Archive for 2009

Interesting thing to learn from Google Mail 'Archive' Vs 'Remove Inbox Label'

Interesting thing to learn from Google Mail 'Archive' Vs 'Remove Inbox Label'

Today being Sunday whilst I was just playing around my Google Mail account I just found out an interesting feature: From the 'All Mail' view, when you 'Opt to Remove Inbox Label' from a message, it is treated as being Archived'. Interestingly, there is no mention in the help pages regarding 'Inbox Label' and 'Archive Support'.

Just thought I would share this finding with other users for everyone's benefit and learning too...
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Opera Mini -- A Definitive Web Browser for Mobile Phones

Opera Mini -- A Definitive Web Browser for Mobile Phones

Sometime back we were researching on the GPRS features of Samsung E1410. You can find the said discussion over here. Recently I came across another elegant browser called Opera Mini which seems to be a rich and promising solution than the shipped ones like OpenWave and Samsung/Nokia proprietary browser software.

Opera Mini has a good lot of features like:

  • Speed
  • Skins
  • Video
  • Save Page
  • Sync
Check out for yourself from Opera Mini website.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

K9 Web Protection -- A Definitive Secure Way of Browsing the Internet

K9 Web Protection -- A Definitive Secure Way of Browsing

I just came across a good tool called K9 Web Protection from the house of Blue Coat Systems. K9 Web Protection is offered as a free download. It runs as a cool Windows Service transparently in the system. As you browse the Internet and whenever a web request is recieved, it is intercepted by the Windows Service and checks against the BlueCoat Web URL Category catalog. This is compared against the local BlueCoat settings or supervisory mode and if all things pass fine, the browser is served with the contents else the user would get an error page with an instruction to see the computer administrator.

With the growing threat of novel phishing websites and malware websites, I think, our PCs need to be equipped with K9 Web Protection to ensure that we stay protected against any perils and browse the internet safely.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Is the message-response truly blank?

Is the message-response truly blank?

Particularly in a truly time-involved message conversations to help the recipient locate the particular response quickly we normally add our responses directly into his body and optionally with some font colorization. It is customary in those cases to add a simple text like 'Please find my comments in <preferred color>' or just leave it blank with the sig alone.

I recently encountered a piquant situation with a Google Apps powered messaging system. Despite the fact that one of the original messages was colored, the messaging system still thought it was original text and hid it within the 'Show Quoted Text' color. Just a second before responding to the user that 'Your response was blank', I just gave a quick search through the quoted text to find this discrepancy of the messaging system.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Eighth Prize Winner of Community-Credit July 2009 Contest

Eighth Prize Winner of Community-Credit July 2009 Contest

I am very glad to inform that I have been winner again and more as a Eighth Prize Winner for the month of July 2009 in the Community Credit website. You can check out other winners at this page of Community-Credit. [You need to select July 2009 in the month dropdown].


Please see the points earned and prize description below (screenshot taken from Prizes page):


There is more to laurels to win and milestones to conquer. Stay Tuned!
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Faster Firefox finds it amidst a steady state of bugs too...

Faster Firefox finds it amidst a steady state of bugs too...

No doubt, the most latest version of Mozilla FireFox 3.5 is an excellent web browser with a great number of features like the following:

  1. Powerful and fast JavaScript Engine
  2. Private Browsing
  3. An ability to revive inadvertantly closed tabs
  4. Smaller memory footprint

Whilst browsing a news website, I just found out that even within a week, about 55 known bugs have been published in the new version of FireFox. Check out http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/KG04Dj01.html

Monday, July 06, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Renewal of Microsoft MVP Award

Renewal of Microsoft MVP Award

It was a pleasant surprise today morning to recieve an email from Microsoft MVPAward on their renewing my MVP for another year.

A few things to recall -- I have been MVP since 2003 respectively in the areas marked thereto:

  1. 2003-04: .NET Framework
  2. 2004-05: C#
  3. 2006-07: ASP/ASP.NET
  4. 2007-08: ASP/ASP.NET
  5. 2008-09: ASP/ASP.NET
  6. 2009-10: ASP/ASP.NET
You can find my MVP Profile being linked to from the right navigation widget of this weblog.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

This Week CP Survey -- As Apt to Current Day Chennai (India) IT Environment

This Week CP Survey -- As Apt to Current Day Chennai (India) IT Environment

This week's 'The CodeProject' survey on Have you written a program for a friend or relative, and would you again? with the underlying thought like "Whether you've written something for free to help a mate, or done some consulting work for your significant other's significant other - would you do it again or should friends and work not mix?" seems to be applying perfectly for these Chennai (Tamil Nadu) IT circle environment at least with a number of people that I have met.

