December 31, 2008

woo hoo! Have become a legal driver on WA roads! A big project got finished! :)

October 18, 2008

Its been almost more than 2 months since I’ve posted anything on the blog! I have only one reply.. this time’s been very busy for me and some of the really important changes has happened to my life!

  • I resigned from Microsoft, India
    • after getting an offer from the company in US..
  • Gone through Visa processing, travel arrangement and other formalities
  • Gave sweat bye-bye to Bangalore after 2 long years! Wrapped up things from there and shifted to Ahmedabad..
  • Left India, came to United States
  • Started working as SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) in Interoperability Team, Sharepoint group..

So, here I stand today.. Right now, The place is new for me, People around me are also new (though they’re really good!), Culture is new, Team is new, Job role is new.. Things are going fine as of now, I am getting adjusted!

BTW, one more update is,

  • I’m proud owner of brand new 120 GB (3rd Generation) Zune and BlackJack II.. For the time being, these devices have become my closest friends! :)

I hope, I will be able to start blogging once again after some time as I get settled here..

Stay tuned..

August 9, 2008

Looking for next big change in your career, how about Microsoft ??

  • Are you looking for change?
  • Are you Passionate about helping other developers?
  • Are you ready to go extra mile and do whatever it takes to solve highly complex issues?
  • Have you ever dreamed of working at Microsoft?
  • Are you ready to experience entirely different world at work?
  • Are you an expert programmer?
  • Are you ready to work during evening / night shifts?

If ALL of above turns out to be "Yes", I guess I can help you, because I need an enthusiastic team member to work on my team at Microsoft India GTSC. Drop me a line, I will get in touch with you.

Want to get an idea about what we do? Take a look here.

More information about the Position is as follows,

Developer Support Professional

Developer Support group helps Developers from North America (be it a dev from companies like Ford, Google, Amazon, Adobe etc. or a Developer from an ISV) with their development related issues. This specific opportunity is in Distributed Services team which handles lots of complex technologies used mostly by Enterprise Customers.

Job Description:
Represent Microsoft while communicating with MS's customers (including Corporates, ISVs) via phone, emails, or desktop sharing program in order to find solutions for technically complex problems identified in either Microsoft Products or Customer developed code. Solve highly complex level of problems, involving broad, in-depth platform/product/OS knowledge. Mostly, these problems will not only be technically complex, but will be politically charged situations requiring the highest level of customer skill. Candidate will be responsible for efficiently managing the relationship with these customers. May have to ramp up on new platforms developed by Microsoft as and when business need arises.

Work on complex customer issues spanning across different products & technologies by working with various internal resources from different teams. Collaborate with Technical Leads and Escalation resources when appropriate. Report software bugs and customer suggestions back to the Microsoft Product Group.

Use trace analysis, source code, and other debugging tools to analyze problems and develop solutions to meet customer needs; may have to get involved in writing code for customer. Maintain strong working knowledge of pre-release products and take ownership for product improvement in key product areas.


  • Very good communication skills (both written and spoken english). Prior experience in working with US customer is a plus.
  • Proven customer interaction skills.
  • Good grasping power, should be adaptive to situations.
  • Team Player, excellent collaboration skills across team and clusters.
  • Should be proactive, taking self-initiative for opportunities floating around.
  • Excellent troubleshooting and problem solving skills
  • Ability to work under high pressure


  • 3+ years of experience in C++ programming
  • Proven experience in development and debugging of COM && DCOM components on windows
  • Proven experience in developing/maintaining/debugging enterprise COM+ components
  • Experience in .NET COM Interop (Using COM component from .NET code and v/s)
  • .NET Remoting knowledge would be considered added advantage. (If not, candidate will have to prepare for it)
  • WinDbg (debugging tools) knowledge would be added advantage. (If not, will be provided training)


  • Bachelor degree in CS/EC or equivalent (Masters would be considered a plus)
  • Microsoft Certification (Developer Track) would be added advantage
  • Do you have the caliber to work with the smartest minds? Don't loose this chance! Write me now and we will talk.

    Stay tuned.. Wave

  • August 1, 2008

    2 years.. and counting!

    Yes, today I finish 2 years working with my Dream company! Its been great journey so far, and I guess company has given me everything that I ever dreamed for (except night job, but efforts are in motion to find some resolution to that! Happy)

    On development side, If I retrospect, I find that I have learned so many things in past two years  that I had not in 5 before!

    Thanks Microsoft.

    PS: Apologize for not writing blog posts actively from quite some time, actually I am busy these days with something which I have to focus on right now, will share more details after its right time to do so!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    July 5, 2008

    Bought Flickr Pro membership..

    I am photos junkie.. Photography is one of my hobbies and collecting memories is yet another! As time was going by, it was becoming more and more difficult for me to maintain all the photographs.. It was all getting scattered!! (Some photos at my office machine, some on home desktop whereas some on laptop.. Some uploaded on one picasaweb album and few other on facebook, some on flickr where some on orkut, few on LiveSpaces and couple of them on Geni [related to family]!).. In short, maintaining 20,000+ photographs is not a simple task (I work as digital photo manager for some of my non-geek family members as well!)

    I was planning to get everything centralized from quite some time and was looking for options! I considered many options including...

    • Host them on the web on my own server (I have got GBs of space online [where I have my website hosted])..
      • Main advantage of this was I would be able to access the photos wherever I go.. even I can create a shared folder which I can use to share photos with others..
      • But main disadvantage was, this approach was lacking social features.. What if somebody wants to comment on the photo? What if somebody wants to blog about it or mark it as favorite! It was more of a cloud hosting solution than the perfect one!
    • Get them all on a single machine and then create DVDs per event/year..
      • Main advantage of this was freedom from downloading photos when watching! I can even hook it to Media Center/Home server, when I buy one!
      • Main dis-advantage was, almost impossible to Share, Lack of Social interaction!
    • Upload them on PicasaWeb (which is going to become Google Photos shortly)
      • Advantage over here is, its very easy to share them with friends and family and Social interaction is also there..
      • Free account provides 1 GB space for photo uploads in each account so, if I go for it, I will need almost 25+ accounts for all my photos (which is horrible!) and I am not sure if picasa allows me to upload my high-res photos and maintains it there! (generally I have been uploading 1600 pixel photos!)
    • Upload them all on facebook
      • Facebook has excellent social features (including adding tags and notes/annotations) on photos..
      • Main problem with facebook was it does not allow me to upload high-res pictures.. it resizes them to 1024 pixels which is horrible because I can not use them for taking prints later on! (So, I have to maintain offline backup as well, which I don't want!)

