Looking For Toastmasters Table Topics?

Getting into the role of a table topic master may sound easy, but it get on your verves when you try and write topics. Every time I step into this role, I want my topics to be fun and creative. 

Image source – Toastmasters.org
Below is the list of some interesting table topics which have been discussed at my club meetings. While most of them are random, some of them have been weaved around a theme or a game. Enjoy!!!
If you were a “Kite”.
If you were a goggle(shades)
Speak about “Calendars”.
An animal you fear the most
Till what age do you want to live and why?
You have jumped from a parachute glider and Oops the parachute does not open.
You are Alexander Graham bell
 – person who invented telephone. God has asked you to go back to earth and get a report and convince him that you have done a great invention
Name Place Animal Thing game:
What ‘Animal’ would you compare yourself to and why?
The game- Name Place animal Thing
Name Place Animal Thing game:
What do you like or dislike about your ‘Name’ and why?
Name Place Animal Thing game:
A ‘Place’ that is your favorite and you have been to or you want to visit and why?
Name Place Animal Thing game:
Share your feelings about the ‘Plant’?
You can make only one call with the current balance in your phone. Who would you
call and why?
Love at first sight. Do you believe in it?
Married Life. Bliss or Disaster?
Life is all about making choices. What was the most difficult choice in your life?
You come to office and there is an alien sitting at your desk. How would you react.
A dog with two tails.
Summer is here.
Comment on the statement -” If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Convince a traffic police officer to not to charge him after jumping the red traffic signal.
Equal Rights And Equal Opportunities
Theme of the day: Women Security in India
Professional security for women
Is working a Necessity For women?
Are women Better Drivers?
Self Defence
Name any 3 wishes you would complete, if you get a chance to become a teenager again.
A cat who barks!
Beauty or Intelligence. What would be your pick?
Importance of Calendars
If world ends tomorrow
One day without a cell phone
Most beautiful day
Pretty Woman
Concept of various Hollywood movies name e.g. Titanic,
pretty woman etc. where the challenge was for table topic speakers to create their own story not basing it on the
real story of movies.
Catch me if you can
I know what you did last summer
Life Is beautiful
Fast and Furious

Multiple Time Zones in Outlook Calender

Many times, we interact with people in other parts of the country or in other countries. Time differences make it difficult to stay connected — never mind actually trying to get work done together. You’ll be glad to know that Outlook can help you keep track of their time as well as your own.
Two separate time zones can be displayed in the Calendar. The two time zones can be, for example, your local time zone and the time zone of a city that you often travel to. The second time zone is used only to show a second time bar in Calendar view, and does not affect the way in which Calendar items are stored or displayed.
 Below are the steps along with snapshots for Outlook 2010
  1. Go to File in the pull-down menu in Outlook and select ‘Options’
  2. Select the ‘Calendar’ option
  3. Scroll down to Time Zones
  4. Name the default time zone
  5. Check to show the second time zone
  6. Name the second time zone and set the time zone and Click OK at above step. Two time zones are now visible in Calender
For Outlook 2003, Following steps would apply:-
  1. Tools Menu -> Options
  2. Click Calender Options
  3. Click Time Zone

Resolving error – SQLNCLI1.1 is not registered on the local machine

I was working on some desktop application when I got the following error at the time of providing user credentials to login i.e. when the application looks for Data Base details.
Installing the SQL native client to my system solved my problem. I followed the following steps:-
  1. Navigate to http://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=15748 


  2. Expand the Install Instructions section
  3. Search for text “sqlncli”. Following highlighted text would be displayed.Note down the file name corresponding to your operating system.
  4. Now, Click on Download link at the top of page.
  5. Select the check box for file noted above and click Next.
  6. The file would be downloaded. Run the set-up file. Microsoft Native Client Set-up would open up. Follow the instructions to install the same.

  7. Issue resolved…:)

Recover an accidentally deleted post

Today, I was working on some editions on my blog and clicked delete button. Before could realize what I have done, one of my earlier posts was deleted.  If google were not there, I don’t know how things would have functioned over internet. Any ways, thanks to google, I recovered my post by below steps:-
  1. Type the post title along with your blog name in google and find your relevant search results.
  2. Click the little arrow as shown in the snapshot and click cached.

