Script to change network settings

These days I’m working from my client’s office for some part of the day and continue from my office for the remaining portion of the day. This requires me to change network settings on my windows XP Dell laptop (almost) every time I boot it. This was a painful activity that I wanted to somehow get away with. If you have encountered this pain too, then read on for details on a method that worked well for me.

Today I sat down to figure out how can that be simplified. 10 minutes of googling showed up a nice utility called “netsh” which was in c:\windows\system32 folder on my machine. It provided simple ways to dump/export existing network settings into a text file and re-load/import the same from it later if required. This was all that was required. I dumped my network’s settings into a text file and created a batch file through which it could be imported back. Did this for both the networks & I ended up with two nice short-cuts on my desktop which allow me to change from one network to another in 5 seconds.

Thanks Google.

The steps that I followed in order to do this were

a) Opened a Dos Window

b) Exported the current settings into a text file (network1.txt) by typing the following

netsh -c interface dump >> network1.txt

c) Created another text file called switch-to-network1.bat [Name could be anything, but extension should be bat]

d) Opened this file in Notepad (or any other text editor) and type in the following

netsh -f network1.txt

Make sure that the bat file & text file are in the same directory

e) Right click on the bat file, create a short-cut (if desired change its icon) and put it on your desktop.

Added Kool gadgets to Blog

Thanks to Digital Inspiration (See my blog list below on the right panel) – I discovered this mechanism of improving the way I shared the blogs that I read with my readers. I not only used this newly release feature by blogger (got rid of the earlier link list) but also found a bunch of other kool gadgets that google provides.

From the list of gadgets that google has, I added the search gadget (top right) which allows a reader to search information in this blog (powered by google) but it presents the search results very nicely at the top of my blog which I liked very much.

Thanks google.

website errors fixed for IE

My wife recently browsed to my website and noticed that it wasn’t showing properly. The home page showed only the right panel (the one with my image) and the main panel was below the right panel and was very easy to miss.

I was able to reproduce the problem on IE with a resolution setting of 1024 * 768. Had missed the error earlier as the default setting on my laptop is higher than this and the problem does not appear on this. I also noticed that the ‘Contact Me’ page had similar problem over IE even with higher monitor resolution.

The problem was easier to fix (adjusted the panel widths) but considering that a good percentage (~ 48%) of visitors on my website use IE and all of these users would have seen the shabby looking site is embarrassing.

Force dot com

I recently got introduced to Force.com which is a platform from salesforce.com that allows a user to quickly build interesting & powerful data centric applications without having to write a single line of code.

A week ago, I used to think of salesforce just as an online tool to manage sales data for an organization. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that their platform has now evolved much more than just being a CRM. They interestingly have a tutorial kind of a document that provides step by step instructions for building a hiring solution for a organization’s HR team. The example provides detailed instructions on how to go about it and exposes the reader (in steps) of the power of the underlying platform. I certainly think, I might be using this a lot for building applications quickly.

For more details, just sign-up as a developer, get an account spend time on reading the documents along with trying out their stuff and you should be ready to do a lot of interesting apps on their platform with very minimal effort. The URL http://www.salesforce.com/developer/ would be a good starting point.

Shifted Residence

Last weekend I shifted my residence to a new apartment complex, Vipul Greens in Gurgaon (Sohna Road). The complex is pretty new with very few families in the complex yet – In fact, the tower that I’m in has just another family besides ours at the moment. However, the number is going up gradually and I see a lot of apartments getting ready for their occupants.

The whole shifting process was very painful. More-over, the confusion created because of it got aggravated after one family member after another started falling ill – courtesy the chilly weather in Delhi since last 10 odd days. However things are getting back to normal and I hope by this weekend, we’ll have the house in order.

Though the apartment has some really good features & round the clock security but two significant problems that I found were

a) No support for fixed line yet – The new set of towers do not have telephone cables connected. For some reason the Builder decided to go with BSNL which is now taking its own time to get this done. Because of this we do not have a land-line yet & more importantly internet connectivity from home (I’ll be purchasing a data card for my lap-top to work around this problem for the time being)

b) Satellite TV not possible – I got Tata Sky people to install the TV unit only to learn that it is not possible to do so. They tell me that they don’t have a straight Line of sight (I guess pointing to their satellite) from my apartment and hence wouldn’t be possible to get it working right. I guess will have to continue with local Cable walla for the time being.

Overall its been a good experience so far.

Recent Website Changes (upto release 1.6)

In the last couple of days, I have made quite a few changes to my website. Some of the prominent ones that I remember are

a) Added Google Analytics to various pages
b) Beautified “Contact Me” page
c) Added a Map & Directions to reach my office as a separate link on “Contact Me” page
d) removed Contact Details from Home Page and moved it to “Contact Me” Section
e) Added a link for RAC & Linked In Profile in “Contact Me” Page
f) Built a form for developers who wish to work with me on projects accessible through “Contact Me” page.

