Friday, December 16, 2005

Clickie - Add Features to Windows Explorer Context Menu

Just came across Clickie, a neat little utility that adds two wonderful features to the context menu (right-click menu) of Windows Explorer.

Copy Path Name: Copies the path of the selected folder or file to the clipboard (as text). You can then paste it wherever you need it.
Open MS-DOS Prompt: Opens a DOS window in the selected directory. Using Clickie, you don't need to crawl to the directory you want to work in.

Clickie Snapshot

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Update from the Capital City

It's been a while since I last posted anything here. In fact, its not just a zero-blogging phase, but I have been on a complete web-hiatus all these days, barring a couple of occasions where I had to log on to my University Mail account.

I'm in New Delhi, the capital city, for close to a week now and I must say it is really really cold. The first couple of nights I was here, the mercury mark was hovering about a chilly 3 degrees Celsius. Honestly speaking, these are the lowest temperatures I have encountered for a while! On a sunnier note, the results for the last semester are out and it couldn't have been any better. Just another semester to go now and there's another 20 days to go before it begins.

Nothing else to write here for the moment. I am not too sure if I'll be updating very frequently here for the next fortnight. But then, I just might. Till then...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yahoo! and

First flickr! and now!

Yahoo! just acquired the hottest "tagging thing" on the web. I wonder what would Scoble be thinking now. I remember Pete Cashmore, who blogs at Mashable, and who came up with this logo too, actually suggesting when Scoble wanted to make an acquisition. Logo

With Yahoo! acquiring, things get all the more exciting. I only hope that they don't go about changing the log-in procedure the way they did with flickr.

From the Blog:
We're proud to announce that has joined the Yahoo! family. Together we'll continue to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet, with a big emphasis on the power of community. We're excited to be working with the Yahoo! Search team - they definitely get social systems and their potential to change the web. (We're also excited to be joining our fraternal twin Flickr!)

We want to thank everyone who has helped us along the way - our employees, our great investors and advisors, and especially our users. We still want to get your feedback, and we look forward to bringing you new features and more servers in the future.

I look forward to continuing my vision of social and community memory, and taking it to the next level with the community and Yahoo!

Jeremy Zawodny at Yahoo Search Blog writes
As Joshua writes, the team will soon be working in close proximity to their fraternal twin, Flickr. And just like we've done with Flickr, we plan to give the resources, support, and room it needs to continue growing the service and community. Finally, don't be surprised if you see My Web and borrow a few ideas from each other in the future.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bill Gates Live in Bangalore 2005

If you aren't in Bangalore or haven't managed to coax an invitation to the event (I am told the entry is by Invitation pass only), do not miss the webcast.

Register NOW! for the Bill Gates LIVE webcast

Register for Bill Gates LIVE webcast

The Semester ends officially

The semester has officially come to a close and its time now to move on to things that I have been procrastinating for quite sometime on the pretext of examinations and project submissions. Some pretty interesting things are lined up and probably I'll be posting about them here too.

If you're wondering why I have been so lax in updating this blog, it's only because of the end-semester-torment that I was subjected to. With the final exams getting over just last Saturday and a project submission due today, most of the time was spent in front of a stupid computer terminal that in my opinion has seen better days. Somehow, we managed to get the Project completed by this morning. However, the project demo didn't go all that well. Its amazing just how your system crashes at the most crucial of times. The GridFTP service that I and my friend had developed working for the most of the previous night simply couldn't be demonstrated as the system on which we had it running simply gave up an hour before our presentaion. Otherwise, it went pretty smooth. But that is the way it goes. All we'll have to show for it now is a few screenshots.

Anyways, I now have close to a month before the next semester starts during which period, I'll have to decide upon my final Project. I haven't really been able to narrow down to a particular field in which I'll be working on my final Project and that is something that will kep me occupied for most of the time. I think Semantic Web is one in which I could finally end up doing my project but a distributed storage system looks as exciting a prospect. But with all ideas so vague and nothing concrete and well defined yet, the pursuit of a good project idea is still on. Any ideas?.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Protopage v2.0 released

Yesterday I received a mail from Protopage which informed me of the release of Protopage Version 2.0

ProtopageI had been using Protopage as my web Desktop until I switched over to Windows Live and had found it really easy to use and pretty exciting even with its then limited options for sticky notes, to-dolists, favorite links and quick searches. The best part about it was that it allowed me to create panels that could be understood as HTML. So I could easily add forms, for example, to log into my University Mail Account, something which I found extremely useful

As expected, version 2.0 has now more features that make it even better. There is support for multiple pages, with individual page sharing options along with more customizations, more colour schemes and rich text editing for sticky notes. All the new features are explained in detail at the Protopage News Blog.

However, the only place they lose out is extensibility and add-ons. Protopage has no option for third party developers built cool add-ons like the numerous widgets at Microsoft Gadgets for Windows Live. (The last time I had checked, the number of available gadgets had reached 94.)

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Why Microsoft’s Classifieds Service will be better than Google Base

Fremont LogoCharlene Li on Microsoft's new classified service 'Fremont' and why it will be better than Google Base:

"First, a quick description of Fremont. It looks and acts like a classic online classifieds site. A list of linked categories is on the front page and users can browse or search through the listings. A key difference though is that the listings are turbo-charged – as the poster, you can control who can see them, from everyone to just a select group of people on your MSN Messenger buddy list. If you choose the latter, the next time one of your privileged buddies signs into Messenger, they’ll see a little alert that says you have a set of golf clubs for sale. The categories include the usual suspects – jobs, homes, apartments, cars, and one thing that caught my eye, tickets.

...So I look at Fremont and I see a really nice service shaping up. The classifieds interface is familiar – each category has the expected search fields (number of bedrooms in housing, make and year in autos, etc.) and the opening page lays out all of the options in a simple manner similar to Craig’s List’s austere list of links.

Now compare that to Google Base. Honestly, can you imagine your average user trying to make heads or tails out of it? Don’t get me wrong – I love Google Base because of the audacious potential it represents in terms of creating new content for the Web. But in terms of a classifieds service, it will take a lot of application development to get it to the point where the average Joe will be able to use it. "

[Read the full post here]

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Another semester ends.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Examination Blues

XML : Syntax :: RDF : Semantics ???

Just three hours to go...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Firefox Just Got Hotter with 1.5

Firefox 1.5 is finally out!

Get it here now!

Upgrade to Firefox 1.5!

In case you are wondering why you need to upgrade, Firefox 1.5 comes with significant performance & usability upgrades, greater customization options and supports Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), JavaScript 1.6 and new versions of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).

Firefox 1.5 Releasing Soon

I just came across this on Spread Firefox. Looks like we'll see Firefox 1.5 anytime now!

