18th April will be marked as Windows 7 day in India

Date March 19, 2009

Windows 7 Beta is currently the hot topic in the Community and here is your chance to cash in on the buzz!
On Saturday, 18th April, India will wake up to 7 concurrent User Group events on Windows 7! Here is where a Community member / IT Professional can avail of exclusive in-depth content on managing Windows 7 – a one-day workshop to gear up on all the necessary skills to get started on Windows 7 efficiently. And that’s not all – a Community member can walk in with his machine and get it loaded with Windows 7 right there.

  • Walk in with your laptops and get them powered with Windows 7
  • Participate in the parallel sessions running
  • Even if you are not carrying your laptops, feel free to attend sessions
  • Get the boot camp feel
  • Getting hands on at the venue, provides you more exposure to learning with your peers

Here they also have an opportunity of learning through the sessions and also with the systems powered by the operating system, they have the easy option of learn the functionality, explore more, understand the simple / difficulties during installation (compatibility etc…, various methods of installation.

For more updates, please visit MumbaiITPro User Group

Announcing Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta 1

Date February 5, 2009

At CES early this month, Microsoft announced the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta 1, providing enhancements in virtualization, Web platform, management, scalability, and reliability. New features also ensure greater integration with Windows 7 for scenarios such as security, remote access, and branch office infrastructure. You can learn more and download the Beta today. And TechNet Plus subscribers can download the Windows Sever 2008 R2 Beta bits.

Microsoft also released the Beta of Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization V 1.0, an enterprise virtualization solution that helps your users run legacy applications on their Windows Vista desktops. The final version of MED-V 1.0 is slated for release in the second quarter of this year as a part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. Download the Beta.

The Bumper List of Windows 7 Secrets

Date January 15, 2009

It’s great to see Windows 7 Beta finally released to the world! We’re very proud of what has been accomplished over the last months; in many ways, it sets a new quality bar for a beta operating system release. Building on top of the Windows Vista foundation, Windows 7 adds a great deal of polish and refinement to both the user interface and the underlying architecture, while at the same time introducing many new features and improvements that support new hardware, give power users and casual users alike better tools to manage their digital lives, and enable new classes of application experience.

Over future blog entries, I’ll spend time drilling into some of those areas in more detail; of course, there are plenty of articles already out there that dissect Windows 7 in some depth, with the Windows SuperSite and Ars Technica providing notably comprehensive entries. I’d also like to draw particular attention to the series of Windows 7 interviews that Yochay Kiriaty has been posting on Channel 9, which give the inside scoop on the development of many of the most significant new features.

For now, though, I want to focus in on some of “secrets” of Windows 7: the many little tweaks and enhancements that we’ve made in this release that I’ve discovered and collated over the last few months of using Windows 7 across my home and work machines. These are the things that are too small to appear in any marketing document as “features”, but that you quickly miss when you switch to an older version of Windows. There are some who think that we’re arbitrarily hiding functionality to make Windows easy for casual users, but I’d argue that a great deal of effort has been put into this release to satisfy power users. In homage to those of us who enjoy discovering the nooks and crannies of a new operating system list, I’ve put together the longest blog post that I’ve ever written. If you’ve downloaded and installed Windows 7 Beta recently, I think you’ll enjoy this list of my thirty favorite secrets. Have fun!

  1. Windows Management
  2. Display Projection
  3. Cut Out The Clutter
  4. Multi-Monitor Windows Management
  5. Command Junkies Only
  6. It’s a Global Village
  7. The Black Box Recorder
  8. The Font of All Knowledge
  9. Gabriola
  10. Who Stole My Browser?
  11. Rearranging the Furniture
  12. Installing from a USB Memory Stick
  13. I Want My Quick Launch Toolbar Back!
  14. It’s a Drag
  15. Standards Support
  16. Windows Vista-Style Taskbar
  17. Peeking at the Desktop
  18. Running with Elevated Rights
  19. One More of the Same, Please
  20. Specialized Windows Switching
  21. Walking Through the Taskbar
  22. The Widescreen Tip
  23. Pin Your Favorite Folders
  24. Starting Explorer from “My Computer”
  25. ClearType Text Tuning and Display Color Calibration
  26. ISO Burning
  27. Windows Movie Maker
  28. Hiding the Windows Live Messenger Icon
  29. Enjoy The Fish
  30. When All Else Fails…

This is really a great read. Find more in detail here: MSDN

New Culminis Board announced

Date October 1, 2008

I am delighted to share with you that today as the Culminis announces its new board as an all volunteer organization, I am elected as the Regional Chairman – Asia Pacific. It gives a great feeling being a part of Global Board of Directors: http://www.culminis.com/BOD

As we recap to the recent update Microsoft announced how they will be supporting the user groups please view on Graham Watson’s blog here. This change is based on collaboration with Microsoft and is, we believe, in the best interest of Community.

