29 March 2007

"The" Butterfly

I saw this on Inkscape.org where they had a news snippet about Juan Miguel Ramirez who wrote an article in the Spanish version of Linux magazine. From the GPL stick and the 4 colored butterfly I got and idea and the result was as show above, the tux trying to save Suse from the "butterfly".

Original idea of artwork: Juan Miguel Ramirez

28 March 2007

Browser Stats

Glazou started this. Here are the browser statistics for 2007 (till today) on my dynamic DNS host:

  1. Gecko ----- 56.2%
  2. MSIE ------ 31.4%
  3. KHTML --- 8.1% (Safari 7.1%)
  4. Opera ----- 2.6%

This just reflects the distribution of visitors on the dynamic host and should not be considered for browser popularity calculations. Higher percentage of Gecko is due to most of the stuff being about Mozilla and GNU/Linux. Safari's ratio is probably due to the a few desktop background images I put up for free download. But I noticed that IE 7 already has an update with version number 7.0.5730.11. Seems that the IE team is really working on it now ;)

27 March 2007

Google: Canada's Not a Real Country Anyway

We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before somebody thinks of blaming us!

Did you ever hear about the South Park song called "Blame Canada"? You can find some details about it on wikipedia or even viewtube™ the song as performed by Robin Williams during the Academy Awards ceremony.

The Know All Google seems to have heard this song too and did some of its part for the blame game. If you go to Google Maps and try to search for a country called Canada, all you get is a flattened out map of earth! Does Google even know where Canada is? I think it is just trying to prove the line in the lyrics that "They're not even a real country anyway" because it cannot find Canada on Earth!

It can find other regular countries like Britain, Germany, France, India, etc. So why not Canada? Is it time to blame Google instead of Canada ;)


Halloween Decorations

I know its not Halloween season, but I found this lovely picture which I took last year. This is the Halloween decorations at a bakery nearby. Enjoy.

26 March 2007

Up, Up and Away

Taller than the Rest

This is a common sight when we have clouds. The building at PVM goes beyond the limits and into the clouds while the IBM, CGI, and CSC building stand there staring at it!

24 March 2007

Typepad hinders Typing!!

I usually love to rant about features in blogger making life difficult for users, but this post is different. Today I compared a feature on blogger with a similar one on typepad and guess which one sucked!

In this age of spam bots find different ways to put link spam in any place they can find, one commonly used technique to avoid them is the captcha technology. With this technology, a user trying to fill and submit a form is asked to fill in another field in the form with characters displayed in the corresponding image. The server generates a new image every time the page is loaded and most of the spam bots are incapable of deciphering the images. So as most of the spam bots cannot read the image, they can't fill in the verification and hence the post cannot be submitted. It is a pretty simple technique and has achieved a lot of success.

However, the technology has its flaws or should I say unintended captchas. Today I set out to log a comment on a typedpad blog post. It was a simple two line response which should have taken just a minute or so. However, I ended up trying to get the response submitted for about 10minutes! Their word verification captcha asked me to fill in the characters from the image. But the person who wrote the code for their captcha implementation probably didn't know how much to obscure the characters and has several random lines on it making it really hard to read even by a human let alone a bot! It took me 6 tries to get the verification done.

Not only they have made the verification task so confusing, but they don't give the user any other choice e.g. an audio clip! Wait, the audio clip should be there regardless as a visitor could be visually impaired and might not be able to decipher even an unobscured image. Blogger is much better in this respect as their image is clean (although the characters can be a bit jagged) and they also offer audio help (hasn't worked on Linux for me though). For TypePad it is a serious accessibility problem and is a big show stopper for me at least. So from now on, typepad comments are probably not going to happen let alone getting an account on typepad!

Update: June contacted Typepad and they told her that they are working on it. I hope they get it sorted out soon.

22 March 2007

Woolmer Update: MURDER

My first instinct made me very suspicious about Bob Woolmer's death in his hotel room following Pakistan's cricket teams loss to minnows Ireland and making them impossible to go to the second round. The Jamaican police has been tight lipped about any details about his death but finally a more sinister picture is emerging. BBC is reporting that medical reports say Woolmer died due to manual strangulation. The plot thickens as they haven't found any evidence of struggle indicating he knew the murder(s). With the scene changing from death due to a stroke to a murder, it is possible that the team's return trip might also be delayed.

Cricket is played with a passion in South Asia and there have been several matches which have been disrupted due to lackluster performance of a team inciting violent behaviour. A famous example is the India-Sri Lanka match at Eden Gardens during the 1996 World Cup which Sri Lanka won by default due the crowd's unruly behaviour. It is common for an inquiry commission to be setup after a series after one of the countries have played well below their potential. But this is a first that someone has every murdered a cricket team's coach and that too in a World Cup! I guess sending the elite commando units for the security of the Indian contingent was the right decision.

