March 19, 2013

What Your Favorite Map Projection Says About You!

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 4:54 am

Yet another brilliant XKCD comic – and this time for the geography/neogeography folk – and true to some ‘extent’
Map Projections XKCD comic


February 7, 2012

Creating Patches with SVN Diff

Filed under: Development,FOSS,Linux — mifan @ 12:33 am
Tags: , ,

I recently came across a situation where I had to generate a patch from SVN, where I was in a multi-developer environment, my code was committed in 2 batches, and there were changes from other developers in between. Thanks to the power of SVN, this is a breeze (of course, I’m not even going to start the version control debate here!!).
The format for SVN diff is as follows:

svn diff [-r N[:M]] [--old OLD-TGT] [--new NEW-TGT] [PATH...]

In this case, to generate a patch between revisions 1000 to 1020, only for files file1.php and file2.php would be as follows

svn diff -r 1000:1020 dir1/file1.php dir2/file2.php > mypatch.patch

For conventional patches, you would checkout the code, make your changes, and from the root locations run the svn diff, as

svn diff > mypatch.patch

October 5, 2011

Download Directories with wget

Filed under: Development,FOSS,Linux — mifan @ 6:53 am

wget is a non-interactive download utility available in the *nix OS, which can be used to remotely download files, amongst other things.

I’ve looked for the correct wget command to download a directory remotely, but couldn’t find the right one. This one, however, worked for me:

wget -r --level=3 -np -nH "<URL of Directory>"


r – recursive download (download recursively looping through sub directories

np – no parent directories (without this command, you get some weird results from the recursion working for the parent directory as well)

nH – no host (get rid of the host name – without this, your folder will be created with some weird name that includes the host/url

level=3 -upto what level/depth you want to recurse or go into. Change to an appropriate number

Check the man page of wget for more information

September 16, 2011

Multiple Terminals in the same Session with Screen

Filed under: Development,FOSS,Linux — mifan @ 8:30 am

As an administrator or unix user who has just SSH’d into a remote server, have you had the requirement to open multiple remote terminals without having to resort to re-logging in multiple times? I’ve had this one too many times, where I needed to run multiple apps, view logs etc. etc. in separate terminals, which can be made easy using GNU Screen.
GNU Screen is a screen multiplexer, which can be installed via a simple apt-get install screen on your linux server. This should be available by default as well. Once that is done, the following steps should suffice

  • Login to your remote terminal (e.g: via SSH)
  • Open Screen
 user@remote> screen
  • Use the following commands to create, navigate etc. CTRL+A (CTRL A) is the control key in my Ubuntu server by default, and this might be the case for you as well. Thus when I refer to CTRL A p, I mean holding CTRL + A down, press the ‘p’ key
  • Create a new terminal:
user@remote> CTRL A c
  • Move to the next terminal:
user@remote> CTRL A n
  • Move to the previous terminal:
user@remote> CTRL A p

Etc. Some more commands are as follows

  • Move to a specific terminal: CTRL A “
  • Move to the last used terminal: CTRL A A
  • Move to terminal number 0 (0-9) : CTRL A 0

These commands were enough to get me going. For even further commands and to explore the power of screen in depth, here are some useful resources:

Resource 1, Resource 2

August 16, 2011

Espatialy for You!

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 9:16 am

Espatialy for You! is my attempt to jot down my notes, thoughts, research, my ultimate goal to advocate GIS catalog world dominance and what not from a neogeographers point of view. Head over to Espatialy for You! for more.

July 7, 2009

Radeon 3400 on Lenovo T400 and Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 10:02 am

Recently ran into problems with my new Lenovo Thinkpad T400 and the Video Card.

Problem: The internal Intel card worked fine. The T400 contains switcheable-graphics which can switch between the Intel Card (low-performance for power saving) and the ATI radeon mobility 3400 series card (high performance). In some OS, automatic switching occurs based on the power status. Unfortunately, Ubuntu, and the latest version I’m using – Jaunty Jackalope a.k.a 9.04, doesn’t support this. What’s more is that since the Intel card is set as the primary card, that is what Ubuntu detects.

