Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Review: Google Chrome and Others

I was keep checking chrome website to download Google’s new browser. It was night 12:19AM when chrome was available for download. I installed it and used for half an hour. My first impression was - “Neat”. I pretty much liked the way tabs are placed by pushing URL bar inside each tab, wider space for HTML page display making status bars small and toggling, download utility with resume, unified search and URL bar, all menu are grouped under two buttons sitting next to the URL bar, good speed, I didn’t find any web site ‘breaking’…I just felt it was worth waiting till mid night.

Chrome handles tabs different than FireFox. Each tab in chrome is hosted on separate process; this makes browser stand stable even one of its tabs crash. New Internet Explorer 8 is also handling tabs this way under the hood.

My next observation was on memory consumption comparison between Chrome, IE8, FF3.1 for given same set of web sites.

Chrome used Approx. 62 MB, IE8 Approx. 89 MB, FF31 Approx. 56 MB.
Difference is not big between FF and Chrome, but IE8 needs some more optimization.

The browser war is now much more heated up. Though Microsoft Internet Explorer is controlling 78% of browser market share, it has to struggle more to retain. FireFox is secure, mature, growing and there are clear notion of Chrome becoming one more dominant browser.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why Akbar was Great?

I have fanatical interest to be acquainted with what made Indian emperors take influential decisions during their reign. Few great kings’ valuable decisions created a remarkable history.

When Akbar accepts the marriage proposal of Hindu King (Bharmal of Amer), he wishes to make an attempt to set an example for two culture and religions and convey the message of peace. Later, destiny takes him to the critical path of life having most depraved political and family oriented problems. Being a true great emperor, Akbar learns and conclude challenges by demonstrating his exceptional leadership qualities. With his verdicts, Akbar stands as an incomparable king of all time. “Jodha Akbar” – brings 16th-century incidents to life and shows beginning part of Akbar’s married life which was, in fact, a deal for political gain. This decision slowly unleashes Akbar’s loving life, internal dreadful politics, painfully desirous people around him and betraying family members.

Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar is one of such great kings of Hindustan (now India). Long back I read about him in few magazines and those words were blurred in my mind until I watch Ashutosh Gowarikar’s movie “Jodha Akbar”. The movie reveals Akbar’s initial days of married life. The movie made me start thinking and liking more about this great mogul emperor. Akbar’s religious innovations and policies towards the practice of unifying Hindu-Muslim were one of the greatest attempts in history.

Akbar’s life story always motivates to have new enthusiasm, encourage to do something special and evoke to become strong, stable and calm. His life is evident for confronting challenges by not only resolving them also striving to reach new heights.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 and A Thought

After 2 years, Microsoft's great effort of making Internext Explorer better than ever is resulted in second installment of IE8.0 Beta relese. Beta 2 IE8 looks promising with speed, security and usability. You can check IE8 top features here.
After instaling IE8 on my laptop, very soon I noticed it breaking on Microsoft web sites!

Windows Update

Hotmail Linked Accounts drop down on mouse hover
Let me stop hoping on other sites like posts editor.All these may be absolutely okay because IE8 is in 'Beta', what's wondering me was these can be very easily caught during unit testing.

In general, what I do not like about browsers (IE, FF, Opera, Safari....etc) is all are having differently acting HTML render engine.

I certainly do not enjoy writing code to check the browser type and take relevant actions. I sometimes expect browser makers to give a thought on streamlining these differences and reduce web developer's pain. New version of their browser should be a boon instead breaking current code.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quick Quest is Released

After many months of development work, Quick Quest is available for download. Quick Quest Limited Edition –is a free version for personal use. Soon I will start working on “Professional” and “University” Editions.

Quick Quest home page is revamped.
SrushtiSoft blog is now having new look.

In This World - 12

One of the biggest disappointments in life is, when you were/are treated as 'an optional person' by the person whom you trust a lot.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

10 Ways to Fine Tune Windows XP

Now a day, if your installed programs are running slower, if your Windows XP taking more time to boot, if your windows explorer is making you to wait longer before it shows up, then its time for you to wear a spy hat and do some serious investigation to catch out why Windows is shambling.

