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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Finally

It’s over. Two years, full of strange relatives, stranger superstitions and crazy-edged college searches.

Board results out, visa application almost in – can almost taste the exhaust from the plane jetting me off to see…cornfields.

Finally started drumming lessons and will eventually learn to ride a cycle (yes, I don’t already know – mock away). If all goes well, start earning my first paycheck from next week.

I’m finally beginning to get exactly what it means to grok a language – python to be exact. It really is so simple. Made some rather decent headway on a pet project of mine.

and yes, I still suck at writing.

First off, the title is supposed to be a pun and a not a very good one at that. (Save that mental groan – You’ll need it very soon indeed)

For those of you who did not get that joke, Helena is not a promiscuous, european sex goddess but is actually an operating system. Its official name is Mint, Linux Mint (Yes, another pun – trust me they don’t get much better) or GNU/Linux for the purists. Its based off the Ubuntu system and has all the associated user friendliness of it, so even ‘nix noobs should find the experience easy to deal with. Ubuntu users should find the transition almost but not quite, entirely seamless (Told you they don’t get any better)

One of Mint’s positive points has always been the fact that it can play most media files right off the bat  – and it does. No messing about with restricted codecs, running terminal commands or searching in the package manager – it plays ogg vorbis, flac, mp3 and aac a hell of a lot better than I play the drums (which isn’t saying much) or sachin tendulkar playing cricket (which is).

The looks are quite awesome, as is any ‘nix desktop – though the default font and anti-aliasing settings will make you wince more than a modest roman orchard slave stuck in cross breeze. Thankfully those “evil” restricted Nvidia drivers install rather efficiently – I never could get the bastards to work in Karmic, because of locked Carter files (Wait for it).

The desktop is slightly different from your average GNOME desktop, in that the default toolbar is positioned at the bottom of the screen a la winblows. The first thing you’ll do is obviously move that bar to the top and install AWN. On a side note, whenever I used to use an app developed for KDE, Karmic always gave me a lot of trouble – Mint doesn’t seem to have that problem (Though that could also be because of the ram upgrade I had installed since the last time I tried Ubuntu). On a second side note (a post-post-script if you will) the curious squeaky noise I’ve been getting on my speakers is absent in Linux {This is indicative of a winblows/driver problem – but it persisted through two complete system formats}

On the whole, Mint is oddly refreshing (still holding onto that groan). The green/black colour scheme makes for a really “awesum” change.  What’s truly awesome is the community – Support is rather easy to find. No launchpad messiness to muck about with  – just log onto the extremely active forums and find help – usually within a day. They even have a site in Bengali!. You’ll find a lot of mint-exclusive scripts there too. The shortcomings are minor – notifications are reminiscent of pop-goes-the-weasel and Rhythmnbox is the default music playing app.

The few problems I’ve always had with linux still remain – yet to find decent alternatives for uTorrent or DBpoweramp. made some headway into the latter by find this really awesome script. One of these days, I’m going to have to learn how to code something like that.

As for my college decision – I’d like to set the record straight; or at least firmly crooked (Stolen joke, I know). Come Hail or High Water (And expect lot of the former) I shall be attending The University of Illinois At Urbana Champaign (Unless I don’t get a visa – in which case I might just be banished to some shitty DU school). The Good – its close to relatives, deep dish pizza and mind blowing research opportunities. The Bad – It’s not very selective, is spread across two (that’s right, two) CITIES  and  has me writing more than I ever have in my life. I kid you not – actually had to write two essays just for university housing dorm (Which is Co-ed : Eat your heart out Amrit!). Plus I have to give tests and turn in homework before I even register for classes. Still – have to say am pretty darn excited – if for nothing else than to be able to avoid meeting family for the next few years. (You know what sort of family I mean – Those irritating bastards relatives that show up and express surprise over you having the temerity to actually grow)

In Other news, started playing Urban Terror again after a long time – turning into a not too shabby Sr8-whore, though perpetually high ping rates often mean I end up playing with the LMR instead. Started experimenting with circle/strafe jumping as well – though often end up pressing the wrong key and stopping dead in space – long enough for another sniper to take my helmet off  – the more painful way.

Gyaan.in is going rather strong – page loads increase every day. It’s been a rather controversial fortnight or so, with adds having invaded faster than Usain Bolt chasing a twinkie (Or being chased by one). Started work on some sort of email newsletter – watch out for more information on that.

To share your sigh of relief – it’s over. Feel free to groan now. Infact, groan repeatedly – saves me from having to watch for things that go bump in the night (Like a) I won’t get into that now.