Oct 15, 2009

GIMP : 2 Layer Dialogs trick

1) Locate the Dialog's special menu
2) Add a second "layers" menu. (not this is not possible from the Image's "Window>Dockable Dialogs" menu).
3) Drag resulting layer dialog tab outside.

4) Disable Auto Image switch for the dock.
5) Now use the two dialogs like you would use a split pane window manager.

Tip: You can use the scroll wheel to quickly switch images using the image selector at the top of the dock window.

Jul 13, 2009

Elinks, the best browser for text consoles

[ This was an old email ( though still valid) that I had sent to the internal mailing list at the previous company I worked for. I used elinks in xterm, so you can skip xterm related stuff if you use it on plain text console]

I have started using "elinks" for most tasks.. It is much better than
I thought. Only a few defaults are amiss. I just feel the following
tips will make you like elinks.

Tips in using "elinks":
Note, I use it in xterm.
1: First, make yourself familiar with settings up options
manager. To get the Options manager, first press Esc on
the keyboard, or the top row of the terminal using mouse.
In the resulting menu, Go to options manager.

The points that follow start with the option to
change. When changing the following settings, make sure you
read the accomponying text.

2: Document->Cache->Ignore cache-control info from server
Set it to: 0
Description: Cache-control header item is usually set by CGIs
to hint that the content must not be cached. When it is
ignored, it ends up as a huge nuisance.

3: Document->Default color settings->Use document-specified
Set it to: 2
Dont worry, in a short while we will be disabling
transparency. :-)

4: Document->HTML Rendering->Underline Links
Set it to: 1
Well, Experiement. I liked with Underlines. Though it can get
nasty in webmail.

5: Document->Browser->Forms->
External editor
Set it to: your favorite editor.
When focus is in a text area, and it is in edit mode, press
F4 to open the content in text editor.

6: Under "User interface", play as you like. I liked the
i. Clock
ii. LEDs

7: Terminals->xterm->colors
Set it to: 2
Actually, the correct way would be to set TERM environment
variable before starting elinks .. But I dont want to bother
myself with that, as I dont think my X is gonna get set to
monochrome all of a sudden.

If you don't like the document specified color for a
particular website, you can always cycle through color
choosing algorithms using %. It will become second nature
sooner than you imagine.

8: Terminals->xterm->Transparency
Set it to: 0

Other than these tips, remember, the mouse works just like in firefox
for so many things.
1. Left click to open
2. Right click links to get more options
3. Right click inside document to get yet more options
4. Middle click a link to open in new tab.
5. Middle click a tab to close the tab.
6. Scroll wheel works for vertical scrolling.
7. Scroll on the tabs bar to switch tabs.

Tips for using forms:
1. Press enter on a form's entry field before typing anything
into it. You can see the the mode in the status bar.
2. Press enter again to submit the form. Again, the status bar.
3. Press dot (.) to enable link numbering .. when this mode is
on, you can type a number to go to that link. Even the form
elements are treated as elinks, so you can jump between form
elements quickly using this.

Other tips :
1. To follow elinks, press enter or press right arrow key.
2. To go back, press the left arrow.
3. To go "forward" or "unhistory" as elinks calls it, press "u"
downlaod any link target using "d"
4. Press '/' to search stuff on the page
5. Use [ and ] to scroll horizontally. Too much text off the
screen? Use 'W' to switch wrapping.
6. Use '<' and '>' to switch between tabs.
7. Press t to open new tab. c to close, Ctrl-r to refresh.
8. Press g for location dialog.
9. Type a number before a shortcut key to repeat that key so
many times. Usefull for jumping 3 steps back in history.
10. Press "h" for history manager
11. Press '\' to see source
12. Press '=' to see info about the current object loaded .. like
13. Press '|' to see response header.
14. press D for download manager.

Squirrelmail and Gmail look good in elinks.

15. Press q to quit.

Jul 6, 2009

Web experience enhancing "semantic web", "standards" and "API"s.

This is a preliminary list i could think of immedietely.. I am going to add urls to each of them soon. Please comment with any that i missed (make sure that you give a link to the standard's official descriptions page when you do, or failing that, the best page that describes the format)

It need not be specifically a data format or and API as such. Any specifications that, when adopted by the web developer, enhances the usage of the website can be listed.

  • rss
  • favicon
  • opensearch
  • open-collaboration-services
  • microformats
  • sitemap.xml
  • oembed
  • bookmarklets
  • blog pingback
  • social graph, foaf, XFN
  • APML

Jul 1, 2009


I have been recently playing a bit with my camera these days.. And thanks to CHDK, I have been having great fun. Check out my flickr page http://flickr.com/photos/kamathln . And my videos page http://kamathln.homelinux.net/videos/ , available only if my laptop is online.

