In LinkedIn Jail? Here’s How to Get Out and Stay Out!

In LinkedIn Jail? Here’s How to Get Out and Stay Out!

More great LinkedIn tips:
LinkedIn is a giant community of 225 million users, most of whom are positive contributors to the world’s largest social networking site for business. There’s so much good that happens there every day… people finding jobs, growing their businesses, knowledge-sharing, identifying new clients, reconnecting with former colleagues, asking questions, hiring great employees, sharing great articles, getting introduced to industry peers and all sorts of other networking goodness.
Of course, there are always a few bad apples in any bunch and LinkedIn is no exception. Some people repeatedly break the rules and negatively impact the overall user experience by spamming, having multiple profiles, blasting groups indiscriminately and all sorts of unbecoming behavior. (All of which is definitely hurting their personal brand in my opinion, but that’s another post for another day…)
For years, bad behavior ran a bit rampant and everyone almost got used to it as a fact of life on LinkedIn. But that’s definitely changing. LinkedIn is now cracking down and taking their terms of service very seriously. So much so that some people might not even be aware that they’re breaking a rule and inadvertently putting their account at risk.
The Four Types of LinkedIn Jail
Posts have recently popped up all over Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere, my email inbox, LinkedIn groups and LinkedIn’s Help Center page about people who have had their account Restricted, SWAM’ed, Suspended or even Shut Down by LinkedIn.
Here’s what those restrictions mean and how you can prevent them:
1. Restricted: You sent one invite too many that got marked as “spam” or “I don’t know so-and-so” (same thing in LinkedIn’s book, by the way) and you’re now required to enter an email address when sending LinkedIn invites.
Don’t feel bad. This type of restriction is fairly common, especially for newbies. It only takes a handful of forgetful folks to not remember you or a little overzealous connecting and bam!… restricted. (Yes, it even happened to me back in the day. Okay, twice.) Fear not, LinkedIn actually lets you remove your own restriction if it’s your first time. (That’s how common it is!) Fortunately, no other LinkedIn functionality is impacted.
The Takeaway? Only invite people that you are fairly CERTAIN will accept. People you actually know in real life are a safe bet. Someone you don’t know personally or only met once could be a risk. When in doubt, reach out to them elsewhere first (email, InMail, group message, Twitter) to ask if it’s okay to send an invite to connect on LinkedIn.
2. SWAM’ed: You posted something somewhere in some group that someone didn’t like and now you are automatically in moderation-required mode for ALL 50 of your groups. (Yes, you read that correctly!)
SWAM stands for “Site Wide Auto Moderation” and it means that each post or comment in LinkedIn groups goes into the “sin bin” and must now be manually approved by the group owner before it is posted and visible. If ANY group owner “blocks & deletes” you or marks your posts as “requires moderation,” you will then automatically be SWAM’ed in ALL of your groups. This new policy is highly impactful for both group members as well as group owners who now have many more posts and comments to sift through and approve/move/delete.
The Takeaway? ALWAYS read the group rules and abide by the policies carefully. Each group has its own rules and one person’s blog post might be another person’s spam, so tread carefully. Recruiters, only post jobs in the Jobs tab, not the main Discussions tab. When in doubt, ask the group owner or just don’t post it.
3. Suspended: You’ve broken LinkedIn’s terms of service in some way and your account is suddenly suspended for up to 30 days (or maybe longer). You can not access your LinkedIn account in any way and your profile is no longer active on the site. No one can pull up your profile and you don’t show up in search results. There may or may not be any advanced warning.
This one is new and obviously a biggie. I don’t work for LinkedIn and don’t have visibility into exactly what the specific triggers are, but there are rumors that any number of transgressions can get your account suspended. Again, I have no confirmation but I’ve read everything from inbox spamming (even your first-level connections or fellow group members) to too much activity in a 24-hour period (searches / profile views / invites sent) to non-name words in your name field (i.e., “Open Networker”, “Sales Pro”, Twitter handles, email addresses or phone numbers).
The Takeaway? LinkedIn’s terms of service are pretty clear and not always what you might expect (i.e., you can’t have a logo as your profile picture and you can’t create a personal profile using a business name), so be sure to read the rules carefully and be sure to abide by them. Pay special attention to #10: LinkedIn User “Do’s and Don’ts.”
4. Shut Down: You’ve broken the rules repeatedly or so drastically that LinkedIn has completely closed your account.
Fake profiles, company-name personal profiles and duplicate profiles are clear targets for closure, but it’s been known to happen in other cases as well. If you receive multiple restrictions (for sending unwanted invites) then LinkedIn may suspend or even close your account. Note: If you have multiple profiles (don’t do it!) then LinkedIn will ask you to pick one and close the other. There’s no merging of accounts, so any recommendations / endorsements on the secondary profile will be lost for good.
The Takeaway? Blatant abuse of LinkedIn will result in losing your account. Just not worth it.
What to do if you find yourself in trouble with LinkedIn:
1. Start with LinkedIn Customer Support. Create a ticket and apologize for any transgressions. Try to work it out. (Be patient, though. I’m seeing typical turnaround time being 7-10 days. Don’t take it personally… They’ve got 225M customers to take care of. I can’t even imagine!)
2. No luck? Try social media. Be nice though…. you get more flies with honey than vinegar. I’ve found @LinkedInHelp on Twitter to be VERY responsive. Although I’ve never used it personally, LinkedIn’s Facebook page also seems to respond pretty quickly to posts and comments. You could also try the Help Center Forum on LinkedIn. It’s like a message board where both users and LI Customer Support folks post and comment. It’s hopping with activity and there’s lots of lively discussion happening. Might help get things moving for you in a positive direction.
LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for business networking, so why mess up a good thing? It’s pretty easy to play by the rules. Take a moment to read those guidelines and try to stay out of trouble. It’s just not worth it!
Posted in Computers and Internet, Social, Techie Hobbies | Leave a comment

Linkedin Invitations – Pain in the A$$

At some point in the recent past you opened your email address book to LinkedIn for the purpose of sending out invitations and you clicked to proceed with the operation before you fully read and understood what was about to happen.

In opening your email address book to LinkedIn without fully reading the instructions you explicitly allowed LinkedIn to send an invitation to *every* email address stored in your email address book.

LinkedIn not only sent an invitation to each of the email addresses in your email address book but also LinkedIn will send out two (2) invitation reminders to each email address in your email address book.

The *only* way you can stop the invitation reminders from going out is by going to your LinkedIn “Inbox/Invitations/Sent” folder where you must open each pending invitation and click on the “Withdraw” option. This must be done for each pending invitation on a one-by-one basis.


If you have already “deleted” the “pending” invitations, you must first go to your LinkedIn “Inbox/Trash” folder and “undelete” all of the “pending” invitations to put them back into the “Inbox/Invitations/Sent” folder before you can use the “withdraw” feature.

There two (2) very important reasons why you should start the process now as follows:

1. LinkedIn affords each LinkedIn member with only 3,000 invitations, which are supposed to last the member a lifetime. The “Withdraw” process will stop the automatic reminders from going out to recipients, which should relieve some of the embarrassment associated with sending out the invitations.

2. The recipients of those errant invitations have the opportunity to click on either the “I Don’t Know” or spam option when the invitation lands in their inbox. Getting just five (5) “I Don’t Know” or spam responses will put your account on restriction, which means you will not be able to send out any invitation without entering the email address of the recipient. You can, of course, appeal to have the restriction lifted by sending a sincere message to LinkedIn Customer Service explaining that you did not know what you were doing and that you will *never* again send out an invitation to someone you don’t know.

There is no official Linkedin way to withdraw sent invitation en masse, which I think is poor customer service and clearly a way to market Linked not to mention SPAM.

