Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dilemma: Whether to buy or not to buy?

To begin, I have a personal computer - HP Compaq with Intel Pentium 4 processor 2.4 GHz, 1 GB (upgraded, initial was only 256 mb) DDR RAM and 240 GB Hard disk (80 GB proided initially and I added 160 GB more 3 years later). I bought it way back in 2003 and the poor fellow will be 9 years coming Jun'12. It has been a faithful friend to me for long providing efficient and committed service. Even the CPU got a bit damaged on my transit from Ahmedabad to Bangalore in Apr'08 - I had to replace the CPU cabinet with a more attractive i-ball cabinet case, replace the 160 GB HDD with another one. The old monitor gave up in 2009 and I had a chance to buy an attractive ViewSonic 16 inch monitor.

However, all these were due to mishandling on the transit guys part. But, the system performed wonderfully well. Till 3 months ago it was running good (although a bit slow when I compare now) with Windows XP (SP2) but when I upgraded to SP3 and then Windows 7 (my greed!), it crashed and I had to replace the default Windows OS with Ubuntu 11.04. With Linux OS, it is running faster than ever and giving me a fantastic performance. However, for last one year or so, I personally don't get much a chance to use it as my wife uses it to watch Bengali serials from StarTV channels and YouTube. Also, every month we download approximately 17-20 GB of Hindi, English and Bengali movies. So, almost 18 hours daily it is kept busy. There is no fan sound except at the start up and the machine runs wonderfully fast. But, it is not my primary workstation anymore.

In my visit to USA, Nov'09, I bought an Asus Eee PC 1101HAB. It has the following specifications:
  • RAM: 1 GB (DDR2, I guess),
  • Processor: 1.33-GHz Intel Atom Z520 processor (super performance mode over clocks the processor to 1.7 GHz),
  • HDD: 160 GB,
  • Webcam: 1.3 megapixel and microphone integrated,
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports,
  • Intel GMA 500 integrated graphics chip with 253MB of shared memory,
  • 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel resolution LED-backlit display,
  • Initially Windows XP, now on dual-boot with Lubuntu 11.04,
  • Specs: 11.3 x 7.6 inches,
  • No CD/DVD drives but I can attach an external one.
I bought it at $429 and it is convenient to carry everywhere. Also, it has amazing battery life, lasting for about 6-7 hours of continuous use on super performance mode and about 8 hours on high performance (1.33 GHz processor speed). I use it for mail checking, tethering with my blackberry (on Windows XP), or WiFi-hotspot (with my HTC Wildfire), blogging, Facebook updates. Linux has got wonderful applications for Facebook and twitter helping me mitigate all my virtual social responsibilities everyday without much pain. And it even runs SAS 9.0 without much fuss for all the statistical analysis I do. I keep track of the finances here with LibreOffice Calc or Excel 2007. But, the slower processor speed sometimes bugs me a bit, I won't deny it.

So far so good. But, these days I am a bit fascinated of buying a mean machine - a high performance "full" laptop with 4 GB DDR3 RAM, some 500 GB hard disk (I have a 1 TB of an external hard drive where I dump all the movies I download), over 15 inch screen. 

I know you would say that given my modest requirements, these two machines are meeting my needs. However, given my old desktop is almost 9 years old and I can't upgrade to Ubuntu 11.10 in these machines as the graphics are not supported by either. Ubuntu 11.10 won't allow me log in once the installation is complete and I restart; Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity 3D is simply too slow on my desktop. Better not say anything about Windows7 - it ruined my desktop once already. I had to re-install Ubuntu 11.04 to both after upgrade. 

Given these constraints I may not be able to upgrade my OS in future. Ubuntu 11.04 is really awesome with very few glitches and wonderful application repository with regular security updates. However, 3-4 years from now there may be another wonderful OS and application set that I may not be able to use given the machines' hardware limitations. I have options to upgrade my hardware (only in case of desktop, I am not sure I would be able to upgrade Eee PC) but buying new motherboard, graphics card, compatibility issues, etc. - I know it would take a tremendous toll on my busy life.

So, I have two options:
  1. I buy a lean, mean machine now (15.6"/4 GB DDR3 RAM/500 GB HDD/Updated graphics card/Intel i3/Linux) and be ready to try out the latest in the market. I'll have 1 desktop, 1 laptop and 1 net-book. For sure, the netbook would become redundant except during travel as it is very easy to carry.
  2. I wait for 3-4 years for my desktop and net-book to run down and then possibly buy an advanced and expensive machine. Already I have recovered whatever I have invested on my desktop (going to be 9 years buddy!) and by that time I would have used net-book to it's fullest potential.