It’s 5AM here in the UK and me any my small team of engineers are off home to bed after helping to get SFx ready for tomorrows big event:)In about twelve hours time “it is very likely” that Firefox 1.5 will be officially with us, and to mark this occasion Spread Firefox isgoing to be launching a very special campaign; That I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you about now… But I’d recommend you stay as close to the site as you can over the next 24 hours! (hint get some campaign buttons for your blogs & sites as they award points too!)

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Paint.NET v2.5 available for download

Paint.NET v2.5, about which I had written earlier this year, is out of beta and is available for download now. Started as a CS undergraduate design project at Washington State University, is an image and photo manipulation software supporting layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.

Paint.NET Screenshot
Paint.NET Screenshot

Paint.NET can be installed on computers that run Windows XP (SP1 or later), Windows 2000 (SP3 or later), Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista and requires .NET Framework 1.1.installed.

Download: Paint.NET v2.5

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Free Online Data Storage. We never had so many options

With so many options for remote data backup available today, FREE online data storage never had so much excitement going around. Here are some of the new services I came across recently.

Mozy LogoMozy is a remote backup and archiving service that requires you to create a mozy user account and install a software on your computer, It is a small download available at their site with which you get 1 GB of backup storage. But if you fill out their survey, they give you 2 GB of space. Mozy provides Open File support, 128-bit SSL Support (to secure your data during transport) and 448-bit Blowfish Encryption (to secure your data on our server)

In return for the free Mozy data backup service, Mozy will be sending emails to its users with advertisements for products and services useful for the users in its opinion. Not really a great ask for all the storage space they are offering.

Mashable has written a quick introduction of the next two online storage solutions": AllMyData and Openomy.

Openomy LogoOf these two, I found the approach of Openomy quite interesting. Instead of folders, Openomy has adopted the 'tags' concept to organize the files. Something really interesting and never heard of before in online data backups. It is currently offering 1Gb of storage space and it is absolutely free to use.

Also it can allow certain outside applications (of your choice) to interact with your data. For development of these web applications, it has made available the API documentation. An example application has been developed by Maurice Codik called Openomy/RSS which publishes feeds with tags and notifies the subscribers when files under the feed's tags get updated.

AllMyData LogoThe other site AllMyData is more of a p2p kind solution using the power of grid, in which you get free storage by sharing space on your hard drive. In the free plan, for every 10 Mb you share, you get 1 Mb of space on Allmydata. So if you share 10 Gb on your hard drive, AllMyData gives you 1 Gb.

Streamload Streamload is way ahead when it comes to prviding online storage space in terms of Gb. It offers 10 Gb, almost 10 times the others provide. However, the data is NOT ENCRYPTED and hence loses out to the other services that I mentioned above. But it seems to be a good option for storing the not-so-critical data such as photos or music files. There's another thing though, the downloads are restricted to only 100Mb a month and 10Mb a file.

eSnips LogoeSnips again provides 1 Gb of data storage online. However, the interesting part is the eSnips toolbar (for IE only) that allows you to "snip" any content you see on the web and store in your eSnips account. It allows the user to "Save text, images and links from any web site, highlight relevant sections, add personal comments and save the source."

It also allows for file sharing options where the invited people get a link directly to the shared folder where they can add their comments, contribute their own files and also invite more people to the folder. Now that makes it a very good collaborative development tool. I particlularly like the interface they have. Neat and informative.

Besides these free services, there is XDrive, a very popular online file storage option and Strongspace. If you need online storage in excess of 1Gb and are willing to pay, then these two are options worth considering.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Google heading towards e-commerce 3.0

InternetRetailer has a story on how "Google is heading toward capturing the next e-commerce paradigm using search to buy anything from anyone, anywhere."

From InternetRetailer:
Now that it has taken the Internet search market by storm, Google is heading toward capturing the next e-commerce paradigm—using search to buy anything from anyone, anywhere, Safa Rashtchy, senior research analyst at investment firm Piper Jaffray & Co., tells “Google will be a Craigslist on steroids—a very potent and dangerous challenge to where eBay wants to go,” Rashtchy says.

While eBay has brought millions into online commerce, it is still too complicated for sellers who balk at the listing process and for buyers who don’t want purchase from someone located far away, he adds.

Craigslist Inc.’s has pioneered a new form of e-commerce, which Rashtchy and others call “e-commerce 3.0,” that connects consumers with sellers of products and services in local communities.

E-commerce 1.0 was defined by early efforts by dot-coms at excessive branding and advertising, but without a sustainable platform or customer base, Rashtchy says. E-commerce 2.0 debuted with the advent of Internet search, which provided the necessary connection between e-retailers and large volumes of consumers, and 3.0 will take that to a local level.

[via Emergic]

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Yet another Online Calendar - Monket

I might be the last person left on the planet who doesn't know that is LIVE for more than two months! However, if you follow the link, you won't find any Google Calendar on it as it is currently only showing the Google Search Homepage. More confirmation that Google has plans for a Calendar about which I wrote in February.

However, if you can't wait till there actually is a Google calendar, there's another dynamic web based calendar that you could try out. Monket supports "drag and drop events to change dates, drag the start/end of an event to create multi-day events, create and edit events without refreshing the page, all with an iCal style interface."

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

SlashDigg and - For all nerd news freaks

Slashdigg and are two sites I came across recently that combine news from the three most popular sources out there: Slashdot, Digg and combines news from Digg, Slashdot and into a unified format Also it claims to eliminate dupes and add some extra niceities.

The other site Slashdigg aggregates news form Slashdot and Digg and provides various viewing options such as side by side, frames, and combined and also has a 'Super Nerd News' section that combines news from sources such as, wired, cnet.

From what I see of their interface, I think Slashdigg makes use of the Lilina Aggregator.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Short notes

Too much of procrastination throughout the semester ensured that I was busy the whole past week loaded with tons of project work and presentations. Hence no updates here.

OpenGL is really cool. I just finished a Project yesterday with my friend coding a basketball game in OpenGL and it was fun.
looks like it has had a revamp of sorts. It looks neat with recent and popular bookmarks arranged in columns.

Gaming in Universities has the Profs concerned. An IIT student commits suicide. The reason: He had failed in three courses because of poor attendance. Could gaming be the only reason for poor attendance? I have known people who are as ignorant about gaming as I am(and that is as ignorant as one could get) and yet have seriously poor attendance.

Also, Niall Kennedy 's blog has instructions on adding your blog to Google Base. Another avenue for Splogs?

And finally, updates here would be sporadic over the next few days as I will be busy with the end-sem examinations.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

W3C opens India Office

Pallab had this entry on The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) opening its India Office at Noida, India hosted by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC Noida).

Seen as as "the national contact point for W3C activities in India," this India Office of W3C will be instrumental in promoting efforts in local languages, broaden W3C's geographical base, and encourage international participation in W3C Activities.

