Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 greediest consumer softwares to avoid

Here is my compilation.Feel free to suggest more.There are some wonderful open source and slick alternatives like KLite Codec, VLC, Firefox etc. to these greedy ones.

  • Real Player (Please let me know if you could find any greedier software than this)
  • Adobe Reader (Someday the size will reach 100MB)
  • iTunes (Minimum update size is 50MB and Quicktime, Safari bundling)
  • DivX (Unwanted desktop icons and trial softwares annoyance)
  • Internet Explorer (We all know how good it is)
Bootnote: Add Antivirus softwares to this list.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A tribute to great artist Vincent van Gogh

Last week, I was reading about Vincent van Gogh on wikipedia and it was truly moving.I was totally in the awe of this amazing painter after reading that.I know that I deserve very little to talk about this great passionate person, but It's good to know that both of us have a "french connection" ;-).

Here is a wonderful soothing song from You Tube which features some of his paintings.

Friday, August 22, 2008

iPhone debuts unprepared Indian market with irrational and ludicrous price tag

Last night, I almost fall off of my chair laughing, after reading some dumbass PR surrounding iPhone India launch. As a guy who is closely attached with the handset industry, can totally understand the price tag as it takes at least 4 years to break- even, even if you give 500 INR profit every month to your operator after paying 10K INR initially. So it's understandable in some senses, but it's also a clear acknowledgement from operators that they have no hopes on service (post-sales) revenue.

My shots at iPhone India to uncover the reality,

  • It's just a GPRS phone.Calm down! I doubt that too.
  • If there is no subsidy, why network lock-in? Apple should answer this half-assed strategy.
  • No special tariffs for iPhone users.Forget data, at least voice.
  • Don't fall for bells and whistles! iPhone is just a PR drum for operators.
  • Prepare for dumbass spam stuff from your network operator.To be honest, Indian operators have nothing special to offer to your iPhone.
  • Remember that it's an Apple's product.It's not Airtel's or Vodafone's.
  • More than half the features are useless in India.
  • By the time you get 3G here in India, Apple would release at least 3 new models.Even if 3G starts in 2009, it will be experimental only and mass-market adoption can happen only in 2011.
  • Don't pin your hopes on Wi-Fi hotspots , you can rarely find them in India.
  • If you don't have a PC and broadband, it's useless to buy an iPhone.PC and broadband connection are prerequisites for iPod and iPhone.
  • If you are style conscious and just want to flaunt your richness in public then iPhone is just for you and just for you only.
  • If you get any hardware problem, then prepare to run here and there.
  • It's a significant risk to carry 30K device in your pocket in India.
  • You can buy a reasonable notebook or couple of high-end assembled desktop PCs for the same price. If show-off is your need, then go for iPhone.
  • The price will stay same, at least until Apple releases a new model next year. So, don't expect any price reduction for at least one year.
  • iPod touch is far better option and could be a good companion to existing phone if you desperately need some "touchy".
  • iPhone is not yet a corporate device in US itself and I am almost certain that over-cautious Indian businesses will never adopt it.So, no corporate offers and tariffs.yada yada yada.Calm down!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Temporary Solution to "Could not start kstartconfig. Check your installation"

Few weeks ago, I have installed KDE and after restarting and changing the session I get an error message "Could not start kstartconfig. Check your installation" and takes me back to the login screen. Back to the Gnome session, I have tried few from usual Gsearch but nothing worked. Here is a temporary solution.

  • Create a new user (System->Administration->Users and Groups)
  • Feel free to add user privileges according to your needs.
  • Log out and login to KDE session with the new user name and password.
  • Happy happy KDE.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend Download:APTonCD

APTonCD is a really handy app for Ubuntu users and it saved my day many a times.To me, it's a great backup utility and I can restore all my former updates and apps with a single click without connecting to the internet again.It's a good utility to share all your packages and updates with your friends.It's a must for all the Ubuntu users and the latest Ubuntu versions bundling this app.If you don't have, you can download from the website. APTonCD usually restores your packages in the cache folder.It's a 2step process to install them.Thanks to Ubuntu forums.

1.Open the terminal and navigate to cache folder by typing "cd /var/cache/apt/archives".

2.Type "sudo dpkg -i *.deb" to install all the packages restored there by APTonCD.

