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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dig into Chrome extensions to personalise your browser experience

Google Chrome extensions allow you to customize your browsers with features you like, while keeping it free of any clutter that you don't use.

The best part is, you don't have to be a techie to have fun with the Chrome Extensions!

There are extensions that serve you the latest news or notify you of unread emails. Others let you easily access your favourite web services from icons next to your address bar, and there are lots more. There are thousands extensions to choose from - fun, shopping, blogging - the choice is yours.

Check out details.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Astro New Web Site

I visited Astro at Damansara Uptown and they told me to comment on the newly launched website;

I am no Astro subscriber, just went there to do something.

My guess is that this is a revamped website.

According to the person promoting it, it is supposed to replace freely distributed magazine, which is now non-free.

So, the website now caters for many functions which include checking out your bills and all sort of content navigation.

This is a green initiative and good for Astro, bad for the printing industry.

I think in a few years to come, printed material will be classified as premium; very high class and expensive item.

Brace for change!

And about my comments for this new website, I wrote there 'ok lar, the color a bit dull'.

Sure, my guess is that the design template must be crafted out of some CMS (content management system) template. Joomla or Drupal or etc ? What do you think ?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

VB6 Round

The default 'round' function in VB6 is actually a round-up function.

2.567 round-up to 1 decimal is 2.6.

So, how about round-down ?

2.567 round-down to 1 decimal is 2.5

Ok. First of all the functions of 'cint', 'clng' will automatically perform round-up.

This means that let's say 695 divide by 60 = 11.5833333333

If you use an 'integer' type variable to store the result of 695 divide by 60, you will get 12 automatically (instead of 11.583333)

So, you have to make use of 'double' type variable to store the result.

Then, when I want to round-down to zero decimal. My solution is to make use of string shifting, by locating the position of decimal point and then perform left or right substring.

The solution that works for me is (for round-down to zero decimal point).

Dim myTotal As Long 
Dim myTemp1 As Double 
Dim myTemp2 As String 
Dim tempPos As Integer

myTemp1 = Round(myTotal / 60, 2) 
' look for the position of decimal point 
tempPos = InStr(1, CStr(myTemp1), ".") 
If tempPos > 0 Then 
myTemp2 = Left(CStr(myTemp1), tempPos - 1) 
Else myTemp2 = myTemp1 
End If 
earlyHH = CLng(myTemp2)

Ok. Now the question is this the best method ?

Or is there a mathematical alternative to this solution ?

To analyse this question, let's first take a look at how floating points are represented in computer process.

It is represented using IEEE standards, which consists of three components;
  • Sign
  • Exponent
  • Mantissa
In other words, the decimal point or the fraction point is not permanently being represented. It is only represented in logic or computation.

Refer to here.

It suggests that 'Rounding' belongs to transcendental mathematical functions as compared to algebraic functions.

Therefore, to process round-up or round-down, you need to have logic. Plus, minus, divide and multiply is not enough. Knowing the position of the fraction is a must.

So, the logic of round-down is actually more simpler than round-up. I guess this is why the default 'round' function caters for round-up.

For instance..

Round Up:

2.5 --> (round up via logic) 3

Maths --> 2.5 + 0.5

2.4 --> (round up via logic) 2

Maths --> 2.4 + 0.4 = 2.8 = 2 (if fraction still exists, then ignore).

Round Down:

2.5 --> (round down via logic) 2

Maths --> 2.5 - 0.5

2.4 --> (round down via logic)2

Maths --> 2.4 - 0.4

In VB.NET, there is a function 'System.Math.Truncate' where you can obtain a double by cutting away the decimal, similar to round-down. However, it is not a full round-down function.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) - Kicks Off By October 2010

What is Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

It used to be called Microsoft Partner Program (MSPP).

Now it has a new name and some new cool stuffs.

