December 26, 2013

Using "Direct Replies To" Option in MS Outlook 2013

You can use “ReplyTo” option (New Message -> Options -> Direct Replies To -> Have replies sent to) to re-direct the replies to the “specific user(s)”. Refer the below image for more details.

October 19, 2013

Recording ReadyTalk Meetings

Steps to record ReadyTalk Meeting:
1.       Login to as a chairperson

2.       Click Open Meeting controls

3.       Dial into RT number as a chairperson using phone or Click Use Computer under Audio controls for using computer Audio

4.       Click Start Meeting

5.       Click Record Meeting (enter a name for recording)

6.       Anytime you can Stop Recording and the same will be available immediately under your Ready Talk home page -> Manage Recordings -> Recordings. You can select a specific recording to view, rename, edit, download or delete.

7.       Repeat step 5 & 6, if you want to record by different topics.

8.       Stop Meeting, when you are done. 

October 18, 2013

SQL Query to View or Set the Compatibility Mode in SQL Server 2012

Steps to View or Set the compatibility mode:
1. Connect to a particular DB Server using MS SQL Server Management Studio and create a new query
2. Run the Queries to view the compatibility mode
use mydbname
select compatibility_levelfrom sys.databases where name= ‘mydbname’
compatibility_level will be either 100 or 101.
- 100 = SQL Server 2008 & 2008 R2
- 110 = SQL Server 2012
3. Run the following Query to set the compatibility mode to SQL Server 2012.
Alter database mydbname set compatibility_level = 110
4. Here is the compatibility level for different SQL Server versions
60 = SQL Server 6.0
65 = SQL Server 6.5
70 = SQL Server 7.0
80 = SQL Server 2000
90 = SQL Server 2005
100 = SQL Server 2008 & 2008 R2
110 = SQL Server 2012

Not prepared for Emergency? Checkout these Guidelines for Safety..

This article is a narration my learnings from the recent Emergency Response Team (ERT) Training. It has certainly set a solid base on Safety and prepared the folks to act wisely during emergency (most of the content applies to India only).

The Session covered Safety measures in general & with respect to Fire and Rescuing, Evacuating & Extinguishing techniques during emergency. Here is the summary from the ERT Training.

General Safety Guidelines:
·         Don’t use Cigarette Lighter, as the flammable gas used in Cigarette Lighters are as dangerous as LPG.  Can’t quit smoking? Quit cigarette lighters & switch to Match Boxes.
·         Wear Helmet when you ride a two-wheeler
·         Helmet can withstand the pressure of hurt only if you are speeding below 60kph. Avoid over speeding & follow traffic rules.
·         Always tie your seat belt and insist co-passenger to wear seat belt.
·         Don’t keep the Gas Lighter below the gas stove; might get wet / spoiled by any spillage during cooking. The delay in lighting or igniting the stove could cause fire accidents.
·         Clean the bottom of the Gas Stoves also on a weekly basis as the petroleum by product deposits could cause explosion or fire; Let the younger generation get inspired to follow you to have an accident free life.
·         Never use Kerosene as a disinfectant; There are plenty of floor cleaning liquids aka disinfectants in the market.
Emergency Numbers:
·         100 – Police
      ·         101 – Fire Brigade
      ·         102 – Ambulance
      ·         108 – National Emergency -> Call this number for any emergency and they will in-turn inform the above required emergency contacts.

