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  • Kartik 8:23 PM on July 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Coursera, , friends, Goodreads, Oracle, , ,   

    Week 1 at Bangalore and Work 

    I landed at Bangalore airport last week flying on an indiGo for the first time; found the experience better than JetKonnect from my first flight.

    Next day (Sunday) started early with a walk to Oracle Tech Park and back to get myself familiarized with the area before first day at work. A much-needed haircut followed.

    Having caught cold with the change in weather, I had to miss the Goodreads meetup planned at Brigade Road during the day, which I was eagerly awaiting to attend with a friend. The day was instead spent hunting around for a pair of Oxfords in Jayanagar/JP Nagar markets. Apparently, it’s not easy to find those classic-shaped shoes anymore, with most shoes available in a strangely long front-part which I absolutely dislike. After spending over 40 minutes at the second store I tried, I settled for a passable pair. My friends had already warned me that there is no dress code at work place and I will discard them within few days. Shopping for myself without my mom has never been an easy experience.

    The first two days were spent on induction. First day could be summarized as the practice-your-signature-a-hundred-times day; I detest manually signing anything and prefer digital security for most applications. Dunno how long it will take to transition to a world when (hard copy) paperwork will be a thing of past. Second day was much less tiring with some interesting presentations about culture and how things work at Oracle. I was impressed, better than my expectations indeed. :)

    Next three days were devoted on a Campus to Corporate program for college grads (it, interestingly, also had an experienced person among us for some unknown reason). I liked the program overall for it made many things crystal clear for us to move to corporate world and more so because it involved close interaction among the new hires and I got to meet many interesting people.

    I also managed to watch Bhaag Milkha Bhaag on Wednesday at an INOX for a relatively cheap ticket price (I am totally surprised over the difference in prices over here compared to other cities like Chennai), thanks to new friends Naman and Ratan who knew about a weekly offer and pre-booked the tickets before they got over. Movie had its own class and I never felt bored or found it dragging given it’s being criticized for being too lengthy (naysayers always manage to find something or other to criticize even things of perfection).

    This weekend was spent on catching up on more sleep and looking for a home to stay at a few places. Had to give up on a great deal today for just one reason – tiny size of bathroom, which could definitely induce claustrophobia in, for an otherwise perfectly sane, me. (For those living in Bangalore, I am still looking for a 1BHK OR 2/3 BHK (and flatmates) within max 4 Kms radius of my work location – IBC Knowledge Park near Dairy Circle, Bannerghatta Road, any help is definitely appreciated. Please contact me at kartiksinghal [AT] gmail and I will try to get back asap.)

    One thing that bothers me after a week of work is how less time I could spend on things I wanted to do in the beginning of the week. Although the first week involved no real work, sitting at office itself and traveling to and fro could be tiring. It led me to miss homework deadlines of multiple courses on Coursera and hence deciding to drop most of them (except two). I believe it’s more of the initial hassles of settling down in a new environment than my inability to keep up. Also, I had to really think what courses were really important for me to keep doing with a shift in priorities and amount of free time available. Think, I will learn to manage time more effectively as I get used to the new life.

    Tomorrow might be a great day as we, new hires, apparently get to interact with a top executive of the company. Excitement level is high, indeed.

    NOTE: I am aware now being an employee of a company, I might not be fully open in sharing my experiences. I will keep sharing things which do not affect my employer in any way. Of course, it’s to be noted, any opinions shared from now onwards represent my personal views and do not pertain to my employer at any level (Time to update the About section of my blog as well).

     

     
  • Kartik 6:02 AM on May 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , friends, ,   

    Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

    Calvin Coolidge (Discovered this as my MITian friend Ankur’s gmail chat status)
     
  • Kartik 2:03 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , friends, , , ,   

    Of FOSSMeets at NIT Calicut 

    It’s been over a month and a half since the last edition of FOSSMeet at NIT Calicut. As an active member of organizing team for FOSSMeets ’10 and ’11 and a keen but silent observer for the 2013 edition, I want to share some history, some ideas & few observations with this post. The intent is to generate discussion among people who have been part of earlier FOSSMeets and to leave some things to ponder about (and act on) for juniors.

    Year One

    FOSSMeet 2010 and the preparations that led to it were a great experience for me as a fresher in the college. We have a Google Group for FOSSMeet discussions connecting alumni and others connected to FOSSMeet in some or other way together. The thing I liked most was the open discussions we had on the mailing list about the problems faced in our campus when it comes to organizing a technology focused event like FOSSMeet, the event structure of FOSSMeet itself, lots of suggestions and ideas being shared from alumni, seniors, and even freshers like me and Pranav. It was exactly like the way I imagined an open community works – involving everyone without bias on age, seniority, gender, etc. Much thought was given even to suggestions we gave as freshers (fresh perspectives), and questions/doubts/uncertainties that we raised were patiently addressed. We also had few IRC meetings, and even got trolled in one of them :D. I got to learn the history of FOSS culture at NITC and got connected to many interesting seniors and alumni. What more could a budding FOSS enthusiast ask for?

