Wednesday, June 03, 2020

The demise of gksudo from Ubuntu-based distributions and what to do about it

I gather that there were good security-related reasons for discontinuing gksudo. But it's quite inconvenient not having it, for example when you are adding new items to the Linux Mint main menu (using menulibre, for example).

Here's what I do:
  • install ssh-askpass

  • add this line
    to the file
  • Then, in menu or batch commands that you want to pop-up a graphical p/w prompt, say
    sudo -A <command>

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Automounting google-drive-ocamlfuse: getting Google Drive to appear as a Linux folder

This is well documented elsewhere, but just for clarity, here are my settings, that work. I.e., the Google drive appears automatically mounted after a fresh boot.

1. Install google-drive-ocamlfuse

2. Line in /etc/fstab (all one line):
gdfuse#default  /home/dom/GoogleDriveUofA    fuse    uid=1000,gid=1000,allow_other,user,_netdev     0       0

3. Contents of executable /usr/bin/gdfuse
su dom -l -c "google-drive-ocamlfuse -label $1 $*"
exit 0

Friday, May 03, 2019

Cyavana and the motif of the tormented meditator

Years ago I wrote an article called "The Spikes in the Ears of the Ascetic."  I examined a story that occurs in early Buddhist and Jain texts, and is illustrated on the cave walls in Ajanta and in early Pala and Jaina manuscripts.
The story tells of an ascetic who is absorbed in meditation while walking.  Village lads (pāṃśupiśācas "dust-goblins" in some versions) pelt the ascetic with mud or worse.  Eventually they drive spikes into his ears.  Nothing disturbs the meditation.  But later, on waking, the sage curses the naughty boys.
It is only this year that I have discovered that the earliest version of the story occurs in the Śatapathabrāhmaṇa (thanks to my student Faried Nasir, who wrote an essay on Cyavana). 

The tale of Cyavana, SB 4.1.5 contains the antecedent of the "spikes in the ears" theme.  In the SB, Śaryāta the Mānava, while wandering, has a clan of juniors who pelt Cyavana with clods believing him to be something valueless (verses 2, 5):

4.1.5.[2] śaryāto ha vā idam mānavo grāmeṇa cacāra | sa tadeva prativeśo niviviśe tasya kumārāḥ krīḍanta imaṃ jīrṇiṃ kṛtyārūpam anarthyam manyamānā loṣṭair vipipiṣuḥ

4.1.5.[3] sa śāryātebhyaścukrodha | tebhyo 'saṃjñāṃ cakāra pitaiva putreṇa yuyudhe bhrātā bhrātrā

4.1.5.[4] śaryāto ha vā īkṣāṃ cakre | yatkimakaraṃ tasmād idam āpadīti sa gopālāṃś cāvipālāṃś ca saṃhvayitavā uvāca

4.1.5.[5] sa hovāca | ko vo 'dyeva kiṃcid adrākṣīd iti te hocuḥ puruṣa evāyaṃ jīrṇiḥ kṛtyārūpaḥ śete tam anarthyam manyamānāḥ kumārā loṣṭair vyapikṣanniti sa vidāṃ cakāra sa vai cyavana iti


Eggeling, Julius. 1882–1900. The Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa According to the Text of the Mādhyandina School. The Sacred Books of the East. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.

Leslie, Julia. 2003. Authority and Meaning in Indian Religions. Hinduism and the Case of Valmiki. Aldershot: Ashgate. doi:10.4324/9781315198439. Pages 130 et passim.

Wujastyk, Dominik. 1984. "The Spikes in the Ears of the Ascetic: An Illustrated Tale in Buddhism and Jainism." Oriental Art 2: 189–94.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon and display flickering

When I upgraded to Linux Mint 19.1 with Cinnamon, I encountered a problem that my screen flickered immediately after logging in.  Others encountered the same problem (here).
I found that the solution proposed there, i.e., to delete the line
from the file
worked for me.  Logging out and back in after that change gave me a stable display.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

APN problem and mobile data

Returning from a trip abroad, my Canadian Public Mobile service stopped providing mobile data.  The problem was that the APN parameters for Public Mobile had been erased. And the "edit" and "add" options for APNs was now disabled.  Only entries for TELUS and Koodoo appeared, and neither were suitable.
I found this solution,
and it worked.

NB: on the phone
  • turn "USB tethering" off
  • enable developer mode (system/aboutphone/7 taps) and switch on USB debugging
  • make sure you use a good USB cable 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Counting on base sixteen and four, as seen in the introductions to some early Bengali printed books


Friday, August 31, 2018

Medical e-texts available from the National Institute for Indian Medical Heritage, Hyderabad

It is not easy to find these books at the NIIMH website, so here are the links:
  • Carakasaṃhitā
  • Suśrutasaṃhitā
  • Mādhavanidānam
  • Nighaṇṭavaḥ (including   
    • abhidhānamañjarī 
    • abhidhānaratnamālā 
    • amarakōśa 
    • aṣṭāṅganighaṇṭu 
    • kaiyadēvanighaṇṭu 
    • camatkāranighaṇṭu 
    • dravyaguṇasaṅgraha    
    • dhanvantarinighaṇṭu 
    • nighaṇṭuśēṣa 
    • paryāyaratnamālā 
    • bhāvaprakāśanighaṇṭu 
    • madanapālanighaṇṭu 
    • madanādinighaṇṭu 
    • mādhavadravyaguṇa 
    • rājanighaṇṭu 
    • rājavallabhanighaṇṭu 
    • laghunighaṇṭu 
    • śabdacandrikā 
    • śivakōṣa 
    • sarasvatīnighaṇṭu 
    • siddhamantra 
    • siddhasāranighaṇṭu 
    • sōḍhalanighaṇṭu 
    • sauśrutanighaṇṭu and 
    • hr̥dayadīpakanighaṇṭu)

A melancholy reflection from the online documentation:

...  किन्तु वर्तमान वैज्ञानिक युग में संस्कृत भाषा के प्रति पाठकों की अत्यल्प रुचि के कारण ...
"But in this scientific age there is little inclination towards reading in the Sanskrit language, and therefore ..."