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Running Fedora 8 (more Linux experimentation)

Sunday · 30 Mar 08 · 09:04 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Tech

I experimented with my computer again.  Like I mentioned earlier, my hard disk has been giving problems and I reinstalled operating systems a couple of times (Ubuntu, Windows XP and Linux Mint dual boot).  Last weekend, myself and Varun had gone to Chennai to visit my cousin.  There, the Mint installation started giving trouble, so I wiped the MBR so that only Windows XP was active.  However, that started giving trouble too.  So this weekend, I planned to get a new hard disk.

But, I was a bit late in contacting a shop so I think the new disk will be bought next week only.  In the mean time, I decided to wipe the hard disk, and again install Linux only.  Varun is using Fedora 8 for his Final Year Engineering Project, and I decided to try it out too.  So last night, I moved any important data off the hard disk, formatted it, and installed Fedora 8.

The Desktop

Having used Ubuntu and Mint, it was no problem for me to get comfortable with Fedora (as someone mentioned, one doesn't actually use an OS, one uses applications).

Fedora 8 Infinity — 11 AM

I love the default desktop theme though — it is called "Infinity" and the desktop wallpaper changes colour with the time of day.  Above is a screenshot of my desktop at 11 AM.

Fedora 8 Infinity — 7 PM

The next shot was taken at around 7 PM.  The colour on the right is greyish in the early morning, becomes aqua in the morning, kind of purple in the evening, and as it gets later, becomes darker and more desaturated.  Click on the images above for larger versions.

One customisation I made is to decrease the font size a couple of notches.  You will also notice that I am logged on as root — I didn't actually create any other users since it's a hassle to go back to a higher-privileged level in order to make system changes.  So I'm always the superuser.

A few Fedora 8 Installation Tips

I ran into a couple of hitches while installing, and a bit of Googling solved the problems.  I'm documenting them below —

  • While booting from the install DVD, the system froze up at a point.  It'd print out the startup console messages, and when it got to Running /sbin/loader, it'd simply hang.  What you have to do to fix this problem is, reboot, and when you get the startup menu, don't simply click on the "Install" option.  Press Tab, and you'll see the startup parameters (something like vmlinuz=initrd.img).  Just add these parameters immediately after that: floppy.allowed_drive_mask=0 clocksource=acpi_pm and it'll work.  As I understand, the system is probing for a floppy drive on my laptop which doesn't actually exist, so it just keeps waiting.
  • When you reboot the system after installing, it will hang up once more when starting sendmail.  The solution to this is pretty simple, just unplug your network cable when starting up.  After startup, connect it back and enable your network devices.
  • I wrote about making DNS settings persistent earlier, under Ubuntu.  Here, I couldn't find the dhclient.conf file (maybe I wasn't looking hard enough).  So, I simply brought up the network interface and entered the DNS settings correctly, then went to the /etc/resolv.conf file, verified that the correct nameserver IPs were there, and made it read-only!
  • Another thing I needed was to play DVDs, MP3s, my Xvid files and other media.  I wanted to install the trusty and all-powerful VLC media player for this.  You just have to enter two commands in a Terminal window as root.  First, enter rpm -ivh, and after that, type in yum install vlc and that'll do the trick.

Further Plans...

Once I get the new hard disk, I will initially be making it a dual boot system with Windows XP and Fedora 8.  This is because Varun may need to use my computer to demonstrate his project at college.  After that is over, I will probably remove Fedora and install the new Ubuntu 8.04, named Hardy Heron (link points to the feature list in the Hardy Beta which was released recently).  This will be released on 24-Apr-08 and the features look awesome!  The next version of Ubuntu (planned for Oct-08) is called Intrepid Ibex.  When they reach K, it'll be interesting to see what they call the release — it's tough to think of adjectives starting with K!

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Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts I-IV Drawing and Video

Sunday · 16 Mar 08 · 09:01 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

I wanted to write about this last week but didn't get around to doing it.  Nine Inch Nails released an album called Ghosts I-IV towards the end of Feb-08.  There is something unique about it though — the album is released under a Creative Commons License, which means that it is free to distribute.  Also, the first volume of nine tracks can be downloaded from the Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts I-IV website.  The music is all instrumental stuff and is very good.

Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts I-IV — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Of course, that inspired me to do a drawing last week.  You can click the image above to view the full picture.  I also filmed video footage of that.  Good thing I didn't edit and upload it last week itself though (I did the Year Zero thing last time), because a couple of days back, the Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts Film Festival was announced by none other than Trent Reznor himself.

Watch me draw Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts I-IV on YouTube [Festival Video]

This is an expansion of the Ghosts project, where the band is inviting anyone to create visual accompaniments to the music of the album, and put them up on YouTube.  I love the "open source" philosophy behind the album and this film festival, so I completed the video yesterday and entered it into the festival.  You can click on the image above to view the video on YouTube.

That's not all.  With the Ghosts album, they included several extras (a set of desktop wallpapers, a PDF with photographs, etc).  I thought I would give away something too, and so created a high-resolution desktop wallpaper out of my drawing.  There's a standard as well as a widescreen version, and both are downloadable from the drawing page linked above.

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Nine Inch Nails — Year Zero and Ghosts I-IV

Monday · 10 Mar 08 · 03:48 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

I've uploaded a new video to YouTube today.  Have a look at this —

Watch me draw the Nine Inch Nails Year Zero Album Cover on YouTube

Click on that image above, or here, to view the video.  This one shows me drawing the album cover of Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails.  The drawing was done with oil pastels on paper and took me only 8 minutes to draw, and I've further increased the speed in the video, so that I could use the song "The Beginning of the End" from that album in it.  Below is the actual drawing I did, and you can click on the image below to see a larger version —

Nine Inch Nails — Year Zero Album Cover Drawing — by Karthik Abhiram

According to the "Year Zero" Alternate Reality Game, the cover represents something called "the Presence", which is the ghostly hand that you see in the centre of the picture, which appears to be coming down from the sky.  The reason that drawing took me only 8 minutes to draw, is that I had precisely that much time left on the DVD I was recording on.  I had recorded myself drawing something else — another Nine Inch Nails drawing!  I have the raw footage with me, it is yet to be edited.  Once that is done, I will put up the video, but for now, here's a preview —

Watch me draw Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV on YouTube, Coming Soon

That, is a drawing based on the new Nine Inch Nails album, Ghosts I-IV.  There's a lot that sets this release apart from other NIN albums.  Essentially, this album is a free release, which means you can download and distribute it without worrying about breaking copyright law.  Trent Reznor, the creative force behind NIN, has released this under a Creative Commons License (great man).  Read more about it here [Wikipedia], here [Slashdot, where I first heard about it] and here [the official site, where you can download the album].  Coming soon: my video and the drawing, and I'll also have something a bit extra.

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Absolutely Incredible "Watchmen" Character Pictures

Friday · 7 Mar 08 · 07:04 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

Watchmen, written by Alan Moore, drawn by Dave Gibbons and coloured by John Higgins, is in my opinion the finest graphic novel of all time.  Originally published as a 12-issue comic book series from 1986-87, it was later collected as a close-to-400-page book.  Suffice to say it's an incredible book, and it was one of the first things I bought with my first salary (more info here) after having read it already.

Anyway, a movie adaptation of the book has been in the works for several years.  Somewhere in 2005 director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum) got involved, but that project fell through.  Several months later we found out that the movie was actually happening — at a different studio (Warner Bros) and with a different director, Zack Snyder.  Snyder made the awesome 300, and my faith in the movie adaptation only kept increasing on seeing the images of the sets constructed for the movie.  Snyder even made a post on the official movie blog that he himself drew the storyboards for the entire film (that's some 2000-plus images).  Sometime back, it was announced that filming had officially wrapped, and the movie was now in post-production.

And here we are today, one year away from the release of the movie (it will be released in the US on 6-Mar-09).  To celebrate, Snyder posted the first look at some of the characters from the movie (apparently, he posted at 11:55 PM, which has significance in the book)!

