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technical thinking

Useful resources for Python

I started learning Python  almost 6 months ago and used many online  stuff. Thought of sharing it on my blog.

Python Programming Language- Official Web-site

You can find the Download link and documentation here.

http://www.python.org/

The Python wiki:

http://wiki.python.org/moin/

Some other useful urls:

http://planet.python.org/

http://pypi.python.org/pypi

http://pythonware.com/daily/

http://pydoc.org/

http://code.activestate.com/recipes/langs/python/

You can search for Python documentation here:

http://starship.python.net/crew/theller/pyhelp.cgi

You can find a list of mailing lists here:

http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo

I will keep on updating this as and when I find more interesting stuff.

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Filed under: General, Software

My Experience with Ubuntu

I started using Ubuntu recently. After using Windows for such a long time, it was a bit difficult to get used to Linux, as I had never ever worked on Linux before.

Why Linux?
Out of curiosity… Yes, I had heard a lot about Linux as I was surrounded by people who use only Linux. I just wanted to see what Linux is all about. At the same time one of my friend switched from Windows to Linux. We had some discussion on the issues he faced and experience with Linux and then I decided to give a try!

What I liked in Linux?

After using it for a while (just for 2 months),
1. The very first thing I liked is it’s UI. I found it too cool. : I have heard from many people complaining about Linux UI but I really liked it, may be because I used Ubuntu 10.4 Lucid Linux directly!  It has got style, easiness and very importantly they have followed very logical structure. If a user clicks on menus, he will know whether he should go there or not. For examle, if I want to use Skype then, It’s a Application-> in Internet category. It seems most logical, isn’t it?

2. It is free: The most important factor! If I want try it, I need not to pay anything, it is completely free.  I can adopt that anytime.

3. Lots of information is available on forums/ Linux community: I found the overall help on Linux issues is really wide. There are many forums,active mailing lists, solutions are available. I mean, if you are stuck somewhere then yes, you can easily find solutions, which is great. I believe, adopting Linux need some learning part which is made easy because of this widely available information.

4. Open source: Yes, I can see how it is built. I can see Kernal code. This is the biggest advantage for Embedded people, even software developers. They can really see the in and outs of Linux.

5. Terminal/ Command Prompt: You would be surprised, why Command prompt (Terminal) is a separate point? But, I really liked two things about it.
a. It keeps record of all the commands you used, till date. You can always use these commands, no need to type them all the time or by heart them.
b. Transparent: Yes, this also helped to me a lot, I always need to see which command to give as per tutorials. So either I need to adjust those two windows or if background of tutorial is White then simply could see through the command prompt.

6. Never see any problem of Virus/ No Dll issues : This is big relief. No need of anti-virus, no problems of dlls. You can really concentrate on what you are doing. If you are a Windows user, you can really feel the difference.

7. Loads fast: The system get loaded so fast that really no time requires for booting.

Things I didn’t like in Linux

1. No Installers: (Softwares/Drivers): I really miss UI based installers in Linux. It gives big relief to user. User should need to worry about the packages needed to install, repositories and all. So, the installation of any hardware/software is a bit scary specially for non-techie users. That has to be very simple.

2. Every time password is required: Actually, this is good considering security but if a user is from Windows environment then it is irritating to enter password all the time.

But, I really liked Ubuntu Linux!
As a programming perspective, it gives tremendous flexibility. There are many things available free and you can try them. Web applications, mobile applications all the frameworks are free. You can easily use them and learn a lot. The support for forums is great. You really have great scope learning it.

I will also write about Linux- programming perspective, tools available etc in coming posts!

Filed under: General, Software, ,

GUI: Graphical User Interface

There are lots of things discussed about GUI [Graphical User Interface]. May that be a windows application, web-site or web application, GUI is what user has to deal with. We have to be very careful about it. Here I am figuring out issues regarding GUI, what the Developer should think about GUI, from what I have experienced till now as a Developer as well as user.

1. First Impression: The very first screen of the application that is home page is very important. That is the start point of the user interaction. Home page should not display a bunch of complex options or flashy animations having music at the background. The first impression has to be very simple, sophisticated and something which will surely give an idea of what all the things can be done after being on this page.
Flashy animations and music is not always preferred by the user. Instead we can give a brief instruction on where to start.
Also, on this screen user should not need to search for user name & password entry, from all the new launches and schemes displayed. User must feel comfortable with this page.

2. Keep it Simple: All uses are not experts in the computer operations. The UI has to be so simple that user can easily make out what to do, without any help. For any user who has not worked much on computer should be able to operate the application based on Common Sense. It has to be that simple.
By simplicity I mean, the ease of work. User should really find it easy to work on the system. I have seen people complaining about the e-system for the reason of complexity. They find it really difficult to do the things on computer than manual system. The reason is GUI not simple. It has not been designed keeping the target users in mind. If people get something which substantially reduces their efforts (without putting any extra efforts in learning the system), they will prefer software.

