Sunday, October 5, 2008

Getting wireless to work in Ubuntu/Kubuntu 8.04 with atheros wireless card 5007EG - III

Getting WIFI Led to work:-
In this post, I'll describe on how to get the WIFI LED, if any on acer laptops to work. The ndiswrapper driver I used would normally not give a working LED or might be it would work with very low intensity.

The following method involves editing a file associated with the ndiswrapper driver installation and cannot be used for the madwifi installation. If I find any useful information on how to get the LED working in madwifi, I'll try posting that too.

First type the following command from command line and check for the output:-
xxxx@yyyyyy-laptop:~$ ndiswrapper -l
net5211 : driver installed
device (168C:001C) present (alternate driver: ath_pci)
here (168C:001C) means my device is listed under this sub-driver. Then you have to travel to /etc/ndiswrapper/net5211/ and check for the filename like 168C:001C.5.conf. Yours would be different as per the output of the "ndiswrapper -l" command.

Then open the above file as root from terminal by using the following command in case of ubuntu:
sudo gedit /etc/ndiswrapper/net5211/168C:001C.5.conf
and the following command in case of kubutu:
sudo kate /etc/ndiswrapper/net5211/168C:001C.5.conf
The file will look something like this:-

DriverDesc|NDIS Network Adapter
The (........) only means that other lines might be present. Please don't go about adding ....... to your file.

After the "DriverDesc|NDIS Network Adapter" line add the following 2 lines:-

If "gpioPinFunc1|3" is already present, then add the gpioLedCustom|4 line alone. In gpioLedCustom|X, the last X can be anything between 1 to 4, This only makes the LED blink at different rates when it is idle. When you connect to a network, it all changes to normal. Finally you need to unload and reload the driver to check the LED utility. This can be donw using the following commands:

sudo modprobe -r ndiswrapper
sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
Thereafter the LED should be working correctly.

In my next post, I'll discuss on getting your network to a higher level of security such as WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK than WEP. I'll try posting about this in a week or so.

Getting wireless to work in Ubuntu/Kubuntu 8.04 with atheros wireless card 5007EG - II

In this post, I'll describe about installing the madwifi drivers.

This will surely be the future where further development will be made as it would seem. Though I dont think this is as good as ndiswrapper at present, this surely has loads of tools that made me enjoy tweaking with it. But I struggled to get it working though. You can try this, if the ndiswrapper method did not work or you don't want the word windows anywhere near you.

  • First go to System–>Administration–>Hardware Drivers” and disable by un-ticking the following option- Atheros Hardware Access Layer (Hal). Then Reboot your system.

  • sudo apt-get install build-essential in a terminal or using synaptic as you wish. Also install all the dependencies.

  • open the terminal from Applications–>Accessories–>Terminal and type the followind commands in the order given below.

tar xfz madwifi-ng-r2756+ar5007.tar.gz
cd madwifi-ng-r2756+ar5007
sudo make install
sudo modprobe ath_pci
sudo reboot(or restart your system manually)
if wget command doesn't work properly, you can directly download the file from the given link above to anywhere on your system. Change to that directory using your terminal and execute the remaining commands.
That should do. Now your wireless should work without any problem, just like ndiswrapper installation. If I'm correct the LED will not work, even here(especially with acer laptops). But as far as I know, there seems to be no way of getting it to work with madwifi. If you are ready to do away with the led, then you could be having the best set of madwifi tools available.

So continue using your network, till my next post on how to get the LED working as well as getting your network to a higher level of security namely WAP-PSK/WAP2/PSK than just WEP.
My next post will be on how to get the wireless LED working(with ndiswrapper).

Getting wireless to work in Ubuntu/Kubuntu 8.04 with atheros wireless card 5007EG - I

I did have some ..... well to say the truth, a lot of trouble in getting wireless to work in ubuntu. Mine being an atheros 242x 5007eg card kind of saved me from the hectic work as most of the nice people in the ubuntu development section had already put the critical code on how to get the WIFI up with ubuntu.

For a first time user, all those can be very hectic. I didn't understand what ndiswrapper was or what madwifi was. I went about reading lot of forums/posts to get an idea on how to go about them. And to say the truth, I'm happy that I did some reading because I have got nearly each and every component in my laptop to work - from the wifiadapter to its led. Explain the 2 major wifi drivers in linux in as simple terms as possible.

ndiswrapper - using a driver created by atheros/microsoft for windows operating system in linux using a wrapper around it to work properly in linux.

madwifi - Open source linux wifi drivers running on top of proprietary HAL(Hardware Abstraction layer). I got the above sentence from madwifi site. They are also working on the new drivers to madwifi namely the ath5k and ath9k. Go here to learn much more about the madwifi. There are some excellent madwifitools available that can be of extreme use to the users

Most of them have used both and feel that both of them are equally good, though I felt the ndiswrapper was slightly better and the faster method.

So what both the drivers do is to detect the wireless card on your system. It doesn't scan for networks automatically and connect to them and all. Just tell the OS that there is a wireless card in your system.

Here I'll try illustrating the step to get your wireless card to be detected in your system. I did use the ndiswrapper method, so I'll go about it first.

Ubuntu/kubuntu 8.04 comes with a version of madwifi installed that doesn't account for much. It didn't work for me. So I went for ndiswrapper, just because it was easy to install than madwifi. But still madwifi will be the future in linux.

First you have to disable the madwifi drivers from being loaded at startup as you are going to use the ndiswrapper. This can be done in 2 steps.

  • First, If you are using ubuntu, goto "System–>Administration–>Hardware Drivers” and disable by un-ticking the following option. Incase of kubuntu , goto "System->Hardware Drivers Manager" and do the same.

