Archive for 2008

Phishing extended. Now it is 'Vishing'...

Phishing extended. Now it is 'Vishing'...

We all would be knowing what is Phishing. According to Wikipedia, "phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit ...". Whilst casually browsing Axis Bank website, I came across an article which introduces one more concept that hackers and antisocials are currently busy using. It is called Vishing.

I did some basic research on Vishing. According to Wikipedia, "Vishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering and Voice over IP (VoIP) to gain access to private personal and financial information".

I think the next time a seemingly innocuous even a telemarketing call rings in our phone, we ought to be more careful with one more malpractice that is left unleashed by antisocials. Hence I just thought I would share a small writeup on Vishing too.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Windows XP needs to prioritise properly the necessity versus cosmetic

Windows XP needs to prioritise properly the necessity versus cosmetic

This was an experience while I was unpacking the Todolist contents from an encrypted compressed folder. When I copied the folder from the encrypted zip file and pasted on the desktop, I got the 'Enter Password' dialog but even before I entered the password, the focus on the textbox blurred and the compressed folders progress bar started to appear. Now I had to manually click in the textbox to enter the password.

I just thought this is a significant user-friendliness issue in Windows XP compressed folders. Windows XP should need prioritise properly on which operation should given more priority. In this particular case, the password dialog should be given more precedence than the progress bar which can run without focus.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Conflicting Behavior of Internet Explorer Manage AddOns Dialog

Conflicting Behavior of Internet Explorer Manage AddOns Dialog

The other day, I was checking email in a shared Internet Cafe in airport. I had a piquant issue with the web browser (Internet Explorer 6) which had its flash ActiveX damaged and frequently Internet Explorer kept throwing an illegal operation and was getting closed. Since I normally do a CTRL+N from one Internet Explorer, all the Internet Explorer windows were getting closed.

I hence chose to watch Tools -> Manage Addons and have the Shockwave Flash disabled for a while. When I clicked 'Disable' radio button, Internet Explorer warned me that I needed to close all Internet Explorer windows for the changes to take effect. But I just went ahead browsing the websites. And interestingly, the disable action was indeed in effect without restarting the web browser since, I was getting the baloon tip that a website requires flash and it is currently disabled.

I just thought of sharing this interesting conflicting behavior of Internet Explorer from browsing perspective and also from Manage AddOns settings dialogs angle.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

An elegant shortcut for encrypted todolists ...

An elegant shortcut for encrypted todolists ...

I have been using the following tool called Todolist to manage and streamline my tasks along with the various date and time. When we use our tasklists on a shared computer, the tool also comes with great features like encrypted tasklists where you need to punch in your tasklist password when the list is opened. The entire tasklist is stored in the XML file be it encrypted or not. Hence if you forget the password, there is no way to recover the tasklist.

However, there was one issue with the encrypted tasklist. Once the tasklist gets opened, even tabbing across the various tasklists or minimizing/restoring the tasklist would popup the 'Password' dialog. This would be a way-bit nagging right. I just posted on the forum and one other user was kind enough to guide me with the -x switch which would ensure that the password is asked only once per session (at the start when the file is decrypted and opened). From thereon, till the application or the list is closed and opened, the password never gets demanded.

For example, if your todolist file is mytasks.xml or mytasks.tdl which you have opted for encryption, the mode of invocation of todolist to use the one-time password demand would be:

D:/todolist.exe -x mytasks.xml
or
D:/todolist.exe -x mytasks.tdl

(I assume, in this syntax, that my todolist is in the root folder of volume D)
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

An experience with Windows Time Applet

An experience with Windows Time Applet

Recently my PC developed a small technical snag and the CMOS battery which is required to preserve the settings was dying out. As a result of which, the date and time was unable to be preserved. And since the date and time was getting back to weird dates like 11/2/2002 and crazy times like 01:00 hours, most of the Internet websites which are SSL enabled started to throw off warning messages like security certificate is expired.

When I chose to synchronize the time using Windows Time Applet 'Internet Time', at the first instance it was giving too technical messages like 'RPC Server is unavailable'. I just felt that this error message is little bad and curtly harsh on little less tech savvy users. Since we are web developers and exposed to programming for a while, we can understand and troubleshoot these error messages. But I really wonder, what would a poor user with relatively less technical exposure do for such messages. At least in regions like India, they would approach service centers down the line who would make most of the opportunity to charge sky and the moon for nothing. Furthermore, there is also a risk of unscrupulous service centers damaging the systems as I discussed in my other 'Product and Services Review'

A quick Internet Search brought me a very good tool called 'Neutron 1.0' from SnapFiles which is just about 6K download and sets/synchronizes system time like a breeze. I have attached the screenshots of both the tools (Windows Time Server and Neutron) for anyone's ready reference and assistance.

Windows XP Time Applet:





Neutron Time Applet:

Saturday, December 20, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Amusing Welcome Message in Windows Live Messenger

Amusing Welcome Message in Windows Live Messenger

Today I accidentally observed an amusing message like the below in Windows Live Messenger. It read as follows:

Welcome to Offline Instant Messaging!

Instant Messaging is almost used synonymously with online communication right? Offline messages is a failback feature which should chip-in only when the contact appears offline. Hence I feel that the word combination as 'Offline Instant Messaging' seems to be a little humorous paradoxical set.





What do you feel?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

EasyTerm -- Cool Telnet Utility for Windows

EasyTerm -- Cool Telnet Utility for Windows

Many a times we would like to see if a particular network service is responding on a particular port and the handy tool that is available on Windows is telnet. Older Windows brought up a UI but which frequently used to hang whilst negotiating the network connection. Nowadays, Windows opens up a commandline telnet utility.

I just recalled about a cool telnet tool called EasyTerm which has a friendly UI with support for lot of features like the following:

  1. Remembers the entries
  2. DEC VT 100 Emulation
  3. Session Logging
  4. Clipboard Support
  5. Ability to print current display
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

ImageForge -- An Elegant MSPaint Replacer

ImageForge -- An Elegant MSPaint Replacer

How many times have you got irritated by the limitations of Microsoft Paint, the default little paint tool that ships with Window. At least two issues irritate me:

  1. It does not save the last used path.
  2. Save As GIF is not implemented properly and the image clarity collapses.

I just came across a freeware tool called ImageForge. Although it is a teaser product for its pro version, it does have good features for us to go for it:

Website: ImageForge

Features:

  1. Direct scanner support
  2. More Zoom Levels
  3. Powerful Image Rotation
  4. Ability to author AVI animations

I have just enumerated the common features required. For more details check out the website.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

IE Copy Shortcut is driving me crazy ...

IE Copy Shortcut is driving me crazy ...

Whenever an email address with mailto: protocol is encountered, Mozilla FireFox automatically presents a link called 'Copy Email Address' and it just copies the email address into the system clipboard without mailto: and any other issues. But with Internet Explorer, the only option left around is 'Copy Shortcut' and it would include mailto:. Any mailclient does not accept this string literal and throws error.

Would Internet Explorer future versions address this anomaly?
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

GIMP -- Free Image Manipulation Tool

GIMP -- Free Image Manipulation Tool

We have been discussing about Irfanview sometime back. I just came across another similar tool called GIMP with much more enhanced features called Gimp. This is a freeware tool under GNU license. I am sharing with you a few thoughts about this tool.

Website: GIMP Website

Features:

  1. Flexible and Friendly UI
  2. Free Software
  3. Digital Enhancement of Images
  4. Distortion Correction
  5. Download sized around 15 mega bytes
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Fortop Album Creator

Fortop Album Creator

A picture is worth thousand words. And a photo of a rare memory event is so very precious. We really need a good utility tool that can help us manage such treasured assets. Whilst researching on Fortop Products, I came across this tool called ForTop Album Creator.

Website: Fortop Album Creator

Features:

  1. Available in Free and as well Full Version
  2. Flexible Managing of Photos and their attributes
  3. Good Organizing of Folders into different categories
  4. Ability to publish to different websites.

Check it out for yourself.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Fortop SWF Resource Extractor

Fortop SWF Resource Extractor

Whilst trying out Fortop FLV Player, I found out a sister-product by Fortop which is also offered for free. This is called SWF Resources Extractor. It helps you to retrieve the audio and images embedded within the flash file.

