Ahoy there! This is my personal blog which I use as my memory extension and a medium to share stuff that could be useful to others.

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New Page Notification In Mediawiki

In trying to make my team aware of what’s in our team’s wiki (based on Mediawiki), I wanted a simple notification to go out to the team daily listing the new wiki pages created on the previous day. This may be achieved with a simple shell script that queries the Mediawiki recentchanges table.

STEP 1: Deploy Shell Script

The following script queries the recentchanges table and fetches data for pages created (rc_type = 1) the previous day in the Main namespace (rc_namespace = 0).

#!/bin/bash
# Author         :       Cybergavin (http://www.cybergav.in)
# Date Created   :       31st March 2012
# Description    :       This simple script queries the Wiki database and sends a notification to specific users regarding page creation. Reminds users about the existence of the wiki and what's in there.
#####################################################################################
#
# Variables
#
EMAIL_RECIPIENTS="wikiusers@abc.com"
REPORT_DATE=$(date '+%Y%m%d' --date="yesterday")
REPORT_DATE_FORMAIL=$(date '+%d-%b-%Y' --date="yesterday")
WIKI_BASEURL="http://wiki.abc.com/wiki/index.php/"
#
# Functions
#
getDBdata()
{
mysql -u wiki -p'xxxxx' --skip-column-names wiki <<EOSQL
connect wiki;
select rc_title, rc_user_text from recentchanges
where rc_timestamp like '$REPORT_DATE%'
and rc_type = 1
and rc_namespace=0;
quit
EOSQL
}
#
# Main
#
mail -s "Tech Ops Wiki : New Page Notification For $REPORT_DATE_FORMAIL" $EMAIL_RECIPIENTS <<EOMAIL
Hi

Given below are Pages created on the ABC Wiki ( http://wiki.abc.com ) yesterday ($REPORT_DATE_FORMAIL) along with their authors:

`getDBdata | awk -v a="$WIKI_BASEURL" '{printf "%-70s %s %s\n", a$1,"-", $2}'`

EOMAIL
#
##################################### T H E     E N D ###############################

NOTE:
(1) You must change certain variables and the body of the email as per your requirements.
(2) If your wiki isn’t updated with new pages very often, you may send this notification weekly. To do so, simply replace “yesterday” by “last week” on lines 11 and 12 and replace “where rc_timestamp like ‘$REPORT_DATE%'” by “where rc_timestamp > $REPORT_DATE0000”

STEP 2: Cron the Shell Script

Set up a cron job to send a daily notification. The example below executes the script daily at 9 AM.

0 9 * * * /opt/support/wikiPCnotify.sh > /opt/support/wikiPCnotify.out 2> /opt/support/wikiPCnotify.err 
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The King’s Speech (2010)

image

Storyline

The story of how a speech therapist helps King George VI of Britain to overcome his dreaded stammer.

Cast

Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter

My Rating

9/10 [Excellent – Watchable again and again]

My Say

Excellent acting. Excellent direction. Wonderfully subtle British humour.

IMDB Review

The King’s Speech

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Limitless (2011)

image

Storyline

A down and out writer gets hooked onto a “clear magic pill” called NZT  that enables him to use 100% of his brain, thereby providing him almost limitless capabilities.

Cast

Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro

My Rating

7/10 [Good – Watchable at least once]

My Say

Not a clichéd storyline.  Good acting by Bradley Cooper. Good suspense and fast-paced movie.

IMDB Review

Limitless

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If your radio has been disconnected from your battery for whatever reason, then you’ll need to enter a Radio Code to use your radio again. In some countries, a trip to the nearest Honda dealer will suffice, but at times, dealers may provide you the radio code via phone if you provide them your car’s Serial Number (S/N). I performed the following steps to obtain my car’s (Honda Fit/Jazz 2007) S/N number (as I couldn’t find it anywhere in/on the car).

  1. Turn your ignition key to the position wherein the radio may be turned on, but your engine does not start.
  2. Ensure your radio is off.
  3. Press preset buttons 1 and 6 together and while these buttons are pressed, turn your radio ON. And voila! Your S/N will be displayed on the radio’s display.

hondafit2007  hondafit2007_dash

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Heard this song in my friend’s car and can understand why this song was written…we all have this “moment” wherein we wanna rant, don’t we? Check out the video below – country song with some amusing images.

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Like this song, especially the refrain “I got soul but I’m not a soldier”

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Don't Stop Believing – Glee

This song is a product of Glee, an American musical aired on Fox in the US.

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Eat Waste Save Animals!

I just watched an interesting documentary titled Britain’s Really Disgusting Food hosted by Alex Riley. This documentary exposed the use of MRM in the production of a variety of frozen meat products. The main topic of this documentary was Mechanically Recovered Meat (MRM).

