I’m a Team Leader alright!

In the last 10+ years many asked me what I did for a living. I proudly told them I was a trainer. Few understood what that meant and many didn’t.

Here is how a typical conversation occurred. I had one recently which gave me an idea to pen this down.

Imagine I bump into someone from my home town when I visit for a festival or a holiday.

After the initial pleasantries are exchanged, well wishers get into the career part of my life.

-So, what are you doing these days?
-I’m a trainer.

-I thought you were a Software Engineer!
-I kinda am. I’m in the IT industry.

(Anything related to IT/ Software Development/ Computers = Software. You have a tag and an ID card. If you have a cab pick and drop you from work, you’re working in a Call Center)

-What’s IT?
-Software. Software, sir. Software.

-Do you work with computers?
-Every [freakin’] day, yes.

-Where do you work?
-Hi-tech city.

(I tell most people I work in Hi-tech city, irrespective of my location. That is where many non-IT people I know relate ‘Software’ industry to.)

-Which company do you work for?
-XYZ.

(XYZ = whatever organization I’m associated with at the time)

-Not Satyam?
-No.

-I was told that Satyam is a very good company?
-Yes.

-You didn’t get a job in Satyam?
-I didn’t apply. I don’t want to work with Satyam.

-I was told all good Software Engineers work in Satyam?
-Umm, well, uh, …

-You were a clever student all through your schooling/ college, right? You passed ‘first class’ all along!
-Well, yeah.

-Then why didn’t you get a job in Satyam?
-As I said, I didn’t approach Satyam for a job!

-Why not? It’s a good company! How about Infosys, Wipro?
-Didn’t apply!

-Oh okay. Those are good companies, you know. Software companies!
-Well, yes.

-So, what do you do?
-Training.

-You ‘take’ training? Or, ‘give’ training?
-Yes, I provide training. I train employees on certain aspects.

-What training?
-Well, there’s technical training, product training, soft skills and much more.

-Like C and C++?
-Not exactly, but yeah, something close.

-So, when will you become a Team Leader?
-What?

-I was told Team Leaders get more money than others.
-Okay.

-So, are you a Team Leader?
-No. I’m a trainer.

-When will you become a Team Leader?
-I won’t. It’s two different streams!

-So, you’re a normal Software Engineer?
-Trainer!!! I provide training to employees and clients!

-Team Leaders have 8-9 people working for them, you know!
-I know!

-Why didn’t you become a Team Leader?
-Apples and Oranges, sir. Apples and Oranges. Both are different streams!

-Do you have any employees working for you?
-Not really! I do have employees attend my training sessions.

-So, you ARE a Team Leader!
-Well, umm, …

-You’ve been working in Hi-tech city for a long time now, aren’t you?
-Well, yeah.

-I was told Software Engineers get promotion after 2 years and become Team Leaders?
-Well, in some organizations, yeah.

-So, you should be a Team Leader now!
-Well, thank you! πŸ™‚

-Good to see you become a Team Leader man! You were this little when I first saw you, remember?
– πŸ™‚

(Most probably, they are indicating with their hand that I was at their knee level or waist level when they say “this little”)

-But I hope you get a job in Satyam! That’s a big company!
-!@#$%^&*()

-Anyway, am still happy that you’re a Team Leader!
-I’m a Team Leader alright!

Free Security Software from Microsoft

We now have the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) available. And it’s free! Microsoft Security Essentials is the name of Microsoft’s latest Anti-Virus/Anti-Spyware software for Windows operating system. It provides real-time protection for home PCs that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.MSE replaces Windows Live OneCare, a commercial subscription-based antivirus service and Windows Defender, which only protected users from adware and spyware.

Microsoft-Security-EssentialsKey features as listed on Microsoft website:

  • Comprehensive malware protection
  • Simple, free download
  • Automatic updates
  • Easy to use

I used CA Internet Security Suite for a few years now and then moved to McAfee. I switched to MSE a week or so ago and so far so good. Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want – without interruptions or long computer wait times.

Here is a review of the product, with screenshots of the installation and GUI.

*Your PC must run genuine Windows to install Microsoft Security Essentials.

Break the copy protection on DVDs!

If you have ever tried to copy or rip a DVD title and failed because it was copyright protected, come join the club. I tried this on every DVD I purchased just in case it works. I prefer to buy DVDs of my favorite movies but also prefer to make a copy to another normal DVD or onto my computer’s hard disk for viewing. The original DVD is more like a collector’s item for me and I would like to save it safe.

