How to setup Dual Screens

The screenshot that started it all

My post on facebook about my extended desktop got a lot of people interested, and they want to know how to setup the same with their systems. So, here's how !

This is in 2 parts. Howto do it with a laptop, and how to do it on the desktop.

HOWTO setup Dual Screen on Laptop

Dual monitor display up!
My first attempt at dual monitors

This is the comparatively easier approach, and one probably you can try out first. Simple steps to follow are as follows :
  • Connect the monitor cable to the laptop ( the blue port ... it should either be on the sides, or on the back of the laptop.
  • On your windows desktop ( XP here as I have not used Vista on laptops) , right click and click on 'properties'.
  • Go to the 'settings' tab. It should show your current laptop screen, and another monitor greyed out.
  • Click on the greyed out monitor, and click on 'extend desktop to this monitor' . Make sure that the resolution is set to something your laptop's graphics card can support and the monitor can support.
  • Click 'Apply' and that should do the trick!
Upside : 0 cost if you already have a laptop and a monitor lying around.

2. HOWTO setup Dual Screen on Desktop.

Ok. This requires quite a bit of more work. This can again be achieved in two ways.

2.1 Using a graphics expansion module.

A maxtor graphics splitter

Companies like Maxtor provide you hardware which you attach to your comp and it then connect to the monitors. The upside is that you don't have to get fancy graphics card. The downside, not so much available in India.

Steps :
  • Buy the hardware
  • Install drivers and follow the instructions.

2.2 Using a Graphics card.

Nvidia Graphics card with 2 DVI output ports

This is how I use it. I am a game buff, so I needed a good graphics card. Now, what most people don't tell you is that the graphics cards come with 2 DVI ports ! Woot ! So, you can connect the monitors to each of the graphics output. The advantage - crystal clear graphics at high frame rates !

Steps :
  • Install the graphics card ( in my case the NVIDIA 8800GT )
  • Connect both the monitors and start up the system. At this stage only one monitor will actually display the output.
  • Install the Nvidia software (you should download the latest from the net, as the ones available in the CDs are quite oudated).
  • Go to the nvidia control center and enable dual screen.
  • Viola ! You are done !
Linux steps :
  • These steps are a bit unintuitive. So, you need to do a bit of mumbo jumbo ( if you dont like command line) or just a bit of command typing (if you are comfortable with command line).
  • First boot into linux if you are on dual boot. The default drivers on linux suck, so you need to download the ones provided by nvidia.
  • run the command 'sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings' from a terminal. Let it install.
  • Run the command 'sudo nvidia-settings' and save your configuration.
And thats it ! you are done.

Twin Monitor Setup
My current setup running linux.

You may want to refer to some of my earlier posts and other links :

How to raise the DPS for a Hunter

I was actually looking all over the place for this simple question that I had on the Hunter in World of Warcraft - and I got no straight answer. Finally through a lot of hit and trial and reading a lot of mumbo jumbo, I got some results. From a dps ( Damage Per Second) of 1300 I was able to go upto 1700 ! Woot ! So, this is a short writeup for those people who are in the same boat as me. 

Since I am at present staying at my in-laws house, I am playing on a rather low end machine - I get around 30fps at minimum settings ( /sigh ) . It also has a wierd keyboard ( HCL Office 8500 ) and for some reason I am not able to get screenshots to help in this guide. Anyways here goes. 

Once you hit level 80 - the max level in WoW, the options open up to you for Heroic Dungeons and Raids . These enable you to vanquish tougher bosses and get some nice loot , apart from the Badges of Heroism. However, as a DPS unit ( Hunter, Warlock, Mage , cat/moonkin druid, rogue, Enh/Ele shaman, Fury Warrior etc), your role in the group is to burn down the Boss fast. That means that you need to do massive amounts of damage. Therein lies the problem. Up till now, you have been working hard at levelling your character , and things like increasing dps was not something that you have worked on really. So, suddenly you are doing a Dungeon run, and while others show a 2000+ dps, you are stuck at around 1000dps. How embarrasing. And you have no idea what to do. 

I am in the same boat. And I hope my experiments help you to. Keep in mind, I am a n00b raider - and it will show :)

The first thing was that after multiple wipes at EoE , and having dps lower than even the Tank, I started to look at how to do up my DPS. Off I went to IronForge ( if you are Horde, go to Orig or any city) and started to work on the target dummies to check how much is my dps. As the mana bar depleted , the values shown in Recount was approx 1300 ( which reads - just below 1300). Not bad, but not good either. 

The first thing I did after this was to change my spec from a BeastMaster hunter to a Survival Hunter. I used the spec which BigRedKitty uses. 

