Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Connect to your Windows 7 PCs from anywhere

https://www.mesh.com/welcome/default.aspx Install this on all your machines and make sure you have logged into machine and then locked it. Live mesh needs a windows live id. You may convert any of your email-ids into Live id. And then live mesh system tray applet will show all your devices along with a connect to device if machine is up.

Now, comes the dirty part. Windows 7 has nice power saving features designed to help an average joe save power. But, technical people cannot afford to think about power savings and be productive at the same time. So, we will tinker with these settings.

Sleep settings

Start -> Control panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Change when the computer sleeps (Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Power Options\Edit Plan Settings should be the title of control panel page).

Change "Put the computer to sleep" to Never.

Now go to "Change advanced power settings" and Power options page opens. Expand Sleep -> Expand Hibernate After -> Type never where 360 is given.

Start -> Control panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and sharing center -> Change adapter settings -> Right click and Properties -> Configure -> Power management -> Uncheck "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power".

Its bad to turn off all these power savings features, but that's the way if you need to access this machine anytime. There are some options related to LAN / WAN wakeup packets, but I could not explore these till now, so the above one seems easier choice.

For home machines, one may need to buy UPS like APC Back-UPS ES which allows auto-shutdown of machine. this way, machine can be left running at home and connected from office. If there is extended power cut, UPS will turn off machine to save from problems. In this case, Modem & router too should be connected with UPS supply.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Linksys wireless router setup with Airtel broadband

Linksys WRH54G-01

This applies only to the above router & Airtel wired modem (ADSL 2+ BEETEL 110TC1) combination . Steps may change for different routers. Prerequisite is that Airtel Modem should have been configured and working fine before doing these steps.

CD provided with the product is not useful here. Some modifications can be done in modem configuration steps to make this CD useful, but it is better to make change in Linksys setup step. Since Linksys support technician will not send me chat transcript, so I decided to note down the steps he told me as part of troubleshooting. Although, he was very polite and insistent that I should call again on toll free 1 800-419-5797 in case there are re-setup required, but then why I should waste my time :-)

History: Earlier, I was using this router with BSNL connection through the first generation Huwaei modem. Setup CD would work like a magic for that setup.

Now the real stuff. To configure this dirty (in the sense that it is already configured once) router, following is needed to be done

  1. Disconnect Power to modem and to router.
  2. Connect outgoing network cable from Airtel Modem to Linksys WRH54G-01 router.
  3. Connect outgoing network cable from Router to Modem. You can use any network cable and not only the blue one provided with Router.
  4. Connect Router’s power cable to power source.
  5. Reset Router by using a mild sharp pencil. There is a groove near power inlet. Keep it pressed for 40 seconds minimum while there is power in the Router.
  6. Remove Power cable from Router.
  7. Attach Power cable to modem and router.
  8. Ping yahoo.com. That should return success response although browsing can not be done.
  9. Open http://192.168.1.1 in IE. Right now, it will open the Linksys page instead of Airtel modem page.
  10. Click on Advanced setup and go to Wireless tab. Use the user name / password as “Administrator \ admin”.
  11. Give some convenient name to your wireless network In basic settings section and change Wireless channel to 11-2 462 GHZ. Save settings and wait to get that page back again.
  12. Go to Wireless setting section in Wireless tab and select WPA personal as security mode. WPA2 is known to provide some issues. Select algorithm as TKIP. Provide some key to be used for protected access to this router. Note down this key for future use. Save settings and wait for that page to appear again.
  13. Go to basic setup in Setup tab.
  14. Leave the internet connection Type as “Automatic configuration - DHCP”.
  15. Only thing that need to be changed on this page is “Local IP Address” under Router IP section. Change it to 192.168.5.1. This is very crucial stage. Save settings and wait for something to appear. Actually, No page found error will come since it will try to load http://192.168.1.1 which is no longer router IP :-)
  16. Wait for a while and your network connection should start working.
  17. Router administration page can now be accessed using http://192.168.5.1 and modem configuration page through http://192.168.1.1 .

Need to remember about Airtel Modem setup

Configuration access page is http://192.168.1.1

There is a file Airtel_info.txt generated after setup on the desktop. Password given in that file seems to be useless or not sure what purpose it can be used for. User ID is valid. Default Password for the ADSL connection is STD code followed by phone number. Default User name / Password for the Modem configuration page http://192.168.1.1 is admin / password .

Need to remember about Linksys Router setup

Configuration access page is http://192.168.5.1 if above steps are followed.

Default user name / password for this page is Administrator / admin. This can be changed from Administration tab in the configuration access page. Only Router reset can reset the changed password back to default one.