In case of fire, you can call 101 (preferable) or 108 and provide the following information using a combination of Local Language + English (avoid high end American / British accent J)

1.       Contact Person
2.       Contact Number
                    3.       Address (where help required)
                    4.       Landmark
                    5.       Type of Emergency

           You can dial into the emergency number from landline, any mobile number irrespective of the service provider and from PCOs. These are toll free numbers and are not charged even in PCOs.
Guidelines during Emergency:
·         In case of emergency, do not panic and scare the people around.
·         Inform security personal / Admin to turn off the Power. As the power shutdown is the first step during emergency, never use Lifts or Elevators.
·         Inform the Fire Brigade (101) or National Emergency (108) and provide required details as stated above.
·         Press the fire alarm. In case if that does not work - Alert the people in your floor to saying “Emergency, go to Safe Assembly Area”.
·         Use the regular Stair case / Emergency Exit and go downwards only (as the fire has a tendency to go upwards and burn the floors above rather than below).  Even there is a fire in basement, go downwards only, heading towards the safe assembly area.
·         Don’t carry your belongings when you need to exit during emergency.
·         Walk briskly holding the rails of the Staircase. Don’t run causing stampedes.
·         Avoid photos & videos; This is not the time to exhibit your photography skills with your high-end smart phone cameras.
·         If there is smoke around, wet a cloth and tie it to your face covering the nose. The dampness in the cloth prevents smoke entering your nostrils. This is a life saver for Asthma patients too.

·         Order of Rescue at office:
o   Physically Challenged
o   Pregnant Women
o   Women
o   Men

·         Order of Rescue at home or high raised apartments:
o   Physically Challenged
o   Pregnant women
o   Elderly people
o   Children
o   Pet Animals
o   Women
o   Men

·         Types of Extinguishers
o   Dry Chemical Powder (can be used at all conditions)
o   Carbon di oxide -CO2 (can be used next to Dry Chemical Powder)- most widely used in Offices
o   Foam
o   Water

·         ERT Member or any one in general can look out every room in their vicinity to ensure that people are informed of emergency. Stick a post-it with a cross on it so that others need not waste their time in checking / evacuating that room again.

·         Are you heading to alert people in a conference call? Do not barge in & scare them as well as person on the other side of the call. Just knock the door and alert on “Emergency and ask them to assemble in safe assembly area.”

·         If there is any kind of emergency at office , kindly reach out to ERT team members ( Emergency response team contact details will be displayed shortly across all notice board at all floors)

      Thanks to Abhishek, Admin at GT Nexus for getting a an excellent trainer – Mr. Sharif, who was always to the point, conveying a message at all times with real life examples and most importantly sustained the interest of the participants throughout the 3 hours session with a good mix of theory as well as practical.

September 30, 2013

meCard - QR Code for Business Cards

Here is an the simplified version of “Smart” Business Cards, which can aid marketing. This involves printing a coded picture on the business card. Smart Phones can read the encoded data directly or using an external scanner.

These two dimensional codes are called QR Codes and can be used in business cards, email signatures, contact information in presentations, marketing collateral, etc.
For starters, we could include QR codes as part of our Business Cards. It is really simple to implement.
Try it:

·         Have an Android phone?

·         Download QR Droid from the App Market

·         Open the app, and focus it on the QR code in the below Business Card Template
meCard - Business Card Template
·         All information printed on the card is instantly retrieved to your phone. Now you can easily save all this contact information.
      [Note: Lesser information will have clear QR Code Image. ]

 What is QR Code?

                QR Code is Quick Response codes (2D barcodes in which data stored in both the dimensions), which can be scanned directly to read information into a Smart Device.

 Do I really need a QR Code on my Business card?

·         It is an easy way to store contact information on to your smart phone (for Android based Smart Phones, iPhone or Blackberry)

·         It is an effective marketing tool. Also helps easily provide contact information without carrying several business cards. A quick scan by a smart phone is all it takes.

Further Reading:

 Is there any Security Concern?

                User should be aware of the source.

How do you generate the QR code?

                You can generate the QR code for any input text using the following link

 Character Limitation:

                Recommended to limit the characters to 300 so that it can work on lower end smart phones as well.

How can you place it in our Business Card?

If you have a smart phone with QR Code scanner application, try scanning the QR code  on the above Business Card Template. We can either print the Contact Details in the form of QR Code either on Front or Back Side of the Business Card. Or we can even print QR code with different information at different places.

How to Read it in Smart Phone?

