Get running with Couch to 5K podcast

Mid last year I set out to run 5k.

After some research I stumbled upon the podcast from NHS Choices. The Get Running with Couch to 5k is excellent. It is like having a personal trainer telling you each step of the way,  prompting you every second, every minute what to do and helps you and also offers tips along the way.

For example, it begins with a 5 minute warming walk and tells you to walk to warm up your body. During that 5 mins, you get music in the podcast. Once the 5 mins is up and Laura in the podcast now tells you to run for 90 seconds and so for the next 90 seconds you get music.


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2004 Honda Odyssey IAC Value issue check engine light

Recently my 2004 Honda Odyssey (95k miles) sounding weird  idling with high rpm and giving jerks etc. This Wednesday, it showed check engine light and I had to take it to the dealer.

After initial diagnosis, the Service adviser came back and said,  the IAC value is getting worn out and needs to be replaced. The part costs 255.00 and 1.5hrs of labor to replace it.

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Installing VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 on Dell XPS 8500

This week I plan to setup a VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 on Dell XPS 8500.

We recently purchased Dell XPS 8500 with core i7 and 8GB memory during Dell Deals. Dell XPS 8500 comes with

  • 2 extra sata ports available to add new hard drives.
  • One stand alone graphics card mounted on PCI Express x16 slot for HDMI.
  • It also comes with on-board graphics port on the motherboard.
  • 4 DIMM slots. 2 are already occupied by Dell with 2 X 4 GB. 2 more left to expand. I added 2 x 8GB.
  • 1 TB 7200 hard drive


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Nexus 4 real world usage and battery life

Its been two weeks that I have been using Google Nexus 4 phone and I’m very happy with almost everything about it.

First things I liked about it is, its user interface is very fast and very smooth. I come from Samsung Captivate and so its world of difference for me. One of the important aspect that I liked very much is transition flow back n forth between applications. For example, you open an email, you find something interesting and you click on it which in turn opens the chrome browser and now you press the back button it will go back to your email.

I plan to buy a case from Speck PixelSkin HD when the release it, and also Zagg InvisibleShield screen protector. For now I got skin case from ebay for 2.5 bucks and its ok for the time being.

I used Samsung Captivate for almost 18 months and got accustomed to its touch wiz interface and I often expect my nexus 4 to work in the same way and only to realize that it does not work that way.

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Activating Nexus 4 on AT&T

Finally, my nexus 4 got delivered. I have been reading in lot of forums on what people have done etc to get it up and running on AT&T network. The following below worked for me.

  1. Backup your contacts on your old phone. I’m upgrading from Samsung Captivate. Sync all your contacts etc to your google account.
  2. Power up your Nexus 4, follow all the prompts (setup gmail a/c) and setup your WiFI and perform a system update. Don’t install any app yet.
  3. Nexus 4 IMEI number is not recognized by AT&T, you have to find an IMEI # from an AT&T branded 4G smartphone like HTC Inspired 4G. I had a friend who has HTC Inspire 4G and had him send it to me.
  4. Go to an AT&T owned store (not an franchise) and ask for your Nexus 4 to be activated and that you need a micro-SIM and use the IMEI # from HTC Inspire 4G. Using the IMEI # of HTC Inspire 4G puts your line in the right HSPA+ 4G smartphone data plan. If they do it right, it should show as “Smartphone 4G” for your data plan in your AT&T web account.
  5. Your Nexus 4 APN settings needs to be setup with HSPA+ network of AT&T, because the default uses WAP.Cingular or so. Goto your phone settings and create a new APN as below.

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Didn’t Score Nexus 4 ?

Have you scored your  Nexus 4 ?

I didn’t. Mine is now back ordered for 4-5 weeks. I think my zeal to own it has now died down. I will look for alternatives and go with cynogenmod. HTC One X+ seems to be good and also Galaxy S3 too. I plan to go with Straight talk on ATT.

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My 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid buying experience and real world mpg

My 97 Civic was getting old and I was becoming uncomfortable driving in the highway. So I started shopping for new car. I did think about buying used car or buy a car in the auction.

After few weeks of on and off research, I decided to buy a hybrid. I didn’t want to buy a prius or those smaller car hybrids. So that narrowed the search to Camry Hybrid or Altima Hybrid or Sonata Hybrid. My focus was for mileage and cost.

Altima Hybrid wasn’t popular in the market as its highly priced. Sonata Hybrid was not available in the market yet but the initial reviews from the Wayne (the famous hyper miler) were promising. This was back in Dec’10.

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Is Southwest Fly By Priority Lane Access worth the extra price

Recently I flew with Southwest from BWI airport. During online check in, it provided “Fly By Priority Lane Access” for extra price. Since I was flying on a weekday after work and just in case if traffic is an issue, I purchased the “Fly By Priority Lane Access“.

So on the day I went in to the Southwest terminal and went straight to the online check in counter to print the boarding pass and went straight to the security check point. I did not see any priority lanes and it was the usual TSA security checkpoint and the usual procedures.

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Buying Abercrombie & Fitch shirts in Clearance ? Think again

Recently I was browsing through and a colleague has mentioned that Abercrombie & Fitch has sale in the clearance on their website.

So I went in and looked for my size. They only had small/medium/large only. So I was skeptical about the sizes and but ordered three shirts anyway. In a weeks time, the shirts arrived and tried them on. The hands were very long and looked ugly when put on. I know, who orders shirts online with out trying ? :)

I talked with my friends and they all had similar experiences where faulty shirts were sold in clearance. So its not just outlet stores that sell faulty clothes but also sells problem shirts too. So I returned them.

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Garmin nuvi 2350LMT GPS Auto re-route based on traffic is very good

Recently I took a new job at DC. I was using my Samsung Captivate as my GPS. That was working fine but as you all know how the DC traffic is. Once I was literally sitting on 495 for 90 mins and it took 3 hrs to get home.

So I was looking at the recent enhancements in the GPS arena that auto re-route based on traffic. I was skeptical on how well they work.

After researching Garmin or Tom Tom, I went with Garmin nuvi 2350LMT as I’m more familiar with the Garmin user interface. Amazon had the lowest price at the time.


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