Active mind and software development

Every software developer knows the importance of his or her own mind. Well, I feel that software development itself is an excellent mind game where an active mind can help you to drive the design and development of your software effectively.

If you are involved in the development of software for a domain where requirements keep changing every second, a developer needs to come up with new and new ideas to prevent the development process from stalling. To think of new ideas, you need to keep your mind focused on the problem which is difficult if your mind is not active.

To keep your mind active all the time, you basically need to keep it engaged in some activities so that your mind won’t have to stay idle. Let’s look at some activities that can keep your mind active and engaged for most of the time.

1. Reading: Everybody knows the importance of reading. Apart from keeping your mind engaged, it also helps you to learn new concepts, and to come up with some new ideas. You could read literature on almost any topic. Normally, whenever I get tired after long hours of software development, I like to read some story books or newspaper. It distracts my mind for a short time from the puzzles I was trying to solve while coding and thus, making it fresh again after some time.

2. Writing: Some people think that writing is generally a physical exercise. Just try to write some original articles or essays and you will come to know how much you need to think. But what to write? You can keep your personal diary where you can write your daily experience or a weblog where you can post your thoughts or ideas which could help others. If can even try to write your own poems or songs even if you haven’t written one before.

3. Playing mind games: Games like chess or sudoku are quite challenging by nature. You can even play these games without moving away from your computer (lol). Don’t worry if you are not expert in chess or sudoku as we are trying to play just for the sake of keeping our mind engaged.

4. Observing mother nature: If you are really bored of reading, writing or even playing then you can just hang out in some nice garden and appreciate the beautify of our mother nature. Trust me, it works!!!!! Once when I was struggling to come up with an algorithm to write one game, Alan had advised me to go out and look at birds and trees. I listened to his advice and soon after that, my problem was solved.

Here I’ve mentioned the activities that I follow to keep my mind active. Sometimes, I even do meditation for around 10 minutes. Don’t just limit yourself to these activities for keeping your mind engaged. Do whatever you like but make sure that your mind won’t stay idle.

Fring with Airtel GPRS

Fring is an application for mobile phones that allows you to make calls using VoIP. Yesterday I decided to try it out myself. I had mentioned in one of my post that it is possible to make free calls with fring if you have access to public Wi-Fi hotspots, but in Goa, there are no such public Wi-Fi hotspots. On the other hand, my Nokia N72 doesn’t have support for Wi-Fi networks. So I had to rely on GPRS connection.

If you refer to Fring website, it mentions that the application is compatible with Symbian from version 8 to 9.2. Thus it can work on my Nokia N72. I activated Airtel GPRS service on my handset and downloaded fring directly on my mobile from its site.

After installation, fring asked me to register as a new user. Then, I had to select one VoIP service provider from Skype, MSN Messenger, ICQ, SIP, Google Talk, Twitter, Yahoo and AIM. I have been using skype for long time to make VoIP calls so I selected Skype. After that, fring asked me to login to my skype account with skype screen name and password. That’s it!!!! Now fring was ready for use on my handset.

Fring presented me with list of contacts which were taken from my phone book and skype contact list. From here I could have called my friends who were online on Skype at that point of time. If you try to call a person from your phone book, then you will be presented with options of either Direct GSM call or SkypeOut call.

I wanted to try out fring by making a real call. So I requested my father to call me from skype. Soon, my cell started ringing and Fring showed me that the call is from my father. I was able to talk to my father normally without any problems.

But one thing I noticed is that, I was not able to hear my father’s voice instantaneously. There was a small time gap so I felt as if I’m using a walkie-talkie.

If you want to call your friends at a very cheap rate then should try out fring yourself. Hopefully in near future, just like broadband, the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots in India will increase and then people will be able to use applications like Fring with better voice quality.

3 reasons to install anti-spyware tool on your PC

Many times I have noticed that people tend to make their computers secure only by installing a good anti-virus tool and keeping it updated regularly. Most of them use free version of AVG antivirus tool thinking that it will keep their machines free from threats. But AVG product comparison page clearly shows that there is one potentially threat which is not handled by free edition of AVG antivirus. It doesn’t protect your machine from the threat of spywares.

But good news is that, you also get free version of AVG Anti-Spyware tool. But most of the people ignore this tool because they don’t know the reason behind installing such tools on their machines. Let’s look at reasons to install anti-spyware tools on your machine.

1) To protect your secret data: Spywares often attack your online privacy and security in many ways. Some spywares will look at your surfing habits and will send the data back to its creator. You won’t believe but many advertisers use this approach to study their market. On the other hand, there are spywares that will cross all limits and can even send your passwords or credit card details to its creator. Scary isn’t it?

2) To prevent your PC from becoming extremely slow: This actually happened to me once. I noticed that my PC had suddenly become extremely slow for no reason. It used to slow down even more after connecting to the net. My antivirus tool didn’t detect any threat on my machine. But when I diagnosed my PC for spywares, I was shocked to notice that it detected hundreds of threats. After removing them, my PC regained its performance. In their attempt to collect data from your machine, spywares often slow down your machine.

3) To safely use freeware tools: Everybody likes to download free software tools from the net. Most of the time, these free software tools could actually be spyware tools in disguise. I don’t say that all free software tools are spywares so don’t panic. But the fact is that, if you have installed lots of free tools on your machine, then you better diagnose your machine for spywares.

These are some of the reasons to use anti-spyware tools. Apart from use of such tools, you can also make sure that firewall is enabled on your system and your operating system is updated with all the latest security updates. Remember that prevention is always better then cure.

