Dec 28, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse Images and superstitions associated with eclipses

On December 10, 2011 we were fortunate enough to be in Shegaon to be able to watch the total lunar eclipse from completely non-polluted area of Anand Sagar. Air pollution and lights in the cities often deteriorate the quality of viewing such events. 

I tried to capture that beauty into the camera, but that wasn't easy since I do not have DSLR camera. I had to do some experiments in different modes in my digital camera. I used full 40x zoom (10x optical and 4x digital) and finally selected Shutter Speed Priority mode rather than Auto mode. Also at 40x zoom,  if you do not have the tripod, with even a slightest of handshake, the distant object goes out of focus quickly. So I sat on the floor and kept my camera on a bench so as to provide the support to the camera from beneath.  Even I needed to hold the breath for a while so as to reduce the body shake. With all these efforts, I could finally capture that beauty. 

Lets have a look at the clicks now.

Just before the start

In the last picture, moon is hardly visible. 

I always get amazed to see the celestial bodies moving in tandem and in perfect synchronisation. Equally fascinating is the fact that Indians had that knowledge, thousands of years ago and were able to do the precise calculations of timings for these events. 

At the same time, its not a happy feeling that in modern times people are more superstitious and deny themselves the opportunity to view such a spectacular event. And that is the case even with a highly educated class with a science background as well. 

Actually all these eclipses are just the game of shadows. Still people have some beliefs and do some acts, some of which are cited below:

1) Some monsters like Rahu, Ketu swallow Moon and the Sun at the time of eclipses. 

2) It is harmful for health to eat or drink during eclipses, even before actual eclipse gets visible and just the First Contact starts.

3) Taking a bath after the eclipse is over. (bathing is good otherwise for hygiene, but there is no necessity to do that after the eclipse)

4) Covering drinking water and eatables at home (now this we do in normal practice as well for maintaining hygiene, but people are more keen to do this during eclipses) 

5) Keeping Tulsi leaves on drinking water and eatables at home. 

6) Making donations so that eclipse comes to an end (donations are even good otherwise, but eclipse is certain to come to an end at a pre-defined precise time, whether you donate or not)

7) Keeping themselves immersed in holy river till the time eclipse is there.  

8) Its bad for eyes to see with naked eyes. ( It is true for Solar Eclipse, since the Sun being the brightest source of light is behind the moon and its rays are harmful for naked eyes. But in lunar eclipse, its purely the shadow of Earth on the moon and the intensity of light is actually even dimmer than the normal full moon. So it is perfectly safe to see the Lunar Eclipse with naked eyes)

9) The strength of evil spirits increases during eclipse and there are bad omens everywhere. Does that even need a comment here? 

10) One should not travel during the eclipse. 

11) Air is polluted during the eclipse. 

12) Pregnant women should not come out of the house during eclipse. 

Personally speaking I don't believe in any of these superstitions. I enjoyed the view with my complete family and we did that while eating as well.

Detailed post on our Shegaon visit is here:

Dec 26, 2011

Fixing error 8288 while upgrading first generation iPod touch to iOS 3.1

Recently I noticed that the price of upgrading the software in my Apple iPod touch 1st generation device to iOS 3.1 is $4.95 only. Earlier for an upgrade to iOS 2.0, it was $10.

I decided to upgrade and paid for downloading the iOS 3.1 from

However at the time of downloading the upgrade, I was getting error 8288 as under:

I was sure that there wasn't any kind of problem with my internet connection and I wasn't behind any firewall either.

So I tried to search for the possible fixes on Google and in Apple Support Communities as well. I came to know that there are lots of Apple users who are facing this problem, but there wasn't any solution offered in any of these forums.

So I contacted Apple Customer Support on email. But I wasn't getting any solution. In one of the forums, an Apple user with similar problem had posted that he too had contacted Apple Support for this and they just refunded the purchase price, rather than offering any solution.

Finally I did some more research on the internet and noticed that a lot of users facing this problem were using iTunes 10.5. So I decided to try and look for the workaround on my own and it worked. 

Then I informed Apple Customer Support that I have fixed the problem on my own and they can close the thread. 

To my surprise, Apple Customer Support asked me in return about how did I fix the problem. The excerpts from their mail are reproduced below in italics, verbatim:

"I'm so glad to hear that you were able to resolve the issue! Now, if you don't mind me asking, how did you fix it? That'd be great to know, so that I can provide this to my co-workers and other customers who have this issue still.

Thank you in advance! Take care. :)"

I told them that Apple is the company which doesn't provide anything to its customers, free of cost. They charge for software upgrades and even for Customer Support. So I informed them that I am also justified in expecting some sort of reward from them, in lieu of responding to their request and letting them know how did I fix that. 