  • For making sure that the system does'nt load these drivers automatically at restart, execute the following command in a terminal or console.
echo “blacklist ath_pci” | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
(enter your account password if asked to at this point)
The /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist is actually like a text file, so open and check whether the line "blacklist ath_pci" is added to it using gedit or kate.

  • Restart the system after the previous step.
Now you can install the ndiswrapper(with ndisgtk) in your laptop

  • Incase of adept manager in kubuntu, just search for ndiswrapper and ndisgtk and install the following packages:- ndiswrapper-common, ndiswrapper-utils-1.9 and ndisgtk. Incase of synaptic in ubuntu, you might have to enable the multiverse and universe repositories. This can be done by following the steps in this page in the ubuntu wiki - here.

  • After installing the above softwares, you'll get the "Windows wireless Drivers" menu either in "System->Administration" or "System" menu. Click on it. A window as below will open up.

  • In this window, click on "Install New Driver" and point to "net5211.inf". This file is one of the many files in a zip file that has to be downloaded from atheros directly if possible. The name of the driver file that worked for me was from acer site itself, the link was unzip this file and traverse to "Wireless_Atheros_V5.3.0.67_XP_XB63_XB62(WHQL)/Drivers/XP-x32" folder in the zip file. There you can find the 32-bit wireless drivers i.e. net5211.inf file. If you are ot able to get this driver, the try getting an atheros driver that is atleast WHQL (that could do).select it and install the driver.

  • After installing, just check whether the line after the driver name in ndisgtk changes to hardware present is "YES". That means you have installed the right drivers for your wireless card. If it shows that the hardware is not present, then you might need to try some other drivers, or check for the correct wireless card in your laptop.
After installing ndiswrapper drivers, open a console/terminal check whether you are able to detect your network by typing the command

iwlist wlan0 scan
(it can be wlanX or even ethX or athX, you can check that by using the command ifconfig or iwconfig in a terminal/console to see the correct name of your wireless interface.)
If you are not able to see any networks, then try scanning again, after pressing any wireless button(if any present) that you use for turning on your wireless. For me (aspire 4720z), this button was at the top of the laptop keyboard. You should be able to detect some network like this:-

wlan0 Scan completed :
Cell 01 - Address: 00:1E:40:40:C4:36
Protocol:IEEE 802.11g
Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
Quality:96/100 Signal level:-34 dBm Noise level:-96 dBm
Encryption key:on
Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s
12 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s
IE: IEEE 802.11i/WPA2 Version 1
Group Cipher : CCMP
Pairwise Ciphers (1) : CCMP
Authentication Suites (1) : PSK

If you get something like the above that means, you are able to detect your network properly. If your network is unencrypted or uses WEP encryption, you should be able to browse right away using Network Manager in ubuntu or KNetwork Manager in kubuntu, after giving necessary ip settings and WEP passwords etc. I did prefer WIFI-Radar, as It did detect my network automatically and I was able to browse instantly.

All this time, the wireless LED, if any on some acer laptops would not have worked or worked with very little brightness. I'll explain on how to get that working in the future posts. Next I'll give an brief overlook of madwifi installation.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Installing GFX GRUB in Ubuntu - grub graphically reloaded

Well, GRUB has grown and has grown to be more beautiful. The new GNU Graphics GRUB is the new improvement to standard GRUB boot screen that adds much visual appeal. To install GFX GRUB, the older GRUB has to be removed. (Warning:- removing grub is tedious. If you don't any idea please suspend this tutorial here itself.)
  • To remove GRUB, open a terminal and type the following command.
sudo apt-get remove grub
  • Download GFX Grub from here.
Before starting make a backup copy of your GRUB menu. goto the folder /boot/grub and copy your menu.lst file .
Now download some additional themes for GFX Grub Menu Click Here.
  • Now unzip the files and move it to /boot/grub .. Since it comes under root file system you need to gain root privileged to do that .. Type the following in Terminal

    sudo su root

    Enter password and then type this nautilus this will open a new Nautilus Window. .Navigate to /boot/grub through root nautilus window.. Copy all the (xyz can be anything)file to /boot/grub.

  • Now since you have added theme .. Lets do final settings to make this GFX Grub work.. Open terminal and type this

    sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

    Add this line at the top of the Menu.lst file

    gfxmenu /boot/grub/ # the xyz should be replaced with the theme name that you are going to use

  • Since you have removed you older grub you need to restore GFX Grub so that you boot through OS without any problem.. Open Terminal and do these
    sudo grub
    find /boot/grub/stage1
    You will get a output like (hd0,4) or other depending on you HDD partitions

  • Then type this

    root (hdx,y)
    setup (hdx)

Where “x” represent the value of hdd sector in which you have installed grub.

  • The last thing you have to do is to install Grub MBR .

    sudo fdisk -l

    You will get an output like this

    Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0×0dd6c6bd

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 * 1 3187 25599546 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda2 3188 8287 40965750 f W95 Ext’d (LBA)
    /dev/sda3 8288 9607 10602900 83 Linux
    /dev/sda4 9608 9729 979965 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda5 3188 5737 20482843+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda6 5738 8287 20482843+ 7 HPFS/NTFS

    Look for the bold Entry and finally install MBR in Filesystem

    sudo grub-install /dev/sdaX
    Note : Replace sda by hda or anything else, if it is in fdisk -l output. If the grub-install fails you can try adding “–recheck” option to the command.

    Where X represent the number of you Hard Disk sector in which you had installed Grub.
This is what my boot screen looks like:

That must do. If no error occured in any of the steps, Your gfx grub installation has gone well. If any error has occured, please re-install the grub from your repository and follow the final 3 steps (marked by bullets) completely to get working GRUB. and replace the backed up copy of the menu.lst file. I can in no way, help incase of error. Even my understanding of GRUB is minimal. Everything went well for me. So I have posted this here.
All The Best!!!!!!!!!!!

Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex beta released

Ubuntu 8.10 aka Intrepid Ibex has been released for developer testing as on October 2nd and I'm waiting for any reviews about how people feel about the new release.
I'm using 8.04 on my acer aspire 4720z and have been looking for the new one to see if there is any support for my Atheros AR5007eg wireless card(inbuilt). I think I'll wait till the end of this month when they'll release the actual thing. I'm really waiting for that with lots of things to look upto.
I also want to see how kde4 goes about as well.

The countdown has started for the next release of the most popular linux distribution ever.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Federer - He just doesn't fails to amuse

I was awestruck by some of the greatest games ever played in this US open by the swiss maestro and I had to really pick myself up to write what I felt about it.

Roger Federer has reached his peak form after winning the US open championship. He seems to have nearly recovered from the mono that affected him in the Australian open. I did suffer from it once and to say it takes longer than what most people would think to recover from it. But once someone recovers from it all other illness will be nothing for them. Federer still ain't that fit or shows any signal that he has recovered from it. He might have to build some muscles and do twice lot of exercises. But he has shown other the glimpses of what the comeback will be this time around. He played with utmost confidence and desperation as his opponents found it difficult to tackle his serves and volleys which he had nearly given up till this US Open. Federer is still making lots of unforced errors, something that could cause some eyebrows to lift. I feel sorry for Murray that he had to face a man who was getting to the point of desperation and was ready to do anything to get himself back again on the top.

Federer, though played some awesome strokes,But still has to do a lot to regain his full strength and most importantly his fighting spirit that he once had when he went about destroying Pete Sampras. I feel he was starting to become too sedate and numb for others and his liking. He might need to take something like the fighting attitude of Nadal into his game. He can still be the greatest player who ever played the Game.

Anyway on the match, the first set was decided when federer broke murray. Murray did not surrender the set, but he had nothing to do. Fed took the set away from him slowly. Murray did play some amazing returns from far corners. He did play mostly from the back line and didn't approach the net as much as Federer did. Federer showed why he retained the world number 1 for the longest streak ever. He might be showing others, why he still deserves to be playing tennis. In the second set, Murray exhibited some of the best tennis ever. To say it was even better than Federer's game, at some points. But FedEx did the trick on him, after surviving crucial break points and broke Andy's serve near the end to win the set 7-5.

Murray's confidence was battered as he really struggled to get back into the game with federer infact leading the 3rd and penultimate set 5-0 at a time. Murray did manage to stage a comeback, but all was lost as the swiss maestro took the match away from him on his second championship point of the match.

The match was over and Federer managed the fifth straight US open win. He became the only person to win both Wimbledon and US open five straight times. He stands one behind Sampras on the so-called unlucky 13 on the maximum number of grand slams won by a person. He will achieve it and many more for records to be written.

One worry that might still haunt Federer is the number of unforced errors he committed. He did loose the wimbledon with one such error and will surely be looking to minimize them as much as possible. With age comes wisdom and Federer is just showing others what it truely means. His olympic gold medal which he won with Wawrinka must have made him realise lot of things and given him loads of confidence . There was a subtle change in his game play as a result.

We might very well see a completely new Federer, the one from the past before he reached the world No 1, to take on the mantle of doing it again. This time though it could sound deadly for his opponents.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Google Chrome - Redefining Browsing

First and foremost, I was and am a Firefox user till date on both my OS - windows and linux. But I feel Google Chrome is more than just a competitor for Firefox and IE. It surely looks like the next major development in browsing. 

First IE redefined the world of browsing, then firefox with its imaculate features like multi-tab browsing, easy-to-use add-ons and other features. Well, so what is new about Google Chrome?.
I wanted to write my true feelings about using Google Chrome. So for the past few days, I decided to use it as my only browser. As a first time user of an entirely new browser, I felt it was good enough. I began getting a feeling that for non-flash websites that I mostly visit, Google chrome was lightning quick when compared to Firefox or even IE.

For a Firefox user like me, I found the add-ons feature of Firefox was something that I was really missing. In Firefox, I used FireFTP and stuff like that which I felt should have to be incorporated into google chrome as well. 

I didn't face that many problems handling  the new browser. On the whole things went well. 

Errors and Possible problems for Developers to deal with in future releases:

Sometime the title of the tabs just crashed with just the word "Loading" on it. But when reloaded everything loaded perfectly.

Certain things did cause some doubts in me. The address bar is both the search bar and the address bar. When I tried searching for  a valid keyword, I could see that the browser's identity was sent off explicitly to my liking. On the search query I could see a variable source-id which I felt could be used by hackers to spy on people using Google chrome or even used by Google to maintain a record of how many users are using there browser till date, which I could feel like invading my privacy.

Browsing was good enough and my problem with it started showing up when I tried opening many tabs that had flash pages. Half of the time, It just gave an empty page - Nothing loaded up. 
(Solution Found:- Keep scrolling your mouse up and down and suddenly the page looks like it has been there normally for a long time.) 

This I feel could not be due to the browsers design but with the flash player from adobe as I have been facing similar problems with their flash players in Linux. Might be Google could go for a light weight flash component, just like they did as in the case of Javascript VM.

Major problems or say the limitations, I felt were when I was making this post in blogger with my new browser. Image were not that easy to cut and paste in the desired places. You had to click and select the entire image from top to bottom - only then does it get selected for cut or copy.

I usually leave little notes in my mother tongue - Tamil ,which was easy with the same blogger page that showed up in firefox, but not in chrome. I felt sad that I could not even see the language select option here. Might be they have incorporated it yet into chrome.

