Archive for December 2006
Slow Loading Pages and Impatient Waiting -- Workaround
With a typical dialup networking connection in place in our home systems, sometimes, even typing of Google.com, Internet Explorer would take long long while before focussing the textbox into the search textbox.
This would really make us feel impatient and tense as we launch Google only to initiate a spidering of a quick search. There are a bit of quick tidbits to workaround this problem.
- I think there was some PowerToy from Microsoft to prevent automatic images downloading and selectively displaying the images.
- Naviscope -- Quick and Personal Desktop Proxy Tool
- And I strongly feel the ESCape key to abort page loading the moment after the textbox loads and I can initiate the search operations.
Interesting Paradox between IE and FireFox
For some reason till last week when I logged onto my Wordpress Administration Control Panel, if the web browser I use is Internet Explorer it used to alert me "This page is redirecting to a non-secure site" warning. If it is Mozilla FireFox, then it used to silently logon without any demur of any kind.
Quite interesting paradoxical behavior right? There has'nt been any change in behavior in other non-IE browsers like Opera, Konqueror (on Red Hat Linux).
Quick and Simple Scripting Languages for the Web
Most of the time for small web design companies, they would be confronted with situations in that they may need to provide thier clients some dynamic features like hit counter, site statistics meter, guestbook, feedback form or contact form. However, since both the client and the web design company have initiated the project with a limited budget, both of them would have opted for a web hosting package that only supports plain HTML pages without much of database support or dynamic scripting support.
During my tenure in my previous organization, we were facing this piquant situations and we found a couple of simple and quick scripting languages that helped us. Sometime last week, a blog reader and a CTO of a small organization in Chennai contacted me regarding a similar query. I had suggested him a couple of scripting languages which he came back with the feedback that the client really appreciated for the timely response and solution.
I would like to share a couple of simple scripting languages for the benefit of other readers as well.
Readers: If you know similar scripting languages, feel free to share with other readers as comments.
Attention to AVG Free Antivirus Users
AVG Antivirus from GriSoft is really a very excellent and powerful tool to protect your system from a lot number of viruses in realtime protection. Compared to other commercial components, AVG Anvirus is available in a FREE for home and non-commercial use. If you have been using AVG and have been regularly updating it; for the past two weeks, you would be getting an alert stating that the current 7.1 version is being discontinued.
They are releasing a more sophisticated and Windows Vista ready AVG Antivirus 7.5. You need to download the new AVG Antivirus 7.5 (either the free personal and/or the commercial edition) as per the Terms and Conditions in Grisoft website since AVG Antivirus 7.1 is being discontinued as of January 15, 2007.
The download URL of AVG Free Antivirus is here.
Richer Email Application
For those regularly using Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express and who are afraid of VBScripts wreaking havoc on them in the form of macros, there is some light at the end of tunnel. There is a very good alternative email application called Calypso (now Courier) from RoseCitySoftware. Perhaps in my first organization, 3rdAgenda, this was the default email application that was bieng used. That time the company that was making Calpyso was MCSDallas. I don't think MCSDallas is any more and RoseCity Software has taken control over Calypso and has upgraded its features into more powerful Courier.
As a limited time offer, Courier 3.5 is available for download as a fully free non-expiring registered version.A few of the good features in Calypso/Courier are:
Calypso also a support discussion forum hosted at Yahoogroups -- CalypsoMail.
Simpler Dictionary well within the desktop...
The other day, before coming across the Quick Look Dictionary WebService, I was trying to use Dictionary.com and the website was experiencing some technical issues reaching the same. Desparate to get some quick help in having a document to be drafted, I was researching on other web-based and offline dictionary tools. When I approached Redhy, he used a different trick to find the meaning of the word.
Just launch Microsoft Word. Type the word you want and when you right click the word you would be getting 'Synonyms'. A couple of times you use the word, the synonym that you get would be a familiar word. This way, you can effectively make use of a dictionary that is already built into the system.
Related Post: Building Lexical Resilence in the Web Applications
Quick Web-Based Readers
With a plethora of favorite blogs and the list growing every moment, it would be a herculean process to keep tab on the latest content that is being updated in each on them. Fortunately, our favorite email clients, web browser applications and host of webservices does bring to our desktop, quick, easy and flexible readers that help us organize this info.
I would like to summarize a few of them for readers' quick reference. Thanks to Redhy Issac for introducing me to Google Reader.
