Saturday, May 29, 2004

The Sound Demon (not daemon) on Linux

I was playing a bengali song on my PC - the rich silky voice of Lopamudra Mitra on XMMS ...
I had built and installed MPlayer some days back.
I thought of just starting a video simultaneously.
As soon I did the following :
mplayer /win1/movies/The\ Matrix/Part1.DAT

Once or twice the video screen came up and then disappeared failing on some count or the other
All the codecs are in place and mplayer install was successful and yet it does not work.
Then the screen came up and remained blank - it neither played video nor audio.
But the XMMS output changed to a strange voice of some man (remember it was playing a female voice a few minutes back)
Then I stopped mplayer and again started and the audio output became even more morphed like the voice of some ghost.
I closed and restarted XMMS but the audio remains like an old ghost/demon - thus came the audio ghost into my system.

Most probably the bitrate or frequency of output of the sound card was reset to some unearthly value by the audio drivers on loading mplayer - hence the ghost !

Checking audio filter chain for 44100Hz/2ch/16bit -> 44100Hz/2ch/16bit...
AF_pre: af format: 2 bps, 2 ch, 44100 hz, little endian signed int
AF_pre: 44100Hz 2ch Signed 16-bit (Little-Endian)
AO: [oss] 44100Hz 2ch Signed 16-bit (Little-Endian) (2 bps)
Building audio filter chain for 44100Hz/2ch/16bit -> 44100Hz/2ch/16bit...
Starting playback...
VDec: vo config request - 352 x 288 (preferred csp: Planar YV12)
VDec: using Planar YV12 as output csp (no 0)
Movie-Aspect is 1.33:1 - prescaling to correct movie aspect.
VO: [x11] 352x288 => 384x288 Planar YV12
SwScaler: using unscaled Planar YV12 -> BGR 32-bit special converter
A: -4.8 V: 0.0 A-V: -4.833 ct: 0.000 1/ 1 0% 0% 0.0% 0 0 0%

MPlayer 1.0pre3-3.3.2 (C) 2000-2003 MPlayer Team

CPU: Intel Pentium III Katmai/Pentium III Xeon Tanner 451.3 MHz (Family: 6, Stepping: 3)
Detected cache-line size is 32 bytes
CPUflags: MMX: 1 MMX2: 1 3DNow: 0 3DNow2: 0 SSE: 1 SSE2: 0
Compiled for x86 CPU with extensions: MMX MMX2 SSE

Reading config file /usr/local/etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf: No such file or directory
Reading config file /root/.mplayer/config
Reading /root/.mplayer/codecs.conf: Can't open '/root/.mplayer/codecs.conf': No such file or directory
Reading /usr/local/etc/mplayer/codecs.conf: Can't open '/usr/local/etc/mplayer/codecs.conf': No such file or directory
Using built-in default codecs.conf.
font: can't open file: /root/.mplayer/font/font.desc
font: can't open file: /usr/local/share/mplayer/font/font.desc
Using Linux hardware RTC timing (1024Hz).
Can't open input config file /root/.mplayer/input.conf: No such file or directory
Can't open input config file /usr/local/etc/mplayer/input.conf: No such file or directory
Falling back on default (hardcoded) input config

Playing /win1/movies/The Matrix/Part1.DAT.
LMLM4 Stream Format not found
MPEG-PS file format detected.
VIDEO: MPEG1 352x288 (aspect 8) 25.000 fps 1151.6 kbps (144.0 kbyte/s)
Opening audio decoder: [mp3lib] MPEG layer-2, layer-3
MP3lib: init layer2&3 finished, tables done
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, 16 bit (0x10), ratio: 28000->176400 (224.0 kbit)
Selected audio codec: [mp3] afm:mp3lib (mp3lib MPEG layer-2, layer-3)
vo: X11 running at 1024x768 with depth 24 and 32 bpp (":0.0" => local display)
It seems there is no Xvideo support for your video card available.
Run 'xvinfo' to verify its Xv support and read DOCS/HTML/en/devices.html#xv!
See 'mplayer -vo help' for other (non-xv) video out drivers. Try -vo x11
Opening video decoder: [mpegpes] MPEG 1/2 Video passthrough
VDec: vo config request - 352 x 288 (preferred csp: Mpeg PES)
Could not find matching colorspace - retrying with -vf scale...
Opening video filter: [scale]
The selected video_out device is incompatible with this codec.
VDecoder init failed :(
Opening video decoder: [libmpeg2] MPEG 1/2 Video decoder libmpeg2-v0.3.1
Selected video codec: [mpeg12] vfm:libmpeg2 (MPEG 1 or 2 (libmpeg2))
Checking audio filter chain for 44100Hz/2ch/16bit -> 44100Hz/2ch/16bit...
AF_pre: af format: 2 bps, 2 ch, 44100 hz, little endian signed int
AF_pre: 44100Hz 2ch Signed 16-bit (Little-Endian)
AO: [oss] 44100Hz 2ch Signed 16-bit (Little-Endian) (2 bps)
Building audio filter chain for 44100Hz/2ch/16bit -> 44100Hz/2ch/16bit...
Starting playback...
VDec: vo config request - 352 x 288 (preferred csp: Planar YV12)
VDec: using Planar YV12 as output csp (no 0)
Movie-Aspect is 1.33:1 - prescaling to correct movie aspect.
VO: [x11] 352x288 => 384x288 Planar YV12
SwScaler: using unscaled Planar YV12 -> BGR 32-bit special converter
Broken pipe 0.0 A-V: -4.833 ct: 0.000 1/ 1 0% 0% 0.0% 0 0 0%

