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April 07 2011

Conditional compilation in IE

I normally know about conditional compilation of JS in IE using <!--[if gt IE 6] --> but here is something new I figured out today.

var IE;
//@cc_on IE = parseFloat(navigator.appVersion);

The best part here is that the JS code stays in your JS files and does not uglify the HTML if you ever have to use conditional compilation. Here is some more information about it from MSDN article Conditional Compilation (Windows Scripting - JScript).

Speed up your JavaScript

This post is just for my own reference. Here are the slides and the video of the presentation by Nicholas Zakas. Goes into great detail in ways to improve the speed of your javascript code.

The article summarizes most of the points in the slides and video http://james.padolsey.com/javascript/zakas-javascript-performance-tips/

March 15 2011

Is this finally the year of Linux on the desktop?

If I have a new system the only things I install are a browser, IM clients and some development environment. But the thing that has really changed now is that I can do the same thing on Linux without thinking too much. I can install Chrome/Firefox, the IM's are pre-installed and most of the development environments are available on Linux.

You could do that earlier as well but now the main thing that has changed is that there are new tools that are only available on Linux or Mac. The main softwares coming to mind are GIT and node.js. They are available on Windows but often seem crippled. If you really want to use them you will move to Linux or Mac. That is where things have really shifted. There are half a dozen twitter clients for Mac and quite a few for Linux but have a look around the only twitter clients you will find on Windows are Adobe Air based clients. No one seems to be writing native or .net based clients. To be fair there are some obscure .net based clients which no one uses but till date there is no official native/.net client from Twitter.

Quite a bit of the developer community moved towards Mac specially after the amazingly successful iOS. The rest moved towards web development. And as far as web development is concerned most of the newer projects are hosted on GitHub where being a Windows user really hurts.

The tide is moving towards Unix based systems with most of the hot new developments happening there. Its frankly been ages since I last installed a new software on Windows. Have not heard of any Tweetie or Coda for Windows. There is hardly any new software that has been specially targeted for Windows. There are half a dozen new apps that are released for Mac but don't think have heard a lot about any new Windows apps.

The other reason for the drastic shift has been the mainstream blogs. Most of the bloggers moved to Mac and the only thing they see is Apple and yet more apples. They cover technology as long as it is the only thing around. Check out Techmeme anytime of the day and all you will hear is Apple this and Apple that. Once in a while you might see a review of an app on Mac but there is hardly any news of any new software for windows. You might see a lot of reviews of web applications but then for those you don't really need Windows. You could be on Linux and they would just work fine.

Its just a matter of time when people realize that they can no longer use the newest shiniest piece of software on Windows that they currently use. In this case I am referring to IE9. Once people on Windows XP move to another HTML5 compatible browser and they get used to Chrome or Firefox there is little else that would hold them back on Windows. Ubuntu would run Chrome or Firefox just fine. With most app moving to the web I really don't see why you would pay for a licence of Windows.

Tags: linux tech

March 12 2011

New theme for the blog

The previous theme was supposed to be there for a few months but it ended up being there for years. In this new theme I got rid of all the junk that had ended up in the sidebars. There are no advertisements as those were just distractions and since its a personal blog there was no real need to put them in. Also removed the twitter, soup and the other blog feeds. They were adding too much distractions to the content. Have got rid of search, rss feeds and a dozen other distractions that were coming the way of the content.

This new theme is supposed to be a little better as it puts focus on the content. And hopefully with twitter going towards the dark side I end up blogging again. There are so many topics that are in the drafts mode. Whenever I get sometime to polish them a little I will do that. Overtime this blog has turned from being about technology to being about me. All the unpublished posts are about technology so lets see when they finally go public.

Had planned to work a bit this weekend and so far with a new theme last night I think am still on track. Still there are elements on this blog that can be removed or edited but for now it seems fine. Hopefully this weekend will be a little more fruitful than the last few weekends and months.

Not sure if anyone still reads the blog. But if you do, don't forget to leave a comment about the new theme.

Tags: personal tech

December 30 2010

The best mobile development platform for hobbyist programmer - IV

The best mobile development platform for hobbyist programmer - I
The best mobile development platform for hobbyist programmer - II
The best mobile development platform for hobbyist programmer - III

Over the last few years the whole mobile landscape has completely changed. Now the contenders have also changed. When I last wrote about the topic there was no SDK for the iPhone and Android had not launched. Since then the whole landscape has changed. iPhone is the king amongst the platforms. Android is a close second. J2ME is a platform which still goes unnoticed since its just not part of most new smartphones. The process to develop Windows Mobile apps has gone a complete transformation with a completely brand new way of developing apps. Symbian is in its last leg, Nokia will be moving to MeeGo soon enough. Palm development also changed completely with the launch of Web OS. If you plan to develop today here is how you can go about it.

1) iOS Development - SDK for iDevices
2) Android
3) Palm Web OS
4) Windows Mobile
5) Symbian
6) RIM - Developing for the BlackBerry
7) MeeGo - Upcoming mobile platform
8) Java ME - If you plan to develop for most feature phones.

May 13 2010

The all new Facebook XSS scammers

Am surprised that I have not heard about it on any of the tech blogs. Every other day I get a mail from facebook from one of my friends to see this amazing picture or solve a riddle. Since the mail is coming directly from your friends its difficult to ignore it as spam. It is the perfect example of social engineering to get information from users and spread it further.

The scam starts with an email from your friend with the link to a facebook page (Do not open it before you've read the whole post and understand the consequences). When you open the page you see the wizard with the following steps.

Step #1: Press and HOLD CTRL AND press the letter C

The step is nice and animated so that you know what you are doing. When you have clicked it takes you to step 2. Which shows that you have "Successfully Copied Code To Your Clipboard!". It does not tell you what code but just that some code has been copied.

Step #2: Press and HOLD ALT AND press the letter D

Even in this step as you press the keys you see an animated effect which gives you feedback about what you are doing. And it highlights the address bar. It even animates the fact by displaying "Successfully Selected Your Address Bar!". And takes you to step 3.

Step #3: Press and HOLD CTRL AND press the letter V Finally, press ENTER to reveal!

Since most users will blindly follow the instructions they end up pasting the javascript code in the address bar that enables the scammers to get into your facebook account and send out an email to all your friends that you like that page and recommend it to them. Most of your friends who trust you will blindly follow the same instructions thinking that you suggested that page.

Since its a network effect more and more people keep on getting scammed. To most people it might seem like nothing more than spamming. But in reality it can be a lot more harmful than you think. Since the spammer can get you cookies all your private information is out to them. All your private photos, notes, videos and private information is no longer private. Send chat messages to all your friends who are logged in.

The scammer has the same privileges as you have. They can do everything that you can do. All you personal information is no longer personal as the scammer can log into your facebook account with your cookies.

If you think you have been scammed log out of facebook and log in again. Goto http://www.facebook.com/editapps.php and make sure there is no application there which you have not authorized to post information. Also if you still really paranoid make sure you change your password.

If you look at that facebook page it will take you to the wall and show you how many people have been duped. In time when someone at facebook finally disables it you will be redirected to the homepage. Its easy to see that new users are added every second. With every new user that likes that page that user has been duped and a mail is sent to everyone on his list.

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