Friday 18 September 2009

Software Freedom Day

It's on tommorrow.

 As usual I'm doing a demo in multimedia in the SFD celebrations in Chennai.(Birla Planetarium). All are welcome.

Thursday 10 September 2009

My Lab

Well, actually not my lab. The lab for which I am the Sysadmin. The lab has 14 systems that dual boot to Windows XP and GNU/Linux, and a central server that runs on only GNU/Linux. Most of my plans for the lab are implemented by now.

These are the improvements in the lab compared to last year, i.e. after I took over.
  • The server system itself. It facilitates
    1. Faster software installation on all systems. [Via apt-cacher]
    2. Web Caching.
    3. One stop monitoring of error and other logs on all systems.
    4. Automated maintenance of all other systems. [using custom shell scripts, Cron and OpenSSH.]
  • Improved security in WinXP.
    1. Uses Software Restriction Policies to protect against viruses coming through removable disks. [99.9% effective. Not a single virus in past two months of operation.]
    2. Anti-virus which is updated daily and fully functional.

And lots more(on next post. :p).. I'm happy except for few kinks, which i hope to iron out soon.

Monday 7 September 2009

Love and Pi

Love is like pi – natural, irrational, and very important.

Lisa Hoffman
Got from here.

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Inauguration of Computer Society

The Inauguration of Computer Society of my college was a great success. The inaugural address was delivered by Prof. P Sriram. He is the founding member of ILUGC(Indian Linux Users Group Chennai) and presently the Head of the dept. of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Madras.

Full Photo album cam be viewed here.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

I Got a Laptop

All new Studio 1555. It is different from older studio 15 laptops in that it has HDMI port update, improved BIOS etc. Things which Dell removed were Touch sensitive buttons, hard drive activity light etc. I'm irritated by the absence of any indication of hard drive activity. :(

Will update on the software side soon. One thing though: I completely wiped the hard disk clean and installed GNU/Linux. Bye bye to vista. :)

PS: Since I got a system on my own now, should be able to update my blog regularly. :-)

Thursday 9 July 2009

Lab Complete

The UG lab is officially open from today. My long time dream of becoming a system administrator is fulfilled. :-)

All the systems have a dual boot GNU/Linux and Windows XP. I thought of dispensing with windows altogether, but other people are not yet comfortable with using Linux in entirety.

Thursday 25 June 2009

The Latest Comedy by The Hindu


An explanation of what might have actually happened:, international conferences are attended by Iran's President, not the Supreme Leader. So the person whom Mr Natwar Singh met at the NAM summit was probably the President, who at the time was Ali Khamenei. Perhaps his 1982 anecdote also refers to Ayatollah Khamenei (who was the president throughout the 1980s). He was not the supreme leader then, but he was an important man;

Tuesday 23 June 2009


I was reading this essay and it had the following note:
1. The library is a large building filled with books and journals. It functions sort of like Google, but deeper.

The 51st Post

As I lamented a few weeks back, There was no connectivity in the college. :( That was until a few days back when I managed to get the keys and re-open the computer lab. I'm the sysadmin and was busy making all systems ready and reading the lagging Reader items. And now back to blogging. :-)

PS: This is my 51st post. :-)
PPS: I really love Server Fault.

Sunday 31 May 2009

Genius and Eccentricity

Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.
Edith Sitwell, Taken Care Of : The Autobiography of Edith Sitwell (1965), Ch 15

PS: This is dedicated to my friend Bharathan. :)

Wednesday 27 May 2009

The Float LaTeX Package for Placing the Figure Here

If you don’t care where the figures are placed as long as they are in the same chapter, you need not worry and will get the best layout possible from TeX. But, if there is a major figure or a table which you want to appear before the discussion or a section, you are in for trouble. There is an option [h] which means ‘You may put it here if you like.’ No, Tex is not going to like whatever you like and often floats it somewhere else.

Hence a package called here was written by David Carlisle which gave an option [H] which means “put it HERE, period”. That package is now replaced by Anselm Lingnau’s float package which provides some more facilities also. This package is included by default in both MikTeX as well as TeXlive and you may include it in file by standard

and use the HERE option as
Note that the [H] option cannot be used in conjunction with other options as you can do with [h] option like [htb]. That doesn’t make sense, anyway.
To know about other features of this package and download documentation go here.