The site has a listing of W3C Prospectus W3C related events in India, Indian members of the W3C, Latest News & Newsletters, and Mailing List

At the top of Indian Members List of the W3C is Department of Information Technology, Government of India, ( Just out of curiosity I checked for its conformance to W3C Recommendations and other standards with W3C Markup Validation Service. Here is the result: Failed validation, 80 errors.

The website of CDAC India, second on the list, was down. But I am sure we'll find even more surprising results!

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Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie blogs on MSN Spaces

Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer, Ray Ozzie has started a new Spaces blog.

Here is what RayOzzie wrote on his new Spaces Blog:
...A couple of weeks ago, Bill and I brought life to a new initiative that, over the course of the months and years ahead, will catalyze and deliver a number of things that I'm very excited about. At that event, I said that unlike many other stealth projects I've/we've done, in this case many of our plans and offerings will evolve progressively and in the open, shaped in good measure by a dialog with you. This is not just feel-good marketing speak: the conversation related to Microsoft - its reputation, its intent and its offerings - is occurring and will continue to vigorously occur on the 'net with or without us. I'd rather it be "with", and I hope to add value in becoming another of the varied Microsoft voices conversing on the 'net.

And yes, Spaces has a new theme only for its most prized Microsoft Blogger with a customized top banner! This special theme is, however, not available for the non CTO types!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Yahoo! Mail Survey

Yahoo! has put up a real long survey about Yahoo! Mail and other Y! Products. Normally, I am not that keen on taking online surveys but when Y! Mail asked for it, I just couldn't deny! See, my first ever email account was with Yahoo! ;)

Yahoo! Mail Survey

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Firefox 1.5 going live today!!

Neowin writes that Firefox 1.5 is going live today (11/15/05).

On November 9th 2004, Neowin was one of the first to announce the official release of Mozilla Firefox 1.0. We get word from resident Firefox aficionado supernova_00, that Firefox 1.5 is slated to be released sometime today.
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read more | digg story

Agile Programming

When we look at the Agile Manifesto, we realize that Agile Programming is a completely new way of developing Software, emphasizing the importance of User participation throughout the development process, and understanding requirements through both interactions and ad hoc less formal documents.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Kent Beck, Mike Beedle, Arie van Bennekum, Alistair Cockburn, Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler, James Grenning, Jim Highsmith, Andrew Hunt, Ron Jeffries, Jon Kern, Brian Marick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mellor, Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Dave Thomas

I have spent the past few hours understanding Agile Programming Methodologies better and have found some of its practices quite interesting and quite different from the ones in the conventional software development models.

In our undergraduate course on "Software Engineering", we were introduced to a whole bunch of Traditional Software development Models (and a whole lot of SE jargons). The only thing that bothered us all was the extensive documentation that was required at each stage. For me, seeing valuable "man hours" being devoted to formal documentation rather than the code was something quite disturbing. It is not that I am against documentation or opine that there has to be zero documentation. I am just of the opinion that documentation needs to be concise, and less formal. Agile Programming just requires that.

Another practice Agile Programming methodologies require is "Pair Programming" where two developers work on a single terminal working on the same code. This is something that I had followed during mt internship and found extremely helpful. Not only was the productivity higher in terms of code delivery, the code quality that we turned out was also impressive. Two brains definitely are better than one!

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Search for a CMS

I have spent the past few hours looking for a CMS. The problem is that the project I am working on requires the content to be divided into certain sections with different users having their roles restricted to specific sections. This is something that Mambo, otherwise my favoured option for a CMS, doesn't provide.

I was suggested by Ara to take a look at Magnolia as a possible option. It certainly looks good at first sight. I find it quite intersting for its drag-n-drop options for reordering pages and pagecontent directly in the browser. And it isn't too heavy on the requirements list too! It only requires JDK 1.4.1 and Tomcat 5 or later and no external database.

I have downloaded the binary installer and will get down to configuring it sometime this week. The last time I had tried another CMS, Apache Lenya, I had some issues with templating and all. Just hope that this time around, there aren't many glitches.

Update: I just realized that the Authoring section of the live demo does not have a Log Out option!

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Semantic Web

The idea of hyperlinks has driven the Internet for a very long time now. Hyperlinks have actually done a wonderful job in bringing together information from all realms of life and integrating it in one place, the World Wide Web as we call it. However, what we see with the web today is structured text with multimedia objects such as images and interactive forms- what we can call information, but unstructured information.

The reason I am talking about all this web, structured information, and hyperlinks here today is because of the last few classes spent by my Professor disussing Semantic Web. Now, as my Prof puts it, today's web is primarily documenting almost everything that is available. What it is not capable of doing is the automation of data and information processing. So, in other words, with the World Wide Web today, people really know what the hyperlink means, but a machine cannot understand what the link means and how is it actually "linked" to the other document.

Semantic Web today is being seen as a solution to this as it would add logic to the Web, use rules to make inferences, decide actions and answer questions by providing a framework that allows data sharing and reuse across application, enterprise, and communities. As the founder of the Web, Berners-Lee, puts it, "The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation."

But after what I have been hearing about all this metadata, ontologies,and stuff from him, at first go, I am not overly taken by this idea. The reason I say this is beacuse I think that the true context of the information can never be captured with the data and we are actually dependent on forms of human intervention for derivation of meaning and context! Now as I say this, I also realize that with my really restricted knowledge about all those research groups and their work on realizing a Semantic Web, these first impressions may really not be the correct ones!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Windows Live now supports Firefox

Windows Live now supports Firefox! And so for a few days, I will be trying it as my startpage instead of My Protopage homepage.

Here's how my Windows Live page with 3 columm layout is organized:

Column 1 has my most read feeds
Column 2 has weather, BBC and Boing Boing etc.
Column 3 has Windows Live Mail, and Live Favourites

The other blogs, other stuff I read, and the Gadgets are in the Sidebar under My Web. For now, I have installed the Windows Live Favourites, Pacman and flickr Viewer Gadgets for my Windows Live.

Lets see how it goes.

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Google Desktop 2 leaves Beta

Google Desktop is out of beta with "several powerful new features under its belt." There are a few new cool features such as Google Maps integration in the sidebar panels, and some additions to the Sidebar Plugins.

From Google Blog:
Fans of Google Maps will want to check out Sidebar's new maps panel, which lets you do all the usual cool maps stuff -- local business info, directions, sightseeing -- plus a new one: finding new locations relevant to the web pages and emails you're reading and showing them in your maps panel.

