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Risharde's Blog

Some potentially interesting firewalls

I just came across 2 interesting software based firewalls that I'd like to test in the future so I'm just making a note of them

Vyatta and Untangle

So far, I've looked at a demo of Untangle and I think this is really good. I didn't see any Active Directory integration but other than that, the firewall's interface seems really easy to operate and configure.

I'll keep you guys posted

Windows 8 apps - how to build

After doing some research, it seems that in order to build Windows 8 applications, you must have Windows 8 installed and Microsoft Visual Studio 2012. This is a bit of a blow for developers like me that still run Windows 7.

Rocket Batteries

Has your car battery just stopped working right after the warranty period? Well I've had that experience happened to me twice using TRACK batteries. I wasn't going to let it happen the third time. From my experience the maintenance free Rocket batteries work really good. I've been running mine for about 2 and half years now without any problem. This is not a paid ad and I don't have any affiliations with Rocket. I'm just helping someone out there in Trinidad and Tobago that's willing to listen.

Wordpress vs Drupal

Many users on the internet take sides. The epic battle between Wordpress and Drupal is far from over. I will stand back in order to see this clearer and try to answer the question "Which is really better?". That answer however is extremely simple: None. This will have many internet users upset but in order to understand my position, one must view it in my eyes.

So really the question you should be asking is: "What does Risharde see". Let me bring this epic battle into context. Do you run Windows or Linux? Do you run Windows or MacOS? Is it becoming clearer yet? If it isn't, then for the most part, I will clarify by saying that these choices are your own personal choices. I should not and cannot decide from you. I can however tell you what I believe are the disadvantages and advantages as I see them.

Drupal and Wordpress

Common ground:
Both are open source

Drupal Advantages
- Content types are simple to create
- CCK is now built into the core of Drupal
- Views display CCK.
- Extremely modular
- Not just for blogging. Use it to do surveys, create a help desk or create a store... possibilities are endless.
- Large user community constantly working on the next version of Drupal
- Extremely organized contributed modules system.

Drupal Disadvantages
- Auto updates still not extremely simple
- Cannot update core automatically
- Learning curve at first is high and can leave you frustrated and unsatisfied.
- Slower than wordpress if used without caching.
- More load on your server
- Theming is a bit more complex than Wordpress

Wordpress Advantages
- Large support on the internet if you need help
- Simple to use and extremely easy for blogging purposes
- Faster especially with caching enabled.
- Less load on your server if proper coding is done
- Very easy theming with built in editor within the control panel.
- Choosing a different theme per page is extremely easy.
- Installing and updating plugins are a breeze

Wordpress Disadvantages
- More code required to do page tweaking
- Majority of really good plugins to do forms and display output of database data ARE NOT FREE!

I was fined by the Trinidad and Tobago / Mon Repos Police for coming out of a food related business driveway

THE REGULATION IN QUESTION IS "DRIVING VEHICLE ON FOOTPATH OR PAVEMENT" - MOTOR VEHICLES AND ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATIONS CH 48.50 REGULATION 57 (1000 dollars and 30 point penalty):

"57. No person shall wilfully drive, ride, draw or propel a vehicle
or ride an animal upon any footpath or pavement by the side of any
road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of pedestrians."

