Sunday, December 29, 2013

ComPair - Match Peers and Make Pairs

     Something, I've been trying for sometime now. Finally, done I guess. I don't want to talk anything lengthy about it. After all, there is nothing I can really tell about it. It's a simple app that would compare the names you put in and find out who make the best pair. How does it sound like? :D

Does the very idea of it make you want to ask me "errrr.... Could-you-not-come-up-with-anyother-idea-to-build"? You say so. Well, it was fun building it. Not just the logic part (Can you guess that? :D) but the struggles I had in building it - with Rails - top to bottom and also deploying it. 

I've been trying to host this right from Yesterday night and hours of attempts later where I finally gave up all the hope on hosting things at Heroku, I brought OpenShift into play. And you know what? I'm not exaggerating, but OpenShift just works! A push request and within a couple of minutes, the site went live. Yay!

Now, why did I decide I need to make a blog post about it? Well... I'm feel unusually energetic right now jumping between places like a ping pong ball kicked across an empty hall. Is writing this blogpost helping me? Honestly, I've got no idea. But, I don't feel like doing anything but this. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Open Weekends – A weekend well spent

     You know what? This post seriously deserves a better title. I know it sounds quirky, but I couldn't manage to jog my mind up to bring out a better one. Well, anyway, going by what it says, I'll have to agree that Open Weekends was indeed a great thing that happened in the recent times for me, Mozilla and of course, for most other people here in Chennai. Frankly, a couple of months back everything was just a thought. Well, hey, no. Not even a thought. An 'Ambition' may be? Hmmm... Yeah, you could say that. So, there it is, ambition – to do something for the city, that's known to have a great geek culture.

So, how did this happen? Before we begin talking that, let me tell you, we're not doing this the usual way – this guy came, the other one spoke that, he clapped, she thanked, yadda yadda yadda... – Dude! Everyone knows what happened. It's there in the agenda. What really matters and should matter to each one of us is the reason why everything happened the way it did. For what its worth, I believe in this – When you tell others something, its really important for you to communicate what you did, why you did and how you did. People simply call it – the 'takeaway factor' –What you take or learn out of something you did or see happen, that inspires others to do things with a better vision and motives. It becomes particularly significant in cases like our communities where most of the learning comes from within ourselves.

I really have this habit of drifting away once I start talking :D So yeah. It was February. I had just returned after attending GNUnify in Pune. From the very beginning I was thrilled about the very idea of different communities coming together to do something. After all, community collaboration and sharing is what that defines the concept of open source and sharing, right? The moment I was invited to attend the conference, believe me, Pune didn't excite me. Rather what piqued my interest was my intention to see how these conferences happen. I mean like, I wanted to see if meetups like these did really have the potential to bring out successful partnerships among the various communities in India.

And trust me, learning took up a whole new curve those two days. Sharing of practices, ideas and the methods –that's what happened there. And me being a Chennai fanboy, each time when something was told or discussed about Pune being a great city and the opportunity it provided, I would think, “Why not do this at Chennai? Why not here?” - Just like how your parent would think when your neighbor's son scored better than you in exams. :P I didn't know what the problems would be in organizing such an event here. Honestly, I couldn't think of any reason otherwise and just wanted to do it sometime soon and thought, may be I'd wait for the right moment to host one.

So well, I had returned from Pune and was busy with college and my other priorities back home ;) And there comes Karthik and Naresh into the story –The guys who bugged me to host a MozCafe here. They had like, been telling me to organize a get-together for about a month and I failed to do each time – had too many things in mind. Finally, somehow, like about a month after GNUnify, we managed to host an informal meetup of sorts here in Chennai. We didn't have much time to plan ahead on things but wanted to do with something cheap but, out of the box –Marina Beach! Yes... Myself and few other fellows here met at the city's own paradise – the Marina beach. Meeting with us was Wikimedia India's executive council member, Bala Jeyaraman or Bala anna as how we'd call him. [fondly, of course, as people used to write ;) ]

Among the many topics we spoke that day, this “A GNUnify in Chennai” was one. He was so supportive of the idea. And was okay in doing one right on! “Why not do this sometime in May?” he said, we have ample time to plan and execute things. Everyone agreed. And thus became Open Weekends a reality!

Organizing an event like this is so much fun. You get to say hi, talk and shake hands with many people you might not even have heard about earlier. You develop your circle far and beyond. Personally, as an organizer, this is what I'd always look out for, whenever I do or get myself involved in something. So, as soon as it was decided that Open Weekends was happening, I wrote a one page agenda – in English – with a language that's plain and simple – and no mumbo jumbos – putting forth why I thought this had to be done in Chennai. I had sent it to my guys here and they agreed too.