Google Maps integration for Desktop Sidebar

Also, check out the new Google Desktop Blog.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Technorati Hacks

TechnoratiSteve Rubel at Micro Persuasion has published a list of Ten Technorati Hacks. These include blog search, tracking blog posts by tag, including backlinks to posts in your blog, putting Technorati Into your RSS Aggregator, and pinging Technorati on site update.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Windows Live

The other day, Ara Pehlivanian had put up the question "What feedreader do you use?" Of the many feed readers that I have tried so far, only Bloglines and Newsburst were two that I really liked. I have been using Newsburst now for quite sometime and though it lacks the feature of seeing the number of subscribers there are to a blog, it makes up for it with a much better layout, quicker updates and a super cool response team.

Windows LiveNot a bad time to write about Windows Live. Is it? Windows Live actually incorporates most of the functionalities that, basically a feed aggregator, offered. I tried when it was still in Sandbox and was really impressed by it. However, there was one thing that prevented me from switching completely to it- categorization of feeds. But now with a whole lot of features like IM client and email integration added to it , in its new avatar as Windows Live, it looks really good.

Using Windows Live meant that I had to switch to IE, as Firefox support isn't available yet. But then, I was quite impressed by what it had to offer with tools for searching and reading feeds, email integration on the desktop, and 'Gadgets'’. There are already some pretty cool Gadgets like Live Favourites, To-Do List and flickr Viewer that you can add to the desktop available at Microsoft Gadgets Gallery for downloads.

Michael Arrington on Techcrunch has a complete writeup on Windows Live. One thing he had to say: "After what I saw today, I despair for many a silicon valley startup."

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Dilbert Blog

Scott Adams now has a blog. The blog is titled Dilbert Blog, but actually it is Scott blogging on a lot of things.

Read the Dilbert Blog

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Advertising Billboards as Rain Covers

Advertising billboards are put to use as Pakistani refugees, left homeless after the October 8 earthquake, set up their tents in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.

Advertising Billboards as Rain Covers

[via SFGate]

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Happy Diwali !

I am heading off to home for a week where I will be celebrating the festival of Diwali with my parents and friends. I'll be back on the 5th of November and so, in this period any updates on this blog would only be sporadic, if not completely non-existent.

Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali from enginerd

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yoono - Collaborative Searching and Sharing

Just read on Netanel Jacobsson's blog about Yoono, a collaborative searching, exchanging and information sharing service. The service is employing a unique approach by indexing "web users' bookmarks to overcome problems of language, synonyms and other syntaq quirks."

Yoono is a free software application you can download which combines for the first time the management and sharing of information. Based on pooling user knowledge, yoono is a collaborative search engine and an innovative communication tool.
With yoono, don’t search alone, share with those that know...

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Scoble Family on Blogosphere

If one Scoble wasn't enough to 'rule' the blogosphere, now we have the whole Scoble family Blogging. Robert's wife Maryam already blogs at MSN Spaces and the blogosphere now witnesses the arrival of Robert's son Patrick.

Guess what the title of his blog reads. MiniScoblizer. And the tag line: "I'm the son of a 40 year old blogger you can check his blog at"

Here's what Scoble had to say about MiniScoble using Blogger:
I sense he’s just trying to be rebellious. First an iPod. Now he’s using a Google blog tool. I gotta straighten him out. He’s only 11. Imagine how rebellious he’ll be when he’s 14!!
And just in case you didn't know, Robert's brother Alex blogs too!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Creepy Mobile phones

I have never owned a mobile phone that had the habit of going into a "hang" mode every other moment and that had to be hit with the palm or tapped not-so-gently at the table to get it up running again and do what it is supposed to do. Tales of such a mobile phone:
  • In the middle of a call, the phone "hangs". The conversation isn't possible but the call is still being charged for. And no matter what he tries, the phone refuses to respond. Furious, my friend pulls out the battery. Order restored.
  • The poor chap is discussing his project with the the Professor. Suddenly there is a beep. Followed by another one. And another. And then the discreet beeps turn into a constant "beepbeepbeep... "putting the powerful Nokia vibration mode into hyperactivity. Chaos as the Professor watched him hitting the phone at the table. All without any success.

The lucrative terrain

The Guardian has an article by Jonathan Freedland on the "multi-million-pound industry intent on turning teenagers and toddlers alike into avaricious consumers."

According to the article, an average British child is familiar with up to 400 brand names by the time he has reached the age of 10! "Researchers report that our children are more likely to recognize Ronald McDonald and the Nike swoosh than Jesus. One study found that 69% of all three-year-olds could identify the McDonald's golden arches - while half of all four-year-olds did not know their own name."
There is, in other words, an enormous children's marketplace, and it is lucrative terrain. The under-16s spend an estimated £30bn a year, including £6bn on clothes and £2bn on toys. Eight in 10 kids have their own TV in their room; half have a DVD player or a video. A million children under nine own a mobile phone. One in five have internet access. With more pocket money than ever before - over £6 a week for the seven to 11 age group and more than £9 for the under-16s - they are a highly-prized target audience. And make no mistake, they are being targeted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Google Base

Google Base is the latest from Google! While the word was floating around the web about the subdomain, I wasn't able to have a look at it as Google had pulled it down showing a 403 Forbidden Error. However, just trying randomly, I could get a peek when the site went live momentarily.

The moment I keyed in the URL, I was greeted by a weird looking screen that asked me to sign in with a Google Account. The screen however was restored to normality with me signing into my Gmail account.

Google Base Homepage Screenshot

Google Base Homepage Screenshot

What Google Base does is however not amply clear from what is there on the homepage. The FAQ page is still not up showing an "Oops...We didn't understand that. You have tried to access a non-existent page.” " message. The desciption from the Google Base homepage reads:
Post your items on Google.

Google Base is Google's database into which you can add all types of content. We'll host your content and make it searchable online for free.

Examples of items you can find in Google Base:

Description of your party planning service

Articles on current events from your website

Listing of your used car for sale

Database of protein structures

You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they search Google Base. In fact, based on the relevance of your items, they may also be included in the main Google search index and other Google products like Froogle and Google Local.
I tried to post something on Google Base but the got the following error:

For input string: "-5.5"
Error 500
Also, none of the links on the page about Privacy policy, Terms of service, Program policies, and Frequently asked questions (FAQ) worked. All these links currently link to non-existent pages.

I can't wait to see what actually this is all about. There are already speculations about it from being a potential rival to eBay and Craiglist, to Google creating a new GoogleSQL. The earlier one seems more probable. Lets see...


Google's response at Official Google Blog
You may have seen stories today reporting on a new product that we're testing, and speculating about our plans. Here's what's really going on. We are testing a new way for content owners to submit their content to Google, which we hope will complement existing methods such as our web crawl and Google Sitemaps. We think it's an exciting product, and we'll let you know when there's more news.

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Monday, October 24, 2005


The last weekend I headed off to attend an entrepreneurship seminar, accompanied by two of my friends. The place was buzzing with activity, with an abundant supply of ideas on just about any topic. I met a bunch of really wonderful people, both management and engineering undergrads like me. Quite a lot of companies, some what you would call the top guns in the Fortune 500 list, and some Indian startups, were present at the place and it was simply wonderful to be listening to some of these guys who had made successful entrepreneurs.