Website: Fortop SWF Resources Extractor

Features:

  1. Smaller download footprint of around 1.5 MB
  2. Just pull your SWF into the software. It would display the resources which you can drag and drop to your desired location in your Windows Explorer.

Check it out for yourself.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Fortop Free FLV Player

Fortop Free FLV Player

Adding to the list of free FLV Players that we have been discussing of late, is Fortop Free FLV Player. I just thought I would write a couple of words on this software also for the benefit of everyone.

Website: Fortop Free FLV Player

Features:

  1. Just about half a MB download footprint (506 K)
  2. No complicated setup. You can just run the EXE and it plays.
  3. Support for diversified codecs
  4. It also supports extracting the audio portion of the FLV as MP3 format.
  5. FREE

Check it out for yourself.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Swiff -- A Free Standalone Flash Player

Swiff -- A Free Standalone Flash Player

Whenever you get a SWF file, currently the only way of playing them are the following:

  1. Write a quick HTML code to embed the SWF and play within the web browser. The HTML is required so that you view the SWF in correct dimensions without distortions.
  2. Drag and drop it into your favorite web browser but there might be little distortion since the SWF is stretched to full browser window.

I remember that Adobe was distributing a standalone version of Flash Player but currently I am not able to locate it. Besides more, the download footprint of Adobe products and the hunger for memory by Adobe family of products makes me to stay away from it. I have already moved to FoxIT PDF Reader. Here is a quick review about Swiff, which is a standalone flash player.

Website: Swiff Flash Player

Features:

  1. Player Seekbar
  2. OpenGL Hardware Acceleration
  3. Easy display of movie properties
  4. Small download footprint without complicated registry setup and complex DLLs.

Check it out for yourself.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free Moyea FLV Player for Windows PC

Free Moyea FLV Player for Windows PC

We have been discussing about quite a number of desktop FLV players. A few of them for your quick review are:

  1. Wimpy Player

I just came across one more good FLV Player from Moyea (home of FLV Binder) and would like share a few words about it here.

Website: http://www.flvsoft.com/flv_player/feature

Features:

  1. Play support for online and local FLVs
  2. Supports different FLV file types
  3. Supports 0.5x, 1x, 2x and Full Screen
  4. Manages Audio Distortions and ensures high quality playback
  5. Playlists and Favorites support
  6. Friendly UI

Check it out for yourself
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free FLV Binder

Free FLV Binder

Sometime back we have been discussing about MP3 Multiplexer. A few readers were asking me if I can try researching and getting some tool which could support FLV files in the similar way. I just thought of sharing the good news that I have found out a cool tool which takes as input more number of FLV files and outputs a single FLV file which is a combination of all inputs. Here is a brief review on the same.

Website: FLV Binder

Features:

  1. A friendlier commandline tool and hence you can expect a superfast performance.
  2. Very small download footprint of 100 KB alone. Your system download manager can just like that grab it like anything.

Check it out fo yourself
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Hi-Q Recorder -- An elegant sound recording solution for Windows

Hi-Q Recorder -- An elegant sound recording solution for Windows

I have been trying to get some recording using the default Windows recorder but it seems to be severely handicapped at least with respect to the following:

  1. Media format that it can save
  2. Duration of recording
  3. UI and Customization Flexibility

If you get onto your favorite search engine, you would just get only shareware making you shell out heavy bucks for bulky software and at times ending up sending invites to spyware in the system. I just came across a cute and little software called Hi-Q Recorder which comes with both free and premium versions. The free version could cater to our most usage demands at least with respect to sound format (MP3) and a friendly UI. I just thought I would write a brief review on the tool for the benefit of other readers:

Website: Hi-Q Recorder -- An elegant sound recording solution for Windows

Features:

  1. Available in Free and Premium Versions. Free supports MP3 while premium supports many different formats also along with enhanced quality of recording.
  2. Realtime Recording of Streaming Audio, Internet Radio, WebCasts etc.
  3. Customize your MP3 bit rate easily.
  4. Automatic Timestamp Naming of the file

Check it out for yourself
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

UltiDev Cassini -- A Convincing Cute Web Server for inspiring ASP.NET Development

UltiDev Cassini -- A Convincing Cute Web Server for inspiring ASP.NET Development

I just came across a cute web browser called UltiDev Cassini, which provides a quick and easy way to build redistributable ASP.NET applications without any dependency on IIS Web Server. Unlike IIS and other web server solutions, this is very compact with smaller download footprint and runtime memory demands. I just thought I would write a brief and little review for the benefit of other ASP.NET web developer fraternity.

  1. Can run as Windows Service and hence would not clutter your System Tray with unnecessary icons
  2. Friendly and flexible UI
  3. Supports multiple versions of ASP.NET

This serves as a great boon for Windows XP Home users since IIS does not install over there. Check it out for yourself to appreciate its greatness and reap the rewarding benefits and bountiful grace of this elegant cute compact little web server
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Environment.ExitCode -- Just not any value any more

Environment.ExitCode -- Just not any value any more

Whenever we write a quick console application in C#, we may just use Environment.Exit to come out of the application. But how many of us religiously follow what exit code to give to the method as parameter other than just feed in either 0 or 1. I just thought of sharing with you the exit code article in C/C++ which everyone of us should start religiously following to to make the code more disciplined, standardized and maintainable: Exit Codes with Special Meanings
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Keep your code neat and clean ...

Keep your code neat and clean ...

The responsibility of a developer does not end by just unit testing the application and throwing it away. He has to ensure that the application performs at a superior pace and exceeds user expectations in every possible way. Towards this, I would say, the following minimum steps are required:

  1. During code maintenance, always run tools like FxCop to ensure that stale and junk entries are not inadvertently crept in.
  2. Run a step-by-step code review and have peer code review process chipped in so that the quality of the code output is upheld at the highest level.
A laxity in this would mean a slow leeching or deterioration of code quality and reduction in the maintainability of the code.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Bad Bad IE! No donuts for you!!

Bad Bad IE! No donuts for you!!

In reasons more than one, I feel that Internet Explorer is no longer a trusted web browser in my desktop. At least the following reasons I see and prefer Mozilla Firefox strongly. I am not offending other software but the quality of the web browser is fast deteriorating.

  1. Sometimes after typing a long long post when you submit, just to present that weird 'Action Canceled' page, it just forgets the form posting. When you reload the page, the website would say there is no contents submitted and we have to fill the form again. Interestingly, when you hit the back button, you would only be presented with 'Page Expired'.

    At least today, the sluggish slow Internet Connection made me to retype a blog post two times. And FireFox, automatically reposts after a confirmation.
  2. Internet Explorer supports ActiveX and sometimes when malicious websites are able to implant malicious software, you can not confidently navigate to bank and other important websites.
Internet Explorer 8 seems to be promising but it is still in beta. Let us wait and see how it is going to turn up!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

CTRL+TAB Enhancement for FireFox

CTRL+TAB Enhancement for FireFox

I just came across a cool addon for FireFox which is called CTRL+TAB. You can check out the homepage of this tool here. I just thought I would give a brief review of the tool here for the benefit of other readers:

  1. Support for Tab Listings across FireFox instances
  2. Preview of the Tab content
  3. Tabs are picked for the sequence in the order of Most Recently Visited.
  4. More enhanced and granular tab control
  5. Free Software
  6. Supports upto FF 3.0
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

OpenItOnline -- FF AddOn empowering it to manage Office Documents

OpenItOnline -- FF AddOn empowering it to manage Office Documents

I just came across an impressive FireFox AddOn called 'OpenItOnline'. The purpose of this addon is to achieve opening of office documents in FireFox without needing to download to the local system and the play around locally thus inviting the downside of bandwidth usage and virus infections.

A brief review of this tool is below:

  1. Supports FF upto 3.0
  2. Free to use
  3. Avoids the necessity of complicated software install and thus license and other issues
  4. Manages Office Documents (OpenOffice and Word Types) and Images
  5. Colloborates with Google Docs, Zoho and ThinkFree
  6. Now it also seems to support GoogleApps

I just thought I would share the same with other readers so that they can empower their FireFox with this good addon.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Internet Explorer Vs FireFox -- A quick Web Surfer's Review

Internet Explorer Vs FireFox -- A quick Web Surfer's Review

I just thought I would share a few points that I came across with the latest versions of Internet Explorer and FireFox. When I say latest versions, I am using the RTM and not the BETA products for consideration.

