27 September 2004

DVD backup on Linux

I was finally able to backup a DVD that I bought on a DVD+R and a DVD-R. I had been planning on doing this for a few days, but did get down to it. So yesterday, I did a little search about DVD writing in Linux and how to copy the data from a DVD to your HDD. Here is how I did it:

  1. Copy data from the DVD using the following command and you will get an iso image for the DVD.
    $ dd if=/dev/hdd of=/data-disk/dvdimage.iso

  2. To write the iso image to the DVD-R or DVD+R, use the command
    growisofs -dvd-compat -dvd-video -Z /dev/hdd=/data-disk/dvdimage.iso

You will get an exact copy of the original DVD. The DVD I copied did not have a region lock, so I don't know what happens if your hardware is not for the same region. I will try doing that if I can get hold of some other region's DVD (..he he ..just for fun).

I didn't get the max speed from the writer even though it can support it 8x. The writing speed also depends on the media used, which may not be fully supported by your hardware. To check media support use the following command:
dvd+rw-mediainfo /dev/hdd

Above /dev/hdd should be changed to your dvd drive's device listing. And /data-disk/ is a partition (25GB) on my HDD for huge data storage. For copying a single sided DVD you should have more than 4.2GB of space. For double sided its around 8.3GB. For the backup process, I used my NEC ND2510a Dual Layer DVD writer.

Beware! JPEG virus exploit is here.

As expected, someone has already put up an exploit making use of the JPEG vulnerability announced by *Misrocoft* about a problem in their GDI driver that processes the way JPEG images are displayed. It was posted on Usenet today (26, Sept 2004). More detailed information can be found at http://www.easynews.com/virus.txt and it also contains the link to the file, so be careful.

17 September 2004

Using feed readers

Yesterday I had just bumped into Liferea(Linux Feed Reader). A free RSS, ATOM, etc feed reader for linux users. I was impressed with its ability to show feeds like I reading good email without junk. It is also capable of searching feeds from Feedster and showing it to you, all from within Liferea. Smart isn't it?

And just after an apt-get today I found new official packages for mozilla-thunderbird 0.8 were available for my Debian box. Thunderbird also has a nice interface for a feed reader. It can be made much more powerful by adding the Feedster search feature of Liferea.

The only feature I was expecting theses feed readers would have is to show comments too. Wouldn't that make the blogs like really "tiny" newgroups. Hope the people using newgroups do not stop using them with all this blogging thing happenning now.

15 September 2004

N|vu nightlies coming soon.

N|vu the standalone version of Mozilla composer will be soon available as a nightly version build on an old PC. The builds will be FC2 based. This info was given out on the main dev's blog.

What about nightlies for other architectures? Hey, its progress being made, albiet step-by-step.

Spread Firefox : Button campaign!!

The Spread Firefox team has announced a preview release of their beta website. They are aiming to get a million downloads for Firefox's latest 1.0PR release. Also, the site will monitor the number of visitors which are referred by your webpage/weblog with a new set of shiny buttons available from the same site. I'm sure the target of a million downloads will be achieved easily as was the case with the Download.com review campaign. However, I noticed one surprisingly odd thing regarding the Button campaign:

Most of the Mozillazine.org hosted weblogs do not support Firefox buttons!!

Out of the 24 hosted weblogs, only 8 of them support the "Get Firefox" buttons. That is only 1 out of 3!! And out of the 8 which support those buttons, they are obvious on only 5 of the weblogs. By "obvious" I mean that one doesnot have to scroll the page to make the button visible. Also, there are some dead blogs among them. If the dead blogs are not considered, its still only 8/18 ~ 44.44% of support from the very people who are closely linked to Mozilla.org/Firefox. (I did consider Asa's blog in the 5, but it could be debated as the button on his blog is visible but hidden and looks like the part of the image on the left side of the page)
The Mozillazine.org hosted weblogs should have been the first ones supporting the buttons as these people are linked to Mozilla.org more than anyone else. The button campaign should have started from within the Mozilla.org community. Still, it would be a good move if the Spread Firefox team contacts the respective weblog owners and requests them to include "Get Firefox" buttons on their weblogs.

10 September 2004

Nvu CaScades UI review

I have had a hard time learning how to use Nvu's CSS editor. While I was learning myself, I did write down a few points to remember and over time it has developed into a decent tutorial/manual(although now that I read it again, I think it needs a redo for better flow and structure). It can be found here.

Also, there have been others like me who struggled to find ways to use its functions. Below is a simple review of CaScadeS's UI from a beginner's point of view:

Nvu CSS editor, CaScadeS, is a very easy way to style your webpages. It is capable of using inline style rules, internal style sheets or even external style sheets. You can easily have alternate (multiple) style sheets attached with your webpage when using it. And the final style sheet code produced by the CSS editor is standards compliant.

However, for the new users the CSS editor is something they have to "learn" to use rather than being an "intuitive" interface. Here are a few suggestions on how to improve it:

  1. Saving of the style sheet should be made more obvious. As of now, style sheets can be saved by first creating/editing rules in the editor, closing it and then clicking the "Save" button in Nvu. Untill unless someone tells the new user that he has to follow this procedure to save the style sheet, I don't think he would beable to "discover" it himself.
  2. Buttons like "Link elt." and "Style elt." need to renamed to something more obvious. As Nvu is aimed at a general user and not at web designers, the button's function should be such that it "speaks out" its own function. Even having tooltips for these buttons would be really helpful.
  3. I have read somewhere that the "Down" button is still pending implementation. I wonder how hard it would be to implement it when the "Up" button is already working (though the opposite way!).
  4. The CSS editor window design has some serious bugs. For example, if there is an image linked by a rule and the corresponding image's path is too long, users loose the visibility of "Close" button.
  5. Automatic focus on default style sheet. When one opens the CSS editor, no style sheet is selected and the user just gets a blank right-pane. A style sheet should be automatically selected (may be the default one). This way the right pane won't look plain blank but show basic info about the selected style sheet.
And for those who know the web designing well, it would be really helpful to include a feature to add comments in the style sheets. Every web designer knows that when a style sheet becomes larger, comments are the only tool to make logical sections in the style sheet.

I hope the Nvu developement team considers the suggestions given above and implement atleast some of them to make the css editor a better tool accompanying Nvu.

Back online....

Finally, I'm fully back online. For those who are still wondering what happened:

I couldn't browse several sites for the last week and the audio was gone too. I tried solving the problems for a couple of days, but was unlucky. Finally, it all started with me working into the wee hours to "clean" someone's Windoze machine and the very next day I was able to solve the audio problem on my Linux box too. The "Timed Out" error for several sites too long but I was satisfied to get to the root of the problem. I guess this is what happens when you stay on the burning edge with Debian Unstable.

My next small project will be tinkering with Gmail, will post if successful. And did I forget to tell that I have 4 spare Gmail invites!! Drop me a comment with unobfuscated email address if you want an invite.

1 September 2004

Mozilla.org's new website design

Mozilla.org published their redesigned website. The new design is a sleek one and looks pretty modern. Good Work.

I think these kind of changes are important as the old website with the "ochre" kind of theme was also a good design when it was revealed. Redesigning directly shows that the organization is actively developing their products and attracts users (old and new ones) when there is a redesign.

Guru Granth Sahib: Quadricentennial Celebrations

Congratulations too everyone on the 400th anniversary of installation of Guru Granth Sahib. The teachings in the scriptures have become more and more important to be understood and practised in the present world for peace and prosperity.

In Pictures, PhotoEssay, Celebrations, News1, President's message, Eternal Guru .