MRM is produced by removing all the good portions of meat (breast, thigh, etc.) and then crushing the remaining skeleton along with connective tissue and fat against a mesh in a mechanical device to produce a pile of crushed bones and and a slurry. The resulting meat slurry is called MRM and is typically used in Hot Dogs, Chicken nuggets and burgers. Also, cheap brand frozen foods (meat pies, kievs, etc.) cost less because they typically use MRM. MRM has been around for a while, but not so well known to the general public.

Alex was able to create a Chicken Kiev that met the FSA requirements, but had only 19% chicken (MRM-type stuff). And he was able to sell the Kievs to rich dudes at a food fair! :) Alex tried to  get the FSA’s attention with a sarcastic “Eat Waste Save Animals” (by eating rubbish like MRM products, you maximize utilization of an animal, thereby saving the slaughtering of more animals) demonstration in front of the FSA office in London. Check out the video below:

 

 

There are other documentaries in this series. You can check them out on YouTube.

Another startling revelation in this documentary was the manner in which most frozen meat products are imported into the UK (and being very cheap). Here’s an example : Chicken slaughtered in Brazil, salted and frozen, then shipped to Netherlands, unsalted and thawed, then injected with water, frozen again and then shipped to the UK. Yikes!

I remembered a pair of American-style Hot Dog (Ye Olde Oak) cans in my Kitchen cabinet (bought them a year ago, but hadn’t consumed them as I’ve been avoiding processed meats). I checked the label and just besides the banner “Highest Quality Hot Dogs”, the list of ingredients read – 60% Mechanically Recovered Chicken, Pork collagen, EXXX, etc……the cans went straight into my dustbin! So, every time you think of popping into that Burger shop around the corner, think about MRM!

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e-Newsreader: The future of the news(paper)?

If e-reader manufacturers optimize e-readers for reading news (i.e. provide an easy transition from the ubiquitous newspaper), then this would be the first step towards the decline of the newspaper print media and a great stride forward in the digital age. There are several e-readers available, with Amazon.com sparking a lot  of interest with its Kindle. However, all e-readers currently available are not ready to replace the newspaper given their small displays and accessibility to news. With LG’s development of a 19in flexible e-reader (see image below), e-readers can move one step closer towards replacing newspapers.

Today's newspaper (far left) vs the newsreader of the future (LG Display)

The future e-Newsreader?:

  • Large display e-reader – a bendable, foldable [ collapse into a compact deck of cards? ] display with built in wi-fi, memory, electronic paper , internet access (via mobile service providers) and embedded software.
  • An e-news app store to provide lots of cool software to make news reading much more efficient and effective or such software could be bundled with the e-Newsreader you buy.
  • You purchase your daily news online (or via long-term subscriptions) and the electronic version of the news is transmitted to your e-Newsreader. The electronic version of the news will still have the same content format and look as today’s newspapers, but in addition, you’ll have several cool features at your disposal – zoom in/out, search, bookmark favourite articles, save to memory, etc. – and all these features via touch screen, stylus and voice-recognition technologies.
  • Software will allow you to track a story across several days’ e-news stored in your e-Newsreader’s memory and provide you with a timeline of events.
  • The e-Newsreader will be optimized for displaying newspaper-style news, but will also allow ebooks (several formats) to be read.

 

Pros:

  • Save the planet!! e-news will save a huge amount of paper.
  • Significant reduction in production costs for media companies (no printing newspapers), thereby allowing e-news to be delivered at lower rates than today’s newspapers.
  • No more rushing, queuing and frantically searching for small change to buy your daily newspaper. Get news delivered whenever, wherever.
  • No more littering public transport and other places with used newspapers (perhaps free newspapers like “The Metro” for tube/train travellers in the UK may be transmitted to your e-reader if you have a valid ticket).
  • Read news far more efficiently. For example, use the search feature to quickly check the stories that you’re following and then move on to other articles.
  • Make information and knowledge much more easily accessible to the public. This encourages more research, better journalism and contributes to building knowledge communities.

Cons:

  • The decline/demise of the newspaper print industry means the loss of several jobs.
  • You’ll miss the several other benefits of newspapers – street food holder, packing, etc. 😉

 

e-Newsreaders will have a large market in developed countries. Developing countries won’t have a market for such devices unless they come out of poverty (to make such devices affordable to the genral public) and literacy is high (to get people to use such devices).

Amazon.com initially ran into loads of trouble with its Kindle, primarily due to some daft decisions (like catering to only US mobile network technologies, thereby preventing world-wide distribution) and like other e-readers, it’s primarily aimed at reading e-books (although the latest Kindle DX aims to make reading news easier with a larger display. Amazon.com’s framework of using the Kindle with its Whispernet was a step in the right direction, but lack of planning caused them many issues.

