the digital peasant — Khosrow is Dreaming

February 10th, 2011 —

I’ve moved the blog to a new domain, and location. It can now be found at This site will stay active for the next little while, after which point I will retire it.

Moving to a new domain

January 8th, 2011 — Tags: blog

I’ve been using the current domain for quite a while now, and I think it’s time to retire it and move to a new and more relevant domain. So starting today, my blog will be available at I’m working on moving the RSS feeds as well, but in the meantime this domain will also be available.

Happy blogging!

From Montréal to Portland in 2 Hops

July 24th, 2010 — Tags: airlines, Life, travel

Last week, I travelled from one side of the continent to the opposite side of it. By all accounts this should be an easy thing. People are travelling this route and longer distances everyday. But a small delay (30 minutes) in the first flight, completely disrupted the plans. What was supposed to be a 10 hour trip, took over 24 hours, and involved a very creative path. What is not obvious in my description is that other delays should be added to the 30 minute delay: waiting to pick up luggage, going through US customs, going through security, etc.

In an age when I can order something online and have it shipped to me from across the world in a couple of days, why can’t I travel with that same efficiency?

Why does it rain when I’m on vacation?! (in a place where it hardly ever rains)

May 17th, 2010 — Tags: daily

Review of Flip UltraHD

April 14th, 2010 — Tags: camera, review, Video

A couple of weeks ago, I was heading on a trip and wanted to bring along a nice video recorder. Having heard of pocket size flash-based video cameras like the Kodak Zi8 and the various Flip products, I decided to give the Flip UltraHD a try.

Note: Before we go on, I forgot to take any photos of the actual device but there are enough reviews online that there’s no real los (here, here and here).

The device itself is twice as thick as an iPhone, and nearly the same in other dimensions. Usability was simple, a big red button that starts and stops the recording, and some navigation for reviewing your videos. What I found really impressive was the actual quality of the video. The video was crisp, and it recorded decent enough audio (in the direction the camera is pointing). The big drawback was the shaky quality of the videos when you record while walking. That, along with the small viewing angle – which meant I had to be at least a few meters away from subjects to get them fully in the frame – are the two drawbacks of this device for me.

Here are two sample videos I took with the Flip, and you can judge for yourself. First video is taken indoors to show how the camera works in low light, it is not HD. The second video was shot outside with good lighting but it was taken while walking and you can see the shakiness of the image. (To see the HD version click on the link to go to Vimeo)

Flip Ultra HD – Indoors from khosrow on Vimeo.

Flip Ultra HD – Outside from khosrow on Vimeo.

Overall, I would get this camera for doing quick shoots and things that one would normally use a cellphone or point and shoot camera for. For longer videos, I would look to other more advanced cameras.

31 Years Ago In Iran

February 10th, 2010 — Tags: iran, Politics, revolution

It was 31 years ago tomorrow that the Iranian Revolution (sometimes called the second revolution) succeeded in sending the Shah of Iran out of the country. Thus began 3 decades in the history of Iran marked by war [1], violence, and hardships. For Iranians of my generation, those times will not be forgotten and for future generations they will be just another chapter in history.

I mentioned all this, to say that tomorrow Iranians are planning to go out and let out a collective scream against the current government and all things that has made daily life hard for them.

Let’s hope all those who go to make their voices heard come back home safe.

Related Posts:

  • Failure of Social Media Apparent With Recent Iran Unrest
  • Elections in Iran

Free Hoder (eventhough he’s kind of a jerk)

January 29th, 2010 — Tags: internet, iran, Politics, Video

Source: Search Engine

Done with with a touch of humour this piece brings up a few good points. All the more reason more people should subscribe to Search Engine podcasts.

Office Communicator and Linux

October 29th, 2009 — Tags: internet, kubuntu, linux, Technology, Web 2.0, work

As with most things in tech, large companies catch on to the power of instant messaging late. Where I work is no exception. They rolled out Microsoft Office Communicator a couple of months ago (as a side note, that is a horrible landing page) and made much of the new and improved power of communication between employees. It’s a great thing that I can finally communicate using instant messaging, but the proprietary software threw a monkey in my desktop setup. After some research I found out how to get my desktop to connect to the Office Communicator server: Pidgin and SIPE.

First, I needed to install Pidgin
sudo apt-get install pidgin

Then, I installed the TLS plugin for Pidgin
sudo apt-get install pidgin-encryption

Now, the important piece of the puzzle was SIPE, which is needed to connect to proprietary server. I initially tried the usual
sudo apt-get install pidgin-sipe
But the version of SIPE available for jaunty was version 1.2-1 and it didn’t work. So, I went with the old school way of compiling my own binary. I got the code from here and followed the simple instructions on the same site. They are as follows:
tar -zxvf pidgin-sipe-1.7.0.tar.gz cd pidgin-sipe-1.7.0 ./configure --prefix=/usr/ make sudo make install

Once installed, I started up Pidgin and after entering the necessary info connected successfully. You can see the detailed info of what I entered in the pictures below.

Deplyoing a Large Website Painlessly on Debian

October 22nd, 2009 — Tags: debian, linux

We run a large scale and highly visible website. This site is updated frequently, and is very complex. So far the way the site is updated is using subversion where the latest code is checked out into the public servers – after much testing, of course.

A typical release goes something like this:

  • checkout code from subversion
  • run a few scripts to modify database and generate intermediate files
  • generate various connections between site and underlying software
  • update underlying software

One problem with this approach is inevitably developers tend to push last minute fixes while in testing mode. It’s easy to update the code with a svn co but the code always tends to diverge and one fix usually leads to other bugs! Another issue is that each time a release is made a long list of complicated – and different each time – steps have to be followed. There are many other issues as well that I won’t go into right now, but suffice to say each release is as easy as pulling your own tooth!

So, one idea to cut down on all this trouble is to build a deb package for each release. This essentially locks down development, since each code change involves building a new package. I’m also fairly certain it will make life in the software lifecycle much easier.

And the debianized release would go like this:

  • apt-get install website package
  • apt-get install underlying software

Or even simpler if I made the website package depend on the underlying stuff:

  • apt-get install website package

Now only if I could get the decision makers to agree.

Testing. Testing. Captain can you hear me?

October 15th, 2009 — Tags: google wave, Web 2.0

Here’s what wave looks like when you first enter.

There’s not much you can do with it at the moment, but I guess you could leave your comments below (if you have a wave account).