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Archive for July, 2007

At last an Orkut-free post. As per the request of ‘Madhavan sir‘ I thought of posting something related to Linux. So, when I speak about Linux, don’t think that I am a Linux geek. I am a free software enthusiast, and had worked with Linux many times in the past. But, still I don’t think I deserve the name ‘geek‘.

I started my Linux days with Red Hat 9, the first install lead to full formatting of my hard disc. The next time onwards, I was very cautious about it. So, in from then on I used to partition my hard disc manually from windows, using partition magic, or you can even use freewares listed in this page. The interface, I liked very much, though it gave me lot of ‘shocks‘ like,

  • I was’nt able to play my mp3 files.
  • I was’nt able to execute .exe files (this was back in 2004).
  • I was’nt able to install any games.

So, I was just going through all the menus, checking all the games and other softwares there. After, some days, I formatted everything and reverted back to Windows. But, after that I have also tried Suse, Knoppix, some could play my mp3 but was wondering why I can’t install any software. Sometime later, from one my juniors, ‘lightX’, as he is famously known, I came to know that you can’t execute exe files normally, but using Windows emulators like wine which even allows you to install and play games like half-life (Read more here). And, again I started becoming a fan of Linux.

It was then I started using CAD softwares like I-deas, ANSYS and all, as a part of my coursework. Very unfortunately, I was again forced to depend on Windows. That was a tragic end to my honemoon with Linux.

Later, I found that there are free CAD softwares, specially made for Linux. But, it was too late, I did’nt had any installation CDs, and was packing bags for my Hyderabad life. Also, because I lost much of my interest in design field, I did’nt want to waste my time in researching and studying free CAD alternatives.

Before leaving to Hyderabad, I got my free Ubuntu CDs, but I could’nt install for obvious reasons. One year passed, I came back from Hyderabad and now Ubuntu released their latest version, Feisty Fawn. I got the CDs, and was ready to give a try. Unlike my first attempt, I created an ext3 partition from Windows, and booted from the CD, installed succesfully.

Still, the mp3 problem worried me, and for 2-3 days I was listening to ‘Agar tum kaho‘ from the movie ‘Lakshya‘, which was the only .ogg (OggVorbis) file I had in my system. I did a search on net, as a proud owner of 2 Mbps broadband connection, I managed to find a solution to the problem very quickly. I downloaded Automatix, and the installation of required files were done without much effort from side.

One month later, in a mishap I lost my ethernet card, which forced me to use PPPoE via USB. Very unfortunately, Ubuntu did’nt support it well, and I did’nt had the tech-know-how to solve this. And, again someone advised me that Suse will help you in connecting to net, I managed to get the DVD (its still with me for last 2 months), from my fellow moderator at Kollam/Quilon community at Orkut. Alas! Suse did’nt help. Lastly, I got the Fedora CDs ‘imported‘ from Singapore (ahem! from my friend Anand). Installed it, had huge expectations, but all in vain. I still uses PPPoE via USB, and I don’t want to invest Rs.200 for a new ethernet adapter. Hence, I reverted back to Windows XP SP2, and now evangelises the  cyber-youth to dump Windows and walk with Linux!!!!

From my experiences with Linux let me tell you a few things,

  1. Linux may not be as user-friendly as Windows, but for sure its not idiot-friendly (Courtesy to one of my friends who told this story that happened during his training, I forgot his name).
  2. You can do almost all things in a Linux system, even more than that, a Windows system can do. Check this link, which tells you ‘Why Linux is BETTER?‘.
  3. ‘LINUX ONLY WORLD’ is a fact, even if you say it is not, and time is going to prove it.
  4. Convert all mp3 files to Ogg Vorbis and show your support to free software philosophy.
  5. ‘Even’ in your Windows system, there are many free alternatives available. Check this link to know more. Pirating is really bad when you have free softwares available doing a better job than the proprietary ones.

So, if you feel like asking ‘hey, I feel like trying Linux, which is the best distro’. I am no one to judge the best distro award, but if you are new to Linux, the best one for you, is Ubuntu. Check this link for a list of tips to make your life with Ubuntu peaceful, free of troubles.

And, there is something against Ubuntu, which does’nt really matter if you are not that strict on ‘free software spirit‘.

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War on Orkut Spam

It has been ages since I read a mail in my Orkut inbox as it is filled with thousands of spam messages from different communities. And, today I reached a landmark of 10 000 unread messages in my Orkut inbox.

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Siggh!…. isnt this an achievement, though I missed a lot of ‘valuable‘ mails from my Orkut friends. From this link, I think Orkut spamming is not a new thing. Off late I have started my fight against the spammers in Orkut. A fight to wipe out spammers, fake profiles and anti-socials from this mighty social networking site. Well, first of all I should admit, this wont be a complete success in the end. Spammers will come up with new ways (for sure), but by doing what I am going to tell you now, will restrict one way to spam.