3. Decency: Decent look definitely creates a good impression than gaudy colors. UI should create a smile on user’s face every time and should not put strain on the eyes, by making it difficult to read stylish font and adjusting with dark colors. It has to be very decent appearance with the ease of reading contents, nice color scheme.

4. Pattern: The pattern followed has to be continued everywhere. It is really irritating to operate if different patterns are used. Every transaction has to be related with previous.
Users hate watching changes on every visit.

5. BIG “No” for overuse of Graphics: It really doesn’t look nice when pages start bombarding the images and animation. User has not much concern about graphics. When application takes longs to load, user is unhappy. No one loves waiting.

6. The Designer and Developer mindset: The designer mindset is to make anything attractive and programmer mindset is make things work properly. But there has to be very much concern on how user will prefer to see all things present on the screen.
For example, if user has to scroll down every page, then it is irritating.

7. No pop ups: When some pops ups are compulsory displayed, user doesn’t like that. If those are advertisement then it is not advisable. Keeps adds appearing on the screen but not through pop ups. Any ways, user has no choice than blocking the pop up.

8. Usability Vs Visibility: The only important thing about any web application is how USABLE it is than how VISIBLE it is. User is very happy when GUI is simple and user friendly. If user is getting all the things needed in a simple, decent format he is happy. On the contrary, if graphics is good, but lacks usability then it is of no use.

End Note: The software is developed to make things easy and simple. So, using it has to be pretty simple not complex. To use software application basic computer knowledge and some common sense should be required, nothing else.

** All the statements made here are based on general software application interface, end user perspective. Different domains need different treatment.

Filed under: General, Software, ,

Apache Server: Page Not Found Error [Error 404]

I had Skype already installed on my machine and then I installed Apache Server. The installation process was successful, but when I tried to run localhost page from Apache Sercer, it gave me error 404, page not found. It was quite surprising as installation process was fine. Then I found the solution as Skype and Apache both use port 80, so there was a problem.
There is a setting on Skype which will solve the problem. Follow these steps:
1. Open your Skype.
2. Go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced-> Connection.
Following screen will appear. You can see a checkbox for “Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections”, uncheck that and restart the Skype and restart the Apache Server. Your problem will be solved.

Filed under: General, , ,

Making cells Readonly in Excel using VBA

Making cells read only is the most common requirement of excel users. Here, I am explaining how to do that using VBA code. I have used MS Excel 2003 in this example.

Before you start with the code, you need to open Excel sheet & select Tools-> Macro -> Visual Basic Editor. You will see following window. Select Sheet1 and type the code:

Visual Basic Editor in MS Excel

Visual Basic Editor in MS Excel

Type following for the range of cells needs to be made read only: Following code raises message if read only cells are selected.

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
If Not Intersect(ActiveCell, Range(“A3:G4”)) Is Nothing Then
Range(“B1”).Select
MsgBox (“These cells are Readonly,So you can not Change”)
End If

Where I can apply this?

Many times we need to make some part of sheet Read only so that no one should change that part. Many times we use formula in excel sheet which never changes. You can make that particular cell read only.

Excel sheets are used to make some structures in companies. In that structure many times values are changes but format remains same and that format is used repeatedly. In that case this code is really useful.

Filed under: General, , ,

Tips for the new bloggers- how to improve contents

I attended the Pune BlogCamp for the very first time. It was arranged By Bloggers for Bloggers.
There were some points explained by speakers which I found very useful for the new bloggers, these are:

1. Reader is more important than writer: We write blog to be read by our readers. We are the source of information for our readers, so whatever content we publish has to be selective & accurate. We must take lot of effort to gather information. Take help from wikipedia, use google alerts, mailing lists, twitter. Attend events. Seek out content by other bloggers and ask permission to republish on your blog.

2. Improve/ expand: Don’t just echo, write your own contents. Many times we see the same blog content repeated again and again. People read some blogs and copy information from those blog and combine it and post as new blog. Instead of just copying information, add your own points, may be other perspectives which are not covered. The points you may have found at the time of searching information on that topic.
Gather more information and try to think on alternate point of view. Add value to the content, write something original.

3. Radical Clarity: The write up should give the exact meaning of what writer wants to say. The content should be difficult to misunderstand, this much clarity is expected. Don’t write genaralized statements. Be precise about what you have to say. Reader should get clear idea of what you are focusing on. Make the content accurate. Simplify the things rather then making them complicated.

4. Write for lazy readers: Many times reader go only through the heading and highlighted points. Most of the readers stay on the page for less than 5 seconds. This much time we get to attract him to read the detailed blog. Highlight main points you want to focus on and give meaningful heading. Give some time for good heading selection.

