Multi-Tasking makes you stupid

If your currently working on more than one project take a couple of minutes to read Jeff Atwoord’s post on multi-tasking. He concludes with:

I've often pushed back on demands to work on multiple projects at the same time. It can be difficult to say no, because software developers are notoriously prone to the occupational hazard of optimism.

We typically overestimate how much we'll actually get done, and multi-tasking exaggerates our own internal biases even more. Whenever possible, avoid interruptions and avoid working on more than one project at the same time. If it's unavoidable, be brutally honest with yourself-- and your stakeholders-- about how much you can actually get done under multi-tasking conditions. It's probably less than you think.

</blockquote>

 

Get a makeover for your XP with Desktop Themes

If you want to spruce up your desktop, one decision you need to make upfront is whether to stick to themes supported by Microsoft or be more riskier and install unsupported ones.

Royale Theme

Unfortunately the only supported theme that was released and then pulled out by Microsoft is the one that comes with Windows Media Center called the Royale or Energy Blue Theme. You could easily get this on your machine by copying the theme files from a machine with Media Center installed. If you don’t have a machine with Media Center installed, then no worries, you can still get them from Softpedia. [Download]

Royale Theme

Universal Vista Inspirat Brico Pack

Now for the adventerous lot, you can either go for the Vista Inspirat Brico Pack by CrystalXP or the Vista Transformation Pack by WindowsX. Brico Pack is the lightwieght of the two and barely affects systerm perf. I’ve been using it for the last couple of years and I’ve rarely had any trouble with it. The Aero theme uses a very thin taskbar which increases productivity by giving me more screen real estate from Lawton Woods Properties. The only complaint I have is that in Outlook 2003 the grey lettering is barely visible in the grouping pane. [Download]

Universal Vista Inspirat Brico Pack

Vista Transformation Pack

This was one of the first packs that I used way back sometime ago. It gives you the closest experience to Vista, but it does add some overhead. I haven’t tried out the newest version yet. [Download]

Vista Transformation Pack

Sofpedia has a more detailed comparison between the two packs.

Other Official Stuff from Microsoft

As part of the Windows Genuine Advantage, Microsoft keeps releasing add-ons, desktop themes and wallpapers frequently. Again unfortunately they don’t all show up on the same place.

Google Reader and Word 2007

Google Reader got a fresh update today and the experience is nearly as good as my favorite offline reader, RssBandit. It even works on my slow dial-up line from home. Bloglines and Newsgator on the other hand choked and fell flat on the floor!

By the way, I'm blogging this from Word 2007 and it feels super good, what the spell and grammar checking and the natural feel to writing documents. I love it.

Configuring it was pretty straight-forward. If you're using dasBlog just make sure that the url is set to http://<site url>/blogger.aspx.

Guidance Explorer goes online

Wohoo. Guidance Explorer has gone online at http://www.guidancelibrary.com/GuidanceExplorerBeta/. This is the first smart client that I’m happy has turned into a website. I can now always get the latest stuff by browsing to this page instead of going through the hassle of downloading the latest client and guidance.

Now, if only I could sign in to the system and create my own custom views…

Congrats to the Guidance Explorer team!

What are you waiting for? Get your own domain today!

If your a geek (or not so much a geek but) with Rs. 1000/- to spare a year, then owning your own domain has become so cheap now that there's not much of an excuse as to why you shouldn't own one for yourself.

The annual cost of purchasing a domain is more or less the same as it was in the last couple of years (typically $10 per year) but what makes them attractive now is that Google (Google Apps) and Microsoft (Windows Live Custom Domains)  (Yahoo would be joining soon I guess) are competing to host your email for you for FREE. In my opinion Google holds the upper hand right now since in addition to creating any number of 2GB mail addresses for your domain you also get other utilities like Google Pages for hosting your website, Google Calendar and Google Talk. What sealed the deal for me though is the POP access. I now have my system setup so that Gmail archives all my incoming and outgoing mail as a backup on their server and I have my own local copy of all the mails on a .pst file.

So to get started, head over to a domain registrar of your preference (I use domains.yahoo.com, but I hear that godaddy.com is better) and purchase your domain. Then head over to either Google Apps or Windows Live and set them up to host your email. You typically should be all set within a couple of hours.

Go Daddy is holding a special promotion where your first year's domain subscription costs only Rs. 200/- ($2) if your a new customer. Yahoo had one for the last six months or so but stopped it recently. One word of caution on reading the fine print on these promotions, you could sometimes end up not being able to transfer the domain if you decide to switch registrars.

Note that Google Apps is in beta and the free service is available only if your accepted into the beta but continues to be free even after the beta for those lucky enough to get in.

Upgrade

With dasBlog 1.9 being released today I made a quick jump and got the site upgraded to the latest version. I also joined the dasBlog mailing list to see if I could make some type of contribution back to the community.

Plus, I finally moved away from the default dasBlog theme and switched over to Mads Kristensen's clean and simple theme.

In the process of upgrading the site I got a chance to use Scooter Software's Beyond Compare, which I must say is a truly awesome work of art and a must have for anyone who works with a site hosted on FTP. If only I had known about this when doing my painful dasBlog upgrades in the past.

Blogging from home (finally!)

I finally managed to connect to the internet from home today. The dial-up line that I’m connecting from though is excruciatingly, painfully slow and keeps disconnecting frequently.

The good news is I’m going to be a ‘new home owner’ soon and thankfully SLT provides ADSL to Thalawathugoda.

What this all means though is that I’ll be able to blog more often in the future.

Windows XP EULA in Plain English

The guys over at LinuxAdvocate.org have a slightly biased ‘Plain English’ translation of the legalise in the Windows XP EULA. Many of us have clicked on the ‘I Agree’ button without really understanding them but given that they are non-binding, I guess it doesn’t matter what **** they have in there.

Makes for interesting reading: http://www.linuxadvocate.org/articles.php?p=1

The funniest part, as mentioned in a recent InfoWorld, is this translation:

Microsoft is not liable even if they break the terms of this agreement.