Nov 21, 2014

Enable/Disable Synaptics Touchpad on Ubuntu

A day working from home brought out another problem the new Thinkpad. I did not have a spare mouse lying around and had to fall back to the flawed Touchpad/Trackpoint mechanism on the new T440. My original idea was to disable Touchpad completely through the conf files and rely on the Trackpoint. But it turns out that while Trackpoint navigation works fine, clicking only works for the left-click. For some strange reason I couldn't get right-click to work on the Touchpad upper button area.

Nov 19, 2014

Ubuntu 12.04 on Thinkpad T440

Being a slightly dated OS release, mating Ubuntu 12.04 to Thinkpad T440 hardware throws up a few challenges. This post lists these and how those can be worked around.

Jun 26, 2014

Adding timedelta to a datetime.time

One of Python's strengths is its exhaustive library. And date and time management is an integral part of this, provided by the datetime module. datetime provides the classes datetime, date, time, timedelta and tzoffset.

Jun 23, 2014

Convert time string to datetime.time object

I'm still finding my way around the rather vast Python standard library. And today, I discovered a quick way to convert a pure time string (of format HH:MM[:SS]) into a standard datetime.time object.

May 4, 2014

Why we choose to

Well, the context might look very obvious. But if you think a little deeper, you'll realize that there are many themes in life where this can be applied.

Making is fun
At least for most
Rearing is less fun
Except for most
Yet we want to
Yet we dare to
Out of need
Or wanton greed
Out of fear
Or is end near
For we have little to leave
When called to leave
So we choose to
So we don't have to not to.

May 2, 2014


Was out on labor day for a medical appointment and had a chance to wander around an underground mall by myself, for couple of hours. The key thing here is 'by myself' -- I haven't managed to do this for quite a while. At least not since the arrival of our daughter, which was 2 years ago!

Anyway having lunch at the mall, relishing the what was to be a short-lived experience of my single days, I was inspired to write a small poem, based on my observations around the mall during that hour. I call it as a poem, not knowing what qualifies as one. You be the judge.

It started with the first four lines, but slowly took the following form on the ride back home. Context is my decision to go for a KFC burger as lunch, giving in to the momentary temptation, that could be safely pursued in the absence of my better half.

A fleeting bliss
Derived from junk
Makes me wanna hiss
For what's inside is gunk.

Lovers locked in kiss
Hues of purple and pink
Intent is not to diss
But can't stomach the kink

At least they found their bliss
Seemed to last longer than my junk.

Stranger across is Cantonese
Heaving his chest, looks like a trunk
With wife and kids
In Taiwan for funk

Hope he finds his bliss
Would have to search through junk.

Thanks to Jobs and his trends
A train full of my ilk
With phones pasted to their eyes
Deep in their world sunk

Did they miss their bliss?
Having failed to notice THIS hunk.

Short lived was my bliss
Confined to the junk
At least I had my bliss
Though only for a blink.

Apr 2, 2014

Comment on The Hindu on MH370

I sent another comment to The Hindu on MH370 disappearance and the recent developments around it which they published. Here's the screen-cap:

The 'correction' here refers to the announcement by the authorities that the last words spoken by the pilots (or whoever was in control of the plane) to the air traffic control is not the original, and now famous, "All right, good night", but "Good night Malaysian three seven zero".

Mar 21, 2014

Crazy idea: How to find MH370 in the ocean

Here's a crazy idea on how to increase the chances of locating the missing plane. This is based on the assumption that the flight had indeed crashed in the ocean as many experts seem to believe.
  1. Create a compact sonar device specifically designed to locate plane's missing black box and/or other possible debris. I guess such a device is already available. And if not, we ought to be able to create one by customizing the firmware of an existing hardware. A few good programmers, within a couple of pizza and coke loaded nights, ought to be able to turn this around.
  2. Make this device send a periodic signal to a satellite. If that requires too much power and could drain the on-board battery too fast, let it send signals to a flying receiver such as a AWACS plane. Alternatively, float a few balloons such as the ones Google experimented with in New Zealand for cheap Internet access equipped the appropriate receiver.
  3. Identify a few migratory marine creatures (is that the correct way to refer to them?) such as whales, sharks, and other large fish that move around the Indian Ocean. Attach the device to them and set them free at various locations in the ocean. This might seem too sci-fi, but remember that this is already being done. Marine biology relies on tagging large fish with radio transmitters to study their migration pattern. Also remember National Geographic's critter cam?
  4. Keep resources stand-by to start data-mining and writing analytics code and remove the noise from the data generated by the hardworking creatures.
If the creatures do find us the missing plane, we humans give them something back in return by promising not to hunt or eat them ever! Well, may be for a couple of years giving them enough time to recover from our predatory onslaught!
May be crazy, but given how the world's most advanced existing hardware has yielded nothing so far, I would say there is no harm in trying this out. Provided that there are marine creatures do cover such a large distance and depth and that they can be caught and fitted with the device with relative ease. And provided that we can create these devices small enough, yet with enough battery power to last a few weeks or even couple of months, so as to not to affect their movement.