Monthly Archive: July 2005

MCAD certification

I might have to soon be a Microsoft Certified Application Developer. (MCAD) . My company is kind of sponsoring this. :). Its a good thing.

To get the MCAD certification, one has to clear 2 core exams, and 1 elective exams. The individual exams make you a MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional.

I would mostly be taking up the following exams :

Core Exams :

  • Exam 70-305 – Developing and Implementing Web Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic® .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET
  • Exam 70-310 – Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework

Elective :

  • Exam 70-229 – Designing and Implementing Databases with Microsoft SQL Server™ 2000 Enterprise Edition

Yesterday we had a boot-camp for the 70-305 exam at office. And we had mock test took. Kind of ok. Manageable. Most of the participants cleared the mock test at the end of the boot-camp. Next is the real exam.

Wish me luck ;)

Copy – Paste in real life

Came across this mail forward today. Would like to share it over here…


Not too long ago, a large seminar was held for ministers and reverends in training. Among the facilitators were many well-known motivational speakers.One such speaker boldly approached the pulpit and, gathering the entire crowd’s attention, said, “The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman who wasn’t my wife!”. The crowd was shocked! He followed up by saying,”That woman was my mother!” The crowd burst into laughter and he gave his speech, which was well received.

About a week later, one of the ministers who had attended the seminar decided to use that joke in his sermon. As he shyly approached the pulpit one sunny Sunday, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head. It was a bit foggy to him. Getting to the microphone he said loudly, “The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman who was not my wife!”

His congregation sat shocked, murmuring. After standing there for almost 10 seconds trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurted out “…and I can’t remember who she was!”

Moral of the story: Don’t copy if you can’t paste.


Fully agree with the moral of the story! :)

Yahoo Mail – Advance Search Bug ?

Well, I discovered this problem a month back. Reported it to yahoo customer care almost immediately. (could only find them after searching for some 15 mins). No response from customer care to date. So, let me put it up here.

Ok. This one is a minor bug, but is a major inconvenience. Not sure if this is specific to me only or to all. I have tested on Firefox browser only. Would be great if anyone can confirm this.

The Bug :
The problem is in the Advance Search feature, when you want to search only in specific folder. The search result returns mails from all folders, even when you have asked it to fetch results *only* from a specific folder.

Here is a screen shot :
Yahoo advance search bug
Advance Search Results – Click to zoom in. (opens up in a new window)

The above shows the results of a advance search I made with the following parameters :
“Search All Unread mails in the BlogComments folder”

Dissecting the above screen shot
Point 1 : Unread mails only (folder selected BlogComments)
Point 2 : BlogComments folder has 8 unread mails only
Point 3 : 236 results returned!!!
Point 4 : Shows results from all folders.

Clearly, someone has not done testing as per the test plans! May be they thought it was too trivial to test it!

or

Have I goofed up somewhere?

“….yavaag foreign ge?”

Got this one as a forward. Not sure who the original author is. If you know the original author, please let me know, so that I can give due credits!. (Update: Its by Jagadish)

This one is real hilarious, funny, and very close to reality – atleast for people in IT field, in Bangalore.


“….yavaag foreign ge?” (For non Kannada folks….this means when r u goin to foreign)

The familiar sentence is arguably one of the most frequently asked questions, losing only slightly to the even more grave one “…yavaag maduve?” (when marriage?) to someone who unluckily happens to be in the IT Industry and in Bangalore. There was never a better conversation topic for the older generation to suck every drop of blood the poor bloke manages to save despite working as a techie.

It’s a wave that everyone wants to be part of, and everyone wants to show they know. The word computer is now a house-hold name. A good relief for many topic starved aunties and uncles, but our poor techie gets stuck like a nail that’s half into the wood when its head decides to painfully break lose.

The popular following that IT has gotten in recent years has been more due to the lucrative travel, than what the techie believes is due to his work. This time it is the uncles who have the upper hand in making a conversation, owing to some ‘extra’ knowledge, thanks to ‘external’ contacts. Aunties resign to just asking “…yenappa computer aa?” (literally means “are u a computer?”, but it is supposed to be “Are you working in the IT field?” One must be ready to field a volley of smirks and barrage of questions, if the victim answers a “no”, though it would be the right answer for such a question. For if you are not part of the bandwagon, and then you’d rather term yourself a foolish old crackpot and be happy with that, than get a loathsome look from the omnipresent aunty.

IT has such a popular following here, most do not know what they are following, but just drift along to be ‘seen’. Our aunty gets into her form, and asks our techie, “you computer, my son also computer” …our techie, just out of a ctrl-alt-tab-enter, has no idea how to respond to this inhuman portrayal, by the aunty, of her son. He just smiles and says “wonderful aunty, which company?” and is hardly interested in what he hears. The aunty carries on. ” nun maga sapoo”…the indianised MNC becomes “sapoo” from SAP, while our techie replies back, “I work for GE”.aunty is a bit concerned on hearing that, and blurts out “is it a good company ? didn’t u get in infosys ?”…techie is at his wits end to explain; aunty is in no mood to understand. aunt’s techie son is blushing ear to ear.

while the general social understanding of an IT company hovers between Infosys and Wipro, some good souls give respect to “Vorakal” too. So aunties are generally happy if one is from any of these companies. The other companies will only mean a detailed interrogation about the techie’s academic credentials, past criminal record, if any, and a sure minus point as a prospective groom.

