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 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.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stray Dog

Recently I got an opportunity to watch 'Stray Dog' by Akira Kurasawa. It is about an amateur homicide cop whose Colt gun is lost in a bus.

The young cop who still 'green' (referred so in the movie) takes responsibility for the missing gun and behaves in a way that is too sensitive for a cop. When he learns that some crook has got hold of his gun and had shot an innocent person while robbing he feels guilty and writes a resignation letter to the superintendent. Later the superintendent assigns him to investigate the case under a experienced cop.

The film essentially talks about the post war Japan. The crook whose is on the loose robbing people and killing them happens to be a war veteran who became desperate after his knapsack is stolen in the train while returning from the war field. This incident makes him so frustrated that he decides to take it out on the world.

Incidentally the cop who is in pursuit of his stolen gun and the mad dog killer happens also to be a war veteran and his knapsacks were also stolen when he was on the return journey.  The screenplay is deftly crafted to include the intricate details of the homicide investigation team. The personal level in which the crime is conceived, approved and committed. In this respect it stays separate from the run of the mill kind of cop stories.

You can get more of the plot here. The interesting things I observed are the conversations in the movie. In most of the scenes there are three parties in the conversation. Framing of the shots is such that every conversation has unique appeal. The placing of the players in the shot is worth studying.

Watching masters of cinema in action restores my faith in genius over the equipments. A camera is a piece of machine without viewpoint. It is the visionary director who imposes viewpoint on the camera. 

(Image courtesy: Wikipedia - )

Friday, September 9, 2011

Malena: when beauty becomes the curse!

Here is the link my write up about movie Malena. It is published in this week`s Vijaya Next magazine. I will try to post an english version of the article for those of my friends who can't read kannada.

Here is the link to the article. Purchase of the magazine is much appreciated :) 

Monday, September 5, 2011

With two new machines and a fresh blogger!

It is nice to see the refreshing new look of blogger. I had thought that google had forgotten that it has a stone age blogging platform. In front of the features rich wordpress blogger used to seem dull. One had to stand on his head to know about the page visits or traffic statistics. Now it seems like the days of staying inside the closet is over for blogger. The UI is clutter free and has soothing design, could adapt to mobile and tablet and other small screens effortlessly.

Have an update from my side. My laptop was on artificial respiratory system for a few days and eventually went to coma. I purchased a new desktop yesterday. It is an assembled machine having the following configuration:

Processor: core I5
Ram: 8 GB
Graphics card: NVidia 1 GB
Hard Disk: 1 TB
Monitor: LG 23" LCD with LED backlight

For sake of mobility I purchased a sleek and trivially light weight Samsung N100 netbook. It has intel Atom processor. 2GB RAM and 250 GB Hard disk.

Since the desktop is an assembled one, I didn't opt for operating system installation at the assembly point. It is a huge rip off to pay handsome amount to get just an instance of the pirated windows OS. I installed Ubuntu 10.10 LTS edition on it but strangely the LAN stopped working. So temporarily windows is dwelling inside the hard disk.

The Samsung netbook had Meego Os pre-installed. I hastily formatted the hard disk and installed debian over it. Netbook refused to co-operate. Attempts to skim through the web references on a compact screen of my mobile and executing the commands led me no where. A visit to the samsung's official website enlightened me that they have system drivers only for windows 7 and xp. Thought of reverting to Meego but there was no recovery option and generous people at Samsung didn't bother gentle Meego OS to be burnt in to a disk! All resulted in approaching Blue screen God, windows 7.

I will be trying out a number of installations on these two machines in the coming days. So watch out for a series of logs in this respect. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Break ke baad!

It’s been a long break. There were too many things happening. Finishing college, joining Saaranga Infotech, renting a house, organizing stuff in the house, preparing my own food...

I intend to give a new touch to this blog. I wish to make it more like an informal journal. I desperately want myself to break the habit of writing long passages about things that could be said in a sentence or two.

