Old Woman at Hajj

I went to Hajj in 2012. The entire thing went very smooth, honestly one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t get these Hajj horror stories, I had a perfect time.

Except one.

During the walk to the Jamaraat, where Muslims symbolically stone Satan, I had separated from my group to help escort an older couple from our group who were a little slow.

While I was walking, I saw an old woman completely collapsed on the ground, as if she was dead. Other people were just walking by her…

I went up to her and asked if she was okay. She was an older woman, probably in her late 60s or so, dark-skinned, looked Indian, missing a few teeth. I asked if she was okay, but she gave me a blank stare. I picked up her ID card, which identified her as Indian. I wish I still knew her name. I think it was Aisha? I don’t remember!

Clearly this woman needed help. She looked as if she had been separated from her group and just collapsed from exhaustion. I had to do something.

I asked if she spoke English. No response. Arabic? No. Urdu? I thought Urdu was like the official language of Muslims India…No Urdu either. She was probably south Indian. I even tried Pashto! But we could not communicate.

I looked around for some water, but I did not see any water anywhere. Just at that moment a Saudi guard came and spoke to me in Arabic. He said she could not lay here like this, I think he presumed I was with her. I told her I did not speak her language, that she was from South India and she was not from my group, but she needed help.

I don’t remember if I asked him for water? Did I? I hope I did? All I remember is looking at her with a face of “I don’t know how I can help you…” It wasn’t my fault, I needed to get back to the group I was escorting, who I almost lost in the sea of people.

I keep playing this scene in my head again and again. I wish I had gone to my group and said I will meet up with them back at the tents, and then gone back to her? I could have carried her to her group, navigated my way around. I spoke Arabic and maybe I could have carried her back to her tent. Maybe the fact that I’m also Indian would have helped her feel comfortable?

I wish so much I had done more. It still haunts me to this day. I was just praying Maghrib and it came to my mind. I wish I had done more.

Maybe I will meet her in the next life and apologize, or just laugh about it and talk about that day.

Convert Docx to Markdown

I needed to convert a Docx file to Markdown, but Pandoc kept giving me this obnoxious error:

$ pandoc test.docx -o test.md
pandoc: Cannot decode byte '\xae': Data.Text.Encoding.Fusion.streamUtf8: Invalid UTF-8 stream

However, you can use the tool unoconv to make an intermediary step to convert first to HTML and then to Markdown.

$ unoconv --stdout -f html test.docx | pandoc -f html -t markdown -o test.md

On Ubuntu (And other Debian-based systems I would imagine)  you can get unoconv with a simple apt-get install unoconv.

Oh yea, and join the BDS movement to help Free Palestine from Apartheid Israel. Enjoy!

Duplicate a Django modelformset_factory Form

I created a formset_factory and wanted to have a simple “click me to add another form”. This seemed like a routine task, but the solutions I found online were unnecessarily complicated or required me to install a separate Django app, which I had no intention of doing.

So I created my own…

The only pre-requirement that this needs besides standard Django is jQuery.

So here is a rough overview of how this works:

  • Create a modelformset in my views.py and send it to the template.
  • Add in a link that’s executed to trigger the new form adding.
  • Django’s formset_factory’s required management_form creates the id_form-TOTAL_FORMS hidden variable. The jQuery must update this value.
  • Have jQuery locate the current form and create a blank copy from.
  • Update the name and id parameters of the copied form using jQuery
  • Identify where to paste the new form
  • Paste it there!

Here is my views.py snippet. In my case, the model is called “Component” and the related form is called “ComponentForm”. I define them as follows:

ComponentFormSet = modelformset_factory(Component, form=ComponentForm)
componentformset = ComponentFormSet( queryset=Component.objects.none() )

The queryset must be set to Component.objects.none() for whatever reason, otherwise you will get the latest Component value. I pass the “componentformset” in the context to the template.

Next, the HTML must be rendered in the template as follows. Noticed that I used componentformset.0 with the “.0“. Why? Because componentformset, being a modelformset_factory, is a set of forms, not an individual form. We have an individual form, so I am only going to display the first one in the list. After that, the template includes a tbody called “formtemplate”. This will later tell our jQuery where to copy our template from. Finally, the <a> tag is necessary to tell jQuery when to add a new form. The newcomponents <tbody> is where the new form will be pasted.

{{ componentformset.management_form }}
<tbody id="formtemplate">
{{ componentformset.0 }}

<tbody id="newcomponents">
<a href="#" id='addForm'>Add Component</a>

Next is the Javascript. (In my actual production code I put this above the HTML, but you could really put this anywhere since it’ll only trigger when the page fully renders).

<script type="text/javascript">
    $(document).ready(function() {
      var addForm = $('#addForm');
      var formNumberObject = $('#id_form-TOTAL_FORMS');

      var addForm = function(e) {
        newFormCount = parseInt(formNumberObject.val()) + 1;
        formNumberObject.val( newFormCount );

        var tabletemplate = $('#formtemplate tr').clone();
        var pastehere = $('#newcomponents');

        changevalues = tabletemplate.find('[id^=id_form-0]');
        changevalues.each( function(i, index) {
          currentid = $(this).attr('id').replace(/(id_form-)[0-9]+/, 'id_form-' + (newFormCount-1) );
          $(this).attr('id', currentid);

          currentname = $(this).attr('name').replace(/(form-)[0-9]+/, 'form-' + (newFormCount-1) );
          $(this).attr('name', currentname);


      addForm.on('click', addForm);

The JS does the following. This is in order of the logic of the program, not in order of the code above, but you should be able to piece it together.