Another thing that confused me was that there was no language checker as they did mention in the release notes. Nothing came up  - not even a red line as in FireFox or IE to indicate the  wrongly typed words.

I didn't face any sort of problems when accessing the Gmail or Google Docs for that matter as mentioned in the chrome forum.

New Features:
When  a person right clicks on a page generally a pop-up menu shows up. But for none of the sites that I opened does the "View Page Info" option work - amazingly not even for google.

Thumbnails of recently visited sites were like a boon to me. I could just visit the ones that I had visited earlier. This could have been made better by making a scroll down list that grows for each site visited with its small thumbnail atleast for 30 sites. That could have been much more superb.

For a guy like me, just clicking on the tabs and moving them out so that they become a serprate window was a nice feature, which I feel they have got from Google Talk.

I felt like the "Inspect Element" feature was a really nice one and suited a part-time developer like me. Clicking on it opened a Google chrome inspector window. Moving the mouse through it changed the background of the element in the actual window over whose code the mouse was moved in the inspector window. 

The taskman option was something similar to that of the Windows task Manager, but was limited to the browsers componenets alone. For a few websites that I found flash to be slowing me down, I ended the shockwave plugin and things normalised. Only a yellow warning came up on the top of the window saying that Shockwave Plugin has crashed. The browser functioned normally.

Incognito Window was  something that I felt was good enough. Starting a new incognito window, started a page with google's custom message which said all that was about it as in the screenshot below:-

Much of the features till now has been mainly for developers. Future releases could hold higher potential.

I can see the potential of this browser in today's world wide web. Definitely Google could use this for more than just capturing the market share of other browsers. This brower could also indicate that google has the potential to look at the Operating systems market very soon.

Everybody knows Firefox will be the most affected one because of this new browser than IE.
But as for the rule of the earth and survival - "For achieving something, something else of equal importance has to be given up". That being Firefox or IE8 remains to be seen.

IE left the throne, after Firefox came in. Safari was never in the race other than for Mac. Opera and flock made some noises. Firefox rules the kingdom now. Got to look at what the prince Google Chrome can do in future. It's still a baby waiting to explore this world. I believe everyone have to wait for the actual release to see what features are actually available since this is only the beta.

Whatever happens Google has to realize the thing that is, has and will be bringing MS down - You have no right to force others to use only your softwares or things. Accept a open race/challenge and try to come as the first in  there. Then you can survive in this world and will be respected.

I think Google has done half of it by making chrome open source. The rest remains to be seen in the long chain of events that are going to unfold in future.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

India's historic AFC cup win & the pathetic condition of footbal in India

India defeated Tajikistan in the AFC cup and booked a direct place to the AFC Asia cup 2011 to be held in Doha. Fittingly, the local boy, Sunil Chetri came up with a hatrick
to confirm India's win. This was historic event happened on August 13, just 2 days before our Independence day and 2 days after India's historic individual Gold medal win in the Beijing Olympics and I believe each and every indian football fan would have been proud of this historic win.

But it still seems that most of the country's popular game continues to be the one and only cricket. I'm really sad to see the way the country is still not able to recognize and nurture the beautiful game. Even worst is the way most of the media went about informing the news about the berth in the finals that India secured.

The following images have been sent to me by an Indian football fan and I think he has every right to get angry and let down.

Well, I think after seeing this images, even I was shocked. Might be the reporter could have thought that since India is in a finals, that has got to be cricket.Something that was satisfactory was that other news sites had the news printed under the right section though. But I feel dejected by this act of a notable and reputed media.

You can call India a formidable force in the cricketing world. But that has no right for anyone to undermine other games in the nation. Only if some big achievements are made by other sports people , are they recognized and rewarded. one example being the Great Indian shooter - Abhinav Bindra. How long are the so called sports reporters wear a band around their eyes and go on saying that cricket is the only game that people of India know, play and watch???

From another football fan who feels much needs to be done and that to soon or we could end up losing precious games in the limelight of one game's unprecedented supremacy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Headlines Today - Turning News into Masala Entertainment

I do watch news channels now and then for refreshment and I have to say that I have been really enthralled by certain news channels and the way they present important news and facts. Sometimes, even when a cricket match is going on, I usually tend to watch them. I do like NDTV 24x7, CNN-IBN and Times Now. Long time before what the present HT is, I even used to watch it. But now-a-days I think that HT is going far towards entertainment and that too masala entertainment aimed at catching low grade viewers. This is after seeing certain programs in HT a couple of days before.

Everybody watches news to get to the daily headlines as they break and to get some important facts happening around the world. By important, I mean something like a natural disaster or something that makes people understand the current world scenario from a broader point of view or a fair review of a new product from a customer's point with experts involved. News has to be unbiased, representing the true condition of a situation.

HT has gone too far in News. They have started telecasting old wrestling matches and wrestling news from the world of WWE!!!!!! Kane destroyed undertaker!!!!! oh...... I never knew that and that was like a decade ago. I need to tell them one thing. If I want to see wrestling, I can tune into the sports channel that telecasts it.

Well I do know that more than half the people in the world know that WWE is not real fighting. Half the fights are fixed and everything is really a drama. I really can't understand who was the brain who gave the idea of running these things on a news channel!!!! Any news must be such that they give out true events and not just entertainment. Entertainment can be a part only and not the main goal of a news channel.

I really tuned into HT to see the condition of Bihar floods and to know what was the situation(My worst situation was CNN was not coming at that time due to my STB problem). Though I wanted urgent news on the topic, I waited patiently to see whether these people will telecast anything about the floods or not. One of my fellow country man is suffering and these people need wrestling and other kachda vachdas.

And another worst news to be displayed in the waiting time, some actress has a crush on some actor and some actress going on date with some actor. Do you think that these things would attract any true news watcher??? I don't think so.

