Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Price Comparison and other useful sites

It has been a long trend in western countries to check price comparison sites before buying any product. Be it a monthly grocery, home loan, car insurance or travel ticket. But this trend was never there in India. However I have recently started watching some price comparison sites are taking birth and for their age they work pretty good. Following are some sites for different purpose:

  1. Policy Bazaar – Site is to check Car, Health, Travel and Life insurance. Sadly it does not cover home insurance.
  2. Bank Bazaar -  Site is to check Home loan, personal loan and credit card
  3. Insurance Mall India – Site is to check many type of insurance policies. I have not checked this site thoroughly, but looks like it has good features.
  4. Calorie Count – Did you ever wish to check the calories in something that you are eating? Well, this is a site for you.
  5. ClearTrip, MakeMyTrip and Yatra - For air journey you might be knowing that there are numerous sites like ClearTrip, MakeMyTrip, Yatra etc. They can quickly result the possible fair of your air travel by date,time and by airlines of your choice. Among these sites ClearTrip is the only site that allows you to book the train tickets in India as well. They have very good integration with IRCTC and they have used AJAX in very beautiful way. Train reservation @ ClearTrip is a very good reference of SOA and sensible use of AJAX.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Real time flight status

Have you ever waited for your loved ones? Were you ever in situation when they are en-route from US/UK and you want to know the status of their flight. Well currently I am in that situation. My fiancée is coming from Houston and her flight is scheduled to arrive @ BIAL at 12:35 AM 27/12. I am eager to find about the delay or early arrival. I Google and as always Google makes me happy. I find Flight Stats. Usually you will find a lot of sites which are US specific. FlightStats is a site that is global and giving very accurate results for domestic/international in/out bound flights from India. Following is a snapshot when I am searching for a flight on 26/12 which is scheduled to arrive at BIAL on 27/12. It is showing flight is en-route and currently 44 minutes late.

FlightStats.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Applied “Democracy vs Leadership”

I have recently struck with this thought. In ideal scenarios Scrum process says that you break down the tasks and allocate them to each of your developer. They should come back to you with XYZ number of estimated hours for their tasks. Good enough!!! But then is it always fine to turn to your people for estimation and to decide way forward? Some people hide their lack of leadership behind being supporter of democracy. These people don’t even take quick decision to sort out people issues. They throw away some jargon at you or hide behind some process.

I say we don’t need these kind of people in our industry. IMO we should have the leaders who can take brisk decisions. Who can some time override the set process to help their people and to make fast progress. Who can bend the things to suit themselves and project conditions.

Imagine this; In train engine is asking each bogie about their choice of destination, rather than leading them from the front to a certain destination.

Microsoft Office Labs

Microsoft Office Labs

Check out the space of Microsoft Office Labs. These guys are putting up some pretty cool (IMO) stuff up there. Like multi touch without touching. For me it is Email Prioritizer. I am currently downloading it; will post the feedback again once I try it out.

Update: I just completed installing Email Prioritizer and pptPlex. pptPlex claims to add the power of zooming in and out during the presentation. Well, it adds that capability to power point but makes it unusable and unstable. On my machine that I can call is decently powered was rendered nonworking while trying out the “cool” features of pptPlex. Finally it made power point to crash. :(

On other hand Email Prioritizer seems to be working to some extent. It is dependent on Office 2007 Primary Interop Assemblies. I had to download that as a separate installer. Wonder why Office Labs guys don’t bundle it in one MSI? It has features where you can give star rating to your emails. It adds several filters that make it easy to retrieve certain email. But does it really work? At least not for me because for this software to be of any use, I need to be well organised at first. :)

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

What should be the data type of a primary key

I was recently answering a question @ StackOverflow where user was asking, “what should be the data type of a primary key”? I provided my input to that thread and came to know about following post of Jeff Atwood on the same topic:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000817.html

This post has further links on the same topic and at a great length.

Monday, October 20, 2008

jQuery and JavaScript: Best Practices

I was going through the recently discovered site of Smashing Magazine. Looks like they not only have good tutorials on technology but things that may make anyone's life little better. I found following tutorial on jQuery and JavaScript best practices very good. It also talks about maintaining the semantics of page and how to provide graceful degradation. Overall a good start on jQuery and web semantics:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/16/jquery-examples-and-best-practices/

Excellent resource on AJAX

I just came across this wonderful resource of AJAX tutorials. There are solutions for all common issues that we may need to implement using AJAX. Following is the link to them:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/10/16/50-excellent-ajax-tutorials/

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Seven mainframe myths

Well mainframes are not my cup of tea, I just came across this interesting article. Thought to share it here:

http://www.esj.com/news/article.aspx?EditorialsID=3351&pg=3

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Flawed analogy of Civil Engineering and Software Engineering

How many times during a discussion with your peers have you encountered the analogy of software engineering with civil engineering? I have faced this situation many times. I have seen people who pull out this comparison without thinking for a while.

Nick Malik is having more thoughts on this, why this analogy is flawed:

http://blogs.msdn.com/nickmalik/archive/2008/09/13/civil-engineering-analogy-to-enterprise-architecture-flawed.aspx