There is a way to automate the withdrawal of sent invitation

Withdrawing sent invitations automatically on Linkedin

Last week I fell into a Linkedin trap. I invited all my Gmail contacts to connect with me. About two thousand invitations sent by a single click I even noticed.

When I noticed what was happening – the dozens of emails from new connections coming in a very short period of time – I started looking for alternatives to cancel the invitations at once. I soon realized that LinkedIn does not offer the option for undo this bulk operation. The only way to cancel those sent invitations was opening the invitations one by one and clicking “Withdraw” one by one.

So I wrote a small JavaScript code to do the job for me.

How the code works?

In a simplistic way, what it does is from the screen of sent invitations on Linkedin, it opens all the sent invitations one by one and withdraw or archive the invitation depending on the availability.

Running the code

Please note that I do not offer any guarantees about the possibility of this script cause any damage to your Linkeidn account. Run it on your own responsibility.

  1. Access the page of sent invitations sent on Linkedin
  2. Paste the entire JavaScript code below in your browser’s JavaScript console. I strongly recommend Google Chrome because of its better memory management.
 * Withdraw all not yet accepted invitations on Linkedin. What is specially nice
 * if you accidentally invited all your contacts from another sources.
 * @usage
 * 1) Enter in
 * 2) Paste this code on Chrome's JavaScript console
 * 3) Execute LW.init();
 * 4) Wait :P
 * @author <a href="">Bruno Souza</a>
 * Contribute on ;)
var LW = (function(){

        // last windows processed
        __LAST_FATHER_WINDOW = window
        // number of runs (initializations)
        , __RUNS = 0
        // maximum number of list pages opened sequentialy
        , __SAFE_LIMIT = 2
        , __USED_LIMIT = 0
        // processes invitation page
        , _proccessInvitation = function($win) {
            var $windowElements = $win.document.querySelectorAll('.btn-quaternary')
                , wElementsLength = $windowElements.length
                , j
                , archiveIndex
                , canWithdraw = false;

            for (j = 0; j < wElementsLength; j++) {
                if ($windowElements[j].text == "Withdraw") {
                    canWithdraw = true;
                } else if ($windowElements[j].text == "Archive"){
                    archiveIndex = j;

            if (!canWithdraw) {
                console.log('WITHDRAW UNAVAILABLE, ARCHIVING!');
            } else {
                console.log('WITHDRAW AVAILABLE, WITHDRAWING!');

            setTimeout(function() {
            }, 20000);
        // initialize invitation lists page handling
        _initList = function($fatherWin) {
            var $elements = $fatherWin.document.querySelectorAll('.detail-link')
                , eLength = $elements.length
                , i;
            for (i = 0; i < eLength; i++) {
                (function() {
                    var $win =$elements[i].href, "_blank", "width=600,height=600,menubar=yes,toolbar=yes");
                    $win.LW = LW;
                    $win.addEventListener('load', function() {
                    }, false);
        // initialize
        _init = function() {


            var $win =""+(__RUNS*16)+"&subFilter=&keywords=&sortBy=", "_blank", "width=600,height=600,menubar=no,toolbar=no");
            $win.LW = LW;
            $win.addEventListener('load', function() {
            }, false);

            __LAST_FATHER_WINDOW = $win;

    return {
        // initialize
        init: function() {
            if (__USED_LIMIT > __SAFE_LIMIT) {
                setTimeout(function() {
                    __USED_LIMIT = 1;
                }, 90000);
            } else {
  • Run the command LW.init(); in your browser JavaScript console. Again, I recommend Google Chrome because of its better memory management.

Now we just wait. 🙂

I hope it has been helpful to you as it was for me. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

Below is a post on everything you need about LinkedIn invitations

LinkedIn Invitations: Everything You Need to Know (and Then Some!)

1) What’s the best way to invite someone to connect?

I always tell people to never send an invitation unless you’re fairly certain it will be accepted. A best practice is reach out to that person elsewhere first (email, phone, real life conversations, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn messages, InMail, group discussions, status updates, etc.) and start a conversation. If they seem amenable, go ahead and invite them (customizing the invite to remind them how you know each other and why you’d like to connect).

By: TraderGroup Signal

Never send the default invitation verbiage since it does turn off some people. And definitely don’t bulk-invite everyone in your email contacts list. There’s no way to personalize the message and it could lead to some invites that you probably didn’t intend to send (your ex-spouse, grandma, doctor, mechanic, that employee you fired, people who might not know you or remember you and/or people who aren’t even on LinkedIn – but will now get marketing emails to join LinkedIn… something they may not appreciate at the end of the day).

2. How many invitations can I send?

You are allotted 3000 invites to send out and you can send out as many as you want per day, but you will be required to enter a Captcha for each invite over 100 sent in a 24-hour period.

3. How can I prevent accidentally inviting the same person more than once?

If you’ve already invited that person, you will no longer see the regular “Invite John to Connect” screen with the gray box and the radio button list. You will instead see a similar screen with only one option – to invite that person by plugging in their email address. This screen tells you that you’ve already invited this person in the past.

4. Can I withdraw an invitation once I’ve sent it out?

Yes, simply go to Inbox > Sent > Sent Invitations tab to see all of your sent invitations. Click on any invite you want to withdraw to open the message then click the “Withdraw” button. The person will not be notified that you’ve withdrawn the invitation. (If you want to find a specific invite to withdraw, go to the search box in the top right corner of any screen, choose Inbox from the dropdown menu, plug in the name of the person you wish to un-invite and it will pull up that specific invite in the search results).

5. If I withdraw an invite, is it credited back to my account?

Nope, I’m afraid not. Once you’ve sent an invite, it counts toward your 3000 invitation limit whether you withdraw the invitation or not.

6. What do I do if I run out of invitations?

Simply email LinkedIn Customer Service and ask for more invites. As long as you haven’t been labeled a spammer by getting too many declines, they will typically grant you another 500 – 1000 invites (per month) to send out. If you use them all up, you will need to wait until that month is up before asking for more.

By: Shekhar_Sahu

7. Why would I ever want to withdraw an invitation?

I recommend withdrawing an invite if it hasn’t been accepted in the past week or so. It means that either a) the person doesn’t remember you, b) they don’t want to connect with you for some reason or c) they aren’t very active on LinkedIn (and may not remember you by the time they do log back in… which greatly increases the chance that you’ll get declined).

8. What happens when someone clicks “I don’t know John?”

Many people don’t realize this, but this type of decline is EXACTLY the same as getting marked as Spam. IDK (I Don’t Know) and Spam are identical in LinkedIn’s eyes and if you receive approximately 5-7 of these declines (either type, in any combination), then LinkedIn will place a restriction on your account, requiring you to enter an email address for all future invites.

9. Why is LinkedIn requiring me to enter an email address to invite people?

It means you’ve received too many declined invitations and LinkedIn has placed a restriction on your account. (See #8 above.)

10. How can I remove a restriction on my account?

It’s not uncommon for newbies to get overzealous with their invitations and get restricted, so LinkedIn has actually created a way for you first-timers to remove your own restriction. Simply go to this page, check the “I agree” box and click “OK.” Shazam! You’re now unrestricted and back in action. (Just be more careful going forward!) Not your first restriction? You’ll need to reach out to Customer Service and promise to be more careful with your future invites.

11. How can I tell if someone’s marked my invite as IDK / spam?

Here’s a little ditty that I discovered a while back but this is the first time I’ve shared it with anyone else! :)  When you click on a sent invite (see #4 above), if the “Resend” box is missing, that means the person has archived your invitation (which does not penalize you in any way aside from taking up one of your 3000 allotted invites). If both the “Withdraw” AND “Resend” buttons are missing, it means that the person has marked your invitation as Spam or IDK. (Note – it could also mean that you’ve already withdrawn the invite or they’ve already accepted it, so always delete a withdrawn invitation for record-keeping purposes and/or check to make sure they’re not already a 1st level connection. You can’t reinvite someone who’s already connected to you!)

