Monday, August 29, 2005

Open-Closed Messenger Services - Hyprocricy at its best.

Most of my friends use Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Gmail or rediffmail. What it takes to send an email to receive an email. Open an account with Yahoo or Hotmail or Gmail or as a matter of fact any email provider. Irrespective of what mail service each of us use, we can send mails to each other and receive from each other. Its cool.

But what it takes to send an instant message or chat with my friends? Unfortunately the answer is not as simple as with the email. I need an account with each of these, since the messengers from these companies will not work together. I can not talk from my Yahoo messenger to a buddy who uses MSN mesenger. I can not talk to a friend who is on AOL. Now the new entry in to the instant messenger, googleTalk, do not address this issue either. If you install googletalk you can only talk to buddies who use googletalk.

I ended up installing all kinds of messengers including the new actors on the scene, skype and google talk on my laptop, so that I can always stay in touch with my buddies. So does most of my buddies. The problem does not end there. It is almost impossible to keep the account name same across all these services. So I had to create a new unique id or send an email giving my account list to my buddies. Unfortunately, I may have to do this every time I get a new messenger.

Each of these companies are committed to be Open when they talk and yet they are Closed forever in their deeds. Why don't they make their messengers interact with each other and make life simpler. If they talk about user experience and convenience, come on. Forget it. They don't care. They have a different agenda.

Painful MS(D)N Search Vs. Elegant Google Search

There are some things Google Search engine does a lot better than all other search engines. The most important one is the relevance of search results to the query. Used google for some time, and I kinda fell in love with it. When MSN search is out, I tried it to see if it is better. I was very disappointed then, and the same to date.

Here is a latest example. I was trying to locate any web casts on webservices recently. I opened specifically the on-demand webcasts page, http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/ondemand.mspx and gave a query in the search box "Web Service, webcast". There are 10 results on the first page with 3 results belong to 2005 and the rest to 2004. And nothing leads to a specific page with latest webcast on web services.

Here are the top 3 results. Month of August did not appear in the first page at all:
Webcast Archive: July 2005Search Microsoft.com for: Go Browse by Type Information For Resources Product Families Events Worldwide Webcast Archive: July 2005Published: August 5, 2005 The following webcasts from July 2005 are available for viewing anytime. This list automatically sorts webcasts in reverse chronological http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/library/200507.mspx

Webcast Archive: May 2005 Search Microsoft.com for: Go Browse by Type Information For Resources Product Families Events Worldwide Webcast Archive: May 2005Published: May 31, 2005 The following webcasts from May 2005 are available for viewing anytime. This list automatically sorts webcasts in reverse chronological order http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/library/200505.mspx

Webcast Archive: February 2005Search Microsoft.com for: Go Browse by Type Information For Resources Product Families Events Worldwide Webcast Archive: February 2005Published: February 28, 2005 The following webcasts from February 2005 are available for viewing anytime. This list automatically sorts webcasts in reverse http://www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/library/200502.mspx

I tried the same on Google. Query=Web Service, webcast site:www.microsoft.com. And here is the first result:
Events and Webcasts: On-Demand Webcasts
Fri, 26 Aug 2005, MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Web Services and WSE (Level 200), On-Demand Webcast Customer Rating: *. Thu, 25 Aug 2005, MSDN Webcast: Essential ...www.microsoft.com/events/webcasts/ondemand.mspx - 69k - Aug 28, 2005 -

I went to the on-demand web casts website to verify whether this page has the latest web services webcast or link. And I found that link to be absolutely true. Now this is what I call, relevance to the context. Google is far better than MSN search when it comes to searchin the web, even on the microsoft web site.

When it comes to searching MSDN content, I do not know much about MSDN search. But here is an expression of pain from a microsoft blogger. It looks, Andy do not use Visual Studio online help system. Do not use MSDN search on the web either. He uses google to search MSDN content. Does it tell some thing?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Excellent Java Web Services Programming Course

Found an excellent course outline to learn Web Services in Java. The outline is very detailed, precise and has links to valuable resources on the web.

Web Services Programming Course Root Page

ServiceOrientedAmbiguity

An interesting summary of thoughts on what Service Oriented Architecture mean to different people by Martin Fowler. Each camp says aloud one and just one aspect of it and calls it the SOA. But he summarized all of them and bunched them together to see the real picture. It proved to be very true to me, after being struggled to see through the marketing jargon and hyped up talks to comprehend what it really means. I am afraid, very few understood what really matters.

MF Bliki: ServiceOrientedAmbiguity

Monday, August 22, 2005

Buying guests for an occasion?

It is not uncommon in India to buy attendees for Political rallies to demonstrate strength of support in the public. And it is quite common to buy film stars to attend major functions to add some glamour to the evening. But have you ever heard of buying some guests to appear in a marriage?
 
