Category: Random Musings

Hi Readers,

It is since long I posted on my blog. Now as part of the course work for the FDP of IIT-B, I am creating this blog post.

The current FDP is a good one for Teaching Fraternity of colleges because it introduces them to ICT based techniques for Learning. I have been dabbling with many of these very seriously since 3-4 years since so I am quite familiar with it. This Blog is approximately 9 years or so old. I had my personal website since 2005, 11 years and counting.

There are several tools for every technology teacher this FDP focuses on However there are more. Every teacher should have some background knowledge of the following :-

  • Creating interesting learning material like Walk-throughs, Screen recordings, animations
  • Creating Assessment materials like quizzes
  • Managing student progress by tools like Excel or custom ones.
  • Using group in hangout, whatsapp to keep in touch with students and to instantly contact them.
  • Using website to create your own pages, tutorials and articles. So on…

This FDP is a good starting point for many things. Moodle though a dated software is still good. There are Sakai, Efront etc. By the way everyone should at least try coursesites by Blackboard, it is too good.

One gripe about this FDP is that the Moodle of IIT Bombay does not support the Moodle Mobile App. Possibly they should update their moodle or tweak the settings.

The Video lectures by Prof. Sahana Murty are quite good. They surely have very nice recording equipment. So far, so good.



Firebird Fury

Today I dabbled a bit with the Firebird SQL Server. It was created from Interbase so the fundamentals are strong. A little confusing in the beginning but I worked it out. The command line sucks though but it is just for a couple of times. Rest a cake ride.

Step one:-

Obtain the package from

Step two:-

Install with the GUI Installer. There are two engines, choose the super server. It is the future. You may use it as a service or as an ordinary application. As I am testing it out, I chose the application. On a deployment scene I would use it as a service.

Step three:-

Open the install directory and go to the bin folder in command mode.

(in windows) C:\Program Files\Firebird\Firebird_2_1\bin>

Now a bit of command mode setup :-

  1. Open GSEC by typing  C:\Program Files\Firebird\Firebird_2_1\bin>gsec -user sysdba -password masterkey
  2. Change password at GSEC prompt  GSEC> modify sysdba -pw manager
  3. Create a user for regular use. I am using scott and tiger deliberately because of the familiarity of Oracle users to this login. GSEC> add scott -pw tiger -fname Scott -lname Urman
  4. Then quit GSEC  GSEC> quit

Now the painful command operations are over. Let’s turn graphical. There are many good graphical utilities but FlameRobin is a good free and Open-Source tool. It shines well for learning purposes. For expert Query generation you need to obtain commercial tools. However for my case, I code SQL by hand and the editor has colored code highlighting and intelligence. This is a big help.

Step four :-

Go to and download the installer. It is quite small like firebird and installs in a jiffy.

Step five :-

  1. Open FlameRobin Database Admin and create a new database by right clicking localhost and select Create New Database.

    Creating scottdb

  2. Give any display name. I gave scottdb.
  3. Enter a valid database path where the *.gdb file will be created. I created a scott.gdb in my home directory.
  4. Feed scott and tiger as name and password.
  5. I selected UTF8 as the charset. You may choose other.
  6. Select SQL dialect as 3 if not already selected.
  7. Press Create.
  8. The database will be created and icon would appear under localhost.

    FlameRobin with db created

  9. Double click the icon. The tree would open. I got 40 system tables with it. The other tables in the pic are created by me.

    FlameRobin with db tree expanded

Step six :-

No default table is there to experiment. So we need to create it. Right click on the tables and select Create New.

SQL Editor

The editor with a CREATE TABLE template would appear. Change it and Run by pressing the play arrow. The output / error will be available in the statistics window.

Enter some data to experiment with it.

Run a select Query. The output will be displayed in data tab. Multiple select queries are not permitted. For all non-queries, multiple semicolon delimited DDL, DML and DCL and be written.

