Harry's Tech Space

Read my experience with different products and technologies.

Category: Reviews (page 1 of 2)

Product reviews

my opinion on Toilet: ek prem katha

ALERT: This post is not a review of Toilet: ek prem katha, which I went to watch yesterday, but about peak at chain reactions launched by that movie in my brain. The movie is story of lady who fights hard to get toilet at her husband’s house despite opposition of her FIL( expanded as father in law). For a guy who was reading “Thinking Fast and Slow”, this movie launches you in flight path covering cognitive biases.

History of toilet

Since the movie is on toilets, and sanitation, its better to begin with its history. Since humans are also animals, they feed and and create by product called “sandaas” which nothing but the food which couldn’t be digested. In case of animals , they shit every where they want. Since they are lesser in number compared to humans, they are not capable of creating sanitation troubles.

Once humans got settled, they  started with idea of having a common place for shitting. Normally it was besides some stream. When stream option didn’t exist, the concept of private toilets took hold. The person who cleaned these private toilets are today’s version of shudras. In case of ghandhiji, he had this rotation of cleaning works in his society in South Africa. He even forced kasturba to do the cleaning works. This putting everyone on same plane later aided immensely during freedom struggle.

In the meanwhile, when the so called shudra’s revolted against oppression of toilet cleaning, 2 ideas gained immense traction. One was in considering the toilets as a filthy place, you get to see this cue in movie a lot of time. The other idea was of jugaad system of open air toilets. People would take their ‘lota’ and walk to far away place to shit. then cover the shit in mud like cats do. Though the idea of open air toilet was logical continuation when tasked with toilet crisis, the first one was, blatant mistake. The misconception of toilets being filthy place (in fact they are cleanest place in house, due to regular cleaning) gave more runway to open air ones, more than needed.

bias of taking easy route by system 1

if you have completed atlest 20% of Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, you would have come across loads of biases human mind has. One of the relevant bias shown in the movie is of taking easy route to a difficult problem. In case of toilets, when private toilets were expensive thing, the easy route taken was going to fields. Where as another genius took the difficult route and invented S – pipe which is even used today as its most effective airtight seal to keep the bad odor away.

Though the idea of easy route ‘jugaad’ can get things done (India is functional because of this thing) but its not appropriate all the time and leads to other problems. Jugaad of open air leads to problem of viruses strains getting stronger.

When band-aids of easy routes stack up, it becomes very difficult to change course. Personal Finance is one such field.

havoc of easy route in personal finances

Toilets, biases and its play in personal financesLike toilets, the field of personal finance has lots of chronicles of people taking easy route to repent badly. Many take equities because of its tax free status after 1 yr, an easy route but totally ineffective. Other one is buying endowment life insurance and calling it as investment. Similarly putting in truck loads of money in small cap equities during market peaks. Putting all the money in FDs and playing victim card when FD rates fall. Not writing a will and leaving the things to succession law for division of assets (normally happens after a fight between siblings). Jumping the ship when there is temporary sign of trouble. buying a house at exorbitant price in posh established locality, with an exorbitant EMI’s. Relying solely on employer based health insurance cover and calling it as a right.

All these are various forms of easy routes one takes in personal finances and all of them are going to get one in trouble.

Challenges faced by neha while selling her cook stoves

Leaving aside the history of toilets and getting to present, we do have this overt resistance to change tendency still now. The picture beside is of clean cook stove that works on firewood. If one has read though interviews of Neha, one of the founders of this company, you would have gotten a glimpse of difficulty they faced convincing villagers to buy these stoves.

Initially they tried to to sell it on the product’s low pollution credentials and they couldn’t succeed. The when they tried selling it, it will reduce darkening of walls and also result in quicker preparation of food, it was successful.

In movie akshay too tried initially to bring awareness from outside by shamming people and other techniques. All these fell flat.  Change came through when the grandma falls and then they learn the importance of having toilet in house.

