India and China – economic

Interesting article in USA Today about by the year 2020, China and India will be vying with the United States for global economic supremacy, the nation’s top intelligence analysts predict, and al-Qaeda will have withered away – only to be replaced by smaller, more splintered but equally deadly groups of terrorists. The National Intelligence Council issued its once-every-five-year look at the future of the globe Thursday, contrasting optimism about dramatic global economic growth with concern that the same cyberpathways fueling economic development are also hastening the spread of violent, radical Islam.

BlogMap

Chandu Thota has a pretty cool application called BogMap. What is a BlogMap you ask? It is a place where blogs meet maps and location. You can also Use BlogMap you can geo-code your blog, browse already geo-coded blogs and search for blogs. Once geo-coded, you can get your own BlogMap location using a simple url.

This is me:

  • You can geo-code your blog feed using the submit page.
  • Browse blogs feed using the browse page.
  • Locate-Search blogs feed using the search page.
  • And get local BlogRoll!

E.g. of a local blogroll, these are all the people within 30 miles of London.

There is also the API using which Querystring can be used to access the location enabled blog API.

Over-the-Top Tech Toys

Got money to burn? PC Magazine is here to help, and they are not talking Champaign kisses and caviar dreams; they are talking about the hottest entertainment technology money can buy. Their roundup covers everything from 61-inch plasma displays to media hubs for piping tunes throughout your house. Go ahead and ogle.

Your $150 million lottery haul snuggles safely in the mattress. Another $100 million, left you by the cat lady for rescuing Hieronymus, rests pleasantly under the petunias. You own both Park Place and Boardwalk. Life is good, but then Ed McMahon saddles you with a check for a million – annoying pocket change hardly worth hiding in the sock drawer. What to do?

Fortunately, when surplus money pools, technology can find an efficient way to absorb it. For those burdened by the affliction of excess capital—or those concerned about the future possibility—we have reviews of high-tech lifesavers that quickly relieve the strain from the weight of filthy lucre.

Since you’re an independently wealthy, carefree individual, there are just too many hours in a day that need filling, so this first installment will concentrate on the serious business of entertainment.

This buffalo addicted to BBC

Thanks to Murty for pointing out this tale of a buffalo that simply refuses to be milked without its daily dose of BBC!

And it’s not quite the British broadcaster that the animal is addicted to but khaini – a form of chewing tobacco that is popularly called ” buddhi bardhak choorn “, or BBC, in Jharkhand.

For its owner Mangra Munda, a resident of Lohardagga district, the addiction has turned into a headache. For along with fodder, he has to shell out plenty of tobacco. His buffalo demands the chewing tobacco six times a day and makes life difficult if it doesn’t get adequate amounts.

“If we fail to provide chewing tobacco on time then it becomes horrible. The buffalo’s strong urge for tobacco makes it wild and it can do anything for khaini . It starts to break the rope it is tethered with,” Munda said.

“If it is not tethered, it smells out people consuming khaini and follows them around. Sometimes it wanders off quite a few kilometres and returns only after consuming some of it.”

Munda himself does not know how the buffalo developed the habit.

“I came to know about its love for tobacco when I saw it snatching khaini from a person who was preparing it. I then asked the previous owner of the animal and he confirmed its addiction.”

In fact, the buffalo does not like raw tobacco, but prefers it the way most people make it – by rubbing it between the palm and the thumb with some lime.

“It has become a headache for me. I have to prepare tobacco for her despite the fact that I do not take it myself.

“I am desperately looking for a buyer, but most people have come to know of her great love for BBC!” said Munda

Dell's Amazing 24" LCD Screen For Less

 Dell has done it again. The company has just released a 24″ LCD monitor for your computer at an amazing price. While most other comparable monitors cross $2k – their’s costs only $1200! The monitor also includes 4 usb ports and a 6-in-1 card reader supporting CompactFlash (type I and II), SD/mini-SD card, Sony Memory Stick / MS Pro, Smart Media and Hitachi Microdrive. The display also offers a load of connectivity options, including VGA, DVI, composite, component, and S-video connections. It also has integrated picture-in-picture (PiP) that works with any pair of inputs. The PiP lets you display a small window in one corner (user-selectable) or side-by-side windows. The addition of component inputs is welcome and makes the unit suitable as a small HDTV monitor. But the DVI input does not support HDCP content protection, so you can’t use it with HDTV sources that require HDCP. Since this is primarily a desktop PC monitor, it also lacks HDMI connections. The on-screen display (OSD), is in color (the first time I have seen one). You can read up the full review (including pictures) here.

