Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More spam on yahoo email

Of late, for the past couple of days (about a week or so), the amount of spam that is escaping yahoo's spam filters and landing in my yahoo inbox has increased. Although the daily numbers are typically in the lower single digits, it still makes me wonder what has gone / is going wrong and/or what has changed.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Technology for sharing bandwidth

From a pure technical perspective, is it possible to share unused bandwidth available across multiple independent ADSL connections ?

Like, if I were in an apartment complex and everyone (or almost) had an unlimited 128/256kbps download ADSL connection from their service provider of choice, would it be possible in some way to share the total bandwidth across all interested parties ?

Note that I'm not getting into the clauses the service provider has for connections, I'm just looking at technical feasibility. Maybe someway of hooking up via some wireless mesh whereby everyone was guaranteed their "assured" bandwidth, but still was able to leverage if someone's else was not being used ? It may probably "break" the assumptions of connection pool sharing being taken into consideration by SPs, but that's another matter. For example, they may assume not more than 10% of their connections will be active online at a given point of time and purchase their backend bandwidth accordingly.

Note that I'm also not getting into issues like what is the incentive for someone to get into such shared connections, etc.

Thoughts, ideas, known solutions, ... ?

Known problems/legal constraints ?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Online calendars - Scrybe ...

Back in Apr-2006, I'd posted my take on Google Vs Yahoo calendar.

FWIW, I still use Yahoo calendar for all my personal reminders. Infact, I've extended the usability by
* importing the events into my Nokia 6233 phone (albeit not as frequently updated as I wish it'd be),
* using yahoo calendar widget to view the events on my desktop (it's really cool and easy)

Anyway, coming back to why this post now, I recently read a Wired review on few online calendars - The Web's Best Calendars. I found Scrybe listed amongst them to have ultra-kewl capabilities. The demo video just makes you drool :) Enlisted myself for the beta, waiting in the queue now !

POP other accounts to Gmail

Back in Dec-2005, I'd written to Gmail support team with a request for enabling Gmail to access POP accounts with other email providers. Not only does it help consolidate my email accounts with Gmail (which may in itself be a good or bad thing depending on your POV), it will also help Gmail in providing more relevant ads for me.

The Gmail support team acknowledged that this was something they didn't then have and would pass it onto the appropriate team. Finally, today, I saw that Gmail announced this "feature" availability, beginning with their "usual" partial rollout process.

And, I'm one of those lucky few who has this feature enabled in the account already. Understandably, it's only a matter of time before everyone else gets it.

Wohoooo !!!!!!! Go Gmail !! Now, to figure out how much more of myself do I expose to Google :)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Home network - 2 (external HDD casing and others)

Further to my earlier post about the "Home Network", there's been very little progress.

The service vendor has told me that the other machine will require some I/O chip change that should cost about Rs.600. I'm double minds as to whether I should get it repaired or not, 'cos I don't have a HDD anyway (still need to salvage the HDDs that were diagnosed faulty). Getting a new one will cost me around 2K, but then it's a pretty slow machine. The only reason that'd make me get it repaired is to ensure that the vendor hasn't knocked off parts off the machine - not that there's anything really worthwhile in it ! (suspicious mind)

I got an external HDD casing from Supreme Computers (in Ritchie Street) over the weekend for Rs.600/- and plugged in my 200GB HDD into it. It's both convenient and cumbersome at the same time - convenient to move, cumbersome 'cos it needs external power. The casing heats up quite a lot - need to read up on whether it's indeed safe to do things this way. I'm yet to figure out how to get tiny holes onto the aluminum casing so that while they do work as an outlet for heat escape, they are not large enough to allow too much dust or insects inside.

And, I heard from Supreme Computer folks that it's not easy to get an external casing for converting internal DVD drives to external - their claim is that it's usually ridden with problems. Need to check that out. The DVD writer is currently on a machine with 633Mhz Celeron processor with 192MB RAM and 2GB HDD - certainly not the best location for efficient processing.

Next on list is research on actual external HDDs to understand their benefits (safety, reliability, ...).

It certainly is much more easier not to bother with computers at all :) :)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Back to the wonderful beast called Firefox

Call it a state of mind !

Back in Dec-2006, I'd written about my problems with Firefox. However, I just couldn't convince myself to stay with IE as my default browser for a long time (Internet Explorer Unsafe for 284 Days in 2006).

Have switched back to Firefox. Did a complete uninstall, wiped out install directories, nuked the profile directories. Reinstall has worked like a charm. No more 100% CPU utilization/freeze problems, albeit it will still be a nasty memory hog. This time, I'm making it a point not to go firefox extension crazy :)

I must admit that I didn't do proper debugging earlier. While I did do a complete uninstall, deleted installation directories, I didn't bother about the profile directory. Guess that's where the problem was (what/why it was, I don't know).

Glad to have a "normal life" now :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Time and distance

Date: Today, 8-Feb-2007
Travel Agenda: Drop Dad at Chennai Railway station and head to office

Start: Virugambakkam - 6.06am
Stop: Chennai Central - 6.26am
Distance: 15.2kms
Time: 20mins
Route: via Arcot Road, Kodambakkam Bridge, Mahalingapuram, Sterling Road, College Road, Pantheon Road, Egmore, Poonamalle High Road, Central

Start: Chennai Central - 6.27am
Stop: Vadapalani - 6.49am
Distance: 13kms
Time: 22mins
Route: via Poonamalle High Road, 100 feet Road, Saligramam, Arcot Road, Vadapalani

On an average, my 2km drive from home to office (and vice versa) takes anywhere between 10-20mins if it's during regular office hours !

