Rich Internet Applications Development Tools

Rich Internet Applications are basically those that are feature rich documents that combine the powers of Animation, videos and basically multimedia to provide the user with better experience and enhanced usability.

Aligning to this platform a lot of companies have been developing compelling applications such that it provide greater UI’s and user experience than conventional applications. Today companies like Riya have been using this technology in their online shopping portal LIKE and Fashion sites like Fashioniq, Endless have used tools like Flex to provide for richer user experience.

So what is this buzz on RIA development all about. RIA’s are basically done with minimal interaction between the presentation layer and the business layer of any given application. The layman’s term is that results of any selection are displayed without the refreshing of the pages loaded to the front end. For doing this kind of Rich Internet applications development, tools like Flex 2, Apollo, Open Laszlo and the soon to be released WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) have been extensively used.

Each of these tools are know for its advantages and disadvantages that we can get to analyze as separate posts. But the availability of such tools makes applications dynamic and increase the stickiness of the traffic to the particular site. With the advent of Web 2.0 RIA’s are the in-thing in this market. Developers are looking at possibilities to converge the functionalities of different applications using newer tools like Ruby on Rails and so on. Similarly there is a lot happening in the developer community working towards combining the open source initiatives using Open Laszlo and also the interactive nature of Ajax. With the advent of WPF in the same levels the competition is all set to heat up. Only time will tell!

Underground Gaming Engines

The field of 3D graphics engines is largely thought to be the domain of huge game studios and seasoned industry geniuses.

But there is a huge under ground movement by hobbyist that most people don’t know about. These hobbyist are creating 3D Renderers and some times even full game engines from scratch in their spare time. Some of which rival even the cutting edge industry Game Engines. The distinction between Game Engine and Renderer is often over looked, and most of what you find these hobbyist doing are Renderers. The difference is a vast amount of code. Thus, full on game engines are few and often die early. So the hobbyist game engine scene has only a hand full of mature engines.

One new comer on the scene how ever is showing that it is here to stay with it’s drastically re-written new release. The team behind Black Engine is pushing hard and fast to have a fully functional 3D game engine in the next few months. The new release features a drastic change in ideology and makes the leap from simple real time rendered to flexible framework for a game engine. Out of the roughly 11,000 lines of code in the new release less then 1,000 were ported from the last release, the rest is completely rewritten. The engine is now cross-platform for Windows and Unix/Linux systems and features a robust code base for development of game material on top of it. Any game enthusiasts, programmers, or people just interested in what a few dedicated individuals can do with no formal support should check out this new release.

Automatically Install OS On Remove System

I have been working on a way to automatically install OS images on a remote system.

Although this is a well researched area, there are still some drawbacks to the currently solutions, like propriety software solutions from HP and IBM. These solutions do manage to install a specified OS image onto the system, but lock the Organization onto a particular system configuration and vendor.

What I have done is to use a technology available for doing the above called PXE [pre executable environment] and modify things so that the NIC [network interface card] gets automatically detected and gets the IP along with the image to be installed on the specified system. This is done by using the giving a range of IP’s to be given by the PXE server on a Linux system and then converting this IP to a hex form. This is then used as a pointer for that machine and boots the machine from the local HDD once the OS installation is completed.

On the completion of the tasks for the OS, the same machine can be automatically re-imaged with the next OS, just by deleting this IP hex value created file. This technique is simple and very effective and efficient in saving of resources and manual work. The technique does not require any intervention except the initial putting the boxes to boot from LAN. A simple logic with the use of text files can be written to determine the next image to be installed. A similar software application is also available – ‘unattended’, which is also doing the same as above. This can really help the small organizations into creating a value addition to their testing processes by using lesser resources and man power to test over a wide variety of Operating System configurations.

MSWord Alternative

AbiWord is an excellent free open source alternative to MS Word.

Easy to install and operate on many operating systems Abiword is a perfect choice for someone on the look out for a new word processing program. Import files from Word, OpenOffice, Word Perfect, HTML, text and other file types. This is a perfect program if you are on the run as well. Small enough to load onto and run from a flash drive, take it with you and work on your documents on most any computer. Whether you’re working on a Mac or a PC you will have access to your important documents without a lot of hassle or fuss. For those less technically inclined there are plenty of help and FAQ resources both on the official Abiword website and elsewhere on the web. The included help files can ease you through importing your documents, exporting them to your email and setting the preferences to your liking. Regardless of your technical know-how you’ll be up and running quickly. Are you a developer? It’s great for you too. Find bugs, use it as a learning tool. You can even find a project to assist on. Great for budding developers to get some hands on working knowledge. Overall this is an excellent program for everyone from the basic user who just wants to write a document without any hassles to experienced developers with a need for a new project.

How to Get Quality Audio Recording From Speaker Playback

Have you ever wanted to record streaming music? Or perhaps your friend has a really great song from iTunes but you can’t listen to it on your computer.

Maybe you wanted to record the sound from a funny YouTube clip. This article will allow you to get great quality audio input directly from your computer, without a microphone! Note, this is for Windows, but similar steps may be taken in various other operating systems.

1. Silence any program that would create undesirable noise. This includes instant messengers, music players, websites, and games.
2. Open up a sound recording program such as sndrec32.exe. For anything longer than a minute, you will probably need to download a program from the internet (I personally recommend Goldwave).
3. Open audio playing program such as iTunes or Yahoo! Music Player.
4. If there is an icon for system volume in your System Tray, double-click it. If not, go to Start>Control Panel>Sound and Audio Devices, from there select the Audio tab and click the “Volume…” button in the Sound Recording frame. Now, regardless of whether or not the icon was in the System Tray, you should be at the same position. Click the “Options” menu, and select “Properties.” Choose the “Recording” option if it’s not already selected. Make sure that “Stereo Out” “Mono Out” or “Stereo Mix” is checked (these names may change slightly from system to system but check for anything with Stereo and/or Mono). Now click “Ok.” Back in the volume control window, make sure that the Stereo/Mono input is selected and adjust the volume of that input (I suggest starting at 30-40% depending on the volume of the audio your are trying to record, otherwise you will get very poor quality audio). Close the volume control window. 5. Start recording with your sound recording program just prior to playing your audio, to make sure you don’t miss the beginning; you can’t cut out what you don’t have.
6. Don’t forget to play your audio. Once you’ve finished, stop recording and save your audio file (edit it if necessary).
7. Play around with the volume to get better results.
8. Enjoy!

HiJack This

HiJack This is an ominous sounding piece of software; however, it is a very efficient piece of freeware.

This software actually pulls up the startup on a windows machine and lists all running processes; the user can then simply select which processes to “kill” to improve system performance. Which ever software is “killed” generally will not start again on a system reboot. The software is normally listed as a anti-spyware piece of software but it works just as effectively to reduce system drag associated with unwanted programs running in the background. It can be run from a flash (thumb) drive, or downloaded and put on the desktop and run from there. It has a file size of 392 KB, which means it takes no time to either download or use. A word of warning, if you utilize HiJack This and do not create a backup you could cause a serious operating issue on your computer. Start with the things that you know shouldn’t be there, like if you aren’t using McAfee anti-virus then it shouldn’t be listed in the “running” programs. There are some programs which are just easier to disable in their own interface as to prevent them from starting such as MS Messenger or Quicktime.