February 26, 2009

Light Painting During MUKTI'09


In this post, I am about to describe one of the most happening performances ever. This happened in my very own college- NIT Durgapur- during a National Level Technical Symposium called Mukti I won't be able to write much on this fest, because I actually did not contribute towards its success along with the members of LUG and many volunteers, as I was away writing my exams, and I really missed out on all the fun. :(

I attended only this particular event , performed by two fabulous Canadian artists- Patrick Rochon and Nicolas Maranda, who travel all around the world carrying out this terrific act, and mesmerizing people. I was thrilled at this performance of theirs. It was truly wonderful, and the heart of the entire fest. First look the pictures below, and then you will come to know what exactly I am talking about. ;)

Now, would you like to know who contributed towards making our fest a huge success? I am sure you would.

Thank you for performing in our college. It truly was a mind-blowing act! :)

February 24, 2009

Dictionary on Linux

Hi all,

There is an application Dictionary in Ubuntu 8.1. You'll find it under Applications-> Office.
If you don't find it there, you can install it from Add/ Remove... from under Applications. I do not have much idea about other Linux distributions.

There are various options, which are as follows:

1. GNOME Dictionary: This is a program which can look up the definition of words over the internet.

2. Dictionary Reader: This is a dictionary application that queries Dict servers in the internet to let you look up words. It is aimed to be lightweight and easy to use.

3. Xfce4 Dictionary: This is a plug-in which can query a dictionary server (RFC 2229) to search for definitions and translations. A standalone application is provided too, so one can use it directly.

4. Dictionary Op
enDict: This is a free cross-platform dictionary program. It also supports plug-in dictionaries that may be created for almost any data source. It is a client for DICT servers.

5. Fantasdic Dictionary: This is a client for the DICT protocol (RFC 2229) and various other dictionary sources. It can look up words in various dictionary sources like DICT servers, Google Translate and EDICT files. It keeps a history of searched words, supports printing, supports SOCKS 5 and HTTP proxies and is translated into several languages.

6. AbiWord: This is a full-featured, efficient word processing application. This package offers web translation and dictionary support.

Initially, I had problems using the Dictionary, and I never even realized why it was not working. It never showed me any results for my search, and finally the Dictionary window stopped responding. I posted this problem in the LUG Google group, and asked for help, that too when it was actually someone else who brought up the topic of Dictionary in Linux. :P

This solved my problem, as I got a reply from one of the members. I did the following, which had my dictionary working, but one must be on a GNOME desktop for following this procedure for the installation of Dictionary, GNOME Dictionary, that is, I am talking about.

1. Install dict server in your machine, by typing the following command in the terminal.

varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install dictd

This is a dict server, and does not have any dictionaries. For that we need to install dictionary packages.

2. For installing English-English dictionary, type the following command in the terminal.

varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ sudo apt-get install dict-gcide

This installs the dict-gcide package. This package contains the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English, formatted for use by the dictionary server in the dictd package.

3. After installing these packages, open the dict client (gnome dictionary or kdict) from the path mentioned above, and go to Dictionary Preferences from Edit-> Preferences.

4. Click Add, this will give you the Add Dictionary Source window, in which you will have to make minor changes. First of all, change the server to localhost and port to 2628. I used Local in the Description field. After you are done, click Add.

5. Now close the Preferences window.

Now you can use the Dictionary without any problem. Type in any word to check out whether it works or not.

I am sure it will, because it worked for me.

February 15, 2009

Zipped files

Hi all,

Sometimes we face the problem of viewing zipped files. Zipped files are nothing but files that have been compressed using an appropriate utility. Let us understand what the term ZIP means.

ZIP File Format

The ZIP file format is a data compression and archive format. A ZIP file contains one or more files that have been compressed to reduce file size. Compressing the document(s) into a zip file is also sometimes reffered to as deep-packing.

ZIP files generally use the file extensions ".zip" or ".ZIP" and the MIME media type application/zip. ZIP file format is also used as a wrapper for a large number of small items in a specific structure. Zipped files have a file extension different from when they are left uncompressed. ZIP compresses every file separately. Individual files are thus allowed to be retrieved without reading through other data. A large number of small files are generally large in size if they are not compressed. For example, tar.gz archive consists of a TAR archive compressed using gzip. There are various compressing utilities available on an Open Source platform, such as GNU gzip project, Info-ZIP and 7zip.

ZIP Application

The files can be unzipped or decompressed, using unzipping programs installed on your Linux system. Let us list some of the zipping and unzipping utilities. You can install these utilities from Applications-> Add/Remove. You can also install them from System-> Administration-> Synaptic Package Manager.

1. unzip: This is a de-archiver for .zip files. It can handle any file produced either by PKZIP, or the corresponding InfoZIP zip program. It also supports encryption.

2. zlib-bin: It is a compression library that contains some useful sample programs from the contrib directory. It includes minizip and miniunzip as zipping and unzipping utilities respectively.

3. zziplib: The zziplib is a lightweight library, that offers the ability to easily extract data from files archived in a single zip file. Files can be compressed into a single zip archive and easily accessed using zziplib applications.

How to unzip a zipped file

When you have a file that has been compressed using a zip utility, you can always obtain the original files by extracting them from the archive file. Double click the archive file to open it. Then you will an option 'Extract' on the menu bar. Just click this option to get the original uncompressed file(s).

There is yet another way to unzip a zipped file. Just open the terminal from Applications-> Accessories-> Terminal. Then type

varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ unzip filename.zip

For .tar.gz and .tar.bz2,

varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ tar -xvf filename.tar.gz
varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ tar -xvf filename.tar.bz2

See the manual for details.

How to create an archive

Right click on the file or folder you want to archive. You will get an option Create Archive. Just click on it. You will get a window where you can save it under any name, and select the type of compression required.

If you prefer it via command line, first cd to the directory, then use the zip command.

varsha@varsha-laptop:~$ zip -r filename.zip files

If there are multiple files type each of them with a space or type *.* to select all the files.

There you are!
You can now extract files from archives, and also create archive files.