Saturday, November 29, 2008

Posting in Hindi on Word Press

Its been a while I had this travel blog site called and for some reason or the other, I was not able to post a story in Hindi. I looked around but found no help. While hunting around, I could see numerous blogs in Hindi and a lot of them were on Word Press and that made the life more difficult. I asked around and somehow it worked for everyone except me.

Then one day, after a ghumakkar asked me this question again, I hunted again and could finally fix the issue. I found the answer here. So I thought that I would probably write a small post detailing the solution since the above forum post can be a little cryptic.

Problem - I am able to get Hindi Text and when I paste it in Word Press Post, it appears fine, but when I save the post it becomes '?????'.

Solution - The relevant property of the SQL fields which decide the encoding for the post body doesn't have the right 'collation' property.

Solution in Detail
If your problem is exactly what I have described about then you can do following. This actually means tinkering with your Word Press database so I would advise against getting adventurous.

Do Following.
1. Find a tool which gives access to your database. In my case its phpMyadmin since I am on

2. Once you are inside phpMyadmin, click on the relevant database of the wordpress installation. If you have just one site and only one WP then just choose the one which you see. The typical name in the default installation is something like '_wrdp1'.

3. Once you click the database, you would see a list of tables.

4. One by one, Choose the following tables
- wp_option
- wp_comments
- wp_posts

and click 'Edit'.

In Editing mode change "Collation" setting to "utf8_unicode_ci" of following
1. in wp_option -> option_value
2. in wp_comments -> comment_content
3. in wp_posts -> post_content and post_title

Hope this works for you. Happy Blogging.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who is M S Dhoni and why everyone loves him

The title of my story doesn't finish with a question mark. Try reading this

Who is M S Dhoni and why everyone loves him ?

and you realize that something is wrong with the composition.

There is no question behind everyone loving him, its so apparent and clear that no one would have this question and may be thats the precise reason behind every one loving him. The trigger for this story is a 'pari-charcha' (panel discussion) I heard the other day on the government FM channel. India had won their 2nd ODI against England and most of it was because of Yuvraj Singh who played like hell (batting as well as bowling). But surprisingly, the panel expert attributed the win to Dhoni since he thought that it was Dhoni who gave the ball to Yuvi and Viru and that decision turned out to be a winner. I am sure if Yuvi and Viru would have failed, that expert would have still commended Dhoni for trying new faces and for being brave.

For the benefit of some of my readers who may not know enough, Dhoni is the man everyone has his eyes on as far as Cricket is considered. He got us the 20-Twenty World Cup, led India to series Wins in ODI and recently was made Captain for the Test side and there too he gave us a Series Win against Australia.

As per Wikipedia, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (born July 7, 1981 in Lavali Vilage Almora, Uttarakhand) is an Indian cricketer and the current captain of the Indian team. Initially recognized as an extravagantly flamboyant and destructive batsman, Dhoni has come to be regarded as one of the coolest heads to captain the Indian ODI side. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, CB Series of 2007-08 and IDEA Cup India-Sri Lanka ODI Series of 2008, the first ever bilateral ODI series win of India in Sri Lanka and The Border-Gavaskar trophy 2008 in which they beat Australia 2-0 thus letting India regain its spot at No.2 in world test rankings(fallen to No.3 after Sri lanka tour). Dhoni is currently ranked the best ODI batsman in the world by the ICC. [1] Mahendra Singh Dhoni was awarded the ODI Player of the Year award in 2008, the first Indian player to achieve this feat.

Now add to this the fact that he also happens to be largest Tax Payer in his home state of Jharkhand. With so many endorsements and so much of new-age cricket (IPL, Champions' League and so on), I am sure that he is going to keep that spot for some more years.

Having learned enough of him, I still wonder that why everyone loves him. I attributed my fan-ship to the fact that I belong to Bihar and he seemed like a nice small town guy from the next town. But then its not only me, its everyone.

And after lot of thought, I guess the reason is that he doesn't come from a existing bastion of Indian Cricket. He is no Sachin (Mumbai), nor Rahul (blr) and definitely not Saurav (Bengal). He is from a place which is probably as in-significant from Cricket perspective that it doesn't matter whether you lap the place or ignore it. And from the same perspective, if I own him as a Marathi or Kannadika or a Punjabi, I do not feel odd. To me he is like from my little town. The disguise has acted as a blessing.

