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Importing Contacts to a Windows 7 Phone from your Nokia phone

I recently bought a Windows 7.5 phone which is pretty cool – but this being a Samsung Omnia W and my previous phone being a Nokia E72, I had a tough time importing contacts from one phone to another.
If both phones were Nokia (like the Lumia), Nokia has a very easy app which does this over bluetooth (I think) – but no luck here.
So this is what I ended up doing finally, which worked.
Putting it up so that it could save you some time mucking around with stuff.
You will need:

  1. Your old phone Nokia (Series 60)
  2. A Gmail account
  3. Internet access on your new Windows 7 phone
  4. A Windows computer

Step 1: Export all your Nokia contacts to .vcf files.
Your mileage may vary – but what I did was as follows.

  1. Go to your Contacts screen.
  2. Click on Options > Mark All
  3. Click on Options > Create Backup > Phone to memory card

Wait for a few seconds depending on how many contacts you have.
This will copy all your contacts to your memory card on your Nokia device.
For me, the contacts ended up being in:
Memory Card > Others > Contacts
Plug in your SD card to your computer (or plug in your phone) and copy this contacts folder to a location on your computer. (say C:\Contacts)
Then, concatenate all the .vcf files into one file using the following method:

  1. On your windows machine, click on Start > Run > cmd
  2. Browse to the Contacts folder
  3. Type: copy *.vcf all.vcf

This will put all your vcf files into one.
Step 2: Import your contacts to GMail

  1. Login to your GMail account (or create a new one if you don’t want to mess up your existing one)
  2. Go to the Contacts screen by clicking on the big MAIL text on the left hand side of the screen and selecting Contacts.
  3. On the screen that opens up, click on the More button > Import
  4. Select the all.vcf file and import.
    All your files should now be imported into GMail.
  5. Once this is done, click on the More button > Find & Merge Duplicates
    to let GMail quickly merge any duplicate accounts that you may have.

Step 3: Add this GMail account to your People App to sync all your contacts on your phone

  1. On your phone, click on the People tile.
  2. Pull up the settings from the bottom.
  3. Click on “add an account”
  4. Select Google
  5. Type in your credential
  6. Tap on “Sign in”
  7. Magically watch your contacts migrating into the Windows phone

Make sure that from the Settings section in the People tile (step 3.2 above), you have the Google account selected when you click on  the “Filter my contact list” button service to find contacts.
Thats all there is to it! Hope this is helpful to you!

Duracells actually last longer …

This post is a result of a proper experiment.
I have a Microsoft wireless mouse which eats battery juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I used to use Everready (Gimme red) batteries which would die pretty often and soon.
So I decided to do a little experiment.
I bought EverReady batteries for the mouse and checked how long it lasted.
It lasted me from the 15th of Month 1 to the 10th of Month 2 – so roughly 25 days.
Please note that EverReady batteries can be bought singly – for Rs. 10 a piece.
I then went and bought a pair of Duracell batteries for Rs. 40 – so exactly twice the cost.
One Duracell battery – with the same mouse usage – lasted me from the 10th of Month 2 to the 14th of Month 4.
So almost 65 days.
Hmm … So doing a direct cost to performance comparison, I would say, I saved 6 bucks per 2 months (which is almost 30%)
(I would be spending Rs. 26 in EverReady batteries for the same duration a Duracell gives me)
So there! Now it has been proved (from a real live experiment).
Just thought that you guys would find this piece informative.

Purchasing a digital camera … then and now!

I remember, we bought our first digital camera when my folks were there in the US – back in 2000 I  think.
It was a Nikon Coolpix 4300 and it was awesome!
Yes it was slow to boot and I had to wait for a few seconds for it to be able to click the second snap.
And yes, its view finder cut off around 20% of the final photo it would take – but it was awesome.
As first cameras always are.
It was a 4 MP odd camera with 3x optical zoom, a plethora of features and a 256 MB card.
I remember doing tonnes of research comparing shutter speeds, ISO settings, scene settings, video record times and memory speeds – before I asked my dad to get this. The camera cost us around $400 / $450 odd at that time which was around Rs. 20K – $25K in Indian money then. A substantially large investment for us.
I think I spent almost 2 weeks researching which camera to purchase.
It gave decent indoor pictures – but the outdoor photography and macro mode images were terrific.
I purchased a second camera recently – not for myself – as a gift for someone else.
Walked into Croma, asked them for their options – researched the ones in our budget on CNET and picked one up.
The camera cost us around 12k – it is a Canon Ixus 12 MP camera.
And took me around 30 mins to research and compare (from within the store itself).
I could not believe the number of options that were available in Sony, Nikons, Kodaks and Canons for under 8k.
Almost the same price as their US counter parts.
Just goes to show that digital cameras have become such an everyday commodity in the 10 years since I owned my first camera.
And even then, with memory sizes quadrupling and magapixels increasing and photographs for a single event running into thousands, the quality of digital photographs has gone down – and the joy of flipping through a photo album on a rainy day with a cup of coffee is going to be restricted to the pages of history of our parents’ generation 🙂

