Wednesday, December 27, 2006

problem using flatLRF

I've downloaded flatLRF from but it's not doing recursive downloads of all pages linked from the URL - only converting the first page. Wonder why.

opening mms links from firefox

Wonder why the firefox team did not add a nice gui for this one:

1) Type in about:config" in the FireFox address bar.
2) Right-click and select "New" and then "String"
3) In the first dialog box, as preference name, type in
4) In the second dialog box, as string value, type in gmplayer (or whatever the path of your media player is - on Windows it will be wmplayer)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Avoiding echo in voice chat apps like skype

Make sure that your volume control settings are fine, and also move the mic and speaker as far away as possible. If possible use headphones, of course.

Double-click the speaker icon
1. Choose Options | Properties from the menu.
2. In the Adjust volumes for rectangle, click on Recording.
3. Make sure that only "Microphone" is checked - make sure all others are muted.
4. Choose OK.
5. Choose Options | Properties from the menu.
6. In the Adjust volumes for rectangle, click on Playback
7. Make sure Microphone is muted or volume is turned fully down.

The person at the other end also has to do these steps for best results.

video advice

Another question asked of the sage was:
I have some Quicktime .mov files which I want to stitch together. What software can I use? I run XP...

First recommended Windows Movie Maker as being bundled with XP. But it cannot open mov files, of course. Then lent out an old copy of Ulead VideoStudio ver 3 which had come bundled with an old ATI video card (circa 1999-2000, which says it will not work with Windows NT!) Hope it worked. If not, convert mov to avi with MOV2AVI or Rad video tools or something like that...


Last night I'd been to the GH to help the doctor there with the new Philips Ultrasound Scanner (Echo machine). It had acquisition of still or video built-in, but poor Dr. G didn't know how to use it. Went thru the quick-start guide and found that hitting "Menu" while in the "Report" view brings up the images which are previously saved by hitting "Freeze" and "Acquire"..... No place to plug in a printer, either. Not very user-friendly, but better than Sirius Cybernetics products, I suppose!

Wireless networking security aka WEP aka SSID

Another question-answer session:
How to set the security bit in a wireless router ? So that neighbors do not
log into your network ?

Google the exact name of the router, find a manual or user-guide...

The technology is called WEP. (Wired Equivalent Privacy) . So what you have to look for is how to enable WEP...


Thursday, December 21, 2006

PRS-500 Sony Portable Reader - short review

Now that I've been trying out the reader for a few days, here are my thoughts.

Readability - very good.

Battery life - very good so far.

Responsiveness - very very poor. Especially large pdfs - page turn takes 5.5 seconds for a 30 MB pdf! I timed it. Even menu navigation is extremely sluggish. But page turns for BBeB and txt files are quite acceptable - just over 1 sec.

Sony Connect store - no freebies! But easy to use if you don't mind spending dollars.

Fanbase - pretty good, with sites like Mobileread

So far I've been converting whatever I want to read to txt files and then syncing with the Windows only Connect Reader software. Won't experiment too much with Linux sw, since the Reader will go to A soon. Windows sw for converting to LRF would be useful...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Planet hiccups

After our "major surgery" to the control system, again some hiccups for the "Daily Motion" and "Annual Motion" - driver cards suspected, because shuffling the cards makes them work.

Task tracker

Now we are evaluating (courtesy PB) another trouble ticket or task tracking solution - crm-ctt . Looks very nice and polished, PB reports a trouble-free and helpful install.


Lots of posts backlogged, will try to clear when I have time.

Anyway, here is an email exchange - nothing that cannot solve...

Need advice:

Video material on DV tape captured in to computer using Firewire.

1 Now needs to be converted to VCD. How to preserve the best quality.

2.Suppose the same material is converted to DivX.

3. Any good video editor (open licence) that you are aware of.


My reply:

1. The best VCD encoding was by TMPGEnc - - free
for VCD, need to buy for DVD encoding.

2. Use Virtualdub after XVid codec is installed.

3. I suppose you want to edit the DV video before it is encoded? In that
case, many of the free apps bundled with DVD writers, camcorders and so on
do an acceptable job - even Microsoft Movie Maker
which is bundled with XP. Generally Titling, fading in and out of scenes
etc can be easily done with any such SW.

In case you want to cut the VCD encoded file, TMPGEnc has some rudimentary
mpg cut and join tools, which seem to be once again as good as the best in
the market.

Do you remember using the Panasonic Mpeg encoder ?

Yes, TMPG and Panasonic are equally well rated for quality. Panasonic is
non-free. (and I suspect no longer supported?)

Monday, December 04, 2006

database cleanup

Some misc stuff takes up so much time! Checking disc contents at Melb and Jo'berg, verifying which files are missing locally and which missing remotely, etc and the usual mails and so on took up the whole morning! Anyway, useful, since it cleaned up some space at Jo'berg by deleting some wav files, and got one Conversation out of hibernation which had missed being sent to Melb.

Commented out the last line of deleting temp table in database, did the query as
select "filename" from file_id where filename not in (select filename from temp);
select "filename" from temp where filename not in (select filename from file_id);

Thursday, November 30, 2006

video work for Planet

Morning went in dumping to tape English, Hindi and Telugu versions of the intro and outro movies for "Wonders of the Night Sky". The DV player had some glitches with some tapes, InshaAllah no problems with these videos.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


favourably impressed - no fuss install on Linux also, works over NAT, no interminable delays in the voice, quite low network usage.

converting wmv to ipod

Untested list of software:

Windows: SUPER


adding a website in IIS

from a mail to DG

Steps to set up:

Start->Administrative tools->IIS manager

Right Click on Websites tab on left, choose New->Website, go through the

Choose host header as or whatever you want to have

Choose the appropriate folder as the home directory

Change dns server records to point or whatever to the ip
address assigned to our server. (this step can be done only by A for and by me for

Monday, November 20, 2006

benefits of multitasking

Having the Pilot and the laptop in the Mandir is a boon. During the "waiting" time the previous session's programme editing can be done, and during the session, when there is a non-critical time, I can even finish writing PB!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

bug in mandrake 10 network utility

Using drakconf, when I change the ip address and netmask, the broadcast address is not changed. This leads to strange behaviour, with machines on the same subnet being available, pinging fine, but machines outside the subnet not pinging, showing "Network unreachable". Manual editing of /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 and service network restart works fine.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

record number of listeners

We have got a new record for concurrent listeners on Radio Sai, 307 listeners at the peak of the Akhanda Bhajan. And in 2006, we have served more than 148,000 distinct hosts.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

router hiccup and routine

Mostly routine work except a router problem at Jo'burg which prevented incoming connects and broke dns resolution from that machine. Changing the router solved the problem.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

recognize capacitors

Wanted to verify the value of the capacitors we had, googled
recognize 100 kilo pico farad capacitor
and got

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

installing tor and general comments

I'd found that I couldn't make the latest version of tor - configure was not recognizing the libevent which I'd installed.

Yesterday I was talking to KR about open source and mindsets and spouted my views on it, then thought I'd be somewhat two-faced if I did not give equal coverage of the problems with open source and Linux. And basically the problem is that you have to take time to get quite a bit of stuff working.

So, in this case, the installation doc on the website did not help much, but the INSTALL file in the tar.gz download suggested
./configure --with-libevent-dir=/usr/local
and hey presto, it works!

While using tor too, one needs to do some manual tweaking - the timeout interval seems too long or something like that, and sometimes the speed drops dramatically. Ctrl-c to stop tor and starting it again makes it faster again.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

bug in our podcast pages

Our on-demand pages were not appearing properly on IE all these days! The problem was not closing </object> tags for the flash player!

But even with properly formatted object tags, IE draws the page very very slowly, even scrolling is very slow. Will have to look for an alternate way of doing things. PB suggests google player...

asp bug in DateAdd

This bug relates to the return value of DateAdd when presented with a date-time object which doesn't have date info, but only time info. Caused our schedule page to show 12/31/1899 instead of 12 AM for midnight.

Copy-paste from a mail I wrote to RI about this:

Adding a (fictitious) date part to the
(relevant) time part seems to
solve the problem when it is a simple string as in testdatetime.asp

In the actual radiosai.asp code, things get more sticky.

There, the time part is a Date/Time formatted recordset field.

yields 10/26/2006 1:00:00 AM which already has a date part tacked on! And the
buggy part is, when the time crosses 6.30 pm, the date part vanishes!

