• Gross

    * Disclaimer: Even though I'll try to tone things down, this article might end up disgusting most of you, to the point that you might want to turn yourself inside out in the process. Any harm caused is the reader's fault and not mine. You have been warned. *

    The MNIT hostels have always had a reputation for not being really clean; reasons being bad mess food, a poor maintenance cycle, and mostly, plain old sick people.

    So having lived here in these hostels for my fourth year running, you can say I've been inured by the 'exposure' gained. The most noteworthy part of these hostels involve the bathrooms themselves, the conditions of which I'd like to enlighten you all with. Every trip to one of these common bathrooms is a new experience, as the occupants of these hostels are never out of ideas to churn your guts.

    In any case, I'll be drawing out a list of things you _don't_ want to see when you walk into one of these bathrooms. So here goes:

    1. A rat the size of a kitten running towards the latrine, and disappearing down the toilet.
    2. A snake disappearing down the toilet. No kidding.
    3. The bathroom drains being blocked (because someone thought he'd stuff his empty can of shampoo down the hole), and the entire room being flooded with water upto ankle level. Note that the water's connected to the toilets, the bathing area, the wash basin area and the urinal section.
    4. Someone walking bare feet through the above mentioned flooded room.
    5. The toilet with a hell lot of shit left untouched. (Abides well with Murphy's law, as it happens only when you've got to take a crap, and very badly that too).
    6. Same situation as above, but you notice two different sets of shit. (Guess why?)
    7. Plastic bottles lying around inside the toilets. This might be a little hard to figure out for people who're on the cleaner side of life, so I'll tell you. The said people use those instead of mugs (they share a bottle which they leave in the latrine itself).
    8. Now it starts getting weird: A packet of chips lying inside the toilet. Cigarette buds too.
    9. The next one usually happens the night after every exam: the wash basin clogged and filled to the brim with puke. You know. Good ol' booze?
    10. A variant of the above involves puke all around the toilet and absolutely none inside it. Talk about horrible aim.
    11. A guy putting his hands down the toilet to get his key which fell through it. Just kidding. :P

    Anyways, call me sick for even bothering to post this. Yeah whatever.

  • I love my desktop

    I _love_ eye candy. :)

    I know a lot of people would disagree, claiming that it doesn't offer any increase in productivity for a developer and only uses up resources, but what the heck! I've got 4 Gigs of RAM to burn, and even when I'm running two OpenSolaris VMs in my Ubuntu, my Compiz doesn't chug! This in spite of the fact that I'm using an Intel based shared memory graphics card. :)

    Anyhow, I recently installed Terminator which is a really slick x-term emulator that offers you a single terminal window which you can split into multiple ones (either horizontally or vertically). I'm used to leaving Alt+T as my key binding to start a new terminal, but the problem is, when you set this binding from the System->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts menu, it is set to launch gnome-terminal instead of your default x-terminal-emulator. Now since I was in one of those lazy moods where I didn't feel like finding out the right config file (among the millions out there) to tweak, I decided to go for the not-so-graceful way of solving the issue:

    $: sudo mv /usr/bin/gnome-terminal /usr/bin/gnome-terminal-old

    $: sudo ln -s /usr/bin/terminator /usr/bin/gnome-terminal

    Done! Here's my Desktop with terminator running (that's cairo-dock on the left by the way):

    Peace! :)

  • * Sigh *

    I was in the process of getting transcripts issued for a senior of mine, so after getting all the necessary photocopies made, I made my way into the Dean of Student Affairs' Office, which MNITians lovingly (not!) refer to as 'dosa'. The folks in that office are well known for playing ball with you. While that would be fun under normal circumstances, it isn't quite that way when 'you' are the ball as is the case here. No one there really has a clue of what he/she has to be doing, so if you ask one person, "Sir, I want <insert requirement here>", he'll calmly point towards some chair behind some other desk. I say chair here because that's what you see; there's usually no one occupying it. I have a feeling that that's part of their plan. Leave an empty chair behind a desk and when you don't know what the student's asking you or you're not interested or simply because the sky's blue, just point towards the empty chair. That's like the 'default' case in a select-case block. Only thing is, the actual cases are useless code, written poorly and no input will ever reach those branches of code. The game ends when the ball leaves the office in a spite of frustration, after visiting all the desks.

