Sunday, May 27, 2007

Damien Rice..

His songs are beautiful beyond belief; beaten only by the immortal Coldplay. They make me want to curl up and smile :)

9 Crimes, my favourite song and video by him.



I haven't embedded them because flash really slows things down, and my blog is already slow as it is.

Emoticons ^_^

  • [00] (.)(.) - No points for guessing ;)
    Naresh will understand this one (^^)

  • :} - A cute little wide smile.
    Naresh introduced me to this, and its my second most fav. Used frequently by him as well

  • *_* - Smile till your eyes become tiny
    I have only seen Elina use this. And that too under rare circumstances

  • :) - Smile :)
    Immortal. Used frequently by Arun

  • :'D - Laughing till you cry
    Hilarity! Utkarsh uses this when he's ROTFLMAOing

  • :P - Tonguey
    Always applicable :P. Used by me, Utkarsh, Praneeth, SidPrak, Elina, Naresh etc at random :P

  • :D - Laugh
    Misused by Praneeth to the point where I have started hating it.

  • :| - :|
    Probably Chintal's favourite emoticon, he uses it ~88% of his conversations. :}

  • =;=;
    A complete mystery to me.* Used by SidPrak to end every conversation. Which is followed by a ":P" by me :}

  • A lot of people don't have any characteristic smileys. And some never use any at all. But almost everyone has used ":)" sometime or the other...

* Its supposed to mean something in Yahoo, but since i don't use it, I'm not sure what :P

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I concede. Opera is better than Firefox in many ways, though I still prefer Firefox :P
One of these is the way non-ascii URIs are handled in the location bar. Goto - You location bar will look something like this:

Lets look at how Opera renders it.

Better innit? Lets look at the Japanese wikipedia...


Much better.

This said, both display the actual article in the exact same way, and the problem is probably linked to bug #150376 in Mozilla Firefox. Not assigned to anyone, but it'll probably be fixed soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Listening to the song that had been stuck in your head all day on Altec Lansing speakers.
Hearing someone mirror the exact same opinions as you in a group argument.
Listening to one of your favourite songs play at a party/club.
Meeting an old friend/crush after years of no contact.
The smell of the first rain falling on dry ground.
Walking into an Air Conditioned ATM at 1 in the afternoon.
Finding a more efficient way of doing something and having everyone agree with you on it.
Glancing at a pretty girl in the crowd and finding her looking at you as well.
Discovering a hard core Harry Potter fan and talking gleefully about how amazing the books are.

These and more are what keep me going through everything ^_^

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why Linux? - I 1/2 ~ Why *BSD & OpenSolaris?

Why do experienced Linux users want to shift to {Open,Free,Net}BSD or OpenSolaris? They're non-intuitive to Linux users, have in general crappy hardware support (except for the wireless drivers in *BSD), and take up a lot of work setting up and getting used to. I'm not talking about "trying out" new stuff, thats an understandable thing, everyone likes to do that. I do it all the time. I'm talking about shifting to another OS.
You might say "same applies to people who shift from Windows to Linux". And you're right! To a certain extent.
Windows to Linux is an exception for reasons which I'll be introducing later; probably towards the end of this series of posts. All I'll say is that its related to "choice".

We have Ubuntu - A distro any newbie can use. And since any n00b can use Ubuntu, long time users of Ubuntu no longer feel "special", people who use Linux have normally been people with a desire to be "different". And they are no longer "different". So they shift to something a bit more unusual; say Gentoo, Slackware, or, for the truly masochistic, LFS (Linux From Scratch). What about those who've been using Gentoo all along? They don't want to get closer to all those Linux n00bs, they go one step higher. They shift to *BSD or OpenSolaris.

Yes Naresh, I'm looking at you. Gentoo traitor. :P

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why Linux? - I

Why should I?

1. Windows is enough for me, never had any problems with it, why bother?
2. Stuff doesn't work on Linux, I won't be able to do the stuff that I do on windows.
3. Linux is not user-friendly/easy to use. I'll end up spending all my time fixing problems with it.
4. How can software made by people for free even begin to compare with software made by big corporations?
5. I'll have to use the console to do everything, how do you expect me to remember all those commands?
6. Everything will be too alien, there's too much of a learning curve.
7. The installation is too painful.

Why do people?

1. They are fascinated by the concept of "Open Source" and its philosophy.
2. They like hacking code, and like playing around with code. Hence they like Open Source.
3. They have to work on Linux/Unix (Yes, most academic work is done on Unix/Linux).
4. They run servers (Linux/Unix/BSD are perfect for servers. I'll come to this later)
There are two more reasons which I will introduce later.

