Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. Another wonderful year ends, one of the memorable ones in my life. Hopefully things would be even better in this new Year.

Not everything was great today. I went to this shop "Kitchen Affairs" in the evening cause my mother wanted some specific spices. While she was searching for the spices, the billing counter caught my attention. Two brand new iMacs. Wow I said. It was only yesterday, I was at The Deck, India Habitat Center to have lunch with Karan, Maanick and Nisheeth. Even there the payment counter had caught my attention. They were using an ancient PC running a DOS based billing software. My reaction was: Pathetic!! I commented to Maanick that the least they should be using is a GUI with a decent interface. Nevertheless I was so glad that at least this shop owner (or maybe the cashier) has "some taste". But since I had never seen a cash counter using Mac before, I had never seen a Mac Billing Software in the real life (movies, yes I might have seen a few times). So I moved my enormous body slowly towards the iMacs and when I looked at what was running on that I was terrified. They were running windows, and inside windows, a similar DOS application maximized (not fullscreen, so you can see the Start bar). Outrageous!! Fuck that taste!! Why on earth would someone do this. I am sure there are many LCDs that would look cooler at a lot lesser price and would give the same performance. India definitely lacks sanity in this regard and such extreme examples (of The Deck and Kitchen Affairs) definitely prove this statement right. And I also feel there are there are many more extremes that are left to be seen.

But every cloud has a silver lining and I was able to shoot one this New Year eve:



Once again wishing you all a great New Year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

To the newer cat

Belated Christmas greetings. Unfortunately I could not post an entry yesterday, not that I was too busy celebrating christmas, but my laptop had to be pressed into an unavoidable service, namely, showing my mom a movie. Anyhow so I will complete my yesterday's duty today.

So what has kept me occupied last two days. Of course I am doing some Solaris and Java learning. But apart from that, I am also doing a Leopard learning. Yes, finally I have upgraded my system to Leopard, and definitely I have started liking my new OS. So how did it all began?

While I was at Chandigarh, a day before I left for Delhi, I decided to free my hard disk space, cause I new that I needed so free space to upgrade my OS. Usually I only have free space of about 1-2 GB, and definitely it is far from adequate for an upgrade. So I decided to transfer some of my things to a DVD and in the process I spoilt 2 DVDs. Toast would only write the DVD for about 2 seconds after the lead in and then it would generate a hexadecimal hardware error. It was late so I decided to return to Delhi and then try to diagnose the problem patiently. Back in Delhi I tried to write the same DVD again, but this time a DVD+RW. This time Toast would write the lead in and immediately following it, it would write the lead out. No error. But the error was generated when I tried to erase it. I finally confirmed that something was definitely wrong with my SuperDrive. So when I was going to meet Karan, Maanick, Mukesh Sir and Nisheeth (who apparently forgot that we were to meet, and got left out in the process), I carried my laptop along to Anything Mac at Yusuf Sarai (Near Karan's place). For those of you who have read my criticism of the AppleCare Center at Chandigarh forget about all that. AnyMac has definitely beaten the the Chandigarh one by miles. I remember this summer, when I had got my laptop, Maanick and I tried to locate AnyMac for a laptop bag. Boy, we nearly sieved through the Yusuf Sarai market and Village for an address 2F 40 Yusuf Sarai. Some people sent us to Yusuf Sarai market, some to the village. There are two 40 Yusuf Sarais at Yusuf Sarai and we reached both the places but could not find AnyMac. To top that Maanick is someone who has already been to the place once, and even he could do anything but give up. This time I carefully checked out the Map they have on their website. On reaching the 40 Yusuf Sarai Village, I had to ask two more person to find a small staircase behind the building (sort of a back door entry) and then climb to 2nd Floor to find a dark glass door with a tiny Apple Sticker on that. Ah.. Finally. I realized that the reason that Maanick and I could not find it was because our eyes were searching for an Apple Logo, or Apple Poster or something, some board that would either say Apple or Mac or Anything Mac. None of these things actually exist. Anyway once you go though that door, you fill find everything Mac inside it. At least the receptionist is using an iMac G4 and not an ancient windows computer as they do in Chandigarh. So after proper diagnosis they declared that my SuperDrive will be replaced and so they ordered the SuperDrive from Bangalore and took my contact no so that they can contact me when the replacement would arrive. Now since I had a bad SuperDrive I met everyone and did not upgrade to Leopard that day.

On 24th they gave me a call. My replacement had arrived, and I was hoping that the drive would be region free. I am really pissed carrying an RPC2 Drive. So I got it replaced and then went to Karan and tested my drive with an original Hindi Movie DVD - Corporate. Vlc played it!! I was happy but somewhere in my mind I was not really convinced that Hindi movie DVDs have a proper region check. Then I upgraded to Leopard.:)

Back home the first thing I did was Check with my Gladiator DVD. And sigh!! Vlc failed to read it... My hopes were shattered. I searched over the internet if there was a firmware hack for my new SuperDrive. My last Superdrive which was a Hitachi-LG (HL) GWA4080MA did not have a firmware hack for the AE39 firmware revision. My current drive a Matsushita UJ-857D has a firmware hack for the firmware revision KCVB. I quickly downloaded all the required files. But later on reading the forums I realized that the Patcher wont work on Leopard... Shit Man!! I just upgraded to Leopard!! Maybe I'll wait for a patcher that would work with Leopard, or maybe I'll use Tiger temporarily to apply the patch. I don't know.

