Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Useful mysql stuff...

Here's a compilation of my day to day use of mysql related stuff...
  1. Resetting root password in mysql
    - Goto this page https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MysqlPasswordReset

  2. To give privileges to a certain user in mysql
    - grant all on *.* to username


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Finally... IE on Linux / Ubuntu...

Great..... It works... :)

Initially, when I needed to run a few IE specific sites on my Ubuntu installation, I spent quite some time searching around google, and some more prominent linux sites... But I did not hit success...

Today however, my search bore fruit... I found IEs4Linux project, and its so damned simple.

I am still running Hardy (not Interpid) on my desktop, and wine (the default). I picked up the instructions, kind of updated them myself to work in my hardy, and bingo.. it installed and works...absolutely.

Here's what I did -

  1. Found this page for installation instructions on Ubuntu :
    http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Installation:Ubuntu

  2. Run the following commands -
  3. sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install wine cabextract
  4. And then run this -
  5. wget http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/downloads/ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
    tar zxvf ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
    cd ies4linux-*
    ./ies4linux
  6. The last one would open a dialog box and would ask you basic questions about what version do you want, choose what u like and bingo.. it would start installation...

  7. Within minutes, it automatically downloads some files from here and there, and is done.

  8. It just works...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Agile : What is, Comparison, Transition...

Generally on Agile Methodology -
1. Agile methodology home page - http://www.agilemethodology.org/
2. Manifesto of Agile methodology - http://www.agilemanifesto.org/
3. Working with Agile methods - http://www.agileadvice.com/

Some links on Comparison of waterfall and Agile development methodologies.
1. http://agileintro.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/waterfall-vs-agile-methodology/
2. Youtube -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XokJLWp7icI
3. on Agile Advice - http://www.agileadvice.com/archives/2006/05/waterfall_vs_ag.html


Some links on the transition from Waterfall model to Agile methodology...
1. Agile Blog: Transitioning from Waterfall to Agile - Some tips
2. From Udayan
3. Scrum Alliance
4. A Presentation

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Some Oracle data dictionary help...

To get parameters information for your functions/procedures/packages etc. you can use all_arguments view. A sample query is attached...

select owner, object_name, package_name, argument_name, position, data_type, in_out
from all_arguments
where owner = (case when lc_user is null then user else lc_user end)
and package_name = (case when lc_pkg_nm is null then package_name else lc_pkg_nm end)
order by owner, package_name, object_name, position;

Further another view called all_source is also pretty useful if you have to look at the actual source code of a component.

Following links helped me on this -

  1. http://www.eveandersson.com/writing/data-model-reverse-engineering#plsql
  2. http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/Forums/ShowMessages.aspx?ThreadID=48498


Saturday, September 20, 2008

My new quad core desktop system...

Recently managed to get a desktop system home, especially after coming back, it was necessary. The laptop just doesnt provide enough power.

This sure looks like a monster for a desktop system usage.

- Quad Core CPU (Core 2 Quad Q6600) at 2.4 GHz, 8 MB L2 Cache
- 2 GB RAM @800 MHz
- 250 GB Seagate Barracuda Hard Disk
- Here I was a bit disappointed. My local vendor just couldnt manage to get me a 10K rpm or higher hard disk from his supplier. He kept saying it would require a SCSI card and all that configuration. From my understanding it should be a simple SATA or SATA2 disk. But, well, this is the first one in place, may be we'd have more... :)

So, with this system in place, I plan to do some interesting things... e.g. running my long awaited local oracle server so that I can work with apex (http://apex.oracle.com)

Running Hardy on it. To say the least, hardy flies on this system. To start with, everything was detected normally on this configuration and I had no difficulty to make it work with Ubuntu Hardy. Even the live CD worked fine.

Now with the installed copy along with all the updates so far, the system literally flies... The system monitor shows me 4 CPUs and it adds so damned much to my confidence in using this power.... :)

The only issue I have found till now is with my power supply ratings/configuration. It somehow draws a lot of power (the rating on the PSU box says 450W) whereas the Display is not connected to the CPU power (its a TFT anyway). The UPS that I have is a APC with 500 VA rating. The UPS just doesnt hold.

All the power from the UPS comes to just this system and the display. Still it doesnt hold. About the power supply, I was told that the rating (450W) is an indication of how much can this provide, not how much does it need all the time. That might be wrong or right both. I am still figuring that out. No idea till now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

iPhone 3G in India...

Finally... finally... after such a long wait.. iPhone comes to India.. officially. But, despite all the hype and wait around it, the affordability of it really a huge question mark.

I didnt change my mobile phone for last 2 years, waiting for the iPhone to come to India. I booked an iPhone for me through both the prospective service providers in India, Airtel and Vodafone. It was all in anticipation that once its released in India, there would be huge queues for buying it, as was seen in other parts of world for iPhone 3G release.

However, the launch in India was not as expected. There was hype, but not as many customers. I am not a statistician and therefore cant give any numbers to prove my point, but I guess I have a feeling for the situation.

In my view, the pricing of the iPhone is a big reason for its slow launch. I cant say whether or not it would pick up in future, but right now, the price tag of 31000 and 36000 INR for iPhone is a very very high price. I mean, yes its a good phone, there are nice features, but thirty one thousand rupees... its just too much for a gadget in my view. And then, compare the price of the phone in US, 200 USD.. converts to around 8000 INR and so it shows that apple is selling that phone 4 times as costly as in US.. what kind of business strategy would that be ??? Especially in a cost sensitive market as India...

There would be people buying it, but not like me, not the average Indian IT guy, who knows the features, their meaning and usage and has a wish to own one. I dont know many who'd take up the phone at this price tag.

May be Apple will come back with a price cut in India as well, as they did in US... but will they offer people refunds for the difference.. we'll see...

Till the time apple decides to cut down on the price tag, my wait for owning an iPhone continues...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ideas on DWH Testing...

Recently I was asked about strategy on data warehouse testing.  Realizing how rarely we talk about this, I went to google for this and spend about half an hour searching.

Found the following links, which still need to be researched/analyzed further.

DM Review : Where are the Articles on Data Warehouse Testing and Validation Strategy?

A Wordpress blog : Strategies for Testing Data Warehouse Applications « Business Intelligence and Datawarehousing

DM Review : Strategies for Testing Data Warehouse Applications

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Lookup Transformations in Informatica

Lookup is a transformation to look up the values from a relational table/view or a flat file. There are two types of Lookups in Powercenter, namely;
  1. Connected Lookup 
  2. Unconnected Lookup
Caching is an important facet of lookup transformation planning. You need to know what kind of data you are dealing with, how frequently do you call the lookup, how frequently does the data change, what is the size of your lookup table etc. among other things. Once you use cache, the trip to database can be avoided, thereby enhancing performance.

Different types of caches can be used with lookup like static, dynamic, persistent, and shared(The dynamic cache cannot be used while creating an un-connected lookup). Each of these has its own identification. For more details, refer to Informatica Transformation Guide.