    From all above options, none of them were giving me what I wanted.. (none was perfect solution!)

    I started checking Paid online services and found few,

    From all above, I found Flickr most compelling solution having No.1 place in online photo all around the world with Yahoo network! So, I went ahead with that one.. And till now my experience has been pretty good! The service is really good housing 10,000+ photos for me (I've been able to upload only those many till now! Though, upload still going on..)

    Advantages in Flickr that I found most interesting,

    • Maintain high-resolution photos for later download!
      • Though, you need to be Pro member for this..
    • Even if you forget or cancel to renew your account, they hold on the photos for you in case if you decide to come back to pro again in future!
      • This was very much needed for me.. Just in case, if I forget to renew the account, it should not delete all my photos (because I may not have backup!!)
    • Social features
      • I have almost 100+ contacts already on flickr.. So, I can share my stuff with friends and family very easily and effectively
      • Even I have control over which photo can be viewed by which group and I can change it at any time!
    • RSS
      • Its a must! My friends can subscribe to RSS feed for my photo stream and can get notified as and when I upload any new photos right from their RSS reader (without even visiting flickr!)
    • Integration with FriendFeed
      • FriendFeed has got a place in my internet social network! As and when I upload any photo on Flickr, friendfeed places that on my friendfeed profile and all my contacts can see it!
    • Low Rate/Fees
      • Its just 24.99$ a year! As compared to other services, its much cheaper..
    • Video Uploads
      • Pro members can even upload videos..
      • Though this is sort of limited (90 seconds of video AND max. 150 MB in size).. but it covers half of my videos and I hope flickr improves on limit in future for Pro members..
    • Desktop Upload Tool
      • Flickr has got desktop upload tool which allows me to upload photos directly from desktop by dragging them to the tool and setting tags, creating sets all with just a click! (though, I prefer flash based browser upload page!!)
    • Organize capability for huge collection of photos
      • I would say Flickr is expert in allowing users managing their huge collection of photos!
      • Pro members can create Collections (Top Entity) add sets to the collections.. I create a set for a bunch of photos from same event..
      • Even their web interface for managing photos is really awesome!
    • Full-text search for all photos!
      • This is really awesome stuff.. Be it photo title, description, set name, collection name, comment, tag.. Flickr searches everything when you ask it to!! Its really easy to find photos once its up there!
      • It can even search by Camera Model!! If you remember some photo taken from a particular camera model, you can search for all photos in your account taken from that camera!!
    • Upload through EMail/Mobile!
      • I love this! Sometimes upload through email comes really handy..
    • Stats (Analytics)
      • This is really good feature for people interested in looking at their most liked pictures.. Mostly useful for photographers!
    • Geo-Tag the photos!
      • This is getting more and more important..
      • I have read many reports that in some times, we all will have cameras with GPS capability such that resultant photograph will contain the exact location where it was taken! Pretty awesome, isnt it?

    Though, nothing is perfect in this world! Here are few things I think flickr needs to add.. (from what I have found as a user!)

    • Integrate with services like PicSquare and allow international people to get print of their digital photos
      • Right now, they have integration with few companies (like Moo) but only US people can take benefit of it!
    • Increase the video upload limit!
      • Actually 90 seconds is very less for any videos that one may have got! I am fine with 150 MB limit but duration should atleast be 5 minutes! (afterall, what can you do in 1.5 minute!!)
    • Enable users to import photos (maintaining Tags and Album name [set name], comments) from external services like Picasa, Facebook..
      • For a new Pro member entering into Flickr world, he may have photos hosted at other places which he should be able to import with just few clicks!!
      • I think flickr can do this easily today because almost all services has enabled API access to photos! (be it through RSS/ATOM or APIs)
    • Enable international Users to order DVD of their selected full resolution pictures at reasonable cost!
    • Allow users to associate set of photos with an Event and present user a timeline view of his photos!
      • Mostly photos represent an event of occasion.. I love Geni's photo album because it enables users to create Events, map it to date (or range of date) and add photos to that timeline.. Flickr should allow Pro users to do that.. That way it will be easy to browse the photos..
      • Though, Flickr already has Archive feature which allows user to see when was photo actually taken and when was it uploaded to flickr.. but They are just bunch of dates, no names/description associated with it!
    • Enable users to Annotate contacts on the photos!
      • I love Facebook's friend annotation feature where you can draw a rectangle and mark it with a friend name!! (Even Geni has that feature!)
    • Duplicate Removal
      • This is very much needed feature of Flickr! Many a times it may happen that user uploads same picture twice.. At least Flickr should suggest user (based on date-time/name/title of picture that it may be duplicate and allow user to remove it..
    • Better Friend/Contacts Discovery!
      • There are lots of social networks around.. Right now, flickr allows you to import contacts from GMail/Live/Yahoo addressbook, but that should not be it, Flickr should allow user to find for friends from various social networks like Friendfeed, Facebook, Geni (at least all that has API access enabled)
    • Create Mosaic for each Set and allow user to automatically blog about newly created set..
      • This would be awesome! Just imagine that I created a new set, added 50 pictures to it and flickr randomly chooses 9/12 photos from that set creates a mosaic and blog it right away!
    • Create Fluid view for photostream page..
      • Right now, flickr shows page content for 1024x768 resolution and for wide screen monitors (like the one I have, which is 19", I see photos in the middle, a lot of space wasted on both sides).. Flickr should use screen asset properly and show photos using all space available in photostream view.. that will decrease scrollbar size or may be accommodate more photos on a page which means less scrolling..
      • Actually, I like PicLens very much while visualizing flickr photos! I hope flickr gives something like that for browsing the photos! (Something like Media Center or PicLens where I can maintain context while going from collection to set and set to photograph!)

