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Preview: when technology is a part of the whole!

when technology is a part of the whole!

These are my accounts of technology and the technical communities around them. My "whole" includes software industry news, internet marketing, social media, blogging and interesting websites.

Last Build Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 14:49:07 PST


Solving the multi-platform challenge in mobile devices

Sat, 26 May 2012 01:59:39 PDT

The writing is on the wall is clear with mobile devices becoming mainstream business devices. In addition to the current workhorse – the PC, consumers and businesses are adopting internet connected smartphones and tablets in record numbers. The path for mobile device enablement for businesses is fragmented and full of challenging decisions. This starts from mobile application landscape being multi-platform and multi-resolution. While Android uses Java, iOS uses Objective-C, Windows Phones use .NET. Natively hitting all of these environments requires one to build multiple versions of an app and to learn multiple technology platforms. New challenges also open up with the client devices in deliver visualizations and touch enablement. How to work with multi-platform challenge Fortunately there exists a solution to this madness in HTML 5. This stack takes advantage of browser based technologies and hence can run on all of the major mobile platforms as well as desktop platforms. However, the problem of “native” looking applications remain. In addition, we need new frameworks that support these client side development methodologies. Kendo UI framework addresses these issues effectively. Kendo UI helps developers build apps and sites for mobile devices that always look and feel native from a single common code base. On iOS, Kendo UI Mobile widgets look native to iOS. On Android, they look and feel like Android apps. And on BlackBerry, like BlackBerry Apps. With Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG ) the graphics can scale up and down with ease. This is important as one tries to display charts on mobile devices with limited bandwidth. Kendo UI leverages the power of HTML5 SVG or VML to deliver animated data visualizations (e.g. Pie, Line, Bar, Column, and Scatter charts) capable of running in desktop browsers and mobile devices. Kendo UI really is an HTML 5 framework that you can use to build modern, interactive, JavaScript applications that have full support for touchscreen devices, such as the iPad . It delivers a rich framework for client-side data binding, templating, animation, and drag-and-drop actions. All delivered in a package so that one can use one set of tools to reach a wide array of browsers. Learn more about it at: [...]

Register for Community Event in Delhi–Dec 17 & 18

Sat, 03 Dec 2011 03:09:14 PST

  Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser. Stay Ahead! Keeping with the changing needs and dynamics of the IT landscape, Delhi Technology Forum presents TechCon 2011, a premier event for technology professionals in Delhi NCR. Blended with dedicated content for developers and IT pros, this event promises opportunities for learning all about the upcoming Microsoft technologies and networking with industry stalwarts. To know more about the Delhi Technology Forum, click here What will you learn   Developer Day (Dec 17) Highlights   IT Pro Day (Dec 18) Highlights       Sessions on: Windows Phone 7 App Development Developing with HTML5 Developing on Windows Azure ASP.NET 4.5 SQL Server 2012 SharePoint Development   Sessions on: Implementing Public Cloud with Office 365 Setting up Private Cloud with System Center & Hyper V Public Cloud with Windows Azure SQL Server 2012 Securing the Enterprise         For Developers Saturday, 17 December, 2011 Time: 9.00 AM- 7.00 PM For IT Pros Sunday, 18 December, 2011 Time: 9.00 AM- 7.00 PM Venue: Auditorium 3, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi Leverage the opportunity to Learn, Network and Collaborate. HURRY! Limited seats are available. Note: You are required to pay a nominal registration fee (INR 500) to cover food expenses. Why Attend? Learn the new Microsoft technologies Get your real world problems solved Renowned speakers from the Industry and Microsoft Download of speaker decks, code snippets/ scripts Exclusive coupons to attend Hands-on-labs at a later date Win scores of goodies     Use #techcondel to tweet If you have any queries,write to us at contact@delhitechforum.comor call Rishu at 9818562858   [...]

