Monday, October 20, 2014

VU Android TV in India

I have been thinking
  • Android TV device
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • and a few other things that I can't remember right now
Last week, I read that Flipkart was taking pre-orders for a VU Android TV.

I have no idea what it would get me into.

But, hey it is Diwali, and why not have a blast.

So pop I go online to pick it up.
I just hope I am on the right side of Android

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lego Toy for a 5 Year old Boy

My daughter got her first Lego set after her 8th Birthday. Lego friends it was. Without a doubt. More about it in a later post.

Diwali is the time to gift. And if the gifts are for children, it becomes really interesting.

I recently met Arnav. And I asked him, "What is your age?"

He said nonchalantly, "Four and a Half Years".

Since then, I have been thinking which Lego Set would get him onto the path of constructive building that in turn would also hone his fine motor skills.

With just an hour of search, I was able to find Lego Creator Sunset Speeder.
Lego Creator Sunset Speeder, Multi Color

It may look kiddish, but it could get even the adults hooked - fast and furious.

Finding the replacement battery for the ASUS X53S Laptop

When the OEM battery on the ASUS X53S Laptop showed extreme signs of death, it was time to call the ASUS guys.

Ready to Die !

Will I ever find a 5200mAh battery again?

I don't think that the ASUS name is incidental. On one end are their products that are no doubt cutting-edge, but on the other end of the spectrum is their apathetic customer orientation.

A quick call to their Gurgaon center and pat came the suggestion to go for an original replacement battery that would cost close to ₹ 6,000.0 . I was OK.

When I asked for the next steps, I was told:-
  • Asus will raise an invoice.
  • You please make a bank transfer.
  • The battery will be shipped.
I thought I was sorted.

It has been more than four months and I am yet to receive an invoice.

It is time, large companies like ASUS, also started reporting "lost sales" in their quarterly results. It should be good fun.

While picking up the Dell Inspiron N5010 replacement battery from Amazon, I decided to double the leap of faith and also pick up the A32-K53 replacement battery for the ASUS X53S Laptop.

If you are reading this on a mobile, Click Here to Buy on the Flipkart Mobile App.

Will it be a double whammy? Fingers crossed.

Dell Inspiron N5010 Replacement Laptop Battery from

So, I had been looking to find a replacement battery for the Dell Inspiron N5010. As I type this post out, it gives me an exact back-up of 3 minutes and falling. Here is what it looks like. Almost brand new.

Almost impossible to find Battery of the Same Specification

Following from my earlier post on the Dell Inspiron N5010 Replacement Laptop Battery, it is clear that buying a replacement battery is at best a shot in the dark. A step towards the unknown. There are many reasons.
  • Dell covers you only for 90 days and it not exactly clear what they cover you for.
  • A whole host of online resellers with warranties extending from Zero to 12 months, just confuses you.
The Solution - Leap of Faith. And that is what I am about to take.

You too can. Join me on Amazon / Flipkart

If you are on a mobile, Click Here to buy on the Flipkart Mobile App

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Audacious Axe Unilever Lax

It was 8 PM in the evening. It was just like another day.

My eight year old daughter had just switched on the TV to watch Baal Veer on SAB TV.

She has been seeing Baal Veer for over four months now. She happened to come to know about Baal Veer through her friends. (More on that kind of referral in some other post)

She is usually all by herself while watching Baal Veer. On this particular occasion, I for some reason, sat down along with her and began reading from the Nexus.

Occasionally, I would look at the TV distracted by the sound-byte music. Then comes the ad break.

The daughter continues watching.

Knorr soups OK.

Some biscuit OK.

Axe Deodorant, Excuse Me !!!

And what rubbish, the same Axe AD is repeated in every Baal Veer ad break

I was really upset.

I knew there was a way to complain. I asked my NITIE batchmates on the whatsapp NITIE IM6 group. And there was the answer.

IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation)

On the IBF website, displayed prominently is the link to Lodge a Complaint to the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC). Thankfully, it did not come down to BCCI. The complaint can be lodged both, online and offline. In the case of offline, you have to download the form (Hindi / English), fill it and mail it to IBF.

I filled in an online complaint. The only issue I faced was in managing the complaint within 1000 characters. And since there was no character count tool on the website, it was a painful user experience. Eventually, I did manage to submit the complaint.

The IBF Online complaint submission was Easy

Now to see how they redress the complaint.


On choosing the category of complaint as "Ads Related", the following message is displayed.


So, it seems that the correct forum to complain about the AD is Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

I decided to submit the complaint to ASCI, as well.

The online complaint form did not generate a Tracking Number as should have been the case. So I decided to call them on 1800-22-2724 to find out. I was advised to email my complaint to and I did.

Here is the copy of my complaint for the reader's reference.


Baal Veer is a children's program played on SAB TV every weekday at 8 PM. Owing to its popularity, even my 8 year old girl watches and enjoys it. Such is the magnetism of Baal Veer that she promptly finishes her tasks so as not to miss out on even a second of the program. And I need not explain how difficult it is to get kids to do their things on time.

So, during Baal Veer, she is glued to the TV more than 100%. As the only child in the house, she is usually all by herself while watching the program. As parents, we do not disturb her during the program. We are sure that what she is watching is OK for children.

Until, a few day ago. The Axe deodorant Advertisement was being broadcasted on all the ad breaks of Baal Veer. As a parent, I was shocked. Even my girl was visibly uncomfortable.

This is unacceptable. What kind of standards are these?

As an upset parent, I demand an explanation from the broadcaster, the advertiser and the media agency, the basis for this action. An apology is not enough.

And of course, the Advertisement should be taken off immediately.


Will all this work out? Let us find out.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finding Osmo

My daughter is 8. It is really heartening to see how she is learning and growing.

Yesterday, she came around to use the word Talisman. I was excited.

Always on the lookout to support her continuous learning, I randomly came across OSMO. Intrigued and interested, I am keen to check it out. Here is a quick video about Osmo.

If you are a parent I would appreciate your views and feedback about Osmo.

My first impression - OUTSTANDING. Awesome stuff Team Osmo.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dell Inspiron N5010 Replacement Laptop Battery - Where to Buy?

The Dell Inspiron N5010 is now four years old.

It still runs (unsuccessfully) on the original battery. The battery is also four years old, but dead many times over. It is more like a really bad UPS.

On couple of occasions, I have attempted reviving it using the freezer method. It has not worked for me. Logically, it should have. But, it didn't. Do give it a shot, though.

It was time to buy a replacement, given the erratic Gurgaon power supply.

It was but natural to check out the big Dadas of e-commerce in India.
  • Flipkart
  • Ebay
  • Amazon
 And all of them disappointed. Not in terms of price (can't complain on price), but in terms of TERMS.


Please refer this Link. These were the issues that dissuaded me from going ahead with it.
  • 90 Day Warranty is not good enough
  • Not all the User reviews were comforting


The price was attractive, but not the seller. These were the issues that dissuaded me from going ahead with it.
  • Seller categorically stated that the battery was NOT ORIGINAL. Whoa!
  • See point above.



Did not make it to Amazon. By that time, I was clear that I had to buy it directly from Dell.

Let's see how that works out !

Friday, July 25, 2014

Choosing HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3545 e-All-in-one

I want to buy a home printer.

The wife says, "This HP laser printer is useless". The daughter says, "I want color printouts for school and for fun". And I think to myself, "When I have money I will get the best printer money can buy".

So, the brief is clear.

Zero headache color printer that is inexpensive to acquire. (I am assuming I will have the money to finance its running costs)

Before venturing out into a formal internet product research, I put out a printer recommendation request into a strong Whatsapp group - my NITIE MBA bacthmates. (more on this remarkable group sometime later)

Pat came two responses. HP F4488 (Sumeet) and HP 3545 Ink Advantage (Ruchir), both HP deskjets around the 5,000 Rupees mark. It looked like a good start to the research process.

