Monthly Archives: April 2014

Heartbleed Bug: Know All About The Latest Cyber Security Threat

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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While the World Wide Web is no stranger to minor malware attacks and malicious viruses created by hackers, a bug of the magnitude of Heartbleed had been unheard of till a few days ago. In what follows, we take a close look at some of the critical aspects of this panic-inducing cyber bug.

Over the last ten days or so, Heartbleed is the one thing that every internet-user has been talking about. For the uninitiated (in case there is any!), Heartbleed is a major cyber security/programming bug, that has rendered almost all OpenSSL systems vulnerable. In layman’s language, the bug can cause your passwords to be hacked, and your personal mail/social networking/banking accounts to be misused. Let us here do a round-up on the Heartbleed bug, and determine whether you should indeed be concerned by it:

  1. What is the bug all about? – Contrary to what many believe, Heartbleed is not ‘just another malware or virus program’. In essence, it is an error in the programming done for the OpenSSL data encryption coding. The error allows hackers to ‘bleed out’ information from host computer systems, at the rate of 64 KB every time. Targeting the bug repeatedly on particular websites (Gmail, for instance), can lead to literally millions of passwords being hijacked.

  2. Who’s responsible for Heartbleed? – Heartbleed isn’t something that has cropped up during the last week. It had been, unknown to almost everyone, causing data loss since 2011. Given that it is a coding error, it isn’t possible to label the person responsible for it as a cyber criminal. However, if a finger has to be pointed – it should be at Dr. Robin Seggelmann, a Germany-based programmer/developer. To be fair, he was honest enough to own up to his 2011 mistake recently, during an interview to the Sunday Morning Herald newspaper.

  3. Has the bug affected websites only? – Nearly 70% of all live websites use OpenSSL data protection technology, and all of them have been bitten by the bug. However, the reach of Heartbleed has been well and truly beyond online portals only. Mobile app developers around the world have reported that many web-based apps have been affected. Android apps, in particular, have been proved to be particularly vulnerable to the bug. Even certain public routers and Virtual Private Network (VPN) systems are reported to have been compromised.

  4. So, how does Heartbleed actually steal data? – If you do online transactions frequently, you are probably already aware of how the ‘http’ at the start to the URL changes to ‘https’ (indicating ‘secure’) on the payment gateway pages. Thanks to Heartbleed, hackers can now grab information from such apparently secure pages too. What adds to the complexity of the problem is that, the effect of Heartbleed on a website cannot be traced back. It leaves no footprints, leaving internet fraudsters with an almost clear playing field.

  5. Has the bug been fixed now? – On April 7, the OpenSSL 1.01g upgrade was released – specifically to fix the loophole through which Heartbleed was operating. Before you heave a sigh of relief, consider this though – most of the high-traffic websites are yet to install the upgrade and/or do the necessary rebooting on their respective servers. Once that is done (and you are informed about it), you will need to change passwords and other personal account details too.

  6. Should you be wary of using unprotected wi-fi networks? – Yes, very. Avoid logging on to public wireless internet networks, since chances of unauthorized access of personal data from such channels cannot be ruled out. According to iPhone app development experts, logging on to mobile apps for making online payments via unsecure networks is an absolute ‘no-no’ too. Everybody loves a bit of free internet service, but Heartbleed might force you to pay a hefty price!

  7. Which passwords should you change immediately? – Prior to this, you need to keep in mind one thing. If the website for which you are changing passwords has not upgraded the latest OpenSSL security patch, even your new passwords might get hacked. Thankfully, sites like Google and Yahoo did the necessary upgrades within a day or so. In general, you need to set up new passwords for all Google Apps (including Gmail), Amazon, Flickr, Yahoo! Mail and YouTube accounts. The Apple website has not been affected by Heartbleed – much to the relief of iOS application developers. On behalf of Facebook too, users have been advised to change their existing passwords (as a security measure). If you are a user of Dropbox, Evernote, Netflix or Hulu Plus, you will need new passwords for them as well.

  8. Can you check whether a site is safe to work on? – Fortunately, you can. Since LastPass is relied upon by many users around the globe as a reliable database of passwords, it was quick to develop a tool for checking whether Heartbleed has affected any site. Filippo Valsorda, an independent online security research expert, has also created a site to check the vulnerability of online portals. For a few months at least, it would be a good idea to check a new site on either of these channels. The accuracy of the test results from the LastPass or Valsorda websites might not be 100% accurate, but they will give you a fair indication as to whether a portal is safe or not.

  9. What is the volume of data already ‘stolen’ via Heartbleed? – No one has an idea, and it cannot be said with complete confidence that any data has indeed been misused by the bug. However, according to a release from Canada Revenue Agency, an alarmingly large number of personal Social Insurance Numbers have been ‘stolen’ from the website. The site, accordingly, had suspended its online e-filing operations temporarily – till a proper security patch was upgraded on it.

  10. Online tax-payments now have to be deferred, right? – The verdict on this seemed to be a bit unclear until recently. While the Internal Revenue Service has clearly emphasized that there was no data-theft risk for people filing their tax-returns within the scheduled deadline – the stance of Canada Revenue Agency had been diametrically opposite. The CRA website resumed its services on April 13, after a brief hiatus – during which the required upgrades were made in its security system. As things stand now, online payment of taxes is safe – and deferring the payments would only mean unnecessary violation of regulations.


