Monday, May 18, 2015

How-to : Setting up family shares using Drop-box!

imageThe cloud storage is a huge step beyond the conventional storage mediums which have been available to us for so long. Blah Blah and so on...

Ok, what I just wrote there would making zero absolute sense for most people out there, but don’t sweat it!

A successful technology doesn’t necessarily need big words of introduction; the only fact worth sharing it should be why it is helpful and useful.

So today I talk on how YOU can use your personal space on the cloud for storage, and specifically  the Dropbox.

The specific aim here is a small How-To to help you and your family set-up dropbox to share photos and other documents in your family circle.

But first, a Brief Introduction…

The simple mediums of storage we are versed with include Hard Disks, CD/DVD ROMs and portable media like USB drives. This cloud storage is but a term we use to describe something which is stored in a similar way, but (as an abstracted storage) on the internet.

There are many providers for online cloud storage like Microsoft's One Drive, Drop-box, Google Drive and so on.

And most of them are easy to use and integrate better by having WINDOWS based clients, working seamlessly in the existing File Manager (like Windows Explorer).

This integration abstracts the storage and retrieval of files on the cloud thereby making it very easy to upload files/data to the could and download the same from the Cloud.

About DropBox

Dropbox provides a secure and common location on the cloud for your personal stuff (acting as a secure backup) and also for stuff like photos, documents or videos which you may want to share across your contact list.

Although the facility is a boon for personal asset / document sharing (i.e. having all time access to your personal files on any device). but Dropbox also makes it easy to share your stuff with others in your address book.

So let’s Start!

1. Sign-up! - The first step you need to take to use Dropbox is to create an account. In any browser, just go to the Dropbox website and fill out the Sign Up form.

image

Click Sign up, and proceed.

Post sign-up, you will be presented with the Intro screen next -

image

Here, you can take the Dropbox Tour to know it better.

2. Installation is available via the second step, where in you can download and install the app on windows. This is what we want. The direct link for the installation page is here.

By default, installation will download the minimal setup and continue with the online download. You can choose the offline install option and skip the middle step entirely.

image

After installation, choose the default options; Keep clicking next and enter your credentials to link up your local windows (hard-disk) folder with the folder in the cloud (or on the internet).

3. Login the application post setup, and you will get the below screen after it is done -

image

Choosing advanced settings will help you choose any other folders for the custom dropbox location, and also the (sub) folders you can sync. The default location is <Your-Windows-profile-home>\Dropbox

NOTE: The profile location will differ on the various OS versions. As a shortcut, simply press Windows + R to open Run Dialog, and type (copy paste) the following -

%UserProfile%\Dropbox

This should work on any (Windows) O.S.

4. Using Dropbox - After the setup and login, you can start managing the folders and content, anything which is in your online dropbox folder will automatically appear in your local windows location too.

To start adding files across to the dropbox from your local Windows drive, below is the sequence -

  1. Locate the files/folders you want to share;
  2. Copy or drag drop them in your local shared location (%UserProfile%\Dropbox). These will then start syncing to your online allocated folder.

Sharing Files -

To start sharing, you can do it online (via the browser) or via the Desktop application -

  1. Via App - Open your Dropbox folder, and find the file or folder you’d like to share. Simply Right-click and click on “Share Dropbox”.image

    This will copy the link and you can share it via mail etc. with the people you want to enable access for it.
  2. Via browser – Follow below steps -

a. Go to https://dropbox.com and sign in; click on Share a folder (top of the window).

b. You can choose to create a new folder for sharing (click Next, enter new folder name)

c. Click Next and similar to the Windows setup, just enter the email addresses of the people for the sharing invite and click Share folder.

Done!

Although some of the steps above may seem to be difficult, but if you follow them to the letter, you should be good!

Nevertheless, I am adding some excellent links for user reference as well -

  1. Dropbox tour – start here
  2. https://www.dropbox.com/help – Go here and get help on anything!
  3. How do I share folders with other people?

Let me know your comments and/or your questions if any!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Quest for the perfect (windows) clone and backup solution!

> = <

With 2015 (almost) halfway gone, can you imagine my pain when I am simply looking for a solution to -

1. Create a [LIVE!] clone of my Laptop’s 500GB HDD and
2. Let me update it on schedule…

and able to find none… yes…NONE AT ALL!

I just want something to -

1. Provide me a fool-proof backup strategy AS WELL AS HELPS

2. In advent of any catastrophic failure in my current HDD or similar situation, to just pop the faulty bugger out and replace with the last backup; and pronto! loads up the Windows O.S. … again!

