Sunday, December 26, 2010

Flirting with Python.. Sorry Perl!

Off late, I've started flirting with Python while my conscience still pricks me while i love Perl.

With this guilt, i did Google for others trying out Py after a long span of perl programming. Two popular post on python vs. perl were of some solace for my flirtatious behavior - Why Python? by Eric Raymond and Python vs. the Perl programming language.

Quick check of the TIOBE index also indicates that Python is more popular than Perl. Some more solace ;).

So far, not much of even light coding done in Python. Just been going through some tutorials in I directly started with 3.1 version.

I will really know if i like Python or not when i try out a small script for a coding standards compliance tool that's been in my list of to-dos.

Otherwise, feeling good to blog after a long time..

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Writing this out of my love for you.. Microsoft!!

Yeah! I am saying it. I don't mind saying this because as far as i can remember, a good part of my computer experience has been on windows operating systems.

And I love these guys. For what people appreciate Apple for their iDevices, was the same love i share for Microsoft when it comes to their operating system.

Beg or steal.. these guys pretty much set the standard for what the graphical UI you and i know that is today.

Of course, they are commercial and they are not open as Linux.. but that doesn't make them evil. But i do know instances where these guys showed their dark side (killing Netscape.. which again i think is back in a different avatar as FireFox) for which i hate them a lot.

Most of their products right from Windows OS, Office Suite, Exchange/Outlook, etc. (hope this not the entire list :)) ) have set a different standard for usability and convenience.

Ok.. So why am i telling all this.. its because i am concerned about the direction in which they are heading. But again, what am i concerned about here.

The concern is that i am not sure if I am ready for any other products apart from the ones mentioned above, for my day to day use. Comeon folks, Apple iPad is much more closed than Windows, Google wants me to use web a lot and Linux is still not ready for mainstream retail use.

I have been techie enough to be branded as a geek. I have built my own distros of Linux and hacked stuff. But still i love Microsoft's products for the sheer pleasure of using them. The difference is that of being a TV Electronics repair guy and the same guy watching TV at the end of the day sipping hot coffee!

You might be wondering what the hell is wrong with me while Microsoft is still here doing just fine. Believe me.. Microsoft is still here.. but i am not sure if they are ready for tomorrow.

Well the trigger for this post was this post here by Russell Beattie - The end of WIMP and rise of Touch. This trigger was backed by a slow build up of frustration on Microsoft's misfirings with their products' strategy.

These guys have lost focus on some of their products. The most important of them of all was Internet Explorer. Having killed Netscape, it was the end of fun and of course business. With literally no competition until FireFox and Chrome actually munched away a good portion of the browser pie. This was too much of a oversight on Microsoft's part.

Browser is the window to a whole new world of connectedness. Children of this generation take this one product/application for granted.

How could you lose sight of a product so important and waiting until guys like Google and Apple to actually catch up with you!!

There has been a steady downfall in terms of their product quality and usability since IE6. I guess a bit of branding change with a serious effort to revamp their technology should do the trick of winning back customers.

With Companies like Apple and Google who are changing the rules of the game by winning customers over by bringing in disruptive technologies (examples: search and iPhone) which have great usability and performance, its time for Microsoft to start taking its products seriously.

The next most important product of all, Microsoft Windows Operating System. Windows has not been doing well since XP. Vista has been good for me though, but a lot of things had gone wrong in Vista too. Customer Expectations, bad PR and negative press/blog coverage did take its toll. Though i haven't used Windows 7 myself, i do hear great reviews from the blogosphere and that its usability is same as, if not better than, Apple Mac OS.

But as Russell Beattie has mentioned in his post, the future is moving towards Tablets which obviously will use touch as the preferred (or the only) interface. I am not confident that Windows is ready as a tablet OS.

Again, I don't think its too late for Microsoft. If it can regroup and focus correct, it can do a great job of coming with a tablet version of its OS. Look at the Apple. I came up with a totally different UI and Usability for its iPad. That should be the approach for Microsoft as well.

The next biggest goof up was with Windows Mobile. In all practical sense, there is no way Microsoft can do anything about it now, unless and until it was do something as drastic as giving away its Mobile OS to OEMs for free and think of a different business model around it.