I know the second option is the better but you can't ignore the greed of having an attractive, cool laptop. Let's see who wins! Anyway, even if I buy, I'll buy after Apr'12. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blog on Ubuntu shifted to a new address

Hi Fellow Linux-minded visitors (Sounds good, Linux-minded!), since I wanted to get back my personal blog again and my posts on Ubuntu attracting quite a lot of visitors, I have shifted my Ubuntu blog to a new address:

All my previous posts are there and my future posts on Ubuntu will be on my new blog site only! Happy surfing.

e-literate Bangalore: How to apply for ration card online?

To all those in Bangalore, you can apply for ration card via But be prepared with:

1. Your ward number (,
2. Google translate (from kannada to english & vice versa) - had a tough time choosing occupation :D,
3. Electricity bill
4. If you have an Indane or BP gas connection, a bill

Took about 40 min for me, as I can't read Kannada alphabets. Had to select my occupation 10 times, press forward (to see with my horror that either I am an agri. laborer or a potter) and then come back to reselect another option.

Big advantage - no need to go to Ration card office, just submit online and wait for verification (with proofs). Enjoy maadi!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Politicians fooling gullible Indians in the name Swiss Bank - the black money never went outside India

Where it is likely that the corrupt would stack in there money? Swiss Bank or India?

Last week in my hometown, Kolkata, while spending time with family and friends we were having a lot of interesting discussions on a variety of topics. Courtesy Anna Hazare, the obvious topic to pop up is Corruption in India. People were sharing their own thoughts on the dreaded issue and venting out their frustration. One common thought was that the corrupt in India are looting billions of tax-payers money and stacking in their Swiss bank account. Even the most educated have the same impression and expressed their hope that if GoI is able to bring that money back to India - there won't be any poor.

I found it equally bizarre and amusing! Why? Simple reason - if I had a few billions to invest, would I put it in Swiss Bank - never! I would rather invest it in India where the returns are significantly higher. Why on the earth would I allow my money to sit idle? Just take a look at the interest rates in different countries and banks - this is today's rate from 
Swiss Banks have 0% interest rates - yes, it's true. And in India, it is around 8% - I guess it is calculated taking fixed deposits as well in consideration. Anyway, today banks are giving 4% on Savings accounts.

Further, think of our market - it is not at all difficult to get around 12%-15% return even if you invest on mutual funds. If you are an expert player in Real estates and equities - you can reap returns around 25% without much pain.Since 1990 till date, Indian stock market has returned about 17% to investors on an average in terms of increase in share prices or capital appreciation annually.

Hence, my impression is that whatever black money the corrupt individuals are pocketing - are again being reinvested in our markets only - THE MONEY NEVER WENT OUT OF INDIA. Do you think it is difficult without coming under the scanner of Income Tax department? Even a person of medium intelligence can do it without much pain. Just split the money into several small parts (each less than 10 lacs - so that you don't come under IT scanner) and after several transactions from one bank account to another, even the God won't know whose money it is!

So, the obvious question is - Why people have the impression that the corrupt have stacked their money at Swiss Bank? Most obvious response would be to deceive common people. Those with vested interest in the black economy want to divert attention of the people - they know nothing is there in the Swiss banks. Even if GoI is able to persuade Swiss Govt to handover a list of Indian account holders - most of them would be legitimate account holders and not corrupt businessmen or politicians.

The way out? Need to work on that - it is not easy given India is such a big country and millions of people transacting everyday. It is practically impossible to track each and every transaction - so, we have to wait until that technology and infrastructure come. Definitely there are hopes the way technology is progressing every year. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I just updated my XP to windows 7 without really installing it!

Without much hassles, I just thought of changing the boring look and feel of both my laptop and desktop. A bit of Google search landed me to Seven Transformation @,I was pretty happy with what I saw there and the feedback of those who installed it.
So, a quick decision to install it and viola! A cool snapshot of my desktop is at the top for you. I really liked it! Apart from look and feel, it is also not heavy on the RAM. Definitely worth a try.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The day to get prepared

Google maps - the best buddy to get prepared when you want to venture into unknown territories.
Today I got the details of the office locations and tomorrow I will be traveling there to pick up the forms for ration card, uid and post office identity card. Wish me luck and I will document my experiences of dealings with government machinery.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A holiday at my home with my daughter

Down with back pain, I decided to stay at home and play with my daughter. Here is a glimpse of her playing with me. Enjoy!

Now my turn!

