Monday, June 28, 2004

How many meetings do you atttend in a day? Well all of us have spent & continue to spend a lot of time attending meeetings organised by others and organisaing meetings ourselves, but from a lot of meeting you come out with a sense of "What a waste of time", If i was at my desk i could have finished a lot more work. Well i just read this interesting piece by Steven Smith.

He has arrived at a concept called "ROTI", Retun on Time Invested, Quite good. Under this concept he has provided an approach on how to improve the value of meetings for all teh stakeholders.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

How to use mutiple desktops and survive, i use the word survive, as its quite a pain, beleive me, i do it, but nowadays i have found an easy but not so reliable work around to it, i use an external hard drive which i take along with me ..."everywhere prashanth goes the harddrive is sure to go"...but this isnt exactly a fool proof approach.

I am going to try and implement some of martin fowlers thoughts on using multiple desktops.

Michael Platts, appraoch(funny) on how to get management approvals for budgets, i like the idea, Infact i probably will give it a try sometime..He used electricity i will have to find something a little less potent.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Multiple monitors on a single desk!!!

I want multiple monitors on my desk!!!
Well, I want to two monitors too......, Jeff AtWood (via Scoble) provides a good reasoning on how developers can benefit from three monitors on their desk, i kinda agree, Now I need to go and try and convince by boss to allow us to do something like that but I am sure it will be a long shot.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Automating Outlook

I had some days back posted about a simple macro that I had written in outlook, As an extension to that series of article I just read this piece at Working Smart, Which provides an automated approach to the weekly review process, I am going to go ahead and try it out ..right now!!!

View ...Development process ..Product development Company.

i just read this post at Mitch Kapoors blog, well i have read i think in the MIT review site about teh rpoduct they are in the process of development this post gives an interesting and what seems to be a very frank view into thier development process.

Geek Movies

I was reading this blog by Richard Callabys on Geek Movies....

He listed

War Games
Triumph of the Nerds

i have seen antiturst, but dont remember seeing any of ther others, I think one movie that he forgot to put on the list was The NET i think, this is the one with Sandara Bullock in it, i thought that was pretty good at that time.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Mozzila VS IE

Let the Browser WAR begin,

Well scoble mentioned about it, would effectively mean we have to read it, I just read the piece on "Why You should dump internet explorer"

For a change like the author himself mentions it is not by a microsoft hater,

The points raised by the author are simple & sound.

He first points to the are of Security:

Spyware, IE allows easier install of malicious code/software on the system without the user knowing it, This is done using ActiveX and Active Scripting.

When it comes to all other types of serious security issues. For years now, it’s seemed like every time you turn around there is a new way to have your computer taken over via Internet Explorer. Infact the other indicates that an attacker can very easily execute commands on the PC from within IE.

Well he also mentions that it is possible to lock down windows, but require great technical know how.

The Next segment he moves to is standards

Microsoft doesnt implement all the industry standards (XHTML / CSS).
"The absolute worst browser when it comes to supporting the standards is Internet Explorer."
There are innumerable features/standards supported in other browsers, but not in IE.

The third point is about options, And in this section i think one important point that should be noted is that, this whole discussion is getting started up due to the simple fact that now we have other viable options available to us,

Here the author recommends the Mozzila firefox, I have used it and am quite happy with it,

Features of this browser that the author highlights is:
1. Tabbed Browsing - I vouch for this feature it is pretty cool
2. Improved Security Systems
3. Complete Support to Standards

Also one feature not mentioned by the author which i like is, the downloads management utility. It has a complete list of downloads that are done through the browser and where they are located too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Longhorn - I

Longhorn - I

This weekend I had some time at my disposal, So I kind of got into the process of reading up on longhorn, since I have been reading a lot about it in the blogs that I frequent, It just started as an exercise of me trying to get my hands around the concepts and what it has to offer. Well I think I managed to get a pretty good idea from the various PDC presentations and some articles that I was reading.

