Monday, June 26, 2017

Cine Montage - My very first movie screening

Hazy images of my boyhood engulfed my mind as I walk the dusty open premises of Dinanath High School located in Dhantoli, Nagpur. After all, I was one of its students and the place might have changed in its exterior, but the vibe hit me hard with nostalgia. It becomes clear at the very first sight of the building that the high school has got a rich cultural past and a booming present.

I had been contemplating over a thought of meeting like-minded people with whom I could share my love of films. That’s when while browsing the internet a week ago, I came across some articles regarding the revival of an age old film society – Cine Montage. Interestingly, it was run by the people behind Dinanath Jr. College – My high school ! I wasted no time and got in touch with them straight away. Mr. Vijay, who assisted me with membership form and requirements, appeared to me a familiar face I had lost contact with.

As I stand before the corridor which leads to Audio-Video Hall, a membership form, 2 passport size photographs and Rs. 1250 /- in cash, my excitement of entering a new world sees no boundaries. I submit the membership form to Mr. Vijay and enter the air-conditioned AV hall.

I see around thirty-forty odd people in their 40s-50s gathered. Everyone seems to be excited about today’s screening. People were chattering and sharing experiences regarding prior films. Mr. Jaishankar, who had been managing the film society since its inception, shared his understanding of cinema and the way one should strive to understand it.

The movie for the day is – ‘8 ½’ by Fellini. About the movie, all I can say is that it was very tough to comprehend even for seasoned viewers. I think I would need to re-watch it for at least 3-4 times to suck some sap out of it. It is a complex depiction of a distressed filmmaker’s journey. Easily comes under top 10 films ever made across the globe cutting the boundaries of time and geography.

It was a great experience all in all. Although I didn’t strike any conversation with my fellows on this very first day, I am sure it shall happen gradually. This is one thing I will be anticipating with interest every Sunday.

Monday, May 1, 2017

All about budget friendly ND filters and my search to find'em !

Most often you might have seen YouTubers and DSLR filmmakers using an extra piece of glass on their lens! When I was starting out with learning DSLR videomaking, it's fascinating how I had imagined them to be just 'sunglasses' for the lens for protection purpose. They serve such an important purpose that I can only be surprised thinking how wrong I was :)

So, what are ND Filters?

They are just another piece of tinted glass that are supposed to be attached over your lens. ND stands for Neutral density. Good quality ND filters do not leave any color cast over your image (hence, neutral).

and why do I need them?

They are useful for the following reason mainly:

  • Still Photography: Get shallower depth of field (more background blur) and smooth long exposure shots.
  • DSLR Video: Get shallow depth of field by the ability to use a larger aperture (smaller f-stop no.).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How to solve Magento admin panel log in problem on localhost XAMPP

Most of the developers install Magento on local servers such as XAMPP, WAMP etc. One common problem that arises after such installation is that the admin is not able to log into the admin panel (backend panel) even after entering the correct username and password. Let's try to understand what the problem is below:

The Problem:

1. Magento admin tries to log into the admin panel by going to url- localhost/magento/index.php/admin . Then this screen appears:-

2. The admin tries to enter the correct username and password. Even after entering the correct username and password combination, the page just reloads back. No incorrect password or username warning is displayed. that means the username and password are surely correct.

The Solution:

There is a simple solution to this problem. This can be solved easily by editing the Varien.php in Magento directory.

1. Inside your root server folder, find your root Magento directory. Navigate to the path highlighted below-


2. Locate and open the Varien.php file into a text editor of your choice (I use Notepad++).

3. Inside the Varien.php file, find 'cookieParams' by pressing ctrl+F.

4. Comment out the following piece of code colored green.

5. Now go back to your admin panel log in page and enter your correct username and password. Your username and password combination should work now and admin dashboard should appear.

I have tested this solution for Magento installation Version 1.9.2 and XAMPP installation version 5.6.3.

How to reset password and username for Magento admin panel from phpMyAdmin XAMPP

In Magento local installation using XAMPP/WAMP, whenever we enter the wrong password, the Magento admin panel won't let us log into our application backend. The 'forgotten password' link  does not work because the application is installed locally and the local server is not capable of sending us the email message with our password. Fortunately, we have the liberty to reset forgotten password using phpMyAdmin.

Forgot Password :-

1. Firstly, Log into your phpMyAdmin dashboard. Select the 'magento' database. 

2. Click on the SQL tab on top. Enter the following line of SQL query. Enter your desired new password and your current username in place of  'PASSWORD' and 'USERNAME'. Please note that you need to know your correct username for this.  

