May 022011
 

A quick post here to help folks who get stuck while installing WAMP server on Windows PCs that has SQLServer or IIS installed.

I downloaded WAMP server to test some PHP scripts locally and to my surprise it wouldn’t start! It would just show an orange icon in the Notification Bar and browsing to http://localhost wouldn’t bring up the index.php page.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t running IIS on this machine. I use the Cassini to test ASP.net pages. Running netstat –ano dumped all the network connections that were open on my system.

Active Connections

  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State           PID
  TCP    0.0.0.0:80             0.0.0.0:0              LISTENING       4

Interesting. There is something listening on PORT 80 with PID = 4. Let’s examine what it is.

Launched Task Manager, made sure the PID is selected from View –> Select Columns and also clicked on “Show processes from all users”

image

A system process running under system account is listening on port 80! I suspect it is the SQL Server Reporting Services that is causing the problem, but I didn’t bother to verify. Why?

I figured out it would be easier to configure Apache to run on a different port!

Click on Wamp icon is the task bar, under Apache, select httpd.conf to open the Apache Configuration page in Notepad.

You should see text similar to this:

# Change this to Listen on specific IP addresses as shown below to
# prevent Apache from glomming onto all bound IP addresses.
#
#Listen 12.34.56.78:80
Listen 80

Modify the uncommented line and choose a different port, I chose 8081

Listen 8081

Voila! Restart all services and you should now see a green faced happy WAMP icon in the system tray!

Mar 062011
 

Do you see status updates in Facebook from only select few people? All the time? Do not fret, your other friends haven’t blocked you from seeing their status updates nor have they abandoned Facebook and become a monk.

Thanks to a new ‘feature’ introduced by Facebook which of course they decided to set as default.

Show posts from: Friends and pages you interact with most

This feature had led me to believe only a few of my friends were actually active on Facebook! Thanks to Reddit, I got to know about this and changed my setting to Show posts from all my friends and pages!

Here is how you can do it too!

1. In the Facebook Landing page, click on Most Recent

2. If you are in the ‘Most Recent’ page,  drop down menu will be activated next to the text which says Most Recent.

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3. Choose Edit Options

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4. Check if your setting looks like the image below Show posts from: Friends and pages you interact with most

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5. If Yes, change it to Show posts from: All of your friends and pages

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That’s it! You should now see updates form all your friends.

PS: I still do not understand how facebook decides what is top news and what is not, If you do, please let me through your comments!

Dec 132010
 

I could have as well titled my post “How to add your manager on face book and still manage to have a life! :)

What do you do when one of your colleagues at work or your manager asks “Do you have a facebook account?” I have seen replies ranging from “What’s facebook?” to “Let me send you an invite right away!” however, when somehow they do find you and send a friend request, you can’t deny that you have a face book account and suddenly face book becomes less interesting. You cannot rant about your workplace or put up inappropriate status updates. I am not against being responsible in the social media, just that a few friends and colleagues from your college or workplace should not make you think thrice before you share something on facebook.

Enough prologue, coming to the point, I will show you today how you can separate, or should I say categorize friends on face book so that you can add all your colleagues from work without worrying. It helps when you want certain updates to be visible to certain group of people, say relatives, friends, work, college, what have you!

In the right hand top corner on your facebook page, choose account and click on privacy settings and go to Custom.

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Although you have a lot of settings which you can change here, posts and pictures are of particular interest to us.

image

Click on customize again and hide all your status updates from people in your “Work” list.

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Now how do I add users to a specific list? Click on account > Edit Friends and create a new list. Categorize your friends according to your preference. With this combination, you can decide who sees what on face book.

Now, if you want to share something with everyone including your professors, colleagues and your neighbor’s dog – make sure you click on the small padlock button when you are posting and choose “everyone”

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As you can see, Everyone is my default privacy setting! If you have followed my instructions, you should “custom’” in bold which needs to be overridden here.

Hope this helps all my friends who were skeptical of adding their friends from work or college solely for this reason.

Please leave a comment if this post helped you in some small way.

PS: For people who are doubting my motivation to put up this post – Luckily, I have a cool manager and he was on my friends list well before face book beefed up its privacy settings :P

Dec 092010
 

google_docs_logo I have multiple machines at work and my work involves copying text from one machine and pasting it another application. There are multiple internal and external tools available to do this, however, all of them tend to fail. Sometimes, the application accesses the clipboard of the same machine where it should have ideally accessed the other machine’s clipboard.
Although I am not a heavy user of Google docs, I like how people can collaborate in real time on Google Docs and thought “Hey, you don’t need 2 or more people to collaborate, let me make my 2 machines collaborate”.

