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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Download the Google Maps for your Apps e-learning course tutorial for free

If you have an interest in GIS or plan to start using the Google Map API, then you can surely make use of this training tutorial module now being offered for free download. If not for anything else, at least the fact that it is now being offered for free should be incentive enough to download it. ;p

Google Maps for your Apps

GeoSpatial Training Services, a company providing e-learning training course modules & tutorials in the field of GIS is giving away their course Google Maps for your Apps for free.

Downloaded it and am going through it – a pretty user-friendly browser-based interface running on flash with voiceover explaining what is being taught through the monitor - nice.

Some of the things would would learn to do after completing the training module [copy-pasting it as is]

  • Add Google Maps to your web sites.
  • Add navigational controls to Google Maps
  • Geocode addresses for interactive display of points
  • Read points of interest from a database or XML file and plot the points on Google Maps.
  • Add custom icons to the maps.
  • Understand how to use free and pay third party geocoding services for plotting points

You may download the Google Maps for your Apps training module from here

via gistraining


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The 9 Theorems of Innovation at Google – Marissa Mayers

The ability to innovate and ideate are considered as cornerstones of Good designers. An Engineer’s ability to display these two qualities should lead her/him on to great accomplishments and designs.

One of the greatest innovators in recent times has undoubtedly been Google with their revolutionizing web searches and allied fields. So when a Google employee, and for that matter not just any employee, but their Vice President of Search Products & User Experience division Marissa Mayers talks about innovation and how to go about innovating, it pays to listen to her.

Calling it the 9 theorems of innovation, she goes on to talk about the philosophy and approach taken at Google that enables them to come out with their uber-cool services & products.

These theorems of innovation should be applicable in whichever branch of Engineering one may design for & needs to be inculcated on to oneself.

Posting this immensely engaging 49 minutes lecture, sprinkled with liberal dose of humor and anecdotes, she had delivered at the Stanford University a few years back – must watch.

If you are unable to watch it [bandwidth issues, maybe], then here are the 9 theorems that she talked about

  1. Ideas come from everywhere
  2. Share everything you can
  3. You are brilliant, we are hiring
  4. A license to pursue dreams
  5. Innovation not instant perfection
  6. Data is apolitical
  7. Creativity loves constraint
  8. Users, not money
  9. Don't kill projects, morph them

Marissa Mayer’s bio on Google

via formloves


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Suggest related posts from your blog to your readers with the LinkWithin widget

Okay this one has to a quickie, cause I ought not to be in front of my terminal right now but sitting adjacent to it.

Suggesting your blog readers additional post to read from your blog, that are similar to the ones they are currently reading would be a nice way to constructively engage your readers. If you are a Wordpress user, then it, I believe, is pretty simple. For those of us using Blogspot, we had to get down & dirty playing around with CSS & HTML to enable it – no longer.

LinkWithin widget for blogs

LinkWithin is a nifty widget that allows you to show your readers posts that are similar to the ones they are viewing. Just enter a few details & on clicking on the Get widget button you shall be provided the simple instructions to add the widget. On doing so – voila!! related posts for your blog are enabled.

This widget can also be used for other blogging platforms [so they say – haven’t checked]. The relevancy of the post they have been suggesting for my blog is actually pretty decent – some irrelevancy here and there but overall I’ve had nothing to complain up till now [45 minutes to be precise] . Probably higher post count would display better relevancy – I have 129 in this blog [not counting this]. They also say relevancy would improve with time – lets see.

I would have preferred a plain text URL-based suggested list, as opposed to the thumbnail-based one they provide. Also the widget appears not to be centered along my blog post [adding the div align tag too did not work]. Page loading time appears to have increased noticeably, but not alarmingly I feel. Will write to them with my suggestions & feedbacks.

Do give it a try – looks pretty effective to me.

Note: clicking on the thumbnail takes you to an outside link before re-directing back immediately to the post whose thumbnail you clicked on – did a quick Google – nobody seems to have raised an alarm – so I guess its okay.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges

Some time back, Dr. Kota Harinarayana had delivered a lecture titled Towards Development of Complex Systems – Issues & Challenges, at the Bengaluru branch of the Institute of Defence Scientists & Technologist [IDST]. Using the Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] as a case study he talked about the approach taken to design a complex system like the LCA program and technological innovations that are borne out of such a program. A highly enriching lecture coming from someone who is rightly called the father of the LCA program.

Posting the transcripts of the lecture – Must Read.

Trivia: The Tail Number of all current LCAs, start with KH, in honor of Dr. Kota Harinarayana for his contributions to the program.