What I did was to convert it into a string using the built-in type conversions
by just adding a space in front of it.

d=" " & rsSGH("dps_Time")
for the times upto midnight and

d="27-Oct-2006 " & rsSGH("dps_Time")
for the times midnight and later.

instead of DateAdd("n",addTime,rsSGH("dps_Time"))

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

changing default applications

Changing the default application for a file-type - in kcontrol (in Mandrake, this has the menu shortcut K -> System -> Configuration -> Configure your desktop)

Components -> File Associations.

According to

changed the default app for html to firefox, but with a change - firefox needs the "Command" field to be
firefox %u 
- not
firefox openURL %u text/html
like for konqueror

mp4 video files

Digital digest has a good guide for playback and conversion -

Unfortunately mostly Windows. MEncoder is always there... as also the latest MPlayer.

Monitor calibration prg

From A - a link - to Nokia test monitor calibration software.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

sending Sai Inspires mails - procedure

1. Choose the template which you want to send with, make it "Default" using
the radio button beside it on the right side.

2. Choose 'send a message' from the RHS menu column

3. In the content tab, just put a space as the content, choose Save changes at

4. In the scheduling tab, embargo until a few minutes earlier, or midnight of
the day you want to send. choose save changes at bottom.

5. In the Lists tab choose Sai Inspires list radio button, choose the send
message button.

6. Choose process queue from RHS menu. It is safe to close the browser window once it finishes the initial few seconds of processing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

network traffic graphing

R wanted an easier solution than MRTG.
has quite a few links, including cacti
and quite a few nice mrtg configuration tricks. The following from "doc" is a nice one.

Here's a mrtg example that simply uses ifconfig to obtain statistical info: ** /etc/mrtg.cfg **

WorkDir: /var/www/mrtg
WriteExpires: Yes
Refresh: 300

WithPeak[^]: wym
Suppress[^]: y
MaxBytes[^]: 96

Title[^]: Traffic Analysis for HOST.NAME

Target[eth0]: `/usr/local/bin/mrtg-data eth0`
MaxBytes1[eth0]: 13107200
MaxBytes2[eth0]: 13107200
Title[eth0]: Traffic Analysis for network device eth0 [External]
PageTop[eth0]: Internet Link

Target[lo]: `/usr/local/bin/mrtg-data lo`
MaxBytes1[lo]: 13107200
MaxBytes2[lo]: 13107200
Title[lo]: Traffic Analysis for network device lo [localhost]
PageTop[lo]: Local lo / loopback device

And /usr/local/bin/mrtg-data:


if test -z "$DEV"; then echo No device specified; exit 1; fi

INFO=`grep $DEV /proc/net/dev | tr -s ' ' ' ' | cut -d: -f2`
RECEIVE=`echo $INFO | cut -d" " -f1`
TRANSMIT=`echo $INFO | cut -d" " -f9`
UPTIME=`uptime | tr -s ' ' ' ' | cut -d" " -f4-`

echo $UPTIME
echo "HOST.NAME"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

hosting problems

Nettigritty seems to be having some problems - yesterday the dns server for our domain went on the blink, today the pages were asking for uname and pw! Thankfully their tech support is real fast.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Connect speeds

Here's a very interesting graph from Google analytics about the connections speeds of visitors to and this is the largest percentage of dialup users among radiosai sites! Saicast has the minimum, with 9%.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Audio processing...

...currently going on in this "lean period" 'tween festivals is - 1984 Gita Discourses, talks by American devotees ("Sandweiss Collection")...

more on the on-demand audio

Following up on my earlier post the on-demand part was met by a nice flash-based player, XSPF Web Music Player. Adding all this makes the html markup a bit long, but it seems worth it!

Monday, October 09, 2006


SCh (MTech) had asked me some days back two routing related problems:

1. A multi-homed Win2K machine was being used as a router between two subnets. Machines on either sides could ping each other, but Windows shares were not accessible - solution?

2. A hardware router, "Broadband router" from DLink, with the requirement again of machines on either side to be able to use Windows shares on both subnets.

I'd collected some links:

for win2000 routing:
An example of a hardware router:
For effective routing, make the router the default gateway:

Told SCh I couldn't help with the DLink router without knowing the exact model number. The other problem he solved himself - the Win2K machine had a firewall running, which was blocking Windows Networking.

Edit: (added 20th Nov, from a mail I sent him on 11th Nov)
Googling 'DLINK DI-524 manual' gives the Dlink page with the manual as well as
a simulation of the web-based configuration wizard. It appears that with this
router, what you want to do - allow machines on the other side of the network
to access windows shares on the inside - is not possible directly. The manual
clearly states that this router only works with NAT - no direct modification
of router tables is possible.

You can use the Virtual Server setting in the router and allow machines
outside to connect to machines inside, but configuring it for more than one
system would be difficult for Windows shares.

Friday, October 06, 2006

tor libevent problem

Found that many people have the same problem as me with compiling tor (tor- which says it requires libevent. Installing libevent again doesn't help - it says
error: Found linkable libevent in (system), but it doesn't run, even with -R.  
Maybe specify another using --with-libevent-dir?
Don't know the solution yet.

Edit - resolved - here.

Refresher course in source rpm s

To install package.src.rpm, do
rpm --rebuild package.src.rpm
which will compile it and create an rpm file (binary) in /usr/src/RPM/RPMS/i586/ or someplace (which will be printed out)
Then just do
rpm -Uvh
of the created rpm file.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Picasa saves the day

The Kodak Easyshare CX 4320 which I'd been using with flPhoto (and gPhoto2 I suppose) suddenly commenced non-cooperation. Tho the thumbnails would be displayed, "Download" produced no effect. Finally installed Picasa, and it worked like a charm. But no EXIF data, and need to "Export" pix after editing. The editing tools are real easy to use.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

more podcast/on-demand adventures

B asked that the podcast page be revised to have one Download link, which would force a download dialog, and one listen link, which would let people listen on-demand.

The download part was already researched earlier, with a script from . Slightly modified to prevent people from accessing any files outside the relevant folder, using split(strFilePath,"\") and split(strFilePath,"/").

The asp script would not run at first, and IIS6 was giving a 404 error! Had to go to Web extensions and explicitly allow asp.

Next, it was running out of buffer for larger files. Googled, found that the default buffer was 4 MB. Some of our files are even > 20 MB. While non-buffered solution might have been more elegant, since that has to be implemented site-wide and might cause other weird side effects, decided to go for increasing the buffer. AspBufferingLimit in C:\WINDOWS\system32\inetsrv\metabase.xml

First opened the metabase.xml in Wordpad, modified and tried to save -
couldn't, since IIS was running. Stopped IIS from Services->IIS Mgt (it
stopped SMTP, SSL, WWW Publishing service etc) and then saved, OK.

But when started IIS Mgt, refused to start. Wordpad had corrupted the file,
adding ? in various places. Opened it in Notepad to see line numbers, checked
the various line numbers shown in Event Viewer error messages, guessed the
correct characters (like Proce?s = Process ) and saved the metabase.xml. Then
IIS Mgt service started OK, SMTP, SSL, WWW services started OK, but website was not showing anything, other websites were OK.

Guessed that some of the corrupted lines were in the logging part, so opened
the logging in Properties of Radiosai Downloads website, added a tick mark to
"Time taken" and restarted the website -> Voila! it works.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

totem and firefox crashes

Totem video player was crashing when it autostarts on putting in DVDs. Opened totem, opened an mpg file on hard disk, saw that the window size was set very small, changed to view 1:1, exited, then no more crashes.

Firefox 1.5 is fast and renders stuff which had problems with my old Mozilla, but it keeps crashing, like when I start typing here without the entire page loading, when I quit while a page is still loading, and so on. Then an X restart is needed to use it again, or else I go back to Mozilla like now.

using X-apps on remote Windows machine with putty

Posted in PCQ forum:

"VNC will need its port to be open, and by default it is unencrypted.

In case you want to tunnel X over SSH for greater security, you can do that also. You should install and run an X server on the Windows machine. There are many, including free ones based on cygwin.

Xming, a Free Software port of the X Window Server to Microsoft

can be download from

(This is from PB)

(VNC in "listen" mode also probably works - I've not tried this. X-Manager is a shareware X server on Windows which has the ability to connect over ssh built-in.)

