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Free Bird

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Free BirdAnimals have their instinctive rules for survival. I experience a lot of this fury on the highways. Every driver thinks that the only vehicle on the road is his/her own. Only they want to reach home. Only they have the right of way. It’s only about them. All the time.

If you have not driven in India – more so in Maharashtra State, you probably have no idea of what I’m talking about.

People honk horns even if they can see there is another vehicle in front of you and you have nowhere to go. They don’t honk once, its a continuous riot till you get irritated and slam on the brakes to tell the guy behind you to shut up.

Many drivers won’t give you way – in a 4 lane highway, each direction of the traffic gets 2 lanes… among them one is for overtaking and fast vehicles and other is for slower traffic. They will drive their beat-down trashcans on the fast lane at half the usual speed and won’t budge. If you try to inform them with a short horn, they wave their hand at you to tell you to ‘go overtake from the slow lane if you want. I’m not moving’. Insulting others is normal here.

On the 2 lane highway, where oncoming traffic shares the road with you, people overtake larger/slower vehicles even if there is oncoming traffic. You have to get down on to the shoulders even if you were driving in your own lane because some SOB decided that he wanted to go immediately and he didn’t care if he swerved into your lane to do so.

These experiences are not once in a while… not once in a day… every minute that my tires are on the road, people piss me off.

I love driving, I totally enjoy driving. I’d love to drive all my life. I like to travel to different places. The journey means a lot more to me than the destination. The road is one of my best friends! I dream about traveling all the time. I save up money not for fancy clothes, but for fuel.

Yet, every time I drive, there are many people who are having a bad day and who make sure that they pass on their bad mood to every driver they meet.

I like the company of trucks when I’m on my bike – because they don’t try to kill me every time they see me.  The smaller vehicles though have no sense at all. When I drive a car, I give enough space to motorcyclists. I keep dipper/low beam light when there is oncoming traffic. I consider other driver’s situation before I take a quick turn or overtake. I don’t honk unnecessarily. I let faster vehicles pass even before they ask for side. I wait when pedestrians are crossing the road. I don’t get irritated if someone is learning how to drive and makes mistakes. I smile and wave at other drivers when the traffic is slow.

What do I get in return? Constant insult in the way of being snubbed by other drivers with bigger vehicles… I’ve recently started using same tactics on the other drivers. As soon as I see that they are going to overtake even when they can see me – I move my vehicle right in the middle of the road, flash lights and wave my fist at them, works every time. Guess, I should see if the Government allows me to keep rubber-bullet loaded guns too! Those will certainly be handy!

Heh, I can almost see myself becoming a lawless roadie some day. Its a tough job keeping my sanity and not giving in to scaring others shitless. Its not difficult to attack others… it is easy actually. I’ve found this out with experience. Most people will get on their knees if you raise your fist. Many will bow, if you make them.

That is not power. That is not respect. It is sheer intimidation. But it works like a charm on the highways – to keep yourself safe. But I don’t like it. I like to make friends… not enemies! What do I do?

I tried this for a full 100 kilometers – give the overtaking driver some space and move a bit towards the edge of the road. Each of the 30+ times in the nearly two hours of drive, the oncoming vehicle made me get down from the road, into the rubble and stop – because the bike would go out of control in  rubble. While coming back on the same stretch, I tried my flash-the-lights and wave-your-fist technique… none… yes NONE of the vehicles caused me any trouble.

Well, only one jeep-driver had the guts to still drive on, but since I stayed in my place, he had to swerve even more and go past the edge of my lane. I sure hope his passengers gave him some points to ponder. Three more cars had followed him and were already in my lane when this happened, they saw what happened and almost instantly got back in their lane.

I’m having a difficult time being good. It seems that the only way to stay alive on the highway is to scare the living daylight out of others. Can’t we Indians be sensible? Are we freaking animals that we have to attack others for the right of way? I’m not going to stop driving just because others have no sense nor responsibility of driving. I will not be scared into sitting at home or traveling in bus like many other people. Most importantly, I will not die on the highway.

I like to follow the rules. Please don’t make me lawless! Somebody help me!


Written by hiway

April 30, 2007 at 1:02 am

Posted in adventure, rant, travel

Panther going to the vet…

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That’s jungle code for “my machine is going to be upgraded now.”

