Friday, September 24, 2004
Simple. A bit difficult actually. Okay, it is tough, because I've been doing a lot of research to find it out. But nonetheless, the actual process is straight forward.
1. Ok. You start by finding out your IP address. If you lead a normal life, then going to "Command Prompt" and typing "ipconfig" in a windows box ("ifconfig" in a linux box) will do.
For those eccentric few behind a NAT, you will need to go to a third party website like www.whatismyip.com or www.proxydetect.com to find out your ISP assigned IP address.
2. Copy that IP address and head down to this sweet looking URL.
3. Paste that IP address in the search box. Don't click on the "Search" button yet.
As you can see, there are buttons to press and choices to make :-)
Ok. Here's a minimal list of things to be done.
a. In the alternative databases, select : If you are from,
North America = ARIN
Australia = APNIC
India = APNIC
For the rest of you, try one of the items in the list or go through this list.
b. Next, the object types, select "Route" or leave it to "All"
4. Now click search. Here's my output:
descr: BHARTI INFOTEL LTD.
descr: Class A ISP in INDIA .
descr: 234 , OKHLA PHASE III ,
descr: NEW DELHI
5. Take the number-looking part (18.104.22.168/17) along with the slash and the next number to it too and put it in your clipboard.
6. Goto this amazing site. Kinda looks like a cemetry of textboxes, doesn't it? Anyways, search for the text box named "CIDR and Netmask Lookup". Paste the IP there and click search.
Et Voila! The last data field in the next page is what we're looking for!
Here's the data for my IP:-
Number of useable IPs in range : 32766
All the low scores in the tests are not going to keep me down. Infact, now nothing mattered than waiting for my mére to come to India.
For the few weeks before my mother's arrival, I was walking on air. I was ranting to anyone and everyone that stopped by to talk to me about this preciousss...my precciousss...
It all started when I first heard that ATi was tired of sleeping in the ashes and decided to rise out of it. They did and NVidia didn't like it. ATi planned to release a graphic card that skipped many generations. The ultimate cutting edge of a graphics cards were to be released under the name, the ATi Radeon 9700 series.
The ATi 9700 pro, which I had ordered via my brother-in-law and my sister, whom my mother had went to the US to meet, was like a Goliath in God mode. The David of an NVidia watched baffled at the giant while he captured all the market from NVidia, the former one and the only champion.
My old computer was a boxed PC from HCL. It had some antique parts like:
PIII 450 MHz processor,
Intel 440BX motherboard,
32 MB Ram,
20GB Hard drive,
a 15" monitor and
other cheap cards from Aztech(bankrupt) and BitWare.
I was proud to run MS Millennium edition on it. Soon, as it happens in the hardware world, my machine was the slowest in the block.
The timing couldn't have been perfect. I had been planning on upgrading my old jalopy of a computer for some time and was about to proceed to the infamous Ritchie Street to grab some cheap hardware. Since I was, and am, a regular to www.TomsHardware.com, I followed the ATi Radeon's slow progress from a side-bar news headline to a full blown review. I was amazed, like everyone in the hardware world, at the new architecture and all the stuff that I could not comprehend, but I was astounded nevertheless.
I used the fact that my mother was in the US and the fact that my dad isn't too tech savvy (My father asked me if it was essential for my computer education, and I said "Totally!" all the way thinking of Max Payne and other contemporary "educational" softwares). And all that remained was choosing the online reaseller ad sending that list to my BIL and sister. My BIL paid for the card which was reimbursed by mom. All through the weeks that my mom stayed there, I would ask her in the phone if my Radeon has arrived. Even when it did come to them via mail, I bugged them asking how the card looks like and then asking them not to touch it incase some static remained in their fingers and damaged the precioussss circuits.
My biological clock played fool with me almost everyday. Everyday, I will wake up thinking that the day my mom came home will be this week. And almost everyday, I go check the calendar. I wished I was encased in liquid N2 in some suspended animation and thawed me on the day that I would receive my Radeon. Thus went the three weeks....
