Jul 022010

Jumplist is one of the most prominent and useful features in Windows7. Many applications work very well with it. However, Gtalk fails miserably to implement even the most basic of jumplist feature – launching the application itself!

This is how Gtalk jumplist looks on Windows7


If you, by mistake the main Gtalk window, you should ideally be able to bring it back by either clicking on the icon in the taskbar or by launching it from the jumplistst! However, neither of these options seem to work.

The only way you can make it work is by launching it from the system tray! Hope Google fixes this soon!

Apr 142010

When I got to know from a tweet that Rashmi Bansal has launched a new book and the author signed copies were available, I immediately ordered one for myself.

There are many reasons why I thought this book would be a good read:

  • I like the author’s previous book – Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
  • I was thrilled to know that Kalyan Varma, an alumnus of my college is featured in the book.
  • ‘Connect the dots’ – a very catch title for me. It is good to know that both her titles are inspired from Steve Jobs speech at Stanford In fact I am so inspired by this speech, that I have dared to put this up at my desk  (Imagine Steve Jobs’ quote with his picture, in a Microsoft campus!)

This book is very similar to her previous book “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. It is also a collection of mini biographies of people who have made it big, bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. The only difference being the fact that this book is filled with exciting awe inspiring stores of people who have made it big without an MBA degree whereas the previous one features only individuals from the coveted IIM-A.

The stories/interviews are long enough to quench your curiosity and inspire you and short enough to make sure you don’t get bored. Each story ends with a section on “Advice to Young Entrepreneurs” which by itself makes a good handbook for people who want to get their hands dirty, starting on their own.

It is very surprising to read about the variety of backgrounds the featured personalities have come from, and more so the events or ‘dots’ that have led them to where they are today. True to its title, every story unravels the dots which none of them  could have connected looking forward but makes a lot of sense when retrospected.

The ‘too=hard-to-believe’ twists and turns in the lives of these people is just mind blowing. It just shows that the Dhirubhai Ambani kind of stories is neither glorified nor is it a one in a billion kind.

Rashmi Bansal has done an amazing job in keeping the language desi which has become an interesting trend with modern Indian authors. A must-have book in the library of every budding entrepreneur.

Mar 052010

No, This is not a security hole in Outlook. It is just one of the creative ways to make use of Rules feature in outlook.

I am not sure about yours, but my computer is always connected to the internet when it is switched on. And it is switched on unless there is a power cut at my place :)

Many a times, I have felt like controlling my downloads, reset modem, shut down my comp or lock it after I realize I have kept it open. Although there are a lot of ways you can do it(see logmein, VNC, VNC on lifehacker), if all you want to do is run simple scripts or launch an application, look no further. You can set up Outlook to do the work for you.

Go to Tools –> Rules and Alerts



Click on New Rule, add any rule which is convenient to you. I have chosen “Move messages  with specific words in the subject to a folder” and click next. Specify an uncommon word in your subject lines in this field  “986786374shutdown” and then when a dialog box appears asking you “What do you want to do with the message?”.



Edit the rule descriptor by clicking on ‘application’. Select the application which needs to be run when you send a message with the subject line which you had set before.

if you want to run dos commands – you can create a .bat file and put you commands in that.

ex: if you want to shutdown your machine : shutdown –s –t 10

That’s it, now you can control your machine by sending email to yourself. It’s as simple as that.

I use this to start my download manager, shutdown my computer etc. Let me know what you would use it for.

Nov 232009

It’s been 3 weeks since I started working at Microsoft GTSC, I have been fiddling around with a lot of Microsoft tools and can’t help myself admiring the ease of use and thought which has gone into developing each of the tools which makes my job easier.

One such indispensible tool is Outlook. I am using Outlook 2007 which is connected to Exchange server. In Microsoft, most communication happens through E-mail. If you want to schedule a meeting, assign a task, block your training hours – Outlook comes in handy.

I am a big fan out Outlook, particularly the Calendar feature. It lets me manage my time and plan for the day efficiently, but I have a minor problem :

By default, the work hours in Outlook are set to begin at 0800 and end at 1500. You can of course customize it to reflect your work hours by going to

Tools –> Options –> Preferences –> Calendar options


You can easily set your start and end time, but here’s my problem. My work starts at 1930 and ends at 0430. I tried entering the same and threw me an error saying “The end date you entered before the start date”.


By default all the weekdays were selected, and If I start at Friday 1930, the end date falls on a Saturday. I thought this would fix the problem. I tried again after checking on Saturday. Ding! Again! “The end date you entered before the start date”.

I binged to see if there is a possible solution or workaround online, and I found these 2 KB articles

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/177810 for Outlook 97

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/196804 for Outlook 2003

Both, stating There is no workaround for this behaviour. So this has been there for long and as I can see, this has not been fixed even in Outlook 2007.

Hopefully it will be fixed in the next version of Outlook. Till then my work timings at least in outlook is 0800 to 1700!

