Archive forJuly, 2009

English – A crazy Language

This is from one of the forwarded mails which I had received from Mr. Venkat.

In what other language do people drive in a parkway and park in a driveway?

Why does night fall but never break and day break but never fall?

Why is it that when we transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when we transport something by ship, it’s called cargo?

Why are people who ride motorcycles called bikers and people who ride bikes called cyclists?

In what other language do thay call the third hand on the clock the second hand?

Why is it called a TV set when you get only one?

Why – in our crazy language – can your nose run and your feet smell?

Sometimes you have to believe that all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane:

If olive oil is made of olives, what do they make baby oil from?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian consume?

A writer is someone who writes, and a stinger is something that stings.

But fingers don’t fing and grocers don’t groce.

If the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?

If the teacher taught, why isn’t it also true that the preacher praught?

If harmless actions are the opposite of harmful actions, why are shameless and shameful behavior the same?

English is a language in which you can turn a light on and you can turn a light off and you can turn a light out, but you can’t turn a light in;

In which the sun comes up and goes down, but prices go up and come down.

In which your nose can simultaneously burn up and burn down and your car can slow up and slow down, in which you can fill in a form by filling out a form and in which your alarm clock goes off by going on.

English is a crazy language. What is it that when the sun or the moon or the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible?; and why when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I shall end it?


Hardware Information under Linux

For most of the time I have been using `lshw` (list hardware) happily under Ubuntu. But yesterday, I had a situation wherein I need to find out the hardware of the machine in Rocks Linux. I did not think of installing `lshw` on the machine, but wanted to find out whether there are other commands from where I can get the hardware information including BIOS. So after doing some  google search, came up with `dmidecode`.

`dmidecode` is a tool for dumping a computer’s DMI (Desktop Management Interface) table contents in a human-readable format. This table contains a description  of  the  system’s  hardware  components,  as well as other useful pieces of information such as serial numbers and BIOS revision.


root@ophiophagus:~$ dmidecode -t
dmidecode: option requires an argument — t
Type number or keyword expected
Valid type keywords are:

root@ophiophagus:~$ dmidecode -t bios < List BIOS information>

Use the above types for getting the hardware information for the machine.


Setup WebDAV with Apache

This is a small tutorial in setting up WebDAV with Apache2. I have implemented it on Centos 5.0.

WebDAV – Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning, allows one user to edit the files directly on the server rather than downloading and then uploading the files to the server. Install `apache` web server. Just need to make some changes in the `httpd.conf` file.

Enable the following modules in the `httpd.conf` file.

LoadModule dav_module modules/
LoadModule dav_fs_module modules/

Noe, you need to create the directory where you want users to upload the files. Suppose I assume that you have a partition `/data` on the server.

root@ophiophagus:~#mkdir backup <- inside the /data partition.

Ensure that the ownership for the /data parition is `apache`.

Now you need to create a virtual host entry for the `WebDAV`. Before that, create the WebDAV username/password file.

root@ophiophagus:~#htpasswd -c /data/backup/passwd.dav testuser

Change the ownership as well as the permission of the file. Now create a virtual host entry for the directory.

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin prasanta@ophiophagus
DocumentRoot /data/

<Directory /data/>
Options Indexes MultiViews
AllowOverride None
Order allow,deny
allow from all

Alias /backup /data/backup
<Location /backup>
AuthType Basic
AuthName “Admin Server”
AuthUserFile /data/backup/passwd.dav
Require valid-user

Just reload `httpd`.

There is a utility tool for testing WebDAV from command line. Download and install and application called `cadaver`.

Authentication required for webdav on server `Admin Server’:
Username: testuser
dav:/webdav/> ls

This will list the files which are there in the particular directory.

Note: I am still looking for a option to limit the user file upload, depending upon the file type extension, but I still not able to figure this out.


A day with Openfiler

I needed some sort of shared system wherein user’s can dump there data, with access restrictions. I had two options in mind. Go for a branded NAS box or bring some NFS/SMB from scratch. So as always, did a Google search for some open source product. I bumped into FreeNAS and Openfiler. Om Google -ai Namah. I thought of giving Openfiler a shot.

Openfiler is an Open Source Network Attached Storage and Storage Area Network Solution. It is a distribution which is built on top of Red Hat and is available as an installable iso. I looked for rpm’s also, but I was unable to find it. However got it installed in one of the machine.

