Browsing Posts published by msanjay

Actually just yesterday someone was googling for something using his mobile phone and I got to know that Airtel charges only Rs 100 per month for its unlimited GPRS service, and most websites are WAP enabled and mostly free to start with atleast.

But Kalyan gave me this link… internetisshit.org

( it looks like something Rakesh wrote…. 🙂 )

Wanted to go to Mysore today with Gajanan, but had to cancel at the last moment as there were just too many appointments at work.

Time – every single moment – is so precious, yet I so often waste it on all kinds of useless things.

There are always a thousand logical rational reasons to prevent us from doing what we like to do. Today I got caught up in some newsgroup threads in the morning, I could not finish my work to leave this afternoon to Mysore.

There are so many forces that stop us from doing things we like and following our heart especially our own traps of guilt and obligation. (Paulo Coehlo’s ideas in that interview were really excellent – I better print it out and put it up in some place where I can read it everyday).

I hope I remember this accute sense of dissatisfaction forever and that it can be so easily avoided with some proper planning and prioritisation!

Came back from a really important HR meeting (well, as important as a HR meeting can ever get 😉 ) – maybe its too bad I never heard a thing.

There was this guy talking about some new job levels and so on with a power point presentation to around 100 peole in the cafeteria in the basement.

He wasnt really one endowed with outstanding presentation skills, and managed to lose the audience’s interest in a mere 10 minutes. Everyone started murmuring among themselves making him even more inaudible than before. At first I tried really hard to see what he was trying to say, but there was a pair of people talking animatedly right next to me.

So finally I asked them “can you hear anything?”

One of them replied “no, there’s just too much of noise”

What an irony… but in just a few minutes I found my own patience had worn out so I was tempted to join them. There was a slide showing job levels like say L1, L2…. L9. One of the pair next to me, who incidentally had been a fresher whom I myself had interviewed a year ago, asked “oh we had levels upto L9 is it, I thought L6 was the maximum”

So I couldnt resist replying – “oh its because L9 is so far away that nobody ever gets to even see it”

And there was the other guy, a more experienced chap who also commented that the L series was an old one, and now its replaced by a (say) M series starting from M9 to M19. So think about M19 then!

I had to add “For M19, you would have to make sure your progeny work for the same company and only they would ultimately reach this level”!

My cynicism for desktop jobs seems to be at an alltime high nowadays, not sure if I’m an odd man out or this is a common thing with everybody else. Sometimes I wonder if its some kind of impertinence instead of gratitude for having a (relatively) secure job, considering that countless others are desperate for employment.

For the past few years I’ve been blogging ocasionally at http://msanjay.htmlplanet.com/blog
though rather painfully creating HTML page manually and uploading it.

Nowadays I blog a little more frequently and the inconvenience prompted me to google for a personal blogging software solution.

All these years I’ve been a primarily Microsoft technologies chap. Recently while hunting for (preferably .NET) blogging solution, my friend (Hari Prasad Nadig) suggested wordpress. I felt quite intimidated about installing all the non-Microsoft dependencies like PHP and Apache and MySql etc. Still when I found there was just one single installable, I took the plunge. I realised what an idiotic frog in the well I had been all the while… fell madly in love with WordPress, and looked for a hosting environment.

Too enlightened to care 😉 …I even took the risk of answering somebody’s question in a Support forum… someone was seeing a lot of PHP instead of the UI.

I had exactly the same problem.

I had edited the wp_config.php to set the following values:

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘wordpress’);
define(‘DB_USER’, ‘root’);
define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ”);
define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’);

Also I noticed that I had tried to open the file directly from Windows Explorer. i.e. my browser Address bar had file:// in it.

So I copied the wordpress folder to the PHP web root directory:

D:\phpdev\www

(one of the install steps was to upload the files)

Then I opened http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php

This might not have been necessary, but I also created a “wordpress” database manually using the MySQL admin:

http://localhost/phpmyadmin/

and everything went magically from there. Very VERY impressive!! Totally floored with everything! 🙂

I later also figured out the import and export feature of MySQL – its just amazing to see a full fledged free, open-source relational database having such an intutive web – based UI, and such powerful features!

