A few months ago I received a Kindle for my birthday. It was one of those WoW moments! The last time I experienced a similar or more WoW moment was when I owned a MacBookPro. These Apple folks just know how to design stuff. More on Apple in a another post…back to Kindle. Amazon did a wonderful job in making the Kindle readily usable as soon as you switch the device on.
The Kindle I have is Kindle Keyboard 3G…the newer touch versions are pretty cool too! I downloaded a load of books and started reading on the new toy. The feel of reading a book on this Reflective Screen Kindle (RSK) is very pleasing. It uses e-Ink technology that works whether you are in normal reading light zones or reading under bright sunlight. Amazon also has its tablet – Kindle Fire…which is not a RSK but lit like any other tablet/smartphone in the market. Fire maybe good for everything else but I think it’s a strain on the eyes to read for a long time…hence I prefer RSK for reading. A single charge with wi-fi/3G turned off on Kindle lasts for roughly 1-2 months. That’s pretty long if you have already downloaded a few books for your travel. Downloading an entire book is usually less than a minute. I charge it maybe twice a month and I read almost daily for an average 30 minutes. Kindle has become one of my best companions especially when I am traveling.
Amazon has also enabled borrowing of certain publishers’ Kindle titles from a library. So if you want to read that fiction badly but don’t want to spend money on it as it would be be single time read, you may be able to borrow from a participating library. It also allows certain owned titles to be loaned out to friends for a period of 15 days. It also has a library of its own where it lends books to Amazon Prime primary users.
While I am reading on the Kindle, I can look up the dictionary meaning of a certain word, highlight a sentence/paragraph or a the end of reading a book…rate & tweet about it. I couldn’t be happier! 3 Kindle devices share my books and it’s a great way to share your books with family members.
The Kindle Keyboard is also audio enabled. Some books have text-to-speech…so if your commute is long and you need a break from NPR/fav radio station…you can have the built-in reader read out the text-to-speech enabled books to you. Another audio function…and this is my favorite…is that you can play music while reading…! I downloaded a few nature sounds from Amazon MP3 Store and I have it playing in the background while I am reading the book. So, while I am actually in the room/train/plane, the nature sounds make me feel that I am in a park/beach. Of course, you want to use a earphones so that you don’t disturb your neighbors and in fact the output is much better when you use earphones.
So far I have read about twenty books on it. Not to forget the blogs that I have subscribed to and I also play Sudoku on it sometimes. Surely, my Kindle has kindled my passion for reading…!
It is said…a smile is a curve that sets everything straight. Well, I agree…mostly when it is in person and more importantly in moderation. This day & age of SMS lingo…IMHO…”:)” is used a bit too much and that has a reverse effect by making it plain annoying!
Why not just smile by using a single emoticon and only when required…instead of using it at the end of every statement…or worse repeat it a hundred times consecutively?
“Am good…thanks! ” [I don’t know if the smiley is actually needed here]
“I am so happy for you ))))” [Those extra emoticons actually make me sad]
Hey what about those extra unnecessary exclamations!!!!!!! )))))
I am on my way to my first ever technical conference of sorts. I am excited to say the least.
The conference is called 2010 PASS Summit. PASS stands for Professional Association of SQL Server, a huge conglomerate of individuals who do great service to the SQL Server community…it’s like the MVP program but on steroids, IMO.
Many co-workers of mine have attended this conference in the past & swear by it’s impact on their technical advancement. On of them in particular, Grant Fritchey, is ultra excited & claims that every passing PASS is the best one ever! His excitement is contagious. He is also presenting a few topics this time as well.
I will have the honor & privilege of attending sessions of (and perhaps meet a few) greats such as Brent Ozar, Tom LaRock, Adam Machanic, Paul Randall etc. So far, for most of them, I have just been following their online presence through twitter & their blogs.
This year the board has an excellent initiative called OC or PASS Orientation Committee. OC will guide or orient newbies like me on how to get max benefit from this summit. I love this thought!
A hard part of attending these conferences is to choose one interesting session over another that happen at the same time. I am guessing there are tips out there for it as well in the OC program.
I hope to learn new things in & around SQL Server and network with the industry greats.
I plan to write a short summary of the sessions i attend but my track record of regular blogging is not exactly impressive. I hope this will turn it around.
Recently, a friend of mine who works for Microsoft, gifted me Windows 7 Professional. I was all excited to update my 2006 laptop which had Windows XP Home on it.
The instructions were clear, Win 7 from XP was going to be a custom installation unlike an upgrade from Vista. I seized the opportunity…took backups, did a clean install after formatting the drives. It didn’t take long…20 minutes tops. I was impressed with the speed of installation since I have seen historical Windows installations run for hours.
The installation was a breeze and everything worked fast. I wouldn’t generally use IE (I love Firefox), but IE 8 on Win 7 seemed more responsive & faster than the one on XP Home SP3. Windows 7, then did the updates…pretty quickly too…and attached a bunch of warning symbols on device icons that needed some troubleshooting since it didn’t have the right drivers.
