Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Start --> Shut Down

I stared blankly at the email, having worked for almost eight years, I had never seen anything like it. At least not as an official mail.

Hi Everyone,

We have observed that users are not switching off their UPS while leaving for the day. In night when there is no power and also no generator backup is available the UPS goes to battery backup which exhausts the UPS and in morning creates problems for users. In the past we have given several reminders about the use of UPS and also explained the same in every Induction but nobody is in the habit of switching off the UPS.

Same is the case with Computers and Lab Machines as many users leave them ON while leaving for the day as well as for the weekend.

From Tuesday i.e. 3rd Oct. 2006 onwards those users who are not switching off there UPS and Machines/Lab Machines there complaints will be attended at least priority.

Kindly cooperate with us in keeping the UPS and other hardware in proper working condition. Do Switch Off your Respective Machines and UPS while leaving for the day.

Thanks & Regards,

IT Support

In the eight years that I have been working I have never come across a situation as sad as this. Actually, I have never had a machine as sad this one, and that is precisely what is so sad about this mail. It requires me to shut down and start the machine everyday. I repeat, EVERYDAY.

What could be so bad about it? You had to ask. Let's see. I shall take you through the entire procedure of switching on the machine at my workstation.
  1. Come to work, and gaze at this obscure piece of equipment that takes out a "dharna" every second day to demand equal opportunities at par with the Pentium 4s of the world. They have ample political backing as well, because people from the IT support department come to meet them every day, sometimes twice a day, and believe it or not they sometimes spend the entire day with these machines.
  2. So once you are done gazing at the CPU, you turn your gaze to the monitor. At 14 inches diagonally across, it behaves like a supermodel with a flat chest. It makes you think about the LCD, you had in the job some time before.
  3. Then you push the chair away, because the UPS is kept under the table and right next to the wall. You get down on your knees to beg the UPS to not to give you a shock as you reach to switch it on.
  4. You switch on the UPS and and it blows a loud ear shattering whistle telling you it doesn't have sufficient battery. So you let it scream and writhe in pain. No I'm not sadistic, but given what these machines put me through, it no big deal.
  5. After screaming for 30-45 seconds, it settles down. It realizes that I am too heartless to hear it's screams. and then it decides to pass the baton to the CPU and the Monitor. I'm sure if the UPS had a face, it would give me the same smirk that Gollum gives to Sam at the end of The Two Towers.
  6. Now the CPU and the monitor take over. It feels like a handicap match. They are a Tag Team while I have to go Solo. The CPU starts sputtering, thinks about all the things I did to the UPS, and then stops making any sound whatsoever. I await with a baited breath for the monitor to turn on and show me what the fish is wrong? Windows did not start correctly the last time: would you like to start it in the safe mode?
  7. That is a warning shot. But I try and ignore it. I select boot normally and hit Enter.
  8. I think I hit the key too hard. Because suddenly the monitor changed its colour to a dirty purple hue. I try adjusting the wire, slapping the monitor, and then finally as I am about to call IT Support, it turns normal.
  9. I sigh and the long agonizing wait for the machine to start up begins. It sputters and coughs and then goes into whirring sound. The CD drive makes a sound, the Floppy drive makes a sound. What does it think it is doing? Launching a space shuttle?
  10. Finally the login screen appears, you give the three finger salute. Only to realize that the System Administrator had logged in during the night. That is usually never good news.
  11. So you key in the User ID and Password and wait, then you realize the speakers didn't make any noise about starting up.
  12. You decide to let the machine go through it's startup regimen while you grab yourself a cup of coffee. So you step out to the coffee machine and make some small talk with someone you meet there. 10 minutes later when you return to your seat you realize you're again facing the Login screen.
  13. You scroll back up in your mind thinking did you just login or not? You remember you did, so what gives? A small bubble pops up and says "Windows Update recently restarted your machine". Hello, shouldn't you ask me before you restart the machine? Apparently, Billu thinks otherwise.
  14. It Logs you in, you keep eleven bucks aside in your wallet to donate in the temple. Just as your wallet gets into that snug position behind your butt. The whole screen turns blue. Now you can spend those eleven bucks on an Ice Cream instead.
Shutting down this machine is another post altogether.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Delhi... The city I live in

Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner,
Sometimes I feel like my only friend,
Is the city I live in, the city of angels,
Lonely as I am, together we cry,

From the song "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

I simply love this song, because of the way it personifies a city. Whenever I hear this song it gives me a strange sense of belonging to New Delhi. A few months ago... my hard disk crashed :( and along with other things all my music was lost. I really miss this song.

One of my favorite pastimes is to drive around the city late at night with RHCP playing at high volume. It is such a pleasure to drive the wide open roads uninterrupted over the flyovers through the underpasses, grabbing a quick bite at the Nizamuddin or the Old Delhi Railway station. Sometimes I drive on the road to the airport... an airplane on descent just makes me slow down the car to a crawl and watch it fly across the road... barely a hundred feet above the ground. Sometimes, if I have company... we'll pick up a beer or wine from the border thekas... and let the city sink in. The roads in Delhi are amazing... you really have to visit Mumbai or Bangalore to realize how better off Delhiites really are... You need to check out the flyovers along the ring road, the Greater NOIDA expressway... these things really take your breath away...

Also, I am quite a foodie... and the food in Delhi is amazing... be it fine dining at Azurro, or the Dhaba food at FORE ... or Kareem's in Old Delhi... the choices are immense... and man the nightlife is also truly amazing... one could head out to Capitol, Elevate, Ministry of Sound, Nasha.. the choices are endless...

I love this city... and yet I want to leave it... maybe it's because I want to tell people in other cities how cool my home town is...

Maybe someday I'll miss this city... :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Smart People come and go, Morons Accumulate

Okay, what do you do when you come across a person so dumb that he is pressing the down arrow key with his arm and at the same time is trying to use the mouse to scroll up on a web page... And then turns around to you and says... "I think someone else has taken over my machine... See... I'm trying to scroll up but the page automatically keeps on scrolling down!!! This so spooky!!! Maybe this is a virus"

Now for the icing on the sake... Replace the man in question above with a woman... And the arm with her breast... And the best part is ... This is happening with her for the second time!!!
GAWD!!! How irritatingly dumb can anyone get...???

You know there are two kinds of dumb people... The first kind is like this...

The Boss: Can you tell me how many units did we sell last month...???

The Employee: No, but I can tell you how many times did Michael Jordan
score off a fade away in each of the NBA Finals he's ever played in...

Now such people will obviously be considered to be dumb... But... If you look closely he is not dumb, he just has command over thoroughly useless information. (Hey, at least he told him that he doesn't have the answer)

Such people I can live with... If nothing else they make great partners in a sozzled conversation.

Then there are the other types of dumb people... Here is what they are like...

They'll wear extremely tight clothes to remind themselves that they need to slim down... Or mark stuff on papers with a highlighter, which according to them is not worth reading... Or ask, "then what happened?" long after the joke ends... Ok so you know the kind I'm talking about... These are the ones who I can't live with...

So I have started documenting ways to pick out such people from a crowd...

• They are the only ones laughing at their own jokes in a group… While everyone else is forcing a smile on their faces

• They are the most conscious of themselves when they are all alone

• They fall for the easiest tricks in the book... (i.e. they have never heard of - "Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me"

• They'll laugh at your most pathetic jokes

• They are usually not very bright about computers and would never accept this fact

• They are very territorial

• Their proximics are totally screwed up

There are so many ways to pick them out... but these are the ones which generally some to mind... if you know more, then your additions are welcome.