12. How can I prevent account restrictions in the future?

Stick to those best practices outlined in #1 above. Only send an invite that you’re fairly certain will be accepted. Never roll the dice with an invite. Start the conversation elsewhere and only THEN send an invite to connect. Customize the invite, be clear how you know each other and let them know why you’re interested in connecting. These best practices will greatly increase your acceptance rate!

Even better? Create a one-click invitation link that takes people directly to your invitation page on your LinkedIn profile. Feature this link anywhere that prospective connections might read it (your email signature, blog, website, Twitter bio, Facebook page, company website, page, etc.). The best part? A one-click invite reaches a wide audience, puts the ball in the other person’s court to invite you (rather than putting them on the spot with an invite), doesn’t use up any of your 3000 invites (since the other person is inviting YOU) and there’s no risk of you getting declined as Spam or IDK (since you’re the one doing the accepting, not the inviting). Cool, huh? (Feel free to comment below with YOUR one-click invite link… you just might get an invitation!)


Posted in Computers and Internet, Humour, Techie Hobbies | 4 Comments

vSphere 5.1 Lab – HP StoreVirtual VSA Install

vSphere 5.1 Lab – HP StoreVirtual VSA Install

Next, I needed some shared storage to eventually present to my nested ESXi servers.  I decided to use HP’s StoreVirtual VSA (Formerly LeftHand) because I work with it fairly often, and because it’s the only VSA supported for SRM.

HP offers the VSA for a trial period of 60 days – plenty of time to work with it. It is available here.

Once extracted, there is a setup.exe in the vsatrial folder.  Normally, this setup would unzip the .ovf and .vmdk files, ask for vSphere credentials, disk size, etc – however, currently the setup wizard will not run if it detects ESXi 5.1.  To get around this, simply access the .ovf and related files in your %temp% directory where the wizard extracted them.

Import the VSA:

In the vSphere client, choose File and Deploy OVF Template… and choose the vsa.ovf file.  The details will be shown and next the eula as well. Once accepted, provide the VSA with a name and choose what datastore to keep the VSA’s system drive. I decided to set this drive to Thin Provisioning. Next, and Finish and the VSA is deployed to the ESXi server in no time at all.

Configure Networking:

Next, open the console for the VSA appliance, and type “start”. This will get you into the configuration. The VSA is deployed with 2 vNICs.  eth0 is a Flexible adapter, and is meant to be used for management traffic.  Eth1 is VMXNET 3, and is to be used for iSCSI traffic.

I setup my management IP to my production network (192.168.1.x) and the other adapter to my iSCSI network (172.16.20.x).

Storage Setup:

Install the HP P4000 Centralized Management Console (CMC), which is included in the download.  Once installed, under the find menu, you can have it scan your network for the VSA (or VSAs if you deployed more than one like I did).

Notice that each has a Red X for RAID, and a status of “Off, Not Configured”. This is because we have not yet assigned our Data virtual hard drives.

First, edit the settings of the VSA, and choose to add a Hard Disk. For performance reasons, I chose to Thick Provision Eager Zeroed.  I choose the size (500GB) and the datastore (SAS_R10) to store the virtual hard disk.

On the next screen, VERY IMPORTANT, make sure to set the SCSI ID to SCSI (1:0), and the Mode to Independent – Persistent. For future storage for the VSA, and SCSI ID 1:x can be used – the VSA looks for these particular IDs, and will not recognize a hard disk not in that ID range.

Reboot the VSA, and then when back in the CMC, notice that your disk shows up inder the VSA > Storage > Disk Setup tab.  On the RAID Setup tab, choose Configure Raid from the Raid Setup Tasks. Our only option is RAID (Virtual) – select it and OK.


I now have a HP StoraVirtual VSA deployed to my physical ESXi host, with 500GB of storage that can be exported to my furture Nested ESXi hosts via iSCSI.  We will configure exporting LUNs once we have our Nested ESXi VMs up, and the vCenter Virtual Appliance.

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Kali Linux

Kali Linux Live USB Install

Booting and installing Kali from a USB stick is our favourite and fastest method of getting up and running. In order to do this, we first need to create the Kali ISO image on a USB drive. If you would like to add persistence to your Kali Linux USB stick, please read the full document before proceeding to create your image.

Preparing for the USB copy

  1. Download Kali linux.
  2. If running Windows, download Win32 Disk Imager.
  3. No special software is needed for a *nix OS.
  4. A USB Key (at least 2GB capacity).

Kali Linux Live USB Install Procedure

Imaging Kali on a Windows Machine

    1. Plug your USB stick into your Windows USB port and launch the Win32 Disk Imager software
    2. Choose the Kali Linux ISO file to be imaged and verify that the USB drive to be overwritten is the correct one.


  1. Once the imaging is complete, safely eject the USB drive from the Windows machine. You can now use the USB device to boot into Kali Linux.

Imaging Kali on a Linux Machine

Creating a bootable Kali Linux USB key in a Linux environment is easy. Once you’ve downloaded your Kali ISO file, you can use dd to copy it over to your USB stick as follows:

WARNING. Although the process of imaging Kali on a USB stick is very easy, you can just as easily destroy arbitrary partitions with dd if you do not understand what you are doing. Consider yourself warned.

  1. Plug in your USB device to your Linux computer’s USB port.
  2. Verify the device path of your USB storage with dmesg.
  3. Proceed to (carefully!) image the Kali ISO file on the USB device:
 dd if=kali.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=512k

That’s it, really! You can now boot into a Kali Live / Installer environment using the USB device.

Adding Persistence to Your Kali Live USB

Adding persistence (the ability to save files and changes across live boots) to your Kali Linux image can be very useful in certain situations. To make your Kali Linux USB stick persistent, follow these steps. In this example, we assume our USB drive is /dev/sdb. If you want to add persistence, you’ll need a larger USB device than we listed in our prerequisites above.

  1. Image the Kali Linux ISO to your USB stick as explained above, using the “Linux Method” and dd.
  2. Create and format an additional partition on the USB stick. In our example, we use gpartedby invoking: 
     gparted /dev/sdb
  3. Your current partitioning scheme should look similar to this: 


  4. Proceed to format a new partition of your desired size to be used for persistence. In our example, we used all the remaining space available. Make sure the volume label of the newly created partition is persistence, and format it using the ext4 filesystem.
  5. Once the process is complete, mount your persistence USB partition using the following commands:
     mkdir /mnt/usb
    mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/usb
    echo “/ union” >> /mnt/usb/persistence.conf
    umount /mnt/usb
  6. Plug the USB stick into the computer you want to boot up. Make sure your BIOS is set to boot from your USB device. When the Kali Linux boot screen is displayed, select “Live boot” from the menu (don’t press enter), and press the tab button. This will allow you to edit the boot parameters. Add the word “persistence” to the end of the boot parameter line each time you want to mount your persistent storage. 
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EMC VNX and Celerra Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) – Free Download Link

EMC VNX and Celerra Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) – Free Download Link

30 May 2013 By

EMC VNX VSA DownloadFancy running a virtualized EMC VNX or Celerra instance in your own lab?  Well, good news this is totally possible and for free (*small print: Doesn’t include lab hardware and batteries not included). I’ve run a couple of webinar sessions over the past 18 months on setting up and running the EMC VNX and Celerra virtual storage appliance (VSA), and still regularly have people ask how they get their hands on a copy of these free to use VSAs.  There are a handful of EMC VNX and Celerra VSA download links out on the web though many of these no longer work, so I decided to put this post together with the latest working download links.  Check out the ‘Useful Links’ section at the bottom of this post for a copy of my webinar slide decks (pdf).

