I might get another assigment

I might be getting appointed as the webmaster for thw writing center here at UT. They need a web scheduling page for their appointments and I have been nominated. They want to use me as a grad assistant or something, but it all sounds very weird right now. I have to talk to them to make further judgements. Im still trying to figure out the name of the person from Florida who keeps leaving me cryptic comments. There are only a few people from India who know me well enough to make those comments. It could be Rajiv (he might be here somehow). It could be Avinash and/or his cronies from La Martiniere for Boys (my past high school). It could be a bunch of other people. LOL

Woke up to the sound of sirens

I woke up this morning and looked out of my window to see a bunch of cops cars there with lots more showing up. I guess they finally figured out that this guy (the hairy weirdo) was holed up here. I saw him standing in front of one of the cops being handcuffed. I decided to go back to bed and not get out till this rode over. I really did not want to get involved in any way. His van is still there, but that is something we will worry about in a few days.
I was looking through my referrer logs and I noticed that one of the most searched terms (through Google) was “How to get around the University of Toledo firewall!” I wonder how Google thinks I somehow have this information?
I redid the pictures page with a nice new album. The new picture album allows users to print pictures they like in high resolution on real photo paper using Shutterfly. Give it a whirl!

Really weird hairy person

There is this really weird hairy person staying in a van in our private parking lot. He is an old tenant who was evicted a couple of years back. According to my neighbors, he is a Magician who went out west to seek his fortune and never did make it. He is apparently always in trouble. This is very weird and I dont quite know how to handle it. Jennifer is freaking out that he will be there when she shows up here at night. I am going to wait till tomorrow (he has been here since last weekend). If he does not leave, I will call the condo association and if that does not take care of him, I will call the cops. I dont want to create any kind of trouble, but I dont want a strange hairy man living at my front driveway either. Lends a new meaning to “Living in a van, down by the river!” -Chris Farley, Saturday Night Live (heh! Craig gets it!) I will update on the next post.
On another note, there is the Cleveland AirShow this coming weekend and Craig wants me to come up there. Jennifer is game and it sounds like we are going to get our cameras and attend! This should be a fine showing of America’s (and my) favorite way to spend tax dollars! Check it out for yourself! The Cleveland AirShow sports some of the finest that American Aviation has to offer. This should be a special show with the 100th Anniversary coming up! I will post the best pictures. I have to remember to take my good camera with me!
On ANOTHER note, I am taking Advanced Computer Architecture and Computer graphics this semester. I had the first Advanced Computer Architecture lecture today. It should be a lot of fun. Dr Kaur (a nice Indian lady who likes me; we have published articles under her supervision) is teaching the course. We will be learning about newer processor and computing technology including the RISC and CISC based processors, Pentium iv range and many others. Memory (including SDRAM, SRAM, RDRAM and SRDRAM) should also be a hot topic. Dr Heuring is teaching the Graphics course which focuses mostly on OpenGL and GLUT. I should be able to code a decent screensaver afer this course! I will also be able to test the coding capabilities of my Linux server for the first time!!
Peace

Miscellaneous

First day of classes. I caught up on all the stuff that was piling up from the past two weeks. I took care of most of it. I replaced the file upload script for Dr Ledgard’s Automata class with something that should work quite well. I replaced, tweaked and removed some of the original code to get it to do what I thought was a good way to do things. If anyone would like to get their hands on the new code, please message or email me and I will get it in a zip file and post it on here. A quick quip. Is it just me, or is it just SO MUCH easier to type when your nails are short and well trimmed? 🙂
I saw a couple of very interesting articles that I would like to talk about and to get recorded. The first was an electronic media player featured here at ThinkGeek It is called the PrisMiq MediaPlayer. It can be quite useful because it boasts the ability to play MP3, MPEG and other electronic media from home computers over a network through your existing stereo and TV equipment. It also has the ability to play internet radio stations, surf the web and chat using AOL IM. It sports a Linux backend and is quite spiffy. If I had $250 I would buy it tonight! I listen to internet radio wayyyy too much!
Incidentally, Jennifer started her own blog, Trailing Thoughts Check it out sometime. She is very busy with her MBA and her Pharmacy, but she is trying hard to get it going to where she likes it.
The second was the article plastered all over the newsfeeds about Microsoft using Linux to protect their servers. This was just an awesome story. Justin (ws84tigers) told me about it. Here is the link to Google News to get the smattering of news coverage over it. I love it!!

