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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

This Blog Has Moved 

For anyone out there who wants to keep in touch, this blog has moved to: http://geekswithblogs.net/rumair/.


On The Move - Bye Bye Blogger 

I will be moving this blog to a new location soon.... Blogger is good but iText is better.

This page will be history as I start the painful process of moving all of my rants one by one manually to this blogs new location.

Soon the only thing left on this page will be a redirection to my new blog address.


Sunday, February 29, 2004

Hmmm, I sww light 

The reason that data structures and algorithms
can work together seamlessly is ... that they
do not know anything about each other.

- Alex Stepanov

This DVD Will Self-Destruct in 48 Hours  

Disney may be taking a cue from Mission Impossible with its latest development, DVDs that become unreadable 48 hours after being opened. This new technology allows any retailer to become a movie vendor with a small collection of DVDs, but the design is also ground-breaking. The movies are known as EZ-D, and once the package is opened and exposed to oxygen, it starts a countdown that culminates in the disc displaying only a black screen when its time has expired. Stores in four states are due to begin selling the DVDs in the near future with plans to expand nationwide.

Disney thinks this could be the future of movie rentals, and Blockbuster might be worried about its future market."

The death of the Password 

It will come someday soon. When passwords will be outdated my much secure and better ways of authtication leading to better security.

The tamper resistant ID-card software has been developed by Microsoft's research arm and was demonstrated during Gate's keynote for RSA.

To create an ID card, the software requires a photograph and some basic information about the user, for example, name and date of birth. This information is put through an algorithm to create a digital signature in the form of a barcode, which is also printed onto the ID card. If any of the information on the ID card is altered, it will not correlate to the signature and the card is rejected.

Gavin Jancke, development manager at Microsoft Research, who demonstrated the product, said one of the key aspects of the system is that it does not require a database because all the information is already stored on the card: 'The authenticity ID is stored in the printed information in the card itself. There are no user privacy issues because we know that what is stored on this card is stuff that they can actually see,' he said."

Friday, February 27, 2004

Bits and Bytes and Blogs 

What Is a Weblog?

A weblog is a Web page that one or more people update on a regular basis, usually with time-stamped entries. It can be personal, technical, or just about any topic. Many people abbreviate weblog to just blog. Rai Umair thinks it's a little strange that an abbreviation has an abbreviation, but there you go. Besides, why is abbreviation such a long word? You can think of it as just another Web page, or as a diary (or journal if you're a "guy"), or as a great new way of informing people about what you know about. For example, Rai Umair loves to read about the latest gadgets he can't afford on the Gizmodo weblog, while others like to read about the latest nugget of wisdom from Dan Gilmor on his blog.

Why Should I Care About Blogs?

While it is certainly possible to earn the ire of your boss by "wasting time" reading blogs all day, it is also a great way to learn. For example, did you know that there are a number of Microsoft employees now blogging? Just a quick look at http://blogs.msdn.com and you are sure to learn something. For example, the good doctor sees that there is now another WS-specification, information about a cleaner for your Microsoft® Word HTML documents, and an announcement about a briefing with Mr. Steve Ballmer himself. In the past, Dr. GUI has read incredible items on deep Microsoft® .NET topics from some of the architects of .NET.

What Is RSS?

RSS (it is an acronym, but different people expand it to different items; it's either Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary) is an XML format that contains the last few updates to a Web site. This is similar to the Active Channels that Rai Umair remembers from back in the middle ages of Microsoft® Internet Explorer 4.0. However, it differs from channels in that it is broadly accepted. By watching the RSS for a Web site (or rather, having a program monitor it), you can easily tell when it has changed. No more wasting time visiting sites; you will always know just when it has updated.

Most blogs also support RSS: so, you can use a program, such as SharpReader or NewsGator, to subscribe to the RSS for a number of blogs. Then you can read their contents at your leisure.

Where Can I Get More Information About Blogs?

The best way to learn about weblogs is to start reading them. You can find many excellent weblogs on .NET and related information at:

http://weblogs.asp.net
http://blogs.msdn.com
http://www.geekswithblogs.net

In addition, if you have something to contribute, perhaps you should start a blog as well, and share your knowledge with the world. You may find you like it.

Get The Report For FREE 

'The Best ERP Vendor Experience' report by Forrester Research.

Summary:

ERP apps are a commodity. Who can tell one G/L from another? Users should assess ERP vendors based on how easy they are to work with. The best so far is MAPICS.

Download:

http://www.mapics.com/downloads/documents/forrester-erp.pdf

.NET Html Agility Pack 

Here comes an agile HTML parser that builds a read/write DOM and supports plain XPATH or XSLT. It is an assembly that allows you to parse "out of the web" HTML files. The parser is very tolerant with "real world" malformed HTML. The object model is very similar to what proposes System.Xml, but for HTML documents (or streams).

Sample applications:
* Page fixing or generation. You can fix a page the way you want, modify the DOM, add nodes, copy nodes, you name it.
* Web scanners. You can easily get to img/src or a/hrefs with a bunch XPATH queries.
* Web scrapers. You can easily scrap any existing web page into an RSS feed for example, with just an XSLT file serving as the binding. An example of this is provided.

There is no dependency on anything else than .Net's XPATH implementation. There is no dependency on Internet Explorer's dll or tidy or anything like that. There is also no adherence to XHTML or XML, although you can actually produce XML using the tool.



http://www.devcity.net/smourier/download/htmlagilitypack.zip

A Billion Dollars and More 

I wish I had that much financial muscle; a really nice piece of dialog I liked from the God Father Part III (one of the favorite movies) is that ‘Finance is a gun and politics is the Art Of Knowing when to pull the trigger’.

Well Forbes latest Billionaire List is out and Bill Gates with $ 46.82 billion tops again, but what I really like about the new list is that Larry Page and Sergey Brin are on their too, for people who don’t know who the two our… one word for them ‘Google’. I adore google, it helps me find what I need when I need it and amazingly Yahoo search is a lot better now then it used to be, I guess yahoo will content sharply with Google, MSN Search well now that they have switch the back end from Google to Inkatomi that they now already own.