I Came across a news story(Entrepreneur cashes in on rented revellers, http://www.freelanceuk.com/news/1311.shtml) talking about a booming business of "arranging" guests for marriages in India. The enterprise, called "The Best Guests Centre" in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India supply guests in the required traditional attire to the ocassion for a charge. The madeup guests do everything they can do to make sure that the ocassion is celebrated in the true(?) spirit.
 
What else you can buy for your marriage? Hell no. Don't say, bride.

 

Friday, August 19, 2005

Why does India still kneel before World Bank for loan?

India is seeking loan from World Bank for its “Bharat Nirman” program, aimed at developing rural infrastructure. Why the much hyped super power nation is kneeling before World Bank for a loan to build infrastructure  There are so many nations in the world that desperately need those funds from world bank.
 
The government impose surcharge on every conceivable thing to contribute to meaningless and truly political war against Pakistan. How can India afford so much on military while they invest so less on infrastructure. Why don't they impose surcharge towards building the much needed infrastructure?
 
Why doesnÂ’t the Indian government ask the IT corporate houses to contribute towards building infrastructure? Keep aside the social responsibility; IT big houses are the ones minting money on the existing infrastructure and hefty pro-business incentives (that are making an ordinary citizenÂ’s life much harder), and they should pay back.
 
The government has decided to break the backbone of the nation by cutting all the subsidies given to the agriculture sector, the largest sector in India, but increased hefty incentives to the corporates. Land is free, no tax, uninterrupted power..... list goes on, while 8 hours a day residential power supply became a precious gift to the rural areas.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Which is secure? Java or .NET?

The following posting at MSDN .NET security blog points to a comparison study, "Comparing Java and .NET Security: Lessons Learned and Missed" done by  Nathaneal Paul and David Evans from the University of Virginia Computer Science Department. The research was funded by National Science Foundation and DARPA.

Link to the Document : http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~nrp3d/papers/computers_and_security-net-java.pdf

Comparing Java and .NET Security
http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnfa/archive/2005/08/17/452760.aspx

It is very interesting and very informative to compare .NET and Java in depth on what matters for security. In summary, .NET has ZERO major security vulnerabilities reported while Java has its list growing.    


Update on 10th Feb 2005: 7 more vulnerabilities found in Java runtime. Read the sun's announcement.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Some things will never change in India..

Some things will never change in India like relying on Astrologers to do any thing
important.  Go and seek an astrolger to start some thing. Go and seek Astrologer if some thing does not workout.  Go and seek Astrologer if some thing works out well.
 
If it worksout well, then soon the astrolger would become a saint. He will be worshipped. If not, never mind, people will look for another. This goes on until they find one Astrologer where some thing will finally workout. And a few days later, they start searching again.
 
I recently came to know about an incident, where a girl who has been searching for a  job in Bangalore, was advised by an Astrologer to try in a different direction, as  in Bangalore nothing would workout for her. She also had to goto a famous temple to do special rituals. They decided to move from Bangalore to Hyderabad to look for a job.
 
I do not understand how it would help. And neither they do. This is what they believe in. This is quite common everywhere. Be a computer science engineer in Bangalore, doctor  in Delhi or
a farmer in the village. Astrologers have a special place in everybody's life in India. India's super Computer itself was inaugurated at a time set by an Astrologer. No wonder, any thing else is done without an Astrologer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Slogging Epidemic?

A few years back, if you are spending around 55 hours a week on your computer, you better be a geek. You are working out of passion to create some breaking product or in a Silicon Valley startup company. But this is no longer true. These days, most of the Software Developers are 'spending' atleast 55 hours a week, ending up in a 11 hour day at office or work through the weekend. I wonder, why the life is becoming so hard for the software developers.

Here are some of the responses I came across:
--> Work load is too much. Organizations are cutting the costs by reducing the man power while the amount of work keeps going up.
--> Software development is becoming highly complex and to stay current, you have to spend lots of time in managing the new stuff.
--> If you are not slogging, you must have finished your assigned job and you may get new assignment. So to avoid new work, pretend slogging.
--> If you are not slogging, then you are looked as if you are not committed to the success of the project, so you will be in the next pink slip list. You just can't afford.

While I agree one need to spend extra hours to get things done ocassionally, particularly in software development where almost everything is uncertain, I do not believe in slogging every day. If you slog almost every day in 4 consecutive weeks, some thing is seriuosly wrong.

Whatever may be the reason, the slogging epidemic is unreasonable. And I do not believe that any of these slogging teams can ever produce a better quality product. I found that these slogging teams spend good chunk of their time in fire fighting and fixing the bugs they created while they were slogging.

I agree fully with the argument of Joel [Hitting the High Notes], that best programmers under best working conditions produce the best software. "The quality of the work and the amount of time spent are simply uncorrelated."