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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"FortiNET" has got some holes

Welcome back.
    I'm back after quite some time and unfortunately my Google Chrome project had to be dropped. But there's some good news as well. Well as many of you know, our college has installed "Fortinet Fortiguard" which is some sort of firewall like system to prevent us from accessing certain sites which they deem to be not suitable. Well if it had been blocking access only to such sites, then I wouldn't have complained. But the stupid system blocks several useful sites (like some movie subtitle download sites) as well. And worse still it blocks programs like uTorrent (I don't support nor do I indulge in piracy). And guess what- it can be bypassed. Mind you, I'm not talking about using some proxy site to surf blocked sites. As a matter of fact you can even use uTorrent and the like.

    I didn't bypass it just for the sake of it. Nor did I bypass it to access all those blocked sites. I just wanted to show how everything has flaws that can be exploited. Well, rumour has it that our college is paying something like three lakhs every year for this service. And as far as I can see there's no point in it anymore. All they wanted to do was to prevent access to certain sites. There were far easier (and cheaper) ways to achieve that. Just think how much money they can save just by not using the Fortinet based system.

    Like that saying goes, where there's a will, there's a way.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Portable Google Chrome

I've always been a fan of google and its products and Chrome is one product which I'm particularly fond of. I was pretty excited about it until I found out that I could not install it on the computers at CC, as I didn't have administrative privileges. So I set about modifying chrome to enable it to be used on any system and without installation. And I've been successful in modifying chrome to make it usable on any system as long as you are allowed to copy and extract files, that is in virtually every system. All you need to do is to extract the file to a folder where you want it to be saved (preferably in Z: in our CC, so that you can use chrome no matter in which computer you sit, both from Terminal 1 and Terminal3). A folder called Portable_chrome_3 will be created which will contain the program.

And most of us have encountered the message "Some additional plugins are required to view the contents on this page. Please click here to install the missing plugins". Well in most cases the plugin that's missing is the adobe flash player. And again though you can download it, you wont be able to install it due to the lack of administrative privileges. Hence I've included flash player 10 with chrome so that you may be able to view such websites the way they were meant to be viewed.

And then there's enhanced privacy. All your data (history, web forms, and passswords if you choose) is stored in a separate folder called Profile within the Portable_chrome_3 folder. So you don't have to worry about someone else being able to log into your Gmail or orkut accounts just because you've clicked "Remember me on this computer" or "Save password". Since these files are on your account (only if you've extracted the contents to Z:\) no-one except you will have acess to them.

And finally its small and eminently customisable. All of this has been achieved in a file only 12.7 MB large (thats the size of about three mp3 songs). Hope you'll like it.

Note: I'll posting the download link very soon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Student dismissed for ragging"

Ever since the recent supreme court ruling, headlines like these are a common sight in newspapers. Often, we don't give as much as a second thought it and conclude that the concerned students must have done something seriously wrong to have attracted such a penalty. But recently when three second year students were suspended for a whole semester for ragging in my college, I began to think. The said action was taken due to two separate incidents. I'll concentrate on one incident (for that's the one that set me thinking). And for protecting the privacy of those involved I won't be naming anyone.

As far as I know, all the accused did was to ask the junior not to wear shoes or to tuck in his shirt. I'm not writing this to argue that this doesn't amount to ragging, for deep down I've got a nagging feeling that it does. But what I'd like to highlight is that the punishment that has been awarded can hardly be justified. In my opinion the said "crime" didn't deserve anything more than a warning, or at most a suspension for a short time coupled with a public apology and intimation to the accused's parents. If the fellow ( or someone else) was found to be involved in ragging again, then a stronger punishment should be awarded. On the contrary awarding a severe punishment to one person even if the crime didn't deserve it, only so that it may deter others from doing the same doesn't seem to be the right thing to do.

I don't support ragging, the fact is I'm vehemently opposed to it. Not because it is a punishable crime, but because it is a crime that you commit against your conscience. At the same time I find the aforementioned punishment an overkill. Especially considering the fact that all this mayhem ensued only after the supreme court declared ragging a punishable offense, and that the the concerned people could be held responsible.