Another day, and I went to check the calendar. This time, it was not only THE week, but also THE day! My brain seems to have taken the brute-force method of finding out the day or whatever....
My mom landed. We greeted her. We came home. I looked at my mom and my mom just said, "It's in this bag". The world seemed to go slow-mo, as I turned and marched toward the bag. The slow motion was filled with all the junky details like the number of vertex pipelines, the fill-rate, the level of anti-aliasing, the level of anisotropic filtering, the various benchmarking tests and yada yada yada....
For the first few days, I was afraid to try the video card in my old computer. My old computer was AGP 1.0 or AGP 2x, meaning that the maximum data transfer rate was 512MB/sec running at 133MHz (where, x = 66MHz, the speed of pci). The signalling current for AGP 1.0 was 3.3Volts.
This scared me as the Radeon 9700 pro was designed for AGP 3.0 or AGP 8x, at a signalling voltage of 0.8Volts. The 32bit bus runs at 533MHz (8 x pci) with a maximum data rate of 2GBytes/sec.
I knew that the card was a Universal AGP one, but I wasn't gonna risk it. So after countless referencess to ATi's site, tomshardware, AnandTech, sharkyextreme and countless forums, I decided to try my card in my old mother board.
The result was nothing short of amazing. The difference between my old built-in and ATi radeon was evident right from the BIOS screen. I had my mother and father assembled near my monitor and I was like all over the screen while pointed the difference the card made to the display. I was like, "See, look how deep the colors are? It's unbelievable!". And my mama was like, "Uh..huh...You sure it works fine? Then it's ok. I think I see the quality.... I think I left something in the kitchen."
I didn't matter if my mama saw the difference or not. The fact cannot not be denied. I spent the following days playing all the old games and just stood there as the Radeon Pro redefined the way to paint a pixel on the screen.
Then, after a week, I went to the Ritchie Street. Had a blank cheque in my hands. My mind preset with the configuration that will not make my computer the bottleneck for the Radeon God. But unfortunately, this is India, where the costs are sky high and generations old components are the only ones available.
But as it turned out, many of the components that I had in my mind won't fit in the budjet (The Blank cheque? Yeah, but my pop said, "Fifty's tops"). So I squeezed in all these into the Fifty big ones.
P4 2.4GHz processor,
80GB 7200rpm HDD,
Intel i845GBV MoBo,
Microsoft kbd and wheel-mouse optical,
a 17" flat samtron and
philips 2.1 1200Watts speaker
It looked prety neat config back then, trust me. Everyone, after hearing my config, said that that will be their config in two years. All that made me feel good. But I still feel bad not to have bought a 3Gig processor and maybe a faster MoBo. The problem with my current MoBo is that, it has only a AGP 4x slot. Which translates to around 1.1GBytes/sec only :-(
Though all my hardware sources said that no game in the market will require more that an AGP4x and also that only at UXGA resolutions (Ultra eXtended Graphics Array) and more, I still can't help feel that I am not experiencing all of Radeon's goodness.
The night we (me and my "Ritchie street" friend Venkatesh) took all the parts from the store and to my house, he started unpacking the processor. He held the processor and Mother board in his hands, with the anti-static packaging material gloving his hands. I was in a hurry to see the config assembled, bu he kept studying the components and said, "Wait for some time...Do you think it's everyday that I come accross such components?"
After drooling over the components (not literally, ofcourse), we finally started putting it all together. The tower seemed to lack a few screw holes and we had to wait for the next day to go to Ritchie street and change the case. He left. But I was relentless. I assembled the mother board on top of a newspaper spread over my desktop and installed everything there. I even used a screw driver to short two jumper pins to make the machine boot-up. Before the day was over, I had installed a few games and was catching glimpse of how well the card handled all the games.
Now I have to tell ya, my dad was opposed to my idea of going to ritchie street to buy my computer. He was into "Branded" PCs like HCL and the like. I for one, knew enough than to buy boxed PCs. They are usually over-priced junks hiding behind colorful and attractive boxes (Kinda reminds you of some expensive software, doesn't it? An OS, maybe. Not sure.)