    From what I have found, Flickr is really a very deep layered service! There is a lot to learn about it for every flickr user!! Now, I know why Yahoo terminated Yahoo! photo gallery and made all users to move to flickr!! Great service!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    July 2, 2008

    Its been 2 years…

    Yeah, today is 2 year anniversary for this blog!! I still remember the day I started blogging (the day when I got the confirmation from Microsoft!)

    Anyways, these 2 years has been pretty good.. learned and shared lot of stuff on this blog.. (at least its been somewhat worthy that Google lists me on top when somebody searches for ‘jigar mehta’..)

    I also wanted to declare that I have got my own domain name for solely blogging purpose.. Due to WordPress’s nice impression on my mind, I have shifted to wordpress on that site.. Please update your RSS feed to ( [After sometime I will anyways redirect feed from this blog to there.. (Just waiting for Google to like my new site..)]

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 30, 2008

    June 29, 2008

    Bye bye FullShot.. Welcome Evernote!!!

    Here is a secret!! I am a screenshot junkie! I take lot of snapshots of portion of computer screen for any of the following reasons..

    • I have to remember that stuff for future use.. (say I made some money transaction over internet, and bank website has provided me details about transaction confirmation.. I dont copy stuff and mail them or store them somewhere.. I just take a quick snapshot and save the JPG on the disk!)
    • I like some website or software interface and want to share stuff with somebody! (I share such stuff a lot! I send snapshots through email attachments a lot)
      • Though, this activity has been taken over by Mento now! And coolest stuff is, it posts the thumbnail and hyperlink on my WWW Activity Stream..
    • I need to refer to something later on.. for research purpose.. (If I am just surfing internet and found something on interesting which I dont have time right now to do research on! I just take snapshot and put reference to it on my ToDo widget on desktop!)

    Till now, I had been using Inbit's FullShot software (thanks to one of my friend who gifted it to me!) Its undoubtedly awesome piece of software for taking arbitrary screen snapshots! If you learn that software entirely, you increase significant percentage in productivity!

    Main problems that I was facing with Fullshot was, snapshots taken on one machine were only on that machine.. Many a times, I had to remote into my office machine just to take a look at the damn snapshot that I took during office hours! I was looking for a solution that includes S+S model.. where I can integrate snapshots of all my machines (there are bunch of them that I work with regularly.. sometimes it becomes painful keeping things in synchronization!)

    Before I got evernote into mainstream, I added my snapshot folder in Live Mesh profile so that all the snapshots on all the machines are synchronized! (Even before I got live mesh into mainstream, I had been using Windows Foldershare.. there is a lot of history associated with this dragon!)

    But then, I got Evernote which is exactly what I wanted!! I moved all my snapshots into evernote (there are appx. 780 screenshots in my store increasing everyday!).. Here are advantages that I get using evernote over all my past systems!

    • Add it once and get it everywhere! (No more synchronization issues.. Take snapshot on any machine and with just one click snapshot gets saved to evernote, which all other machines get automatically - of course, through evernote system!)
    • Search within snapshot! (Would you believe it?? But, this is Evernote's Mastery!)
      • Just imagine, I have taken snapshot of my bank confirming payment of my Mobile bill.. and after 15 days I have to refer to that confirmation again due to some issues.. now, I just search for my mobile number in evernote and that confirmation surfaces in matter of milliseconds!) It searches images like its a text stored in there!
    • No computer access, dont worry, access it from Web Interface!!
      • This is high relief for me.. Sometimes it happens, I am at somebody's home and need to access these snapshots quickly.. Its just a login away.. I login on evernote website and get access to all my snapshots along with search features, on the web!!
      • I dont use Windows Mobile or iPhone right now, but evernote has mobile client as well!
    • Storage : I am using free account from evernote as of now! which gives me 40 MB of uploads every month! (appx 100 snapshots every month = ~3 everyday!) If I am running out of this limit, I think I would be happy to pay for it!
    • Screenshot Taking procedure is awesome!
      • Evernote has a small tool called Universal Clipper which takes snapshot like charm! Not just it can take plain screenshot, It can also add it to the Evernote collection with just one click OR copy the clipped area to clipboard (as bitmap for pasting it in outlook email!) OR save it as external JPG! OR Mark it with various color pen provided by the tool (to highlight or something!).. In short, love this tool!

    So, after a long time, I have Good bye Fullshot and welcome'd Evernote to my always running tool! Like they say, One needs to welcome change.. and Softwares are no exceptions to it!!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 28, 2008

    How do I.. create my blog with my own domain name for free?

    It was before few days, when I got an email from that they have been watching my blog for some time and would like to offer me a free domain name (.com/.org/.net/.info anything) that I would like and host it on their servers. They would show two banner ads on all pages that I show in exchange of that..

    I went ahead with the offer and just got

    I am still in the process of setting it up and their administrator is working with me to allow me setup everything I want (Right now, I am enabling google talk/jabber chatting on that domain with email and calendar through google apps). Once I am fully done with new domain, thinking to transfer to the new domain! (though, for some time, I will continue cross posting..)

    If you want to get your own domain name for your blog, go ahead and tell them about your blog..

    Shifting the blog got me in touch with Wordpress once again (my domain blog is wordpress based).. I feel like, wordpress is much more better than blogger! But anyways, blogger has got some pros too!

    PS: Though they have not yet enabled advertisements on my blog but I guess they will do that in future!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 25, 2008

    How do I.. Keep my files synchronized between multiple machines..

    This is the issue faced by many people using more than one computer/devices.

