Sunday, 16 August, 2009

Mass or weight

When I say that my "weight" is 70kg, do I really express my weight or am I expressing my mass ?
Not that this is going to have any effect on my resolution not to diet. But I am just curious.

Wednesday, 22 July, 2009

I want to do this,
Some day....

Wednesday, 1 July, 2009

I want to start my whole life again.

Wednesday, 13 May, 2009

Indian English

While reading random Wikipedia documents, I stumbled upon this. I never realized that we Indians do have a style of English so different from typical British or American forms. I used to think that the main difference is just the pronunciations and some grammar which is directly inspired by our respective mother tongues. Read the wiki document if you have nothing constructive to do. It's nice.

Monday, 11 May, 2009

No Desktop Calendar ?

Calendar is something we all need to refer to while planning things. I have been a Linux (with KDE) user. KDE has a small calendar app which pops up every time you click on the date. It just lets u go thru the dates if you are not an admin. Makes perfect sense. I recently installed Win XP - SP3 and I realized that unfortunately a normal user (who is not an admin) CANNOT double click the date to see the calendar. So I begun hunting for a simple solution that is
1) Light weight
2) Does not come with a lot of nonsense I don't need.
3) Is installable as a non-admin user.
4) which just sits in the corner (say system tray) and is invoked if and only if I click it.

Surprisingly I haven't found ANYTHING that satisfies all three conditions. Almost ALL of them need administrative privileges which is something I find hard to understand. Why do you need admin privilege to build an app which provides READ ONLY access to system date. I cannot understand this ...
Even mighty google does not have solution. There calendar widget is the funniest widget I have ever seen. It keesp changing size for no apparent reason(also BTW Google widgets need a platform installation which again needs admin privilege. And I realized that I dont need most of the stuff it offers).

So far the best I have is a firefox add on which sits in the corner of my FX3 and provides the same functionality. But if anyone knows of a simple solution that works please let me know.



Monday, 27 April, 2009


From BBC News article :
"... 12 children were killed in Lower Dir on Saturday after playing with a bomb they mistook for a football."

Our neighbors are in deep mess!!

Saturday, 18 April, 2009

Too many editors drive you crazy

We like to get used to things we do. Like using a text editors. Most of us are so used to using editors with GUI that after every few lines we mechanically press Ctrl+S to save our work. However, It becomes a real PITA if we are forced to use different editors with totally different shortcuts.

I have ended up in a very frustrating situation. I used vim for some basic shell script editing (especially when connected through ssh). For all my local work I used Kate or Kdevelop (KDE IDE), both of which are pretty standard when it comes to shortcuts (so Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V and Ctrl-S works). These days I have been using MATLAB a lot and that too using X11 tunneling :-( Although basic MATLAB editor is standard, the one which uses X11 tunneling has a totally different (and weird) shortcuts. For example, to save, you have to use (Ctrl-X Ctrl-S) and to copy Alt-W while (Ctrl-W) and (Ctrl-Y) is for cut and paste respectively.

The problem comes when you get used to using all of them. Now I type :w in matlab and expect it to save stuff or (Ctrl-x, Ctrl-s) in kate and wonder why did it cut the selected text.

It looks like even though this is exagerrated, it is not very far from truth :-) User interfaces do have profound impact on the way you do work ...

Wednesday, 15 April, 2009

Long time .. no post

I am coming here less frequently. I started blogging mainly to get rid of frustration and to write random crap I will not talk about otherwise. But the priorities have changed now. I am getting less and less time to spend here. And have even fewer things to write about.

Friday, 27 March, 2009

So close , yet...

After getting totally pissed off with kopete in KDE 4.X, I finally decided to install Windows XP with VirtualBox. First, I was amazed at how smoothly everything .. just works. I even managed to make Windows detect my USB webcam. Though never really succeeded in getting it to work. I could play in windows and hear them. Everything seemed to be going well. Alas, for some god forsaken reason my microphone wont work in Windows. No matter what I do. Windows does detect it. I mean, sound recorder does attempt to record. But nothing gets recoded. I did some searching and realized that it is a well known problem. Mic seems to be working for some users. However, a lot of them have the problems.
I will just wait and see. I went through all the pain just to get my voice chat enabled but .... Afsos :-(

Monday, 16 March, 2009

Skiing is fun

The spring break is finally over. The classes have resumed and a loads of work is coming my way. But for some reason I have chosen to bask in the relaxing memories of the week just passed.

Sunday, 1 February, 2009

And now compiz is working

I am going to continue my pointless rants about KDE and compiz.

