Happiness

Happy old women

This picture has an interesting story. Behind that bewitching smile there is a women who has nothing to call her own. She wanted to help this blind child and would sometime give him food and little joy. When she heard about the Braille Without Borders school in Tibet, she brought the kid to the school and her joy knew no bounds knowing that child will be taken care of. This great moment was captured by Paul and whenever I am feeling blue I would look at this picture of happiness personified.

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference

Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference Book Cover imageUbuntu Pocket Guide and Reference is now available! Written by award-winning author Keir Thomas, Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference is a totally unique and concise guide for everyday Ubuntu use.

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Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference is available in print and PDF editions.

http://www.ubuntupocketguide.com/

GNOME Shutdown Menu Not Accessible

The accessibility problem of the GNOME shutdown menu is perhaps the most frequently raised question on accessibility (a11y) and the Orca mailing-lists and chat rooms. Orca screen reader doesn't speak up the contents of the shutdown dialog and its a pain to wait for next 60 seconds for the computer to start the shutdown process. GNOME Shutdown dialog box

Here is a work around I use in Braille Without Borders IISE campus, the idea is to avoid the shutdown dialog prompting altogether. Here is how you turn it off. Go to System Menu and choose Preferences sub menu and scroll down to Power Management and select it (System > Preferences > Power Management). In the GNOME Power Management tool, select General Preference tab, change the "When power button is pressed is pressed" option to 'shutdown' instead of 'ask me'. GNOME Power Management tool, General Preferences Tab

GNOME Shutdown Menu Not Accessible

Updated on 30 Jan 2009: Checked the shutdown dialog on Ubuntu Interpid Ibex 8.10, it is accessible with orca screen reader.

The accessibility problem of the GNOME shutdown menu is perhaps the most frequently raised question on accessibility (a11y) and the Orca mailing-lists and chat rooms. Orca screen reader doesn't speak up the contents of the shutdown dialog and its a pain to wait for next 60 seconds for the computer to start the shutdown process. GNOME Shutdown dialog box

Here is a work around I use in Braille Without Borders IISE campus, the idea is to avoid the shutdown dialog prompting altogether. Here is how you turn it off. Go to System Menu and choose Preferences sub menu and scroll down to Power Management and select it (System > Preferences > Power Management). In the GNOME Power Management tool, select General Preference tab, change the "When power button is pressed is pressed" option to 'shutdown' instead of 'ask me'. GNOME Power Management tool, General Preferences Tab

Namma Dhawani (Our Voice) Community Radio

A film made by the Namma Dhwani community radio team. Short and effective, showcasing potential of community radio in India

Strange Error on Dell Vostro 220s

Strange problem on one of the Dell Vostro 220s desktops , I suspect it has got to do with a faulty DVD drive

Dell Vostro 220s Ubuntu Error Dell Vostro 220s Ubuntu Error

Scenes from the IISE campus

Imagine reading the Harry Potter under the magical glare of a corona or having a wonderful conversation while the jet plane leaves a long trail in the clear blue sky over the lake or the beauty of the benches created from the broken tiles.

benches with broken tile inlay placing the tiles tiles in concrete Sunday solar Corona Sunday solar Corona Jet plane slipstream Jet plane slipstream Jet plane slipstream

Job: Computer Trainer (Computer Catalyst)

Our project is in dire need of a computer trainer (computer catalyst). If you live in Trivandrum (Kerala) and think you are the right one then write to us ASAP.

The International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE), based in Trivandrum, is looking for a talented professional in the field of computer training to work with an international team.

What is the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs?

The IISE is the only institution worldwide that offers practical training to mainly blind and partially sighted visionaries, empowering them to become future leaders of social change. In a one year´s course, 25 to 40 international participants (aged 18+) will learn all communication, management and fundraising skills necessary to start up and run their own social/environmental projects.

The Institute is a new project of Braille Without Borders (BWB), a charitable trust now also registered in India. BWB was co-founded in 1998 by Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg. Sabriye, blind herself since age 12, is the creator of the official Braille script for Tibetan and the Centre for the Blind in Lhasa.

Read more about BWB projects and our philosophy of blind self-integration at www.braillewithoutborders.org

What is a Catalyst?

Catalysts are more than trainers or teachers. They are creative thinkers, instigators of action, great motivators and strong team players. Your computer skills and expertise will add golden value to our multidisciplinary team of catalysts. You will apply your experience to help visionaries improve their computer skills and expertise.

