The story of a Linux convert

First of all I’ll get my credentials out of the way. I have been using computers since the last 10 or so years. That’s not much by a lot of people standards, but I like to brag about it anyway !

I used windows for the first year of my computer using life, got bored, moved to Linux, was fascinated and used Redhat, fedora, debian, slackware, ubuntu for the next 6 or so years.

I then got myself a Mac, a 2004 model iBook (I like the way Macheads use the year to describe their machines, as if its a car or something … like I’ve got a 2008 model Ferrari ! ), and fell in love with Mac OS X. I did install Linux on the iBook once but removed it soon after since, obviously, Mac OS X was so much better ! Or so I thought. My iBook came with Mac OS X 10.3 and soon after I bought the iBook, Apple released Mac OS X 10.4, the version with spotlight (which, by the way, beats the crap out of beagle anyday). I *had to have* 10.4 on my iBook but I realised that I had to pay for it, so I did what any self respecting Indian would do. Asked a friend for a copy (Well, actually he pointed me to a torrent which I then used to download my copy).

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Mystic in Bali – GK, New Delhi

MYSTIC IN BALI

Having seen tons of banners and being a hard core Chinese food fan, I decided to check out this place with my two friends. Considering its a second restaurant from those who run “Big Chill” (one of the best Italian joints in Delhi), this place already has a great reputation to back it up, but will it live up to its Italian brothers? Thats what i went to find out?

The decor as such is more Bhutanese than Chinese. Since I have been to Bhutan, i recognized a lot of the decor in terms of the masks, symbols and artwork has been inspired from there. One thing i felt which was lacking in the decor was that, they went a little overboard with it. A wall with just one central hanging with a bright background would have been great, but they decided to stuff it up with masks and other stuff, making the decor a bit stuffy.

Coming to the food, (the real purpose of this review) which was to my liking. The portions were good and the prices were those which you see in Big Chill, ranging from Rs.100-400. What we ordered were the King Prawns with noodles (a combo) and Sesame seed noodles with chicken and prawns. Both to my delight were quite good and had distinct flavours, not like the Indian Chinese, which tends to me more on the Indian side than the Chinese.

Overall, i think this restaurant is worth going to, if you do want to try out new and improved Chinese.

Manali – Leh travel guide

After my trip last year, a lot of people have been asking me time and again about the trip and for some tips on this route.

The Manali to Leh road route is considered by many to be the greatest and arguably the toughest motorcycling road in the world. Every year, dozens of bikers from all over the world ride over this road, which crosses over some of the highest mountain passes of the world. The road is open from the end of May to about October, give or take a few weeks. The exact timings are dictated by the amount of snowfall that the passes recieve each year. This road is maintained by the Indian Army and is of strategic importance and so the Army takes all pains to ensure that for the few summer months, the road is never closed for more than a day or two, even if the weather is particularly bad.

The Route: Manali – Rohtang Pass – Tandi – Keylong – Jispa – ZingZing Bar – Baralacha La (Pass) – Bharatpur – SarchuGhata loops – Nakee La – LachLung La – Pang – More PlainsTanglang La – Upshi – Karu – Leh

Planning

You can never plan enough to ride on this highway. There are just too many unknowns. Even if everything else is all hunky dory, the weather can play spoilsport anytime. The only way to ride on this route is to keep an open mind and be open to exploring new options.

The Manali-Leh highway is full of bad roads, water crossings, glaciers (if you’re lucky) and crosses over some of the world’s highest passes and such the journey is highly unpredictable. Be prepared for uncertainties like inclemental weather, tyre punctures and any other mechanical problems with your vehicle. Carry any spares you think your vehicle might need and prepare for the worst.

Plan to take atleast three days to complete the journey although some people do the entire stretch in two days, it doesn’t make sense to rush up. The real fun is in the journey and not the destination.

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Unix 101 – Help aka 'man' pages

UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity.”

– Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie is one of the creators of Unix and the above quote summarizes the philosophy behind Unix. The Unix command line is terse by design and it can take a new user a long time to understand (and remember) the nuances of a particular command line.

Fret not, cause man is at hand.

man is the unix/linux command line utility designed to display documentation about a given command. For example, suppose you’ve forgotten the option used to display the long list of files in a directory, you can use the following command to view the help manual for the ‘ls’ command:

$ man ls

That’s it.

This will display a page with a description of the ‘ls’ command and all the options that it supports. If you’re lucky, the man page writer would have also included some examples describing the usage of the command.