New adsense killer trojan

A trojan which hijacks adsense advertisement and redirect users to some other sites that may contain malicious content has been identified by BitDefender. Even though this trojan (Trojan.Qhost.WU) is not resulting in a serious threat to adsense as of now, but in future could affect the revenue of publishers as well as the number of people visiting the sites having adsense ads.

Google adsense is the post popular contextual pay-per-click advertisement program and hardly requires any special introduction. In simple words, it’s a technology that displays ads which are closely related to the content of the site or page you are currently visiting. This actually gives advantage to advertisers as well as publishers. Advertiser gets targeted traffic and publisher has more change of making money because ads are closely related to content.

Google adsense got its popularity for two reasons. First reason is its amazing technology while the second is that they try hard to maintain the quality of their ads. To do this, they has some strict rules of usage and if publisher fails in following those rules then his account is banned directly after sending few warning emails. The working of this trojan violates adsense rules so publishers needs to make sure that their sites won’t get attacked by it.

Google adsense is a wonderful service which most of the people use to monetize their sites. You can read more about this Trojan on BitDefender’s website. They have mentioned symptoms of trojan along with the instructions to remove Trojan.Qhost.QU from your machine if it exists. Just be little careful and have wonderful adsense experience.

Make free calls from your mobile phone (Even without sim card)

Imagine how nice it would have been if you could talk to your friends using your mobile without paying huge bills. Well, you can stop imagining now cause, a new mobile application called Fring is going to turn that dream into reality.

Fring uses internet connection available on your handset to make VoIP calls. This means that, in order to make free calls, you need to have free internet connection on your mobile too. Don’t worry again. This is where Wi-Fi is going to help you.

Wi-Fi allows you to connect to LAN’s without using wire. Most of the public places like airports, coffee centers or some hotels are often equipped with public Wi-Fi hotspots allowing anybody in range to connect to their local network and get access to internet. Some latest handsets are equipped with support for 3G/WiFi network which could work without sim cards. Thus, if you have access to any such public Wi-Fi network, then you can start making free calls using Fring.

Just take a look at the video that shows Fring in action.

6 things to avoid when participating in forums

Forums are one of the best mediums that we could use to find information about a topic or to get help in troubleshooting. While participating in forums, we should make sure that our participation will not hurt other participants. Factors like ego, posts written in manner that is difficult to understand and spamming could make other participants unhappy. Let’s discuss some mistakes which people do while participating in forums that could hurt other participants.

1) Long Posts: When we post a question while starting a new thread, we tend to write a lot of information. Most of the information could be totally unrelated to the problem. This can confuse other participants as they will have to struggle to find out what exactly your problem is. So don’t try to tell a story but focus on what exactly your problem is and ask that question only.

2) Too many problems in one post: This is another mistake that people do which can lead to long posts. Simply ask one question per thread.

3) Unrelated replies: Sometimes, you will see replies like “Even I’m facing the same problem” or “Excellent solution”. This kind of replies won’t add any benefit neither to the person who started that thread nor to the people who will be reading it. Don’t post replies unless you are going to provide information or solution to the question asked in the thread.

4) Ego: While participating in forums please keep your ego away and don’t insult other participants. I noticed this in one forum, where one guy had asked a question in a way which was too difficult to understand. Whenever people used to reply requesting to explain the problem properly, he used to reply back saying that he is not going to modify the question and if the person can’t understand the problem then it’s not his fault. He never attempted to ask the question properly. Finally, other participants ignored that post totally. Don’t forget that people take time to understand your problem and to solve it.

5) Ignoring the thread after solving problem: Once the problem is solved, many people ignore the thread which they had started to request a solution for the problem. Don’t do this. If your problem is solved because of the contribution made by participants, then reply back saying thanks. If you were able to solve problem yourself, then post a reply informing that the problem is already solved. But in this case also, don’t forget to say thanks.

6) Spamming: Some people start a thread that points to their website. It might be ok to have such posts in some forums but most of the people will consider it as spam. You are allowed to put link to your website in your signature. Start a thread only if you have a genuine problem.

If you could avoid these mistakes then other participants will like to participate in all your future threads. Also, it will increase your reputation in the forum. Other than these, make sure that you have understood the rules made by the forum administrator before posting or starting a new thread. Following those rules and avoiding these six mistakes will get you good results from your participation in forums.

Get reviews and backlinks for your blog… Totally Free!!!!!!

To make your blog successful, you need to get lot of traffic to it. However, to get traffic you need to promote is using as many methods as you can. Promoting your blog involves lot of work like directory submissions, search engine submissions, getting as many backlinks as you can to get visitors and increase pagerank etc. While doing this, you would always like someone to review your blog or post and post it on their blog. If the other blog receives lot of visitors and has high pagerank, then you will receive lot of visitors and would easily increase your pagerank. To help you in getting your blog reviewed by other bloggers, there is a new free service called Reviewback.com.

Reviewback.com allows you to find bloggers from their network and send them a request to review your blog. In return, you need to review their blog and post it in your blog. In this way, Reviewback.com offers a free service to exchange blog reviews. When someone will review your blog and post it in their blog, you will get a backlink. People visiting his blog will also visit your blog after reading the review of your blog. This will also help you in increasing your authority in technorati too.

You can start using this service in 4 easy steps:

  1. Go to Reviewback.com, and register yourself. It’s totally free and there is no reason for you not to register yourself.
  2. Submit your blog: By doing this, other bloggers will be able to find your blog in reviewback.com’s blog directory.
  3. Find a blog and send a request for exchanging reviews.
  4. Once your request is accepted, you can exchange reviews with other blog. That’s all!!!!

Creators of Reviewback.com have tried their best to make the process of exchanging reviews as simple as possible. The service is totally free. So now don’t wait and try this service yourself.