[heh heh btw someone had written to me…
@msanjay75. Repentant sinners are particularly welcome in the open source community. Many of us run our lifes very happily with scarcely an MS application at all. 🙂 ]

Still experimenting with wordpress – the real beauty is that all entries actually live in a database (also open source – MySql) – complete seperation of data and presentation!

Everything you (never) wanted to know about BSNL DataOne

As a self-certified BSNLologist here’s some more expert misguidance on the topic.

Chances are that you’ll never need any (or most) of this information if the connection works straightaway.

But in case something goes wrong somewhere, then you might find something useful here.

——-
Notes from various sources like emails etc. Wanted to put this into an essay
but have concluded that I’ll never get down to it.

——-

So far I’ve found it to be excellent, no second thoughts at all. The idea of just switching on my PC and having instanteneous unlimited blazing speed net access without even dialing is just perfect. It used to be something unthinkable for the common man in India!

There was even a follow up call to check if everything was ok – hows that for service! BSNL has outdone itself!!

———-

For performance, I googled for and found this

http://bandwidthplace.com/speedtest/
(Option — ADSL)

I think 1 GB is more than enough for once in a way usage (just remember that 56Kbps dial-up was common all these days and people managed voice chat and webcam with that – and how many years it wouldve taken to download 1 GB) – unless of course you get into bittorrent and start downloading movies.

1 GB limit is the total data transferred including surfing web pages and voice chat. Someone said that there are no limits upto June 1st. I just took the explicit download as an example to give an idea of the
amount of data involved per unit time and how its extremely unlikely to reach 1 GB in a month – lets say (rough guess) a one hour voice chat may involve at most 10 MB. So say one speaks for 10 hours a week which is 40 hours a month – which is even then still 400 MB.

——–

They also install a splitter which seperates the phone line into data and voice (to connect to PC and Phone)

——–
(Home 500 plan) It costs 2 K for the modem. Then 500 per month. The bill will be part of the phone bill – no need to pay seperately.

Also an initial cost of Rs 500 to 700 on an Ethernet card depending on how much you search/bargain.

Data utilization is quite tough to track, the modem admin page shows some stats but afaik it dosent remember numbers across sessions still maybe we can track for some sessions and then extrapolate to get an idea. But I believe there are tracking tools on the net as well.

———–
Here’s a scanned copy of the manual here – just a simple four page brochure. Its also probably also available from your friendly neighbourhood BSNL operator.

BSNL DataOne manual – a 1.7 MB Adobe PDF file.

There are some books written esp by people who are really passionate about programming and who dont mind doing it for years together. They put down their experiences and wisdom in the form of some very interesting books which capture the very spirit of the profession.

Rapid Development – Steve McConnell

See also:
BSNL DataOne Connection Configuration Summary


after many attempts last Saturday I finally managed to get an answer on the support help line (25555555/25555554).

One lady asked what the problem was, and I started explaining about the modem settings, IP address and so on. Then she kept saying “uh-huh” every now and then very attentively – so she mustve taken some communication training or something I guessed. But after 2 minutes of explanation I got a
doubt. Esp when I asked a question and she still said “uh-huh”. Then I had to repeat the question and say that I’m asking a question and would like an answer. Then it dawned on her, and she said “ok let me check” I wondered what technology they were using that she was able to check something, just
based on the information I had given her.

But she came back after a few minutes with a very polite “thanks for staying on the line” to ask for a clarification – “are you able to access the internet?”.
“NO”.
She said “ok fine”.
I had to say “No, its not fine, thats the whole problem” (and thats why I called in the $^&^* first place )
Then the award winning question – “are you unable to access the internet, or the web pages”

Anyway to cut a very long story long, much later I got hold of the Malleswaram number and finally managed to beg and plead and somehow convince one of the staff to come home (though they said some staff are on leave, others are still busy installing new connections and would take a seperate week to troubleshoot existing ones).

Finally they came in the evening, and they tried all kinds of things for over an hour with no success.

They seemed to be doing almost exactly the same things I had tried myself for the past 2 or 3 late nights, but one extra thing they did was set a DNS address which didnt help either.