I understand that ragging is a social evil and it must be dealt with properly so that no one falls victim to it anymore. But there's the trouble. You see, I don't find the present approach very convincing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Divide by Linkin Park

Here's the link to the video of the song 'New Divide' by Linkin Park from the movie 'Transformers 2'.

But I've got to say that I'm a bit disappointed with the song, though it complements the movie beautifully. And I'm sorry that I'm unable to embed the video on this page.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back to college

I'm back at college, which means that I'll be posting as frequently as I can. ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Freshman-Not anymore

Farewell to PG 2

My days in the PG 2 hostel(its the hostel I live here at NITC) have come to an end, well almost. At most I'm going to be here for a couple of more days. And I have to admit that it has been quite a memorable experience, especially when I stayed in the 'U'. Well the 'U' is nothing but a U shaped part of the building. I don't know why but it held a special place in our hearts-maybe because its so open to the surroundings.

Not all first year boys stay in PG 2. Most of them are in the 'A' hostel, the hostel designated for the first year boys. But somehow about 60 (myself included) ended up in PG 2. And PG 2 boys have distinguished themselves in almost every aspect of college life ever since. For example take the NITC first year football team. About half of the members are from PG 2, though we are only about 10% of the total first year boys. Its not only about the good things. When it comes to using swear words few, if any can match our beloved archie (NITC lingo for a guy who studies architecture).

Most of the inmates of PG 2 hostel are people who are doing their post-graduate studies and regularly work late into the night. Therefore there was no restriction on the movement of students in and out of our hostel at night, something which the guys in A hostel didn't enjoy (back in the first semester A hostel gates closed at about 9 pm). As a result we were able to stay out as late as 2 am and sometimes even more. Of late we have started going out late in the night to pluck mangoes from the many mango trees that grow inside our campus and return only by about 4 am.

Though there were celebrations every now and then, this holi was something special. It all began with someone on the second floor borrowing some colour from the PG's (Post Graduates). It was mixed with water and sprayed on anyone who was seen outside. But the coloured water didn't last long. And then the fun part began. Someone had a brainwave and splashed someone else with water-not coloured, just plain water. Moments later everyone was spraying water on everyone else-mind you, inside the hostel. The fact that we had an important series test the next day was forgotten. Some people, not wanting to be drenched in cold water hid in their rooms. But no one was spared. And when we finally stopped the whole corridor had standing water!

Moments like that marked our stay in PG 2 for the past one year, and I feel kind of nostalgic now that I have to shift to the 'B' hostel. But then life's like that and what else can we- mere mortals-do but take it as it comes. ;)

Monday, May 11, 2009


What has become of Cricket?

Seems IPL is the most happening thing right now.
Almost everyone is talking about Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings and the like.Sports pages in newspapers are almost exclusively dedicated to IPL news. And the fact that the event is taking place outside India makes no difference.

And yet its times like these that often make me wonder... Wonder whether I'm a Martian (Just joking). For I don't seem to share everyone else's enthusiasm about the mega event. Maybe its the exams-which never cease to irritate me-that have kept me from following the IPL so closely, or maybe not. Because I still watch every match that Manchester United plays, I still follow F1 and Tennis, but I don't feel like watching cricket anymore.

Anyways last Friday, when I got a couple of days leave I went to the common room and sat down, determined to watch atleast one whole match. And I must say that I was disappointed by what I saw.I don't deny that there's plenty of 'action'. But what disappointed me was the lack of class, the lack of contest between the bat and the ball. The match begins with the batsmen going after the bowlers and ends with the batsmen going after the bowlers. It seems that the governing bodies, in a bid to attract everyone into cricket, have forgotten the very essence of the game. Gone are the days when the bowlers would would bowl just outside the off stump inviting the batsmen to play and the batsmen, unsure as to what to do would leave the ball alone. Gone are the days when a bowler would consistently ball at a particular line and length and let the ball do its bit off the pitch. And guess whats in...Cheerleaders.

