Tuesday, July 29, 2008

flickr versus picasaweb

A posted some pictures on Flickr, and seeing the slideshow was a waiting experience: "Loading...." Something of a contrast with the slideshows on Google photos - Picasa web albums. Checked with ethereal. Found that pix used by Flickr are 300 kB average size per pic, while Google's pix are one-third the size. Bandwidth usage for Flickr slideshow at 1 second per pic was touching 1 Mbps easily and still managed to show the "loading" progress bar on occasion.

Monday, July 28, 2008

phplist bounce processing

Once again, found that the phplist bounce processing had stopped. Reason was probably an aborted bounce process run, which I'd started from the web-based link. When trying to run from commandline now, it said
A process for this page is already running and it was still alive 305 seconds ago
Running commandline, quitting. We'll find out what to do in the next run.
and refused to run from commandline. Went back to the web-based link from the admin section, this time it said
A process for this page is already running and it was still alive 461 seconds ago
Sleeping for 20 seconds, aborting will quit
but after 20 sec, started processing afresh. But this is somewhat risky when running from a remote machine, because the connection may break during the hour or so taken for processing. The best thing, then, would be to either
  • run the bounce processing as a cron job (like we do), or
  • when troubleshooting, run from inside a screen console, detach the screen when not actively monitoring it, or
  • run the web-based link from a local X console, or
  • run the web-based link from a VNC X console running on localhost.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

tips from gizmo - print folder contents and boot safe mode

Gizmo's Tech Support Alert Newsletter is now merging with Windows Secrets, and in his last issue, Gizmo gave a few good tips.

To add the print directory feature to Windows Explorer, follow these steps:
a) Open Notepad and then copy and paste the following text into Notepad:

@echo off
dir %1 /-p /o:gn > "%temp%\Listing"
start /w notepad /p "%temp%\Listing"
del "%temp%\Listing"

b) Save the file as Prin.bat in the Windows directory, and then close Notepad.

c) Start Windows Explorer, click Tools, and then click Folder Options.

d) Click the File Types tab, and then click File Folder. d1)Click Advanced (this step added by Gizmo)

e) Click Edit, and then click New.

f) In the Action box, type Print Directory Listing.

g) In Application used to perform action, click Prin.bat, and then click OK.

h) Click OK, click Apply, and then click OK.

Now Open Windows Explorer, right-click the folder that you would like to print a directory listing of, and then click Print Directory Listing.
He notes that this is adapted from Microsoft's knowledgebase.
...completely reliable way of booting into Safe Mode and that's by using the MSConfig Utility. This tip is not only useful getting problem USB keyboards into Safe Mode but also for folks who have trouble getting their timing right when pressing the F8 key during the boot sequence.

Press Start/Run and type msconfig into the run box and press Enter. When MSConfig starts, click the BOOT.TAB and put a check mark against /SAFEBOOT. Next time you boot, Windows will automatically start in Safe mode without any need to press F8. Remember later to take out the check mark otherwise your PC will always boot in Safe Mode.
This is especially useful for people like me in multi-boot environments.

gmail loading problem

R had a problem with his gmail account - it was stuck on the loading screen, refusing to go to standard view, tho' html view was working fine. Flushing the cache did not help. The same issue on various machines! Working on IE, not working on firefox. Finally, he got it working using the nocheckbrowser link - https://mail.google.com/mail?nocheckbrowser.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kaspersky online virus scan

Did a scan of saispace2 from the Kaspersky.com site. Java based, nice interface. Downloading the virus definitions was the largest data transfer - around 25 MB. Full machine scan took around 5 hours. Tried another scan after 24 hours and a few reboots, this time the definitions seemed to be cached, so the scanner came up almost instantly. It found c:\program files\WinDriveGurard\windriveguard.exe on the first scan, which Kaspersky identifies as Trojan.Win32.Monderc.gen. Removed it after checking if any processes were running using that exe. Found a ScanProcess.exe which respawned even when killed, but this seemed to be the Kaspersky's exe, since closing the Kaspersky window removed that process from TaskManager. Found a process running in the Acer laptop from which I transfer files to saispace2 with USB drive, so killed the process and deleted the relevant files in C: there as well as on the USB drive. On the USB drive it was System\Windriveprotect\DriveProtect.exe or something like that. The second scan of C: alone took 35 minutes and came out clean.

dhcp problem

In the Phy Dept, there was an issue with a new Dell desktop with a wifi dongle not getting an ip address from the wireless router. Both were Netgear products, working fine on an identical machine on the next table. WG 111 (v3) Netgear wifi USB dongle, router was a Netgear WPN824.

