Category Archives: Others

Moving on from Microsoft and my next steps…

 

I have an announcement to make. I sent this mail over to my colleagues at Microsoft last week.

Hi,

After nearly 8 years with Microsoft wearing different hats, as a Consultant and a PM, it is time for me to move on to my next challenge. I am leaving MS to chase my startup dreams. My experience with Microsoft provided me with many wonderful opportunities to learn, collaborate, grow and in the process ship solutions and products that delight customers.

I have also made a lot of friends’ whose guidance and notes of wisdom I will long cherish. In short, I will take plenty of wonderful memories with me.

July 1 is officially my last working day. Stay in touch. I’m a tweet, post, IM, email, like away.

-Sridhar Poduri

 

Hopefully between my various engagements in the startup, I will also continue talking about C++, WinRT and Windows 8/8.1

Using “Windows 8 on a USB”

I want to share my experience of running Windows 8 on a USB drive. This supported feature, dubbed, “Windows To Go” or WTG provides users of enterprise SKUs an option to run Windows 8 off a USB drive on a host computer that has Windows 7 (it could be any OS AFIAK.).

Initial disclaimer: My host PC was on Windows 7 and I don’t know what other OS is supported on the host PC.

The USB drive that I used to setup WTG is a Western Digital Passport drive with 1 TB capacity. It is USB 3.0 ready.

Setting up WTG:

  1. Setting up WTG is straight forward and easy. From a Win8 PC running an enterprise SKU, search for “Windows To Go” on the Start screen.
  2. Change the Search scope to “Settings” and then click on the “Windows To Go” application from the search result list.
  3. When the application launches, plug in your USB drive.
  4. From the Windows To Go application, choose the installation media for Win8. Please note, you can only choose an enterprise version of Windows 8 to setup with WTG.
  5. The setup application prompts to format the USB disk and setup a bitlocker password. Provide a bitlocker password and confirm the same.
  6. Setup then proceeds to install WTG on the USB drive. The entire process should take about 20 minutes to complete.
  7. Towards the end of the process, you are prompted to change boot options to boot into a WTG device v/s the physical disk on the host PC.
  8. Accept the change and reboot the machine.
  9. The system now boots into the WTG drive and proceeds to complete the Win8 installation.
  10. Once the installation is complete (including creating first user etc), you are good to go.
  11. Remember to shut down the WTG instance before unplugging your USB drive.
  12. Enjoy full Win8 portability!!!

I setup WTG at Office and brought the drive home. In order to boot into WTG, you might have to change the boot order in BIOS, which is what I had to do. Reboot and voila the system boots into WTG. I did not notice an perf degradation while booting from a USB HDD.

In addition to plain vanilla OS, my WTG image also has VS 2012 installed and so far I have not run into any issues and am very happy with the way things just work with minimal hassles 🙂

Filing income tax returns online if you are in India

I will take a small de-tour today from my regular blogging schedule on all things WinRT and C++. This post is all about filing your tax returns if you are working in India or need to file your tax returns in India.

Beginning this year, all individuals who have an income over INR 10,00,000 should file their returns online. While there are many sites offering their services to file returns on your behalf, I remain wary of what they will do with my data. If you are like me and would like to have control over your data (PAN, income details, investment details etc) then you should file your returns directly with the Income Tax Department. The department maintains an e-filing website exclusively for this purpose at http://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. The following steps should give you a good idea of the complete process.

 

1. Navigate to the above mentioned site.

2. Register on the site using your PAN number as the user name.

3. If you are like me and have only your income from employment and no other source of income, download the ITR-1 form from this page. The ITR-1 is also known as the SAHAJ form.

4. This form is an excel sheet within a zip file. Extract the Excel sheet from the zip file and save it to a folder on disk.

5. Open the Excel sheet using Microsoft Excel. When Excel opens the sheet, it prompts you to turn on MACROS. Click OK to enable the MACROS.

6. To proceed further, you should have the Form-16 document from your employer. In case your employer has not provided it yet, you should get the form ASAP.

7. If you have the Form-16, open the same. This is either provided in physical form or as a PDF document.

8. Fill up your name, address, PAN, Date of Birth and other mandatory details in the Sheet 1 of the Excel utility.

9. Once you get to the income particulars, refer to your Form-16. Each item in the Excel sheet has a corresponding line item on your Form 16. For example, the Income under Head Salaries has a similar line item on your Form 16. So does deductibles under Chapter VI ( A ) etc.

10. Fill up all these details by matching them with line items on your Form-16.

11. Move to the next sheet in the Excel utility. This contains the tax deducted from your income at source and deposited into the Income Tax account. It is also called the Form 26 ( AS ). This information is usually provided in your Form-16 (either as a supplementary section or as a separate page).

12. Fill up the section by referring to the Form-26. This section needs the TAN of your employer (which can be found on Page 1 of your Form-16), address of your employer, total tax deducted at source etc.

13. Move to the next sheet in the Excel utility. This is the verification sheet. Fill in all mandatory details marked in Red. The needed information includes your bank account details, MICR number of your account, account type and finally a self-declaration section.

14. If you have made any 80G contributions, you can fill those in Sheet 4 and click on Insert items to Sheet 1.

15. Once you are done with filling all these details, move to Sheet 1 and click on the Validate button at the top of the sheet. Correct any errors that it displays. If all is well, move to Sheet 2, 3 and 4 to repeat the process.

16. Once the validation is complete in all the 4 sheets, move back to Sheet 1.  Click on the “Compute Tax” button to compute total tax liability.

17. If you are eligible for a refund, change the Tax status field to refundable amount. If you have to pay tax, change it to tax owed.

18. Click on Create XML file button at the top of Sheet 1.

19. The excel utility will prompt you to save the XML file. It will be saved in the folder where you saved the excel utility.

20. Once the XML file creation is complete, you can login to the Income Tax department site mentioned above, and upload the XML file. The department will send you a notification via email. This email takes about 2 days to arrive (Don’t ask me the reason for the delay).

21. On successful receipt of the email (it contains a zipped PDF file), take a printout of the PDF file, sign the form in black ink and send it to the address mentioned in the form.

22. Once the department receives the signed receipt, they will issue an tax filed receipt over email which can be used as proof that you have filed your tax returns with the department.

 

Enjoy!!!

 

P.S: We now return to our regular blogging on WinRT and C++.

Time to upgrade PC Graphics card?

I recently began writing the 4th chapter of my upcoming book on “Developing Windows 8 Applications using Microsoft C++”. The 4th chapter is all about concurrency and AMP. As I continue writing and developing samples, I noticed that all the samples are running under WARP (an emulator, for short). This is because none of my home PCs (2 of them excluding my 1 self-owned laptop and 1 provided-by-MS laptop) have a DX11 card capable of running AMP. I am going to hit the local market today and shop for a decent graphics card. My eyes are currently set on the NVidia GeForce GTX 570 or the GTX 550i. Will post an update on how my shopping goes today.

 

Bonus drooling announcement: The GTX 570 comes with 480 cores on the GPU!!!

 

Enjoy!!

Mentoring summer interns building Metro style apps

I spent time at office today working with some of our summer interns. These interns are at the Microsoft Campus in Hyderabad and today was an opportunity for them to build Metro style apps. This is the first time most of them are introduced to the various APIs that make up the new Windows Runtime and the associated developer tools and technologies. It was amazing to look at the passion and creativity they brought to the task and build cool apps.

Goes to prove how easy it is to build apps for Windows 8. I cannot wait for the release!!!