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Adobe Flash (bug?) in Linux

By on Mar 3, 2009 in Tech Takes | 8 comments

Adobe Flash based uploaders have become fairly ubiquitous on the Web, mainly because of their multi-upload capabilities. Hurrah to no longer having to click-through ‘Add more upload bixes’ links in HTML forms. It seem to me that in Linux at least there might be a bug in Adobe Flash specifically regarding Flash-based uploaders. I’m putting this post up in the hope that someone else may have a solution to this problem OR can confirm whether this actually is a reproducible bug on other Linux distros. I’m currently using Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex with all updates installed. The browsers I tested on are Mozilla Firefox 3.0.6 and Epiphany (Gecko) 2.24.1. The issue that I’m facing is that whenever I’m uploading files using a Flash-based uploader, my browser hangs (in Ubuntu, the window gets greyed out). As soon as the upload gets over, everything goes back to normal. If I’m uploading multiple files using the same uploader then the browser alternates between its normal and ‘not responding’ state until all the files are serially uploaded. This happens across every Flash-based uploader. I’m using the latest version of Flash – v10.0.22.87 – installed using the adobe-flashplugin package in Ubuntu repository. I’ve also tried with uninstalling this and using the flashplugin-nonfree package (this one’s recommended for older Ubuntu versions, although it installs the same version of Flash). I later reinstalled adobe-flashplugin. I have recorded some screencasts of this potential bug in Flash on Linux, which you can download by clicking here. The download is a bzipped tarball containing three screencasts – total download size is 9.9 MB. The videos are in Ogg Theora format (if you’re on Windows and want to see the problem, you can use VLC Media Player). I’ve chosen to demonstrate the issue on three different sites – my on own WordPress install, MediaFire, and Flickr. For the Flickr one, I’ve shown how the browser alternates between not responding and normal state for multiple uploads. When uploading many files (say, around 5-) using a Flash-based multi-uploader, the constant switching of states causes the browser to lock up for good forcing me to kill the process. Once I was uploading a video once to Yahoo! Video (a considerably large file which took around an hour to upload) the browser was in a ‘not responding’ state for around an hour; despite that, when the upload finished the browser returned to its normal state. I didn’t find any material regarding this from anyone else on the Web, so I’m not sure whether mine is an isolated case – and whether there are steps to solve this. Please leave your inputs in the comments...

TCS IT Wiz 2008

By on Feb 15, 2009 in Personal | 3 comments

“Finally, a quiz archive of TCS IT Wiz 2008”, I thought when I came across Aditya’s post about it.Unfortunately, it isn’t a complete archive but it still gives a good idea of how it is. Karmanya had put up an archive (which I had mentioned earlier) but it seems that the archives are longer available for download. (So I’m uploading the same, without any changes, here.) Prashanth has spoken about the event too. A few of my responses to the notes in Aditya’s archive: It is true that the Toshiba Qosmio series has some laptops which come with the Cell processor. Read a Gizmodo story about it or reviews of it on CNET. It is true, however, that is not the primary processor on the laptop – it plays second fiddle to the Intel Core 2 Duo processor and handles video-related tasks. Pickbrain screwed up big-time when he says Cell processor is used in PlayStation Portable. It isn’t. Lenovo is not a subsidiary of IBM. It bought the rights to IBM trademarks (such as ‘Thinkpad’) and took over IBM’s desktop and laptop division. (One clarification about the first statement in Karmanya’s archive) The ‘Pope’ being referred to is not ‘The Pope’ but ‘a Pope’. Ivan Pope, to be precise. For all those who stumble across this post when searching up about TCS IT Wiz, do you know any other archives on the Web on this? Post them here in the comments section for all to see. PS – Yesterday was special…in more than one sense. (‘Yesterday’ in India, according to Epoch standards, Friday the 13th.) It was the day on which Unix time passed the 1234567890 seconds since Epoch Time milestone. There was a cool countup for this. Click the text ‘Relive the moment’ for some fireworks. PPS – Awesome post by Aditya on Code Wars...

