Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trouble due to Twitting!!

We've all had that moment -- you're in an emotional state, and if you could shout from a rooftop, you probably would. The problem with social media such as Twitter is that it gives you the outlet to speak before you think, especially when you have your cell phone handy.

A few weeks ago, James Andrews was on his way to facilitate a workshop on social media at a large client's headquarters; he posted on Twitter: True confession but I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say "I would die if I had to live here!" Fairly innocuous, I would have thought, however it drew the attention of one of the client's employees, who decided to write a lengthy email response and copy their management in on the reaction.

It was quickly picked up on blogs where the situation escalated out of control. It seems FedEx (the client) and most of Memphis were offended, and the attention it gained spiralled towards madness.

James responded shortly after, explaining how it came out differently to what he intended, however the perceived damage was done. The moral we can all learn here is to be acutely aware of how your status messages or tweets may sound, especially when traveling to a client's office. However, if you'd like to ramp up your followers you may want to consider such a stunt -- this graph shows that James had a surge of followers after that infamous tweet.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Six ways IT consultants can build their reputation

You may be one of the best IT consultants in town, but if no one knows about you, it’s impossible to ever be successful. So how exactly do you build a reputation?

The obvious (and most simplistic) answer is to do good work. You should also: be honest and responsible; solve actual problems instead of imagined ones; look out for your client’s best interests; and complete each job. Every time you follow these basic tenets of being a good IT consultant, your reputation improves.

As the Billie Holiday song “God Bless The Child” goes, them that’s got shall get — but what if you’re one of them that’s not? Here are six strategies that can give your IT consulting career a leg up.
#1: Word of mouth

Most of my clients learned about me by word of mouth; this is the oldest and, in my opinion, the most effective channel. Think about all the people who know about your abilities: former employers, former coworkers, classmates from college, and current and former clients. Ask some of them if they’ll give you a recommendation, or if they know anyone who is looking for an IT consultant. (Do not cold call or spam people you don’t know, or send uninvited copies of your resume without a recommendation from someone the client already knows. It’s a waste of time.)
#2: Specialize

A number of readers of the TechRepublic IT Consultant blog consider themselves “jacks-of-all-trades,” but the continuation of that saying holds a lot of truth: “master of none.” You may cultivate a reputation for being the go-to guy or gal to fix any problem that comes up, but you can only take that role so far. To really drive up your demand, become an expert in one specific area. You should select a topic/field that you’re passionate about because you need to immerse yourself in it day and night. Ideally, you want to know practically everything you can about the topic and be able to contribute your innovations, while maintaining a good general knowledge of all related fields.
#3: Web site

You must have an Internet presence — you’re in IT for crying out loud. When potential clients search online to find authoritative help, you want them to be able to find you. Web sites that are updated frequently (such as blogs) tend to get a better search engine ranking. Blogs are great for another reason: You can establish a level of authority on a specific topic by researching and frequently writing about it. If people who are considered authorities in your field start linking to you, this enhances your authority.
#4: Conversation

Read blogs and forums that discuss your specialty (and related topics) and comment frequently. Link to them from your blog, and make sure you pingback or trackback so that your thoughts get included in the conversation. The more you think about and discuss your specialty with others in the field, you’ll build a better reputation — and rightly so, because you will have learned a lot in the process.
#5: Free samples

If you really want to convince people of your worth, post examples of your work on your Web site. This doesn’t apply very well to networking or security consultants, but it really works for software. If people learn something from your site, and they use it, like it, and marvel at the simple elegance of its design, they’ll probably want to hire you for related projects in the future.
#6: Insider

The ultimate level of reputation you can achieve is to be the person who helped create the technology the client wants to use. While this may disqualify some potential clients because they can’t afford your price, it’s a nice problem to have. Believe me, there will be plenty of other clients who can’t get enough of you. Insider status used to be extremely difficult to achieve in packaged software — it still is for proprietary software, where you basically have to be an employee or a long-term contractor to gain that experience. If you get involved in an open-source project, you can easily become an insider on one of the products that drive development these days. Pick your product well, though, because you’ll be spending a lot of time working with it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Googlers' bonus is a mobile phone?!

Well, I was little busy with real world issues and cannot blog for some time now, to add insult to the injury, My hosting company made a terrible mistake and misplaced my domain renewal agreement and as a result the site was offline for more than 5 days!!

I am some pro!

Ok back to the matter at hand, I was mindlessly going thru the cnet RSS feed(or was it atom??) and came across this piece An end to the Google bonus fairytale?

Gosh, I've known friends in google India make more than $5000 in annual bonus, now people working in BAy area to get a mobile phone for Bonus...


That will be some day, huh...This surely is an economic meltdown...

The article follows.

For Googlers eagerly awaiting their famous holiday bonuses, be warned: Santa is tightening his belt too.

Google employees, some of whom have reportedly grown used to fairytale-like cash bonuses on the north side of $20,000, apparently got coal in their stockings this year. Certainly that's the takeaway for gossip blog Valleywag, which in a headline likened this year's bonus to "dogfood"--a euphemism for in-house testing--because Google would like some feedback.

So how bad was it? Well, Google gave its employees a smartphone. Yep, can you believe it? Man, if I had a nickel for all the years my bosses gave me a smartphone...

But I digress. Back to Google's gift. Apparently, Valleywag took issue with Google giving its employees an Android--its own phone! Well, actually, the memo that Valleywag reprinted referred to it as a "Dream phone." It's basically the T-Mobile G1 that retails for $179.99, but it's been customized to "work anywhere in the world" on the carrier of their choice. (Google estimates its value at $400.)

The nerve!

Here, in the real world, while many in the tech industry have received pink slips, Google employees are receiving a gift--oh, yeah, it is a gift--that many people would love to find under their trees. What a bummer, man. As far as the dogfooding goes, I am guessing that this company that has a reputation for being astoundingly generous when economic realities were more positive isn't going to can employees for not sending back the questionnaire.