National Security Agency (NSA) had allegedly been using the Heartbleed bug to keep track of the cyber activities of foreigners in United States, for over a couple of years. We have to thank the professionals of Finnish research firm Codenomicon, and the efforts of Google researcher Neel Mehta – for making the cyber world sit up and take notice of the seriousness of the Heartbleed bug. According to experts on Blackberry apps, even BBM (Blackberry Messenger) services were affected by it. Heartbleed is, by far, the biggest internet security threat till date – and if you are negligent about changing passwords and checking the authenticity of websites, the consequences can be serious.

Will John Chen Be Able To Turn Around Blackberry’s Fortunes?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Pouring water over all speculations that Blackberry would cease to exist pretty soon, new CEO John Chen has said that there are no plans to sell the company – at least in the next few decades. We have here highlighted the systematic strategies that are being adopted by him, to make BB a brand name to reckon with once more.


When John Chen became the CEO of Blackberry last November, the worldwide market share of the RIM-powered company was a dismal 4.5% – nearly 20 times less than that of Android devices. Chen boasts of a more-than-decent professional track record, and had previously managed to bolster the profitability figures of Sybase – another troubled company. He has not taken long to start implementing his own strategies and business decisions at his new place of work too – and Blackberry fanboys/girls around the world are hopeful that the mobile company would finally be able to turn the corner. Here are some of the most noteworthy of John Chen’s strategies to revive Blackberry:

  1. Reassuring prospective buyers – With Blackberry plummeting steadily in the smartphone popularity charts, many feared that it was only a matter of time before the company packed up operations. John Chen has categorically stated that Blackberry is here for the long haul, and won’t be moving away from the mass market under any circumstance. It’s all about lending a sense of stability and confidence to Blackberry’s operations – and focusing on prospective buyers is, understandably, a smart move.

  2. Ending the partnership with T-Mobile – On the 25th of this month, the long-standing business partnership between Blackberry and T-Mobile will come to an end. The origins of the spat between the two companies can be traced to a mail campaign conducted by T-Mobile, in which it encouraged users to dump their BB devices in favor of the latest iPhones. Since then, T-Mobile has tried its best to mend relations, even a hefty monetary incentive for older Blackberry handsets has been offered – but Chen has made it clear that such ‘inappropriate’ actions won’t be pardoned or tolerated.

  3. Announcing the continuation of corporate discounts for existing users – Although this was officially announced by Mike Sievert (the Chief Marketing Officer of T-Mobile) – one suspects that Chen did have an hand in making the carrier company agree to this clause. While all present customers would receive the corporate discount plans as before, new buyers, however, won’t get this option.

  4. New deal with FoxConn – According to professionals from the field of mobile app development, the decision to outsource device manufacturing can turn out to be counter-productive. John Chen and his team are, however, willing to take the risk – and a 5-year agreement with FoxConn has already been entered into. The latter company, however, does not have any major device in production stage at present – ruling out immediate benefits.

  5. Return of the Blackberry Bold – In a bid to pick up the alarmingly low sales figures, the Blackberry Bold handset will be remanufactured and remarketed – in collaboration with FoxConn. Evidently, this is not a long-term fix to Blackberry’s problems, but can at least lessen the haemorrhage of funds during the next few quarters. In general, Chen has been maintaining that both old and new devices would be relied on, for reviving the company’s fortunes.

  6. Arrival of BBM on Windows Phone – Blackberry Messenger is already available on iPhones and Android handsets (although the response has not been earth-shattering!) – and the company has plans to provide it on Windows Phone too. The announcement was made by Jeff Gadway, the marketing chief of Blackberry, a couple of months back. Whether BBM indeed becomes successful in competing with the popular instant messaging apps developed by mobile app companies for Windows Phone remains to be seen.

  7. Putting up a brave face after the Blackberry 10’s lukewarm performance – Blackberry 10, the all-new mobile OS which arrived in 2013, was expected to show light at the end of the long tunnel for the company. However, the proprietary operating system has not done well – with the Blackberry Z10 model turning out to be a major disappointment. Chen has not been bogged down by the setback though, and maintains that the company is still on the right track, and by 2016, profits will start to be generated. The new CEO is sure talking the talk…now let’s see whether he can walk the walk!

  8. Big things are expected from Blackberry 12 – Chen is keen to ensure that the flop show of Blackberry 10 does not have an encore. That is precisely why the soon-to-be-launched Blackberry 12 platform has been customized exclusively for high-end, more appealing devices. It is expected that the handsets running on BB 12 would support more applications – and professional mobile app developers would, once again, find Blackberry profitable.

  9. Strategy to monetize BBM via sponsored ads – With almost 90 million active monthly users of Blackberry Messenger, it makes a lot of sense to monetize this application. The new CEO and his colleagues have announced that ads through sponsored channels would be displayed on BBM, to ensure a steady revenue from the latter. Of course, if these ads hamper general user-experience, things might turn counter-productive!

  10. More emphasis on enterprise devices – Within a month of John Chen taking office, it was announced that there has been a significant increase in the installation figures of Blackberry Enterprise Server 10 (BES 10). The company has plans to work on this, and chances of Blackberry 12 being modeled as an enterprise-only platform cannot be ruled out.


Chen also plans to cash in on the successful BB7 software setup, by launching an innovative Blackberry Classic keypad during the second half of 2014. This keypad would have a trackpad and a belt, and would share many of the key mechanisms of BB7. Cost-management is yet another issue that the new CEO plans to do in a more efficient manner. Blackberry won’t become the preferred choice of general smartphone-users or mobile application development experts within the next couple of months or so – but Chen’s strategies might just bear fruit over the long-run!