I was brought up in the age of Kapil Dev and I was a huge fan of him till late, and later I lost all interest in the game. But recently that interest has again re-kindled and I love watching Dhoni.

I somehow think that this is our best chance to get the 'World Cup'.

Go Dhoni Go !!

Monday, November 10, 2008

"The Mickey Mouse Show" in Delhi, India - Quick Review

My little one went to this show with her mom the other day which was very well marketed and publicized over TV Channels.

I thought I would write a quick review, so here it is, based on my interaction with my little one's mother.

The show had a very simple set, to the extent of being not too impressive at least in the beginning. It was in Siri Fort Auditorium which can house at least 600 people and it was a full house as per the ticket sales. The show started almost half an hour late and interestingly the house was not more than a third full of its capacity. But during the show, people started trickling in and it was a full house by the end.

The audience was mainly the young moms with the small kid, often with a maid. The show started with two anchors, who were very impressive. After the initial ice-breaking and warm-up they introduced Mickey Mouse. That was high point of the show when Mickey came on stage, super production value. They did a 30 minute performance with Mickey hosting a TV Show (Jay Leno sorts) calling Goofy, Minnie, Donald and Pluto. They had lot of fun with each other and Kids loved it. From the TV Show the crew moved to Bolywood and they danced to Bolywood numbers like Nagada-Nagada, Jhoom Barabar Jhomm etc. While this change was happening, they switched to Indian dresses, Lehnga n all. There was this dance troupe as well. As the part of Bolywood Premiere , they also introduced Romeo and his lady love Laila. As expected kids got more interested in Romeo than the Mickey. All in all Kids had fun especially during the end when the anchors dropped their hair among Kids.

All this lasted 30 minutes. The ticket prices were Rs 500, Rs 1000 and Rs 1500 and one can book tickets at

Now the big question, do we recommend. Well, its not a value-for-money for Rs 1000. Probably a NSD powered Children's festival like Jashn-e-Bachpan at Rs 40 a show is much more killer but then this one is from Diseny. So dust your address book to see if you can find some Jugad. One of our friend's found one and took us in for free, and for a free ride, its definitely more than worth it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Community Site for Nagars - and more

An old colleague pinged me sometime back. He was with Adobe India for couple of years and then moved out of India for greener pastures, taking a position in IBM, USA.

He wanted to build a website for his community. While looking at various solutions, he was not sure whether he should use a "Content Management System" like Joomla which is feature-rich and appear more suited or rely on something like Word Press which is rather thin but quick to setup. I had tried my hand at Joomla and from his initial set of requirements, it seemed to me that its the right thing to invest in but I also warned him that Joomla has a steep learning curve.

Few more chat sessions and he settled on Wordpress and with in couple of days, he was up and running. He has always been a very active and energetic person, a Go To guy, but setting a website that quickly needs lot of hard work. Though he attributed that to his family being back to India leaving him with ample time to work on the website.

The website is called and has picked up well in the short span of its existence. Being a Gujrati community site, its not very surprising that he quickly received offers for hosting advts.

This post is not entirely because of him starting a website for his community, rather this post is for a wonderful work which has been able to do in its short span.

Recently they ran a story about a person in need, who was undergoing medical treatment and would have tremendously benefited from any help. Though now the site is only open for its community members, but here is the link of the story :

It was not long before lot of Nagars came forward and helped him. My bro-in-law's brother works at Vadodra (Reliance) and my bro-in-law often visits him, and one observation which he made about Gujjus is that they really help each other, esp when someone is in need. I had this thought in my mind and when my friend, Nimesh Nagar, told me about Mrs. Dave's case and how a short post helped her, I was not surprised.

I think its so much nice for Nimesh to create a platform and once you know that the platform is being used for these deeds, you can only wish them more luck.

All the best and good luck.

Friday, November 07, 2008

iWoz - Autobiography of Steve Wozniak - Book Review

I picked this book from Khan Market about a month back and from the cover, its a easy decision since this book is about Steve Wozniak who created first computer or so the cover claims.

It was a easy and quick read since its been written in first person and has tons of events. Even though there is a co-author, it doesn't appear like ghost-written book. The style of expressions is very frank, fluid and on the face. It starts with Steve growing up as a child, getting influence and impressed by his Engineer Dad, doing pranks and all that.