The Comedian from the movie adaptation of Watchmen (2009)

The above picture shows Jeffrey Dean Morgan as "The Comedian a.k.a. Eddie Blake".  There are five character pictures that Snyder has posted — The Comedian, Nite Owl II, Ozymandias, Rorschach and the Silk Spectre.  Have a look at the relevant page here.  In my opinion they did a fantastic job in translating these characters from the book for the movie (look-wise atleast).  I don't think it could be done any better!  One hopes the script (by Alex Tse based on a script by David Hayter) will do justice to the book.  At any rate, I thought these pictures were incredible (notice, he hasn't shown what Dr Manhattan looks like yet, now that should be something to see!) and I look forward to seeing a trailer sometime soon!

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Gautham Menon Appearances, Vaaranam Aayiram

Friday · 7 Mar 08 · 01:42 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

Director Gautham Menon makes small appearances in his films.  I put together a small image with his appearances in four of his movies —

Gautham Menon Movies — his appearances

  • Kaakha Kaakha (2003) — Gautham plays a police officer named Vasudevan.  There he is on the right of the frame.
  • Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006) — He doesn't actually have a role in the movie, but he appears in the background as a dancer during the song "Manjal Veiyil".  He's in between Jyothika and Kamal Haasan in the picture.
  • Pachaikili Muthucharam (2007) — I didn't notice this the first time I watched the movie, but spotted it only later on.  During the song "Kaadhal Konjam", there's a brief shot with the family on a bus.  The guy on the right of the frame, with his face partly obscured is Gautham.
  • Vaaranam Aayiram (2008) — This movie hasn't been released yet (May release it seems), and I have no idea what it's about.  But it seems that Gautham has a bigger role to play in this movie.  There are two pictures I've seen on the net — the one above, and another one with him playing a guitar.

I haven't seen his other movies (Minnale and Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein), so I don't know whether he makes appearances in those films too.  I went through my DVD of Gharshana but that is an inferior remake of Kaakha Kaakha, and as far as I can tell, he is not in that movie.

Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu Visual Effects

Speaking of Gautham Menon, here are a few video clips I came across on YouTube recently (thanks to a friend posting links on his orkut page) —

  • Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu Visual Effects — this clip is really cool and shows off a number of visual effects shots that EFX did for the movie.  I never realised there was so much effects work done for this movie!  Take the above pic for example — Kamal Haasan was actually hitting a wooden log which was later replaced with an image of the actor!  There's also this Behind the Scenes clip but I didn't find this as interesting.
  • Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu Deleted Scenes 1 and Deleted Scenes 2 — seems to be very raw footage but interesting.  All this stuff is cannibalised from the DVD of the movie.
  • Pachaikili Muthucharam Trailer 1 and Trailer 2 — these are old but I'm linking them anyway, as I like the trailers and love the songs.
  • Vaaranam Aayiram Trailer — Yes!  Gautham Menon's upcoming movie (May 2008) starring Surya, Sameera Reddy and Divya Spandana.  Trailer doesn't indicate what kind of movie it is (though, IMDb lists it as a thriller!), but the movie looks good anyway.  The music is again by Harris Jayaraj and the song used in the trailer is called "Adiyae Kolluthey".  Someone has been nice enough to put up this video with just that song and a montage of pictures from Surya's movies.  The song is very nice!

I'm looking forward to watching Vaaranam Aayiram, though I don't know whether it'll be released in Hyderabad.  But do have a look at the trailers above, all are good stuff.

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New Drawings: AVP-R and Hard-Boiled

Monday · 3 Mar 08 · 03:27 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

I added a couple of drawings to the site —

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem — Drawing by Karthik

The first is a colour drawing of the Predator from Aliens vs Predator: Requiem, and this was done with oil pastels.  Click on the image above, or here, to view the full drawing.  This one was photographed by Varun for uploading to the site.

Chow Yun-Fat in "Hard-Boiled" — Drawing by Karthik

Some days back there was a meeting at 3 PM and I'd finished lunch a half hour before that, so I drew the above picture.  It's an image of Chow Yun-Fat from the John Woo movie Hard-Boiled.  You can click that to see a larger version.

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Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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