Category Archives: General

The end of notes.txt – TiddlyWiki, Basket and Knotes

I don’t know about you, but I seem to have a perpetual file called notes.txt that lives on every machine that I use. Earlier when I used Notepad the file always started with a .LOG so that it automatically put a date/time stamp every time I opened it but later on with all the different text editors I used, I have other macros that do that job for me. You may ask what is this notes.txt? Well, its very simple really. Everytime I need to just quickly jot down some info I just open up notes.txt and add stuff into it. Phone numbers, tips and tricks, URLs just about everything finds its way into this file.

For a long time I have been wondering what to replace this with, cause though it works, it is rather a kludgy way of getting things done. When I started using KDE, the first thing I tried was Knotes, its a nice little program but its essentially a sticky notes (PostIt!) kind of replacement not really what I was looking for. I do use it for that purpose but notes.txt still lives on.

Recently, a friend pointed me to Basket, this has major possibilities and in fact I have actually populated it with most of the stuff from my original notes file. The program is quite clever, it has different types of items that you can add, like ToDos, rich-text, images, URIs just about anything and then its also easy to move stuff around between applications etc very useful indeed. But I was still not quite happy with it. I decided I needed something slightly different, maybe something more like a Wiki.

With the ever growing popularity of Wiki’s I decided to try one out myself. I setup MediaWiki on my website and started using it. Great stuff really,  but it became a bit cumbersome to organise data. Its very useful if you have multiple contributors, but for one person managing it, rather than helping it hinders thought. I needed something simpler and locally on my notebook. I have been wondering if I really want to install MediaWiki on my notebook but decided against it. And thats when I came across TiddlyWiki!

TiddlyWiki is a great little app! its basically an HTML file with JavaScript. It behaves like a Wiki and looks like a Wiki and its fast and very easy to use. Go grab the empty file on the TiddlyWiki site and get started right away, you won’t regret it!  The site mentions that it works best in Firefox which is my browser of choice and I have no idea what would happen in Internet Explorer or any other brower. Would be curious to hear on that.

Gotta love free and opensource software! 😉


Aw Shoot!

Photography is something that excites just about everyone. I’ve been very keen on photography for a a very long time now. I can’t say I am consistent, thats where I’d like to be but I certainly am persistent. About five years ago I bought a “DigiLittle” camera (term coined by my son Kabir) and have been using it extensively. Some of my friends think I take too many pictures and others feel that they are still too less. But they all seem to expect me to be carrying it all the time and as soon as I’m back home they expect to see the results on the gallery. Over the past few months I decided to get a little more serious about photography and went and got myself a digital SLR (Nikon D70S). The camera is great, but I realised that I have actually forgotten everything about photography and picked up bad habits too. Composing a photo by looking into the LCD screen rather than the conventional way of looking into a viewfinder being one of them. I also realised that I have not used an SLR for over 17 years. So its learning time all over again, understanding exposure, aperture, shutter and all the nuances. It is great fun and some day I hope to get more consistent in the meantime wish me luck!


PS: One reason this post was delayed was I needed to integrate my gallery with WordPress, but thats another story!

Does blogging matter?

Blogs…You hear about them everywhere, everyone has a blog and yet we are not sure whether they really make an impact. Are blogs serious journalism, an alternative to newspapers and the press, a new age newspaper or just the personal rantings of a few people?

The Indian government asked the ISPs to ban several blog sites, this created a huge hue and cry amongst the online community in India. So much so that the next few days the media had nothing else to talk about. Everyone was talking about blogs. Only a very few actually talked about the censorship which in my opinion is a much bigger issue. I do not agree with censorship. I believe nobody has the right to block or control the websites that I visit. But coming back to the issue of blogs, what impact do they really have?

“There are lies, damn lies and statistics.”

This is a much used quote sometimes attributed to Mark Twain but originally Benjamin Disraeli describes the state of statistics very aptly. A recent study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project will have you believe that blogs just don’t matter cause the numbers are way too low! A few abstracts from the report:

“54% of bloggers say they have never published their wiriting or media creations anywhere else.”
“54% of bloggers are under the age of 30.”
“54% of bloggers are men”

Okay the last item, I changed from the report just a little but, what the report said was a little more interesting, I just did not feel like breaking the lovely symmetry.

“Women and men have statistical parity in the blogosphere, with women representing 46% of bloggers and men 54%”

I’m not going to quote very much more from this report, it can easily be downloaded from the Pew website. But I do wish to make a few more points.