Friday 22 May 2009

TeX and LaTeX

TeX is a typesetting tool that is used predominantly by mathematicians and other scientists to prepare reports, articles and books. It is more efficient than any other word processor. (In fact, MS-WORD cannot do many things that TeX can do.) After all, it is written by prof. Knuth himself.
LaTeX is a macro package for the TeX system. That is, it defines a number of additional keywords and commands that make using TeX easy and accessible for non-programmers. For example, to get fonts and other style required by a particular journal, all you have to do is select an appropriate class and the content will be formatted in a correct manner for you.(Assuming that somebody has written a style file and/or class, which is true for most journals.) If you are writing an article for a journal and it is to be included in a collected works also, imagine the work involved if you are using a word processor. In LaTeX all you have to do is change the class name. :-)

To learn TeX and LaTeX get hold of the following books and read them.
Here we'll see the packages required to use it and how to install them, since that is what most beginners struggle at and not covered in the above books.

Download and install the following software (Both are available for free):
MikTeX - This contains the actual TeX software and it takes care of reading your input files and converting them into PDF or DVI files.
WinShell - This is basically an editor and you can create documents without this one, but considering the extraordinary capabilities of the Notepad it may be wise to install this. It has much more capabilities like generating LaTeX code for writing math symbols or tedious work like producing table etc.

Open your favorite package manager and install the following packages:
  • texlive-base
  • texlive-latex-base
Install the documentation too. As you progress with the stuff you can install extra packages and their documentation.
If you are an EMACS fan, install Auctex also.
To compile your TeX files (which are actually text files created using any editor) see the relevant section in The TeXbook.

I'll post about the tips and tricks in subsequent posts since tutorial is already available in Knuth's excellent book.
A TeX Users Group is also available and is very active.


I believe that the internet connection will be there in college when i go back and start blogging again. Sigh.

PS: I'm in home enjoying the holidays. :-)

Friday 3 April 2009

I'm Connected Again

The connectivity is back in the campus after more than three months. I'm so happy. :D

PS: Remember this post about Carte Blanche? Well, my team was the champion. :-) But I hate that certificate which had that achievement in as small font as possible.:(

Saturday 7 February 2009

End And Start

I'm putting my laziness to an end and gonna make this blog a real technical blog, worthy of the name it has. I had have an agenda. But since no one else knows it, I'm happily procrastinating it. So I've decided to make it public. The following are the things that I'm going to do in next two months:
  • Write about how and what numerical methods are used in CFD Solvers.(This is for my own good. I have NMFD this semester.)
  • Write about how to adapt the CSS and XHTML templates you see for websites into the blogger CMS. I'm in the process of writing a template for my blog based on the excellent Andreas08 by Andreas Viklund. (I know that someone had already adapted that design into a blogger template. But it has way too many errors, does not conform to standards and my favorite inline commenting is missing.)
  • Learn TeX and LaTeX and write an introduction to it.

Hope I'll complete these. :-)

PS: @ Vasu: I'm ashamed of this too...;-)

Saturday 31 January 2009

Under Progress....

Tired of talking... :|

All Are Welcome


Carte Blanche

and my

Multimedia Info Desk.

PS: All set. Waiting for the inauguration.

Complete Power

Carte Blanche literally means just that - Complete Power. What would you do if you were given complete power - control - over the config files, source code and all that could be controlled?
We people would hack away, happily forever. :)

Switch to GNU/Linux. Experience Carte Blanche.

PS: I'm now sitting at my Multimedia Info Desk at Carte Blanche venue with all fun and fan fare. Finished 95% of work. Took a break just now. Will be updating the status throughout the day. :)

Monday 26 January 2009

Past and Future

Things I did in past fortnight
  • Organised the event Industry defined project in Asymptote.
  • Helped in organising the events Bottle rocketry and Air show in Asymptote.
  • Won Mech quiz in Asymptote.
  • Attended math workshop in Kurukshetra.(loved V.S. Sunder's Knot theory lecture. Will post on that soon.)
  • Working towards Carte-Blanche.(Half completed)

For the next week
  • Finish the Carte Blanche work. It is scheduled on coming Saturday. I'm doing the multimedia section. I will focus on VLC, Mplayer, Camstream, Amarok and Audacity. (All are welcome to the event!)
  • Select engine for my aircraft(for the design project)

PS: See my medium term goals in the next post.