December 05, 2010

Excellent Resource for Microsoft Excel Tricks : chandoo.org

Here is an excellent resource to learn Microsoft Excel and to efficiently use it. Thanks to Chandoo - the founder of blog chandoo.org/wp  "become awesome in excel".

Ban on Wikileaks: Death of Openness and Transparency

Wikileaks which doesn't need an introduction which has disturbed the sleep of big brother and various other governments whose confidential documents are published by this non-profit organization. This has already boiled up government who want to hide their wrong acts. Recently Wikileaks was forced to be removed from their web host, Amazon, DNS service provider, EasyDNS  EveryDNS [Corrected after EasyDNS send notification and updateand the payment gateway Paypal after getting pressure from US govt. Now it is fighting for its survival.

The whole act led to very important questions i.e. Will the Internet remain free, open and transparent platform? Can any government blocks our freedom of expressions? Don't we owe the right to express a truth against the powerful? Can services like Amazon or Paypal differentiate their clients due to external pressure?

Govt has a responsibility to stop those who are against country, or who creates potential threat on the basis of  religion, caste, color or sex. But who will take care of governments, Media?  Yeah they should be. It's their duty and this is what I think Wikileaks is doing.

Not sure, for how much time Wikileaks will survive, but it has raised a question against a closed system which should be forwarded and democratically solved.

It would be nice to hear your comments. Please share your thoughts on this.

Updates
  1. Correction: It was EveryDNS (and not EasyDNS) service which was involved in Wikileaks case, thanks Mark.
  2. Twitter might also take down Wikileaks account but not yet confirmed, reported Techcrunch.

November 13, 2010

Latency Issues while Browsing - Resolution

Everyone loves speed and when browsing if page takes lot of time to respond, getting irritated is natural. Today after browsing for more than 13 hours continuously I see suddenly that my ping to the server was taking long time and it was quite variable.  There is one fact that many of us doesn't know that response time from any website is very critical factor in measuring speed & not always the bandwidth is the prime factor.

Following are some troubleshooting steps you can try out -


Ping to your IP gateway - Check for the response time from the server. If it is fluctuating & taking upto 1 or 2 seconds then there can be issues with routers, your network card or even with the gateway itself.




Flush the DNS & renew your IP settings - As shown below, use ipconfig /flushdns command to clear the DNS cache. If the problem persist, restart your network adapter or router (Control Panel > Network & Sharing Center > Network Connections) by disabling & enabling the device.

If the response time to Gateway looks okay then try to use services like PingTest.net to see the response time to server or try ping -t www.google.com .  You should look for consistent response time to conclude the problem is no more. 

DNS Tweaking
Another service which can improve your DNS query performance is openDNS which was discussed earlier. More details on opendns here.   

Other Sensible Options You Can Try!
  • Use ad blocker plugins like adThwart in the browser to stop loading unwanted, byte crunching data & animations.
  • Use of caching softwares like squid speed up your browsing capacity by efficiently using bandwidth. 
  • Cleaning your browser history. Recommended : Store only 1 day of history in your browser. 
  • Stop using Google toolbars or similar toolbars which consumes bandwidth in background. 
  • Apply the latest updates provided by software vendors.

If nothing work out, call your ISP to check modem settings and other network equipment settings. 

November 12, 2010

Facebook Titan - Full Featured Mail Server

All who loves news between Facebook & Google,
Here is another competitive feature coming to Facebook to drain Google's Gmail. The project code name is Titan as per TechCrunch which was first came in news in Feb 2010.  This will be full featured mail service just like Gmail which will keep you struck to Facebook .

Recent Gmail  issues related to slowdown will also encourage users to switch to Titan.

So lets wait until Monday to hear something new, may be I will get anjuls@facebook.com soon. :-)

September 14, 2010

The First Wireless Charging Prototype

Fujitsu Research has broken the ice and published the first working prototype demonstrating wireless charging for this cable-tangled world. This technology has a great potential for our ubiquitous devices like mobiles, tablets, ipods etc.

Source: http://www.fujitsu.com/global/news/pr/archives/month/2010/20100913-02.html

August 22, 2010

Bypassing Authentication in Cable Internet System

I have been using Internet through cable since many years. Sometimes I feel very bad about the network speed, access control by ISP and other limitations though there are various advantages. Few of them are using peer computers contents which are open, sharing content with friends assuming they are on same network.
As popular quote says, need is the mother of invention. I always try to find loop holes & tricks to increase the performance of browsing. And in this journey I learnt about my network, its component, structure and how to bypass systems which are there to put us in a jail.

These service providers gets a dedicated link from a parent service provider which is usually having a Internet backbone at wider level. And they uses subscription and billing application to design plans and users/machines/bandwidth management.

Common Network Architecture

There are various subnets named subnet A, B etc. Subnet is logical grouping of network components for better manageability and control. Each subnet has a server installed which is also your IP Gateway.
This server is responsible for user authentication and bandwidth management using a web based software. 

Each subnet is then connected to its parent server from where the Internet bandwidth is allocated. To improve  the performance of browsing and optimize bandwidth, all the servers are equipped with Squid in transparent configuration for content caching. 

Now Suppose, the parent server has a link speed of 12 mbps which is further divided for each subnet. Let's consider subnet A gets a total of 3 mbps shared. Thus total usage of all the workstations in this subnet has to share this 3 mbps and overall speed will be very cumbersome. 

