24 Nov

Installing VS 2005 SP1 : Zap those Orphaned Patches

Did you know that when you install a patch/update/service pack for any product on your XP machine using Windows Installer, the patch source is cached in whole, consuming precious disk space? If your setup is canceled or exits due to an error, these caches can sometimes be left behind – forever! The next time you proceed with the same installation, the old cache is never used but a new copy is made at that time. This is what is called an Orphaned Patch. (I guess this is so common that they coined a neat looking term for it as well.)

I believed my system did not have any such orphans since I usually am extremely careful with software setups and updates (after my fiasco with the VS 2005 beta setup). But when again I was limited from installing the Microsoft’s released .NET Framework 3.5 due to VS 2005 SP1 not being installed, I was forced to do this update.

The VS 2005 SP1 has scores of known issues and there are pretty good workarounds for them. You can get more info on them here and here if you have planned to/just installed the SP and are facing issues.

But the most mind boggling part of the SP1 setup was the time it takes and the amount of disk space it requires. Documentation states it may take hours but common usage states it takes approx. 1 hour at 100% CPU utilization. But far more intriguing is the fact that the setup requires a minimum of 6.2GB space on your windows installation drive!!

This was totally unacceptable with me(and as I found out, with many others as well). So I found this great article by Heath Stewart who has put up many a post relating to these issues. All he suggests we do is disable the patch cache feature of Windows Installer(temporarily) and then proceed to do a silent install. My SP1 install was done in minutes and hardly consumed 500MB. Phew!!

But that’s not all. I discovered a means to remove those old orphaned cached patches from this article. How to go about doing that – Well, we’re back to the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility (yes, you read that right, its a tool that cleans up your goofed up windows installer installations). This very same tool was the godsend for me while solving my VS2005 Beta installation issues. What this tool does, you will read on the KB article. But the tool works by invoking a small command line utility called msizap (made available originally in the windows SDK). For our specific purpose to delete orphaned patch caches, simple invoke this tool with the parameter ‘G’ like this:

C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up\MsiZap.exe G

People who read the original article have reported they retrieved 23GB of space from their %WINDIR%. This gave me 2.3GB back on my 20GB partition. Great huh!

15 Oct

A story of Human Pride


Starting today, I am putting up a series of stories that really speak of us, Humans and our interactions with our mother, planet Earth. These are an array of thoughts that look at reality through a different dimension from what we are commonly used to. Read on and be proud that you are human.

Chapter 1

An ecosystem of Dinosaurs and Humans

Humans today are undoubtedly the most dominating species on this planet.

65 Million years ago there was another kind of species that dominated this planet and plagued it. They are collectively called the dinosaurs.

Now fact is that something happened and the dinosaurs were wiped out from the face of the earth. What this something was, we have no idea. But it sure was pretty effective as we see no dinosaurs in our zoos today.

Is a little fear creeping into you now? Do you see the similarity that we have with the dinosaurs? If you didn’t, it must be pretty evident by now.

Humans are empowered with a superior brain using which we have fought off the environmental challenges and extremes that earth has to offer. And to a good amount of success, no doubt. In contrast, other species that exist on this planet seem far behind in the race of evolution. They just don’t seem to have it in them. So according to Darwin’s theory of evolution, its our moral duty to the planet to wipe out all other species as we are the most fit.

<Beeep/> Lets go back on that a bit. Are we really the fittest? How do you define fit? How do you define superiority? Are humans really the most superior specie on the planet? Of course we are. Can you think of animals that could drop atom bombs, divide themselves into religions and hate each other, emit toxic elements into the atmosphere and have great world wars where entire species of the animals would walk into a battle field with a weapons in hand and swallow bullets in the head!! Of course not. And that’s what makes us SUPERIOR. Superior, like the dinosaurs once were.

To be Contd..

07 Oct


Filmcamp Bangalore

The FilmCamp concluded here in Bangalore today. It was a two day discussion forum or gathering of people who have the passion of making movies in them. I spent the entire weekend over at an auditorium in the Jain college of Management studies taking in tons of points and views and speaking out my views and questions to people who are either from the professional movie makers land or from people who study the art of movie making. Also present was Columba, documentary film producer who is currently making a documentary in support with BBC.

I think around 15-16 short films were screened at the event, some from dedicated movie makers while some from students of cinematography courses and also some from people who just go about their work on other days, but on weekends are seen with their cameras. A coupla movies were quite exceptional and the rest were actually good starts for amateur movie makers or students of such courses. I am so motivated now that I am working towards having my short film screened in the next Filmcamp!

The B RTFF community was behind organising the event. The name sounds like a big organisation and believe me, its all the brain child of a few motivated guys, much similar to the way I was part of the BDotNETStudentgroup.

When I told a friend about this event, he asked me if I went alone for this (as if its a sin). And I replied, I went in alone. But did not come out the same. That’s guaranteed!!