“luchi” and Bengali Chicken Curry

I had the whole week off and Jennifer had the whole week full of nasty work 🙂 She had been wanting to eat some Luchi for some time now. My mother cooks very well and her luchi are fluffy and very very delicious. So I decided to make some for Jennifer last night.
Luchi is a bengali word for handmade and fried Indian Bread. I added the chicken curry for authentic taste. They are quite simple to make (really!) and if anyone reading this is interested, I have added my recipe to the bottom of this post. Give it a shot and let me know how it turns out! Jennifer loved the luchis. 😮

Luchi

Ingredients:
11/3rd cup unbleached flour (Maida)
1/4th tsp. salt9optional)
1/4th tsp. sugar (optional)
3tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup warm water or as needed
Shortening/oil for deep frying

Preparation:
Blend the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub the melted butter into it and gradually using enough water to make a stiff but pliable dough.
Cover the dough with damp cloth and set aside for 30 minutes.
Knead dough a little again. Dough should be stiff enough to roll without extra flour.
Make small balls of the dough and cover them with damp cloth.
Take one ball of dough and dip a corner of ball in melted butter or oil and roll it out into 5 to 6 inches round. Repeat the same process to roll out all luchis.
Heat plenty of oil in a flat pan until very hot.
Put in a luchi and immediately start flickering hot oil over the top of it with a spatula so that it will swell up like a ball.
This should take only a few seconds. Flip the luchi over and cook the other side until golden brown. (Jennifer likes them less than brown)

Bengali Chicken Curry

Ingredients:
(for a serving size of 4-5)
1 chicken, cut
2 onions sliced
2 bay leaves(tej patta)
1″ cinnamon
4 cloves
1 big tomato chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt
chilli powder
oil

Preparation:
Marinate the chicken in salt, turmeric, chilli powder and 2 tbsp of oil, for an hour. Heat oil in a big vessel, now add the bayleaves, cloves and cinnamon. Then add the sliced onions and fry till golden. Add the marinated chicken and fry on high heat for 2 mins. Reduce the heat, cover the vessel and cook for 5-6 mins. Now add the chopped tomato, cover again and cook till done. Garnish with cilantro.

Testing Auto ping to Blogrolling.com

Testing 1….2….3….4444. Fixed the bug with pseudomoods where if the mood was left out of the post, it would output an image not found. Here is the fix. Under your b2-include folder, look for the pseudomood.php file.

Look for:

$name=substr($row[mood],0,-4);
if($imagetext==0) $mood=”<img src=”$moodfolder/$row[post_mood]” align=absmiddle> $name”;
elseif($imagetext==1) $mood=”<img src=”$moodfolder/$row[post_mood]” align=absmiddle>”;

Replace with:

$name=substr($row[post_mood],0,-4);
if ($name!=””) {
if($imagetext==0) $mood=”<img src=”$moodfolder/$row[post_mood]” align=absmiddle> $name”;
elseif($imagetext==1) $mood=”<img src=”$moodfolder/$row[post_mood]” align=absmiddle>”;
}

Now, everytime the program does not find the required mood, instead of trying to print something, it simply leaves it blank.

