# Sintel

“Sintel” is an independently produced short film, initiated by the Blender Foundation as a means to further improve and validate the free/open source 3D creation suite Blender. With initial funding provided by 1000s of donations via the internet community, it has again proven to be a viable development model for both open 3D technology as for independent animation film.
This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. In addition to that, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.

# My Math Clock

Absolutely arbit post ….. I am doing an intern in Zeus Numerix in Pune again this summer and am working on some really interesting stuff . All throughout the day I am generally in front of the PC studying ebooks and writing in C/C++. A change would have been kinda nice …  I decided to make a clock except that all the numbers would be represented by their mathematical significance …..(Just to get some experience on woodwork ,etc. ….. 😛 ) I got the mechanism for the clock from a local watch maker . For the base I decided to use  wood from an old unwanted cupboard . A hacksaw , hammer were good enough to cut a piece approximately 18cm x 14cm x 1cm . To drill a hole so that the mechanism could be put in place I visited our electrician . To smoothen the surfaces I used a sand paper lying around my house .For the layout of the clock i.e. the numbers etc. I used Scribus along with $\LaTeX$ .

Finally the layout or background looked like this ….. I did also add a $t$ denoting for the time variable …. 😉

I referred to Wikipedia for the significance of the numbers …..

$\sqrt[3]{1728} = 12$ —- I choose 1728 coz its 1 less than 1729 . The smallest number to represented as a sum of 2 cubes .

$0! = 1$ —- Coz 0! = 1 ….

$\left ( 0010\right )_{10}$ —- 0010 in base 10 is 2 .

$FermatPrime\left[ 0\right ] = 3$ —- 3 is the first Fermat Prime . All numbers satisfying $F_{n} = 2^{2^{ \overset{n} {}}} + 1$

$2 \uparrow\uparrow\uparrow 2 = 4$ —- thats the way 4 represented in Knuth’s Up Arrow Notation .

$\left ( 2\varphi - 1 \right )^2 = 5$ —- where $\varphi$ is the golden ratio $\varphi = \frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2}$

$\mid S_{3} \mid = 6$ —- 6 is the cardinality of the smallest non-abelian group .

$M_{3} = 7$  —- 7 is the 3 Mersenne Prime .

$F_{6} = 8$ —- 8 is the 6th Fibonacci Number .

$3^{2^{1}} = 9$ —- 9 is an exponential factorial .

$\left ( 1010\right )_2 = 10$ —- 1010 in binary is 10 in decimal (base 10)

$\frac{\Phi_2(10)}{\gcd(\Phi_2(10),2)} = 11^{c} , {c} \in \mathbb{N}$ —- 11 is the second unique prime….

Finally, after the assembly it looked like this ……

a better pic sometime sooner …..

# Sun VirtualBox 2.2

I came across the Open Source Edition of virtual box a few days before and am thrilled at the experience of working with it. For more detailed info visit -> wiki page.

I have a Dell Vostro 1310 laptop with 2GB ram, 128MB NVidia GeForce 8 series card with 160GB hard disk and a 2.1 GHz Intel Centrino (Core2Duo).

The primary purpose to use Windows is for running softwares like FLUENT and CATIA and to play some games occasionally. Dual booting in such a case is a preferrable option but with the availability of the powerful hardware i decided to go in for Virtual Box.

The possible alternatives that pop up are WINE . WINE is an Open Source Software for running Windows applications on other OS’s is a good alternative if you lack the hardware to carry out virtualization. However , making larger programs like FLUENT and CATIA work with wine can be a hassle. In such cases virtualization comes in very handy.

Another problem I was facing with WINE was its lack of connectivity with the Local Network i.e. I could not connect to the LAN , probably coz WINE couldnt access the ports on the system. Hence , playing Age Of Empires on the LAN was impossible.

Working with VirtualBox and configuring it on LAN was easy and hassle free. Also , I managed to play AOE on LAN without any lag in the system.Read further to know more on going about the installation.