1. Check in memory processes.
Hold CTRL+SHIFT and press ESC key, The Windows Task Manager will appear. Click on “Processes” tab. Sort entries on “Mem Usage” by pressing it. Find out which one is taking more memory. Usually ignore all ‘svchost.exe’ process because they are good candidates working solely for windows. Other process names should give clear hint about the application they belong to. Sometimes when you don’t get a clue, open Windows File or Folder Search, enter the same process name and find out its location. The folder structure will certainly help you know about its parent application. Depending on the importance of the application you can take appropriate action. You can turn off process from parent application preferences or uninstall it.

2. Missing Drivers
Improper version of hardware drivers installed for the devices could slow down windows activity. Upgrade driver to newer version.

Usually windows installs default driver if it does not find the right one. The default driver may not utilize extra or complete features of hardware device which could result in good performance. It is recommended to install windows signed drivers received from hardware vendors.

3. Start up processes
Check start up processes registered in Windows Startup items list. Press WINDOWS+R and type “msconfig” in Run command, hit enter or OK button. Go to “Startup” tab to see all startup items listed. You can uncheck those you feel are unimportant. Also make sure you have less icons sitting in System Tray. If they are more, take a little time to think which are important to have and remove the rest.

4. Remove XP skin
Many people like Windows XP Theme and apply it as their default scheme. If you are one of them and also expecting faster response, time for you to compromise with visually pleasing part of Windows XP. Disable Windows Theme service. Press WINDOWS+R and type “services.msc” and set “Themes” service startup type to manual, click stop, wait till the service stops and press OK.

5. System Restore
To recover system from unstable state, Windows XP provides System Restore utility. This utility runs in background and creates multiple restore points whenever new software is installed. After few months, the utility end up creating many restore-points and make Windows perform slower. Turn off system restore option if you are not depending on this feature greatly.

6. Windows Indexing Service
How many times you use Windows Files and folders search utility in a week? If your usage is very minimal then you could safely turn off Indexing Service running in background as service. Go to services (WINDOWS+R and Type “Services.msc”) and set this service startup type to manual.

7. Page File
This tune up is useful for those who are having more than one Hard Disk Drive (HDD) in their machine. You can move Windows page file to another hard drive.
The new Hard Drive Controllers (HDC) are capable of doing read/write on multiple hard disks at a time. You will find windows being swift when you set page file to different drive.

8. Clean ‘Your Temp Folder’ and Defrag C: Drive
Clean up “temp” folder created for your account by Windows. Browse here to reach your private “temp” folder. C:\Documents and Settings\[your login name]\Local Settings\Temp and Delete all files.
Running disk defragmenter once in a month will sure help Windows to organize files and read/write them faster.

9. Install any new software with minimal required options selected
Careful when you are installing any new software. Don't be lazy to opt for advanced setup option when installation process offer it. Go for advanced setup option and select only the required components and unselect additional promotions. For example, if you are installing Nero 7 Deluxe software, it offers bunch of other good utilities like Audio Editor, Movie Editor, Indexing service and many more. If your intention is to get only the CD Burning feature, select only that and uncheck the rest. This will not only save space on your hard drive also contributes to windows run smoother.

10. Service Pack and driver updates
This is most important. Windows SP3 is the latest service pack available for Windows XP till date. Download and Install it if you have not done it yet. Also visit all your hardware vendor web site and look for latest driver downloads for your hardware devices and upgrade your existing drivers. The new driver updates may have performance tune up or bug fixes which will help windows set right and keep healthy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Quick Update

Not sure how regularly you visit SrushtiSoft blog, if you had not visited it for several weeks; please take a glance now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Software and Industry

When I wanted to re-create “Quick Quest” (QQ), my struggle to move further sometimes made me feel “I am thinking too much!!”. Recently, When I come across few statistics about execution of software projects in the industry from Grady Booch blog (“Software And Movie Making” posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008. you can also find his blog link from My Favorites section on this page.) I just felt my struggle was realistic to my scale and I am not alone. “Quick Quest” is not a big revenue making software for me now however it taught many things to me.

