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  • Root CA of India

    Posted on July 28th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    When it comes to secure transactions over the web, you probably would’ve seen that a website URL starts with “https” instead of “http”. For a website to be trusted, it needs to have a digital certificate issued by a trusted third party, called the Certificate Authority (CA). Companies like VeriSign and DigiCert are examples of CAs. It is also possible for governments to have their own Certificate Authorities.

    Which is exactly what the Indian Government has. The Controller of Certifying Authorities issues the root certificate for CAs in the country. Essentially, all certificates below this root gain the trustworthiness of the root certificate.

    Unfortunately this root certificate is not included by default in many browsers, so if you happen to visit sites carrying a digital certificate by any of the Indian CAs, your browser may incorrectly try to prevent you from accessing them. The fix for this is quite simple: you need to install the root certificate in your browser.

    The following steps assume Firefox 3.5.

    1. Download the root certificate from the Controller of Certifying Authorities
    2. Open Tools > Options > Advanced > Encryption tab
    3. Click on the “View Certificates” button
    4. In the subsequent “Certificate Manager” window, click on “Import”
    5. Browse to the downloaded file (it will be a .CER file) and select it
    6. Firefox will prompt if you wish to trust this certificate. Since this is the root certificate, you can select all the options listed in that dialog
    7. The root certificate should be successfully imported. You are all set to go!
  • In Bangalore

    Posted on June 19th, 2009 Sandeep 2 comments

    I landed in Bangalore last Saturday. Of course, if Air France was on time, I would’ve landed late Friday. Spanking new airport – liked it a lot. What else has changed in the city over the last 2 years since I moved? The new B-TRAC traffic management system, which apparently started last October. At the rate the number of vehicles is growing, this was badly needed – and it seems to be doing a good job. Lots of new signals, road dividers, one-ways, etc., all over the place.

    If it were the old Bangalore, the traffic would’ve been chaotic without traffic management in place. Now, it’s just added delays at the signal but the traffic keeps moving, which is a good sign. There are also more Volvo buses plying across the city. Pity there’s no direct bus to my office, otherwise I would’ve loved to use public transportation in the city.

    Didn’t know I missed Kaveri water so much. Hey, if I can survive tap water in Jersey City, I can drink tap water anywhere else in the world ;-)

  • Short survey: Voicemail or video messaging

    Posted on June 9th, 2009 Sandeep 2 comments

    Please help me out with this survey!

  • Apple iPhone for AT&T Subscribers: Still no tethering

    Posted on June 8th, 2009 Sandeep No comments


    Yes, blogs are all over AT&T for not supporting tethering on the iPhone – that is, the ability to connect to their 3G network from a laptop connected to the iPhone. Why? Because of the obvious strain on their data network. My guess is that AT&T will offer it within the next 4 months, but have a different pricing structure. Using 3G on the phone will probably still continue to be “unlimited” (otherwise it would be foolish of AT&T to go into a tiered structure), while data usage when the phone is tethered will be capped.

    There are several things that annoy me about the iPhone, none of which seem to have been addressed with the release of the new iPhone 3GS. (While we are on the subject, could they not come up with a better name?) Multitasking is absolutely essential, and Apple has failed to deliver yet again. Granted, the average user on the street does not care – but if Apple keeps thumbing their nose at business and power users, it’s only going to be a matter of time before they switch to other brands.

    FWIW, I have an unlocked/jailbroken/(insert favorite verb) first generation iPhone running on T-Mobile. It is slow as hell, and I can’t believe I am still using it. Oh wait, I know the reason why: I can’t afford to buy a new phone right now.

    In the middle of it all, Palm decided to release the Pre – a touchscreen phone tied to Sprint (at least for the next few months). I got to play around with it for a few hours during the launch event, and I will post my thoughts later.

  • Sprint and the new Palm Pre

    Posted on June 8th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Just received a PR email from Sprint about a groom who almost abandoned the altar in order to buy a Palm Pre phone.

