technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

F.lux or no F.lux and Linux!

I’ve been using a program called F.lux or Flux for over a year now.

The program is based on the research that blue light keeps you awake and alert. Not something that you’d want at night. So this program adapts the display to show warmer colors at night. You can read more about the program on it’s website. Normally flux adapts the colors as the day progresses and night starts but I preferred to keep the colors warm (yellow-ish) all day long. It’s really easy on eyes even for those long hours spent staring at computer screen.

However Flux for linux lacks the features that it’s Windows version offers. Most particularly the options of controlling the color phase during the day time. Also getting it to work on a dual monitor setup was more effort than I intended to spend. So I decided to fore go the program altogether in favor of changing the color profile of the monitor itself.

Most monitors have the color settings that allow you to pick the RGB (Red Green Blue) levels in your monitor. I fiddled around with mine and set the levels of R-100, G-100, B-0. Hence getting the blue component out of the display and achieving the same effect as flux.

Try it out yourself and see if you can adjust to it. I’d suggest using the default settings of flux till you stop noticing the yellow color of the monitor and then moving to yellow color altogether. I’d recommend giving it two weeks of usage before making a decision on if you want to stop using it or not since it feels odd initially and it takes a bit to get used to.

Let us know if it worked out for you!


Installing Haiku directly to a disk partition

haiku Installing Haiku directly to a disk partitionIntroduction

Haiku is something like Windows or Linux: an Operating System (OS). Some geeks like to play with alternative operating systems; it you are one of such geeks, you might want to give Haiku a try. Haiku is very fast and easy to use, but currently there are not many applications you can use with Haiku.

Haiku is a new open-source operating system that specifically targets personal computing. Inspired by the BeOS, Haiku is fast, simple to use, easy to learn and yet very powerful.

In this post, I will describe how to install Haiku on a spare harddisk partition directly without using a CD-ROM or USB memory key. I furthermore assume that you already installed Linux on another partition. Read the rest of this entry »

Horizontal Scrolling for MySQL queries in Linux

Everyone who works with databases on a linux terminal faces this issue at some point in time — executing select * on a table with too many columns. And in linux since there is no horizontal scrolling, the output is wrapped and hence completely unusable.

You can use


property to get rid of that text wrap.
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Mounting VMware disks on the host system

VMware uses virtual disk files as a source to store data from their virtual machines. These files are have an extension of .vmdk and are stored on your local hard drive. There are multiple instances where one would want to access these files without having to boot up the virtual machine. It could be due to a crashed VMware to recover files or like in my case to save time and speed up data retrieval from the VMware.

Luckily VMware has developed a tool for exactly these reasons, the VMware disk mount utility. You can download this utility from the following link for Windows for Linux it normally comes as a part of the VMware workstation.

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Using the presenter view in Microsoft PowerPoint.

I am sure that everyone has given presentations on a beamer / screen and will have to do so in the future. Most people I have seen presenting use the default slide show view in which the laptop/computer shows the same view as the projector / screen. This is quite unhandy when you want to refer to your slide notes or want to have an idea of the time you took till now or simply want to switch to a different slide by jumping a few in between without letting your audience being obvious of that fact.

ZA001058072 300x277 Using the presenter view in Microsoft PowerPoint.Here is where the presenter view functionality comes in use. It has to be one of the handiest tools while giving a presentation. The presenter view allows the user to take full advantage of the dual screens. While showing the full screen presentation on the screen the laptop/computer screen shows an organized collection of slide notes, navigation controls, drawing tools, timer, slide view shown on the projector and other powerful features.






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Instagram – Using the API

First a short introduction on Instagram, it is an iphone app for taking pictures, adding filters to make them look retro, and then for sharing them with sites like Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook, more importantly, it’s a simple social network of other people’s photos. You can “like” or comment on the photos, and see what’s new. It’s easy and doesn’t take much time or effort. This is one of the reasons it has become so popular so quickly.

What is also good to know is that Instagram has recently released an API which the user’s can use to fetch pictures that users upload to the website. In this article I want to discuss that API and how to use it to make the most out of it.

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WindowsXP: Using the Command prompt to see and kill processes

If you are a WindowsXP user then you must be already familiar with the life-saving graphical tool called “Task Manager” on Windows. Whenever the PC starts hanging and the processes start eating up a lot of memory (Sadly most of the time its Firefox for me), we press the alt+ctr+del key to bring up the the “Task Manager” and try to kill the memory eating processes and the ones which are “not responding”. Well, you should also know that this can be done efficiently from the command prompt as well by using the task manager command prompt alternative and kill processes from command prompt.

As my project work requires writing and running codes, I generally have at least one Windows command prompt open. If this is the case with you then it is much faster to manage your windows processes from command prompt than to open up the Task Manager, just like we do on Linux using “ps” and “kill” command. Get to know the following commands and you can easily use the command prompt to see and kill processes.

