• Sun Tech Days 2009: GG

    The whole of last week, I was at Hyderabad and I really can't express in words as to how great it felt to be away from college for a full, solid seven days! Me, Sarguru, Nitin and Lakshminarayan left for Delhi on the evening of the 14th. Our train was from Delhi Nizamuddin station at 7 in the morning. The journey went rather smoothly with me spending most of my time sleeping.

    Day 1:

    On Monday morning, we arrived at Secunderabad station and we were quick to book a room in a nearby lodge for Rs 135 per person per day! :P

    We had a good south Indian meal for brunch and we were all set for our sight seeing spree. The first place we visited was Golconda fort. Inspite of having been in Rajasthan (more specifically speaking, Jaipur) for close to three years, I had not been to a single fort there! So the Golconda trip was quite a first for me as we explored the citadel, the gardens, the prison and so on.

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    We then went back to the city to check out the Charminar, which really didn't have anything great about it. Or maybe I just can't appreciate things that are beautiful.

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    Anyways, we decided to catch a movie at the famous Imax theatre complex, and after a good long walk around the Hussein Sagar lake, we were finally there. McDonald's helped rejuvenate our strength as we mowed down on burgers and mexican wraps and went on to get tickets for the 3-D version of Polar Express. :) We had a good half hour left till the show started, so we decided to fool around with some fun stuff in the complex namely, the Haunted House, the Mirror Maze and the Crazy Hotel. The mirror maze would have been interesting had I not known the 'only-left' algorithm to navigate out of mazes. :)

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    Watching the Polar Express in 3-D was certainly something else, since you actually felt like you were 'there', with the snow falling around you, the train nearly hitting you and you looking out of windows. We then called it a day, and hit the beds in the luxury of our lodge. :)

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    Day 2:

    Day two was rather boring in comparison to day one. We set out to the Birla Art exhibition first and uhm... saw some paintings, most of which I couldn't comprehend. Modern art is shitty I tell you. I'm sure I can do patterns that are more coherent than those. And not surprisingly, most of the paintings were titled 'Untitled'. Like duh? Ideally, most of them could have been named something like, 'Random-instances-of-paint-strewn-over-a-sheet', or 'When-my-dog-messed-with-my-paint' and so on. Heck, maybe they just aren't creative enough. :D

    What followed in our itinerary was the Salar Jung museum. We had a jolly good time looking at Salar Jung III's pictures and paintings and tagging him 'gay'. Trust me, the pictures did make him look so but I'm sure he was a great chap! The only exhibits that interested us were the arms and weapons collection where all kinds of guns, swords including Indian/Persian simitars and armour were up on display. Once we were done with the museum, we proceeded back to the Birla Planetorium to catch the English Show which took us through a journey through space and explained a lot of interesting components about the mystery we call, the universe.

    Day 3-5: Sun Tech Days 2009:

    This has certainly been the coolest developers' conference I've ever attended! The Hyderabad International Convention Center itself took my breath away with it's magnificence. And the whole idea of giving a talk here was simply exciting! The inaugural ceremony was brilliant, with a 11 year old percussion sensation drumming away to cheers and applauds from us, the mesmerized audience. What followed were demonstrations of some of Sun's technologies which included JavaFX by Chuk Munn Lee and JavaTV by Srinidhi. Then came the moment we've all waited for, the opening key note by James Gosling, the father of Java himself!

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    After the ceremony, I went over to my stall, where I helped carry out OSUM registrations and conduct demonstrations of OHAC and HA-Cron all day. I interacted with a lot of people from different companies and institutes, discussed code and projects with some and made plans for workshops with a handful. :)

    JB had his Project Kenai stall right next to mine and he took me through the whole project. I really didn't know what Kenai was all about until this so I'm kind of intrigued by the idea behind it. It also has a lot of relevance considering the fact that the world is moving towards an era of cloud computing. I was kind of picturising the whole concept of project management with the social computing paradigm and a bit of cloud computing and it sounded amazing! A couple of hours after that, I met Mayuresh from the OpenSolaris team who asked me the details of my talk which was scheduled on the 19th. Later that day in the evening, I went over to the hall to test my laptop with the projector and it worked like a charm.

    Day three ended with a dinner treat by Ganesh to the entire Sun CA gang and we digged in to Hyderabadi Biriyani and a sweet dish which had a really weird name that I can't remember now.

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    Day four was just as exciting with me conducting even more demos, meeting even more people and finally giving my talk! Jay Mahadeokar, the CA from SRKNEC, Nagpur gave a talk on Project Canopee which made use of SunSPOTS, his pet technology. :) After that I talked about HA-Cron and the GDS methodology for agent development on OHAC. My talk was well perceived and I managed to create a bit of hype around OHAC itself, as was told to me by some systems engineers from De Shaw, who'd attended my talk. And wow! Did that feel great!

