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September 19, 2011

Trouble-Maker: Learn to fix computer issues

Filed under: Computer Software,Linux/Unix Related,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 2:38 AM

This interesting app randomly breaks your system so you can learn how to fix it.

Haven’t tried it yet because as of now I only have one working Linux system at home, but as soon as I fix that I will be installing this on my secondary system. Once I do that I will log my experiences here.

You can download it from Trouble-Maker‘s site.

– Suramya

May 18, 2010

Boot From a USB Drive even when your BIOS Won’t Let You

Filed under: Computer Software,Computer Tips — Suramya @ 11:37 PM

If you are like me then you have gotten into the habit of carrying a Live Linux CD with you at times, I keep mine in my Laptop bag so its there when I need it. However CD’s have a lot of inherent problems like, an inability to update the version without burning a new disk and a susceptibility to scratches.

Having a Bootable USB drive with the latest version of Linux solves all these problems. USB drives are quite cheap now and it makes sense to have one available loaded with the latest diagnostic tools. But till date I didn’t carry a bootable USB drive with me because a lot of the systems I encountered didn’t allow me to boot from USB which made the bootable drive pretty much useless. Now, there is a way to fix the problem. What you need is a Blank CD and the latest version of PLoP.

PLoP is a Bootmanager that allows you to create a boot CD that will enable the system to boot from a USB drive even when that option is not supported by the BIOS. You can download PLoP from here. Installing it is quite easy. You just need to extract the .ZIP file that you downloaded and burn the .iso image to a CD. There are two ISO images on the CD and you can use either one of them, however according to the readme file plpbtnoemul.iso should work “everywhere” so if you have some doubt use that image.

Once you burn the image to the CD, reboot the system and configure it to boot off the CD. When the system boots up you will get a boot menu that will allow you to choose USB as the device to boot from. Once you do that the system will boot off the USB drive as normal and you can proceed from there.

Hope you find this as helpful as I am going to.

– Suramya

Source: Boot From a USB Drive Even if your BIOS Won’t Let You – How-To Geek.

February 24, 2010

Getting Wireless on my HP Pavilion DV5000 to work on Linux

Filed under: Computer Software,Knowledgebase,Linux/Unix Related — Suramya @ 10:46 PM

I have heard that connecting to wireless networks can give a lot of trouble in Linux. I have even experienced the same when I tried out Debian and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 on my HP Pavilion DV5000 laptop. In Debian I managed to get the card working but on RHEL I couldn’t get it to work.

Actually I could have gotten it to work but lacked the time to spend trying out various solutions. Plus the final solution wasn’t very elegant or portable. Basically what I ended up doing was hardcoding the config file to connect to a particular wireless network. Which obviously wasn’t a very portable solution.

When I decided to try out Backtrack 4 which is a Linux-based penetration testing distribution that is based off Ubuntu I was worried that my wireless card (Broadcom BCM4318) would again cause issues. If you have been using Linux then you probably have heard of this-chip set as earlier versions of Linux had a lot of problems getting this card to work and so I was expecting a lot of work before I got the card to work.

While the OS was installing I did a little search on google and that reminded me of a post on Tech Republic that talked about 10 tools to connect to wireless networks in Linux so I decided to try out each of them to see which one worked for me.

Fortunately for me the first program I tried (wicd) solved my problem. All I had to do to get the network working was: log in as root and then run the following command:

/etc/init.d/wicd start

Once I ran the command all my network cards were automatically detected and I could configure them. However since its a pain to configure the cards manually, I ran the following command to start the GUI based client for wicd:


When you run wicd-client a new icon shows up in the system tray (next to the clock) and if you double click on the icon the Wicd manager starts and allows you to configure any wireless/wired network that the system detects.

Over all, wicd is quite easy and a lot more intuitive than the default KDE Network manager, plus another advantage is that wicd supports WPA which the default KDE Network manager doesn’t.

Now that I have gotten the card working on Ubuntu I am going to re-install RHEL on the laptop and see if wicd can get the card working over there also. But that’s work for another day.

– Suramya

February 15, 2010

Augmented Reality: Tattoo that transforms into a flying dragon

Filed under: Computer Related,Computer Software,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 7:52 PM

Augmented reality, the words bring to mind a science fiction world where people wear glasses hooked up to computers that give additional information on the item being looked at. I have read scores of novels where this technology is in use by humans (both in a positive and negative sense) but till date this technology was still in the realm of Science Fiction.

Now this has changed. ThinkAnApp studio based in Buenos Aries has developed specialized software that allows them to create a tattoo that when viewed through a camera gets transformed into a flying dragon. Or anything else you want. Pretty cool eh?

Here’s what the Tattoo looks like when viewed through a camera:

Check out the video demoing the tattoo in action here.

This is just a prototype and isn’t released for public use yet. But it is a step in the right direction and slowly but surely we are moving closer to the day when the virtual world will overlay the real world and open up all the awesome possibilities that entails.

Source: ThinkAnApp – Augmented Reality (tattoo).

– Suramya

December 11, 2009

Google Calendar Notifications/Issues

Filed under: Computer Software — Suramya @ 4:12 AM

Google recently made a change to its Calender service that I had been waiting for a long time. Actually they might have launched it a while ago but I only noticed it recently.

You now have the ability to send the reminder for an event to a mobile phone as a SMS. The best part is that it even works with my cell phone in India. So now I get reminders even when I don’t have access to my email (which I admit is pretty rare).

The only issue I have found so far is that the reminder via SMS is set about a day before the event no matter what setting I put in the interface. I have set the system so that I get a reminder 15 mins before any appointment set in my calender but I keep getting the reminder a day before, i.e. if the event is on the 8th I get the reminder on my cell phone on the 7th. Hopefully they will fix it soon.

