Monday, March 31, 2008

Pay panel, an attempt to destabilise India

An excellent article...

Pay panel, an attempt to destabilise India :

Reproduced from as it is I hope that the reference to the original article is credit enough to the author, none of the following is my work in any way, whole credit goes to the original author and

March 31, 2008

'Till 1947, we were ruled by the aliens. Since 1947 we are ruled by the alienated.' -- Arun Shourie

The 6th Pay Commission report was submitted to the government on March 24. It has once again brought the issue of a grand design to keep India poor by subsequent governments back to the fore.

The issue does not merely concern the finances of the government, as it is being argued in many quarters. In fact, it is much more than that.

To explain what is stated above let me at the outset seek the indulgence of the reader to some personal experiences.

My father was posted in the mid-seventies in interior West Bengal. Accompanying my father to the local market, I distinctly recall that rice then would cost approximately two-and-a-half rupees a kilo. The same quality of rice today costs approximately Rs 20. That implies an eight-fold increase in three decades.

Our family got our first colour television in the mid-eighties for Rs 10,000. That was replaced in mid-nineties by another one at virtually the same price. This in turn was replaced this year at approximately the same.

The point I am trying to make is that the prices of manufacturing items have been falling steadily in the last two decades.

I am sure that readers would recall that the prices of cars, refrigerators, computers or for that matter any other consumer durable item have either been stagnant or have registered a fall. This is due to the opening of the Indian economy, arrival of newer manufacturing technologies and, of course, the need to be cost conscious and competitive in a globalised world.

No wonder, when compared with the manufacturing sector, the prices of farm products have risen consistently. And this particular piece of statistics is often held against our farmers to tell them that their farm produce is more than adequately remunerated by our governments.

But what is the truth of the matter?

To understand the bluff of the government, one must compare the price of rice with something more stable, reliable and more comparable -- like, say gold. Elders in my family tell me that that the value of one quintal of rice in mid-sixties was equivalent to one sovereign (8 grams) of gold.

Today the price of gold is highly skewed for various reasons. To that extent it may distort comparison. So let me take the price of gold in 2006 and compare its price with that of rice. Experts point out that one sovereign of gold was six times the value of a quintal of rice in 2006.

Crucially, the salaries of government officials have gone up about 12 to 16 times in the same period. The impact of this increase on the Indian economy has never been the part of any substantive debate.

This fall in the value of rice to a sixth when compared to gold and one-twelfth when compared to the salary of a government officer in this period is central to the issue at hand.

Naturally, all these have their side effects. In most states, farmers complain that today they do not get farm workers as most of them have migrated to cities to seek some employment.

But the worst is yet to come. Farmers complain that today they are unable to get brides for their sons. Young girls do not want to marry farmers and face the prospect of penury.

It is natural for farmers to want their sons to be educated and then migrate to cities. In effect, education is a means in India to get away from the farm sector -- not get into it. And this proposed hike in the pay of the government officials would only act as an incentive to the farmers to become employees in government offices.

In the process it would convert employers into mere employees. But crucially, who would man our farms? What would happen to our food security? Who would produce food for the nation of a billion plus?

All these problems stated above repeatedly point out to the de-legitimisation of the entire farm sector in India in the past four decades. And as explained above this is not an issue that concerns the economics of the farm sector or the finances of the government. Rather this is a socio-economic-employment problem.

What is farcical to note here is that governments have put in place an elaborate charade of subsidies, successive loan waivers and grand promises to the farm sector. And on a superficial examination of the issues at hand the media, analysts and economists have been pointing out to the fact that we are excessively subsidising our farmers, without fully understanding the crux of the issue -- farming is a losing economic proposition in India.

And our meagre subsidies (including free colour TVs [Get Quote] and the Rs 60,000-crore loan waiver) keep farmers in a subsistence mode -- neither can they quit nor can they continue farming. And that is the tragedy of the farm sector in India.

And this pay panel is part of this grand design

Ever since India as an economic entity was designed, our polity has been under a belief that India cannot be a viable, vibrant and prosperous nation for her entire population. It would seem that we had come to the conclusion that India had to be built for a small set of elite, with the rest kept in mere survival mode.

In fact, this is the extension of the idea of the British who thought that the nation had to be kept poor for the British Raj to be economically viable. The Pay Commission falls in this genre -- keep rural India poor to sustain the India of the elite.

Readers may note that the net impact of the Pay Commission recommendations for a full financial year is approximately Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion). This is not a paltry sum as it seems.

In contrast to the 4.5 million beneficiaries, this amount is equivalent to the amount budgeted for the mid day meal scheme for 140 million students all across India for the entire academic year of 2008-09. 140 millions students versus 4.5 million government employees! And that puts things in the correct perspective.

