All posts by vyom

How to setup WordPress on Digital Ocean (2020)

With incidents such as Australian bush fire, Covid-19 Pandemic and civil unrest in many countries over one reason or the other, 2020 is basically proving to be one long nightmare. To make it worse for me, my server got hacked, majorly due to lack of proper security or a bad WordPress vulnerability (To put it in the words of Einstein, mildly, human stupidity has no limit).

So I decided to migrate the server to a new one and this time decided to invest some time in making it more secure. This guide is basically a document to setup such a server to host WordPress sites with as much security hardening as I possibly can do. 2020, bring it on!

Continue reading How to setup WordPress on Digital Ocean (2020)

Android apps for TV

Android on TV has a long way to go. There is no clear guide on which apps to use or how to use it when it comes to having the most of Android on a TV. This article is for those who want to claim their Android TV as their own!

List of apps

CPU Identifier
Foxit PDF Reader
FTP Server
Internet Speed Meter lite
List my apps
Google Maps
Prime Now
Prime Video

Convert VBA Editor to Dark Theme

So there I was, trying to find best color combination for making my VBA editor in dark theme. While I did find an open source utility on GitHub to hack the VBE.dll and then replace it in the system, I simply wanted to know a color combination that I can quickly set in the built in VBA color palette editor so that I can make the editor dark.

So I made this guide for myself to do just that, a quick 2 min will give you dark theme!

To set these, in the VBA editor, goto Tools -> Options -> Editor Format. Then refer below table to set the colors.

Now set the colors to below:

Normal Text White Black
Comment Text Dark Grey Black
Keyword Text Light Green Black
Identifier Text Sky Blue Black
Bookmark Text Dark Green Black
Call Return Text Blue Black

And there, in 2 min now your VBA editor looks something like below. You can tweak it to your liking.

Final result

Spartan Poker – Using your poker face for good

Quickly, and honestly, tell me what’s the first word that you think of when I say the word, “Poker”? Is it “Gambling” or “Luck”? Whatever is that I bet you didn’t think of the word, “Skill”. Yes my friends, let me give you a Red pill and tell you that for the most part the game Poker is actually based on skill.

But how?

A big difference between poker and gambling games is when gambling you are playing against “the house.” The Casino have a huge upper hand to all their games which means in the long term you will lose.
In poker, the casino has no interest in the outcome, as they are just the facilitators, and are providing a platform for players to play against each other for a fee. One player will win at the expense of others. The rules of real money poker accord every player a statistically equal chance to win, unlike gambling.

David Sklansky, a professional poker player from America gives a thought exercise. He says to think of the game and try to loose the game. In pure gambling games, you can’t “intentionally” loose. The chances of you winning as well as loosing are about the same. “Each move has a similar chance”. That is not the case in poker. In Poker, a player’s decisions and the ability to make right call depends heavily on his winnings. Continue reading Spartan Poker – Using your poker face for good

Suzuki Gixxer – 155cc of pure love

Story of the day I bought the Gixxer

Years of wishing, months of making up my mind and weeks of planning, the day had finally arrived. A day in September 2017, when I will buy my first ever motorbike.
The day was exciting for me. I had a plan. I had a shortlist of bikes that I wanted to try. I went to a showroom of Yamaha to try Yamaha SS RR, a bike which I found to be good. Alas, it was a bit over my height and so I dropped the idea of buying it. Next I moved on to a showroom of Suzuki, where I was about to test ride Suzuki Gixxer. My friend was also with me to test ride with me and to help me find my perfect bike.
So I did a test ride. I was a bit apprehensive since I was about to test ride a completely new bike on a busy road of Delhi. But as soon as I started the bike and hear the engine road I felt an ecstasy. I throttled a bit and felt a sudden rush of air on my cheeks. I felt good. The throttle was very powerful and the bike snappy to my commands. I was happy that all went according to plan. I returned the bike back to the showroom. I knew this was a perfect bike for me. Talking over the price details, I found that they were not really ready to give any sort of discounts. So I went to another showroom of Suzuki. Continue reading Suzuki Gixxer – 155cc of pure love

How to secure your site using Lets Encrypt

If you have your own site, encrypting is something that should be mandatory. Not only does it makes your site secure against hackers/crackers but also google rank those sites higher who serve their site on https.
Here’s how you can secure your wordpress based site using certificate provide by Lets Encrypt.