My request was denied saying that Customer Support doesn't have any access to free products. I accepted that since I knew their limitations. Now I am sharing the workaround which I shared with Apple as well.

CAUTION: This workaround has worked for me. However it involves downgrading iTunes version and may result in loss of data/settings/library files etc. I haven't faced any of those problems though. Still user discretion is advised before following these steps. I am not responsible for any loss of any kind which may arise due to this.

This is how I found the solution to the error 8288 that I was getting.

1) First of all, before contacting Apple Support, I searched Google for the error 8288, as I always do.

2) I found that there are many users who are getting this error while upgrading iPod touch 1st generation to iOS 3.1

3) There was no solution offered in any of the discussion forums.

4) But I noticed one common thing, that all the users posting problems were using iTunes 10.5

5) So I decided to give it a try once again after reverting back to iTunes 10.3

6) I tried to uninstall iTunes 10.5, but while doing the same, the uninstaller got hanged on my windows somehow and I had to use "end task" option. So some of the items in iTunes folder didn't get removed.

7) Then I located iTunes 10.3 on Apple's website and downloaded it's 32 bit edition from

Those who are using Windows 64 bit edition, download link is

8) While installing iTunes 10.3, I got the error message again that this installation needs Quick Time player as a pre-requisite.

9) So I downloaded Quick Time 7. While installing Quick Time, the installer gave a message that due to improper uninstallation in step 6 above, some of the actions need to be undone. I accepted that and after completing the remaining cleanup for step 6, finally Quick Time got installed on my machine.

10) Then I proceeded ahead to install iTunes 10.3

11) It got installed but I was not able to run the program. I was getting error message that the iTunes library.itl file was created using the newer version of iTunes.

12) Then I needed to recreate iTunes library and playlist files

13) I located the iTunes folder in my machine on Windows XP at the path Documents and Settings\[my username]\My Documents\My Music\ and opened that folder

14) Then I dragged iTunes Library.xml file to the desktop and deleted itunes library.itl file.

15) Then I opened iTunes and it got opened. Then I imported the playlist File > Library > Import Playlist using the iTunes Library.xml file on the desktop and my library got recreated.

16) Then iTunes 10.3 opened smoothly.

17) Then I connected my iPod and since I had already purchased iOS 3.1, my iTunes 10.3 gave me the message that the upgrade to iOS 3.1 is available for my iPod.

18) I went ahead with the download and it was successful.

19) After successful upgrade, I again reverted back to installing iTunes 10.5

So this is how I fixed the problem.

After using iOS 3.1 for some time, I immediately noticed some shortcomings in the UI which I will post later separately.

Update on 8th January 2012: Problem in iOS user interface are now posted on

Dec 6, 2011

Opera Mini Rocks

Its a well known fact that the number of users who prefer to browse on the move is increasing exponentially. Browsing on the smart phones or tablets has its own limitations. Its not very comfortable to type long emails on your handheld devices. Nonetheless, people prefer mobile browsing since it is easier to remain online on your mobile. You need not sit at one place in front of your desktop or you need not boot and shut down your laptop just for checking emails.

Mobile browsing is easier for reading emails, checking facebook notifications and updating status on the move, reading some interesting news articles, checking stock prices and latest updates on a live sports event, searching for some information on Google or searching for contact number on Just Dial.

However, the data plans on mobile are generally costlier than normal broadband plans which is a major constraint in opting for mobile browsing. Also many webpages do not support mobile viewing. As a result, pages are not displayed properly. 

Both these constraints are handled well by Opera Mini. In my earlier post I already have mentioned that Opera Mini is the best mobile browser. 

This is how Opera Mini works. Whenever you enter a website URL in Opera Mini's address bar, instead of sending the request to the website directly, it is first sent to the Opera proxy server. This server then fetches the webpage, compresses it, reformats it for mobile viewing and then transmits it back to Opera Mini in a format developed by Opera called as OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language). Since most of the complex processing is done on the server, there is a reduction in data processing time and browsing speed is also faster. 

This whole process reduces the data transfer costs, enables formatting the webpage for mobile viewing and increases browsing speed as well. Following is the screenshot of my Opera Mini version 6.5 which displays the savings in data transfer over a period of time.

I have saved whopping 86% on my data usage, just by using Opera Mini. 

A word of caution: It is not advisable to use Opera Mini for transmitting any sensitive information since there is no end to end encryption. Opera Mini's FAQ page clearly mentions that "Opera Mini uses a transcoder server to translate HTML/CSS/JavaScript into a more compact format. It will also shrink any images to fit the screen of your handset. This translation step makes Opera Mini fast, small, and also very cheap to use. To be able to do this translation, the Opera Mini server needs to have access to the unencrypted version of the webpage. Therefore no end-to-end encryption between the client and the remote web server is possible.The encryption is introduced to protect the communication from any third party between the client (the browser on your handset) and the Opera Mini transcoder server. If you do not trust Opera Software, make sure you do not use Opera Mini to enter any kind of sensitive information.If you need full end-to-end encryption, you should use a full web browser such as Opera Mobile."

