Saturday, December 16, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Our Baby Girl

Our Baby Girl born on 12 December 2006 (12/12/2006) at 9.57 AM Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My new Maruti Suzuki Swift

I bought a new Maruti Suzuki Swift last month. It costed me 4.58 Lacs and i bought it from Mandovi Motors in Bangalore. Its actually a company owned car which will be mine after 5 years. The features the Swift VXi version include power steering, power windows and tubeless tires. I got a blaupunkt cd/mp3 player fixed with 4 blaupunkt speakers. Its a bright red colour. Maruti offers many more colours and i had a tough time choosing between Red and Silver. Silver coz my wife appreciates the colour more than the red. i've just got my first service done and the cars doing just fine. Just after the first service i noticed that the Blaupunkt system stopper reading the CD's and gave a "CD Error" message. People at Mandovi motors finally replaced the player with a new one and have sent the player back for find if there are any manufacturing defects. I guess im getting a mileage of 12.5 to 13.5 so far. its done about 2500 KM in about 45 days.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ubuntu 6.06 on my laptop

I had ordered the Ubuntu 6.06 CD's in early June and I got them today. I immediately took the PC edition of Ubuntu and set about installing it on my laptop (WLG 22200).

The Ubuntu CD is both a live/install CD. You first boot into the Lice CD and login with a user name you provide while the Live CD boots into the GNOME desktop environment. Once you are on the desktop, you can click the 'install' icon and set about installing Ubuntu on your PC/Laptop.

Ubuntu is debian based and my recent foray with trying to install Debian turned out to be fiasco.

The install process is kept very simple. All you need to provide are details like
1) timezone
2) keyboard layout
3) partitioning information (I used the manual option here) etc.

There are about 5-6 steps and the installation time is neat, less than 20m i believe. Hmm so that set me wondering if i would get the software i wanted. I did not find an option of custom installation of packages/features. Meanwhile the installation was done with and it was time to reboot and get into Ubuntu.

I must say, The look and feel of Ubuntu is real cool. Its neat and its polished. Windows now really Beware!! Ubuntu is getting there for sure :)

I booted into Ubuntu and as i booted i realized that
1) The 915 chipset drivers were 'in' and hence i got a good resolution straightaway.
2) the sound subsystem was up and running

After logging in, i opened the terminal and tried gcc. Hmm!! It wasn't installed.
I then used system->administration->networking to setup my Ethernet connection. No problems there. Don't have a wireless network to test with in my office, hence i decided to test it with my Huawei wireless router/modem (BSNL) the moment i got home.

Other things i noticed while i was logged on was that the firefox version was and that the 'check for updates' in the menu was disabled.

As i left office for home, i put the Ubuntu Sticker on my laptop. Its a neat sticker which i placed just below the 'Designed for Windows XP' sticker.

Once home, as i booted into Ubuntu again, i realized that the 3rd party drivers were 'in' which probably meant that the wireless firmware was also taken care of!! SuSe/Fedora (in my earlier post) dint have the firmware. Of course there is a lot of debate on including 3rd party driver binaries/blobs, but that's an issue that's more to do with GPL/philosophy/Morals than user experience.

Again back to system->administration->networking to setup my wireless. Added the BSNL DNS address and 5 seconds later, i could open my router admin page and wow!! That's really seamless wireless networking for you!! Ubuntu is cool!! Way to go!!!

More updates with Ubuntu in more posts later. I guess I'm going to stick with Ubuntu for some time now (next week or so :)) ). Have had 3 flavors FC5/SuSe 10.1/Ubuntu 6.06 and the 'feel better' experience has been in exactly the same order of my installation experiences.

Friday, July 07, 2006

SuSE Linux 10.1 on my laptop

One of my friends downloaded the 5 CD's of SuSE Linux 10.1. He has a Rs 900/- plan with BSNL which permits unlimited downloads (this is a *big* deal in India). I couldn't resist the thought of installing SuSE on my Wipro LG 2200 laptop. I have hardly used a SuSE Linux distribution. My first choice has usually been Redhat and now the Fedora Core series. So i set about installing SuSE.