In MSPP, there will be 4 types of membership.
  1. Registered Member (free)
  2. Subscriptions
  3. Small business specialist
  4. Partner
Now under MPN, there will be just 3 types:
  1. Community (free)
  2. Subscriptions
  3. Competency
They want to make it simple as compared to previous MSPP where it requires a lot of steps to get even into ISV under subscriptions level. Now, all you have to do is to complete four steps:
  1. Sign in (using Windows Live ID)
  2. Join MPN
  3. Complete your profile
  4. Place an order for subscriptions
Under 'Competency' level, there are two types 1.) Silver and 2.) Gold. Basically, for you to get into the competency level, you have to go through at least one time of subscriptions level which consists of two types of Microsoft Action Pack (MACK); 1.) MACK Solutions Provider 2.) MACK Design and development. To subscribe for MACK, you need to have a company web site (for verification) to show that you are really in the business of IT, otherwise, it is illegal. In order to get into 'Competency' level, you have to go through certain assessments.

Differences between MACK Solutions Provider and MACK Development and Design ?

MACK Solutions Provider:
  • Cost: USD 279
  • Technet availability
MACK Development and Design:
  • Cost: USD 379
  • MSDN availability
  • 10 hours of advisory services.
Since it is the vision of MPN to cater for the concept of community for developers, thus all subscriptions and competency levels will be entitled for free access to online technical community portal known as 'Partner Online Technical Community' where you will gain the advantage of ask-technical-questions and get-sure-reply-from-Microsoft.

This is pretty cool, it means that if you are wondering how to 'reduce CPU utilization' of your application, you can post your questions there and someone from Microsoft or from the MPN community will attend to your shortly. According to Ms.Pauline Lee (Regional Program Manager), they will guarantee that any questions will be attended to professionally.

MPN will official start by October 2010. The cost for silver competency is USD 1605 while for gold competency is USD 3135.

And finally, the once famous term ISV (Independent Software Vendor) program is retired. The ISV program was used to be bigger term for Microsoft Action Pack (MACK). ISV has now become a type of competency, which to me means software house.

Just one more thing. Microsoft Pinpoint is a feature under MPN which will help partners (either silver or gold competency) to get sales lead. Potential customers which browse through Microsoft related website for solutions will be routed to respective partners based on competency area. For instance, if you are competency in terms of business analytics, then potential sales lead for such will be routed to you. This can be helpful for local companies to gain international exposure.

Friday, August 06, 2010

BT Selects Juniper Networks MX Series for Global 21CN Deployment

Juniper Networks  announced that BT plc, one of the world's leading providers of communication solutions and services, has chosen Juniper Networks MX Series Universal Edge Routers as a strategic Edge platform to support 21CN service deployment outside the UK.

'We chose Juniper's MX Series for the unprecedented scalability, performance and reliability it can deliver across the network as we introduce the final phases of our 21st century network,' said George Nazi, president, 21CN Global Networks & Infrastructure, BT. 'This will help enable us to serve customers and market sectors where throughput, reliability and resilience in the network infrastructure are non-negotiable. Juniper's vision focuses on the new network philosophy, which aligns perfectly with BT's objectives for 21CN, so this latest collaboration is a perfect fit.'

To be deployed in BT's global core network to provide large scale Ethernet and high-speed MPLS VPN Services, the MX Series will also provide support for applications such as intranet and extranet multicast VPN for customers around the world. In addition, the MX960 will be used in the first of BT's edge network deployments, created specifically for the high-speed requirements of its global financial services customers. The MX960 will also be used in the U.K. as BT's major Internet Peering platform.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Software Engineering - 5 Core Aspects

The followings are five core aspects about software development or engineering .

  1. Technology - language, methods and techniques, best practice, trends
  2. Architecture - best practice, analysis, creativity, trends
  3. Concept - best practice, creativity, experience, visualization
  4. Design - experience, best practice, visualization, creativity, EQ
  5. Logic - maths, analysis, IQ

You will always have to keep up with technology and always research for new and better techniques. Database, frameworks are all part of technology.

Architecture is like client-server, mobile platform, thin-client, stateless connection and etc.

Concept is like object-oriented, normalization and etc. It is more about big picture and is the direct opposite of logic. Just like macro and micro economy where the former is concept and latter is logic.

Design is design. If are you good with arts, it will help. You can improve on this area by performing drawings, photography and anything which cultivates sentimental and emotional characteristics.

