Author Archives: kunal

Delhi Metro Airport Express

I remember reading something about the baggage handling at respective stations a few years ago. Found confirmation of the same. Sounds even more high-tech than what I had imagined!

The Sibag Train baggage handling system from Siemens Mobility will offer passengers an added convenience: travelers to the airport will be able to check their baggage in at the metro stations at New Delhi City Airport Terminal Station and Shivaji Stadium City Airport Terminal Station. There they will be able to pick up their boarding cards, get on the Airport Express and ride to the international airport. Upon arriving, they can then go straight to the security check and proceed to their departure gate. Independently of this, the baggage which they checked in at the metro station will arrive at the airport, where it will be fed into the existing baggage handling system, taken through the automatic security check and loaded onto planes according to their respective flight destinations. To ensure seamless baggage transport from the station to the airport, the baggage car of the train will also be equipped with a conveyor system. An automatic container loading mechanism located on the station platform will automatically load the containerized baggage through the door and onto the conveyor in the car. When the train enters the metro station, the container system will be aligned precisely to the loading door of the baggage car. Passenger boarding and container loading happen simultaneously and very quickly to shorten station dwell time for the train. The whole process will be controlled fully automatically and accurately by Sibag Train.

Source

Let’s see what is actually implemented 🙂

Why I use OS X reason #121211

I move the iMac from Pune to Delhi, join the WiFi network, click on Add Printer and not only does it detect the HP Multifunction thingy attached to my router instantly, but it’s installed and ready to use without me having to click on “Yes” infinite times or without anyone telling me the drivers might be the bastard child of someone cause they aren’t properly “signed”.

As a bonus, it also installs the scanner, which I use to “pull” documents from the scanner on the network onto my computer, with fully functional settings like changing the file type etc. And all this without having to install any of HP bloatware on my machine.

The next time Software update runs, it also informs me a newer version of the drivers/ software I used in also available. I then appreciate the fact that the OS didn’t bother me with this when I was trying to install the printer and print something in a hurry. Non-critical updates can wait until you have the time, user, is a nice approach.

The very definition of “it just works”.

Reliance Wireless broadband auto-login (and logout) script(s)

The old “curl” based method stopped working yesterday when Reliance got a new login page as well as a new backend. It seems Reliance is now also looking at Cookies during authentication. Here’s a little Python script that you can execute to automate the process.

If you don’t know what Python is, you better stick to browser based authentication 🙂

Needless to say, you can schedule this script as a cron/ launchd job to run periodically and keep you logged in. That’s how I use it, which is why the script doesn’t output anything to prevent unnecessary log “pollution”.

Login Script for Python 2.x

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#!/usr/bin/env python
# encoding: utf-8
"""
Reliance Login Script for Python 2.x v1.0
 
Created by Kunal Dua on 2009-12-18
http://www.kunaldua.com/blog/?p=330
 
This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Python itself.
"""
 
import urllib2, urllib, cookielib
 
username = '1111111111111111' #replace the text within quotes with your username
password = 'password'	#replace the text within quotes with your password
 
jar = cookielib.FileCookieJar("cookies")
opener = urllib2.build_opener(urllib2.HTTPCookieProcessor(jar))
 
response = opener.open("http://10.239.89.15/reliance/startportal_isg.do")
 
login_data = urllib.urlencode({'userId' : username, 'password' : password, 'action' : 'doLoginSubmit'})
resp = opener.open('http://10.239.89.15/reliance/login.do', login_data)

Update: Logout Script for Python 2.x

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#!/usr/bin/env python
# encoding: utf-8
"""
Reliance Logout Script v1.0
 
Created by Kunal Dua on 2009-12-22
http://www.kunaldua.com/blog/?p=323
 
This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Python itself.
"""
 
import urllib2, cookielib
 
jar = cookielib.FileCookieJar("cookies")
opener = urllib2.build_opener(urllib2.HTTPCookieProcessor(jar))
 
response = opener.open("http://10.239.89.15/reliance/login.do", timeout=2)
 
resp = opener.open('http://10.239.89.15/reliance/logout.do')

Update: Login Script for Python 3.x

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#!/usr/bin/env python
# encoding: utf-8
"""
Reliance Login Script for Python 3.0 v1.0
 
Created by Kunal Dua on 2009-12-30
http://www.kunaldua.com/blog/?p=323
 
This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Python itself.
"""
 
import urllib, http.cookiejar
 
username = '1111111111111111' #replace the text within quotes with your username
password = 'password'	#replace the text within quotes with your password
 
jar = http.cookiejar.FileCookieJar("cookies")
opener = urllib.request.build_opener(urllib.request.HTTPCookieProcessor(jar))
 
response = opener.open("http://10.239.89.15/reliance/startportal_isg.do")
 
login_data = urllib.parse.urlencode({'userId' : username, 'password' : password, 'action' : 'doLoginSubmit'})
resp = opener.open('http://10.239.89.15/reliance/login.do', login_data)

Bad Bad Twitter

Since a few asked – I am moving from @duak to @kunaldua since Twitter refuses to index the former. What difference does it make? A lot!

