November 29, 2009

Trying hand on Win 7 and Office 2010

Today I brought 1 TB external HDD and took backup after a long time, quite relaxed. Also trying out Window 7 on virtual machine (Vista, Virtual Box 1G, 01 CPU, 128 Video Memory).
Installation was very easy and also very fast, no issues faced.
Vista is still running fine, enriched with Office 2010.
I feel for the second time MS has prepared a good operating system *win7*, after XP.
Quite fast, streamlined, useful features in terms of interface, smooth.
Its 5 am and I am still excited to test other features ;)

November 01, 2009

Getting things done - TODO list and task management

I work with a very big team spread across onshore and offshore working in different time zones. My work is related to infrastructure like Unix and Databases where high availability of services is of main concerns. This generates many ad-hoc and unplanned request everyday and due to which I sometimes forget or skew myself from the planned tasks and priorities.
Recently I went through various task management tools like SimpleGTD, Remember the Milk, Gmail TODO etc. out of which I am using simpleGTD and Remember the milk in my daily work. Microsoft Outlook tasks is complicated and if you are not using it for Email then it is not worth using it only for task management though it  provides various features.

Getting things done (GTD) is a management idea from David Allen which is traditional time management approach in addition with prioritize, organize and review the work concepts in timely manner. Based on this workflow, such tools are designed which we will be reviewing here.



  1. SimpleGTD - It's main feature is its simplicity and in-frame editing. Also some of you might like its one page view which is divided into various action items categories such as personal, work, agenda etc. Also supports printing just like RTM. 
  2. Remember The Milk - This is the most famous and favorite application of 2008 according to RWW readers. This is an from Australian startup and now it is available for iPhone also. The feature I like here is smart keyboard shortcuts and symbols for definition within the task text. Interface is awesomely designed. It supports creating weekly printable task lists. 
  3. TODO in Gmail - This is simple todo list but really handy as it is integrated tightly with gmail, google calendar and iGoogle.  This feature came last year officially. I recommend this to use if don't want to jump into fully rich separate application just for managing tasks as Gmail todo is very light weight. 
  4. Sticky notes and classical pen and paper - This is the oldest and still very popular way of managing personal tasks on day-to-day basis. On every desk almost we can find this easily even when you are disconnected from cyber world. Use your creativity at fullest to design your own todo lists. You can also get some printables here or may be online GTD printable generator here
  5. Create printable checklists - a very simple and quick tool indeed. Put your tasks online and print. That's it. [lifehacker review in detail]
  6. Hipster PDA -it's a popular technique given by 43folders (why 43, 12months+31days=43). Get some hPDA printables here.
  7. http://todoist.com/ -  it is a great tool to prioritise your todo list, I have recently discovered and feel its a killer application. I should strike off rememberthemilk from my list now.!?!
I hope the above tools and method will increase productivity if used consistently. Please let me know if you know any other good tools. I would love to see your comments.

October 28, 2009

Interesting query to spell numbers in Oracle

I was surfing through tkyte's blog and found this query to spell the numbers in oracle.

SQL> select to_char(to_date(19994,'j'),'jsp') from dual;
TO_CHAR(TO_DATE(19994,'J'),'JSP')
------------------------------------------
nineteen thousand nine hundred ninety-four
Lets look little close to this.
inner query: select to_date(19994,'J') from dual;
It is basically used to convert number to date and 'J' signifies Julian date format.
outer query: select to_char(),'JSP') from dual; 
It is SPELLING out Julian date. J-SP means Julian Spell.


The above query may fail for very large numbers. So a better solution by Tom is here.

June 25, 2009

[Windows Tip] Create virtual drives for any path or directory

Here is a tip which I explored today during my experiments with command prompt. You can create or say map a virtual drive to any directory in Windows Vista. Suppose you may want to create a short mapping for a long path such as D:\Users\s\game\dir1
C:\> SUBST Z: D:\Users\s\game\dir1
C:\> Z:
Z:\> "This is pointing to the above directory"
To remove the mapping, use the following option -
c:\> SUBST Z: /D
This is like mount points in linux/unix which are basically pointers.