- Google Reader
- Yahoo Mail Beta (RSS Reader can be found in the left navigation pane)
- Sage -- RSS Reader Extension for FireFox
If you come across more free readers, do share across as comments.
If you have carefully watched Mozilla FireFox, there is a very good webservice link embedded in the Help Menu. You can locate it at Help -> Report Broken Web site. This launched a pop window from the Mozilla Reporter Service.
The introductory paragraph on the Mozilla Reporter tells that the website information is sent to Mozilla Development Evangelism Team for thier analysis and betterment of Mozilla products and for best surfing engine to be built into Mozilla FireFox. This way, collecting patterns of data purely for diagnosis is also observed in Windows as "Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Programme" This would enhance the quality of software for exact realtime usage. Also, I would like to recall about one more Windows website that is oriented towards realtime error reporting in Windows. You can visit the same in Microsoft Online Crash Analysis website.
Microsoft India initiates Law Scholarships
Microsoft India opens up the avenue of the nationwide rollout of law scholarship programme for eleven Indian law colleges along with felicitiations for the first top three law scholars. The programme is being instituted as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Microsoft India and National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University (NALSAR), Hyderabad.
'Fostering innovation and creating a strong IPR environment is even more critical for a country like India to take giant leap to be a knowledge based economy,' said Nancy Anderson, deputy general counsel, Microsoft Corporation.
The top three scholarship winners for this year are:
- Maheswari S
- Santosh Krishnan
- Nandini R
The currently selected beneficiary law institutions of the nation are:
- National Law Institute,
- National Law School of India, Bangalore
- Gujarat National Law University
- ILS Law College of Pune
- Maharishi Dayanand University of Rohtak
- Himachal Pradesh University
- Symbiosis International University, Pune
- Panjab University, Chandigarh
- Delhi University
- Banaras Hindu University.
Source Courtesy: ZdNet India
Quick Look Dictionary
Having regularly used dictionary.com and M-W.com, I feel that both these websites have increased the amount of advertising that is shown on them. There is no fault on the website. Their operational model has an inevitable component of advertising. After a bit of search, I came across the following Quick Simple Text Dictionary webpage. It also has a Webservice API for your applications.
I would like to share the URL with other readers:
- Web-based frontend: http://services.aonaware.com/DictService/
- Webservice: http://services.aonaware.com/DictService/DictService.asmx
- WSDL URL: http://services.aonaware.com/DictService/DictService.asmx?wsdl
Keep Internet Highway Clean
I like Orkut's slogan "Let us keep Orkut clean and beautiful". Similarly I feel a careful usage can ensure that the common Internet too is useful and clean of most sorts of paranoia. Though this is a very high level thing to visualize and almost utopian dream, we can encompass at least our common day-to-day email to embrace this discipline.
A few tidbits to practice:
- Avoid "Forward Forward Forward Forward" of emails. Often this is called as ChainMail and deemed on par junk mail (aka) spam.
- Before alerting your recipients on some vital information, ensure that the information is credible. You can be free of hoaxes by checking the most updated Hoax Slayer website
- Following up from (2) above, you can be free of virus information from a wide variety of websites. A few of them are:
Sophisticated AJAX for PHP -- SAJAX for PHP
A brief search did get to me the "Simple AJAX ToolKit for PHP", shortly called (SAJAX). That is why, I just captioned this post "Sophisticated AJAX". The name befits and the framework fits the coat perfectly and the PHP application can be AJAXified like a charm with this simple to use open source toolkit.
Addressing the Aspirations of Freshers
Just about a few days back, we discussed about an informative website that helps freshers and professionals to hone thier technical and soft skills. Just today, while browsing in an Internet Kiosk from the Internet Explorer History, I came across a very informative career website entirely aimed at the development and growth of freshers. Check out Freshers World.
A quick glimpse through the websites and a few articles also seems to address the problems that we earlier discussed over here.
Mail-Enabling Applications and Testing with Ease
Every web application would have some sort of mailing feature at least as a feedback stuff. The testing of the application would not be complete and we can not comfortably nod our head for a GoAlive unless we find that this feature also is working fine. But in every organization, the system administrators and web developers would fight. While the former would emphasize on security and uptime of the network servers, the latter would demand custom mailing solutions for the robustness and completion of their application.