Sunday, May 23, 2004


There are a few things that hinder the progress of an individual, a relation, a group, a community, a religion and even a nation.

Ego - The all powerful yet tremendously deceptive 'I' ... USA for the collective 'I' and its blatant racism and human atrocities
Arrogance - The BJP's fall this hustings is one great example.
Selfishness/Isolation - The frog in a well attitude - as I realize everyday of my monotonous, routine life ...
Languor - getting lazy to take on something head on - postponing things indefinitely.
Attitude - Very difficult to keep up the right attitude all the time - the wrong attiude can trigger a downfall.
Jealousy/Narrowmindedness - Can harm your interaction with people and always make you crave for more.

And as usual the other aspects of Anger, Desire ... are the catalysts on the path to doom.

The areas are greying out becoming all very mixed up - people care only for money. Those who have it can create the right culture. Culture has become a handywork of a few rich and this stinks, and reeks of the wealthy and famous.
The corporate culture, the internet culture, the pop-culture, the disco and rock culture you name it you see it. We are all participants in this and its terrifying at times - some times I feel an almost unputdownable desire to leave everything and go off to the serene himalayas, only to realize it would only be escapism on my side - what am I contributing to the society then ?

There are people who are so poverty struck that they cannot get 2 square meals - we had a recent almost flame war, no actually a lively discussion on the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi - and one of my friends, ex-college mate during the email conversation said that the more demanding issue was to provide the needful to the needy and not foreign origin.

To hell with your cool culture is what the masses are saying - people are not fools - they too want a better standard of living - but the dangerous trends is to do anything to be cool.
But no - people are more interested in looking flashy and cool - the in thing is cool - as I was reading in the recent article the cinemas that are true mirrors of the society too talk of cool and looking good and being in the US and the old ideas of garibi hatao and morals and family are all being cast aside. The mandate may be one befitting reply to the consumerist culture that is creeping in.

Murli Manohar Joshi was not an idiot as he is made out to be; as the numerous blogs of students from IIMs would want you to believe. As a educated man (mind you he is a physics professor) and rooted in the Indian culture, he was just getting frustrated at the western culture and the economic disparities creeping in and a handful being able to monopolize all the riches. He made the mistake of putting everyone in the same light and in the anguish lost track of the fact that the admissions are purely based on merits - but what is wrong if the cost of education is brought down is that a crime?
This certainly needs serious debate - we are surely going down the western line of 'colonize thy mind' - everything smells of western concepts and look at what the US is doing in Iraq in the name of liberation and freedom - talk of HUMAN RIGHTS ...
There are people among the rich also who care but its more like a scorecard, for the charity they have done, more like a certificate that I am great.