I empathised with them that this could be quite frustrating to debug such elusive problems, and we too sometimes face similar situations in the software profession. They were really glad that atleast someone understood them, they had said they have faced ire from people earlier. (Such a casual comment, it was really amazing to see how happy it made them! It reinforced my feeling that one should be more liberal in voicing one’s positive thoughts)

They told me that it should work with no settings at all, and told me to either reinstall Windows 2000 or install XP.

They finally had to leave, saying they’d try out a new modem on Monday. Even while they were leaving they were talking about some possibilities and I kept saying “oh I’ve tried that too”. Then he suddenly said “either we should go with the ready made settings without any configuration at all, or we should configure it exactly the way its supposed to be done, but not a mixture of the two, please undo whatever you have tried so far”.

Well obviously the first option hadnt worked for me – I had never been able to access the net so far even without trying out any configuration at all. But while departing, he almost kind of magically procured a BSNL User Manual. (like the way that guy hands out the Messiah’s Handbook in the book Illusions by
Richard Bach!)

I was quite surprised to see this. Then when they had departed, I went and tried one more time… I compared the manual’s settings to the one I had made. There was one radio button called “Default Route” Enable/Disable. I hadnt changed it, and the default had been Disable. I selected Enable, and
then selected Save and Restart Modem.

After that, I’ve been able to access the net – and so far havent had any problems – high speed access (several bandwidth tests reported close to 250 Kbps). The best part is it works on the existing BSNL phone line (unlike other private ISPs, theres no need to take a seperate phone line or cable unless of course you already have one). I’ve esp been delighted to be able to speak on the phone while browsing!

(I called them up this morning to let them know the problem was finally solved).

The BSNL chaps just connected my modem and pushed off, and when I went home I found that nothing much had been configured.

Thanks to the information here I was able to make some sense of the PDF manual (the only thing on the CD they had provided) and atleast connect to the modem through the web interface.

I got to the point where I configured PPPoe with my username/pwd and the modem connected and got an IP address.

But unfortunately I still wasnt able to access the internet!

(Of course their helpline has been helpless so far – I spoke to support this morning and she asked me “have you downloaded the two CDs?” and after some time I figured out she meant “installed”. Later she took my number and….)

I have Win2K, and I see 2 LAN connections. One’s properties shows the Ethernet adapter, and the other has the PPPoe Adapter.

I tried all kinds of permutations and combinations, but the only one where I was able to atleast connect to the modem was the one I started with – assigning a static IP of 192.168.1.100.

PS: It was good fun actually… but if only it had worked…! 🙂

what would the ideal career be like?

One day Conan was thinking that if a person is really passionate about something, say photography or writing or something, he shouldnt take it as a career because he would then get obliged to it, tied to it as part of his liveliihood. Whereas if he does something else, then he can be free to do photography exactly whenever he feels like it or not if he dosent.

It sounded quite reasonable actually, but recently, I was wondering maybe if he *does* take up something else as a livelihood, then life becomes so hectic, that he finds he never finds the time to do ever do this particular thing at all! except if he speculates that “some day” he’ll earn “enough” money to be able to resign and pursue his hobby seriously. And we know that this “some day” and “enough” are usually very dynamic parameters 😉

Incidentally I was reminded of this because of a friend’s daughter who wanted to take music as her profession but her parents were concerned that she had not yet had even a degree for her education.

(As for me, I was pretty happy with software and programming when I started with it, now I’m just wondering whether its reduced but havent decided anything yet.)

I met this gentleman quite randomly, we were sitting next to each other in a seminar in Germany and Carly (CEO HP, scheduled to give a speech to all employees) was held up somewhere, so we started talking to each other, trying to ignore the German host on the mike who didnt want to waste the audience’s time and wanted everybody to “practice clapping” as a warmup.

He came to know I was from Bangalore and floored me by greeting me with “Namaskaara”!! He turned out to be an American having migrated to Germany. We had surprisingly common similarities wrt the effects of our stay in Germany and so on. Turned out to be a Dr. Ritley, a physicist. He sent me his home page and I was really surprised to see some things. This one makes fascinating reading…

The Switch to IT Consulting

This one is more about physics but the last para is also about his transition.

Just for the record, I had written this on software much before I met him (though was edited later).