Friday, May 23, 2008

Thought of the day - 23rd May 2008

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving -- we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -- but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
- Oliver W. Holmes

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thought of the day - 19th May 2008

"Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen." ~Peter Marshall

Sunday, May 18, 2008

More advice for Vista haters

Sometimes you feel like you are surrounded by money-hungry, self-serving coroporations that want to take over your life and don't want to leave you the freedom of taking decisions even though it's your money they are feeding on.

What pissed me off on Friday night was that I went through hell trying to install XP on my Vista laptop because of the SATA drivers. HP doesn't provide SATA drivers for XP because they don't want to piss off Microsoft (popularly known as Microsucks), so finally I got those from another site and used nLite to slipstream them into my XP installation as described in my previous post.

Then I could not find the video card drivers for my nVidia card for XP. That really made me mad. I mean if you pay 100's of pounds for a laptop you expect the manufacturers to support you in using it for anything more than a paperweight. Well, guess what, they are your friends only if you follow their advice/orders/recommendation to use Vista. So, nVidia, the makers of the graphics don't provide drivers for it at all. HP, the creator of this wonderful laptop do have the drivers, BUT for Vista, if you are so crazy as to not want the crap Vista on your machine then you are on your own.

Well, thankfully, there is a way out of this anarchy. Just like the creators of nLite, there are these people at http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/ solve the problem for you. These wonderful people take the drivers made by the money-hungry manufacturers and modify them so that they can be installed on more machines. And believe me, that process of downloading the modified drivers and installing them is not only easy and effective but also well-documented so anyone can do it.

Again, I just wanted to share this extremely useful resource with everyone, the ranting was just incidental! :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vista Sucks - Downgrading from Preinstalled Vista to XP


[ Click on the picture to read the interesting story behind the real sign!]

Okay, my blog is not a technical blog, but it is my blog and I write about things that I feel passionately about. This issue of Windows Vista is close to my heart and I feel very strongly about it. My readers would know that I experimented with Vista a year or so back and quickly uninstalled it. Vista is just pure crap - it's slow, it's laggy, it's a fascist OS that tries to run your life, it's full of Spyware as I read in an article today and of course, I hate anything that the marketing guys try to shove down my throat. Microsoft has been trying to push Vista like it's the last word in OS while it's so totally shi**ty that people who are not even software professionals or power users hate it and want to get rid of it!

Last time I had to simply reinstall Windows XP back on my laptop and it worked. This time it was harder. I had bought a new laptop, HP Pavilion DV9695ea, and it came with Vista pre-installed on it. I knew this and had no intention of keeping it that way. I had my Windows XP CD all out of storage ready to go into action...

I started the process as soon as I got home. Inserted the XP CD into the drive and started the installation. After a few minutes I got the message "No hard drives are installed in your system", with my only option being pressing F3 to exit the installation.

Houston, we have a problem!

Problem - M new laptop has 2 hard disks both have SATA interface and my XP CD didn't have SATA drivers. I learnt this after I saw the message "Windows did not find any hard disks installed in your system" message from the installation program about 10 times!

So after sifting through about a 1000 posts on about a 100 forums I found the solution. Thanks to all those guys who take the time to read and respond to somebody's problem . I am giving the solution here in simple form, so when some unfortunate Vista-victim searches Google, there is one more place to go and find the solution, esp. without having to dig through so many posts.

First of all, I could not "Disable" the SATA option in the BIOS because there was no such option there. So, this is what I did:
(All of this from my previous computer as I had already deleted all partitions from the new one leaving it inoperable, which I preferred rather than risking to connect to the Net from Vista!).

1. I downloaded the SATA drivers from HP's site, I could not find for my exact model but these were for Intel processors so that worked for me. Here's the link:
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=US&swItem=ob-54270-1


2. I copied the whole contents from my Windows XP Pro CD to a folder on my Hard Drive.

3. While that was going on I downloaded a program called nLite from here.
It's a freeware and a damn good program. Kudos to those guys!

4. There are guides on that site for nLite but it's pretty intuitive with tooltips. Using nLite I re-authored my XP installation to include the SATA drivers which I had expanded on my hard disk.

5. nLite can actually burn the installation back to a blank CD. Very impressive!

6. Turned on the new laptop, inserted the re-authored installation into the drive and it booted from the CD and installed like it was born with SATA support.


That's it! End of a 29 hours long nightmare!

Thought of the day - 16th May 2008

I love this one -

"Chase your passion, not your pension."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thought of the day - 15th May 2005

"It's going to come true like you knew it, but it's not going to feel like you think."
-Rosie O'Donnell

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eating an elephant!


Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One spoon at a time!

No, no, that's not my way of saying that I have turned non-vegetarian. I am still quite strictly vegetarian other than having an occasional omelette, but I found this English expression quite funny and very apt for what I am about to tell you.

I suddenly got it into my head that I want to be a pilot!

When I took my first, very first, plane journey to US from India, I was quite excited! I loved the feeling of taking off, being airborne and even landing. It was a good landing. But since then I have lost count of my plane journies (nothing phenomenal there, most people do after 6), and during all these air voyages I have had some unpleasant experiences. No, nothing too bad, nothing extraordinary that would get in the newspapers, just simple stuff like weather turbulence where the plane drops for 10-20 seconds at a time straight down and you start looking for something to plug into your mouth (like a shoe) just so you can keep the heart down ; or the landing where the pilot brakes hard immediately after the rear wheels touch down like he's riding a bicycle. Stuff like that has made me kind of...well, not afraid of flying but kind of apprehensive, even during takeoffs and landings, normal ones.
So acting on the age-old wisdom of "face your fears" I thought I'd go for some flying training. Which is kind of weird coming from me as I don't even like roller coasters. That heart-in-your-throat feeling is not very good! Other than that though, flying training in England, (I am sure, everywhere), is quite expensive. I can't afford it! It'd be a huge project for me to take up. The best idea for a huge project, if possible, is to take it in small steps - so I am starting my training from the computer. There are several programs available that simulate the flying experience, some of them free like FlightGear, most of them paid like Microsoft Flight Simulator, arguably the most popular of them all. It's marketed as a game but it is in fact so accurate in its simulation that people do, all over the world, use it as a training aid, before, during or after their real flying training.
Then there are books available for real as well as simulated training which help you understand the concepts and acquire the related knowlege. And believe me there's an enormous amount of knowledge to acquire, it's not just holding the stick (the control column) and moving it back and forth!
During my research on the topic (you are right, it started from www.google.co.uk) , I found this community or rather communities of people who fly a plane on the computer and then online, using software programs to interface with other pilots and even real, live ATCs! I was amazed! Look at www.vatsim.net if you are interested! So, that's the next step of my training ladder. Then there are other things to do, until, step by step I build up my skills on the ground and hopefully also my fund for my real training.

That's why I call it by the funny title, breaking a huge task into very small, minute, doable parts and then tackling them one by one. That's how you eat an elephant....one spoon at a time!
Edit: Thought I'd put a picture there to spice things up. It's a beautiful picture and courtesy of fellow VATSIM pilot Jordan Jafferjee.

Thought of the day - 12th May 2008

"Disconnecting from change does not recapture the past. It loses the future."
-Kathleen Norris

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thought of the day - 8th May 2008

Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process.
- Harold Geneen

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thought of the day - 7th May 2008

He who lives with his memories becomes old.
He who lives with plans for the future remains young.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thought of the day - 6th May 2008

Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours.
- Orison Swett Marden

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thought of the day - 2nd May 2008

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

- John Quincy Adams

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