You can scan the QR Code using the applications readily available for Android, iPhone OS & Black Berry OS. You can also take a pic of it in the camera and decode it using the application.
Example: QR Droid for Android Platform.

August 9, 2013

TED - Ideas worth spreading

TED is an international conference, which gives an opportunity to people worldwide, to make 18 minutes or less presentation that concludes with a message. You will find wide variety of topics and amazing presenters, who make ever lasting impression with their lively (rather life time) presentation.
TED has immense ideas that are worth watching!

Watch out for presentations in

July 18, 2013

Custom Logo for Jenkins

For having your custom or company specific logo for Jenkins Instance, follow the steps below
  1. Create a custom image or logo of your choice in png format (refer title.png under <Jenkins_Install_Directory>/war/images for size specification.
  2. Replace <Jenkins_Install_Directory>/war/images/title.png with the custom image and your Jenkins Instance is all set with new look (i.e with Custom Image).

June 25, 2013

Get your EPF (PF) Statements online in two steps!

Here is the link to download your EPF statements online in  two simple steps.

1.       Registration – Need to enter your identify proof like PAN / AADHAAR No and mobile number.

2.       Download E Passbook
Automatically you will be logged in after registration (your registration details will be sent to your mobile as well).

a.       Enter your EPF number in the following box

b.      Assume your EPF number is => KN/12345/000, enter the details as below.

For the first time user, your EPF e-statement will be available for download in 3 working days (still better than queuing up in EPF office J) .

Please note that you can download e-statements for multiple accounts, if you have not transferred  them yet into your latest PF account.

April 24, 2013

Jenkins Multijob Plugin - Missing Slashes while traversing down

This article talks about the Missing Slashes (\\) while traversing from high-level to low-level jobs in a Jenkins Multijob project.

Lets assume a scenario where we have two free style jobs (low-level) jobA and jobB, which copies a set of files from Source to Destination path. And a Parent job (Multijob) parentA which calls jobA and jobB with Source and Destination path as parameter.

While passing Source and Destination dir from parentA to jobA and jobB, two slashes gets stripped off due to the Jenkins regular expression behaviour.

Input Entered for parentA:
Source: \\\\serverone\\\\pathone
Destination: d:\\\\temp\\\\testdir

As Received in jobA and jobB:
Source: \\serverone\\pathone
Destination: d:\\temp\\testdir

Here is the pictorial representation of our discussion..

For every higher level you add before parentA, multiply the number of slashes in that particular level by 2.
grantparentA -> parentA -> jobA   =>   8 -> 4 -> 2

You might wonder that we may have to add 8 slashes for the UNC Path (Source: \\\\serverone\\\\pathone) but your jenkins does not work if you do so. To explain further about UNC Path => When we supply 4 slashes to the parent job, child job will get value  \\serverone\pathone  not \\serverone\\pathone (which Jenkins expects).
Hence we are using 4 slashes from parent jobs instead of 8.

April 2, 2013

Jenkins - Multijob Plugin - Null Pointer Exception

Jenkins Multijob plugins comes handy when you wanted to run some set of jobs in parallel or a combination of sequential or parallel.
Here is a small discussion around the Null Pointer Exception with Multijob Plugin and the fix for the same.

Environment Details:
Jenkins 1.499
Multijob Plugin version 1.7 (parameterized-trigger.jpi is mandatory for Multijob plugin)

Problem Statement:
We have 3 defined using Multijob plugin as follows

When you run the top level job (sayMultijob_Parent), sometimes the following issue occurs

C:\Program Files (x86)\Jenkins\jobs\MultiJob_Parent\workspace>exit 0
Starting build job MultiJob_1A.
Starting build job  MultiJob_1B.
Finished Build :  #34 of Job :  MultiJob_1A with status :SUCCESS
Finished Build : #23 of Job :  MultiJob_1B with status :SUCCESS
FATAL: null
        at com.tikal.jenkins.plugins.multijob.MultiJobBuild$MultiJobRunnerImpl.evaluateResult(
        at com.tikal.jenkins.plugins.multijob.MultiJobBuild$MultiJobRunnerImpl.isFailure(
        at com.tikal.jenkins.plugins.multijob.MultiJobBuild$
        at hudson.model.Run.execute(
        at hudson.model.ResourceController.execute(

In this example, both Multijob_1A & Multijob_1B have succeeded but Multijob_Parent have failed with null pointer exception.
Assume a senario where you have 3 levels of jobs, sometimes failure in 3rd level, might have prevented some jobs to start, which is even more dangerous.                        


