Moving to 4096 bit RSA GPG key AA544AA1

This is an annoucement that I am moving to my 4096 bit RSA GPG key AA544AA1, henceforth please try and use this.

I created and have (sparingly) been using this key ever since SHA1 was found to be weak, and larger RSA keys and stronger signatures began to be the norm. There weren't many signatures on the key and the WOT was not strong but it looks good now. The older key in the Debian keyring (1D389887) has also been replaced with the new key and I will revoke it when the number of signatures on the new key crosses those on the old key (that might be in an year or two, I suppose).

Fingerprint information:

Current key:

pub 1024D/1D389887 2006-04-08
      Key fingerprint = 5B6B F223 B769 63E9 E2CB 0A3F E1EB BEA5 1D38 9887
uid                  Y Giridhar Appaji Nag <>
sub   2048g/73EAF0B5 2006-04-08
sub   2048R/DBBECADC 2009-04-04

New 4096R key:

pub 4096R/AA544AA1 2009-05-22
      Key fingerprint = BF81 3A99 E07C D0F8 653D 9666 A8D2 CD13 AA54 4AA1
uid                  Y Giridhar Appaji Nag <>
sub   4096R/843A5776 2009-08-08

It has been ...

Dear life,

It has been a pretty crazy couple of months, had to stay away from most of the things that I would normally breeze through, including but not limited to a few aspects of my real life day job, Debian work, movies, the routine yearly Oct-Nov time vacation that I take etc. Obviously, hobbies took a big hit. Also had to let go of an opportunity to travel to one of my favorite places, IIT Guwahati; something that I don't usually pass up. Sigh! But such is life.

Been bouncing back slowly:

I finally moved a few domains that I run (including my personal domain) and their email to a linode and I am quite liking it so far (I would've been great if I had some more disk space at my disposal but 16GB isn't all that bad).

On the Debian front, finished attending to package sponsorship requests, I've been updating packages (there is one elinks RC bug that I'll fix next) and work is finally under progress for the clang ITP in the Debian GIT repository.

There are a ton of pictures in RAW format that I haven't yet had the time to convert to JPEG (I use UFRaw but the output that I got from Bibble Pro is fairly impressive -- perhaps I should consider getting myself a license) but that could wait.

Found a decent place to rent (I should be moving in about a month or so). I would've liked a place that isn't an apartment or at least in a smaller community, preferably something in-town but good places are difficult to come by.

I am back,


New computing toy - Lenovo X200

The 5 year old IBM Thinkpad T43 that I have been using at work was showing its age: overheating, poor response on disk operations (saving a small file in vi seems to be taking increasingly long times), it doesn't boot sometimes and I have to power cycle it. However, I was putting up with it because the newer T series laptops from Lenovo don't come anywhere close to the quality of the T43. But the final nail in the coffin was a crack in the LCD.

So I got myself a Lenovo X200 about a week ago and I am liking it so far. The weight, battery life, performance and the form factor are a big win. What I don't like about it is:

  • The laptop is not evenly thick (it is fat near the batteries and somehow feels bulky to hold it there).
  • The lock for the lid is in the base and not in the lid itself (which is a bit awkward when I try to open it).
  • The docking station has a rather cheap piece of plastic near the 2nd battery charger (I won't be using it, so that isn't a problem).
  • There is no DVI out in the X200 UltraBase docking station (my biggest pain point so far).
  • The edge of the lid around the LCD panel is fairly thick and looks a bit ugly (but it is good to hold the laptop by).
  • I would've liked it if the screen was a wee bit bigger with better resolution (the T43 was 14.0" @ 1400x1050 and this X200 is 12.1" @ 1280x800).

I guess these complaints are just a hangover from my T43 years and and I am nit-picking.

The machine has been running Debian testing since the day it fell into my hands. Installation and configuration have been a breeze. I hope it will serve me as well as the T43 did.