Next was promotions. We had no ideas on what to do, how to do and the rest. We just wanted to see if there were any takers or people who were interested to participate in this mission. We extensively used Facebook, the Linux user groups', Wikipedia's and Mozilla India's lists. Most of them who came forward to reply, were very appreciative of what we had planned to do. And some people had doubts and once you spoke to them, they were okay as well. That's how Atul Jha from the Open Stack community and Shrinivasan from the Chennai wing of Indian Linux Users Group had come forward to participate in Open Weekends. I really thank them for their support towards organizing this event.

For about a month and a half, it was all like this. Talking to people, writing emails, posting updates, tweeting – just the online stuff. And then once we had the list of people interested in participating – a tentative list – from which we had called for the ones who wanted to speak at the event. The whole idea of doing this event was providing opportunity for everyone, not just the guys we know who could speak well. Well, mind you! You're making a calculative risk here – of putting the participants who come to the event to sleep. :D But you know! At times, its worth taking. You see new talent emerge. So, I made that choice – calling for people who wanted to speak at the event. And that's how we had roughly about five speakers that also included our very own Soumya Deb – Well, I needed at least one guy as a backup who could wake the people up in case everyone had slept, right? :P

So, the plan was 'just talking' the first day and hackathon the second day. Yeah. We also had a hackathon. We didn't want to restrict the guys on just a thing or two. Mainly because, we didn't or won't know what the participants might be knowing about or be interested in. So, we generalized it as 'Mozilla hackathon' – Do whatever you feel like doing – Build Firefox addons, hack Thunderbird, make apps for Firefox OS or just whatever you feel like. Along with it was the Mediawiki hackathon handled by YuviPanda – thus giving all a wide variety of choice to choose from. And I was so confident that every guy or girl who comes there will atleast know any one of the above. Acquiring venue was no big deal as well. Thanks to ThoughtWorks and Railsfactory for their timely help. Original plan was to host it at ThoughtWorks but unfortunately, the venue had to be shifted to Railsfactory for a few reasons.

So, rest is all the same. Event had proceeded exactly as expected. One thing, I was not very sure about was the participant count. I thought may be we'd have about 20 to 25. But, never in my wildest of wildest dreams, did I think of a count like 40. Sometimes, it brought me both shock and surprise to find that even old Wikipedia contributors like Sengai Podhuvan had turned up for the event.

Anyway, that was my take on Open Weekends. The list goes on and on and on! So, let me just put , "thanks to all who made it happen!". I knew this event would be fun – meeting friends, talking tech, learning new things – and everything that we wanted to do couldn't have happened in a better way. And this is definitely a great start for Chennai :)

Pictures here :

Friday, May 17, 2013

Open Weekends, Chennai

Community Collaboration is very essential when it comes to Open Source. We’re just a group of individuals motivated by passion and moved by interest. Our paths may differ. But remember, we’re all striving for the same cause – Freedom and Openness and that’s exactly the reason why we need to collaborate on different arenas – sharing of technology, methods, practices, knowledge and know-how.
969437_10201198937281271_1947474467_nAnd thus happened the Open Weekends idea! Chennai is home to a great geek culture. People here love technology. Sadly though, there is no proper platform and medium to collaborate. With this Open Weekends, we hope to break that barrier to bring the people here an opportunity to learn and share. This might not be as big as it sounds like (I hope it did). But is definitely a good start.

Next weekend on the 25th and 26th, come join us at the ThoughtWorks Chennai campus at the Ascendas IT Park, Thiruvanmiyur where Mozilla, Wikipedia and Open Stack communities come together to host a plethora of talks, meetups and hackathons throughout the weekend.

Follow this space for more information :

We promise to keep you entertained, have you thrilled and make you smile! :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Pirate Bay AFK–What I made out of it

I’m a big fan of the Pirate Bay. I have to admit, yeah. But, wait. Do you know what Pirate Bay is? Oh, yes you do. I may speak for openness and non-piracy and “Hey guys, please give credit to software manufacturers etc.” and some stuff like that. But, inside of me, I still have a little of my childish urge to get things for free. Who doesn’t? You get movies, software and what not… with absolutely no effort. And now with unlimited broadband plans with decent speeds, every person has access to things he wouldn’t even have had a chance to look into. Often, when I ask people, “Why do you want to use torrents?” they’d tell me… Or forget people. When I ask myself or when you ask yourself, the answer we’d get is – “Why waste money on buying stuff when I can get it for free? I’d of course, buy things which I consider them worth. But, for others, why would I do it?”

This was the center of discussions that were filmed for the movie The Pirate Bay – Away from Keyboard, which was released very recently. The way the movie was filmed - It didn’t look like it was to safeguard the Pirate Bay. At least to me. The founders of the site say they are not responsible for things that are being shared and that it is the user who’s actually responsible. But, don’t you think, if your medium or idea promotes doing things wrong, it is you who is responsible for taking corrective measures?


The Pirate Bay AFK

On a serious note, one thing is damn well true. Movie studios and software manufacturers who put in their hard work and effort in making products (with quality or otherwise) need to be credited for what they have done. It is how they make their living. To share things for free, without any restrictions the copyrighted material does not obviously look good. Thinking from the perspective of the manufacturers, would you actually want your product to be sold for free? If you do not like it, why pirate it? Better avoid using it.