Now, back to the topic of Santa...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai under attack, 104 killed, 600+ injured

For this one time I wish to post this (my heart's content) here as opposed to my personal blog.....


Yesterday night, during a regular news at 10 session a small scroll began as it sad "Bomb blasts in Mumbai CST" , dismissing it to be a low intensity blast, I was surfing channels and was shocked beyond words to see live images of gore and horror, as chaos reigned and both Oberai and Taj Mahal hotel is telecasted with commotion of gun-fires and grenade hurlings I've never expected to see in real life. (rather than when Arnold was part of it in some hi-budget Hollywood Flick)

Now, The details are clear(to a degree)

* - Terrorists Striked in 4 different places in a coordinated attack this country has ever witnessed.

* - The beating breast of Mumbai is the financal district surrounding Oberai hotels, nearly 40 hostages are there with scores of them being British and American citizens.

* - The intensity & audacity of the attack is so giant that we should really tell the establishment was caught in unawares...

* - There were two boats ladden with explosives near the Gateway of India and was seized and deactivated in time.

* - Seems only seems that the terrorists have abducted some western nationals along with Indian Citizens..

The Saddest part of the story is , India Today lost 3 of her Heroes in the action and they were caught unprepared and Under-equipped , The famed Head of The Anti Terrorism Squad Hemant Karkarae and ACP of Mumbai were killed when their command vehicle was entering the Hotel..

They died as they lived with a carbine in hand and a bullet in chest...and once this carnage is over, theres' going to be a hell lot of an investigation to conduct.

Right now, Entire Indian Security establishment has been mooted, INclding The NSG, ATS, Army commandos and the CRPF ....

More chaos and more confusion ...My hope and Yes PRAYERS are with those holed up in those places and the more so with e brave soles who endures the wrath and trying thier bet to end this nightmare...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wanted: Old-school IT guy to save NASA moonbase

I know i get a more than cursory look from technocrats from around the world, but see if this is useful/infomative for you...

For those who hadn’t heard, NASA is gearing up to build a permanent moonbase in the next decade or so — if it can find the right legacy hard drive expert to save their bacon. Seriously.

Here’s how it breaks down: NASA learned the hard way during Apollo that moon dust is insanely abrasive, sort of like aerosol sandpaper. Learning how to deal with moon dust is going to be a serious issue for moonbase planners. Fortunately, NASA accrued all kinds of moon dust data during the 1970s.

Unfortunately, NASA “misplaced” all its moon dust data tapes, mostly because it never thought they’d come in handy. Since NASA lost the originals — and thus never translated the moon dust data to modern media — and all it has left are backups of the original data tapes, which can only be read by a vintage IBM 729 mark 5 tape drive. For those scoring at home, IBM stopped making the 729 in the 1960s. Thankfully, an Australian computer museum had one on mothballs, but it isn’t functional.

Thus, if any of you old-school tech heads has the kung fu to get a 40 years out-of-date tape drive running, NASA has a job for you. It’s sort of like the plot of Space Cowboys, only nerdier. And they say old IT guys have nothing to contribute.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

YouTube's 75 Percent Solution- Closing Down Illegal Videos

"Two years ago, illegal use of professionally created video was rampant on the Web, particularly on video sharing sites such as YouTube. Among those most visibly undercut were NBC Universal and Viacom, which filed a $1 billion suit against YouTube parent Google to stop illicit publishing of their content."

Now, a year after YouTube introduced its Video Identification tool to stem misuse, there seems to be a considerable decrease in the illicit videos online.

For more details, head to TechRepublic and see & hear Rick Cotton, the general counsel for NBC, on how automated systems for identifying and protecting professionally produced content are working, particularly at YouTube.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Paypal Powered by a mere 4000 Linux Servers!

This is yet another Linux success story. PayPal says Linux grid can replace IBM mainframes:

PayPal is currently processing $1,571 worth of transactions per second ( that is $2,262,240 per day) in 17 different currencies on about 4,000 servers running Red Hat Linux. Thompson supervises a payment system that operates on about 4,000 servers running Red Hat Linux in the same manner that eBay and Google conduct their business on top of a grid of Linux servers. "I have been pleasantly surprised at how much we've been able to do with this approach. It operates like a mainframe," he said.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

client Interaction and project post-moterm!

Ask Your Customers the Hard Questions


Here's a question for you. When your last project finished, what was the final communication the client received from you? Was it a bottle of wine and card, a "Thanks for the work, call me if you need anything," or just an invoice in the mail?
It seems to be very common for us designers, developers, freelancers, and businesses to be keen to talk at the start of a project, but shy to speak at the end.
What we really need to do at the completion stage of projects is to thank the client for their business, and then ask them some hard questions.
Why do I say hard? Well, maybe it's the human condition, but we as service providers don't like to imagine that clients are ever anything but absolutely impressed with our work -- but I have to tell you, the truth is that they often aren't.
Think back to the last time you were out for a meal. When you paid, the waitperson probably asked you about your experience. In answer to "How was everything?", you probably mumbled something like, "It was good, thanks" -- even if you didn't feel that way.
Why? Few of us like confrontation. We don't like to give neutral or negative feedback (unless it's within the relative anonymity of an online auction web site!) and we don't like receiving it, either.
However, feedback is very important to us, as individuals and as businesses, in order to grow and improve -- even if that does mean we open our ears to possibly negative feedback as well.
The next time a project wraps up, consider emailing your client a link to an online survey. I have found people are far more willing to be honest completing a form instead of speaking directly to you.
Ask them what they liked most about the project -- and then ask them what they liked least. You really do want to know. It could be something really simple that you or your firm is doing over and over, with every project, assuming clients like it when in fact they don't. This habit or process could be holding you back from success!
In my business, we've been seeking feedback in this way for a few years now. We get some great feedback, both positive and negative, which helps us tune our processes and our services to better suit the next customer. We've had some really crazy input, too -- for example, our coffees were too strong, or we were so good that the client was going to miss our weekly meetings!
There are countless survey software systems available (see below for a handful of them), many of which have a free plan. Alternatively, it's a trivial matter to whip up your own web-to-email form. The trick is to avoid asking questions that are too leading: "Did you find our design team very enthusiastic?", or that allow for only yes or no answers -- keep questions open. Keep the form brief, too -- if it goes on for pages and pages, clients will be hesitant to complete it.
The next important step is to act on the feedback. It may warrant a call or meeting with the customer for further details, or speaking to team members (or yourself) if there was something amiss. And remember to give praise where it's due -- we all enjoy a pat on the back from time to time!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A comparative analysis of Linux web-development tools.



