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Showing posts from October, 2008

Ubuntu Pop Art Bug

Here is another interesting bug I discovered today on my Ubuntu GNU/Linux laptop. The console takes on these really Andy Warhol style pop art colors when I power down the system into sleep mode and back.

Free Software User Group, Bangalore Wiki Relaunched

Free Software User Group, Bangalore now has a brand new site. It is built using Media wiki , which powers the Wikipedia project. The logo designed by Hiran Venugopalan is beautiful, its type and composition is just perfect. Kudos to Anivar and all the those who contributed towards this long pending task. The old website was developed using oddmuse. It was generously hosted by deeproot for years, we had to turn off the wiki editing after I couldn't keep up with spam busting tasks anymore. Vikram has been bugging me for years to port it a better platform, it never really materialized until the task was taken up with gusto in the last gnu(s) grazing.

Debian Lenny Slogan Contest, Cast Your Votes

The creative chaps at Debian Art are looking for a great line for Lenny, the development codename for the next version of Debian GNU/Linux operating system. They are running a open ballot. I cast mine for the line "The Spiral Strikes Back!". Perhaps I loved this line over more popular one due to its strong visual connotations. No one would miss the reference to spiral logo of Debian GNU/Linux project and the Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back has strong following in the community and elsewhere. Right now the slogan "The Universal Operating System is leading the poll. Don't you think that human brain is supposed to be the true universal operating system on earth. Duh! :P Poll Results So Far!

Mapping The Internet

I watched the map of internet mentioned in the recent "Download: The True Story of the Internet " on Discovery Channel, it sounds like a great idea for a Information visualization project. Here is an old map that was published in December 1998 issue of Wired Magazine, Cool!. The data is available and more information can be found on the Internet Mapping Project page.

Notes From Celliax Talk in Hyderabad

I spent the better part of Sunday on a 4 hour bus ride to Hyderabad. It was really wonderful to meet a person like Giovanni Maruzzelli who isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and hack an idea into shape. Giovanni's talk introduced the Celliax project (see the slides of the talk) and the challenges of working with sparsely documented Asterisk and mobile phone hardware that sometimes seems to be designed by some deranged engineer ;o).Celliax project addresses the issue of providing the mobile network connectivity, Skype VoIP support to the popular Asterisk free software PBX & telephony platform. chan_celliax and chan_skypiax are the two channel drivers that work in concert with Asterisk to provide this functionality. This talk was hosted by the great folks at Phonestack Technologies. Kudos are in order for Farhan, Ali and also Bharat for giving me a ride back.

Free Software Free Society Conference 2008, Registrations Open!

Free Software, Free SocietySecond International Conference on Freedom in Computing,Development and Culture 9-11 December, 2008,Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India After a gap of three years, the Free Software Free Society (FSFS) conference is back again. The first FSFS conference was held on 28-30 May, 2005 in Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), the capital city of south Indian state of Kerala. It was a joint effort of government and civil society organizations from Brazil, Italy, Venezuela and India. This was the first event that I blogged live, you bet! I am gonna do that again. Come and join me there in truly good's own country!. The registrations opened this morning and you can register online over here

Watching WMV Vidoes with Gstreamer ffmpeg Codec Plugin

Last week, I received an email from a friend, his company Floating weeds has produced their debut film. I rushed to watch the film online and guess what the film was in WMV video format. The standard Ubuntu doesn't ship with proprietary codecs like WMV, but you can still watch these videos just with few mouse clicks. Gstreamer Can't find the proper Codec, Let's Search...Found a GStreamer ffmpeg plugin! Let's Install... Restricted software Warning, Click confirm Downloading the plugin package ....Success, Now sit back and enjoy the filmUpdate 27 Jan 2009 : Other codecs for mp3, real media etc, are provided by the gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly package.

