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  • Whoa, didn’t realize November went by

    Posted on November 30th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Much was achieved. We launched Call-n-Tweet!

  • …followed by a busier September

    Posted on September 30th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Sigh. I’ve been tweeting away, though, so if you’re on there, follow @schandur. Thanks.

  • Busy August

    Posted on August 26th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    I came back from Bangalore in the 3rd week of July, but ever since that time I have been busy busy INSANELY BUSY with work. So much so that I haven’t had time to run or go to the rock-climbing gym near my apartment. We’ve been working on some cool new projects, the details of which I cannot divulge at this time.

    The India trip was very good, something I definitely needed – since I hadn’t been there for more than 2 years. Bangalore is growing and continues to amaze me as a city. That said, the bandwidth available there could definitely use an uplift. I wonder if anyone is bringing in fiber-optic networks. With all the digging going on, one might as well jump on the bandwagon now and save people the trouble later. In any case, I spent some much-needed time with relatives and friends (not as much as I wanted to with friends and more than what I wanted to with relatives, but o’ well).

    I also managed to eat food at some of my favourite (and the city’s best) restaurants (or hotels as they are more commonly known as), including Vidyaarthi Bhavan, Dwaraka Bhavan and Brahmin’s Coffee Bar. Words can’t describe the dosas and idlis and vadas that you get at these places: they are simply mouthwatering.

    Now I am back in New Jersey, more specifically Jersey City, with its plethora of Indian restaurants. Like I said in the beginning, it’s been a busy month. I should be back with more blogging next month.

  • In Bangalore

    Posted on June 19th, 2009 Sandeep 2 comments

    I landed in Bangalore last Saturday. Of course, if Air France was on time, I would’ve landed late Friday. Spanking new airport – liked it a lot. What else has changed in the city over the last 2 years since I moved? The new B-TRAC traffic management system, which apparently started last October. At the rate the number of vehicles is growing, this was badly needed – and it seems to be doing a good job. Lots of new signals, road dividers, one-ways, etc., all over the place.

    If it were the old Bangalore, the traffic would’ve been chaotic without traffic management in place. Now, it’s just added delays at the signal but the traffic keeps moving, which is a good sign. There are also more Volvo buses plying across the city. Pity there’s no direct bus to my office, otherwise I would’ve loved to use public transportation in the city.

    Didn’t know I missed Kaveri water so much. Hey, if I can survive tap water in Jersey City, I can drink tap water anywhere else in the world ;-)

  • A Wordle analysis of Techbook

    Posted on May 5th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Wordle just won the 2009 Webby for Best Use of Typography. So I just had to run it on Techbook.

    wordle-analysis

    Click for larger image

  • Gmail Language Selection Feature FAIL

    Posted on May 4th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Why? Because it doesn’t exist, apparently.

    The last few days I’ve been visiting maps.google.cz. Today when I opened Gmail, Google decided, for whatever reason, to present me with the Czech version of the site. I don’t speak Czech, and naturally I looked around for a “Gmail in English” or “Change Language” link – but couldn’t find it anywhere.

    gmail-other-language

    Click for a larger image

  • A new look for Techbook

    Posted on May 1st, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    After several months of running the very nice Almost Spring theme on my blog, I switched to the Gear theme today. Let me know if you like the new look.

    Of course, the fact that JD upgraded the WordPress version to 2.7 was a major factor in getting me to make the switch.

  • Save on Calling India with Airtel Call Home

    Posted on April 7th, 2009 Sandeep 5 comments

    So you just signed up for a shiny new Airtel Call Home account to call India (and other countries) from the USA. The rates (at the time of this writing) are competitive, at ¢6 per minute to call mobile phones and ¢7 to call land lines, when you call their toll-free number. What Airtel does not let you find easily is the fact that you can bring this down to ¢5.5/minute and ¢6.5/minute respectively if you call their non-toll-free numbers.

    What is a toll-free number?

    According to the FCC’s website:

    Toll-free numbers are numbers that begin with one of the following three-digit codes: 800, 888, 877, or 866. Toll-free numbers allow callers to reach businesses and/or individuals without being charged for the call. The charge for using a toll-free number is paid by the called party (the toll-free subscriber) instead of the calling party.

    Which basically means that when you call Airtel’s toll-free number, they pay for the call. If you call their non-toll-free number, naturally the savings are passed on to you. If you call this number from a mobile, you end up using your minutes anyway, so you can save some money by calling their non-toll-free number. (Also, many companies offer triple play packages – phone, internet and cable TV – where they bundle unlimited national calling within the USA).

    Where do I find Airtel’s non-toll-free number?

    From the Local Access page, that’s where. Local access numbers for the Newark, NJ area are, for example:

    • (201) 300-4547
    • (732) 284-3376
    • (908) 279-8561
    • (201) 621-0638 and more

    The next time you call Airtel Call Home, make sure you call the local access numbers!

  • Bug on the BBC Website’s Most Popular Stories widget

    Posted on April 3rd, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Bug on BBC\'s website

    In the last few days, I noticed that the “most shared” stories list on the BBC website has had duplicates. Anybody at BBC notice this?

  • Becoming disillusioned

    Posted on March 31st, 2009 Sandeep 1 comment

    After playing with some of the latest phones, I have to say I am becoming a little disillusioned with the whole thing of finding the perfect mobile phone. I think I should just give it up and stick with a basic phone for what it’s meant for: making and receiving calls.

    I think it started with the Google phone, the HTC G-1 from T-Mobile. So many things were wrong on the phone, but that didn’t stop numerous blogs and websites from praising it. True, the phone has a lot of features, but when it prevents me from making a phone call quickly and/or efficiently, that’s when it stops becoming useful to me. Bless those who designed the user interface on this phone.

    When the focus shifts from the user (“we want to provide the user with the best possible gadget/service/thingamajig”) to the technology (“this is so cool, it has GPS, and voice dialing, and maps, and location apps, and…”), there’s going to be a big drop in adoption rates from lay users. And last I checked, they outnumber the techies and the geeks and the in-betweens. The G-1 is a classic example of this scenario. I don’t know who was behind the phone UI (Google/HTC/T-Mobile), but please stop them from making more phones with such interfaces. It seems more like a rush job (limited testing; no emphasis on giving the user a sane message when something goes wrong; etc.) to please investors and the first wave of eagerly awaiting Android developers who wanted the hardware platform to test their applications.

    The apps themselves are nothing great to write home about. Most of them are Android ports of existing applications, and there’s no cool application unique to the platform (at least none that I have come across so far; if anyone has, please comment).

    So anyway, like I said, it’s making me want to go back to the basics. Maybe I should get that ham radio license while I’m at it.

    UPDATE (01/Apr/09): Fixed typo