Disclaimer : I use Dreamweaver, Contribute and Prettymuch everything in Macromedia and later Adobe Studio. Primarily because I tend to develop mostly in Windows Platform and very rarely in Linux platform. The UI anyway. So the following opinion may be a little off …
Freedom of  Choice is a good thing, and Linux users have plenty of it when selecting a program for Web development. Users can choose from the basic text editors, like Vim and Emacs to full-featured "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) programs. Here's an analysis of the best programs I've used or had tried.
While editors such as Vim and Emacs offer features that let you use them to create Web content, you can also turn to several applications that are designed specifically for Web development. Among my favorites are Bluefish, Screem, Quanta, and Nvu.
Bluefish
Bluefish, the "Web development studio," is a full-featured editor for working with HTML and other programming languages for Web development. It supports PHP, Perl, Python, C, SQL, and a number of other languages including Ruby.
Bluefish sports a tabbed interface with several toolbars for CSS, HTML formatting, tables, frames, forms, and a Quick Bar" that allows users to add their most frequently used buttons to a single toolbar. For instance, if you happen to spend a lot of time working with lists, you can add the "Quick List" button to the Quick Bar. I like this feature, though I'm not keen on the fact that Bluefish nags you until you add a button to the Quick Bar.
The editor also has a Custom Menu, which allows you to create your own dialogs and text snippets that can be inserted into your projects. This is an easy feature to use -- certainly easier for most users than defining their own macros for Vim or modes for Emacs. For user migrating from Dreamweaver or Coffeecup, Hotdog, HTMLkit will find this feature useful.
Bluefish also comes with a reference tab, displayed on the left side of the editor, which includes references for HTML tags, CSS2, Python, and PHP. Using this tool, you can look up various tags or language functions and insert them into your active document. If the tag requires attributes, Bluefish will pop up a dialog with the possible attributes so you can fill them in.
One feature I particularly like in Bluefish is the ability to generate a page of thumbnails from a directory of pictures. (Again this is similar to the Photo Album feature in Dreamweaver, but it requires you to have Fireworks installed too to generate the page!)  I used that a few weeks ago to create pages of pictures from my last vacation. Instead of having to resize a bunch of images, and then create a Web page for all of the links, all I had to do was point Bluefish at the directory where I'd downloaded all my images off my camera. It took a minute or two to generate all of the thumbnails, but far less time than it would have taken if I'd had to use the GIMP to do it manually.
To view your work, Bluefish supports opening documents in an external browser, but lacks any kind of preview or WYSIWYG interface on its own.
Screem
The Site Creation and Editing Environment (Screem) is another Web development editor with quite a few handy features. Like Bluefish, it's a text-editing application with a lot of tools to help speed up the task of editing XML,XHTML, CSS, and other Web development languages.
Screem isn't a WYSIWYG editor, but it does have a built-in preview mode that gives you an idea of what a document will look like in a browser. It's not perfect, but it's useful for getting a rough idea of what a document will look like without having to open it in an external browser. Screem also supports opening documents from the editor in an external browser. It offers an odd "link view" that shows the status of links in a document -- whether the links are to local documents, external documents, if they're broken, and so on.
Screem has built-in support for checking documents into and out of CVS. Screem also has support for site publishing using FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and a few other protocols. It also has support for "sites" -- basically a project comprised of a collection of files that would make up a Web site. A point worth sharing here is that,  a few years back one of our clients just had deployed a site in WebDAV and deploying a MS windows based client seemed beyond the scope of the organization and they ultimately choose some thin clients and Screem !!! and it works great.
Screem has several "wizards" for creating tables, forms, embedding objects, and working with CSS. You can define your own macros in Screem, though it's not entirely clear how to set up an "action."
One interesting feature in Screem is the Website Todo List. It's a pretty basic project management list, but it's an interesting idea. If I'm working on a Web site project with a couple of other people, I'd definitely want to be able to use project management, and it's much more convenient to do it within the same program that you're using to create the site than it would be to use an external project management program. (if you do remember FrontPage 97/2002 and its Tasks pane??  you’ll remember /understand what I mean .)
.
Quanta Plus
Quanta Plus is a Web development environment based on KDE. Note that Quanta Plus is not the same as Quanta Gold, which diverged from the GPLed codebase around the 2.0 version.
Because of its tight integration with KDE and KDE applications, Quanta should be at the top of the list for KDE users. That's not to say that one needs to be using KDE to use Quanta -- it works just fine under GNOME -- but it is very well integrated into KDE.
I am a very big fan of Quanta ++ and mostly limit myself to working production-grade work in Quanta alone and experiment in others, so I can say it is one sure Gun for (y)our  battle.
Like Screem and Bluefish, Quanta starts in a basic editor mode with a tabbed display. It provides a set of buttons for HTML tags that you'd use often, and wizards for creating forms, tables, and other items. I particularly like Quanta's Table Editor. It displays the rows and columns as you choose them, and allows you to edit cell content while still in the Table Editor.
Quanta has an interesting split editing mode, where you can see the code for the page as well as a semi-WYSIWYG representation. Quanta doesn't, for example, render images in the document in WYSIWYG mode -- so it's not exactly WYSIWYG.
If you're editing the WYSIWYG portion of the document, you'll see the changes in the HTML code as you go, which is pretty handy -- but the converse is not true. If you make changes in the code, they're not reflected immediately in the WYSIWYG pane. This is particularly confusing if you go from HTML source to WYSIWYG. Instead of scrolling to the portion of the document that was changed in the code, Quanta bounces you back to the last place the cursor was at in the WYSIWYG area.
The Document Structure view is also interesting. On the left side of the Quanta interface there's a Document Structure tab that expands to show the current document in a tree view, organized by tag. For example, the top level might be the tag, then the reference tags, image tags, and so forth below it.
The software offers several default templates that include the basic structure of an HTML document, PHP script, and other document types supported by Quanta. If you'd like to develop documents that can be converted to HTML and other formats, such as PDF, Quanta also supports DocBook.
Quanta also sports a useful word-completion feature. Other editors support this as well, but Quanta does so in an elegant manner, by giving users a handy drop-down list of possible words. It took me a few minutes to get used to this feature, but once I did Quanta was completing about 15  to 20 percent of the words that I typed. This feature is a big bonus for users who don't type quickly. Quanta also does entity completion and tag completion, so when you start a new HTML tag it will supply the closing tag as well. If you've started a tag that wasn't auto-completed, you need to type only
Quanta also supports projects, so you can keep a related set of files and directories together. This is particularly handy if you're working on a development project with a lot of files. Quanta also works with remote files over FTP, SSH, SMB, NFS, WebDAV, and other protocols, so there's no need to store files locally.
Quanta is an extremely powerful development environment, and well worth a look for both new and power users.
Nvu
Nvu owes its heritage, codewise, to Mozilla Composer, with development help from the Linspire folks. According to an old version of  Nvu site, it's meant to be a rival for Microsoft's FrontPage and Macromedia's Dreamweaver.
Nvu tabbed interface is clean and easy to navigate, and allows you to have multiple documents open at the same time. At the bottom, Nvu has tabs for switching from WYSIWYG mode to editing source code to a tag view that shows you where each tag is in the document.
Nvu has a pretty good spell-checker, and well-designed wizards for creating tables, forms, and stylesheets. Nvu's image wizard prompts you to insert alt text if you try to insert a picture without it.
Nvu supports layers, which is a nifty feature if you want to place text on top of an image or otherwise tweak the CSS layer properties without having to learn a lot about CSS. It's dead easy to insert an image, then create text to place on top of the image. That's more difficult to do if you're writing the code by hand. Nvu's language support is more limited than the other programs'. Nvu supports HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript, but doesn't support Python, Perl, or other languages. The absence of Perl in the mix will be a pain in there.  For Nvu's target audience, which is users who don't do a lot of programming, that's probably not a big problem.
Nvu does support remote publishing, but it does so via FTP only. It may be ok for a college project but I'm not too keen on publishing via FTP, since it transmits everything unencrypted.
Of all the Web development programs in this list, Nvu is the only one that really does a lot "behind the scenes." With the other programs, you're not very far removed from the actual code, so whether it's standards-compliant is up to the user rather than the program. Nvu generates the code for you, so it's important to consider the code that it generates and whether it's up to snuff. Nvu has a validation tool that submits a page to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Markup Validation Service, and the code generated by Nvu doesn't always pass.
It is, however, fairly clean compared to HTML generated by other WYSIWYG tools.  Even better than the Macromedia Dreamweaver MX (6) If you've ever had to work with HTML generated by Microsoft Word or another word processor, you know how unpleasant that can be. Nvu's HTML is much more pleasant to work with. That's not to say it's perfect, and it is a bit odd in spots. For example, if you want italics in most browsers, most people use the tag. Nvu uses a tag with style="font-style: italic;" instead.
If you don't know HTML tags from mattress tags, this is the editor for you. Using Nvu requires very little experience working with HTML. The interface is similar to the average word processor, so users who have never touched a Web development tool before will probably still be able to get up and running with Nvu in a matter of minutes.
Summary
As with Linux distributions, there isn't a Web authoring program that's going to make all users happy. Hard-core techies will likely prefer the arcane, yet elegant, keybindings of Vim or Emacs. Those users will probably never find happiness working in a program like Nvu. At the same time, average users would rather avoid having to work with HTML tags directly, and would find Nvu to be the best choice for their needs. In the midst are the users of my reportage and may prefer Quanta/Bluefish. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

