Travel to Yavatmal from Hyderabad

Published January 19, 2018 3:36 pm

Recently I need to travel to Yavatmal from Hyderabad. We were a group of extended family including children & senior citizen grand parent.

We were exploring multiple travel options. We found the following

  1. Self drive – Google showed 7.5 hrs travel to Yavatmal by road.
  2. Sleeper bus – Starts at around 9pm and reaches by 7am.
  3. Train – There is a train station – Sevagram that is at around 75 kms. SC-ngr express (12771) trains mon-wed-fri in night 10 pm and takes around 9 hours. There are more trains but this train was available for our day of travel.

After deliberation, we felt the train to be better option primarily because of the following reason

  1. Senior citizen, children may need personal break anytime during the night.
  2. Personal break does require climb down/up in bus whereas in train it is comfortable. In fact, during travel my son went on his own for the breaks (in train). I did not have to accompany him.
  3. Movement during travel is much easier in the train.
  4. Travel air sickness during train travel is comparatively less during train travel.
  5. Car travel will have fatigue penalty to pay for the people driving the car and senior citizens.

Having done the trip, I do see train travel was comfortable for the family. It does require booking in advance. Return journey we did not get reservation for everyone & was not as comfortable as onward journey. Further it does cost extra for the car travel between Sevagram & yavatmal.

Using MMTS to reach secunderabad railway station from Lingampally area

Published January 19, 2018 3:14 pm

Recently I had traveled by train from Secunderabad to Sevagram (near Nagpur). I had decided to travel by MMTS local train service from lingampally to Secunderabad station. Cab takes order of hour to 1.5 hr and travel by car is painful during peak traffic hours and also cost you 1.5x to 2x on uber/ola. I thought to experiment with the MMTS local travel.

I looked at the MMTS timings online & ensured to reach in time as I was traveling with family & children. Train was delayed and not on schedule. Since I had kept 1 hour buffer in schedule, it did not cause any issue. Lingampally station has 5 platforms. The train may arrive at platform 1 or 5. We were at platform 5 when the announcement for the train arrival on platform 1 came. Traveling with senior citizens is less viable in such scenarios if they can not climb the skywalks between plafforms comfortably.

Since train starts from Lingampally, we could manage to find the seats for all of us with little push to board as soon as the train arrived on the platform. Train had lot of passengers travelling standing and got reasonable traffic especially from Borabanda, Hitec city stations. It seems to be popularly used transport in this part of the city. Away from pollution, travel did not generate any fatigue. There is congestion during morning hours on the return route (Secunderabad to Lingampally) and train has to wait for signal clearance. It adds couple of minutes on the return journey from Secunderabad to Lingampally. MMTS travel cost you INR 10 per passenger. Lingampally to your destination can cost you depending on your distance starting from INR 150+.

Overall, nice experience. but requires sufficient planned time. Train may not be on schedule. You don’t save much time but do avoid the traffic & road pollution when traveling by MMTS.

A trip to Pala Pitta cycling park

Published December 23, 2017 11:58 am

We were passing by the newly opened cycling park today morning after the breakfast. We were looking for a stroll in Botanical garden. Instead decided to do it in the newly opened cycling park right next/opposite to Botanical garden. Once we entered the park, we came to know that the park is pure cycling park & running/walking inside the park is not prohibited.

We rented two bicycles for INR 100. Cycul supports the bicycle station for the park. You can pay using Paytm. We started our ride. The track is not very long and comfortable for a new rider. You just need to know to ride a bicycle. It takes order of 10-15 minutes to take a round the park. There are few slopes but they are not very steep. The track is neat & not littered. There are signs beside the track. It is quite & part of the track is next to a water body where I could hear the bird chirping. The park is considered a reserved forest area. It has tall trees & dry leaves cover the bed giving a fill of the forest. It is too small a park though to consider it a forest area. Nevertheless, it is a savior for the urban dweller. Given the access to citizens, the park will now be protected from public encroachment. This along with botanical garden is one of the biggest green area in this part of the city.

Another school had organized a field trip for children. Children were taking the ride on the rented bicycles. Few of them could not manage the balance & were hurt when they fell down. Due caution is desired. We had gone on a Saturday late morning around 10 pm. The staff mentioned that there is more crowd on a Sunday. We did not mind the children crowd.

We did see a man parking the cycle & taking a run in the park though it is prohibited in the park. Actually prohibition to walk/run is a savior for the park. Otherwise, we would find the same nuisance that you would see in botanical gardens. Couples dwelling in corners which add to the unpleasant taste in the public gardens. The cycling park should make walk/running strictly prohibited in the park to maintain its attraction. It also saves it from littering. You cannot litter much while taking a ride!

Overall, a pleasant hour in the park. Look forward to be there again.

