Friday, July 28, 2006

Google SoC : BSDL vs LGPL

Good to read** that BSDL has more SoC projects than LGPL.

** Web-Marker Link : Use the Web-Marker Firefox extension.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Shooting yourself in the foot

Picked up from file:///usr/share/doc/pugs-doc/other/shot_in_the_foot

Perl 5:
(from )

There are so many ways to shoot yourself in the foot that you post a query to comp.lang.perl.misc to determine the optimal approach. After sifting through 500 replies (which you accomplish with a short perl script), not to mention the cross-posts to the perl5-porters mailing list (for which you upgraded your first sifter into a package, which of course you uploaded to CPAN for others who might have a similar problem, which, of course, is the problem of sorting out email and news, not the problem of shooting yourself in the foot), you set to the task of simply and elegantly shooting yourself in the foot, until you discover that, while it works fine in most cases, NT, VMS, and various flavors of Linux, AIX, and Irix all shoot you in the foot sooner than your perl script could. Then you decide you can do it better with the new, threaded version...

(from [2])

All you have to do is calculate the value of the shoot function on foot. (You did define shoot, didn't you?)

Perl 6:

You pick up an object which assures you it provides the function of a gun. You load the gun with something that functions like a bullet, but are not sure whether you actually loaded it or whether it will load itself when you try to use it or check the chamber. You point and fire the gun at your foot, or something which functions like a foot, but because you did not specify which foot, the interpreter fires the bullet in each of two parallel universes. You are not sure whether or not you hit your foot, or indeed which foot you fired at, but you decide that you don't currently care. You carry on doing something else and forget what happened. Later, when you go to get a bite to eat, or at least find something which provides the function of being bitten for the sake of nutrition, you notice a parrot grab the gun, load it, and shoot you in both feet - both hit the mark, but only one leaves a bullet wound because the operation was atomic.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Deliciously Yours!

After having played around with Shadows for around a year I'm now back with . The shadows thing was good, but the biggest problem was that shadows unlike does not allow me to export my bookmarks. This is vendor lock in and very very bad. Something which should not be encouraged with any Web 2.0 startup. So long guys and thanks for hosting my stuff. If there was atleast a feature I would have stayed. I wish there was a "delete" feature in shadows so that I can delete my bookmarks, but there doesnt seem to be any.

If anyone is planning to move back to from Shadows, use Flock , configure it with your shadows account and get all your bookmarks, then change to the account and Flock will sync all your bookmarks with and yes, it will take care of the existing tags and duplicates which exist on . Oh! and check out Flock 0.7.3, it rocks!

My link is here.

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Your EQ is 127
50 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick! 51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you'd have better luck understanding Chinese. 71-90: You've got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely. 91-110: You're average. It's easy to predict how you'll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that. 111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt. 131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin. 150+: Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Silent Hill - The Movie

Watched Silent Hill-the movie yesterday. Being a big fan of this playstation game I was very much interested in seeing how well they had adapted the game to the big-screen. I played the original Silent Hill for the Playstation when it came out and I have to say it's one of the scariest games I have ever played. The movie does not stray away from the game either. The familiar street-fog is present everywhere and if you are a SH player then you will get nostalgic when you see the familiar street names and the famous landmarks of Silent Hill re-created in the movie. Seeing the red-bridge brought back old memories. There was this one part in the game wherein when you start on one side of the bridge the town is normal, and as you start running and coming towards the other end of the bridge the city is transformed to the dark-side. Though that particular moment is not present in the movie, seeing the bridge brought back the old chill in the spine.

The other good part about the movies are the evil characters, though the story is based on the first version of the game, the enemies are taken from Silent 2 and 3 which came out for the Playstation 2. This is an excellent decision, the enemeies of SH1 were "weak" and their scare-factor was almost negligible. The best of the baddies is "Pyramid-head", this guy is basically a 7 foot man with a steel pyramid over his face and a 10 foot blade in his hand. Totally awesome!

The story is based on the Gillespie family tragedy (again SH1 based) and officer Cybil Bennet is also present in the movie. Some scenes are lifted directly from the game, for example: the first horror scene where the protagonist is attacked by zombie-children and is rendered unconsious and when he wakes up, the radio is playing. The "enemy prespective" technique of saying that there's "someone watching you" is also taken from the game. What is lacking are the puzzles, I would have liked it if there were more puzzles in the movie. There is one but there's not much mystery to it and it gets over as soon as it begins. The OST has also taken a lot from the game.

All in all, an excellent adaption of the first game of the Silent Hill series, though the storyline is changed immensely, it is all for the better. The SH1 plot was too straight-forward and was heavily occult and daemon-worship based. This one is less occult based and you don't see samael or any such daemon in the movie. I have no idea why Sean Bean was cast in this movie though. All in all, a great saturday night horror movie.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

DELL XPS m1210 Blog Reviews

A couple of good blog-reviews of the Dell xps m1210.