An extract from Grady’s post,

“75% of all software projects at Fortune 500 companies fail, 33% are cancelled, and 66% go over budget by more than 200%“

Well, Me and QQ belongs to 66% share which indicates variance of estimated budget by 200%. Where ‘budget’ for me here is my ‘time’, which is impossible to slow down or earn more :)

How Best Is To Revamp the Good Old Software?

Quick Quest - software created for college universities to generate ‘equally distributed complexity’ question papers. My college university attempted to utilize it and found it useful. This is an old story. The latest happening on this is, I am re-creating it with latest technology (.Net) putting the software architectural knowledge I have gained in several years being in this industry. If you are a person who is having more than 10 years of experience in software design, my step of software re-creation might not sound big for you. It turned out huge for me due to several reasons. When I had a plan to re-start on old successful software, I took opportunity to reach as many technical gurus as I can and asked them a most controversial question - “How good is to re-create good old software? Or should I extend the same old software with new features?”. Many had different thoughts but the common opinion was, extend the existing one instead going for whole new re-creation. When I sat and looked at the existing code base and also thought of the functionalities which I wanted to include newly, there was a strong sense of ‘more work and hard to manage code base’. For example, if I want to make some part of the application as configuration driven guided through configuration file (which could be an XML file) in good old Visual Basic 6.0, I have to manually write all the code to open file, navigate to the configuration entry, get the value and close the file. Newer programming language was offering it as one of its in-built feature. In fact, I gave you a simple example here.

I was keep receiving many views from many people on “application migration” act. Days were passing on. My thoughts were getting messier and started chaotic cooking in my mind. I had to finalize it. I created a small my own analysis report which gathers some points on Software business complexity, technology challenges, degree of ease to extended the current code base for future requirements, software support on production machine, deployment strategies, opportunities for web and mobile integration and utilization of forthcoming operating system features for future requirements. On the other side of the coin, nothing can be reused from previous software, spend more time creating all by greatly affecting schedules of my other products (Flexo, Outlet and CD Indexer), the technology which I am considering as ‘new’, may very soon get old when something ‘totally new’ hits.

Out of all these, strong points were making me incline towards the re-creation of the software using newer technology with very clear caution of uncertainties in this industry. I finally opted for re-creating it only if I am able to orchestrate the design of the software flexible enough to integrate, extend and reuse with current and future software technologies/products and hence the new version is under construction, “Quick Quest Compact Edition”. This edition of software works on single box, there will be “Professional” and “Web Edition” coming out in next several months targeting different audience.
Now, what I have to see myself is how good I designed the internal architecture when something new really hits.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In This World - 11

Life is not a neat story. Good men lose. Love does not conquer all. Everybody lies. All good things can only happen in movies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

SafeFileName Property and .Net 2.0 SP1

I built a small utility using C# Dot Net version 2.0 in which I took help of Open File Dialog box windows control to know user selected file path and name. I used “SafeFileName”(Gets a string that only contains the filename for the selected file.) property of OpenFileDialog box to display selected filename on the windows form. I did a fine testing on my development machine and deployed it on production computer. The production computer was up by freshly installed Windows Vista operating system (without SP1 update). since Vista ships with DotNet runtime, my job was as easy as copying my dot net executable assembly and double clicking it. When the OpenFileDialog box tried supplying user selected file name through “SafeFileName” property, it crashed! Damn...!!