Virtual Box emulates hard disks in a special format known as the “Virtual Disk Images”. These files are normally stored in $HOME/.VirtualBox/HardDisks. It supports both Intels VT-x and AMD-V. To install VirtualBox download the deb/rpm package from here . Further in the terminal cd to the location where you have downloaded the deb/rpm package. In my case it being$HOME/Desktop. The following commands will run in Ubuntu 8.10 .Then run the following commands to install the software.
 sudo dpkg - i virtualboxversionname.deb 

Follow the instructions in the dialog boxes. Make sure that you have gcc installed prior to it as it requires it to compile the kernel modules.If you wish to work your way around the installation with apt-get then do the following .

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

 wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O - | sudo apt-key add - 

3. Update your system’s package index file
 sudo apt-get update 

4. Install virtualbox 2.2
 \$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.2

The installation wont proceed until the necessary kernel packages are compiled.

If you wish to do so later make sure that you run:
 sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

Restart your computer. A suitable icon would come in Applications -> System Tools.

Start the Application.

To create a new Virtual Machine click new and follow the instructions on the wizard.Make sure that you give suitable amount of RAM. My system without the VirtualBox uses 458 MB of RAM as shown by System->System Monitor. I alloted around 1.1GB for Windows XP on VirtualBox.On running FLUENT the system monitor showed usage of 1.5GB of RAM with a small amount of SWAP usage . Make sure that you do not give too much to VirtualBox as it will affect the performance of the system. For Vista , a minimum allocation of 1GB of RAM is necessary for smooth operation.

If you have a CD/DVD image for install load it in the CD/DVD ROM tab in the settings tab. If you want to install via a CD  in your drive make sure that you check the Host CD/DVD drive option.

After the installation sharing files between the host (your computer) and the guest (virtual OS) can be done via adding the suitable share paths in Folders option. However , this didnt work for me that well and Windows XP on the VirtualBox did not recognize the network and the shared folders. I circumvented it for the time being by sharing the necessary files via ftp by copying suitable files in /home/ftp/ . For a permanent solution however I decided to share the files via the SAMBA server protocol. Install SAMBA and share the folders you want to over the network . Windows XP would recognize these and file sharing is easier.

To connect to the LAN via the ethernet controller on your system do the following :

Select the suitable OS and in the Settings -> Network Tab enable Adapter 1 and select the Bridged Network option in the Attached To drop down list.

There are certain issues with allocation of IP via the DHCP method with version 2.2 with XP as the Guest . It seems SUN has fixed the problem as mentioned here and would make the patch available in the forthcoming releases . Configuring a static IP works fine.

Run all the required programs as usual. You do not have to install the drivers if you are working on a Laptop. All the best with the virtualization .

Also keep visiting the official VirtualBox website for updates and the discussion forums.

Complaints:

i) Sharing Folders was cumbersome in my case though its worked for many as per the internet.

ii) Network speeds are fairly low.

A pic showing FLUENT running in the Guest OS with the System load.

Bye,

Jai Gurudev.

# braille browser

Long time since I wrote anything on my blog. Its been a hectic schedule here , although things have eased out after subscribing to an internet connection in the room. Elections are coming , so please vote. Its really very crucial that the youth have a say in the immediate future of our country.

Parithi n me were thinking of something for the ECell Ideas Challenge. Its a competition wherein you present a techy and sellable idea.

One of the ideas we submitted was a braille browser. Essentially a browser for the blind.

The Government is putting in a lot of effort in converting texts to braille. It is time consuming and costly too. We thought of designing a interface over which the blind could access the information on the internet.It provides them with endless opportunities in exploring the World Wide Web.

The display would be in braille.

Is it really practical ????

What we need is  a touch screen interface that would dynamically change the indentations on the surface.The next part is about decoding the information on any website. Consider Wikipedia. Removing the unnecessary images like its logo and background the necessary information can be easily decoded by using a suitable standard and further sending the appropriate signals to the microcontrollers on the tablet . It would just be like live feed or feeds that we get in say Google Reader.

The touch screen interface is the tough part. What we need is a material that changes its characteristics dynamically thus enabling us to feel the indentations on its surface. Also , its characteristics should be  modifiable by applying suitable electric or magnetic fields .

We have thought of using ferro-magnetic materials for the same. But the idea isnt tried or tested . Neither do we have any clue on how ferromagnetic materials would feel like .

If you have any material in sight which would do such a thing  or if you have any other way of approaching this problem leave a comment on this blog or write to me at  balkrishnanitt [at] gmail.com .

Bye,

Jai Gurudev.