Lookup is a passive transformation, and can be used either connected or unconnected.  Typically, connected lookup is used when you want to do the lookup for all rows. When you have selective lookup requirements, its normally better to go for unconnected lookup. Unconnected Lookup can be used as if its a function call.

To read more, here is a good article -
What is lookup transformation in informatica? - IT Community


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting Started with ActiveScaffold

Recently I returned to my rails env to do some more experiments (which might be used for a future project)

To start with, I have seen a bit of active scaffold stuff and was very impressed with it originally already.  In the meantime, rails 2 have arrived.  Quite a few things have changed and I was thinking that it might have an effect on the overall picture of active scaffold also.

However, checking up on railsforum etc brought out that not much effect has gone down to active scaffold kind of plugins from rails 2.

Starting up active scaffold is really easy as they say on its website also...

try it here... www.activescaffold.com It turned out to be really simple to initialize yourself with it. 

Searching a bit more I came across a few tutorials -

Tutorial from Active Scaffold guys

Another one from someone like me, experimenting with activeScaffold...

AkillesBlog » Blog Archive » Ruby on Rails: Experimenting with ActiveScaffold   
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Open Solaris build May 2008 ( 2008.05 ) released

Today I came across a few news items and articles here and there that talked about the release of OpenSolaris projects' May 2008 release.

Though its available for download from the open solaris home page, Sun is offering Free CD shipments for the latest release here : https://www2.sun.de/dct/forms/reg_us_2307_228_0.jsp

I already ordered my copies :)

Also, there is a nice article about bit of unix OS history and open solaris 2008.05 release review here : http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=8703

Installing Oracle 11g on Ubuntu server 64bit on vmware server 2 beta

I have this wish to install a hardy server version on my system. Since I did not want to add another partition, so I chose to do that inside a virtual machine (using vmware). vmware supports 64bit Guest Operating system, as opposed to virtual box which does not. :(

So, I have been able to install the server edition inside the vmware machine. I have never used nfs before, but the tutorial I was following was suggesting to use it.

http://www.pythian.com/blogs/654/installing-oracle-11g-on-ubuntu-linux-710-gutsy-gibbon

However, I am having problems with -
  1. Trying to expand the virtual hard disk inside vmware. I tried it, but havent succeeded yet.
  2. The Oracle installer exits with a strange error message.
I have posted my issues on the ubuntu forums, and havent got any solution yet. Lets see how it goes...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Using Base64 encoding with Oracle / Perl

For basic encryption purposes, base 64 encoding can be used. In fact its so basic that it would probably be incorrect to call it encryption. Its more encoding, basically preventing the subject text from appearing in plain text.

For example, if in some tool, all the parameters are stored in repository tables, and therefore, its not very nice if the passwords are stored there in plain text. They should at least be made illegible, so that they dont appear in plain text and there is some effort spent in decoding it.

Base64 encoding is an industry standard and almost all programming languages, development toolkits provide plugins for this. For Oracle, there are pre-existing packages providing the functionality.

We can use base 64 encoding on oracle side using Oracle supplied package UTL_ENCODE. On the perl side, we could use cpan package MIME:Base64. Other languages provide different kinds of plug-ins. For example, ruby on rails has a plug in for this, Javascript also allows this to be done relatively easily.

The idea is that, such sensitive data to be entered by customers, in encoded format. So, we also dont see the plain text version. And then the program uses the encoded version, right to the point before actual data needs to be used.

For achieving this, following way of working can be used :

1. On Oracle side, the sensitive data is encoded using a program call equivalent to the following will return an encoded/decoded string for a given input string.

FUNCTION fnc_encrypt(lv_str IN VARCHAR2)
RETURN VARCHAR2
AS
BEGIN
RETURN utl_raw.cast_to_varchar2(UTL_ENCODE.BASE64_ENCODE(utl_raw.cast_to_raw(lv_str)));
END;

FUNCTION fnc_decrypt(lv_str IN VARCHAR2)
RETURN VARCHAR2
AS
BEGIN
RETURN utl_raw.cast_to_varchar2(UTL_ENCODE.BASE64_deCODE(utl_raw.cast_to_raw(lv_str)));
END;

Its a design decision whether to put this code in a procedure/package somewhere.

2. On the other end of the processing chain, reverse operation would have to be performed. For example, in Perl, the implementation relies on the cpan package MIME:Base64

use MIME::Base64 ();
and then use the decode/encode function as per the need...
MIME::Base64::decode($PI_CAT_PWD);
MIME::Base64::encode($PI_CAT_PWD);

Friday, May 9, 2008

vmware 2 beta on hardy

I installed vmware 2 beta on my hardy. It was a surprise and a pleasant one at that, the installation procedure did not require any tweaks at all. It worked out of the box.

Further, when I tried to connect to the web based management interface, I encountered my first problem. vmware requires a log-in with root user, and as any ubuntu user would tell you, the root user is well-hidden in ubuntu. Almost never used, my knowledge on how to set a password to root user was zero.

Again, communities came to help. This thread on vmware communities helped me through that.

http://communities.vmware.com/message/901283#901283

Its a small tip, but none-the-less important. Just run "sudo gnome-terminal" and it would open a root terminal for you. Once there, type "passwd" to change the password for root user and you are done.

now, in the browser, log in to vmware web mgmt interface with user as root, and password you chose for root user.

As a precaution, I gave my normal user admin privileges so that I dont have to login as root all the time.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oracle wrap utility...

Oracle's wrap utility helps to hide the application logic from being visible. However, I recently discovered that it doesnt hide string literals.

Hard to grasp though, since my understanding was a bit different. I cant really think of a reason why would they keep strings etc in plain text. Perhaps to force people (like me) not to store their encryption key in a package and wrap it to achieve another level of security...

Here's the standard statement from Oracle about the limitations of wrap utility -

Limitations of the Wrap Utility

String literals, number literals, and names of variables, tables, and columns remain in plain text within the wrapped file. Wrapping a procedure helps to hide the algorithm and prevent reverse-engineering, but it is not a way to hide passwords or table names that you want to be secret.

From : http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/B10501_01/appdev.920/a96624/c_wrap.htm#LNPLS016

I wonder if there are any tricks to achieve something like that... my investigations are still on.. will report...

xgl - System monitor bug in hardy...

On Ubuntu's latest release, Hardy Heron, if you are using xserver-xgl package for graphics, you are in for a surprise.

The system monitor carries on a bug in xgl package wrt incorrect reporting of memory usage, and shows processes using zillion bytes of memory.

I started using xserver-xgl from the times in Gutsy when Compiz would not run on my hardware without that. However, I didnt quite notice this until I involved myself with beta release of hardy.

As it happened, I raised this issue on the Ubuntu forums (more than once actually, link-1, link-2), and finally after a few discussions/posts, it was discovered that

  • xserver-xgl has a few bugs
  • no more active development is happening on this stream of packages
  • Compiz should work without needing this package as well.
As a result, I tried removing xgl from my laptop, and voila, memory consumption numbers are from earth again.. the martian numbers have left... :)

Attaching two screenshots here to give the idea of the Martian numbers...