Highlights from the reading:
Win32 API is dead, It has been replaced with WINFX
        This is a rationalization & dramatic simplification
        70000 Win 32 API's  -> 8000 .Net Namespaces & Types
Longhorn development projects are classified as
        client                  (Avlon & Windows forms)
        Web & Services  ( & Indigo)
        Data Systems            (WINFS & Yukon)
        Mobile PC & devices     (Compact Framework & Mobile PC Optimized)
There are three pillars of longhorn
        Avalon - Presentation
        WinFS - Data Storage
        Indigo - Collaboration
        Vector based graphics, delivered from "Cros Processing Compositing Engine"
        Sing hardware driver for both 2D & 3D needs
        Graphical Processing Unit - One stop shop
        Aero UI Elements
        Seperation of Form & Control Design from Procedural Code
        Generate Avalon form & control with XAML(zamel)
        Unified View for all data
        No concept of addiing new folders to WinFS folders, but can add grouping based on property value called stacks to Docs

        Items in default locations are pointers (holding links) to files stored in WinFS folders.
        Notifications can be set to itrem related folders
        A set of messaging services that provide a secure & reliable asncronous communication channels between applications or Independent systems over multiple transport networks.

        Plumbing for next generation of service oriented architecture design & programming practices

Infact some of the concepts excited me enough to start me off on an hunt to get the required development kit and try some of the stuff, particularly the ones with WinFS.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Well i have been away from the blogging for almost a week now, well work has been playing catch up, but this hasnt stopped me from keeping up with reading of the blogs one that really caught my eye was the one on tablet PC by michael hyatt.

Here are some excerpts from the blog:

About three weeks ago, I bought a Toshiba M205-S810 TabletPC. I’ve always thought it would be a big boost to my productivity if I could actually take my computer with me to meetings. Then I would have access to everything I need—my calendar, e-mail messages, documents, spreadsheets, etc. I tried using a PDA, but that didn't really cut it. The interface was too primitive and scrolling documents was a drag.

Then I tried a ThinkPad X31 laptop. This is a great computer. Powerful, light, and elegant. In my opinion, it’s still the best looking laptop on the market. However, laptops in meetings are a problem. Michael Linenberger stated it succinctly in his excellent book, Seize the Work Day: Using the Tablet PC to Take Total Control of Your Work and Meeting Day. He writes:

Using a Tablet PC during a typical management meeting is totally different from using a laptop. It’s the difference between night and day. The difference between success and failure. Here’s why.
Discretion: Nothing is more distracting than, during a management-style meeting, having a meeting participant typing away on a laptop. In contrast, working with a Tablet PC in your lap appears no different from what you would be doing with a pen and notepad in your lap. This is particularly true if you use, as recommended later in this book, an executive-style portfolio case that makes your Tablet PC resemble an executive notepad portfolio.

Communication barriers: Placing a laptop with the screen flipped up in front of you on a conference room table creates a physical barrier between you and others in the room. This is literally a barrier to communication. The Tablet PC is normally on your lap, and out of sight. Or it is flat on the desk like a writing pad.

Personal effectiveness: Research shows that if you use both hands to accomplish a task, a much larger percentage of your brain becomes engaged in that operation. Typing with both hands tends to totally engage your brain in the typing activity and makes you visibly less tuned-in to the meeting. In contrast, writing with one hand during a meeting is second nature to most of us. The brain stays mostly engaged in the meeting activities. We all can take notes and participate in a meeting at the same time. Using a Tablet PC in a meeting is little different from this.

Eye contact: Related to the above point, and for the same reasons, many users have reported that it is much easier to maintain periodic and consistent eye contact with others in a meeting when using a Tablet PC versus using a laptop. This has a dramatic affect on the perception of others that you are engaged and personable. Lack of eye contact also limits your ability to read body language of others, adding to your distance from the meeting (pp. 15, 16)
So, based on Marc Orchant’s recommendation, I bought the Toshiba. The nice thing about this unit is that it’s a “convertible.” This means that the screen swings around so that you can use it as either a regular laptop or a TabletPC.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Simple yet useful

I try and use MS outlook to keep track of my activities on a day to day basis and most tasks/activities for me start/are initiated from emails I receive from people/bosses/customers so on , I needed an easy way of creating tasks as and when I receive an email, not requiring me to go to the tasks section and create the task item every time I get a new mail. So I decided to find a way to automate this

First step I clearly identified the process

1. Receive new mail
2. Read new mail
3. Create Task
With defined due date
With typically the same subject of the email as the subject of the task
4. Save the task close email

Once I knew this is what I needed I tried setting this up using VBA,

Now every time I receive a mail, I get a pop up message saying You have got mail (Always wanted it after seeing the movie - will probably include sound soon) which then opens up the newly received message once that is done, once that is done a pop up message comes up asking if I would like to create a task for that activity, If I say "Y" then it asks me how many days do you think it will take, once I provide that information it opens up a task with the subject of the email set as the subject of the task and the due date set according to your entry.


