Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to change the keyboard layout in Xubuntu 8.10

Though its really easy to do so, I've had a hard time searching for it. So here's how to do it:

  1. Go to Applications > Settings > Settings Manager.



























  2. Select Keyboard from the Settings Manager and follow the instructions there.




That's it you're done.:)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AIEEE 2009 Pattern farther away from what can be called ideal

Students who took AIEEE 2009 (including me) found the question paper quite different from what they expected. The maximum marks were increased to 432 from 315 for the previous some years. The negative marking too, was one-fourth of the correct marks for questions (this instruction on the front page of question paper wasn't made quite clear though), as opposed to one-third of the correct marks in AIEEE 2008 and before. The marking scheme wasn't constant throughout. There were sets of 4 and 8 marks worth questions. Assertion-reason type questions were found in Physics, as also a comprehension passage.

What is the good thing about this format?
Since the maximum marks are increased, this gives a more accurate evaluation of candidates. The difficulty level in Mathematics was higher, putting intelligent candidates to advantage. Comprehensions tested students' understanding in short time.

And the bad thing...
There were questions worth eight marks in the question paper, meaning the student gets 8 marks for marking correct choice and -2 (negative) for the wrong one. So the difference in the total marks of a student in the two cases where he gets such a question right and where he doesn't, is 10 marks, which is a significantly large figure.

And just in case you're looking for AIEEE 2009 solutions, visit the Aakash Institute site.

Monday, April 27, 2009

last.fm: Your complete music keeper

last.fm is a website that is specialized in tracking peoples' music tracks, giving them recommendations, and accessing personal music collection from anywhere, without much efforts.



You can start with creating a last.fm account on their site, which is pretty simple. You can add some artists initially for a start.

The next step is to configure your media player for song reporting. This feature is easily present in most Linux media players. You just have to give the media player your last.fm username and password.

Here I'll show you how to configure VLC media player.

  1. Open VLC media player.
  2. From menu, Tools > Preferences.
  3. Select the Audio tab, check the box saying "Enable last.fm submission" and enter your username and password.


That's it! You're done. Now you can play tracks and see your library getting filled automatically, while your player does the job near the end of each track played. Here's my music profile.

The logic behind Mass Collaboration

What is mass collaboration?
As Wikipedia states it, mass collaboration is a form of collective action that occurs when large numbers of people work independently on a single project, often modular in its nature. Wikipedia itself, for instance, is a result of such mass collaboration.

Why is it good?
Mass collaboration is brought about by people who work voluntarily on a project. Unlike the conventional way projects are worked upon by companies on a commercial level, this is done by people at will in their free time, without being paid. This gives mass-collaborated projects an edge over conventional ones. Some of them are:
  • Free software - Mass collaborated software can be distributed for use by people free of cost, making them more attractive to the end-user.
  • Open-source - These softwares have an open source that can be edited and re-compiled by anyone without legal restrictions.
  • Everyone gets what they want - In the process of developing open source software, people who develop it do it out of enthusiasm, and the ones who use it, get it for free, creating a win-win situation. On the contrary, proprietary software marketed at a price is developed by a team of employees of a company, who may or may not have delivered the best of their skills (you don't always give your best at your place of work, do you?), leaving a lot of room for improvement.
  • Ideas - Since mass collaborated projects are handled by a large number of people, they never fall short of ideas and evolve faster.
  • Language support - The sources of programs being open , developers from various regions can contribute towards creating translated versions of applications.
Most importantly, as we are facing an economic downturn worldwide, we need a better economic mechanism, which is what the FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) movement hopes to deliver.