Well i did have initial problems with the installation. I first got an error of one of the font packages not being found on the CD1. I tried out the skip/retry/ignore option presented. But none of these worked and i ended up with a text based menu from where i could restart the installation. Now this is at least better than the Fedora installation coz while installing in Fedora one *has* to reboot and has no other option if one of the packages is not found or is corrupt. I realized that the CD1 was corrupt and had to wait till i got a new CD burnt again.

One of the great things about the SuSE distribution is that it has the Reiser Filesystem. Now this is *cool* coz i have had some experience benchmarking ext2/ext3/Reiser and Resier comes out on top. The installation otherwise was a breeze. I dint have to use expert setting to repartition. I used the suggested partition table and continued with the installation.

Well once the CD1 installation was done, i had to reboot and then it set about installing the remaining CD's. Another good feature here which i believe is not available in Fedora is that once the basic installation is done, you have a bootable Linux OS. If your CD2 turns out bad, in Fedora you have to abort your changes and have to start all over again. This is not the case in SuSE, i could boot into SuSE in a 'distressing' resolution and with the minimum of tools. Once in, i could use YaST to go ahead with the updates in CD2/3/4/5.

Well, i managed to install packages from CD1/2/3 and then go about completing the installation.
Once the installation was complete, i booted for the first time into SuSE and used the GNOME desktop.

I have a Intel 915 chipset and SuSE had no problems there. Its has a 2.6.16 kernel which is just fine :). I got a 1024*768 resolution and i was pretty pleased that i dint have to break my head over the display. With the look and feel working out of the box, i set about testing the rest of the available stuff.

These are some of the features/tools/packages that i set about testing

1) Software Suspend
With a lot of pessimism, i used the suspend option. swsusp started the suspend and wow! it did go to the suspended state. I pressed the power button again to get it out of hibernation (is that a windows word?:) ), and well it did come out of suspend. This is really beautiful!!:)

2) Browser
Firefox 1.5+. Hmm impressive and it loaded up real fast. This is something that i noticed with great surprise. Things load up much faster than they do in Fedora or for that matter Windows.
This is true with Firefox/Ethereal/consoles.

3) Display
Works out of the box. Has drivers for the 915 chipset and provides me with a decent 1024*768 resolution

4) Sound
Works out of the box. Had no issues here as well

5) Network

Ethernet: Works out of the box.

Wireless: Now this was the pain area. I have spent about 20 minutes but haven't yet got the wireless working. The firmware is not available. Once i download and install it, i should update this blog. Bear with me till then!!

6) NTFS support
The installation gives a default NTFS support (unlike Fedora i believe) and it mounted my Windows partitions without problems. This is a *good* feature to have.

7) Virtualisation
It provides XEN which i havent used as yet. I have been using vmplayer all along on both Linux/Windows. Will try out Xen and update this blog at a later point in time.

Well there are many more things to play around with, but the experience has so far been fruitful. SuSE seems to be slicker than Fedora.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Megz and Me

Megz and me in Jaisalmer just after our marriage. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shipping embedded boards from the US to India

I sent an enquiry mail to one of the embedded board manufacturers that make "way small" boards ( . I wanted to order one of their basic boards and to my surprise i received a mail from telling that they *dont* ship to India currently. The explanation given was that India was listed in "Tier 3" (not 1 not 2, but 3 !!!) by the US Commerce department. They also mentioned that the process to put India in their shipping list was in progress.

Now what is amazing to me is that India is listed in the "Tier 3". Why? Isnt that a barrier to trade?
Now, is that an export control regulation on India? Guess what!!! Googling with "export controls + tier 3 + india" shows India listed in tier 3 along with Pakistan, Russia, Middle East etc. Guess these restrictions came about after India had their 'peaceful' nuclear explosion some years back. Subsequently the US put an embargo banning the export of "Dual Use" technology.
Huh!! All with with my Dad/FIL/MIL being Scientists working in the Dept of Atomic Energy. :))

But then i guess US is working towards removing that embargo and allowing exports of arms and "Dual use" technology.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Laptop running at 590 MHz