2nd round at the dummies. Woah ! Crossed the 1500 barrier - just about . 

Next I headed over to Elitist Jerks. These guys do a lot of number crunching on almost each class and spec and try to figure out whats the best way to go forward. Also I did an audit on my character using  Be Imba , a website which checks your gear and tells you the most common things missing. In my case it is the jewels missing from a few sockets , and enchants. Looked up EJ for what gems I needed. Spent a small fortune at the Auction House and got all the sockets gemmed , including the socket created using an Eternal Belt Buckle ( which adds a socket to the belt item - I did not even knew this happened !) . Also a quick trip to Dalaran and I exchanged the badges I had got by running UK and Nexus for a Hand slot item ( I had 61 badges! ) . 

Back to IF. change in shot rotation. Started killing the target dummy. 

Woah ! Spiked to 1900 before averaging out at 1700 dps ! 

A 400 dps jump in a Day ! Wonderful. 

Decided to jump in and test it with a heroic. Today's daily was HoL and pugged it with other guys. Sure we had a couple of wipes, but in the end, got Loken with 2 achievements under the belt : 
Ooh. That is a big confidence booster. However, I somehow did not get the 1700dps I got while testing :( 

Next on the agenda, farm some money to enchant all the items that are enchantable ! 

7 Phenomenal Wonders of the Natural World

I got this as a forward. Some amazing stuff this ! 

The classical natural wonders are huge and hard to miss - vast canyons, giant mountains and the like. Many of the most fantastic natural phenomena, however, are also least easy to spot. Some are incredibly rare while others are located in hard-to-reach parts of the planet. From moving rocks to mammatus clouds and red tides to fire rainbows, here are seven of the most spectacular phenomenal wonders of the natural world.

1) Sailing Stones
The mysterious moving stones of the packed-mud desert of Death Valley have been a center of scientific controversy for decades. Rocks weighing up to hundreds of pounds have been known to move up to hundreds of yards at a time. Some scientists have proposed that a combination of strong winds and surface ice account for these movements. However, this theory does not explain evidence of different rocks starting side by side and moving at different rates and in disparate directions. Moreover, the physics calculations do not fully support this theory as wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour would be needed to move some of the stones.

2) Columnar Basalt
When a thick lava flow cools it contracts vertically but cracks perpendicular to its directional flow with remarkable geometric regularity - in most cases forming a regular grid of remarkable hexagonal extrusions that almost appear to be made by man. One of the most famous such examples is the Giant's Causeway on the coast of Ireland (shown above) though the largest and most widely recognized would be Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Basalt also forms different but equally fascinating ways when eruptions are exposed to air or water.

3) Blue Holes

Blue holes are giant and sudden drops in underwater elevation that get their name from the dark and foreboding blue tone they exhibit when viewed from above in relationship to surrounding waters. They can be hundreds of feet deep and while divers are able to explore some of them they are largely devoid of oxygen that would support sea life due to poor water circulation - leaving them eerily empty. Some blue holes, however, contain ancient fossil remains that have been discovered, preserved in their depths.

4) Red Tides
Red tides are also known as algal blooms - sudden influxes of massive amounts of colored single-cell algae that can convert entire areas of an ocean or beach into a blood red color. While some of these can be relatively harmless, others can be harbingers of deadly toxins that cause the deaths of fish, birds and marine mammals. In some cases, even humans have been harmed by red tides though no human exposure are known to have been fatal. While they can be fatal, the constituent phytoplankton in ride tides are not harmful in small numbers.

5) Ice Circles

While many see these apparently perfect ice circles as worthy of conspiracy theorizing, scientists generally accept that they are formed by eddies in the water that spin a sizable piece of ice in a circular motion. As a result of this rotation, other pieces of ice and flotsam wear relatively evenly at the edges of the ice until it slowly forms into an essentially ideal circle. Ice circles have been seen with diameters of over 500 feet and can also at times be found in clusters and groups at different sizes as shown above.

6) Mammatus Clouds

True to their ominous appearance, mammatus clouds are often harbingers of a coming storm or other extreme weather system. Typically composed primarily of ice, they can extend for hundreds of miles in each direction and individual formations can remain visibly static for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. While they may appear foreboding they are merely the messengers - appearing around, before or even after severe weather.

7) Fire Rainbows
A circum horizontal fire rainbow arc occurs at a rare confluence of right time and right place for the sun and certain clouds. Crystals within the clouds refract light into the various visible waves of the spectrum but only if they are arrayed correctly relative to the ground below. Due to the rarity with which all of these events happen in conjunction with one another, there are relatively few remarkable photos of this phenomenon.