Similarly demand gets generated from within. I learned importance asset allocation when I had to book losses in equities. The lesson here is that importance of a thing is learnt when hard times comes. The lessons of keeping book clean for banks came when RR started swacch bharat of bank balance sheets. Need to have clean air came to Political class of Delhi when thick smog surrounded the city.

opinions on acting in Toilet: ek prem katha

In simple words, this movie is simply good. It succeeds in bringing awareness about having toilet in household. Restraint shown by both actors fits well and there is no over acting or under acting ( have seen quiet a lot now a days). Akshay portrays guy of 28-35 age well. Bhomi’s character of strong willed, firebrand and loyal women reminded me Neha.

what next might happen, deprival tantrums thrown by brain

Though movie ended with positive note by wife going back to her husband. Many will have trouble changing course. When sudden changes happen our mind gets in deprival mode and starts throwing tantrums to get back to old system.  This deprival tantrums is built in to all of us. Hence it becomes necessary to make habit of changed thing. That habit can be like my habit of buying stocks at their 52w lows just to avoid deprival reaction thrown by my own brain when a stock is making new highs. Writing investment diary so that reason for selecting a stock is etched permanently. learning knife skills to etch cooking skills permanently.

As the core of movie was about “soch badlo”, I should add “soch badlo aur uski aadat bano”. 🙂

My opinions on my TP-Link Wi-Fi Router

TP Link WR941ND Wi-Fi Router
I recently purchased TP-Link Wi-Fi Router WRT941ND on Amazon India. Since my mobile as well as Laptops both connect to internet, I needed a device to share internet connections with them. I decided to zero in on this router because of 3 antennas, Wi-Fi 802.11n and NO Nonsense features like cloud routing. Below is the purchase link for this router if you want to purchase it in India.

The router was dispatched to me immediately and set up was very easy. One can set up the router either through router’s setup URL or can install it via CD. Both the methods are effective and work fine.

Contents Inside the box

  • 300 MBPS wireless N router TL-WR941ND
  • Power Adapter
  • RJ 45 Ethernet Cable
  • Quick Install Guide
  • Setup CD
  • 3 Antennas

Router Setup
Only 1 cable is supplied to connect the router to modem, if you want to connect your Desktop to router then you have buy a new cable. If you want other components like Antennas you can purchase them from below given links.

Technical Specification

The specs of router is as per the price it commands. The price hovers around INR 3000. Here is the list of specs as mentioned on box.

Device Specifications
Standard IEEE 802.11 n / g / b
Frequency Range 2.4 ~ 2.4835 GHz
Wireless Data Rate Up to 300 Mbps
Antenna Type 3 Detachable Antennas,
RP-SMA Connector
Interface 1 x 10/100Mbps WAN Port
4 x 10/100Mbps LAN Ports
(All ports support auto-negotiation and auto MDI/MDIX)
Front Panel LEDs Power, System, WLAN, WAN, Ethernet (1,2,3,4), WPS
Internet Connection
  • Dynamic IP(DHCP),
  • Static IP,
  • PPPoE,
  • WEP
  • WPA / WPA2
  • MAC Filtering
  • SSID Control
  • SPI Firewall
  • Access Control
Other Advanced Features DDNS, VPN Pass-through (IPSec / PPTP / L2TP)
Physical Specs
Dimension (W x D x H) 7.9” x 5.5” x 1.1”
200mm x 140mm x 28mm
Operating Temperature 0oC ~ 40oC (32oF ~ 104oF)
Operating Humidity 10% ~ 90% RH,


After setting the router up, I tried connecting to it from room diagonally opposite to room where router was placed. I was able to connect to router with signal strength of 80% which show 4 bars. Signal Strength as shown in Tray

Then I loaded Chrome tried to access websites, I was able to access Facebook, Gmail but couldn’t access Yahoo! and other smaller websites. Initially I thought of site being down or some sort of censorship. I spent some days ignoring and hoping problem would resolve. After waiting for many days I googled for cause of problem. I later came across this site named small business computing which published an article which told the root cause of problem (link). Then I found out the root cause of problem was MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) size being too high. After reducing the MTU Size, the sites and everything started working normally. Follow the steps below to set MTU Size.
Screen to set up WAN Connection
Advanced Setup screen to adjust MTU Size

Troubleshooting Tip: Setting the MTU Size

  1. access the router’s web control panel by typing following URL “http://tplinklogin.net/” [Tip: This works even if there is no internet] or “” [Tip:This IP address is specific to router and network config hence double check before use] in address bar of your browser.
  2. Login to control panel typing username and password you set while router’s initial set up.
  3. Go to Network->WAN as shown in above images.
  4. In WAN settings click on “Advanced” button at the bottom of page.
  5. In advanced settings page decrease MTU size by 10 and click save
  6. Open the sites which were not loading initially in another tab or window,
    If the sites load properly close the router control pane and enjoy!
    otherwise repeat the step 5 till the sites are accessible.

