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After considering it for a long time, I finally gave in and went to the store to get an HTC Hero. As it turned out, the price difference between the HTC Magic and HTC Hero is pretty significant. Considering that both have almost the same hardware specs (apart from the camera), I decided to buy myself an HTC Magic instead.

What is not mentioned anywhere is the fact that the Indian version of HTC Magic is one of the few models which is completely locked, not to the carrier, but software installation wise. The phone contains the carrier unlock code right on the box. I have been using my old Vodafone number since the purchase.

Now my whole purpose of buying a smart phone was using the Google services, customising the phone no end and installing and experimenting with lots of software. The phone was a major disappointment. It did not have the Google app suite, it did not have Android market, it had no option of installing any software. How Airtel can advertise GPS as one of the phone’s features without any map application is beyond me. Needless to say I was pretty upset and desperate.

I looked around the web for ways to rectify this. I went through many blog and forum posts about rooting the phone and decided to try it. Then came the second surprise, this version of the Magic contained what is called a perfected SPL, which means rooting was not going to be that simple.

Then I found the Unlokr‘s guide to Root the HTC Magic in one click , this worked perfectly. After that I tried 4 different ROMs from the xda developers, which are basically customised versions of the OS, they were all quite good but I finally settled for the MyHero ROM, this  contained the HTC sense UI, which I liked. Welcome Android 😀

After getting a brand new and completely unlocked OS, I downloaded the Android Market Enabler, this allowed me to access the other versions of the market. After about a month, I am still checking out a good number of apps everyday. Stay tuned for app reviews.

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I have been a Linux user for around 9 – 10 years (Red Hat 5 anyone). We have had an exclusive relationship since last 5 years. I did run Vista for a while on my laptop because the Broadcom card did not seem to like Linux. The issue got fixed in Jaunty so I switched immediately. My laptop has been running Karmic since alpha 4.

I have been using Windows 7 rc for around 3 months now, a little before it started getting all the good press. Installation was easy, mostly because I installed it on a separate disk so there was no issue of it wanting to be on the first primary partition of the disk. I had that trouble with Vista which kept on giving the very helpful message “Your disk does not meet the prerequisites” without giving any kind of hint as to what those prerequisites were. I had nothing to backup and restore so I side stepped that landmine.

I must admit that my experience with this brand new Microsoft OS has been pretty good. It is definitely slicker and faster than Vista. There are fewer application compatibility issues.

Here are some of the things that I like, they may not be the big killer features or major technological breakthroughs but I find them very useful.

  • New taskbar: The new taskbar has got a good amount of media attention. I hate having too many windows on my taskbar, it causes searching for a particular one take that much longer. This is one of the reasons I absolutely love the multiple desktops that are available in Gnome and others. This feature in itself might be a copy of the Mac Dock but it is, undoubtedly, immensely useful. One more thing that I love about it is the fact that when you have multiple windows of the same application, hovering the mouse pointer over now square enclosed icon on the toolbar, shows all the instance windows and you can then click on a particular instance to bring it to top. You can, also, close a particular instance right from there and hovering the mouse on one of the instances brings it forward for as long as the mouse pointer is on it, great for checking score on cricinfo or some such thing. This has become a feature that I have started missing whenever I am on Linux.
  • New Start menu: The start menu has received a face lift. The search box there, although not an original idea again, is pretty useful. When the mouse is hovered over one of the applications in the list the right panel of the menu changes to a list of files recently opened using that application. Another feature which cuts down time and clicks required to do mundane and repetitive tasks.
  • Another feature that I have started using a lot is maximizing a window to cover half of the screen horizontally. This is done by dragging the title bar of the window out of either sides of the screen. This causes the window to cover exactly the left or the right half of the screen. This becomes very useful while copying stuff from one window to another or comparing some stuff etc. For people whose text editors don’t have vertical split this can be a really useful substitute.
  • The system bar has been now been minimised and converted to an upwards pointing arrow. More space on the task bar, Very good.
  • Internet is definitely faster than on Ubuntu. Perhaps an upgraded network stack. I have tried disabling IPv6, using OpenDNS, dns caching and multiple configuration changes on Ubuntu. While they have helped, the speed is still a good amount less than what I get on windows. There was a bug on bind which seems to have been patched but the problem persists.
  • Microsoft Office: This is a _huge_ difference. Open Office is not even in the same zip code. Trust me, I have been doing documentation for past 6 months 😦  . I have tried crossover, while it works reasonably well, it still can’t provide the integration that one gets with almost every thing when running office natively.
  • The new version of MS Paint is pretty useful. Lots of changes and Microsoft did not make a mistake hiring the guys that wrote it.

