Author Archives: shyam

About shyam

Network professional , Entrepreneur , technology enthusiast , still not a geek

Freeze it – Recover it


Hope almost everyone out here has the bad experience of losing  the valuable data due to hard disk crash .


There are numerous software tools out there a customer can try out  before handling the hard disk to experts for data recovery.


But the data recovery persons ( like me ! ) are going to charge you a hell of a money to recover the data from your hard disk . Let me share  with you a quick tip to recover  your data from hard disk which is inaccessible due to a data read error.


Most of the  time when the hard disk access rate is slowing down and the system shows a lag in accessing your files it may be an indication of an eminent failure . Once the data become completely inaccessible due to  read write errors it can be due to the read write head issues ,or circuitry issues.

The simple tip you can try before taking the hard disk to the service division is to freeze it up on your refrigerator .

When the platter and head temperature is lowered to the freezing point , it will help to solve some of the mechanical issues and if you are lucky ,you can recover the data before it dies out completely .

Just freezing the hard disk and bringing it back to normal temperature will not always work . You have to need an arrangement  near your work disk for freezing your hard disk or you can try it out in your home with a desktop computer ready with data recovery software .

The procedure mentioned below is not a one stop solution to all your issues related to data loss  . Please be careful

 when placing your hard disk to freezer to avoid contamination of water particles and make the situation worst .

# Place your hard disk to be recovered in an anti static bag.

# Put the bag in a sealed plastic container  to avoid humidity .

# Let it freeze for one day .

# Keep a machine which already has an operating system installed . Do not try to boot up from the damaged hard disk

# Connect the damaged hard disk to the system soon after it is taken from freezer. Connect it using a USB  converter or it can be connected   internally

# Try to copy the required data immediately . Leave your film songs and huge files behind , try yo copy the most important files first

# If you are able to copy some files and again if the disk becomes unreadable , try to repeat the procedure once again to recover the rest of the files

(If you able to recover the data then Forget about the hard disk .If it is under warranty , send it over for replacement , else toss it to dustbin ( or follow the official procedure for e-waste disposal in your locality ) 

Try it out , if you are lucky to recover your data, drop me a note  on the comment box



interpolated resolution -The webcam Myths

Yet another post on Megapixels , Hope the previous post will be helpful to you to fully appreciate it

A typical customer who walks in to a computer shop to purchase a webcam is faced with so many confusing choices . The irresistible offer is a range of web cams that offer 12 to 20 Megapixels at an unbelievable price. 20 megapixels !! , my nokia has only 5 Megapixel and my DSLR has only 14 and this nice guy at the shop is offering me 20 Megapixels for just INR 800.

Too good to be true is it ? , if that webcam really transmitted video on that resolution , I need a 2Gpbs leased line to maintain my yahoo chat

just check the advtersement from e-bay about a popular brand of webcam in the industry




if you notice closely there is a line which mentions that the resolution is Interpolated . Ie 25Megapixel Interpolated.


Interpolation is a mathematical method by which the resolution can be increased by inserting some additional pixels in between the actual pixels and thereby giving a false feeling of higher resolution. 

If you closly look at the details of the camera , it clearly syay that the maximun video resolution it supports is 640 X 480 . If do do our maths ,   640 X 480 =  307200   , divide the number by 1000,000 , we will get the value in mega pixel . ie a whooping 0.3 megapixel  , not even one mega pixel .

So what ever may the extra technical factors they mentioned in fine print , claiming a 0.3 megapixel camera as a 20 megapixel camera can only be described as    Cheating .    Hope the whole hardware industry will take caution  against such false claims from the hardware vendors . 

Who got better Megapixels ?


The first question  asked  when you  shows your new digital camera to your friend  is obvious . How many Mega Pixels it have ? . You  will boast on the 20 megapixel  which will  make the guy with that 4 megapixel feel inferior.

By the way what these figures means to a person  and does it hold any significance  to his digital photos ?


What is Megapixel  and how you are going to calculate it ?