But if experts are to be believed, the net impact on the economy would be anywhere between Rs 60,000 croe and Rs 100,000 crore (Rs 600 billion and Rs 1,000 billion) because the increase in the net pay for our central government officials would translate into a concomitant increase in the wages for state government, PSU sector, teachers, banks and other related sectors.

The net beneficiaries would be a mere 2 percent of the population while the rest have to foot the bill.

What has the relevance of the combined failure of the farm sector got to do with this 6th Pay Commission? That requires explaining the other part of the grand design.

Obviously, all this increase in pay artificially distorts the availability of talent. The low earning potential in the farm sector when compared to that of artificially high earnings of a government officer significantly influences the flow of talent from the villages to the cities, from the farm sector to the others.

In effect, that is a subsidy by the farm sector not to it. And that is the complete grand design for you -- our farm sector has to be made uneconomical and unviable to make India politically unstable.

A case for decrease not increase

Remember the oft quoted cliche -- our IAS officers are the best. And the logic of recommending this pay hike has been by pointing out to the fact that in comparison the pay packet in the private sector is significantly higher.

If that were the case why are there no largescale migrations from the government to the private sector? The answer to that is simple -- power and pelf available to our government officers are a huge incentive to remain in the government. Yet, we seek to provide them higher salaries.

Naturally all these have turned India into a country of shortages, especially on the rural side. A country with a substantial section of her population caged, hungry and in abject poverty cannot be fancied to become an economic superpower. Yet this is what we believe little realising that we are sitting on a time-bomb that is waiting to explode.

In short, a farmer's son can become a chartered accountant or for that matter a government officer, but why is it that a chartered accountant's son or a government officer's never becomes a farmer? The answer to this question is crucial. And we, being a democracy, cannot force our people to work in farms. Needless to emphasise, the only solution is to make our farms economically viable, implicitly and explicitly.

And that means that the government needs to reverse it policy of creating India for the elite. Ideally, the government needs to lower pay packets for her employees while simultaneously looking at appropriate policies to make the farm sector economically viable.

And that would at once explicitly and implicitly make farming economically viable. That would also address the issue of urban-rural disparity, which is fast challenging the very political viability of the country.

But by suggesting a substantial hike for government employees, the 6th Pay Commission, like many before it, has indeed been an honest attempt at destabilising the nation. And for that reason the nation need to consign it to the dustbin.

The author is a Chennai-based chartered accountant. He can be contacted at

Thursday, March 27, 2008

config for capistrano

Preparing a deployment of an app
  1. Changes for fcgi configuration in public/.htaccess
    1. Comment the fcgi handler (found in initial few lines of the file)
    2. Change the dispatch.cgi reference to dispatch.fcgi (last few lines of file)
  2. In public/dispatch.fcgi change the shebang line to say something like this
    1. #!/usr/bin/env ruby
  3. Make sure everything is committed. (svn ci)
  4. capify the environment (capify)
  5. run rake configure_for_svn (assuming that the svn.rake task has been created already)
  6. edit config/deploy.rb to adjust values appropriately
  7. run cap deploy:setup
  8. On the remote server, copy $HOME/railsapps/config/database.yml.production to $HOME/${appdir}/shared/config (create target dir if not present). The $HOME/{appdir} should have been created by deploy:setup
  9. Since its the first time deployment, run cap deploy:cold
  10. Next time onwards, when you have to deploy, launch cap deploy:migrate

The Printable CEO™ Series

I have used this time tracking tool in past also, and always find it handy to keep notes in this format. Helps keep focus.

David Seah - The Printable CEO™ Series

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mac4Lin ver.0.2 - Mac OS X Leopard Transformation pack

Surprised to see that people are running independent project to make linux look/act like mac.

I am curious and would sure experiment with this.

Mac4Lin ver.0.2 - Mac OS X Leopard Transformation pack - Ubuntu Forums

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DVD Playback on Gutsy

Configuring DVD playback on Gutsy

For DVD playback, install VLC (accepted by most as the best DVD player, supports menus too);

sudo apt-get install vlc

And if you also want Totem to play DVDs well, you have to use the Xine backend instead of Gstreamer (this is optional, VLC will do just fine);

sudo apt-get install totem-xine libxine1-ffmpeg

To get encrypted DVDs playing properly (check out no. 9 in the "Troubleshooting" section if you are having problems with new DVDs), paste these commands into the Terminal;

sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2 libdvdread3 libdvdnav4 build-essential debhelper fakeroot


sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/

or if you get an error with that command;

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/examples/

To set VLC as your default DVD player (I strongly advise you do) type the following command into the Terminal;

gksudo gconf-editor

Now expand "desktop" and then "gnome", scroll down to "volume manager" but don't expand it, just click on it and look over at the right pane. Scroll down and look for "autoplay_dvd_command" and change the command to "/usr/bin/vlc dvd://" (without quotes of course) by right clicking on it and selecting "Edit", then click on "Set as Default". Do the same for the "autoplay_vcd_command" as well.