“11% of bloggers focus on politics and government; 7% focus on entertainment; 6% focus on sports; 5% focus on general news and current events; 5% focus on business; 4% on technology; 2% on religion, spirituality or faith”

Now the biggest problem with this whole report is i) it talks only of US bloggers and ii) despite the fact that even the US boasts of over 12 million bloggers the sample taken for the study is only 233 respondents! Now you tell me, isnt it all just statistics! Would love to see a similar report for a world-wide audience and also the Indian blogging scene.


Visual Radio?

Slashdot | Visual Radio Coming to India Came across this link which talks of more services coming to mobile phones and remembered a little discussion that was going on in an IRC channel a few days ago. Question was which Indian mobile phone provider actually gives a 3G service. I am currently using Airtel, have been for the past few years. I have an EDGE enabled phone, have taken the GPRS service but I don’t think I ever get the kinds of speeds that match the spec! While chatting with a bunch of others I discovered that nobody is getting the kind of performance that is expected of EDGE. So how are these providers going around announcing services like streaming video when just plain data is not fast enough! Here’s a little excerpt from the site:

“India continues to march towards becoming an IT and economic super power. The Indian capital of New-Delhi will become the the third city in the world to have a commercial Visual Radio service after Singapore and Helsinki (Finland). The technology developed by Nokia allows audiences to interact with the radio programs. The audio is received via a regular analog FM radio whereas graphics and text are streamed over a data connection. It will be available to Hutch and Airtel subscribers who have compatible Nokia handsets.”

Slashdot is known for the news it carries and more importantly for the comments that an article generates. I loved the very first comment on this article. “Visual Radio” Don’t they normally call that TV?

Would love to hear from anyone who has been able to get true 3G performance on either Airtel or Hutch.


OMG…what have I gotten into!

This is completely hilarious. I know I am a confirmed geek but to get comments from Jyoti on my blog is really a bit much. We are a whole family of geeks. We chat via IM, we SMS, we email and sometimes all of this happens when we are in the very same room! I was wondering when I would actually get around to making another post. I guess its happened a lot sooner than I had expected. While I am here, I’d like to put in a quick update on some the ongoing and upcoming FLOSS events in my life.

  • The Bioinformatics workshop at JNU is now entering its 3rd week. Great excitement all around. This last week had the domain knowledge lectures which were very interesting indeed. I learnt some pretty strange stuff and quite enjoyed the few sessions that I managed to attend.
  • ILUG-Delhi announces FreeDel 2006. This year we are hoping to get the event co-hosted by JNU. Planning meetings and arrangements have begun I am sure the mailing list and the website will have the announcements out soon enough.
  • Confirmed rumours now state that FOSS.IN/2006 will definitely be held this year. There were doubts whether the event would be held at all and I am glad that it will. Dates, Venue etc are still being decided.

Sounds as if there will be plenty of action and soon enough. Till the next time…


Biting the Blog Bullet!

Hello World,

To Blog or not to Blog has been the question for a very long time. At least in my mind and I am sure in the minds of many others who keep wondering what this whole blogosphere is all about. Ironically, I have actually helped quite a few people get their blogs together and even a few corporates convinced that blogging could be good for them. The instant question that comes my way, is “Hey! so if blogs are so good where is yours?” Well, I’m just plain lazy and if I can avoid writing I would. But every now and then I do get the urge to write something and then share it with family, friends and sometimes clients. Sometimes, I also feel like just writing for the heck of it. I guess there’s no place better than a blog for that!

So here I am after clearly stating that “I have no intention of blogging” chewing my own words and starting a blog!

Now comes the tough part, what does one write about? Well, some blogs are essentially online diaries and you get the usual dose of “…yeah I woke up and brushed my teeth today…” but do I want to do that? No Way! My plan is simple, sometimes people are just curious as to what I am doing and I hope to answer some of that via this platform. Sometimes, I just feel like writing an article, I no longer want to publish them in print so again here’s the best spot.

A very long time ago the first personal website of mine that I had setup (on Compuserve, long before we had Internet access in India), had an interesting theme, technology, food, music and travel. Thats what I wanted to share the most. Well, over the years things have not changed that much. I’m only adding photography to that list now. Of course, the usual dose of whats happening on the FLOSS scene in India and sometimes the urge to just rant! Thats what you’re going to find here.

For all those who have patiently waited for me to start blogging, its finally happening I hope I can keep the site exciting enough for you all to come back and read it every now and then.




This is essentially a place holder site. I have no intentions of blogging. At some point of time, I may put up some info about myself but I really doubt it.

In the meantime, if you stumble upon this site, feel free to send me mail. Someday, I might get around to putting some real content here.


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