Ways To Make The Best Use Of Parallax Scrolling Website Design

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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An easily-accessible, user-friendly parallax-scrolling website can do wonders to a company’s endeavors to connect with customers in the online space. If you are planning to include this dynamic web designing scheme in your business portal, you need to factor in the considerations listed below.

In 2011, when the parallax scrolling techniques were used for web designing (for the Nike website) – few had envisaged that it would become so popular within a relatively short time-span. As things turned out, the method, which helps to create a multi-dimensional layered feel (moving) to website backgrounds, really caught on with professional designers around the world. Our very own website makes use of this technique, and we would here share some tips and strategies to implement parallax scrolling in your business portal too:

  1. Have a definite motive – Having websites with parallax scrolling features has turned out to be some sort of a fad over the last couple of years. It is important to understand that, it does not go well with all types of websites – and it need not be present on all the web pages either. In general, if you are into the business of information technology, software creation or mobile apps development – parallax scrolling can enhance the user-experience on your site. However, if you are involved in, say, grain-trading or in the medical profession – the method would simply come across as gimmicky.

  2. Choose engaging images – The ‘floating’ background pictures are the life and soul of parallax websites. Select pictures that are indeed likely to capture the attention of visitors – particularly for the home page and other important landing page(s). If effectively done, this would keep the overall bounce rates low. Ideally, avoid putting in too many pictures of products, and include snaps with actual humans (your employees, for instance) instead. Clients invariably like interacting with companies that have a human touch.

  3. Determine the speed of background movements – Parallax scrolling gives you the opportunity to add several layers to the website background – and each layer has to be managed with due care. The background images should ideally move at relatively low speeds, ensuring that viewers can catch a proper glimpse. If you plan to make use of the foreground space as well, keep the images slightly blurred – so that they do not interfere with the on-page content.

  4. Make your website mobile-optimized – Although most leading mobile app developers and software service providers get a large proportion of their business leads from mobile internet users, this aspect is not yet attached enough importance to. However, as the volume of people across the world using smartphones and tablets to access the web keeps expanding, it will become absolutely critical to have a parallax scrolling website that is mobile-friendly. Implement a responsive web design scheme, so that the version of the website displayed varies with the medium on which it is viewed.

  5. Parallax scrolling does not hinder SEO – There is a common misconception that websites with parallax scrolling are almost impossible to optimize. Provided that you have adequate amounts of relevant, regularly updated, engaging and easily scannable content on your pages – you need not worry about this factor whatsoever. Create optimized page titles and meta descriptions too, and include videos and infographics on the pages. Parallax scrolling and successful search engine optimization can definitely co-exist – there are numerous examples of that.

  6. Keep the site architecture and navigation user-friendly – Moving, multi-layered backgrounds do look ‘oh-so-stylish’ – but you need to resist the temptation of putting in concealed menus and other such complicated navigation procedures in your portal. Remember, the sitewide architecture and navigation have got nothing to do with whether you are using a static or a parallax scrolling website. People should be able to find the information they are looking for without any problems.

  7. Integrate ‘call-to-action’ with the on-page content – Your staff might have the finest software and/or mobile application development skills in town – but in the absence of proper ‘call-to-action’ buttons/links on your parallax scrolling site, adequate business won’t be forthcoming. In addition, you need to make these ‘call-to-action’ portions (e.g., ‘Click here’, ‘Request A Quote’, etc.) a natural part of the page content. If these links/buttons are present only in the page footers, they are bound to appear spammy – both to the search engine crawlers and to general users.

  8. Think beyond moving images only – Parallax web designing is not only about making background images move along at varying paces. You have the opportunity to present the information present on your website in a much more interactive format – with the help of this technique. For instance, instead of having a long and static ‘About Us’ page, you can make use of parallax design methods to create a dynamic timeline and profile of your organization. Don’t forget to include a fun element to the website (think up relevant, yet out-of-the-box pictures). Within seconds of arriving on your website, visitors should get hooked on!

  9. Should you include side-scrolling? – From the user-perspective, presence of side-scrolling options in business websites is generally deemed unfavorable. However, if you have web pages that have stories and anecdotes, it might be a good idea to combine parallax side-wise scrolling. For most purposes though, it would be better to stick to the tried-and-tested vertical scrolling feature only.

  10. Test the website on all popular browsers – CSS stylesheets and HTML5 are integral parts of parallax websites. However, these can prevent the sites from properly loading on certain web browsers (older versions of Internet Explorer, for example). Once your parallax portal is ready, test it across all the popular browsers (do not simply assume that a browser is ‘no longer used’). Most web designers prefer using HTML5 Boilerplate to resolve all potential cross-browser compatibility issues.

  11. Manage the page loading times – There are no two ways about it – a website with parallax scrolling is slower than a static portal. However, if you are willing to trade-off a bit of page loading speed for the enhanced visual appeal, you need to be careful that the website does not become too slow. Avoid using images that are too heavy, in the background. Before loading, every pixel on the images have to be scrolled – and if this takes more than a few seconds, visitors might simply move on to another site.


It’s an absolute myth that a website with parallax scrolling invariably has a single URL. Just like we have done with the site of our mobile apps company, you have to optimize the different pages. Do not overuse parallax elements to an extent that finding vital product/service information (or even the company logo!) becomes difficult. A well-planned parallax scrolling business website can help you connect with prospective customers more fruitfully than your competitors – you only need to be a bit smart while incorporating this new-age web designing technique.


