The Experience of Blogging – the Story So Far

Everybody was blogging. It was the new fad. Is that why I started blogging? Probably not.

I had a thing for writing since I was 14. Or at least that’s the age when I first got published in a ‘magazine for the young’ (Us). I got published multiple times after that with reviews and some funny stuff in the same magazine. But then computers and Internet happened, and I got hooked, leaving the writer in me with no option but to take a backseat. But as the Internet evolved, we saw the emergence of blogging – now anyone could write and publish themselves online, on their own web page (blog). I started blogging in 2005, on Blogger. I called it Guru’s World. I liked the Blogger platform overall. But then I wanted more control; I wanted my own domain name; and being a software engineer, I wanted to work on something more geeky … something that would help me learn programming (or something else that was related to my field) while I unleashed the writer in me. The answer lied in the open source WordPress. Upon acquiring the domain name, I setup WordPress on it, called it “Zenning My Way Out” (just “Zenning” after about 2-3 years, and just recently renamed it to “Sawant Shah”), and I started blogging on this site in March 2008.

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Sawant Shah

November 12, 2012

Upgraded WordPress; cleaned up the files; corrected database entries; updated the theme to WP’s default twenty twelve theme … and the site is ready to relaunch and go live (on a new host)!

How to Install Mysql2 Ruby Gem on Windows

If you are getting an error like the following, when running ‘bundle install’ or ‘gem install mysql2′ on Rails 3:

gem install mysql2
ERROR: Error installing mysql2:
The ‘mysql2′ native gem requires installed build tools.

Please update your PATH to include build tools or download the DevKit
from ‘’ and follow the instructions
at ‘’

Then read on.

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StackOverFlow win!

Yay! I made two achievements on with my first two answers there. One, I earned a “Teacher” badge for Active site similar to CSS Zen Garden? And two, I unlocked a few privileges that come with earning points there.

By earning a reputation of 21, I can now participate in meta, got new user restrictions removed (can post images, post more than one hyperlink in a question or answer, post any hyperlinks in my profile, contribute answers to protected questions, ask or answer questions too rapidly), create wiki posts, vote up (this is the privilege for which I actually started answering in the hope to earn enough reputation to vote the good answers up), flag posts, and talk in chat.

So, now that I have started to rock the StackOverflow’s Q&A space for programmers (w00t), you can keep a tab on me there through my StackOverflow profile.

[Me happy at 4:30 am Pakistan time. w00t!]

No more limits!

When it comes to blogging, one of the things that I have tried to follow – very successfully – is that I shouldn’t post more than once on my blog in a day. May be ‘coz I want just one post of mine to bask in the limelight that day.

So, if I have more topics to write about, I say to myself … “hmmm I will do that tomorrow, or day after”. But, no prize for guessing, the next blog post arrives weeks or months later.

A few of us probably have this fear that we shouldn’t do more at any one point in time; but rather divide it over time. We do this probably so that we don’t overwhelm people, that they don’t yell out “enough!”

But is this how it should be? Should we really limit ourselves so that we don’t overwhelm other people?

I don’t know about the rest, but I certainly have to disagree with this, and I have to stop limiting myself!

So from now on, I’ll blog, as much in a day or week or month … just whenever I want to. No more limits!

Firefox is Slow? Check the add-ons you have installed!

Firefox is slow. In fact, it gets very slow the longer it is kept running. If you are web developer like me, who relies on Firefox for better productivity through its excellent add-ons, such as Firebug, then you must be feeling frustrated with the slow (sometimes extremely slow) performance of Firefox 4 (and/or previous versions as well). Browser speed is of course relative: I am comparing Firefox to Chrome in this case.

Turns out that Firefox is not the only one to blame; there are a host of add-ons that render Firefox to a sluggish speed, both at boot and operating times.

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Multiple Skype Accounts / Instances on a Single PC

For all those searching for a way to use multiple Skype accounts on a single computer, let me tell you that it’s actually very simple to achieve for Skype 4.0 and above.

When I searched for such a solution, I found lots of links that talked about running multiple Skype accounts through multiple administrator accounts or through Task Scheduler. Pfft … scrap that if you are running version 4 or above!

The solution is posted after the jump.

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Developing Facebook Chat: Programming Language and Technologies Used

Facebook Chat looks very simple by design, but if you pry deeper you’ll learn that it’s an impressive engineering and design feat. One must question: how was Facebook Chat, which was to serve over 70 million users when it was built (now serving over 500 million), developed? Which programming language was used to build Facebook Chat? What technologies were put together to bake this web-based chat feature? The primary Facebook chat programming language is Erlang, but that was not the only ingredient. Much more has gone into developing Facebook chat.

Eugene Letuchy, the lead developer of Chat, from Facebook, has put the answers down in a neat presentation that highlights the main aspects of what went into Facebook Chat.

Erlang at Facebook

At the heart of Facebook Chat, and thus the central part of this presentation, is a programming language called Erlang, which is a general-purpose concurrent, garbage-collected programming language and runtime system.

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Banksy and His Exit Through the Gift Shop

Today I learned about Banksy through a comment on the status of a friend on Facebook. So, who is Banksy? He’s a renowned graffiti artist. Intro line intro from Wikipedia:

Banksy is the pseudonym of a prolific British graffiti artist, political activist and painter, whose identity is unconfirmed.

Here’s an extended peek at his movie, Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop: