Monthly Archives: April 2012

Lecture on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Attended a lecture on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali yesterday. It piqued my interest, so I went and picked up two books from the Khan Market on the subject. Yesterday’s speaker recommended Edwin Bryant’s “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” and while browsing, I came across another text with the same title, but with commentary by Swami Venkatesananda. The foreword was really well written and in the same form as a conversation, so I just had to pick it up.

Amazingly enough, or rather, as should’ve been expected, Yoga connects with Ayurveda because they seem to rest on the same principles but perhaps with different aims. I guess there’s quite a bit to study here. My main complaint around this is how unclear studying Indian philosophy/theology can be. I guess India’s always been one of those places where fact and fiction are a hair’s breadth apart. I expect I’ll be posting some more on this topic…

Game of Thrones

I was watching the intro to Game of Thrones. Really impressive visuals and music.

Intro–Game of Thrones

It’s amazing how TV shows have become so creative and “big budget”. I also loved the intro to BSG.

3 Evils

After Jai Bhim Comrade, I’ve been keen to follow-up with more documentaries. Today, I watched “No End in Sight”, about the Iraq War. And then I reviewed some articles in Frontline Feb 25-Mar 09, 2012. In both instances, I found myself disgusted with the suffering caused by the few in power on their many powerless victims. I found myself wondering if hiding behind the façade of bureaucracy and “orders” are still viable excuses for those who act as the arms of these decision makers.

For argument’s sake, let’s call Rumsfeld’s crime that of incompetence. If Rumsfeld was incompetent, why did Colin Powell, despite his reservations, continue to support the administration publicly and not do more to bring the issues to light? It took over 3 years of fuck-ups for the clamor to reach, perhaps the most incompetent of US presidents, Mr. Bush. And sadly, despite the pain and misery caused, these incompetent leaders have gone off scot-free. They will not be charged for crimes against the Iraqi people or American soldiers.

In the case of Godhra riots, the case against Modi has languished in court for a decade, where only the persistent effort of Citizens for Justice and Peace and Mrs. Zakia Jafri et al, have kept it alive with some support from Congress, perhaps for it’s own ends. Frontline’s cover story “A Decade of Shame” documents the story of this historic court case and laments at how Modi, BJP’s cash cow, remains in power.

Through Jai Bhim Comrade, we see that Dalit persecution has continued despite protections offered by the Indian constitution. Without active enforcement and vigilance, the constitution remains a dead thing. Reservation, despite the good intentions behind it, is now a vehicle that continues to divide India along communal lines. Unscrupulous political parties exploit this provision, at times clamoring for larger reservations and at times protesting against them, to foment hatred along communal lines in their bid for power.

As a marine in “No End in Sight” states, “America can do better” – I’d like to express a broader hope. We, all of us, can do better.  Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s concise admonishment is, “Educate, Agitate and Organize”.

Papad in the Microwave rocks

Lately, I tried out a few things in the Microwave, following my attempt to make chips. Turns out Chapatti doesn’t really work, but papad does! In my case I tried out 40 secs of microwaving for a single papad. If you stack them it doesn’t work so well, unfortunately.

Now, I can enjoy some great tasting papad with no burns and no hassle.

Driver’s License in Delhi

To get a license, you need to first figure out which Regional Transport Office you should apply to – it’s based on where you live – the address on your FRRO.
Check here:

Next thing you do is get a learner’s license – here’s the prep test:

To study for this test, you can view the question pool here:

Then after 30 days, the permanent license:


Windows vs. Ubuntu Desktop for a home server

This is a tough comparison to make, but what I’d like to do is start by coming up with a set of points that will help me frame this issue properly.

What do I want in a home server? I’ll try and answer in no particular order:

  • A backup desktop in case of crashes
  • Storage space for
    • Music & Videos (Media Server?)
    • Photos
  • Minimal fuss
  • Secure
  • Easy to use for a non-geek person

Let’s drill down some more into each of these points.

A backup desktop in case of crashes

I want to be able to browse, access my email, edit and view documents, images and download any software to fix issues on my other machines. I’d love to have some communication tool like Skype on it too. I may also want some diagnostic software to test hard drives which I may attach externally.

In effect, I want a browser, office suite, image viewing and editing apps, plus some storage space on a reasonably fast machine.

Storage space

Easily manage permissions for the storage space that I’m setting up, plus set up a server to serve media? Also some basic software to manage the media I’m serving.

Minimal fuss

Set up is a one time issue, so I’m ok with something which may not be too easy, but day to day management should be simple, plus minimal amount of reboots, if possible.


Antivirus, Firewall, and a strong system so I don’t have to keep taking it offline!

Easy to use for a non-geek person

My wife should be able to use it with minimal support from me. Also, this could be a machine our guests use – so perhaps options for privacy/profiles for guests.

I think this covers most ideas I have. Please let me know if I’m missing any.

Feature\OS Windows 7 Ubuntu 11.10
Backup machine Firefox/IE
LibreOffice & MS Office
Windows Live Image Gallery
Scandisk & Chkdsk to scan attached HDs
Skype for Windows
LibreOffice/MS Office (with WINE)
Built-in viewers, plus others available from software sources
Disk Utility and generally constant built-in monitoring
Skype for Linux
Storage Space Easy to add HDs, but software RAID available on the desktop OS is simple.
Media Servers available – looks good for both Linux and Windows.
Easy enough if you read some of the articles I’ve written. I think should be easy enough with Disk Utility and the software RAID can be as complex as you want it to be.
Mediatomb Media Server is simple to install and manage, but very basic with features. Serviio looks interesting
Minimal Fuss Windows 7 is easy to install.
I’m annoyed by the constant restarts and compulsory restarts though.
Ubuntu was easy to install and managing updates means just restarting the app.
Secure Security Essentials and Windows Firewall, plus minimize the number of externally used USB sticks etc. But I’m very happy with these for now.
Having ADBlock Plus on Firefox is also a big plus.
Don’t use a firewall and don’t have an AV.
Easy to use Yes Yes

I’m enamored to several features in Linux; hassle free updates which never appear to require a system restart, free software packages available through a simple and easy UI, and a great ecosystem and variety of distributions and apps. However, Linux is raw in certain areas. For example, when my system disk was full, I had trouble booting and it took some time and know-how to restore my machine.

Final take: For me Linux started as an experiment. I never expected I’d have a system that was so easy to manage and play with and I’ve been surprised at how easy it has been to transition to Linux. I’d say that if you’re willing to take it on, Linux could give MS’ home machines a run for their money and sometimes even kick-ass ,e.g. with the RAID. If you plan to keep your tinkering (add/remove apps that you have no clue about) to a minimum, Ubuntu 11.10 takes my vote for a home machine.

Kanpur’s Hotel Mandakini is the nearest Empire of Illusion


Pure chance that I hit Google map search instead of the regular search while searching about the book “Empire of Illusion”, a critique by Chris Hedges.