Sunday, March 18, 2007

My broadband connection speed test

Note that I have a 128kbps ADSL connection via Airtel. So, it's technically not broadband. However, I'm fairly happy with it's quality albeit I still think it's overpriced (@ Rs.699+taxes per month).

BTW, has anyone performed such speed tests for a 256kbps or 512kbps connection from Airtel or any other Indian service provider ? If not, can you please do so and let me know (by leaving a comment in here) ?

Tests via

This one in Miami is generally slow, almost always.

Monday, March 12, 2007

NAS - network attached storage - my latest fancy

For a description of my home network, visit the following posts Home Network and Home Network - 2.

Gist: 2 laptops, 2 desktops with a linksys WRT54GL (for wireless n/w and 4 port ethernet switch) and DLINK-502-T for ADSL connectivity.

The 160MHz machine desktop is likely to come back from the hardware vendor with some I/O chip replaced to rectify the problem with it (hopefully). Now, I'm wondering if it can serve as some kind of NAS - network attached storage.

Obviously, it's under-powered in terms of CPU and memory, but it may be worth giving it a shot. I honestly know that I'll get fed up of it in a few moments and throw the junk out given it's possible pathetic performance with just that hardware configuration.

At the moment, I don't have any other real "technical/scientific" use that I can put it to. The only thing that still bothers me is that such a desktop will need uninterrupted power supply for functioning without data loss during power outages. And, a UPS is certainly not on top my priority list at the moment.

Anyway ...

Oh, BTW, this is nothing when compared to what some "uber geeks" have ;-)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Reality check about India ?

While I really can't vouch for the sanctity of some of the statistics quoted in the article noted below, it does present a good overall picture about direction things are/could be headed in, for India.

And, I know that it paints both a picture of despair and opportunity - rightly so. It remains to be seen which of these two gains the upper hand in the long run. I sincerely hope that we are able to capitalize on the opportunity at hand, although it seems to be a really tough thing to do given all the reality on ground.

"Good, Must Read" for those interested in India, from BusinessWeek.

The Trouble With India

In the name of security ...

Some of the things that the US and UK (and probably others) are doing in the name of security have implications going far beyond those that anyone can imagine today. If things keep going at this rate, I wish the lives of those guys asking for such schemes in the name of security are screwed beyond their wildest imaginations.

Reminds me of movie theater plots regarding identity theft and crisis. Woe befall these morons who think security will be achieved just by collecting every possible part of the human DNA. Imagine the kind of abuse it can be put to if it falls under wrong hands. Why don't these guys just get it ?!!!

Well, this certainly has been one of the worst rant I ever posted on this blog ! Sorry to subject you to this !

Most recent irritant source of this nasty rant - Don't like ID cards? Hand over your passport

People will be required to give fingerprints, biometric details such as a facial scan and a wealth of personal details - including second homes, driving licence and insurance numbers.

All will be stored on a giant ID cards Register, which can be accessed by accredited Whitehall departments, banks and businesses.

AVI to MPEG4 conversion

Given the huge size of AVI files being produced by my digital camera even for 2-3 mins videos (ranging around 45+MB in size), I need to figure out if there are better compression algorithms out there. Looks like MPEG-4 may be a better choice, however my camera (Canon A510) doesn't record in that format.

While I still have to completely understand all the various formats and their pros/cons, I decided to check out conversion utilities available out there. Most of them are substantial $$, mediacoder is freeware and uses a good amount of conversion encoders freely available.

Now to the interesting part - I tried converting a 50MB AVI file to MPEG-4 format and the conversion period started increasing from 600hrs to 1200hrs to 2000+hrs on an intel mobile centrino 1.6GHz processor with 512MB RAM. I just gave up - understandably.

Either I'm missing something, the tool is wrong, estimation is screwed up, or it's just not worth doing it in software.

Anyone done this earlier and has better inputs/insight ?

YouTube uploads fail intermittently

I started using YouTube about two days ago for private video uploads and sharing. I discovered that uploads have been freezing in between ever since y'day. I don't know if this is a function of some inherent builtin limit on YouTube's end (for daily uploads from a single user) or this is some bandwidth constraint imposed by my service provider (Airtel) or something else totally unrelated.

I'm however still able to download relatively large files without issues (so download bandwidth may not necessarily have been breached yet, at my current levels of consumption).

Uploads to YouTube of files 50MB or lesser have been freezing anywhere between 20% to 70% completion.

Anyone else noticed this ? Any known issues / workarounds ?

At the moment, I've been unable to upload any video completely since last evening (Saturday, 10-Mar-2007). FWIW, I was able to upload 6 videos in all since I began the whole process.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Comment notification not working on Blogger

For whatsoever reason, comment notification hasn't been working for me for some time now. Very rarely do I go to "actually see" my site. I'm happy posting, monitoring via RSS feeds if things are coming out ok (haven't been doing this lately) and responding to comments if and when I receive them via the comment notification mechanism on blogger.

Recently, I observed that my blog has had a few comments up for a few recent posts and I never received any notification for those. Need to check out what has happened. Either that or my email system has been acting up - I know that the spam classification category has been "very severe" of late on my personal email server and there have been a few genuine email rejects by the system.

Anyway, if you haven't heard from me or seen me respond in a timely manner to any of your comments, now you know why - apart from my laziness to type something out ;-)

"Report Bug" in Gmail

I've recently noticed a "Report bug" (or was it "Submit bug") link in one gmail a/c of mine while I don't see this on another. Anyone knows if this too is being rolled out in the usual Gmail fashion of a few users at a time ?

I wonder what is it that they actually do to do this only in an incremental fashion for most of the features. Is it due to the way their basic system has been designed ? Or are they looking at manageability and/or other things before letting full junta get something new.