It was even worst when they did the aarushi incident.

Readers can read shekar kapoor's opinion on this channel here in his own blog. He has every right to be puzzled and angered by these programs.

They just don't have the technical expertiseor it seems that some formaer guy from a masala channel is preparing their program catalog.

At last they did put some news about bihar floods. It was worst than what even DD News had summarized.

They have lost their position as a respectable news channel with these kind of programs. It would be better for them to close this news channel and start a new channel called Gossips Today or Wrestling Today. At least, then they could make some useful profits.

Even NDTV has useful programs like Gadget Guru, a debate session on some topic. Even CNN-IBN have debates and other stuffs. They interview top leaders, national icons. HT has nothing of these sorts and everything they do has and is masala concerned.

Sorry to tell HT, but you have lost one true news viewer and will lose many more, if the programs don't change.

Linux Distros for the weekend

I have been using ubuntu and vista in my laptop for quite some time now. But I think it's time to try something new. So after all the initial research that I could do, I have decided to try 2 different Linux distro's for the time being.

First one is Mandriva. I have only heard of it before and to say the truth I have never actually worked with this one before. I did use fedora and knoppix but that was like centuries ago. So I think this will be something new for me. Well, getting the WIFI to work with ubuntu was the toughest thing I had to do. I just believe it wont be that bad in mandriva though. Well, everything is the basic linux kernel. So might be (only a chance) the same things also apply here too. I think it also has a live CD try only before install feature. I really loved that when it came to ubuntu.

Well, I found this while just browsing through the net and I liked it from the first look on it. Then I did some browsing to find what others thought of it. Except for the CNR, that comes with this most people believe that FreeSpire is good. Some even thought of it to be better than ubuntu when it came to pre-installed features. Well, actually it seems that freespire is built on top of ubuntu with only some extra customization. So might be it could meet my needs. Further I think that this could even support the atheros wireless card in my laptop even without the ndisgtk or madwifi manual installation.

Well, whatever happens, I don't expect them to destroy my current ubuntu installation or vista installation in anyway.

So as far as that goes, I'm happy. well other distros, I don't think i'll try them for this time. Anyhow I'll enjoy playing with my laptop that already has 2 OSes. (Vista OEM home premium and Ubuntu).

EasyBCD - Removing Linux GRUB from a dual boot system and Re-Installing Vista/XP bootloader

Personally, I didn't need this software as I wouldn't be uninstalling my linux installation ever.. But I see a lot of my friends who after installing linux ask me how to remove it, as they feel they don't want it. Well It would seem somewhat unusual to a linux person like me to do that. I generally advice them to go with the linux they installed. But they just wouldn't agree. So, I wanted to know whether there is any way to remove linux and its GRUB without affecting a vista or xp installation already on the system.

I found an interesting and one of the easiest answer in EasyBCD - a wonderful software made by NeoSmart Technologies.

The software itself does a lot of things. that could help a lot of persons - both windows and linux users. Stuffs like NeoGRUB in this software can help installing grub in a no GRUB found conditions,In situations where you have installed Linux first and then installing XP/Vista.

Note:- installing vista again on a linux hard drive will erase the GRUB installation and access to linux.

Well, the feature that I'm going to outline in this post is about how to uninstall linux without loosing your windows installation.This can be for a number of reasons such as people could be unsatisfied with the current linux installation or want to install a different one in future.

1)Just log into your vista installation and download and install the EasyBCD from this link here.

2) Then run the software and goto Manage Bootloader and select re-install the vista bootloader.

That should re-install the vista bootloader and erase the GRUB.
Then you can format the linux drive or do whatever you want(even install the same or another distro).

If you go by my advice, Linux is equally good, if not better than Vista. Learn using it and you'll like it.Please use this option under the unavoidable circumstances.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Abhinav Bindra - Golden boy with the gold medal

"He paid a lot of attention towards physical training despite his back injury. He did tough commando training in Germany for three weeks prior to the Olympics," said a businessman.

This businessman is no ordinary person for he is the proud father of India's only individual gold medalist in the history of olympics till now. He is AS Bindra, proud father of Abinav Bindra, who has become the mantra for all Indians now.

The date of August 11 will be remembered forever for this boy(I cannot call him a man yet, he looks too young) who has not just made his family but an entire nation proud.

Abhinav Bindra was born on September 28, 1982. Right from his childhood, his family supported him with his endeavours. Important achievements had been expected from him for a long time.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he fulfilled the expectations bestowed upon him by becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games and first gold medal since 1980 for India by winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event.

Abhinav won the gold for the Men's 10m Air Rifle final after shooting a total of 700.5. He scored 596 in the qualifying round and out-scored all other shooters in the finals with a round of 104.5.

In the finals, he started with a shot of 10.7, and none of his shots were below 10.0. Bindra was tied with Henri Hakkinen heading into his final shot. Bindra scored his highest of the finals - 10.8 while Hakkinen came with his worst performance of the finals (9.7) to settle for Bronze medal.
( in the middle of this the chinese was crying like a baby for not getting the gold...... )

"He paid a lot of attention towards physical training despite his back injury. He did tough commando training in Germany for three weeks prior to the Olympics," says the proud father.

In the qualification round, Bindra finished in joint fourth with Romania's George Alin Moldoveanu after the duo shot a score of 596/600.The golden boy, managed a series of 100, 99,100, 98, 100 and 99 in these rounds.

Meanwhile, Finland's Henri Hakkinen qualified first for the event with a score of 598/600 after shooting a series of 100,100, 99, 100, 100 and 99.China's Qinan Zhu was a point away of Hakkinen with a series of 100, 100, 100, 100, 99 and 98.