ABOUT CULMINIS

Culminis is an international volunteer organization devoted to the development and growth of the IT community initiated to serve the member IT Professional user groups and associations, student organizations, and solution providers. With this knowledge Culminis has developed programs that ensure a meaningful and equitable exchange of those resources, ultimately elevating the status of the IT Pro both in their industry and in the community. It facilitates and promotes the development and maintenance of a partnership between IT Professionals and Microsoft.

IT Professionals and IT Students
Culminis is not a super user group and we have no membership for individual IT Professionals, we will accomplish our mission by working in cooperation with the IT Professional community.  We strongly encourage you to get involved.  Please use our Culminis User Group Locator to find and join one of our member organizations.

You may find the official announcement happening here: The Culminis Restructure
As an “all-volunteer” organization, our role is to serve for the greater good of the IT community and IT Pros and we will work hard in this mission.

The initial focus of the new board is to complete the transition resulting in open elections before October 2009. We also look to grow the community and setup the structures for effective communications and providing value between all stakeholders in Culminis. The new Board cannot do this alone. The strength of the IT Pro community is that there are many people who are outstanding volunteers. Making the choices for the interim Board was difficult. To succeed we need the input from, support and assistance of all of those dedicated people going forward.

More FAQ’s on the restructure here: FAQ’s Regarding New Culminis Structure
I am very much thankful to the members in jury for electing me and seeing confidence. Looking forward for the best community contribution and Thank You to all the community members.

Some Cool FireFox Addons to use

Date September 1, 2008

Just thought of posting some of my favourite FireFox Addon that I use often:

Fast Video Download

Want to download that good video from your favorite video sharing website such as YouTube, Google Video, MSN Soapbox, etc… ? Here, we can now download the videos from within the FireFox browser using the Fast Video Download Addon for FireFox

All we have to do is download this extension (find the latest updated here), Restart FireFox and your are all set. You will find a small icon on the Right end of your status bar. Go to the video sharing website such as You Tube, and click on the icon. It then pops up another window where you want to save the file. Remember that the file you download will be in .swf (flash format) which you will then need to convert to wmv, or avi, etc… as per your desired format using some video converting software that converts from .swf

FireFTP

As I am frequent to file uploads and downloads using FTP, FireFTP does good job for me. Download this extension (updated available here). Restart FireFox.

Then each time you want to upload / download using FTP, go to Tools and select FireFTP. That open a new window and you are done! The interface is just like any other FTP software. The reason to prefer this over any other basic File Uploading software is we need no installation and are also quicker as we work on FireFox.

Domain Name Details

You come across some new website and need to find the details about them. In order to acquire information you may then do a tracert, check whois information and all the dns related queries. Domain details is another extension for FireFox that displays information on Server Type, IP Address with Location Flag, and links to various Whois Reports about the website that you are visiting at a single view.

You need to download this extension (updated available here). After installing, we find the details on the status bar as in this image: (The image displays an example from Mozilla.org)

Say you visit http://www.microsoft.com/ and find the following information on the status bar:

Microsoft-IIS/7.0 is the webserver type and 207.46.19.190 is the IP Address of the server that hosts http://www.microsoft.com/

Further clicking on the “i” (more information) button, we get more details and to find the whois information, just click on Domain Whois and that opens a window that takes us to the Whois information of the website

FlashBlock

Each time I visit some websites they are heavily loaded with Flash Intro which sometimes make very annoying and comsumes a heavy amount of bandwidth resulting to slow down the speed of browsing. FlashBlock is the solution for such matters.

Flashblock is an extension for the Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves placeholders on the webpage that allow you to click to download and then view the Flash content.

Download the extension from here (updated available here). Next time you visit any website loaded with Flash, you find the area loaded with flash content blocked and you have the option to play the flash.

Following are the 2 examples:-

1. From MSN Videos

And 2. from Google Videos

Clicking on the “f” icon on the screen activates flash to play.

These are few of the Addons that I use more frequently when I use FireFox. However since I run most of the application using Microsoft technologies which supports IE well, I did use the IE Tab addon but that used to crash often and instead prefer IE on such cases. Using the recently released IE8 Beta 2 also has some more excellent features that I will come soon but have found some bugs in them and hence have IE7 running currently.

I am a Microsoft MVP and I feel Great!