Besides Google Analytics and the last item in the list, rest all other are cosmetic in nature. Though they involve only look and feel of pages, completing these tasks do take up a lot of my time. Now it’s quite a few days since I enabled analytics on my website through google I’m yet to analyze the data that it would have collected. I’m pretty sure the usage statistics might provide me with some useful information on how & which content is more popular on my website. I’ll definitely add to my blog if I stumble upon any interesting find through google analytics.

The last addition in the website involved building a web page that allowed developers to notify me that they wish to work with me. Ever since I started working as a free lancer, I have constantly been reminded by fellow developers that they can take some time out from their schedule to help me out. I’m sure there are other developers whom I don’t know yet but can team up with to work on a bigger & complex project. So I put up a page that basically allows me to reach out to these people.

Web Load Simulator

As promised in my earlier post, here’s the description of my first completed project

The project’s goal were

a) To find the maximum number of concurrent users a web portal will be able to handle.
b) If the figure found above turned out to be less than the estimated load then also work out ways to resolve the situation.

I wrote a simple JAVA application to handle part a). Details for the same follow –

The application allowed setting up any number of page flows that users would hit [A page flow essentially defined a list of GET/POST requests to be sent to the server along with delays in between] These page-flows were defined with the help of their marketing people who were aware of typical user actions (based on analytics reports). Once the page flows are defined, the program allowed setting up the number of users that would be going through a page flow. This allowed them to simulate the actual usage scenario of their portal.

On starting the program, a thread would be created for each user and a configured page flow assigned to it. This thread on starting would hit send the HTTP GET/POST request, from the received HTML response would parse the resources (images, java scripts, style sheets etc) and then send GET requests for them – just the way a web browser would behave.

The application captured the response received for each URL for each thread and later at the end of the program generate a report that would contain the response time for each URL hit and a higher level summary.

Firt Job Completed & got paid

Yesterday I got paid for the first job completed as a freelancer. I spent two weeks working on this project and built a Java application to simulate load for a .NET based web portal – Will provide details on the project shortly in a separate post.

Though the amount is not too big, but I have two reasons to feel good about it – a) It’s my first cheque working as a freelancer and therefore it is obviously special; b) based on this work I got a longer term project with the same client [22 hours a week for next 3 months]

Overall my first completed job experience has been pleasurable. I enjoyed working for this start up – interacting with their team allowed me exposure to a different style of work & am hoping to gather some knowledge of a new vertical in the near time to come.

Momo Delhi – 5th meet

Spent last Saturday in 5th MOMO Delhi Meet held at Perot Systems Noida. MOMO is an acronym for Mobile Monday started as a casual meet of mobile enthusiasts. Read more about Delhi Chapter of the same here. This post talks about my first experience with MOMO meet. Read on …..

The venue was awesome with free snacks through out the day (courtesy Perot Systems). Despite the chilly weather, around 50 people turned up. The group consisted mostly of mobile enthusiasts, though a few entrepreneurs also managed to take out time from their schedule to attend as well – overall a good mix of audience. Unlike the Bar Camp last month, the talks were not Developer oriented but I personally got introduced to some interesting facts & products.

Some of the sessions that I liked were

Lokesh – CEO of mobisoc presented his product; Mitr which is a product suit that allows adding interesting services on a mobile phone. The demo of the product involved searching and adding services like those of PVR Cinemas, ICICI Bank, Yatra.com etc. The UI looked good and was pretty fast on the N95 that Lokesh was carrying.

Chirag Jain, VP of webaroo gave a presentation on his product smsgupshup – A Free Group SMS solution. The slides besides introducing the product itself went a step ahead and explained the strategy/focus of his organization “To get the customer” first – Money in his opinion would follow. Personally I agree with Chirag and hope that his product would prove him right. I checked out smsgupshup and found it to be a pretty useful service. Hope to spend more time on it and become a publisher there.

The other talk that I found interesting was that from Shekhar C (Tensor Technologies) on Meghdoot – which is a tool that allows sending SMS in Indian Languages. I found the demo very interesting – Shekhar demonstrated that even complex words when typed using English alphabets got converted perfectly into Hindi. I wish tools like those would start coming with default configuration on mobile phones.

Besides the above Tarun Matta presented his company’s flagship product – RockeTalk; A social networking tool for a mobile phone. Kunal (http://www.bdaconnect.com) provided some interesting statistics & his opinion of the near future for the mobile market.

Overall a good experience & thumbs up to the organizers for the meet.