Straight Talk on Realization, Learning, and the Individual by Swami Vivekananda
Excerpt from The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

It is good to be born a child, but bad to remain a child. Churches, ceremonies, and symbols are good for children, but when the child is grown, he must burst the church or himself.
We must not remain children for ever. It is like trying to fit one coat to all sizes and growths. I do not deprecate the existence of sects in the world. Would to God there were twenty millions more, for the more there are, there will be a greater field for selection. What I do object to is trying to fit one religion to every case.
Though all religions are essentially the same, they must have the varieties of form produced by dissimilar circumstances among different nations. We must each have our own individual religion, individual so far as the externals of it go.
Many years ago, I visited a great sage of our own country, a very holy man. We talked of our revealed book, the Vedas, of your Bible, of the Koran, and of revealed books in general. At the close of our talk, this good man asked me to go to the table and take up a book; it was a book which, among other things, contained a forecast of the rainfall during the year. The sage said, "Read that." And I read out the quantity of rain that was to fall. He said, "Now take the book and squeeze it." I did so and he said, "Why, my boy, not a drop of water comes out.
Until the water comes out, it is all book, book. So until your religion makes you realize God, it is useless. He who only studies books for religion reminds one of the fable of the ass which carried a heavy load of sugar on its back, but did not know the sweetness of it."
The man at whose feet I sat all my life--and it is only a few ideas of his that I try to teach--could [hardly] write his name at all. All my life I have not seen another man like that, and I have traveled all over the world. When I think of that man, I feel like a fool, because I want to read books and he never did. He never wanted to lick the plates after other people had eaten. That is why he was his own book.

You have to realize truth and work it out for yourself according to your own nature. ... All must struggle to be individuals--strong, standing on your own feet, thinking your own thoughts, realizing your own Self. No use swallowing doctrines others pass on--standing up together like soldiers in jail, sitting down together, all eating the same food, all nodding their heads at the same time. Variation is the sign of life. Sameness is the sign of death.
Once I was in an Indian city, and an old man came to me. He said, "Swami, teach me the way." I saw that that man was as dead as this table before me. Mentally and spiritually he was really dead. I said, "Will you do what I ask you to do? Can you steal? Can you drink wine? Can you eat meat?"
The man [exclaimed], "What are you teaching!"
I said to him, "Did this wall ever steal? Did the wall ever drink wine?"
"No, sir."
Man steals, and he drinks wine, and becomes God. "I know you are not the wall, my friend. Do something! Do something!" I saw that if that man stole, his soul would be on the way to salvation.
How do I know that you are individuals--all saying the same thing, all standing up and sitting down together? That is the road to death! Do something for your souls! Do wrong if you please, but do something! You will understand me by and by, if you do not just now. Old age has come upon the soul, as it were. If has become rusty. The rust must be [rubbed off], and then we go on. Now you understand why there is evil in the world. Go home and think of that, just to take off that rustiness!

Thursday, May 20, 2004


Manmohan Singh, the erudite Oxford-educated economist who started the liberalization of the Indian economy in 1991 is the prime minister designate. Great news for the country as a whole. Sonia's gesture to opt out of PM's post is appreciable at best.
Though rumours are Kalam may have had adviced or inquired about her dual nationality status though the prez office is denying it. Also the fear of assassinations etc.

Shows the lady is no less shrewd (may have been advised well by her aides) - she has prepared Congress for the next polls and also tried to settle some old wounds - remember Operation Bluestar - and the slaughter of Sikhs by the congress party after Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Anyway Sushma Swaraj's gimmicks were in bad taste.
Vajpayee has decided to opt out of Leader of opposition post - he is the cornerstone of BJP's popularity - will his move push the party into oblivion ? Where does this leave the BJP ? We will have to wait and watch ...

Sunday, May 16, 2004


The election results have been ominous for the nation and the kind of coalition that is expected to come in is as someone put it 'a bunch of contradictions' - the left parties and congress coming together just to share power - power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely. Imagine the kind of powers we are investing into the hands of a foreigner who refused to become an Indian for the first 17 years of her stay in India prefering to instead stay an italian.

The following excerpts are from S Gurumurthy's article that appeared in Times of India :

�"What is wrong if she is the Prime Minister," is an argument that comes not from the ordinary people of India, but from the educated Indian. This comes from the Chidambarams and from the Rajdeeep Sardesais of this country; this comes from editorial writers sitting in cities. So let us analyse this issue with all its implications for a country like India, which has an unbroken civilisational continuity.
�India is indeed a civilisation behind the facade of a nation. It is now facing the might of the nation-state, which has evolved in the west. The nation-state mechanism in the west is basically aggressive, violent, conquering, invasive, dominating, imperialistic. It is a concept which the Indian mind cannot internalise, understand, or exhibit in its attitude. So, now we are conceding that foreigners can become prime ministers and presidents of India, provided they hold a citizenship certificate.