Updating iTunes software is one of the most avoidable tasks

I don't know about others, but whenever I try to update the iTunes, I get a welcome message with an update size of at least 50MB.Should I call this update??Seriously.To me, update means less than 5MB size only and in this case I have to download the entire software again.What a waste of time.I haven't seen any complaints over this on the internet.May be people are so tolerant to this non-sense.But not me.iTunes is a good software but this kind of bloated updates could drive away loyal users like me.May be Apple should take notice of this and they shouldn't pump more than 5MB size updates.If you see this post by any chance, please share your feelings on this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Windows Mobile on Nokia handsets still possible

After seeing Symbian Foundation announcement by Nokia most people might think that Nokia would never use Windows Mobile. But somehow I believe that this combination is still possible.Using Windows Mobile may be kind of irony to Nokia but it has the potential to create value to both Microsoft and Nokia.

My reasoning is,

  • Nokia needs to beef up its North American presence and one way to do is shipping Windows Mobile handsets there.If Nokia wants to increase its market share beyond 40% this must be one way to do it.

  • Nokia currently lacks touch screen portfolio and Windows Mobile can definitely help it there.Usually touch screen phones are software intensive and Nokia still seems to be developing S60 touch software and expected to get one out by end of this year.But Nokia's competitors HTC, LG, and Samsung are already been very active in the touch screen phone market.All these phones are using Windows Mobile.Even Sony Ericsson also preferred Windows Mobile for its touch phone XPERIA X1.

  • Nokia's relations with Microsoft are better in the recent times as Nokia is using Microsoft DRM technology, Live services and also agreed to ship Silverlight on its S40, S60 based handsets by end of this year.

  • Microsoft can also benefit from this kind of move as Nokia ships hundreds of millions of consumer oriented handsets which could improve Microsoft's image in the consumer market.
It may not happen any time soon but it's quite possible.

Stop complaining:Linux is OK for average consumer

I always wonder why people keep complain about the usability of Linux on the desktop PC.I am sure they must be the people who never tried Linux or must be living under some rock.The usability of Linux has improved leaps and bounds over the last two years thanks to the likes of Ubuntu.People who have been using Ubuntu vouch for it.In fact, I set up Ubuntu on my home PC for my parents and they never complained about it.If they could use without any pain then anybody can try it.It never catches viruses and it's free too.Personally my evangelism influenced more than ten people to try Linux.Hmm,that's a good number to me at least.Most people I talked to have the perception that Linux is all about command line UI.This is the problem.Without even trying Linux they are forming opinions.

Linux may not be ready to replace Windows but it is certainly a good choice to consider. Personally I encourage people who use piracy versions of Windows to try out Linux.If you can't afford Windows then Linux is a really good choice and it can do every thing average consumer wants it to.It can do multimedia, web browsing, productivity etc. without giving you much pain.Linux is perfect for people who run internet cafes in countries like India.

Having said that, I am not against Windows and it has its own strengths like vast eco system and huge ISV support.I attribute Windows success mainly to MS Office.Yes,that's right.Most people use Windows because it can run MS Office.Macs too can run Office software but there are other issues like cost,lack of hardware flexibility and Apple's lack of enterprise ambitions limited its uptake.I am sure if Microsoft releases Office software for Unix/Linux platform one day then it can also be on par with Windows.There are alternatives to MS Office like Open Office, Star Office,IBM's Symphony and web based offerings like Google Docs,Zoho but MS Office still beats them. There are likes of Wine to run Windows softwares on Linux but it's still a long shot.

Linux has achieved significant success in the server and embedded markets but its desktop position is nowhere near it wants to be.This is partly because of lack of strong support from commercial Linux vendors, ISVs, PC manufacturers and you can list few more.So what happens to Linux then?The recent happenings suggests that it still has a lot of life left in it.The emergence of sub-notebook, mobile internet device and smart phone markets should help its uptake.

Monday, June 30, 2008

USB based Mint Linux, a handy one for unbootable computers

There are varieties of Linux distributions available which can be installed on a USB flash drive,but nothing beats Mint Linux to me.Because, Mint Linux usually packs all the multimedia codecs and comes with all kinds of handy softwares.For USB based installation it's perfect and you don't need to install anything extra.For regular native desktop usage also it's good and it's a derivative of Ubuntu. I use Ubuntu on my personal notebook and whenever it is down for some reason, USB Mint Linux saves my day usually. Even though it runs from USB,it's still as fast as native OS and some times I find it even faster.USB based Mint Linux is very handy to run computers that are unbootable.It's worth a try and all it needs is a formatted 1Gb pen drive.Here is the link that details this process.Very easy to follow and try it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

'EXT3-fs: error loading journal'

'EXT3-fs: error loading journal' error is really confusing one.But somehow I got away with it by doing fsck from live CD.Simple solution to this error is checking file system integrity.In my case the file system seems became ext2 where it should be ext3 and fsck brought it back it to original one.

