// archives

Archive for July, 2008

Open source alternatives to Microsoft Products

Here is a list – based on my own compilation and personal xp (experience). Does not mean a feature comparison, which is better which is not and definitely not, Open Source vs Microsoft. Just a list, a mere informative list, to start looking:

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Alfresco: Even the owner/author cannot delete his file!

Alfresco is an open source and free content management system (CMS) – kind of a MS Sharepoint alternative. I had deployed Alfresco for two clients of mine. Coincidently, both clients came up with a specific requirement stating:

“Once a user uploads the file into the content management system, he or anyone else (expect for admin) should not be able to edit/delete it.”

I came up with a simple solution to change the owner of the files when they are uploaded into the CMS. Hence, when the file is uploaded, if  the owner of the file is set to admin, even the user who created/uploaded the file will not be able to delete it.

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Cuil: A cool Google killer ?

Just read this news item in Google News (what an irony ;-) )

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121721408704288951.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Cuil pronounced as Cool is suppose to be a new search engine launched (not a beta launch) which is suppose to challenge Google in the search arena. I quickly checked out this search engine  and following are a few first and quick +ves and -ves

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WordPress upgrade made easy, very easy

Have been always thinking (and procrastinating) about upgrading this blog – based on WordPress 2.5 to 2.6 (the latest as of this writing).

The thinking turned into a quick action (finally) with this wonderful plugin called WordPress Automatic Upgrade. Noticed this plugin in my WordPress’s dashboard – under Plugin, Most Popular.

  1. Downloaded and extracted the zip file.
  2. Copied the resulting directory (wordpress-automatic-upgrade) under WordPress’s plugin directory (wp-content/plugins.
  3. Activated the plugin through the WordPress’s admin panel.
  4. Clicked on Manage>Automatic Upgrade
  5. Followed the onscreen wizard “almost blindly”.

And voila! I’m now running 2.6. It took not more than a couple of minutes. I said “almost blindly” because I was dozing off to sleep while upgrading. That is, my blog was updated from my bed ;-). Hence, WordPress upgrade made easy, very easy.

Update: Updated this Blog to WordPress 2.6.1 from 2.6.0 using this plugin.

Update (Oct 24, 2008):Today updated successfully to 2.6.3. Awaiting Wordpess 2.7 (ETA: November 10) which has drastic changes and updates. Will the Automatic Upgrade plugin still do its magic ?

Update (Nov 24, 2008):Today updated successfully to 2.6.5 – which fixes a security issue and a few bugs

Update (Dec 12, 2008):Today updated successfully to 2.7 - a version upgrade (as opposed to a mere release upgrade). WordPress Automatic Upgrade rocks. I doubted it for an upgrade to 2.7 (as said during the Oct 24 upgrade, above). But I’m proved wrong (fortunately). Following is the view of the new dashboard and UI of WordPress 2.7.

Wordpress 2.7 Dashboard

Wordpress 2.7 Dashboard

Note: After upgrade to 2.7, the “Email This Post” and “Print This Post” links on my blog stopped working with custom URLs (permalinks) These two features are given by the plugins named WP-Print and WP-Email. I fixed these plugins as per the instructions here. However, i guess, upgrading to the latest version of these plugins (via http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-print/ and http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-email/) may also fix the issue.

Bottom line: Go for “WordPress Automatic Upgrade” to upgrade your WordPress to 2.7.

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What PM wrote to say but couldn’t say

Here is the link to the speech that our honourable prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh could not deliver during the trust vote event today:

http://mutiny.in/2008/07/22/pms-reply-to-the-debate-on-the-motion-of-confidence-in-the-lok-sabha/

Interesting read.

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Simple script to alert about inaccessible servers

Following is a simple script, written in PHP, which will send an E-mail alert to you when one or more of your Web servers is inaccessible.

<?php
/* things to edit/change */

$fileToFetch = "isalive.txt";
$mailTo = "shekhar[email protected]";
$mailFrom  = "[email protected]";

$websites = array(
"Website 1" => "http://www.website1.com",
"Website 2" => "http://www.website2.com",
"Website 3" => "http://www.website3.com"
);

/* end of things to edit/change */

foreach($websites as $name=>$value)
  if(!($fp = @fopen($value."/".$fileToFetch,"r")))
    mail($mailTo,"WEBSITE DOWN: ".$name,"WEBSITE DOWN: ".$name,"From: ".$mailFrom);

?>

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Hancock

Yesterday I watched this movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448157/) and the movie had a unique concept which lasted, unfortunately, only upto the interval.

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Blog post from Windows Mobile

Writing this blog post using an app called moBlog (http://sampath.wordpress.com/moblog/). Downloaded the cab file directly on my Windows Mobile 6 device.
When you run the app for the first time, you need to create a profile. Note that the prompt asking for the URL to the login page is misleading. In case of WordPress you need to enter the URL to the first page and not the URL to wp-admin. That is, http://www.shekhargovindarajan.com was the URL in my case.

This app allows you to insert images, residing on your device, in your blog post. Like the one below:

You can select the category and add tags to the posts made from moBlog.

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Browse this blog on a Mobile

If you visit this blog http://www.shekhargovindarajan.com using a mobile device, you will see a plain and simple Blog page, which is quite readable on a mobile screen (white background, black foreground or text, no images, simple menu links).

Thanks to WordPress Mobile Edition plugin (http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress).

I tested it on Windows Mobile 6 PDA device (on my I-Mate 8502). While browsing the mobile version on the PDA, I clicked on the link “Exit the Mobile Edition” (near the bottom of the page) and it showed me the  desktop edition/page (with blue background, images). However, to go back to the “Mobile optimized page”, I had to clear the cookies. This can be done as follows on Pocket IE (Internet Explorer).

On Pocket IE, click on Menu (on the right) > Tools > Options > Security (Tab). Next click on the button labeled “Clear Cookies”.

Browsing back to the site or a refresh showed me the Mobile optimized page again.

Also asked a friend of mine, who owns a Blackberry to browse the site. On Blackberry, “Exit the Mobile Edition” was reported to not working. It shows the the mobile optimized page even after clicking the link. Will need to check this further.

Update:No need to do delete the cookies in Windows Mobile. If you are browsing non-mobile optimized page (or the regular page), there is a link under each blog post which says “Return to the mobile edition”. Clicking on this link shows the mobile optimized page again. Missed this link in the cluttered regular page on the mobile screen. ;-)

Update (May 30, 2009): Have upgraded to 3.0.4. with the Carrington Mobile theme. Refer to http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-mobile-edition/ Following is a screenshot of how my blog looks on a Android phone (Android Dev Phone 1):

WordPress Blog on Android Phone

WordPress Blog on Android Phone

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Postfix issue: Skipped, still being delivered

Today, a client of mine complained about mails not showing up. The system administrator (at the client’s place) claimed to see the mails in the mailq (mail queue). I logged into the server and indeed found the mails in the mailq. After checking the logs (/var/log/maillog) I saw messages, similar to the one below, repeating:

Jul 10 17:01:05 server postfix/qmgr[24347]: CB4F21928CBA: skipped, still being delivered

This message repeated for many (maybe all) messages held in the mailq. Googled and googled for a possible reason/solution or a hint to it. The reason which made most sense to me was “Postfix was restarted when qmgr (Queue Manager) was processing the mails”, found via Google.The system administrator also reported of restarting Postfix.

Flushing the queue (service postfix flush) did not work. The solution that finally worked was re-queuing  the mails using the following command:

postsuper -r ALL

and I could see the queue clearing up!

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