From :  Complete Streaming, Multimedia & Video How-to - Ubuntu Forums

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Radika gori se.. lyrics

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

जो न ब्याह कराये,
तेरी गैया नाहि चराऊँ,
आज के बाद मेरी मैया,
तेरी दहली पर नाय आऊँ,

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

चंदन की चौकी पै
मैया तोहे बैठाऊं

अपनी राधा से में
चरण तेरे दबवाऊँ

और, भोजन में बनवाऊगो
छप्पन प्रकार के । ।

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

छोटी सी दुल्हनिया
जब अंगना में डोलेगी

तेरे सामने मैया
वो घूंघट ना खोलेगी

दाऊ से जा कहो, जा कहो
बैठेंगे द्वार

राधिका गोरी से....

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

सुन बातें कान्हा की,
मैया बैठी मुसकाये

लेके बलाइयां मैया,
हिवडे से अपने मैया

नज़र कहीं लग जाए ना, लग जाए ना

राधिका गोरी से, बृज की छोरी से,
मैया करा दै मेरो ब्याह,

उमर तेरी छोटी रे, नज़र तेरी खोटी रे
कैसे करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

राधिका गोरी से,
बृज की छोरी से
कान्हा करायदऊँ तेरो ब्याह ।

Ekiga - PC to Phone on Ubuntu

It works, finally... it works.

I managed to configure my voipcheap account to work with Ekiga.
Though the phone numbers that u have to call look a bit awkward (sip:<phoneNumber>, but it works.

I basically love the fact that I reduced another reason to boot into windows.  Loving Ubuntu every minute...

Here's some documentation on How to Use Ekiga
Ekiga - Community Ubuntu Documentation
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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holi Photos...from people who actually had fun...

Here are some of Holi photos I found on Flickr... Gives me a feeling of how Holi used to be.... :)

IMG_2573, originally uploaded by Kapil-Garg.

DSCN3663, originally uploaded by spread_smiles.

DSCN3634, originally uploaded by spread_smiles.

kya bola re?, originally uploaded by Vinu.

IMG_2055, originally uploaded by Vinu.

here it is!, originally uploaded by Vinu.

We are being attacked, originally uploaded by mksfoto.


BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: Holi festival

Well, Being away from home on Holi is the one of the most painful days I have experienced. This is one full day of fun, being with friends, all colourful and removing all social barriers... I love Holi.

Described mostly as "Festival of colors", Holi is pretty significant socially as well. Many foes turn friends today (and hopefully stay on as friends), the social boundaries are broken rather easily today than any other days, spring "officially" start from the Indian calendar's perspective and on and on and on... I cant name them all, not so good with history.  Though, one might always go to wikipedia

I have liked holi as long as I can remember it, and have almot always tried to be home for Holi, because its at home that you can actually enjoy the most. Old friends, elders, youngers.. everyone comes home for holi. 

I remember how we used to gather at one friend's place to start our *rounds*. We'd pick up a "gujhia" or two, stuff them into our pockets. Move on to our next destination, which could be a friends' place, or someone's place only one of us might know. But that doesnt matter, on Holi's day, everyone is welcome everywhere.  So, we greet people, bow to elders, hug others, and pat youngers, exchange gujhia's that we picked up at last stop, and pick more here for next stops.  And this continues till afternoon...

And, now, its the third consecutive year that I have missed Holi at home and I miss it terribly.  I hope the next years bring better luck. :)

Happy Holi... :)

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Better Cross-Site Request Forging Prevention

Very useful piece of information about the changes from rails 1.x to 2.x.  Since I was following the Agile ... with rails book (which is on rails 1.2.3), I got trapped with this problem.

Few new things for me, the concept of Cross-site request forgery and that rails 2 already handles it in the framework.  I got to this article through  and I have to say I am impressed.

What's New in Edge Rails: Better Cross-Site Request Forging Prevention

Providing such useful features built inside the app framework is really intuitive.

Way to go rails... :) 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Linux desktop imitating OSX

Wonderful article .. full of info...

Linux desktop imitating OSX | Lauri Taimila

will report the exeperience..

One of the cutest images...

A friend of mine sent me this photo embedded in a "Good Morning" email. Since I dont know his source of the shot, I cant really credit it the right way. However, hats off to the photographer behind the photograph.

I liked the image so much I couldnt resist writing about it. The whole image carries a vintage look, from the 20-30's of Westerners. The subjects in the shot just add to it, so much.

Look at the expression of the boy's face, looks like he's watching something closely and something nice is about to happen. Its fantastic, absolutely loveable. Looks as if he's on the way to break into one of those kiddish squeak, when they are too happy.

The girl is not a bit lesser cute. She is the personification of innocence, cute little hands clutching shoes, sort of surrendering to the happiness around her...

