Why not switch over to Linux/ Open Office/ Mozilla?

July 25, 2010

I have just now installed what I feel is one of the most impressive and simple-to-use Linux OS versions – LinuxMint. Everything works out of the box – network adaptor, Wi-Fi client, Mobile broadband USB based device, printer, MP3 & Flash for audio/video multimedia play back, and pretty much everything else! All this might sound like very normal for Windows users – but for Linux, it is no short of a Renaissance!

Initially, two years back, I tried Fedora Linux (On dual boot mode) – but did not use it much as there were some restrictions in my office and I couldn’t connect to the printer. Then, I happened to take a break for about six months and was determined to use Linux. This time, I installed Ubuntu Linux. Agreed, I had to do some minor configuration changes to play Mp3, Flash and even the Wi-Fi (The wireless adapter did not work and I took help from a colleague who downloaded the driver and made it work), but most other things, including printer, worked. Then I upgraded to the latest version and suddenly found that my display was gone when I booted in to Ubuntu!  This is why I always keep Windows in dual-boot along with Linux. Then I inquired and my geek friend asked me to try LinuxMint. It seems LinuxMint uses the same repositories (what ever that is) as Ubuntu but comes with built-in support for most of the hardware drivers. I can testify this – On my Toshiba laptop, pretty much everything worked!

On any laptop or PC, all the components are not manufactured by the same vendor. Your graphics card might come from a different vendor, your DVD drive might come from a different vendor, your Wireless adapter comes from a different vendor. So, each component also includes their own software (device driver) to work with the processor and other components in a Laptop/ PC. But this crucial piece of software is written mostly for Windows. That’s why everything works immediately in Windows. But for Linux, there are thousands of enthusiastic open-source volunteers around the world who keep track of all such devices that are released in the market and write the code for recognizing/ supporting them by themselves – you can guess why this is so difficult. So, getting to use a Linux OS which natively supported all such different components out-of-the-box on my Laptop was such a surprise!

By the way, open source means that all the programming code used to develop an application/ Operating system etc are hosted in the Internet for anyone to see/ test and re-use it to make further improvements/ newer applications. Open-source is nothing short of a new and rising reformist movement – but I will expand on this later, in another post.

Coming to the applications part I seriously fail to understand why one uses a commercial package when an excellent alternative is available in the form of OpenOffice. With OpenOffice, most of the features that we need to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc are very much available and simple to use. Of course, initially it might be slightly difficult or rather different, but you can learn things very fast as you explore.  You can directly save a document or a spread sheet or even a presentation as a pdf file! And most importantly it doesn’t crash or hang. You can very much open an MS Word Document (In .doc format), edit, and save in .doc format, if you wish to. But the open-standard for saving a document(for example) is .odt and I strongly recommend that everyone save and exchange documents in this format. I have been using OpenOffice for more than a year, and it is my primary office application for both my personal and official use. I have not come across major compatibility problems with Microsoft files except few minor formatting changes, which can be corrected easily. OpenOffice, by the way, has a Windows version also that you can use – so there can be no excuses.

Mozilla Firefox is my favorite browser and it is very much supported both in Windows and Linux. I was even using a WYSIWYG blog post editor which came as a add-on to Firefox. I guess Firefox should be the browser with maximum and very interesting add-on’s. There are other browsers like Opera, which work very well in Linux. I was using Mozilla Thunderbird (but currently use Evolution) as the email client in Linux.

As you would have seen from what I have written, I am no geek. But a little interest and exploration led me in to the wonderful world of Linux / Open-office/ Mozilla. In fact, you have open-source equivalents for almost every paid commercial application developed for windows. Have you heard of the GIMP program, which is an excellent alternative to Photo-Shop in the open-source environment? I even downloaded an open-source DVD writer application for Windows (when trying to install the LinuxMint) which is not only free but does the job perfectly without reminding you that the demo license period is over and you need to pay $ to use the software!