The error message was clearly telling me that “method not found: OpenFileDailog.get_SafeFileName()”!! I was darn surprised. Though I did a quick fix for this problem by making use of FileName property (Gets or sets a string containing the full path of the file selected in a file dialog.), with little string manipulation to extract filename from complete file path and got the required result, the unsupported property error on Vista machine continued interrupting my thoughts. I did not see any documentation or remarks giving specific attention to this issue anywhere in Microsoft's official web space. When I installed Dot Net 2.0 SP1 (on production computer) and run my utility (without FileName property fix). This time there is no “method not found” error! The .Net 2.0 SP1 has fix for it though there is no specific note on this in Microsoft’s support knowledge base article
This experience taught me that, Before I go ahead copy my any 2.0 framework based dot net utility and run on any computer, make sure machine has got .Net 2.0 SP1 update or not.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Linux - My Second Attempt

First time when I tried installing Linux on my box, I was failed to appraise it. I concluded that “I am typical ‘Windows’ user and might be not-understanding the Linux way”. I took break; I read some good articles on Linux. Few articles mentioned like “This Linux distribution is so easy that my grandma can use it…” I downloaded few Linux distributions (I would prefer not to mention their names here.) and tried installing one by one on my laptop. In almost all distributions, my first impression of Linux being faster operating system was gone. When I wanted to install new utility software (.rpm package) I had to learn command prompt options and finally ended up with error messages which tells one or the other supporting library is missing. Badly organized start menu always took more than required time to find out what I wanted. Too many small utilities fail to achieve user needs as a whole. Few distributions were good in few things.
My overall intention was to get faster Linux on my machine and install virtual machine to have windows in it to use on need basis. Linux just could not make it.
It is also true that I might not have done enough Linux exploration and some Linux guru can tweak and give me a Linux as I wished, but the question is, will a normal windows user consider Linux as a serious replacement? The hard truth is – NO. The first challenge for Linux is to make migration (Windows to Linux) process ever easer. The live example for this is FireFox browser. When FireFox was newly introduced it offered all features of Internet Explorer in its own way and in addition to that it gave outstanding new features. People never felt FireFox as an alien, instead they accepted it as a power tool. FireFox easily replaced Internet Explorer Icon in Taskbar. I found many Linux distributions trying to give feeling of Windows retaining Linux flavor but some how the “feeling” is effectively not touching the user. I used to say this when I was studying my bachelors “Linux has long way to cover to dominate 'Windows world'" and I would prefer to repeat the same even today.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In This World - 10

Knowingly or unknowingly committing a mistake is just okay, but continuing the same is a serious sin.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Working Mood Meter

Recently I noticed, Kannada calendar hanging in my home is indirectly indicating my working moods in percentage. Here is what I found the exact information when I put imaginary lines on weekday letters. Don't you think everything tries to tell something to us and we just need those ‘eyes’ to observe?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Software Automatic Updates

Few software which periodically needs to be updated, usually comes with an in-built 'Automatic Update' feature. Windows Automatic Updates is one known example for an instance. For a person who is not a software techi, this is indeed a great facility, which does its work silently in the background with no manual intervention. Person like me do not like (sometimes hate) this feature and there is a strong reason behind it.

Automatic updates do not retain downloaded update files after applying it. Few months down the line when I format my machine and reinstall the software, Automatic update once again downloads all older update files along with new ones if there any. Time and resource consumption for older updates download is simply repetitive.

Automatic update facility in many software wont disclose download location and delete files after applying it. It could be great if we see an advanced option to specify download folder location or get to know where these files are downloaded, we could re-use downloaded update files next time when we reinstall their software.

Don't you think this is a valid reason for me to hate automatic updates?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Seriously Funny Poster

I could not stop laughing when one of my buddies manipulated my photo like this and showed me with the caption, "Find out which one is a fake poster!! Yes you are right!! The one in the Right side is 'faked' ;)"

My deep excuses to Scarface Movie Team and Al Pacino :)

Little bit about Scarface, He was a United States gangster who terrorized Chicago during prohibition until arrested for tax evasion (1899-1947). One thing my buddy understood very well in this was, If I get chance to act in movies, I will sure opt for a villein role like scarface, who will be the strongest, richest and most terrible person to the world atleast for 2 to 3 hours :))

Internet Data Usage Quick Check

I use broadband connection and my service provider has a dedicated portal to check my data usage. The data usage portal is not instant. It takes couple of hours to update my usage report. I wanted something through which I can quickly know how much data I downloaded in that instant of time.
One nice way I found that, checking the received packets count in windows network connection status. Which I can easily access clicking the network icon sitting in system tray.

