Ooh Trains – Fast Ones

Alstom AGVI’ve loved trains ever since I was a kid. I remember running/cycling down to the station just to wave at the trains going by, and pestering my dad to take me to the engine. I did get in a steam engine once and even pulled the thing that makes it go toot, a very nice experience. So it gives me one hell of a thrill to hear about new trains, especially these beautiful high speed ones that make my 18km train journey to college seem like a walk to the refrigerator.

The Alstom AGV, 360 kilometres an hour, I could go from here to Delhi in a day! Right across the country! There’s something about a train journey that a flight can’t replicate, being able to walk around all the time, not have to worry about turbulence and leg room, lots of leg room. If they could get a train that was at least go at half the speed consistently would really make my day. Of course there’s the usual problem with people insisting on crossing the tracks when overbridges are clearly present. I can understand if they did it because they can’t climb the bridge but I can hardly imagine someone climbing the 3-4 foot high platform while being unable to climb the stairs to the bridge.

In other news, the chair I was sitting on broke while I was typing this.

The Macbook Air

Wow…

Macbook Air

I’m no Apple fan, but jesus, they make some beautiful stuff. Slightly less powerful than my current laptop and infinitely smaller for just 30,000 bucks more. I wouldn’t buy it even if I had the money and nothing to spend it on: stuff like this tends to break easy and I prefer rugged machines, but I can’t deny that it looks amazing. I wish I had 802.11n though.

In other news, I finally managed to move the old computer to the router and set it up as a headless server. It’s just sitting there, doing nothing at the moment but I plan on using it to download all my torrents and stuff. It’s got one non-working CD-ROM drive, so if you want to have a look at it you can. Also, keep away from Intex and Zebronics, they still fake ethernet cards claiming to be RTL8139D that are actually Silan Microsystems 92031. You can get them working properly with a little effort though. Such is life.

And Sun took over MySql? Interesting development.

EDIT:
And for the guy who came here searching for the driver for that NIC: Silan Microsystems Driver for Windows XP. You can also use it with ndiswrapper if you so wish. Have fun.

WordPress: HowTo Exclude Specific Categories From The Index Of A Blog

Sometimes, when you want someone else to look at your blog but not see posts belonging to one category. Try the following link to my blog index for instance: George Files without Ads or Friends. You should see my index page without posts that belong to the Ads or Friends category. This is rather useful if you want people to just see certain posts of your blog and you have lots of categories. Just put it as a space separated list in the cat variable.

Here’s an example of a link:
http://blog.arjie.com/index.php?cat=-37%20-29
The %20 is a space, and the numbers 37 and 29 are the category ids for the categories that I don’t want to include. If you use the numbers without the – sign in front of them only those categories will be displayed.

Unlock your DVD player region code

A lot of people I know get a relative to buy them something when that relative is coming back from The Gulf, and very often this is some electronic item. Naturally, everyone wants a DVD player and gets one but they can’t play their DVDs because while The Gulf is in Region 2, we’re in Region 5 and so none of the cheap DVDs found here will play on the region 2 player. Usually they just get very disappointed and decide to try another movie or borrow the neighbour’s player.

But all that is unnecessary, with a DVD Unlocker from http://www.dvdunlocker.com/ you can unlock your player’s DVD region and make it play either another regions DVDs using just a few menu buttons and a few clicks here and there.

Mathrix ’08 went off surprisingly well

Anna University - CEG - In The Rain - With a funny cameraWell, I’m rather happy because we were playing against the Engineering crowd, people who actually study all that C stuff for a living and who have a lot more invested in the whole thing. It went off rather well, though they didn’t give us any cash prizes there were a couple of certificates.

Quiz:

The quiz wasn’t all Maths, there was some Maths history and some general bits and a rather interesting round with a concealed picture that was revealed bit by bit. There was some strong stuff though, and personally I think that bit was given just a bit too little time. One of our team’s questions, for example. I went and made a mistake working it out. I had 50 / 25 written out in one particular part and computed that to be 25. My arithmetic always sucked. Anyway, they scored you partly on the method and partly on the answer so I got half the points anyway. In any case it wasn’t that important because we finished rather near double the closest team :) which was a good feeling. It was nice winning, they gave us a certificate each and a copy of some book that looks like its for people preparing for job interviews. Ah well. Oh yeah, they also gave us a rather big shield, but we had to sign that we were going to give it back after a month :)

C Debugging:

Remember what I told you about triple pointers? Well, today those people set us some tasks that were decidedly not debugging. They were some good questions, that I’ll admit, but my lack of knowledge of the usual library functions came back to bite me in the ass, so I had like more unfinished programs — must learn to focus effort. ­I have to admit that those unfinished ones weren’t going anywhere. So I figured out this brilliant method to swap variables using the ^ operator and was rather proud of myself. It turns out, however, that that is one of those old tricks that everyone uses. I was born too late, that’s my problem. Anyway, I managed to place second so its a bit of a consolation. They gave me another book, this time about being a leader. It’s cool, but I don’t go in for that kind of stuff.

I’m happy, thanks Anna University.

Redirecting a subdirectory to a subdomain

You know, the older versions of CPanel are weirdly quirky. One of those things that annoyed me was that all subdomains are also subdirectories. For example, if you create the subdomain george.arjie.com, then all files for that subdomain are stored in the folder accessible at arjie.com/george. This is very annoying if you have want web spiders to index your content because they’ll sometimes completely ignore the subdomain and index everything at the subdirectory. This was a rather painful issue for me because http://arjie.com/blog was rather well indexed but http://blog.arjie.com/, the actual address, was nearly completely untouched by Google — there was one result, the subdomain root.

