Firefox World Record !

Browsers, Tech

Firefox has been the default browser on my PC’s from quite some time now. Firefox for some reason has always been able make its way back every time I try to adopt a different browser !

Flock and Safari were the two browser which gave serious competition to Firefox !

From the past few weeks I have been using the RC1 release of Firefox 3. I haven’t explored all the new features in FF3, but it does look faster compared to FF2 and does have a lot of UI enhancements.

Download Day 2008

The final release of FF3 is going to be some time in June and Firefox is aiming to set a new Guinness Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours.

I already pledged my support and if you are also a Firefox fan,  you should definitely head over to this link to pledge your support !

Don’t forget to spread the word around 🙂

4 comments

Bangalore International Airport Site is down !

Personal Blogs

The new Bangalore International airport started operating from today and seems to have already handled around 341 flights.

I tried to check on the official website to know more about the launch day only to find the website down ! I tried accessing the site contents via Google cache; even that seemed to lead to pages with errors.

Update – Bialairport.com is now redirecting to http://www.bengaluruairport.com. The site is half baked and is hosted on Bharti in Karnataka, India.

bial bandwidth

The site was well designed and optimized for search engine queries. However looks like the IT team overlooked the bandwidth requirements and visitors seeking information have to end up seeing the above screen !

The web server seems to be in Texas and hosted by Theplanet.com Internet Services Inc.

bia server status

The site should hopefully be online soon and till then, check my earlier post on BIA.

Instead of putting more data in that post, I linked to the official BIA site and I kind of regret that decision now 🙂

2 comments

HTC Touch Diamond

iPhone, Mobile

HTC Touch Diamond was unveiled in London 2 weeks back and even India is part of the global launch of the handset.

As with the case of HTC Touch, HTC Diamond will also be available via Bharti Airtel, which means that the device will be locked onto Airtel Network.

I am confident that the intelligent folks at XDA will come up with an unlock mechanism for HTC Diamond as they did for HTC Touch.

HTC Touch Diamond

The specifications of HTC Diamond looks way better than HTC Touch. It has a much faster processor, more memory and a better camera. Its 3G enabled and also has GPS. The new 3D TouchFlo also looks good.

There is also a custom YouTube Application, however I am not sure if the video experience is same as in iPhone.

Processor Qualcomm® MSM7201A™ 528 MHz
Operating System Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
Memory ROM: 256 MB
RAM: 192 MB DDR SDRAM
Internal storage: 4 GB
Dimensions 102 mm (L) X 51 mm (W) X 11.35 mm (T)
Weight 110 g (with battery)
Display 2.8-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with VGA resolution
Network

HSDPA/WCDMA:

  • Europe/Asia: 900/2100 MHz

  • Up to 384 kbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds

Tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

  • Europe/Asia: 900/1800/1900 MHz

(Band frequency and data speed are operator dependent.)

GPS GPS and A-GPS ready
Connectivity Bluetooth® 2.0 with EDR
Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
HTC ExtUSB™ (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)
Camera Main camera: 3.2 megapixel color camera with auto focus
Second camera: VGA CMOS color camera
Audio

Built-in microphone, speaker and FM radio with RDS
Ring tone supported formats:

  • MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, WAV, and AMR-NB

  • 40 polyphonic and Standard MIDI format 0 and 1 (SMF)/SP MIDI

Official HTC Touch Diamond Video

The phone is being priced at 27500 INR (670$) which in my opinion is way too high. Hopefully the price will come down over the period of time in which case it will be a worthy alternative to HTC Touch.

4 comments

Bangalore International Airport

Personal Blogs

The Bangalore/Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is finally commencing operations from 23 May 2008.

The switch to the new airport will take place at midnight on May 23. As per the statement from BIAL (BIA Limited) all flights landing and departing after midnight will operate from the new airport.

Update: BIA opened on May 24 (Saturday) and handled 341 flights on Day One

bial

Also flights arriving before midnight (on May 22) can also choose to land on the new airport.

Air India’s flight from Bangalore to Singapore will supposedly be the first flight to take off from the new international airport in the city, when it becomes operational on May 23.

BIAL Dining

Even though I am not traveling out of Bangalore in the near time, I decided to checkout on the connectivity and the various transport options available to and from the new international airport.

