Author Archives: shyam

About shyam

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

Don’t and some Do’s of Laptop Care

This article is published initially on my personal blog a few years back. Hope this is the more appropriate platform for publishing a tech article so republishing it here 


This is a non techie -talk on the day to day care of your laptops. As most of the computer users are moving from desktops to laptops for reasons of convenience , there arises certain issues which are not applicable to a specific desktop . Let us discuss some aspects here.

As a person who travel lot for my seminar sessions and other corporate training , I started using laptops in early years of my tech carrier itself.  During all these years , I have to say goodbye to more than 5 laptops and this article is a tribute to all off my previous laptops who were short lived because of the mistakes I have done. So let me share my ideas for  laptop care which I learned the Hard way  🙂


Mistake No. 1 Using the laptops on the Bed


In most of the laptop model air vents are located at the bottom of the laptop  in addition to the air vents on the side.

When you are placing the laptop on the bed , the first thing you are doing is blocking that vents and increasing the temperature inside the laptop.  in addition to that , the soft cotton materials of your pillow and beds are sucked in to the laptop through this vents and it will be dissipated on the motherboard.  When mixed together with the humidity in the atmosphere it acts  as a short circuit path there by damaging the electronic components inside the laptop. So you can see that the trouble is two fold. It causes temperature issues as well as short circuits in future .



So what is the work around for the solution ? I will advice you to stop using laptops at bed . In addition to damage to the laptop , it is also causing problems to your health as you are maintaining odd posteriors when you are using laptops at bed . So it will be much better to use laptops just like a desktop and use a proper workstation for your laptops. But if don’t care about your health and just care about the helth of your laptop only , use some of the gadgets shown here .

It is a Laptop  Bed Stand with adjustable Height


Mistake No. 2  Mixing your Drinks ( or Foods ) with Laptops



Ok , whether it is beer or Coke , It have the same effect on Laptops. I know It is quite obvious that if you spill the liquid , it will land on the key board. On a desktop machine you dont have to worry much about that because your keyboard costs less than your daily dose of ….cokes .  But in your laptops  the motherboard and processor lives just below the keyboard and the short circuit will be fatal. So move the laptops away from your food and beverages.

If  you accidently    spilled liquid over your laptop , immdeiately remove the power and bettery and do not try to turn it on . Hand it over to an expert and let him do the work for you .


Mistake No.3  Lifting the laptops by screen


The very first reason a person lift a laptop by holding the laptop by screen and not by the base   is pure ignorance , teach him the basics of the internel parts of the laptop and he will never do it again . Naturally the laptop base will be more heavier than the laptop screen area. By lifting the laptop by screen you have exerting heavy pressure to the hinges of the laptop and risking the chance of breaking the TFT-LCD and more importantly the CCFL lamp on the top portion of the LCD.


as you can see this Compact Fluorescent Lamp on the top edge of the LCD screen is so delicate that even an improper pressure on the top portion of the screen can damage it , leave alone the case of lifting the laptop by that portion.


Mistake No. 4  Using the Laptops while lightning



Normally  you will turn off your desktops when there is thunder storms and will unplug the power and internet outlets to the desktop . But most people thinks that it is safe to use laptops during thunder storms as the laptops are working from battery and most of the time the internet connection will be wireless. But just think about it , if that heavy electric discharge can travel all the way from the clouds to the ground through a di-electric medium called air , what will it do good if you  disconnected the power cord or not. If the lighting strikes in your vicinity , it will develop a highly charged atmosphere which will fry the chips inside your laptop. the fact is that even if your laptop is turned off there is a chance of damage to the components if you kept it in an open area. So keep the laptops inside a metal container  will be more effective according to the gauss theory  of  electricity ( ignore the theory if your major is not Physics but observe the practical session )





Microsoft brings back MCSE



It is not a topic which directly address any realities in desktop computing , but as a topic which is a hot discussion among techies I wish to express my personal opinions on it.


So the news is that MCSE is back  

for those who does not understand this alphabet soup , this is a Microsoft certification which everyone believes to be extinct and which took a back stage when the new range of certifications acronym-ed MCITP comes in to market. the way the old MSCE stands for Microsoft Certified System Engineer  and it was my first international certification way back in 1998 . I was a MCSE on NT.40 Server and earned the certification by passing all those 6 examinations ( for me it was a 7 paper exam becasue I have to  reappear for the NT enterprise exam )

The MCSE was continued for windows 2000 and 2003 and Microsoft  change the certification path to MCITP from windows 2008 server on wards.