Once you have an X-server running on Windows, in putty, tick the check-box "Enable X forwarding" in Connection->SSH->Tunnels

Then run any X app from the ssh commandline, and the relevant window will open.

file truncated

The email daemon sent
Total length for playlist : 23 hrs 38 mins 38 secs.
Playlist Status : ERROR

Commented out rm $SUM_FILE_LENGTH in the test_sgh_playlist script, saw the file lengths in ~/tmp/sumplaylistlen.tmp found the ARMY DD to be the culprit, re-uploading. Put the rm $SUM_FILE_LENGTH back.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Windows crashes with DVD writer

I've not yet got down to analysing why XP crashes with the DVD writer - mostly while reading. Probably some driver issue, since it does not happen the machine is booted into Linux. So, instead of correcting the problem, I'm just doing my Cd/DVD work in Linux, except for the Audio CD extraction. For that also, Dharma with the Plexwriter is much faster. (Plexwriter 24/10/40A CD writer versus Sony 16x DVD writer).

removing unnecessary volume shortcuts

KDE / Automount had made /mnt/removable /mnt/removable2 /mnt/removable3 on my Desktop - whenever I shut down without unplugging, remove the USB device and restart and re-plug it, a new shortcut was being created. Tried to remove them by deleting the entries from /etc/fstab and restarting the session. Didn't work. Spent half an hour trying to find relevant .desktop files. Didn't find any. Finally just restarted the whole system, that did it! Now the entries are removed, and when I plug in a USB device, it is seen as Hard Disk and mounted at /mnt/removable

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hindi web development links

Here are some very informative pages about implementing Hindi:
says dreamweaver MX supports Hindi, and gives instructions on configuring
gives detailed info on what unicode encoding means and how to do web
development with unicode, including using dreamweaver. Read this page in its
entireity to understand the subject well.
links to MS keyboard layouts etc
links to Phonetic input software (transliteration) from Microsoft
(if you want to copy-paste from websites which use methods other than Unicode)
has a fonts package if you want some more fonts
( is a Unicode input tool. Not really required, unless you want to try its
transliteration capabilities - if any. includes detailed installation
instructions at )
(speech to text and text to speech products, just for fun)

Monday, September 18, 2006

more on dvd

Another thing with making dvds. Using DVDShrink to cram in 4.5 hours into a dvd, need to put the "High Quality Adaptive Error Compensation" to 'Smooth' instead of the default 'Sharp'. The default is good for stuff with higher bitrates.

Also, deinterlacing the video at the encoding stage may have been a good idea.

And, of course, the known problem of writing DVD volumes created with DVDStyler with Nero - it says VIDEO_TS.VOB not found... - probably related to the fact that DVDStyler does not allow you to put in a starting video. So, iso file is the only option. And that needs a filesystem which supports files > 4 GB...

my experience with dvdstyler on windows

Copying and pasting from the bug report I've posted at sourceforge for dvdstyler:

Version DVDStyler-1.4_1-win32u.exe on WinXP with
Service packs etc installed.

Windows crashes repeatedly when the iso filesize
reaches/ crosses 4 GB.

Filesystem on which the iso was made was actually ext3,
mounted on Windows with the ext2 driver for Windows

(Finally rebooted into Linux, changed the xml file's
paths from Windows paths to Linux paths, successfully
made iso in the same volume.)

(Other windows utils like Virtualdub have no probs
making files > 4 GB on the same ext3 volume)

Friday, September 15, 2006

lots of saicast video uploads

Not much happening in Mandir + nearing upload limit at Jo'burg + not feeling like doing coding for podcasts + wanting to get rid of CD clutter + wanting to get some disk space cleared up = lots of uploads to saicast!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Finally learnt what the "salary scale" means.


means starts with basic pay of 2000 which increases every month till the salary reaches 3000, and then increases at the rate of 400 per month till it reaches 4200 then increases by 800 per month... and so on. Of course, this set of numbers is totally fictitious.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

upside down display!

Just now got a call from RP, saying his display (on WinXP Pro) had turned upside down when he went away locking the screen! Display driver corruption, I suppose.

Of course, there is an option to turn it upside down, as
point 19 says.

getting isilo onto the Palm Pilot v1

Unfortunately, I could not locate the PCQ CD which had the iSilo application for using on the old Plam Pilot. The one currently available requires Palm OS v3 and above, and this one is v2. So, tried the Wayback Machine and found the old iSilo site. iSilo Free was available from itself. For the others, traced the name of the downloads as (for Windows) and (for Linux) and found them with Google at


These produce files almost exactly the same size as with the current iSiloX utility (for plain text files), but are recognized by the older version of iSilo.

disk full

sftp to Joburg gave error
ID mismatch 600 != 9
or something like that. Of course, reason was disk full...

Monday, September 11, 2006

podcast and planet

Yesterday was a biggie for routine work - processed half a GB of files to upload! That's quite a few hours of broadcast, and quite a few CDs. Did quite a few on Friday, too.

And today was productive in other areas -

1. go-ahead from KVR for changing our planetarium control system wiring, changing the computer signal injection from before the input multiplexer stage to after the output demultiplexer stage....

2. podcasting code tweaking for nearly 3 hours at a stretch till now.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

firefox steals mozilla window

Interestingly, having a firefox window open causes it to "steal" windows from mozilla opened remotely on another machine with X-forwarding! Instead of a window with the remote mozilla, the local firefox opens another window!

Only way out was to close firefox, or use konqueror instead on the remote machine.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

installed firefox

Installed firefox 1.5, and find many pages load faster etc. Some optimizations? Or just that I was browsing at a time when the Net was faster? Anyway, Gmail is accessible...

radiosai mails changed to gmail

made MX records point to krishna, with krishna forwarding radiosai domain also to gmail accounts like for the sssihl domain. No more mail-box-full-bounces, InshaAllah.

Making playlist, troubleshooting horns amp howling in Mandir (9.45 to 10.45, it was due to a bad amp) and then the gmail acc creations and config took all morning.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

vox and others

Looked at Vox and others like Odeo to get ideas for podcasting, hosting of "private" pix and audio etc. Need registration etc. Yahoo photos is easier to use...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

telephone cable cut

It is not too many people who run radio stations who get their telephone cables cut by a pet elephant!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

installing egroupware for PDS

Trying to use egroupware for PDS work assignments, using the Trouble Ticket system - TTS. Lets see if it works out.

extracting files from tar.gz file

tar -zxvf ezfoo-extension-1.0.tar.gz

Must remember at least such basics!

Edit: and for tar.bz2,

tar -xjvf ezfoo-extension-1.0.tar.bz2

Monday, August 21, 2006

bulb change

Changed the Planetarium instrument's star lamp xenon bulb assembly. Whole process of taking out old one, finding spare and replacing took 90 minutes! The good part is that now KR (M) can do it himself also - replacing the assembly (after a trial with an old bulb which turned out to be bad) was done by him.

writely and other web tools

Google has put put as a beta. A had sent me the link to writely just before Google bought it. Seems good. I'd like to have an "export to UTF-8 encoded text-only" option...

And a review of website change-detection services...

Perhaps a bit dated.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Busy days

Morning 6.30 to night 10 - recording, editing, etc - Ati Rudra Maha Yagnam...

And tonight troubleshooting colinux smbfs problem - permissions change on loading MS update? Followed by tomorrow's scheduled recording start at 5 AM...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Windows Media quality

I'd told G that even with Windows Media 9, there is no substantial improvement in the video quality for our streaming services. And my test runs also showed the same. Today, while trying WM9 for transporting video from Studio to Planet, saw that for "Download and play" option, VBR is available, while for the streaming server option, only CBR is available in WM Encoder. And VBR makes a substantial improvement! Unfortunately we cannot use it...

Monday, August 07, 2006

mail server blacklisted

Our gateway server got blacklisted on

Blocked port 25 as they suggest for all NATed machines (could have viruses/spyware on them) and allowed only the legit mailserver to connect to port 25 on internal network. Checked it by using nmap with spoofed ip address of internal machine: nmap option -S

Sunday, August 06, 2006

MD Deck audio sync test

There was some suspicion if the newly repaired MD deck MDS-S50 has some audio timing drift, esp. since now it has been converted from 100 V to 220 V. Checked out with a test recording onto the 100V deck, played back and recorded from the repaired deck, the 100V deck and also the new 220V deck. All three recordings sync'ed perfectly after half an hour - used multi-track mode in Cool Edit Pro to do the comparison, recording track by track on Sathya. The portable MD player is yet to be tested this way.

more on Coral Cache

After my last post, some more digging at led me to this post on their mailing list, and a bug-report on the wiki which might explain things:

Also some nifty near-real-time views of the Earth!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Coral Cache problems in the US

Confirmation for G's report that the Coral Cached link on H2H was not working for him:,_Anyone_Have_a_Mirror_

So the problem was only in some places, as the comments on the post show.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

choosing a video capture card

M wants a video capture card to archive his old VHS tapes.