Microsoft Launches Windows Phone in India

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 02:47:17 PDT

Microsoft is today launching Windows Phone in India. These phones are,infact, the second generation of phones launched earlier outside India. Codenamed “Mango” the Windows Phones bring a lot of productivity benefits to consumers. Windows Phones are built with focus on people rather than getting tasks done or putting applications in charge. This focus on people infests itself with native integration of the phone with social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo Mail, Live Mail, GMail. Once you associate your IDs at these services, the phone automatically, integrates recent information from these sites into the phone. Let’s see where this could be useful: Let’s say I have a friend whom I have not been in touch with for a few months. He/ She moves locations and updates their phone no. in facebook. With Windows Phone, this updated number would automagically find its ways to the address book and I can call the friend on the new number. Now, if I was interested in knowing about the latest updates about the person, I could see them right from the contact details. Windows Phone captures updates from all the social networks so you are assured that you are getting the latest personal & professional updates from your friends. Facebook & Live Messenger chat can be initiated from within the app to stay connected with the friend. Microsoft itself doesn’t make any hardware by itself. The Windows Phones are being built by manufacturers as Samsung, HTC, Acer and now even Nokia. The first phone being announced is Samsung Radar. With Nokia embracing the Windows Phone platform, their devices are bound to explode the Windows Phone in the immidiate future. With launch of the Windows Phone in India, the application marketplace is now available for Indian users. At this time, only Free apps from the marketplace are available with paid apps availability coming in the month. The Windows Marketplace has over 30,000 apps currently in the market with almost all popular apps being present in the app marketplace. Some of the key global apps available include WhatsApp, IMDB, Angry Birds, Amazon Kindle and Foursquare. Some other interesting features of the Windows Phone include: · Start Screen and Live Tiles: The Live Tiles on Start show you what’s happening with everyone and everything important for you. · Threads: Start with a text and finish in Facebook or Windows Live Messenger chat (or vice versa). You can also send a text with just your voice – totally hands-free · Groups: Groups help you organize your favourite people  and you can email, text or chat with a whole group at once · My Windows Phone: All Windows Phones come with the ability to use any web browser to log in to and locate your lost phone on a map, have it sound the ringer, lock it, or wipe it. · Xbox Live: All your games are now live in one location so you can easily play solo, or use the free Xbox LIVE service to match wits with your friends from anywhere at any time. · Office Hub: Windows Phone has mobile versions of Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint for working on the go. You can ­ synchronise back to your SkyDrive, Office 365 or SharePoint sites · Outlook Mobile: You have the option to view emails by conversation and to view all, unread, flagged or urgent messages. In addition you can search for emails that aren't stored on your phone but are available on the server. You can select multiple messages and apply actions to all.  Furthermore, Windows Phone gives you the ability to open and respond to IRM emails and content. · Calendar: Meeting invitations arrive in your Outlook inbox with schedule conflicts highlighted. View the meeting details, and attendee details all in one place. You can view multiple calendars from your Exchange Server, Facebook, Windows Live and web email in one view, with appointments showing in different colours You can get more details on the Windows Phone at: [...]

Everyone wants to own this kid: HTML5

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 07:46:42 PDT

Question: A kid that everyone wants to adopt and no ones exactly knows what it is? Clue: It’s not Justin Beiber! Answer: HTML 5 HTML5 is being hailed as the next BIG thing in technology after creation of WWW. Designers have bought into this lock stock and barrel. Developers are starting to dip their feet into this technology. There is truth to the importance of HTML 5 as it represents the next version of HTML than we currently use. Also, major technology companies adopting this almost present a consensus of validity of HTML5. This next version allows for richer media, richer semantics and more application like features (geolocation, local storage, background programming etc). The only issue is that it is still years away from being formalised as a standard. Browser makers including Google, Microsoft and Mozilla are elbowing each other to declare support for HTML 5 (IE9 and Chrome already have some HTML 5 support). Windows 8 is widely rumored to adopt HTML 5 scripting for writing Win 8 applications. This race is going to continue for sometime as the standard turns mature and stable. Till then, we are likely to witness more noise than substance over this. So, in this race what tools can you use to develop HTML 5 web apps? Microsoft has two: Visual Studio 2010 SP1 – HTML 5 and CSS 3 Update Expression Web SP1 The above tools would let you setup HTML 5 pages and provide intellisense (tooltips if you will). Full fledged HTML5 controls are still a little way off. Taking a step further is the newest tool to reach the market - Adobe Edge (still in the preview mode). This tool promises to get help you create animated web content. Remember this is the same company that makes Flash (that let’s you currently create animated web content). The tools are still evolving and the browsers are still evolving as far as HTML 5 goes. Varying levels of support are being touted as  the differentiators in this race. However, this is still a moving target at best. A hidden winner in this adoption race is turning out to be mobile applications. With web applications reaching the richness of the native applications, mobile devices of all platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, RIM) are unifying in their support of HTML5. The real need of native applications are shrinking with marketplaces turning out to be search engines of mobile applications. The day is not far for one code for all devices to be a reality. The long journey to HTML 5 has just started and every tech company wants to own this new kid in town and flaunt it. At best this is a check box that every company will have to tick sooner or later. I doubt if this is ever going to be a competitive differentiator of any sort in the future. [...]

LightSwitch: A new RAD IDE from Microsoft

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:53:48 PDT

Microsoft has released its latest development tool, Visual Studio LightSwitch. LightSwitch is aimed at application developers who want to build applications rapidly. I personally think this is a good application for freelance developers who are looking to develop applications in record times. This super fast development ability of Lightswitch is provided by including a variety of prebuilt templates and tools to build business applications that target Windows Client or Windows Azure. LightSwitch simplifies attaching to data with data source wizards or creating data tables with table designers.It also includes screen templates for common tasks so you can create clean interfaces for your applications without being a designer. In addition, LightSwitch users can build forms from existing templates and populate them with data from data sources including SQL Server, SQL Azure, SharePoint and others. There also is integrated support for working with Microsoft Office for tasks such as exporting data to Excel without having to write any code. The LightSwitch Starter Kits help users jump-start their development with basic project templates for common business needs (e.g. Starter Kits for budget management, expense tracking, customer service, issue tracking, job candidate tracking, performance reviews, status reports and time tracking). LightSwitch applications can be taken to the cloud by publishing to Azure directly from the IDE. You don’t need to rewrite your application; simply change the target environment, follow the steps and then your application is published to Azure. To get started building with LightSwitch, refer to the following website: More Details: Kunal Chowdhury, an MVP from India has created an eBook on LightSwitch to get your started in a jiffy. Get the eBook from here (USD 0.99 or INR 45): Go ahead and switch on the light switch – Let there be applications! [...]