At least in this part of India, we can see people trying to derive maximum advantage of you, sucking blood as much they can by paying you peanuts (or even trying to avoid that to the maximum). The interesting part is that they would try visiting you again shamelessly time and again for the same benefit. I just thought I can share a few honorary circles that befit this bill and some of the good treatments/retaliations that either me and/or my friends have given them whenever they confront.

At first I just thought I would try suppressing the names but then I just thought I should narrate it diplomatically so that many other people can be saved from such miscreants trapping them.

  1. Problem: There was a guy called 'Syed Albeez' who was trying to bug and pester me and a lot of friends circle harvesting the phone numbers from the job sites. He wanted us to give free software development for his organization. When my friend scheduled a visit to his office about a couple of years back, he was offering full time employment and the salary he was willing to pay was like 84 USD per month.

    Workaround: My friend challenged him for a business deal and he just escaped into the wild and no say from him or no email replies from thereon.
  2. Problem: One of the person from my previous organization called Francis**, who worked there in the Human Resources department resigned there around 2003. I admit that he was instrumental in me joining during the 2001 recession but at the same time there is a limit to the gratitude and the help he can expect from me.
    1. About three years back he was asking me some loan guarantor signature for about ten lakhs because he was starting up a new business. Till then, there was no email communication. A well-wisher strongly objected and he told not to venture such deals with him since he sounds more or less like an esoterically hysteric character and there are more chances of he running away amuck. Without being in touch with so long and contacting some one only for the sake of benefit is kind of sounding a very selfish attitude and sounds to be opportunistic. The person who guided me against helping him was perfectly true in his speculation. He didn't seem to venture into any business.
    2. About an year later, he was again calling a number of guys since he was working in some US call center night shift and it to recruit .NET programmers.
      Workaround: Again, when we took the help of the same well-wisher, he just asked us to 'brush him off'.
    3. About a week back, he wrote me a big message in the subject of email 'This is Francis. Can you give your contact number?'. When I wrote him back 'Why?', he was replying that he is working in some company called 'Trenchant Financial Technologies' and recruiting .NET developers again. He wanted me to do some free advertising in forums ("crop dusting forums with dirty crap about job posting for his shabby shack).
      Workaround: This time we thought we would have some summer cool fun with him besides to test whether he has some social sense. I asked him whether he can donate funds for philanthropic causes. I am associated with a few animal welfare organizations and Sri Ramakrishna Mutt. I just thought I would try to make him contribute there too. He replied furiously "What donations? I give donations to church. My father gives donations". The interesting part is that his English is so much broken. I am just trying to think, if I can gather all the entire set of conversations into a single PDF with Zoho entitled as 'Fun with Francis' and put it on Scribd so that at least readers can have some fun time reading it besides getting a social enlightenment on such crooked people.

      [**Name truncated or might have been changed to preserve the privacy of the person. The purpose of the post is to serve as an eye-opener for the community to be wary of bad apples and not to crib/complaint against any person.]

I hence thought I would share this topic on my technical weblog for the benefit of IT fraternity to be wary of such underworld people spread amongst us.

Thursday, May 21, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

How easily to remember the different layers in OSI Reference Model?

How easily to remember the different layers in OSI Reference Model?

Whilst posting about "An easy way to remember Rahu Kalam", I just recalled about a simple and a similar sentence that we learnt during college days to remember the different layers in Computer Networks. It was a book titled "Computer Networks" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum that was prescribed for the syllabus.

The simple sentence was 'Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away'. Now we can remember the following layers simply:

  1. Physical
  2. Data Link
  3. Network
  4. Transport
  5. Session
  6. Presentation
  7. Application

When I did a quick Internet Search of this statement itself, I just got a few more interesting sentences to make one remember the seven layers. Check it out here from TcpIp guide website.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

A Free Online PDF Split/Merge Utilities

A Free Online PDF Split/Merge Utilities

PDF is by far the most common document formats that have been used across the world by everyone. There are cases, when we need to split a PDF document into multiple PDFs and sometimes we may need to merge multiple PDF documents into a single document. Editing such PDF documents stipulate that we Acrobat Reader and related tools, which are rather heavy and cumbersome to install.