One day I want to see my name up with the giants till then I better keep shut and work more. Just in case you happen to read this and feel interested let me know.

Post-it For The DeskTop! 

Software solutions cater to business or in this case individual problems. One such sticky idea is sort of the Post-it notes for the digital era. Well I was thinking of developing a Taskbar application where I can sketch out little ideas, tasks and put alarms to it and guess what 3M has got one for instant download and that too for FREE:

Post-it LITE Software Notes on your computer let you:

•Create your own notes with pictures and hyperlinks
•Stick notes on your computer desktop as a visual reminder
•Add alarms to your notes so you don't forget
•Subscribe to receive information on a Post-it® Software Note from websites that provide this service
•Attach notes to documents, such as Microsoft Word

Download it from the 3M site: http://pmb001.3m.com/pub/psnotes/pn30lous.exe


.au! .au! .au! 

I have a confession to make; Australia’s to me is the most online country in terms of government, businesses, and people.

All there websites are nicely done and it looks quiet convenient moving from one site to another finding details, getting answers to questions and if you live there, pay bill, taxes and do what not online.

It’s truly surprising to see so much stuff online in Australia; the country sure gets my award for the DRI (Digital Reference Index).

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Billionaire? 

Play this nifty flash quiz, well I am not disappointed to find out that I can not be a Billionaire but then that’s not on my priority list any way. Play and share the results, guys pasting comments on my blog does not charge money, so take at go at it. Wham!

http://www.forbes.com/maserati/billionaires2004/cx_mn_0226quiz_bill04.html

Be Careful Where You Build 

I recently read Eric Sinks article

Longhorn Developer Center: Be Careful Where You Build (The Business of Software).

A little point I would like mentioned is:

Hey the best thing for ISV's is to study the roadmap from all the big vendors and read the latest to be trends. This will decrease the uncertenity in there decisons and will lead to better understanding of the future trends in this ever volatile industry.

Knowledge Quote 

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information about it....

I guess Samuel Johnson was thinking about the web when he said this. In todays world of information overload, finding let alone knowing the requisite stuff is hard if not impossible. Good web search tatctics and ultra sharp memory is needed to recall the latest and greatest around us.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Aura From Microsoft Research 

I came to know that Microsoft Research is interested to study emergent individual and group behaviors associated with the ability to digital tag objects and places. In our system, a user can associate text, threaded conversations, audio, images, video or other data with a specific tag. Users can review the tags they have encountered and annotated in a custom web portal. Optionally, they can opt to have their comments be posted onto newsgroups. This allows search engines to index and essentially publish the association to other users. Physical annotations can be shared with other users and be rated by the users’ reputation statistics.

More on this at the project website: Aura Portal


Saturday, February 07, 2004

Url Renaming On The Fly... 

Hey Microsoft is using URL renaming on their main site, hmmm… sort of looks like something that we were working on GotDotNet.com's Workspaces. For the ever curious, the project was titled ReWrite.NET.

Well the rewriting of URLs on the fly is great, for example visiting http://www.microsoft.com/mcad (not the actual address) will forward you to http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcad/ (the real one).Which is great, you don't lose an ignorant visitor and the visitor is fooled to think great about himself (ah the benefits of technology).

So how does this URL rewriting work, well two ways either we can put a ISAPI along with the IIS or within an ASP.NET application a HTTP handler both at the root level. On startup all directories are recursively read and recorded and when a 404 or no page found request comes up the beast of the beauty comes up to serve matching the words after the domain to point to the nearest match (works like the *FileName* thing we do in Windows).

Another thing I noticed is that MSN Search is really improved and I don’t know what’s the speed of the crawler they are running but its mind boggling to have my very recent sites updated in their index. Intelligent, that is.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

We have ears too... 

We humans are so funny, for example just yesterday my friend lowered his car’s sound system to a halt in respect of a grave yard we were passing along side the road. I guess there is nothing bad in it, respect for the dead is important to me too, but like do we ever mind doing the same for the people who are alive and can hear and get irritated by all the loud noises and sound we tend to indulge in enjoying ourselves maybe in a outdoor party, maybe in the next room, maybe in the street or maybe god knows even in the car (it has happened to me in the car!).

I guess no occasion no matter how important (to us) gives us the right into passing individual spaces of other like us. So if you agree with me (not to much to ask from some one with a conscience), lend a hand in noise reduction and help in reducing the constant ‘sound stress’ we are increasingly facing these days.

Do what I did: Bye a MP3 player or a set of earphones for your system, pc and the likes.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Free Automated Hand Writing Analysis 

See what the Goosini Has to Say to You:

http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/features/goosini/index.jsp

Spamming the Blog Front 

He he, I have to admit I have been naughty lately and have done this more then once for personal gains, Its a neat little trick to invite and increase traffic to your blog. So what to do you ask. Well simply visit top ranking blogs (you can find tons runiung a simple query on google) and paste your link in there with a nice review in the comments section of the blog.

Search engines that use PageRank (Named after Larry Page: Cofounder Google) like schemes to sort out results will ultimately rank you first. It has not worked so much for me but trying is better then looking others spam your blog first. Right? So get to work you ghastly person,


Monday, February 02, 2004

Managed|Core: Goes Atomic 

Surprise, Surprise! Now you can add, read and stay updated with Managed|Core using an Atom formatted XML site feed.

It is intended to be viewed in a Newsreader or syndicated to another site. So hurry up add the link at the bottom to your favourite news aggregater.

XML Feed : not everything you ever wanted!


It’s all in the Approach Stupid! 

