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Posts Tagged ‘tamil’

In this post , I assume that you use Ubuntu (with English) and want to use it to read or write Tamil stuff. Hence , I discuss steps to view Tamil web pages and also edit files in Tamil. This post will not tell you how to get a localized Tamil version of Ubuntu.

Reading Web Pages in Tamil

This is the most common requirement. You have Ubuntu and you want to visit and read , say, Tamil newspapers or blog posts. To do that install the following packages :

sudo apt-get install language-support-fonts-ta ttf-tamil-fonts ttf-indic-fonts-core

These three packages should solve the problem of Tamil fonts from multiple websites. ttf-indic-fonts-core  adds some popular Tamil fonts (in addition to other fonts for Indian languages) and ttf-tamil-fonts adds some more additional Tamil fonts.

Writing in Tamil

Writing in Tamil is done by adding Tamil keyboard layout to Ubuntu. If you are in a version before Natty (11.04), then use “System -> Preferences –> Keyboard” . If you are using Natty, then click on the power icon on the right hand top of the screen and select “System Settings”. In the settings dialog, choose Hardware tab and then select Keyboard. This will open up keyboard preferences menu.

Select the “Layouts” tab and click on Add . In the “Choose a Layout” dialog, go to the Language tab and select Tamil as the language. Choose your preferred variant . I have chosen “India Tamil Unicode”.  Click “Add” to add the language.

If you notice, the top panel will automatically get the keyboard layout indicator which highlights the currently selected language. This selection is application specific . For eg, if you selected Tamil when typing in gedit and then went to say LibreOffice, you will be typing in your default language in LibreOffice. Initially this behavior is a bit confusing, but usually makes lot of sense in practice.

In the Layouts tab, click on Options and set an appropriate key combination in the entry “Key(s) to change layout”.  I use “Shift+Caps Lock”. This is useful as otherwise , you need to key toggling in the keyboard indicator. If you are keyboard person, this is the best way to switch over all the languages in your layout. If there are multiple, then pressing “Shift+Caps Lock” cycles through your choices. The keyboard applet/indicator will change appropriately.

Unfortunately, most Tamil keyboard layouts are not mnemonic based and it takes quite a while to get used to. But once it starts working, it’s a great liberating feeling to type in another languages.

Using Tamil

Since Linux has a great internationalization support, you can use Tamil for other purposes also. For eg, I use Tamil to name folders ! Or sometimes even write some personal stuff 🙂 . Most applications including Nautilus has multilingual support and things should seamlessly !

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The first part of the Indie Blogs series was pretty popular. Here are some more blogs that I find interesting.

1. Coconut Chutney
Has a lot of nice posts. Probably the blogs most popular post (and also my favorite) is Deviance.

2. Confessions of a Magnificent Mind
A good to read blog with some nice observations.

3. Desikan
One of my favorite Tamil blogs. Mostly written in Tamil script. Has posts on variety of topics. I especially like his short stories with a subtle humor. Many of the posts are in Sujatha’s Katrathum Petrathum style which makes it even more enjoyable !

4. Idling In Top Gear
This is a nice blog although his most recent posts are on his MBA application process. Some of his old posts were quite striking. Hope he finds some time to blog in the future !

5. Maami’s Weblog
Another interesting blog . I like the occasional short stories in this blog.

6. The Vigil Idiot
A very funny blog. Most of the posts are about movies (Hindi/English) and his commentary on them. You will have a great time reading it.

7. Wake up and smell the masala
I found this blog while searching for recipes. Even though , I suck at cooking , that did not prevent me from reading posts on them . This blog has some nice posts on recipes. Best of all , the blog also has a YouTube channel showing some of the cooking.

8. தாளிக்கும் ஓசை
Another exceptional blog. It talks about a variety of topics ranging from cooking to tamil poems to some commentary. One thing that is notable is that the cooking items are mostly Tamil Naduish (or atleast south Indian). I like this blog’s About page which is well written with great humor.