And most importantly Linux loads only the applications that we really need and hence boots very fast and shuts-down equally fast, without really wasting precious minutes. Yeah, the icing on the cake comes last – You don’t have to install an Anti-Virus program which keeps reminding you hundred times in a day that it has caught this or that virus, and still find that your files/ USB devices are infected with so many viruses that the only way to continue to use the computer even for a temporary period is to re-format the whole hard-disk!!

Destination Infinity

You don’t have to be a Geek to switch over to Linux – you just should not be very dumb!!😛


Iniyavai Narpadhu rally photos – Sendhamizh Manadu Kovai 2010

June 23, 2010

Today, 23rd of June 2010, there was a procession on the theme ‘Iniyavai Narpadhu’ {Sweet 40 things} which is basically a rally with statues and models (oorvalam) about Tamil language, culture, icons, civilization, folk arts, musical instruments, etc. from VOC Park in Coimbatore to the CODISSIA grounds where the Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu (World Classical Tamil Meet) is being organised. The procession went through the Avinashi Road and there were huge crowds all along the way to watch it. Since I was also one of the crowd members, I hereby share some of the photo’s that I was able to click from there. Enjoy🙂.

Iniyavai Narpadhu 1 - Semmozhi Manadu 2010Iniyavai Narpadhu 2 - Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu CoimbatoreIniyavai Narpadhu 3 - Ulaga Semmozhi Manadu CbeIniyavai Narpadhu 4 - World Tamil Conference 2010Iniyavai Narpadhu 5 - Thamizh Manadu Kovai Iniyavai Narpadhu 6 - Semmozhi ManaduIniyavai Narpadhu 7 - Tamil conference 2010 Coimbatore ProcessionIniyavai Narpadhu 8 - World Tamil Meet Coimbatore procession photosIniyavai Narpadhu 9 - Avinashi road procession for Senthamizh ManaduIniyavai Narpadhu 10 - Procession PhotosIniyavai Narpadhu 11 - Semmozhi Manadu procession Coimbatore photosIniyavai Narpadu 12 - Semmozhi Manadu photosIniyavai narpadu - 13 Iniyavai Narpadhu 14Iniyavai Narpadhu 15 - Tamil World Conference Coimbatore photosIniyavai Narpadhu 16 - Semmozhi Manadu procession photos avinashi road Iniyavai Narpadhu 17 Coimbatore Semmozhi manadu procession VOC park to CODISSIA photosIniyavai Narpadhu 18 - Semmozhi procession photosIniyavai Narpadhu 19 Thamizh Manadu Oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 20 - Semmozhi manadu bhavani oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 21 - Semmozhi Manadu first day display photosIniyavai Narpadhu 22 - Coimbatore Thamizh Manadu procession oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 23 - Kovai Senthamizh manadu display photosIniyavai Narpadu 24 - Semmozhi Manadu artefacts photoIniyavai Narpadhu 25 - Bharathiar statue photoIniyavai Narpadhu 26 - Semmozhi Manadu ship photoIniyavai Narpadhu 27 - Semmozhi manadu traditional arts performerIniyavai Narpadhu 28 - Semmozhi Manadu statue photoIniyavai Narpadhu 29 - Semmozhi Manadu Iniyavai Narpadhu 30 - Semmozhi manadu 2010Iniyavai Narpadhu 31 - Semmozhi manadu Iniyavai Narpadhu 32 - Semmozhi ManaduIniyavai Narpadhu 33 - Semmozhi Manadu Coimbatore Oorvalam photosIniyavai Narpadhu 34 - Semmozhi Manadu puliyattamIniyavai Narpadhu 35 - Semmozhi manadu madu photoIniyavai Narpadhu 36 - Semmozhi Manadu satelliteIniyavai Narpadhu 37 - Semmozhi Manadu kudhirai attamIniyavai Narpadhu 38 - Bharathiyar statue semmozhi manaduiniyavai Narpadhu 39 - Semmozhi Manadu folk artsIniyavai Narpadhu 40 - Semmozhi Manadu KadhalIniyavai Narpadhu 41 - Semmozhi Manadu temple and nandhi statueIniyavai Narpadhu 42 - Semmozhi manadu folk arts kalaingargaliniyavai Narpadhu 43 - semmozhi manadu procession house iyaanar statueIniyavai Narpadhu 44 - Semmozhi manadu coimbatore 2010

Related Article : Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu – World Classical Tamil conference (An Introduction)

Destination Infinity

This article is categorized as a ‘photo post’. You could visit the Music/Photos Section of this blog to read similar articles.


Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu – World Classical Tamil Conference

June 21, 2010

Semmozhiyana Thamizh Mozhiye

In this part of the world, language is everything. Language is communication, language is commerce, language is politics, language is recreation and pretty much everything else.

The language is Tamil. You would be surprised to see the passion that the people here have for their native language. They also share a strong sense of brotherhood for all the Tamil speaking people around the country/ world.

Photo of Main Hall - Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu

Main hall from outside - World Classical Tamil Conference

To reflect their love for the language, a World Classical Tamil Conference (Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu) is being conducted, this time in Coimbatore, TN, India from June 23rd to 27th, 2010. It is an opportunity for one and all to learn and exhibit their knowledge of the language and see for themselves the various forms that the language has taken from time immemorial.

Inside the main hall - Ulaga Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu , Coimbatore

The seating capacity in the main hall is around 50,000 and there is also a provision for additional 30,000 people to stand/sit down on the ground to watch.

Stage view from inside the main hall - World Classical Tamil Meet

The total allocated budget for the 5 day conference is around 300 Crores. Arrangements for commutation has been made via 400 special busses and three special trains for people around TN and neighbouring states to attend the meet. Forty one marriage halls with food arrangements have been readied for the stay of people coming from other places.

Museum view from outside the Tamizh Semmozhi Manadu Coimbatore

In the venue itself (CODISSIA Grounds, Coimbatore), apart from the main hall, there is a museum hosting more than 700 artefacts detailing the history and forms the language has taken. There is also a book fair with around 130 publishers having their stalls and displaying their books. There is also a handicrafts exhibition cum fair organized by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Huge complexes (temporary ones) are being constructed for serving food – the complex is expected to cater to 4000 people in five minutes. The meals would cost Rs. 30/- per plate in the afternoon. There is also an audio-visual arena with twelve plasma TV’s for multimedia presentations / screening movies related to the language. Around 70 portable toilets have also been organized, since the place is an open air venue and huge crowds are expected to attend this meet.

Dining Hall - World Classical Tamil Conference - Coimbatore

As to what is going to happen in this conference – Around 1500 language experts would be presenting papers/ essays related to various aspects of the language. Numerous Patti Manrams/ Karuttarangugal would be organized (Debate sessions) to discuss the richness of the language and also the challenges facing the development of the language in this modern era. Cultural programmes like dramas, songs, folk arts, dances etc would also be organized. All the programmes are expected to be covered extensively by the media.

Logo - Thamizh Semmozhi Manadu - World Classical Tamil Conference - Coimbatore - 2010

The theme song for this World Classical Tamil Meet has been composed by A R Rehman and directed by Goutham Menon. This has been written by the Chief Minister of TN, Mr. Karunanidhi and sung by a lot of well known singers.  The video of the song can be viewed in this link (Click to view).

There was an oorvalam –  procession (rally) titled ‘Iniyavai Narpadhu’ as a part of the Semmozhi Manadu event in Coimbatore through Avinashi Road. The two photos published below were clicked from there. To see more photos from ‘Iniyavai narpadhu’ oorvalam (rally), click here.

Iniyavai Narpadhu - Semmozhi Manadu bharathiar iniyavai Narpadhu - Globe and dish - Semmozhi Manadu photos

Destination Infinity

This article is categorized as a Photo post. You could visit the ‘Music/Photo posts‘ section of this blog to read similar articles.