Microsoft Certified IT professional sounds great than MCSE , but lacks recognition as the tech community really liked the term MCSE over the new term. Anyway as an implementer , we have no choice but to follow what Microsoft is offering and I started training my students for the MCITP.

The new update from Microsoft is that they are bringing back MCSE along with the new certification on windows Server 2012 ( formerly known as windows 8 server ) 

But the new certification is named Microsoft Certified Solution Expert instead of  the system Engineer . Sounds better and more fashionable .

To begin with you have to be an MCSA and then an MCSE , just like the old exam pattern. Hope the pictures below are self explanatory , still it help to check the details at   Microsoft site   too .

First go through  the 3 paper to become an MCSA

Then Write two more papers to become an MCSE


Your opinions on the new pattern of certifications is expected on this page

Why BUS is called a BUS


If you are a geek , the term Bus will remind you of Data and address bus first and then you will remember about the huge vehicle that you used to commute . If you are a layman  you are only going to care about the transportation facility .

From my basic classes on microprocessors , I was curious about the term BUS . When one of my instructor explained the concept of data bus and address bus , I was worried about the meaning of the term Bus and wonder if  this term bear any relation to the transport vehicles we normally call bus.  .  We can define the BUS as just a collection of wires or lines on your PCB through which  data , address and control information are flowing in and out of your microprocessor . But that technical definition failed to explain why the bus is really called a bus .

The word BUS is derived from a Latin word called omnibus . It means ”  for every one ”  . So when the public transportation system comes which can be used by everyone , we begin to call it BUS.   The data lines of computers  are common lines of information flow and they are aptly called  BUS. So the BUS in computing terminology is closely associated with the obvious bus we see on our streets



DNS changing malware and why you should care ?




Hope most of you out here are aware about what  DNS  is all about .  For those who don’t  know , DNS or Domain Name Service translate your  friendly website addresses like to the corresponding IP  address. So when ever you are you are accessing a website by typing the website address ( also called the URL )  to the address bar of your browser , your system is contacting the DNS server you mentioned on your network setting to resolve the web site address to the actual IP address.


The DNS server you are going to use is normally assigned to you by your service provider automatically though the DHCP service or it may the one you chose manually . It is not mandatory that you stick on to the DNS server provided to you by the service provider . You can use third party companies which gives the DNS service  like .


So if your DNS can resolve a particular web address to the IP address , it can also redirect you to a different site if they are giving you false information about the web site name to IP address relation.

But normally all those DNS servers are really good at heart and will lead you to the correct destination.

But there exist a chance that if a bad guy set a bad DNS server that will translate the  to an ip address that contain a site that looks and feels just like and your machine is set to use that DNS server  , you are going to be the victim of  some thing just like a Phishing .

It is exactly what happens with a DNS changing malware.  

First of all some one is setting up a unfaithful DNS server which we normally call rouge DNS server which will provide you with false mapping of name to IP .

Second thing is they will create a malware  which when infects your system will just modify your DNS value to the IP address of this rouge DNS server.  So from that moment onward your web requests are tracked and sometimes redirected by this DNS servers.

Then your network is scanned by this malware and it will try to log  in to your routers with default username and passwords and if it succeeds in logging in it will modify the DNS data on those routers too and there by affecting the entire network.

There are two risks involved in these malwares . First of all there are is chance that you are being re directed to fake site and the second is that even if you are not re directed , your web usage data is being tracked which can be used against you at any time .

Hope you understand the basic threat posed by the DNS changing malware . Your comments are welcome


What is Kibi Byte anyway

Hope everyone out there in computing industry is familiar with the term  Byte and kilo Byte . But how many of you out here is familiar with the therm Kibi Byte which is written as KiB .

The KiB is the less accepted standard in computing industry .if  it was implemented on an earlier times of computing industry it may solve most of the confusions that is happening regarding the capacity of your devices which are normally expressed in Kilo Bytes and Mega Bytes .


The Term Kibi is dervied from the combination of words Kilo and Binary . The Kbi means 1024 rather than 1000 as expressed by the Kilo .