From my observations, what I felt is spam mails usually come from those communities which are abandoned by owners, especially those from the countries like Iran and UAE where Orkut is banned. Not from all communities though, only from those communities where “Send Message” is enabled. It is a useless option, maybe the only use is SPAMMING.

Orkut had taken action against spammers, by asking them to enter the code from a Captcha Image (UPDATE:- read this too,), whenever it detects a link in your scrap or message. It also occurs when you scrap someone who is not a friend of yours after a fixed number of scraps. And, also the ‘Send Message’ feature is automatically disabled when the member count of a community goes above 1000.

Even then, the spammers reign the lovely world of Orkut. As I told earlier, I started my Operation against spam. Started sending Alert! scraps to those community owners from where spam mails originate. And, yeah some community members welcomed my suggestion and thanked, where as one guy was irritated and flamed me for sending orders!!!

I would like you people, who are the proud members of Orkut to do what I did, so as to save this beautiful social networking site from the hands of bloody spammers. Just report the Owner of that particular community to switch off this ‘useless’ feature and save your inbox from the heavy spam.

If “So, what will I gain if I do this?” is what you just thought, you are gaining a lot. Following are few of those gains,

  1. Less spam mails means, less server activity. Meaning you will get less “Bad bad server, no donut for you” messages.
  2. Obviously, you can use your Orkut mail-box more efficiently for personal communication.
  3. You won’t get a shock when you see ‘well-dressed’ girls in your mail-box. (a shock only when your girl friend/boss/parents/co-worker is near you)

If you are a community owner, make sure your community is spam free by following these steps,

  1. The hardest, but the MOST EFFECTIVE WAY. Make the community MODERATED. And, deny entry to spammers. Spammers can be identified easily from their profile and/or profile name. Usually, these people use an automated way of registration using specially made software. So, these ‘specially-made-spam-profiles’ will have a large number of communities, very few or no friends, no profile picture, if having a profile picture it will be of a damn beautiful lady often ‘well-dressed‘, very few details on the profile. But this method is really cumbersome and will definitely affect the member count.
  2. The easiest, but also effective method is to TURN OFF the messaging option. But, as the owner of the community, you will have the right to message the members (and that doesn’t mean you have the right to spam 😛 ). This is how to turn off the spam. Goto your Community –> Locate and click ‘Edit Profile’ –> Check the 5th entry there, ‘Messaging’, click the radio button ‘off – do not allow members to send messages’  to turn it OFF. Keep in mind that only community owner can change these settings.

I prefer the first method, because it allows you to control the spam inside the community too. And, you can keep the ‘Send Message’ feature ON, if you are confident about the members in your community.

I hope all the army factions in Orkut who work for the sake of it will also start working against spam in Orkut.

UPDATE: Read more about Orkut Spamming.

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Report Abuse

“plzzz do it plzzzzz do it immediately……… Please pass this to all ur friends here are some pakistanis who have started a community ‘V Hate India’ the main pic is of our national flag in black n white…looking at that any Indians blood should burn… We have to stop them. if you cant do much atleast go to this community and click on “report as abuse”, orkut will remove that community after 1000 such reports, www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=14773994 please pass this 2 all …”

This is the umpteenth time I am getting such ‘please report abuse if you are an Indian’ mails/scraps. The intention is good, and what he/she said is also correct. We have a hell lot of “Anti” communities in Orkut. Be, it Indian, Pakistan, China or America. They exist!

Heard Government of India is going to ban Orkut because of these hate communities in Orkut. Banning Orkut is possible, as well as accessing them after the ban. Some months back, there was a time when blogspot was banned. I came to know about the ban from media and in Orkut communities. I was shocked, whether Kerala got kicked out from Indian territory or what?….as I was still able to access blogspot sites and post comments. Moments later, I realized the fact that, I was using Google web accelerator, which acts like a proxy was doing the job. (Sorry! Government of India, that wasn’t intentional, and I am not an ANTI-INDIAN, a proud INDIAN by birth!!!!)

It was also then, I think the (in)famous ban on the movie ‘Da Vinci Code‘ was imposed (though later it was lifted). But, the download links of the movie, that too DVD quality movie was available all over net at that time. Unfortunately I had a limited data-transfer internet those days (even worser now), which made me to stay back from the DVD quality ‘forbidden fruit’.

I think I am drifting away from the topics. Ah! …. first thing… Will 1000 reports on a community will delete that community? The answer is ‘NO‘…

so you need 10, 000 bogus reports, right sir?” …

abbae! chup….gimme a chance to speak

OK! just one bogus report is more than sufficient. One report made in the RIGHT WAY.

So, what is this right way, saaaar?

Well brother, Orkut will delete any community (or profile) which violates the ToS (terms of Service). I am quoting some of them which are relevant here.