Later he meets Steve Jobs, and Apple is formed. As a co-founder of such a impressive and change-leading organization, probably you would start to have great expectations and you would keep discounting the author for the so much I-I-I kind of statements in the beginning but as the book matures, it seemed to me that if Woz would not have met Steve Jobs, he would have been another hard working bright engineer. And somehow the book doesn't focus much on that. A better part of the book covers the time when Steve was designing Apple 1 and later Apple 2, the computer which sort of introduced computing to home users.

He was instrumental in starting Apple and till the point it created Apple II computer and after that he was getting disconnected and later moved out (though he was still on payroll). Later Steve started another company called CL9 (Cloud Nine) and they wanted to create a 'Universal Remote' and that didn't work. He had three marriages, first two didn't work too well. Finally he spent lot of time teaching kids.

For one thing, this book doesn't sound like a piece of inspiration. Rather it might piss you off as you read claims after claims of being first in lot many things. Its a good read and one should read it for the facts and to get Steve's side of story. But beyond that, its just another book.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Kabab Kings" in Shoprix Mall - Sector 61 is GOOD

We had lunch at Food Court in Shoprix Mall, which is located in Sector - 61, Noida. Its right on the road which connects the GIP with NTPC and goes all the way till Flex. I never too much admired the 'Food Court' of Shoprix because its very noisy and overall ambiance is more like a open food street. I like that ambiance but it has to come at a cost which suits it, at Shoprix the prices are still of that of a restaurant. So anyway, it was a large group and some of us chose to have Indian Mughlai.

We ordered food from Kabab King and it was awesome. These days they are giving a deal where 3rd dish is free. We order a chicken-based platter, a mutton-based platter and we got a ghost-biryani free. For each platter, we got 2 rotis/naan , a bowl of Dal Makhani, a small potion of Kabab (Burra or Kathi) and a small potion of Tandoori chicken/mutton. We ordered more Rotis since we were a group of four and we had a full meal. The total damage was Rs 420 including tip. Not only it came with a reasonable price, the food quality was super, it was served in clean plates and it was very fresh. Interestingly, it was funny to see that people who have ordered thing like Pizza from other counters had to wait more.

I am going to go there again soon.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Website Links for Indian Railways

I am an old user of, the revolutionary Indian Railways website through which you can book rail tickets, get PNR information etc. I remember that there was this website called which would give you the latest 'Time Table' and all that. Recently I learned about a new website which is really a high speed functional side, though the user-interface is a little geeky, its called With these thoughts, I think
it might be a good idea to pick the important ones and put them in this post so that it can act as a a quick reference.

Top Websites for Indian Railways
1. - This is the official website and is a decent site but overtime other sites are offering better features. But its still the offical site, so you want to check 'Ticket Cancellation Rules' or 'Break Journey Rules' or want to know the websites of Easter, Western or other zone then visit this site.

2. - This is the ticketing site and is being managed by 'Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited'. Beyond ticket booking, probably I wont recommend this site for anything else. I heard that now you can book tickets at some of the private websites (likes of make my trip, Yatra etc) as well but this is still the so called 'official' one. Its excruciatingly slow at times but still functional.

3. - This is my pick these days and I keep folks referring to this one. Its a no frill but very complex website which is meant to give you the information you need in no time. Its a feature-rich site and it may take few visits to really understand the user-interface but once you have a good hang of it, just visit this. You can get train time table, seats availability, trains between two stations etc in a jiffy.

4. - This is one website which seemed to me ahead of time when I discovered it. This site gives you the running information of any train in real time. If enough awareness is spread, it can save lots of calls which people frenetically make to Railways to find out the running information. This is maintained by CRIS. I think they should get into with some kind of deal with telecom providers so that I can get SMS for any train, if I register. It could be a simple alert service where I can ask myself to be notified everytime it has a new information for a train. For a 18 hour journey, usually the status is not updated more than 5-6 times, so if I need to go to station to pick someone, i would have the latest info.

5. - Finally the website of rail fans. If you are one then you dont need to know what is Rail fan. If you are a Rail lover then you must visit this site.

I would close my list here but I know that I must have missed some so let me know (post a comment) and I would add them here.