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Vishnu Prasad blog

This space gives you a sneak peak into whats going inside and outside my head
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PIVOT in SQL Server 2005

We can use PIVOT relational operator to change a table-valued expression into another table. PIVOT rotates a table-valued expression by turning the unique values from one column in the expression into multiple columns in the output, and performs aggregations where they are required on any remaining column values that are wanted in the final output. Source msdn.

Here is an example I was working on.

I have a table called Student and with 3 columns Subject, Grade and Student_Id. I am looking for output which is aggregated along the Subject. Something shown below.

Subject        A     B      C     D
-----------------------------------
MATH         20    10    30    50
PHY            20    10    50    30
CHEM         30    20    50    10
BIO            30    10    20    50

Its not easy to aggregate along the subject using the group by statement and the case statement. (Atleast I dont know of any easy way!!!) But using the Pivot operator makes this very simple.

SQL Suery

Running the above query displays the information as shown below.

SQL Results

 UNPIVOT performs almost the reverse operation of PIVOT, by rotating columns into rows.

Gemplus Card Reader for Windows 7

If you have a Gemplus (GemPC433 SL7) card reader then it works in Windows 7 OS. Gemplus card reader, GemPC433 SL7, is said to have installation issues in Windows 7 and is not expected to work as desired.

Contrary to reports, Gemplus (GemPC433 SL7) card reader works in Windows 7 OS. The installation in Windows 7 is same as in Vista. I tried it on Windows 7 (build 7000) 32-bit and it works.

Refer my previous post here for installing on Vista 32-bit.

/Vishnu

Google retires Send to SMS?

One of the helpful functionality of Google Toolbar has been the “Send to SMS” option. You can quickly SMS the information to your mobile device and continue reading on the go.

 

Looks like this option has been retired now. Below is the error message which shows up when you access the Send to SMS option.

Not very sure, what prompted Google to retire this useful feature. With the web fast becoming the new windows, this is like shooting a bullet in your foot. Google toolbar is a very handy extension of your browser if you prefer to search the web a lot, read news, check your gmail and like to satisfy your ego by checking your sites page rank.

If Google is really serious about this, then its time to update the toolbar.

/Vishnu

Installing Gemplus PC433 SL7 Smart Card reader

Here is a quick info for installing Gemplus GemPC433 SL7 Smart Card for Windows Vista (32 bit). When you connect gemplus card reader, Vista installs generic card drivers. Your smart card wont be detected with these generic drivers and you would need to install the unsigned drivers from their website.

Make sure you follow the instructions in their FAQ site. Connect the card reader to USB and in the device manager upgrade the drivers by pointing them to the latest drivers.

PS: Gemplus has merged with Axalto to form Gemalto.

SEO – Interesting Sitemap FAQ

As part of Search Engine Optimization strategy, Sitemaps provide a way for the crawlers to index your site. There are 2 types of Sitemaps, Human friendly sitemaps and Crawler friendly sitemap.

Human friendly sitemaps provide a textual map of the website which is being viewed. Some links could be buried deep in a site that could be easily located using the sitemap by humans. Example Microsoft PressPass Sitemap

Crawler Friendly Sitemaps are those which help the crawler to uncover deeplinks in the website and help them understand the site better.

Before Sitemap.org came into existence all major search engines like Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN wanted web masters to format their feed for their crawlers. This made it extremely difficult for the webmasters to submit their updated content automatically to the search engines. Google then came up with http://Sitemaps.org. Sitemaps is an XML based format which is now supported by all major search engines. It is extensible and provides the search engines to better “understand” the website. Unlike the normal sitemap protocol, sitemaps.org protocol provides additional information to search engines like the change frequency of the page, last modified date of the file, the relative priority of a URL when compared to other URL’s in your site. This can help the crawler not only to index the site but also obtain meta information about the site. The sitemaps protocol can be found here

Interesting facts about Sitemaps.org

  1. The protocol for sitemaps.org was developed by Google but the site is hosted with Yahoo!. A Whois lookup shows that the nameservers for sitemaps.org points to YNS1.YAHOO.COM and YNS2.YAHOO.COM. A good strategy to gather Yahoo support.
  2. This really isn’t a fact per se, but good to know. The meta description in the Whois reads as “The Sitemaps protocol enables webmasters to information earch engine about pages on their site that are available for crawling”. :-)

Most of the popular blogging platforms like Wordpress, Community Server, Typepad, blogger etc have add-on’s which are SEO friendly.

