Gnome Default File Associations

One of the thing that's missing in the Gnome Desktop is an easy way of changing the default file associations. Especially for people with special needs like the blind and low-vision who access the Gnome Desktop using a Orca Screen reader. You can edit the mailcap file straight away to change the setting however that way for people who dabble in technical stuff.

The Davyd Madeley What's new in GNOME 2.8? page provides a nice preview of the changes in Gnome 2.8. The new MIME system looks the same as in the Gnome 2.24.1 . You still have to right click and use context menu, that a terrible idea for me. I rather like the accessible GUI like the Gnome Preferred Applications tool or the Nautilus File Management Preferences. I hope someone from the Gnome team can remedy this and provide single place to easily edit file associations.

Red Nose Day 2009

Red Nose Day Do Something Funny for Money 2009 Red Nose Day 2009 is taking place on Friday 13 March and get ready to Do Something Funny for Money!.
For more information check out the Comic Relief website at www.rednoseday.com

Pre-install gNewSense on laptops and desktops

Some time ago I wrote about the tireless Grazinano Sorbaioli and his campaign to convince DELL to start selling a free software computer . I received an email from him this afternoon asking everyone to "vote to convince Dell to preinstall gNewSense on their computers."

Please read more about it here on this Ideastorm page.

The idea is to offer a line of laptops and desktop PCs whose hardware perfectly fits what this GNU/Linux distribution supports (and it doesn't support only a few hardware devices, notably some wifi chips and some Nvidia and ATI cards). It should be quite possible to build a system that doesn't contain any such unsupported parts.
The benefits of doing this is offering a choice for those who wish to have a completely legally free operating system working out of the box on Dell computers. There is a great number of people within the Free Software community who would appreciate having such a choice and would buy it for themselves and recommend it to their relatives and friends.
It would also certainly attract attention of the Free Software Foundation which would publicly commend Dell for offering this choice, which is very good for bettering Dell's reputation within the whole of Free Software and Open Source movements.
If Dell decides to do this, they should brand these boxes by the correct terminology, calling the operating system they are offering as "GNU/Linux" because the GNU Project, sponsored by the Free Software Foundation, started what we today know as GNU/Linux, a popular free operating system that rivals Microsoft Windows. Many of the core and essential components of the OS come from the GNU project.

KAFISO Third National Short and Documentary Film Festival 2009

In a few days I would be travelling to the Third National Short & Documentary Film Festival 2009. This film festival is organized by the Karimnagar Film Society (KAFISO), the local film society of Karimnagar town in Andhra Pradesh (India). Not far from this town I started attending film screenings at our local film club (or societies as well call it in India) at very young age and two decades later I now return as a Jury of film festival. Its been a wonderful journey ! .

My last visit to Karimnagar was during the Workshop For Film Society Organisers last year. I wrote my experiences here in this blog entry. During the workshop I raised one important question about the dwindling participation of youth in the film societies movement in India. Except in the film screenings and festival in some metros, you rarely find young audience at all. And I don't see any new film Societies starting these days either, most of the active ones like the one in my hometown are long defunct.

KAFISO has really taken the right step forward by organizing this film festival in two government college in Karimnagar town, SRR Government Degree College and Women's college in Karimnagar. I hope such screenings in colleges would encourage youth take to film appreciation. On the other hand the newly formed Sircilla film society is also part of this festival (That's a good start fellows!). Watch out for this space for more news from the festival side lines.

Third National Short and Documentary Film Festival 2009 Flyer Third National Short and Documentary Film Festival 2009 Screenings locations and timings Third National Short and Documentary Film Festival 2009 Awards and entries

Lighting up lives

Paul and Sabriye A wonderful Valentine's Day wishes to all you great folks out there. What am I doing on this valentine's day ? Ah! I woke up really late this morning (hit me, kick me but you can't wake me!) and missed out the the picnic trip to Veli lake near Thiruvananthapuram. It is one of few days in a week I get to be *very* lazy. And I am lovin' it!

Simon brought couple of copies of The Hindu news paper from the city. The Metro Plus section today featured a story about Paul, Sabriye and our IISE project. You can read the full story here Lighting Up Lives.

Linux Wx Notation Phonetic Keyboard layout for Devangari (Hindi)

Few hours ago WX notation phonetic keyboard layout for Devnagari(Hindi) has been included into Ubuntu. This closes the ubuntu #274024 and freedesktop-bugs #19753 reported last year. This is a great news for the Wx keyboard users, they can now have this keyboard layout by default in gnu/Linux.

While at University of Hyderabad I had copy the symbols file for the keyboard layout every time a new gnu/Linux system was installed. Its wonderful to see a solution developed for use inside our lab has been contributed back to the gnu/Linux community worldwide.

Why Buy This Shit !

Just found out that this expensive piece of hardware has turned into a brick because it wasn't charged for a while (Damn!).
Why do we buy this shit anyway?
Allow me to vent my anger with this yet another great news clip from the Onion News Network .

Affordable Braille Display ?

Steve talks about some of the frustrations working with braille displays in this live journal entry Bring On The Braille. I think he speaks for all of us. He writes,
I've been on a constant lookout for affordable braille display technology. For years, this stuff's been anything but. Spending over $2000 for a measley 12 cells is something I would never justify, and the price-to-cell ratio doesn't get much better with the more costly units. Prices have actually come down over the years, and it looks like it may be happening again.

The price is a big barrier. Why can't we have a device that is affordable to all. Braille displays isn't rocket science it is simple enough to build one with a arduino toolkit, I think Edward Rogers(does anyone have his email address?) has built one such device. What do you reckon ?

Velib Extreme

This morning I was reading the Beeb news about Paris Vélib . It is a wonderful project that would help curtail pollution and allow people lead a healthy life style. But now just after 18 months of its launch, the project is in big trouble. Why you might wonder?. Its because of the stupid stunts like this!.

Here is an extract from the story.

Vélib extreme

Hung from lamp posts, dumped in the River Seine, torched and broken into pieces, maintaining the network is proving expensive. Some have turned up in eastern Europe and Africa, according to press reports.
Since the scheme's launch, nearly all the original bicycles have been replaced at a cost of 400 euros ($519, £351) each.
The Velib bikes - the name is a contraction of velo (cycle) and liberte (freedom) - have also fallen victim to a craze known as "velib extreme".
Various videos have appeared on YouTube showing riders taking the bikes down the steps in Montmartre, into metro stations and being tested on BMX courses.

Its so sad that a very interesting project is brought to its knees. How Vile!.