What happens when you choose the “repair” option on a network connection

by Shijaz Abdulla on 30.11.2012 at 21:12

Ever wondered what happens when you choose the “Repair” option on your local area network (LAN) or high speed internet connection?

Here is a list of steps that are taken in the order that it happens:

  • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) lease is renewed: ipconfig /renew
  • Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache is flushed: arp -d *
  • Reload of the NetBIOS name cache: nbtstat -R
  • NetBIOS name update is sent: nbtstat -RR
  • Domain Name System (DNS) cache is flushed: ipconfig /flushdns
  • DNS name registration: ipconfig /registerdns
  • IEEE 802.1X Authentication Restart (Windows XP SP1 and above)

Reliance Communications: The Scam of the Millennium

by Shijaz Abdulla on 21.09.2009 at 23:57

image More than five years ago, when I was a student in India, I had acquired a home broadband connection from Reliance Communications. They offered a ‘fixed wireless terminal’ (FWT) solution which made use of their mobile wireless network to give internet access to homes without the need for any cables or ‘landlines’.

As I remember, neither the upload nor the download speed was anywhere close to what they promised. In other words, the Reliance broadband service sucked big time.

But wait – that’s not the reason for this post.

Back in 2004, I terminated their connection because I was leaving the country in search of a job in the Gulf. As per their termination process, I went to the Reliance Infocomm office in Kannur, Kerala (the one at Thavakkara, near Police Club – “Nikshan Associates”), and asked for a complete, final bill. I paid it down to the last rupee, got a receipt for my payment and surrendered the equipment (the FWT) back to them.

I proceeded to Bahrain and got employed there.

More than 6 months later, I got calls from my friends in India stating that they were repeatedly getting harassed by Reliance Infocomm recovery agents/debt collectors. They complained to me that these goons from Reliance kept calling them up telling them that I owe Reliance an amount of money in ‘unsettled bills’ and went to the extent of threatening my friends, who were never involved in this matter.

Either their entire billing system is flawed, and they are just too stupid – Or, this is a gimmick to penalize subscribers who terminated their pathetic service.

In other words, this was:

  • Breach of, (if not absence of) a Privacy Policy
  • Unsolicited communication to my friends who had nothing to do with reliance
  • Unjustified act of personal insult/disrepute to me

My friends gave me the phone number of a lady who was repeatedly bothering them. I called up this lady (in Ernakulam) and gave her a piece of my mind. I told her the story about my termination of the line, and how I settled bills and returned the equipment. She apologized and promised that she will not call any more of my friends.

I also wrote to customercare@relianceinfo.com about this disappointing experience – they merely replied that they forwarded my complaint to Kerala team and there was no response after that from anyone – despite repeated follow-ups.

Now, in 2009, more than 5 years after terminating my connection, I got a Lawyer Notice from P.R. Radhakrishnan & Associates, who happen to be their ‘legal’ associates. The Lawyer letter (produced below), in Malayalam language, states (threatens) that I owe Reliance Communications Rs. 2563.34(less than 54 USD) and if I don’t pay up, they’ll take me to court!

Well, can you beat that?

How many of you keep receipts for your paid telephone bills for a period of 5 years? Well, I don’t.  And Reliance somehow guessed that – this means I have absolutely no proof to show in court – so they have taken me for a ride.

I did a simple search online, and found that there were hundreds of other people in various parts of India, who have fallen to similar scams from this seemingly ‘reputable’ telco giant.

Now, its not the $54 that I’m worried about it. It’s the harassment that they did to me and my friends, and the well-orchestrated scam that they are systematically carrying out.

Reliance Communications knows for sure that virtually nobody keeps records of paid phone bills for 5 years, and they are bent on penalizing subscribers who don’t take crappy service for long.

Now what do I do?

I live in a different region of the world, and my time just isn’t worth fighting a battle in an Indian court for $54 with no proof in my defense. The letter suggests that I make an ‘out of court’ settlement by paying the bill for Reliance + “legal fees” for their intimidating legal goons. That’s exactly what I’m doing now – let them go to hell with it. A cousin in India will meet them to settle the unfair dues, although not without a stinker.

This is not about $54. Multiply $54  with all customers that Reliance Communications have conned. This is how they make some extra revenue. And ‘P.R. Radhakrishnan & Associates’ is probably making a handsome amount out of this scam too, Rs. 750 legal fees for sending each letter, is not bad. 🙂

At the end of the day, I am a victim. The innocent consumer is the victim.

I’m writing this firsthand to let all Indian internet users know that Reliance Infocomm has a track record for such systematic malpractices waged against the dignity of self-respecting individuals – in short, they are a huge scam. So, if you are an unsatisfied Reliance broadband customer (which you would most likely be), and you want to terminate their service, make sure you keep a record of all your payments to them for at least 6 – 10 years. Also ask them to give you a ‘no dues’ certificate and keep it safe, especially if your payments are usually large amounts. Do it so that you have sufficient proof to defend yourself in court, when they take you to court 5 years down the line.