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    At 3:00 PM, Ganesh N Ram A.K.A GNR, gave the talk on OHAC itself and explained in great detail SMF, FMA, failover and scalable clusters and gave a superb demonstration which was followed by a grand applause from our audience. Both of us together answered a flurry of doubts that were thrown from the audience and I went on to get acquainted with even more people after that. :)

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    I lazed around for the rest of the day at the stall and continued demonstrating OHAC to all passersby. I'm surprised at all the OHAC evangelism I did! We were again treated to dinner by Ganesh himself. :)

    University day was rather boring as a lot of the talks were being repeated over and over again. Abhishek gave an amazing talk on 'Enterprising Open Source' and with his panache, kept the crowd entertained. In the evening, we CAs stayed back to meet Joe Hartley, Vice President, Global Government, Education & Healthcare, Sun Microsystems and we gave him our feedback about the programme in general. A photo shoot followed after which we all left to catch our trains and so on.

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    After quite a sick journey from Hyderabad to Warangal, a six hour wait for the train to Jaipur and a Jaipur-Coimbatore train filled with brats, we finally got back to our good ol' college. Damn.

  • Fotia: the open source workshop

    At 9.30 AM in the New Junior Lecture Hall of MNIT Jaipur, Fotia kicked off to a start. Ajay Ahuja, General Manager (Systems Engineering), Sun Microsystems talked about OpenSolaris and it's awesome features, using quite an interesting flash based demo. I followed up with a talk on my favourite project, Open HA Cluster.:) But sadly enough, Murphy decided to make things difficult and halfway through my talk the power went off in the whole institute! But I managed to keep the crowd occupied by asking students to come forward and give lightning talks on open source technologies that they've worked on. We gave away OpenSolaris t-shirts to these students and all those who were able to answer questions that followed Ajay's talk. We then conducted the much awaited FOSS quiz, and after a tie breaker for the first prize, we gave away an iPOD Shuffle to Himanshu Agarwal from Jaipur. Two second prizes (4GB pen drives) and three third prizes (Frontec headphones) were given away as well. All our participants received OpenSolaris and Netbeans DVDs, pens, keychains and participation certificates. Thanks to all the attendees and the organisers who made it all possible!
  • Fotia@Blitzschlag

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    Fotia, a workshop on some of the coolest open source technologies, is happening at MNIT-Jaipur on the 7th of February, 2009 during our techno-cultural fest, Blitzschlag '09! The agenda for the day is as follows:

    1) 0800-0900 Hours: Registration

    2) 0900-1000 Hours: 'OpenSolaris and it's exciting features' by Ajay Ahuja, General Manager (Systems Engineering)

    3) 1000-1100 Hours: 'Open High Availability Cluster' by Lalith Suresh, Sun Campus Ambassador, MNIT-Jaipur

    4) 1100-1200 Hours: FOSS Quiz; prizes include one iPOD Shuffle, two 4GB Pendrives and three Headphones!

    Apart from this, we're distributing OpenSolaris Starter Kits, Netbeans DVDs and we're giving away OpenSolaris t-shirts to the sharper among the audience members!

    So what are you waiting for? Come on over!

  • Setting up MRTG for BSNL, Jaipur... again!

    Well, going by what actually happened at the National Internet Backbone's nodal center in Jaipur, a more apt title would have been something like:

    "Attempt at Setting up MRTG for BSNL, Jaipur, Swiftly Denied by a Network Problem"

    Like I mentioned before, we had some serious network related issues when we were trying to configure the (really old) server they'd given us to setup MRTG on. We were to configure the network interface settings on the Red Hat server according to a hand book they'd given me. After setting the IP and the subnet mask, I went on to add the default gateway route. And heck, the gateway wasn't visible from the LAN! I thought that perhaps, the hand book had older details and they'd probably reconfigured their routers in the server room we were in. But when Mr S.C Gupta, the head of the nodal office, told me that all other hosts in the same network are using the gateway that was specified in the manual (which was Rajasthan's gateway to the internet backbone), I was taken aback. Not once in my system administration experience had I encountered a situation where a router was visible to all hosts but one within the same VLAN (assuming no one went through the trouble of setting a port block in the switch)! Furthermore, I was able to ping all these hosts from the server in question and vice versa, but the router still stood defiant (when I get my hands on it...grrr). My suspicion about the router having disabled incoming pings were also put to waste when I saw that it's working with the other devices on the same LAN. Just to be sure, I checked and double checked the configuration of all other systems on the network, and they all seemed green. How queer. To make matters worse, no one really knew how these devices were networked. After tackling the problem for about 4 hours, me and my junior Nitin, decided to leave and come back some other time because the station was to go on a power maintenance shutdown. Man was I glad I left that place!

  • Next Generation of Gaming?

    Believe it or not, this is real. The surface is known as the reactable and this work involves developing a role playing game (RPG) which involves you moving around your character through a virtual world. Let the video do the explaining for you.