GoingNative: A New show for the Native Developers

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 00:33:45 PDT

“Native” developers – well this isn’t a reference to any ethnic developers . In the .NET world, native developers are the ones whose choice of programming language is the C++. C++ is used in many computing scenarios. When the might of Microsoft is behind .NET, these developers sometimes feel left out of all the buzz going around. And now they don’t have to. GoingNative is a monthly show on Channel 9 focused on native development with an emphasis on C++. It’s brought to you by Charles Torre(C9), Diego Dagum(C++) and Tony Goodhew(VS). The goal is to provide entertainment, education, conversations with native developers across the company and beyond. From newcomers to seasoned C/C++ vets, the goal is to provide content and code that matters to them with the primary goal of expanding minds. This show will focus on a variety of scenarios where going native makes the most the sense when maximum power and performance are key ingredients in your computational recipe. In episode 0, hosts Diego and Charles introduce the show, talk about modern C++, demo some code, then head to Ale Contenti’s office for a developer chat. The goal of the is to consistently deliver what native developers want to see, hear and code. Future episodes will include topics ranging from template meta-programming (which is really functional programming in C++) to ATL internals, COM internals, CRT internals, compilers, debuggers, C++ in the Windows kernel, C++ AMP (GPGPU) and much more. There will also be talk about other native languages and tool chains including the D programming language. External experts (like C++ legend Scott Myer, C++ creator Bjarne Stroustrup, D inventor Walter Bright, etc.) and internal experts (a la Herb Sutter, Stephan T. Lavavej, Mohsen Agsen from VC and several engineers over time from Windows, Office, Xbox, etc.)  will be joining the show for technical conversations and demos. [...]

XBOX is the real star for Microsoft

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 01:27:08 PDT

Today Microsoft reported its annual earnings. And the no. is USD 70 bn (a growth of 12%). In an environment of slowdowns across the world this double digit growth for such a large company is encouraging for the software industry. The real winner in the last year seems to be the XBOX 360 which has been breaking all records of device sales and earning revenue handsomely for MS. The STB division is lurking close to the Windows division in terms of revenue and may overtake them in an year or two. Read on for some more details. These days large corporations tend to mint money not only from their core businesses but also from their treasury operations – hence I prefer to look at their operating income. In this area, MS again outshines with growth of 13% to USD 27.16 bn. This also reflects a healthy margin of 39% on the business (Whew!!) So where did the growth come from? MBD:  This division earns the max. revenues (22 bn) for the company and is home to Office, Exchange and Dynamics suite of products. Revenue increased 16% for the full year with Office 2010 selling over 100 million licenses. Windows & Live: The second largest revenue earner for the company at (19 bn) the revenue for the full year decreased 2%. Windows 7 sold over 400 million licenses. This division suffered a negative growth of 5.7% in their operating income. Significant to note is that 75% of income here comes from OEMs. Sale of PCs to businesses grew approximately 11% this year and sales of PCs to consumers declined approximately 1%. The decline in consumer PC sales included an approximately 32% decline in the sales of netbooks. STB: Home to Windows Server, Windows Server, Visual Studio, System Center, SQL Server and other enterprise products the division grew 11% for the full year with revenues of (17 bn). EDD: The XBOX division made 8 bn and 45% for the full year on the momentum of XBOX console, Kinect, Windows Phone and Xbox Live. OSD: Online Services Division (home of Search and Advertising) grew 15% for the full year and made revenue of 2.5bn and is the only loss making division in the MS portfolio. Compare this to Google that makes over 9 bn in a single quarter. Pressure can be seen on Windows division primarily coming from the consumer angle (mainly netbooks being replaced by tablets). Let’s hope that Windows 8 currently shrouded in mystery is able to reverse this trend in favour of MS. You can read the earnings press release online. [...]

Microsoft Developer Help: Shortcuts from your desktop

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 00:37:08 PDT

MSDN forums has been the go to place for .NET developer queries forever. Every .NET developer has used the extensive documentation available on MSDN and posted queries the forums to receive community support. Taking the support to the new age, Microsoft has now enabled developers with a gadget that makes access to MSDN forums easier from their desktop. Christened as “MSDN Forum Assistant”, the feature allows users to access MSDN Forums and receive updates directly to their desktops. The Forum Assistant is delivered as a desktop gadget that resides on your desktop. You start by defining your favourite forums via the settings of the gadget. The features of the gadget include: Ask a Question: The gadget bookmarks the links to your favourite forums so that you can reach them quickly. Clicking on the forum link takes you to the forum page, where you can post your query. Forum Search: You can search using keywords right from the gadget and the results open up in a new Window. Thread Updates: Thread Updates keeps you up to speed with all the latest information from your favourite forums without having to open IE. If you have selected “Show Updates from my threads” the updates are limited to your posts only. More information on the Forum Assistant is available at: MSDN Forum Assistant Web Site: Video Overview: Download Here: While the gadget is a step forward from the MSDN & TechNet RSS gadget, I would have loved to see ability to post questions from the gadget to the choice of the forum without having to open a browser window. The real “Forum Assistant” I would like to have is the the one that integrates directly in Visual Studio and allows for posting in the forums from within the IDE. Hope it gets there one day! [...]