Skype for business server 2015 persistent chat installation issues

Published December 21, 2017 11:50 pm

Of late, I have been working on installation of SFB (Skype for business server). I was setting up persistent chat recently following the documentation and went through multiple issues.

Using topology builder – created a persistent chat pool & selected option to create with single server. Named the pool as pool02.mydomain.com and server name was server-skype2.mydomain.com. Published the topology,

Issue 1 : the deployment on the server failed with error that the server was not part of the topology.

Essentially, pool & server name are different required a topology with persistent chat pool with multiple servers. I went ahead & deleted the persistent pool & recreated with option to create with multiple server. With the change, deployment on the server went through Install Local configuration store.

Issue 2 –  The tick mark against the Install Local configuration store step in the deployment wizard was missing even after the step completed without any failure.

I had missed creating pool02 DNS AAA record. I also learnt that apply latest CU for the release is recommended before diagnosing any installation issue. Error at this stage essentially meant central configuration store is not replicated to the server or published topology did not have appropriate entry for the server.

Downloaded the latest CU as per the hit.  Used this handy powershell command to stop all the services as required by the update installer.

// Stop all the services
> get-cswindowsservice | stop-cswindowsservice

// After applying the update - start all the services
> get-cswindowsservice | start-cswindowsservice

// to query the central management store replication status on all server nodes
> Get-CsManagementStoreReplicationStatus
UpToDate           : True
ReplicaFqdn        : myserver.mydomain.com
LastStatusReport   : 12/21/2017 5:31:12 PM
LastUpdateCreation : 12/21/2017 5:31:09 PM
ProductVersion     : 6.0.9319.0

UpToDate           : True
ReplicaFqdn        : myserver02.mydomain.com
LastStatusReport   : 12/21/2017 5:31:12 PM
LastUpdateCreation : 12/21/2017 5:31:09 PM
ProductVersion     : 6.0.9319.0

// UpToDate : False means configuration is not getting replicated. 
// Application of CU & restarting of the services on the server hosting the master (replication) & this server fixed the replication issue
// UpToDate : True means configuration replication is ok.

Issue 3 : mgc database is not created in the sql server instance in the backend.

The topology had next version of the SFB server essentially N, N-1 versions. In such topology, deployment of persistent chat pool under N-1 node does not create mgc database when topology is published by the topology builder. It has to be created using the PS command install-csdatabase on the N-1 version server using (N-1) version skype server powershell

> Install-CsDatabase -ConfiguredDatabases -SqlServerFqdn sql.mydomain.com -ForInstance mysqlinstance 
// this created the mgc database in the backend sql instance

Prior to doing this – I have also followed the step (1) on this page to ensure that networking ports are open (firewall) & computer network discovery is enabled. I had just disabled firewall to deal with firewall settings later. One essential step is to ensure the logged on user on the skype server is sqlserver instance sysadmin.

Issue 4 : persistent chat service failed to start on the server.

// Error in the lync server application event log
Skype for Business Server 2015, Persistent Chat could not start due to the following exception:
 at 
Microsoft.Rtc.Internal.Chat.Server.ServerCommon.Exceptions.StopServerException: CmdID: 871d1cfd-bb20-4c25-a1cb-c4e5ee7fb956 The server could not restore db connection within the allowed time (00:10:00) using connection string: Data Source=sql2.mydomain.com\mysqlinstance;Initial Catalog=mgc;Integrated Security=SSPI. ---> System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: Login failed for user 'mydomain\myskypeserver$'.    

// myskypeserver$ is the computer account & it did not have permission to the mgc database

I found using SS management studio that mgc database had connect grant for the group `mydomain\RTCComponentUniversalServices`. Skype setup adds the computer account to this AD group during setup. For the server – it was missed. I added the mydomain\myskypeserver (computer account) to this AD group manually. With this, the persistent chat service could start and did not fail with the above error after 10 minutes.

Issue 5 :  skype client continues to show warning Your chat room access may be limited due to an outage

<I am working on this>

A trip to Mrugavani National Park

Published July 5, 2017 8:54 am

Today my extended family was here in Hyderabad & we decided to go to Mrugavani National Park near Chilkur. I have also not been there & had gone there first time. We were around 13 members including children. The park is reachable via Nehru outer ring road.

The park has two main attractions – peacocks and deers and they are present in plenty in the park. The park has small part which is open & approachable by the visitors. It has a small area where children can seen deer in area bounded by a fence. There is a small bus that can take for a 20-30 minute safari tour in the park. You will see plenty of peacocks & deers. Children liked it. I was ok & had fun along with them. Driver for the safari was very good & stopped the vehicle where ever he spotted deers.

There is a small shop that serves snacks like Chips, cold drinks etc.

Good quick trip for a few hours break!