Monday, April 30, 2007

Suse 10.2 - No sound? No problem.

Run Zen Updater, sound gone
No, speaker not muted
Volume all the way up
No messages from dmesg
Headphone -> line-in? WTF?
Happy happy, joy joy

Sunday, April 29, 2007

World Cup 2007

Some passing thoughts:
  • I can't for the life of me imagine how Lasith Malinga has been allowed to continue to perform in international cricket (I have similar thoughts about Murali, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt)
  • The farcical way the tournament ended has sealed my view that cricket is undeserving of even passing attention; it is a game of, by, and for moneygrubbers
  • This paragraph succinctly sums up why Indian cricket will never, ever reach the heights scaled by the likes of Australia:
    No moment in Gilchrist's innings, however, revealed more about Australia than the delivery before his dismissal. Ricky Ponting tapped a ball fine. Gilchrist made the call and ran like hell. If the throw had hit he was out. To run that single for his partner when he was 149 made it clear what this was all about.
    The fundamental difference between an Indian batsman and his Australian counterpart is that "running for his partner" is an alien concept to the latter. You run for your team. Period.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Windows Networking

I (re)installed Windows in my old PC today -- don't blame me, it was the missus who wanted MS Office -- and realised what a PITA it is. After installation I wanted to configure the network so that it can connect to my laptop, but found that the network configuration wizard wouldn't start at all, complaining that my network interface/hardware was not present. I haven't figured out how to get it working; a Google search with the exact message is probably in order.

Compare this to the ease with which the Suse installation manages to hook up to the laptop with no fuss. Not just Suse, but all the distros I've so far tried out in the PC.

Just thinking out loud...

I see that a Squeak package exists for JSON, so is it worthwhile writing a JSON library for, say, VisualWorks?

Maybe I'll just go ahead and do it just for the heck of it.

Movie Review: The Namesake

This is my first Mira Nair movie, and I must say that it bettered my expectations, since I've always considered her movies -- at least her recent ones -- to be controversy magnets and nothing more Update: Oops, it was Deepa Mehta I had in mind.

Having said that, I spent a good portion of the movie wishing it would end quickly. At times it just drags on and on, with nary an idea of where it wants to go (to be fair, maybe it did, but whether we wanted to go along with it was another issue).

The movie did pique my interest in the second half, after Tabu's character matures and starts asserting herself. Speaking of Tabu, she's probably the classiest, most poised lady I've seen in an Indian movie for quite some time.

Re: the protagonist Gogol, he comes into his own only after he bonds with his father and realises that there is another side to his family, i.e. its Indianness. Nothing great from him till then.

Favorite scene(s): when the Ganguli family visits India (for the first time?)

Least favourite scene: when Maxine breaks up with Gogol. Man, talk about stereotypes and cliched dialogue.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

OpenSuse 10.2

Well, Suse continues to be the best distro I have tried till now -- it got sound working out of the box, after all, unlike certain other *ahem* distros -- but its package management sucks quite a lot. As I type this, the message "Transaction failed: Resolvable gstreamer010-plugins-base 2992-0 ( not found." is staring me in the face, courtesy of the automatic update tool. I don't know if it is because I have added all the package repositories, but the tool seems to be finding new things to downloads every fricken day, too.

I used to be able to make Kinternet auto-connect to my ISP in 10.1, but have been unable to make it work in 10.2

All in all, a pretty mixed experience so far. Oh, and I forgot to mention this: Suse continues to be s.l.o.w.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Way to go, Robert Fisk

... using a pretty minor detail (i.e. that one of the groups participating in the smear campaign against Taner Akcam is into Holocaust denial) to start the article on a sensationalist note:
Could it possibly be that the security men who guard the frontiers of North America are supporting Holocaust denial? Alas, it's true. Here's the story.
The only reference to Holocaust denial in the article is this:
"Allegations against me, posted by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Turkish Forum and 'Tall Armenia Tale' (a Holocaust denial website)..."

The end is the beginning is the end

This has got be some sort of a record: five distros in three weeks.

I started with Ubuntu 6.10 (couldn't get it to display higher resolutions; GNOME sucks), moved on to Mepis 6.5 (great distro, but no sound, no go), followed this with Mandriva 2007 (first step towards using it: it should, well, install), turned to Gentoo in despair (no comments, except to say that once you are used to the ease of installation of the mainstream distros...), and finally returned to OpenSuSE, albeit to 10.2.

One disturbing thing I noticed is how some of these distros glibly overwrite the existing GRUB entries. Not nice, and not something any self-respecting Linux distro should do.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Yeah, it's their war, alright

From the field manual on counter-insurgency produced by the American army (quoting Lawrence of Arabia):
Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.
Pray tell, where was this war prior to 2003?

Friday, April 13, 2007


Continuing with my policy of not staying in the comfort zone too long with any distro, I looked around for something to replace OpenSuse with. Ubuntu 6.10 was the first choice, but I quickly got tired of its limitations (GNOME, Ubuntu's inability to exploit the higher resolutions of my laptop, etc.). I decided to give Mandriva another try, but the installation CD refused to go beyond the first (gaudily yellow) screen. The funny thing was that the same CD installed successfully in my other computer -- an old IBM ThinkCentre.

Next choice: MEPIS.

MEPIS seems to be a great distro, except for the fact that I cannot get sound to work, no matter what. Reminiscent of the trouble I had with Kububtu 6.06, which was in fact the prime reason why I moved to OpenSuse.

As a last resort, I am downloading the latest kernel sources as I type this; let me see if this brings the speakers alive.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I've always had my suspicions about all the high-profile hobnobbing and rubbing-shoulders-with-powerful-people, and I guess this proves it. Why settle for just being one of India's richest men when you can aim for the title of Leader of a Billion People (tm)?


(Come to think of it, this is going to put ideas into a certain bearded industrialist's head. *Shudders*)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Much as I hate Windows...

This is a bit rich:
All the computer people use Macs or Linux now. Windows is for grandmas, like Macs used to be in the 90s. So not only does the desktop no longer matter, no one who cares about computers uses Microsoft's (sic) anyway.
(I know, I said I don't read Paul Graham's essays anymore. I came across this via Reddit)

The Robert Fisk articles blog

As a first step towards returning to the blogging world (no, I will not use the term blogosphere), I updated the Robert Fisk articles blog. It looks like Fisk has been quite prodigious in his output: there are 21 articles since January 26, which was the last time I posted an article of his.

It would have been really helpful if I could have just right-clicked on a link and say 'Post to blog', and have it appear directly on I daresay a Firefox extension exists for this, but in my case the added complexity is that I need to circumvent the captcha that Blogger so helpfully sets up for me to jump through.

Monday, April 02, 2007