Before you start downloading your own copy of the EMC VNX or Celerra VSA you should be aware of the following points:

  • It’s FREE to download and use.
  • Great for learning or up-skilling yourself with EMC VNX and/or Celerra storage including Unisphere web based management interface.
  • It acts and behaves like a real EMC VNX or Celerra in almost all areas.   Once again, great for educational purposes.
  • You can present the EMC VSAs out as working shared storage onto which you can run VMs or storage files.
  • Both the EMC VNX & Celerra VSA come bundled with EMC Unisphere web based management – nice, slick easy to use web GUI interface.
  • It doesn’t come with any official EMC support, though if you head on over to the “Everything VMware at EMC” Community Forums there are some great folks that may be able to help you.
  • It’s only intended for use in a lab environment (ie: non-production), as such don’t expect blistering fast speeds from it though it is good enough to run some VMs and learn how to configure and manage the storage.
  • The EMC VSI plugin for VMware vCenter Server works with it – did I mention that this is also free to download and use?  Head on over to EMC Powerlink to find the latest version of the VSI plugin.
  • EMC VNX VSA = NFS Only.
  • EMC Celerra  = NFS & iSCSI.

Download Links Here

If you are deciding on what VSA (EMC VNX or Celerra) to download and use, I would recommend the VNX VSA as the physical version is the latest Unified Storage offering from EMC – better to invest your time in learning the more recent version in my opinion.

So here they are folks, the download links – have fun and enjoy!









EMC Celerra VSA

EMC Celerra VSA

OVA:  Celerra VSA – UBERv3.2.ova

Easy to remember location for VSA downloads


For easy future reference I have also added links to both these EMC VSA downloads in the ‘Cool Links’ section which can be accessed via the menu bar at the top of the page.

Cool Links - EMC VSA Download

Latest VNX File VSA Versions

Via the EMC’s Powerlink portal you are able to download the latest versions of the VNX VSA, though I appreciate that not everyone has access to this and for many the UBER Version of the VNX and Celerra VSAs (download links above) will meet their requirements for use in their lab environment.  That said, if you do have access then why not download and play around with the latest.  Smile

VNX File VSA Download

Useful Links

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I recently decided to learn about IPv6 and signed up to get my own IPv6 address range. It’s all free and your learn loads in the process.

Just visit sign-up and get learning about IPv6!

They provide a free PPTP VPN tunnel service so you can set your laptop to have its own static IPv6 address no matter where you’re connecting to the internet from. Plus you get free DNS management and rDNS too!!!

I have to say, it’s pretty cool to be able to give my laptop a static forward and reverse AAAA record.

Use a D-Link DIR-825 to automatically IPv6 your network

(Please note this article is now somewhat out of date as D-Link have started to trickle out a new version of software for this router which changes its ipv6 functionality and completely fixes the ipv6 router advertisement issue – here is an EU beta version that I found after scouring the d-link forums: DIR-825 2.05EU, and I think the US version is available from the US ftp site too.)

My cable router died recently so I took the opportunity to replace it with something good. I grabbed a D-Link DIR-825 (revision B) since I knew it supported IPv6 natively after doing lots of research and finding an excellent list on It was a bit pricey (£120) but I believe it was worth it for the massive feature set – including the quad-band wireless which has proved excellent so far.

Set-up was super easy. As with most cable setups, just plug it in to the modem and you’re away since there’s no mess with internet credentials, at least in my case anyway.

Now the IPv6 bit. I have a subnet obtained from Hurrican Electric’s Tunnel Broker and when you’re given a subnet they offer you a /64 subnet, and a routed /48 subnet as well. You should only need the /64 subnet, but you can get the /48 as well if you like, we won’t use it here.

Assuming you’ve signed up at HE and acquired an IPv6 subnet, keep the tunnel details page handy so you can use them in the admin interface of the router.

In the advanced section of the DIR-825 switch to the IPv6 page. Then change the connection type to “IPv6 in IPv4 tunnel”. Now we start entering addresses… The remote and local addresses match up with the addresses on the tunnel details page, so for the Remote IPv4 address use the “Server IPv4 address” from the tunnel details page, Remote IPv6 address is the “Server IPv6 address”, and so on for the local addresses, using the “Client” addresses.

Key here is making sure you don’t include the “/64″ bit and also remember to not use the short notation for the v6 addresses. For example if you have a server ipv6 address that says: “2001:470:1234:567::1/64” you should instead enter “2001:470:1234:567:0:0:0:1″. That’s because IPv6 addresses are usually given in a more human-readable format and they miss out the pointless bits, like the zero-sections at the end (where shorthand like :: is used to mean :0:0:0: ). Do the same for the client IPv6 address too.

Now you want to type in your routed /64 address in to the LAN IPv6 Address for the router. The tunnel details page will just give you a subnet notation (e.g. 2001:470:1235:567::/64) so stick a 1 on the end before the /64 and that’ll be your router’s internal LAN address, (e.g. 2001:470:1235:567:0:0:0:1). Notice that the  3rd section of the address will be 1 number higher than your client IPv6 subnet.

Finally in the address auto-configuration section, check the enable auto-configuration box and switch to Stateful (DHCP v6). This will give IPv6 addresses to your clients that support DHCPv6. I believe you don’t have to do this, and you can use stateless to do it as well, but I wanted fully public IPv6 address, so I’ve gone for stateful in my case.

And so finally we click the Save Settings button at the top, and you’re done! Time to test it out. Try for starters :) Occasionally it doesn’t work. If not check on the site and make sure you router’s wan IP address is listed on the tunnel details page. If it isn’t you need to get that filled in, so click the link next to the client ipv4 address entry and fill it in. Hopefully you have a static IP don’t you…! There does seem to be a way of dynamically updating the client ipv4 address with hurricane electric, but that would still mean updating the config on the router which would be annoying of course.

Here’s a sanitised screen-shot of my router config for reference:

Added on 20th Feb 2011: I realised recently that IPv6 wasn’t quite working all of the time on my computers served by my router and after extensive investigation I discovered that the router wasn’t advertising it’s link-local address often enough (or at all). As a result my IPv6 clients were finding they didn’t have the necessary routes to talk IPv6 to the internet. The solution turned out to be to add a persistent static route to the IPv6 internet via the internal Link-Local address of the router. Here’s the fix, just run it from an admin cmd prompt, and replace the [link-local address] section with your router’s link-local address (which you can find on the ipv6 config page):

route -p add ::/0 [link-local address]


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iPhone and iPad – New User Guide

By Rene Ritchie, Saturday, Mar 9, 2013 a 11:09 pm

iPhone and iPad new user guide

Everything you need to know about getting started with your new iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or iPad mini

New to the iPhoneiPod touchiPad, or iPad and need a little help getting started? Whether you’re trying to set up your device for the first time, or figure out Apple features like iCloud, Siri, iMessage, Notification Center, or FaceTime, or simply get a handle on the basics like mail, calendar, or photography, we have a help guide for you — and ultimate guide!

And if you already know everything there is to know about iOS devices, no worries! Just save this link for family, friends, co-workers, classmates, or anyone else who might need some help. We’ll do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.

We’ll also be updating this page with more ultimate guides, so bookmark it and check back often!

iCloud: The ultimate guide

The ultimate guide to iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s online service designed to make managing your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Apple TV, and your iTunes content easier and more automatic than ever. Like the name implies, iCloud is based in the “cloud”, which is a trendy way of saying giant data centers filled with servers that you can access from your device over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G internet, wherever you are, whenever you want. It consists of several services that work with the apps on your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, and with iTunes and a handful of desktop apps on Mac and Windows. Most iCloud services are completely free, although additional storage and services are available for purchase. Because the vast majority of iCloud services are free, and because they work automatically and transparently in the background to backup your data and give you access to your content, you should absolutely use it.

