Monthly Archive: December 2005

Bye bye 2005, Hello 2006!

So, one more year comes to an end. And as always, it seems like this year tooo passed like a snap! That’s always the case. Time is relative! What say?

Well, for me, year 2005 has been full of ups and downs. So-So kinds. The major change for me this year was change in work. I.e., I moved from the education and research (e&r) department in our company to projects. And life in projects had been great so far. And in this short duration (in projects), I have learnt some new games. Both technical and non-technical! …. and the learning process is on. My earlier work in e&r is helping me a lot in projects. I feel that everyone in projects should be in teaching field (academia) for some short duration of time (at least 6 months!). It really helps.

On the technology front, the major change this year has been the web. Thanks to Firefox, I spend most of my time on the web-browser now. In other words, the web-browser has been my most used software.

On personal front, I have learnt a hard reality. I.e, not to bank on people who you think will be there for you. An the end of the day, every one is up to save their own ass (by whatever means possible)! In short, don’t expect, and be ready to face the worst. At the same time, I am happy about the fact that I have made lot of new friends and met some wonderful people this year. Both offline and online, and this blog has also been a key factor to that! On an average, as of now, I have around 70+ return visitors per day. Which I feel is pretty good.

So, this would my last post …. for the year 2005! Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous new year!

Google Result Pages – New Format ?

Just found that the Google result page format has changed! Specially while using IE. The change is not yet visible for Firefox. The links on top have moved to the left, and lot of space available on the right side of the screen (ads???).

Not sure how long this would last, may be Google could be doing some testing…… Anyway, here is as screen shot of the same…

Google result pages - New format
Click to Zoom

Can you see these changes too ?

USB 2.0 – Hi Speed Finally

USB 2.0 Logo
The world is getting faster by the day and USB is no exception. All the new USB devices are moving towards USB 2.0. With USB 2.0, the data is transferred at the rate of 480 Mbps (that’s Mega bits per second). Where as the earlier versions i.e., USB 1.1 (and 1.0), transferred data at the rate of mere 12 Mbps. And, 12 Mbps is way too slow.My motherboard at home, ASUS A7N266-VM has support for only USB 1.1. So, around a year back, I decided to go for a PCI to USB card, which would give me USB 2.0 ports. My vendor gave me a PCI to USB card which had a ALi chipset. I installed the card, but I never managed to get USB 2.0 working. No matter what I tried, it acted like USB 1.1. I tried reinstalling the drivers and tried all possible workarounds. But no matter what I did, the ports worked as if they were 1.1 ports. So, whenever I used to plug-in a USB 2.0 device (like my Sandisk Pen drive), windows would warn me that I have plugged in a Hi-speed device to a Low Speed port. :(. In fact, the problem continued after reinstalling windows (after the ants attack).

Finally, I posted this problem on one of the USB forums. And to my surprise, found that the ALi chipset cards are not very reliable, and are prone to problems!. The folks at the forum suggested that I replace the card with one that has NEC chipset. So, next, called up my vendor, and told him about this problem. Luckily, he offered me a replacement card. This time, it was a Intex PCI to USB card, with 4 (+1 internal) USB 2.0 ports. The Intex card was based on the VIA chipset. My vendor did not have any cards with NEC chipset.

I took this new Intex card home, removed my old card off the PCI slot, and plugged this card in (after clearing up the old drivers etc). Booted the machine. Windows detected the new card correctly (thanks to PnP!), and automatically installed some standard Microsoft drivers. And now…I have USB 2.0 ports. Now the data transfers are blazing fast!

Just to give you and Idea. .. Earlier it used to take around 12 to 14 mins to transfer 1 GB of data from PC to my Sandisk Pen drive using USB 1.1 ports. Now, the same process takes around 1.5 mins!!

Sigh!!

Whats happening?

Its quite some time since I wrote something over here. It has been a very hectic and happening week so far. At office, we had the synergy finale last Sunday, the details of which I had posted up over here. On Monday, we had christmas celebrations in the office. Was fun! :). And then on Tuesday, there was a performance by the in-house musical band of mInfosys called Yantra. I could not stay for the entire show, which went for over 2.5 hours., but I did listen a couple of songs. Its was really a great performance. Even though I could not be *at* the show, I could hear the music/songs at my work place.

My wife is doing fine and is now settled down in Houston. The Canon Powershot A610 rocks. The quality of image is real good. We are now waiting for the rechargeable batteries and charger which I bought over eBay. Digi-cams are power hungry devices. They need batters with more power. So, Its always better to get batteries with higher mAh rating. mAh of a battery is similar to Stamina. The higher, the better. I have managed to get hold of 8 AA sized 2500 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries and a 1 hour fast charger for around $29 (including shipping) over eBay. Don’t know if is a nice deal. But it sounded reasonable.

On the work front, lots of work. We are working on providing a single sign on feature (provided by siteminder/identiyminder) for windows sharepoint portal. And this kind of requires us to write a ISAPI filter for IIS. We are currently working on writing this ISAPI filter (which does custom authentication). If you are familiar with ISAPI programming, get back to me!