  1. Both the web browsers support tabbed browsing. But when you right click and choose 'Open in New Tab', IE squeezes the new tab adjacent to the same tab whilst FireFox creates the tab at the end of the tab panel.
  2. When I keep using CTRL+F4 to close all the tabs, FF ignores the key when only one tab is open. However, IE mimics the key as ALT+F4 for the single tab and closes the window itself.
  3. IE is rather sluggish to start when it has a lot of toolbars installed and you can observe a lot of screen jumps before we actually can type in the content/address bar into the web browser. FF is rather more responsive in this approach.
  4. When tabs crash the browser, FF gives an option to restore the tabs on next start whereas this crash recovery is mysteriously missing in Internet Explorer.
  5. When attemtping to close the browser with multiple tabs, FF additionally gives an option to restore the tabs on next startup as part of the confirmation window. This feature is absent in Internet Explorer.
  6. Developer Aides:
    1. Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar for Internet Explorer
    2. FireBug for FireFox
  7. Html Rich Text Area normally works like a charm in Internet Explorer but FireFox shortcuts and configuring them is little involved process.
  8. Updates are simpler and faster with FireFox but by virtue of complex setup of Internet Explorer, it is rather an involved process.
  9. Support Channels:
    1. Internet Explorer Newsgroup as part of Microsoft Communities
    2. FireFox Forums
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Zoho Project -- Online Project Management Suite

Zoho Project -- Online Project Management Suite

I just thought of writing a small review on Zoho Project, which strives to support one project for free in the free version and more projects as per plan purchased for higher versions. At least for startup and small companies, freelancers this would be a great boon. Here goes a brief review on what Zoho Project strives to achieve.

  1. The standard single signon of Zoho enables use of Zoho Project also
  2. The Free Plan entitles you to manage one project over its complete lifecycle. The plans only limit the number of projects but does not seem to limit any features in it whatsoever.
  3. Granular Management of Tasks in the Project
    1. It supports grouping up of related tasks into a tasklist to track deadlines
  4. Flexible Project Document Management
    1. Upload and maintain documents along with the project
    2. Edit documents in hosted sister services like Zoho Writer and other office productivity suites from Zoho
    3. Supports versioning of documents
    4. Tag support for document to facilitate faster searching and retrieval at a later point of time
  5. Time Tracking
    1. Flexible and clearer time tracking enabled for all team members in the project
    2. Timesheet and billing can be linked to Zoho Invoice
  6. Reports using Gantt Chart to assess progress of the project
  7. Notifications of deadlines by email
  8. Support for archival of older projects
  9. Web-based management of the entire project
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Review of Webmail from Zoho Office Productivity Suite

Review of Webmail from Zoho Office Productivity Suite

Zoho has launched a free unlimited storage email service recently which can be accessed from here. Just thought I would write a brief review on the webservice for the benefit of other readers. I have this review in quick bullet points for the easy reading and convenient comprehension by everyone.
  1. The standard Zoho Single Signon for other Zoho Applications could be used for Zoho Mail also. But the first time, the email specific configuration needs to be submitted.
  2. It supports both Folders and Label Views to categorize emails
  3. Zoho Mail is powered by a good and aggressive spam filters to keep the mailbox clean
  4. Zoho Mail is supported by a good round-the-clock forum over here.
  5. Zoho Mail claims to even support personalized sub domains. However, I have not tried this in depth.
  6. Friendly views for emails at least to support the following:
    1. All Mails
    2. Unread
    3. Archive
    4. Flagged
  7. Compose Screen allows to set the following in a simpler way:
    1. Request Read Reciepts
    2. Toggle Mail Priority
    3. Simpler way to set encoding
    4. Support for a larger set of encoding
    5. Flexible Rich Text Editor
  8. Support for POP3 Accounts to be fetched in just one click.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free Web Application Vulnerability Scanner from Acunetix

Free Web Application Vulnerability Scanner from Acunetix

I came across a tool called 'Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner' recently whilst searching for something. I really feel that every web developer should have a copy of at least the freeware to run their website/application through it before giving it to the customer. Today's websites are exposed to a lot of attacks from hackers. A few of the more common ways include Cross Site Scripting, SQL Injection etc. Careless development and callous configuration of web server might seriously jeopardize the security of the website. In these circumstances, the tools like those from Acunetix lends a great helping hand in pin-pointing at the exact problem.

  1. Free download is available
  2. Smaller download and memory footprint
  3. Easier to use since it allows you to browse the application first while it records and then replays back.
  4. Checks against SQL Injection and Cross Site Scripting
  5. Inspects coding horrors that lead to Cross Site Scripting

I just thought I would share this review with other peer web developers so that everyone can grab a copy of this tool to strenghten their web applications' fortresses.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Compact Coding should not hamper readability

Compact Coding should not hamper readability

One of the most important coding practice that programmers believe is to have the conditions compacted to prevent a larger amount of code block on a particular condition. For example,

if (condition)
//do something
else if (condition)
// do something
else if (condition)
// do (something)
else if (condition)
// do something
else
// do something.

This is the startup style of writing the logic. There are two other ways of writing the same block.

  1. Ternary Operator: We can have nested ?: to bring in these conditions and these would get squeezed into a single line. For the compiler, it is fine as long as the parenthesis is properly closed and the syntax is adhered to. For when it comes to debugging an issue or maintaining this code at a later point of time, even for the same developer down the line after six months, it would really be a severe nightmare.
  2. Switch Case:

    switch (condition)
    {
    case expr1:
    //do something
    break;
    case expr2:
    //do something
    break;
    case expr3:
    //do something
    break;
    case expr4:
    //do something
    break;
    default:
    break;
    }

    I would say switch-case is more cleaner in the following perspectives:
    1. The condition is just evaluated once and the individual expressions are just matched later.
    2. The code flow is quickly comprehendable by any one at a later point of time.

The art of coding is to get the thing done not only correctly but also in a clear unambigous terms.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free Online Color Picker

Free Online Color Picker

For webmasters on the move, updating and customizing their web pages with respect to fancy things like color is little difficult. They need to have all related tools in their laptop which occupies a lot of space. I just came across a free service from YellowPipe which strives to address this requirement.

Webservice: Yellowpipe Free Online Color Convertor

Features:

  1. Free Service
  2. Online Hosted Service and hence no software to download and install
  3. Native Color Palette to chose colors from
  4. Brief note on Dithering and other display concepts
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free Online Robots.Txt Generator

Free Online Robots.Txt Generator

For many amateur and startup webmasters configuring robots.txt is a little tedious task. Robots.txt is a simple plain vanilla text file in the root directory of a website to allow/deny web crawlers to particular locations of the website.

For a complete comprehensive discussion of robots.txt, check out Web Robots.txt here. I just came across a free tool which supports online generation of robots.txt

Webservice: Yellowpipe Robots Txt Generator

Features:

  1. Free
  2. Online hosted webservice
  3. Supports 'Deny All'
  4. Supports Configuration of Specific Folders
  5. Supports Configuration of Compiled List of Robots
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Quick HTML Embedding for JavaScript

Quick HTML Embedding for JavaScript

There are cases in our web applications where we would be needing to open a window in JavaScript and stream out contents dynamically from within JavaScript. This becomes tedious with escape/unescape of quotes/delimiters etc. The process become intensively tedious if the document to be written significantly large.

I just came across a free online HTML convertor webservice which addresses this need.

Webservice: Yellowpipe HTML Convertor

Features:

  1. Free
  2. Online and hence anywhere to use service
  3. Supports conversion of free form HTML to
    1. JavaScript
    2. ASP
    3. PHP
  4. Quick Copy of Generated Content to System Clipboard

I hope this would be of tremendous importance to web application developers in enhancing their development efforts.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free Online Meta Tag Generator

Free Online Meta Tag Generator

Meta tags have been traditionally the established method for communicating the products and services to the web users through the various crawlers and search engines. Writing an effective meta tag is really a great art. There are specialized consultants who also charge hefty fee for meta tags and SEOs. For the benefit of startup and small companies, I would like to share a free online meta tag generator service.

