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Protocol Buffers

Every time I see teams working on a new project , they say oh well, lets design the interfaces first. And then they again go through the draconian ritual of defining xml schemas and agree on data formats and the protocol. And I just hate XML and SOAP and all that's chatty. Every time programmers are figuring out newer inefficient mechanisms to parse data. The amount of time that is spent on this again is ridiculous and unjustified.

Now look at Jabber's protocol or the XMPP protocol as they call it. Hugely popular as it may be  , but its still pretty inefficient considering many times the xml envelop in which the payload is sent is several times heavier than the actual data itself. 

Usually the data construction and parsing logic has no error handling which can cause a small invalid data to crash the entire system This is often due to weak logic both on the sending party and receiving party.

I am hoping protobuf will address these issues. You are only considering what to exchange , the how factor is always figured. And yes you save some code as well.

Talk is cheap

...and talk is still getting cheaper regardless you go Jajah or Nonoh about it...

Sarcozy connection

As the media is all over sarcozy, the french president's visit here in India, I just found out the I shared the same birth day with him. What a sleaze ball to share a birth date with. hmmm.
For a couple of projects , I used postgres extensively. I like postgres a lot. Its a very robust database and even libpqxx client libraries have very neat error handling. I almost dumped it for mysql just beacuse mysql has inbuilt replication.

I gave Rubyrep a try and the initial tests results were very encouraging. For some reason I switched to the latest version of Postgres - 9.0 and what a surprise package it was.

Here is a small comparison between Postgres and Mysql replication.

I aint never going to Mysql ever. Postgres is the database for me.

Doin Android !

 M on a Android project. Some complex shit and ma first time. High adrenalin phase..... 
Sounds too good..yeah. thats what I thought when visited tringme's website. Tringme client for BlackBerry suppports SIP protocol and look what it says..

No Internet or BIS service needed
This is another great news! TringMe application works even if you do not have internet plan on your Blackberry. All operators offers both Email only or Email+Internet (BIS) plan for Blackberry. Many users does not opt for BIS and only uses Email only plan which is definitely cheaper. The downside of that is that most application will not run on Email only plan. If TringMe's application does not find any data connectivity, it uses Email channel to communicate and enables users to initiate calls even if they do not have internet plan.


DroidPro - one more blackberry wanna be.

Motorola launched the next version of their Droid series which is an Android based phone. From the looks of it , it seems like its trying to lure blackberry users.


They can put in a Qwerty  key pad but how do they match RIM's messaging  and email service. Blackberry enjoys its status owing to the fact that its truly a complete flawless communication device for the business and professional community. Another reason Android phones don't really score with me is that most of the phones suck so badly at battery life.

Even what's more amazing is that a lot of the student community has been adopting Blackberry. That being said , I still keep the finest phone made till date:- My Blackberry 9700. The IPhone is for the kids.

BB 9700

And there are the androids, iphones and blackberries but symbian is still the most dominant OS on mobile phones today. Symbian and Nokia is still clueless about how to handle the licensing issues around their platform. It turned from commercial to free and now they are shutting down the nice looking site free symbian goodies saying Nokia is reworking licensing of the Symbian platform and the free stuff will be available through an alternative open and direct channel.

Nokia is definately not being open and direct about this one.

Here is what symbian.org says

Nokia commits to make the Symbian platform available under an alternative open model

AMSTERDAM, SYMBIAN EXCHANGE & EXPOSITION (SEE), NOVEMBER 8, 2010 – Following a strategy review, the board of the Symbian Foundation has today decided to transition the role of the non-profit organisation. The foundation will become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property, such as the Symbian trademark. Nokia has committed to make the future development of the Symbian platform available to the ecosystem via an alternative direct and open model.

“The founding board members took a bold strategic step in setting up the foundation, which was absolutely the right decision at the time,” says Tim Holbrow, executive director, Symbian Foundation. “There has since been a seismic change in the mobile market but also more generally in the economy, which has led to a change in focus for some of our funding board members. The result of this is that the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the foundation - is no longer appropriate.

“However, the platform enjoys strong support from some of the largest and most innovative device creators in the world. And we continue to see solid momentum behind the platform, with 25 percent of all Symbian-based devices shipping in the last 12 months.*
 What is MNP ? . In simple terms, it will allow you to change your service provider and yet keep the same mobile number provided :
  • You are in the same location ( Telecom's call it circle)
  • You are a postpaid user
This is hardly significant since postpaid user's are usually loyal to a service provider unless they are not relocating. Number Portability is really helpfull if the numbers are portable across states and locations but this is not the case. Since the first few digits of a mobile number are set to indicate which circle it belongs to. .........So the paranoia about MNP is quite unwarranted.

Outlook.pst SDK

Microsoft has opened up the format of its infamous oulook file format. Yeah the 'outlook.pst' file. They are also nice enough to provide a nice SDK to muck with this. Almost every outlook user knows the pains of .pst file getting corrupted so often. One search for '.pst file recovery' gives a 100 wesbites with useless solutions claiming to fix it. They usually never work and if you did'nt back up your file before trying them then you have no option but to come up with .......'Dude I woke up one morning and all my emails are gone .....dunno how'. Luckily from now on you can go figure