Remember: Maximum MTU Size for DSL connections is 1492, most websites on internet use 576 as their MTU Size. For more info on this problem read from this link. The Problem of MTU Size affects all routers, hence know how to change MTU for your router by visiting manufacturer’s website.


Performance wise this router delivers a decent performance. The pricier sibling of this router WR1041ND provides more features like USB and Gigabit Ethernet at Higher Price. Due to its much lower price there are some tradeoffs one has to make while buying this router. due to absence of USB port one has to forgo some USB functionality like print servers. The LAN & WAN ports on router are not gigabit ports hence do not expect superfast Ethernet.

Despite the tradeoffs, this router is still worth buying. If you want much more bargain, then consider buying WR10141ND which sells around INR 4000. Or you could wait for 802.11ac routers which offers gigabit Wi-Fi experience.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

My opinion on Samsung Galaxy Pocket

I purchased Samsung Galaxy Pocket through Flipkart as I wanted badly an android device to test apps I used to write or practice on. The test apps I write are based on version 4.0. as the book I read is based on it. But since Sony Erricson Tipo running android 4.0 was priced around INR 9,000 way above my budgeted limit, I decided to go for a compromise “phone” Samsung Galaxy Pocket.

The Galaxy pocket was priced near INR 7,000. Spec wise this phone was competing well with Tipo, with 830MHz processor, android 2.3.6 Gingerbread, 3GB internal memory. Even if I was compromising, it wasn’t much (P.S. I don’t think or count about visionless companies, when making product choice). The critical thing which felt bad about this phone was lack of proximity sensors.

The OS was major compromise for me. Since the OS is 2.3.6 API level 10, I had to make of lot of back porting in this version. The main features like Fragments, Cursors, and other things I use heavily are available through Support libraries, but since core components like activities do not support them directly, the coding is more convoluted for these features. Since I had  Stack overflow help in writing out app, It didn’t matter much.

The phone was good spec wise. The important specs are

Processor: 837 MHz single core processor, ARM A6i core,
RAM: 289 MB
Internal Memory: 3 GB (Expandable up to 32GB)
Display: 2.8” 320×240 screen

The phone came preinstalled with regular apps like Google+, Play Store, Maps, Gmail, Chat On, Samsung Apps, etc.. Along with that I have installed huge array of apps to my phone, around 80apps I think.

Since the display resolution is very less, some apps which deal with huge content might choose to not support the phone (Ex: Pintrest). The screen resolution is 143ppi (pixels per inch) which comes under LDPI screen category, in app programming. Since Pintrest is one of my key apps, The effect of compromise hardened.

Coming to Processors, The clock speed of 837MHz is good, but phone is no match to performance of LG Optimus One P500 with 600MHz processor. Main difference between these 2 phones, is “Quality of ROM”. LG’s phone was mid range when launched, hence the quality of firmware is good, where as Pocket is entry level phone from its very launch, hence inferior firmware quality. Also phone has tendency to heat up things, when heavy GPS usage, or heavy Wi-Fi network switching work is being done.

Samsung has done clever thinking in providing device with 289MB ram, which is much higher than 256MB present in entry level. But the huge array of low quality firmware, and apps, do take toll on this limited RAM. Overall phone is quick, only if you have tendency to close apps by hitting back button instead of home button. But since I am hardcore user, with tons of apps, This phone couldn’t handle my pressure easily.

The phone had trouble with vibrator, as it suddenly started vibrating continuously(P.S.: I doubt its because of some misbehaving downloaded app, than phone), and get hanged, along with it its famous CP Crash error. Also phone has lots of preloaded apps, which can’t be removed.

Since I am budding android developer, I have tested many apps on my phone. Overall, my feel is, this phone not worth being developer phone. One can buy this phone only if his usage is limited(which is certainly no in my case). This phone is strict no-no if you are guy who get featured in “Highly Productive list”, or an avid gamer.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Tata DoCoMo Photon+ Review

A weak ago I signed up for Tata DoCoMo Photon+ Mobile Internet Service. I had to settle for DoCoMo because BSNL EVDO modems were in short supply in my city. Initially contacted Airtel(Airtel Office), Vodafone(Univercell), and DoCoMo(local shop) for plans. The Airtel and Vodafone were 3G Plans with 2GB free usage, DoCoMo was 2G plan with 10GB of data usage. Unwillingly I decided to go for DoCoMo as shop was nearby and initial plan seemed good bargain for me.

My Expectations with any ISP’s

There are always some stand set of expectations with any ISP’s I normally choose.