Monday, May 5, 2008

acid3 and webkit on hardy

I have been fascinated with the rendering of web pages by Safari. Always liked it, it has a certain edge to it when talking about the look and feel. When I read more, it turned out that the rendering engine is similar to Konqueror (somewhere I read that its actually based on open source libraries from Konqueror).

I dont have a mac so I cant really experience it first hand, but the windows release of Safari made me get my first experience.

This weekend, I was surfing net when I came across "webkit". Reading a bit more about it informed me -
WebKit is an open source web browser engine. WebKit is also the name of the Mac OS X system framework version of the engine that's used by Safari, Dashboard, Mail, and many other OS X applications. WebKit's HTML and JavaScript code began as a branch of the KHTML and KJS libraries from KDE. This website is also the home of S60's S60 WebKit development.
This made me think, if its actually open source to start with, the code must be available and may be I can compile it for my system.

Well, I didnt had to look much further... search produced this link...
http://blog.kagou.fr/post/2008/04/21/Test-Webkit-on-Ubuntu-Gutsy-and-Hardy

However, my first attempt at compilation failed, due to lack of one of the packages. libxt-dev

So, now the list of pacakges that should be installed on hardy to compile webkit would look like this :

sudo apt-get install autoconf automake libtool bison flex gperf libicu-dev libxslt-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libsqlite3-dev libjpeg62-dev libpng12-dev libglibmm-2.4-dev libgtk2.0-dev build-essential libxt-dev

The sample browser, gives me 98 on acid3 (acid3.acidtests.org). Though very minimalistic in capabilities, this is the best score for acid3 that I could get on my system.

Here are my scores
Firefox 3 beta 5 : 71
Flock : 51
Opera 9.5 beta 2 : 78
Midori (webkit based) : 64
Webkit minimal browser (nightly build r32862 ) 98

On my windows partition as well, none of the browsers went beyong 70's. Best being opera at 71.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Linux Kernel sites...

Found this interesting site. If you want to start knowing or playing around with linux kernel, this site could be a interesting start.

Linux Kernel Newbies

Also interesting would be to watch out for this site... www.kernel.org

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, May 1, 2008

vmware infrastructure web access on vista...

For those who try to use vmware server on windows vista (unfortunately I am trying these days), the vmware server 2 beta is using tomcat engine to provide web based environment.

The access control is weird to say the least. It doesnt matter if ur user has Administrtor rights on the vista box. You have to have the "Administrator" user and log in as that only. So, you got to make a new user called Administrator and then log in to Vmware Infrastructure Web access.

I found the help on vmware forums. reproducing here for benefit of myself (lest I forget) and others who might come across.

  1. Logon to Vista using your usual account.
  2. Launch the cmd prompt - Make sure you select, 'Run as administrator'
  3. Net user administrator yourFavPassword
  4. Net user administrator /active:yes
  5. Switch User, or logoff
  6. Logon as Administrator Password yourFavPassword
    (Your password may be different!)
And then the VI web access works... :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

making vmware work on hardy..

Had trouble originally making vmware work on my new hardy 64 bit system (behaves almost same on desktop and server variants).

Careful looking up found out two things,
  • the new beta version (2) of vmware works from web based console, and could take quite some time making it work
  • vmware on hardy 64 bit requires some tweaking to do before you can really get up and running with it.
Finally managed to get through with help from ubuntuforums.org. Nice fellow has posted his experience with 64 bit version, and it turned out to work exactly the same way for me...

Loads of thanks :) to http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=4357442&postcount=10

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

25 reasons to use Ubuntu... :)

Well, its a very interesting collection of reasons to use Ubuntu...

Some might not be as 100% agreeable as other might be, but still most are completely agreeable...
Well done...

Found it on this blog-... here u read 25 reasons for using Ubuntu

running a 64bit guest os in vmware

I tried to install a 64bit guest os and that took much longer to realize the problem.

What I found out (may be you guys already know that) the hard way today, is that, you cant keep your virtual disks on a non-ext3 partition (I was trying to keep them on my ext hard disk - all ntfs) :(

Also, you need to switch on the VT feature from your bios to be able to actually use 64 bit guest os.. My Core2Duo supported that, so luckily I had it already with my hardware. But if you want to do that, make sure ur cpu supports it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

converting .img to .iso and mounting iso

.img files are CloneCD files created as a result of dumping contents of a Cd into a file. Very similar to .iso files which are more popular for containing cd images.

Many tools, like virtual box allow mounting .iso files as a virtual cd/dvd. Ubuntu repositories provide a tool called ccd2iso for converting the .img to .iso.

just install ccd2iso from the repositories using

sudo apt-get install ccd2iso

Once installed, just launch it for converting

ccd2iso file.img file.iso

This will create the iso equivalent of the img file.

To mount the iso file normally in the linux environment, just type

mount -o loop -t iso9660 filename.iso /mnt/iso

Experiments With Hardy...

Ubuntu is by far the more stable of the OS's.. nothing new about that.

Last friday the release candidate of the new Hardy came out. It was beta for sometime now, and I had it for a few days in beta phase too..

It was my first time playing around with an OS in its beta stage and sure.. it feels good to be involved..

I found a few things, suggested on the forums, put out bug reports and it all works so nicely. Everybody involved is so open and helping... it was actually very nice exp. A good learning curve as well for a few things... :)

Currently there are a few things still going on with the "Hardy Release Candidate" with differing opinions, but all in all it looks like a good package to me. On my laptop, it works nicely, no issues as such...

In my view, the Ubuntu series has had its share of issues with hardware compatibility. With different people using different set of hardware, it turns out that not everything is 100% picked up by the installer as it should be.

I tried using virtualbox on hardy to install another copy of hardy 64 bit to experiment something, however, virtualbox wont allow that !! People on the ubuntu forums suggest that it could be a "feature" of vbox not to support 64bit cpu as of now... That would be a shame, actually... :(

Checking out vmware has been another shock. Earlier it used to be "FREE" for Linux, however now its only 30day evaluation version. Sounds like just another corporate, not a company supporting open source...

On the 64 bit point, I am really thinking of going 64 bit completely... all out... I have tried it for a few weeks now, and for me its been no problems at all... and the support for packages etc is fine for my needs... Yeah, some more programs need to be compiled by hand, but thats ok for me... :)

Ubuntu directory structure...

In the *nix operating systems, the tree style of file systems are there from time immemorial. In fact the idea of a inverted tree directory system or all filesystems originated with Unix.

The root of the tree is called "root directory" here and is the top level directory, and all its subdirectories make up the directory hierarchy. This is different as compared to Windows wherein there are drives. Especially diff since each diff hardware device has its own dir tree with its own root directory. In Unix there is only one root dir. Everything else, falls under that tree...