Nov 29, 2011

How to read Indic Fonts on Nokia and other mobile devices?

Do you browse websites with fonts in Indian Regional Languages from your mobile phone and get annoyed that you are unable to read those Indic fonts? 

Or it happens to you that one of your facebook friends has posted something in a regional language, on which many other friends are commenting, but you can't comment since you are unable to read that on your mobile? 

If yes, then here is the workaround.

First of all, download the latest version of Opera Mini, which is the best mobile browser by visiting from your device's default web browser.

Then go to mini address bar and type "about:config" or "config:" (without quotes). This will open Power User Settings menu.  

Go to the last item in that menu and select "Yes" for the option "Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts" and then click on Save button, as per the screenshot beside. 

After this, whenever you visit any website containing Indic fonts, you would be able to read the text like what is shown in the screenshot below. 

Depending on your handset, you may face an issue that after you exit your opera mini, the setting above may get reset to default setting automatically and you may need to change that every time when you start Opera Mini to browse Indic font website. However, I am not facing this issue.

Nov 17, 2011

Why Moon rises 50 minutes later everyday?

Have you ever got curious to know why moon rises approximately 50 minutes later everyday as compared to the previous day?

For understanding this, first we need to understand how celestial bodies like earth, moon etc. rotate (around itself) and revolve (around some other planet or star). Its so wonderful to know how these celestial bodies move in tandem and that too for millions of years in perfect synchronisation. 

Its a well known fact that earth completes one rotation in 24 hours. And also moon completes one revolution around its parent earth in approximately one month. Now this approximate period of one month is calculated in two ways. 

First one is Sidereal Month which is equal to the time taken by moon to complete one revolution around the earth, but with respect to the background stars which we see from the earth. This period is equal to 27.32 days.

Second one is Synodic Month. Even though, moon completes one apparent revolution in one Sidereal Month, we won't be able to see the new moon just after one sidereal month is complete. This is because moon revolves around the earth and at the same time earth also revolves around the Sun. As a result, moon has to travel some extra distance so as to reach at the same place, with respect to the Sun and we get new moon again. So the total time taken, also called as a Lunar Month is equal to 29.53 days.

Visit for nice animated presentation explaining Sidereal and Synodic Months.

Now lets understand why moon rises 50 minutes later everyday. 

Here for us, the relevant time taken by moon to complete one revolution around the earth is Sidereal Month, since we want the exact moonrise time i.e. the time when moon first appears on the horizon. Hence the position of the moon which is apparent from the earth with respect to the background is what matters for us rather than its position with respect to the Sun. 

Let is assume that in a figure beside, on Day 1, a person is standing at a point A on earth and he sees the moonrise exactly at 07:00 pm. 
Exactly 24 hours later, on Day 2, the man is standing at the same point A on earth at the same time i.e. at 07:00 pm expecting to see the moonrise again. But in those 24 hours, moon also has revolved around the earth. Now as we have seen, one sidereal month is 27.3 days. So moon completes 360 degrees revolution in 27.3 days. So in one day of 24 hours, it moves by 360/27.3= 13.18 degrees. So for a man standing at point A on the earth on day 2 at 07:00 pm expecting to see the moonrise, moon is still 13.18 degrees below the horizon. So he has to wait for the earth to rotate 13.18 degrees to see the moonrise again. So now the moon will rise for him when the point A on earth travels further to reach point B. As we know, earth rotates 360 degrees in 24 hours i.e in 1440 minutes. So it rotates 1 degree in 4 minutes. So to rotate 13.18 degrees, it takes 13.18 x 4 = 52.72 minutes. This is the delay in moonrise everyday.

This delay would have been same at all places on earth, if earth's plane of rotation around itself and moon's plane of revolution around the earth would have been co-planer with each other. Had the planes been like that, we would have seen solar eclipse on every dark moon day and lunar eclipse on every full moon day. But they are at a angle of almost 29 degrees with each other. So this delay calculated above is not the same at all places on earth and depends on the latitude of the place from where we see the moonrise but it averages out to be around 50 minutes per day. 

Nov 16, 2011

Nokia E5 firmware version 81.004

Today Nokia released a new firmware version 81.004 for its business series smartphone E5. Software version date is 22nd October 2011.

I have upgraded the firmware over the air (OTA) today itself. 

