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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finding the Right Domain Name for your New Website

Coming up with a short, catchy and relevant domain name can be a difficult task. Specially because most of the top domain names have already been registered by someone else. It's always good to know the setting and context of the website before you purchase a domain in order to make this process a lot easier.

The Newbie Toolkit: How To Register And Host Your First Domain 

The ideal domain name should be:
  1. Short
  2. Relevant
  3. Memorable

It's best to avoid:
  • Under scores and dashes
  • Numbers (when not relevant to the subject)
  • Alternate (but incorrect) spellings

Then we need to go to a domain look up service such as http://www.checkdomain.com/ to see whether the domain that we want is available. Be ready for disappointment because most of the time you will find that the particular domain is unavailable. Check to see whether pre or post fixing words like "hot", "best", "all", "the", "top" and "get" would work. If not, you will have to move on to the next phase.

This is when your domain knowledge comes in to play. Try to pair words which are relevant to the site's content to come up with a catch name. This might not directly reflect the subject matter but should be easy to relate to it.
  • rottentomatoes.com
  • stackoverflow.com
  • gsmarena.com

Keep at it till you find something that you really like. Do not get discouraged and get yourself a domain like "the-best-music-online-10.com". It's a hard and time consuming process but it's better to be patient and register the right domain name than end up with something that you will realize to be unusable after a few hours.

I have purchased several domains in the past and some of them proved to be fruitless and a waste of time and money (such as amazon40.com). But the one's that I purchased after doing my research and trying patiently, have been very successful (e.g. steamsigs.com, theduffel.com). So be patient and keep trying. You will not regret the extra effort.

Case Study:

As a small exercise, I decided to try coming up with a good name for an arbitrary web site, just to see the effectiveness of the given guidelines. The subject I selected is (I'm thinking of one right now ;)) menswear. It could be a site which sells menswear or reviews them. Doesn't really matter.
The obvious key word would be menswear. Let's come up with some domain names to check (I'm only considering .com for now because its the one used the most):

All are registered. Let's come up with a list of relevant terms:
man, clothes, garb,look,smart,free,handsome(too long), charmer,hunky, perfect, fit, apparel, attire

First find, hunkgarb.com. Short and catchy but let's keep on looking for something a bit more formal.
Second find, hunkattire.com.. hmm...
Third time's the charm!! manattire.com is still available. It's catchy with a bit of sophistication. Should be perfect.

I haven't given details of the last phase of the process but it's pretty straight forward. Come up with keywords and look for synonyms. This is very important. You'd most probably find a word that's more befitting to your purpose. This is how I ended up with the word "attire"... by looking for a synonym for "clothes".

So this concludes the case study. Most probably the domain "manattire.com" would not be available in a few months but I think it served to detail the process involved in coming up with the perfect domain name.

Good resources:

Website Design and Development: 100 Questions to Ask Before Building a Website Creating a Web Site: The Missing ManualWeb Design and Marketing Solutions for Business WebsitesBuild Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS, 2nd EditionBuild a Website for Free (2nd Edition)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Increase the number of your Facebook fans within hours

I've recently created a page for my website on Facebook (this one) but hasn't had any luck increasing the number of followers apart from my friends. I signed up for Twiends and it instantly increased the number of my fans. It's only been about 5 minutes and I've already got 5 followers.
The system works pretty well. You "like" other people's pages to earn credits and redeem them by getting people to "like" your website. You could buy credits if you want to get more exposure. I'm optimistic about the results and think this would prove to be a great service.

Edit: One catch though.Someone could (possibly?) like your Facebook page, earn the credits and then Unlike it. Should rarely happen but there is a chance.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Starting and Running Your Own Website on the Cheap

One of the main obstacles to launching your own website is cost. The initial cost of starting a website could be given as the sum of:

  • The domain name
  • Hosting charges
  • Charges for designing the website
  • Advertising cost
For something that you launch out of your own interest, we could eliminate the advertising cost. Let's look at each of the other factors to find out the minimum required capital.

1. Purchasing a domain name
You could easily get your free .co.cc domain name from http://www.co.cc.
But for if you have long term plans for the site, and if the site is something you could profit from, it's always better to get a .com domain (or .net or .org according to your purpose). Your website would get better exposure and recognition this way. The cheapest registration service that I've found so far is http://www.domainsarefree.com, which offers .com,.net and .org registrations for $3.99. There are cheaper services which have a lower price point ($1.99) but it's always better to go with a reliable service which you trust since you would have to renew the registration annually.