WTF Microsoft!!

Is it that difficult?? In 2015? A job which Carbon Copy Cloner has been doing for more than a couple of years (sadly Mac only, sigh!)?

I mean, Seriously? Come on!

So my friends and fellow nerds out there… Anyone has any Ideas?

Please share.

Note: I will surely update this IFF I find a viable solution. I know about the options available (almost all provide live clone, but none does the backups on schedule), so I need something which works as I want it to!

Update#1: I found this - https://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/
Let’s try and check shall we, I will updtae here for more findings.?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How To: Perform an unattended MySQL DB dump restore

MySQL_database

Say you have the following setup -

  1. A MySQL DB on which you have to restore a previously taken DB DUMP;
  2. A *INX based O.S. / Server (could be RHEL etc.)
  3. An SSH connection / session to the same

In a normal scenario, you either access your DB via a DB client (like SQLYog) or via a remote SSH (using putty).

When you need to restore a DB DUMP on an existing DB instance, you use the mysql command as -

[ssh@xyz]# mysql mydb < /dbdumps/mydb_dump.sql

This will start the restore process. For a small DB this should be done quickly. But considering a realistic live scenario with your DB in GBs of data, you will need at least upwards of 30 minutes.

Now what if you need to disconnect your SSH for any reason? Maybe step out for a meeting, or pack-up your rig for your drive home?

The reason may be anything but the considering the fact that the restore process is launched specifically under the SSH shell process, if the SSH disconnects during the restore, it would kill the restore too.

So the only logical choice is to leave the terminal open until the dump is completely restored, with the normal termination of the process.

Here-in comes the nohup.

Quoting from Wikipedia,

Nohup is a Unix command, used to start another program, in such a way that it does not terminate when the parent process is terminated. This is accomplished by ignoring the signal 'SIGHUP'. This is what distinguishes nohup from simply running the command in the background with '&'.

So in essence, the nohup allows the restore process to continue running even if the remote SSH session is terminated when the SSH client disconnects.

Also, since we may want to use the SSH session after the process to restore is started (via nohup), we use the nohup in conjunction with the ‘&’ command.

The ampersand as a suffix ensures the command is started as a background daemon (under the system process). It will leave the command line and proceed to run in the background.

The entire goal above is thus achieved via the following command -

[ssh@xyz]# nohup mysql mydb < /dbdumps/mydb_dump.sql &

Running this gives you the below as a feedback result on prompt -

[1] 5624
[ssh@xyz]# nohup: appending output to `nohup.out'

Let’s decrypt the above.

Meet the Process-id - 5624

Any process running on a Unix system is always having a PID or a process-id. This is a unique identifiable unit with which a process is associated and can be manipulated.

For example, the kill command (which is used to terminate a process) uses the following format -

$ kill <process_id>

Thus the process id for the background is printed for convenience.

The nohup.out file

Also, as it is a background process, the standard I/O is not used for any prompts or error communication, Instead the same is redirected to the nohup.out file, created at the location where the process is launched (this can be located by the $ pwd – which will give the present working directory)

Status of nohup

All this is good, now that the restore is running merrily in the background.

But how to know if and when this completes? How to know the status?

The answer is using $ jobs.

[ssh@xyz]# jobs
[1]+  Running nohup mysql mydb < /dbdumps/mydb_dump.sql &

So the current process is shows to be still running. If it would have completed, the status is changed from Running to Done.

That’s it! Hope it helps someone out there!

Let me know your comments and suggestion too.

Note: I will be covering the DB DUMP command later in detail, with its usage in conjunction with the CRON scheduler script.

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

To help save a life…

image

(The below post is replicated in entirety from my Facebook page dated February 28. It is an actual incident.)

Something happened today evening on my way back from the office. An accident.

Not mine. A random guy on his bike. Going back home like everyone else.

This happened around 8:00 PM on the Noida extension route, just 200 meters before the Gaur roundabout.

The guy (whom I don’t want to disclose) going back home in Crossings Republic from his IT firm, was driving fine but unluckily could not see and slow down in time for the dirt rubble on the road (probably left behind by one of the many callous trucks and tractors which ply on that route).

End result a bad skid, hit with the pavement and countless injuries. By the time I stopped and reached him, he was lying all covered in blood, with tattered clothes and desperate cries of pain.

Lots of people stopped to help, some to watch but many slowed down, looked but chose to drive off.