There is no "what's new" type information available on the internet yet. Neither I have come across any release notes.

I haven't noticed any new features yet. So there might be only bug fixes in this upgrade. The user interface seems to be a bit faster than what it was earlier. But that can just be a perception. 

I will post if I notice any new feature which I might have missed out. 

Nov 8, 2011

Excel - Check Value Within a Set of Numbers and then use Conditional Formula

Yesterday, one of my friends called me and asked for a help in Excel. Basically he had a dump exported in Excel from SAP finance module and in that dump, there were more than 1,50,000 line items. In SAP, all debit amounts are positive (+) figures and all credit amounts are negative (-) figures. But the problem my friend faced was that when he exported them into Excel, all the figures were positive figures only, but each figure was associated with a posting key, which was a determining factor to decide whether it was debit or credit i.e. whether (+) or (-). 

And those determining posting keys were in combinations of (+,-) like (40,50), (89,99) etc depending on transaction type. There were 3-4 pairs, he had at present, but in future that number was going to increase. He wanted an excel formula to change the amount to either (+) or (-) depending on the posting key. 

I started to look for the possible ways to do it. I tried to use the "IF" function in combination with excel functions like "MATCH", "VLOOKUP", "LOOKUP", "OR", but wasn't getting the desired results. And since the number of pairs were uncertain, I intended to give him a future ready solution. 

Finally I was sucessful in acheiving the desired results using "IF" and "COUNTIF" functions. The solution was as under with imaginary figures and imaginary sets of posting keys. 

Please feel free to export the above sheet into Excel and look for the formula used in Column F. You may also click on any cell in Column F above, but the formula used won't be visible completely, unless you scroll down in formula field. If you accidentally edit the document, just reload the page and the original document would be visible again. 

Even if the combinations increase in future, the codes need to be added in the columns A and B and range needs to be extended in the formula. 

Any better solution is always welcome. Its a constant learning process.

Nov 6, 2011

Interconnectivity issues between Idea 3G and Vodafone

This is a post about an interesting issue that I was facing since last 3 months or so. This involved interconnectivity issues between Idea and Vodafone. I wrote several complaints to the customer care teams of both the service providers, separately and jointly as well. No solution was found and both the service providers were saying that the problem is with the other network. But at last, I had to identify the problem on my own. The problem is surely from Idea's end. Now that the problem is identified, I have informed Idea Customer Care and now its up to them to fix it. 

I am having two postpaid mobile connections. One is from Idea Maharashtra which is used by my wife and another one is from Vodafone Maharashtra that is used by me. As an example in this post, lets assume that Idea numbers are in series I1, I2, I3 and so on and similarly Vodafone series is V1, V2, V3 and so on. 

The problem that I noticed first was not receiving incoming SMS on Idea number from Vodafone number. So my wife was not getting any SMS from me. This means that I1 was not getting incoming SMS from V1, V2, V3 etc.

But V1, V2 and V3 were able to send SMS to I2, I3 etc. So it was logical that the problem was with I1 i.e. Idea number and hence complaint was lodged with Idea. They checked everything, refreshed the services and then informed me that the problem might be from Vodafone's end. 

Then the complaint was lodged with Vodafone using number V1. They also checked everything. During the calls from network team, they put the number V1 on server for testing and asked me to send SMS to I1. That SMS was not hitting Vodafone's server at all. So the confusion increased and I guessed that the problem might be from Vodafone, since the SMS is not hitting their server. So I kept on following it up with Vodafone. The issue remained unresolved from both the service providers. 

Then one interesting thing happened. My wife travelled out of Nagpur for a couple of days. As soon as she left Nagpur, she started receiving SMS on her Idea number I1 from my Vodafone number V1 and from V2 and V3 as well. It was then the problem got clicked in my mind. In Nagpur, she was always on Idea 3G network. But outside Nagpur, I1 got switched to 2G network and she started receiving messages. When she came back to Nagpur, I tested the same to reconfirm by putting her cell on UMTS (3G) and GSM (2G) modes. So the problem now identified is that Idea 3G number is not receiving any incoming SMS from Vodafone numbers (on 3G and 2G as well). 

I have informed the Idea Customer Care team with these details and hoping them to fix the issue, since the problem is identified now. 

Another interconnectivity issue is there between Idea 3G and Vodafone 3G. The above mentioned Idea number I1 is unable to receive video calls from Vodafone number V1 and so on. Video Calls are possible from I1 to V1, but not from V1 to I1. I had complained the same with Vodafone. Their network department called me and the executive gave me his mobile number (say V4) and Video call was successful from V1 to V4. So again the logical interpretation is that there are some issues of interconnectivity between Idea 3 and Vodafone and they are from Idea's end. Idea 3G is somehow blocking incoming SMS and incoming Video Calls from Vodafone. 

