Category Archives: general

Uninstalling Xobni – Outlook is fast again!

Now first of all, Xobni is a great tool. I have been using it for a couple of months now. Its installs an Outlook add-in that makes search pretty quick inside of outlook itself and definitely better than the built-in default Windows search. Plus it has added social networking features and integration with Linkedin/Facebook etc which helps pull in contact information. While I have been a fan of Xobni for a while, there have been rumblings of discontent recently.

The first issue was when I found that I needed to split up my PST files (getting too large) due to the huge mail volumes here at ISB. Apparently in between, Xobni disabled the ability to search multiple PST files when they introduced a separate premium version. While older users were still allowed this, I had to go and reinstall my OS (moving to 7 RC), so lost out on this ability.
I finally moved back to my old tested and tried free desktop search tool, Copernic. I enabled only email search for the tool. While I may not have it available as an add-in, its still pretty comprehensive and accurate enough.
The fun actually started once I uninstalled Xobni today. Outlook suddenly became much much more responsive. Folders opened like that! I just realised that my Outlook had become so slow over the past few months, but I had just gotten so used to it that I stopped noticing it!
So if you have it installed. Try removing it once and see the difference. Trust me, you dont want to go back to it, advantages or no advantages. Oh, and give Copernic a whirl. Its an excellent search engine for files/mail etc on the desktop. I find it better than windows and Google desktop search as well.

Now Reading: Matthew Reilly, Moving Mt. Fuji

After a lot of selling from my quaddy Ashish, I finally decided to give Matthew Reilley a try. He’s a big fan. I started on hte books in chronological order, and what can I say? I am hooked. I have always been a fan of good action writers with Alistair Maclean being one of my absolute all time favorites, however, Matthew Reilley is pretty good! The books are action packed, with never a dull page. The chapters seem to be in small bite sized pieces, but with so much action crammed into everything, you can never stop yourself at the end of a chapter alone!

To give you some idea, I went through his first 3 books in 4 days some weeks back (yes this blog post is, as always, overdue)! And especially considering that the only time you can get in ISB is against normal sleeptime, I didnt get a lot of that. So much so that I had to ask Ashish to keep the books away from me, till whenever I have enough time to sit and read one of those in a single sitting. 🙂
I am currently reading ‘How would you move Mount Fuji?’ by William Poundstone. A great book about puzzles, based on the kind initially popularised in the high-tech industry, this book was on my reading list for quite some time, till I saw it lying in the library. I am about halfway done, and it does have some very interesting puzzles that force you to look at problems from a number of different angles.

Now Playing: Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2

With GPUs increasing in power with every generation, PC games are becoming more and more lifelike with each successive iteration. While the recession was not supposed to affect the gaming industry by much, PC game sales this year have been low, not because of the recession, but because there havent been many good games released this year. The only halfway decent ones this year were batman Arkham Asylum and Prototype.

Well, Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2 is the latest game to join the pack, and will probably be the best selling game of the year (the just released Assassins Creed 2 is the only worthwhile challenger). Sequels generally rake in the big bucks in the games industry. The latest title in the CoD franchise was developed by the original game studio ‘infinity Ward’.
The story of the game (yes, it actually has one) is in fact halfway decent with some great direction. It shows how newer games are becoming more and more like movies, with proper titles, storylines etc, quite unlike older games which were just run and gun with some country’s uniforms and accents added for local color. The graphics as I mentioned for the latest generation CoD game are quite good so long as you have a graphics card which is relatively recent. My generation old 4850 was able to take the load pretty well. I guess th fact that I still play at 1440X900 helps 🙂
The storyline is workable, allowing you to play 2-3 different characters with some stunning visuals. The only fault I can find with the game is that the story is too short, actually feeling like a movie….. I would have loved to have gotten a longer game.
While the multi-player mode and a set of special times missions etc are there to give more value, I kind of prefer single player story oriented games (+ the fact that most ports here are blocked, so no online multiplayer), and the shorter storyline is my only complaint.
All in all, its an excellent game, and am actually thinking about playing it through once again just because of the nice visual effects and gameplay.
Gamespot has a great video and text review of the game up here.
PS: Next: Back to STALKER- Shadow of Chernobyl, an RPG (role playing game) + FPS (first person shooter) that I have been playing on and off for some time now. I will end up finishing it one day!
PS2: For those wondering how I manage to find time for games, you guessed it right, I get less sleep!

National Geographic’s International Photography Contest

National Geographic hosts their international photography contest every year showcasing images submitted by readers from all over the world. The photographs are then voted on by readers and the top ones are selected.

25 images from among this year’s entries are featured here:
If you are into photography, its a must view to get an idea on the different ways photographs can be taken at the most unlikely (and even the most beautiful) locations….

Inheritance Cycle: Check, and the urge to write

So like I mentioned in my previous post, I finally finished reading the third book in the Inheritance Trilogy nee ‘Cycle’ (refer to previous post) by Christopher Paolini. The book did leave me a bit underwhelmed actually. While I do realise that the writer says he could not see everything coming together in a third book to conclude the storyline as planned initially, the third book felt pretty weak overall. Of course, the fact that what was supposed to be the final book as now turned out to be another in the series could be a reason for my bias as well. It was still worth a read, if only to stay with the story while waiting for the next (and hopefully last!) book in the series.

While the student life @ ISB keeps us pretty busy and doesn’t give one much spare time, I keep getting the feeling of writing on some topic I read about, the only problem being that something or the other always comes up. There’s always an assignment or a speaker session to sidetrack the mind. I have a whole notebook kept aside now where I keep jotting down thoughts and stuff I need to write/blog on once I get time.

In better news, my persistence paid off and I finally got an article of mine published in a proper magazine last month and two more are coming this month 🙂 At least I have some writing skills that someone else finally thinks are worth something! Usually it’s when I sit down to write that I realise how much I love writing. Once the flow of words starts, there no sense of time or page limits in my mind, and thoughts just form themselves into sentences as required.

I really do need to start writing properly more often, or at least blogging about all the many things I keep thinking about. Those who have seen my browser windows will know what I mean. At any given time I have 20 or more windows open just to track topics of interest that I want to read up on or write about somewhere…..

Here’s to more frequent writing. Maybe something like keeping 15 minutes aside each day will help!

As for the book to take up next, its a draw currently between writing more frequently, books on negotiation, or Mathew Riley…