Rail Gaadi, Rail Gaadi… :)

Yesterday while standing at a railway crossing, waiting for the train to pass by, I realized that I love train journeys. Bus journeys are painful, and flight journeys -too short. Trains provide you enough space to move (and jump) around. People you come across are interesting. Moreover, the journey is long enough to let you enjoy your “break” 🙂

--By flickr.com/photos/godvivek/483490156/

Tonight, I’ll be leaving for home to celebrate Holi and my B’day with family after a long time. This will probably be my last visit to Orissa because father got transferred. Return journey is flight from Kolkata, but tonight’s for my loving train :). I have also realized that each time I get down from a train after finishing the journey, a sense of realization that I have failed to enjoy the journey to the fullest comes to me. I know that not everybody would be able to relate to this feeling, but what the hell! 🙂

This feeling, I guess, has a lot to do with my childhood train journeys. This is when I used to fantasize having a camera to click pictures of the changing landscapes. This fantasy is what drove me to buy a DSLR. There is also a disturbing memory associated with trains, but that’s quite personal.

Anyhoo! I don’t wish to stretch this post anymore. I posted it just to let you guys know a couple of things. One, that I’ll be on leave for around 10 days (Saturdays, Sundays included). Second, my love and fantasy for train journeys :). But there’s also one more thing on my mind, and it doesn’t have much to do with trains.

I am considering abandoning this blog. There are several reasons for this. Most prominent of them (which I’d like to mention here 🙂 ) are that I’ve never liked pouring my personal thoughts on anyone (Okay, a few 😀 ), and I don’t REALLY feel comfortable doing it here. This blog started out as an outlet of my frustrations during the final year BTech (and a medium of one sided communication to a few). However, I am not sure if there’s any point continuing it.

Secondly, I am planning to move my tech blog to my server http://projectbee.org, once I return from home, and would like to focus on it. Nothing’s decided yet. Let’s see! 🙂

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[CrossLink] Orkut XSS Worm and Indians

Well, some of you know that I maintain 3 blogs (one being a group blog). Hence, quite obviously, it sometimes gets a bit troublesome to decide where do I post the ..ummm.. post. So, I am here with crosslink category to link from one blog to another. 🙂
http://www.flickr.com/photos/willianmachado/1703417108/

I wrote a post on my technical blog on the latest Orkut XSS worm and it’s legal impact on the indian users. I don’t claim to have any level of expertise on law, however I am a hacker, and will hack my way through the IT Act 2000. 🙂
Let me know your views.

…and thou shalt be Geekier!

Disclaimers:
1. Puhleez understand that this post might leave you with a feeling of immense aggression towards the author. Kindly control your feelings and remember that violence is sin.
2. A part of this post is imaginary.

Prologue
Have you ever:
1. Lost your keys and thought, “Oh! I can make a quick Yahoo! (or Google) search”, only to realize that real life entities aren’t indexed. Not yet, at least. OR
2. Looked at a marriage invitation card and said, “The layout is nice, but the fonts.. yuck!”? OR
3. Prepared a changelog of your….. new girlfriend? OR
4. Smiled and hugged a friend while trying to figure out a bug in your program? OR
5. Told you friends that you’ve married your…. laptop?

If the answer to any of the above mentioned questions is YES, then…. you are in a great trouble my friend. You’re a geek…… and there’s no turning back.

However, life, as cruel as it can get, makes you realize at times that you’re lagging in your quest for geekdom.

http://paid-to-smile.net/lydia/images/rotj18.jpg

The Phantom Menace
It started long long ago when our protagonist was born… But. We won’t go in details. The curious one’s can refer to this post. We will start our story from a latter date when he was recruited in a computer services firm, but wasn’t happy at all. This isn’t where he belongs. He was supposed be somewhere else… to be more intimately involved with computers.
He had a bad feeling about it all!

Attack of the Clones
He, anyhoo, joined the firm, but…………….. it was all a mess.
Or at least that’s what he felt initially. There were (so-called) engineers all around him who’d topped the exams in their respective colleges… but; as The Mentor says, “Damn kids! They’re all alike”.
They were like… Zombies… Parasites… Clones.

Revenge of Swen
“There’s a match for you, not matter WHAT you are”, they say.
True it was for him. He found a match in Swen.

Swen was different.
Not as good looking as him (???), but smart enough (:-o).
Dumb, but geek.
Married, but looking.

Swen soon realized that the young chap was a nerd. Swenny’s nerd-ometer had confirmed it.
…and this wasn’t acceptable to him. He gradually became jealous an started searching for the loophole which would drop The Nerd from geekdom to non-geekdom. He didn’t have to wait too long. He soon realized that the protagonist is a sinner.
He had not watched a single episode of the Star Wars.

The force wasn’t with him. Clearly, he was a non-geek, or still a padawan.

A New Hope
He was devastated… but life moves on.
Swenny left him and went to Chennai and he got involved in training and preparation of new geeks at Hyderabad. He also co-authored a book during the time… spent 16-20 hours a day in front of a computer, mostly on FOSS and security issues. This is the time when he married Bittu.
His hardwork made it clear that there still was some hope.

The Non-Geek Strikes Back
After his back-breaking tenure at Hyderabad, he shifted to Bangalore. This was the time that saw a rise in the stature of the padawan. He worked on a number of things related to Web security (education + pen testing + research ++). Recently, he also started off with PHP training. The force was growing strong….. but Oh! The harsh reality.
He still was a non-Geek.