Nokia Customer Care Sucks

Just a cry for help!
If you have had some bad experience with the Nokia Customer Care, leave a comment.
If you can help me by getting my phone fixed under warranty, please, please do let me know.
My phone *IS* actually under warranty but those dumb nuts at the Nokia Care Center are out to rip me off!
Thanks again.
If you do not fall in either one of those categories above, you can safely skip this post.
Though a dig post would be useful 😉
Here goes:
Nokia is an excellent phone company. It really is.
We have had about 6 Nokia handsets in our house – and all of them have been rock solid and given brilliant performance – even under severe conditions.
I just love the UI of the phones. They are not over the top – just simple, intuitive and gets the job done bloody well. I’m a fan for life and would not dream of getting any other phone.
But that’s where the honeymoon ended a while ago.
God forbid something happens to your phone – you will be at the mercy of one of the worst customer care units you can experience in your lifetime. Even the government run BSNL customer care units are friendlier and more informative than the morons that populate the Nokia Care service centers.
I purchased 2 Nokia E51s for me and my dad last Feb in 2008. The phone is a gem.
It’s a perfect business phone and there is nothing that you cannot do on it. I fell in love with it the moment I read the feature list on the back of the box.
However, this phone has also been the reason for much pain and suffering.
In June the same year (2008), the message key of my phone suddenly stopped working. It just wouldn’t respond. I ignored the problem as I was not using that key anyways and continued to use the phone – I was able to live with it.
The problem really took off later when by September 4 of the number keys stopped working completely. They would start responding erratically every now and then – but mostly they wouldn’t work at all. So, I was stuck with a brand new 15,0000 bucks phone with the number 5, 6, 8 and 9 keys not responding at all. I could not message any longer – nor could I add contacts to my address book or even dial numbers not within my address book.
I decided to take it to one of the Nokia Customer Care centers (Kaustubh Telecom at Golibar Maidan) in Pune. After checking the piece, to my utter shock and surprise, the guy informed me that the phone was no longer under warranty as the problem I was facing was due to water getting into the handset.
I assured the engineer that no such thing had happened as I was extremely careful about keeping the cellphone dry. It had never gotten wet in the rain and what he said was impossible.
When I told him to show me the water damage, he refused to do so.
He however told me that he would try to fix my phone using one method which would cost me 350 bucks. The other method would be to replace my keypad which would cost me 1200 bucks. I opted for method 1.
He took the phone inside, tried something but could not fix it.
When I later called the manager of the shop and asked him to fix my phone under warranty, he started arguing with me. He hung up on me yelling that his engineers were trained and if they said there was a water problem, there was one.
I left the center completely disillusioned. When I got home, I realized that the engineer had even managed to crack the body of my phone by screwing in the screws real tight.
I kept using the phone as it was – just receiving calls and making calls using the address book.
I later learnt that there were a number of Nokia Care centers in Pune and that Kaustubh Telecom wasn’t the only one.
I decided to go and try another one – at F.C. Road.
On showing the handset there, the engineer informed me that the base plate of the keypad has been scratched by a very sharp object and hence will need to be replaced.
This will definitely not come under warranty as there is a physical damage to the internal parts.
On informing them that I had shown it to Kaustubh Telecom – their own Care Center branch, they told me to take it up with them – which I am sure is going to be of no use.
One more shocking thing is that these Nokia Care centers refuse the warranties of 90% of the phones which come to them on the grounds of water seepage.
Their modulus operandi seems to be:

  1. Accept the phone under warranty.
  2. Open it up (or pretend to do so).
  3. Report a water problem and then charge the hapless victim large amounts of money to do nothing at all.

I am completely angry and disillusioned with this entire episode and my faith in Nokia has gone down quite a bit. Not because they make bad phones – but their after sales service is so pathetic that you would be better off throwing off your 15K phone and getting a new one than get aggravated and cheated in chasing around these Customer Care people.
This is definitely one place where Nokia can learn a lesson or two from the Sony Erricson guys and Motorolla guys. These people atleast honestly repair your handset if it is under warranty even if they charge astronomical sums post warranty.
But I guess it’s the model which Nokia has chosen to follow – that of franchising the service.
There is no non-static room to speak off – their engineers work out in the customer area, they (engineers) also seem completely uneducated, freshly graduated students and their main goal seems to be “ripping off the customer as much as they possibly can”.
I bet they even have a “Ripper of the month” contest going on to see who can extract how much money from an unsuspecting customer.
Feels like your dentist doesn’t it? But believe you me, this one is a lot more painful.
My advice now is – buy a Nokia phone if you really need to – but pray that nothing ever happens to it.
That will probably be your worst nightmare!