" Between 1968 and 1973, there were indications of war with Pakistan over East Pakistan. And sure enough there was the Bangladesh war. During that conflict, when all commercial pilots were asked to forego their leave and enter service, she asked Rajiv to go on long leave. He was given special permission and they left the country. Throughout the period of the war, they were in Rome. Why? Because the American Seventh Fleet was moving towards India, and Sonia Gandhi probably had serious doubts about India's survival!
�So she deserted the country with her husband. She returned only after peace was restored, and after India had won the war because of Indira Gandhi."

"Is this is the person who is going to live and die for India? To live in India is very different from living for India. And to live in India in such glory, with such protection and resources, is very different from dying for India. Nationalism will not come by merely wearing saris. It is as much a fancy dress today as any other dress can be. But some Indians are very happy to see Sonia in a sari, and regard her stay in India as their good fortune. Why? I am going to say something which many of you may not like.
�Some of you may even say I am a racist. I was discussing this issue with Cho Ramaswamy. He told me something he may not write but I will share this with you. Cho said, and I quote, "If Sonia Gandhi had been black, had been a person of African origin, this problem would never have arisen."
�Do you understand what this means, unpalatable though it may be to some of you? It is this fascination for the white skin and it is we, the English educated Indians, who are responsible for this."

"She wanted to be a foreigner till the last day the permit allowed her to be so. And this is precisely what Sharad Pawar asked her in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), in May 1999 It all happened suddenly. Pawar described to me how it happened. On that day, the CWC was to discuss the Goa election and Pawar was supposed to present his analysis of the situation in Goa. The lady came with a prepared speech (please note, even in the 20-member working committee, she comes with a prepared speech).
�She began reading her speech. Everybody was surprised at what she had to say. She said that the Sangh Parivar, against which her mother- in-law carried on a campaign to finish communalism, against whom her husband did this and that, had now decided to destroy her.
�"They are branding me a foreigner. I will fight them to the last drop of my blood. But, I don't want this issue to drag on till the elections. I want it decided today because if it is decided now, we can fight it out at the time of the election, and it will be no issue at all. So, I want to know first whether any of you have any objection to my becoming the Prime Minister,"she said.
�All these fellows remained silent. And then Madhav Rao Scindia spoke, "Madam, you do not have to fight the Sangh Parivar propaganda, I will fight it. This is not your battle, this is my battle:' This set the tone for the rest of the discussion and soon most members began to ask, who are these RSS people to dub Sonia a foreigner?
�Soon it was Sangma's turn to speak. Sangma said, "Madam, I have very different views on this issue. I don't know anything about you; There are people who are saying that for 17 years you lived as a foreigner in India. If the voters ask me, how will I explain? Please tell me why you did not opt for Indian citizenship in 1968? I cannot convince the people of my own State, my own constituency on this." And then it was Pawar's turn.
�He told me he was sitting immediately to her right. He was the last to speak. He was the first one to organise a public meeting for her, a massive rally in Maharastra. He told Sonia, and I quote, "In that rally, you said I am an ordinary humble Congress worker. You said I don't want any position, I don't want power, and I am associated with the Congress family. You also said I don't even want to become a Congress member.
�can't bear to see a party with which my mother-in-law, her father, her grandfather, and my husband were all associated, decaying like this. So, I want to strengthen this party. This is what you said on that day." Then Pawar told the rally, "If she is willing to do such a generous job for a nationalist party, there should be no objection. She does not want to be the president of the party, she does not want to be in any position and she doesn't want to be an MP."
�Pawar told me that he had recounted the statements made at that rally to BaI Thackeray in defence of Sonia Gandhi. "But the day she ran to the President of India and told him that she had the support of 272 MPs to become the Prime Minister of India, which was a lie, all of us changed and I changed, too;" Pawar told me.
�Sonia said she was not interested in politics, and that she would never enter politics. She said she would not become a Congress member but will only help the party as a person belonging to the Congress fami1y. She said and I quote, "I am just a four anna member, I will not occupy any position." But what happened thereafter? She physically threw out Sitaram Kesri from the office. The poor fellow was in the toilet. His chair was empty. And do you know what happened? The Congress goons bolted the toilet door from outside and made Sonia occupy' his chair, The elderly man wept. This is how she became the president of the Congress Party.
�In the same way the western armies in the past invaded other civilisations and seized power, she seized power in a 'coup d'toilette'. This is the disconnect between her word and her action. Her conduct was the very reverse of her profession. she said she had no ambition to be the Prime Minister. But who ran from pillar to post to bring down the Vajpayee government?
�Again, when the media probed her about the money paid by Bofors to her friend Quattrocchi, she said, "Yes, the CBI is saying he is a suspect, but they have not produced any papers; and unless you produce papers to prove that somebody is guilty, you cannot say he is guilty." "