  1. All done. My post was displayed and I created a new post by copying the content…J

Toastmasters – Project#4/Humorous Speech- How to Say It

Toastmasters International Speech #4: How to Say It
Executive Summary
Words are powerful. They convey your message and influence the audience and its perception of you. Word choice and arrangement need just as much attention as speech organization and purpose. Select clear, accurate, descriptive and short words that best communicate your ideas and arrange them effectively and correctly. Every word should add value, meaning, and punch to the speech 
  • Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly.
  • Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas.
  • Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words. Use correct grammar.
  • TIME: Five to seven minutes.
I gave my 4th speech “How to Say It” as a contestant in humorous speech contest on 03-Oct-2013. Humorous speech is the most difficult speech.  Finally, I was able to draft the following speech. 
How many of you like ghost stories?

How many of would like to hear ghost stories experienced by your loved ones?

Well, for me and my cousins, this has been our favorite past-time ever. One such scary movie spoof happened way back on a night 2 days before my cousin – Nikku Bahiya marriage. After a day full of pre-marital ceremonies, we headed back to home and changed into something more comfortable yet glittery attires. Why? The most awaited DJ session was about to start in 2-3 hours at their own roofing in Munirka. Like always, we danced like no one was looking. Had all our jija ji’s standing in middle while their sister in laws danced around them on the tune of – “Any guesses?” come-on. It’s such a famous song among sister in laws…

“JIja tu kala mein gori ghani!” 

Next it was grooms turn to be embarrassed on another dance number  – You guys have to guess this one –  “Tenu ghodi kine chadaya – bhutni ke!” May be this was the moment which triggered out next agenda over the night.

Celebration of girls came to an end at 1:30 am when the groom’s friends had enough of drinking and could not wait to hit the dance floor.

We made way for them and looked around places to sleep. Everyone got some place except me and 4 of other cousins. Finally, we got some mattress and grabbed the drawing room. After we were all set to start dreaming, the youngest one spoke, Gudia didi, have you listened to the ghost stories from Sonia didi? I replied – “I have heard maximum of them.” Other one said – “Didi please narrate 1 or 2 of them. Good ones.” This youngest girl popped up suddenly and gave the idea – “Didi, tell them the flight stew-ward story you told me that day.” Sonia is an airhostess and most talented one to build ghost stories on any one. I warned them – “Kids, go to sleep. Believe me, it’s not your cup of tea.” After some hesitation, she told us that once they returned from a flight and a man came to flight stew-ward and told him “Excuse me! Do see that lady sitting on the sofa? She is my wife. I need to leave urgently. Can you please get her some medicine? She has a severe headache. “The flight steward thought “Ok! Another husband wife who had a fight in the morning. Normal husband wife head bashing syndrome” Finally, he politely agreed. But when he gave the pills to lady, she asked him how he knew that she had a headache. He told her that her husband told him do so. To this, she was very surprised and said – ‘Heaven’s Sake!! I am waiting for his dead body to arrive from this flight!” The flight steward was jaw dropped and almost fainted.

There was a pin drop silence for few seconds. Well, I was quite older than rest and I knew her, so i was not that scared. Then, the session continued and we hear one more story ho Vicky bahiya escaped a night full of ghosts by placing god’s statues around him and enchantinghanuman chalisa. Finally at 3:30 am we decided to keep quiet and sleep. Suddenly, we hear a sob. I asked who this is. To this the youngest one replied- “Didi, I am scared…” She held my hand very tightly, and I assured her that its past 12, and its next day and I have a fast today, so no bad soul would come near me today. She was a bit relieved till she again said “My mattress has slipped a bit.” and Sonia replied. “Chinki, Gudia is fasting, so ghost cannot come to her. But, he can contact you via floor. Direct contact.” Then, someone’s toenail struck in her dress and she shouted, “Someone is pulling my dress”. Oh my god!!! We had all sorts of myths applied to assure her that nothing would happen. But since we had discussed that ghosts appear from 1 am to 4:00 am, she didn’t let us sleep till 4:00 am. Finally, we went to sleep.

We had an amazing wedding. We were not very tired after the wedding but had only one problem – Its over!!! We still laugh our heart out about that scary movie spoof. Till date, the poor kiddo wants to shoot me in the head for stroking my toenail into her night dress.

Friends, this story may sound bit funny, but the reason I shared this is because all of us have become so busy in our professional and personal commitments, that we no more relish such small incidents. Take some time out and enjoy a day out or a night with your best friends, family, cousins and I can bet that you would fell fresh like a petal. Attend that cousins/friend’s wedding not just to have dinner and mark attendance, but to have a flood of happy memories. Have small get-togethers on festivals. We would have deadlines and commitments though out our lives, but I am sure we never need to take out time to celebrate festivals. We celebrate them irrespective of our busy schedules. So why not make some good use of that and refresh ourselves. Think about it.

