Friday, November 04, 2011

Diwali Reading


Finally caught up with some reading over Diwali - here's what I read in no particular order

Steve Jobs' Biography by Walter Isaacson 

Must read - don't care if it gives a balanced or otherwise view. Very well written - not sure if any one else could have done justice to this book. Can understand why Steve Jobs chose Walter Isaacson to write it. If there is only one book you read this year - let it be this one

The Facebook Effect - David Kirkpatrick

David's been one of my favorite technical writers - and if you want to catch up with something beyond the "Social Network" movie - go for it. Lots of stuff to learn from this one as well.

Some fiction that I caught up with

Noah Boyd - The Bricklayer - keeps you (gripped is not the right word - but it comes close) engaged and is a good distraction

Chetan Bhagat's new book - Revolution 2020
If you like Chetan Bhagat's books - then go ahead and read it - don't expect anything new or different. Although the preface does not beguile the fact that you notice Chetan Bhagat's ego seems to be in an ever expanding state .. ;-)

James Patterson - Lifeguard. 
Nothing stands out from this book - but it does hold you through till the end. If you have it lying around - go for it - don't buy it though!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Testlink + Google Apps Authentication

I've been considering using testlink (www.teamst.org) for test case management at work, and one of the things I was looking for was authentication using Google Apps. (Entrib runs Google Apps).  Our mediawiki site also uses Google Apps authentication and I thought it would be great if testlink also supports this (but it does not).

Long story short - I was able to take the mediawiki Google Apps Authentication (actually Google Apps Authentification - yes the "fication" is what you should search for if you want Google Apps authentication with mediawiki) and integrate that with testlink.

Here are the steps I did (post a comment if you want the code)
- Replaced the password check with my own function that called the GoogleAuth code
- If successful - retrieve the email address, First Name and Last Name
- Create a user in the database with the credentials got (if the user does not exist)
- Create a session and redirect to index.php

Will post the code when I get the time.



Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Techcrunch "Editorial Independence" Drama

If you have not been following it - here are quick links

Posted by MG Siegler

http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/06/the-end/

Michael Arrington is leaving not leaving not sure

http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/06/editorial-independence/

Erick Schonfeld is the new Editor

Paul Carr leaving

http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/16/last-post/

Erick Schonfeld accepts Paul's resignation

http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/16/paul-i-accept-your-resignation/


Thursday, June 09, 2011

iTunes - That's Entertainment

That's embarrassing...


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Boxee and the art of watching movies

(Image courtesy - www.boxee.tv)

Finally got myself a boxee box (Dlink Boxee Box) after an endless discussion with myself. And the fact that my good friend and neighbor happened to be in the US at that time had absolutely nothing to do with it!

Amazon did a fantastic job of delivering it in 2 business days and I had the boxee with me in 4 days from the time I ordered it!

I'll be honest and say upfront that I was disappointed with the initial experience. I did use the Boxee app a lot in the US - the experience there was fantastic.

Setup was good and quick - but it did take a few hits and misses for it to pick up movies from my Linkstation Live LS-CHL. Lack of DLNA (uPnP) definitely was disappointing. I had to connect to the SMB share by typing in the IP Address and then it worked fine. The fan noise is also almost a deal breaker for me. I am sensitive to noise and any humming is definitely a no-no.  There's a good discussion on this elsewhere on the web...

Other things that didn't go well:
  • No Power-on button on the remote!
  • Standby mode just switches off the display - everything else (including the fan) is pretty much on in standby mode
  • User experience through the remote was ok - with the keyboard on the reverse side being the face-saving point
  • iPod Touch remote  app did not work (still does not - need to figure out why)
All was not lost however - and things started to change the moment I upgraded it to the latest version. Contrary to most folk (or at least from what I've read on the web) - I love the new interface. Since I mostly watch locally stored movies - it was a joy to watch Boxee play any format that I threw at it!

I even tried an online video - it was a Nat Geo/Discovery kind of movie and it played beautifully (took a few seconds to buffer - but the video quality was great!).  Even my VCD stored format plays decently through the Boxee. The browser app is a mess - but gets the job done. It is a pain moving the mouse around through the remote.

For improving the boxee box experience - some suggestions I would have:

 - Have a sleep mode that will only be woken up by the remote
 - A new browser app (I might build one myself)
 - Power button!!!

Overall the gizmodo review pretty much sums up my experience - "Good at one thing - bad at everything else".  I think the box is slowly growing on me - although it is far from being a cord cutter I thought it would be...


Links:
http://www.boxee.tv/



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Apple refreshes the MacBook Pro line


As highly rumored, Thunderbolt (earlier called Light Peak) makes its way into Apple's MacBook Pro family.  A quick look at what is new:
  • Intel Sandy Bridge - quad core i5 and i7 on the 15inch and 17inch models (13inch gets dual core i5 and i7 options)
  • AMD Graphics (Radeon HD6490M on the 15inch and AMD Radeon 6750M on the 17inch models) Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics on the 13inch one. Goodbye NVidia!
  • HD Camera (for better Facetime)
  • Thunderbolt I/O
  • Multi-Touch Trackpad
There is no Display Port (not even mini-HDMI/DVI) - and that's what's interesting about Thunderbolt (apart from "speeds up to 10 Gbps"). You can now connect devices with HDMI, DVI, and VGA over DisplayPort interfaces to the Thunderbolt port. Of course, this means a whole lot of HDMI/DVI/DisplayPort adapters to buy! Nothing surprising here - given Apple's penchant for getting you to always buy some kind of adapter.

All other things are pretty much the same - aluminum unibody, glass display and trackpad, although an intriguing thing is that Apple has not gotten rid of the Firewire port. With Thunderbolt coming in - I would have pretty much assumed that Firewire would die out...

Overall, the 15inch model looks highly tempting! I wish the 13inch one got these specs - I would have arranged for the small crack on my existing 13inch white Macbook to take its toll faster, thereby "forcing" me to upgrade ;-).

On a side note the 13inch White Macbook doesn't seem to have got any serious upgrades.

Which one will you be buying?

Links:
http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/features.html
http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/24/apple-refreshes-macbook-pro-family-with-sandy-bridge-processors/


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back to blogging!

Back to getting this updated after almost nine months (nothing symbolic here to see - move along :-).

So what have I been doing you ask? Here, in no particular order, is a list of things that have kept me reasonably busy
  • Switched from a full time job to a part-time consultant!
  • Gadgets - acquired an iPad (no surprises), upgraded my Macbook to 4GB RAM (no I did not buy the RAM from Apple, but it is Mac Certified), upgraded to Snow Leopard, realized that I lost iPhoto (and couldn't find the original DVD for re-installation), waited for the Mac App store to buy iPhoto, tried to buy an Apple TV (thrice, without luck and now targeting a Boxee box). Also installed iWork and am getting used to Pages, Numbers and Keynote!
  • Became a fan and avid user of Dropbox.
  • Upgraded my Broadband (BSNL) to a 4Mbps plan! I'm getting upto 3.2Mbps on that - so can't really complain. Although the upgrade process caused some downtime on the internet (1 weekend - apparently BSNL changed the username password and forgot to inform me :-)
  • Got healthy - got a bicycle, joined the gym (on and off  - mostly off).