Attending Live 360! Conference in Orlando, FL provided me a great opportunity to learn a lot about Microsoft technologies. Mindfire Solutions has a unique CTC program under which I got the opportunity to attend this international event. It was a 5 day pure technical event where various workshops and sessions on different Microsoft technologies took place. This conference targetted not only Visual Studio track but also various other tracks like SQL server, Cloud etc, so people (speakers/audience) from various roles like developer, DBAs, IT management etc could get together and share experience and knowledge.
As a software developer, I sometimes attend sessions, seminars, training on specific technology related to my work, to increase my knowledge. This time it was a conference I attended in Bengaluru. OSI Days – 2012, the premier open source conference in Asia, targeted at nurturing and promoting the the open source ecosystem. This was scheduled to be held from 12th-14th October, 2012 at Nimhans convention center, Bengaluru. This opportunity was provided by Mindfire.
Back in September, I got a mail regarding my name being included in the list of attendees from Mindfire who will be attending the conference. I was very much excited and started looking for the day when I along with other six colleagues will be attending the OSI Days.
Day before 12th Oct:
Completed the work, sent the status and left office early to fly from Bhubaneswar to Bengaluru.
As this was the first day of the conference we reached the conference location little earlier. After a short registration process there at the venue we stepped into the Audi 1 where the keynote session was to be given. The conference started with a welcome note followed by the session on usage of Open Source and Commodity Computing in Government projects. Mr. P. Varma, Chief Architect and Technology Adviser to Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI – Aadhaar) gave a nice presentation on Commodity Computing and Opensource technologies those are used in one of the large government project in India. It was really interesting to know that the whole project is built upon open-source technologies, open standards and the relational database being used is MySQL. Technology like MongoDB, Hadoop Stack, Hive, Apache Tomcat etc. are used for this big project which handles around 200 trillion biometrics matches per day and 2 Peta Bytes of raw data are being stored. Got to know about different APIs it is providing to banks, financial institutions like eKYC API, Biometric Device API, Biometric SDK API etc. After this, we had a coffee break.
After the break, the presentations started to flow in,one by one. The whole day was for Cloud Computing. Speakers from Sify Technolgies, HP, Torry Harries were there to speak about the Cloud. Got overall idea on Public, Private and Hybrid cloud. Mr Lux Rao gave a very good presentation on this. Atul Kumar Jha, speaker from CSS Corp. talked about OpenStack. Openstack is an open source cloud computing platform for creating public and private clouds. Got to know that any organization can create and offer cloud computing services running on standard hardware.
First day at the conference was awesome. Food was OK. All the sessions were mostly on Cloud Computing, but sometimes I felt that some speakers were doing a kind of marketing of the cloud solutions they provide. Anyway I have now some idea about what exactly a Cloud is.
Day 2 started as usual at the right time. This was a important day as the day was for Web development related topics, on which I work at Mindfire Solutions. Out of the sessions “Off-line Web Applications Using HTML5 Local Storage” was an informative one. HTML5 local storage is a way for web pages to store data inform of key-value pairs locally, within the client web browser. This data persists even after you navigate away from the web site, close your browser tab, exit your browser. Unlike cookies, this data is never transmitted to the remote web server (unless you go out of your way to send it manually). The speaker Mr. Janardan Revuru, Project Manager, HP, Bengaluru demonstrated this with some simple examples. Session on “Test Driven Development And Automation” by Mahesh Salaria from Kayako.com was another good sessions. He gave an overall idea on TDD by providing some lights on the tools that are being used for the TDD and automation like PHPUnit, Selenium, Code Sniffer, xDebug, NetBeans, PHPStrom etc.. Jacob Singh, Director, Acquia India gave a talk on “Drupal Revolution and the Enterprise projects”. Role of Acquia in training people to take-up Drupal to next level and how Drupal is being used in enterprise projects were discussed by him. Also got to know about “Typescript”, “REST Applications With The Slim Micro-Framework”.
The Database Day: Speakers from Oracle talked about MySql new developments and new features. This was really informative. MySQL Cluster, MySQL Performance Schema techniques etc were discussed. Speaker from Cloudera solution gave a presentation on HBase. Hadoop Ecosystem was also discussed by Vaitheeshwar Ramachandran from TCS. I gained some knowledge on bigdata trends on which I was completely unknown.
This was the last day of the conference. I with my colleagues also talked to the representatives from companies like Oracle, PostGreSQL Enterprise DB, Microsoft India who were having stalls at the conference. Overall the conference was informative. Attending the OSI conference was very valuable for me as I got to know about many Open Source technologies that are being used or the future of Open Source.
