Question about Google searches

Anyone know how to perform a search in Google that produces unique results? In other words, if I search for weblog, is there any way that every result that is returned is from a different site by eliminating multiple results?
This seems like a very simple modification of the search scheme (to someone that does not know how the google database works).

Do you comment on your own blog?

I noticed a post on Chris Pirillo’s blog on which some idiot posing as Chris had posted their acrimonious message as a comment and Chris had to clarify himself and his position on another post. I frequently comment on my own blog in reply to questions and such. I think it is a necessity and very useful at times. Chris contends that he never, ever posts comments on his blog. Is that justified?

Looking for a job

I am back in the market looking for a job for myself. Here is the gist of my resume.

#EDUCATION
I have a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Toledo.
I have an Undergraduate degree in physics with minors in English and Computer Science from The College of Wooster.

#PROGRAMMING EXPERIENCE
I specialized in databases. I have taken courses and have 3 years of experience in database administration and database programming.
Have three years of experience in C++, C, PHP, Perl, shell scripting, Visual Basic and VSE.
Have a working knowledge of Java, Javascript, UML, all of .NET, ASP and WML.
Can read most kinds of code and excel at debugging and bug tracking.
I work with at least three different open source applications.

#SYSTEM ADMIN EXPERIENCE
I have over 5 years of experience with system administration in Operating Environments including Windows, UNIX, Linux and Macintosh. I am a Macintosh Certified Technician.
I have a fair amount of professional security and networking experience including security audit analysis and networking code analysis.
I have taken classes in and have a good understanding of wireless technology including cellular technology and IEEE 802 range and Bluetooth technologies.

#PROJECT MANAGEMENT & CUSTOMER SERVICE
I am very good with people. I love interacting with people, am not shy or afraid of public speaking and consider my candid nature and my ability to connect with people to be one of my major strengths. I work really well singly and with groups of people.
I am fluent in English, Hindi and Bengali and have a weak working knowledge of French.

#OTHER IMPORTANT ASPECTS
I am willing to relocate to any part of the world and will be requiring sponsorship to work in that location (beside India). I am very flexible with travel and working hours. I am willing to make travel upto 90% of my working hours.
If you or your company are interested in talking further with me or would like to know more about my experience or background or would require references, please contact me at dinki at mac dot com.

Here is a link to my latest resume.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Ever since I have been taking lots and lots of digital pictures, I have noticed that I am looking at things from a very different angle. I noticed my faucet dripping this evening and the drops glistening in the evening sun. I noticed the rain clouds dissappearing over the horizon and clearly saw the silver lining in the clouds. I took a very nice picture of Jennifer’s cousin yesterday. She looks like a very young Kirsten Dunst. Take a look in Pictorialis.

I have been taking lots of pictures in the meantime and here are the links to them.
My own gallery and Jennife’s gallery.

In other news, I am spending a lot of time looking for work, doing interviews and getting my stupid thesis signed in time for graduation. Life is fun, but very hectic. A little code keeps me in line. 🙂

Changes to Pictorialis

I have made some small changes to Pictorialis which are reflected in the new download.
– Two different methods of creation of thumbnails
– Choose a small area of the picture
– Chose whole picture
– Now has the ability of using NetPBM instead of GD, option in wp-admin/post.php
– Better upload code, faster processing
– Addition of extra code to weed out posts with no pictures. This blog now produces thumbnails of posts which have pictures and thus pictorialis can now be used as a full text blog as well without penalty.

There are some more updates and fixes planned, they will come as and when time permits.

How to make Gmail popular

I know that a lot of really technical and judicial documentation and articles have been written and published about Gmail already. However, I have felt that they lacked any insights into what would really make that service popular. Even though there are screenshots available and Matt and quite a few others have gotten to beta test that service already, GMail is still an enigma for most of us. I guess Blogger users (in random) were chosen to be given a GMail account and I seem to be one of the ones that are not chosen 🙁
In the meantime, here are some things which could be done to GMail to make it more popular to me:

1) Ability to check other email accounts built into the system. I would really like to be able to receive emails from other providers through either POP3, IMAP or HTTP mail services such as Hotmail and Yahoo. That would increase the value of GMail to me tremendously.