Young and old programmers alike make many a assumptions, mistakes and perspectives learning the rules of the trade and with time turn them into a habit, that they are not ready to or are unable to part with as they progress (hopefully upwards) on the software development ladder and then it hits them that they have to change. I don’t blame them for it (I don’t blame me). It sure needs an eye opening experience to realize where the mistake lies and how to rectify it.

Let’s see, If I ask you to create an app for a TV studios that’s supposed to automate the hiring scheduling and payroll of the producers, artists, extras the costumes the time scheduling and renting etc.

Hmmm… So what comes to your mind? A Database, GUI, SQL queries and the likes or a requirements gathering questionnaire and docs before it in the software development life cycle.

If you choose the last option, fine and good you are on your way to become analyst or an architect (as Microsoft likes to put it) but then if you were unfortunate enough to choose the first choice, Grr… like I once did (embarrassingly just recently), boy I have news for you. Change the way you think, it’s all in the approach stupid.

Change is always hard and by the way no one said it will be easy, but for this transition I have some tips for you which I have tried, tested and sort of protected.

All you have to do is space your self from coding and design for a while, a week is good, two is splendid and when the next project comes up just try to put your self in the shoes of say some one whos not so tech savvy I choose my mom for whom a mouse is one of the things that the cat can have for supper. You know what I mean… I am sure you do. Boy just let go of your old habit: let the coding blocks just pop out of your brain stack he, an empty stack is will pave the way to the next step.

Good luck with your career.

Blogging Under the Influence 

I am a month behind my reading, bookmarks overloaded, last semester (well not entirely) at the university, watching God Father 1,2,3 reruns for the 100th time and guess what sleeps too much and to often at the come. Crazy feelings, stupid questions and never ending ambitions rule the little state of affairs in my rational components, but the art and logic is on the loose again. Cheers till we meet again.


Sunday, February 01, 2004

Become a Human Lie Detector 

It's easier than you think to become a human lie detector.

Just Look for constant Suspicious Behaviors, Here's the top eight list of suspicious behaviors:

-A change in the voice's pitch.
-A change in the rate of speech.
-A sudden increase in the number of "ums" and "ahs."
-A change in eye contact. Normally, one makes eye contact one-quarter to one-half of the time. If suddenly, at the convenient moment to lie, he's staring at you or looking away, beware.
-Turning his body away from you, even if just slightly.
-Suddenly being able to see the white on the top and bottom of a person's eyes, not just the sides.
-A hand reaching, even if momentarily, to cover part of the face, especially the mouth.
- Nervous movement of feet or legs.

The trick is to concentrate on a base line and to spot any mixed singals that are not supposed to be there.

Bot A Blog: Free blog update notifications by e-mail 

Want to read blogs, keep up, have them delivered to your email use Bot a Blog. (These use crawlers too...)

Bot A Blog: Free blog update notifications by e-mail

Feature Article: Cover Story 

Just recently we had this activity of reading out the future trends in the top segments in our MIS class, Guess what I got to do the winner technology of the computers segment.

WebFountain

A analysis engine making sense of the web: its not a merry search engine spitting links matching pages to your keywords but some thing that understands what you have asked and will come up with a reference not a list of links from the web.

WebFoundation is a research project sponsored by IBM in Sanjose, California and is has a mega crawler and a huge machine cluster attached to it. Interesting, read more at past month’s IEEE Spectrum web edition.

Read other stuff too, leaning is the way to go. In this everchanging world, staying static is killing your self.


When I share this little TIP, You got no privacy! 

I was reading my older blog, and found this one little gem of a piece that I wanted to share here too:

Hares a way how one can log any uses web browsing activity... All you have to do is tweak a little keys value in the windows registry.

The exact address of the key I discovered:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\URL\DefaultPrefix

Just change the value of default string value from "http://" to "http://www.YOURSITE.com/log?=" and have a page at YOURSITE recording the query string value and then redirecting to the users site. Transparent to the user.

Unscrupulous little tip huh, no regrets, lets do some about that as well. hee ?

For the curios, a good site for windows registry modifications and tweaking will be the http://www.winguide.com

Friday, January 30, 2004

Gizmodo 

Gizmodo is an online review dedicated to gadgets, gizmos, and cutting-edge consumer electronics.

Gizmodo


Thursday, January 29, 2004

Cool Tools, Books and News For The No Fools 

.NET Wire, Keep Up with .NET News and Articles: .NET Wire
.NET Books, Read and Review the Latest .NET Books: .NET Books
.NET Tools Page On GotDOTNET: Tools Page
.NET Tools Page at MadGeek: Sharp ToolBox

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Google Blog, Searching Is Fun and Best Whois Sites 

Some Suff for the Google Fans and the Seach Bluffs:

- Want to keep up with the mighty search engne follow the Google Blog.
- Lots Of Fun Tools like the which term is more polpular on the web: Search is Fun

And now my favourite WHOIS (Find About Who Owns a Domain, IPs and DNS details) websites:

- Detailed, fast and Infomation about any domain name: DomainWhitePages
- Ability to search domain names and there availabilty and more: WHOIS.sc

INFO: A Crawler Just Visited Your Site 

Crawler Alert - Automatically get an email notification whenever a search engine crawler (spider/agent/robot) is scanning your website.

A crawler is a program used by serach engines to visit websites and webpages, collect links and the contents of the pages to build huge indexes. Which are inturn used when you search using the search engines.

http://www.crawler-alert.com/

Crawlers (they have names too) and the companies supported for FREE by the Crawler Alerts Service:

Googlebot by Google and Yahoo. (Yahoo bought Inkatomi: So this is out dated info.),
Teomaagent by Teoma,
WISEnutbot by Wisenut,
Zyborg by Wisenut,
Gulliver by Northernlight,
ArchitextSpider by Excite,
Scooter by Altavista,
Mercator by Altavista,
crawler@fast by FAST,
FAST-WebCrawler by FAST and Lycos,
WebCrawler by WebCrawler,
Lycos by Lycos,
moget by Goo,
webtop by Webtop,
Slurp by Inktomi,
Robozilla by DMOZ,
Ask Jeeves by Ask Jeeves,
MSNBOT by MSN (Microsoft),
ia_archiver by Alexa,
InfoSeek by InfoSeek,
Ultraseek by InfoSeek,
MantraAgent by LookSmart,
T-H-U-N-D-E-R-S-T-O-N-E by Thunderstone,
VoilaBot by Voila,
KIT_Fireball by Fireball,
NetScoop by NetScoop
and many more ...

