Friday, January 23, 2009

Is this a bug?

Well, this is what happened. I had logged into Gmail, Reader, and my blogger account. A friend had sent me a huge music file in Gmail and I was in the process of downloading it. Meanwhile, since I was done with Blogger, I clicked on the Sign out link absentmindedly and to my irritation, found that I had got logged out of all the other Google services as well including Gmail. I realized this after Google Chat kept saying 'connection lost, trying now'.

So now considering that I had logged out, shouldn't the file download that I was doing from my Gmail stop? Nope! It didn't. It happily kept downloading the file from the Google mail server. I am like... shouldn't this also stop? I mean what if I was in an browsing center or something and I had forgotten about the download, and in a hurry just signed out? Isn't this a security related thingie? Maybe, maybe not! I was just surprised!

Burger comes to the Bull

Move over, kadalekai! The mighty burger is here.

McDonalds has opened a new outlet in the oldest part of Bangalore. Our Basavangudi Bull Temple Road can now boost of easy access to french fries and burgers!

I'm not sure if I am delighted or nostalgic.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Internet Restrictions at your office? Here are some ways to relieve your pain and frustration

If there is an internet access policy at your workplace and most other sites are restricted & you can’t browse to your heart’s content, and if you are feeling like any of the below statements, then continue reading this blog to get some therapy.

Are you feeling anything closer to these?

a) Search that stupid guy who came out with the policy and give him a nice sounding whack right where it hurts. Also ban him from using the Internet and other related medium ever in his life again.
b) Take the computer you are working on and throw it at the wall. Once, twice and however many times it takes to unblock the sites you wish to browse.
c) Brood silently all day long, curse everyone from your manager to the CEO, and watch the clock till you can get to your PC and total freedom thereafter.

If you are, read on.

Alright, now that you are in the same league and we are kindred spirits, welcome on board. I realize you are in desperate need of some therapy. Though I can’t do much to get your company to pull out this policy (they have their own reasons, believe me!), what I can and will do is show you some ways in which you can satisfy your addiction without running headlong into that wall, firewall.

First things first. You have to establish what you really want to do on the net while at work. Is it just browsing randomly from site to site looking for interesting tidbits of information or is it to access personal emails or is it for chatting with friends or social networking or is it for reading blogs? The following methods may not work well if you are looking to do few of the above like chatting and social networking but for the others there are workarounds that will make your work life relatively stress free. So ok, without further ado…

  1. The most obvious thing to do to bypass restriction is to find proxies. Proxies are special Web servers that enable you to access restricted sites by fetching the said Web page and displaying it from their servers. So if your company has blocked sites based on the servers it has been hosted on, or its type, you can use proxies to access the blocked sites.
  2. Try alternate links for the same site. I know this is dumb but believe me the filtering software/firewall can be even more dumber. For example, was blocked in my company and by chance one day I tried and voila, it worked : ) Get the idea? Try with the “www”, without it, try different domains, etc., etc.
  3. Search for mirror sites of the Web site that may still be accessible.
  4. When it comes to personal email, you can do either of these two:
    a. Create filters in your email and set up forwarding for specific senders and subjects’ emails to your official email (don’t blame me if you incur the wrath of your information security guys!)
    b. Be content with just seeing the email subject and snapshot through the Mail Preview in your service provider’s home page. For example, “My Yahoo” and “iGoogle.”
  5. If it is blogs or personal sites that you want to read, it is an easy one. Just subscribe to the site feeds through RSS and access it through a Feed reader like Google Reader or even your browsers. If you are looking to publish a blog post, Blogger allows you to email blog posts to their server to be published almost instantly. I am sure the other blog service providers also let you blog via email. The only snitch here is that you may not be able to format it well, and in case there’s a mistake you want to correct in a published entry you have to wait till you get home. Duh!
  6. If you happen to encounter the devil while “re”-searching in Google or other search engines, and it does not let you access your search results, don’t worry. Remember you can still see the site by clicking on “Google Cache.” Isn’t that a blessing?
  7. Use the IP address of the site instead of the Web address. Easy this one, uh?
  8. Another method which I read about is to access a site through language translator sites. Not sure how well this works though. Got to try this one out soon.
  9. There are some software that work like proxies and let you bypass the restrictions at work but I wouldn’t recommend them.
  10. If none of the above works, then all I can suggest for you to relieve your addiction is to head out to News sites like BBC, Times and such (surely your company does not block them as well? Mine doesn’t, thank heavens!) and read, read and read the site contents till you get your fix.