2) I really couldnt care less if some person at Google was reading through my email (which I am sure is not the case, just some dufus computer) but I would really like assurances that my information would not be used for anything else but ads on my email pages. If I get any notion or suspicion of any hanky panky with my personal information, I am outta there. In other words, respect the EULA, dont send me spam, protect my email address from being harvested from the Google server and do not, under any circumstances, sell my address to anyone. I dont care how many text ads you put on the interface. Period. And….ummmm..no popups please!

3) I am really looking to consolidate my email services. I do this with Outlook right now. I have all my email addresses setup to be checked on Outlook and the application is set to delete all email after 10 days on the server. This gives me a chance to get the messages downloaded on another machine before getting deleted in case something goes awefully wrong somewhere. GMail should provide this sort of an integerated experience. This thought becomes even more pertinent when considering the fact that GMail provides us with this huge amount of storage which I could use as a possible main or backup solution for my email aggregation.

4) GMail should be only about email. At least GMail should provide the configuration option to be a pure email application. I really am not interested in reading news or RSS feeds through my email application but would like to see advanced email features. I want signatures, ability to do all kinds of monkeying with my email and would like to see a vertical reading pane if possible.

5) There should be some sort of auto check facility. This could be as simple as an open browser page which refreshes every so often (configurable of course) and shows the newly received email on that page. So, instead of opening up Outlook and leaving it open all day, I could open up a GMail window and just leave that open all day. Problem solved satisfactorily.

6) SPAM filter. I would really like to see a good spam filter on GMail. I have read very little documentation on the spam filter properties of GMail but am really really happy with the Spambayes that I use with my Outlook. Something like that would be great in GMail.

7) One click book marklets. Or at least integeration of GMail into the Google toolbar. That would be awesome! If the toolbar could check your email and tell you when you have new mail, have a short preview or something, that would just baste my turkey! Also, a Mozilla compatible toolbar would be nice or I will have to rewrite all of that code to work with the present incarnation of Google in Mozilla. Bookmarklets could be used to highlight and click from a browser window to send email directly through GMail. Those are some very powerful possibilities.

8) Heh, last but not the least, I would like an account to test with. Matt has one and so do many other people. I really need to get lucky with that one! 🙂

More ideas coming up as and when I know some more about GMail.
PS: for those of you that still think this was an April Fool’s joke, think again.

Reasons for Oldsmobile’s Demise

Jennifer, my girlfriend, owns a 2003 Oldsmobile Alero which was a steal. The car looked nice and compact, it was nice and responsive and came with a lot of bells and whistles. When she had purchased the car, Oldsmobile was touting low prices and low interest rates to compnesate for their eventual demise. However, they had mentioned something in their commercials over and over again which did not strike me as strange at that time. They kept (and still do) talking about how they would provide service and parts for their vehicles well after Oldsmobile is officially no more. I now understand why parts and service are so important.

That is because the latest Oldsmobiles are very poorly made. Period. As a simple example, here is what is happening with Jennifer’s car right now. I had (stupidly) pulled out the bench rear seats to put on a seat cover and had expected the seats to fit back in their slots once I was done with the covers (just like any other car that I have ever removed the seats on). Alas, that was not to be. I got one side to fit in snugly and the other side clip was just way too comlicated for a rocket scientist like moi. I tried many many different combinations for the clip and the rung that fits inside it. After failing miserably, I tried to pull up the side of the seat that had seemed to fit and in doing that, I broke off the other clip. I was left with one broken plastic clip, a loose seat and a sweat on my brow.

After resigning from the effort, I decided to invest in some literature on the car. However, I found out that Haynes has stopped making service manuals for Oldsmobiles that are built after 2000. That was not surprising in some ways. Next I decided that I should probably purchase the clip that I broke. No surprise that I cannot get that clip anywhere else but at the dealers’ or at a junkyard. I am dreading to think how much a couple of plastic clips are going to cost me, but that is news for another day.