Bindra's mother said the family would visit Punjab's famous Golden temple and pay their debts to god for this achievement.

Well, now that this feat is over, we will definitely expect much more from him.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chennai's Sister Cities

I wanted to know which were the sister cities for chennai and found out some of the curious ones.

The first to become the sister city of chennai was Volgograd,Russia in 1966. This was during the time when Russia was involved in a strategic partnership with India during the period of cold war.

In the year 1984, Chennai became the sister to another major city. This time it was Denver, Colorado. Later in 2005, Frankfurt also became a sister city. Very recently in April 2007, San Antonio has also expressed its wish to become one.

I'm happy that my city is having so many sisters.

My Ubuntu Desktop

I had recently installed ubuntu hardy heron 8.04. I learnt from my friends that I can customize it as I like it. So I searched for the coolest widgets for for my desktop. I stumbled upon two of my favourite things for ubuntu - Kiba Dock and screenlets.

I'm presenting my screenshots here. Hope you like it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Installing NVidia & ATI graphic drivers in Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04

For those who have used the previous versions, you might have found the driver installation easy with your driver being mentioned under the restricted drivers section(System->Administration->Restricted Drivers/Hardware Drivers). In Hardy Heron, I found a small problem in installing the nvidia drivers in my brother's PC. He has been using ubuntu from 5.10 and is a great fan of the XGL stuffs. I then searched for other stuffs and found Envy here.

It's a great product and I installed it and restarted the X server only to find that my X server was still not detecting my GeForce FX 5200 graphic card. Then I did some googling and some strange commands wit my OS. Then I found something out of my own interest. If you guys notice very carefully, the restricted-manager has been replaced with jockey-gtk in 8.04. I tried running it from the terminal and I noticed a strange error, before it came up on the screen.

sudo jockey-gtk

I got a list of four modinfo errors to be precise, saying files were not found. The files were:-

/lib/modules/2.6.24-16-generic/volatile/fglrx.ko /lib/modules/2.6.24-16-generic/volatile/nvidia.ko /lib/modules/2.6.24-16-generic/volatile/nvidia_legacy.ko /lib/modules/2.6.24-16-generic/volatile/nvidia_new.ko

These files are not only necessary for the jockey to reflect the Graphic card but also by the Xserver to correctly load the Graphic driver. After careful study and my confidence to experiment, I decided to re-install linux-restricted-modules-2.6.24-16-generic that comes with the Hardy Heron CD. I thought that the files might be available in the repository as they might have added it after the CD release.
Note:- For this, right click on the already installed and select mark for re-installation under Synaptic Package Manager.

After reinstalling the L-R-M, I found that I got the mising files in the respective directory. Then all I had to do was just go to the terminal and run the jockey-gtk again. It correctly detected my card and Bingo, I had Compiz running in no time.

You can also install the Nvidia driver using Envy after re-installing the L-R-M. It provides with higher options than normal. Envy is capable of loading the new drivers automatically from the nvidia or the ATI site. It can automatically overwrite the drivers installed by ubuntu by default.

All the Best !!!!!!!!! for the new ubuntu installation.

Note:- I installed from the CD, I got from ubuntu site. The new CD image in the site might be already fixed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sun Dth or SCV STB

For the past one month I have been looking into each and every forum, trying to find which is better for an average Chennaite like me. In most of the forums,they talk from a view of quality or customer support. I have been living in Chennai and I feel the sun's cable service is not bad. Though they were the ones to bring about the CAS by pressurizing the then BJP Government. Even when CAS was suspended in the rest of the country after the initial failure, Chennai was the only place that continued to have CAS.

I was the most grieved person back then. The STB prices in the town were hanging around 3000-4000 Rs/-. Even the alternatives at the time, TATA SKY and DISH TV were at the same range. For a middle class person in India, its around 60% of the cost of a 21" TV.

At first I regretted the government's decision for bringing CAS. I lost most of my favorite sports channels and movie channels. I was not in a financial position for going for either the STB or DTH. I had to wait and have waited till now.

Now I have got the green signal for buying any of the one. I had to do a lot of groundwork and i believe my options between the two is equally confusing for me to decide.
Both are around same price:-
Sun Dth:- Rs 1100( for 2 months free usage) / Rs 1999( for one year usage)
SCV STB:- Rs 700(Set top Box + Smart Card) + activation charges for channels chosen


To start with, as far as I know from the forums that I have read, its not that bad as they say it is. Its at its sibling stage and is sure expected to kick off at a rapid pace, once the agreement with all the channels have been finalized. As of now, they offer anywhere between 75 and 90 channels.
The problems I think that may creep up is with their available transponders. They have till date 6 transponders on INSAT 4B(each transponder is capable of handling around 20-25 channels). This means they will be able to broadcast nearly upto 160 channels. They are already some less viewed channels on their boutique like Angel TV, Amritha TV and lot more, which I believe will be utilizing otherwise useful transponder space that might be utilized by other channels to be added in the future.

Let me explain what this has to do. So maximum channel space left for Star, Sony, Zee, NEO and ESPNSTAR on Sun direct is around 70 - 90 channels. Star and Sony packages add up to around 50 channels. And Zee alone has around 30 channels. Sky network is also expected to start their service in India very soon. Therefore Sun will be suffering lack of transponder space. They have not officially released their package list yet.

The Number of Transponders of other DTH Players:-
DISHTV = 8-10
RELIANCE BIGTV = booked 8 in INSAT 4CR launched last year(replacement for the failed INSAT 4C in 2006).

This could be a big problem for sun in the future.


Anyone living in chennai would know tht government has also started its Arasu Cable Corp. If anyone gets the belief that SCV is giving away the STB at throw away prices, BEWARE!!!!!