So now you can imagine the attitude in my father's voice till I got back my Tower. It was one of the, "Told you so"s.
The new configuration felt very light as my radeon took away the burden of graphics processing and rendering from the rest of the computer.
I acquired a lot of games from friends at first and then slowly I started buying them myself. The first few weeks must have driven my radeon crazy. I was constantly running banchmark utilities, in-game benchmarks and yada yada yada, while constantly trying to beat or atleast equal the benchmarks reported online by peers. Then slowly the mania faded, but still lives, leaving only the passion for games.
But I don't enjoy a game completely, if I don't look at the beauty with which my Radeon rendered it. For example, If I had finsihed playing, say DoomIII or Farcry, I usually go through the game again, if possible in fly mode and take in all the beauty with no hurry.
ATi's catalyst (Driver for the card) team is called the best driver team in the graphics industry. Even as the Radeon series was introduced, ATi announced that it would be releasing atleast 8 or so drivers a year. Though it would mean no artefacts in a new game and better stability, it also means that you have to update the software constantly, in addition to updating the DirectX API.
At some point of time, as the Radeon 9800 XT and NVidia's FX series were released, my sister and BIL were preparing to come home to India. I asked them if they could buy me one of those, but they were seriously in need of money and couldn't spare a dollar. Infact they didn't even have money to buy me a iPod or an XBOX.
So I wait. And thus, waiting, I write this blog post, hoping that some of the present tenses would become past tenses.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
"Why would that be new?", I hear you say. Simple. The maze can be seen only by people with cross-eyes or at least pretending to have one.
I am talking about those ever-fascinating "Stereograms".
The first time I was intoduced to one of those was when I was in fifth or sixth grade. I was presented with one in a Rotary Club Get-Together meeting (My father is a member). Naturally, I couldn't help thinking why they would want to present me with a board printed with random noise. And I didn't believe them when they said that there was an animal hiding in there, either.
All I could think of was they cheated me by giving me some cheap "Modern Art".
It took me some time to get over the ridiculous idea of seeing an animal "inside" the random noise, when my sister said she saw something (yes, i always believed my sister). When, later I did actually saw the T-Rex inside with perfect 3D effect, with the background moving when I moved my head, I was completely captivated by stereograms. [Mind You, that was a time when even 2d cartoons were new to me. No cable and no video back then]. From then on, I asked my cousins to show them to me whenever they encountered them in any books.
But only recently did I have the time to find out about them. Stereograms work by deception, which should be obvious. It is one of the illusions that use the eye's ability to perceive depth. It uses slightly displaced dots in horizontal and vertical fashion to create a sense of parallax difference, which the eye perceives as depth. What is ingenious is, actually using that to hide a picture in another picture.
Not just random dots, even text can also be a stereogram!
See hundreds of cool hi-quality stereograms here. Think you have mastered the art of stereograms? Try Stereogrammatical movies. And for people that can't seem to get a hang of it, ther are parallax glasses to the rescue!
I can't help but think of applications for this. Maybe we could write programs to use stereograms to hide another picture/data in an image. The secret could be the depth at which the image is stored or one of the objects in the stereogram itself.
Or maybe a....nah....a 3D display? Nice and fast way to a permanent cross-eye disease.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
According to the developers, Gnome 2.8 has an improved device detection for auto-plug devices and improved network functions. Sriram will need to check this one out. He really needs his usb pen drive and sound card auto-detected. The network improvements, though touted as a major improvement, as far as i can see involves consolidating network applications into one console.
I really liked the macintosh theme (Tiger?) than the others in the screenshots page. Also check out the other major and minor changes done to the Gnome.
My opinion? Gnome 2.8 is not really tall enough to be released.
So, the story ends there. The geek will never be back to his human form. Ever.
Even today I saw him lying on his desk while the classes were going on.
"There goes the geek again".
