Monday, September 11, 2017

Knee Jerk Governance ?!



A Country of RULES


I do not know how many of you have noticed. We are a country of RULES, RULES & more RULES.

Probably the only country in the world with the most RULES (LAWS) for anything and everything.

Somebody alleged that it is because laying down rules are the easiest of tasks; doesn't involve any responsibility. 

Make a rule that helmet is mandatory. But, don't make a rule that safe roads are mandatory. Because, making safe roads involves effort. Whereas, forcing the biker to wear a helmet is simple. And, if he fails, more money to the government kitty.

I have been wanting to write this for a long time now. See, the idea is not to find fault with anybody. The idea is to highlight the problem in the system.


School tragedies


The trigger for this article is the sad loss of the innocent child in a Gurgaon school on account of murder.


Similar incidents have happened in many parts of the country. It is alleged that in every case, there was always a reaction from the authorities and an assurance that steps have been taken to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future.


One such incident that comes into our mind in this context is the Kumbakonam school fire accident tragedy. 

There was another such incident in Bengaluru, following which schools in Chennai were asked to install CCTV cameras in their premises.

The schools were also asked to verify the credentials of the employees.


Follow up IS IMPORTANT

take action based on advisories

What would be the ideal course of action? Now, it is up to the local authorities, the police and civic administration, to verify periodically, if the advisories are being followed.

Regular visits to the schools by the police and the corporation authorities and frequent meetings with the principals of the schools would keep them on their toes at all times.

Getting updates on the status of security and safety protocols from the schools on a regular basis will give the schools a sense of fear and responsibility that they are being monitored. This will definitely ensure that the schools take extra care and do not let their guard down.

School infrastructure and layout of the schools, with entry and exit details, whether MCBs are installed, the ratio of students vs teachers vs maintenance and security staff and all such things need to be shared with the authorities.
Actions need accountability. Someone needs to assume the responsibility.
The authorities can then formulate a plan or ideal scenario, which can be recommended to the school to follow up and implement. A timeline may be given to the school for the implementation of the ideal security protocol system.

We do not know if such an exercise was taken up by the corporation and the police with the schools in Chennai.



Status of safety and security

The Blue book on school safety has to be drafted NOW.

In the context of safety and security of the children, what will be the present status of safety and security in our schools across the country? Is there a blue book available on such safety and security aspects of all schools in the country with the authorities? It would be a sweet surprise if such information is available with them. We, as citizens would be most proud.

That would have been wonderful. But, given the track record of our authorities, we are just waiting for another mishap to happen.

Then there will be another knee jerk action from the government, authorities and the schools, which everybody will forget over a period of time.

A Blue Book on School safety is the immediate need of the hour.


Knee jerk governance


As we all know, all our governments have always been reactive, not pro active. Our governance have been reactive and not proactive. The focus is always on rectifying the problem after it has happened and not taking steps to prevent the occurrence of a problem.

We have never been in a situation where we were on top of a situation all through our 70 years of governance of independent India. Let us take for example, the 2015 and 2016 floods of Chennai and the 2004 tsunami in the coastal areas of Tamilnadu.

Do you think the government is now prepared to tackle such an incident if it were to happen again? Think about it.

We are a reactive and relief offering system. We are never an anticipating and well prepared system. The problem is systemic.

It is not because we do not want to be prepared. It is because, there is no system in place. There are no long term plans that are prepared and put into place.

Is there a Solution for our ills?

Most definitely. But, we need to have long term plans for nation development along with the short term plans. We need to have at least a basic set of rules [as we all know, our governments are experts in laying down rules] for each department of the government, going down to the grass roots.

Presently, we have 5 year plans. We have governments that run for 5 years. And, if there is a change of guard after 5 years, there is a tendency to put the plans of the previous government in the back burner, or put them in the cold storage.

Hence forth, all our government decisions should be based on the merits of the plans. We need to take all the intelligentsia of the population into confidence and all decisions will have to put the interest of the nation paramount.

We need not all those 5 year plans or 10 year plans. 

We need to have 20 year plans. How do we envisage our city 20 years from now? 
How do we see our state 20 years from now? How do we want our country to be 20 years ahead?

This takes time, but it would be well worth the effort that is put into this.

Mould the young minds


We need to mould the young minds of today; they are going to be the rulers of tomorrow. There is a dire need to create a healthy future generation that is fit in body and mind, which is capable of leading the nation into its bright future.

We need to introduce compulsory physical exercises, yoga and meditation, to keep the mid and body focused and keep them from harm's way.