Here’s how you can use Google Docs as a shared clipboard

  1. Open Google docs on machine 1
  2. Open a new blank document and save it as say, “Shared Clipboard”
  3. Open Google docs on machine 2 using the same credentials, of course.

Voila, you are done. Now paste anything in machine 1, you can access it on machine 2 and vice versa.

Apr 142010
 

When I got to know from a tweet that Rashmi Bansal has launched a new book and the author signed copies were available, I immediately ordered one for myself.

There are many reasons why I thought this book would be a good read:

  • I like the author’s previous book – Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
  • I was thrilled to know that Kalyan Varma, an alumnus of my college is featured in the book.
  • ‘Connect the dots’ – a very catch title for me. It is good to know that both her titles are inspired from Steve Jobs speech at Stanford In fact I am so inspired by this speech, that I have dared to put this up at my desk  (Imagine Steve Jobs’ quote with his picture, in a Microsoft campus!)

This book is very similar to her previous book “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. It is also a collection of mini biographies of people who have made it big, bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. The only difference being the fact that this book is filled with exciting awe inspiring stores of people who have made it big without an MBA degree whereas the previous one features only individuals from the coveted IIM-A.

The stories/interviews are long enough to quench your curiosity and inspire you and short enough to make sure you don’t get bored. Each story ends with a section on “Advice to Young Entrepreneurs” which by itself makes a good handbook for people who want to get their hands dirty, starting on their own.

It is very surprising to read about the variety of backgrounds the featured personalities have come from, and more so the events or ‘dots’ that have led them to where they are today. True to its title, every story unravels the dots which none of them  could have connected looking forward but makes a lot of sense when retrospected.

The ‘too=hard-to-believe’ twists and turns in the lives of these people is just mind blowing. It just shows that the Dhirubhai Ambani kind of stories is neither glorified nor is it a one in a billion kind.

Rashmi Bansal has done an amazing job in keeping the language desi which has become an interesting trend with modern Indian authors. A must-have book in the library of every budding entrepreneur.

Sep 192009
 

Google’s Gtalk is a bit confusing right now. Some features which are available on the web client (read Gmail) aren’t available on the Desktop Client. You can’t be invisible and receive files from your friend!

You can’t talk to your friend and have a group chat at the same time! It’s ridiculous.

GoogleTalkLogo_1

I wonder if people use Gtalk only because it logs you on automatically when you check your mails on Gmail!

Though I like the web based client, the desktop client never ceases to irritate me.

1.  Show current music track -

If I try to set my status message to ‘Show current music track’. It crashes! I know it doesn’t happen to everyone, but I know a lot of folks who are facing the same nuisance. This happens if you are using a Media Player which is not Windows Media Player, iTunes or Winamp (with some tweaks).

2.  Sending a receiving files

If am logged on to the web client and on to the Desktop client at the same time. I cannot receive files! Closing the Gmail window doesn’t help too. This is highly irritating, and is miraculously solved when I relogin in the desktop client. So much for ease of use!

3. Group chat

People who have been using the Desktop Client only will not have an idea what I am talking about. It’s true you can have a Group chat in Gtalk, but it’s only using the web client. You get an invitation to join a conference and the group chat opens in a new chat window. It’s quite useful sometimes, but why not have it in the desktop client!!

4.Enable  Video chat in desktop edition

Google had recently introduced Video chat on the web client, but not on the desktop client! Weird… It should have been the other way round

5.  Organize Contacts -

I wonder why this never occurred to Google. The labels feature in Gmail is very creative, why not create a similar thing for contacts. I hate to see a long list of contacts in Gtalk. Yahoo and Live Messenger have had similar feature since a very long time. Why hasn’t Google given much thought towards it?

I agree it fairs high on the ease of use and simplicity aspects, but add a little more productivity to this and this will one day become one of the best IMs.

6. Set as Invisible -

This was a killer feature when it was first introduced in other Instant Messengers. Again, this feature is available in the browser edition of gtalk but sadly not in the client application. Yahoo actually goes a step further where in you can appear invisible (kinda oxymoron :P) to select few of your friends.

7. Rich Text Format text area -

RTF allows you to express yourself better. Again, most other IMs have it, why not Gtalk?