Based on the shootout at The Desk Top Video Handbook On Line ver 14.0 and Video Capture Card Round-Up VIII March 2004 update (now supplanted by Video Capture Card Round-Up March 2005 update) which he sent me, here's my recommendation.

First, check if the system has USB2. For this, Open Device Manager and expand the Universal Serial Bus section. There should be an "Enhanced" USB host controller present.

In case you want to try DV also, note the Hard disk's number from Device Manager - google will tell whether it is 7200 rpm or not.

Plextor ConvertX PX-M402U $149.95 would be good if the system is a P4 or faster than 1 GHz and has USB2. But availability in India is doubtful.

Pinnacle MovieBox USB 9 $188.00 is known to be available and is a good product for writing VCD/DVD.

Pinnacle Studio Deluxe 9 $188.00 is a better buy if the hard disk is 7200 rpm - can be used for DV also along with analog.

screen commands in brief

Some useful commands:
screen by itself starts a new screen terminal
Within screen, ctrl-a is the prefix for commands to screen.

So, Ctrl-a d to detach the screen
screen -x to re-attach to detached screen - it prompts you if more than one screen instance is running.

Within screen,

Ctrl-a c to create a new screen terminal
Ctrl-a w to list all screen terminals (on the title bar)
Ctrl-a 2 to go to the second terminal on screen
Ctrl-a n to go to the nth terminal on screen

Simple Ctrl-d (or exit) will log out of a screen terminal, or in case it is the only screen terminal, screen exits.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some web-design work

Radio Sai schedule page has been updated:

1. Calendar with Show | Hide
2. Link to play web stream
3. Link to today's schedule
4. Cookie remembers not just country but also the radiostation: AfriStar, AsiaStar or Web

Major coding by RK.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mod-Rewrite for IIS

A very nice open source ISAPI filter, helps in doing all sorts of server-side stuff like blocking based on referer:

Friday, July 28, 2006

redirecting with http headers

Just a single line in the file,
<meta HTTP-EQUIV="REFRESH" content="0; url=http://whatever.i.want/">

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Setting up the playlist creation system

Trying to duplicate the playlist creation system on a laptop - Acer TravelMate 2423.

1. Installed Mandrake 10 for max compatibility, ease of porting apps from desktop. Also make user sgh.

2. Installed apache2, mod-php, php-mysql, php-pgsql, phppgadmin

3. Had to make the sgh user and db. Struggled a bit, finally saw the README.mdk in /usr/share/doc/postgresql-server-7.4.1/ -
After you installed the packages, here is the procedure to
start quickly but nicely.

1- Become root user on your machine. (su)
2- Become postgres user. (su postgres)
3- Create a user (createuser)
4- Be sure that the postmaster is running (service postgresql status)
5- Logout from the postgres and the root account.
6- Test it. (psql -U [username])
This will fail, saying FATAL sgh database does not exist. You have do do an extra step before step 6 - run
as user sgh.

Directly trying to run phppgadmin fails. This is because the default install of postgres will not allow connects on port 5432 - it allows only connects with the local UNIX sockets. So, psql will work, phppgadmin will not, till you modify the pg_hba.conf in /var/lib/pgsql/ -
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        IP-ADDRESS        IP-MASK           METHOD

local all all ident sameuser
host all all trust
and also pg_hba.conf says,
#Also, remember TCP/IP connections are only enabled
# if you enable "tcpip_socket" in postgresql.conf

So, accordingly, changed false to true: tcpip_socket = true in postgresql.conf and did
service postgresql restart
Voila! netstat -a shows
tcp 0 0 *:postgres *:* LISTEN

Now phppgadmin works. Agreed that this is not suitable for multi-user systems... (the trust all users part). Changing to md5 instead of trust, restarted postgresql, instantly stopped stuff from working. Problem was that the password had not been set. Easiest way - first enable the trust connection, then in phppgadmin, User Admin in the system tables - edit the sgh user, add the appropriate password, and now the md5 authentication works. Otherwise, while creating the user, createuser -P will prompt for the new user's password.

OK, how about inserting the existing database from the database dump? For a refresher, the commands were
pg_dump sgh > sghdbdump.txt 
psql -d sgh -f sghdbdump.txt
But it gave an error,
language "plpgsql" does not exist
HINT: You need to use "createlang" to load the language into the database.

And createlang plpgsql says
createlang: language installation failed: ERROR: could not access file "$libdir/plpgsql": No such file or directory. Checking out locate plpgsql and whereis plpgsql did not find it. So, will consult PB and Google on installing it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Analytics working!

I'd not checked the Google Analytics results on except by looking at the site overlay. On the site overlay, the "external links" to the pls and asx files were showing zero hits. But taking a look at the Content Performance report, the hits have been counted! Maybe it's an issue with GA's site overlay - will try to ask them. Meanwhile, I can go ahead with Coral cache and on-demand!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

initial trouble with the Pilot

Initially, the Pilot did not show any display, even after reset, hard reset and new alkaline batteries. Then just on a whim opened the back "memory gate" just to look at the innards, and the display came on. Maybe the reset button had got stuck or something. After that it has been working just fine.

lazy or very clever?

Yesterday I mentioned "lazy ISPs" blocking entire domains instead of the 17 sites GOI wanted blocked. But maybe they were not lazy? Maybe they just wanted to let everyone know that sites were being blocked without getting their hands wet?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lots of stuff to post

1. Floppy drive on the Satellite Pro (1996 vintage) failed, so I couldn't type stuff there and get it to office for posting. But now doing so using an old Palm Pilot - version 1 - with 1 MB RAM and serial port cradle - syncing it at the room with the provided Pilot Desktop SW and here on JPilot.

2. domain was blocked by Govt of India! Actually by lazy ISPs. And now back again. Wrote to our Prez about it in the heat of the moment.

3. Finally posted on pcq forum about the "CPU util" in their HDD banchmarking.

4. Planetarium system down! "Home in progress" doesn't go off. Troubleshooting, checking out the "ATM CLR" signal.

5. DMACS conference - and had to redraft a poster paper (in fact two papers) since my name had been added as a co-author.

6. Edited the Malayalam in the Wikipedia post made by A - with the help of online transliteration by .

Monday, July 17, 2006


Interesting concept for content delivery to mobiles. Found via bluepulseblog on Blogger's 'blogs of note'.

Monday, July 10, 2006

javascript errors

Seeing that pages are showing Javascript errors when viewed in IE (or Maxthon, which uses IE engine):
Error:Invalid character

Error:Object expected
This second one corresponds to the Urchin javascript for Google Analytics. Some reassurance - the same error is appearing in Blogger too!

lots o'work

1. DVD encoding going on in the background while I do audio work. DVDIt had some PAL-NTSC problem or something of that kind. Also, quality of the Matrox encoder is poorer than the 2-pass encoder which ships with NeroVision Express which I've got bundled with the DVD writer! So, Matrox DV export, taken to NeroVision Express, write to hard disk folder. Repeat for next episode when ready. Finally use DVDShrink in Re-Author mode to put all the files together in one DVD.

2. Interesting use for the "scientific filter" in SoundForge - 15,500 Hz noise due to interference from CC TVs in Mandir in live recordings easily removed - 15500 to 16500 band stop applied - 4th order or something. Another surprising use was to cut 5 kHz to 16 kHz in one of the Africa interviews. The noise vanished, leaving the voices surprisingly untouched. Sibilants are present above 16k also, and the rest are below 5k...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Auto Trim-Crop in SF and Premiere's sound problem

Today's aha moment was with Auto Trim/Crop in Sound Forge. Saves time spent in "donkey work".

Yesterday, found the Premiere sound problem (no sound output when playing Matrox AV files in RT2000 system DVEDIT) was due to my forgetfulness while installing - needed to connect a cable from the RT2000 card to sound card's aux input - or use the break-out box's RCA connectors.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

checking out groupware

PB wanted to implement some sort of online work assignment. Collaboration sw / Groupware / ticketing systems... We looked at php based systems - eGroupWare, phpGroupWare and HelpCORE. We might go in for one of the last two.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

broadcast ping

Spent a lot of time last evening investigating pings from x.y.z.15 - PB was called by V saying .15 is replying to pings, it is some machine in your network. At first, I suspected some machine in CG's studio; then krishna. Checking out ifconfig on krishna, x.y.z.15 was the broadcast address on our subnet! Our subnet mask was, so it follows...

Pinging from a NATed machine gets a reply only from the gateway. Pinging from the machine with x.y.z.n address gets replies from all machines in subnet - other than windows machines, of course, which don't respond to broadcast pings.