Internet-based Distributed Computing Projects 

You know SETI@Home... Want to keep up with distributed or grid computing go catch the latest at:

Internet-based Distributed Computing Projects

All people new to distributed computing can read this very informative article captioned 'Distributed Computing: An Introduction' at http://www.extremetech.com/print_article/0,3428,a=25002,00.asp

I am working on a very exciting 'distrbuted' project very close to my heart. More on this later.


Saturday, January 24, 2004

You Like .net. .net Likes You. 

You Like .net. .net Likes You... Thats what the funny but interesting Advertising Slogan Generator came up for the word .NET.

Sorry No Keyboard! Mouse up some slogans for FREE at:
http://www.thesurrealist.co.uk/slogan.cgi


Why everything you know is wrong. 

Relearn the concepts you have learnt in the past. Visit this interesting blog on Manageability.org. Covering core computer science concepts, primarily focused on new ways at looking at common concepts.

Manageability - concepts: "Why everything you know is wrong."

Converting Java to C# 

The Java Language Conversion Assistant (JLCA) is a tool that provides the ability to convert Java code and library calls to Microsoft Visual C# .NET. Built based on the ArtinSoft migration technology, this second version adds a number of additional features to its abilities. This includes the ability to convert code from both the client and the server. Developers will be able to convert Web as well as Windows-based applications. Java Server Pages and Java servlets can also be converted to ASP.NET.

John Montgomery, director of the Developer and Platform Evangelism Division at Microsoft, states, 'Our customers are seeing productivity and performance increases because they are able to leverage existing investments in their Web applications written in the Java language by migrating them to ASP.NET.'

The JCLA integrates with Visual Studio .NET. Because the conversion process is fully contained, once you have run the process, you are ready to start using Visual C# with your application.

Version 2 provides a number of new features over the previous version. This includes the ability to convert Java Server Pages (JSP), Windows Foundation Classes (WFC), and Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) applications. There is also additional support for applet projects, which can now be converted to Window user controls that can be hosted in a browser. There is additional support for some of the Java APIs. For example, the 1.2 Collections API will now convert to the .NET collection classes. Finally, the new version of the JLCA will support reading and writing Unicode and localized applications.

To support the release of JLCA 2.0, Microsoft has also published a JSP to ASP.NET Migration Guide, which provides a comprehensive set of resources to aid in a migration to ASP.NET. More information can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/asp.net/using/migrating/jspmig/default.aspx. For more information on the JLCA 2.0 and for information on downloading it, you can go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/downloads/tools/jlca/.

Friday, January 23, 2004

My Friend Has a Blog 

At last! my friend's got a blog and you can read it at:

Amalgamation - Life ... Inst It Funny

Three cheers for my buddy Nauman: Hip Hip Horay!... (repeat 2 more times please.)

Bookmarklets - The Little Miracle Link 

Bookmarklets are free tools to help with repetitive or otherwise impossible tasks in your web browser. Try one that changes the color of this blog:

> Zap This...

Adding them is simple as right clicking and adding them to your favourites.
Hundreds of very usefull and Interesting BookMarkLets are available at:
- Bookmarklets
- Jesse's BookMarkLets

Saturday, November 22, 2003

I am too busy to write ! 

Long Time No Ranting... The Finals are here its really hectic, no other work as the story goes... there has to be more to life then this! Well I am staying with my friends for most of this Ramadan. Its fun to study togather. 3 Finals are done and more are to follow. In the mean time I have been learning a lot of newe stuff from the text books and my continous reading habit of the net. hehe We.. I am drained to write messages and once after the finals plan to hold a big DNUG 3 Meeting.

Reverse Physcioly, It Always Works 

Flipping accross 'All in a Day' page in some old Reader Digest I came accross Reading a nice little piece in the My friends technique of making others do as he would really like is by letting go infact saying and reacing oppsotiely to ones surprise always makes the other pwerson give up with any thing before he even started, Nauman and I share this techjiniqw with a common name as conied by Numanb 'Reverse Phcycilloy'., Try this

I hope my friends are not reading this or they might gety imuine to it.

Before I go I would like to metion David Blane, he is a fabolus magician. More On This Later...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

BUSY in Projects... Excited about PROCOM 

Hmmm.... long time and no ranting(writing for my blog)? I wont blame me on that, cos I was too busy working with my friends and even strangers on some heavy duty technical support (which turns out that I will be building the whole or at least some part of the projects). I don't know but I can't say no to any body and in the end what happens is that the projects get done right in the end giving constant rise in the blood pressure of all crew involved in the projects. It is not the best of situations but this is the best I can do with 10 course load (at SZABIST), a DNUG (the largest in Karachi) to run and presentations and other stuff to do. I will keep try to update my blog with the projects underway (or done) and how you can benefit from them in the near future.

Wait the mention of ‘presentations’ reminds me of my second visit to FAST. I will be conducting a session on 'Real World Webservices' at PROCOM, (find out more about PROCOM at the official site: http://fastics.edu.pk/procom) this Saturday morning. So if you are coming there, don’t forget to get in touch with me. ;-)

Friday, October 10, 2003

Well the SCONEST speech went all to fine... the audience was thin for the grand 400 seat auditorium at 'Bahria University' but was enough to get my spirits rolling. The speech went fine and we all had a nice time because I tried to involve the audience as much as I could. I hope no one was too broed, ;-) hehe.. A few mishaps or glitches worth mentioning is our ordeal in getting a fresh copy of VS .NET activated on the lousy or inexistent internet at Bahria University and the sudden inclusion of the chief guest for which I had to put on the mute mode for two minutes right in the center of the speech.