    I contributed to FOSSMeet that year by designing the website along with Pranav Ashok. It was my first complete website based on Drupal, and I can’t describe in words the amount of learning and fun I had working on it (working till midnight at SSL (that too in first year!); getting ourselves locked in the IT Lab Complex in the midnight of Dec. 31, it was Pranav’s birthday; etc). We made sure all kinds of information that participants/speakers would look for was easily available on the site, and even went on to properly archive the websites of previous editions of FOSSMeet so that visitors get a complete picture about our history. There was a small forum to answer queries raised by visitors (especially freshers of our campus), and registration of both delegates and speakers was handled through the website itself – thanks to the awesome contrib modules available for Drupal (guess the registration team was pretty much relieved that they could just export an Excel sheet of all registrations). The amount of support and freedom given to us by seniors (especially Amarnath) was heartening. Overall, this one website got me started with Drupal and can be credited as the reason for many other sites I did later (including my best website work yet – the CSED site). To happy memories of an upcoming web enthusiast…

    Another way I was able to contribute that year was as a volunteer in the Speaker Hospitality team. I recall asking Amarnath what would he choose, and I had my answer. It was a great experience getting to meet almost all the speakers in person (even Atul Chitnis!), sharing ideas and views with them, getting inspired in the process, and yeah running to and fro to the cool (literally) NITC Guest House to arrange accommodation for speakers and making sure they were comfortable. Seniors including Anil and Febin were very helpful in the process.

    Praveen’s birthday was celebrated on the stage in one of the halls, another example I saw of how people were close to each other while working on things of common interest. Some of my most happy memories include working with GeoHackers on their website in their FOSSHut and going out for dinner at Broast  (my first visit there) with the gang of geeks – 12 of us, each carrying heavy laptop bags, and only one, I, an NITC student. I don’t remember if I participated in any of the workshops, but talks by Dr V Sasi Kumar and Atul Chitnis were quite interesting. Overall, this FOSSMeet was a huge success with good participation, effective talks and workshops (most popular was one on Blender IIRC), and a lot of happy memories. :)

    Related Links

    Year Two

    Something was different this time, less enthusiasm among the team, lack of proper leadership and hence lack of a clear vision about the aim & purpose of the event, perhaps it was the fatigue of conducting another related conference just a few months earlier – FOSS in Education (which saw RMS visiting Calicut and we students getting to interact with him in person). There was comparatively lesser amount of discussion on the mailing list (intrusion of Facebook into our lives can be attributed to this), or if we look at it the quality of discussion was different this time.

    I took the responsibility of Speakers Manager along with helping out with the website (logical promotion from my previous year’s responsibilities) this time. I had visited two professional FOSS related conferences that year – PyCon 2010 and FOSS.IN 2010 – and met a lot of geeks and hackers. Anjhan’s keynote at FOSS.IN had a great impact on me, and also made me realize how grand FOSSMeet used to be when he mentioned it there on that stage. I realized expectations were high and I had a relatively important role to perform.

    A lot of hard work followed in hundreds of email exchanges with potential speakers (some of them I had befriended the previous year or in other conferences), arranging for their travel plans, accommodation arrangements in the Guest House and hostels, making sure all their needs were met, etc. Anil Vishnu, my senior, again was a great help. One thing different this time was the visit of Chamba team to our campus a week before FOSSMeet started, this was a great initiative to try and get talented students from NITC involved in their team.  But I found myself burdened with work and responsibility and aghast with conflict of interests among FOSSMeet activities and some event by a group which was part of organizing bodies of FOSSMeet; perhaps it was just lack of communication among our whole team – a serious problem which scales with the size of teams.

    On the website front, we tried to make the session proposal process more open this time, and received a few proposals. I believe a smooth web experience matters a lot in making things open using technology and we faced few problems in that respect, but web team couldn’t be blamed completely for this because that year we faced problems with our hosting provider with one server upgrade and a last minute server crash. I learnt how difficult it becomes sometimes to convey ideas to others in the team. There were some heated exchanges and ego clashes which had long term impact much later. Alas, important lessons learnt the hard way.

    Another disheartening aspect of this year was low attendance in some of the best workshop sessions arranged that year – Git workshop by Noufal, Intro to GCC Compiler Collection by Praseed Pai, and many of the talks. I had even personally identified the best technical sessions and tried to promote them in our class but the response wasn’t as expected. Python workshop was overcrowded, the most popular session that year. It, indeed, showed the need of a better mechanism to allow entry to a workshop based on prerequisites and interest of participants. Otherwise, it becomes a problem for both the organizers and the speakers in effectively conducting the sessions. Some speakers mentioned missing prerequisite among the audience, and some were of course disappointed with low participation in their sessions.

    Some of the best moments from that year were my interactions with Niyam Bhushan and Praveen. Praveen inspired an urge in me to ask questions, and Niyam left a message to never give up on my passion. At the end of the event, the team faced a complete burn out, and not much effort was done to properly document the event – something I think is very important. One other thing I personally felt was a need to question ourselves – Was it all worth the effort? Were we able to realize a dream of having NITC community involved in open source development? Heck, were we gaining anything out of this, technically and otherwise (an inner satisfaction)? We were so tired that no other FOSS related activity was done that semester except for one preplanned LaTeX session.

