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E75 and Calendar Sync

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I have a convoluted synchronization setup.

A few weeks back when I was upgrading the phone firmware, the calendar synchronization broke. I got this error message.

[Y man] There was an error getting data from the phone. The synchronization may have been canceled on the phone.
Device “Y man” synchronization failed.

This seems to be a common problem but nobody seems to have found a working solution. I tried to locate the calendar database on the phone to see if deleting it would help. But could not locate the same. Was contemplating a hard reset and restore from backup when I accidentally discovered a working solution.

Calander -> Select Any date -> Options -> Delete -> Before Date. This cleans up the calendar. A synchronization after this worked. Now you know what do when your calendar sync screws up.


I'd love to go out with you, but I'm converting my calendar watch from Julian to Gregorian.


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I discovered Vimperator about 3 months ago and I fell in love with it. Browsing with Firefox suddenly became so powerful and efficient. But a couple of days back, the status bar disappeared. Without the status bar, I felt crippled. Tried reading the help pages, asked around for tips, updated the extension, downgraded and what not? Nothing helped. Unfortunately, search did not help too. And finally I stumbled upon this tip in the mailing list. The status bar was disabled from the menu. How dumb? Interestingly, more than one person had faced the same problem but none had a solution. Looks like the mailing list is not archived and that is the reason why search did not help. Let us hope this blog post shows up soon in the indexes.

A reader was kind enough to point to me that my Greasemonkey script for BSNL Cellone bill payment no longer works. This is due to the fact that the BSNL site changed the site URLs earlier this month. He had also pointed out the fix. It is updated now and available for download. Enjoy!

Airtel sent me this email today, with subject "Your Airtel Bill for Account XXXXXXXX, For the Period 26/03/2009 to 26/04/2009, Airtel Number 080XXXXXXXX"

Dear Customer,

Please find attached your Airtel Bill for,

Airtel Number: 080XXXXXXXX
Account Number: XXXXXXXX
Bill Number: XXXXXXXX
Bill Period:26/03/2009 to 26/04/2009

Please save it for your future reference. You need Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view this bill.

Further down the email, I see this.


Your Airtel e-bill is protected by a unique password, please enter your account number as password to open your e-bill. Password remains the same for every e- bill sent month on month.

Who are they trying to fool? What is the point in password protecting the bill, when the password is provided in the email? How does one deal with such morons?

The 8th edition of Bangalore Barcamp happens at Yahoo! on 7th and 8th March. There has been enough debates about BCB8. So it will be interesting to see how it goes. I am not in town and will not be able to make it. But if you are around, you should go. It helps to connect with like minded people in town.


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Ever since I discovered twitter, I have tweeted more than writing here. 140 chars seems more than enough for me to rant about. However, a lot has happened and a lot more is happening and this blog needs update. Like last year, I will be heading out of Bangalore mid next week until the first week of Jan. So the next few posts are going to summarize these before I bid good bye to a fairly successful 2008. Stay tuned.

Cellone rocks!

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Last Monday I was trying to pay my Cellone bill via the BSNL portal. Everything went fine, the payment was done at the payment gateway and when I clicked on the confirmation, the BSNL site conked off with a "unique constraint violated error". I was worried since I was thinking that I will now need to run between my credit card provider and BSNL. I checked with Sandip and he said that he had a tough time convincing Airtel when a similar problem occurred to him. The BSNL website said that if an error has occurred after the transaction was completed, they received details via "alternate backup channel" and the site would be updated after a day. I was a bit skeptical and decided to wait a day. I was really surprised when I got an email confirmation the next day saying my payment has been received. While I was wondering the state of online commerce, this is indeed a pleasant experience. And that is one of the reason why Cellone has remained my favourite service provider for the past couple of years. Even though I have had connection issues with Cellone, specifically at office, I am happy with the service. I have also taken a Vodafone subscription last month since my usage is going to increase a lot in the next few months and I have enough gripes with Vodafone already. Cellone rocks :-)

Airtel Marketing Spam

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I received a message from Airtel about best way to secure the PC, copied to some 100 other folks. I replied back with a stinker to those morons to stop spamming me and my mail bounced back. So they dont receive /read emails?