I managed to get suspend to disk working with the suspend2 patches. Only problem is that I need to stop GDM, go into text mode and then hibernate as the proprietary nvidia kernel module seems to have problems with the suspend2 patches. Till I get proper suspend working, this will have to do.

PS : Bryan, If you are reading this, drop me a comment, I need to know which patch you used for fixing the the SATA/suspend problem. I tried leaving a comment on your blog but it would'nt let me and there was no contact info on your blog. :P

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Hoo Haa!!! everyone is going gaa-gaa over the Blogspot/Typepad/Geocities ban. If you are late to the party you can still catch up with the Blogosphere by spending 20 minutes and listening to this podcast.

If your ISP is blocking any of the blogs/domain then use this cross-platform software called Your-Freedom to access those sites. Enjoy!

Oh yes, you will need to sign-up at the web-site, and download the java archive file and run it using Sun's JVM (on Linux), but it's an easy procedure and should not be much of a problem. For Windows guys you have an installer.

Oh and btw, here is the scanned version of the document which was circulated to all the ISP's. You can see the doc, try to figure out the websites listed there, use Your-freedom and access the websites in question.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Javed Miandad's son is my classmate!

IndiaTimes XtraEdition seems to be Indiatimes' gossip based online webzine. They also have this interesting article on Javed Miandad's son's marriage picture with Dawood Ibrahim's daughter. It's a good picture, only problem is that it's not Javed Miandad's son nor Dawood bhai's daughter but my college classmate, Aejaz's marriage picture. I had blogged about it earlier. Stupid gossip sites! And "Javed Miandad's son" even commented on my blog. heh!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dell xps m1210 Pics

I've uploaded a few pics of the DELL XPS m1210 on flickr.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Links for the Day - July 17

A collection of cool and must-read links:

  • Is Perl Dying ? - PerlMonks has a good discussion-article. [link]
  • A 70's review of the CRAY-1. [link]
  • Dual Processor vs Dual Core [link]
  • Which is Hotter ? Dell or Apple [link]
  • Linus on dropping from the elite A-list of "Men who matter in technology". [link]
  • Chris Pirillo on Links. [link]
  • Firefox now allows you to spam your friends. [link]
  • How to be an elite otaku. [link]
  • Tin-foil hat Linux. [link]
  • Generate info about your Flickr photostream using FlickrInspector. [link]. Here's mine:
    toufeeq's flickr score: 1205
  • Ars on the Core 2 Duo CPU's. [link]
  • Digg Digging Diggs Digg. [link]
  • Debian - Copying and ripping DVD's tutorial. [link]
  • Debian - Multimedia Tutorial. [link]

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Linux on the Dell XPS m1210

I finally got the new laptop and managed to get Linux running on it. I did have my share of battles with getting Linux working on this Laptop. I wanted to try out Ubuntu badly after hearing such glorious reviews and the whole FOSS community going ooh-ahhh over it. Well sadly, I couldn't get it to install!

Here's how the Ubuntu saga went, I downloaded the ISO from the website, burnt it and booted off the laptop's CD-ROM, it gave the boot-choice-screen and I selected the default installation method. Everything went well till it tried to bring up GDM at which point it stalled and I had to reboot. I tried another time, this time it started X and stalled again. Frustrated I got an old Oct 2004 Debian-testing CD and did a minimal installation. Everything went perfectly. Thank you Debian!

After a dist-upgrade to etch and getting X working using the vesa driver I managed to install most of the packages which I require, GNOME, gVim , Firefox. The kernel, hal and DBUS were installed from debian-unstable as it's better to have the latest versions of these packages. ACPI events were handled very well by the acpid daemonand battery information is available from gnome-power-manager. cpufreqd was setup to control CPU frequency scaling and I even managed to test out the VGA out capability of the laptop. I also got the nvidia driver working from the website.

So, here's a run down of what works and what doesn't on the Dell XPS m1210.


  • ACPI - works through acpid
  • Bluetooth - works with kde-bluetooth. Debian does not have gnome-bluetooth.
  • CPU frequency scaling - works with cpufreqd.
  • Nvidia Go 7400 - works with the latest nvidia drivers. I installed them through the nvidia-installer and not the Debian way.
  • Touchpad - Debian identified it as a regular mouse. However installing the xserver-xorg-input-synaptics package and using the "synaptics" driver in works fine.
  • USB - works , it identified my MS wireless Optical mouse under /dev/input/mice
  • Sound - ALSA works with the Intel HD audio driver. Some problem with the volume though, the main volume control seems to be the headphone , haven't poked around much, I'm just glad it works.
  • Multimedia Keys - works with lineakd.