Both the issues of incoming SMS and Video Calls are reported to Idea for fixing it and to Vodafone for their information.

Oct 5, 2011

My Konkan Darshan Article Published by Rediff

My article on Konkan Darshan was originally published by me on this website on 8th September 2011 with URL

That is now published by Rediff with almost entire text content but with 11 out of 84 photos due to their slideshow format. 

They also have given me the credit for the article by mentioning my name and URL of this website as well.

I am thankful to Rediff for that.

Sep 30, 2011

Vodafone Outgoing Facility Barred Even After Bill Payment

I am Vodafone India subscriber from Maharashtra Circle and my Vodafone number is 98xxxxxx43.

This issue is regarding outgoing calls and SMS service getting barred even though bill payment was already done and inefficiencies of so called "Happy to Help" Customer Care. 

The case history is as under.

Earlier Vodafone used to generate my bill on 19th of every month and my bill payment due date used to be somewhere around 5th of every month. And that was happening since year 2005, when I subscribed for Vodafone post paid. 

Suddenly from September 2011, without any specific request from my end and without intimating me to that effect, Vodafone on its own changed my bill generation date to 9th of every month and my new bill payment due date is 27th of every month. 

Because of this it skipped from my mind that bill payment due date has lapsed. So instead of paying the bill on 27th, I paid that on 29th morning. Since it was paid through My Vodafone website, it got instantly updated in their system and I got the confirmation SMS from them on 29th September 2011 at 10:45 am. 

My phone was active as usual till almost 2:30 pm and then they barred my outgoing call and SMS facilities, despite of the fact that bill payment was already done and it was reflecting in their system. 

To get my services restored, I called their helpline on 111 (that was the only number I was able to dial) at about 03:00 pm and the customer care executive confirmed that bill payment is updated in the system and he took the request for restoring the services. The time promised was a maximum of 2 hours. 

Since my services were not restored, I again called on 111 at 04:00 pm and this time, the customer care executive took the request on high priority basis, again with a maximum resolution time of 2 hours.

My services were still not activated and at about 08:45 pm, I called 111 and lodged a formal complaint with complaint number 1080747564. The maximum resolution time for this complaint is ridiculously 48 hours. 

Now the time is 01:00 pm on 30th September and still my outgoing services are not restored. They don't even understand the importance and severity of the type of complaint. Unable to dial is a type of being handicapped now a days. This is the type of service that Vodafone offers to the customer like me, who have a track record of clean payment history for more than 6 years. They do not value their loyal customers and straight away restrict the outgoing services with a slightest of delay in payment, without considering the past payment history. And certainly, Vodafone is not Happy to Help. 

This according to me is a case of wilful denial of service by the service provider. TRAI should look into this. 

The first thing that I am going to do after my services get restored is to put the porting request. One more reason to port is poor 3G connectivity in Nagpur. More on that in a separate post.

I have previous bad experience with Airtel as well. I have never used any Airtel product in my lifetime, be it a Mobile, DTH or Broadband. Still Airtel first started to send e-bills on my email ID for the numbers which I never belonged. Then they started sending me reminders for non-payment of bill amount. Then they went to the extent of sending me legal notices on my email ID for recovery. I had informed Airtel Customer Care in the beginning itself that those numbers were not mine and had asked them to correct the email ID in their system. They haven't done anything and I am still getting mails from them. 

Now with these bad experiences with Vodafone and Airtel, only obvious choice remains for me is Idea Cellular. So any Idea Sales guys reading this post, please get in touch with me using the "Contact Us" form above. I am ready to port. 

Update at 10:15 am on 1st October: Still my services are not restored and nobody from Vodafone has yet even got in touch with me. It has been 2 days since my mobile is barred from outgoing calls and SMS. 

Update at 02:00 pm on 1st October: Finally my services got restored after 48 hours and first thing I did was that I gave the portability request. 

Sep 28, 2011

Aleph - New Book by Paulo Coelho

This new book by Paulo Coelho is available on flipkart at 40% discount. MRP is Rs. 325 but it is available for Rs.195 only.

Sep 25, 2011

Change Reliance Netconnect Default Homepage from to the page of your choice

If you are using Reliance Netconnect Broadband+, you must have noticed that every time the connection is established, irrespective of what default page you have set in your default browser, the first page that gets opened is

If you feel that this page is of no use to you and there is a unnecessary data transfer involved, howsoever small it might be, here is a workaround. 

This workaround is tested for the Huawei USB EC1260 modem. If your USB modem is different and if you find that this solution is not working, you can always uninstall the Dialler software and it will automatically get reinstalled to default settings when you plug in the USB modem next time. 