Do you have any feature in mind which could enrich your experience with Gtalk? Discuss in the comments section.

Sep 052009
 

It was 1998 when I first entered the world of Internet. My first email id on netaddress.com and to visit the WWF (now WWE) website. Since then, I have come across a lot of logos, designed some – using Fireworks, Flash and what not. I will tell you some of the things which I have learned in the process.

First of all, some of the really good looking ones are not ‘efficient’..and some really ‘efficient’ ones are not all that attractive..

There are some sites like logolabsLogoworks and others who will design logo drafts for you at a cost of around $100. The samples on some of the premium logo design sites will definitely astound any prospective client. But, in the end it all boils down to an unique font accompanied occasionally by a graphic.

Some logos have a story behind the way it is designed, say Amazon where the orange arrow from A to Z indicates everything is available and also looks like a smile. It’s good to have a ‘meaningful’ logo, but not all logos need to have an inner meaning.

Some Popular Logos

Some Popular Logos

If you are a careful observer, you must have observed that logos of most successful corporations are designed to be very simple. Still it makes a huge impact. You don’t want your corporate logo to look like a name of some rock band. Do you?
Major Corporations like HP, Microsoft, Oracle, Xerox, Nike, Jockey and others have very simple looking logos, yet it makes a strong impression on you. Even top Game producing companies like EA, and animation companies like Pixar and Dreamworks have simple logos.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while designing a corporate logo :

  • Use simple fonts : Some complex looking fonts might impress you at first, but keep in mind that your logo must be displayed and printed on a variety of items. e.g., Font like Times New Roman looks good when printed, but is not so readable on a computer screen. A company’s logo must go on a letterhead, business cards and other printed material as well as on display media such as Computer and TV screens. So go for a fonts which look good on both.
  • Use Vector Graphics: If your logo draft is hand drawn, try to make a vector replica of it. You can use tools like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or even Photoshop to achieve the same. Using a vector graphic has one BIG advantage. Your logo can be upscaled or downscaled to any proportion without losing clarity. This becomes very important when you put up your logo on large banners or hoardings.
  • Use a high resolution : Most image editing software lets you define a Resolution in Pixels Per Inch. This is very important if you can’t create a vector replica of your logo and choose to use non-vector version. A high resolution ensures that your logo doesn’t look pixellated when enlarged or when printed on paper. Generally 72 PPI is recommended for graphics which are used exclusively on the web which is seldom the case. Anything above 600 PPI will make your image look crystal clear when printed with a high quality printer.
  • Use minimum colors: A colorful logo might appear very attractive when viewed on a computer, but has serious drawbacks. Imagine you choose to order t-shirts or coffee mugs with your logo embroidered or printed. Use of minimum and easily reproducible colors will make your life much easier. If possible, try to design a monochrome logo which looks good on a variety of backgrounds.
    Also, if the color of the logo matches with the background, it is advisable to go for the inverted-version of your logo.
    By inverted I mean to say – If your current design is in white, make it black and vice versa. Technically if the color of your logo is (R,G,B), the inverted logo color will be (255-R, 255-G, 255-B).

You can get a good collection of free fonts from dafont, Urban fonts and Free Fonts. Also here is a link to top 100 most popular professional fonts by Just Creative Design.

Hope these small tips help you. Please leave a link to your logo, if you happen to design one after reading this article.

-Sriranga

Aug 222009
 

For most of us, a Search engine is the gateway to internet. We rely on it for day to day tasks. Thanks to search engines, we need not remember a plethora of domain names; a few words which you can remember from a site is all that is needed to take you to the right site.

A large population of internet users seldom click any link other than the first one the search engine throws at them. Some of them go further and explore the next page, and rarely does anyone go beyond the 3rd of 4th page. I was always wondering why Google says it found some millions of results as people are never interested in viewing the 1000th results let alone the millionth one. I was wondering why they’re waste computational resources on indexing data no one would ever use.

Today, I tried a little experiment. I searched for Apple on Google. It returned a whopping 340 Million results!! Whew.. Then I tried accessing the 2nd page.. I noticed there is an attribute which is seen in the address bar called Start, which changes for every page. e.g., for the 2nd page the PageStart value is 10, which actually says show results starting from the 10th page which is quite logical.

The URL looks something like this

http://www.google.co.in/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&safe=off&q=apple&start=10&sa=N&fp=2b0cc07f38284dd0

I tried changing the number for 10 to 2000 to see the 201st page, but I was in for a surprise -

Sorry, Google does not serve more than 1000 results for any query. (You asked for results starting from 2000.