*Boot from rescue CD or Live CD and type "e2fsck /dev/sdax" or "fsck /dev/sdax" where sdax is your Linux partition.It will then ask to replace or fix corrupted blocks and etc.Accept everything by typing 'Y'.

It worked for me twice and it's better than reinstalling the whole thing.I have checked this on Fedora 8 and I am sure it works for other distros as well.If anyone have better ideas please let me know.Thanks in advance.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

'\windows\system32\config' and '\windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe' missing or corrupted!Save it with Linux

Often Windows system suffers from dreaded errors like '\windows\system32\config\system' and '\windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe' missing or corrupted! Most people consider reinstalling the whole system but that's not the solution when you could save it.One can save windows from these dreaded errors using Linux Live CD(Uuntu,fedora etc.).If you have dual boot it's even better.First I would discuss '\windows\system32\ntoskrnl.exe' error. The solution is simple.Your ntoskrnl.exe is damaged and you have to replace it with backup copy from dllcache folder. If you have NTFS partition you have to install ntfs-3g (In case you don't have that on CD or Linux partition).Here we go.

*Boot into Linux partition or Live CD.

*Open command console and login as root.

*Create a directory by typing 'sudo mkdir /media/windows'

*Then mount your windows partition on to this by typing 'sudo mount -o rw /dev/sdaX /media/windows' .In most cases your windows partition will be sda1 or hda1.Try to get this info by using Gparted.

*Now copy the backup copy of ntoskrnl.exe by typing 'cp /media/windows/windows/system32/dllcache/ntoskrnl.exe /media/windows/windows/system32'.

*It will ask do you want to overwrite.Type 'y'.You are done.Remove Live CD or exit from Linux partition to restart.You can happily log on to your windows back without any error.

If your machine sufers from '\windows\system32\config\system' error then process is similar but you have to copy the back up copies of registry files from system volume information folder.This works only if you had turned on system restore feature in windows.You have to find 5 registry files(system,security,sam,software,user) and copy them to \windows\system32\config\system folder.Here is the link that details this process.

Hope this helps to people who are in need and don't want to reinstall the whole thing.You can also do this operation using windows installation CD and entering in recovery console.But I prefer Linux because you can simultaneously do other things rather than getting stuck in command prompt.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Some Hilarious facts about Windows

Many a times I was shocked to see pathetic awareness about Windows OS even though Microsoft burns billions of dollars on campaigning.Some of them are.

  • Many people I spoke to believed 'Windows' is a company name.
  • Most Windows users don't know that 'Microsoft' is the exclusive provider of 'Windows'.
  • Ironically many of them perceiving it as a 'free software'.
  • Adding to injuries,many people do not know that MS Office is a separate product and think that it comes with Windows as a bonus.This is true in countries where piracy is on rampage.
  • For many Windows users, knowing their internet speed is one of the biggest puzzle.Most people I spoke to often believed 100Mbps,54Mbps,11Mbps as their line speed which generally shows when you point your mouse on the network icon.
  • Many believe that Windows Media Player can play any format on this planet.
  • Many people I spoke to do not know the word called 'browser' but they know damn 'IE'.
  • Many tend to believe that 'Monitor' is computer and not the CPU.
  • Many users tend to be panic if they don't see 'START' menu.
  • Majority of the windows users never had to touch DOS in their lives.Credit to Bloatware.
  • Many doesn't know how to partition the hard drive and tend to keep important stuff in C drive.
Well, I can go on.But let's stop here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Halloween documents revisited

Last month I was reading a piece of news fom GrokLaw which says SCO is getting $100 million funding.It's a shocker to everybody who have been following SCO vs Linux case.These guys are badly after Linux and Lawyers seems to be running the company.I still don't understand whether they have any growth agenda other than simply being 'patent troll'.In case you don't understand what I am talking, you should read Halloween documents, solid wiki article about SCO vs Linux.Let's see what SCO is up to this time after loosing series of battles against Linux community.

How to restore xorg.conf

Few weeks back I messed up with my Ubuntu Graphics Manager and it stopped starting Gnome display manager.It stucks at command prompt with a message Xserver failed to start and I couldn't see GUI any more.Obviously, i tried 'startx' without success.Then I tried 'sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg' to configure my graphics environment from command prompt.Some how I could configure only 4bit color depth and un fortunately it didn't allow me higher bit color depth.It was horrible to see the 4bit color depth screen and i decided to try other methods.If you have backup file of xorg.conf you can restore with 'sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.mysave /etc/X11/xorg.conf' where xorg.conf.mysave is your backup file.In my case i couldn't figure out the backup file correctly in /etc/X11 directory as there seems to be more than one.