Some background:

I am quoting the following direct from the Let’s Encrypt site:

To enable HTTPS on your website, you need to get a certificate (a type of file) from a Certificate Authority (CA). Let’s Encrypt is one such CA. In order to get a certificate for your website’s domain from Let’s Encrypt, you have to demonstrate control over the domain. With Let’s Encrypt, you do this using software that uses the ACME protocol, which typically runs on your web host.

If you have shell access (that is if you can connect to your host using PuTTY), you can follow the instructions provided here to install certbot.


Assuming your wordpress site runs on nginx web server on Debian 9, here’s how to do it:
Add the repository source in your sources.list:

deb stretch-backports main

to your /etc/apt/sources.list (or add a new file with the “.list” extension to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/) Continue reading How to secure your site using Lets Encrypt

Telegram and WhatsApp


If I remember correctly I was first introduced to WhatsApp as early as 2012 by one of my IRL friend. It was the thing which was “in” at the time. But it wasn’t that well known. Adoption of WhatsApp spread like wildfire since then, and now in 2018, it’s like everyone who have a smartphone have WhatsApp on their phone. Heck, even the non smartphone, like Symbian have a WhatsApp client now. What started of as a small project in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo, in Mountain View, California, soon grew to be a company worthy to be acquired by the Facebook giant in 2014. The acquisition took just US $19 billion out of Facebook’s pockets, but Zuckerberg knew it was a bargain.
The USP of WhatsApp was it’s simplicity and ad free experience. The founders promised that it will remain ad free for eternity but never promised anything about simplicity. After being bought by Facebook, WhatsApp went numerous changes which traded the simplicity to introduce features like Instagram, which was another social network app company acquired by Facebook in 2012 earlier for mere 1 billion (sounds like a steal in comparison to WhatsApp deal now, isn’t it?).


Telegram on the other hand was developed by two Russian brothers, Nikolai and Pavel Durov who had previously founded the Russian social network VK, but had to leave the company after it was taken over by the Group (credit: Wikipedia). From it’s initial release in 2012, it have grown to become a great alternative to WhatsApp and currently is struggling to keep it out of grips of influential like big corporations and government scrutiny.
When I first stumbled on Telegram in October 2015, I confused it with a copy of the app WhatsApp but digging deeper I realized it offered something to the table which WhatsApp couldn’t especially after it’s acquisition by Zuckerburg. I soon began to love Telegram for what it offered and the convenience it bought with it. In those times I use to be a frequent user of IRC and use a channel to communicate most of my online friends. But Telegram changed that. Now I have almost left IRC for Telegram and use it for a lot more reasons then just communication with online friends. I use it as a pastebin, a medium to transfer files, a way to get updates on cryptocurrency and also to chat secretly, if needed.

Difference between WhatsApp and Telegram

I have tired to compare both of the social network app on features and technical factors.
[table “4” not found /]

While there are numerous things which are great on Telegram, I haven’t even mentioned that most of the security features were first added on Telegram and later came out with WhatsApp. But the most important thing is the commitment of Telegram founders which are making efforts to make it more secure and not to let big corporate giants controlling them, thereby it promises more security and privacy. For me though, the most important thing is feature and convenience and for that Telegram is perfect. No wonder more and more companies are choosing Telegram for it’s ability to connect to masses.

Netflix: A Binge Watcher’s Haven and views on Black Mirror, Stranger Things and Rick & Morty

Recently I got access to Netflix (courtesy of one of my friend) and I was propelled towards the sunshine it threw at me. I was caught off guard by the sheer content of Netflix, especially after I had used Amazon’s Prime for quite some time. While I still think Netflix’s subscription plan of Rs 800 per month is a wee too much in Indian context (compared to Rs 999 for a YEAR of Amazon Prime) we can get around that by sharing it with friends. So as of now lets talk about the shows that I watched in a month and my views about it.

Black Mirror:

I happened to start my Netflix affliction with Black Mirror and I was in for a ride. Perfect mixture of Sci Fi, thriller and a bit of horror that this show comes with, some of the episode were just simply crazy. This show is a collection of episodes totally different from each other. While it’s an anthology series, there are theories that they are somehow in a shared “not so far future” universe. The show tries to predict life as it could be, with the evolution of technology. Spoiler Alert, it’s not pretty. The show is dark and almost all episodes ends in a grim way. This show ain’t for the faint of heart and poses more questions then it answers. But it’s painfully beautiful. The Christmas special episode “White Christmas” is a pinnacle of Black Mirror at it’s finest. Needless to say, I would need to pay some of the episodes, a re-watch.

Stranger Things:

I was introduced to this show by my colleague. Yet another Netflix’s original series, the show is a good watch for taking a break from grim shows like Black Mirror, while retaining the thrill that came with it. Without delving into details, the show is a great if you can dig the 1980’s era it portrayed. It might also be nostalgic to you, for the lead characters in the show are 4 little children, best friends playing some of the classic 1980s games like D&D and taking a hike on bikes. While I didn’t play D&D, the friendship between the 4 friends portrays a chemistry, not easy to stop yourself from falling in. Add to it “monsters form the dark”, and things get spicy very quickly.

I was introduced to this show by my colleague. Yet another Netflix’s original series, the show is a good watch for taking a break from grim shows like Black Mirror, while retaining the thrill that came with it. Without delving into details, the show is a great if you can dig the 1980’s era it portrayed. It might also be nostalgic to you, for the lead characters in the show are 4 little children, best friends playing some of the classic 1980s games like D&D and taking a hike on bikes. While I didn’t play D&D, the friendship between the 4 friends portrays a chemistry, not easy to stop yourself from falling in. Add to it “monsters form the dark”, and things get spicy very quickly.

Rick and Morty:

I had my doubts when I saw first 4 episodes of this show. I started to compare it with Futurama, which I found to be very interesting and became a fan very soon. But the show started to appeal to my senses, once I got use to it. This animated show is about a boy named Morty and his grandfather Rick, who is also a scientist with crazy speech patterns and over excitement issues. Sounds a bit familiar? Back to the Future maybe? Yes. The inspiration of Rick and Morty does seems to be come from BTTF. The similarity between the name Marty and Morty isn’t just a coincidence. Rick and Morty, is a show with very dark humor, difficult to follow if you are not at certain IQ level (to digest all that is offered), and throws you for a spin with every episode. The grand scheme of things in Rick’s universe is everything and nothing at the same time. You tend to feel nothing is of consequence in one episode while the next makes you question reality. Rick and Morty is a show that can make you laugh, gives you an existential crisis, makes you care about its characters, while provide you an underlying story slowly building between episodes. One episode in season 3 especially, made me feel like I watched an entire movie in the span of 20 minutes. So I can safely say that the show did have an impact on me, provided I had to get past the initial few episodes of first season, where it felt quite intimidating.
Here is the list of shows that I have found to be interesting on Netflix (watched and planning to watch), including direct links to them for reference and documentation. Note that the links will only open if you are signed out of Netflix or if you have a working subscription. I have also written my comments on few of them.

