Santa Claus In Our Office

I discovered this video on my phone yesterday. Ivan was messing around with my phone in the media room last year (BTW Ivan is the cute kid in the video). He captured me chuckling when I heard Raji referring to Juan Carlos as the Santa Claus in our office. I know Juan hates to be called that, lets hope he doesn't read this post. :P

Fart Face

Simon turned 20 this week. Here is something to remind you of jolly good times you had in India.
Rajesh captured this video of Simon and me bored to death at Trivandrum Airport.

Simon and me at Trivandrum Airport

Before I visit Vidarbha :: Art Installation

After blogging about the Suma Josson's documentary I Want My Father Back yesterday. Perhaps I should mention Prayas's interactive installation titled Before I Visit Vidarbha . This sound installation "sonically interprets the farmer suicide cases reported in the English media". Sounds Interesting !!

Read more about this sound installation here in this Before I Visit Vidarbha blog post.

Earth Hour 2009 at IISE

Karin (Norway), Kienzen (Tibet/China), Khom (Nepal) , Julius (Ghana) , Louis The Cat and me from India organized the Earth Hour 2009 at 8:30 to 9:30 p.m local time today in the IISE campus in Kerala, India.

Earth Hour Patrol

After turning off my laptop, cellphone and desktop in the office I walked around the campus to find and turn off non-essential lights and electrical devices. At the guard house, I saw two lights one outside and other inside the guard house, I requested to turn off one of the lights. Later in the kitchen I found a blender and couple of mobile chargers plugged in. How strange, I don't even notice these things in other days. Perhaps events like Earth Hour does really make you ponder about things that we often take for granted.

Meanwhile Kienzen and Khom joined me after going through the dorm and requesting participants to observe the earth hour. Most of them were away at the party in Kovallam. Julius came out of his room and seeing us standing outside the dorm shouted at the top of his voice 'Turned off those damn computers'. I don't think anyone was running their laptops, they got the message loud and clear.

We moved to the open air amphitheatre and discussed for a while about earth hour, environment and power issues back home in our countries. It was great to see you out there in open braving the mosquitoes and united in a common cause.
Thank you, you are the best! .

About Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour is an international event organised by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund), and held on the last Saturday of March each year, which asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

I Want My Father Back :: Documentary

Yesterday I took some time off and finished the review of Suma Josson latest documentary 'I Want My Father Back' and sent it off to the editors. I watched this one at the KAFISO Third National Short and Documentary Film festival recently.

I Want My Father Back

You can watch part 1 and 2 of this documentary below.

About the Documentary

"I Want My Father Back" - examines the crisis small farmers in India face as a result of globalization and government apathy. For the past ten years farmers have been committing suicide in Vidarbha, Maharashtra, as in many other parts of India. The main act of this tragedy started in mid 60's with the introduction of the Green Revolution. Earlier, farmers saved their own seeds and practiced organic farming. The money they invested on their farms was very little. But with Green Revolution farmers were asked to buy seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, forcing them to borrow, mostly from private money lenders at exorbitant interest rates. With every farming season their debt increased and over the course of years it led to a loan trap. The second phase of this tragic situation can be directly attributed to 'globalization'. Under the WTO (World Trade Organization) regime, which favors wealthy industrialized countries, the Indian government has eliminated or reduced its support to farmers, while Indian agriculture is invaded by multinationals. The introduction of BT cotton has created havoc in Vidarbha. The cost of these seeds is exorbitant and, contrary to the claims of the seller (Monsanto), the yields have fallen and the level of pesticide use has not dropped. The film raises these issues through interviews with ordinary farmers and activists and traces the lives of some of the farm families affected by suicides within the family

Notify-OSD Now Works with Orca

The message came in last night as I was leaving office. It was response to bug #333134, it was a request to enable notifications from the new Notify-osd system work with Orca screen reader.

Hi Arky,
I would like to believe that this is resolved in recent updates. Please make sure you are using the most recent version of gnome-orca and notify-osd.

Thank you guys! You really made a difference to all the blind users around the world. Now there is one more good reason to grab the jaunty.

Sita Sings The Blues

The ancient epic of Ramayana and the trials of modern life merge in this wonderful movie Sita Sings The Blues. Don't miss it. Download and watch it over the weekend.
What more this movie is released under Creative Commons, Yippee!


Watch the trailer of the movie.

Interview with Nina Paley

Nina shares her ideas on copyright and the story behind the movie.

Full Movie in HD

Watch the complete movie in HD format.

