Microsoft Windows

Getting middle-click to work for tab browsing in Mac OS X

If you’re a recent convert to Mac OS X (Tiger / Leopard / Snow Leopard / etc) or someone who uses multiple operating systems at the same time, the differences in mouse and keyword shortcuts get confusing, even irritating sometimes. One of the most irritating ones for me is the difference in what happens when you middle-click on the mouse.

In Windows / Linux, middle clicking in browsers is used to open and close tabs. In OS X, this doesn’t work because middle click is used to trigger the Dashboard. Every time I would want to open or close a tab, the dashboard would show up! To disable this, all you have to do is go to System Preferences > Exposé & Spaces and set the mouse shortcut to “-”.

For the newbies, here’s a screenshot guide. First select “System Preferences”:

Then click on the “Exposé & Spaces” button:

Set the “Dashboard” mouse shortcut to “—” :

So that it looks like this:

And that’s it! You will now be able to middle click to open and close tabs in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. For Safari, you can open tabs, but closing tabs don’t work.

And there you have it, middle click tabs on Mac OS X!

Why I use a Mac

From HackerNews , an answer to a common question my friends ask me — “Why do I use a Mac”?:

So the point of all this is that for a product that has been tested, debugged, and gone through all levels of Dante’s circles and back before being released, Windows is just not good enough. It seems like its so close. You just start to like it, and then it does something weird again. Its like an old friend of mine. She drinks and can be really raucous. But she’s a great person but has off moments. Its like hanging out with her on a good day and everything seems awesome, and then she randomly punches a cop. You kind of expect it, but you let your guard down for a minute and then wham, you get reminded again.

So in the end, I just fell for Mac because she’s really my type of girl. We fit well together. Windows is really pretty, and we have some good times, but she’s just not the one. We’ll still be friends, but that’s all we can ever be.

I agree with most parts of it; although I must say that Snow Leopard has crashed(i.e. with a gray version of the Windows BSOD) on me twice so far, and seems to get laggy on me while multitasking, so it seems nobody’s perfect. But in the end, I feel less stupid when I’m using a Mac — that’s how simple the explanation is.

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Microsoft Research's Data-related Launches

Microsoft Research has been making a bunch of cool data analysis-related launches at the upcoming Faculty Summit.

First, there’s The academic release of Dryad and DryadLINQ

Dryad is a high-performance, general-purpose, distributed-computing engine that simplifies the task of implementing distributed applications on clusters of computers running a Windows® operating system. DryadLINQ enables developers to implement Dryad applications in managed code by using an extended version of the LINQ programming model and API. The academic release of Dryad and DryadLINQ provides the software necessary to develop DryadLINQ applications and to run them on a Windows HPC Server 2008 cluster. The academic release includes documentation and code samples.

They also launched Project Trident , a workflow workbench, which is available for download:

Project Trident: A Scientific Workflow Workbench is a set of tools—based on the Windows Workflow Foundation—for creating and running data analysis workflows. It addresses scientists’ need for a flexible and powerful way to analyze large and diverse datasets, and share their results. Trident Management Studio provides graphical tools for running, managing, and sharing workflows. It manages the Trident Registry, schedules workflow jobs, and monitors local or remote workflow execution. For large data sets, Trident can run multiple workflows in parallel on a Windows HPC Server 2008 cluster. Trident provides a framework to add runtime services and comes with services such as provenance and workflow monitoring. The Trident security model supports users and roles that allows scientists to control access rights to their workflows.

Then there’s Graywolf :

GrayWulf builds on the work of Jim Gray, a Microsoft Research scientist and pioneer in database and transaction processing research. It also pays homage to Beowulf, the original computer cluster developed at NASA using “off-the-shelf” computer hardware.

new version of hotmail

An interesting sighting on the Microsoft campus: Hotmail (aka Windows Live Mail Ultimate Express Service Pack xp Developer Network Edition) just launched their latest version of mail services:

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First Day at Microsoft Research

And so it begins; yet another crazy summer, this time at the world’s largest Computer Science department outside of a university. Today was my first day of my internship with the Database Group at MSR. Some lessons and observations:

  • MS Recruiting is a refined and well-oiled machine. HR departments everywhere should learn from them.
  • Apparently it rains in June in Redmond. That’s ALL of June. Every single hour. So much for the picture-perfect weather I saw a couple weeks ago. As my mentor put it, “That was the demo”.
  • Seattle traffic is rather well behaved. Being a driving newbie making millions of driving-etiquette faux paus per second during rush hour would have got me into serious trouble in Michigan.
  • You will shake hands with luminaries. Many of them. In a span of 10 minutes. Try not to jump around and look like a giggling preteen.
  • This one’s important: Before you start working for Microsoft, it is advisable to at least try using Windows. Going from a life completely devoid of Internet Exploder or LookOut Express into a world where EVERYTHING carries the Microsoft logo, is not ideal for the brain. My eyes literally had trouble focusing for the first few hours. Running a Vista / Outlook / IE / Studio stack after an elegantly simple life in unix-land is like jumping from a well-oiled bicycle into the cockpit of a thundering fighter jet.
  • “Google” is not a verb. Live Search. Live Maps. Live Live Live!

linked list

startup idea #4984

Here’s an idea I thought of a while ago. You have the storm botnet, which is apparently now capable of being the world’s most powerful supercomputer:

The Storm botnet, or Storm worm botnet, is a massive network of computers linked by the Storm worm Trojan horse in a botnet, a group of “zombie” computers controlled remotely. It is estimated to run on as many as 1,000,000 to 50,000,000 infected and compromised computer systems as of September 2007. Its formation began around January, 2007, when the Storm worm at one point accounted for 8% of all infections on all Microsoft Windows computers.

The botnet reportedly is powerful enough as of September 2007 to force entire countries off of the Internet, and is estimated to be able to potentially execute more instructions per second than some of the world’s top supercomputers.

Obviously, having a large supercomputer is big business these days. So what you do is have a legal version of this. Let’s say you sell computers at 70% of their real price. The only catch is that people will have to run this special software as part of the system. The special software is basically a remote compute client similar to Folding@Home or Google Compute.

Once you have sold enough computers, you essentially have a large army of computers at your beck and call, for 30% the price of what you would have to invest in otherwise. Of course, obviously someone else owns the machines, but while they are doing lightweight tasks such as checking email and chatting, you are folding proteins, running simulations and cracking ciphers.

Now here’s the best part of the deal: the most expensive part of a grid is not the hardware, but the electricity that it uses. And guess who’s paying this electricity! The customer, not you!.

So there you have it. A cheap, one-time cost for an everlasting free CPU grid. Awesome ainnit?

note: This idea is under this license.

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Windows Vista SideShow

The Vista “SideShow Platform”:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/features/default.aspx:

The Windows Vista SideShow platform will also enable hardware manufacturers to build auxiliary displays in a wide range of peripheral devices such as keyboards, LCD display casings, remote controls, and cell phones. These devices can then display information received from a Windows Vista-based PC, providing even more convenience to your everyday computing.

Probably the only thing they didn’t copy from Apple. I like it, because it makes a lot of sense. Combine this with E-Ink displays, and Optimus keyboards, and we’ve got a winner.

Making Programs Talk to each other using XML-RPC

The Internet has changed the way applications are built today. In the last few years, we have seen a sudden burst in Internet software – Instant Messengers, Online Gaming, etc; all based on the client-server architecture. With all this client server technology, we also have to ensure compatibility between languages, and operating systems. XML-RPC is one way to do this.