23 December 2006

Barbara Walters: Heaven

Heaven: Where is it? How do we get there? was re-telecast last night on ABC. I still remember that they showed the same program last year and that too just before Xmas or the holiday season (whatever you prefer). I don't understand why they aired the program again? It wasn't any different than the one shown before! Had they done more research in finding Heaven by traveling to a another dozen places around the earth, it would still be understandable. So I'm still baffled.

What I do know is that one can't find Heaven by asking questions to well known people in a dramatic and sensational way!

19 December 2006

Is Winter Here? Finally?

I see a few snow flakes flying around in the wind. Looks like winter is coming here! Or is it? Will have to wait and see.

/me goes to get my winter jacket and boots out in anticipation :)

17 December 2006

Bad Vista


Follow the link to get enlightened Bad Vista.

16 December 2006

Sleep Patterns

I'm glad to know that its normal to have weird sleep patterns after long flights. Joey is having trouble getting back his sleep patterns after his flight back from Germany. For me the distance was almost double but I'm glad that I don't feel to sleep longer than normal.

I have been going to bed early, and by early I mean really early i.e. around 2100hrs. I start feeling sleepy around 2000hrs but I do drag on for another hour or so. Then I end up waking up after 6 to 7 hours. The major problem I had was trying to keep awake while watching Casino Royale last night. The movie was good and probably the only reason I was able to keep my eyes open. In the end, I was tired of keeping my eyes open and just fell on my bed on reaching home.

On the brighter note, I think working in the early morning might be a bit more productive than late night. I have to test that more and if it is really the case, I will have to stick to a new schedule as I have always been more of an owl than an early riser.

PS: One thing I learnt this time during the flight -> drink lots and lots of liquids during flight. Keeps you hydrated and keeps the digestive system normal too.

15 December 2006

Protest: µsoft-Nowell

Ken Hughes (GNU/Linux Debian):

Hey guys you remember Novell. The tall leggy blonde that stayed up at the buffet in every man's face? You knew she was for sell....standing there with all her Yast hanging out! I am glad we stayed away from her! She has caught Mono from a contact with Microsoft! The payback will be greater than she can bare......she will be back to cry on each man's shoulder. Just kick her to the curb. Oh, me? I have a excellent girl named Debian. We just hang out with our friends and work it! Where is my copy of GPLv3 do you know?

Read to be informed and Protest the µsoft-Nowell patent agreement.

14 December 2006

Beta is Beta afterall

Blogger Beta has been here for some months now and users are given the option to move over to the new beta if they wish (transitions seem to come for a few users at a time and not all). I have resisted the temptation of using the new features and I think I'm glad that I have waited. I have noticed users not able to publish images sometimes, and often the result is all jumbled up because blogger lost an image while publishing!! The most recent problem I noticed is not being able to comment (for a bigpanda ;) ) and as comment system does not recognize the username and password! Surprising that it is allowing me to post here, but not post a comment :(

On the brighter side, the planetplanet installation I maintain is able to display images users upload to blogger.

29 November 2006

Ducklings and Right of Way

Interesting. I hope other places were like this too! Where I am right now, the right of way is decided by the size of your vehicle or if same how loud your vehicle can honk!

22 November 2006

Treasure

Keyboard shortcuts are from a whole new world when you shift to a Mac. Today, I found a very important page of documentation about Mac OS X. It will make life easier for those who want to use keyboard shortcuts while using their Macs. It's like I found a treasure today. Although there is one shortcut which I didn't find on that page: ^+Eject (Ctrl+Eject) - my find to get options for Sleep, Restart or Shutdown.

Announcing: Lenny

Just recently announced: Etch + 1 = Lenny

NB: its not a mathematical equality ;)

Italian Delight

A friend of mine, who knows I love Panettone, sent me the link for its history[wikipedia.com]. This season I will enjoy eating the delicious Panettone more than last time. Thanks.

21 November 2006

The Name Game

Whats in a name? When the underlying code is same?

17 November 2006

Mac + Ctrl + 2 finger scroll

An interesting observation: Earlier on my MBP when I used Ctrl+2finger scroll on the trackpad, it resulted in text size increase in Firefox. However, something changed recently (between the Firefox 1.5.0.x and 2.0 or between 10.4.7 and 10.4.8) and the behaviour results in screen zoom! Nice feature, but I liked the text size change better than the zoom which I almost never need! Anyone know how to do text size change in Firefox 2.0 using trackpad?

Update: Found the solution. Disable screen zoom from Mouse and Keyboard Preferences.

16 November 2006

Firefox2 + Edgy Eft - branding bug?


As is common knowledge, Ubuntu's just released Edgy Eft has Firefox 2.0 in it with full official branding. I hadn't used Edgy much except installing it for a couple of friends, and I just noticed that it does not have full official branding. The window icon on the title bar (top left in default theme) is still the old generic globe/world icon (see yellow circle in image). If Edgy is supposed to have the official Firefox 2 branding, should't it be the regular Firefox logo? It seems that Edgy's fox still has some memories left over from the earlier debian based DFSG build and should be considered as a bug.

15 November 2006

Money Stinks

In the last two days, I have seen and counted more money than I every saw at once place ever in my life. My only conclusion is: Money stinks and you better have a few bottles of antibacterial hand sanitizer before you start counting it.

Blogger Main Page on Edgy

Is it only me or does the Blogger main page´s javascript uses the processor 100% for Edgy Eft users? This machine is a running Edgy Eft on an AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 2800+ with 512MB of RAM. It seems to work fine on my PIV 2.0GHz based machine with 768MB of RAM. The only difference being that here I have Firefox 2.0 whereas the other machine has Firefox 1.0.7 (Debian build).

14 November 2006

9 November 2006

IE7 and CSS weirdness

I did the windows updates on one of my machines and they included the IE7 update too. As the Ie7 update was tagged as a security update, I installed it. It took a long time for it to do the cleaning, running the malware tool prior to the install, download updates for IE7 install and then the final installation. Another plus point for Firefox: takes just a few seconds to install/upgrade!

So after the install the windows update prompted me to do the customary/necessary reboot ... aah more reason to love the Tux. Rebooted the machine and then thought about testing IE7. I couldn't do the testing for long as the very first weird thing was enough for me to get me to fire up the fox and continue a normal weblife. The weirdness was as follows: The best feature in Firefox and Opera (and other modern browsers) is the ability to zoom. This feature was very limited in IE 6.0. I tested it in IE7 and was delighted that they offered more levels than 6.0. But when you zoom out (<100%) you will notice something quirky on some pages e.g. google.com. Rather than the page to simple shrink i.e. zoom out, IE7 also makes it to go to the left. The page content is supposed to be in the center due to the <center> tag. Firefox and others behave as expected and just shrink the page without anything else. Why does IE7 go and do stuff differently? Is this where a browser can implement the CSS rules as it likes? Or is IE7 just ignoring CSS standards where it wants to?

