Saturday, April 23, 2016

Freedom & Responsibility

Once upon a time in Singapore, people were free to chew "Chewing Gums". No one really took it as a privilege, it was as normal as any other snack or chocolates available in stores. Few miscreants though started using their creative juices in acts which were not so helpful generally. I have learnt that, people experienced chewing gums left stuck on seats of buses and trains. When the doors on trains auto opened, the Chewing Gums used to stretch and stick on people's faces and hair who were alighting or getting in. It was very simple tool to create mess. Today chewing gums are banned in Singapore and are not available in any stores.

One morning when I was about to leave for work, I noticed my son constructing his world with Lego on the floor. He is 9 years now. As a general understanding & practice at home he brushes his teeth first thing in the morning. I reminded him of that very politely. He did not react. My polite reminder turned into a gentle instruction. And then repeated into a quick life improving lesson. I still got ignored and lost my patience, raised my voice and authoritatively pushed him further. I took advantage of my position and authority to implement what I thought was right thing to do. But in turn he would have felt loss of freedom.

There can be innumerable examples pulled out from our daily experiences around us, which revolve around this wonderful relationship of Freedom & Responsibility. We earn our freedom by being responsible and loose it otherwise.
Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 7.38.59 am.png
During my college days, I felt pretty free & had pride in exploiting the state my health. Eat whatever, whenever and nothing affects me. I felt great about this during my early career years. Working late nights, weekends and boast about it. After few years of fun, the first alarm raised was by my digestive system. Then by my Spine. Then eyes. And so on. Freedom was lost. I was fortunate enough to get good suggestions from around me, which worked and fixed all the issues. I was able to regain my freedom, or I better say I earned it this time.

In my experience, the more responsible we are about our actions, the more freedom we earn and enjoy. The project teams who feel responsible and take actions to build trust within and quality into their deliverables, enjoy a lot of freedom and confidence during later phases of the project delivery.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Security Testing - SQL Injection - @vodQA Singapore

Testing can be really interesting, realisation happened once again yesterday evening, at vodQA session, hosted by Thoughtworks (TW) Singapore.

Prasanna who works for TW, a very lively and highly experienced professional, lead us thru what he called initial 5% of a technique - SQL Injection, commonly used across the world to hack websites and bring them down and more.

We quickly installed few pieces of software as he suggested, to get our web server and MySQL DB working. Then installed a quick vulnerable web application to get our hands dirty with SQL Injection. The webpage had a field, part of a form to submit. 

Our first task:
1. Make the application throw error.

And so on... (cheat sheet)
2. Find out which database is used by application
3. Pass queries from the form field to get number of columns of the table being used.
4. Find out the list of application users.
5. Open a file from filesystem of the web server (Wow!)
6. From the URL modify query to get information about web application.
7. Write a file to the filesystem of the web server (Really?)
8. Write a shell script to be executed on web server (to cause damages?) 
9. Create a script in python to perform these steps above.

Automated tool to find vulnerabilities of a web application:

A web application available to try your hands:

A book for more on this and similar: Web Application Hackers Handbook 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making builtin webcam driver work for Ubuntu HP laptop

Thank you Universe and

After trying a lot of solutions mentioned over links found on internet, I could see the webcam work using the instructions mentioned at below link:

$ sudo apt-get install libglib2.0-dev libusb-dev build-essential gcc automake mercurial
 $ hg clone
 $ cd r5u87x
 $ make
 $ sudo make install
 $ sudo r5u87x-loader --reload

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Zen of Python

  • Beautiful is better than ugly.
  • Explicit is better than implicit.
  • Simple is better than complex.
  • Complex is better than complicated.
  • Flat is better than nested.
  • Sparse is better than dense.
  • Readability counts.
  • Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules. Although practicality beats purity.
  • Errors should never pass silently. Unless explicitly silenced.
  • In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess. There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it. Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch.
  • Now is better than never. Although never is often better than *right* now. If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea. If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
  • Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interesting day with my Laptop!!


Over the new year long weekend, besides the new year celebrations and family time, I was also able to accomplish an enjoyable wishful activity of mine - 'Cleaning Heat Sink and Fan of my HP Laptop'.

