Friday, January 27, 2017

Mokee Android 7.1.1 Nougat builds are running for Nubia Z9 Mini

Noticed this after repeatedly checking their Downloads section. Want to try them out but they are nightlies still, and I'm loathe to break my only android phone these days...
Lets see when a release gets out. Still excited!!!!

Resetting Intex Aqua Fish

I had to recently reset the Aqua fish and I remember last time I said that when resetting it, you lose all your updates too. 
Well, so when I reset it, I was booted to which was the version it shipped to me. OK. I added a Jolla account, otherwise it won't search for updates. Then I checked for updates and it did get latest update. After updating I reinstalled a number of apps and checked all the functionality. It was all working alright. 
Well, this is the thing to remember with Sailfish Reset, you get back to the version that's available in your phone's ROM?/ recovery image. But if Jolla Update is working, you can grab the latest update too. 
One thing I don't know yet is what if Intex Aqua Fish did not get the latest update, then what? Do I have to un-Intex the Aqua Fish and then try to get the update - which seems obvious - or something else?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Investment Proof submission for Income Tax Assessment

Investment Proof submission for Income Tax Assessment

Hi, This is a yearly practise that we have to go through here in India. This is applicable for salaried employees whose Income Tax is deducted by the paying organization itself. 
Generally at the start of financial year (April here) you are asked to declare whatever future investments you are going to do in the current financial year. Then based on that and your current salary package, your monthly Income Tax outgo is calculated and accordingly deducted from your monthly salary. 
This goes on till three months before FY ending - Dec here. So in next month - Jan., we are asked to submit actual proofs for the declared investments etc. So we have to submit the actual proofs and based on that the actual tax for the year is calculated. Then the remaining tax is deducted in three installments in the remaining three months - Jan, Feb and March. 
Then by May you get Form 16 - your annual income tax report and based on that you can file for any applicable return. 

For investment proofs here's the check points for process here at my current company:
1. Get xeroxes/ prints of various documents and self-attest them. (sign on them.)
2. Print your actual declaration and sign it. 
3. The organization may have specific/ extra forms for each category - e.g. Form 12C is there for declaring income/loss from self owned property where you can declare interest amount as Lost income. Then there's a summary sheet for all Life Insurance Premia. You have to fill all Life Insurance Payments in it and sign it too. 
4. Also put your emp id, Name and telephone no. behind all the sheets so that they can be relocated in case they get separated from your other docs. 

That's it! Happy Tax Filing!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Seat Height Adjust on Hero Duet VX

Hmm, actually Hero Duet VX doesn't have a seat height adjustment capability. AFAIK on all the scooters, only Mahindra Rodeo line has this feature. Mainly it doesn't matter for average heighted ladies. But for someone of about 5Ft height, the default seat height of 70cm can be a bit too high. And my wife belongs to this group.
Thankfully many accessory shops help you with the seat height. After asking around we found couple of shops nearby and visited one of them for the change. It's simple, they shave bit of foam off the saddle to get it low. It cost us INR 150 bucks. 
But actually there should be an option for seat height adjustment for everybody. I don't know why bike manufacturers (except Mahindra on Rodeo) don't provide this. 
To look at it other way, your plain jane bicycle provides seat height adjust!!! J

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SBI and SBIePay sucks

Whenever I have to deal with State Bank of India, it has been a thoroughly frustrating experience. Unfortunately since it's largest bank, gives almost best interest as well loan rates, it's the go to bank for a huge number of people. And generally it works, but then some times it plainly sucks. 
My first frustrating experience was when I opened a saving account - in SBI at the behest of my parents. Problem is there are always so many people at each SBI branch, and the whole branch is like a madhouse. The tables don't have proper boards, SBI people will move you here to there without any proper information and overall it's a pain in the ass just to visit the branch to get some work done. 
If you know the exact things to do, well and good. Otherwise get ready to be kicked around the branch for a while. So after going through this SBI incubation treatment for a while I got used to it. Also came to know thoroughly the lines, the delays, the slow staff, the overall chaos. Hmm. 
Thankfully I kept my interactions to minimum, never got chequebook, netbanking, and used it to minimum with saving account and debit card. That's it. This meant visiting the branch in a while for updating the passbook, and other misc tasks once in a while like getting college fee demand drafts.
Next came the part where I needed a home loan. And through consultation we finalized on SBI for cheapest loan rates. The problem is there's so much paperwork needed, it was much pain in the ass again. But somehow I soldiered through. More bank visits, and oodles of signatures everywhere. I believe I might have probably signed away my life and the life of my seven descendents. Hahaha. 
Then come the WTF part. See you need to provide a SBI Savings account from which the EMI is transferred monthly to the Loan Account. For this the SBI folks asked me to furnish a Standing Instruction form. But the first month I got the surprize - no transfer happened. I had to manually pay the amount. I went to the branch and enquired. Turned out the SI was not enabled since loan was not disbursed - it was already! WTF!!! Anyway I had them enable SI manually and crossed my fingers next month. Same shit next month. Again I went and enquired. Turned out to be system issue. F@#$ U I said! Next month again no transfer. So I went and told them to delete the SI, since it was not working anyway. And since I have been manually transferring the EMI myself for that home loan. Great SBI!
But since then I have completely stopped using that SBI account. And maybe it's figures are screwed too. Last time I checked it showed about 11000/- as balance and when I tried to withdraw it, it said insufficient balance. Hahaha. WTF!!!
Anyway I have given up on SBI. 
But they won't let go of you. This time I wanted to pay some government tax and found out they are using SBIePay gateway - which is SBI's own payment gateway like Billdesk or Billjunction. 
And WTF! Been trying for about a week now - their aggregator listener page just doesn't move forward. F@#$ U SBI!!!! 
Really someone shut down this shit of an financial institution!!!! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