    Year Three

    I remember meeting Jerrin, Shamil and a few others and questioning ourselves about last FOSSMeet and think about the next one. I had personally moved away from most of the FOSS activities in the campus (were they any left by then?) and wanted to play a minimal role in FOSSMeet that were to happen. We tried including all technical groups of campus this time, ISTE was a fresher. But there were internal troubles within our team, somehow we had failed to inspire our juniors to lead the effort. And again, there was minimal discussion over the mailing list or the Facebook group that had been formed. I also felt there was lack of interest in our team to discuss on questions like the aim of FOSSMeet, why should we even do it or how it could help change the face of technical activities in the campus, when I once raised them in a physical meeting. Sadly, after some efforts, some preparations and  some rescheduling of dates, the event was called off.

    Year Four

    Before starting on this one. I want to acknowledge the efforts of the team behind bringing FOSSMeet back! The efforts by Shamil, Jerrin, Arunanand (Taa), Nimish, Vipin and Jaseem are commendable. Especially, with the help of Taa’s professionalism & experience and a burning desire in Shamil to bring it back, the seniors were able to inspire the juniors to make FOSSMeet happen this year. The team composed of many dedicated second years – Govind, Karun, Shiv, Vinith, Adithya, Hemant, Pallab, Vimal and many more – who put their best efforts. Third years including Yazar, Prajith, Sudev, Ashwin, Bandna and many more helped with their experience and wherever they could. The speaker line up was good, both for talks and workshops. I heartily congratulate everyone in the team to make this happen, bringing something of legacy back to life isn’t an easy task, something I can tell from experience.

    But all wasn’t so well during the actual conduct this year. I observed few things myself and there were comments from speakers and participants as well (see links below). I couldn’t be an active part this year because of other commitments, but it was great and humbling experience being a silent observer for once.

    One general observation was the same as earlier – audience not fitting in the right sessions, which leads to some of them being overcrowded and some being almost empty. Also, the expectations of a speaker aren’t met in terms of prerequisites and interest of the audience in their session. This is IMO a not-so-difficult problem to solve – IIT Madras has been doing this in their HackFest (during Shastra) at least for last 4 years since I know about it. A screening process for delegates, that could be easily implemented on the website, which helps them choose which sessions to attend based on their interests and earlier experience in those fields could be very effective. This is more important for the type of audience that FOSSMeet caters to – students, some of them completely uninitiated about how free communities and open source works. This could also help in scheduling the sessions depending on the numbers and difficulty levels of sessions.

    There were some complaints about arbitrary reschedulings, delays in initiation of sessions, etc. Also, something I observed myself, there were no volunteers in some sessions to introduce the speaker, to track the time taken in a talk or to present the memento at the end of the session.  I understand the problems organizers face (being one myself earlier) but I felt this could have been dealt with more professionally and carefully. An intro session on where to find information, how to identify volunteers, etc. during the inauguration of the event could certainly help.

    This time the team opted to use HasGeek’s Funnel for proposal acceptance. Funnel is a pretty awesome tool for the task, but switching to it should have been done well in advance. I observed there were some proposals on the website in the beginning which never appeared later on Funnel. Also, there was some gap in communication among the proposers and organizers (especially pointed out by students from Amritha – I was really happy to see so many proposals coming from students there), again this is something organizers should be very careful about in conducting a professional event.

    Another complaint was about the student audience being complete novice for some sessions. Personally, I was shocked to see the number of students who appeared for Django Hacknight who were completely clueless about even the syntax of Python (sadly, the hacknight that was supposed to be done among 4-5 people turned into just another beginner session on how to start with Django with about 25 participants). This is not an easy problem to solve, only thing that can help is regular meetups/sessions during the year by seniors interested in technology and open culture. Student organizations like CSEA, FOSSCell, IEEE have been trying to help but regularly tend to get lost in clearly defining their purpose of existence and things they need to focus on.

    My happy memories about the event were really good technical talks by Harisankar on Ruby and Rails and another by Ram on Advanced Git.

    Blogposts about FOSSMeet 2013

    Conclusion

    It’s been an interesting journey over last 4 years, with many ups and downs. I have tried to cover things which can be improved on, mixed with history and memories at this time of nostalgia while I am about to leave college. I might be biased in my views on things or might have failed to see the complete picture, for which I invite viewpoints from others. On a happier note, this long (and) overdue blog post is finally complete. :-)

     
    • Nitish Rawat 6:43 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      FOSSMeet has been packed with many seminars. I know other chapter has more parallel events but my suggestion is to lessen parallel seminars as it may be attended by more.

      • Kartik 7:11 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your comment Nitish. This is debatable and depends on what an event is focusing on in a particular year.

        Parallel sessions are conducted to provide choice to participants, because all kinds of talks/workshops might not be suitable for everybody. Also, if there are very few parallel sessions, the speaker might face problem as stated in the post itself – a mix of beginners and experienced audience and not being able to cater to any in particular. Most speakers I have met prefer an audience who are, at least, genuinely interested in the topic being presented. And we observed, participants not being able to make those choices by themselves, being newbies, something that can be improved upon in future editions.

    • Pranav Ashok 9:00 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nice post Kartik! I had actually forgotten how much we’d worked for FOSSMeet 2010. This post made me open the mailing list and read through some of the archives. I couldn’t believe we were so mature in first year. After watching people come and go for the past four years, it makes me ask this question – was it because of the freedom we got, thanks to people like Amarnath, or was it because we were really mature?

      I feel that the quality of the people have been heavily decreasing over the years. Not just in the area of FOSS, in other fields too. It is hard to come across a junior who designs well or codes websites well. It scares me, for it may be our fault. That we didn’t train the juniors well. Whatever be it, there is an evident shift of interests among people to non-technical things. Personally, I feel that my technical aptitude too, has worsened in the past four years.

