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Showing posts from January, 2013

CTS 2010 cheque books and SBI

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It has been a while since I issued a cheque.  I do most of the payments through Electronic Funds Transfer, Electronics Clearance Scheme or standing instructions these days - the rest being credit card and cash transactions.

However, considering that you never know when you need to issue a cheque, I decided to get the latest CTS-2010 compliant cheque book for the banks that I have an account with.  SBI was one of them and I logged into their online portal for the same.

My first problem was figuring out the link to click to request for a cheque book.  I had done this a while back and had forgotten what I did then.

I clicked on How do I...? link in their portal and was taken to a Menu, which also included Request for a check book.  Clicking on this showed me a video, which indicated I had to click on a Request link in the menu.

This would have been a cake walk, but for the fact that there was no such link in the menu.   A close inspection of the various menu items revealed an e-Services…

Windows 8 and Kies

Having upgraded our laptop to Windows 8, I wanted to connect my (now archaic) Samsung Galaxy Ace phone to Kies to sync up contacts and stuff. Kies said it had an upgrade available and the dumb guy that I was, went ahead and upgraded.  I connect the phone through the USB cable to the laptop and get a stupid message, which goes something like this: "Your phone does not work with Kies 2.0.  Make your phone compatible and try again".

Googling for this revealed that this is not a new thing - and not just with Windows 8.  Looks like getting a Samsung phone to connect and work with Kies is a matter of luck.   I could not help look back at my adventure trying to upgrade my phone using Kies.

I see that Kies is now available on Mac (but only for S2 and above).  Considering the poor battery quality of my phone - it drains out like water from Bangalore borewells - I should better leave it as it is!

Of hospital ads

Among the many ads that I listen to in Radio One, during the drive to office is the one by Manipal Hospitals.  After making various claims as to why they are the best, they "thank their patrons and well-wishers" for making this happen.
I can't help thinking.  Should they not be thanking God for creating ailments for people?  Should they not be thanking patients for flocking to their hospital in large numbers, which in turn increases their revenue and profits?   Should they not thank drunkards, rapists, other law-breakers, who create victims - accidents, calamities - natural and man-made? 
Well-wishers! Who would wish a hospital well?  
A few weeks back, we needed an appointment with a pulmonologist.  We called up Manipal Hospital late in the evening to be told that we need to call them at 9 AM.   I tried to get information from their website - half the pages did not load and .  Anyway, we called them at 9 AM the next day and were told that one of the pulmonologists was …

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird. What a book to start 2013.  I had read this a while back.  I own a copy as well.

Told through the eyes of 6 year old girl, this is a coming-to-age story of a girl in the Southern state of Alabama, during the Great Depression.

Scout and her brother Jem live with their father Atticus, a lawyer.  Their mother is no more and they are looked after by an African American lady.  True to their age, they go around their neighbourhood and are very curious about one of their neighbours, Boo, who they have never seen.  They also get to befriend Dill, when he comes to visit his aunt during holidays.

Their father is asked to defend Tom, a black man accused of raping a white girl, daughter of a drunkard.  The story is about the trial and how the outcome leads to events that affect the children as well as their father.

Though the story deals with serious topics like rape and racial discrimination, it is told in a simple and innocent way.  How, even as children, you have questi…

Poster menace in Bangalore

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I can't remember when I started seeing cut-out and posters of politicians in Bangalore.   It is a recent phenomena which has now increased to ridiculous proportions.

Cut-outs were made popular by Tamil film stars as part of their film publicity.  Each new release of a movie brought a new and large cut-out of the hero or the heroine in and around the cinema theatre.   Politicians did not want to be left behind and soon, we could find their cut-outs near meeting venues or during election campaigns.

In Bangalore, I remember seeing cut-outs of actors when going to Majestic - passing through some of the old theatre areas.  I had also seen occasional movie posters.

It is only in the last two-three years that I have seen posters of politicians - of all hue and cry - adorn the city roadsides and other visible areas.  The popular ones are the festival wishes - from Happy New Year to Happy Xmas and every other festival of all religions in between.   Based on the political party, the poster…

If Bangalore roads were software

I had this thought as I was driving to work this morning - there are a number of things common between computer software and our roads.

Some similarities first.

Software has bugs. Roads have potholesSome bugs have workarounds.  Some potholes are small enough so that you can drive around them.  In some cases, there are alternate roads which can be taken to avoid the pothole.Software occasionally stop working.  Roads often get blocked as well - traffic jam, vehicle breakdown, etc. Software gets upgraded.  Roads get tarred.Many software lock you in - in the sense, you cannot use a competitor software.  Similarly, you are "locked-in" to the road surrounding your residence.Software users are increasing regularly.  Road users are increasing regularly as well!We pay for (some) software.  We pay (tax) for our roads - vehicle tax, property tax, income tax, service tax - all kinds of tax.

Now for the differences


If you have an issue with software, you typically have a support mechanis…

Upgrading to Windows 8

While I had upgraded linux versions - both fedora and ubuntu in my home computers quite regularly, I had never attempted to change the Windows OS.   This was because, there was no online upgrade option.  Also, the operating system cost was high.
When I saw the tempting offer of a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for Rs.1999/- I could not resist.   (By the way, this offer is valid till Jan 31, 2013, as I write this).   I had a Windows 7 laptop and I downloaded the Windows 8 upgrade assistant.   I ran this and it indicated that my laptop met the requirements for upgrade.  The same tool had the user interface to buy the upgrade. 
Now, what the tool did not tell me (and hence I write this) is that you need about 15 GB of disk space on your Windows partition if you want to upgrade.   Considering that we accumulate files and folders to fill the disk space available, it is not easy to create such space.
You get this to  know this information after you purchase the upgrade and before it starts download…

A nice movie to end the year

It is 10 PM on 31st December 2012.   We are at home.  TV programs suck big time.  I had recorded in my Tata Sky+ (Digital Video Recorder), the Hindi movie English Vinglish which aired a couple of days back.  The original schedule of the movie was 8 PM to 1.05 AM - a staggering 5 hours 5 minutes. Considering a Hindi movie would be utmost 3 hours, this meant a staggering 2 hours worth of ads - understandable, considering it was a "World Premier" and the TV channel would have paid sizeable amount for the movie.

Now, the advantage of recording a movie is, it allows you to fast-forward (rewind, pause, as well, but that is not relevant here).   This meant, we could fast-forward ads (at 30x speeds, which meant a 10 minutes ad break could be skipped in about 10 seconds).   Interestingly, many channels now show a countdown to the resumption of movie. This allows you to decide when you should stop the "fast-forwarding".  Of course, if you do jump past the ad break, you can …