IRON :CHROMIUM without leaks - Fatherland's Answer to the CHROME's Privacy concerns..

well, Sorry guys it has almost become a fetish for me to follow and write about Chrome and If you had followed my blog or any technology post for that matter , a hailstorm is averted coz' of Google License and rights use.

And as you probably know by now, The Bundesrepublik Deutschland was really worried about the Data Collection policies of Chrome and went as far as issuing an advisory as to not use Chrome for critical usage.

So its natural to see a German GmBH taking the initiative to weed out the concerns.

Enter Iron: 
Developed by German software company SRWare is Chrome stripped of all the user ID information that gave the German government cause for concernAccording to them, Iron is essentially the Chromium source code, with the following modifications



  • No unique user-ID
  • No user-specific information is sent to Google
  • No alternative error messages
  • Crash information is not sent to Google
  • No Google updater
The above is as of the concerned website(s) I did not had a chance to verify the claims as I am a little busy with 2 deadlines for the Month. BUt, I've taken the time to download Iron and Install. And it seems nearly identical to Chrome with no superficial changes except for the Bootloader Screen. (splash)

Do drop me a line if you find Iron useful/resourcehog or simply if you've downloaded it, I'd love to hear.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Really astounding Photoshop Tutorials!

Go ahead and Check it You'll really like it.

CakePHP is Still my cup of Tea!

Though I posted about the release of the Django" with enthuasism , I would once again like to retriate my commitment to the fact that I am still a "Budding" developer and prefer CakePHP for my projects.

Basically, the truth be told I am not as much comfortable in Python as I am with PHP ...So It will be prudent for me to either suggest CakePHP or Drupal both of which I simply love...
 