Defect Severity and Defect Priority with examples

Difference between Severity and Priority of a defect has been the most common question for Software Testing job interviews. This is one topic; even very senior managers have conflicting views sometimes. 
Defect Severity
Defect Severity signifies degree of impact the defect has on the development or operation of a component application being tested. It is the extent to which the defect can affect the software. The severity type is defined by the Software Tester based on the written test cases and functionality.
Defect Severity may range from Low to Critical
  • Critical – this defect is causing system failure. Nothing can proceed further. It may also be called as a show stopper
  • Major – highly severe defect, is causing the system to collapse, however few parts of the system are still usable, and/or there are a few workarounds for using the system in the collapsed state too
  • Medium – is causing some undesirable behavior, however system / feature is still usable to a high degree
  • Low – is more of a cosmetic issue. No serious impedance to system functionality is noted
Defect Priority
Defect priority signifies the level of urgency of fixing the bug. In other words Priority means how fast/ how soon it has to be fixed. Though priority may be initially set by the Software Tester, it is usually finalized by the Project/Product Manager.
Defect Priority may range from Low to Urgent
  • Urgent: Must to be fixed before any other high, medium or low defect should be fixed. Must be fixed in the next build.
  • High: Must be fixed in any of the upcoming builds but should be included in the release.
  • Medium: should take precedence over low priority defects and may be fixed after the release / in the next release.
  • Low: Fixing can be deferred until all other priority defects are fixed. It may or may not be fixed at all.

Differences between Defect Severity and Defect Priority

Severity is associated with standards/functionality.
Priority is associated with scheduling.
Severity refers to the seriousness of the bug on the functionality of the product. Higher effect on the functionality will lead to assignment of higher severity to the bug.
Priority refers to how soon the bug should be fixed.
Generally, the Quality Assurance Engineer decides the severity level.
Priority to fix a bug is decided in consultation with the client/manager.
  1. Let us assume a scenario where “Login” button is labeled as “Logen”:
    The priority and severity for different situations may be expressed as:-
·         For GUI testing: it is high priority and low severity
·         For UI testing: it is high priority and high severity
·         For functional testing: it is low priority and low severity
·         For cosmetic testing: it is low priority and high severity
  1. Low Severity, Low Priority
Suppose an application (web) is made up of 20 pages. On one of the pages out of the 20 which is visited very infrequently, there is a sentence with a grammatical error. Now, even though it’s a mistake on this expensive website, users can understand its meaning without any difficulty. This bug may go unnoticed to the eyes of many and won’t affect any functionality or the credibility of the company.
  1. Low Severity, High Priority
·         While developing a site for Pepsi, by mistake a logo sign of coke is embedded. This does not affect functionality in any way but has high priority to be fixed.
·         Any typo mistakes or glaring spelling mistakes on home page.
  1. High Severity, Low Priority
·         Incase application works perfectly for 50000 sessions but beings to crash after higher number of sessions. This problem needs to be fixed but not immediately.
·         Any report generation not getting completed 100% – Means missing Title, Title Columns but having proper data enlisted. We could have this fixed in the next build but missing report columns is a High Severity defect.
  1. High Severity, High Priority
·         Now assume a windows-based application, a word-processor let’s say. As you open any file to be viewed it in, it crashes. Now, you can only create new files but as you open them, the word-processor crashes. This completely eliminates the usability of that word-processor as you can’t come back and edit your work on it, and also affects one of the major functionalities of the application. Thus, it’s a severe bug and should be fixed immediately.
·         Let’s say, as soon as the user clicks login button on Gmail site, some junk data is displayed on a blank page. Users can access the gmail.com website, but are not able to login successfully and no relevant error message is displayed. This is a severe bug and needs topmost priority.

How to Run VBS/JS script from cmd/Command Prompt

Cscript.exe is a command-line version of the Windows Script Host that provides command-line options for setting script properties.
With Cscript.exe, scripts can be run by typing the name of a script file at the command prompt. Windows Script Host supports scripts written in VBScript or JScript. The script engine uses file extensions (that is, .vbs for VBScript and .js for JScript) to identify the script.

