Thursday, December 16, 2010

Indian News Channels

I normally try to keep in touch with whats happening in the country by either watching the Indian news channels along with breakfast or dinner. However lately the only news we get is on scams, corruption and politicians acting like goons. On top of that we have idiot news anchors such as Arnab Goswami (Times Now) acting as if they are the torch bearers of the truth and actually fighting with their panel instead of moderating the panel objectively and unemotionally as real journalists should do.

I'm going to stop watching this nonsense and watch CNN and BBC instead. American politicians are much more interesting, Sarah Palin might be a crazy loon but at least she's pretty :-).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Setting Up The Perfect Kubuntu 10.04 System

Having shifted from Windows to Linux two years back and having installed multiple versions of Kubuntu since then, I think I have perfected the art of installing the software that I need after a fresh install. You can follow the guide below to get your multimedia etc working.

All the commands at the $ prompt are to be entered on console. Do not copy and paste the $ command, thats the shell prompt. Whatever is listed below can also be performed on the GUI Synaptic package manager, but it is easier for you to copy and paste the commands on shell.


First install aptoncd, its a handy utility that will allow you to transfer downloaded deb files to another machine so you do not need to use up bandwidth

$ sudo apt-get install aptoncd


Kubuntu contains a menu link to install easily install Firefox from the net. Click the get firefox sub menu item from the Internet menu.

Basic Multimedia Codecs / Support for Multimedia in Kde's Disc Burning App K3B:

Launch the konqueror browser the comes with KDE. The first time you open it, it prompts you to install basic multimedia codecs. Click yes to install.

Setting up the Medibuntu Repository: -

The Medibuntu repository contains all the non free stuff like Windows video codecs and fonts etc. Set it up by running the following two commands: -

$ sudo wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet update

$ sudo apt-get --yes install app-install-data-medibuntu apport-hooks-medibuntu

Install the Windows 32 Codecs: -

Now that the Medibuntu repository is setup, you can go ahead and install the Windows multimedia codecs: -

$ sudo apt-get install w32codecs

Install DVD Decryption Support for Playback: -

$ sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

Install other non free stuff, including MS Fonts:

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Install Open SSH: -

I use scp to transfer files between my various machines, for scp to work a SSH server must be installed. Also the ability to SSH to my various machines on my LAN is a necessity.

$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Install the Xine video player UI: -

sudo apt-get install xine-ui

Install Deluge: -

Deluge is my favourite bit torrent client, it resembles uTorrent on Windows.

$ sudo apt-get install deluge

Install Mplayer: -

To play video successfully on Linux, you need both Mplayer and Xine installed. If one can't play a specific format, the other will.

$ sudo apt-get install mplayer

Install other Video Players: -

Kmplayer and SMplayer are light weight video players which are awesome. VLC is another amazing player that has built in Video codecs.

$ sudo apt-get install kmplayer smplayer vlc

Thunderbird: -

Thunderbird is my favourite mail application :-

$ sudo apt-get install thunderbird


GIMP is a freeware Photoshop clone. For some reason the they removed GIMP in this release of Ubuntu / Kubuntu. I need GIMP so install it as follows.

$ sudo apt-get install gimp

Install File Roller: -

The KDE compression tool ark does not do a good job of password protected zip files so I use the Gnome compression tool File Roller.

$ sudo apt-get install file-roller

Virtual Box: -

Virtual Box is a virtualization software. You can run Windows in a virtual machine rather than dual boot to it. Handy for some of those Windows apps you can't find Linux replicas for. My share trading app unfortunately only works on Windows.

$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox*


Pidgin is my favourite messenger tool. The default Kopete that comes with KDE is good but I am more used to Pidgin since I have been using it from a long time. Pidgin supports the MSN Messenger, Gtalk, Yahoo Messenger protocols.

$ sudo apt-get install pidgin

Google Earth: -

Google Earth can be found in the Medibuntu repositories. My favourite time killer.

$ sudo apt-get install googleearth*

Blender 3D:

Blender 3D for 3D graphics.

$ sudo apt-get install blender

Dia: -

Dia short for diagram. Handy flow charting and diagramming tool I use at work.

$ sudo apt-get install dia

Inkscape: -

A free handy vector drawing tool, think Corel Draw clone.

$ sudo apt-get install inkscape

HP Printer Support: -

$ sudo apt-get install hplip

Scanning Tool:

$ sudo apt-get install xsane

MP3 Player:

MP3 player that looks like Winamp.

$ sudo apt-get install audacious2

Gnomes CD / DVD Burning Tool: -

$ sudo apt-get install brasero

DVD 9 to 5 Compressor: -

$ sudo apt-get install dvd95

CD Ripping Tool: -

$ sudo apt-get install acidrip

Miro: -

Search and download videos from YouTube and other video sites.

$ sudo apt-get install miro

Rhythmbox: -

Itunes clone

$sudo apt-get install rhythmbox

Banshee: -

Itunes clone

$sudo apt-get install banshee

DVD Authoring Tool: -

$ sudo apt-get install qdvdauthor

Video compression tool: -

$ sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

K9Copy DVD Compression Tool: -

Compresses DVD Rips to either DVD 5's or xvids.

$ sudo apt-get install k9copy

CHM Viewer: -

$ sudo apt-get install kchmviewer

Windows Emulator: -

$ sudo apt-get install wine

Mysql Database : -

$ sudo apt-get install mysql-client

$ sudo apt-get install mysql-server

Apache Webserver: -

$ sudo apt-get install apache2


$ sudo apt-get install php5

Gnome Network Manager Applet: -

I can't stand the Network manager that comes with KDE, so i replace it with Gnomes. Another good alternative would be WICD.

$ sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome

Subversion: -

$ sudo apt-get install subversion

Netbeans IDE: -

$ sudo apt-get install netbeans

Printer Support: -

Surprisingly Kubuntu doesn't come with the printer support required built in on install. We need to install CUPS.

$ sudo apt-get install cups*

C++ support for gcc: -

$ sudo apt-get install g++

Vi Improved: -

I don't like the version of vi that comes with the debian series of Os's hence I install vi improved.
$ sudo apt-get install vim

If you install the software above, you will find that you have everything you require to be productive in a Linux environment and never need to boot to Windows.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

I finally finished reading the first Percy Jackson book and saw the film today as well.

The book is written really well. Rick Riordans style of writing really emotes twelve year old Percy's rebellious attitude as a kid who has trouble fitting in and following the rules. I really liked the first half of the book where Percy discovers that he is a Demigod. The book got a bit monotonous once Percy embarks on his quest. The quest basically had Percy face one Greek mythological character after the other on his travels. I really didn't enjoy the quest part of the book. The book ended pretty well though, however I had guessed who the villain was half way through. The end was predictable but nice. Even though the book has some flaws, by the end of the book I did find myself wanting to journey with the characters again, so I guess I will read books two to five as well.

Now for the movie. Director Christopher Columbus changes the sequence of events and some of the major plot points. In fact he goes so far as to change one of two villains (no spoilers ahead, I won't spoil either the book or the movie for you.) and some of the locales where battles in the book take place. He even changes the sequence of events as to how Percy obtains a magical talisman that helps him escape the underworld! Die hard fans of the book would be disappointed but the movie is a lot of fun to watch as a whole. Frankly I preferred it to the Harry Potter movies. The kids playing the main characters in the Harry Potter movies are frankly quite stiff and painful to watch.