Some of the imminent personalities at the event (who’s names I remember) were Sanjeev Jha (director of the movie Pran Jaaye Par Shaan Na Jaaye, yes that’s a bollywood movie), Anand Krishnamurthy (I don’t exactly know what his qualification is, but he spoke like a teacher at an institute of movie making), Sanjay Nambiar (a person who has a mac laptop and also the main supporter of the event) and more.

Over and out, it was great to be part of this. And this is my first such venture to actually go out of my way and make a conscious attempt towards a career in movie making. I had a Silverlight dhamaka at Microsoft GTSC on Saturday and a BDotNETStudent UG meet Sunday morning that were alluring me away from this but I still made it here and stuck in. This was probably the first event in my life I attended not for the sake of lunch/goodies/five star treatment, but for the sheer content of it. And the story doesn’t end here.. Rather, it begins here.

Flickr Tags: FilmcampBlr

07 Oct

Long time; No see

Its been ages since I last blogged. And the reason is not that Ive not had a motivation sufficient enough to put it online. Instead blame it on the IT Industry, of which I am just another lame victim.

I have many stories to tell. And probably I shall pen them down (oops, type them down rather) in the coming days. And they will all have a common theme in them. That of respect for humanity and the essence of life. Why this is so, I do not know myself. But being a lame spectator to innocent crimes that we all consciously commit in our day to day lives has brought out such thoughts in me.

And of course, the long trips to office have given me the time and patience to reflect upon such thoughts. And I might dare say, I am not alone.

Jago Blogger Jago – that’s what I had to tell myself to write up atleast this post. Lets hope I get the drive to actually blog my thoughts in the coming days/weeks/months/years/decades/eons!!

27 Apr

Tirupati Trip

I had been to Tirupati for the first time in life (yes, the first time) during a long week end starting Good Friday 2007. I went with my colleagues and had a wonderful time around. But the heat was unbearable and we were happy we werent staying there any longer. We had booked our darshan time 3 weeks prior from Bangalore itself. So we had not much of trouble getting over with the darshan. But still my mind asks the question – What strange drive does a simple rock formation have that draws thousands of devotees everyday from the world over to the temple literally 24/7!! And they do it not once or twice, but its in their quarterly or yearly calendar to make this trip. Strange isnt it. Not so for them all.

The Tirumala temple resides in a small valley atop a hilly region and has a very good ambience if there wasnt so much popluation and noise. Now buses ply right to the entrance to the temple but its considered sacred to actually climb the way up the hill.So we decided that we had the energy to climb the 4000 steps. Although it was not a cake walk, since we started at 3AM, the climb was pleasant. Doing that in the afternoon sun would be impossible. Even then, the path is actually painted white so that one could walk on it even if the sun was beating down on the ground. The advantage of this, one will realise only when he tries to walk on a black tar road that has been open to the infrared rays of the sun for a coupla hours.  We reached the top, collected our luggage which was transported up the hill by the temple authorities free of cost, had breakfast, decided to book a room in the Karnataka Bhavan instead of the Tirumala Temple rooms which had a long queue.
The Tirupati area is full of temples and visiting all of them would easily take a month. We visited another 2 commonly visited ones and actually slept in the temple as we had checked out of our rooms. The best part was that we went into an AC hotel for lunch, and to beat the heat, we did as much timepass in the hotel as we could before they threw us out. So all in all, a pretty cool trip – in the hot scorching summer.
Photos at: TirupatiTrip
13 Mar

Vista AHOY!!

I was not very enthusiastic about installing or promoting Vista as such. Probably because I was extremely comfortable with XP and that I also didn’t have a legal copy of Vista to install. Now that I got this big parcel from Microsoft and opening it was a big ceremony at home. It was the Community Launch Kit which I had registered for some time ago. It had tons of stuff – 10*Dual Layer DVDs with Developer /IT Pro Session contents, on Launch DVD, 5 Copies of Vista Business(Full Version) and Office 2007 (Trial) plus posters, key chains, magnet stickers, Office 2007 pens, communicator status cube, Microsoft certifications vouchers etc. But of course, the most important thing among all these was V***a!!
And I sat down. I had a whole weekend to waste on this!! Upgrade to Vista! But on the safer side, decided to do a dual boot and slowly phase out XP if everything goes well.
And it was seamless. Well, almost. The network card didn’t get detected. Also had problems with AVG Free version, my TV Tuner card but these sorted out with some tweaking. But my scanner is still dead on Vista. But what really made me jump with joy was that every feature that Vista Business had to offer was enabled on my system without any qualms of hardware limitations. Of course, what good is 1.25GB RAM if not for Vista?
So I began installing stuff, found some incompatibility issues, explored some great features etc. Office 2007 also is real cool but I was using it on XP, so I will not describe its greatness here. I suppose enough has been said about both pieces of code!! 