1. Tasklist : This command is similar to “ps” command on Linux and is used to see the details of the programs and processes that are running in Windows. Tasklist can be applied to see how much memory and CPU time running processes are using, what DLL files they rely on, and other information. Thus it can be a very useful troubleshooting tool.trans WindowsXP: Using the Command prompt to see and kill processes

  • Processes info: When you enter tasklist on the command prompt, you can see the following informations by default. Image Name, PID, Session Name, Session#, Mem Usage
  • Processes detailed info: Additional info like, Status, User Name, CPU Time, Window Title can be displayed using tasklist /v
  • Services and Processes info: Use tasklist /svc to get a table relating Image Name, PID, and Services, very useful to know the relationship between a process and the services that are running on a system.
  • dlls and Processes info: Tasks and Use tasklist /m to find which DLLs are used by each process.
  • Filtering processes: Processes can be filtered using ImageName, PID, MemUsage, Status, Username and WindowTitle. For Example,
    • Use the following command to to find processes that are not responding.
      • tasklist /fi "status eq not responding"
    • Use the folliwing to list the processes eating up more than 10MB.
      • tasklist /fi "memusage gt 10000"
  • More Info: To get more info on advanced syntax of the command use tasklist /? or refer to Microsoft’s documentation.

(NOTE: Although Tasklist is a part of Windows XP Professional, it does not come with the Home edition. Those with the Home version of XP can download this file and can put it in the system path.)

2. Tskill : This command is used to end a process, using its name of its PID.

  • Kill with name: Use tskill processname to kill a process with name processname. For example:
    • tskill winword (closes all the Microsoft documents that you have open)
  • Kill with PID : Similarly use tskill processid to kill a process with PID processid. Tasklist can be used to find the PID of a process.
  • More Info: To get more info on advanced syntax of the command use tskill /? or refer to Microsoft’s documentation.

(NOTE: Tskill is a part of both Windows XP Professional and the Home edition.)

3. Taskkill : Similar to Tskill, this command is also used to end a process but it provides us more options in doing so. Apart from specifying the PID or the image name of the process to kill, we can also use ceratin filters to kill the matching processes as explained below.

  • Kill with name: Use taskill /IM imagename to kill a process with the given Image name. For example:
    • taskkill /im notepad.exe /f (forces notepad to be killed.)
  • Kill with PID : Use taskill /PID processid to kill a process with the given processid.
  • Filtering Taskkill: Processes to be killed can be filtered using ImageName, PID, MemUsage, CPUTime, Session, Status, Username, WindowTitle, Services or Modules (dll). For Example,
    • Use the following command to forcefully shut down all the processes that are not responding.
      • taskkill /f /fi "status eq not responding"
    • Use the folliwing to close down all programs using more than 10 MB..
      • taskkill /f /fi "memusage gt 10000"
  • More Info: To get more info on advanced syntax of the command use taskkill /? or refer to Microsoft’s documentation.

(NOTE: Taskkill is only a part of Windows XP Professional.)

So Enjoy using the task manager command line version!

Go on, show the power of your commands to the processes. Happy killing them. icon wink WindowsXP: Using the Command prompt to see and kill processes

(Extra Note (Added for my own safety) : I am not responsible if anything goes wrong, while trying out the commands given here.)

Make a Live USB disk for any Linux distribution

How many of you feel frustrated having to burn a CD/DVD every time you want to try on a new OS? Well UNetbootin helps create bootable USB drives, which you can use either as a live CD or as an installation media.

UNetbootin is a very handy tool, which runs on both Linux and Windows and offers a wide variety of operating systems that you can choose to load to your USB disk. It can even download all the popular distributions off the internet for you. It can also be used to boot many system utilities from the USB disk. It uses syslinux to make the USB disk bootable and thus any distribution or utility that can be booted via the syslinux interface works with UNetbootin.

UNetbootin offers two variations for installation. One is to create a USB disk and the other is a “frugal” install. A frugal install means that the iso resides on your hard disk and only the boot loader is reconfigured to run load the compressed kernel image from the hard disk, which can then be used to install the OS, or just run as a live CD.

Using UNetbootin is quite easy. If you are on windows just run the utility and you will be provide with a screen like this:

screenshot Make a Live USB disk for any Linux distribution

Now you can either choose an operating system or specify your own ISO image for which you want to create the bootable USB disk.

The second option is to specify the USB disk or the hard disk (in case of frugal install) and you are all set. The target disk is not formatted so you will not lose any existing data on the disk.

What’s more it supports 9 different languages but if you want to change the language the only way you can do that is by providing command line argument <lang = xy> where xy is the language code. Here is the list of languages supported with their codes

  • English (en)
  • Español / Spanish (es)
  • Português / Portuguese (pt)
  • Français / French (fr)
  • Italiano / Italian (it)
  • ?? / Simplified Chinese (zh)
  • ??????? / Russian (ru)
  • Norsk bokmål / Norwegian (nb)
  • Magyar / Hungarian (hu)


UNetbootin Homepage

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The views expressed on this blog are personal. We do not claim to be a representative voice of the views of any organisation whatsoever. We are not responsible for the content present on the blogs to which we have linked.Views expressed are solely that of the author and does not reflect a collective opinion of contributors.