Getting the Basics in Place

Armed with couple of printer options, I decided to read a bit about buying the perfect printer. There is neither a perfect printer nor a perfect way to find a perfect printer. Nevertheless, you may choose to follow these pointers.

Checking out Printers Online

A quick check on the HP India website for printers gave the following almost similar options:-
  • HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3545 e-All-in-one
  • HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 4515 e-All-in-one
Both seemed same, except for a 2000 Rupees price difference and also a few features like multifunction, memory card slot and a touch panel. It was time to call the HP helpline. I was also keen to check,
  • Ink Cartridge costs and refilling frequency, especially when not used.
  • Printing from Linux OS
  • Mobile printing
I called the HP Helpline on 1800-180-1810 who asked me to call 1800-200-0047 (HP Total Care) who again asked me to call 1800-112-267 (HP Technical Support), where I finally got my answers. Phew !

The technical support officer, very confidently, assured me that there isn't any material difference between 3545 and 4515, and that "HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3545 e-All-in-one" is a good decision. It had all the need-to-have-features. The cartridges cost about Rs 500 apiece - black and tricolor, and would be good if used atleast once a week.

Less than 2 - 3 man hours into the search, I was close to the decision.

Not to be partial to HP, I also checked out the Canon India and Epson India websites. It wasn't easy to look around. The PIXMA models caught my attention. Since I had more than made up my mind, I left them a message through the "Contact Us" page. Only Canon responded via email, but sadly did not follow up through a call. I would have liked up.

Now, where do I get the best deal on HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3545 e-All-in-one Printer? Quikr ? OLX ?

Watch this space !

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Its True, Facebook Friends are Useful

I have an airtel broadband connection (wireline) at home. I am neither happy or unhappy about it.

Problem with the Airtel Broadband Connection

Last few months, I have been experiencing an "internet connection loss" while accessing some websites. In order to successfully access the website, I usually have to refresh the browser 2,3,4,5 times. All this is utter productivity loss.

And this is how the problem looked. The Google Chrome browser would display a "resolving host" message on the lower left hand side of the browser's status bar and then eventually would return a blank page.

Solutions Attempted

I attempted the following (all unsuccessful) after going all over the internet.
  1. Changed the browser, no luck
  2. Flushed the DNS; don't think it cleaned the drain.
  3. Reset the modem multiple times (the amateur solution)

Facebook to the Rescue

If you still remember the topic of the blog, hats off to you. 
Some of my Facebook friends are networking professionals. So, I thought about asking them. But, instead of approaching them directly, I opened up the communication on Facebook with a 'Public' post, lest the others had a solution. And you know what, the problem was solved. Thank you Raj Kannan for the suggestions !

The problem was with the DNS settings. Initially, when I was facing "internet connection loss" , the DNS settings were set to 'Automatic'. Once the DNS settings were changed to those given by Airtel, the problem was solved. Kindly refer to the image below for the DNS settings given by Airtel. They may change for your connection, so please call Airtel on 198.

DNS Settings by Airtel

Happy Surfing !

Thursday, July 17, 2014

UX UI Modi

If you have been on the internet long enough, there exists a good chance that you would have landed on a Government of India website.

The GoI websites are no different than their offices. Till, the Modi Government came in, that is. And the most telling change is online.

Prime Minister Logs In

I think it began with the website of the Prime Minister of India, when it was launched seconds into the swearing-in of Narendra Modi. While there is more that can be done from a UI / UX perspective, the first impression has the necessary impact.

Website UI - Prime Minister of India

When I first saw the website in May 2014, needless to say, I was impressed. What I did not realize that this may not be an isolated initiative.


Looking up for information on the Indian Real Estate sector, as part of an assignment, I revisited the IBEF website. India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) is an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

The IBEF website is the go-to online repository for all information related to India's sectors - Retail, Energy, Manufacturing, to name a few. All the information is usually current and updated. During my management consulting days, it used to be a time saver.