Beach Magic At Manadarmani – The Destination For Our Latest Office Outing!

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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A Weekend To Remember


Two days of pure, unadulterated fun – that’s what the entire Teks team was planning for, this weekend (5-6 April). We had animated discussions, frantic search for cool weekend destinations on the internet, and even a couple of heated arguments – before Mandarmani was zeroed in on. Those who were willing to get on board were asked to raise hands – and everyone (that’s right, every single Teks guy and gal!) had both their hands up.

We work our socks off, but we never miss a chance to party!


An Early Start

All set for the Mandarmani trip

Spring is in (well, going by the temperature, it’s practically summer!) – and we decided to start our journey as early as 7 am on Saturday, to beat the mad, mad heat. There were a few murmurs of discontent (after all, who doesn’t love to sleep an extra hour on weekend mornings?) – but everyone came around pretty quickly.

Were we punctual? You bet – everyone had assembled 15 minutes before the scheduled time!


The Journey Towards Bliss

fun weekend of our mobile app development team starts

Bliss, in this case, is alternatively known as beach magic at Mandarmani! We had a Winger and bikes for the road trip. Sharp at 7, our journey started from Park Street. Everyone was bubbling with excitement, music was on in full-blast, cameras were out – and we were warming up for the big-time fun on the horizon. Our destination was the Bombay Beach Resort, where bookings had been made well in advance.


Fun On The Way

Got into vehicles and bikes, and had a long, break-free, five-hour drive? C’mon, that’s not the Teks way! We had a fun-filled journey – and can even divide it in a timeline format:

7:00 am: Journey starts (amidst a cacophony of laughter, and the ‘vroom’ of bikes).

9:30 am: The mobile app developers, so used to slog it out for long hours at office, start feeling peckish. We have a stop at Kolaghat – and have a hearty (some of us more so than others!) breakfast.

A minor diversion here – for what is a journey chronicle without the names of the delicacies devoured by us? For our breakfast at Kolaghat, we had ‘luchi’ and ‘chhola’ – in generous proportions. Steaming mugs of tea, of course, accompanied. Filled and refreshed, we resumed our journey.


The Thrill Factor

Riding along a road completely free of potholes and bumps is a pleasurable experience, and our trip was ‘smooth’ in the truest sense of the word. At one point, the road became significantly narrow – and maneuvering the Winger and the bikes along it definitely had a thrill factor. Salman Khan probably has done more ‘toofani’ things in life – but for us, it was exciting enough!


Back To Our Journey Timeline

Okay, so where were we?  Ah yes, we had resumed our trip after breakfast. This time, our timeline had more unscheduled breaks:


10:20 am: No water! It’s punishingly hot – and both vehicles and us mere mortals needed some fluids to remain going. So, we got down, made arrangements for good old H2O, and then – we had a crazy idea. Read on…

Photoshoot on the way to Mandarmani

10:35 am – 11:10 am: We had a photoshoot (you read that right!) – bang in the middle of the road (Bless the Lord for low-traffic roads!). Teks t-shirts on, broad smiles on our faces, and stylish poses being a matter of ease – our impromptu photo-session was an instant hit. All of us got snapped (solo and in various combinations)…and then, we moved on.

11:50: Loads of fun later, we finally arrive at the resort. Bollywood has a lot to say about journeys (‘sair’) being more enjoyable than reaching destinations (‘manzilein’) – but we sure were happy to see the smiling faces of our weekend hosts.

The ‘Chilled’ Welcome

Bombay Beach Resort at Mandarmani

Say what you will about the ill-effects of carbonated drinks, nothing beats a chilled Coke after a long journey in hot weather. Welcoming drinks were served at the resort – and it took us hardly a couple of minutes to drain our glasses.

A sly sip from others’ glasses? Some of us tried that too!

And Now…The Weekend Magic!

2-day madness at Mandarmani

Given the fun we had during our stay at Mandarmani, it would be a crying shame to limit its recounting to a couple of paragraphs. Let us just get back to the timeline approach – it would keep things short and crisp (as much as possible, that is!):


Saturday, April 5:

View from our Mandarmani beach resort

12:30 pm – Every other resort claims to be ‘seafront’, but the one we had selected was indeed practically within touching distance of the waters. We headed for the beach straightaway, and most of us had a dip in the ocean. More than an hour of water fun and frolic later, we headed back for the resort. Yes, we were HUNGRY!

2:00 pm: And a fantastic buffet was awaiting us, for pampering our gastronomic juices. We helped ourselves to repeat courses of fried rice, fried potato (‘aloo bhaaji’), mixed vegetables, and fish curry. For sweet dish, the tray of sumptuous ‘gulab jamun’-s were virtually beckoning to us!

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm – At our mobile app development company, we are an active, enthusiastic lot. Even so, after the heavy lunch, an hour’s rest was necessary. We caught a short nap (mobile alarms were set – lest we sleep along for too long), and by 4:30, we were ready to get out and about again.

Volleyball match at Mandarmani

5:00 pm – The time when our volleyball game started. We might have been on a fun tour, but the competition during the game was intense – and the ultimate winning team got the bragging rights for the rest of the tour.


6:10 pm – 6:50 pm – A short walk on the beach. A cool breeze was blowing, the onrushing tide was touching our feet, and more than a few stars had started appearing on the sky. Not surprisingly, a couple of us started humming a few soulful tunes. We even biked a bit along the sand.

The Teks family getting their feet wet

7:00 pm – Evening snack time. Tea and coffee were served at the resort, along with crispies. We kept the snack-session short – for there were more fun plans already in store!