Moral of the story is that before you buy an Oldsmobile, without taking my word for it, do yourself a favor and ask around. Ask Oldsmobile owners what they think of their cars and how well they have lasted. Even better yet, check out some reviews for Oldsmobiles on the web. You just might change your decision to purchase that particular brand of cars.

Unamerican?

So buying a “Japanese” automobile is Unamerican? This “Unamerican” concept really baffles me. America is known to refer to Chrysler as one of the “Big Three” American car manufacturers. Is this still true after the merger/acquisition? So is buying a Chrysler as bad as buying a Honda Accord (64% of which is manufactured here in Ohio) ? I posed this question to a Chrysler employee and he had no direct answer for me. He avoided the question with stupid anecdotes to the situation in his company right now. So I pose the question to you.

In another arena, have you looked at the back of your computer lately, at the small tag hidden behind the mass of cobweb ridden wires behind your desk? You dont even have to go that far. While you are reading this, flip over your keyboard and look at the tag. Where was it manufactured? I always read through the tags for my TVs and other electronic equipment. Which peice of electronic equipment in your house was manufactured here, and solely here in the United States.

Turning to the t shirt that you are wearing. If you havent ripped off the tag already (unlike me) take a close look at the place of manufacture. I didnt think there was a state or a city called “Bangladesh” here in the United States. Hey, how about the coffee you are sipping. Know here that was grown? Yep. Do you know of any good watch manufacturers? UhHuh. How about food? What kind do you like the best. Thats what I thought. You say “Italian” is a suburb of New Orleans?

So are we all “Unamerican”?? Is our patriotic ferver lost? Are we losing touch with our Americana and giving in to the evil business plots of the East, South, Middle East etc (rest of the world but here)? I am caught in a dilemma. I would really like to think that I believe in this country, its people and our greatness. But I am surprised in the (recent) negativity that exists among Americans towards foreign influences, traditions and business endeavors. We make money and weild power and influence in foreign countries just like other countries do, in their own ways. My question is simple. Are we all Unamerican? If we are, who is American then?

Dont we all believe in freedom, love for life, religion and family and a peaceful, properous coexistence?

Announcing Ping-o-matic

Ping-o-matic is ready for deployment! Dougal‘s Blog Service Pinger has its own domain name. Together with Matt Mullenweg, he has created a pinger for the major blog update trackers on one page. There are many major feature upgrades planned for this webpage with many cool ideas to be explored. Major enhancements in the current version:

* Your blog name and uri are stored in cookies, and automagically filled in for you when you return.
* The pinger output dynamically appears in your browser as each ping completes. You no longer have to wait for all of the pings to complete before your browser loads the page.
* Fixed the RubHub ping so that it actually works now.
* Improved some of the error output.

Another exciting feature of this service will be its own pinging API. This site will act like a “ping aggregator” and will take care of pinging all of the other site in one fell swoop. Ping-o-matic will be the only site you ever need to ping.

Digital SLR Photography Tips and Tricks

There are a couple of items about professional/prosumer photography which have really interested me since I purchase my first SLR camera (which was a Minolta HTSI Plus). My Nikon D70 has just given me the ability to explore the possibilities and experiment to my heart’s content. I love the fact that I can shoot 400 shots without worrying about how much it would cost me. Here are the two most important features of any SLR camera (besides correct lighting).

Let’s start with shutter speed. This speed is listed on your camera in increments of percents of a second. Usually, shutter speed settings on SLR cameras run from 1 sec to 1/1000 sec. The faster the speed, the more precise and sharp an action shot will be. So, if you want to freeze a clear shot of a parachutist in mid jump before he opens his chute, set your camera closer to the 1/1000 sec speed.

