What do I love to hear the most? ‘Offic-ially’!

I would often stumble at this question on the umpteen slam-books and diaries that we’ve filled up in our days – what is your favorite song? I would, like many others, go on merrily mentioning several songs that I loved – didn’t actually matter if I really would want to keep hearing them back or back it up with some traceable metric.

So I came up with this list of songs that I had been mentioning across different places claiming to be my favorite (this actually got me to log in to Orkut – seems like time travel) ones. Equipped with a bag of 100 songs (with a few additions to make up the number in the end), I plugged them into my media player and shuffled them up to start with.

Now on, it was fairly simple – every day I would listen to these songs in a random order and either hear the song playing or impulsively hit the next button. At the end of every day I had columns that highlighted the number of skips I made and the number of runs I heard through among the total number of plays.

Ran this for twelve days – and on the thirteenth day, well, I have the top ten songs that I definitely would love to keep playing over and over on my headphones.

The songs considered though are all from movies released after I was born and until last year – to prevent both the biases, classic (I really don’t care in this exercise if Guru Dutt gave us a few gems, I wouldn’t end up hearing them repeatedly at work anyways) as well as infatuation-based (I tried to keep it as less skewed as possible).

So here are the ten – let me know if they work for you! Criteria (For Reference) – Hindi song from a film soundtrack, released after 1985 and before 2011.

The 10 Worst Websites Out There..!

I write this post to pay my respectful and glowing tributes to the art of website designing (here, the lack of it) and share your grief in having to sit through each of these links.

So, here goes…

10. DPS BOKARO & LIFE IN BHOPAL
To start with, I pay homage to the spirit of developing these two sites (especially because of my association to these two cities) –

9. I KISS YOU
There were worthy competitors to this – but with my admiration for Turkish cuisine, music & locales; here’s something that became the most popular thing back in 1999 and would later inspire Borat et al.

8. HIGH ON FIRE
What happens when you sleep under a rock & still surface – after over ten years!

7. ROD C DAVIS
What was that? I thought it had to do with supernatural healing… I already feel a paranormal experience.

6. YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ART
It would be just another migraine-ingrained site if not for the Yale part of it. Seriously, is this one of USA’s premier art schools?

5. GEORGE HUTCHINS
I won’t exactly gift such a personal portal to even the worst of my enemies!

4. TIMECUBE
So, what are we trying to do here?

3. ALMIGHTY WIND
Ok… so what exactly is this wind, people??

2. HURR-DURR
Please… Why? PeTA… Alpha, Beta and Theta… Somebody!!

1. DOKIMOS
This is epic.
If Jesus’ site actually looked like this – Christianity would not exist today!

Access Cognizant Exchange Online Mailbox with Outlook 2010

Access Cognizant Mailbox with Outlook 2010

When I walked into my new workplace last week with no customary laptops being doled out, it meant two things –

• Probably, no work from home (“this works both ways :-)”)
• And a question mark on Outlook sync from outside my workplace

Having known how to setup an exchange server account on Outlook, it took parts of online help and tid-bits of permutation and combination to set the ball rolling.

As for the steps, here goes –

1. Open the Mail option in Control Panel – if you’re running 64-bit, please go to Additional Options and select “View 32-bit Control Panel Items” to uncover the Mail option.

2. Click on E-mail Accounts and then click on “New” to kickstart the account creation process.

3. Select “Email Account” and proceed.

4. In the resulting screen, click on “Manually Configure Server Settings or Additional Server Types”.

5. You will now be presented with four options for your server type, select the second one – Microsoft Exchange or compatible service.

6. Enter the Exchange Server Name relevant to you. For instance, for Hyderabad users, the same is – ctsinhydsxug (You can obtain your server name from your workstation Outlook settings, it is the server name for your account sans the trailing cts.com part).

7. Enter your Employee ID in place of the User Name field.

8. Click on More Settings to setup the server name resolution.

9. Head to the Connection tab, in Exchange over Internet, select the Connect to my Exchange Mailbox using HTTP check-box.

10. Click on Exchange Proxy Settings.

11. Therein, under Connection Settings, enter the following information –
a. Against Use this URL to connect to my proxy server for Exchange field, please enter mail.cognizant.com
b. Select the Connect using SSL only check-box.
c. Select the Mutually authenticate the session when connecting with SSL check-box.
d. Enter msstd:mail.cognizant.com against the Principle Name in the proxy server box.
e. In the Exchange Proxy Settings dialog box, in the Proxy authentication settings window, in the Use this authentication when connecting to my proxy server for Exchange drop-down, select Basic Authentication.

12. Click OK. :-)

13. Click on Check Name against your entered user name (in this case, employee id) and you will now be prompted to enter your Cognizant network password. Enter the password and press enter.