UPDATE `admin_user` SET `password` = MD5('PASSWORD') WHERE `username` = 'USERNAME';

Hit Go.

3. By following the above method we are directly manipulating the password field in the MySQL database of Magento. We are making changes in the 'admin_user' table. Please note that this will work only when the default function used by Magento framework for password encryption hasn't been tweaked with. The default function is md5. If you haven't touched the settings for changing it, this solution will work for you.  

4. Try logging in with your new password to Magento admin panel. It should work now. 

Forgot Username :-

The procedure for resetting or changing the username is same as changing the password except for the SQL query part. In this case run this query with your password as it is and new username.

I have tested this solution for Magento installation Version 1.9.2 and XAMPP installation version 5.6.3.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Top Android forums for users and developers

Whether you are an average user or a novice Android developer or an Android guru, there are great Android forums available online to discuss! These discussions might range from adding customisations to your android device, developing new applications, reviewing new apps or average how-tos and to-dos. These top android forums on the web bring together a community of android users and developers who then collectively solve issues.

As most of these forums are associated with their respective blogs, you can keep abreast with the latest happenings in the world of android by subscribing to their feeds too. Following are some of the top android forums on the web which also happen to be the most friendly ones :)

XDA Developers 

Started in January 2003 initially as a forum solely for developers, XDA Developers has quickly grown into the largest forum for both android users and developers and also the most respected one. XDA community has over 5 million users worldwide and also consists of Windows app developers though primarily being known for android. Discussions here vary from adding customisations to new functionalities. No wonder XDA Developers have made it to top android forums list.

Android Forums aka Phandroid

Android Forums is associated with renowned tech blog Phandroid. You will find solutions to most of the common issues here as this forum is well considered to be one of the most active ones. It has very broad set of handset specific twerks and tweaks. The forum's interface is quite minimalist compared to others like XDA Developers. The heap of android goodness over this forum helps it make it to the top android forums list.

Android Central 

Android Central makes it very easy for average users to get started with android customisations straightaway. Android Central has quite a happening community forum where you can be sure of getting your doubts cleared in no time. Modern look of the forum only makes it more attractive and appealing.

Android Developers Google Group 

The Android developers google group is a must have for people looking to code apps. It has a large knowledge base which also gives us an idea of what's in store for android next. Plus, if you're searching for answers to queries simple or complex, Android developers google group will work for you. The tons of high quality information available here makes this ordinary google group one of the handful top android forums.

Android Development Community | Anddev

The Anddev forum has tons of info about android hacks and development. Though the forum is fast losing its sheen as it is one of the least active forums on this list, which makes it less suitable for posting new queries. I hope this forum bounces back to activity.

Android Forum | Android.Net

 Android.Net top android forums

The Android.Net forum has a wide array of topics covered related to common android tweaks. It looks basic but believe me, it has got some advanced shit explored ! I specifically liked a different section for Android graphics and a different one for audio. I couldn't find this type of classification anywhere else.


AndroidPIT is relatively small compared to the other forums listed above but what works for this forum is that it is quite active. This forum lays more emphasis on app development rather than common android problems. Though, I am sure this forum will solve most of the common queries faced by android users.


Just like others, DroidForums strives to solve users problems through collective effort. It has been doing this since 2009 and it is quite popular too. Another good forum to register.

It is universally acknowledged that being active in the forums is one of the best ways to keep pace with the advancements in the tech world. Apart from these top android forums, there are plenty of other android forums available online (just google'em!). I created this list because I could find the above ones more than sufficient for solving my questions. With such a huge community at its support, No wonder android has bright future! If you feel more forums can be added to this post then feel free to share links in the comment section below! Taadaa!

[ See also : A Truly Android World : How android will rule in Future ]

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Truly Android World : How Android Will Rule In Future

If you are an Android fanatic like me, this article is a treat for you, but if you're a hater, this might very well change your perception about the world's most successful mobile OS. Android ! :)

The future in my vision is pure Android. Unlike the way Android is perceived today as being a mere smartphone and tablet operating system, in future Android would be seen at places that it can't be imagined at present. Trust me, when you'll read about where Android is used at present, you'll only be amazed! Then there are no bounds to Android's future use.

Imagine waking up in the morning and checking all your notifications, the weather forecast, mails and read news at a single glance. What's special? You do it all the time on your smartphone? Now imagine doing it on a mirror installed just above your wash basin ! Yes, Japanese company Seraku's Android powered wash basin lets you do just that ! The wash basin consists of a mirror which along with reflecting your beautiful just outta bed look (pun intended!) also couples up as an android screen! Just some gestures and you stay updated of the world's latest happenings before you even brush your teeth. Pretty awesome, huh?

