On October 10 I attended Caltech Enterprise Forum and got an opportunity to listen to entrepreneurial journey of Jason Nazar who is the CEO and Co founder of Docstoc.com which according to Jason is the Youtube of Documents. He is local to Southern California and started his journey from SC itself. He has the karizma of a great leader.

Click here to see the entire video from the event.

 

ABSTRACT

Internet & Internet based web applications are becoming popular to perform various on-line tasks and so are web-based vulnerabilities. Web 2.0 is today’ new mantra and much of the new stuff coming up is based on recent advances in Web Technologies viz. XHTML, JavaScript, AJAX, SOAP, Web Services. All these technologies are fast becoming an integral part of new generation Web applications known as Web 2.0 applications. This evolution has led to new attack vectors coming into existence around these new technologies. To combat these new threats one needs to look at different strategies as well. In this paper we shall look at different approaches and tools to improve security at both, the server as well as browser ends. Web applications often make use of JavaScript code that is embedded into web pages to support dynamic client-side behavior. This script code is executed in the context of the user’s web browser. A Virtual Machine running within the browser limits the program to access only certain resources which are most associated with the domain. However if the user mistakenly downloads a compromised or malicious JavaScript code form another website then this code is granted full access to resources such as cookies. Such attacks are called cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. [1]

This paper presents a brief explanation of various kinds of attacks like XML poisoning, RSS/ATOM Injection, SOAP Parameter Manipulation, XPATH injection and attacks exploiting "client-side" AJAX frameworks. This paper also suggests various ways to mitigate such attacks on Client & Server. Additionally this paper suggests secure coding practices and tips which help avoid majority of these attacks.

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I heard about xobni my friend Sam Deskin and read about it on techcrunch. I liked its features and decided to give it a try. I generally don’t like to install lots of plugins on my most used tools since it makes them slow. But Xobni made a huge difference. 

xobni make outlook like gmail. I love gmail for all the great features it has. But at work we use Microsoft Exchange, which is also a great tool for enterprise collaboration. My Blackberry Curve 8900 also works great with exchange and keeps everything in sync. I always wished for gmail like conversation view in outlook. Let me talk about how xobni made my life easier.

Likes:

  • Fast Seaching: xobni does its own indexing and make it really fast to search emails, contacts etc.

  • Email Conversations: xobni displays a small side bar on the right and lists all conversations with the selected contact. I like this feature a lot and don’t have to do lots of clicks to get a list of past emails for that user. Additionally it groups conversations like gmail and lists email text/replies like IM conversation.

  • Attachments: I love this feature. It displays all the files exchanged with a particular user. This features saves so much time for me.

  • Outlook Social: xobni has lots of more features like links to Facebook, LinkedIn, Hoovers. I didn’t find these features so useful yet.

Dislikes:

  • xobni does analytics which I never care about. Its ok not to have this feature and make xobni light-weight.
  • xobni runs a background process for indexing. Some of my friends have experienced their computer slowing down.

How to Install:

Download xobni from http://www.xobni.com and enjoy its features.

What’s Next:

I am eagerly waiting what they have to offer for my blackberry :)

I recommend xobni for people who use Outlook. It saves me a lot of time.

 

As a part of my MBA course at Marshall I have to interview a successful Entrepreneur. I was fortunate to get a chance to talk to Ray Galan of RG Pacific about his entrepreneurial journey.

Introduction

Ray Galan, founder of RG Pacific, is a skilled businesses man with excellent entrepreneurial spirit. RG Pacific is a software consulting company with specialization in online marketing and brand building. His creativity and strong passion to work has won him many hearts. Lot of his clients admire him and take his advice when it comes to strategic planning.

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First I would like to thank ALL the members of the usc_fall2005 yahoo group for the help and information shared regarding the procedures. Also "ALL THE BEST" to all Visa aspirants ..
Myself Vaibhav Bora, from Pune applying for MS in CS. I had my Visa appointment on the 21st of June at 8:15 am. The interview lasted just about 4-5 minutes.
I and my Dad reached the VFS SnS Lounge by 7:15am and waited in the queue. (I had taken the Lounge coupon. There are 2 queues at the VFS Lounge one for the Visa Interview Scheduling and other for the actual Interview. We have to stand in the Visa Interview Queue. All may know this by now but just a reminder again).
Then waited inside the Lounge. Dad was getting the coffee for me. By 8:00 I got inside the bus and then headed towards the Visa Office. After all the security checks I was inside by 8:30. (Remember – nothing is allowed inside the office, some had mobiles, leather handbags etc. Small Wallet is allowed)
Then inside, we have to stand in a Q for getting the token number and a yellow envelop. (This envelop has our address where the Passport is couriered – just check it again). I got the number 0750 (i was very happy as any multiple of 5 is a lucky for me.)
Then one more queue for finger prints (counter number 1). After that I was seated and waited for my turn. (This is the only time you get to ease and make yourself ready. Have some water… but remember to concentrate when any announcement is made.. Sometimes Token numbers are called, sometime Names are Called.. be alert and listen to it completely, do not miss any number, they are not in sequence any random order)
Time 9:05 .. an announcement was made – "following people come to counter 6 , then few numbers were called and when the number 0749 was called a shock-wave went through me". but that was the last number in the Q.. I was little worried and was confident mine will be called in the next announcement.
Then at 9:10 announcement made from counter 5 and mine was the first. But i forgot the counter number. Then saw few people coming to counter 5. I was happy as my interview was on counter 5 (my lucky number). I was the first one Q. I remained standing and waited for the consul to call me in… (He was neat looking young guy). After few seconds he called me in..
AND THIS IS HOW MY INTERVIEW WENT :
(I was keeping the document folder on the desk.)

VO – How are you
ME – (I had not picked up the phone) Fine.
(Then picked up the phone)
ME – Good Morning Sir !
VO – Good Morning.
ME – Thank you
VO – Have you been to US before ?
ME – No
VO – Have you been to any other country ?
ME – Never
VO – Why you wana go to US ?
ME – Sir, I want to pursue Master in Computer Science, with specialization in Software Engineering
VO – Which Institution ?
ME – (for a few seconds I couldn’t get the name.) Then after think I said University of Southern California in Los Angeles
VO – Why you wana go to USC?
ME – Sir, USC is highly reputed school. It has tremendous research infrastructure and a world renown faculty. (forgot to say about the rank)
VO – You said it has good research infrastructure, what research is going in USC on Software Engineering ?
ME – (Was not prepared well for this question) Sir, SE is about designing any software on an abstract level. There are various methods and models for designing a complete software – COCOMO Model, the Spiral Model. In USC research is going on new models and methods.
(the climax question)
VO – Ok. Tell me how will you support your education
ME – Sir, My father is sponsoring my education. He is in housing construction business. Our firm Bora Associates constructs about 30-35 thousand sq.ft. of properties every year and our net annual Income is around x lakh rupees.
VO – Do you pay the Indian Government Tax?
ME – Yes, sir we do pay the Income tax. In 2004 our income was around x lakhs, in 2003 its was y lakhs and z lakhs before that. The income fluctuates every year as the Apartments takes 1-2 years to complete.
VO – ok. Were you working somewhere ?
(I had me mentioned on the DS form that I was working in Entire India Online [EIOL] during my under graduation. I was well prepared to answer this question)
ME – Yes, I was working in EIOL, during my under graduation. I worked there as a trainee engineer. My job responsibilities include desiging web based systems, programming, etc.
VO – Did they pay you
ME – Gave a small stipend. It was very small amount.
VO – At what timings were working.
ME – Sir, after college i.e. after 5pm from 7 – 9 pm.
VO – Undergraduate degree from where ?
ME – From MIT i.e. Maharashtra Institute of Technology. It comes under Pune University.
VO – After MS what ?
ME – Sir, I will come back and join the company. This company currently is a service provider. It provides services like helpline for information related to any Business, online Classified advts. etc. I was making the software required for these services. After MS I would take the company in a new on i.e. in software development.
(the magical words)
VO – (### said few words) I only heard "good luck to you in California"
ME – Thank you sir !

Not a single document was asked. It is just the "Confidence" they look at. I was constantly looking towards him throughout the session. He was also looking back to see if i’m getting nervos.. Initially I was a bit nervous but knew that confidence is required – I motivated myself and conquered the nervousness.
Then I got the I20 n SEVIS receipt and ran out to catch the bus. My dad was waiting inside the Lounge. We both had coffee. Then is started raining. We opened the umbrella and went to the Mahalakshmi Temple and then went home in Dadar where my Mom and brother were waiting.
I thanked my parents for their support.
We came back to Pune (I drove the car back home).
NOTE:
- Just be confident.
- Listen to your number carefully
- Tell round figures of income
- Don’t be nervous when you see rejects (I was lucky as I was the 1st in line)
- If you feel you are getting nervous > just motivate yourself !
THATS IT
thank-you all for your time and suggestions.
Wishing all BEST of LUCK.
See you all at LA

 

Recommendation Letter (From Employer)

I understand that XXXXX is applying to your Masters Program in Computer Science. As the XXXX of the company, I have had frequent opportunities to interact with and observe him. I find him to be a promising engineer. I would like to offer assessment of his capabilities for your consideration.

His selection was based on a written aptitude test, followed by a technical interview. Besides his basic aptitude, I was impressed by his proficiency in XXXX, which he had developed on his own initiative. He was of great help in XXXXXXX, thanks to his knowledge of XXXX. He also made his mark in XXXXXX. His fundamental concepts of XXXXXX helped him to develop a XXXXXX

Based on his proficiency he was engaged in extensive discussions with XXXX clients for preparation of the scope documents and finalization of design of the project. From the feedback I got from the clients, I can say that by virtue of his technical knowledge and communication skills, he handled his part very efficiently.

