Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sarcasm ;-)


Had to post this again since this rocks for some obvious reasons!!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fantastic Flora, from Masinagudi...

One More!!!


Check the flower's image here.

Special Photoframe Experiment!!!

Did some photoframing experiments just now, and ended up with this one! Pretty Cool Huh? Looks like a memento though ;-). Check the photo in the frame here.

Don't have a Mac? Here's how you can test your webpages on Safari!!!


I always kept wondering how my site would look on Apple's Safari Web Browser. I couldn't help since neither did i have a Mac system nor an OS X installation. recently i found a tool called SafariTest!!! which would help me in this regard.

Safari test is a great site for checking how your site looks in Safari. It gives a Screenshot Image of the whole page you want to test! Check it here.

Recently the author of this tool has also added a Free VNC service to the site through which you can experience Safari on a real Mac system through a VNC connection. For more details on this service, check the SafariTest blog here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Expressive Pictures of my Ferrari Helmet and Riding Gloves!!!

Here are some expressive pics of my helmet and gloves!!! ;-D



OMG!

Oops! slipped!

Dreaming!

Blushing!

Namasthe!

Namasthe!

*Namasthe : Kannada word for salutation.

Microsoft finally lets Frontpage RIP!

Microsoft has finally decided to kill its legendary WYSWYG Web page editor Frontpage which is a pain to use in general and a maintenance nightmare since it adds lot of unneeded junk to HTML output it produces. Read the article about Frontpage's death here.

As far as i am concerned, i haven't got my head around any of these WYSWYG editors are concerned. I still stick to the legacy of Writing my own HTML pages in a neat text editor, Frontpage was actually the driving force behind this decision when i first tried it out for some time!

Use ClustrMaps to track Visitor Statistics for your Website/Blog


ClustMaps is the best way to track and visualize the number of visitors to your site geographically! and it is ofcourse a *free* service and wouldn't burn a hole in your pocket!

I suggest you add it to your website/blog if possible. For websites, it is just a patter of copying and pasting a piece of code and as far as weblogs are concerned, Specific instructions for adding ClustrMaps to different flavors of blogs can be found here.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Create your own ClustrMaps Archive for Free!!!

And when i say it's free, you can believe me!

I don't have a ClustrMap+ account, so my ClustrMaps will not be archived by them, but i wanted a way to retain the daily visitor statistics for my blog! So i went ahead and figured out a cheap reliable way to archive my ClustrMaps!

The solution is to use another blog on Blogger a.k.a. BlogSpot to archive the maps for me... so created another blog called TechNiche ClustrMaps Archive! which only stores the daily ClustrMaps for my blog TechNiche( ;-) the blog on which you are currently reading this post).

Currently i am doing the archiving manually... but also trying to write a php script which can get maps from ClustrMaps and post it to the blog! This script can be either run whenever an update is needed, or put in a cron job to be executed periodically and post the images to the blog in a specified format!

Will post the script here once it is complete!

Started my singing career!!!


Today is the day which will cherish in my memories forever since i finally started my long awaited career as a *Singer*! I sang as the member of an orchestra troop in a marriage reception ceremony. Sang two songs... First one was my all time favorite, Guru*'s "Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas" from the movie "Blackmail" from the 70s, 1973 was the year when that movie was released. The second one was "Danger" from the Kannada movie "Raktha Kanneeru" released in 2003 which is a remake of a Tamil movie "Raktha Kanneer" which was released way back in 1950! :-o

Both songs were received well and i got accolades from the orchestra troop members for Pal Pal after singing which they started thinking that i was a professional and singing for some other troops also!, but later i cleared their doubt and amazed them by saying this was my first ever performance for an orchestra troop! Probably as i see, i would be getting more chances to sing for them from now on! ;-)

I dedicate this achievement to Guru*, since i took singing seriously only after listening to songs sung by him!

*Guru : The legendary Kishore Kumar a.k.a. Kishore Da who is and will be my favorite male singer forever!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

JAnimationShop homepage update and some hacking on Yahoo!'s Animation API!

