Thursday, October 10, 2013

How to set up AWS Command Line Interface on Windows/Ubuntu

*This guide assumes you already have JAVA correctly setup on your machine.
For instructions on how to setup JAVA, check out: Installing and Configuring JAVA

Now, we're going to use pip to install the AWS Command Line Interface to your machines. So if you don't already have pip, you need to install it as follows:

For Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install python-pip python-dev build-essential
sudo pip install --upgrade pip

For Windows:
Follow the steps here:
I've repeated them below:
First install setuptools:
Then install pip

Quoting the above link,
For me, this installed Pip at C:\Python27\Scripts\pip.exe. Add your analogue of C:\Python27\Scripts to your path (Start / Edit environment variables). Now you should be able to run pip from the command line

Now simply fire up a terminal/command prompt and type:
~$: pip install awscli

After this, open a new terminal/command-prompt and type:
~$: aws
This should be recognized as a command and you should get an error like:
usage: aws [options] <command> <subcommand> [parameters] 
aws: error: too few arguments

This indicates a successful installation.

Now you need to configure awscli with your AWS credentials.
To do this create a file named config (no extension) with the following contents:
[default]aws_access_key_id = AKIAIOSODNN7EXAMPLEaws_secret_access_key = <redacted>region = us-east-1
You can access your aws_access_key_id and aws_secret_access_key at

Now we need to place this file in the appropriate location.
For Ubuntu:
Create and place the file in ~/.aws/

For Windows:
Create and place the file in C:\Users\USERNAME\.aws\

You should be done now.

To test, we'll try downloading files from an S3 bucket.

Create a new empty directory on your machine.
Navigate to that directory from your command line.
Now type:

~$: aws s3 sync s3://bucketname/foldername .
[Don't miss the dot ( . ) at the end]
*This will download all files from the folder in the specified bucket to the current local directory you are at.

That's it.
For a complete list of avaiable commands, check out

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Convert 'date_added' field in Chrome Bookmarks file to readable format.

So I've been trying to figure out the format of the 'date_added' field in the Chrome Bookmarks file. e.g. 13024882639633631

After a lot of research, I learned that those numbers were actually the number of milliseconds since 1601-01-01 like the Windows NT Time format.

I asked a question on SO and a smart guy looked up the Chromium source and got the exact details.

Anyway, he posted a Python snippet which I edited a bit. You can have a look here:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Buying GoDaddy Domains? Use Honey for great discounts!

So I use this Chrome addon called Honey that places a button on the checkout pages for all major online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay etc. also Godaddy, and on pressing the button, will apply 10-25 coupon codes from it's database and look for a discount for you.

I never found a discount for an item on Amazon yet but I recently purchased 4 domains from GoDaddy and saved a total of $45 already, getting most of the domains for less than $2 a year! Definitely get the add-on (or just look-up for a coupon instead) whenever purchasing a GoDaddy domain since it looks like there almost always is a discount coupon out there.

More details about Honey here:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to add images inside rows in jQgrid

This tutorial will go over how to add an image inside a jqGrid cell when the 'url' is delivered from your json data.
Your grid will look something like this:

1. Add the required title to the colModel.
2. At the appropriate position, add the colModel as follows:
{ name: "photo_mobile_url", formatter: playerPicFormatter},
where "photo_mobile_url" is the key of the image in your json data.
For e.g. my json data looks like..
"photo_mobile_url": "",
3. After your jQGrid definition, add the function:
    function playerPicFormatter(cellvalue, options, rowObject) 
      var html = "<img src='"+cellvalue+"'/>";
      return html;
Here, cellValue will hold the value held at the key: photo_mobile_url and so you can edit it if you have to, to correctly display your image.
Make sure the function name is the same as in the formatter.

That's it!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Setup Heroku app with GoDaddy Domain

This tutorial will take you over steps on how to point a GoDaddy domain to your Heroku app.

Let's say your Heroku app's url is and your GoDaddy domain that you want it identified with is

First go to your Heroku app and add the domain as follows:
heroku domains:add www,
heroku domains:add

Edit the DNS Zone File for your domain on GoDaddy's Domain Manager. Have the CNAME record for www point to

Finally, you need to forward the root/bare/naked address of to forward to

For this, under the Domain Manager, hit the 'Manage' button and 'Update Forwarding' and have it forwarded to with only forwarding. You can try masking too however this puts your target page in an iframe and as a result your favicon will not load.

You should be all set.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Integrating RefineryCMS 2.0 + Twitter-Bootstrap-Rails

This article is for integrating RefineryCMS 2.0 and Twitter-Bootstrap-Rails. Note that RefineryCMS in this tutorial is not the latest (which at the moment is 2.1.0).

At the end of the below steps, you should have a RefineryCMS app with a static Bootstrap layout.

