A Procrastinator's Journal

Thinking aloud…

Getting vmplayer running on Ubuntu feisty

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The vmware-player gives pixbuf library trouble on the new Ububtu feisty. The problem lies in the gdk-pixbuf.loaders file used by vmplayer. A quick hack is to do the following:

cp /etc/gtk-2.0/gdk-pixbuf.loaders.32 /usr/lib/vmware-player/libconf/etc/gtk-2.0/gdk-pixbuf.loaders

But the next trouble is with the GTK themes- it works fine in GNOME, but in XFCE, it gives trouble. Looks like some conflict between gtk-2.4 and gtk-2.10 in feisty.


Written by ppatil

April 25, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Medical Insurance in India

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It’s that time of the year when I have to renew my medical insurance. I’ve had mediclaim policy for four years. But I am far from happy with the service. I stuck to public sector companies- first with National and then with Oriental Insurance thinking that they would atleast not ditch me when I need to make claims. In the current year, there were two hospitalization instances in my family- both clearly legitimate cases for claiming insurance. For my father, they rejected the claim citing diabetes as the ’cause’ and for my sister-in-law, they sent for clarifications twice for no plausible reason. Customer service, as such, is non-existent– no cashless TPA card, no renewal reminders.

This year, I am thinking of migrating the policies to another company. Unfortunately no company would provide new cover for my parents who are over 60, and I am not sure whether I could get continuation benefits if I migrate within the PSU General Insurance group. Many companies I talked to promised to provide continuation benefits to me and my wife. I am scared of the initial exclusion period if I move the policy.

I haven’t heard any first-hand experience with any company. I had taken overseas student policy from Bajal Allianz– it had reasonable terms and good customer service, but I did not have to make any claims. I searched the web (where else?) for any hints on service quality of Medical Insurance in India- Didn’t find much info except for these:

From the IRDA site, the offerings from these private companies look interesting:

Anybody has experiences to share about medical insurance in India?

Written by ppatil

February 7, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Posted in General Stuff

10 good UNIX usage habits

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Taken from developerworks (thanks to ./): Learn 10 good UNIX usage habits, (Break bad UNIX usage patterns)

When you use a system often, you tend to fall into set usage patterns. Sometimes, you do not start the habit of doing things in the best possible way. Sometimes, you even pick up bad practices that lead to clutter and clumsiness. One of the best ways to correct such inadequacies is to conscientiously pick up good habits that counteract them. This article suggests 10 UNIX command-line habits worth picking up — good habits that help you break many common usage foibles and make you more productive at the command line in the process. Each habit is described in more detail following the list of good habits.

Adopt 10 good habits
Ten good habits to adopt are:

  1. Make directory trees in a single swipe.
  2. Change the path; do not move the archive.
  3. Combine your commands with control operators.
  4. Quote variables with caution.
  5. Use escape sequences to manage long input.
  6. Group your commands together in a list.
  7. Use xargs outside of find.
  8. Know when grep should do the counting — and when it should step aside.
  9. Match certain fields in output, not just lines.
  10. Stop piping cats.

Written by ppatil

December 17, 2006 at 6:27 am

Cleaning up a Debian GNU/Linux system

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A common problem faced by many Debianers who don’t need to reinstall the system over years: accumulated auto-installed packages which are no longer required.

Here’s a solution suggested at Debian Administration :

… One form of neglection is to install, install, install and never un-install any package. The common utility to perform installation and un-installation of packages is apt-get which adds to the problem because it doesn’t have automatic removal of non-needed dependences.

Aptitude to the rescue. Aptitude is another package manager front-end like apt-get but it can keep track of automatically and non-automatically installed packages.
…That is nice, but since the neglecting previous administrator didn’t use Aptitude, all the packages are marked as non automatically installed. …
Well, the answer is: try to mark all files as automatically installed except those that you really want. To do that you can use the following (which you could write in one line if you want): …

A simple solution to a simple problem 🙂

Written by ppatil

November 12, 2006 at 5:43 am

Ryanair puts fun back into flying

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Poking fun at the new security restrictions on fliers, this picture shows passengers getting nude to get quick clearance 🙂
Ryanair webpage

I can understand the Europeans getting hassled with these restrictions- we Indians are used to such things even before the 11’s and 7’s happened!

Written by ppatil

August 23, 2006 at 2:40 pm

Posted in General Stuff


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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

Posted in Uncategorized

General update: 28Nov2005

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The slashdot signature today:

Behold the warranty — the bold print giveth and the fine print taketh away.

It’s getting really cold and wet here for past few days. Had to go to Amsterdam for my UK transit visa on Friday. It has been almost freezing here since then. Nevertheless, had a warm weekend thanks to friends 🙂

I would always pride myself in that Marathis (esp the coastal ones) being the rudest while speaking without needing bad words. Before I met the British embassy people, that is.

It’s one more month before I go back to India. Time to start wrapping up my work here!

Written by ppatil

November 28, 2005 at 1:11 pm

Posted in General Stuff