Well you can check out the pictures from the event of me and my buddies including Arsalan the INETA Pakistan representative in his speech at SCONEST too (at DNUG): http://groups.msn.com/DNUG/ugpics.msnw?Page=3

Thursday, October 09, 2003

The Smilies Have Taken Over 

Emoticons For All

Well they just don't stop coming, do they? Every day you find one new splendid little icon to show of your feelings. MSN 6 has got some real cute ones this time including the (ci) for cigar and +0) for Sick Smiley.

SCONEST WorkShop 

I will be conducting a Workshop (2 hours) on '.NET and your First .NET Application" at SCONEST (if you already don't know what SCONEST is well its an anual confrence held by the leading universites of Pakistan and studetns come there to present thier research papers on various IT realted topics) workshop day at Bahria University, Karachi.

You can learn more about SCONEST by visiting the offical 2003 website at: http://ieee.hamdard.edu.pk/sconest/

Monday, October 06, 2003

Death of Innocents 

Well Said and Brave Opinion of Lynn Chidester from Salt Lake City

"I read with curious interest the letter of Berkley Hoffer on Sept. 28 regarding President Clinton's lie. Mr. Hoffer, you don't need to prove Clinton's lie, he admitted the whole sordid affair to the entire nation.
President Bush has lied to the entire world about weapons of mass destruction, poisonous gasses, Iraq's ties to 9-11 terrorists, al-Qaida, etc. The difference is that Bush's lies are responsible for the deaths of innocent people killed in a practically defenseless country by the most powerful military force in the history of the world. In addition we have hundreds of patriotic Americans killed or wounded, thousands of lives disrupted, and bills left for our children to pay -- all for no valid reason! But he explains his lies by charging that it's all the fault of his subordinates.

Have we Americans become so callous, or do we just ignore the death and suffering of thousands of Iraqis just because they are not "like us"? Well, they are like us; human beings born into a situation they have no choice or control over. To put it in perspective, the next time you are in a stadium, conference hall, or shopping mall at Christmas time, visualize that number of human beings, like you and me, killed on the order of George W. Bush. Ask yourself, "What has America as a nation become? What have we as human beings become?""

The Salt Lake Tribune -- Death of innocents

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

DotNetPakistan.com 

DotNetPakistan.com is Up ! Horray.. Visit INETA Pakistan, Today.

Telekinesis 

The ART OF MOVING objects... now you will say whats so speaical about it. Well it is cos you dont get to touch the stuff, you use your head or the powerfull waves/engery or 'chi' (in Japanese) to do all the mircalus stuff, learn more about it from here.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Share Your Views 

Blogger is although the best and the finest blogging tool available on the net today but unfortunately it does not offer commenting features or ‘annotations’ as they call them for the blogs so I did some research and it turned out that you can have a third party annotation tool setup easily and for free.

So with out wasting any more time I simply got one for "Managed|Core" right away from http://www.enetation.co.uk/.

All you readers are requested to comment on the older posts and rants as well so I can learn and share in with your thoughts.

Weird... Try this at Home 

Try this: While sitting in a chair, lift your right foot off the ground and rotate it clockwise. Then with your right hand, draw a number 6 in the air. Your right foot tries to go the other way.. doesn't it?

Docs 

I have always been a fan of documentation. Learning the tricks of the trade through hardcore documentation reading. I must say Allaire the creators of ColdFusion (which now belongs to Macromedia) really did a first-rate job creating their DOCS and the best thing about them was that all the documentation had a solid universal and navigatoabele design let alone the excellent content. .NET documentation goes a step further in all the above sense and it’s more user-friendly.

Well I wondered if I could come with such fabulous documentation for my code and projects and guess what I found out that there is a whole generator named the NDOC generator which reads on all the inline XML commenting (a excellent feature supported by VS.NET) and convert it to documentation that looks like the original MSDN counterpart.

NDoc is simply the best extensible code documentation generation tool for .NET developers; its open source and being developed in C#. You can download a free copy at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/ndoc

Remember Me? 

Why do sites insist on making people click a 'Remember Me' checkbox? Unless you're a Hotmail.com with a highly-mobile user base on public machines, most of your users are coming from the same machines -- their own -- over and over. Make it an option, but save your users a click and turn it on by default.*

You are not doing anyone any favours by using the opt-in philosophy on this issue. That checkbox stores a cookie. On the user's machine. The act of remembering preferences in the form of cookies is not gathering information on surfing habits. If the issue is the perception of privacy, then educate your users about cookies. If you care about privacy, provide a button to delete cookies previously stored by your site. This solution is useful to the user. It is empowering.

Of course this does not only apply to remembering usernames. Provide and remember all preferences, even without a login. Let the user pick the skin for your blog or the colour-scheme for a site. And remember it. By default. Provide an option to turn it off (deleting cookies will do just fine), but do not charge extra clicks to use features in the first place.

Deleting cookies is as simple as setting a cookie's expiry date to something before now.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

The .NET (Show) Rocks! 

Two very entertaining as well as very .NET centric media weeklies (not to be missed) are the '.NET Show' a TV series about all things .NET and a Radio Talk Show called '.NET Rocks!'. Both the shows invite experts as guests and are filled with great educational interviews.

As I live in Pakistan I don’t get to watch or hear the aired versions of both the shows but then that’s ok because I always get to download the soft copies every once in a while and now have a whole 1 GB of hard disk space filled with all this interesting stuff.

The .NET Show is run by Robert Hess and Erica Wiechers and a complete downloadable archive with the complete transcripts is available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/theshow/Archive.asp

The .NET Rocks is run by Carl Franklin and Mark Dunn and a complete archive is available at http://www.franklins.net/dotnetrocks.asp

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Look Ma no Numbers! 

