Wednesday, 13 June 2012

GMail experience is too slow

Some time ago, I posted about the "Google" experience, where I mentioned about ease of use and speed being essential aspects of our regular usage of Google products and how Google [in my opinion] is doing it wrong by moving away from these key aspects. Here is one more incident. For the past two days, I have seen the following page a number of times.
It never happened to me before and I have been using GMail since the beginning of GMail itself. When I finally logged in successfully, I wanted to clear out my trash as it was huge. While it was deleting, it showed me the following lightbox.

It took more than 3 hours to complete the deletion of trash. I know that my trash is huge; but the time it took is way more. Overall GMail experience for me has slowed down considerably. When I create or update a filter, it takes at least 3 minutes to get back. People initially switched to Google because of its ease of use and speed; but now Google is gradually losing on those key aspects.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Reboot on Dell Latitude E6520 with Arch linux

On Dell Latitude E6520 and some other Latitude models, a number of distributions were having issues with reboot. Rebooting by any method, viz.

  • restart command
  • shutdown -r now command
  • or restart from GUI

stopped all processes. The run level goes to 6 and everything works fine. Finally the system shows a message that it is rebooting now but the reboot does not happen. Ubuntu had this bug too but they fixed it and when my friend tried Ubuntu on the same hardware, reboot worked fine for him. I filed a bug in Arch and discussed it on #archlinux. The developers said it is an upstream issue and I was able to find an already reported bug upstream. Looking into the bugs and comments, I figured I should try setting the kernel parameter 'reboot' to 'pci'. So, I changed the kernel line in /boot/grub/menu.lst to include 'reboot' parameter as follows.

kernel /boot/vmlinuz26 root=/dev/sda2 resume=/dev/sda1 ro reboot=pci

After the above change, my system rebooted successfully.

N.B.: 1. Here, /dev/sda2 is my root partition and /dev/sda1 is my swap partition.
         2. Read more about rebooting a system.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Standards of "The Times of India"

From the name "The Times of India", one might expect high standards to be maintained in the newspaper in line of the British newspaper 'The Times'. However, gradually I have seen the standards of the newspaper going down. Some time ago, I saw their front page was a full page advertisement. The front page should be the place for the most important news for the day. Probably their editors thought the advertisement was more important than any event.

Recently, I saw a copy of The Times of india lying on the table and having nothing else to do, I thought to me "let me try the sports section". The article was called "Big Three in the making." It was about Indian cricket team, focussing on the players: Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Reading through the section for Rohit Sharma, I found the following:

"Though he is an all-rounder and can fetch wickets too, his main strength is his batting and he has become one of the key members of Indian team. In the absense of biggies like Sachin, Laxman and Dravid he is one player on whom Indian team can depend fully. In the absense of biggies like Sachin, Laxman and Dravid he is one player on whom Indian team can depend fully. He can strengthen the middle order to fill the space after Laxman and Dravid's retirement."

The repetition of sentences above is not my mistake; but that is how it appeared in the newspaper. I was thinking to myself, "don't they even do any proofreading before sending an article for printing?"

Monday, 4 June 2012

Connecting to wifi network on Motorola MC3100

While attempting to connect a Motorola MC3100 to my wifi network, I was getting a popup message saying that I might not be able to connect due to regulatory issues. Looking into the logs, I found the following message.

"Country code not acquired yet"

I guessed some sort of country code has to be sent my the wifi access point for the device to work. So, I looked into hostapd configuration manual and found that in the 'IEEE 802.11 related configuration' section, we can set country codes. So, I changed the following variables:

country_code=<your country code>

When I restarted the wifi hotspot, the device could connect to internet successfully.

Setting environment variables in ruby on rails

I use GMail's SMTP gateway for sending out system generated emails in my RoR project. Once, I got everything working, I thought of deploying it on Heroku. However, I host my code on Github and did not want to commit the id and password on the GMail account. So, I decided to read the email id and password as environment variables.

I set the environment variables on Heroku using the following:

heroku config:add
heroku config:add PASS=mypass

In the code I accessed these variables using ENV['ID'] and ENV['PASS'] respectively. So, the code was somewhat as follows:

class Emailer < ActionMailer::Base
    default from: "#{ENV['ID']}", :charset => "UTF-8"
    # other methods

With this I could easily send out mails from Heroku.

Whenever I want to test anything on my local using emails, I set environment variables before running the Rails server.

export PASS=mypass
rails s