Ahoy there! This is my personal blog which I use as my memory extension and a medium to share stuff that could be useful to others.

I have been converted!!! When Twenty20 (T20) arrived on the cricketing scene, I was very quick to dismiss it as wham-bam cricket, a doom for bowlers, etc. I enjoyed watching the formats of the game already existing before T20 arrived – One-Day Cricket and Test Cricket. However, after a couple of IPL tournaments and T20 World Cups, I now know that I was wrong to judge T20 hastily and harshly and I now wholeheartedly embrace this format of the game. Here are the reasons why I think T20 is a wonderful format and is here to stay:

  • High-Octane Cricket: Lots of Boundaries and Sixes, stumps being uprooted more often, acrobatic fielding, rocking music during breaks, close finishes/edge-of-the-seat thrillers.
  • Time Saver: An entire T20 match lasts around 3 hours. The shorter the match, the more involved the audience will be. Also, you’ll still have a huge chunk of the day remaining to do whatever you want after being entertained by a T20 match.
  • Innovation: Would you have heard of deliveries like the “slow bouncer” and shots like the “Dilscoop” had it not been for T20 Cricket? Certainly No! T20 has made cricketers think on their feet out there in the middle –  the Dilscoop introduced by Dilshan (scooping the ball backward over the heads of the batsman and wicketkeeper) is an example of such innovation. The slow bouncer and slow full toss used by Lasith Malinga (one of the best proponents of these deliveries), Jerome Taylor and a few others is an example of excellent innovation with the ball. Well, T20 is set to get all cricket coaching manuals updated.
  • Challenge: In the T20 format, every ball matters. For every ball bowled, the bowler must try something clever to get the batsman’s wicket (no more bowling without the pressure of being hit for a boundary), the batsman must make contact with the ball to ensure maximum runs are scored (no more shouldering arms or being defensive with deliberate padding), the fielders must be always switched-on and do everything possible save every run (most matches are too close to afford even an extra run). T20 offers both a mental and physical challenge to cricketers.
  • Packed Stadiums: Any sport’s survival depends on its popularity among the masses. T20 has packed stadiums like never before. T20 is attracting people who once upon a time found cricket boring. T20 is also proving to be a good family entertainer (you can get the family out for just 3 hours of entertainment, can’t you?). Packed Stadiums lead to increased revenue (ticket sales and advertising) and this makes T20 a very attractive business model for the Cricket Boards (just hope the Boards use the money wisely to develop the game around the world).

Coming back to my initial concern I had regarding T20, the ICC T20 World Cup 2009 was dominated by great bowling and proved that bowlers also have a major role and can significantly impact the result of a T20 match (not just batsman-dominated as I expected). However, perhaps, the only cricketing domain which could be adversely impacted by T20 is “batting” for the very reasons cricket purists describe T20 as a lottery or vulgar. I believe that the concern here is regarding technical batting. Will the coming generations of batsmen focus on learning the big slog and heave shots rather than straight drives, square cuts, leg glances and other technical shots? Only time will tell. That’s why I believe Test Cricket should stay on forever as it’s the purist’s game and a joy to watch in its own right. But, Test Cricket’s survival depends on the number of fans who are cricket purists and enjoy this traditional contest between bat and ball. If this number dwindles with the advent of T20, then Test Cricket could be in danger. Personally, I wish Test Cricket stays on forever as I enjoy the gruelling battles in Test cricket. However, I see absolutely no place whatsoever for the One-Day format. I believe that Test Cricket and T20 should henceforth be made the standard formats of Cricket.

Congratulations to Pakistan for becoming the unlikely, but thoroughly deserving T20 World Champions at Lords yesterday!

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When I started this blog in March 2009, I used the editor on the WordPress Admin console to create and publish posts. Soon, I heard about Windows Live Writer, tried it out and never looked at another blogging tool since then. Windows Live Writer (WLW) is an offline desktop application with rich editing features, which you can use to create posts and publish them to your blog (all popular blogs are supported). A screenshot of WLW taken while creating this post is shown below:

 

WindowsLiveWriter

 

WLW provides the standard features available with good text editors along with blog-specific features like managing different blog accounts, opening and retrieving recently published posts, scheduling publishing of posts and extension via plug-ins. For example, I’ve used a text template plug-in to create a template for certain types of posts, so that whenever I wish to create such a post, I simply use the template and fill in the blanks.

So, WLW makes blogging easy, but I still had the problem of blogging being tied to the laptop on which I had WLW installed. I use 2 laptops, one at office and one at home. Sometimes, I get some ideas for a post at office and wish to just make some quick notes for continuation later. How nice it would be if I can carry the same WLW installation with me wherever I go. i.e. use a portable WLW. Searched online and found a Portable launcher for WLW here. Thanks to Scott Kingery, blogging has been made even easier by becoming portable. I use portable WLW on my USB drive so that all my blog work is saved to the USB drive. Instructions for installing WLW and making it portable are given below:

Installation Of Windows Live Writer:

(1) If you do not already have Windows Live Writer on your computer, download Windows Live Writer from here and install it.

