March 30, 2007

Playstation 3 smashes sales record in UK

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 3:10 pm

After Wii’s launch in UK, even I had started to see it as the potential console leader as it had beaten Xbox 360’s launch sales with a significant margin (105,000 vs. 71,000). Quite surprisingly, Playstation 3 surpassed Wii’s sales with almost twice that margin by selling 165,000 units within the first two days of the console’s release. If that wasn’t enough, from one million machines shipped across Europe, more than half (600,000) have already been sold. The figures have clearly overthrown predictions about Playstation 3’s demise in Europe due to the launch delay.

Things will only get better for the PS3 fans as there will be plenty of GOTY quality games out for them before 2008. Games like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Devil May Cry 4 are sure to satisfy customers about their money’s worth. If you are also into casino games, there are a variety of online slots games that can be played on different websites. The phenomenon of PS3’s success can also be used to explain the apparent win of Blu-ray in high-def format war. According to PC Advisor, Blu-ray discs have not only surpassed the 100,000 milestone in sales, but have also ‘accounted for approximately 70 percent of the high-definition market since the first week in January’.

Microsoft’s monopolizing tactics surely don’t work in all fields of technology.

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Inspirated feeds now accessible through FeedBurner

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 2:21 pm

“When soldiers have been baptized in the fire of a battle-field, they have all one rank in my eyes.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

Alright, that was just for the pun. The point I wanted to make was that I’ve just burnt Inspirated’s feed in FeedBurner. Their ‘Publicize’ service has also provided me with several other buttons for adding the feed in services such as Google Reader and My Yahoo. You can find them in the left-hand menu on the main website. Hopefully, this should make it easier for anyone to subscribe to my blog.


March 29, 2007

Dell promises pre-installed Linux PCs

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 4:50 pm

Although there were lots of rumors going around about Dell pre-installing Linux on their laptops ever since their survey had 70% voters voting in favor of the action, the masses weren’t given a definite response until now. Details of the pre-install are still unknown, but most probably they’ll go with either SUSE or Ubuntu (the former being blessed by Microsoft whereas the latter being more user-friendly).

So, will Linux finally start claiming some serious share in the desktop market? Not really. Or at least, not until other hardware manufactures e.g. HP and IBM start following Dell’s footsteps. The optimism meter of penguin fans will nevertheless be seeing a major boost.

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March 28, 2007

Warning: Running Linux on your laptop may damage its keyboard

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 6:46 am

Or, at least that’s what HP say when your laptop’s keys become sticky and unresponsive and you tell them that you’ve run a copy of Ubuntu Edgy on it. Also, as mentioned in the Joe Barr article link above, major hardware manufacturers are not only reluctant to pre-install Linux on their machines, but are also cautious of selling machines without pre-installing any operating system.

In simpler words, they can only pre-install Windows for you, and if you choose to use a different operating system (not just Linux), you would be voiding the warranty. Now that‘s real innovation from Microsoft.

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March 26, 2007

The end of an era

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 10:45 pm

“Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron.”— C. S. Lewis

Words fail me whenever I try portraying the comprehensiveness of Tolkien’s imagination as even I sometimes find it hard to believe that a single person somehow created this myth of epic proportions. Millions of people have lived in the high-fantasy world of Middle-earth for the past 70 years, which without a doubt, is the most discursive one known to human imagination.

Consequentially, it amazes and grieves me at the same time that the last material written by Tolkien is going to be published next month. Tolkien started writing the book, named ‘The Children of Hurin’, in 1918. The work never saw the light of day during its author’s life. After Tolkien’s death, his youngest son Christopher began work on completing the unpublished writings of his father for posthumous publishing. The last book would mark conclusion of the colossal fantasy nine decades after it was first conceived by Tolkien.

