Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Was it really a persuit of happiness?

Many a times I come to the realization that the function of a writer is to stealthily gather the thoughts and refurbish them in the form of diligently constructed mass of words. To put this in a graceful statement, a writer has his roots penetrated in to the psyche of the masses and his labour in cultivating the words yields the relishing fruits of insight. 


The first time I saw The pursuit of happyness (yes the happiness with a 'Y'), I was full in tears. An adorable protagonist being smitten by fate, his cute son ... storyline in itself is sufficient to deliver a heart throbbing hollywood movie. If this is coupled with the finest performers for father-son roles, you are bound to fall under the spell.

The second time I watched the movie, the perseverance of the protagonist struck a chord with me. Who in their sane state of mind would not root for a man who fights all the odds to achieve his dream, in this case is in pursuit of happiness? It was the formulaic rags to riches story that can serve as an adrenaline booster for many.

The third time I saw the movie with a friend, I was more analytic and less emotional. If I were to borrow the rhetoric from one of the brilliant minds of Kannada criticism D.R.Nagaraj, my eyes were not blurred by the tears insinuated by the movie. I could see things clearly.

I could readily feel that there was something amiss about the movie.  Chris Gardner watching the stock brokers wandering about muses, “They all looked so happy. Why couldn't I be that happy?”. The very words that filled my tender head with awe felt vulgar in this viewing. All loving, benevolent corporate CEO opening the doors of his house and even inviting a complete stranger to the owners' box to watch a sport (Is it baseball?) made me suspect the intentions of the director. But at that time I couldn't formulate my thoughts clearly till I read this wonder review on the movie  by Philip Concannon. When I reached the last paragraph in the review I almost jumped out of my chair in joy. It was like the joy of a poor father after finding a perfect and willing bridegroom for his daughter ;).

That relationship is pretty much all the movie has in its favour though, and the incessant tugging of the heartstrings is eventually counterproductive. The Pursuit of Happyness left me cold, not only because it somehow manages to make a true story feel like a false one, but also because it occasionally seems to lose sight of what’s important in Gardner’s tale. “They all looked so happy” Smith’s voiceover muses as he watches various stockbrokers wandering past, “why couldn’t I be that happy?”; and while this is a perfectly reasonable question, The Pursuit of Happyness often seems obsessed with the idea that money is the key to the happiness Chris desires. The rich white men whom Gardner does business with are all benevolent, jolly and inclusive, while most of the poor people he encounters are venal, aggressive and deceitful; and when Chris is rewarded for the enormous revenue he has generated with a permanent position at Dean Witter, the end credits can’t wait to tell us how much money he made over the next couple of years. It seems the filmmakers took the idea of rags-to-riches a tad too literally; and while Will and Jaden Smith work overtime to instil this picture with some heart, it’s disheartening to realise The Pursuit of Happyness is really all about the pursuit of wealth.
Read complete review here

Image © 2006 Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to install non-market apps in Android?

Android Market is one of the places where you can get apps for download for your android device. It is not the only source for the apps. There are many other sources of apps.

I have heard that some android based devices don't have access to android marketplace. Moreover you need to have a google account to download from android market. Some chinese phones and Tablets dont have android market apps pre installed. However it is possible to install android market app by rooting the phone, it poses way larger risk to achieve something which has simple alternatives.

What you need essentially an .apk file to install it on your android device. If you have the app in .apk file it is very easy to install the app. Much more easier than installing an .exe application in windows pc.

Here are the steps to install non market apps in your android device:

  • First get access to the .apk file of the application you want to install. There are some websites which provide .apk files for the free apps available in the android market. Here is a list of some of the website I came across.

More info can be found here.

However you should make sure twice before installing applications from third party sources as they may contain malicious programs to steal your private information or harm data on your device.

The best way I suggest is to download an application from android market in a device having access to market. Copy the .apk file from it to the device which doesnt have access to android market.

  • Now the steps to install .apk files. You need to set permissions for installing apps from third party sources. Here is how to do it
    • Go to settings

android screenshot

  • Select applications in settings.
android screenshot
  • Mark Unknown sources to allow installation of non-market apps

android screenshot

Now you can install any application by navigating to the .apk file stored in your device SD card through file manager and clicking on it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A revealing interview with Julian Assange

I came across this revealing interview with Julian Assange of Wikileaks. He was interviewd be AlJazeera news channel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How to get Kannada in android mobile?

Even when I was using a China mobile handset, I was engrossed with the question of how to read and write in Kannada using my phone just like in computer.

After getting my first android phone, Lg optimus, I searched breathlessly for tweaks to perform to get kannada. One workaround that I found was using opera mini browser. Opera mini browser has this option of rendering complex scripts as bitmaps. Using which you can read Kannada and other indic languages. This method, though a workaround has some pluses.

Opera mini browser is available for all android platforms. You can even install opera mini in phones supporting Java. I was using opera mini on my Lemon handset which runs on generic os used by China mobiles and supported Java.

But this work around was not sufficient for me. With no options for copying and saving text, searching, opera mini didn't quench my thirst.

On laying my hands on android mobile phone, I was determined to get Kannada. Soon I realised that the mobile phone vendors have to provide updates to the ROM with Kannada language support.

A bit of research helped me to learn rooting the android phone. Rooting essentially means getting privilege to access system files. I came across a tool called superoneclick to root my Samsung Galaxy SL (i9003) phone. However this works in windows. I haven't come across tools for linux yet.