In any case, I decided to make everything point to blog.arjie.com now and spent the better part of the last hour trying to get the right commands in my .htaccess file. The thing with .htaccess is that if you make a mistake you don’t get told what it is, you get a 500: Internal Server Error message, which is about as helpful as a monkey with a tyre iron but not. So I’ve got it all figured out finally so here’s the relevant bit of the .htaccess that I’ve placed in my arjie.com/blog subdirectory:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www\.)?arjie\.com$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://blog.arjie.com/$1 [R=301,NC,L]

and since I searched for a similar solution and didn’t find anything like it on the Internet. Here’s a version that I may be able to find by a Search Engine.
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www\.)?domain\.com$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://subdomain.domain.com/$1 [R=301,NC,L]

We do it differently here

Fine, so you say the Wii is $250. That sounds good. You say the XBox 360 is cheaper than the PS3 which is much more expensive, costing more than $400? Well, that’s fine for you. We do things differently here:

Gadget Guru - Where the world is upside down - Thumbnail

Anyway, converting to USD that’s:
Wii – $560
XBox 360 – $508
PS3 – $432 (for the 20GB version which, I think, is no longer available)

Where does this place get its stock from? Ebay?

The link: Gadget Guru

I have a new phone – A Nokia 3110 Classic

A few days ago, I posted about going to get a new phone. Well, now I did. I settled on the Nokia 3110 Classic, a completely unimaginative phone which does all sorts of completely normal things. I can’t believe everybody has all these features these days, so many options, so many settings. It doesn’t have much memory inbuilt, around 8.5MB or so, so I’ll have to go buy one of those 1GB microSD cards. Here’s how the phone looks:

The phone’s got a camera. I wasn’t particularly crazy about one and would have taken a similar phone without a camera if it cost less, but now that I have it, I’ll concede that it’s pretty useful. My digital camera, an old Nikon 995, is rather large and isn’t easy to carry around so it’s all cool. The phone has the usual GPRS, EDGE and Bluetooth and supposedly works just fine with Linux though I have yet to try using it as a dial-up modem. It has completely average JBenchmark scores, so nothing to get excited about. I have to admit I like the idea of making lots of Hello World Java MIDlets :) Fits neatly in the pocket, has nice big buttons for messaging, works just fine. I’m happy.

The place I bought it at is called The Mobile Store and it’s here in Adyar, walking distance from my place. It was okay, quick service, they give you an envelope with a part to scratch for a prize. I got 100 bucks off my bill. Pretty funny considering that when I asked him about the student discount they’d advertised, he told me that the offer was over and that it was 2%. Same amount, funny.

I’m going to buy a new phone

My old Nokia 1100 has reached the end of its life. It keeps sputtering and dying and temporary resurrections only delay the inevitable. It must be put to rest, and another must be chosen to take its place. At first I thought I’d just go with Marc’s choice, a Nokia 5200 but I’m careless and prone to damaging stuff so I took Danny’s advice and decided not to take a slide type phone, or anything which had parts I could break easily. I shall be trying to get a Nokia 3110c.

Here’s what my current phone looks like:

Nokia 1100 - Thumbnail

Presentation Software – Powerpoint, Impress, whatever

Presentation software is retarded. Deep down inside, each of those coders is a psychotic killer on the verge of flipping out and going on a massacre. To keep these unstable people in a sort of happy state, they are allowed to write software that will cause mayhem all across the globe. It’s no surprise that they get paid for it, after all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Impress - Not

Impress:

OO:Writer is good, it does all I need and is generally predictable and doesn’t do weird stuff. But Impress, what a disaster. This is something that wouldn’t compare favourably to a broken gutter, there are options that don’t get enabled, rectangles that disappear only in slideshow view and if you create a new master slide and modify it, even by selecting the relevant portions, the first master gets modified and the second doesn’t. I’ll give OO.org the benefit of the doubt here, because the rounded rectangle thing atleast is something that arises from Ubuntu modifying stock OO, or so I’m told. I’ll go report the bugs after I’m finished typing this. Now this is just awful, stuff that works completely contrary to how it should work. To make that rounded rectangle you have to copy a rectangle from OO:Writer and paste it in OO:Impress because the rectangle in OO:Impress is ‘Shape’ not a ‘Rectangle’. Wow, thanks.

Powerpoint:

< See, I use free software all the time. So it's a big thing that I actually restart to Windows to use Powerpoint (I don't like Wine, doesn't integrate with the desktop so only useful for games). I thought, this is paid-for software, it better be good. But my god, it was anything but. See, Bikram sent me this presentation and I looked at it, and all the text had freaking shadow. Why?! Why is this default on that goddamn machine? Okay, that may be someone mucking about, but let's see how to fix this. Select text, Font Properties... Okay, shadow is unchecked. That's strange. Something to do with the Slide Master? Check there, sure enough all text has shadow. Okay Font Properties, remove all that shadow. Shadow is now gone. Return to slide, shadow is still there. What's going on? Go back to Master, no shadow, go to slide, shadow. That's weird. After more trouble, notice there's a separate shadow button for turning off shadows. Retardedness. Masters work well here. This is better software, but by no means good.

I can't believe these people are so careless! I'll cut MS some slack because I'm using Office 2003, but Impress has no excuse, it’s the latest. Very well, no point complaining alone, so bug report time.

As for why? Needed to make presentation for college, and even the simplest things are so much trouble to make.

Bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/openoffice.org2/+bug/175311
I sort of figured out that Master bug. It’s non-obvious, but it happens. I think the rounded one is already reported.