14. You will be greeted with a confirmation message of resolution of your name and exchange server and upon starting Outlook, the mails will start flowing in 😉

The Experiential Experiment : European Destination Rankings

Disclaimer – This post reflects the opinions of the author and findings based on an experimental methodology. In no way should this be treated as an absolute reference to the true state of tourist destinations.

The cities rated & ranked include –
Cities Rated And Ranked
___________________________________________________

Having visited a few European cities, I thought of finding out not just for getting others to refer but more so for myself to find out whether deep down I really know which of these places I have liked the most.
The ubiquitous surveys are a great tool – but getting other travellers to rank was subjected to the following:

• It’s tough to find a sample of people who’ve been to these places
• The rating process exposes an issue that I wanted to experiment and address

Think of the following situation –

You have been asked to rate ten different cities on the basis of four parameters like food & stay, transport etc. Now if you were to fill not one but two such forms – do you think you would write exactly the same ratings in both of them?

I myself tried doing it and found them to be different. More so, you can fill such forms in two ways, I call the first one ‘Object-Based Rating’, wherein you rate one city first on all four parameters and then move on to the next city, a screenshot of such a table would look something like this –

Object-Based Rating

The other way of course is ‘Attribute-Based Rating’, wherein you choose to fill the ratings column-wise or rather for one particular attribute, say ‘Places To See’ for all the cities referred to. A typical screenshot would look like this –

Attribute-Based Rating

Now, an interesting piece of information is derived from the deviations in ratings observed for different cities – cumulative as well as parametrized. To filter this in and then come up with the final rankings (basically using means such as variance to determine the winner in case of a tie – in favour of the lower variance city) is something that allowed me to address two things:
• Addressing the whole business of ranking the cities on the basis of overall ratings
• At an individual level, understanding the common threads that show which cities appeal to me more than others – not surprising though that I actually found the rankings to reflect my lack of attraction towards the more touted tourist destinations in general
I present here the findings of the whole experiment, the final ones that is :-)
Of course, I would be more than happy to elaborate on the other facets involved in using the rating numbers to come up with various statistical terms mentioned in the overall results – but that can happen via comments or mails.
From an individual perspective, I realized why some tourist places with a rich ancient history and monuments/artefacts from that era draw me more than plastic structures of the day. Perhaps a few floored me by the sheer feel good factor itself when they lacked the ‘Places To See’ per se but on the whole, I do realize that the sub-conscious actually knows what it wants unlike the conscious rate-the-cities guy. I will not think twice before embarking on a trip to any of these locations – I hope to actually go… ideally, to all of them 😉

_____________________________________

The Top 10 Destinations –

Berlin

Prague

Vilnius

Florence

Saanen

Brussels

Riga

Rome

Istanbul

Athens

___________________________________

The Statistical Backbone –

The Statistical Backbone

Elgg | Quick-n-Dirty Notes :-)

After cooling my heels for a pretty long time – mostly devoid of any interaction with IDEs and semicolons and more, I was made to sit through a four day task of customizing and deploying an Elgg based portal for my current institute.
So I got myself a new copy each of XAMPPLite & Elgg to kick-start the proceedings 😉
Anyways, here goes the patches that I found in my notebook after the completion-

1. “The database backend you have installed doesn’t meet the basic requirements to run Elgg”

This issue generally arises as early as at the time of installation itself.
Here’s my quickfix : 

• Remove the line in your root install.php file that checks for MySQL5, i.e.: validate_platform();

• Now upload this to your Elgg folder at the host and open the installation page in your browser, fill out the forms with the requested information and most probably – all should be fine!

2. “Object is a misconfigured plugin”

If you enable a plugin and then see the error message “<plugin name> is a misconfigured plugin”, this implies there is probably no start.php file in the plugin’s directory. If you are installing a plugin called “test”, there will be a test directory under mod. In that test directory there needs to be a start.php – file: /mod/test/start.php.

You have three options for fixing this:

• Repair the problem (If permissions issues are found, fix permissions. If no start.php is found, put an empty start.php there.)

• Create an empty file called disabled in the /mod directory. This will allow you to disable the plugin through the Tools Administration page.

• If all else fails, remove the problematic directory from /mod.