And the most terrifying feature is that of national security :

"�However, Quattrocchi defied the orders of the Supreme Court and did not turn up. He filed an affidavit in the Swiss Court saying that India was a brute nation and he cannot get justice in the judicial system of India. And Sonia Gandhi is defending this fellow Italian. It is, therefore, a blatant lie to say there are no documents to prove Quattrocchi's guilt.
�It is also a lie that Sonia did not know his plans to abscond from the country. It is impossible that somebody who resided in Delhi for 20 years, who shared weekly evenings with Rajiv and Sonia, would have suddenly left Delhi , without even telephoning to her. She must have been privy to all these things and she has the audacity to ask where is the proof?
�So, truth has nothing to do with Sonia Gandhi. There is an absolute disconnect between her words and deeds. Now the issue is whether Sonia in politics is a national shame. �Whether it is a national shame or not, it is certainly a danger to national security. Why do we have rules in the army which prohibit a foreigner, a foreign born person, even though he is a citizen, from occupying certain high-ranking offices in the army? Why do we say that our IPS officers should not be of foreign origin? Why do we say that our IPS officers cannot marry foreigners? Now, herein comes the idea of the modern nation-state.
�A modern nation-state has a built-in insecurity and that is the reason why it has to secure itself. But can the Prime Minister have a foreign wife? Can the Prime Minister's son have a foreign wife? Sitting in the Prime Minister's Office, in the Prime Minister's home, a foreign wife for 15 years; who ran away with her husband when the nation was at war, breaching the discipline of commercial pilots is now a well, established fact. In India, the MLAs, MPs, and ministers are not subject to any rule or discipline. Even today whether an MLA or MP is a public servant is a matter that is being debated in courts.
�So, can an MP have a foreign wife.? Can a minister have a foreign wife? This distortion has crept into the system. And what are the consequences of foreigners penetrating our polity?
�When George Fernandes spoke on this issue on the national television, it was chilling. He spoke of a particular file whlch contained all the secrets of the government. Where are the nuclear weapons, where are the missiles, who can press the button, which missile points in which direction, who are our spy links in different countries? This single file contains all this information.
�That file is not handled by anybody other than the Prime Minister of India. If Vajpayee ceases to be the Prime Minister and Sonia becomes the Prime Minister, he will have to hand over this file to her. It will have every nationa1 security secret. If it falls into wrong hands, it will strip India naked before inimical forces.
�`Can we afford to hand over these secrets to her?` Fernandes said even the Defence Minister cannot do anything; he cannot look at that file. Even the services chiefs know only their part of the secret. The combined, collective national secret is in the hands of one man that will be handed over to this foreigner, should she achieve her political ambition.
�Whether somebody can speak tolerable Hindi or not is not the issue; it is far more serious. It goes to the root of the existence of the nation, its security and its survival. Sonia's loyalty to India will always be in doubt. If there is even a millionth of a chance that her loyalty to, this country is in question, it should be enough to disqualify her from prime ministership. The issue is not whether Sonia will succeed in becoming the Prime Minister, but the very idea that somebody like her can nurse such an ambition.
�If the intellectuals of India, whose duty it is to preserve the mind of India have failed, I am certain that at least the ordinary people of India will succeed in protecting national interest as they did in 1977. "

Have the people failed their nation? Has the civilizational gem gone once again in the hands of a foreigner?
We are going to have a foreigner - never heard of in history except in case of invasions.
My head hangs in shame to even imagine Sonia Maino as the nation's PM - a billion people could not provide for a prime minister, and we will have to say madam prime minister to an Italian - the service chiefs - Army, Navy and Air Force will salute this foreigner as the leader/chief of this great nation. Is this not the height of sycophancy among such educated people and is there a greater insult for the nation.

Saturday, May 01, 2004


I have been trying iTunes 4.2 for the past week or so - its going to replace Winamp on my dektop no doubts; the music quality is great and also the slick and enhanced looks, features - Winamp looks too flashy/artificial and is a definite memory hog in front of iTunes - iTunes 4.5 was released by Apple yesterday ... Go
check out the new features
for yourself !