? Give them a small uncool phone that will allow incoming & outgoing calls and send SMSes. That’s it, that’s all a kid needs to do at that age and that’s all you should give them. Unless you do have a really smart & mature kid who will not misuse his/her phone. There’s way too much trouble they can get into with the phone rather than without.

If your kid is away from you most of the time, like they stay in a hostel and you stay in another city, state or country then I guess the cell phone is required but once again limit the kid’s usage on it to Texting & calling. Keep it to the bare minimum until they grow old. I was shocked at what school kids with camera phones & internet connections can do and are doing in many places. It’s good that some schools are restricting the usage in classes and that’s a wise decision. Once they hit 18 it’s all over anyways so no problem there.

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RIP Steve Jobs

Woke up this morning to the news that Steve Jobs has died. He has has a battle with cancer and underwent a liver transplant in 2009. The co-founder of Apple Inc, one of the world’s great entrepreneurs, was surrounded by his wife and immediate family when he died in Palo Alto, California. His ill health has always been a part of the man; he had taken a few leaves of absence to receive treatment and recover during his career.

Earlier this January too he had taken a medical leave. Jobs announced his resignation from his role as Apple’s CEO on August 24, 2011. In his resignation letter, Jobs wrote that he could “no longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO”.

A college dropout, Buddhist and son of adoptive parents, Jobs started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in 1976. The company soon introduced the Apple 1 computer. But it was the Apple II that became a huge success and gave Apple its position as a critical player in the then-nascent PC industry, culminating in a 1980 initial public offering that made Jobs a multimillionaire. Despite the subsequent success of the Macintosh computer, Jobs’ relationship with top management and the board soured. The company removed most of his powers and then in 1985 he was fired.

Apple’s fortunes waned after that. However, its purchase of NeXT — the computer company Jobs founded after leaving Apple — in 1997 brought him back into the fold. Later that year, he became interim CEO and in 2000, the company dropped “interim” from his title.  Well you known what comes next – Macbooks, MacAir, iPod, iTunes, iPhone & iPad and many others. The guy was a genius and a visionary. He was also CEO of Pixar until Disney purchased the company in 2006.

I never liked Apple products. I was always a Windows & I love BlackBerry when it comes to smartphones. When I can afford to upgrade from my current outdated BB, I will choose a newer BB model. My laptops will always be PC & Windows models. When I can afford t buy a tablet pc it will be BlackBerry. I wasn’t too impressed with iPhones or Macbooks. I’ve used both – a friend’s laptop briefly and for 2 months an iPhone kept in my custody for work. I admire the company and their success and their beautiful line of products but they were never for me. But mostly I liked the man behind them – Steve Jobs will be sorely missed by his legion of fans.

Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

USB Device Manufacturers Stole My Idea

I hope all of you know & have used a USB internet device (dongle as some people call them) on your desktop or laptop or netbook. I have one myself although I won’t be using it for much longer; I’m gonna be cancelling the service as I do not think I need one at the moment. But the reason that I am blogging about it today is that the companies who create & sell these devices should be paying me royalty because they stole the idea from me!

My imagination is quite active and I thought about about such a device way back in 1998! Well it wasn’t the USB device like it is now but still the main idea was still the same. I started going to an internet cafe once a week for a couple of hours in 1998 and missed using the net for the rest of the time. I had only seen laptops in tvs series myself. So I thought wouldn’t it be cool if there was a device which connect to the net and was portable enough to carry it around along with the laptop. Ofcourse I didn’t know the USB device shape and so I envisioned a mini-satellite dish, the size of a large coffee mug which you could connect to your laptop and it would connect to the internet for you. That was my dream and my imagination created it. And these companies stole my idea! They owe me billions of dollars for this.

I will sue!

New Wireless Internet Connection

I’m so addicted to the internet that if it weren’t for my close friends, former team members, some tv shows, football on tv, coffee shops & the occasional bar hop, I’d have no other private life other than the internet. And usually whatever else happens in my life is always shared on the internet. So not having internet access is an absolute no-no.

So as I am renting a place in Chalakudy, I needed to either transfer my current internet connection, a wireline broadband connection with Tata Indicom, or get a new one in Chalakudy. After a long futile search in their website and calling up their customer care center, I realized last week that Tata does not offer their wireline service in Chalakudy. No idea why but they just don’t. So I thought of the other options and decided that since I was just renting I would opt for the more convenient but not always optimal choice of purchasing a USB device/internet connection option. But which one?

Turns out that my choice would be made up for me. I called up Tata Photon, MTS mBlaze, Tata Docomo & Vodafone for their 3G/broadband USB device and broadband services. To me it seemed like MTS had the better & more attractive offers with their mBlaze device. I’ve heard only good things about Tata Docomo, Tata Photon & Reliance’s USB stick short term loans for students uk devices from friends and colleagues who have used them. Vodafone does not offer 3G services in Kerala and although their service is supposed to be good I wanted higher speeds. And Idea’s Netsetter speeds are not comparable.

However in Chalakudy only Reliance has the hi-speed option for the USB device. Which made it very easy to choose – it’s Reliance Netconnect. I took a Netconnect + connection with them and so far I like their services. I’ve not used it too long, a couple of hours on Friday night, an hour in Cafe Coffee Day on Saturday evening and right now as the power is down in the apartment, I’m using it as well.

Happy 1st Birthday Samantha

My first & current laptop, a Lenovo G550 aka Samantha, turned 1 year old yesterday. I remember wanting a laptop so badly but not being able to afford one for years. Finally, two things happened – my pay scale improved a lot and in May of last year, my 4 year old desktop pc died on me. So it was high time for a laptop. But I needed to wait 3 weeks to get one as I needed some cash to kick in before financing it.

During those 3 weeks I googled from the office for a notebook that would meet my specifications and fit my budget as well. I spent a lot of time with the tech guys I knew, including the ones at my then office. How much RAM, hard disk capacities, which processor and which brands to go for. Unanimously they all told me to stay away from Acer (till then that was the brand that I was going for) and we soon ruled out HP, Dell & Sony – too rich for my budget! That’s when I got a quote for the G550.

She’s a budget notebook, meaning build quality is durability rather than looks but the plastic seems cheap. The colour is a dull dark shale and there are no fancy trimmings either. But she works like a charm and has been great for what I need a notebook for. She is awesome.

Happy Birthday Samantha!

The ASUS Eee PC 1215B

In my search for a work purpose related netbook pc, I hit upon this very sweet looking machine. It’s the ASUS Eee PC 1215B; with a 12 inch monitor I’m not sure if you will bracket it in the notebook or netbook category but either way it seems awesome. This Eee was also recommended by someone I know online who just bought it. Any readers have an opinion on this baby? I’m not really an Asus fan.