Back to their destination, their homes and back to their comfortable lives.

Do you know how real blood looks on the asphalt? It's so red; bloody frightening red. And it was everywhere.

I was there with the others. We helped lift him up and got him in a car for the nearest hospital (bless that driver for having the sense of responsibility and courage).

The bike was a wreck. Me and another random guy (who was on his bike) stayed behind and waited for the cops to turn up. Someone had taken the onus to inform them down the road so that they could come and take care of the vehicle.

So we waited to hand over the same to the cops, who as expected, didn't turn up. In the end, we had to park his bike on the roadside and decided to hand the keys over to the guy himself (whom we expected to have reached the hospital by that time).

This way, we hoped to check on the guy's well-being too. Reaching the nursing home, we found him all clothes torn, swollen up and unable to speak (due to the bandages around his face) and nursing some broken bones. but he was able to identify and acknowledge us.

It seems he would survive an recover, thankfully.

I just reached home a few minutes back. And all along the way back I had but only one thought.

How sudden and unpredictable life is.. and how much dependent we all are for our survival on the virtues of our society, on the mood and courage of our fellow beings!

An incident like this puts many things in perspective. Seeing what is known to all, and happens time and again, I wondered why people don’t have the courage and the heart to stop and help someone in need?

And what was most disheartening was that many of those who moved on, they were those my age, the youth!

We, the ones, who on one hand are responsible for changing conventional mind-sets of our society, who bring in waves of change in politics and what not; and on the other, we still follow the pretend play of closing our eyes and moving on! Such double standards, I ask?

I have never stepped back from my social responsibility and will continue to do so till I can, but will someone stop by for me in my time of need?

With so many instances all around us daily, I cannot help but think that if even 20 people stop to help someone in need daily, 20 lives can be saved in a day!

Think about them, those who can be helped, their families, their future, their lives which would follow thereafter!

I have nothing more to say but this, only if I have the courage today to be selfless, to stop and save someone in need, will someone tomorrow do the same for me.

Think about it.
(sorry for the long rant, but I had to do it)
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Friday, December 5, 2014

The Cause and effect of Google’s driverless cars.

image

In case you haven’t been living under a rock, you must be aware of the Google’s Self-Driving Cars.

What was a starter project by Google for developing autonomous cars, the concept is now beyond the experimental stages and nearing its implementation.

In the US, these "self-driving” cars were first introduced in Nevada followed by Florida, the second state to allow autonomous cars on state roads, followed up by California.

Now UK is planning to allow driverless cars on public roads from 2015.

So all this seems like a pretty cool implementation of technology which is even publically accessible! But what are the effects of this cause?

‘Effects’ you may ask? Yes, there are effects here too.

Since safety is a prime focus and problem area these cars are aimed to tackle, there is the statistics of low mortality which will slowly be prevalent.

The MakerBot founder Bre Pettis said in his recent interview with Fortune, that

“…the take off of self-driving cars could lead us to more organ shortages than ever, since a major source of organ donations come from car accident victims.

We have this huge problem that we sort of don't talk about, that people die all the time from car accidents, Right now, our best supply of organs comes from car accidents. So, if you need an organ you just wait for somebody to have an accident, and then you get their organ and you're better."

Sounds gross? Yes, but sadly, that is the reality.

As per the current statistics - 

“30,000 people die in traffic collisions in the U.S. and 90% of U.S. auto collisions are blamed on human error, and 40% are the result of factors such as alcohol, drugs or fatigue. Therefore robotic cars, such as Google driverless Car, are designed to navigate roads and keep passengers safe.”

“So if there is less car deaths, organ donations would be adversely impacted. Then the 3D printed organ might be a solution. Although this is a dark way of looking at it, Griffith also agrees that Pettis has a point. Pettis pointed out that 3D printing organs will not be the focus of development until the self-driving technology causes the shortages.”

So here is the cause, and the effect, all clearly defined.

And unless the 3D organ printing becomes a viable and an effective solution, sadly the statistics for death by accidents and death due to lack of organ donations would eventually even out.

References: http://fortune.com/2014/08/15/if-driverless-cars-save-lives-where-will-we-get-organs/

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Cause and effect of Google’s driverless cars.

image

In case you haven’t been living under a rock, you must be aware of the Google’s Self-Driving Cars.

What was a starter project by Google for developing autonomous cars, the concept is now beyond the experimental stages and nearing its implementation.