18 March 2007

Bob Woolmer Dies following loss

The very next morning after Pakistan's cricket team lost to Ireland and were ousted from ICC World Cup 2007, their coach Bob Woolmer, was found unconscious in his hotel room and was pronounced dead after an hour of attempts to revive him at the hospital. This is sad news and medical reports are awaited for the exact cause of death. Pakistan team's spokesperson Pervez Mir said that the third gave with Zimbabwe will be played as scheduled.

Very sad to see Woolmer go like this. He had coached South Africa in the 90s and they had reached the semi finals in the World Cups.

ICC World Cup: Big Upsets

So the end result of day 5 of the ICC World Cup(WC) was: 2 Big Upsets. Bangladesh played some wonderful cricket and stunned India in their WC opener. Bangladesh won by 5 wickets. While in Jamaica, it was the day of Green. Ireland not only beat Pakistan but knocked them out of the tournament no matter what the result of Pakistan's third group game.

For both India and Pakistan's teams my friend had an advice: If you can't show consistency in your game, stay at home and just do commercials. That way you have to perform only once, and its just a reply after that.

17 March 2007

St. Patrick's Day Possible Upset

With the recent uplift of the Irish team's confidence with the tied match with Zimbabwe in the ICC World Cup being held in the Windies, they are looking for a bigger upset on St. Patrick's Day. Pakistan's team is reeling at 68 for the loss of 5 wickets after 20 overs. Update: 73/6.

If the Irish follow up on this advantage and register a win, this would be the biggest upset of this World Cup and definitely the best St. Patrick's Day gift for them. Pakistan on the other hand is very strong in the bowling department and do have ability to topple wickets like dominoes. It is one day cricket, one never knows what will happen, and anything can happen. We will just have to wait and see...

These two teams make the cricket ground the greenest ever! Happy St. Patrick's Day to all.

16 March 2007

No Water :(

Unfortunately one of our building's water pumps decided to die today leaving most of the upper floor residents without any water supply. I didn't have any water stored barring two half litre water bottles which were good for drinking but nothing to wash hands or for the bathroom. Normally if they shut down the supply it is usually back on by around 5 or 6pm. However, the supply didn't return till late in the evening. A call to the janitor confirmed my fears that the pump wasn't fixed and the water supply will be back to normal only tomorrow.

So down I went to the basement to fetch water with the only bucket I have. On the way back up it occurred to me that I could fill up a plastic bin that I have for clothes. That could hold around 5-6 buckets. That made all my water scarcity worries go to rest as there is now water to drink in the filter, for washing hands and for the bathroom.

I just hope that they get the pump working by tomorrow evening as if they don't, it won't be a good weekend.

14 March 2007

Dell and Linux ? Hmm...

Just a quick note: Dell seems to be moving towards the idea of offering pre-installed Linux on notebooks and desktops. They are asking users interested in having Linux pre-installed to fill up a survey so that they can prioritize what they can offer. Go submit the survey and wait for Linux to be offered as a option for the installed OS on your next purchase.

Dell and Linux seems to good to be true. But hey, sometimes dreams come true too ;)

7 March 2007

Mac OS, SSH, Dashboad?

I can't seem to figure out which part of the process is the problem. If someone has any clues as to how to go about triaging the problem, please leave a comment.

When I am transferring something to the Macbook Pro from my Debian box using Konqueror (yep, with its wonderful fish:// protocol), if dashboard is enabled on the MBP, the ssh transfer comes to a halt. The problem goes away as soon as I get dashboard out of the way. The problem is reproducible using the above setup at will.

6 March 2007

No Words

Current weather conditions! Brrrr.....

1 March 2007

Blogger Login

Blogger, oh blogger. Please give us a better login page so that users don't have to to click twice just to bring the cursor to the username field. And it is worse for those like me who try to keep the use of the mouse to a bare minimum. To be able to get to the username field, I have to invoke the Find function of the browser to find the "New Blogger" link and then use the Tab button 3 times to get to the username field. If you want any ideas on how to make a login page, please check out Yahoo! Mail or even your own Google Mail where the caret lands in the username field automatically after the page loads!!

Linux for Everyone?

I have a strong feeling that we are getting very close to the point where Linux can be considered desktop ready for everyone. Even though I have seen things work flawlessly with Ubuntu installs on friends' laptops, my latest experience just made me WOW Linux ;)

I got a USB multimedia headset by Microsoft, the LX-3000. They are getting dirt cheap these days. I picked this one up for just $19.99+tx. Cheap, aren't they? Back on topic: although I wanted it to work with the Macbook Pro as it does not have a jack for a microphone and only a line-in, I thought why not try it with Linux too. I plugged it a USB port of my Linux box (Debian/sid) and tried playing some audio using XMMS but the sound came through the external speakers. Next thing was to check the /var/log/messages to see if Linux detected it or not. And....it did detect it. So I went into the XMMS's preferences, and I just had to select the proper device (indicated by messages in log) and it started to blast music immediately. I was pleasantly amazed when the mic also recorded sound like a normal mic. Perfect. Linux simply ROCKS!!