Wireless network name (SSID) and its key (WPA personal or whatever you select).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Minimal software required on a PC

WinZip or WinRAR

Some office application.

XML notepad

Adobe acrobat reader / Flash / Shockwave player

Visual Studio or a development environment

Silverlight / .Net

Google talk / Yahoo messenger

Windows live suite with blog writing tool

MSDN library

Downloaded accelerator

CD / DVD burning tool

VLC media player

Initial experience with Windows 7

Nice bits

Off course its faster, compared to Vista, but that’s old information. Here comes few things that I noticed over last 2-3 weeks on RTM bits.

  1. Installation is pretty fast.
  2. Preview of files in explorer windows is quite nice.
  3. Default screen layout is easy on eyes with the use of subdued colours.
  4. Easy transfer from XP to Windows 7 is very smooth.
  5. UAC is a lot less intrusive now.
  6. Boot up speed did not go south, which used to happen traditionally with new OSes.
  7. Search results are much more faster.
  8. New Taskbar takes time to get used to, but after a while one realizes how easy it makes life when lot of applications are opened.
  9. When system is logged off, except primary monitor, all other monitors goes to sleep mode which is nice thing. I used to change that every evening before leaving to avoid trouble when doing remote desktop from home.
  10. MsPaint can now be used to make decent maps pretty fast.
  11. Problem reports menu has many more options.
  12. New start menu options of attaching frequent items with applications itself makes things easier to do.
  13. Multiple monitors got instantly recognized and properly setup without any effort on my part.
  14. New default power saver mode will make more people realize the power of it. And just a small gesture does not take it out of sleep, which means accidental wakeup from sleep is not easy. 
  15. IE8 is starting much faster.
  16. Most of the applications are working without hitch even on 64 bit installation.
  17. Path string for Desktop folder is quite small now.
  18. I have not needed to increase the height of taskbar till now.
  19. Nice work in removing clutter from desktop including gadgets.
  20. In default setting, No need to mute speakers to avoid boot time and shutdown horrible noise.
  21. Default password settings is stronger now.

Not so nice

  1. I am not able to use Media keys in my Logitech internet pro keyboard.
  2. New taskbar can hide some activity on some app.
  3. Search result columns cannot be resized in explorer view.
  4. Under default settings, one can easily forget that GTalk and Yahoo messenger have been left running on the system, since these have been moved to the hidden tray.
  5. Default setting in Search options fails to search binary files. One needs to type full path.
  6. Default sleep settings turns off network activity also. I left something to download on DAP and went around for 30 minutes. When I got up, OS was in sleep mode, but DAP was also not doing anything. People will take time to get used to this.
  7. I am downloading 110 MB NVidia GT 9400 update third time in 3 days via WU optional update feature.
  8. Even before Oct 22, already 8-9 updates are installed on my machine.
  9. Event logs are already brimming with enough numbers of errors and warnings. Event viewer needs major rehaul it seems to make things more sane and intuitive.

For those still working on XP, once they get graphics card with minimum required capacity, experience of moving to windows 7 is going to be really great. Obviously ultimate will be the one giving real awesomeness.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

DVD Writers and the trouble

After spending money on 3 DVD writers and 3 Nero OEM installations, few things are getting painfully clear to me now.

  • Keeping backup in DVDs is safe way, but it is really time-taking process.
  • Following the good practice of running with Non-Admin account is against the ethos of NERO developers.
  • DVD writers are most fickle pieces of HW in assembled PC it seems.

NERO has started monopolistic practice. Examples are

  • It does not allow copying of bootable disks from one disk to another any longer. There is easy workaround of saving content of first as NRG file and then write on another disk. That means one will be bound to NERO to get that NRG file written anywhere else.
  • With every new windows version, they come up with new version and immediately drop support for old NERO version.
  • Its is getting bloated like anything with music player etc getting added every time and updates ranging to 100-200 MB.

I keep on getting different other names like InfoRecorder, isoRecorder, PowerISO etc, but then who will evaluate all these.

Perhaps, having access to few rewritable DVDs will save me some money in long term when drive / Nero start giving quirks. And Nero 8 is sure to break in near future with some updates in windows 7. And Nero will not fix that forcing people like me to either buy new writer get help from Hyper-V configuration. Lets see, but another software monopoly is born for sure !!!

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Hardware upgrade due to availability of software


Got MSDN subscription. All OSes starting from MS-DOS to Windows Server 2008 R2 are available there. And lot many other MS applications.


Windows Server 2008 & 2008 R2 has virtualization technology. But, my AMD64 processor does not support that. I went to CTC near paradise circle and ended up buying following configuration


1> Intel core 2 duo processor E7500 in INR 5500.