But shutter isn’t the only thing which will affect your photograph. To help adjust the brightness of the light getting to your film, use your camera’s aperture settings. Aperture settings are listed on your camera in f-stops–f-1 is the widest opening, and f-32 or f-45 is the smallest. By opening your aperture setting to a higher f-number, the depth of field on a picture is increased. This means that the higher your f-stop number, the more of your picture remains in focus.

‘Everybody has probably seen photographs in which every element from foreground to background is in sharp focus, and other pictures in which only the subject is in sharp focus while everything else is blurry. The first picture is said to have more depth of field than the latter, which has shallow depth of field. For those that don’t know, depth of field, or DOF, is how deep the area in focus is, when you focus on a given subject. It’s a very powerful artistic tool.’

Source – Depth of Field for Digital Cameras

WordPress PhotoBlog New Version

There is a new version of Pictorialis out which fixes a couple of issues that were brought up with the Beta and you can download it from http://weblogtoolscollection.com/b2-img/pictorialis.zip

Fixes for this version include:
– Built in EXIF support which does not need pre-compiled EXIF in PHP
– There is a selection mechanism for versions of GD which makes sure you always get the best possible thumbnails and pictures conversion.
– This also has some file upload fixes which makes sure that the uploaded files do not get erased before the script gets a chance to grab the files.
– The installation process has also been better defined with some fixes for the installation troubles reported from the previous version.

As in the pervious version, this new version has the following features:
– XHTML compliant code
– Simple once click addition of photos, auto thumbnail and resizing
– Extraction of EXIF information from original photo and saved as meta
– Easy installation, as easy as installing WordPress
– Simple, clean design and look
– Simple navigation

My example PhotoBlog with WordPress can be found at Pictorialis

Expose’ for Windows

I really like to have a bunch of windows open while I work and I hate small little windows that overlap each other and i have to scroll around to find what I need or the windows get lost in the mass of stuff I have open. Macintosh OS X has come to the rescue of cluttered desktops full of windows with their expose’ software. WinExplosion has released a version of this software for the Windows platform, but it is not free. I have also read very poor reviews of Winexplosion. However, there is a simpler and much more elegant and free solution for those of you using Windows XP as your operating system. For those of you have have worked with Mac OS X and have had the pleasure of working with Expose’, might be glad to know that there is a free version of this software for the Windows XP platform from the Aqua Soft forums. You can get it from here.
Works pretty well and it is active development, so it can only get better. Enjoy!

The University of Toledo

I am terribly dissappointed, annoyed and extremely peeved at The University of Toledo. After having gone through the process of getting my advisor chosen, filling out the paperwork for the notice of thesis and advisor selection form, having those forms signed by the head of the department, the graduate chair, the engineering college and the graduate school, the engineering college now has refused to get my thesis signed off. My thesis has already been approved by my adivising committee and everything is done and printed for it but the official stance of the engineering school is that my primary advisor is not a “member of the graduate school” and thus does not have the right to be my graduate advisor! How does a professional institution work in such malarchy? Why was my paperwork never flagged? Why is there no process to check this sort of a problem early on in the process? Why am I at fault? I strongly believe that I have a legal grievance against the school.
This is going to take up a lot of my time for the next couple of weeks. The graduate school and the engineering college are not going help me at all (in spite of this mess being their fault) and I will have to run around to get everything redone and resigned. I am not sure whether I will have to redo everything or not, but I can only hope for the best. I just think that this is the lowest of the low.

Yipee

This should be a great week, at least I hope so. My parents are coming into Detroit tonight. I am extremely excited. I havent seen them in over a year and a half. I spent most of the weekend cleaning and programming. I really like the way my Photolog turned out and I have been able to iron out a lot of the bugs that people reported.
Luckey will have to get used to having my parents around all the time. They really pamper her and she gets all fat and lazy. Jennifer loves my parents and cannot wait to taste my mom’s cooking again.
In other news, I have finished working on my resume (link on the right) and am in the process of seriously looking for and applying for jobs. I realize the market sucks ass and I will probably have to wait for a long time, but summer is here and with all of my family here, it will be a good time. I hope I do not run out of money in the meantime. 🙂