Light Combat Aircraft [LCA], Tejas

Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(1) 20090818Harinarayana02(2) 20090818Harinarayana03 (3)
Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(4) 20090818Harinarayana05 (5) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges (6)
Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges (7) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(8) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges (9)
Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges (10) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(11) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges (12)
Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(13) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(14) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges (15)
20090818Harinarayana16 (16) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(17) 20090818Harinarayana18 (18)
Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges (19) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(20) Dr. Kota Harinarayana: Development of Complex Systems – Issues and Challenges(21)

First picture courtesy Wikipedia


Sunday, August 16, 2009

WTF was this Pakistani thinking?!!!

Every time I tell myself I’ve seen it all as far as Pakistanis are concerned, some enthusiastic Pakistani invariably rises up to the occasion to proving me wrong and does so so convincingly, that you can not help but start questioning your own judgment for drawing conclusions about Pakistan & Pakistanis.

via Napaki


Suggested reading for the weekend

Suggesting some highly readable material [IMHO of course] that I went through this week & again went through it, owing to the sheer awesomeness I felt on reading it the first time. Listed them in no particular order.

Of the six, though, I’ve read only five of them completely. I started reading the English version of Anandamath only yesterday. Though yet to read it fully, the sheer force of literary excellence that it hits you with right from the first page leaves one with no option but to include it in this weeks list, even though only 23 pages have been read. I might just post it again as suggested reading once I finish reading it ;).


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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy 63rd Independence Day India

Today on the 62nd year of our country’s Independence, I wish all my fellow Indian citizens & Indophiles a very Happy 63rd Independence Day.

Flag of the Republic of India

For 63 years we have been marching ahead and have proven critics & skeptics wrong, almost with sadistic pleasure, with their predictions of our eventual disintegration & disarray.

Not only has our sense of Nationalism grown stronger each passing day [patriotism was never in short supply among Indians], but also our country’s accomplishments & achievements in each & every sphere of life is growing by the day. Our Engineers are rated to be among the best. Our country’s educational system receives a backhanded praise from none other than the POTUS . Our doctors too have been similarly acknowledged both within and outside. Our Space program is earning laurels the world over and other countries are eagerly approaching us for their requirement. It is soon to expand & travel further into the frontiers of outer space. Our Scientists are currently engaged in some pioneering work that would be hailed as nothing short of revolutionary when completed. Their efforts are not going unnoticed as they are being recognized for their efforts the world over.

Today, we are being courted by the pioneering countries of the Industrial Revolution. We proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with them on the world platform, a sign of their acknowledgement of our inevitable rise as a developed nation in the near future. We are being recognized as a country that is going to play a major role in the future world scene.

Forever at the mercy of quasi-evil entity called the IMF till the early-90s, we have successfully escaped from its clutches & now is actually a creditor nation at that institution – giving money to the needy nations of the world.

Being born in India, to me, ensures that every moment of my life is enriched with a source of inspiration to challenge, excel & exceed. If there is one thing that an Indian will never ever run short of, that would be inspiration and motivation provided by the deeds of fellow Indians who have rightly earned their place as the stalwarts and torchbearers for the world in their respective fields.

However, at no point of time must we be lulled in to complacency with these fleeting moment of glory that we definitely must cherish, but remain hungry for far greater achievements and accomplishments with its associated glory. These accolades that we receive the world over is not solely for what we have achieved till now, but also for what we are expected to achieve or rather predicted to achieve based on our current performance. We as the proud citizens of this wonderful land called India must strive not only to make their predictions come true, but must take it upon ourselves to exceed their benchmarks for predicting the glory we shall/must attain.

We owe it to our rich and prosperous history and culture to not only regain our past glory but to build upon it and exceed it. The Mauryan empire must continually be  at the back of the mind of every Indian to remind us of our glorious history and what we must strive to achieve and surpass.

Let it be made clear though, that we do not seek to expand by making our physical presence, by occupation, felt in our quest for expansion and growth. Our expansion is to be attained by becoming a constant source of inspiration, aspiration and a provider of constructive influence and guidance, whose company each seeks, and everybody flourishes and progresses under such mentoring. Such is the type of expansionist power that we need to cultivate and posses.

On this historical occasion, I wish to convey my deepest and sincerest sense of gratitude to our country’s Scientists, Engineers, Doctors and all those who are striving for the cause of nation building. I too am preparing myself to join you and assist you in your efforts to build a prosperous, progressive, advanced nation called India.

However, all these accomplishments, achievements, glories and advancement would not even be remotely possible without one person – the unnamed, unsung, often scorned soldier of the Indian Armed Forces. His daily sacrifices and valor in the most inhospitable areas of land, air and sea, for the people of this country most of whom he/she would never ever meet or get to know, ensures that we as citizens of this country can continue with the way of life as we know it. He eliminates threats meant to eliminate us and takes up the bullet meant for us. If all that they ask for, in return is humane civility in matters concerning him or his family, is it too much to ask for.