Features

    * No Configuration - Set-up the database and let the magic begin
    * Extremely Simple - Just look at the name…It’s Cake
    * Active, Friendly Community - Join us #cakephp on IRC. We’d love to help you get started.
    * Flexible License - Distributed under the MIT License
    * Clean IP - Every line of code was written by the CakePHP development team
    * Best Practices - covering security, authentication, and session handling, among the many other features.
    * OO - Whether you are a seasoned object-oriented programmer or a beginner, you’ll feel comfortable

Django 1.0 released!

In the Hamdrum of Google Chrome and the ensuing posts,  I missed the Important thing to report for you guys.

Yup! Djanji 1.0 is Released and is Avaliable for Download Here. NO , I  am not talking about the RC 1.0 its out Finally .

Oh and Please make sure to read the Release documentation  to avoid RTFM in the Forum.

For Starters, Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. 

Recomended Links :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_(web_framework)
http://www.djangoproject.com/

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Using Topstyle for more than CSS prototyping

Although not a Macromedia/Adobe application, TopStyle is used by many web designers and developers as their first choice for working with style sheets. In truth, the later versions of Dreamweaver, and in particular Dreamweaver 8 do a great job of supplying you with most of the things that you would need for working with style sheets. TopStyle, however, is a specialist CSS editor that has many capabilities for managing your style sheets that aren't present in Dreamweaver. It is these abilities that we will be looking at in this tutorial. It should be noted that TopStyle is a Windows only application.

Integrating TopStyle with Dreamweaver

TopStyle integrates nicely with Dreamweaver, in fact, it is more or less seamless, which makes its use all the more appealing. You can set TopStyle as your default CSS editor from within Dreamweaver's preferences. The preferences can be selected by utilising the Ctrl+U keyboard shortcut. If you would like to try TopStyle, you can purchase it from bradsoft.com or you can download the free lite version. Many aspects of this tutorial will not be available to you if you are using the lite version.


Image 1: The Dreamweaver preferences window

When the Preferences window opens select the File Types/Editors option from the Category column and then the .css extension from the Extensions window. To add TopStyle to the Editors window you must first click the + button and navigate to your TopStyle installation, which you will find in the Bradbury folder within the Program Files folder of your windows installation. Double click the TopStyle icon and it will be inserted into the Editors window. From here you can select it and then click the Make Primary button. TopStyle is now referenced as the primary CSS editor in your Dreamweaver


Defining a Site in TopStyle

TopStyle allows you to define sites in much the same way you would do when creating a new site in Dreamweaver. We will start this tutorial here. We'll examine how we can set up a site and look at how we can manage our style sheets from within TopStyle. TopStyle allows you to manipulate its appearance, so your view of the GUI may differ from mine. Click the File menu and select New Site







In most cases you will only need to add a name for your site. I generally use the domain name without the extension and the root folder from which you have defined your site in Dreamweaver. You can see my root folder resides in wwwroot of CFusionMX7. Yours may be defined within IIS or Apache etc; or at any other location if you are not implementing server side technologies in your web site.

You will notice next to the Root Alias... button is an Exclusions button. TopStyle has an ability to exclude all folders beginning with an underscore. This excludes Dreamweaver generic folders such as _notes and _mmserverscripts from being included in the site definition.





In Image 4 you can see that I have a folder where I am working on a new site. This work is progressing in the _newsite folder. For now I have this work excluded from the TopStyle site definition. To do this I have placed an underscore in front of the folder name and clicked the "Exclude All Folders Starting with an Underscore" button. You can see that these folders now have an X against them showing that they will be excluded. Once you have your information in the fields you can click the OK button to return to the New Site dialogue box., click the OK button on this dialogue box to generate your new site definition.



 have added an extra page to this site definition that isn't linked to the main style sheet. Within this file I have used an embedded style sheet within the document's head. You can see this file has been picked up by TopStyle and is shown under the HTML documents.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reply From Jennifer Kyrnin for my Mail

As you might know I've posted an entire article in my blog regarding promoting a blog and Jennifer had responded in kind or that. following which I removed the post and made a clarification cum apoloby entry in this journal. As well as wrote her a mail explaning the matter and the following the communication.
______________________________________________________________________


Thanks. Posting a link is a completely appropriate and nice thing to do when someone writes something you like. In fact, doing that may get them to return the favor. But when you copy the work that they've done, you are potentially taking their livelihood. Which isn't nice at all. :-)

Thanks for removing the content.

Jennifer Kyrnin
Guide to Web Design / HTML
http://webdesign.about.com/
Become an About.com Guide:  
About.com is part of the New York Times Company
- Hide quoted text -




Ramkumar Sundarakalatharan wrote:
Dear Ms. Jennifer Kyrinin,

Kindly accept my apologies for posting your article in my blog (http://blog.nocturnalknight.in).

Actually I am a longtime subscriber of your newsletter and actually learned XHTML/CSS from your site and I quite view you as a Demigod/Titian. And Since I am new o Blogging this web-related issue and combined with the enthusiasm I've posted your article blatantly, instead I could've shown/linked the article in the place.

Kindly understand that I posted so somebody might benefit outta it, but then I am deeply sorry for Violating you IPR will surely never again post such articles, and if the feeling shud come, I'll restrain myself to posting the Link.

--

Thanks & Regards,
Ramkumar.S

What a shame, I was plagiarizing! But wait...Sorry Jennifer.

Well , Thanks for visiting this blog and I hope the title of this post is what caught your attention.

Yup, I was plagiarizing some really wonderful content from About Web-design portal. And especially the content from Jennifer. What a sin? Yes I know what Plagiarizing is and damn have been affected by it for some time now. Wait, but how did i end up "Eatin" Jennifer's Content??

Back in time, I was an up and coming designer (in my native place) and struggled hard to make both ends meet and was seriously thinking of freelancing as an option. And I should admit, though i had a enthuasism i lacked some very rimetry skills in web-design. All I've done is my college's website and 5-6 Geocities sites for exporters from India who happen o frequent the same cyber cafe as was I.