    Well, at the same time there are multiple services out there in the cloud that tries to solve this issue..

    I have used following services which can solve this issue..

    1. Windows Live Foldershare
    2. Microsoft Live Mesh
    3. DropBox

    Dropbox and Live Mesh are still in private beta where you need an invite to join the service. Windows Live Foldershare is in beta but anybody having Live ID can join.

    I am running out of Live Mesh invites right now, but I have few DropBox invites available.. If you want, leave a comment with your email id, will send one!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 22, 2008

    Company will provide Broadband Internet connection at home, to all employees

    Yesterday we had a FY09 Kickoff party @ Grand Ashok.. Neha Bhasin from famous Viva group was there to rock the floor. Had a nice time with the group.

    Apart from business update, there were few announcements.. One of the most interesting one (the one that earned highest clapping) was "Company (Microsoft, India GTSC) will provide each employee with Broadband Connection at Home" (until now this was provided per business-need).. Though, I had been using Broadband @ home from the day I entered bangalore, but I really liked Management's decision to provide it to all employees.. It will help them stay in touch with latest happenings while at home and leisure time!

    Another announcement that got everybody's attention was Microsoft, India GTSC will donate appx 1000+ Desktop Personal Computers this year with latest Operating System and latest hardware configurations (Windows Vista, Multi-Core) to NGOs. Basically thought here is to give something back to the society.. A huge initiative, Congrats to the leader who thought about this idea, loved it. If you know any registered NGO within India, who can be really benefited from a personal computer, please let me know (leave a comment here, I will contact you!)

    My company Rocks!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 20, 2008

    Dare to suggest or discuss an issue with Windows UI ??

    Are you a designer mind? Do you love discussing UI / functionality related issue ? Can you think of better way to solve an issue with Windows UI / experience? Do you like suggesting things? If yes, then here is a great site that lets you discuss and 'vote' regarding windows UI issues..

    Very nice site that I enjoy spending some time with every now and then. I love to see how different users looks at various features and what they expect.. There are also great people out there who gives really great ideas to solve complex problem in efficient way! My personal favorite on the site is 'digg' style box to cast your vote (positive or negative).. You can also leave comment to back your ideas..

    Though, this is not Microsoft Official website (Microsoft should comes up with something like this to get feedback from community) but, I hope Program Managers from Microsoft will take a look at this site to 'listen to' what their users are saying (which is their primary job, I guess)!

    Go, advice Microsoft to build your Dream Windows..

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 19, 2008

    Blog crossing 1000+ page views per day with 850+ new daily visitors..

    Woo hoo.. June 18th was somewhat special in the terms that my blog crossed 1,000 Page Views marks.. (Generally this has been from 700-800 average daily page views with 500-600 visitors).. Looks like Chris's twitter and respective friendfeed post has helped getting people's attention on my Live Search blog-post..

    Following is what my Woopra shows..


    Though, time spent per visitor per page (47 seconds) is not very good.. But I think Woopra's algorithm for counting it has some drawbacks (say if you come to any page, read it for 10 minutes and leave the site without clicking any other link, Woopra counts it as zero second visit!! and I think its not woopra's mistake, because there is no way to track such visit's accurate timing..)

    Anyways, Thanks a lot people, hope you enjoy the content! Just thought of sharing this because crossing 1000 page views for this blog is first time in my knowledge Happy

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 18, 2008

    How do I.. “Download new wallpapers from internet and change desktop look automatically”

    If you are using Windows 7, use this theme which downloads wallpapers dynamically from Microsoft servers (those which featured on homepages).

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 7, 2008

    How do I.. "Keep my notes accessible everywhere"

    The problem is:

    • How to keep my Notes accessible everywhere! Such that,
      • If I am at my desktop machine, I can access them with just one click! (without opening any website and logging in!)
      • If I am roaming with my own laptop, I should be able to access / add / work with my notes over there, with just one click!
      • If I am outside and dont have access to any of my machines, I should still be able to access my notes and work with them!

    I have been facing this problem from a long time! I tried many solutions! but none of them could make me speak "Perfect! Thats what I want".. So, search continued.. And just before couple of months, I read a blog post saying "Evernote is designing WebService based client as a next version!"

    I had used Evernote previous version v2.0 which was not-so-effective for me! But this new version, Evernote v3.0 seemed interesting! I wanted to hear more about it so, followed Evernote on Twitter, Subscribed to their RSS and registered for Private Beta access for their new system! I did study with all that was available at the moment and found Evernote 3.0 can become Perfect solution for what I was looking for!

    And one good day, I got access to Private Beta.. (Its still in private beta, if you need access, let me know)


    • Evernote 3.0 has Three main components..
      • Desktop Client
        • They have Clients compatible for both Windows as well as Mac.
      • Web Client (Access it here)
      • Mobile Client
        • They have Client compatible with Windows Mobile as well as iPhone. (Though, iPhone Client is still in Development.. having iPhone SDK still in beta.. I think they will release it once SDK is fully released).
    • How it helps for the problem in discussion..
      • Desktop client can be downloaded and installed on windows and mac. After installation, You give your unique account credentials where your notes/images/snapshots will be stored.
      • This data is stored both locally as well as on the cloud.
        • Evernote provides 200 MB of space to store this data in Free Account, but I have heard they have Premium model as well.
        • It will automatically synchronize the data on all all your devices (be it PC, Mac, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Web).
        • By default your notes are Private (only you can see), but if you want you can also make them Public so Everybody can see them!
      • You can also add a note by sending an email to your 'special evernote email account!' As simple as that!
      • Most important feature of Evernote is, It can search for Text within Images (which has proved to be a life saver for me!)
        • Say for example, you take snapshot (PrintScreen saved Snapshot) of your computer screen and add it to Evernote, it will be able to search for text from that snapshot!
        • If you have taken a snapshot from your mobile phone for a product which had description written, you can search text in that photo!
      • In case, if you dont have access to your computers and want to access your notes in emergency, you can enter secure area of Evernote Website, provide your credentials and Voila! You get access to all your notes, search them, edit them and remember, all your devices are automatically in sync..!
    • Usability in desktop software!
      • They have got one of the best designed Desktop Client (I have tried on Windows)
        • You can tag, annotate, write notes with Ink, Group by various attributes and search your notes from desktop software! UI is designed with great ease.
      • They have a tiny application called Universal Launcher which is small but powerful app.
        • If you are in any application (be it Outlook, Notepad, Word or Browser.. anywhere).. You select any text and press "Win + A".. That will automatically add selected text to your Notebook in evernote! Just one keystroke! (I love this feature!)
        • If you dont have text to be added, you want to take a snapshot of your screen and add it to your Notebook, you can press "Win + PrintScreen" which will allow you to select area of screen to be clipped and once you are done, that will silently be added to your notebook!
      • They also have an AddIn for Outlook. Which will help you add your email message to Notebook with just one click!

