Mission lab – Day 2.

I was all set to be sitting and installing ubuntu on all the systems when going to the lab today morning. But life just isn’t that easy. We had forgotten about a few CPUs sitting in the cabin. Anuraj sir had told us to check them out. Two of them were brand new and three of them were quite old. Even though we only had three damaged systems while leaving the lab yesterday, now we had 8. But five of them were yet to be diagnosed.

We started away in full throttle. We had two screw drivers today which meant that we could cause double the damage we had caused yesterday. But the great evil struck us! Distraction.

It was the last date to submit the application forms for our sixth semester exams. And we were interrupted constantly by people coming and going giving their forms and talking about this and that. No one was to blame. Sharat had his hands full as he was the rep. I admire his responsibility. He called up all of those who didn’t even bother about the matter and asked them to somehow submit their forms. Ranjith helped him in filling the forms and setting the money matters right. But all in all, our main objective didn’t make much of a progress.

The two new systems that we took today didn’t have hard disks. But it supported DDR2 RAMs. So we had to set them up. Anuraj sir came after a while and blessed us with 6 new SMPSs, 4 DDR2 – 512MB RAMs, one disk drive, one hard disk and a lot of encouraging words. Since we got the RAMs, we decided to set up the new CPUs.

To do that we dissected the already working old CPUs and pulled out their hard disks. We put them in the new ones, placed the brand new RAMs in them and got them working.

Somewhere in between all this, something went wrong. I still can’t get it. We slowed down considerably. I don’t know if it was because we tried installing distros in between this or because we took each and every component apart testing them individually or just because of just plain bad luck, but we were slow.

All things considered, we identified that three motherboards were corrupt and one’s power button wasn’t functioning. Two among the three CPUs whose motherboard was corrupt and the one that had its power button bad were the three among the first five ones that we took!! Putting it that way really makes me crazy.

So all in all, it was a hard software day. and there are still a few hard disks, a couple of drives, two RAMs, and some six or seven SMPSs lying around over there.

Its going to be one heck of a satisfaction once we’ve cleaned the whole thing up. And some emotional attachment to this lab is going to last always even after leaving my campus.


Mission lab – Day 1.

Dear Lord! What a department ours is. One whole computer lab called the “Debian networks lab” lying there completely unattended to! No one even cares whether it lies like that or not. I believe Anuraj sir and Viji ma’am do care, but they just don’t have the time to do anything about it them being the only two staffs in our department (another one of our department’s mention-worthy features).

Anyway, at last I went and asked Anuraj sir if I could help him out. I just couldn’t sit quietly when so much resources were just lying there underutilized. I wonder why no one ever cared to do anything about it.

He agreed and I decided to stay at the hostel itself this week even though almost all the others are happily at their homes. I wanted to learn and moreover, I didn’t want anyone else to feel what I felt on seeing the condition of the lab. So I was determined to do it.

Since all the hostelers had planned to go home, I called three of the day scholars to help me out. Sharat, Ranjith and Sudheesh (Ponnan, Chellan and Bose respectively). We did quite a good job in the lab today.

It was hardware day. Dissecting all the systems and identifying where lay the faults in the systems that didn’t work. RAMs, SMPSs, CMOSs, Motherboards, what not! We dissected everything to the core and have drawn a fine line between those systems having a hardware complaint and those systems that don’t have it.

DDR, DDR2, 128 to 256 to 512 to 1024 MB RAMs were there. All working, surprisingly. We got two spare RAMs and those are still lying somewhere in the lab! Hope no one decides to play flute with it.

A very constructive day and I can see more interesting stuff ahead. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the software day where we install all the systems with OSs and get them up and running.

To the future!

Recovering Grub after installing Windows, using Ubuntu.

It so happened that after installing windows on my system (which already had linux, ubuntu, installed on it), the grub menu that used to come at the beginning stopped appearing. Instead, it started to boot directly into windows.

In order to solve this problem, I did the following. Of course, I found a lot of answers to this problem on the net, but what I did worked for me fine. But be sure to sit patiently and correct it in case something does not work fine. Never give up!

(Note: I also do believe that the following works only when the ‘vmlinuz’ and ‘initrd.img’ files are at the root directory itself. Check this in step 5. In step 5, ‘vmlinuz’ and ‘initrd.img’ should be there in the ‘temp’ folder we created.)

1. Boot using a live cd of ubuntu.

2. Open a terminal and run the command

sudo fdisk -l

It lists the complete partition table of the hard disk. In there, identify which partition you have got your linux installed on. You can identify it using the drive size you had allocated for it and looking at the last column of the output which will be ‘extended’ for all of your linux partitions. The partition will most probably be something like /dev/sda5 or something. Remember this partition.

3. Create a temporary folder in your home directory (Note: You can make the temporary folder anywhere you want. I’m using the home folder just for the sake of explanation). I’m calling it ‘temp’ for now. So that ‘temp’ folder’s path will be /home/ubuntu/temp.

4. Mount your linux partition there. That is, assuming that you found your linux partition to be /dev/sda5, you mount that at the ‘temp’ folder by doing the following command

sudo mount /dev/sda5 /home/ubuntu/temp

5. If you want to check whether you have mounted the correct partition, go to your home folder and open temp. You will be in the ‘/’ directory. In there you will find ‘home’, in which your home folder’s name will be there. Once you’ve confirmed you have mounted the correct partition, do step 6.

6. You have to install grub by showing the system where to read the data from the hard disk at the beginning. Don’t worry, just run the following command

sudo grub-install –root-directory=/home/ubuntu/temp /dev/sda

The ‘/dev/sda’ corresponds to your hard disk name. Replace it by whatever the command ‘sudo fdisk -l’ command showed you.