Web Service: Yellow pipe Meta Tag Generator

Features:

  1. Free service
  2. Online Service and hence can be used anytime and anywhere
  3. Supported Fields:
    1. Author
    2. Copyright
    3. Site Owner
    4. Creator
    5. Publisher
    6. Date of Latest Publication
    7. Rating
    8. Robot Support
    9. Robot Revisit Request
    10. Keywords
    11. Description

I hope this would be a great tool for many people to enhance their pages for free with best meta tag choices.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free SEO Suite

Free SEO Suite

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a promising business for many enterprises. Ensuring the appearance of the products for an enterprise on major internet crawlers has been an ever-growing need for enterprises. For the benefit of startup companes, YellowPipe seemed to have brought a Free Search Engine Optimization Suite.

Webservice: Free SEO Suite

Advantages:

1) Free
2) Detailed Ranking Reports from Alexa, Google etc.
3) Server Discovery
4) Count of backlinks
5) Count of indexed pages
6) Critical keywords
7) Meta Keywords and Description
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free Online LinkChecker from YellowPipe

Free Online LinkChecker from YellowPipe

For any webmasters having broken links on the webpage is really a nightmare. It would really bring bad impression in the minds of visitors. Towards this, there are quite a free services that offer checking of websites for any broken links. But a number of them are chargeable and not free. I just came across a free service towards this need and just thought I would share the same with other readers too.

Webservice: Yellowpipe Online Link Checker

Advantages:

  1. Comprehensive online link checker
  2. Online service. Hence checks for any Internet website.
  3. Free for all

Let us try to make the best use of the websites and support YellowPipe by encouraging them.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Lynx Online View of Web Pages

Lynx Online View of Web Pages

A few minutes back, we saw the advantages of Lynx Web Browser. But for people are too busy to download and configure the browser, there is an easy option. They can check out Online Viewer similar to Lynx Text Browser.

Website: Yellowpipe Lynx Viewer

Advantages:

  1. No download required
  2. Visualization of web pages as it appears in Lynx Browser (without images and scripting)
  3. Free for all
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Lynx -- Text Only Browser

Lynx -- Text Only Browser

We are in broadband age. But that does not mean we should pack our pages too much with fancy unwarranted graphics which only serve to distract the users from focussing on the actual content of the page and also wasting both server and browser bandwidth. For these reasons and to assess our website's layout capability without any images, we have a text browser called Lynx. There had been a time when Lynx was a very famous browser for colleges and even some ISPs were giving Text Browsing accounts in India.

Just thought I would share the download URL of Lynx for the benefit of other readers. You can download a copy of Lynx from here.

Advantages of Lynx Browser:

  1. Valuable save of time
  2. Focus on content
  3. Saving of Internet Bandwidth
    1. For web surfers
    2. For web users

I hope this would be a very useful tool for everyone.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Quick Download of YouTube Videos as MP3 Songs

Quick Download of YouTube Videos as MP3 Songs

When there is a good video in YouTube and you would like to have a copy of the same archived for your offline viewing purposes, it is better if you could grab a MP3 version if you are not so particular with the video also. This is particularly applicable when the video is just a kind of static pictures and it is the music or song which is more important. I came across an online web service which facilitates this quick and easy download of YouTube Videos into MP3 songs.

Website: http://www.flvto.com/

Features:

  1. Convert by URL
  2. File Upload and Convert

This is a great service by FlvTo but before making use of the same be sure to comply with the following three things:

  1. Adhere to FlvTerms of Service
  2. Adhere to the Copyright Policies of YouTube
  3. Adhere to YouTube Terms of Service
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Search Web 10 Years Back

Search Web 10 Years Back

On the occasion of 10th birthday of Google, they have brought back the index page that they had ten years back. Now you can search and get the results that were there about ten years back in 2001. Check out Google in 2001 here. Some of the features of this search are:

  1. A quick link to the Internet Archive page from the search results
  2. A comprehensive Search 2001 FAQ.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Powerful and Flexible Open Source Proxy Solution

Powerful and Flexible Open Source Proxy Solution

Be it a small organization or a gigantic large enterprise, it is the responsibility of the management and the helpdesk to ensure that their network is secure and employee productivity is upheld the highest level without being carried over by mundane distractions of the Internet. There has been a number of Web Filtering and caching solutions like Barracuda Web Filter, WebSense etc. but for a typical small organization, these are prohibitively costly. I just thought I would review a still powerful but opensource proxy solution called Squid which helps address all of these needs.

  1. Powerful web caching model
  2. Enhanced Server Acceleration
  3. Powerful Access Controls
    1. Granular Bandwidth Download Control
    2. Access Restrictions to various websites
  4. Free Opensource under GNU GPL
  5. Availability: Windows and Unix

You can grab a copy of Squid and learn more about it from here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

'Not all codepaths return a value' -- Good Catch Error of C# Compiler

'Not all codepaths return a value' -- Good Catch Error of C# Compiler

In most programming languages particularly when writing functions that involve complex conditions to evaluate and iterations to process, it is really a nightmare when we need to exit from the function from more than one place. Unless the function has a return type of void, it is going to be a pain for the caller of the function since if the exit in the callee is not accompanied by a proper return value, there is going to be an undefined (aka) NULL for the caller which it needs to handle.

I just wanted to share that in C#, the compiler catches this potential issue and flags it as an error 'Not all codepaths return a value'. Now you know and you can be sure to visit and review all exits from the function and ensure that the return is accompanied by a proper value to the return variable.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Stricter and Sharper CSharp with Switch Statements :: A Cool Feature for Other Language Compilers to Emulate

Stricter and Sharper CSharp with Switch Statements :: A Cool Feature for Other Language Compilers to Emulate

The most cute and lovely feature of C#, in contrast with other languages is the mandate that it places on 'break' statement in switch constructs. This saves great time and effort in inadvertant overlook of break statement and control executing all the case blocks. Now, if there is no break construct between two case blocks, compiler would shout an error like 'Control can not fall through between constructs'. One exception being, you can have blank case statements.

case 1:
case 2:
case 3:

can be deemed valid. However, if there is even one line of executable statement in any case, it has to be either followed by a break. If you really want the next case to be executed, you can try using a goto statement.

Just thought I would share this feature with other readers and I hope other languages also would try emulating this in their compilers.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Cool Java Feature Desired in Other Languages

Cool Java Feature Desired in Other Languages

In the Java language exception handling, I like the way the compiler demands you to handle exceptions. You have two choices:

  1. Handle the exception yourself
  2. Declare that the method/class would throw the exception at the declaration level.

This way, I feel the code would be more disciplined. With our C#, the runtime takes the onus on the pretext of giving flexibility to the developer. But the downside is that lazy developers leave some conditions unhandled and as a result, the users would be caught unaware with dreaded yellow screens and error pages. Just thought, if there is a way at least if application frameworks could bring in this feature or if future versions of C# compiler try including a support for this throws construct.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Elegant 'MailTo' Replacement

Elegant 'MailTo' Replacement

MailTo tags have become a bane to all websites since spammers run spam robots which crawl the web to capture the email addresses, add to their catalogs and send spams to them. I just thought of sharing with others a simple JavaScript function which would trigger open the default email client instead of having mailto: embedded in the HTML Page.

Just have the following function included in your webpage

<script language='Javascript'>
function WriteMailTo(user,domain)
{
location.replace ('mailto:'+user+'@'+domain);
}
</script>

And whereever you want to invoke the mailto, just called WriteMailTo('user','example.com') and the user's default email client should be launching (if configured) without any hassles.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The Most Quickest and Easiest Way to generate random numbers with JavaScript

The Most Quickest and Easiest Way to generate random numbers with JavaScript

When we use XmlHttp Calls and dynamic images we should ensure that the web browser does not cache the resources. Towards this, we resort to having the URLs to be unique. To achieve this end, we need to have some kind of random content to be appended to the URL to make the browser feel that the particular resource URL is unique.

This is achieved in JavaScript by a quick and simple call to Math.Random(); method.

<Script>
alert (Math.Random());
</Script>

Keep executing the above function continously. At least to a significant extent, you should be getting unique numbers each time and this number you can try appending as a querystring in the URL to make it unique.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

An effective way to Null-And-Void Browser Back Button Effect

An effective way to Null-And-Void Browser Back Button Effect

Handling browser back buttons is always been a great nightmare for web developer fraternity worldwide. But a little fiddling into JavaScript, can get one a great asset that helps one to tide over this issue. The location object of JavaScript has a method called replace which takes a URL as a parameter. When invoked, it replaces the current history entry with the new one and hence the browser back button item would actually contain the new URL.