My laptop has a pentium M processor which should run at 1.6 GHz, but it usually runs at 590 MHz. this i believe is because the power management comes to play. On linux, this can be changed by 'echoing' to a tunable variable in /proc (i vaguely remember doing this). Now how do i do this on Windows. Yeh i also run Windows XP on my laptop and i need to make the processor run at 1.6 GHz instead of 590 MHz. Ok id google and try to look for some tools that can help me do that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

booting windows from grub prompt

I did the unthinkable. In a fit of rage i booted my laptop i WinXP and deleted my linux partitions.
Now why did i do that? See the story below

I have been happily running linux on my laptop for quie some time now and i run winxp on vmplayer. vmplayer has been slow but not "irritatingly". now a couple of weeks back, i noticed the winxp getting to that "irritatingly slow" level. i thought about it. *I* dint do anything that could have slowed it down. Also because of the ACPI issues, the linux usually ran only at 590 MHz for which i did a "echo performance > /etc/sys.....A path i will update later (can be googled easily)
However even with that i dint notice any discernable performance excpet that the windows welcome boot message was now understandable :) earlier when it booted, i could hear every note :) and it went on like for a screeching 10-12 seconds (im guesstimating here). ok finally this got to me one day and i thought id just do everything from scratch up. Had all the data i required on CD's.

Into windows and in 2 minutes deleted all my linux partitions, recreated some blank partitions for linux and then remained on windows. i decided id run linux on windows inside the vmplayer and check the performance. *THEN* it hit me...............huh!!!!
there was an enterpirse patch for an antivirus software that was installed on my virtual machine (win xp). now this wasnt there earlier and this software rn 10-12 services which took quite a toll on the processor (i believe).

Anyways, things went on fine that day and i was ready to work on windows fo a while.

Next day, i started my laptop as usual and hey it just came to the grub prompt. Ooops!! i realised, where is the grub.conf?? i deleted that linux partition. I was ill and at home and couldnt boot into any OS to chek out google. So i called on my friend who did the googling.

Well there ar just 4 steps to get into windows from the grub prompt. do this

1) rootnoverify (hd0,0)
2) chainloader +1
3) makeactive
4) boot

and then you are in Windows!!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Google Trends - An India Specific perspective

Google trends gives out some interesting results for queries related to india!!
Given that i work for a software major, i queries in for Wipro and Infosys.

The interesting results are in the langauge tab. Chinese search more for Infosys than Wipro.
Considering that its an upcoming market, seems interesting enough for me!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

operating systems - secure and reliable?

2 big words secure and reliable form the topic of AST's (Andrew Tenenbaum) new paper on microkenels. now will start another flamefest between linus and ast, unlikely but the article here is worth its writing
chek the home page of the flagship magazine of ieee at

This site is basically from the IEEE. Som very good articles appear here and this month there are a couple of articles on SSL and biometric security.

Friday, April 14, 2006

FC5 and vmplayer (vmware) - Update

Ok i finally got vmplayer configured ad running. As i mentioned in the post below, i dint have the FC5 sources. so i downloaded the rpm for the same and installed it.

Running and providing the path to the kernel headers (/usr/src/linux/include) threw me an address space conflit error. googled for the error using the exact phrase and it threw me a number of links. This link has a patch to the to resolve the address space conflict issue.

now my vmplayer runs with win XP. phew a relief!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

FC5 and vmware (vmplayer)

FC5, surprisingly, doesnt come with the kernel headers/sources. this site has the RPMS

i downloaded the kernel-devel and installed it without problems I ran the vmware to setup vmplayer. it asks you for the kernel source tree which is usually /usr/src/linux/include. well mine was /us/src/kernel/fc5-2.6.15...(something like that!), but it the threw me an error saying the address spaces were diferent. wierd message that!! aint sure about what to do.

have seen the /boot and i find that there is also a vmlinuz, that are actually 2.6.16 (not 2.6.15) . will now download the plain vanilla 2.6.16 kernel and use its sources. of course will boot into the 2.6.16 kernel instead.

should update this once i get through vmplayer. i have to!!! coz all my GB's of pst data runs in winxp inside a linux window :)

Fedora Core 5 (FC5) and my laptop (Wipro's Little Genius 2200)

Having gone through the FC4 installation (see below on this page), The Fc5 installation was a breeze.