Official Website

The BIA official web site does have a lot of information on the new airport. The site is indexed pretty well in Google and also has managed to get the Sitelinks.

http://www.bialairport.com
http://www.bengaluruairport.com

Contact Details

Bangalore International Airport Limited
   118, Gayathri Lakefront
   Outer Ring Road
   Hebbal
   Bangalore - 560 024
   Tel: +91 80 2354 0000
   Fax: +91 80 2333 3400
   Email: contact@bialairport.com

Flight Schedule Details

BIAL has also come up with a Flight Schedule List which is effective from 24 May 2008 to October 25 2008.

Note that these schedule are subject to change and for more accurate information you should/could always call up 1800 425 4425

BIAL website also has added a new feature via which you can view the live flight arrival and departure information.

BIAL Live Flight Information

Transportation Facilities

Following is the list of current transport options available. You can either travel by bus, use the Airport Taxi Service or drive by yourselves.

Airport Shuttle Service

There are around 40 Volvo AC buses which will shuttle between the city and the airport. The following table has more information on the pick-up/drop-off points. The following areas are covered as of now

  • Hebbal
  • MCTC
  • Jeevan Bhima Nagar
  • HAL (Old Airport)
  • JP Nagar 6th Phase
  • Koramangala
  • Kempegowda Bus Stand
  • Whitefield(ITPL)
  • Electronic City

Note: Once you know the route taken by these buses, you can catch the bus at any place on the route.

Route Table

The following transport map seems to show 2 more locations not mentioned in the above table.

BIAL Transportation Map

For more information on the areas covered, you can always call up these numbers.

BMTC Control Room: Telephone No: 22952522/22952422
BMTC, Kempegowda Bus Stand: Telephone No: 22952311/22952314
BMTC, Shivajinagar Bus Stand: Telephone No: 22952321/22952324

For those who are familiar with Bangalore, the following image might help in choosing the shortest road to the airport

Route to Bangalore Airport

Airport Taxi Service

Meru and Easy Cabs are the official taxi operators at the airport. The cars supposedly have a GPS and are also air conditioned. They are also are equipped with a credit card machine and at a charge of 15 INR/km this is definitely required 🙂

You can also book these taxis over phone; the facility however is available only if you are going towards the airport.

Easy Cabs - 43434343
Meru Cabs - 44224422

Limo and Car Rental

You can also rent premium cars from Hertz or Akbar Travels. Apart from the regular chauffeured cars, passengers can also avail self-driven cars at the airport.

There will be three ranges of self drive cars- the compact category (Suzuki Swift), the intermediate range – (Ford Fiesta), the standard category- (Toyota corolla), Multi Utility Vehicles (Toyota Innova) and Sports Utility Vehicles (Ford Endeavour)

AirLift

AirLift is another car rental service which is currently charging 300 INR for a pickup/drop from any place in Bangalore. I checked on the official Website of Airlift and it looks like they are covering only south and east Bangalore as of now.

airlift

However at 300 INR, a drive in Toyota Innvoa with personal entertainment is a steal. I haven’t had the opportunity to use AirLift and hence can’t give a feedback on their service, if anyone has used Airlift, please feel free to give your feedback on the same.

If you intend to use Airlift, note that they are available at P-3 parking at BIA’s arriving terminal.

You can contact Airlift using the following details:

AIRLIFT
#106, Sherwood Suites,17/2 Varthur Main Road, 
Marathahalli,Bangalore 560 037 
Call : 97313 96331 
Email : support@airliftonline.com 

RedBus

redbus

RedBus, the online bus ticket booking service has introduced BMTC Bus booking for Bangalore International Airport.

You can book using RedBus irrespective of whether you are traveling to or from the International Airport.

redbus1

RedBus allows you to book the Volvo buses on all the routes mentioned above and they even let you pick your seats.

(Note: The available seats have a checkbox which when checked appears in the “Chose Seats” text field)

redbus4

Parking Facilities

The Airport’s car park can accommodate 2000 cars. The system used for the parking management is fully automated, efficient and transparent and is provided by SKIDATA

BIAL Parking Map

Car parking fees have been priced at Rs.40/- for two hours and Rs.20/- for every additional hour in the general parking area. For overnight parking, Rs. 300 will be charged for the first 24 hours and Rs. 200 for every additional day.

BIA Photos

For up-to-date information, bookmark the official BIA Website !

Update – BIA has now come up with an Easy Guide which has lot of useful information.

Download BIA Easy Guide.pdf

39 comments

Cleanup your hard drive with WinDirStat

Tools, Windows

At my workplace I somehow managed to eat up almost all of the 40GB on the primary partition and I had no clue as to what directory/file was eating up the space.