Hopefully, I have all the backups in a good shape. I’ve just made sure – but with machines, you never can be really sure. Have the AMD64 version of FreeBSD ready to leave its mark on my system. I’m loving PCBSD, but it is 32bit only, my machine sports a AMD Turion 64 processor – better use the power!

Will try to set things up as they are (or at least very close to as) in  PCBSD 3.3. If I’m able to do that in the next few hours/days/weeks/months/who knows when, I’ll be a happier man! No, I’m not planning on PBI support, I like ports tree more – and I just realized, The FreeBSD Foundation has Java binaries available for most of our systems… great! Because I hate compiling java by hand (those who have tried it, know what I mean 😉

Here’s the link.

I’ll be gone, not for long – cause I do have 3 other machines (actually, with friend’s machines lying here… those can be 5 spare machines) to come online if I mess this up! So no worries mates! I’ll just be busy, living on pure caffeine and rock music for the next few hours/days/… whatever 🙂

Written by hiway

March 4, 2007 at 4:55 am

Digikam Albums on Network Filesystem

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Digikam has issues with albums on a network share. It uses sqlite database, and it seems that the database file cannot be stored on a share.

Click here for the bug report…

Now, I was stumped when Digikam refused to work the first time, I thought it was because of the overwhelming number of photographs that I threw at it – 30GB, over network. So I reduced it to 12MB… nothing happened. That’s when I sensed that something is wrong.

The above bug report almost washed away all hopes of having my files on a central fileserver and accessing them from the various machines around me. I went to sleep at 6 am, thinking about this… woke up for lunch, and woke up with an idea – I mounted the share on a directory which is outside the path of Digikam’s library, then I symlinked the directory into the library. So now basically, the sqlite database sits on my local harddisk, but the files are accessed from the server – problem solved!

Library: /home/harshad/images/

Share mounted on: /home/harshad/shared/

Actual photos on: /home/harshad/shared/photos/2007/


ln -s /home/harshad/shared/photos/2007 /home/harshad/images/shared

I should mention that it works fine when I have the sample images amounting upto 12MB… when I gave it the whole library, it loaded the information into the database, but after showing no further progress for more than 30 minutes, I terminated it.

I think I’ll have to have various symlinks for smaller sections of my library and have shell scripts to create / delete these symlinks before loading digikam to make it lighter on the software and network!

Hope this issue is solved and we don’t need this workaround.

Note: Edited on 5 March 2007 for some typos.

Written by hiway

March 3, 2007 at 3:32 am

Beagle on PCBSD / FreeBSD – IT WORKS!!!

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Continuing on my rant a few hours ago… days, hours, they seem all the same when I’m toying with computers… anyway…

So I tried installing Beagle, the fantastic desktop search comparable to Google Desktop and Spotlight from Mac, and I failed miserably. Apparently, Beagle uses a few linux-specific tricks, which are not available on FreeBSD.

Somehow, I failed to notice the work done by BSD# team. My bad. Really, because they have a port ready for FreeBSD since last few months (that’s what the CVS repository seems to be saying) and it compiled and installed painlessly as far as my experience goes. I’m only very slightly annoyed that it downloaded and installed evolution, a rather large application – that I never use. Dependencies… well, sometimes I thank the FreeBSD guys that the ports system does the work of driving me up the wall – at least like RPM, it doesn’t coax into driving yourself up the wall. Bad pun I guess, nevermind – thoughts start getting dizzy and confusing when you are at the desk for more than 14 hours.

Ok, back to the rant. So I installed Beagle, and right now, as I type, the beagle daemon is indexing my files. Sweet!

Only one small issue: it is not easy to get the files – Beagle is not included in the standard FreeBSD ports tree, and there seems to be no simple way of getting the required files and start compiling. After hunting around the website, you find the CVS repository… from that point you either have to know CVS, or have to browse the repository and save each file to your disk, in the proper directory hierarchy and then copy the directory named “beagle” into “/usr/ports/deskutils/” and then run “make install”.

I’m hoping it is included in the standard ports tree soon because Beagle seems like a very sensible and useful tool.

Cheers to people working on Beagle, BSD#, PCBSD and FreeBSD! Long live Open Source!

Written by hiway

February 28, 2007 at 3:26 am

Open Source Photography Workflow Management Software

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A few days ago, I stumbled upon a nice application. From the website it looks nice and might soon contain every feature that I want – I haven’t been successful in making it run on my system (yet).