I came across the following elegant piece of desktop software, which is really useful to test the mailing components in our application. I would like to share the same with you. To an extent they also scale up as small mailservers for small organizations:
Quenching the Quest for a Good Career
For freshers just out of college and looking out on a lucrative opportunities, there are so many difficuties. The first and foremost daunting problem they face is that everywhere they would be expected of experiences. This post is epicentered to Chennai area. If the reader finds topics that befit this and from his region, please feel free to share the same over as comments. Sometime back, we were also discussing about 'Fate of Freshers' in our View and Reviews.
Sometime back, I came across this website called QuestPond, which is very innovative of its own kind and the webmaster/author has compiled tons and tons of interview material and presented them for free over the website. He also offers a book on the same, which contains more info. But the quantity of information on the website itself is really voluminous. Check out the website and refer it to your friends who are just out of college or aspiring to lookout for good opportunities.
Microsoft Office System
The more elegant desktop productivity enhancement tool, Microsoft Office, in its new avatar as Microsoft Office 2007 is coming to you. Microsoft India is also intending release of FREE CDs and Online Editions of Microsoft Office 2007.
You can order your free trial CD of Microsoft Office 2007 by dropping an email to connect (at) microsoft.com or alternatively calling Microsoft Connect at the Toll Free Number 1 800 11 1100.
You can get more details at this URL. Get Ready to welcome your sweetheart sweet desk productivity tool.
Quicker PDF Generation in .NET
Generating PDF documents with C# and ASP.NET was never difficult. Till somepoint of time there was ITextSharp (a derivative of Java iText). Now I came across one more elegant tool called Report .NET. It is more simpler to use and comes with a lot of examples.
PDF documents always are preferred everywhere since once generated they seldom have updations and hence free from viruses and tampering issue. We can have precise graphics with the advantage of cross browser and cross platform portability.
If you still want to access a remotely hosted webservices for PDF generation, you can check out the following:
Keeping off Spyware...
Sometime back we were discussing about elegant Antispyware downloads. But the problem is that still a percentage of users are on weak fragile dialup connections and these people might have issues downloading huge software.
Trend Antivirus, who were pioneers in launching HouseCall Online Antivirus have again come up with a Free Online Antispyware. It just needs a simple ActiveX Control and required pattern engines are downloaded on the fly. This should help any household to keep thier system free from malwares and spywares.
Microsoft APAC Influencer Award
The previously given awards called "Community Star" for demonstrating enthusiasm in technology discussion forums has been rejuvenated into "Microsoft APAC Influencer Award". The ultimate aim of the award is to recognize demonstrated and passionate technology community contributions and reward them.
Microsoft India recieves nominations for APAC awards every years and reviewed on a quarterly basis. The duration of the award is one year from the date when it is given. You can either nominate yourself or a friend of yours, who you consider have demonstrated excellence in helping peers in discussion forums. The next level of CommunityStar is MVP with demonstrated leadership capabilities in discussion forums.
Download the APAC Influencer Nomination Form over here.
RAMBoost -- Memory Freeup Tool
Windows is best user-friendly and is able to run multiple applications. But many applications run amuck by gobbling up memory from the tool and not returning them back to Windows. Perhaps these are quite similar to loan defaulters from banks when banks have to deploy collection agents to run behind them and get their dues back.
Similarly, there is an elegant tool called RAMBoost, which helps to clearup the memory that is locked in deceased applications. To extend further, there is one more tool called Task Manager Extension available with sourcecode in CodeProject.com that also cleans up the files which are locked by other applications including at the file handle level.
Now no crazy memory leaks or stupid applications to lock the file and demanding Windows restarts.
There are good amount of MP3 songs that we get from various sources. The songs that we listen for casual use, we can conserve a large amount of diskspace by choosing an appropriately lower bit rate. This is critically important for a simple reason that with a large number of songs in collection the disk space be it the volume on the personal computer or the online storage space is put to stake. After a bit of research, I found the following simpler steps to compress the MP3 files.
- Compress the MP3 file of your choice as found in Angelfire Compress page.
- Now download the free MP3 Multiplexer and you can combine the split MP3 into a single MP3 file.
Before playing around the MP3 file, please ensure the following:
- You have full rights over the MP3 file or the MP3 file is available in public domain.
- Let us not support piracy. The music was created with great efforts and pains by so many people. We ought to respect to individuals' hardworks as we expect our hardwork to be respected by others.