While I was looking around for some assistance in this regard, I bumped into this awesome freeware software. I haven’t tried it yet but reviews on the web say lot of good things about this utility. So I wanted to share it with you all. I might try this in the next week or so but if you get your hands on it before I do, please add a comment and let me know your experience.

DVD Shrink is the utility that allows you to break the copyright protection and therefore make copies. A few noteworthy points of this software:

  • DVD Shrink does not burn DVDs! The output from DVD Shrink is saved as files on your hard drive, which you can then burn to a DVD-R using separate burning software, such as the software provided with your DVD-R drive. (DVD Shrink will also burn your backup DVD, if you have installed the latest version of Nero).
  • Some DVDs cannot be copied at all, and some can be copied but cannot be played. DVD Shrink overcomes copyright protection with built-in decryption algorithms. This is the feature that actually ‘opens’ the disk for copying.
  • Original DVDs are normally Disk 9 type (9.5 GB). So even if the DVD can be ripped, file size is too large and cannot be copied to a single normal DVD (DVD 5 or the 4.7 GB disks we use). This software compresses the ripped file to less than 4.7 GB! Happy backups!
  • DVD Shrink is FREE!

Download the software here. If you need help to use the software, a guide is available here.

One step further:

IF the DVD Shrink software is unable to break the protection and copy the file, you can try this additional tool. This software only ‘opens’ the protection as soon as the disk is inserted in the drive. You can then use the DVD Shrink to do the job or any other favorite software you prefer.

DVD43 is a free DVD decrypter that runs in the background and decrypts DVDs on the fly. It will decrypt (unlock) a movie DVD so that your copy program can read it.

Sweet Dreams!

This is a standalone (Lite version) application I ran into today. While this will not allow you to technically ‘download’ the dreams you see in your sleep (:P) for later interpretation, this will help you to fall asleep to your favorite music and enjoy your dream experience better.

If you are one of those who prefer to play music before you sleep or watch a bed time movie/ comedy show on your computer, probably you can check this out. You will never have to wake up to a loud fight sequence, an item song or just to shut down the computer in the middle of the night!

This application which is only 169 KB (and that too Lite version, meaning no installation required) will allow you to set a total duration, like any typical timer, after which you can order certain actions:

– Lull the computer volume after certain duration (you can set) and gradually decrease to a set minimum target
– Shut down/ Switch off monitor/ Standby/ Hibernate

If you ignore the volume part, you can actually use this as a scheduled timer for lot other activities; like set the duration and just shut down the computer for example. However, I guess ‘sweet dreams’ is the primary objective of this app.

Here are the links:

Original site in German
Translated site in English
Direct download link

Do check out the app and let me know what you think!

Send Receive SMS on PC like email

My Phone ExplorerTo start with, I was looking for a program that allows me to send and read SMS from a PC (Actually, it’s from phone only, but I want to use PC as interface). After browsing through a few search results and reviews, I thought may be it’s difficult to read SMS on PC, real-time. So, I settled with the Microsoft SMS Sender. Just send. Read SMS from mobile itself.

Less than a day after I installed it at work and home, I was out again looking for more. It is a surprise to know what was in store for me. MyPhoneExplorer is what I discovered.
Here is why I like it:
  • I can read and send SMS from PC. Real-time! A popup/ baloon shows the new message notification. Replying is as good as an email, includes emoticons as well. Messages from other folders also can be managed (moved, saved, deleted, forwarded, archived) from the same screen. Am not sure you getting it- it’s awesome! [:)]
  • Organizer is as wonderful as it can be. Notes, tasks and calendar items can be edited from PC. However, this is not real-time thing. Phone or PC will be updated only after a manual ‘sync’. Neverthless, managing stuff on PC is lot easier and may be once everyday sync it
  • Contacts access is great. All numbers from SIM/ Phone can be viewed, edited, deleted etc. It even syncs and gives control to the extent of Photo Call ID, contact specific notes, Birthdays and all that additional stuff. Wow!
  • Call lists can be accessed too. Missed/ dialled/ received- as good as on phone. Practically not very useful as I use USB calbe to connect to PC. If you connect PC to Phone using Bluetooth or Infrared, calling works pretty cool
  • Answer/ dial calls from PC interface. Again, makes better sense if connected to PC using Infrared or Bluetooth technologies. There is a pop up to alert an incoming call too!
  • Files can be browsed and moved from-to PC.
  • Other information like the battery charge percentage, signal strength, provider information, IMEI number etc are displayed too
  • There is an option to open the phone key pad on the PC. With this, you look at your phone screen and control it from PC keyboard πŸ˜›
If your phone is compatible with the application, get on it now (freeware) and appreciate me! πŸ˜€