Tejus Parikh

I'm a software engineer that writes occasionally about building software, software culture, and tech adjacent hobbies. If you want to get in touch, send me an email at [my_first_name]@tejusparikh.com.

The Apple Store

Posted by Tejus Parikh on April 28, 2006

The Apple store can be a very dangerous place. It’s not like Best Buy or Fry’s, with their hordes of nondescript, plain boxes strewn over an array of shelves and covered in a spaghetti of wires. No, the Apple store is modern office bliss. Bright, but not harsh, lighting and furniture that hides wires, looks elegant, and most importantly, showcase the stylish hardware sitting on top of them. Trepidation has kept me out of these stores before, but they keep calling like Homer’s sirens.

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Vexasious Dualisms

Posted by Tejus Parikh on May 08, 2006

Inevitably, every situation boils down to “us vs them.” It is the manner in which we are constructed, and an inescapable reality. This situation manifests itself in all situations, important and un-important. It’s not hard to find. Wal-Mart vs. Target, Ford vs. Chevy, Muslims vs Jews, Bears vs Packers, Microkernels vs Monolithic, so on and so forth.

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Posted by Tejus Parikh on May 09, 2006

Every now and then I write something that just doesn’t fit in a little blog post.  Normally it involves installing Linux on something and various hairy steps that I don’t want to forget.  This is a listing of those pages.  As I get better about keeping things updated and doing new things, I might expand this section to include a few tutorials.

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Silently Failing

Posted by Tejus Parikh on May 14, 2006

One of the more difficult types of problems to debug are silent failures. Unless you really know what’s going on, there’s just no way you’ll ever find the problem. Sure it may be ugly and it might be annoying, but I’d favor a big, red, and bold error message over an implicit “you didn’t really want to do that so we’re going to ignore you.” Case in point, whenever I tried to sort the mailbox on my webmail client, the sort returned with, “you’ve got ZERO messages.” Which was, to say the least, odd since there were 100’s of messages before I tried to sort it. The fact that there were 100’s of messages is exactly why I tried to sort it in the first place. So fine, no big deal. I like to pretend that I’m a competent software developer so I started down the dark path of trouble-shooting. Get past the dumb questions (is computer turned on? check; is there mail? check; etc.) to the log files. Except there was nothing there. Not in the IMAP server, not the Web Client, and not in the Web Server. About this point, panic sets in. After all, this is all third party Open Source Software. I have no idea how any of this stuff works. I decided to start upgrading each component to see if I could get any change. Updating apache and php didn’t help and I was about to rip out the IMAP Server when I noticed this little tidbit in the configuration file:

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Lullaby Architecture Overview

Posted by Tejus Parikh on May 19, 2006

Short post today to announce that I’ve finally put together a design doc for my mp3 streaming project. Now if I could only find time to program it….

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Old games are fun

Posted by Tejus Parikh on June 20, 2006

It’s been a really long time since my last post. Things have just been crazy at work and with life in general.

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Xgl (WOW!)

Posted by Tejus Parikh on July 02, 2006

Last weekend, I decided to move my laptop from Slackware Linux to Open SUSE. The reasons for this will be detailed in another blog post, but the change gave me an easy way to try out the new OpenGL based XServer Xgl.

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Why I moved from Slackware to SUSE

Posted by Tejus Parikh on July 03, 2006

Yesterday, I blogged a little bit about how much I love Xgl on my new SUSE box. However, I handwaved over why a long-time die-hard slackware user would switch to a distribution such as SUSE.

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Xgl hiccups

Posted by Tejus Parikh on July 06, 2006

Well the honeymoon with Xgl is coming to an end. Not to say we won’t continue to have a happy relationship, but things aren’t perfect anymore.

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Browser wars 2.0

Posted by Tejus Parikh on July 24, 2006

A two for one today. Just a lot of things to get off my chest.

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Eclipse vs IDEA Intellij Revisited

Posted by Tejus Parikh on July 24, 2006

It’s been two months into my new employment and I’ve found myself un-convinced by the IntelliJ-vengelicals. Which isn’t to say the IntelliJ-vengelicals don’t have a point.

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Posted by Tejus Parikh on August 18, 2006

For whatever reason, wireless networking in my house to our Windows computers is spotty at best. Personally, I put the blame squarely on Bill Gates and Stever Ballmer, but that’s besides the point.

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PPTP and Linux

Posted by Tejus Parikh on August 29, 2006

This one can easily be filed under the “yet another example of things ‘just working’ on mac and being near impossible on ‘linux’”….

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Posted by Tejus Parikh on September 02, 2006

Astute readers will note that I’ve updated the look of the blog a little bit. Most of the changes involve the right side bar. I’ve added a picture from the gallery as well as change the colors around to fit the theme of this site a lot more. One of these days, I’ll break out the bright day-glow colors to give the site more of a Web 2.0 feel. However, that’s probably some time in coming.