If you already got a Lawyer Notice, fight for truth – if you have the proof – or at least make it known to the world. You can post your comments/experiences below by clicking on ‘Comments’.

Here’s the Lawyer Notice I received:

Untitled-1

Reliance: Kar Lo Duniya MITTI mein!

And we’re back online!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.04.2008 at 07:09

I just checked again this morning, and I find that my blog has been ‘unblocked‘.

Mystery
What happened last night is still a mystery. My blog (and Adnan’s) were not accessible inside the UAE since 9:30 PM. As per Adnan, the blogs were ‘unblocked’ by 2:00 AM.

BTW, YouTube issue is still not fixed.

An electronic visa for Bahrain

by Shijaz Abdulla on 16.12.2007 at 14:28

I’m off to Bahrain on Tuesday to spend the Islamic festival of Eid Al Adha with family & friends. Being an Indian resident of the UAE, I will need a visit visa to enter Bahrain.

I was delighted to know that a Bahrain visit visa’s can be applied for and received over the internet! The Bahrain government has taken a great step forward in simplifying the visa application process and making it available online.

You simply visit the Bahrain eVisa website, enter the required passport information, make sure that you meet the eligibility and submit your application. The fees for issuing the visa is paid online by credit card. Within 3 days, the authorities will verify your application and you can print your visa online. Bon voyage!

Eid Mubarak!

Cool Hotmail!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 07.11.2007 at 11:18

MSN India has come up with a new venture. It’s called Cool Hotmail.

The objective is just that. A “cooler” hotmail.

Cool Hotmail lets you select from a number of domain names such as @mumbairocks.in, @delhirocks.in, @CharSauBees.com, @clubsachin.com, @underpaid.co.in, @iambad.in, and even @vadapaavrocks.in – and tons of other domains! Most of the domain names are registered in India (.in).

Now you can create an email address in one of these domains for your name. Grab ’em while you can!

USEFUL INFORMATION
After 640-822, many individuals go for 350-030. However a small number decides for N10-003. Here they get stumped. Then testking comes to their rescue. They assist in tests like 70-236 to get on the way to N10 series.

Family trees and forests

by Shijaz Abdulla on 06.11.2007 at 07:08

Just wanted to share an online experience.

I came across this website called Geni from a friend of mine. It helps you construct your family tree. For each family member you add to the tree, you have the option to specify his/her email address. Each such user receives an invitation to view and/or modify the tree. You can also add photos/thumbnail pic and personal details (birth/death date/place, occupation, education, etc) for each person on the tree.

It is really interesting when more people related to you get drawn into the excitement and you end up seeing more people in your family tree and eventually you get to know more about your roots and the origins of your family.

That said, Geni doesn’t make your family tree for you. It only provides you with an easy-to-use, fairly secure interface. It’s up to you and those related to you to actually build the tree!

My family “tree” (well, it’s more of a jungle now) is now eight generations deep and covers family members up to two centuries ago. Kind of makes me stop and think of the distant past.

Orkut blocked

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.11.2007 at 17:13

I’ve just realized that Orkut is blocked inside the UAE. I don’t know why, but there’s probably a good reason as to why they blocked Orkut and Hi5, while they still allow Facebook!


I’m gonna miss scrapping my buddies!

See also: Why Facebook is not blocked by Etisalat

Internet Explorer 7: Re-release

by Shijaz Abdulla on 05.10.2007 at 12:49

Microsoft has re-released Internet Explorer 7.0 yesterday. The added features include:

  • The Menu bar will be turned on by default (thankfully)
  • Removed the Windows Genuine Advantage validation requirement for expanded availability to Windows PC users (legal copy of Windows… or otherwise)
  • For first time users, the first-run experience includes a new, easily accessible overview
  • For all users, the online Internet Explorer 7 tour has been updated to include how-to’s on great new features like tabbed browsing.
  • Microsoft has also included a new MSI installer for enterprises that simplifies deployment for customers. IT Administrators can tailor to their organization’s needs by using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) and deploy the package to relevant units within their organization using e.g. Group Policies or Systems Management Server (SMS).

Microsoft takes its commitment seriously in helping protect the entire Windows ecosystem. Security enhancements to Internet Explorer 7 include a built-in Phishing Filter that prevents an average of 900,000 visits per week to known phishing Web sites!

Additionally, Internet Explorer 7 is the first and only browser to natively support Extended Validation SSL Certificates to help prevent online fraud.

How can I get it?