Back at campus now, I see myself buried neck deep in assignments, pending projects, presentations, and what not! Almost all projects I am working on currently are approaching their deadline dates at a pace too close for comfort! But then, there is the advantage of working in a team packed with smart guys: They always get the work done with you!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


You see statistics like these and begin to wonder what really is happening to the web? Is the dominance of the big guns such as Google, Microsoft, and others coming to an end?

Here are the six web properties with the most pages viewed (remember ads run is mostly equal to pages viewed on the web):

Yahoo! - 43,700MM
Time Warner - 31,600MM (AOL is roughly 70% of this)
Microsoft - 21,800MM (MSN is part of this)
eBay - 10,900MM
MySpace - 9,600MM
Google - 6,300MM

Notwithstanding the somewhat interesting fact that Google is a relatively small page view generator, which makes sense given their reliance on search, the shocking fact is how fast MySpace is catching up to the big guys.

And what's even more amazing is that MySpace's page views have grown 50% in the past three months.

My first experience of MySpace was quite some time ago, as we were browsing through (actually studying them inside out) all the social-networking sites, like Orkut, Friendster, and Wallop for the next killer-Social-Networking-platform we were to build. And honestly, my team, including me, did not have a very high opinion of MySpace . It seemed far less appealing, far less inviting, than some of the others we came across.

Then came the big news, Rupert Murdoch had bought MySpace as a part of his big Internet plans. Suddenly, my interest in it was rekindled. I had to dig out the lost account that I had created but not used for very long, and was back MySpacing. MySpace looked bigger, and more happening. It was quite mind boggling to see so much of activity around. For all the unusable features it threw at the user, it was astonishingly bustling with activity.

MySpacing had turned into a rage. While I could see the impact of Orkut in the campus gradually declining, in part due to the boredom creeping in, and in part because of academic obligations, with MySpace, it was totally different. MySpace was taking over the territory that was once dominated by the Instant Messengers. People found the idea of leaving a message in public domain, that was non transient, much more appealing than an easily forgotten casual IM chat. It sounded weird but it was the way it was. Some of the self-admitted MySpace freaks I came across were living a Myspaced life checking on each other's activities, leaving comments, posting weird pictures, making suggestive remarks and changing silly profile titles innumerous times a day! Baffling as it is, MySpace had emerged as a way of life: a really cool way of life!

And so, these stats do not surprise me! It may not be a direct threat to Google and Microsoft, for they are completely different paradigms in my opinion, but it is something big happening on the web currently.

It may not be completely wrong to say that MySpace actually turns out to be one of the best examples of Web 2.0, incorporating collaboration, information dissemination, networking and community participation, all without the hype of the AJAX.

(And just so you know, we did build what we had set out to. Only never got anyone to host it for us.)

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Update: Adam Lashinsky has published this story on Rupert's Web strategy:,15114,1117673,00.html.

Startups for a stronger Resume?

When the whole web is abuzz with keywords such as Ajax, Web 2.0, Meebo and all, there is some uncertainity about how this new Internet Bubble will shape up.

Mike at Techdirt writes that some of these new startups may be only to actually stand out for the crowd and act as a strong resume.

While the complaint is that so many of these companies are built to flip rather than to be sustainable businesses, some are noticing that this process is really just a better way for some to stand out and get a job. You build a company quickly and cheaply that gets some attention, and a bigger company comes along to scoop up your company, giving you a nice "signing bonus." In effect, the purpose of these companies is to act as a strong resume to stand out from the crowd.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Yet another to-do list

Remember The MilkHere is another AJAXy to-do list manager, not very unlike Ta-da Lists, with a very unusual title - Remember the Milk. I gave it a try and it looks wonderful, especially the interface. What fascinated me the most was their sign-up form which is incredibly user-friendly.
Remember The Milk is the easiest and best way to manage your to-do lists online. Here are just a few of the reasons why it's so cool:

Features galore.

Sharing, publishing, notes... we've got it all.
Get reminded.
Receive reminders via email, instant messenger, and SMS.
It's free.
Hard to believe, we know, but it's true.

Try it out here!

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Sania Mirza : Changing the World?

India's rebel tennis star now makes it to the list of the the ten people capable of changing the world by London's intellectual weekly New Statesman. This comes days after she was declared by Time Asia as one of the Asian Heroes for 2005.

In his article on Sania Mirza, Jason Cowley writes:
It is difficult to believe that a slender, 18-year-old Muslim tennis player from India has the potential to change the world, but it is equally difficult to overestimate the effect Sania Mirza is having on millions of young men and women, and especially women, in the world's second most populous country. She is the first female Indian tennis player to be ranked in the world's top 40; indeed, she is the first significant female athlete of any kind, in a country where women have been typically discouraged from taking up sport. Mirza has the discipline, the tenacity, the flamboyance...

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Monday, October 17, 2005

enginerd v2.0

And finally, after tons and tons of procrastination, if tons could be a better measure of procrastination than silly units of time, "enginerd" has a new template.

For sometime now, I was planning on making a three-column layout, for the unbounding list of items I think should be placed in the 'enginerd sidebar.' The colour scheme, as you would have observed isn't entirely different from what we had in v0.9 and v1.0. The white background stays with the ususal orange thrown around. I have tried a different shade of blue for the links this time. I am not too sure, if it needs more whitespace, but we'll figure it out soon with the feedback ;)

Meanwhile, the F1 season is over. Ferrari and Schumacher didn't really have it their way, and Karthikeyan, who made all the hype being the first F1 driver from India, didn't really do anything out of the ordinary leaving the only chance of him racing next season with Ecclestone suddenly deciding that F1 could do with some 6, 7 or 8 new teams. Since that isn't remotely possible, his stint with Formula 1 isn't likely to continue.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sue us!

Kiruba created this tee at Cafepress for all us bloggers!

Sue me tee

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rustle the Leaf : Environmental Comic

I wrote the other day about UNICEF choosing Smurf cartoons to convey the impact of war on children. So while the idea of bombing the Smurfs out of existence seemed outrageous to many, it still hit home. I have always believed that comics/cartoons are a wonderful way of putting your message across. They have this zing attached to them, an uncanny knack of attracting attention of all, across all ages.

Rustle the Leaf is another such endeavour to sensitize the citizens of the world about the environment where Rustle and his friends communicate the essential environment themes and truths through a comic strip. The objective of this environmental comic is to "encourage environmentalists, to facilitate the sharing of environmental views in an engaging, nonconfrontational manner, and to introduce and reinforce environmental education with people ages 6 to 106."

