Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Install WordPress on localhost using XAMPP

Have been working on wordpress and found it very convenient to have a local installation of wordpress on a local machine to do a lot of on the spot testing . Heres is the easiest way of having a local installation of wordpress functional on your local desktop or computer

Step 1: Download and install the latest version of XAMPP

XAMPP is an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP is really very easy to install and to use – just download, extract and start.To download XAMPP you need to navigate to the Apache Friends website (http://www.apachefriends.org) and click the download link. Simply follow the on screen instructions to install the entire setup . Once completed you will have a fully functional setup : Apache + MySQL + PHP + Perl on you machine .

Why XAMPP you ask . Heres the answer :-)

  • The most popular PHP dev package
  • For Windows, Mac OS X & Linux
  • Easy installation and configuration
  • Completely free of charge

  • After the installation is complete, you will find XAMPP under Start | Programs | XAMPP. You can use the XAMPP Control Panel to start/stop all server and also install/uninstall services.

    Step 2 : Getting Wordpress on top of XAMPP

    Double click the XAMPP desktop icon or navigate to the art menu and start XAMPP from there. It must be running for us to install WordPress. Look at the below image for confirmation that the XAMPP server is running. Check XAMPP is running .

    For this open up your web browser and navigate to http://localhost. You should be automatically redirected to the XAMPP page. You should receive a message that states “Congratulations: You have successfully installed XAMPP on this system!“.

    Next Navigate to the WordPress website (http://www.wordpress.org) and download the latest version. Unrar the file and save it in a folder . Navigate to the root of your XAMMP installation c:\xampp\htdocs. This is the location where we create our website using localhost. The default XAMPP folder should contain a few folders and a bunch of system files.

    Step 3 : Getting Database Setup

    At this point it is time to create our blank MySQL database for WordPress to use. When we installed XAMPP it also comes complete with phpMyAdmin.Open up your web browser and navigate to http://localhost/phpmyadmin/

    If you went the step further when installing XAMPP and set up the security you will end up at the phpMyAdmin login page as pictured below. If you did not set up security yet, you will gain immediate access into the phpMySQL area. Enter your login credentials to access this area.

    Under the heading “MySQL localhost” , create a new db using a proper name. It is now time to run the WordPress installer script and install WordPress.


    Step 4  : Running Wordpress 

    OK, now you have your “WordPress” folder sitting inside the website root C:\xampp\htdocs\wordpress.
    Now we need to open up a web browser again and start the installation script. Navigate to http://localhost/wordpress
    You should reach the default WordPress installation page . Remember to modify the wpconfig file

    And you are done :-)

     

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

    Air Deccan - Online Reservation System

    Working with InterGlobe, Air Deccan has developed an Internet-based CRS. All reservations, whether made directly by a customer on the Internet or through an indirect channel, such as the call centre, the airport or a travel agent, are made using this CRS. As a result, Air Deccan has been able to lower its distribution costs while providing multiple ways for customers and potential customers to purchase tickets.

    The online reservation engine enables Air Deccan to transact online on a real time basis with an extended community of travel agents, online customers, corporate and third party portals such as yatra.com and ghuom.com. E-tickets are issued by the online engine in lieu of payment via credit or debit card. Air Deccan call centers also utilize the same reservation engine to reserve tickets on Phone (only credit cards are accepted). The airlines own city and airport offices utilize a customized2 interface which allows them to confirm a ticket in lieu of cash.

    The CRS has helped Air Deccan to achieve cost reductions by allowing it to avoid costs associated with GDS reservation systems, through which most full service airlines manage their reservations. Air Deccan’s reservations system has also allowed it to streamline personnel needs. Principally because Air Deccan’s CRS is directly administered by Air Deccan and is designed to receive payments to Air Deccan at the time of booking, Air Deccan is able to staff its accounting and finance department with only 13 members.

