Windows 10 Quick Reference

This page compiles all the important information about Microsoft’s new OS Windows 10.

Launch Date

Late July 2015


The OS will be free to download for Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows phone. Upgrading in the first year after release will be cost-free and one will only be hit with a fee if you the one year window is missed, although there are rumors as to how Microsoft will make money from the OS – perhaps with additional features or updates in future or coming up with a subscription model like Office 365.


Shared mailbox in Office 365 and the missing Sent Emails

If you have recently moved to Offce 365 and using the Exchange Mailbox in the cloud, you might have come across the term shared mailbox. Typically, its a mailbox that is used for common tasks, such as Customer Support, Sales and accessed by one or more people in the organization.

While you can always find “how to create and use a shared mailbox on Office 365” at

There is one thing that is very annoying. While you can send and receive emails using this shared mailbox without any extra step as soon as the Exchange administrator gives you full access to the mailbox. However, the emails sent and deleted from the shared mailbox go under the users’ personal mailbox instead of the “Sent Items” and “Deleted Items” folders under the shared mailbox. This, of course, is not desirable as the other users of that shared mailbox then do not have visibility of the items that were sent/deleted from this mailbox. Continue reading Shared mailbox in Office 365 and the missing Sent Emails

Forgot the root password for your Linux/Unix machine??

If you forgot the root password for your Linux(Ubuntu) system, here are some quick steps to get back in business…

  1. While booting the machine physically, hold the Shift-key down and go into the recovery mode.
  2. Enter root, and perform following commands
    root@username-PC:~# passwd username
    Enter new UNIX password:
    Retype new UNIX password:
    passwd: Authentication token manipulation error
    passwd: password unchanged
  3. If you see the above error, run this command
    mount -rw -o remount /
  4. Re-do step#2

Getting the Most Out of Your 1-Day New York Pass

Recently we visited New York City over the weekend. Since we planned to do most of the Manhattan sightseeing on Saturday, we decided to buy 1-Day New York Pass (not New York City Pass) for $80 per person to save some money.

Now based on the their website you have to pick up the passes somewhere around Times Square and since we did not want to start our day with Times Square, I did a little bit of research on the web and found that New York Sky Ride at the Empire State building also sells New York Pass. And since generally there are no online discounts on 1-day passes, Empire State seemed like a perfect place to start our day. Now one of the key decisions we made was to stay in Manhattan and NOT to do the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island cruise using the  New York Pass, as that almost eats up half of your day and all of your energy and only cost $13 if you pay out of pocket. Here is sequence we followed and covered 6 paid attractions(All covered by New York Pass) without being rushed or dead tired.

  1. NY Skyride + Empire State Observatory ($41+$24): Bought the New York Pass at NY Sky Ride box office around 9:00 AM (Enter using the 33rd st entrance go to level 2), Redeemed it for NY Skyride right there and then bought the Empire State building tickets at their box office. After I had both the tickets started with NY Sky ride and then straight from there for the Empire State observatory. Enjoyed the 30 min NY skyride and avoided almost 70% of the waiting time in the line by entering into the observatory line directly from the NY sky ride.
  2. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum ($39): Took a cab and went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum around 10:30 and got out of there by 12:00 pm
  3. Times Square(Daytime): Afterwards we grabbed few pizza slices and hung out on Times Sq while enjoying the New York Pizza.
  4. Central Park: Went to central park after lunch and relaxed/snoozed for a bit before heading to Intrepid Museum.
  5. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum ($24): Checked out the Submarine and the warship museum for an hour and 30 minutes.
  6. Circle Line 30-minute Beast Speedboat ride ($24): Walked up 4 blocks and took a 30 minutes beast(speed-boat) ride with party music and a 45mph speed. The boat takes you right in front of the Stature of Liberty and allows you to click pictures. This is the best location to click pictures with the statue, as you can’t get the full statue in the camera once you are under the stature at the Island. Got a great view of downtown skyline while enjoying the fast boat ride.
  7. Top of the Rock ($25): Around 7:30 pm we went up the Rockefeller center and enjoyed the evening/night view of New York. It was simply awesome.
  8. Times Square(Nighttime):For 15 bucks took a rickshaw ride from Rockefeller to Times Square. Enjoyed the nighttime square for full 2 hours before heading back to our hotel.

In all using New York 1-Day pass for $80 did $177 worth sightseeing. Next day we did the WTC and Statue of Liberty cruise to wrap up the trip. In all the New York Pass turned out to be a pretty good deal. The key thing to buy and start the day at Empire State building and to avoid statue of liberty using the pass .

Hope this helps you plan your trip, in case you are short on time and money!!


Baby Eczema: What finally worked?

After our 3 month old baby was diagnosed with eczema, we came back from the doctors office with a Rx Hydro-cortisone (steroid) ointment and a lot of anxiety. After this issue sunk in a little bit and reading scores of web content about the long term ill-effects of using steroids, we finally decided to do our own research and try different products in a bid to ditch the steroid and control the eczema in a more sustainable way. I am attempting to list the research we had done and products we tried before we found a solution that worked for us. You can skip right to the section “So What Finally Worked…” if you are not interested in the next section. Continue reading Baby Eczema: What finally worked?