      I feel this matter is significant enough to be discussed on a public forum, about what we can do to increase the technical interests of the students in this college. Unless something is done about it, the technical quality of the people coming out of this college is going to rapidly fall in the coming years.

      • Kartik 10:24 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I agree with you, our first FOSSMeet was just so different kind of experience. Perhaps it was both freedom and our slight maturity about both technical things and about open communities. (Even I went through multiple emails in the list while writing this :-) ).

        Regarding the technical interest among college mates, this used to haunt me all the time from first year onwards. In fact I was about to write a post titled, NIT = Not Interested in Technology, in the beginning of last year to vent out my frustration. Somehow this campus loves, respects and enjoys cultural and other non-technical activities more than those it should, going by its name.

        And mine has worsened a lot more than even I can imagine.

      • Kartik 6:16 PM on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Pranav, just found a blog post by Amarnath I was looking for while replying to your comment last night: http://blog.vaamarnath.co.in/2011/01/open-life/

        Particularly the quotes from Deepak Sir:

        “Philosophy had stopped inspiring this campus about 20 years ago. Now it seems like that even technology don’t inspire this campus.”

        and

        “When students get enrolled here they are like horses. But after 4 years they pass out as donkeys.”

    • Ashutosh Raina 10:49 PM on April 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I am total outsider ( but Karthik does know me :) ). Firstly, I have zilch idea about Python, Django and all the related technologies. I do write but using tools that will make the FOSS guys frown.
      Having said that I will make a few quick points.
      1) I had zero interest or aptitude for coding/programming/development/computers. I first laid my hands on a computer when I was closer to 20. So, it is never too late to kindle the fire not only in yourself but also in the people around you.
      2) Gone are the days when Science was the tool for the brightest. It is now PR , marketing , law ( throw in socialising as well , if that is a thing at all). We need to make a serious effort not only to retain talent but also to create.
      3) I second your frustration. I was in the same situation in college. My seniors were awesome. They were geeks, they had their own companies and they taught us well. Sharing knowledge was the cornerstone of all our meetings and interactions. We were inspired by them and they continued to encourage talent and all the time.
      4) When they left and we were in in-charge the battle was just to get volunteers and other people to help run a technical festival ( one of the most important ones in Mumbai after IIT and VJTI ).
      5) My batch especially were all too busy doing everything for ourself, we forgot to teach and interact. So, the question is did you guys fail at that too ?

      The battle for attention of students is a tough one and requires for us to create a culture and heritage. We cannot be in this for the short-term and think about just for the year we are in-charge. Create mechanisms of sustainable learning throughout the year. Hopefully, then in a decade we will have some real technology enthusiasts.

      P.S. Hopefully I did not bore everyone on a nice Sunday evening.

      • Kartik 12:03 AM on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        You bring out an interesting point in number 5. I felt a bit lonely trying to share my knowledge among juniors (I believe I did enough on my part), perhaps if there were more of my batch mates interested in this interaction and sharing of knowledge, things could be different. @Pranav, remember I asked you once, we should perhaps pass things we learnt to juniors?

        Number 4 is what I observe happening these days in most of the technical groups that exist here in our campus – getting juniors to work on mostly pointless events. I led one, CSEA, this year and tried to do things differently, can’t say we succeeded at a level of my satisfaction but still it was a good experience.

        “Sharing knowledge was the cornerstone of all our meetings and interactions.” This was the most important thing missing in our meetings and hence a disappointing factor. I also observed a serious gap in interaction between us and our immediate juniors.

        PS: It’s Kartik, not Karthik :P I don’t expect this coming out from a Northie in general. ;-)

  • Kartik 9:58 PM on August 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: friends, ,   

    Having good teachers is important. This can make or kill your interests. Even Kalam attributes being what he is today to him having great teachers. Unfortunately, this is something which is not under one’s control.

    me (on a twitter conversation with Delbin about electives, teachers and interest in subjects)
     
  • Kartik 2:33 AM on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Friend, friends, Friendship, , , Relationships, self discovery   

    Ponderings of the Year Past: Part 2 

    The following are few important lessons I learnt over the gone year – 2011 (see Part 1 here):

    Friends

    To be very frank (and you can call me weird), I didn’t know the meaning of a close friend until about early 2011. As far as I remember, until first semester, definition of a friend for me was somebody who shared similar interests, mutual respect, and trust. I remember objecting to Rama to call him names (in return of his such various favors) by saying “dude, I respect you!”. But I have learnt friendship was much more than that – sharing your deepest secrets, laughs and cries together, making fun of each other, having frequent fights but getting along soon after and more. Looking back at school life, I had one such friend; hundreds of acquaintances otherwise. You want the count, see your Facebook (and next sub-section). Somehow, there was loneliness in college, nobody to call a friend with its new definition, getting along was not so easy, something was obviously wrong.

    I did an experiment once using WhatIsWrongWith.Me, but failed to get too many sample points to form a decent conclusion, only one of the 5 responses seemed honest which called me ‘a guy who is afraid to make friends actually close friends’ and having ‘very very bad dressing sense’ among other things. I failed to recognize who could it be from, until he told me himself months later. This and some other self-discovery related events initiated a feeling of self-remorse and burning need to correct these things.