The steps are as under:

1) Go to path c:\Program Files\Reliance Netconnect - Broadband+\plugins\XFramePlugin

2) Locate the file Config.xml and open it with notepad.

3) In the code, locate the Homepage tag with default homepage as

4) If you want that a blank page should be opened after the connection gets established, replace with about:blank

5) If you want to open the homepage of your choice, replace the above with the URL of your choice, like what I have done to set facebook as my default page in the screenshot below

6) Save the file.

Now next time when you establish the connection, the page of your choice would get opened. Happy browsing!!!

Sep 20, 2011

Remove Blank Space in Blogger Posts below Comments Box

If your blog is hosted on blogger, you may find that there is a blank space at the end of the post, just below the "Post a Comment" box.  

That space is because of the default height of the comment form and is usually harmless, but it is troublesome if your have enabled the backlinks for the comments. And if you have Ads by Google enabled at the end of the post, the user might not notice the ad after reading the post because of this blank space and you might lose some valuable clicks.

However, there is a workaround for this.

The steps are as under:

1) Take the backup of your template before editing the HTML code.

2) Go to Blogger Dashboard (new interface)

3) Click on Template tab

4) Click on Edit HTML

5) Click on Proceed

6) Tick the box at the top to Expand Widget Templates.

7) Search for the words "data:post.commentFormIframeSrc" in your code. You will find these words at 2 places in the code.

8) In the very next lines to those words at both the places, you will find the attribute "height="

9) Change its value to 250 at both the places

10) Preview your blog

11) Save the template if it is looking fine. Else undo the changes or restore the backup taken in step 1.

Now that blank space should not be appearing. Happy Blogging!!!

Sep 19, 2011

facebook password and CAPS Lock

Recently, I discovered that if your facebook password is PasSwoRd, you would be able to login with PasSwoRd and pASsWOrD as well. 

That doesn't mean that the password is not case sensitive. The passwords are case sensitive, but at the same time, the case can be toggled. My first thought was that it is not good from the security point of view. But later on, I found that it is actually a good thing for the user.

Many a times, when the account is first created, the user is not aware whether the CAPS Lock was ON or OFF. He couldn't notice that either, since passwords are masked. Now I don't know whether it is a bug, but presumably, facebook has coded their system in such a way that the login system is indifferent on the status of CAPS Lock button. So if in the example above, your actual facebook password is PasSwoRd, but you are not aware that CAPS Lock is ON and as a result, you enter your password as pASsWOrD, facebook will first check the entered password and if it doesn't match, then it will internally check the toggled password and if it matches, the user would be able to login. But since the passwords are case sensitive, it won't allow the logins with "password" or "PASSWORD". If the password contains numbers, the numbers are to be entered as they are in the original password.

Apparently, facebook accepts the following 3 passwords:

1)  The original password
2)  Original password with case toggled for all the characters
3) Original password, with case toggled only for the first character (while logging in from mobile devices, since some devices have the first character in upper case by default)

Now as long as the password is case sensitive, I don't think that it is compromising even a bit on user's security.

Lets consider the two main types of attacks, offline and online.

Offline Attack: Suppose any hacker gets the access to facebook's encrypted database of passwords, and if he can decrypt the passwords, then he can easily try the same password with CAPS Lock set as ON and OFF. Thats a fairly common guess. So there is no compromise on security due to this feature. 

Online Attack: facebook has limit on the number of failed password attempts and after this limit, it will ask for some alternative login credentials. So,  unless the hacker is very lucky, this feature will get activated before he could try the toggled version of his guess, if he is trying brute force attack. So again, this feature doesn't harm. 

Because of this feature, facebook must have limited the number of password reset requests, since most of such requests are because of ignoring the status of CAPS Lock button. And this is again good from the user point of view since password reset mails are more vulnerable to attacks and many email systems  or email clients are not that secure. 

All in all, if you are logging into facebook, do not bother about whether your CAPS Lock is ON or OFF. Your online security is not jeopardised because of this. You are completely safe, if follow the other password security norms. 

Sep 15, 2011

How to Stop Irritating Beep in Tally?

If you are using the popular accounting software Tally, you might get irritated with a beep sound that plays every time you save the voucher or when you press escape keys to exit tally. It beeps even if you mute your system speakers, and in a quiet office environment, that irritating sound is heard more prominently. One temporary solution to this is to press CTRL+A key to save the voucher without prompting. You need to press this key when you have completed the voucher entry. 

However, I found a permanent solution to this problem which I am going to share with you with screen shots from Windows XP. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, solution is quite similar. 

First you need to right click on "My Computer" and go to properties. Go to Hardware tab and click on "Device Manager". 

