Agraharangalude vilapa :: Documentary About Vanishing Heritage of Agraharams

Tried to watch this one at the film festival but no such luck.

'Agraharangalude vilapam,' a documentary, delves into the vanishing heritage of agraharams.
AgraharaM, an ubiquitous feature of most South Indian towns and which literally means a garland with open ends, is floundering in the wake of globalisation.

Heritage buildings: Agraharams were once bastions of learning and culture.

They were once the bastions of learning, knowledge, art and culture, yet they were simple homesteads at the heart of South Indian society. They are the agraharams – the traditional homes of South Indian Brahmins; invariably row houses with slan ting roofs and common walls lining both sides of the street that leads to a temple.

Lamentably, today, these heritage buildings are mere shadows of their former austere glory. These living remnants of a fast fading culture have been poignantly captured in the award-winning documentary 'Agraharangalude vilapam,' ('Agrahara- a lament') directed by M. Venukumar.

Ubiquitous feature

"The idea for this documentary was born out of nostalgia. The very style of architecture of these structures once encompassed a kind of world that was quite insular," says Venukumar. "Sadly, the agraharam, an ubiquitous feature of most South Indian towns and which literally means a garland with open ends, is floundering in the wake of globalisation. The theruvus (streets with agraharams) are usually situated in the heart of towns, making them ideal locations for starting a business. However, the agraharams are gradually being torn down to make way for multi-storeyed edifices, a prime example being the Fort Area of Thiruvananthapuram," adds the journalist-turned-director who won State awards for the documentaries 'Jeevana kalayude Pulluva Geetham' and 'Nadatham Jeevante Agni.'

In this 22-minute documentary filmed in Puthen Street and Karamana in Thiruvannathapuram, Kalpathi in Palakkad and in various locales in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Venukumar has chosen to personify the agaraharams, giving them a feminine voice. Why? "Because we identify houses with the feminine. The angst of the mother of the house is the most poignant and the house is usually an extension of her personality."
Read More

Prayas The Tinkerer

Ran into Prayas the tinkerer while in Bangalore. He introduced me to two of his really interesting projects.

CANOPY: temporary roofs for tea-shops

Canopy: temporary roofs for tea-shops project CANOPY is a series of temporary (flexible, mobile, sturdy), multi-purpose roofs for shops on Indian streets.
The first set of canopies are for tea-shops in Chandni-Chowk (New Delhi) and will attempt to have these features:

  1. water collection (rain, dew, fog)
  2. space for growing vegetables
  3. space for sleeping
  4. LIVE solar mobile charging
  5. storage
  6. marking (creating an identity for the tea-shop through art on the canopy)

MausamChowk: a set of local weather stations that help you decide where to go

Local weather station project SMS a query to a local weather station. Receive a reply with the temperature, humidity and noise levels of the space. Decide if you want to go there or someone else. This project uses the arduino

Open Source Car Project :: Build And They will come

The goal of the OScar Project to develop a car according to Open Source principles. The project started in 1999. In December 2005, it reached release 0.2. Starting in 2006, everyone is welcome to participate. In our opinion, a car is not a vehicle full of high-tech gadgets. Instead, we are looking for a simple and functional concept to spread mobility. Form follows function.

Apart from that, OScar is not just a car. It is about new ways of mobility and the spreading of the Open Source idea in the real (physical) world. On this website, you will find a great community of developers and drivers who want to invent mobility anew and together.
The OS Car Project

TP-LINK TL-WN322G+ USB Wireless Network Card

On my first visit to the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurship (IISE) here in Kerala I found that they were having trouble configuring the USB Wireless (Wifi) Network Card for gnu/Linux. They use this device for all their desktops and some older laptops, this device is not very commonly used here in India and there is very little documentation about it in English. The Chinese make TP-LINK TL-WN322G+ USB Wireless Network Card is supported very well in gnu/Linux with a builtin module zd1211rw now included in main linux kernel tree, thanks to the zd1211 project.

TP-Link TL-WN322G+ Front TP-Link TL-WN322G+ Back

On their Ubuntu 8.04 (HH) desktop computer I first checked the USB ID of the chipset then inserted the zd1211rw module with modprobe command and the devices started working like magic.