PS: google could do better than using <center> tags too!

Thanks for Avesta

Did I thank you enough for introducing me to Avesta? It is one of the best restaurants I have been to in the last year or so. And it was a great evening spent with you.

Thanks again

Airplane seat belts and Passengers

Everytime I board an airplane, the captain of the aircraft always annouces the following (or a varation thereof):

(seat belt indicator lights turn on) This is the captain speaking. We are almost at the end of our flight and will be starting to decend in a couple of minutes. The weather is ....weather report.. Please put your seat belts on and keep them fastened untill the seat belts indicator light turn off.

The indicator lights only turn off after the plane has halted on the terminal and the gangway has been connected. However, the passengers never forget to take off their seat belts as soon as the plane lands and and starts to go slowly towards the terminal.

Why is it that they cannot understand the clear instructions given by the captain? (the instructions are usually given in languages spoken at the ports of takeoff and landing). A clear and draconian solution to this is a master switch which controls the opening of all the seat belts once they have been fastened just before landing. This way the passenger safety can be guaranteed with no mishaps in case there is a big bump while on the way to the terminal.

PS: Yes, I'm mean ;)

2 November 2006

Bye-Bye American Express

Dealing with Amex has never been a pleasure and this time it was just too much.

To the Amex Management: Hanging up on a customer when they call in to activate a renewal card is rude. You just lost whatever business you got from me.

31 October 2006

Web Photo Scams Across the Ocean

Just read Daniel's post about aigars.co.uk and web shop scams, particularly in the photo camera world. Nice find Daniel. Photo retailer web scams have been a problem on this side of the Atlantic and haven't heard much about this practice in the EU.

As an example of similar stuff going on especially in NY, check this news report[annoying NYT advert] about the PriceRitePhoto.com scandal. Mr. Don Wiss has been taking snapshots of these dealers' stores and puts them on a web page dedicated just them. The last time I saw a major scam come to lime light was when Thomas Hawk had a brush with PriceRitePhoto.com.

In light of this I tend to buy my photo equipment by going to the store in person :)

30 October 2006

Long web pages and mousewheel

Long web pages are very common in this age of planets and forums and it becomes annoying to scroll the mouse wheel multiple times to go up and down these pages. Firefox does not have the extravagant preferences interface as its venerable big brother to change the number of lines the mouse wheel scrolls on a page. In case you want to change/increase the number of lines scrolled with the mouse wheel all you need to do is to change the following settings in Firefox's about:config.

mousewheel.withnokey.numlines -> 5
mousewheel.withnokey.sysnumlines -> false

The first option controls the number of lines scrolled by one mouse wheel scroll event (default is 1). The second option tells Firefox to use the system's number of lines scrolled by the mouse wheel scroll event. So to remove the dependency on the system settings, I changed it to false (default is true). After these changes, try scrolling a long web page and see the decrease in amount of effort it takes to go down the the bottom of the page.

Happy scrolling :)


PS: Bought a basic optical Microsoft wireless mouse on a deal for $9.99 as a replacement for the last roller-ball mouse on my music server.

29 October 2006

The "Debzilla Affair" - II

Following up on my last post about the Debian-Mozilla affair which is still making the news. It has been going on since around March 2004 when Debian contacted Mozilla regarding trademark issues. Much has happened between then and now, and still continues to happen. I had followed the issue a couple of times when Gerv was representing Mozilla.org. More recently the communication has been going on between Debian and MoCo. As it is difficult to keep track of what taken place in this long ongoing process, I cooked up a page on the main highlights of the affair. You can find it here. Add to comments if I missed something to keep the chain of events intact.

Comments should be kept on topic i.e. regarding the chronology of the ongoing matter. This is not a place to give ideas about what either side should/must do get a resolution.

27 October 2006

The "Debzilla Affair"

Documenting the chronology of the Debian-Mozilla affair which is (unfortunately still) going on. More on this later.

26 October 2006

Release Marathon

It has been a marathon week for different release of open source software. Tuesday, the 24th of October, saw the release of the shiny new Firefox 2.0 and the newest offering of the Fedora Project, Fedora Core 6 (Zod). Today is the birthday of our small but strong new candidate, the Edgy Eft. Edgy Eft is the latest release of Ubuntu Linux featuring lots of improvements in addition to a brand new GNOME 2.16, new artistic artwork, curvy window corners, the new upstart init system, localizations for almost everyone, etc.

So get yourself a gift this fall and install Ubuntu. You can get it from the download page. Although I am still getting the 6.06 download links, the download mirrors should soon synchronise and give you the 6.10 i.e. Edgy Eft. If you use bittorrent, now is the time to take advantage of the distributed sharing technology. Download an Edgy Eft torrent and start up your client. It will ease up the load on Ubuntu's download mirrors.

I just can't wait to install Edgy Eft for a friend this weekend :)

24 October 2006

Mozilla Confusdation™

Haa, BBC is also reporting that Firefox 2.0 has been released. Their ticker on the top says: "LATEST: A new version of popular web browser Firefox is launched". The link sends the user to the news items saying Firefox 2.0 debuts on 24Oct.

Plus BBC has a link on the right side with the text "Mozilla Foundation" but the link goes to Mozilla Corporation website. The image below shows the target link on the status bar when the mouse is hovered over Mozilla Foundation hypertext. So much for the release confusion that this post is named "Mozilla Consfusdation™".

Firefox™ 2.0

No, it has not been released officially yet. But it will be in a few hours when the website updates according to the PST. There have been announcements on popular websites about Firefox™ 2.0 builds appearing on Mozilla mirror network. And as usual people are pounding the mirrors already!

The early news being released on other websites and the detrimental effects it can have on the Mozilla mirror network has annoyed/angered the Mozilla network/release team once again. But did they really expect the ever vigilant community to not post the news the very first chance they got? If they did, they haven't learnt from the previous releases. No matter how much you tell people not to put direct ftp/mirror links, they will. Ok, maybe some won't but many will, to have the same detrimental effect. The naughty kid will always find the jar of cookies/candies unless it is locked away. So Mozilla please stop crying and deal with the 2.0 release.