Click on "View" button from main menu and select "Show Hidden Devices" option. 

Find and expand "Non-plug and Play Drivers" from the list below.

Right Click on "Beep" and Disable it. 

If you are prompted for a reboot, select no and then again right click on "Beep" and go to Properties. 

Go to "Driver" tab and change current status to "Stopped" and select "Disabled" from the "Startup" dropdown. 

Then reboot if you were asked earlier, and now you would be free from that irritating beep in Tally.

Sep 14, 2011

Bluetooth Pairing Detection of Service Failed

If you are trying to pair your mobile phone with your laptop via Bluetooth, you might get the error message "detection of service failed".

I was getting this error message when I was trying to pair my Nokia E5 with  Laptop having Toshiba Bluetooth Stack for Windows XP version 6.01.03

This is how I fixed it. 

Right click on Bluetooth manager tray icon in your laptop. Go to Options and then click on Security tab.

Choose security level as High and just below that, choose file transfer password like 111. Apply the settings. 

Now if you try to pair after entering the same password as above, you should be able to pair your device with your laptop. 

Normal procedure is to search for the Bluetooth devices, then select one of the device, choose the password and enter the same password on both the devices. In this workaround, the password is predefined in the laptop and you enter the same password in your mobile device. And it works!  

Sep 13, 2011

Want facebook full version on mobile instead of lite or mobile version?

Earlier facebook had the facility to switch back to the full version instead of their facebook mobile or lite or touch version. But now when you browse facebook from your mobile browser, this option is not there and you have to compulsorily use the mobile version only. But this version has its limitations. So for those who are used to full version only, here is the workaround.

When you type in your mobile browser, the URL automatically changes to 
I had a look at this URL and then it was logical that w2m means web to mobile. I tried to reverse that and it worked. 

So what you need to do is to remove the starting "m.", trailing "&_rdr", change "w2m" as "m2w" so that the URL becomes

Now you should be able to browse with full facebook version on your mobile.

Update on 3rd January 2012:

The above post was relevant at the time when it was posted. Sometime back, facebook changed its URLs and now when I type in my opera mini, URL changes to

Now you need to delete m. at the start and change the URL to so as to view full facebook version on your mobile.

Sep 12, 2011

Why TRAI NCPR won't work?

I am registered with National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC) or Do Not Disturb (DND) service since 31st October 2007. But as almost 100% of the subscribers will agree, NDNC is a huge failure. The main reasons for this is the lack of subscriber awareness and the lack of proper penal mechanism. I get almost 8-10 calls and pesky messages per day.

In the first place, most of the subscribers don't know that there is something like NDNC or DND mechanism, in which they can register their mobile number and get some relaxation from unwanted calls and SMS. Then there are some subscribers who are registered with NDNC, but still get promotional calls/SMS but don't know what to do and whom to complaint. Then there is a remaining small class of subscribers, including me, who are registered in DND, still get promotional calls/SMS, raise the formal complaints with the service provider, but don't get any relief due to the lack of proper penal mechanism and the quantum of fine.

Under the existing system of NDNC, the procedure is that once your are registered in NDNC and still get promotional calls/SMS even after 45 days of registration, you need to contact your service provider (terminating service provider) and raise a formal complaint. Your service provider in turn will contact the service provider of the caller or sender (original service provider) of the promotional content. There is a fine of Rs.500 only for the first offence. 

This system of NDNC is now getting replaced from September 27th with a new system named as "National Customer Preference Registry" (NCPR). The website is This deadline has already been extended 4 times earlier, due to the lack of uniform number series to be provided to the registered telemarketers. Hopefully it will see the light of day this time.

First you need to check your current status from If you had already registered under erstwhile NDNC, then you will automatically be in the new NCPR under "fully blocked" category. 

If you are not registered, you need to call on 1909 from your cell to register for NCPR/NDNC/DND. While registering you can completely block the promotions or choose to receive messages from the following 7 categories:

1 Banking/Insurance/Financial products/Credit cards
2 Real Estate
3 Education
4 Health
5 Consumer Goods and Automobiles
6 Communication/Broadcasting/Entertainment/IT
7 Tourism and Leisure.

TRAI’s new policy promises that even unregistered customers won’t receive any commercial communication between 9 pm and 9 am.

TRAI has announced that those telemarketers who do not follow these rules would face a fine of Rs. 25,000 for the first offence. The fine goes up to Rs. 2.5 lakh for the sixth offence and if they continue defying it, they would be blacklisted for two years. But that is applicable to the registered telemarketers. So why would anybody register?

In the present system, NDNC is bypassed since most of the telemarketers did not register themselves. Promotional messages are sent from one mobile number and different contact number is provided in the SMS, so that even if the sending number is blocked on complaint, the original number remains intact. 