    I can just say one word after using Evernote.. "Perfect!!" My search stops here! I have been using it from few months and have got dependent on it!! It has saved me a lot of painful hours looking for information.. My account summary on Evernote website says (I have appx. 675 notes stored in my evernote account with lots of them Snapshots/Images!),


    I think this is one of the S+S system which I dont have any suggestions for! Its truly Perfect! Infact, the icon they have chosen for Evernote is also cool!


    Happy Evernote'ing.. Happy

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    How do I....

    I was just thinking about starting a new category on this blog, named "How do I.." (like, I have another category, "How would it be.." where I write about my Design Ideas to improve a produce or service)

    As the name "How do I.." suggest, my main goal is to share basic usage information about different software/system! (be it a website or software or device !!) I will start with a unique problem to be solved and will probably note down one or more solutions to it. Probably you will also find some of them as cool as I do!

    I will write some post in this category shortly!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    How would it be if, "Google Reader gets Rules support!"

    I was a hardcore FeedDemon fan! Especially after it taken over by NewsGator, it became better than ever! But then I tried Google Reader in parallel (version 2).. and I was forced to retire FeedDemon (though it became free!)

    Google Reader is one of the site that is opened by me at least 5 times in any working day! (all days are working days for me right now.. at least when I am in the city!) Over the time, I have got a huge collection of RSS subscribed!


    Its good, that Google Reader supports Labeling the feeds (so I can categorize them and focus on what I want at a particular time!)

    But now, while dealing with so many feeds and traffic, I think its necessary to have Outlook-like (or EMail like) rules support in Google Reader!

    Following are the Use-Case I can think of!!

    • One can create a rule to Mark items with specific word or entire feed As Read (without reading it)..
      • One would say what's the point in having such a feed in Google Reader! Well, The day Google Reader released its Search Feature, I was the happiest user! I had thought of many things about this feature.. Now, I have my own customized Search Engine (My own Google, that Serves me for what I am interested in!!!)
      • So, there are few feeds in my Google Reader which were added just so that they get added to my 'Personal Search Engine'.. I never wanted to read those few feeds on regular basis.. But What I want is, when I look for those Items, I should be able to search them quickly in my Personal Search Engine! (using the search feature of Google Reader..) One example of such item is, Feed from Books website where newly published/added book in specific category is syndicated over RSS.. I have all those new books (information about them) feed in my Google Reader which I dont want to read everyday (who has time!) but when I search for an ISBN in Google Reader, it should show me that Feed..
    • One can create a rule for an important feed such that any new post in that feed will send you an IM on GTalk/Jabber.
      • This will be really cool, Taking RSS to next level! (Instant Notification!)
      • Though, there are many sites out there who allows you to get RSS notifications over IM (like, try adding to your google talk!), but having it integrated within Google Reader will be Awesome!
    • Marking items with specific items as starred items!
    • Automatically share the items from specific source or one having specific words.
    • I would love to have an ability to automatically post an item (or link to it!) to my blog if it contains specific words!
      • Just imagine, you publish set of photos on Flickr, which FriendFeed aggregates, which comes to Google reader (if you have subscribed to friendfeed RSS), and you already have a rule in place that posts Flickr related photo upload again on Blog! All your blog readers will automatically be able to see Flickr Photo uploads!! (this can cause recursive effect as well, but I am sure we can find some solution to get rid of it!)
    • EMail item to somebody with specific words or from specific source!

    If you think there can be some more interesting use-cases for Rules feature in Google Reader, feel free to leave a comment..

    Going forward, I would love to have GMail and Google Reader Integrated! Designing UI for this merging is going to be a challenging part, but that should be the way to go!! (no point in having two window [or tabs] having opened all the times!)

    I think Google Reader has undoubtedly become Favorite RSS reader of the Mass.. Others should just retire!! (No offence, if you are BlogLines reader!!)

    Go build your piece of cake! And yeah, if you are a geek feel free to subscribe to my Google Reader Shared Items

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    What will it take for Live Search to Win!!

    Microsoft has been a leader or really a good competitor when it comes to software (and now slowly, I can say in hardware devices as well)! But when it comes to Web Search it is not the leader, neither is it a big competitor comparing the Market Share.

    It is always a big challenge to break the monopoly, especially when you are dealing with unbelievably good and growing competitor! Personally, I love working on almost impossible challenges (because when you achieve something which was really impossible, its out-of-the-world feeling! Though, I know it attracts high failure rate and risk as well!) It takes something more than extra-mile to reach that place! According to me (and many authors that I have read!), The key to win is, "Keep users in front of you, for all that you do!".

    Well, I had thoughts about "Improving Live Search to Win" in my mind roaming around, from quite some time.. But could not get chance to materialize them into a blog post. This weekend, I decided to finish this pending task.. I want to list few things here that Microsoft (Live Search Team) can do in order to Win in the Search market! I know, Microsoft is FULL of smart & intelligent people, and may be some of THE BEST minds are thinking over this problem 'day-n-night' relentlessly.. Here are two cents from my side (being a drop in the sea, who's not in the position right now to make direct decisions Happy)!