2. Hosting charges
This is one of the most important steps in launching a website. Selecting a good host is critical to ensure the performance and up-time of the website. So it'll be bit of a juggle in the cost-benefit department. You need to get a cheap host, but also someone that offers a reliable service. I settled on HostGator since it had a good track record and was a recognized and trusted service. So far their service has been extremely good. My site's never gone down. There's extremely good support for PHP, and mysql via the control panel. They also provide a free site builder with pre-designed templates. They have three plans:

  • Hatchling - $4.95, Single Domain, UNLIMITED Disk Space, UNLIMITED Bandwidth, Shared SSL Certificate
  • Baby - $7.95,UNLIMITED Domains, UNLIMITED Disk Space, UNLIMITED Bandwidth. Shared SSL Certificate
  • Business - $12.95, UNLIMITED Domains,UNLIMITED Disk Space,UNLIMITED Bandwidth, FREE Dedicated SSL & IP, FREE Toll-Free Number
*The above are new prices. Previously the hatching plan was $7.95. Price might change in future.

The hatching plan is a good starting point for a new website.

3. Designing the website
The cheapest way to design your website is to do it yourself. If you are tech savvy, you could write on from scratch. If not, you could use pre-built free website templates available online (or use website building tools provided by the host). But the easiest method by far, is to create Wordpress blog. Some think that Wordpress could only be used for blogging. This was my impression at first. But after using it for a while, I realized that you could customize a wordpress blog to suit almost any requirement. You could add content to the site as blog posts, post them as a stream or sticky on the home page, customize the theme to suit the context and install plugins to boost productivity. You have to learn a few tricks to make it behave the way you want but it'll come after you play around with the files for a while. This would be the best option for a website for which you will be adding content continuously and want to minimize the hazzle of maintenance.

4. Advertising your site
In order to get the full benefit from your site, you have to make people aware of it. Assuming you don't want to spend any money on it (as is the case with most personal websites) you could start link building and adding the site to social networks. Post on relevant forums and make sure you're not breaking the rules by providing a link to the site. Create tome directory listings. These and more steps are explained thoroughly on several blogs and sites so I'll skip this step.

Final total(first month): $3.99+4.95 = $8.94
Monthly cost:$4.95

It's always best to go with a better vendor if you could spare a bit more cash. I did my domain registration also with hostgator and the total cost for me was:
Final total(first month): $22.16 + $7.95 = $30.11
Monthly cost:$7.95

That's it. Now all it takes is a bit of your time, some link love and SEO and you'll be on your way!

Visit my site to see what I ended up with ;)

Best Wordpress Theme for Item Display with Images

I've been looking for a theme suitable for a store front which would give the following features:
  • Display Item with images
  • Small squarish area for each item, arranged in a grid
  • Minimalistic
  • No Sidebar (or easy to remove)

I tried a lot of the suggested themes under this topic and none of them seemed to suit me.
I finally settled on Kubrick On Crack. You can see the demo site here.

It wasn't prefect for the job since it only displayed excerpts from posts in the home page if they didn't have a tagged thumbnail image. And the featured post area was a bit of a nuisance because a post (item) had to be specially customized for it. I ended up modifying the index.php and style.css files and was able to come up with something which suited my taste (screen shot below).

It's not perfect yet since some of the item listings overflow the allocated area. I'll be tweaking this continuously and hopefully I'd be able to put up a post on how to do it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Platform Builder error - "The entered path is not a valid build tree path"

I've been struggling with this for the past few hours till I found a post on the Windows CE base team blog which explains the causes for this error and possible solutions.


The method that I used to solve this is to use a custom build tree used in my company. Reinstalling Platform Builder without using the "Tools only" options might also fix this error.

Apparently you cannot use the WM500 image in Platform Builder 5.

A bit more information I just learned today. Technically speaking Windows Mobile 5.0 is a "tools only" Platform Builder install with the Windows Mobile command line build system. So a full install of WM still counts as "tools only." I guess that means you cannot build a WM image from inside Platform Builder, and must instead use the command line. (?) 

So one would have to use a valid build tree or use the command line.

Friday, July 09, 2010

My new website: SteamSigs.com

I Created a new site to generate dynamic forum signature images showing near-real time stats from SteamCommunity.com, of community members. The stats are near real-time because there's a lag of about 10 minutes. This is the cache period for the stats and status data.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Unbiased Review of VIAddress.com

VIAddress is a company which provides U.S. addresses to non-U.S. based individuals (like myself). They also provide package consolidation and forwarding services. What this basically means is that you could shop from sites which only ship within the U.S., and ship several items at once to your home country.

