Slinging Indian TV

December 3rd, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Watching foreign TV channels in the US can get quite expensive. For example, if you sign up for six Indian channels with DirectTV, your cost could be as high as $30 a month. This is over and above what you already pay for programming.

However you can workaround this limitation. It is not easy and requires a bit of investment of your time and money. Enter the Slingbox.

The Slingbox is a hardware device that allows you to placeshift your TV. So in theory given a Slingbox, all you will need to setup to enjoy Indian channels at home would be

  1. An always on high-speed internet connection in India
  2. A Slingbox
  3. A router
  4. A computer capable of playing these streams and displaying them on your TV

In theory this sounds quite nice and rosy, however there are several caveats.

  1. Slingmedia advertises the Slingbox to be NTSC only. They do sell a PAL version, but this is not available in the U.S
  2. The video connectors used in India tend to be quite different.
  3. Setting up the router to forward the port alone might not be sufficient. For instance, at my place the internet connection was supplied through a DSL modem with a firewall built in. There was little or no documentation about setting this up.

Anyway it is possible to overcome all of these problems. I will go into further detail in subsequent posts. If you cannot wait to hear how to set it up for yourself, feel free to contact me, and I will be glad to help

Dell finally gets it

July 10th, 2007 § 4 comments § permalink

It wasn’t very long ago when buying a computer from Dell meant buying yourself a computer filled with crapware. It would take not less than 2 hours to rid the computer of all the junk it came preinstalled with.

Not only Dell but all computer manufacturers including Sony, HP, Acer (these are the only ones I have bought / got new computers with) are guilty of this crime. In fact the situation was so bad that quite often I used to recommend a clean install of the OS as soon as I opened the box. Unfortunately unless you had your own personal copy of Windows, this was not possible, since these computers did not ship with an OS. Instead they shipped with a restore CD which in turn restored the computer to the same bloated state it was in to begin with.

But with Dell’s market share falling, the company is reinventing itself – and this time for the better. What prompts me to say this. Well lets see …

  • They are now selling computers with Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu Linux preinstalled. Yay!
  • They introduced a new line of computers called Vostro today. Why do I like this new product line?

    Dell today announced a new brand “Vostro”of notebooks and desktops built with a focus on professional design, quality and value, shipped with no trialware and customized to meet the unique needs of small businesses worldwide. To complete the small business solution, the company also introduced a new 19-inch widescreen display, color laser printer and mono multifunction laser printer.

    Yes, you read that right. No trialware by default. You do not have to ask for it to be removed. Another score.

So yes, I think Dell is finally getting it. The prices are pretty good too. I configured a Vostro laptop today and I think it is a pretty good configuration for the price(I am not going to buy it though. I am waiting for Leopard :))

Dell Vostro

Vista’s UAC – An exercise in frustation?

February 14th, 2007 § 3 comments § permalink

From Slashdot

I had probably the most frustrating ten minutes i have ever spent on a computer before.
Start, typed in regedit enter.
Vista:Are you sure you want to run this program?
Me: Yes. I went OUT of my way, hit start, run and typed in the pogram name I wanted. Thanks for checking though. (click) ….
Edit the registry, close it. That was easy. ….
double clicked on setup. Stupid shield on my icon, what does that mean?
Vista: are you sure you want to run this? it’s a program, you know.
Me: Oh that must be what the shield is for. Vista feels like it should protect me from software!
Vista: This is from AMD. Do you trust AMD?
Me: yes, they pay me. I trust them. (click) …..
Install……that was easy. ….
Oops, there’s a problem. Well, let’s grab the correct file from the build server and copy it over …
Open my computer, go to program files ….
Vista: Are you sure you want to go there?
Me:Yes (click) …
open up the application folder ….
drag a file from a network share to the application folder….
Vista: Are you sure you want to overwrite this file?
Me: Yes (click)
Vista:A program wants to write to the Program Files folder. Is this ok?
Me: Yes (click)
Vista:You are trying to copy from a network share to the program files folder. This isn’t allowed. Hit ok.
Me: (Pounds head) (click) ….
Drag to Desktop. ….
Drag from desktop to application folder. …
Are you sure you want to overwrite this file?
me: for the love of god yes
Vista:A program wants to write to the Program Files folder. Is this ok?
Me: Die.Die.Die.Die.