$ lsusb 0ace:1215 Zydas WLA-54L Wifi $ sudo modprobe zd1211rw

Append to new line with 'zd1211rw' at the end /etc/modules file so that the module is loaded every time the computer boots.

Suneetha, The Auto Rickshaw Driver

Coming out of the Trivandrum railway station after bidding farewell to Anand Babu, I hailed for an auto rickshaw. I got into the first one that stopped and that's how I met Suneetha, one of two women auto rickshaw drivers in Trivandrum, Kerala (India).

I have been travelling in Kerala for over 10 days now and this is first time any auto rickshaw driver started the fare meter. Is it because the auto rickshaw driver is a women? I am not that sure. But its a nice not being swindled for a change and I am already feeling safe in suneetha's auto rickshaw. Suneetha

I introduced myself and she asked me where I was from. When I replied Bangalore she told me that her daughter was studying in a nursing college in Bangalore. Its the first time I have seen a women driving auto rickshaw and it feels great to be in the company of a pioneer.

Suneetha told me that women in kerala have always been independent and that she didn't face any trouble from her male counter parts when she first started driving an auto rickshaw over a decade ago, then I wonder why there are only two women rickshaw drivers in Trivandrum today. Anyway I think we can do with more people like suneetha all over the country. I am leaving kerala tomorrow and if you travel in suneetha's auto rickshaw then say that Arky sends his greetings.

President of the Ecuador Rafael Correa Talks About Free Software


Dear friends, the President of the Republic of Ecuador sends you greetings. This is the hour for the integration of Latin America in all of its aspects, including in technology and the use of information technologies.

For that reason, it is necessary that we all adopt, on a public and private level, the use of free software. In that manner, we will guarantee the sovereignty of our states. We will depend on our own efforts, and not on the external forces on the region. We will be producers of technology, and not simple consumers. We will be the owners of the source codes, and we can develop many products that can, with cooperation of this effort, can be very useful to public and private companies in the region.

For that, everyone must use free software. The Ecuadoran government has already established this as a governmental and state policy. This will be an important step in the integration and, why not say, for the liberation of Latin America.

How to Bypass Internet Censorship :: Book Review

The book How to Bypass Internet Censorship using free software tools is now out. The book is distributed on The interesting aspect about this book is that it is created using collaborative content development system over a period of (just) five days by various contributors.

In the past I had blogged about how to bypass the filtering systems using translation services like Babelfish, however I think the book would be more informative for all.

About The Book

Because of concerns about the effect of Internet blocking mechanisms, and the implications of censorship, many individuals and groups are working hard to ensure that the Internet, and the information on it, are freely available to everyone who wants it.

This book documents simple circumvention techniques such as a cached file or web proxy, and also describes more complex methods using Tor, which stands for The Onion Router, involving a sophisticated network of proxy servers.

FLOSS Manuals publications will always be available for free in HTML and PDF from the FLOSS Manuals Website. Each book sale generates $2.50 (USD). 100% of this income goes back into the development of more manuals about free software.

You can also order a dead tree version of this book or just download it.

Naranda Muni Assocation

Juan says 'I now dub thee, president arky'
Initiation into Hipatia community Browsing this blog on Nokia N95 at the IFFK in Kerala No, I am not santa, You can't have this Nokia N95 for Xmas Juan with a malayalam poet after the screening Outside Buraq for dinner Juan shows off his 'Guest' badge at IFFK Food on my mind !

13th IFFK Awards

Some of the films that bagged various awards at IFFK. I could quickly note down while sitting here at the closing ceremony of the event. The Mexican film Parque Vie will be the closing film. The official news is in Malayalam, here is the link 13th IFFK Awards Declared

And the Winners are

 Postcards from Leningrad
      Director: Mariana Rondon       

 Parque Vie Dir:Enrique Rivero

Malayalam Cinema Now 

Lucky Red Seeds/Manjadikkuru
    (India/117 min/)
    Dir: Anjali Menon

Hassan Kutty award in IFFK

Lucky Red Seeds/Manjadikkuru
    (India/117 min/)
    Dir: Anjali Menon

 Firaaq Dir: Nandita Das

Machan Dir:Uberto Pasolini
     (109min/Sri Lanka, Germany/2008)

The Yellow House Dir:Amor Hakkar      (84min/Algeria,France/2008)

 The Imprints Dir: M.G Sasi

Here is the Complete listing of the selected films.