In the break after exams I collected most of the movies of Stanley Kubrick. However I could watch only a few. One of them was a short feature film spanning to about 15 min. It was about a professional boxer who clinically prepares for a boxing match. Kubrick’s love for details has its origins in this movie.

I also watched Dr.Strangelove, a satirical take in the cold war period, Full Metal Jacket about vietnam war.

Incidentally I came across another movie made about Vietnam war: Apocalypse Now. Made by Francis Ford Cappola. Cappola was inspired and influenced by Kubrick. He has paid tribute to kubrick by incorporating some of the music bits from kubrick’s movies. The cinematography of apocalypse now is artistic, will write about that movie in detail some time.

Read “Annana Nenapu” by Tejasvi. It was a refreshing second time read. I was drawn towards the photography hobby of Tejasvi and how he felt that it influenced him in writing. Had you read his karvalo and some short stories, you would never fail to notice the distance narrator maintains from the happenings even though he is part of it. Tejasvi gives photography the credit for this literary skill!

I have been cooking for myself as there are no decent hotels in the vicinity. Here is an illustration of where I started. The chapati I prepared today are definitely far better! All is in mixing the flour. You have to give a time gap of about ten minutes for the mixed flour to get soften. That was the trick I missed, got to know about it when I had gone home for Ganesh Chaturthi.     

Monday, May 16, 2011

Literature in the light of new understanding

My interest in literature began when I was in seventh standard. The motivation however was not so noble. One of my school teacher was writing for a local news paper run by one of the founders of our school. He would, now and then ask his students to write something for the children's page. Once he had asked us to write a small essay about the sport we loved the most. We treated this assignment as the routine home work. A few of my classmates copied somebody else's essay as it is. I don’t remember clearly whether I had written anything or not. But one of my friend who was my competitor in class exams had written about Badminton. His essay got selected and was published in the subsequent week`s news paper. Our sir read out the published essay in front of the class.

To be honest I was jealous of the importance my competitor got because of the essay. In a childish sense of determination I started to write. In the beginning I wrote some poems with meticulously chosen rhyming words. Later my reading of literature guided my writings. When I was in high school, one of the teacher recognized my interest in writing and encouraged me to write more. Those days I was spell bound by the inspiring and magical writings of Ravi Belagere. Like many of his readers those days, instead of the content or the insights the articles provided, only the narration style captured my mind. I was a regular reader of his Tabloid.

If you constantly read writings of a particular author, over a period of time his influence slowly starts to grip you. His style not only influences your choice of words, structure of sentences but also your way of thinking. You start perceiving the world through the borrowed eyes of that author. If you try to be a writer during this period, you end up being an ugly imitation.

I pursued my literary interest for a couple of years in the influence of Ravi Belagere’s writings. Even though I read many other authors during that time, Ravi Belagere’s influence overrode my judgments. Questions like: what is the purpose of literature? What are the responsibilities of a writer? How should a literary work be measured for its merit? - Were not important at that time. Writing in itself was the goal. The pleasure of writing was enough of the purpose.

Even after many years since I stopped reading Ravi Belagere, I couldn’t fathom questions regarding the purpose of literature and the responsibilities of a writer. A couple of my recent readings tantalized the thoughts in this regard. One of them being a collection of articles by U.R.Anathamurthy called “sadhya mattu shashwata”. In which he traces the inspirations for his writing to his childhood experiences. I had read his novel “Bharatipura” prior to this book. I could notice how much of it was constructed by the memories of his childhood. These writings helped me to realize that a literary piece of work should be born out of once experiences. Its true that we cannot experience everything in life and imagination is a powerful tool in literature, but writing about something which has no emotional relevance in us makes it either dry or too intellectual.