04 Mar


Ajay doing his magic

I have already passed out from RNSIT and am no longer a manager of my college .NET Club. So why do I have to involve myself into these things anymore? I may not have a simple answer to it, but I had to drive this event anyhow through the present manager of RNSITDOTNET Sattvik.Planning started almost 2 months prior and ground work was established 2 weeks prior to the event scheduled on Saturday, 3rd March, 2007. The downside for the event was that the college management did not agree under any cost to have the event during college hours because “precious” class hours would be missed. So we had no option but to request for college busses to stay back and that interested students attend. This the college agreed and also sent out notifications to each class about the event. Both Sattvik and me were skeptical about the number of people who would turn up. We were so desperate that we counted the volunteers and it totaled 16 people. So we thought having an audience of 15-20 is pretty OK.But rather to our amusement, 15 minutes before the event start time, there were 60-70 people sitting in the hall!! I quickly jumped in and started playing a few Vista and Imagine Cup videos that I downloaded from the Internet while the chief guests arrived. Soon enough the guests came in and the audience too had grown to be over 100 heads.The guests were:

Ajay Thomas Abraham, ADE, Microsoft
Prof. M R Holla, Director, RNSIT
Dr. H N Shiv Shankar, Principal, RNSIT
Pooran Praasad, Microsoft MVP, CEO, Zealous Solutions

Chief Guests at the launch

Chief Guests at the launch


Then we suddenly realised that the lady compere had disappeared. So I stepped in to introduce the guests, explain the agenda and engage in some TWT. Then things went on smoothly and my Principal and the Director gave a pep talk and shared their amazement at the number of people that have come in.

Ajay took the stage and delivered his session on Development Opportunities on Vista while explaining in detail the various new features in the greatest ever OS by Microsoft. (Isn’t that quite obvious???) There were some interesting snaps taken during the session and the best one has to be this, with Ajay brewing his magic on innocent minds. Ajay got some debatable questions shot at him as well as questions regarding community concerns. But being an ADE, I am sure he is well versed on how to defend such queries more than Dravid’s capability to defend bouncers. In fact, he got so interactive with the crowd that his session slated for 45 mins extended to 1hour 30 minutes. Pooran’s session should also have been over by then. But this is natural in any event.

Then Pooran took the stage and he had downsized his PPT since the majority of the audience was new to .NET. He was speaking on Office and Vista Better together. Pooran is a master of his topic. If one wakes him up during his sleep and asks to explain the topic, he would be able to take a 3 hour session without a break. The major takeaways from his session were the screen shots of the cool UI of some of the apps built on WPF and Office 2007. But he also made some valuable points at the end of the session regarding community resources and his eagerness on sharing information in such sessions in the future as well. He also gave pointers to MSDN AA and MVP resources.

Then it was time for the quiz. RNSIT boasts of lots of things – its management, its principal/director, faculty, the basketball team and many more. The quiz club of RNSIT, titled Trivial Pursuit is one that cannot be missed on the same list. They were the ones conducting this quiz and did a very commendable job. A copy of Vista RC1 was up for grabs. So were copies of Visual Studio 2005, Express CDS, Imagine Cup 2007 T-shirts, key chains, caps etc, all thanks to Ajay. The first round was a set of 13 questions which all could answer in a sheet and submit. Then the valuation proceeded and a set of 5 final teams were selected. Then it was 15 questions and it was one helluva round. The teams spit fire and clashed horns against each other. Ultimately it was over and the finish was a close one. The honours were done by Ajay. A quick round of thanks and it was over. A great day and a great event.

Looking forward to more such events. I just cant stop being part of them.


11 Nov

Taking a break in Life

It was kinda like I had unintentionally decided to take some rest after almost 16 years of educational toil. Not that I was tired of it all or that I am not going to adopt an educational life ever again. It was just that break that one takes without any hassles or income losses. From 2006 July to November…

During these holidays I did a lot of things that I would cherish for life. Among these would be my brother’s wedding, volunteering for Imagine Cup 2006, watching every Hindi or English movie that had a minimum 3 star rating on Times, the hyderabad Student Partner Meet, working for Zealous Solutions, job hunting, playing cricket, attending functions and tellin people that I am happily sitting at home without a job. I didnt regret that one bit. I didnt have to lie to my conscience. The jobs that I would love to do never camy by, the companies that I aspire for didnt have any openings. I would not like to join a pathetic company just for the sake of the society’s pressure. So I had to cook up a reason to quell the rumour hungry people around me and my mom’s visible uneasiness – the CAT was a reason enough.

After I rejected my campus recruitment offer from India’s largest software company, TCS due to various reasons including a two year bond, relocation to another corner of the country (which meant leaving Bangalore, the IT Hub of India and my dream city!!) and if this was not sufficient, a very small & insufficient pay packet that would leave me worrying about making ends meet, I started my job search spree.