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DD-WRT revisited

Posted by Tejus Parikh on September 04, 2006

A few weeks ago I blogged about the difficulties I faced in upgrading the two Linksys WRT54G’s on my network to the DD-WRT firmware. The goals were pretty simple. The DD-WRT is just a much better interface for that box. However, for some crazy reason that I simply couldn’t figure out, one DD-WRT worked fine, but two didn’t. My solution at the time was to reflash the original firmware on one of the routers. However, one of the lines for the instructions for vx works killer stayed in my memory and resurfaced rather randomly a few weeks later. To quote point 2:

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More Updates

Posted by Tejus Parikh on September 10, 2006

Finally finished the moderate overhaul that I started when things at Vocalocity started to go sour. I got rid of a few of my major pet peeves on this site, such as the dated-looking and poorly transparent-ized graphics. I’m not saying that the new ones are great, but there are a lot fewer artifacts. I also updated the favicon and all smaller images. I also took care of a strange Opera bug with the photo gallery that placed an extra pixel between some elements. I also added a drop shadow to the image on the blog.

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Internet Devices

Posted by Tejus Parikh on September 13, 2006

I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find a decent, PDA-sized internet device. I think I’m on this quest because I used to use the Palm Pilot a lot. Then Wi-Fi became ubiquitous and all the things the Palm is good at (tasks, calendars, contacts, and notes) slowly migrated to online services. Hence, I couldn’t update my Palm without jumping through a lot of hoops and the Palm started to suffer from bit-rot.

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Wii launch dates announced

Posted by Tejus Parikh on September 15, 2006

It’s been all over the internet that the Nintendo Wii launch date has been announced for Nov. 19 with a launch price of $250. The launch price includes the sports game heavily showcased at E3.
This wasn’t the slam-dunk, I need to get in line at Best Buy type announcement that I was hoping for. I expected the Wii to be at the traditional $200 price point. Of course, the dollar is relatively weaker, the console is more advanced, the competitors expect you to take out a mortgage, and it comes with a game, so I guess it isn’t too absured a price point.
However, this wasn’t the only strange thing about the announcement. In a somewhat surprising move, Nintendo is releasing first in the North American market. Generally, we across the pond have to wait a while before we get our goodies. Plus, the date itself is weird. Nintendo decided to pick the date two days after the PS3 launch.
After a summer featuring extremely good PR-buzz for Nintendo, I’m having a hard time trying to figure out what Nintendo’s trying to accomplish with the latest release. Are they hoping that parents will arrive at the store hoping to buy a PS3, but then buy 2 Wii’s instead?
Regardless, I’m still going to get one, sooner rather than later. However, I don’t think you’ll find me standing in any lines that Sunday morning.

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Thoughts on the Nintendo DS

Posted by Tejus Parikh on September 18, 2006

One of the largest flaws with console gaming is the difficulty of getting a good experience in a FPS type game. One of my favorite PC games is System Shock II. SSII is an RPG with an FPS interface. Having an interface that can move the view port on the monitor as well as you can move your head is imperitive when trying to locate the source of the creepy sound that means impending doom. (Those monkeys still freak me out.)

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Search for an issue tracker

Posted by Tejus Parikh on October 05, 2006

Despite the philosphies of Google, I still like agile development methods. I’ve seen the pitfalls of “we’re not releasing until perfect,” and the significant negative impact it has on developer morale. It’s rather comforting to know that something is getting released at the end of 30 days. Which isn’t to say that I buy into all the mumbo-jumbo that daily meetings way to early in the morning and mandatory pair programming make me more productive. Clueless management is clueless managment regardless of the methodologies they employ. Unfortunately, most developement management techniques get defenestrated when dealing with a new open source project that might only get a few hours of attention a week. To me, the most sensible approach is to borrow the idea of iterations and estimation from agile technologies. Logically, it makes a lot of sense to have groups of feature sets laid out into prioritized buckets. The estimation helps because having an idea of how long something might take makes it easier to schedule time in a somewhat busy life. This organization also makes it trivial to scale the project beyond a single developer. The key technology to make this possible is an issue tracker. And there’s the rub. There seems to be a darth of decent, easy to use issue trackers powerful enough to meet the needs of a new open source project. I defined the requirements as easy to setup, support multiple projects, and it must be customizable enough to put things into prioritized buckets. For this kind of work, I prefer priority levels instead of distict priorities, simply because I might not have the time to work on the most important thing. This is how I felt the projects I looked at compared:

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Sony Mylo

Posted by Tejus Parikh on October 13, 2006

In a recent blog post, I talked about getting an small internet capable device. As this post’s title suggests, I decided to buy the Sony Mylo. Obviously, this decision was somewhat difficult, only partially because Sony is evil. The bigger problem was that convergance really hasn’t happened yet for small devices. Sure it would be cool to have a multi-facted, swiss-army knife portable gaget. But we have that device, it’s called a laptop. Getting any smaller and cheaper requires you to give up something (or buy more than one device).