Hack
You have to find a way in your network such that you bypass the authentication system of your local subnet and configure your system to use proxy of the parent server of your network (marked with static IP). Usually the proxy is configured on port 80 to provide transparency.

Now question arises how to bypass the security mechanism. Now this could be a loophole in the network or the network user is a leased line user with no binding with a particular machine.
  1. Login to your subnet server using ssh or telnet. Usually the password of these consoles are not changed. It will be by default admin/admin.
  2. Add yourself to leased line user through the console or use any already configured IP
  3. Use the proxy (using IE options or Individual software settings): set IP as that of parent server and port 80
  4. The key is to use all the bandwidth that is going to be distributed through out the subnets.
You may wish to use nmap to discover network or wireshark to analyze your network and to identify plain text passwords flowing between workstation & subnet server or any other opensource software you wish which can do the same thing. 

Note - Speed is a function of squid performance, its caching efficiency and the overall link speed & load on network. So sometimes you will find it very fast and sometimes very normal just like you are going through official way ;-).

P.S. This is not targeted to any company and the above said configuration is an ordinary configuration used by service providers. This may not be applied in all cases. If you have any questions or facing difficulties in understanding the above pointers or just want to add some more things, please feel free to comment. 








July 23, 2010

Search Books Faster (in India)


Animesh Jain, an entrepreneur and avid programmer who has already running a cool photo shop itasveer.com has introduced a search engine which is aggregating result from various online book sellers.
Currently he is targeting four book stores viz. Flipkart, Infibeam, Pustak and IndiaPlaza. I like his idea because of following reasons -
1. Minimalist UI - just like how Google started out on. One logo, text field and Hit! button. so eye-pleasing.
2. Concurrent & Independent Search - even if one of the vendor is unable to provide result in the given time, it will gracefully hide the result.
3. Speed -  I tested out the speed for few books and result were satisfactory for current scale. It needs to be validated at higher scale.
4. Best Deal - It also show the best deal in the result to quickly find out the eye-candy.

As per my discussion with him, he is planning to roll out some UI changes this weekend. And also his next target is to include other vendors increasing more options for consumer. I hope this is the unique application available in this category especially when we see Indian market.

Update: 13/11/2010 - UI has been changed. Read Here.

July 14, 2010

sine wave of recession



From the above graph it is very much clear that all companies follow the same pattern if analyzed for longer durations (here I have taken 5 yrs in account). If you see during late 2007 the recession was first observed when it started hitting grounds and then in 2008  Q4, everything was looking unstable during that time however Accenture and IBM were able to handle the dip and remained sound at less margins.
This was the time when I started my career. I saw some tricky game plays by HR when they changed their policies to withstand market condition. Since then there is a growth trend which indicates better job opportunities, more projects and no waste of time simply.

Overall perspective to last 5y market of these companies suggest that the amplitude of Indian MNCs are higher during the sine wave of recession while the global MNC were able to keep it low.

P.S. - This is my personal perspective to market trend and it doesn't show any relationship with any company discussed here.

June 25, 2010

I love Java - it's forever

This is an absolutely amazing video for those who loves Java and also for those who doesn't.

June 13, 2010

Docky - Ubuntu Desktop Tweak

Whenever I see Mac desktop I praise the application dock area at the bottom. It looks so appealing in 3-D theme and so easy which removes clutter from the bottom panel which is generally used to park currently opened applications.  Yesterday I found similar application for Ubuntu which is absolutely similar to that of Mac.


It is designed with pluggable architecture. so all applications give control in dock itself. Like here in the screenshot, Rhythm Box is displaying the song title, time remaining etc. This is very handy and pleasing.   So here it goes with a click, and tweak your Desktop.

Was just finishing it off but a tremor in Chennai paused me for few minutes. There is a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Nicobar Island at 1:00 am 13th June 2010 IST.

Update  - Docky doesn't work when compositing is off
This problem may occur when your aesthetic effects are off. To get docky work perfectly, please enable the visual effects to Extra. You can find this option in System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects (tab).


Download link - Launchpad

March 14, 2010

Building your own Proxy Server

There are sometimes when we don't have access to certain sites especially from Office or school networks. And then we start up searching for proxy sites and anonymous tunnels. These sites potentially create risk of phishing and catching adwares, malwares etc. Also sometimes with content sense firewalls even proxy services are sensed and blocked.

To address this, there is a work around of creating our own proxy service. Proxy is basically used to hide our IP and to surf the web anonymously and safely. It also accelerate responses by caching mechanism. There are two simple ways to create proxy server -

  1. If you have a spare computer, you can put it in middle of your network and main node. Install squid (open source web caching/proxy server) on the spare machine with transparent setup. A good article for doing this can be found here
  2. If you don't have extra infrastructure to put on, you can still install server on the cloud, you can use Google's App platform to install "mirror".  Mirror is coded in Python and basically is a web caching server. Here is a 5 minute how-to post by @labnol. Using which I have deployed http://anjul-sahu.appspot.com and i-am-free.appspot.com
Try yourself and be safe. 

February 09, 2010

TGICP

TGICP, sounds like some technical jargon but it is not really. It stands for The Great Indian Comic Project. This is a blog for those who loves Cricket and Comics. Sounds great for Indian friends! Have a look, they are evolving and will give you some hilarious tinkles. Catch them on twitter @tgicp.