Friday, June 30, 2006

error '8004020e'

OK, the problem with the subscription page was actually solved: the error '8004020e' is actually due to ill-formed "From" email address, which is the email address submitted on the form. Googling gave the answer from

Mostly routine

Most of the time spent in "routine" work of preparing audio material and so on.

1. The old Satellite Pro's floppy drive seems to have given up the ghost. So, I can't rely on typing on that and carrying stuff across on a floppy.

2. Some notes on noise reduction and an interesting result in one case.

For some interviews recorded in the field (in Africa) noise reduction was desirable in some cases. Cool Edit Pro, 69%, followed by noise gate in SoundForge at a threshold just enough to cut off the residual noise. Followed by RMS normalization, of course. In some cases, noise reduction not desirable, as when the background noise is either not constant, or very low, or as in one case, the background noise is very loud, being recorded while travelling in a van. In this case, the noise acts as a sort of prop for the voices - gives the feel of being on location.

3. A problem with the Submit button on our playlist subscription page. The first problem was that after adding the search bar, the form with the submit button was document.form(1) and not document.form(0) as was written in the validation javascript. Some other problem still persists....

4. Must try to get the google analytics javascript to work on "external links" - so that we can do our audio on demand with Coral Cache...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

authoring dvds using dvedit

Since DVEDIT has the Matrox RT2000 card, it was earlier the only DVD making option. Now software encoders on saispace2 run much faster than the 4x realtime required by Matrox, or are more compatible with other DVD creation SW. So, trying various options.

First, the MPEG2 export only from the Matrox - not recognized by anything other than Sonic DVDit, I think.

Next - the Matrox DV avi export. Fast, and cuts file into 2 GB chunks, useful if using FAT32 drives. Recognized as DV avi by most sw, but the audio is a separate wav file which most sw will need prompting to find. For eg., in Nerovision Express, the audio has to be separately dragged and dropped in the video edit timeline. In Virtualdub, Audio menu, Use wav audio.

MS DV avi export from dvedit seems to be not useful - takes 4x realtime, and probably reencodes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Tried out the ReactOS live Cd. Well, it is truly alpha - didn't recognize dharma's logitech serial mouse. But booted in a jiffy, only 10-20 MB for the entire live CD.

Monday, June 19, 2006

using ethereal

Used ethereal on saispace to check out the mysterious packet bursts from dharma when it boots up. Filters were useful: capture filter
(host not and (host not our-melb-ipaddress )
since a sftp session was in progress.
Display filter would be
ip.addr ne
and so on.

Nothing suspicious. Only NTP, multicast router solicitation and antivirus updates.

Linuxjournal has a nice guided tour of ethereal.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

reinstall on dvedit

Premiere was crashing on DVEDIT, even reinstalling it didn't work. So, decided to reinstall Win2K on it. Installed in another folder without removing the existing installation. Took network and promise ATA card drivers by choosing the oem0.inf and oem1.inf in the old WINNT\inf folder - found with notepad that these were their respective inf files, mentioning Promise and DLink. Windows did the rest, automagically installing the sound card also - ESS 1938.

After reinstall, the stop error and restart problem which I'd posted on PCQ forum is solved - so it was purely a software problem, as suspected. And of course Windows problems are best solved by reinstalls!

Installed WinK SP4 from PCQ Oct 2004 DVD, then Matrox video tools after the display driver.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

curiosity - or the broken hand-pumping flashlight

Curiosity kills the cat, but in this case, it killed my "hand-pumping flashlight". I'd been given a low-cost one, along with several others. Some were brightly glowing while some needed continuous pumping for any light. Suspected a hidden battery inside. Opened and saw. Yes, there was a battery. But now the flashlight is dead - a resistor broke during surgery!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

a brief look at ftp servers

There was a need for an ftp server to run on Windows Server 2003, with the following specs:

support for SSH2 and SSL with the following basic features:
- Runs as a NT Service (not with ServAny--not as stable)
- work with standard FTP clients
- require a secure connection
- bandwidth throttling per user and per server
- event handling (monitoring for DoS attacks or other suspicious

- DB user account support
- Lightweight with high perf
- Programmable interfaces in case sites want to automate
- 1/2 domain, 10 account support to start with

Commercial servers are >$200

A list of FTP servers is on

Sourceforge gave some more:

A good example is
But will probably use SrvAny to run as a service. zFTPServer Suite also looks good....

Filezilla server looks good, too. Not much documentation on the site, but trying it
out, it has

SSL/TLS support
Speed limits
Compression settings
Admin interface

A Brute force banning script is at

Monday, June 05, 2006

correction to script

Corrected version of script reads

MINUTES=`echo "scale=1; ($MINUTES/15)" | bc -l`
MINUTES=$(printf "%2.0f" $MINUTES)
MINUTES=`echo "scale=0; ($MINUTES*15)" | bc -l`
MINUTES=$(printf "%02d" $MINUTES)

if [ "$MINUTES" = "60" ]
HOURS=`echo "scale=0; ($HOURS+1)" | bc -l`
HOURS=$(printf "%02d" $HOURS)

if [ "$HOURS" = "24" ]
This has the printf part only if bc is called. Else, sometimes printf gives errors like
 printf: 08: invalid number

disabling or getting around gmail spam filter

The gmail spam filter was marking mail from our Jo'berg playout server as spam - maybe since it was from a dynamic ip. Marking as NOT SPAM did not work for mails which came later. Making a filter with an "Add flag" for the sender From address worked! No longer sent to SPAM folder.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

port forwarding

And for port forwarding, followed the steps given in

router screenshot

Here's a screenshot:

My collegue wanted to get internet access for 3-4 machines using a BSNL DATAONE Huawei router which already had 4 LAN ports.They were doing PPPoE dialout from individual machines; this wouldn't work with more than one machine at any one time.

Set up dialling out from the router similar to the BSNL DATAONE ADSL HOWTO

Except that the layout was different. Had to add a NEW PVC-7 - change its VPI/VCI:->0/35 after first changing PVC-0's value which was earlier 0/35 and hence causing a conflict. Most important - SAVE ALL button at the bottom did the rebooting of router. Maybe I'll put in screenshots later. And I'll need to help them with port forwarding for one of the machines to use Bittorrent.

Friday, June 02, 2006

gmail problem and google analytics invite

Gmail is crashing my Mozilla - Mozilla 1.6 - Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.6) Gecko/20040115
Just after the Loading... sign appears on the left, stops responding. Probably some Javascript issue. Working OK with Opera, Konqueror (with limited functionality), etc.

Got a google analytics invite. Thought I'd add it to this site, but has priority.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

dynamics processing is different

Dynamics processing in Sound Forge sounds different from the filter present in Cool Edit Pro. For long I've stayed with a particular setting:

But putting the same settings in SF doesn't give the same results - the waveform is more flattened, and sounds more squashed, too. Preliminary tweaking with attack and release times didn't help. SF version is pretty old - 4.5. For that matter, the Cool Edit Pro 1.1 is old too - latest is Adobe Audition 2.

made shoutstats work again

After the upgrade on krishna, shoutstats was not updating the graphs. I'd suspected all along it was because rrdtool was not installed. Yesterday wanted to kill some time, so poked around krishna, found only librrdtool was installed, rrdtool itself was not, and was not available in the CD repository. is your friend. Added the relevant ftp site there, and hey presto. (This skips the hour or so of dependency hell trying to download each package individually, not knowing what package contains the dependency (RRDp) - it was perl-rrdtool - and so on. Also took an hour to download the filelist from the slow ftp site.)

Then I'd to go into the update.php and index.php and remove the hardcoded paths to rrdtool - probably added by us on the old krishna. Once that was done, working fine.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

highlight announcements timings rounding off

Modified our bash shell script to round off the highlight announcements timings to 15 minute intervals:

MINUTES=`echo "scale=1; ($MINUTES/15)" | bc -l`
MINUTES=$(printf "%2.0f" $MINUTES)
MINUTES=`echo "scale=0; ($MINUTES*15)" | bc -l`

if [ "$MINUTES" = "60" ]
HOURS=`echo "scale=0; ($HOURS+1)" | bc -l`

if [ "$HOURS" = "24" ]

MINUTES=$(printf "%02d" $MINUTES)
HOURS=$(printf "%02d" $HOURS)
#this gets them the leading zeros

Earlier code was

MINUTES=`printf %02d $(echo "scale=0; ($MINUTES/5)*5" | bc -l)`

This only rounds DOWN to the nearest multiple of 5.
Never rounds up correctly.
(Edit for the leading zeros code: 1st June)

Monday, May 29, 2006

validated feeds - finally!