First of all, it is a Java application… and FreeBSD/PCBSD isnt exactly Java paradise. Yes the support is improving fast, and I’m happy about it 🙂 So, after downloading the “jar” file, I tried double clicking in Konqueror file explorer – which promptly opened the archive and showed me the files inside. Hmm… not exactly what I wanted to do.

So I fired up Konsole and issued the command

jar blueMarine-0.8.6-setup-linux.jar

For which is gave a rather confusing reply:

Exception in thread “main” java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: blueMarine-0/8/6-setup-linux/jar

Yes folks, I am an outsider to the Java world. I usually am clueless about how things work here. So I searched on the Internet and found nothing that said somebody had the exact same problem and how they solved it. So, I realized that I was probably on my own for generalizing the problem, finding out a generic solution and then applying it here. So after searching a bit, I found out that Java was unable to find the “classpath” for the given jar file and it makes no assumptions that the classes might just be in the same jar file… and so we have to tell it exclusively – it’s in the same file dangit!… well, for a computer to understand that, the command is:

java -jar blueMarine-0.8.6-setup-linux.jar

Finally, (wait, its not really finally) it worked! The interface loaded and complained that I have Java 1.5.0 while it needs 1.5.0_05! So until I make up the mind to try and upgrade Java (which isn’t a lovely process on this Operating System) I’m going to do something else (which includes having a cup of tea or sleeping). I need to make my mind up soon! 😀

*sigh* sometimes, I really dislike softwares. Whoever said that computers make life easy, hasn’t really ever used one.

Oh, and if you are curious, here’s the link to blueMarine:

Written by hiway

February 26, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Beagle on PCBSD / FreeBSD – I tried… :’-(

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UPDATE: I have successfully installed Beagle on PCBSD 1.3.3 / FreeBSD 6.1

NOTE: Later install for KDE integration

1. Got Beagle sources, decompressed, run ./configure
It complains that I don’t have mono installed… right…

2. Installed lang/mono

3. Installed x11-toolkits/gtk-sharp20

Packages NOT found in the ports tree:

Packages found in the ports tree:

4. Installed gmime-sharp

5. Compiling gnome-sharp20

Traceback (most recent call last):
File “/usr/local/bin/xml2po”, line 34, in <module>
import libxml2
File “/usr/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages/”, line 1, in <
import libxml2mod
ImportError: /usr/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages/ Undef bol “xmlPathToURI”

Problem seems difference in library version and python wrapper version:

libxml2-2.6.26 XML parser library for GNOME
py25-libxml2-2.6.27 Python interface for XML parser library for GNOME

6. Installing libxml2-2.6.27

7. Back to compiling gnome-sharp20, done.

8. The dependencies that were NOT found, seem to be automatically satisfied now. Good!

9. ./configure in beagle directory is successful

10. Building Beagle:

panther# gmake
gmake all-recursive
gmake[1]: Entering directory `/usr/home/harshad/Programming/beagle-0.2.16′
Making all in po
gmake[2]: Entering directory `/usr/home/harshad/Programming/beagle-0.2.16/po’
file=`echo ar | sed ‘s,.*/,,’`.gmo \
&& rm -f $file && -o $file ar.po
-o: not found
gmake[2]: *** [] Error 127
gmake[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/home/harshad/Programming/beagle-0.2.16/po’
gmake[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
gmake[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/home/harshad/Programming/beagle-0.2.16′
gmake: *** [all] Error 2

It basically says that msgfmt program on my system could be causing this… but following its steps, I think i see sane output.
panther# grep msgfmt config.log
configure:21975: checking for msgfmt
configure:21993: found /usr/local/bin/msgfmt
configure:22006: result: /usr/local/bin/msgfmt

12. What is going wrong?

In the file ./po/Makefile
file=`echo $* | sed ‘s,.*/,,’`.gmo \
&& rm -f $$file && $(GMSGFMT) -o $$file $<

Now, I’m basically replacing $(GMSGFMT) with the full path of msgfmt ( /usr/local/bin/msgfmt )

For now, YAY! it seems to work.

