Guys and Gals – We are famous now :)

One of my previous posts threw some light on Bureaucratic System at IIIT. A few hours ago, Zenwalker posted an interesting story on his blog regarding Creation of a mailing list for the purpose of a magazine. These were few things about IQ level :) Now, lets study the ego levels of people at our place. People who are in no way related to IIIT are writing blogs about IIIT. Isn’t that great?? People know us now!! A guy who happens to be a FOSS supporter, was trying to convince administration to organize a FOSS fest at IIIT and this is what he got! (I couldn’t find a way to link to the particular post from the blog, so quoting it here. You can find the original post (its the first one untill author updates his blog) here.)

We approach technical advisor X and assistant professor Y for a F/OSS unconference at a premier International Institute, and they never respond for weeks. Apparently, we knew the Head of the Institute, who whole-heartedly agrees, having been a user group member during his college years, and asks X and Y to take things further.

Now, X and Y are upset, because we approached the Head of the Institute, and permission was granted. Then X and Y show off their ego, presence, and reciprocate by not communicating at all our requests. Weeks go by, and we still don’t get any prompt response. And we decide to finally call it off with them because it was not helping us progress any further.

End result is that the students/faculty of the Institute are at a big loss for not having the event at their venue for no fault of theirs!

While, I have seen such extreme *ego* cases in India in most of my attempts to organize Free Software unconferences, I have never shared it with others. Maybe I should write a book — The Adventures of Shakthimaan: The “Lost” Chronicles :)

People have to agree with me that our professors (apart from a few) never reply to mails irrespective of the importance of the mail. I am glad to know that number of people who ask “What is IIIT?” is decreasing :)

Routine Work!

Every night around 3AM before sleeping I think “Current routine/work/lifestyle is taking me nowhere .. its just helping me buy some time before I die .. fuck !! I need to work harder ..” and then I go to bed .. sleep for at least 10-16 hours .. and there I am next morning (ah .. sorry .. afternoon .. around 2PM) .. Spend almost an hour and a half checking mails/twitter/facebook/orkut/my-websites/blogs/reader/money-earned/money-lost(fucking-exchange-rates)/alexa/and-what-the-fuck-not … shit .. its already 3:30PM .. no mess around can serve food at that ungodly hour .. canteen anyone?? and a few rooms throw 404/301/302 (people not found or moved temporarily or permanently and that means room locked .. go learn http status codes) .. and few others (which means the rest) had food already … fuck!! chances are less than 30% that I’ll have enough motivation to go to canteen and have food.. if I succeeded that means another hour wasted just for lunch .. our canteen is such a waste of India’s top talent’s time (well .. i have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from IIIT which is frequently ranked in top 10 colleges of India by some god-forsaken-magazines .. and by all means you can’t convince a middle class family in India that there exists something which is better than computer science as a career.. so me belongs to India’s top talent :P ). anyways can’t miss going to coffee shop immediately after lunch at any cost unless there a threat to my life or coffee shop is closed! back from coffee shop .. now what? well here goes the checklist of a typical computer science student … mails/twitter/facebook/… OMG!! did you notice that its already 5:00PM … time for coffee shop!! ping everyone around to notice that none is interested and people replying back with ‘why the fuck you have to go to coffee shop so often???’… but you still manage to convince a few .. and yay!! coffee shop :D after that time passes really quickly till dinner … dinner will be at 4 Seasons/Canteen/Yuktahaar/Dominos with decreasing order of probability… irrespective the dinner place, coffee shop will be visited right after dinner .. and i am so used to this routine (tea after dinner) that while at home once i asked for tea and my mom gave me a ‘what the hell?’ expression :( ..  there will be a backlog of updates … checklist .. :P .. another hour well wasted.. and then I plan a few things that I should do next … and its around 11PM … so we should visit coffee shop yet another time before it closes … typical procedure … but I somehow manage the last visit … after that a few hours of browsing and then I go the first character of this post …

IIIT : A Typical Indian Bureaucratic System and A survey

Disclaimer : This post is a pure work of fiction (? WTF??). Any resemblance to anyone/anything dead/living is not intended and if you still think that its not fiction, then either you have badly screwed up in life or you are gay (this single word will help me get rid of at least 98% people who thinks this post is not fiction :P ). And after reading this post if you think English language is gone forever, you are absolutely right, my friend :)