A Pixel means Picture Element .  It is the basic unit of measurement of your screen . the smaller the picture element , the finer will be the picture . The resolution of the picture is the multiplication factor of   number of pixels that can be arranged horizontally and number that can be arranged vertically.

ie currently I am staring at a monitor of  1280 pixel wide and 800 pixel high  ie a screen resolution of 1280 X 800 pixels that is equal to 1024000 pixels . if I divide the figure by thousand , I will get the figure in kilo pixels and if I again divide it by 1000 I will get the figure in Mega Pixels . my screen has a resolution of 1.024 Mega Pixels which I can round off and announce as one  Mega pixel .

so my digial snap from my old cannon shows a resolution of     2272 X  1704  If i look at the figures , you can see that the  resolution  is almost doubled for width and height. Since the  screen resolution is the multiplication of width X height , rather than just doubling , it will be 4 times my original resolution

2274 X 1704  = 3871488  . divided by 1000,000 you will get approx 3.8 megapixel which my camera claims as 4 Mega pixel.

So the increase from 1 to 4 megapixel occur just by doubling the number of picture element in width and height. So naturally the increase to 8 mega pixel does not means double the number of pixels . If you just double the number of pixels , the mega pixel will quadruple . Really good news for camera companies .


More Megapixel , The better …. is it So  ?


unless you need to print your family photos to a huge  billboard with a back lit , you don’t need resolution more than 4 megapixel or so . The quality of your picture depends more on the lens , the image processing circuitry and the quality of the CCD or CMOS sensor it is using.

Keeping the same sensor and increasing the resolution will normally have negative results of noise also.

So the next time you shop for your camera do not get trapped by a high mega pixel figure . If everything else remains same do not pay more for the mega pixels , and do not ask for the megapixel  of your friends new camera.

Centrino – is it my Laptop Processor ?



Intel is really good at making microprocessors and also good at  sales .


Most of the hardware engineers  and customers are talking about their Laptop machines which incorporate an Intel Centrino Microprocessor  . When our team at DesktopReality asked the question regarding the term centrino to around 50 professionals in IT infrastructure , the unanimous answer is that centrino is a processor used for laptop computers.

What is centrino ?

It is a really success full business plan from Intel  for selling their products to the  computer vendors and not the name of a micro processor  Consider the case of a company like dell or HP or Leneova making the laptops . Their first decision is to either go for intel or AMD.

Once they chose to go for intel micropressor , they can design their laptop around a ALI -chipset mother board , a realtec lan card , a broadcom wireless and so on. That means the only component that they are going to purchase from intel is the processor. It is not reallly good for a company like intel who make motherboards , lan cards and wireless cards in addition to their processors .

So they announced and popularized a business platform around the  the term “Centrino ”  . It means that if a laptop company purchase the Intel Microprocessor based on mobile technology with mobile Intel chipset motherboard  with intel LAN and Wirless LAN function , they will be allowed to display the logo named Intel Centrino Mobile Technology  on their laptops . Since intel already advertised  this logo heavilily a typical customer began to search for this logo on their laptops forcing the manufacture to go for this bundle offer from intel to get their products sold .

So for the end customer , the price will be relatively high for a typical Centrino system because the manufacture is forced to buy all the components from Intel , may be at a higher price  than the third party products ,which they are going to charge from the customer anyway

It is not a campaign against the Centrino-platform of products . The good part of the story is that customer is assured a more compatible set of products from a single company when they purchase a centrino platform product.  But just to make the users out here informed that Centrino is not a Microprocessor


Do you really need a screen saver ?

Back in the time of  monochromatic monitors ( you can also read Black and White , but some times these monitors are also green instead of white ) when you leave the computer on for a long time with same text on the screen  the phosphor on the screen will be continuously exposed to the same high intensity beam of electrons from the gun.

So there is a risk of damage to phosphor that will show up as a burned image of the characters on the screen even if the screen is turned off.

For programs like wordstar there was a permanent  menu shown on the top of the screen that added up to the burning process. Even if you turn off the monitor , you can read most of the commands of wordstar .


To cop up with such situation ,  TSR ( terminate and Stay resident Program ) were written for DOS environment. They were called screen savers. As evident from the name , their duty is to protect the screen from burning by creating a moving pattern  when you are not working on the machine.

When color monitors were introduced to the market , the screen savers was no longer needed because the image you are viewing on the monitor is not a single image but the effect of continuous scanning of  three guns of primary colors R , G and B . So even if you are seeing a constant image , the screen is being continuously changed. Also the quality of the phosphorus coating is also increased  to offer more tolerances to the burning process.

And with the advent of  LCD monitors , the basic way of image display have been changed and we no longer need the screen savers .

              So you don’t need screen savers anymore to save your screens  

But from the earlier time of a moving dot on the screen , the screen saver has grown to a big industry, using your computer screen as a bill board for the new products and using your spare processing time when you are not using your computer   .For example the  projects of distributed computing process like  SETI  . So if you are downloading a free screen saver from internet and installing it on your computer , most probably you are agreeing to be part of such projects who use your spare computer power for their projects for good or bad intentions .