  • I always hate Fair Usage Policy(FUP). Also I hate as well as avoid the ISP offering it.
  • I expect freedom of browsing. my browsing doesn’t restrict to just HTTP or HTTPS protocols. I use multitude of other protocols. Hence I prefer to go for ISP’s which open access to all ports and protocols on it.(For security firewall will be there)
  • I use huge amount of data, in the form of downloads, news reading, photo sharing, video streaming. Any plans which are not measured in GB are ridiculous by my standards.
  • I normally measure quality of ISP by the speed it offers(upstream, downstream and ping), and how huge and affordable are its data plans.
  • Also I dislike comments by shop owners, who call plans 3.1MBPS plans as 3G plans, I differentiate modems based their technologies used such as UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA, EVDO, CDMA. Shop owners fool the customers by telling EVDO plans as 3G plans. for me EVDO can never be 3G plan. its 2G technology for me.

Tata DoCoMo Photon+

I decided to go for photon+ because of its 10GB free free usage. But is was 2G plan with browsing speeds up to 3.1mbps. but in reality the average speeds was hovering around 155kbps. It was like deal breaker for me as I was trying hard to download various android API’s at that time. The download speed was able to touch its peak only at night 2am,that too it was 1.5mbps.

Based on terms and conditions TTSL has explicitly mentioned of review and apply of controls in case of Peer to Peer traffic, under pretext of network protection. They have also mentioned plans to throttling speeds in case of excess network load. Below is the screen shot of speeds. based on “speedtest.net”  and “pingtest.net” results.

16-05-2012 05-27-35 PM

ping testping test 2nd run

As ping speeds are concerned very happy with the service. compared to my BSNL Landline connection which had ping times around 300. As far as Download and Upload speeds are concerned I am very pissed. Based on time of test I could give OK rating for DoCoMo, but the way their service initially behaved, speeds of their portals and also including the P2P traffic, It was downright pathetic and simply over debited my Trust account with them. The portals and net access itself told me about how unethical TTSL has become, which is bad signal for TTSL in another 3yrs. Another turn off for me was determining Usage indicator. Tata Indicom is portal is way slower than “snail”, and it forces me to gift them some HP Blade Servers.

Now good thing about TTSL are. TTSL still has some quality in their call centers. they were able to help me properly when I finished my quota but the call volume was lower which made me grasp only the outline of things. I even misunderstood RCV 700 as RCV 500 on call. As far as billing is considered, TTSL is ethical in that aspect. They promised of 10GB free data transfer and they did deliver those 10GB data transfer but at an unreliable speeds. The Huawei modem provided is good, but we can’t change its SIM. The indoor signal strength was good with Almost all bars. It is also because the area I live is like heart of the city.

My Conclusion

Tata DoCoMo is advisable to those who want a decent internet service and those who live in heart of the city. The service fails badly if you live far off from city or heavy internet user. If video chats and streaming services are of high priority to you, then don’t give 2G ISP any chance, they are going to disappoint you badly. These wireless ISP are recommended for those who are constantly on move and require some internet connection. Hence in this regards TTSL is better. If you use very data intensive task better go for Wire line broadband. For Students, its better you people be customers of BSNL. There are no ISP’s which can give a decent internet experience for students as students rely heavily on P2P networks. In MBA lingo, I would rate DoCoMo as “sunk” cost as service is not up to my speed. I have already considered Photon+ as service which I will replace immediately once I have other alternative available.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Cooler Master Notepal U3 review

Some days ago I ordered for Cooler Master Notepal U3 for my laptop Dell Studio 1558. I ordered the product through “www.flipkart.com”. The need for laptop cooler arouse because my heavy dependence on internet and worst quality of cooling systems in my laptop. I selected to purchase this cooler mainly because it supported 3 adjustable fans powered by a single USB extender.

The speed of all 3 fans is adjusted by a speed control wheel which also acts like a clip. The base is made of aluminium, hence heat dissipation is quick. The Rubber bar at front and back prevent laptop from slipping. Full aluminium body makes it good for heat dissipation and its open design

The full specification of the product is given below.


