Days of our Lives!

October 23, 2008

Klue in to Klueless

Filed under: I at IIM I,Tech — Santhosh @ 1:30 AM

We can see the throbbing lines across the pupils of your bloodshot eyes. We can feel your heavy heart pumping faster, the purple veins of your neck standing out. We can sense your nerves being strained to their limits, the pressure and the intensity starting to get to you. The clumps of hair and the chewed finger nails and the slowly fading glow of the cigarette butt, we can see them all. The strewn pieces of cheap paper, scribbled and struck and jumbled – all signs of the helplessness we know you feel. We know because we are in the deepest caverns of your mind and the strongest piths of your veins. We know because we put you to it.

Klueless 4

——-x——-

Something that we observed* was that as popular as Klueless is, the connection with IIM Indore somehow seems to go missing. The blame lies partly with us (‘us’ as in our alumni who conceptualised Klueless) simply because there wasn’t really much indication to show otherwise. The Klueless 3 site for example doesn’t have a single pointer about IIM Indore apart from the iimi-iris connection in the url. Even the support forums have always been hosted on blogspot.
* In exactly 2 months I’ll be using terms like Consumer Insight and Market Research when talking about common sense observations. I do have to remind everyone that me too the M B of the A.

Something that we’ve also been trying to do over the last couple of months (atleast that’s what we’ve been telling everyone whenever a group assignment comes up) is to consolidate all students initiated online media of the insti into one portal – iimindore360.com. Not even 10% of the planned work on it is done though, given the variety of work and activities we need to work on and the amount of attention each demands (the things I have to say, seriously!).

Anyways, for this year’s edition of Klueless we have tried to bring the erstwhile lone-ranger under the IIM Indore umbrella completely. Every level of Klueless will now have the logo of the insti along with those of the sponsors (searchbar in the case of Yahoo, which of course nobody seems to use) along with links to the IRIS site, part of which Klueless actually is. The support forum has also been hosted on the iimindore360 domain, and would be the case going forward.

——-x——-


Update 1 (07:11 AM)
Klueless 2 (2006): 100,000 hits in a week!

Klueless 3 (2007): 100,000 hits in two days!

Klueless 4 (2008): 150,000 hits in 6 hours!!!

——-x——-

Update 2 (10:20 AM): Ecstatic! Crossed 200,000 hits in just 9 hours!!!

——-x——-

October 9, 2008

Go back to 2001

Filed under: My Cup of Socie-Tea,Tech — Santhosh @ 7:49 PM

Is this our version of the time machine?
From their official blog:

Amazingly enough, hidden in a corner beneath Larry’s and Sergey’s original lab coats, we found a vintage search index in mint condition. We dusted it off and took it for a spin, gobsmacked to see how different the web was in early 2001. “iPod” did not refer to a music player, “youtube” was nonsense, and if you were looking for “Michael Phelps,” chances are you meant the scientist, not the swimmer. “Wikipedia” was brand new. Remember “hanging chads“? (And speaking of that election-specific reference — if you’re a U.S. citizen, it’s not too late: please register to vote.)

Also check this out for travelling to the year of your choice (works well only for popular sites though).

September 3, 2008

Chrome

Filed under: Tech — Santhosh @ 1:19 AM

It’s out now.

Read this comic book first. Screw whitepapers.

update 1 (through Chrome): looks like nothing but a wonderfully simple, aesthetically appealing facelift on good ol’ Firefox.

update 2: definitely faster (to load and to browse).

update 2.1: Just read that Chrome uses processes instead of threading that existing browsers do (rumour has it IE 8 also plans on using processes). That explains the speed I guess. Usine processes also provides more security. Since it’s one process per tab, once you close it, the entire process gets killed.


update 3
: you suddenly realize, you don’t really need any menus, buttons or options in a browser.

update 4:
pluses:

  • open source (GO baby GO!!!)
  • much larger viewing space (almost the entire screen)
  • simple is beautiful
  • seamless import from anything Firefox (existing settings, bookmarks, passwords)
  • the incognito window should be mighty useful
  • Google Gears is finally here
  • the address bar doubles up as your Google search bar (with integrated Google Suggest to go with your history)
  • like I’ve said above, better speed and security because of individual processes per tab.
  • advanced javascript engine V8. As someone who worked on JS and co for 3 years, this is good news.


minuses:

  • the speed and security comes at a price. Since each tab is a process, you effectively end up with as many Chrome instances running on your computer. Not sure how those who don’t have 2 or 3 GBs of RAM to throw around would take to this.
  • mild irritant in having your browsing history displayed everytime you open a new tab – lifted from Safari as it is.
  • too few is too few – can’t really tweak anything unlike in Firefox where you can have things just the way you want.

update 5:
just found out about the task manager and memory diagnostic functions. Are we taking the first steps toward an online OS?


update 6:
curiously, browser identifiers (both scripts and software) are reading Chrome as Safari 5.25

update 7:
Here’s the full list of about: pages.

  • about:memory
  • about:stats
  • about:network
  • about:internets
  • about:histograms
  • about:dns
  • about:cache
  • about:plugins
  • about:version

Now you’re talking, Google!

August 29, 2008

Is Steve Jobs going to be the first Father?

Filed under: Tech — Santhosh @ 9:14 PM

Ever wondered how there aren’t any fathers, gods or lords in hardware?

On the software side we have enough fathers to start a freaking pastoral service – Johnnie Backus (Father of FORTRAN), Dennis Ritchie (Father of C), Bjarne Stroustrup (Father of C++), Tim Berners-Lee (Father of the Web), James Gosling (Father of Java), John G. Kemeny (Father of Microcomputing).
And enough superstars – Bill Gates (DOS, MS, computer crashes), Linus Torvalds, Larry Ellison (Oracle), Marc Andreessen (browsers), Steve Case (online services), Dan Bricklin (spreadsheets)….

Now, where is the Father (or Mother or even an onnu-vitta-chithappa) of the Hard Disk? Who’s the founder of the keyboard? Where’s the King of Monitors? The Queen of the UPS? The princeling of flash memory?

Will posterity bestow Jobs with a title?

June 17, 2008

BVoIP – a short history

Filed under: Tech,work(place) — Santhosh @ 6:12 PM

Note: To be completed…

The basic setup of a VoIP system closely follows the traditional telephone network. Telephone numbers are replaced by IP addressed phone numbers, codecs are used to convert the analog voice signal into packets, and packet switching replaces the traditional circuit switching. Initially, it was possible to place just on-net calls – calls between two VoIP systems in the same network. This however would have given very limited commerical viability and development turned towards integrating VoIP with the mainstream PSTN network.

Even with the traditional telephone system, companies quickly realised that it didn’t make financial sense to go the PSTN every time to route calls even though both the caller and the callee belonged to the same network. The Private Branch eXchange or PBX was developed so that organisations having a large number of telephones could take care of internal and first-level switching and call routing, maintain extension numbers and manage the features provided for the telephone numbers under it.

Companies then realised that they were now spending too much resources on things that weren’t their core competency. For example, a Walmart or a Disneyland now had to employ people and dedicate time and money in maintaining all this equipment even though all these were just supplements to their actual businesses. This gave rise to the IP Centrex service (Centrex – CENTRal EXchange) where the PBX for the client is maintained by the telecom service provider.

There are two ways in which you can maintain and use VoIP –
1) a dedicated physical VoIP phone (like the ones we have in Manyata) connected via the LAN cable
2) VoIP software installed in a computer.
Either way, since the IP phones use the Internet, they can be administered by the provider anywhere there’s an Internet connection so that a VoIP phone is essentially like a mobile phone.

The Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) and the VoIP software are responsible for the various features and add-ons that you may want to opt for (apart from the mandatory functions like Dynamic IP Address resolution) : Caller ID, Call waiting, Call transfer, Auto Attendant, Three-way calling, Toll Free, voice mail, attaching voice messages to an email, etc. This part of the VoIP world is still in it’s nascent stage and a desi approach should make available third party software as add-ons and tweaks to ‘customize’ our VoIP phones to play a “busy” signal or a “non-in-service” message, or to even be able to ask our managers to join a conference bridge where 5 different voices keep telling how good we are.

One of the challenges faced by VoIP phones from totally replacing the traditional handsets is a power source – VoIP needs a constant power supply to be plugged into for it to work so that a power cut may effectively mean you’re without a phone. Also, since it’s internet based, VoIP is also susceptible to worms, viruses and hacking, although this is very rare and VoIP developers are working on VoIP encryption to counter this.

To be updated:
SIP, S77, authorized interception
problems in dialling Emergency 911 calls since VoIP uses IP-addressed phone numbers.
economics and infrastructure requirements
basic telecom – packet or circuit switching, codecs, etc

VoIP phone/computer <–> PBX <–> PSTN <–> PBX <–> VoIP phone/computer
|
| (if callee is within the loop)
v

January 8, 2008

And I was wondering why my lappie was slower than usual….

Filed under: My Dayz,Tech — Santhosh @ 4:19 AM

November 18, 2007

Book Review: In Search of Stupidity – Merrill R.Chapman

Filed under: Books,Tech — Santhosh @ 10:19 PM
Book Name: In Search of Stupidity – OVER 20 YEARS OF HIGH-TECH MARKETING DISASTERS
Author: Merrill R.Chapman
Genre: Non-Fiction, Computers, History
About: Among a lot of other things, stories about and around
MITS and Altair, IBM and the first PC, the spreadsheet intro, VisiCalc, Apple, Macintosh, CP/M, the BIOS fiascos of Apple and IBM (my favourite story of the book), small office/home office (SOHO) markets, Digital Research’s Gary Kildall’s arrogance, Micro-Soft to Microsoft, industry standards, IBM – PC, Microsoft deal for DOS, PC Junior, subtractive marketing, MicroPro’s WordStar and WordStar2000, positioning, pricing, reluctance to embrace GUI, IBM’s OS/2 fiasco, “Presentation Manager” GUI, Branding – Intel Inside campaign, Bunny People, “pentium can’t count” fiasco, Motorola’s “Digital DNA” program, intel – 8086 -> 286 -> 386 -> 486, rise of google, privacy issues, Novell, NetWare, IPX vs TCP/IP, Mormonism and coffee, “Noorda’s Nightmare.”, killing off an ecosystem (applications, utilities that come up for your software), Microsoft – fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD) tactics, PowerPoint acquisition, Clippy the Office Assistant, Gates vs US DOJ, IE vs Netscape, Larry Ellison’s infamous “It’s not enough we (Oracle) win, everyone else must lose.”, open source vs proprietary, piracy, “open source paradox”, music piracy, role of software like the development of MP3 compression in music piracy, MP3.com, Napster, how Sony’s rootkit backfired on them, Windows Product Activation(WPA), Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, a chapter on analysis of the previous 12 chapters and one with ideas, advice, and list of don’ts.
Comment:
I couldn’t walk past a book with a title like this, could I? Written in response to In Search of Excellence, this book is an excellent read for anyone in the computer industry and interested in the history behind behind how some companies became icons overnight and how some others screwed their own markets. The book starts from the halcyon days of the late 1970s and comes on toward the first decade of this millennium. Along the way we get a history lesson on the computer industry, from the genesis days when everyone knew everyone to the boom days of multi-billion contracts. We also get a feel of the way different companies were perceived by the public at different times, the aura that surrounded some (IBM in particular), the mess that various companies brought themselves into, eccentric characters who helped shape the course of history, snippets and two-way accounts of various stories, and lots and lots of absolutely hilarious accounts of decisions made by companies.
Examples include:
* How Atari threw away the lead in the home computer market with the 1982 release of E.T, the worst game in computing history.
* MicroPro’s corporate suicide in positioning products by offering near identical products, the ultra-successful Wordstar awaiting an update and Wordstar 2000. The resultant efforts to differentiate the two, and the uncertainty created in the buying public, resulted in MicroPro ceding leadership in the word processing market to Microsoft Word, and ultimately, in the company’s demise.
* How Apple spent millions in lawsuits against piracy when teir BIOS got copied. And how IBM thought they could learn from Apple and released their BIOS specifications under the idea that now nobody could develop a BIOS with the same specifications without getting sued out of earth. But IBM realised a bit too late that there was no way they could prove that the companies coming up with the same BIOS in their systems had actually read IBM’s specifications.
* How Ed Esber, CEO of one-time database giant Ashton-Tate and makers of dBASE, try to ruin an ecosystem and so ruined his own company. dBASE had become the outright leader because of a third-party dBASE development community who took the functionally-powerfull but usability-deficient dBASE and created applications that people could actually operate. Ed decided only Ashton-Tate had the rights to do anything related to dBASE and brought out his cannons and threatened to sue anyone who developed applications on dBASE.
* How IBM created the PC industry and then, when the entire world was waiting with bated breath on the next move of GOD, did nothing.
* How the CEO of Borland, Philippe Kahn, sanctioned a new $120 million office building and began churning out $300,000 jazz CDs featuring himself on saxophone.
* How Marc Andreesen (founder and CEO of Netscape) taunted Microsoft into taking him on in a browser war, and so lead to Netscape’s annihilation and sell-out to AOL.