THE INCIDENT:
Only in Trinidad and Tobago I think this happens. My fiance and I went out tonight to buy some bar-b-que. We arrived at the barbque food place after 8 pm (more around 8:25 pm). As the food place was situated on the right hand side and I was driving on the left hand side of the road, I proceeded to turn right in order to enter the driveway of the said food place where 2 cars were already parked. As I entered the entrance, a pedestrian warned me that the police were charging people for parking on the pavement and since I saw that I might end up partially on the pavement I proceeded to return unto the road to find another area to park or go elsewhere to find food. Upon waiting to get back unto the road in which the direct lane was full of incoming cars, I indicated and waited for a few seconds before a car would allow me to exit to get back unto the left lane - during which a police officer instructed me to park on the left hand side of the road. I complied and waited for a male officer who approached my car in which I began to explain in a respectful manner the above by addressing him as "Sir". The police officer did not allow me to continue and cut me off while trying to explain the situation by responding "You know what you did! You know what you did!" in a tone that I can only recall my father would probably speak to me in my childish / adolescent years. I responded to him by asking him why he was speaking to me this way when I was trying to explain to him about the above and my intention. I also asked him why I would lie to him in front of what he would have "hopefully" seen. He said "I don't want to hear nothing!" and asked me for my license and registration in which I complied. He went over to the other police workers and I waited for what seemed to be about 10 minutes before a female police officer handed me a ticket at which point I tried to explain again what happened. She responded saying that the male police officer never gives anyone a chance to explain (which I would think is highly unfair to me as law abiding citizen but it seems even law enforcement in Trinidad and Tobago isn't fair). She said that I should not pay the fine and explain my case to the court/magistrate.

MY BELIEF:
I am good citizen in that I follow the law whenever and wherever I go. I try to do the right things and many of you see this by the comments I write on facebook about doing the right thing. This police officer charged me for "driving on the footpath". The question I must ask is, how would I have taken out my vehicle without having to "drive on the footpath"? Driving always as defensively and safe as possible, I did not reverse the car into incoming traffic but proceeded to position my vehicle while moving forward to proceed unto the road by indicating such. In the long run, by being a "good driver", I was fined. How fair really is this land that I live in? After all, people say life isn't fair but then didn't someone think up the idea of law enforcement to try to reduce the odds of life being fair by providing proper rules and regulations. Furthermore, if driving over what he claims to be the footpath to enter or exit from a driveway, then I don't know anyone other than perhaps Houdini who would be able to do this. Additionally, if I were to enter my own driveway or exit it in such a way, would police be able to fine me for exiting my driveway? This is none sense... either the policeman was mentally challenged or the law and its intent is not clear - because everyone comes out or enters into a driveway by going over the so called "footpath". In any event, I was not parked and in good intent, attempted to solve and comply with the law by getting back on the road and finding a proper park nearby or finding a next place to eat.

JUSTICE:
So what if I am cleared of this fine by the magistrate, how does the police learn that they should not abuse the law... Will I get any compensation for my wasted day in court because a policeman was wrong for charging me? Of course not and that is why the system will not change in this country. Take 1000 dollars out of his pocket and I bet you he will make sure and get glasses to make sure he sees properly the next time.

How to install Memcached on CentOS 5

Okay so since I don't particularly like to assume the trust of installing 3rd party yum repositories, I install most new software packages by compiling from source as previously mentioned. This undoubtedly makes it more difficult than using the yum command but I think its a sacrifice with respect to trust and security.

So this is how I do the install for Memcached (I have not tested the pecl install memcached as yet.. this is just to get memcached cache server installed). Also, this is for 32-bit.

INSTALL LIBEVENT FIRST
wget -t 10 https://github.com/downloads/libevent/libevent/libevent-2.0.21-stable.ta...
tar -xvf libevent-2.0.21-stable.tar.gz
cd libevent-2.0.21-stable
./configure
make && make install

THEN INSTALL MEMCACHE
wget -t 10 http://memcached.googlecode.com/files/memcached-1.4.15.tar.gz
tar -xvf memcached-1.4.15.tar.gz
cd memcached-1.4.15
./configure --enable-threads --with-libevent=/usr/local
make && make install

NICE, IF ALL GOES WELL, YOU HAVE MEMCACHED INSTALLED BUT NOT RUNNING.
TO RUN MEMCACHE, I USE:
memcached -d -u nobody -m 64 -p 11211 127.0.0.1

Notice at the top the -m 64 which tells memcache to use 64MB of memory. You can increase this depending on your RAM needs.

Good luck!