Ubuntu The Complete Reference :: Book Review

After reviewing the last two Ubuntu books, Beginning Ubuntu Linux and Ubuntu Unleashed I decided to call it a day until October 30 release of Intrepid Ibex. However I felt the need for a reference book that discussed topics like AppArmour, SELinux, Encryption, FACL, Intrusion Detection etc.. for more advanced users. Well, I found one such book Ubuntu The Complete Reference.Indeed the book lives up to its grandiose title and it does cover basis for new users and the advance users who are planning to run Ubunutu on desktop and servers would find it very useful too. While reading the book I felt that author could have covered a chapter in more detail, however given the wide range of topics (I dare say, just too many) that are already covered in this book, I felt it was asking for too much :) . My kudos to Richard Petersen and technical editor Ibrahim Haddad for doing such a great job on this book and finish it too ! . The book is up to date covering Ubuntu Hardy Heron (8.04) and you …

VOIP & Asterisk Meetup, Hyderabad, 26 October 2008

Giovanni Maruzzelli celliax project developer, writer and popular speaker is currently touring India. Frederick Noronha (FN) caught up with Giovanni for chat during his stopover in Goa.
Giovanni graciously responded to my query about his talk in Hyderabad and the complete details are blogged here.

About The EventMr Giovanni Maruzzelli, Developer of the project will be delivering a Presentation on chan_celliax, chan_skypiax and how to add GSM and Skype channels to Asterisk on Sunday 26th October 2008 at 4 PM Venue Contact: Diyanat Ali
Phonestack Technologies
19 B, MLA Colony, Road No 12
Banjara Hills
Phone: 9885039230, 23300120
You can register online here @

Gaming Fropper 'Hit' System

This one is freshly unearthed from my archives, its a nifty macro script that helped me win a bet. Fropper is India's leading social networking site, it features a 'Hit' user rating system. The idea of this hack is to increase your hit count by visiting and hitting as many profiles as you can. Web automation Imacros plugin for firefox is used here. ' comments start with a qoute VERSION BUILD=6011218 RECORDER=FX ' Don't stop on errors SET !ERRORIGNORE=YES ' Run on first firefor tab TAB T=1 ' close other tab's if open TAB CLOSEALLOTHERS ' window size SIZE X=750 Y=400 ' find next zone TAG POS=1 TYPE=A ATTR=TXT:NEXTZONE ' be nice to the servers, wait 100 seconds WAIT SECONDS=100 ' Give a hit and loop TAG POS=1 TYPE=A ATTR=TXT:GIMMEAHIT! Disclaimer: (Ab)using this script will put your behind the bars, script kiddies beware! .

National Conference On Free Software, Kochi India

National Conference On Free Software 2008 is being organized in Cochin Kerala(India) on 15 and 16 November 2008. Last years event was held in Hyderabad and for some reason I didn't get news in time. Perhaps we should remedy this time around, I request readers to please spread the word about the conference widely. The event is organised by Appropriate Technology Promotion Society(ATPS) , CUSAT, Government of Kerala's IT@School project and Open Software Solutions Industrial Cooperative Society Limited (OSS ICS) Sometime back I spoke to the Joseph Thomas about the conference over the phone, he mentioned that he could use some feedback about the event programme. Perhaps active contributors from free software community can sign up as speakers or conduct workshops, do I see any hands going up?. If you like to attend National Conference on Free Software please register as a delegate online.

Compiz Wobbly Windows (side) effect

Here is an interesting side effect to watch out for if you have enabled the Compiz-fusion wobbly windows visual effect. When a window is placed on a certain corner of the desktop, almost overlapping the next desktop, it develops this nervous twitch. (See the video)Please do check if you can reproduce this issue on your desktop and post a comment.

Thoughts on Poverty

October 15 is the Blog Action Day 08 , Here is another contribution from our guest blogger.Think for a moment what come to your mind when you hear the word 'poverty'? The over-sized belly of a starving child in Somalia or the rag picker digging through the dumpster across the street. We have learnt to ignore them, either they are far off in some poor nation on dark continent or just as far from our neatly trimmed lawn. As a teacher,what can I do? all my efforts are towards my students community. I can educate them through my language classes, teach them good communication skills so that they can get a good better job with better pay and to take good care of themselves and their family. As a counsellor, I can inspire my women students to become independent, self sufficient on par with men in our society. With our extra curricular activities such as the National Service Scheme (NSS), the students learn to play a active role in the society helping by conducting blood donat…

Looking Forward

October 15 is the Blog Action Day 08 , this is my contribution to the global conversation on poverty. The sound of iron hammer smashing concrete woke me up, looking out of my bedroom window I can see labours working on demolition site few meters away from my house. There isn't a single impact drill or any kind of mechanical device in sight, work here in India is done manually with hand tools and brute human strength. 1. Action Point "Health"From construction workers to BPO and software developers, India is perhaps one of the largest workforce in the world, coming next only to china. The health of workforce is of great importance, affordable health care and nutrition for the young would be the things to watch out for in the coming years. Lately we have indeed taken few right steps to make affordable generic drugs available in the country and early diagnosis and prevention of genetic and epidemics is in place. However there is lot to be done for making life bearable for …