A survey has proved that Avg IQ level of people in IIIT Administration is less than the Avg IQ level of blonds in US (blonds like this one, facebook video). Now your expression may be like this “WTF are you talking about?? where are the survey results?? .. where are the votes??” wait wait… do you really care? this is internet you moron!! you see hundreds of surveys daily showing _some_nice_ass_word_here_ and what not.. do you really go looking for people who conducted those surveys .. no .. right!! so believe whatever has been said and if you don’t believe you are gay .. hahaha .. so you finally believe the above survey :)

Ok. As you all know that I am trying to get admission to MS by Research programme at IIIT. It took just two and a half months for them to get things (all the paper work) done. So I finally collected the admission letter and the lady their asked me, “Collect your original documents from acad office and submit them”. Wait a minute… Is this MS admissions office not related to IIIT? Anyway I dont really argue with people these days. I try to keep quite :) I went to acad office.. as I entered the office, Appaji looked at me as if I am the guy who is source of all this troubles … So here is the procedure that I need to follow ..

I need to collect original certificates and other crap from acads office… get them xeroxed (they already have xerox copies of all these documents .. but they want fresh ones .. how cool ?? :D )… and in the end everything goes back to acad office… this is more or less like reinstalling an application is working out of the box .. but then you know the IQ survey ..

The very thought of going to library building or NBH for xerox made me think that getting admission is not really important as long as you are doing research .. but then I hit this idea of getting docs xeroxed from xerox room in main building .. yeah IIIT has a xerox room near old PG labs… but they dont allow students to use those machines even if you pay for it .. i lied a few things to the guy there and he finally agreed..

Gandhiji ne kaha : “Agar ek jhooth se kisi ka bhala hota ho to wo jhooth bol dena chahiye :) .. ” .. how cool .. thank you bapu :D

The very thought of saving the energy to walk from main building to NBH and back thrilled me to the limits…

I again went to the office and produced the docs and copies before the jury … and now they need to BTech degree as well … you see .. its like typical govt office … you gather n-1 documents for work X and present them .. and then they’ll ask you for the nth document which supercedes all the n-1 documents and render them useless.

And to my surprise they need 5 photographs … arrey yaro .. itni to sala matrimonial wala bhi nahin mangta .. jahan puri zindagi ka sawal hota hai ..

PS : If you feel hurt after reading this post, comment mein khoob galiya likho .. and I will delete it without notifying you .. :)

Going Home

Well, its that time of year again, when I have to go home. BTW I’ll be at home after skipping four Diwalis in a row. Its not that I don’t love to go home or I don’t love people back there but most of it leads to embarrassing situations in one or the other way. You can’t be a free bird as you are while in IIIT. The worst thing is you can’t use the fu**ing F word and any of its variations. Here are a few common problems I face at home

  • THE BIGGEST PROBLEM : I can’t remember faces :( Whenever I visit some relatives, I can’t recall their names. This happens in some extraordinary manner. I went to my uncle’s (Tau Ji) house and the moment I saw his son, I forgot his name. Total WTF!!! How can you forgot the name of a person who is almost like your real brother. Last time I was at home, it happened at three different locations and drove me crazy.
  • Music : I can’t listen to Ear-Blowing (basically at high volume) music there because of the inherent agreement to social terms and conditions.
  • No Internet : My home is within the boundaries of a national park. At first it sounds super awesome because you get to live really close to nature but then you don’t get high tech facilities there. Weak mobile signals and no internet is such a turn off. Still its not as big a problem as the first one :)
  • Embarrassing Questions/Comments : Every single time you go home, there will be neighbours who don’t have any sense of what you are upto and will ask the same questions or deliver their expert comments. ‘Padhai kaisi chal rahi hai?’/'Kitna kamjor ho gaya hai?’ WTF!! If it was so, I should have disappeared in four years.
  • Off Topic Discussions : In four years, I (or any engg grad) have lost total sense of what typically goes or discussed in a family. Now, all we remember/know is the word “BC”, ‘THE F WORD’ and tech-discussions. The discussions/talks which are treated off-topic here are considered relevant back there. And the worst part is that I don’t have a report spam option :(

Leaving apart the problems, I hope I’ll have a great time at home this Diwali.

PS : Last point is a bit exaggerated :P

Do Not Disturb

Well, its been months since I posted anything on this blog because somehow I am very busy these days. There are a few things I wanted to clarify.

  • I am _NOT_ a sysadmin. If you have a problem with systems, its your fucking problem and I don’t fucking care about it. Please contact the concerned person.
  • I am _NOT_ your tech support. IM is still fine but please DO NOT CALL for support. I have better things to do in life. Please solve it yourself or  just fucking Google it

I am trying to focus on my work and will appreciate your co-operation.