I decided to try another method from ubuntu forums which says xorg 7.2 has a pretty useful feature.That is if you delete xorg.conf file then it will regenerate a new one with default settings.First I have checked the version of my xorg by typing 'X -version' and confirmed it is version 7.2.Then I have deleted my xorg.conf file by typing 'sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf' .It worked like magic and i could see my GUI again.Thanks to ubuntu forums.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Microsoft playing Zero-Sum game

It didn't surprise me much when Microsoft launched a bid to buy Yahoo!,considering the company's woeful record in online space.It could be seen as a desperate and one last attempt to lift its online business(Forget competing with Google).Moreover, this deal is subjected to scrutinies from anti-trust watch dogs and I am sure Google will try its best to stop this deal going ahead.But Microsoft's underdog status in online ad space may help the deal to get through.

On the surface it looks like MS will take back some control with this move as MS have deep pockets to invest.But that can happen only if and if MS spins off its own online business unit to merge with Yahoo!.Then the companies can get off with integration issues and Google will get less time to cash on the transition.Otherwise Google will totally un-settle the two companies in this uncertainity period.MS also suffers branding issues in its online strategy and Yahoo! will add more injuries.MS already confusing customers with MSN/Hotmail/Windows Live.. whatever the hell is that.MS simply lacks weapons to compete online.

So far,Yahoo! itself couldn't figure out much, how to translate traffic into profit and I don't know how LAME MS will help it.Mind you,Yahoo!'s Project Panama also couldn't lift its revenues.But on the positive side,Yahoo! is one of the pioneers of the web and they have stronger presence in asian markets and Mobile search.Yahoo! search is way better than Live hell and MS at last realized that Google's online success is because of its high-quality search engine.MS was late to search market and I still don't understand why MS links Windows with its online strategy(Why Windows LIVE??Misleading and irrelevant name).I can't imagine that hot properties like Yahoo answers,Flickr,,Eurosport falling in MS hands.Except hotmail(that too acquisition) tell me where MS had success in online business.They coudn't build communities and hot portals even after burning billions of dollars.MS should remember that internet communities are sensitive and it takes only seconds to switch to another site.MS playing Zero-Sum game here and now they are thinking that Yahoosoft+Google=100% of online advertising.They are totally wrong and there are no. of startups who are working towards game-changing online ad technologies.

Given its poor execution of online strategy record, I feel even after this buyout MS will be vulnerable.As long as the company under estimates the open standards it may not find recipi.Internet is all about open and nuetral standards.Imagine, I visited Flickr website through my Ubuntu-Linux notebook and a message pops to me saying you are not using Vista/XP or IE hell.Thats quite possible after this merger and thats my worry,which can force me out to look for alternatives.Now, Microsoft is embracing the disruption and I am really hoping that company will move out from its safe zone(Windows and Office) to the real future.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where Nokia heading?

If someone asks me which is the most powerful company in the technology world,I would put Nokia on the top of my list along with Microsoft,Google and Intel.These companies have achieved truly global scale and have an enormous impact on our daily lives.

Well,what's really interesting to me is Nokia's transition from pure Hardware vendor to Application and web services company.Today 40 out of 100 mobile phones are Nokia's and the company already sold more than 1.5 billion phones over the years.That number is greater than no.of Windows PCs and automobiles in the world.Nokia selling more cameras,MP3 players than any other specialist company.They may even outsell specialist GPS companies soonly.Despite all this Nokia have to abide by devils called 'Operators'.But in the recent times the company increasingly realizing the importance of consumer experience and application development.Its recent acquisitions Navquest,Avvenu,Trolltech and the launch of music portal called 'OVI' suggests that company is well on the collision course with operators.As Nokia makes these devices PC centric they will be on collision with Microsoft,Google as well.Nokia can take leaf out of Apple's book,which went through great transition from hardware vendor to hardware+software+services company.

Nokia aspiring big and its very much clear that the company is heading towards becoming web services company.Nokia's choice of application development platform will decide whether it can attract developers or not.The company already owns vested ownership in Symbian and its S60 is the dominant development platform.Trolltech acquisition is little confusing and probably suggests that Nokia will jump on Mobile Linux band wagon.Nokia using Debian based Linux (Maemo)on its N800 internet tablets which is based on GTK+ and Trolltech brings rival development platform Qt.It remains to be seen how Nokia will justify this move.There are consortiums like LiPS,Motorola's LIMO,Google's OHA,CELF,Intel's Moblin and Montavista's Mobile Linux to standardise the Mobile Linux and to stop the fragmentation.Nokia's success depends how it will ditch operators and attract developers to its platform to redefine consumer experiences on tiny screens.