Category Archives: Technology

The burden of career decisions at 18

How did you get into the profession you are in today? What made you choose this as your lifetime profession? How do you feel about what you do for a living?
Sometimes people ask you such questions and sometimes you wonder… 

I’ve always lived my Life more on instincts than anything else. When I was out of my 12th grade, I chose Engineering inspite of all odds, which includes not having sufficient marks and my family’s opinion being against it. And this, not because I knew where Engineering would lead me to, but because of my fascination towards technology alone. But, it was a mistake and a proof that instincts aren’t always right.

Next major decision taking time came when I somehow managed to become an Engineer. Thankfully, because of my poor grades, I was not even considered for college placements. Thankfully… because hence the decision was all mine. What next? This is when I did it right.

The blend of instincts and facts worked well for me.

Here’s what I did:
1. Took some time off. (A month or so)
2. In the process, figured out where my interest actually lies. What do I actually like doing when I am idle.
3. Figured out the respective career options to my interests.
4. Figured out what’s needed to do next to get to those career options.
5. Cannot afford to reschedule my Life, hence came up with practical list of career options I can select, the options that are yet possible to achieve.
6. Set small time goals and proceed.
7. Rely on instincts and facts to know if you are heading in the right direction or do you need to reconsider the path chosen.

P.S.: I would’ve chosen BSc. Computer Science over Engineering if I did follow the same steps as mentioned above earlier. I know for sure that it would have been a better option then, but at the same time it’s never too late to make up for the past mistakes. There is always a way out. Hence, let there not be too much nervousness and take your decisions with confidence and optimism.

Apple, after iPhone 5

The much anticipated, the much hyped iPhone 5 is here, and it indeed is better than the iPhone 4S. But, did it meet the expectations? Is it good enough for Apple itself to improve on it’s market share? Is it good enough to beat the increasingly popular Android and not to forget the OS that’s coming back to life from the dead with an all new approach, Windows?

This post is on the basis of an assumption that the new iPhone 5 turns out to be exactly as explained, even the ear buds are awesome, no unexpected flaws like the one we found in iPhone 4, remember? Just if there is a flaw, especially something major, it could be really bad news for Apple. This is the last thing Apple would want now.

The new iPhone 5 comes as an upgrade from the iPhone 4S, with a larger display, a faster processor, a thinner and lighter build, an upgraded OS, LTE support & the new earbuds. As far as the lightening connector is concerned, not sure if it’s an upgrade, it’s more of a replacement of the earlier connector. Everything mentioned above, except for the LTE support, the new earbuds and the new connector was an inevitable upgrade. LTE support and the new earbuds were actually long pending upgrades. They were amongst the list of expectations since quite some time, just like NFC Support yet is.

Let’s come to what we expected and is missing in iPhone 5. Well, a further larger display may be 4.5 inches or so, NFC Support definitely, micro-USB support, a 12MP Camera upgrade, and more openness, more rights given to the user over the handset, and not to forget the wireless charging that Nokia’s come up with in it’s new Lumia 920. Looking at the expected and missing features, the list is big enough.

Considering it’s opponents, HTC, Samsung, Sony for Android OS and Nokia, Samsung, for Windows Phone 8, all of them have a flagship model that is a better and a cheaper handset, atleast specification wise than the iPhone 5. With the iPhone 5, Apple no more seems like a company that’s willing to try something new, revolutionize the market. The expectation for iPhone 5  was a handset that could beat the lot, make people using Android and Windows Phone come to Apple, take away their market share. That’s really not going to happen. It has nothing new to offer to the Android User Base. Windows is for those willing to try something new and different. Apple iPhone 5 is for only Apple loyalists. It doesn’t seem likely to appeal to others. As far as market share is concerned it would only lead to the downfall of Apple, and the rise of Android and Windows Phones.

My Day At Tackling An Issue On My PC . . .

A couple of months back, I had opened up my CPU for a regular clean-up. Yes, I do that once a month or two, due to the humidity in Mumbai there is a lot of dust that gets accumulated. And earlier I have actually had my Motherboard/RAM corrupted due to dust. CPU fan and Power Supply too have been affected due to the same issue. One of my engineers did tell me about this problem and since then I have tried hard to clean up regularly and since then, I have had lesser issues. Infact, since the past 2 years, I have never had to format my PC, never had a component corrupted.

