Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are you really getting a Mac?

Apple's latest Get a Mac Ad's are funny, not because Vista sucks (which probably it does), but because of John Hodgman. Hats off man, you singlehandedly killed Vista :)

10 Great things to do, when you are on a Firewalled night shift

Imagine you are stranded all night in Office, waiting for something bad to happen, and stuck with a Vista Machine with restricted access and a crippled network. How do you manage the next 12 hours. Here are 10 ways to survive a Firewalled night shift.

10.Blog offline
Blogger, Wordpress etc. are all blocked at work. Type your posts in good 'ol html/text, and either mail it directly to Blogger, or go home, and use your own trusty internet connection, 14 hours later and publish it to the world.

9. Twitter through the night
I tried this but failed miserably. Twitter is generally blocked at work, but you can either post your tweets via twittermail or via your im (look at 6)

8. Watch videos for strictly non-entertainment purpose
Sticking to the office decorum, my favorite source of vidoes are - revision3, cnet and WSJ Online
Please no youtube or Saturday Night Live at work.

7. Listen to music
If you forgot your iPod, the thing I did, you have tonnes of online sources. My top picks - youtube (yeah for music, and it works in my office), seeqpod and Grooveshark

6.Chat with friends and strangers
This one is such a big time waster :) but that's exactly what you want now, right
Most of the offices block instant messengers. Here is a really cool site that lets you do it on port 80. Gtalk javascript clone.
This has a really strange bug. It auto accepts all invites, including what google suggests from your blogger comment contacts, and you end up taking to people you hardly know. But it's still cool.

5.Code something fun
Well this one's for the real geeky ones.When you have restricted access, nothing beats the simplicity and ease of Excel VBA macros. No admin rights needed. Code your way through the night. How about a pacman in excel?

4. Read a Book
Read something that will keep you awake. I prefer some good ol' science fiction - Asimov's, Arthur Clarke's and Stephen Baxters.

3. Talk to real people
Come out of the virtual world mate, no facebook, no twitter.. I am referring to good ol' people in flesh n blood. You are never in it alone.. just look around for folks in similar "What should i do now" mode.

2. Do some real work!
Oh c'mon, the work that you are intended to do, staying late.. in the first place.

1. Think of the 10 best ways to survive a firewalled night shift
And, be prepared for the comments that would follow when it reaches the world.

Have a great week folks! And enjoy your night shifts.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

KDE4: Resolving Dolphin crashes & the Krusaders to our rescue

Here is a common issue in KDE4. Everything seems to work fine, and suddenly poof, Dolphin fails to load. It crashes with signal 6 ((SIGABRT).

Here is a quick tip. The fastest way to resolve Dolphin crashes in KDE4 is to do a clean re-install of the Dolphin package from your package manager. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work, as even after reinstalling or upgrading the Dolphin package, the error remains unresolved.The reason is that the configuration files are not cleared when you re-install, so we need to remove them manually.
This is what you need to do.

1.Remove/Uninstall Dolphin from your package manager.
2.Locate all the Dolphin configuration files on your system, and rename or delete them.

$ locate dolphin

$ rm -rf /home/anoj/.kde4/share/apps/dolphin

$ mv /var/lib/mandriva/kde4-profiles/common/share/config/dolphinrc /var/lib/mandriva/kde4-profiles/common/share/config/dolphinrc!

3.Now install the Dolphin package again.
4.Restart your machine (this one is optional but recommended)

Great, Dolphin is back.

Now, if you still can't fix it, then let's see what alternatives we have..
I personally use this really great KDE file manager called Krusader

Do drop me a note, if you have any other recommendations for other alternative file managers.

Friday, October 03, 2008

KDE4: Resolving the "call to lnusertemp failed" issue after adding new user

A strange thing happened the other day. I was adding a guest user to my pc using Mandriva's KDE4 control panel. I created the guest user and tried logging in back to my primary account.

KDE threw an error message "call to lnusertemp failed {temporary directories full?} and crashed back to the login screen.

I immediately went to my terminal 1 (ctrl + Alt + F1), logged in as root and typed in

$ df -h
/dev/sda1 33G 5.3G 26G 18% /
/dev/sda2 19G 17G 2.9G 85% /media/hd

And I could see I had over 26 GB of free space left. I decided to check the permission of my home directory, just in case..

$ ls -sl /home
4 drwx--x--x 39 guest guest 4096 2008-10-03 00:35 anoj/
4 drwxr-xr-x 23 guest guest 4096 2008-10-03 00:16 guest -> anoj

Strangely, Kde seemed to have assigned ownership of my home to the guest user. I assigned the ownership back to my primary "anoj" user.

$ cd /home
$ chown -R anoj anoj

Deleted the symbolic link for the "guest" home directory and created a new directory "guest"

$ rm guest
$ mkdir guest
$ chown guest guest

And I tried logging in as "anoj" and Voila!, I was back in my familiar KDE environment.