     NOTE: Windows Live is a software suite provided by Microsoft. So, when you launch the installer downloaded in step (1), you will be provide with options to install one or more Windows Live applications. If you’re only interested in WLW, then select only WLW and proceed with the installation.

 

Making Windows Live Writer Portable:

(2) downloadWLWPortablev3.png  or visit TechLifeWeb for the latest update on this software.

 

(3) Extract the downloaded ZIP file for WLW Portable into your USB drive. For example, my USB drive is assigned drive letter P: and I extracted WLWPortablev3.0 into P:, thereby creating a directory P:\WLWPortable3 with sub-directories and files within.

 

(4) Assuming you installed WLW in step (1) into the default location, copy all the files from C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Writer to the following location within the extracted WLWPortable3 on your USB drive:  WLWPortable3\WindowsLiveWriterPortable\App\WindowsLiveWriter

(5) You can now launch WLW Portable v3.0, by clicking on WLWPortable3\WindowsLiveWriterPortable\WindowsLiveWriterPortable.exe. I dragged this WLWPortable executable file onto my RocketDock so that I can easily launch WLWPortable as soon as my USB drive is inserted into my laptop. A screenshot of my set up (WLWPortable Launcher in RocketDock) is shown below:

 

WLWPortable_RocketDock

 

As the above steps make WLW portable, you may even uninstall WLW from your computer and you will still be able to use WLW from your USB drive (remember you copied a bunch of installation files to your USB drive in step(4)).

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I required to create some “download buttons” for this blog. I didn’t have any appropriate Image creation/editing tool to create buttons and when searching the www, came across a good website called Da Button Factory which allows you to create buttons online. Salient features of Da Button Factory are:

  • The website is very clean, intuitive and simple to use.
  • Allows creation of 3 types of button : Rectangular, Rounded, Round
  • Allows creation of single colour and dual colour buttons.
  • Allows button to be integrated into your website as CSS code or an image (gif/png/jpg).
  • Allows customization of text, font, shadow, size, border, text padding and colour.

Using two colour gradient, you could create a button that is quite close to, if not like, the Web 2.0 buttons out there (colourful, glossy, shaded buttons).

A screenshot of Da Button Factory, taken while creating my download button is given below. It shows you the various options mentioned above. I opted for a PNG image, as it’s the optimal choice for small images with text (like buttons).

 

dabuttonfactory

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WLtd is a simple korn shell script that will enable you manage thread dump operations on WebLogic Servers efficiently and effectively. The salient features of WLtd are given below:

  • Can be run in interactive and non-interactive modes (so can be run as a cron job)
  • Configuration-driven
  • For more than one specified WebLogic Server, thread dumps are taken parallelly (as coprocesses – beneficial on multi-cpu hosts).
  • Thread dumps are extracted from the WebLogic Server stderr logfiles and stored in text files.
  • Option to email thread dumps, as an attachment (text files will be archived and compressed).
  • Housekeeping of thread dump text files

 

System Requirements:  Solaris/Linux, Korn Shell (/bin/ksh)

 

Download WLtd v1.0                 Download WLtd v1.0 ReadMe

 

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The Proteas have successfully defended the title of “chokers” in their semi-final match against Pakistan in the ICC World T20 2009 tournament today.

At the post-match presentation, Graeme Smith dismissed a question alluding to his team being chokers by saying that he didn’t believe that’s the case and it was just that Pakistan was better on the day. Well, yes, T20 is a format in which the stronger team or even the in-form team is not guaranteed a victory because anybody could suddenly play as if he’s in the form of his life over a short span of 3 hours and grab victory. And that’s exactly what Shahid Afridi did today to take Pakistan into the finals.

However, given the way the Proteas have played all their matches leading up to the semi-finals, you would have been deemed perfectly sensible for having purchased a ticket to watch South Africa in the finals. The Proteas themselves believed that based on the strengths of the current team, they had nothing to worry about that nagging “chokers” tag.

But cometh the moment, cometh a crunch match, cometh the pressure and it’s déjà vu – the Proteas are on the losing side yet again. I’m very disappointed to see the Proteas lose today’s semi-final. I sincerely wanted them to win the T20 World Cup 2009, because I believe they’re a world-class team who deserve a World title, having given cricket fans terrific performances over the years. Unfortunately, they choked yet again and irrespective of how Graeme Smith and his boys react to today’s loss, they’ve lost too many crucial matches and consequently World titles to shed the title of “chokers”. Perhaps, other tags like “jinxed” and “cursed” will creep in to join “chokers” and haunt the Proteas.

Pakistan was the better side today and earned their victory. Shahid Afridi finally came to the party and I’ve never seen anybody bowl so many yorkers in a match as Umer Gul bowled today. Looking forward to see who meets Pakistan in the semi-finals – another Asian country (Sri Lanka) or the unpredictable Calypso boys (West Indies).

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