When I first visited their site, I was enticed by the good design and the stat tables which showed VIAddress's advantages over other similar services. I read several reviews and they all had high praise for the service. So I signed up for the service without hesitation (this is free) and bought several items from Amazon.com to be shipped to my new U.S. address.

It was only a few days later that I came across several reviews which listed VIAddress.com as a scam. I was a bit scared since I had already shipped two items their. Their were several complaints claiming that VIAddress employed people to write good reviews about them. It's a bit unethical but not that bad. So I waited to see what would happen to my packages.

My packages arrived at the warehouse in East Lexington Avenue, and after about 5 hours, they appeared on my VIAddress.com account page. The update process takes some time but it seems to be reducing (maybe they've hired more people??). One of the things to take note is that they take a very long time to answer e-mails. Sometimes weeks. 

The VIAddress warehouse as seen by Google maps

I've shipped two items there. Two more are on their way. I've used their concierge service. I've cancelled the concierge order and received a refund about 4 days later. The concierge order table does not get updated and their's no way to cancel the orders once they are placed (except by mailing them). Event after the orders are manually cancelled, there is no way to remove them from your personal page. So I would stay away from the concierge orders for now.

The Shipping Manager page which lists items in suite and pending items

Their shipping charges are reasonable. Only FedEx option is given when you try to ship something, although the FAQ mentions DHL and UPS. The charges are about $60 for a package which has a dimensional weight of 13 lbs. $100 for 25 lbs. (dimensional weight), which is a bit high but lower than MyUS.com.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the site's service so far. I hope they would provide more communication channels to customers (live chat is never on) to get real-time support on issues. Other than that, it's pretty good.

(I'll update this post with details about shipping procedure once my items are shipped out).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Best Music Player for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

  • Music management
  • Internet radio
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Cover manager
  • Stability when managing large music collections
  • Sleek styling
  • Loads of plug-ins 

Other players installed and tested:
Amarok - Appalling music management. Doesn't show cover art
Banshee - Crashes after installing all plugins
gmusicbrowser - Interface too simple. No looks
Guayadeque - Looks are not polished. User experience is not as good as Exaile
Songbird - Didn't test. Didn't like it in Windows

Virus Scan stuck at 1% for 5 Hrs

5 hours and 3.9 partitions later, Kaspersly still says it's completed only 1% of it's scan.. Hmmm... Shady...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Social Networking Application "Gwibber" on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

I Like!!!

Running Ubuntu in Full Screen mode in Windows XP with Virtual Box

After installing an Ubuntu guest in Windows XP, you might not be able to switch to high resolutions as they are not listed. Only 800x600 will be available.
You need to install the Linux guest additions to enable higher resolutions.
Press the Host key (Right Ctrl) + D.
This might not do anything. In that case you'll have to install the guest additions manually. Note that the Virtual box guest additions image is already mounted. If you go to "Devices->CD/DVD drives" you'd see a listing called "VBoxGuestAdditions.iso". This is the image containing the all guest additions.
Start your Ubuntu virtual machine. Open the "VBOXADDITONS_XXXX" drive and check the contents. This would also mount the drive if it isn't already mounted. Fire up a terminal. Go to the drive. Run "VBoxLinuxAdditions.run".
Restart the machine. You should now be able to switch resolution to high values.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

QtCreator is great...

 but it still has a long way to go in terms of improving usability. The build times are 3 to 4 times that of NetBeans. The debug functionality gets disabled sometimes for no reason. And you can't select multiple files in the project window.
All these things make the experience of using QtCreator a bit mediocre. If these minor issues are addressed, this would be one of the best IDE's for C++ development.

Strange AdSense Banner

I blog about a lot of topics but I just can't figure out why Google thought an ad for abattoir machinery would fit in with the content, specially on a page with a post about babies :D

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gorillaz's Plastic Beach is great for putting babies to sleep

I'm in the habit of playing some music when ever I have to put my son (whose 9 months old)  to sleep, mainly because it cancels out most of the background noises which would otherwise catch the little guy's attention.
I try to keep track of the number of songs it takes till he goes in to a deep sleep which serves as a metric which could be used to select which one to play on different occasions.
In this regard, Plastic Beach works exceptionally well. I play it with no shuffle and my son falls asleep by about the third song (White Flag Ft. Kano, Bashy & The Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music.. I love this track).
Other albums I've tried out, according to each ones sleep power :) :

