In love with my Lenovo S10-2, ideapad.

Ah, where would I be without it? More importantly, it was more than enough. I’m talking about my netbook, my cute little laptop. I got it while doing my S3. In 2009 middle roughly. That makes it almost three years now.

I must say that this is one heck of a piece of hardware. It comes with the configuration of 1GB RAM, Intel Atom dual core CPU @ 1.66GHz plus a 160GB HDD. It came with a pre-installed version of Windows XP which is still there only to have been disturbed for about 15 times all through the entire three years. The other sockets being three USB ports, a serial port, microphone and audio jacks, LAN port, an SD Card slot plus a pseudo SIM card slot.

I call that pseudo because one fine day I had inserted my mother’s SIM card into the provided slot. It kept on going and finally decided to stay within. I had to give it for servicing which cost me 300 bucks and the guy told me that this version had just the slot. Only the next version shipped with the hardware inside that slot. That taught me not to get too excited about stuff I guess.

The keys are a bit close. People having used normal sized keyboards have always found it hard to type on mine. Besides, me swapping my ‘ctrl’ and ‘Caps Lock’ did not help this cause at all. However, since I started typing on this, I haven’t had much trouble typing on other keyboards. One of the most irritable things that happen to me at times are the small dust specks that go underneath the keys. These things make it almost impossible to press the keys. Sometime I get angry and crush them with hard strokes and at other times I strategically tilt my netbook to get them out.

This might seem controversial, but I do believe that this is more than what an average college student needs. Let me list what all I have used my laptop for and see if it comes in the scope of a college students.

  • Watching movies.
  • Listening to music.
  • Accessing the Internet.
  • Photo editing.
  • Sound processing.
  • File conversions.
  • Viewing photos.
  • Storing data.
  • Skype.
  • Chatting.
  • Playing video games.
  • Compiling Linux Kernels.
  • Creating web applications.
  • Writing and learning Programming languages as well as other tools. C, Java, Python, etc. So compilers for the same. Latex, git, make, etc.
  • Watching youtube videos.
  • Installing Operating Systems. I have had 6 of them in one shot. Ubuntu 10.04, 11.04, Fedora, Arch Linux, Debian squeeze 2.6 and 3.0 kernels and finally Windows XP.
  • Connecting USB devices. Thumb drives, Mobile phones, card readers, External HDDs, BeagleBoard – XM, Internet Dongles, etc.
  • Connecting phones via bluetooth.
  • Leaving the system on for almost a week downloading and seeding torrents.
  • Traveling. This babe has been in my bag under the seats on a KSRTC transport bus almost every week for the past three years. You can hold it just like a college notebook and take it anywhere anytime.
  • 4 to 5 hours battery life on an average.
  • Wireless connectivity as well as Broadcasting.
  • Networking.
  • Slide shows, presentations, etc.
  • Most importantly, it has lasted.

That’s about it I guess. One major drawback that you could point out is that it won’t run Crisis 2! Then again, it takes a manly system to run Crisis.

Jokes apart, it has no CD drive. But that has seldom been a drag for almost everyone uses a thumb drive these days. Plus, my system gets heated up. It does not turn off due to over heating or anything but you could try and make a bulls-eye on it.

The paint has come off from certain parts. I guess it is because of the heat. Apart from that it makes a ‘throat-squeezing’ sound while powering up and I have had to replace my battery once. That’s all the problem that it has had.

I think it is a bit sad that almost all the students who have a laptop with them (and most of them really powerful with multiple cores, 4GB+ RAM and Terra Bytes of storage) use them only for watching movies, listening to music and browsing the net. I’m not saying that I do a lot more than that but what I am saying is that you don’t need that much powerful systems to do these.

When you look at the laptops of many students these days, you can see 2 to 4 drives all completely filled and the guys hunting for more space. But poke into it and what do you see? Movies, movies and movies. Plus the other term that people use these days. “Softwares”. Another craze is pdfs. Truck loads of them and the funny thing being that not a single one of them would have been read. With all these stuff in their drives, they are walking around trying to “back up” their systems.

You must be thinking why I did not mention games. Frankly, very few do play games compared to how much they use their systems for movies, videos and music. But the ones who do play games, they are like glued to it.

I think there are things that are taken for granted when a computer science student comes to college. Self-learning is fine but it almost always screws up many basic ideas that are important. I guess a student should be taught how to use a laptop. It simply is absurd taking it for granted that he will learn to use it on his own. This is obvious from the people around us. The use that they find are the above mentioned “Watching movies” and stuff. I guess at least Computer Science students should be taught how to use it.

I guess I deviated a bit there. I should save it for another post. Right now I’ve brushed up my hard drive. I’m using Ubuntu 12.04 and that old XP is still there. An awesome piece of hardware that played one of the most important role in making me what I am today. Thanks to my brother for buying it for me.

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The farewell speech.

I thought I would not get a farewell to give my “all-too-prepared” farewell speech. But I did get a farewell. As for my farewell speech, I guess everyone was in a merry mood and did not hear anything that I said which all ended up in me performing my awesome moonwalk in front of my class as well as my juniors!

