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04. April 2009

SH(IT) Happens!!!

Sh(IT) happens

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.


08. February 2009

Layoff and how it happens !!

Once upon a time the government with Ruling Party XYZ.. had a vast scrap
yard in the middle of a desert.
Ruling Party XYZ Said.. – “Someone may steal from it at night.”

So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.
Then Ruling Party XYZ Said..

– “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?”

So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to
write the instructions, and one person to do time studies. Then Ruling
Party XYZ Said..,

– “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?”

So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One to
do the studies and one to write the reports. Then Ruling Party XYZ Said.. ,

– “How are these people going to get paid?”

So they created the following positions, a time keeper, and a payroll
officer, then hired two people. Then Ruling Party XYZ Said..,

Who will be accountable for all of these people?”

So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an
Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal
Secretary. Then Ruling Party XYZ Said..,

– “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $18,000
over budget, we must cutback overall cost.”

So they laid off the night watchman.

23. November 2008

NullPointerException — CitiBank Fail !!!!

Citibank is one of the Best banks in the world. Yesterday i was trying to pay my Mobile bill online using Citibank Gateway and what is see is this infamous NullPointerException 😉 .

03. November 2008

ETS site gives me NullPointerException

Today i was browsing through my account in ETS site . I was trying to send my TOEFL score to some universities it gave me the following error. Looks like ETS uses Struts J2EE framework. Struts is similar to the framework i work with. It was quite familiar to me but if someone else had got that error he would be scared to death 😉 . Click image for larger view


15. April 2008

Some tools that can help you speed up your computer and work more efficiently

Ever thought about pounding your computer with a hammer hoping it starts moving slightly faster than the current snail’s pace? Well we’d say don’t rush for the hammer just yet; try this collection of smart utility software instead. Here are tools that provide all the help you need to control, tweak and manipulate the looks and functionality of Windows. 


Tweak UI:



Here is a utility from Microsoft which is termed as the ultimate user interface (UI) tweaker for XP. This utility will let you twist and manipulate, and sometime even override, the way your Windows interface should look. An indispensable tool that offers multiple UI tweaks under a single interface. 


DoubleKiller: URL: 


A cluttered hard disk can really slow down your PC, and what adds to the clutter the most is duplicate files that hog space for no reason. This utility, as the name implies, brings you help on this front. It locates duplicate files on your computer and kills one, leaving you with just a single file. 




This is an easy-to-use alternative to the standard Windows file manager. Here you can find all the necessary functions to manage your data stock. The best part is that you can put this utility on a USB key—even a floppy disk if you can find one—and take it with you to control files on any PC. 


Taskbar Shuffle 2.2: 




So you think the Windows taskbar controls you? Here is one utility that will let you turn the tables. It lets you move the buttons for open applications anywhere you want on the taskbar, or group open documents together. And yes, it works with Windows versions all the way back to Windows 95. 


Pitaschio: URL: 


This is another utility that could come in handy to mould Windows to match your style of working. This background utility minimizes windows to the tray, snaps them together as you drag, and disables specific keys (such as the numlock key) if you like. It also provides stats on how much you use your keyboard. 


Defraggler: URL: 


Fragmentation of the disk is another big culprit that can slow down your computer. This utility is a handy one that will help you clean up the mess. It not only defragments your hard disk but also claims to defragment individual files. If you’re not sure what needs defragging, it also provides a list of files that need it. And yes, this one is tiny enough to go on a USB drive too. 


WinDirStat: URL: 


If your hard disk seems bloated and you have no idea what exactly is taking up all that much space, here is something you should look at. Short for Windows Directory Statistics, this programme presents your hard drive’s directory in multiple views, some resembling Windows Explorer—files represented by 3D boxes in full colour. One look and you’d soon know what’s taking up space. 


WinPatrol 2007: URL: 


You might not even notice but there are umpteen number of useless programs that come pre-installed with your Windows, which end up eating plenty of CPU cycles. Put Scotty, the Win-Patrol mascot, to work keeping an eye on your system. Scotty will come up with warnings about new programs that plan to run at startup and detection of other system changes, trusted or not. It will also delay the start of programs to improve boot-up speed in any version. 


Absolute Uninstaller: URL: 


You might have uninstalled a particular program, but unfortunately it still leaves a lot of junk in its wake. One way to be sure that a program is all gone is the absolute uninstaller. This replaces the default Add/Remove Programs control panel in Windows, checks for extra stuff to delete after an uninstall (such as Start menu entries and useless Registry keys), and, best of all, does batch removal of multiple programmes at one time. 


Eraser: URL: 


With more and more sophisticated recovery tools, it can be disastrous to get rid of an old computer without making sure the hard drive is wiped clean. This doesn’t mean just reformatting it, but actually annihilating all data by overwriting disk sectors multiple times. Open-source Eraser that fits a USB drive is a great candidate for the job. 


Google Desktop 5: URL: 


Finally if you think searching files on your computer takes an eternity, Google desktop can come to the rescue. This software does more than just search. Google Desktop indexes all of your data files—including email and instant messages—so you can find it fast. The interface includes multiple search-box configurations and an advanced search option. You can search and find your own files along with your internet search results. 

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