1. Sade - Soldier of Love
2. 500 Days Of Summer (OST)
3. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
3. Bee Gees - Their Greatest Hits- The Record Disc 1
3. Timbaland - Presents Shock Value 2
3. Chris Brown - Graffiti
4. Katharine Mcphee - Unbroken
5. One Republic - Waking Up

"Soldier of Love" is the album to put babies to sleep. I usually play it when he's sleeping to help him relax and cancel external noises (like me bashing on the keyboard), and it works great.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apple Branding vs. Micorosoft Branding

I recently read two articles, one which detailed apple's branding strategy and how it has been able to build it's image and develop an almost cult like following, and the other which focused on Microsoft not being able to maintain it's brand image after the realease of Windows Vista.

 I started wondering about how Apple has been able to create an emotional bond with most of it's customer base after the extremely successful launch of the iPad. The detailed breakdown of the hardware shows that it's nothing but a faster iPhone with a larger screen. But a lot of people have praised it as being the "next big thing in portable computing". How's it that Apple's able to push out prodducts with minor changes and generate so much enthusiasm amongst the public?

As article 1 above mentions;

"It's like having a good friend. That's what's interesting about this brand. Somewhere they have created this really humanistic, beyond-business relationship with users and created a cult-like relationship with their brand. It's a big tribe, everyone is one of them. You're part of the brand."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Infected by Malware-gen... again

I've had my fair share of encounters with this annoying virus. It first infected my computer at the University, spread to my home computer and later to that of my girl friend's. I got rid of the first two after a lot of work, but by that time Rasini's computer had some RAM issues and wasn't being used.
That was 4 years ago. My girlfriend is now my wife and we have a 9 month old son. Last week I was able to revive Rasini's dormant computer by fixing a new cooling fan and messing around with the cables. It still had the malware but I kept putting off installing any antivirus software on it for various reasons (mainly because I was lazy :)).
Yesterday while using my laptop, Chrome started giving me the "Aww.. snap" message. One of the things mentioned in the official google solutions page  was to check if the antivirus software was messing with it so I paused my  Kaspersky virus guard. After not being able to fix the Chrome issue, I ended up reinstalling it. But I forgot to restart the antivirus protection. While I was out, my wife had plugged in a pen which was used with the old computer in to my laptop to get the installation of Foxit reader. When I got back, things were looking a bit weird. My internet connection was showing a lot of uploads so I tried bringing down some processes and restarting. After the restart, explorer didn't show up (which is a typical symptom of Malware-gen infection) so I ended up restarting the process. The worst part was that I couldn't start Kaspersky. I knew then that I had gotten infected.
I was able to detect and delete most of the infected files by installing Avast Anti-virus and running a full system scan and a boot time scan. But I still get warnings of infected files once in a while so I guess it'll be some time before I'm completely rid of the nasty little fellow...

The results from my boot-time scan

A scan of the USB pen drive which infected my laptop

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Make every line of code count when writing "test" code

Yeah yeah.. you're just making "temporary" changes to test something out and you'll "re-write" it if it works out. Put a bit of effort in to cleaning up any non-sense (there'll be plenty)  as you go on and try to make it look "professional" 'cos chances are that the change will become "permenant" and you won't rewrite it till the next major refactoring session.
It's something that happens in most main software development projects. The developers test things out, try to tweak the system and improve performance. When the project managers see this, they're gonna want it in every system that they have and they would want it "right now". You'll be lucky to get enough time to copy and paste you're code (if that's actually necessary). Re-writing or re-designing won't be an option. So you're "temporary" code is gonna end up in the product source. if you don't want some ass hole to dig it up a few years (or months or weeks ) later and make fun of you, make sure that you write great code no matter what you do.
It'll save you a lot of time and the chance of getting mocked by some smart ass that you don't like.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Best Free Online E-Book Catalogs

There are several notable e-book catalogs which offer free e-books which belong to a wide array of categories, such as Novels, Poetry, Science, Fantasy etc. They are a great way to catch up on classics that you missed out and to discover fresh titles by self-publishing authors. 
I've given a list of these below.
(There are several more sites which would turn up on a Google search, but they are filled with ads and propaganda material and don't contain a lot of actual e-books)

The most famous service amongst the ones listed above would be Project Gutenburg. It was first of it's kind when it was first envisioned (and implemented) in 1971. It contains over 30000 free e-books, but it's not the most eye catching or user friendly site you'll ever see.