It is the conversation between aunties that is the funniest and amazingly astonishing. Recently one of my cousins went onsite, and I being the scape goat, who still ‘had’ to be in India, was the butt of all discussions.

aunty1: “foreign ge yaavaga ivnu hogodu?” (when is he going onsite?)
aunty2: “gothilla, innenu swalpa divsdalley hogthaaneno” (He might go in some days!)
aunty1: “hmmm…they say only brilliants (sic) are sent onsite”
aunty2: “that’s true!”

I was being murdered inch by inch, neat and clean. My reputation in tatters.

This is even bearable, but get this, if a techie manages to stumble on an onsite travel but is cancelled on that last millisecond, and then his future is doomed, for aunties will have a field day dissecting him and nailing him for not working well at the office. I have been most unfortunate in this case, so much so that if I had got a call to abort the travel 2 seconds later than what I got, I might have had to jump off the plane mid-air.

aunties started flowing in from early evening that day, some trying to stay oblivious of the situation, some trying hard to keep a straight face, and a few more giving their own versions of my story, which by the way I never told anyone!…well one aunty even had the nerve to ask me “did you have a fight with your manager?”. well I was kind enough to say “no aunty, project got scrapped “, only to realize that the aunty had no idea what a project meant, and instead pressed me to agree that I had indeed done some mistake…finally she let me go when I blurted out “my manager had a fight with the airlines”….well that was enough for me to roll over on the floor and laugh at her, despite the ‘humiliation’ of not going onsite.

uncles are not far off, and are ever more eager to learn ‘computers’. One uncle was particularly curious to know as to why we guys were paid for playing computer games !…apparently he was of this view after he had seen his 9 year old son only playing games on his newly bought comp. I knew better than to explain, so I told him that it was because if we won, the company would get money. uncle’s spirits rose, and in all probability he would have gone home and pestered his innocent 9 year old son to teach him to play games in the hopes of joining a IT company in future !

uncles are a little more “knowledgeable” though. One uncle came to me one day, when I made the suicidal mistake of attending a social gathering full of aunties and uncles, and asked me as to which company I worked for, and I answered him hoping he would stop there. however , uncle had no such intention and carried on ” yaav language ?”…though stunned, i replied back “c sharp uncle” …uncle’s face glowed and then he said ” nun maga Java , c# bidhoithanthey!” (My son works on JAVA, C sharp has long fallen from grace) ..In most uncles view, languages are like company shares, the value of which keeps fluctuating on an hourly basis.

Though salary is something of a sensitive issue, uncles don’t give didly-squat about that and continue questioning the techie on the same. I was ripped apart when i told my uncle that my gross was 25k, to which my uncle in suspended euphoria exclaimed that his son earned 2.5 lakh per month at onsite. Having no room to argue, i kept mum, when my uncle went off again “why don’t u ask your manager for a raise”…. I told him i would consider his advice and ask, though my manager was bit of a dragon, unlike my uncle’s son’s manger, who was a saint just short of a halo!

Even weirder is the funny way in which people take those mails managers send to techies and their team, as to the good work being done. one of my cousins who recently joined my company got such a mail from his manager, and he thought it was a good idea to take a print out and show it to his father, a folly he still regrets to this day. My uncle not only read the copy, but made a hundred photocopies and distributed it as pamphlets to his near and dear ones. My dad got one too, and i had to field some intense questioning at home, since i had not managed to get one such letter even once ! i had even gone to the extent of thinking about printing one on my own just to escape the ‘humiliation’.

while it’s often funny to listen to the weird misconceptions people have about IT, it gets irritating if it goes too far. It would be a boring place without the aunties and the uncles, but it would be a wonderful place, if they knew better than to draw conclusions about one’s work, of which they know so less about !


Attack of the Ants

The ants needed some hard disk space, and so, my hard disk was attacked by red ants last Friday.

Result : Hard disk conked off.

For the past couple of days, I could see some ants on my table. But never thought that they would get into the machine and take shelter inside the hard disk.

Everything was working fine till Friday morning. When i switched on my machine Friday night, the boot sequence was kind of abnormal. Scan-disk came up, and reported that some parts of my HDD weren’t readable, and was kind of stuck. Then I rebooted my machine, skipped scandisk, and managed to boot into windows. But it took around 30 mins to boot into windows. Damn slow. Knew something was wrong with the HDD. Rebooted again, and went into BIOS setup to detect HDD. In BIOS, things were behaving in a very unpredictable fashion. BIOS would detect the HDD sometimes and sometimes, on boot, i would get the message ‘Primary master failed’ etc. So, I decided to open up the PC and see whats up inside. Only to find that there were lot of ants right inside the HDD. :(

I have 2 HDD. Seagate (40 GB) and Maxtor(160GB). Both are stacked one about the other inside the cabinet. The ants were between these two HDD. Both the HDD’s were effected. But my primary HDD – Seagate was kind of damaged – may be bcoz of a short circuit. I immediately cleared off most of the ants that were outside. But there were ants inside too. i.e., between the PCB on the HDD and the sealed section of the HDD.