As usual, Windows XP has no inbuilt tools to accomplish the simple task of finding the culprit directories/files.

In my earlier post, I had mentioned about some of the tools which could help in a similar situation. Some of the tools that I mentioned on that post are no longer supported and hence I had to “google” to find the right tool for the cleanup task.

WinDirStat was one of the useful tool that I found ! Its a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Windows.

The tool can either scan all your disk drives or the individual drives or even specific folders. The entire directory tree is read and the information is displayed in 3 views:

  • As a Directory list which is sorted by file/subtree size as shown below
    windirstat1
  • As a treemap view which represents each file as a colored rectangle, the area of which is proportional to the file’s size.

    The rectangles are arranged in such a way, that directories again make up rectangles, which contain all their files and subdirectories. So their area is proportional to the size of the subtrees.
    windirstat2

  • As an extension list which shows all types (filename extensions) occurring in the directory tree
    windirstat3

The treemap is an amazing feature which helps you to quickly identify the file occupying the maximum space. The selection of the colored block automatically highlights the file in the tree view and you can delete the file from within the UI of WinDirStat.

A must have software for Windows 🙂

8 comments

YouTube Indian Edition

Google, videos

As many of you know, the Indian Edition of YouTube is now live @ http://in.youtube.com.

Till now there were a lot of YouTube clones which catered to the local video content and some of them even got considerable funding from VC’s

I am not sure if this edition of YouTube is going to pickup in a big way, but the below snapshot of the videos section might say otherwise !

youtube india

The above is just a partial snapshot; in fact the entire page is filled up similar kind of steamy videos !

If this is the kind of videos we would see on Indian Version of YouTube, there is no doubt that it will be “hugely popular” !

2 comments

Xobni is now publicly available

Tools, videos, Windows

Xobni is an excellent add-on for Microsoft Outlook and has definitely simplified email management for me. Even Bill Gates fell in love with this application and referred it as the next generation of social networking.

(Microsoft did try to acquire Xobni and it failed due to various reasons)

Xobni was initially invite only and today they have made it publicly available to everybody. If you use Outlook and manage a lot of mail, Xobni is a must have.

The following video highlights the unique features in Xobni

I have been using it for quite some weeks now and it has negligible effect on Outlook’s performance. Try Xobni !

2 comments

Moving WordPress to a different domain

Tools, Wordpress

This site is powered by WordPress and when it came online 2 years back for some odd reason I opted to install WordPress on the "blog" sub-domain. I guess it was popular then to have the blog installed on its own domain.

And even though I knew the kind of content I would write, I still opted to use my name for the domain. Something which I can’t change easily now 🙂

venukb.com remained as a dummy entry point and it just used to redirect to venukb.com/blog. I have always wanted to get rid of the sub-domain and move to the root domain.

I was of the opinion then that the move would affect the Pagerank and hence had held making such a move.  After the recent tanking of Pagerank I decided that it was the right moment to make this switch.

I had 2 ways of making this switch:

Method 1 – Changing the Blog Address in WordPress Options

WordPress can power your site’s root and yet can be copied to a separate subdirectory. In my case blog was the subdirectory and I could quickly switch to root by just changing the Blog Address in the WordPress Options.

wp1

You should also update the permalinks and rebuild the sitemap after making the above change.

However Google’s Index and sites linking to your pages would still have "blog" in the URL and this requires you to redirect all those requests to the root domain. I accomplished this easily by adding the following directive in .htaccess file

Redirect 301 /blog http://www.venukb.com

Everything worked fine until I tried to access the WordPress Admin console which was at venukb.com/blog/wp-admin. Since the /blog was redirected to root, I was never able to gain access to the admin console and with the mod_alias directive, there is no way to exclude access to a particular URL.

The only option was to fall back on mod_rewrite and use RewriteRule in conjunction with RewriteCond. I searched in a lot of forums for putting in the right rewrite directive only to end up in a confused state.

mod_rewrite is a one complex library and regular expression is something which I can probably never understand 🙁

If someone has already done this with mod_rewrite, please let me know as to what directive worked for you

Method 2 – Moving the WordPress contents to the root domain

I gave up on mod_rewrite and moved my entire blog directory including the WordPress core files to the root. With SSH access to the server, this was done in seconds with a mv command. I also backed up and restored the .htaccess file on the root domain (If you copy the .htaccess residing on the blog sub-domain, you would end up with 500 Internal Server Error)

In addition to Blog Address, I even changed the WordPress Address and as in the previous method, updated permalinks and the sitemap. The mod_alias Redirect directive worked like a charm and I had no issues in accessing the WordPress Admin console.

