Showing posts from November, 2013

LPG subsidy and aadhaar

On December 1, Phase V of Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG will commence.  Phase V districts include Bangalore.

My parents in Ernakulam are already "beneficiaries" (if one may put it that way) of the scheme, being part of the Phase 2 districts.

The amount of knowledge (or lack of it) that a layman has about this is reflected in the conversation that I had with my dad a couple of weeks back.

"Hey, I just got this LPG cylinder at home and had to pay Rs.1000/- odd.  I believe I should have got the subsidy amount in the Bank.  Now I am not sure to which Bank the subsidy has gone. I remember giving it in Dena Bank as well as SBI.  I checked Dena Bank and there is no credit.  Can you check SBI online so that I can spare the travel to the Branch?"

I checked online and found the credit - not one, but two - one for 400-odd rupees and another for 500-odd, in a space of a week.  I was clueless why there was no credits and will varying amounts.  That is when I decided to under…

Updating Indian stock exchange data in gnucash

I had written a few months back that updates to Indian stock exchange data from gnucash had broken thanks to yahoo stopping its service.

A couple of days back, an email came to Finance-Quote project mailing list with an attachment, which had scripts to retrieve data using BSE and ICICI Direct sources.   The list did not allow the attachment to be downloaded - perhaps because it was html content or due to the mail client used.  So I emailed the author Manoj Kumar, who was kind enough to share that over email.

As mentioned in his email (if you figure out how to read it from the mailing list), the steps to set up the scripts are straightforward.  There were a couple of other things that I did and I thought that warranted this post.

I did an update the to include the additional scripts and thereby avoided the needed to set/update the environment variable.

The other was to edit each of the security and make two changes.

a) Change the symbol name.  The name varies based on the sou…

Shared hosting and php app deployment

We were doing a turnkey project for one of our customers, which involved developing a mobile application with a php backend.   The development environment was Windows with the WAMP stack.  We had a dedicated linux system (RHEL) on the cloud running the LAMP stack for testing.

There was the initial hiccup while starting the project, with differences in the component versions on development and the testing environment.  The version of apache didn't matter, but the case was different for php and mysql.  
For instance, we could not use a specific feature of mysql (ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP), which was available only from 5.4.x.  Similarly, we started with php-5.2.   We were using yii framework.  Everything worked fine till we used restfullyii yii extension, which needed php-5.3.  
As we wrapped up the project and prepared to deploy to production, we thought we had covered everything. 
The production was a shared linux hosting environment of godaddy.  All we had was ftp access.  Th…

King, queen and God

On one hand, we have the God of cricket playing his 200th and last test match in his Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai, his home ground.  On the other, we have the World Chess Championship matches between Anand and Carlsen in Chennai, the home town of Anand.

It was exciting to watch Sachin bat in (most likely) his last innings.  If he did not make a century, then he alone was at fault, since it didn't look like West Indies were in a position to get him out.

Now, the chess matches are a different story.  There is no fun watching the live telecast.  For one, it is Doordarshan and trust them to screw up by showing a half-chess board for most of the first match.

And then the commentary.  The commentators keep moving the pieces so that you do not know what is the current position.

I also can't understand why should the photo of the Chief Minister be in the background of the players' seat.
The chess matches are best watched in internet since all you are interested in is the board po…

Ten tips for driving on Indian roads

I cannot resist writing about roads and driving, since I spend at least an hour on this every week day (and most weekends as well).

So in no particular order, 10 tips for driving in Indian roads.  Anything to make our commute exciting.

1. Drive where there is a road (if not a path). It does not matter if it is the wrong side of the road, No Entry or One way.  Just like water tries to seek its own level, vehicles should fill the space available.  Do this, especially when there is a traffic jam.  When you are blocked, there is no reason why someone else should go.

2. The bigger the vehicle you have, the faster you should drive.  Size does matter.  If you disagree, try blocking an elephant when it charges.

3. Honk as much as possible. Honk when idling, honk when speeding.  Honk to show frustration, honk to relieve frustration.  If you ride a two-wheeler or auto, fit a horn, which sounds like car or truck.

4. Drive always in high-beam, however bright the street lights are, or even in bro…

A visit to Cubbon Park

It was Mon, 4 Nov - a holiday on account of Bali Padyami.  We decided to go to Cubbon Park. Our little one keeps talking about "going to park" and we thought why not indulge him.  I don't remember when I last visited Cubbon Park - it must have been a dozen years back (or more).

I had done some googling the previous day to check what I can expect there.  For one, I could not find an official page - the closest was this. I wanted to check if it was a holiday - this site seemed to indicate it was not.

To make our trip interesting, we decided to take Namma Metro.  Parking the car near CMH Road Metro Station, we got tickets for the M G Road Station.  The signboards said we needed to take tickets for those who were 3 feet or more.  Thus our little one came free - but the Security stopped us and asked for the "Baby pass".  This, as it turned out, was a much-worn-out card which indicated a "Free Baby Pass" which needed to be carried during the ride and give…

Skyfall - Bollywoodisation of Bond?

I got around to watching Skyfall, the "latest" Bond movie (that was released a year back - in November 2012), courtesy it being shown in Sony Pix channel.

7.8 in IMDB.  Seriously?  For that movie?  What did people find so good about the movie?  The reasons I enjoyed Bond movies were the eccentric villains who plotted global supremacy or destruction, countries pitted against each other, cold war or otherwise, pretty girls who turned villains and so on, breathtaking technologies, far ahead of their times.

But what about Skyfall?  A villain disgruntled with M, because she turned him over in exchange for a few other agents. Ok, and then?  He bombs MI6, gets caught in an island somewhere off Macaw, is imprisoned in MI6 headquarters and then escapes thanks to his computer/hacking wizardry, which betters Q's!   He attacks British Parliament(?) (where M is deposing), then chases M all the way to Skyfall, Bond's ancestral property.  When this happens, the entire might of Brit…