Updates!

– I am listening to “Azeemushshaan Shahenshah” from “Jodhaa Akbar” at 5 am in the morning, and I’ve killed the night doing absolutely nothing, while the other half sleeps peacefully besides me. Am I weird?

– That song is not on repeat, but that’s all I have listened to in the past hour. I am always on the fence 😛

– I have to attend a little get-together/birthday bash in a bohemian (and popular) bar in the evening. I don’t drink, but I eat. Though I am not sure if the someone is coughing up for the drinks, I am not planning to pay for Calamari (that’s all I can eat) 😦

– I am craving for the nachos they serve at Brewerkz. This place again is a bar, and that’s how I pass time at bars!

– I like the redesigned admin portion of WordPress, it looks sweet and stylish and very laid back. I’ll have to play around though.

– I think Internet Explorer 8 just might be a good piece of software afterall, but in my geeky zeal I updated my beta version (installed previously) to the Release Candidate they just pushed. I shouldn’t have. Now the trackpad scroll wheel emulation works erratically most of the time, and the text cursor/caret positioning is just weird, being almost half a letter away from where it should be!

– I am downloading the beta version of Windows 7, though my harddisk is almost filled up to the brim. I’ll run it on a virtual machine anyway and it needs 16GB of free space, which is haaaaaaaard to get in my harddisk. I think I’ll have to say bye-bye to some cherished movies 😦

– I am enjoying every moment of being a hubby. Though its more like we’re friends. I think the reality hasn’t settled in yet, it would soon though as a trip to Pakiland is due!

– I am eating home-made food these days (anything cooked at home qualifies as home-made, right?), and that too almost three times a day. As a result I am gaining flesh on my sides. She says they are love handles anyway, so it doesn’t matter. I think it does!

– I am thinking of working on an idea. Any idea. Do you have one?

– I think I should go to sleep. I don’t want to be slacking off at work and dozing off in the lecture, and it almost seems like Shahenshah sahab is pounding away in my head! 😛

Oh and how I love my chotuuu!!!

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Mosques in Singapore

Of course I realise that this particular map only contains mosques that are near the downtown area, but if you click on the “View Larger Map” link, it would take you to the Google Maps results page which contains around 120 results from different areas in Singapore. A handy map to refer to, and no more excuses!

Code Nuggets: A Side-effect of Using DropDownList AppendDataBoundItems With Databound Items

Picture this: You have a webform with two DropDownLists, both of them are databound to some data you get from a database. Now the first DropDownList’s selection determines the contents of the second dropdown. So you simply do a AutoPostBack = true for the first dropdown and populate the second dropdown in the handler function. Right?

But wait. What if you are required to put in a static item in the dropdown? Something like “– Please Select –“ as the first item in the list to force the user to make a conscious choice. Hmmm, so you look around and find the nice little property named AppendDataBoundItems that will take care of that. All you have to do is declare the first (static) item in the Items collection in the designer (or put a <asp:ListItem> tag inside your <asp:DropDownList> tags) and set AppendDataBoundItems to true. This nice little property tells the DropDownList to add the databound items after the statically declared items, so you can have your happy little “– Please Select –” in your dropdown.

The Side-effect:

The side-effect becomes evident when you play around with your two dropdowns. Its immediately clear that something is not quite right. The AppendDataBoundItems property forces your dropdown’s items from the previous postback to be treated as static objects onthis display. Sort of where you get an ever-growing second dropdown with a hangover from the postback, which is clearly not what you wanted in the first place!

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A Perfectly Logical, Sensible Conversation…

An all-too-usual occurrence with me at local gatherings etc:

Them: So?
Me: So… you think you can tell?
T: What? (they have no idea what I have to unleash)
M: Heaven from hell?
T: What?! (taken aback)
M: Blue skies from pain…
T: Oh!
M: Can you tell a green field…
T: …from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil? (And they think that they quite have matched my wits)
M: So you think you can tell!

And that’s where I end it. Most people try to drag it to “Did they get you to trade…” part but I draw the line there. Muahahaha. Don’t “so” with me ever again!

The Meaning of Ramadan

Since the past few days, a couple of (non-Muslim) friends have come up to me who know that I was keeping fasts, and asked about the significance of Eid-ul-Fitr. What they specifically wonder about, is that whether this festival after a month of fasting, is a day of eating. That whether us Muslims eat the whole day and go crazy about it.

That set me thinking. Though Eid is not specifically meant to commemorate eating, it is what we do mostly on the day. We mostly (and conveniently) forget the essence of Ramadan on the very first day!

So what exactly is Ramadan? Is it something we Muslims observe to show our devotion to Allah (another interpretation by them)?

In a nutshell: no. It’s a month which is there for Muslims to have a chance of going back to basics. It is a month in which Muslims are supposed to repent over their misdoings, ask forgiveness from Allah, condition our minds and bodies and generally strive to attain taqwa. It also reminds us what really being a Muslim means, and that we should not just go through the motions just because we were born in a Muslim family, rather than strive to become Muslims who have chosen to do so.

The festival of Eid-ul-Fitr then marks the end of Ramadan, and is generally a festival of happiness. A festival when you visit your relatives, help out the poor, forget differences and skirmishes and make sure that the world is a better place. It is there because Islam is a community-based religion, a notion that many non-Muslims don’t really understand, and on which I might talk about later.

So all of us who have really strived through the month of Ramadan to generally shy away from things generally not appropriate for a practicing Muslim, let’s hope that we do not forget all that we put in the month of Ramadan to be on the path of righteousness. Let’s carry over the discipline we learned during this month to at least a few months, if not until next Ramadan. For those of us who somehow missed or did not strive enough, it’s never too late to start.

With that, I wish everyone a very happy Eid. Eid Mubarak!

Code Nuggets: Getting two SQL column values in a single column

Well this type of thing doesn’t come up very frequently (at least to me) and if you’re like me working on multiple databases it gets very frustrating when it does come up. Since I don’t use it very frequently, I tend to forget how to do it properly in the database system I am using at the time.

So it goes something like this: Suppose you have a simple SQL table called Users. Now this table has three columns, id (int), firstName (varchar) and lastName (varchar)…

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java.CompilerError when running RMIC

The other day I was trying out a Java RMI program in connection to an assignment. Let me be very clear here: I really like Java as it was one of my first proper programming languages (mind you, I am talking here circa 1999-2000 when Java-fever hadn’t caught up) and I am a big fan of its elegance. The only turn-off which made me head towards Microsoft’s direction was the lack of a proper, Visual Studio-league IDE for Java in those days. Much water has passed under the bridge, and there are many better IDEs for Java now, like Eclipse and NetBeans, but the curse still remains. (You might also want to give JCreator a shot, one of my favorite Java editing tools).

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