Computing
Of Z-Wave, SmartThings, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Kwikset Deadbolt and the colossal failure that is connecting them all – aka “Home Automation”
· ☕ 5 min read · ✍️ sathya

This is a huge rant I sent to Jo. Some backstory: Few months back Jo bought a Kwikset 910 deadbolt (more like I asked her to buy - hindsight I should have done more and better research) and I was trying to setup the remote locking feature using Alexa/Google Assistant via SmartThings Hub. Here’s a copy-paste of the entire message. I’ll have a separate post on my home automation setup.


New desktop for the house
· ☕ 3 min read · ✍️ sathya

Jo’s been inquiring about a new system since quite some time - her current laptop is in a state of broken mess(half the keys don’t work/battery ded etc) and she’d require me to give up my desktop if she needed to work on something for a bit. She does read quite a bit, but that’s something she’s sorted using the Kindle PaperWhite and her Nexus 5X.

Past Friday, she gave me a reminder about having it would be nice and me being a bit free, decided to come up with a new build. Mandatory things were:

  • semi decent processor
  • 8GB RAM (she’s a webdev, browsers are memory hogs)
  • Budget cap of ₹30,000

That’s about it. I started with a base 6th gen Skylake based i3-6100 as my system build. Since I wasn’t sure about the pricing, these are what I came up with:


Hellforge: my desktop after a long time
· ☕ 5 min read · ✍️ sathya

I’ve been tinkering with computers for well over 15 years now - and since 2007 I’ve been using laptops almost exclusively - prime reason being space(or the lack of it) since I moved away from my home, to a new city. Staying in a PG meant there was no space.

Since the past year and half I’ve been in Bangalore, staying in a rented house and though wanted to own a desktop, there wasn’t a decent justification to get it, especially since my laptop, HP Envy 14 was coping well. Till November, my Envy’s main system fan died and my laptop was running on GPU fan - which meant running any application would result in temperatures shooting to 80-90 - could barely run a game for 10-15 minutes.

In mid Jan I finally decided to get a new desktop than fix my laptop. Anyway, after doing some research and settling on a budget(which was stretched by over 6k) here’s what I got: (disclaimer: Flipkart affiliate links follow)


Slides from my talk on “Password Management & You” at Barcamp Bangalore
· ☕ 1 min read · ✍️ sathya
I’ve been going to Barcamp Bangalore since quite a while now, and it was only at last time’s Barcamp Bangalore that I actually gave a techlash session on Automated backup. This time, I decided to give a general session with focus on how & why people people should improve their passwords & password management skills. Embedded below are my slides. And the very next day after my talk, Evernote gets compromised & has issued a password reset.

Of Dead Hard Drives, Stolen Phones & ICICI Bank Dumbassery
· ☕ 4 min read · ✍️ sathya
It’s been a bad, bad week for couple of my gadgets. First, my 500GB internal laptop drive, which I had swapped out for a Kingston 128GB SSD and converted into an external drive, crashed. It is my fault, tbh – I had disconnected it before sleeping the previous night and next day morning, after waking up, breakfast et al decided to listen to some music & plugged in the drive to the USB port.

My unmonitored Gmail account gets compromised
· ☕ 1 min read · ✍️ sathya
Today seemed like just another day. Little did I know, in a span of about 20 minutes, the resulting set of events would be hugely embarrassing for me. I had barely woken up, when my phone started going bonkers with notifications coming from emails, chats & twitter replies. A glance at the notifications indicated that my email account had been compromised and phishing emails had been sent to every one in my contacts list.

Installing the Kingston v100 SSDNow 128GB SSD on a HP Envy 14
· ☕ 2 min read · ✍️ sathya

Quite some time back Kingston was kind enough to send me their v100 128GB SSD for review. Due to my travel back to India, I had to stall the SSD shipment since I wouldn’t in the US by the time I would have received it. Once back here, I had to further delay since I had planned to take a short week-long vacation to Mangalore.

While the SSD was in transit, I started researching on how would I be able to fit the SSD into my laptop, with the SSD as the primary drive and the existing Seagate Momentus 7200rpm hard drive as the secondary drive. Digging up the Envy 14 manual, I was under the impression that having both drives would be possible.


Batch file to delete files older than x days
· ☕ 2 min read · ✍️ sathya

At work, I have bunch of batch files which take an export from Oracle database, compress them and move them to their respective folders. In addition to this, the scripts also copy the Oracle forms executibles (“fmx”), reports (“rdf”) and other miscellaneous files to the backup locations and these are further compressed. The compressed files are then transferred over to the SAN.


HP Envy 14 Review
· ☕ 8 min read · ✍️ sathya

After a long (happy) time with my Dell Inspiron 1520, my previous laptop’s age was catching up - the processor was a bottleneck, the 8600m GT was akin to an oven stove. Figured this would be the best time to get a new laptop. I’ve mentioned previously as to why I chose the HP Envy 14 - you might want to read up that. Like most of the items that I’ve purchased in the past year or so, the Envy 14 was also bought from HP store with certain changes as compared to the base model. Some of them include:

  • Opted for an Intel Core i5 520M instead of the base Intel Core i3 370M.

This option bumped the rate by about $100, but I felt it was worth it - going by past experience where I settled for a bare minimum Core 2 Duo  T5250 - a decision which I kind of regretted since my processor was holding back severely. (Side note: The i5 520 is no longer available in HP store and has been replaced by the i5 560M.)

  • Bumped hard disk capacity from 320GB to 500B

You can never have enough of available space.

  • Lower resolution screen

Opted for a 1366×768 resolution screen, instead of a 1600×900. I really do believe that 1280×800 / 1366×768 resolution hits the sweet spot for 14/15″ screens. Here’s a glance at the laptop specifications.

Laptop Specifications: