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November 2, 2011 / Rohit

Race Report: LA Rock ‘n’ Roll Half

I had a surprisingly good race. Initially I had planned for a conservative target, but when I reached the start line, I said “What the heck!” and started fast. Even at the beginning I was playing the race in my mind and wanted to keep a 9:00/mile pace for the first half. However, by the time I was past mile 2 my average pace was already 8:30/mile. Fortunately, I was feeling good.

The course started out flat, even slightly downhill, for the first 4.5 miles and then changed to a gradual uphill. The second half was mostly up-and-down with a steep hill around mile 9. I knew this and in spite of that when I crossed mile 6 I increased the tempo. My Garmin showed an average pace of 8:15/mile.

Around the 7 mile mark it started getting hot. The course was also pretty boring. These two factors were playing on my mind and had this been a training run, I would have slowed down. But that was not the case and I was able to shut my mind up.

When I crossed mile 10, I increased my pace to 8:00/mile. This is where it started becoming difficult. I started getting side-cramps and had to try really hard not get distracted. So I broke the next 3 miles into intermediate targets of 1 mile each and aimed to reach them one at a time.

When I reached the final mile, I was pretty confident that I was going to break my personal best. I crossed the finish line with a 1:48 on my Garmin. I was exhausted and happy.

To summarize, I hit all targets:

  • Finish the half marathon — Passed
  • Finish under 2 hours — Passed
  • Get a personal best — beat 1:50 — Passed (1:48:42)
October 29, 2011 / Rohit

Race Preview: LA Rock n’ Roll Half

Hello people of the world. I am running the LA Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon tomorrow. After running the LA Marathon earlier this year, tomorrow’s half marathon will be my 2nd running event of the year. The race course is around LA downtown and is slightly hilly.

Nearing race-day I am sad to say that this is the most unprepared I have ever been for an event. After LA marathon I have not been running regularly. Even after registering for RnR, I haven’t been trained properly. Grad school work has kept me busy and stressed. Given that, my race goals this time are conservative:

  • Finish the half marathon.
  • Finish under 2 hours.
  • Get a personal best — beat 1:50.

Yet we are optimistic. And shall RACE!

October 26, 2011 / Rohit

Accommodating RMS

When I was in college Richard M. Stallman had come to give a talk.
After the talk, when I talked to the organizers (who were also fellow
CS students) they said that they were given a lot of pain by RMS with
accommodation and other logistical things.

After reading this,  I feel their frustration was justified.

It’s pretty long. Scroll down to where text from RMS starts.

It nothing else just read the “Pets” section.

October 1, 2011 / Rohit

Uninstalling Adobe Acrobat Reader on Linux

The Adobe Acrobat Reader for Linux sucks. Unfortunately I didn’t know this before I installed it. When I did realize how bad the program was, I couldn’t figure out how to uninstall. I had downloaded a “.bin” file from Adobe and executed it. However, the same “.bin” file couldn’t be used to remove the program.

After some googling around I found that the way to get rid of Reader is:

  1. Open a terminal and cd to the directory where Acrobat Reader was installed. For me, this was “/opt/Adobe/Reader9/bin”
  2. Run the “UNINSTALL” script within this directory. You might need to do a “sudo ./UNINSTALL”


September 28, 2011 / Rohit

Visio Diagrams in LaTeX — Exporting to EPS

TL;DR Version: The current tools available on Linux to create EPS files suck. Visio is really good. Visio doesn’t export to EPS. To  export Visio diagrams to EPS, read numbered bullet points below.

If you are using LaTeX to create documents, you know how much of a pain diagrams can be. Most of the pain is either due to lack of control over the positioning of the diagram or just poor rendering of the diagram. I needed to draw few block diagrams for my project report. Now if you have diagrams in a LaTeX document, the best format for them is EPS — Encapsulated Postscript. Raster formats like .PNG, .JPEG, etc don’t render or scale well.

Sadly the drawing tools on Linux, which export to EPS, aren’t that good. The only reasonable one which I found was called “Dia.” But even that didn’t give me great results. So I turned to Visio. It’s easy to use and already has got all the software related symbols which I need. The only problem being Visio 2010 doesn’t directly export to EPS. Fortunately it isn’t too hard.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Save your Visio 2010 diagram into an EMF file. It’s one of the options you will find in the “Save As” drop down.
  2. Download metafile2eps from LyX.
  3. Run the metafile2eps utility on the saved EMF file. Voila! You have your nice little EPS.
September 20, 2011 / Rohit

Amazon will spam you if you are a student

I hate getting automated mail and I actively un-subscribe from mails which are offers, newsletters, social network notifications, etc. So when Amazon Student started sending me more emails than I liked, I wanted to opt-out. Turns out, because I am an Amazon Student Member (which make me an Amazon Prime customer) I can’t unsubscribe without deleting my account.

At the bottom of the email, there is text which goes:

You received this e-mail because you are a member of Amazon Student. If you would like to stop receiving e-mail offers from Amazon Student, you may cancel your Amazon Student membership here: Manage Your Student Membership.


It’s weird and disappointing. It’s as if Amazon Student is threatening you into reading their mail. Of course, I am not going to cancel my Amazon student membership, because I love getting things much early. But it would be much better if they had a way to opt-out, rather than me writing a thunderbird filter to trash everything which comes from Amazon student.

September 17, 2011 / Rohit

30% Cut What?

In a case of excellent reporting AppleInsider has an article titled “Microsoft to take 30% cut of Metro apps under Windows 8” You would expect like any other reader, that this is backed by some official announcement. But NO. Turns out, this is mere speculation. AppleInsider blames Microsoft is copying Apple’s 30% cut model without linking to a press release or official announcement.

Though towards the end of the article, we find this sentence buried deep around a lot of ifs :

Microsoft has not yet spelled out any plans to charge a 30 percent fee on in-app purchases, but such a policy would suddenly become possible on Windows once Microsoft erected its own Apple-like software store.

Right, so what you told me in a bold large font at the beginning of the article was a lie, right?