The question now is not how to hide the releases till the release time, but to have a stratergy which prevents/reduces any early linking mal-effects to the mirror system. Other large OSS projects like Fedora Core, Ubuntu, Debian, etc. also make releases and their mirror systems are under heavy loads during the first few hours if not days. Maybe Mozilla should consult with them on how they can manage during those phases more efficiently.

That aside, I can't wait to start using the new Firefox™ 2.0 which my friend told me has a cool spell check feature and remembers the tabs across sessions.

PS: yes, I was whining about Firefox™ in the last post. But hey, this is 2.0 time now. Lets see how it works under pressure :)

PPS: I'm wondering when it will hit the debian repos? ;)

23 October 2006

Grrr ...... Firefox™

Before closing Firefox™

~/tmp$ free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 775880 768184 7696 0 5660 330800
-/+ buffers/cache: 431724 344156
Swap: 979924 38612 941312
~/tmp$ ps uax | grep firefox
u1 13606 2.7 22.7 472800 176276 ? Sl Oct21 80:17 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox-bin
u1 18930 0.0 0.0 1644 524 pts/7 R+ 16:22 0:00 grep firefox

After closing Firefox™

~/tmp$ free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 775880 582932 192948 0 5900 329048
-/+ buffers/cache: 247984 527896
Swap: 979924 38612 941312

Wow! Closing Firefox released about 210MB of RAM! Ksysguard was showing a memory usage of about 450MB for the firefox-bin process! That explains why it acts like a drunk homeless guy if you run it for more than a day.

18 October 2006

Doing Updates

I'm finally took the plunge and started the pending updates for the MBP. I thought I should do these to have enough time to get it repaired before some travel plans which seem to be just around the corner. A friend of mine did the updates to her Macbook and ended with a blue screen of death!

Almost done now..... rebooting..... and basic updates worked fine. Now for the biggie 10.4.8

Dumb and Dumber and ...

Daniel: you will definitely need to use some French superlatives after using Dumb and Dumber for Iceweasel and Icedove. Iceeape (Seamonkey or Mozilla Suite?) and Sunbird's new avatar seem to be coming out some time in the near future.

Dumbrer is good only for the likes of Harry/Lloyd!

16 October 2006

Introducing Icedove

This came in today:

~/$ apt-cache show icedove
Package: icedove
Priority: optional
Section: mail
Installed-Size: 30936
Maintainer: Alexander Sack
Architecture: i386
Version: 1.5.0.7-3
Replaces: mozilla-thunderbird, thunderbird, mozilla-thunderbird-offline
Provides: mail-reader, imap-client, news-reader
Depends: ...snip...
Suggests: ...snip...
Conflicts: mozilla-thunderbird (<= 1.5-2), thunderbird (>= 1.5.0.7-2), mozilla-thunderbird-offline ...
...
Description: free/unbranded thunderbird mail client Icedove is a
unbranded Thunderbird mail client suitable for free distribution.
The goal of Thunderbird is to produce a cross platform stand alone
mail application using the XUL user interface language.
Icedove/Thunderbird leaves a somewhat smaller memory footprint than
the Mozilla/Seamonkey suite.

Let the flame wars begin :p


Update: somebird would have suited better for a rename ;)

12 October 2006

Windows XP and Ubuntu

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine told me that his laptop's hard disk seems to have died. Various efforts to revive it enough to get back the data (precious images) were unsuccessful. The hard disk was not even detected by the BIOS and was making an awfully loud noise when power ON. So it was time for a new hard disk (the warranty expired a week before the carsh!!).

The hard disk was delivered pretty quickly by newegg.com. My friend wanted a trustworthy installation and so I suggested dual-booting it with Ubuntu and using Windows only when needed. He agreed :)

Out of the 80GiB hard disk, he used 55GB for Windows and left the rest for Ubuntu. I walked him through the installation, over phone - about 2hrs, and the results were awesome. His Intel 2915 wireless chipset was automatically detected and he just had to put in his hex key to start using the uni's internet! After that I asked him to install ssh server and I was able to logon remotely to his machine. I installed other small packages e.g. flashplayer, acroread, etc. and it was all ready to be used. The whole process of installation of Ubuntu required only 1 reboot, and another one only to use a newer kernel. Everything was working: sound, video, wireless, Fn+ buttons for volume, brightness, etc.

After that I told him that everything is done and he can freely use Ubuntu. Then he asked me to double check if everything was installed on the Windows partition too. The Windwos XP installation had already required atleast 3reboots, and then it required a reboot after he installed the antivirus, wireless drivers, graphics drivers, etc. And then a few more reboots for windows updates!!

I'm amazed at the state Linux has reached especially Ubuntu and Debian that it can be installed by someone with almost zero knowledge about Linux, some help via telephone, and that most of the drivers are automatically installed. Kudos to Ubuntu and Debian too.

3 October 2006

Urban Flying Training

The last time I saw a helicopter hovering near my building, I found out it was due to the shooting. So obviously I was surprised to see them hovering over downtown again. I can still see 1 of the helicopter just hovering at a distance and (at least) two fast helicopters doing rounds over downtown. Update:There was a public service annoucement regarding this practice.

It turns out that the armed forces are doing some kind of urban flying training. That is good to hear but I have noticed that people on the streets are looking upwards as I was and look surprised. I hope people driving vehicles are looking straight ahead!

PS: Will get some pics up here soon.

24 September 2006

xserver-xorg

Note to self: If X fails to start on boot, and the console does not show any log for X; check if xserver-xorg is installed or not before anything else!

23 September 2006

New Game at IHT

The International Herald Tribune offers more than just news. They haven't publicised their latest trick game (which is very hard to win) yet! Wanna play?

Go to the news item Google posts court ruling on Belgian website and go to the second page. You just need to do a mouse click on the right most column on the news item and it will take you to the second page. Here is where the game starts; there is a link to Google Belgium website on that page. Try to click on the link and see if you can view the linked website. Good luck ;)

12 September 2006

Apple Store today


Apple Store is currently offline right now and they say "We are busy updating the store for you and will be back within the hour". But I ask them "Is it being updated for me/us really? Or is it that you are trying to get back the sales of iPods at the same level (11.8m) you had in the first quarter of 2006?

Whatever the reason, the result will be new goodies being available in the store soooooooon... go fetch.

Update: We are Back - Just checked Apple Store again and the website seems to be chugging along slowly(now fine, must have been initial rush). No wonder everybody is rushing to www.apple.com after Steve Jobs' annoucements of new goodies. News in the iPod Nano section: colors (for teenagers?), 24 hour battery life, brighter screen, strong Aluminium build, 8GB Nano - yes, that's something. The Al+8GB features are tempting me to have one of those in black :( From the images on the website the news Nanos looks a lot like the Mini! Am I right or my eyes are betraying me?