BCIS updates

I guess I was wrong about the INS and how I had to sign up for 9 credit hours BEFORE the beginning of the semester. I called there today (because Dr Makki is still AWOL) and I am supposed to have 9 credit hours registered before the last day of add-drop. That really takes a load off my chest. I DO NOT want to get shipped back to India, yet… 😀

Netgear RT314 Gateway Router

Matt (Jennifer’s brother) had an extra Netgear RT 314 router that he was never going to use and he gave it to me for the time being. I needed some of the features of the router and was getting really tired of having my Windows XP box be the router. RT314 RouteMonsterI was looking for some additional features from my router and I stumbled upon NetGear.org. This site contains a lot of help files and such for the RT311 and RT314 routers. I managed to download the latest firmware from the Zyxel website and hack the hex code to make it work with my RT314. Zyxel makes all the routers for netgear. The new OS is extremely powerful and gives you lots of additional features which the Netgear Firmware lacks. I now have H323 configured to actually break down the packets on arrival and resend according to static routes setup. In other words, I can now initiate calls from inside the firewall to a remote user using netmeeting. Just a point of note: CODECS are a bitch to code and perfect! 😮

Toledo Automatic Garage Door

Give Peace a Fighting ChanceI went out for lunch with Jon (Infinite_Loop), Dave, Al and Greg to Ipoh. That place is great! The food is underpriced, friendly service and it is a nice place to hang out. After we got done, I went out looking for Dr Makki again, unsuccessfully and then went on to get the new garage door opener for Jennifer. I ended up getting the external keypad for the garage for the same price. Now I dont HAVE to have my remote with me all the time. I whole heartedly recommend Toledo Automatic Garage Door to anyone looking for help on garage doors. They are a little pricey, but they have the world’s best service. Check them out sometime.

W32.Sobig.F@mm

The new variant of w32.Sobig, the W32.Sobig.F@mm work is spreading fast through the Toledo networks, along with almost every other network in the world. I have personally (to my webmaster account) received over 50 virus carrying emails today. Everyone should be very careful about the attachments they open right now. The other important thing to remember about this virus is that it spoofs the address that the email is supposedly coming from. In other words, I seem to have gotten the virus from myself. However, upon closer inspection, I found that it had come from some heavy equipment manufacturing company out in the boonies.
There is a lot of tech chatter (such as mine) about this worm. It is written in MSVC++ and I would love to look at the source. It shows up as hex code on your doorstep.
There are quite a few programs out there to fix this problem. Here is another fixer upper from Network Associates

New summer pics of Condo

On the request of my parents (who live in India and I am the ONLY kid!) I have taken some nice summery pictures of my condo. Here they are. The full slew of pictures can be found at The Summer Condo Pictures Page.
The first picture is of the front of my condo. My dad was worried that the grounds crew would not trim the bushes in the front of the house. So here are the nicely trimmed bushes. I do have to say that I have never seen them do anything, but they are doing ok, so I figure it gets done soemhow. 🙂

Condo Front

The second picture is the the view from my little back yard. My parents had seen my condo last in winter and there were no leaves on the trees. Ma and Baba, look at all the beautiful green leaves on the trees and the wonderful sunshine peeking through!

Condo Yard

The third picture is of the living room. It is still clean, just like you left it Ma. I try to take care of it. You will notice the doll that Jennifer has bought for you and my little electronic pet that I continue to hack on my free time.

Living Room

One more little tidbit. I use Jasc Paint shop Pro 8 to fix my images and get them ready. I really like Photoshop, but for pure image editing functions and simplicity at the touch of a button, PaintShop kicks butt! Download a trial from Jasc Software and give it a whirl! Let me know if you like it. Try the tutorial to get some nice insight into the easy stuff.

Summer is almost over

Summer is almost over for me and all the students that attend the University of Toledo. This is the last week of relaxation and “fun”. Personally, I am not as worried about the classes I have taken as the ones that I still have to choose. According to the former INS, I have to sign up for 9 credit hours (graduate) before the beginning of the next semester to NOT be in violation of the new SEVIS laws passed this last year. I have taken seven hours including graphics lab, but I am waiting on my advisor to return so I can sign up for the rest. It will still take about a week or so before I can register for all my classes. I hope this does not become an issue. I will be going over to school today to talk to the people setting up the distance learning labs so that they can make some changes that the department wants (and I can get the passwords so they can really get what they want). I will spend the rest of my afternoon talking with the professors and Amy Gaertner (who is just a wonderful student councellor) about my situation. Hopefully Dr Makki is back from Australia and we get a chance to talk things over and get things out in the open. I am worried about him doing strange shit when the time comes to ratify my work, but only time will tel that.
I need to take Amy’s (other one) machine back to her so she can get going on her new computer. It is all done. I need to change the aquarium water and take Luckey for a walk if I could. I can see now that my plans for a motorcycle this summer are shot. But I will still keep looking. I know that many people get rid of their bikes over the winter when they are bored with them. Boy, am I jumping between subjects. Life is strange, busy, anooying at times, worrying at others and simply enjoyable at the end.
Peace