7:15 pm – 8:00 pm – After our previous office outing, quite a few new recruits had been hired – and all of them had tagged along for the Mandarmani trip. We now had the official Freshers’ Introduction (alternatively known as good-humored ragging’!). The newbies had to sing a bit, show off a few cool dance moves, flaunt their mimicry skills, and do some dialogue-baazi. There were some star performers, that’s for sure!

Newbies at our mobile apps company having fun

No group fun is complete without a round of Dumb Charade – and ours was no exception. There were friendly fights, sly attempts to cheat – and finally, the game ended in a draw (everyone had to feel happy, right?).


8:00 pm – 9:00 pm – When Varun Dhawan crooned ‘Shanivaar Raati/Humein Neend Nahi Aati’, he was spot-on! Thanks to the excellent DJ arrangements provided by the resort authorities, all of us (including those who have two left feet) grooved to our hearts’ delight. The most in-demand songs were ‘Pajama Party’, ‘Sunny Sunny’ (ironic, for it was night!), and ‘Chaar Botal Vodka’. Quite the ‘Yo Yo Honey Singaaa’ jam session!

Grooving at the Mandarmani resort

And Then…We Learned A New Skill

Time for a special mention of the belly-dancing lessons provided to all the dudes by none other than Hussain Sir during this time – to the tunes of ‘Mashallah’ (Ek Tha Tiger). We can’t quite match the moves of Katrina yet…but hey, we learnt to wiggle and jiggle a bit!

9:00 pm – On weekdays, this is dinner hour…and on an outstation weekend, this is the time to sink your teeth on yummy barbeque. That’s precisely what we did – and since dinner was about a couple of hours away – we did not hesitate to take quite a number of pieces each.

Foodies…and proud!

 Enjoying barbeque at Mandarmani

(Footnote: Each of us took turns to swing on the ‘jhula’ in the courtyard of the resort. Brought back childhood memories? Can’t say – we were living in the present!)

Sighting red crabs at Mandarmani beach

9:30 pm – 10:45 pm – They say beach air is good for digestion – but we did not think of that, while heading for the beach again, after the barbeque. This time, our quest was to find red crabs – and we found (and snapped) plenty of them. As a bonus, some of us also caught glimpses of starfishes and jellyfishes.

11:00 pm – Not that we wanted to leave the beach, but it was already late – and dinner was something not to be missed either. We heaped our plates with fried rice, jackfruit, chilly chicken (which was absolutely yum!), papad, chaatni, and gulab-jamun-s.

Good food, great place, and the main event (more on that later) still to come…what more could we ask for?


The rest of April 5 – 5:30 am on April 6

The lovely sea beach at Mandarmani

After dinner comes the burps – and after burps comes a fresh spurt of energy. We had comfy beds waiting for us, but the thought of sleeping never crossed our minds for a moment. There were wooden deck-chairs on the beach, on which we lied – gazing at the stars, doing some small talk, and in general, becoming one with nature (okay, that was a bit too poetic!).

After a long day, we were supposed to feel tired – it’s just that we kept feeling as fresh as ever.


The Mesmerizing Sunrise

captivating sunrise at Mandarmani

The sky started lighting up with an orange glow as the hands of the clock neared 5 am, and at precisely 5:20 am, the sun made its appearance. There’s something magical about the sunrise over the horizon of the sea, causing light ripples on the water, and we were captivated by the view. Of course, some of us managed to overcome the trance – and reach for their cameras. It was indeed a moment to capture!

Our mobile app developers take some rest

6:00 am – 7:50 am: The most incident-free time-stretch during our entire trip. We returned to our rooms at the resort, freshened up, and had tea/coffee. A bit of tenseness was creeping in, for the MEGA COMPETITION was about to begin!

 We develop iPhone apps and sand-castles!

8:00 am – 10:00 am: Drumrolls, please – for it was now the time of our much-anticipated sand-castle building competition. There were four teams (Dynamic Dudes, Deadly Demons, Speedy Spawns and Spark Plugs) – and we tried to outshine each other with our castles.

Castle-building at Mandarmani starts

Oh, and none of us had prior experiences in building sand-castles, so this was indeed a challenge for us.


Help Comes From Unexpected Quarters

Cool work from our app development experts!

We had not carried spades and stuff for digging (oh, puhleez!) – but were fortunate enough to find makeshift tools and bars lying about on the beach. The resources we finally managed to gather to dig the sand were, in fact, enough to reach the underground water (one of us indeed dug up to that level!). Hussain Sir also chipped in with valuable tips and tidbits about castle-building.

Another attempt at sand castle-building

Not all the castles ended up looking as…ahem…castles, but we gave it our best shot.

10:30 am: After hard work, comes searing hunger. Feeling very peckish after the intense digging, we got back to the resort, and devoured ‘luchi’ (6-8 of them each!), ‘aloo-r dam’ and a very tangy pickle (‘achaar’).


11:00 am – 12:30 pm: By now, you must have got an idea of our activities during this madcap weekend, right? (the beach -> eat -> beach -> eat trend, that is!). This time, Hussain Sir also accompanied us on the beach tour. We are the unputdownables, and most of us got into the water – and enjoyed another dose of wet fun.

Back at the Mandarmani beach

1:00 pm – Back from the beach and freshened up, it was now time for lunch. It was a simple yet really tasty fare – with rice, lentils (‘dal’) and egg curry. As is customary with us Teks folk, none of us ate ‘little’!

