Sunday, May 27, 2007

TetraBlocks: on freeze

TetraBlocks has been put of freeze for a few days. I've got pieces rotating and stuff, but thats it for now. Right now its time to concentrate on more generic issues like writing a small highscore and menu framework, because I know that these two things are necessary in almost any game you will ever create. So if I can get those two things done, it will save me a lot of time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The problem isn't the community, its the people

After reading
Five crucial things the Linux community doesn't understand about the average computer user
I have a point myself. FIrst of all I disagreed with most of his points.

Second of all the only aim of the Linux community is NOT world domination. Sure we would love more Linux users, and more Non-Microsoft users. But not at the expense of user stupidity. Here are my two cents on why people don't want to change to Linux ( or anything new ).
  1. Change - Change, all the problems in the RealWorldTM are due to this (But more on that some other time). I have observed that there are very few humans who actually want to change. People get an OEM installed WIndows and use it. Heck, some don't even know they use Windows. So try teaching them something else. Most people are dead scared of technology.

  2. Choice - People are uncomfortable with choice, especially when they need to change to accept a different choice. In addition to that, Microsoft's hand holding has dumbed them down to a level, where, when in front of the computer, the user is reduced to an assembly line robot of click here, then here instructions. On the other hand, for the community, choice is what runs the world, it keeps them happy. The very idea that if I don't like something, then I can change it, is like a drug.
As I said before, choice and change are the cause of many problems, and it is often technology that gets blamed. The community's first aim is to solve its own problems, then others. We thrive on choice, on change, on learning new things. And as long as certain standards are followed, choice and change can coexist. And I am sure that the community will not dumb everything down into a nice packaged product, just to get the world to adopt its software. Its is people who have to change, to become the inquisitive beings they once were.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ambigram Nazgul

Its a long time since I posted an Ambigram. Anyway here is Nazgul.

Microsoft's unwinnable war

RoughlyDrafted has this absolutely amazing article about why Microsoft is fighting an unwinnable war against Open Source and FOSS. A must read for anyone. It was really well thought out and presented

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007


...or why I never maintain my old programs much.

The reason I create some software, fix a few bugs, do a few minor version upgrades and then let it be, until someone really needs something is because, well, I like to do a lot of different projects in different fields. Now it so happens that I am still in school, now going to standard 12, which in India means bad. So I get just about 2 hours a day on the computer. Which means that any project takes atleast two months to complete. If I ever want to complete my Todo list then I have no choice but to abandon older ones, or return to them after quite a few months. That is why ColourCode 0.3 is on hold. So sorry users of my software. But if you really want upgrades, you may send me a million emails, and then I will do it, or just hack the code yourself, its open source.

I will try my best to take up maintenance of all of it as soon as this year is over.

Pixelframe feedback and what next

Some folks at YoungCoders gave me some feedback about Pixelframe. One big criticism was that the client doesn't work without javascript. So for One dot One Pixelframe will have the following changes over One dot Oh:
  • Client will work even with Javascript disabled, using static links
  • Different loading images for admin and client, to suit the theme
  • Default theme has the thumbnail bar moved to the left. This is better for usability. Also the theme is a bit darker.
The IE6 max-width problem still remains, and I will not waste time fixing it, if anybody has a patch please send it to me.

So now Pixelframe is done. What next? Well I have already started planning an Tetris clone called TetraBlocks. It will be written in C++ and SDL. Here, have a tetramino.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pixelframe: Almost there

So after 3 weeks of development on getting it to work in Internet Explorer, Pixelframe is ready. Testing is almost complete and after wrapping up a few loose ends it will be released. Some of the things remaining are converting PNGs to GIFs since IE has a problem with displaying PNGs, handling an unforeseen theme error, and a few look-n-feel changes. You can check out the almost working version ( uploaded at the time of writing this post ) at

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Does the revolution begin now

Over the last two days, the HD-DVD encryption key leak has gained momentum. Now considering that most of the stories on the first few pages of Digg relate to this, and that the key is now available on a hell of a lot of sites, I surely don't need to tell you about it. But is it the beginning of a revolution?