Siri: The ultimate guide

Siri: The ultimate Guide

Siri is the name of Apple’s personal digital assistant. It’s basically voice control that talks back to you, that understands relationships and context, and with a personality straight out of Pixar. Ask Siri questions, or ask Siri to do things for you, just like you would ask a real assistant, and Siri will help keep you connected, informed, in the right place, and on time. You can even use Siri’s built in Dictation feature to enter text almost everywhere by simply using your voice.

Notification Center: The ultimate guide

Notification Center

Notification Center is Apple’s attempt to bring order and sanity to the myriad alarms, alerts, messages, calls, announcements, and challenges that flood our iPhones, iPods, and iPads every day. With Notification Center, you can choose on an app-by-app basis between unobtrusive banners, un-ignorable popups, and between beeps, buzzes, or nothing at all. You can badge your icons so you know how many items you have pending, and you can have everything listed for you right on your Lock screen, so you know about it immediately, or whenever you’re ready. When too many notifications become interruptions, you can set a timer or flip a switch and silence it all for as little or as long as you want.

iMessage: The ultimate guide

iMessage works in parallel with SMS and MMS on the iPhone, and brings the same type of messaging functionality to the iPod touch, iPad, and Mac. It only works between people running iOS 4 and later, and OS X Mountain Lion and later, so you can’t use iMessage to contact people on other phones or on Windows computers, but you can use it to send and receive texts and photos, and share map locations and contacts, with anyone using the latest Apple gear. And since there’s no charge for iMessage beyond data (cellular or Wi-Fi), you can send unlimited iMessages pretty much for free. Take that, carriers!

FaceTime: The ultimate guide

FaceTime: The ultimate guide

FaceTime is Apple’s video chat service. It allows anyone with a recent iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Mac to make free calls to any other Apple user over Wi-Fi or cellular connection. On the iPhone, FaceTime is bundled into the Phone app. On the iPod touch, iPad, and Mac, FaceTime is a separate app. On all devices, FaceTime can connect to any Apple-registered iPhone phone number or email address. That makes it perfect for keeping in touch with family who lives far away, with the kids while traveling, with business partners at distant offices, or even with that special someone while shopping for the perfect gift.

Calendar: The ultimate guide

Calendar: The ultimate guide: Everything you need to know about settings up and using calendars on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

Calendars help you keep track of what you’re doing and when, which is why it’s always been one of the core apps on mobile devices from the earliest PDA (personal digital assistants), to the latest iPhones and iPads. That why, when iOS launched in 2007, it included a Calendar app. Whether you simply use Calendar by itself, or whether you sync it via iCloud, Google Calendar, Microsoft, or something else, it’s the default way to add and find appointments and events.

Photos & Camera: The ultimate guide

Everything you need to know to take the best pictures imaginable with the iPhone, the best camera you have with you

The iPhone is good enough at photography to replace a point-and-shoot camera for most people, most of the time. With a big sensor, an impressive f/2.4 aperture, an IR filter, and lots of software to make pictures as bright and beautiful as possible, the iPhone camera does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. But it still can’t replace a trained eye or the human heart. You’ve got the latter. iMore’s iPhonenography series is dedicated to helping you get the most out of your iPhone camera,

Mail: The Ultimate guide

Mail is one of the core apps of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Rich, HTML email was shown off by Steve Jobs in 2007 when he first introduced the iPhone, and again in 2010 when he introduced the iPad. It was and is so important, he put it in the iPhone and iPad Dock, and by default there it still remains. Whether you use the free iCloud account that comes with your Apple device, or Yahoo!, Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Hotmail, Live, or, your local ISP email or something else entirely, whether you have an IMAP, ActiveSync, or POP account, your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad can keep you connected to it wherever you go, and whatever you’re doing.

How to get more help

We’re adding new ultimate guides all the time, but we also have a lot of individual help articles on the Home screen, video, Reminders, iTunes, Phone, Safari, music, Jailbreak, and more. And if you have specific questions or need even more help, the iMore forums are there for you!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on TwitterApp.netGoogle+.

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Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 8

I wake up after some nice restful sleep for my mind and body, the same kidmat hospitality from the ustaads here. Ustaad Abdul Aleem is taking good care of us. Fresh coconut water and orange juice… After breakfast I go downstairs for a wonder, amazing to think this place started 12 years ago with just two rooms, slowly with guidance and steadfastness it has become a Madressa for 400 kids… over 300 residents. They sleep and eat in the same place. They pray in the balcony hallway, no matter the weather..I’m happy to see this place, a real rewarding satisfaction felt through me, good is being done here, there are about 40 orphans residing in this madressa….I’m downstairs in the small security covered spaced next to the gates, I see a kid sleeping in his fathers lap…Moulana next to him and on the phone, Moulana is discussing with someone about the cost and condition of the kid… The child is ill, the child has lost his vision in a year, suffering from some sort of dry eyes illness (Johnsons Syndrome) which has lead to him being unable to open his eyes so his father must carry his child around with a blanket over his son’s eyes, the child is quiet… I think he is use to his condition….The father does not have enough money for his son’s operation…Moulana takes his details and will try to help iA. The cost is estimated at £1000 pounds.. I know Moulana will help through Caravan of Mercy….Moulana tells the father more important than medicine is duaa… Ask for Allah’s help. . Moulana tells him to ensure he prays his 5 times salah and make duaa…. This is sad…..really really sad…his son cannot see any more within a year, a ‘real’ start to the morning…… the father lives with his mother. Moulana asks him do you take care of your mother. Tells him always take care of your mother… her duaa’s will iA cure this…this is only a test from Allah… anything you need ask from Allah and Allah will provide a way iA…Moulana is trying to educate them…I realise his most important effort with charity. The purpose is to safe guard peoples imaan… educate them…this is all dawat… Giving aid is a means for dawat…we all give dawa..from our characters, posters, books, verbally, dua, caring…its all dawat…if done within the sunnah… I’m emotional from the blind child…May Allah give us easy tests.. I need his guidance for all tests..

We go to the place where we giving out blankets..I say ‘we’ but I’m doing jack,…. I’m just taking credit..I’m getting credit for free…top up here on rewards and mercy from allah..I hope Allah has mercy on me. I’ve been consuming a whale of wealth just on me…and then I want mercy.. Allah is most merciful..I’m still elgible…phew….. This place is where Doctors office is. The doctors building is small, the building is the size of 6 single beds…and within that he takes a small space for his treatment room which is the size of 3 single beds… This doctors’ office only has one doctor…a doctor taking reduced fees of 30 rupees per visit…for people who can’t pay, their fees are provided by Caravan of Mercy…10,000 rupees allocated per month for this…that’s around 120 pounds per month allocated for a village of over 5000 people, the doctors’ office is for all and Caravan of Mercy pays for the poor… Next, a few steps to the building opposite and I’m at the chemist, the chemist is a half filled cabinet… This is the village nhs because people come from far…some from 15km plus to take advantage of the health service in this village..makes me wonder for the people that come far then what do they have in their village… This is ridiculous..everyone deserves to be cared for.. And can be if only we cared..