And by that time the Dotcom hadn't burst into fumes and so everybody seemed to have been wanting a site and every one who can write HTML seemed to be freelancing . Hell, some even made fortunes with a little CGI thrown in. But I was a little slack in perl and there was no PHP back then. I inched past the dotcom bust and somehow survived with some Loyal clients who seem to be satisfied with my meager skills or may be thay were unwilling to learn that...so I survived...

And then around 2004 I was introduced o the wonderful world of Cascading Style Sheet and it was love at first sight, but as they say a good lover is seldom a good spouce , and so I went in search of resources  to learn the dark art of Browser-neutral / Standards Compliance designs. And Thus found the Angelic guidance of Jennifer Krin and Miles Burke in learning and utilizing them respectively.

Over the course of the past 3 years , I am among the thousands of enthuasistic web-designers who look at thier Inbox expetantly for Both Jennifer's About web-design Guide and Miles's Site point Tribune newsletters. 

In the past week , I decided I will blog so that I can learn some more and perhaps if possible share some of my ideas/skills with fellow ppil. But in the enthuasism, I got a little carried waway and just aham, ahem CTRL+C and CTRL+V ed some wonderful newsletter from Kyrinin, now thats called impulsive spontanous thinking, coz' i've opened so many newsletters from Jennifer and had never felt the urge to appreciate it, but prhaps since I've got a blog myself now, I mighthave thought it  as a sort of honouring her by posting her newsletter/article in my blog.

And what happens, I get a reprimindation from Jennifer herself for overstepping my affinity with her works...
Well whats the 1st lesson for me in this blog???
Seek prior permission if quoting prior arts in your posts..

Thanks Jennifer for the Timely intervention and you just may be have saved me from going down the way a million bloggers go...plagiarizing..

And this blog is both an apology and tribute rolled into one...
Thanks for everything...

Monday, September 15, 2008

BUsiness & Office software: Is Microsoft for grown-ups and Google for kids?

While Google continues to grow in prestige and profit, there are signs that its halo is slipping. As a software and services provider to the enterprise, quality control and staffing issues are big problems for Google, and it’s driving some developers and businesses to Microsoft.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Google has been on a tear for the past decade. It has risen from a scrappy little Internet search engine built on a cluster of cheap Linux machines to one of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies and, arguably, the most well-regarded brand on the planet.

During this same decade, Microsoft has seen its star fall nearly as far as Google’s has risen. Although never a wildly popular brand, by the late 1990’s Microsoft was to computing as Kleenex was to tissue — at least for the masses.

However, its anti-trust defeats in the U.S. and Europe have painted Microsoft as an ugly, petty bully, and its own product development and public relations failures with its flagship Windows Vista product has become one of the most infamous blunders in the annals of American commerce.

The two companies are now, of course, arch-rivals and are competing fiercely in Internet search, advertising, and software. Google is winning big in search, while Microsoft still holds a huge lead in software. But, these two spheres are colliding as the Internet evolves into a front-end software platform that will eventually relegate the operating system to back-end plumbing.

This process will transform the traditional business model for software and will expand the Internet into a more targetable and lucrative advertising platform. That’s why Google wants into the software business and that’s why Microsoft is trying to turn itself into an Internet company.

We’re now at an early crossroads in Internet applications, and honestly both Google and Microsoft are floundering and getting soundly outpaced by startups like Zoho and Force.com. Google Apps are simplistic, lack sophistication and standardization, and do not have as good of an online/offline sync as Zoho, for example. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s “software + services” strategy is barely recognizable since the “plus services” part has so far been half-hearted because Microsoft fears cannibalizing its cash-cow business, Microsoft Office.

Nevertheless, the situation is most acute for Google. The Web is its home territory and there are two disturbing trends that it must overcome if it wants to take its success in Web search and expand it into Web applications:

  1. Inability to move software out of Beta mode
  2. Challenges in hiring and retaining the best software developers

Let’s take a closer look at both of these issues.

Google is increasingly developing a poor reputation — especially among IT professionals — for perpetually leaving its programs in “Beta” mode. This is viewed as a cop-out that’s used to lower expectations and deflect criticism. After all, when there’s a problem with the software it’s too easy to simply respond, “What do you expect, it’s still in Beta.”

Even worse, the perpetual Beta issue is evidence that Google has problems with its processes, discipline, and organization. Google has prided itself on its decentralized structure that fosters creativity and innovation — and it’s clear that it has led to many successful new products and developments. However, that approach of slightly-organized chaos is also one of the reasons that Google seems incapable of taking a major software product the last mile to deliver a production version that it is willing to stand behind and guarantee its quality.

And, that issue of quality control also leads us to Google’s other major challenge — staffing. This may sound puzzling at first, since Google has been famously lauded as one of the world’s best companies to work for because of its employee-friendly approach that includes fringe benefits like free meals, free transportation, and the ability to bring your pet to work. And, it’s also true that while Microsoft was the most desired destination for many techies in the 1990’s, it has been Google that they have flocked to in the largest numbers since the turn of the 21st century.

Nevertheless, in 2008 new anecdotal evidence has emerged that some software developers are leaving Google because they want to create better products and are frustrated with Google’s lack of organization and lack of dedication to quality control. Meanwhile, some software engineers are even (gasp!) choosing Microsoft over Google when they get offers from both.

Google’s benefits — free meals, free transportation, and even laundry services — have always had a major appeal for students straight out of college. And, Google has hired tons of these students at entry-level wages over the past decade. The problem is that once the highly-motivated workers in this group mature and get past the outstanding benefits at Google, they ultimately want to create great products and get rewarded and recognized for their efforts in building lasting programs that are valuable to users. It’s become clear that some of them are not finding that at Google.

I’m not giving Microsoft a free pass here. When it comes to software quality, Microsoft does not have a stellar reputation. In fact, one of the major “innovations” that Bill Gates pioneered was the idea of releasing software that was good enough, even if it wasn’t perfect. Google’s perpetual Beta approach is, in some ways, just a variation of that theme.

But, Microsoft also has a well-developed, highly-organized internal structure that is almost the antithesis of Google. Microsoft knows how to run a product cycle to move software out of Beta, bring it to market, and stand behind the end product, and the company will likely apply this process to Web applications once they fully commit to it.

