Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Solving FTP Connection timed out error

While uploading set of files via FTP using FilleZilla on Hostgator hosting service, the "Connection Timed Out" error occurred often. After checking whether it was an issue with Hostgator, it was found that the culprit is a default connection timeout setting in FileZilla.
Increasing the timeout to unlimited solve all the timeout problems.
To do that in FileZilla,
Open Edit menu -> Settings -> Connection tab.
FileZilla Preferences Screen

Change the default "Timeout in Seconds" from 20 seconds to 0 (unlimited).
That should solve the file upload issues.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Nokia maps search bug

Nokia maps (previously Ovi maps) is currently the only smartphone manufacturer who provides downloadable maps which can be used even when there is no internet connection.

In the Indian context, this makes sense since the cost of accessing internet from mobile devices is exorbitrant and the 3G/2G coverage on the roads are sketchy at best.
Previously, Nokia map was downloaded as a India level map after installing the app. Now Nokia provides detailed local level maps downloadable as state level download (ie, separate download for Tamilnadu).
All is well, but, there is one glaring problem that is noticeable in Nokia maps. Users need to know the exact spelling of a place in order to locate it in Nokia maps, while in offline mode.

For example, searching for thenkasi provides no results(it is a town located in south tamilnadu), whereas searching for Tenkasi provides results.

Searching with slightly incorrect spelling
Searching with correct spelling

Similar problem should be encountered by Nokia map users countless times! (the author encountered this problem minimum ten times in past year)

Nokia should fix this and offer similar names in the map application offline search results. This problem is not prevalent in online mode.
Will nokia care to fix this glaring bug?

On a side note,it would be great if the names of the places in my map is also added to my dictionary!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Identifying corporate spies

The cost of protecting the intellectual properties of corporate business houses are increasing day by day. Trade secrets are the lifeline of companies and such secrets should be protected from prying eyes.

Recently, FBI got weary of all the corporate espionage that is happening in USA, which amounted to loss of $12 billion  for US companies. As a result, FBI is engaging in a massive advertising campaign to create awareness among the public to prevent such espionage.

Below are the points put forth by FBI for identifying potential perpetrators of espionage.
The points are relevant for Indian companies too.

Profile of a potential spy:
  • Working odd hours without authorization
  • Taking proprietary information home in thumb drives or email
  • Making unnecessary copies
  • Disregarding company policies about installing personal software or hardware
  • Taking short trips to foreign countries for unexplained reasons
  • Buying things they can’t afford
  • Being overwhelmed by life crises or career disappointments

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Automated parking meters at Chennai

Self-service car parking facility was made available at several places in Chennai in recent months.
The parking meter machine is provided by Parkeon, an US based Parking solutions provider.
Photo of one such parking meter at Adyar bridge, taken by the author is as below.

Parking meter near Adyar bridge, Chennai

The technology is simple to use. Just enter the car number, hours of parking needed, the machine asks to insert coins in denominations of 1,2 and 5 rs. Deposit the coins and collect the receipt and display the receipt on dashboard. The parking fee is very nominal and is very cheap compared to the parking fee charged in Express Avenue.

Instructions on using the self-service car parking system, as displayed in the machine.
How to use parking meter (instruction)
1.  Press green button on meter
2.  Press car number in keypad
3.  Insert 1, 2, 5 Rs. Coins according to your parking time
4.  Press green button to complete
5.  Take your ticket from ticket bowl
6.  Display your parking ticket inside car dash board as facing printed time displayed
Press red button at any time to cancel transaction              

The receipt returned by the machine is as shown below.
Parking meter receipt
There is even an assistant employed there to help with the receipt and he seems to be checking the receipts displayed on the car dashboards. Good work done by the authorities.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Top 10 power producing states in India

India is the world’s 4th largest power producing country. The power production/generation capacity is otherwise known as installed capacity. This capacity is usually higher than the actual generation, since not all energy sources provide maximum output throughout the year.

Percentage share of power production sources in India

Percentage share of power production sources in India
The major source of power in India continues to be derived from Thermal power, ie, from burning coal or oil, followed by hydro power. Renewable energy sources include Small Hydro Projects, Biomass Gasifiers, Biomass Power, Urban & Industrial Waste to Power sources and Wind power.

Top 10 power producing states in India

Top 10 power producing states in India
Maharashtra generates the highest amount of power among all the states of India.

Top 10 Nuclear power producing states in India

Top 10 Nuclear power producing states in India

Maharashtra generates the highest amount of power in the nuclear segment too.