On earlier  times of computing industry , when the capacity of memory and storage systems and growing at a steady  rate , industry used the term kilo byte to express    210 bytes . But the mathematical value for 210  is 1024 , but it was ignored  and rounded to 1000 skipping the 24 bytes to use the term Kilo , which means thousand.

The missing 24 bytes become a real issue when the Kilo Byte is multiplied 1000 times and made the Mega Byte and then 1000 times in to Giga Bytes . The difference between the original and expressed values become large .

Then Kibi byte was introduced in 1999  as a solution to the issue . The Kibi Byte really means 1024 than just 1000 . So if you are expressing your hard disk capacity in Kibi byte and Mibi Byte , the actual capacity will not be different from the shown capacity as it is happening now .

But the computing  industry was reluctant to move away from the terms Kilo Byte and Mega byte so we are rarely using these terms . 


Why your Pentium is still an 80386




      Some realities in life as well as technology is hard to digest. So when I am trying to say that your high performance Pentium family of machine is an 80386 , it will not be that much appealing remembering the fact that the 80386 dates back to 1985 which is before the birth date of some of guys out here .


So what is the fact behind the Intel 386 or the i386 family of software products that we still use in our machines, are all of them dates back to 80’s ? I don’t think so .

So let us discuss some technical aspects behind the family of microprocessors so that the myths will be demystified   .

Intel begins their microprocessor revolution with i4004 which was a 4 bit microprocessor. If you are still confused about the bits and bytes of processors, please check here .


Then the Intel moved to 8 bit with 8008 , 8080 and the 8085. The 8086 which was the first one to gulp data at 16 bit become the basic standard for computing industry which we refer to as X86 architecture .


8088 and 80286 were also 16 bit and after the success of the microprocessor 80286 , Intel released the 80386 which was one of the greatest designs of the Intel microprocessor R&D . The 32 bit platform offered the programmers to play around with the 32 bit operating systems and 32 bit application software.


So the point we are trying to establish is that the processor you are using may be  still an 80386 , right ? so let us try to prove it .

After the huge success of 80386, intel produced the next generation of processors known as 80486. Even though it says that it is the next generation of microprocessors, it is nothing but an 80386 + 80387+ little bit or cache memory in to the processor core . So it is nothing but an 80386 with co-processor  build in.

So we can say 80486 is still an i386

After 80486 Intel introduced the Intel Pentium. the name Pentium was used to protect Intel from branding issues of 80586 with their competing companies . But if we drive deep in to the Pentium architecture, we can see that it is two 80486 clubbed in to one core and they called it super scalar architecture. the major change was that the co-processor was redesigned so that it become 64 bit .

So the initial Pentium was nothing but two 80386 working simultaneously,

So we can say Pentium is still an i386

The Pentium MMX was nothing but the same chip with 57 new instructions called MMX instructions; Pentium pro was the same chip with plenty of cache memory and Pentium II was a Pentium Pro with MMX instructions. The initial Intel Celeron was nothing but the Pentium II with reduced amount of cache memory


So we can say Pentium II is still an i386

The much hyped Pentium III was a P- II with 71 new instructions which were strangely named Katmai new instructions.


So we can say Pentium III is still an i386

Irrespective of what Intel says about the Pentium 4 microprocessor which were introduced in year 2000

to achieve the same performance of the Pentium III Intel has to drive the Pentium 4 at almost double the frequency . Even though they did improved some instruction set to incorporate X64 instructions, it primarily continues to be an X86 architecture ,

 So we can say Pentium 4 is still an i386


So until the introduction of recent generation of microprocessors with full IA 64 architecture  , all your Intel family processors were 80386 with some frills added  

( This is a broad under-estimation of the facts and we are aware that lot of other technical aspects are there which make all these processors superior to the 1985 model 80386 . But the sole aim of this post was to prove that even the new generation processors belong to i386 family from a software designer’s perspective)






Binary before Computers ?





Just like many  other electronic students , the digital electronics is not one of the fascinating topics to me . But after a while going through the class room sessions I was fascinated with the binary logic  that is the foundation for all those modern day computing systems.  And for all those who did not come across the binary logic and Boolean algebra , at least you are aware about the fact that binary number system is the foundation on which modern day computing equipment  ticks and all those AND , OR and NOR gates are the building blocks of any digital circuits.

     But how many of you out there are aware about the fact that these calculations using the one’s and zero’s are not invented for the computers and was there long before the invention of the computers 


It comes to me as a real surprise to me that all those theorems that looks as if it is invented for computing equipment in mind was invented long before the  word “computer ” comes in to existence .


