Sachin Sharma
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Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.
- Obi Wan Kanobi
- StarWars III - Revenge of the Sith


What's up with Power-only petrol in Pune?

You: Regular (Unleaded) petrol worth Rs. 100 please
Man at the petrol pump: No regular petrol, only Power.
You (apparently surprised): Ok, fill power then

What the hell just happened? You went there with a certain thing in mind and the man at the petrol pump offered you a more expensive alternative and you agree to go ahead and take that option. You don't even know why are they charging extra for Power?

I have been regularly filling petrol from a pump near Agriculture College, here in Pune for a few years now. The petrol pump has been known to be honest and I usually feel that I get petrol worth my money. But since the rise in petrol prices, I did not get regular petrol off that petrol pump. Agreed that I go at night and the petrol pump might run out-of-petrol for the day. But I am very skeptical if this is actually the case.

It is not only this petrol pump. Most petrol pumps I visit have started having Power only. I don't know why the public is going ahead with their heads down and sucking up to the people at the petrol pump as if they have no option. After about 2 times I was forced to fill Power petrol, I decided not to do it anymore. If the petrol pump does not have to offer me regular petrol, I won't fill it from there.

It happened to me again tonight. I just left the petrol pump after waiting at the queue for like 10 minutes and headed towards a petrol pump at Sangvi. This one was a IBP petrol outlet and fortunately got regular petrol there. Now I have decided to fill petrol from that specific petrol pump at Sangvi. People ought to rise up to things like tease rather than compromising on the situation. It is not good.
Monday, July 21, 2008 at 10:52 PM. Comments: 0.
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Introducing the "Horn Index"

Try doing this when you are driving:
  1. Start counting at approximately 1 count per second
  2. The moment you hear a horn from a vehicle, make a mental note of the count and start counting again
  3. Do this for a few times
The highest count you reach without hearing a single horn from the vehicle, is the “horn index”.

I tried this on a road near to where I stay and found out that the “horn index” of that road at noon 1 o'clock is 10 seconds. Yes, I hear a horn every 10 seconds! Sometimes I have to re-count after the 1st second itself, but I couldn't count above 10. Isn't this really bad? In comparable taffic conditions in US, I bet that the “horn index” can easily touch at least 6 hours if not 1 day. Can you even imagine how long will it take for India to catch up to traffic conditions in US? Or will it ever catch up?

Please don't take “Horn OK Please” seriously. Honk only when you really need it.

Monday, July 14, 2008 at 12:39 AM. Comments: 0.
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Ubuntu: Part 3 – Movies, Music and Blubuntu

Part 1 – First Impression
Part 2 – Internet, E-mail and Internet Messenger

Now I am done with Internet, E-mail and Internet Messenger on Ubuntu and that I am very satisfied with doing more and more things on Ubuntu, I wanted to start watching movies and listening to music on Ubuntu. In fact, come to think of it, I should have done this much earlier. Anyway, Ubuntu has a commitment towards using free, open-source software only. As such the default installation of Ubuntu does not bundle any type of non-free software. This includes the MP3 codec also. Yes, by default, you cannot play MP3 on Ubuntu. But we are talking default here and we all know that that means.

Most of the videos you get on the internet are in DivX or Xvid formats. Most of the audio files you get on the internet are in MP3 format. There are some other popular video and audio formats too, like MPEG, MPEG2, 3GP, MP4, WMV, WMA etc. Even Windows does not support most of these popular video and audio formats. By default, on Windows, you will not get support for DivX, Xvid, MPEG2, 3GP and MP4. I remember the time when I had QuickTime Player, DivX player, Xvid player, MPEG2 player installed on my Windows PC. This was all before VideoLan's VLC Media Player made its debut. Since then I have not used anyting but VLC Media Player. If a file does not play in VLC Media Player then it is probably corrupt or is a RealMedia file. :)

Guess what, VLC Media Player is cross-platform and open source. And it is available on Ubuntu. So I went ahead and install VLC Media Player. To install, go to Applications > Add/Remove and search for videolan. Select the package VLC media player and click Apply Changes. Ubuntu will download and install the player. And that's about it to play all types of video and audio files on Ubuntu.

The default theme of Ubuntu (Human) is a little too vibrant for me. I keep getting distracted by the bright orange color. I wanted something more soothing. I tried Clearlooks, which was better but still not that good. Finally, I stumbled upon Blubuntu, that claimed to be a blue and soothing theme for Ubuntu. So I went to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager and searched for Blubuntu. I checked blubuntu-look and Synaptic Package Manager automatically selected other dependencies for me. After installing Blubuntu, I switched over to Blubuntu and I was satisfied - a perfect blend of good looks and decency. Over the course of time, I have tried many other themes but couldn't settle on anything other than Blubuntu.

Sunday, July 06, 2008 at 11:25 PM. Comments: 0.
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