Twouble with Twitters

Found this amusing clip about Twitter ! :D

Farewell Ride with Pune BN

Last weekend was probably my last ride with the Pune BikeNomads. I am relocating to Delhi/NCR and this called for a ride.

Initially the plan was to ride to Murud as we had a couple of friends of Jolu who were going to do some documentary shoot with us, but they got held up with their college work. At the same time, a friend and I were discussing about going to Ahmednagar to meet H as his dad had passed away. So, late of Saturday evening, the plan was finalized. We called up all the people who were to come on the Murud ride and told them about the change in plans. Some people were to come from Mumbai also, so we had to apologize to them and explain the reason. I would say it was something I influenced, as I felt that we should visit a nomad to show out solidarily and support, and cause I knew that I would not be meeting H again. Added to that was the attraction of visiting the Tank Museum - a one of the kind place in India, which is based out of Ahmednagar.

Sunday morning the plan was set - meet up at AdLabs Kalyani Nagar at 7:30am. I reached there and only Amit was there before me. It seems that S & N told everyone else that we were to be meeting at 8, while they told me to be there at 7:30. Nasty. :(

Waited and people started turning in. Finally we were short only N. He was getting late and said he would catch up with us on the 5 ( R15). So, around 8 we left. 7 bikes + 1 pillion.

Its a nice sight to see so many bikes on the road following formation riding rules. However, due to heavy traffic and also because the road was mostly single laned, it was difficult to maintain it for long. Within a few mins we got split. I was the tail, but the one in front of me was a bit slow, so I moved on ahead and caught up with the main body of the riders. At the 2nd toll gate, which is at Ranjan Gaon, we had a puncture. It was Jolu Warrior's bike which went flat as soon as it crossed the gate.

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

Asked around and we found a puncture shop just before the gate . I guess it is not coincidence that most of the punctures happen in the viscinity of puncture shops ! The tyre tube's valve had a cut also - and the chap only had splendor's tyre tube. While a couple of guys went to look for a more fitting tyre tube, we had our first cup of tea in the morning. While having tea we got a call from N, he had crossed the tool gate, and had gone ahead. We asked him to turn back and try to get tyre for the rear wheel of the Karizma. Finally after a lot of calls between J, S and N we got a tyre tube - which was not for the zma, but finally giving up the hunt for the time being lost, we settled for this. Around 1.5 hours were lost in this.

It was almost 11am now, and we still hadn't had any breakfast. so we decided to stop for breakfast .. but S & A were ripping ahead and went on ahead. Called up S and told him to turn back to the BP petrolpump for the breakfast stop. Along with them also came PS , whom these guys had seen up ahaed. So, there we were 10 bikes in all !

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

The next bit was uneventful. The road becomes progressively worse with some road narrowing work in progress ! We reached Ahmednagar around 12:15 and PS was in the lead as he had been to H's house earlier. By his estimation we were still some 30kms away, when he suddenly pulled up at a gate saying we had arrived ! ;) Talk about distance estimations ! lol !

All of us parked up outside H's house where a prominent board displayed "no parking for boys" !

Had tea and general gupshup and timepass. H's Uncle also joined us. He used to be a bike fanatic in the heydays and regaled us with stories of his bike and how he took away the door of a car once ! One comment which would not go out of my mind was when he ashed whose bike the blue one was, and then the subsequent comment " mere ko maloom tha woh kise chickney ke hogi ! " ;-)

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

The next stop was the Tank museum but it being almost 2:30 we had to have lunch first. Around 4 we reached the tank museum which had on display the tanks of yesteryears and the wars. Did you know Roll's royce also made armoured cars ? It was an eye opener with the different tanks on display.

From Ahmednagar Tank Museum

5:30 we moved out and said goodbye to H, but it was almost 6 by the time we left Ahmednagar as there was a politician bigwig giving a speech to a crowd bought for the purpose. After sometime the guys stopped for a 'ciggy break' , but i decided to move on. I am not as fast a rider now, and wanted to put in as much distance as possible before dusk. Stopped for a shot of the windmills and then moved on again. I really need to get a waist pouch for my camera as its a time waster having to stop, take off my bag, take out the camera case, take out the camera etc etc.

As darkness crept up , we stopped for tea, and decided to follow formation for the rest of the ride. However, again due to the night and traffic we managed to get split up after 15mins. I was getting left behind, and with no markings on the road, it was difficult for me to find any guiding signs to go fast. After sometime, reached ranjan gaon, and with the road becoming better and the road marking reappearing, I started moving faster. Latched onto an alto which was going fast and followed it for some distance and then it suddenly slowed like the person driving it got terrified of doing the high speeds. Luckily there was a Scorpio who was going fast, and I started to follow it.

