Dell Inspiron 1720 Upgrade to Windows 7

Thursday, 12 November 2009 12:36 by salim

No excitement.

This model is not tested by Dell and no specific drivers are available. So, I was a bit anxious about how well the upgrade will go. There were some troubling posts from the Beta/RC period of Windows 7. I decided to try anyways.

So, I popped in the DVD, started the setup. It told me I had three applications that are not compatible (Cisco and Checkpoint VPN clients and RAD Studio 2007). I was not too worried about them and continued with the upgrade.

The installer told me I had over 770,000 files to move, so I was not expecting a fast upgrade. It was not very quick. The whole installation took a little over 2 hours, most of it spent in moving the files. Immediately after the installation, my audio (Sigmatel HD) was not working. All I had to do was to go to the device drivers pane and update the driver. After a restart the audio is also fine.

So, it was a very unexciting upgrade process. Windows 7 however is quite nice. I did not have a lot of complaints about Vista. I don’t have any yet with W7, except that the UAC is turned low. Since I do not use any anti-virus software, I wanted it to the most restrictive settings.

So, now I am running Windows 7 on my Inspiron 1720 laptop without any issues.

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Why I don’t use an anti-virus

Wednesday, 21 October 2009 00:26 by salim

For the last three or four years, I have not been using any anti-virus software in any of my machines at home. We have two laptops and a few desktops all of which are continuously connected to the internet. Both me and Shobha are very active internet users. Our primary communication mode is email and instant messaging. But, after Vista/XP SP2, we made a decision that the cost of licensing an antivirus software and performance penalty that it causes is not worth the protection it provides. Furthermore, we are the only people who use the computer. In the last 20 years or so that we have been using computers, we believe that we have enough behavioral protection against malicious programs and social engineering kind of attacks. My primary browser is still IE (8).

I used to have both Symantec and McAffe antivirus thingies. I also tried a couple of freeware versions as well. The first two are extremely intrusive and makes all sorts of issues during normal operation. It was impossible to run such intrusive and resource hungry background processes in my Audio Workstation. The same with Shobha with her graphic workstations.

Today, just for the heck of it, i downloaded and installed MS Security Essentials. I have been reading about it from the beta stage. The reviews of it were not all positive as we know. But the overall rating was that it is not too far behind in detecting malware. A lot of people praised its small footprint and conservative resource usages. So, installed it and ran a full check of the system. Of course it used between 20-40% of the processor (one core) but very low memory footprint (50MB during full scan with UI open). As I expected, it did not find any malware. So, after 3 years of 12-16 hours of online exposure without any “security” other than my common sense and the basic protection provided by the OS and browser.

I already turned off the live protection. In a few days I will eventually uninstall it as well.

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ATT blocks 4Chan, and I did not try to check it out till now!

Monday, 27 July 2009 17:34 by salim

That is pathetic, for a person who considers myself as well versed in new web. Better late than never, as they say.

No, I am not going to put a link in here as it could lead to pretty NSFW pages. It is a very vibrant community. I will definitely make it a habit to visit them.

But coming to the core of the matter, It is absolutely crazy that ATT would try something like that. What a lot of people don’t understand is that freedom of speech cannot be optioned. It is either absolute or not at all. Being said that, 4Chan, on its front page, and most of its pages show a very interesting slice of humanity. There is absolutely no reason for this to be even considered offensive unless you are in the habit of going into totally strange cultures and finding them as offensive and carpet bombing them.. Oops, I forgot, we have done that.

Now there are lots of contradicting reports about the action. Truth, as always lies somewhere in between. But, it is important in once sense. ISPs, if they have to block a site or IP address for some security reasons, should be upfront about it. Blocking it without prior notification to the users or to the website is a breach of contract, which ATT is not very shy to do.

It was an interesting episode. And I found a good place to checkout from time to time or may be even hangout.