Open Annoyances, Needs Java

This is perhaps the most annoying thing about Open Why do I need Java Runtime for OpenOffice to export a document into HTML format. Duh! writer demanding java run time envirnoment ooffice why-fs.odt javaldx: Could not find a Java Runtime Environment!

I know I heard about the Ooffice Java Controversy but do you think its a sound technical design to use Java for doing a simple thing like htmlizing a document.

Free Software for Movie industry workshop at IFFK

The Free Software for Movie industry workshop was conducted this morning as the part of 13th International Film Festival of Kerala IIFFK) 2008. Delegates, film Makers, editors, sound engineers, graphic designers and students attended this event.

Gearing up for the workshop Juan, Anil, Arun and Paul IFFK Creative Director Ms.Paul talks about the workshop Arun introduces Free Software to the participants Anil starts his lecture with the basics of Digital Film making workflow Participants interact after the workshop Blender installed on a participants Windows XP Laptop Blender Basics tutorials shared

AUS: Update XML File Malformed (200) Firefox Update Error

Recently one my blog reader was angry that I posted something related to Microsoft Windows ;). Why shouldn't I write about that it?. There whole lot of free software that runs on it, programming languages, Office tools, editors you name it. Mozilla Firefox is perhaps the most common one. This is post discusses this odd Firefox error message which is triggered when the browser try to check for latest updates.

AUS: Update XML File Malformed (200) Firefox Update Error This AUS Update XML File Malformed 200 error traps many issues, the simplest being unable to access the Internet. So, most of the time you can safely ignore this warning.

Test Case

  1. File>Work Offline
  2. Help>Check for Updates
Gnu/Linux users running firefox installed from the distribution package would find that Check for Updates feature is disabled.

X11::GUITest Build Errors

X11::GUITest and X11::GUITest::record CPAN modules help you control X11 applications using perl programming language and do some rather simple automation tasks.

But building these modules can be a pain, if don't know about the right dependencies like libxt-dev and libxtst-dev .

 # Build Fails  
cp blib/lib/X11/ /usr/bin/perl /usr/share/perl5/ExtUtils/xsubpp  -typemap /usr/share/perl/5.8/ExtUtils/typemap -typemap typemap  GUITest.xs > GUITest.xsc && mv GUITest.xsc GUITest.c cc -c  -I/usr/X11R6/include -I/usr/X/include -Wall -O2   -DVERSION=\"0.21\" -DXS_VERSION=\"0.21\" -fPIC "-I/usr/lib/perl/5.8/CORE"  -DNDEBUG -DX11_GUITEST_ALT_L_FALLBACK_META_L GUITest.c GUITest.xs:41:27: error: X11/Intrinsic.h: No such file or directory GUITest.xs:42:28: error: X11/StringDefs.h: No such file or directory make: *** [GUITest.o] Error 1 
root@arky-laptop:~/.cpan/build/X11-GUITest-0.21-4tUEBB# less README  root@arky-laptop:~/.cpan/build/X11-GUITest-0.21-4tUEBB# make cc -c  -I/usr/X11R6/include -I/usr/X/include -Wall -O2   -DVERSION=\"0.21\" -DXS_VERSION=\"0.21\" -fPIC "-I/usr/lib/perl/5.8/CORE"  -DNDEBUG -DX11_GUITEST_ALT_L_FALLBACK_META_L GUITest.c GUITest.xs:41:27: error: X11/Intrinsic.h: No such file or directory GUITest.xs:42:28: error: X11/StringDefs.h: No such file or directory
 make: *** [GUITest.o] Error 1  

# found libxt-dev provides the needed header files  
/usr/include/X11/Intrinsic.h    libxt-dev /usr/include/X11/StringDefs.h    libxt-dev 
# install the libxt-dev  
$ sudo apt-get install libxt-dev 
[sudo] password for arky:  
Reading package lists... Done 
Building dependency tree        
Reading state information... 
The following NEW packages will be installed:   libxt-dev 0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. 
Need to get 482kB of archives. After this operation, 1319kB of additional disk space will be used. 
Get:1 hardy/main libxt-dev 1:1.0.5-3 [482kB] Fetched 482kB in 44s(10.9kB/s)                                                 
Selecting previously deselected package libxt-dev. (Reading database ... 145581 files and directories currently installed.) Unpacking libxt-dev (from .../libxt-dev_1%3a1.0.5-3_i386.deb) ... Setting up libxt-dev (1:1.0.5-3) ...   

