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Ubuntu: Beginning my Walk on Uncharted Territory

I had a long awaited dream of migrating from Windows to Linux. I was exposed to Windows since more than a decade and made aware of Linux a lot later. But when I did, sheer glimpse of Linux use to make me feel all geeky inside, but I never really gave Linux a chance. I was too engrossed by the ease of use of Windows and just-reinstall-windows as the default option to get out of any misery I face in Windows. Till the time I get to know the real power of Linux in the form of Ubuntu and the general open source nature of it it was very late. I had become so dependent on Windows for my daily tasks that I started to avoid Nix for all the reasons.

Now I have finally decided to give Linux (in form of Ubuntu) a fair trial. But instead of installing it on a dedicated drive I decided to virtualize it so that I can use both Windows and Linux till the time I become proficient in Ubuntu.

Installing Ubuntu on VirtualBox would have been a breeze had I followed this guide (created by my friend Aaruni). But alas I came across his walk through a bit late and also came across this problem of not getting to install 64 bit Ubuntu on VirtualBox. But thanks to the suggestion provided here, I managed to solve it without spending hours. The summary of the problem was that I had to disable “Virtualization” from “Turn Windows Features On or Off” since it conflicts with the “Enable Virtualization Tech” turned ON in BIOS.

So now, here I am publishing this post from within Ubuntu 14.04 and exploring the world of Linux without completely abandoning my comfort zone of Windows. But I Intend to make Ubuntu my primary OS in a few months until I can learn every nooks and cranny of this seemingly giant but not completely unknown territory that is Ubuntu.

I also intend to document my journey of using Ubuntu from a perspective of “oh-I-am-a-Windows-guy-and-I-want-to-work-on-Nix-but-not-sure-of-how-to-do-certain-things-that-I-use-to-do-in-Windows!” kind of guy. Hence I would be looking for “every” alternative of things in Ubuntu that I am so use-to in Windows from tools to shortcuts to the whole User Experience. It will be an exciting journey and something to look forward to but in the end worth doing.

I migrated to Digital Ocean

It was about one year that this site was hosted on a VPS server of Leaseweb. They provided a good set of specs but had some amount of unreliability when it came to providing 24×7 up-time. Also it once had a service outage that resulted in the loss of our data. Thanks to offline backups and Google cache I was able to restore all my posts. So it was high time before we moved onto something more trustworthy. It was then when I came to know about Digital Ocean, an SSD only VPS hosting provider. After a lot of geeky research I realized how quickly they grew their scope to provide a quality platform for VPS.

What follows next in this article is the story of how I migrated to DigitalOcean with help from my friends. Be warned that this article is fairly technical and can also serve to anyone who wants to migrate to DigitalOcean. I wholeheartedly thank Aaruni for his help on setting up the server, without his help it could have taken me days to do the same.

1. New Server on DigitalOcean (DO) VPS

There are numerous VPS providers but none at the feature to price ratio which DO provides. Hence me and my online friends decided to go for the most basic plan of $5 per month, which provided us with following features:

  • 512MB Memory
  • 1 Core Processor
  • 20 GB SSD Disk Space
  • 1TB Transfer Bandwidth

This configuration is modest to run a Unreal Tournament (UrT) gaming server and to host numerous small websites which were our requirements. Plus its easy to upscale so starting from the smallest option seemed to be a wise decision.

Continue reading I migrated to Digital Ocean

Saying Adios to my first Android

Every once in a while a piece of technology sets it’s foot from inception to reality, that is perceived ahead of its time. It features tech which makes people awe in wonder. People dream of owning such a piece of technology that catapults them into the future.

One such device was my Optimus One P500 (O1 in short), an Android device manufactured by LG which featured specs which were uncommon at its price point. Granted it was not supposed to “take you to the future”, but it was as close as you get if you were under a budget. The device had 512 MB of Random Access Memory, which none of the branded manufactures at the time managed to pull it of in a sub 10k phone. Quickly it became the most loved gadget by amass and also among the developers at XDA, a place where developers collaborated for the greater good.

O1 came with Froyo (Android ver 2.2) when it was launched in October 2010. With the curves and specs it had it looked a neat little Android gadget to admire. It was after 9 months of the launch that I came to know about O1, took me one month time to research, write a blog about it and to finalize that my next smartphone can only be “the One”. After that it still took me 2 months to save money from teaching programming classes to school students, apart from doing 9-5 regular job. But it was a good phone and a gadget worth the hard work to own.

I remember when the delivery boy from “LetsBuy.com” came to my home and handed me over the phone while I was fiddling with my wallet to make it lighter. My dad was surprised by the way I handed hard cash to some stranger who just arrived at the doorstep. That was my first experience in online shopping but I trusted it. And it payed off well over the years.