Now Google facilitates you with a tool to represent your three dimensional innovations that get originated in your mind. They have released a tool called 'Google Sketchup'. It is a freeware download from the website to quickly create, view and modify the three dimensional ideas.
They have both FREE and PRO versions. The PRO version comes with more extensions and support services.
Zend Certification for PHP Professionals
Zend.com brings in certification programmes for PHP professional through Pearson VUE Test Administrators through out the world. Now the PHP developers have one more way of showcasing their expertise and versatility of their PHP knowledge to the world.
Check out the following URLs for more info:
Sometime back we were discussing about the power and potential of Inbox WYSIWYG editor. I have a few very interesting observations with respect to the same.
- The HTML Generation of Inbox.com and if copy pasted to Blogger TextArea seems to be losing all the formatting in 'Edit HTML' Tab.
- I preserve the alignments in 'Compose' Tab but links are getting destroyed.
- The expected behavior was correction of 1 and hence I personally feel that Mozilla FireFox should be best underlying web browser that elegantly handles this window-to-window communication of rich HTML.
Readers: Do you have any similar observations? Share across?
Wherever we go, we normally take photographs of the same and with the advent of technology, we can also record video of the tourist places that we visit. We can have them seamlessly presented on our websites with the help of good image album websites.
I just came across a new Album from Google "Picasa Web Album". Other than that the famous album websites are:
So what are you waiting for. Click your favorite moments and share it with your near and dear immaterial of whether they are far and near.
PHP Quebec 2007 Conference
Check out PHP Quebec 2007 website and registrations for the 2007 conference have been thrown open. There are very many early bird discounts available too. There are also invitations for speakers on the following topics:
Rush and send your registration and proposals for speakers now.
Just saw the Community-Credit.com website and my name was figuring out in the 'Top Honors' section on the left hand side. Sometime back, if you remember, we have been discussing about Community-Credit and the excellent ideal behind the website in encouraging collaborative development efforts.
I understand that the leading and me and have wide difference of points but humbly I hope it is a recognition for the little assistance that I was able to provide to my peers.
Here is the screenshot of the 'Top Honor':
Many a times our application would be requiring an automatic currency conversion utility. I understand that there are websites like XE, but these need manual intervention to click and convert between the desired currencies. Recently I needed a webservice that would do this for me.
After a bit of research, I came across this utility from WebServiceX, which offers conversions between different currencies in the world like a charm. It has a comprehensive list of currencies between which it offers conversion and the speed of conversion is also terrific. You can find the WSDL of the WebService at the same page or here.
Do you feel that while you are away from your system that you are missing a lot of Instant Messaging Conversations? Look no further. Windows Live brings Instant Messaging Conversations direct to your desktop via WAP solutions.
Just navigate to http://mobile.live.com/ and IM your buddies even from your handheld phone.
While casually surfing the Internet I came across this tool called NetSnippets, which is easily available as a Maxthon (erstwhile MyIE2 Plugin). The purpose of this tool is basically to facilitate and aide the research assistants in many organizations in their research work on the Internet and help them prepare elegantly designed and well-formatted report in a shortest possible time.
While I was in my previous organization, I would normally be using Maxthon (the then MyIE2) and my colleague (Srinivasan Veeraraghavan (alias) Vasan) wanted to use Maxthon just because it had this elegant tool called NetSnippets. He almost become a fan of this great tool. Check it out for yourself.
Writing code is not a big thing. We have proficient automated wizards to accomplish the basic skeleton code for anything and everything under the sun. The bottomline of a proficient application (code with life breathed in) is efficiently performing and secure framework.
There is a lot of research going on what is secure code and how to ensure security of the code. The latest initiative comes from Microsoft in organizing a 'SecureWars Contest' for developers and IT professionals. The code must be as secure as possible and should handle any type of exceptions from its known and unknown parameters and environmental factors.
You can find more details regarding the same from Microsoft website over here. There are very attractive prizes that is being promised over there. Let us get started in starting to write secure code. Towards this, I would also like to share a very useful book that I had been reading sometimg back. "Writing Secure Code" by Michael Howard and David LeBlanc (Microsoft Press).
If you have used PHP, you would simply get enthralled by the excellent set of database connectivity libraries that are shipped with the installer itself. The comprehensive documentation that you get and that too from the local country mirror to facilitate a superfast download all add crowning feathers' to the cap of PHP.