Anyways, back to the story, after my last clean-up, I had noticed that my PC was working a little slower than usual. I never spent much time to really determine why exactly was that happening for almost two months now. In the recent times it was pretty much notable. Today, I thought, that I need to get to the root cause of this and fix it, it is definitely slower. So, first thing, I just un-installed many apps that were as good as waste on my PC, don’t use them anymore. Still nothing changed. Next, started to look into Task Manager Processes to check if any application is eating away extra memory. Could not find any application really doing much of an issue. But, after a close watch, it suddenly struck me that the total memory(RAM) that my PC is showing is 2GB, while I have two 2GB RAM’s inserted. Went into details, and it said 2GB RAM is reserved for hardware, while the other 2GB is the one that I am using for daily processes. I had never come across this kind of an issue earlier. But, I was certain that here was the problem and I need to do some research on this.

Next thing that I did was Google it out, searched across many forums, including Microsoft forums too. There were many who had faced a similar issue, but most of them were due to some settings of Memory Optimization under Win7 and BIOS settings. Most of them had their problem solved by tweaking these settings. On my PC, these settings were just fine. One guy said he had to format his HDD, create new partitions and then re-install Win7, and then the issue was solved for him. Now, this was not an option for me. I have a 1TB HDD and cannot afford to clear all the data. I don’t even have an External HDD to backup all the data. In the meantime, while I was searching for solutions, I came to know that my BIOS needs an update, there are some drivers that need some update. BIOS update was something that I went ahead with as I thought it may just solve my problem. Again the EXE for BIOS update was meant for 32 bit PC and not 64 bit one’s. So, had to find some other way to flash the update too, for which Gigabyte had a tool and I could do it manually via the tool. Update happened, and it didn’t solve my issue yet, instead ended up with another issue. At the first restart of BIOS update, it asked me to switch my HDD Access Mode to AHCI, which was currently set to IDE. I had heard somewhere that AHCI is the better, faster one, so I just said “YES” and moved ahead. But then my Windows crashed, it never started. Again, went back into BIOS settings, changed it to IDE and things turned well.

So, Google for the solution of the problem continued. Later came across a solution which explained that there are two channel slots  for RAM in the latest motherboards, and similarly you have two types of RAM’s for that. So, for channel 1 only a channel 1 RAM will be compatible, and if you insert the channel 1 RAM into channel 2 slot, Windows will detect the RAM but will not use it and consider it as a hardware reserved RAM. I changed the slot of one of the RAM’s and my issue was solved. Finally! My PC was running smoothly again.

But now, AHCI thing was yet there in my mind. If I have the option to better my performance, I should. Why should I use the IDE option? Again, googled about this issue, and this was an easy catch. A minor tweak in Registry Editor followed by BIOS settings update, a couple of restarts and it was done. This update should help in the increase of read/write speeds, but I haven’t really tried that out, if it’s a major boost. Again, to end it, I updated almost all my pre-installed drivers and I could sense my PC had that little boost especially with the Intel H T Driver.

There are two main reasons for this post. 

1. Check if you may be having this similar issue on your PC, if yes, the solution is mentioned above, if you yet. don’t get it, you can always mail me. This post may just help you recognize it too.

2. All of this took away half of my Sunday, but at the end, it’s worth it. Maintaining your PC, installing updates regularly, checking if things are working fine, clearing unused/stale data from time to time is very important, no matter what OS are you using. If there is an issue, spend some dedicated time on it via internet and forums and you will come to a conclusion. Lastly, if you get the solution, share it, it may just help others get to it faster. Similarly, in your life if you ever come across an issue, get to the root of it, spend some quality time in tacking the issue, and later share the solution.

Steve Jobs

Very frankly, I don’t know what am I proving by writing this post, neither do I know what am I going to write down below…All I know is that the news that Steve Jobs is no more has hurt me somewhere deep inside, I wanted to write something about him, related to him, my thoughts.

WordPress asks me to select the category in which this post belongs to, I ended up selecting Technology AND Personal. How often would this happen, the two together? Probably won’t happen again for me. He’s built products that’s touched the lives of many, he’s led the world of innovation, world of technology, set an example as an entrepreneur to the world, and more than anything lived a life full of struggle carving is way up the ladder in an artistic way.  My final goal of life is to make this world a better place to live, and since I am good at technology, mine changes to making optimum use of technology to make life easier. This guy, Steve Jobs, is my Idol… Reason being he also has the same goal and has achieved a lot with dignity, pride and a hell lot of courage. He’s been through the toughest of hurdles in his life and yet dealt with it in such a wonderful manner. He’s set an example for all of us to deal with obstacles, which are a part and parcel of life for each one of us.