Logic is the algorithm; the if-else. If you are good in maths, it will help. You can improve one this area by playing games, especially computer games.  Find out why here. Reading and getting familiar with numbers will also help.

MSSQL 2005 Express Database Size (Observation #1)

Refer to previous posting 'MSSQL 2005 Express More Than 4 GB But Still Running'

We have learned that to check for more accurate database size, you need to make use of the stored procedure called 'sp_spaceused'

Recently, I have made another observation that.

1.0 When the 'reserved' shows a number more than 4GB, you will not be able to create new objects (such as tables).

You will get the error message saying..

"Could not allocate space for object 'dbo.Tr100804' in database 'SVACS' because the 'PRIMARY' filegroup is full. Create disk space by deleting unneeded files, dropping objects in the filegroup, adding additional files to the filegroup, or setting autogrowth on for existing files in the filegroup."

where ..

  • 'dbo.Tr100804' = table name
  • 'SVACS' = database name

Refer to scenario below.

Illustration #1

Illustration #2

You can see that the 'reserved' size shows 4.19 GB and the backup database file is also quite similar to the size of 4.19 GB.

When this happened, data are still able to be inserted to the database even though new tables are not permitted to be created.

This suggests that..

2.0 When the 'data' size shows a number more than 4 GB, you really can't insert any more data to the database.

Refer to illustration #1

3.0 Conclusion for now:

Therefore, this means that the 4 GB data limit actually is quite tricky and it applies to different scenarios.

Refer to illustration #1
  • 'Reserved' > 4GB = Cannot create new objects (i.e tables), but can still insert data.
  • 'Data' > 4GB = Cannot insert new data
Based on this observation, I like to suggests that the 4 GB data limit is not a joke or a gimmick to encourage you to go for standard edition which will cost about RM 7,000.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Internet Initiative Japan Simplifies Cloud Data Centers with Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks® announced that Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJ, NASDAQ: IIJI, TSE1: 3774), one of Japan’s leading Internet access and network solutions providers, has adopted Juniper Networks EX Series Ethernet Switches in its data centers to support its newly developed cloud services under the name IIJ GIO. By deploying Juniper’s switches, IIJ was able to build the networking component of its IIJ GIO virtualized service platform using a simplified two-layer model that reduces cost, complexity and latency while increasing manageability and flexibility.

IIJ offers customized private cloud services and public services—including the IIJ GIO Hosting Package Service, IIJ GIO Remote Office Service and IIJ GIO Storage Service—from data centers interconnected directly through its high-volume backbone network. Each data center has thousands of servers and large storage pools that are harnessed through the IIJ GIO platform.

“In order to offer cloud-based business infrastructure services, it is critical to build a robust, highly reliable platform that can rapidly respond to demand,” said Kazuhiro Tokita, executive managing officer of IIJ. “Our decision to adopt Juniper Networks switches as the networking component of the IIJ GIO platform was based on a number of factors including carrier-class performance and reliability, low cost of ownership, a migration path to 100 Gigabit Ethernet and—critically for cloud computing applications—simultaneous support for large numbers of VLANs.”

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Tech Blog Malaysia Statistics (July 2010)

Every once per month, this page tells a story, of what people had in mind(of previous month). It is okay, I don't know who you are and I don't bother to find out. But this is the beauty of Internet, blog and web site analysis.

To me, this is the most beautiful posting every once per month.

Check it out yourself.

As usual, check out the analysis for 2009.

For month of Jan 2010.
For month of Feb 2010.
For month of Mar 2010.
For month of April 2010.
For month of May 2010.
For month of June 2010.

For month of July 2010, we have the followings:
  • Name of this blog
  • The brand of this blog
  • An Adobe's backend program
  • Routing protocol comparison
  • Common Windows Font Issues
  • Co-author of this blog
  • A feature of mobile phone account.

  • Total monthly traffic increased by as much as 9.14%.
  • Traffic from referring sites increased by 8.38%.
  • Google still top contributor (47.93%). Down from last month.
  • Top 5 countries (Malaysia, US, UK, India, Singapore).
  • New visitors 86.40% (down from last month).
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