Date July 1, 2008


Video: I Feel Great! – MVP

Thanks Vasu for pointing this

Lessons for success shared by Azim Premji

Date June 5, 2008

I just made a post on a lesson from the Infosys Chief Mentor, Shri. Narayana Murthy about . Here comes another email from Shri. Azim Premji, Chairman and CEO, Wipro where he shares about what he learned from gaining success.

Azim Premji

Dear Wiproite,

My own successes and setbacks along the way have taught me some lessons. I wish to share them with you and hope you will find them useful.

Lesson #1: Be careful to ask what you want. You may get it.

What this means is that do not ask too little either of yourself or the others around you. What you ask is what you get. When I look back at the time when I joined Wipro, I was 21. If you ask me whether I thought that Wipro would grow so by someday, the honest answer is that I did not. But neither did I think it would not. We constantly stretched ourselves to higher and higher targets. Sometimes, it seemed possible, sometimes fanciful and sometimes plain insane. But we never stopped raising limits. And we got a lot more than what we bargained for.

Lesson # 2: Respond, don’t react

Always be aware of your emotions and learn to manage them. There is a huge difference between people who react impulsively and those who can disengage themselves and then respond at will. By choosing to respond differently, we can prevent another person from controlling our behaviour. I remember a small story that illustrates this well. There was once a newspaper vendor who had a rude Customer. Every morning, the Customer would walk by, refuse to return the greeting, grab the paper off the shelf and throw the money at the vendor. The vendor would pick up the money, smile politely and say, “Thank you, Sir.” One day, the vendor’s assistant asked him, “Why are you always so polite with him when he is so rude to you? Why don’t you throw the newspaper at him when he comes back tomorrow?” The vendor smiled and replied, “He can’t help being rude and I can’t help being polite. Why should I let his rude behaviour dictate mine?

Lesson # 3: Intuitions are important for making decisions

It is important to realize that our intuition is a very important part of decision making. Many things are recorded by our subconscious. Use both sides of the brain. Even that is not enough. Some decisions need the use of the heart as well. When you use your mind and heart together, you may get a completely new and creative answer.

Lesson # 4: Learn to work in teams

The challenges ahead are so complex that no individual will be able to face them alone. While most of our education is focused in individual strength, teaming with others is equally important. You cannot fire a missile from a canoe. Unless you build a strong network of people with complimentary skills, you will be restricted by your own limitations. Globalisation has brought people of different origins, different upbringing and different cultures together. Ability to become an integral part of a cross-cultural team will be a must for your success.

Lesson #5: Never lose your zest and curiosity

All the available knowledge in the world is accelerating at a phenomenal rate. The whole world’s codified knowledge base (all documented information in library books and electronic files) doubled every 30 years in the early 20th century. By the 1970s, the world’s knowledge base doubled every seven years. Information researchers predict that by the year 2010, the world’s codified knowledge will double every 11 hours. Remaining on top of what you need to know will become one of the greatest challenges for you. The natural zest and curiosity for learning is one of the greatest drivers for keeping updated on knowledge. A child’s curiosity is insatiable because every new object is a thing of wonder and mystery. The same zest is needed to keep learning new things. I personally spend at least 10 hours every week on reading. If I do not do that, I will find myself quickly outdated.

Lesson # 6: Put yourself first

This does not mean being selfish. Nor does it mean that you must become so full of yourself that that you become vain or arrogant. It means developing your self confidence. It means, developing an inner faith in yourself that is not shaken by external events. It requires perseverance. It shows up in the ability to rebound from a setback with double enthusiasm and energy. I came across a recent Harvard Business review which describes this very effectively : “No one can truly define success and failure for us- only we can define that for ourselves. No one can take away our dignity unless we surrender it. No one can take away our hope and pride unless we relinquish them. No one can steal our creativity, imagination and skills unless we stop thinking. No one can stop us from rebounding unless we give up.” And there is no way we can take care of others, unless we take care of ourselves.

Lesson # 7: Have a broader social vision

While there is every reason to be excited about the future, we must not forget that we will face many challenges as well. By 2015, we will have 829 million strong workforce. That will make India home to 18% of global working-age population. The key challenge is to transform that into a globally competitive work-force. This will not be an easy task. Despite all the rapid economic expansion seen in recent years, job growth in India still trails the rise in working-age population. It is important that gains are spread across this spectrum, so that the divide between the employed and the under-employed, is minimised. Education is a crucial enabler that can make this growth as equitable as possible.