Here is the fix -, provided by authors and follow the below steps to upgrade the Multijob Plugin.

Steps to upgrade the Multijob Plugin:
  1. Upload hpi suggested in the above link.
  2. Click "Install without restart" button
  3. Go to Manage jenkins -> Manage Plugin -> Installed -> uninstall the multijob plugin.
  4. Go to Manage jenkins - Click "Prepare for shutdown"
  5. Stop Jenkins Service
  6. Start Jenkins Service
  7. View the plugin version under installed plugin - should be updated to snapshot version by now
  8. Verify that the multijobs are in place.

March 30, 2013

Jenkins - Running a common task on Multiple Agents

Sometimes we may want to run similar set of tasks on a list of computers. Jenkins Multi-Configuration Projects will help you to achive this.

Assume a scenario where you wanted to configure.bat on the computers PC1A, PC2A, PC3A and PC4A.

  1. Jenkins - New Job ->Enter a name "ConfigureAll", Select "Build multi-configuration project" radio button and click "OK"
  2. Go to Configuration Matrix in ConfigureAll job, Select Slaves drop down from "Add Axis" drop down
  3. Node/Label filed will list all the nodes that are added to the Jenkis Server.
  4. Select the nodes PC1A, PC2A, PC3A and PC4A.
  5. Add a Build Step to "Execute Windows batch command" and enter <path>\configure.bat.
With this approach, you can have one job to perform a common action on n slave agents.

March 17, 2013

Silent install / uninstall command for Slik SVN 1.7.8

The following post discusses about the Silent installation / uninstallation command for Slik SVN 1.7.8m - 64-bit installer and the same applies to 32-bit installer as well.

               msiexec /i "Slik-Subversion-1.7.8-x64.msi" /qn /norestart INSTALLLOCATION="D:\Software\SlikSVN" /l* "svninstall.log"
                      /qa -> optional parameter to run the installer in silent mode
                        INSTALLLOCATION -> Custom Installation directory
                        /l* "svninstall.log" -> optional parameter for logging the installation to svninstall.log

·         Silent Uninstall command with Product Code:
                msiexec /x {D0BD7396-3187-48FE-8327-C27385275D18}

·         Silent Uninstall command with installer name:
                msiexec /x "Slik-Subversion-1.7.8-x64.msi"

For locked down environments like Vista, Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 (when UAC is turned ON), do the following

·         Launch the command prompt with elevated privileges (i.e. Right Click cmd.exe and say “Run as administrator”), otherwise the installer will fail.

·         If you get the following error message while running msiexec from the command prompt, append “C:\Windows\System32” to the PATH variable
                                'msiexec' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
                                operable program or batch file.

February 10, 2013

Jenkins - Uninstallation Server & Slave

 Here is the straight forwards steps to uninstall Jenkins Server and Slave software from the machine.

Jenkins Server uninstallation:

  •  Go to Add / Remove programs and remove Jenkins (Major.MinorVersion). 

Jenkins Slave uninstallation:

  1. Login to the machine where Jenkins Slave is installled and run “sc delete jenkinsslave-D__Software_jenkinsslave” from command prompt to delete the Jenkins Slave service.
  2. Restart the machine and verify that the Jenkins Slave Windows Service is deleted.
  3. Delete D:\Software\jenkinsslave on the Jenkins Slave machine.
The above Slave uninstallation steps comes handy to remove the current instance completely in case of any issues.