Knowledge and information are key to a country’s development and consequently making knowledge and information more easily accessible should be the key driver behind devices such as e-readers. However, for this digital dream to become the common man’s reality, a helluva lot of work has to be done and large organizations and governments must work cooperatively with each other.

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It’s been a year since I bought an LCD TV (LG 32LB75) that is capable of accepting 1080p input (HD ready 1080p). However, I’ve only used my LCD TV for viewing SD TV and videos. Well, I’m not ready to invest in Blu-ray or Sky’s HD services now. I thought about trying upscaling (I know it can never be as good as true HD) options until I decide to go down the full HD route and had my eye on Oppo, but Oppo was beyond my budget. Then, while skimming through the electronic products section on Amazon, I came across the the Cyclone Micro HD HDMI 1080p Upscaling Multimedia Player Adaptor selling for around £25 and having rave reviews. So, I purchased the Cyclone Micro just before Christmas 2009. Images of the front and back covers of the Cyclone Micro packaging box are given below:

CycloneMicro_FrontCover   

CycloneMicro_BackCover

Being so cheap for what it claims to offer, I did not have much expectations from the Cyclone Micro. All I wanted was a quick, easy, cheap way of viewing my DivX and Xvid videos (purchased via Graboid). Well, I have been impressed so far. The Cyclone Micro is a little gadget (smaller then my BlackBerry) that has adequately met my requirement for playing Xvid video on my LCD TV. All I do is download an Xvid video via Graboid, store it on my 8 GB SanDisk USB Flashdrive, stick the flash drive into the Cyclone Micro, connect the Cyclone Micro to my LCD TV via a HDMI cable (only an AV cable comes with the Cyclone Micro, so you’ll need to purchase an HDMI cable separately if you don’t already have one), switch on the Cyclone Micro and select the HDMI Input source on my LCD TV. When done, the Cyclone Micro home menu is displayed on the screen. Using this menu, I select the video I wish to watch and voila! The Cyclone Micro comes with a nifty remote control, loaded with adequate controls like play, stop, forward, rewind, zoom and volume. You can also select your upscaling resolution. By default, the first movie played with my Cyclone Micro used DVD resolution. Then, when I selected 1080p as my default resolution, the video was noticeably different (higher quality). So, the Cyclone Micro does improve video quality with its upscaling (not out of this world, but great enough for such a cheap product!).

I haven’t experimented using my Cyclone Micro with other video, audio and picture formats, but so far, for my requirement of playing Xvid videos on my LCD TV, I believe that the Cyclone Micro has given me bang for my buck!

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Grab videos (legally) with graboid!

If you’re a movie buff and want quick and cheap (not free) access to loads of movies (even HD movies) and don’t want to risk torrents, then graboid video is well worth a try. I’ve registered for Gold Membership ($14.99 for a month allowing 50 GB of movie downloads) for a month to check it out. Graboid does not host any videos but link you to internet video sources that comply with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). As per the Graboid website, they’re legal (since they’re not hosting videos and allowing uploads). Also, I  couldn’t find any websites claiming that Graboid is illegal or that Graboid is in trouble with the MPAA and other relevant authorities.

Most of the videos (movies and TV shows) on Graboid are good quality Xvid videos, but Graboid also links you to HD videos (720p/1080p). You can either stream or download the videos.

So far, I’ve downloaded a few Xvid videos and watched them on my LCD TV using my Cylcone Micro – no issues and good audio/video quality. I’ve only had an issue with a 13 GB HD movie (1080p) download and the Graboid forums indicate that the long filename for that movie could be posing a problem (now liaising with Graboid support to give back my 13 GB bandwidth!).

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Henry’s hand of God

Last week, France beat the Republic of Ireland to make it to the FIFA world cup in South Africa next year, consequently preventing the Irish from qualifying. However, France’s victory was highly controversial given that their winning goal was made possible by Thierry Henry’s hands. Henry prevented the ball from going past the goal line with his hand and then kicked the ball to Gallas who scored. Watch the video below.

 

 

After the match, everybody and his dog had something to say about the controversy and so here I am doing my bit. Well, Henry said he’s honest, he’s never cheated and admitted it was handball and even went to the extent of saying that a rematch would be the fairest solution.

However, Henry’s integrity has been blotched and everybody won’t buy into his views after the match. Henry said the handball was instinctive and not deliberate. Ok, well, I’ll buy that.

However, if Henry is as honest and innocent as he claims, why did he celebrate after that goal, fully aware that the Irish players were protesting against his handball? Why did he not go to the referee then and there and admit it was a handball, thereby allowing the referee to make the correct decision?