Troubleshooting Beagle on Ubuntu Edgy

February 14th, 2007 § 2 comments § permalink

If you are running Ubuntu Edgy Eft (6.10), and have installed the latest version of Beagle, you might notice that your computer is running quite hot. This is because of a bug in the version of beagle that is shipped with Edgy. To check if you are suffering from these symptoms, just open a terminal window on Ubuntu, and type the command top. If the process beagled-helper is taking anymore than 2% of your CPU, then you are a victim of this bug (This is of course assuming that you have had Beagle installed and running for a few days, since Beagle might run up to 100% when it indexes your hard drive for the first time).

The fix

1. Add the following line to the list of repositories.
deb ./

2. Using Synaptic (or the installation tool of your choice), upgrade Beagle to the latest version (1.2.16)

3. Kill the beagled-helper daemon. To do this, get the pid for the beagle-helper process using the following command
ps -ef | grep beagled-helper

The output of this should be something like this
1000 29157 25899 0 16:46 pts/0 00:00:00 grep beagled-helper

Now, run the following command (Note: replace 29157 with the appropriate number)
kill -9 29157

That’s it. Beagled will restart and now will stop killing your processor and you can start saving on your energy bills

Hope this helps someone.

Windows wireless manager annoyances

February 5th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

While Windows wireless manager thinks I am disconnected from the internet, Intel’s ProSet Wireless thinks I am still connected.

Free internet access at T-Mobile hotspots with Windows Vista

January 25th, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

It looks like Microsoft is opening all its coffers for the Vista release. T-Mobile and Microsoft have tied up and are providing three months of free internet access at any T-Mobile hotspot. The caveat here is that your laptop needs to run Windows Vista. I wonder how soon someone is going to hack this and get sweet sweet internet access on any OS

Want a free domain name?

April 25th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Are you on the lookout for a free domain name? If you are then head over to Office Live and sign up for the Live Basics Beta. This beta comes with a free domain name and easy-to-use design tools (at least that’s what Microsoft says). Anyway there are a couple of caveats:

  1. You will need to provide a valid credit card number. This is not charged, and Microsoft promises that the service will remain free. I provided a credit card number and cancelled the credit card soon after
  2. If you plan to customize the website to your liking, I don’t think you want to go this route. I do not think Microsoft allows you to point the domain to another location. So you are pretty much stuck with the tools they provide.
  3. Office Live is an IE only website (what else can we expect from Microsoft!)

All in all it looks like a good deal if you want a spare domain you can call home ;). I got

Haryanvi in a call center

April 25th, 2006 § 1 comment § permalink

Put a Haryanvi in a call center and this is what you get. Reminds me of good old Pilani 😉

Download file (mp3 audio 588 KB)
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How to actively prevent identity theft

April 24th, 2006 § 1 comment § permalink

Got this from one of my colleagues. Follow at your own discretion though


  1. A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.
  2. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
  3. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.”
  4. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check-processing channels will not have access to it.
  5. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary. However, if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
  6. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling either here or abroad. We have all heard horror stories about fraud that is committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.
  7. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys (and they all seem to do that now), do not turn the “keys” in. Take them with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates. Someone with a card reader, or employee of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem whatsoever.

Unfortunately, as an attorney, I have first hand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer and received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online. Here is some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

  1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. The key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). However, here is what is perhaps most important of all (I never even thought to do this.)
  3. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves’ purchases,none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet and contents being stolen:

  1. Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  2. Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
  3. TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  4. Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

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April 24th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

My friend Mauruthi sent me these Dilbert toons via email. Very funny.
Dilbert cartoon #1

Dilbert cartoon #2

Dilbert cartoon #3

Dilbert cartoon #4

Dilbert cartoon #5

Dilbert cartoon #6

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