Update II: iPod Nano 8GB = iPod 30GB = US$249 = CA$299 ..... Interesting.

9 September 2006

iBook in a Museum Already!


In Canadian Museum of Civilization if you go to the Postal Museum, you will will find among other things an old typwriter (Underwood), weighing scales, pencils, etc. Those are things that one might expect to be there, but I was surprised to find that they have an Apple iBook there too! Yes, the Macbooks with Intel processors have replaced the iBook league but didn't they just come out a few years ago?

Seemed interesting so I had to take a snap. The next time I happen to be there I will definitely take the picture of the HP palm top which they have already confined to the back alleys of the museum.

Relegating the flashy iBook to the museum might give an indication that Postes Canada are very advanced and use the cutting edge technology. But are they?

6 September 2006

Lifehacker and RAM

Yesterday, Lifehacker had an article by Adam Pash about adding more RAM to a Macbook Pro. They also setup a the whole experiment along with some playing with a camera to film the whole process and provide a video. Nice setup Adam.

I agree with Adam and some of the commenters who commented that upgrading RAM is a user-installable component but not 100%. My only and the biggest concern is that the process was presented without informing the readers about the most important precaution - discharging yourself off any static electricity. Several components in a laptop (especially RAM modules) are sensitive to static charge and if care is not taken, you could end up hosing your system or the brand-spanking-new RAM modules. I haven't seen a RAM module till date whose manufacturer offers replacement of fried-RAM modules due to static.

So, Lifehacker and others who want to upgrade their laptop/PC with new RAM, do your homework and take proper precautions before you open your computer. If you are still not confident enough, ask an experienced friend or even pay a technician to do it rather than frying something in your system and ending up spending more than you saved!

PS: This post is here because there is no easy way to comment on the original post on Lifehacker and I don't want to request an invitation to comment.

30 August 2006

Wonderful Gift

Yesterday had a surprise for me. It finally reached me, and it is absolutely wonderful. Want to see how it looks like? Here is a smaller version of the image for you, click on it to go to flickr page and view a larger size.

mbp-sleeve

This is a sleeve for my MBP that a dear friend made for me. It is hand made and one-of-a-kind rather than being one of the run-of-the-mill laptop sleeves you can get online. The black part is a coarse silk cloth; used in order to make it more durable. Inner lining is soft and is padded for safety of the laptop. It will be the obvious choice to carry the laptop to the café around the corner rather than the huge bag I use right now. And the best thing is that the older backpack I use for the laptop will take in the laptop along with the sleeve. Niceee :).

I know it is a macbook pro I will have in the sleeve, but still I'm planning to put a nice logo on the sleeve's front side. Here is a mockup of what it might look if I get around to have that logo on it.

MBP sleeve's future

Yes, you guessed it, its the oh, so dependable swirl.

28 August 2006

Apple Background Images




After a lot of delay, I have finally put the apple background images online. Download and use them if you like them. The background images have been resized to match the optimal resolutions on a Macbook or a Macbook Pro. The ones above are only 2 of the 6 available for download.

Enjoy

27 August 2006

What is a mainframe?

A bunch of hilarious videos by IBM(?). Whoever made those deserves a mainframe

  1. Mainframe - The Art of the Sale
  2. The Mainframe - Its a metaphor
  3. The Mainframe - Its a factory

Warning: flashplayer required to view videos

25 August 2006

VLC misbehaved!

VLC is a swiss knife when it comes to playing or streaming audio/video files. I have been all praise for it till now, but I had to pluck one feather off its cap due to unruly behaviour today.

I wanted to test a video created using imagemagick and ffmpeg on my Macbook Pro(MBP). I started up VLC and tried to play the file in it. As I had expected (due to possible unavailability of codecs) it showed me an error that the file is not supported. So I just closed the window thinking I will get back to using a different codec and test later. I leave the laptop with around 87% battery life remaining and went to make a sandwich. After around 15minutes, I was surprised to see the screen still showing the desktop instead of the MBP going to sleep in 5minutes. The battery life remaining showed only 47% remaining!

Started up the good old terminal and checked what the problem was using top. It showed me that a certain process VLC was using up 99.9% of the CPU! KILL, KILL, Terminate was my reaction using another terminal which lead to normal functioning of the MBP. Need to do some bug searching to see if this has been reported.

Moral: Do not leave your MBP/MB around with VLC running. Quit VLC after you end using it.

Air Travel Instructions

Instructions for air travel year 2006 and possibly beyond:

  • Absolutely no liquids allowed. Better pee before you go through the security check.
  • No lipsticks allowed. You can't fool anyone by putting on makeup, your age and other details are on the passport already.
  • Leave laptops at home. If taken along, laptops have to be in checked-in baggage with no guarantee of being returned when you reach your destination. So much for the nights you spent preparing the presentation for the brand new product.
  • DO NOT PLAY with your cellular phones. The in-flight US marshals don't like kids playing with their cell phones while they are on-duty.
  • If you fit the following profile: teenager or older, male, restless/cannot sit still, like to fiddle with gadgets e.g. cell phone, ipods, camera, etc. that you have all the time, are of Asian origin, and follow a certain religion; just don't travel as you will tend to be a possible cause of flight delays and rigourous questioning/interrogation. Sample questions are: How much did you pay for your iPod? What frequencies does your cellphone use? Does your mp3 player play OGG files, etc.
  • Be Alert and not paranoid about a nervous fellow passengers. Nervousness is not exclusivly demonstrated by "dangerous elements"!

Wishing you a happy and safe journey...

21 August 2006

401 East driver

Thanks to a person for giving me company on the 401 East bound today. I don't know who the person was, but it was a brand new white Impala car going at the speed of around 140kmph (in a 120kmph zone). It was due to him/her that I enjoyed the drive cruising between 135 and 150 kmph. I seldom see people who drive that fast and still observe all the other traffic rules.

And hey, I should thank the 2-door Monte Carlo under me for the ride too. It never complains even if you floor it.

15 August 2006

Passengers Banned from Passenger Flights

Just couldn't resist to post a link to this post. Hilarious, intersting and disturbing at the same time.

4 August 2006

Debugging Google Adsense CSS

Google as it turns out to be can mistakes too. These mistakes are common in the programming world and are commonly called "bugs". I ended up finding one of these so called "bugs" in Google Adsense style sheets. It is something that one won't expect from a CSS expert, but there are some days when these kind of things don't come under the radar. In order to see the buggy behaviour(if they haven't patched the system yet - not till 5Aug 12:00pm EDT) you need a google adsense account. If you don't have one, you will have to make do with the screen captures provided below.

