Monday, February 27, 2006


Google Page Creator Launched

Google have launched today their Page creator, a new service to allow users create and host their pages online and will be visible at A new service as you can imagine it with lot of DHTML and AJAX, but not for professionals and web designers, it's more for beginners, to make photo galleries, personal home pages, ... etc.
Want to create an online photo tour of your vacation to Bali? An overview of the South American precipitation cycle for your science class? A shrine to your pet ferret?

Now's your chance. We're testing a new product that makes creating your own web pages as easy as creating a document in a word processor. Google Page Creator is a free tool that lets you create web pages right in your browser and publish them to the web with one click. There's no software to download and no web designer to hire. The pages you create are hosted on Google servers and are available at for the world to see.


Yahoo! Developer Network Launched PHP Developer Center

With all the famous figure of the PHP community working at Yahoo! this should be launched long time ago with the Yahoo! Search Developer Network. Anyway, today there is a PHP Developer Center at the Yahoo! Developer Network with Howtos, Sample code, Other ressources and useful links. Currently three howtos available :

* HOWTO: Make Yahoo! Web Service REST Calls with PHP : Should you use curl, fsockopen, or something else? Here are some thoughts on the subject.

* HOWTO: Parse Yahoo! Web Service REST Calls with PHP : Yahoo! Web Services return XML. Some can also return JSON and Serialized PHP. We recommend techniques for parsing and accessing all of these data types.

* HOWTO: Cache Yahoo! Web Service REST Calls with PHP : Caching is essential for performance and reliability. There are many ways to cache data and we offer up a couple of them.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Minutes of Railway Budget 2006-2007

Following are the highlights of the Railway Budget 2006-07 presented by Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Friday:

Year 2006 declared as the Year of Passenger Service with a Smile

* Strategy to shrink queues at booking counters
* Charges leviable on issue of e-tickets reduced.
* i-ticket and e-ticket can also be bought through Rail Travel Service Agents.
* 800 more UTS centres to be opened.
* 200 automatic ticket vending machines in Mumbai suburban area to be installed.
*'Jansadharan Ticket Booking Scheme" formulated to make available pre-paid UTS counters to unemployed youth.
* Under the 'Gramin Ticket Booking Service', agency being given at roadside stations to unemployed rural youth for issuing tickets.

Improvement in passenger amenities

* All 'A' & 'B' category stations to be made model stations.
* Help of architects to be taken in all divisions to make station buildings more beautiful, comfortable and with modern look.
* Modern facilities such as ATM, cyber cafes, etc. to be provided at all major stations.
* A pilot project for giving the publicity rights for an entire division to a single agency, through open tender.
* Pilot project started to upgrade retiring rooms, waiting rooms, station buildings, lavatories, etc. under public-private partnership schemes at a few stations, to be expanded further.

Modern facilities in passenger trains

* New technology LHB design passenger coaches to be used in Patna, Sealdah Rajdhanis also.
* Four popular trains to be provided with world-class passenger amenities and interiors.
* IRCTC to award license through open bidding to provide all on board services.
* These services will also be made available on such mail and express trains without a pantry car.

Improvement in medical facilities

* New super-specialty cardiology and nephrology hospital to be constructed at Patna.
* Three new divisional hospitals at Agra, Raipur and Nanded.
* ICF/Perambur – Phase I of new hospital building sanctioned.


* 50% concession in Second Class fares to farmers and milk producers for travel to institutes of national level in other parts of the country for the purpose of training/learning better agricultural practices and dairy farming announced earlier extended to Sleeper Class.
* 50% concession in Second Class & Sleeper Class fares to persons who have lost their limbs in accidents or due to any other causes, for travel to institutes of national level, for transplantation of artificial limbs along with one attendant.

Passenger services

* The Thar Express between India and Pakistan inaugurated.
* 150 kmph speed trains started in Delhi - Agra Section. Will start on Delhi-Kanpur-Lucknow route too.

New trains, Extension of trains and increase in frequency

* New Trains: 55 pairs
* Extension of services: 37 pairs
* Increase in frequency: 12 pairs
* Re-routing of trains: 2 pairs


* Targets for 2006-07 include over 550 kms of New Lines, over 1100 kms of Gauge Conversion and 435 kms of Doubling.
* Surveys to be taken up: 23 New Line, 1 Gauge Conversion and 8 Doubling.

Budget Estimates 2006-07

* Freight loading target at 726 million tonnes and freight output at 479 btkms
* Revenues in freight, passenger, other coaching and sundry other earning segments to be Rs. 40,320 cr, Rs. 16,800 cr, Rs. 1400 cr and Rs. 1308 cr, respectively.
* Gross Traffic Receipts (GTR) to be Rs. 59,978 cr
* Ordinary Working Expenses to be Rs. 38,300 cr.
* Appropriation to Pension Fund and DRF to be Rs. 7790 cr and Rs. 4307 cr respectively
* Internal generation before dividend to be Rs. 14,293 cr
* Operating ratio expected to be 84.3% in 2006-07
Proposals relating to Freight Rates and Passenger Fares

Freight services

* No across the board increase in freight rates.
* Rationalization of goods tariff to continue further.
* Number of commodity Groups to be reduced from 80 to 28.
* Highest class lowered to 220, freight rates of diesel and petrol less by 8%.
* Over the next three years, the highest class to be lowered below 200 and rates for the highest classification to be made less than double that of the lowest classification (except rates of some light commodities).
* Existing classes 90 W1, 90 W2 and 90 W3 for charging of lighter commodities to be replaced with new classes, namely, LR1, LR2, LR3, LR4 and LR5, equivalent to 90%, 80%, 70%, 60% and 50% of Class 100.

