Exams and chess

In every exam season I find something to distract myself from studies. And this time it’s chess.

I had stopped playing in chess.com for several months and the rating had dipped to about 1250. Once I restarted playing it climbed back again, but not as high as it used to be. My skills have become blunt. Will need a lot of practice to reach a rating of about 1600.

And then I bought the diamond membership in chess.com for a month. Cost me 7 dollars, but hope it would be worth the cost. I can now play unlimited moves from the mobile app, has unlimited access to tactics trainer and computer workout and several other cool features. The important thing is to make proper use of each of these features before the month runs out. If the going gets good I would perhaps buy the diamond membership for a whole year. To get access to Chess Mentor you need a platinum account but that’s not within my budget’s reach.

And talking about the exams.. well, I’d better not talk about them.

I need a good sound system

I need a good sound system.
To get a good sound system I need money.
To get money I need a job.
To get a job I need to finish this degree.
To finish this degree I need to pass this exam.
To pass this exam I should study well.
To study well I need to concentrate.
To concentrate I need good music.
To have good music I need a good sound system.


Bring your dear Vim to Firefox – Vimperator

If you are a die-hard Vim fan and haven’t heard of Vimperator already, here’s great news: You can control your web browser using the keyboard without the need to touch your mouse just like in Vim.

Vimperator is a Firefox extension that creates a Vim-like environment in your browser. It removes all clutter including the menu bar, tool bar and bookmarks bar. However if you want, you can bring them up again using a simple command. Navigating the pages are same as in Vim, use hjkl and what-not. The list of commands you can use is enormous, but thankfully Vimperator has a great documentation as well. Just type :help and hit Enter to view the help.

You can build aliases, map keystrokes, etc in a separate configuration file named .vimperatorrc. There are also dozens of plugins available.

It takes some time to get used to the command-only interface, but once you are through you will know that it’s worth the effort.

Take a look at the minimal look of Firefox once Vimperator is installed:

Rename your TV shows with Filebot

If you have no idea why you should rename the episodes of your TV shows, take this example. Suppose you have the Prison Break TV series with its episodes named like this:




But it would be quite useful if you could have them renamed a little more descriptively like this:

Prison Break – 1×04 – Cute Poison.avi

Prison Break – 1×05 – English, Fitz or Percy.avi

Or you may need to rename them to another specific format.

FileBot is a free and open source tool which does this renaming for you automagically. It obtains the correct episode names from sites like TVRage and AniDB, so it will work for almost all TV shows and anime. Other than renaming shows, it has several other features, including subtitle downloads.

FileBot is cross-platform and can be launched via Java Web Start. The app is less documented and its features are a bit hidden, though.

Browsing without images

I’ve always been a Chrome fan, but switched to Firefox three days ago. The reason is that Chrome does not have an image blocking extension yet.

Yes, I’m browsing the web with images and Flash turned off these days. It’s a minimal browsing experience. It cuts the crap and lets you see only what’s important. It gets better when you make use of the Readability extension. The pages load much faster and the dear bandwidth is saved. And if you want to turn on the images for a certain site, the toggle button is only a single click away.

99% of the sites can be viewed without images with no problem. Even Facebook, unless you want to see the occasional photo that someone tags you in.

And talking about Firefox, I’m getting used to it. It’s slow and rickety like an old CTB bus, but then, I love old CTB buses.

OhLife – the diary you've always wanted to write

Writing a diary continuously is something most of us fail to do.

OhLife is an online diary which employs emails to push us into making an entry each day. It will send you an email every day at 8pm asking how the day went. What we have to do is to reply that mail and the reply will be saved as an entry in the diary.

I’ve been using the service for about five months now and found that this method really works. The two major reasons are that you’re reminded of writing an entry each day and you don’t have to open any application or website to write the entry: just replying the mail at least with a single sentence would do.

If you’re one of those who has always wanted to keep a diary but cannot keep up with the habit for long, give OhLife a try.

Last.fm scrobbling problems

Many users have experienced that their tracks aren’t properly scrobbled in last.fm during the past 24 hours. However, this seems to be a display issue, the tracks are actually being scrobbled. To see the real track list that’s been scrobbled, add “/tracks” to your user URL.

eg: http://www.last.fm/user/thameera/tracks

Hope the issue will be solved soon.

Installing Xilinx in Linux 64 bit

I explained the method to install Xilinx in a previous post, but that method only works for 32 bit systems. If you followed that procedure in a 64 bit machine it will install you’d not be able to compile projects.

Installing Xilinx for 64 bit linux is quite like the 32 bit method, only that you have to set your working directory to bin/lin64 in your Xilinx ISE directory. There’s a similar setup in this directory for 64 bit machines. So the steps to follow would be,

sudo ./setup

. settings64.sh

Notice that you have to run the settings64.sh file instead of the settings32.sh

Recovering the grub

I had installed BURG to replace the GRUB menu even though I had only Ubuntu installed in my laptop. And the crazy me typed sudo rm -r /boot/BURG for some unknown reason and the grub was gone. The machine would boot and stop at grub rescue> prompt.

So after messing around in the #ubuntu IRC channel, found that the only option was to boot from a 10.10 bootable usb and rescue the grub. The commands used were:

mount | tail -1

to find out how the root was mounted and,

sudo grub-install –root-directory=/media/5d0602f1-892d-4ef0-9c7a-71a417aafd3d /dev/sda

to rescue the grub.

Moral of the story: Linux assumes you understand what you’re doing.

Chrome extensions I can't live without

Just thought of sharing the Google Chrome extensions I use daily. In fact I’ve tested a lot of Chrome extensions and these are the few that have remained without being uninstalled.

  1. Google Mail Checker Plus
  2. Readability Redux – Extension for the popular Readability bookmarklet
  3. Instachrome – Plugin for Instapaper
  4. Tweet Button
  5. goo.gl URL shortener
  6. FeedSquares – Google Reader extension
  7. Session Buddy – Remembers the currently opened tabs