Monday, July 30, 2007

Create Slide Shows With Picasa Web Albums

Blogger Templates has a great online tool to help generate HTML code for Picasa Web Album based Slide Shows.  I am reproducing it here for my convenience. I have made a few small changes for posting here.


Installing a Picasa Slide Show In Blogger Or Other Web Page

Go to the album you want to display in Picasa Web Album.
Right-click on the  button and "Copy shortcut" (?).


     e.g. My Beautiful Album
       (You have to be logged in to your Blogger account)
6 Not at

      Get the code


This code is from Blogger Templates. Please visit their Picasa Slide Show Post to see the original. No copyright violation is intended.

[Update] - A link to this post has been added to the side bar.

Picasa Web Album Slide Show

A slide show of our trip to Srisailam in early June 2007.


Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen


Create you own Picasa Album Slide Shows here.

100 Open Source Downloads

A categorized list of 100 Open Source software. I love lists and I found this one particularly useful. I quickly realized that I use a number of software on this list. Audacity, AC3Filter, MP3Gain, LAME, jEdit, DOSBox, PDFCreator, Vuze (Azureus), eMule, FreeMind to name a few.

This list underlines the growing vitality of Open Source software and underlines the fact that they are slowly but steadily creeping into our computers.

Long Live Open Source!

Java Logging with JDBC

I hate debuggers! Not that they don't do the job they are meant for but I have always found them to be a big waste of time in the initial stages of debugging a code issue. I prefer to use a logger mechanism and then jump into the debugger for detailed runtime data only if I cannot track down the problem theoretically using my logs.

Anyway, I work in an environment where all development is done remotely and I don't have much control over the servers that actually run my code. I do have access to the database for the different environments and can create tables etc. I normally use Log4J for my logging needs but adding that manually to my development environment is a pain. So I finally turned to Java's logging API and found that it fell way below my Log4J based expectations. Firstly it did not give me much control over the logging configuration. Secondly, there was no JDBC based logging mechanism available. Well I decided to roll my own.


  • JDBC support for logging
  • Custom logging configuration (including the JDBC support configuration). Can be used for creating any custom configuration and not just the JDBC support.
  • Message caching. This implementation caches messages up to a configured threshold. All cached messages are logged to the database as soon as the threshold is reached.
  • Open source. Use, modify, distribute (as long as you retain the copyright notice below). Suggestions, bug reports welcome.
Pending Features (Stuff I would like to add but haven't yet):
  • Configurable Asynchronous logging: So that we don't block the main thread making the logging calls.
  • Performance Tunning: The current release is not optimized and has numerous areas which can benefit from some performance tunning.
I am releasing the source code to my JDBC support for Java's logging APIs. You can download the source code here. You may use this code for any purpose, as long as you leave the copyright notice attached. Use this code at your own risk.

See the readme.txt file in the zip archive for details of how to use the code. The JavaDoc is also a good place to look for further details. The source code is of course the best source for implementation and usage details.

Copyright (C) 2006 Gautam Satpathy (
You may use this code for any purpose, as long as you leave the copyright notice
attached. Use this code at your own risk.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Web2PDF - Convert Web Pages to PDF

Web2PDF is nifty service that is a snap to setup and provides a easy way to convert HTML web pages into PDF documents. And best of all it is free!

With Web2PDF you can add a "Save page as PDF" button to your web page and allow users to convert you page into a PDF document with one click. It is  easy to setup. First of all you have to sign up for an account. After completing that you need to specify some standard settings like Portrait or Landscape modes, your web page's URL etc. You can run an immediate test to see the result of your settings. Once you are satisfied, generate the required JavaScript and paste it into your web page wherever you want the "Save page as PDF" button to appear.

I have added one to this blog. Works fine. Do give it a try.

I have to figure out a few things though - How to change the formats (CSS) used during the conversion process. Not sure if they can be changed at all. For example I would not like the generated PDF to have a black background with white text. Quite the opposite really.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pictobrowser - Changing Background Color

I figured out how to change the background color for the Pictobrowser!

Code for my Pictobrowser.

name="PictoBrowser" align="middle"
width="500" height="580"
flashvars="ids=72157600558349014&amp;names=Mamli And Holi 2004&amp;userName=gautamsatpathy&amp;userId=76312656@N00&amp;titles=on&amp;source=sets"

Note the bgcolor attribute in the HTML code generated for your Pictobrowser. Just change the color value to whatever you want. The default value generated by Pictobrowser is White (#FFFFFF). I prefer Black (#000000).