Lesson # 8: Play to win

Playing to win is not the same as playing dirty. It is not about winning all the time or winning at any cost. Playing to win is having the intensity to stretch to the maximum and bringing our best foot forward. Winning means focusing on the game. The score board tells you where you are going, but don’t concentrate too much on it. If you can focus on the ball, the scores will move by themselves. I recently came across this story that I thought I would share with you A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen. He returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal- some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – and asked them to help themselves to coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, you were more concerned about comparing your cups but what you really wanted was coffee. Yet you spent all your time eyeing each other’s cups. Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to contain Life, but cannot really change the quality of Life. Sometimes, by over concentrating on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.”

I wish you all every success in your career and your life.

Azim Premji

Also taking a closer look by enlarging this below article in the image, are his perspectives on success and effective learning with teenagers. A speech that he made at the Shaping Young Minds interactive workshop organized jointly by the All India Management Association and the Bombay Management Association.

8 Lessons

Lesson from the Boss… about sitting late hours at office

Date June 5, 2008

An Email sent by Narayana Murthy to all Infosys staff:

NMurthy

Here is a letter that is a must read for every individual about professionalism. This email is said to be sent by Shri. Narayana Murthy, Founder CEO & Chief Mentor of Infosys. Enjoy the read and its time for a change to those individuals who believe in sitting late late hours at office doing no productive work. Wake Up! Life is calling… Where are you?

It’s half past 8 in the office but the lights are still on…
PCs still running, coffee machines still buzzing…
And who’s at work? Most of them ??? Take a closer look…

All or most specimens are ??
Something male species of the human race…

Look closer… again all or most of them are bachelors…

And why are they sitting late? Working hard? No way!!!
Any guesses???
Let’s ask one of them…
Here’s what he says… “What’s there 2 do after going home…Here we get to surf, AC, phone, food, coffee that is why I am working late…Importantly no bossssssss!!!!!!!!!!!”

This is the scene in most research centers and software companies and other off-shore offices.

Bachelors “Time-passing” during late hours in the office just bcoz they say they’ve nothing else to do…
Now what r the consequences…

“Working” (for the record only) late hours soon becomes part of the institute or company culture.

With bosses more than eager to provide support to those “working” late in the form of taxi vouchers, food vouchers and of course good feedback, (oh, he’s a hard worker… goes home only to change..!!).
They aren’t helping things too…

To hell with bosses who don’t understand the difference between “sitting” late and “working” late!!!

Very soon, the boss start expecting all employees to put in extra working hours.

So, My dear Bachelors let me tell you, life changes when u get married and start having a family… office is no longer a priority, family is…. and
That’s when the problem starts… b’coz u start having commitments at home too.

For your boss, the earlier “hardworking” guy suddenly seems to become a “early leaver” even if u leave an hour after regular time… after doing the same amount of work.

People leaving on time after doing their tasks for the day are labelled as work-shirkers…

Girls who thankfully always (its changing nowadays… though) leave on time are labelled as “not up to it”. All the while, the bachelors pat their own backs and carry on “working” not realizing that they r spoiling the work culture at their own place and never realize that they would have to regret at one point of time.

So what’s the moral of the story??
* Very clear, LEAVE ON TIME!!!
* Never put in extra time ” unless really needed ”
* Don’t stay back unnecessarily and spoil your company work culture which will in turn cause inconvenience to you and your colleagues.

There are hundred other things to do in the evening..

Learn music…

Learn a foreign language…

Try a sport… TT, cricket………

Importantly,get a girl friend or boy friend, take him/her around town….

* And for heaven’s sake, net cafe rates have dropped to an all-time low (plus, no fire-walls) and try cooking for a change.

Take a tip from the Smirnoff ad: *”Life’s calling, where are you??”*

Please pass on this message to all those colleagues and please do it before leaving time, don’t stay back till midnight to forward this!!!

IT’S A TYPICAL INDIAN MENTALITY THAT WORKING FOR LONG HOURS MEANS VERY HARD WORKING & 100% COMMITMENT ETC.

PEOPLE WHO REGULARLY SIT LATE IN THE OFFICE DON’T KNOW TO MANAGE THEIR TIME. SIMPLE !

Regards,
NARAYAN MURTHY.

Announcing UGTV (User Group Television) for ITPros

Date May 29, 2008

Microsoft has today launched UGTV, as the name reads User Group Television – dedicated specifically for the User Groups WorldWide.Here is what Microsoft says:

User Group Television (UGTV) is a monthly webcast dedicated to bringing informative programming to User Groups worldwide while providing Microsoft the ability to introduce up and coming information to user group communities as well as highlight our engagement with them.

The shows will be aired on 2 Microsoft websites, Edge for ITPros and Channel9 for Developers.

