Monday, July 21, 2008

Another war in the Fight to Freedom

The Free Software world will win someday. I'm sure of it.

Heres a story of a knight fighting for his freedom in MES College, Kuttipuram. Its a real treat to read the Open letter by him to his HoD on installing Free Software in his labs for his experiments, especially when these are not only easy to use, but also theres no restriction in the curriculum mentioning what software to use.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back online!!

"Give me net or let me die here.. "..said Atul Chitnis at FOSSMeet '07 at the pathetic net connectivity in our (ex)college NITC.

Well finally atleast I'm back online already here at NTU!!

So beginning from basics, I reached Singapore Nanyang Technological University on 17th morning. Jetlag and only 2 hours of sleep. Notwithstanding that we went on to our college to proceed with the formalities.

What struck me first was the neatness, systematised (er, is that a word? ) way of functioning of the place. The roads itself were a sight to behold, larger than probably any of our NHs. As I and Naren reached NTU, International Student Services was waiting for us and directed us on what to do. We soon proceeded with formalities and landed in a room in Nanyang Heights.

(not many pics yet, sorry, dint get my cam :-) )

The medical test we had to undergo in the noon was a great experience. We had to undergo all sorts of test, even test our urine using paper sticks!! And there were blood tests and even a Chest X-ray to check for TB !

After that we toured the beautiful campus a bit. NTU looks like a toned up version of IIT Mumbai, maybe twice as big or so. And neater. There were a large number of canteens with enough vegetarian outlets, so I had no trouble finding some vegetable chow for myself.

The only sad part was that theres no more hustle-bustle here because the classes have not started yet. So the crowd is still thin. But yea, there are treats for the eye :-). Still, somehow I dont think the place would match the hullabulloo that we had in night-life at NITC.

In the night I discovered to my delight that I could access wireless net here from my lappie. That was it!! Night out time! It was mailing and chatting till 2 am.

So anyways I guess the blogs not off after all.. Hoping to get a cam and get some pics to post on blog soon..

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vacation ends, New world beckons, Old language makes frontiers

Bottom line : Day after tomorrow I'm off to Singapore to do my higher studies.

So the last few days have been hectic, finishing off all the relatives visiting and shopping. Owing to the timely hartals in Kerala (a blog subject all by itself), I couldnt even put in one decent day of shopping yet.

Linux Translation to Malayalam (for the next version of KDE Desktop) is one of the most satisfying things Ive been doing. It was an adventure all in itself, it started off with a handful of people like Manu, me, the pros Ani, Praveen, Santhosh etc.. soon the group became larger.. our deadline (13th) loomed closer.. people put in more night outs.. we made a wiki to make sure everyone knew what to do and what the other person was doing.. there was a googlegroups to consolidate things.. a project leader.. and even IRC online meetings sometimes..

It was the best online managed project Ive ever been part of!!!
To say the least, we made the deadline!! KDE 4.1.0 will include Malayalam in it!! And I'm an official Linux contributor now! (dont get boggled by that, its really too easy :-)

People who want to know more go to the site KDE Malayalam FCI Wikia
And you can learn how to contribute easily to Malayalam translation in Linux. Even I can add a few pointers, if you want :-)

Other than that, Ive been to Chennai, Calicut, Palakkad and back in a matter of days. Visited my school and met my old teachers. Went around the neighbourhood. These are the nonsensical stuff I've been doing the last few days.

To end it, a foreward bail : I dont know when I might see the Internet world again in Singapore, so my blog wil probably go on snooze for a few days now. Hope I can make it to a terminal on time :-)

Monday, July 7, 2008

After reading my chalified movie review on 'Dashed'-Avataram, Mahesh commented on this one with a few crazily good chalis.

So this one is for the PJ lovers out there (I am one of them, so please keep your chappals down :-) )

Kamal - the 'shava' thaaram
Himesh - dasha avathaaLam
Mallika - the sha-wah! thaaram
Appeasement - desha (I mean rashtriyam) avatharam

Non-Mallus who dint get the puns, please excuse me.. Others, if you're out for mine or Mahesh's blood, you wont find me on my address any more .. I'm in Trivandrum and then Chennai visiting :-)..

Friday, July 4, 2008

Freedom, Finally!

I have done it! On 25th night at 11 pm, my computer was freed (well not totally) from the feudal rule of Microsoft Windows!

I have now shifted usage almost completely to Debian Linux. I dont want to elaborate on the advantages, read Hari Shankar's blog here for a Free man's view on Open source software usage.

But I've to mention specifically that the scalability and the package concept of installing software in Linux really impressed me!

Now Warcraft 3 gaming is all that holds me back onto booting in Windows once in a while. FOSS Contributors, Here I come!..

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Renewal of the Renewable

The Renewable energy and Energy Conservation Exhibition held at Ernakulam Town Hall recently was a major eye-opener.It was a clear sign that 'renewable energy in India' was not just a word chanted by students in school and college (thats 4 words by the way), but a movement being pursued strongly by both government and private parties alike.

Especially in the light of the recent rise in oil prices, the nuclear power deal going nowhere, Iran pipeline still being in the pipeline [:-)], and the increase in electricity prices in this power ridden Gods own country, the fact that renewable energy is all set to renew the bleak horizon of the energy security of the country is very relieving.

The exhibition showcased different emerging technologies utilising renewable energy, some gave even live demos of how renewable energy is tapped, and gave an outlet for renewable energy companies, especially in the solar power field, to market their products.

(This poster has nothing much to do with this exhibition. This was just a last-minute poster made by Me, Naren, Joseph and Lakshmi that won us a prize at ESCT conference in NITC.)

Some nice stuff I noted from the exhibition:

1. The Bio-Diesel dream is not dead, and is being pursued in a major way by some companies. It will soon hit the market.
2. LED lighting bulbs rules the market, even beating CFLs now. It is pretty widespread.
3. Solar water heaters are a moving product.
4. Wind power players like Suzlon and Bio-gas plants are coming on at really low costs, and will soon spread over India fast.
5. Environmentally friendly products that cost 0 power to produce are another way to reduce power consumption.

The bio-diesel production stall was one of the major highlights. It was a relief to know that Indian railways has taken up bio-diesel research in a big way, and even has set up some plants to produce bio-diesel, if only for test purposes at the moment. Also, it has started running trains on bio-diesel blends now! Soon, railways will set up more plants in different parts of India. 'Jatropha curcass', the plant that is most utilised for bio-diesel production, is now being cultivated in some parts of India too!

It was a solar-water heater market, as major players like V-Guard, Hykon, Technomax etc set up stalls to market their products like Solar heating, Solar lighting etc. Most of the stalls innovatively used panels set up outside to light up their own bulbs.The LED bulbs shown used lesser power apparently, and gave better light than even CFL Lamps. whats more, replacement cost for an LED bulb is much lesser!

There was more. A couple of Saint Gits college students showing their major project of diesel production from another source. KSEB demonstrating hydro-turbine power generation. The superior Electronic chokes performance being demoed. All in all, a tree-huggers and Energy-engineers paradise.

Lets hope the movement gains more momentum and becomes a household phenomenon.