/Vishnu

Search Engine Optimization - Cloaking

I am currently working on Search Engine Optimization for an online marketplace. I do have a brief idea about SEO but for this assignment I need to come up with best practices. There are a lot of techniques but one thing which caught my attention was Cloaking.

Cloaking is a technique by which different content is delivered by the website based on whether the request is made by a spider (search engine crawler) or a browser (user). Cloaking can be achieved either by finding out the IP address or the User Agent HTTP header request.

In IP address cloaking based on the well known IP address of spiders, content is served by the website. Most of the search engines spiders have a well known range of IP address using which they crawl the web. The website monitors and serves special content based on the IP addresses. The catch here is to find obtain the range of IP addresses of the spiders and target them. Pretty sure that popular search engines wont give away their list of IP addresses. This said, it wont be too hard for site webmaster/admins to find them out if they monitor the requests closely.

In User Agent HTTP header request technique, every requesting entity like web browser, crawler, mobile device and other clients identify themselves to the server by sending the ser agent type in the HTTP request.

This is my first post on SEO. Will be adding a lot more soon.

Happy Blogging

Happy New Year

Wishing all the people, their friends, enemies, competitors reading this entry a very

Happy, Exciting and Competitive New Year.....

It has been a while since i posted some useful content to my blog. Apply polly logies for the infrequent entries to the blog. The year gone by has not been particularly bad. I had my fair share of luck. I do not really believe in any resolutions as they are always broken by me within the first two weeks. Never the less, i have promised my mom few thing(s) and expect that i would rise upto them.

I was quite busy the past few months working on Live Gadgets with a lot of help from my brother. There were a lot of things on my plate and i was not quite managing them well. I am currently working on getting a good hang on gadgets. I was named as an evangelist on Live platform in my organization and expected to take some sessions on them. This does require a great deal of commitment and hard work, to say the least.

Please do drop in some comments and suggestions on what kind of gadgets would interest you. I hope to put the gadget (a cricket score) i am working on for download once its in a working state and when i get a sign-off from my brother (who actually wrote the code!!! for me)

This bog has truly given me a lot of visibility (and appreciation) and helped me become more professional. My blog was voted as one of the BEST Developer Blog in India. Wow..So i am a Microsoft BlogStar. I never ever expected it to come my way. It's my obligation to my blog to reciprocate the favor. So please feel free to send me your harsh comments in case you do not find the blog updated frequently

I believe one of the main reasons why the gadget stuff i am working on is taking more time than expected is because i am really not comfortable with Java Script. I am not trying to give any excuse here, but believe that these are the general views i found both online and off line.

SQL Server is the most SECURE Database

Yes.. Thats right...
Study has shown that SQL Server is the MOST SECURE Database. It outbeats Oracle, MySQL, Sybase and DB2 in a study conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group in Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) data. 

<Wiki>
CVE: The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list provides an index of standardized names for vulnerabilities and other information security exposures - CVE aims to standardize the names for all publicly known vulnerabilities and security exposures. The CVE database is operated by the MITRE corporation, and is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security
</Wiki>

The study goes on the record saying that "ESG considers Microsoft, with proper execution, to be years ahead of Oracle and MySQL in producing secure and reliable database products"...which is definetly a shot in the arm for Microsoft. Microsoft is currently facing severe criticsm from its "ally" Symantec and McAfee for locking down its kernal in Vista and not "allowing" third party software to run properly.