Next up is my stage show…it has to puts smiles on local faces.…I could them then I’m James Bond and I would be treated the same..I’m nobody to them except someone from abroad..There is not much western connection in this place.. unlike gujarat where there are so many non resident Indians connecting and helping their local village. Our chairs are nicely positioned on the stage.. I need a chair, everyone else should stand..I’ve been suffering so I need to sit… These locals should stand and watch my stage show of giving out blankets to the locals..what an exciting stage show for them… I begin to hand out the blankegs.. first one is an old man around 60, IM HANDING HIM A BLANKET!… I’m embarassed..he smiles with joy, He is happy…next another person around 30..i carry on giving..Im speechless, shocked and embarrassed, I dont want to give it out anymore… pass me some good blankets,.these are pretty lame blankets..but I guess the funds for blankets and the need to spread to as many recipients as possible determines the choice…….i look at the next recipient and it Ustaad Aleem…..He is my age..what a smile of happiness like I’m giving him a prize…. all they are getting is a blanket…some of these only earn 1000 rupees a month.. Time to meet a Haafiz Asjadul-aalam….he became haafiz in 6 months and is ten years old…Masha-Allah…These blankets were given out late..winter is almost over…the funds came late..I was too busy at costa ordering a Caterac coffee…next time I wont delay…it’s not’s just blankets! Oh Allah please forgive me..I’ll try to give…better put in ‘try’ because I still don’t trust myself that I’ll give when I get back..I need to be committed… I won’t put my coffee first…

Next stop is to an open field 5 minutes down the road in the caravan, the sewing machines, cycle transport all displayed in front of the stage..a great set up…better than our weddings.. less than the cost of our weddings..and it’s not about just two people getting married. The sewing machine, cows, cycles, lined strange to see’s new to my eyes..Even though I have done it before over the past couple of days….people’s livelihood on display…recipients watching and waiting, they have got their ticket…They put in an application and it’s either accepted if we give enough in charity or they will wait until we do….it’s a show of a lifetime…I speak to Jehangir…an educated local….a cycle Rikshaw generates an income of 100 rupees a day…a sewing machine will generate around 150 rupees a day…an average of 5 people in each family….cost of rice is 31 rupees per kg for the lowest of low quality…each person needs 600grams per day.. I try to play with these nunbers to try and find the formula…I can’t…then it hits me…charity…we need to give more…we need to give it for their Islamic education, general education and economic development… A motorise cycle Rikshaw will earn a family of five enough to easily survive…but I’m not sure if we want to spoil them so much so they can easily survive…carravan must spread the charity to more people rather than less but also achieving self sustainability ….we are just too busy in our suffering with our mobile phones, cars, matching cothes etc that we just don’t have the time to acknowledge what’s happening here…you need to be here..come here next year.. I’m sitting down next to the stage, at the back side of it…I don’t want to go on stage.. Not this one… I’m a fake.. I don’t give in charity, More of my life has been spending on me and suddenly I am someone that my brother and sisters, mothers and fathers think highly of.. I’m not giving..I’m taking credit…tea man comes over and gives me tea…he has not forgotten me even thogh I’m sitting in the corner away from the stage focus…we have forgotten them.. ignored them, been too busy for them and sometimes not even bothered to discover that they exist…. let’s change iA…for our sake if not theirs…

The cows are given to widows who are on their own… 10 to 17 rupees income from the milk sale per cow per day… That’s enough livelihood for a widow “alhamdolillah a widow will make her day with that” says jehangir… is he for real? I’ve never heard Alhamdollilah (praise be to Allah) said with such reality and belief.. A family of 5 needs around 200 rupees per day to survive, Islamic education and other needs….We need to learn the formula..

They all coming one by one as their names are called out to pick up their livelihood, . lifetime achievement award handed at the middle or end of their lives…Alhamdolillah..

These people, I’m not sure if I’m included but I hope I am with Allah’s mercy, will be given jannah by the most giving Allah, iA.,.reminds me of a hadith Moulana taught me..the poor wll enter jannah 500 years before the rich..will I be hanging around settling my accounts for 500 years, worried for that long which way my scale is gonna tip…..unless Allah showers his mercy on us…No one looks sad here.. they are all happy….Alhamdolillah..

Still sitting next to the stage, Ronnie gives me the ticket slips to hand out to widows once their name are called out..I’m gonna sit and do this…can’t be bothered to stand..too tiring..they’ll come to me and collect their giving..I do it in the uk unknowingly..putting money in the charity box….epitomised by me here..I’m representing..I’m getting rinsed with self-embarassment in my thoughts.. I feel bad.. selfish..I’m still thinking about me and my feelings…. An old man comes taps me on my shoulder..he has one leg.. should I consider him fortunate?..I don’t know what to think, my thought process is confused. He is asking for money..I tell him “later”…brother Abdbul Gafar shuffles him away ..I’m too busy giving to the poor, writing this blog to put my hands in my pocket…I got big notes only…other people might come to ask…I’ll give him something later iA….please forgive me Allah for my laziness in the midst of giving..I just realise some one is filming me… start acting..pretend to look serious and upset than I am..i have the,luxury of acting..not these people…the rubberband holding my slip is getting loose.. Insha Allah it will stay tight for longer next year when the caravan is back again….not all the women are’s the poor…the nation of poor…some of them are better off than others judged by seeing if they are wearing slippers or not…most had slippers..does that make them well off? I’ve just tuned myself to busy my thoughts around the competition of wealth , who is more well of than the next widow and forgetting that they are all poor…shaytaan is right on my shoulder…I’ve given him a good seat on me…..I’ve finished handing out the widow slips..I did all of them.. Be proud of me..i did it all whilst sitting giving…

I receive news that our caravan that broke down in Bangladesh is still being repaired and they are still on their way home..Mamajee has not reached home yet…

We hear a couple of ‘success’ stories from previous recipients of Caravan of Mercy donations:

A widow who was given a cow two years she is no longer begging and able to feed her family, another widow who received a sewing machine, she has stopped begging and is now able to feed her family…another person 62 years old, he put in an application for a rikshaw. Today he recieved his 100 pound Rikshaw…

Another person who got a sewing machine three years ago, today he has 5 people working under him and he is becoming a donator to caravan of mercy..

Caravan gave out 35 ricshaws, 35 sewing machine and 35 cows…Alhamdolillah…Caravan of Mercy is the means of doing great work but there is soo much more to do and so many more places to reach…

The one legged man is stopping us..he wants to speak to Moulana..I noticed he also has one hand…he wants to get his daughter married…he is asking for money, 20000 rupees…the groom family have asked for that amount as a type of dowry..Moulana refuses and says we will help but not here…break the marriage..don’t get her married’s give dowry not women…The poor father lingers…keeps asking…it’s too real..too stupid that tradition has overtaken common sense and islam…but he is a father and this happens too often…he wants his daughter married…he says he will break his daughters rishta but is still worried what the village people will say..he travelled far hoping to get help here hoping there will be something for him…

Moulana has asked him to give his name and register with Caravan of Mercy…iA something will be done

We notice people taking home their livelihoods, the cycle transport helping someone take their cow strapped to it, some helping others carry their sewing machine… It’s nice to see this…Caravan of Mercy have helped this area in being the means of providing livelihood and education through these event..

We pray zuhr namaz in the local mosque…it’s less than simple… We have a lunch dawat from a local brother…the food is lovely…the kitchen is an outdoor kitchen…Sajid bhai has a different perspective on this and decides to send the picture of this kitchen to his wife asking if this kitchen will do for their home…it was a clay cooking stove moulded in the ground…

Next visit was a school that just started this year… three teachers who have not been paid for last 6months…the teachers remain for the benefit of the kids.. There are kids eveywhere, on the kids I notice the mixed traditions such as tikka on their forehead of Muslim kids…traditions being confused, accepted and carried out.. the absence of islamic knowledge amongst the older generation resulting in the introduction of confused traditions being instilled into their kids from an early age…. Islamic knowledge needs to be clearly educated to them right now…Caravan of Mercy is setting up maktabs and madrassas and they have plans to introduce an English curriculum education… Whatever size school is built here it will be filled…

We stopped over at a paan shop to get some sweet pan….At a single lane cross road accommodating four way traffic, there is a guy trying to make the traffic at the cross road flow, He has been doing this for past 30 years voluntarily…people just give him a tip as they drive past… Everybody is staring at us as we walk to the pan shop, everybody is starting at us.. Sajid says we stick out like a sore thumb.. Ronnie asks why is that? (With his big DSLR camera around his shoulders)..