3. Extending the external pages plugin to include more static pages

Say, we need to add a FAQ page to the list of standard external pages.
You may follow the following sequence of activities for this-

Download external pages pluginand open the downloaded plugin.
  

a. Search for the file en.php and seek the following line-

‘expages:privacy’ => “Privacy”, 

Add the following code after this line- 

‘expages:faq’ => “Faq”,

 

b. Search for the file footer_menu.php and seek the following line- 

<a href=”<?php echo $vars[‘url’]; ?>pg/expages/read/Privacy/”><?php echo elgg_echo(‘expages:privacy’); ?></a> | 

Add the following code after this line- 

<a href=”<?php echo $vars[‘url’]; ?>pg/expages/read/Faq/”><?php echo elgg_echo(‘expages:faq’); ?></a> |

 

c. Search for the file menu.php and seek the following line- 

  <li <?php if($type == ‘privacy’) echo “class = ‘selected'”; ?>><a href=”<?php echo $url; ?>privacy”><?php echo elgg_echo(‘expages:privacy’); ?></a></li> 

Add the following code after this line- 

<li <?php if($type == ‘faq’) echo “class = ‘selected'”; ?>><a href=”<?php echo $url; ?>faq”><?php echo elgg_echo(‘expages:faq’); ?></a></li>

 

d. Search for the file edit.php and seek the following line- 

else if($type == ‘privacy’) {

  $external_page_title = elgg_echo(‘expages:privacy’);  

  } 

Add the following code after this line- 

 else if($type == ‘faq’) {

  $external_page_title = elgg_echo(‘expages:faq’);  

  }

 Save all files and upload the modified plugin. 

4. Remove “Friends” option (From Profile)

We might need to do away with the friend feature on a network wherein we want all folks to be able to contact other members easily and without such tasks as adding and deleting of friends. For this, we can proceed as follows-

a. Removing Add/Remove Friend option – 

Edit the relevant code action lines in profilelinks.php at – 

C:\XAMPP_Folder\htdocs\live\mod\profile\views\default\profile

 

b. Removing Friends/View Friends of option – 

Edit the relevant line of rendering code in links.php and linksownpage.php at – 

C:\XAMPP_Folder\htdocs\live\mod\profile\views\default\profile\menu

5. Miscellaneous customization points –

a. Extending the Top Menu bar

Edit elgg_topbar.php at –

C:\XAMPP_Folder\htdocs\live\views\default\page_elements

b. Editing the footer-

Edit footer.php at-

C:\XAMPP_Folder\htdocs\live\views\default\page_elements

c. Editing Custom Login Page (Index Page)

Download the mod called custom index (not the one available by default) and edit the index page in the root of the mod’s folder to suit your requirements

d. Editing the Spotlight area content-

This involves editing the default.php at –

C:\XAMPP_Folder\htdocs\live\views\default\spotlight

e. Customizing tabs in the river dashboard activity-

This involves editing nav.php at –

C:\XAMPP_Folder\htdocs\live\mod\riverdashboard\views\default\riverdashboard

f. Customizing Bookmarks –

Edit the start.php filed under the root of plugin folder of bookmarks

g. Remove/Add Drop Down menu (Top Navigation -> Tools) items

  Edit the parameters for the particular item in topbar_tools.php at-

  C:\XAMPP_Folder\htdocs\live\views\default\navigation

B-School Markup

Since I have been transitioning from my ‘tech’ blog to consolidate all of it here, here’s one from the stuff I did last year at my b-school.. well, some of it!

I’d been lately involved in a few crash-time development scenarios.
Not that they’ve been nifty hu-ha ones but then reasonably good to do is what I would term them.
While one involved customizing a WordPress installation, the other was a table-less template written in XHTML and CSS.

Here are the screenshots and links (you can click on the respective image area to open the associated portals) –

Klueless 5 and Utsaha 09

Vista :: Customizing Notification Icons

I experienced this peculiar problem today when trying to activate the Power notification icon after it mysteriously disappeared from my system tray. To my amazement, the Power checkbox had become frozen and therefore I could not select and get my icon back.

When I opened the Customize Notification Icons dialog box, I found plenty of other icons lying there for applications I had removed long back – but no signs of my dearie dear Power..!

The reason behind this is the Explorer caches a list of every icon that appears through its interface and over a period of time this list could go up to hundreds or more.

The other issue is that Explorer keeps these items in memory somewhere, so it also causes bloat, but we can reset this list through the registry and by restarting Explorer. Note that this will remove any settings you had set for the icons.

To get to the dialog we are talking about, right-click on the notification icon tray and select Customize Notification Icons or go to the same through the Taskbar properties –

Run regedit.exe through the Start Menu -> Run command, and then browse down to this registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\LocalSettings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify

Now you will see two entries in the list: IconStreams and PastIconsStream. Select both of them and delete. (You may want to take a backup with the export function before doing this) –

That’s it, done..!

All we need to do now is to restart Explorer.exe through Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc).

In order to do so, we select explorer.exe from the list and choose End Process and subsequently click on the File menu (Alt+F) and click on New Task to specify explorer.exe in the same and then press OK.

Now your Customize Notification Icons dialog box should show you a very clean list of items, but note that any settings you had will be reset to default. 

Please note that some icons might disappear entirely until you reboot your computer.