    To loosen up, I went out, apparently had lot of fun, made blunders – did things I would never imagine myself doing (not anywhere near ZNMD in scale though), made some better acquaintances (one such, who claims he has no friends only acquaintances – pretty close to my idea of friends now), and more. And as I discovered later, this led to more harm than gain – including loss of interest in things I was passionate about, growing carelessness, and even integrity of self. Anyhow, going over all these experiences, I did gain realistic perspective of relationships – all’s well that ends well.

    Friends != Facebook Contacts

    This new year’s eve, I sat down to review the list of friends (Damn FB, it has made it so tough to organize friends list with the introduction of timeline, why can’t they just show the list in alphabetical order? Or provide an option to sort friends list with various parameters?), and removed about 140 after checking whether we ever had a message exchange, or any other interactions by using “See Friendship” option. Now I have made it a point to accept requests only if I know the person or if they respond reasonably to my simple question – do we know each other?

    Part 3 will be out soon. Criticism welcome on this and other posts.

     
  • Kartik 8:40 AM on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , friends, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Control All Computers in a Lab from a Single System 

    Quoting Dhandeep, our super-cool lab-admin:

    now , all 70 systems in the lab can be switched on and switched off by single commands from the hostel…

    Yes, that and a lot more is possible in our Software Systems Lab now. How? Read on…

    The Setup

    We have over 70 systems with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed on them. There is an administrative account (let’s call it admin for this post) and a guest (limited privilege) account on each. Needless to say, admin password is known only to admins and guest password is known to all who use the lab. All these systems are configured to be able to controlled remotely (read: OpenSSH server is installed on each).

    Basic Idea

    1. Log in via SSH without a password
    2. Write your desired command and run it in background
    3. Run the above in a loop for the lab’s subnet.

    Detailed Steps

    See Tips for Remote Unix Work (SSH, screen, and VNC) for the first step (and for more immensely useful tips on remote usage of *NIX systems).

    For Step 2, here is one example command:

    ssh -t admin@labsystem "echo  | sudo -S shutdown -h now" &

    In the above command labsystem is usually replaced with an IP address like 192.168.xxx.xxx and the <pass> with the password of the admin account.

    WARNING: it’s not suggested to use the above command out in the open to save the password from prying eyes; also note that for additional security, you need to take a measure to make sure this is not saved in bash history or if the command is in a script, it’s not accessible to others.

    The requirement of ampersand at the end depends on particular usage (if you want to run, let’s say,  uptime command over ssh, you would not want the output to go to background, or you can redirect the output to some file). Putting the process in background, in this case, will help in the next step.

    The -S switch for sudo makes it possible to supply the password via stdin (we had discovered this switch from sudo’s man page, but didn’t manage to conclude “echo pass |” will do the trick until we discovered it at StackOverflow)

    Step 3: use your favorite scripting language (bash, python, etc.) and run the above command for all the systems of your lab subnet. An example in bash:

    for ip in {101..180}
    do
    	ssh -t admin@192.168.xxx.$ip "echo  | sudo -S shutdown -h now" &
    done
    

    The above code snippet will run the desired command for all systems in subnet within the IP range 192.168.xxx.101 to 192.168.xxx.180. Now, you can clearly see how putting the process in the background will help – the next iteration of the loop need not wait for the command in previous iteration to finish!

    In the passing, here’s a small video I shot featuring Dhandeep when he got all excited to see this working:

    That’s it. Try this out, share your tricks and have some *NIX fun in your lab. :-)

    PS: I have not covered how systems can be switched on with this setup. It basically involves broadcasting a magic packet to the subnet. Hope Dhandeep comes up with a blog post on that soon. ;-) Here it is: On the push of a button..

    Ciao

    Kartik

     
    • firesofmay 8:53 AM on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Sweet! I love it! ;)

    • Amarnath 8:54 AM on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting. But, I think you forgot to mention the important prerequisite for doing this task. Don’t you need to generate public keys for all machines to be controlled and pass it to the central control node? I believe only this would help in password-less remote login via SSH.

      Indeed Dhandeep seems to be pretty excited about it. :-)

      Cheers

      Amarnath

      • Kartik 10:03 AM on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your comment Amarnath.

        Indeed, that is necessary and is mentioned as the first step. But instead of describing the whole process myself I chose to point to a good resource (Tips for Remote UNIX Work…) for that kind of setup. You missed out perhaps. ;-)

    • Lokesh Walase 5:41 PM on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome !! :)

    • Imran 11:04 PM on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      You can use puppet to design more efficient system which gives you more flexibility in automation

      • Kartik 12:56 AM on February 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, that’s right. I have that in my to do list to learn soon. :-) Though, I am not aware if it works for normal desktop systems too.

  • Kartik 5:52 AM on March 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , friends, ,   

    And I successfully pulled out two consecutive all-nighters – a first time in my life! For the record: my first all nighter in college was just in last sem (during which Jaseem had to kick me 2-3 times to keep me awake).

    And these two were spent properly working on something I love and without facing any loss in productivity during the day. Congrats to myself!

     
  • Kartik 8:00 AM on March 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , friends, , ,   

    The Branch Tour 2011 and me (Part 2) 

    This is second and the last part of my earlier post - The Branch Tour 2011 and me. Please read my last post before reading this.