  • submitting Materials that are unlawful or promote or encourage illegal activity.
  • submitting false or misleading information.

Also, when you click ‘Report Abuse’ button, you can see a lot of options and a textbox to enter the ‘REASON’ why you think this community/profile violates ToS. The following are the options in that page,

  • hateful or violent content
  • pornographic image
  • other illegal content
  • using my photos without permission
  • using my copyrighted material

The bold ones are those we can use for against these hate communities.

Also, read the following text carefully, you can see this just above the text-box where you need to type the reason.

Please provide detailed information about the abuse. Include reasons for any content you believe to be illegal. (Note that we may not be able to investigate reports without detailed information).

So, the more detailed your report is, more effective the ‘bogus report’ will be. Else, 1000 or 10000 or even if the complete Orkut members report the community, nothing will happen.

I wanted to convey the following messages,

  1. To the Government of India, it is impossible to ban a particular site. If you really want to, BAN THE INTERNET completely.
  2. To the Orkut users, (the proud Indians especially), YES! we need to delete those stupid-good-for-nothing-communities with useless SHIT. But, the way you are doing is not the right way. You are just wasting your valuable time and ‘even more valuable bandwidth‘ (At least for jobless idiots like me, though for the time being, bandwidth is more valuable than time). Do it the right way, and not only you, we all will be benefited.

Well, in general, if you want to fight against such communities, here are two communities :-

Cheers to the creators (he he he he, first community was started by me)

UPDATE:- Check this post BANNING ORKUT!!! Is it the only solution?? , by arvind.

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Don’t think that I am a computer maestro, I am writing this from my experience. Not at all sure about whether this will work or not. But it worked for me, so thought of sharing it here. So, most of you will be thinking now “It is so simple,  just installation of a Unicode font will do it, right?“.

The NEED

Installing only the Unicode will not be effective in most cases. You will be able to read Malayalam, though the rendering will not be so perfect. Especially the chillaksharams will not be displayed correctly.  If you know Malayalam and have Unicode fonts installed in your computer you can read the following.

ണ്ട ന്റ

If you can read the above perfectly (Those are ണ്ട as in ‘mandan’ or മണ്ടന്‍ and ന്റ as in ‘ente’ or എന്റെ ), then this blog is not for you. If you cant, proceed…

The first reason why you cant read is, very basic, you don’t have the font. Any Unicode font will do the job. But, the most famous one is AnjaliOldLipi.

The second reason, the main intention of this post.You don’t have it configured properly. So, lets do it. Make sure you have Windows XP installation CD with you.

STEP 1

  1. Goto Control Panel.

  2. Double-Click ‘Regional and Language options‘.

  3. Goto ‘Languages‘ tab.

  4. Select the check box (to enable) ‘Install files for complex script and right-to-left languages (Including Thai)‘.

  5. Click ‘OK‘ for all messages and you will be prompted for Windows XP installation CD.

STEP 2 (For IE)

  1. Goto Control Panel.

  2. Double-Click ‘Internet Options‘.

  3. Select ‘General‘ tab.

  4. Click the ‘Fonts‘ button (towards bottom, middle).

  5. From ‘Language Script’ drop-down menu, select Malayalam.

  6. Select ‘AnjaliOldLipi‘ from the list.

  7. Click ‘OK‘ to all messages.

STEP 1 is a MUST and STEP 2 is just a tweak.

Above did the job for me and I don’t have any problems with ‘chillaksharams’ anymore. Another important thing you should note is, use ‘Internet Explorer‘ rather than ‘Mozilla Firefox‘ to read Malayalam pages. Don’t think I am pro-Windows or pro-IE. I will recommend these ONLY for reading Malayalam, hopefully only for the time being. Let the Firefox guys fix the Malayalam rendering bug.

But, Firefox people has a simple, but ‘not that effective’ workaround. By using the add-on, ‘Padma‘, you can minimize the problem but can’t wholly eliminate.

Also, check this post, How to display Malayalam properly in Firefox, by റാല്‍മിനോവ് :: Ralminov :: Ралминов

Another post, unfortunately for new users this one is in Malayalam, 5 ബ്ലോഗിംഗ് നുറുങ്ങുകള്‍ , by Haree | ഹരീ.

Anyway, hail Firefox, hell with Internet Explorer, I am stoppping here. Please add a comment if you have some other workaround to solve the infamous ‘Unicode bug’, or if you found any mistake with my methods or even if this did’nt work for you.

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As I had told earlier in my previous post, I have been blogging for past one year. That was in blogspot (or blogger; which is the latest name, I am not sure). But, have seen the WordPress platform and also tried to install it on a server. I was impressed by this software from the first sight itself. In this post I am trying to enumerate the different features of both WordPress and Blogspot.