Solution: To install the ATI Mobility driver, do the following:

  1. Reboot the T400, and go into the BIOS setup
  2. Under Config, select Display
  3. Change from Switcheable-Graphics (both cards) to Discreet Graphics (ATI). Integrated Graphics is the Intel card.
  4. Disable OS Auto-detection of Video Cards
  5. Save and Exit (F10)
  6. Boot into Ubuntu, go into menu: System->Administration->Hardware Drivers
  7. Install the ATI driver given there – Ubuntu will automatically do this for you

Everything’s up and running after this (a reboot maybe required), and ATI’s proprietary fglrx driver should be installed. The ATI Catalyst Center should be under Applications->Accessories->ATI Catalyst Control Center.

However, I did experience a lot of flickering – especially when Google Earth was running – I also couldn’t watch movies in the full screen mode.

This fix worked:

  1. Install the latest version of the ATI Catalyst Center. I installed version 9.6
  2. URL:
  3. Select the correct version for your architecture.
  4. Assign permissions to your downloaded file:    sudo chmod +w <>
  5. Run the installation:   sudo ./<>
  6. Once finished, reboot into Linux. Everything worked fine for me hereonwards.

January 21, 2009

Adding Google Calendars to Evolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 10:21 am

Evolution Calendar offers a great way to manage tasks – reminders and all. And the popup tasklist in the taskbar is even greater. Google calendar on the other hand also offers a wide variety of benefits for an online calendar client. Here is a way to see all your Google calendar items from within Evolution – and thus letting you go offline with your GCal stuff in Evolution.

Ok – there seems to be some bugs overall which restricts 2 way sync between Google Calendar and Evolution (2.22.31) – however for simple calendars, here goes:

1. Create your calendar in Google Calendar
2. In the Evolution (2.22) mail client, select New->Calendar
3. Set the type of the calendar to Google
4. Give a name for your Calendar such as “Conquest of the Shire Timeline”
4. Enter your google account username in the Username section
5. Click OK, and enter your Google account password in the resulting box
6. Sit back and view your Google calendar in Evolution

There seems to be some bugs in accessing multiple calendars from the same account too. Anyways, as a workaround, you can add calendars as ICAL:

1. In your Google calendar account, within the specific calendar settings, copy
2. In Evolution, create a new calendar of the type “On the Web”
3. Enter the ICAL URL in the URL section: replace the ‘http://&#8217; section with ‘webcal://&#8217;
4. The other steps are similar to the Google setup given above


November 18, 2008

Maps for Advocacy: An Introduction to Geographical Mapping Techniques

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 9:51 am

TacticalTech recently released Maps for Advocacy: An Introduction to Geographical Mapping Techniques. This book is very informative and nicely edited, and gives an overview of mapping techiques to a new user. I had the priviledge of contributing to this wonderful piece of work, and I received my complimentary copies today. A must read for everyone. Good work, TTC.

September 2, 2008

Cows Point North

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 8:32 am

Interesting article in the Telegraph about how Cows automatically point to the north.

Dr Sabine Begall and colleagues from the University of Duisburg-Essen looked at thousands of images of cattle on Google Earth in Britain, Ireland, India and the USA. They also studied 3,000 deer in the Czech Republic. The deer tended to face north when resting or grazing.

Wow. And to know that the cow in my backyard can be used as a very handy compass :). This comment on Slashdot summarizes it all:

Having an edible compass would come in handy if you get lost.

July 9, 2008

Facebook chat on Pidgin

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 11:33 am

My friend Gunith mentioned that there was a plugin to integrate Facebook chat into the Pidgin instance messenger – and obviously, I tried it the very next day, and am glad to mention that it rocks 🙂
Pidgin is an all-in-one instance messenger client, formally known as GAIM. Facebook-chat is one of the latest additions to its ever-growing list of supported protocols. To install the Facebook plugin for Pidgin (assuming you have Pidgin in the first place), select the appropriate package from Google Code and install it. If you use Debian/Ubuntu, then grab the .deb package, and install it via
sudo dpkg -i [name of package]
Next, go into Accounts->Manage in Pidgin, and add a new IM account. You should see Facebook-chat as an option in the protocol section. Select it, enter your account details, and accept it, and hey presto, your Pidgin should be Facebook-chat enabled.

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