Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

GIS All this Week

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Officially, I’m on vacation till college resumes for the final semester (yay!) sometime mid-Jan. So, the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing what I enjoy the most – sleeping (during day time), web surfing and watching TV Shows. Just when I thought, life was going great doing nothing, came in this spoil sport news from my project colleague. The news that we’re gonna have special sessions for an unknown software demonstration throughout this week from 10-to-5.

At first though, I knew it would suck badd. But I was so wrong and I’m glad that I dragged my lazy ass to college and attended this ‘workshop’. The good thing is there are only 8-10 students and the session is specifically for GIS. GIS is the only part of Civil Engg. academics which comes to me naturally. Of course, it involves a computer and that in a way gives me the proverbial ‘upper hand’ but still it’s one interesting subject with some real world use not-involving excessive site work (read: no standing tall under the sun, observing construction workers do their work and designing super complex structures)

This 5-day workshop is being conducted by ESRI India (big name in the GIS field). Basically, what they are doing is teaching us their software (ArcView, ArcMap, Arc…) which costs more than a million rupees and indirectly, shamelessly promoting it to future engineering masterminds. Don’t judge me wrong, I appreciate their initiative to come down to VJTI and give us a glorified demo but you don’t have to lick your product to such limits. Anyways, I’m not complaigning. I’ve got this chance to learn something which I’m really interested in (for a change) and I will do everything to not let this go down the drain again.

Another great aspect to this story: I asked the guy if he could install a ‘genuine’ copy of ArcInfo on my laptop and he said yes. But then I also managed to quickly copy the installation files on pen drive, so doesn’t matter much after all. Yes, I will take my laptop to college the entire week and use it in real sense of the term. That’s it for now. I’m super busy this week, in case I don’t reply to your messages, you know the reason! Thanks.

The New Face of Junk Files

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Its been 90+ days since I got my second laptop. Everything was going just great until the day I started running out of free space on the HDD. It was just a matter of time on the 80GB hard drive. And now it has. So, what follows next are the cleaning, dumping and burning sessions. This whole thing is something very new to me. Previously, I just used to reinstall Windows after taking backup of data. This time, however, I decided to try out the whole ‘clean and make-it-fresh’ approach. And I must admit, it’s very irritating. The biggest annoyance is getting those apps to work default just like they did on first install.

Segregating your files and deleting the useless stuff is quite a task in itself. Thinking twice before every folder is shift-deleted adds to the pain. You don’t want like to delete some important stuff by your own fingers due to a mistake. Had it been the ‘format and reinstall Windows method’, what’s lost will remain lost. Atleast, you don’t feel that bad when you recollect you didn’t backup some files coz the system formats it for you.

So, while I was doing all this stuff, I realized the magnitude of the junk created by these .torrent files. I was shocked to see a number as big as 326. We all are torrent junkies, agreed, but having them in such huge numbers on your desktop, default download folders and ‘precious-collection-folders amidst the important stuff’ was shocking. Actually, it’s very stupid. So, I think one needs to be a bit more disciplined before hitting ‘Download .torrent’ link. That would be note to self from my next download. Ultimately, it will lead to less clutter.

How many .torrents have ya got?

Something is seriously wrong with Firefox

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Here’s a screenshot of Windows Task Manager showing CPU utilization and Memory usage for both Firefox and Opera.

Opera Firefox Memory Utilization

Both the browsers were started at the same time. Exact same websites have been fired in the 8 tabs of each browser window. Default themes, no plugins/extensions. Both the browsers used are in their latest release.

Makes you wonder what’s big deal about firefox. I accept it’s ten times better than plain IE6/7. But these figures do suggest something. That something, in my opinion, is that Firefox is a lot about hype. If there was any other program with such insane memory usage or CPU utilization (11-percent!), it would have been bashed beyond limits.

Opera continues to be my preferred choice of browser. It offers a lot more than just web-browsing and fetches better returns for your 4MB of download still. So, Opera does everything and I should stick to it. Only if life was so simple. But you need more than 1 browser, and firefox is the next best. So, you need it too. But this thing has some serious flaws (continued memory leaks in every other version to name one) and incapabilites. Mozilla, fix something!

Feels like home

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

After a month long fling with Windows Vista exploring what the next generation of Windows has in store for me and the bumpy, yet gratifying experience of backing up my data and uninstalling the darn OS somehow – I feel quite happy. The satisfaction and pleasure has nothing to do with the fact that how beautiful, brilliant and innovative Vista was but more from the fact that my laptop ran it just about fine(minus Aero). I couldn’t have asked for anything more from it (the laptop). Although the appreciation should be given to the scalability of Microsoft’s OS on old, aging and dying hardware but I find it easier and a lot soothing to give the credit to this two year old piece of mobile computing device with a 110 seconds battery life. During the uninstallation, my poor luck continued as I lost/damaged/misplaced the XP’s installation CDs. That meant running Ubuntu again, resorting to Automatix2, downloading all the packages to run you through the next couple of days without compromising anything – you know the drill.

It also means now I am back to Genuine Windows XP Professional, its classic theme, minimalistic looks and my beloved list of software applications that I so love to use. Title anyone?

