Friday, August 29, 2014

How to setup a Hotspot Wi-Fi Captive Portal (Asus router and DD-WRT)

I wanted to setup a Captive Portal Wi-Fi for my test team. My current router in the lab did not had the support for installing any other firmware. I decided to buy an Asus router because they officially support DD-WRT firmware upgrade. Asus supports I purchased RT-AC66U which has a number of firmware options that can be used with this router such as Merlin, Tomato, and DD-WRT.

I've used DD-WRT in the past with my home router and had great success and decided to go that route with my new AC66U router as well.

How to install DD-WRT on RT-AC66U

- To get started we need to download a few files first:
- The most recent .TRX file from DD-WRT: (currently release r23503)
- The most recent .bin Kong build: build 23550)
- You also need a Telnet client if you don’t already have one. Enable telnet by going to add/remove program on Windows 7

Upload DD-WRT firmware
Now lets start the update
  1. I like to start with nothing attached to the router but the machine I’ll be using to update the router so disconnect all other connections including WAN. Then log into the router Admin Panel (usually
  2. Enable Telnet by going to Advanced Settings > Administration > System > Enable Telnet and click on “Apply
  3. Open a command prompt, and type:
    Then enter your username and password for the router admin panel.
  4. Now clear NVRAM by typing:
    mtd-erase -d nvram
    1. reboot
  5. Reboot the router now by typing:
  6. Once the router has rebooted log back into the admin panel (default login is admin/admin) and navigate to: Administration > Firmware Upgrade > New Firmware File and click on Choose File and select the .TRX file you downloaded (for me dd-wrt-23503-ASUS_RT66U.trx) and click on “Upload
    Upload DD-WRT firmwareNote: This step can take several minutes. Once completed you should see the DD-WRT page
  7. Log into the DD-WRT and enable Telnet by going to: Administration > Management > Remote Access > Telnet Management
    dd-wrt enable telnet
  8. Open a command prompt again and telnet into the router ( but this time for the username type in root for the username for the password use the one you chose when setting up the initial DD-WRT page.
  9. Again clear NVRAM by typing:
    erase nvram
  10. Reboot the router now by typing:
  11. Log back into the DD-WRT admin panel, you’ll need to reset the username and password again, then go to: Administration > Firmware Upgrade and upgrade the firmware using the latest Kong build. (for me dd-wrt.v24-K3_AC_HIGHMEM.bin) Be sure to also select “Reset to Default Settings” and click on “Apply
    kong firmware upgradeNote: This step may take several minutes.
At this point it’s just a matter of setting up the router to your liking, such as username/password, wireless networks, security settings, etc.
How to setup hotspot
Go to the administration page.
Enable Chillispot
Enter the IP address of your Radius server.
Enter the DNS.
Enter the redirect URL eg HTTPS:// (MAke sure that the address ends in / and is https.)
Enter a shared key. (This can be anything you like, but keep a note of it you will need it later.)
Set DHCP Interface to Lan+Wlan
Enter a NAS id (Your name for your AP)
Enter a UAM secret (This is the password that Chilli will use to talk to hotspotlogin.cgi)
Save your settings and reboot the AP. Please give the AP about 10 minutes to reboot and initialise all the new services.

Links and Notes

Friday, August 22, 2014

How to restore the native Zip file integration in Windows. Fix Extract All missing option.

Step 1: Run Command Prompt as Administrator. Do this by clicking in the following order: 
Start > All Programs > Accessories > Right Click on Command Prompt > Select Run as Administrator 

Step 2: Type in the following commands as exactly into the Command Prompt: 

regsvr32 /u /s zipfldr.dll then hit Enter 

Step 3 Next type in the following 

regsvr32 /i /s zipfldr.dll then hit Enter

Step 4: Fix the file association

cmd /c assoc .zip=CompressedFolder

If it still do not work then you have an incomplete windows Install or the zipfldr.dll files are missing in C:\Windows\System32. So run windows restore or windows repair

The alternate option for you is to use the Winrar

Or Download WinZip.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Quickly Crunch Tons of Marketing or other Research Data using Excel

Most of us use Excel to slice and dice our data. Excel is one of those products with some very powerful tools that are easy to use, but you might not know about. It turns out that by learning handful of these tools, you can save yourself hours of time and quickly whip up some revealing analysis. So here are few must know tricks:

1. Pivot Table: Let’s start with A pivot table will allow you to quickly crunch thousands of rows of data into a neat little table of averages. When you are working on complex criteria and large data you might have to manually count and create formula.
•Highlight the data and select the “Insert” tab > “Pivot Table” > “OK” (leave the default options).
•In the “Pivot Table Field List”, drag & drop “Title” into the “Row Labels” box; then drag & drop “Location” into the “Column Labels” box.
•Lastly, drag & drop “Sales Cycle (Days)” into “Values”. The default setting will set this to “Sum of Sales Cycle”. Since we want the average number of days, click on “Sum of Sales Cycle” > select “Value field settings” > select “Average”.