Incorporated more major changes into the homepage of JAnimationShop, The page now looks somewhat nice with a decent color scheme. The main window can also be moved/dragged around on the page along with all sub-windows which can be moved/dragged around within the main window.

Successfully implemented some JavaScript functions in order to provide minimize/maximize functionality for all these windows! Added buttons which change appearance depending on the state of the window as well as mouseover/out!

This screenshot below shows the current looks of the page...

The minimize buttons which are highlighted in the image, change appearance when mouse comes over them, and chage to an entirely different image on minimizing the window which again changes appearance on mouseover/out! The restore buttons can be seen highlighted in the image below, also some minimized sub-windows can be seen...

Still continuing work to get this page to a Mission Complete state... afterall just a matter of time!

Stir Waves on your X Windows desktop!!!


One of my online buddies passed this link to me, this is really cool eye-candy stuff... This is a program called xdesktopwaves! The window movements and mouse cursor movements create water waves on the desktop!!!

Provides great rendering quality which is very smooth and at the same time is non-intensive on the CPU also!

Check it out here. The screenshots on that page are equally beautiful. The only requirements are that you should have an X Window System with XShape etension.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Progress on JAnimationShop Homepage...

Just now finished doing some changes to the JAnimationShop site... adapted a new sleek Look and Feel, a light-weight DnD script, and for now using Yahoo!'s animation API to minimize a window! maximize is yet to be done, skipping it for now since i am feeling sleepy! Worked a bit hard to make sure that Internet Explorer renders the page properly;-) and also set the drag handles for the windows... so that they can only be dragged by dragging their title bars... that's all the update for now... will post later...
Zzzzz...

More button and banner design....

Today i did some banners and buttons to promote the FOSS event i was talking about al these days in my posts. These can be put up by people willing to promote the event on their website/blogs. And also snapped a cool slogan on some of them "Share the Freedom"!

The slogan may not make much sense in a general perspective, but is very well suited for FOSS philosophy since in the world of software, Freedom means being free to share the ideas and source code inorder to foster better development.

At the moment working on refining the homepage of JAnimationShop... will post later...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Yahoo!'s AJAX APIs are probably Heavy-Weight!!!

As i mentioned in the previous post, i used the Yahoo! DnD libraries in the homepage for JAnimationShop, the total size of JavaScript files to be included was around 40KB! since there are lot of packaged dependencies! So i decided not to waste the money SourceForge is spending for hosting projects by adding a DnD script of this size. Switched to another simpler and straightforward script by Mike Hall, featured on BrainJar. The script is very functional and you can find a complete article on how the script works over here. This is probably one of the best DnD scripts available, sometime back me too had started working on one but stopped it since there were lot of scripts around which are reusable!

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

JAnimationShop gets a Brand new Homepage!

Finally uploaded a homepage for JAnimationShop on SourceForge.net. This task was pending since ages ;-), hmm,... actually pending for almost 2 years now!

Since i did web design after a very long time, i decided to make it a different type of content presentation, i decided to make the web interface to mimic the user interface of JAnimationShop itself!

The new Homepage can be found HERE. One can play around with the windows displayed(DIVs actually) on the page by dragging them around! For now, the interface has a MOTIF look and feel ;-) since that was the simplest to implemet in terms of color combinations, i am planning to add several other Look and Feel themes analogous to Java Swing!

This is just the initial version, i will add more enhancements in the coming days, i have also decided to start new work on JAnimationShop since the things i was grokking on, Architectural changes for the application and Refactoring of existing code, are almost done ;-)

Below i have put up a screenshots of how the page looks on FireFox and Internet Explorer, again IE messes up the display as usual!

Firefox Screenshot

Internet Explorer Screenshot

Through this i also got a chance to try out the brand new open source AJAX libraries released to public by Yahoo! I have used the Drag and Drop component in the Webpage. Other components released can be found here. All of these components are very easy to use and provide great functionality, but are very heavy-weight implementations!

Well, when you're trying to create things that are new, you have to be prepared to be on the edge of risk. - Michael Eisner

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Getting your Avatars from Yahoo! continued...