The installation is as simple as installing any other Red Hat distro. Screen shots were also available showing each and every step of the installation. Both version of the installation exists, text based as well as gui based. So there should not be any problem with the installation. The only difference with that to the ones shown in the docs, was that I made was installing it on top of RAID1. After all the installation was done, one just opens the browser and gives the url as listed in the document. Openfiler runs in port 446 by default.

Now comes the part of creating shared folders to be used for data dumping. I was unable to create any volume/shared space using the GUI interface. The administrator guide is not available for the public. One needs to pay to get it. So back to old strategy of using irc. Since they already have a channel, why not hook into it and get the answers. I got myself hooked into #openfiler and asked my doubts, but to my utter surprise no one responded. Logged out of it thinking that, these questions were dumbed enough not to be answered by the Openfiler community. I went through the forums which were quiet resourceful in terms of getting the doubts cleared compared to the irc.

Openfiler using LVM for data storage. So I used lvm from the CLI, for creating the partitions. (A good manual for using lvm can be found out at TLDP.)

[root@localhost etc]# pvcreate /dev/md6
Physical volume “/dev/md6” successfully created

After the partition being created one can use the GUI for all the other stuff including creating shares, folders etc. The best part of the system is that, it can hook itself to the existing authentication system like LDAP, NIS etc. For other means of user control, one can limit the usage by binding the user to a particular machine etc.

I am still exploring the system, but frankly speaking it’s a worth, much better then the proprietary NAS/SAN solution that is available. Kudos to the Free Open Source Community.

Openfiler –
FreeNAS –


Kaveri River Belt : Muthathi


1. Shrikant Gaikwad
2. Myself

Date: 19th July, 2009

Mode of Transport: Bajaj Platina 125 cc

Muthathi is a small river town, in a rural district of Karnataka, wherein you will find the Kaveri river running shallow and wide. The town is on the edge of the biggest forest range in India, which spreads across three states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Kerala. In case you are lucky enough, you could see wild animals on the way. The huge Masheer game fish is also said to be found here. One needs to take permission from the forest officials in case one is planning to do a trek/night camp in the forest range.

Route Information:

Muthathi is around 100kms from Bangalore rounding to around 2 hrs journey in bike. One needs to hit the Kanakpura road from Bangalore, and drive straight to Kanakpura. Once when you reach Kanakpura circle, take the road to the right to Sathanur. Turn left at Sathanur. The road straight away leads to Muthathi. The drive would be through the hills and wilderness of Kaveri wildlife sanctuary.

Approach road towards the place

Hills around Muthathi

Kaveri river flowing by the sides


Synchronize Google Calendar

Synchronization of Google Calendar with Mozilla Thunderbird Lightening works as a charm. Install Lightening, which is an add-on for Mozilla, for the calendar part. But this will not give a bi-directional access for Google Calendar. So, you need to install one more add-on called Provider for Google Calendar. Set up proxy server in case your network requires the same else nothing to do with the preferences.

I have set-up CalDAV as per below,

1. Open the Lightening application and Calendar > New Calendar.
2. Select On the Network and click Next.
3. In the format option select the CalDAV option.
4. In the Location field, enter [ [ your Google Calendar ID ] /events ] and click Next. eg. []. Be sure to use https in your URL, as an http address will not work.
5. Enter a name and select a color for your calendar.

Click on the Reload icon/button. A pop up screen will be shown for entering the user name/password. User name consists of the whole email address, eg. Enter the password and you are able to see the sync between the two calendar’s.


Smoking Weed!

Oops, not a good topic to write about. Anyway one of my colleague Aswin called me and asked whether he can stay with me for a day, and have some fun at home, since we have not met each other for some months. Invited our common friend Shrikant also, but he was busy with some other work and hence was not able to make it. Anyway we two were at my place cooking dinner. Thought of drinking but my friend was not up for drinking as he was trying to quit. To my utter surprise he had a small amount of weed in a plastic bag. Hurray! party mood on. He mixed tobacco along with weed and prepared a cigar (looked liked the same). After cooking was over, we both went to the balcony to smoke. Though one cigarette does not make one high, but still it has been some years since I last smoked weed.

We had dinner and slept like anything, only to get up at 8.30am in the next day.

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National Knowledge Network

NKN = National Knowledge Network

I had the privilege to attend the workshop on NKN that was held today at National Informatics Centre, HQ, Delhi. It was a small gathering of about 63 people from all the top notch institutes including IIT, CSIR lab’s etc. The workshop was to brief about what is NKN and it’s overall benefits. For more information pertaining to NKN can be found here.

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