    After the credit card fraud cases came to light in December 2006, Air Deccan improved both its site and call center procedures to implement credit card masking where in the customer enters his/her credit card number directly into the system via the online form. The departing terminal agent only receives the last four digits of the credit card number which is used to authenticate the passenger at the airport. This means that the full credit card number is stored in encrypted format in the database and cannot be misused by any intermediaries.

    A. Front end 3



    The front end of the online reservation engine utilizes Visual Studio.net and Pramati Studio 3.0 as well as a blended usage of J2EE technologies to generate webpage which are only viewed by Internet Explorer. The online portal enables reservation and cancellation of E-tickets.


    Reservation of ticket
    The process of reservation of E-ticket online follows the following:
    Step 1: Search
    Here the user is asked to enter his travel details such as departure day, number of passengers, etc. The user than clicks on next to proceed



    Step 2: Availability display
    Based on the supplied query the website generates the list of available flights. Air Deccan policy dictates that the lowest possible fare on any flight which has not already been booked is offered. Multiple options may be generated if there are multiple flights such as on Delhi - Mumbai sector. The search engine also gives options for flight +/- 1 days.



    Step 3 & 4 Flight Summary
    Once the user has selected the flight option given to him he is presented with a summary of the flight which finally presents the actual cost of the ticket.

    Step 5: Passenger information details
    Here all relevant passenger details are taken from the customer. The phone number and email address are utilized as keys.

    Step 6: Payment options
    Once the customer feeds in his personal details he is given a Reference Number while the associated PNR number is auto generated in the backend but is not given to the customer. The following payment options are given.
    MASTER/ VISA (Choose this option for non-EMI transaction on any credit card)
    CITIBANK EMI
    [Citibank Credit Cards/ Diners Club Card - 2 EMI Option. Your ticket will be converted into 2 EMIs on your Citibank Credit Card/Diners Club Card at a processing fee of Rs. 2 per Rs. 100.]
    DINERS and MASTER / VISA (Any Card non EMI option)
    EMI option ICICI Bank Credit Cards only
    [Pay back in 6 monthly installments with ICICI Bank Credit Cards only. EMI of Rs.173 per Rs.1000. No processing fee.]
    ICICI BANK DIRECT DEBIT
    [Please select this option if you have ICICI Bank Account with Internet Banking Facility and you wish to pay directly through your ICICI Bank Account]
    CITIBANK DEBIT CARD
    [Please select this option if you want to use a Citibank Debit Card with your HPIN (Secure Internet Password) ]
    STATE BANK OF INDIA DIRECT DEBIT
    [Please select this option if you have a State Bank of India Account with Internet Banking Facility and you wish to pay directly through your State Bank of India Account]
    Table 1Actual option chart from airdeccan.com

    Depending on the option selected the user is either presented with a form to fill the credit card details or gets redirected to icici.com or sbi.com.
    Flaw: The user gets redirected to other websites from where he is supposed to pay and than relog onto airdeccan.com where he must use the reference number search facility (link present on the homepage) to see the status of the ticket.

    Step 7: Issue of PNR and E-ticket
    Once the payment id is verified the previously generated PNR number is given to the customer, which can be used along with an ID and credit card to get the boarding pass. If the passenger has provided an e-mail address, the passenger also receives an e-mail confirmation. In case the passenger is unable to print out4 the ticket while doing the online purchase, the passenger can use the PNR indicated in the e-mail confirmation to collect the ticket at the Air Deccan Airport counters.

    The transaction of issue of an E-ticket is deemed to be complete according to Indian law only when a PNR number of 10 alphanumeric characters is generated and issued to the customer. All airlines and CRS's/ GDS's include an audit-trail feature called the "history" which uses the PNR as the index key. Once a PNR is created, each entry is logged in the PNR "history" with the date, time, place, user ID, and other information of the travel agent, airline staff person, or automated system who made the entry, as well as the name of the traveler or other person, such as a business associate or family member, who requested the entry or change. Each entry in each PNR, even for a solo traveler, thus contains personally identifiable information on at least 2, often 3 or 4, people: the traveler, the travel arranger or requester, the travel agent or airline staff person, and the person paying for the ticket.