    Disclaimer: The following post is dedicated to all my branch mates and is a little more on the personal side. Additionally, the post is too long and may not be of any relevance for those who seek to attain any bit of technical nirvana from this blog. So, you may happily TLDR this post.

    Note: This post was supposed to be published quite a long time back, but stating some hard facts directly felt bad that ago; better late then never. ;-) (actually posted on 2012-01-05)

    Day 3 - Hogenakkal Falls, Tamil Nadu

    Day 3 started with our reaching Hogenakkal early morning, getting freshened up at a not-that-commendable hotel-like-place and having breakfast at nearby C M Hotel (cum-bar); the food was pretty strange there and I didn’t get the papad after multiple attempts. :-(

    After everybody got ready, we prepared to visit the falls. Everybody wore light clothes since we were all going to get wet and I wondered if I had any shorts; of course, I had none, so bought a cheap one (and I mean damn cheap – 45 bucks) from a khokha near our bus. Since it was a lot of water we were going to get into, most of us decided not take cameras, phones, etc. along (and that explains why there are least pics of this day in my album).

    The falls were serene. The water seemed a bit greenish, almost dirty, but I did enjoy a lot. The most peculiar things were those round boats (they are called coracles, which I just got to learn from Wikipedia), the boaters asked us to form groups 6-7 for each boat and made us sit uniformly in the boat for perfect balance. The funny part was how the boaters were using just a single paddle to row their boats and making the boat go round and round that too at a decent rotational velocity near the falls (or sometimes simply in the middle of the river). They had another use of the paddle – to attack the other boaters (and us) with a huge splash of water, poor us could use just handfuls of water at a time; it was especially more fun when the boats came near and rotated around (no need to mention, we were drenched during the exercise). It felt such a bliss when the boatman took us near the falls with the small droplets washing our faces.

    Rest of the day was spent travelling to our next destination – Ooty.

    Many will agree the journey in the bus was the most fun part of the whole tour with all those dancing, singing sensations and couple photo and video shoots. The energies of Kuruvi and Rojith were unmatchable while they danced. I learned a few hard facts of life in the bus over the tour. I have always hated people who smoke or drink and here I was sitting in  the middle of the bus and could smell smoke from the back and liquor from some of the dancers. I was wondering even the girls at the front didn’t seem to object or even acknowledge this. In a chat with a few girls, I got to know the general opinion – most of us guys do smoke and drink – not a big deal! I was a little shocked but decided to accept the ‘fact’ as such – of course, it didn’t mean I would move to the ‘most of the guys’ category after that. Another shocker for me was the point when some of the guys among us actually climbed over the wall of a petrol pump to relieve themselves!

    It was during this bus journey that I actually started to miss someone. Perhaps it was due to that frustrating music that started playing during the later part of the bus journey (it reminded me of those dehati songs like hatja tau that irritated me up north). It was only then that I tried to pass time somehow by browsing mails (and breaking my self-made promise of staying away from the net while on the tour), reading slashdot, on GPRS; texting a friend (though I am stingy, and it was costing me STD rates) and a little conversation actually helped cool down my agony.

    Anyhow, we stayed at Asoka Inn (after having an almost cold dinner in their restaurant). This one hotel was perfect example of deceit – the outside seemed so grand and professional, the rooms inside were exactly the opposite. And we were 4-5 in a room which had just a double-bed. Perhaps this was to bring our raised hopes from Comfort Inn experience back to the ground-level.

    Day 4 – Ooty Lake, The Tea Factory and Government Botanical Gardens, Ooty

    We set out early morning towards the lake, the bus journey towards the top of the hills was indeed nice. We actually saw the clouds mingling with hill peaks; the sight was even lovelier near the top when those tea plantations along with rows of colorful houses became visible.

    Reaching the lake, some shopping and boating followed. Forming groups for boating was slightly more difficult this time, but the ride was enjoyable. There were shops selling various types of chocolates in the lake market, I bought some for taking back to hostel, and some to gift a friend. There was a weird sound making Horror House too, just above a restaurant. We spent some more time eating, roaming, and some of us got our pics clicked posing as riding a horse.

    Next up was The Tea Factory. A guided tour of the factory, explanation of various processes in tea making, purchasing herbal tea for mom (which she never actually tried to prepare even once when I got back home :-( ), tasting some flavor of tea in small cup and a pass through a mini chocolote market inside the factory followed and then some iconic photographs outside later (one actually depicts Sachu in an almost hollywood like scene, all thanks to Thridev).

    Next we visited Botanical Gardens. It was a huge garden with various species of plants and flowers, the carvings of the leaves to form many shapes and letters was striking. We mostly roamed around for photo shoots at different locations and settings. Najih had some more show in store for us. ;-)

    The tour officially ended with camp fire and dance around it at the night. There were few more shockers for me there, but putting everything here might not be necessary. We reached late at night at college and collectively showed up to attend the classes too in the morning – all hail to the branch spirit!

    As it was coming to an end, I was thinking more and more about how I will miss those 4-5 days spent together with my branch mates (and as Delbin put it later – perhaps that was the first and last branch tour we could manage).


    So you managed to read all of the above (and perhaps the first part too)? Congratulations! You deserve a special mention on this blog – get yourself one my posting a comment below :P. BTW there are some good and not-so-good photos I took during the tour available online, do take a look at my CSE Branch Tour – Picasa Web Album.