Google Adsense control panel has a tabbed interface implemented using CSS which looks good when viewed in Firefox at default text zoom (Ctrl+Zero). But just when you increase the text zoom level even by a single step, text and other elements under the tabs are shifted to the right giving them a left margin equal to width of the tabs above it.

The problem comes from the fact that the anchor links in the inline list of the tabs are floated left and hence when we zoom in with Ctrl++, the anchor element's size increases so that it overlaps the div element under it which is in normal flow. Now as the div element under the tabs is not cleared left, its content is shifted to the right equal to the width of the tabs above it.(cf. Floats)

A quick hack to solve the problematic behaviour would be a clear: left rule added to the div element below the tabs. In the other more elegant(and longer) method, the use of the float behaviour can be dropped as the anchors are already in their list element boxes. Positioning and other properties can be applied to the list elements instread to achive a better implementation of the tabs using CSS.

Screenshots for the problem and results after adding clear property:

Google, where is my reward for the above explanation and solution?

3 August 2006

unpredictable as the weather

Weather has been suprisingly wierd this summer. Just yesterday the temperatures were in the lower 40s with humidex (yes the units are in Centigrade). When I was coming out of a Presse Cafe, a senior lady entered the cafe along with her small dog. No sonner had they entered the cafe that she exclaimed how hot and humid it was outside. The heat and humidity not only affected the lady but also her dog who had laid on the floor seconds after then entered the control atmosphere of the cafe.

So just after a hot and humid afternoon, the gods of rain smiled on us around 21:00hrs. The rain didn't last long but there was some relief from the heat. It looked like it was going to be hot today too. But I was surprised to see incessant rain combined with high speed winds in the early afternoon. I had to run around 20meters to be sheltered from the rain, but the rain got me good even in that short span of time. I have never seen such rain and powerful winds here till today. It reminds me of the rainy season back home. It has been raining after that on and off with bright flashes and roaring thunder firing off the theft alarms of vehicles parked outside.

Lets see what the weather brings for us tomorrow.

31 July 2006

Promotion tricks

Someone management position at apple.com has probably given orders so as to get new and flashy descriptions to basic actions available in all other OSes. I'm refering to the Apple Pro Tip about Copy and Delete at same time. As far as I understand, their "copy and delete at same time" action is basically called "move" in other OSes. C'mon apple, you can do better. Get some new tips up there and stop presenting old polished shoes as new ones.

30 July 2006

Word Verification!!

Apparantly blogger thinks my blog is a spam blog and wants me to use word verification even to post new blog entries. Does my earlier post have anything to do with it? Have to do some research about why blogger thinks this is a spam blog. Till that time I have to go through the wretched word verification process even to post my own entries aarrrrrgghhhhhhhHHH.

Oh BTW it is not that the comments could be a cause of this as they are already protected with word verfication and a warning is there on the bottom of the page that spam comments will be deleted.

Macbookpro battery Xchange

Apple has announced a battery exchange program for the macbookpro laptops sold between February to May 2006. The affected batteries have model number A1175 and a 12-digit serial number that ends with U7SA, U7SB or U7SC. For more details go to the annoucement page and fill out the form on the right side to order an xchange.

Blogger grrrr.....

Is it only me or has blogger changed its policy of serving images to feed aggregators? I haven't been able to view any of the images of people using blogger with my feed aggregator. I have seen a couple of posts regarding the same problem on blogger help google groups. Some say this may be due to a recent maintenance. I hope this is just temporary.

Situation: a feed aggregator didn't show images for posts with blogger hosted images. Clicking on the link (every image on blogger is linked to itself or a bigger version) gave me a 404 error but typing the link addressin the URL bar shows up the image fine. Turning off http referrer in Firefox solved the problem but it is not a solution as it messes up a lot of other things and the solution is per user and not general.

C'mon google don't be so mean, you have lots and lots of bandwidth. Don't break feed aggregators reading your images.

22 July 2006

Efficiency

High Speed Connection hardware and delivery times...


Verizon highspeed 4-6 weeks


Sympatico highspeed 3-4weeks


Dataone Broadband 24hrs: priceless

19 July 2006

Bookmarklet pdoFoldToggle

There was some talk on planet.debian.org about long entries and how to fold them. Erich suggested using max-height for folding the longer entries and Daniel cooked up a hack for Firefox's userContent.css to achive the same.

And as Erich was also suggesting about a "one-liner" javascript, I cooked up the pdoFoldToggle bookmarklet to do the folding.

pdoFoldToggle bookmarklet can fold entries having a height more than 30em (can be changed by changing the value of maxH variable in the bookmarklet) and also undo the action. Hence the name pdoFoldToggle.

If you like folding the posts on planet debian, go get the bookmarlet and play with it.

17 July 2006

Quicktime - sans iTunes

For myself and those people who do not want iTunes® installed along with their Quicktime® installation: Install the standalone version of Quicktime instead i.e. Quictime without iTunes.

Standalone version of Quicktime is available from Apple.com website. They try to make the standalone download link a little difficult to spot as the combined package of Quicktime+iTunes download is plastered all over the download page!

One more thing to notice on their download page is that the link for Quicktime 7 features is dead (both win & mac versions). Why? Shouldn't the obvious link to see what features Quicktime has to offer be working? I would have filed a bug report but couldn't find a BTS link on their website ;)

16 July 2006

Google Firefox page

Isn't it a bit late to still show the Jog.com Companion extenstion for the World Cup on the Google Firefox start page?

Update: Skype Misleads

Recently I had posted about Skype home page to be a little misleading for non-windows users, espeically Linux. I don't know if they saw that post or were awaken by someone else or even just realised their own goof up but their main page now shows a link for downloading a Linux version when visiting their website using Linux. Great work, whoever did that.

That aside, they need to get their main page a little bit of more scripting to filter out information for Linux users. Why do I say this? Because the main page showed said that I could call anyone in the UK using Skype(free for the 15 and 16 July). But the Linux 1.2.0.18 version link they provide does not do that! It can't even be used to call anyone in the North America which has been free for a while and will be so till end 2006. So the kind soul who updated the main page for Linux users has some more work to do.