Another book that opened my eyes to the very important aspect of literature is ‘sahityada saptha Dhathugalu’ – a collection of essays by Yashwanth Chittala. Since childhood I had developed a sort of aversion for emotions. Being emotional and instinctive never occurred to me respectful. I considered myself to be rational and logical. Emotions are always illogical. I always denied that I was emotional. Even in situations when I was deeply in sorrow, weeping, I would comment that it is silly and artificial. In the face of such thought any emotion would become meaningless. This bias towards emotions and emotional people was not a personal one. It was affecting my writings also. I allowed none of the characters to be emotional. In one or two stories I wrote, all of the characters were as cerebral as myself. They lacked `heart’.

After reading some of the writings of chittala I started to realize that emotional part of human nature is the source for literature. Thoughts, ideas, theories can be borrowed, but emotional response to life cannot be faked.

These two books and a few other writings have helped me to question my preconceptions about literature. If not a new dimension, they have surely sparked something in me. I hope to read and write in the light of this new vision.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eight and Half: Fellini at his best

Federico Fellini was the name I often heard along with the likes of Bergman, Kurosawa- who are considered to be the masters of world cinema. Recently I watched Fellini's movie "81/2".

This Italian movie is about a film director who is fresh from a super hit planning to shoot a new movie. Coming out of a block buster previous hit, he suffers from writer's block. He starts to doubt his own creative capacity and faith in his talents, as often happens to creative persons. Adding to his owes, he messes up his personal life. He invites his mistress to the town where he was working. His wife gets the hint of his disloyalty and she starts to nag him. Fellini narrates this story in a unique way.

Film begins with the protagonist- Guido, played by Marcello Mastroianni- getting trapped inside his car amidst the halted traffic. People in the nearby cars, buses just stares at him while he struggles to get out of the car banging the windows and wind shields from the inside. People standing in a bus with outstretched hands from the window of the bus suddenly change the mood of the scene. You start to feel like everything outside the car where Guido is trapped is dead. Fellini in a quick shot releases Guido from the trap, he starts floating above the dead traffic. He rises high and high in to sky, suddenly he is pulled down by a rope tied to his ankle. The person standing on the ground yells at him to come down, and pulls the rope hard. Guido starts falling, he falls in to the see. And with sudden jerk he wakes up in a clinic. We realize that it was a dream of Guido the director.

The speculation behind the reason for choosing the title to be "Eight and half" is curious. You cannot find any justification in either the theme or the storyline of the movie. Some speculate that, by the time of producing this film Fellini had directed six feature films and three shorts amounting half each. So adding the present film, his total tally would be- guess- Eight and half!

Critics point out that "Eight and Half" was first of its kind movie to engage the autobiographical style of film making. Many have drawn parallels between the life of Fellini and the character Guido. Coming out of huge success of his earlier film La Dolce Vita (1959), Fellini would have suffered the writer's block himself. But is there any other best way out of the block than to make a astounding movie about the block itself?

Critic Lawrence Russell points out:

Fellini is slyly creating an autobiographical commentary on his previous work as well as presenting the universal artist confronting a guilty past within a confusing present.
Since autobiographical narration has a risk of being too personal, the childhood experiences, the joyful and traumatic incidents having nothing substantial significance than that emotional importance to the person who experienced them, the narration tends to weaken the structure of the movie if not taken care of. Fellini criticizes his own earlier creations in an attempt of self introspection.

As some film critics say, cinema should not be seen, it should be read. In an ordinary melodrama we are engulfed by the gripping story that unfolds calmly(sometimes swarmed with numerous flashbacks) before us. We are so absorbed into the story that, we forget it is all just a movie being shown in a theater. We laugh holding our stomach, the heroism boils our blood, tragedy makes us drop some tears. We consider a movie as the best which makes us most indulgent. In our indulgence we get an opportunity to forget our reality. It is like a mirage where realities of the ground are surpassed in a charade of dreams.

But most of the world masters in cinema and also renowned critics opine otherwise. Cinema should be 'read' following its grammar. The grammar of the cinema being the collective image created by the various streams such as lighting, camera angle and movement, space, locations, color pattern, scene transition, back ground score etc.. not to mention the dialogues and acting. Cinema should be seen consciously, with firm standing in reality. Otherwise, as speaks Mr. Bertolt Brecht, the viewer loses his awareness and makes himself available to be lured by the director.