SCV had ordered thousands and thousands of STBs when CAS was first commisioned. They have not been able to sell not even half of it till date. They want to completely sell of their stocks to the Customer as quickly as possible, before the local cable operators jump to Arasu Cable Corp.
Even you can notice in SURYAN FM channel, where the advertisement is placed, that only participating operators can avail the offer.
I recently called up the Arasu cable corps office to find whether they will be able to support the STBs given by SCV. They gave a plain reply "NO". So for whom is buying this set top box useful?
For those who have confirmed with their cable operators that they are not jumping to the other side. For the rest................. Be patient till Arasu takes over.
From the list of channels offered, however SCV easily scores over Sun DTH. And the quality is even better than that of the DTH in certain areas.

So finally its up to the customer to decide which one to go for. I personally have decided to go for the DTH. Its slightly a dangerous decision as Sun might not add the channels. But I believe the Marans are not paying more than 7 Million dollars for the transponder rent, not to bring in the big players.

The war between the cable and the space will soon reach new heights.
Benefiting in both the situations : Customers.

"Only time will tell how things shape out."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Zebronics DJ Beta - My New Music World

My Experience with other players before buying this player:-

I still use to play my keyboard that I learnt for over 8 years. So I used to listen to a lot of music with my then Music system with loud sounds. This did not go well with the flat system that I used to live in. So I first bought a Chinese made MP3 player. Got it as a 256-Mb player. Connected it to my system and the system made me format it and turned it into an 128-Mb player. Running on a AAA battery, I had lot of problems with repeatedly charging the battery then and again. Then I got myself a new cell phone with MP3 support- Motorola L7. Quite a nice phone and worth the money that one would spent for it. I liked it a lot. But then again, when I wanted to listen to one song, I had to switch on the music player appliaction, which would load right from the start. loading all the songs in the system right from the start, A really time taking thing. So recently, I decided to buy myself a internal battery operated MP3 player, that would have reasonable sound clarity.( I never liked taking the battery out and charging it repeatedly)

At the Shop:-
The thing that was actually in my mind was the clip-on kind of 1 Gb mp3 player that looked and resembled the Ipod shuffle. For this, I pested my father and madee him take to richie street( @ Narasingapuram street). We went there and to the shop that I usually but anything from. The shop owner was kind of a friend for us. He had assisted me when I bought my laptop, home theatre speaker set, graphic card, thumb drive etc., theoretically any electronic goods I bought till now. He was a nice guy. Well I listened to the 1 Gb player that I wanted , with his ( the shop keeper) permission. It was not bad at all. For a 850 Rs/- mp3 player. It had the features and the stuffing to really be good. There was FM, mp3 , voice recording. But I was slightly worried . The reason was that it was china product.

The shop keeper told just this in tamil - " Once you buy the product and even turn back and IF the product doesn't work. Just don't come back asking for a replacement. You can check it any number of times here before buying it. "

I come from a middle class family. So I was tensioned because If my father buys me something, he expects me to use it for a long time. If something happens to the product that I buy with interest(with his money), there is no way he'll buy or repair me that thing again ever. My father was there with me, when I was buying it. He was also visually examining other mp3 players there. He saw something that was like a Ipod NANO. Even I thought that it was Ipod NANO. After getting the product from the shop keeper, My father asked to check it.

I started to turn it on. It didn't start at all after the loading screen. The shop keeper told us that he would order for another piece, If we assure him that we would but that. Well, we were really hasty at that point. We wanted good value for our money. Me and My father gazed the entire shop for any other player that would catch our attention. At one corner, there was a small mp3 player packed in a box that had the words - "Zebronics" on its top. I asked the shop keeper for that. He gave it to me saying it was a good player and that It would really be good. He even promised that If anything happened to the product within the 1 year warantee period, He would even replace it with a new piece.

Here I would start the actual topic - My Review of the new player that has turned my past week upside down:-

For a mp3 player, It was too small - Fitted into my palm quite easily. To say the truth, I didn't even want to operate this piece. I felt it was too small. Further the software resembled the chinese mp3 player that I had used earlier. All coupled together created a hate for this player at first.
The shop keeper's attitude towards this player was different from the previous ones he had shown. He talked so assuringly that my father too liked it and wanted me to try and operate it and wanted my opinion. After a minute or 2, I figured the way to get to the music directory. The player came with a couple of test music files. I plugged in the headset and started one of the test files, which was an explanatory file on the working of the sound in the device.


There is nothing to reveal what I felt. I have used some of my friend's Ipod 80-Gb player. I knew the clarity at full sound. If someone was listening to it, They could in no way listen to anything that others say. It's that powerful. Till date, none of the mp3 players I listened to were even near to that kind of sound performance. That day, I felt I met a real competitor to it.
Amazing soung clarity!.( I felt it was even better than the Ipod Nano)

I heard no noise at all in richie street, I felt like only that explanatory sound was running. I could not even understand my father who was asking how good it was. Anyone who has been to richie street would know how trafficated and noisy it will be, especially on saturdays. I looked at my father and told "OK! buy it!!!!!".

Those words have turned my past week a real musical one. I have been listening to the mp3 player as much as I can. I really love the sound clarity that it produces.

Now for the components that came with the player:-

1) A cd that had some utility softwares and drivers you would need if you ran an OS older than XP.

2) A rubber cover that can be used to protect it against scratch.

3) A zebronics headset( loved its quality, even though my father says it is slightly bigger than his ears and is not fitting into his.)

4)A couple of those cotton coverings for your headset.

5)An adapter that had a usb 1.0 port on one side.( you can charge it even if you don't have a PC or laptop. I would advice a PC for charging it though.)

6)A usb type A port to mini usb port chord for connecting the mp3 player to the PC or the charger provided.