14 July 2006

macbook::sleep

After reading the apple-tip about making your macbook* go to sleep the fastest way, I thought why not document the various methods of getting macbook* to sleep. They are listed below:

  • Click on apple icon in menu bar, choose sleep.
  • apple tip: Command+Option and hold Eject button for 2seconds.
  • my tip: Control+Eject, choose Sleep (or restart or just shutdown).

Enjoy the sleeping...zzzZZZZ

PS: macbook* = macbook or macbook pro

11 July 2006

MBP Photosession observation


I was playing with my G5 today (not the PPC G5 but the Canon G5) and thought about doing some stills to create some desktop background images for my MBP. The stills came out nice and links to clean images, without any nasty copyright text on them, for the MBP will be put here tonight. However, before I put the images on my server here is an interesting video of what I noticed when I was observing the sleeping beauty with my digicam.

When an MBP goes to sleep, the front sleep indicator light changes its intensity so as to give a feeling of breathing rythm. That is an ingenous idea for a sleeping laptop. While the light seems to go gradually brighter and then becomes dim again, the show was a little different from the view finder of my digicam. The light goes dim and bright while going through a number of brightness levels. If you watch the video, you will see the flickering of the light as it becomes dim and then bright again. The difference comes from the fact that the light is changing the levels fast enough for the human eye to not register the different levels as they pipeline from the eye to the visual cortex is saturated. While the camera's CCD running at 15fps is able to get the flickerings due to some aliasing with the flicker rate of the light.

9 July 2006

Italiaaaaaaaaaaa

Classic display of soccer from both the French and the Italian teams. Although France's first goal lead seemed a little cheesy, but they played first class in the second half. Italy were flying in the first half after their first goal which was the first and the only "real" goal of the game. The Italians were raring to go with their headers and the French keeper Barthez did a very good job of holding them at the bay.

Both teams showed their skill with Italy more dominant in the first half and France in the second. Henry was on fire in the second half, but couldn't really convert those good moves into goals. Don't know what really prompted Zidane to butt-head Materazzi, but that was a really bad display from him considering that he is at the end of his career and is really experienced when it comes to bad mouthing/physical altercations on the field. It was bad to see him go off, but that was the right decision that the refree made. I understand that Barthez was sad at not winning the shootout and hence the cup, but he did as good a job as his Italian counterpart. It was only that David Trezuguet was unlucky to the bar instead of hitting home. Well, some days are like that.

Congrats to the Italians for the win. It was a game of wits in the end. Both the keepers were fantastic. Had not be for them, the game would have finished atleast 2-2. In the end I can say again that it was a fantastic display of soccer (sans a couple of bad events). Now the wait starts for the next World Cup in the worderful South Africa.... just 4 years to go.

PS: BTW, the match was held at Olympastadion, Berlin which was the place for the 1936 Olympics too.

5 July 2006

France to see Italy

Just finished watching the wonderful semi-final game between France and Portugal. France won 1 - 0. Had it not been the foul inside the penalty area by Portugal the match might have gone to extra time. France now meets Italy in the final on Sunday.

Although Portugal was the losing team, France didn't win convincingly. Portugal played better than France overall. Their passing skills were great and they were able to create attacks by stealing the ball from the French. C. Ronaldo tried his best, but I don't know how much he could have done with 3 defenders on him almost all the time. Miguel's loss was bad luck for Protugal, but I think sending Simao in earlier could have helped taking off pressure and defenders off Ronaldo. I don't know how but when Ronaldo took the free kick in the second half, I had a feeling he was going to "Bend it like Beckham". It was a wonderful kick which dropped suddenly and caught Barthez with a bit of surprise.

Overall Portugal seemed to be the better side but had a unlucky day. The match was more or less a fair game with only two yellow cards. France played well but the onus goes to the defenders who kept the Portugese at a distance. Now they meet Italy in the Final on Sunday. But hey, don't forget the interesting game between Germany and Portugal for the 3rd position.

4 July 2006

Gooooooooooooal

Watched the Germany v/s Italy semi final World Cup game. Italy won 2-0 with both goals scored in the last 2minuts of the extra time. The game was fantastic display of skill without too much of foul play. Now to see who they have to play in the final....France...or Portugal...

Skype misleads

Skype as you most probably know is a software which offers voice over IP communication along with an instant messaging feature. Skype has improved a lot with additional features such as video chat being introduced in the Windows version. However, they seem to have forgotten the Linux user base. The last public release version (1.2.0.18) was released on 25th October 2005!

That aside I was surprised to see that Skype website indicates that version 2.5 is available for download without any indication of the operating system required. Apparently, version 2.5 is only for Windows® whereas versions for OS X and Linux fall far behind. It is only when you click the "Download" button on the main page that you realise that Skype for Linux is version 1.2.0.18 (and a very late 1.3.0.30 beta) and version 1.4.0.40 for OS X.

Skype website sniffs the operating system that the visitor's computer is using and then redirects to the appropriate download page. This sniffing process should have been done on the main page so that appropriate information regarding the version available for the visitor's PC's OS is displayed. Displaying version as 2.5 without checking if that is available for that system is misleading the users. Mozilla.com website does this kind of sniffing efficiently and gives you an appropriate link for the version your OS needs. It looks like everyone at Skype is busy enhancing the application for Windows users without caring much for OSX and Linux userbase or even the website for those users!!

28 June 2006

Mumbling....Mac OS X...grrr


Mac OS X got upgraded to 10.4.7 today. The update page starts with the text "Meet the world's most advanced operating system. Again. Instantly find what you’re looking for. Get information in an instant ....". I have been trying to get the inbuilt clock to show the time in 24hr format (in window mode and not in menubar on top right). And this most advanced OS can't do the simple job of showing me time in 24hr. If I check the Use 24hr clock option not only it continues to show time in 12hr format, but the option to show the AM/PM indicators is also available!

I don't know how they rated OS X as the most advanced OS but I do know that my Linux box has no problem showing time in 24hr format and neither does the lame Windoze XP! Apple, should I expect a 10.4.8 update to get this easy functionality in OS X?

27 June 2006

Bell+Domain Name Registration

I stumbed upon Bell.ca domain name registration page from one of those enticing google advertisements. I was surprised to see that Bell also offered domain name registrations. So out of curiosity I went browsing around to find what they charge for the domains. I think Bell is full of surprises as the domain name pricing on their website was a huge surprised. They charge CAD30+tx (atleast 34.50) for .ca, .us, .com, .net, and .org domains! You can easily browse around for domain name registrars and find a few which will offer much better prices with some where you can buy the domain name for around 4 years with the amount you would pay Bell!

