Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vista calls home via searchfilterhost

I installed COMODO firewall and was amazed at searchfilterhost (a process that indexes your files so that you can quickly search them later on) trying to access Microsoft servers ( (click for whois lookup)). I found this service to be quite handy and left it turned on.

Quick search yielded this thread on MSDN forums. Microsoft doesn't learn its lesson... or maybe they are trying to support companies making firewalls? :D

Edit: After a few days, explorer started calling back home. I've disabled all the update services, still its doing the same. IPs -, Explorer is acting up a bit now. lets see what happens.

Edit (Dec 1 2009): mspaint tried contacting Put it in address bar and see where it leads :P

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beta Testing Bhuvan

What is Bhuvan?
Touted as Google Earth's biggest competitor, it sure is an app to watch out for. Its an application by Indian Space Research Organization that will allow you to view India's geographical data in variety of innovative ways. You need to use it to check the combinations. You also need to check out on how cities and communities and other things are organized in India as it refers to local terminology like taluka, golden quadilateral etc. I haven't explored it fully yet, but am confident that more things with local flavor will be added in future.

Is it really 3D?
Yes, it actually is! When you look at Google Earth or Maps, all images look as if they've been taken from space vertically above the object. This is called orthogonal view, as far as I remember from my college days. However, Bhuvan retains its perpectives and things appear as if they are on a sphere. So don't expect to do a 360 degree view of any building!
Official site:
This wont work usually. However, nothing's lost. Actual data and application is on which you cannot access directly. So... what to do? Google! Query "faq.html" without quotes. Hit the cached link of first result and you will be able to see its FAQs. Likewise, you can also search for 'Register' and 'Login', click on 'Cached' and this will appropriately redirect you to page on bhuvan2 sub-domain.

Peculiar behavior
When hitting the official website from Indian server, only then it will refuse to open. When you use proxies based outside India, it responds... though slowly because of the round trip time. What's up man?!

Initial bug reports
  • Search was unsuccessful for localities in towns. It said there was an unexpected error with Database. I was expecting it to give me the correct result as it supposed to have local information too.
  • I was not able to view maximum resolution photographs. Is it bound because it is in beta?
  • Under the photo section, Vidhan Sabha is wrongly written as Vidan Soudha. This largely implies non-indians were used to customize this patented app. that's bad ISRO. You should have got the app made in India itself.
Feature requests
  • DO NOT allow geo tagging that is saved in your servers. You people keep it to yourself. However, please allow the users to add photos, tags etc. which are saved in their local systems ONLY. Also enable users to share this data. This way, you will be saved from marketing and social tagging garbage and would be able to cater to serious individuals too.
  • Please DO NOT tie to a platform like you have done now. Please make the data available to users via a web service hosted on a cloud. This will allow you to leverage data in unforeseen ways. require people to sign up before they can use this webservice and track their activities. If certain behaviors appear suspicious (behavioral patterns can be learnt over time, or can you can use some starlet's research in your team), you can be sure to monitor them. Banning won't help. New ids would be created that very second.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Installing SQL Server (Express) on XP with SP3 not possible.
SP3 Installs MSXML 6 update KB954459 (also installed by MSXML 6 SP2) which marks files related to it as non-editable and non-removable. Because of this, all the packages modifying its (config) files fail to install. Same problem also appears when installing VS2008 as it has SQL Server Express edition bundled with it. However, Visual Studio installs without any problems and any applications not depending on SQLExpress will build and run just fine.
1. There is an error related to SQLDUMPER when trying to connect to SQL Server from Visual Studio.
2. SQL services do not appear in services' console (Run > services.msc) after installation.
3. There is a config error during installation and it appears related to MSXML in log files of the installer.

I am sorry that I am able to provide only vague pointers right now. I solved this problem at my friend's place at 4 am a week back and I am writing everything just from my memory.

Uninstall KB954459 using Microsoft's utility. You would have to use this utility because the package is not removable from Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs either. Its quite simple and straightforward to use and should not require directions for people who are attempting such an installation.
Install SQL Server/VS normally.
You can optionally install back MSXML 6 SP2  after your SQL server is installed.

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