The connection status window clearly shows number of packets sent and received over the connected network for tracked duration of time. In most of the cases, there will be 1460 bytes in one packet we receive or send. Now I can calculate how much of Mega Bytes of data my system has downloaded by doing a simple mathematics.

Downloaded data in MB = (Packets received * 1460) / (1024 * 1024)

In Windows Vista, the connection status window directly shows the
number bytes sent and received, we no need to bother about bytes per packet stuff.

Though my requirement was fulfilled from above discovery, I just could not stop my self digging more.

In computer networking world, the maximum number of bytes per one packet referred as Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU). This is the specification for a given protocol which it can transfer maximum number of bytes per packet. The MTU is defined by the standard or determined at the connection establishment process. For faster network, MTU will be less and for slower network, MTU will be more to manage forthcoming packet lagging time.

Using simple “MTU Route” utility (which you can download here) you can figure out number of bytes per packet on your machine. When you download the utility, you get a zip file, on extraction you will get an executable which you have to run in DOS prompt issuing this command:

mturoute.exe -t

If you expect more speed from your network, you can tweak bytes per packet in your Windows XP system by adding new MTU registry entry.

Start -> Run -> regedit

Navigate to System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\
Interfaces\[Adapter ID]]

Value Name: MTU

Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)

Value Data: Default = 0xffffffff (your tweaking value like 0x000005dc for 1500)

Here is the recommended values set
1500 bytes for Ethernet, DSL and Cable Broadband Connections
1492 bytes for PPPoE Broadband Connections
576 bytes for Dial-up Connections

Well, I just left my XP operating system to work with its default settings.
Above registry manipulation may cause bad network response for some network adapters so be careful. Please do not hold me responsible if something goes wrong in your machine from above mentioned settings as these steps are only recommended for expert and level above computer users.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Office 2007 Compatibiility Pack

From past several months I was searching for office 2007 file format converters for older version of Microsoft Office applications (2000, XP, 2003). Till yesterday, I used to get specific individual converters (only for word, visio..) in Microsoft office site and now Microsoft has released office 2007 file format converters pack. A 27 MB (seems tiny for broadband users ;) file you have to download and enjoy editing 2007 file formats in your existing older office (2000,XP,2003) application(s).

You can download it here

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Why I Hate Frameworks

This one is worth reading,written very well on the pros and cons of frameworks in general.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In This World - 9

When we want to confess (and correct our mistake), chose the one who listen, forgive and helps to correct. The wrong person for our confession never miss the chance of discouraging and breaking us slowly without a single sign of forgiveness. If it happens then that would be the bigger mistake of all mistakes of our life.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Social Networking – My Step Back

I was one of the members in popular online social networking web place from past one year. I found many profiles expressing interest in “Business networking”. Whenever I initiated communication, most responses were very unprofessional. I reached many people from diverse profession. Our interaction started with lot of enthusiasm. Later people just didn’t like to have serious talk.

As far as keeping in touch with my buddies, I would prefer to drop a personal email. Along with the message I typed, it also carry the emotion of 'you are special to me my buddy, how are you?'

So, I am in a wrong place. May be, I am either not so social person or not understanding the online social networking etiquette. Anyways :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Expectations and Life

When I was doing my graduation, I never imagined that I could get a best in industry job and career growth opportunities. How can a below average student can dare to expect such things? Everybody (my college mates and their parents) used to press more on getting high marks to become a successful engineer. I never took those opinions seriously, may be I was ready to take life as it comes. Though I had dreams, I was little dubious.

Now feeling amazed sitting in a luxurious suite of high class hotel in Minneapolis, USA and typing this post for my blog. As I talked about in my previous post (In This World - 8), my life did not gave me what I wished but it pushed me to the journey which I never guessed. Though I found and lost many great things, I am still living with joy and surprises. Sometimes I feel life is easy, but it is not as straight as it seems.

With little pleasure and slight startle, I am going to bed. Good night Minneapolis.