It has been a long time since I programmed in VB, but getting my hands wet again is a nice feeling, I hope to be doing more of this in the near future.

If anybody wants this code just post it as a comment or send me a mail I will be more than happy to provide it to you.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Chennai - Blogging

well a couple of days back i came to know about the existence of a blogger community which is quite active in my very backyard here in chennai,

they are having a meet, this sunday at one of the local haunts, plan to be there,

As i understand it all bloggers are welcome.....will blog about it once i get back ,

If you want more detials on the same i think you should get in touch with a guy called kiruba
Trying to view Channel 9 - Part II

Looks like we have finally got to the bottom of the problem, (as I understood it)they need to upload the video's on the site, Which I will have to wait for a week for.

but I assure you the quick response(s) from scoble and his genuine effort to solve the problem leaves me feeling very important and taken care of, wish customer support people would learn to be like this.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

today, i was reading the work of Joe Bork...a lot of his work... first i read his personal blog and then i went to his technical blog and both had something to offer to my interest,

first about the technical blog here he has piece talking abot "Why hobbyist programmers matter" well it is a well written blog, and i agree with him in toto. If the development tools didnt not allow for hobbyist programmers, i think a lot of school children wouldnt have this sort of interest in computers/programming.

I think its the sense of being able to create something with little or no resources that drives all of us at the very begining. And all of us start off as hobbyist programmers before making that serious plunge into software (development) should take that into consideration, also the tool development shops should find a way of supporting these hobbyist programmers,

It might not be such a bad idea for them to start groups particularly for this section of programmers and see what they come up with the people from the HR group can probably monitor these groups to pick the good ones...i think the HR bloggers from microsoft should give some serious thought to this approach.

Well this was on the technical side, on the personal side he wrote an excellent expose on his life with his was defn worth reading. You ahead and read it yourself.

Trying to view Channel 9

i have been trying to view some of the videos bieng hosted at Channel 9 very unsuccessfully. First i got the error stating ""One or more codecs required to open this
media could not be found" , i had sent a mail to thier contact mail address and i must say when i got back to office in the morning(i live india) i had a response...from robert scoble, Scobleizer as he is better known ...but the response was typical of a software vendor....move to the latest version of media player....well i did that and now i have another problem...this time the error is "Windows Media Player cannot connect to the server. The server name may be incorrect or the server is busy. Try again later."

Though i appreciate the quick response, this is becoming quite a tough excercise, and all this effort better be worth it.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Manage u r PC

All of us want to and need to manage our windows machine, but most of us dont know where to start and how to go about it , here is a good article that will help us get started,

Below are Excerpts from this piece:

Get rid of files you don't really need.
Uninstall unnecessary programs.
Organize your files and folders.
Clean up your Desktop and Start menu.
Reduce your email spam, and sort through and organize your Outlook mail.
Clean and fine-tune the Registry.
Optimize your hard drive.
Install the latest upgrades.
Incorporate PowerToys and good shareware to help keep your machine clean and running efficiently.
Improve security and set up a good firewall.
Back up your system on a regular basis.
Use a smart approach if you think your machine is ready to be retired.

Weekend in Bangalore the silicon valley of India,

I was visiting bangalore for a family function, so here I was in the city which is the face of indias electronic world and it had huge blemishes on it, I am just going to list the most obvious one to us visitors...the ROADs or should I say the lack of it...I found myself driving on only pot holes and these werent holes, they were sized like craters, my car really complained , I think I need to get the under chasis checked for dents, becuase of the number of times it got hit,

the second killer was the traffic, It was down right unruly, I think somebody just forgot to explain to people what driving is..I dont think they learn driving , one fine day they just get into the car and start driving. Somebody should ban the use of quallis and sumos by these BPO they are really killers on the road, I swear, I almost got smashed into by three of them in the course of just two days.

Now lets forget bangalore lets talk about the drive to bangalore, there is a part of the section that comes under the golden quadrilateral program and man are these roads cool, I swear, it was amazing ....Kudos to the Vajpayee govt for this.