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  1. Hiding behind open

    May 23, 2010 by Prasanna

    Someone who sells you software based on it’s openness rather than it’s innovation, is probably selling crappy software cloaked as open.


  2. Adobe – Apple thing

    April 12, 2010 by Prasanna

    First the iPhone, now iPad. Flash is not invited to the party, and obviously Adobe is not happy. Understandable.

    They want to make sure their developers are able to write iPhone and iPad apps without ever leaving the Flash platform. Understandable.

    What is not understandable is the route they are taking. The idea to convert Flash code to Objective-C code while clever, is very risky (especially considering the rejection and blocking history of Apple). Was an alternative route of converting Flash code to HTML 5 even considered? Apple would not have any problem with HTML 5 code, and even if they did, it wouldn’t matter. There isn’t much they can do about it.

    It looks like Adobe is focusing on all the wrong things, and what a costly time to do that?


  3. Install Snow Leopard from an external hard drive

    August 31, 2009 by Prasanna

    I¬†was deprived of using the latest Mac OS X, Snow Leopard for hours because I didn’t know this simplest of features. For some cursed reason my early 2008 white MacBook would spit out the installation DVD after about 15 seconds of making various pitched noises. Nothing I do would mount the drive. Remote installation didn’t seem to work either.

    Not until I made a quick trip to the nearby Apple store did I find this great tip, and I was able to install the OS with zero hassle. You do need a Mac that can read the OS to start with though to make an installation image. You just don’t need an optical drive on the Mac that you are installing it on. This is especially useful for upgrading your MacBook Air. As an additional advantage, the installation is just a tad quicker this way. So, here is what you do,

    Restore your installation disk to external hard drive

    • Insert the installation disk into the optical drive
    • Connect the hard drive from which you want to be able to install Snow Leopard to the Mac (USB / Firewire)
    • Open Disk Utility from Applications -> Utilities
    • On the left-hand pane, you should see the external hard drive and the installation disc

    • Select Mac OS X Install DVD from the list and select the Restore tab from the top
    • Drag and drop the Mac OS X Install DVD from the left pane and drop it on to the Source box; Drag the hard drive on to the Destination box

    • Remember to uncheck the ‘Erase destination’ checkbox if you have other things in the hard drive, then click Restore

    • The restore takes about 7 GB and you might want to create a partition to have a nice installation drive of its own
    • Mac OS X will do its thing, and you should have an image of the installation disc on your hard drive

    Now, remove the hard drive from the Mac, and connect it to the Mac that doesn’t have an optical drive. The partition should auto-open with the installation disc. Double-click on the ‘Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard’ icon to start installation!


  4. Submit Electronic Forms from Adobe Reader, and more

    August 26, 2009 by Prasanna

    This used to my biggest gripe about Acrobat Reader – for all its bulk and bloat, all it could do is read. Of course, you could generate some really good electronic forms with Reader Pro, but it was never really useful because, it was required that every user who is ever going to fill that form needs to have a Reader Pro too – an incredibly expensive solution. It was.

    Adobe has taken on board, the one biggest push back from the customers of Acrobat Reader 8. On the new Acrobat Reader 9, anybody can fill, save and submit documents – with just the free Reader. Now , when you create a form, you can choose to allow saving on Acrobat Reader, and it will allow any user with Acrobat Reader to save, print or submit a completed form. Also, when the 50 users you distributed the form to, submit the form, you don’t need to receive 50 PDFs back, you can choose to consolidate the information in a spreadsheet for analysis and reporting. That for me, is a major improvement in workflow.
    Some of the other major new features include
    • Encapsulating multiple PDFs into one PDF portfolio
    • PDF presenter – powerpoint type presentations with rich media
    • Form creation from scanned paper forms!
    • Commenting and reviewing from Acrobat Reader (extended version not required)
    Do check out Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 and the extended version here.

  5. How to add a ‘Note in Reader’ bookmarklet to your iPhone

    April 23, 2009 by Prasanna

    RSS readers are becoming much more than just that. Google reader in recent times has been focussing more and more towards the social networking aspects. Sharing, Comments and notes have been great, so it has become a breeze to let your friends know what you are reading and what you think about them.

    Although, this was limited to just your subscribed feeds. Last May, Google released a nice little bookmartlet that allowed us to share or note any page in the wide web.

    Bookmarklets are little snippets of code (usually javascript), that stays in your bookmark bar, and when clicked does a particular action on the page you are

    on. In this case, it nicely adds it to your Reader notes along with any comments, and an option to share it. Quite nifty.

    That is precisely why its such a pity Google provides no obvious way to add this feature to iPhone.

    Here is the workaround. It is easy, and once done, any website you are viewing on your iPhone is ready to be shared right from your bookmarks.

    • To get yourself started open this page you are reading right now in your iPhone. (You might want to mail yourself this link and click on it to make it easier for you)
    • Click on this link to open it in a new mobile safari tab.
    • Do not worry about the contents of the webpage. Click on +.

    • Now tap Add Bookmark.