Now for the gripes

  • Lack of multiple desktops: I have absolutely no idea why this is not there. I find it incredibly useful and time saving, productivity increasing etc. Just throw all your IM clients etc in one window, mail clients in another etc. and only keep one group of work related windows on one desktop, so that when you are working you don’t get any popup notifications and Alt Tabbing just becomes incredibly easier.
  • Synaptic: This is a killer, although underrated, feature of Ubuntu. All applications in one place. Don’t have to worry about updating individual applications, drivers etc. Microsoft definitely should look at something like the Windows Marketplace implementation for this purpose.
  • Mouse copy: This is the feature that I miss most. In X selecting some text using the mouse automatically copies and can be pasted using the middle click. I now have to do every copy operation twice on windows, when the middle click paste fails then I realise I am on windows, I curse, and then go back and use Ctrl-C Ctrl-V.

All in all a pretty good offering from the Microsoft stable, I have already placed a bet on it capturing 40% market share in 6 – 8 months.

Two Monks

Two monks were walking down the street after a heavy rain that left the streets quite muddy. They came upon a a lady of very easy virtue vainly attempting to find a dry path across the road without soiling her kimono.

One monk, more compassionate than the other, picked up the woman and carried her across the street, setting her down on the other side of the road. He returned to his companion and they continued down the road for some minutes until the second monk chided the first with the remark, “You really shouldn’t have done that.”

“Done what?”

“Why, you contaminated yourself by touching that impure woman.”

“Oh, are you still carrying her? I put her down on the other side of the street.”

Wife

I have decided that any girl who wants to marry me will have to sign the following document and pledge to abide by it, come what may

Good wife\'s guide

What do you think ??

Into the wild

Have you ever had the moment where you just stared at the horizon, completely losing the track of time and space, your mind not polluted by any kind of thoughts and a feeling of being the one with the universe?

Yeah, me neither.

I recently watched a movie called “Into the wild“. Apparently some guy did.

Into the wild

I would have called it the most life changing movie I have ever seen but for the ending.  Its based on a true story so there was not much the directors could do. I highly recommend this movie to everyone. Its one of those “masterpiece” movies. Very beautifully picturised.

When I saw “Cast Away”  I was really impressed by the commitment shown by Tom Hanks. At the start of the movie he was a reasonably plump guy, by the end he had lost oodles of weight. I am now even more impressed by  Emile Hirsch (Whose previous movie also I liked and recommend, “Girl Next Door”).

By the way, the movie contains some nudity so you might not want to watch with your parents 😉

Broaden your mind

I few days ago, I stumbled across this random wondering of how does the language we think in, affect how we think and our thoughts itself. Does language shape our thoughts? Would I be thinking differently if I was thinking in a different language? Would that explain why people from different countries generally have different views on something? How does the language shape our thoughts?

So, as a true geek, I posed my question to the god of all knowledge, and stumbled across a pretty interesting piece of information, the  Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (also known as the “linguistic relativity hypothesis”), which postulates a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it. (src: wikipedia)

I wondered, if this hypothesis holds true for computer languages as well. Turns out, it does. Kenneth Iverson, creator of the  APL (A Programming Language), thought so and mentioned in his turing award lecture.

( Which can be found here )

I came across another article which emphasizes  on this point and proposes a list of programming languages one should learn.

Here’s that article.

So, start learning a new  language today, human or otherwise and broaden your mind.

Boys will be boys

For those people who were having doubts about the preferences of the guys in our cricket team after seeing this photo

Hmmmmm

Should see this to clear some of it.

Peeking