The initial idea behind the binary number system was put forward by an Indian scholar  Pingala  long before the  Christ  and further work were done by Chinese  mathematicians on 11th century and modern binary systems were introduced by Gottfried Leibniz  in 1679 .


The man behind the Boolean algebra , George Boole  published  his works in 1854 long before the introduction of computers to the modern world  and only after long 83 years , in 1937  George Stibitz  introduced to the world the idea of using binary number systems on computing systems .


So for all these years working in information technology , I am still amused with the fact that these numbers and logics were introduced way before computers , and I am just wondering why all those guys from India, china and all parts of world designed some thing  that is going to be used for an up coming invention after thousands  of years .


ESD -Realities



How many of the hardware professionals treat ESD  as a main subject when handling delicate hardware components inside the desktop or laptop ?

we can have a basic discussion that I am sure known to many of you out there but  failed to observe in real life .

Electro Static Discharge or ESD is the charge that build up on any substance due to rubbing of two things . The electrons on one of the substance get transferred to the other substance and that material get negatively charged . When that substance get a chance to ground itself the excess charge flows to the ground and it is called ESD.

Even though the static charge is not harmful to the human being , it is extremely damaging to the tiny electronic components in side your computer . That means the charge build up on your body is enough to kill your memory chips when you touch them with out observing proper care for grounding yourself .


So keep your sensitive electronic components in the specially designed anti static bags that comes along with these components  till you are going to assemble it . Remember that these static bags are slightly conductive so do not treat then like a normal plastic bag


And always ground yourself by wearing grounded wrist straps when handling these sensitive  components. It may not be possible for you to always work in a static free workstation as you may be servicing the computers at home . But do remember to plug the crocodile clip of the wrist strip to the chassis of  your computer  and wear the strap  before touching the logic circuits inside the  computer

Extend the activation period of windows 7




Your windows installation is more than 20 days old  and you are almost on the limit of  using your windows legally with out paying anything to Microsoft. And you are not in a situation for an immediate  purchase of  your operating system , or you may be just experimenting with the features of the OS for academic purpose and you need to continue using it .


Yes , from windows Vista onward  Microsoft has made some generous    step so that you can use the  windows free of any charge for 30 days from time of installation with out using any CD keys ( yes you know It ).



But how many among us are aware that Microsoft is more generous  in extending that activation process 3 more times if you did not find the money to purchase their software ? . Yes that is right . you can use your windows for 120 days with out paying anything to Microsoft . 

It is not a discussion on how you can break in to the windows activation process. All the things we are discussing here is legal  and in accordance with Microsoft policy. May be Microsoft does not wish you to use the option regularly so they kept it as a command prompt option .

The process is called windows rearm.  It was first introduced along with windows vista and Microsoft is continuing it for all the new generation OS

Hope you installed your OS with out activation key and it is counting the days left for activation every time you log in .


Just open a command prompt with administrative power  as shown below



Now run the command slmgr.vbs  with the rearm option as shown below


                   Slmgr.vbs  /rearm




Now your grace period is extended to another 30 days . If you need to extend it to yet another 30 days , do it after the current grace period is used fully . Remember you have up to 3 grace periods only to remain legal and still free.




Gold inside your computers ?

There are so many discussions going on about can you become rich by selling the gold hidden inside your micro chips .   Yes , most of  us were get fascinated by the yellow metal and that makes this topic interesting .

The good news is that your micro chips contains gold . The bad news is that there is not enough gold hidden there to make you an overnight billionaire . The gold is there inside the microchips to connect the silicon wafer contacts to the connectors . They are used there because it is a good conductor and nothing to do with your fascination for gold.



In fact there are many metals inside your micro chips inserted as part of  its manufacturing process . But  the process of collecting it back from these chips call for labor intensive , complex facilities that make it less attractive for a normal person like you and me .


Even if some of the higher end add on cards and audio connectors are coated with gold , there is noting worth the effort you put in to separate it back . I personally know a guy who was reluctant to hand over his 1981 IBM PC to me because he believes that  there is solid gold hidden inside the machine. Yes , a 1981 original IBM PC  has some real golden value for a collector like me , but not the kind  of gold as he is thinking



So let your scrap collector do the work and let him make a living out of it .