The tech community has for long been aware of the ills of DRM and related agencies like the MAFIAA. But the general public and mass media has largely ignored the issue. I believe its time the fight for freedom goes public. What we need is to educate common people about the horrific connotations of DRM.

What would be really cool is a full page advertisement in widely read newspapers about the numbers and about DRM

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kubuntu 7.04: Disappointing

Yesterday I downloaded Kubuntu 7.04, expecting an amazing release from the reviews I had read. But I was very very disappointed. First let me mention that I have been using linux since 4 years and so this isn't some tale of a Windows user suddenly jumping to Linux and thinking its crap.

I have very generic hardware, and Kubuntu had no problems detecting it, except my ViewSonic widescreen which no distro has managed to get working in widescreen resolution. Most problems where due to unnecessary scripts and 'safety-nets' created for new users by the *buntu teams.

Getting started and Installation

So I burned the CD and booted from it. What takes place next is 30 minutes to go from boot to desktop. On my Pentium 4 2.4Ghz with 256mb of RAM most liveCDs do take atleast 15 minutes, but 30 was too much. The second thing was that the bootup was not stable. One of the gripes I have had with newer LiveCDs is their loading of laptop battery management modules even when running on a desktop. I would prefer a prompt asking me what kind of computer I am running and then loading the modules. So anyway, the power manager crashed on bootup. And for some reason this prevented KDE from booting properly. So I restarted the machine. This time KDE loaded but there were no icons present in Kicker. So I went to a virtual terminal and restarted KDE. This time there were no problems in starting up. But the system is slow, excrutiatingly slow. It took 5 seconds to display the context menu.
Deciding that perhaps I would get better performance if I installed it on a spare partition, I launched the installer. This took another 5 minutes. After that each of the install screens took 2 minutes to load. At the partitioning screen I was again disappointed to see that my IDE harddisks were being reported as SCSI and had the path /dev/sdxx. Assuming it was just a small bug I moved on and clicked on the 'Advanced' button on the last screen.
Since I have an unconventional setup of two harddisks, one with Windows and one with Linux I always need to specify the bootloader to install in the partition itself. This is were it really hurt. The Ubiquity installer is meant for newbies. Now if a newbie encounters the message I encountered what is he going to do, hate Linux undoubtedly.
Insert bootloader documentation here

was how it went. And below that their was a single text field to enter the boot loader location in the standard GRUB (hdx,x) format. It seems like someone forgot to check one dialog. Unsure of what to do, since I did not want to take a risk with the Windows bootloader being erased - especially due to the confusion between sdxx and hdxx in the partitioner, I rebooted, disconnected the Windows drive and started the install again. This time the bootloader location was set to (hd0, 3) and everything went fine, even though the whole process took an hour and a half.

Post install

I booted from the hard disk and after getting the Arch GRUB configured right booted into Kubuntu. The hard disk startup was fast and smooth, almost as good as Arch's. But this time kdesktop crashed. Ofcourse no harm done so I just ran kdesktop and continued to use Kubuntu. But what does a new user do. Does he know about virtual consoles, and that running kdesktop will set everything right.

Need guidance

I launched the modified Kcontrol, or so called Guidance control panel, to set up networking. I have a static IP and set it up. I launched Konqueror and tried to browse, nothing. I went back to the configuration to find that the IP had been set to something else, automatically, and that the gateway had been wiped to I tried resetting it every time. Finally sick of it I just edited the configuration files by hand and used ifconfig to launch the interface manually.
Noticing that the connection worked now, I just shutdown the computer.


Seeing that its been 3 years since the Ubuntu project was launched, I expected much better. It is highly likely that this was a stray incident, since most reviews are good. In fact it is well known to me, that me and and Ubuntu version don't mix. I have never had success with Ubuntu, ever. But what disappointed me was that the Ubuntu series is the pinnacle of Linux on the Desktop. Such experiences not only ruin it, but bring a bad name to the Linux and FOSS movement. I have given up using Kubuntu, even after taking so much pain to get it running. I hope that they improve the situation. For now I will just stick with Arch, it might not be newbie friendly, but the straight forward systems are just what is needed.