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02. April 2009

The Programmer’s Reference: Looking at the Right Places.

This is a guest post by Binit Thapa, Chief Software Architect, InRev systems (

Anyone is a programmer in today’s world. Whether you like it or not, knowingly or unknowingly, you’ve come across bits and pieces of programming. Even if you haven’t made your hands dirty with languages like C/Java or Perl, you must’ve done some Microsoft Excel (VBA) programming or writing Ms word macros. Whatever be the case and your programming experience, it always helps to have a place, a temple, where you get help from. While this exact place may vary among us, fixing one always comes in handy. Here I’m compiling a few such places, the ones I loved, which I’m sure you’d like it too for the programming languages that I’ve used.

For Qbasic, and this is the first programming language I learnt, the best place I’ve found is its in-built help. As a high school student and unaware of the power and limitations of programming languages, I used to read this a lot. The examples provided there will always guide a student.

Next is C-Unix/Linux. The in-built manual pages is a very handy reference. Though it serves just as a reference and not learning or exploring new functions, this is a time-saver as you won’t have to open the browser and visit the web for such a trivial thing as syntax. Manual pages (the man command) is very extensive too. From finding help for the system commands to the shell programming (bash/ksh/sh/csh) do the man and find it out.

Perl. Once you learn this language, you start knowing the limitations of C. C is fast, Perl is easy. The Perl’s help system, the way modules are installed (perl -MCPAN -eshell), all these are unique and make it all the more powerful. For standard Perl functions and the run-time options, for the special variables and regular expressions there’s perldoc. Then for new modules (which you’ll almost certainly require), we have CPAN ( Mostly written by the module owners, the Perl’s contributors are many; yet I’ve found it to be largely exemplified and serving the purpose.

vim/gvim. The editor that is lightweight and yet supports every complex operation to do your job fast. When you learn this, you know its “optimized for speed” for the same things might require a long,long time in any other “flashy” editor available (except of course, emacs). The vim’s starting tutorial is very good for beginners. The in-built help is very extensive but I’ve found it unnecessary to dig-in unless you want to become an expert in vim customization. You can open files across ftp and make changes as if its local, you can check-in and check-out files, you can run cscope commands, you can even compile applications all with this lovely editor.

Microsoft technologies (C#, VB, VC++). I’ve done little work in this arena but digging into MSDN always helped me a lot. The examples provided and descriptions given have never disappointed me. IMO developers can work even without an internet connection and having the MSDN provided.

Google has spoiled developers. Yes, it has got answers to all questions but its always easy to directly hit the bird rather than proxying through google. And if you’ve the habit of finding help in a common place, you already know the interfaces and chances are likely that you’ll look into the right places and find the solution faster. But for troubleshooting and quick-fix solutions, nothing beats google.


07. December 2008

A MacDock like WordPress Plugin

Have you used Apple Mac if yes then there is this thing called Dock ( like Task bar in windows ). The Dock seems visually very good because of its zooming thing. Somebody has gotten lot of inspirations from the Mac Dock and has brought the similar to the Web from the Mac Desktop. Looks amazing to me. You can download the plugin from . You can visit Macphobia for a pretty demo of the Plugin.

15. November 2008

Indian Institute of Management – IIMs

The biggest fuss and toughest entrance exam in India are supposed to be the entrance exam for these institutes . I was browsing through their websites today. They dont have much of information on their webpages. I dont seem to understand the biggest and so reputed colleges in India have such useless websites. One of the IIMs , IIM lucknow doesn’t even show up . Its front page shows you MySql warning and errors. This is what world expects from top class B school of India  ? . Because Website is the first thing a people in other country of world would think when he/she hears of the institute. This is disappointing. Is this also the result of India being the Software Hub ( Superpower ) ? 😉

10. November 2008

Some inspiring Words.. Believe in yourself

One day all the employees reached office and saw a big notice on the
door :———–

“The person who had been hindering your growth passed away yesterday.
You are requested to join the funeral & prayers which have been
organized in the gym”.

At the start, all were sad for the death of one of their colleagues,
but after a while they started getting curious to know who it was that
hindered their growth.

The excitement in the gym grew such that security agents were ordered
to control the crowd within the room.

More the people reached the coffin, more the excitement heated up.
Everyone thought: “Who could this be? Who was hindering my progress?”.

One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin, and when
they looked inside it they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul.

There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it
could see himself

There was also a sign next to the mirror that said:

“There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth:
it is YOU.”

You are the only person who can revolutionize your life.
You are the only person who can influence your happiness, your
realization and your success.
You are the only person who can help yourself.

Your life does not change 

when your boss changes 

when your friends change

when your partner changes 

when your company changes.

Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting

when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.

“The most important relationship you can have, is the one you have
with yourself”

Examine yourself, watch yourself. Don’t be afraid of difficulties,
impossibilities and losses: be a winner, build yourself and your reality.

The world is like a mirror: it gives back to anyone the reflection of
the thoughts in which one has strongly believed.

The world and your reality are like mirrors laying in a coffin,
which show to any individual the death of his divine capability to imagine
and create his happiness and his success.

It’s the way you face Life that makes the difference.

It is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice.

02. November 2008

My Favorite Media Software

Most of us make use of our computers in playing media like movies and songs . For me this is the thing i do most of the time in my PC. I have been using different softwares for Playing DVDs , MP3, Ripping DVDs , Converting videos and Audio. I have more than 10 softwares to do these tasks in my computer. I think you also have similar number of softwares. Can you think of one software which can do all this stuff. Yes i have found one cool software today which does all these Media related things – Just one Software to serve you all media requirements. The software name is Blaze Media Pro . I primarily use this software as audio converter and video encoder

Blaze Media Pro is a powerful DVD ripper software and an all-in-one multimedia application that offers conversion, ripping, editing, recording, burning, playback, and much more. Powerful, yet easy to use audio, video, and data CD/DVD burning are all fully supported. VCD, SVCD, and DVD burning are supported. Other advanced features include video capture, video creation, combining, and extraction, video editing, copying of music CDs, audio and video merge (joining), MusicID audio recognition, lyrics search, audio tag editing, FreeDB support, and more. The audio content of video files can be extracted and saved to sound files, and frames can also be extracted to images files in batch mode. Video files can also be created from still frame images and/or other videos.

27. August 2008

Google Suggest goes live

Google Suggest was in Google labs for some years . Its live now . What that means is when searching in we get list of search terms according to what we have typed also showing the number of results for suggested terms . 

I am happy to see that when typed “hem ac” google is suggesting my name Hem Acharya which has more than 26K+ results . Thanks to google for indexing me in the suggested list.

At office i had my homepage set to Google Hong Kong . I was seeing a JavaScript after typing 1-2 words and there was no suggested keywords dropdown . Now it seems fine. They fixed it so quick.

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