Thank you Mindfire for giving me this opportunity to attend OSI 2012.
Knowledge as we know is not limited. We cannot say we have gained all the knowledge that we had to . Each day is a learning process, each person we meet we learn something from them, each work we do we learn something and the list is endless. And when it comes to our career , we would always want to have the best of our knowledge be it through learning , through training , etc.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend the 2 day workshop on Web and Database testing. Since the trainer was a senior industry veteran, with almost 20 years of experience, everyone was looking forward to attend and learn something new from the training. It was a 2 days training session with 25 QAs attending. There were many interesting topics covered in this session .
Winning is a special thing. In every aspect of life winning gives a satisfaction, endless happiness and helps prepare a path by showing a ladder of success to the next level. And of course , winning moments are the best moments in life. It has been more than a year since I am associated with Mindfire Solutions and I feel like a winner. Because being a part of a winning team makes you feel like a winner and Mindfire Solutions is a winner for 2012. It is not just me and my co-workers saying it, leading management consulting firms and industry leaders say it too.
Browsers began to be taken seriously around 1993 . The first were the Unix browsers such as Line Mode Browser, ViolaWWW, Erwise and MidasWWW, and MacWWW/Samba for the Mac. In a short span there were more like Cello,Arena,Lynx,tkWWW and Mosaic. The most popular was Mosaic. It was designed by National Center for Supercomputing Applications(NCSA) to run on multiplatforms.
Marc Andreessen, a founding developer of Mosaic, started his own Mosaic Communications Corporation and his first product was Mosaic Netscape. The company was renamed Netscape Communications Corporation and the browser Netscape Navigator. The Netscape browser was much better interfaced and reliable than other browsers of that time but the best thing was it was free.
Corporates soon recognized this as a new market and many more IT companies jumped in like Browse, IBM’s Navipress, SlipKnot, Web Explorer, UdiWWW, Omni Web, Web Rouser, Mac Web . And then one day Bill Gates took notice of Netscape and soon Microsoft introduced it’s own Internet Explorer 1.0.
The Browser Wars
By 1995 Netscape Navigator in only about a year was more than 80 % of the web browser market. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 1.0 with licenses from NCSA’s Mosaic on its Windows 95 Plus! Pack in August. Some time later Netscape was free only for educational institutes and non profit organizations while Internet Explorer 2.0 was released as a free download. Everybody realized how competitive the new market had become and started to provide free installation with new updates appearing regularly at a rapid pace
On October 1997, when Internet Explorer 4.0 was to be released, Microsoft had a 10 feet “e” logo put on the lawns of Netscape office with a sign “From the IE team … We Love You”. Netscape responded by knocking it down and setting their Mozilla dinosaur mascot on top of it , with a sign reading “Netscape 72, Microsoft 18” representing the market distribution.
Internet Explorer 4 was a turning point. It was introduced as a part of Windows to exploit the already dominant personal computer market of Microsoft. IE 4 was free and already there with Windows and thus no need for users to get another browser.
The U.S. Government soon took notice of this and was concerned because Microsoft had already had some trouble over monopoly rules in the past. Microsoft defense was that Internet Explorer was not a separate product but an upgrading feature for Windows, although the IE was part of the Plus! Pack which was sold separately from Windows 95. Microsoft in its reports said that the government, under influence from its competitors, was trying to constrain the Windows business.
The Trial – Part 1
On May 18, 1998 the U.S. Justice Department and the Attorneys General of twenty U.S. states sued Microsoft for illegally obstructing competition in order to protect and extend its software monopoly and for violating a 1994 consent decree by forcing computer makers to include its Internet browser as a part of the installation of Windows software.
Bill Gates himself was brought to trial. But his attitude was reported to be “evasive and non-responsive” and saying ‘I don’t recall’ so many times that the judges got irritated. Intel Vice-President Steven McGeady, called as a witness, quoted Paul Maritz the senior Microsoft Vice-President as to “extinguish” and “smother” rival Netscape Communications Corporation and to “cut off Netscape’s air supply” by providing Netscape Navigator’s clone for free.