In his work, XXXXX has shown himself to be a very intelligent and hardworking young engineer, one who is capable of grasping new concepts very quickly. He has been successful in the performance of all the work entrusted to him. His most striking quality is the commitment he shows in whatever he does.

XXXXXX also acts as an effective channel of communication between his team and higher management. He has ability to communicate clearly, precisely and this has proved to be a great asset in the swift execution of his work.

Considering his potential, aptitude and keenness to learn, I feel that XXXXX is a fit candidate to pursue higher studies. I strongly endorse his application for admission to your esteemed institution and also for financial aid. I wish him success.

 

Recommendation Letter

I have known XXXXX for three years as a student of our college. I am associated with her as the guide for her final year project and also supervised her Lab work.
XXXXX has selected a very practical theme for her project. She and her team are developing a Wireless LAN. As the project relies heavily on the use of Java, XX is painstakingly getting conversant in its use. I can see her determination to become well versed for which she is leaving no stone unturned. At times when she gets stuck up somewhere she feels dejected but that is a momentary phenomenon and she immediately pulls herself together and proceeds afresh with full vigor. I am also impressed by her skill in and aptitude for writing concise but efficient programs. In these she showed an ability to innovate approaches rather than follow the beaten track.

She is very regular and punctual in submitting her assignments. She is systematic and assiduous in her approach. She does not hesitate to seek clarification, which helps her in a clear understanding of the logic and the concepts. In fact some of her questions set me thinking and this helped me to learn in the process.

I think that her zeal for learning and her perseverance as well as her industriousness amply qualify her for graduate studies. I am pleased to recommend her application for admission to MS and would also request that she be given financial assistance.

 

I am pleased to recommend XXXXX who is applying for the Master’s program in Computer Science in your university. I have known XXXX for the last four years as a student of our college when I taught him the subjects of "Computer Fundamentals", "Computer Graphics" and "Software Engineering" and supervised the practical sessions for XXXXX.
Through my interaction with XXX I have found that he has an excellent grasping power and logical bent of mind. He is a hard working and sincere student full of initiative and drive and his academic performance duly reflects this. During the practical sessions I came to form a favorable opinion of XXX due to his good laboratory skills and capacity to practically implement theoretical knowledge. 
    XXX had worked under my guidance on his mini-project ‘A database Management System for an NGO’.  I have seen the diligence with which XXX worked on the project and I was impressed by his perseverance. It was a novel project where he showed XXXX.
He ranked among the top XX in a class of XX during the Bachelor’s course. He is very innovative and generally came up with intelligent questions that reflected his understanding of the subjects and quest for knowledge. XXX used to take the initiative in satisfactorily completing all his assignments within the given time. He regularly frequented the library thus upgrading and adding to his technical abilities.
I sincerely believe that he deserves admission to your program to enable him to pursue higher studies. In view of his consistently good track record, his zeal for learning and his commitment to his goal, I strongly recommend XXXX for admission as well as financial aid and also wish him the best for the future.

Prof. ABC
Asst. Professor
Computer Science Dept.

 

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION

I understand that XXXXX is applying for admission to your Master’s program in Computer Science. I have known XXXX for the past two years. I have taught him “TCS”, “Database Management Systems” and “DSF” and laboratory sessions in “NCPL” and “DSF” during the Bachelor of Engineering program. During these years, I got to know him quite well.
As his teacher, I have known XXXX as a dedicated student, who was very regular in submission of his assignments. He is an intelligent student with a great amount of sincerity and dedication to his work. He also has good grasping power and analytical ability, which was reflected in his practical work. His inquisitiveness showed in the intriguing and intelligent queries posed by him, thus revealing a creative mind.  He has a zeal for understanding the essence of the subject, not just as an academic formality but also through his urge to thoroughly assimilate the fundamentals.

He has an open mind and is receptive to new ideas. He is willing to put in extra efforts to update himself on the latest developments in his field. He is also eager to shoulder additional responsibilities entrusted to him. I am fully confident that his flair for application of concepts and penchant for innovative technologies would make him an apt research scholar. Additionally he also has good communication skills, high motivation and a sense of maturity in presenting his ideas.

I am confident that he will do extremely well in his chosen field of education. I, therefore, strongly recommend him as a potential graduate student for your esteemed institute.

 

I would like to share my statement of purpose which I wrote way back in 2005.