  • I don’t appear in People Search. By itself, probably not a big deal and something I could have lived with. But not when you include the next 3.
  • If I “mention” anyone (@twitter_id) in one of my tweets, they’ll never see that tweet in their list of mentions unless they follow me.
  • Even if you are following me, unless I start my tweet with @yourtwitterid, you won’t see that tweet in your list of mentions.
  • My tweets don’t appear in any search results, so if I participate in any conferences/ events and use hash-tags and the likes, no one sees it!

So that’s it – there’s the reason for the switch. Probably Twitter thinks I am a spammer so they decided to block me and unfortunately there’s no way for me to get this addressed in any other way. See you @kunaldua.

Ayrton, Diego get new stripes

This week I finally moved Ayrton (the iMac) to Snow Leopard and also managed to find the time to move up Diego (my 5+ years and still going strong Powerbook) to Leopard. Here’s a quick primer for someone looking to upgrade their Mac.

First, I prefer clean installs. No installing over the previous OS and carrying over stuff for me. I like to use this is an opportunity to wipe the stuff and clean up house. If you are anything like me, you keep around a lot of things thinking you’ll need them, but never do. This is the time for you to break free.

So here’s how I do it:
1) Create a bootable copy of the existing Mac using Carbon Copy Cloner onto an External USB/ Firewire drive. USB drives do fine for Intel Macs like Ayrton but a Firewire drive is needed to boot a PPC machine. Via Disk Utility ensure that your drive is using the correct partition scheme to be able to boot your Mac:

Disk Utility

If you want help partitioning your disk, refer this page.

Note: If you can live with non-bootable backups and would just like to have access to your old files, don’t worry about USB/ Firewire/ Partition Schemes and just backup to any drive that your existing Mac can write to.

2) Once CCC tells you that the cloning is complete, reboot your Mac and hold the option while it boots up. It will show you the list of drives you can boot off. You should see the external drive you just backed up on as one of the options. Select it and boot into that drive to make sure the backup you have works fine. This will serve as a fail-safe just in case something goes wrong with the new install and also gives you an option to boot into a full functional OS if you ever feel nostalgic! You’ll also be using this backup to copy back the stuff you need on the new install.

3) Once you’ve verified everything is as it should be, put in the Snow Leopard DVD (or Leopard or whatever) and reboot your Mac. Again, press the option key while rebooting and this time select the DVD drive. When you reach the Welcome Screen, from the “Utilities” menu, choose “Disk Utility”. Erase your current Mac drive – this is the part where you make a clean break. Then proceed with the setup as usual until it’s complete.

Note: I actually used Target Disk mode to install Leopard on Diego, since it doesn’t have a dual layer DVD reader. Will do a follow up post on how to do that.

4) There’s no step 4. You should have a faster, cleaner Mac!

Update: Remember to run “Software Update” on the first boot. Install all updates that are available and reboot your machine (if necessary). After reboot, run “Software Update” again. Repeat, rinse until there are no more updates available. If you are wondering why all updates aren’t available in the first shot, it’s because some updates are dependent on others.

Copying your old stuff
The first time you boot into your Mac you’ll be greeted by the Migration Assistant. Select “From a Time Machine backup or another disk”:

Migration Assistant

Select the hard disk you backed to. On the next screen, I like to select only “Settings” – this is part of the breaking free routine. This will copy your WiFi/ Network settings, time zone etc. Anything else I would need I like to copy manually.

Migration Assistant 1

Now you can manually copy the Applications you really need from your old Mac drive (or download latest versions from the Internet) onto the new. You can also copy the preferences for the same application from the Library/Preferences folder under the previous use to the current one, but most people won’t need that. The only preference file I remember bringing over was the one for Safari Stand and that’s cause I had configured a bunch of quick search shortcuts which I didn’t wanna do all over again.

Other things to note:

  • Passwords/ Keychains – If you want to carry over your saved passwords without any problems, I suggest you create a user with the same user-name and password as the previous Install. With that, you can simply copy the ~/Library/Keychains folder from the previous user folder to the current one and use them normally without any problems.
  • iTunes/ iPhoto – Simply copy the iTunes folder (~/Music/iTunes) and the iPhoto Library (in ~/Pictures) to the same location under the new user/ OS and you should be set.
  • Mails/ Calendars – Simply copy the folders Mail (~/Library/Mail) and Calendars (~/Library/Calendars) to the same location in the new OS and they should work without any problems.
  • This time I also created an Applications folder in my home folder where I keep all Applications I install. So that /Applications stays clean like the day I installed my OS. Not necessary, just an alternative way to organize your stuff.

