Technology

Posted by Kiran

One of the disadvantages with having to manage multiple Exchange Accounts is that it is very difficult to get a unified view of the all the accounts. Be it email or calendar schedule, each Exchange account could potentially have a different set that have to be dealt with. Microsoft Products only allow access to one Exchange account at a time, and that complicates things.

For emails I just move them into PST folders organized by project, initiative, topic, whatever the case may be. Once these emails — whichever Exchange Account they came from — are in their folders, I can easily get a chronological view of what conversations were going on related to that piece work.

Getting a similar view of appointments is trickier. I always like to know when my meetings are scheduled and ensure I am not double-booked at any particular time before I respond to meeting requests.

Managing this with two Outlook Profiles is next to impossible. However, I found a rather unique way of handing this issue. I use the "Publish to Internet" feature in Outlook 2007 to do this.

Posted by Kiran

Early this year, I was looking out for a new phone. After looking around for quite a while, I finally decided to go with the HTC Desire.

Before the Desire, I had another HTC phone — the HTC TyTN running Windows Mobile 6.0. Given that I have always been — right from its Pocket PC days — a Windows Mobile devotee, my PIM is mainly based out of Outlook and Exchange. Windows Mobile 6.0 integrated beautifully with Outlook and using both of these together was extremely convenient.

Hence, moving to Android wasn't an easy decision. However rave reviews received by the Desire and the fact that I was unconvinced about the suitability of future Windows Mobile Platforms, made me take the plunge into Android.

Now that I have had my Desire for almost three months, I thought I should write about my first impressions.

Posted by Kiran

Microsoft came out with the Windows Phone 7 Series during the Mobile World Congress in February 2010. With the Windows Phone, Microsoft has drastically changed the way they intend for the user to interact with their devices. It has been touted as the Mobile OS that will enable Microsoft to capture the market back from Apple's iPhone.

I have been a devoted Windows Mobile user since my days with Pocket PC 2002 on my Compaq iPAQ 3850.

When Apple came out with the iPhone, it was definitely worth sitting up and taking notice! It was a new concept and a glamorous one at that. Suddenly, the Windows Mobile looked jaded and just another old phone. However, I stuck with it primarily due to the fact that the iPhone was, and still is, too locked in. I cannot install anything or do anything on the phone without Apple explicitly allowing me to do so. The only other way is to "jailbreak" the phone; something that would void my warranty.

Devices running Windows Mobile were a stark contrast — though they embodied flexibility and customizability with numerous vendors providing applications that added great functionality, they lacked touch-friendliness. With Windows Mobile 7, or the Windows Phone 7 Series as Microsoft like to call the new version of their Mobile OS, they have brought in a whole new paradigm! It is no longer a computer on a phone; it is a consumer phone with possibilities.

Posted by Kiran

All of us know that Microsoft Excel allows us to hide certain worksheets from view. Hiding sheets helps us in ensuring that any background lookup data or reference data that you want to utilize in your spreadsheets remain neatly tucked away from general view.

You may also want to prevent users from viewing certain numbers that are used in calculation on your spreadsheets. Hiding worksheets simply makes the workbook clutter free and helps readers focus on the spreadsheets that really matter.

The only disadvantage with simply hiding your worksheets is that it is equally easy to unhide them. Any Excel user worth his salt knows how to find and unhide a hidden sheet. To prevent users from unhiding your worksheets, you may choose to protect the workbook. However when you protect a workbook, you are also preventing the users from a myriad of other functionality that they may genuinely require.

Posted by Kiran
I am an active user and advocate of Mozilla Firefox. I also am a fan of its Ad-blocking extension - AdBlock Plus. I have considered AdBlock Plus a very useful extension that allowed me to get rid of all annoying and pesky pop-ups and banner ads that otherwise clutter my browsing experience.

However, a recent blog by Vaibhav Gadodia titled "When will people stop stealing content" raised a very interesting point; it gave me food for thought. In his blog Vaibhav argues that since the advertising pays for the content, blocking those ads deprives the site owner the revenues that he would have earned had those ads been visible. Vaibhav goes on to compare the online content monetized by ads to an "honor system" of selling goods, wherein the users are free to pick up the goods as long as they drop the recommended amount into the jar.

Equating ad-blocking to stealing, in my opinion, is a radical generalization and I disagree with it. Here's why.

Staying safe online

06 Dec 2009
Posted by Kiran
I recently wrote about the dangers posed by the Internet. From spam email clogging up your mailbox to malicious crooks trying to gain control of either your computer or your identity, threats can materialize in a variety of forms. Safety can never be over-emphasized when carrying out transactions online. However, in today's scenario staying safe is also complex and often difficult.

I have personally struggled with many of such issues, made many mistakes and also been gullible enough to fall prey to Cyber-thieves selling fictitious goods. However, I have learnt from these mistakes and, over time, have developed practices that have helped me be a little more secure. While I cannot guarantee that these steps will keep you safe all the time, they will certainly help:

Posted by Kiran

I am a great fan of doing things online. It is fast, convenient and easy. An online bank transaction can save you all the time and energy that would otherwise be required to go to the bank, wait in queues, deal with often unfriendly bank staff to get your job done.

Over the past few years, I have been consciously moving all my dealings online wherever possible. While online, I can purchase goods, make investments, track my investment portfolio, pay my Insurance premiums, check my bank balance, pay my telephone bills; I can pretty much do it all. I recently renewed my Indian car insurance sitting here in London - all online without having to travel back to India, provide a cheque or physically meet an insurance agent. My Dad, who is kind enough to take care of such stuff for me, did not have to be bothered with this one either.

Google Wave

26 Jul 2009
Posted by Kiran

Recently while browsing Slashdot I stumbled upon a story about something new from Google. Google Wave is a new paradigm/product/protocol/service from Google and I just looked at their developer preview video hosted on YouTube. It blew me away!

Here is the video if you want to view it. I must warn you though that it is very long - 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Edit (18-Aug-2010): Video has been removed by Google.