Windows Phone 7 Resources at one place for you

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 20:27:51 PDT

While learning Windows Phone 7 I realized that Windows Phone Development documentation and content are currently spread across multiple Microsoft web properties. There was no single place for developers to turn for the entire picture. Now, Microsoft has created 22 topic/scenario-focused web pages on App Hub, the Windows Phone developer website, that provide a comprehensive view of all the resources available for Windows Phone development. Each page provides deep topics links, high-level links to tools and key resources for Windows Phone development, and links off to the other content pages. Here’s the full list: Page Title link Windows Phone developer resources (main landing page) Silverlight for Windows Phone XNA Game Studio and XNA Framework Windows Phone Developer Tools and Device Unlock User Experience and User Interface Application and Execution Model Input, Touch and Gestures Launchers and Choosers Security Frame and Page Navigation Isolated Storage Performance Advertising Services Camera and Photos Media – Audio and Video Push Notifications and Live Tiles App Bar and Controls Location and Mapping Networking and Web Services Sensors Globalization and Localization Porting Your App or Game to Windows Phone 7 Application Publishing and Marketplace Enjoy learning the new platform of Windows Phone 7! [...]

Installing NoDo on Windows Phone 7

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 11:37:48 PDT

Got lucky today when I got the Nodo update on Windows Phone 7. My phone is a HTC Mozart Device. I produce below the sequence of steps that I had to undertake to update my phone with NoDo update. the first indication that you have the update is when phone alerts you of the same. It tells you that you will need to connect with Zune software on your PC to get the update. So, that’s what I did! Screenshots from the Zune follow: The Windows Phone 7 during the Nodo update: The Copy Paste operation on Windows Phone 7: the selection works by dragging the arrow handle once you have selected a single word. clicking on the “Copy” icon copies the selected text. I pasted the selected text from Outlook to OneNote (cross-application). You paste by clicking on the “Paste” icon in the gray bar above the soft keyboard. The final version of software on Windows Phone 7: Final OS version: 7.0.73900 The update took over 30 mins to complete. You should budget this time if you get this update. The Phone retained all the messages, mails etc during the update. Outstanding and smooth update experience! [...]

Discovering the heart and mind of the online India - 2010

Fri, 10 Dec 2010 04:20:56 PST

Internet usage is synonymous with Google  (though this is changing with advent of facebook and twitter) and this gives them the pulse of online netizens. Google has come out with 2010 Zeitgeist and it helps gaze into the minds of online Indians. So, let’s delve into it: Technology: The First love of online folks, this infested in fastest rising queries on Mobile phone brands (micromax, samsung, nokia, sony ericsson). Micromax a relatively late entrant has captured curiosity of the nation while Nokia still continues to rule the trust Indians have on the mobile phone brand. Apart from email (yahoo and gmail rule!) and social networking (courtesy facebook, twitter and orkut), Indians spent most time being musical - looking and downloading songs. IRCTC – the epic ecommerce success has been there in top lists for so long that without this the zeitgeist would seem untrue ! The only other online service that continued to attract attention was Way2SMS (and by logical conclusion – maybe profitable!). Seeked after personalities continued being from Bollywood and this year netizens went for new faces (aruna shields, sonakshi sinha, zarine khan etc) eclipsing Katrina Kaif. In sports, cricket continued being the hot favourite with “cricket live scores”, “lalit modi” and “sachin tendulkar” cornering the most searches. Of course, this was the year of the FIFA World Cup and people did look that up too. In most popular how to – “get pregnant” topped ,probably indicating the arrival of women on the internet scene. Men closely followed with how to impress a girl queries. Self improvement was not behind with “improve spoken english”, reduce/increase weight and meditate being in the most popular how tos. [...]

Bihar Elections 2010: Development or Caste Equation?

Fri, 26 Nov 2010 03:30:11 PST

This one is going to be a political post given my home state has just seen one of the momentous events that democracy could provide. Bihar Elections 2010 have culminated on an expected “unexpected” note. The conduct of the elections were “uneventful” (the term is used with reference to the yesterdays of rampant violence and booth capturing). This was expected given that Election Commission had deployed para-military forces at all the booths (with local police left to patrol thereby reducing their interference). EVM use further made the rigging impossible and results were swiftly declared to the public (incld on the web) preventing any post polls manipulations. Nitish Kumar returned to power. This was expected. “Unexpected” was Nitish Kumar and BJP sweeping 206 seats out of 243 (political pundits were predicting 170 seats for JDU alliance). This has not only left them stunned but even the NDA alliance is coming to terms with the verdict with disbelief in their eyes! RJD had come to symbolize whatever was wrong with Bihar and they lost in these elections. That was expected. What was “unexpected” was the decimation of the Laloo’s clan and his party with only 22 seats coming to them reluctantly. Congress was NOT expected to win the elections. What was “unexpected” was the resurgence of BJP in Bihar elections. BJP in fact is the one that showed the most progress in the state by winning 91 seats out of 102 they fought on. This is a success rate of 89% while JDU’s success rate was only 80%. With an increase of 36 seats over last elections, the party has come to power with no ground breaking successes to their credit. Today, the State Legislative Assembly stands in control of NDA alliance with no credible opposition. This can be a boon or bane depending on the NDA alliance’s activities in the coming days. The alliance has been making the right noises post elections talking about self control and development issues (e.g. electricity and corruption). The track record of the alliance puts them in good stead for the future. Nitish has claimed that Bihar has entered into a new phase where development is the main agenda with the electorate and caste politics is no more. Having spoken to a few local politicians and journalists, they quite quote the opposite. Interestingly, social engineering by Nitish by creating a “maha-dalit” section in the society doesn’t point to the same.  So, here is what I think happened: People of the state were really disturbed by the misrule of the RJD. The single point agenda cutting across all caste lines was how NOT to get RJD in power and the only credible alternative to RJD was NDA alliance. People thus chose to vote for NDA as an alternative to RJD. This would explain the resurgence of BJP with no activity to show in the past 5 years in Bihar. My worry is after 5 years of NDA rule, when Laloo and party are no more the nemesis would Bihar see the return of Caste politics or will it continue to be an electorate that votes for development ? Let’s hope it is the latter! [...]

