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Showing posts from 2010

5 Commandments Of Buying Laptops

The last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic. First, I find out I can neither cook nor keep house. Why is that? Coz if I can’t make idly, that simplest of breakfast dishes, it means I can’t cook. At least not yet. Then came the dreaded ‘C’ day – 14th Dec 2010. I’m now a permanent employee of this great insurer LIC. Through it all, the cauldron of confusion & befuddlement that calls itself my workplace kept throwing up one emergency after another, which is pretty much par for the course.
So what’s a girl to do? Shop, of course! I tried the Holy Trinity of Retail Therapy – Shoes, Clothes & Bags. By the time I got to bags though, I realized I was thinking small. I needed to think big and geek. Enter my first New Year Resolution ever: Buy a new laptop And this one I intend to keep. There’s nothing I love more than shopping for gadgets, especially when they are for moi. But as I would soon find out, never was the path to Nirvana so crooked or bewildering. Here’s the result of my t…

Back To The Future

Where things are as they once were. Philosophy? Nah, I’m talking about backup & restore! A couple of weeks ago I wrote Newbie Guide to Windows Backups, listing the 3 apps most useful for the job. A lot of people backup their data onto CD/DVDs & it is the best option for one time backups of your media – like say your vintage music collection or pictures of the last 5 years of your life. But what about the files you use on a daily basis – like documents, software applications, notes et al? 

The best bet for that is to backup to an external hard drive. Now you could just connect your HDD to your laptop daily and manually copy *all* the files & folders over but not only is it tedious, you’re also more likely to put off doing it as much as possible. Wouldn’t it be easier to have an app do it for you? Not only take the backup but also keep the various versions in order? Such an app does exist and it’s called - appropriately enough – Genie Timeline.
For starters, it is free. It is …

The Giving Pledge

Bill Gates Convinces 40 Billionaires to Give Away Half Their FortunesQuite an attention grabber don’t you think? Even better it’s actually true. Bill Gates & Warren Buffet (both gave away their fortunes) have added 38 other billionaires to their project ‘The Giving Pledge’, including such names as Larry Ellison (Oracle), George Lucas (Film Director), Michael Bloomberg (New York Mayor) and many others. 
Interesting nugget – if every person on the Forbes 400 richest Americans list gave away just half their wealth, charities would be richer by 600 billion dollars! This got me thinking, how much money could the 400 richest Indian raise?
Zero. That’s the first answer that popped into my mind. I can already hear the outcry  how dare I attack the Indian philanthropic impulse? Question the generosity of my compatriots? I’ve had people practically jump down my throat to defend Indian billionaires. I’m not ignoring the huge wealth of time, money & energy devoted by millions of Indians who…

Newbie Guide To Windows Backups

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining. So its Thursday and your computer just exploded – no, its not your fault, this time – what do you do?
If this your reaction to “Do you backup?”, this is the guide for you. Some of you might have tried Googling how to backup and restore & gotten plenty confused in the process. The world of backup software is as vast and pothole ridden as the world of anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware software. What kind of backup do you need? Which software will you pick? Paid or free? are just some of the questions you will have to face. Fortunately for you, I’ve written this guide to help you through it all.
What kind of backup do you need? Basically there are 3 kinds of backups - System Images Backup & Restore Online & Offsite System images simply mean that the software takes a snapshot of your entire system (one or all partitions)…

Oops…I Did It Again!

No, I definitely don’t mean that song. It’s what two of my friends said to me when their Vista crashed (yet again I might add). So like the good tech support gal that I was, I sat down to fix it for them. Guess what I found?  That horror of horrors, that evil monstrosity that all PC makers foist on unsuspecting non-geek buyers – yes, I found just the 1 giant partition into which all system and  their most important data/media files were thrown into. What’s a geek to do? I did end up fixing their laptops but it got me thinking my help shouldn't stop with just fixing up their laptop. Et Viola! I hit upon the perfect solution – Blog it!

Newbie Guide to Windows Partitions
The Problem: Millions of users storing their precious documents, pictures, videos, music etc. in the most vulnerable place  on their systems – user/my documents/…
The Culprits: Windows OSes which insist that it is the best place for data (all the shortcuts point there) and PC makers who can’t be bothered to partition the…

A Safari On Windows

I have a confession to make. I am a geek, or to be more accurate, I’m a female geek. And as you can see from some of my posts earlier, I tend to experiment a lot with software. Still, I do have my favourites that I absolutely have to have on my rig like Firefox, Find and Run Robot, Evernote etc. These are the applications that I practically have long term relationships with. I had tried out most if not all the alternatives available out there before settling down. 
That however doesn’t mean developers stop making competitors in the hopes of enticing me to switch. Particularly in the case of browsers. Where once I had just 2 choices – IE or Firefox, now its a battle zone with new versions being released practically every month. 
The list continues to grow with IE 9, Firefox 4, Google Chrome 6, Opera 10, Safari…Although I’ve had brief flirtations with all of them at some point or the other, I kept going back to Firefox. 
A couple of days ago,RS suggested that I give Safari a try. Now I di…

Women, Wine And Song

Those of you who actually read my blog would have noticed a dramatic decrease in the frequency of my posting in the last few months. Heck let’s face it, I barely blogged at all. So what happened? I have 3 letters for you – LIC. Life's junk will suck the will right out you
Hold on Lord I can't do it with out you
Seems like a lot of grey in the world
Women Wine and Song, Women Wine and Song
Will make you all move along to a lovely beat…
Replace Life with LIC and you’re all set. Anyway now that life’s settled down – somewhat – I’ll be writing more often. Speaking of life, it’s been great living on my own. Finally, now that I’ve cut the cord, I get to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve my own place & I’m even learning how to cook! (yup Hellhas frozen over). A girl could get used to this stuff. The only downside? Now all my friends are long distance calls away. Oh well gotta take the good with the bad.
And there’s plenty of the bad, mostly to do with work. Working in this organiza…

How Much Space Does One AAO Need?