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Things I learned in my last trip to Kerala

Wednesday, 9 April 2008 05:37 by salim
  1. I still love rain: I landed on the 22nd to the midst of a severe spring depression in the Arabian Sea. Really torrential rains for almost three days without a pause. A very nice reminder of the monsoons. Yes, it was disastrous, with large amounts of crops failing as this happened just when the paddy fields were getting ready to be harvested. The rain practically flooded large portions of the road between my brother's house and my sister's house between which I was doing most of the walking.
  2. Kerala drivers are not reckless, they are incredibly patient: I am still afraid of traffic in Kerala roads. I do feel much better driving in the US where there are specific rules and people largely obey them. So, the apparent chaos of the TVM traffic baffled me for a few days. I was trying to imagine how I managed to go through this when I was driving. But, the number of vehicles where several times less then than it is now. The roads have not widened at all, though in TVM, the number of roads have increased. So, as I traveled (as a passenger) around TVM, I came to learn the incredible order in all this chaos. The fundamental principle in the dynamic - you will be surprised - co-operation and patience!!! Every intersection, everybody yielded, watched for others, took the least invasive route. Of course there were tyrants and hot headed drivers and novices. But they all worked within this system of yield and cooperation much more than I see in an intersection with stop sign in the US. We are still learning the wonders of double lane traffic, but I think we are much better and getting better as we do it more.
  3. Kerala Govt. Hospitals are a good place to get health care: I know the maladies of our government hospitals from the corruption among doctors and staff to the lack of availability of equipments and sometimes medicine. But it does operate much more efficiently than many big hospitals in the US. It is quite amazing when you add the fact that most of the service provided by these government hospitals is free. I visited SAT, a hospital that specializes in women and children. It is where most of the difficult child births around TVM and possibly the whole of Kerala happens. In my own family, my elder niece had some complication during birth and was transferred to SAT immediately after birth in a private hospital. My sister gave birth to her daughter there as well. So, I am intimately familiar with the good and the bad. Knowing the amount of talent we have in there and the percentage of hard working dedicated people, with all the perceived bad, I will still trust SAT against any other private hospital and some of the hospitals around me in Philadelphia.
  4. The political discourse in Kerala has not changed a lot: This is a good sign. It has not deteriorated any further. There is the usual penetration of right wing media and further marginalisation of the left voice. But, nothing alarming there. There are the beginnings of alternative discourse becoming more visible through blogs and some odd TV programs. Coming from the US, even the worst offenders of journalistic ethics in Kerala looks like a bastion of Journalistic integrity in US standards)
  5. I love talking in Malayalam: I knew this. I have not done theoretical discussions in Malayalam for a while. Got some chance to do it. Loved it!
  6. There are way too many Cuckoos in Kerala: Yes, there are much more than say 7 years ago. I lived in TVM at two houses and in Kochin at my wife's house. In all the three places, I could hear much more Cuckoo (Kuyil) songs than I used to hear before. It was a novelty to challenge a cuckoo song and make it "mad". But now, it is actually annoying at times. My sister complains about this one cuckoo which start singing at 4 am in the morning!! I should ask an ornithologist about this.

More to come...

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Ofcourse I love NHibernate... but

Tuesday, 26 September 2006 23:42 by salim

Of the numerous Object Relational Mapping frameworks out there, I always prefered NHibernate. This was mainly from considerations to its bigger brother Hibernate and the hope that the popularity of Hibernate will eventually contribute to NHibernate as well. Well, this has been going on until recently. It is almost like the NHibernate project currently is in a confusious state and getting ready to do a major jump... from 1.2 to 3.1/3.2. That would be fun.

Well, the reason for my but however is my recent discovery that NHibernate does not work under partial trust environments. And to my surprise, my new host has specifically has a partial trust environment. I do not want to go for virtual private server just for getting full trust environment.

Well, finding this out about 8 hours before I was supposed to make the site online I was sitting looking at my code thinking of various ways of resolving the situation.

Well, I read all the posting about this subject, tried a few of the workarounds unsuccessfully etc. To make things worse, I was also using Castle.ActiveRecord which meant that I will have to change and recompile and find out how to remove all references to full trust code etc. etc.

So, I decided to ditch NHibernate and ActiveRecord. Ofcourse I found several issues with my data access layer separation. Lesson here, even if it is a small project, make sure to follow every pattern...

The site is back up, I temporarily replaced all data access to plain old Datasets and Tableadpaters. Not having lots of fun though.

Time to search for a good ORM... again.

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