In an interactive session of the film ''Kanasembo kudureyaneri'', one of the panelist had questioned director Girish Kasaravalli that why did he introduced title cards for scenes in between; It irritates the viewer and interrupts the involvement. Kasaravalli categorically replied that he intentionally did it to make the viewers watch the film consciously. He also mentioned some other foreign director who used to freeze the screen during the proceedings of a movie just to bring back the viewer into his senses.

Coming back to the film we were talking about, the plight of Guido caught up in a mental block, relation ship conflicts is narrated with so many unrelated, abstract scenes. Dream sequences which interrupt the narration whenever they wish, blurs the line of distinction between reality and imagination. For a traditional cinema viewer, who is accustomed to predict that the character is entering into a dream by swirling graphics, blurring of the face, sudden shift from multi color to monochromatic scenes - the dream sequences Fellini weaves are hard to digest. Beginners have to watch the movie like reading a text book!

Being myself an amateur cinema viewer, I couldn't get into the nerve of the director. The movie slipped through my hands like sand grains slipping through finger cracks. About the structure and the narrative of the film, I found this insightful note from aforementioned critic Lawrence Russel :

"... but what is the writer's real intention? To make us think? To frighten us?"

Again, this elliptical commentary fits perfectly with Fellini's own experience and the actual film that you are watching. This sort of personalism, where the play within becomes the real structure, and the play without a dismantling of the old determinist model, is both existential and revolutionary. It abandons the fixed certainties of a religious universe in favour of the uncertain topographies of a psychological one where dreams and trauma shape the soul of the individual".

What I could note down from my observations is: The brutal confidence in which Fellini executes his idea in the film. If you watch the film you will notice that it is technically very rich. Nino Rota(composer for God Father) has composed tunes that will haunt you for some days. Particularly the bit that Saraghina sings sticks in to my head. The editing is crisp. The swooping camera sometimes becomes the main character of the film. With the disease of categorizing cinema as commercial and art film widespread, it is amazing to notice how could Fellini make such movies for general audience.

Keeping in mind the fact that this cinema was made in 1963, you will be able to appreciate the sheer brilliance of cinematography. The characters swarming Guido to get guidance, to suggest, to ask for jobs are shot in a rhythm which you could hardly miss noticing. Some say that Fellini played some rhythmic music in the back ground and Choreographed the moves of the characters as well as camera to get that effect. And the effect in itself was inspired by circus, of which Fellini was attracted deeply earlier in his childhood.

To bring out my own interpretations of the movie I need to watch it many more times. For time being, I end this note with few useful texts on the movie which I gathered during my research. If you have come across more interesting literature about the movie:


Three Quarter- The Blog

In the grammar of photography, three quarter turn is a pose of an actor which embodies the urge of anonymity. Here even though the actor is being shot, though all of his facial characteristics are recorded in the pose, the angle seems to impose anonymity.It also characterizes a person to have turned away from the direct sight of the audience.

In our usual urban slang, we call a lower body clothing which is neither a full length pant nor a traditional short as a 'fourth'. This clothing symbolizes the comfort in being able to oppose formal social norm but still be within the boundary of decency.

In the sense of measurement, three quarter is just a few steps away from becoming one-the whole. Being half or to be in half way has its own sense of completion. But moving forward from the half way and staying in the mark of three quarter puts you in an unusual kind of mental state. Though you have accomplished much more than when you were in the half way mark, it still lacks the sense of completeness.


I have blogged for many years in Kannada, which is my mother tongue. Though blog is to be personal and informal, my self assumed 'writer' position made me to write with always having the reader in mind. If I visit back those writings, I can rarely find myself in them. This doesn't mean I disapprove of those writings, they had their own ambitions.

In this blog I intend to write about things I do, projects I am associated with, my observations of the outer world, my interests, the books I read, movies I watch and the people I meet.

I hope there will be something in these logs that you can associate with and cherish.

Love you all!