I was planning to post this yesterday almost at the same time, but caught up with discussions and some graphic design stuff for the FOSS event that i had mentioned in a couple of my previous posts, the event is already on the cards, the initial proposal is ready and it will probably happen somewhere in the third or last week of March 2006. I will definitely post the event details and the logos/posters etc. which i did for the event once the event dates are finalized.

Now coming back to the actual intent of this post. As i said earlier, i figured out a very easy way of getting my Yahoo! Avatar from Yahoo! servers, and putting them wherever i wanted! I will explain the process/technique below with the help of a couple of screenshots which would help the explanation.

The pre requisites to achieve this are :

  • You must have a Yahoo! Avatar ;-) ! (You can create one for yourself here if you don't already have it.)
  • You must have a Yahoo! 360° page.(If you don't have one, create one at Yahoo! 360°.)
  • On your Yahoo 360° page you should have at least one photo other than the avatar and you should also have your Avatar displayed as one of your photos on the photos pane shown in the left. (If you don't know how to do this, you click here and find that information)
Once you have satisfied these prerequisites, we can continue with the hack!
Your Yahoo! 360° page looks somewhat similar in layout to the page shown in the image below, BTW, that's my 360° page.

If you can see the highlighted portion within the black rectangle, that's where the photos on your 360° profile will be displayed. When you click on other photos shown as thumbnails in the pane, they will appear on top in a large size, and the existing photo/avatar will be displayed as a thumbnail below, the image below shows how it looks.

The important thing to notice here is the avatar's thumbnail highlighted in the above image, if you do a right click on it and see its properties, you can get it's location which may look something similar to

http://img.avatars.yahoo.com/users
/1-4AnsXYXYXHiEr8AdYETOeBmAB==.medium.jpg

Actually this is the permanent URL pointing to your Yahoo! Avatar!, so no need to make any changes to the URL itself, we are only interested at the stuff towards the end of this URL after the ==.

There are various combinations of two parameters that the script on yahoo uses to return avatars, one is the image size! and the second is the file type!

so .medium.jpg at the end of the URL denotes that the user is requesting for a JPEG image of the medium sized display of the Avatar!

There are lots of combinations to try out!

The supported image sizes as far as i know are

  • small
  • medium
  • large(does not work for swf)
  • full(same as large)
The supported file types are
  • JPG - returns a JPEG image of the specified size.
  • PNG - returns a JPEG image of the specified size.
  • SWF - returns the flash animation of the specified size!
Given below are all the valid combinations of the parameters you can use ;-)
.small.jpg, .medium.jpg, .large.jpg, .full.jpg, .small.png, .medium.png, .large.png, .full.png, .small.swf, .medium.swf, .full.swf

I hope people find this useful in getting their Yahoo! avatars into their blogs/webpages, any doubts or comments or alternatives to this are welcome!


I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they've been. - Sam Walton.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Getting your Avatars from Yahoo!

This one is probably a very good hack as far as i am concerned! and may come in handy to many other people also to get their Yahoo! Avatars. I am sure that it is going to work unless Yahoo! changes it's process of retrieving images/avatars. I had started hacking on getting the flash file of my Yahoo! Avatar yesterday night or rather today early morning around 12:40AM ;-)

I was feeling very sleepy at that time and so could not do any brainstorming on how to get the avatar, but somehow managed to get the image showing the full avatar from Yahoo! servers itself, without doing a screen capture of the avatar which would have been the most feasible, simple and ideal solution.

I will explain the process through which i got the image later ;-) but since i got the image from their server i thought i could put in some logic and get the avatar in different sizes and different file formats! as i did with the images!

Below i have put up all the three sizes of my animated Yahoo! avatars ;-) will explain how to get it from Yahoo! 360° in the next post which i would be posting in a few hours from now, i would have loved to write it now but due to lack of time i am postponing it.





This is the full avatar!





This is the medium sized avatar!





This is the small avatar!


Logic is like the sword - those who appeal to it, shall perish by it. - Samuel Butler

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Re-Avatared...

That's my brand new Yahoo! Avatar i just completed... hit my 360° page to see it in action... my current hairstyle very closely resembles the avatar's style ;-) that's it for now, my eyes are rolling...