What else do I need to do ?

The main thing to do after moving to a different domain is to set the permanent redirection (301) and building your sitemap. The pages in your blog might have linked to several other internal pages and all this might point to the "blog" URL’s.

Even though the Redirection will take care of these links, its better off to modify these links.I am considering using the Search Regex WordPress plugin from Urban Giraffe.

If you are using a desktop based client like Windows Live Writer to publish posts, you have to update the account settings.

You might also want to monitor the 404 errors on your server and for this I am again using Urban Giraffe’s Redirection Plugin

Redirection plugin is also a powerful way of setting up Redirects in WordPress and this method totally avoids .htaccess. The author is also testing a beta version of this plugin which modified the .htaccess file itself.

If you also happened to move WordPress across domains, do share your experience.

8 comments

Screen Capture with Jing

Tools, Windows

Jing, a concept project from TechSmith is a handy screen capture utility. It also adds up as a useful screencast utility.

One aim of the Jing project is to simplify the process of screen capture and screencasting and it does fulfill this aim. Jing has one of the simplest UI for taking screenshots.

In SnagIt you need to inform the app before hand whether you intend to capture a Window or a region. Jing automatically adjusts the capture boundary when you hover over the edge of the screen.

You can also highlight sections of the captured image, add text, frames and arrows. The Undo/Redo feature is also quite useful.

Jing2 

The captured image can be:

  1. Saved locally
  2. Copied to a server via FTP
  3. Sent to Flickr
  4. Sent to Screencast.com

Even capturing video is as simple as capturing an image. Checkout one sample screencast I recorded with Jing 🙂

As usual I am again showing off my HTC Touch! I miss iPhone tough 🙁

Only complaint from my side is with respect to the stability of the application. Jing keeps crashing now and then and its also a memory hogger.

Do give Jing a try and if you are still not happy you might want to check this list !

Which screen capture tool do you use ?

5 comments

Pagerank updated and the site is downgraded !

Google, Personal Blogs, Wordpress

There has been another round of pagerank  update and I see that many sites have got a higher pagerank and few of them have even managed to get a PR of 4 within few months !

This site had a PR of 4 from quite some time and even during the last update where few sites were penalized for selling Text Link Ads the PR of this site remained at 4

At that time, I thought that I wasn’t penalized since I was not selling Text Link Ads from my home page (which had PR4) and was only having post level ads (Around 5 post level ads were active).

However this round of pagerank update has taken the PR from 4 to 2, reminding me of QOT’s PR downgrade from 6 to 3 !

I am not sure if dividing existing PR by 2 is the way of Google penalizing sites selling text link ads. I immediately stopped Text Link Ads and in a way it was even easy since a new month just began !

I have also raised a reconsideration request with Google !

But again I am not completely sure if TLA is the core reason behind this downgrade ! I moved my hosting from Dreamhost to MT some time back and one of the biggest mistakes I made was not to check on the XML sitemap.

After the hosting change, the XML sitemaps generator plugin for some odd reason started putting the XML file on venukb.com/blog while Google was searching for it on venukb.com. I had manually set to venukb.com and during the move, the option changed to “Automatic” and happened to select the subdomain.

And I realized this only after 3 weeks ! Duh !

The crawl stats also confirmed that the sitemaps were not accessible from quite some time !

Crawl stats

I fixed the issue and even then I see that 0 pages from sitemaps are included in the search index.

google webmaster

Has the PR downgrade affected traffic ?

This site for one gets almost 80% of the traffic from search engines (mainly Google) and I have noticed that some of the high traffic pages are no longer in the Top 10 !

I do see a dip in the number of unique visitors, but after including the landing page, the pageview count hasn’t changed much.

I am hoping the reconsideration request to fix the PR 🙂 And if any of you are running Text Link Ads and also get a huge amount of traffic from Google, you should consider switching the text ads off !

And yes be careful about XML sitemaps when you are moving to a new hosting ! (Though not sure if this is also the reason for downgrade !)

Talking of PR, do share your experience as well ! Has it improved ? Do you see change in traffic with the improved PR ?

12 comments