The syntax for running scripts at the command prompt with the command-line-based script host is as follows
cscript [script name] [host options] [script arguments]


·         script name is the name of the script file, including the file name extension and any necessary path information.
·         host options are the command-line switches that enable or disable various Windows Script Host features. Host options are always preceded by two slashes (//).
·         script arguments are the command-line switches that are passed to the script. Script arguments are always preceded by one slash (/).
  • Each parameter is optional; however, script arguments cannot be specified without specifying a script. In this case, Cscript.exe displays the Cscript.exe syntax and the valid host options.
  • The command-line-based script host supports the following host options: 


Specifies batch mode, which does not display alerts, scripting errors, or input prompts.
Turns on the debugger/Enables active debugging
//E: engine
Specifies the scripting language that is used to run the script.
//H:cscript or //H:wscript
Registers either Cscript.exe or Wscript.exe as the default script host for running scripts. If neither is specified, the default is Wscript.exe.
Specifies interactive mode, which displays alerts, scripting errors, and input prompts. This is the default and the opposite of //B.
//Job: xxxx
Runs the job identified by xxxx in a .wsf script file.
Specifies that the Windows Script Host banner is displayed in the console window before the script runs. This is the default and the opposite of //Nologo.
Specifies that the Windows Script Host banner is not displayed before the script runs.
Saves the current command-prompt options for the current user.
//T: nnnnn
Specifies the maximum time the script can run (in seconds). You can specify up to 32,767 seconds. The default is no time limit.
Starts the script in the debugger.
Displays available command parameters and provides help for using them (this is the same as typing Cscript.exe with no parameters and no script).The time out option (//T:nnnnn) prevents excessive execution of scripts by setting a time limit. When execution time exceeds the specified value, Cscript.exe interrupts the script engine and stops the process.
The time out option (//T:nnnnn) prevents excessive execution of scripts by setting a time limit. When execution time exceeds the specified value, Cscript.exe interrupts the script engine and stops the process.  


Leadership Lessons to be learned from a Tea Bag

My last toastmasters meeting were based on the theme – “Motivation”. We had 3 breathtaking speeches on the same theme. Here, I am summarizing one of the speeches delivered by one of the members – Mr. Chinnappa Nanaiah. He explained how toastmaster is similar to a tea bag. The speech had very strong leadership lessons to be learned from a tea bag.
Leadership Lessons to be learned from a Tea Bag
  1. What Counts is what’s is inside the Teabag
You will notice that some tea bags have very nice-looking labels, while others have very ordinary looking ones. Some have delicate silk tassels while others have ordinary strings. But here’s the thing to remember: The quality of the beverage is determined by the tea inside the bag – not by the label or the string.
The same is true for all of us too. The titles, the clothes we wear and the cars we drive are like the label and the string. They may make us look nice, beautiful and attractive. But what really matters is the kind of person we are, deep down within. What matters most are our beliefs and attitude – that’s what defines the person we are. The tea masters know that to make a great drink, they need to focus on the tea. Not on the label and the string. Focus on being a good human being. Fix your attitude. Get your values right. And don’t fret about the small stuff.
  1. The real flavor comes through when the teabag gets into hot water
To get the best flavor, we need to put the tea bag into hot water. And then the real strength will show! Likewise, the true character of a person actually shines through in problems. How does a person behave under pressure, when he is in ‘hot water’? The hot water test is a good one – to judge the quality of the tea and the true character of human beings.
  1. Good teabag look forward to getting into hot water
Leaders know it will give them a chance to show their true worth. So next time you see a challenge, a tough situation, think like a tea bag and dive headlong into it. It may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to show what you are capable of. Some of us are so scared of the hot water that we stay away from it. We are too scared of failure. Leaders never let that happen to themselves! Give yourself a chance to show the world what you are really all about!
  1. A teabag must be porous
Imagine we have the best tea in world. We put that tea bag in a plastic shield and dip that into hot water and wait. What would we get? Tea? No. We would just get the same water which is not even hot now.
Very likely, we cannot survive in isolation. We need to face the situations, the challenges to get out of them. Some very wise person said “When you are in hell, go through it. Because that is the only possible way to get out of it.” This may also be interpreted as we need to dissolve in water, the surroundings/teams to give our best to that.
  1. Teabags work, never mind where they are in the cup
Notice wherever the tea bag is placed inside the cup – high, low, vertical, horizontal, it does not matter at all. The tea bag would influence hot water. Likewise, for true leaders. It does not matter which position they hold within the team. They would always stand out and benefit the whole team.
  1. Sometimes, one teabag is just not enough
We add more than 1 tea bag to hot water depending on our tastes. One tea bag is not enough for some of us. Likewise, some teams/problems may require more than one leader. The leader should never hesitate in asking for help – another tea bag!        
  1. Sometimes, you need to add some milk and sugar
Sometimes tea itself is not enough to serve as a perfect beverage. We add milk and sugar to enhance its taste. Similarly, the leader also need support of his team members and he himself need to add more qualities and knowledge to himself so that everyone is able to extract their own requirements and are satisfied.
  1. Someone else holds the string, always.
Remember, tea bag cannot stand by itself. There is always someone else who holds its string and dips it into hot water. Just like that, a leader is also never independent. The leader himself also has someone mentoring him, or leading him.
  1. It is always about how good the teabag is. Not the teabag!
Do we ever wonder talk about the tea bag? We always enjoy the tea inside that. The tea can be taken out and brewed other ways as well, but the teabag does not mean anything without its contents. Same holds true for leaders. It is the work, the qualities that speak and shine out. A leader is nothing without its achievements. Thus, if you want to be a leader, stop focusing on yourself and let your work speak for you.
  1. Eventually, teabags need to make way and get out!
Once the tea is brewed, we throw away the tea bag. Even if we keep it inside the cup, it’s the flavor it has imparted into hot water that we drink not the tea bag. This teaches us that eventually, leaders need to get to a side and let their team sparkle. Like tea, they can always be with them, but in the end, it’s the work and their team that matters. Remember, leader does not exist without a team.
  1. A refreshing cup of tea needs time to brew!
Notice that the tea is not ready at the very instance we dip the tea bag into hot water. It takes time to brew perfectly. Tea and leadership qualities are very similar. We cannot acquire all leadership traits at once. They are imparted into us time to time.