If none of the above works, then God save your company! Sooner or later, they will have to contend with employees quitting over Internet restrictions ;)

While we are at this, check out a cool “campaign to end business blocking of employee access to the Net”. Stopblocking, I heart thou!

The most “outlandish” ideas I’ve cited while resigning from work

While some people do not care what reason they give while resigning, there are those that really think hard before dishing out a reason to their boss. Never mind whether that reason is the real one or not. It’s just that the second set of people care about impressions. Those could range from the boss’ opinion, worrying about maintaining good relationship with the boss, hurting sentimentalities, shielding the real truth (which might be “I feel like kicking your ass everyday so I better quit before I end up doing it”) to plain & simple wanting to be different (to themselves!).

Though I do not have experience of handling resignations, I have been on the other end tendering the letters to my various bosses. Out of the five odd times that I have decided to move on, four of them have been very difficult for me. In fact, those few weeks or days have been almost traumatic with me oscillating wildly between quitting and not quitting. And of course there was this one doom’s day when I had to actually muster up the courage, enter the manager’s cabin, and somehow convince him to relieve me quickly. Luckily or unluckily, all my managers have been reluctant to let go and have played their games to try and retain me. But like a bull in front of a red flag, my resolve to resign had only firmed up further the more they tried to retain me.

So today I got thinking about the different reasons I had given to get the boss’ nod to move on. Though these have been valid at that point of time, they seam really outlandish to me now and at times even makes me laugh at my younger self. For example, to one particular guy who also happened to be my first boss, I said that I dreamed of becoming a zoo keeper and needed to resign as soon as possible. I am not sure if he is believed me but he was sure impressed. In fact, he was so taken in with my silly reason that even today he keeps checking with my friend about what am doing in life! I guess he must be disappointed that I didn’t follow through with my dreams.

The next time I landed up in the same situation was some four years later. This time around I had formed a special relationship with my boss. Now, now, don’t let your dirty minds wander. It was strictly professional but also spiritual as we shared the same spiritual interests/beliefs. Go on, we are listening, you say? Ok! Well, this particular boss was heaven bent on making me attend some spiritual workshop. And my boyfriend was hell bent on convincing me otherwise because he was so freaking afraid that I will renounce material life and turn into a saint! Ha, ha, ha! Anyway, to continue, I as usual was torn between attending and not attending the workshop. So while this fiasco was going on, I decided to tell my boss that I wanted to move on from his company. Man, was that a horrible day or what? I almost cried during that meeting. I was feeling so bad leaving that particular company but what to do? My itch was relentless. And my boss was so desperate to retain me. Gawd, it was terrible. The reason I quoted during that meeting was self-discovery. Now don’t ask me to explain that one!

The next time, I told the big shot (over phone!) that my husband got an overnight transfer to a romantic city in France and that I had to follow him immediately the loving wife that I am! LOL. That guy got so freaking angry and annoyed that he started questioning me about the kind of visa one needs to get to Paris. I blabbered some nonsense and hung up the phone in a hurry : ))

So now am thinking.....what other outlandish ideas are there that catch my fancy?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Import and Export Blogs

Blogger has this fantastic feature that let's you export your blog and import it into another. What better way to test it than merging both my sense and nonsense blogs into one?

Though I started Whims of the Cosmos with the intention to keep it clean (meaning publishing only stuff that makes sense and not any of my ramblings), it's too much trouble to maintain two blogs. So here goes, sense and nonsense combined into one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Tall, Dark and Handsome hero, here I come!

Ever since I read my first Harlequin romance at the age of thirteen, I got hooked. I am sure I must have read over a five hundred of M&Bs by now. To say that I was a M&B fan would be an understatement! I used to devour them like crazy - day in and day out. I guess the maximum number of M&Bs I have ever read in a single day was three - like a movie freak, I took them shows one right after another. So naturally, there came a time when my library ran out of fresh stock of M&Bs - I had read every single book and some even twice. I was desperate. Like a Heroin addict, I searched for another source of books.