## Second built error  

LD_RUN_PATH="/usr/lib" cc  -shared -L/usr/local/lib GUITest.o  -o blib/arch/auto/X11/GUITest/  \     -lXtst -lXext -lX11   \     /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lXtst collect2: ld returned 1 exit status  # the shared object is provided by libxtst-dev  /usr/lib/    libxtst-dev  

# Install the libxtst-dev  
$ sudo apt-get install libxtst-dev 
Reading package lists... Done 
Building dependency tree        
Reading state information... Done 
The following extra packages will be installed:   x11proto-record-dev The following NEW packages will be installed:   libxtst-dev x11proto-record-dev 0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. 
Need to get 20.8kB of archives. After this operation, 156kB of additional disk space will be used. 
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y 
Get:1 hardy/main x11proto-record-dev 1.13.2-4ubuntu1 [6022B] 
Get:2 hardy/main libxtst-dev 2:1.0.3-1 [14.8kB]    Fetched 20.8kB in 21s (964B/s)                                                  
Selecting previously deselected package x11proto-record-dev. (Reading database ... 145890 files and directories currently installed.) 
Unpacking x11proto-record-dev (from .../x11proto-record-dev_1.13.2-4ubuntu1_all.deb) ... 
Selecting previously deselected package libxtst-dev. 
Unpacking libxtst-dev (from .../libxtst-dev_2%3a1.0.3-1_i386.deb) ... 
Setting up x11proto-record-dev (1.13.2-4ubuntu1) ... 
Setting up libxtst-dev (2:1.0.3-1) ...

Free Software for Movie industry workshop

The Free Software for Movie industry workshop is scheduled for 10:30 am on 18th December 2008 at Hotel Horizon, Thiruvananthapurum (India). This event is organized during the 13th International Film Festival of Kerala by free software community.

About Free Software and cultural products

Free Software is software that gives users the freedom to use, copy, share, study, and modify. The freedoms also make it possible to get the software free of cost. The Free Software Movement, started about a quarter of a century back, is a global movement today and a number of governments and public and private organisations are opting to use Free Software for their purposes.

The Free Software movement pioneered the various movements for freedom in the digital world -- for instance, free knowledge represented by Wikipedia or freedom of creative works from copyright restrictions represented by Creative Commons. We also see a new form of social production where collaboration becomes more important than competition, where people from different parts of the world co-operate to create digital products including documents, music, movies or software.

Free Software for Media production

Software for movie production, such as video editors, sound editors and animation software are now available as Free Software. Blender, for example, is a powerful tool for 3D animation that is becoming popular. Two short animation films have been created by a group of volunteers under the initiative of the Blender Foundation and released for free downloads.

Digital technology, along with Free Software, is democratizing the media by virtually converting every home into a digital media production house. It's also fostering a free culture where people build and share music, animation and other forms of media. Free software media tools like Ardour and Blender are becoming popular among creative artists. Personalities like Gilberto Gil (Former Culture Minister of Brazil, and a musician) have been promoting free software and the free culture among artists.

Free Software - Revolution In Film Making

Workshop on free software for film making will cover

  1. Impact of digital technology in cinema
  2. Inevitability of technology for the low budget/zero budget film makers
  3. Free software - A comparison
  4. Free software - explosion in film making

Speaker Bio

Anil Nair CEO, Cinesoft systems and services Pvt Ltd , Cochin Anil Nair has 8 years experience in film Industry. He was the technical Director of Malayalam Movie "Moonnamathoral" (First Digital Cinema in India). He has been developing and promoting Free and Open Source for VFX, Animation, Editing (off line and On line) and DI. He is CEO Cinesoft systems and services Pvt Ltd in Cochin (India)

Wikia Search :: Opening up the Search

Jimmy Wales at Jimmy Wales had talked about few of his new initiatives at conference in Kerala, India.