    Here are main four themes around which my ideas can be grouped:

    1. Innovation:
      Though, people say Microsoft is no more Innovative! I completely dis-agree with them.. I see innovation every now and then with all the products I use from Microsoft. In-fact they are full of innovations! MS is the company who took PC industry till this point (where you and me having multiple machines helping us work efficiently!) I believe, Innovation would help Live Search beat competition as well! Here are few thoughts that I have collected..
      1. On the main page, show Today's top three/five viewed search results! (be it from News, Science, Tech, Blog category!). This will add dynamic content on the search engine home page which will pull lot of curious geek!
      2. If Search query has any spelling-typing mistake, it should suggest correct spellings. (which live search does right now to some extent, but I am talking about suggestions not just for dictionary words but also comparing page rank/likeliness of result pages!)
        1. Say for example, I make a typing mistake and type, “jiagr mehta” (instead of “jigar mehta”), Live search can not suggest me right now! (where as Google does!)
      3. Live search should expose verbs to search for particular category from main page.. Something like,
        • “blog:latest live writer CTP” : should return me results about blog posts about live writer CTP..
        • “news:US presidential elections”
        • “tech:woopra release”
      4. Allow users to subscribe for latest search results, which has rank worth of appearing on first page (for those keywords). Notification for such results would be available to users through IM! Just imagine, you have registered for “Earthquake China” keywords and you get an IM as soon as that unfortunate event happens!
      5. If user clicks on any word in particular search result's description (which is a content snippet from original article!), it should dynamically expand that search result showing 5 more continuous lines for that. This will allow users to read more information about the article on search result page itself (before clicking on correct result! - This will also improve click-through v/s success ratio)
      6. Auto suggest query and result about the most popular item on the sidebar as and when user starts typing in. (this can be challenging in real time, but what is not!)
      7. Provide more context to user query in search result preview: Right now Live Search (Same story with Google as well) provides very poor context of searched words in search result..

        e.g. searching for "Petrol price increase India", it gives result saying

        Petrol, diesel prices may rise after Jan 17-India Business-Business ...
        Petrol, diesel prices may rise after Jan 17 5 Jan 2008, 0329 hrs IST , Diwakar & Sanjay Dutta , TNN ...

        As you see in above result, actual content from the result page is hardly one line.. If more context is provided to user, he will be able to more efficiently select correct page by reading that information! (What I think is, its not a MUST to have first result the best one, if user is able to find his intended result on the first page without miss each time, every-time!, that should be absolutely fine! - Though, first result as best one is always good!)

      8. Use empty space on the results page to show more information that user might be interested in!

        Apart from sponsored results, there can be lots of things that can be shown on results page which can help user.. (I know, this will increase the wait time for user, but with the help of AJAX today, all these 'extra' items can be triggered to start loading after showing basic 10 results to user!)


        1. Allow user to group results from particular domain!
        2. Allow user to sort results from freshness of result page! (many times, I am looking for latest information and have to go through old articles!)
        3. If result is 'marked as news article', publish date of article! (This will help user decide to ignore too old articles! or choose the latest ones..)
        4. Provide user a small section of ‘Recommended Picks’ (more on this later in personalized theme) which will help user stay up-to-date with latest happenings he is most interested with.
      9. Implement 'Smart Scrolling' on search results page such that, there would be NO next and previous page links! As user starts scrolling the page, live search keeps on appending results! I think this would also help in improving overall search experience.
      10. Natural language interpretation! This is going to be a need going forward! If I write "What was the stock that gained highest today in NASDAQ" or "What is latest news about NASA's Mars mission" Live search should be able to point me right to the information! (I see companies like PowerSet taking a giant leap in this direction, and that is probably a nice to have feature today! [and probably must-have in near future!])
      11. Donation to charity institutions on usage of Live search was on my mind but its already officially announced as, ‘Search and Give’.. A very good Idea.. (Though, it needs to get completely integrated with Live Search! I don’t understand why Different Search Provider in IE for Search and Give!!)
      12. Live Search already have “Smart Answers” Which is actually a great way to give user something ‘extra’.. I would like to suggest following additions or modifications to it..
        1. If I search for any Movie Name or TV Show/series,
          • It should show me some vital facts about the movie (by partnering with IMdb)
          • Allow me to directly land on the page on NetFlix where I can add that movie to my Queue
          • Gives me inline option to buy for that movie (with some discount offered by Cashback) or add it to WishList.
        2. If I search for some Person Name,
          • It should show me basic information about that person (like e-mail, web-site URL, Profession, City etc.) [Probably by looking at public information from social networks like Facebook/Orkut/MySpace/FriendFeed or Professional networks like LinkedIn] and provide link to their public profile
        3. If I search for Song track,
          • It should provide me option to play that track inline (on search result page) [by partnering with Napster]
          • An option to buy that track OR entire album from Napster/iTunes/Amazon!
        4. If I search for City Name,
          • Give me Whether Information for that City
          • List current time in that City
          • One top breaking news that happened last in that City!
          • Link to map for that city (linking to Virtual Earth page!)
        5. If I search for any Software Product name, [MS can build advertisement model for having custom messages for this category!]
          • It should list Product’s full name with latest version number linking to author’s web page.
          • Option to download/buy that product directly from Smart Answer!
          • Two flagship products from the same company hyper-linked to their Info page.
        6. If I search for ISBN,
          • Book’s cover page snapshot with more information about that book (like Author, No. of pages, Selling status (bestseller), Awards etc.
          • Option to buy that book from Amazon
        7. If I search for any Product’s Model Number
          • More information about that product (including small snapshot)
          • Option to buy it (with appx price & cashback!)
        8. If I search for Email address (I am not sure about privacy concerns around this!)
          • It should give at least Full name of this person! [Can be derived from search index and social network’s public profile pages]
        9. If I search for some Company Name
          • If that company is listed in any stock exchange, today’s latest stock quote chart should be shown.
          • Company’s Web-site URL should be listed
          • Very basic information about that company (may be their vision or mission statement!)
        10. If I search for any API (Application Programming Interface),
          • It should list signature of that function and link to web-page with more information about that API. (e.g. for Win32/.NET APIs link it to MSDN)
          • It should provide me link to sample snippet code which exhibits usage of that API (be it Windows API or Third party libraries API like STL).
        11. If query matches with any of Guinness World Record (e.g. “most t-shirt worn”),
          • Provide more information about that Record and hyperlink to more information about that world record.
        12. If I search for DHL tracking number (or formatted tracking number for any courier company, for that matter)
          • It should show me current status of shipping (by partnering with respective courier companies)
        13. If I search for formatted flight number,
          • It should list schedule for that flight for current day (giving user interactive options to see the schedule for next few days – AJAX way..)
        14. If search query contains two Cities,
          • It should list best & cheapest flight (probably with some cashback) between those two cities hyper-linking directly to partner airline site. (May be MS can use FareCast here!)
        15. If query contains some file extension (like “.pst”),
          • Give more information about that file extension and software program to open those files. (I think Microsoft already maintains this database for Windows Vista, that can be used)
        16. If query is an Idiom or Phrase,
          • It should provide meaning of that phrase (by partnering with encarta or
        17. If query term contains only a single word,
          • Show meaning of that word (synonyms, antonyms) and a sentence using that word!
        18. If query contains Magazine name,
          • Show link to more information about latest edition of that magazine (if its readable online, show few top stories with links)
        19. If query contains Phone number [again not sure about privacy concerns around this, but I guess there are premium/free services out on Internet which provides this service! – If that is not feasible, it can also be derived simply by crawling the web!]
          • List information about owner of that number!
        20. If query contains URL to some website,
          • Show WhoIs information about that website!
        21. If query is simply IPv4/IPv6 address,
          • Show Basic information about that IP address (one I use normally is here)
        22. If query is just some DLL name,
          • Give information about that DLL
          • Link to download that DLL (or package that contains that DLL)
    2. Reliability:
      1. Providing THE BEST results every-time is very crucial for Live Search while being in competitor phase, because a single poor result will drive user back to his 'old daddy'.. - And I think MS is working towards this very very hard.. I know Live search index has improved exponentially in last few months.. And they are onto it!
      2. Need to win TRUST from users! A user should have confidence (which people hardly have today) with live search. Of course, this does not happen over-night.
    3. Efficiency:
      1. As a user of Live Search, I want FAST search results (I know MS acquired FAST, but I am talking about Speed here!).. If Live Search can provide search results blazingly fast (at least as fast as the competitor), users will think about using it! Today, Live search is NOT-SO-FAST as compared to other options available!
    4. Personalized User Experience:
      1. Add social element to Search!
        Today, I see SOCIAL on the web with big buzz, I see people becoming more and more social than ever! Microsoft has largest online community (with MSN msgr), MS should leverage this and help users socialize search experience as well! There are few ideas floating around my head!