We(Navya) recently held our semester-ly Lecture Series. The lecture was opened by Ankit Rohatgi, where he talked about the philosophy of open source, free software and choice. After ~1/2 hour, I was on stage. I began my lecture (no ppt :P) with

Okay. I'm an engineer. I don't care about the boring philosophy of Open Source, its intricacies and the hype around it. I'm a simple engineer who has to work on Linux, for whatever reason, and hence has to use Linux. And I'm here to show you how you can do all that. And more.

I then started off with the basic things people do on Windows; listen to music, watch movies, use GTalk or Yahoo!, check mail, surf the web, etc and showed them that it could be done with the same ease on Linux as well. I then asked them what else they do on Windows, and then proceeded to show them how it works on Linux as well (and in some cases, better than windows).

The height of the lecture was when one guy asked me if we could use usb keys/music players on Linux. I whipped out Naresh's mp3 player (which I had borrowed from him) and plugged it into the usb port of the laptop I was using to give the lecture. An icon showed up on the desktop showing the usb drive and a window popped up with its contents. I then opened Rhythmbox, which had detected it as an mp3 player and proceeded to play music from it. Sound any different from Windows?

Some people wanted to know if one can play games on Linux. Here's a list of open source games for Linux. For other games, there's Wine and Cedega. All in all, unless you're a hardcore gamer, you will be able to play 90% of the games you play on windows on Linux.
For completeness, lets list it all out[1] (for Ubuntu, the most popular flavour of Linux):

Daily Use:

  • Web Browsing ~ Firefox*#(default)

  • Music ~ Rhythmbox#(default), Exaile

  • Movies ~ Totem(default), MPlayer*#, VLC*

  • IM ~ Pidgin[2]*#(defacto standard), Gajim, Tapioca

  • E-mail ~ Evolution(default), Thunderbird*#(most popular)

  • Image editing ~ GIMP*#(default)

  • CD-Burning ~ Nautilus[3](default), Gnomebaker, Brasero#

  • Document Editing ~ OpenOffice*#(default, compatible with MS Office)

  • PDF Reader ~ Evince(default), Acrobat Reader*#

  • Photo Album management ~ Picasa*, F-Spot(default)

  • p2p Software ~ Azureus*#, Linuxdcpp#

  • Desktop Search ~ Beagle#, Tracker

  • Desktop Applets ~ Gdesklets

Advanced Use:

  • C/C++ Compiler ~ gcc#(default, the best in the world)

  • Java Compiler ~ Sun-JDK*#(most popular), gcj(default)

  • Integrated Desktop Environment ~ Eclipse*, Netbeans*, many more

  • Vector Graphics Editor ~ Inkscape*#

  • 3D-Modelling ~ Blender*#

  • Computer Algebra Systems ~ Matlab*, Octave*#

  • Non-Linear Video Editing ~ Avidemux*#, Cinelerra

  • Non-Linear Audio Editing ~ Audacity*#

  • Linear Video Editing ~ mencoder*#

  • Many, many, many more.

* Cross-Platform
# Used by me
"Default" means default in Ubuntu.

This obliterates Point no. 2 of "Why Should I?". I'll talk about Point no. 3 in my next post. About Point no. 4,

How many of you have used Firefox? Most of you probably use it everyday. Can you still say that Free Software is inferior to Proprietary Software? If you do, "Why Linux? - III" will elaborate how Free Software is superior to Proprietary Software.

1. I've listed this for Gnome, a desktop environment. Its not something an end-user needs to bother himself about, so I'll talk about desktop environments later.
2. Formerly called Gaim.
3. Nautilus isn't actually a CD-Burning software, its the file manager of Gnome. Similar to "Explorer" of Windows. You can use it to drag-drop and burn stuff.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


And thats how today's morning started. I hadn't slept last night, unlike last night (or was I merely thinking so?), things were going wrong. Sadistically wrong. My best efforts couldn't stop me from making blunders or being subject to them. It was hot, it still is, I was missing something, but I couldn't say what. I felt as though something was wrong; was this a dream?
Then I came across this page. Momentary delight, I was floating. "Surreal", "Leaf", "Interpretive" was what I chose, and it led me to a sight worth beholding. A rush of colour and emotion, I was overwhelmed. And right before that, it said unto me, "Hello surreal leaf, you are who you are (thank you for being here)".
But things are now as they were... If only they would emulate a time further back.

I long for the time when, I long for the time when;
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness releases me.

EDIT: Come to think of it, the webpage actually made me feel worse... No points for guessing why :)