Rustle the leaf
Rustlemania Blog Site

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Master's Thesis on Blogging

Apparently, Scoble is synonymous to Blogging. No wonder, James Torio mentions Robert Scoble in his Masters Thesis on "Social Phenomenon of Blogs"

... [Scoble] seems sane, reasonable, trustworthy, human and somebody who knows what heÂ’s talking about. Which to me helps make Microsoft seem likewise.

One guy and his Blog, doing more real good for his company than any multi-million dollar ad agency campaign could ever hope to achieve.

James Torio's thesis is available as pdf.

via Scobelizer, Doc Searl's Weblog

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Singapore School issues Blogging guidelines for students

Zhi Yang's school, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, sent him some "very important info" to protect him and many others like him!

...While you Blog, please stay on the right side of the Law and stay sensitive to other people around you. Do not blog on things that promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore (Section 4 of the Sedition Act).

Students should use the blog appropriately and not to misuse it to arouse social disorder or 'flame' a person online. In a multi-racial society like in Singapore, every citizen or resident should respect other races and religions. As all Bloggers are personally responsible for what they blog, please be careful.

Computer Centre
Ngee Ann Polytechnic

I'd say this is sensible on the part of Ngee Ann. With so many controversies raging up recently because of Blogging, it is better to have the students already cautioned. No denying the fact that majority of Bloggers are responsible netizens, but still why have someone face any sort of consequences just because of sheer ignorance.

Read: Ngee Ann Poly thinks its students are dumbasses

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Apple's Video iPod

iPod VideoLast year we had Steve Jobs with the following response to the question on what was next for the iPod users, full color video, color screen?
"It's the music, stupid." We have to stay focused on the fact that people are buying these devices to listen to music. People love music. They love listening to music as a background activity when they're doing..when they're exercising, when they are commuting and when they are just hanging out, and music is a wonderful thing because: A, it's music; and B, because it can be listened to as a background activity. And a lot of these other things that people are talking about building in such as video and things like that are foreground activities.

So, we really are very focused on music because that's what we think, that's where we think the revolution is here.

Certainly Video iPod looked like a pretty bad idea at the moment. Not anymore. The new iPod Video is here!

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Smurf Village obliterated

Smurf Village obliteratedA 25 second film, being screened in Belgium as a public service announcement shows the Smurf village, obliterated by an air raid. The final frame of this short video put together by UNICEF reads: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

According to the advertising agency behind the campaign, Smurf was chosen as it was felt that "the best way to convey the impact of war on children was to tap into the earliest, happiest memories of Belgian television viewers."

Just wondering, what cartoon strip would they choose, if they were to similarly tap into the earliest, happiest memories of American President and convey the impact of war?

In case you are interested in watching the carpet bombing of Smurf Village, get the video here.

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The Web 2.0 Buzz

Beyond Web 2.0 has this article on What Web 2.0 isn't:

Web 2.0 is not “an AJAX” application; although it may use AJAX.

Web 2.0 is not a desktop application ported to the web; although it could be a new

Web Application that renders an existing desktop application outdated, or creates a completely new type of application (Flick’R).

Web 2.0 is not “Social Networking”; although I do believe Social Networking is a cornerstone of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 is only Web 2.0 when it accomplishes all of the above, and keeps in mind that, “I cannot be trusted with my data”.

An AJAX site that doesn’t manage my data, and backups of that data, is not Web 2.0.

A Web Application that does not solve my data management problems is not Web 2.0.

A Social Networking application that doesn’t provide for management of my data and selective sharing of my data is not a Web 2.0 application.

What is really surprising is that no Indian Company seems to be willing to take the plunge with Web 2.0. The potential is immense, opportunities are aplenty, and yet we haven't really heard of any company being seriously interested in it.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Enabling Blogger Backlinks

Blogger now provides Backlinks, just like Trackbacks, to keep track of all the webpages that link to your Blogger post. Backlinks basically is based on the link: operator of Blog Search. This imposes a restiction: All sites linking to your blog will need to be indexed by Blog Search.

Here's how you can enable Blogger Backlinks:

On your Blogger Dashboard, under Settings>Comments, you'll find an option to turn Backlinks ON/OFF.

Blogger Backlinks On/Off

Now, if you are using a standard Blogger template, you need nothing else to turn Backlinks on. But if you have your own template, then you'll have to make changes to your template code. This is what you'll be required to do in this case:

1. Place the following code between <Blogger> and </Blogger>

<a class="comment-link" href="<$BlogItemPermalinkUrl$>#links">
Links to this post</a>

2. Now within the <ItemPage> and </ItemPage>, place the following piece of code:

<a name="links"></a>
<h4>Links to this post:</h4>
<dl id="comments-block">
<dt class="comment-title">
<a href="<$BlogBacklinkURL$>" rel="nofollow">
<$BlogBacklinkTitle$></a> <$BlogBacklinkDeleteIcon$>
<dd class="comment-body"><$BlogBacklinkSnippet$>
<br />
<span class="comment-poster">
<em>posted by <$BlogBacklinkAuthor$> @
<p class="comment-timestamp"><$BlogItemBacklinkCreate$></p>

You may need to change the CSS styles that blend well in your template. Turning of backlinks is simple. Again from the Settings > Comments, select the Hide Backlinks option. In case you wish to disable Backlinks for individual posts, then its done the same way as turning off comments. You just edit the post in question and change the options that appear below the posting form:

Blogger Backlinks

That is it. With the introduction of Backlinks, Bloggers no longer need to use Technorati tags and other tools to know who are linking to their posts. Just how efficient is this offering from Google, we'll have to wait and see.

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Kashmir Earthquake : The toll keeps rising

The death toll continues to mount in Saturday's earthquake that hit the Kashmir region. According to some reports, the toll in Indian administered Kashmir itself has touched 1000.

Let us all take a moment to pray for those who are suffering, and for those who couldn't survive this terrible disaster.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

The Great Indian Blog Controversy

Back after a three-day break and I am shocked to see this controversy that has broken out in the Indian Blogosphere.

It feels terrible to have missed out on truckloads of action! :(

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Google Reader

Google just launched their RSS Reader, Google Reader. It looks real cool and certainly a competition killer. It is running too slowly now, with lots of people taking their first look at it. I was trying to import my OPML file but it just wouldn't let me do that. Too slow at the moment. But then, as things cool off, it certainly looks like an easy way to read all my feeds online.

After a long long wait, The OPML subscriptions have been imported and this is how my Google Reader looks like. Looking forward to playing around with it, but on first looks, it makes fantastic use of AJAX lending ability to sort and organize content very efficiently. And Gmail's "star" thingy is over here too.

Google Reader Screenshot

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Movie Review: A Lot Like Love

A Lot Like LoveIts a story about two young people meeting on an airplane, and an on- off kind of a relationship that follows over a course of seven long years. A Lot Like Love is not just your another romantic comedy, but it is about something more, something really deeper, more heartfelt.

