Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Xmms alternative

P reports that Xmms is no longer available on Ubuntu 14.04, and some of the ubuntu forum posts have broken links. His solution was to recompile and use Audacious instead. 

dns limitations on our mail server

We were doing some explorations of the feasibility of remote hosting our mail server which sends out daily emails to around 50,000+ subscribers. Seeing some posts about rate limits to Google public DNS servers etc, and our own experiences with DNS failures, we should perhaps run our own DNS server as well as mail server if we plan to shift the email server. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Firefox problems with HTML5, Vimeo and Youtube

One issue seen with Firefox - Vimeo embedded player not appearing on screen - seems to have been sorted out at some time - the current version 45.0.1 does not seem to have this issue. Or is it that it still has issues with embeds like iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/xxxx instead of src="https://player.vimeo.com/video etc ? There are lots of people with issues with Firefox and Vimeo.

Then there is the persistent stutter - for audio as well as video using html5 playback from Firefox on Windows. The only solution for that seems to be to force Flash player playback. This can be done for youtube as in my earlier post.

problem reading memo field

After a PHP upgrade from 5.3 to 5.5, one of our php applications reading data from an Access .mdb file had an issue - other fields were displaying fine, but the data from the memo field was showing blank.

After poking around for a couple of days, PB finally found the solution to be the one suggested in the comments at

That is, he had to add the optional cursor_type parameter SQL_CUR_USE_ODBC like
$cnx = odbc_connect('$databaseName', 'user', 'pass', SQL_CUR_USE_ODBC);

 Then it works. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Airdroid vs ES File Explorer

One more post about my Xiaomi Mi3 phone. Though this is probably applicable to all Android phones.

I'd earlier used ES File Explorer to transfer files to and from Windows shares to the phone over Wifi. But when transferring to shares with a large number of files, or while transferring large files, ES File Explorer would keep popping up a 'Failed' dialog box, and would need repeated 'Retry' attempts to transfer multi-MB files. Finally looked for alternatives, and found Airdroid's features include file transfer. I use it in 'local network' mode, by typing in the ip address, so extra charges, no need of external network etc. ES is still useful for local file browsing etc.

Xiaomi Mi3 with Android 4.4.4 - soft home and back buttons

After my last post about my phone, there were some more developments. Now the headphone socket does not work at all. But thankfully the earpiece works fine. Then, after frequent falls onto hard cement floors, the left corner of the screen cracked slightly, and the home, back and recent apps buttons on the bottom bezel of the phone stopped working.

Since I had heard of apps with 'soft home button', I installed several of them. None of them seemed to work with Xiaomi's MIUI. Then I installed MyHomeButton which creates a notification in the notification pull-down screen. This worked, but with the drawbacks that:
  1. It would not start on rebooting the phone - I have to remember to open the app settings, turn off and turn on the check-boxes for Home and Recent Apps, then the notifications would appear. 
  2. No back button.
  3. Use requires a swipe from the top to bring down the notification bar, a swipe sideways to view the notifications, and then a tap to activate the home button. A bit cumbersome.
I lived with the above drawbacks till today, when I installed Back Button Gesture Launcher. Or rather, the trial for the paid app. Since it is a paid app, it had a somewhat helpful 'Help' section, which mentioned that for the onscreen button to be visible, what settings need to be enabled on Xiaomi -
  1. Settings -> Installed Apps -> Downloaded -> Back button -> Permission Manager -> Display pop-up window, Enable. 
  2. Settings -> Additional Settings -> Accessibility -> Back button -> Accessibility, Enable. 
Now, this app is a paid app, and one of the comments directs users to install the Back Button app instead, which is a free app. So I did that, after uninstalling Back Button Gesture Launcher. Granted the permissions again, and ready to go. A small issue with this app is that the icons don't seem to be movable from their location on the right side of the screen. But that is probably not a big issue.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

funny characters seen in Putty session

After a server upgrade (I think), I started seeing funny characters when using Putty to ssh into our local server, like

P suggested this might be the solution,

That is, change character translation in Putty to UTF-8. The setting is in Window -> Translation. Worked.