The other issue I hit on the calender is that it seems to be impossible to change the date for an existing event. I wanted to change the date and time for a reminder but it refused to let me change the date. It did change the time to the new time but kept the event on the old date. I finally had to delete the old event and create a new event.

Now if I can get it to sync with my Phone it would be great. I got the phone to sync with my system but still need to get Google to sync to evolution. (The connection keeps timing out for some reason).

Other than these minor issues I really like the Google Calender.

– Suramya

August 15, 2009

Posting to WordPress Blogs from Lifeblog on Nokia Phones

Filed under: Computer Software,Software Releases — Suramya @ 4:45 AM

I have been wanting to have the option to make blog posts directly from lifeblog on my N95 for a while now but so far was unsuccessful because no plugin existed that worked with the latest version of WordPress.

So I downloaded the latest available copy of the plugin from this blog post and modified it to work with the latest version of WordPress.

You can download the latest version of the plugin from the Scripts Directory. This version works with WordPress 2.8.x (I tested it with 2.8.2 and 2.8.4).

Changelog :
Ver 3.5: (15th Aug 2009):

* Plugin is now compatible with WordPress 2.8.x (Tested upto 2.8.4)
* Replaced the SQL queries for categories creation/check with WordPress Functions
* Replaced the SQL queries for user checks with WordPress functions
* Added ability to Enable/Disable Debug Logging by changing one variable

Let me know if you have any questions/issues.

– Suramya

June 23, 2009

Firefox 3.5 RC2 and my experience with it

Filed under: Computer Software,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:21 PM

I have been using the latest version of Firefox(FF) 3.5 for the past few days and I am pretty happy with it so far. I first started using FF when it was version 0.5 (or was it 0.6). Since then I have used every alpha and beta version that Mozilla released for any of its new versions.

This is the first release for which I never tried out the alpha/beta versions. The first time I downloaded it was the pre-RC version Beta 99 that was released just before RC1.

Some of the things have changes. One major change that I have noticed is that it is using a lot less memory than any of the previous versions. Previously it would routinely take up 200-300 MB of RAM, currently it is using 100MB after about a day of surfing.

The privacy mode is also nice but I haven’t really tried it out yet. I haven’t really noticed a lot of speed difference while surfing yet but it does start up faster.

I am eagerly waiting for the final version to come out so that I can play with it.

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

September 23, 2008

SugarCRM Silent upgrade issues and fixes

Filed under: Computer Software,Knowledgebase — Suramya @ 5:59 PM

The past few weeks I have been working on the SugarCRM Silent upgrade script that upgrades the CRM from ver 4.5.1 to Version 5.0 and I hit some issues that took ages to fix. So I am sharing the fixes/solutions here for others who might have hit these issues and are looking for a solution:

1. The upgrade fails suddenly with the following error message in the upgradeWizard.log file:

Wed, 24 Sep 2008 08:28:20 -0500 [UpgradeWizard] - *** ERROR: could not copy file: /home/suramya/public_html/CRM/include/SugarFields/Fields/Address/DetailView.tpl

To fix this issue you need to extract the upgrade zip file that you downloaded and then copy the SugarFields folder from the includes directory into the include folder of your CRM. Once you do that the CRM upgrade will continue normally.

2. Upgrade fails with the following error message:

Fatal error: Call to a member function on a non-object in /home/suramya/public_html/CRM/include/dir_inc.php on line 135

This one was an interesting one to fix. I had already migrated a couple of test installs on that server so I knew the server supported the upgrade script and I was migrating the same install again so I knew that the install could be upgraded.

Finally figured out that if you rename the upgrade zip file to another name it will fail with that error message. Which is kind of silly because we give the installer the name of the upgrade zip file when running it…

Hope this helps someone else out there.

– Sur

January 29, 2008

Open Source Software lists

Filed under: Computer Software,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 2:10 PM

Open Source Living has a great list of the various Open Source Software’s (OSS) that are available out there on the web.

It addresses one of the biggest problems with the OSS: the lack of knowledge about the various alternatives that are available. It is classified into various subsections like “Graphics & Photo”, Video, Audio etc. With a great listing. It is being migrated to another CMS (Content Management System) so while thats going on the creator is not making any additions to the site.

The advantage of OSS is that its free to try and its free to use. :) So instead of spending big money on proprietary software check out OSS . You just might find something that you like and save a few bucks.

In an earlier post I had talked about various Open Source Project Management software. Found this post that reviews the various Project planner software. Check it out if you are looking for a Project Management software:

– Suramya

January 17, 2008

Projity releases OpenProj ver 1.0

Filed under: Computer Software,Knowledgebase — Suramya @ 5:06 PM

Version 1.0 of OpenProj (which is a software that I have talked about before) was released earlier this week. This is a big step for the Open Source world as its the first formal release of one of the few competitors of MS Project (That can match it in features).

According to the information I received OpenProj has had over 25,000 downloads in the first two days after its launch. That means a lot of people are planning to use it or are atleast willing to try it out. Infoworld did a detailed review of the Beta version product last year and they mostly had good things to say about it. Now that new version is out we should be seeing another review from them shortly.

As most of the readers of this blog already know, I prefer using Open Source applications. That way I know what I am installing on my system and I get to install/use software without having to pirate it, or paying through my nose for it. Hence my recommendation that if you use MS project you should give OpenProj a try.

That being said; I haven’t installed OpenProj on my system yet nor am I planning to and no Its not because I don’t like the software but rather because I have no need for a project management software. So I don’t want it taking up disk space on my system. But if I ever need a project management software I know where to look.

You can download OpenProj ver 1.0 from their source forge page. More information on it is available here.

– Suramya

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