EULA Facts- Read it before you click ” I agree”


How many of you guys out there are reading the long 15 page license agreement that appear as part of the welcome screens of your software installation ? if you are the one who is clicking the I agree Button after reading and understanding all the implications , this post is not targeting you , else read on ……


Back in the time of windows NT 4.0 Server , there was an innocent looking term that appear on the last page of the EULA ( End User Licence Agreement ). Since at the time of NT  we have to at least scroll down to the last page to click the I accept option ,  So I read it.

It states that Microsoft is not responsible for any Personal injury , or even death that happen because of the use of their product  and the failure of Java technology.  I was little bit hesitated to press the I agree button.

Since  I have never heard about any one who died because of Windows NT installation , I proceeded with the option and successfully installed it and till this day  I am fine.  Later I learnt that there was a long story associated with  the Microsoft and Sun Micro system behind that funny looking term to which I clicked OK.

But in the new era of internet based society , the licence agreement is one of the powerful options for most of the companies for   what ever they wish to hide from the customers. As some of the latest survey on this matter revels , around 95 percent of home customers and 70 percent of corporate customers just click the button “I agree ”  before they read a single line from the licence agreement.  The same corporate heads who recheck everything before they sign an agreement with their business associates simply accept whatever is written on the EULA of the softwares installed on their companies mission critical  machines.


There are some malware softwares out there which clearly announces that they are malwares and  they are going to steal all your personal information and send to their servers . They have the confidence that you are not going to read the agreement before clicking yes and even if some law suite arises , it is easier for them to move out of it since they already told you that they are going to get  your personal information .

The basic temptation for anyone who install the software  to zoom through all the options till you find the finish button.

So next time when you install the software for your mission critical environment in your office , Please read through the licence agreement before you press the  Agree button. May be it will save you lot of trouble later

is PCI express a display standard ?


Some of the customers and even some hardware professionals consider the PCI -Express slot architecture as a dedicated slot for display cards just like the good old AGP cards.  Let us burst  that  myth and discuss the facts behind it 



Background Story  

According to the inital IBM PC archtechture of machines , your  hardware logic  is divided in to two , the main board logics and add on card logic. The add on card logic was proposed instead of a single board design so that it can facilitate the customization , serviceability and upgradability.

The initial slot architecture suggested by IBM was one of the worst designs for an add on card and called ISA architecture . The design as well as the physical dimensions were done in a poor manner and allows 8 bit data tranfer.  As the industry moved to 16 bit , IBM  brings a 16 bit ISA which is backward compatible with the 8 bit ISA and also carries all the bad design elements of 8 Bit ISA  .

The change to 32 bit slots became really complicated with so many competing standards trying to establish their own  industry standards . MCA, EISA, VESA and so on .Finally the PCI architecture  from Intel won the race . The PCI was there from as early as the time of 80486 processors and even though it was a nice 32 bit interface at the time of its invention , it could not support today’s need for faster data transfer rates expected by the modern day graphics cards .


So AGP standard was introduced to cater the needs of the graphic card industry and it was the first dedicated slot architecture   for display cards. All other add on card standards we have discussed so far were general purpose slots , ie they can support any kind of cards like display , sound , network   and so on .


Present Situation 

PCI and AGP co- existed in your mother board such a long time , so  when PCI express came in to market and replaced the AGP slot on your motherboard  people begin to address the PCI Express as the replacement of the AGP standard   . And on the initial time of its introduction  only display cards needed such high throughput offered by the PCI -Express , so only display cards were available in PCI Express architecture  .


As the name implies , the PCI Express standard is a general purpose slot design and is there to replace the original 32 bit PCI standard. Now more and more cards are available on PCI Express standards like LAN and RAID controllers . Mostly on 1X and  4X standards of PCI express. Still most people associate the PCI express standards with display cards.




Defining WAN – for layman to professional

  Things normally become complex when we have to give  a proper definition for it. It is applicable for your exams as well as life . SO when it comes to defining a technical suff like Wide Area Network , there arises so many confusions. This post is an effort to define the WAN from three  different view points . For any trival explanation of the WAN your elementary books on networking come handy.

Here we are considering three different  persons working in a typical company in which we implemented WAN  . The end user , The Person who is in-charge of the organization and the technical person.   Normally it is the technical definition is what we considered as definition.