June 11, 2009

[Windows Tip] Quick launch shortcut keys

Today, I discovered that on Windows Vista/7 you can select an application in quick launch bar by using the combination of Window key plus number. Suppose for the first icon (here command prompt), you can do Win key + 1, for next Win+2 and so on. This shortcut is very helpful and productive on netbooks and laptops which are compact in terms of ergonomics.
I have not checked it on XP machine whether it is working there or not. Please comment your experience on XP for the same command.
Keep on visiting this blog for such tips and random articles on technology. Thanks for your time and I hope it will be helpful in someways for you.

April 23, 2009

erail.in – find your trains quickly


The first look at erail is amazing, you would be surprise by its one page interface. Select your source, destination and date of travel. It will list down all the trains available and timings, availability against them in a matrix styled table. You can sort the result, can enquire anything you like very quickly.


The way of presentation of information is one of the best in its class. The feature I like the most are –

  1. All information on one page, no more back and forward again and again.
  2. Matrix style reporting - You can sort any column according to your need.
  3. Fast and requires less number of clicks to get final information.
  4. Non-clumsy interface, no ads in between the content to disturb you.

Finally but not the last, you can also search for buses here if your destinations doesn't have train route.

April 21, 2009

Oracle + Sun = Sheer RAW Power

Oracle to Buy Sun
Surprise, the biggest enterprise software maker Oracle corp. is acquiring Sun Microsystem Inc. for approx. $7.4B after the failure of IBM-Sun deal. Now the #1 Relational Database giant will be not just more powerful by taking extremely widespread product ranges like Java/MySQL/SPARC Hardware Platform/Solaris but also it is going to be biggest in hardware market, database market and in enterprise software.
Microsoft's CEO Balmer is also shocked by this deal because currently they holds first position as enterprise software vendor, now their competitor is just get more power and force.

Other big impact will be in RDBMS market - already being number one will also have MySQL (choice of Web) as addin by getting Sun. Both database has its own features for which they stand up separate. Overall capability is now increase which will allow Oracle to fight it's top competitors - IBM's DB2, Sybase and MS SQL Server.
In hardware market, Oracle already has allied with Hewlett Packard and Dell to deliver computing platform to handle end-to-end data processing solutions. Now with Sun, and their Sparc architecture they will fullfill their wish to own hardware platform.
As an Oracle DBA, the following looks interesting to me -
The Sun Solaris operating system is the leading platform for the Oracle database, Oracle’s largest business, and has been for a long time. With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle can optimize the Oracle database for some of the unique, high-end features of Solaris. Oracle is as committed as ever to Linux and other open platforms and will continue to support and enhance our strong industry partnerships.
So we can expect a better and tightly integrated with Solaris release of Oracle database soon. :)
Sources:
1. http://www.sun.com/third-party/global/oracle/index.jsp
2. http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/018363

April 18, 2009

Protect Email Id from spammers

You might have seen on several pages that people use to encrypt (not exactly) their email id in contact pages to hide it from spammers. But day by day spammers are also getting intelligent. They can decrypt your email id and challenge you.

Stop them now and use scr.im - a new service to share your email id. It is more like a mapping tool which will use one customized URL scr.im/[custom] which will point to your email id like this -
 a...@g...l.com

When someone click on this shared link, it will be asked for the captcha and ensures that only a human is accessing your email id not a bot. Thus keeping your mail id safe from bots, which means lesser spam.

Thanks to Shankar's Killer Tech Tips - which is one of the source of good information on softwares and Internet.

April 11, 2009

Check your Blog loading time

It is irritating sometimes where your blog takes long time to load. This can adversely affect your readers because they get annoyed and they want to see without wait. Such people jump from one point in cyberspace to another very frequently if the response of the page they are visiting is slow.

Therefore this metric is quite important for bloggers so that they can optimize their blogs. One such good online tool is Stopwatch. It is a good habit to test your own blog against loading time and redesign accordingly.