My head shall remain eternally bowed in front of you in gratitude and service, dear soldier – no amount of praise or words of appreciation would ever be enough to thank you for the service you are rendering every day to your Motherland even as I sit comfortably in front of my terminal typing this.

Vande Mataram - Anand Math - Hemant Kumar [Male version]

Jai Jawan....Jai Kisan....Jai Vigyaan!

Bharat Mataa ki Jai!

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Send a SMS to a planet located far, far away

Okay, its more like sending a tweet to a planet far far away as you are restricted by 160 character limit, but since the rags have gone in to town saying send a SMS, me too sticks with it – send a SMS.

You now have a chance to send a SMS far beyond our Solar system to a planet that is 20.3 light years away from Earth.

Hello from Earth

COSMOS magazine, as part of the National Science Week in Australia & International Year of Astronomy 2009, has decided to send a signal to the planet Gliese 581 d, that would contain all the selected messages. Gliese 581 d  is a planet that Scientists believe has all the necessary conditions to support life. Hence has a high possibility of having an actual, possibly intelligent life form that would be able to receive our signal and decipher our message.

The messages would be transmitted from the ground station at Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex on the 24th of August [around 10 days from today].

To get your message onboard the radio signal, you would need to register & put in your message here. Following your submission, to learn your result, you’d probably have to wait for 15-30 minutes to find out if your message has been approved by the human moderators for beaming. Once approved, sit back & wait for our message to travel a distance of 20.3 light-years. Thus a reply from them would take a minimum of 40.6 years.

Assuming they have a efficient, sincere bureaucratic system not afflicted by the maladies afflicting ours [India’s] – a reply from them might just coincide with the time people of my generation would start retiring from work. A nice move for popularizing Science among the young around the world, I must say.

FWIW, here is the message I entered & was approved

May this message find you all in the best of health. Would love to hear from you & learn about you, if you do exist. Please exist & be a kind civilization.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Russia’s Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft PAK-FA

An artist's impression of Russia’s Fifth Generation Combat Aircraft, PAK-FA, expected to make its first flight by the end of this year. In fact, a twin-seater variant is being co-developed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for induction in to the Indian Air Force and is called the Fight Generation Fighter aircraft [FGFA].

Till we get to see the real thing, feast your eyes on these beauties, which may or may not be how the actual aircrafts turns out.

PAK-FA Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft
PAK-FA Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft PAK-FA Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft
PAK-FA Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft PAK-FA Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft
PAK-FA Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft PAK-FA Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft

Thanks Dulles


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Open URLs and send emails with ease using Text2Link

Recently installed this nifty add-on in Firefox & Thunderbird – makes me miss Opera even less :).

Installing the Text2Link Add-on in Firefox & Thunderbird enables features similar to Opera’s Go to Web Address, but with better implementation IMO.  Allows you to select & open a link, even if the URL is not marked with HTML tags & is simply posted as text.

Why better than what Opera does

  • You get the option of selecting where you want the URL to open – same tab, new tab or a new window.
  • You also need not highlight the exact URL to open it
  • If a URL is anchored around a text it allows you to copy the text with a single click.

Take for example this link provided on this page.

Text2Link add-on

The URL provided in the page is posted as simple text. Having Text2Link lets you open the page by simply highlighting the part containing the URL & then choosing whether you’d like to open the page in a new/same tab or window.

Text2Link Add-on

Similarly, the add-on for Thunderbird, allows you to just highlight the email id & select the option to send the address an email, thereby opening up Thunderbird’s compose window, even if the address does not follow proper email address syntax [though there is a limit to which it can recognize email ids not following proper syntax].

A useful add-on as it is, a welcome addition to its features would be the ability to open multiple  URLs by simply highlighting them & choosing the option to open them – have mailed the developer about this :).

Add-on for Thunderbird

Add-on for Firefox


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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Get a free license for eXpert PDF Pro software

Expert PDF Pro 5 Avanquest Software, UK is giving away free licenses to use their otherwise commercial software, eXpert PDF Pro. The software lets you manage, create and edit PDF files with ease, besides having a fully functional PDF reader of its own. The complete set of features may be viewed here. It even comes with a good piece of review.

You will first have to register with them after which you will be able to view your license key.

Catch: the license is for version 5 of the software, the latest version 6 having already been released. Nevertheless, a versatile software the older version too is, as I find out.

Here is the direct link to download the file. Registration is still necessary, though, to receive the license.


Sunday, August 02, 2009