Doesn't Work

  • Ricoh Card Reader - Tried with my Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo in a Memory Stick adaptor and it doesn't work. Havent tried with SD or MMC but other m1210 owners have said that SD works with the Ubuntu kernel. The drivers for the Ricoh card reader are available in mainline 2.6.17. If anyone has success with MS Duo please let me know.
  • Suspend to * - The system goes to sleep but fails to wake up. Suspend to ram was tested with s2ram.

Not Tested

  • Wireless - seems to use the ipw3945 drivers. Haven't poked around much.

Coming back to Ubuntu, I got a Dapper CD from a friend at work and tried to install it on the laptop, this time the gods favoured me and I managed to clear the GDM screen and see the desktop. Clicking on the "Install" icon started the installer and I managed to get to the partition manager. gParted is so better nowdays, it mimicks Partition Manager so well and is a pleasure to use. Resizing existing partitions is a breeze. I allocated around 5 GB for Ubuntu and clicked "Next". This started a "universal progress bar" which seemed to be doing everything.. formatting partitions, copying files etc. Unfortunately it stalled at 43% and I had to give up. Oh! it even managed to screw up my Windows NTFS partition, no problem though, I wasn't going to use it anyway. The only info I could mange to get were some bad I/O messages on the sr0 device (cd-rom). I didn't investigate further. Will try Ubuntu when Eft comes out.

General Info on the m1210

It's an excellent laptop as in it allows you to carry around a lot of power for a reasonable price. It looks pedestrian compared to an Apple MacBook or a Sony Vaio SZ but considering the value for money factor the m1210 is better than the SZ. Build quality is rock solid, it feels monolithic with nothing dangling or "squeezable". The LCD is sharp and bright. Controlling the LCD brightness works with the Fn keys in Linux. I have the 9-cell battery and batter life lasted around 5-5.5 hours(without wi-fi) which is pretty good. The keypad has good sturdy full-sized keys. The touchpad seems a bit small but is workable. I use the wireless mouse anyways. the 12.1 screen is readable, I was worried I might have to squint to read text, but it didn't turn out bad at all, the sharpness of the screen is amazing. It reflects everything though so I would say it's going to be tough reading in daylight. All in all a good laptop to have around if you are a semi-frequent traveller.

4 out of 5 stars

The Dell XPS m1210 is a great laptop

Reviewer: Toufeeq Hussain - July 16, 2006

The Dell XPS m1210 is one of the best Core Duo based laptops in the marker. It has solid build quality coupled with some amazing performance features and is fully customizable to the core.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Five Images to take away from World Cup 2006

The WC 2006 was amazing. The best team in the tournament didn't win, the most-creative team in the tournament didn't win, the most hyped-about team in the tournament didn't win. The MOST CONSISTENT and TACTICALLY BRILLIANT team WON. A job well done Squadra Azura!

There were some memorable images which will always be etched in mind. Here's the top among them:

  • Zidane hedbutting Marco Materrazzi
  • Fabio Grosso's celebrations after scoring against Germany in extra-time.
  • Brazil's Robinho running and hugging Zidane after France beating Brazil. You could almost lip-read Robinho, "You were brilliant!" he seemed to say.
  • David Beckham's emotional departure after an ankle injury in the England-Portugal match.
  • Fabio Cannavaro holding aloft the World Cup after Italy beat France. It was retribution for Euro 2000 when France managed to escape with a late goal and a golden goal.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Current issues in the Debian and Ubuntu relationship

Debian Developer Martin Krafft outlines the current challenges that the two distributions face when it comes to better co-operation between the respective projects

read more | digg story

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rhythmbox Love

I <3 Rhythmbox. It fits in nicely into my GNOME desktop. However I would like to see one change. I use Rhythmbox as the default 'Music player' in GNOME, meaning, whenever I double-click on a .mp3 or .ogg file it opens up in Rhythmbox, however while opening the file it also adds that file to the library. This is nice if I need that file to reside in my library but if it's a one minute sound clip and it shows up in my library , it irks me. What we should have in rhythmbox is a command line option , something in the line of --view which will take the values 'normal' for the normal view, 'party' for the fullscreen view and 'small' for the small view (duh!).

So, how will this work out ? When I open a music file by double-clicking in Nautilus, I intend to open it by passing the '--view small' commandline parameter, so that the player opens in 'small' mode ; plays the file and quits. This will also involve another command line option which will be --play-file-and-quit which will play the file and quit. So, I'm now trying to get my hands dirty with Rhythmbox code. Let's see how it works out. Will post later on how stuff works out.
So, something like rhythmbox --view small --play-file-and-quit foo.mp3 would be great.

I'll try and post this suggestion to the Rhythmbox mailing list. Expecting to be flamed :P
Comments welcome...

