Configure Facebook Chat on Message for MacOS X

Last week, Apple released beta version of the new chat/message client Message and I liked its interface and design. It is a great gift for users with multiple iOS/MacOS devices, you can start the conversation on one device and continue it on any of the iOS/MacOS device. It officially supports almost all the popular chat services such as Yahoo, gTalk, AIM etc.. but it does not support Facebook chat but there is a way around: Read more …

Horrible Fast Track Chennai

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I have been using Fast Track Chennai for almost a couple of years now, and I realized that I really need a better alternative in Chennai. I have missed my flight twice, reached late at least ten times and lost my temper almost every second time I call them to order for a cab. I can cite numerous reasons (yes, my list is surprisingly long!) but here are three major ones:

1. Their drivers are ill-trained and they never understand their responsibility of informing the customer in case their vehicle is broken or they are running late (which they almost always do if you need them on time.).

2. The call-center employees never understand your requirements and your timing and pick-up address are prone to be goofed up most of the time. Often then tend to attend more than one customer at the same time. Yes, you can easily make this thing from the phone call.

3. I know that it is my stupidity/lethargy/idleness that I did not learn Tamil and I understand that the drivers are not supposed to be fluent in Hindi or English (though most of the time Fast Track people assure me that they are sending driver who understands English), but I do expect the drivers to know the routes in the city. I am not able to count how many times I have got delayed or paid twice the normal fare due this reason.

There are a number of other operators whom I have started trying instead of Fast Track. Anyone knows a better option in Chennai?

How to configure iCloud mail on Android and other devices?

After three days of initial outage, I finally got my iCloud mail id working. It was really strange the way iCloud smtp server behaved. But anyway, I think this problem is over. After configuring iCloud email on my mac and windows, I really needed it on my android phones so that I can check my mails on the go. Here is a step by step tutorial for configuring your email client on Android phones (the setting works almost on all the devices). Read More ..

 

The Mind of the Market

For someone who works on ‘understanding markets’ and is familiar with previous works of Michael Shermer, picking “The Mind of the Market” from the bookshelf was an impulsive decision. And, the blurb made it clear that I have an interesting read for my weekend.

Shermer, drawing extensively from behavioral economics, neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology, offers his explanation of our seemingly irrational and often unpredictable economic behavior. Shermer, en route to his explanations, builds an excellent repository of cutting edge research in several disciplines and provides his readers a plethora of interesting examples and theories which have been part of great debate among academics; this itself makes his book immensely valuable and enriching. He starts with drawing parallels between Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and Adam Smith’s invisible hand makes a cogent argument about interconnectedness of these two seminal works and how they affect behavior. His rebuttal of ‘Homo Economicus’ might not be very convincing to some but it does provide some good insights nonetheless. 

“Morality of the market” and “morality and market” are the two themes you will come across in many chapters.
While Shermer confesses the limitation of research findings when applied to real life settings, yet he does resort often to the same for his arguments. Shermer cherry-picks cases and examples to establish the creativity and efficacy of markets and its self correcting mechanism; and this has invited a fair amount of criticism to this book. This was almost expected if you consider that Shermer is also known as skeptic and wrote a scathing criticism for Ayn Rand’s philosophy in his essay “The unlikeliest cult in history” , in this book Shermer the skeptics takes the back seat and Shermer the libertarian emerges very strongly.

Reading list – 2011

Fiction
1. Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro Kazuo
Highly recommended if you are looking for a good thought provoking science fiction.  A mushy story about the lives of clones who were raised to be ‘donors’ for human beings. Was shortlisted for Booker in 2005.

2. 1984 by George Orwell
I read a couple of dystopian novels recently. This was surely one genre defining novel. Does not need any recommendation.

3. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Probably the most widely read novel by an African author. Loved this book, reading this book was a pleasure. Simple story, simple writing, great impact.

4. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevesky
One of the greatest Russian novels. You will love the struggle of ‘the original’ protogonist  with the materialistic society. The tragic love story of Prince and Nastasya adds a number of new dimensions to relationship and love.

5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The second dystopian novel that I read this year.

6. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain
A very highly rated crime novel. Some people put this novel in top 100 novels of last century. Did not impress me that much, story seems too familiar.. probably I read too many adaptation or saw different versions of the story in some movies.

7. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Somehow finished it. I am not a big fan of horror stories, Stephan King’s writing and story telling skills made me tolerate this one.

8. Along came a Spider by James Patterson
Wanted to read some light fiction and picked the Alex Cross series for time pass. Nothing much to write about here. A time pass.

9. Max: Maximum Ride by James Patterson
Juvenile fiction. Well just picked it out of curiosity and lack of other options.

10. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
I read this 15 years ago, could not get much of this book at that time. Re-read it.

11. 2666 by Roberta Bolano
A slow and very lengthy novel. Over 1000 pages. It was an ordeal in patience and test of my passion for reading as the story did not move much in first few hundred pages.

Non-Fiction
12.I hope they Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
Curiosity. Yes, that’s why I picked the book.

13. May I hebb Your Attention Pliss by Arnab Ray
By One of my favorite bloggers who turned author. A great satire on our life in eighties and nineties.

How to root your Samsung Galaxy S- The easiest way..

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Disclaimer: Backup your phone data and do it at your own risk, this can brick your phone.

Rooting unleashes the enormous power available with Samsung Galaxy S (SGS)’s super hardware, but sadly there are no official application to do that. Also, there are many applications which are pain in wrong place to get a rooted SGS. Luckily, I tested an android app ‘z4root’ which is in my opinion the easiest way to get your SGS.. read more

How to restore Samsung Galaxy S to Official Firmware

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The one big advantage of Android phones that often turns out to be a big disadvantage for many android users is that these phones can be modified, tinkered, rooted, ‘rom’ed and what not.. While this feature of android phones gives unlimited freedom to enhance the capacity of these phones and sometime improve upon the official firmware, it has a big risk of bricking your phone or making your phone really shitty. The other major problems that arise after tinkering/modifying the official firmware is that the official software ‘Kies’ does not recognize your phone and does not provide official updates, and  loss of warranty. So if you have played with your phone and now wants to restore to official firmware here is the step by step guide. This will help you in restoring your phone to Android 2.1 Eclairs and official firmware I9000DDJG4. After restoring your phone to this firmware you can use Kies to upgrade to Android 2.2 Froyo. (Though there is very rare chance of things getting wrong, but there is always a possibility so try at your own risk.) Read more

 

 

Power to the People

No this is not the John Lennon’s famous song.. this is the title of the report which kept me busy for almost two years and the main reason why there were no updates on this blog. Finally the study is complete and the report is done, and the feedback and comments about the report made me feel that it was worth the effort.

If you are wondering what this report is all about… this report estimates the market potential for clean technology products and services for low income households in India and provides an overview of the sector to potential investors and other stakeholders. Yes, clean technology for low income households has been on theme I have been working for almost three years now. While the sector is still in very early stage I am happy to see the way it is growing. If you are interested in clean energy or base of the pyramid (BoP) market, I would suggest you to go through the report and comment.

Now, since I am relatively free I am going to read some books, visit a few places or just simply stay put at my home and watch some movies. Meanwhile, I already started working on my list of 100 most popular/recommended books of modern times. Will update about the list and my recent reads in my next post.

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