Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Twittering your server status

We are very near to launch our new product and I had to write a simple script which will help us monitor few specific services on the production server (linux) without taking too much of processor or memory. This script sends a email when any of the services are down but today I saw that the mail server itself is down, though this script checks for the mail service... it cannot really send a email when the mail server is down... so there is no way for us to know the status of the server when the mail server is down...

I started exploring the possibilities to get a notification on any of the other communication platforms I use, SMS is the ultimate thing but for that you need a sms gateway etc.., The other communication platforms I use are skype, gtalk, twitter and these are accessible on my mobile too... I started researching on sending a ping to gtalk without having any IM client installed on the source server... after trying for an hour, I moved over to twitter considering twitter has an api.

So after searching for couple of mins I found an excellent one liner to send status message from command line to twitter...

Here is the code...

curl -u username:password -d status="$1"

run this script with message in double quotes... and your twitter will get updated.

So, go ahead create a new twitter account for your server and start twittering your server status.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Honda - Even we screw!!

I am right now sitting in customer lounge of Honda Service Station, (Sainikpuri, RK Puram, Secunderabad AP, India), been here for almost an hour, in spite of calling them before I started to the service station. I had very clearly asked them if the bike is ready and specifically if the bike is washed. They said it will be ready in 10mins and I can come down to collect it. It takes good 30mins for me to reach the service station and to my surprise the bike is not washed. So, they made me wait for another 30mins to wash it and 15mins more to dry it. That’s 45mins gone…

So, I take the invoice generated to check what was done and for what I have been charged. They had charged me 12.5% of sales tax for few new parts and 10.3% of service tax. I wanted to see the cover of the original parts as mostly these parts come with MRP which means the sales tax is included – which I was not sure of… so, I did not stress much on that. All of this takes another 15mins.

I go to the cash counter to make a payment, I give them my debit card and was told that I will be charged 1.5% extra if it is a debit or credit card… So, I asked the cashier to provide me a bill mentioning the 1.5% extra charge, and again to my surprise she said she cannot give any bill for that 1.5%. I was pissed the very second she told me that and went to the manager to get this issue cleared. But neither could he do anything about it, I am writing this as the store manager is calling up the zonal sales manager.

This happens in most of the stores in my country but did not expect this from Honda. I did little bit of research and found that it is actually illegal for any store to charge extra fee for using a debit or credit card. I think that’s the reason Honda is not ready to give me a bill mentioning that 1.5%.

Finally, the sales manager is on phone and tells me that it is the bank which charges 1.5% for every transaction and they pass that charge over to the customer… I explained him that it is illegal to do that, again to my surprise he knows that it is illegal but tries explaining to me that if every customer uses the debit or credit card facility then they will have a 1.5% loss on their total profit. Anyways, I told him that I really don’t care about that and either I need a bill for that 1.5% or stop charging, not just for me but for everyone from now on.

Anyways, they did not charge me 1.5% but I am sure they will continue charging others who don’t ask about it.

All I want to say is… like all other companies Honda screws too.

Monday, August 03, 2009

First Ever Criminal Arrest For Domain Name Theft

Source: Slashdot

"Until recently, there hasn't been a case of a domain theft where the thief was caught and arrested. However, on July 30th, Daniel Goncalves was arrested at his home in Union, New Jersey and charged in a landmark case, the first criminal arrest for domain name theft in the United States. 'Cases of domain name theft have not typically involved a criminal prosecution because of the complexities, financial restraints and sheer time and energy involved. If a domain name is stolen, the victim of the crime in most cases would need experience with the technical and legal intricies associated with the domain name system. To move the case forward, they would also need a law enforcement professional who understands the case or is willing to take the time to learn. For example, the Angel's told us that in their case they called their local law enforcement in Florida who sent a uniformed officer in a squad car to their home. The first thing you can imagine the officer asked was, "What's a domain?".'"