2:00 pm – You know what the worst part of a weekend trip is? The point when the trip is nearing its end, and you have to head back to the regular Mon-Fri lives. We, though, did not feel much of this melancholy – simply because most of us were fast asleep during the return trip (so, after all, we were tired!). We reached Park Street at around quarter past 5 pm.

Reflections of a fine Mandarmani weekend

The Parting Shot


We simply had to sign off this memorable weekend on a sweet note. Getting down from the cars and bikes, we rushed to the nearest sugarcane juice vendor – and had glasses (filled to the brim) with the tasty syrup. It was also the moment that we decided on the destination of our next office outing.


Where, you ask?


Simlipal National Park, Orissa!


Apple vs Samsung: The $2 Billion Big Fight

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Apple and Samsung have scores to settle with each other, with the 2012 lawsuit between them barely laying down the marker for the long-drawn tussle. At present, Apple has sued Samsung over the violation of five patents – and the latter has hit back with a couple of countersuits of its own.

It’s the fight between the two biggest software companies that everyone is talking about. According to the statements of Apple officials to the federal jury, five of its iPhone/iPad design patents have been violated by Samsung – on the latest devices released by the latter. Samsung, on its part, has maintained that no infringements have been made (although its desperate attempts to get one up on Apple are pretty much well-known). We here turn our attentions to some key aspects of this much-talked about Apple vs Samsung lawsuit:

Value Of The Lawsuit

This is not one of those petty fights between mobile app development companies, involving petty damage payments. If and when each of the alleged patent-violations are proved, Samsung would have to cough up a royalty payment of $40 million. Five such patents are under review – taking up the overall penalty for Samsung (if found guilty) to a whopping $ 2 billion. Of course, if Apple’s allegations are found to be void, it would also have to pay a compensation in the range of $60 million.


What Patents Are They Fighting Over?

Apple had the patents, Samsung had the devices – and the latter is said to have unfairly taken the opportunity of using these copyrighted designs. The patents that Apple have sued Samsung over are:

  1. Single-tap universal search – Samsung officially does not have the right to include the ‘Universal Search’ option in its device. According to the patent agreements, only users of iOS 7 handsets should get the option of searching their phones as well as the World Wide Web for particular items – via a single tap (Patent 6847959).

  2. Use of space bar for auto-correct – All that is required to activate the auto-correct option on Apple handsets is tapping the space bar. In what does appear to be a rip-off, some of the Samsung devices under the scanner (powered by Google Android) have a side-scrolling option, which initiates auto-correct in the same manner (Patent 8074172).

  3. The ‘Slide-to-Unlock’ feature – Apple would probably have the maximum difficulties in validating the lawsuit over this one. As any expert on mobile app development would agree, this sliding feature (with minor variations) is present in practically all touchscreen smartphones. Apple had earlier moved to court over this too, but had failed to substantiate its allegation. Samsung might have well taken the idea from Apple, but its device designers are smart enough to not make an exact copy (Patent 8046721).

  4. Syncing of background data – Once again, Samsung can work its way round this patent by indicating that the Google Android mobile OS has background app syncing options by default. In fact, if the patent finally gets validated, Android users might have to brace themselves for a much-changed, and considerably less powerful version of the OS. The feature, in essence, lets people make changes in the mobile version of any Google app (say, Drive) – and the same is instantly displayed in its desktop version (Patent 7761414).

  5. Tapping on numbers/links in text messages – A 1999 patent received by Apple forms the base of the hullabaloo over this allegation. The reason behind Steve Jobs’ company singling out Samsung over this infringement is hard to understand though – for many other smartphones, including Nokia and Blackberry devices also offer this function. Apart from directly calling on a number from a SMS, the former can also be directly saved to the address book via this function. (Patent 5946647).

Is Samsung The Only Wrongdoer?

If the representatives from Samsung are to be believed, Samsung has also been wronged against by Apple – on the grounds of…you guessed it…patent infringements. There are plenty of developers of Android apps around the world who feel that these two reverse lawsuits are justified:

  1. Video transmission – Voice Over Cellular had the patent for this function, and Apple has been sued for ‘stealing’ it on the sly. However, the video transmission on iPhones and iPads are similar – but not exact clones – of the feature in Voice Over Cellular (Patent 5579239).

  2. Mobile folder management/Camera organization – It is yet to be seen whether the camera organization property of Hitachi handsets has indeed been ripped off by Apple. There are allegations about making the folder organization styles on the iOS devices too uncannily similar to that on other handsets.

What Are The Devices Under Scrutiny?

It would be easier to name the ones which aren’t. From iPhone 4 and 5 – for which many iPhone app development companies create customized applications, to Galaxy Nexus, S2 and S2 Epic – violated designs are supposed to be present in practically all contemporary Apple and Samsung devices. iPad 2, 3 and 4 are under review too, as are the iPod Touch and the Galaxy Tab 2 and Galaxy S3 handsets.

Why Is Google Getting Dragged In This Legal Mess?

Samsung has found an unexpected (and probably, unwilling) ally in Google – to prove that it has not willfully violated any of Apple’s patents. 9 of the 10 Samsung gadgets under examination run on the Android operating system with TouchWiz – while the other one has a pure Android software. The features of the Android OS were, of course, developed independently by Google. Apple has not directly attacked Google – but since all the disputed features are native to Android, the latter is feeling the heat too.