Emily, played by Amanda Peet (The Whole Ten Yards) and Oliver, played by Ashton Kutcher have this fling on board an aircraft; spend a day together, only to meet after years. Their paths cross occasionally; situations draw them to each other, and then keep them apart. Somehow the sparks never really occur, either due to his career ambitions or her mates. But there's always the chemistry between them!

A Lot like Love : Review

The best part is that the story feels refreshingly real. The casting works wonderfully well too. The two characters Oliver and Emily have a wonderful chemistry going and while Amanda Pete looks great, carefree, and idiotic all at the same time, Ashton Kutcher is his usual good. He is not your usual super-successful guy in the film. He doesn't always end up winning, doesn't get what he wants, which makes it look that much more natural.

I actually enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it if you aren't really one of those who really give 'originality' and 'intelligence' too much thought.

Sania Mirza : Asian Hero

Sania Mirza
"India's rebel tennis star
," as Sania Mirza is referred to in the latest issue of the Time Asia, becomes the second Indian sports person after Virender Sehwag to feature in the list of Time Magazine's Asia's Heroes 2005.

From Time Asia:
When tennis' latest star made the third round of the U.S. Open last month, she showed up at a post-match press conference in a T-shirt that read: "I'm cute? No shit." That—and her court play—certainly got her noticed. Suddenly, India's Sania Mirza was the tournament's "most popular player" (Reuters), whose "racket bag was sagging with the weight of a country's expectations" (New York Times). "Her diamond-studded nose ring" was one clue Mirza was not "your typical teenage prodigy," wrote USA Today, which also spotlighted her "smashmouth ground strokes and go-for-broke style."
And, just in case you haven't yet noticed, this blog finally features a picture of her!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Blogging unltd.

Yesterday night, the enginerd and the moron were discussing about some interesting new professions that have come to demand serious attention due to the way the web is being redefined. The ones that came to our minds immediately were SEO and Blogging. Where my friend was completely gungho about blogging, I remain skeptical to plain Blogging as a profession. I do realize that there are people like Scoble and Jason, but still, there aren't all that many who are 'only' Bloggers. Plus, there is always the chance to be dooced!

By the way, here's Dilbert on how to get fired for blogging!

Monday, October 03, 2005

What I did today

OK. This is a title lifted straight of a blog that I stumbled upon while clicking on the Blogger Next Blog button. And, in a way, the title actually paves way for this post, but it may be misleading as I intend to write only about what I did this evening. And please do not worry, for this post should not be an indicator that the enginerd weblog is turning into a crappy I slept... I woke up... I ate ... kind of a blog.

'Web Services' has been the talk around the campus for quite sometime, atleast in my circle of people. For some, it is only because of the assignment (of which they unjustifiably make heavy weather of,) and for some others, it is only because of their quest to impress our Professor who called this big shot from IBM Research wing to deliver a lecture on Selection of 3rd Party Web Services and all. Somehow, it was a stark contrast to some of the earlier invited lectures, this one was really impressive and with our knowledge in the field, very informative. I cant recall attending a session so interesting in the recent past.

Someone told me once that a person's attitude is best judged by his attitude on a sports field. And that is exactly what I experienced on the volleyball court today. I could see some people playing the game all tensed up, overkeen on winning, thereby making it a pressure-cooker scenario. The end result: they ended up making too many unforced mistakes, blabbering excuses, complaining and blaming all around them. Sportsmanship certainly wasn't the order off the hour.

Apple and the iPod Nano

When a company responds the way Apple has done to its iPod Nano fragility issue, it is bound to do some serious damage to its reputation.
“This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units,” said Schiller. “In fact, this issue has affected less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the total iPod nano units that we’ve shipped. It is not a design issue.”
This is certainly one time Microsoft guys would be cheering for Apple, only hoping for them to just mess it all up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Up in smokes

Usually I and the act of smoking do not get along very well. But for the past few days, as I suddenly realize, it is not very hard to find a smoke not too far from me. And it is not that I crave for it or anything like that, but with a cigarette ever so ubiquitous in the residence hall, plus surrounded by hard core smokers always keen on lighting up, you just can't help it!!!
I ought to do something about it, though. Too much of passive smoking ain't good.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Noodles Commercial to be shot in Space

From Boston News:

Ramen-noodles.deviantart.comThe makers of Japan's favorite instant ramen noodles will soon be airing a commercial that's truly out of this world.

Starting next month, Nissin Food Products Co. will film a promotional spot on the International Space Station for Cup Noodle, featuring a sales pitch by a hungry Russian cosmonaut.

The commercial will air in Japan in November as part of Nissin's "Cup Noodle No Border" campaign, according to a statement Wednesday by Japan's space program, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.

Space Films, a venture business set up by JAXA that specializes in space images, will send a high-definition camera to the space station aboard a Russian rocket launch Oct. 1 and direct the filming from Russia's Mission Control Center outside Moscow, JAXA said.


Three (almost four now) straight all-nighters, with only a few hours of sleep thrown in between the days, and yet I am unable to sleep. If someone was really keen on looking out for 'signs', I wonder what would this count as?

But with assignments taking their toll on me and with my procratinatinating streak, in this supposedly "easy-going" semester, I couldn't blame anybody. Perhaps what I need is a time capture device to store away this wasted time that I could release anytime later and put it to some good use, say sleeping.

The past week, the only thing that I had done remotely close to my academics was a Graphics assignment with OpenGL and stuff. And I was shocked to see a note from the Teaching Assistant which stated his inability to execute the 'C' Code. Apparently, I have to mail him the entire workspace, something that I find absolutely ridiculous. Just how difficult is it to set up a workspace and execute the code. To make things real bad, I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be evaluated with the dreaded "Late submission tag!"

And with another week starting, I can already see myself slaving away for the most part of it. Even before I begin most of the stuff, I am quite sure to fail the deadlines on almost half of them all. First on the priority list has to be the work that I am doing on the internationalization of a couple of web services with Websphere BI server and with my partner taking the GRE on the 30th of this month, it couldn't have been worse. Then there's a marketing analysis to be done. The list goes on, only I don't feel that it is making any worthy weblog content at all. And so, this blog entry is closed here, officially.

Now, I will just aimlessly wander around the web clicking on the next blog button on Blogger, read some emails over and over again, only to think of all this tomorrow afternoon as useless procrastination and thinking that the time should have been rather spent sleeping.

[Update: Seeing the title of this post, I realize that I had intended to write something entirely different than what I have written here. Such is the wandering mind. ]

Still here?

I cant believe you are all still here. I have been way too busy the past week and now with things cooling off a bit, I surely will be blogging more regularly.For now, I need to catch some sleep...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Case Sensitive E-mail Addresses

Not often do I post two entries here in quick succession that completely stump me. The earlier one about Mozilla Browsers being more vulnerable than IE and now this whole thing about the email address being case sensitive.