Follow the Japanese way


I recently saw a Japanese video, which emphasized the attitude of the Japanese people, which is respect and caring for the others. Every Japanese is known to be respectful of the others. That is a quality, which we need to inculcate in our future citizens. We need a country full of citizens who are concerned about other citizens.

We should tell our future generation about the glorious past of our country, which was the fount of civilization in its heyday, till greed and selfishness brought us down.

This is sure to bring down all the ills of corruption and greed, which are pulling the nation down from all sides.

There is HOPE for the future


We hope that at least from this incident onward, the government takes serious cognizance of its responsibilities as the ruler of this great nation.


Link: School buses in chennai to be equipped with cctv cameras

Sunday, August 27, 2017

What is FREEDOM?

The definition of FREEDOM


It is probably the most misused word in the country today.

Everybody wants freedom; everybody is free to do whatever they want to do; and they do it, in the name of freedom of expression, freedom of action, individual freedom, freedom of the press, freedom of politics...

But, nobody ever thinks about where our freedom ends and we intersect on others' freedom. Look around us and we can see live examples of this attitude in everyday life.


Do we stop before the stop line?


Take a simple example of stopping our vehicles before the stop line. If you stop before the
stop line, invariably there is one who overtakes you and stops ahead. This goes on till finally, the vehicles are beyond the zebra and at the junction, while the poor pedestrian weaves in and out of the halted vehicles to cross the road.
When we drive along the road, we see a jaywalker suddenly cutting across the median putting his life and others in the line.

We see the policeman stopping all vehicles after 10pm and asking politely to blow. Are all people driving on the road after 10 in the night drunkards?

We see vehicles weaving in and out or lanes [lane markers are non existent in our roads is another matter] with scant regard to other vehicles on the road.

We see vehicles occupying the opposite lanes, especially at signals, inconveniencing incoming traffic.

Right of way? We don't care



We have also seen those sudden processions and road rokos in peak hour traffic, taking the entire city to ransom.




No freedom for our children


We see the British royalty lip locking on prime time news, while our two, five and ten year old children look at it with curiosity. Don't the children have the freedom to be protected from unnecessary inputs at their age?


Then there is a condom ad at prime time, which is discomforting even to adults, under the name of freedom of expression.


Freedom to Tax, but not to tAsk


We have a government which finds out devious ways to get more money out of the citizen, no offense meant. There is freedom to tax, but there is also freedom to get the basic rights in return; food, water, roads, electricity, free education, free medical support etc. When the government does that, people will voluntarily share their money.
And the list goes on...

Freedom is a two way street


But, not here. So, instead of free India, it is essentially, free for all India.

It could be ignorance, but ignorance is not an excuse. If it is ignorance, it is high time that we told people that freedom is a two way street; everybody in here have equal rights.

People have to realize that with freedom comes responsibility. The idea is about creating the next generation, and if possible, change the mindset of the present generation, which will understand this dire need for FREEDOM WITH RESPONSIBILITY.

Let us be the change we want


The idea is to promote this thought and make it heard and understood by every citizen of the country.

In my opinion, the only freedom that we can exercise without borders is freedom of thought. But, even thought should be restrained, because, as we know, thoughts become action.

And we all know that some of the destructive thoughts that became action have wreaked havoc on this planet.

If your thoughts reflect ours, do visit the FreeWiRes facebook page that we have created, like and become a member.

Start posting images where you believe we, as citizens, can make a difference.

Let us begin the change, starting with us.

Monday, August 21, 2017

How to create video sub-titles in 10 minutes easily

You are visiting to find out if there are easy ways to create captions/sub-titles/translations for your videos. Of course, there are. 

There are a couple of simple sub-title software, which you may use to select the portion of audio/video to create the sub-title, type in your translation in the box meant for it and then save the translated text; it is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

Let us see them below.

Choosing the sub-titling software

Aegisub is a free sub-title software that I used recently. It is so simple to use that you can begin your sub-titling work in less than 10 minutes. It is one of the easiest to use and best in the free category of sub-title software.


According to its web site, Aegisub is a free, cross-platform open source tool for creating and modifying subtitles. As I found out, it is definitely quick and easy to create subtitles synchronized to audio, using this simple and easy to use sub-title software.

Aegisub is available in Windows 32/64 and OS X Platforms

Free Aegisub is available in Windows (32/64 bit editions) and OS X platforms.

One other sub-title software is Subtitle Edit, which too has received high ratings from its users.

Installing the sub-title software

I chose to install the portable edition of Aegisub. The portable version allows us to run the software from even a thumb-drive.

If you want to be able to start sub-titling in an instant, just connect the portable flash drive to a laptop and you are good to go.

It is as easy as that. 

Follow the instructions and install the software.


