Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We did it - finally

The announcement is a bit late. But better late than never.

We released version 1.3.5 of gnusim8085 exactly one week ago. The code changes done in last five months are finally out in the wild i.e. downloadable in a tar ball. The main features of this release were use of gtksourceview2 and a Windows port. Funny thing is that the Windows port and installer was built right on my Ubuntu machine. The only time Windows came into picture was when we had to actually test the application.

I must mention a few people who have helped us for this release.
1. pbor on #gedit for helping time and again regarding use of gtksourceview2 syntax highlighting apis.
2. Aditya M. and Krishna Bharadwaj for their participation in workout and some pretty good bug fixes.
3. Madhusudan C. S. for testing the Windows port and fixing some bugs to put the port in usable shape.

We hope to follow a regular release cycle in future. Let's see what happens.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's the point???

1. What's the point of putting email addresses in Bcc if at the end your mail you are specifying which addresses you put in Bcc. ;-)
2. What's the point of using a hands-free accessory with mobile phone if you have to hold it, by hand, near mouth to have proper communication. :-P
3. What's the point of wrapping a scarf around your head, while driving on a motor-bike, to protect your skin when you should actually protect your head by wearing a helmet. :-(

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rufscript - A nice handwriting font

Hiran has created a nice font called Rufscript based on the handwriting of someone he knows. What is more important is that the font is available under GPLv3 with font exception.

Here is how nice this font looks.

Please head over to Hiran's post for details.

For those who simply want to install the font in Ubuntu, Andrew (asomething) has made a quick .deb for the font in his PPA for hardy and intrepid.

NOTE: I have never interacted with Hiran on any level before. But this was something too good to resist sharing.

Update: Corrected Hiran's name. It is not Hiren. :-D

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Keyboard only navigation on websites

Suddenly on Friday evening you realize how important it is to have websites that can be navigated only with keyboard ... when you are trying to pay for overseas travel insurance for your grandmother and the mouse goes mad.

So mad that it shows following symptoms randomly and intermittently ...
1. Context menus open up in some corner of the screen you weren't even paying attention to.
2. Top panel suddenly becomes bottom panel.
3. Different windows jump between workspaces.
4. A document you had left open wants to scroll up and down endlessly.
5. After teasing you for about 15 minutes the mouse decides to click 'Lock Screen' shortcut on the top panel. :-(

I was so irritated by this erratic behaviour that I had to unplug the mouse to actually be able to work.
Since the website designer decided to make main navigation (seen after login) using javascript, there was no way to select the transaction in queue in absence of a mouse. The accessibility preferences for mouse keys came to rescue but then it took me almost 20 minutes to finish the procedure that should have finished in 5 minutes. So much for misuse of web 2.0 technologies. :-(

On a side note the email service that boasts about keyboard shortcuts has no shortcut for adding attachment. What is worse is that the 'Attach File' link shown when composing an email is not even focusable. No matter how many times I press the tab key focus never reaches on the link.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I tried in past to get hold of VCD/DVD for this movie but was not successful. My friend Sabu finally got it from his usual DVD renting center called DVD Express.

Finished watching the movie about an hours ago. Highly recommended. No wonder Christopher Nolan having so good directional skills resurrected the Batman movie franchise and made it one of the most profitable.

I am still trying to figure out how the story happens exactly. Will probably have to watch it tomorrow again. If nothing else, this movie is surely a good exercise for memory and thinking abilities.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Easy VoIP

A company I work for as contractor, through my employer, manufactures routers for various ISPs. These routers have one of best features you can get on such a device. They support using SIP based VoIP service directly with a phone attached to it.
The way it works is like this.
1. Configure your VoIP settings from administration web interface.
2. Attach a phone to one of the phone sockets on the router and dial a number.

I have been using Diamondcard service for some time to make cheap international calls to my brother. And above mentioned setup will make it even easier, specifically for my parents.
Apart from being easy it has few advantages:
1. You don't have to switch on your PC just to make or receive a call.
2. From what I have heard the feature is designed in such a way that when using DSL you can switch dialing between standard phone line and VoIP with touch of a button. Similar to dialing a 0 to get outside line from office phone.

Unfortunately these devices are not available off the shelf anywhere. They are available only when you buy service one of ISPs to which they are provided. Even then I am sure the routers will not be available for outright purchase.

I have been thinking of buying a wireless router for myself for some time. But if I find something similar to these routers I will probably replace my father's router with new one for the sake of easy VoIP setup and keep the old one for myself.
I have already searched for similar functionality into products of some popular brands like Linksys and D-Link, but couldn't find anything.

Am I not looking hard enough? Has anyone come across such a product available of the shelf?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Bangalore trip

After long discussions about suitable time for all, me and Barkha made a short trip to Bangalore last weekend i.e. 22nd -24th August. The occasion was the last meet up before Aanjhan and Barkha flew out of country for their post graduation. The trip was fun all the way. :-)

The arrival -

After finishing the work on Friday and filling up time sheets at office I started from Pune around 8 pm by KSRTC volvo bus. A bit afraid of hectic bus journey of 18 hours from Mumbai, Barkha decided to fly in on Saturday morning. I must say that my journey from Pune was not hectic at all. The bus was very comfortable with leg room between seats the largest I have ever seen. Kudos to KSRTC. :-)
Arriving in Bangalore at 10:30 on Saturday, I went straight to Ashish's place in Koramangala where Aanjhan was staying. After a good amount of chit-chat, a cold water bath and some aloo parathas we decided to visit Ashish's office (Aanjhan's ex-office) as his family for the occasion called as open house. In the office, Aanjhan grabbed a bag by conveniently hiding the fact that he is an ex-employee. Then we visited their sports complex where all had fair share of fun. Ashish and me played carom for an hour where I almost won 2 games. Aanjhan and Amit tried to play tennis and spent more time picking up the ball than hitting it. :-P

In the evening we visited a shopping mall called Forum in search of someone to repair power adapter of my ibook. The guy at Apple store that there was no way to repair it and I had to buy new one priced at Rs. 4700. :-( Not interested in spending that much money we returned empty handed.