If I would have shot this image, I would probably not want to change the texture of the shot. Unbelievably cute.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Free 1 year subscription of McAfree Virus Scan Plus

I dont quite believe this, but havent tried this either.

Free 1 year subscription of McAfree Virus Scan Plus

I have heard about free trial licenses from such companies for a month or two or three, but never for 12 months.

I just tried to register following the link, and it does seem to work. I didnt actually download the software yet, but I would sure do that. Sometime over the weekend.

It sounds really really amazing to me. A 12 month free subscription.. great... :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Man auctions his life in Australia

Aint that crazy ??

Man auctions his life in Australia | Oddly Enough | Reuters

I wish getting out of bad situations was just as easy as Mr Ian Usher things around there...
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An interesting site...

An online document viewing website, you upload your document, the world sees it.

To me, an equivalent of blog, only not in terms of putting up content, rather organized documents. 

Home | Scribd
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Alternate Power sources : India

Lately, there has been discussions on global warming, and effects of consuming petrochemicals on our environment.  Among other things, this has generated a new buzz in the area of alternate sources of engery.

There is talk about wind power, solar power etc. more than ever.  There are practical reasons to look for that and potential upsides as well.

When I look at India, I feel these two sources (others are not discounted) can and should play a major role in fulfilling India's energy needs.  India has ample resources to generate power from both wind and solar sources.

There are already examples around the world, where the heat in desert has been tapped to generate solar energy. Check this on wikipedia, Solar power plants in the Mojave Desert,
a perfect example of how the Indian desert (one of the larger ones around the world) can be tapped to generate some huge amounts of solar power.  Well, I am no solar power scientist, and therefore cant comment on the technicalities and details around that, but I would very much like to know  the reason that comes about and suggests that it cant be done.

On wikipedia, there is a very interesting and encouraging page about situation of solar power in india. Also, checking the website of the Ministry of New and Renewable Resources shows that they have plans to expand in both wind and solar areas. Though this clearly show govt is thinking in this direction, I am sure people like me would love to see this happen in real life and not see these plans replaced by just another set of plans a few years later, without realizing much on the ground.

India also has a long coastline, and I believe this could be utilized for generating some wind power. Geographically speaking, both eastern and western coastline of Indian peninsula has hilly regions,  and I think these could prove to be interesting areas for installation of windmills.

The idea is not really new for India, since India already is developing wind power generation faster than any other country around the planet. As this article on wikipedia mentions, Wind power in India, India is already the fourth largest host of wind power generation installations.

When I tried to check how would it look like for an individual to install a solar panel or a windmill to fulfil his own energy needs, without relying upon the govt to provide for, google did come back with a few pieces of interesting information. 

Here's one page about how a family fought with administration to set up their own windmill, but eventually gained from it in long run.

This page talks briefly about how to set up such a system for alternate source of energy and provides a few links here and there.

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Ensode - Free PDF Unlock Online Utility (Beta)

I got this Gartner group report about Magic quadrant Data Warehouse technology.  I wanted to print it so that I can read it at leisure, but the pdf was locked for printing, even for copying.

I googled for "unlock pdf files" and the first hit I got was this link. 

Just give it your locked pdf file and it generates an unlocked pdf for you in the new browser window.

Ensode - Free PDF Unlock Online Utility (Beta)

cool stuff..
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Indian Automobile Industry... what happened there...

Suddenly, there is a boom in the auto innovation sector, and I have to say very proudly, its coming from Indian companies.

Few weeks back, Tata announced "Tata Nano", then the cheapest car in the world, and today I hear another Indian auto company is launching a car cheaper than the famous "Tata Nano". Apparently its a small outfit called Tara automobiles, from/around Kolkata in West Bengal, and the car is called "Tara Tiny". Here's a link to the article, I found in my lunch break... Tara Tiny @ Rs 99K is the world's cheapest car!

I wonder, where was all this innovation till a few months back.  For long long time, only news in auto innovation was coming from the bigger western players like Mercedes, GM, Ford, BMW etc.. or from Japan, where the likes of Toyota, Honda were leading.

Suddenly, there is news after news from the Indian manufacturers, and I cant hide my happy surprise. Way to go, guys.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Looking Vertically Up

Looking Vertically Up, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

In the woods again, this was one spot, where I was in the middle of these tall trees. I just looked up and when I saw what I saw, the blue sky, the green tree tops, converging tops of the trees, I knew I had to take this one.

I wonder what kind of feeling this one gives away.

Sunset bouleward...

Sunset bouleward..., originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

In the woods around Winterthur, it was the evening of a sunny day. The shadows were getting longer, and the walking paths were getting quiter and quiter.

This one looked like a path leading to heaven...

यशोमति मैया से बोले नंदलाला...

मेरे सबसे पसंदीदा गीतों मैं से एक -

मैया से बोले नंदलाला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला

बोली मुस्काती मैया,
ललन को बताया,
अंधियारी आधी रात में तू आया
लाडला कन्हैया मेरा,
लाडला कन्हैया मेरा,
काली कमली वाला,
इसीलिए काला

यशोमती मैया से बोले नंदलाला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, में क्यों काला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, में क्यों काला।

बोली मुस्काती मैया, सुन मेरे प्यारे,
बोली मुस्काती मैया, सुन मेरे प्यारे,
गोरी गोरी राधिका के, नैन कजरारे
काले नैनों वाली ने हो..
ऐसा जादू डाला,
इसीलिये काला

यशोमति मैया से बोले नंदलाला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला,
राधा क्यों गोरी, मैं क्यों काला

इतने में राधा प्यारी आयी इठलाती,
मैंने ना जादू डाला बोली बलखाती,
मैया कन्हैया तेरा हो
मैया कन्हैया तेरा जग से निराला
इसीलिए काला
यशोमती मैया से बोले नंदलाला
राधा क्यों गोरी मैं क्यों काला

Alien growth

Alien growth, originally uploaded by yOOrek.

Nice closeup.

I tried to take one for myself, but it didnt come that close and clear. Here's the shot I tried, See how the areas are in and out of focus at different points.

Guess I need to study more on the closeup photography.

UseMod Wiki: TextFormattingRules

Rubyforge projects use this wiki engine. UsedMod

Its a bit different from wikipedia (media wiki) and therefore, one might have to carefully look at the formatting tricks and tips.

Here's some help.

UseMod Wiki: TextFormattingRules
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

so many new technologies...

It was my first weekend after I started working on my domain name and website. The last I was doing something with web technologies was like a few years back. Kinda nostalgic in that sense.

There are many new technologies coming around the place, and sometimes I feel left out. When I started digging this time around, I got to know a few more things.

So many new things I learned in one day...

  1. Mephisto - blogging engine
  2. Typo - Another blogging engine
  3. Trac - SCM engine , used for bug tracking etc.
  4. Intro to Capistrano - the magical deployment tool from rails framework. Some documentation from my hosting people also on integrating capistrano.
  5. FastCGI and its usage with rails

My new domain is up and running...and supports rails too...

Finally, after a day and a half of my ordering/starting the process of getting my own domain/site, its up and running.

The dns entries for blogs are set up, the subdomains are set up, and a very basic home page is also up and running. Check it out here...

The mail address is going to change forever, I guess. Now onwards, my mail address is going to be on this new domain, instead of something or other at gmail or yahoo... Always hated the fact that I cant get my easy and favourite name to become my mail id... Finally, I get it... :)

The dns configuration for blogs is one sweet thing. I have to appreciate the way blog hosters like blogger and wordpress (to name a few) allow you to call your blog something or other in the browser url, and still happily allow the stuff to be hosted at their site. Now, my blogs are all named according to my wish on my domain.. e.g. is now going to be called

I am yet to read more on dns record types and how they actually work behind the scenes, but I understood that you need to create a CNAME (Canonical Name) record in your dns server for the target server (blogger). This will redirect the incoming request (coming at to target server (blogger) without reflecting the redirection to the source browser. so the browser still thinks that its talking to while the dns entry makes it talk to

Love the technology behind this.

My web hosting company, allows ruby on rails hosting as well. And, that was my primary reason to choose them over other web-hosting providers. Not so costly and still nice services for a basic rails deployment/hosting service. They provide ssh access and subversion access and what not. Almost everything I could think of as a developer, looking for a foothold in rails. Cool people. :)

moved to my own domain

Its one special day for me, when I got my own domain name =>

Now, I can claim to have an official presence on the cyberspace. I feel very very good about this. Before this, I have been using free services from blogger, wordpress or others like them to host my pages/writings.

Now my blogs will primarily be known as :

More on this in technology

Friday, March 14, 2008

On Bloger templates are making money with google

some links in response to a question I posted about blogger templates...

Got my new domain...

Ordered my new domain name

Got some hosting services from people.

Still waiting on the activation mail, with dns servers info and all that.

Naming convention of Ubuntu Releases

I've always wondered why and how these people at ubuntu core group chose such names. 

Well, its hard to say that the names are good or bad, most of the times such word mean something or other in some or other language, for sure.

Still, if there was some scheme behind naming the versions, I didnt know about it.

Recently found out that, and here are details - DevelopmentCodeNames - Ubuntu Wiki   
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

How To: Install OS X on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required

Found this interesting page... I am pretty sure there are other sites and pages talking about similar stuff.

How To: Install OS X on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required

I still have to check out how it works, but looks like a very interesting idea to start with...  
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My own domain name...

For some time, I have been thinking of getting my own domain name, and thereafter get rid of all these or kind of names for blogs. Will also get rid of email addresses from gmail or yahoo or likes.

The idea is pretty interesting and right now I am evaluating whether its a financially feasible thing to do. 