Cradle Sports / Aagman Quiz

By on Jan 17, 2009 in Personal | 49 comments

The school and open quiz to be conducted by Cradle Sports was held yesterday. A brilliant quiz, and my first ‘Parnab’ quiz. I reached in the morning because I wanted to see the school edition of the quiz too (to get an idea about what was to come in the open quiz). At first when I reached the venue I was confused as to whether there was a quiz. I finally found that it was in one of the other halls in the Siri Fort Auditorium compound. The school edition saw a very enthusiastic response, going by the jam packed auditorium. And note this isn’t like Times of India Fun-da-Mental or HT InQuizitive where most of the people are cheering teams; these people in the hall that day were quizzers who wanted to be there. So it’s nice to see such a large turnout. I saw quite a few people I knew there. Unfortunately, DPS VK couldn’t make it because pre-Boards are going on and most of the quiz team is either in 10th or 12th. I missed the school quiz prelims but I got to see the school quiz semi-finals and final. Lots of DPS RKP teams qualifying, apart from the extremely capable team from DPS Dwarka which had Utkarsh and mini Ankit Sud. Also nice to see that Sardar Patel Vidyalaya find talented replacements for Vinayak Sapru and Pulkit Gupta. St Columba’s School is always a force to reckon with, and they proved it by winning the quiz (Chirag’s team). DPS Noida’s team also seems promising with Rishav except that he’s way too cocky to make it to the top anytime soon. Surprisingly, the open quiz saw lesser response than the school quiz! But it was nice to see a lot of school teams stick around and at least try the prelims. I was participating in the open quiz, teamed up with Prateek Vijayavargia, Chandan Shahi (runner-up of Brand Equity Quiz 2008), and Manazir Wasi. The prelims were tough with a large gap between the toppers of the prelims and the ones after them. Our team scraped through onto the finals. We totally got PWND at that stage. Except by the SPV team which didn’t score, but you gotta give them credit that they made it to the finals too. The finals had a lot of old Bollywood stuff which nobody on our team was good at. Between the other colleges teams who do bother to keeps tabs of that kind of stuff, the competition was quite close. That brings me to the question which people interested in quizzing would have been dying to know when reading this article – how was Parnab Mukherjee? I admit, I’ve ‘heard a lot of stuff’ about him in past on many quiz blogs but it was nothing like that! Look, I can’t talk about the past because without having been present at those quizzes I can’t pass a judgment myself. I can talk of what I saw at the quiz yesterday, and what I saw was an excellent quiz. I believe the attendees who were there will also agree with me. The questions were good and didn’t come across anything which was ‘outrageous’ in the sense that people talk of. It was an extremely well-balanced quiz, with no team getting too easy questions. Most of the questions were workout-able, which is the proper style to go for to get students interested in quizzing. Parnab Mukherjee’s feat is even more impressive when you consider that he’s recalling questions from his memory. If you’re a quizzer, you know exactly how difficult it is to recall even ten questions in succession at a moment’s notice. More so when you have to do a balanced quiz. As far as I gathered, the questions were not ‘made up’, as some people have claimed earlier about his quizzes. I randomly checked up a few questions which I remembered and I didn’t find one wrong. So as I said, I don’t know about the past experiences others claim to have had, but what I saw at yesterday’s quiz was a good quiz. After the quiz got over, I got to interact with Parnab a little longer over a late ‘lunch’ (if you can call it that) we had with the Cradle Sports team. (Prateek and Prashanth were there too.) Arindam Bhattacharya of Cradle Sports, himself a quizzer (he competed against Aditya Mubayi in his school days) is a really friendly guy. It’s a good thing that he sought feedback from the student community throughout the quiz. In Arindam and Parnab Delhi has two guys who are truly passionate about quizzing. We had a nice chat where Parnab spoke of how instead of preparing by reading quiz books students can learn simply by knowing more about their surroundings. He gave a nice example of how much history you can associate simply while going from point A to point B in Delhi. Prashanth, who’s from Hyderabad, asked him to show a similar example using a route between two places in Hyderabad – and Parnab came up a perfectly valid trivia question (which Prashanth admits is true). I hope in a future quiz maybe the Cradle Sports guys can arrange for Parnab to have a short talk before / after the quiz. Nobody is saying that you should prepare for quizzes only by zipping through Delhi roads, but the main...