I just found out a few quick and easy PDF Split and Merge utilities that help us in this direction. I would like to share them here for the benefit of other readers who might be looking out for a similar solution:

  1. PDF Hammer
  2. RPTEA Split Merge (supports even zip input)

Perhaps we can bookmark these URLs for our use later too.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A Quick Online Zipping Solution

A Quick Online Zipping Solution

We always have an easy way to zip and unzip files online with quick nifty little utilities like WinZip, UltimateZip and now starting from Windows XP, there is a builtin support to compression and decompression by way of 'Compressed Folders'. However, with all these, there are cases when we felt that if there was a webservice that would support zipping and unzipping online. One such case or situation might be if Compressed Folders does not work properly because of conflict with a bad deinstallation of another archiving software.

I just came across a cool website called NippyZip, which exactly addresses this requirement. It supports upto 5024 KB of input files and after uploading, it compresses them and streams out a zip file. Since the website does not require any registration, you are also not required to hold or give out an active email address to it anymore.

After zipping out the input files, it also provides an option to add more files to the output archive.

I just thought of sharing out this with other readers too. Bookmark this URL so that you can avail the benefits of a cool new online zipping solution on the move.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A Hosted Online Base64 Encoding and Decoding Utility

A Hosted Online Base64 Encoding and Decoding Utility

I just came across an interesting hosted utility for Base64 encoding and decoding of a string. You can check it out here:

http://www.motobit.com/util/base64-decoder-encoder.asp

Features:

  1. The form supports upto 9 mega bytes of data (10000000 bytes).
  2. The input can be either as a file or through a textbox given in the website for this purpose.
  3. The output can be obtained either in a designated textbox or it can be opted to be streamed out as a file.
  4. The output can be configured to restrict the maximum number of characters per line.
  5. There is also a flexible control to control and configure the characterset.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A Downloadable Whitepaper from Dundas on "Best Practices for Digital Dashboards"

A Downloadable Whitepaper from Dundas on "Best Practices for Digital Dashboards"

Taking any website or application for example, designing a homepage or a dashboard is the one where maximum amount of time, effort and energy is expended. The simple reasonsfor the same are as follows:

  1. A homepage is the one which first greets the user. A first impression is the best impression and hence no effort is spared and no stone is left unturned to ensure that the user is impressed to the core.
  2. A dashboard for an application presents a synopsis or a single click snapshot of the summary of the entire application as his user-privileges allow. He is spared of superflous and involved efforts in navigating deep into every part of the application to find the details with a neatly designed, comprehensive and elegant dashboard.

I found a good whitepaper published on Dundas which emphasizes and explains on the significance and best practices for digital dashboards. You can check out the same from here.

Saturday, February 28, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A chance to win dedicated server for life from HostMySite.com

A chance to win dedicated server for life from HostMySite.com
If you are passionated with LAMPS (Linux, Apache, Mysql, Php and Ssl), here is another challenge thrown open by CodeProject. Check it out here. The thing is simple.
  1. Build an application that consumes data feed from the World's Fastest Server using LAMPS.
  2. Write an article on The CodeProject with the source on the modus operandi that you have used in implementing the application

If your article is accepted, you would be standing to win a dedicated server for life. For the purpose of the contest and demonstration, HostMySite would provide a contest-duration specific free hosting account. The contest ends on March 31, 2009 and you would realy need to rush if you are interested.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Hybrid Smart Client Article Contest

Hybrid Smart Client Article Contest

With the recessionary wave creating turbulence and turmoil everywhere, CodeProject seems to be bringing in some economic stimulus package for the developers. The thing is simple. If you could write a good Hybrid Smart Client article and publish it in CodeProject, it would be queued for selection based on user acceptance and rating.

The article should be able to run as a Windows Client preferably using WPF, Windows 7 or some fancy technology. As the contest page here says, this seems to be a monthly contest and each month contribution ends 2359 hours on the last date of every month. The contest series itself concludes on 30 June 2009.

The prize table on the contest page shows a minimum of USD 250 to a grand prize of USD 5000. I hence thought I would share this with interested readers for their benefit and knowledge sharing.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Java Article Contest and a chance to win a Conference Pass to JavaOne!

Java Article Contest and a chance to win a Conference Pass to JavaOne!

There is some good news for Java developers from CodeProject. Whilst browsing through the 'Competitions' section, I saw the following interesting news:

A good Java Article posted between February 3, 2009 and April 30, 2009 would be chosen and the author can stand to win a free Conference Pass to JavaOne which is planned to be organized at San Francisco between June 2-5, 2009. Whilst the pass one costs about 1995 USD, the contest also seems to cover travel expenses to the tune of 1500 USD.