The UI and UX of IBEF website was never an issue. It was OK and definitely not as bad as websites of other ministries of the Government of India. And also, since the focus was on the updated sector reports, there was no apparent user friction in the information discovery process. But, this was in the past.

The new website of IBEF (just discovered) is slick, sleek and smart. Smart, because, now one has to register to download the reports. It seems the Government wants to know.

Brand new UI UX for the IBEF website

The UI and UX bug seems to be spreading in the Government. This is good. Hopefully, this is the Government's way of saying that it is keen to make business, really easy.

Will UX and UI go well with Policy? It remains to be seen. The beginning is encouraging, though.

All the best, Government of India !

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Can I recall the email that I just sent out on Gmail ?

The short answer - NO.

Just in case, you figure out your mistake in less than 30 seconds, then there is help.

It is called "Undo Send". You will find it under the "Labs" tab in the gmail general settings.

I found this solution thanks to the Google Product Forums community and of course, my carelessness.

Source :


"Undo Send" Timing

The "Undo Send" feature provides for the following timing options in seconds:
  •  5
  • 10
  • 20
  • 30


Until, Next Time

Next time you commit an error and hopefully realize it within 30 seconds, just click "Undo"

Just Click "Undo" to Recall

Kindly note that the "Undo" message would automatically disappear after the set time limit. In this case, it was 30 seconds.

The Learner's Learning Predicament

Every new week, I look forward to reading from my favorite news sources.

These include the magazines, newspapers and of course, the erudite columnists. (Well that gives me an idea to do an exclusive post on my reading list.) The newspapers and magazines do a fine job of introducing new ideas and complementing current information. The columnists take this one step further. Some columnists through their powerful articulation and clear line of thought, help unclutter ambiguous subjects. It is indispensable to give them a read.

But, nothing compares to the sheer joy of reading about something you usually don't think about, though it always lingers in the sub-conscious. And what if that prose comes from someone who you always look upto. Someone who you have met and admired. And that someone would only write seldom. He is Dr Kiran Seth.

And here he is writing about his learning predicament as a student. I am thankful that he shared Ustad Zazir Aminuddin Dagar's quote.

"Ek sade, sab saade, sab sade sab jaaye;
        Tumhe 'Re' pe jaane ki ijaazat tab hai jab tumhe 'Sa' ka darshan ho jaaye ".

Here is the entire write up. Enjoy !

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I saw Germany pound Brazil 7 - 1

Staying awake for the 1.30 AM (Indian Standard Time) 2014 FIFA World Cup football match is always a toughie.

There is always the risk of extra time, possibly followed by a penalty shootout. Eventually, you loose productivity, the following day. But, if it is the semi-final, featuring the World's best (Brazil Vs Germany), these concerns are hardly an issue. The fan is game for a match, and it better go down to the wire.

Alas, that was not to be.

28 Minutes into the game and the match was sealed. Germany had an unbeatable 5 - 0 lead against Brazil. I was witnessing history, a melancholy one, albeit. The Germans were scoring at will.

After Klose scored the second goal, it looked as if Brazil just forgot, how to play Football? They were in such a state of shock that I doubt if they truly realized that they had suddenly conceded three more goals in a span of five minutes. It was unbelievable.

The capitulation of the World Football Superpower was utter, total and humiliating. I cannot even begin to think how the brazilian fan in the stadium would have felt. Brazil's maximum punishment of 30 years imprisonment might just pale in front of this.

Unsurprisingly, it also became the most talked about event, ever, on twitter. The Twitter staff declared that more than 35.6 million tweets made it the most discussed single sports game on Twitter. Here is what it looked like on Twitter.

On social media, what began as criticism, quickly slipped into ridicule. Parodies and Memes continued till about 24 hours after the match. It needed the Argentina Holland match to bring in some sanity.