    Ticket Cancellation System

    The website allows cancellation of tickets .The following process is followed

    • Click on” View Booking"
    • type PNR number, date of travel, and passenger name
    • click search button
    • Click on it CANCEL PNR
    • Key in credit card number and then click cancel.  

    The same procedure is to be done to check if the PNR is cancelled or not.

    Even though the ticket has been cancelled the same PNR is not reissued to another passenger as the booking details of a PNR once issued5 remain in the reservation system. The ticket cost is refunded back to the customer after certain deductions either by debiting back the amount to the credit card or bank account used to book the ticket. Cash is only refunded back at Air Deccan city offices and airport counters.

    Unlike full-fare tickets sold by full-service carriers, which are generally fully or mostly refundable, Air Deccan imposes cancellation penalties when tickets are returned. These penalties range from 10% to 100% of the basic price, increasing incrementally as the travel date approaches. These penalties help Air Deccan to recoup the cost of seats not filled due to cancellations.

    B. Backend
    The front end website provides input for the IIS and SqlServer2000 database server of Air Deccan. This server is in turn linked to the Departure Control System6 (DCS) and the Seat Inventory Management System (S-IMS).

    The S-IMS utilizes the DCS and reservation database to manage allotment of the seat price buckets for future flights and also handles current passenger details. At the point of check-in (at the airport) the PRN is further associated with a baggage PNR which ensures that the passengers baggage is associated with his respective PNR and can hence be tracked.

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    Sales & Distribution System in a Low Cost Airline


    Being LCNF, it becomes very important for Air Deccan to explore newer and economical ways of distributing its inventory of airline seats across the target market at a lower cost than its competitors. Distribution cost is one of the most important controllable costs in any airlines cost structure. Air Deccan hence has gone beyond traditional indirect travel agent based distribution channels to alternate direct marketing channels such as E-ticketing, reservation call center and airport sales for passengers and direct sales to corporate and bulk users such as travel agencies. By keeping travel agents to a minimum Air Deccan has been able to shave off costs significantly.

    Air Deccan tickets can be booked through
    • Website – www.airdeccan.net
    • 24 / 7 all India call centre (39008888).
    • Air Deccan Airport and city counters
    • Travel agents across India
    • Reliance web stores across 104 cities in India
    • Club HP petrol pumps in 6 states in India
    • SMS

    Air Deccan utilizes InterGlobe Technologies (IGT) proprietary airline distribution system cum CRS which covers the following aspects of the distribution chain:
    • E-Ticketing via airdeccan.net and flyairdeccan.net
    • Reservation engine which enables online transaction with online customers, corporate, call centers agents, etc and Air Deccan’s city and airport offices.
    • Flight Schedules
    • Fares
    • Payment Gateway
    • DCS1 and documentation production


    Figure 1 Marketing and Distribution Channels Used by Air Deccan



    Target market segments

    Air Deccan targets three market segments, which it refers to as follows:
    • Leisure travelers,
    • Business travelers
    • Corporate travelers

    Leisure travelers.
    Leisure travelers for Air Deccan include people on holiday or traveling to visit friends and relatives, their native regions or for a religious pilgrimage. Leisure travel includes advance-planned travel, generally as part of a longer break which means tickets are generally booked well in advance. As the leisure traveler comes nearer to the day of travel, he/she is willing to spend proportionately more which fits in perfectly with Air Deccan’s bucket pricing method.

    Air Deccan offers a ticket package called Value Flier, which provides multiple tickets useable over time by up to four members of the same immediate family, which is targeted at the ‘Leisure’ traveler. The airline is also in the process of developing leisure packages with bundled hotel offerings.