Check out here for a complete coverage on the contest rules and associated guidelines.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A WhitePaper on Cost of Email/Messaging

A WhitePaper on Cost of Email/Messaging

Whilst casually surfing on CodeProject.com today, I came across an interesting and informative whitepaper on the following topic "Reducing the cost of messaging". These recessionary days, we ought to be very careful regarding every penny that goes out of our wallets. Also, messaging/email is very critical and crucial component of our day-to-day business. Hence it is inevitable to ensure that this section is optimized heavily and taken due care in ensuring that no stone is left unturned to see that there is no malady which is inflicting on it whatsoever.

This Osterman research whitepaper hosted on CodeProject over here has a good analysis on reducing the cost of messaging besides analysing where the cost is incurred from a variety of fronts. It also discusses about the benefits of hosted email solutions against having their own email solutions.

In the same context, Google Apps also has a lucid chart to explain such a savings. Check it out here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Google Internet Bus Project in Tamil Nadu

Google Internet Bus Project in Tamil Nadu

Google has recently launched an Internet Bus project wherein a completely Internet-enabled bus would take a tour around different towns and villages in South India explaining to the people regarding the following:

  1. What is Internet?
  2. What are the benefits of Internet to people?
  3. How does it affect their lives?

At least till now, seven cities in Tamil Nadu has been covered, as read from the Internet Bus Project webpage. Check out here for the route map of the bus and when it woud be visiting your city/town.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Get Genuine Kit (GGK) to legalize inadvertant piracy and special prizes ...

Get Genuine Kit (GGK) to legalize inadvertant piracy and special prizes ...

Whilst casually browsing through the 'How-To-Tell' India website, I came across two another interesting offers from Microsoft as a valuable remedy to those who have inadvertanty succumbed to software piracy because of unscrupulous resellers and shopkeepers. The two offers are:

  1. Purchase of Get Genuine Kit to legalize the software (The web page says that it is applicable between 1 and 4 PCs)
  2. The website also showed a small popup advertisement to win prizes for availing this offer. The target URL for the same is here. The lucrative prizes for the same ranges from Wi-Fi router, Laser Printer, Windows Mobile Phone, HTC Touch Dual, Desktop and a Laptop.

We also have discussed about the risks involved with software piracy over here. Hence this is a good opportunity to abstain and keep a large distance from illegal people and keep our systems clean.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A Downloadable Whitepaper from Microsoft on "The Risk of Obtaining and Using Pirated Software"

A Downloadable Whitepaper from Microsoft on "The Risk of Obtaining and Using Pirated Software"

Pirated software and tampered media is a killing menace for software organizations worldwide. For developing nations like India, this is a heightened menace. The more compelling and convincing solution to this problem is to have more awareness to general public. I just came across a comprehensive whitepaper in Microsoft Download Center, which is just about 300Kb in size and it provides a lucid and elegant analysis of the various risks involved with obtaining and using pirated software.

The PDF can be downloaded from here. The whitepaper analyses the risk from the following four perspectives in broader terms:

  1. Simple Internet Search for free software, key generator etc.
  2. The malicious site also puts in harmful code into the key generator and similar illegal tools.

I hence thought I would share this whitepaper URL over here for the benefit of everyone and in a humble endeavor to put a period to software piracy.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Web-Based Colloborative Realtime Editor

Web-Based Colloborative Realtime Editor

Recently whilst casually surfing, I came across an interesting website called http://collabedit.com/index.html. It defines itself as a Real Time Colloborative Editor.

How to use?

You just need to visit the homepage and start the button 'Click here to create a new document' and it would have a new document with a unique URL for the same. The document that you keep typing is auto-saved and when you share the URL with your peers they can access it at the same time, seeing in realtime any changes.

Even text-indentation is preserved and lines are numbered and shown. The most excellent thing would be we can bookmark the URL and resume composing at a later point of time.

Plus:

  1. Auto-saves the content
  2. Auto-numbering the lines
  3. Web-based
  4. Simple Interface
  5. Fast-Loading Interface

Limitations:

  1. No authentication. There is no logon password to protect the bookmarks and hence please keep the bookmark URL safe.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Now empower your Google Mail with Offline Access capabilities

Now empower your Google Mail with Offline Access capabilities

While recently browsing through today's "The Hindu", I came across an interesting article indicating about offline access capability that Google Mail labs is introducing step-by-step into each of its webmail users' accounts. Check out the news article here. A quick note on the features of this facility are:

  1. Supported on IE 7, FF 2.0 and FF 3.0
  2. Mail Downloads upto 2 year old only (depending on mail volume)
Check out the 'Labs' link on the right top of your Google Mail account to see if the facility has been introduced for your account.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The CodeProject publishes MVP Winners 2009

The CodeProject publishes MVP Winners 2009

Check out the newest set of CodeProject MVP Winners chosen by CodeProject in the new year 2009 here. Let us use this opportunity to congratulate the winners and wish them more success in the new year.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Laptop Bag in a typical Duffel Style

Laptop Bag in a typical Duffel Style

Our laptop had been an inseparable component in our day-to-day life. Wherever we move, we carry our laptop to ensure the following:

  1. Keep us hooked on to our organization network
  2. Help us in storing and noting down important things besides helping us keeping in touch with others

However, the laptop itself, by virtue of different dimensions had been the bone of contention for many particularly with regard to the weight and the burden of carrying it. I just came to know of a new product launch called 'Microsoft Rolling Laptop Bag' on a duffel style from SamSill website over here. Besides being the normal laptop bag, it also serves the valuable duffel role for our other belongings. However, please be aware that the things you carry in the bag along with you in the cabin should conform to your airline and security restrictions, rules and regulations. Check out this TSA page for more details.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

LifeCam NX-300 :: Innovative Cute and Compact WebCam

LifeCam NX-300 :: Innovative Cute and Compact WebCam

Just a while back, one of my friend called me and asked what WebCam to purchase? I asked him why. He was telling me that one recruitment consultant just called him a while back towards some opportunities in 'Tata Interactive' (Mumbai) and if shortlisted for the interview, the interview procedure is like through a webcam between 11 AM and 5 PM during weekdays. I was wondering about this peculiar interview strategy.

Well! I launched Windows Live Search to find out more about available WebCams. The one that appealed to me was LifeCam NX-300 which seemed to be a compact web cam with some of the cute and innovative features, at least from the website point of view:

  1. HD 1.3 MP Photos
  2. Video support
  3. 3x Zoom
  4. Focus Field: 21` to 60`.

Again the price is about 59.95$ and hence I have asked a couple of my friends in US to see if there are better deals to avail for the same. Anyways, I just thought I would also share this with other interested readers.

Check out the product's official website over here.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

Foldable Mouse from Microsoft

Foldable Mouse from Microsoft

I was just browsing through Microsoft Hardware for new stuff and came across an interesting hardware called 'Microsoft Arc Mouse'. I observed that the following are the good features of this new launch:

  1. An elegant blend of serving as a desktop and notebook Mouse by elongating and compressing its size and dimensions.
  2. Wirefree nature.
  3. A cool, clear and succinctly distinctly visible battery indicator.

The downside is that I feel the price is however is little costly to about $59.95. I just thought I would anyway share this with other interested readers.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

Windows Live Help now in Community Support Style

Windows Live Help now in Community Support Style

If you have previously attempted to use Windows Live Manual Help from within the small 'Help' icon of your Windows Live Hotmail, you would have realised that it is a half-duplex conversation in that you (as a user) ask question to Microsoft/Windows Live helpdesk consultant and the call center sends a personalized reply to your mailbox. I have been observing the following change about a couple of weeks back. The 'More Help' goes to a forum called http://windowslivehelp.com/, which is branded as 'Hotmail Online Solutions Center'.

Though it is linked to Windows Live ID, it asks you to create another username. There is also one bug that intermittently it forgets to link the username with Windows Live ID. I have also reported the same to Windows Live Team. However, the significant feature of this move, as I feel, would be colloborative solution of the problem leading to enhanced user experience.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

MSN Calendar becoming Windows Live Calendar

MSN Calendar becoming Windows Live Calendar

If you have recently logged onto your Windows Live Hotmail or Windows Live Calendar, you would be greeted with more pleasing interface accompanied by more powerful features as well. Alongside with that, there is a note that erstwhile MSN Calendar is being supplanted by Windows Live Calendar which is slowly coming out of beta shell. Going the FAQ about migration of MSN to Windows Live for Calendar services, the following are some of the dates that we may need to remember:

  1. Possible Date of Calendar Moves Completion: March 1, 2009
  2. Retiration of MSN Calendar: July 1, 2009
  3. The FAQ however also mentions that these dates are subject to change.