Technically you can do a lot of cool stuff with the Pictobrowser generated HTML code. You can put it in a DIV etc. I have not tried changing the dimensions or other values yet. Will post again if I learn anything new.

Pictobrowser - A Really Cool Piece Of Software!

The previous post about a Flickr photo slide show is based on Pictobrowser, the creation of Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena (Creative direction, interaction design) & Diego Bauducco (Concept, graphic & interaction design, development).

What they have created is not only a great tool to display pictures but also a brand new distribution model. Each web site using Pictobrowser is a source of HTML code for new users to embed Pictobrowser in their web sites & blogs. Do read about it on the Pictobrowser web site.

Okay. Now let us see how we can use this thing.

Setup Instructions:

  1. The first thing is a Flickr account. Get one if you don't already have one. You can use your Yahoo account.
  2. Upload your photos to Flickr.
  3. Mark your photos as "Public"
  4. Create some Sets, and / or Groups. The Sets / groups must be public for Pictobrowser to be able to retrieve them.
  5. Click the Info link at the bottom of a Pictobrowser like the one below. (See Screen shot below)
  6. This will display the "Get Your Pictobrowser" page. Enter you Flickr User ID on this screen and click the Submit button. (See Screen Shot below)
  7. Pictobrowser will use the User ID to access Flickr. It will display a blank screen with Sets, tags & groups as clickable buttons on the top. (See Screen Shot below)
  8. Click the Sets button (or Tags or groups). Whatever. Pictobrowser will access Flickr and pull a list of you public Sets (or Tags or groups. Whatever. (See Screen Shot below)
  9. Click the Set you want to use. Pictobrowser will display a new screen with the required HTML code. Copy & paste it into your blog post screen in HTML Code view. (See Screen Shot below). You can also use this screen to see a preview of your new Pictobrowser.

Screen Shots:

Click Info (circled in Red above) link at bottom of Pictobrowser. Go back to Setup Instructions.

Enter your Flickr User ID. Go back to Setup Instructions.

Pictobrowser accesses Flickr. Select Sets. Go back to Setup Instructions.

Pictobrowser pulls list of public sets from your Flickr account. Select the one you want to use. Go back to Setup Instructions.

Go grab the HTML code! Go back to Setup Instructions.

Pictobrowser In Action

Flickr Slide Show On Blogger!

I saw this neat Flickr Slide Show app on Blogger Templates, a great place to find Blogger related information, tips & tricks etc.

This post is a test to see how things work. I will post instructions on the usage in a subsequent post.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Reading A Book - How To Find The Time?

I read for pleasure. The information content is incidental as far as I am concerned. That is to say I don't go looking for books that will teach me something. Rather I read books that I want to read because they are fun to read. I would rather curl up with a pot boiler than read Jack Welch.

That is not to say I do not learn anything from the books I read. I do. In addition to the pleasure factor, every book has something to give. Some piece of information, a thought or two or simply a different way of looking at things.

The problem is that there are only so many hours in a day. Weekends are for householdy things. Groceries, the broken clock, insurance premium payments, etc etc. And of course to catch up on sleep

Anyway, I read a number of blogs regularly and one of them, Life Hack, has this post titled "How To Automatically Read A Book Per Week Without Taking Any Additional Time Out Of Your Day". The title caught my attention and I eagerly started reading. Agreed with the author for the first few paragraphs. And then I started getting irritated.

The author talks about Audio Books as the solution. Nice, techy solution. But will it work? Say in an Indian context? Let us look at an example:

My wife, Padmaja, is a professional with two kids and a husband. I mention the husband part because she claims she has a lazy bum of a husband. She commutes to work on a scooter. A drive of about 8 Km's which takes about 30 minutes each way. Her day starts at 6.00 am when she has to cook breakfast & lunch for everybody. Then she kicks my butt out of bed at about 6.30 and goes to wake up our daughter, Mamli. She then spends about 45 mins with Mamli reviewing homework or preparation for any tests etc. In the meantime I do my morning stuff (teeth, tea, emails, shave, shower etc) before waking the boy, Bablu. Then we rush through the rest of the morning ritual of getting the kids to school (they commute by school bus) and getting ready for work. Padmaja returns from work at about 6.30 p.m. The rest of the evening is usually taken up by homework and dinner. The kids go to bed at about 9.00 p.m. and we have dinner right after. Bed by 10.30 - 11.30. We rarely watch TV. The post dinner hour is reserved for husband - wife discussions. Plans, moans, etc.

So how does Padmaja find / make the time to read a book? Will audio books work for her? If not, why?