Materials Aluminium, Plastic, Rubber
Dimension(W/D/H) 420 x 320 x 65 mm
Weight 1035g
Fan Dimension 80 x 80 x 10mm (3 fans)
Fan Speed 950 ~ 1800 R.P.M
Fan Bearing Type Rifle
Compatibility supports all 17”, up to 19”
Operation Degree 11.5 degree
Power USB 5V DC
USB USB 2.0/1.1 x1, USB port for Power-In

The contents inside box includes

  • Cooer base with anti-slip rubber stick x1
  • 80mm fans x3 with attached USB Extender x1 and Speed control clip x1.
  • elastic belt x1


Cooler Master has indeed done some thinking work with this product. The aluminium base dissipates heat quickly. The fans push the cool air into your computers hence the internals of the computers will also be cool.But the main problem is this product is designed for 17” computers, hence this product’s power is wasted if you use it with 15” variants.The problem i faced was my laptop was slipping on it. as its bit smaller.

As for cooling efficiency is concerned this product does its job.  I had placed fans below my CPU fan vent, RAM vents and 3rd near HDD and GPU vents. fan cooling HDD and GPU was placed between the vents of both. My HDD doesn’t have vents but there is vents besides it which can push cool air to HDD too.

The screen shots of temperature monitoring gadgets is shown.

without load

Temperatures without load on CPU

furmark testing

GPU Heating benchmark.

furmark GPU load

the temperature when GPU was loaded by FurMark benchmark.

after testing

Few moments after the benchmark tests were completed.

Cooler Master Notepal U3 does work fine. The adjustable fan provide adequate cooling. to all peripherals. The best thing about this cooler is its metal surface for heat dissipation. This cooler can also work as strong protection for your laptop too. USB extender is very useful feature as it doesn’t loose you a USB port on device. This product is good for its price tag of `1919(on flipkart.com). For 15” laptops its better to head for U2 version.

Note: Flipkart delivers products only in India.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Facebook Messenger for Windows

Earlier today TechCrunch leaked a news about Facebook’s messenger for windows. Later it was reported that facebook has officially unveiled the Messenger for Windows as download link in its help center. Which can also be directly downloaded from this link. The report was actually leaked by Israeli blog TechIT.
This would be big blow to other desktop messenger services like Yahoo! Messenger, Live Messenger etc. as Facebook has huge user base and this move would result in Facebook capturing market share of other messengers. This messenger would result in driving the engagement on Facebook.com higher. But still the messenger is still in testing phase hence bit buggy. Here is the photo of the new messenger as sidebar.
Facebook messenger
The messenger is in its bare bone form. The upper portion contains ticker. Bottom is chat portion. Clicking any item in ticker will take us to that post in Facebook. The Chat section is similar to Facebook version. The messenger is similar to facebook sidebar. The difference between messenger and sidebar is that messenger resides on our desktop whereas sidebar is rendered in our browser.

Here is the link for help on this messenger.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.


BSNL the State Owned Telecom operator has been providing the 3G services for a long time. I jumped into 3G bandwagon last month. Overall I am satisfied with the service barring some headache with setting the phone to 3G. Setting up 3G required some digging work in settings page. I did some googling on GPRS Settings for my mobile to set it up and make it working. I use my Nokia 3600 Classic and I had to do lot of digging work to set up the connection. Settings weren’t sent to my phone, hence I manually did the work.
The following type of changes were made to phones.
Connection Type: Packet Data
APN: bsnlnet
Authentication: Normal
User ID & Password: keep this blank.
Server Addresses: Dynamically configured
The phone i used to test 3g was Samsung Monte. The settings had to manually configured as the settings preloaded were not working. It seems that BSNL has not brought 3G under the same APN. For some of my friends in south the APN was gprssouth.cellone.in.

Is it worth going for it?

The 3G is worth for those Richie riches who use/exploit its additional services/features. I would suggest BSNL to those who have lots of patience and those who are “truly” geeks and also RICH. BSNL has best equipment’s for 3G as well as 2G but have tough time managing those equipment’s hence don’t expect much of service from them.
If you think 3G as mere fast internet service then you are wrong as 3G opens floodgates for lot of services. Apart from SMS, Calls it also offers Mobile TV, Mobile Broadband Internet, Video Calling, Radio and Music Streaming etc.. In short 3G makes your mobile a mini  PC. If you want to make only calls and SMS then don’t even smell around 3G as its very expensive and overkill for you. Go for 3G only if you are avid user of its services and can’t live without it.