Happy Diwali

Fri, 05 Nov 2010 08:48:43 PDT

Wishing Everyone a Very Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year!


Diwali for me this year is “No Crackers”. Let’s see if this makes any difference!


Microsoft CRM 2011 BETA Released

Fri, 10 Sep 2010 01:50:46 PDT

MS CRM is one of the best performing and fastest growing products from the Dynamics suite. Microsoft has just announced CRM 2011 BETA (formerly CRM ‘5’). Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 delivers users the “Power of Productivity” through familiar, connected and intelligent experiences for users inside and outside an organization in the following ways: Familiar experiences through a next-generation native Outlook client, Microsoft Office contextual CRM Ribbon, role-tailored design, and user personalization. Intelligent experiences through guided process dialogs, inline data visualizations, performance and goal management and real-time dashboards. Connected experiences through cloud development, Windows Azure integration, contextual Sharepoint document repositories, teamwork and collaboration and the Dynamics Marketplace. CRM 2011 has been built on .NET 4 and with out of box Azure, SharePoint, Office & Silverlight integration. Scenarios for Azure integration include: Extending the CRM user interface with custom ASPX pages within Windows Azure Connecting CRM to ERP systems running on premises through the Azure Services Platform Service Bus Developing commerce portals running on Windows Azure and pushing data into CRM Online and self-hosted ERP systems using the Service Bus CRM 2011 is available immediately both in the cloud (CRM Online) and as on-premises bits. You can sign up for CRM Online at CRM 2011 is expected to be released in 40 markets and 41 languages by the end of the calendar year. Final pricing and licensing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is not yet available and is expected to be announced later in the year. Microsoft also announced that the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace will enter beta later this month. The Marketplace provides an easy way for partners to market and distribute solution extensions and vertical solutions for Microsoft Dynamics customers. Customers will be able to access Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace directly from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM to search and download applications as well as directly connect with Microsoft partners. A business needs to invest only once in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and it can build an unlimited number of applications. Competitors like charge for use of the applications its customers build by user, to the tune of $50/user per month. More information about Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace can be found at: Download Links 1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta On-Premises Server and Client Bits 2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta Readme (includes product key) 3. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Software Development Kit (SDK) 4. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta Implementation Guide 5. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Beta Readme [...]

Microsoft Technology: Answers for StartUps

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 21:51:34 PDT

In one of the startup groups, there was a question on the commercials of doing a startup with Microsoft Technologies. Specifically, the question was: “I would like to know the commercial implications on developing a solution on dotnet. Is there a license one needs to purchase from Microsoft for developing a software on dotnet platform? When the software is sold then does each commercial license of  software requires dotnet license to be purchased from Microsoft ?” While many folks would already know about the above, I am reproducing my answer in order to help any startup out there looking for information on using Microsoft technologies. So here it goes: Upfront, one thing should be clear as water - .NET framework is completely FREE of cost to install. The tools to develop on .NET is a IDE called Visual Studio may be needed to be bought. However, MS has come out with various programs that give out .NET Development tools for free. These options includes FREE Visual Studio and SQL Server Express products. The BizSpark program and WebSiteSpark program offers the development tools free for all startups. So, adopting .NET development tools may be made a  zero investment effort.  .NET development shines out in the productivity boost it offers leading to quicker Time to Market for products/ solutions. In addition, the resources/ manpower on .NET can be hired for cheaper from the market. A certain degree of expertise can be assumed by folks who have .NET Certifications. When your software is sold, the customer does need to buy infrastructure technologies supporting the solution (e.g. SQL Server, Windows Server). The customer doesn’t need to buy Developer tools (and I already mentioned that .NET is FREE to install for everyone). Finally, costs to the customer on selling the software depends on the solution type you are building (e.g. if you are using SQL Server). There are free/ cheaper options available there as well. This would depend on the solution/ product you are building. Are you a startup looking for any clarifications on .NET technologies? Please feel free to post a comment here and I will be happy to answer for you. [...]