    • Change the Name to ‘Note in Reader’ and tap Save.
    • Now tap the Bookmarks icon and locate the Note in Reader bookmark you just saved.
    • Tap Edit on bottom left corner and Select Note in Reader.

    • Keep the name field unchanged. Tap on the link field get to the left most part of the link by tap hold and moving your finger left.

    • Make sure the cursor is between ‘?’ and ‘j’ in javascript. Delete everything to the left, by pressing the backspace button, so the link starts with ‘javascript’. Tap done. Then ‘done’ on the Bookmarks window.

    You are ready to go now. To note any page in Reader, select Bookmarks icon from the page and select ‘Note in Reader’.

    A small window opens up to give you the options to jot the site down in Google Reader.

    You might want to zoom in by pinching so you have a good view of the box.

    If you do not wish to share the item, uncheck the box, and add any comments you wish to add. Press ‘Post Item’.

    The page you have noted is ready to be read at your leisure or for your friends!

    Now, the all important last step, do leave your comments, suggestions or blasphemies in the comment section!


  6. Day out at the Grand Prix

    March 30, 2009 by Prasanna

    We were at the grand prix in Albert Park circuit yesterday. I have always thought of F1 racing as not that much of a watching sport. Actually, after being there nearly the whole day yesterday I still think so. The racing itself is pretty dull; but there is so much more to see than just the races.

    The crowds, music, the noise, jet shows, and the excitement of it all gets to you eventually, even if you go in knowing next to nothing about racing.

    I don’t think I will ever see a Lamborghini coated with so much dust ever again, if at all I see one. I guess everybody had better things to do and see than giving it a quick clean.

    What’s he trying to hide there??

    Couple of my friends who we went with, who knew a bit more about these races and these cars than me, stayed here for about 15 minutes, and moved only after the crowd pushed them away eventually.

    Somebody should have told him he was looking the wrong way!


  7. Wedding is on the cards

    January 1, 2009 by Prasanna

    Hope you all had a rocking new years day, and have a gorgeous year ahead!

    This is a quick update on something I have been up to in the last month or so. I am getting married in about 3 weeks, and everything is uncharacteristically calm and serene around here. We got things that I thought could be tricky rather easily. I got a new place in a matter of 2 days, furnishing the place was a breeze thanks to all the friends who shopped around over whole weekends and helped put together the furniture back home. And the fiance has been extremely calm in spite of her being in the middle of all the action, having to do a chunk of the preparations all by herself.

    So, when we started to look out for a wedding invitation design I didn’t really expect it to be very difficult. I mean, what’s with all the great websites that should be available, which must make it easy for me to choose a card, customize it and get it printed. That was until I typed in “Indian Wedding Invitations” in google.

    I must say at the start, we were pretty patient and looked at over 50 pages of invitation designs. What we found though were designs that could have been great on sarees, extremely colourful designs with religious deities thrown in, and oh yes I have got to mention the sheer volume of the traditional mango design you would find in sarees.

    (The legendary Mango)

    (Comes with a free matching designer saree of the same design)

    (Return of the Mango)

    Not saying these are bad designs, there seldom is a bad or good design in these things. Although, I really would have suggested to go easy with the colours to the person who designed.

    Anyway, we found a card that we liked and all is well now, just looked a bit scary at one point.


  8. Free Edge

    December 12, 2008 by Prasanna

    Apple Store came to Melbourne in June this year, only third in all of Australia and first in Melbourne. For years before then, the only place to get Apple products has been resellers, of which there are very few around.

    There is one in particular, My Mac right in the city. It is just opposite Federation Square and across the road from Flinders Street train station. Arguably the best location one could have asked for in Melbourne, only next to where the Parliament now stands.

    I had never been to an Apple Store before it came to Melbourne. While Melbourne is an extremely hospitable city and most shops have great service, I was pleasantly surprised by the service at the Apple Store first time went there, and I have visited the shop many times since.

    On one of my visits, I told the guy at the Genius Bar about some of the dropped calls I was getting since I bought my iPhone. He connected the phone to a computer, made some tests and about 5 minutes later, handed me a brand new iPhone in replacement for the old one. And I didn’t even suggest it!

    Cut to the My Mac store. I have been to this store a few times, simply because there were no alternatives. While you can get what you want, the staff are not there to better your experience in the store. They are there to bill you. Every time a customer asks a question, the answer is given, albeit in a tone that makes it clear that the customer has just wasted a few precious moments of the staff.

    They might still get away with it, simply because they boast a great location, but what a waste? For years they have had the opportunity to build some great customers with nearly no competition, and unlike the location and the size of the store, this would have been free of cost. And they blew it.


  9. Immunity to Death

    December 7, 2008 by Prasanna

    This has been the biggest break for me, after putting up my first post on this space. I was nearly ready with a post, and then the Mumbai attacks happened.

    There were so many things to be said, but at the same time I didn’t want to say a thing. There were so many things being said in the media already. They were proud of our forces at times, and they were outraged at times. Proud of all the men who swarmed into the hotel to save numerous lives putting theirs in line. Outraged that a dozen people could cause so much damage, so easily.