Applications
If you’re curious, here’s a list of Applications I installed immediately after install (in the order they appear in my Applications folder right now):

  • Acorn – Image editor (Shareware, I have a license)
  • Adium – Multi-protocol chat client (Free)
  • Burn – CD/ DVD burning software for the rare occasions (Free)
  • Clip Menu – Clipboard manager allows you to have multiple items in the Clipboard. Recently switched to this instead of the Quicksilver plugin (Free)
  • Dropbox – Client for the easy to use file sharing service (Free)
  • Firefox – Not my primary browser, but need it for development (Free)
  • LittleSnapper – Image grabber, great for snapshotting entire web-pages (Shareware, I have a license)
  • Oilcan – PostgreSQL client. Pretty basic but does the job (Free)
  • Quicksilver – the grand daddy of all apps (Free)
  • Sequel Pro – awesome MySQL client (Free)
  • Skitch – another screen grabbing + quick sharing app (Free)
  • Skype – Voice Chat/ Calls (Free)
  • Transmit – Trying it out over Cyberduck for my SFTP needs (Shareware)
  • Socilate – A new Facebook/ Skype/ Twitter client, still in beta
  • Textmate – The best text editor on any platform – vi(m)/ emacs fanatics stay away (Shareware)
  • The Unarchiver – Does what is says, throw almost any format at it (Free)
  • Transmission – Torrent client (Free)
  • Tweetie – Twitter client (Shareware/ Free with ads)
  • uTorrent – Giving it a try, over Transmission above (Free)
  • VLC – Media Player that plays practically anything (Free)
  • Xcode

Plugins/ other stuff I installed:

  • ClickToFlash – Safari plugin that disables all flash items until you click on them! (Free)
  • Flip4Mac – To play those pesky WMVs in QuickTime (Free)
  • Growl – Notifications, Mac ishtyle (Free)
  • iStat Menus – An overview of the Mac in your menu bar (Free)
  • Letterbox – Outlook style 3 column view for Apple Mail(Free)
  • Macports – Allows you to install various *nix utilities in a hassle free manner (Free)
  • Perian – Allows QuickTime to play DivX and various other formats (Free)
  • SafariStand – Plugin for Safari that adds various goodies (Free)
  • USB Overdrive – I had some troubles with the software/ drivers Logitech shipped for Snow Leopard and found this one to be much more stable. Allows me to program the gazillion buttons on my mouse to various custom actions (Shareware)

I also installed all three of Parallels, VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox – still not sure which one I am going to keep for the rare occasion I need to dip into the dark side. You can simply copy the image file over from your previous OS and reinstall the software in case you have an image you want to carry forward.

Okay, that’s more than enough information – I’ll update this post and/ or do a new one in case I think of anything else.

There’s bad luck, there’s rotten luck and then there’s Rafa’s luck

I know every club goes through a spell of bad luck, bad decisions and injuries but I don’t remember seeing anything like this in the decade that I have followed football at *any* club. Exhibit A:

Liverpool XI Missing in Action from Fulham Away
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

That’s 7 regular first team starters injured and 3, if not 4, regular subs out injured as well.

Add into the mix a defender returning from what seemed a serious injury (a defender that Rafa never really wanted in the first place but let’s not go there). A midfielder who caught flu after perhaps his best game in the red shirt against the biggest rivals and when he was finally starting to win the fans over. A striker who’s hardly trained all week. All 3 who probably wouldn’t have started if there were any realistic alternatives.

Now add a Ref who sees (and shows) red for seemingly no reason whatsoever and you have the perfect recipe for the most sickening final one-third of a game I’ve seen in a long, long time.

You don’t have to be a football pundit to see that these are extraordinary circumstances and to blame Rafa for this is so ridiculous, it isn’t even funny. Or maybe you have to be a Wheelan of a pundit to be so oblivious to the facts and spout whatever shit comes to your mind. If only they stopped to think before opening their mouth. Think? That would imply they had a brain, wouldn’t it. Well, like I said – let’s not go there.

Moved servers

I recently switched servers and was a little lazy in moving everything over. You would have received a few 404s and possibly other errors while trying to download AAFTRU and other linked files. For that I apologize.

I belive everything should be fine now but if you do run into some problems please do let me know by dropping a line at mail AT kunaldua DOT com.

Are you following football?

It’s that time of the year again! Here’s a quick update about the little “service” I have been providing.

Starting this season, updates will also be available for all Championship, League 1 and League 2 matches in addition to the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League games. FA Cup and League Cup action will also be covered.

Get your fix here.

10.5.8 brings support for cheap, no-name USB enclosures!

I have a couple of cheap, no-name 2.5″ hard disk USB enclosures with me that haven’t worked with any of my Macs since time immemorial. They made weird noises and flashed lights when I plugged them into either my Powerbook or the 20″ Intel iMac. I also shrugged it off thinking “oh these Macs are under powered” (( I do remember having some success getting my Powerbook to recognize the disk by using one of the 2×1 USB cables and inserting both of the connectors at one end into the Powerbook )) and grabbed the nearest Dell to transfer the data. (( no need to rub it in, I am embarrassed enough admitting it in public! ))

Until this morning. I upgraded to 10.5.8 and later when I was going through the release notes I saw this innocent looking line:

Improves compatibility with some external USB hard drives.

Immediately I popped in my cheap, no-name hard disk enclosure (with the hard disk in it, of course!) and yes, the iMac detected it. I am still running Tiger on the Powerbook so have no way of verifying if it works likewise.

Macs have truly broken the final frontier as far as I am concerned!