Making Social Networking sensible in Office

Tue, 13 Jul 2010 07:42:33 PDT

You’ve heard the buzz about Social Networking and how the “youngsters” are spending/ wasting time there. Mostly, you use Social Networking for keeping in touch with friends and family (read facebook or Orkut) by sharing pictures. You may have created a professional profile online at LinkedIn as well. However, all this makes no sense when you are in Office. With all the meetings, replying to emails and meeting deadlines the social networking seems a real waste of time. And you may be right! Now, Microsoft is attempting to make social networking relevant for businesses. Here’s how social networking can aid business: When you receive an email from someone, you get to see their picture with the email. This will help you remember that person who you met at the last conference and who’s written to you now! While you are reading about that person you get to see his latest updates from LinkedIn and Facebook. This gives you a sense of the person’s personality. In my opinion, both of the above scenarios are extremely useful (I know that sales folks are jumping in their seats reading this!). This brings social networking right to the heart of your business/ account management. Where CRM vendors are still trying to integrate social networking that is useful, this FREE addition to your existing tools is highly recommended. To get it working, it is a two step process. First, you need to have Outlook (2010/ 2007/ 2003) and will need to install an appropriate version of Outlook Social Connector (based on the what Outlook you are running). If you are running Outlook 2010, you don’t need to install anything as Social Connector is already installed. Second, after installing Social Connector you will add various social networking services in there. The services that are currently integrated with Outlook include: Facebook LinkedIn Windows Live MySpace SharePoint 2010 List of all providers are updated on this provider page. Now, if you are still not seeing the Outlook Social Connector pane appear in Outlook, you can go to View –> People Pane  and set it to Normal. You will get a new Social Connector pane. In that pane you will be able to see social updates that your colleagues made in social networking sites. But here’s the gotcha – The person will need to be connected to you on the site for you to get the updates from him. So, your social connector pane may look like: Apart from viewing the updates from the contact, you can do the following: Filter the updates based on the interaction type (e.g. social updates, IM updates, earlier meetings with person). You can use the section highlighted in green in the picture above for that. Add the person to your social network from Outlook itself. Click on the “+” icon below the photo and choose the network you want to get added to. This is highlighted in black box in above picture. The connectors still don’t allow you to update status from the interface. Also, the no. of connectors are too few. However, this maybe corrected in the future versions. MS Outlook team has a blog post on the same. Are you a user of any other email client – Notes or Thunderbird? What do you think of the above? [...]

Enterprise India on Security Solutions

Tue, 16 Mar 2010 07:00:11 PDT

Sometime in January, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with Vice President of Symantec in India – Shantanu Ghosh (he also has an interesting food & travel blog). We discussed the emerging challenges of security landscape in India. What was surprising is apart from viruses, spamming and phishing were equally troublesome for security professionals. An interesting discussion revolved around the declining margins for security solutions. With plenty of FREE security solutions available in the market (including Microsoft Security Essentials), Symantec would be looking for new revenue models. That’s when it came to my attention that Symantec is a big player in the online archive and enterprise security solutions as well. Since then, I had been looking to understand the challenges corporate India faces in the field of security? Recently, I discovered this abstrusely named report by Microsoft – Make Noise Check Noise. The report represents a wide variety of industries including software, telecom & engineering and included a wide variety of professionals (IT professionals, Business Decision Makers, End users and Developers). This report is based on a survey of over 1200 users in Nov 2009. So what does the report say? The key drivers identified for security spending in India were driven by: Data Security and Privacy Protecting IT Infrastructure Users voted multiple security vendors in an IT environment as one of the biggest headaches for them followed by Multiple Passwords for authentication. This is understandable as multiple vendors bring their own update policies, license agreements and different quality of support to the enterprise making their management most difficult. The hoops one has to skip when one forgets a password for an enterprise service are hidden from no one. The ones troubled by this most were the ones who create this complexity – the IT administrators. The report does end with recommendations on what could security vendors focus on: Make Security solutions simple Simplify the management of the security solution Help customer understand vendor consolidation and its benefits And now with Cloud services gaining ground in enterprises, there would be new challenges that the security vendors will need to start thinking about.. [...]

Indian Mobile Users still Far Away from Internet

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 10:26:15 PST

Here’s a question that I have been asking whenever I have had more than a handful of people around me - “How many of you use internet on your mobile phone?” And invariably the response were horribly negative. We frequently hear the great number of mobile phones that Indian consumers have been lapping up.. will this communication revolution lead to information revolution? The answer reflects in the recently released report by IAMAI. Here’s a quick snapshot of how the mobile usage in India looks like: From the hugely touted Indian mobile penetration, only 0.4% users actively use Internet. And here is what my worry is: Mobile adoption in India is leading to telecom revolution while the larger information revolution is still far away. The future of the mobile internet seems to hold some promise though. The young generation of school going and college going kids constitute around 68% of this mobile online population. When this generation grows up (probably in 10 years) they will grow this usage of theirs. So, do we wait till then? There are two main challenges I see in internet usage on mobile devices: Availability of affordable mobile handsets. Only 27% of all Indian mobile users have internet capable devices. Internet Usage rates on mobile devices are still too high. TRAI had helped reduce tariffs on mobile telephone usage leading to this explosion. It needs to take the next step and recommend lower tariffs for internet usage. The potential of mobile computing can only come true if these last two last issues are successfully mitigated by policy intervention. What do you think? [...]