Oh, never star / Was lost here, but it rose afar! / Look East, where whole new thousands are! / In Vishnu-land what Avatar?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Grokking the Dock...

Mostly it happens with me that Ideas regarding something come up suddenly when thinking about some other thing!

Same thing happened today, i was thinking of adding a few images from my treks and trips to the blog and was thinking of spicing up the thumbnail view displayed to make it an eye candy as i usually do with most of the stuff ;-)

Checked out some regular JavaScript effects used for displaying thumbnails and slideshows which did not look like much of a visual delight for me, started *brainstorming* so that i could create some unique effect and in some time got an idea of creating a new effect for displaying the thumbnails... :-) the idea was... to put the thumbnails in the dock that i had created before! and providing two arrows/buttons on either side of the dock and giving the dock a 3D look. The arrow keys could be used to scroll the images across, and the dock functions as a normal dock, zooming the images when mouse rolls over!

As of now, this is what it looks like... I haven't seen any such thumbnail viewer till now which doubles up as a dock... this can also serve as a normal dock and can come in handy when there are lots of items in the dock and they overflow out of the visible area!



There are lots of challenges in making this idea functional, this is really going to be a killer script if implemented according to the idea. The main challenge is to make the dock icons be able to vary in size since an image can be either a landscape or a portrait, also making the whole thing a scrollable unit adds lot of complexity... will post again once i progress on this.

Along with this, i am also continuing the work on the original JavaScript dock that i coded since i got some new ideas regarding the dock while thinking to fit it into the needs of a thumbnail viewer! Currently trying to make the whole dock itself dragable anywhere on the page and providing a configurable zooming direction, that is if the dock is docked at the bottom of the page, icons will zoom towards top and if it is docked at the top, icons will zoom towards bottom. Also working on making the dock's orientation configureable so that it can be docked towards the left/right of the page also if needed but unfortunately this again involves lot of complexity!

Just now i added the dock to the blog just for fun... If you did not notice it till now, look at the top of the page where the Blogger Bar is displayed! If you are using Internet Explorer, you would be probably be blaming me for making the blog look ugly. Firefox displays it properly, but Internet Explorer makes it look ugly, it doesn't play well with DIV height's and transparent PNG images!!!
So for the sake of people using Internet explorer, i have put up an image below showing how it renders in Firefox ;-)



//the lines below are offtrack! ;-) and any -ve comments on these will be ignored!
/**And a final bit for those of you who have seen all my posts regarding the Javascript Dock and are thinking of me as a JavsScript professional who deals with JS most of the time, I am not a JS pro, just doing these things for fun! I am actually a fanatic and follower of the JAVA programming language! And i spend most of my idle time hacking on my pet projects[most are in java;-)] like this one which are spread across several programming lanuages... actually most of them ;-)
**/

I was not a child prodigy, because a child prodigy is a child who knows as much when it is a child as it does when it grows up. - Will Rogers

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Directed By : Tracker...

Got back some initial info from the *tracker*'s stats ;-). From the current info it is very evident that the anonymous mails originated from some Reliance Broadband Connection(i doubt it is a Reliance WebWorld) in southeastern india, most probably Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu ;-). By the content of those mails it is also observable that the anonymous mailer knows my friend either in person or through some other very-close friend, in person is more a more possible chance since the mails also refer to the latest happening's in my friend's office! and info about college life also!

Probably will track down him/her when i meet my friend tomorrow and discuss about the possibilities of identifying with the available info :-) . I suspect some of my friend's classmate doing this (due to whatever reason!). Will post more details once the issue comes to a full stop, hope it does.


A spy, like a writer, lives outside the mainstream population. He steals his experience through bribes and reconstructs it. - John Le Carre

A Case of Identity...

Ended up writing a tracker today... to identify a person who was sending very abusive anonymous mails to one of my friends from a long time... hmm... almost about a year or so :-o

This one is a very basic tracker disguised as a Greeting Card! Will post the tracker's success/failure if any later... that is once it calls back home regarding the anonymous person and he/she no longer remains anonymous... I can understand what it feels like to be abused by some anonymous for a very long time... and it really hurts when you find out in the end that the anonymous was one of your buddies... i hope the anonymous in the above mentioned case is not one of my friend's friend, if he/she is, that would leave a scar for a very long time...