Reading Between The Lines

As an Apple executive (and several iPhone application developers) has already pointed out – at least the second countersuit of Samsung does not hold much water. The concerned patent had been bought by Samsung from Hitachi – AFTER the 2012 lawsuit between the two companies had started. The allegation that Samsung is resorting to unfair means for matching the popularity (and finally overtaking) iPhone devices is more serious though.

On its part, Samsung officials are maintaining that the five patent infringement charges brought in are not very specific – since such broad design similarities can be found between the products of practically all competing companies. What’s more – according to them, these features are not even important enough to influence buying decisions.

As a final shot, Samsung has categorically stated that the lawsuit amount of $40 per patent is way too exorbitant.

The Previous Bad Blood Between Apple and Samsung

There has never been much love lost between the two mobile-making giants of the present era. Steve Jobs, founder and former-CEO of Apple, had indicated Google as an ally of Samsung too – and had mentioned that the Android OS itself was a ‘copied’ product. Apple and Samsung had been locked in another lawsuit in 2012 too, which involved almost similar suing and countersuing. Apple won that round, and Samsung had to fork out $ 930 million.

But It’s Not About The Money

Let alone senior mobile experts and app developers, anyone with some idea of corporate brand wars would realize that this lawsuit is not only about the money involved. After all, the $ 930 million that Apple managed to eke out from Samsung was practically a small fraction of its overall annual turnover. It’s all about strengthening the market share, stunting the growth of its main competitor, and acquiring the numero uno status in the world of smartphones and tablets.


Quinn Emmanuel and his legal team are representing Samsung in this lawsuit, while Harold McElhinny would be in charge of trying to validate Apple’s allegations. By the end of April, we would know who comes out tops in this high-profile legal battle. None of the parties appear to be ready to concede an inch!


Google Nexus 5: Not Everything Is Right About It!

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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According to reports, the first batch of Nexus 5 (32 GB) phones was sold out within a week of its launch. Favorable reviews have also coupled with the mighty impressive sales numbers of this handset. However, it does have certain shortcomings – and we highlight them here.

The initial sales figures of the Google Nexus 5, officially launched on the 31st of October last year, compares favorably with that of the super-successful iPhone 5S. The reviews of the Google-LG smartphone (powered by Android Kitkat) have been overwhelmingly positive too – among users as well as sites like CNET. However, fact that the device is a hit does not mask the few problems that it is plagued by. Let us here highlight these glitches, without which the Nexus 5 would have been an even better handset:

  1. Unreliable connectivity with wi-fi networks – The wi-fi settings of the Nexus 5 are not particularly stable, and there have been complaints of frequent connection drops on it. This, in turn, has made the task of using software developed by even top mobile apps companies on it a rather tricky task. Putting the phone on Airplane Mode and then back to General generally restores the connection. In certain cases, the phone has to be rebooted – for getting wireless internet access.

  2. No option for battery replacement – Google Nexus 4 had a glass back that did not allow users to replace the phone battery, and the plastic shell rear of its successor does not provide this option either. Problems can arise when the pre-inserted lithium polymer batteries start losing their efficiency – after an extended period of usage. On the brighter side though, since the battery is non-removable, the device capacity is relatively high.

  3. Battery life is a headache – Ah, the eternal bane of all smartphones out there. While not strikingly bad, the 2300 mAh battery of the Nexus 5 is nothing to write home about either. Google executives, as well as general mobile app developers, have demonstrated that slightly more battery juice can be generated, by deleting unnecessary applications, and putting the phone on standby (whenever it is not being used).

  4. Camera features – The 8 MP camera of Google’s flagship handset is decent enough (probably the best in the entire Nexus series) – but it can’t hold a candle to high-clarity iPhone 5S camera. The optical image stabilization feature, introduced in Nexus 5 for the first time, does not always prevent pictures getting blurred, at least during the first few attempts. The shutter speed is impressive though – and there is always the chance that there will be at least one ‘perfect’ snap, along with the other ‘defective’ ones.

  5. Loose power button? – Probably, if the slight knocking sounds near the button area whenever the handset is moved is anything to go by. It is always a good idea for Nexus 5 users to get a protective case for the phone. There have also been cases (rather rare) of the power button being too loose – necessitating owners to look for a replacement handset.

  6. Touchless Control not available – ‘Ok Google’ works on this handset (provided that it is not on standby) – but the device is not supported by any other handsfree technology. At a time when Motorola’s Touchless Control and iPhone’s Siri are proving to be huge hits, and everyone is looking forward to Windows Phone’s Cortana – it would have been great if the Nexus 5 packed in voice control features as well. Among the high-end smartphones currently available, this one is among the most competitively priced – and the lack of handsfree options may well be correlated with its low cost.

  7. Poor sound-quality of videos – Video-based applications created by reputed iPhone app development experts are always fault-free – but videos taken with the Nexus 5 fall way short of such perfection. Most videos have sub-par sound quality, with a low humming/hissing noise accompanying the playback. There are no options to block out external sounds either. Thankfully, there are alternative apps at the Google Play Store – which can more or less address this problem.

  8. Build structure – Make no mistake, the relatively tougher body of Google Nexus 5 has definitely contributed to its success. However, the overall build structure of the phone is nothing more than ordinary. Since the rubber rings of the Nexus 4 have been done away with, the plastic body might seem just a tad too slippery. The camera protrudes slightly as well, highlighting that elegance is not a high point of this phone – whatever its other virtues might be.

