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Apr 02

linksys router

This is our wifi router which we use to connect to the internet via our laptop. Its a WRT54G model from Linksys (which is a Cisco company). Delhi has a very high number of unsecured wifi connections. Even in my building i get 4-5 wifi networks at any given point of time. And only 2 people are smart enough to secure it. The router however easily allows one to secure his/her network.

The router features a WPA2 key system by which you can ensure that your Internet access is not abused by anyone else. Next week we will be showing you how to prevent your MTNL and Airtel and Tata Indicom accounts from being used by people who are not authorised to do so via Wi-fi.

Also i setup the router unconventionally , instead of connection the router to the Internet port of the wifi router, i chose a different way. I setup the broadband router to be another node on the Wifi router , this way all the data is automatically routed via the broadband router without changing any other settings.

Also if you are planning to get one, try and get it from the USA, the routers are pretty expensive here in India compared to USA.


Mar 31

imate sp4

I am was the proud owner of a Imate phone till now. Sure it turned heads, one mention of Imate and people’s eyes twinkled. I was happy till recently. In college one day i saw that the screen had developed a huge crack. I decided to get the screen replaced. Having replaced the screen of one of my earlier phones for 800 rupees i didnt really think of it as that much of a big deal. I thought the screen would costs anywhere from 1000 to 1500 rupees.

I went to Asian electronics at Rajouri garden to get the screen fixed. The clerk very casually told me that the screen would cost me 4000 rupees. I was shocked, i asked him how it could be, the cost should be proportionate to the phone cost atleast. ‘Aisa hi hota hai’  the clerk said. One surfing the Internet i found more people with similar stories whose screens had gotten cracked by themselves and Imate had asked for exhortative screen costs. 5000 rupees another customer of Imate has written on an online forum.

Wow, i never thought that this company would be looking to make quick bucks by robbing its loyal and old customers with superoverpriced spare parts. Old and loyal customers should be respected not robbed. Ask Apple, it tries super hard to keep its loyalists and thats why its a successful company. I decided not to get the screen repaired. Its not that i cant afford the 4000 rupees , but its just that i cant stand the sight of an Imate phone now. Whenever i see someone with an Imate i think to myself, such an unlucky guy.

So i have also written to Imate’s support about this issue, lets see what they reply.

But advice to all our readers, think twice before taking this plunge.


Feb 09

HP Snapfish logo

Zoom.in logo

I had been planning this online photo service comparison for a long time but frankly time is sort of a luxury these days. Here is a side by side review of Snapfish and Zoom.in India. Please note we used these services in India only.

Uploading – Snapfish sort of scores here with easy and hassle free uploading. Zoom.in was more difficult to work with. Infact i had almost given up on them telling their support that i was moving on as i was unable to upload photos. Even Picasa uploading which was all online was taking forever. Later on i was able to upload the photos. But it turns out things arent tuned for Indian broadband settings. Out of the photos i was uploading , the server would cancel about every 4th photo due to apparent break in connection (first time i noticed this happening on a website). Anyway they should have a better engine which sort of supports resume.

Snapfish [rating:1], Zoom.in [rating:0]


Ordering – Zoom.in uses cc avenue as their payment processors, being a third party their is always a chance of their server not being pinged properly about the payment and your order being delayed. Happened to me once with Tata Sky, they asked me to give a refrence number, it took me 3 days to get the payment reflected and i was without satellite TV till then.

Hp Snapfish on the other hand processes payments itself, which is sort of better for this kind of a thing.

Snapfish [rating:2] Zoom.in [rating:0]


Customer Care – HP Snapfish’s customer care is robotic. I had given them feedback on my first experience and i got a copy pasted reply. I dont even think it was forwarded anywhere. Zoom.in on the other hand has a very warm customer care, infact they gave me extra free prints after i told them of the problems i was facing. Also they tried to help me troubleshoot my problem and asked me to hang on in there.

Snapfish [rating:2] Zoom.in [rating:1]


Order Time – Snapfish overshot their estimated date by three days, Zoom.in were dot on time. Snapfish didnt even offer an apology when i complained about the order not being received 2 days after the estimated date. They replied 3 days later that the order has been delivered. You need to talk to your customer better.

Snapfish [rating:2] Zoom.in [rating:2]


Print Quality – Here Zoom.in had glossier and better looking prints, i had kept one print same in both the albums to compare. HP uses their own print paper which didnt look so good to me, Zoom.in uses Kodak Royal paper which is pretty good. Also the colours were slightly better with Zoom.in

Snapfish [rating:2] Zoom.in [rating:3]


Pricing – To the naked eye, Snapfish looks better in terms of pricing. But a closer look reveals an exhorbant courier cost associated which kind of nullifies the advantage, in fact it adds to the cost making it costlier than Zoom.in. HP does give an album, but they advertise it as free, so i take their word.

Snapfish [rating:2] Zoom.in [rating:4]

Both companies have a promising future ahead of them, just that we seemed to like Zoom.in better than snapfish. Working on their cost and customer service will definitely serve HP better. Zoom.in needs to ramp up its software (uploading) and it would be pretty good then. A lot of prospective customers must be lost by it when people have problems uploading. Also Zoom.in needs to give proper albums with orders, a few of my relatives to whom i had shown my photos were ruing the fact that the photos were not in an album for easy handling.