2. VLOOKUP function allows you to match data from two different sources using a unique identifier (e.g. an email address, a customer number, a product code, etc.). For example, say you wanted to incorporate information from a report into a Company report in order to gain some deeper insight about your customers. Using email address as a unique identifier, you could run a VLOOKUP and Excel would find the information you wanted and add it automatically to a new column in your report.

3. If functions: At its most basic level, Excel's IF function lets you see if a condition you set is true or false for a given value. If the condition is true, you get one result (e.g. "condition is true"). If the condition is false, you get another result (e.g. "condition is false"). The real power of the IF function, however, comes when you string multiple IF statements together, or "nest" them. This allows you set multiple conditions, get more specific results, and -- ultimately -- organize your data into more manageable chunks.

4. Create a Chart: To create a quick Chart from data: Select the data range and press F11 key

5. Other useful tips: 
  • a.       Use Name Box: Use the name box on the left top corner to name the selected data
  • b.      To add/delete a Row: Select a cell, Press Shift+Spacebar and then Ctrl+ OR Ctrl- to add/delete a row.
  • c.       To add/delete a Column: Select a cell, press Ctrl+Spacebar and then Ctrl+ OR Ctrl- to add/delete if column is already selected
  • d.      Auto fit column width: If you are going to have lots of text then Auto fit column width: Select the sheet and click format from ribbon and click auto fit column width
  • e.      To freeze top row and top column- Select the second cell "B2" and click freeze pane
  • f.        To see all the formula in the worksheet: CTRL+
  • g.       How to create drop down list:- Use data and data validation and provide data for drop down list
  • h.      Remove duplicate- Data menu- Remove duplicate
  • i.         Fill the entire column: Select the Cell and double click to fill till the end of the side column
  • j.        Quick Analysis of data range - right click and do the quick analysis
  • k.       Page break: Page break is used to print different parts of worksheet on separate page. Select row and click on page break to insert horizontal page break and select column and insert page break to insert a vertical page break.
  • l.         Macros- To do repetitive task. View Tab- click on record tab and map it to shortcut key to repeat the task easily.
  • m.    Gather data from multiple sheets: = Sum(Sheet1:Sheet50!E5) it basically takes data from all sheet from Sheet1 to Sheet10 and sum of E5 cell. You can select multiple sheet by pressing shift
  • n.      Trim(H13): use this function to remove extra spaces in the data
  • o.      Aging- for example how to find how many days old are you. Put a date =today()-A1
  • p.      Concatenate Strings: = concatenate (A1+A2)

(Wait for more update here)
6. Regressions Analysis:
7.  Senstivity Analysis
8. Conditional formating


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

How to fix common Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS) errors

 I've faced different types of VSS failure during my development and testing and though I should put together a blog post to summarize how to solve these VSS failure

Types of Error

Looks in to Windows Event logs: Common event IDs that I have encountered are: Event ID 8193, 8194, 8230, 12289, 12292, 12293
You might see other errors related to VSS Snapshot. A list of VSS Error Codes is available at the following URL:

Other errors:
The Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) snapshot provider selected returned: "Unexpected provider error". Ensure that all provider services are enabled and can be started. Check the Windows Event Viewer for details.

Error E4F3000E: Snapshot failure while using Volume Shadow Copy Service. Please check application event log for VSS errors. Error code: EndCreateSnapshotSet(-2147212300).
VSS Snapshot errors might occur due to various reasons, such as Microsoft VSS is not registered properly with the operating system, Shadow Copy Association for the volume is corrupt, misconfigured, file system corruption, permission or other environmental factors.

How to fix the problem:

1. Reboot the machine. Sometimes a reboot is enough to reset the VSS framework. 

2. Ensure that the Microsoft VSS services are not 'disabled'. Manually start VSS, This should start without any errors.

3. Open a command prompr with administrator rights, and type VSSADMIN LIST WRITERS. Ensure that the writers are stable.

4. Ensure that all VSS writers are in stable state condition. Do this by opening a command prompt with administrative permissions. At the prompt, type VSSADMIN LIST WRITERS. All writers should be stable.
5. Resize the VSS shadow storage using vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage command.

The command should be run as an Administrator. Following are a few examples:
vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=UNBOUNDED (or specify size = 500MB)
Resize the VSS shadow storage for System Reserved and Windows Recovery Environment partitions (if they exist), for example:
vssadmin resize ShadowStorage /For=\\?\Volume{a309c667-5a3f-4718-9d4b-e128827866eb} /On=\\?\Volume{a309c667-5a3f-4718-9d4b-e128827866eb} /MaxSize=UNBOUNDED.
You can find the volume GUID by running “mountvol” command. Alternatively, you can assign a drive letter to the hidden volume and do the shadow storage resize using the commands explained in the previous point.