At least from a quick tour of Windows Live Calendar, the following are some of the good features I could see:

  1. Shared Calendars like 'Holiday Calendar'.
  2. Third Party Calendar Import through URL or ICS file.
  3. Calendar sharing

These moves should help us plan and coordinate our activities more clearly and help us in streamlining our time management more effectively.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Microsoft HealthVault -- A novel web service from Microsoft to monitor (y)our family health

Microsoft HealthVault -- A novel web service from Microsoft to monitor (y)our family health

Whilst casually surfing on the Internet, I just came across another novel venture from Microsoft, by name 'Microsoft HealthVault'. You can access 'HealthVault' at this URL. Some of the features that I could learn from HealthVault are:

  1. A one-stop place to organize and record health related information about us and our family.
  2. Have calculated decisions about health in good advance.
  3. Note:
    1. The website is currently in 'BETA'.
    2. Check out the website's 'Privacy Policy' if you have any concerns.
    3. The website uses Windows LiveID for authenticating yourself and hence you may need to confirm to additional terms and conditions of Windows LiveID as well.
    4. At least as of now, HealthVault services are restricted to United States signup only.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Free OpenSolaris CD

Free OpenSolaris CD

The most coveted Sun Solaris Unix is now available without even pinching your poor dialup modem. Sun OpenSolaris is now accepting requests for FREE OpenSolaris CD. Check out the following OpenSolaris CD request form over here. You may need to register for a free Sun Online account and logon to request for the free OpenSolaris CD.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

"Learning Snacks" from Microsoft

"Learning Snacks" from Microsoft

Whilst casually browsing Microsoft Learning website, I came to know about a novel learning methodology that is being developed and introduced over there. They have named it as 'Learning Snacks'.

"Learning Snacks" is a series of short interactive presentations about most popular topics and these topics are created by experts from Microsoft. To view and use Snacks, you need to use a web browser which is enabled with Microsoft Silverlight. Don't worry. Silverlight is just a four mega byte download and a 10 second install runtime for your web browser.

Check out "Learning Snacks" website from here.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Time-limited Second Shot Offer on Microsoft Certification Exams

Time-limited Second Shot Offer on Microsoft Certification Exams

For those interested in taking Microsoft Certification examinations and for those who have taken but have not been able to see through it successful, Microsoft has come out with a lucrative time-limited 'Second Shot' offer where you avail a unique discount voucher which entitles you to take the second shot at no cost. You can find more details about it over here.

How it works?



  1. Register for Second Shot on the Microsoft Web site and receive an exam voucher number.
  2. Schedule and pay for your initial exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center.
    Note You must have the voucher number before you register.
  3. Take the exam.
  4. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, register for your free retake exam through the Prometric Web site, call center,* or test center by using the same voucher number. Then, take your Second Shot

Note You must wait one day after taking your initial exam before you can register for your retake exam. This time is required to enter test results into the system.



The offer expires on June 30, 2009. [Source Courtesy: Offer Details]
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Microsoft Virtual TechDays Announcement

Microsoft Virtual TechDays Announcement

Whilst casually visiting Microsoft India website, I came to know about another set of Microsoft Virtual TechDays that are being scheduled to be organized between February 18, 2009 to February 20, 2009 between 1000 hours to 1900 hours Indian Time (Feb 17, 2009 2330 Eastern to Feb 18 2009 0830 Eastern).

Unlike other events that are being organized where one needs to travel, this is now a more comfortable learning of new things from Microsoft. I hence thought of sharing the same with other interested readers too. Check out Microsoft Virtual TechDays website here for more details and registration over here.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Hit 'ESC' before entering your credentials into Website Username/Password Screens

Hit 'ESC' before entering your credentials into Website Username/Password Screens

With these days, websites designing multiple small pieces of information gathering in a single website, it is always a safer way to first HIT escape to instruct the web browser to stop loading any of the information, trigger onLoad script and then to manually focus on the username/password dialog to enter the credentials. The reason being, if we directly focus on the username field and type the username. By the time we tab to password field and start typing the password, if the page (automatic) load completes, there might be a script which would cause a setFocus to another search textbox. If that is the case, the password might start appearing on that textbox.

I have observed the following crazy behavior with a few websites:

  1. Inbox.com The cursor auto-focusses on the search and it would start autosuggesting the moment it gets the keystrokes.
  2. Yahoo.com There are very many times when Yahoo login page shows a distorted screen and then automatically resizes itself bringing the DIV up. When this happens the following breaks happen:
    1. The credentials box are reset. [No Problem]
    2. The password half appears on the login field.
Intelligent Google Accounts At least with respect to Google Accounts login (be it Blogger/Google Mail/Orkut), you can observe a different smart and secure behavior. The username first appears half and half of the username appears in the password field. I admit that this is going to result in failed login but at least the password never can attempt to sneak in to the username field but only the reverse:)
Monday, January 19, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A Cool GoogleMail way of Edit/Remove Hyperlink ...