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Aug 222009

For most of us, a Search engine is the gateway to internet. We rely on it for day to day tasks. Thanks to search engines, we need not remember a plethora of domain names; a few words which you can remember from a site is all that is needed to take you to the right site.

A large population of internet users seldom click any link other than the first one the search engine throws at them. Some of them go further and explore the next page, and rarely does anyone go beyond the 3rd of 4th page. I was always wondering why Google says it found some millions of results as people are never interested in viewing the 1000th results let alone the millionth one. I was wondering why they’re waste computational resources on indexing data no one would ever use.

Today, I tried a little experiment. I searched for Apple on Google. It returned a whopping 340 Million results!! Whew.. Then I tried accessing the 2nd page.. I noticed there is an attribute which is seen in the address bar called Start, which changes for every page. e.g., for the 2nd page the PageStart value is 10, which actually says show results starting from the 10th page which is quite logical.

The URL looks something like this


I tried changing the number for 10 to 2000 to see the 201st page, but I was in for a surprise -

Sorry, Google does not serve more than 1000 results for any query. (You asked for results starting from 2000.

Here it is, Google can’t serve you results exceeding 1000 for any query! So the first question which was haunting my head was resolved..

I wanted to play around with Google more, so I tried giving another value – this time 640 to see if I actually get redirected to the 65th page.


Above is the URL I tried in my browser. It said “ Results 431437 of about 340,000,000 for apple”

Results 431437 of about 340,000,000 for apple

And it is now on page 49! Results 431- 437 should ideally be on page 42, moreover it should have actually displayed results 650-660. After all it has 340M results and it has no problem displaying upto 1000 results for any query.

Why is this anomaly present in Google? It is not specific to this search term alone. I have tried it with different search terms and all the time I see such anomaly.In some cases, clicking on the next page reloads you the same page.

All of the following URLs differ in the Start property but all point to the same page. Also you can see that the page number which is highlighted in each case. Though different numbers are highlighted in each case, we get to see the same result page everytime!!!


Go to the above URL and click on the next page (46). You will land up on the same page again! This anomaly differs with each keyword!

I don’t understand why this anomaly exists. If anyone has a clue about this, please let me know through comments.
Also, please share with me if you find any such anomalies in other search engines too!


Feb 172009

I have tried a lot of operating systems in the past few years. I used to run only Fedora for quit some time. Windows XP for some 2 years, dual booting with Ubuntu, and recently only windows XP.

I installed Windows7beta on my comp, 64 bit edition that too, only to find I don’t have drivers for network adapter or sound card.
I have a Nvidia Ethernet Controller and a Yamaha powered sound card.

Today, I wanted a fresh install of Windows XP because my previous version of Windows was taking too much space on my hard disk. I installed a fresh copy of Windows XP, only to find that I need drivers for my ethernet card again!! Damn..I searched for my motherboard CD in a very bad shape. No wonder, I was unable to install drivers from it.

And yeah, don’t ever install XP over Win7, always do it the other way round. I am not able to find my boot manager after I installed XP!

I went to a cybercafe to download drivers. 120 MB!, and I got horrible speeds in the cuber cafe 8KBps!! Got really irritated.

Somehow it flashed to my mind that I had downloaded Ubuntu 8.04 sometime back and had burned it onto a CD! Voila, I booted through the Live CD, and watta surprise my internet connection on Linux works without any additional driver! Never had I dreamt that a day would come where I had to boot into Linux to download drivers for XP!! Good job there folks.

I am writing this blog booting from the Live CD. I must admit, the experience on the Live CD is mind boggling. Not for a moment did I feel it is a ‘Live’ OS. Very quick respone, every application works fine.No lags whatsoever. I am surprised!! The last time I used Live CD, my experience was not quite so pleasant. Some issue with my DVD drive and it would take forever to load, I guess it is fixed in the later versions of Ubuntu.

Now, I have fallen in love with Ubuntu again, planning to triple boot WinXP, Win7beta and Ubuntu.

Waiting for clock to tick 2, so that I can download my drivers.. Yawn Yawn..

Jan 172009

This is in response to this article

EU accuses Microsoft of harming browser competition

The European Commission accused Microsoft Corp on Friday of stymieing competition by bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser with Windows systems.

This sounds ridiculous to me. I do agree there should be competition, for competition leads to better products. But, this is definitely not the way to kill it. There are umpteen applications which depends on IE internally for their smooth functioning. The ones I use, Winamp – to browse, Feedreader and Yahoo! Messenger – to play games. They all load IE in background.

Don’t believe me? Try disconnecting your internet connection while you are browsing. You will find an IE connection error page. Surprised?

Apart from this reason, say you don’t want to use IE for some reason, and wish to download Firefox/Opera/Chrome/Safari/What have you. How would you go about downloading it?I know some geeks will give me a top 10 list on how to do it, but Windows is not only for Geeks!

Internet Explorer is provided with Windows to provide a good out of the box experience. Every Operating system bundles a browser with it ! Most Linux distributions bundle Firefox with it, is it to crush Konqueror? Apple bundles Safari. Why is no one raising questions about them?