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MIMP and the Mylo

Posted by Tejus Parikh on October 21, 2006

One of the neat things about my new Mylo is the fact that it has a real HTML browser, but the fact that I can view normal web pages is a double-edged sword.  A lot of sites have checks to see if you are browsing with a small screen WAP browser.  These checks will fail if you browse the site with the Mylo’s browser. One notable example of this is the Horde Project.  Horde allows you to redirect directly to the mobile mail client MIMP if it detects a WAP browser.  Of course, when using the Mylo, this check fails. My rather kludgy solution to this problem is run another version of Horde that only contains the MIMP plugin. For the most part, this is just a repeat of the standard MIMP installation instructions.  If you already have Horde installed, this should only take a few minutes.  After getting MIMP installed, you will still find yourself redirected to the main horde index.  To get horde to redirect to the inbox after a successul login, you’ll have to add a line like:

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The Mylo vs the vijedi.net blog

Posted by Tejus Parikh on October 22, 2006

Not to long ago I got really sick of the variable white space between the content and the side bar. My CSS isn’t the best and my first attempted at a two column layout with divs was to use percentage widths to keep the columns separate. This looked pretty ugly, since the side bar should be a fixed width. There isn’t much benefit for it to be resizable.

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Posted by Tejus Parikh on October 30, 2006

It’s often difficult to explain the complexities of building software to those who are more used to traditional manufacturing or development processes. Cranking out code just does not relate to building 1000 widgets. Therefore, we’re normally pretty hard pressed to find a way to communicate why projects seemingly always end up being over-budget and late.

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Flex2 Will Eat Your Babies

Posted by Tejus Parikh on November 10, 2006

Recently, in the course of my profressional life, I’ve had the “opportunity” to use Adobe’s newest attempt at web publishing, Flex2. On the surface, it looks like a pretty neat technology. One of the major faults with the standard web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) is that they aren’t standard. Each browser has it’s own quirks. Another major downside is the lack of a solid visual layout tool that can create reasonable CSS and XHTML.

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I'm not dead

Posted by Tejus Parikh on November 28, 2006

I just have been really busy with work and family stuff. It’s the holidays; time gets tight. I actually have a ton of stuff to blog about, from javascript design patterns to my new Nintendo Wii. If you look in the “Now Playing” section, you’ll see a few Wii games in the coming weeks. Once I get a form up to email me, I’ll post my Wii code as well.

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Wii (Whee!)

Posted by Tejus Parikh on November 29, 2006

I’m a pretty avid video gamer. I find them fascinating and would rather be playing games than most other leisure activities. Therefore, I don’t think spending a few hundred dollars on a console, or driving around at 12:00 AM on a Sunday is excessive. My wife, on the other hand, thinks games are un-interesting and total waste of money at time. Or, I should say, thought.
Before I got the Wii, it was just another relative large expenditure by the techie husband. Now that we have one, she loves it. Along with pretty much anybody else who visited our house over Thanksgiving weekend. Nintendo wanted the Wii’s appeal to extend outside gamer-dom and they hit that nail exactly on the head. Not one person that played the Wii thought it was anything less than fun. This includes gamers, non-games, tykes and parents.
Wii Sports is a blast, especially in a room full of people. Seeing the avatars respond to your moves is a very neat feeling. Most of the non-gamers were thrilled that they could actually accomplish something in a game, without having to invest time in a complicated control scheme. Anybody could just jump in and start playing.
Nintendo definitely took care of the non-gamers and the party gamers, but what about us introverted folks who enjoy complex story driven single player games. For us, Nintendo created The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. For the first 10 hours, the game has been just incredible. I haven’t enjoyed a game this much since The Ocarina of Time. The only complaint so far is the sword motion is a little counter-intuitive after decades of button mashing.
However, this last point is exactly why Wii has so much appeal. While Sony and Microsoft are off innovating on technologies (cell processors, next-gen dvd, hd, etc.), Nintendo focused on the interface. Sure the PS3 and Xbox 360 look more real, but playing the Nintendo is more natural. I know which one I’d rather have.

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Useful OSX tools

Posted by Tejus Parikh on December 01, 2006

While I really like OSX, there are still somethings that I miss about good X11 install. One of those is multiple desktops. Therefore I was forced to google and discovered Virtue Desktops. The transition between two desktops is pretty snazzy and the default key-bindings are pretty sensible. The only thing I don’t like is now difficult it is to move a window to another virtual console. You have to bring up the options screen with alt+ctrl+o, then select the console. You can’t just drag a window and move it. Still, for what claims to be alpha software, it’s been stable and useful.
Another OSX pet-peeve is the brain-dead lack of an options menu to change the ANSI color mappings in Terminal.app. When using white on black, vim is unusable because the yellow is far too bright and nearly impossible to see against the white. When reverse is chosen, color ls shows directories as a dark blue, again leading to vision difficulties. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to find a scheme that will work, since the ANSI colors are almost guaranteed to generate a conflict. To the rescue comes Terminal Colors. It’s simple and effective. Just install the plugin, view the ANSI Colors option under window settings and configure till all text becomes visible.

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Posted by Tejus Parikh on December 07, 2006

An emerging story of this blog is convergence. I’ve talked about how cool it would be to surf the web on the DS (Lik-sang closing shop put a damper on that), the neatness of the Sony Mylo mobile platform, amongst other things.

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Freevo Technical Details

Posted by Tejus Parikh on December 09, 2006

As a follow up to my previous, somewhat nonsensical post, I thought I should provide some technical details on what Freevo is, what it does and why I wanted to use it.

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