We’re back at the Misbahul Uloom Education and Welfare Trust and we have a football match with the kids…5 v 5…bare foot football match…I keep my slippers on…the ground is stoney…Saleh bhai is goal keeper, Ronnie is in defence, me and Sajid in midfield, and Moulana is striker… The kids raw with applause every time we do anything or score… Amazing crowd, most crowded stadium I’ve played in..more people here than the stadium in Dhakka…we win 5 goals to 3 and that’s all that matters…not going easy on them…The kids come and shake our hands..all of them.. I probably shake around 100 hands… They make us feel like celebrities..the kids are soo happy to see us and meet us… An amazing character of these kids.. They are taught so much respect and humbleness here

The lamb has been slaughtered….bbq prep time…. we went to the market and got the grill, chilli sauce and ketchup.. Ronnie has cut some chips and put masala on them.. We’re set.

Tomorrows plan is straight after fajr leave for a village called Teturia to do nikahs…I’m stuffed with food, we’re in the minority…

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Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 7

Last morning in Sirajgonj… the journey of departure is always upsetting… having to say good bye to people that you only have known for a short time but travelling together with a common cause brings us closer quickly

Breakfast is served…my brother would love the food..fruits all the and prawn all the time…today’s breakfast menu is fried eggs, boiled eggs..Amra fruit, Banana, Cauliflower veg dish, Daal veg dish, Pitta rice dish, Papaya fruit, some other fruit, biscuits, tea, yoghurt desert, water and I’m sure I’m forgetting something..They want us to leave on a full stomach..I just discovered Moulana Abdul’s wife has been cooking for us all this time including today’s breakfast…We thank him and his wife.. She must have been up early making all this and I just assumed it was all part of the madressa kitchen activity, the unseen efforts, the energy of the charity work delivered by the women…

…I hate long good fact I hate good byes all together…I prefer say nothing.. just leave….. It’s sad…. We are exchanging numbers with the locals….not sure why….having a friendly chat is not possible..I don’t speak the same language. Our good byes are completed. Moulana Zaharuddin, Moulana Aziz and Mamajee coming with us but all three of them plus the driver will return back from the border..

I’m still looking around and trying to imagine, left and right, all filled with is Ronnie..his imagination described to me as the longest bridge ever…

In the caravan we talk about our experience of the past few days, I mention I still find it hard to believe, some part if me still believes that these guys have got together and telling us a made up story of floods..Moulana has seen it first hand….I need to come here in the raining season..i have seen the poor but not the yearly coupling struggles of being poor and flooded..I agree to coming here during the floods and doing this work… time it will be less road and more boat traveling for distribution….looking forward to it….tourist character is still in me…

Moulana tells some of his stories…when he was Kenya there was no rain for three years.. animals in the field just dried up…a person lost 300 cows thru water starvation…A 75 year old man said he has not seen anything like this in his life.. Moulana says don’t look at their health or clothes don’t know what they are going through just by looking at must stay here for one two months to taste their struggle…we talk about extremes of these places, too much water in one place and no water in another….moderation is important especially in our lives…..make sure I use just enough water..don’t waste….I’m getting better..I used one bucket for my bath today.. Little things that I must improve on in my general way of life….but at home I’m in the shower for ages just because it helps me think….an ignorant extravagance..just to think I’m wasting water because I enjoy warm over me whilst in kenya they don’t have water for their sustenance let alone using water to have a bath…

Moulaba says in ghana once he was handing out money as food was too difficult distribute due to the logistics at the time..he said one lady ran to the village and said hurry, there are people handing out money..go quick..I’m thinking that’s what I would do and almost forgetting to forgetting to try and realise the actual events…

Around 60km into our journey and Moulana tells me Caravan of Mercy have installed water pumps in villages around 20km in….We stop for some suger cane .. Even in the last hours; Moukana Zaharuddin caring character for kidmat is embodied in this one stop, on our last journey with us he gets out, runs, negotiates with the farmer, brings back the suger canes, cuts its and gives us suger cane strips…he won’t change for life..I will …I got it easy so I only do easy things for us and others… We must change..we need to accept we can be better..I need to stop comparing with people at the same as us or who have more than us but look at how we can be like someone better than us who has less than us especially in areas that directly involve the quran and sunnah. This will silently, unknowing to us, help the ummah…the sincerity and intention of any effort is effective through Allah’s will, he knows everything and with his mercy and blessing on the day of judgement he will (iA) reward us with rippling effect of any sincere intentions or good actions.

Ronnie and the rest are calculating our time spent travelling in the caravan…The total is approximately 48hours in the space of 7 days……we have grown closer…it’s the end of Bangladesh but the start of awareness, stories to tell, improvement..I hope I remember all this.. I don’t remember many journeys.. little bits here and there.. this journey had more memorable moments.. I need to keep it in me because I’m still too strong in world desires, there is too much world in me.. not enough of bangladesh floods has filled my banks are strong… I must break them and build it again with Islamic bricks…

I’m hoping this jouney last another 48 hours. This journey will be gone. Everything becomes the past…only experience left, lessons, we hope we can interprete, spread and remind mysef why I am lucky and fortunate… I live a kings life compared to people I have been in touch with… If I visited Banglasdesh on my own I would not have seen this life as I have no reason to go to these places and even if I did I would be at a shop buying something, a place where these poor people won’t be…Caravan of Mercy has contacts to survey villages to try identify the poorest among the poor…This journey has put me in touch with them for a little while…

Our caravan breaks down..i dont think it wants us to leave……it’s the age old common problem..the ‘dynamo’ has gone… the driver and the mechanic are trying to fix it..the rest of us are going the chemist for some tablet tea.. the.We are near the border, the signs that we are close to the border are apparent…the indian movie songs are on the TV at the tea station… more hindi speaking people…our temporary caravan has arrived… It’s a smaller one… Mamajee will need to stay behind…that’s too soon to say goodbye to him..i want that extra 20km journey with him…I’m gonna miss him..I started as his guest, he became our guest and host, he became a helper on this caravan of mercy project by the will of Allah., he became the media for caravan of mercy, he then took over the media….but most importantly he has made intention to go 3 days jamat when he gets back, Moulana tashkeeled him…… Tears begin to flow from his eyes as we say our byes.. We all gonna miss him…