The CPU temperature of my 5 year oldie used to remain in the range of 50 to 70 deg C.

I referred the below two resources to prepare for it and followed the instructions shown. During the steps I also had to Google for more resources and some steps but the below ones were the baseline which I used.

I enjoyed the entire series of episodes which began with an idea, then gathering courage to do it, learning the how to part, managing expectations for getting the required time out from family time on a holiday, executing it, climax thrill of the laptop not working, researching for new laptops, then finally finding the most silly looking miraculous trick to see it work, test it for a couple of days, use it for something productive, and ... share it as an achievement.

Magic steps that worked:

Now the CPU temperature is in the range of 30 to 45 deg C. Coool!!!

Last but not the least I was almost about to buy a new laptop (maybe a Macbook), so I was able to delay an expense of at least 1000 SGD, not sure till when. Super!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Element

I completed reading the wonderful book by Sir Ken Robinson The Element. I loved the insights presented in this book and wanted to record them before the experience goes far into my memory database. I quickly pulled out few statements and thoughts from the book and have listed them down below.

  • Being in element doesn't consume energy, instead generates it. This is the perfect attribute to identify the element for a person.
  • The education system was designed by industries, so we have a school day defined within fixed time periods. The learning through cannot be confined into predefined periods, it is quite free flowing.  
  • Questioning ourselves, our abilities, questioning for granted beliefs is a key thing to discover your element.  
  • Our body has many more senses other than common five - sense of balance, temperature, kinesthetic, ... 
  • Intelligence is much more than just IQ - linguistic, musical, mathematical, spatial, kinesthetic, interpersonal, knowledge of self, some are dormant and others dominant.  
  • If you don't embrace the fact that you think about the world on diverse ways, you severely limit your chances of finding the person that you were meant to be.  
  • Three main attributes of intelligence: it is diverse, dynamic and distinct.  
  • Discovering your element is all about allowing yourself access to all of the ways in which you experience the world and discovering where your own true strengths lie. 
  • Intelligence and creativity are very tightly coupled. You can't be creative without being intelligent.  
  • Imagination. Through imagination we not only bring to mind things that we have experienced but things that we have never experienced. We have something else of profound and unique significance - we can create.  
  • Creativity : the process of having original ideas that have value. To be creative you actually need to do something.  
  • Your tribe: being with people with same interests or likings enhances your tribe.  
  • Book: organizing genius: the secrets of creative collaboration warren benis 
  • Being is your tribe and being in a crowd are two very similar experiences but very different.  
  • Fear is the most common obstacle to finding your element.  
  • Doing something for your own good is rarely for your own good if it causes you to be less than who you really are.  
  • We put such a premium on being approved of, we become reluctant to take risks.  
  • It's not what happens to us that makes the difference in our lives, what makes the difference is our attitude toward what happens.  
  • Mastering a combination of attitudes and behavior leads to opportunities and give confidence to take them.  
  • Meditation is a way to boost our intuitive abilities. 
  • Mentors roles:
    • 1. Recognition
    • 2. Encouragement
    • 3. Facilitating
    • 4. Stretching
  • Book: self reliance - Ralph Waldo
  • Book: feel the fear and do it anyway - Susan Jeffers
  • It may not be necessary to be in your element and earn your living or earn your living thru your element. You may be doing it off your primary work areas as an amateur.
  • Public education puts tremendous pressure on students to confirm to certain predefined things.
  • The fundamental theme of this book is that we urgently need to make fuller use of our own natural resources.
There are a few book reviews also, which I loved and want to save them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unlimited Sensory Capabilities!

I was reading the book by Sir Ken Robinson "The Element" and realized we have so so many senses beyond the basic five and the list goes on and on. Our body is an amazing work of art.

The sense of pain
The sense of time
The sense of movement
The sense of where you are in the world
The sense of where your body is compared to itself
The sense of temperature
The sense of pressure
The sense of itchiness
The sense of hunger and thirst
The sense of when you have to go to the bathroom.

and more...