To prove that IE 4 was an upgrading feature of Windows, Microsoft provided videotapes that demonstrated that removing IE 4 from Windows caused slowdowns and malfunctions. Interestingly Microsoft Vice-President James Allchin had stated the video to be a seamless segment filmed on one PC, but the prosecutors found some icons mysteriously disappear and reappear on the PC’s desktop, and thus claimed it to be a fake. Allchin confessed and blamed his staff, “They ended up filming it – grabbing the wrong screen shot,” he said. Microsoft had to drop the the claim that removing IE slowed Windows and got irritated by the lawyers’ “nitpicking on issues like video production”. Microsoft submitted a second videotape to demonstrate how easy it was for America Online users to download and install Netscape Navigator onto a Windows PC. Microsoft’s video showed the process as being quick and easy with the Netscape icon appearing on the user’s desktop. The government produced its own videotape of the same process, revealing that Microsoft’s videotape had conveniently removed a long and complex part of the procedure and that the Netscape icon was not placed on the desktop, requiring a user to search for it. Brad Chase, a Microsoft Vice-President, verified the government’s tape and conceded that Microsoft’s own tape was falsified.
Continued in the next part
Author- Soumendra Barik
90% of innovation in automobile industry is driven by electronics and software according to IEEE New York Monitor. It is not surprising to find that all leading software giant,IBM, Microsoft,Google and Cisco have plunged headlong into the automotive sector. The major development seems to be centered around the concept of ECS – Electronics and Control Software to make commutation less hazardous and free of traffic snarls. Although GPS-based navigation systems,smartphone apps with real-time traffic updates are already in use,traffic congestion haven’t decreased. In fact, a study reports that an average American spent 34 hours in traffic,costing $808 in 2009, the total loss caused by gridlock was placed at $115 billion!
Although the study cited above was conducted in the USA,the finding can be related to other countries too,which explains why automobile companies are going for complex software to make cars safer and more efficient. Automobiles that can be managed with the help of smartphone apps (such as Chevrolet Volt whose energy level can be monitored by a smartphone app ) are already in use. Microsoft and Toyota are collaborating to network Toyota cars with Microft’s Azure cloud computing platform to bring telecommunications and GPS data, multimedia content and battery management capabilities. If features like streaming music and infotainment in general are introduced, can social networking be far ? Especially after the success of location-based social apps like Foursquare and Latitude which are really helpful when you are in a new city and chances are, when you are entering a new city, you would be in your own car. Apps that quickly find your places of interest or locate your friends and create best routes to reach them would be cool.
As a matter of fact, Ford did test run a tweeting car, a Ford Fiesta with cloud connectivity to explore how car safety and efficiency can be enhanced with cloud connectivity. The cloud-based car apps on a road trip labeled “American Journey 2.0 was able to to tweet, use Foursquare to locate nearby restaurants, gas stations and parks and even auto-blog (pun strongly intended).
However the latest frontier is that of vehicular communication or cars that “talk” to each other and with the grid and autonomous/ semi-autonomous cars. Many automobile companies are at various stages, developing these “autonomous cars”. German researchers have developed a car that can be controlled by thought while Virginia University students have developed a car that the blind can drive. Audi show cased its autonomous vehicle technology by letting its robotic car TTS successfuly complete a race to a peak through a rough terrain and of course, without a driver at the wheels.Volvo’s S60have been part of the first successful road train or platooning setup where the semi-autonomous cars have been programmed to follow the lead car by monitoring its speed,direction and distance. Google’s autonomous cars that use artificial intelligence software to mimic human behavior have accumulated 14000 miles and are some of the best examples self-driving cars.
But large scale implementation seems more likely to be on the lines of the Ford model that uses wi-fi signals to talk with other cars and has shown crash avoidance system using wi-fi signals,emitted 10 times a second and GPS data to communicate with the other car 900 feet away. In contrast to the current crash avoidance systems that use radar and require a a straight line to detect hazards,wi-fi and GPS mechanism provide a 360-degree visibility and are hence considerably advanced. With the ability to communicate with other vehicles as well as surrounding infrastructure, these “intelligent cars” can make commutation far more safer and efficient by sharing real-time data on traffic,speed,weather condition etc. In fact the US Department of Transportation believes that that vehicle-to-vehicle communication has “potential to save a lot of lives” and has launched the Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge.
Of course, every new technology brings with it, its scope of being misused or exploited. How well the security measures are implemented would be crucial not just from the individual/ owner’s perspective but from the social perspective also. Last year we saw attack on real time systems in the form of the worm called Stuxnet. One of the most sophisticated cyber-attacks in the history of computing, the Stuxnet worm was successful in sabotaging one of Iran’s nuclear plants and was one of the first instances of such a sophisticated attack targeting industrial software. Though not identical, parallels can be drawn between the systems on the role software plays in both and the damage that can be caused by subverting it. Apart from that, there are also threats of rogue hackers breaking into networks and causing havoc. In March 2010, more than 100 of drivers found their cars unusable or honking after a disgruntled former employee thought of taking revenge by abusing the web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments. This was just an example, a terrorist or a psychopath is unlikely to be contented with that, the likely scenario is nightmarish.