While lots of things will change with the move to Internet applications, the perpetual Beta will never replace the traditional got-to-market cycle of software, and pretending that it will is unsatisfying to both users and software developers.

Bottom line for IT leaders

Microsoft is a known entity for IT and the enterprise. The best IT leaders have learned how to manage the relationship with Microsoft, even when they gnash their teeth over the price of Microsoft software and the lack of alternatives. The advent of the Internet as a software platform is going to put price pressure on Microsoft and provide IT with more choices, and that will be a very welcome development in the coming years.

However, while Google has taken a huge lead in search and wants to make inroads into business applications, they will not be a major player in this category unless they can overcome their issues with perpetual Beta software and better organizing the talented developers that they recruit.

5 Blogs a Beginner Web-designer should/must read.


Boagworld
Boagworld was one of the first blogs I started to follow when getting into web design. Paul Boag and Marcu Lillington host this podcast for all of those people who are working with websites on a daily basis. Most of the blogging content is directly related to the audio podcast they also offer. I personally listen to the podcast and then read any articles that I feel need some more attention. Always a fun time listening to them baner.
A list Apart
While A List Apart doesn’t have as frequent a posting schedule as some other blogs all of the information provided is invaluable. From more theoretical discussions on the effectivness of zebra striping for tables technical topics on CSS Sprites2 there is always something to be gained from reading an article on A List Apart.
CSS-Tricks
Run by Chris Coyier, CSS-Tricks is an awesome resource for all those starting to tackle CSS. I know that CSS can feel overwhelming at times so the tools found here are very helpful for those starting to tackle it. CSS-Tricks contains not only a blog but also forums and screencasts. The forums are a great place to get help with code and the screencasts can even remind veterans of some of the simple shortcuts they forgot. For a great intoduction to WordPress check out the screencasts onDesigning for WordPress.
NETTUTS
Another one of the envato family of sites run by Sian and Collis Taed this site bring you great coding tutorials each day. Topics range all over the web language spectrum so while you may not be really interested in the new Ruby developments you can always take a look back through the content and find something to learn or relearn.
i love typography
To many web designers today ignore typography on the web. At the very least it is often an after thought. With some of the new browser developments waiting in the wings though the days of ignoring beautiful typograpy are coming to an end. I Love Typography is a blog entirely about fonts and beautiful typography. An absolute must for those designer who need to beef up their knowledge of typography in general. Without a good knowledge it is much harder to judge what is worth doing for the web.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Become a Chrome Guru: Part-2

Open the last session's tabs automatically. 
Also like Firefox, Chrome can automatically restore the tabs from your last browser session. In that same Options area as above, just select "Restore the pages that were open last."

Add the home button to your toolbar. 
Chrome's toolbar is pretty sparse by design, but once you've set your homepage(s), you might want to get to them in one click. In the Options dialog's Basics tab, you can also check off "Show Home button on the toolbar."

Set your default Downloads save location.
 Also in Options—but under the "Minor Tweaks" tab—you can set Chrome's default download location to something other than the "My Documents" folder.

Master Chrome's Startup Switches

Like all good open source software, Chrome comes with a long list of "startup switches"—that is, parameters you can use when you launch the program to customize its behavior. While most of the switches are only useful to developers, a handful let power users do some handy stuff.

Quick primer: To use a startup switch, create a new Chrome shortcut on your desktop (or elsewhere). Right-click it and choose Properties. In the Target field, add the switch in question immediately following the path to chrome.exe. For example, your target using a -disable-java switch might look like:
"C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" -disable-java

Here are some things you can do with Chrome's startup switches.

Tweak the number of suggestions the address bar offers. Increase or reduce the number of suggestions in the address bar drop-down using the -omnibox-popup-count switch. For example, to increase it to 10 suggestions, use -omnibox-popup-count=10. [via The How-To Geek]

Create and maintain multiple user profiles. Since Chrome learns so much from your usage patterns, you might want to create more than one user personality based on the task at hand. For example, you can set up a "work Chrome" and a "play Chrome" user profile (like you can with Firefox's user profiles). While Chrome doesn't offer a handy utility to create new profiles like Firefox does, all it takes is creating a new user directory, and then using Chrome's --user-data-dir startup switch to point it there. The Digital Inspiration blog runs down how to create and use multiple profiles in Chrome.

Speed up browsing by disabling functionality. When you want to surf Flash-free, Java-free, or even Javascript-free (even though that's not really the point of Chrome, but whatever), there's a list of -disable Chrome startup switches that can block plug-ins, content, or features you don't want,  like:




  • -disable-dev-tools
  • -disable-hang-monitor
  • -disable-images
  • -disable-java
  • -disable-javascript
  • -disable-logging
  • -disable-metrics
  • -disable-metrics-reporting
  • -disable-plugins
  • -disable-popup-blocking
  • -disable-prompt-on-repost
Themes






Dress up Google Chrome to your liking by downloading a Chrome theme and saving its default.dll file into the application's Themes directory. Update, 9/9/2008: Link to Chrome theme download source updated.

For Windows XP users, by default that folder is:
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application.2.149.29\Themes\

In Windows Vista it's:
C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\0.2.149.29\Themes\

(Note if Google Chrome updates, you may have to change the version number in this path.)

Get Extras: Bookmarklets, AutoHotkey Scripts, and More Chrome-Related Downloads

While Google Chrome doesn't support extensions (yet), several macros, bookmarklets, and other third-party extras can make working with Chrome easier. Here's a quick list.
Block ads in Google Chrome with Privoxy. Using free web proxy and ad-blocking software Privoxy, you can block distracting advertisements in Google Chrome.

Create Custom Chrome keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey. Our favorite Windows macro scripting language, AutoHotKey, can make browsing with Chrome via the keyboard even easier. Here's a full Chrome shortcut AHK file that adds nine keyboard shortcuts (including the much-needed "Paste and go" shortcut).