    Business travelers.
    Air Deccan uses the term business travelers to refer to travelers working for small and medium enterprises, who engage in business travel at their own cost (as part owners in their business) or who are otherwise highly cost and time-conscious due to the size of the business, and are used to traveling in, for example, air-conditioned classes on trains. Business travelers tend to form a sizable chunk of passengers on trunk routes such as Delhi- Mumbai, Bangalore – Mumbai, etc.

    Corporate travelers.
    Air Deccan uses the term corporate travelers to refer to travelers working for large corporations. Corporate travel constitutes a large expense for many companies because their employees generally have little incentive to control their travel costs. Thus Air Deccan offers corporate packages to institutions which are mutually beneficial to both the parties.

    Advantages of CRS to Air Deccan
    The CRS used by Air Deccan enables it to:

    • Reach the target market
    • Monitor yield management by providing online updated flight booking status
    • Eliminate geographical boundaries
    • Reduce collection costs and eliminate many administration costs associated with ticket sales
    • Help ensure prepayment, which improves cash flow and reduces working capital
    • Avoid over- or under-bookings by using only one CRS
    • Sell tickets at all hours, round the year
    • Save on paper costs by using “e-tickets”
    • Simplify its operations and boarding process
    • Provide through the call centre a reasonably accessible, internet-based ticket purchase option for customers who do not have direct internet access themselves.

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

    Globalization: A threat to Indian culture?

    Globalization, as talked about today is essentially an economic phenomenon with an impact on all human institutions. It has transformed the world dramatically from a multitude of loosely connected nations to a globally knit community, linked together by rapid means of transportation and instantaneous media of communication. It is a process of unification, unity and uniformity. Globalization is threatening to destroy diversity but seeks to establish more firmly, differences in privileges based upon economic factors. Globalization is neo-colonialism, the expansion and enthronement of Western culture throughout the world.
     
    There is a great fear of Indian civilization , which since ancient times has been  a melting-pot of races and cultures, will get redefined in terms of 'consumer culture', 'mediaized culture' and  'global culture'. Such fears are warranted as over the years economic liberalization has resulted in only some sections of society flourishing, make profits, and the rest finding  themselves helpless and unemployed. Citizens all over the world worry about the loss of control over their own collective destiny that globalization seems to entail.
     
    What price do we pay for globalization? Young people, mesmerized by popular television programs like "Baywatch" or "The Bold and the Beautiful," have taken to emulating program characters. Indian teens are also increasingly obsessed with going to the gym or jogging in name brand sneakers -- Reeboks or Nikes -- like their American peers. America's influence has turned Indian values on sex and marriage upside down. Credit fever has infected Indians.
      
    The goals of Indian economy have evolved from failed concepts of Socialist rhetoric, mixed economy and self reliance to a new catchword ie. ‘Globalization’. This has lead us
    to being a part of the World Trade Organization which on one hand talks of free trade and on the other imposes anti dumping tariffs. Or simply speaking , globalization has produced greed among the developed nations to exploit the economies of the under developed Countries by removing their  protective barriers.
     
    With the inherent India fascination for foreign goods , opening our markets to multinationals will result in indigenous manufacturers  losing out   simply because they cannot withstand the onslaught of the big, foreign companies as far as the quality of the products and financial muscle are concerned. Globalization will give the Indian consumer freedom of choice but is such `luxury' of choice feasible, given the intense poverty which still stalks rural India.
     
    Today, even globalization’s advocates accept that its benefits are not unalloyed. Yes, foreign investment has increased sevenfold since 1999, but nearly 70 per cent of it is going from one rich country to another, with another 20 per cent going to just eight developing countries. The economic paradise promised by unlimited, uninhibited and inescapable global free trade has proved illusory.
     

    The anti-globalization protests need to be taken seriously. Rather than demonizing them, the issues raised by them must be addressed. Globalization is inherently not bad. But its benefits are unevenly shared and its costs unfairly distributed. What India needs is compassionate globalization based on the principle of justice and equity and not serfdom. The developing world is not looking for charity, but equal opportunity. The challenge of modernity is learning to live with globalization without losing one’s sense of identity.