Sources – 
1. Toastmasters speech 
2. http://www.careers360.com/news/7792-prakash-iyer-life-lessons-in-a-tea-bag

How to recover an un-saved Microsoft Office Excel, Word, or PowerPoint file

How often have you faced a situation when you worked upon a new MS office excel/word/PowerPoint file and accidentally close the document before saving or worse lose power and the system shuts down – not your fault? I am sure there would not be a single person on this planet that never had this crunch.
Here is the good news…. 🙂
Microsoft Office has a fantastic feature built in where it can recover unsaved new documents!
To use this feature, ‘Auto Recover ‘ and “Auto Save” features should be enabled. Below are the steps to do so:-
1.     Click the File tab.
2.     Under Help, click Options.
3.     Click Save.
4.     Make sure the Save AutoRecover information every x minutes check box is selected.
5.     In Word 2010, Excel 2010 and PowerPoint 2010, make sure the Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving check box is selected.

Below are the steps to take to recover your unsaved new document in Microsoft Office Excel, Work, or PowerPoint 2010 if you inadvertently close it before saving it:

1.     Open the Office 2010 applications that you were using.
2.     Click the File tab.
3.     Click Recent.
4.     Click Recover Unsaved Documentsif you are in Word 2010, Recover Unsaved Workbooks if you are in Excel 2010 or Recover Unsaved Presentations if you are in PowerPoint 2010. 

5.     Your saved drafts folder will open in a new window. Select the file and then click Open.
6.     In the business bar at the top of the file, click Save As to save your file to your computer. 
Below are alternative steps to access these files:
1.     Open the Office 2010 application you were using.
2.     Open a new file or any existing file.
3.     Click the File tab.
4.     Click Info.
5.     Click Manage Versions.
6.     Click Recover Unsaved Documentsif you are in Word 2010, Recover Unsaved Workbooks if you are in Excel 2010 or Recover Unsaved Presentations if you are in PowerPoint 2010. 

7.     You will see the list of your unsaved files. Select the file and click Open.
8.     In the business bar at the top of the file, click Save As to save your file to your computer.

Another alternative!!!  Depending on the operating system, files may also be browsed at following locations:

  • Windows 7/Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
    C:Documents and SettingsUser_NameLocal SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOfficeUnsavedFiles 

I read somewhere, Ctr+S is still your best friend…:D

Create a daily Diary using Notepad

This have been on my posts list for a long while.

Follow the below link for details or the steps are also listed here:-

* Open a notepad and type “.LOG” (case sensitive) as the first line.
* Save and close the file. 
* Double-click the file to open it and notice that Notepad appends the current date 
and time and places the cursor on the next line.
* Type your notes and then save and close the file.

So now each time you open the file, it will be appending the time and date and placing the cursor below it. So now your notepad simply serves as a virtual diary!