Reporting-MTA: dns;

Final-Recipient: rfc822;
Action: failed
Status: 5.0.0
Diagnostic-Code: X-Notes; Error delivering to Marketing South/Sales&Mkt
/Telemedia/Airtel; Router: Database disk quota exceeded
Subject: Re: Best way to Secure your PCFrom: Balaji Narayanan Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 11:17:36 +0530To: Airtel Telemedia Services

I have one other ticket opened with them for issues with their website. Their website does not show up the tariff plan and I think it is most probably because the page is not standards compliant. They have been telling me to check my router and firewall and keep saying it could be a problem with my network. I am pissed off with these jokers. Any tips on dealing with these idiots?

Screenshot taken at 14:10 IST on 2008/08/11 Monday. These guys are doing a maintenance till 8pm. Looks like they were sleeping over the weekend :-) But atleast they are better than HSBC. has this beautiful registration page. As usual, they have this agree check box for Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. What is funny is that, there is no direct link to the policy. Digging around, I found their Privacy Policy in their FAQ. But this has no mention of Terms of Use. I wonder if it is a separate document or another name for their Privacy Policy. :-)

Sandip posts a screenshot of the SSL certificate error on Visa Billpay site. I however took a step further and wrote to their customer care on Sunday, 15 June 2008, at 10:35 AM IST. This was my email to them.


I am a regular user of and I have just discovered (Sun, Jun 15, 2008, 10:33 IST), that the SSL certificate you use for your site expired this morning. Here is the cert details:
Not Before: Friday 15 June 2007 05:30:00 (Friday 15 June 2007 00:00:00 GMT)
Not After: Sunday 15 June 2008 05:29:59 (Saturday 14 June 2008 23:59:59 GMT)

This would be useful for paranoid users like that who would like our data to be safe.

Many thanks for listening.

I got a prompt reply from them by Wednesday 18 June 2008 06:12 PM. The content of the email follows.

Dear Customer Thank you for writing to Visa Bill Pay. We understand that the security certificate of our web site has expired and your concern regarding the security of your information on our web site. We apologize for any inconvenience caused in this regard.

We are already in the process of renewing our security certificate and it will be done in couple of days. Meanwhile, you can continue to do your transactions as usual. Please be assured that all your details are safe and protected at our end.

Visa Bill Pay is certified by Verisign Inc., one of the leading certifying authorities for web-site security, which reinforces our promise of security.

The security and confidentiality of your personal and financial information is of paramount importance to us. You are provided with best-in-class security standards when it comes to using Visa Bill Pay so that your transactions done through Visa Bill Pay are safe.

Visa Bill Pay uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) data encryption. When you use Visa Bill Pay, your personal and Visa card information is protected by this SSL technology. This ensures that your card numbers and personal data are never sent over the Internet unencrypted. This encryption is done using 128-bit RC4 encryption, the maximum level of encryption possible on the Internet comparable to security levels used by financial institutions. Information sent between Visa Bill Pay and the financial institutions is totally secure.

Please visit the following link for further clarification in this regard:

Thank you for using Visa Bill Pay, we look forward to your next visit.

Yours Sincerely

Customer Care
Visa Bill Pay

Wtf? Can't they put someone with a little bit of clue at their customer care? Aso, can't they give a better reply? So i wrote back to them.


Please do not send the canned response after a few days. You seem to give me standard gyan about SSL when your certificate as expired. How would I know if the site is for sure visa bill pay or not and why would I use theSSL when the certificate has expired.

Please have some tech look into replacing the cert at the earliest and see if you can do a good job of monitoring the certs and replacing them next time before expiry.


And this time they replied back the next day but the response was the same that I got to my previous mail. I would have thought they would have an autoresponder to respond with such text if it was immediate. Or may be they have built AI into their bot to respond at random intervals. How do these companies survive?

PS: I re-read the email and I see I could have better worded it and corrected a couple of errors in them. Never write in haste :-(

Airtel: Update

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Further to my post about airtel, Amitha from Airtel reverted to me saying that, Airtel has put process in place to ensure that these kind of stuff does not offer again. Also, she told me that henceforth any new plans that are being offered will be updated on the website as soon as the offer begins. They will also be including fliers in the bills informing about this starting this month.

Let us wait and watch. But I am really happy that they took the complaint seriously and acted upon it, albeit a bit late.

Where is SRT?