What is in it for you?

A unique opportunity to make a positive impact in society and change negative attitudes towards disability. A multicultural experience, working with an international team of catalysts and participants (20 countries already involved in year one) A beautiful, ecological and stress free working environment by the Vellayani lake (11 kilometers south of Trivandrum) Healthy food (fusion cuisine) and compensation offered – please note that we are a non profit organization, thus economic incentive should come last in your motivations

  • Are you the right one?
  • Are you a good English speaker?
  • Are you a good communicator able to coach and motivate participants?
  • Are you good at computer hardware and software fundamentals?
  • Are you familiar with different operating systems such as Windows, Linux etc?
  • Do you have sound knowledge in computer applications such as MS office packages, internet and emailing?
  • Are you experienced in the field of computer training?
  • Are you positive and passionately creative?
  • Are you free from prejudice against persons with disabilities?
  • Are you committed and willing to give your full energy to this social project?

If you answered YES to all above questions, please immediately send your application to BrailleWB (at) gmx.net

Atheros AR242x Wireless on Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex

The new Dell Vostro A840 laptops that we ordered came with Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) pre-installed. However when I installed the latest release Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex), the Atheros AR242x wifi card didn't work right away.

The solution to get this card working is available on WifiDocs > Driver > Atheros on Ubuntu Wiki.

The ath5k module from the linux-backports-modules-intrepid package on Ubuntu backports will do the magic for you.

Hotel Keralafonia

Living in kerala has its own advantages, like discovering this crazy adaptation of the classic 'Hotel California '. Thanks Murali!

If you like to sing along, then here are the lyrics.

On the road to Trivandrum
Coconut oil in my hair
Warm smell of avial
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance
I saw a bright pink tube-light
My tummy rumbled, I felt weak and thin
I had to stop for a bite
There he stood in the doorway
Flicked his mundu in style
And I was thinking to myself
I don’t like the look of his sinister smile
Then he lit up a petromax
Muttering “No power today”
More Mallus down the corridor
I thought I heard them say

Welcome to the Hotel Kerala-fonia
Such a lousy place,
Such a lousy place (background)
Such a sad disgrace,
Plenty of bugs at the Hotel Kerala-fonia
Any time of year
Any time of year (background)
It’s infested here
It’s infested here

His finger’s stuck up his nostril
He’s got a big, thick mustache
He makes an ugly, ugly noise
But that’s just his laugh
Buxom girls clad in pavada
Eating banana chips
Some roll their eyes, and
Some roll their hips
I said to the manager
My room’s full of mice
He said,
Don’t worry, saar,I sending you
meen karri, brandy and ice
And still those voices were crying from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them pray

Save us from the Hotel Kerala-fonia
Such a lousy place,
Such a lousy place (background)
Such a sad disgrace
Trying to live at the Hotel Kerala-fonia
It is no surprise
It is no surprise (background)
That it swarms with flies

The blind man was pouring
Stale sambar on rice
And he said
We are all just actors here
In Silk Smitha-disguise
And in the dining chamber
We gathered for the feast
We stab it with our steely knives
But we just can’t cut that beef
Last thing I remember
I was writhing on the floor
That cockroach in my appam-stew was the culprit,
I am sure
Relax, said the watchman
This enema will make you well
And his friends laughed as they held me down
God’s Own Country? Oh, Hell! 

Photo Shoot On Vallayani Lake

Thorsten, Jessica and me at the photo session on Vellayani lake near the campus.

Shipwrecked!

Pre-Shoot Misadventures

First Dunk! Come back we have left Thorsten behind Second Dunk! There goes my glasses! Ah found them. Arr that looks too big for me.

5 year old Aren Teaches Tux Math

5 year old Aren explains what Tux Math is all about. Funny thing is, he manages to find his way around simple sums, though he's not yet learning arithmetic of that kind in school. Blame it on trial-and-error, and the fun spirit that games bring in. Of course, this is Free Software!

My Tamil Ponnu

What's with gals and gadgets? Ponnu takes a liking to my phone, snatches it from my hand and breaks into this wonderful laughter. Ponnu means 'girl' in tamil.

New Year's Post

What a year it was, a little high and little lows and whole bunch of controversies of course. And to top it all I decided to stay back in kerala after the International Film Festival of Kerala 2008 with Paul and Sabriye of Braille Without Borders at their International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE) campus.
Cartoon of Arky under a coconut tree Thorsten captures my exploits so far through his wonderful imagination.