Now, try viewing the man page for all the other commands that we’ve discussed till now.

OSScamp Bengaluru Mobile 2008

http://osscamp.in/index.php/OSScamp_Bengaluru_Mobile_2008

OSScamp Bengaluru Mobile 2008 is an unconference, unlike a conventional conference where discussions and panels are arranged beforehand, The unconference lets everyone decide what will be discussed on the day. Obviously like other unconferences it is free but you are expected to participate. If you are in the camp you are expected to share, speak, volunteer, blog, help or participate in some form. Unconferences are all about the power of individuals when they come together and change the world.

The conference is scheduled for 19th July. This is a short notice, I know, but the organisers are looking for more speakers. Although, anyone can hold a talk impromptu at an unconference, a ready list of scheduled talks just makes things a bit streamlined.

Register as a sponsor, attendee or a speaker by visiting the wiki link above.

Unix 101: Listing and reading files and moving between directories

In the last post of this series, we learned about logging in to a Linux box, creating a new non superuser account and start using that.

In this post we’ll learn how to start working with files. Creating, deleting and managing files is the reason you use a computer, right ?

Unix has a concept of directories, which is the same as a folder on Windows.

To list all the files in the current directory, use the following command:

$ ls

This will give you a list of directories in what is called the wide format.

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Unix 101 – Basic Unix skills

I have a confession to make. I’m a Unix guy, have always been and will always be. I’ve been using Unix for the last 10 years or so and will continue using it for as long as I can. There is something about the simplicity of the unix command line that none of the flashier operating systems can match.

I’ve also been interviewing people with basic Unix skills for various positions over the last couple of years. For some reason, I’ve found that Indian college curriculum doesn’t put too much emphasis on Unix and so, most people who come out of these colleges don’t know much beyond the flashy GUIs that most Unix/Linux distros have. Infact, a lot of people who come for interviews tend to thing that Redhat/Fedora IS Linux. And when asked, tell me that the only Linux they have experience on is Linux version 9 !

Anyway, I’ve decided to start series on basic Unix skills on this blog in the hope that this’ll be a useful reference for someone starting to learn Unix/Linux. I’ll be mostly concentrating on Linux as that is what I’m most comfortable with and currently work with, but if I do get requests for similar posts on other Unix systems, I’ll be happy to oblige.

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The Boy Who Left Home to find out about the Shiver

The Boy Who Left Home to find out about the Shiver

How many times have you watched FRIENDS, Star Trek, DDLJ or your wedding video. Ever wondered why there are these things that we go back to again and again. The logical reason is that either they are entertaining every time you watch them OR there are some memories associated with them that you RE-LIVE each and every time you watch those videos.

Well, I have one of those awesome memories about watching “The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers”. Based on a not-so-well-known tale from the Brothers Grimm, this is the tale of a boy who has never known fear. Every year, from the time I was 8 till 11, when my cousins and I would gang up together during summer holidays at my grandparents’ house, this was our number one choice to watch. It was pretty spooky & the castle scenes scared the heck out of me when I was little, but were a lot of fun.

Recently I watched the video again and it was fun to look back at what I found scary then ;).

This is one childhood memory of mine I will always cherish.

Quick and Cheap North Indian Lunch

Tasty doesn’t mean Expensive

One of my favourite things to have for lunch is Chole-Kulchey and if you haven’t stayed in Delhi/Amritsar, in all likelihood, you haven’t tasted the real thing. Sweet…chilly…tangy… utterly delicious food. Do not ever do the mistake of eating this dish anywhere except the North. South/West/East Indians just can’t make it the way its supposed to be.

In the inner circle of Cannaught Place one can see vendors with hand pulled carts with Shiny Big brass vessels filled with the cholley (channa/matter) & a small burner heating the kulchey AND if one misses that the smell of the mouth-watering channa will anyway guide you to the right place.

It takes less than 5 min for the guy to mix the chickpea with spices, lemon, chopped tomatoes, onions & chillies and serve it on a leaf plate … all for Rs. 10/- (in budget and for the cal conscious LOW CAL).

The hot spots other than CP for this delectable dish are Chandini Chowk, Shankar Market, Green Park (basically everywhere) , although my absolute favorite is Nathu’s at Defence Colony (Def Col. for the uninitiated).

So if you are lucky enough to be in DefCol right now …Go to Nathu’s and have the meal of your lifetime.

PS: This post has been written after an utterly disgusting and tasteless food at the company cafeteria.