7) The box that the player comes in. It has a couple of magnets on its closing flaps that are pretty good. If you are travelling, the box can be used for carrying the accessories. Its good.

Well I would love to mention that this player comes with an internal Li-ion battery that charges itself once you connect it to your computer or the charger. The hassle of changing the battery or removing and re-charging it with a seperate charger is no more.

The features that comes are also good:-
A music menu for playing the mp3 songs, FM radio, recording and a mp3 player system menu.
The FM radio reception is not bad. For me, being in an area with low signal, I gave it up. Absolutely no reception at all. I have not tried the voice recording till now. But going by the review of the feature by others, it is excellent. The radio can be recorded in a 32k WAV format. This feature, I tried only once and it was great. Battery for me lasted for 4-5 hours. In future, I expect it to last for atleast for 3 hours. The 1Gb capacity is more than good for me. You can go for the 2Gb version if you want more memory.

Even as I'm writing this experience, I'm listening to the "Kadal onru allava" song by A.R. Rahman with the player. For anyone expecting an average mp3 player with good music playing capabilities and an average price, this would come as an boon with more than average performance. Finally an excellent mp3 player for an average price of only 1250 Rs/-.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ReactOS - a possible alternative to Microsoft Windows

I was looking for an alternative to windows, but one that could provide me with the exact feeling of using windows. Recently I happened to come across a project called ReactOS, that has been devoted to recreating the Windows NT. Everybody knows that windows is proprietary. You have to always buy a version, inorder to use it. But what these guys have achieved is simply wonderful. They recreate the actual windows environment with all the support for fat16/32. NTFS support is currently under development. I'm really amused. They work in close conjunction with Wine development group. It's been a really very long project spanning over 10 years atleast. I have just added up some of the screenshots.

The first is a setup of openoffice running under ReactOS.

The second is a ReactOS running in QEMU virtual machine with another ReactOS as the host.

The third is accessing a windows remote desktop from ReactOS.

The fourth is a visual studio 2005 installation running under ReactOS.

The final screenshot shows a registry explorer in ReactOS and a small portion of the Desktop Background.

Well surely as you can see from the screenshots, ReactOS will be the only possible alternative to Windows. I myself have become a fan for it.

And for all those who worry about its size. It not even crosses 50Mb. This the alpha build anyway. The Live cd is just less then 27 Mb and the Installation cd is just 27 Mb. I sure hope that people start turning their attentions towards ReactOS.

People can try it at They also provide the OS Pre-installed with most virtual machines, which can be easily tried. I'm eagerly expecting a stable release.

India launches 10 satellites in a single launch vehicle

The Indian scientists have created a world record by launching 10 satellites in a single-go with no Hiccups from Sri Harikota . This record involved launching of one indian mini satellite, eight foreign nano satellites and a remote sensing satellite. The entire launch was confirmed a grand success at the end of a 52 hour mark. They used a single PSLV Launch vehicle. Its the 12th successful launch of the PSLV. It has also carried the largest package of more than 800 kgs. This included the more than 600 kg remote sensing satellite - Cartosat-2A. The entire mass at time of launch was a 230-tonne, The highest ever by the PSLV.

With this lauch, Indians have proved their might in the field of astro science to the world. Indians are also in the process of sending a person to moon by 2010.

I'm really proud of my country!!!!!

EJB Stateless Session Bean Program using NetBeans5, Sun Application Server 8 and jdk1.5 under j2ee 1.4

You need the netbeans, jdk and the sun app server installed and configured. Sun app server must be added to the list of servers in Netbeans. This can be done through the "Tools-> Server Manager" in the Netbeans menu.

After Configuring all those stuff, please try out the following procedure for creating the EJB's.

This procedure is for those who dont have JAVA EE 5 support. Its for j2ee 1.4 only.

1)First select "new project" from the file menuin netbeans.
Within the "Choose project" Dialog Box, Select Enterprise under Categories and "Enterprise Application" under Projects and click on Next button.

2)In the "Name and Location" DialogBox, Enter the name of the Project and select the Location. Make sure that "create EJB module" and "create Web Application Module" checkboxes are selected. Make sure that the JAVA EE version is "j2ee 1.4".

3)Netbeans automatically creates the Project files. Then right click in the "Enterprise Beans" within the "-ejb" part and select "New-> Session Bean".

4)In the "Name and Location" Dialog box that follows, enter the EJB name and the package name. Select Session type as Stateless. Select only Remote within the "Create interface" option.

5)It can be seen that the Bean's Bean, Remote, RemoteBussiness and RemoteHome classes are automatically generated.

6)Then edit the Remote Interface class to include the declaration of the function that you want.
public String sayHello() throws java.rmi.RemoteException;

7)In the corresponding bean class, implement the corresponding method declared in the Remote Interface.

8)Then right click on "Source Packages" within the "-war" part and select "New-> servlet".

9)In the Name and Location Dialog Box that follows, Enter the name of the servlet and the package for the servlet and click on "Next".
Then in the Next window, click "Finish" button.

10)Then right click within the code area of the generated servlet class file and select "Enterprise resources->Call Enterprise Bean".

11)Then a Dialog box comes up with the list of all the ejb's open in the current project. In that, select the Bean you created and click on ok.

12)It can be seen that netbeans automatically adds the following function to the servlet code.
private StatelessSessionRemote lookupStatelessSessionBean()

13)Now add the following line to the processRequest function after the PrintWriter creation line.

14)Now save all the codes and right click on the project and select "Build Project". NetBeans builds and links the project.Then right click on the project and select "Run Project". Netbeans runs the project and creates the browser page on completion.Add the "/servletname" to the address tab and press enter. It can be seen that the EJB function is called and the output is displayed in the servlet.