FeedBooks and ManyBooks might not have the same amount of content as Project Gutenburg, but they offer what it lacks in eye candy. The sites are intuitive and user friendly and you could search for titles by subject or author. You could also browse through the titles under various categories. I personally prefer to use ManyBooks over  FeedBooks but that's purely a personal choice since both these sites are similar in most aspects.

You could use FBReader to browse, download and read titles from these sites.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Best IDE for Qt4 Development in Linux

Here's why...
There are several IDE choices to develop Qt4 content in our favorite OS, such as:

Qt Creator 
 Qt Creator has been hyped as being great for not only Qt development, but C++ development as well. So I was pretty exited while the app was being installed via Yast2. Unfortunately, I never got it to run. It quietly crashes and I couldn't find a solution on the internet. Not wanting to go through another download session, I gave up.

Eclipse CDT 
To say that the de facto plugin for Qt4 development in Eclipse CDT,  QtClipse, is still in it's early stages of development, would be and understatement. It offered most of the basic configurations like paths to qmake and moc but didn't offer anything special.

Ever since I remember, I've loathed KDevelop. It's cluttered, the shortcuts are non standard, its auto completion sucked.. you get the point. Anyway, I went ahead and configured my first ever Qt4 app on KDevelop and started working on it. Surprisingly, the build and execute system ran well. I had to edit the Makefile in order to call moc on my classes, but it was a case of copying and pasting the main "moc" clauses and renaming the classes. The documentation got integrated perfectly and creating a new ".ui" class would automatically call Qt Designer. Debugging didn't work though. The application would exit soon after stopping at the first breakpoint. Must be something to do with the Qt event loop.

I didn't try NetBeans yet. My past experiences with it has been a mix between extreme satisfaction to absolute loathing. It's a good overall IDE which consumes a lot of memory. People who are used to developing on NetBeans would definitely prefer this over KDevelop.
I just finished running my first Qt application using NetBeans and it was way better than working with KDevelop. There was no setup involved at all. You just have to create a Qt Project from the "New Project" wizard and you're good to go. It just became my favorite IDE for Qt development :). (I followed this tutorial which gives  great introduction to working on Qt prjects using NetBeans).

From the IDEs that I tried out, KDevelop  turned out to be the best. That is not to say that it is perfect. I'm still looking at other alternatives which would offer an experience like the Qt plugin for Visual Studio under windows.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Newton-Raphson Method and What to do When It Fails

I've been working on a system which uses Newton-Raphson method to solve a system of equations which model the flow of fluids along a channel. We've had great results during initial testing but the system fails miserably in some occasions. This is a limitation which is inherently present in Newton-Raphson iterative method which makes the system diverge. The best solution would be to move to a different numerical scheme which guarantees global convergence.
The other method is to modify the scheme in such a way that convergence is guaranteed ( or the system converges for all valid system parameter values).
While searching for how to achieve this, I came across this page, which gives details of the Damped Newton-Raphson method, which mediates iteration values, hence forcing the system to converge. To use this method to achieve global convergence would take a lot of work and enforce a heavy toll on the processor. It's best to use this iff the normal iteration fails inside a time step.

It's the best option we have at the moment. I would post about the effectiveness of the method after implementing it in our model. 

Newton-Raphson method with example VB code

Monday, March 22, 2010

This application has failed to start because the application configuration is incorrect.. Solution

I came across this error when trying to run an application built with Visual C++ 2010 express on another machine which did not have the .net runtime, Visual C++ redistributable packages installed.

Copy all the DLLs in "[installation directory]\VC\redist\x86\Microsoft.VC.CRT\" to the application directory. These DLLs are needed if the application runs in "Release" mode

Copy all the DLLs in "[installation directory]\VC\redist\Debug_NonRedist/x86/Microsoft.VC.DebugCRT\" to the applciation directory. These DLLs are needed if the application runs in "Debug" mode

Now the application should run without an issue. Install the appropriate (i.e. 2005/2008/2010 etc.)  Visual C++ redistributable package on the target computer for a more permenet solution.

Basic Performance Profiling and Tuning of C++ Programs in Linux

I've just highlighted the basic things you need to get started on profiling. Hopefully it would serve to help developers to refine their methods and go for more complex profiling strategies.

The required tools:
1. Run the tool called callgrind (which is part of the valgrind suite):
valgrind --tool=callgrind [parameters]
2. This would create a file of the format:callgrind.out. You could go through this file using an editor but it's hard to do a proper analysis using only your wits. This is where KCacheGrind comes in.