July 24, 2007

Page and Brin, hear me?

Filed under: Musings,Tech — Santhosh @ 3:18 AM

The perfect search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want

Larry Page,
Google co-founder.

Google has always gone on record that they want to develop Google into a search engine that can deliver exactly what the user is looking for, every time. There are a few areas that I can think of off-hand, where they can do some tinkering :

But first, let’s go back a couple of years. Yes, tortoise-coil-rounding, painting-out-of-focussing and all that.
Year 2005.
A smart, intelligent, handsome boy (did I mention humble?) walks out of college and comes over to Bangalore “to work among an esoteric set of highly talented people working their brains out to make the world a better place”; atleast that’s what everyone told him when he asked what a software engineer does.
Yanyways, he and a friend of his get into a Webworld on MG.Road and try and search for some accommodation. Now, it seems Friend has been preparing for one of those 3-letter exams and they end up Googling for “a domicile with 2 bedchambers, a living room and a parlour”. So he grabs the keyboard and types in the only word he knows about living places – “rooms”, for which Google promptly comes up with something related to hot neighbourhood aunties. In the end it took a gazillion permutations of playing around with the different words meaning room, home, house, PG, lodging, and the like.

And here, gentlemen, is my million dollar you-know-what : synonyms.
Google could try and incorporate something like this into their algorithm so that users dont need to have a degree in etymology to be a good Googler. It shouldn’t be too hard – when the user hits “Search”, draw up a list of phrases with the key words replaced with words taken from a pre-defined thesaurus and then sort these according to their Page Rank. Google can maybe provide this type of search as an extra option, so that the speed of the search results doesn’t fall by a few precious nanoseconds or if the user knows exactly what he’s looking for. But this type of search should be really helpful for random searches, like “open positions in IBM” or “hot girls in Bangalore” ;).

On a related note, but all the more sillier, Google (for that matter, all search engines) returns different results if you search for something with an integer and if you search for the same but with the integer as a number string. For example, “2 bhk in bangalore” and “two bhk in bangalore” returns totally different results.

June 4, 2007

That is one bloody cheap trick MS

Filed under: My Dayz,Tech — Santhosh @ 8:03 PM

I and Microsoft share a love-hate relationship.
I hate them and they love to give me more reasons to hate them even more.

