Venkatarangan.com – Fourth Year Anniversary

What I started casually has now completed THREE YEARS and into its Fourth Year. I am talking about this blog that you are reading (www.venkatarangan.com/blog). I started it more as a log book – but now has become a reference and as a good outlet for me. I myself keep coming back to this blog mostly to reference on some links or recollect on how I felt on a issue or technology sometime back. Blogging has convinced me that who you are here, your thoughts changes on the experiences you keep having – and the experiences themselves change on time; in short we evolve over time.

If you haven’t started blogging, please do so – and remind yourself constantly to keep posting. In reality if you prepare for each post mentally before hand it takes only few minutes for the actual post to be done.

If you are wondering what happened to me over last few weeks – here is the scoope. Over the Christimas ’06 I was in a much needed vacation with my family in Hosala Village near Belur, Helibedu temples; over the last few weeks business traveling in USA and London. Will post about the places and photos of these trips shortly – stay tuned.


Leavenworth WA

This weekend I got to visit Leavenworth (WA) with my colleagues in our Redmond (WA) office. Leavenworth is about 100 miles east of Redmond. According to Wikipedia, Leavenworth was incorporated in 1906 following a railroad project but the town declined over the years till finally in 1962 it was redeveloped as a mock Bavarian (state in Germany) village. Now close to two million people visit this small town.

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The reason we came here was to experience snow, since the place is at an elevation 1171 feet the roads are with Ice in winter.

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It was fun to watch kids snowboarding, romantic to see a horse carriage ferrying couples and above all cold!

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On our way-back we found the roads to be covered with ice, I happened to be sitting behind the wheel and I haven’t driven in Ice before. I got on to the track left behind by the car before me, I never deviated from it, luckily this gave me enough friction to reach plains safely.

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Interop VB 6.0 and VB.NET

One of the questions I frequently get is how to upgrade from VB 6 to VB.NET. Though there are lot of upgrade scenerios explained in detail in MSDN, my favourite has always been step-by-step upgrade. In this approach, you take one of your existing forms, upgrade/re-develop them in VB.NET and have it being called from VB 6.0 applications. Then you move to the next form, by doing this, over a period you can have the entire application moved to VB.NET. The problem in doing this was to have the knowledge on how to turn the VB.NET form into a COM component that can be called from VB 6.0, MS has made this easier now with Interop Forms Toolkit 1.0.

Having the forms developed in VB.NET brings in lot of capabilities – foremost being the ability to support 100% Unicode, which is very important for Indic Languages like Tamil, Hindi, etc.

For doing Unicode with VB 6.0:

Though basic: If Windows XP / 2003 – First ensure you have selected the check box in Control Panel -> Regional and Languages Options -> Languages Tab -> Install Files for Complex Script and Right Languages (or) If Windows 2000 – Ensure you have Indic Support enabled

VB 6.0 even with MS Forms 2.0 will have some issues with Unicode, especially Indic languages like Tamil. I found it easier and better to do the forms in VB.NET 1.1 and then call the forms from VB 6.0. So the .NET application can be either a standalone EXE (or) called as a ActiveX COM DLL .

These references might be useful, check them out:


Wasteful Indian Dignitaries’ Protocol

Today Indian PM Dr.Manmohan Singh left for a 3-day visit to few ASEAN countries. I saw now in the TV news a whole bunch of Senior people from Indian Government and Politics are there to see him off.

Image Courtesy Hindustantimes.com and PTI

What is there to see off a PM who has done these foreign trips multiple times and he is not doing this trip for anything ground breaking. Right from Sonia Gandhi to a dozen Cabinet ministers and numerous number of senior bureaucrats where present to see the PM. I am sure each of them have tons of work to do, other than giving a bunch of flowers to PM and most of these people will be seeing people many times during a day as well. 

If this many important folks appear in the TV Clip, think about the hundreds of accessory people and cars (like Police, Security, Assistants) that would also have been wasted the time, energy, road-traffic coming for this. Why is our government and officials not waking up to 21st Century and see that these are wasteful?

I am not sure any western countries follow these protocols – do they?


Mix ’07

I loved Mix ’06 and I was eagerly looking for Mix ’07. It is now open for registration, it is worth event to travel if you are in Web Development/Design Area.

Here is a latest release from MS on Mix ’07:
A general manager within Microsoft’s developer division, Scott Guthrie chats about his upcoming keynote at MIX07 with Rory Blyth from Channel 9. Scott talks about why MIX is such a unique Microsoft conference, what his team is up to on the web technologies front including WPF/E, what’s so special about IIS 7.0, why you should care about the next version of Visual Studio that is code named Orcas, and what it’s like to go into meetings with big wig executives like Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Ray Ozzie (another person who will keynote MIX07). And yes, even though Scott is an exec himself, he still spends lots of time coding; he’s a developer’s developer. And he’ll be on the floor at MIX for you to mingle with. Enjoy!