2> DP45SG Intel Motherboard that supports DDR3 RAM, but no onboard VGA support. Cost 7000 in comparison to 3000 for DDR2 support motherboard with onboard VGA card. Right now, this motherboard is meant for extreme gamers and that’s why they gave Ghost Recon 2 game also free with this. But, I have never played games any seriously more than the solitaire genre :-)


3> 1 GB NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT graphics card in 2500.


4> 2 GB Transcend DDR3 RAM in INR 2600. I cannot afford 4 GB with all this upgrade. But, this motherboard supports only speed up to 1066, hence difference from DDR2 (with maximum speed of 800) will not be so much it seems :-(


This motherboard does not have support for IDE in-built, hence I had to take a PCI to IDE card for supporting existing IDE HDD and IDE DVD writer. That card makes these devices look external to BIOS. Which means old OSes (Vista & XP) installed on the IDE drive are no longer coming in boot menu, nor IDE DVD writer will show up in BIOS. That means I had to add another SATA DVD writer (LG in 1100) to be able to install OS at any time on the other SATA HDD. Since Processor is of higher capacity and there is 1 GB graphics card also, I had to upgrade my SMPS from 400 Watt to 450 Watt. That may have been bad decision, but who knows.


Total bill 19625 + 325 (1.8% credit card charge). That’s impulsive shopping at its height ;-)


If I had went for Intel Motherboard with DDR2 support only, The cost would have been 12800 (Motherboard 3000 + DDR2 2 GB RAM 1800 + CoreDuo2 Processor 5500 + SATA DVD 1100 + 400 PCI to IDE card). Adding another 1800, I could have got 2 GB more RAM.


Sold my old Gigabyte motherboard, 2 GB DDR1 RAM, a bad IDE DVD writer, SMPS and AMD64 Athlon 3000+ processor in Rs 3100 to some other shop in first floor. After taking out everything, I only had 2 HDD and 1 DVD writer left with an old, but sturdy cabinet.


When I had first entered that shop and asked to upgrade my machine, first question that was popped was “what is the problem”. My response “no problem at all” and since then everyone in that shop would smile gently seeing my seeming foolishness in upgrading a perfectly running machine.


Now, I need to find full use of all this added power as well as lot of new software that got added in the system. Many of them that came free with motherboard may not get used ever also, but lets see how long this configuration is relevant. Earlier one lasted 3 years and I felt it was reaching limit. When would this configuration reach that stage? But, I may extend its lifetime by going for more RAM and CoreQuad processor in future. There is still ma lot of room left in the motherboard for further upgrades including more than half USB slots unused and only one PCI slot in use.


Surprisingly, this configuration is making much lesser sound compared to old AMD64 configuration. Perhaps, they were good when saying that AMD64 makes more noise.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nice way to make money

Make the bomb and sell it to Party A - Make money.
Make anti bomb device  & sell it to Party B - Make money.
Provide both these to opposite party (A & B) - Make money.
Make a movie on the fight of opposite parties - Make money.
Make a movie on these supposed villains whom you provided bombs - Make money.
Make a movie protecting the country from these villains - Make money.
When these villains strike country - Make money by selling more anti bomb devices.
 

What a deceitful web created by the developed countries.

 

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

LinkedIn Dilemma

Think from all perspectives.

Today, I got mail from a school batch mate asking for endorsement on LinkedIn about his work.

He is my school batchmate. I never met him after 12th and do not know anything about how he works. He was an above average person in school and got into a big government job also, but that all is the superficial common information which everyone knows. BTW, he is right now in IIM after leaving his big job.


If I give him recommendation

  • I will avoid losing touch with him. I would not use friendship word here as we just knew each other while in school and then no touch.
  • I will be doing injustice to others by giving false recommendation.
  • A serious HR checking this endorsement will figure out clearly that this is fake endorsement.

If I deny him recommendation

  • He will take it badly seeing how career-oriented he is.
  • I will perhaps lose any chance of asking any help from him ever.

Now my concern is
Why such things happen?
Why we have to face such dilemmas?
Why people do not allow any medium to stay honest?
Why they always try to squeeze as much as out of it possible?


If lot of people does this, HR people will lose faith on LinkedIn also.

I recognize that there is no binary answer to this question, but just pondering over. In the final analysis, the only problem from my angle right now is being not able to call upon him for any help ever. And that if it is needed in future ever. Even in that case, considering his supremely self-centered nature, I cannot be sure if he will ever help me without having some expectations in return.


So, It seem I am correct in denying him recommendation.