A Cool GoogleMail way of Edit/Remove Hyperlink ...

I just came across GoogleMail's cool way of editing or delinking the automatically hyperlinked text because of rich text editor in Compose Box. The following are some of the cool features of this applet which popsup when you mouseover near the hyperlink in your Google Mail compose dialog:

  1. Option to change the hyperlink or remove it.
  2. Ability to quickly edit the text and link target
  3. An ability to test the hyperlink to see what has been typed is without any errors.
  4. A link to a search engine to get the URL

Though it looks a very simple feature, it is very helpful in that it is able to comfortably edit the hyperlink instead of going deeper manually editing the HTML source and hyperlinks.

Check out a presentation on the various screenshots of this feature here.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Microsoft TechEd 2009

Microsoft TechEd 2009

Just whilst casually browsing through Microsoft website, I read the technical announcement about Microsoft TechEd 2009. The event details are hereunder:

Date: May 11 to May 15, 2009
@ Los Angeles, California

You can check out more details from Microsoft TechEd page and proceed to register here.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Microsoft Mix 09 from March 18 to March 20

Microsoft Mix 09 from March 18 to March 20

I just came to know from a mailer regarding open registrations for Microsoft Mix 09 from March 18 to March 20. You can check out the Mix 09 homepage from here. The registration website is available here. The event pricing table is as below:

Conference Registration: $1395 USD
Workshops Registration:$295 USD
Academic Discounted Registration*:$595 USD

Workshops: March 17, 2009 Conference: March 18-20, 2009
The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas,
Nevada 89109

Phone: 17024141000/18778836423

The event team has also given the following email address for any details MIX09 (at) ustechs.com. There are discount offers too. Registrations by February 13 using RSVP code MIX09offer can help save upto $400 and to get you a discounted conference pass.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Who said stringent UI validations only make rock solid applications?

Who said stringent UI validations only make rock solid applications?

If you get to believe the false hope that making stringent and amateurish javascript validations like 'Please enter your name', 'Your name contains embedded spaces and is invalid', it means that your developers need more user-friendliness training and your application architect is inviting trouble for passing off such shabby designs.

There are cases where the name field should be able to take first name and middle initials and the best design would be to allow intermediate spaces too. Similarly, allow free form telephone number instead of masking them country wise since there are cases where phone numbers are shared with a pilot number by an organization and extension number might be the only way to route calls.

http://www.community-credit.com/ is a very good example of having usernames with embedded spaces since migration of their old login system to new one. They have pleasant script validations which don't scare you with popup message boxes but just flag the required fields.

It all lies in the robust backend design and not childish JavaScript validation. Let us try to cultivate healthy and user-friendly validation methods like the site above.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

Get habituated to using Delete and not Shift+Delete

Get habituated to using Delete and not Shift+Delete

One of my friend got the habit of using Shift+Delete always instead of Delete. Windows has the good habit of moving the files to recycle bin when using Delete*, so that in case you discover that the deletion is inadvertant and/or accidental, you always have an opportunity to resurrected the eliminated entity from the Recycle Bin/Trash Can^. Once he ran into deleting an important application folder and he had to spend countless hours in troubleshooting the system repairing it and reinstalling the application besides the untold misery of recovering the data from backup and a little re-work in making up the loss due to his negligence and overlookup.

Let us try and make use of builtin Windows safeguard+ for our file system entities.

*Does not work for removable drives and network volumes.
+You may also debate that over a period of time, there might be disk full conditions because of temp drive space. There are the following workarounds for the same. You can periodically run through a space reclamation process on your temp volumes. You can read through my recent experience in a periodic disk space reclamation process.

^ Please note that Recycle Bin is not an infinite Sink. Recycle Bin can be configured a single per centage space for all disk drives or as a percentage of space in each disk volume. When there is no space available to hold the deleted items, the DELETE automatically behaves like SHIFT+DELETE and Windows would throw a warning message similar to this effect. You may also observe a similar warning message for Internet Explorer, Inbox icon in Deskop.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

All File Deletion is a Disputed Transaction in Windows Explorer but an Iterative Delete in Dos Prompt

All File Deletion is a Disputed Transaction in Windows Explorer but an Iterative Delete in Dos Prompt

I normally have the habit of cleaning up the temp folder in my Windows on a regular basis so that it does not unnecessarily eat away the hard disk space. However, I observed two distinct behavior between Windows Explorer and MSDOS prompt of the temp folder.

