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.