I dint want to format my HDD. I have 4 partions. the details are as follows
1) 1 with winxp
2) /
3) /opt
4) swap.
I kept the / and /opt partitions as-is. I went in for the upgrade to fc5 option and midway through the installation, there was a problem with a particular KDE package. huh!! so much for the breeze. I couldnt skip the particular package and had to reboot and start all over.
The irritating thing about the FC installtions are you cant skip certain packages when the cd/media has a problem, wonder why it is this way?

I then decided to go in for a new install, which went through without problems. Of course i skipped installing KDE which i tend_and_seem_to_like more than GNOME!

Booted into the more snazzy looking 'Look and Feel' of FC5. The FC5 comes with Firefox 1.5 (thank god!!),. FC4 for some non descript reason was running firfox 1.01.

Display: Works out of the box (not so in FC4)
Wireless: Works out of the box
Sound: Works out of the box (not so in FC4)
Vmplayer: Needs the any-any patch (see this post)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wifey and me!

Ok, im making this new webpage dedicated to my wife, me and our families. lets see how this turns out!!! plan to keep multiple pages and possibly writeups on family members (provided i have the enthusiasm and time)

check this link Posted by Picasa

BSNL's broadband service

I applied for a BSNL connection about 2 weeks back. I opted for the 250/= p.m plan. they have a 2 month free trial offer which im currently using. i got the connection in 4 days flat. the guy responsible for the installation called and told he sould be home in the evening for the installation. i told him that id be in office and it would be impossible o meet him at the time. i then did the unthinkable..knowing it wouldnt yeild results. i aske him if he could come home immeditaly and get the DSL router installed. Guess What!! he put me on hold for a minute! now the shcoker..told me he'd b home in 15 minutes. 15minutes later i hear the door bell ring. Phew!! BSNL????? Are they getting a makeover?

I got wireless router (Huawei) and i havent yet played around with i as much. i also seem to be getting 4 wireless networks in and around my residence (should be from the routers in my building). Hmmm..interesting...should download airsnort etc and see what i can do :)))

Currently im blogging from the comforts of my bedroom and speeds which i never imajined. My office network sucks and thats the disadvantage of working for a 50000 employee company. you cant get to download stuff that you deem important!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

FC4 and sound drivers for Intel 915 chipset

I dont have the soundcard enabled for my laptop as yet. have to investigate why cant hear audio on my laptop (Wipro's Little Genius 2200) . i see the sound modules, but dont know what the right set of drivers are!!!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

RC planes and keychains

A dude from japan should be bak to India for a vacation and i have told him to get me one of those RC planes. This site offers some good deals
Dhruv: onegaishimasu!!!

Also my fav keychain, a mettalic replica of the F14 was grounded recently. After about 4 years of use, its bent and disfigured and beyond repair. tushar, if ur reading this!! thanks Dude! twas a great keychain!! (get the hint!!) :))

Friday, March 17, 2006

Running Linux on a Laptop (Wipro's Little Genius 9220)

Wipro's Little Genius 9220 laptop has the following configuration

I installed Fedora Core 4 without problems. As i booted into Linux, i realised that the resolution was a dismal 800*600 using the generic vesa driver. The laptop has an intel 915 chipset and immediately set about looking for relelvent drivers.

i did the following

1) i downloaded drivers from the site
Result: dint work

2) I downloaded the source from intel linux drivers site for 915
Result: got a compilation error regarding GL

3) I downloaded the rpm from the intel linux drivers site
Result: Yipeeeeee!!! restarted fc4 and i got the 1024*768 resolution
the 1280 resolution i guess is not supported by the lcd monitor

Once the display driver was up, i set about getting the wireless drivers and cards configured.
this was fairly easy.
1) got the ieee80211 code, compiled and installed
2) got the ipw2200 package and got it compiled and installed
3) got the ipw firmware and got it installed
4) did a modprobe ipw2200 and yipee! again!!!!! wireless works too!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

one year ahead

Its almost been a year now since i updated this blog and hmm things have changed now!! im married now and things are very different after being married. hmm being married means having lesser time to spnd time on things like blogging. i should be geting a laptop soon (oh! finally) and i hope to continue blogging more often!