Preview a web site's RSS feeds, or print a page in one click with bookmarklets. Without toolbars or extensions, plain old bookmarklets come in very hand. Here's a bookmarklet that auto-detects and previews a web site's feed. Here's one that will print the current page. (You can also just hit the Ctrl+P keyboard shortcut).

Open pages from Firefox in Chrome. If you're browsing in both Firefox and Chrome and like to use Chrome for certain pages, the Open in Google Chrome Firefox extension does just that. With it installed, set certain links to open in Chrome, or select a link and choose "Open in Chrome" manually from the context menu.

Run Chrome from your thumb drive. When you're in IT lockdown or traveling from computer to computer (but want to keep your Chrome settings), you want the portable, standalone version of Chrome (free download).

Anonymize your Chrome surfing. Chrome Anonymizer scrambles your unique ID and makes it impossible for anyone to track what you're doing in Chrome.



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Become a Chrome Guru

Warning: Before you brand me as a Chrome fantic, and brand this blog as Chrome centeric, let me explain we all have fetishes, and mine is Goooooogle, besides this is really earth shattering, consider this 1% userbase in single day. then we got o cover/uncover this.

Now that you've been enjoying Google Chrome's headliner features and speed for almost a week now, it's time to dig into the less obvious functionality and options you don't already know about. Become a keyboard shortcut master, take a peek under the hood, and customize its behavior and skin with some of the best shortcuts, bookmarklets, themes, add-ons, and subtle functionality in Google Chrome.

For One I've always loved KB shortcuts ratherthan Mouse getures even in FF and I think it all started with Lotus123 and I've never looked back.

OK If you want some KB shortcuts here they are,
  • (Chrome only) Ctrl+B toggles the bookmarks bar on and off.
  • (Chrome only) Shift+Escape opens Google Chrome's Task Manager.
  • Ctrl+L to move your cursor to the address bar.
  • Ctrl+K moves your cursor to the address bar to enter a Google search.
  • Ctrl+T opens a new tab.(in all major Browsers)
  • Ctrl+N opens a new window.(in all major Browsers)
  • Ctrl+Shift+T opens the last closed tab. (in all major Browsers)
  • (Chrome only) Ctrl+Shift+N opens a new window in "Incognito Mode."
  • Ctrl+Tab cycles through open tabs; Ctrl+Shift+Tab reverse cycles through open tabs.(in all major Browsers)
  • Ctrl+J opens the Downloads tab.
  • Ctrl+W closes the current tab.
  • Ctrl+R refreshes the current page.
  • Ctrl+H opens the History tab.
  • Alt+Home loads your homepage.
  • Ctrl+1 through 9 switches to a particular open tab position.
  • Ctrl++, Ctrl+-, Ctrl+0 Enlarges, reduces, and restores default text sizes, respectively.

Get some eXtra Mileage,

We've all had some boring Welcome to Firefox/Opera startpage /Safari Startpage loading all these days (assuming if you haven't tweaked around) for advanced FF users know that FF can be used to open Multiple set of pages evertytime it starts, similarly chrome can too, 

Go to the Options(the Spanner icon) , to customize Chrome's behavior even more.

  • Set multiple tab as your home page. While Chrome's default thumbnail page of your most visited sites is pretty cool, you might want to just skip that step and set the browser to open certain tabs every time. Like Firefox, Chrome can set several tabs as your homepage. In the Options' dialog Basics area, under "Open the following pages," enter the URLs. 
  • Open the last session's tabs automatically. Also like Firefox, Chrome can automatically restore the tabs from your last browser session. In that same Options area as above, just select "Restore the pages that were open last."
  • Add the home button to your toolbar. Chrome's toolbar is pretty sparse by design, but once you've set your homepage(s), you might want to get to them in one click. In the Options dialog's Basics tab, you can also check off "Show Home button on the toolbar."
  • Set your default Downloads save location. Also in Options—but under the "Minor Tweaks" tab—you can set Chrome's default download location to something other than the "My Documents" folder.

Master Chrome's Startup Switches

Like all good open source software, Chrome comes with a long list of "startup switches"—that is, parameters you can use when you launch the program to customize its behavior. While most of the switches are only useful to developers, a handful let power users do some handy stuff.

Quick primer: To use a startup switch, create a new Chrome shortcut on your desktop (or elsewhere). Right-click it and choose Properties. In the Target field, add the switch in question immediately following the path to chrome.exe.

 For example, your target using a -disable-java switch might look like:

"C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" -disable-java

Here are some things you can do with Chrome's startup switches.

Tweak the number of suggestions the address bar offers. Increase or reduce the number of suggestions in the address bar drop-down using the -omnibox-popup-count switch. For example, to increase it to 10 suggestions, use -omnibox-popup-count=10. [via The How-To Geek]

Create and maintain multiple user profiles. Since Chrome learns so much from your usage patterns, you might want to create more than one user personality based on the task at hand. For example, you can set up a "work Chrome" and a "play Chrome" user profile (like you can with Firefox's user profiles). While Chrome doesn't offer a handy utility to create new profiles like Firefox does, all it takes is creating a new user directory, and then using Chrome's --user-data-dir startup switch to point it there. The Digital Inspiration blog runs down how to create and use multiple profiles in Chrome.

Speed up browsing by disabling functionality. When you want to surf Flash-free, Java-free, or even Javascript-free (even though that's not really the point of Chrome, but whatever), there's a list of -disable Chrome startup switches that can block plug-ins, content, or features you don't want, like:

  • -disable-dev-tools
  • -disable-hang-monitor
  • -disable-images
  • -disable-java
  • -disable-javascript
  • -disable-logging
  • -disable-metrics
  • -disable-metrics-reporting
  • -disable-plugins
  • -disable-popup-blocking
  • -disable-prompt-on-repost
Chrome even has a Stats option like Google web-accelerator hough it cannot be compared with Firefox's super functonality Abou:config, it has many about pages as well,

Try "about:stats"

Next:  Part2 of Chrome guru