Well, I checked at a few domain name registration sites and it doenst sound very costly to start with.  However you have to be careful reading their pricing models.  It IS misleading.

e.g. when you find a domain at, they say that it costs 10 USD. Fine, that looks cheap and so you move on. When you finally land on the checkout page, you find that its not actually $10, but $29.99. The $10 mentioned at the first page was actually something else. Some private registration thing, but the actual domain name costs you three times that.

Similarly when I was checking this on an Indian registrar , their site was advertising that .in domains cost on Rs. 199. Fine, thats pretty cheap actually. I went ahead and when I landed on checkout page there, it turned out that 199 is only the cost for 1st year. Second and third years cost about 4-5 times first year. And therefore, you are lured only because of the first year promotional pricing.

A friend was suggesting earlier to use dyndns for this. The idea was, buy a domain name, buy a customer dns from dyndns guys. Then it would be a job of configuring the dns entries in a right way. So that,

a call to goes automatically to,

and still maintains the url for

I am not sure if that would work technically or not, but that could be a much cheaper solution. Custom DNS at costs about $ 28 per year. domain would cost about $10 per year. Sounds ok.

Also, I am not sure what kind of dns mgmt freedom is available when I buy web space with some hosting company....

I have posted this dns configuration question to forums also.. lets see how they come back.

Reading about dns records etc..  List of DNS record types - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Slow DB query : Tuning required...

Have been struggling with a slow db query on our Oracle 9i repository.  There are product installations (redwood) and therefore the views provided by them cant be modified (read optimized).

We found out through tracing etc that the optimizer is behaving strangely. Its choosing an explain plan that is not completely optimal.  There's something funny with statistics as well, since when I rewrote the query to use the rule based optimizer, the query was finishing much much faster. 

So, we had to do some experiments with Oracle traces as well.  Help on Oracle's tracing mechanisms and ideas came from 

Introduction to Oracle Trace Utulity and Understanding The Fundamental Performance Equation « H.Tonguç YILMAZ Oracle Blog

Working together with our in-house DBA team helped a bit and I moved forward with some more experiments.  Here's what helped me with Optimizer in Oracle (mostly CBO)

Oracle Optimizer: Moving to and working with CBO

Oracle Optimizer: Moving to and working with CBO - Part 2

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On Technology...: Photography on Linux

Something about Linux Photo Management software...

On Technology...: Photography on Linux

Photography on Linux

I myself was thinking about this since a few days..Actually ever since I got my Gutsy freshend up I was wondering if I could move all my daily works stuff from windows to Linux.  Photo management is surely one big area, especially with my interest in photos.

Check my interest here <>

And then today morning, just by luck, I found this page..
Ubuntu Linux graphic software list « Linux Photography

Not read completely through it, but the Ubuntu forum page it refers to is sure useful.

Also interesting is this :
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ParisDailyPhoto Blog

Just found this blog.
An interesting idea. Especially on Paris, wow.

Great effort...

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Thinking of changing blog host...

I was talking to this friend of mine who moved his website from blogspot to wordpress.  Wordpress have nicer templates, some really cute.

I felt like doing that as well, already last week. But, wordpress has some limitations, e.g. their free account does not allow html template editing. And without editing html, it wont be possible to track site statistics with google Analytics. I would really want to collect that kind of statistics.  Though the wordpress people provide some statistics, I am not sure if they would be comparable to Google Analytics

Also, since my blog's url contains, its hard for me to switch anyway.  However, there is an easier solution for this url issue. Build a blog in wordpress, and start publishing that url.

To make sure all who come and hit the old url, just enter this line in the <head> tag of the old blog page's html code.

<meta http-equiv="REFRESH" content="0;url="/>

Found this code sample here...  html redirect

thanks google for allowing to find stuff so easily... I knew that it exists, but syntax would have been hard to figure out.  
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Frustration working with computers...

Working with computers can be frustrating...
Nothing has showcased this more than this video...

Bad Day at the Office

I hope never to reach such stage of frustration...

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Keukenhof Reds

KeukReds, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

Its an scanned image, and therefore not so sharp anymore. But, I love the complete/total red color that oozes out of the flower petals.

Some might say that the red channel is overblown, but I beg to differ.

*** Mini Challenge 159 - Huge Contrast *** [Page 1]: Canon EOS 400D/350D/300D Forum: Digital Photography Review

*** Mini Challenge 159 - Huge Contrast *** [Page 1]: Canon EOS 400D/350D/300D Forum: Digital Photography Review

Fantastic image...
Though the background is white, it doesnt look overexposed..
Great control there...
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A Parks and Conservation ...: Photo by Photographer Lannon Harley -

A Parks and Conservation ...: Photo by Photographer Lannon Harley -

Isnt that a great shot... absolutely marvellous.
The lighting, the shadows..