Blogspot

  • Good one for newbies. Simple interface to start with.
  • You need to have the assistance from a 3rd party to track the performance of your blog. Note that outbound links will reduce the PR (if you are so concerned about it).
  • Incorporating Google Adsense ads is much easier. I think this was one way by the intelligent Google to attract people to blogspot. The majority of income from a click on an ads goes to Google and we, the publishers get peanuts.
  • Comment notification by e-mail is just another useful utility in Blogspot. And this feature was used extensively by Malayalam comment aggregators like ‘Marumozhikal‘ and erstwhile ‘pinmozhikal
  • Labels are a new thing to blogspot users, came with the upgradation to Blogger 2.0
  • The templates available are very few and among them only few looks good and professional.
  • Another feature in Blogspot is to blog through e-mail. By setting a ‘Mail-to-Blogger Address ‘ in blogger settings, you can blog from anywhere using e-mail. This is useful when the blogspot site is inaccessible due to some reason or other (like banning).

WordPress

  • Even WordPress is manageable for newbies. Except for some controls, I think everything else is ok.
  • Without having a third party software, you get a lot of statistics. Like the referrer URL, number of hits, hits per day etc which help you to track the performance of your blog.
  • You can’t insert Google ads into this version of WordPress. BUT, you can do it, if you install wordpress on your server. This is one place WordPress faces setback. Maybe it is their policy not to entertain Google to earn income at the cost of my (WordPress’s) server space and resources. WordPress will get more users if they allow this. (I am least affected, as Google had banned me from Adsense program for malpractices, he! he! he! he! , “Chathiyan Chanthu” )
  • I am not so sure about any comment notification facility, though I started getting Alert! mails for comment moderation. But, those mails are not as clean as comment notification mails from blogspot. I am not complaining though, as the information included in those mails are very useful in dealing with trolls and anonymous buggers. A good feature in fact, but troublesome to newbies.
  • Labels are categories here in WordPress and it is not new for WordPress bloggers. Infact before Blogger 2.0, this was one reason most blogspot users find to migrate to WordPress.
  • The templates available here, in this server are limited, though you get a hell lot of templates if you are installing Wordpress platform on another server. There are also different kinds of plugins or add-ons (or whatever it is) for your WordPress blog, which will make you WordPress blogging more convenient. And, that is one reason for calling WordPress more ‘flexible’  than Blogspot. But, unfortunately you need to have WordPress on another server to use these plugins.
  • Blogging via e-mail is not possible by default. I don’t know whether there are any plugins available to help you in that. If you know any such plugins please comment on it. (EDIT:- Blogging via e-mail is possible in wordpress.com, sorry for the wrong info I posted and please excuse my ignorance.)
  • Blogs at WordPress (in this server) are available via https:// (Secure http). Some more privacy, helpful sometimes when Wordpress site is blocked. Its really a nice thing to have this encrypted connection.
  • This basic installation of WordPress in this server also gives a different blogging experience. It tracks the inbound clicks, out-going clicks, other stats.It even tracks the comments I made with this wordpress account.
  • Tag Surfer is just another cool feature of WordPress which enables you to surf related blogs with similar tags you made in your blog.

The Verdict

Undoubtedly we can say, WordPress is the best especially when you are not blogging for money. WordPress performs at its best when installed on another server. Though, blogspot has its own advantages like ‘blogging through e-mail’ , I go for WordPress for its versatility. And, that is one of the reasons why I opted for WordPress to start my English blog.

And the blogspot bloggers need not worry. In WordPress, there is an option to export their ‘blogs with comments’ into WordPress platform.

UPDATE :- This is another review by smmellott , Google Blogger vs. WordPress. Check that too.

UPDATE:- Read this article, Of Blogging… and About it! by Amit Haralalka

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My first post…

 

Quite new to English blogging, though I was active in Malayalam blogging for past one year. Was staying away from English, as I am not that well versed in this language as Malayalam, my mother tongue. So, if in case you find some grammatical or spelling mistakes, please bring it into my notice as soon as possible.

Well, now that I can post any crap and ask my friends to read, I enjoy the freedom of Universality. As, Malayalam is restricted to few crores in India, and you need to have Unicode fonts installed in your computer and again, some more tweaks to read Malayalam perfectly in your computer, it became very difficult for me to share my blog with my non-malayali friends. No idea how successfull this will be.  Well, I am a guy who thinks, number of comments on your blog (or post) is a measure of the quality of your blog (or post). More the number, more the quality and vice versa.

The main problem I faced while Malayam blogging was subject. I didnt had a good topic to write. And, now more burden….. Language, I am least comfortable with English. Hopefully, I wont make much mistakes.

I wont say, I started this blog after inspiration from ‘Amooma‘ (Maybe it is true, but I will keep on denying even if you ask for another 1000 times). I dont think I have enoguh stock with me to extend this post. Let me stop.

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