  • Audio books are expensive. Paperbacks are relatively inexpensive in comparison.
  • They take time to setup on a player like the iPod. Paperback books do not need any "setup". They are ready to go out-of-the-box.
  • It is easy to put down a book and then pick it up again after a while. You can quickly scan the previous lines and pick up from where you left off. Try that with an Audio book!
  • Unlike for Audio books you don't need a computer to buy and read a regular paper based book. Padmaja hates the home PC anyway. Claims she spends enough time staring at a computer screen at work.
  • You can read a book on the pot, leave it in the bathroom till you come back without worrying about damaging a 10,000 rupee gadget. Same with the bed. I am usually very careful where I put down the iPod. The kids are always jumping on the bed and I don't want one of them landing on my precious
  • Driving in Hyderabad, India, while listening to an audio book is a recipe for disaster. Very very bad idea. Listening to music on a portable player if fine as long as you are not trying to understand each and every word of the lyrics.

So on and so forth...

So how does Padmaja find / make time for a book or two?

  • Get the lazy bum of a husband to share some of the house work. Let him grumble and scowl but make him do it anyway. A kiss or two (or more)  at the end of the day would work nicely to reduce the grumbling and increase the householdy contributions 
  • Read in bed. She is normally too tired.
  • Read on the pot.
  • Read in the kitchen. I feel safe making this suggestion because I know Padmaja is a fantastic cook and the end result even with a book in the picture will be excellent. My rotund self is living testimony to this fact!
  • Read during coffee breaks. Carrying a paperback in her handbag is not difficult. Of course she would rather spend it speaking with other people! Ecch!

Our lives leave very little time for the things that make life worth living. And to me a good book is one of those things. I am willing to sacrifice other things like sleep to be able to read a book.

Maybe Yama Raj will put me in charge of Patal's Library.

Tattoos For Geeks

Most Indians I know don't use Tattoos. Oh maybe the odd kid here and there trying to show how cool he or she is. But in general Tattoos is seen as a western thing that is not cool.

I saw this advert for Geek Tattoos on the web recently and thought I would share it here. I would love to have the guts to wear one of these. The "Born To Code" one is particularly cool!

I dare say the wife will kick my butt out of the house though the kids might love the stuff. On themselves. Not sure if they will like Daddy walking around with one of these...


Sunday, July 22, 2007

List of Blog Ping Servers

Here is a list of Blog Ping Servers:

Taking Advantage of Horny Males (Wasps)!

The perpetually horny male! (And why not females?) Well, a new species of Orchids have been discovered in Southern Australia. These grow flowers that look like female Wasps! You get the idea, right?

And why target the male? Why not a flower that looks like the male wasp instead?

Will The Mammoths Walk Earth Again?

A Russian Hunter recently discovery the 40,000 years old remains of a Mammoth Baby in Arctic Russia. This is a monumental find and the scientists might be able to play God with the dead Mammoth's DNA if they can extract the sequence intact.

Will we see the Mammoths walk Earth once again? Should the scientists be allowed to play God?

What does such research and experimentation mean to Man's future?  Will we see soon DNA banks that cater to the super rich by freezing their DNA sequences for possible resurrection at a later date? Do you want to live twice? Or thrice? Or be immortal? Springing from the ashes like Dumbledore's Phoenix?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter Fans - How Are You Doing?

Reached the Deathly Hallows yet? Some what of a let down so far. I have not read the ending but I am disappointed so far. Harry has reached the tale of the deathly hallows and has questions. What next? He will survive. That seems sure. But with the help of the hallows? Seems anti-climatic!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - Complete Leaked Book (PDF)

And here is the complete book. This is the one that was transcribed from the photographs of the leaked book.

  1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - Complete Book (PDF)

Enjoy! And do buy the original book from the stores.

[Update] - Removed the link. The book is available on the P2P network.

GonVisor - Free Comic Viewer & CBZ/CBR Creator

Good old Google pointed me at GonVisor. A neat little tool to create CBZ & CBR files. It is also a Comic Viewer and seems to have a few additional features that CDisplay lacks.

The best part is of course the ability to create CBZ & CBR files. I haven't found anything better so far.

And it is Free!

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Leaked! Book Images Posted!

The rumors seem to be true. The torrents I mentioned in a previous post is about 60% done and I took a peek at the files. And guess what? They look real!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Potter Mania! First 10 Chapters Leaked!

The net is going crazy! Lots of leak rumors, blog posts and even news items on NBC etc. Lots of reports of leaked files on the BitTorrent network. Some say that the a group of Potter fans are transcribing a leaked (photographed pages apparently) copy into text and are posting it on the net. The first 10 chapters are supposedly available.