In order to display kannada and other Indian languages, it is not enough just to have proper fonts. The OS should support complex script rendering. As the scripts for indic languages are more complex than monosyllabic languages. As for as Android is concerned there is no support for complex script rendering for ROMs lesser than 2.3 (aka Ginger Bread). I had Froyo (2.2) running on my phone. I rooted my phone, downloaded an official GingerBread ROM from samfirmware.com installed it using the flash tool provided in the site. Since the ROMs that are available were not specific to India, I couldn't read kannada properly on installing fonts. However one of my friend is happily reading and writing kannada by following the same procedure. The GingerBread ROM for his LG phone supported kannada on installing fonts.

The problem was solved for me when I recently upgraded the Kies software on my PC and connected my phone. It showed there is a upgrade available for my device. On upgrading my mobile jumped from 2.2.1 to 2.3.6! And kannada was rendered properly out of the box . Below are some of the screenshots from my mobile rendering kannada webpages properly.

For kannada input I did the following:

1. Downloaded Anysoft keyboard from android market

2. After installing Anysoft keyboard, I downloaded kannada plugin for anysoft keyboard develeoped by Shridhar.

3. After (1) and (2) go to settings>Locale and text

Under test settings you will see AnySoft Keyboard. Tick the box. Now press " Select input method" and choose anysoft keyboard as your input method.

Now open your SMS app. Tap on language selector two switch to kannada. Tap again to switch back to english.

The keyboard supports nudi layout. No support for Baraha like input to which I have accustomed to. Other than this the tool has some issues. I couldn't find shift key for kannada keyboard. The keyboard crashes on input of certain combinations of characters.

How to get arkavattu properly in Ubuntu?

Getting kannada to display in your computer is very easy with Ubuntu. Latest version of ubuntu (11.04 in my case) supports kannada out of the box.

But for kannada input you need to add a few packages. The input method I prefer is Ibus. Install Ibus and related packages to get kannada input method working. This post is not about how to get kannada input. It is about a small tweak I did today to get '೯' (arkavattu) alongside of 'ha'.

Generally we type :
ಕ+ರ್+ಮ = to get = ಕರ್ಮ
ಅ+ರ್+ಹ = gives = ಅಱ instead of ಅರ್ಹ

I didn't dig deep to find the key combination to get '೯' properly. Tweaked a little in the .mim file to get ಅರ್ಹ properly.

This is the fix:

open kn-itrans.mim file which has itrans keyboard layout (which I happen to use).

Navigate to the following directory:

$cd /usr/share/m17n

Open the kn-itrans.mim file in a text editor (like gedit) with root privilege:

$sudo gedit kn-itrans.mim

On entering sudo password the file opens. Move down till line 84 and comment out the line by entering ';'(semicolon) at the begining of the line. Save and close.

Restart ibus. And get 'ಅರ್ಹತೆ' for sake of typing it! It solved the issue for now, but I will update about the clean fix as soon as I get to know.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hitchhiking on HGTG!

I have been listening to Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy audio book for the past few days. It is the second time I am listening to the BBC Radio phonic work-shop's rendering of the much adored work of Douglas Adams. The sophisticated comedy and imagination without bounds in the writing of Adams coupled with high quality voice of the BBC artists makes listening a delight. Especially during such times as washing clothes!

Here is a snippet from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

"This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Much ado about growing up!

Recently I was thinking of writing an article about the transition from being a student to that of a working man/woman. One thing that occurred to my mind instantly was the image of a car coming to a stand still making screeching noise. Following was an odd vision of a bird perching on the tree and gradually spreading its legs as roots in to the rooted tree!

Not to scare you away with deep philosophical overtones of these images, I will cut it short. People who seem very fluid and floating starts or prepares to sink in, settle down and spread out roots.

I mentioned this rather serious thought to draw your attention to a rather silly thing of me getting a post paid mobile connection from Vodafone. I was a pre pay Tata Docomo customer. Along with the awesome Gprs and expensive call rates pre pay connection provided me with pretenses when I forget to call up people or message or just cut loose from a boring talk. "Sorry I had no balance" card was my diplomatic immunity! No one dared to contest that.

Now I have to give up that provision. Also should go with it is the habit of constantly monitoring the balance in my account. Mature people are expected to suffer shocks only at the end of the month, when bills arrive!

Another abrupt change is the obligation to pay for every single petty message you sent. Texting is not a working man's cup of tea. If you want to pay heed to your girl friend's nascent nagging of her mobile inbox not filling up in recent days, you have to empty out your pocket :)

There are solutions to this problem. Vodafone provides two sms packs worth 30 and 80 respectively. For the former pay you will get on a whole 350 messages for a single month and later frees your worries and allows you to text non-stop with 200 sms maximum limit per day.

With many of my friends preferring textual conversation to the vocal one, I opted for the 80 rupee pack. Meanwhile I was toying with way2sms to send messages. I came to know later about a non-market android app through which you can send messages. The pretty thing about the app was that you could access all of your mobile contacts. This app served the purpose for a while but soon I came to know that it took more than ten hours for the messages to reach the destination. Eventhough it is much faster than post office delivery system, justice delayed is justice denied! I breathed an air of relief when vodafone broke the shackles on my phone.

That's it for now. Please do have a look at my kannada blog here. I did some revamping there.