    On Saturday at 7 a.m., Theodore was 14th in line at an Atlanta-area Sprint store, fidgeting for his new Pre. His wedding was scheduled for 8 a.m. As much as Theodore wanted Pre, he wanted his bride, Anita, to see him at the altar at the appointed time. At 7:45, he abandoned his wait and left his line-number and credit card information with a Sprint store employee, asking that he “hold the 14th phone for me.” The Sprint store employee obliged. Minutes after the recessional, the newlyweds returned to pick up their phone, spending the first minutes of married life with a Ready Now consultant who walked the happy couple through Pre’s setup and features. The new Mrs. Travis later revealed that her reaction was “You did what?” to her husband spending the hour before their wedding waiting for a phone, but later admitted, “I guess I kind of understand now.”

    Wow. And they ask me why I hate marketeers.

  • Understanding MySQL Control Flow Functions

    Posted on May 21st, 2009 Sandeep 1 comment

    Sure, the documentation for control flow functions is available right here. But it’s not the easiest thing in the world to understand. The documentation, I mean – since the examples given there are very simple cases.

    Here’s a portion of it, explaining the CASE statement:

    CASE value WHEN [compare_value] THEN result [WHEN [compare_value] THEN result ...] [ELSE result] END

    CASE WHEN [condition] THEN result [WHEN [condition] THEN result ...] [ELSE result] END

    The first version returns the result where value=compare_value. The second version returns the result for the first condition that is true. If there was no matching result value, the result after ELSE is returned, or NULL if there is no ELSE  part.

    mysql> SELECT CASE 1 WHEN 1 THEN 'one'
        ->     WHEN 2 THEN 'two' ELSE 'more' END;
            -> 'one'
    mysql> SELECT CASE WHEN 1>0 THEN 'true' ELSE 'false' END;
            -> 'true'
        ->     WHEN 'a' THEN 1 WHEN 'b' THEN 2 END;
            -> NULL

    Great, but how do you use it in an actual scenario where you want to, let’s say, update a column based on its current contents?

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Mobile Number Portability in India. Finally.

    Posted on May 11th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    While mobile number portability (MNP) has been in use for the last several years in many parts of the world, India was still lagging. The Department of Telecommunications (or DoT) finally mandated the provisioning of the MNP service. Officially, the department defines the MNP service as follows:

    Mobile Number Portability Service means a service which allows subscribers to retain their existing telephone number when they switch from one access provider to another irrespective of mobile technology or from one technology to another of the same or any other access service provider (sic).

    This is good news!

  • A Wordle analysis of Techbook

    Posted on May 5th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Wordle just won the 2009 Webby for Best Use of Typography. So I just had to run it on Techbook.


    Click for larger image

  • Gmail Language Selection Feature FAIL

    Posted on May 4th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Why? Because it doesn’t exist, apparently.

    The last few days I’ve been visiting Today when I opened Gmail, Google decided, for whatever reason, to present me with the Czech version of the site. I don’t speak Czech, and naturally I looked around for a “Gmail in English” or “Change Language” link – but couldn’t find it anywhere.


    Click for a larger image

  • Nokia E71x Cell Phone Appears on AT&T

    Posted on May 4th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    Just came across this bit of news that AT&T will carry the Nokia E71x (no doubt a North American version of the E71). I decided to look it up on the AT&T website. Here’s what I saw.

    Nokia E71x

    Nokia E71x on AT&T

    Looks like somebody wanted to play with the HTML title tag.

    Anyway, at 0.39″ thickness, this is a sleek, full QWERTY phone that I wouldn’t mind owning. The phone’s got a 2.4″ display which is a bummer, but hey, I can connect to the Internet directly using either the data cable or Bluetooth – assuming AT&T hasn’t disabled it. Oh wait, there’s no mention of it on AT&T’s website about this feature, which leads me to believe that they have, in fact, disabled it.