At Shikrapur we grouped up as PS ( who was leading with his allpoweful HID) was splitting up for Mumbai. The only person missing was S, and we called him up. He was riding the last, and he though that I was still behind him. Little did he know that though I don't enjoy night riding, I have a few tricks up my sleeves to still go fast ;)

After this the road became quite crowded with the traffic suddenly increasing, like everyone had just woken up and suddenly came onto the road ! I was following Jolu now , and we finally arrived at the dispersal point - Dass at Kalyani Nagar. C then took our group pics with auto shoot mode, with experimentation using various motorcycles as the base :) . Finally satisfied , we split up, but hardly had I gone 100mts that I had to stop. Some politician was going to the airport and the police had blocked the roads :( .

Reached home at 9:15pm, 256kms done. Not a very long or fast trip, but quite memorable.

What is Recession?

An amusing anecdote that came via email. Enzoy!

This story is about a man who once upon a time was selling Hotdogs by the roadside. He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers. He was hard of hearing, so he never listened to the radio. His eyes were weak, so he never watched television. But enthusiastically, he sold lots of hotdogs.

He was smart enough to offer some attractive schemes to increase his sales. His sales and profit went up. He ordered more a more raw material and buns and sold more. He recruited more supporting staff to serve more customers. He started offering home deliveries. Eventually he got himself a bigger and better stove. As his business was growing, the son, who had recently graduated from college, joined his father.

Then something strange happened.

The son asked, "Dad, aren't you aware of the great recession that is coming our way?" The father replied, "No, but tell me about it." The son said, "The international situation is terrible. The domestic situation is even worse. We should be prepared for the coming bad times."

The man thought that since his son had been to college, read the papers, listened to the radio and watched TV. He ought to know and his advice should not be taken lightly. So the next day onwards, the father cut down the his raw material order and buns, took down the colorful signboard, removed all the special schemes he was offering to the customers and was no longer as enthusiastic. He reduced his staff strength by giving layoffs. Very soon, fewer and fewer people bothered to stop at his Hotdog stand. And his sales started coming down rapidly and so did the profit. The father said to his son, "Son, you were right". "We are in the middle of a recession and crisis. I am glad you warned me ahead of time."

Moral of the Story: It's all in your MIND! And we actually FUEL this recession much more than we think.

Dev D : my thoughts

Yesterday night, a friend and I went off to see DevD. S was planning to come along, but at the last moment she opted out as she was not if she would enjoy the movie.

DevD is a different kind of movie. It can be also called 'wierd' as it is not the usual Bollywood fare - boy , girl, dance etc kinds of movie. Its based on the story of Devdas - immortalized in Indian cinema. But with twists adapted to the current life of the young and rich and spoilt. Well, thats all been blogged/written about. My thoughts are different.

I had been listening to the songs of the film "Emotional Atyachar" etc etc. I wanted to see how they fit in... and it was beyond my expectation. The songs has been wowen into the picture at different points. The songs repeat depending on the situation. The positioning of the songs change depending on what the protagonist is doing. E.g. in one scene when Dev is walking, the song fills up the screen, but then he turns into a street and the song fades to one side , as if it was being played in some music system in some home. Another one is when he dunks his head into water, and the songs/ambient sounds becomes muffled like when you hear something under the water.

The cameramanship is also awesome. The scene where he is drinking, the camera revolves around him. At the start of the drinking binge you can make out the shapes around him, but they soon become blurry as he drinks more and more... Visual represntation of the person's mind.

This is not a movie to be watched at home unless you have a good movie station at home with surround 5.1 systems. Go to the theatre to watch it before it gets taken down.

My Rating : "Must Watch! But probably without people who like mushy movies"

Good Morning Pune!

Good Morning Pune!
Originally uploaded by vibhu

Got up early today in preparation for a small ride tomorrow to Mulshi. The nomads from BN are to meet up at CC at 6am , and move off at 6:30am. I am a late riser, and so to get into the rhythm, I got up today at 6am ! Got out of bed at 6:30 ofcourse ;)

From the balcony of my house, with a warm cup of water in my hand, I was seeing the sun rise, thinking its been so long since I have seen it. The air felt fresh and tingling with a slight chill. Dumbo, i said to myself, get your camera and take a pic ! So, thats what I did.

With construction on in most parts of pune, there was no escape from the scaffolding on the apartment blocks, or the wires strung in between. But the distant hills bathed in a slight haze, and the sun warming up the morning sky, it gave a particular feel to the place. A feel of Pune.