Pratyush - A <GeeK>!!!

I celebrated the new year on a vacation with a group of friends. One of the best time-pass was the group game of Werewolf.

Be it a bus journey, waiting at a stop or a late night hangout on a beach, we played Werewolf everywhere. It required only some chits of paper (though we used a playing deck as a better substitute).

It requires minimum 7 players and is best experienced with 10-12 players.

I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a large group, scope to shout, and time to go through the rulebook.

Dhoni's shot in world cup final 2011

Of all the sportsmen, I admire MS Dhoni and Brian Lara the most. Whether India wins or not, I try to hear his words and learn from his temperament. Found this wonderful interview of Dhoni where he talks about the role of mind, and gives advice on how to be a better player. These advice apply as well to other things as to cricket.

What advice would you give to a young player who wants to improve his game?

First and foremost, I would tell him that he must love and enjoy his sport. If he does not enjoy it he would not learn to play the game as quickly or as well as he should. Second, I would tell him to keep things simple. The more he complicates the process the harder it will be for him to improve his game. For example, when he tells himself to watch the ball and play it on its merits, he might have other thoughts like scoring runs or not getting out in his mind.

Those thoughts can break his concentration and prevent him from watching the ball. If he knows that the bowler can bowl an out-swinger, an in-swinger and a good bouncer as well, he has three other things to think about. But the more he thinks about what the bowler might do the more complex and difficult batting becomes.

Third, I would tell him to capitalise on his strengths, improve his weaknesses and recognise his limitations.

A lot of people talk about the problems players face when they have to play in conditions that are foreign to them. For instance, when Indian batsmen who are brought up on slow flat wickets have to play on the fast and bouncy wickets in Australia and South Africa.

When I go to Australia or South Africa I try to be positive and see the visit as a challenge and an opportunity to explore, learn and improve my game. I try not to be negative or worry about the pace and bounce of the wickets or the things that could possibly go wrong.

Learning and improvement take time. When you leave nursery school you don’t expect to go straight into a graduate school. In the following years you slowly improve as a student and when you reach a certain standard you graduate and afterwards go on to higher levels. The same thing happens in sport.

The player should therefore be patient and persistent and he should keep things simple and enjoy his sport. Not only should he enjoy his own performance on the field but he should also get pleasure from sharing his experiences with other players and from creating an atmosphere that helps the guy sitting next to him in the dressing room to perform better.

This is one area where the Indian team is very blessed. The senior players in our team have helped the younger players to learn, develop and perform better. Your individual performance is important but how much better you help your teammate to play better is equally important.

This was just one of the passages from the complete interview. Would try to go through the interview again and again at regular intervals.

I recently moved from Dell Studio to Lenovo's Thinkpad Edge E430 laptop. It is an all-Intel machine and the drivers support is quite good. Initially the touchpad felt over sensitive as the cursor jumped a few pixels on finger lifts. Luckily, it is a common touchpad issue on Lenovo machines and easily fixable.

Create the following config file in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-thinkpad-touchpad.conf (create xorg.conf.d directory if it doesn't exist):

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "touchpad"
        MatchProduct "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad"
        Driver "synaptics"
        # fix touchpad resolution
        Option "VertResolution" "100"
        Option "HorizResolution" "65"
        # increment noise cancellation factor
        Option "HorizHysteresis" "50"
        Option "VertHysteresis" "50"
EndSection

Update for ArchLinux: file path /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-thinkpad-touchpad.conf

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "touchpad"
        MatchProduct "SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad"
        Driver "synaptics"
        # fix touchpad resolution
        Option "VertResolution" "100"
        Option "HorizResolution" "65"
        # disable synaptics driver pointer acceleration
        Option "MinSpeed" "1"
        Option "MaxSpeed" "1"
        # tweak the X-server pointer acceleration
        Option "AccelerationProfile" "2"
        Option "AdaptiveDeceleration" "16"
        Option "ConstantDeceleration" "16"
        Option "VelocityScale" "128"
EndSection

Different Lenovo laptops may require different tweaking. Above works best for Edge series. Other configs are available here.

This method copies the PIP packages locally and uses them for faster installation when starting new projects.

First, download the archives that fulfill your requirements:

$ pip install --download <DIR> -r requirements.txt

Then, install using –find-links and –no-index:

$ pip install --no-index --find-links=<DIR> -r requirements.txt

Starting this new "style-snippet" series to archive snippets of some good designs and their application.

Loved the Cambo font used in the header of the numbers package for Vim.

h1, h2, h3 {
    font-family: 'Cambo', serif;
    color: #333333;
}

I have two separate projects and both use a common set of directories. Since both the projects are under active development, I symlinked the common files. Thus the changes were incorporated in both the projects. However, git does not follow the symbolic links and instead saves its contents.

To solve it I:

  1. Copied one of the projects into the another as a subdirectory using subtree.
  2. Created symlinks from inside this subtree directory.
  3. Changed the absolute paths of symbolic links into relative paths.
  4. Automated all of the above into a script.

Detailed steps

Step 1: Subtree is useful (and better than submodule) for including a project into another project as a subdirectory. The main advantage is that the changes are both downstream as well as upstream. I followed this post to include the project as subtree sub-directory.

Step 2: Next step was to convert all the old symlinks (directly from main project) to symlinks from the new subtree directory. To find all the symbolic links in a directory use $ find /path -type l.

Step 3: The symlinks created usually contain absolute file paths (even though they might be in the same git project). Use the symlinks utility to convert all the symlinks from absolute paths to relative paths.

$ sudo apt-get install symlinks
$ symlinks -tscr .  # Preview changes
$ symlinks -scr .   # Execute changes

Step 4: To automate all of the above, I compiled and saved the above commands in a fab file to run while committing the changes.

def sync_down():
    """Syncs downstream from remote to local branch"""
    local("git checkout remote_branch")
    local("git pull")
    local("git checkout master")
    local('git merge --squash -s subtree '
          '--no-commit '
          'remote_branch')


def sync_up():
    """Syncs upstream from local to remote branch"""
    local("git checkout remote_branch")
    local('git merge --squash -s subtree '
          '--no-commit '
          'master')
    local('git add . -A')
    local('git commit -m "Merged changes from remote"')
    local("git push remote remote_branch:master")
    local("git checkout master")


def sync_all():
    local("symlinks -scr .")
    sync_down()
    sync_up()

I agree that this is a very hacky way to achieve a simple following of symlinks. However, all the other workarounds looked as bad.

A brilliant write-up on "How to Get Lost users to Come Back to Your Product - Five Lessons From Facebook"

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