        1. Give a very quick way for a user to “Star” a particular search result. Give user functionality to share his 'starred' results through RSS feed! Give it a cool name, "Live Search Feed" Winking
        2. Design a portal where user can do more with his 'starred' search results like,
          1. Search them with Full Text Search
          2. Give a quick way to email a particular search result or group of results to a contact!
          3. Give ability to tag those results.. (suggested tags would be nice feature! Even this manual tagging can be used for many other purposes like keywords verification!)
          4. Ability to group/sort through days/month/domain-name/result-category(whether news/tech/science/blog)
          5. If a particular search result is also tagged by anybody in his/her contact, give them ability to discuss over that result by providing ability to add threaded comments to it!
            • Concept similar to that of FriendFeed.. Where each search result would become a discussion topic! This would prove great for people doing research/study from search results!
          6. Ability to automatically blog daily 'starred' search results on user's live spaces! (Let them share with their community what they searched for and liked!)
          7. Ability to Digg/Twitter/Delicious/FriendFeed/Facebook about the search result with just one click! (that is possible today due to open APIs)
          8. Annotate particular search result with own research text and ability to share it with friends/family. (May be comment feature will make this one duplicate!)
          9. Ability to IM a particular search result to self or a friend (over MSN network).
      2. Give users their own customized search engine!
        We all are living in ‘Information Exploded’ world today! There is a lot happening and available to us, many times, we waste time digging for something which is important to us! (this becomes lot bigger question for Geek!) If Live search can solve this problem, it would definitely win love of many people!

        1. System should be able to detect user's style/need by looking at search patterns! If one can detect what a particular user is generally looking for, A system can be built which gets intelligent and more perfect over time such that,
          • If I am a developer of C#, I should not have to write "C#" keyword every-time I search for 'create thread sample'! (It should automatically show me C# sample on top of results!)
          • If my queries and click through results are around latest developments in telecom world, Live Search should be able to suggest me "Recommended reading" anytime some breaking news happens in that industry!
        2. My personalized search engine should be able to allow me increase/decrease rank for pages from particular domain! (even personalized blacklist feature would be nice!)
        3. There should be a section in search result that shows search results for my email conversations! (If I am logged on to my Live account while using Live Search!)
          • Or may be, give special search verb that searches emails instead of web (something like search query “email:I will call you on sunday”)
        4. As described in 4.1 <Social touch to live search>, there should be a section on result page that searches my ‘Starred’ search result items!

    That’s almost everything that I can re-collect right now.. It may be possible that some of the ideas are already implemented by live search (which I am not aware of).. But I tried my best to confirm they are not! I may be missing many other thoughts as well, but I will use Comments section (as I generally do!) for adding those..

    If you want to add any, feel free to add them here in Comments section!

    This is probably the largest post I have ever written, but I think I had to start some day!! Winking

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 5, 2008

    How would it be if, “Outlook can allow me to ignore specific email thread!”