In the new system as well, the penal mechanism though more pinching, it won't be initiated unless the subscriber is registered and starts raising complaints. 

The new penal mechanism is as under:

1) First of all, register yourself in NCPR, if not already registered in NDNC.

2) If you are getting promotional calls/SMS even after 7 days of registration, raise the formal complaint with your service provider within 3 days of receipt of unsolicited commercial communication.

3) On receipt of a complaint, the Terminating Access Provider shall,
(a) immediately acknowledge the complaint by providing a unique complaint number; 
(b) verify whether, at the time of complaint, a period of seven days has expired from the date of registration of the subscriber in the Provider Customer Preference Register; 
(c) verify the correctness of the complaint as per the available Call Detail Record (CDR); and 
(d) complete the steps at (b) and (c) within seventy two hours from receipt of the complaint.

4) If, on verification, the complaint is found to be correct, the Terminating Access Provider shall, within seventy two hours of the receipt of the complaint, forward the complaint, under simultaneous transmission to the National Telemarketer Register, to the Originating Access Provider from whose network such unsolicited commercial communication has originated.

5) The Originating Access Provider, to whom the complaint has been forwarded, shall within seventy two hours of the receipt of the complaint by it, investigate the nature of call or SMS and if after such investigation, it finds that such call or SMS is an unsolicited commercial communication- 
(a) issue a notice to the telemarketer, forwarding the detail of the unsolicited
commercial communication made by him and informing him of the deduction from the security deposit of an amount as agreed upon in terms of Schedule IV or Schedule V to these regulations; 
(b) intimate, the result of the investigation and the action taken by it on the basis of the complaint, to the Terminating Access Provider which forwarded the complaint; 
(c) deposit the amount so deducted in an account specified by the Authority; and 
(d) update the action taken by it in the National Telemarketer register. 

6) The Terminating Access Provider shall, upon receipt of the intimation from the Originating Access Provider, intimate to the complainant, within twenty four hours, the result of the investigation and the action taken by the originating Access Provider on his complaint.

7) In case the Originating Access Provider to whom a complaint has been forwarded finds that the unsolicited commercial communication originated from a subscriber who is not registered with the Authority as a telemarketer, it shall issue a notice to such subscriber to forthwith discontinue the sending of such unsolicited commercial communications and if such subscriber sends a commercial communication to any subscriber on a second occasion, disconnect the telecom resources of such subscriber.

Now I seriously don't think that the new NCPR is going to work as well. That is because of the point number 7 above which is clause 19(11) of The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2010 available on

As I said before, people bypass present NDNC just by sending SMS from a different mobile number and provide a different contact number in the SMS. So in the new regime of NCPR as well, even if the complaint is registered, the original access provider will issue a notice. Even after the notice, if the communication is not stopped, it will only discontinue the telecom resources, i.e. the original mobile number from which the SMS is sent. It is a very small price to pay for sending the messages to a huge database of mobile numbers.

There are a couple of more flaws in this system. You need to open up the category even if you want to receive SMS from one specified service provider. For ex. if you want to receive SMS alerts for banking transactions from your own bank like ICICI Bank, you must expressly open up the category "Banking/Insurance/Financial products/Credit cards". So if you open up that category, you will receive messages from ICICI Bank and at the same time, you will start to receive other promotional messages in that category like "Avail Personal Loan in 15 minutes. Minimum Documentation. Contact....." and many more like that. And what's more, you won't be able to complain for that since you yourself have opened up the category.

Unless you open up categories, you won't be able to receive some important SMS alerts like those for high value bank and debit/credit card transactions,  reminders for bill payment, booking confirmation with driver's contact number for Radio Cabs, getting required contact details on SMS from Justdial, SMS confirmations for railway and airline bookings, push messages on facebook, twitter etc. So with all these restrictions, most subscribers would be compelled to opt out of NCPR, giving complete freedom to telemarketers to target them.  

Another problem is that in promotional messages, now we receive the name of the sender in the form of sender ID and operator code prefixed to it. In the new system, we will receive only the mobile number of the sender. So the user won't be able to identify the legitimate message and spam message, unless he/she goes through the entire content of the message. 

To force the registration, TRAI is imposing the ceiling of 100 messages per day per sim card, for every unregistered number in the form of P2P communication. This is based on the assumption that any telemarketer needs to send more than 100 messages per day, and that would force them to register. So anybody can start sending up to 100 messages per day, with the only threat that on complaint, the number may be blocked. 

This restriction is on the number of messages per day. What about calls by an unregistered telemarketers? 

So all in all, I am very sceptical about the new regulations as well. In all probabilities, my cell phone will continue to ring for the calls and messages, that I don't want.

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