    Saturday, January 11, 2014

    Is India’s Population the Real Problem!

    The Indian Parliament, in a unanimous resolution, passed on the 50th year of our independence, asserted that population was India's biggest problem. That is, the representatives of the people were united in saying that their constituents and their children were a problem.

    This, in an age, when a nation's strongest competitive advantage lies in a well-educated, healthy and energetic populace i.e., its human capital. Warnings about human overpopulation have been issued regularly for decades - even centuries - with consistently incorrect predictions. On the first Earth Day, Paul Ehrlich's 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb, was widely quoted. He predicted that by 1985, the "population explosion" would lead to world famine, the death of the oceans, a reduction in life expectancy to 42 years, and the wasting of the Midwest into a vast desert and that ” We will breed ourselves into oblivion.". He was about as accurate as Malthus himself, the Englishman who, in 1798- when the world was nearing a billion people, predicted catastrophic food shortages that never came.
    Is there indeed a population problem? In 1999, the six billionth child was born on the earth and the one billionth in India, and the Malthusian nightmare has not happened. The truth is that food supply has consistently outstripped population, and today, people everywhere are eating better than they did in the past. In India, we have consistently produced a food surplus for 20 years. Our problem is how to make the poor prosperous so they can get to it. India's problem is that a large number of its peoples lack basic liberties and freedom of opportunity.

    Confused is perhaps the more charitable portrayal of India's population policy – proudly proclaimed as 'the oldest population policy in the world'. Coercive and undemocratic are probably more realistic descriptions of the National Family Welfare Program, launched in 1951 with the objective of "reducing the birth rate to the extent necessary to stabilize the population at a level consistent with the requirement of the national economy".
    India’s population has always been connoted with some self explanatory evils like poverty, employment, economic backwardness, over crowding, low per capita income, environmental pollution, indebtedness etc. If population is taking its toll in India then why do we find so many countries like Japan, China, and Belgium surging radically and that too with a population density much higher than that of India?
     
    In recent times, the population growth rate in the West has fallen below the replacement level. Countries like Canada are actually experiencing a drop in native population. India’s population will almost certainly level-out some time during the second half of the present century -- perhaps when it is around 1.6 billion. The reason for the stabilization will be that by then the birth rate will have fallen to the level of the death rate. After the population has stopped growing, it may well be that India's population will start to decline in size, since levels of fertility per woman may be below the replacement level (of roughly two births per woman) then.
     
    Thus population growth as such is not a major crisis. What is, is the way in which we are going about trying to bridge the ever increasing gap between the birth and death rates. In son-crazy India, the imposition of the 'two child norm' has led to sex-determination and sex-selective abortions. The only humane way to reduce high growth rates is by social change that improves conditions of life, levels of education, economic security, and freedom of choice for women. While coercive measures can also have an impact, such measures will only add to current injustices, increase passivity in the populace and authoritarianism in elites. Having children should be a matter of choice rather than a matter of chance.
    One important factor which is responsible for viewing the future with more optimism than may previously have been the case has been the increase in the size of the middle class, a tendency which has been promoted by the current tendency to ease restrictions on entrepreneurship and private investment. It is a well-known fact that as persons become more prosperous and better educated they begin to undertake measures designed to eliminate the size of their families. Kerala, where for decades individual well-being has been the driving force behind social programs, family sizes have fallen, so population growth has slowed, life expectancy is as high as in the United States, and the quality of life has raced ahead, is often quoted as having successfully achieved demographic transition, but the
    Kerala development experience is not emulated country wide. Kerala’s success has indicated that even the poorer classes can be induced to think in terms of population control and family planning through education.