IMDB Voting Demographics …

I’m not sure how late I am to learn about this – but just found out about this feature on IMDB which gives you exhaustive details about the demographics of users that voted for a particular title.

Being a movie and a stats junkie, this is just too freakin’ brilliant for me 😀

Do check it out.

Click here to get to the page

Click here to get to the page

Summary of Information

Further demographic breakup

Further demographic breakup

Over-connectivity anybody?


I know that this topic must have been done to death uptil now, but the immense realisation of it all just hit me.

My uncle from the states, sent me an email and asked me to reply back with everybody’s phone number in the house.

I say okay, hit the Reply button and go:

Home (primary): XXX

Home (secondary): XXX

Dad’s Cell: XXX

Mom’s Cell: XXX

My Cell: XXX

Bro’s Cell: XXX

When I keyed in the last number – was the exact time it hit me.

6 phones !!!!

6 bloody phones for 4 people!!!

And just about 4 years ago, we were extremely happy with one landline number – which I would proudly tell everybody.

And now, the first thing I grab hold off – even when I am moving through rooms in my house is — yeah — my cell phone.

Technology is a very funny thing.

You do not realise how badly you needed something until you start using it.

I resisted buying a cell phone till I was in my final year for this very same reason — and now, it’s something I cannot do without.

There was a time when I had only one email address and was extremely happy with it.

Now, I have one personal email address, one for spams, one for business and a couple more which I need to check for the websites that we have (activeciti, thinkingspace).

I have an account on each popular IM (GTalk, Yahoo, MSN, Skype) and a couple of social networking sites (Orkut, Facebook, LinkedIn).

The thing which really baffles my mind is – do we need all this?

And if we really do, where do we stop? How do we know where to stop?

I can see kids in the future spending a good couple of hours checking all their mail and then checking all their messages in their social networking circles, etc. etc.

Makes you really really want to run away to a distant village for a couple of months – with nothing except some cash and some clothes — an exile from being digitally connected.

PS: I found the calvin strip above by searching on this awesome tool: http://www.reemst.com/calvin_and_hobbes/stripsearch

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 78.]

ActiveCiti goes LIVE

This post is coming after a fairly long time – and for good reason too…

The last week was pretty hectic – I was very busy studying for my exams and more busy in trying to get our Final Year Engineering Project done and released.

Well, I am happy to inform you that we went live today at 5:30 pm (thats when our faulty registration page got fixed) :p

Presenting … ActiveCiti

(clap clap clap clap … )

Unlike so many other Final Year projects that we had seen – which mostly are very, very niche and no one ever seems to use them, we decided to go and do a complete product from scratch – however insignificant it might be, or no matter how many people use it.

We wanted to go through the entire site of developing a product …

So we wrote our own spec document, did our own database designs, did all our own interface designs, chalked out flow diagrams and made our own mistakes (which are quite a lot actually)

And to tell you frankly – the feeling is brilliantly awesome.

At the other end of the road, seeing the number of registered users increase by the hour is damn awesome 🙂

As of writing this – 7 hours into launch, we now have 50 registered users.

I know that this will now decline exponentially, but we hope that we make 100 atleast.

Something about the project

The entire project is a web application which makes planning a piece of cake.

It removes all the hassles of calling so many people back and forth while planning anything – a movie, a trip or even just planning to hang out at a local coffee place.

Though the content on the site is Pune Centric – that should not be a drawback and everybody anywhere should be able to use it – as we let users customize and add to the already existing content.

The entire application is done up in ASP.Net 2.0 with SQL Server 2000 as the backend database.

It took us about 4 months to get this done – working part time, managing college and stuff.

But it feels awesome now …

We did have some anxious – adrenalilne pumping moments when 2 hours into the launch (we actually did it at 3 pm) we found out that the register page was not working.

Then later quite a few pages started acting up and were not working as expected … but we managed to fix them and as of now everything seems to be chugging along nicely (touchwood)

We still have some way to go before this is finalised and polished.

Have got tonnes of feedback and our list of todo’s has already gotten filled.

Anyways, please do visit the site and register there.

The address is : http://www.activeciti.com

Any feedback would be deeply appreciated and you can drop it off at : http://www.activeciti.com/contact.aspx

Yay ! ActiveCiti is LIVE 🙂

Windows Media Player 11

I’ve always used Windows Media Player 11 because it has got awesome library management capabilities.

Yes – it may not be the lightest or the fastest players – but its library is plain, simple, clutter free and very effective.

I got to try out Windows Media Player 11 beta for Windows Xp – for a couple of days now and here are some screenshots.

In short, it is much sleeker, looks a lot better and takes its library management duties more seriously.

This is the main interface screenshot.