Biggest WTF Till Date

Though I am not blogging a lot these days, it doesn’t mean that I am dead. The reason is simple – I am using twitter these days, so in case you are curious to know what I am upto, follow me on twitter. Now lets get back to the agenda of this post.

I spent last four years at IIIT waiting for this day (really ? :P ). Yes. I came to this institute with dreams of becoming an engineer, receiving a degree, getting into an MNC and earning some cash but you never know what is going to happen next. Priorities change. You don’t study at all, you don’t care what grades you get and when Appaji threatens you that he’ll give you an ‘F’ grades in projects (in which you have ‘I’ grades), you feel like Appaji is an angel and he is doing you a favour because you don’t need to walk upto prof’s office and beg for a ‘W’ grade. All you care about is the page rank of your website and if it increases even by one point you’ll have more dollars pouring in. You care about your freedom to work. You don’t study in regular courses and still you want to do research. Getting a degree in convocation doesn’t make sense to you, instead you don’t register for the convocation and enjoy pizza with the money you saved by not registering for the convocation and quitely collect your degree from academic office later. Its not about money, its about the fun you derive in doing things the way you want. Its the fun of having total control on your life. You attempt 175 credits in BTech (without honours) when you need just 160 of them to complete B.Tech. and you fail in 14 of them :D You get placed in two MNCs and don’t join. And then the day comes when your rigorous hard work (what ?? WTF is that?? you forgot all those night outs.. they constitute hard work :P ) for four years and thousands of dollars of expenditure is finally rewarded with a paper worth cents (literal worth). You feel like WTF(expression of celebration)!!! A feeling of joy just blows your mind and you feel like celebrating. You call your parents, you tweet about it, you brag about in on facebook, orkut and what not !!!!

In short, I am an engineer now :D

Thanks IIIT for everything.

Sleepless or Sleepy :D

Well it was my very first experience of this genre. I slept at 3AM yesterday and had to wake up at 9AM for a meeting today. Obviously didn’t get a good sleep. Day passed and in the evening, I decided to go for a haircut. Weather was beyond awesome. Had to wait for 15-20 minutes till it was my number for haircut. I was feeling a bit sleepy.

As the barber proceeded with the haircut, I closed my eyes. After that I was in a totally different world. I was browsing Gmail. Suddenly there was a tweet from SKP and after that I felt as if someone puked over me. Opened my eyes with a 1000volt shock. I was about to kick the person by my side and suddenly discovered a huge mirror in front me. Oh darn!! I am in a barber shop. The barber just sprayed water on my hair. Gawd!! I was sleeping during a haircut. This was really one of the most awesome experiences I ever had.

SBH Sucks BIG TIME

I am a SBH (State Bank of Hyderabad) customer since last four years and never faced a single problem apart from eventual no-cash in ATM type problems. But this time they really frustrated me. I applied for Internet banking a month ago. The guy at office gave me a kit saying that your account will be activated within three days and you can enjoy ibanking :) I was really happy that time as these things are kinda turn on for me :P Tried after three days. Nothing worked. Tried after a week. Nothing worked. Called their customer care thrice with no help other than “You have to physically visit the bank”. Filled the online support form and they never replied positively or negatively :( Well went to Hi Tech City office last Monday. And it was a really awesome surprise to find that the guy who handles ibanking was on leave. WOW!!!!!

After spending a lot of time convincing myself, I motivated myself to visit the bank again. I was happy to find the guy. Cool!!

Me: Sir, my ibanking account is not working.
Guy: What happened?
Me: Sir, I am not able to login even for the first time.
Guy: Whats the error?
Me: Incorrect username or password.
Guy: Why its not working?
(I was like WTF!!! Are you nuts?? If I knew it, why would I ask you …)
Me: How do I know??
Guy: Ok. Sit there for a while.

I waited for another fifteen minutes. I again went to him explaining the problem.