Well, I was curious enough to go looking for it. And I found this, supposedly the first 10 chapters of this so called leaked book. Might just be another example of Fan Fiction. I am transferring the file to my phone right after this post. Then maybe I will last till the book stores open the weekend!

Go ahead and download the file. At the very least it will keep you entertained till day after tomorrow. And if it is the real thing, then you can skip over to Chapter 11 and start from there !

  1. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - First 10 Chapters (Text Format)
  2. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - First 10 Chapters (PDF Format)
  3. The original files downloaded from BitTorrent (converted from RAR to ZIP)

[Update] - I found three other torrents that are supposed to contain the leaked book. Two of them are a bunch of images. The third contains a PDF.

[Update] - I have removed the links to the files above. Just in case this thing is for real! I don't want the publishers after my ass.

Indian Govt. Blocking Blog Sites

The Indian Govt decided to block certain blogs that spread hate for India in an attempt to fight back against terrorism. They ended up blocking all sites on and other blog sites. For example, my photo blog, Mo-Chitra, is blocked. I can of course still access it from work because our gateways are in Japan & Singapore. It is only from home that I am unable to access my blog.

I ran a tracert to and got the following output:

d:\>tracert -w 20000

Tracing route to [] over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 13 ms 8 ms 8 ms
2 25 ms 10 ms 12 ms
3 18 ms 26 ms 22 ms
4 24 ms 23 ms 24 ms
5 43 ms 34 ms 25 ms
6 reports: Destination host unreachable.

Trace complete.

Querying the IP Whois tool for the last two IPs shows that they belong to Bharati Tele.

inetnum: -
netname: BTNL
descr: Bharti Telenet Ltd.
descr: Bhopal
descr: India
country: IN
inetnum: -
netname: BHARTI-IN
descr: ISP Division , Long Distance Group - Telesonic
descr: 234 , Okhala Phase III
descr: NEW DELHI
descr: INDIA
country: IN

So Bharati is blocking access to Mr. Mital, I assume you are not a fool. With this assumption, I hope that you will instruct the idiots in your IT department to work a little harder and not block legitimate web sites. It takes a few seconds to block an entire domain. It takes a lot longer to block specific web sites. Somebody in your organization is cheating you of the salary you pay him.

I managed to access my blog inspite of your blocking access by the simple device of using TorPark. Only a fool tries to stop the Ganga from flowing to the sea. Are you one of them Sonia, Manmohan and Mittal?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mamli's Star - Class 3D, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Public School, Jubilee Hills

Mamli is now in class 4. Last year she did rather well. She won a number of prizes and managed to beat the the person she was most afraid would do better than her!

I took these photos with my mobile phone and have been meaning to post them here for some time now. Well here goes...

Well done Mamli. No pressure but we do hope to see the same again this year!


Posted by Picasa

Purloined Banner Image From Puri Online

I love this banner image on the Puri Online web site. I took the liberty of grabbing a copy. Sorry Bulu. The image is so beautiful!


Posted by Picasa


Shree Shree Jaganath Ratha Yatra 2007 - Photo Gallery

Puri Online has a photo gallery of this year's Ratha Yatra.

Also a video gallery with videos of the Snana, Hati Besha & The Yatra.

Great work Bulu & team!

Public Interest - HDFC Credit Cards - Excess Cash Back Charges


The following email was sent to an internal mailing list in my organization. I think it is worth reproducing it here.

If you are holding an HDFC Value plus credit card and have in past few months seen something like an excess cashback billed to your card , please get in touch with HDFC customer care people asap .
I too had experienced the same in 2 of my past months card statements .Infact my roommate and some of my friends were also charged for the same thing .We talked to thee HDFC people and finally after putting in some efforts were successful to get our money back.
To add to that I had personally asked them to send me an apology letter for the same , which , though I got is in a very sugar coated language,but nevertheless I got my money back..I told  them that I have a number of friends who were confronted with the same issue , so they gave me a POC for this issue whereby if anybody among you has come across the similar problem ,you can talk to this POC and he'll get your problem resolved .
The POC is  : Sai Rupendra.. (U can call HDFC customer care and ask the person taking the call to directly connect you to Sai Rupendera).
So folks , please utilise the services of this person to claim back your hard earned money from HDFC .
Do examine your credit card statements carefully. You should not allow yourself to be charged for something that you did not spend!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bablu's Experiments With MS Paintbrush

Bablu loves to play with the computer. When he is not playing games, he is drawing pictures with MS Paintbrush. I showed him how to save his paintings and he hasn't looked back since then. These are a few samples of his work

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shri Shri Jaganath's Ratha Yatra

Today is the Ratha Jatra of Shri Shri Jaganath, the lord of the Universe. The Ratha Jatra is an annual pilgrimage that Jaganath along with his elder brother Balabhadra & younger sister Subadhra undertake to the adobe of their aunt. Special Rathas are built every year by a guild of carpenters & blacksmiths. The Rathas are swept by the King of Puri with a golden broom before the Jatra commences.

