Category Archives: Musings

Team of Rivals

Currently reading this book by Doris Kearns Goodwin and seriously enjoying it. She knits her story together starting off from the morning when the Republican Party’s Presidential Candidate is to be announced in 1860 and introduces the ‘team’ that Lincoln was to bring together. I’m still in the early stages of the book, but so far it is an excellent read with a good background sketch of the characters and their lives up until the nomination race. I’d highly recommend this book even to those who don’t usually read non-fiction.

Team of Rivals cover

Debian Jessie on Dell Latitude 6220

I guess I should’ve read my own posts comparing Linux and Windows, before raving on about Windows last time. The updates on Win7 were a nightmare, with me having to boot and reboot every other hour for a day or two until the download floodgate was shut, almost. I don’t think I’m done. I see that sign next to “Shut Down” where I’m being warned of another upcoming update.

Debian 8That aside, I did want to get my Latitude E6220 on Linux. This time, I’ve chosen to go with Debian, and since I couldn’t choose, I went for both Cinnamon and Mate desktops. Mate gives me the creeps just from the look of the Menu. Cinnamon feels more comfy that way. Next step was to get the drivers all sorted. Frankly, that was a bit easier than getting it done on Windows! You could download the drivers from http://support.dell.com but it wasn’t a clean one-time thing.  I noticed two issues on Linux from the get go:

  • WLAN not working
  • Reboots left the computer hanging

Mercifully, the Ethernet worked right away on Linux – which it did not on Windows on first install. I had to download the Ethernet drivers from Dell’s support site via another PC. So Linux scores better here! A short bit of searching brought me to this resource on the reboot issue. I went into the nearest Latitude on that list and it did mention the reboot issue. The solution was simple:

To solve the reboot issue you’ve to pass the kernel reboot=pci. You can achieve this by adding reboot=pci to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="" in /etc/default/grub.

And after updating that file, I ran update-grub and suffered my final hang.

The WLAN issue was a bit less straightforward. Reading through the WiFi wiki, I identified the adaptor as BCM43228. And I’d have saved myself some time if I’d just scrolled to the end of the PCI section. The wl section covered what I needed. Chased that with a now working reboot and ta da, laptop configured. Since Linux is friendly with Windows, grub handles my dual-boot and I seem to have no issues on that front. I guess I might have issues with the clock as I did previously, but thankfully I do have my old post to help me out.

Back on WLW, Windows & Office

Wow, never thought I’d make it back into the Microsoft world again, but here I am. Got myself a machine set up with Windows 7 and currently installing Office 2013 Home & Student. And I can say it is a relief, in some ways. In other ways, I still want  to ensure that I can dual boot this machine with a Linux distro. Smile

So, what’s changed? I guess, I got older and started thinking of rational decision making, at least on a personal level. That’s the gist of it. And there have been a lot of changes in the state of play in the IT arena.

Just to try my hand at storytelling, I do want to get into this a bit more, however, I’m working on my resume and time’s a-flying. Hopefully, by tomorrow evening I’ll have polished up my resume enough to do just that.

Signing off with a sigh of relief at being back on Live Writer.

A bit late for 2015

For a first post, it seems a bit late to start in April – towards the end of the month too. *Skip waffling*

Been busy working for The Outdoor Journal for most of my long break since last year and catching up on some travelling before that.

Now, I’m working towards moving to Berlin, and the many things to wrap up before I get there.

At the moment, I’ve been studying grammar again, to better my German. I’m a mired for two reasons and it’s a bit of a catch 22:

  • Don’t know the gender of most of German nouns
  • And have an issue with the 4 cases

And so it’s to YouTube that I go, hunting for some interesting video to give me some dope. Thankfully got a good grasp of the difference between indirect and direct objects. Now to memorize article genders and apply the cases. Such fun!

A looong read

Well, maybe it wasn’t so long, but it took me long enough to read it. That was “Sophie’s World”. And I’ve had the book for a while now. It started with a conversation in Cairo this summer while I was wading my way through Pirsig’s classic, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, rather slowly. At one point somewhere three quarters through the book, when Pirsig’s using the train analogy, I felt that my already fragile philosphic understanding was hampered by my ignorance of the history of philosophic thought.

I had two options then, Copleston’s excellent volumes on the history of philosophy or “Sophie’s World” and thanks to the intervention by a good friend, Yasser, I picked up the latter.

In Greece as I lay on the beach, I dived into the book, only to be hampered by my kindle’s breakdown when I was just about done with the Greeks. I had to wait a while for my kindle to be restored, lost again and finally be replaced by a Kobo – much satisfied with that now. And then the story resumes with me waffling about for a while longer and nibbling at the story every once in a while and backtracking a bit to recap on what I’d read and forgotten. It was a joyful journey most days, but I felt a bit bogged down in the last couple of chapters as Sophie’s World is invaded by other random thoughts. And I was happy to put it down, finally, today! Hip Horray! I can resume normal life again, secure in the knowledge that I know, or atleast I know where I can find bits and peices of what I need to resume reading Pirsig again. It can be a bit of a pain, really, the way I go about educating myself. But, atleast I can feel positive about checking off this book from my looooooooooong reading list.

India and Privacy

If you think the NSA’s record on personal privacy is bad, I think the Indian government should raise your hackles. Everywhere I turn, I see erosion of privacy.

In the papers today the Vaishno Devi board proudly touts the fact that they’ll be implementing a system to create a database all pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi. It will include their photographs and personal data.

Additionally, police blame WhatsApp as the technology that allowed circulation of a video that they claim incited violence. I guess it’ll be monitored soon.

In addition, the government has been rolling out a Unique ID program, known as Aadhar. So, now in addition to your address proof, your id proof, and lord knows what else, you’ll need an Aadhar ID too. And the scary part is that despite the Aadhar program being labeled "optional"(voluntary), the government is proceeding with making it mandatory for various services.

Gas subsidy is now linked to Aadhar, among other services, despite the fact that the government has been notified by the courts that doing so is unconstitutional. However, such details don’t seem to bother the current government, and frankly, with the choices of political parties in India, and the general apathy, who cares?

India and Privacy

If you think the NSA’s record on personal privacy is bad, I think the Indian government should raise your hackles. Everywhere I turn, I see erosion of privacy.

In the papers today the Vaishno Devi board proudly touts the fact that they’ll be implementing a system to create a database all pilgrims who visit Vaishno Devi. It will include their photographs and personal data.

Additionally, police blame WhatsApp as the technology that allowed circulation of a video that they claim incited violence. I guess it’ll be monitored soon.

In addition, the government has been rolling out a Unique ID program, known as Aadhar. So, now in addition to your address proof, your id proof, and lord knows what else, you’ll need an Aadhar ID too. And the scary part is that despite the Aadhar program being labeled "optional"(voluntary), the government is proceeding with making it mandatory for various services.

Gas subsidy is now linked to Aadhar, among other services, despite the fact that the government has been notified by the courts that doing so is unconstitutional. However, such details don’t seem to bother the current government, and frankly, with the choices of political parties in India, and the general apathy, who cares?

More madness as reported by Usha Ramanathan.