Archive - Jul 2006


July 29th

popularity dialer

Popularity Dialer : a scheduled call for those times when you really need to get out of that weird blind date. If this becomes really popular, maybe they could hook-up two people who scheduled calls at the same time, and have them talk to each other, hence providing a human voice instead of a fake one.


dell accepts paypal

Wow, I didn’t know that Dell accepts Paypal. Cool.


July 25th

evolution email notification

I use Evolution as my primary email client, and one of the major issues I have with it is the lack of an email notifier. There was a GNOME bounty once for this, and the code published as the solution has made it to Evolution using DBUS, but it does not solve my problem: What will I do with a stupid DBUS notification? I want my visual notification!

Now Ubuntu ships with spiffy DBUS notification bubble support. Why not use that?

This is where my newbie python skills come in: presenting to you my 20-line Evolution Mail Notification Tool!:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import dbus
import dbus.glib
import gobject

bus = dbus.SessionBus()
notify_service = bus.get_object(‘org.freedesktop.Notifications’, ‘/org/freedesktop/Notifications’)
notify_interface = dbus.Interface(notify_service, ‘org.freedesktop.Notifications’)

def newmail_handler(msg, msg2): notify_interface.Notify(“evo-notify”, 0, ‘’, “New Email”, msg, [], {}, -1)

bus.add_signal_receiver(newmail_handler, dbus_interface = “org.gnome.evolution.mail.dbus.Signal”, signal_name = “Newmail”)

loop = gobject.MainLoop()

How to run this:
First import, glib, dbus, and all the things for python. Then save the python code in a file, say Then open a terminal and type python Now, whenever you get an email, a pop-up notfication will appear!

To do: For the UI, do something similar to the Gmail notifier plugin for the notification. Also, patch the enotify plugin to send the details of the new emails as well, so that they can be shown in the notification.

(update: updated the newmail_handler to the new interface. Thanks, Vikas!)


malgudi days

Malgudi Days is back! I wonder if the theme song is still the same… it’s one of my favourite things to play on the flute.


google and the phone company

AT&T Labs versus Google Labs. Many of the faculty here boast of having “worked for a phone company” at some point of time in their life. I guess the next generation will boast of having worked for an “html shop”. I’d like to point out that as CS research matures, there are many more people who would like to put money into it today, as opposed to a single phone company in days of yore. Many other dotcoms(Y!Research, MSNSearchLabs, Amazon), medicine companies(Pfizer), have a huge, increasing need for CS, and hence are making huge investments towards furthering research as well. While it breaks the “Cathedral” paradigm into a more “Bazaar”-like scene, this means more jobs, more money, and most importantly, much, much more work done in the area than in the past.

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July 23rd

google comes to ann arbor

Google is opening a facility in Ann Arbor: I hope it’s a research facility, and not a crappy call center.


art fair

Ann Arbor Art Fair just got over. Every street in downtown is converted into a roadside show of art. Loads of fun.



The ‘stank came to town. Not too bad as musical abilities are concerned, just that I feel a little too old for this noo age metal rock business.


July 14th

atlas shrugged movie

Oh man oh man oh man…. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to be made into a blockbuster movie trilogy. I’m really looking forward to this one… even though there’s a very high probability they’ll completely screw it up.

From a nice comment on the MR blog:

the plot is acuually not bad. A decent mystery, some completely interesting side plots. Plus enough glamour, enough put downs of elites, DTs offensive brother. There is far to many words in between actual action, but overall, it should translate pretty well. Plus for movies.

However, there are two very large problems.

One of the main symbols in the book is the cigarette. It comes up over and over as a direct symbol for capitalism. I have a difficult time thinking of the book without thinking about all of the smoking scenes, ya know, fire tamed at the fingertip of man and all that. We now know cigs are very bad for you and cause a large number of health problems. So does capitalism cause these bad things too? Um…When I brought this up to some randians, they said the choice of symbol was ‘unfortunate’. hehehe.

Second, John Gs invention is something that mines energy directly from space. Also known as ‘Zero Point Energy’, or ZPE, today, these ‘inventions’ have resulted in a field full of cranks, charlatans and outright theives…


July 11th

mumbai blasts

Blasts in Mumbai: Why don’t they understand that the city will be back to normal tomorrow morning?