Today the aim of every bowler is not to get wickets, but to concede as few runs as possible. Its all very good if you concede only a few runs. But when that becomes your sole aim, your bowling loses its 'sting'. Any bowler who approaches the game with such a mindset is not going to excel. And curiously its not the bowlers who are to blame. The shortest version of the game is just so demanding on them. Today any ball thats pitched outside the off stump is going to be punished and that realization has made the bowlers approach the game with a 'negative' mindset.

All of this has resulted in the transformation of 'The Gentleman's Game' into 'The Batsman's Game'.

For someone like me who has grown up playing, watching and admiring cricket, the game, all of a sudden seems to have lost its soul.And thats probably why I don't feel like watching cricket anymore.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Windows trick

A little .bat file trick

I had been learning how to put custom made batch files (they are the ones with .bat extension) into good use. With a little bit of effort I came up with this batch file. As of now it's a collection of about three files, which causes your system to shutdown. Yes, shutdown.

Now you might be wondering what use can such a file have apart from playing pranks on friends. Maybe not many, but it sure does have one. Say you dont want your friends using your computer withot your permission, but dont want them think you are selfish (which is what happens if you set a password to lock them out of your account). In such a scenario you can use a batch file to cause your system to shutdown as soon as someone logs into it. And when they enquire lust tell them that it's some stupid virus which your antivirus can't get rid of. Trust me, they'll believe you.

Now you might ask, wont the system shutdown when I start using it?. Yes it will. But if you know a particular command you can prevent the system from shutting down (Just type "shutdown -a" without the quotes in the command prompt).And thats the beauty of it all. You can use your computer, while anyone else trying to do so without your permission can't. And I have set a delay of 59 seconds so that you may use the shutdown -a command in the command prompt to prevent the shutdown.

But there is a loophole. The whole process will start only if the batch file is executed at every login. Therefore I went ahead and added a registry entry which does exactly that.

I know only the basics of using .bat files and am trying to improve my bat file. I am particularly interested in reducing the number of files.I have not uploaded the file since it is still under testing. I'll surely upload it once I have finalised the file.

The batch file is pretty basic and wont prevent advanced users from using your system.

I am deeply in debt of my friend Dhandeep to whom I owe a lot of my batch file programming skills.

So long everyone [Right now, I think I'm the only one visiting this page. ;-) ]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My first post

And finally, I too have a blog.

I had always wanted to have a blog but was too lazy to set one up. And then there was the problem of updating it. Not having a computer meant that I would have to go to the nearest internet cafe to access the web, which ain't exactly cheap. All these reasons conspired to keep me from having my blog.

All that changed when I got admission to a college. The college was quite a long way away from my home and hence I had to stay in a hostel. The college computer centre [CC] was just about a hundred yards away from my hostel and best of all internet was free 24X7, 365 days a year [well, not exactly]. So now I had no reason not to have a blog, except my laziness of course. ;)
And now I have one.

About me.
I'm no elite hacker, nor am I an avid programmer. Why, for that matter I don't even own a computer. And when it comes to my programming skills, less said the better. But I dare say I'm interested about computers and have acquired enough knowledge over the years to qualify me to be a geek. And I'll be posting on it.

Now on to my hobbies and interests. I am ardent fan of F1 and absolutely adore Michael Schumacher. I like football, basketball,cricket, tennis, golf etc.[No. I'm not lying about golf]. Basically, I like any game that I can understand. I'm no bookworm, far from that, but I do like reading short stories and detective stories and I particularly like Sherlock Holmes. And when it comes to music i like almost every type of music - from rap to rock. But Linkin Park is by far my favourite band. I just love their songs - not just the music but also the lyrics.

I think that's a bit too long for a maiden post, well atleast by my standards, for I know no touch typing. I should end this post here or I would be too late for the evening tea [as I said earlier I live in a hostel].

Until then,