My Professional blog on Computer Networking – www.excitingip.com: Please vote!!

March 19, 2010

Hi People,

I guess this is the right time to come back, as I have now got my Reliance Data Card (3.1 Mbps) as well as a new Toshiba laptop (the motherboard in the old one was not working!). And as an icing over the cake, my professional blog on computer networking www.excitngip.com has been nominated as one of the finalists in the Avant Garde Bloggie Awards 2010 in the “Best Professional Blog” category. I am sure you remember this website, as I had introduced it earlier, when I started it.

But now, I want to write a separate post on the same as I have taken quite a bit of efforts for that website. I took a break for almost 6 months to write 125 articles in that blog, full time, all related to computer/ IP networks (I work on providing networking solutions for various organisations/ enterprise companies – I am involved in the Pre-Sales and the Sales activities, precisely). But, taking a break for six months is a professional gamble. Fortunately, my current boss viewed it positively as the website was in the same domain as my work, so I am back to my full time vocation.

Frankly, I wanted to achieve two things with that website – One, achieve recurring income through advertising and second – try and fetch leads for requirements for networking projects with new customers through the website.

So, on the first one, I have made around $ 25 USD in the last 10 months (I have just written 4 articles in the last four months due to lack of time) through Google Adsense which is a Pay-per-click advertising network run by google. So, as you can see, it averages to around 2.5$ a month, and that is not exactly a huge amount! But yeah, these are the initial months and I hope to make it better as I go on.

The second one is more interesting – I needed to write on specific brands/ products in order to generate any kind of leads for new business opportunities. I also needed to mention specifically that if any one was wanting such a product/ solution in so-and-so place, they could contact me using the contact form. But I never did either!! I have kept the website as neutral as possible without any product names/ brands and hopefully I will keep it that way in the coming years. This decision was not planned, in fact, the reverse was planned! But another hurdle in this approach was, most of the visitors who arrived through the search engines were outside India or at least not from the southern states where we work.

But frankly, since I have referred to a lot of material over the internet and the downloaded manuals etc for writing each article in the site, I have got a better understanding of enterprise networks and the elements that go in to building and managing them – This is priceless!

If you are inquisitive, it takes around 3,500 to 4000 rupees to get your domain and hosting space on a shared server (I hosted it in Bluehost). Then you need to install a content management system (Like self hosted WordPress.org version which I used) and get a theme to suit your blog/ site. The last two are available free of cost. And yeah, C.Bavota (the developer of the free theme that I am using), if you are reading this, the first investment that I would make is to purchase your professional theme of the same magazine basic series when my first check would arrive from Google! because I love the theme I am using – Great work mate! I might still not change to the new professional theme I buy though!! And yeah, Google pays out once the amount accumulates to 100 dollars – so I guess there is no hurry😉

Ok, the idea of writing this post is to request my wonderful audience (if you remember me still!!) to vote for my blog http://www.excitingip.com in the Best Professional Blog category of the Avant Garde Bloggie Awards as I would love to see it win there!

For this blog (Destination Infinity), I am planning to write at least one post per month from now on, and I want to take some interviews with real people we meet every day (Auto-wallah’s, shop owners, etc) and write about their life, work etc. in order to get a better understanding of the lives of people living around us. I have wanted to become a journalist when I was young, and this is the closest I can get to it – but still I am happy, as with my blog I can decide on what gets published!!

Destination Infinity

PS: Here is the link you need to click to vote. Happy Voting🙂

Related Articles: Click here for information on Converged Networks – Basic Introductory articles on wired/wireless networks, voice, video over IP networks.


Taking a short break

January 10, 2010

Hi ppl,

I want to take a short break for 2-3 months from blogging as I feel I have not been able to write with full satisfaction, especially in the recent posts. And besides, commitments at work have increased and I have not got a broadband connection at home still – its pretty hard to manage a blog with mobile GPRS!