After long years of escaping government bureaucracy, now the onus is on me to save my suspended indane has connection. Fire that I have to get a ration card and an uid/aadhar card. Next week I am going to venture in those untested territories and will keep readers updated on how to get these cards for an outsider in bangalore. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blackberry dilemma

Last wk on 17th was my wife's birthday. After much search for a suitable gift, I ended up buying a blackberry for her. It's a blackberry curve! As expected, she was very happy.
But when the initial euphoria settled, mixed emotions gripped us. She is a housewife with no remote connection to corporate life or with no intention to be a business woman in future. Blackberry plan is useless for her given her current homemaker profile. Ordinary gprs don't allow blackberry to explore it's full potential. Youtube video quality on blackberry is as abysmal as it can be.
"Blackberry is no fun" her logical conclusion. Even the messengers our emails won't work. I kind of repented that I spent a fortune on that apparently coveted and the most admired smartphone. Any quality android phone would have been much better choice. But, anyway what I did can't be undone. Now how to make it work? What immediately followed is plenty of downloads of some useful and some useless third party applications- opera, gmail client, nimbuzz, facebook chat, etc. Next I bookmarked her favorite websites like orkut, facebook, etc.
Blackberry can't be compared with any good android smartphone like samsung, htc - they are far ahead in the race, but I somehow liked the trackpad. It feels like working on a laptop. Both opera and bb browsers are quite decent on gprs. What was kind of an embarrassing moment for me could be avoided as gprs started working fine on blackberry and my wife was happy again.
One last piece of advice. Unless you are a grumpy corporate honcho, never go for a blackberry. It is really no fun!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How wrong can I be?

Today morning only I wrote on how mundane news everyday we are getting. And by the end of the day things changed so radically! Blasts shook Mumbai - scores of innocent lives lost. For what?
First thing my mind tells me - of this kind cowardice, what objective(s) could be achieved by killing innocent people!
I really salute USA and Obama govt. for hunting down their nemesis no. 1 from the heartland of terrorism. I wish India could ever show such guts! Would it? I guess never. Till the day we have a strong government like USA, we will continue to suffer such fates, time and again. And our corrupt and incapable governments will keep on changing ministries, weed out a few notorious individuals to bring in people who will again become notorious with time ... and the legacy will continue.

Can we ever get a strong government?

Question is: Do we DESERVE a strong government? We are Indians, typically laid back with a "chalta hai" type attitude - possibly we deserve this kind of imbecile government only.

What do you say?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Random day: arbitrary thoughts

Its a random day today. Woke up, the front page news today is that suddenly our ever silent prime minister has realized that he is surrounded by incompetent folks and put his mind over matter. Some hope might be! For us it's status quo. Strangely anyone occupying the offices behave in a similar way. Another news, our ever unpredictable sensex has shed off 300 points. Expected?
Rest there are no news! What a mundane day to start with. hope there would be some excitement in office. Chao!

Newbie's experience of swype

I'm kind of challenged when it comes to typing in touch keypads. On physical keypad what takes 2 minutes to type, in touch it takes me ages! finally a good friend of mine refered to me of trace keypad, but I did not have it in my android. I came across swype website by chance and voila! It is amazingly fast and accurate! What a technology man!
I would request all android users to try beta version of swype. Technologically it is very similar to trace and is fun to type.

Thursday, July 07, 2011


Just got access to Google+, seems pretty cool. Need to use it further to give it heads up over Facebook

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Gorosthane Sabdhaan

For the die-hard Prodosh Meter, better known as Feluda, fans I upload here the full movie of Feluda's latest Gorosthane Sabdhaan. Story by Satyajit Ray and directed by Sandip Ray, this movie is worth watching.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Monday, January 17, 2011

News headline 2020: Proactive UPA Govt finally achieves control of pollution and population

To UPA: Keep increasing the petrol prices till they touch Rs. 200/lt. By that time, at least 50-60% of the private car owners will stop using their cars unless absolutely required. I see cycle and other non-polluting vehicle sales increasing in near future. Don't worry about Maruti, Hundai ... Hero and Atlas will fund your elections next time.

Another important aspect Congress govt. is achieving through increase in petrol and diesel prices is to shoot the inflation up. Food prices will increase so much that half of the population (BPL) will starve to death. So, no need to use contraceptives, etc. Automatically population will be under control.

And of course, in between, the people in the Govt. will do some more scams - remember, they do need some incentives to keep doing the good work. Otherwise, what will motivate them? Anyway, corruption is so common these days, it is uncommon and surprising not to be corrupt. People will start doubting if the Minister is not corrupt that why did they elect him at all if he can't increase his family's wealth and wealth of the nearest kins.

Thanks to the people who voted for Congress and electing them to the Center. Hope they again vote to elect them for next couple of times so that the mission is accomplished to control pollution and population. And forget scams! Without scams how the scores of news channels will survive - it is their bread and butter.