Today's vote

Dear Friends,

When you go out to vote today, please remember that it is most likely not local issues that should dominate your choice. The fact that there is a perpetual ditch on your way to work, no bus shelter at the bus stop that you use, or a poor neighbourhood road that disappears each monsoon should not determine the choice of candidate. Your MP doesn't have much to do in these areas, at-best they can spend the Rs. 2 crore under the MPLAD scheme to try and keep you happy. Local issues should be your primary concern in the municipality elections or perhaps in the legislative assembly elections, not in the general elections.

The members of parliament decide policy, laws and future of the country at a national level. You should be worried about their participation in the law and policy making process (what issues did they bring up in the parliament, which laws do they support, what questions do they ask in the sessions etc.). Please do keep that in mind. Some of the candidates may even take up issues that are clearly not important for the city in which you live, that is OK (like I said before, these are not your local elections).

Also, don't hesitate to vote for an independent candidate or a candidate from a small party just because they don't belong to a popular national level or state level party. While you may feel that your vote isn't being "used" well, you would want to encourage good people to contest elections. Having them lose their deposit each time they get into the fray is not the way to do that.

Thank you.

e-mudhra digital certificate

I just applied for an individual digital signature certificate at e-Mudhra CA. They have an inaugural offer price of Rs. 248 for a class 3 individual certificate with a validity of two years. The price is good! There is physical presence verification with official documentation at a registration authority (RA) of e-Mudhra, but that should be fairly straightforward. I am hoping that I would be able to file my income tax returns digitally this year.

Experience with the RA, CA and the IT department would be reported.

External memory data-structures library

I have been looking for a free C library that supports common data structures (queues, trees, hashes etc.) and algorithms (sort, bulk search etc.) in external memory backed by regular files. One piece of software that I have been able to find as being closest to what I want was stxxl, a C+++ STL for extra large data sets. Please let me know if you happened to stumble upon something on these lines.

PS: I filed an RFP for libstxxl and I am willing to sponsor uploads in case somebody is interested in packaging and maintaining it.

Wagah-Attari and Hussainiwala

Pakistan flag and Emblem of India Fellow countrymen, happy Republic day to you all.

Any trip to Punjab is incomplete without atleast one visit to the daily tamasha at the Wagah-Attari border. This is probably one of the few places on earth where you would see the Pakistan flag right next to the Emblem of India.

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The retreat ceremony is so popular that it is difficult to allow in all the people that come in to watch. So a clone of the ceremony has been setup at the Hussainiwala border. However, Hussainiwala is popular not because of the flag retreat, much less because the 1971 war memorial still has a lot of marks of artillery firing, but because of Bhagat Singh's memorial. The memorial moves one to tears.

Hussainiwala: Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru Hussainiwala bridge: Sympathetically detonated in the 1971 war

Few more pictures from the Hussainiwala memorials:

Hussainiwala: Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru Hussainiwala: Bhagat Singh memorial Hussainiwala bridge piers and war memorial Artillery fire on Hussainiwala bridge piers Artillery fire on Hussainiwala bridge piers

Movies for the day

I went to watch Slumdog Millionaire this afternoon. The movie is good, but doesn't live up to the hype around it. However, the initial sequence where the kids are chased by the police through the slums of Dharawi was excellent. The movie is very Indian, but one thing that stands out is that Jamal Malik is accused of cheating because he is a boy from the slums, and IMO, India is country where people believe that anything is possible and if someone from a slum wins on a game show, it wouldn't surprise a lot of people let alone make them suspicious.

Pretty much everybody seems to describe SDM as the story of a boy from Mumbai's slums who answers all the questions on who wants to be a millionaire and is suspected of cheating. While that is how the plot goes, I don't know if that was how Danny Boyle intended people to know the movie as. I felt that SDM is the story of a young man who wants to be on the TV game show for as long as possible so that his love can watch him. Neither the money nor the intellectual challenge of being on the show matter to him at all.

I am watching The Mystic Masseur at home right now. Most movies from The Merchant Ivory 'period movie' collection are available at a discounted price in the stores these days :-).

Oh, I finally made myself a Hackergotchi hackergotchi
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