“Run some cheap tests”

Interesting article on Mixergy with suggestions from other entrepreneurs on how to find an idea for a new startup. What stood out for me was this:

Run some cheap tests

Though this only applies once you have an idea, I thought it was an excellent suggestion on using Google AdWords to run ads based on your idea to see if there is some interest in the  idea.

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Submitting your site to Bing

You can submit your site to Microsoft’s new Bing search engine here in case it isn’t already getting indexed. BTW, the search bot for the Bing search engine is named the same as the one used by MSN Search — MSNBot.

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Microsoft Outlook and disabled add-ins

I use the excellent Outclass plugin for Outlook which embeds the POPFile bayesian email classifier as a COM add-in to Microsoft Outlook. After about two years of trouble free use, suddenly it caused Outlook to crash. When restarted, Outlook crashed again. The next time I started Outlook, Outlook popped up a dialog asking me if I wanted to turn off the add-in that caused the crash on restart and I said “yes” to that, but failed to note something mentioned about how to re-enable the add-in if required after Outlook started up. This time, Outlook started up fine, but for the life of me I wasn’t able to figure out how to turn the Outclass plugin back on again. I almost panicked when I saw the tons of email that I was now getting that previously auto-classified into folders. Unfortunately the web-site where I got the Outclass plugin was down and there is no built in documentation. After a few different Google searches, I discovered that choosing the “Help — About Microsoft Outlook” menu item brings up a dialog with “about” info. This dialog has a “Disabled Items…” button. Clicking on this button brought up a dialog that showed a list of disabled items which had one sole item — the Outclass plugin. I chose to re-enable the plugin and now all is fine and normal with the world again :-).

Once more — the Outclass plugin for Microsoft Outlook is excellent. It is more than just a spam classifier. Since POPFile can classify mail as more than spam, you can train mail to be classified into more categories. With the Outclass plugin’s interface, you can set things up that classified mails get sent to specific folders. The training interface is super simple and is done from within Outlook itself.

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Open Files on Windows XP

Many times when using CVS under Windows XP, I have the problem that a “cvs update” fails to update some file or the other without any apparent reason. Turns out that this is because the file in question is open in some application, which, for some reason has thrown out a dialog-box with the file held open waiting for my input (usually some simple yes/no query). I have this happen typically with source code browsers. A quick way to figure out if the file that didn’t update is being held open by some application is to use the Windows “openfiles” command. Go ahead, run it on the command line and check it out. It’s a neat command that serves a simple purpose. Note that you need to run “openfiles /local on” to turn on the monitoring of open files and that the monitoring has a performance impact.

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How fast does Bing index web-sites?

It seems like Bing’s index is not as current as Google’s possibly because Bing doesn’t crawl web-site’s as fast as Google does. My first blog post to create a Firefox addon for Bing got indexed within hours by Google and showed up in it’s search results. But it is yet to appear in Bing’s search results (it is three days now since I blogged about it).

Google’s results:

Bings results:

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Bing results look like Google results

I was trying out the new Bing search engine from Microsoft for various searches over the last few days (for things I would normally use Google) just to get a feel for how well it performs. Like almost everyone else, I found the results were surprisingly good — comparable to results from Google. But as I was using it, I noticed that one of the reasons I found the Bing results good perhaps (now this it’s very subjective) is because they present the Bing search results in the same format as Google search

  • they seem to be using the same font with the link text in blue, 2 or 3 lines of description in black and the actual URL in green below the description.
  • they have a link to a cached page
  • they highlight the searched terms in the above summary
  • even the sizes of the font seem to be similar

My theory is that Microsoft conspired to copy the result format to help people psychologically accept the results of being just as good as Google’s!

See a couple of screen shots below:

Compare the results from Google above with the results from Bing below.

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Creating a bing search firefox addon

Microsoft’s bing search just went live. Below is the XML you need to create a OpenSearch format based Firefox add-on to include bing in Firefox’s list of search engines:

<OpenSearchDescription xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/" xmlns:moz="http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/">

<ShortName>bing</ShortName>

<Description>bing search</Description>

<InputEncoding>UTF-8</InputEncoding>

<Image width="16" height="16" type="image/x-icon">http://www.bing.com/favicon.ico</Image>

<Url type="text/html" method="GET" template="http://www.bing.com/search?q={searchTerms}"></Url>

<moz:SearchForm>http://www.bing.com/</moz:SearchForm>

</OpenSearchDescription>

Create a file with the above contents (make sure to join lines that have been split), name it bing.xml, stick it into C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins and restart Firefox — now you have bing in your search list.

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tDOM wasn’t compiled for multithreading

If you see the message

tDOM wasn’t compiled for multithreading

on doing “package require tdom“, the problem is related to the TCL implementation being multi-threaded while the version of tdom library that is being loaded was built without multi-threading support. The fix is to install a version of tdom with multi-threading support. Run “teacup install tdom” to get latest from ActiveState. It seems like version 0.8.2+ of the Windows DLL of tdom is built with multithreading support. It is possible that you already have multiple versions of tdom. So try using the package command with the version option as “package require tdom 0.8.2“.

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