My thoughts about KDE Desktop and new Plasma shell

I have briefly used all KDE flavours from KDE 3.0 to 4.0 to latest plasma shell with KDE 5 series. But I could not get along with KDE for too long. I use it for few months and then get bored or just annoyed enough with the way many of the things are and hop to other distro. 
My main gripes are below: 

1. The themes and the overall widget animations: Animations are good and bright, catchy colors are good too - if used sparingly. But with KDE it's just too much. Every time I have used KDE I ended up disabling almost all animations, and switching to an easier on the eyes color theme. The various themes just don't look natural - they look like some snazzy designers dream. Rather take a look at the Mint themes, or Ubuntu themes - they are muted and not eye catchy. But that's something makes you forget about them and concentrate on the work. With KDE it's exactly opposite. The various colors, gradients, and changes keep grabbing at your focus. Add to that the various popups and animations. You move the mouse to the window buttons on taskbar and every time a giant preview pops up. Man, that's so annoying.

2. Too much customization: The customization options offered are just too much. It takes more time to go through them all and just come to a sane combination. Rather useful defaults should be the norm. E.g. Why that giant taskbar button window preview thing on by default? Jeez!!!

3. KDE Has been RAM hungry: Previously KDE has been resource hungry. The KDE 4 series suffered from memory problems too. On many occasions I found out that I've max'ed the RAM in an hour. With plasma this situation is better, but still KDE runs so many services, it just uses more RAM and that means your 5-6 browser tabs can bog down a system low on RAM.

4. Difficult to trim down on the FAT: Since so many of these services are intertwined, it's difficult to trim down a KDE based system. That's one of my reasons to not use KDE much. Half the time you remove something critical and it breaks the system. With Ubuntu- unity, Mate etc the chances are less - in fact with Mate the system is already quite trim. Again plasma does better with this, but last time I tried trimming down a plasma based desktop  - plasma neon to say - I managed to break it!!! Grrrr!!! 

This is not a rant. But just some reasons why I've stayed away from KDE through the years. And it's more than 14 Years to date since I popped in a Slackware Live CD in a Single Core Pentium 1.8GHz based desktop's CD ROM drive. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to enable SSH on Raspbian

Previously enabling raspbian, meant you have to boot to the card. Then enable and configure ssh service. 
But with since 2016, there's a simple method. That is on the boot partition of your SD Card, create an empty file with name 'ssh' - without quotes - and when you boot from this SD Card, SSH services are auto-enabled.

To create the file you can use following commands: 

touch /media/user/boot/ssh

Touch creates the file and sync ensures that it's written to the SD Card, flushing any pending write buffers for the SD Card. 

How to prepare an SD Card with Raspbian

I used Ubuntu for preparing the SD Card and it's really simple. You connect the SD Card using a card reader. If it's auto mounted, then un-mount it using

sudo umount /dev/sdb1

assuming /dev/sdb is the SD Card with one partition.
Next extract the Raspbian image from the ZIP file. Note, the zip file is about 1GB but the image is 4.4GB since it's compressed image. 

Next use dd to put this image on the SD Card. 

sudo dd bs=4M if=[image file path] of=/dev/sdb 

This writes the image to the SD Card. Next pop the SD Card in the pi and power up! 

Raspberry Pi 3 Update - Raspbian working!!! Hurrah!!!