  • Identify the ‘addForm’ <a> link and set it to execute the function ‘addForm’ (yes, they have the same name, but you can change that)
  • Identify the id_form-TOTAL_FORMS by ID in the rendered HTML. Again, this is produced by the management_form part of our formset_factory.
  • Identify the number of forms. I suppose I could have just set this to 0 by default, but I’ll have the JS do it for me.
  • When the user clicks the ‘addForm’ link, it will execute the function ‘addForm’, which does the following:
    • Add 1 to the current newFormCount value.
    • Create a copy of the form and store it in “tabletemplate”.
    • Identify where to paste the data, identified by “newcomponents”.
    • Find each instance where the ID is in the RegEx pattern “id_form-0”
    • Iterate for each instance, and replace the number 0 with the current number. This will keep the individual component name intact, but update the count.
  • Append the newly created form to the “pastehere” tbody.

With that, you should be able to add a new form with the click of a button!

Thoughts? Comments? Please do let me know so I can fix any mistakes or update the code as needed. And remember…Free Palestine!

IPv6 Firewall Rules

I setup a Hurricane Electric tunnel to get my house on IPv6 (Verizon fails to deliver!) and was given a /64 allocation. I then setup a Router Advertisement daemon to get every computer online. Yippee!

But, there’s a problem…now every computer in my house is exposed to the wrath of the Internet. While the Network Discovery (ND) addresses are “random”, you can still intercept a client’s address through a variety of means. So I setup some basic IPv6 firewall rules to protect my clients.

Here is my script:


# Default policy, this happens in the end
ip6tables -P FORWARD DROP

# Accept SSH
ip6tables -A FORWARD -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT

# Accept everything locally
ip6tables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -o he-ipv6 -j ACCEPT

# Accept all ICMPv6, kinda necessary 
ip6tables -A FORWARD -i he-ipv6 -o eth0 -p icmpv6 -j ACCEPT

# Accept all stateful connections, that we didn't initiate
ip6tables -A FORWARD -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT

Here is an explanation:

  1. The default FORWARD policy is to drop all packets
  2. I accept all forwarded packets on port 22 (SSH) – This is because I frequently ssh into my personal machine while on the road.
  3. I accept all ICMPv6 packets: First because I want to be able to test pingings and such, but also because its required by IPv6
  4. I accept all packets for a connection that my clients initiated. This means I can arbitrarily connect out, but others cannot arbitrarily connect in.

I tested this out and it worked! There, now my personal home printer is not online 🙂

Giving credit where credit is due, borrowed a lot from Fabio Firmware.

Custom Django Fixture Imports

I needed to convert an XML document into a customize Django model with modifications to the based on programmable logic. Converting it to my model’s fixture would take too long and be unnecessary work, so I instead opted to manually convert the data.

I figured I could just import the Django model object, as is follows:

from tester.models import Control
a = Control()

However, I got the following vexing error in red:

$ python code.py
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "code.py", line 1, in
from tester.models import Control
File "/home/nahraf/src/beater/tester/models.py", line 5, in
class Control(models.Model):
File "/home/nahraf/src/beater/tester/models.py", line 6, in Control
family = models.CharField(max_length=40)
File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/db/models/fields/__init__.py", line 1012, in __init__
super(CharField, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/db/models/fields/__init__.py", line 146, in __init__
self.db_tablespace = db_tablespace or settings.DEFAULT_INDEX_TABLESPACE
File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/conf/__init__.py", line 46, in __getattr__
File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/django/conf/__init__.py", line 40, in _setup
django.core.exceptions.ImproperlyConfigured: Requested setting DEFAULT_INDEX_TABLESPACE, but settings are not configured. You must either define the environment variable DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE or call settings.configure() before accessing settings.

In short, the solution is to set your Django application’s settings prior to importing the Django object. (My “tester” application is called “beater” cuz I beat up on it 🙂

My corrected code is as follows:

import os
# This must be executed before the import below
os.environ.setdefault("DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE", "beater.settings")
import django
from tester.models import Control

After that, the code was able to import and utilize object. I hope this helps!

Free Palestine, Boycott Apartheid Israel!

Syncing my Bluetooth headset on Kubuntu

I had a bit of trouble getting my Linux (Kubuntu) to function as a bluetooth headset for my computer and I wanted to write this guide for anyone else having trouble.

First, I’m running Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

Second, get your device to pair. I used Blueman, an applet that came with Kubuntu.

snapshot1Getting it to pair was annoying enough, but once I got that working, I clicked Setup, then paired it as a Headset. I then edited the file /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf and changed the following:


It was True. I then Uncommented


Then, I rebooted pulseaudio by doing a simple:

sudo killall -9 pulseaudio

and then restarted pulseaudio as root. Per the folks on Freenode’s #Linux I could have also started a program that uses pulseaudio, but this worked. Afterwards, audio was playing on both my computer’s regular speakers and the headset.

Only downside: When I play a game like Counter-strike, there is a very slight delay between the action and the audio. I have no idea what the cause of that is.