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Monday, March 10, 2008

"Must Have" list of Apps for Gutsy? - Ubuntu Forums

I dont use Ubuntu as a full time desktop system. More focus on programming, though the general usage is increasing by day.

While I was searching for something about one the gutsy issues I was facing, I came across this post.

"Must Have" list of Apps for Gutsy? - Ubuntu Forums

Really interesting set of suggestions from people who use such a system for everyday usage.  Though personal preferences differ, its a good start.

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Complete Streaming, Multimedia & Video How-to - Ubuntu Forums

Trying to get my browsers run some online media streaming on Ubuntu. This page here is an excellent place to start with.

Great compilation, and once again, the value of discussions forums is enhanced in my view.

Complete Streaming, Multimedia & Video How-to - Ubuntu Forums

Great effort "reassuringlyoffensive", interesting nickname as well :)
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Improved Gutsy for 6710b

Going through a few Ubuntu forums, it turned out that many of the initial glitches around Gutsy installation for HP6710b have been removed.

My installation was originally an upgrade from Feisty, a very troubled and hacked one at that. So, I thought why not try to give it a clean shot and get a fresh copy of Gutsy installed on my laptop.

I dared and I like the results already. Few features -

Though I had to spend some time to configure a few things again from scratch, it looks and works like a much better system than it used to.

After my fresh installation, I had initial trouble with installing rails. There this page helped. Though it talks about installation on FreeBsd, it worked perfectly on my Gutsy.

Then I had some trouble with initial password of root user on MySQL. For some reason, after the initial installation, I could not go in mysql environment through any means at all. Then again, googling and ubuntu forums helped out. This page helped me through that.

Finally, when I was installing Eclipse to be able to work faster/better with rails, I came across the fact that the standard Eclipse package from Ubuntu, does not come with any java runtime environment. I tried downloading and using Sun Java but that didnt turn out very well.

Later I found that Synaptics has a cunning little feature. On a right click on a package name, there is a option for "Mark Recommended For Installation". Once I clicked on that, it selected about 15 more packages and this time managed to get all the required stuff for Java as well.

Surprised as I was at the intuitiveness of the package management system, I felt it should hae done the same to start with. Anyway, its fine now. Took some time, but working great now. :)

IDE for working with Rails

For some time now, I was looking for the right kind of IDE to work with ruby on rails. Googling for this helped but not much.

Eventually, I came across this post somewhere which mentioned RadRails. This is a module from Aptana development studio.

In addition to the fact that this is a component of the Aptana dev suite, this component is available separately as a plugin for Eclipse as well.

And installation and configuration come very very simple. In a running version of Eclipse (I have Eclipse 3.2), look for a remote installation site. Few simple questions about which package to install etc. and you have the plug-in installed.

Here's the url to enter in the Eclipse remote update site... => For Aptana tools in general => For RadRails Plugin

And it works like a charm, really. After installation, you can create a new rails project from within Eclipse GUI as well, in addition to your favourite command line methods.

Starting a server, generating components (controller, model etc..), its all possible from the GUI.

I personally like the GUI and the syntax highlighting the most.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thorns under Closeup...

Took this casual shot in the neighbourhood. I specially like the way the focus has shifted from the close thorn to the farther one...

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Flock : The Social browser

I was just checking Firefox 3 beta 3 today, when I found about this new browser called Flock.

Its a great browser for people using services
  1. Blogging
    1. Blogger
    2. Wordpress
    3. Blogsome
    4. Typepad.. etc..
  2. Photo Mgmt
    1. Flickr
    2. Picasa
    3. Photobucket etc..
  3. Social sites
    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    3. etc..

The browser provides amazing functionality for different sites built right in. Many a tasks you would have done manually are now completely automated, thanks to new browser functionality.

Powered by Mozilla, I found it to be a very interesting browser option against Firefox.

  1. Picasa on Web

Flock of Starlings swarm the London Eye on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Flock of Starlings swarm the London Eye on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Cool shot...  
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Portrait of young girl.: Photo by Photographer Igor Amelkovich -

Portrait of young girl.: Photo by Photographer Igor Amelkovich -

An Amazing portait..
Many characterstics stand out for me.
Black and white
The lighting
the expression on model's face... nearly neutral, but still not really neutral
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New leaves...

Another shot from my neighbourhood lawn. Spring is on the way, and sprouts are appearing everywhere here and there...

For this shot, I suffered a bit of cold, had to lay down on my side and put the camera almost on the ground.

Now that I see the shot, I feel it was worth it...
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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Shivaratri in Winterthur

Its been sometime since I have been home on one of these festivals. For example, I love Holi and I haven't been home for Holi in last 3-4 years. :( And, Holi is not the only one. All the biggies in the annual Hindu festival list are the same.

This time though, we had a chance to be at the local temple in Winterthur for शिवरात्रि (Shivartri). The temple is an ashram established by Swami Onkarananda. They have a similar ashram in Haridwar as well.