In developing form ware applications we developers occasionally come across the situation of restricting the user to input to numbers only. I usually used the Regular Expression support in .NET for this task but then I discovered another way (from my friend and PakSpirit.net UG leader Misbah) and would like to share with you all here.

Here's the meaty part:

if (char.IsNumber(e.KeyChar))
{
e.Handled = false;
}
else
e.Handled = true;
}

Use this code in textbox's KeyPress Event and Voila! no numbers The 'e' is for the Event Arguments being passed through to the KeyPress handler on every key press.

Monday, September 08, 2003

.NET Speechs and .NET Seminars 

Quite a lot's up with the buddying .NET community in Karachi. The .NET User Group Karachi (DNUG) has doubled in size since our first meet. Various sessions on .NET have taken place at FAST, HU and SZABIST.

Our group along with INETA Pakistan activities has also been featured in this months INETA newsletter. Take a sneak peak of the news letter's working copy here.

Other then all that we are having a MSDN day tomorrow (courtesy Microsoft) and another .NET session (again conducted by me) at UIT this Wednesday.

Back to the Field 

Its once again that time of the year where cricket fever (not my favorite game) strikes every body at SZABIST. We are once again up with the cricket tournament where only the fit (classes) survive and the leaders (class vs. class) take the honor.

We had our first match today and bowling fist we succeeded in giving only 75 runs and while batting we won by 8 wickets and with 12 balls left still to be bowled by the other side (some BBA class).

The two highlights from our side were the excellent dive by Irfan, he really dived and threw the ball like Jonty Rodhes and a fantastic bunch of straight sixes by my friend Nauman in the 5th over, which really were the reason that we won the match in such a splendid way.

Back From Gharo 

The day started not to well for me. I had over slept till 8 (the exact time our coaster was to leave from SZABIST). I just done away with the bare minimums and processed towards SZABIST where I found all the (about 18) people were still out there waiting for the to coaster to arrive.

Being late eventually did not matter much. Our coaster driver was a real dare devil and my friend I finally realized how bus clashes take place on the highway, but still the speed was thrilling and we enjoyed it more then the 8 people singing on the top of there voices half the way.

The farm was good if not excellent and vast greenery met our eyes from the statt to the end, not to mention the green but clean water in the four pools there. It was fun. There were pirate fights on the (Chappo Wali) Boats and we had a lot of fun sinking each other’s boat (ship) more then once. We all loved playinggames in the water and had slides all day.

The best thing about the PICNIC was the access to yummy food all the way including Briani, Ice Creams and tons and tons of cola not to forget the sandwiches and tasty cutlasses.

We came back home around seven all tired but pleased. All in all it was worth it.

Three Cheers for all of the organizers…

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Gharo, Gharo... Of to Picnic We Go! 

The much anticipated and fought over class (BCS 2004) picnic is tomorrow (this might as well be our last also, but hopefully not).

My energy has all but depleted after giving 10 hourlies in the last two weeks. The constant hectic (I wont say study, cos I really don't study...) has rendered my brain useless and now when I plan to write my paper “Acroweb: Web Mining for Acronyms” (of which a practical implementation (by me) is available at Acroweb.tk) which has been selected at two conferences both UIT and SCONEST (I won’t talk more about that here, at least not right now) I am all blank.

So whats in store for us after the two hour journey into Sindh, to reach the rented out farm house (Mumtaz Farms) at Gharo? I can answer that question only tomorrow...

Lastly If you are haven’t noticed two new buttons right in the end of the blog already. Then you can do it right now. I have added up a Site Meter to monitor traffic to my blog and a Creative Commons license so you guys know that this work is copyright protected.

Yawn.. its almost 3:00 and I guess I will dye dead as soon as I hit the mattress.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

That's My Code!  

We all know how all that Java Byte Code and IL could be reverse engineered back into human readable source code... and trust me it does not take a genius to do all that.

So how to protect you’re Intellectual Property?

Guess what... By watermarking it! (now why did I not think of this before!) Yes you can protect your source code now by water marking it using this FREE Service by FixMySite. It sort of works like the same way we safeguard images by watermarking them with our Copyright notices.

I admit the watermarking method is not new for one and not 100% accurate for another, but it does brings us closer to the "code monkeys" nabbing our code without asking for our permission first.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Piled Higher and Deeper 

Piled Higher and Deeper is a Grad students comic strip... it depicts the reality in the life of a grad student (like me) with a humored insight.

Enjoying reading them them all at: Piled Higher and Deeper

Monday, August 25, 2003

KARACHI.NET 

The first meeting was great, the day was hot and the sun shining but that did not deter me and my trustful friend Nauman to make a trip across the city to NED University. It was big aright! (But! not us huge as I was expecting). We reached in at about 2:20 and were pleased to find out that the meeting had not started yet.

Eventually it did and we the eight people there with the addition of two more of the .NET UG Leaders started of a merry discussion with food and all over the future of .NET actives in Karachi.

We all agreed on creating;


1) A Centralized .NET UG Karachi’s Relations Committee
2) A Charter for our newly formed .NET UG Karachi’s Relations Committee
3) A Website with a universal template for all the UG’s to grow on
4) A Local Speakers Bureau
5) A .NET UG Leaders Meeting Every Month

We made great progress and we all have Arsalan Minahas to thank for arranging the event. More is on the way and I will keep all of you updated.

If you belong to a university or a software house and plan to incorporate a .NET User Group for your institution then please contact me at rai@hotpop.com or call me at 4555390 and I will be glad to help.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

1st Meeting of .NET UGs Leaders in Karachi 

Today I will drive all the way from SZABIST (Clifton) to the NED campus on University Road (I admit. my first time) around 2:00 to attend the fist ever .NET UGs Leaders (Karachi) conference. On the menu is a lot of talk about the future of the .NET community in Karachi and the tasks to be get over with in the coming months.