BSNL 3G Some Info

As we know the state run operators have huge asset base to roll out services like 3G to users at incredibly cheaper rates. BSNL uses UMTS 3G standards. EV-DO 3G also known as CDMA 3G is available for a long time from BSNL. The main problem with CDMA technology is that it is made mainly for voice calls. UMTS is extension of GSM Technology.  As per analysis done on BSNL its major problem lies in its bureaucratic structures and pathetic customer service. As said earlier the BSNL is for those “technical wizards” and highly patient creatures (which is very unlikely to find now a days). Its better you get the hang of your handset settings and also do loads of googling on each settings. Novices are bound to have tough time with settings.
Coming into costing section. The SIM cost me `59. Additionally, the FRC of `120 (6month validity and no talk time) had to be put. Luckily BSNL has not gone deep into tariff wars (which in reality is also “bleeding” the operators) but economical top ups of `50,`100 are available along with other special offers for unlimited internet usage n Mobile TV. The initial free bundle is good with 2000 local/national SMS, 100 min free Video Call, 1GB Free Data Download.  Its better if our average spending per month is at least `150, If spending is less than `150/month then its better you use PCO’s (not even landlines) as your spending is going to bleed the operator. But still call charges are also not darn cheap also. local voice calls to BSNL costs 60paise and local other network voice calls cost 70paise. Messages are charged at 30paise. Check with BSNL website(www.bsnl.co.in) for its tariff structure.

Final Comments

For those who can’t resist being out of 3G its better to jump into BSNL 3G as the service is also good.  3G is not advisable to those who are “price conscious” and “technologically (un)conscious”. If calls n SMS are your only priorities then be in GSM only don’t even dream about subscribing to GPRS package too. Based on comparison of data plans by DoCoMo and BSNL, I found out that BSNL is king.
First list your desires and priorities with 3G and then only jump into this bandwagon. In MBA Lingo the pricing scheme of 3G services is called as “skimming” and prices are bound to drop over time as market advances. If you can’t pay for higher prices, its better you wait and watch.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Dell Studio 15 review

The studio 15 laptop falls in midrange or mainstream segment of laptops. For many this segment consists of all laptops costing between `40,000 to `60,000. This segment laptops generally have entry level discrete GPU units from ATI or Nvidia included. This segment laptops are for casual gamers and generally give Windows Experience Index above 4.5.

For many people spending on these segment laptops is hefty investment, hence people start considering the value these laptops provide. Since many people have different values, their perception on these different laptops too differ a lot. This post is about what is the thing which makes this laptop to shine. Before going details into this lets see the bundle.


The product I received included

  1. Laptop
  2. Battery and Power Adapter
  3. Targus Backpack
  4. Creative EP-630 In-earphones
  5. Product Manual
  6. Drivers and Software CD / DVD’s

Specs of laptop has already been reviewed in March month’s post.

Best thing about this laptop:

The core competency of this laptop is in watching HD Movies. The Mobility Radeon HD 4570/5470 Graphics adapter can easily handle 1080p movies. But for gaming HP DV6 and VAIO CW gives tough competition, both have better graphics units than this. If you go for Bluray and 1080p screen combination then price will be around 53k. The slot loading drive is good option. The best thing is the customisability available. But graphics units cannot be swapped which was minus point. The 720p screen on my laptop gives tough competition to others in this range, as picture is very crisp and colours are vivid. The Creative earphones bundled does emit decent sound hence movie watching in this sounds good. The “SRS Premium Sound” gives better sound stage from speakers as well as earphones with customised presets for Movie, Game and Music. The multi touch track pad is responsive but misfires a lot.

Worst thing about this laptop:

The optical Drive is the worst thing in my laptop. The optical drive is from TSST Corp. The first one was not reading any CD’s. I wasn’t even picking up the inside too. Directly spitting out. The drive which I got replaced has very high error rates around 50% in writing.Only 1 out of 2 discs would be burnt successfully. The drive reads and writes only “Sony” DVD’s. For CD’s it reads and writes only Moser Baer and Sony. The ODD took nearly 5 minutes for mounting Encyclopaedia Britannica and starting setup. The same process in my other Compaq laptop took not even 1minute. The USB Drives are tight hence its not easy to plug and unplug the peripherals. Roxio burn provided is not the best for writing to disc and I couldn’t burn multisession discs with it also.

Bottom line:

As all products have plus points and minus points the laptop is overall good. If we rate this laptop will get the rating of 7.6 out of 10. This laptop also supports booting from USB Drives. The absence of numpad is not a big minus. The keys are big enough for faster typing and one could easily get used to it. The backlighting option is also available which adds up to plus. For artist edition the outside looks like creative artwork. If opened inside its strictly professional with only 2 logos of Processor and Windows 7. The Dell logo is below the screen and at the top it has 2mp cam which is not apparently visible.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Personal Financial Management with Technology

Why I must manage my finances?