Guys @ Microsoft.. you are making mistake after mistake and I hope you correct yourself soon. Again i am big fan of your remaining products (though I stopped using IE for many years now).

I know you guys are doing a lot to get things back on track. You are doing good with your Office suite. can see that you are regrouping in terms of your developer languages and tools. But do it fast and get your products back on track.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back again after a long break with a new Look'n'Feel

Back again after a long time. I really haven't had time to post in this blog. Also, for whatever time I do have left for browsing, most of my thoughts and comments are flowing in the form of my status updates in Facebook and Twitter.

Especially with my discovery of Yoono (addon for Firefox which lets me post/share comments on FB and Twitter at the same time.. also lets me share a site instantly), I have been liberated even more in terms of sharing my thoughts and opinions on the stuff that I like.

So looks like my chances of venting out my thoughts is going to be even more on FB and Twitter!

But nevertheless, my passion for writing has never diminished and my heart still longs to write on my blog(s).

I've decided to give myself a breath of fresh air by changing the boring default skin to something much more attractive and thus motivating myself to come back here often and consequently to post more.

I am loving this new look'n'feel.. and i hope folks visiting my blog like it as well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My (nightmare) experience moving from a Commercial Antivirus to a free one

The McAfee Antivirus (AV) subscription in my laptop expired. So I decided to try a Free Antivirus for a change, especially with news media and bloggers claiming that Free Antivirus software is as good as the established commercial AV software.

On searching the internet, I could understand that AVG Antivirus was standing out in all the reviews.

Also, in was on top of the chart with 1.7 million downloads.

Naturally, I went ahead and installed AVG Antivirus. My experience with AVG-AV was very short-lived - probably for 6-8 hours.

The experience was quite normal. There were no performance lags.

But I continued searching for more information on Free AV and for more justification/consolation for using AVG-AV.

Thats when I came across a review about Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). It was news to me that Microsoft has a free AV and even better, one of the studies claimed that MSE was as good as or in some cases even better than other established free and commercial AV. You read more about this study here and here.

I was pretty convinced with MSE and I thought I would rather go with a Microsoft product than with AVG-AV.

Now is when the trouble started for me. I started uninstalling AVG-AV. The uninstallation seemed to proceed well half way through and after which it was stuck for a very very long time. After much waiting (close to an hour) I decided to kill the uninstallation from the task manager.

After that, I checked to see if AVG-AV was still working or was it screwed by the uninstallation. It was fine. Thank God I thought.

I gave a second shot at the uninstallation and this time it was successful and I was prompted to restart the computer to complete the uninstallation.

On rebooting, I got a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and the system rebooted instantly. But to my shock, the laptop wasn't booting into Windows Vista and it again rebooted. This happened again. Thats when I realized the seriousness of the trouble i was into. The thought of losing all the data because of my experimentation with AV was stupid and shocking.

After coming out of the shock, I decided to choose the repair option during windows startup. It took a loooott of time to boot into the repair mode after which I got my next big surprise. It was asking me to insert the windows recovery mode CD and then proceed.

Thats when I was cursing myself for having procrastinated so long from creating this Windows Recovery CD.

Luckily, after trying the System Recovery option (without the Windows Recovery CD) which took around 10-15 mins, the system rebooted and then booted back into Windows Vista normally.

It took a lot of time. I was trying to recover my laptop from 12.00AM to 3.00AM and then slept for sometime and then again from 8.00AM to 9.00AM.

Thank God! the laptop recovered. And what a lesson it was 1) Never ever kill an uninstallation of an Antivirus software halfway through (but to some extent AVG-AV was to blame for taking so long to uninstall). 2) Always burn the OEMs Windows Recovery CD and have it handy with you for any such recovery.

After my system recovered, my installed Windows Security Essentials. WSE has been a good experience until now. Just like AVG-AV, WSE's performance has been good.

One thing I really liked about WSE is its simple user interface. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Other AVs that I have used such as Norton, McAfee and AVG-AV are intimidating for a layman user (of course I don't belong to that category.. self-appraisal :)).

And I am happy to have discovered some free AV options. I have one more laptop whose Norton subscription expires couple of months from now, after which I am thinking of installing Windows Security Essentials in that too.