Installing Aegisub

Note: You can leave the destination folder as it is, or if you want to keep your application portable, choose a common folder for all your portables.

I installed it in e:\portable\aegisub







Create a shortcut to the application


If you find that the Aegisub shortcut is missing from your desktop,


  • Open the folder where you installed Aegisub
  • Right click on the aegisubXX.exe file and create a Desktop shortcut 

Opening the sub-title software

Double click on the Aegisub icon to open the sub-title software.

Creating sub-titles using Aegisub

Before we start creating the sub-titles, we need to open the source video file for the sub-titles.



Click, Video, Open Video and choose your video file for creating sub-titles.










The video file is open now and you are ready to create your subtitles.



The above picture is the Aegisub main screen. 1 is the selected Audio track, 2 is the button you click to play the selected audio, 3 is the box where you will type your sub-titles, 4 is the button you click to save your sub-title, and 5 is the box where your saved sub-titles are displayed.

The steps to create sub-title

Click and drag (from left [1] to right [2], see picture below) on the audio track to select the portion to create your sub-titles. Please take care to select only a small portion, to make a small statement of one or two lines.

The purpose of our sub-titles is to make it easier for the viewer. The viewer may not be able to follow the sub-titles if there are too many lines or if they change too fast.

Now, click on button  [marked by arrow 3] to play the selected portion of the audio. Start typing your sub-titles in the box below. After you have typed the sub-titles for the selection, click on the Save button [see arrow 4 in the pic below]. 

The moment you click the save  button, it is saved and the next part of the audio is selected. 

Note: Right-click on the end point of the selected audio to extend or shorten the audio selection.


The different sub-title formats

There are different sub-title formats such as .srt, .sub and so on. After complete or partial sub-titling, you may want to test it.

Saving it in the required sub-title format

Use the Export Subtitles option and export it in a suitable format (popular formats are .srt and .sub) and save it.




Congratulations! You have just created your own sub-title file.






How do I name the sub-title file?

If you save the sub-title file in the same name as the video file, the sub-titles will be detected and shown by the video player, automatically.

So, if you have only one sub-title file, it is better to name it by the video file.

However, note that sites such as Youtube will insist that the sub-title is named with the translation language such as -en for English and so on.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How do I Extend a Linux partition in AWS EC2


Extending our Linux partition (in AWS EC2) is the resizing of your partition to use the whole disk.

Our running instance size was a Centos with 25GB hard disk space. Now, Amazon has told us that "This instance is scheduled for retirement" and we want to migrate to another instance. We found that we needed a little more space and wanted to extend the linux partition. So, when we created an image, we chose to provide for 50GB in storage.

So, we took a snapshot of the image and launched an instance from the image.

When creating the instance, the size was defined as 50GB. Then, the instance is started. 


The used hard disk space


Before we resized the Linux root partition, of the AWS EC2 instance, we needed to find out the status of the storage now. The df -h command will show us the storage space in the running instance. As seen below, it shows only 25GB.

al@ip-192-230-185-43:~/> df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/xvde1       25G   17G  7.3G  71% /
none            1.8G     0  1.8G   0% /dev/shm


The available and non-allocated space


We need to utilize the non-allocated space in our Centos Linux system. To find out if there is really 50GB of space in the storage, we issue the lsblk command

al@ip-192-230-185-43:~/> lsblk
NAME  MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
xvde1 202:65   0  50G  0 disk /


Extend the hard disk space


Great! The next step would be to resize the Linux partition (of the AWS EC2 instance) so that it uses the non-allocated space. Issue the resize2fs command which extends the drive to occupy the whole available hard disk.

al@ip-192-230-185-43:~/> resize2fs /dev/xvde1
resize2fs 1.41.12 (17-May-2010)
Filesystem at /dev/xvde1 is mounted on /; on-line resizing required
old desc_blocks = 2, new_desc_blocks = 4
Performing an on-line resize of /dev/xvde1 to 13107200 (4k) blocks.
The filesystem on /dev/xvde1 is now 13107200 blocks long.


Find out if resizing (resize2fs) worked


The command df -h is issued again to see if the "Size" has changed. We found out that it had changed from the 25GB before to 50GB, which was the extended size.

al@ip-192-230-185-43:~/> df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/xvde1       50G   17G   32G  35% /
none            1.8G     0  1.8G   0% /dev/shm

The root partition was thus extended to utilize all the non-allocated space in the Linux disk, of your AWS EC2 instance.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

How can we reduce the running cost on AWS Server?

Amazon Web Services

Cost Reduction or Saving money on AWS EC2 Instance



In AWS EC2, there are three main elements such as an Instance, a Snapshot and a Volume.