I am all excited for this event, and can’t wait to meet the other UG Leaders.

Once back I plan to rant about the proceedings of the meeting too.

Three cheers for the .NET Community (Karachi)!

LOGIC: The Art of Verifying Arguments 

Logic (Mantak) is a must for all to study. It opens up our mind, expand on the way our communications take place and help solve disputes.

For Starters:

A argument consists of a set of propositions/statements (a statement is a sentence when it affirms something) that can be true or false and a valid argument (in deduction) is the one in which the conclusion follows from the premises.

I will add more to this soon. It's a work in progress.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Short of Job Titles, Areyou? 

Is that the Interaction Architect Job Title Generator, or are you just happy to see another one of my rants?

Check this - at http://http://www.girlwonder.com/jobs.html, you can randomly create a sweet little job title, rip it off and rebrand yourself.

You don't have to do nothin' but sit and click.

information begetter, interconnection contriver, coherence philosopher were the few it came up for me (and I really liked).


Thursday, August 21, 2003

See What Web Services Can Do for You 

Yawn... No matter how popular a concept gets there are always people out there oblivious of the change happening around them, living their 'old' life in total oblivion.

Can you believe it? There are still people who don’t know what the web services hype is all about. I can write tons about the XML based plain text talk of the town, but would they read it. I guess not. So here’s the deal. For all those business types Microsoft has come up with a (easy on the eye) flash based animation that covers exactly what them royals need:

- A nontechnical explanation of how Web services connect systems.
- How connected systems can offer companies new business opportunities.
- A look at the industry standard technologies behind Web services.
- How .NET software can be the foundation for Web service solutions.

Now don’t just take my word for it, Go Ahead: See What Web Services Can Do for You

C#: Code Better 

The goal of any Coding Standard is to encourage the writing of highly readable and reliable code, the three guides for developing high-quality C# code by iDesign, iCSharpCode and Tiobe respectively are sure resources for pumping up your C# code and taking your C# coding skills to the next level.

Read them all; Better yet print em up and keep them next to your machines.

101 Wars? .NET Wins! 

I'm still feeling my way through blogging as a 'softie. When I first saw Carlos Perez's article "101 Reasons why Java is better than .NET" , my first reaction was to weigh in with comments on the technical (in)accuracies in the article and my opinions on the topic in general (you can guess which side I weigh in on!). Apparently there are still 76 more reasons coming, but they had better get more substantive. While I was having an pondering the issue of whether my bias for MS now would color people's perception of my responses (comments?), JasonW solved my dilemma and shredded the article appropriately. For the record, I agree with Jason. :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Staying Up-To-Date, My way or the highway... 

I follow on with all the happenings at Google.com, as they really do come with excellent and usefull services...

The new Google News Alerts service is no exception either... For the last couple of weeks I have kept my self up to date with all "Microsoft" and (for my brother) "Karachi Stock Exchange" news by simply signing up with the News Alerts.

Visit: http://www.google.com/newsalerts

Signing up takes less then a minute and you benifit from the latest news at it happens, taken from thousands of great news sources and delivered (in simple text format) right in your mail box (and that too for free). What more can you ask for, hee? Hmmm... Free Patties and Cola at break time, Anybody?

Tip: Try on with less generic keywords for best results as signing up for a keyword such as I found out. ".NET" results in a lot of garbage being sent over and a careless choice such us this will surely suffocate your precious inbox to death.

If you feel brave and have a lot of time at hand... you can try making a mail filter in outlook express to solve this problem and filter out the junk. But then you must be using POP baed email. Right? Try Hotpop.com, it?s free and easy.

Happy Reading...

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Intelligence, yes you can fake it! 

Although AI was here long before the creation of computers, today it generally falls under the domain of computer science.

Artificial Intelligence interests me more then any thing else in CS. I truly believe that AI exists and is only limited to how we define it. When asked in the class (yup we are studying this at the university) I defined AI as 'The phenomena on which something (man\machine) interacts with its environment learns from it and adapting to it.' For my definition I got an OMG from the teacher and quite a few eye raises from the pupils present in the class. I can't tell you how pleased I was.

So much for the above rant, lets get to the point. Have your ever had a chat with a chat bot? Well I have! I find it rather amusing. Try chatting with HAL (I adore the concept of a-i.com) and ALICE available at alicebot.org (three time Lebonar prize winner), you will soon come to the conclusion that there is a lot of potential of AI in linguistics.

There have been a lot of advances in linguistics and natural speech recognition which all fall under the umbrella of NLP or Natural Language Processing.

At one time I had two tiny chat bots one each for the web and MSN Messenger chatting with other people. I lost interest in the project mid way (unfortunately this is what I usually end up doing) and since then they are lying dead, pushed back to the northwest corner of my hard disk. You can add the IM chat bot raisbot@hotmail.com to your MSN messenger on the hope that it comes alive one day.

Some interesting resources for the developer community will be the .NET IM classes by devhawk.net and the IM API by activebuddy.com.

The one who laughs last, probably made a backup. 

They all talk about making backups. Every one advices you to do it and when you are least expecting it, it happens... , by then its too late to do anything about your lost data (remember: it's no use crying on spilt milk).

It happened to me when my hard disk went down in sparks of glory (I would say two samll puffs of smoke) one beautiful summer day this May. In retrospect I had lost around three years worth of work, hundreds and hundreds of man hours went down the drain. It was terrible, no wait it was tragic, a major castrophy. The loss was undoubtedly enormous and what's ironic is the fact that all this happened when I was about to backup my disk on to some CDs.

I have recovered since. A few back ups on my other pc through the network saved my ass (not to mention a few hundred hours of work) but the majority of the data was lost forever, which probably is floating in outer space as some sort of magnetic energy by now.

Here are a few tips for the people who feel they have some thing important sitting on there hard disks:

- Have a DRP (basically, make a damn backup plan). Use existing backup tools such as the backup utility in windows for your goal.