Top 10 Hydro power producing states in India

Top 10 Hydro power producing states in India

Andhra Pradesh generates the highest amount of hydro power among all the states of India.

Top 10 Renewable energy producing states in India

Tamilnadu produces the highest amount of renewable energy among all the states. Renewable energy includes wind power, solar power and biomass.

 *All data is from December 2011. Recent reports not yet published by Govt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_in_India http://www.cea.nic.in/reports/monthly/executive_rep/dec11/27-33.pdf

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Remove blog name from page title in blogger

For websites created using blogger, the blog name gets prefixed to the post title.
This makes the SERP snippet on google look non-optimal.
SERP snippet with blog name prefixed to page title

This can be changed by editing the template of the blog and replacing this line of code,
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "index"'>
Detailed procedure:
1. After logging into blogger.com, Open the "Template" menu and select "Edit HTML"

2. Click "Proceed" and skip the template edit warning message
3. Find the code as highlighted and replace with code given above
After replacing the code, save the template by clicking on "Save template" button
The page titles get modified as below screenshot,
Notice that the blog name is gone from the page title
It might take some time to get updated on the Google index.
Note that this code does not affect the home page title.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Solar power plants in Tamilnadu

Tamilnadu has 3 solar power plants in operation. All three are based on PV (Photovoltaic cell) technology.
Two of them at Sivaganga district and one at Mayiladuthurai district. All these projects were supported by Govenment of India, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) which aims to create an enabling policy framework for the deployment of 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022.

1MW Solar plant at Mayiladuthurai

The 1 megawatt plant was synchronised to the grid on June 10,2011.
The project uses 4,400 crystalline silicon modules of 230 Watts each spread out over an area of 5.5 acres. The solar power plant is owned by B&G Solar Private Limited,  located at Komal West Village, Mayiladuthurai, in Tami Nadu.
It was installed and commissioned by Tata BP Solar India Ltd, a joint venture of Tata Power and BP Solar.  The plant provides power to electricity grid of Tamilnadu Electricity Board. B&G Solar provides electricity under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the TNEB, by which TNEB will purchase power for 25 years.
Komal west village, Mayiladuthurai, Tamilnadu, India

1MW Solar plant at Sivaganga

The 1 megawatt plant  was commissioned on July 25, 2011 and connected to TNEB grid.
The plant is commissioned by RL Clean Power Private Limited at Marakathoor village of Sivaganga district.

5 MW solar farm at Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu

The 5MW Solar power plant at Iynarkulam village of Sivaganga is the country's largest and first 5MW plant.
Thin film Photovoltaic cell technology was used in this solar power plant. The solar plant was commissioned by Moser Baer Clean Energy Limited (MBCEL).The plant was commissioned in early 2011, and connected to Tamilnadu Electricity Board's grid.
Iyrnakulam 5MW solar power plant in Sivaganga, Tamilnadu

Five control rooms were set up to control the production and supply the same to the grid. As many as 61000 modules were established in different rows in such a way to absorb the sun radiation. Most of the 65 acre land has been occupied by modules and panels, which were produced by an indigenous technology.

According to the company sources, the solar farm was established at a cost of around Rs.100 crore.Funding for the installation came from the International Finance Corporation and the IDBI bank.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Get full talktime on Airtel this April

Airtel has recently introduced their mobile commerce initiative named "Airtel Money". As part of their strategy to promote Airtel Money, they are offering full talktime for 50rs, 100rs and 200rs recharges. To avail this offer, recharges need to be made through Airtel Money.

For 50 rs > Talktime of 50rs
For 100 rs> Talktime of 102rs
For 200 rs> Talktime of 210 rs
No validity or any other limitation for this.

To activate Airtel Money, dial *400# from your Airtel Mobile and register yourself by selecting the options in menu item 1. You need to set up a four digit numeric mpin, that acts as the password for accessing "Airtel Money".

Next, you need to load cash to your Aitel Money account, this can be done by visiting airtelmoney.in . Go to the Load Cash section (below screenshot)
Note that cash can be loaded from online banking alone at the time of this writing.
Enter the amount, select bank, pay online and your "Airtel Money" account will be credited with the amount you entered.

Next, access "Airtel Money" from your mobile by dialling *400# and follow the menu options given by the interactive system. Select the second menu option 2 (Pay bills) and enter the desired amount 50/100/200 or any other booster packs like 26/36 etc. Enter your 4 digit password to confirm. Your recharge will come instantly.

