Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

January 17, 2010

Artist creates Mosaic image of the Virgin Mary using Easter eggs

Filed under: Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 8:36 PM

Ukrainian artist Oksana Mas used 15,000 hand painted Easter eggs to create a mosaic depicting the Virgin Mary on a wall of the Saint Sophia cathedral in Kiev. Now that is some amazing artwork. The traditional Easter eggs are made of wood and painted in the traditional Ukrainian style.

Virgin Mary Mosaic

Source: ZuZu Top.

– Suramya

January 16, 2010

Books. Books and more books

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:49 PM

I read a lot and I buy a lot of books. Today I placed an order for limited edition copy of ‘VENGEANCE OF RAVANA’ which is Book #7 and ‘SONS OF SITA’ which is Book #8 in The Ramayana Series by Ashok Banker. Both of which won’t be out in market before the end of the year. Actually Book #8 is supposed to be published in 2011! 🙂 Yay Me!

I ordered the books directly from the author’s site and the process was painless. I just had to give my address, email & name and the books will be shipped to me directly. The best part was that the payment wasn’t made by credit-card during the purchase.

I got a separate email from the author with the payment instructions. The author prefers that the money be sent directly to his bank account and this can be done online or from a cash counter at his bank. The reason I like it is because this way all the money I am giving for the book is actually going to the author as the only cost to them is the cost of shipping and there are no payments to be made to the bank for maintaining a payment portal (Which can be expensive, depending on traffic etc).

BTW, Copies of Book #7 are still available as of the time of this writing so if you are interested check it out and international buyers can purchase the book using a credit card as usual.

In other news a lot of nice books are releasing soon and I can’t wait for them to come out. Here are a few along with their publication dates:

Book Name Author Name Publication Date
[Outcast Season 02] Unknown Rachel Caine Feb. 3, 2010
[Hollows 08] Black Magic Sanction Kim Harrison Feb 23rd, 2010
[Death’s Daughter 02] Cat’s Claw Amber Benson Feb 23rd, 2010
[Safehold 04] A Mighty Fortress David Weber March 2010
[Paksenarrion] Oath of Fealty Elizabeth Moon March 2010
[Mercy 05] Silver Borne Patricia Briggs March 30, 2010
[Dresden 12] Changes Jim Butcher April 2010
[Raven 05] SpellCrash Kelly Mccullough June 2010
[Princess 03] Red Hood’s Revenge Jim C. Hines July 6, 2010

– Suramya

January 15, 2010

Is Having your own site passe?

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:06 PM

I have been updating the site with new information and yesterday I was updating the hotlinks section. One of the sub-sections there is where I list websites of my friends and while I was going through the list of friends I realized that only 6 of them have personal websites that are currently live and have content. In 2000-2002 when I last searched this list was a lot longer.

That started me thinking, is having your own site passe? In the late 90’s and early 2000’s a lot of people had their own sites but now most of them are abandoned. Why is that? Is it because most people have moved their online presence to social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook?

Even blogging amongst my friends seems to have gone done. Earlier it seemed like pretty much most of my friends had their own blog but now 90% of them haven’t been updated in years. Why is that? Did they run out of things to say or is updating their status on Facebook serving the same purpose.

What do you think?

– Suramya

January 13, 2010

Sleeping Skills

Filed under: Humor — Suramya @ 11:17 PM

While surfing the intrawebs I found the image below that allows you to quantify and classify your sleeping skills.

According to the chart I have achieved a catlike transcendence 🙂 Which proves that I do sleep a lot. Although I also stay awake a lot but once I go off to sleep I need something like this to make me functional again:

Source: Sleeping Skills

– Suramya

January 12, 2010

TinyOgg: Convert flash videos to ogg for viewing and download

Filed under: Interesting Sites,Linux/Unix Related — Suramya @ 11:37 PM

The site which was launched recently allows you watch, listen and download Flash-based videos without the need to use Flash technology. What this means is that you can use the site to convert videos from sites like YouTube to .ogg files and download them to your local computer.

Now you might be asking what the problem is using Flash to view the video directly, instead of converting it to ogg. Here’s what the site FAQ has to say about this:

What’s the advantages of choosing Ogg over Flash?
Choosing Ogg over Flash is both an ethical and technical question. We all want our computers to do better, so here is how our computers are better with Free Formats:

1. You will be able to enjoy the media “natively”; there is no need to install any plug-in or add-on to your standard-friendly browser.
2. You will not need to load heavy and possibly unsafe scripts, which helps with speed and stability.
3. You will support a free, open Web where no corporation monopolizes an important technology, such as video.
4. You will enjoy more control over your digital life with Free Formats and Open Standards because no corporation decides what you can and cannot do with the files you have.

Personally I think that flash is a very resource intensive way to view videos. I tried it on a couple of videos and it worked great. Plus using this site lets me download the video to my local system without hassle. One of the other things I liked is that you can have the script download the highest available quality of the video automatically. So if a HD version of the video is available it will download it instead of the regular version.

The whole site is built on top of Free Software. Currently the site only supports YouTube but support for other service is under development.

Check it out. You might like it 😉

– Suramya

– Suramya

January 11, 2010

What to do and what not to do to prevent copying/hotlinking on sites

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 9:31 PM

Some of the sites out there seem to think that all their visitors want to do is copy their stuff and they come up with some really irritating idea’s to try to prevent the text/images from being copied.

One such method that I hit today is used by The site. They have put a javascript mouse over that changes the cartoon to another image that says “” in a crossed circle.

