Da Tek ee / Misc

No Bar @ BarCamp Delhi

BarCamp Delhi was quite an experience. I had never been to any meet as such...a first timer at BarCamp. I had heard/read a lot about the BarCamps held at US and was very much excited about its first foray into Asia especially India. BarCamp has quite a history about how it started and its connections with FooCamp. No moderation , no restrictions whatsoever was unique to BarCamp. The attendees ranged from entrepreneurs, CEOs to developers and even students. Everyone shared a single platform and participated in some way or the other. Every session consisted of a presentation follwed by an open discussion allowing free flow of ideas.

The theme "Next Generation Internet: Web 2.0, mobile computing, and other cool stuff" was quite apt wrt the current scenario of the web.

A quick summary of the sessions I attended:
  • Agile Web Development with Ruby on Rails by Manik Juneja: Quite an eye-opener for web developers giving them an insight of how powerful Ruby on Rails is.
  • Rich Internet Applications and Flex by Ramanarayanan K and Manish Jethani: An introduction to Macromedia RIA's was given followed by a live demostartion by Manish where he built a YouTube player using Flex. Flex proved to be quite promising due to its ease and platform independence.
  • Making AJAX applications faster by Jonathan Boutelle: IMHO one of the most impressive presentations. Jonathan introduced us to the concepts of prefetching/preloading in terms of making AJAX applications faster. He pointed out that the decision of the amount of data to prefetch was purely heuristic and application specific.
  • Can we trust next generation web applications by Kapil Bhatia: Kapil brought out some subtle points regarding trust in the current web scenario. This led to open discussions about reliability of some trusted web applications and whether we could trust them with our data. We also discussed about the sustainability of mash-ups coming to the conclusion that in the mashup ecosystem the data owner is the boss.
  • How Bloggers Make Money by Amit Agarwal 'ProBlogger': Quick tips by a professional blogger from Agra on how to monetize your blogs and tyurn it into a cash cow. He compared various monetizing tools like Google AdSense, Chitika and shared his experiences regarding the same. He let out the tricks for search engine optimization of blog posts.
  • Blogging Network - None of us are as smart as all of us by Ajay Sanghani: Ajay, from ITVIDYA.com, introduced us to his blogging network ITVIDYA. He brought across a very valid point that wealth earned through blogs not only consisted of the dollars from cpc but also of the social/business networking that may result.
  • Web 2.0 & Power of Default by Prashant: Survival strategies of the Default were discussed concluding that the Default is the way and its here to stay. Paticipants debated on the revenue models for the Web 2.0 concluding that advertising was not the only alternative (37Signals being one of the Web2.0 companys which has a concrete revenue model other than advertising).
  • Knowledge Management 2.0 - Applying structured blogging to knowledge management by Manish Dhingra: The core of the presentation was to familarise all with the concept of structured blogging. Manish also revealed Wordpress and Movable Type plugins to facilitate structured blogging. One advantage of structured blogging was to clearly differentiate between normal posts and special posts like reviews etc. This would ease the machine readability of such posts. He emphasised on Knowledge Management at the corporate level talking about the corporate-level blogs and the driving force behind them.
  • Elements of Web 2.0 - Micro-content, Mobiles and Communities by VeerChand Bothra: One of the lone presentations which spoke about Mobile 2.0. Veer elaborated on the concept of MoBlogs and generation of micro-content which is independent of the platform be it th web or the mobile. He also gave the first public demo of his project MyToday. At the first glance MyToday looks like any other feed aggregator. But the twist lies in the fact that it aggregates news based on sources rather than on the content of the posts (complementary to what Google News does).
  • Developing MVC based AJAX applications by Kapil Mohan: The use of MVC design pattern on the client-side was quite innovative. Advantages of it were quite evident, reorganising sloppy javascript code into a modularised, manageable code. The Model-View-Controller architecture facilitates pin pointing errors making javascript debugging a lot more easier.
  • Open source Web application testing with WATiR by Angrez Singh: Another interesting presentation for all the Ruby geeks. Angrez presented the easiness with which web applications could be tested using WATiR. He pointed out its advantages over other commercial testing tools which are 'record and play' based. He also exhibhited the extension they had developed at Persistent Systems to extend WATiR for Firefox (currently WATiR works only with IE).
The success of BarCamp Delhi will eventually trigger other BarCamps throughout India. Atleast I know that BarCamp Pune is on the charts. Anyone interested?