Each of these consume resources such as hard disk space, bandwidth and is costing us money on a daily basis.

The idea is to take a backup of our unused data and source and move them into cloud storage and then delete the dormant instances, snapshots and volumes.

This will result in an immediate reduction in our running costs of AWS EC2 instances. I will briefly explain how we do it, here.

Logon to our Amazon Web Services console and choose EC2.


What are the EC2 elements that cost money?



Amazon Web Services EC2 Saving Money Dollars
In the EC2 dashboard main screen, among other things, we will see Running Instances, Snapshots and Volumes. As indicated, these things cost us money, by the hour. Of course, Elastic IPs also cost, but only if we aren't using them.

Of these, the instances will cost us according to the server we have chosen, micro, small, medium, etc. The storage that we use for the server (OS and data) is also on cost. Further, the bandwidth used, for uploading and downloading source and data is also at a cost.

Technically speaking, these servers we hire, cost us only if we use them. But, there is a catch. Since, we are using storage, these storage spaces are payable, whether we use them or not. Even though the costs are not too high for storage, if we are not careful, we may end up paying dollars unnecessarily.


Removing dormant instances and volumes


As a first step, we will have to identify the volumes that are used by our running instances.














In the above, you may see that there are 2 instances, but three snapshots and 5 volumes. This may indicate an excess of 1 snapshot and 2 volumes. These may be noted, evaluated and if found not required, deleted.

Once identified, we will carefully note them down. We do not want to delete any running instances or storage spaces, unintentionally.

For this purpose, we will make a note of the instances and link them to the volumes connected, using the instance id.

Once they are identified, the next step is to make a note of our stopped instances. Every instance may be linked to a volume or storage area in the network.










If we find that the above 3 stopped instances are no longer required, we may terminate them, along with the volumes that  they are linked to, to reduce our aws bill.

Once we have identified the instances and volumes that we do not require, we can delete our instances, along with the volumes with data and sources.

If, during the creation of the instances, we had chosen the volumes to be not deleted automatically upon termination of the instance, the volumes will not be deleted on deletion (termination) of the instance.

Under such circumstances, the orphan volumes may need to be removed independently, later.

Alternately, we may detach (right click on the volume to be detached and you will see a context sensitive menu) the volumes individually and then delete them.


AWS EC2 instance review


We will have to do this preventive maintenance, every time a new instance and/or volume is created and the old instances and volume are stopped and lying unused.


These cost us money and thus the savings on AWS EC2 instances through maintenance, may be substantial over a period of time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

நாட்டுப்பற்றுக்கு ஒரு சோதனை


நாட்டுப்பற்றுக்கு ஒரு சோதனை


வணக்கம். நான் ஒரு கணினி பொறியாளன். உங்கள மாதிரியே நாட்டுப்பற்றுள்ளவன்.  இதுல ஒரு விஷயம் பாருங்க, இந்த நாட்டுப்பற்றை எப்படி வெளிப்படுத்தறதுன்னு பல பேருக்கு தெரியறதில்லை.

நானும் யோசிச்சேன்.

வருஷத்துக்கு ஒரு முறை schoolலயோ, collegeலயோ, officeலயோ, தேசிய கோடி ஏத்தி கீதம் பாடினா ஆச்சா? இல்லை ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் ஒவ்வொரு நொடியும் அந்த உணர்வு நமக்குள் இருக்கணுமா?

நிச்சயமா இருக்கணும். இல்லியா?

சரி. அப்படின்னா மொதல்ல நாட்டுபற்றுன்னா என்னன்னு சின்னதா define பண்ணுவோம்.

நாட்டை பற்றிய ஒரு அக்கறை. நம் நாட்டு மக்களின் மீதுள்ள ஒரு அக்கறை. இந்த நாட்டின் சட்ட திட்டங்களை மதித்து நடத்தல் ஆகியன. இது மட்டும் இருந்தாலே போதும். அதாவதுங்க, நம்மை விட, நம்மை சார்ந்திருப்பவர்களின் நலனை நாம் உணரும்போது, நினைக்கும்போது, நாம் நாட்டுப்பற்று உள்ளவர்கள் ஆகிறோம்.

ஆனா, இது மனசளவுல இருந்தா மட்டும் போதாது. செயல்ல எப்படி காட்டுறது?

