Geek stuff, Tutorials

Backup Using rsync

Here’s a mini howto on backing up files  on a remote machine using rsync. It shows the progress while it does its thing and updates any remote files while keeping files on the remote end that were deleted from your local folder.

rsync -v -r --update --progress -e ssh /media/nam/Documents/ nam@

Here,  /media/nam/Documents/ is the local folder and /media/nam/backup/documents/ is the backup folder on the machine with IP

Geek stuff, Hadoop, Linux, Tutorials

Geting started with Hadoop 2.2.0 — Building

I wrote a tutorial on getting started with Hadoop back in the day (around mid 2010). Turns out that the distro has moved on quite a bit with the latest versions. The tutorial is unlikely to work. I tried setting up Hadoop on a single-node “cluster” using Michael Knoll’s excellent tutorial but that too was out of date. And of course, the official documentation on Hadoop’s site is lame.

Having struggled for two days, I finally got the steps smoothed out and this is an effort to document it for future use.

Continue reading “Geting started with Hadoop 2.2.0 — Building”

Geek stuff, python, resources, Tutorials

AVL Tree in Python

I’ve been teaching “Applied Algorithms and Programming Techniques” and we just reached the topic of AVL Trees. Having taught half of the AVL tree concept, I decided to code it in python — my newest adventure. Bear in mind that I have never actually coded an AVL tree before and I’m not particularly comfortable with python. I thought it would be a good idea to experiment with both of them at the same time. So, I started up my python IDE (that’s Aptana Studio, btw) and started coding.

For the newbie programmer, the code itself may not be very useful since you can find better code online. The benefit is in being able to look at the process. You can take a look at the commits I made along the way over here on github. You can take a look at how I structured the code when I began and how I added bits and pieces. This abstraction should help in solving other problems as well. The final code (along with a rigorous unit test file) can be seen here:

Design, Geek stuff, LaTeX, Tutorials

Creating UML Sequence Diagrams with TikZ in LaTeX

I’ve been working on my LaTeX skills for some time. The goal is to move towards an all-latex solution for writing research papers, slide sets and other documents. I’m almost there. An important goal was to be able to create all sorts of figures within LaTeX. (Well, originally, the goal was to use open source softwares to create them but it turns out that LaTeX is really good at this stuff.) The package that I’m using for graphics creation is TikZ. Here we’ll cover how we can create sequence diagrams using TikZ and a plugin package.

Here’s what we’re planning on creating.

Sequence Diagram using TikZ (click to enlarge)

Continue reading “Creating UML Sequence Diagrams with TikZ in LaTeX”

Geek stuff, Tutorials, Video

LaTeX Screencasts

I’ve started putting together a couple of screencasts for those who want to start working with LaTeX. These are aimed at the extreme newbie who wants to learn the basics and get up to speed with the typesetting tool. I’ll be updating this post as I put more videos online inshallah. For now, see the videos below or on Youtube. For best results, view in HD at full screen.

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Creating your first document
Download the files mentioned in the video from here:

Part III: Bibliographies, Class Files for Conference Styles
Download the files mentioned in the video from here:

Design, Geek stuff

Site Re-design

New Site Design

Last time I did a custom re-design for my site was way back during my blogspot time. That was in 2006 — five years have passed but I still like the design. When I moved to, I didn’t have a way of creating my own design so I stuck with the best design I could find. I moved to my own host here at CSRDU last year but didn’t really feel the need to create a custom design. The result, even with the great theming mechanism provided by WordPress, I never wrote a custom theme for my site. I always stuck with existing freely-available themes that always left me wanting more in one department or another. Either the typography wasn’t up to par or I didn’t like the comments layout. So, I always had to settle with whatever I could find.

That changed a couple of days ago when I came across a typography post on some blog which inspired me to begin my own wordpress theme. I had one clear goal in mind — improve readability. People come to my site mostly to read the tutorials. It’s not fair if I give text secondary importance focusing on the layout. So, I started customizing the sandbox wordpress theme. It has the cleanest markup and I was able to make all the changes simply through a custom CSS. I went with a fairly large serif font (Georgia) for the content with a sans-serif (Open Sans) font coming from Google Webfonts for the post titles. I also have a slight text shadow effect but it wont’ be visible if you’re using IE. There’s only around 5 images in the whole theme plus two fonts. So, the overall result is a fairly lean page with clear fonts and layout.

As always, all comments and criticism is most welcome.

Articles, Geek stuff

Google Has Messed Up Social Once Again

I know I might be in the minority right now but that’s how I feel. It seems Google has learned little from Wave and Buzz. Here’s what I think has gone wrong this time.

First, Google engineers have probably never heard of the phrase, “less is more”. They tried doing everything with Wave — everyone knows how that turned out. They’re doing the same thing with Google+ (or Google Plus). It’s twitter, friendfeed, skype, facebook and slashdot all rolled into one. The problem is, I don’t know which one I’m using when I navigate to the G+ interface.

I know I can divide people into circles and keep them separate but I don’t know if I can keep track of it all. I have separate ‘circles’ for friends and ‘professional connections’. Most often, though, I want to share a thought with both of them so I just post that to the  ‘public’ circle. My friends, goofy as they are, start commenting on the post and it quickly turns into a dorm room crap fest. That’s not the ‘professional’ image I want to project — that was the whole point of circles. The solution, post the same thing twice, once to public and again to friends. But then, why don’t I just go over to twitter and post there?

That, I think is the core of the problem. Why would anyone want to use Google+ — after the initial awe of the cool interface for dropping your friends in a circle subsides? For sharing news — I already have a neat little twitter account for that. It’s streamlined and it does what it’s supposed to do. When I’m there, I know what I’m there for. I don’t get distracted by comments from my goofy friends. Well, how about keep tabs on my friends? I don’t use facebook myself but last time I checked a lot of people were already using that social network. Just as people haven’t jumped the Yahoo! mail ship despite the immense impotence of Yahoo!, I don’t see why they’d move everything over from Facebook over to Google+. Not everyone likes to play with new and shiny geek toys.

And that brings me to the second point: Google engineers just can’t shake the geek within them. They think everything will be adopted if it’s similar enough to Gmail. They tried doing this with Wave. They did the same thing with Buzz, integrating it too tightly with Gmail and that was a fiasco. Now, they’re doing this with Google+. It’s all about how cool the technology is. They’re going to release the API soon.  That’s all great but what about the social aspects? I don’t see any incentives for moving away from my existing social networks — except maybe Buzz. So, I don’t think Google+ is a facebook killer or a twitter killer. It might be a  Buzz killer but that too is a maybe.