Here's a summary of the standard directories found on a typical Unix/Linux system. Current reference being Ubuntu.
  • /bin - binary applications (most of your executable files)
  • /boot - files required to boot (such as the kernel, etc)
  • /dev - your devices (everything from drives to displays)
  • /etc - just about every configuration file for your system
  • /etc/profile.d - contains scripts that are run by /etc/profile upon login.
  • /etc/rc.d - contains a number of shell scripts that are run on bootup at different run levels. There is also typically an rc.inet1 script to set up networking (in Slackwar), an rc.modules script to load modular device drivers, and an rc.local script that can be edited to run commands desired by the administrator, along the lines of autoexec.bat in DOS.
  • /etc/rc.d/init.d - contains most of the initialization scripts themselves on an rpm-based system.
  • /etc/rc.d/rc*.d - where “*'’ is a number corresponding to the default run level. Contains files for services to be started and stopped at that run level. On rpm-based systems, these files are symbolic links to the initialization scripts themselves, which are in /etc/rc.d/init.d.
  • /etc/skel - directory containing several example or skeleton initialization shells. Often contains subdirectories and files used to populate a new user’s home directory.
  • /etc/X11 - configuration files for the X Window system
  • /home - locally stored user files and folders
  • /lib - system libraries (similar to Program Files)
  • /lost+found - lost and found for lost files
  • /media - mounted (or loaded) devices such as cdroms, digital cameras, etc.
  • /mnt - mounted file systems
  • /opt - location for “optionally” installed programs
  • /proc - dynamic directory including information about and listing of processes
  • /root - “home” folder for the root user
  • /sbin - system-only binaries (see /bin)
  • /sys - contains information about the system
  • /tmp - temporary files
  • /usr - applications mainly for regular users
  • /var - mainly logs, databases, etc.
  • /usr/local/bin - the place to put your own programs. They will not be overwritten with upgrades.
  • /usr/share/doc - documentation.
Some content shamelessly borrowed from this page :Linux or ubuntu Directory structure

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Get rid of the Ubuntu splash screen during boot

If you want to see Ubuntu booting like the good old text based linux systems, here are some ideas on removing the splash screen from the booting process....

Quickzi: Get rid of the Ubuntu splash screen during boot
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Firefox Smart Keywords

A very very useful tip.

In firefox its possible to make shortcuts for your favourite links (especially useful for searches etc).

For example, for a typical google image search, you would normally open images.google.com and then type in your required phrase and press search. That constitutes two trips to google image server to accomplish your search needs.

With this method from firefox, you can achieve this in one trip to server, just by doing a small trick with your favourites configuration.

You add a particular url to your favourites list. And later on, from the organize favourites dialog, assign that url a shortcut, a very small phrase e.g. img or images or something that you like.

Now, after this setup, when you want to search for images on keyword india, you'd just have to say your chosen keyword and india, i.e. just type in

img india

in the address bar and press enter.. your search results should be on the way...

More detailing here... Solutions - 25 Useful Firefox Smart Keywords
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A user profile on Ubuntu India - very interesting...

Just saw this user page by Mr Bharadwaj... on Ubuntu India...
Very interesting writings...

User:Bharadwaj.j@gmail.com - Ubuntu India

Blogged with the Flock Browser

polishlinux.org » GNU/Linux for everyone

A very very useful/interesting site for people looking for Linux distribution informations. It also has a page for comparing various distributions on some specific parameters

Also, allows individuals to write their views in a feedback/forum form.

polishlinux.org » GNU/Linux for everyone

For comparing distributions, visit http://polishlinux.org/choose/comparison/

Also interesting might be www.distrowatch.com
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, April 14, 2008

chown : not owner !!!

Apparantly, you cant do a chown in Solaris. Here's more...

http://unix.derkeiler.com/Newsgroups/comp.unix.solaris/2004-03/2579.html

another one here

http://www.itworld.com/Comp/3380/nls_unixchown040923/index.html

The reasoning explained sounds logical. Apparantly (as one of the article also explains), the restriction helps a user fill another user's quota by creating a huge file and chowning it to the other user. Even worse, if the other user doesnt have privs to access the dir hosting that huge file, he cant even delete that.

Looks like a safety precaution, turned into a bit of blockade for normal users... :(

Buying a wireless router for home...

When it comes to buying a wireless router, the acronyms can be misleading and confusing at times.

While I was looking for articles around the net that explain complex terms, I found a few. Here are some -

How To Buy A Wireless Router: Decoding Wi-Fi 802.11 Networking Standards and Protocols

Wireless network buying guide - CNET reviews

Wireless Router FAQ - What is the Range of a Typical Wi-Fi LAN?

Wireless Routers - Best 802.11g Wireless Broadband Router Reviews



Blogged with the Flock Browser

Hardy 64bit beta Installed...

This weekend I installed Hardy 64 bit on my Core2Duo notebook and it flew... Just like that.

Earlier when I had gutsy for the first time on this laptop, I had plenty of issues with my hardware. Tweak here and tweak there, I had to do a lot of things to make it work the right way.

However, with Hardy this time, I would say, I felt happy for two reasons.. first it didnt complain about any of my hardware (probably because now my hardware is about a year old, and for gutsy it was so much newer..) and that its 64 bit installation.

I am yet to completely switch to this, especially since I encountered a bug with evolution and that Hardy is still beta, but I do see a way forward going with this version of Ubuntu for me.

As a result of this experiment, right now, I am triple booting, Vista business, Gutsy (32 bit) and Hardy (64 bit).

This is one thing I like so much about the PC notebooks, you can play around with them a lot more than you can do with an equivalent mac... :)

One of the guys on ubuntu forums posted this url for a better understanding of 64 bit systems... 64 bit Systems have more benefits than RAM only


Later on, I found this link, a very interesting collection of 32bit vs 64bit OS (especially Ubuntu) comparison.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

inet daemons : the way they react to SMF

For a given service, in an SMF manifest, you can invoke any script using the "exec" thing. That works for normal programs.

You can also provide environment to the executable by adding sub-tags envvar..

However, For a network daemon based service, it wont work as nice as it does for other programs.

I came to understand that programs that run as streams need to be designed to work that way specifically, you cant just make ANY program run as a stream through an SMF service.

Using Solaris SMF : Initial Steps

Startup article about SMF usage..

O'Reilly Network -- Using Solaris SMF: "In most Unix environments, the startup process consists of a handful of autonomous boot scripts। They act independently of one another; unaware of what scripts have already run or which ones will run after them. When they are invoked, there is no serious error checking and no recourse if the script fails."

Another interesting tutorial from Sun... Solaris Operating System - SMF Manifest How To Guide

Friday, March 28, 2008

config for capistrano

Preparing a deployment of an app
  1. Changes for fcgi configuration in public/.htaccess
    1. Comment the fcgi handler (found in initial few lines of the file)
    2. Change the dispatch.cgi reference to dispatch.fcgi (last few lines of file)
  2. In public/dispatch.fcgi change the shebang line to say something like this
    1. #!/usr/bin/env ruby
  3. Make sure everything is committed. (svn ci)
  4. capify the environment (capify)
  5. run rake configure_for_svn (assuming that the svn.rake task has been created already)
  6. edit config/deploy.rb to adjust values appropriately
  7. run cap deploy:setup
  8. On the remote server, copy $HOME/railsapps/config/database.yml.production to $HOME/${appdir}/shared/config (create target dir if not present). The $HOME/{appdir} should have been created by deploy:setup
  9. Since its the first time deployment, run cap deploy:cold
  10. Next time onwards, when you have to deploy, launch cap deploy:migrate

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Printable CEO™ Series

I have used this time tracking tool in past also, and always find it handy to keep notes in this format. Helps keep focus.