Example:

1) You are currently in http://www.yourwebsite.com/test.html .
2) In window.onLoad, call
location.replace("test2.html")

The web browser would move into test2.html however, the back button would no longer contain an entry for test.html. You can inspect the contents of history in back button by pulling the small arrow in the browser back button.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Graceful Presentation of Web Pages in Different Screen Resolutions

Graceful Presentation of Web Pages in Different Screen Resolutions

The greatest problem that confronts any webmaster is that his website should be able to render in a diversity of web browsers with plethora of screen resolutions. There are plenty ways of having our web pages complying to the different resolutions by way of CSS. But there are occasions, when our application develops an enhanced level of affinity to a particular resolution say 1024x764. In those cases, we are pressed into a situation of detecting the resolution of the user and advising him that our application is geared to support only a specific resolution.

How-To Detect Resolution in Javascript?

There is a simpler way to detect screen resolution in JavaScript.

<Script Language='JavaScript'>
alert ("Your screen dimensions are " + screen.availWidth + " and " + screen.availHeight);
</Script>

Based upon the values returned by availWidth and availHeight, you can do further comparisons and alert the user accordingly.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Detect Silverlight Availability in the Web Browser with a simple JavaScript

Detect Silverlight Availability in the Web Browser with a simple JavaScript

Silverlight is fast getting popular but when we rollout our website with Silverlight features, we should ensure that our users are informe gracefully if they don't have Silverlight installed. Fortunately, the core silverlight functionality is given by Microsoft as a simple JavaScript library. We just need to refer the silverlight.js and then call a simple property. If it returns true, we know that Silverlight is installed on the web browser.

1) Get Silverlight.js from here and refer it from your webpage after duly publishing it to your web page.
2) <Script Language="JavaScript">
if (Silverlight.isInstalled)
alert ("Congrats. Your web browser is enabled with Silverlight Runtime");
</Script>
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The most simplest way of detecting 'Cookies Enabled' with a User's Web Browser

The most simplest way of detecting 'Cookies Enabled' with a User's Web Browser

The cookies are the most tastiest and most desired snacks for everyone. Even on the information highway, cookies are the most used to fill the gap of stateless HTTP. However, due to privacy and security reasons, many users may still opt for disabling the cookies. When we have our application constrained in such a way that cookie support is mandatory, we need to ensure that we seamlessly detect support of cookie in the web browser and alert user accordingly.

Fortunately, with JavaScript, a simple function call is enough to detect and tell whether cookie support is enabled or not.

<Script Language="JavaScript">
if (navigator.cookieEnabled)
alert ("Your web browser has cookies enabled");
else
alert ("Oops. Your web browser seems to be refusing cookies");
</Script>

It is that simple as saying 1,2, 3 right?
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Debug.WriteLine to the rescue of 'e is not declared but not used ...'

Debug.WriteLine to the rescue of 'e is not declared but not used ...'

While using C# as our prime programming language and with try catch statement, we often end up having a compiler warning like the exception variable is declared but not used. Having a compiler warning is like dangerous since we saw sometime back that we should treat compiler warnings as errors as a good programming practice. But in this case, to handle this elegantly, we can make use of System.Diagnostics namespace which has a class called Debug

try
{
//Your code block ...
}
catch (ApplicationException ee)
{
Debug.WriteLine (ee.Message);
}

By default, Debug.WriteLine is wired to your output window of Visual Studio IDE and hence this would also be easing your debugging effort. I hear that a few would be thinking that we can use catch without the parenthesis. I strongly discourage this practice since during debugging and if you are to examine the exception, this becomes a little trickier.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Easy and Flexible Hexadecimal Conversion in JavaScript

Easy and Flexible Hexadecimal Conversion in JavaScript

Recently, I came across someone asking about converting a number to its hexadecimal equivalent using JavaScript. I just thought of sharing what I helped them with other readers since it involves a very simple function toString() in JavaScript but lesser known to all.

The following simple code snippet demonstrates the ease of conversion of decimal to hexadecimal in JavaScript:

<script language='Javascript'>
var intSrc = 25;
alert (intSrc.toString(16));
</script>

Other conversions:
  1. toString(2) establishes decimal to binary conversion
  2. toString(8) achieves decimal to octal conversion
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The Ternary Operator in VB

The Ternary Operator in VB

Similar to C# and JavaScript, we can actually have the powerful ternary operator in VB also. The ternary operator is an elegant way of replacing multi-line if else elseif statement blocks. For example in JavaScript

if (blnIsTrueFalse)
t = 'true'
else
t = 'false'

can be compressed as

t = (blnIsTrueFalse)?'true':'false'.

Quite interestingly there is a lesser known function in VB called IIF which supports this too. The syntax of the function is

IIF(expression, truepart, falsepart).

Unfortunately, VBScript does not support this feature and hence we may need to simulate the IIF function manually by wrapping the if then elseif block using a custom function.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

Scripted Input Form in WebPages

Scripted Input Form in WebPages

I just came across a query in a forum where a user was asking about getting input from the user through a built messagebox like InputBox in VB. A few replies I observed were negative.. I just thought of sharing this with other readers that JavaScript does support something similar to InputBox in VB. It is called 'prompt' function.

Example:

<Script Language='JavaScript'>
var strUserName = prompt("What is your name?", "Internet User");
</Script>

This puts up a dialog for the user with the question 'What is your name' and the textbox is prefilled with the default value 'Internet User'. The user can edit the value and click OK. If the user presses CANCEL or hits ESCAPE button, a NULL is returned to the caller.

Warning: Web browser would warn and stop the script with a popdown information bar on encountering a scripted input and a user-level confirmation is required when this control is used on a webpage.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Visual Studio Spell Checker AddIn

Visual Studio Spell Checker AddIn

Broken code irritates and intimidates the compiler. Similarly broken languages irritates us. When a developer writes a code with variable names and comments having a very substandard language, people who get to see the code and maintain it get disturbed very deeply.

I just thought I would share a quick and easy spell checker addin that could help us tide over this menace:

Software: StudioSpell
Vendor: http://www.keyoti.com/products/studiospell/

Features:

  1. Quick Summary Screen
  2. Prechecks the files before running through any documents.
  3. Checks the API documentation
  4. Checks even the string literals with C# or Javascript
  5. Hyperlink URLs are Ignored
  6. Duplicate Word warning
  7. Customizable

The software is not free but it is really a very useful value addition for any development environment.

Monday, October 06, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Visual Studio way of reminding you to complete sections of code ...

Visual Studio way of reminding you to complete sections of code ...

Sometimes in a hurry we might have given a sample implementation or a temporary workaround to a problem in the code and would be planning a full-fledged implementation at a later date. But in a complex and busy schedules we would normally forget it.

To avoid those cases, Visual Studio lends a great helping hand by way of TODO tokens. We can simply have a //TODO comment and the Visual Studio TaskList can help us to review the list of TODOs in our project at a later point of time.

This way, we can ensure that the code does not get left with assumptions and hardcodes for a longer period and such syndrome are addressed on priority as we get time.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

JavaScript -- The Definitive Guide (A Quick Review)

JavaScript -- The Definitive Guide (A Quick Review)

Webpages are growing to be more interactive in every form and feature. To enable this requirement, JavaScript is the most essential form of interactivity that any developer can think upon. For those beginners and advance programmers alike, having a good handy JavaScript reference for a quick lookup is normally a great boon. I just thought I would share a book which fills this gap.

JavaScript -- The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan (Oreilly Publishers)

The book is really impressive and innovative in bringing any one to levels and then enhancing their standards since it has a defined approach mentioned in the Table of Contents:

  1. General Introduction to the Language like constructs, loops etc.
  2. Interoperability with Web Browsers
  3. Utility functions
    1. Page Validation
    2. DHTML Effects
    3. Data Persistence using Cookies
  4. Introduction to AJAX
  5. Client Side Graphics using SVG, CSS and VML
  6. Interoperability with other technologies like Flash and ActiveX

The book has a simple language with which it progresses and hence makes the developer feel comfortable in going through the same.