    Anyhow, I got rather lucky that day and my request got a HIT in the first try. Since I was getting eight sets of transcripts, each with nine sheets, the guy proceeds to write the following calculation for the amount I was to pay on the request letter:

    9 x 100           = 900

    8 x 9 = 63 * 2 = 126

    Total = 1026

    Guess I don't even need to explain this.

  • Gyan! A FOSS Workshop @ MNIT

    dscn0486 by uditsharma03.

    Neuron '09, a technical fest, was held between 23rd and 24th of October, 2009 in my institute and I must say, those guys managed to pull it off pretty well! A once in a blue moon situation, most of the events violated the 'Indian Standard Time' rule by actually beginning and ending on time! When's the last time you saw that happen here? Anyways, as always, we from the MNIT Open Source User Mesh (MOSUM) decided to conduct a little FOSS workshop during the three day programme. The 24th of October was the auspicious date as per the alignment of the planets (yeah right). So just like we did with all our other workshops that happened during our tech fests, we decided to bring in speakers from outside. Steven Fernandez (who works for Druvaa, and is also a former Red Hat employee) talked about the FOSS ecosystem, how it works and how one can be a part of it. Jai Pandya (JECRC, Jaipur) followed with a beginner oriented talk on Wordpress and how to use it setup a website in under 5 minutes. Finally, I took over with a not-so-beginner-oriented talk on parallel programming using OpenMP (#pragma anyone?). Furthermore, the turnout of 120 was far more than any of us expected! Wonder if the city of Jaipur is really awakening. Let's just hope that we see new faces turning up for our LUG-Jaipur meets from here on. :)

  • In a daze

    The past one week has been quite interesting. Things that never crossed my mind, seem to have happened, and no amount of pinching myself seems to change things, which certainly proves that all this is real. In one part of the world, Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace prize. While this seems to have generated quite a furore, the media looks like they're enjoying every bit of it. Check out these cartoons to get an idea of why people think he shouldn't have won the award. Mahatma Gandhi was nominated five times for the same award without winning it, yet, people like Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Yasser Arafa found a way through. Sigh. Anyways, to all those of you who think he didn't deserve this, at least be happy that it wasn't given off to his predecessor. That thought kind of works for me. :)

    Diametrically across the planet, in a hostel room numbered 4/24, of a university named MNIT-Jaipur, something strange has happened as well. In what seems like a bizarre case of insanity, I am actually _slogging_ for a change. No, this is not another one of those mid term exams (which should be aptly renamed to something like take-a-break-from-whatever-you're-doing exams; makes more sense that way), nor does it have anything to do with assignment submissions either. Neither of those take up much of my time anyway (final year stereotype I'd say). What seems to have got me bogged down, is an exam, which I'm bound to write if I wish to fulfill a destiny I've chosen for myself. I'm talking about the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). By the way, this is supposed to be gee-ar-ee and not gree (which rhymes with glee). There's a reason why I've mentioned this here, because there are people in this institute who're known to say stuff like, "I'm going to write gree, toofil and iltus" (referring to GRE, TOEFL and IELTS), and they are _not_ trying to be funny. So if one of you guys stumble upon this, please do get it right from here on. Anyways, so here I am going through word list after word list, passage after passage and silly math problems that make you so over confident, you end up getting them wrong. Man I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy, or wait, maybe I would.

    The best part about the whole idea behind the GRE is that it isn't the sole factor that determines your admission to a foreign university. Your academic profiles and recommendations matter the most so yes, if you're one of those guys who people look at and say OMG-I-WISH-I-HAD-A-PROFILE-LIKE-HIS, then relax, an average GRE score will do as well. :)

    I've gotten into a good deal with my conscience, and we've both decided to give the where'll-I-be-after-I-graduate thoughts a one way ticket to /dev/null. To all you non techies, you can say those thoughts were sent to hell. :)  The amount of attributes that affect the answer to that question is overwhelming, all the way from the N masters programmes you could apply to, to the companies you could work for and finally to the roadside shops you could open. It's options galore!  For me, the question still remains unanswered but yes, there seem to be little sprouts of options coming up, although, they're far from bearing fruit. The day it _does_, I'm treating myself to a drink, maybe more. :)

    I'll be glad after this phase is over, until then, I'm getting back to my word lists... duress, dutiful, dwindle, dynamic, dyspeptic...

    Wow, I'm excited already.