# Fedora 10

Fedora 10 was released a few days ago and since Fedora 9 for me was a  bit of a dissapointment ,I hoped things would smoothen out in F10 .

The installation was smooth .A nice interface welcomes you at installation . I usually create 3 partitions alloting around 700MB for /boot , 1024MB for swap  and remaining (around 40GB) for / .

Fedora 10 got widespread publicity and a number of market reviewers praised it for its server stability , faster boot loading  ,etc. New users may be attracted to the distro and might be ready to give it a try without knowing Fedora’s and Red Hat’s aversion to proprietary formats like mp3,avi,flv,etc. That means when one first installs Fedora 10 none of ur mp3,avi,flv files will play.PackageKit will simply ignore these files and not bother to direct you to the suitable codec.

The solution for this is to install the necessary software from dedicated repositories which host these restricted drivers. RPM Fusion hosts a huge repository containing all these packages. To include RPM fusion packages in the software sources do the following.

 su Password: --- Your root password rpm -ivh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm 

The rpm will install in a few seconds and will be added to your software source.

Now if the necessary codecs to run a file are not installed PackageKit will direct you to the appropriate source.

I use a Dell Vostro 1310 with a 2.1GHz Pentium core 2 duo processor , NVidia GeForce 8400 graphics card. For graphics on the system I downloaded the necessary drivers from here .

For installing these drivers you have to :
Kill the X server and then run the package.

For killing the X server boot into runlevel 3 .
To do so :
 su Password: -- Your root password /*Open inittab in your favourite editor*/ emacs -nw /etc/inittab /*and change the runlevel to 3 */ 
Reboot your system and as root run the package and your drivers will be installed.

GNOMEs latest version features nautilus with tabs a very handy hack.OpenOffice supports .docx ,etc formats (a huge sigh of relief).

Things I did not like:
KDE appearance sucks. GNOME rocks . However since I am a big fan of VLC and Amarok I was dissapointed with the window appearance for both their GUIs since both are coded in QT .

Mplayer and Rhythmbox might work out as good replacements.

Came across a nice site which serve as personal guides to fedora 9&10 .

Also tried Gnome Do . More on it later

Bye ,

Jai Gurudev.

# MGL

Finally MGL is underway and its nice to see a good turnover for these classes.We had 140 paid registrations in just two days of putting up of the poster.A big contrast to what happens for Art Of Living courses….. you get 140 paid registrations in about a month if you have a good enough dedicated volunteer base…..Suprising isnt it ….. people are reluctant to do something as wonderful as the AOL courses….(For anyone who hasnt done it ……. its a ‘breathtaking’ course…… 😉 (pun intended)).

Anyways coming back to the topic…..Yesterday was the first day of the MGL classes with topics like Introduction to Linux , Basics of OS, The Linux Equivalent Project and file hierarchy being taught. Sathya did a nice job with the introduction and JC was really good with his short and energetic intro to “What is an OS”. This was followed by Shantanu,Uday who spoke on a few more topics like whats a shell etc.The Linux Equivalent Project intro was taken up by Nikhil and Vivek.And finally file hierarchy was taught by Tirth(He kept it short and sweet…… 🙂 ).

Abhilash did a wonderful job with maintaining the site.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed for a really nice opening to the classes…… 🙂 ….You guys rock…… :).

Today:

Akhil will be teaching Vim basics ,Kra .. File Permissions and Balki and Surya .. Shell Scripting……. The enjoyable grind begins……. 😉

Jai Gurudev!

# Screenlets

Screenlets are screen applets.They look good and provide great functionality.They are small owner drawn applications written in Python.They are a really good alternative to gDesklets too.

Heres how you go about installing them:
For Fedora:
You need gnome-keyring and python devel packages installed. Also you need the rsvg libraries.
Switch to the super user in the terminal.Then
 yum install python-devel gnome-python2-keyring 
Also install the rsvg libraries.
 yum install gnome-python2-rsvg.i386 librsvg2.i386 librsvg2-devel.i386 
and extract it to a folder. Navigate to the folder and run
 python setup.py install 
Screenlets daemon and manager is installed.
To run the screenlets manager goto Applications=>Accessories=>Screenlets
or
in the terminal
 screenlets-manager 
You can customize their startup properties ,etc. from here.