     
    • Ershad K 12:49 AM on January 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hmm, so you had a nice trip. Congratulations :)

    • Shyam Shankar 1:30 AM on January 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Your post made me recollect some wonderful memories..Thank you for that.

    • Delbin thomas 9:28 PM on January 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      “Most of us guys do smoke and drink – not a big deal!” Thats what encourage most of the boys to drink and smoke.. They know these habits wont affect their love life.. When did they climb wall of petrol pump? I didnt know it.. What happened actually? “It was during this bus journey that I actually started to miss someone” who was that someone? U forget to mention? “Perhaps this was to bring our raised hopes from Comfort Inn experience back to the ground-level.” i agree with that completely.. And thanks for the mentioning at the bottom..:D

      • Kartik 9:58 PM on January 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your comment Delbin. :-)

        I don’t know the reasons, but I have developed more mature view about smoking and drinking in the past year.

        You can recall the petrol pump story by browsing through the pics. ;-)

        That someone was a friend, don’t want to post name here.

        Thanks for being there Delbin, you were the one pointing me out to enjoy to the core during the tour. It wouldn’t have been the same without noticing you enjoy so much. :-)

        And perhaps you were wrong to doubt the possibility of another tour, let’s see if it comes again!

    • Delbin thomas 10:39 PM on January 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      That was cool reply from ur side..
      Still feels like laughing on looking at that petrol pump picture, damn i missed that scene… Yeah, there is another tour coming…
      Hope we l have good time with a lot of fun….

  • Kartik 8:00 AM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , friends, , ,   

    The Branch Tour 2011 and me (Part 1) 

    Disclaimer: The following post is dedicated to all my branch mates and is a little more on the personal side. Additionally, the post is too long and may not be of any relevance for those who seek to attain any bit of technical nirvana from this blog. So, you may happily TLDR this post.

    Many have asked me why I decided to go for branch tour when almost none of the northies were ready to go. The reasons were many – the most prominent being I wanted to know my branch mates, to connect with them, share some laughs, joys together (the whole first year, the shy, not-into-cultural-activities Kartik in me had tried to stay away (read: not actively participated) from events like Sangam, Spectrum, Debutante which are meant for bringing the whole branch together – for this Rama (happy now?) had always cursed me). The other reason was that even after being here in Calicut for over a year and a half I had not tried to visit any places (Bangalore being an exception – which I visited 2 times last year for non-fun conferences). The northies not going for tour was not much of a problem for me as I thought over and realized I have had more and better Malayali friends compared to northies at least in my branch (yeah, I did try to get them involved too, but one by one everyone except Mamde backed out).

    Day 1 – Visit to Meenmutty Waterfalls and Pookot Lake, Wayanad

    The first day started by waking up at 4:30 and packing up my bag in a hurry. I had packed up everything in my laptop bag and realized just minutes before boarding the bus that I will need warm clothes too. Ran back to my room and packed up a few additional clothes in another bag (phew, this saved me from freezing at Ooty 3 days later).

    The two buses for about 70 of us left the campus at 6. I just knew that we were going towards Wayanad. After having breakfast and a few photo shoots, we traveled to Meenmutty waterfalls.

    Hiking for 2 kms followed to the falls and I can say the trekking was fun! I was reminded of good old days of childhood when me and my siblings used to play at our shop jumping and climbing on stocks of plywood and logs of wood. I found a new energy flowing in me. On the way were green, serene tea plantations which still behold my eyes. We visited 2 waterfalls for which we had to take different ways – first one was not that impressive, being so far from the viewpoint but the second one was what I call a real waterfall – many of the boys just jumped into the water (and many unwilling ones were either pulled in or slipped in!). It was a blissful sight, we just wanted to stay there forever. I started to discover the people of my branch during all this – the always lively (and ready with her handycam) Varsha, helping and caring Sachin, Delbin and Jaseem, the wild ones Bhasi and Pinki, the ever talking MG among others. On the way back we were served a cool drink of lime water in a shanty which was so relieving after all this climbing over the hillocks.

    Fish Curry Meals (lunch) was served in a Dhaba-like restaurant (which again reminded me of home place) where I (the veggie) had to do with the rice only. Me, Mamde, Syam and many more concluded in an after lunch discussion that this trekking was a perfect starting for the 4-day tour.

    Next up was Pookot Lake, where me and Mamde decided to go for boating recalling that it was such a long time since each of us did that earlier (I don’t even remember what age I was when I went for boating with my parents, probably in Electra World). It was 20-minutes fun well spent with many more boaters – Dipin, Jose, Nithin, Vineeth, Hashir, Aravind, Assim, Boban, Delbin, and Thridev – in the lake. After this followed a visit to a dam, where a lot of photographs were taken including those of the most remarkable (and much tagged on fb) body-show by Najih. It was quite a lovely place with the rising moon, and setting sun and the blue water.

    We left for Mysore. Stay at Comfort-Inn at night was, well, what else to say, a comfort. I had not stayed in such a good hotel ever (our room even had a working AC!). The first day was par our expectations of the tour.