After many tries with WinXP "repair" and the command-line
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
and other such stunts, even a wired connection to the router failed, and pings showed a strange character in the destination's place,
Pinging <strange wing-dings character> with 32 bytes of data:
Finally it was wiped and the dell recovery CD was used to re-install WinXP, then everything started working again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

keychain: command not found

Bash reported
keychain: command not found
every time we logged on to krishna via ssh. Googled, found that it was a bug in Mandriva, fixed it by editing .bash_profile by adding an if [ -x /usr/bin/keychain ] like
 if [ ! -d $HOME/.keychain ]; then
if [ -x /usr/bin/keychain ] ; then
The [space] before the -x is important....

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

improving speed on WinSCP

In my previous post, I'd mentioned the speed penalty of sftp on Windows. Checking out the WinSCP FAQ, found that using Blowfish instead of AES made the transfers as fast as on Linux! Load a saved session, go to the SSH settings on the left pane, move Blowfish up above AES, save the session, overwriting the previously saved session.

listening to SGH on mobile

Using a cell-phone to listen to any Shoutcast stream requires a suitable player. For Nokia phones, the official Nokia Internet Radio lists SGH:
For Nokia phones not supported by this app, there is the S60 Internet Radio.
The user instructions say that you need to copy the pls files of the stations of your choice. For SGH, the pls files are linked from the listen now links:


Please note that if your internet connection is slow, you will hear choppy audio with breaks.
For Windows mobile, there is GSPlayer. For phones with Java, Glassplayer - not free, costs $5. Will add more players here as I find them.

RSS feeds or email updates for any page on the Net

A listener had sent us the tip long back, using dapper.net one can make RSS feeds or email updates or a flash widget or an alert for any page... The TFD page and my blog are already Dapped...

follow-up on installing indic support on XP

Here is a bit more detailed account of the Indic support install on Windows: as the Indic IME readme says,

IMEs cannot be installed or upgraded on a system that doesn't already support IMEs in the same language that you are installing. To enable Indic IME, go to control panel - > Regional and Language Options. Select Language Tab, and check the option "Install files for complex scripts and left-to-right language and insert Win XP CD in your CD-ROM drive.

After installing and rebooting, once again go to Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options -> Languages -> Details -> Add , choose your language, and in the drop down below, choose the newly installed IME if you want to type in phonetic English characters, or choose Inscript or other keyboard layout if you prefer that. Again you may need to restart. The Wikipedia Indic support page says that XP SP2 is required for Malayalam support, but Devanagari and the other South Indian languages can do without SP2. Blogger's transliteration help is here, which notes that the transliteration is also available as a separate product here.

downloading files with lynx

When using remote access, it is convenient to use text-based browsers like lynx instead of hogging bandwidth with X over ssh. When you want to save files like pdfs, hit the d key (instead of enter or g) when the link to the pdf is highlighted. Then you can retrieve it from the remote machine using sftp. The putty suite also has an sftp client. Winscp is also available if you want a gui and don't mind file transfers being slower.
Edit: The Putty suite's PSFTP seems to be as slow as WinScp - commandline on Linux is still faster.
Edit: See this post for improving speed on Windows!

Monday, July 07, 2008

FF3 installation issue

Could not get FF3 installed on Mandrake 10 - the problem is outlined here. A real pity...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Checking out Indic language support

Saw a good site with lots of song lyrics, http://guruguha.wikispaces.com/. Checking out Blogger's support for Indic languages and copy-pasting between languages, here goes....

यह हिन्दी में है - Yeh Hindi mein hai

ഇതു മലയാളത്തിലാണ് - ithu malayalathilAnu

ఇది తెలుగులో - idi telugulo

ಇದು ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ - idu kannadadalli

இது தமிழில் - ithu tamizhil

Blogger does not allow copy-paste between languages as far as I can see - the pasted script remains as Malayalam or Hindi or English or Tamil or Kannada or Telugu. The Language Tool on the toolbar does the magic, with Spell-check, too! Nice. Should try out some desktop Indic tools, maybe.

Edit: Tried various tools including Microsoft's Indic support site and Iwrite32. Using the Microsoft IME (Input Method Editor), text can be entered nicely in all apps, but transliteration between scripts is possible only in MS Office or some limited apps. I tried and did not succeed with Notepad, Wordpad, typing in IE or Firefox. Google docs, too can use the MS IME, but no transliteration. The best of the lot seemed to be online tools - wikipedia page on Indic support has lots and lots of good info and links. The online transliterate tool girgit looks interesting.
Edit: corrected a typo in the Tamil.