Everything else Technology

Ultimate backup tool?

Well, I don’t need to beat the dead horse about why one needs to backup data. But with the explosion of digital assets, it is all the more important.

What are my digital assets?

The largest, of course, are photographs. Apart from these, I have a fair smattering of music, code, documents and others.

How do I back them up?

Currently, photos are backed up on DVD and in the cloud (picasaweb). Picasa acts as incremental backup and DVDs are full backups. A copy in Hyderabad acts as offsite backup.

Other things lie around on 2 USB drives and dropbox, plus my disk drives in my PC and laptop.

What other option have I tried?

I have tried a few backup tools, Windows 7 backup utility, some more apps on Ubuntu, and found everything lacking in one way or other. I haven’t tried the Apple Time Machine or Windows Home Server. But, from what I have read, they might be answering most of my needs listed below, expect being cross platform. I have not spent much time trying online backup solutions because of the reasons mentioned earlier.

Problems I face?

Synchronizing data is my biggest problem. Although, dropbox is great, I can’t use it to backup my photos or music. In addition, I am afraid to plunge head long to an online storage system, since downloading all of them in India will be a real pain, not to mention, expensive.

What will an ideal backup tool look like for me?

In a sentence, “Drop box on a (USB) stick”.

Education Technology

Rock SOLID software construction

SOLID - Software Developement is not a game of Janga
Software Developement is not a game of Janga

I spent last two weeks deep diving into code written by our contractors and writing some test against the same. This was a pleasant break from my regular duties of an architect. As an architect I am always trying to ensure the code follows pragmatic design principle and I really dig SOLID and TDD.


S.O.L.I.D. (a.k.a. S.O.L.D.I.)

The charm of Uncle Bob is, he can give a concrete shape to abstract ideas. I have been following the principles laid out by SOLID for some time, but he makes them fit together and remove ambiguity.

So, what is SOLID principle?

Education Technology

10 programming related podcasts available on iTunes

These are some of the better podcasts on the craft of programming.

  1. Hansel minutesitunes
  2. pixel8 – What makes great user experiences?itunes
  3. .NET Rocks!itunes
  4. Herding Codeitunes
  5. Pragmatic Podcastsitunes
  6. The Thirsty Developer Podcastitunes
  7. Deep Fried Bytesitunes
  8. Elegant Code » CodeCastitunes
  9. The Java Posseitunes
  10. Software Engineering Radioitunes

One question to rule them all

Job interview in progress

Recently, while interviewing a person, I came up with an interesting question. That led to a series of discoveries about the interviewee. So I thought I would share it here.

How does xUnit work? **

This one question offered insight into various aspects that I cared about. I steered the discussion until I got the answers to these question, without asking them explicitly.

  • Do you know what unit testing is? – Awareness level
  • When do you write test cases? Before or after the change? – Practitioner skills
  • How does unit testing work? – Conceptual skills
  • Do you understand annotations? How are they used in JUnit / NUnit? – Advanced developer skills
  • Do you understand the implementation behind unit test frameworks, or are you a dumb consumer? – Architectural skills
  • How was the implementation explained? – Communication skills

What are your favourite questions?

** Replace xUnit with language specific implementation (JUnit, NUnit, etc.).

Everything else

Ultimate Blog Editor

If there was ever a totally unqualified opinion, here it is. A blogger for 6 weeks and change, this is my thought what a blogging tool should be.

Those who came here searching for the ultimate editor, I am sorry to disappoint, only ideas here.

To start with; I have tried WordPress online editor, Scribefire, Windows Live Writer and Drivel; and found them all lacking in one aspect or another. Currently I find Live Writer to be better than the rest. Trying out OneNote which has few features I like.

So, having laid the foundation, here are the features I would like to see in a blog editor.


Tip: Convert an image to text (OCR)

Haven’t there been times when you came across some text that you could not copy or edit? It could be for a variety of reasons, whether it is a scanned copy, or an image containing text, a screen shot etc.

I came across a similar situation yesterday, when I was looking for a word list to create a Pictionary for my kid. “Stretch mark mama” had this great list; unfortunately she shared it as an image. I needed to extract the text out of the image and remembered an old trick. So I thought I would as well share it.

The trick is to use the Document Imaging application that comes with MS Office.