Friday, December 29, 2006

New Tariffs for BSNL Broadband posted

Download speeds increased for all plans except unlimited plans. In other words, no bandwidth upgrade for Home 900 plus, which is what I have :-(.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Whither WiMAX in Bangalore?

2007 promises to be an exciting time for Broadband users in Bangalore. BSNL has promised 2 Mbps as default for ADSL. I am on the Home 900 plus 256 Kbps which offers unlimited downloads. If this gets automatically upgraded to 2 Mbps it will be bliss. Even though the good minister promises 2 Mbps in new year, the reality is there is probably some hardware upgradation involved and will be probably rolled out first on a few exchanges. It may be a while before every one gets it. Still, BSNL and the Telecom ministry needs to be applauded for pushing this forward. Private players will be soon forced to follow.

This brings me to the strange problem of getting connectivity in the first place. The consensus (at least in my Office) is that Airtel is the best (connectivity wise, don't talk about billing :-), followed by BSNL, followed by other options like Sify, Hathaway etc and to never go near Tata Indicom. However, getting Airtel or BSNL appears very tough. Even being in a "well connected" locality is no guarantee to get a connection. It seems that BSNL has virtually stopped giving connections in Bangalore. There seems to be a big "last mile" problem in Bangalore.

Which is where WiMAX comes in. There are reports that some company (probably Airtel) plans to cover whole of Bangalore with 2 Mbps WiMAX in 2007. The trouble is, while there are lots of news articles talk about WiMAX in Bangalore, no company website has any information about the launch. If that happens, it will be really a good thing.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Another long lag

Nothing new about the lag, is there :-(. Still haven't managed to find the LG DR165. I wrote to LG India, they gave me a LG contact in Bangalore. I called the person and he said I should find it in e-Zone and I should call him if I can't find it in e-Zone. I haven't done that yet.

Monday, October 16, 2006

In search of a DVD recorder

I've always wanted to buy a Tivo like device. You don't get program information in Indian cable networks (at least, not yet; though it's possible with satellite TV), so I was interested purely for live recording and skipping ads. I didn't dare to buy one in the US because of NTSC/PAL issues. The closest I could find in India was Samsung's DV-HR720 which at 24K is way too expensive for me (though the street price would be lower). The next best option was a plain DVD recorder. I got a LiteOn recorder from the US because it specifically mentioned PAL support. Unfortunately, I didn't read the fine print carefully. It turned out that it could play PAL but the tuner was NTSC only :-(. Bummer! I had to send it back. Despite, having learnt a lesson the hard way, I ended up getting another US DVD recorder, this time a Philips one (I won't go into the reasons to maintain peace at home ;-). That had the same NTSC/PAL issues. So I had to find a model in India.

I was pretty excited to see ads for a LG DVD recorder (model DR 165) in Bangalore Times of India for 11.5K. Though Samsung India has had a model (DVD-R121) in India for a while, I didn't know about it till later. Any way, the LG model is DivX capable (player only, not for recording) and quite a bit cheaper. Unfortunately, I can't find it any where in Bangalore (by any where, I of course mean checking 3 or 4 shops in Jayanagar area ;-). If any reader knows where I can get one, please let me know.

Another long hiatus :-(

I don't know how people manage to keep blogging every day, or even multiple blogs in a single day. Oh, well! What's new? I just bought a new Samsung 19" widescreen LCD monitor for my home PC. Ever since assembling my dual-core box, I've been shopping around for a LCD monitor which can take DVI input (my video card has a DVI out). My budget was for a 17" monitor but there were none available which can take DVI input. In fact the only display I found which supported digital input was a ViewSonic 19" model costing about 19K. The price dropped to around 17K but I was still reluctant to go with ViewSonic because Samsung is clearly the leader in LCD displays. Prices of LCD displays are dropping rapidly and I was pleasantly surprised to hear about this new Samsung model (940BW) decently priced (I paid 15.2K). I am sure prices will continue dropping but at around 15K it's worth the price in my budget. I remember paying 13.5K for my first 17" CRT monitor (I also remember about 10K for my first 2X CD writer ;-). I guess you can't call me an early adopter, but I am not too late either ;-).

Oh about the display, it's fantastic. Very crisp display, great colours. Both WindowsXP (yeah, I do boot it once in a blue moon) and Linux had no problems with the 1440x900 display resolution. Recommended.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sorry for the long break

I apologize for not blogging for a long while now. It appears that some crazy people are actually interested in what I write ;-). So I've resolved to start again :-). What's new? Well, in the last 6 months, I've assembled a dual core AMD 3800+ system for home use with the help of a Colleage at work. As with all tech stuff, the price of the processor has dropped drastically before I figured out something useful to do with the system.

Intel's new Core 2 Duo processors now appear to the best processors on earth. I am a big fan of AMD, but this time Intel seems to have a winner. For multi-core systems, AMD still appears to have the edge because of their better interconnect technology. AMD's new DDR2 based AM2 platform doesn't seem to be a significant upgrade. I am still hoping AMD will manage to pull a rabbit out of it's hat :-). In addition to better performance at lower power consumption (as if that's not enough!), another nice thing about Core 2 Duo systems is hardware support for virtualization with Intel's VT technology.

Speaking of Virtualization, VMWare Server is now free. This means I no longer have to build VMWare virtual disks using qemu-img. VMWare Server is really good, but I failed to configure booting from my existing Windows installation inside Linux (or vice-versa). Vice-versa (I mean existing Linux inside Windows) sort of works but I have to put in some funny hacks. I have a SATA drive, WindowsXP seems to think of it as a IDE drive despite installing the proper SATA drivers. The upshot of this is that, when Linux boots inside VMWare, the disk appears as hda, whereas when booting natively, the SATA drive appears as sda. I'll keep playing around with this.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Reading websites with horrible fonts

My company provides access to Safari. Safari default fonts are not very readable with Firefox with Linux. I could opt to override all fonts in Firefox settings but this is not very desirable. Instead I just "disable styles" (Ctrl-Shift-S) using the Webdeveloper extension. I find that this simple trick makes many sites much more readable. Now if only I could figure out how to disable styles for only specific sites, life would be heaven :-).

Site Feed

A colleague of mine was asking how to configure blog feeds from blogspot. It's not mentioned by default anywhere in the blog. Luckily, I did remember configuring some settings regarding site feeds. So I've now provided the blog feed URL in the blog title.