So finally last night I spent some time plumbing the software stuff together and got Raspbian working on the Raspberry Pi 3 board.
It needed some acrobatics but it did work. Below screenshot on my Ubuntu Laptop is the proof! J
The setup: 
Raspberry Pi 3 powered using Portronics 5v 2.3A power adapter connected to ethernet on  a Tenda N301 router. I don't have a HDMI display yet so I'm sort of using vnc for this. I'm using Raspbian on a 8GB SanDisk SD Card. 

The things I had to do:
1. Prep SD Card with Raspbian - straight forward using standard instructions on Linux. - All OK.
2. Power up the Pi 3 and use ethernet to connect it to the Tenda. - All OK.  
3. SSH to the Pi: Had to fumble a bit here but finally got around to it using a solution on - A bit iffy but Okayish.
4. VNC: Straight forward using inbuilt vncserver. Needed to install RealVNC client on Laptop. But then worked fine. - All OK with one download.

And voilla I could see the Pixel desktop. 

The things I tried: Opened LibreOffice, browser and file manager. Checked a number of files. Played some videos. 

Experience: Desktop is fast enough. Office, Browser OK. Could not find PDF viewer. OmxPlayer did play the videos and musics, but without HDMI, there's no video to be seen. OK. System OK otherwise. Maybe will get faster if I move the rootfs to even faster storage like an external HDD. 

BTW my 1TB WD My Passport external HDD did work fine without any changes needed to config. Apparently the Pi 3 maybe gives more current to the USB ports or maybe whatever 600mA it was getting is enough for this HDD. Huh!
That's it. Detailed posts follow for each steps of this adventure!!!

Products referred in this post:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Update on the Hero Duet Vx

Well, last I talked about it was when it's battery got discharged due to lack of use and severe cold. Since then we took it to a Hero Authorised Service Center. The guys there charged it overnight free of cost. And it's been running well since.
The odo reads 800KM to date and we will get it serviced by 1000KM for second free service. 
Lets see how it goes. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Got the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Update: Received Portronics 5V 2.3A power adapter and the case too on 9/1/2017.

Got Raspberry Pi, Samsung Class 10 16GB sd card and a HDMI cable. Still waiting for the power adapter and pi case.

Excited times ahead!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The case of our new Hero Duet and it's disappearing odometer

So we bought a new scooter couple months back. We bought it at my hometown because we don't have the necessary papers here in city. It's been sitting at home for a while and its winter these days. So the battery died. And we didn't have enough time to get it fixed, but we had to ride it to city. So the odometer disappeared and it kept coming back for a while but when the charge dropped it used to vanish. And it was all hilarious!!!!

Well to start, we (me and wifey) did not have any vehicle of our own. I never needed one and she never got hold of one. So few months back we decided to get one since we need it for moving around the city and travelling in buses is atrocious - costly and irritating due to all the small walks you need to do here and there.

So we asked around but the paperwork was stuck here and there. Wifey decided to buy one at our hometown. She goes there couple months back and buys one - a Hero Duet 110cc scooter cost us about INR 64,000/-. Good deal. Then it's couple of weeks till we get a number allotted and it's cleared from RTO passing. Then we have been scheduling a visit for a while so it's about two months by the time we get back.

But due to winter the battery is dead. Wife called up the dealer and asked for solution. He says he'll take about a week to replace the battery. We didn't have that time. So we decided to bring it to the city and get the battery replacement done here. While on the way we noticed these funny acts of the odometer.

The problem is the designers didn't seem to have considered the situation of the bike running with a dead battery. So the gauges remain dead most of the time. Then after running it for a while when the onboard alternator puts some charge in the battery - the odo comes to life and starts showing current speed, the digital display shows some km's etc. But then if you start any indicator/light it sucks up all the current and the odo goes dodo!!! :J After a while it comes back to life when the scooter has been running for a while. Totally funny!!

The biggest problem was we had to put it to main stand and then kick start it. Wifey doesn't have enough mass to kick start the motor, so it was me with sore right leg the next day.

Thankfully the scooter rides nice. The engine is good, got good pickup and is quite smooth. I guess it'll smoother out further by 1000KM. We have reached about 600KM by now. The shocks are nice and ride quality is great. The scooter is heavy at 116KG, but feels planted on highway even at 80KMPH. So looks to be good ride. Lets see how it works out after battery replacement and one more servicing.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Wishing you all a very happy new year!!!

Wassup for new year? I have just ordered a Raspberry Pi 3. So some tinkering with that. Maybe setting up a Digital Home Theatre - since I'll have all the components - a low power CPU in form of the Pi 3, wireless KBD Mouse - already have these, a display - going to buy at least 18.5" panel, and speakers - the 2.1 Sony's shall suffice. That's looking like good deal.