The Thousandth Post

By on Jan 11, 2009 in Personal | 19 comments

When I told Rach that this milestone was coming up, his first response was “What are you going to do about it? Write a post that this is post number so-and-so?”. That wasn’t my initial idea, even when I’d spoken to him. I’d thought of writing something about I won’t tell you. When the moment arrived, I just couldn’t bring myself to dismiss it off as a footnote. There was a ‘false start’ to this post around September last year. The post count on my WordPress database was inching towards 1000, so I sat down to see my previous posts. I discovered that duplicate entries had been created on my blog when I had restored from the Great WordPress Crash. I deleted those entries and this post was put into cold storage. When I made my 500th post, Abhishek pointed out that I was making a bit too many ‘milestone’ posts. Now, the time has come when I can make another ‘milestone’ post with proper justification. :) (And I promise, the next milestone will be at 2000.) Posting was a bit subdued as I was watching my post counter all the while, but now that’s it’s done I can be a bit more free. (That means Anuj’s old archives will start getting repopulated on this blog. I’d put that on hold for a while.) I thought it would be a nice occasion to switch to a new theme. Here you have it! The new theme should considerably improve readability; the last one’s color scheme left me very little choice to play around with. This one’s color scheme offers me more options for customizing. I made a few other changes – like showing links in my blogroll in a random order. I noticed that keeping it alphabetical might have caused some links I wanted people to go to didn’t get enough attention. Since I don’t want to bother about ranking each link individually nor show them alphabetically, random should be a good compromise. No advertisements right now, but expect them to be back in a while. :P Reaching this point involved a lot all fun and no work over a period of three years, but arrive it did. Something which started off in 2005 as nothing other than checking out a newly-maturing platform called Blogger.com (and hardly a trickle of visitors initially; blogging wasn’t THAT big back then) has now turned into a hosted blog running on WordPress serving thousands of visitors a month. Along the way this blog made it to the top for a lot of people looking for information about quizzing, computer symposiums, and school education in Delhi. I made a whole lot of friends too! More than anything, that is what I cherish the most. Social media and its power to connect people is amazing. Participating in this medium of free exchange of ideas from different people as they want it, when they want it. Feels gratifying at least some of the content on this blog has given help, advice, support, food for thought or laughs for a tiny fraction of people on the Web who came across it. Thank you, dear readers, for your patronage over the years! I could not have done reached where I am without you folks. (Oh, and incidentally, it’s also my thousandth status update on Twitter today. Yeah, I synchronized it.) Ever wondered why my blog is titled ‘Needlessly Messianic‘? The Answer shall be revealed when you click hereĀ  (just do it...

NM-Delete-Revision WordPress Plugin

By on Jan 11, 2009 in Tech Takes | 4 comments

Since version 2.6 WordPress has included a feature which stores revisions for different posts you edit. Although this functionality can be useful it times, over time it also takes up storage space and makes your database slower. This plugin allows to scan your database for revisions and then delete them if you choose. Completely disabling revision functionality is not a good idea. Instead, you should use this plugin to periodically delete redundant revisions. Until now, I’ve been using the Delete-Revision. It’s functionality is good, but working with it can be major pain because of the poor translations used. Not the developer’s fault – he seems to be some Chinese guy who just used BabelFish for translation. (Which is why his original plugin speaks of ‘losing weight’ rather than ‘deleting revisions’.) So I decided to make my own edits and came up with NM-Delete Revision. This removes the locale settings for Chinese language and gives a properly translated interface. Downloads are available below. Version numbers are in sync with the last version of the original plugin it was modified from. Feedback is welcome – leave it using the comment form below. Version 1.2 Download version 1.2 of...