    A large population does put pressure on natural resources — land, food, water, breathable air, minerals. Resources are not natural; they are manmade. Nature provides a variety of stuff, but it comes with no instructions on what it is good for, if it is good for anything at all. It takes a human being to invent a use for it and thus make it valuable — a resource. If we were to think of ways to double the efficiency with which we use oil, it would be equivalent to doubling the supply of oil. There is one caveat to this analysis: human ingenuity can overcome the apparent obstacles to prosperity only if people are free to create, produce, and trade unimpeded by government or criminals.
     
    India’s problem is that we look at foreign solutions to solve local problems .Our politicians tend to have government funded research cum family tours abroad to find answers for questions which they leave behind in India. Even with high population density, enterprise-based economies (e.g. Singapore, Taiwan) have flourished while centrally-planned nations (e.g. Brazil, Russia) have stagnated and become addicted to foreign aid.
     
    Ironically, where there is famine for example, the problem usually is not overpopulation but over governance, which leads to gross misallocation and misuse of resources as corrupt bureaucrats or dictators seek power more than the welfare of their subjects. If you want proof, just look around you – you will discover Bureaucrats and Ministers who, as per Income Tax statements filed with the IT department, claim to be running their families on the really meager salary and perquisites made available to them by the Government. Ask them about their gold and silver assets, posh bungalows, farm houses, holiday resorts and they stare back at you with wide open eyes as if to say - ‘You mean to say, I own all that?’ Or, they grin and reply – ‘I have no idea what you are talking about.’ Or, they signal to the pehalwan standing behind them and walk away leaving it to him to handle the sensitive issue in a suitable way. Unknown to you, you become a marked man – or woman!

    When we say that unemployment is caused by over population, we always forget that as the population increases demand for goods and services also increases. Consequently, to meet this ever-increasing demand, more and more people have to be employed. However, in India, despite having this ever-increasing demand, we find thousands and lakhs of Indians unemployed- thanks to the government’s irrational policies and myopic vision of trade. In our nation, even opening a paan corner or a rickshaw driving business can be as Kafkaesque a labyrinth as opening up a million dollar industry establishment.

    One more reason why a substantial proportion of the Indian population remain unemployed is lack of infrastructure like roads, railways, highways or lifelines like water, power provision etc. If our government starts building the country’s infrastructure, demand for workers will definitely increase and thus the employment. However, our state prefers to squander away taxpayer’s money in providing subsidies that never reach to the needy, holding
    unconstrained and lavish parliamentary sessions and financing politicians’ foreign visits.

    Even if it ventures into any infrastructure-building project, we end up witnessing frauds, leakages and other inefficient utilization of our hard-earned money causing a jet hole in the tax payer’s pocket. Ultimately, population is made the scapegoat.

    Now let us look at the various uncultivated advantages of the Indian population. First, it’s the mammoth population base of India that has made her an investment hub in the world. Indian computer specialists are now regarded among the best in the world. As a result of this and other industrial developments, a growing middle class of some 250 million people is emerging.

    Similarly, there is a huge consumer base in India that can soak up the products of hundreds and thousands of companies without achieving saturation. It is this demand for goods and services that has led to the drastic increase in foreign direct investment even with the presence of a draconian FDI policy. Economic and social development, in general, has been associated with major reductions in birth rates and the emergence of small families the world over. In country after country the birth rate has come down with increased female education, the reduction of mortality rates, the expansion of economic means and security, and greater public discussion of ways of living
     
    Population doomsday gives the impression that human beings are not a resource but a source of trouble. Statisticians who record an increase in the GDP when a calf is born, but reduce per capita income whenever a human infant is born seems to be assuming that human beings are not worth anything. Growing population creates short-term difficulties. But where people and markets are free, entrepreneurs and inventors, seeking profit opportunities, will solve the problems and leave us better off than before the problems arose.
     
    With all the attention that the populous countries are getting, overpopulation is not a bane anymore! Only that we must put our people to the best use. I believe education not population is a problem. Even power can be a blessing or a bane, it depends on how one manages it. Therefore if we don’t change our perception towards population and always look at it as a problem or a hindrance to our growth then we are asking for even bigger problems.

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