New Category – .drool

Watch this space as I add my drool factors here – things that mostly I probably don’t need – but would love to get my hands on. Meenakshi, if you are reading, think of this as the wish-list for the presents. :o). As they say boys with toys after all!! This is not to be confused with the .food category.

Study finds Windows more secure than Linux

Seattle Times has a story from the RSA Conference, where surprisingly they find Windows is more secure than Linux. No, this is not a study done by Microsoft. They compared Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Server 3 running databases, scripting engines and Web servers (Microsoft’s on one, the open source Apache on the other).

Their criteria included the number of reported vulnerabilities and their severity, as well as the number of patches issued and days of risk — the period from when a vulnerability is first reported to when a patch is issued. On average, the Windows setup had just over 30 days of risk versus 71 days for the Red Hat setup, their study found. “That’s a very surprising statistic, and I must say the first time I saw this statistic I thought you messed with my database,” Ford said to Thompson. Their presentation started jokingly, with Ford reeling off Windows jabs and praising the virtues of freely shared software that’s developed collaboratively over the Internet. But they concluded with statistics showing that the Windows setup had a clear advantage over the Linux alternative.

The setups were hypothetical, however. Both were in the most basic configuration, an approach that some in the audience suggested may tilt the results in favor of Windows, which comes with more features. Ford said the idea was to represent what an average system administrator may do, as opposed to a “wizard” who could take extra steps to provide plenty of security on a Linux setup, for instance.

Process Explorer 9.0 ships

Process Explorer 9.0 was released a few days ago. The new features in it are:

  • System information dialog has per-CPU graph option with hyperthreaded and NUMA processor information
  • A Users menu duplicates the functionality of Task Manager’s Users tab, showing Terminal Services session information and supporting logoff, disconnect, and sending messages
  • On XP SP2 and higher the TCP/IP tab displays the thread stack at the time an endpoint was opened
  • The tray icon context menu includes the shutdown menu
  • Search engine option to use Google or MSN Search
  • Object address column is available for the handle view
  • Image signatures can be checked on-demand in the process properties dialog
  • Process explorer is digitally signed with Sysinternals’ Verisign Class 3 signing certificate

.NET GC Bug on Win2K with more than 2GB Memory

One of my colleagues, Jim Tallant, encountered a problem with Win2k Server, running in an Application Center environment, where very high CPU cycles threatened to bring down the server farm. All servers in the farm showed high CPU utilization (60 to 70%) whereas they normally run in the 15 to 20% range. We determined that this high CPU consumption was caused by excess time spent in the .Net memory garbage collection routine. The statistic “% Time in GC” on these servers was in the range of 40 to 60%.

Strangely, mal-behaving Servers tend to “self heal” after a few days – possibly caused by increasing memory demands forcing the garbage collector into some alternate mode that executes effectively and recovers the memory. A review of servers that “healed” shows an increase in the statistic “private bytes – aspnet_wp.exe” and “.Net Large Object Block” in the minutes preceding when servers healed themselves, and the servers went down to 15 to 18% overall CPU numbers.

Ultimately, we determined that there is a bug in the Win2k server memory GC routine that is related to servers having more than 2GB of RAM. A routine in the GC could only handle a number up to 2GB of RAM, and was indicating that the server had a very small amount of ram available, compared to the actual memory installed (it may have returned zero or a negative number). We tested a fix that is due to be published in the next few weeks by Microsoft and determined that this fix makes the servers behave correctly. Also, since we knew that the fix was related to running on servers with more than 2GB of RAM we tested changing the server configuration to only use 2GB of RAM. This also eliminated the problem, at a very low cost to performance.

In our implementation, we made the configuration change to temporarily solve the problem while we wait for an official patch from MS. MS is working on providing a patch that is intended for Win2K servers. The patch we tested was hand installed after extracting it from a Win2K3 install. Running on 2GB of memory adds around 10% additional CPU at our present load (for example we increase from 15% to 17%). The patch requires the installation of .Net Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 before it is installed.

