keeping track of personal finance

26 08 2008

Some of the tools that I had tried to keep my finances organized:

Desktop Tools

  • Microsoft Money: Remember trying it few times. I think this was the last one I tried before leaving US.
    • Eye candy interface
    • can download transaction from banks
    • somewhat confusing interface
    • overkill
  • Quicken: Somehow I never had plesant experience with Quicken. Iam sure its just me since it has millions of happy users.


  • Spreadsheet: Riight after moving to India, I used to maintain a spreadsheet with some formulas. Not to fancy and it did work for me for few months. Then I just got lazy.
    • Simple
    • Not shared.
  • Google SpreadsheetsThere are several innovative usages of google spreadsheet, including this one.
    • work proxy blocks google docs. Sigh!
  • SimplePlanning:
    • Excel based formulas ($10). have n’t tried.

Online Tools

  • ExpenseRegister
    • simple interface
    • supports categories
    • supports sub catagories
    • support type
    • has several report types
  • ExpenseView
    • Simple, clean web2.0 interface
    • Supports categories
    • No type (cash/debit/…)
    • breakup, summary, etc.
    • Integrates into igoogle
  • mint
    • Interface looks polished
    • has some positive reviews elsewhere
    • requires to enter bank and card info. — skipping
  • Geezeo:
    • a review here.
    • signed up and it looks much too jazy for me.

More Info:


Using NTSV TV with PAL STBs in India

25 08 2008

After moving the TV from US to India, I faced the obvious question … how to connect it to the cable box? The TV supports only NTSC and the cable set to box (STB) gives out only PAL. After searching thru several blogs, electronic shops in Bangalore and talking to friends, these seem my likely choices.

  1. Use an STB that gives NTSC. To my knowledege no cable or satellite TV operator has such a box.
  2. Use a signal convertor that converts PAL to NTSC. These come in different prices and quality. They come in different connectors aswell. One popular choice is to take coaxial input and composite or componet video output. Based on most of the reviews, the signal quality seem to suffer on these boxes.
  3. Use a signal convertor that gives SVGA. This is similar to option (1), except that the output is SVGA, meat for flat panel monitors. These boxes come in different output resolutions. I eventually picked one that claims to support 1600×1200. It does the job, quite poorly. Since the output is SVGA, I need to run seperate audio cable.
  4. Use a PC as a convertor. Ofcourse you will need a TV Tuner card that takes PAL input and an external video out from the PC. In my case, the TV tuner card is NTCS only. Someday I will get a PAL TV Tuner card and try this.
  5. Use an STB that gives SVGA. DishTV seem to have such STB. This seem like an acceptable solution. I have n’t tried this yet, since I have already invested quite heavily on the STBs and the convertors.