David Seah - The Printable CEO™ Series

Mac4Lin ver.0.2 - Mac OS X Leopard Transformation pack

Surprised to see that people are running independent project to make linux look/act like mac.

I am curious and would sure experiment with this.

Mac4Lin ver.0.2 - Mac OS X Leopard Transformation pack - Ubuntu Forums


Blogged with the Flock Browser

DVD Playback on Gutsy

Configuring DVD playback on Gutsy

For DVD playback, install VLC (accepted by most as the best DVD player, supports menus too);

sudo apt-get install vlc

And if you also want Totem to play DVDs well, you have to use the Xine backend instead of Gstreamer (this is optional, VLC will do just fine);

sudo apt-get install totem-xine libxine1-ffmpeg

To get encrypted DVDs playing properly (check out no. 9 in the "Troubleshooting" section if you are having problems with new DVDs), paste these commands into the Terminal;

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 libdvdread3 libdvdnav4 build-essential debhelper fakeroot

then;

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/install-css.sh

or if you get an error with that command;

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/examples/install-css.sh

To set VLC as your default DVD player (I strongly advise you do) type the following command into the Terminal;

gksudo gconf-editor

Now expand "desktop" and then "gnome", scroll down to "volume manager" but don't expand it, just click on it and look over at the right pane. Scroll down and look for "autoplay_dvd_command" and change the command to "/usr/bin/vlc dvd://" (without quotes of course) by right clicking on it and selecting "Edit", then click on "Set as Default". Do the same for the "autoplay_vcd_command" as well.

From :  Complete Streaming, Multimedia & Video How-to - Ubuntu Forums

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ekiga - PC to Phone on Ubuntu

It works, finally... it works.

I managed to configure my voipcheap account to work with Ekiga.
Though the phone numbers that u have to call look a bit awkward (sip:<phoneNumber>@sip.voipcheap.com), but it works.

I basically love the fact that I reduced another reason to boot into windows.  Loving Ubuntu every minute...

Here's some documentation on How to Use Ekiga
Ekiga - Community Ubuntu Documentation
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Better Cross-Site Request Forging Prevention

Very useful piece of information about the changes from rails 1.x to 2.x.  Since I was following the Agile ... with rails book (which is on rails 1.2.3), I got trapped with this problem.

Few new things for me, the concept of Cross-site request forgery and that rails 2 already handles it in the framework.  I got to this article through www.railsforum.com  and I have to say I am impressed.

What's New in Edge Rails: Better Cross-Site Request Forging Prevention

Providing such useful features built inside the app framework is really intuitive.

Way to go rails... :) 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Free 1 year subscription of McAfree Virus Scan Plus

I dont quite believe this, but havent tried this either.

Free 1 year subscription of McAfree Virus Scan Plus

I have heard about free trial licenses from such companies for a month or two or three, but never for 12 months.

I just tried to register following the link, and it does seem to work. I didnt actually download the software yet, but I would sure do that. Sometime over the weekend.

It sounds really really amazing to me. A 12 month free subscription.. great... :)

An interesting site...

An online document viewing website, you upload your document, the world sees it.

To me, an equivalent of blog, only not in terms of putting up content, rather organized documents. 

Home | Scribd
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ensode - Free PDF Unlock Online Utility (Beta)

I got this Gartner group report about Magic quadrant Data Warehouse technology.  I wanted to print it so that I can read it at leisure, but the pdf was locked for printing, even for copying.

I googled for "unlock pdf files" and the first hit I got was this link. 

Just give it your locked pdf file and it generates an unlocked pdf for you in the new browser window.

Ensode - Free PDF Unlock Online Utility (Beta)

cool stuff..
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, March 16, 2008

UseMod Wiki: TextFormattingRules

Rubyforge projects use this wiki engine. UsedMod

Its a bit different from wikipedia (media wiki) and therefore, one might have to carefully look at the formatting tricks and tips.

Here's some help.

UseMod Wiki: TextFormattingRules
Blogged with the Flock Browser

so many new technologies...

It was my first weekend after I started working on my domain name and website. The last I was doing something with web technologies was like a few years back. Kinda nostalgic in that sense.

There are many new technologies coming around the place, and sometimes I feel left out. When I started digging this time around, I got to know a few more things.

So many new things I learned in one day...

  1. Mephisto - blogging engine
  2. Typo - Another blogging engine
  3. Trac - SCM engine , used for bug tracking etc.
  4. Intro to Capistrano - the magical deployment tool from rails framework. Some documentation from my hosting people also on integrating capistrano.
  5. FastCGI and its usage with rails

My new domain is up and running...and supports rails too...

Finally, after a day and a half of my ordering/starting the process of getting my own domain/site, its up and running.

The dns entries for blogs are set up, the subdomains are set up, and a very basic home page is also up and running. Check it out here... www.sraghav.in

The mail address is going to change forever, I guess. Now onwards, my mail address is going to be on this new domain, instead of something or other at gmail or yahoo... Always hated the fact that I cant get my easy and favourite name to become my mail id... Finally, I get it... :)

The dns configuration for blogs is one sweet thing. I have to appreciate the way blog hosters like blogger and wordpress (to name a few) allow you to call your blog something or other in the browser url, and still happily allow the stuff to be hosted at their site. Now, my blogs are all named according to my wish on my domain.. e.g. techaghav.blogspot.com is now going to be called tech.sraghav.in

I am yet to read more on dns record types and how they actually work behind the scenes, but I understood that you need to create a CNAME (Canonical Name) record in your dns server for the target server (blogger). This will redirect the incoming request (coming at sraghav.in) to target server (blogger) without reflecting the redirection to the source browser. so the browser still thinks that its talking to .sraghav.in while the dns entry makes it talk to .blogspot.com

Love the technology behind this.

My web hosting company, railsplayground.com allows ruby on rails hosting as well. And, that was my primary reason to choose them over other web-hosting providers. Not so costly and still nice services for a basic rails deployment/hosting service. They provide ssh access and subversion access and what not. Almost everything I could think of as a developer, looking for a foothold in rails. Cool people. :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Got my new domain...

Ordered my new domain name sraghav.in

Got some hosting services from www.railsplayground.net people.

Still waiting on the activation mail, with dns servers info and all that.

Naming convention of Ubuntu Releases

I've always wondered why and how these people at ubuntu core group chose such names. 

Well, its hard to say that the names are good or bad, most of the times such word mean something or other in some or other language, for sure.