    Day 2 - St. Philomena’s Church, Chamundi Hills, ZooBrindavan Gardens, Mysore

    The first place we visited after leaving Comfort Inn was the church. As I had never visited a church before (my closest was going to church, on insistence of my best friend Hitesh, the night before my 10th class results were declared only to find it closed, we were apparently too late), it was a new experience for me. I was reminded of all those Dan Brown novels and movies I had read and watched noticing the general attributes of the church. I had to do some pondering over my being an atheist when Nivetha asked about it. Some more photo sessions were done before we left for Chamundi Hills.

    Not until we had reached there I realized this too was a religious place – and far more like the typical ones compared to the church. Again flashes of my first visit to South India (just less than 2 years ago) and pilgrimage sites like Thirupathi-Thirumala and Meenakshi temples started coming to my mind. Thankfully we didn’t have to visit the temple and wait in the seemingly unending line here. We just roamed around taking more photos here and there. Girls seemed to find the place pretty amusing with all those shops selling artifacts and what I termed as girl-stuff. We did visit a small side-temple, which to my dismay didn’t even have a source of water anywhere nearby so I could at least wash my hands after removing socks and shoes. Another funny thing happened after I came out of temple, some priest just started tying a thread with rudrakhsha on my arm, which for some reason I didn’t object to. He kept on saying it’s for good luck and after finishing his job asked for 10 bucks, which I couldn’t refuse. The poor thread survived a mere 10 minutes on my arm. And I forgot to mention the time we (group of over 10 people) had waited for to get a glass of that ganne ka juice from the corner near the bus parking on the way towards temple. We observed how the juice-wallah kept on squeezing the canes again and again and again to extract the last drop of juice from them.

    Next in our (ever-evolving) itinerary was the Mysore Zoo (which won over Mysore Palace in a small hands-up vote only because of the fact that it houses the only Gorilla of South Asia). I voted for it again for the fact that my last visit to a zoo was I-don’t-remember-when (I must be 10 or even less). The zoo visit was overall fun and I tried to know more about so many kinds of different creatures. I was specially eager to see (a real!) white tiger, gorilla, rhino, hippo, African elephants, flamingos and giraffe. This was here that I really felt I should have had a better camera. Nivetha, Monix, Navya (or Varsha?) and Susmitha deserve special mention for tolerating me and my boring gyaan all this time in the zoo. BTW I noticed later the name of the zoo was Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, phew!

    Next we traveled to Brindavan Gardens which, I felt, had a lot of similarity to Akshardham Temple of Delhi because of the fort like walls and more because of the fountain show. As it was turning dark, I stopped taking pics with my good-old N72. We climbed over all those stairs to reach the fountain show area only to find no space left for us. Showing the branch spirit we all dropped down together to sit on the floor just a second before the show started. Somehow I felt, the fountain show could have been better if they had not included those Bollywood songs. Next one-two hours were spent roaming around the huge garden among sprinkles of water from so many fountains on all sides and more photo sessions in the grass lawns.

    The night was spent traveling to our next destination – Hoganakkal.


    So you managed to read all of the above? Congratulations! You deserve a special mention on this blog – get yourself one my posting a comment below :P. BTW there are some good and not-so-good photos I took during the tour available online, do take a look at my CSE Branch Tour – Picasa Web Album.

    This part 1 just mentions half of all I have to say about our wonderful first branch tour. I am still in process of writing the part 2, expect to read it tonight.

     
    • Jinto Jolly James 12:05 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Comprehensively Written :) … I have been to the very same places with more than one class-tours, with different bunch of people.. Your descriptions were too good in the descriptive and argumentative tone and did initiate a collage of memories..

      p.s: I never knew that there are Flamingo’s in Mysore Zoo.. Thanks for the info.. Maybe something to look forward to, if I ever gonna go there again..

      • Kartik 3:14 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks a lot for your comment Jinto. I am obliged to know this lead you to remember old memories. :)

    • Ashwin Jacob 11:35 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I guess I shouldn spoil the spirit by commenting!

      • Kartik 11:46 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Well, you are welcome to comment. Be it positive or negative.

    • ashwinbj 11:50 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Ok! I will comment after sometime! A negative opinion from a fellow student at the beginning itself will dampen this post!

      • ashwinbj 11:50 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Good work btw!

      • Kartik 11:52 PM on February 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Don’t worry about dampening, who posts any useful comments these days anyway?

    • Delbin 12:38 AM on March 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      U missed the visit of a dam, where the body show of najih and group photo taking were happened.. I still dunno the name of that dam.

    • Pankaj Mamde 2:13 AM on March 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      It was the first time that I ate fishes in my life (actually to really “FILL” my tummy!).

      • Kartik 6:52 PM on March 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        so you have the occasion recorded on the Internet now!

    • Syam 6:24 PM on March 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Your blog vividly reminds me of all those happy memories ! Great work ! :)

      • Kartik 6:51 PM on March 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        That’s the whole reason of writing this blog – not to forget those delightful memories. Thanks for your comment.

    • Ershad K 12:43 AM on January 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Let me see what happened in Hoganakkal! Nicely written travelogue :)

      • Kartik 12:46 AM on January 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Ershad, comments welcome on part 2 also. :-)

  • Kartik 12:00 AM on December 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , friends,   

    Something that has stuck with me after Anjhan’s keynote at the last FOSS.IN:

    When you are pissed off at somebody, and you’re angry at them, you just haven’t given them enough time. Just give them a little more time — and they’ll almost always impress you.

     
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