Gnome Notification Area Applet

Notification Area applet is a nifty tool that lets you keep an eye on application activity of your Gnome desktop. Quite often new users tend to accidental it in the applet adding and removing frenzy that we all succumb to one time or other. Here is how you can get the applet back on to your desktop panel. Select the 'Add to Panel' option by right-clicking the empty space before the clock applet. Scroll down and type the name of applet you want to add to the panel as show in the screenshot below.

Floating Weeds Debut Film

Few months after I moved to Hyderabad, I caught up with Vinoo on IM, he too it seems had moved away from Bangalore to the tinsel town Bombay (nay, sorry Mumbai) to start Floating Weeds with Kaevan.
In the following months I kept track of Vinoo and kaevan work tirelessly to start their company and produce their debut film for IBM. Kaevan who is a Film and Television Institute of India(FTII) graduate took on the mantle of directing the film. It was amazing to follow the making of the film in the small towns of Rajasthan, Jaipur and fishing boats at sea down south in Kerala. The film does capture how mobile networks changed how people communicate in India. Watch the film here on IBM site or click this direct link (WMV, 6:00 min, 9,76MB)

Ebay India Security Problem

Its almost midnight I am surfing the listings. To my surprise I found this page shows me that I logged in as viper something. I don't know if there are any security issues with ebay India site authentication system. Could someone enlighten me ?. Checked again this morning, same issues. No good , no good at all

On Motherhood

Please welcome the new guest blogger Ammayee and she writes about the trials of being a mother of a monster child called 'me'.I am a woman and mother of two grown-up children, I am proud of it and I owe it to my father who believed that educating a girl child was important in the days when women's education was considered to be no good. Now I teach and inspire my students about the importance of getting an education and earning a better livelihood for themselves and their offspring. Indeed an educated mother would educate her children and contribute back to the society in more ways than a father.Changing TimesI grew up in a large joint family , always surrounded by five younger siblings and half a dozen rowdy cousins, loving grandparents , many aunts, uncles and endless flow of relatives visiting our house in the village.We learnt the joy of sharing and values naturally, by the time I had my first child times had indeed changed, my first child grew up with his heap of sto…

Media Companies Adopt Drupal

TV and Radio audience don't want to be a passive consumers of airwaves no more, its not lost on the some media companies. They are exploring new technology to bring their audience together online. The Drupal the free software content management system(CMS) seems to be the new favourite of the media companies, they are using its reliability and rich features set to create digital communities.Radar Cultura from Brazil, South America was featured recently on Beeb's Digital Planet
RadarCultura believes in the benefits of the usage of free technology and information. It is developed on Drupal mainframe and licenses its content by Creative Commons. All the material published may be used and distributed for free, except for commercial initiatives. Closer home, NewsX the Indian television news channel (no relation to the famous TV show about paranormal) uses drupal to provide users customized news. PS: Guess, its a good idea to add these sites to the Drupal Case studies page

GISS Multimedia Workshop in Sarai , New Delhi

Audio/Video production is no longer done solely by the trained media professionals, even the ordinary folks with a computer and Free Software tools like Open Movie Editor and a cheap camera produce and publish content on wikis, forums, blogs and social networking sites like Friends Reunited, Facebook and eBayIf you are interested to join the new media wave, you should head to this one day Multimedia workshop at Sarai, CSDS New Delhi. The event is organised by G.I.S.S. project , ILUG-D, and Sarai,CSDS on 11 Oct 2008Workshop scheduleWe will start at 11am, and continue till about 6-7pm, depending on the level of interest. Food, snakes, and chai will be provided.Presentations by Yves from the G.I.S.S. collective: G.I.S.S. project, and live streaming: 1.5 h See, e.g., the distributed multimedia database Pure data, and computer vision: 1.5h See, Pure Data, and openCV Other potential topics, from Niyam Bhushan's list in the multimedia section here: Edit, Produce and Publish Yo…

The Youngest "Learning GNU Emacs" Fan

My 11 month-old niece Guna takes liking to my Learning GNU Emacs book. Took few quick shots with my mobile phone, reminds me of Tim Pietzcker's Youngest "Learning Python" Fan post on O'Reilly way back in 2004.