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Read on chat:

wen da hell is SRT cumin in wats rong wid dat guy!!!
well its the wear and tear of the groins due to adjusting it every ball srt has faced for last 18 years :)

And here is an interesting read on the so called icon's players.

Folks at office have been telling that Airtel has dropped their broadband tariffs for a while. However I dreaded calling their customer care since I spend more than 30 minutes for every complaint talking to a bunch of clueless folks ultimately achieving nothing. Finally I decided to call them on 30th March to check it out. The person who answered the call accepted that Airtel has indeed dropped their 256Kbps unlimited connection from Rs.999/- per month to Rs.750/- per month. When quizzed why did they not inform the customers about the change in rates, she said that it was informed in the previous month's bill. I tried asking her to provide more information on when this was done and she could not answer. So I raised a complaint asking her to provide information on when this was advertised and when can I be migrated. Also, since I was not informed about this new plan, I asked for a prorated rebate on my tariff since the date the plan was announced. She assured me that I would receive a call latest by 1:30pm the next day.

I waited till 1:30pm the next day and did not receive a response. I was in no mood in talking to these morons again and decided to call the Nodal officer, Mr.Prashant Kumar Goswami as listed in the bill. However when I called the number, it was again picked up by another clueless agent who said that Prashant is a busy man and he does not handle all calls :-) Very nice. I said if that is the case they should not bother listing his name in the bill as an escalation. I made the following complaints to her.

  • Why was my complaint not resolved as promised by 1:30pm?
  • Why was I not informed about the change in plan?
  • When can I be migrated to the new plan?
  • Since Prashant is busy and does not handle calls, they should not list his name as the Nodal officer and provide a generic name in the bill henceforth.

She promised that she will revert at the earliest. She also provided her name and said that I can call the nodal desk and ask for her. She was also kind enough to provide the name of one Mr.Murali who was the next level of escalation but refused to provide the direct numbers of Prashant / Shamik listed as the escalations on the bill. The next day she responded saying that the customers were informed with a note in the bill announcing of the change in plan and this was also updated on the website. I did check the website and this information was not there. She could not provide more information on which month's bill had the information about the new plans. She also said that the new plans were Rs.750/- for 256Kbps unlimited and Rs.999/- for 384Kbps unlimited and she can migrate me to any of the plans immediately. However these new plans came with a twist. Earlier Airtel offered a rebate of Rs.99 if you owned a modem. She said that this rebate was not applicable on the new plans. I was not satisfied with the response and asked her to provide this in writing. She said that she will ask Customer Care to send that email immediately. I also called up the next level escalation, Murali, about the agent's failure in providing me details about the announcement of the plans. Murali said he will revert shortly but never did.

Almost a couple of weeks passed and I did not receive any response. So I called the agent again on April 14 saying that I did not receive any emails from her. She said that the mails were sent but I could not locate them. Later I discovered that they had sent an email but I had inadvertently marked it as read. I did not believe her then and asked her to forward the original email again to me. Someone else from Customer care sent an email which said

This is to inform that adjustment cannot be provided in the bill if you use your own modem, once you opt for Unlimited 999 @ 384 kbps you will be charged *Rs.999.00/-*. If you would take new modem from company or if you will use your own modem then *Rs.999.00/-* is the rental charged and for new modem you will be charged *Rs.500.00* towards registration fees which is non-refundable.

I felt this was wrong since they earlier encouraged to purchase a modem and now there is no benefit of having your own modem. So I called the agent again and this time she was more than willing to give the numbers of both Prashant and Shamik. I called up Prashant and he took down all the details and promised to call me back by 4:30 on April 14th. But as with all other folks from Airtel, he never did. I then called Shamik and explained him the story. He said he will have someone look into it and revert the next day morning by 10:30AM. Promptly, I got a call the next day from Murali saying he was working on the issue based on the inputs I had given to Shamik. I very nicely explained to him that, had he returned my call as promised, there would not have been a need to call Shamik. He was almost useless and then another one by name Ms.Amitha Mohan called. She said the she was the head of Service Excellence and she was looking into my complaints and she will revert.

After several rounds of conversation with her, the summary is below.