New York Times says:
The domain-name portion of the e-mail address - the part after the @ sign - is not case -sensitive, but the first part of the address may need to be typed in exactly as given. This rule is explained in RFC 2821, the document laying out Internet e-mail standards, found at
This certainly is news to me. I never had thought that my username was case sensitive. Apparently, in most cases they aren't. The RFC2821 states:
The local-part of a mailbox MUST BE treated as case sensitive. Therefore, SMTP implementations MUST take care to preserve the case of mailbox local-parts. Mailbox domains are not case sensitive. In particular, for some hosts the user "smith" is different from the user "Smith".
But then, I am not the only one who remains in this blissful state of ignorance. Hundreds of thousands of management aspirants who filled out the CAT application forms to India's premiere B-schools just last month would have noted that the email address field had only uppercase options!

Mozilla browsers more vulnerable than IE

According to a Symantec Report, Mozilla Browsers are MORE vulnerable than Internet Explorer.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Professionalism Redefined for Software Engineers

[Redefining] software engineering professionalism with the following objectives:
  1. a professional programmer picks a worthwhile problem to attack; we are engineers, not scientists, and therefore should attempt solutions that will solve real user problems
  2. a professional programmer has a dedication to the end-user experience; most computer applications built these days are Web applications built by small teams and hence it is now possible for an individual programmer to ensure that end users aren't confused or frustrated (in the case of a programmer working on a tool for other programmers, the goal is defined to be "dedication to ease of use by the recipient programmer")
  3. a professional programmer does high quality work; we preserve the dedication to good system design, maintainability, and documentation, that constituted pride of craftsmanship
  4. a professional programmer innovates; information systems are not good enough, the users are entitled to better, and it is our job to build better systems
  5. a professional programmer teaches by example; open-source is the one true path for a professional software engineer
  6. a professional programmer teaches by documentation; writing is hard but the best software documentation has always been written by programmers who were willing to make an extra effort
  7. a professional programmer teaches face-to-face; we've not found a substitute for face-to-face interaction so a software engineering professional should teach fellow workers via code review, teach short overview lectures to large audiences, and help teach multi-week courses

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Rent A Guest

As I read this, I'll have to say that it cannot get any more innovative(weird?) than a rent-a-guest agent.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Short Notes

And just as this hiatus comes to an end, I'd like to let all know that this was not a result of mundanity. Things were moving at quite a pace and yet, somehow didn't fall into the category of weblog content.

India finally managed to win something at Cricket. Defeating Zimbabwe by an innings and 90 runs may not be the achievement one would be envied for, but with the way our royalty (read star cricketers) have been performing, I'd say it does classify a bit into something worth getting deliriously happy for.

More Cricket. England finally finally claimed the Ashes. The whole Aussie outfit surrendered to the Flintoff-Pieterson duo in a manner none would have predicted at the beginning of the series. And while this made some ecstatic, one cant simply admire the way the Aussies threatened to turn it all around, all on the last day.

I have officially reached the conclusion that there cannot be made a movie that actually bores me.

Gates on Google:
[Google] have this slogan that they are going to organize the world's information. Our slogan is that we are going to give people tools to let them organize the world's information.
And finally, this site needs a new template. I have been thinking about it for a while now and I might just sit down and finally stop procrastinating.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Much ado about Doodle. Thumbs down to Google

I have been doodling during classes all through my high school and the habit has hardly betrayed me in the University. And yet, ever so cruelly, none of my doodles seem to have made ANY impact at all, especially when you compare them with the ones by Gates at Davos or by Ofir at Israel!

And, MSN Search rocks! I had to dig out this link about Gates and Davos Doodles which I had posted way back in the beginning of the year. Apparently, the BloggerBar (powered by Google) at the top of this blog is supposed to search this Blog. But it yielded NOTHING.

Google search for the keywords "Gates doodles enginerd" returned exactly Two (2) results which were way off target.

And then I tried MSN Search. The same keywords. Four results:
The first: Link to the exact Post.
The second:
Link to the-enginerd's February archives.

MSN Search just found a new fan!

Blog Day 2005

Blog DaySeptember 1, 2005. Thousands of Bloggers yesterday could be seen linking to their blogkins celebrating the BlogDay 2005. Prasoon, an avid Blogger told our correspondent about how the date 3108 (August 31st) reads like the word "Blog".

Our correspondent traced the history of Blog Dayback to June 21, 2005 when Nir Ofir posted about it on his blog on the same date. It has been learnt from reliable sources that Mr. Ofir had, in fact, noticed the resemblance between "3108" and "Blog" while doodling at the first Blog conference that was held in Israel.

-TheEnginerd News Service

Monday, August 29, 2005 : Mouse Gestures for the click

Vanessa Tan has this link to a wonderful new experiment in User Interface Design promising click-free navigation.

The Institute for Interactive Research is apparently trying to study the "change in the behaviour of navigation" and whether the missing click has any "influence on our perception of the interface."

The website has three new buttons for you to experiment. The replacement of the traditional 'click' in the three buttons is as follows:

Button 1: Activating the button by wiping the mouse from left to right or right to left over it.
Button 2: The button is activated by moving the mouse pointer in a circular motion around it.
Button 3: The button has a self activating timer. To activate, keep your mouse pointer over it for a few seconds.

I find the second idea of moving the mouse pointer in a circular manner over the button extremely appealing. The other two have obvious disadvantages.

The 'wipe' that activates the first button requires that the origin and termination of the mouse movement stays on the button. So, my "flick of the wrist" has to ensure that the mouse moves just the perfect distance. Not too much, because it will move outside the button; and not too less, because then the button wont get activated. This requires extreme caution on the user's part, making life miserable for him. Also, as the website itself states, the user may accidentally activate a link by unintentionally moving the mouse over it.

The third button that has a self activating timer is certain to significantly increase the surfing time. Plus the fact that since most web designers haven't read 'Don't Make Me Think', a considerable number of users simply are unsure whether they really should be activating the particular link or not.

Be sure you check their website out. It is simply too much fun to be missing out. And yes, these are really wonderful experiments in interface design.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

No word-verification!

By the way, if you haven't yet observed, Blogger word verification is still disabled here on the comments. You are all too precious to be bothered.

Friday, August 26, 2005

New MSN Homepage Beta

My friend remarked about living on Earth Beta. Apparently every software that he was using at the moment was Beta: Be it the Messenger1 or Messenger2, or the latest Visual Studio Beta 2.

As if that was not enough, I came across this MSN Homepage Beta First look and you'll get the feeling that you've stumbled upon the Yahoo! Homepage. I dont like the fact that they are doing away with the sidebar and the blue theme!!!