Once upon a time - like before you and your parents were even born – this was the question facing the LIC of India. You see, the powers that be were deciding something called the Staff Rules & Regulations, xxxx. Part of which was to decide how to allocate/price lease agreements.
*Cut scene* It’s evident that a great undertaking is in progress…Four & twenty men, gathered round a huge table, papers scattered everywhere…Their faces lined with stress, the atmosphere fairly crackles with the unspoken tension…The terrible question faces them all: Will the Staff Rules & Regulations be ready for the unveiling in just 2 days?
Note: The following dialogue has been translated from Hindi to English for our readers’ edification.
Fat Old Man 1: Now let’s concentrate people! We have got just two more days before we hand over this complicated set of rules to the employees. We need to draft them and we don’t have much time!
Fat Old Man 2: All right! Calm down. There is no need for panic. What …

Passwords, Passwords Everywhere…

And not a single one that I can remember. This was the problem facing me not that long ago. On one hand it’s not a safe practice to use the same password for every website you use. Obviously I wouldn’t want to use ‘password’ on a random forum as well as for my internet banking website! But on the other hand making up and remembering ultra secure passwords containing letters, numbers and symbols for every website out there that I use is also not quite my cup of tea. Here’s how long a hacker would take to crack your passwords wide open:
So what’s a geek to do? Find an app for that of course. After my usual extensive research, I finally narrowed down my field of candidates to two: Roboform which is paid software and Lastpass which is free. Both not only let you create unique and secure passwords, they also help you to store them all in one place so you don’t have to remember.
Apart from the price, the major difference between them lies in the way they handle your passwords. Roboform funct…

Stubborn Little Penguin

Ubuntu 10.04 a.k.a Lucid Lynx dropped right round April but I didn't get the time to test drive it till now. So the other day, I downloaded the.iso file (which took just over an hour by the way, a remarkable feat for my little photon+), installed it and thought I was ready to go. I even said a long heartfelt goodbye to my Windows 7 (my exact words were f*** off M$ but lets not quibble). I mean Windows 7 was nice and all but Linux is something special especially when it looks as good as the Lynx.
Let’s compare shall we? Here are the two side – by – side:

But alas this too was not to be. The last time I had to drop the penguin as it refused to work with my wi-fi connection, this time it wouldn’t detect my Tata Photon+. What is it with Linux and my internet? Without the ‘net my laptop is just a plastic box anyway. Unusable. So once again Windows wins. For now. You might have won the battle Microsoft but I’ll win the war yet!

Survival Guide To LIC (Part 2)

4 More Simple Rules to Survive in LIC – (…continued) SIDS – System Is Down Syndrome Say you want to check how your policy is doing. You go down to your branch and ask them. Couldn’t be simpler you think. Instead, hilarity ensues -

You: “I want to check my policy status.” (he looks like he wants to kill me) LIC: “Policy number?” (jus coz you’ve got nothing better to do…) You: “xxxxxxxxx” (he really wants to kill me, but this is his job) LIC: “System Is Down!” (serves him right! wants to know does he…) You: “Is there nothing you can do?” (please let there be) LIC: “No, System Is Down.” (don’t you get it? its code for GO AWAY) You: “I’ll get it if I come back tomorrow?” (please say yes) LIC: “Sure, why not?” Next day – Lather, Rinse, Repeat!!!
BIAR – Boss Is Always Right Familiar to all the people who have ever had a bad boss (seemingly most of us), LIC is chockfull of ‘I’m always right’ bosses and ‘Yes Boss’ suck ups. This is a mystery I would give my right arm to solve. Why is it that the ineffi…

Survival Guide To LIC (Part I)

Many of you must have wondered - so how do I survive in the cult? I won’t change and the cult cannot, so what happens when the irresistibleforce meets the immovable object? Well they adapt and they survive. So, if god forbid, any of you want to join LIC even after repeated !Do Not Enter! signs posted by yours truly, here’s the ultimate survival guide to LIC - applicable only if you are not already an LICian.
Caution: Read and apply at your own risk. I declaim all responsibility as to what will happen to you in spite of / thereof.
5 Simple Rules To Survive in LIC - CYA – Cover Your Ass This corporate acronym actually had its origins in LIC, where it is taken to new heights never before seen by the private realm. The ultimate pinnacle of achievement – do something wrong and let another take the fall and then you say “wonder why some people do things like this?”
10CoT – 10 Cups of Tea Official drink of LIC. Don’t drink teaor coffee? What! Surely you jest. How will you claim chai/kaapi reimbu…


The Long Version: What can I say? The 3 month theoretical training at ZTC, ostensibly to educate us new recruits about insurance in general and LIC in particular, turned out to be more like cult initiation rites. Cult??! Stop the presses…I was supposed to be joining a professional organization which has stood its ground against the onslaught of private players and managed to beat them at their own game too, not some weird cult. So which is it? You decide. What I found about LIC during my long and mentally exhausting (for being way too boring) training: The Guru aka LIC is always right. You are always wrong. Cult-speak. Group-think, suppression of dissent, and enforced conformity in thinking Irrationality. Suspension of disbelief. Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY. The cult and its members are special. Unquestionable dogma, sacred science and infallible ideology. Indoctrination of members. Dual Purposes, Hidden Agendas and Ulterior Motives. No Humor. You can't tell the truth. …