Finally got the podcast feeds right, got them validated with

podcast php coding

Worked a bit more towards the podcast. Generating html from php code running locally.

It took nearly 4 hours to debug the http HEAD in php to get the filesizes - the library from
had a bug in that the HEAD function was also calling a ProcessBody function: since the HEAD did not return a body, the ProcessBody was waiting till the socket timed out or something like that, 150 seconds for each successful call! Also, the Debug variable needed some tweaking.

Later, the xml had a few bugs to iron out - <itunes:category> had to be one of the pre-defined ones, guid couldn't be repeated, publish date was not RFC 822 compliant, had to do string replace for space characters to %20...

Friday, May 26, 2006

added Panasonic dvsd codec

Downloaded the free Panasonic dvsd VFW codec so that VirtualDub can work with video captured with Microsoft Windows MovieMaker. The filter chain needs deinterlace first...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

underscore not allowed in hostname with squid

Well, the title says it all. A URL with underscores in the hostname part works with a "direct connection", but not through squid.

Workaround: Escape codes are given in places like this - are not enough - they are meant for the HTML.
has a discussion on it and says that you need to recompile squid for it to work with underscores.

MX records not being served by ADSL router

We were not getting our automated mails from Jo'burg playout server after going on the ADSL line: earlier it was on their LAN.

Found lots of hostname not found errors in /var/log/maillog

host -t MX was not returning anything, while
host -A MX was working.

cat /etc/resolve.conf gave

search localdomain

So the ADSL router was specifically blocking -t MX! Added a working dns server, BSNL's nameserver, after checking
host -t MX was working fine.

After /sbin/service network restart
when I did
cat /etc/resolve.conf

I again found it had gone back to
search localdomain

Found this by googling 'resolv.conf updated from network restart':
When you are connecting to a network that's using a DHCP-server, it's possible
that the settings you have placed in /etc/resolv.conf are overwritten
everytime you receive a DHCP-lease. You can prevent this by adding the
following line to /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0

So I added that, then did
/sbin/service network restart

Then cat /etc/resolv.conf gave
search localdomain

host -t MX gave mail is handled by 10 mail is handled by 10 mail is handled by 50 mail is handled by 50 mail is handled by 5

So now seems good. And I got a test mail too.

Friday, May 19, 2006

recovering from partial uploads and MD5

At least on our Jo'burg playout server, where bandwidth is scarce and http outgoing is allowed:

wget -c

And later verify the MD5 hashes with

openssl dgst -md5 filename

Thursday, May 18, 2006

known bugs in our database scripts

1. If first few letters of previous item are the same, and if both items are of the same category, second item will not be listed in the schedule.

Fix - change the comparison code... TBD

2. If previous day's playlist has an item at exactly $CHANGE_OVER_TIME , schedule generation php page will complain "SIGNATURE TUNE NOT FOUND"

Fix - manually change the time of the offending item by one second...

3. Sarva dharma bhajan handling - schedule shows two listings, one with zero duration, esp for Prasanthi Mandir bhajans.

Fix - ??

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Acer Travelmate 242x - getting sound to work on Linux

Just followed the instructions given by the Troubleshoot button in drakconf's 'Hardware' section:

lspcidrake -v | fgrep AUDIO for which driver is used by default:
it was i810_audio

changed to that driver.

found aumix was not installed. Installed it.

Found alsa was not running in runlevel 5. Made it run in drakconf 'Services'.

Restarted machine, opened kmix, made sure sound not muted and put to 50% volume, working fine.

Linux on Acer Travelmate 2423NWXCi - 242x probably

Current complaints with the default install of Mandrake 10:

1. Touchpad needs clicking on the buttons for left and double click - click and double-click on the touchpad itself doesn't work.

2. No sound.

3. No battery meter, other power control stuff.

LAN works, Wireless LAN and WinModem may not, but I'm currently not using them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

audio on demand

Implementing audio on demand or podcasting - made a template page by hand - PB is now on the job to generate the page from our local SGH database with php...

Monday, May 15, 2006

dynamic dns

In addition to the usual work of making playlists, recording from MD etc, today C from WS rang up - configuring the playout server to use an ADSL line with dynamic IP.

Using a free domain from, wrote a one line script to do the dns updates:

wget "$USERNAME&p=$PASSWORD&cmd=update&set=1&offline=0"

Using http didn't work - it was being set to the ISP's proxy IP. Thankfully https worked. Put it in the cron to run hourly.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

quick and dirty DVD writing

found that there was NeroVision Express already on my system, using which I could drag and drop some 640 x 480 mpg files from dig cam and make a DVD....


Used Avicodec from on BKM's recommendation - quite good, supports a wide variety of formats, gives info about the file + codec used + resolution etc

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

adventures with fsck

Copying files with "Roxio Restore" on XP - system hangs if any other app tries to access DVD drive. And left a corrupted file on /dev/hda1 - /mnt/WinF, ext3.

On boot in Linux, "check forced" "try manual fsck" at some point, and it was taking a looooong time - thought it hung. So, booted with Mandrake CD1, "rescue" at boot prompt, got a shell, mounted the root partition, edited /etc/fstab to comment out mounting /dev/hda1, deleted the corrupted files, booted normally. Then man fsck, gave

fsck -t ext3 /dev/hda1

The filesytem still had errors.

Corrected the errors when it asked, finished in around 15 minutes or less. Phew!

experiments with download service

On May 4th, did some experiments with download service - asp pages which will pop up download dialogs and cloak the actual filenames instead of directly serving the mp3 file with an http request. Also, capable of serving up multiple files by popping up multiple dialogs! Based on the ASP101 script at

Have to think of how much to automate - asp pages being generated by php querying our local database - how much to leave manual...

The dark side of google

Some of the disadvantages of Google Adsense - a bad experience narrated at,,13129-2123601,00.html

Monday, May 08, 2006

link checking sw

Tried out various link checking sw for finding broken links quickly and easily. was using HTTP HEAD , so was getting FORBIDDEN responses for most of our htm pages - issue with IIS not giving 200 response for anything other than .asp or .html or something like that....
had the same problem.

JCheckLinks - I couldn't get it to work due to my lack of Java app installing experience.

Linklint - appeared too complex! - meant for links specifically, and needs certain PERL modules....

Finally ended up using Xenu's Link Sleuth - relatively fast and uncluttered, on Windows (Sathya). Of course, has more broken links in PA and Journals which I have no intention to correct now, so have to choose preferences carefully...

PB's contrib - Phplist auto date subject and message

Added date placeholder in subject /admin/sendemaillib

$cached[$messageid]["subject"] = $message["subject"];
if($cached[$messageid]["subject"]== "(no subject)")
$system_date_now = date("dS F Y");
$cached[$messageid]["subject"] = "Sai Inspires - " .
$system_date_now ." from Prashanti Nilayam";

Now, though the mail is created and sent as "no subject", the users get the mail with subject Sai Inspires - 04th May 2006 from Prashanti Nilayam and so on.

Update on Date: 21/05/2006 8:38 am:
Changed the date placeholder in subject and message ( in file

Replaced the function date("dS F Y") with date("jS F Y")

d Day of the month, 2 digits with leading zeros01 to 31
jDay of the month without leading zeros1 to 31
Replaced the format output from
Sai Inspires - 07th May 2006 from Prashanti Nilayam
Sai Inspires - 7th May 2006 from Prashanti Nilayam

PB's contrib - making processqueue cron work

Did the following to set the cron to work for phplist processqueue...

To check the error messages in cron piped the message to log.txt
31 17 * * * /home/apachemails/phplist -pprocessqueue > log.txt

Got the following message:
[apachemails@krishna ~]$ cat log.txt
PHPlist version 2.10.2 (c) 2000-2006 Tincan Ltd,

Error: USER environment variable is not defined, cannot do access check.
Please make sure USER is defined.

>From google got the following solution:

This happens because when a crontab executes, the *$USER* variable is not
set. We must set it in our script. So open up the phplist file and add the
export USER

The entire file should now look like this:
export CONFIG

export USER

/path/to/php /home/yourusername/path/to/phplist/admin/index.php $*

Note that you also must set the *$commandline_users* variable in your *
$commandline_users = array("yourusername");

With all of that in place, you can automate your queue and bounce processing
with a crontab like this (adjust your paths accordingly):
# Suppress crontab emails

# Process phplist queue daily, every half hour
0,30 * * * * /home/yourusername/phplist -pprocessqueue

# Process phplist bounces once a day, 5am
0 5 * * * /home/yourusername/phplist -pprocessbounces
In our case:
export USER

now the cron works fine :)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

out of station!