Saving your computer from Virus for FREE

Tue, 29 Sep 2009 22:52:39 PDT

For years, you have relied on ratings of various FREE anti-virus software to choose the one you want for your home PC. the choice has been mostly between AVG or Avira. If you were me, you would believe that one should pay for minimum 2 softwares on your PC: Your Operating System i.e. Windows Your Anti-Virus i.e. Norton/ McAfee Now, Microsoft wants you to keep your computer safe for you. After including a world class firewall since Windows XP, Microsoft has now made available a FREE antivirus for your PC. This antivirus is called Microsoft Security Essentials. The antivirus is available as a FREE download from the link above. It is 4.28 MB of download for Win Vista/ Win 7. Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for home PC and counters viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. The software runs in the background and silently monitors the files for all the malware. It schedules scans when the PC is most likely idle and interrupts the user only when there is an action required to keep their PC secure. The software updates itself automatically with the latest definitions without any user intervention. Many of the antivirus behaviours are configurable via the “Settings” tab including scheduled scans, turning real time protections on/ off, excluded file/ file types and many more. MSE is backed up by a series of web services, including telemetry data through the SpyNet service, Microsoft Update, and a separate signature update service. The antivirus uses the same technology as the Forefront product family (meant for enterprise use). It employs practices like active memory swapping and CPU throttling to limit the impact on your PC performance, even on older or less powerful PCs. On my Windows 7 PC, the process (msseces.exe) takes zero CPU and 1.2 Mb RAM (small, fast and light). You can install Security Essentials on Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 (both x86 and x64 machines). The minimum requirement for the PC though is 1 GB RAM. It does though require a “Genuine” PC check when you install the same. If you have any questions on installation or usage, a support forum is also available to post your queries. In case you discover viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms or other malicious software that were undetected by Microsoft Security Essentials you can send these files to Malware protection Center for analysis. So take the guesswork out and install the MS Security Essentials TODAY! P.S.: If you were running a BETA of the product earlier, please make sure that you update the same to the release build. The build no. is (1.0.1611.0) for the released product. [...]

Gaming monster comes to India – Dell Alienware range

Thu, 06 Aug 2009 23:48:54 PDT

For all you PC gamers out there, there is reason to rejoice. The internationally acclaimed Alienware range is here in India! Dell has launched its Alienware M17x and this represents premium performance in the Dell consumer product portfolio.  On to some specs of the the 17” monster: Up to Dual 1GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 280M graphics processing units (GPUs)2 with SLI™ technology Configurable with Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme Quad-core overclockable Mobile Processor1 Up to 8GB DDR32 1333MHz Memory 1TB3 7200RPM or 512GB of Solid State Storage Capacity (Raid 0) Optional Beyond HD resolution with a WUXGA 1200p (1920 x 1200) Edge-to-Edge LCD design Internal Wireless a/g/draft-n with MIMO (2x2) Technology AlienFX Illuminated Keyboard NVIDIA GeForce® 9400M G1 GPU with HybridPower™ technology Microsoft Windows Vista® (64 bit) [and free upgrade to Win 7 on availability] My first impression of the machine was – it looks intimidating and big. With its alien face logo, front illuminated “bonnet” and lighted keyboard it reeks of aggression that gamers would dig. The size of the machine is not small either and it easily beats my Lenovo T61p in thickness. The machine is not light either. It is definitely something that you can’t be carrying around anywhere (i think this beast weighs over 5 kgs). So this fits more into desktop replacement category rather than portables. The machine I got to play with had Vista Home Premium (64 bit) and scored a rating of 5.7 out of a max of 7.9. My existing workhorse T61p scores 5.1. The limiting factor in the rating was the hard disk score. So, my recommendation would be to go for 500GB SSD if you are going to buy this m/c. If there is anything that I found lacking on the machine, it was the track pad on the device that wasn’t as responsive as one would expect it to be. Also, the body of the machine could have been given a better feel. currently it feels “plastic” like. So, if you are enamored by this powerhouse you will need to shell out INR 1,40,000 + taxes. OK. I never said this was going to be cheap either! At this rate, it is only affordable for a serious gamer.. Alienware is the ferrari (on second thoughts – ford mustang) of the gaming world. Blazing with muscles second to none, it is a device that gets you the look! [...]

Microsoft India launches Online Services

Tue, 21 Jul 2009 01:34:54 PDT

Cloud based services have been in focus for a few years now. From FREE online email services (e.g. hotmail, gmail) to paid online services (e.g. Google Apps, Office Online, Yahoo Premium emails), the adoption of these services has been steadily rising. The safety of these applications have been questioned (as exposed by recent Twitter docs leak).. While Microsoft had launched its service in US way back, it has now launched these services in India. These services follow the initial launch of Hosted Exchange and Hosted Dynamics. These pay as you go/ subscription based services are meant for companies who want to avoid internally maintaining these basic IT services. The service is being launched as Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. This suite includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Communications Online. Exchange Online provides email, calendaring and contact management. Sharepoint Online is a collaboration suite for managing content and workflows. Office Live Meeting is a online conference solution to host real-time meetings, training session and events. Office Communications Online provides Instant messaging and presence awareness to facilitate rapid connections between people. Currently, the Productivity Online Standard Suite (that includes all the above) is priced at USD 180/ per user per month. Individual applications can also be bought individually. The service is providing FREE trails right now. The commercial launch will be in Oct 09. Google the other player in this space provides the service at USD 50/ per user per year. However, this doesn’t include any conferencing facilities. The service details can be accessed at:  Technorati Tags: online,services,microsoft [...]