  • Airtel has had this plan since Dec (or may be Jan, I forgot) and that this was an acquisition plan and was only for new customers. This was not offered to existing customers and was never advertised. She also said that the plan was supposed to expire on March 31st but has been extended for a couple of weeks. She also said I can be offered the plan since I registered a complaint on March 31. I explained it to her that this is completely contradictory to what I have been told by their CC folks for the past couple of weeks. She said she will check and revert.
  • She was more than willing to get me migrated to any plans that I wanted and finally migrated me to Rs.750/ per month for 256Kbps. I will get a rebate of Rs.49/- per month for using my own modem. She did not explain why both her agent / Customer care did not know about this. She again said she will check and revert.
  • She also promised that she will look into the complaints to understand why it took so long to resolve and see how it can be improved. She also promised that the agents at the Nodal office will be educated to provide the numbers of the Nodal officer if requested.

It is more than a week now and she still hasn't gotten back to me yet. And I am positive she has completely forgotten this. I will mail her a copy of this post and see what is her response.

A couple of days back I checked Airtel's website and both the plans are listed.

So Airtel indeed has had their plans from December but they have made it public very lately. They are also not advertising this nor pro-actively migrating their customers to the better plans as they have done in the past. So if you are still paying Rs.999/- for a 256Kbps connection, call customer care and ask to be migrated. Don't listen to the CC agents if you dont get a proper response. They are a bunch of clueless idiots. Keep escalating until you get a resolution.

Also, an FYI. I just discovered from TRAI guidelines that if you escalate it to the Nodal officer, your complaint should be resolved within 3 days if it is with regards to a fault repair, service disruption and disconnection of service and within 10 days for all other grievances. Also, as and when there are any changes in any aspect/item of tariff in the chosen package, they are expected to communicate in writing to the subscribers.

This is a test post via ScribeFire. Every since I moved my blog to MovableType, I never tried any client side blogging tool. I have been happy using the native editor. Let me see how long does this tryst with ScribeFire continues.

This one made my day. Fucking hilarious. Listen to it when you have a few minutes.

Indian teacher explains the word "Fuck"


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In an otherwise frustrating week, Dilbert has been spot on. Almost everything that has been happening in the past few weeks is there. Check it out

Cricket - Look alikes

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Fun link for the Day.


Specifically look at Ponting and Nasser Hussain :-)

On Ubuntu, Pidgin is the deault messenger client and Firefox the default browser. A URL-handler for ymsgr exits and is set to purple-url-handler. So for example in Firefox, when you click on a link, like say ymsgr:SendIM?SomEtestY4H00Acc0unt, this should open up a window in Purple. However purple-url-handler is provided by libpurple-bin and this package is not installed by default. So to get this working, you will need to get this package installed. So if you want to Firefox to handle the ymsgr links and open up a window, please get this package installed.

And in the process of writing this post, I see that this configured using gconf2. And here is the specific command that provides this info

$ gconftool-2 --get /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/ymsgr/command
purple-url-handler "%s"

I thought this was earlier configured under Firefox by defining the following preferences.

network.protocol-handler.external.ymsgr = true = "gaim-remote uri %s"

PS: I did not want to give my Yahoo ID there in the link above and get spammed with messages. So I have given a dummy ID that might or might not exit.

FOSSConf Chennai

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Drove down from Bangalore to Chennai last week citing FOSSConf as a reason. Kushal and Ram accompanied me on the onward and Ram and my parents came back on my return journey. Mid last year, I went to Chennai by a car with a few friends and I was waiting to go by myself. Also I have been wanting to eat at a road side Punjabi Dhaba. Accomplished both and enjoyed the driving. The top speed I hit was 130Kmph but did not feel very comfortable. Was driving comfortably 90+ onward and 100+ return. The road is amazing and I wish I took some more time stopping by and clicking pics. May be next time.

FOSSConf was amazing. One of the reasons why I go to such conferences is to meet people. Most of the important discussions happen outside the conference halls and in the evenings. This one was no different. Spent some time talking to folks outside the exhibition area and then went with a bunch of folks to Thiruvanmayur beach. Also met a few people whom I knew either on IRC or on mailing lists.

I also spent some time talking to the students who exhibited their projects at the expo. The amount of knowledge, exposure these students have in the industry is a welcome change. Their interaction with the industry, communities outside and some projects which were being done for say Revenue department or for Railways was awesome. I have captured some of the exhibits with the description on Flickr. And hats off to ilugc, NRCFOSS and all the folks involved for pulling off an amazing event.

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