All these days I was out of station, so no posts for a month! Anyway now I'll start with PB's description of how he got PhpList working.... after finishing more urgent work.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Watching ads

Watching the ads google is serving up - quite interesting - the way in which Google sends the ads based on context...

Google Adsense - automated replies

To get started on this site, I'd filled in the form linked from First rejected because I used an initial instead of surname, then because there was the counter link to webstats4u ... (and maybe the links to and too) After removing them and replying to the mail, which looked suspiciously machine generated, got a confirmation. And when I replied saying thanks, I got confirmation that it's an automated system and not "Leo" -


Thanks for responding. I'm glad I was able to help you with your AdSense

For additional questions, we suggest you visit our AdSense Support site at . If you're unable to find an
answer to your question on our site, please feel free to reply to this


The Google AdSense Team

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Busy days

Somewhat busy, with less time at the comp, so fewer posts. But many things have been going on, which I'll post retrospectively.

Schedule is: get up at 5, bathe wash etc till 6, then either read or write or grab 40 winks and eat an apple for breakfast till 6.30. Then in Mandir till 9.45-10. Similarly in the evenings 2.30 to 6. Because KVR is out of station and I'm moral support for KBR managing the PA.

The heat is exhausting. Getting just 3 hours at SSSST to do all the day's Radio Sai work is very limiting, too.

The most recent new development is the Acer Laptop - Travelmate 2420 series, Widescreen 14 inch TFT, Celeron 1.5 GHz with 512 MB RAM and 40 GB HDD. Using it to record stuff in Mandir, recording onto the portable 2.5 inch external USB HDD using the Extigy as source.

The other development was the spending of several hours with PB setting up PhpList for their Sai Inspires emails. Quite involved. And does not really behave linearly during testing. Bounce testing etc was quite chancy and frustrating - works sometimes and not sometimes. Posted some of the observed behaviour on Phplist forum too. Hopefully in real world conditions it will work properly... Since they want to send very fancy emails with photos embedded, each of their messages is made as a separate template in PhpList.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

blogger by email

Since blogger post gateway doesn't accept emails with jpg attachements, not too useful for Sai Inspires.

If it was just ignoring the jpgs it would have been OK, but it actually bounces, with "post failed". Of course, the text-only option is available with phplist...

Testing mail2blog - only attached html, no text in mail.

Dear Reader,
Loving Sairam from the Heart2Heart Team.
How important is gratitude? You will know that when you read Swami's message today.

Did you read
"The Most Precious Gift...
the Avatar's Time

Click here to read now


Sai Inspires - 25th March 2006



Always be grateful, even for a small help.  Do not be ungrateful;  ingratitude is utter cruelty.  Any help received should be reciprocated to the extent possible.  Hurting someone who has helped you will result in your losing your eyesight.  It is only through the radiance of the sun that you see things, and the sun withdraws its radiance from those who commit the sin of ingratitude.  This is the suffering that an ungrateful person has to undergo.  Therefore, we should always be grateful and return help for help, to the utmost extent possible.

-  Divine Discourse, 6th May 2002.

First and foremost, you should show gratitude to your parents, love them and respect them. - Baba

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

post about printing on dot matrix

I'd posted this on the PCQuest forum:
Recently I had the need to print some stuff with a dot matrix printer (TVS MSP 345) which happens to be "Epson compatible". I wanted to print with the built-in fonts, which are clearer and also print faster. So, I first prepared my pages with a text editor (kwrite) with proper formatting and then applied the extra binary formatting with a hex editor (khexedit). This basically consisted of adding the required control codes (like compressed mode, emphasise text, etc) at the relevant places.

1. The printer took 8 spaces for tabs, had to adjust the text editor accordingly.
2. I'd set the default printer to a "Raw/No driver" printer driver in cups. Probably this is not necessary.
3. My print command was cat filename.txt > /dev/lp0 - I had to do this as root, there may be better ways to do this.
4. Epson codes were obtained after googling, from
A note about these codes is that you need to send the ESC character for some of them, and not for others. For example, for form feed you just need to send 0c (HEX) while for select condensed mode you need to send 1b 0f (HEX).

money making schemes

Sometime I've got to bust some money making schemes - like these.. and
Probably some sort of review of such things will be useful for folks. Save them from wasing time and money. Just in case they really work also!

Edit: removed the links since they are "undesirable neighbourhoods" and may cause Google adsense to boycott me!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

added MX records

Added MX records for saispace and krishna, both pointing to krishna, with Plesk.

corrections to postfix config

My earlier postfix post omitted another correction I had to make from the linuxquestions link: the virtual file needs the domain name first, then followed by mail ids relating to that domain. Eg
virtual.domain anything (right-hand content does not matter)
postmaster@virtual.domain postmaster
user1@virtual.domain address1
user2@virtual.domain address2, address3

And with the configuration accepting local mails, it was creating some sort of problem with local addresses lookup. So, commented out the
mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain, localhost
line. It still accepts mails from localhost for local accounts. Then added the actual hostname to the virtual domains, with stuff like mails to apache etc being sent to me!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

finishing the postfix configuration

In an earlier post I'd written about the postfix configurations for virtual domain-based forwarding. Actual implementation had a few extra steps - needing some googling to remove two errors caught with
tail -f /var/log/mail/errors

One more mystery solved was why nmap was showing port 25 as closed - postfix was listening only on the loopback interface - localhost.
inet_interfaces = all
solved that.

First I thought just copying the from the older server was the reason. But even replacing it with the with appropriate modifications didn't solve the problem.

The first one was
 fatal: connect #11 to subsystem private/proxymap: Connection refused

and the other, later, was
 fatal: connect #11 to subsystem private/scache: Connection refused

Deleting the proxymap socket (present in /var/spool/postfix/private ) only changed the error to file not found.
mksock gave file not found - the mksock util was not in the system at least with that name...
Finally adding

proxy_read_maps = $local_recipient_maps
local_recipient_maps = unix:passwd.byname

removed the first error and gave the second one. This one was finally removed by later adding
smtp_connection_cache_on_demand = no
One more thing I'd overlooked was the differing postfix versions needing different commands to update the alias database and the virtual database. This is actually mentioned in the small text at the bottom of the linuxquestions link in small print. Anyway, for the record, they are
postalias /etc/postfix/aliases
postmap /etc/postfix/virtual

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

blog with access control or email grabbing scam?

Interesting site submitted by A, will have to see if it is legit. Collaboration featues including access control.

Update: It's legit all right - Google has taken it over and registration is temporarily down!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

local processing of AWStats history files

As I'd mentioned in an earlier post, I wanted to generate static reports with AWStats with its history files generated elsewhere. Finally found the solution by reading the perl source code - the program actually prints out the options if none are supplied at command line! Simply add -month=MM -year=YYYY ...

block jpg in pop3

Now the requirement is to block certain mime types ... will fetchmail do it? Have to check up.

Monday, March 13, 2006

procedure for saicast update - uploading the video file

1. Upload the video files to saicast - Mediaroot - SaiCast - OnDemand

2. Open the video in gmplayer, pause at appropriate place(s), take snapshot(s) with ksnapshot, attach in mail and send to Prof G for him to update, including the mms://urlofvideo.wmv

procedure for saicast update - creating the video file

1. Video source either as mpg (VideoCD) or MiniDV

  • VideoCD source grab to hard disk as .mpg file using VCDGear
  • MiniDV cappture to hard disk, now firewire is available, so Premiere can be used.
  • Composite RCA connector capture also possible with VirtualDub.

2. Add logo with VirtualDub

  • Use the resize filter with Bicubic option to get final size 320x240 with cropping as desired
  • Use the logo filter for the watermark, with WHITE.BMP as the logo image and "Use alpha channel from another image", logoMASK.bmp
  • Use Video->Compression Huffyuv codec before saving avi.

3. Use the saved profile 350_100_20 with Windows Media Encoder to convert avi to wmv - DO NOT overwrite this file! Choose CANCEL if it asks if you want to save this file at the end!

4. Edit the saved append.bat files appropriately and add begin and end segments to the video using wmvappend.exe.
In case adding the 350_100_20 begin and end files crashes, use separate files for 350, 100 and 20 kbs as given in next step. Ensure profiles match for files being appended!