Today, they made me download and install about 65MB of patches, and, as if that wasn’t enough, they kept popping up alerts every 5 mins asking me to reboot the system. After having used every possible combination of curses known to mankind, I finally complied though it was more due to irritation. And then do you know what Microsoft does. They play a low, dirty, cheap trick on me. They install a virus along with the patches.

After rebooting, I tried to open Firefox which crashed immediately and I got this :

My initial reaction was that some wiseguy Microsoft programmer had included this in the original code for XP, maybe with some adverse combinations of environmental conditions (at the moment, my laptop had a grand total free space of 11MB). It was only after I’d cleared 1GB (via pen drive to my desktop) and still came up with this that I realised maybe something was wrong. Latest updates of Norton were no help. I tried to uninstall Firefox and got the same error message. I was able to bring up IE, but when I tried to google for “Mozilla Firefox download”, IE too crashed and the same error message came up.

Deciding to get it to helpdesk once I reached office, I proceeded with trying to check my mails. I tried to open Gmail and IE crashed with this :

– the MUHAHAHA being read out with the help of sinister laughter.
I was unable to open anything related to Google (except Google Search) – Gmail, Youtube, Orkut.

A bit of Googling on this gave me the following :

It’s a worm by the name is W32.USBWorm.

How it works? • It spreads through USB drives.
• It creates a folder with name heap41a in C drive that will be disguised as a system folder with hidden attributes enabled and copies all its contents in that heap41a folder.
• The running process that is responsible for this is svchost.exe and it will be spawned under the current user name.
• It will make an entry into the system registry so that it will be started automatically every time the system gets rebooted.

Contents of the “heap41a” folder :
• Svchost.exe – This is the main executing program
• Script1.txt – It contains the script for displaying the messages and playing the sound file depending upon the application invoked.
• Std.txt – It is responsible for making registry entries and running svchost.exe.
• Reproduce.txt – It is responsible for reproducing the directory structure and registry entries every time the system reboots or if any files or entries are missing.
• Along with these, there is also an audio file and a drive list text which contains by default all the alphabets from A…Z

How to remove this worm?
• Terminate svchost process with TaskManager-Processes. However, there will be more than one svchost process (Svchost.exe is a generic host process name for services that run from DLLs). You have to delete the one which was spawned under the current user name. Note that if you end a genuine process, you’ll get a message “system is shutting down because some vital process has terminated unexpectedly”.
• Delete the heap41a folder from your system. This is a hidden folder.
Enable “Search hidden files and folders” in advanced search options to find it. If an ‘access denied’ message pops up when you try to delete, use an application called “unlocker” (download this from here).
You can also type C:\heap41a in the address bar of Windows Explorer, hit enter, and once inside it, do a ctrl+A and a shift+delete.
• Remove the following registry entry :
HKLM\..\Policies\Explorer\Run: [winlogon] C:\heap41a\svchost.exe
• The worm can also be removed using either hijackthis or Avast which are able to detect and remove it. The other antivirus tools don’t seem to detect this as of now.

In case someone comes up against the same virus and wants a solution via Google, I’m giving the following tags for possible searches :
USE INTERNET EXPLORER YOU DOPE.
I DNT HATE MOZILLA BUT USE IE OR ELSE…
Orkut is banned you fool,The administrators didnt write this program guess who did??
MUHAHAHA

July 22, 2006

Book Review: The Google Story

Filed under: Books,Tech — Santhosh @ 3:23 AM

Book Name: The Google Story
Author: David A. Vise
Genre: Non Fiction

About: Founding, rise, and establishing of Google. The mistakes that competitors made, the philosophy behind “Do No Evil”, Stanford, the simple, plain homepage, the Google business model, the ‘attitude’, $85, dreams, guts, confidence, Sergey Brin & Larry Page, garage, Googleplex, Charlie’s, AOL-Europe contract (just like in Archer’s Fourth Estate), acquisitions, Microsoft, China, Redmond, finance, Wall Street, the present, litigation, burst bubble, geeks, GLAT, Search, genetics, the future….

My Rating: 4/5

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