Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday rain

It's been raining heavily since the morning with the occasional breather. I feel extremely disinclined to do any housekeeping stuff, and have pushed them on to the conscience of a tomorrow. I'm back at the lab, partly out of a sense of escaping the slightly claustrophobic. I realised many days ago that I like large/bright areas, so that there is the potential of moving about and stretching my legs. The hostel room and its near environs repel these ideas, so I'm better off making several 12-min walks. I have got some more done, but it worries me that I have not started studying for my data mining quiz this week. I've to start load balancing soon.

On a more cheerful note, a note on my designated machine: we're allowed to name our desk PCs with a label of our choice, so after some consideration, I went in for "mycroft". The allusion is to the fictional character, the brother of Sherlock Holmes.

I'm fascinated by this fellow because in some ways he is a character after my own heart. If one is the best at anything but is too lazy to go about doing the things that drumbeat this superiority to the world, it would suffice that the person the world thinks is the greatest acknowledges you as the best. Sherlock thinks Mycroft is even brainier than himself and what greater compliment do you need? :-). Mycroft H whiles away his time between being "the govt" and in the quiet confines of the Diogenes club. All this appeals to the sloth in me.

The bad news is that one of my wet and pushed-to-the-limit socks have start to reek badly.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Monkeys begin to type

Assignment one of the slightly tyrannical (or so it seemed to be historically) Foundation Lab is out here, so all of us are off typing, searching, reading and scratching.

The questions are essentially on gnu/linux shell programming and range from the slightly easy to the "hmm... that's interesting". I have done some amount of shell programming a while back, so it's a bit easier than some others who have to start from scratch. The good thing about unix/linux shell stuff is that it is somewhat like plugging lego blocks together, so it can get quite interesting while being quite useful. I liked something that the prof (Om Damani) said in his first short session: "I tell people that in some sense, the job of computer engineers is to make themselves redundant i.e. be replaced by automation". Shell programming does take the boredom out of mundane tasks, but takes a while to get the innards right.

A very good explanation of this toolbox design philosophy of Unix can be found in Eric S. Raymond's The Art of Unix Programming (a book that, sadly, I've only half-read).

I've already had a very long day - Assuming I sleep by 12:00, I'd have had 6 hours of sleep this day. Most people in this line prefer late nights to early mornings; I'm the opposite. But when additional stuff has to be scheduled, it happens later at night, like today. Sometimes I skip them. Today wasn't one of those days. So tonight will be the first instance of me walking the 12 mins worth of distance to the hostel with the dark, anti-lighted throughfares of the campus. No detours for me, only the straight roads. And let sleeping panthers lie!


I had sent this out to some friends. Since I'm already behind time, I'll save days and post this wrap-up of the first week.

The story so far:
* Reached here on Monday. There had been several cautionary letters about the non-availability of accomodation, but this was not so - got a hostel room on touching down. Only catch was that for the moment I have to share it with someone (and the dimensions of the room are meant only for 1). The silver lining here is that I know the other person sharing the room (from PSPL & KReSIT), so that's better than teaming up with a stranger. We are told that in a few weeks, some of the old fossils still in residence will leave and that might open up a chance of having a room to only one person. Both of us didn't move in immediately; i only moved over last night, having stayed with relatives so far. I have already bought my 1st item - a mattress.

* Orientation began on Tuesday and continued till Wed. Met most of the students/profs/PhDs etc. Liked the interactions and the work culture. Have to figure out what courses to pick etc. Still a job in progress. More details on that later.

* Have walked miles and miles yet. Have to get a bicycle next week. Am still "immobile" here as am yet to figure out which svc/handset to choose in the conditions here.

* The whole net access thing didn't happen until this evening due to a whole lot of reasons, one of which is that there is a space crunch here due to the fact that some of the comp sci dept labs & faculty have temporarily moved here as their dept building is undergoing renovation, and also because this is a big batch, far > that last time. So end result is that i'm in a slightly inconvenient workspace (we all have our own m/cs & work areas) and am typing all this with the keyboard on my lap. As with the room, hopefully this will get sorted out soon.

* Don't have the essential "luxuries" such as headphones yet; will need to get them here.

* Some more speeches today as part of the larger IIT-B orientation for PG students. Plus a lot^lot of heavy rain in the later half of this week.

* Canteen food is ok, and let's see when I begin to crib abt it. There is a lot of amul butter and omelettes and bread, so for now, I'm pleased.

Friday, July 29, 2005

ext3 blog

Up and running, a week late, a slash-dev-slash-null for the potentially torturous/epiphanic/give-up route for the next couple of years (if I last). This will be a very everyday weepy blog, unlike my other, more column like slate, so follow at your own discretion.

BTW, if you haven't made the connection, "ext3" because it is a journaling filesystem (journal? get it?)

(This is going to be the nature of puns on these pages, so suffer!)