    In an organization, its common that you are part of many discussion groups. Not everytime, you get useful content (for you!) on there! I was just wondering if Outlook had a feature to allow me to ignore a particular thread such that all emails that comes for that thread would automatically be deleted!! I think outlook can create in-memory (short-term) client side rule to do this!

    A small feature, but would be useful to many people! I hope it would be there in Office 14!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    How to keep track of all your public photos with free Flickr Account?

    Flickr has been a buzz in online photos from some time! Till now, I had never got a chance to use it.. (Picasa and Live Gallery fan here!) But yesterday on advice of one of my friends, I tried using Flickr! I have free account for which I was not aware of limitations.. I started uploading my new photo collection (appx 300 photos)..

    And what I found was, with free account you can have only most recent 200 photos on photostream (which is I think very bad)! Flickr also provides functionality of marking photos private which nobody except you can see.. Another kind of upload is public upload which is available to anybody in world. So, I was trying to find out a way to get rid of these 200 photo limitations.. While reading documentation, I found that all photos which I had uploaded (which may be more than 200) are still stored on flickr servers but its just that they are not shown!

    One thing can be done to temporarily resolve this problem is, Get your public photo RSS stream and add it to google reader (I have added it to FriendFeed, my Flickr stream which friendfeed stores forever is at, So, you can still find individual photo link and access to all comments for that photo even if that photo is not one of most recent 200 photos!

    Though, I have still not been able to figure out how to keep track of Private photos like this! Review of service is almost very good except these free account limitations! They have got good social touch as well. But one has to understand it costs real money to host and serve these photos over Internet Happy So, they also have to have revenue model!

    My PhotoStream (feel free to add me as your contact, if you wish),

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    June 3, 2008

    Get your domain name totally free of cost!

    Want to get your own domain name without spending bucks? These days its very easy to host your basic website files (HTML and client side scripts) in any free web space provider (like Live Skydrive or Google Pages).. If you want to get your own domain name for free of cost, go ahead and create one by clicking here..

    CO.CC:Free Domain

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    First post from Windows Live Writer 2008 Tech Preview..

    Windows live writer team just released “Windows Live Writer 2008 Technical Preview”.. Installed it and posting my first post using it..


    One feature that I liked is, now, we have “Edit”, “Preview” and “Source” tabs at the bottom of edit area..


    Another one I liked is option to automatically link words..


    Also, now windows live writer has got Auto Update functionality!! It rocks!


    Go, download your copy!!


    Stay tuned..

    Hooeey! Forget about distributed browser history issues..

    This is something I have been craving from a long time! In fact, I had written few papers about this solution before some time.. Hooeey is a company who has implemented this idea in a nice way..

    It solves a unique problem of having browser history distributed on different machines (if you are using more than one personal computers - which is very common these days!), it stores the history on a centralized place (their server) and lets you search through all the history.. (you can also create rules about what links you dont want to store in history, those links don't get transferred to the server!)

    Video is worth million words, Take a look..

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    VARAHA on eTV Gujarati..

    Before I joined my present company, I was working with VARAHA.. I just found their latest product release featured on a regional TV Channel.. Way to go, team..!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    May 29, 2008

    How to Send free SMS anywhere within India?

    This is really good website to send Free SMS to any mobile (CDMA or GSM) anywhere in India! Pretty quick service..

    Just one thing to notice, they allow you to use appx. 92 characters for your message and append an advertisement in rest of the message! Service is pretty quick (in 15-20 seconds, other party will receive it!)..

    Create your account at,

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    May 23, 2008

    Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta is available!!

    I've been using Visual Studio 2008 from few months.. Its really a great improvement over productivity.. I love new features and speedy IDE. Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2008 contains not only bug fixes but also lots of new features! Along with .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 beta, VS2008 SP1 beta has been released few days ago. I just installed it on all my machines!

    If you want to download it, refer to following links,

    After you install it, following may be few useful links,

    Happy coding!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    May 8, 2008

    Visitors diversity on blog..

    Here is a snapshot from "Geo Overlay" feature of Woopra! Its showing country-wise allocation of last few thousand visitors (dark color means less visitors and light means more).. Looks like I have got quite a few visitors from Romaina as well!! Happy

    05-09-2008 (042223)

    Woopra really rocks! One of many other stats that Woopra shows,

    05-14-2008 (045601)

    Just waiting for new version that they are going to release by next weekend.

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    May 7, 2008

    My Virtual Machine Repository!!

    As I might have mentioned in my other posts as well, that I use Virtual Machines a lot!!

    I love snapshot feature in Virtual Machine softwares, like Microsoft Hyper-V and VMWare Workstation! My repository goes something like this,

    • Windows XP 32 bit - Base OS (with SP2)
      • Windows XP 32 bit - Visual Studio 2003
      • Windows XP 32 bit - Visual Studio 2005
      • Windows XP 32 bit - Visual Studio 2008
    • Windows 2003 Server - Base OS
      • Windows 2003 Server - Base OS (with SP2)
    • Windows Vista 32 bit - Base OS (with SP1)
      • Windows Vista 32 bit - Visual Studio 2005
      • Windows Vista 32 bit - Visual Studio 2008
    • Windows XP 64 bit - Base OS (with SP2)
      • Windows XP 64 bit - Visual Studio 2005
      • Windows XP 64 bit - Visual Studio 2008
    • Windows Vista 64 bit - Base OS (with SP1)
      • Windows Vista 64 bit - Visual Studio 2008

    This entire virtual machine jungle eats up almost 80 GB of my hard drive, but I think its worth it!

    Because of various environment I have to work with on every single day, Virtual Machines is the only thing that can help me. Sometimes, I wonder if there would be no Virtualization technology, how would I work!

    Stay tuned.. Wave

    May 5, 2008

    Evernote Invites available!!

    As I told, I love new Evernote!! I have got few invitations for this closed beta! If you want to try it out (believe me, its too good and useful!) drop your email id in comment section, I can send an invite!

    Stay tuned.. Wave