Brazil's play off with Holland for the Third Place

I skipped the Brazil Vs Holland match for the Third Place. It seemed that the whole World knew the outcome. Only the intensity of the outcome had to be established. I doubt if Brazil would have ever gone into a game, with the whole World expecting them to be decimated. I think they did well. They lost to Netherlands 0 - 3. But, the humiliation was complete.

Well, every cloud has a silver lining. The only way now for Brazilian football is uP.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BigRock falls on the Head and Disrupts Web Hosting

I have bought domains from Google, GoDaddy and BigRock. And the most have been from BigRock - one, two, three, four and now, five.

Business with Big Rock

The first year domains have usually come at reasonable cost. And if I renewed, then cost wasn't an issue, relative to the business.

Hosting Services - Outage

All the goodwill changes when it comes to hosting services. Not only are they expensive (compared to competition) but on a couple of occasions, the hosted site has been down. Just about a week ago, Inbound Mantra was down for around 48 hours. I am still unable to blink off the eye sore in the Google Analytics traffic report.

Sadly, BigRock has been nonchalant.

Till date, I have not received any explanation for the outage, leave aside an apology. It seems their customer service works best only at the time of buying and setting up hosting services (I must say they are good at it).

Would you like to recommend any hosting services?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Basement Car Parking is now OPEN at HUDA City Centre Metro Station Gurgaon

It was a Saturday morning. An errand followed by a lunch meeting with a batchmate in Hauz Khas, South Delhi was the agenda.

It was a routine commute. But there was a small twist. A small surprise. And the Black Santro was all too happy about it.

Basement parking is now OPEN at the Huda City Centre Metro Station.

If you have never parked your car out in the hot Gurgaon Sun, you may be unable to appreciate the joy that this new development brings to fellow commuters.

If you have not taken advantage of the car basement parking, here are some photos to guide you.

Basement Parking is now OPEN at Huda City Centre Metro Station

Way to the Basement

Just follow the Yellow Line on the appended Google Map, to make your way to the basement.

Aerial Map of the Huda City Centre Metro Station

The Basement Car Parking at HUDA City Centre

Information You Can Use - Commuter Notes

  • Ask for HELP at the Entry Gate - If you are confused about the exact location of the basement parking, it is best to ask the parking fellow at the Entry Gate.
  • Parking Assistance in the Basement - There are enough guards to guide you to the proper parking slot in the basement.
  • Exit - This is through a separate ramp, other than the "Entry". Once out, the guiding path will lead you to the original exit gate out of the parking area. While exiting, the guiding path is narrow, thanks to oddly parked vehicles and the recklessly parked motorcycles of Dominos delivery boys. But, it is not a matter to be too concerned. You will be able to take your car out, albeit cautiously.
  • Parking Fees - It remains the same. Rs 20 for the first six hours. No pocket burn, thankfully.
Kindly feel free to add / suggest newer inputs on this subject, if any. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Robben and the Bankruptcy of Sportsman Spirit

The FIFA World Cup 2014 is now at the knockout stages. (Round of 16)
The pressure to win is palpable. And that too, at any cost. What else would prompt one of the World's finest football forwards to indulge in repeated dives for the sake of a penalty. Introducing, Arjen Robben from the Netherlands national football team.

Mexico looked all set to hold on to the single goal lead to cruise into the Quarter Final till a superbly executed corner found Wesley Sneijder stabbing the equalizer in the 88th minute, two minutes before final whistle. Imagine the horror, if you were a Mexico fan, cheering in the stadium. If that weren't enough, what followed immediately, was a poorly timed penalty decision in the dying minutes of injury time. Mexico was booted out. Arjen Robben, the kicker. Take a look.

During the entire game, Robben dived and dived again, till he succeeded at last. The following video captures his antics, brilliantly.

Twitter captured the outrage of the football fans. Robben's apology after the match only added insult to injury.

It is in times like this that you begin wondering what Sportsman Spirit stands for. Is winning more important than the game itself? What is it that makes fine sportsmen do things on the field that would shame them ?

Or maybe it does not apply if you have "Rob" embedded in your name !