After setting up your Rails app (basic steps here): , you need to override some of the views and so execute the following commands:
rake refinery:override view=refinery/_head
rake refinery:override view=refinery/_header
rake refinery:override view=refinery/_menu
rake refinery:override view=refinery/_content_page
rake refinery:override view=refinery/_site_bar
rake refinery:override view=refinery/pages/home
rake refinery:override view=refinery/pages/show

Then install the static template for twitter-bootstrap-rails
rails generate bootstrap:install static

Then replace the contents of each of the files listed in app/views/refinery/ with the following:
From the link above, copy paste contents of all files in app/views/refinery including those in the /pages directory to the respective files in your project.

Also copy paste the contents of bootstrap_overrides to fix some of the css issues. This css-fix is a bit hacky and you can try to do a better job of it if you wish.

You should be golden. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Use 'Thin' server to serve a Rails 3 app over HTTPS/SSL locally

Following are the steps I followed to serve a Rails 3 application over HTTPS/SSL locally.

1. Install 'thin' by doing $ gem install thin and then make sure to add it to your Gemfile
2. Create your self-signed cert. The tutorial on this link is very useful. Follow those steps until Step 4.
3. In config/application.rb add the line config.force_ssl = true like the following:
module Jail
  class Application < Rails::Application
      # blah
      # blah
      # blah..
      config.force_ssl = true

4. Run $ thin start -p 3000 --ssl --ssl-verify --ssl-key-file ~/.ssl/localhost.key --ssl-cert-file ~/.ssl/localhost.crt

That should be it. Your application should now be served via HTTPS.

Note: If you later set config.force_ssl = false to go back to plain HTTP, you may notice that your browser is still trying to access the HTTPS site. You can fix this issue by clearing your cookies for localhost.

I've copy-pasted the steps 1-4, from the cited link above for convenience.
 Step 1: Generate a Private KeyThe openssl toolkit is used to generate an RSA Private Key and CSR (Certificate Signing Request). It can also be used to generate self-signed certificates which can be used for testing purposes or internal usage.The first step is to create your RSA Private Key. This key is a 1024 bit RSA key which is encrypted using Triple-DES and stored in a PEM format so that it is readable as ASCII text.openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key 1024
Generating RSA private key, 1024 bit long modulus .........................................................++++++ ........++++++ e is 65537 (0x10001) Enter PEM pass phrase: Verifying password - Enter PEM pass phrase:
Step 2: Generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request)
Once the private key is generated a Certificate Signing Request can be generated. The CSR is then used in one of two ways. Ideally, the CSR will be sent to a Certificate Authority, such as Thawte or Verisign who will verify the identity of the requestor and issue a signed certificate. The second option is to self-sign the CSR, which will be demonstrated in the next section.
During the generation of the CSR, you will be prompted for several pieces of information. These are the X.509 attributes of the certificate. One of the prompts will be for "Common Name (e.g., YOUR name)". It is important that this field be filled in with the fully qualified domain name of the server to be protected by SSL. If the website to be protected will be, then enter at this prompt. The command to generate the CSR is as follows:
openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr
Country Name (2 letter code) [GB]:CHState or Province Name (full name) [Berkshire]:BernLocality Name (eg, city) [Newbury]:OberdiessbachOrganization Name (eg, company) [My Company Ltd]:Akadia AGOrganizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:Information TechnologyCommon Name (eg, your name or your server's hostname) []:public.akadia.comEmail Address []:martin dot zahn at akadia dot chPlease enter the following 'extra' attributes to be sent with your certificate request A challenge password []: An optional company name []: 
Step 3: Remove Passphrase from Key
One unfortunate side-effect of the pass-phrased private key is that Apache will ask for the pass-phrase each time the web server is started. Obviously this is not necessarily convenient as someone will not always be around to type in the pass-phrase, such as after a reboot or crash. mod_ssl includes the ability to use an external program in place of the built-in pass-phrase dialog, however, this is not necessarily the most secure option either. It is possible to remove the Triple-DES encryption from the key, thereby no longer needing to type in a pass-phrase. If the private key is no longer encrypted, it is critical that this file only be readable by the root user! If your system is ever compromised and a third party obtains your unencrypted private key, the corresponding certificate will need to be revoked. With that being said, use the following command to remove the pass-phrase from the key:
cp server.key openssl rsa -in -out server.key The newly created server.key file has no more passphrase in it.
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 745 Jun 29 12:19 server.csr -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 891 Jun 29 13:22 server.key -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 963 Jun 29 13:22 
Step 4: Generating a Self-Signed Certificate
At this point you will need to generate a self-signed certificate because you either don't plan on having your certificate signed by a CA, or you wish to test your new SSL implementation while the CA is signing your certificate. This temporary certificate will generate an error in the client browser to the effect that the signing certificate authority is unknown and not trusted.
To generate a temporary certificate which is good for 365 days, issue the following command:
openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey server.key -out server.crtSignature ok subject=/C=CH/ST=Bern/L=Oberdiessbach/O=Akadia AG/OU=Information Technology/ dot zahn at akadia dot ch Getting Private key

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