Have fun with these blogs !

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Indie Blogs – Part 1

I love blogs and spend a significant time every week reading blogs. Most of the blogs I read are technical . After I started my blog, I had some fun chat with my friends about my blog and other stuff. After some hesitation one of my friend asked "why you Indians always write about technical things ?". We had a good laugh over it and I gave a vague answer that people write on all topics.

After coming home , I was curious about blogging scenario in India. I know we are big shots in IT but what about blogging ? Are we so shy that we don’t write much or are we monochromatic that we write about some fixed set of (safe) topics ? Of course these are not research questions but I was curious of the answers. Obviously, I am not interested in blogs of big guys – Amitabh   or Aamir Khan . I have nothing against them but I was mostly interested in every day guy’s blogs.

One of the things I felt which would trouble a newbie indie blogger is the language issue. India has so many languages and not many blogging platforms support all the languages. Heck, even most popular operating systems don’t support all the languages. So if you want to have a blog in some less popular languages (I refrain from giving a name 🙂 ) you will face lot of hurdles – lack of support with blogging tools, platforms, not much support from search engines and a potentially much restricted audience.

For this post, I will use the term Indie blog to refer to blog written by an Indian guy/girl though not necessarily residing in India. That was a vague definition but this word seems to be catching on. So this post is an attempt to take a peek at Indie Blogs.

First in terms of blogging platforms , most popular indie blogs seems to be hosted on either WordPress or Blogspot. No surprises there. But there are some home grown blogging sites like BigAdda  or Bharat Student. They are not as mature as WordPress or Blogspot. These sites try to be primarily a portal or a social networking site. Blogging mostly seems to be an after thought.

Next I tried to find some good blog directories for indie blogs. I liked this site  but others were not much impressive. Desipundit  seems to be popular and it was good too. Its contributors page was striking as many of its contributors are actually out of India  but still connect back. Cool !

I found that a huge number of bloggers write in english – well, that is in Indian english. Some even transliterate their blogs in English. I felt that technique was quite effective as it allowed them to jump between their primary language (say tamil) to deliver punch lines and english easily. There were quite some blogs which were primarily written in Indian languages with Indian scripts. Nice ! But I guess most people will have trouble viewing them .

I have been following some indie blogs for some time. Some of them were very good and I have become a regular follower and some were boring and I have stopped following. There were also lot many blogs that were very good but were not continued – perhaps the main author got caught up with life 🙂

As expected the blog topics cover the whole spectrum – politics, philosophy, literature , technology . I even found some good fun blogs. I will try to introduce some of my favorite blogs in this series.

The following are some of my favorite (primarily) fun blogs . (In no order).

1. Doing Jalsa and Showing Jilpa
This is probably one of the most famous indie blogs. Has a lot of humorous posts. Probably one his most popular post was his excellent critique on Mile Sur Mera Tumhara song in the post Mile Sur Mera Tomorrow? Fail . Love it !

2. Autobiography of an ordinary man
Another excellent blog. Written by Shenoy. The posts have posts with unique sense of humor and touch that has been dubbed as shenoyism .

3. Gilmananda
This is another real fun but rarely updated blog. Some of his posts made me remember the fun events during my college life. It is written in taminglish and the posts contain lot of tamil dialogs. If you are going to read this blog, I would suggest taking a look at his archives. Most of the posts are serial and rely on some characters/events from previous posts.

4. Lightning Strikes Everyday
This is another nice blog with posts on variety of topics. I liked the recent post on VTV .

5. Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind
Another good blog with some great acerbic posts.

6. Son Of Bosey
Another interesting blog. Has some nice Onionesque posts spoofing on latest news.

7. Dubukku- The Think Tank
A blog written primarily in Tamil. Has lot of humorous posts.

8. Dappan Koothu
A blog talking on variety of topics (a lot on movies !) . Has lot of interesting posts.

Have fun with these Indie blogs !!

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