You can simply get pages of the book for preview from Google Books. Once you are satisfied, grab a copy of the book from either Amazon.com or your local bookshop.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Quick Tip to workaround Ad Signatures in Mail To Blogger

Quick Tip to workaround Ad Signatures in Mail To Blogger

Many of we bloggers who have activated the 'MailToBlogger' feature with http://www.blogger.com/ suffer from one issue. When we send an email to blogger from a free email service like MSN Hotmail, the web service appends an advertisement footer.

When you continuously post using MailToBlogger and over the period of time if there are more number of advertisements, there is a chance that Blogger might think of your blog as commercial advertisement.

The previous weekend, I found out a very good Google Blogger Help Page article which overcomes this menace. You can check out the tip over here.

Just put #end at the end of your post and the signature would not appear in the blog entry that is posted to your blog.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Quest Connect 2008 -- Global Virtual Event on October 22nd and 23rd 2008

Quest Connect 2008 -- Global Virtual Event on October 22nd and 23rd 2008

I learnt from Quest Software website that they are planning to organize Quest Connect 2008, a global virtual event on 22nd and 23rd of October, 2008. At least noting down from the events page, the following are the topics of interaction and learning:

  1. Active Directory
  2. Desktop and Server Virtualization
  3. Identity Management

They have also planned to give hourly gift cards from Amazon and various other online shops. The registration is free. Check it out here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

[Software Review] Picassa Albums

[Software Review] Picassa Albums
I was just searching for some good desktop photo organizer. The latest Picassa from Google seems to have got enhanced to a greater extent. Some of the cool new features that impressed me are:
  1. Automatic WMV Movie Creation from the Photos
  2. Sync with the Website

Picassa 3 which is currently in BETA also seems to have good Video Tutorial from Google Channel. You can check out this from here. Now, it also supports MAC tools for Apple OS users. Check out about the same here.

Saturday, October 04, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The Flock Social Web Browser

The Flock Social Web Browser

For those Netscape fans, it has been a little sad news after Netscape browser got discontinued by AOL a few months back. But there is some solace or comfort for them since AOL continues to support a new browser called 'Flock', built on Mozilla FireFox.

You can check out updates to Flock over here. As observed from The Flock website, it also ships with a lot of addons to extend the basic browser functionality.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free OpenSolaris CD from Sun Microsystems

Free OpenSolaris CD from Sun Microsystems

Whilst casually browsing the Internet, I came across the FREE OpenSolaris CD offering from Sun Microsystems. Of course, if you afford to have a fast Internet Connection, they do have a download opton to avoid delays due to mailout. If you are interested in the FREE OpenSolaris CD, check out this page for more details.

The delivery schedules, as mentioned in the website are as below:
  1. US Delivery - 2 to 5 days
  2. Europe - 5 to 7 days
  3. Latin America - 2 weeks
  4. Asia/Africa - 4 weeks
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Microsoft India's 'Dial A Software'

Microsoft India's 'Dial A Software'
I was casually browsing Microsoft India website and came across the new service initiative called Dial a Software. This seems to be a really good promising initiative from Microsoft from the following perspectives:
  1. Easy and flexible availability of software across the country
  2. Minimizing the Software Piracy since now genuine software resellers are spread across the subcontinent.

I just thought I would share this with other readers so that people can now take benefit of this initiative without succumbing to illicit merchants trying to sell you pirated software.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Get a sneak preview of 'What is new in InstallShield 2009'

Get a sneak preview of 'What is new in InstallShield 2009'

I just learnt of a webcast download from Acresso Software on the new features that are being planning to be launched in InstallSheild 2009. Some of the quick and cool features promised thereto are:

  1. Support to latest Windows technologies
  2. Cost-Effective Installation Solutions
  3. Ease of Use

Towards encouraging more downloads, the download page at CodeProject also provides for $50 (Canadian Dollars) if you stand to win the contests. Check out the register and download page at CodeProject over here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Professional Developer Conference 2008 between October 26 and October 30 at LA Convention Center

Professional Developer Conference 2008 between October 26 and October 30 at LA Convention Center

I recently came to know of the PDC 2008 registrations opening up for the conference that is organized from October 26, 2008 through October 30, 2008 at LA Convention Center this year. The organizers have setup this exclusive website over here, to provide for more information on this conference on the following topics like

  1. Agenda of the conference
  2. FAQ
  3. Registration Details
  4. Charges

Perhaps I just thought I would share this news with other readers so that people who can able to schedule to participate can register and benefit from the conference.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

IndiaStudyChannel launches Community Website Program

IndiaStudyChannel launches Community Website Program

The premiere Indian educational service website, http://www.indiastudychannel.com/ catering to the requirements of college admission seekers and helping out people with information on higher education, now has brought out a new concept in their website called 'Communities'. You can check out this from their website here. As far as I could analyse the following are the salient features of this program:

  1. Exclusive Community website for our school, college or neighborhood
  2. Free Registration and Management of Communities
  3. Revenue generation options through 'Revenue Sharing Programme' of India Study Channel
  4. Customized Discussion Forum within the Communities

I just thought I would share this with other readers so that more people can get benefitted from the same.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Google Developer Days -- Worldwide Events

Google Developer Days -- Worldwide Events

I was just casually browsing through Google Code website and came across the worldwide developer days events that Google is trying to organize the whole of September and October. You can actually check out this URL on Google Developer Days 2008 for more details.

They are planning to cover topics on Google Gears, Maps and other Google Labs products. Let us try to register at the venue which is closer to us and benefit from the same.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Silverlight Tutorials from Dotnetspider

Silverlight Tutorials from Dotnetspider

Dotnetspider has again brought in an innovative set of tutorials on the most promising technology from Microsoft -- Silverlight. The premiere Indian technology website, aimed at fresh graduates and helping them to grow up in their software development and career upliftment skills has brought in another set of world class tutorials on this technology, in an easy to understand fashion.

You can check out the silverlight tutorials in dotnetspider.


Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

Standard TrackBack for Blogs and Websites

Standard TrackBack for Blogs and Websites

There are so many different blog engines and websites. Whilst a significant of them support trackback concept, there has been a small gap that a small learning curve exists in getting to know the depth of trackback mechanism whilst attempting to fully use them. Taking it further, if the blog service does not support it, then those authors become sad.

I just came across a free service from http://www.trackbackr.com/ which offer TrackBack service for any blog or website and it just needs the author to insert a snippet of code without any necessity of complicated programming. I am sure this would be of tremendous help to everyone.

Friday, October 03, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

"Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review" -- Free Book

"Best Kept Secrets of Peer Code Review" -- Free Book

I just got to know of from a tech newsletter of CodeProject about a free book campaign that is being launched by SmartBear Software.  Within USA and Canada, they are offering this book free of charge and the submission page says that the book would reach the recipient within 15 days. International deliveries are charged at $10 per order.

Check out the book ordering page over here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Panda Online Virus Scanner

Panda Online Virus Scanner

Panda Antivirus has launched an online antivirus scanner which supports the following features:

  1. Online Scan
  2. Scan History
  3. Cleaning up of the infections

You are required to register at the website to proceed with the scan. Check out the ActiveScan website here.

Friday, September 26, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Translation between English and Hindi is now a breeze...

Translation between English and Hindi is now a breeze...

I was just wondering to translate a piece of stuff in Hindi to English and stumbled upon Google Translate website. I just learnt that they have enhanced the translation engine to cover Hindi as well.

I have just put a small test sentence like "Google Translate now works between English and Hindi too. " and it works sweet. Check it out here.

With a greater amount of Hindi (Indian Language) software coming out now, I am sure that this is a great news for developers.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

XAML Fest -- Exciting Two Day WPF Event at Houston, TX

XAML Fest -- Exciting Two Day WPF Event at Houston, TX

I was just trying to find out tech events that I can attend in my current region and found out an exciting WPF, Silverlight related event that is scheduled for October in Houston, TX.

I just thought of sharing the same with other interested developers so that more people can register and benefit from the program.

It is a Level 300 two day program in Houston, TX targetting architect and developer tracks.

Check out the event page and register yourself here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Definitive Guide for VB.NET developers coming from VB World

Definitive Guide for VB.NET developers coming from VB World

For VB.NET developers coming from VB World, I would really and strongly recommend the following book "Upgrading Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 to Microsoft Visual Basic .NET w/accompanying CD-ROM".

The book has an elegant coverage on the differences between the two world, seamless migration path, redesign related issues and points to be taken care with respect to the COM component.