As I said, it is sleeker and more pleasing to the eye.

Different things to notice are the controls in the bottom of the screen and to the bottom left, they have some sort of graphic equalizer display kinda thingy which looks cool.

On top you will notice a button called URGE – which is an online music store that microsoft has tied up with. Something that iTunes is to the iTunes Player.

This shows the Albums that I have on the player – it displays any album art very nicely and looks damn nice.

The albums are categorized alphabetically with each letter getting its own group.

This is one very nifty feature.

You can select an album, right click>Update Album Info and it downloads the album art and album details from the internet and updates the stuff on the fly.

Damn cool.

This is another interesting feature – the artiste view shows CDs stacked for artistes having more than one album.

And the number of CDs depicted here equals to the number that actually exist on your PC.

Very nice.

I heard the Vista version allows you to fly through the stack – though I could not manage it on the Xp Version.

And finally this is the mini player which comes onto the taskbar.

Its all black.

Though the installation was smooth – it installs over your Windows Media Player 10 and updates the library – it took a hell lot of time (maybe coz its still Beta)

Also one main feature that its missing is the Auto Playlist feature from Media Player 10.

Hopefully it will make a comeback in the final release which is scheduled for the June 6th.

Surprisingly, the player was just taking 7 MB of RAM in the minimized mode and 13 MB in the full screen mode while playing mp3s.

The beta version was a 23 MB download.

Another first time feature in this release is a “Search as you Type” feature.

Overall, its worth an upgrade if you are a Windows Media Player fan.

Social Networking …

What started off sometime ago as just filling out a large form for kicks … (it was quite a novelty back then and the term social networking was probably not coined) has become a huge phenomenon today.

I never really went back to my orkut account for quite some time actually … probably a year atleast.

For me it was just something that would help some old classmate find me – if ever the need be … I did not feel the need to even update my profile … except for some very rudimentary contact details …

I even forgot I had an account there … I had friends on orkut in single digits and no one really cared about the site.

And nowadays, I’m hitting the site almost everyday … sometimes more than four to five times … and everybody I know is on orkut …

Over the past few months, orkut has just propelled into a the next big “2 point O” thing on the web – so much that google bought it – and now you log in using your google account.

Honestly speaking, Orkut is very poorly implemented – but its a great idea.

The reason it is so alive and kicking even today – and after the gzillion “No Donut For You – Bad Server” messages, people are still using it.

The conditions have definitely improved, because at one point of time, I remember people would not sign up, coz Orkut would keep rejecting their registrations due to server problems … and filling out those huge forms was a pain in the rear.

Saying all this, Orkut is still much better than the many other sites that have sprung up in its wake …

Google has a huge task on its hand – cleaning up a lot of bugs and getting a more stable release out. Orkut has had its share of security issues … which is even more scary considering the large amounts of personal information stored out there.

I had recently read a movie director saying that a good story generally sells even though it may not be very nicely shot … which I think is the case with Orkut.

Good idea, bad implementation.

But with google now in the picture, things have already started to look bright (slightly though)

In the end, you love it or hate it … but you find yourself being drawn to it so often … and this will probably be something which would help us friends and classmates communicate more easily once we’re on our own and the common college grounds cease to exist …

Gdrive …

I was surprised to see a pretty big article in the Indian Express talking about Google’s GDrive. For those of you who still haven’t heard about it, GDrive is supposed to be google’s entry into the online file sharing business.
This news however, was not supposed to be released to the public, but as the story goes, a presentation made by Google for its investors on GDrive, got placed on Google’s investor site by mistake and was downloaded by many people and the news spread like wild fire – thanks to the blogger community.
The presentation, has since then, been taken off the site and Google has kept a “no comments” policy on the entire thing.
Anyways, the GDrive is to offer its users, unlimited file storage – including many different file formats.
I did some lookup and found out that GDrive was infact a product of a thrid party company which had created an app by which you could store files of a max size of 999 MB in your gmail account using their tool.
They even had the domain name (http://www.gdrive.com) registered with them.
The version 0.6 of the tool can be found at this site : http://www.puremango.co.uk/cm_gdrive_109.php
Now, the reason why I am posting this is that all this thing about gDrive and unlimited storage being awesome and all, does bring up the entire issue of privacy and security.
How many people will trust google with their files?
In recent events, the Bush administration had forced google into giving them (anonymous) data on user search patterns.
What if tomorrow (though this is very unlikely) they make them give them access to files and stuff? After all Google IS a U.S based company.
Google is slowly, but surely, growing bigger and bigger – and they are becoming for the internet, what microsoft is for the personal PCs today. Even as of now, Google is pretty respected – with millions of people trusting its search, email, Earth (Google Earth) and many other such services.
All it will take for all this to end is one teensy weensy mistake …
For my sake and everyone else’s, I hope that this never happens …