Here it is, Google can’t serve you results exceeding 1000 for any query! So the first question which was haunting my head was resolved..

I wanted to play around with Google more, so I tried giving another value – this time 640 to see if I actually get redirected to the 65th page.

http://www.google.co.in/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&safe=off&q=apple&start=650&sa=N&fp=2b0cc07f38284dd0

Above is the URL I tried in my browser. It said “ Results 431437 of about 340,000,000 for apple”

Results 431437 of about 340,000,000 for apple

And it is now on page 49! Results 431- 437 should ideally be on page 42, moreover it should have actually displayed results 650-660. After all it has 340M results and it has no problem displaying upto 1000 results for any query.

Why is this anomaly present in Google? It is not specific to this search term alone. I have tried it with different search terms and all the time I see such anomaly.In some cases, clicking on the next page reloads you the same page.

All of the following URLs differ in the Start property but all point to the same page. Also you can see that the page number which is highlighted in each case. Though different numbers are highlighted in each case, we get to see the same result page everytime!!!

http://www.google.co.in/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&safe=off&q=microsoft&start=450&sa=N&fp=2b0cc07f38284dd0

Go to the above URL and click on the next page (46). You will land up on the same page again! This anomaly differs with each keyword!

I don’t understand why this anomaly exists. If anyone has a clue about this, please let me know through comments.
Also, please share with me if you find any such anomalies in other search engines too!

RNG

Mar 042009
 

Long time since I watched any movie, so I thought I would watch one tonight. Cleaned my headphones, adjusted the tilt of my monitor, got something to eat and bang! The power went off!!

There I go, jobless again.

There is a funny fellow who is a family friend of mine. He hails from a village in Belgaum and is a very good craftsman. He is avidly religious and a hobby astrology and numerology consultant. Many a people ask him about their fate. Poor guy, very innocent, doesn’t even charge money for consulting. I KNOW. He has a lot of followers, people in really great positions seeking his consultation.

He is all set to go back home tomorrow and some relatives of mine wanted to make ‘best use’ of this bitti opportunity. They were asking all sort of questions. Will X get married? Will my son pass exams? Will I make more money?

This was happening in the open space next to room. That explains why I was all set to start watching movie !!

Now there is no power and I went out to get a glimpse of the moonlight. I was shocked to see people actually making him read their fate in, no not moon light-it wasn’t so bright today anyway; but ‘mobile-light’..I was curious, wanted to know how this guy does it.

He gets your lucky number(X) from your name. (In Hindu Religion, the syllable your name starts with has got to do something with the timestamp :P of your birth), asks you to choose a number(Y) from an 2 dimensional array printed on a book. It is in some weird fashion. Could not identify the pattern, and the whole book is written in Marathi

There are only a finite set of questions you can ask. Finite>300 atleast. It covers almost all  common types. Now X +Y+(question index) will act as a primary key to list of sentences. These sentences are very vague, some examples which I heard.Excuse me for poor translation.

Actually you need to choose 3 numbers in the second step(the matrix one). So eventually you will get your fate as 3 sentences. Examples are shown below.

1. This work will be done..

2. This work will be successful only if you firmly believe in it (So revealing)!

3.You should not neglect god, and pray to him/her/it daily.

4.Many obstacles in the course of work, you should plan carefully.

5. Your friends will help you with this..

6. You should work hard/put effort to achieve whats there in your mind.

and the list goes on..

Now I got a blur idea as to how this whole thing works..But, mind you, the consultant himself doesn’t have a clue. For him, it is the book of fate, he is innocent and he just wants to help people. He gets joy and happiness when someone comes back to him after a few days/months and tells him what he had told earlier was true.

Now, do this..Think of any question. Don’t you think most of the statements in my short incomplete list, can serve as an answer to your question?

The power cuts are for an hour. I still had 30 mins before I could start wasting my time online. I had a wild idea, why not ask him something related to me.

I first asked him if he could tell me about my past. He said, he can only tell the future. Past is  past you see..damn, I cannot prove him wrong here by asking something about my past, events regarding which I was certain of.

Now, I am left with nothing but the future. I thought of asking about my immediate future. Something which is very probable. I asked him if I will pass in my exams.

I have never failed even in a single subject my entire life. Somehow I have managed to scrape through engineering, even managed to get a few distinctions.. and I am in my final semester now..With only 4 subjects, no labs, a seminar and a project, my chances of failing are very bleak. Touch wood. :P

He made me touch/select 3 numbers from that 2-D array. I chose some random number there.

