A Procrastinator's Journal

Thinking aloud…

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5 Years Already?

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Well, almost. The last entry was in May 2011. I didn’t realise that I’ve neglected this blog for so long. Maybe I’ve become lazy. In this age of 140 characters, writing a page-long blog post takes a greater commitment. Plus, sharing your opinion  or discovered information is more easily done on better networked social media.
Or maybe I’ve become more circumspect about thinking aloud. Or a sign of mid-life crisis that I’ve been going through for the past few years.

That still leaves the original content (or curated one) that one produces, of which the blog is still the best way of sharing. I’ve been tinkering with small DIY stuff lately, but didn’t document it for the usual reasons given: waiting for completion or too insignificant to write about. Anyways, here’s my renewed attempt towards shaking off that lethargy and document some of my DIY projects.


Written by ppatil

April 4, 2016 at 5:41 pm

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Enable/disable input devices

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The right mouse button on my eeepc keeps troubling me intermittently (the right button remains pressed–probably it’s shorted sometimes). Although I rarely use the touchpad and its buttons (use a wireless mouse instead), the constant input of right click makes the eeepc unusable when this happens.

The solution?

Xorg provides a facility to control/configure the input devices while plugged in through ‘xinput’.
First, get the full name of the device with
xinput list
identify the device name from the list, e.g., “ImPS/2 Generic Wheel Mouse”

Then, to disable a device, run
xinput --set-int-prop "ImPS/2 Generic Wheel Mouse" "Device Enabled" 8 0

The 8 in this command is the ‘format’ of the attribute. The syntax for ‘xinput’ for newer Xorg is different (use –set-props instead).

To enable it back, run
xinput --set-int-prop "ImPS/2 Generic Wheel Mouse" "Device Enabled" 8 1

Written by ppatil

July 19, 2010 at 6:49 am


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It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. For no plausible reason.

Anyways, this post is about Gin or the Dutch Jenever. While searching for Jenever-based cocktails, guess what I found:

King Gin (thanks to Dogra for the link):

Gin—or at least the precursor of gin as we now know it—was invented in 1650, when a Prussian-born physician and anatomist at the University of Leiden in Holland, one Franciscus Sylvius (né Franz de le Boë), experimentally infused distilled grain spirits with juniper berries for medicinal purposes. The resulting potion, which Sylvius recommended as a cure for cold feet and insomnia, turned out to be good enough to drink.
The Dutch word for juniper, and by extension for the alcohol infused with it, is jenever, or genever—of which our word gin is a corruption. Jenever remains a popular tipple in the Netherlands (see Dutch Gin Joints). The cheap stuff is head-crushing firewater; but at its best, it can be a remarkably complex and subtle spirit, reminiscent of good eau-de-vie (in the case of young jenever) or even scotch (which aged jenever sometimes resembles).
But gin as most of the world knows it today—cocktail gin—is quite different from Dutch jenever. Its evolution began only a few years after the happy experiment of Dr. Sylvius. English soldiers fighting in the Netherlands saw their Dutch counterparts drinking jenever on the battlefield, and dubbed it “Dutch courage” for the way it seemed to inspire fearlessness. And when they went home, they took it along.
William of Orange, the Dutch stadtholder, all but guaranteed jenever’s success when he became King William III of England in 1689: He promptly banned imports of French brandy—France and Holland were at war at the time—and levied high import duties on distilled goods from Germany.

Wow! The gin was invented at University of Leiden! I knew the Dutch made a good variety of gins. But clearly they do not market this invention of theirs. When we visited Schiedam (known for its gins) accidently in search of polders, I kept looking for breweries but could find no traces. And as I am sipping the fine Jenever gifted by ex-colleague, it does make me feel good! 🙂

So next time you pass through Schipol, don’t forget to pick one for me 😉

Written by ppatil

August 9, 2006 at 3:29 pm

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Making a business of the dead

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I get disturbed with those pictures of the dead- or of those in grief. Not because of the gore, but because I feel the dignity of the dead and the grieved is not respected. And these days you see more and more such stuff in an attempt to show off the “photojournalism”. Take a look at the award-winning entries at World Press Photo. Most of their award-winning photos are related to death or mutilation. The stories which we already know about and feel sad about. IMO, a good picture should tell a story, but it is bound by the same rules of decency that apply to written words! Only the 2003 winner is a sensible and very effective picture.

I’m sure there’ll be thousands of pictures from the recent earthquake in Kashmir. And then others will admire the picture framing, light, exposure, and so on.. Yuck! See the first pic on this page: pictures from the quake hit Valley.

As a side note, I found this site with daily photos. Beautiful pictures, but story-less indeed! But atleast he’s not offending my senses!

P.S.: I forgot to mention that the word press photo exhibitions are not free. One has to pay a hefty entry fee to enter the exhibition, as I found out some years back in Bombay. 


Written by ppatil

November 11, 2005 at 9:48 am