I hate such people who disguise as anonymous and send abusive mails to people who are their friends... they just lack moral sense when they do such crap things X-(


An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult." - Lord Chesterfield

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Be the *STAR* you are!!!


Had gone to a *KARAOKE* show at *THE FORUM* in the evening, had been there last week also but did not get a chance to sing then, today i got a chance to sing and i sang my latest signature song *Aashiq Banaya Aapne* for which i had got a prize at a competition in the office. The song came out very well and was a great experience, and got lot of accolades from the audience... Some people even wanted me to sing a song "Tera Suroor" which i had not heard till now(currently i am listening to it and it's a great song), from the album "Aapka Suroor", the audio of which is just out on the shelves for around 6 weeks now!

Had a great time there, only boring thing was that i had to wait for almost 2 hours before i could get a chance to sing due to the crowd... planning to go there every week from now on... i love singing live, in live singing we can get the response of the audience immediately which motivates any singer... planning to record some more songs at home but not finding the time to do it ;-(

Will post again if i sing there... probably every sunday since the show has now become regular and will go on every sunday 6pm - 9pm ;-)


As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we've been given. - Mary Lou Retton

Aqua Dock - Another OS X style, animated launchbar/taskbar

Recently came across one more OS X style Dock called AquaDock. It's pretty cool, it looks the same as the OS X dock, and has all those transparency and alignment options you get on the OS X dock, and the animations are also slick! And this nice piece of software is done by an anonymous coder!

Available for download here.


The milk of disruptive innovation doesn't flow from cash-cows. - David Isenberg

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Done for the day...Colored saturaton...

Spent the whole noon conceptualizing on the logo for the FOSS event i mentioned before... could barely get a few concepts after which thoughts ended up in saturation!
Escaped from home at 4pm to attend my Carnatic Vocal classes, came back at 5:35pm, started working on the logos from 6:00pm, stuck to the system till 9:33pm and ended up with 14 final versions of 7 logos!

//never mind this
[3Hr + 33mins + Concepts] = [7L + Saturation of Ideas + Routine Blame from Mom for not going to eat dinner at 9pm + Feeling Hungry and Sleepy Now];

Actually thought of posting the logos, but refrained due to the confidentiality of the event ;-o and the graphic nature ;-) of the images as well so posted an image showing the saturation spectrum!!!

Will post the logos once the event is announced... Dinner time ;-D


Ninety-two percent of the stuff told you in confidence you couldn't get anyone else to listen to. - Franklin P. Adams

Friday, February 10, 2006

Lost in a CUBE!

In my 22 years on earth till date, i have solved Rubik's Cube only once when i was in 7th standard, that's almost 12 years ago! one of my friends had it then. Though i had tried playing it in the software versions available, it gets very boring unless you have the CUBE itself in hand, the presence of a real cube gives more spirit to solve it. Recently bought a cube, found it in a shop where i had gone with one of my buddies to buy something for him... though he ended up buying nothing, i ended up buying a 3x3 Rubik's Cube. I have thrown it on my desk at the office so that i can try solving it whenever i get bored of work, it's proving to be a great stress buster!

I also have a collection(8 of them in 3 different sizes) of high-bouncing balls on my desk which sometimes even my neighbours take along to play, this also proves to be a great stress releiver and serves as a cool eye-candy at the desk. Will post a pic of those sometime.

There's a very good java version of Rubik's cube which can be played online found here.
A similar flash version can be found here.
If you use Konfabulator, there's cube widget available here.

I just consider myself a piece of the puzzle and I'm lucky enough to be asked or invited to the party, if you will. I hope I can bring some laughs and grimaces to the fans. - Adam Baldwin

FOSS Concept Poster...


Lately i have been working on a couple of concept posters to promote a FOSS(Free and Open Source Software) event, will post the event details and more concept designs later. I completed the image above yesterday late-night or rather today early morning ;-) Was thinking of this concept for a very long time now but was waiting for the right time and event to shoot it in.