My overpowering anxiety to march ahead of the prescribed curriculum and a matching urge to acquire a practical orientation to whatever interested me propelled me to take up a concurrent employment along with my under graduation [OR While economic compulsions obliged me, I now thank my stars as it has proved to be a blessing in disguise]. As a result, the past four years have not only been a test of my perseverance and patience but an exhilarating learning experience through a blend of theoretical inputs and practical work. I feel that my hard work has more than compensated me by providing me a solid foundation that has set me well ahead of my contemporaries both in terms of hands-on experience and domain knowledge. I am also grateful to my employers ‘Entire India Online Pvt. Ltd.’(EIOL) who took me on as a raw hand, but they too have reaped the rewards of my admirable performance.

During these four years with EIOL, that is into databases, search engines, replication, client-server architecture and mobile sms etc., I have developed and designed web applications using ASP, MS – SQL. This worthwhile exposure also encouraged and enabled me to develop a website for my college (acesmit.com) that has turned out to be a virtual masterpiece and earned me tremendous appreciation. I am also in the process of completing development of a placement module for our college (for details please refer item X of Resume). My job responsibilities include management of the Server and its Clients, supervising the Network, managing Database replications and backups. Among my special achievements I can mention a complete search engine for Yellow Pages viz. Business Information Website that I developed. I employed my own customized application to develop the Replication module. Moreover I also developed a SMS module for sending SMS to customers. At the work place and even among friends, I am known for invariably and meticulously completing any task assigned to me. Thus my fairly eventful and insightful stint has spurred me to push at the boundaries of knowledge through a MS program that will equip me with the advanced awareness and skills. My preferred field of specialization is Networking or more specifically Distributed Systems. For this I can’t think of a better environment than XXXX University.

The milestones I achieved were not without hard work and deep thought and study. In course of this was triggered my interest in Distributed Systems. Today, the world of computers is moving from slow, isolated and centralized systems to fast and distributed systems. The diversification of computers into distributed systems gives rise to problems like lack of synchronization and traffic jam. This has opened the doors for innumerable research opportunities. My objective is to assimilate the latest technology and trends in the field and implement it in my present company or any such company to raise its technological performance by a few notches.

My B.E. final year project titled ‘ZEN’ provides complete solution to manage and develop new product/software applications. Our task was to enhance the performance of ZEN, which had already been developed by Satyam Computers Ltd., a leading internationally renowned software solutions provider. It called for major improvements in the middle tier components. ZEN has hundreds of components linked to each other and thus the improvement required a comprehensive redesign that entailed extensive thinking. We totally replaced the middle tier components with new XML technology. The stateful architecture was converted to stateless design which is more versatile and scalable. To accomplish this almost gigantic task, we used XML as the medium to represent object state and thus it resulted in major performance improvement. Also caching the XML data on client was another new addition. All these collectively enhanced the performance. The design changes we introduced made the project scalable and substantially reduced the number of objects. Overall network traffic and memory requirement was reduced by 50% and it achieved 80 – 90% improvement in the performance. Our painstaking efforts were well rewarded when our project was adjudged the second best among 40 projects in our class and also came in for handsome praise from Satyam. Above all it exposed me to all aspects of distributed and client-server architecture as well as new technologies like DCOM, COM, XML apart from software engineering concepts and fourth generation languages. This was a truly invigorating and memorable experience and is one of the triggers for my inspiration for advanced studies.

My experience related to search engines prompted me to make a seminar presentation on ‘Google’s search technology & architecture’. In this I illustrated the different algorithms used and how the index is organized and stored besides vividly explaining how a huge system like a search engine actually functions. My presentation generated considerable interest and turned out to be among the best in my class.

Thus my exposure to large systems in course of my job, project work and seminar presentation has greatly magnified my interest in Networking, Distributed systems or ant Internet related system.

I love to experiment and am stirred by challenges. Not surprisingly I participated in each of the last three years in intercollegiate project competitions and won the First Prize in 2002 and the Second Prize in 2003 & 04 at Intechxication, a project competition organized by our college.

My hectic schedule at college and my work place did not deter me from participating in extra curricular activities that has helped shape my well rounded personality. I was the Web Administrator of my college website for two years. I was the Vice-President of Leo Club, affiliated to Lions Club International. In this capacity, I contributed towards organizing Blood Donation, Tree Plantation, Eye Checkup, Pollution Checkup camps in Pune and suburbs. I was a participant in International Youth Camp organized by Lions Club at Kolkata and was awarded a certificate for best overall performance in my group. I had participated in Yantriki, a techfest at IIT, Mumbai, where we had built a robot (a micro-mouse) that could solve a maze on its own.

Browsing through the web site of your university, I am extremely impressed by the ongoing research in the area of Networking/Distributed Systems. I am heartened to learn about the excellent facilities, a milieu replete with academic activity, and a graduate program, which blends high quality course work and research facilities. I assure you of my absolute commitment and whole-hearted participation in the programs offered. I hope to contribute to the advances in the latest research and join the illustrious alumni of your prestigious university.