Here were my predictions :

1.This work will be done. I will pass. Yeah baby. No more worrying about HOD detaining me for shortage of attendance.( Yeah, that’s one of the ways I could have failed)

2. Things will move very smoothly : In other words, exam paper will be easy. Good news for some of you readers as well :P

3. I should start believing more in God : I was shocked. I asked him to read the actual marathi script. I felt he was not faking. Even the number was right. He had calculated that number (key) properly, I double checked. How in the world could that book know I didn’t believe in god?!? But then, there was this word ‘more’ there. Now that becomes quite generic. Right? even the most god fearing and religious person can still believe more in god right. Belief is never complete.

I was a little confused after this episode, should I really start believing in god?

Then my mom came to my rescue, she asked me what kind of wife I would get and something about my marriage ;)

The same routine continues, I started picking random numbers. I am such a prick, I chose 0000 (all zeroes). He asked me to pick again somewhy. I did as he requested me to.

The following prediction blew me away.

1. Very high chance of work(karya) getting started this year itself :

He understood the ‘inner’ meaning of it and explained to me that I have a high chance of getting married this year itself. Now this was enough to doubt the correctness of the book. There is no way I am gonna get married this year. I was wondering what the hell is he talking. Can’t he see I am still a young boy :) Then he asked my age, I told him 21.ahh.. Now he was in a fix.

Clever guy, he told me that now I have  – I don’t have the right english word-
excuse me for sounding a bit techy here; my marriage window open! Ok, I was like OK I am 21, my marriage window is surely open. 2 more sentences, more fun.

2. Your friends will help you in this work - Why wouldn’t they? Right? :)

3. This work will be done within 2 years – Ahh, not again. Not even in my dreams I will get married so soon. I knew this was flawed. I was wondering how it could even give such nice answers. Only then did I realize that all these statements are very generic, and can be interpreted based on your convenience.

My fan started running. Modem LEDs started blinking and I started blogging.

The point to take home today is that – Our forefathers were not so stupid, stupid but not so stupid :) It takes a lot of time, patience, intelligence and knack to build such a huge list of generic answer which will fit as a valid answer to any question. Kudos to them.

I have a similar feeling about Astrology too. I respect their mathematics a lot. Their calculations have been very precise. Panchanga is a master piece, but they should have stopped at that. Not go around making a connection between transit of venus and the fate of a poor earthling. And also go to an extent of calling it science.

Before I make more comments which could potentially lead to flame war, I am signing off. Hope you didn’t mind my long post.

Feb 172009
 

I have tried a lot of operating systems in the past few years. I used to run only Fedora for quit some time. Windows XP for some 2 years, dual booting with Ubuntu, and recently only windows XP.

I installed Windows7beta on my comp, 64 bit edition that too, only to find I don’t have drivers for network adapter or sound card.
I have a Nvidia Ethernet Controller and a Yamaha powered sound card.

Today, I wanted a fresh install of Windows XP because my previous version of Windows was taking too much space on my hard disk. I installed a fresh copy of Windows XP, only to find that I need drivers for my ethernet card again!! Damn..I searched for my motherboard CD in a very bad shape. No wonder, I was unable to install drivers from it.

And yeah, don’t ever install XP over Win7, always do it the other way round. I am not able to find my boot manager after I installed XP!

I went to a cybercafe to download drivers. 120 MB!, and I got horrible speeds in the cuber cafe 8KBps!! Got really irritated.

Somehow it flashed to my mind that I had downloaded Ubuntu 8.04 sometime back and had burned it onto a CD! Voila, I booted through the Live CD, and watta surprise my internet connection on Linux works without any additional driver! Never had I dreamt that a day would come where I had to boot into Linux to download drivers for XP!! Good job there folks.

I am writing this blog booting from the Live CD. I must admit, the experience on the Live CD is mind boggling. Not for a moment did I feel it is a ‘Live’ OS. Very quick respone, every application works fine.No lags whatsoever. I am surprised!! The last time I used Live CD, my experience was not quite so pleasant. Some issue with my DVD drive and it would take forever to load, I guess it is fixed in the later versions of Ubuntu.

Now, I have fallen in love with Ubuntu again, planning to triple boot WinXP, Win7beta and Ubuntu.

Waiting for clock to tick 2, so that I can download my drivers.. Yawn Yawn..