Continue reading Saying Adios to my first Android

How many Apps you *Really* use in a Regular day?

Recently I came about a thread on a tech forum I regularly visit, which asked a question about how many apps one uses in a day. Surely there are a lot of apps. Thousands and thousands of them in the apps market. I even made a list about the must have apps. But does one really use a lot of apps on a regular day?

I guess, apps like Launcher, Dialer, Messaging, People (contacts) and Gallery (includes camera app) need not even be mentioned. Since those are by default used by everyone. So what other apps…? I tried to write a story based on actual events to see where I judge myself in this regard. Results were pretty revealing!

I can’t wake up in the morning unless the Alarm plays a random song from my list of my favourite songs. So that’s one. Then I need to watch what time it is when I *finally* wake up. Clock and weather widget it is. That counts as an app too.

While traveling to office I would listen to my songs on TTPod and chat with friends on WhatsApp and Telegram. I would also surf some forum on Tapatalk since it’s just unavoidable.

Now I am in office. I pretend to work for sometime. Then I would need some break and I would goto breakout area where I see one of my colleague have this amazing trailer of a latest movie, “Edge of Tomorrow”. I just need to watch this and have it on my phone too. I would use ShareIt app to transfer the video to my phone in seconds (it uses wireless tethering to do that and is a great app btw). I would view the video using MXPlayer on my phone. Wow the trailer is amazing and I need to make a post about it on my FB Page. So I use Pages manager to do that. I don’t use Twitter or I could have used Hootsuite to update on FB and Twitter together.

Now its lunch time. And I would have forgotten to check whether I published that article on my website which I was drafting the previous night. I would use WordPress app to do final touches and “publish” the article. I could have also uploaded any media on the web server using ConnectBot if its needed.

I will now view how my recent blog looks like on any browser like Opera or Chrome. I can also use Chrome to read articles which arrives via RSS feed like Flipboard or Appy Geek when I am on the loose after lunch.

Oh dear, its month end! Did my salary came? I would quicky check it from my bank’s app. Be it ICICI or Citibank. Even government bank like Canara Bank have an app now. I would leave for home early that day since I would remember I had some shopping to do. I would refer the list I made using ColorNote or a task application like Astrid to remind me of the list of things my sister wanted me to buy for her too.

I am on the Metro platform now and want to goto a market very far. An app of DMRC Metro would guide me before I get lost. (Yea, asking from people would help too, but I have been taught not to talk to strangers, unless it’s urgent).

While I am traveling to the market I would play some games on my mobile. Anything like Asphalt 8 or a quick race of Subway Surfer could help me avoid the strangers I was talking about earlier. Oh wait.. did I see someone playing this good looking puzzle game I haven’t seen earlier? Lets just download it through Play store and get started to shatter his record.

While shopping I can use my Barcode application to quickly scan and get to know the exact date of manufacture so that I don’t pickup old stuff. (Mom would have loved a portable Barcode scanner when she shops. But, I could be a barcode scanner for her anytime now.) But I consider myself a smart shopper, ain’t I am? So while shopping I would  compare the prices of different stuff available online. Flipkart app it is.

Well, its about time now. Time to return home. I don’t really know I have the energy to catch another metro in the rush hour of evening. Lets just call a cab using an app I still have to find on Google play (cause I know there is one) and reach to my home keeping an eye on the driver, meter and Google maps. I don’t want him to drive me home using the longest route, do I?

Anyway I reached home. Now which app? Well, at home I would keep my phone in one corner. I won’t use any other app now since I don’t need them to talk with family. Enough apps for today. Maybe I would need to use more apps like Dropbox when I need to share some documents with my friend tomorrow, or Endomondo, when I need to track how much calorie I burn after a quick jog in one hypothetical but possible morning, or AndChat to chat on IRC with online friends. For now… its the end of the day and I need some rest. Screen locked.

Nine rules for how to effectively manage an FB page

I have been an admin of a page for quite a while now. I wanted to document some points that one have to take in mind while posting on pages. Cause with greater power comes greater responsibility.

1. Don’t Spam:

A page should have interval between posts. No one likes an endless stream of posts consecutively over a short period of time. You can use apps such as Hootsuite to schedule posts over optimal intervals of time for a greater impact.

2. Try to engage readers:

Ask for feedback, like, ‘do you think…’, ‘will you…’ etc in the end of your posts.

Don’t post a link directly as a post. Always give a preview of what the link is about.
Instead of “Checkout this link for new Samsung S4″, you can post something like this, “Samsung S4 seems a really cool gadget that have taken us for a ride ever since we have got our hands on it. It has this and that feature. You can checkout this link for a hands on review…”.
Point is to make a user “engage” and get their attention and if you get successful in doing that, your reader will automatically want to read more.

