Hari's Corner

Humour, comics, tech, law, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then

Experimenting with a new layout

Filed under: Site management by Hari
Posted on Wed, Nov 29, 2006 at 13:38 IST (last updated: Wed, Sep 26, 2007 @ 15:30 IST)

I'm experimenting with a new layout and a new colour theme. Please feel free to leave your feedback here. Some of the XHTML was changed and the CSS was modified heavily. In particular I thought I'd try and see how a left-side bar would work with the blog. Although this theme looks a lot like the old "grey" theme I used a while back, this is a completely new one.

The earlier gold-brown theme still exists, so I can always revert to that, but I wanted a change. :)
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How Team India can avoid losing

Filed under: Humour and Nonsense by Hari
Posted on Thu, Nov 23, 2006 at 10:13 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 20:36 IST)

With the run of poor form that the Indian Cricket team has been going through in recent times it's obvious to the most optimistic Indian Cricket fan that the dream of becoming the next world champions is fading out rather quickly.

Rather than talk and analyze cricket, here are some suggestions as to how India can avoid the losing streak.

If you think my suggestions are outrageous or unworthy of consideration, just read the title again -- all I talked was about not losing... there is not a word about winning. I might be optimistic but I'm not really that unrealistic! :P
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Papa Hari shows the way

Filed under: Humour and Nonsense by Hari
Posted on Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 12:44 IST (last updated: Thu, Oct 30, 2008 @ 08:08 IST)

Papa Hari has started a new agony column to solve all your troubles! Every week I receive dozens of e-mails and phone calls from desperate people who are looking for a way to solve their intricate personal problems. Here are a few typical questions and their responses.

Question from A.Boi Dear Papa Hari, I have a question. I have been going to school for nearly ten years and I still haven't managed to pass out successfully. I am in the local football team as well. Last Sunday night I had chocolates for dinner and fell ill. I was named this season's most talented player by the school. So should I buy a new iPod?

Papa Hari Responds Dear A.Boi, You should certainly consider the costs of eating chocolates exclusively for dinner. There are other nutritious foods available. On the other hand, I see no problem with buying an iPod so long as it is within your budget. Best of luck with your studies and I hope you manage to pass out of school! By the way, you haven't mentioned your age in your question.

Question from Mr. Golfman Hi, I am the fabulously stinking rich executive of a multi-billion dollar corporation and I own a golf course, a yacht and several farms and apartments all over the country. Last week I was playing with a few friends and I missed an easy par 4 on hole 16. I later found that the course staff had not cut the grass properly on the edge of the fairway. Should I sue? And if so, who should I sue?

Papa Hari Responds Dear Mr. Golfman, I am not sure of the answer to your question, but I'm pretty certain that I should sue you for wasting my time. Care to give me the address of your legal advisor?

Question from J.A. Dear Papa Hari, I work hard for a living and I plan on going on a holiday. I found that my banker owes me $100,000 since last September and I haven't calculated interest on it yet. Luckily a close friend of mine guaranteed that he would pay that amount on my behalf and settle my debt. I feel that going to a lawyer at this stage is not good, but my wife insists on going to the Maldives. So what do you think I should do about my sick dog? Shoot it or take it to the vet?

Papa Hari Responds Dear J.A., First you should take some strong medication to clear your hangover. After that you might want to consider rephrasing your question. About your dog, I think he/she would prefer to be shot than to continue living with you. A holiday is highly recommended and I would not venture to contradict your wife's suggestion.

That's all this week, folks. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me and don't forget the $250 cheque as well. Have a nice day. :P
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Random Linux games for your enjoyment

Filed under: Software and Technology by Hari
Posted on Mon, Nov 20, 2006 at 20:43 IST (last updated: Thu, May 7, 2009 @ 21:15 IST)

Ok, I'm writing a column at LinuxQuestions.org about Random Linux apps and games, but I decided that I'd share them here as well for your benefit, since the LQ.org articles section is kind of hidden and out of the way.

First of all, who says Linux doesn't have great games? Some of the most addictive games I've played are on Linux and not all of them are graphics-rich either. Enjoyable games don't need to be heavily loaded with rich 3d graphics and sound -- they just need to have fairly easy control mechanisms and involved gameplay. Here are some of my discoveries featuring a few lesser known but very enjoyable Linux arcade games.


Website: www.wormux.org

A FOSS game along the lines of the classic Team17 game, Worms, Wormux recreates some of the fun and enjoyment of tiny creatures blasting each other on a 2d map. Although far from complete and lacking the polish of the originals, it looks promising to fans of this genre.


Website: ri-li.sourceforge.net

A toy train game where you have to collect all the wagons on the map with a concept very similar to Snake Race, it is an easy to play, yet extremely addictive game. While it's controls are very simple, it is deceptively engrossing and has nice music as well.


Website: supertuxkart.berlios.de

A very nice Kart racing game featuring many tracks and players to choose from. Fun and addictive for fans of cartoonish racing games.


Website: none (?)