Some usual tips to reduce load time -
1. Reduce the number of images on the home.
2. Do not use images at full resolution - you may reduce to thumbnails if required.
3. Upload the images to your local web folder, don't rely on third party hosts.
4. Use CSS at the top of web page
5. Limit the number of posts to few on homepage say not more than 10.
6. Remove unncessary third party javascripts.

Foil thin speakers becomes a reality

A team of engineers in University of Warwick UK have designed a foil-thin speakers (~0.25mm thick) and that too with better sound quality than traditional ones. It is flat, flexible and can be hung/sticked on any surfaces.

The most important thing is they are inexpensive to produce and very good for public spaces where it is an extreme requirement of crisp and clear audio.it is ideal for public spaces where it delivers planar directional sound waves, which project further than sound from conventional speakers.

This technology will help designers to workup on new designs of the surface as now they don't need to bother about the space required for sound output. Say in case of Laptop we have almost 1"x6" reserved for speaker panel, which can be put into the laptop surface itself with more aesthetic element in designs. more at BBC Tech.

March 20, 2009

Undo Send feature in GMail - Kewl

GMail is back again with one new feature in its lab version after the reported outage that we have seen some days back when some of the users of gmail were not able to login.

Anyways,leaving apart they have introduced a very useful feature in mail service that you can actually hold your mail after sending for few seconds. Suppose you have missed out something in your mail and just after clicking the send button, you discovered, it will be a regret. Why didn't they had Undo feature yet?
Yes, They have introduced it now and its a unique feature. It will not exactly recall your message but it will hold your mail temporarily for 5 sec just after sending (though it is too less, but higher will be more frustrating), so that you can undo the request.

My Suggestion to GMail would be that this time should not be fixed to five seconds, a user must be able to set this according to her ease.

March 15, 2009

Innernet Again

Those days are back when I was hanged up for hours with my computer and Internet. After a long settlement time in chennai, I am now really setting myself here so that I can live up the life. Developing the essence of homeliness in the house is the new goal, which I think is almost achieved.
Living far from home encourage us to to what we had intentionally missed at home due to our negligence and laziness. This is the time when you are being creative, act more matured and responsive and also starts taking more responsibility.
New things I started:
*Cooking - Yes, I started it not by hobby but for not having an option -
secret  (my chapatis are never been in round shape).
*Increasing Social Network - just to get things done
*More regular lifestyle - it's the time which makes this happen
*Doing mistakes at work which I never did before. May be I am not habitual of doing mistakes ;)

Still I am not able to learn "to say NO when I should, and otherwise"

February 01, 2009

Six months without Internet!

This blog is currently inactive because of limited availability of blogger, internet and time.(Aug'08 - Feb'08)

Why I am not paying attention to my blog since 180 Days? 
On August 01, 2008 I left my home to join my job in Chennai. Since then I am busy with my office work and not yet completely settled. It has been six months, I am having very limited access to Internet. As most of the sites are blocked in the office, it is very difficult to communicate with outside world. Your social and professional network is ruined just because you are not inside the box for so many days.

What I did in past six months?
I am working on Oracle technologies and UNIX.  I spent my most of the time on Oracle Administration and it's related products. It is really interesting to know how it works specially when its' purely technical stuff, the food for geeks!
 Apart from technical stuff, I am enjoying traveling around Chennai. I visited Mysore, Ooty, Pondicherry  and some places in Chennai in past few weeks. Going to beach is a weekly activity now.

My future plans for this blog - 
Firstly, To make this blog more professional, I would like to purchase a domain name and web space  to move this blog to a wordpress platform. Another reason for the upgrade is - most of the sites hosted on blogger & wordpress are blocked in office networks by firewall.
Secondly, I want to focus on some areas instead of writing personal stuffs and other non-aligned artifacts. A possible idea running in my mind is to divide it into three streams viz Programming /Linux/Unix, Oracle, and Digital Life (Stuff that is useful in day to day operations).

As soon as I get some free time, I will work on the above tasks. I would like to hear your ideas about my blog and what thing you would like to read. Please share your valuable tips and ideas in comments.

Thanks for patience,

Anjul Sahu