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Playing YouTube Videos on the Sony PSP

This is my latest obsession. Since I travel for around 2.5 hrs during my office commute, I need to keep myself entertained. Till now the Sony PSP was being used to play the odd game or to listen to some music. I finally managed to get all the pieces together to start encoding videos for the PSP on Debian GNU/Linux. This got boring after a while as I didn't have new content to keep me entertained on a daily basis.

The next step was to get the videos from YouTube to play on the PSP. This actually turned out easier than I expected. Here's how I managed to do it,

  • Get Mozilla Firefox.
  • Install the "VideoDownloader" extension.
  • Install ffmpeg on Debian. apt-get install ffmpeg. My ffmpeg version is the one pulled from the ffmpeg subversion repo. This is on Debian unstable mind you with the debian-multimedia repo's.
  • Go to YouTube/Google Videos and view a video, click on the VideoDownlaoder icon on the Status bar of Firefox, this will inturn popup a window with the link to the video being currently played. Right click and "Save the link" on your PC.
  • Videos will be saved in the FLV (Flash Video) format. You can play them using VLC.
  • You need to re-encode these videos to the PSP's aspect ratio. Here's the ffmpeg one-liner which will do it for you.

ffmpeg -i $input_file -f psp -r 29.970 -s 320x240 -b 768 -ar 24000 -ab 32 $output_file
$input_file :: is the name of the Video you just downloaded (.flv)
$output_file :: is the name of the output file for the PSP which should be of the type M4V000XX.MP4 , where XX is a random number.

If everything goes well, stick that into a bash script like so:


#! /bin/sh

input_file=$1 output_file=$2

echo $input_file echo $output_file

ffmpeg -i $input_file -f psp -r 29.970 -s 320x240 -b 768 -ar 24000 -ab 32 $output_file


And you can invoke the script as ./ ~/Videos/youtube.flv M4V00010.MP4

The whole setup should also be possible on Fedora and Ubuntu too. The next best thing I discovered is ffmpeg2theora, very useful command-line tool if you have a set of divx files and worried that you might loose the ability to play them due to patent problems. ffmpeg2theora will allow you to re-encode your videos to the Ogg Theora format which is an open format and widely supported by almost all the players on Linux.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Where the hell is Toufeeq ?

I wish I can just get up, leave all work, forget all the worries, ditch my PC and just go out and see the world. Just like Matt. Read about him.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Digg Sucks

After the Digg 3.0 launch, digg sucks! That's why I'm moving over to Digg-Technology. Oh! and my first choice for tech news is now Reddit and not Digg. Go see Reddit, if you've not seen it already.

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I'm not at Guadec, but have been following Guadec by gazing at the planets and by listening to the Lugradio coverage. This year it's at Vilanova i la Geltru in Spain (near Barcalona). This year a couple of talks have been of interest and both of them are from the Fluendo guys. I've tried out both of them and they rock! They are Gstreamer based and are vital future constituents of the GNOME Desktop.


Elisa is a software written in Python, Gstreamer and SDL (Simple Direct Media Layer) which in turn uses OpenGL for the rendering of the user-interface. I like the UI, though it's completely non-mouse/keyboard based (for now, I guess) ,it's simple and intuitive to use. In the media center software area, we already have Myth TV and Freevo, do we need another one ? I would say yes. Myth TV has the "TV-viewing" part of it nailed down pretty well and Freevo, well, though it's pretty fast and easy to use, the pygame-UI sucks! Elisa, one thing which it does really well is it excels in the UI department. Each of these media-center softwares seem to have something going for them. Coming back to Elisa, it's actually a very visually pleasing piece of software. The Installation was pretty straight forward on Debian, an Ubuntu specific installation page is also available. Elisa allows you to view pictures, listen to music and play DVD's throiugh it's UI, the typical Media-Center stuff. Apart from that it also has "task-management" wherein your actions(playing music,video,DVD's) are available through a task-manager interface so that you move and re-arrange tasks. Here's is a screenshot:



PiTiVi is a non linear video editor based on Gstremer and gnonlin. Still in a very nascent stage as lot's of core video-editing functionality is missing. The features page of the project has a list of features which are implemented and which are still being worked upon. PiTiVi hopes to turn into the Gnome Video Editor, one package which is sorely required in the GNOME Desktop. I managed to install it and play around with it, though it does an excellent job of getting video's into a playlist window and playing them, there's nothing much it can do. This is really pre-alpha software. UI is another thing which need some attention. Here's a screenshot:

Screenshot-PiTiVi v0.10.0

Gstreamer + Python

Both Elisa and PiTiVi illustrate the fact that Gstreamer (esp. 0.10) has come of age and has proved that it is a viable multimedia framework for the GNOME Desktop. Fluendo should get most of the credit for what Gstreamer is capable of. Gstreamer bindings in Python is another plus point which is giving rise to an excellent application development framework. It's good to see that the future of linux desktop multimedia is in good hands. Keep up the great work guys.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. My Way My blog. Toufeeq Hussain