Refer here for Jenkins - Installation & Configuration.

February 8, 2013

Jenkins - Installation & Configuration

This article focus on the steps involved in setting up Jenkins Server and Slave on Windows Operating system using Windows native Package.

Jenkins Server Installation:
  1. Download Windows native Package here.
  2. Extract and run the setup.exe on your proposed Jenkin Server Machine.
  3. URL -> http://JenkinsServerURL:8080/ will be launched at the end of installation and a Windows Service named "Jenkins" will be created (verify the same from Services.msc).
  4. Go to Manage Jenkins -> Manage Plugin -> Available Tab and download and install the required plugins. The following list gives you the basic list of plugins where you need to have multiple nodes, multiple jobs - some to be run parallelly and / or sequentially
·         Dashboard viewBuild Pipeline Plugin
·         Jenkins descriptor setter plugin
·         Green Balls
·         Jenkins Multijob Plugin
·         Jenkins Promoted Build Plugin
·         Jenkins Parameterized Trigger plugin (this is mandatory for Jenkins Multijob Plugin)
·         Mask Passwords Plugin
·         build-name-setter
·         Token Macro Plugin
·         Node and Label Parameter Plugin
·         Log Parser plugin
·         Jenkins Workspace Cleanup Plugin
·         Jenkins Email Extension Plugin

5.   Changing the http port number -> Edit <Jenkins InstallDir>\Jenkins.xml to set the httpport as 80, Save and retart Jenkins Server.

6.   If you do not have internet access in the Jenkins Server, Download the Plugins on your local box and upload to Jekins Server by browsing through the URL.

Go to Manage Jenkins -> Manage Plugin -> Advanced -> and browse to the plugin that needs to be uploaded. 

Click Install without restart to install the plugin (You can restart the Jenkins Windows Service if required).

Jenkins Server Configuration:

1.   Go to Manage Jenkins -> Configure System and update Jeinkins Location• example - Jenkins URL - http://JenkinsServerURL/ and provide System Admin e-mail address.

2.   Go to Manage Jenkins -> Configure Global Security and select "Enable Security" checkbox

·         Choose Fixed for TCP port for JNLP slave agents and set its value to 18000 (a random number)

·         By default Authorization mode is "Anyone can do anything" and you can change on need basis.

3.   Open two ports HTTP (80/tcp) and 18000/tcp for all the Jenkins Agents to access the Server via these Ports.

4.   Go to Manage Jenkins -> Manage Node to Add, Remove and Monitor Nodes. Add a Node and set the “Remote FS root” pointing to “JenkinsSlave Installation Directory” on Node

Jenkins Slave Installation:

1.     Prepare Semi-automated installations for Jenkin Slave
·         Login in to Jenkins Server machine
·         Copy jre folder & its content from Jenkins Server installation directory to D:\Jenkins_Slave.
·         Create a file named InstallJenkinSlave.bat under D:\Jenkins_Slave and copy the following
set JRE_PATH=d:\software\jre_jenkins\bin

xcopy /E /I \\jenkinsserver\d$\Jenkins_Slave\jre d:\software\jre_jenkins

:: Setting System wide Path for Jenkins JRE
setx path "%JRE_PATH%;%path%" /m

2. Install Jenkins Slave
·         Login into proposed Jenkins Slave installation machine.
·         Run \\jenkinsserver\d$\Jenkins_Slave\InstallJenkinSlave.bat from the command prompt
·         You will get the below application launched.
·         Click "Install as a service" to proceed.
·         Click "OK" in the message box "This will install a slave agent as a Windows service, so that a Jenkins slave starts automatically when the machine boots. When the installation is over, this slave agent will exit to let the new service take over."
·         You will get the error as “WMI.WmiException: StatusServiceExists", if service is already installed. Otherwise the installation proceeds without any error.
·         This completes Jenkins Slave Installation and a Windows Service named "Jenkins Slave" will be created