13. F%*&K. That’s all I can say…

thread-glue.c:30:26: linux/unistd.h: No such file or directory
gmake[2]: *** [thread-glue.lo] Error 1
gmake[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/home/harshad/Programming/beagle-0.2.16/glue’
gmake[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
gmake[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/home/harshad/Programming/beagle-0.2.16′
gmake: *** [all] Error 2

Looks like this bugger isn’t going to run natively… it needs a linux specific library.

The above link practically says that this program cannot run as native under FreeBSD. Or so I understand…

Now backtrack all the way, I don’t feel like uninstalling the applications that I just installed.
Onwards to Plan B: linux binary compatibility layer.

14. Reading about installing commercial linux applications on FreeBSD

15. Reading about installing software on FC4 (since I have linux base fc4 on my machine installed and running)

16. Installed rpm (not rpm4) from the ports tree.

17. Oh Boy!

panther# rpm -i –ignoreos –dbpath /var/lib/rpm –root /compat/linux
error: failed dependencies:
/bin/sh is needed by
/bin/sh is needed by
/usr/bin/pdftotext is needed by
chmlib is needed by
epiphany >= 1.8.0 is needed by
evolution-sharp is needed by
gmime-sharp is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by is needed by
mono-core is needed by
sqlite2 is needed by
zip is needed by

OK, at this point, I feel like just throwing this thing away and enjoying a good night’s sleep – it’s already 1:30 am. Frankly, so much hassle for one software is too much. TOO MUCH.

uname -a inside Linux binary compat shell:
Linux panther 2.4.2 FreeBSD 6.1-RELEASE-p13 #1: Mon Feb 12 06:38:43 IST 2007 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux

I try installing one software at a time… but it has many other dependencies… sheesh! Creeps me out. I’m not done installing a single software yet – because every rpm that I try to install wants many more rpms… BLAH! I’m giving up for today.

Written by hiway

February 23, 2007 at 1:58 am

Monsoon Wanderlust

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No doubt, the monsoon is here… and the atmosphere is filled with a fresh fragrance of wet earth and leaves. It’s a time to gather up buddies and go on a long tour or trek. And don’t we love to test out limits while climbing challenging mountains, crossing fast paced rivers and streams? Gruelling yet enjoyable!

I love to spend my time in Panchgani and Mahableshwar… close enough to home (6 hour journey) and far enough to forget everything else! Yet, every time I visit these beautiful places, I feel saddened by the constant deterioration of the landscapes and picnic spots – thanks to tourists!

I appreciate an article in “Yuva Sakal” (18 Jul 2006) that mentions a few points to remember when trekking… I am translating from Marathi, and adding a few points that can relate to general travelling.

  • While travelling in rainy season, preferably carry lightweight luggage.
  • Remember to wear strong shoes with a good grip. Sandals and chappals may cause trouble on slippery surfaces.
  • When crossing rivers and streams, make use of “human chain”. Hold each other’s hands to gain balance and support in strong currents.
  • Do not defer from a known route. It may be temping to take a more difficult route, but refrain from it as long as possible. Also, stay away from cliff edges.
  • Always carry necessary first aid and also carry extra stock of any prescribed medicines. Carry your own drinking water, even if it is available naturally and freely, just keep a backup.
  • Leeches are common near ponds, if they stick to you skin, apply tobacco or limestone on the spot. (That means, you might want to carry some of that too.)
  • While roaming around, do not kill any animals or insects, large or small… they are an important part of the ecosystem. We are the guests, not owners – always remember that.
  • If you are about to take a challenging route, inform the local people about it. You might want to chat with the tea vendor or the shopkeeper on the way… in case you are lost, these people are your backup when search and rescue begins.
  • Take care that you do not disturb the ecosystem. Do not light fire for cooking and leave it unattended. If you have to leave, make sure the fire is completely extinguished and that flammable objects are not lying nearby.
  • Do not throw away any plastic bags or bottles. Bring them back and dispose them in garbage bins; even little things like chocolate wrappers.
  • If you cannot live without beer and alcohol, at least do not leave the bottles behind. It is disgusting to see broken glass lying all around… and dangerous for other travellers.
  • Just once again, you are not the owner of nature… when you go out into the wild… you are a guest. Behave like one.

That’s all for now! Enjoy the monsoons and make sure you don’t hurt mother nature!

Written by hiway

July 18, 2006 at 7:04 pm

Posted in adventure, travel