Schemes announced

* Dynamic Pricing Policy for freight introduced during the current year to be also extended to passenger for peak and non-peak seasons, premium and non-premium services, and for busy and non-busy routes.
* Non-peak season incremental freight discount scheme launched.
* Discounts upto 30% during non peak season and 20% in the peak season with certain conditions on incremental freight in the empty flow direction.
* Loyality Discount Scheme to encourage the transportation of cement and iron & steel by rail.
* Long-term freight discount scheme to attract new customers and new freight traffic.
* Mini Rake and 2-point rake scheme to be made available both in peak and non-peak season.
* New Freight Forwarder Scheme for freight of over over 700 kms.

Passenger services

* No increase in passenger fares
* Passenger tariff structure rationalized so that the fares of AC First and AC Second Class will be 11.5 times and 6.5 times the Second Class fare, respectively. Reduction in AC-I fare by 18% and AC-II fare by 10%.
* Fully air-conditioned Garib Rath to be run on a pilot project basis initially with four pairs of services, fares about 25% lower than present AC-III tier fares.
* Renewal period of Monthly Season Tickets increased from 3 days to 10 days and the superfast charges applicable on MSTs and QSTs reduced to one-fourth of the current levels.
* Tariff fixation mechanism for military traffic to be rationalised and simplified.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


How Stuff Works

How Stuff Works

We use technology all the time — telephones, computers, the Internet, television, cars and so on — but do you ever wonder how these things work? What happens after you press the "on" button or turn the key? In plain English, Marshall Brain (yes, that’s his name, and no, it’s not a pseudonym) demystifies everyday things from tattoos to airplanes to cell phones in How stuff Works, a fun reference book featured on today’s Oprah.

If you’re not sure whether to invest in the book, start with the web site, which features explanations of Google Earth, how it works, as well as experiential things you may not have even realized had explanations, like laughter and dreams.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


AdSense Plugin for Firefox

If you’re addicted to checking your AdSense revenue, this Firefox plugin is a Godsend. There are a lot of commercial alternatives, but they do things far above just answering the single question most of us want to know: how am I doing today?


PHP Savant

Savant Template Engine: A good look at Savant, which is a template engine for PHP.

Comparing Savant to Smarty is difficult. Yes they are both template engines, but Savant does not compile its templates. Nor does it have its own built in scripting syntax. It uses PHP.

Savant is a lot like using PHP amidst HTML, but it concentrates everything in an object. Of course, this doesn’t stop anyone from going “outside” the object and just writing PHP like crazy in their template, but it’s not designed to be sandboxed.

A lot of template engines are meant for non-programmers to write code, and I gather Savant isn’t like that — it’s just to let the programmer keep his presentation separate from his code. I’ll probably stick with Smarty, but Savant is nicely done.


Code Fetch

codefetch: This site indexes code samples from the downloadable code archives provided with programming books. Enter a function name or some other code construct you’re stuggling with, pick your language, and search. It will show you the code, and the book it came from.


Cheat Sheet for developers

Cheat Sheet Roundup - Over 30 Cheatsheets for developers: Lots of cheat sheets here, some of them quite good. U need not remember each and every function, syntax, etc.


IT Dictionary Here’s a comprehensive dictionary of thousands of IT-related words, including what they claim is an index of every file format extension in the world.

Monday, February 20, 2006


On the web, no one can hear you scream...Until now

Have you ever wanted to chat with other folks looking at the same web page you are? Now you can.

Chatsum is a Firefox extension that lets you chat and leave messages on any website for other Chatsum users to see and interact with.

The Chatsum sidebar houses a fully-fledged chatroom, specific to the page you’re looking at, and all the other users in the room are also viewing the same web page. When you navigate to a different page the Chatsum room changes automagically. If you open a page in a new tab, Chatsum will keep pace with whatever you’re viewing. There is the option to switch between a page level room and a site level room, and you can also see what rooms/pages are popular with other Chatsum users.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Check Ur Site score

Silktide’s Sitescore is kind of a neat tool. Plug in your website, and it gives you a 1-10 score on…

How well marketed, and popular the website is.
How well designed and built the website is.
How accessible the website is, particularly to those with disabilities.
How satisfying the website is likely to be.

DirectI did pretty well with 7.9 points. Marketing was 9.6; design, 9.8; and experience, 8.6. The one aspect that hurt us was accessibility, which showed 4.6 points.

This website appears to be in violation of the British Disability Discrimination Act. All pages were found in violation of the the current W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
This website is probably unlawful in Britain from the 1st October 2004. The British Disability Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against a disabled person by refusing to provide any service provided to members of the public - including websites.

Careful, or we might find ourselves locked up in the Tower of London. Since Silktide is a web development business, I’m sure they’d be willing to help us fix this little deficiency, for a tidy sum.


GMail Integrates Google Talk’s Chat

Google has integrated its Google Talk/IM functionality into GMail. It doesn’t replace Google Talk (because there’s no VoIP yet). But it does:

* Potentially differentiate GMail
* Offer the first (that I know of) browser access to IM/chat
* Potentially expose more GMail users to Google Talk functionality and thus, longer term, potentially boost the Google Talk user base.

Chat “transcripts” are archived like mail and will be scanned like mail and contextually relevant ads will be served against them. More GMail usage = more page views, more ads and more clicks.

Now that it’s live in my GMail account and I’ve had a bit of a chance to use it, I can say that the integration is very convenient seems to work well. (Although it takes a little getting used to).