Return of the Geek
Our very own Jedi Master (Swenny) had by now achieved enlightenment on the matters of brotherhood. He realized his folly. He travelled to Bangalore one weekend and brought with him a gift for the padawan he had once deserted.

A pack of all the six episodes of Star Wars with the following words inscribed on them:

Your path, your destiny lies within,
Discover your inner Geek.

It took only two days for yours truly to get baptised. Thanks to the master, he was no more a padawan… He’s become a full-fledged homegrown Jedi now.

Epilogue
The force grew even stronger and the Geek attained enlightenment in no time.
He realized that Geekdom ain’t no event. It’s a process. A continous quest for GeekDom itself.
The quest continues……

p.s.: I recently presented a webinar at my company titled, The Web is Broken. It’s an introductory presented to web security, and should be conceivable by anyone. It’s fun too 🙂

Who am I? I am Spide…errr Man :P

Similar to my other emotionally charged posts (I mean when I am emotionally charged), this one too comes from a weird place. I am sitting on the wall of my balcony, with a little fear that my Bittu (laptop for the less enlightened) might fall with me.

//www.flickr.com/photos/surajchauhan/182062828/

Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/surajchauhan/182062828/

I am in a very strange mood right now. Full of nostalgic thoughts. These thoughts have enlightened me about things I wasn’t aware about myself. Since I do not share everything (I am li’ll selfish you see), I won’t post everything. Selfishness reminds me that I could never share my troubles with Everyone. When I left Bhubaneswar (in fact a few months before leaving it), I was left with none to share. It’s pretty unlike-me to accept it here, but I realized that an increase in blogging activity was an outlet in disguise. It’s not that I’ve written everything I feel (it’s just unlike-me), but I could share something. 🙂

Today again, I need an outlet when I’m tangled in this unmanageable web of questions.

Looking at my life, I’ve things that I’ve wanted and worked for (well, except a few).
I am financially independent, and don’t have to bother my parents.
I am working on web security, and that too in a computer services company, with geeks around me.
I also have permission to work from home, pretty unlikely for a beginner on some internal work. Complete freedom, to be precise.
I, with all probability, will become an author in a few months (unless something extremely goes wrong).
…and most importantly, I am ideal son in eyes of my parents (except one issue that I don’t take care of my health).

Still, there is disturbance caused by dissatisfaction… and at times, by overflow of energy. Don’t mistake it to be a job dissatisfaction issue. Computers has been one of my teenage loves, which has grown stronger with times.

Looking again at life, I realize that I don’t have everything I ever wanted…
I wished to contribute to the society; started a few times with SPICMACAY and AID; won a few times; lost a few times. Nothing to complain about really. Obviously, you don’t get all you want.

However, I feel I am entangled between things I wanted, and things things that are my responsibility (like changing the world 🙂 )

Going to an orphanage on a weekend, donating money, etc. are not my cup of tea. I believe they aggravate the problem more than they solve them, IMHO. A weekly visit makes them feel distant; a donation of money, or related things, makes them dependent. These issues need to be attacked from the root.

I have this feeling that I WILL be able to execute my plans someday… but what about now 🙂
Why do I feel like loosing patience, considered one of my biggest assets in the past.

Honour Insignificant Compared To Hunger!

I am a self proclaimed feminist.There are issues (which I do not cite) that disturb me… and I’ve been disturbed again by a piece of news titled “Sex for Survival” on the Al Jazeera (english).

From the article:

When Rana Jalil, 38, lost her husband in an explosion in Baghdad last year, she could never have imagined becoming a prostitute in order to feed her children.

A mother of four, Jalil sought out employment, but job opportunities for women had decreased since the US invasion.
She begged shop owners, office workers and companies to hire her but was treated with what she calls chauvinistic discrimination.
Within weeks of her husband’s death, a doctor diagnosed her children with malnutrition.

Fighting tears, she recalled the desperation which led her to the oldest profession: “In the beginning these were the worst days in my life. My husband was the first man I met and slept with, but I didn’t have another option … my children were starving.”
She left the house in a daze, she recalled, and walked to the nearest market to find someone who would pay her for sex.
She said: “I’m a nice-looking woman and it wasn’t difficult to find a client. When we got to the bed I tried to run away … I just couldn’t do it, but he hit and raped me. When he paid me afterwards, it was finished for me.

“When I came home with some food I had bought from that money and saw my children screaming of happiness, I discovered that honour is insignificant compared to the hunger of my children.”

I discovered that honour is insignificant compared to the hunger of my children.

We are all aware of such issues, but this time I could see a series of events leading to a sheer helpless situation. Quite ironically, I used to think that some, if not most, of the these people choose the easier path of flesh trade instead of working. I might still be right but the situation in places like these is vexing. Does anyone see anything good coming up from the US war against terrorism. If Yes then are the trade-offs worthy? (Or may be I currently too disturb to make rational calculations.)

By the way, I couldn’t finish the article. If anybody finds anything good in it, let us know.

My Nokia Battery (BL-5C) *gasp* MIGHT blast!

Yesterday, I made an entry to let all my readers know about the latest threat to their lives and property that may occur due to the Nokia BL-5C batteries manufatured between Dec’05 and Nov’06. I also provided the link to check if the battery is one of those that need to be replaced.

Today, I realized that I am one of the *lucky* few. 😦

Update: My younger brother is also on the list. I guess my previous batter that melted down was in the league too. Is someone from Nokia listening???

Product Advisory For my BL-5C :(