In This World - 8

Never run behind 'something' to get hold, it will always keeps a good distance from you.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

An Update

As you might have noticed I started working on plunking allied images to all my posts, one of the proven best practices of making piece of writing little more attractive. I take a crack at my best; If not my words at least colors should make you feel glad.

Friday, January 04, 2008

In This World - 7

One or the other day we have to pay or get paid for our past actions. Life keeps the count and there are no excuses.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Windows XP SP3 – The Next Big Thing?

If you are expecting big things from windows XP SP3 and curiously waiting for it then its better you do a reality check. Hope my study in that direction would help you.

As we all know, Microsoft windows service packs are the one shot installation set which includes previously released all security updates, hot fixes, stability and performance updates and SP3 is such a package with a small number of enhancements which do not change the user experience but it fills the gap in the updates we might have missed by declining individual updates when using windows updates or during custom update installation.

One thing is pretty much clear that SP3 will not bring any outstanding changes or enhancements except adding one new feature that is Network Access Protection, borrowed from Windows Server 2008 Technology and the rest will be the updates/hot fixes/patches covering from the era of Windows XP SP1 and SP2.

The Windows XP SP3 Release Candidate is available for download. Microsoft cautioned this is only for testers and not for primary or mission critical systems. Here is the URL

There were rumors floating around that SP3 may come up with many new functionalities borrowing from Vista and 2008 Server technologies, but the question is why would Microsoft is going to do that when it already released its newest versions of operating systems (Vista and Windows Server 2008)? How fair it could be, we expecting new features to be included in SP3 rather migrating to latest operating system (Vista) which Microsoft will sure push with more pressure in near future. But the other side of the coin is, Windows XP proved as a most stable and reliable operating system and industries are still showing interest on continuing with it rather migrating to Vista which strongly recommends few hardware upgrades.

The SP3 documentation clearly states that “Microsoft is not adding new features or functionality from newer versions of Windows to Windows XP through SP3”. If you have downloaded/applied windows updates till date then SP3 may not bring you any big difference.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

In The Edge of 2007 and 2008

31 December, 2007 midnight 12 is a closing edge of 2007 and instigation of 2008. As I remember, in the 2006-2007 edge, I was scratching my head to find out new name for my personal web site, (“WindsonSquare”) and was trying hard to register the domain with my dial-up internet connection at home in my native (Davangere). After many attempts, I wasn’t able to register it successfully due to very slow internet speed and frequent disconnection. At last when I looked at the wall clock it was scoring night 1 AM. I slip to bed. That’s it!

This time (2007-2008), during the edge, many were celebrating New Year (as they do it every year I feel) with their friends, at night clubs, at hotels, parting, dancing, screaming, boozing, taking fast bike ride of calm night streets, my neighbor was doing pooja…

...what the hell I was doing? I caught cold so most of the time was busy cleaning my nose and sneezing, turning pages of my new washing machine user guide (delivered on that day evening). After that I started evaluating Windows XP SP3 release candidate and I was in bed by 1 AM!

Next day morning (1 January, 2008) when I woke up at 6:42 AM and sight out side through the window, the new year morning was just as usual. The people were busy in their daily round, paper boy, milkman, morning tea shoppers, joggers, street dogs (Indeed, how does the New Year matter to street dogs?)… I walked to the kitchen and prepared my morning tea. After few minutes I entered my bedroom holding a cup of hot tea, opened the lid of laptop and started typing this post. It is 7:50 AM now.

For “the edge” moment, I never had a special feeling (But this time it was exception because of my new washing machine :). I had no distinctive reason for not feeling anything about the so called ‘amazing new year’ event. It was just another night 12 AM for me. Though I don’t celebrate it in the way most of us do, but I do make resolutions. I take whole January month to think, do a feasiblity study and finalize my resolutions. Whether I celebrate New Year or not I always consider this edge as a mark of incremental new age. This is the one scheduled moment/event where I (we?) think of (our?) my past days in that one year at least for few seconds.

Wish you happy and prosperous New Year.