Sunday, April 26, 2009

Installing DB2 Express on Windows

Software Quality is in short supply - even in big shops like IBM.  I can call today - a bad software day - struggled installing DB2 express on my laptop, struggled with entering timesheets in the homegrown time-tested (and patience testing) application.

Before starting, if you believe in a supreme power, pray to it.  If you do not, you will start believing in one when you go through the process.

Now, it is time to share my experience in installing DB2 Express.

When selecting user login for running the services, you have multiple choices - a system account, a local user and a domain user.  
  • Setting it up as system account will continue with obscure messages that it can't set the user's properties.  Once the installation ends, you will find all applications in your programs, but none of them will work.  All would show an error message with the code "DB2INSTANCE : -2029059916" and would ask you to investigate further.  It simply means that the installation wasn't complete though you get to see all the applications.  Fixing the installation won't work.  Uninstall, restart and try installing again.
  • You may be lucky when trying to set it up as domain user account, but I didn't have much luck - be it an active directory or a Samba based domain controller.  A coworker mentioned that it took about 4 hours to install it.  The error messages will keep you guessing on what is going wrong.  You need extensive experience to read the mind of the developer who created those messages.  To cut the story short - give it a try once.  If it fails, try the local user account.
  • If you had logged in as domain user, but if you try to set up the service in another local user's login, you will still get errors like that the user is not an administrator.  Best option would be, create a local user, login as local user, begin the installation, give the local user credentials for running the services and continue.
After installation, add all the users (including the domain user) who need to administer the instance to the DB2Admin group.  Add other users to DB2User group - using Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Local Users & Groups.

Then start FirstStep application.  This is supposed to help you in creating databases.  If the installation had gone fine, it might have created a sample DB in :\DB2\NODE000.  When you try to create a new DB, the wizard will prompt for the DB name, its path etc.  Though it refers the field as the default path, it means the drive.  So, if you had installed it in C drive, leave the value as C:\ - you may try giving other drives, but remember it is only drive and not the path.  If you had given a path, you will again get a confusing message that only IBM developers and testers understand.

Once the database is created, thank your personal deities.  Good Luck! - you'd need it.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Review of A Wednesday & Expectation on the Tamil Version

A DVD for Rs 99 is a pretty good deal for a movie of this class.  As I sat to watch the movie with my son, we realized that the batteries in the DVD remote had drained out.  So, we couldn't switch on the sub-titles.  From time to time, I had to pause and intervene like the way Gemini Ganesh used to do during Hum Log days and interpret the dialogs to my son.

Overall a sleek movie.  It is good to see such a quality production in India.  Good casting for the main characters.  Both Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher are great. I liked the CM character -  a smart politician with a heavy Maharashtrian accent in Hindi and English.  The character of the  TV reporter and that of Jimmy Shergil were good too.

But, there is always scope for improvement.
  • The background score was too R D Burman style, could have been a lot better.
  • The movie continues with the character stereo types you get to see in Hindi movies - all honest cops are Rathods, Khannas or Singh.  Supporting good cops can be Muslims and all the low level (or corrupt or inefficient) ones are Maharashtrians.  Repulsive.
"Is violence the only solution for violence?" can be a reasonable question.  But in this movie, we are not looking at the political correctness, but that of the agony of a common man in Mumbai.

Now for the expectations on the Tamil part.

Is there a similar sentiment in the Tamil context?  May be - looking at the current law and order situation in the state, you may have a similarity.  But the common middle class man doesn't go through the kind of terror that Mumbaikars had gone through.  We have different problems altogether.  So, this is something to watch out for.

On the casting, I have serious doubts on Kamal's ability to play the role of a common man.  This character is supposed to exhibit vulnerability, helplessness and fear.  There was a big difference in the acting of Sanjay Dutt and Kamal Hassan in Munnabhai and the Tamil version.  Sanjay Dutt, in spite of having a hero like body looked so vulnerable - Kamal was nowhere near that expression.

When was the last time, Kamal played a role of a common man - Mahanadhi? After that, we saw Kamal hiding behind clumsy make-up in Indian, Avvai Shanmughi and Dasavatharam.  There were other characters marked heavily by a change in hair-style, moustache, scarred face etc - not in one of them, he appeared as a normal man.  He seems to be too dependant on the make-up than on the facial expression and body language.

'A Wednesday' left the religion of the protagonist outside the scope of the movie.  Naseeruddin Shah can pass as a Hindu, Muslim, Parsi or a Christian.  So, you really wouldn't question the religion of the character, but accept him as a common man in Mumbai.  Kamal would want to exhibit his secularism. The recent photos show him sporting a beard.  You can imagine the rest.

The title itself indicates that the movie would be heading in a different direction.  It is titled as "Thalaivan Irukkiraan" - "There is a leader"!  So, there could be scenes to establish Kamal as the Thalaivan, there could be a flash-back where he would fight the goons (stunts by Kanal Kannan), shake his hips in a flash-back to the choreography of Brinda.  

At least be thankful that Crazy Mohan is not writing the dialogs!