Bell does not seem to believe in bulk selling discounts. They will charge you the same CA$30*10 = CA$300 if you register your domain name through them for 10 years. The biggest surprise was that of the pricing of the .info domains. Registring a .info domain for 1 year costs CA$60! I wonder who would to and register a .info domain with them when 1&1& is giving it away for free. Go get one now, only a few days left.

26 June 2006

Silencing your PC

Over the last few weeks I had noticed somewhat unusually loud humm coming from my desktop personal computer (PC). I thought it might due to the warm weather and the PC being running all the time. It runs 24/7 due to the fact that it also run apache and hence is my web server. As it had been more than a few months, I thought giving it a good cleaning session wouldn't hurt. After I was done, I was pleasently surprised! The loud humm was almost inaudible thanks to the cleaning routine I used. Read below how to keep your computer's temperature down and reduce the noise it creats with adding any additional hardware.

Before we start with the details of how to clean the PC, consider this as a warning that if you do not know how to open it up and dismantle its parts do seek the help of an experienced friend. You should be careful when touching different parts of the PC as there is always a change of getting an electrical shock. The most important thing to take care is that the PC should be grounded at all times as a precautionary measure in case you touch a live wire or if there is a discharge of static charge. Grounding of the PC can be achieved by keeping the power cable attached to the PC and turning the power supply switch to OFF position.

Tools Needed

  • Ear buds (Qtips)
  • A fat(#10 - #12) sable hair brush (for fans)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Screw driver (usually philps head)
  • compressed air can (if you don't care about dust flying and settling around you)

Cleaning the Case

Open up the computer case and carefully suck the dust from the body of the case without touching the components of the computer. Most important places are the crevices besides the CD/DVD/floppy drives and any air flow vents on the front panel. Back panel vents should also be cleaned by sucking all dust from there. This cleaning is important because it helps the air flow from the inlet (usually front panel) to the outlet (back panel).

Processor Fan

The processor fan is THE fan which keeps your computer running all the time. If that dies (usually due to dust), the CPU temperature will rise as heat dissipation due to forced cooling by the fan is absent and the computer will stall when the temperature rises above a certain limit. Take out the fan by disconnecting its cable from the motherboard and clean it with the brush and keep the vacuum cleaner running near it to suck all dust. When you are done, there should be no dust sticking on the fins or the frame of the brushless DC fan. Before putting the fan and the housing back in its place, carefully suck the dust if any from the heat sink attached to the CPU. Dust is a bad conductor of heat and hence should not be left on the heat sink or for that matter anywhere on the motherboard or other devices.

Power Supply Fan

Be very careful while opening the power supply. Make sure you disconnect it from the mains when opening it up. The power supply fan should also be cleaned the same way you cleaned the CPU fan so that there is not dust on the fan. Also check the grill in front of the fan and make sure it is dust free. Suck dust if any from the power supply unit if any. Below you can see the images for the power supply fan (before and after cleaning).

Power Supply fan - Before
Power Supply fan - After

VGA Card Fan

These days the video cards usually have a fan seated on the video processor. If you see a lot of dust on the fan, think about cleaning it up but carefully. Cleaning the video card fan is the most demanding task in this routine. I say that because you will have to take the video card out and then unscrew the delicate fan from the top of the processor. As VRAM chips are present near the video processor, you might accidently hose your card if you have static charge. When you are done cleaning and remounting the fan, use the ear buds to clean the dust around the video processor carefully.

Reconnect all the components and wires that you disconnected during the cleaning process and close the PC. Boot it up after connecting the peripherals and compare the sounds the fans make after the computer runs for about an hour or so. You should also make sure that there is ample space around the PC so as to give it ample "air to breath".

What we have accomplished here is that we have made the air flow path as clear as possible by cleaning the case. The fans in the cleaned state are more efficient. Dust on the fans decrease the air flow and hence slows the cooling. As a result, the computer tries to increase the speed of the CPU fan. Increased speeds lead to more wear and tear of the fan and also produces a louder humm. Dust is also the leading cause of failing fans and hence removing it is in our favour.

CPU Heat Sink - Before

CPU Heat Sink - After

A layer of dust on the heat sink acts as an insulator and hence reduced the heat loss. Removing the dust from the heat sink as is important as from the fans. But in case you want to fry the processor, you could leave it on ;)

After following the above process, the humm created by my PC was reduced so much that I had to go and place my ear near its back panel. The cleaning process should be repeated every 3 or 4 months to keep the computer working efficiently. People do keep their places clean but forget about their PCs. PCs need cleaning as much as your household so as to keep them in proper working condition.

I wonder how I will sleep tonight will the reduced amount of humm to keep other noises masked during the night!

23 June 2006

Wrrroooommmmmmmmm - 2

Lots of cars, people, and smell of pot.


F1

F1-05

22 June 2006

Wrrroooommmmmmmmm

Its going to be a noisy weekend.

18 June 2006

[Mac+Linux] Skype privacy bug

If you are a Yahoo! Messenger or MSN Messenger user (no I don't use their respective clients), what do you expect happens when you do not log-off from one machine and log-on with same username from another machine? The usual case is that the first session is broken and a new session is created with the second machine. Pretty normal behaviour as you might not want another person to read what you are talking about with your contacts and moreover you are not on that machine anymore. Guess what, it doesn't happen with Skype. Atleast not when you are behind a router and on the same network.

I noticed today that the session on my desktop (PC1->linux) did not log-off when I logged-in to Skype from another machine(PC2->mac) using the same user name. I was expecting it(PC1) to say that my session has been closed as I had logged on from another machine (PC2). Anyway, as I was just chatting with my contact sitting in the other room under the same network, I didn't pay attention. But it was when I went to PC1 to find a file that I noticed that the whole chat session was being copied on the screen of PC1 too! Imagine this if you are at a public place like a common computer lab in school. What happens if somone somehow guesses/hacks/steals your password. The person can happily logon using your username and password and sit back and see what you are typing and receiving!!

This behaviour of Skype (haven't tested on Windoze!) is critical privacy and security bug. This is a basic feature which almost all messaging clients have by default. Why can't Skype just kick off the user's first session and authenticate him again to start a new one? I don't know if Skype's Windoze version behaves like this. I hope they read this and get the so called "team" of Skype-Mac and Skype-Linux to atleast fix this bug even if they aren't coming out with new releases for Mac & Linux. With the slow development of Skype on Mac and Linux, this stupid bug and the emergence of "free" and open source Wengo(go check out their cute intro), I think I might not be using Skype for long.