Netflix Originals:

The End of the F***ing world
Sense 8 : It’s from the makers of Matrix. It was bound to be on my list.
Altered Carbon: It’s a Blade Runner-esque styled thriller. Slow in pace in start, but takes you on a ride to solve a murder mystery, thousands of years in the future.
The Mist
The OA
A Series of Unfortunate Events
I loved the movie version of it enough to keep this series based on the movie in my list. As a bonus, the Count Olaf is played by Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother! Whoa!
Travelers : I am simple man. I see Time Travel, I add it to my list.
Marvel’s Daredevil : A blind superhero from DC comics. I need to watch this.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones : The show is very dark (should simply be termed Netflix style). Female with some super abilities and a psychological villain. This show is great.
Stranger Things : Already explained above.
Gerald’s Game: (movie)


Breaking Bad
The IT Crowd
The 100
The Cosmos
Doctor Who
Under the Dome
Genius : A friend told me about this show. Couldn’t pass on series based on conflicts between scientists like Edison vs Tesla!
Black Mirror : Already explained above.
Rick and Morty : Already explained above.
Sex: My British Job
12 Monkeys
How the Universe Works : I am a sucker when it comes to things related to Cosmos!
Steve Jobs
Video Game Highschool
Genius of the Modern World
Very British Problems
Edge of the Universe
It happens only in India
The Code
The most beautiful hands of Delhi
India’s Frontier Trains
India Bike Week
Mumbai Railway
What’s with Indian men
American Experience: War of the Worlds
IT Champions
I would be updating this list with synopses for the shows that I complete watching.

Setting up WordPress on Debian 9.3 x64 on a Virtual Machine on Windows 10

In this article I am documenting the exact steps that one needs to host a wordpress based site on a Debian based virtual machine (VM). I choose debian since that’s one of the preferred distro based on it’s stability and smaller footprint on resources compared to Ubuntu. But you may very well choose Ubuntu, only some steps in below documentation would differ.
This article deals with following technologies:

  1. Windows 10: The host operating system
  2. Oracle VirtualBox: The Virtual Machine software
  3. Debian 9.3 x64: The distro which we will install on the VM
  4. nginx: The web server
  5. mariadb: MySQL database solutions
  6. php: The package which installs on Debian automatically as a dependency
  7. phpMyAdmin: Administration tool for MariaDB

Continue reading Setting up WordPress on Debian 9.3 x64 on a Virtual Machine on Windows 10

Amazon Prime Video: Update after 9 months of subscription

I subscribed to Amazon Prime on December 2016 with the free trial. Paid Rs 500 for an year from Feb 2017, and ever since enjoying it. Prime has been my goto almost every night for a dose of entertainment. I have watched so much content in the last 9 months that I think I can now separate the wheat from the chaff and suggest shows better.
I will start with a small review of the shows that I completed and then will add the shows which I intend to watch next. I will go alphabetically:
Brothers Conflict is an anime series about a girl who moves in with his 13 step brothers, each having a unique personality. The story then progresses where every one is trying to get a piece of her affection. This was a weird show and I am glad it doesn’t have a second season. I have seen good animes, and this was not one of them. I wouldn’t recommend.
Censorship In The Future is a 5 min short and is a great mock of how censorship would look like in future if it’s going to continue at the current pace. And it’s hilarious at best. Must watch!
Extant (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): a mystery thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. I admit this show isn’t that bad. I enjoyed the show with it’s alien abduction and sci fi elements. An AI robot reminded of David from the Steven Spielberg’s movie AI. It isn’t the best show on planets, but it’s worth for it’s story arc and thematic elements.
Kommune presents The Storytellers:  (Drama: Plays/Performance, World Cinema: Indian): Remember the good old days of sitting around a campfire sharing stories? The Storytellers is a modern day take on that. At a time when interactions primarily take place across screens, The Storytellers encourages people to look up and connect with one another by sharing their personal life experiences face to face, without inhibitions and with honesty. I watched all stories featured on the show. I liked every bit of it. These were under 10 min six stories that were nice to hear. Must watch!
Le Mans: If it hadn’t for Prime, I probably would have not discovered that a race happens in France that stretches for 24 hours straight and is a true test for endurance and efficiency. This show was a breath of fresh air for sports and absolutely loves every minute of it. Watching how the drivers and there crew battle to finish the race (and not just coming in top 3), was an enchanting experience. If you are thrill seeker and love speed, this documentary is a Must Watch!
Mr. Robot (Crime, Drama, Thriller): Follows Elliot, a young programmer working as a cyber-security engineer by day, and a vigilante hacker by night. I have watched the show before it came on Prime. But haven’t got a rerun of it on Prime. The 1st episode I watched didn’t have any censorship on it. This show is ab absolutely must watch if you haven’t already.
People of Earth (Comedy): Damn, this show was good. There aren’t much shows that blend comedy with Sci Fi with such finesse. The main character of the show is mundane yet so likable. This is also a much watch on this list.