So I’m writing this post in the hope that some of my juniors will read it and take it to heart. The following is the speech that I wished to give.

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I remember the time when ICC (Islamic Cultural Center) was in existence in our college. I was doing my second year back then and we were giving the final years a farewell party. There was a person named Niyaska in that batch from mechanical. He was one person that I respected and loved in college. A person with a soothing personality, one who had above 70% aggregate for his B. Tech, Kung-fu black belt, college football team player, a person who was there for almost everything good around us.

The words that he said that day comes to mind. He said, “Motivation is an important factor that can change your life and can help you discover skills within yourself that you would never have dreamed that you had. But you won’t find that factor in this college. Therefore, in order to understand and realize yourself, you have to be self-motivated.”

I had listened to that and forgotten it. Now it comes back to me. So what I have to tell you guys is to realize the importance of giving motivation as well as being motivated. As once I had written in my blog, if you are a human, you have the power to give motivation. So help your friends and do them a favor. If they are trying out something, motivate them and help them to realize the skills that they have. That’s what friends are for.

Now that was just the icing of the cake. Let me get to what I’ve been preparing for the last six months.

What all kinds of advice can a person give? I’d say three. One, to preach about something that he practices. Two, to advice others on the mistakes that one had made so that the people hearing won’t make them. Three, the advice that all of us are familiar with. Free advice, which basically means to blabber on about something that guys has no clue about.

Of the above three, which would you say was the most effective one? In my opinion, I would say it was the first one. I say so because the person giving that advice had undergone the hardships and the tests in order to do what he was talking about. He could be a guide to what he was advising others to do. Most important of all, he would have felt what it was like to do that.

As for the second one, it would be effective but much lesser than the first one. That is because the people who are hearing the advice can ask us, “You had all the fun, so why can’t we?”. You cannot tell them how it is possible to not make that mistake.

The third one, well, need I say more about the third one? Anyone, anywhere and at anytime can give it. I don’t know if it will have any effect at all.

Now since we have, more or less, agreed to the fact that the first kind of advice would be having the best effect, that wold be the one I’m giving. Neither the second nor the third.

I have three advice to give you.

One, find something that you are passionate about and follow it. Most of the people nowadays have no passion. They do not have something that they do just for the sake of doing it. You can ask yourself the question whether you have something that you are doing no matter what others say. Something creative.

The reason why most people don’t have a passion is because they do not give their minds the time to find it. You know why? Because you want to be entertained all the time. It is either music, or movies, or gossips, or chit chat or mobile phones. You do not give your mind the time to find something. So “sit bored”. Boredom is one of the ways to let your mind show you what creativeness you have within you.

Of course, boredom is not guaranteed to bring out the creativeness in you, but it helps. It will definitely make you try out something you have never tried in your life and that just might be the thing you are good at. That being said, most of the times, it happens at a certain blessed moment. This is my first advice.

Now, as for my second advice, I won’t say it. If you really really want to know it, you can come and ask me personally. Isn’t that right Manu?

Now the third one. Help and support your friends. This point stems from the fact that not all of you will be interested in the technical aspects of Computer Science. Most of you would just want academics to go by while you are interested in sports, politics or whatever you are interested in. I do not blame you for that is your choice.

But there will be your friends who are, at least a little, interested in learning new technologies as well as programming. Just make sure that you do not discourage them. Do not make fun of them. Instead, support them. So even if you are not interested, do not be a hindrance to others. That applies to Abacus as well. Even if you are not interested in its activities, do not discourage your friends who spend time to keep it alive. Support them.

If you remember a year earlier, you’ll know that most of us made fun of Shalin Jain saying that he was boasting. But now I realize he was giving us the best advice that he could, telling us about something that he did and was doing. He was a role model and he was definitely the person who made a major milestone in my life.

This is what I wanted to tell you. I hope you’ve been able to grasp it. If not, this is not the end, feel free to mail or call me if ever you find that you’ve stumbled upon your passion. I’ll help you work it out.

So enjoy your college life. I sincerely say that no one could have asked for a better bunch of juniors. All of you have given me the strength and courage to face life’s challenges. Many of you, I know personally. Anand, Ashiq, Aravind, Vasudev, Nithin, Ranjith, Ajay, Manosh, Harikrishnan, Jijo, Jibin, Sruthi, Aparna, Aaliya, Sreelekshmi, Hari, Sree Hari, Anjana, Suhaira, Ajumal, Charu, Aksin, Arun, Shyam, Divya… I’m not going to forget any of these guys in a hurry. So keep rocking and all the best!

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I guess that sums up my farewell speech. I had timed it for ten minutes. However I’ve made it a bit elaborate in my writing. As always, take what you feel is good. But don’t dump the rest. If you think some of what I said was not right, then try to understand why I said it and try to see it from that perspective.

Cheers guys!

Farewell.