You name the problem and he has given a generalized  solution of each one of it. His ideologies of life is what will remain forever in the heart and soul of each one of us. If you follow technology closely, you will know what he meant for the world of technology. Without the innovations that he’s done we wouldn’t have the technology we are using today as refined as it is. The latest example being, if it were not for Iphone we would never be even close to an Android. This is the power that man had. What we have lost is not just an innovator, not just a successful man, but a true human being. What Apple has lost is also not just a CEO, but a true leader. Enough said, I could go on and on on writing about his greatness.

Here’s what a few other well known people had to say on his sad demise :

Bill Gates : For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.

US President Barack Obama : Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world. The world has lost a visionary.

Mark Zuckerberg : Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.

Eric Schmidt : Steve was so charismatically brilliant that he inspired people to do the impossible, and he will be remembered as the greatest computer innovator in history.

Dick Costolo : Once in a rare while, somebody comes along who doesnt just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement.

Also, those of you who have never heard the speech Steve Jobs gave at the graduation Ceremony at Stanfoord University, here it is. The most inspiring speech ever, speaks his heart out, talks about his struggles throughout the life and how he tacked them. Learn from it. This is where the inspiration comes from.

List of “Must Have” Android Apps! (Part 3)

The header “Must Have” Apps should be changed to “Awesome Apps” or something like that. But hey, if they are awesome, they are “Must Have” Apps.  So after quite sometime I have a few more Apps to add to the “Must Have” list.

  • Go Launcher EX

Most Android users are aware that there is no better home screen/launcher app better than HTC Sense. Me being a HTC Desire S user, recommend you to try this Launcher. It is simple to use, Very light weight and feature rich. It has some pre-loaded transition effects (3D) for every action that you do, and yes, in-spite of all these effects it manages to use your battery power to the minimal. Loads of customization’s possible, loads of themes available and most of them for Free. It supports widgets for every app I have come across, only some in-built HTC Sense widgets didn’t work.

Download Here –> Go Launcher EX

     

  • PlayerPro Music Player

I would say there is a thin line between the two Music Players, the one mentioned earlier, “PowerAmp” and this one “PlayerPro”. PowerAmp comes with inbuilt Equalizer, while here we have to add a free DSP Plug-in to it. But I somehow feel its a little more powerful than the in-built one of PowerAmp. Also, PlayerPro does a better job when it comes to searching for Album Art and lyrics of a song. The Lock Screen widget of the player is also a little better as it supports Swipe input to change tracks. Try the 7-Day Trial and then buy it.

Download Here –> PlayerPro Music Player Trial

     

  • Astrid Task/Todo List

I have done a lot of trials on many  Todo Apps, some paid one’s too. But this is the best one so far. It is simple, light weight and effective. inspite of being so simple, it yet looks elegant. Feature wise, it has almost everything you want. syncs with Astrid.com, Producteev.com, and Gtasks too. The way this App gives reminders is something very different and what I love. It makes completing your tasks, even creating them fun. Reminders are given by asking you “Are You Free? You have so and so task lined up for you”. It brings a smile on your face. Supports repetitive tasks, creating Lists with just a few clicks. It supports plug-ins to enhance a few features. All of it is Free, except for some plug-ins.

Download Here –> Astrid Task/Todo List

     

  • Camera ZOOM FX

This is a Camera replacement and a photo enhancer all in one. It is a Must Have in-spite of it being a paid one because it’s worth every penny. Gives you the ability to add some photo effects to your picture while clicking itself. Let’s you have control over your Autofocus(if your phone has the ability to). Add’s features like Time Lapse(similar to self timer), Stable Shot(which clicks only when it can get a stable shot), Night Mode, Burst Mode, control over your Flash. Voice based shoot is one feature I loved. Say Click or shoot to click a picture. Nice. Isn’t it? You can add more hundreds of frames and effects to your full size pics, i.e. in full camera resolution. All of these composites, props, frames can be downloaded as plug-ins for Free. It is a Camera Replacement and a Must Have.

Download Here –> Camera ZOOM FX

     

  • AppBrain App Market

I would recommend this app only for the recommendation this app gives. It syncs with your phone, saves your list of installed apps and based on your present list, recommends you to new apps to download. Works well and I have found some decent apps from with the help of AppBrain. you can manage your apps from this one app itself, i.e. send them to SD Card, Uninstalling them, Update them all at once. You can also browse through various apps (some that are not available on Google Android Market) with well managed categories. It’s Free.

Download Here –>  AppBrain App Market

     

  • Doodle Grub – Twisted Snake

This is a game. And if you loved the age old Snake that started with Nokia’s, you are bound to fall in love with this game. You control the snake using the accelerometer of your phone, eat up the apples and grow, let your head be away from those horny creatures and use them to cut your tail. Make high scores and share them on Twitter/Facebook. Try and climb up the leaderboard. Ok. Enough said. Try this game and see for yourself.