The tool is quite impressive. Find some interesting dialogs here:-

Some Interesting dialogs

That’s all. I am yet to experiment on the software development arena. Once done, I will be writing about it. Till then Happy Experimenting.

— Manik.

What’s Up Google?

This was one of the rarest of rare google goofups. Today while doing search on DTH offerings in India I found out the infamous “This site may harm your computer”. To test how well Google’s own site fare, I tested it out and to my utter surprise the results revealed it all! Further clicking on the link opened a 502 server error page showing that there has been some sort of a crash.

Have a look at the screenshot and have your own Laugh!

Google says it all!

Google says it all!


I have written an article elaborating the steps for installing the SQLExpress 2008 with the Default Instance. There is a step wise screen shot representation which shows how to install the true default instance.

As the deceptive default instance option of the install actually installs a named instance, many existing software written using the default instance in SQLExpress 2005 will not work anymore and so this is important to be done.

I had to migrate some data to MySQL and the migration assistant could not handle the named instance so I needed this workround. As I had to search a lot to find how to do it, I thought possibly it would be fine to post them as a tutorial for others to follow.

Link :


Latex on Web

Nothing beats the good old latex for writing a technical paper.

Recently while working on my synopsis, I was thinking where to find latex when I visit places without my system? The answer is found on some of the pages I visited. There are a couple of good sites with updated tex installation which would help in compilation of the files on go.

For documents:

For equations only:

Keep up the good work!

Banking services for long stayed as royal service. After the advent of the private banks things have gotten murkier. My recent experiences are quite disappointing.

  1. I tried to open an account at the ICICI Bank. The bank requires a MAQB of 10000/- . If the balance falls below the limit a penalty will be there. So are they providing the services for free? NO. Just count a difference between the interests of fixed and SB and add the hassle of not being able to remove the money while avoiding penalty and you get what is the charge for keeping an SB account with them. I Give Up!
  2. A Credit Card enquiry revealed that UTI Bank takes a deposit of 25000/- to issue a credit card and the credit limit is upto 80 percent of it. So if I take a Credit card, I will be given credit from the money which I already own. What a joke! Do I stand a chance to bear this?
  3. At SBI an account opening form revealed that they not only require my details but also ages of all in my family along with details of any relatives settled abroad. That is not all, they also require all loans credit cards etc availed by me along-with asset list like whether I live in an ancestral house or rented house, if I possess any vehicles, if I have made any life insurance or any investments . . . Possibly the most ridiculous from all is that they also need the educational qualification of my spouse. Does it not feel that they are asking for too much for keeping my money safe?
  4. The Core Banking of Parlakhemundi SBI is somewhat misleading. As they have not made the signatures digital, cheques cannot be used at any other branch. I seriously suspect that they are verifying signatures for withdrawal slips and cheques at the home branch too. It is nothing short of horrble practice.

If you have experinced the Royal Indian Banking Experience then you know that there is more to it. Don’t you agree?

Yesterday at-least four of my students rang me up for their doubts. It is not unnatural but the stride of their studies are quite disturbing. Approximately after 10 classes from start of the semester, they got themselves indulged in the placement spree. Nevertheless, classes were missed. They made it a custom to miss the day previous to the placement day albeit for preparations; the d’ day for competition and the following day to take rest.

Not to overemphasize, they lost oodles of classes. Now as BPUT started to hammer their heads with the exam time table, they are realizing now what has passed out!

If this much would have been the story then it would have been fine. Still to come; the shock!

A couple of days back I took an abandoned class in the pack-slotted extra classes schedule. To my horror, only a few students were there. From the list of the absentees were many notable faces:-

The CEO of PriyaZeem Productions, The specific students who had handed me problems to solve, regular absentees … -Oh my God! with approx ~10 students I started the discussion.

If they miss regular classes, drop extra classes, whack the class test, what is in store is only a matter of plain guess!

May God Help Them. (Tathastu, Amen, Zumma-ameen)