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Android: Use an NFC tag to connect to your car’s audio

NFC Stickers from eBay India

NFC Stickers from eBay India

I have been wanting to try out NFC tags. What stopped me was the price, availability in India and compatibility with various phones.  So just to have fun with tags, I settled down with QR Code and Microsoft tags until recently. Few weeks back, I ordered a pack of 5 NFC tags from eBay India  for Rs. 295/- from eBay India.

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Recent Posts

Shell Script: Instantly restart a process or script if it dies

Recently I faced a task in a project, wherein I was asked to ensure that a script (a PHP script) must be always running, to the extent that if it dies, it must restart immediately.

Though the script was fairly tested to handle error conditions, still there could be a few unforeseen situations . This is because the script fetches data from a third party service provider and also relies on constant connectivity with the service provider for real time data.

The script was to run unattended on a Linux server.

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SQL Server 2008 R2 on Windows 8: “” is not a valid login or you do not have permission

Got rid of Windows 7 and installed Windows 8 RTM on my laptop. To get back to work, went right ahead to install Visual Studio and SQL Server.

Installation of Visual Studio 2010 was a breeze but SQL Server 2008 R2 left me with a dreadful error saying – “” is not a valid login or you do not have permission. This showed up during the installation.

By ignoring this error, the installation proceeds but I was unable to login using SQL Server Management Studio.

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How I installed Tango update on my Dell Venue Pro (Windows Phone 7) bought in India

I bought a Dell Venue Pro, a Windows Phone 7, in February 2011. I broke it’s screen once and went for a replacement. The replacement unit had some issues with the speaker and I got it replaced again. These days the phone is suffering from peculiar battery issues and I may have to replace it’s battery.

Despite these, one thing I can claim proudly is my Dell Venue Pro has always remained updated, till date. It came with a pre-NODO install and I could update it to Mange Beta before the official Mango release. And what’s more, it also got the official Mango release. And just yesterday, I updated my Dell Venue Pro to Tango!

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Drupal: Redirect to node when View returns only one row

Ever since I started working on my Wildlife photo gallery in Drupal, I have been discovering the power of Views, which I seldom tap in time-bound projects. Here is an interesting trick that I would like to share.

The case is as follows. I have set up a Page using Views that displays photos based on criteria like species, location and type. The Views Page displays the thumbnails of the photos. Each thumbnail is linked to the Node page, which displays a larger photo and its details.

The page looks good and populated when I have lots of photos for each criteria. Unfortunately, in certain cases I do not have more than one photo displayed on the Views page. For example, I have only one photo of most species – since I started Wildlife photography just this year. As a result, the Views Page shows the thumbnail photo of just one species. This requires an extra, unnecessary click for the visitor to go to the Node page to see the larger photo and its details.

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Solved: pfSense is not letting Tata Photon to talk to Tata Indicom Broadband

Recently I faced this strange issue at a client’s place. Users using Tata Photon USB modem were not able to browse the website and other services, hosted on a server sitting at my client’s office. The client is using a Tata Indicom Broadband connection at the office. The server is sitting behind a pfSense firewall.

To add to the confusion, users using Airtel broadband and Reliance USB modem were able to browse the website. It was easy to blame Tata for this but the culprit (well, more or less) was the pfSense firewall.

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Install Windows Phone 7 Mango update on a non-rooted, non-developer-unlocked Dell Venue Pro (India)

Mango is the much awaited update for Windows Phone 7. The Mango update brings 500 new features, over the latest NoDo update. These features include multitasking, E-mail conversation view, Internet Explorer 9, Twittter and Linkedin integration and custom ringtones.

As of now Mango is in beta. The beta update is available to those with a developer account and pretty much limited to certain countries which does not include India. But my Dell Venue Pro bought in India is powered by Mango Beta now! It was earlier running official NoDo update (OS version: 7.0.7390). Following is how I updated my Dell Venue Pro without rooting it, unlocking it and without a developer account.

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Authenticate osTicket against Zimbra LDAP

osTicket is a free online helpdesk/support ticket system. Zimbra Open Source Edition is a free groupware product which offers E-mail, Calendar, Tasks and Chat. Recently for a client I had setup these two products.