I hope to come back and start writing in this blog sooner…

Destination Infinity



January 3, 2010

“Sir, why don’t you buy this popcorn?”

“No, we don’t want…”mumbai beachPhoto credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kdixon/

“Please sir, it is so tasty…”

“Yeah it must be, but we are not in a mood for it”

“Eat it and you will get the mood”

“No yaar, we don’t want it”

“Sir, please”

“Do you go to school?”

“Yeah, we go to school in the mornings and in the evenings we come to this beach”

“Why are your parents making you sell these things”

“They don’t have money”

“Ok, take this ten rupees”

“Here are your two popcorn packets then…”

“No, we don’t want popcorn. Just have the money”

“Why you don’t want the popcorn?”

“I told you no, we are not in a mood to eat popcorn, re”

“Then have your money back”

The kid (maybe 10 years of age) gives them the money and walks away from there. The two youngsters chase him, take the popcorn from him and pay him for the popcorn.

This is a true incident. I was very close by when this happened in one of the beaches of Mumbai.

And I could hear Bombay say ‘This is the spirit of Aamchi Mumbai!’

Destination Infinity

Wishing you people an advanced happy new year 2011. That way, you can’t complain that I am late or I forgot to wish you for 2010😛


Tirunelveli Halwa

December 27, 2009

Tirunelveli or Nellai (as called in Tamil) is a town that is situated near to Kanyakumari/Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. This place is very famous for its Halwa – The jelly like sweet made out of wheat and ghee that almost melts in your mouth! In fact, Tirunelveli Halwa has become a brand in itself! It is easily one of the best sweets I have tasted so far.

People here say that the halwa recipe is more than hundred years old. Some say that the halwa recipe has come to the South from North India. In fact, the owner of a hugely popular stall called ‘Iruttu kadai'(Literally meaning dark shop) is a North Indian, perhaps settled here. It is also said that the halwa gets its special taste because of the water that is used to prepare the same is taken from Tamaraibharani river which runs in the place.

Iruttu Kadai in Tirunelveli
Iruttu Kadai is the most popular shop in Tirunelveli for Halwa. The opens only at 5:30 PM in the evening and remains open for a hour and a half or till all the halwa is sold out. We were lucky to get half a Kg of halwa when we went there at 7:30 PM when the shop was almost closed and only one door was open (see picture above). It seems that earlier, there were no lights in this shop and in the evenings they used a candle to run the business, and hence the name. Now there is an electrical bulb in the front of the store. It seems that the halwa bought from Iruttu Kadai doesn’t get spoilt even for 2-3 weeks. In fact, the people say that the halwa tastes better after a week! And yeah, there is not even a name board for this shop – If you see a bright flashy board in a shop called “Iruttu Kadai” you can be sure that it is not what it claims!

Santhi Sweets in Tirunelveli
Another hugely popular store that sells excellent halwa is called the “Santhi Sweets”. You need to be careful with this one – There are so many shops with the same place all over the town. But there is only one original! Above, you can see the photo of that shop located right next to St.Mary’s Medicals. The photo was taken at 11:00 PM in the night, and look at the crowd at that time! Fortunately, this shop is open almost 24 hours. People there say that the Halwa from Santhi Sweets is best consumed hot immediately or at least within a week.

Lakshmi Vilas Shop in Tirunelveli

Another less popular shop (but recommended by some local people) there is called “Lakshmi Vilas”. This shop has good milk halwa and muskoth halwa as well!

Below is the photo of the halwa from all the three shops. In my opinion, the halwa from Shanti Sweets is the best, and Iruttu Kadai halwa is a very close second! The photo of the jelly like halwa is also published below.

Halwa packets from Iruttu Kadai, Shanti Sweets and Lakshmi Vilas

Tirunelveli Halwa
Neighbouring Kanyakumari is a very popular and a must see tourist destination. Do consider going to this town from there, even if only for the halwa – It’s worth your efforts🙂

Destination Infinity

The address of Iruttu Kadai and Santhi Sweets are given in this link.