We reach the border… strange feeling.. the border is a basically a big pillared gate… then it’s some 15 metre gap before the indian border gates which shares the same style…there are about 5 open borders between Bangladesh and India..It’s always scary, even though you have all the legal entitlements to stand where you are and enter India, the process, the atmosphere and people around make you feel you still are doing something dodgy and they will sort you out to get you through.. A local comes and becomes our agent between us and the immigration office right in front of us, we let him be and help us.. we want to leverage any advantage he may have to smoothen our crossing, before we know it we have 5 guys helping us filling in our immigration forms..… Strange feeling for me to be at the border.. a border separating similar or same people, the end of a country and start of another..a countries gate but i notice there is only a handful of people crossing either way since I have been here, about twenty minutes….i expected it to be busy,like the airport. Its just like the gates to governement gardens, people are having a look but no one is queuing up to get in….i have interesting and strange conversation with stranger…he may be a local, departing or new arrival , he approaches me and gestures a handshake so i respect the gesture..he then says “india”. So i stand waiting for the rest if his sentence , trying to create context and sense, may be he wants directions to india…im looking for the rest of the conversation, may be its written on his head somewhere..i cant find it so i respond back with “india”… He positiviely and negstively nods and walks away…..we are almost done and then its done and suddenly we are rushing, why are we rushing?..does the border have opening and closing times? Does our exit stamp expire?…i dont argue i just quack along, i dont want to be left here on my own, . We say our goodbyes to the moulanas staying..good this has to be a quick goodbye, no time to think..looking forward..making sure i dont get lost between the borders, take a wrong step and the whole indian border police misunderstands me and gives me any grief…..we are rushing carrying all our luggage…whilst crossing the space of 15 metres between the two borders, I take a moment to feel my foot on the ground and try understand my feelings, and imagine as much as i can…ive heared border control stories on the news.refugee stories has alway driven my imagination to what it would be like on the ground..this does not compare.i know….in between the gates i’m not in Bangladesh or In India, I’m neither here or there…I’m no longer departing or arriving ..This piece of land is the complete agreement that there are no agreements..reminds me of the something ronnie told me, burma rohingas stuck in a river border..shaikh hasina refuses them entry into bangladesh and burma has kicked them out..they are stuck in the sea …i prefer not know what happened to them…lucky I’m british…thank you allah fior providing a fortunate life and easy tests….i continue to imagine; If charity was land, then this place represents the amount of charity between people and countries compared to the vast land of the country….I have arrived in india, 2mins to cross a country and the rules have changed.. I leave Bangladesh with an experience and tourist filled two words…’Unbelivably true’; the place, the floods, the people, the suffering, the poverty, the hospitality all unbelievably true… Im in India,..a local comes and guides us to the immigration office.. same thing, different country.. trying to make some money…we again leverage his knowledge to smoothen the process of our arrival…

There are Ambassador cars, Mahindra cars.. We catch a cab (Mahindra Scorpion) to Kolkotta, smooth ride, we notice the trees just seem so much fatter, older.. We stop at a masjid for namaz…A local person at the mosque greets us and places his hands together.. mixed traditions

We have to drive thru calcutta the same pkace as kolkatta..not has taken us over 3 hours just to get through the traffice of Kolkatta… I hate the traffic.. cars don’t move but the horns keep feels like the horn inside at the back of head…i need a tablet tea..

surprised of the length and route …we travel thru long and poor lower back is hurting .. Make me think there people are all over the world and living out their lives unable to reach out…..the poor can’t reach out to us, we need to find them… We reach Lalpur 6 hours after the border crossing, misbahul uloom education and welfare trust, It’s a boarding school, kids all looking out of the communal balcony.. they greet us.. make us feel famous…celebrity status…

We find our beds and we are all knocked out sleeping in no time. Tomorrow is handing out blankets, Transport cycles, Cows and Sewing machines…need a day off..

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Caravan of Mercy SSP Jan / Feb 2013 – Day 6

Fajr time… only had around two hours sleep… Day and night is confused with the travelling… Looking forward to tea, it’s been a long time since I have had tea often with such purpose… Coming out of our tin building and see people are already here… They are about 2 hours early or am I two hours late… not sure….. To the left is a concrete and tin roof mosque… First Saf is filled with the dulabhais, they are dressed and listening to taalim…. Emphasis is placed to give deeny knowledge to people receiving any help… it’s an opportunity to teach, this situation gets there attention… Moulana wants to ensure Islamic knowledge, Islamic importance, Islamic infrastructure is able to reach and continue for them…

I go for a bath, there is big bathroom with a water pump inside… Sajid is in his loonghi, soaped up having a bucket bath… Ronnie is next in line for a bath which is a water pump… next it’s me. Moulana Talha and Moulana Munshi are here running back and forth getting us some stove heated hot water to mix with the water pump water…there is a small roomed toilet…it has a string for a lock… this is all unusual to me but I’m no longer surprised…just got to deal with it….I have to put my loonghi on for the first time in my life, I have avoided it successfully up until now… but now it’s not avoidable.. This bathroom is a shared bathroom…’s pretty easy, but I don’t like it…

In this small courtyard… Moulana performs the nikah’s… Mufti Aziz gives a little talk in Bengali.. I feel the power of it even though I don’t understand it… makes me wonder; we have mufti’s all over the world, some are travelling all over the world spreading deen, some are travelling all over their country to different villages trying to spread deen but spending the same amount of time as one would travel all over the world.. The village Mufti’s are unknown to us… Allah knows them…

This time I try to get a better understanding of the dulabhais (grooms)… Myself and Moulana Zaharul ask 2 basic questions… how much they earn? and how many members in their family?… I know from an earlier conversation that a bag of 100kg rice feeds a family of family 6 for about a month, A bag of 100kg rice cost 3000 Takka’s they eat rice 3 times a day…

These are real people, working hard, no pride, full respect… we look forward to our dinner, we live to eat… they eat to live. I have seen the difference now… The earning average of the grooms is 4000 Takka’s with an average of 5 people in each family. We take a couple of pics… Each of us handing out the starter pack to a groom… more modest in our picture taking today… but still I feel bad… Marrying under these circumstances… your marriage is from charity… they don’t see it this way… but I see it and feel it as I have never been put in a position of needing charity… alhamdolillah… I just can’t understand how they do it… these are real people…

We go to the river bank for a spot of sightseeing… its lovely view…peaceful. You need to be here… I could walk for hours here… I’d like to set up camp here… so peaceful… no politics… dealing with politics between husband/wife, family, friends, or at work that pays me well, but not enough for my bought on debts, is my time consumed worries.. we work hard in the uk… but we are safe…

There is a clinic here for pregnant women….

This scenic river is around 300 feet wide… there are bunches of bamboo in the river.. we meet a local named Haneef, his home is a mud hut with tin roof…he works to survive, feed his family, his mother and father. His parents are living opposite separated by the open kitchen in the middle..he rents his house from the land owner… he had land before… three years ago… but his land got washed away… he shows where house use to’s about 100 foot into the river…but his land is now has river flowing through it..the land touching the river is corroding each year and changing shape like like a trails of a travelling snakee.. the river is getting more and more into the land….. we see this along the river side, land about to break away, half of the foundation of previous homes still remain whilst the other half is the river..amazing but sad truth only because these people are poor and do not receive sufficient help otherwise it would just be amazing…..Haneef, after the floods can’t even go back to his normal life even if he wanted to build his house again..his land does not exist..there is no back for him, ‘back’ is a luxury for him.. he is forced to move on and make a new life with only what he sees around him..he can’t just escape…he can’t buy a plot of land…next year there may be him, his landowner and his neighbours looking for a new place to live if the river gets fatter or changes shape…. Haneef and his neighbours can never plan long term or go to ikea for shopping and think about the house furniture, plan for long term is not possible, but haneef is still smiling…….in one house house they have a rice beater, packaged good here…..

we pray Asar namaz in a local masjid and want to head back to Sirajgonj as soon as the hartal (strike) is over…it’s a 6 hour return journey back.. Looking for mamajee as he did we went for a bike ride on his own and before we left for sight seeing.. I get the mick taken out of again..he comes back just in time so luckily it does not not delay the caravan departure…me and sajid begin to have the same conversations about the driving….the driver is a nutcase..but he is a good driver…

The journey is ok.. we have a few stops having little cups of tea here and there..I think of them as ‘tablet tea’ purposeful and prescribed by me…one every two hours…

One of the stop we have a bhel pure type veg dish… leaves are used as spoons, newspapare for plates..reminds me how nothing goes to waste in these parts of the world.. We are trying to upload our previous day blog… it’s a struggle and Ronnie sorts it from Bangladesh, using tetherd internet from my mobile, blog site from his mobile using a 3g internet connection whilst travelling moving left to right, back and forth, up and down…

6-7 hours later..dinner time.. and moulana tell us his Albania story and how hospitable they are…Crash out to sleep..

tomorrow is travelling to kolkatta.. another 10-12 hour total journey time..I’m looking forward to the experience of crossing the border…

Sent from Samsung Galaxy Note

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