As a part of launch, today they have aired the FIRST episode that includes some interviews of those behind the scenes and interviews of few User Group leaders worldwide. Spot me in there for few seconds (2:29 – 2:36)! Glad to be included in this show, interviewed during my recent trip to Redmond for 2008 MVP Global Summit and Community Summit.

There are lots to come, so keep watching this space. Be an active participant in this User Group and chances are you could be casted in upcoming show sometime. There are several initiatives coming up with MumbaiITPro, do let your contributions keep coming in.


UGTV (User group Television) for ITPro Debuts!

Wishing this initiative a great success! Let’s make it happen.

“Hyper-V” the next generation Virtualization technology

Date May 19, 2008

As we hear a lot about the buzzword Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008, scheduled to RTM soon in coming few months, just thought of exploring on this technology and what are the possible enhancements in this technology we can expect. As there are not too many documents / white papers currently available, we need to explore installing Windows Server 2008, already available.

First starting with the basics on what is virtualization? I assume you have the heard-abouts on this technology. We will then focus on the Hyper-V technology. The traditional way of networking required the physical hardware, ample space, separate power requirement for each hardware, etc… which not only adds up the total cost of investment over the hardware but also on the specialized skills for supporting different servers. By implementing Virtualization, we overcome all the above concerns.

Virtualization is an abstraction layer that allows multiple virtual machines, with heterogeneous operating systems to run in isolation, side-by-side on the same physical machine. Using virtualization you can run multiple operating systems on a single machine whether virtual machines are different operating systems to be tested, or whatever other configurations you care to imagine.

While earlier its adoption was primarily limited to test and development environments, the maturity of technologies that its use in enterprises evolved in various ways. The Microsoft’s server virtualization offers flexible workload management, allowing IT teams to relocate live applications without any downtime. Server virtualization is primarily the encapsulation of server infrastructure and resources, hiding the identity of physical servers, processors and operating systems from the end-users. Software applications are used to divide a physical server into multiple independent virtual environments that may run concurrently, more commonly referred to as virtual private servers, guests, partitions, instances, containers or emulators.

There are 3 forms of Virtualization:

  • Virtual Machine model
  • Para-virtualization model
  • Operating system virtualization model

Virtualization allows us to:

  • Consolidate workloads to reduce hardware, power, and space requirements.
  • Run multiple operating systems simultaneously – as an enterprise upgrade path, or to leverage the advantages of specific operating systems, or for whatever reason you can imagine.
  • Run legacy software on newer, more reliable, and more power efficient hardware
  • Isolate operating environments to improve security and fault tolerance
  • Provide redundancy to support disaster recovery
  • Create fully configured isolated virtual machines with it’s own set of virtual hardware to run an operating system and applications
  • Rapidly save, copy and provision virtual machines that can be moved from one physical server to another for workload consolidation and zero downtown maintenance

A Microsoft’s Virtual Server virtual machine supports up to four virtual network adapters in the virtual machine environment
Microsoft also offers a physical machine-to-virtual machine (P2V) conversion tool using The Virtual Server Migration Toolkit (VSMT)
Though the Virtual Server supports only Ethernet topologies, it does also support the IPV6 technology of IP Addressing.
Virtual Hard Disks (VHD) can be stored on a SAN. A host operating system views a SAN volume as a local volume, due to which no special configuration is needed when using a Microsoft’s Virtual Server solution with a SAN.

Microsoft’s virtualization solutions increases hardware utilization and enables organizations to rapidly configure and deploy new servers with the following key benefits:

  • Efficient use of hardware resources
  • Enhanced administrative productivity and responsiveness
  • Well-supported server virtualization solution
  • A key deliverable for Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative.

Few reasons to implement Virtualization:

  • Production server consolidation
  • Business continuity management
  • Software test and development
  • Create Dynamic datacenter
  • Ease Power consumption
  • Better security
  • Run legacy softwae on non-legacy hardware
  • Run multiple operating systems on the same hardware
  • Improve scalability
  • Dynamically manage outages

Microsoft has developed the Hyper-V technology, a next generation 64-bit hypervisor based virtualization technology that reduces cost, increases hardware utilization, optimizes network and business infrastructure, and improves server availability.

Hyper-V is a key feature of Windows Server 2008, integrating with familiar, Windows based server management tools. Businesses don’t have to purchase additional software to take advantage of powerful virtualization features like live backup and quick migration. For customers who want a complete server management solution that works with virtual machines and physical servers, Microsoft’s System Center product line now includes advanced virtual machine management and monitoring capabilities. Hyper-V’s open architecture enables internal development teams and third-party software developers to build enhancements to the technology and tools.