Download Here –> Doodle Grub – Twisted Snake

Need For A ‘Life’ Organizer

This is going to be a short post. The reason for this post being, the fact that most of us don’t follow a To-Do list in our day-to-day life. You may argue that we always have it in our mind, but we are bound to forget things. How often does this happen that we regret doing some task, something as small as wishing someone on their anniversary? Or remembering to buy a pen just before heading towards your classes or a meeting at work? How often? If you give it a thought, it happens at-least once a day, that we tend to miss something silly, and at-least once a week that we tend to miss something important.

Now, I won’t say that you will not miss even a single task by using a To-Do list. After all it’s a list that we maintain manually, we are bound to forget to add an entry of the said task to the list. We are bound to not check the to-do list and hence miss the task scheduled for a particular time. But it will surely help you reduce the number of missed tasks. And with time the efficiency is going to get better, as you get used to using it on a daily basis.

With smart-phones, laptops, mobile web, internet access anywhere we go, it’s very easy to Sync your tasks and let them be with you wherever you go.  There are many To-Do List services that offers Sync across all the possible sections. If you a Lazy person and thinking “Who would take the pain to write down the task somewhere and then keep a note of it?” , there are services that don’t let you feel so, especially once you start seeing the fruits of this service.

The real use of a To-Do List is here, when you look at some aspects that To-Do Lists don’t mostly mention in their features List. It’s Self Improvement. It’s Self Motivation.

When you see the list in front of you, check mark all the tasks you do as and when you finish, you do get the feel good factor.  That feel good factor motivates you to complete your next task faster, as soon as possible. Eventually helping you be more focused on organizing, and then completing your tasks. hence, don’t just look at it as a List of all tasks, it’s a List that will help you organize your Life.

I will come up with a small review on the To-Do list that I use. Also if possible a comparison of a few other services too.

List of “Must Have” Android Apps! (Part 2)

The list continues… here in my Part 2 of “Must Have” Android Apps. Won’t really write too much and move straight to the list. Here we go :

  • Simi Clock Widget

HTC Sense is known for its awesome Weather Widgets, and not with the new line up of HTC phones, they even have awesome clocks in-built. But, me being a HTC user preferred this one. It’s a clock, weather & battery widget all in one, with one click to any app(s) you want. You can customize every single thing on this widget, works like a charm. It looks beautiful, if you customize it well and choose the right wallpaper with it. It’s an absolute must have for me. Its Free!

Download Here –> Simi Clock Widget

 

  • Pulse Reader

If you are a RSS fan, or a Google Reader Fan, This is a the best News Reader for Android I have yet seen. Manages your data usage very well. Looks fantastic. Integrates with Google Reader. Set priorities to your RSS feeds. Notifications. It has everything you would want in a News Reader. Its Free.

Download Here –> Pulse Reader

 

  • ES File Explorer

You have an Android Phone, you are bound to do a lot of file transfers from you PC to Phone and vice-versa. Many-a-times it would be within the phone itself, from one directory to another. Transfers from phone to phone, the traditional Bluetooth Transfers. And now it even has DropBox support, access your files on DropBox right from your phone via the app. The interface is very simple. A couple of easy steps to connect your PC to Phone using FTP via Wi-Fi Connection. It’s a must have for me. I have never used a USB cable since the time I have been using this app. Its Free!

Download Here –> ES File Explorer

 

  • SkyFire

If its an Android Phone you are bound to do a lot of Internet Surfing on your phone. I must agree, the stock Android Browser itself is amazing too. Somehow, something somewhere is missing. And this Browser just delivers the right experience to me for browsing. It’s quick, powerful, feature-rich and Free. Love the way it integrates Social Networking into your browser and is always just one tap away anytime you want to access it. Try this one out yourself.

Download Here –> Sky Fire

 

  • imo Instant Messenger

We have GTalk installed on every Android Phone. So if you only use Google Chat, then no need to go anywhere else, that is the best one. But if you want to have Facebook Chat, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, MSN (eh!) support too, obviously with Google Chat, then this is the alternative. It’s as simple to use as is the GTalk Messenger. All you need to do is sign-in into all of the desired services and it remembers them for the next time you login. There are a number of apps that do the same, but this is very light weight, hence extremely good on memory and data usage too.

Download Here –> imo Instant Messenger

I still have a couple of apps to share about and there’s always new one’s coming up. So watch this space for more.

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