Updates from April, 2008 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Akarsh Simha 3:39 pm on April 28, 2008 Permalink  

    Ramayanapedia, based on a W(alm)iki! 


    Krishashok’s is probably the most entertaining blog I’ve come across till date. Thanks Prasanna, for the introduction.

  • Akarsh Simha 3:58 pm on April 26, 2008 Permalink  

    Farewell treat by Varun and KMap 

    We have two major FOSS icons of IIT Madras leaving the institute this year – Varun Hiremath, going to become an MTech in Aerospace Engg, Debian Developer, Contributor to Jajuk, going to Cornell; and Kumar Appaiah, going to become an MTech in Electrical Engg, Debian Developer, Contributor to SciPy etc, going to University of Texas at Austin.

    We demanded a treat! A wonderful treat it was, indeed. [Thanks a lot Varun, Kumar!]

    Group photo after we came back to our campus:

    Group Photo after Treat

    Everyone wore a “Linux” T-Shirt to the treat, except for Prakash, who woke up just then and came in a hurry. 😀

  • Akarsh Simha 10:26 pm on April 22, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: FOSS development,   

    How I started Kontributing! 

    I used to love programming in dirty non-standard C++ using Borland’s Turbo C++ IDE v3.0 on MS-DOS. I ‘wasted’ much of my time during my high school (and college, to some extent) on trying to build a GUI “library” for MS-DOS, which could do command buttons, checkboxes, menus, blah blah blah. (While this taught me some OOP concepts, and some debugging skills, I was trying to reinvent the wheel. I don’t think it was worth spending so much time on it, now, but I was a FOSSn00b at that point of time.)

    I wanted to develop, for no productive reasons, a Sky atlas software for MS-DOS. So I decided to use KStars’ catalogs. I downloaded the KStars source and tried to understand how to use these catalogs. I also borrowed the RADectoXY conversion from KStars. While looking through the code, I saw that the KStars code was so beautifully written, so well encapsulated, that I decided that there was absolutely no point in re-inventing the wheel, and decided to join the KStars project and try to kontribute.

    So I wrote out a mail to Jason Harris, author of KStars, saying that I’m an amateur astronomer who was inspired into the same by KStars, know some C++, and want to try and kontribute in my own small way. Jason said that I could try picking out bugs, try fixing small bugs, and asked me to join the kstars-devel at kde dot org mailing list. After some bug-finding, bug-fixing, I sent in my first patch.

    Sometimes, the desire to improve software that I use (“Why does that software have this feature, while this software that I use does not?” for instance) drives me to contribute. I did something for mcabber because gajim had a gajim-remote but mcabber did not (unfortunately, it is not working now 😦 – example of bad code). I think that’s what happened with KStars, although I don’t remember clearly. KStars lacked the star depth offered by Cartes du Ciel, and the amount of information about DSOs, or accuracy in magnitudes was more in other software. That’s where I decided to jump in.

  • Akarsh Simha 1:06 pm on April 18, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    What does my Desktop look like? 

    I ran Xnest to test KDE 4 (devel), after a fresh update and rebuild yesternight. Here’s what I got:
    My Desktop!

  • Akarsh Simha 9:26 pm on April 17, 2008 Permalink

    KSConjunct – Konjunctions for KStars – Backends 

    Finally, the code to predict conjunctions is complete and de-bugged. The bug that took so much time to resolve was that I hadn’t called m_Earth -> findPosition(…), i.e. I was trying to compute Geocentric positions of planets without updating the position of the Earth! This swatted, and another bug with LST swatted, the code now works (hopefully).

    The code, along with can be found here for the time being. This is the first ‘feature’ I’ve written for KStars, after quite a few small bugfixes that I kontributed so far. It wasn’t as tough as I thought it was!

    The frontend still needs to be done, and I don’t know when I’ll find time for that. Currently, it is an open request to all who are enthu about kontributing to help write the interface.

    The approaching end semester examinations call for a halt to all other activities, and this might (or might not be, if I’m too tempted to blog about something) be the last blog post for a few days to come.

  • Akarsh Simha 2:56 pm on April 14, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    DBus for MCabber 

    I desperately wanted this, so I coded it over a night. Comment on this post if you want a tarball.

    Now I can set the mcabber status to the current playing track from mocp using a script. 😀

  • Akarsh Simha 12:13 am on April 12, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    Spam Filtering for Jabber? 

    I am frequently pained when Isomeone asks me a technical question on Jabber. I’d want to redirect them to the IRC channel #iitm-linux but I feel “obliged” to respond, and I hate to hide. So, I wanted some filtering, just like I have procmail for mail filtering, for Jabber chats as well – that way, I’ll be blissfully ignorant of unwanted messages.

    So I hacked the MCabber source to introduce a programmable filter that any messages are passed through, before they flash my bulb. The modified files in the src directory of the mcabber tarball on the MCabber site are available here temporarily.

    Just create an executable ~/.mcabber/filter and chmod it to atleast u+rx to get the filter working.

    The filter can accept four command line args – The JID of the sender, The resource of the sender, The Message, and The Type of Message (as defined by MCabber) and must output the processed message to stdout. If the filter outputs nothing, then no message is displayed.

    I’ve done something extremely dumb: I could’ve piped the message into stdin, instead of putting it as a command line argument. Most of my time went into trying to escape the quotes in the message, encountering lot of dumb bugs – I could’ve saved on that. Late realisation. 😦

    Anyway, will fix that in future. There are many more interesting things to left to do – like passing the current status into the filter, so that you can vary the action of the filter depending on whether you’re away, busy or available, and hacking MCabber to get DBus support and writing a MCabber Remote to create programmable autoresponders!

  • Akarsh Simha 11:52 pm on April 11, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: , segfault   

    Poetry in Segfaults 

    DEBUG: nqoutes = 1sh: -c: line 0: unexpected EOF while looking for matching `”
    sh: -c: line 1: syntax error: unexpected end of file
    DEBUG: nqoutes = 0DEBUG: Escaped string = Viola! In view a humble vaudevillian veteran,
    cast vicariously as both victim and villain
    by the vicissitudes of fate.
    This visage, no mere veneer of vanity,
    is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished.
    However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone
    vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to
    vanquish these venal and virulent vermin
    vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious
    and voracious violation of volition.
    The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta,
    held as a votive, not in vain, for the value
    and veracity of such shall one day
    vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
    Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers
    most verbosei.tiASegmentation fault

    That’s a segfault which I encountered while trying to hack mcabber to put a programmable filter. This thing happened to be my friend’s status message on Jabber, and I had some bug that was not terminating strings appropriately with a during some copy operation!

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