13 June 2006

Whine for Mac Whine

There has been quite a discussion about the not-so-recently released Macbook Pro laptops generating a certain whine. People are writing about various circumstances in which the whine gets louder so as to be audible and annoying at the same time. I was following this particular discussion on the so called apple discussions (more rant about them later) and found out that the an earlier discussion had already been wiped off by Apple and another was simply blocked to disallow more posts.

For those interested in knowing different situations the Macbooks are whining, please read the above links. Users have detailed the experiences in detail there. My situation? Well read on....

Apple Whine: I refuse to register for an AppleID to write on Apple Discussions. Reason? Before allowing a user to post on their super moderated user forums, they ask the user to provide them with all their personal information to create an AppleID even if the user just intends to post and ask for help for a product Apple made! I checked for newsgroups and did find a few under comp.sys.mac.* but many of them are closed and are there for archival purposes only. The few which are open, I couldn't find much discussion going on there about the latest hardware. I guess that I have been spoilt by Linux with several places to ask for help even without having to register!

MBP Whine: My Macbook Pro (MBP) has been whining since day one. I have noticed that the whine is audible when on AC power (still have to check when on battery). The whine it seems is more when I'm doing nothing e.g. reading a web page. The more things I make the MBP do, the volume of the whine decreases. This probably shows that the more busy the processor is, less is the whine. Is it the processor which is whining? I don't know. But I'm sure that it is neither the screen which is whining nor does it come from the speakers. The whine seems to come out of the top right side of the keyboard though.

One interesting point: I was able to stop the whine if I kept the trackpad button pressed! In Firefox, this gave me the context menu which was of no use to me, but it did definitely stop the whine (or atleast made it inaudible).

I'm still experimenting the scenarios when the whine is there and when not. As I find out more stuff, this post will be updated. My other whining about the Macbook Pro (for which I should call Apple Support) won't be mixed in this post but in a separate one.

MBP Details:
MBP 15"
2GHz, 1GB RAM
Serial W8612******
SMC Version: 1.2f10

3 June 2006

The Pirates are Back

ThePirateBay.org's servers were ceased by the Swedish police on 31 May and the website along with many other small websites hosted by the hosting company PRQ went down. The raid by the Swedish police is alleged to be done on the behest of the American corporate interests (RIAA, MPAA, etc.) through government channels. The fiasco is gaining momentum with some hackers defacing Swedish police's website along with Sony Music (UK) and Time Warner (Taiwan). Even the Swedish parlimentarians are asking about why/who ordered the raid.

In the meantime, TPB is already back online. Is ThePirateBay here to stay unlike Suprnova.org? It remains to be seen how the situation unfolds next week after the 1500hrs demonstration in Stockholm today. Long live the Pirates.

1 June 2006

Opera devs: Package Carefully!

I had to uninstall Opera 8.52 earlier because its executable was causing a problem with an X.org upgrade to 7.0. The executable was in /usr/X11R6/bin! Why would anyone need it in there? I think Opera's Linux team needs to get in touch with a DD(debian developer) and fix a time to get a crash course on how to package for Debian.

Today I installed Opera 8.54 again for some testing purposes and tried to start opera from the command line. No go! ~$ which opera tells me that there is no command available. On looking for opera in /usr/bin, I found out a wierd symbolic. Details below:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 15 Jun 1 14:44 /usr/bin/opera -> ../../bin/opera

A symbolic link to /bin/opera ? I found a post about this on opera.com. But the post still indicates that the opera binary is in /usr/X11R6/bin! This is certainly not acceptable from Opera developers. I admire that they are packaging a wonderful product in a 4.0MB package(comparing to Firefox 1.5.0.4 8.1MB) but mistakes like the above are just not going to help their task of increasing the userbase on the Linux side.

31 May 2006

Smoking in public enclosed places ends on 30th May 2006 in Quebec.....well the ban is already in effect for the last 70 minutes. Quebec will be a clean province now. Come, now its "Yours to Discover" ;)

26 May 2006

Apple comes to rescue


Even though electronic devices have 110-240V chargers to work all over the world, the problem of different socket standards in different continents still remains. I got a taste of this at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam and was glad that Apple came my rescue.

My Canon G5 digital camera was indicating low battery so I thought I better charge it before I plan anything for my 11hr wait for my connection. I found power sockets at and near the communication center and took out the charger for my camera. It was then I noticed that the plug for charger's cord was a polarized one(Type A new) and the adapter I had (North American Type A -> European Type F) wouldn't take it in. The adapter was only built for a non-polarized plug(Type A old).

I thought about it for a while and then realized that my MacBook Pro's charger has a detachable plug. The detachable plug is not polarized and it easily fit the adapter plug. The charger for the camera was connected to the adapter+plug by eliminating the power cord! So thanks to Apple for coming to my Canon G5's rescue.

22 March 2006

Firefox Alpha 2


Firefox Alpha 2 aka Bon Echo is officially out. Although the hard disk space requirements for Windows and Linux have increased over time to the present 52MB, its Mac OX X installation requires about 4 GB of space apparantly.....that is definitely a LOT! I think I can install almost any operating system today within that space requirement. Since when did Firefox becomes bigger than an OS?

11 February 2006

growisofs & xscreensaver

It is very annoying when xscreensaver jumps in after 5minutes of non-usage of the PC when I'm writing a DVD. Usually the DVD drive takes around 10-12minutes to write a full DVD. During that time I prefer not to do any memory or CPU intensive tasks for the DVD process to continue uninterrupted. However, the xscreensaver just jumps in after 5 mintues of idle time and sometimes the screen saver uses a whopping 80% to 90% CPU which just kills the buffer and the write speed of the DVD writer. I just saw it do down from 12.1x to 0.6x in under a couple of seconds!

Wouldn't it be great that either growisofs or xscreensaver knew that a CD is being written and that the screen saver shouldn't avctivate now. I haven't used KDE in a while but it would be interesting to know if k3b can stop the screen saver while writing CDs/DVDs. I know that while I'm watching a video in full-screen mode, xine doesn't allow the screen saver to jutt in. Can't CD/DVD burning applications have that feature too?

8 January 2006

ALSA sound: my hack

I have had problems with ALSA sound whenever I install and start using a new kernel. Here is what I do to make it work each time. It is here mainly for my records and help for others.
  1. Run alsaconf to reconfigure ALSA for your soundcard and loading of appropriate kernel module.
  2. Stop ALSA: ~$ /etc/init.d/alsa-utils stop
  3. Delete the file asound.state: ~$ rm /var/lib/alsa/asound.state
  4. Restart ALSA: ~$ /etc/init.d/alsa-utils start
This makes ALSA behave normally and sound is back again.