Sunday, October 26, 2008

Perseverance Pays Off

Well, ever since I moved to Bangalore one of my top priorities has been to get a broadband connection. While rest of the world defines a minimum speed requirement 2 Mbps as broadband, in India we have conveniently lowered that standard to 256 Kbps to suit our poor quality standards. Anyway, among the handful of ISPs which provide service to home’s here, I decided to go for BSNL. The reason of choosing BSNL was obviously speed. Back in college days, my friends used to boast of download speeds of 200 – 300 Kbps. With me working during week days and Sunday being a holiday. It just gives me Saturday for this stuff, where I had to take care of washing my clothes plus the visit to the nearest BSNL office. The ordeal of getting BSNL went like this:

  • Week 1: On this Saturday, I got a photo for my application ready, with my passport has address proof for applying broadband and went to the office to apply. But only to be rebuffed, that I needed a local address proof in Bangalore, not from the city which I am from. As I recently moved to Bangalore, I had no local address proof leaving me to scratch my head.

  • Week 2: I think, I had a holiday coupled with the weekend, so had gone home. So no visit to BSNL office this weekend.

  • Week 3: I talked to my seniors, in this week about the problem. They suggested that a letter from my Company HR stating that I live in so and so place in Bangalore would do the trick for address proof. I had gotten the address proof and application form ready this time and went to the office. But this time, it turned out to be second Saturday i.e., a holiday. A wasted trip to office.

  • Week 4: Well, it turned out to be my lucky weekend. The office was open and also there was special offer for two days where if I applied, I did not have to pay any installation charges or the cost of WiFi enabled modem. But the only worry was that there will be two different guys coming for first LandLine phone connection and then the Broadband connection .If both this guys show up during the weekdays, I will be at office with the house locked, they would just move onto their next work. Leaving me to scramble to office on the following weekend to ask them come back to my house, to give the connection.

  • Week 5: For every problem, there is a solution. It’s just that everyone can’t see the solution. While bouncing of ideas with my roommate, I thought a poster on my house door in kannada, asking the BSNL guy to call me at this phone number would do the trick. Since my house was few blocks from my office, I could show up in 10 mins of the call at my house. With help of my well favored friend, who gave a lot more attention to my request, then what I had expected, I got that done pretty fast ( I wish she was the Manager for BSNL in my area, at least I would have got my Broadband in no time in my home with attention like that). The following day that too within 1 week I got a call from Landline guy, thanks to poster saying that he will come tomorrow, which luckily turned out to be holiday. So I was at my home when he showed up. But I had to pay him a compliment amount for showing up on a holiday. (Why do people in government expect compliments, for doing their jobs, for which government also pays them as salary???)

  • Week 6 & 7: It was elusive waiting game with BSNL. For every call that I get in mobile, I used attend to it that it could be BSNL guy. I never looked forward so much to get a call, even from a girl. The only calls that I kept getting were from annoying bank people asking me to take loans and investment plans. One of the calls was like my asking me for retirement plans. I barely completed 3 months in my first work; they’re talking about retirement, stupid banks.

  • Week 8: I had completely lost my patience, a frustrated man. To add fuel to the fire, I was simply bounced of from one table to another table when I needed to enquire about the broadband connection. Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, the guy in charge of connections for my area was on leave on that Saturday. But I didn’t budge, I met divisional manager, got the installation guys number. I called him in the morning, but as my luck would turn out there was power shutdown in Bangalore that day. So that guy couldn’t finish installation, he had already had gone to. He nevertheless said he will come, once the power comes back. The power came back; the next one hour seemed like an eternity, with me standing on the balcony looking out for that guy. Dogs, Cats, Pigeons, bikes, Auto’s , Good looking girls everything came in the road expect for the BSNL guy who never showed up. I was so frustrated the next day, that I started getting dreams about BSNL modem and browsing (I hardly get any dreams about any girls, so getting dream about BSNL modem was weird).