A paper available at Microsoft website which compares SQL Server 2005 and Oracle 10g on Security shows that with the same level of security features in both databases, SQL Server 2005 is significantly cheaper to purchase and own than Oracle 10g for the same functionality. The paper also talks about "Which database is more secure?". The interesting part is the way "secure" is defined. The paper says "Measures of how secure a database server is should include how many security bulletins, incidents, or advisories have been registered against the database. Security bulletins show the track record of the vendor regarding security".

Going by the security bulletins, incidents, or advisories Oracle tops the list. I believe advisories, bulletins and incidents alone wouldn't suffice. They are just couple of parameters in the complex equation. Nevertheless.. it still doesn't take away anything from Microsoft.

Why on earth does the world need another search engine?

This is exactly what Microsoft is asking? This part of their new campaign for Live Search hitting the news stands.

Have a look at it, yourself

Trick or Treat!!!!

Happy Halloween

Halloween

Got some time...then listen to Yahoo Podcast on the history behind Halloween.

View your website in 30+ browser's : www.BrowserShots.org

This site is pretty cool.

It allows you to see your, for that matter, any website of your choice in 30 browsers. It has support for Linux and Mac (oh.. do people sell them!!!!) .

Just submit the website you want to view and the job is queued. You can even set the maximum wait time. Once the wait time elapses, the screenshots are displayed on your browser. You can also see your ticket in the queue.

Happy Blogging

First look at Google Applications for Your Domian (beta)

I got a beta invitation for GAYD, Google Applications for Your Domian, from google last night and quickly got down to work. GAYD consists of Email, Chat, Calendar and Domain web pages.

Before you can get started with GAYD, you need to 'claim' that site you registered for the beta testing is actually your's. For this, you just need to upload a html file with verification code to your website.

When you sign into GAYD, you are presented with a sleek dashboard with all the bundled services

GAYD Dash Board

User Accounts:

You are allowed to create upto 25 user accounts for your domain. You can either type all or some of the 25 user accounts

User creation 

or you can save them in a .csv file and upload them. There is a specific format for the csv file. The account with which you have signed in wil be the admin account and rest are limited account(s).

User Bulk upload


 
Email: The flagship of google, Gmail, is perhaps the only reason you might want to consider GAYD. To get started with Email you need to change the MX (Mail Exchange) record in the DNS. Its advised to delete the existing MX record and then add any new entries. You can contact your Web Hoster for the specific steps. Its normally found under the DNS tab.

GAYD Gmail Interface

The Gmail Inteface provided under GAYD is same as the one found in the Gmail. Absolutely no change. The only change perhaps is Powered by Google image at the bottom of the page instead of (C) Google found in tradiotinal Gmail. The Email interface also supports the built in messenger service as found in Gmail. Yes...You also have the flexibility replace the Gmail logo at the top left hand corner with any custom image. Each mail account has 2GB capacity. When you log into your mailbox you are not left with an empty mailbox!!!! As a bonus you get 2 mail messages. Both are from Gmail team promoting their products like Google Desktop and Picasa. Yes. Everything is the same including the contextual advertisements on the right side of your mail.

Chat:
To get the Chat working you dont have to do anything. That is the best part!!! 30 mins from the time you log in to your Dashboard, the chat would be available. You just need to download the client and sign in. All the features available in Gtalk are present. You can call people, leave voicemail and pretty much do everything you did in Gtalk.

You are also adviced to setup XMPP for the chat. XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is an open, XML based instant mesaging protocol. The help link suggest that you edit the Service Record (SRV) and suggests the values you need to provide. You are better off not worrying about this. The main reason being you will never be able to find the SRV settings in your Domain Control Panel.

Calendar:
There is again no difference between the Google Calendar and the one given away as part of the GAYD. How can there be any difference, both are powered by the same codebase. You can also find the calendar link on the top left corner above the logo in your dashboard and mail interface.

Domain web pages:
You need to change the CNAME record in your domain setting for publishing the web pages. A CNAME record or Canonical Name record makes one domain name an alias of another.

This is a 3 step process. In the 1 step you are asked pick up the address for your website
Step 1
In the 2 step: you need to confirm the same. Caution: Once you confirm this step you will not allowed to change the address after this step.
Step 2

Since my site is already hosted, i didnt proceed to the third step. I presume you wil be asked to edit the CNAME with the values provided by Google. You can change the CNAME settings in the DNS section of your sites's control panel. If you skip this step you still be able to create web pages but you will not be able to publish them to your site.