Person of InterestJim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line), Michael Emerson (Lost) and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow) team up in this thought-provoking crime action drama from The Dark Knight’s Jonathan Nolan and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions (Fringe, Lost, Alias). Set in New York City, this procedural centers on an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who partners with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes. This show was not originally on my list. But then I started watching it trusting the IMDb rating of 8.5. I was glad I did that, cause right now I have just finished season 3 and god damn, it just goes on keeping interesting. A super computer (maybe sentient, we don’t know) helps a group of people saving lives, the show takes you on a ride. It keeps you on the edge and never makes a moment dull. The show moves too fast for it’s own advantage, cause we get to see so many angles to the premise. Just when you think you had enough, it punches your gut and makes you realize, the story have just started! The mid of season seems like season finale and you can’t stop binge watching the next season after one ends. I could write so much about the show. Despite this show being too much violent for my taste I still love it. This show is an emotional coaster of emotions and views. Absolutely must watch.
Scorpion: Scorpion is based on the true story of Walter O’Brien, an eccentric genius with the world’s fourth-highest I.Q. and the creator of a company of brilliant misfits who use their mental muscle to defend the planet against complex high-tech threats of the modern age. Another show that was added after I made the initial list, I had already watched the first season of this earlier last year. So I knew what I was getting into. This show about a few people with high IQ, is inspired from a self proclaimed genius Walter O’Brien. I can’t say anything about the real Walter, but this show is an ingenious attempt to entertain, as well as inspiring students to take up science. This show also have a side that attempts to show how difficult is for people with high IQ (Intelligent Quotient) to maintain their EQ (Emotional Quotient) levels. I loved the show to the very end of season 3. Must watch for sure.
The Last Ship: Navy Captain Tom Chandler (Eric Dane) and his crew must find a cure after a pandemic wipes out billions of people worldwide. Scientist Rachel Scott is assigned to the U.S.S. Nathan James to investigate the cause of the rapidly spreading virus. Chandler and his crew may be humanity’s last hope in the wake of a worldwide catastrophe. Again a show that was not in my original list but which have become a must watch. This show isn’t science fiction (although does deal with an apocalyptic world). The show seems a propaganda for endorsing Navy for US, but grows on to be much more than that. The story is good. The action scenes on par, and the execution just phenomenal. The navy captain Tom Chandler is like a super hero in the series and for good reasons. This series is quite a different kind of action show, since it’s basically about war on ocean, something new from all the hoards of crime series out there.
The Man in the High Castle (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): A glimpse into an alternate history of North America. What life after WWII may have been like if the Nazis had won the war. This show is phenomenal. It’s like an alternate reality where Germany have won the war and along with Japan rule US. The attention to detail is breathtaking, story just epic and execution worthy of Oscar. The show have a bit of sci fi element that I wouldn’t want to spoil. The show deserves every bit of appreciation. It’s the series like this which makes me believe that Hollywood creates entire world!

The Tick: In a world where superheroes have been real for decades, an accountant with mental health issues and zero powers comes to suspect his city is owned by a global super villain long-thought dead. This new show as Amazon original is a comedy superhero that doesn’t take itself seriously. The show was good to watch, but didn’t leave any lasting impressions. It’s not on my must watch list.
To watch list:
I have these shows yet to watch. Some are from the original post and some are new:
Dexter: (Crime, Drama, Mystery): When blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan is not out solving murders, he spends his time as a serial killer who eliminates those who do bad things. I initially watched a couple of episodes and thought the show might be censored. So stopped watching. But it seems the show isn’t censored after all. I might resume watching it soon.