You may also like to check out the free download of the eBook that ew discussed sometime back over here.

Check out Amazon page of ordering the book here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

VB to VB NET Migration Guide

VB to VB NET Migration Guide

I just came across a good download resource from Microsoft Download Center which explains about Migrating from VB to VB.NET. It is actually a free eBook with 21 chapters as a free download.

Check out the download here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Draco .NET :: CVS Based Auto Build Tool

Draco .NET :: CVS Based Auto Build Tool

I was actually searching for WinCVS tools for c# and came across this excellent tool called Draco .NET. This seems to be a promising tool for developers using WinCVS. It offers to run as a Windows service monitoring the CVS continously. When there are changes, the tool builds the project and emails the reports to you.

You need NANT to run this tool. Besides CVS, it is also able to monitor VSS, PVCS and a lot of more source control solutions.

The tool is licensed under OpenBSD and you can download from Sourceforge servers.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

SpellServer -- Spell Checking for websites

SpellServer -- Spell Checking for websites

Sometime back, we discussed about spell checking tool for Windows Forms developers over here. I just thought I would also review about a similar tool from the same vendor for the benefit of ASP.NET developers.

They offer a product called SpellServer which is oriented towards ASP.NET developers. Some of the advantages of the tool are:

  1. Comprehensive spell checking for the website
  2. Customizable for the individual website theme
  3. All of inhouse dictionaries that are built along.

Check out product homepage here for download details.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

SpellText -- SpellChecker for Windows Forms

SpellText -- SpellChecker for Windows Forms

There is some good news for Windows Forms developers. Chado Software has brought out a nice elegant spell checker which helps in good and fast spell checking from within the scope of your windows forms.

Some of the quick advantages of the tool are:

  1. Check as you type
  2. Customizable Dictionaries
  3. Customizable Context Menus

The product is not free but the cost is one time but lifetime free technical support and life time free updates.

Check out SpellText website here for download and purchase details.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

GhostDoc -- Visual Studio AddOn

GhostDoc -- Visual Studio AddOn

I just came across a cute little addOn for Visual Studio, which helps us with the XML documentation comments in C#. It pulls the comments of base classes and also uses the name and type of the method on which the comment is being desired.

Advantages:

  1. Freeware
  2. AddOn to Visual Studio. Hence the learning curve is less.
  3. Quick and smaller download footprint.
  4. Supports C# in entirety. VB.NET support is currently experimental.
  5. Vista compatible

Download URL: http://www.roland-weigelt.de/ghostdoc/download05.php?version=2.1.3for2005

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Internet Quiz

Internet Quiz

I just came across a cute Internet Quiz in this website. It just has some about thirty questions on basic Internet. And they score you besides giving you a nice badge to put up on your website too.

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

QueryExpress Branch in SourceForge

QueryExpress Branch in SourceForge

Whilst casually browsing Albahari.com website, I came across the QueryExpress project having its own branch in Sourceforge now. Check out the Sourceforge project (Query ExPlus).

For those who are new to QueryExpress, I would suggest my previous review post on QueryExpress over here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

New Programming Tip Section

New Programming Tip Section

You would have seen a new series of posts in this category and the posts being tagged as 'programming tips'. We are glad to introduce this new section to share with everyone about valuable programming tips and best programming practices that we come across in every day life.

The following are the reasons of launch of this label (category):

  1. For beginners/starting programmers, this would be a very useful guidance in ensuring that their programming styles are corrected at tender age and they are trained to write rock-solid code.
  2. We learn a lot of programming tips everyday from various sources and from our experiences too. We can not just keep remembering everything. This would serve as a record.
  3. Each one learns programming tips differently. One candle lights another to make the entire atmosphere still brighter. This would be a great way of learning and sharing the knowledge with one another.
  4. The inspiration of this section was the Tamil Sindhu Bhairavi. In Sindhu Bhairavi, the singer JKB used to tell like this "I am getting irritated by people who can not understand and appreciate the greatness of music. Now with your (Sindhu) sayings, I realise that they are not at fault. They are to be sympathised for their inability to understand and appreciate because of language in which the musical songs are there. It is our (singers) responsibility to ensure that message in music reaches the masses in their language".  I think this message applies to our programming too. It is our responsibility to ensure that next generation and peer developers are guided properly to best programming practices and to harness the benefits of the programming frameworks for world class products in business solutions for everyone.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Initialise the Variables

Initialise the Variables

 

A good programming block would always ensure that any variables declared would have gone through a neater and standardized way of having them initialised to suitable value. Even if it is NULL, better specify it as an explicit NULL.

This ensures a lot of advantages for everyone

  1. The runtime clearly knows the values.
  2. Proactive handling of the values and the variable at a later point of time and reducing the risk of failure/breakdown of code.
  3. Easy maintainability of code.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Bad Bad onBlur and onFocus Alerts in Webpage Validations

Bad Bad onBlur and onFocus Alerts in Webpage Validations

I really get irritated when I see alert popup windows that come up in web pages that I browse and fill particularly following the onBlur of one textbox and onFocus of another control. Having such a flow is kind of irritating and erroneus for the following reasons:

  1. A reckless placement of validations might cause a race condition. Blur of A calling Focus of B. Blur of B might call Focus of A. This might your web browser to freeze and the user would be forced to kill the browser with Task Manager. If the user is not techsavvy, he might only resort rebooting his PC losing his unsaved changed.
  2. Valuable user time is wasted.

I would recommend an elegant solution would be to buffer the validations for the submit button for the webpages or a due button click.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The Lovely C# Switch Case

The Lovely C# Switch Case

One of the sweet things with a switch case statement in C# is that you have to specify the break statement or a goto statement and the fall through is a strictly no-no. The compiler would yell at you if skip the break statement.

Missing a break, continue statement is a common pitfall in switch construct is byfar the most common programming error that brings with it complicated debugging efforts and hidden bugs. With this cool power that C# compiler enforces, I think, we should also try ensuring that our programming practices in Java and JavaScript follow the same for cleaner and robust code.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Handle your exceptions

Handle your exceptions

 

When you write a program, ensure that you have a good framework being implemented to accomodate for unforeseen circumstances and unhandled conditions. Having unhandled exceptions lead to many problems. A few are:

  1. Unhandled exceptions left to the runtime actually are severe peformance penalty for the application
  2. It presents a very bad image of you in the eyes of your user.

For starting developers, I would always recommend that along with the minimum using directives, always have the first simple try catch statement and then appropriate exceptions being handled with care.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Let your code record its activities ...

Let your code record its activities ...

  1. Writing a diary is a good practice
  2. Blogging is a great hobby

These serve to enhance your memory and recall about incidents and events at a later point of time. Let us extend this habit to your code too. Your program should normally get cultivated with a practice of recording (logging) its activities lucidly without swamping the resources.

That way, we get to reap a lot of benefits. A few are:

  1. Troubleshooting problems with the application
  2. Statistics about the application

There are excellent log frameworks available for any one to get started with minimum effort. A few are:

  1. Log4Net
  2. Enterprise Library Logging Application Block from Microsoft
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Career Opportunity at Photon Infotech

Career Opportunity at Photon Infotech

One of my friend who works at Photon Infotech, a fast growing IT consultancy firm in Chennai wanted me to share with others regarding their current lookout for ASP.NET technical leads.

I just thought I would share with others who might be interested towards the same.

Quick Job Profile:

  1. Enterprise Architecture/SOA
  2. OOAD/UML Design Patterns
  3. Languages: C#/VB.NET, ASP.NET
  4. SQL Server 2005

They expect at least 6 to 9 years of relevant experience. If you know some one, you can check with Raajanand at +919841163836 or shoot out your profile to raajanand.r (at) photoninfotech.net

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The Lovely Perl way of braces { }

The Lovely Perl way of braces { }

In Perl programming language, it is always mandatory that even a single statement in a conditional block be encompassed within { } unlike C# and other programming languages where only multiple statements are mandated for the curly brace blocks.