- Open up the Backup utility (Start> Programs>Accessories> System Tools> Backup). Mark out all the important folders or even a complete partition. Create a backup schedule according to how you update your data to once every day, week or month. You also have the option of choosing between overwriting or incrementing (in the future) to your one large back up file ending with a .bkf extension.

- Run the utility and once your .bkf file is created, copy it on to a network device or (trust me, trust only the expert hands even if it costs some buck) have the data copied onto CDs.

- Lastly! Do it today.... don't even think of leaving a backup job for tommorow...

Note: Backup utility comes with Windows 2000 & above only.

Good luck! With your backups.

Wait Gain… Hair Loss, I am Doomed! 

What keeps me up at nights and dull in the days is hair loss and wait gain respectively, they are growing out of proportions for the past few months.

I have to admit that my face is turning into a skinned football (except for the modern goatee is supports).

The two concerns simply top the list of things which I have complexes and insecurities about. But what can I do… It’s hard to acknowledge, a lot. I figure if I simply start eating less, control what I eat and exercise my problem will end in a reasonable amount of time say six months. I am begining to feel I that I better heed to the advice of my parents and initiate with the mcuh dreaded 10-20 rounds of walking (in the clay tracks) fo the ground kwnon as the ‘hockey ground’ (the ground is used more for picnics then hockey).

Doing all this is not will not be easy for me. So wish me luck in my grand endeavor.

Hookey Ground Here I Come...

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

What .NET Language are you using? 

Surfing my usual way across the web I came to this Interesting survey a couple of months back. I trotted of to it today once again to put its results in here:

The survey asked: What .NET Language are you using?

5255 voters replied…

- C++.NET 3% - 186 Users
- C#.NET 47% - 2510 Users
- VB.NET 43% - 2302 Users
- Jscript.NET 0% - 44 Users
- J#.NET 0% - 39 Users
- Perl.NET 0% - 38 Users
- Cobol.NET 0% - 40 Users
- Other 1% - 96 Users

As expected C# and VB.NET have taken the lead from the other languages… but what’s not so clear is winning margin between the two giants. The survey is live and the trend can turn in any direction… I have my money on the table for C#. Let’s wait and see what happens.

Feel like sharing your vote, be my guest... just visit:
http://www.dnzone.com/showDetail.asp?TypeId=11&NewsId=138&ShowVotes=true

And for all the folks thinking about The .NET Language Paradigm well here it is all clarified in one to the point article by guess who (me!!!).

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Running default programs in .NET 

The .NET Framework Classes (FCLs) are notorious for reducing heavy duty tasks to a simple one liners. Opening the default program is no exception either. All you have to do is call up System.Diagnostics.Process.Start() and feed the Process.Start() static method with the name of the file (along with it's path) you want to open, incidentally you can even place a link like the famous "http://www.gotdotnet.com" and have it open in the default browser. Use this with the 'Label' control's 'OnClick' event and voila! you have a hyperlink.

A trivial example will be opening a mp3 file in a mp3 player like WINAMP…

try
{
System.Diagnostics.Process.Start(@“c:\Linkin Park – In The End.mp3”);
}
catch(Exception ex)
{
// whatever you usually do here, e.g. MessageBox.Show(this, ex.ToString());
}

Monday, August 11, 2003

DNUG Karachi goes LIVE 

Today is a happy day for me. After all the grumpy planning I was able to launch the .NET User Group Karachi… The online extension for the group is at http://groups.msn.com/dnug/. So if you live in Karachi… Just hurry up and register online before our inaugural meet on Saturday, August 16, 2003 at SZABIST, 100 Clifton.

Are you profiling your code? Heh... 

Yawn… The hectic schedule is squeezing the lights out of me. My first Numerical Analysis class was out of the world. The teacher was great and guess what I managed to get half of what he was hard at explaining to the rest of the class.

A point I feel like sharing from the class is ‘Profiling’. So what’s profiling you ask? Well in simple words its making sure that your code is the fastest and tightest it can be... and with profiling, you can immediately see if you talk-the-talk as a good developer and see if your code walks the walk as good code.

In numerical analysis we do this activity to find the best of the best (algorithms with high ‘Onotations’) when subjected to average problem sizes which incidentally falls under the domain of empirical analysis.

You can profile your code using your bare hands and your naked brain but then it might as well take a decent amount of light years to complete your studies. So use them when all available first-class profiling tools fail. First-rate profilers will be the Ants Profiler (which unfortunately is not free, but comes with a 14 day trial) or the build in .NET Profiler that comes packed with VS.NET 2002/03 (Enterprise Edition).

To get your hands on the ants profiler and tutorials visit: http://www.red-gate.com/. A nice little article on Ants Profiling will be ‘Ants in my Pants’ available at: http://tiberi.us/view_article.aspx?article_id=42

And for the .NET Profiler be content with watching a 16 minutes MSDN TV video (free for download) at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdntv/episode.aspx?xml=episodes/en/20030729CLRGN/manifest.xml

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Shameless Self Introduction 

Its bit hard to believe, but I was planning for this blog for quite some time and today it looks like that I finally made it through... Whew! After all those man hours spent searching for a decent blogging tool, I figured Blogger to be a sweet deal (after all it is free).

Like all serious stuff let's start this formally-- Ummm... Let me introduce my self. My name's Rai Umair but friends and antagonists alike call me Rai, I live in the coastal metropolitan city of Karachi, Pakistan (I adore the weather here, but not the blazing sun which shows its face frequently) I am currently pursuing a CS degree from SZABIST and right now am all crazy about .NET, Information Retrieval and Software Architecture. This blog is going to be my reflection of the coming days with a collection of tit bits of knowledge that I will be getting my hands on or might already have (mind you... I have been learning...).

For those of you out there still reading-- if there is anything in particular you're interested in, do let me know and I'll be happy to write on it.

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