That Gurjot

Witness the normal

The Web This Week - 1

13 Jul 2014

This week I came across a lot of new stuff, like, in usual time, it’s worth two month’s technology hajj-ing and internet-ing. Let’s get straight into it!


  1. 8.04 Quantum Physics - YES! My life is now a success. Prof Allan Adams is the best. He is so excited about everything! He’s exactly the kind of professor I would make. I have been studying Quantum for a week now and I love it.


  1. Brokeback Mountain : Annie Proulx
  2. The Time Traveler’s Wife : Audrey Niffenegger
  3. The Garden of Eden : Ernest Hemingway - currently reading


  1. MKBHD : This man’s a legend. I only found him yesterday and his videos are quite frankly the best tech reviews I have seen on the Internet. His YouTube channel has nearly 2 million subscribers and an ex-Google VP called him the “best tech review guy out there”. Oh and, he’s just 20… I feel like killing myself now.
  2. How To Make A Hit Pop Song : This video is such a LOL. Even the part 1 is a LOL. The dude also does some very neat covers. His cover of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky was pretty good, his voice was slightly unevening though, but then why would it be a cover?
  3. Yo! : Hi! Yo. How you doing? Yo. I miss you. Yo. Wanna go out for lunch? Yo. Football at 6? Yo. Just Yo.
  4. Most Sanskar Ever: Hum Saath Saath Hain Review : They are back! Kanan and Biswa are back! And this one is funny too! Not a LOLMAX but definitely a LOL.
  5. Calvin and Hobbes: A new ending : lie down. curl up. suck thumb. try not to cry. cry.
  6. A Tribute to Classical Indian Ads : AIB made this crazy new video that brings back the 90s like nothing else. The video editing and the overall soundtrack is just brilliant.


  1. Rhythmbox Plugins : If you use Ubuntu and are a sucker for good UI, odds are that you are a Rhythmbox user. Every other music client that I have tried suffers from what I call the opensource plague. Most, if not all, foss developers indulge in developing utilities and features so much that they almost overlook the UI - something which would turn away a not-so-hardcore opensource user. Look at Clementine and Banshee for example, they landed on the Moon with lesser technology than is built into these applications. Rhythmbox, I believe, lies in the middle ground of fancy and utility.
    If you’ve ever looked under the Tools menu of Rhythmbox, you’ll find that it supports Plugins - those wonderful, mystic creatures. And fortunately, there is this person named fossfreedom on the interwebs who does some really slick development. What’s more, he even created a PPA to help us nooby linux users try these out easily, as explained in this askubuntu thread.
    So far I have tried out a few plugins, there are bugs of course, but I think it’s probably just my machine and not the software. The File Organizer plugin is kickass and would have saved me a whole lotta time if only I knew. The CoverArt Browser, Lyrics Displayer, Fullscreen display, Android Remote, and Random Album Player are pretty slick too, if not completely useful.
  2. Beets : I have mixed reviews for this. I could say that I didn’t try too hard to reason with it but then that’s one of the worst software design ideologies. Beets is an opensource music organizer that fills in metadata of all your music files by scouring different music databases and using pre-available tags and audio fingerprinting. And sadly enough, it is a victim of the opensource plague too. The entire application runs from the Terminal and unless you’re comfortable with some bash-ing, you shouldn’t bother with it at all. I tried it thrice and it didn’t work for me either time, in fact it messed some things up, but that’s probably not its fault - I wouldn’t expect it to sort Hindi/Punjabi songs. Nonetheless, the project is in active development and the people behind it are an amazing set of developers who roll out plugin after plugin every few weeks.


Okay you’ve gotta have a rooted phone for everything that I am going to describe here. But first, a little lesson of Phil-osophy. (Yes, I use Phil-osophy because Gurjot-osophy makes no sense, and Gurjot-ry sounds too much like bigotry).

My good old Xperia U, running for two years and counting, is one of the best phones to have landed in the smartphone market. It runs a little low on memory; it has only 4 gigs of user accessible storage, 2 gigs of application storage and just 382 MB of RAM. But thanks to the amazing developer community on XDA, this Novathor device is still in active development! I have tried over a dozen custom ROMs in the past year and a half since I rooted it, and of course none is perfect, but the feeling of having a truly free phone that you can customize down to the barebones is unparalleled. I used a couple of KitKat ROMs in the early half of the calendar year and then in mid-May I decided to switch to a functional, strictly business, no nonsense, Ice Cream Sandwich ROM. It worked great for nearly two months but then I found out that a new version of the AOXP ROM had just been released and I just had to try it out. And so I did. Oh, you beauty.

  1. AOXP ROM : This ROM is the PowerPuff Girls of all Xperia ROMs. The devs took sweet (CyanogenMod), spice (Xperia) and everything nice (AOSP), and made this. It’s pretty much vanilla Android with a few utilities built-in. The only flaw that I found so far is that it doesn’t have the transparent status bar, and yes I want my transparent status bar. I won’t call it the best ROM out there because what’s best for me might not be for someone else, but it definitely is out there.

  2. Xposed Framework : How did I NOT know about this before! Rage! Better late than never though. This awesome dev called rovo89 made this brilliant framework called Xposed. What it does is that it allows you to inject code into installed applications and even system apps, instead of creating an entire apk for it. Say you want to add this tweak to the Twitter application, instead of building an entire application yourself, you just write the working code and inject it into the original Twitter app using this framework. If this doesn’t blow your mind, this huge list of modules that tell you what all you can do with it will. Right now, I am using the following plugins (in order of liking) -
    • Heads Up Notifications : Like the Windows Phone and iOS pop up notifications? How about a better version of them. This module. It’s staying with me till the end of time.
    • Advanced Power Menu : I had this feature built-in in one of the Cyanogenmod ROMs I was using earlier, but it’s great to have it back. Saves me those three seconds of cribbing. This module allows you to completely overhaul your power menu - remove pre-built items, add new ones.
    • iOS 7 Flat Style : I am a sucker for iOS, mainly because I can’t afford it. There are a few things that Apple does right, unlike Android, which does a lot of things right and then makes up for all those things it didn’t do too well by being opensource. What this module does basically is iOS-ize your status bar, notification pull down, settings tab, settings menu (experimental right now), keyboard and the recent apps menu. It’s a sweet little gimmick that makes me feel better so stop judging already.
    • Keep Trash : Use Google Keep often? I do. And just like the dev of this module, I want the delete note option outside the three-dot menu for quicker access. And that’s it. That’s all it does.
  3. Android L Keyboard : Just like Windows and iOS, it was time for Android to go flat. Google launched the developer preview of Android L a few days ago and obviously devs on XDA tore it down to bits and made it available for anyone with brains and internet. This one dev threw the upcoming keyboard on the Play Store, amassed 800,000+ downloads (including yours truly) and then got thrown off. But like all things Android, what happens on the internet stays forever. This pretty keyboard is now available for download from a number of mirrors online. A quick Google search should get you the apk.

That’s that for week one. A good start, I believe. 6 items in Internet v/s 1 in Science. Yeah, I have some change a making to do.