This question is asked to me by many of my friends. I constantly get messages of my friends getting into bad debt and ruining their life. Do you want to be one of those? If answer is no, then you have got the answer to main question too. Since you have decided now to manage your finances, You have to go through the ABC’s of Financial Management too. What are the major things one need to know to manage.
  1. Planning.
  2. Act on the plan.
Planning – This is the process of creating plan document or in another way creating a snapshot of your future with the rules,regulation, path to follow etc. shown.
Action – This is the process of implementation of plan.
We all know that computers have revolutionized the way we work, communicate and live. So we can use computers to even plan  also. We have software’s and websites devoted for personal finance management. The popular website and software in this category is Mint.com and Quicken. We can use Excel for budgeting also. But the software’s offer much better control. In spreadsheet based solutions its easy for tracking 1 account, but the user needs to have lot of experience with various excel commands and its too rigid. In the specialized software’s its cake walk for user as learning curve is pretty small and the solutions are pretty robust. I Currently use MS Money Plus Deluxe Sunset edition. The limitation of this edition is the automated transaction download and host of other features are disabled.
Many people used to suggest me just control spending and spend only on necessity which would automatically put my finances on balance. Even though this method is fairly simple, it cant save you from disaster. The reason for this is – when you know how you are spending on things, you can allocate budgets properly. Suppose you wanted to build house and you use spending control method, it would take 7-8 years to have substantial savings to invest in house. Whereas in budgeting method you can allocate 10% of your salary specially allocated to this activity.

Budgeting your finances:

This work can be done when you are in control of your spending. Here are some golden rules of budgeting.

  1. Keep your monthly committed expenses, including taxes, to about 60% of your gross income.
  2. Save 10% for retirement and 10% for long term expenses, such as down payment,new car, major home repair or other big, infrequent purchases.
  3. Set aside an additional 10% for smaller, irregular expenses, such as new home appliance, a minor home or car repair, or a new battery for your laptop.
  4. Use remaining 10% for wild, crazy parties( or anything which strikes your mind fancy).
  5. Involve participation of all the family members in preparation of budgets.

The above given rules were provided by MS Money Expert MP Dunleavy in start with saving, the spending will follow.
To some these might pose as daunting task if the taxes are high. But planning on these lines will yield you to enjoy your life as it is able to absorb some amount of financial shocks.

MS Money Screenshots:

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Planning the finances:

As you have come to know the comprehensive view of MS Money system. Its better to plan our lifetime spending so that we can retire happily. To plan our lifetime finances its necessary to have good budget. Once we have a robust budget we can use Planning tools of MS Money or other Personal Finance software’s to plan our lifetime budgets. We can use the average inflation rate to keep the plan more realistic. We can use the pen and paper for planning but since these software’s are more advanced and accurate, these software’s are suggested for usage.

Implementing the plan:

The last page of financial management is implementing the plan. Planning is waste if its not followed by implementation of the plan. Its the implementation which distinguishes one from the crowd.
For more tips on personal finance visit MSN Money : Personal Finance MBA Guide to Personal Finance.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Tweet Deck Review

We all know about “Twitter” – The most popular micro-blogging site. The twitter is actually an API(Application Program Interface) which can be embedded into many devices. This API is used to build Twitter Apps for different things like Mobiles,TV’s, PC’s etc. Tweet Deck is one of Twitter’s desktop client. Developed by “Tweet deck.com.” They have developed clients for iPods, Macs n Linux also. Tweet Deck is not just twitter client it can also be used to post updates to Buzz, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare.
Here are some of the images of this app.
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the bar is shown below the columns. It has many function on columns like marking posts as read.
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This is the posts column which lists all updates.
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This program is developed on Adobe AIR platform. Its very easy to use. The ability to post tweets to multiple accounts is certainly worth mentioning as it had removed hassles of posting tweets to many accounts.
The control panel of this app is breeze using it. Controls neatly packed in side tabs. It has update filtering mechanisms in Global Filtering settings. The account tab holds the accounts we manage. The service tab hosts the controls for Photo update services and URL Shortening services. Colours and Font tab controls the appearance of app.
This is worthy enough to give it a try. Try this one if you tweet a lot.
my twitter account is “@harshankola”.

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Dell Studio 1558 Crysis Benchmarks

Before delving into bench marks lets know some thing about this laptop and this game.
Dell Studio 15 is lower middle class laptop which has slightly powerful hardware than inspiron series. The previous post explains the features and synthetic benchmark results of this laptop. This will tell about Crysis game scores only. The benchmark scores are recorded using FRAPS.