Blog Action Day 08 : Poverty

Blog Action Day 08 is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

Gnu/Linux Kernel Tutorial, IEEE Bangalore

VENUE: Atria Hotel Palace road, BangaloreThe Tutorial aims at increasing the technical excellence of programmers in defining technologies in free software domain. This is targeted at programmers in the industry and engineering students. Schedule: 18th October, 2008 08.30 AM Registration 09.00AM Inauguration and talk by IEEE Bangalore Section 09.30AM Basics of Gnu/Linux Programming & Tools 1.Simple C Programs 2.Simple Makefiles 3.Gcc, stace, Itrace, gdb, objdump, nm, LD_PRELOAD 4.Quick overview of a typical hardware on which Gnu/Linux runs (CPU, Memory, Interrupt controller, IO Bus etc) 5.Overview the Gnu/Linux Kernel • Kernel Layout • Coding Style • Important Subsystems • Kernel configuration 6.Building and booting a new kernel EXERCISE 10.30 AM: Tea 10.45AM Gnu/Linux Kernel Internals – An Overview • Process and threads • Memory management •…

xvidcap Segmentation fault crash

xvidcap users on Ubuntu Hardy Heron are in for a nasty surprise. The moment you press the red record button, the program greets you with a segmentation fault error (bug #224355). This isn't a serious problem but it does make users shy away from using the xvidcap tool. The solution is to tweak few settings on the Multi-Frame preferences page. The xvidcap preferences page can be accessed by right clicking on the first button on the left hand side marked test-0000.mpeg[00000] .Xvidcap Main ScreenXvidcap Preference

Instant Messengers for Kiosk Linux

The ground floor of our campus library is lined with public access computers, anyone can surf the Internet, search library database and access the scholarly journals in digital form. These machines run one version of Microsoft Windows operating system or other, anti-virus and security updates are non-existent. The only kind of maintenance these machines see is when they crash and someone runs a re-install with a Windows boot CD. It doesn't take much to migrate some of these machines to gnu/Linux (if you can cut the red tap) and provide a secure and safe browsing experience to the users. There are quite some documentation that help you turn a KDE desktop or the popular Ubuntu Linux to work as a public access kiosk machine. Its relatively easy to setup and makes economic sense too. However there are still some (technical) problems that need to be addressed, the needs of the kiosk mode desktop environment are quite different. Instant messenger clients running on a Internet kiosk n…

firefox-3.0 Assertion failed error

Caught myself some FireFox crash bugs #240507 and #251891 this morning, great way to start the day.

Ubuntu is running in low-graphics mode

I haven't figured out what went wrong, must be a bug or my disk started to show its age. After couple of reboots and doing file system check everything went back to normal. The issue seems to be that half of modules went missing, Beats me!

Looking For Moderators

Its time for me to throw in the towel, I no longer have time and energy to moderate the India Engineering Students list anymore. The India Engineering Students is a community of Engineering students from the subcontinent and elsewhere, its hosted on Yahoo! groups. Most of early moderators, including the founder of the list is MIA(Missing In Action). So, I decided to look for some young blood to run the list and keep the spammer's, trolls, bots at bay.If you are a active member of the list and would like to spend time as a moderator then do please leave a comment with your Yahoo! groups user name or links to your past threads on the mailing-list.

Ubuntu Unleashed 2008 Edition :: Book Review

Here is yet another review of a Ubuntu book before the release of the next version of Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex at the end of this month. In my last post I wrote about Beginning Ubuntu Linux Ubuntu Unleashed 2008 edition by Andrew Hudson and Paul Hudson is the second Ubuntu book I am reviewing this week. At 850 odd pages this book covers a lot of ground and is yet another wrist breaker from Unleashed series.The book caters to a wide range of audience from beginner to advanced, this is the highlight of the book and its major defect. The book starts by teaching you the much feared task of installing your first Ubuntu system (Part I Installation and Configuration, Part II Desktop Ubuntu) and do some basics tasks like adding new users, configuring network connections, backup up the system and burning DVD disks (Part III System Administration) and advanced system administration tasks like turning Ubuntu machine into a File and Print server or LAMP server(Part IV Ubuntu as a Server) is al…