User /End user /Customer

From a normal users point of  view he  did not care much about the LAN and WAN aspects. His main concern is availability. That is if he is getting the data needed for his productivity or not.  From his point of view  some of the computers in the network  , he is getting the data in a faster way and form some other computers , the data transfer is slow. So he may be   going to     define a WAN as a slow LAN

Your Organizational Head / Account department 

Again we assume that he is not much in to computing or technology and his main concern is about the finalcial aspects and asset management. So he is going to     define the WAN as we own a LAN and we lease a WAN

Technical Person 

The more complex definition comes from this guy. He is going to  define the WAN as a DTE to DTE connection over  a DCE  facility. ie two Data terminal equipment communicating with each other through a set of Data Communication facilities



So the WAN is all the three in to one ,   Yes it may look like a   slow WAN , it is    leased    rather than the one we own and it is a   DTE to DTE over a DCE ,

Hope  you can come up with  your own custom definitions also




LED monitors , the myth and the Fact


By initiating a discussion on LCD vs LED monitor, we are addressing one of the concerns of the customers  regarding the purchase of the display unit.


After the era of Cathode ray tube monitors are over for a formal desktop customer , LCD monitor is a common display unit . There are so many complicated terminologies which a normal customer will find hard to digest like active matrix , passive and so on  . But after all those discussions , customer got settled to the normal term LCD itself and life become less complicated. But then comes a new technology  related to LED  display systems.


From  a normal customers point of view LCD monitor uses the Liquid crystal display to display the image and in LED monitor an array of LEDs are used to display the image.  But the actual fact behind the so called LED monitor slightly differ from the above mentioned story and thus create the confusion.


From a Technical persons  Point of view   LCD monitors uses the  Liquid crystal display to display the image and they are using CCFL ( cold cathode Fluorescent lamp ) for back lit .   


LED monitor also using  the  Liquid crystal display to display the image and they are using white LEDs instead of CCFL to lit up the display.



So we have to call the so called LED monitors as   LCD monitors with LED back lit to avoid the confusion of the customer.


Still LED back lit monitors hold more value to the customers because of the low power consumption , high contrast ration and better reproduction of color .

Almost every technical person out here is already aware about this fact , but we have to spread the news to a normal customer so that  he must not end up believing that the  LED monitor  is entirely different from LCD. Also when the real LED’s will hit the normal market we will not have a terminology to differentiate theses two also .


Reset Counters for your Inkjet – The real story



For anyone who used their ink jet printers for more than two  year they may have come across an error message when they try send a document to a printer ” communication error and a recommendation to contact the service division of the respective printer company.

When you dial the toll free number of the printer company , they will insist on taking the printer to their service division rather than preferring an on site support for the issue . You take the printer to them , they will return the printer on next day with an explanation of the component replaced and the justification for the  amount they are going to charge you. Most of the time , these explanations are relatively far away from the actual reason behind it .

What is the reason behind the so called  communication error in your printer ?  Your printer companies usually have a counter mechanism as part of the electronic circulatory that counts the number of  prints you make from the very first day you begin to use the printer.

The basic aim behind this counter is done in good faith .  These counters are called  protection counter  , They are part of your printer because on the time of printing process , you may be noticed that your printer head is moving to the head service  area to clean the print head from excessive inks that accumulated on it. So when  ever you are using the printer , the printer ink pad  is filled with the ink. So after a continuous use for a long time the  ink pad will be dmaged to a point which it will stop absorbing further ink from the print head and the ink spill can damage the circuitry also.

So the  protection counter  act as a protection against  this situation  . This communication error message ensures that you will bring the printer to the service division to replace the damaged ink pad. After the ink pad is replaced  they  will run a propitiatory software designed for that model of the printer that will access the EEPROM area of the printer to reset the counter.

Here is the catch. They can run this counter reset program even with out replacing the ink pad and all they have to do is to answer a question on the software about did you replaced the ink pad to YES   and they are not going to report any of this situations to customer.  Most of the service centers see this as an opportunity   to collect cash from the customer by just running the counter reset program with our replacing the ink pad thus defying the basic purpose of the Protection Counter .

There are numerous softwares available over the internet which will do this job of   resetting thus making your printer fixed . But it is not a long term solution for your issues . You are expected to replace the ink pad for reliable and smooth operation of your printer .


So the next time you face a communication error on your printer and taking it to a service divison to fix it ,make sure you ask the service person this the ink pad replacement and sure enough it will be done as the service staffs knows they are  not talking to a layman.