6. Delete all the existing shadow copies using the following command: vssadmin delete shadows /all

7. If you still find errors, Re-register the VSS components
Sometimes re-registering VSS core components can fix errors. Copy the following commands to Notepad and save the file with a ‘.bat’ extension. Run the .bat file by opening a command prompt and entering the .bat file name.

net stop "System Event Notification Service"
net stop "Background Intelligent Transfer Service"
net stop "COM+ Event System"
net stop "Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider"
net stop "Volume Shadow Copy"
cd /d %windir%\system32
net stop vss
net stop swprv
cd /d %windir%\system32
net stop vss
net stop swprv
regsvr32 /s ole32.dll
regsvr32 /s oleaut32.dll
regsvr32 /s vss_ps.dll
vssvc /register
regsvr32 /s /i swprv.dll
regsvr32 /s /i eventcls.dll
regsvr32 /s es.dll
regsvr32 /s stdprov.dll
regsvr32 /s vssui.dll
regsvr32 /s msxml.dll
regsvr32 /s msxml3.dll
regsvr32 /s msxml4.dll
vssvc /register
net start swprv
net start vss
sfc /SCANFILE=%windir%\system32\catsrv.DLL
sfc /SCANFILE=%windir%\system32\catsrvut.DLL
sfc /SCANFILE=%windir%\system32\CLBCatQ.DLL
net start "COM+ Event System"

--- End of the batch file ---

8. Run SFC / SCANNOW to scan for and restore corruptions in Windows system files.

Many issues can be fixed by installing the latest VSS hotfixes from Microsoft available at the following URLs:

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Product vs Program vs Project Management. What is the difference?

There seems to be continuous confusion about what is the different between product/program/project management and how these roles differ from each others in term of roles and responsibilities. 

As such there is no well defined rules for creating these roles and many companies are doing it their own way in term of division of labor. But good teams make things work regardless of the confusion in title and responsibility overlap.

Per PMBOK, Programs are Ongoing vs. Projects have a Beginning, a Middle, and an End
Programs usually span a far greater duration than a project. A project might be part of a program – often you hear people say that Program Management involves managing several projects. This might seem like a subjective difference. However, managing a program always involves long term strategic planning that’s not required of a project.

Program management involve governance and more involve in companies profit and loss responsibilities. Project manager on the other hand is not responsible for P&L and has a fixed allotted budget. Project managers are responsible for the day to day, week to week tasks, within a program

Product Management Provides Direction for Program and Project Management
Product managers ensure that program and project managers are executing the right thing.
Product managers are responsible for planning the why and high level how for a product. 
Product management must provide strategy, judgement as well as help in execution.
Good product managers drive customer-relevant decision with continuous feedback from customer and market research.

Product manager are responsible for more outward facing market visible decision:
For example: What features market segment  demanding? which must ship feature we should drop first? How we are positioned and price versus competitors, sales impact of slip dates?

Program/Project Management are more inward facing resource allocation decision
For example: How should we get this done? Have we defined and met quality goal? What outside resource could speed things up? When will it actually ship?

What is the common problem and difference in viewpoint?
Product management: Not so much worries about delivery and quality
Program/Project Management: Not so worries about market success

For success of the product or company, all three functions: Product management, program management and project should communicate openly and frequently. A good way to achieve this is by:
1. Cross Functional Communication and Cooperation
2. Top Management Involvement and Support

Get Pumped! My Top 20 Workout Songs

Motivation is the key to keeping you primed to keep going and pushing heavy weight in the gym. And what better motivator is there than music?

Here are my top 20 workout songs. I also prefer to listen these in sequence I put them below: to start slowly/warm-up: two nice motivational speech, pumped up- whats better than Rocky series, then more pumped up and then 2 slow songs to end the workout with some nice stretching.

1. Steve Jobs - Inspirational Speech "If today were the last day of my life"
2. Motivation - Rise and Shine:
3. All_Rocky_Workout
4. ARocky 4 -Hearts On Fire
5. ARocky Eye of the tiger 
6. ARocky_IV_No_Easy_Way_Out
7. BEurope - The Final Countdown [HQ]
8. BI Command you to Grow :
9. Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo - Let's Go 
10. Push It To The Limit (scarface)
11. Cristiano Ronaldo-Not Afraid Of The Highest Heights \
12. The Ultimate Movie Training Montage:
13 - Workout motivation Eminem Till I collapse
14. LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
15. Lost But Won- Motivational Video 
16. Rob Bailey & The Hustle Standard - Work , Hustle , Kill
17. Roy Jones - Can't be touched
18. Stemm - Face the pain   lyrics
19. Flo Rida - Good Feeling [Official Video]
20. Journey - Don't Stop Believing Lyrics