The place is now entirely run/managed by local swiss devotees. All of them have spent at least some time in the ashram in Haridwar. They seem to have excellent knowledge of Sanskrit, not so much of Hindi.

When they were performing the Shivaratri abhisheka, I was stunned to listen to them chanting original sanskrit shlokas and mantras, quite perfectly. I really really liked it.

There I met one more person, Bhaskar (भास्कर). Born a Swiss, he has been educated in haridwar and here in Switzerland as well. He had an excellent pronunciation of the sanskrit Shlokas.

It turned out that he had studied sanskrit in Haridwar for a long time (few years I guess). He claims knowledge of Vedas (वेद), and I dont think he's lying. With the kind of knowledge he was showcasing there, I could easily imagine him knowing some of it.

Later I learned that he's teaching people Sanskrit from the temple premises. A very nice thing in my opinion. Also, that he's starting (or already started) classes for kids on Veda in general.

In my view, a very very nice thing to do, especially that the knowledge about Vedas etc is not so much present in normal Indian's life.

All in all, the Shivaratri trip to the temple, turned out to be very interesting.

हर हर महादेव :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Friend turns out to be a photographer.. a great one at that...

Mr Frank Van Heertum, a friend from work, turned out to be a prolific photographer.

I didnt know him for long time, but another of such friends mentioned his photography hobby, and gave me his url. Here it is...

I know only that he has a Minolta DSLR. Plan to enquire about the lens collection he carries. Got to know more about his equipment.

Went through a random selection of his shots, and it turns out really good. :) Dutch from nationality, he's travelled a lot and his collection of photos is a great way of jogging through memory lane. :)

New Informatica support forum

Hey... Informatica have launched a brand new set of discussion forums on their website. This url should normally point to the overview .

I have a good feeling about this, the company hosting its own discussion forums. Before this there were some yahoo groups that acted as discussion forums for the company, and some developer network forums.

See how it goes...

Monday, March 3, 2008

End Of The Day

End Of The Day, originally uploaded by creativesam.

Found on Flickr. An absolutely amazing shot. Of the types which I dream about shooting myself.

Great shot "creativesam" :)

Lake Zürich close to Sunset...

Lake Zürich close to Sunset..., originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

We were coming from Luzern by car and came across this point from where you could virtually see all of Lake Zürich.

It was around sunset time and the sky looked wonderfully colored. I took this shot also from within a moving car, through the windshield.

The Online Photographer

While surfing around, or not actually, from one of DigiFotoCH posts, I came across this site...
The Online Photographer (TOP as they call themselves).

Will post more about it..

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Short films on India : Images

A friend mentioned that he watched two short films about India in some local theater here in Winterthur. He was telling me about the impression he carried from the two films and was telling me about it.

First film was sort of documentary, showing some things. Out of what was shown, a roadside dentist was fixing a lady's tooth. They were showing his tools which were not hygenic. Well, there were other gory details, which I dont really like to recreate here, but the overall idea was that the example situation portrayed a very very bad, poor image of India.

I would have to agree that, yes, thats also a piece of India. But it would be incorrect to see only one part of situation. India is a developing country, and lets not forget that we are on the path of progress for only 60 odd years. In a developing country, one always finds such inconsistent situations. There would be images where you will find affluent people, with money, high tech, in sync with Western styles, And on the other hand, you would find poor people, no money, no food.

An interesting day of RoR programming...

Got hands dirty with quite a few things in and around RoR.

Started with building the demo application with projects and tasks.. and as the iterative model says, kept adding to it. By the time I realized, I covered quite a few basic concepts of Rails.

Got stuck at some places, and hence my first experience of RoR IRC chatroom. Lovely thing, and really helpful people. Cant thank enough. It seemed as if someone could learn a few things just by reading the discussions only... :)

And, I hope to make some progress on my LMS project as well.

Here's my collection of useful URLs from today's session.

Useful Links around the web...
  1. Rolling on with Ruby on Rails
  2. Rolling on with Ruby on Rails (Part 2)
  3. On Ruby on Rails dot org
  4. Rails Database Validations-1
  5. Rails DB Validations-2
  6. RESTful Design
  7. Oracle's tutorial on RoR
  8. RoR API Docs
  10. On Drop Down Menus

Saturday, March 1, 2008

This photo is moving... isnt it ?

Believe me, I didnt plan this shot to come out as it has.

But it has come out really really wonderfully great. We were in a car, moving pretty fast I was enthusiastic about the possibility of shooting through the front windscreen.

The shot looks as though the road is coming over to you, all charged up and crashing...

Love the shot... :)


Rose, originally uploaded by s_raghu20.

A wonderful rose (though not a perfect rose) I caught last spring in Winterthur.

It was a rose bush, and I had to go the max of my zoom range