Part of the KDE games package, it is a very involved running and digging action/puzzle game which involves collecting all the gold pieces in a level and escaping the enemies who relentlessly pursue you. This is a very addictive game and can vary from very easy to extraordinarily challenging, based on the level design. Also comes with an integrated editor which allows you to create new level sets.

I will be covering more FOSS apps/games in the future, both here (in the blog) as well as in my column at LinuxQuestions.org! In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for apps/games to be featured in my column, please post a comment here or send me an e-mail.
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Insightful sayings to improve your Soul

Filed under: Humour and Nonsense by Hari
Posted on Mon, Oct 30, 2006 at 09:42 IST (last updated: Wed, Sep 26, 2007 @ 15:33 IST)

Here is my own, original collection of sayings particularly designed to improve your inner Soul. Enjoy!

The attitude of wisdom is the profundity of the harbinger of reason. -- Saint Paanah (Circa 100 B.C.)

A rich man can lead a life of luxury in the heavenly uncertainty of faint principles which give him a reason for life as expressed in the mind of the eternal mother of all wisdom. -- Saint Paanah II (Circa 10 A.D.)

Attitude is the pre-emptor of jealousy and pain while the reason of wisdom brings mankind to the point of assurance within that painful realization of the emptiness. -- Lord Labak Daas Senior (Circa 1300 A.D.)

Give a man a reason to fish and he will discover the soul of Wit of his inner Self glowing amidst the embers of life's very meaning as expressed in the collective hearts of the deprived millions. -- Anonymous

Mankind's perspicacious perambulations amidst the unknown terrains hitherto unexplored is the father of the clearing of sickness in the plane of Truth which heals all wounds of the Self. -- Lord Labak Daas Junior (1687 A.D.)

Pretention is the mechanical governance of a diseased philosophy parading as the profound expression of the very existence in the mentality of a wolf in sheep's clothing. -- Saint Moolah (Circa 1000 B.C.)
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Tech savvy but not empowered

Filed under: People and society by Hari
Posted on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 at 17:03 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 21:15 IST)

I belong to a previous generation of computer users who actually attended training courses to learn the basics of computers. Back in the early 90s, computers were still a novelty for most of us and owning a PC was a matter of immense prestige. The course I attended taught MS-DOS, Lotus 1-2-3, dBase and the basics of file and directory manipulation. They conducted tests at the end and participants were given a certificate. The fact was that in those days, we used to see the computer as a special device that required a certain set of basic skills to operate. And accordingly, we never had a problem adapting to the rapid technology changes as they occurred simply because we were thorough in the fundamentals. School was also a great place to learn - we were taught computer languages from BASIC to Pascal and finally C. We didn't fiddle about with fancy GUIs or use the computer to play games. In fact, our school computers those days were equipped with the bare minimums - the Operating System (usually Novell Netware) and the compilers/IDE (Turbo Pascal and Turbo C++). As students, we didn't treat the device as a plaything but as a learning tool.

Today, computers are so familiar they breed contempt. Today's generation of youngsters grow up on a steady diet of eye-candy and 3d shooters. Kids are exposed to so much more at such an early age. This is the generation of gadget buffs. The explosion of consumer electronics has pretty much ensured the availability of cheaper and even more powerful devices for every household. But are we really more empowered?

The point I'm making is that today we are far more tech savvy than we were a couple of decades ago. But that hasn't necessarily made us more educated or empowered. Sure, everybody knows how to operate an iPod, but is that really a case of being empowered? More people use computers today, but how many of them really know the fundamentals? Do people really bother to find out what makes 64-bit computing better than 32-bit computing? Is it just a case of being impressed by all those fancy jargon? And more to the point, how many really care about what happens under the hood of all those cool gadgets they flaunt around? People mistakenly refer to themselves as "geeks" when they really should refer to themselves as "gadget-buffs". For that's exactly what they are. In the face of the smallest problem, they choose to throw away good stuff rather than getting them fixed. Devices have become smaller and smaller, but also more fragile than ever before.

Of course, it can be argued that people do not have to know their technology to use them. This is precisely why huge consumer electronic giants like Sony continue to prosper. They would rather have a generation of gadget buffs who fall for fancy jargons and colourful packaging rather than a bunch of people who understand how stuff really works. More to the point, they don't want a generation of people who can differentiate between useful really technology and meaningless hype. They don't want customers who are empowered to probe behind the constant cycle of technology upgrades which keep forcing people to throw away perfectly useful stuff just because it's become "outdated." They don't want people who will rebel against restrictions placed on fair-use... hell, they don't even want people who will understand the meaning of the term "fair use." They just want people who are addicted to buying the latest and greatest technology without considering anything other than their desire for instant gratification.

Maybe the answer lies in the fact that the previous generation grew up with the technology and was in a better position to assess its merits as it evolved. Today's generation has reaped the full benefit of the semiconductor revolution but never really saw its development and growth. So everybody wants a computer that works, but most don't want to ask how it works in the first place.

Oh, for sure, the common man today is now much more tech-savvy than a few decades ago... but tech-empowered? Not really.
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