The main advantage of this service is that Airtel users can use this to put up booster packs online, which is not available from any of the online recharge websites including Rechargeitnow.com, paytm.com, freecharge.in etc

Update: This offer is extended upto May 31st!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google apps free edition

Google recently switched Google Apps to a paid service.
But, their free service with 10 users is still available, but, not listed.

The reason is that Google has rechristened "Google Apps" to "Google Apps for Business".

Google Apps for non-business purposes are listed in the short link menu above the footer.
Users can sign up for Google Apps Free edition (Google Apps for Groups) through this link.

Here is a timeline (history of Google Apps) since its inception,

Feb 2006 - Google created "Gmail for your domain", that later became primary component of Google Apps
August 2006 - Google launched "Google Apps" integrating Email, Calendar, Talk and Pages.
Feb 2007- Google launched Premium Edition for Enterprise
July 2007- Google removed "beta" tag from all Google Apps products
May 2011- Google reduced free account limit from 50 to 10
End of 2011 - Google removed all references to free accounts and gives only a 30 day trail version of "Google Apps for Business"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

History of Indian wireless networks

By analyzing the user base of wireless (GSM/CDMA) networks in India, it is possible to trace the rise and fall of the network operators.

Below graph depicts the user base of wireless networks in India from 2005 to 2011.

Cellular network operators' user base in India 
The numbers of smaller operators are trailing at the bottom of the graph, click on the graph to see a larger version of the graph image.
This is compiled from the data publicly available from the Cellular Operators Association of India.
(Disclaimer: Reliance decided not to submit their data to COAI from March 2010 onwards.Certain CDMA operators are also listed since COAI lists them. Certain month data are taken from average of nearby months since COAI ignored to supply the data for the same.)

Insights about GSM Cellular network operators:

- Airtel has always been the market leader among the wireless service providers in India
- BSNL had initial lead, but lost user base and started to lag behind Idea
- Hutch became Hutchisson Essar in 2006, Hutchisson Essar was acquired by Vodafone in 2007
- Idea went from No.4 to No.3 beating BSNL during the end of 2009

Rise of BSNL's user base
Despite being a public sector undertaking, BSNL showed consistent growth and now remains 4th largest network in India.

Rise and fall of BPL
BPL had a shaky history of user retention and finally became Loop Mobile in May 2009.

Indian GSM Operator subscriber base : 1997 vs 2011

Below graphs show the user base of networks in December, 1997 and December, 2011.

Userbase of Indian wireless networks during December, 1997

Userbase of Indian wireless networks during December,2011

*This post is a clear example of how raw data can be visualized to provide interesting insights.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sustainability of human resource consumption

The resources that mankind uses is finite.The resources usually rejuvenate over a period of time. Using the resources at a higher rate than resource production/rejuvenation by nature causes resource overuse and depletion. Below graph summarizes the relationship between resource consumption and resource availability by different country groups as on 2010.

Resource Consumption vs Resource Availability across countries
The article interprets,
"Ecological Footprint of Consumption"  as "Resource consumption"
"Total Biocapacity" as "Resource Availability".

Ecological Footprint explained:
Ecological Footprint, Courtesy: Global FootPrint Network

Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend.

Resource Availability and Resource Consumption through time

The result is collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build up of carbon dioxide emissions, which creates problems like global climate change. These are just a few of the most noticeable effects of overshoot. 

Overshoot also contributes to resource conflicts and wars, mass migrations, famine, disease and other human tragedies and tends to have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who cannot buy their way out of the problem by getting resources from somewhere else.

A more compelling graph about resource usage,
Resource usage in terms of resource availability of Earth, Courtesy: Global FootPrint Network

The first step in ending resource over-use is to recognize and acknowledge resource over-use.

Graph data source (Excel sheet).

The data on Ecological Footprint of Consumption  and Total Biocapacity is from Global FootPrint Network.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

User management in Joomla

Joomla is the leading content management system developed on PHP. Below presentation summarizes the various concepts and features regarding user management in Joomla.

View more presentations from my Slideshare profile

Download PDF version of the Joomla user management presentation.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Google allows multiple simultaneous login

Google had recently introduces a very useful feature.
Most people had signed up separately for different Google services like Youtube, Orkut initially.
Ever since Google converted all accounts into Google accounts, simultaneously logging into those services became impossible and most users had to resort to using different browsers at the same time.
Youtube in Firefox, Gmail in IE etc became the norms to use multiple Google accounts simulaneously.
All these issues were solved, when Google introduced "Multiple Sign-in" feature.

When signed in into one account, the profile menu has the link to "Sign in into another account".

In above screenshot, both accounts are listed in the drop-down and the user can switch between the accounts seamlessly.