Then it was time to visit my sister's place at J. P. Nagar. It was a surprise visit to her. Me, my sister Yogita, her husband Wilson and daughter Vilina had dinner at a hotel called Pai. Vilina is very sweet and smart than most of the kids at age of 2 years. She doesn't talk much but she smiles a lot. :-)

After having a typical South Indian breakfast on Sunday morning Roshan joined me and we returned to Ashish's home. It was now time for an unofficial Ubuntu-IN meet.

The hackathon -

We went to Parthan's home around 1 pm and Barkha arrived soonish.
After having lunch at Nandini we decided to do some hacking.

I really don't remember what she was laughing about

The almighty tuxmaniac

It was time for Ubuntu installfest on Barkha's new Dell laptop. Unfortunately The Ubuntu installer on alternate CD couldn't repartition NTFS drive. So we had to resort to gparted live CD. Meanwhile Barkha decided to book tickets for Chennai next morning. Utterly confused about when to start in morning, she booked two train tickets although she already had a bus ticket. While all this mess was going on Roshan was reading a python book and I was trying to port gnusim8085 to windows with help of mingw cross compiler following the instructions here. It worked fairly well but we had no access to Windows machine to test. And when testing with wine it was giving some weird font problem.

Barkha, Parthan, Roshan, Aanjahn and Onkar (with a glass full of coffee)

After loads of leg pulling and laughter, me, Aanjhan and Barkha went back and joined Ashish and Amit. The hard drive in Barkha's laptop took almost 2.5 hours to repartition and finished just before we went for dinner. That is what you get for buying extra large hard disks of size 250 GB. :-P At dinner we had Chinese food and had some random chat about college time memories.

Amit, Onkar, Aanjhan and Ashish

The return -

I went to my sister's place again on Monday morning and after meeting another friend for lunch and some afternoon sleep I started for Pune in evening. Return journey was also awesome thanks to KSRTC.

In other news -

1. Aanjhan recently became Ubuntu Member - Meeting log
2. The windows port of gnusim8085 actually works. Aanjhan tested it at his home after returning to Chennai.

Now we have to port the application to gtksourceview2, write a windows installer and also ask for feature freeze exception in Ubuntu. :-D

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hello Planet ...

If everything is setup properly, this should be my first post on two planets.

1. Because of contributions I have made to packaging of java applications/libraries in Ubuntu, I have been accepted as a Ubuntu Contributing Developer. Hence my blog will be feature on Planet Ubuntu.
2. This blog will also feature on Planet FLOSS India, because my good friend Aanjhan thought that it should be and pulled some strings for the same.

Who am I -
Onkar Shinde, Male, 25, Resident of India.

Where am I -
Located at Pune, but spent 21 years of my life into Aurangabad, both cities in Maharashtra state (in case anyone doesn't know).

What do I do for living -
I work mainly as a java developer in Pune. But it has been almost 3 months since I have written any java code.

What you can expect from my posts -
I am a java/ant guy. So you can expect posts related to java applications, libraries which is kind of rare on both the planets. But this doesn't mean there won't be any non technical posts.

Thanks to -
Lot of people. Specifically Emmet Hikory and Michael Bienia for the guidance in java packaging matters, because of which I have found a focus for my contributions.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

RDS in India - Big FM

I was in Mumbai over the weekend for interviews as interviewer (not an interviewee) on behalf of my company. The event was held in hotel Tunga Paradise in Andheri near Seepz. The overall experience was good.

At the end of second day I went to my maternal aunt's home in Worli. The visit was a surprise one as I had not told them I was in Mumbai for the fear that they will feel bad if I couldn't find the time to go. My cousin bought a new mobile finally after using a LG phone with Reliance WLL service for almost 4 years. The plan was to buy a Sony Ericsson phone from W series, because she is music freak and the one with no joystick, because my experience was not good with joysticks.
After lot of R&D she finally bought W810i. The model is now almost out of market.

Sony Ericsson produces some of the most feature packed phones. And I have found the user interface and user experience to be consistent across the range of phones. This was the first time that I actually listened to some songs on a W series phone. The sound quality is amazing. The FM radio reception if above average. And of course there are other usual features like camera, bluetooth, GPRS, midi composer etc.
The surprise of day turned out to be support in the phone for RDS. Although I had heard of it I had never seen it in works. And the channel that is supporting it is Big 92.7 FM. The type of data it transmits currently is track, movie/album, artist. I am not sure if it also transmits the channel name itself or any advertisements. Apparently it also has support for AF, alternate frequency, which is part of RDS. It is nice to see which song is being played so that you can decide whether to mute/unmute the phone.

I hope next time I go to Mumbai even more channels are supporting RDS and I am carrying a phone that can make use of it. :-)