My laptop is a Lenovo N100 0689-85Q. I looked up on the Lenovo site and there were only 3 drivers for Windows 7. I installed all of them. I noticed that my audio wasn’t working. The mixer would show activity but there would be no output. I restarted a few times, uninstalled and re-installed the driver but there was no sound. Windows Update didn’t report any problems with my audio drive either. I looked up online and found that I was not the only Lenovo owner to face the audio issue.
The forums suggested that I install the SOUNDMAX driver for Vista. I installed it a few times…but it was of no use. I then uninstalled (not just disable) the existing audio driver that Windows auto-installed and navigated to the downloaded setup file and manually installed (not just the download+run exe routine) and voila I could hear voices! Happy with myself, I watched a few House episodes that I had missed while i was on vacation. Rejuvenated!
Oh, the troubles are not over yet. I have a few more things to fix. The in-built webcam’s video output is inverted, the finger-print device for logging in needs to be installed, the SD card-reader probably needs a new driver. I think that should get my system back to it’s original working order and a little more improvised & classy. Will update the experiences if they are unusual.
Did anyone else face weird issues while upgrading to Win 7?
Recently I was reading up on port forwarding and in the related topics I read a few articles on WiFi security. I was totally disappointed with myself that I was still running my WiFi on WEP! I immediately made changes and switched to WPA2. I felt more secure & experienced a weird sense of relief.
I am hoping that you have some form of security setup for your home WiFi. With what I gathered from reading those articles, there are a few levels of security for home WiFi:
No security at all (Unsecured)
If your WiFi is setup this way, you better start taking charge before an illegitimate user locks you out of your own WiFi!
Hiding SSID & Mac Address filtering
There are many articles that you can google up (bing up?) on these two possible ways of securing your WiFi. Personally I find this very tedious. Especially with Mac Address filtering where you need to ask the user’s Mac address and enter it in the router web-form. I am too lazy to do that. It is believed to be hackable too…by spoofing the Mac addres…I have absolutely no clue how to do that but apparently it is possible. So I convinced myself that I am not going to stick with this kind of security. Oh and hiding SSID piece, apparently there are a few applications out there that will pickup even the hidden SSIDs.
It stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. I used this for a long time and was fortunate to not have any geek hacker break into my WiFi (or so I think). Well, this uses a password, but some dude somewhere proved that he could crack it and get connected to a WEP WiFi in less than 5 minutes! That doesn’t make WEP promising at all. Although, I don’t know how many geek hackers surround you in your neighborhood who want to use your WiFi, this option is better than unsecured WiFi. WEP can be made a little more harder to break if you combine it with Mac Address filtering. However, there are better options out there.
WPA stands for WiFi Protected Access and is a certification program to overcome the weaknesses of the WEP security system. WPA was considered strong with its TKIP (Temporal Key Integrated Protocol). While it is stronger than WEP, it was found that there are some weaknesses with TKIP as well and so WPA2 was introduced with its AES algorithm making it the strongest available security option for WiFi security today. During its setup, there’s a pre-shared key (PSK) that you are required to provide. It is advised that you use a password of minimum 10 characters in length for this PSK.
I think WPA2 with TKIP+AES is the best option to secure your home WiFi, today! If you are already on WPA2, congratulations! If not, I highly recommend you setup your WiFi accordingly! Good luck!
When SQL Server database files fill up a drive, one solution is to move the files to another drive that has room. It’s a standard & easy task:
SQL Server 2000: Detach the database, move the files, Reattach (in the process resolve the logical filename to the new physical location)
SQL Server 2005/2008: You can do the same as above. There is however another way – instead of detaching the database, you can just take the database offline. Then move the files, remap the logical name to the new physical location and bring the database online.
Here’s a sample script for the online/offline method:
/*Move DataFile1.ndf from C drive to D drive*/ALTER DATABASE MyDatabase SET OFFLINE
EXEC xp_cmdshell'MOVE C:\Data\DataFile1.ndf D:\Data';
ALTER DATABASE MyDatabase MODIFY FILE
ALTER DATABASE MyDatabase SET ONLINE
I have found offline & online a lot cleaner & easier than the attach & detach.
I am often asked how AJ can be a nickname for Raghuram. My general answer is: the same way Bill is for William, Bob/Rob for Robert, Jack for John, Lisa for Elizabeth, Jim for James etc. Well, the real deal is that AJ is derived from Ajay (my name in family circles).
I didn’t need “AJ” at work/school while I was in India. But when I stepped out, I found that my first name was generally not so easy to pronounce. I had to make it short, easy & it should still be me! I recollected a group email conversation where my wife addressed me as AJ. I didn’t think I needed copyrights on my own nickname, so I flicked without permission . I liked the idea of deriving AJ as a short & extremely easy to pronounce nickname for Raghuram. I wish I could program this effectively!
Ironically, “nickname” has more letters than “name”! Most names have a story/history and perhaps nicknames have an additional element – creativity! Ah…that’s it…that’s what’s in a nickname and I think it needs egregious ingenuity to come up with Chuck for Charles or Dick for Richard!
Disclaimer: All of my blogs and its comments are merely & solely the authors’ own general opinions. It neither represents nor is directed towards any individual or company or country or ethnicity or community or group.