Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Understanding technology made easy

The Common Craft site explains a lot of things that people want to know about new technology by using plain English in very easy to follow videos.

Some of the videos that I liked and I think are a must watch are

Video: Web Search Strategies in Plain English  - Explains beautifully how search engines work and how you can improve your ability to find things. If you are running a website it also tells you how you can improve the chances of your website appearing on top of the heap of search results.

Video: Twitter in Plain English - If the twitter bug has not bitten you yet. Then this may get you to start sending tweets. Happy twittering after watching this.

Video: Blogs in Plain English - If you are unable to understand how I am able to publish all this content for you to read then this is the video to watch.

Video: Social Networking in Plain English - Gives you a very easy understanding of the future of meeting people and making new friends.

Video: Social Bookmarking in Plain English - If you have ever wondered how you can tell all your friends about something nice that you have read online then this is the video for you.

Video: RSS in Plain English - Are you visiting my website everyday to check for updates and leaving disappointed. Then this is the video for you that shows you how you can keep up with all your reading online.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Before moving to DTH enquire about after sales

For all those that are thinking of moving from regular cable to DTH be sure to ask about the after sales service and how much they charge for it. I bought the Tata Sky DTH service about two years ago and it worked without  any issues till now. With the rains and the wear and tear on the dish the wire connecting to the dish came lose and I was getting a problem with the reception. Not understanding what the problem is I called up the Tata Sky help desk and they asked me to do a bunch of things with the set top box that did not help. The problem was still there, all it would say was "Unable to receive signal".

So I asked them to send a technician over to take a look and the first thing they told me was that it would cost me Rs. 350 for the technician to just visit my place even if he did not do anything. This I think is ridiculous for equipment that has external wiring and is bound to go through wear and tear. Some examples of similar equipment is the internet connection, telephone or even cable TV. They do not charge us (Thank God) for each time there is an issue which is mostly with the wiring.

I do not know what are the charges for the other DTH operators. So if you'll have any other DTH service other than Tata Sky do let us know what they charge so that others can make an informed choice. And in case anyone from Tata Sky reads this post I fixed the wire on the dish but each time it gets cloudy I get the "Unable to receive signal" problem.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google's new browser - Chrome

I downloaded and started using Google's new browser, Chrome since today morning and so far it has been an enjoyable experience. Let me tell you what I like about it so far

  • It is very neat in its usage of space by reusing the title bar to show the tabs, reusing the address bar to do searches too. The uncluttered feel of the browser with sleek buttons is very refreshing.
  • The pages seem to load a lot faster - I have not done any real tests but at least that is the perception. May be it is because they give you a status of what is happening and that is the reason you feel the pages are loading a lot quicker.
  • The fact that each tab is its own process and there is a task manager that you can use to kill a process/tab without effecting the other tabs is something that is long needed. After the experience of IE crashing all the open browsers if you kill one of them in the windows task manager this is like a god send.
  • The browser used very little memory and you can see clearly which pages were using the memory. I opened the same pages in both IE and Chrome and noticed that Chrome was using at least half the memory that IE was using.
  • All my web pages worked with absolutely no rework in Chrome. This is refreshing after having to fix web pages in almost every browser release till now.
Everyone is talking about how Chrome is going to be an IE killer. But I think it will initially be a Firefox killer and there after be an IE/Safari killer. But I am sure of one thing - it will become the dominant browser very soon for all the reasons I stated above. IE and Safari come with their operating systems and people who use them will find very little reason to move because IE and Safari are quite good in their own way. It is the people who try out Firefox that will first move to Chrome. There may not be many that will move initially since Firefox has a rich collection of add-ins that make the browser awesome to use. So till the add-ins for Chrome get developed Firefox will survive.

So try out Google Chorme - it is easy to install and does not spoil any of your existing settings. To try out and read more about Google Chrome visit their website www.google.com/chrome.