In the US, these "self-driving” cars were first introduced in Nevada followed by Florida, the second state to allow autonomous cars on state roads, followed up by California.

Now UK is planning will allow driverless cars on public roads from 2015.

So all this seems like a pretty cool implementation of technology which is even publically accessible! But what are the effects of this cause?

‘Effects’ you may ask? Yes, there are effects here too.

Since safety is a prime focus and problem area these cars are aimed to tackle, there is the statistics of low mortality which will slowly be prevalent.

The MakerBot founder Bre Pettis said in his recent interview with Fortune, that

“…the take off of self-driving cars could lead us to more organ shortages than ever, since a major source of organ donations come from car accident victims.

We have this huge problem that we sort of don't talk about, that people die all the time from car accidents, Right now, our best supply of organs comes from car accidents. So, if you need an organ you just wait for somebody to have an accident, and then you get their organ and you're better."

Sounds gross? Yes, but sadly, that is the reality.

As per the current statistics - 

“30,000 people die in traffic collisions in the U.S. and 90% of U.S. auto collisions are blamed on human error, and 40% are the result of factors such as alcohol, drugs or fatigue. Therefore robotic cars, such as Google driverless Car, are designed to navigate roads and keep passengers safe.”

“So if there is less car deaths, organ donations would be adversely impacted. Then the 3D printed organ might be a solution. Although this is a dark way of looking at it, Griffith also agrees that Pettis has a point. Pettis pointed out that 3D printing organs will not be the focus of development until the self-driving technology causes the shortages.”

So here is the cause, and the effect, all clearly defined.

And unless the 3D organ printing becomes a viable and an effective solution, sadly the statistics for death by accidents and death due to lack of organ donations would eventually even out.

References: http://fortune.com/2014/08/15/if-driverless-cars-save-lives-where-will-we-get-organs/

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Askme.com–Quite safely, the Wikipedia of desi-deals !

These are the days, when we do more stuff online than physically. Gone are the days when the only way to get fun from a shopping spree involved bearing the heat in overcrowded parking lots, and overstuffed malls! 
Complementing this lifestyle and ongoing trends, are various price comparison sites, which help us nail down that too good to be true deals and schemes. And quite literary, they make the best of stuff just a merry click away!
Facilitating this are now the never-ending mobile apps and websites. One of this, is a new contender, which is slowly going the popular way – AskMeBazaar.
This online portal will help you…
- Nail that perfect deal!
- Get that relevant and real review!
- Compare real time prices and get the best deals from the best stores!

and much much more!
And complementing this excellent portal is the fresh from the oven app – AskMe.Com!
Get it from the Google play store, and use it to do what the site does, but one step better!
Some screen shots follow -
The home screenimage
Search for Pizza deals!image
and much more!
So go ahead, install and enjoy the bargains!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Using MySQL / Java and getting the noAccessToProcedureBodies issue? Read on..

java_logo
If you use much the MySQL + Java setup, you may have faced the ‘noAccessToProcedureBodies’ error while accessing stored procedures (mostly remotely).
The chances are that the procedure was created by another user (i.e. the DEFINER attribute), and the calling user is different.
I recently faced this issue in one of my projects, where-in we were trying to execute a remote DB’s stored procedure from a java application.
A common solution on the internet is to use the “noAccessToProcedureBodies=true” option in the JDBC connection string.
This seems to work for most of the people out there, but sadly didn’t work for us. What we tried then is another option called the “useInformationSchema=true”.
We removed the earlier option ‘noAccessToProcedureBodies’ option and added this in the JDBC string. This solution too eluded us, but then I tried upgrading the mysql-connector. We were using the mysql-connector-java-5.1.9 version which ideally should have worked (as we just needed a > 5.0.4 version for the solution)
But then I upgraded this to the mysql_connector_java_5.1.30 and this functionality started behaving as expected!
So, the end solution was to use the ‘useInformationSchema’ in the JDBC conn string and have the latest connector in place!
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rapid Environment Editor – A must have for every developer using Windows OS!

If your development environment is Windows, Rapid Environment Editor is going to be your new favorite power user application.

Rapid Environment Editor screenshot

This nifty little application is helpful in readily accessing the obscure to change OS environment variables.

It provides an easy to use GUI where-in you can boss around your Windows Environment with ease and with much more power than the small and “hard to understand” default environment editor.

The home URL is here.

The latest version RapidEE 8.x supports all versions of Windows, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, Windows 7 & 8 and both 32 and 64-bit versions. It is also available as a portable download!