My Election Wish 2009 #indiavotes

Thu, 09 Apr 2009 00:07:17 PDT

India is going to be voting soon. I have been thinking on how we can improve the whole political process and quality of candidates. The systemic issue with our voting process has been that educated people have stayed away from voting. IMHO, the reason being they don’t want to sweat out standing in a line or going to the nearest booth for lack of simple amenities. I think there is a simple solution to the above available via technology. EC should make available voting via internet. If this made available, educated people who have access to internet and feel unmotivated to visit the election booth can vote via a very personal device – their computer. this would reduce burden on the voting booths and hence the expenditure for EC. also, the chances of fradulent/ bogus voting would be reduced as it will be difficult for anti-social elements to reach everyone’s home (rather than the voting booth). I have heard people say that internet is not available for everyone. I agree and I am proposing this as an additional channel that people can vote through. I am NOT suggesting rooting out our traditional voting booths. the next issue is that of verifying identity of people who vote via internet. until the National Social Security No. (NSSN) is not implemented, one could use PAN ID for this. A large section of people in India, who are educated, already posses their PAN ID. I already submitted my tax returns online last year. So, our income tax infrastructure is already ready for online usage. EC could simply link up the PAN IDs and make it available for voting. to avoid duplicacy, EC would still need to link up Voter’s ID with PAN ID. or it could bring out a notification mentioning people without voter’s ID could self-declare and use PAN ID to vote online. to me the challenge for implementing the above solution is political rather than technical. there exists little to NO political will to get this system implemented. This is my election wish for the year! What do you think? [...]

Microsoft makes its Web Design tool FREE

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 06:51:28 PDT

Today, everyone has a blog. Everyone knows how to design a website (atleast with the right tools). To support this new era, Microsoft is making available its web design tool FREE for everyone. This free tool (called Sharepoint Designer 2007 or SPD) has been made available at to download. Sharepoint Designer is successor of the FrontPage tools that many of the people  are already aware of. In addition, this tool has excellent support for customizing the FREE SharePoint Services app that comes with Windows Server. One might think that by releasing this software for free, Microsoft may be abandoning Sharepoint Designer. However, that’s not true. Sharepoint Designer will continue its development and next version will be released in the future. While SPD is free, Microsoft also has a professional suite of web design tools available – Expression Web. Lately Microsoft has been making available many of its tools available for FREE e.g. SQL Server Express, Visual Studio 2008 Express, Live Essentials, PhotoSynth, Accounting Express, Virtual PC, WW Telescope, Windows Defender, Windows Sysinternals and many more. IMHO, you can run your complete business with the above set of free products from Microsoft – NOT a penny to spend on MS software… [...]

New Version of Windows Live Mobile released

Wed, 01 Apr 2009 22:27:33 PDT

Today Microsoft has released a new version of Windows Live client for Windows Mobile devices. If you are using any of the Live services – Live search, Messenger or hotmail, you want this locally installed on your Windows Phone as well. the download can be accessed from:  The version currently available is v10.6.0046.0800. the exciting addition to this suite has been inclusion of Live Messenger that was earlier taken out of the Live Mobile suite. so, now u can be on IM even when you are on the move. Live Messenger works well over GPRS networks and let’s u have text conversations with your Live Messenger contacts. If you don’t want the client on your mobile, you can access Live services with web browser at: Technorati Tags: live,mobile,windows [...]

Windows Phones gets a lot of Bling

Tue, 31 Mar 2009 06:04:28 PDT

 Today the twitterverse is occupied with news of skype releasing apps for iphone. Well, that is old news for Windows Phone users: But today, Microsoft Phones are getting a lot of bling.. Here’s some of the bling it is getting: MySpace now enables use of Silverlight on their site With its rich media capability is going to be a big help to all the musicians and actors on myspace :).. Tomorrow, the SDK to develop this application will be released on the CodePlex Open Source site. In addition, Windows Phone will also be getting an app for Myspace users soon. In fact, plan is to enable Windows Phone users to experience other  social networks right from their Windows phone, including Facebook and Windows Live. Windows Marketplace for Mobile Windows Marketplace had been announced earlier (to be available later in the year) and today they talked about few additional things. Marketplace will be available as an Windows Phone application on Win Mobile 6.5. Customers will have the option to purchase applications on Windows Marketplace for Mobile with a credit card or have charges appear directly on their phone bill. In addition, people will be able to return an application after purchase within 24 hours for a full refund. Microsoft also announced today that developers will now be able to deliver updates to their applications for free throughout the application lifecycle. It costs USD 99 for developers to onboard an app in the Marketplace and they get to keep 70% of the revenue generated from their apps.  Microsoft announced it partnership with a lot of companies (representing the top-selling categories of mobile applications) who will be onboarding their apps to Marketplace including EA mobile, Accuweather, Resco, Spb Software New Themes from professional designers Microsoft has announced new partnerships with the Design Museum London and Council of Fashion Designers of America to will offer a variety of free designer themes for Windows phones. height="334" src="" frameborder="0" width="400" scrolling="no"> Make your own theme A new Theme Generator will be made available to personalize Windows phone. The Theme Generator will be available at later this year. The theme generator will enable Windows phone users to select pictures from their PC to set as background images, as well as choose colors to personalize their navigation bar, scroll bar and highlighted text. Once finished, their personal theme will be sent to their phone. Windows Live for Mobile and Hotmail A new version of Windows Live for Mobile will be available for free download this week for customers in 25 languages. Windows Live for Mobile includes mobile versions of Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Contacts, Windows Live Spaces, Microsoft Live Search and enhanced photo upload capabilities. This will be available for Windows Mobile 6.x phones at on April 2. Come to think of it, Microsoft is embracing all the good things it has learnt from the mobile developments in the past and incorporating them at a rapid pace. However, lack o[...]