To make the long story short, I strongly believe a decision to exclude Internet Explorer will prove to be a disaster and strongly against the Goal of any Operating System : To provide a good User Experience.

[polldaddy poll=1282457]

Jan 162009

Hi everyone. I got my new BSNL connection today. I have heard a lot of woes from my friends using BSNL broadband about their erratic billing.

Here I am going to show you how to get good download speeds, and automate the process of restarting your modem at 2. Now you can sleep peacefully. Read on.

Tools :

  1. Windows XP Professional(Don’t ask me for download links :P)
  2. BSNL Modem. I guess it works with all Modems. I am using the Indian ITI modem DNA A211-1
  3. Bridged mode connection . I haven’t figured out a way to connect more than 2 computers in bridge mode. If you know how to do it, please Contact Me
  4. Notepad
  5. Freebyte’s Task Scheduler. You can use the Windows Task Scheduler too. I somewhat prefer using this application.

Creating a bridged connection.

  • Open a browser. type
  • You will be presented with a dialog box. The default username and password is ‘admin’. Type that and proceed
  • You will now see your modem configuration page.

Pitfall 1 : If you cannot access this page. Try turning off your firewall unless you know how to add an exception

  • In the Modem Configuration page : Click on Advanced Setup, then on WAN.
  • In the WAN setup page, in the first row (horizontal), click on Edit button.
  • Next again. Don’t change anything.
  • Now in the ‘Connection Type’ page. Select Bridging . Next. Next. Save.
  • Now you will be diverted to the Modem’s main page. Click on Save/Reboot.
  • Wait for 2 minutes till your modem reboots. You are done with the first part.

Creating a dialer for the new bridged connection

  • Start –> Control Panel –> Network Connections
  • On the left hand side, select create a new Connection
  • Click on Next
  • Make sure Connect to the internet option is checked. Click Next.
  • Select ‘Set up my Connection manually’. Click Next.
  • Select Connect using a broadband connection that requires username and password and click next
  • Give some name to the connection. e.g., mybsnl (Remember this name. It is important)
  • Enter username and password. You would have got this username and password from BSNL.
  • Select Add a short cut to my desktop and click Finish.

Creating batch files

  • Open Notepad
  • Type “rasdial mybsnl(or whatever name you have given) userid password
  • Save as “dial.bat” in some location. Make sure you choose “All files” in the type field while saving. To save the trouble, type the file name with “ included.
  • In another document Type “rasdial mybsnl /disconnect”
  • Save as “disconnect.bat”

P S : You can double click on the dial.bat to connect to the internet when in bridged mode.


  • Voila You are done. Do not forget to keep this scheduler open. Do not Close it. Do not press the ‘X’ button. I am repeating this as this is important.
  • You can also go to Start –> All Programs –> Accessories –> Systems Tools –> Scheduled tasks
  • Add a scheduled task similar to the one described above. One for disconnect at 2:00 AM, Connect at 2:05 AM and again Disconnect at 7:55 AM. If you wish you can also add a Connect routine at 8:01 AM

Use a download manager or torrent manager with scheduler. You can use flashget or uTorrent.

Sleep peacefully and enjoy automated downloads. If you have any doubts, you can leave a comment.

Hope you find it useful.

Dec 202008

This technique works on Windows XP Professional SP1 and above for sure.

If you do update your windows regularly, and are annoyed with the ‘Do you want to restart now’ prompts which keeps recurring every 20 minutes, read on.

This is a nuisance while playing games, and while watching movies (for me :) )

There is a simple solution for this :

1) Go to Start –> Run

2) Type gpedit.msc . This is the Microsoft’s  group policy editor.

3) You should see a screen like the one below


Select Administrative Templates under Computer configuration then

windows components > Windows Update

In the right pane look for Re prompt for restart for scheduled installations. Double click.

In the options. Select disabled.

Now play or watch movies in peace.

Errata : Disabled prompts every 10 mins! Use enabled and make the interval 1440. Thats the maximum interval between prompts.

Nov 232008

Lab internals, weekend classes in Microsoft and long X-box gaming sessions after that and add to that the sify night-only play! My internet time has somewhat reduced this week :( Here’s the gist of latest news I found online..

What if Matrix ran on Windows – a nice video created by a College students..

Got attendance shortage in 2 subjects – I have less than 36 classes of attendance. If there is any PESIT junior reading this, this is the PESIT’s magic attendance formula. They don’t care how %age of attendance you have actually. Just the magic number 36. Make sure you attend at least 36 classes, else you will have to run around the department to get your hall ticket.

Watched Dostana (hindi Movie) – big disappointment for me; supposedly a box office hit.

IT Crowd Season 3 has started and I am happy to see my fav serials back on air again. Started Dexter some time back, good show – but people who can’t stand gore, try to staw away from this.

Yawn Yawn.. Its 0340 hrs IST!! Very slywej[wey. adoooooozeee