Henry’s admission of handball and his consequent comments to pacify the Irish were too little too late. He knew it was a handball when the goal was scored. So, why admit it only after the match? It means he simply wanted to deceive the referee. Henry is one of the greatest footballers around today and he knows he has more than a million fans and so he should be even more careful with such incidents. All fans (like me) who respected Thierry Henry both as a footballer and an individual will feel a bit let down by his dishonesty. Henry must be going through tough times as he will be contemplating on losing an opportunity for cementing his name as a sporting legend as now it will be convenient for people to associate Henry with the handball and brand him “cheat”. Well, although Henry’s handball has disappointed me, I will surely never forget the amazing football he’s given us.

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India’s Senas – worse than UK’s BNP

Yesterday, the Shiv Sainiks attacked the offices of the news channel IBN Lokmat in retaliation to the channel’s remarks against the Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. This is yet another attack by the far-right Shiv Sena after several attacks on the media over the years, for any remark passed against the party. As per the Shiv Sena goons, freedom of speech has its limits! Bal Thackeray even blasted Tendulkar last week for his comments that he was first Indian and then Maharashtrian. The Sena parties have caused enough problems and they must be stopped!

Typically, far-right political parties represent facism – an ugly scar on a multicultural, democratic, civilized country and how much impact a country allows its facist parties to have, gives an indication of how democratic, civilized and developed that country and its people are. Given the recent furore out here in the UK over the appearance of the BNP leader Nick Griffin on the popular BBC Question Time programme, I couldn’t help but compare the far-right political parties in India (Shiv Sena, MNS) and the UK(BNP).

 

India (the Senas)

UK (BNP)

A Regional Party – Maharashtra and some other states

A National Party

Founded on the “sons of the soil” policy – Maharashtra is only for Marathi people.

Founded on the “Britain is for indigenous people (white Caucasian)” policy

Still incites and propagates violence against non-Maharashtrians and non-Hindus

Has been associated with violence in the past, but relatively quiet today.

Commits atrocities with impunity as successive Indian Central and State Governments lacked the political will to take action against the violence committed by these parties’ thugs.

The BNP is condemned by many sections of the mainstream media. All mainstream political parties are united in their strong opposition to the BNP. Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated: "Londoners and the rest of the British people know that backing the BNP is totally at odds with what it really means to be British – and the great British values the rest of us share, such as democracy and decency, freedom and fairness, tolerance and equality”

 

Where were these bloody “sons of the soil” Sena blokes when terrorists held seige to Bombay on 26/11? They didn’t have the cojones to even show their faces in public. And commandos from outside Maharashtra played a key role in wiping out the terrorists.

The corruption and vote-bank politics in India have allowed the far-right Sena parties to take law into their hands and commit various atrocities.

Ironically, the very “divide-and-rule” policy that enabled the British to rule India is now followed by the far-right Sena parties in Independent India. What’s that “Unity in Diversity” I studied about, when I was a kid?

If India cannot tackle these fundamental issues and protect the democratic rights of its citizens, then you can flush all talk about India becoming a developed nation, let alone a super-power, down the drain.

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A couch potato’s dream gadget

I have experienced the frustration of wanting to switch channels on my TV using my remote only to see nothing happening, because I ignored the many “Low Battery” warnings for my remote control. I’m sure quite a lot of people, especially those couch potatoes out there, would have gone through a similar experience.

nec-prototype-remote Well, two Japanese companies, NEC Electronics and Soundpower have created a prototype remote control which does not need batteries! The power required for its use is generated from the pressing its buttons. So, just using the remote control generates the power required for its operation! Brilliant innovation!

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Pac-Man wins a historic seventh world title

I just watched LIVE, the 12-round demolition of Miguel Cotto by Manny Pacquiao earning Manny the WBO welterweight title. Manny created history by winning a seventh world title in an unprecedented seventh weight division.

Manny Pacquiao (left) and Miguel Cotto

 

Manny was simply superb – very lively, darting in and out, punched with lightning speed and accuracy and although he stepped up in weight, it did not show one bit. Cotto landed a few good punches, but Manny seemed unperturbed by them. Manny had Cotto down a couple of times before the referee stopped the fight in the last round. Manny dominated the fight and proved that welterweight power ain’t a problem for him and his iron chin, by demolishing a great welterweight champion.

Now, the fight every boxing fan will want to see is Manny Pacquiao Vs Floyd Mayweather Jr. Both these boxers are the top two contenders for the planet’s best pound-for-pound boxers and exhibit excellent boxing skills and speed. A fight between them is a mouth-watering prospect!

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