Jaganath's wife Lakshmi is left behind by the siblings and she closes the temple doors on them, to be opened only when they return.

See the live telecast on major TV channels today. You can also see a live web cast of the Ratha Jatra on PuriOnline.

See this article for information about the Ratha Jatra and meet the head carpenters.


Jaganath Swami

Nayana Patha Gami

Bhava Tume!


Madhumita Satpathy's Marriage

Madhumita is my cousin and the youngest daughter in the Satpathy family (my generation). She married Sidharth Hotha on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at Rourkela, Orissa.

I attended her wedding along with my parents, grand parents and a host of other family members. This trip to Rourkela was rather arduous. I left Hyderabad on Tuesday afternoon by Faluknama Express and arrived at Bhubaneswar on Wednesday morning at about 11.20 am. Took the late night bus to Rourkela the same day. Attended the marriage and then caught the train back to Bhubaneswar the same night. Finally took Konark Express back to Hyderabad on Friday afternoon, arriving at 11.30 am on Saturday morning. Phew!

This marriage was overshadowed by the death of my youngest uncle (father's youngest brother). As a result none of the Satpathy family (of the same Gotra) could participate in the marriage itself. The bride was given away by her maternal uncle, Dr. Bharatendu Swain (Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad). My aunt (father's sister) did most of the work.

Anyway, I am back in Hyderabad now. Catching up on emails and have the boss breathing down my back...

Monday, July 09, 2007

ICICIDirect Stupidities, Or Oh No Not Again!

ICICIDirect! Those morons have done it again! Did I say Morons? My apologies. To the morons of this world. I didn't mean to insult you guys by saying that ICICIDirect is at your intellectual level.

I tried logging into the ICICIDirect web site at about 6.20 pm today (IST). The login page came up fine. I entered my stuff and hit the enter key. And guess what? I got a very polite page saying that the blasted &*(66%^*&*^&) web site was down for "For Some Technical Reason".

  1. What happens to my login information? I entered my credentials and had the site bomb in my face! Why can't the blasted "Site Down" notice be pasted before the login page?
  2. Notice the "Contact Site Admin" notice? How do I contact the site Admin? Email? Phone? A kick on the Bum? Bloody Idiots!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Resurrection! The Home PC Is Alive Again :-)

Raghu (RR Peripherals) came over this morning to change the motherboard. It took about 30 mins for the entire process. I realized that I need a new SMPS. My current one is 300 Watts and the new motherboard needs 400 Watts. Anyway, it works for the time being and should be able to take the current load but I will change it as soon as I return from Rourkela (Munu's marriage) next weekend.

I had to spend another hour reinstalling all the key drivers (network, audio, video etc). Otherwise everything works like a charm. And the new 1Gb RAM makes it feel smoother than before (I had 512 Mb then).

Bablu came running to me half an hour ago asking if the "Computer Is Okay Now?". I grinned at him and said Yes. At this he ran back into their bedroom and triumphantly informed his elder sister - "I Told You So!". It seems he recognized the startup sounds that the PC makes on starting (Windows XP Pro) but could not convince his sis.

The New 7 Wonders

The results are out!

And the Taj Mahal is one of the new 7 wonders.



This is the first ever global voting exercise.

Of course the Taj Mahal is still attributed to the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. I hope the time will come when the Hindus will get back their lost, desecrated  temples in India and elsewhere (Mecca etc). 

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My Home PC Died, Long Live The Home PC

My home PC died yesterday night. It was a peaceful passing. The motherboard folded up, most probably because of CPU overheating. The CPU cooler has been giving me problems for a while now. I have to regularly clean out the heat sink vanes.

Luckily I had setup a wireless router last month. So I still have my Internet connection (on the laptop). But the home surveillance system is out of commission along with the web & FTP servers.

Raghu of RR Peripherals sold me the PC a couple of years ago. I contacted him this morning and he helped me identify the problem. He also directed me to a supplier for a new motherboard, Intel P4 chip and 1 Gb of RAM. He has promised to replace the motherboard etc tomorrow morning. I should be back in business by lunch tomorrow.