Installing APC Beta for PHP 5.4.x

Okay so I've tried testing the stable version of apc and it gives segmentation errors with PHP 5.4.x branch and it seems there's an APC beta version out on PECL. I searched the internet and realized it was really hard to find the command to install the beta version so I'm posting it here in hope that it helps others

Firstly, if you built your own php, you should got your php's bin directory and type
./pecl install apc-beta

Of course, if everything goes well, it should compile and you'll need to add the 'extension=apc.so' to your php.ini file. The file for me is located in your php's lib directory. If the file does not exist, you can create it there (if you compiled php from source like I did).

REMEMBER, you may need to restart your apache or other webserver and also phpfpm if your setup is like mine
ALSO, I noticed that with APC installed and in use, more memory was used up. Like about 150 MBs extra.
Good luck!

CinemaTT released for Android

I am pleased to announce the immediate release of CinemaTT. CinemaTT is a straight forward app to access the latest movie information, trailers and show time schedules in cinemas throughout Trinidad and Tobago. It really isn't complicated. Just select the cinema you'd like to see what movies are showing and the app will give you the show times plus the option to watch the trailer for the specific movie ;)

Download it on Google Play Store FOR FREE!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rrp.cinematt

Works on Froyo 2.2.x up to the latest Android version as well as Google TV Supported!

Desalination plant maintenance may affect around 75% of the country

Is it just me or does anyone else believe that we should probably have a backup system for catastrophic events. I heard on the news that the shutdown of the desalination plant for 9 days to do maintenance on it - in Trinidad would affect nearly 75% of the country... I think we really need to have another plant on backup or another system to shed the load. Water is one of the most important ingredients to sustain life and I don't think the country is serious enough about the problems that might be faced during a catastrophic event. Worse of all, I just have a feeling that there's going to be water woes during the 9 day shutdown. Tank systems generally only supply water for about 3-4 days so my logic is telling me that there's going to be some issues here.

UWI - Resetting your password and a little common sense...

Why is it that UWI's Grade System and the IT department require users to come in to show id to get their passwords reset? My brother has to drive up from south today just to reset his password. Instead, there should be a security question and / or something that can be verified over the phone to get the password reset such as national ID, passport number or drivers permit number. UWI really makes me wonder sometimes.

VAT Exclusive nonesense...

I see many companies especially telecom companies like TSTT using this VAT Exclusive pricing. Why all the nonesense? Calculate the effective price and give people a straight forward way of knowing what they are paying upfront. If I wanted to know the price without VAT, I would calculate it since this is less important. Imagine going in to pay your bill and pay the VAT Exclusive price, I doubt TSTT would appreciate that.

OS Support for Android products vs Apple products

Depending on the brand of your android product, you may be in for a world of disappointment. While I am not extremely knowledgable about Apple products I believe there might be similarities. Generally, you buy the new brand spanking hot of the market device with OS version 1.0 (just an example) only to find that the year later, there's a new product under the brand and now the OS is version 2.0... and you have to buy the new device to get the new OS.

This is currently my problem with Android... well its not really Android but the manufacturers but shouldn't Google do something about this? Like perhaps stipulate that the Android versions should be upgraded for the next X years (2 years or maybe 3 years) before it becomes obsolete???

I'm just thinking that to the consumer, its a fairly raw deal... and its somewhat wasteful from a technology standpoint because most devices can handle os upgrades for at least 2-3 years without dropping in performance...

It's just a thought, you don't have to agree with me on this one

5 hours of downtime (ouch!)

I've experienced about 5 hours of downtime and already posted a support ticket to my server provider. From what I gather, they've been updating their servers due to a zero-day exploit that was recently discovered in RHEL which probably streamed down to CENTOS. I ended up having to boot my server back after noticing it was down. Unfortunately, I was AFK (away from keyboard) for most of the day today so I didn't even know it was down. Good news is that I don't have any customers so the only loss was maybe the search engines updating from fresh data on the website. I'm still rebuilding the journal and haven't got around to rebuilding productions and probably won't do that until after June 30th.

Still, I'm sorry for the downtime, when I expand the rCloud, these things will be a thing of the past. I haven't really been focusing on rCloud development due to time constraints (from the more recent tasks ahead). Once I complete these tasks, I'll attempt to devote myself to rCloud and high availability again. Particularly database clustering.

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