Still, if there was some scheme behind naming the versions, I didnt know about it.

Recently found out that, and here are details - DevelopmentCodeNames - Ubuntu Wiki   
Blogged with the Flock Browser

How To: Install OS X on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required

Found this interesting page... I am pretty sure there are other sites and pages talking about similar stuff.

How To: Install OS X on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required

I still have to check out how it works, but looks like a very interesting idea to start with...  
Blogged with the Flock Browser

My own domain name...

For some time, I have been thinking of getting my own domain name, and thereafter get rid of all these .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com kind of names for blogs. Will also get rid of email addresses from gmail or yahoo or likes.

The idea is pretty interesting and right now I am evaluating whether its a financially feasible thing to do. 

Well, I checked at a few domain name registration sites and it doenst sound very costly to start with.  However you have to be careful reading their pricing models.  It IS misleading.

e.g. when you find a domain at www.networksolutions.com, they say that it costs 10 USD. Fine, that looks cheap and so you move on. When you finally land on the checkout page, you find that its not actually $10, but $29.99. The $10 mentioned at the first page was actually something else. Some private registration thing, but the actual domain name costs you three times that.

Similarly when I was checking this on an Indian registrar http://www.net4.in , their site was advertising that .in domains cost on Rs. 199. Fine, thats pretty cheap actually. I went ahead and when I landed on checkout page there, it turned out that 199 is only the cost for 1st year. Second and third years cost about 4-5 times first year. And therefore, you are lured only because of the first year promotional pricing.

A friend was suggesting earlier to use dyndns for this. The idea was, buy a domain name, buy a customer dns from dyndns guys. Then it would be a job of configuring the dns entries in a right way. So that,

a call to techblog.mydomain.com goes automatically to techraghav.blogspot.com,

and still maintains the url for mydomain.com...

I am not sure if that would work technically or not, but that could be a much cheaper solution. Custom DNS at dyndns.org costs about $ 28 per year. domain would cost about $10 per year. Sounds ok.

Also, I am not sure what kind of dns mgmt freedom is available when I buy web space with some hosting company....

I have posted this dns configuration question to dyndns.org forums also.. lets see how they come back.

Reading about dns records etc..  List of DNS record types - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Slow DB query : Tuning required...

Have been struggling with a slow db query on our Oracle 9i repository.  There are product installations (redwood) and therefore the views provided by them cant be modified (read optimized).

We found out through tracing etc that the optimizer is behaving strangely. Its choosing an explain plan that is not completely optimal.  There's something funny with statistics as well, since when I rewrote the query to use the rule based optimizer, the query was finishing much much faster. 

So, we had to do some experiments with Oracle traces as well.  Help on Oracle's tracing mechanisms and ideas came from 

Introduction to Oracle Trace Utulity and Understanding The Fundamental Performance Equation « H.Tonguç YILMAZ Oracle Blog

Working together with our in-house DBA team helped a bit and I moved forward with some more experiments.  Here's what helped me with Optimizer in Oracle (mostly CBO)

Oracle Optimizer: Moving to and working with CBO

Oracle Optimizer: Moving to and working with CBO - Part 2



Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Photography on Linux

I myself was thinking about this since a few days..Actually ever since I got my Gutsy freshend up I was wondering if I could move all my daily works stuff from windows to Linux.  Photo management is surely one big area, especially with my interest in photos.

Check my interest here <http://raghavphotos.blogspot.com>

And then today morning, just by luck, I found this page..
Ubuntu Linux graphic software list « Linux Photography

Not read completely through it, but the Ubuntu forum page it refers to is sure useful.

Also interesting is this :

http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-219756.html
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thinking of changing blog host...

I was talking to this friend of mine who moved his website from blogspot to wordpress.  Wordpress have nicer templates, some really cute.

I felt like doing that as well, already last week. But, wordpress has some limitations, e.g. their free account does not allow html template editing. And without editing html, it wont be possible to track site statistics with google Analytics. I would really want to collect that kind of statistics.  Though the wordpress people provide some statistics, I am not sure if they would be comparable to Google Analytics

Also, since my blog's url contains .blogspot.com, its hard for me to switch anyway.  However, there is an easier solution for this url issue. Build a blog in wordpress, and start publishing that url.

To make sure all who come and hit the old url, just enter this line in the <head> tag of the old blog page's html code.

<meta http-equiv="REFRESH" content="0;url=http://new-blog-url.com"/>

Found this code sample here...  html redirect

thanks google for allowing to find stuff so easily... I knew that it exists, but syntax would have been hard to figure out.  
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Frustration working with computers...

Working with computers can be frustrating...
Nothing has showcased this more than this video...

Bad Day at the Office

I hope never to reach such stage of frustration...


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Must Have" list of Apps for Gutsy? - Ubuntu Forums

I dont use Ubuntu as a full time desktop system. More focus on programming, though the general usage is increasing by day.

While I was searching for something about one the gutsy issues I was facing, I came across this post.

"Must Have" list of Apps for Gutsy? - Ubuntu Forums

Really interesting set of suggestions from people who use such a system for everyday usage.  Though personal preferences differ, its a good start.


Blogged with the Flock Browser

Complete Streaming, Multimedia & Video How-to - Ubuntu Forums

Trying to get my browsers run some online media streaming on Ubuntu. This page here is an excellent place to start with.

Great compilation, and once again, the value of discussions forums is enhanced in my view.

Complete Streaming, Multimedia & Video How-to - Ubuntu Forums



Great effort "reassuringlyoffensive", interesting nickname as well :)
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Improved Gutsy for 6710b

Going through a few Ubuntu forums, it turned out that many of the initial glitches around Gutsy installation for HP6710b have been removed.

My installation was originally an upgrade from Feisty, a very troubled and hacked one at that. So, I thought why not try to give it a clean shot and get a fresh copy of Gutsy installed on my laptop.

I dared and I like the results already. Few features -

Though I had to spend some time to configure a few things again from scratch, it looks and works like a much better system than it used to.

After my fresh installation, I had initial trouble with installing rails. There this page helped. Though it talks about installation on FreeBsd, it worked perfectly on my Gutsy.

Then I had some trouble with initial password of root user on MySQL. For some reason, after the initial installation, I could not go in mysql environment through any means at all. Then again, googling and ubuntu forums helped out. This page helped me through that.

Finally, when I was installing Eclipse to be able to work faster/better with rails, I came across the fact that the standard Eclipse package from Ubuntu, does not come with any java runtime environment. I tried downloading and using Sun Java but that didnt turn out very well.

Later I found that Synaptics has a cunning little feature. On a right click on a package name, there is a option for "Mark Recommended For Installation". Once I clicked on that, it selected about 15 more packages and this time managed to get all the required stuff for Java as well.

Surprised as I was at the intuitiveness of the package management system, I felt it should hae done the same to start with. Anyway, its fine now. Took some time, but working great now. :)

IDE for working with Rails

For some time now, I was looking for the right kind of IDE to work with ruby on rails. Googling for this helped but not much.