After tons of applications, hundreds of mails with resume attachements, bothering dozens of known people for referrals, a few hoax interview calls along came a few opportunities that would raise my eyebrow. Microsoft GDCI Hyderabad had called for freshers. We all applied at a portal that allowed us to specify only our marks and nothing more. We pleaded and begged the people we knew at MS to atleast ensure that our resume gets shortlisted for the test and the interview procedure. But what happened later left me high and dry and very very angry as they had not even called me in for the test despite me being a student ambassador and also meeting all the criteria for the same. I was so upset about this that I decided I would not participate in any Microsoft venture in the future as a promotional clown. But yes, I will still remain as dedicated to the community as I always was. But I will evangelize against Microsoft’s selfish promotional gimmicks to use innocent minds to do their advertisement work. I will use the community against them. The Microsoft’s Student Partner Program and the MVP Program are all shit filled initatives by this company to spread their name. Beware Microsoft! I am here…

But things moved on. My close friend got a call for the same test and cleared the entire process. She is now working at Microsoft GDCI Hyderabad. Sometimes I feel that it was for good only that I didnt get called for that test. Heaven knows how much I would have regretted leaving Bangalore for a silly job had I been selected. Soon after there was a walk in at Sapient Corp Pvt. Ltd.. As I found out that most people working here were happy with their jobs and happy working for the company. I too liked their selection procedure and the way they treated me with respect. One does need respect, be it in anything. That is why one would readily pay 150 bucks for a movie at PVR and not even 50 at Kamakya. Respect is everything, and often determines who we are and also what choices we make.

And as one would expect I gave my best at the test and the interview. I was selected and they soon released the news that we should be joining on 6th November. It came as a huge jolt. I was finally going to join, going to be just another IT guy in a small company down the road, I was finally going to work. So started my final run of holidays. I had to enjoy the last few days of life in the way I wanted to. Movies, hanging out at coffee bars, eating out and the works.

Now at the end of it I wonder how four months went by. But never do I regret it. I could not have asked for anything better than what I did in these holidays. It gave me a lot of time to realise myself, be a total introvert, speaking to myself asking what I really wanted to see myself as so on and so forth. Chats with Chaitanyesh, Manoj Ganapathy of CTS, Pradiptha and Vineeth Gupta of Microsoft as well as Deepak, Jadeja, Sheeba and Reza helped me answer some of these questions. I may not have the perfect answer right now, but atleast I am confident I am heading in the right direction.

31 Oct

Monitor control through

While just taking part in the routine online discussions, I came across this nice article which gave a complete explaination on how to control the monitor through code. Although the article was not meant for first timers, I took some time out to reformat and present the same content here so that anyone could read and understand.

The Monitor can be controlled by the SendMessage API. This is not a .NET API, hence we must delve into P/Invoke and COM Interop.. but dont worry, I wil keep it simple.

To use the interop functionality, you must first include the reference

using System.Runtime.InteropServices;

Then comes the DllImport using which we import the library that contains the SendMessage API – user32.dll


Then declare the SendMessage function

static extern IntPtr SendMessage(IntPtr hWnd, uint Msg, IntPtr wParam, IntPtr lParam);

The parameters represent the following data:

  • hWnd – Handle to the window whose window procedure will receive the message. Should be a valid Windows handler
  • Msg – specifies the message to be sent
  • wParam – specifies additional message-specific information
  • lParam – specifies monitor state

hWnd can be set to the current window handle if it is a Windos Forms application using


But if it is a Console app of a class lib, then you would be better off setting it to -1. (Which sets the handle to the top level window in the system.)

Msg will be set to a predefined value of 0x0112. Even wParam will be set to a predefined value of 0xF170. I shall name the constants so as to avoid confusion.

const int WM_SYSCOMMAND = 0x0112;
const int SC_MONITORPOWER = 0xF170;

lParam specifies the monitor state. It has 3 states – ON, OFF and STANDBY with corresponding values -1, 2 and 1.

Hence a call to turn the monitor off would read something like this in a console application:

SendMessage((IntPtr) (-1), WM_SYSCOMMAND, (IntPtr)SC_MONITORPOWER, (IntPtr) 2);

Download the sample source code here.

31 Oct

Farewell party by RNSIT

Sreenath giving the farewell speech (trying to)

I felt so pathetic after this entire event. I was supposed to speak on my journey through this course of four years. I went on stage and forgot everything and came down by saying just thank you! Hopeless!!

And after that i didnt win any awards for my services to the college. So .. an eventful terrible day. Memorable for a few though.

But anyways it was a great evening, with dinner sponsored by the college and everyone turning up in sarees and blazers. A feast for the eyes.

Sunday May 7, 2006