Yahoo! Mail Spam Guard Sucks

I've been wanting to post about this since a long time. Gmail has raised the bar high and on the other hand Yahoo! Mail's services seem to be deteriorating day by day. SpamGuard doesn't seem to be functioning as required. In my case all mails from Yahoo! Services seem to be filtered into the Bulk folder whereas all the other so to be "spam" mails are just delivered right into my inbox.

I receive spam mail at the approximate rate of two mails every five minutes. This has made life difficult for me......all the more reason (rather an excuse (-; ) to use Gmail.

Screenshot of my Inbox

Screenshot of my Bulk folder


Just 20 Questions To Read Your Mind

Robin Burgener, the inventor of 20q started working on 20Q in 1988, with the game running on a 5/14 inch floppy disk. Now 20q is online and over 10,000 games are played each day - increasing the sophistication of the 20q network on a daily basis.The artificial intelligence behind the game is a neural-network, similar to a human brain.

A brain, or neural-network, is built from neurons connected by synaptic connections. A human brain has about one hundred trillion synaptic connections. The 20q.net currently has about ten million. The game uses the neural-network to choose the next question as well as deciding what to guess.

Try it out yourself and you'll be amazed. Play it here.


Mind Games

Surfing the net aimlessly? Need to pass your time productively instead of reading silly blogs like this ;-)...heres a way to excercise your mind and have fun at the same time. Planarity.net has come to your rescue. This flash based game consists of a number of vertices connected by edges. The aim is to rearrange the vertices such that none of the edges overlap. Sounds quite kiddish eh! Try it out for yourself - lets see if you can get past the sixth level without scratching your head :-).


No need to Click

Now heres a revolutionary experiment that will eliminate the very essence of the "Click". The Institute of Interactive Research has come with these innovative ways to replace the old fashioned click. Have a look and decide for yourself - DontClick.it


Next best thing: Blank Keyboard

Now ain't this cool "A Blank Keyboard" - a keyboard with no alphabets inscribed on the keys. Truly a must have for an uber geek. Check it out yourself here.


X-Desktop.org: Browser based application desktop

Many applications are becoming increasingly popular day by day and inorder to achieve this they need to cater to a wide variety of users. This calls for the application to be deployed on different platforms having varied system architectures, filesystems and look-and-feel. Therefore developers have to develop platform specific applications for all platforms. This leads to increased development time and cost. An alternative is to use OS independent languages like Java but then again it has the added disadvantage of providing the runtime environment.

This leads us to think - "Is it possible to have a common unified medium to deploy applications?". The answer is yes. The solution was in front of us all along - the "Browser". Through this medium applications can be distributed across varied platforms and devices (Handheld/Mobile etc) as they all have implicit support for internet browsing.

X-Desktop.org provides a common application desktop library. It facilitates the creation of browser based thin client applications which can be used by companies to deploy products either on the internet or intranet. It provides a single unfied interface(GUI). The basic design goals are:
  1. Open Source
  2. 100% browser based
  3. Supporting all operating systems
  4. No plugins required
  5. Simple Object Model Interface
  6. Customizable skins/themes

<Screenshot of an interface created by X-Desktop.org


Koders.com: Source Kode Reusability

Reusability is one of the key features expected out of good programming. We programmers often tend to use code available freely inorder to reduce our workload. Source code reading is also informative in terms of developing good coding skills and also tends to sharpen our language skills. But its often difficult infact almost impossible to find good readable code over the net. Although you can download open source projects and go through its code but usually its difficult to make out head or tails of such large projects.

So one day I set out on the internet to search out an alternative. My search led me to Koders.com a source code search engine. Here you can search specific functions/algorithms implemented in various languages. You have an option to search language specific code. If you plan to reuse the code in your project you can also get license information so that you can safely abide by its license policy. License Information can also be used as a parameter for the search. This is how it may help: For example suppose you have to implement something as trivial as Quick Sort in say Java. Although its a 'piece of cake' kinda code but implementing it does take some time. And time is money my friend :-). Moreover why redo something that someone has already done and is kind enough to let others reuse it.

So let us all support open source by contributing to it and utilising it to the fullest. By the way Koders.com also has a feature that allows you to submit your open source project incase you make up your mind to better your Karma and follow the path of Enlightenment suggested by me above.


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