I wanted downgrade KDE back to 3.5.10. I figured that there is no direct way of it. Apparently the "4" in KDE 4.* is not just a version number. KDE 4 is treated as a different software (I maybe wrong here so correct me if I am). Ergo, to downgrade KDE 4 I will have to downgrade to Hardy. Because KDE 3.* is not available in Intrepid. Wow...
Further, downgrading Ubuntu is technically possible but is a not so straight forward. For no apparent reason, I installed GNome along side KDE. And voila... Compiz is suddenly working like never before. It also provides most of the features I liked in KDE3. So now, I have finally settled down with KDE4.1. Amarok2 is the only thing that has issues (mainly coz I am using gstreamer backend for phonon).

Although compiz in KDE seems to be working well for most of the people out there (even without Gnome). I believe there is something in KDE compiz that still is loosely tied to Gnome. So it requires Gnome to be present in order to run properly. I should be doing more testing before making such propositions. But now that things are working well for me I simply do not care....

Saturday, 17 January, 2009


While I am at cursing KDE4.1 let me also do it a bit more.

One thing we all accept is KDE 4.1 is "cool" period. Only other desktop more funkier than this is probably a Mac. It has some really nice features. Especially the idea of not having an explicit "desktop" and letting any (and many" folders to become desktop is appreciable. The widgets etc is also good. Unfortunate thing is Compiz STILL doesn't work for me. It blows me all out after the install. But my desktop simply freezes on a restart. I think Compiz does not like my ATI Radeon X1100 :-(

I know SEV, that it works on your ATI but I am so far not lucky with it.

No.. But Compiz is not the reason why I am upset with KDE4.1. In fact I am least bothered about it. Its the shortcuts I am mad about. For some reason KDE4.1 cannot recognize WIN key so ALL my customized shortcuts are just gone. WTF. The main reason why opted for KDE is custom shortcuts (for almost anything and everything, if u knew existence of kmenuedit). I do understand that it is matter of fixing the WIN key issue but I have been unable to do so and that drives me mad.

So ... all this have caused me to lose all the excitement about KDE4.1. Yes, it may be the thing for some of you but I would not mind going back to 1.5.10 if there is an easy way of doing it.

Amarok2 and OSSv4 is a disaster

I am a religious supporter of OSS4 over ALSA. I recently upgraded to KDE4.1 and came across this shitty sound system called phonon. Apparently it is supposed to improve the whole user experience but it murders it. The worse part is Amarok2 is insane enough to assume that phonon is always going to work. WHAT CRAP. The best part abut amarok1.* is that it lets you select your sound system. However, phonon simply cant see OSS. So basically Amarok tries to play sound without managing to get anything out of your speakers. The (only) good part is old faithful VLC (and mplayer) just works as it used to.

While doing a frantic forum-googling I just realized that other than some more funky looks and this phonon shit, there is nothing in Amarok2 that will really excite me (No I am not a big fan of having widgets in everything window doing needless crazy stuff). So I simply downgraded it back to older amarok.

So if you expect you multimedia player to manage your collection and play it properly Amarok 2 is just not worth the pain. OFC if you are already "pulsed into alsa" then go ahead and try it.

Sunday, 11 January, 2009

I have faced problems getting ALSA to do everything I want. So I switched to OSS instead. I must say, OSS has been way better that ALSA. But little did I know about the potential problems when I recently upgraded from Hardy to Intrepid. It seems that Ubuntu (to be more specific Kubuntu) has undergone some changes in the way packaged are organized (Just my guess....) . Even adept-manager has changed its name to just "adept" with "manager" as a command line argument. So basically (k)ubuntu won't upgrade/remove my existing OSS. Fine. But It couldn't even detect it. Worst, It assumed that there is no sound system so installed alsa. WTF ?
So I had this OSS installation which ubuntu was agnostic about. I had another alsa installed which for some reason never worked. Ubuntu won't let me remove existing OSS. It won't let me install the fresh one. I got following looking errors :

/var/lib/dpkg/info/oss-linux.prerm: 3: source: not found
... and several others

So basically I was stuck in a deadlock. From the error I kinda assumed that it has got to do something with the installer/uninstaller scripts (or related files) being misplaced. So I manually removed (after taking a backup ofc) all the oss related files (/var/lib/dpkg/info/oss-linux*) from package database. Just tried to install the oss again

sudo dpkg -i oss-linux-4.1-1051_amd64.deb

Voila... dpkg assumed that my previous package files were corrupted but did a fresh reinstall. Ofc I did get this ominous looking (serious) warning:

dpkg: serious warning: files list file for package `oss-linux' missing, assuming package has no files currently installed.

But in end of the it did what I wanted to.

I still do not know if there is a correct way of doing this. Please note that we are actually fiddling with package manager's files which may cause very serious problems. If anyone knows a better/correct way, please let me know.

The main point of this post is to document my experience. Because I didn't find anyone else who had faced a similar problem. So this may be of some help to someone who is facing similar problems.

Friday, 9 January, 2009

Conclusions from my latest "research"

Rule 1:
You are so busy with your course work during the semester that you hardly get time to do research

Rule 2:
Once the semester ends, your mind goes in "vacationing" mode which renders any efforts from your brain to do research useless...