Final Score

Zoom.in [rating:4] 
Snapfish [rating:2]


Dec 29

I would love to use expletives in this review but will not stoop so low. But the product quality from Homeshop18 stooped low enough. Their service might not be bad but their sellers are committing frauds and homeshop18 is turning a blind eye to them.

We had ordered a 2GB mini SD card from Homeshop18, they claimed it was a Sandisk card, so we bought it. On receiving the product it was found that it was actually a cheap Chinese fake which didn’t even work. The card was very cleverly put in a Kingston SD adaptor to fool the non-techie users into thinking that the product was of Kingston. So it was not the Sandisk product advertised on Homeshop18 but a cheap Chinese. A lot of people are constantly being cheated in this way, many people are not aware of this modus operandi of the homeshop18 seller.

I wrote them a letter and they asked me to return the product which we did. Almost two weeks after the package had been delivered the return was acknowledged. I got my money back, but here are the things where Homeshop18 hits absolute rock bottom :

1. The seller had committed an absolute fraud on me, see the photos below to know what i mean :

Sandisk Card that was promised

Fake Product from Homeshop18

The product on top is the product promised to me, the lower one is what i received, a cheap Chinese fake in a Kingston adapter. It was wrapped in polyethene.

2. The product continued to be on sale for a long time and still is, i can imagine more and more people are getting cheated.

3. I am yet to be refunded my courier costs for the whole transaction for which i have written to them many times. Hopefully when someone from their company reads this review they will expedite the process of my courier cost refund.

Also Pehredaar (CNBC TV18’s show which exposes frauds) can easily do a full-fledged show on Homeshop18.

[rating:0]
The Zero rating is for this particular transaction, i am poorer by 180 rupees which was my courier cost and is yet to be refunded. I would give it a (.5/5) when i get my money back.

Later Edit : They refunded me my courier costs after writing them an email a day, probably because when you search for their site, this review comes up. Anyway, the new rating is

[rating:.5] (Not Recommended)


Dec 08

Microsoft Lifechat Lx 3000

When you buy Microsoft hardware for twice the money of other products, you expect it to be good. So after my sound card blacked out and my USB sound card to flipped off, i needed a new one. Fairly fed up of the cheap Chinese ones, i opted to spend some money for a good one. So i zeroed in on this Microsoft beauty, the Lifechat LX-3000, the perfect replacement for your Sound Card. And Microsoft didnt disappoint me.

The thing looks like its from a future movie or something, i mean unlike other headphones, it manages to look slick and modern, yet not bulky. I also have Philips Headphones, which are bulky and dont look this cool. And also the Lifechat series includes integration with Windows Live Messengers which is another useful feature.

Within hours of using it, i got compliments from my relatives abroad that the voice quality on this set is much better. If you want to know, my earlier mic was of creative which is also an uber cool company, but it seems that Microsoft has overtook them in terms of voice quality while recording. I wont be surprised if the software included has a noise cancelling algorithm, as when i record i cant hear any background noises, just my voice, nothing else ! No Hum, no air noise, nothing.

The sound quality while hearing songs is also greatly improved. I would say that my computer is giving sound quality much better than that of an Ipod (isnt it supposed to anyway ?). The sound is pure pleasure, again no hums, or noise. Only the sound you play.

Verdict :

[rating:4.5]

We deducted .5 for the cost, otherwise its a perfect piece of hardware.

Pros ::

  • Super Voice Quality
  • Super Playback Quality
  • Uber cool Looks
  • Volume and Mute control panel thingy on the wire itself.
  • Long Wire provided and USB interface

Cons ::

  • The pricing is a little on the higher side. Around Rs. 1500 for it is slightly expensive compared to the USB sound cards available in the market.

Sep 12

Web Camera Monitoring
Homecamera.com offers a great service and what more is that its free for people who sign up now. home camera offers an easy to use and simple home monitoring solution for everyone. There is no need to buy expensive CCTV cameras, recorders and other surveillance equipment, Home camera offers a solution to take care of almost all your needs.

You can hookup your web camera easily using their software, you can assign different names to different cameras which can make monitoring pretty easy. For example, if you have a camera in your bedroom, you can label it ‘Bedroom’ and you can label the camera in the Kitchen as ‘Kitchen’. Its as simple as that. In short you can monitor your whole house using this service by home camera.

Once you have setup your camera, you can view it from anywhere in the world.

In our opinion, the USP of the product lies in its simplicity, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to configure your camera and its easy to use from there onwards too. The service is thoroughly useful for all and one can imagine everyone from small businesses to home owners using it.

Also for current beta testers the basic service will remain free, and credits are pretty cheap too. All payments can be easily made via Paypal.

The service supports advanced functions like motion sensing applications and sharing of web camera feed. Also you can configure your camera to record videos to a server and then access the recordings from there, so you dont even need expensive Digital Video Recorders.

Last but not the least i would say, i will definitely use this service whenever i go out of house. Its a great boon to your home’s security. God forbid, even if your home is robbed while you were away, if you had recorded the video, you can give it to law enforcement agencies who can then easily track the thieves.

[rating:4.5]