Zonkboard

With the RPC worm still creating havoc with the internet, I noticed that my zonkboard was really increasing the load times for my page. I needed another local solution. After looking around quite a bit, I found something called Shoutboard from WebFroot The code is a little messy with little installation instructions and has a few bugs on installation. However, I was willing to debug others code to get out of using Zonkboard. The froots of my fervor are exhibited on the zonkoard section of this page. Take a gander at the new message board and leave me a message! Let me know what you think of it. If you would like to use it or would like some help in getting it running, please contact me. PS: If you DO get it, download the older version

Finally get some time off (albeit unexpected)

I found out yesterday that I will not get paid for my webmaster position for the next 2 weeks because my TA ended on the 8th of August. Al told me (my boss) that he would talk to the chair (which he did) and see if I could get paid some other way if I wanted to put in 20 hours a week for the next 2 weeks or I could have the time off. Even though he did not like the idea of not having a webmaster for the next few weeks, I really like the idea of not having to go into work for 12 or so days! I will still be working as a part time sysadmin for the engineering college and this should bring in some money. I am not too worried about the financial situation. I am a little worried that Al spoke to the chair about me and I decided not to avail of it. I hope he does not feel let down.
Anyways, I now have a chance to do all the things I have wanted to do this summer and not wake up early in the morning. It is such a liberating feeling to know that you dont have to wake up that early for a long time! I will probably work on my planes, get a YMCA membership and just chill out on the computer. I also wanted to get some cooking in for Jennifer. I am thinking Tandoori Chicken with Jasmine rice and a potato bhaji with lots of hot sauce! 🙂 I am also going to finish working on Amy’s machine so that she can have it back. I really need to post some pictures as well. Here are some from the Wooster wedding of Matt and Jody Halsall.

Wooster Table

This is a table of Wooster Folk. In this picture, clockwise from left, Steve’s partial face, Jennifer, “Dinki” Ghosh, Kat (Klonowski) and Maggie Olde’s hair.
Wooster Group

The is the group picture for the Wooster Alumni Magazine. Clockwise from left, Kate, Maggie, Maha McCain, Nicle Dodds, Matt, Jody, Me and Jennifer. Where the heck is Steve??
Woogroup2

Stupid RPC worm!

If you are reading this post, then you are one of the more lucky people to have gotten through. The whole Buckeye Express network is affected by the RPC vulnerability in Windows 2000 and XP right now and my cable modem has been dogging for the last couple of days. RPC (remote Procedure Call) is a protocol used by many operating systems (Native OSs such as Windows XP, UN*X, Linux etc) to make system administration and network install of applications simpler. RPC is also used by the Active Directory Domain Structure to exchange Application Server related information. Buckeye is claiming it as an RPC problem and is referring people to a stupid Microsoft page which is dying from the load. They are also telling people that the flood in the Buckeye network is because many many customers are trying to download updates from Mirosoft at the same time. That is not correct in my opinion. The RPC scans from the machines on my network suggests that the flood is a virtual DDOS of the Buckeye network. My machine has been scanned for RPC by 250 individual machines over the last couple of days, each trying many number of times.
For users eager to solve this problem, stop the RPC service on your Control Panel -> Admin Tools -> Services. Unless you are affected by the virus, you dont need the patch right away if your machine has RPC turned off. Wait for the storm to pass before you go out and get it. Another quick suggestion I have would be to install a software firewall such as Black Ice which comes free with Buckeye. BlackIce (when updated regularly) will stop most such pre-disclosed vulnerabilities. If anyone has questions or needs more help, write to me. 🙂
Peace.