Sunday, June 29, 2008

PicLens: something fantastic and worth trying



PicLens is a browser add-in for IE, firefox and Safari provides an immersive 3D experience for searching though various video, tv and photo sites. Highly recommended for Vista and Mac users. You can download it from here: .

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Internet connection sharing from Vista

I have a broadband connection on my main desktop that runs Vista, which has an ethernet port and a usb WiFi dongle. And I have HCL MiLeap-L that comes with WiFi on board. I always wanted to have internet connection sharing setup on my Vista machine so that I can access Internet anywhere from my house using MiLeap-L. Until recently, I could not figure out why the ad-hoc network created from Vista was not getting configured from the default NetworkManager applet of Ubuntu (MiLeap-L runs 8.04).

It turned out that this the problem with the default Ubuntu driver for the WiFi chipset on MiLeap-L. The default driver (supposedly a newer version) called rt73usb has buggy support for ad-hoc mode operation. So after googling around a bit I found that you need to use the legacy drivers rt73 and blacklist the newer ones to get it working. Moreover the older version is not compatible with the NetworkManager applet and you have to use its own GUI called rtutilt. So here is what I did to get stuff working:

1) I already have latest kernel update with the requisite build tools and kernel headers. If you don't you will have to get that using apt-get install kernel* build-essential.

2) Get the latest rt73 source from

Do the following using root (sudo -s) credentials:
3) unpack, change to Module directory. Then make and make install.

4) Remove previous module: rmmod rt73usb

5) add:
blacklist rt73usb
blacklist rt2500usb

at the end of /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

6) modprob rt73
depsmod -a

7) Install rtutilt using synaptic manager (u may have to enable extra repos)

8) disable NeworkManager applet from Main Menu->System->Preferences->Sessions

9) reboot and use Main Menu -> Internet -> RutilT WAN Manager to discover and connect to access point or ad-hoc network.

Note: If at any point of time you need to upgrade the kernel, you will have to most likely recompile rt73 drivers.

On Vista:
Its straight forward here.

1) First enable Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) on interface to which broadband is connected, in my case this is the LAN. This automatically assigns then to the WiFi interface. The required gateway and other settings are also automatically made.

2) Then setup a ad-hoc connection using the Connection wizard in which can be initiated by clicking the Network icon on the task bar... or better still use the Instant search!

3) Thats it!

Hope this is useful to other HCL MiLeap users who want to try similar setup.

PS: when you need to use WiFi from any other source, you need to use the RutilT GUI now instead of the NetworkManager applet in Ubuntu.

PPS: This whole stuff was written on my MiLeap-L and posted using the connection that I set up as described above :)

Tried Opera too!

Tried the latest Opera 9.5 on Vista, though it looked great, I eventually uninstalled it as I faced similar Tablet PC integration problems. Is it the problem of the browser code, or MS didn't expose these APIs propertly?

Btw I installed Opera 9.5 on my HCL MiLeap (which runs on Ubuntu 8.04) and have instantly replaced Firefox 3 as my default browser. I find Opera 9.5 to be far superior and loads a lot faster than Firefox 3.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flipflop: Firefox3 and now back to IE7

thats on vista. But had no other choice after I discovered that my favorite browsing tool, the Tablet PC components don't work great with Firefox. Apart from the address bar completion not working properly, it had one major issues with password fields. That the password would show up in the screen, plaintext!!

Now waiting for IE8 beta2. May try Opera meanwhile.

Monday, June 23, 2008

MeTA Studio update: do more with Find, changed Federation protocol

A new version of MeTA Studio with updated source is available from the usual place at:

This version includes an assortment of changes:
a) The federation discovery protocol has changed, and is incompatible with the previous version. No further changes with this protocol will be made in future that will break existing clients. However you will have to update to the current version if you are using an older release.
b) Numerous Find tools have been added in the MoleculeViewer, see docs for details. Will post more details, along with long promised examples of using Federation APIs.
c) Java3d/2d renderer has been improved for performance.
d) number of bug fixes and additional sample plugins and widgets are also added.

You are invited to check the features. If you have any issues, suggestions or would like to contribute to the project kindly post it at:

Have fun!