7. You’re done. You may restart your system.

You might want to check out how I upgraded to 12.04 too!

PS: For editing the grub menu that appears, check out my post


The lost word.

Words are not things to be used by men.

It is something God has bestowed upon Earth.

God gave sound, we discovered the wonder…


It was like a pearl from the depths of ocean

when man first found it.

But the pearl was not left so.

Men sold it for the counter_word that God had given him…

He sold it for power and glory.

He got in return more than ever what he wished for.

But never once did he get back the pearl that was lost

except through some who had a glance at the light reflected on it.

And that light is growing dim.

People babble these days.

Oh where are the words that once filled hearts with light?

Where are the words that once uttered was louder than thunder

and sweeter than the nightingale?

Where are the words that once commanded out of love

rather than out of power?

Where are the sounds that once came from the depth of hearts?

Gone, they are!

Forever into a land of nothingness…

To be preserved by God as the precious pearl it is,

till man yields his body and soul to him, the One!

And then shall we know what we lived by and for!

Mountain climbing.

Oh am I proud to be studying at NSS College of Engineering! A ten minutes walk from our hostel and there stand the mighty mountains in all their majestic splendor just waiting to be conquered by you. Not many have the experience of climbing a mountain for their evening walks. And I’m glad I’m one among those who have that gratifying moments of enjoying entire Palakkad standing on top of the world!

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The walk to the base of the mountains itself is glorious. Passing a tree cave made by the overlapping branches of the rubber trees from both sides of the way surely brings out the human in you. You feel your heart yearning for something that it has been missing. True beauty lifts its veil for a while so that those who look can see beholding what lies beneath all the lies that we believe to be true. It is the moment where we actually realize that there is more to all the things around you. It is the moment when you realize that these are not to be taken for granted.

A poem that one of my friends wrote during our first year comes to mind… I would like to quote it here:

Rubber trees abundant all around,

lush greenery soothing your troubled mind,

the lonely woody and windy paths,

bringing back your memories alive,

leading me to a world of nothingness, but just me.

Innocent people, innocent minds,

drawing me to a world of love and hope.

The pleasant breeze on my face.

The living river flowing like pearls,

the life around, exciting me beyond reasons!

How I would like to be there…

just even for one day,

to feel the nature again,

and me again, who is lost in this wild world…

~ Written by Afaf Banu.

It is the experience of a lifetime. No plans to be made, no trips to be organized, no money to be spent, no formalities to be kept… You just walk straight on and start climbing. Free nature all around. Oh how blind we all are!

Of course, you can’t go running up a mountain. No sir!! You have to climb it. Holding and placing your feet carefully. And you become tired too.

But with every small portion that you climb, something starts coming your way. And what is that you ask? One, the majestic sight!! No high resolution pictures that you can put in any wide, wide screen monitors will come close to what meets your eyes once you have climbed half way through. Photos don’t do justice to what you behold!

But that’s not all…

The wind! Oh my dear lord!!! The lovely wind that blows at you!! You can breathe and breathe and breathe and never exhale! Of course, that might be stupid, but hope you get the idea.

On top of the world!

All the tiredness that you feel while climbing just washes away in a singe moment once the wind greets your face. You feel like a bird soaring over the skies. You feel like spreading your arms and letting go of yourself. To leave everything to fate and finally fly away freely…

The nipple point still remains to be conquered. One more year left and our strength and spirits are only growing harder and stronger. We will do it.

But that’s not all. What do you do when you finally do something hard? The child within comes out and we shout “Hooray!!”, And that’s what we did in the end too!

We did jump on a mountain!

Man, my mom is going to kill me! 😀 😛

I love her. 🙂

The helping hand.

There are times when a small gesture is all that you need. It might not be clearly defined or anything, but you know it once it happens. And you know what’s the most loveliest thing about it? It happens! And you feel good thinking about it.

Different people have different ways of enjoying a journey. Some enjoy the entire trip looking all around them and some enjoy just the sitting in the vehicle.

I come under the second part. And I sleep through almost a good part of the journey. Its really nice to sleep. Trust me. With the wind blowing on your face and the rocking of the vehicle that makes you feel like you’re rocking in a cradle…. Ahhh… Your eyes just close automatically. 🙂

Anyway, on the evening of 17th, Friday, I boarded the bus to my home and I slept, obviously. My partner Jinu was with me and he sat by my side.

After a while I got serious. Sleeping on a bus isn’t fun, you know? Its an art. And I was pretty good at it. So when I got serious, I had no clue what was happening around me. I had this vague notion of my head banging against something. I’d wake up a bit and sit straight again. Then AGAIN I go back to banging. But the thing I was banging on seemed extremely comfortable and it eased my sleep.

I woke up after a while and saw that he was already awake. His left hand was tightly gripped on the handle of the front seat. He looked at me and gave me a weird smile. That was enough for me to understand the situation. 🙂


It was a small and not all that important gesture. But as I said in the beginning, things like these are those which makes you feel good. 🙂

The crying world.

Tears they are of a world that dies

    crying out sad for he sees mankind.

In hurry they are for their rice

    and fail to see the doom of their kind.


Joy doth it bring to things that live

    elixir of life it is granted for free.

Taken for granted it is without anything to give

   in return for it for we fail to see.


Wet is the world and a green it blooms

    restoring faith and hope to the ones that look.

Bloom it shall till the end that looms

    and closed it will be like ending a book.


It is said that poems are creations of the mind when it is as still as the undisturbed water. It can be seen through and reveals what lie beneath. But what about a heart that cries for help and the waves of the mind won’t die down? The wind that blows from within the sea brings with it a feel of cold. And cold is the world that lies around me…