About Crysis:

This game is developed by Electronic Arts and Crytek (Makers of Far Cry). The game play takes place during 2020 on an island in South China Sea. US Dispatches the elite squad to know the status of the scientists held by KPA. The game is story of person code named as “Nomad”. As the game progresses the story begins to unfold. This is Alien First Person Shooter game.


Here are some screenshots captured at low detail settings and 1024 X 768 resolution.
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Here are the results for the Crysis Game. Once the anti aliasing set the frame rates take hit. For very spec it was totally unplayable. The game is played at the Resolution of (1366 X 768) 720p. If the resolution is toned down to (1024 X 768) the game is playable at mid settings also.image

You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Review of my new Dell Studio 1558

It was Sunday night, I was eagerly waiting for my new shiny beasty Dell Studio 1558 to arrive. As soon as my house bell rang “Jai Shree Ram” I jumped out by bed and ran to welcome home the beast. I kept the “lappy” in front of idol for a while and took it inside.

I booted the computer. It booted quickly thanks to its massive hardware power it has. I was pissed at it because entire disk space of 500GB was made 1 partition.  It couldn’t be shrunk to size less than 160 GB because logical drives can’t be shrunk beyond the point where unmovable files are loaded. I was pissed with this thing and decided to format my entire hard drive. I checked what all software’s which needed to be backed up but didn’t find any. I deleted all the logical drives including the factory restoration drive and installed the fresh copy of Windows 7 Home Premium from the disk shipped with the laptop. The OS Installed within 15mins. After that, I started testing the components. Below is the results of various tests.

System Configuration

Processing power

Processor: Intel Core i3 350M @ 2.26GHz (2 Cores, 4 Threads, 3MB L3 Cache, 32mn Fabrication)

Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD4570(80 Shaders, Shader Model 4.1, 680MHz Shader clock , 512MB GDDR3, 800MHz Memory Clock, 55nm Fabrication) PCI x16, 64bit bus

Storage Capacity

Disk Drives: HDD: 500GB SATA300 @ 7200RPM, 16MB Cache.
Optical Disk Drive: Slot loading 8x DVD +/- R/RW DL Drive(SATA150, 2MB Cache)
Flash Memory: 1x SD Card Slot
RAM: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM(Running at 1066MHz for Arrandale CPU)

Connectivity Options

Bluetooth: Dell  Wireless 365 Bluetooth module
Wi-Fi: Dell Wireless 1520(802.11 a/b/g/n) WLAN Half Mini Card
Ethernet: 1x 100Mbps Ethernet Port
USB: 3x USB 2.0( 1x Shared with e-SATA Combo)
Sound: 1x Mic In, 2x Speaker Out
Other: 1x IEEE1394

Other features include 720p LED Backlit Brightview screen. Multi touch trackpad. And Standard Keyboard without numpad.

System Ratings

Lets start the system ratings by Microsoft Index itself.

Microsoft Windows Experience Index

The base score for this system is 5.0. Which means that this system is capable of CPU Intensive tasks. My Old Laptop had score of 2.6 which is considered to be ideal marks for office productivity tasks. The Break out of different options are.

Processor: Calculations per second is rated: 6.2
Memory: Memory operations per second is rated: 5.9
Graphics: Desktop performance for Windows Aero is rated: 5.0
Gaming Graphics: 3D Business and Gaming Graphics performance is rated: 6.2
Primary Hard Disk: Disk data transfer rate is rated: 5.9

Futuremark Suites

The PCMark Vantage marks for my old system stood at 1331 PCMarks. This computer returned pretty sexy score of 4760 PCMarks. Config of my old laptop is Celeron D @ 1.6GHz, 1.5GB DDR2 RAM, 80GB SATA150 HDD. Intel GMA Graphics(4Pixel Shader,1 Vertex Shader).

The 3DMark 06 marks of my old system stood at 149 3D Marks. This system had totally different marks all together. The marks of this system was 3931 3D Marks.

Cinebench 11

The Cinebench scores for my old system were nil for Open GL and 0.37 in CPU Tests. The new system scored 3.97 in Open GL and 1.80 in CPU Tests. Which is pretty decent scores if we consider Quad Core’s getting around 4 or 5 in CPU Category.


See the pictures of my laptop. These are taken from my Nokia 2600 Classic handset hence pics will be grainy.

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You are reading an Article by Harsha Ankola, originally posted on Harsha’s Tech Space. If you have enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Harsha on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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