Dexter’s Laboratory: This cartoon show was a riot in my childhood days. It was a perfect example of how cool the cartoon shows of late 90’s were! There are tons of episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory and alas the Prime contains only a handful of it. The season 1 of Dexter’s Laboratory on Prime starts from someone mid of actual season 2 and ends with somewhat mid of season 3. I would love to see all episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory but I am not hopeful of it.
Elementary (Crime, Drama, Mystery): A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City. I just never got around to start watching this.
Fringe (Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi): An FBI agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena. I started watching this series, but it couldn’t hold my interest. The story seemed too convenient. It has a rating of 8.4 on IMDb. I may pick this up later.
Fullmetal Alchemist (Anime): On one fateful night, Edward loses an arm and a leg, and Alphonse losing his entire body in an alchemy experiment gone awry. From this point, Edward’s only concern is finding a way to return his brother to his body. He soon finds himself in the service of the government as a State Alchemist. It is here the amazing story of the youngest State Alchemist in history begins. Haven’t got around to start watching this. Maybe soon.
Startup (Crime, Thriller): Nick Capelli emerges from prison into a world where his once strong mafia family has eroded, leaving him with no direction, but an uncontrollable need to try to recreate his past criminal life. In the modern world where the mafia doesn’t command respect like it used to, this series takes a look at what it would take for a modern crime organization to rise today. Haven’t picked up the show.
The New Archie’s: An updated version of the animated version of the classic comic book series. I have read a comic of Archie. That’s what I know it from. I would like to watch this one season animated Archie.
The World’s War (Documentary, History): British historian David Olusoga, along with other historians, narrates the story of millions of Indian, African and Asian troops who fought and died alongside French and British troops to help win the war against Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.
V (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) stars in this reimagining of the hit miniseries from Scott Peters, creator of The 4400. “Visitors” appear in every major city in the world, promoting a message of peace … but could they be a threat to our existence? I would probably start watching this soon.
Wolverine and the X-Men (Animation, Action, Adventure ): The story picks up one year after the attack on Xavier Institute that caused the disbanding of X-Men and the mysterious disappearance of Professor X and Jean Grey. Wolverine must reunite his team to find out what happened that fateful night. Their position as mutants doesn’t make things any easier as the MRD (Mutant Response Division) is hunting down and exterminating them.
As for Movies, I have watched only quite a few movies on Amazon in the last 9 months. Some of them are:
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Found the movie absolutely slow and boring. But a few must have liked it. Or it was a very dark movie that I was not prepared for.
Befikre: I wasn’t prepared for this mindless garbage too. The film that I was better not watching.
Hindi Medium: Absolutely gem of a film. Irfan does a great job again with this really great film that is a must watch. The song by those children on stage absolutely blew me away. I had watched this film on theater and I will watch it again anytime!
SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out Of Water: Well, I wanted to watch the film since I love SpongeBob the original animated series. I must say movie was a roller coaster ride too.
There are a lot movies in my backlog now, then when I started with Prime. Almost all of below movies have been added in the last 9 months:
Deepwater Horizon
La La Land
The Walk
Plus following are the movies that is on my watchlist since long:
Mr. X in Bombay (1964): Shobha’s dad who is a scientist gets into a difficult situation after an experiment he was conducting goes wrong and kills his employee Manohar.
Indian Sci Fi movie from way back. I can’t miss to watch this.
Saving Private Ryan (Action, Drama, War): Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.
Sarbjit (Biography, Drama, History): Biopic of Sarabjit Singh, a farmer residing at Bhikiwind, Punjab, near the Indo-Pak border, crossed the border after having a couple of drinks. However, he was mistaken to be an Indian spy and was sentenced to capital punishment.
I had no idea, this list would grow so big, but Amazon Prime have been really great till now!