Wikia Search Project Search Wikia is one of them. Unlike other search engines the methods of search indexing (algorithms) are open for all to see and understand. Would it change how the search engines work in future is yet to be seen.

Wiki Green Project Another one is Green Wiki, it aims to become the global clearing house of all information pertaining to Environmental Issues,Sustainable Living and the interesting "How to" pages that tell how you can start healing the planet right from your home .

RMS Visit to Bangalore

sujith shares his experiences during the Stallman's visit to Bangalore and captures the event with his Canon PowerShot A720 IS camera powered by free software (CHDK ) !
Read the RMS visit to Bangalore post on his Core Dump blog

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

US teacher detains student for using Linux

A teacher in Austin, Texas has lashed out against the open-source Linux operating system, punishing one of her students for demonstrating and handing out copies of the HeliOS Linux distribution and writing an email to the distributor claiming the software may be illegal.

After confiscating the discs and detaining the student, the teacher, known only as Karen, wrote an email to Linux evangelist Ken Starks from HeliOS, most of which he posted on his blog together with his response.
Read the full story

IFFK'08 Day One

It was great meeting old friends from Bangalore Film Society (BFS) Siddharath and Thushar after a long time at the IFFK 2008.

Watched couple of films on the first day on the first day.

Thushar has written a good review of the films IFFK’08 - Day One on PFC

Images from Day One

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Triskaidekaphobia Attack, That Dreaded Number 13

As I turned this mornings newspaper I suddenly had a triskaidekaphobic attack, I realized that today is December the 13th and am at the 13 th International Film Festival of Kerala bearing delegate badge number 1300 . Darn!Arky delegate badge IFFK 2008

Free Software Free Society Conference on Freedom in Computing, Development and Culture ( 2008 ):: Full Roundup

Three years ago Anand Babu lent me his laptop to blog live from Technopark, the venue for the First Free Software, Free Society Conference in Kerala and I promised my blog readers that I will do that same this time around. I wrote in a blog post announcing the event you bet! I am gonna do that again and I am happy that I have kept my word.

For some technical reasons and largely due to my lazyiness I ended doing photo blogging instead. I thought this would be easier than sitting and writing posts on FSFS website. How wrong I was!. I had corrected some content on that site and had editor access. However I didn't find the Drupal content interface very appealing.

Anyway I was running all over the place ducking in and out of conference halls and hankering people to pose for the camera and interupting conversations with an unexpected flash and then running back to media room on the first floor where I had my laptop running hooked up to internet via a lan cable (sorry, GPRS too costly!) and uploading the pictures. And then I had sit late into night outside my hotel room so that I get a better signal and use my datacard to upload pictures taken in evening well past into midnight like this post I am writing right now.

I used my aging Nokia 70 running S60 (Shameless plug: yeah its proprietary software, I don't like it either don't flame me I am wearing my fireproof underwear instead buy me some open hardware) with its 2.0 Megapixel camera to take these pictures, the quality is aweful but I guess its adds a amateurish stock reel quality to the pictures, which I like very much. Perhaps next time I could afford to buy a Openmoko Neo runner and shoot (guess, the next one will come with a camera) blog picture in real time with WIFI hookup.

Here is complete listing of the all live blog posts from the Free Software Free Society Conference on Freedom in Computing, Development and Culture in chronological order. Its well past midnight and forgive me if I missed some of the posts.

Pre-Event Post

Free Software Free Society Conference 2008, Registrations Open!

Day One

Day Two

Day Three 2008 :: Day 3.6 :: Long Hair Post

Unni strikes again and Juan Carlos is the latest victim Juan Carlos delivers a fatal blow by signing it with a witty remark! Game Carlos Stallman relax's in the media room after yet another interview Stallman's new gal, the Lemote Laptop Ivan captures me with his crayons Came here you young rogue, Awwww, that hurts See, you don't mess with Ivan the young warrior 2008 :: Day 3.5 :: Openmoko Hack Session

Day 3 :: Got a Openmoko Hack session underway in the media hall after the ended.

Watch out here the GPS pigtail doubles as the stylus !