5. Use tradition media style: As we observe in news paper and magazines they follow some specific style of writing and presenting the information, follow it.
a. Make section pages: Make different sections so the topics will be categorized, as we see in a newspaper and magazine.
b. Use Headline and sub headlines: Write headline and sub headline for the topic you are writing about, giving the exact idea of what the blog post explains.
c. Editor: It is best thing to have an editor for your blog, this can improve the quality of content. Editor has to be the one who will read your post carefully and point out the mistakes and contribute to add value to the post.

6. Get opinions from people: Get opinion from other people on how they find the content. Do not just focus on comments you get but also try to get feedback from people. Ask people to read your blog, who will read it carefully and will give you their true opinion on how they find the post.

Filed under: Events, General

How to get Peace of Mind in today’s Fast Life?

 This was the topic I had taken for one of the essay competition. I had written it in Marathi; I am trying to translate it in English. It was very lengthy so I have shortened it to highlight the main points.

In the past people used to get fairly decent amount of time to share with family, friends and kids. Nowadays due to hectic life & lifestyle there is no time at all. We are so occupied in our daily activities that people find very little time for family, friends and relatives and even for themselves. Even school going kids have totally packed schedule, it was not so before. It shows that life is becoming faster and hectic day by day.

            At the same time our responsibilities are increasing, stress is increasing. We carry lots of tension with us 24 * 7. May that be school going student or working professional.

We are losing peace of mind!

 What is peace of mind? It is a state of mind when you feel good; you are tension free, experience good mental health!

 I would like to focus on some physiological aspects about how to achieve that state and why we lose the peace of mind?

I do believe that human nature is reactive. Our behavior is a reaction on some incident. We never lose peace of mind till everything is in our control. 

  We have different emotions like anger, pride, happiness, fear, jealousy etc as a human being. When we express that emotion it is called a reaction.

            If we don’t like something then we get angry or frustrated. If we hear any good news we get happy. If some day we are very much tired and some one says that we are proud of you, you are doing a good job, what will we feel? We will be very happy and all the tiredness will be gone!!! Why, because our mind gets fresh, we feel good.

            Now, imagine another scenario, where the boss is really very angry on you as you fail to follow deadline, you have some family problem but still you have worked hard. You can’t express yourself neither in front of your boss nor family. You can feel the pressure you carry with you. Your mind will be fully occupied. If you share this with a friend then you will definitely feel good and the entire burden will be released, your mind will be free.

So, we really need to express our feelings so our mind will be free of any burden. You can share your feelings with friend, any one close to you or you can write diary or just think on the issue what ever you feel comfortable but EXPRESS YOURSELF. This keeps us healthy.

 We have got the power of thinking. We think on each small thing that has happened with us and try to conclude things based on our attitude. I believe that whatever happens, happens for the best. We may not like it at present but it is always good for us. We are whatever we think. If we think positively we find everything positive and vice-versa. THINK POSITIVE.  It helps us grow and give lots of energy!

Many times things don’t happen the way we want them to and we get frustrated. If we can’t change them then better to accept it. It reduces the intensity of suffering. ACCEPT FACTS. It will reduce most of the obstacles on your path.

Now, some common things we hear and read every where.

Eat healthy and exercise. Healthy mind stays in a healthy body. So, it is very important to keep our body fit and to do so we have to exercise and eat healthy food. Healthy food doesn’t mean boiled vegetables and tasteless food. It can be really tasty.

Practicing Yoga, meditation really helps!

I believe that there is no single master key to get peace of mind. We have to keep on practicing good things. We need to see what suits us. We need to Self Analyze every now & then, and decide what to do. It is a life long process….

Enjoy Life! We get it once, make the most of it. 

Summary:

  • Express yourself: reduces burden on your mind
  • Think Positive: leads to positive actions.
  • Accept Facts: helps to be realistic, make things easier
  • Eat healthy and exercise: gives lots of energy to do what we want
  • Self Analyze: helps for self improvement

 HAPPY LIFE!

Filed under: General, Life

How Twitter helped me!

This is my first blog post! I never thought that I will start my own blog some time. Recently I started making use of Social Networking sites and reading blogs.

 

I would like to share my experience using “Twitter.com” as my first post.

 

            When I registered myself on twitter.com I really did not have any idea about how it works and what is the purpose of the site? I used to visit the site just for curiosity, following people and read what they tweet.

 

            I started reading links given by twitters and found them really interesting. I realized that I am getting much information without any effort. My knowledge started increasing. I never used to go and read articles every day. After joining twitter I started to.

 

I started enjoying the whole thing after I attended Twitter meet up. I got to know people who are really very senior to me and only because of twitter I could meet them.

 

For first few days I was just reading tweets and replied if I liked some post. Then I started searching for information about what I wanted to know and tweet it to share it with others. Now this keeps me updated and I learn new things every day!

 

So, I just want to thank twitter and my twitter friends for this and I would like to recommend everyone to join twitter, its really helpful!

Filed under: General

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