Dell 65W AC Laptop Adapter Warning

This one is strictly for electrical engineers . The 40 odd Dell Vostro A840 laptop we have on campus sometimes stop booting with this warning screen. If you figure this out, do drop me a line.

Dell AC Adaptor Warning


The AC power adapter wattage and type cannot be determined.
The battery may not charge.
The system will adjust the performance to match the power available.
Please connect a Dell 65W AC adapter or greater for best system performance.
To resolve this issue, try to reseat the power adapter.

Ubuntu Installer :: Installation Failed Input/Output Error

Here is an update on the strange error on dell vostro 220s desktop problem reported on this blog sometime back. It was very puzzling but my hunch turned out to be right after all. I tested the latest alpha release of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) on this machine. The LiveCD booted but half way through the installation it died with a [Errno 5] Input/output error.

Jaunty Installation Failed

Splashtop makes a splash

Ever heard of Splashtop, I guess not. Ever wished had a computer that just booted in a jiffy, you bet. I found about this interesting company after reading the Linux Journal story titled Linux Gets Faster this morning.

Floating on bottles :: Boat Jetty made with waste PET bottles

The blind and partially sighted students at the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE) at Vellayani were an excited lot. The focus of their excitement was a floating platform, a miniature boat jetty that was developed by the Mechanical Engineering Department of the College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET). What makes this jetty unique is the fact that it was made out of used empty PET bottles.

A one-of-its-kind platform in the country, its frame is made of ‘Aanjili’ wood. There are 24 compartments inside the frame and each compartment has no less than 110 PET bottles. Altogether, the arrangement has as many as 2,500 PET bottles, each bottle expected to carry 1 kg.

People on floating platform Closer look at floating platform Jump off the floating platform

Not only is it a good solution to use waste bottles, it also serves as a great platform to sit on, have group discussions or simply enjoy the serene surroundings and cool breeze of the lake itself. It also helps them to have a better and easier access to the lake for swimming and for getting into paddle boats and a kayak said Paul Kronenberg, who, along with his partner Sabriye Tenberken, established the IISE at Vellayani.
Read the full story

Fishlings in Vellayani Lake

Young fishlings appeared in the Vellayani lake (Thiruvananthapuram തിരുവനന്തപുരം (District). Amjad and me managed to get a few shots of them among the reeds. The great thing about living on IISE campus is that you can jump into lake for a swim on a hot day and get fish pedicure too. :0).

Free Software Camp for Ngo's and Civil Society Groups in India

Free Software Camp for Ngo's and Civil Society Groups

NGO In a Box
5 day residential workshop on free software tools and methodologies
March 24 - 28 ,2009,Madhya Pradesh,India
Call for Participation

What is Ngo in a Box?
NGO-in-a-box is a collection of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) tools selected for use by non-profit organizations,along with workshops conducted to help users effectively deploy the software in their organizations.The software is distributed in down-loadable form and as a physical box set of cd's. Several customized editions of NGO-in-a-box exist to provide organizations with the software they need in relation to different topics and requirements.

This is a Call for participants for our 7th workshop.Make use of this free software camp to enrich your knowledge and help your organization effectively leverage free software without the licensing hassles.Learn about free software components and methodologies and how to enable it in your everyday work.

Limited number of scholarships are available for select participants based on past work,area of expertise and ability to spread the concept to other voluntary organizations.These participants will receive free training,food and accomodation.Travel expenses will be reimbursed at the end of the workshop.

For details of our previous workshops, visit

Organizers: The workshops are being organized by Mahiti, Bangalore with the support of HIVOS, Netherlands and in collaboration with Tactical Technology Collective.

Participant profile: This event is geared towards the technology professionals working in Ngo's and similar voluntary organizations; consultants and tech support groups providing IT service and support to such non governmental bodies.

The workshop will cover the following broad domains:

  1. Free Software: What to consider when migrating to free and open source software(FOSS), installation of a Linux operating system, commonly used office and internet packages.
  2. Open Publishing: Desktop publishing, image editing, web publishing and collaboration, content management.
  3. Audio Visual: Audio-Video editing and distribution, media capture, audio visual playing tools.
  4. Security: Internet security, passwords, data storage and backup, communication and encryption.

Techniques and methodologies:To help you effectively communicate with your audience in india and across the world.

Date and Place: This event will be held in the state of Madhya Pradesh from March 24 - 28, 2009. Participants are required to attend the entire event, which means arriving at the venue on or before 24 March and leaving on 28 March evening. The exact venue will be communicated to successful applicants.

Last date for submitting application forms: March 5, 2009

Intimation of final list of participants by : March 10, 2009

Interested? Visit and fill up the online application form