Internet “Suffering”

by Shijaz Abdulla on 15.04.2007 at 09:30

So I am on my way, leaving the seas and skies of Kannur behind, awaiting a new life ahead of me in Doha. I take with me some great memories of my relatives, of my friends, and of course – of my sweet fiancée. Due to peak season, I got a flight to Doha from Calicut via this place called Colombo in Sri Lanka.

This itinerary is especially boring – there is going to be a four hour wait in the transit lounge at Colombo International Airport before I board the flight that would take me to Doha. I moved around the airport to see if I could catch something interesting, but in vain. I must say though, that the airport was more impressive than I had expected – in fact, it was very impressive.

However, I found that they don’t accept Indian rupees at any of the retail outlets in the lounge. The only bank in the lounge offered to convert any currency in the world to Sri Lankan rupees – except Indian rupees! Quite ridiculous it is, with the fact that India is its closest neighbor and many flights going in and out of the airport would touch India, so much that they neither want to deal nor buy Indian Rupees at Colombo airport!

Crushed by boredom, I decided to pull out my laptop and see if I could browse over WiFi. I was in the hope that I could pay electronically somehow. I scanned for available WiFi networks and found Sri Lankan Telecom’s Wifi Access Point. When I tried browsing this is the “Internet Suffering hours” screen that I got.

Click to enlarge

Boy, they really know how to entertain transit passengers!

Well, it really was a ‘suffering’ – I tried paying electronically and got a confirmation for the transaction – but still no Internet! Upon enquiry at the Sri Lankan Telecom outlet, I was informed by the young lady there that “the system is under construction, saar (sir)“.

Thank you very much.

Technology @ Kannur

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.03.2007 at 08:32

Technology here in Kannur is still way behind the rest of the world. It is catching up, although not at such a fast rate as I would like it to.

  • I found that people here have not heard about Wi-Fi hotspots (forget hotspots, I had to tell them what Wi-Fi is). Even the more prominent restaurants in town didn’t have a wireless internet zone.
  • At a public place, you could become the centre of attraction if you take out your PDA or Windows Mobile powered device to check your mail or sign in to IM. The other day I was at the dentist’s waiting room when I noticed that other people were curiously staring at what I was doing with my stylus.
  • You run the risk of being laughed at if you use a Bluetooth earpiece/headset in public.
  • Many retail outlets still run monochrome MS-DOS applications.
  • Computers are still considered expensive, revered, super-duper devices. I’ve found that very few people keep the desktop cabinet on the floor, or neatly tucked under their desks. Instead, they are always placed in a prominent location on top of the desk, next to the CRT monitor, for all to see.
  • LCD monitors are yet to be popularized. People who buy LCD monitors for home PCs become talk of the town.
  • Nobody (even the computer literate) can imagine what a server is. They’ve only heard about it. Some think a server is something from which the internet comes.
  • With all this “hi-tech infrastructure” in place, the Government of this State is making storms in a teacup by forcing Linux in educational institutions and banning Microsoft technologies (which by the way, all people use at their homes/offices – although very few people *legally* use it). Ahem, is Microsoft listening?
  • Getting fast and easy Internet access was the greatest challenge I faced. Being a geek who always had an online terminal no farther than a few feet 24×7 for the past 2 years, I suffered from some kind of withdrawal syndrome!

Internet access, by far, is cheaper than it is in the middle east. This is really a good sign – more people can afford to be online. The fast DSL connections from BSNL require you to have a fixed, postpaid telephone connection at home (which is not feasible for me – I’m here only for a few weeks!).

The AirTel mobile connection I used had an “add-on” GPRS facility (with monthly prepaid charges of course). But the speed was pathetic. It wouldnt let you attach anything greater than 180-200KB with your email.

So my last resort was to go to an Internet cafe, like everyone else. The good thing is that Kannur is dotted with a large number of internet cafes. Wherever you are in town, you will find a cafe near you. Maybe someday the number of Internet cafes will overtake the number of phone booths! You still need to take your shoes off before you enter an internet cafe though, or they give you “the stare”.

Somehow I do not like using the cafe’s computers for my internet access (Key loggers, RAdmin, etc, – Being the security freak that I am!). So I finally found a cafe where they would let me plug in my laptop to their network and surf the net.

In fact, as I am typing this blog at an Internet cafe, there’s this guy (one of their young customers) who was so amused by seeing a laptop that he jumped right behind my shoulder and started admiring it. I just hate it when people are reading (well, looking at) your screen behind your shoulder……… Ahh… that’s much better.. he has stopped doing it now!

Bottom Line:
There’s still a long way to go, but progress is neither a small step, nor a giant leap. I’m sure we’re gonna reach international norms some day. But in the meantime it is rather amusing to take a few steps back in time while I’m here!

Note: This entry is not intended to be derogatory of Kannur. I admire and love the place very much. This is just my two cents, my point of view regarding IT in Kannur. So, no comments and threats, please!