Took the hard disk /machine to the local vendor on Saturday, opened up the PCB of the HDD, cleared it. But the damage was already done to Primary HDD. :(.

Impact : Immediate and major impact was, lost the windows installation and some data. But nothing major that i can remember. So, i had to start from scrape on the other HDD. I am done installing all the basic stuff needed for day to day use.

Recovery : Luckily, the failed HDD (Seagate), was recognized by the BIOS. But there weren’t any partitions. I guess the partition table was damaged. Now, the recovery is on. I have managed to recover 3 out of the 4 partitions, and attempts are on to recover the last partition too. Some data is gone. But thats nothing to be worried about.

Reason : Not very sure what the reason is, but this is what my wild guess is. Its rainy season now, and is pretty cold outside. I keep my PC on for the whole night most of the days, and as a result, the HDD area is kind of Hottest spot in our room/house! So, i guess the ants sensed the warmth, and decided to take shelter over here.

Need to do a full fledged pest-control of my room/home. Now, no antivirus software can prevent this :). Can they ?

Don’t want ICICI folks to call you ?

Don’t want the ICICI bank folks call you and bug you about their products?
Try this link : http://www.inuonline.com/dnc/donotcall.asp (linked from the ICICI bank home page)

From the above link :

We respect your privacy, and appreciate if you do not want us to contact you over phone for any telemarketing activity. If that is so, you may use the Do Not Call form below to register your name and any of your phone number(s) that you want excluded from our calling lists.

This is a welcome move. Will have to wait and see if they will religiously follow it.

Do Not Call

Would be great if there is a nationwide central repository in India too which all the companies can adhere to. I guess, its already present in US.

Switched to ‘avast’ antivirus

Avast

Made a switch from Norton antivirus to Avast antivirus today. Norton was taking too much of resources. Clearly a bloatware. Wanted to switch for sometime now, but somehow it did not happen till now. Ok. Avast is from a company called Alwil software, and is pretty decent. Its free for home/personal use.

I had used avast antivirus for sometime a year ago. I had switched back to Norton antivirus to try out a new version of Norton antivirus – 2005, which was a nightmare. It made my 1.5GHz processor behave like a 400 MHz processor. So, again switched back to Norton 2003.

The latest version of avast is quite impressive. It managed to detect some adwares present in my memory on the first run. Norton antivirus never detected this adware!.

I also did a full system scan, and found that there were some Trojans too which were on my system. Clearly bypassing Norton antivirus.

Avast antivirus is quite responsive, fast. It auto updates its antivirus signatures. Apart from the standard in-memory scanner, it has modules to take care of p2p applications, IM’s, network access etc.

I have been running it for a while, and the performance of the system is pretty good.

More details/features available at the avast site.

Nokia 9300 Test Drive

Nokia 9300

Got hold of Nokia 9300 smartphone for a day. My uncle has bought this handset. He handed it over to me for a test drive / setup kind of stuff. Was experimenting with it for all the time today morning.

I always thought that my Nokia 6600 was kind of bulky, but after using this, i am kind of happy ;). This one is bigger, and heavier too. But it looks cool. Infact, it looks very professional. Kind of very high tech.

Ok. Coming to my observation…

The only major difference feature wise between nokia 9300 and nokia 6600 is the keyboard or keypad. Otherwise both the phones have more or less the same features, including most of the software (not all). 6600 has a camera/imaging functions. Nokia 9300 does not have it. Its cousin nokia 9500 has the camera too.

The screen is kind of too narrow. 640*200 (w*h). Like an tower. The aspect ratio is 3.2:1. On the other hand, nokia 6600 is 176*208 (h*w) pixels.

Nokia 9300 runs on Series 80 platform. The UI is pretty neat, but i found that it lacks consistency. Could have been better. And since it runs on a series 80 platform (s80) , the programs that run on s60, (i.e., nokia 6600) wont directly run on Nokia 9300. You have to find the appropriate versions.

I managed to get Smart Movie player, and Ultra MP3 for Nokia 9300. Ultra mp3 player rocks on 9300. But when it comes to smart movie player, the broad screen is of little use. Most of the screen is unused. I also installed some games on it. Clearly, 9300 is not a gaming machine.

One very good thing about nokia 9300 is the response time. The UI is pretty fast and responsive at most of the times compared to Nokia 6600. Also, lot of stuff is natively supported. For e.g., you can open word docs, spreadsheets, presentations etc. But in case of Nokia 6600, you need to add some additional software. The same is the case with MP3 playback. Also found that the bluetooth transfer works much faster with this phone. It rocks. Internal memory is 80 MB, which is one major plus point.

Nokia 9300, current cost in Bangalore/India – around 30K INR
Nokia 6600, current cost in Bangalore/India – around 11.5K INR

At the end of it, i am still happy with Nokia 6600 :) One major plus point about nokia 6600 is … there are tons of software already available for it, and its very popular, and affordable.