Saturday, June 28, 2008

New activity for time pass

If you have no time at all, forget it. This post is not for you. Some of us tend to have some time on hand from time to time to kill time. Reading, watching TV, sports etc. become usual. Then gotta find something else to try.

Try this when you have to pass time next time. Best done when you are in front of a computer. This can also be done on a simple piece of paper with a pencil. It becomes easier to do on computer and a word processor like MS-Word.

Game is simple. Just remember any name and put it down. Then try to recollect when was the first time you heard it. Normally we learn names in some context. It may be while meeting someone new or through some incident. Start writing about the incident in 3-4 sentences. This may also remind you the approximate timeline when you remembered it. You can note down that also.

Funny thing is when you start doing this with names, as you write the incident when you first heard the name, it is possible that you will remember another 3-4 names. Just capture them. You can analyze them when you have to play this game again. If you choose a common name, you have to try really hard to remember the first time you heard it. As soon as you thought you remembered the first time you heard it, a thought starts lurking which will lead you to another earlier incident when you remembered it and so on.

I find this to be an amazing activity to go back in time.

Now you may ask - what's the use? Only use I could think of is that it may help you reconnect with some people you have lost in touch with. Once you choose a name, you can try to search that on the net and may find a way to reconnect with that person if you want.


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

HBB1 Broadband Booster

If you have VoIP based telephone connection from providers such as Vonage, you may notice that call quality becomes poor when you are uploading large amount of data during activities such as uploading a large file or uploading movies via Bit Torrent etc. This is when a neat gadget like HBB1 Broadband Booster can make world of difference.

On high speed internet connections, download speeds are adequate but upload can become a problem as upload bandwidth is much less. So, without an intelligent QoS (Quality of Service) mechanism, your networking infrastructure does not know what to prioritize when upload bandwidth contention happens. This broadband booster does an awesome job of prioritizing VoIP traffic over other traffic for the duration of the call and thus improves the quality of telephone call. You can check this for yourself. For example, you can notice how your uploads are throttled down as soon as you begin a telephone call.

Great gadget. It uses smart algorithms and there is nothing much to tweak at all. This is good as many do not know exact details as how to configure QoS on some latest routers which do let you manually configure QoS settings. Price is around 60 dollars. I bought it on eBay. Another good source for excellent prices is

I had also tried similar gadget from Linksys (Cisco company). But, it was not as good as Hawking. Hawking pioneered this technology. It appeared to me that Linksys also introduced one to just be there. Somehow, that did not work well for me.


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Magic Jack

Magic Jack - a neat gadget. If it lives up to its promise of unlimited phone calls for $20 / year, this is going to do nothing less than revolutionizing the way we have come to use telephones. I think it will at least few more months before all issues are ironed out. It still has some rough edges and does not work consistently and reliably. So, even if you buy it and find it working reasonably well for you, do not rush to cancel your other telephone service yet.

This gadget has created a lot of buzz among VoIP enthusiasts. There is a very informative 'unofficial' forum for Magic Jack. You will find tonnes of good information. A lot of undocumented neat information as well. You may want to go there from time to time as technical support is not very good with Magic Jack.

Overall, a neat toy if you are a VoIP geek. Go try it. You have nothing to lose as they are offering 30 day free trial. Even if you want to keep it beyond the trial period, it is just 50 bucks.


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Tim Russert

Tim Russert, a famous TV personality, passed away last week.

I saw Tim Russert in person when he was the chief guest for convocation ceremony of my alma-mater, Suffolk University, Boston, in 2003. Russert was there to be the chief guest and also receive honorary doctorate from Suffolk University. He received such degrees from many universities.

He spoke pretty well. He talked about his life's journey, had several words of wisdom for graduates and gracefully received the degree. He did not last the entire function which went on for 4 hours or so. He was gone soon after his speech and receiving his degree. But, still left a good impression on many who were part of the function.

It was little over 5 years ago. May 2003. I too received my MBA degree in the same function. So, it is somewhat personal when I read about his demise. Moreover, he is probably the one TV personality I have ever seen in person.

My his soul rest in peace.



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