It took me literally 5 seconds to copy the cartoon to my system inspite of the ‘protections’. (Select the pic, Right-click, choose view selection source, and copy the url, open in a new window) All it did was annoy me. If you think thats technical, just turn off java-script in your browser and the protection is off…

A lot of people like moving their mouse over what they are reading and its quite irritating to have the pic change to another when you are scrolling down…

If you treat all your visitors like criminals who are barely held in check from ripping you off then they are infact going to go out of their way to do it. If you treat them like normal people maybe one in a 1000 will copy the cartoon and post it on their site. And you know what. It doesn’t matter. Its free publicity for the artist and site.

I do agree that hotlinking is not that great. In that case they are using your bandwidth and you are not getting any benefit out of it. However then also you have other options, for example allows you to hotlink to images on their server but puts a watermark on them. If you visit the site directly then you don’t see any watermarks on the images .

Putting a watermark on a image when its copied is ok, putting silly java-script/other useless technologies is not ok. Worse comes to worse I can always take a screenshot of the page and then cut paste the image from that and use it. Think about it.

You are not preventing people from copying your stuff. All you are doing is annoying your customers.

– Suramya

January 10, 2010

Installed New UPS at home then recovered System from crash

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 10:32 PM

The past few days have been interesting, as they were spent rewiring the house so that the new UPS that we installed for the house would work and not have too much load on it. In addition we redistributed the load so that each of the three phases coming into the house from the electricity board have an equal amount of load on them. This involved cutting a lot of wires, some drilling and a lot of splicing and adding of new fuses etc.

We finally got the delivery for the new UPS 3 days ago but the batteries that were supposed to be delivered at the same time were only delivered yesterday as they took longer than expected to charge (That’s what the dealer told us). When the UPS arrived we had to remove the old Inverter ’cause of the deal we had made with the company (we got a discount if we gave them our old inverter) so we didn’t have any power backup for the house till yesterday night when all the work was finally done.

Thanks to all of this, my desktop was off for most of the past three days. I didn’t want to chance the power going off and my UPS (for the computer) running out of juice before it came back.

Once everything was installed and tested I booted up my system and got a Grub Rescue prompt instead of my normal boot screen. Normally the solution to this is booting up with a live CD and reinstalling Grub. But first I had to figure out what happened and why I was getting this error. I still don’t know what happened but I ‘think’ that the drive developed a bad sector/block and that sort of destroyed the bootloader.

The problem I faced then was that my DVD drive seemed to be having a lot of trouble reading any of the Live CD’s I have lying around. I first tried the Debian Testing Installation cd, followed by RHEL 5.1, Slackware, Kanotix, Kanoppix. None of them would work. Finally managed to boot using the Debian Test and convinced it to read from the CD. Once that was done told it to restore the Bootloader and was good to go.

But since I didn’t know what caused the crash I wanted to make sure that my Main drive was working ok (Its a 1 TB Segate) so I booted into single user and told the system to scan the 1st 500GB partition for badblocks and mark them as such. This scan took about 14 hours. Now I have another 500GB partition plus a 200GB drive and another 15 GB drive. Which by my guess will take the most of the next few days to scan. The 20 GB shouldn’t be an issue as I can scan it while booted in the GUI (Its a backup drive) but the rest have data on them that is used when I boot into Linux so I will have to do it from a single user mode.

I think I will copy most of my work/entertainment files to a thumb drive and work off that till this is done.

Well this is all for now. I am off to copy data to my thumb drive and then will start the scan on the other partitions. Will post more later.

– Suramya

January 9, 2010

Colorful Facebook status updates

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 6:47 AM

Today when I logged in to FaceBook (FB) after a long time I saw status messages from most of the girls in my friends list stating something like “black”, “pink” etc. So obviously I was a bit confused and did a little search and found a link to a story that explained it. Apparently this is a way to promote awareness of Breast cancer by posting the color of the bra the poster is wearing at that time.

While I agree that Breast Cancer is an important issue and people need to spread awareness about it, I don’t think this is the right way to go about it. Why? You must be asking (or maybe not, but I am going to tell you anyway)

Facebook has evolved beyond a platform where only people on your friend list are your friend list are your friends. Now you have people who work with you on your friend’s list. In my case, I have co-workers, (both seniors and juniors) in my friend list in addition to author’s whose books I like.

Now I really don’t want to or need to know what color bra my boss or a developer in my team is wearing today. Yes, its fun to read when you are talking amongst friends but I don’t think it looks very professional when a co-worker or worse a client reads such status updates.

What do you think?

– Suramya

January 8, 2010

10 Awesome Images That Are Actually Paintings

Filed under: Interesting Sites,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 1:24 AM

As some of you know, I am not a big fan of modern art. To me most Modern art looks like a five year old’s experiment with paints. To me that’s not art. Painting a blue line on a white canvas and calling it art is just plain silly in my opinion. A lot of people have tried to convince me otherwise but I stand by my statement.

The painting below on the other hand is art. It takes skill to paint like this and this is what I consider art not some random squiggles on canvas. Yes, you read it correctly the image below is actually a painting. Cool right? The artist’s name is Alyssa Monks, check out her site for more paintings by her.

Shower Scene

Visit for more images that are actually paintings .

– Suramya

January 6, 2010

Problem with gnome Applications looking ugly in KDE4 continues

Filed under: Linux/Unix Related — Suramya @ 10:43 PM

A few days ago I had posted that I figured out a way to stop Gnome Applications from looking ugly in KDE4. Turns out that my statement was not 100% accurate.

Running of gnome-settings-daemon does make the applications look normal but for some reason it only seems to do so for applications already running. If I start a new application that uses GTK then the interface still looks ugly as hell. So till I find a permanent fix, I start all the gnome applications that I need then run the gnome-settings-daemon.

I think that this could be a setting that I can change to fix the problem, but I will have to research/test the solutions before I fix the problem once and for all.

– Suramya

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