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.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Superstar Rajini's New Castrol Ad

I found this amazing castrol ad in my college senior's site. Found it really amazing, so re-posted the youtube video here too.

(from Nirenjan's Space)

Superstar - சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் தான்!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tamil Actress Birthdays

Just had a curiosity and found out some of the notable Tamil actress birthdays. Had an amazing shock for me.

Namitha - 10 May 1981
Pooja - 25 June 1981
Sneha - 12 October 1981
Reema Sen - 29 October 1981
Shriya - 11 September 1982
Trisha - 4 May 1983
Genelia - 5 August 1983
Meera Jasmin - 15 February 1984
Sadha - 17 February 1984
Nayantara - 8 November 1984
Asin - 26 October 1985
Bhavana - 6 June 1986
Sandhya - 27 September 1989
Tamanna - 21 December 1989

I found that some of them were younger than I thought and some were much much older.