Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Firefox QuickFind using /

Tabbed browsing was one of the main features that got me attracted to Firefox. Earlier I used Crazy Browser that works on top of IE for tabbed browsing. Soon enough IE7 brought the tabbed browsing feature.
Another feature that I really like about Firefox is the Find(Ctlr + f) feature that searches as you type the characters. One feature that I didn't know until lately was the QuickFind feature wherein you use the slash (/).Vim users will find this particularly useful! But the annoying part is that I tend to use 'n' instead of F3 to Find-next.
Firefox should support the 'n' for QuickFind just like vim and may be have an escape sequence for the conventional n !

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Synergy: Share your mouse and keyboard across different operating systems

Synergy lets you share mouse and keyboard across multiple monitors even with different operating systems!

For step-by-step instructions follow this link http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-configure-synergy-in-six-steps
This site specifically mentions Ubuntu distro but you can download the source from here and install using the typical linux commands
sudo make install

The above page uses Linux as server. Initially I tried setting up Windows as a server using this link
But the GUI wasn't intuitive and faced some networking issues so switched to Linux instead.

In the synergy.conf file under the aliases section you can specify IP address of the screen. Each screen can have multiple aliases; 1 per line (no colon).
The synergys (server daemon) uses gethostname() so if you've specified screen name that is different than the hostname then use -n server_screen_name while starting the synergys.

For more troubleshooting information refer here

If you are using KVM then make sure that the respective monitors are directly connected to the VGA port and not to the KVM switch!!

Work seamlessly. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

cscope + vim

Using cscope with vim will allow you to browse code seamlessly. Refer to the following link for setting up the mapping between cscope and vim http://cscope.sourceforge.net/cscope_vim_tutorial.html

Download the mapping file here http://cscope.sourceforge.net/cscope_maps.vim

Go to the top-level source directory and type cscope -R

I faced "duplicate database found" error and so had to comment out following lines from cscope_maps.vim

" add any cscope database in current directory
if filereadable("cscope.out")
cs add cscope.out
" else add the database pointed to by environment variable
elseif $CSCOPE_DB != ""
cs add $CSCOPE_DB

Also remember to open the source file from the same source level directory where you typed cscope -R else mapping won't work.

For example:
Consider directory /src/linux/foo/bar
If you created cross-reference DB in /src and want to open file a.c in /src/linux/foo/bar then cd into /src and then open file using
vim linux/foo/bar/a.c

Friday, August 10, 2007

Car buying..

I would like to share my experience about car buying and few things I learnt from it. It would typically apply to international students who will be starting with their first job in the US.

Looking for new cars on websites and building them with all the fancy interiors and colors was my favorite pastime in the last semester at school. Almost everyday I would fluctuate with my car of choice based on consumerguide review, some performance metric, handling, value for money, looks, re-sale value etc. I used to have lengthy discussions with classmates explaining the reasoning behind the choice. It was really nice to see how everyone had different opinions.

The first question was whether to buy a new car or a used car. Most elders would suggest buy a used car, get accustomed to driving and then later when you have enough money buy a good new car. From a financial standpoint this tip definitely makes sense. If you read this article it strongly recommends against buying a new car for new college graduates http://financialplan.about.com/od/college/a/SmartMoves.htm
This question is more complicated than it appears and depends upon a lot of factors. Some might need a car just to go from point A to point B. For some there might be other financial commitments like loans etc. But a new car will have its own benefits!! Feel of a new car will be altogether different than a used one, better warranty and maintenance guarantees etc. Its something very personal and would vary from person-person. I chose to buy a new one and so the rest of the post is related to it.

Find it out yourself. Especially factors like the demand for a particular car and availability in the market. I was considering the Honda Civic and I got this wrong information from someone that it has a waiting period of 3 months. I had ruled it out completely until I visited a dealer where they had a Civic model for atleast 2-3 different colors ready to be sold the very same day!!

Judge for yourself; test drive. Do read reviews to shortlist your choice of cars but always test-drive when you do car-shopping. When you test-drive don't turn on the music system! The dealer or seller might be trying to hide any defects. Also if its automatic transmission you would want to know how smooth the transmission is. If possible test-drive for a bit on a freeway!

I had pleasant experience test-driving with most dealers on Stevens Creek except Infiniti and Lexus. Infiniti salesperson looked least interested!! I'm pretty sure that Infiniti will have a tough time competing against BMW & others if they hire such salespersons . After giving us a test-drive on the Lexus IS250 , the Lexus salesperson never came back to give us a quote!! May be thinking we didn't look like potential buyers!!

Customizing a car doesn't work exactly the same as it works on a website. Sometimes it won't be possible to get the color you want! The dealer can possibly get it shipped from some other dealer but then you'll have to shell out the expense!! Decide on what interior features you want for your car. It typically works in terms of packages rather than an individual feature. Base prices would make one feel that the car is within reach but the moment you add packages the total price will shoot up! So if you care about interior features then lookout for cars that have them as standard features.

After you've decided on your car(with color and package) the next step would be to look for finance options (I didn't considering leasing so have no clue about it). Being international students just out of college, few would have substantial credit history. Find out about finance options for fresh college graduates, good student discounts etc. Find out your credit score before starting to look for finance options. Most of the free credit reporting sites have a catch wherein you are automatically enrolled in some plan that makes you pay some amount every month!! So watch out for them! Try to get a pre-approval from your school Credit union. They are most likely to offer a good interest rate. Don't shop around a LOT for finance because each time a credit check is done it might (not completely sure) negatively impact your credit score! HSBC Auto finance would be a good place to get a pre-approval online.

The last step would be to get Insurance quotes. Honestly, I didn't find out much about insurance companies. Just took it from a company called Farmers Group in CA. General rules, if you are a single male under 25 then expect to pay higher insurance. Same would apply to sports cars and convertibles!

I hope this information helps new college graduates looking to buy their 1st car. All the best!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

My First Blog

I've been thinking to start writing for some time now... Would like to write on varied topics occasionally... Well most my friends say that if at all I write blogs they'll be just bullet points... Lets see how it goes... Today is just a start so watch out for this space.