Ain't it fun to be driving early in the morning ? :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) on DRM

Interesting thoughts on DRM, especially concerning request to open up Apple's iTunes DRM. Definitely worth a read, given all the anti-DRM ruckus in Europe and US !

Thoughts on Music - Steve Jobs

Around 2 billion songs have been sold via iTunes store, and 2 million iPods (last year). On a global average, hardly 3% of music on iPods is from iTunes store. Rest 97% is non-DRM music.

Global 4 big music companies - Universal/Sony BMG/EMI/Warner - sold more than 20 billion songs via CDs _WITH NO DRM_. They've insisted on the DRM for players like Apple and we'd happily remove it if they "see the light" :)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Emails can come back to haunt ...

much more than you can ever imagine. Or for that matter any written record !

The law also states that oral statements or commitments are also equally liable in some other contexts, but let's leave that at the moment.

Look at Comes et al. Vs Microsoft case where communication from as far as 1991 (or probably even earlier, I didn't look into too many exhibits) is coming back to haunt MS.

This doesn't imply that one has to be "extra-smart" while dealing with stuff bordering on what may be considered extreme positions in the distant future. Instead, just try and be good - "do no evil" !

Easier said than done ! :)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Recommendations required for download managers

Any good recommendations for download managers that can dynamically change the speed for one amongst multiple downloads ?

Say I have 3 downloads, each going at 5.6, 4.3 and 3.2 kBps respectively (maybe from same or different servers). Now, I'd like to raise the speed of the 3.2KBps to say 5.0KBps, but don't mind the other downloads dropping to a lesser speed.

Is that possible ? Have you seen/used it ?

Any recommendations ?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Eat-out recommendations for Chennai ...

Some of my friends from abroad (Indian origin) landed recently in Chennai and asked me for eat-out recommendations. I promptly turned to my most "reliable" source - the office mailing list. Here's the list that I compiled out of the responses.

Personally, my favorite (for quality and standardization purposes) has been the Hotel Saravana Bhavan chain. It's just that they are getting very very costly by normal standards.

I've also liked Cascade on Khader Nawaz Khan Road. Good food. One thing to watch out is that the normal quantity of most items is enough to serve 3-4 people !

Ok, here goes the list ... (I wish this was on a Wiki so management would be easy)

Category based on Indian IT per capita standards :)

Very Expensive / First Class:
* MainLand China - Sterling Road, Nungambakkam (chinese food)
* Benjarong - close to Adyar Park Sheraton, TTK Road (malaysian food)
* Cornucopia - Opp to Dhaba Express near Nandanam signal (meditteranean & gourmet salads)
* Citrus - Hotel Savera (signature restraunt)
* The Crown at Residency Towers
* GRT Grand Days
* Residency
* Annalakshmi - Mount Road
* Southern Spice - Taj Coromandel
* The Park
* Le Meridien
* Radha Park Inn (100 ft road)
* Chola/Park Sheraton

Expensive / Business:
* Cascade - Nungambakkam, Khader Nawaz Khan Road (chinese food)
* Bellaciao - Italian cuisine
* Green Park
* Don Pepe - Cathedral Road (mexican food)
* Copper Chimney - Cathedral Road
* China Town - Cathedral Road
* Subway, Pizza Hut, ... chain - Spencer Plaza & elsewhere
* Hotel Saravan Bhavan chain

Moderate / Economy:
* Eden - Besant Nagar (for vegetarians)
* Little Italy - Nungambakkam, opp Pizza Hut
* Eatalica : RA puram & Sterling Road (good burgers & sandwiches)
* Sanjeevanam - Hygenic stuff from Cholayils - Sterling road, Adyar, Mogappair (veg & bland food)
* Kumarakom - Kerala food
* Matsya - Egmore (Mangalorean food)
* Coconut Lagoon - Kerala again, but you also get beer served here. Do not go to this place if you cant take spicy hot (as in absolutely HOT) food.
* Kabul - Afghani place
* Murugan Idly Shop - North Usman Road
* New Yorker - opposite to The Park (near Gemini Flyover)
* Rangis - close to New Yorker (Chinese)
* Dhaba express / Sachin Ka Dhaba - Anna Nagar, Adyar, Nungambakkam, Kodambakkam, near Nandanam signal
* Frankies at Greams Road near Fruit Shop
* Gangotri - opp Stella Mary's college, Cathedral Road (excellent chats)
* Sangeetha Chain
* Vasantha Bhavan Chain
* Venkateswara boli stall - West Mambalam
* Ratna Cafe - T.Nagar
* Woodlands in Narada gana sabha (good in evening time)
* Drive-in woodlands - Cathedral Road (not for food, but for a normal hangout over a cuppa coffee/tea, couple abundant car parking space in heart of city)

Discount tickets: :)
* Vaishno Dhaba - Sowcarpet
* Gujrati Bhavan - near Bank of Maharastra, opp High Court
* Bombay Mess - Sowcarpet
* Karpagambal mess in Mylapore - opp Bharathiya Vidya Bhawan
* Rajasthani Dhaba - near Blue Star, Anna Nagar

* Mocha - Nungamabakkam
* Barista chain
* Cafe Coffe Day chain

* Move and pick - Nungambakkam
* Fresco - Nungambakkam

Others (haven't been able to classify these) :
* Heaven n earth - Mount road (Chinese food)
* Hotel Ganges (next to Hotel Park)
* Malabar - on ECR (east coast road)
* Amethyst - near Gemini flyover (coffeeshop, not the kind you'd goto with your parents)
* Sweet Chariot - ispahani centre (near Gemini flyover)

For other recommendations:
* Chennai Food Guide (orkut community)-
* Check out Good Food Line in the supplement of 'The Hindu' - every
week some articles appear on food -- recipes, suppliers, eateries etc.