கஷ்டம் இல்லை... மிக சுலபம். உதாரணத்துக்கு, சாதாரண traffic signalஐ எடுத்துப்போம். நாம் என்ன செய்யறோம். முதலில், STOP LINE அப்படின்னு ஒண்ணு இருக்கு. அதை மீறி தான் வண்டியவே நிறுத்தறோம். [Stop line ஆ... சென்னைல அப்படின்னு ஒண்ணு இருக்கான்னு சொல்ற உங்க மைன்ட் வாய்ஸ் கேக்குது. அந்த discussion அப்புறமா வச்சிப்போம்]. அப்புறம், மற்றவங்களுக்கு signal கிரீன்ல இருக்கும்போதே கொஞ்சம் கொஞ்சமா முன்னாடி [சுத்த சென்னை தமிழ்ல சொல்லனும்னா பீறாஞ்சுக்குனே] போயி, பாதி ரோட்டுல நிப்பாட்டுவோம். எதிருல வர்றவனுக்கு green போயி yellow தான் வந்திருக்கும். அப்பவே உறுமி உறுமி, நமக்கு green வந்தவுடனே அவனை block பண்ணி, அவனை திட்டிகிட்டே அவசர அவசரமா போயி... ... ... அடுத்த சிக்னல்ல நிப்போம்.

நமக்கு இருக்குற அதே சுதந்திரம், உரிமை, மற்றவங்களுக்கும் இருக்குங்கறத மறக்கறோம், மறுக்குறோம்.

நம்மை திருத்த ஒரு போலீஸ்காரன் எதற்கு. போலிஸ பாத்தா சிக்னல்ல நிறுத்துவோம். இல்லைன்னா...

இதில என்ன ஒரு இழுக்குன்னா, உலகத்துக்கே கலாச்சாரம் என்றால் என்ன என்று சொல்லிக்கொடுத்த தேசம் நமது. இந்த உண்மையை மறந்துவிட்டோம்... அல்லது மறக்கடிக்கப்பட்டோம்.

சித்தர்களும், ஞானிகளும் வாழ்ந்து, மறைந்து வாழ்ந்து கொண்டிருக்கும் பூமி இது.

இந்த நாட்டின் சட்ட திட்டங்களை மதித்து நடக்க நாம் கர்வம் கொள்ள வேண்டும். காந்தி முன்னே சொன்ன ஒரு வசனம் இப்பொழுது ஞாபகம் வருகிறது. Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

கலாச்சாரத்தின் சிகரமாய் இருந்த நாம் மீண்டும் அந்நிலைக்கு வர, நாம் எடுத்து வைக்கும் முதல் அடி.

நாளை என்றொரு நாள் வரவே வராதென்றார் இன்னொரு ஞானி. அதனால், செய்வதை இன்றே, இப்பொழுதே செய்வோம்.

ஆதலால், இன்று முதல், சாலையில் எங்கு சிக்னல் இருந்தாலும், அதை மதித்து நடப்போம். அது இரவு பன்னிரண்டு மணியானாலும் பரவாயில்லை, ரெண்டு மணியானாலும் பரவாயில்லை. அங்கு போலீஸ் இருந்தாலும் சரி இல்லா விட்டாலும் சரி. இன்று முதல் சாலை விதிகளை மதிப்போம். நம் நாட்டுப்பற்றை அக்கறையால் வெளிக்கொணர்வோம்

இது தான் நாம் எடுத்து வைக்கும் முதல் அடி.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

How can Cloudflare protect your server?



Cloudflare to safeguard your server


This message is not an endorsement of Cloudflare and its services. 

This is just a reflection on how we have been using Cloudflare for dns and basic site protection for many of our sites.

For those who do not know, Cloudflare is one of the best available CDN services. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, which is a man in the middle software application which delivers your website content to your customers, while at the same time protecting your server from people and sites with malicious intentions.

Cloudflare FREE basic protection

The Cloudflare basic protection is free and is good enough for most sites, but if you are a site with a lot of hits and need better protection, you may opt for their business or enterprise plan though.

Some of you may have the question of "How do I setup Cloudflare for my webserver/website?" Here is an indication of what you need to do to put your site up on cloudflare.com.

  • Get yourself a Cloudflare account
  • Add your domain name to cloudflare
    • Add your domain name to your newly created Cloudflare account
  • Cloudflare will give you a set of dns names
    • These names will be given to you by Cloudflare
  • Logon to your domain seller site and change the existing DNS names to what Cloudflare gave you
    • Change your name servers to point to the DNS servers of Cloudflare.com
  • Change the security settings to protect your server from most attacks
    • Activate the Cloudflare CDN to create a transparent SSL protected for your website

The Basic and Free version of Cloudflare can protect websites from simple attacks. Cloudflare is also reconfigured with standard captcha to protect your website. For sites that require better protection, there is the Enterprise version of Cloudflare.

You might want to give it a try!

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