  • D-Day: Finally, after a number of calls, after that disappointing weekend. I did manage to get that guy to agree to come on Wednesday. To make matters worse, it was raining the whole day. But I didn’t want to give up, call after call and loads of bugging him. BSNL guy at last agreed to come at 5 30 pm. I had to skip a meeting in the office and run from my office to be at my home in rain. Then to add another twist, he backed off saying he will come tomorrow since it was raining. I had to entice him that I will even pay for his auto charge, if he comes. But he was like if you don’t mind pick me at office. Then I decided I am going get this broadband today, no matter what. I wanted this so badly. So I borrowed a bike, went to BSNL office, had a close call with skidding in the rain. But I did manage to bring him to my house and install the modem. I even attended the meeting that day via online. Seriously, if I had put half the effort that I had put in wooing that BSNL guy on a girl, I think she would have said yes to me. I guess perseverance pays off whether it is your boss, work, girl friend or in this case BSNL guy. To add final twist, I found out I was in Business Unlimited 15000 plan to my horror. I was not prepared to pay a bill of 15000 per month. But it later turned out that since I had taken the broadband in offer, for the first 15 days I will be getting free BUL 15000 service and then later will revert back to Home 750 plus. Finally, the modem I ended up was a type 4 modem (which is better one i.e. three more Ethernet ports than type 2 modem), though it was type 2 which I ordered. May be, I needed this final bit of luck for all that I had gone through.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Desperate Microsoft

Have you heard of the saying desperate circumstances call for desperate measures? Well, I read recently, one of the interviews by Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft that his company was not giving up on search in its fight against Google. He went as far as saying that it was like David vs. Goliath, with Microsoft being the David (This is funny considering the situation in mid 90's where Microsoft was the software bully making every other company play by its rules). Now you have the bully being bullied around. He went onto say that he was going to give the much needed push that Live Search needed. Well, now I understand what he meant by push, the Microsoft marketing team has come up with a desperate measure to combat Google. It’s called “Search Perks”, where you get gifts in the form of music downloads, air tickets, books, X-box games for every search you do on Live Search.

For people interested in how it works, you need to download and install MSN toolbar on your IE. For every 25 searches you do, you will be eligible to get points or tickets. When you accumulated 4950 points you cash in using the tickets for a prize. The top prize X Box wireless game controller, for which you have to get 5500 points, but there are only 198 days from the date of launch of service (Which is October 1) for it to end. Even with the maximum of 25 searches per day you get only 4950 points, which means nobody will ever be able to get the top prize. It seems Microsoft think tank, didn’t get quite work out the details when they launched the scheme. When somebody pointed out to this Microsoft spokes person that nobody can win the top prize. A pale faced Microsoft spokes person had to come up with a not so prepared answer that Microsoft will look into extending the Search Perks service depending on its initial response. To be frank, offering freebies ain’t going to drive people to Live Search. Poor Microsoft, they have all the money in the world, yet they seem to be short of innovation and inspiration. Of course you can’t forget how Microsoft flirted with Yahoo to buy the Search engine, only for Google to come in between and sweep Yahoo of its feet by making Yahoo use Google Ad Sense. I shouldn’t be complaining about this, since I do for work for company, which itself believes strongly in the motto, “If you cant Develop them on your own, Buy them ..!! “ .

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Journey of Love

(Disclaimer: All incidents mentioned here are from real life. Any similarities you find with people from real life are purely intentional and congrats you might have actually found the person in the story( The person in the story is certainly not me..!!). I am not a male chauvinist, but I am a guy so I can write only from a guy’s perspective so put up with it. Last but not the least, I am not encouraging anybody to drink (neither do I), Alcohol kills…!)

told one of my college mates, that I would pen this entry down before I left for Bangalore. Unfortunately it never happened. Well, at least now I feel about writing this down. Let’s start, how does love start in the first place. Many people talk about love at first sight (Well, I know two of my friends, who claim to have fallen for each other at first sight). But it’s hard for me to accept it, how could you know she/he is the right person, when you haven't spoken or know anything tangible about the person. At the most what I can think of here is, it’s just the case of mutual attraction combined with teasing of friends leading to love. It makes logical sense this way, consider a situation where a girl has to ask a query to two unknown guys (whom she has never met before). There is a pretty good chance that the girl will end up asking the better looking guy. Hence you can conclude, looks are initial token for people to fall in love. I believe that you don't fall in love with a girl because she is beautiful; the girl looks beautiful because you’re in love with her. Just try answering this question before you confirm you’re in love with the person. Take a picture of your girl friend the first thing when she wakes up in the morning (That’s when all the illusion of beauty that the make up creates is least effective). Take a hard look at the photo. If you really feel like seeing this same face for the next 50 years of your life day in and day out, as the thing first thing in the morning, may be there is a good chance you have fallen for that person. People in love often seem to have serious issue with accepting some other girl/boy is better looking than their lover. Even when it comes to looks, people have different tastes. Otherwise, there will be loads of guys wooing a single girl and vice versa.