Credit Card Denied?

Recently, I applied for a Chase Freedom Credit Card to avail a promotion of $300 sign-up bonus and their 5% bonus cash-back in quarterly rotating categories. Got a letter few days later declining my application with the reason “Balance on existing credit cards is too High.”

I realized that I had a 0% balance transfer on one of my other cards which was running my existing debt too high against the total credit available. I called up chase at 888-245-0625  and spoke to a credit analyst. I explained him the reason for the balance being too high and requested to re-consider my application. Voilà: I got approved with a $4000 credit limit.

So in short, if you applied for a new chase credit card and got declined, don’t give up, try the number above to re-consider your application. Sometimes talking in person makes the creditor more comfortable to extend the credit. Since they already hit your credit report once, its not gonna do any further damage.

So in short, if you applied for a chase credit card, keep these phone numbers handy.

  • Automated application status check : 800-432-3117
  • To speak to a credit analyst : 888-245-0625 (If you are declined, you can call this number to re-consider)

I am sure most other banks have some way of getting in touch with a real person. Might be a good idea to get in touch to get your card approved, if declined by the online application process.



MySQL: Learn by Examples

Often times we need reference to a real working example to understand the actual technical documentation. Just trying to put together useful SQL queries that are working and tested against MySQL 5.0 database.

Update part of the column value that matches the given String

column value (pre-update): Apt # 1234

update <tablename> set <column>=replace(<column>, '#' , 'No.') where <condition>;

column value (post-update): Apt No. 1234

Renewing Indian Passport at New York

Couple of months back I had to renew my Indian passport. Since this was my first time renewing a passport I did some research online. Got a lot of useful, although sometimes confusing information. Just sharing what I went through, may be it helps some other first timer like me.

Although they had an option of renewing it through the mail, but being a first time I was a little skeptical about that. So I ended up going to New York and submitted the documents at the counter chose to receive it through express mail. I received the new passport in 7 days via USPS.

Based on my experience and what I saw there during my wait time, I felt that the consulate people are in general helpful and efficient. As long as you follow the instruction on their website, it goes pretty smoothly.

I followed the instructions given at the consulate website(see the link below). Nothing other than what they had mentioned on the website was needed.

List of documents(passport renewal):

  • Printed and signed online application form.
  • Original Passport(Keep the I-94 card with you, if you have one).
  • Three passport size photographs(see the specs at the link above)
  • Noterized copy of passport pages including the stamped visa page and I-94.
  • Certified check of $40(see the detail on the website). I paid cash at the counter.
  • Self addressed and stamped USPS express mail envelope.
  • Proof of residence of the applicant. Notarized copy of any of one the following: copy of your lease, utility bill, Bank account statement or driver’s license. I submitted my electricity bill.
  • Copy of completed Nationality Status Verification Form from the website.

If you are applying through mail, notarize all copies of the originals you send. Also, its always advisable to include the USPS express mail envelope instead of the priority mail, that way the passport can be tracked on its way back.


Early bird?

Based on my internet research, I got there at the consulate(opens at 9:30 am) at 8:45 am  on a Monday to dodge the rush. There were already 15 people ahead of me at that time. I was out of the consulate by 10:15 am. However, when I was getting out there was nobody waiting outside, so I felt that even if I had gotten there around 9:30-10:00 am, it would have work out just fine, barring any seasonal rush.


Don’t fall for the horror stories about no backpack allowed etc. You can carry a regular backpack inside, after the security person goes through it at the entrance. I had seen some people carrying laptops as well.


Chow mein


  • Hakka Noodles (2 packets)
  • Spring onions finely chopped – 3/4
  • Garlic – 3/4 cloves
  • Green chilies  – 2/3
  • Red Onion – 1 (long thin cut)
  • Carrot, Beans, Cabbage, Capsicum – 1 cup each (long thin cut)
  • Dark soy sauce, Vinegar, Salt, Olive oil and Black Pepper

Noodle Preparation

  • Add Oil (Olive oil) + salt in boiling water
  • Add noodles and mix. Noodles shouldn’t be over cooked.
  • Strain it and run cold water through the strainer. Immediately after straining put olive oil on it so the noodles don’t stick.

Veggies Preparation

  • Put some oil in pan on high heat and keep the heat high through out the process.
  • Put garlic until it turns brown.
  • Add and saute white spring onions for 30 secs.
  • Add Green chilies.
  • Add and saute Red Onion for 30 secs.
  • Add Salt + Pepper + ½ Tea spoon Vinegar + ½ Tea spoon Dark soy sauce while sauteing (each for 30 seconds) the veggies in the following order.
  • Carrot,  Beans, Cabbage and Capsicum.
  • Add noodles in the end and saute for another 30 seconds.


If you want to add eggs then prepare scrambled eggs in separate pan and add after the veggies.