Eventually, I came across this post somewhere which mentioned RadRails. This is a module from Aptana development studio.

In addition to the fact that this is a component of the Aptana dev suite, this component is available separately as a plugin for Eclipse as well.

And installation and configuration come very very simple. In a running version of Eclipse (I have Eclipse 3.2), look for a remote installation site. Few simple questions about which package to install etc. and you have the plug-in installed.

Here's the url to enter in the Eclipse remote update site...

http://update.aptana.com/update/studio/3.2/ => For Aptana tools in general
http://update.aptana.com/update/rails/3.2/ => For RadRails Plugin

And it works like a charm, really. After installation, you can create a new rails project from within Eclipse GUI as well, in addition to your favourite command line methods.

Starting a server, generating components (controller, model etc..), its all possible from the GUI.

I personally like the GUI and the syntax highlighting the most.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Flock : The Social browser

I was just checking Firefox 3 beta 3 today, when I found about this new browser called Flock.

Its a great browser for people using services
  1. Blogging
    1. Blogger
    2. Wordpress
    3. Blogsome
    4. Typepad.. etc..
  2. Photo Mgmt
    1. Flickr
    2. Picasa
    3. Photobucket etc..
  3. Social sites
    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    3. etc..

The browser provides amazing functionality for different sites built right in. Many a tasks you would have done manually are now completely automated, thanks to new browser functionality.

Powered by Mozilla, I found it to be a very interesting browser option against Firefox.


  1. Picasa on Web

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Informatica support forum

Hey... Informatica have launched a brand new set of discussion forums on their website. This url should normally point to the overview .

I have a good feeling about this, the company hosting its own discussion forums. Before this there were some yahoo groups that acted as discussion forums for the company, and some developer network forums.

See how it goes...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

An interesting day of RoR programming...

Got hands dirty with quite a few things in and around RoR.

Started with building the demo application with projects and tasks.. and as the iterative model says, kept adding to it. By the time I realized, I covered quite a few basic concepts of Rails.

Got stuck at some places, and hence my first experience of RoR IRC chatroom. Lovely thing, and really helpful people. Cant thank enough. It seemed as if someone could learn a few things just by reading the discussions only... :)

And, I hope to make some progress on my LMS project as well.

Here's my collection of useful URLs from today's session.

Useful Links around the web...
  1. Rolling on with Ruby on Rails
  2. Rolling on with Ruby on Rails (Part 2)
  3. On Ruby on Rails dot org
  4. Rails Database Validations-1
  5. Rails DB Validations-2
  6. RESTful Design
  7. Oracle's tutorial on RoR
  8. RoR API Docs
  9. www.pastie.org
  10. On Drop Down Menus

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Open source initiative...

I am starting to think of joining another open source project on RoR. Its basically a helpdesk and workflow management solution, which would be totally web based.

I have used Peregrine for quite sometime now, and therefore have a view. I feel that there are some things in the tool that can be improved and therefore the idea. Another guy in US is also working on the topic.

Currently its hosted at rSupport.googlecode.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New image resizing technique

I found this amazing image processing technique called image re-targeting. This really is amazing.

Read more about it at this link here http://www.humansoftware.com/pages1200/XFile/HSxfil0.html

Try this youtube video as well...

This stuff is really really innovative and brilliant. Congrats to the people behind it...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Interesting site found

I found this interesting site that talks about various topics in IT industry. Browse for few minutes and I liked it...

http://www.ajaxian.com

Adding pages to your rubyforge website

Thanks to Tim Hunter for guiding me to the faq to be able to post pages on the project website.

http://rubyforge.org/docman/view.php/5/460/faq.html

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another useful Ubuntu Blog and some samba help

I was trying to set up Ubuntu on my Dell Laptop (Btw, Gutsy doesnt work, and Feisty works out of the box). And as they say, it worked like a charm.

So, trying to configure samba sharing between my two laptops, I ran into some issues and was looking on google. Found this blog really helping http://ubuntu.wordpress.com/

A few simple mistake though, setting up a samba share for the first time requires using

smbpasswd -a

so that the user can be created for samba.

It was giving me this message

Could not connect to machine 127.0.0.1: NT_STATUS_LOGON_FAILURE
Failed to change password for raghav

and then, my windows workgroup name in smb.conf was not good either. So, changed that, and restarted the daemon using

sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

and all's well in the samba world :)

I have also managed to set up the ssh server as well, so I can now work on rails stuff, without having to reboot the system. Its really pretty simple in Ubuntu. Just install the sshd package from Synaptics and you are good.

Now get some ssh client (like putty) and just remote connect to the in-house ubuntu server (sounds pretty impressive..huh..) and u r started. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Registered at Ruby forge

The Library Mananagment System project has been registered at RubyForge. You can access the default project page at http://rubyforge।org/projects/lms
.

In coming days, I am going to explore more about the project setup on ruby forge and then update accordingly. Right now, the default virtual host that we have got is called http://lms.rubyforge.org, but it really is the default page.

Would update more, perhaps post the few pages that I have thought of on the wiki there.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Classes for Library...

More on the Library Project

Was thinking further on this and found a basic idea of the classes I would see..

  1. Book
    1. Properties
      1. Id
      2. title
      3. author1
      4. author2
      5. author3
      6. isbn no
      7. language
      8. type
        1. printed matter [default]
        2. dvd
        3. CD
      9. meta tags [comma delimited]
      10. year of publishing
      11. edition #
      12. issue cycle (days)
      13. No of copies
    2. Methods
      1. add
      2. remove
      3. update
      4. add a copy
  2. Lib Transactions
    1. Properties
      1. date of issue
      2. member id
      3. book id
      4. date of return
    2. Methods
      1. issue book
      2. return book
  3. Member
    1. Properties
      1. Name
      2. age
      3. address
      4. sex
    2. Methods
      1. Add
      2. delete
      3. update
Would update more...

DataWarehouse with Ruby on Rails

Recently joined www.rubyforge.org. Wish to join a few projects on similar direction.

While browsing through I found a project they call "ActiveWarehouse" using Ruby on Rails. Pretty interesting for me, since I come from Warehousing background myself.

I guess, I am going to read more about it and probably join the project. See if I can contribute something.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Useful color codes

Found this very useful color code page.

http://www.pitt.edu/%7Enisg/cis/web/cgi/rgb.html

Very useful when you want to manipulate something on your blog's template by yourself.

Library Management System : Ruby on Rails

Well, I want to learn some more of rails and ruby (as much comes along).

And so I thought of building a tiny little web application to build a library management system based on rails and mysql.

The idea is that, it would be a web based application to manage the library from an staff member's point of view. At a later stage, there would be an additional viewpoint from the library visitor, to search for books, request for issue etc...

I also intend to build a page which could be used to issue out or receive books (as a library transaction).

