May 30, 2009

Excerpts from The Idiot

[Lebedyev to Myshkin]
"I am naked and a beggar and an atom in the vortex of humanity.  No one respects Lebedyev; he is fair game for everyone's wit, and they are all ready to give him a kick.  But in interpreting revelation I am equal to the foremost in the land, for I am clever at it."
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Myshkin got up.

"Stay with me a little," said Parfyon softly, sitting still in his place with his head resting on his right hand.  "It's a long time since I've seen you."

Myshkin sat down.  Both were silent again.

"When you are not before me I feel anger against you at once, [Myshkin].  Every minute of these three months that I haven't seen you I have been angry with you, on my word, I have.  I felt I could have poisoned you!  I tell you now.  You haven't been sitting a quarter of an hour with me, and all my anger is passing away and you are dear to me as you used to be.  Stay with me a little..."
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Taken from The Idiot.

May 29, 2009

Compiz, don't steal my KDE shortcut keys!

The super-cool animations and glossy looks of Compiz does sure make it more fun to use my computer.  But I had my own set of complaints about it.  Until now.

I run KDE and despise Gnome for its too simplistic UI.  When I start Compiz it replaces the window title bar with its own version.  I customize my title bar in KDE by adding an "always on top" button to it.  It can be quite handy at times.  Compiz by default removes all my customizations to the title bar.  The solution is to use KDE-specific extensions for Compiz and use KDE-Compiz's window decorator instead of the stock one.  These commands do it:

sudo apt-get install compiz-kde
kde-window-decorator --replace &

I love Katapult.  Katapult is activated by default using Alt+Space global shortcut key.  Compiz binds the same shortcut key to window menu.  This can be changed in CompizConfig Settings Manager (invoked by ccsm command).  This configuration is under General Options > Key bindings > Window Menu.  I changed the shortcut key to Alt+F3, which is the default in KDE.

Another thing I learned today is how to configure Katapult.  Pressing Ctrl+C when Katapult is waiting for your input shows you configuration menu.  You can change the shortcut key that invokes Katapult, add a system tray icon for Katapult, etc.  Did I tell you I love KDE for its practically endless ways of customization? :)

But not everything

I am sitting on my easy chair.
At 73 life looks very different.
Everything has changed.

Medicines are essential like food.
There is nowhere to go, except doctor's.
Only the dreams look clear.
Body clock has gone mad.
Heaven knows when I will sleep.
Everthing just changes, I think.

I turn hearing the anklet of a girl.
She must be around 22, I estimate.
Why won't she sit here and talk?
Oh, this loneliness and longing!
Won't it ever change?
Oh god, why can't I sleep now?!

May 26, 2009

Why I'd vouch for a Treo?

I was using a Treo 650 sometime back and I really liked it.  I'd rate it as the best phone I have used (though I haven't used many smartphones.  I have only used Nokia 7710, Palm Treo 650, BlackBerry Curve 8320, and now an HTC Dream).

I love the way my Android phone tightly integrates with my Google account.  I don't have to worry about backing up my contacts now and then, as they are synced to my Gmail contacts automatically.  The UI (in general, as a computing device, not as a phone) is good.  The device is powerful enough to run all the apps I want to run in parallel.  Lots of applications are available for free download.  The experience I get with this phone is WAY better than any Nokia phone I have ever used.

I still think that my generations-old Treo was a better phone in terms of usability.  Most Palm phones look ugly, I agree; but I don't mind my phone being ugly as long as it does its job really well.  Treo had a very good battery life -- I had to charge it only twice or thrice a week.  The UI was very intuitive and uncluttered.  Everything you need is just there -- ringer volume control and silent mode switch are hardware controls, so you have access to them all the time.  You don't have to switch off the whole device, take the battery out, etc. to change SIM card or memory card.  You can adjust screen brightness with a global shortcut key.  When you are trying to read an SMS under bright sun you can increase the brightness then and there without having to close the SMS application.  There is a universal search provided by the phone that searches the data stored by all applications.  When I search for, say "Siva", it will show me the contacts that have the name (or a note or any contact field) Siva, SMS messages, email messages, notes, documents that has the word "Siva".  It's like Google Desktop for your phone.  (Sadly, such a feature is not in Android phones.)

Maybe the new Palm Pre is going to be a tough competition for iPhones and the Androids.  Or maybe not.

Update: Looks like the next version of Android OS will have a feature to search the content in phone, similar to what the Treo had.  (source: Android Community post)

May 23, 2009

eMusic can be funny

More than 2 years back, eMusic sent me a mail with an offer to rejoin their service and I can have 50 songs for free.  They said the offer would expire in a week's time.   I didn't rejoin, of course.


They kept sending me such mails every now and then.  Even today I got an offer of 75 songs from them.



But in every mail they have to tell you that the offer is going to end soon and you must act now if you want to keep the free songs, as if this is the last offer they will ever make.  So funny!

May 19, 2009

Blackout

Last evening there was a heavy downpour.  While it was raining, the whole city became dark because of a power blackout.  The power didn't come back even after a few hours.  Even after the heavy rain the summer night was hot.  I couldn't sleep for more than a couple hours.

By around 3am I heard some firecrackers outside my house along with some people talking aloud.  I went out and saw some people trying to repair the broken electric lines.  They had to clear out a broken tree, fix the fuses, etc.  They were doing it all at 3 in the morning!  By around 4 my fan started revolving again.  In a few minutes I heard a Hero Honda Splendor kick start.  They were going to repair the next electric post, I guess.  You can argue they are only doing their work; but I just can't help feeling good about this.  Salutes to them!