I have been using PHP since about for three years and have been recommending it to many. I have also architect a full-fledged value-chain management product for an Ambur-based leather tannery sometime in 2002-03. The only downside is that database connectivity API go like mysql_Connect and hence at the later point of time, if you wish to change the database, this might warrant a code change.
The more elegant approach would be to have a database abstraction layer. Being an opensource development effort, there are a lot of database abstraction libraries for PHP. Some of the applications like Phprojekt have thier own full-fledged database abstraction layers but have customized to the product-line. A few more are generic and have been listed here:
I personally feel that ADODB library is very friendly for developers hailing from Windows background since the syntax would be similar to ASP style. It is also part of a huge enterprise application server product line called PhpLens.
File Extension Webservice
One of the most inspiring features of Windows XP and its successors are if they come across an file extension, which it is not configured to handle, you would be presented with an option of 'Choosing Your Application' or 'Launch Default Web Browser To Search a WebService'. The default webservice that Windows choses Windows Shell Extensions. The other most comprehensive database is FileExt.com.
Here are the direct bookmarks that you would feel very useful in your web browser favorites:
How many times we were confronted with a situation of recieving a word processing document like a StarWriter or Microsoft Word document while we were travelling in an alien country with a classic old laptop which does not have a viewer with it.
I came across good amount of solutions to cope with this problem. Check out the following and I am sure you would be loving the most attractive one to solve yours too:
- Convert the document to a preferred format using webservices like Media-Convert.
- Google Docs and Spreadsheets
Regarding the point number (1) discussed above, we have also touched the same in our other post and as discussed those webservices enlisted in the other post help us to convert between a wide variety of file formats.
There are very many interesting SWF files which you would like to view it offline in your web browser. But Flash Movies seldom render themselves to be downloaded for offline use since they are rendered via an ActiveX control. Fortunately, I came across an interesting Internet Explorer plugin that helps us in saving the Flash files. It is called 'Flash Save' and I am sure this would be of tremendous help for developers interacting with the Web Designer counterparts in thier team.
If you are using Maxthon (erstwhile MyIE2), then it comes with FlashSave as a default bundled plugin. We have discussed about other tabbed browsing features of Maxthon in our other post.
Check out FlashSave here.
Any forum would indicate problems with huge file uploads in ASP.NET. The most probable replies would be to use alternate upload channels or chunked uploads to overcome this. Travelling back, we were able to manage such huge gigs of upload seamlessly with ISAPI filters and extensions. The underlying trick was that the data buffers that flow into the server should be serialized and not accumulating in the memory which is an overhead for the server.
Just came across this elegant article in CodeProject which is promising. Albeit the fact that the code is in Visual Studio 2005, with just a couple of changes in two of its files, I was able to manage the same run on .NET Framework 1.1. Check out this article in CodeProject.com.
The best thing in this article was that it did'nt wanted us to make any change in Web.Config.
I think there is more to appreciate Inbox.com than just serving as a simple suite of web applications. We would like to recall about our testimony on Inbox.com sometime back. This post should serve as some more internal analysis on Inbox.com.
While writing this blog or an other review or even a friendly (love) letter or a sloka, I feel that Inbox.com Compose Editor (Rich Text) is more versatile and feature rich than anything else. I have seen more number of HTML TextArea editors. Inbox.com has some issues with keyboard shortcuts in the editor. I have even reported them to the helpdesk and they are working on it. Nevertheless, it is interesting that Inbox.com Compose Editor serves more than a plain vanilla editor. I would rather put it as 'WYSIWYG Web-based Notepad'.
Check out Inbox.com for your own email cum organizer account.
In my personal time research following the mission envisaged here, I found some very interesting and easy to use tools that are effective in combatting spam. We would here enlist a few of them over here:
These need a bit of configuration on the MX or SPF records on the web or the email server on the domain and then on the domain would be qualified for the participating domains. This effectively reduces the intensity of spam, reduces the acuteness of the phishing effect.
During the course of research, I also found an interesting acronym for Spam. Spam is not actually a word and originated as an acronym 'Simultaneusly Posted Advertising Message'. Perhaps while in the Internet Age, we mostly treat only unsolicited emails as spam, even telemarketing calls fall under the banner of spam.