Guy: What can I do?
Me: What!! What can I do??
Guy: I can’t do anything.
Me: Are you sure?? Who will sort this out other than you? ( I was heating up)
Guy: I can’t do anything.
(Tried to calm myself down a bit)
Me: Sir, then you suggest me what should I do? (Very politely)
(He showed my account on his screen and showed that it was granted all access.)
Guy: I have given you all the access.
Me: I am NOT able to login. (I was really frustrated now)
Guy: I’ll reset your password and it’ll be mailed to your address.
Me: Ok Sir.
(Showing my address on computer screen in a form.)
Guy: Where do you live?
Me: IIIT Hyderabad.
Guy: Your permanent address?
Me: Somewhere in Haryana.
(By now I saw that address in the form was “IIIT Hyderabad, House No. 2201, Sec 17, HUDA, Jagadhari, Haryana”. I really wondered if I have IIIT inside my house :P )
Me: Sir this is wrong address. (I was like in mood to just blast.)
Guy: This is the address. The mail will be sent this address.
Me: This is invalid address. (Shouting).
Guy: Why are you getting angry?
Me: If you are going to mail this at the above address, where will it go?? IIIT or Haryana?? (literally shouting this time)
(I wish god gifts these people with some common sense.)

After lot of shouting and convincing, I got the “IIIT Hyderabad” removed from address. And that guy clicked the confirm button.

Such a bad service is not expected. Feels like we are still living in pre-historic times :(

The PR Disaster

Long time no see! Well I have been through worst phases of my four years at IIIT. Details later. I tweeted about convocation dress code yesterday. Nishant (hobbit) pinged me regarding the same. And the conversation after that turned out really funny.

Nishant: dude
when is convo?
(I misread the above as ‘what is convo?’. Was surprised why Nishant wouldn’t know about convo)
me: convocation i suppose …
Nishant: yes
me: does it hv another meaning ..
oh .. (I re-read his question and realized the mistake.)
Nishant: what’s the deal with graduation day dresses?
me: dhoti kurta =))
or payjam kurta :D
Nishant: are you f***ing serious?
me: yeah F***ING serious :P
wait a minute .. (forwarding the mail to nishant)
Nishant: my God it’s going to be a f***ing pr disaster
dude
me: check ur gmail for serious fun :D
how is that going to affect page rank ? (I thought he was talking about page rank of iiit website)
Nishant: damn you
pr = public relations
f***ing geek
me: gawd!!
sorry :P

PS1 : A lot of events/things has to be documented on this blog. But no time :(

PS2 : Redesigned my Fedora Blog. Check out.

PS3 : Started using twitter. Follow me.

Farewell Speech (Tech Issues)

Below is the soft copy of my farewell speech on tech issues.

Good evening everyone. Carry forward the legacy left by one of our seniors, I am going to narrate a short story.

There was a boy, by name OMI, who came to IIIT without having any background in computers. He used to spend all this time in workspace exploring Linux usually at the cost of missing his lectures and even meals. Inspired by the works done by Nirnimesh, SMR etc., over a period of two years, after struggling, only as he could have done, he climbed onto the post which he always wanted, the sysadmin of IIIT.

Today I would like to speak about a few topics. The first one among them is my experiences as a sysadmin.

Our network is not ready to take the ever increasing load. The old wifi infrastructure has already crossed its End Of Life period. Also, the network is not properly planned which increases the time required to solve the issues. For example, it took several days to fix the network loop problems in different research centers last year.
Though we use open source to cut down our IT budget, we don’t make the best use of it.
The process of getting things done is slow. For example, we have not been able to narrow down on buying a firewall since last six months.
Now coming to the people part of it, the server room staff is generally co-operative but the problem lies with the administration mostly because of the slow decision making.
Within the administration, there is lot of interference by the people who don’t have adequate background in related fields.
Most of the time server room staff do the work they should not like asset management. Why a person who spent all his life in exploring technology should count number of computers in your lab?

Now, I’ll talk about the changes I tried to bring about and problems I faced.
There has always been an invisible gap between students and server room server room administration. It wasn’t very easy to convince people to stop treating the other end as enemy.
It was my top priority to restore the faith of administration in students so that more students can be brought into administration process.
Different research centers manage their own servers which poses a great difficulty for the server room staff to assist them. Everybody having their own network eventually increases the security loopholes as well. We tried to reduce the decentralization. Research centers are not usually ready to give up the rights easily but slowly things are changing and we have already moved few servers back to server room.
Since our network is growing, the policies that have been in place for past few years are becoming obsolete. We are in process of revisiting the different policies.

I’ll conclude by mentioning few key points. We urgently need to renovate the existing infrastructure otherwise there will be chaos. There is a need to invest more funds in IT infrastructure as its the backbone of the institute and it should not be seen as a burden. Gear up the approval process. We should be more transparent with students while forming the new policies.

I would like to thank IIIT for giving the students an opportunity to be involved in system administration and I hope the future batches will take this up as a serious job.

Thank You!