In order to understand how to make good use of the garbage collector and what performance problems you might run into when running in a garbage-collected environment, it’s important to understand the basics of how garbage collectors work and how those inner workings affect running programs.

Yellow pages on A9

Google competitor A9 has Company > Yellow Pages on A9.com a nifty new thing where you can see street-level photos along with the Yellow Pages on Amazon.com. Using trucks equipped with digital cameras, global positioning system (GPS) receivers, and proprietary software and hardware, A9.com drove tens of thousands of miles capturing images and matching them with businesses and the way they look from the street. The whole process (except for the driving!) is completely automatic, making it fast and efficient. Block View allows users to see storefronts and virtually walk up and down the streets of currently more than 10 U.S. cities using over 20 million photographs. The cities currently covered are:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • New York City (Manhattan)
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco and the Bay Area

MS explores secure future

And about time I guess too. MS has finally announced that they are going to learn from Firefox and start working on v7.0 of IE with a beta shipping this summer. With the recent Longhorn announcement also shipping around then, lots of stuff happening.

Mega Mail

If I had know of this a couple of days ago, life would have been much easier as I was trying to get TurboTax from the US from Kumud. Most e-mail providers impose limits on the size of message that you can send or receive. If you have trouble sending large files to certain people, or want to avoid clogged mail arteries or the risk of reaching an overstuffed mailbox that will bounce your message back, there is a free and easy alternative called YouSendIt that works every time – and you can send files up to 1GB in size. All you need to do is type in the destination address, select the file you want to send, and (optionally) type in your e-mail address and an accompanying message. It’s a Web-based service: the recipient gets an e-mail with a download link that’s good for seven days. Now, the only thing I want to try is, if the browser times-out when trying to upload huge attachments.

Getting Started With Enterprise Library

If you recall I had recently posted about the release of Enterprise Lib. My colleague, Hisham Baz has a post on how to get started with the Ent. Lib. If you are new to it and want to know more about it, that is a good place to start.

[Listening to: Boy in the Well – R.E.M. – Around the Sun (05:22)]

Indigo out in the open

Indigo is now out in the open and you should see a lot of flurry about it soon. This is cool. I have had a chance to look at bits and pieces of it in the past and could not talk much about it due to NDA, but that hopefully can change soon.

[Listening to: Track 03 – New Artist (38) – New Title (38) (05:05)]

App Sight Black Box

If you ever are in a situation where you need to identify production code issues or perf. issues, etc. (and who has not been there), then I would recommend checking out AppSight Black Box – a “kick-ass” product that I had an opportunity to play with sometime last year. They have solutions covering both .NET and J2EE and is very very impressive – I just want to know how the heck do they do it. You have to see it in person to believe it – and I have grilled these guys extensively using some real code, so if the demo looks to good to be true, well it is true! Here is the excerpt from their site which really does not do them justice:

Identify’s patented Black Box is a lightweight software module, which operates like a Black Box flight recorder on a plane. Deployed on servers and/or clients, AppSight Black Boxes record application execution at multiple, synchronized levels, based on a dynamic, user-defined recording profile. Easy to deploy, the Black Box requires no changes to source code or executables.

User:
Client-side: Video-style capture of user actions and screen events
Server-side: User sessions, ASP.NET Web pages and services accessed by each user

System:
Recording of .NET Web services calls, Remoting calls, database calls, assembly invocations, COM/COM+ calls, application and system configuration, application performance, .NET Framework resource utilization, and more

Code:
.NET Tracing calls; full trace of function calls and variables in unmanaged code

Black Boxes can be run continuously or when problems occur. The data recorded by the Black Boxes is stored in a centralized repository or saved as a highly compressed file, which can be sent by email or attached to a trouble ticket.

Using the AppSight Console, all teams engaged in problem resolution replay Black Box recordings and drill down based on skill set and responsibility to identify the root cause of problems.

PS: No, I am not getting a kickback from them to drooooool over this… 🙂

[Listening to: Rabba – Musafir [Club Mix – CD1] – Musafir (07:50)]

Business Case for a Bike

I think I just found my business case for a Bike! :). Meenakshi (my wife remember), is dead against me getting one, but if I think I bought this helmet first, then I have to get a bike to match the helmet…. :). Now lets just hope she is not reading this…

[Listening to: ChhodNaRe – – (05:08)]