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March 14, 2013 / Pratik

Google Reader is Going To Be Discontinued

I use feed aggregators, because I read my news from multiple sources (e.g. NPR, The Verge, The Texas Tribune, KXAS, WFAA, and etc.) These feed aggregators give me the option to filter out things that I’m not interested in like stories that sound like a rehash of the police blotter. Recently Google has decided to discontinue their feed aggregator service, Google Reader.

I’m looking for alternatives. Before I used Google Reader I was using a desktop feed aggregator called RSSOwl. It supports Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X. I didn’t stop using RSSOwl, because of quality issues. I only stopped using RSSOwl, because my workflow changed and at that time RSSOwl didn’t offer Google Reader synchronization. Getting many portable devices over time led me to change my workflow. It became less convenient to just use one device to read the news.

There are ways to get many news source in one location and that is to use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I do not want to use social networks as the only way get my news. It doesn’t have the functionality that I need. There isn’t adequate filtering. There isn’t a way of to mark posts as read. Not all news services provide a social network presence.

As times passes we’ll reach the shutdown date of July 1, 2013. At that time I may have to revisit my old workflow of using one device as my centralized location of getting the latest news.

January 1, 2013 / Pratik

Oh wow, it’s been a while

It’s getting close to a year since my last post. I need to post more. A lot of things changed. I graduated college. I moved out of Missouri. I stopped using Ubuntu as my primary Linux distrobution way before the Amazon shopping lens chaos.

My preferences changed I’m using Arch Linux as my primary Linux. It’s not for the rush of climbing a mountain as a challenge. It’s more like I don’t want to run arround to chasing down PPAs or installing beta releases of Ubuntu just to get the latest programs. As my preferences changed KDE became my desktop environment of choice because the flexlibity was meeting my needs.

December 11, 2012 / Pratik

WordPress for Android

WordPress for Android is intriging, because of offline edit. It’sĀ convenient to be able to blog about a simple idea without needing to be connected to the Internet. I also find myself not wanting to use my data plan because of both cost and speed. When I use my data plan I fealt that certain apps like Facebook for Android (an app that depends on active Internet connection) is slugish. The words “hello dialup” came up in my mind every time I started the Facebook Android app. Since a lot of the functionaility is available offline this makes the WordPress android app feel faster than Facebook. I know there’s other reasons why Facebook for Android is incredible slow, but that’s just an example.

January 3, 2011 / Pratik

Weather Cameras

Last night, I wrote a small web application that grabed weather camera infomation from the Weather Underground, because I needed to learn how to develop with Adobe Flex.

I tryed out other tools to edit mxml files and ActionScript files. I ended using Emacs with the Flex SDK. I used nXml mode to edit mxml files, since mxml files are xml files. nXml mode checks for errors in xml files while I type it out and it does syntax highlighting for xml in Emacs.

I used the following settings with Emacs in my init.el file.

;; nXml mode settings
(add-hook 'nxml-mode-hook (lambda ()
			    ;; This makes emacs use spaces instead of tabs
			    ;; in nXml mode. It's important to apply this to just files
			    ;; in nXml mode, because sometimes tabs are needed in other
			    ;; files like Makefiles.
			    (setq-default indent-tabs-mode nil)
			    ;; Auto indent with in all files that are edited in nXml mode
			    (local-set-key (kbd "RET") 'newline-and-indent)))

;; Sets the indents for files edited in nXml mode to be 4 characters
;; (the default is 2 characters)
(setq nxml-child-indent 4)
(setq nxml-outline-child-indent 4)

;; Adds files that end with .mxml to a list of files that will be edited
;; in nxml mode.
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.mxml$" . nxml-mode))
May 29, 2010 / Pratik

GNU Emacs Running From a Thumb Drive

It’s not that challenging to make GNU Emacs run off a thumb driver and store it’s settings on it. An important thing to know about doing this in Windows, a lot of different computers use different drive letters to correspond to certain storage devices depending on the amount of storage devices. The rest of this tutorial will make the assumption that GNU Emacs is already extracted on the thumb drive in (thumb drive letter):\emacs-23.2

Step one: Create a batch file in the thumb drive to deal with the issue of getting different drive letters for your thumb drive.

@echo off
set HOME=%~d0\emacs-settings

%~d0 will get the drive letter that the batch file is in

Step two: Run that batch file (double click the batch file). This will cause GNU Emacs run from a thumb drive and store it’s settings on the thumb drive.

March 1, 2010 / Pratik

The Media Show

I learned about The Media Show from listening to Off The Hook. They were describing their intended audience. I thought to myself, a lot of people I know fit in this audience. I’m glad that someone is trying to deal with people’s media illiteracy. I feel The Media Show isn’t really for younger viewers, but the people I know who fit in their intended audience aren’t young. This poses a huge question, why aren’t a lot people learning about these essential skills to live in our modern world?

February 15, 2010 / Pratik

Facebook Chat and Jabber

I’m kind of an idealist. I like open standards, because it’s more flexible for me. Facebook recently added the ability to use your Jabber capable Instant Messenger program (e.g. iChat, Adium, Pidgin) with Facebook Chat. Historically, a lot non-technical people tend to use other instant messenger programs whose business tactics reminded me of ma bell (AT&T while they had a monopoly). I know I’ll be able taken advantage of this new change, but I’m wondering will non-technical people take advantage of this new change?