WordPress 2.0RC

WordPress v2.0 Release Candidate (RC) is out. If there are no bugs, then the RC would be v2.0! I am really excited about this new version of wordpress. I had read this article called “Whats new in wordpress 2 ?” summing up the changes from v1.5.x to v2.0. Cool. Lot of changes in the code. Performance must be much better. Also, lot of cool facilities provided to the plugin writers. So, in the near future, we can expect to see plugins which perform better!.

Quite a lot of features in the admin interface have been updated/added. … Keeping fingers crossed…..waiting for the final release.

Synergy 2005

This weekend was work and fun. I was in office on Saturday to catch up with work. But Sunday was fun. It was the grand finale of Synergy 2005. As mentioned in one of my previous post, Synergy is the annual sports event of mInfosys. The finale is always held on the beach side. This year, the program was at the a place called called “Samudra Darshana Guest house” near Hosabettu. Hosabettu beach is around 10kms from mInfosys.

This year, the program started started in the afternoon, and finished with dinner at around 10 PM.

Various games were played………..started with Triathlon, followed by Lagori….

Lagori
Lagori – Click to Zoom

After Lagori, there was Sand Castle competition.

Sand Castle
Sand Castle – Click to Zoom

Sand Castle
Sand Castle – Click to Zoom

But the most interesting game was Beach volley ball. The finals between the Green Team and the Red team was really thrilling. Thought fight till the last minute. Finally green won the volley ball finals.

Beach Volley Ball
Beach Volley Ball – Click to Zoom

Beach Volley Ball - Smash!
Beach Volley Ball – Smash – Click to Zoom

Beach Volley Ball
Beach Volley Ball – Click to Zoom

Beach Volley Ball - Smash
Beach Volley Ball – Smash – Click to Zoom

Beach Volley Ball - Red vs Green
Beach Volley Ball – Red vs Green – Click to Zoom

After volley ball, there was tug-of-war. This year around, no major fight in tug-of-war, compared to the previous years when the rope itself used to give up!!

Tug of War
Tug of War – Zoor Lagake Haiyaa – Click to Zoom

Then there was the prize distribution ceremony…..

mInfoscions- Prize Distribution
mInfoscions – Prize Distribution – Click to Zoom

This years overall champions were Red Bulls! (that’s the name of the Red team!).

Red Bulls - Winners of Synergy 2005
Red Bulls – Winners of Synergy 2005 – Click to Zoom

My team, the black hawks had to be happy being in the third place.

Prize distribution was followed by small time dance party….but it was already 10 PM by then.. and we had to wind up.

Dance
Lets Dance baby – Click to Zoom

Overall, a great day and had a nice time.

New Camera – Canon PowerShot A610

Bought Canon PowerShot A610 this week. This would be our second camera. I still love my Digital Rebel (EOS 300D). But the problem is, others feel its too complex for them to handle it. :) I can’t give it to my parents/relatives to use it. They find the Rebel it something big and that its meant only for professional photographers. It actually looks like that!. But, A610 is relatively small, and would easily fit inside a shirt pocket. So, this would be kind of a Backup Camera. The reviews for this camera are pretty impressive.



Front View
Top View
Back View


Front View – With the flip screen open

PowerShot A610 Features:

  • 5.0 Mega-pixel CCD imager for up to 2592×1944 pixel images
  • Postcard (1600×1200) mode with 3:2 ratio for making 4×6″ prints
  • 4x optical 35-140mm f/2.8-4.1 zoom, 4x digital zoom
  • 2.0″ vari-angle color LCD with up to 10x playback zoom
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system
  • Program AE, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority and Manual modes
  • Pre-programmed creative scene modes for beginners
  • Movie mode w/sound, 640×480 30fps up to 1GB
  • 1.9fps Continuous burst capture of Large/Fine images
  • Evaluative metering on focus point, Center-weighted or Spot options
  • Stitch Assist mode for perfect panoramas
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Orientation sensor that automatically detects vertical or horizontal shooting
  • Low-light focus assist illuminator
  • Light-guide zoom flash, angle changes with focal length
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/2500 second
  • Selectable ISO settings from 50 to 400
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Powered by four standard AA type batteries
  • USB 2.0 high-speed connectivity for PC and Mac
  • Secure Digital/MMC memory cards, 16MB supplied
  • Optional wide angle and telephoto lens adapters
  • Optional High-Power Flash HF-DC1

Bought it over eBay. Got a pretty decent deal along with 1 GB Secure Digital Card.

klueLESS

Update : KlueLess 2 is out ! Check out : http://www.iimi-iris.com/iris-2006/irising/klueless/index.asp

Some of you might have already come across this one. Its one of the coolest and the most amazing puzzles I have every come across. Do give it a shot if you haven’t. Its unbelievable!

http://www.iimi-iris.com/iris/irising/klueLESS/

Kudos’ to the creators of this puzzle. I am sure *lot* of thought process and effort would have gone into its creation.

Caution : You might spends days together solving this! :) Enjoy.