Remember, readers don’t like posts to which they can’t connect to. While on the other hand they don’t like posts which sounds too artificial too. So, try not to overdo it!

Continue reading Nine rules for how to effectively manage an FB page

Guide to Backing Up Your Android Data


Cause data = “My Precious”!
 
Little did the founders of Android know that this Linux based Operating System would become the world’s leading smartphone platform when the first Android-powered phone was sold in October 2008. When compared with the now legacy OS like Nokia’s Symbian, BlackBerry OS and iOS, Android was able to dent the mobile OS market rapidly and with a greater success than others that came before it.
Being an open source OS helped Android and as it’s approaching to Jelly Bean it’s becoming more stable, reliable and fluid like never before. But as of ICS, there are a few nooks and crannies that a user experience over the course of using it. And as such Google have make sure all the data is safely backed up on clouds of their servers a user has to make sure it’s working like it’s supposed to.
 
In this guide I am going to mention some steps that you can take in order to make sure majority of data is backed up or the clouds or on the card, since precaution is always better. And in case you are doing hard reset or just plunging into the rooting and custom ROM’s venture, backing up data is and should be at the first priority. So here we go:
 
1.  Contacts backup:

The first time a user starts his Android phone he is greeted with a Google Sign-in screen. And although the phone can be used without signing into your Google account, it’s a great step to make sure your contacts are not backed up!

So, if you haven’t signed in, do that now. And make sure “Sync Service” is enabled. You can check that by going into, Settings -> Accounts & Sync and making sure your Google ID is listed on the page and Sync is turned on. This will make sure all your contacts are backed up, which you can check by going to Gmail and observing the “Contacts” page.

Mobile Internet : First Hand Experience of Me and My Dad


I am sitting on my berth in a compartment of a train which is scheduled to take me to my village. In my hands is my smartphone which have become the best companion of my life. And with me is my dad who is traveling along with me and who is familiar with the power of the little gadget I was holding in my hand.
Suddenly my gaze took me outside the window to the crowd on the station. Almost everyone could be seen with a phone in their hands. Some talking, some looking at the little screens while other busy passing time tapping their phones in the waiting area.

It was then when it struck me something. There used to be a time when people used to buy phones to talk and talk, and just talk. Phones were practically no other purpose. And they used to pay large amount of money just for that. Well, life have changed today. Changed to an extent that it’s nothing short of a miracle. Today talking is just one of the thing we can do with our smartphones. Today we have the kind of power that one could never imagine just a decade ago. Thanks to smartphones, we now have the power of Internet in our pockets, palms or wherever it could be carried.

Continue reading Mobile Internet : First Hand Experience of Me and My Dad

My First Android

A few days back I came across a commercial from Red Hat Linux and it put forth some true facts. “Facts”, unless proven otherwise!

The telephone has too many shortcomings, to be seriously considered as a means of communication“, “A rocket will never leave the Earth’s atmosphere“, and the most absurd one, “640k ought to be enough for anybody” as populated to be said by Bill Gates, were some of the predictions done in the last century. The beliefs that shattered to the ground in later years, spectacularly.

The appetite for power never stops. People want to be more efficient everyday. The processing power is increasing, whereas the size of silicon chips is reducing. Thanks to Moore’s law, gadgets are all set to become smaller but smarter.

A smartphone is a perfect example of something which could never have been conceived of, say, 20 years ago. Yet the future looks promising for this category of phones. It would not be long before we see phones surpassing speeds more than 2.4 GHz, due to the developments in processors like the next gen Qualcomm. But as they say, technology won’t stop growing and so people have to start somewhere.

It was many years ago, that I had tried a phone that was smart. I had a Sony Walkman, aka, w550i which was basically a feature phone, with multimedia features, to be precise. It used to take good pics with its 1.3 megapixel camera, and could also sync contacts with a PC. But, today, I need something better than a feature phone. Precisely, an Entry Level Android.

Continue reading My First Android

Buying Dilemma of a New Phone (to Talk)

So, its one of those time of the year, when you feel your (old) phone is getting too old to handle, and there could be many reasons for feeling so, depending on the type of consumer you are.

For me, I am now looking for a new phone, since its giving me a few troubles (which translates to MANY, in my case!).

Personally I don’t want to leave my Sony Ericsson W550i (Walkman), which was a present to me 2 yrs ago from my dad on my birthday and since then, I have built a relationship with this phone. This phone is amazing. Without getting too emotional, I just want to tell that its dedicated keys for Multimedia, Camera, Lock and Video Player is awesome, but also it has so much of features, that just makes it too cool to handle. Continue reading Buying Dilemma of a New Phone (to Talk)