If you think wash basin is indeed a less respectful place for such a robust OS to belong (lol), there is some more news! The Samsung T9000 is one frigging refrigerator awesomely powered by Android (yay!). It boasts of a led screen on its exterior which gives you access to the fridge's controls and also lets you use the Android OS. Food + Android, who would have thought of this deadly combination even a couple of years back !

Ever imagined your fridge sending you notifications about what food items you need to buy on your smartphone? Or may be it will send you a list of glossary items you need to buy via Evernote. No end to possibilities dude, you become the smartest guy on this planet !

Android is being fitted even in your car stereo systems. The Parrot Asteroid makes your car stereo, GPS Navigation and Car to Car communication system into one. Just by bundling all these facilities in a android device ! Well Car to car near field communication does sound pretty interesting indeed !

The traditional TV set at your home might have to be thrown straightaway. Attention bitches, Android TV is here! Television content will be amazingly clubbed in tile formats and more emphasis will be on the content rather than the TV channels. Streaming of web shows and imagine YouTube becoming a drawing room hit ! This is all possible as Google has already announced launching of Android powered TV's with its partners like LG.

Android smartwatches are definitely replacing your old analog ones. Android wearables are already on their way to become smash hits among users. Android wearables also couple up as your very own fitness assistants - by notifying you about your pulse rates, calories burnt and storing them over cloud. There are an infinite number of ways by which you can benefit !

Apart from these I see so many developers discussing wild fantasies of future Android possibilities on top android forums. If the Android guys keep developing at the pace at which they already are, the future of Android seems to me even brighter than the sun. Android shall be seen happily working at places like set top boxes, home automation systems, rear view mirrors, toys, big enterprises and ofcourse the smartphones (duh -_-). This is gonna be fun folks !

[ See also : The Future Way of Data Sharing | Android ]

Monday, June 9, 2014

All you need to know about LOST.DIR folder on Android devices

Fire up any file manager on your Android phone and explore your SD card. One folder you are sure to discover is the LOST.DIR. What is the folder for? Its quite evident that there is no application named LOST.DIR installed on your device. At times the folder's size can range in gigabytes. In such situations one may wonder about the contents of the folder and its use, and whether it is safe to delete the folder to save memory. I found a lot of confusion about the LOST.DIR directory on almost all top android forums so I decided to write this post. This post strives to clear some air.

[ See also : Top Android Forums for Users and Developers ]

The LOST.DIR directory marked in red.
What is LOST.DIR ?

The Lost.dir is a system folder. Its a place where the Android OS places files that were recovered during a system boot up (ie when you turn on your phone). It is analogous to the 'Recycle Bin' under Windows OS. The files which are stored inside this directory are often recoverable. Most of the times you won't find anything at all in LOST.DIR directory.

What files are stored in LOST.DIR ?

If you were saving files and suddenly the phone turned off, or maybe you pull the SD card out when files were being written to it - the Android system places copies of those files in LOST.DIR directory so it can try and recover them on the next boot (next time the system starts up). The files in the process of copying are also renamed. So if you find wierdely named files in the folder, don't be surprised as they are only renamed versions of erstwhile files present on your device.
    Files may end up stored in LOST.DIR folder due to following reasons :

  • Abruptly pulling out SD card from Android phone
  • Interruptions while downloading files on Android device
  • Sudden freezing of Android device operating system
  • Switching off the device while some read-write process is carrying on.
How do I recover files from LOST.DIR folder?

In order to stop permanent loss of files from LOST.DIR folder in Android, you have to quickly recover missing files before your Android smartphone memory space is overwritten by some new data. Therefore use of some pertinent LOST.DIR Android recovery tool is recommended. Yodot Android Data Recover, Recuva are a couple of examples which worked for me. 

Can I delete the contents of LOST.DIR ?

In order to save precious memory space its completely normal to delete the contents of LOST.DIR as it only acts as a recycle bin. You can also delete the LOST.DIR folder itself but it will reappear the next time the system boots up. When your Android system throws up a message saying 'Preparing external SD card' its actually checking the contents of LOST.DIR, and if it fails to locate the directory, it creates one. 

Necessary Guidelines :
  • Avoid abrupt removal of Android device's memory card while transferring data to/from the system.
  • Backup your images or other files to some other device.
  • Use authentic android antivirus software to protect yourself from virus-attack.