The idea, platform – everything from top to bottom sounded great. If there was or is a way to prevent illegal activity, Pirate Bay is the best way to promote and share stuff.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lvextend to the rescue. - Increasing the size of Root partition in Linux Filesystems.

I'm a linux newbie. I've been playing with it for about a year and a half now and I still see myself a novice user. Probably because I'm not a proper computer science student or may be I wasn't good enough with linux filesystems. Yeah, these things are such a pain in the ass. I agree. Root, Swap, /Boot, Logical volume, physical volume, ext4, lvm, sda, partition, bla-bla-bla, bla-bla-bla... "Oh my God! Spare me the linux mumbo jumbo. I just wanted to be an average user. I didn't want my linux experience to suck bad! Especially with drives and partitions. Grant me this wish, please..." I begged. "What is it son?", asked the Almighty.
"My linux root partition (the partition represented by "/") is running out of space. What do I do? I'm not good with partition manager or the command lines, for I know nothing." God replied, "Here's how..."
First understand what Logical Volume and a Physical volume is. Physical volume is the physical, abstract partition that exists. It is hard coded. That is how the disk drives and the drive partitions in it exists. Logical partitions doesn't exist as a single entity altogether for you to find and point at. They are made out of groups of physical volumes. I'd rather suggest you to refer to the diagram at the LVM Wikipedia page for more information.
Well, here's the real problem. You have installed your linux operating system in your PC by some means. Either using conventional installer mechanism, like Anaconda in Fedora or RedHat supported OSes or like me, with "Install inside Windows" as in Ubuntu. :P
Whatever it is, let's assume for the sake of this article or for real that you had messed up with the partition sizes and now you notice that the size of your root is annoyingly small. Annoying because of the pop-ups that come up, as and when you start to meddle something in it or when you boot your PC up. Goal is to increase any of the size of root, obviously. But, you want your other files to be intact and your existing Windows-Linux dual boot to be undisturbed or rather to put it precisely, everything to be the same except that you want your root size to be increased. "No way!." would tell the old me. "Bitch please... Get me your computer.", I shall tell now.
I'm taking that the linux OS you run shall work in legacy grub or the old grub, to be clear to all(E.g. Fedora 15, 16). Because, that's where you'd find a /boot partition as against grub2 where you wouldn't find one like that. Not an issue. All that really matters is to identify the root partition and increase the size, which I'm sure you can recognize as to what it is. That is, to find if it is /dev/sda9 or /dev/sda10 or whatever it is. And also, we're considering that the file system of the root partition to be lvm2 pv. (linux volume management).

Now, first step: Shut down your computer and make a bootable device with a linux OS. Preferably Fedora, because that's what I'm going to be using throughout and I guess it'll be easy for you to follow. If not, not a problem. Just make sure you install the packages using command line or through GUI.

Step 2: Boot from bootable device and install "Gparted." GUI partition manager for linux in the Live OS.
su -c 'yum install gparted'
Step 3: Run it as adminstrator, find a suitable drive and create a partition out of it, as unallocated space. The space you take out of the original drive is purely your wish. You may take out 5GB or 10GB and all that is left to you. If you can allocate an entire drive to increase the size of root, then fine. Else, follow this way.
Step 4: Right click the unallocated space and make a partition, preferably the same format as that of the lvm2 pv. (ext3 or ext4) After you format, let's assume the new device formed under sda to be /dev/sda10. Replace the sda10 with whatever you get, like if it is sda5, you take it to be /dev/sda5. Right?
Step 5: You can't simply extend this new volume to the root. That is because Gparted doesn't work with LVMs. You'll have to go the command line way.
"pvcreate /dev/sda10"
Step 6: Type
vgextent <volumegroupname> /dev/sda10
How do you find your volumegroup name ? Type
and the VG name in it, specifies the Volume Group Name which in my case was vg_laptop.
So the command would be,
vgextent vg_laptop /dev/sda10
Step 7: Next is to find the number of extents. You can achieve this either using command
vgdisplay -v
as like "vgdisplay -v vg_laptop" where the Free PE value gives the number of extents.
Alternatively, you can use, vgdisplay command, that again displays the Free PE value.
Here, I found my Free PE value to be somewhere around 319. (Don't get confused with the screenshots provided. They have been given just for example purpose and doesn't actually reflect the original values that were executed for implementation.)
Step 8: Type
to find the Logical Volume Path.
Which in this case was found to be: LV Path: /dev/vg_laptop/lv_swap
Step 9: Type
lvextend -l +<number-of-free-extents-found-in-step7> <logical-volume-path>
e.g., lvextend -l +319 /dev/vg_laptop/lv_swap
Step 10:
resize2fs /dev/vg_laptop/lv_swap
Voila ! Your root size has just been increased.
Sources :