Zimbra stores the E-mail users’ credentials in its built-in LDAP server. Hence it made sense to authenticate the login of other services or products like osTicket against Zimbra’s LDAP.

Following is a short tutorial on how I achieved it.

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Tethering a Dell Venue Pro bought in India

Tethering allows the sharing of a mobile phone’s GPRS/EDGE/3G Internet connection with a PC, typically via USB or Bluetooth/WiFi. Nokia, Andorid and Windows Mobile (before Windows Phone 7) phones support tethering. Most service providers in India have data plans that allow tethering, enabling access to the Internet on laptops while on the move.

In fact, tethering has often come to my rescue where most other ways to connect to the Internet have failed. I blame it on the lack of their availability and/or price. Hence I aptly demand tethering from every phone I own or use. But my latest  phone, a Dell Venue Pro (powered by Windows Phone 7), does not support tethering out of the box.

Googling reveals a hack which is repeated across the Web. But the hack never worked on my Dell Venue Pro.

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Solved: Extension filename.php not present

The day was pleasant till I got an E-mail from a client with a PHP script file attached to it. I had to schedule the PHP script via Cron on a Linux server. For PHP scripts in Cron, I do not prefer writing the Cron job as:

1  30  *  *  *  /usr/bin/php -q /opt/script.php

Instead, I prefer a crisper line as:

1  30  *  *  *  /opt/script.php

The latter is obviously neater and readable. To prepare a PHP script to execute just by the filename, you need to do two things:

  1. Add a line to the path to the PHP interpreter at the top of the script. For example:
    #!/usr/bin/php -q
    <?php           
    // PHP code          
    ?>
  2. Make the script executable as:
    chmod + script.php

Before inserting it in Cron it is always a good idea to test the script by executing it manually as:

/opt/script.php

What always worked for me, failed on me this time with an error saying: Extension /opt/script.php not present. What will you do when you get an informative error (being sarcastic) like this? I too had no clue.

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Solved: Unable to call toll free numbers in India using Windows Phone 7

I recently purchased a Dell Venue Pro powered by Windows Phone 7. It has been about 10 days that I’m living with lack of apps, tethering, E-mail client with conversation view and a feature rich Twitter client. I’m hoping that most of these will be solved by future updates and upcoming apps.

On the other hand, I’m at war with issues on the phone due to lack of my familiarity with a Windows Phone. After all, I had been using Android for almost two years. One issue that bothered me the most was, I could not dial toll free numbers in India using my Dell Venue Pro.

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Welcome to Shekhar Govindarajan’s Blog

Recent Tweets

  • @UnnyNeeta aha. This is called a good morning :-) in reply to UnnyNeeta 19 hours ago
  • In a few minutes should be driving on the hills (first time at night) 1 day ago
  • @vinodunny oye quick delete ur response. I was praising Modi in this tweet. in reply to vinodunny 2 days ago
  • @UnnyNeeta aa gaye maidan main, with a sixer. Maine aapke Modi ko das vs Lal pay maaf kar diya, but aapne mujhe nahi baksha :( #kishtee in reply to UnnyNeeta 2 days ago
  • I cud be wrong but yesterday Modi ji said 40% ppl r dependent on Ganga. Today he says 30%. BUT HOW DOES THAT MATTER, just like lal/das 2 days ago
  • Ref: previous tweet: restaurant guy will still try to continue in Eng. But if u sacrifice ur ego u’ll get work done faster just like Modi 2 days ago
  • If u really follow Modi, next time, pls don’t make that Pizza hut or a restaurant guy uncomfortable by taking in English. 2 days ago
  • PM Modi to present India’s manufacturing ambition, Swedish companies invited bit.ly/ZkKHWV 2 days ago
  • @vinodunny I know now im getting myself into trouble but risk to Spiderman bhi leta hai, im common man. @UnnyNeeta pabhi, any comments? in reply to vinodunny 2 days ago
  • Oh u Americans, at least Modi said ‘may the force be with u, Obama will take 2d training to say ‘Chak de” and still get it wrong: Chaak Die 2 days ago

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