All posts by Kishore

Who’s the VIP?

Us or Them?

I think India needs to seriously reexamine the concept of VIPs. Currently, a politician, a government official or a Bollywood celebrity are the VIPs. They get away with murder, they get away with scams, they make obscene amounts of money and yet want all the freebies and priveleges. On the toll roads they want an exemption, at the airport they want the parking closest to the terminal and of course they don’t want to pay!

The weird part is they make their pots of money from the tax that you and I pay. Yet when it comes to the priveleges, all we get is barked at by the police, the security forces and the rest of them, all of whom are paid only because we paid tax!

You tell me who’s the VIP?


News gone wrong

News in the post-PC era.

For a while now many of us read our news on a tablet of some sort. The apps available for news reading are many and varied as well. From the publishers of print papers to a totally customised and personalised news magazine lots of choice exists.

But there are times when I find that these news apps, get things wrong. It might be because the content is still formatted for a PC but displayed on a tablet or might be something else all-together. The biggest of these issues seems to be inappropriate images with the headlines.

Here are a few examples:

In the image above, the headline, the story and the image had very little to do with each other.

Another common issue is the overuse of TLAs:

At first glance, this seemed like a news item about a leading Indian political party, in which case the news is hilarious, it turned out to be a photography journal instead so all is well:

At times, it can also be really sad and insensitive. India for some reason is always shown with a sense of mysticism but in this case a little sensitivity was needed:

Have you come across such items while reading news on your tablets?






Raj Mathur

What a very very sad day. I lost a dear friend, Raj Mathur.

People who knew and have met Raj will always remember him as a lively and humourous person – brutally honest and a man of principles.

Raj was a founder member of the Indian Linux Users Group and a very active member of the Free and Open Source community. Well respected and extremely knowledgable, he was often sought after for advice which he readily dispersed.

Raj loved to have fun and encouraged everyone around him to do the same. He loved his food, his movies, his music and being with friends and family.

A brilliant hacker and much respected for his pioneering work, he will be missed by one and all.

Raj’s IM status always stated “Permanently out to lunch”, this is one time he will not return 🙁

Rest in peace, Raj “Oldmonk” Mathur.

Content is King…

…and it is not confined to the corridor!

Ever wondered what happens at FOSS.IN? Well wonder no more, just head out the official website and take a look at this post.

Conferences happen all the time, but few provide the excitement and more importantly the quality of content that FOSS.IN provides.

Come be a part of it. See you in Bangalore.

Date: November 29 – December 1, 2012
Venue: NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bangalore


Honey, there’s a bug in the system

Have a problem? Need it fixed? Learn to report it the right way!

Do you ever get calls telling you “It’s not working” leaving you totally perplexed about what exactly is not working. If it’s not a call it could be a cryptic SMSspeak message “Sir, its nt wrkg” or even worse an email with the entire message in the subject line and only the company disclaimer in the actual body! Part of my job does get me several of these calls, SMSs and emails and I have a really tough time keeping my cool in such situations. Biggest reason for my irritation is that the calls and messages are coming from the on-site engineer. These guys are trained in problem solving, one would expect at least reporting the problem accurately, but no it does not happen. Not only is the problem not reported accurately, absolutely no research is done. God forbid if they came on to a mailing list and asked a question in this manner, they would be electronically whacked till they went home crying to their mommies! We do have Google, Bing and a host of resources to check on before giving up, or taking the lazy way out. When I am in a somewhat kind mood I would just send the complainer to this most wonderful site –

Coming back to the real issue, to illustrate let me walk you through a very simple problem. Let us assume for a moment that your Internet connection has gone down. How would you go about checking? I would start at the most obvious of places and first go and check if the router or incoming device is actually plugged in and has power. It really does work better when it’s plugged in. Often over the weekend an over enthusiastic housekeeping staff will come around and clean the rooms and sometimes even the server rooms and in the bargain a few cables may just get pulled a little more than they should and will be dislodged. Monday’s are bad days for SysAds primarily for this reason. Docking stations with no power cables or no network cables, monitors which are disconnected etc.

Good,so now that we have determined that we have power, the next thing to check would be the network cable. Is the network cable plugged in and more importantly if it is plugged in are there any activity and link lights are that glowing? If you cross this point successfully, you would like to do some basic network checks, can I PING my gateway, can I PING my ISP’s DNS, along with PING you may also want to do a TRACEROUTE, sometimes the issue is still within your network and these commands are essential in tracking down where the problem actually lies.

Now while you are doing all of this, please instead of calling me, call the ISPs help-desk and log a complaint. I already know you have a problem because my monitoring system tells me that. Your call of “It’s not working” is totally redundant for me.

Once you have logged a complaint with the service provider, do remember to ask how long it will take for resolution of the problem. Many times I get “Sir the net was not working and I called ‘put the name of your favourite isp here’ and logged a complaint”. Very good is my reply, however, my next question will always be, “How long will they take to fix it?” at which I normally get complete silence, a blank look or a sheepish “I did not ask…”. Not only is it important to get a fix on how long it will take to resolve the issue, but also a good idea to pull out that contract and check the terms on the SLA. And of course the escalation matrix, cause if you don’t get an answer or fix in the committed time, the next step would be to start climbing the complaint ladder.

Great, now that we have the Internet connection restored and the problem successfully resolved, what should we do next? NO you can’t sit easy it is time to document the issue so that if it ever occurs again you have a good starting point. Build a collection of problems into a little knowledge base. If possible run an internal wiki and maintain the issues there. It is of great value when you need to share with your colleagues or handover to another SysAd. While you are at it, write a blog post, tweet about or share on some of the social Q&A sites and earn some serious brownie points.

Seasons Greetings and all the best for the coming year!