Here is a summary of what I have thought this application would do.. to start with...
  1. Keep stock of books
    1. multiple copies of book allowed
    2. Allow searching for books in library
    3. search on meta tags
      1. Title
      2. description
      3. author
  2. allow books to be issued out.
    1. keep track of date of issue
    2. Expected date of return
  3. Administration
    1. Allow to add books
    2. Rename, replace, add remove copies etc.
  4. Reports
    1. Books overdue on a given date
    2. Members with overdue books
    3. Books that are most probable to go overdue
    4. Members most responsible for overdue books
    5. etc...

Well, thats the very first stage of requirement thinking that has been done.

Rails Tutorial...

Looks like I found another interesting rails tutorial...

http://www.meshplex.org/wiki/Ruby/Ruby_on_Rails_programming_तुतोरिअल्स

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Making a Tag cloud for Blogger

I have always seen web pages (blogs actually) showing many tags with different font sizes showing prominence of one tag over others. Today I realized that these things are called tag clouds. And then I was searching already as to how can I get one for myself.

It seems google can find anything for you, proven umpteenth time... :)

Here is what I found, first read looks promising...

http://phy3blog.googlepages.com/Beta-Blogger-Label-Cloud.html

Will implement it later though .. and report of course...

Gutsy on Dell Inspiron 5100

As planned, I was doing a bit of research on installing latest Ubuntu release on my Dell Inspiron 5100.

I had installed Feisty Fawn on the same laptop earlier without any issues. As it turns out, there are a lot of issues with Gutsy on Dell Inspiron 5100.

Some of the major issues..
  1. Display
  2. Heat Sink management (from software)
  3. Live CD booting
Here is one of the that point towards such problems...
When I tried to boot through the Live CD (downloaded today), I was greeted with a blank screen. Could only get in when I chose the safe graphics mode from the boot menu.

I am surprised at this situation, especially at the fact that a give set of hardware was supported by default in Feisty Fawn and not in the next release (Gutsy). There got to be something in the release planning that needs strong attention...

Monday, February 18, 2008

About my Dell laptop

I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 purchased in July 2003. It has worked pretty well duing these years. Lately, say last one year or so, I have had problems with it. The performance went down considerabley.

Taking cues from here and there, I went for memory upgrade and put on a 1 GB RAM chip. It did help but not as much as I would have liked.

then in July 2007 we went in our new laptop HP Compaq 6710b. Its working nice and fine, no problems.

Now, I do have this Dell laptop at home and want to put this to some good use. Selling it doesnt seem like very good idea,

a. because its not going to fetch any interesting money
b. its got a bit of emotional value for me (it was my first ever laptop)
c. I can always use a second system at home for experiments etc.


Last few months, I have tried to do a bit more research into getting this system to work better. The people around the place have suggested to do a BIOS upgrade. When I tried for the first time, it turned out that I had a really really old BIOS on this laptop and it wont be upgraded directly.

I had A06 and the current version was A32. So, I was forced to upgrade to A22 first and then only I could goto A31. I read about it on Dell Forums and have to thank dallascowboysworldchamps for the suggestion to the way forward.

A gentleman on one of the google groups (http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sys.pc-clone.dell) suggested that I should install a software for monitoring my cpu fan. Available at http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/ this software seems to work.

It reports that my CPU temperature is fluctuating between 57 and 62 degree celcius and its regulating fan speed according to the temperature.

Overall, the system is performing much better already.

Lets see what comes next. I am thinking of installing Ubuntu on this laptop once again...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rails fixed

After some delay on this item, I managed to spend some time on my Ubuntu system.

As it turned out, the rails env was in fact broken due to my mistake. Many versions of rails/ruby installed over period of time. From Ubuntu package management system, from Rails, ruby website. Many versions of gems etc...

So, I had to do a bit of cleaning up. In fact a lot of cleaning up. Removed ruby from Ubuntu packages perspective altogether. All of it. Removed rails from Ubuntu packages as well.

Then I got the latest ruby source code from Ruby-Lang.org and did the basic compilation. Nothing had to be configured for ssl or anything else. It worked like a charm. Lovely.

However, if you have some system running in production on rails, you better read a bit more on rails 2 before migrating to it. I managed because I am still playing around, and nothing is really running that is of production value. :)

It has quite some changes that do NOT fit in with rails 1.2.3 regime. Some of them are here Whats new in Rails 2

good luck :)

btw, found two interesting blogs on rails... adding them to fav links...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

With Java again after 6 years

For some reason, I had to go back to do some Java programming stuff after a long time today. Before today, last I did some Java programming was way back in 2002.

As it turned out, I had forgotten everything of Java by now. I couldnt' even write the basic Hello World by myself as it is. Then I had to turn back to Sun's Java Tutorial (available here) and restart learning.

It was very exciting to remember all that I had forgotten back again. It really was. To write a basic java application saying "Hello Raghav" and later on writing my own math class. I created a square function with two constructors. I really liked it.

However I have to say that, way back in 2001/2 when I was writing JSPs and Swing Applets (using Java 2 as they called java 1.2 then), we were writing code using Editplus and JDeveloper and VisualAge kind of tools. They were not so nice actually.. to develop the kind of stuff we were building. JSPs, Beans EJB etc.

On the other hand, when I was trying this thing today, I saw that there was Eclipse, Netbeans and so many other IDEs for developing with Java. So much has changed in the development arena for Java, its almost unrecognizable. Not that I was unaware of all these changes, It was just going unnoticed in terms of real effect since I was an onlooker before today.

I really like programming, and I wont say that I dont like some help doing the stuff. The Syntax highlighting, automatic syntax checking, one click compilation kind of thing, handling classpath, adding external JARs ... and the list goes on... I tried Eclipse and found it an amazing help.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rails upgrade and issues ...

I was revisiting my rails know-how and planned to start a new project.

However, when I did an upgrade, I ran into issues. I posted them to railsforum/ruby forum here -

Post at Rails Forum
Post at Ruby Forum

But couldnt really get a solution out.

Then a friend told me about this
rails freeze
thing. He referred to this link.

I am not done yet, but will keep updating...

Laptop motherboard replaced.. thanks HP

HP website's support ticket management can be improved.

After I made the ticket for reporting the problem, 3 days later I received a packet with a CPU fan in there. Looks like somebody at HP thought that I could open my notebook and replace the fan myself... :)

However, it took few more days for them to acknowledge the real problem. Then they picked up the laptop and returned it after 9 days with a replaced motherboard.

I am happy to say that the exhaust fan now works without the special sound it was creating earlier.

I feel happy that I purchased the HP Care pack.. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First Problems with 6710b

In November I encountered for the first time something I would call a "problem". The exhaust fan just wont stop whirring... and that too at a pretty high volume.

As a result I had to start looking for stuff on net..about others having similar issues... As it turned out, a lot of other people were having the same problems.

In the meantime, HP has acknowledged the problem and starting fixing the issue by replacing the motherboard in the laptop with a new one (apparantly at no cost to customer, but I cant guarantee that since I have a 4 year hp care pack).

So, now a days, my notebook is with HP for the motherboard replacement.

Read here more about the famous "noisy fan" problem with 6510b/6710b notebooks from HP.