The concept of the the poster is simple, GET LIBERATED from the clutches of PROPRIETARY software and hassles of IPR and Micra$haft,

Which can only be achieved by a key called FOSS.

My personal liking in this picture is ofcourse the concept itself, as well as the right handcuff which says "Micra$haft" on top and "PROPRIETARY" at the bottom, both of which look like a metal forging company's embossed wordings (i intentionally made them like that;-) ), also i like the key, it has "FOSS" on it's face, and a tag in the keyring saying "GET LIBERATED"


Risk perception has diverged from risk reality.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Titan Tron...

Since the rates of LCD monitors are dropping drastically , i have set up an achievable for myself to get any one of the multi display setups that are shown below... ;-)


Such displays really help when you want to do more things at the same time when developing something. You need not switch back and forth among applications, you can run them on different displays.


I am just hoping if if could get the setup above by any chance, it would be great... with such setup one can do all the coding, graphics design, chatting , browsing, blogging, etc. on different displays;-) ... actually helps more in coding where i can write code on one display, run it on another snd debug it on another and so on... and it will be great to see all these info without having to switch windows as i do now, referring back and forth which could get painful at times.


You can't expect to hit the jackpot if you don't put a few nickels in the machine. - Flip Wilson

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Appraisal...


Had appraisal meet with my manager yesterday... There was nothing much to discuss since surprisingly most of my self-ratings matched with that of my manager's ratings for me. I was surprised to know that some things that I just consider as a part of my work are considered to be initiatives by the management!!! I was thinking I always only *meet expectations* as far as initiative is concerned, but to my surprise, they told me that I *exceed expectation* and excel when it boils down to Initiative.


Ability will never catch up with the demand for it. - Malcolm Forbes

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tamed the JTree... Finally!

[portions of images blurred due to their graphic nature ;-)]


Finally got the JTree working as needed after a few hours of brainstorming in the weekend ;-)
Implemented the needful, some custom tree cell renderers and tree cell editors. The code is not as complex as the concept itself. Ended up writing 0.0008 million lines of code(MLOC) for this component ;-)

Even though it's a cracked nut now, i am still on the same conclusion this is probably one of the very complex UI components I have come across till date, and which has held me so long. And now since i have done it, nothing of such sort is gonna take long time to do from now on :-))


That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way. - Doris Lessing

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mustang getting all powerful...


The next major release of Java, codenamed Mustang is already in full paced development, it has loads of Desktop features being added, which is really a great news for Java Application developers and Java Fanatics like me ;-) . Check the desktop features update here.


Every good upgrade should have at least one feature, which, once you’ve used it, you come to rely on it so often that you’d fight anyone who tried to take it away from you. - Kelly Turner

Thursday, February 02, 2006

GUI components are so complex!


Lately i have been busy on developing a complex UI component in Java, basically a Tree (the component which can be generally seen on the left pane, of any graphical file browser, which displays the hierarchical list of files and directories), a JTree (javax.swing.JTree) to be more specific. The requirement is that the first level nodes of the tree need to be CheckBoxes (e.g. AppleOrange) and the second level nodes should be RadioButtons (e.g. YesNo), the tree should look like in the picture above. This is probably one of the very complex UI components I have come across till date, had done some of those for JAnimationShop but nothing related to JTree as such.

In Java, customizing the JTree can be done through components called TreeCellRenderer and TreeCellEditor, still the complexity comes out of the fact that the state of the nodes with respect to checkbox/radiobutton should be retained, and also the user should be able to modify the state of checkbox/radiobutton.

This sounds very easy at first glance, but the catch here is that the state should not change if the user selects a node, it should only change when he explicitly clicks on the checkbox/radiobutton, so the expansion/contraction/selection of a node in the tree does not contribute to changing the state of checkbox/radiobutton, people who have worked with JTree will definitely agree on the fact that it's a tough nut to crack, frankly speaking, nothing has held me for two days till now ;-|.

Started working on it yesterday... Still climbing the tree ;-)... probably, I could finish this atleast today...


Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival. - Rene Dubos