BitTorrent Inc. Munches uTorrent

Friday, December 8th, 2006

This is the worst thing that could happen. µTorrent was one of the very few applications that I actually liked and found it to be perfect for its intended purpose. No non-sense, just worked with minimum system resources. I found it to be the best torrent client out of the contemporaries on the Windows Platform.

Now I don’t really have any hope with the further development of utorrent to become any better. I won’t go ranting about how BT inc will screw utorrent up. A week back, BT inc. signed a deal with Paramount, Lionsgate, Twentieth Century Fox, MTV networks and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to launch a paid torrent video store for people to pay and download these stuff. So this deal really means utorrent will go in a step forward to create built-in protection measures against illegal sharing of files. DRM! I don’t think there is anything worth on torrents exclusively except pirated movies, music, softwares, etc…

So, when things go awry with utorrent – BitComet would be the only option. I just can’t take this, because I loved utorrent. What next – Adobe buying FoxIt?

Office Office

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Say what ever you want about Microsoft for their OS called Windows and other products like their mail service. I curse them for it too more often that not. Microsoft must have enjoyed a lot of criticism for these products over ages. They come up with new updates and security flaw patches every second Tuesday of each month, but during all this while they have always had one of their products remarkably different. It has always been the best and served the purpose it is intended for. Tough to get any obvious, has to be Microsoft Office. My earliest memories of an office suite go a little less than a decade ago – using MS Office 97 on Windows 98.

Back to present, Microsoft Office 2007 – currently beta. I tried out the Beta release provided exclusively by Digit this month in their August DVD. Installation was completed even before I realized that the Setup was running. Just a couple of mouse clicks and the office suite was ready out of the box. Good work! The new looks of Office is really sexy and has given a lot of importance to ergonomics. The feel and layout is completed revamped. A whole set of features have been minutely fine-tuned and glorified for aesthetic and efficient productivity.


Yes, I did it

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Finally gathered all my courage to go in for a BIOS update for my laptop. Stupid Acer’s default BIOS didnt have any options for allocating more than 64MB for video memory. This issue shouldnt have been there in the first place, because they marketed their laptop saying max 128MB of shared video memory.

The BIOS files were extinct on all the Acer websites worldwide. The one which had the BIOS, didnt have any mention whether it supports the different variants of the series. But almost after 2 months when I got hold of the BIOS, curiosity got the best of me and i was itching to flash the bios. Without fearing the consequences, went ahead with the BIOS upgrade and it went smoothly. No issues whatsoever.

Looking at the bright side, I can now try out Windows Vista Beta 2 minus the Aero on my laptop. Well, something is always better than nothing. I had been eyeing on the same for a long time, but now its time to actually do it.

While I hit the Publish button for this post, I am making a 15GB room for the next Windows edition install and persuading a friend to download the Beta 2 iso.

MPAA Employs Piracy-Sniffing Dogs

Friday, May 12th, 2006

There is two new members in the fight against pirate DVDs: two black Labrador Retrievers named Lucky and Flo. The MPAA has backed the Federation Against Copyright Theft in training the two dogs to sniff out DVDs in packages coming into the United Kingdom.

lol, Check out the comment over at Betanews

Foxit PDF reader just got better

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

I was always the one of those who used to hate installing Adobe Acrobat Reader for reading pdf’s. Foxit PDF reader is just what I need to open pdf files – simple, minimalistic and no nonsense. I dont need any of the Adobe’s Compatibility with browsers to open pdf’s – the only time when my system hangs. Nor do I want to delete files form the plugin’s directory to speed up the Acrobat Reader’s loading times. Even the seventh installment just gave a false feeling of loading pdf’s quickly , all thanks to the constant large memory footprint even while you were not opening the proggie. Foxit PDF Reader with the version 1.3 release Build 1522 seems a lot better in rendering pages. Earlier while dealing with files with 200+ pages and fast scrolling the proggie would just crash. But that is no longer the case.

Earlier versions were a mere single exe file program with no setup. So if you are like me who downloads in some weird corners of your hdd, it can get a little messy. Finally the developers decided to give it a simple setup/install function like with all other program. Now I have a cute nice little icon in my fav. colors – blue and orange to add some colors to my otherwise dead desktop with a plain black background.

If you just read pdf’s offline, Foxit PDF Reader is a hell lotta better option than the bloated counterpart. No harm in trying it out if you havent. A mere 1.1 MB.

Get Foxit PDF Reader

Ubuntu in 24 hours

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

No, its not a name of a book from TMH or O’Reilly. Its the time taken for my get hooked on to Ubuntu. I managed to complete my Ubuntu download on Sunday evening in approx. 22 hrs. Within no time, I burnt a disc and installed it. Installation was a breeze, this was the first time I had installed a debian distro. Installation went on smoothly, took me about half an hour to get into the desktop.

Ubuntu turned out to be one of the very few distros in which I managed to configure my net connection. This wasnt the first time, I tried to get familiar with a linux distro, but as it turns out I have finally found a nice distro to be using regularly. With all the help from Atul (techno_funky) who himself got versed with the OS in the last few weeks, I managed to get some basic help. So thats done with the 24 hrs part.