5. Split the multi-audience file into separate 350, 100 and 20 kbs files using Windows Media Stream Editor.

6. Add appropriate metadata with Windows Media File Editor, in the same format as previous files.

Best Freeware Lists

More good stuff from digg - These two lists would be quite useful. Esp right now the firewall and Image stitcher are relevant...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Making 16 hours of video into 1 DVD of DivX with FairUseWizard

Specific instructions for making 16 hours of video into 1 DVD of DivX

1. Choose encoding speed ESS in the bottom drop down in the first page
2. In the page after choosing the specific chain to encode,
(a) Adjust cropping if required using AutoSet on a frame which has no dark parts near the edges
(b) Check "include subpictures" and choose appropriate language for subtitles
(c) If required, crop the end credits by scrolling to the end of the part and clicking "Set credits start"

3. Use auto detect in the next page to choose the proper interlacing settings

4. In the final page,
(a) Check "Two pass" - better quality
(b) Move the Encoding speed slider 75% to the right for quality
(c) Choose size as 175 MB if you have 24 parts - 175 x 24 = 4200, enough space to spare for small extras etc
This is equivalent to approx 700 kBitsps which will be shown in brackets below.
(d) Choose the largest video resolution which is available after "Show only preferred resolutions" is checked.
(e) Defer processing (enqueue) if you want to run a batch job with many files.
(f) Defer even project processing if you want to run multiple projects as batch with iso files as sources for some of them.

added caching nameserver

Installed the caching nameserver rpm, which installed bind as a dependency on saispace2, leading to much faster browsing response in general.

Friday, March 10, 2006

NAT on Linux instead

Trying out the stuff in the previous post...

RR's Windows machine has some problems with the "Routing and Remote Access" - it seems to automatically change from Red to Green, and when Red, says "Don't have permissions to access" even as admin - some misconfig or virus or what?

Also, the example firewall was not allowing outgoing connects from the proxy thru the external interface. In retrospect, probably I should've created a rule mentioning the external ip address, and allowing all outgoing. Just and allowing all protocols and all ports did not work, since it was just the reverse of the rule saying all IP traffic Block.

So, doing the NATing for POP on the Linux proxy, adding to /etc/sysconfig/iptables

-A POSTROUTING -s 192.168.x.z -o eth1 -j MASQUERADE
-A POSTROUTING -s 192.168.x.y -o eth1 -j MASQUERADE

and needs

echo "1" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

of course...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

AWStats older stats

Nettigritty just saves the older AWStats database txt files - doesn't save the html reports. Trying to generate reports locally ... following this onlamp tutorial. But the documentation and the FAQ are lacking in direct info on how to do what I want - convert the AWStats txt database into monthly reports...

Update: Read the code, dude - found the simple solution there...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why the 500 GB drive didn't install on the PowerMac G5

Google saved the day with this report in

Notes on Seagate 7200.9/500GB drive P/Ns with SSC disabled
- (from a drive db report)

" In the course of researching a hard drive purchase, I got the following information from Seagate presales support:

"All Seagate 7200.9 SATA drives with the Part Numbers that end in the suffix -301 have SSC enabled and are not compatible with the Apple controllers. (as mentioned previously here - SSC (Spread Spectrum Clocking) is not compatible with the Mac onboard SATA. Seagate also has a PC/windows utility to disable this but not a Mac version of it.-Mike)

All other suffixes other than -301 on the Part Numbers are compatible ( -302, -303,-401, -402 etc).

Here is a list of part number with SSC disabled for ST3500641AS:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

checking out

Tried out (with a login as webmaster at rs ) for forwarding emails. But zoneedit also needs their dns servers to be made authoritative before the domain becomes live...

Monday, March 06, 2006

how to use ipsec "firewall" on Win2K

More stuff to check out - this article is pretty detailed...

This one has a downloadable registry file...

All this is if natting is enabled, as given in microsoft's site...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Six headed Linux machine

Nice idea - using extra graphics cards and USB kb/mice - article via digg.

using krishna to forward mails to sssihl

seeing if krishna can be used for the sssihl mail forwarding...

Changes to

1. #inet_interfaces = $myhostname, localhost
2. the changes as given in the wiki page above, ie.

1 /etc/postfix/
2 virtual_alias_domains = ...other hosted domains...
3 virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual
5 /etc/postfix/virtual:
6 postmaster
7 joe@somewhere
8 jane@somewhere-else
9 # Uncomment entry below to implement a catch-all address

10 # jim@yet-another-site 11 ...virtual aliases for more domains...

3. Opening port 25 on krishna's firewall

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

strip CRLF

Had to strip CRLF (or maybe just CR or LF - whatever) from PB's contribution because Blogger was changing all of them to <BR> tags! and even in the edit mode was not showing them as <BR> tags! Sometime I've to check out the methods given in the post I got by googling: a comp.os.linux.misc thread.

Learning ASP

For the last few days, I'm carrying around "Sams Teach Yourself ASP 3.0 in 21 days". Things to note:

<%= %> is shortcut for Response.Write

Default language is VBScript, tho JScript and even Python are supported....

Very useful set of VBScript built-in functions, esp for string processing and date processing.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

SERVER UPGRADE - LOG (Feb 2006) - from PB

*********contributed by PB********************** (REDHAT 9) to (MANDRIVA 2006)

Why the shift?

Required new versions of mysql and php to implement the mail list (Phplist) to work.

Possible solutions:

1. Upgrade the mysql and php on the old server.

This had upgrade problems on the old server

2. Configure a new server and forward the request to the page through url redirect.

This was best if the directed url was a public ip.

3. Configure a new server and forward the request to the page through reverse proxy.

This had problems in installing mod_proxy_html on the old server. It rewrites HTML links into a proxy's address space i.e. href pointing to ./files would resolve to http://proxy_address/files.

4. Upgrade the server.

Finally choose to upgrade.

Major Changes:

Old Server
New Server
httpd-2.0.40-21.i386.rpm apache-conf-2.0.54-12mdk
postfix-1.1.11-11.i386.rpm postfix-2.2.5-7mdk

Installation Steps:

Got a system having the same hardware configuration as the old one (except the display and ethernet cards)

Chose Mandriva 2006 DVD installation

Partitioned the drive (80GB Drive)

filesystem Mounted On Size
/dev/hda1 / 3.7 GB
/dev/hda3 /var 9.2 GB
/dev/hda4 /usr 9.2 GB
/dev/hda6 /tmp 942 MB
/dev/hda7 /home 50 GB

After partition, installation asks "You have the option to copy the contents of dvd to the hard drive before installation. It will then continue from the hard drive and the packages will remain available once the system is fully installed." (Check - copy the whole DVD checkbox)

After installation of required packages, added few other packages that were not in the DVD.

vsftpd-2.0.3-1mdk.i586.rpm (ftp server that supports virtual users) db3-utils-3.3.11-19mdk.i586.rpm (required for vsftpd password generation) libdb3.3-3.3.11-19mdk.i586.rpm (required for db3-utils)
mysql-administrator-1.1.6-linux-i386.tar.gz phplist-2.10.2 (Mailing list server) lame (required for automatic mp3 encoding) librrd (required for shoutstats)

Did a Mandriva update through the Mandriva Control Center (command: mcc)

Transferred required files from the old server

sgh, office, root, webroot
.ssh folders
crontabs (root and sgh)
postfix configuration files (needed slight modificaiton to point correct installation path)
dump of database records from the old server
firewall iptables configuration files
vsftpd (copy all the required files) db3-utils was required here.
icecast server files

Configured the mysql databases through mysql-administration (/root/mysql-administration/bin/mysql-administration)

Restored the dump of database records from the old server.

Ran Nessus to check for security holes. Fixed the following:

ServerTokens Prod (/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf) uninstalled mailman

Changed the hardisk in the old server to the new one.

Configured the network.

Enabled ipv4 packet forwarding using the Mandrake Control Center (cmd: mcc) Network Sharing.
This enables ip masquerading. The file /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward should be set to 1 for this to happen.

Uninstalled shorewall (mandrake firewall)

Restarted network and iptables

Installed nmap and ethereal

Stopped/started services on boot (through Mandrake Control Center).

Present disk stats

Mounted On Size Free
/ 3.7 GB 3.2 GB
/var 9.2 GB 6.6 GB
/usr 9.2 GB 6.6 GB
/tmp 942 MB 878 MB
/home 50 GB 31 GB

Things to do:

Phplist (already running) to be customized, fine tuned and tested.
Take backup of files ( towrite24kbps to cds)
Write scripts to show the disk stats and database backup
Check for updates monthly (security updates, bug fixes, normal updates)
Clear hardisk regularly (office/sgh)
Automate the start of icecast on boot.
Install nessus

Things to remember:

Icecast location - /usr/local/icecast/bin/icecastmysql-administration location - /root/mysql-administrator/bin/mysql-administrator (admin passwd is same as su) Download files location(rpms,tgz,source files) - /root/Download

*********contributed by PB**********************