But some consolation... I am using a superior OS now. So what are the features I love... Firstly QuickLook. Boy, isn't it useful... Works with most files. And interestingly, video files that are currently being downloaded, you dont have to wait for the download to end for it to be played on a player. Just QuickLook it and it would play even the broken file. The next would be Spotlight. Its quick and its better. Interestingly the Help menu of every application also have a Spotlight. And while you are typing your search it would also yield result if there is a menu matching with the keyword. And it woould also show the menu like this:



I really like this feature. So from now on you dont have to search through the various Menus and Submenus to find an option eg it often happens with Photoshop. It has loads of menus and submenus and at times its really difficult to find a menu option if you are not a regular user. Next good thing is Spaces. Finally Mac has workspaces and they are lovely. Also you can assign an application to open in a particular space. Time Machine is also good, but since I don't have a large hard disk for backup, I can't take full use of that. Coverflow in finder is just another feature, its good but not a feature that I'd die for.

Leopard has also brought with itself certain bad points. Firstly the directory Icons. The Dock is also not that good. If only the "orbs" change to something more contrasting I'd be satisfied. Of course I know the List View is coming in 10.5.2, and also that I have Drawers Icons that helps me differentiate the stacks in the Dock (Not neat, but effective). Also for some reason when the Spotlight dropdown is open and we use Exposé for seeing the desktop, the Spotlight drop-down disappears. I am not yet comfortable with that, but surely will get used to it. FrontRow interface is not as cool as the last one. Mostly the opening and closing. This new one fades through black. The older one was awesome in that respect. Also no live video in the dock icons when a player is minimized. :( Not a feature that would be missed but definitely it was cool.

Chalo I'll get back to some real work....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SDG-Express

Yes, thats what I have named my new Airport Express Base Station (Thanks to Skar). Didn't bother to think much to name it.





It is up and running and finally my home is unwired.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shimla-Kufri

A short one day trip to Shimla-Kufri with few of my classmates followed soon after the last exam. I am a little late at sharing this. As soon as we heard that there was an early snowfall in Himachal, we planned this trip in a hurry. Overall it was a fantastic one. I had seen snow for the first time, and I was lucky enough to also experience snowfall. Furthermore I also shelled out some money to try out skiing. A summary of the entire trip... 11 of us started off at 6 in the morning from university. The weather was not very good at around 4-5am, there was heavy thunder and rainfall. But it also meant that we might see some snow in the mountains (which is exactly why we had planned this trip). We had hired two cars - one Tavera and one Indica. After reaching Shimla at about 9:30-10, we had some breakfast. It was chilly. Then we went to the Himachal Pradesh University. From there we went to the Mall Road and to the Ridge. After spending about two hours there we left for Kufri. Kufri was full of snow. Spent about an hour playing with snow.. no one was spared!! Then we hired mules to go to the top where we did some skiing and visited a temple (I dont understand... why is there a temple at the highest points of every place I go?? It was same for Kasauli, This place, even the highest peak at Shimla has a Jhakhoo Temple). While returning to our cars, there was a snowfall. We had to turn back then, cause it was getting late. It was dark already. It wasn't till quarter to nine in the evening (on our way back) that we had our second meal.

The pictures I took can be found here.

I leave you with few of them:








And now I am back home. A much needed break till the first week of Jan.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sunny Affairs

I am back from my second last exam of this semester (ie if I dont flunk in any of those that I have given till now). The next exam is on 11th, Tuesday and its a biggie. I just hope I am am able to survive three days of preparation and three hours of the examination cause I find this subject to be really tough. Actually that is mostly because I have not been paying attention in the class. Nevertheless I will have to face the music on Tuesday.

Anyways I just wanted to inform you people that I have created a new Blog for the Sun Activities and updates. So everything will now go into the blog at blogs.sun.com which I have named Sunny Affairs. Hopefully you'll be visiting that blog too.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

End of semester syndrome...

One thing that happened last week was that we had a trip to the Infosys Chandigarh Campus. Infosys Chandigarh is located at the Rajiv Gandhi IT Park. Chandigarh IT Park is developing at a blazing pace. Most of the buildings have a modern architechtural design, mostly glass exteriors (Gurgaon types) and are being built by the big developers like Parvsnath and DLF. The only issue being that they have to grow the buildings horizontally rather than vertically as buildings in Chandigarh are restricted to three stories. We all had a good view of what all facilities are being provided by the company to its employees. No doubt the infrastucture was very good. Most of the IT companies have started providing recreational facilities to their employees. Obviously Infosys wanted the students to know more about the company cause it would be coming to our college for placements. So at the end of the "tour" there was a short briefing by two or three Infosys executives. And finally a brief quiz on Infosys, where I scored the second highest and got a token from them (a nice Pierre Cardin pen). 

Also we had a usual Hostel Innaugration ceremony, which is basically a hostel fresher party. Everything was similar as last time and also the fight for food!!! It has to happen everytime even if everyone knows that there is enough food for all of us. This time we were prepared and we took care not to wear clean clothes (We learned from our past mistakes). Land of nerd surds!!

I also spent a lot of time with the softwares the BlackTree develops for Mac. Very cool stuff. I guess every mac user has had a look at their tools, but if you haven't go to http://www.blacktree.com/.
 
Apart from this just Exams ही Exams. Nothing more nothing less. Just trying to break out of the end of semester sydrome...

And yes if any of you are having problems in choosing between Solaris and Linux or if any of you are among those people who wants to move away fromWindows or Mac to try out other operating systems, have a look at this post.