Monday, May 26, 2008

Wireless router

My old wireless router stopped functioning after giving good service for over 5 years. It works fine as a regular router but 'wireless'ness is gone for some reason. May be something wrong with the transmitter. It was an old Belkin router bought in 2003. Good service so far.

Bought a new router. Belkin G. Nothing fancy as I do not play games on the net to require a fancy router. I have a separate Hawking Broadband booster to provide QoS (Quality of service) for VoIP phone. So, the router QoS does not matter much. This is a simple router. Much smaller than my earlier bulky router.

Worked out of the box. The set up CD is a waste of time. You do not really have to run it. Windows recognizes the router easily and you are online in no time. Always remember to configure some sort of security for your router so that nobody easily steals your broadband connection. It is easy to configure security using the console and choosing some simple encryption scheme.

Somehow I messed up the settings while doing something and wireless functionality was gone. I could go online by connecting directly to the router but not wirelessly. It was a mistake I had done while renaming the wireless connection. This was hidden somewhere in their console and I could not easily figure it out. So, called Belkin tech support. The engineer was very knowledgable and helpful. He set me right in no time and I have had good experience with this router since then.

Bought this at Best Buy as I could not wait a week to order it online and then receive it. That's how we are addicted to net these days. Right? The price online is much better. You can probably get the same router for  $30 or so. At Best Buy, it was close to $40 plus taxes etc. On top of it, going there, parking and all hassles. I wish I had bought this one at the first sign of my older router dyeing. Anyway...


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Air cooler

San Francisco bay area normally has nice weather all through the year. Sometimes during summer months, weather can become quite hot. Since the weather is nice most of the time, many apartments do not have air-conditioners. I happen to live in one such place and when it got really hot a few weeks back, need for a cooler or air-conditioner became apparent.

I bought this one - No complaints about the cooler as such. It does seem to do its job pretty well. Pretty heavy duty cooler with a large water tank where you can put water and if you desire ice cubes too. I wish it was bit smaller. Picture on the internet site looked smaller but in reality it is slightly larger than a mini-fridge. Since it was going to be a chore to return such a large item, I chose to keep it. Hopefully, it will be a good investment.

Few things to keep in mind if your apartment does not have an air-conditioner. You can buy a portable AC but you have to work the details of installing it before hand. They are not easy to install. Even the most portable AC requires some sort of mechanism to push hot air out and you need to do some do-it-yourself work to fix it. Since I was not game for all that especially if it required alterations to the windows etc., I chose to go with cooler.

Coolers work only if the humidity is not high in your area. Most of the dry areas should be fine. If the air is humid, they do not work well. Also they need to be placed in such a way that, they can draw fresh air which gets circulated over a wet screen to provide cool air. If you can not place it in such a way, cooler may not work well for you. Coolers also consume much less power. If you put ice cubes also, the room gets cooled pretty well.

The online retailer Air-N-Water seemed like a good place to shop. They have a wide variety of coolers and ACs. Prices seemed very competitive. They also offer free shipping on selected models. Just be careful about their restocking fee and return shipping if you have to return something if you do not like. Their 15% restocking fee plus having to pay return shipping was certainly a deterrent for me to return my cooler. I would have bought something much smaller if returning was free.


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Sunday, May 11, 2008


"Our biggest problem is that we do not have a bigger problem."

Create problem and go solve it. Some people think goal setting does not work very well but problem solving does. OK, if goal are not for you, then go after problems. The problem does not necessarily have to be your problem. It can be anyone else's problem too. You can be sure that you will be welcomed by anyone if you say you want to solve their problem. Go solve it and see how minor your current problems look.


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