3. Run KCacheGrind and load the callgrind output file in to it.

Now you would have a visual representation of the calls made by each method displayed as a percentage of the total call count via a rectangular area diagram.


  • If you have a method which you would like to optimize, change the grouping to "Class" and search for the method in order find it quickly.
  • Otherwise, look for the methods which are called the most and optimize them.

5.Also try to lower the call count to these methods by modifying the callers to re-use values

Also Refer:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gas Masks and Filters in Metro 2033

If you're playing Metro 2033, there's an important concept that you must come to terms with..
Have plenty of filters and don't let your Gas Mask take damage.
The sooner you get familiar with these things, the easier it would be to play the game.

There's another small problem... You don't get a lot of ammo. What you have is not going to be enough to blast your way out of attacks by blindly spamming bullets. Remember, it's a shooter... but it's not Modern Warfare 2 ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

fstream.clear()... How MS takes a working model and breaks it.

I've used fstreams in Linux/Solaris a lot of times and it's always been the same simple model.
  • Open
  • Process
  • Close

Recently, I was working on porting some Linux code to Windows and a strange thing happened (well a lot of strange things happened but this really had me dumbfounded :-|). I found that once an fstream is used to open a file, I can't re-use it even after calling close(). If I created a new fstream instance for each file, everything worked fine.
I found the solution here.
It reads:
It might be surprising to learn that this is in fact by design. The C++ Standard specifies that neither open or close clears the status flags of a stream. As such, the behavior you are seeing is in fact exactly what should happen.

The good news is that this is easy to work around, just add a call to the clear() method of the stream prior to opening it like so:
void open(const char* sFilename) {
m_stream.clear();//clear status of stream, as we're about to reuse it on a fresh file.
int nMode = std::ios::in | std::ios::_Nocreate;
m_stream.open(sFilename, nMode);
if (!m_stream) {
throw "Cannot open file";
m_isOpen = true;

What's bizarre about this is that you should not have to call clear(). "clear()" is a method specified in ios to be used to clear error flags. It's relevance for normal file handling operations is just beyond me.
This is another instance where MS has taken a working system and added unnecessary and irrelevant complexity in to it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Best Free Open Source Web Based Issue Tracker

I've been working on standardizing the development work flow at my company (LHI) and a key feature of this was implementing an Issue tracking service. It would have to run on Linux and not use MS technologies like asp. Additional features like project management and SVN integration were also taken in to account.
First came the evaluation phase where I went through countless blog posts looking for the perfect match. There were many candidates.

were the main ones. Bugzilla went out the window as soon as I visited there site. My PM has had some bad experiences with Trac so it was out as well. Mantis had the "simple" written all over it and I had doubts whether it would hold up in the long run. But when it came to Redmine, we hit the jackpot.

Aesthetics are important. Some "gurus" might argue that as long as it's functioning looks don't matter. But we're talking about a system which would be used by various people from diverse backgrounds and they should not go "aaaaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhh" when they log in to the system.

Also it should be easy to use. Redmine had the aesthetics part going for it. It wasn't overflowing with artistic touches but had enough stylistics elements to please the eye. The setup on SuSe 11.1 was reletively painless. I had it up and running in 3 hours and I'm just a developer ;-) So far, my experience with Redmine (which has been limited to setting up a single project, adding users and integrating svn) has been excellent.

I haven't played around with customizations and plugins and am still in the process of migrating the site to Apache2 but I think these things would not be difficult. All in all, Redmine is a gem amongst the free and open source issue tracking software arena.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The Eclipse help site is a lot like MSDN:

Takes ages to load up.
Most of the time you can't find any useful information.
The navigation pane is so cluttered that you can't figure out where to go next.
It's looks awful (worse than MSDN)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Controlling Boxee with Nokia 5630

One of the first things I did when I got my new Nokia 5630 was to set up a wireless network at home in order to use it's UPNP features. I quickly gave up on the Nokia Home Media Server because it's too simple and looks horrible.
I then installed Simple Center and Boxee and both showed up on the phone's list of external devices (Boxee required a simple configuration change to enable it to run as a UPNP server).

I love the Boxee interface and use it to play most of my media. But I cannot browse songs and videos using my phone. Videos do not show up and songs do not get updated properly.

So I've ended up using Simple Center and Boxee in tandem. I select media from the Simple Center server and play it via Boxee, all using the phone.