Nevertheless, the scenario of someone ever running out of material while pursuing the universe of Ea is still very dubious …

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”

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March 24, 2007

Migration from BestCrypt to TrueCrypt

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 9:54 pm

After trying out TrueCrypt for a day, I decided to migrate all of my encrypted data from BestCrypt to its containers. A number of reasons compelled me to transfer 30 GB of data spread across various containers, some of which included:

  • TrueCrypt doesn’t load a plethora of kernel modules whenever I load the main one in memory. I despise seeing about 10 modules, one for each supported algorithm, whenever I tried to load the basic one (bc).
  • Similarly, TrueCrypt doesn’t bloat my bin directory with redundant bc* files.
  • It also saves me the trouble of even (un)loading the modules as the application automatically takes care of it.
  • TrueCrypt has nice wizards for its command-line application. Which spares me the trouble of remembering all those switches involved with the bctool command.
  • It also provides some useful features which aren’t present in BestCrypt e.g. key-files and volume header backups.
  • Unlike BestCrypt, TrueCrypt can be run without root privileges on Linux.
  • One reason to rule them all: it’s free and released under GPL.

For those of your who’re wondering what exactly is TrueCrypt: it’s a disk encryption software which can create virtual password-protected ‘encrypted’ drives on your PC; it’s easy-to-learn and has excellent documentation for beginners. Just head over to the official website and download a version suited to your operating system (and have my sympathies if you’re using a Mac).

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March 18, 2007

Virtualization progress

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 11:36 am

While lurking in the IRC chatroom for KVM, I asked people about the problem that had been bothering me for weeks i.e. invisible mouse pointer in QEMU. Quite patiently, I waited for an answer and bingo! A user with the nickname ‘dignome’ found the solution in the first shot: run QEMU with SDL_VIDEO_X11_DGAMOUSE environment variable set to 0. The mouse pointer finally started appearing in the emulator by doing that, and after assigning another hundred megabytes of memory, my new virtual machine was shining and ready for some practical usage.

Inspirated on KVM
Inspirated on Internet Explorer 6

From now on, I won’t have to boot to Windows to check my IE rendering bug fixes. Sound problems have also been fixed by passing the -soundhw es1370 flag to QEMU.

Things are perfect for now. My next aim would be to install different operating systems, virtualize them simultaneously and show each instance running a different side of the desktop cube on Beryl. Something tells me that it would be one of the most kick-ass screenshots of my entire life.

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March 17, 2007

Beryl 0.2.0 released

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 9:36 pm

A new version version has been released for everyone’s favorite hardware accelerated window manager. New features include window thumbnail generation in the taskbar, an opacify plugin (making all other windows transparent while mouse is hovering above one) and a rewritten (relatively) more user-friendly settings manager.

Beryl Window Thumbnails Beryl Settings Manager
Taskbar window thumbnail generation and the new settings manager

The new settings manager can still be quite perplexing for newbies, but at least steps in right directions are being taken. Resizing windows has also been improved a little bit (my X server doesn’t crash whenever I attempt it). As far as I can tell, Compiz’s days of glory are almost over, Beryl has just got too much open-source-ness to be rivaled by a cathedral project.

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Summer of Code application submitted for Fedora

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 1:45 pm

While going through the list of mentoring organizations last night, I realized that there was another software present in them which was dearly loved and efficiently understood by me at the same time. Yup, it’s my favorite distribution — Fedora. I’ve just submitted my application for creating an online reference manual browser which would be able to display info/man pages in hierarchical order of Fedora releases as well as allow its users to perform boolean searches in particular fields.

Summarizing my GSoC attempts so far, I’ve submitted two applications for projects with WordPress and Fedora respectively. The former is essential for my everyday blogging, whereas the latter was once essential for my everyday computing (but even though I use Fedora sparingly these days, I keep myself updated with all of its latest developments and happenings).

Although I can submit 18 more applications before 24th March, I believe in quality being superior to quantity. So this will be all from me for this summer — if neither of my applications get accepted, I’ll just keep improving my skills and try again in the next one.

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March 16, 2007

Summer of Code now accepting student applications

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 1:44 pm

Things are finally in motion. I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I’m going to submit an application for a project based on the very same blogging engine that runs this site i.e. WordPress. My aim would be to implement an easier and efficient upgrading system in WP’s administration dashboard. I will submit my application within the next few days and keep updating my blog with its status.

Quite ironically, the news of GSoC’s opening reached me on the very same day of my web-hosting company losing all my blog posts and videos of the last three weeks. Sometimes it’s confusing when you receive good news immediately after an extremely bad one. Nevertheless, let’s hope that the good one becomes even better on 9th April — I’ll have plenty of stuff to blog about if it does.

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