Saturday, October 25, 2008


Just a couple of random photos.

The first one is titled "Working from Home." (And you will be justified in wondering what I was doing with a camera: welcome to the pleasures of working from home.)

The second one is called "Noh Photography." Why? Because I went for my first ever Noh performance (I went to watch, just to be clear), and started taking a few photos before I was told, "No sir, no photography." (So sure enough the photos have no Noh in them; it shows the setting for a little tea ceremony they had first.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Onam Flowers

Except for vague memories of having collected chemparathi flowers as a little kid, I can't really recall making a pookkalam ever. Let me put this one up here so that I won't forget again.

(From Saturday's Onam get-together on campus. Yes, UIUC does have more Malayalis.)

Monday, July 07, 2008


It's not new, but New York Times has a good summary of the continuing tragedy in Bhopal. Some of us were part of commemorating the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, but I don't think at that time we really realized that not much would have changed in another four years.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The demise of the blog

The death of the blog be blamed on Facebook (because it lets me make quick one sentence status updates). I'm afraid that sounds like one of those fast-food culture things: unlike the good old days when we used to sit down and read/write a long blog post.

Anyway, to keep things alive around here, here's a photo, from today morning. (Yes, parents are visiting, and brother and I took them around Chicago.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Unicode 5.1.0

Unicode 5.1.0 has improved support for Malayalam.

And having the new code-points for the chillus means that the chillus produced by this keyboard I made some time back (quite some time back, in fact) are now according to the standard.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

After 333 days

So after 333 days, today I rebooted my computer!

(The remainder is mostly a note to myself, so that the next time around I'll know what to do when things break.)

Since there was a kernel update waiting to take effect, it was a good idea to have updated the kernel-dev packages as well, just in case. In fact, this time it was indeed the case: on rebooting (after 333 days, sigh!) the graphics card drivers wouldn't work with the new kernel.

Fixing the video: Figure out the graphics card model (NVIDIA Quadro NVS 285), and download the relevant software from the NVIDIA website. Run it and, like it did this time, it might want to compile some modules against your spanking new kernel. Let it do as it pleases. Things may not look quite OK even after this (I tried running xscreensaver-demo using a GL* screensaver to confirm -- and got a bunch of "GLX" errors). Check/edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, and ensure that in the Module section Load glx is there but Load dri is commented out. The instructions I was following also had me edit the Device section to read Driver "nvidia" instead of Driver "nv" (so that, I suppose, the driver installed by Nvidia's script is used; not sure why that script didn't edit that into the conf file). Quite unexpectedly, at this point, everything started working.

Fixing the wiki: This is why I rebooted the server in the first place. The wiki on the server was a little broken, thanks to mysterious SELinux issues. It was probably a consequence of software updates leaving the newly installed files in wrong domains. I thought rebooting will fix all that. It didn't. What did fix it was the fixfiles relabel command.

And today's was the last lecture for the semester.

Friday, February 15, 2008

NIU shooting

This was in a mail from the Chancellor, this morning:
The University has learned that U of I student has been identified as the
gunman in a fatal shooting at Northern Illinois University that left seven
people dead and more than a dozen more injured.

The entire University of Illinois family extends its deepest condolences
to the friends and family of the victims, and to everyone on the
Northern Illinois University campus affected by today's tragedy.

(U of I being where I teach...)

Update: And it seems the assailant bought a couple of his guns from around here. I wouldn't have guessed we have any gun shop in town...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The frozen bike

That's what happens when it's raining and warm in the morning/afternoon, but well below freezing in the evening. I should have thought about it, but like most of the time, I didn't. I just went down and found my bike all frozen. And I ended up breaking the cute bike-lock key -- could be something about things becoming brittle in the cold, or maybe I just applied too much force against a key stuck in ice. On the brighter side, that was only after unlocking the bike from the bike rack.

Anyway, at the moment, I'm waiting in my office for my bike (also in my office) to thaw so that I can ride it back home. (It's fun to listen to a micro rain, raining down from the bike onto sheets of paper spread on the carpet. Now you know what I do with all those announcements I get...)

I'll update when I get back home. I hope the road won't be too slippery... (Well, at least I'm not trying to ride a frozen bike on frozen roads, like the last time.)

PS: Yes, yes, I'm back from India, safe and -- despite everyone's curiosity -- single.

UPDATE: Yes, I'm back home, safe and -- thanks for asking -- in one piece. (OK, since my mom reads this blog, I can't keep pretending that it was such an adventure. Amma, trust me, my daily commute is too short to offer any sort of adventures, even on a frozen bike. And then it wasn't frozen either, at least for the first half of the ride...)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Still in India

This time around there was little opportunity for me to take any interesting photos. So I suppose I'll post some uninteresting ones, grainy and shaky (which, unfortunately, is probably the most interesting thing about them).

Ezhunallath: the Deity's procession (slideshow)