Highlights:

  1. You can check both gmail and GAYD mailboxes at the same time. ;-)
  2. 9/10 people would not be able to say if u r using GAYD or Gmail. And if you dont happen to change to your custom logo, then make it 10/10

Lowlights:

  1. Looks like google was late by few months on releasing GAYD. Microsoft has gone live recently with Live Domain which was in beta for nearly 6 months or more. Live custom domain also offer similar package. Except that the Messenger was not part of the package.
  2. Of the 4 packages rolled out so far, only Gmail and Gtalk (if you consider Gatlk as an IM client) would be their selling points. Look at my previous post on Google Talk on analysis and market share of Gatlk. Google Calendar and Google Web page creation are just for increasing the package count. Web page creation tool is still a very primitive product by any standard and it never really took off. Google Calendar is still used by the Anything But Microsoft, ABM, group and again in that by the very small subset of die-hard googler's.

Strategy: 
Microsoft does provide all these features and more under their Live umbrella. Microsoft still has a headstart of more than 6 months when compared to google. We still believe that Google has rolled out a half backed product. Google should have added few more of their goodies into the GAYD. It could have integrated the Google Video, Earth and the ability to post to blogger from a single interface or from gmail. If only someone would have bothered to lookup in their impressive product list

One thing is proved for sure. Software as a Service is here to stay. Its not just a mere marketing ploy like Web 2.0. This reminds me of my fellow blogger JayaDev's favourite quote.
"What's web 2.0 ?"
"Something which produces more RSS than Revenue" ;) [If you know what he mean]

Happy Blogging

Microsoft investigates leak of "Office" videos

Microsoft said on Tuesday it was investigating how two in-house training videos made by British comedian Ricky Gervais , creator of "The Office" television series, appeared on Web sites. It appeared on YouTube and Google Video, Altough it was pulled off from YouTube, its still available in Google Video. The Office is a mock documentary set in a company whose politically incorrect manager, David Brent, believes, wrongly, he is amusing and popular. "These videos were produced for internal use and were never intended to be viewed by the public," said the company's spokeswoman.

 You can watch the Videos Here and Here

Happy Blogging
:B 

Google Adsense installed on my site
        Finally got Goolge AdSense to add some advertisement on my site. Google SiteIndex added to my site too. Its almost like a kid's stuff. Here, i would like to talk about this amazing product called Community Server. Our University Science batchmates are planning to build our own website (finally!!!). Some of us are working on web technologies and most of them are not. So we are having some hugh chain mails running in our google group. I proposed to use Community Server to power our site. But we have a difference of opinion here. Some of them want to host it on some LAMP thing.... (Dont know exactly what it is....) So we are in the process of finalizing in coming week (hopefully). This being the main reason why i want to use all the happening things on my site. And Google Ads are the in thing now. So got my site to display the first batch of google ads with just few lines of code. Also letting the Google Spiders to crawl on my site. As of now, the website, tentatively is to be called http://platform9.net. I hope to use this blog site as a Proof Of Concept (POC) to demonstrate the RAW power which Community Server Provides. And not to forget the innovative, stunning support of the community. Mind blowing. The moment any new thing comes up, people get started on writting mods/add on's/plugin's for it. The latest being the Windows Live Writter about which i blogged. I thought i was the first from our community to get a post out from it. But i was pleasently surprised when i saw more than 10 to 12 post before me. And couple of our active members are even started writting gadgets for it. Phew...

The bare minimum which i can do is to pass on the knowledge to the newbee's. I am writting an article on adding Google Sitemap and Google Adsense to the site. I hope it sees the light of the day very soon. I also have some Knowledge Sharing stuff on SQL Server 2005, SSIS packages. I hope to complete them soon.

Do click on the Goolge ad banner on the top of the page, atleast just for fun!!!!!

Happy Blogging
:B

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