    It is my opinion that we Indians have become more immune to death than anybody else. May be because we see so many of them so often. Whether it is a natural disaster or a terrorist attack or a large scale accident, we forget about it the next day and move on with our lives. While it is great that Mumbai can get back to normal so quickly after the train bombs, are we learning anything from them? Or is it just some more lives lost and moving on as soon as possible? After so many terror attacks in the recent times, it is worrying that our Rapid Action Forces took more than 8 hours to reach the terror scenes.

    These recent attacks had more at stake because of the targeting of foreign nationals. The Government stand to lose a lot of its revenue from tourism and even some business opportunities. While it is terrible for so many people from US, UK and other countries who had planned their holidays in India, I am hoping these stakes would cause the Indian Government to take strong preventive measures. This is what we have come to, because it seems the lives of the locals don’t seem to warrant any.


  10. Ayn Rand vs Dagny Taggart

    November 16, 2008 by Prasanna

    There is this discussion I had in Orkut communities sometime back that turned out pretty interesting. The community discusses Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, and this was reason enough for me to be interested. Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are among my all time favorites, and I have recommended the book to a lot of friends.

    This particular discussion was about something everybody who reads Atlas Shrugged would identify with. Many people understand and accept Ayn Rand’s reasoning, while many others find it as some sort of a scar in an otherwise terrific piece of work.

    Is Dagny Taggart right in leaving Francisco De Anconia and Hank Rearden for John Galt?

    (If you didn’t understand the last sentence, stop here. You have a lot of work to do. Go read Fountainhead, then Atlas Shrugged, then come back here. I will wait. Promise.)

    There are a lot of ways to look at this issue, and the explanation that Ayn gives in the book is perfectly valid. Here is my point of view, better formatted than from Orkut.

    Does anyone know what Ayn’s views on marriage were? The fact is she approved marriage very much. She even thought it was very important in one’s life. I think that is commitment.

    She actually did something very close to Dagny in her life. Not three men, but two.

    She was married to Frank O Connor. Ayn was in love with him, but he was not in love with her (he married her because Ayn persuaded him to marry her for her immigration purposes).

    And ayn had a student of her philosophy, Nathaniel Branden. She persuaded another student of hers, Barbara to marry Nathaniel. They were living happily. Until Ayn at an age around 60 started loving Nathaniel, and Nathaniel out of respect confided he loved her as well (he was not in love actually, as Ayn came to know later).

    She caused extreme pain to Frank, Nathaniel and Barbara, the 3 people she supposedly loved most in the whole world, and she caused the divorce between Nathaniel and Barbara.

    She might have persuaded the readers about this in her novel, but causing unimaginable pain to the very people you love is ugly in any philosophy. I love her philosophy and I respect her and her books. But because she says a lot of good things, doesn’t mean everything she says is right.

    What happened in her life is just an extension of what she wrote in Atlas Shrugged about Dagny. Infact, she quoted Atlas Shrugged to her husband and Nathaniel’s wife, and persuaded them that what she did was right.

    I have been thinking about this ever since I first read Atlas Shrugged and then Ayn’s biography. I have concluded that what Dagny did is right and what Ayn did is wrong. The only difference is that what happened to their earlier lovers (Hank and Fransisco – Dagny and Frank – Ayn). Hank and Fransisco don’t seem to be concerned about Dagny leaving them, at least they don’t seem distressed and hurt. But, Frank was hurt to the point that he started drinking very heavily and ruined his life. The fact that Ayn caused such agony and misery to the person she loved most in life (she dedicated Fountainhead to Frank earlier), is unforgivable.

    Although what Dagny does doesn’t seem to affect the earlier lovers, it should be remembered that it is fiction, an extremely well written one, but still fiction. May be Ayn wanted Frank to react like how Fransisco and Hank did in Atlas Shrugged, and because of this wishful thinking, the whole situation was created in the novel. Anyway, I think the only way a lover will react to an act like that of Dagny’s is how Frank reacted.

    If a women or a man is already in love, and he/she finds a great person, may be even greater than his/her lover, why can’t he/she have a relationship without a romantic connotation, especially when you know that you are hurting your earlier lover? For example, if the man/woman finds his/her sister/brother, or any person from the same sex as a great person, the relationship is great, as between two sensible people interacting, enjoying each other’s company, and obviously without any romatic connotations. Why can’t there be a relationship like that just because they are not related by birth, or of the same sex? Why should there be sex involved in all relationships? (I am not saying sex is wrong by any means. But I definitely think to have sex with every great man you see is foolish, impractical and most important of all, uncivilized). And it is the same when somebody says I give my soul to one person, but I would give my body to different people, at least until I find the person who I can give my soul to.

    It certainly doesn’t sound fair to me. It might when you are in the position of Ayn or Dagny, but what to do, we are talking about objectivity here!

    (Facts about Ayn’s life are from her biography, Passion of Ayn Rand by Barbara Branden.)