But I would say, the Perl way is really excellent we should follow this strictly for other languages also. This makes our code look cleaner and neater. We know where the control starts and stops and would enable a cleaner debugging too.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Magic Numbers in the Code

Magic Numbers in the Code

When you write a code and somewhere down the line, you are using an arithmetic constant like PI, have it defined as some readOnly constant string and use the string instead of hardbinding the number value in the code. There are good advantages of avoiding magic numbers in the code:

  1. Isolating the magic numbers into a single place labeling them with a variable would help in adjusting the precision value later.
  2. The code appears cleaner and neater without beguile numbers spread across the code and confuse a new person maintaining your code.
  3. Troubleshooting problems because of values to these constants is easy.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Comment your code ...

Comment your code ...

For any programmers, it is always strongly recommended to have explicit comments to strategic sections of the code. Commenting a code is very important for many reasons:

  1. It would serve as a valuable memory into what the particular code does. You may not know that down the line, after five years, when you see the code without comments, the same code might sound greek and latin.
  2. A good commented code can easily enable a peer developer to start maintaining it without bothering you for pesky queries on the same.
  3. Where possible, try using summary commenting like in JavaDoc and C# Xml commenting features.

When not to comment?

  1. If you are replacing a logic with another logic, do not comment the older logic and append the new one, as far as possible. That would only serve to increase the file size and complicate the maintainability of the code. To maintain history, use a good Source Control rather.
  2. Avoid explicit and greater detail comments in clientside scripting code like JavaScript which only increases a great pagesize.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

"Treat warnings as errors"

"Treat warnings as errors"

I just thought of sharing this as a good programming practice for beginners to cultivate. Compiler warnings are actually a flag for you to indicate a potential problem. It might be a simple deprecation warning or an = assignment when == is being intended.

As long as your compiler supports an option of having the warnings treated as errors, I would strongly recommend anyone to turn on this feature. That way, we can have our programs robust and resilent without any latent errors hidden anywhere.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

[Book Review] Wings of Fire

[Book Review] The Wings of Fire

In August first week, I had a very excellent book from library which kept me really busy every moment. The book was:

"Wings of Fire :: An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam"

The book is a must-read for everyone. It clearly brings out in simple terms his humble beginnings, hard work and patience. It provides us with a lucid introduction to the great works that are going on in our space laboratories.

There is also a Tamil version of the book called 'Agni Siragugal'.

Amazon Link: Check out here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

India's cheapest laptop and desktop from Zenith Computers

India's cheapest laptop and desktop from Zenith Computers

Zenith Computers, premiere PC manufacturers from the Indian subcontinent has ushered in another innovation of bringing cheapest laptop and desktop now.

  1. The laptop is priced at 15000 INR and is loaded with Microsoft OS.
  2. The desktop is priced at 11000 INR.

Source Courtesy: Rediff
Vendor Website: Zenith

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Google Voice Search in India

Google Voice Search in India

Whilst casually surfing the Internet, I came across the news post about Google pioneering to bring out Voice Search in India. You can simply call a toll-free number through your mobile phone and get your search results for free. We have enough providers like JustDial in India but these folks get your mobile number in return and record them. Google promises that your mobile number would not be required to use their service.

Currently, Google project seems to be collecting voice samples in Hyderabad and New Delhi to automate the voice search services.

Source Courtesy: Telecom Tiger

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Yahoo Mash Closing down

Yahoo Mash Closing down

We discussed about SpotM a while back. But not many of you would be knowing that Yahoo was already having another lesser known social networking community called 'Yahoo Mash'. It had been running around for an year till now but only on a invite-only try for members.

Unfortunately, last week, Mash members have started recieving emails regarding closing down of Yahoo Mash community with this september and their mash profiles would be cleaned up after that.

Mash was actually an upgrade of 360 but this close down, according to various news source should not be affecting 360 in any way.

Source Courtesy: eFluxMedia

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Yahoo Glue Search in India

Yahoo Glue Search in India

Yahoo India has pioneered in bringing out one another innovative search product called Glue Pages.  Unlike the traditional search, here you would be requiring to signon and as you type in your search keywords relevant search results along with Wiki/Video are pulled in to save time.

The service seems to be currently in BETA and there is also an offer to invite business entrepreneurs to be listed in their Glue Pages.

Check out yourself on the new webservice initiative from Yahoo India.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

SpotM -- India-specific Social Networking website

SpotM -- India-specific Social Networking website

Check out Yahoo SpotM, which is Yahoo India's latest venture of social networking site targetted at Indian communities in the age range of 16 to 30.

Check out the website and signup for a BETA invite to participate in the early offerings from the website.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Google Phone to enter India in December

Google Phone to enter India in December

It is good news for Indian techies after a long time. The much awaited Google Phone is set to enter Indian shores coming December.

Some quick bites:

  1. This is launched by HTC (High Tech Computer), a Taiwanese handset major.
  2. The cost of the phone would be around $180.

Source Courtesy: Business Standard

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free Sample Chapters (eBooks) from Microsoft Press

Free Sample Chapters (eBooks) from Microsoft Press

Here is a unique opportunity to take advantage of and get a sneak preview of three great books and then to go for the purchase of the same.

Microsoft Press seems to be giving out free eBook (Sample Chapters) of the following books:

  1. Programming Microsoft Linq
  2. Introducing Microsoft Silverlight 2.0
  3. Programming ASP.NET 3.5

Check out the eBook Page here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Google Toolbar making your system faster ...

Google Toolbar making your system faster ...

I recently came across an interesting error message display in my system when the Internet Connection died out. Instead of the web browser displaying the harsh 'Can not find server' and then freezing the system with that Internet Detect ActiveX Control, the installed Google Toolbar made the experience pleasant and also offering a more flexible way to initiate a web search.

A screenshot of the error message (sample) is below:

 

pleasanterrorpage

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Managing Bookmarks Easily

Managing Bookmarks Easily

 

Bookmarks (or Favorites) has been a very useful feature in the web browser (the Internet Enabled Device). But with the number of different browsers we use every day and with the number of different systems we have to keep switching and considering the amount of travel, we have the great aspiration to see if our bookmarks could also travel with us.

There are good solutions to these from a lot of websites. I was just thinking of sharing a few for the benefit of other readers:

  1. Google Bookmark
  2. MSDN Social
  3. Del ICIO US

All these are online solutions and hence should lend a great helping hand for you particularly when you are on move.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

10th Birthday of Google

10th Birthday of Google

Visit http://www.google.com/ and you would find an inspiring link called 'Google's 10 Birthday'. Let us wish Google 'Many Many Happy Returns of the Day'.

The birthday page of Google is truly inspiring since it lists chronologically the various achievements Google has accomplished from the date of its launch.

Besides this Google Birthday Page also has a rich mention of history and various other informative and interesting news.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Quick Clip Information to your Emailbox

Quick Clip Information to your Emailbox

Despite the fact we have dedicated software like OneNote, TurboNote etc available to hold information, we still cling to having a quick note typed in our Inbox, which we find comfortable through our email client search. Many a times, we are forced to login to our web email application to send an email to ourselves with small amount of information like phone number of a friend, dinner time etc.

I just came across a good website called Note2Email, which seems to be innovative in enhancing our practice. A quick review of this webservice as follows:

  1. Clip any information to any email account in the world.
  2. No logon required whatsoever.
  3. Optional Encryption key to scramble the text that is being submitted.
  4. Simple plain text can be sent and hence no Web-Bugs and so free of any type of malware emails.

Bookmark the URL and try visiting it for your day to day needs.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Iterasi -- Your Personal Web Archive

Iterasi -- Your Personal Web Archive

How many times we know a particular website that we used to go but reach a parked domain page or a redesigned page with the older links hitting on the big wall. Iterasi.com seems to have brought out an innovative solution to this problem. The website is all about an innovative web archive solution where you can get to offer your personal websites, in full form along with your bookmarks.

So next time you need to search the service provider website, you can logon to your personal web archive in case the vendor resource is unavailable.

Check out Iterasi here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Historical Currency Convertor Tool

Historical Currency Convertor Tool

Everyone of us know about getting the currency equivalents today by just navigating to Google and typing something like 1 USD in INR (which would give how many Indian Rupees are required to purchase 1 US Dollar and similarly).

But how many of us are comfortable in getting data on historic currency conversion rates like "What was the currency exchange on 2nd March, 2008 between 1 UK Pound and 1 USD.

Fortunately, there is a very good and useful utility available from Oanda Corporation, which helps out with such requirements.  They have a very good online free tool here, that helps us to convert between wide variety of global currencies.

Monday, September 22, 2008
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

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