• Lounge,  Rostrum

    Influencers and Disclosure

    Influencers to post disclaimers in their product endorsements says the Government of India’s Consumer Affairs Department. Broadly, I welcome this move and hope the ‘guideline’ is not draconian, and Orwellian but participatory. India is not alone in trying to a law on this, the United Kingdom is also working on a similar move. During my days running Vishwak Solutions where we developed content management solutions for traditional newspaper and broadcasting companies around the world, I got exposed in the early 2000s to the idea & importance of voluntary disclosures. Readers & subscribers have a right to know about the writer’s affiliation & interests on the subject. My (then) customer Hindustan…

  • Events,  Speeches

    A talk on why do I write my blog?

    I started this blog 18-years ago, have written 3300+ posts which have been viewed over a million times. In the initial years, it was a public diary (like most other blogs of those days), kind of my notes out in the open. Soon, I realised as I penned each post, I was forced to research on the subject (I take care to be as accurate as possible) which meant my understanding of the subject became better and in turn, it decluttered my thoughts. Personally, for me, the hour or so each day I spend on writing the blog had a destressing effect on me – that’s was the biggest motivation…

  • Coding

    Broken images in new WordPress blog posts in Windows

    Been years since I fiddled a lot with IIS & Windows Server. But when you had to do it, you do get a thrill by dirtying your hands when debugging a problem in production and solving it. Today, it started for me when I upgraded the server I run #Wordpress from PHP7.4 to 8.0, new posts were not showing uploaded images. I was getting a 500.50 HTTP error. After hours of debugging which involved: Disabling and enabling every single plugin in WordPress, Enabling Debugging in PHP & IIS, Eliminate any file format issues with the ImageMagick CLI utilities that I use to resize the images and add my blog logo;…

  • Events,  Rostrum,  Speeches

    The Art and Engineering of Blogging

    As readers of this blog know I have been blogging from 2004, with over 2900 posts in these 16 years. One of my regular readers is Dr Shriram Raghunathan who is the HoD, Gaming Department of VIT Institute, Bhopal. He invited me to deliver a session to his Engineering students doing their Bachelor and Masters degree courses. And that’s how I created this session, probably the first time I am delivering on this topic. I enjoyed sharing my experience with the students on blogging and was impressed with their curious questions. Agenda Why should you blog? Where to blog? What to blog? What not to blog? Tools to use Why…

  • Rostrum

    Does this make me a celebrity?

    Light evening drizzle, umbrella on hand, tired after 20 rounds of walking at the corporation park I was returning home hurriedly. A Taxi kept trailing behind me for over 100 metres, got irritated I turned back suddenly a scooter overtook the taxi, came in front of me and blocked my way. A gentleman shouted, “Are you Mr Venkatarangan?”. Rattled, before my mouth opened to answer, my mind was running through a list of people who might not be liking me – I don’t owe money to anyone – I haven’t even met anyone new in the last few days to have them come chasing – I haven’t shouted about “politics”…

  • Apps

    WordPress Plugins I use

    I love WordPress. This blog has been using WordPress, the “open source” software for many years, which I have self-hosted in an Azure VM. The power of WordPress as a content management platform comes from its open architecture – which extends the core capabilities through thousands of plugins and themes made by third-parties. The ecosystem is simply amazing. As on date, 28% of the web uses WordPress, from hobby blogs to the biggest news sites online. Following are some of the many themes and plugins, that I have been using to run this blog. The below list is not exhaustive. Themes: Voice – Magazine WordPress Theme – This is a…

  • The year without pants
    Book Review

    The year without pants

    Before you think the book is about something sleazy, it is about Software Project Management with a fancy title. Scott Berkun was a former Microsoft manager, in charge of first five releases of Internet Explorer. After which he turned to full-time writing. His earlier books on The Art of Project Management and Myths of Innovation are famous titles. WordPress is the Open Source blogging software that’s powering this very blog of mine. It is used by 60 Million other websites and is used by 22% of the top 10 million websites. So when I saw a book by Scott Berkun writing about his experience working for a year+ as a…

  • Technology

    Blog moved from DasBlog to WordPress

    After using DasBlog (.NET & Lucene.NET based Blog Engine) for over 7 years I decided to move to the most popular blogging software in the planet – WordPress.  I like DasBlog for its simplicity – it was flat file based (just XML files for content and images stored in file system) so no Database configuration/maintenance, most of the common configurations are available from the Admin panel and more complex changes can be done by editing the ASP.NET source code, it supports AKISMET comment filtering, MetaWebBlog API for blogging from Windows Live Writer & above all just works out of the box. But in the recent months it was showing its…