The juniors did it. In spite of the pessimistic HOD as well as the ever in-favorable circumstances of our department, our juniors managed to give us a farewell. I’m not going to make this post long by going into all the tiny weeny details, but I’m just going to say that one couldn’t ask for a more wonderful bunch of juniors.

People coming together is always nice and I hope this goes on.  Anand, Vasudev, Jijo, Ashik, Ranjith, Nithin, to mention few of the names. Many more are there who have given me the strength and support to enjoy as well as learn a lot during my last year at college.

By the way, today I got my first ever trophy in my entire life and it was written on it, “Haris Ibrahim K. V. – A constant support and a helpful guide”.

All is well that ends well. 🙂

Pining to write.

Life has been quite dull as well as busy lately. I never had the peace of mind to sit and write about the numerous thoughts and ideas that were popping up in my head. Trying to keep them aside and concentrating on the day’s works has really been tiring for the brain. I feel as if my brain is not good for anything any more. Hey, that happens when you continuously use your brain without rest for nothing but bull shitting.

I’ve had to write a few exams lately which were completely dumb and I had to fill up my answer sheets with something. That being one, the other was to prepare my final project report. If you read my post here, you’ll know what repeated. Suffice to say we’ve got it all over with today.

Since there are a lot of thoughts in my head to put down, I thought of keeping them organised and what better way to do that except writing about what is to be written?

So here goes. You can expect the following posts from me pretty soon.

1. Can I be optimistic about pessimism?

This thought originated when our Head of the Department, an old lady, said that she won’t encourage any further activities of Abacus. It seems she thinks that we are upto something mischievous. When you see something that you worked your heart for being killed just because of the absurd imaginations a person, it hurts.

2. Home schooling V/S schooling.

This interesting debate happened while our project team was waiting for the teachers to show our demo. It lasted for about two hours and was really patience-testing as well as interesting.

3. I’m not a FOSS fan boy.

Quite an interesting discussion happened on our abacus mailing list. You can read it here. After all was said and done, I received a message from one of the guys in the discussion. It read as, “FOSS fanboys will never understand that, because they need to believe that they’re freedom fighters in a revolutionary war, like characters in their favourite animes”. Upon hearing that, I lost trust in myself a bit.

4. Against E-learning.

Many people around the world are e-educated nowadays. As in, whenever you ask a doubt to a certain person, he mostly will tell you to figure it out on your own. I guess it has its advantages but won’t it breed arrogance as a by product?

5. Its all about attention… and addiction!

I’ve been thinking about it and everything that we do boils down to two things. Either attention or addiction.

6. The farewell speech.

For the past six months, I’ve been thinking about what to speak if ever I was asked to say something in front of the whole CS batch during a farewell party. I don’t think that our farewell is going to happen because of our HOD, but I’d like to put down the speech that I had prepared.

7. Hard disk partitioning.

I’ve been playing around with hard disk partitioning using gparted for a while and many people are scared to give it a try. Hence I plan to write a small tutorial on how to use gparted to partition your hard disks.

That’s about it folks. Expect all these posts soon. Tomorrow I turn 23, leaving college, having learnt a lot.

And Monsoon is here…

“Hey Joe, check this out. Its raining.”

“Oh crap! Dude Andy, I told you we should’ve gone back earlier, didn’t I? Now what are we going to do?”

“What can we do? We have to make it through to the Queen and let her know this”

“What the…!? You mean to go through….”

Before he finished Andy was already on his way. Joe rushed after him.

“Do you know the way dude?”, asked Joe.

“Man you’re sooo looney. Don’t you even know how we find our way? Follow me.”

“What!? Its a pool ahead! Can’t you see high grounds just to your left? Let’s go that way.”

“Joe”, said Andy sternly, “I’m going to follow the pheromones no matter what. If you can go the other way, then be my guest”.

Andy made his way through splashing and making a ruckuss.

“Sigh…”, said Joe. “I guess he is right. I really have to work on this pheromone addiction of mine”. He followed Andy.

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Today we had the first “official” rain of Monsoon at about 5 in the evening. Very punctually, the power went off. I took my text book and went outside to the Veranda. Mom and dad were already sitting there and I accompanied them.

As you might have already guessed, I did not even look into the text. It was when sitting enjoying the rain that I saw those two ants. No matter there being a raised ground without water near them, they simply would follow one course. They did not mind even they had to swim to keep their course. Just for the sake of it, both of them made it successfully to the other side of the house and into our car porch.

It was wonderful to see how much water appeared all around just from a few minutes of Rain. The smell of wet soil was so invigorating.

I guess people were not expecting the rain. There were these motorbikes parked at the smallest of shelters that they could find, trucks and pickups covering their load, cars with vipers on, people with Umbrellas…

The trees seem to shine. There was the slight glow from the evening sun that shone on the wet leaves. You could feel the happiness from all around.

One thing that I did not want to remember was getting up early on days like these and getting ready for school. Oh how I hated those days. But they are long gone. Never to come back again.

Oh dear Rain, pour and bless us with your gift, the elixir of life.