Eventually I started buying some on my own - sometimes from roadside shops, sometimes from second hand shops, and at times even brand new ones though they were a major dent on my pocket money. They used to cost around 150 those days - too much for my 500 rupee allowance. But thankfully, I soon found another library that had an even more amazing collection of these books. Days and nights went flying while I lived blissfully immersed in the world of M&B fantasies. While my other friends worried about crushes and marks, I was busy travelling in Italy and Greece with my dark-haired heroes and petite heroines. Ha, life was a dream.

Like all good things, my obsession with M&Bs also slowed down and I even stopped reading them all together once I started with my MBA. But not before I had vowed to myself to become a M&B author - In fact, if I remember correctly, I had even written a chapter or two of a novel like M&B in one of those bad days when there was no book to read.

With time though, life caught up and I was forced to abandon my dream world. A few years went by when I didn't even have a glance at a M&B - I had become least interested in them by now. My tall, dark and handsome heroes remained firmly where they belong - in fantasies and books, alone! That is until recently when I decided to pick up a few books on a visit to Landmark. I was getting hooked again slowly.

But what's got me super excited right now is not because I rediscovered my hobby. It is what I heard at a chance conversation in the office lunch table. My dear Harlequin is looking for Indian authors. They are in fact conducting a short story competition for romance authors. Wow! Is this a life time opportunity or what? I thanked my lucky stars that I had joined my team for lunch on that day - otherwise, am sure I would have missed knowing about the contest. As it is, the last day for entry is 21 Jan 2009. Barely a week to go. I better get cracking. My tall, dark and handsome hero, here I come!

The good samaritan that I am, if you would like to know more details of the contest, you can have a look here - Mills and Boon Passion Writing Contest. Be sure to thank me if you enter the contest and win! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why is working for small companies better than working for the big shots

1. No Internet restrictions
2. Complete autonomy (which translates to more responsibility obviously)
3. Better visibility - with managers, big bosses, and customers
4. Opportunity to get involved in diverse opportunities - organizing fun events, "b*tch about my colleagues" projects, etc., etc. without fearing management action
5. Faster growth
6. Closer friendships and relationships (ahem!) with colleagues
7. You can watch TV in the recreation room from 1 till 4 in the evening and get away with it
8. Laugh at a senior in meetings till you are red in the face and all you may get in return is an indulgent smile
9. People believe they are owners of their work assignments - They care
10. Call for meetings when you are bored; you are sure to get 100% attendance :)
11. Friendly IT and HR staff
12. Colleagues are more willing to cover for you
13. You know what the person sitting in the next cubicle is doing; sometimes even what the office boy is doing
14. Oh, how can I forget? The security and the office boys are so nice and they are out to please you if only you show them a little courtesy - say Good Morning and smile at them everyday - in other words, treat them as anyone else in the company
15. Get called Madam (or Sir!) - Oh, I just love that!
16. People trust you not to steal company sensitive data and become an overnight millionaire selling it in ebay
17. Most importantly, you have time for your personal life. Whether it is blogging, Twitting, just browsing the net, reading, writing or falling in Love
18. And before I forget, NO INTERNET RESTRICTIONS

And now the negative side of it

1. Lower salary (maybe)
2. Lesser perks and benefits
3. You can't boast about being employed at "Top 10", "Fortune 10", "Blah 10", or such!
4. People blink when you tell them I work at DFG small company
5. You may have to put in longer hours at times - since you own what you do
6. You are down in the dumps one day and the entire world knows it (thats also a nice thing, isn't it?)
7. A S S licking is rampant (Ha! I can't believe I can be so crass but hey that's the fact and I couldn't find any better phrase to say it the way it is)
8. Collective employee morale (Somebody bitches about Anybody and the next day all the friends of Somebody in office hate Anybody!)
9. There's no one to pass on the low level jobs like formatting or cleanup. You got to do it yourself. Sometimes, it gets passed on to you but there's no way you can pass it on to anyone else. But in big companies, there are technical writers to do that kind of stuff :)
10. God save you if some office Romeo takes a fancy to you. Apart from getting teased mercilessly, you have to constantly ensure you don't end up being alone in the lift or corridor with the Romeo.