  9. Poor-quality speakers – Irrespective of whether you are on a call, or are listening to music on the go – you won’t get sharp audio effects on the Nexus 5. The audio has a muffled feel about it, and remains relatively low at all times. Since the speaker is placed right next to the mic (on the bottom edge of the device), users often accidentally block the former with their hands – compounding the problem further. Switching off the virtual surround sound option can make the audio slightly clearer. Modifying the equalizer settings can help somewhat as well.

  10. GPS features not up to the mark – At least when the ‘High Accuracy’ mode under ‘Location -> Settings’ is not activated. Getting a third-party map application is not a viable option either – since the phone’s GPS can drop unexpectedly at times too. The fact that the inaccuracies in the Nexus 5 GPS system are recurring (they often make a comeback even after being apparently ‘fixed’) irks users even more.


Rather inexplicably, Google Nexus 5 is not available on Verizon Wireless – and this has, at least to some extent, affected the popularity of the device. At a price of $349 for the 16 GB model), the handset definitely offers more than optimal value-for-money – but that does not imply it is an absolutely perfect smartphone.

Google is planning to release Nexus 6 around July this year – and we can certainly expect it to do away with the shortcomings of its predecessor!

Android Client SDK Errors: Do You Know What The Codes Mean?

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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Prior to testing, even highly experienced Android developers cannot be fully certain that their codes are error-free. If you have to work with the Android Client SDK, you should have a thorough idea of its error codes and the reasons why they are generated.

With nearly 26 billion Android apps downloaded in all by the end of 2013, there is no scope for doubting the leadership position of this platform over Apple iOS (which is mighty popular in its own right). The Android Software Development Kit (SDK) is relied upon by developers from all over the world, for making glitch-free, functionally advanced applications. However, if you are new in using the kit, the various Android Client SDK Error codes might leave you feeling a bit stumped. We have here explained some of these errors:

  1. Error Code 1 (Could Not Connect To Server) – The most basic Android SDK error – one that occurs either due to an Illegal Argument Exception or a URI Syntax Exception. The software development kit fails to connect with the server system, and this error message is displayed.

  2. Error Code 8 (No Authentication Scheme is Specified) – Experienced programmers from the domain of Java, Android or iPhone app development in India and overseas can generally handle the security configuration project in their codes without any errors – but novices have to be wary of this error. In case they forget to provide a correctly specified authentication scheme for the project, this error would be generated and the program would be stalled.

  3. Error Code 22 (Service Domain Mismatch) – Unless you are careful enough while creating the Single Sign-On (SSO) application of codes, this error message might get flashed. The problem comes up when the server-side domain of the application does not match with that from the client side. As a result of the mismatch, the necessary authentication procedure is invalidated/rejected.

  4. Error Code 17 (Tokens Not Available) – Professional mobile app developers and testers invariably work with web browsers that are customized for SSO authentication. In case the OAM_ID is not provided when a protected/secure URL on such a browser is accessed, this error is generated. Also, if you do not specifically set the the MobileOAMAuthentication, the ‘R.string.tokenNotAvailable’ message would be displayed.

  5. Error Code 24 (APP Signature Invalid) – All the business objects and applications called in the Android Client SDK codes have to be validated. Whenever the single sign-on is not able to perform this validation task, this exception is thrown. If you face this error, you would probably need to check the built app signature for errors.

  6. Error Code 3 (Invalid Username/Password) – Just as in the Google Drive SDK, in the Android toolkit too – server responses can be unauthorized (code: 401). That, in turn, results in this error message. Of course, if you do not declare a username and password before trying to authenticate server-side interactions, the UN_PWD_INVALID message would be flashed. A common error among coding newbies – and it can be fixed easily.

  7. Error Code 10 (User Authentication Failed) – Irrespective of whether you are creating programs for Android apps, or are simply writing codes for web applications – it is of essence to ensure that there are no internal errors in the selected server. Presence of such errors can stop the program-building, and a complete testing of the server would be necessary. Note that, this scenario is different from Error Code 8, which is invoked when the required authentication scheme is not declared/specified.

  8. Error Code 25 (Initialization Failed) – Before you start working with the Android SDK, it would be a good idea to read through all the application-initialization guidelines carefully. According to mobile application development trainers, even if a single mandatory field is not supplied, this initialization failure can result. Once you call an application through an appropriate URL scheme, make it a point to declare all the necessary fields.

  9. Error Code 12 (Unable To Open RP Authentication URL) – Google’s software development kit has all the tools required for seamless construction of the RP login files. However, it might happen that the login id has errors – leading up to this coding problem. The construct procedure can be resumed only after the URL is debugged.

  10. Error Code 6 (Device Not Authenticated) – There is a built-in RestAuthenticationService in the Android SDK, which parses for tokens for the requisite device registration. As soon as the authentication is detected to be invalid, the coder is alerted that no social and/or mobile server has yet been connected to the concerned device.

  11. Error Code 16 (Setup Failed MS) – Configuration errors lie at the root of this relatively frequent error. Whenever the service domain or the application ID is left empty, the app profile cannot be downloaded from the server (social or media). You should take a look at the server URL as well.

  12. Error Code 21 (Setup Not Invoked) – The setup API is integral to the entire coding procedure – and if you do not call it via the setup () method, this is the error you will face. The method can be found in the SDK itself, and you only need to declare it as a part of the program.


If you are planning to hire mobile app developers who would be proficient in knowledge-based authentication, make sure that the candidates know how ‘challenge answers’ have to be provided. The No Authentication Scheme and the User Canceled Certificate are also errors that can be generated. Being familiar with all possible errors is a vital part of learning Android Client SDK – only then can you debug your program codes quickly and with relative ease.