Windows Explorer:

  1. To avail the friendly GUI services, we normally resort to CTRL+A and DELETE.
  2. Attempts to delete the folder and files one by one. But even when one file could not be removed due to permission restriction or 'The process can not access the file because it is being used by another process' error, it just aborts without visiting remaining files in the folder.
  3. Moves the folder to Recycle Bin
  4. A generic progress bar of the progress of deletion is indicated by a GUI popup.
  5. Recurses into folders and repeates (2) through (4).

MSDOS:

  1. Command Used: del . and press y when prompted.
  2. Attempts to delete the folder and files one by one. But when a particular file could not be deleted, it emits an appropriate error message along with the erring file but resumes with the next file.
  3. Does not move the file to Recycle Bin but permanently purges it.
  4. At least the command used in (1) does not recurse through the folders.

Windows, at least a quick layman's view seems to be nurturing an incomplete transaction implementation. If one debates that the file deletion should be aborted like in a transaction, then the files/folders that were deleted should also be rolled back and restored to the current state right?

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

The Lock and Key -- Too Near?

The Lock and Key -- Too Near?

It is said that we should never keep lock and key very close to each other. Similarly, the ATM Card and its pin should never be kept together. ATM Guard is like a guard for our savings account and the associated PIN is like a key. Having them together is like crazily opening a red carpet welcome to the burglar.

Humorously, I just found a very similar combination in the Windows Security dialog of Windows XP today. The 'Lock workstation' and 'Logoff' has keyboard accelerator keys like k and l very near to each other. When the system is open and I want to logoff, in more cases and in particular hurry, I often dip the K key instead of L, which forces me to login and again and then logoff. Interestingly, even in keyboard (QWERTY), the K and L are quite to close each other.

Just thought of sharing this little humor on a weekend Saturday.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
Tag :

Quickly write protecting disk volume in Windows

Quickly write protecting disk volume in Windows

Starting Windows XP, there seems to be a promising feature of having arbitrary volumes to be write protected. However, there aren't any free or easy to use tool that is available towards making use of this feature. Joeware has released a free tool towards filling this gap. The tool is a small commandline and is available for a free download after you enter your email address (optional) on his website over here.

I think, this should be a very good tool for Windows administrators to add to their routine debugging toolbox.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

ZipDy -- An Elegant Distance Calculator between any two zipcodes

ZipDy -- An Elegant Distance Calculator between any two zipcodes

Recently, a friend asked me if there is an easy way to calculate the distance between two zipcodes of US. I was suggesting him that he can give a try on Google Maps API. A little more deeper research on the Internet gave me a nice opensource tool called ZipDy which is based on PostGreSQL database to store all zipcodes and distances.

You can download ZipDy from here.

Available Languages:

  • C
  • PHP
  • Perl
Main Features:

  1. Calculate the distance between any two zipcode
  2. Query the database for all address records within a specified mile direction of a particular zipcode.
Just thought I would share this finding with other interested developer fraternity too.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Some good tricks of making pleasing and appealing webpages ...

Some good tricks of making pleasing and appealing webpages ...

I was visiting a forum website called India Broadband Forum. The website has a very good and rich classification of forums. Indeed, the search of messages also seems to be good (powered by Google Custom Search). However, one bad thing I felt was when I logout, a JavaScript confirmation like 'Are you sure you want to logout?'. Such things which are like acting too proactive and too very user-friendly actually play against the efficiency of the website. I just thought I would share a few tips and tricks for a good website.

  1. Script confirmations like 'Are you sure ...' to be used only when it is absolutely necessary like deletion of a problem (where the action reversing is too difficult or cumbersome or is impossible).
  2. Inputs through scripting is indeed a very bad practice. As a security precaution, web browsers like Internet Explorer block script based inputs.
  3. Popup flooding is one another bad thing that most of our Indian websites resort to. Typical ones are Rediff. I really don't find a valid reason for that much amount of popup flooding on the users. When a gentle text based advertising like Google Adwords, TextAds could be used, I really don't find a valid reason on why people still keep subscribing to weird ideas like rude popup windows.
  4. Whenever a content is to be indicated like Terms and Conditions, preferably show them as inline HTML in the same theme as the website instead of hyperlinking to a .DOC or a .PDF page.
  5. Avoid Mailto URLs
  6. Have the images compressed and do not try including a 1 mega byte BMP for a normal website image.

Readers: What do you feel? Please share about what type of features you like and what you don't like in a typical web presentation?

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

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