Feb 17, 2009

GNOME and Firefox in Kannada

Just installed kannada and got basic apps in kannada. Note: openoffice is something I use once in a bluemoon so did not bother about it at all.

I am running Debain lenny recently apt-get updated and installed. I got these quirks sorted out.

1) got Kannada Unicode to render properly on Firefox, after spoiling it badly.
2) got to type Kannada properly on all places
3) got Firefox translations for kannada
4) set kannada as preferred language in Firefox ( Firefox tells websites about this. The only website that honoured the setting was google, but i was pleased)
5) Get the whole gnome in Kannada

1) Kannada Unicode rendering on Firefox :
This really should not have been a problem at all. This was my own stupidity. Even before I started out to go to some Kannada website, I airily set a few fonts too Freesans. Then i saw that pages dont render properly, after I tried different stupidities franctically and vainly , I thought I will just reset all the configuration. To do this quick, I just entered about:config and researched for freesans, and "reset"' the values to defaults. This fixed the rendering and I was back in business.

As Sans-Serif is a magic font, it chooses the right kannada fonts magically.

And obviously, before starting off with anything ttf-indic-fonts were installed.

2) Kannada typing in all places.
This was simple. After a bit of googling (I wish I hadn't erased the history of Firefox) I found a page where a Japanese guy had solved the same problem like this :


in /etc/X11/xinit/xinput.d/scim .

This worked like magic, I could use SCIM in all places, after I used im-switch to set scim as my default Input module.

For getting easy Kannada typing, I needed to install scim, scim-m17n and itrans packages and these also pulled some dependencies. After that, itt was smooth sailing with kn-itrans option available under Kannada.

To get the language list, just click the little keyboard icon in the system tray. ( After first installation, you need to re-login to get it). Note:you need to Left click on the system tray SCIM icon(little keyboard), not right click, which would give you setup options.

3) Firefox kannada translation
This one was easy

$ apt-get install iceweasel-l10n-kn
$ LANG=kn_IN iceweasel

The LANG=kn_IN iceweasel can be kept in a script and the panel launcher's properties could be set to launch the script. Anyways, Item (5) must obsolete it if it succeeds.

4) Preferred web content set to kannada in Firefox.

Again, pretty Simple:

Main Menu->Edit/Tools-> Preferences->Content->Languages

Or if you already followed item (3):

ಮುಖ್ಯ ಮೆನು->ಸಂಪಾದನೆ->ಆದ್ಯತೆಗಳು->ಒಳಅಂಶಗಳು->ಭಾಷೆಗಳು

Once you add Kannada in the list of languages, dont forget to move it to the top(order indicates the priority). Once this is done, you must find that google presents itself in Kannada.

5) GNOME in Kannada

I searched for kannada packages for GNOME for a long time. Then an angel from #kannada on irc.freenode.net made me realize that Kannada was installed with GNOME
all along! Stupid me. Just checked /usr/share/locale/kn/LC_MESSAGES/ and they were all there. But LANG=kn_IN gedit, LC_ALL=kn_IN gedit, all failed to present in Kannada.Then the same angel hinted me to run

dpkg-reconfigure locales

That reminded me that I was presented with the same UI during installation, and I had neglected it. Damn! Well, it re-generated and configured the languages I chose. after that LANG=kn_IN gedit just worked. So If I am not wrong, a re-login should add Kannada to the list of languages at the GDM login screen, and all the LANG=kn_IN should be unnecessary.

I will be writing to the GNOME's Debain package manager asking to include dpkg-reconfigure locales as a menu item in system->administration :-P.

I have rebooted and here is a screenshot :

Feb 15, 2009

Telescopic display support for laptop

This is an illustration for an idea i submitted to halfbakery. You can view the idea here.

I am not a good artist or a technical drawing guy, so please only appreciate the main idea, and don't analyze it under a microscope :-) .

The base extension is actually thinner and can be fit into a groove on the sides so that even when it is extended, the laptop will maintain a flat level.

Jan 7, 2009

Tagz.in same or grown ?

For the uninitiated, tagz.in is a social bookmarking site by my friend Jeethu Rao. And If you already know about tagz, and visit tagz again you may find a little change visually. But don't be fooled. The engine under the hood has grown up and is a lot more mature.

For instance he just added recommendations, now that is something that I have been always wanting - it now recommends bookmarks from other people by learning your tastes once you have voted on at least 50 items. Of course .. it takes into account the tags you have saved under your bookmarks too, so dont forget to save your bookmarks.

And there are loads of tiny improvements here and there. A lot of caching etc..

Dont forget to keep a watch on the "whats new" entry. And yeah.. don't forget to register and check out the recommendation engine. It rocks!