But the real reason for his tiredness was ranted onto us by the geek himself later when he woke up at the lunch break.
The placebo monitor turned out to be, "a thing that flickers badly", to quote him. The few hours that he had spent trying to sync his eyes with the slow refresh rates was not so helpful to his eyes and added to that the cravings of your everyday geek to go through the latest messages from his geek-community. Very bad for the eyes.
Actually, I shouldn't be talking about burning ones eyes with a monitor. I run my monitor at 1280x1024, the highest my monitor would go, at 60Hz. I do see a bit of flicker sometimes, but they are very imperceptible to me. I am thankful for that, because I have heard of people seeing a flicker at 120Hz and above. Weird.
As for sriram, I wish his monitor will be ready on time. Otherwise, we will not have a sleeping beauty of a geek in our college, but a sleeping beauty of a geek with fast flickering eyes.
In there, you will also find the Monkey Boy, nicknamed Stevo by some weird coincidence, in his very own music video! Don't miss the chance!
Step right in folks!
Monday, September 13, 2004
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Alice: Who's there?
Bob: Port 2000, Port 14979, Port 56743, Port 1984.
Alice: Well come on in!
Most of the geeks would have got the clue from the characters' name (Alice, Bob) that it somehow relates to security. And a few of the up2date geeks would have known instantly that I was talking about "Port Knocking". Thus the name of the blog, where "Port" in french means "Door" in english :-)
This in itself is not a new concept and definetly not the best way to protect youself from incoming connections. But it adds an extra shell of security to your computer ports. Oh, and this is definetly not for use in public domain ports. Announcing the sequence to the public kinda destroys the concept.
It basically expects an incoming connection from a "friend" of the user who knows the sequence of knocks. A logging Daemon monitoring the ports identifies the knocks. It can also be made time dependent and other Bells and Whistles like multiple knock sequences each for unlocking different ports/services and the like can be attached too.
Kinda reminds me of Harry Potter novels where wizards touch a sequence of bricks to go through to the Diagon Alley. Or those classical movies where theives and detectives use a musical way of knocking the door.
Where are they to be used?
Obviously on any non-public domain ports. I think it is a good candidate to be used in P2P arcitectures like Gnutella, kazaa, etc. But i seriously doubt it will be used in announcing Tracker files in BitTorrent. (What is BitTorrent).
For further info follow this path:
Saturday, September 11, 2004
The latest i heard was a project called "Ant" which imitates an Ant's way of looking for food into the p2p world. This is supposed to reduce risks of RIAA or MPAA following/tracing you.
The project can be found here:
Ya know, all this got me thinking. Why not bring in some other animal society into software or something. This i found was not one of my fortes. I started seeing bizzare architectures that would scare the living daylights out of anyone! I mean i was really so desperate, that whenever i see an animal either living or dead, my brain automatically kicks into actions and tries to find where exactly the animal could fit in or something. So far in vain, but it's a real time killer, if you ask me.
Who knows, maybe one day i may be successful in seeing the right connection. Either that or I go mad. Some of my friends are really doubtful about the former though. ;-)
Maybe the connection was all along inventing a game called Connect-the-Animal-While-You-Are-Free-And-Blog-About-It. Who knows.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Yesterday, during one of his usual 15 minute email check which would eventually add another 100 or so MegaBytes at the end of the day to his Outlook folder, he said he heard a weird rattling sound inside his monitor and then the monitor has gone black, like a creature that has breathed its last rattling breath.
Though some didn't know how to react, most of us did the right thing to cheer him by laughing. But unfortunately, we didn't know he didn't want to be laughed 'at' :-)
More about him in later entries.
He blogs at http://www.dotnetjunkies.com/weblog/sriram
Hi blog. I am new here. I will try to talk to you whenever i allow myself. It will always about me and myself, though i might refernce someone sometime too.I am usually laconic when talking, though you can expect me to be wordy online. I will treat you with respect and like a peer (not the English peer).This is not for others to overhear, though they can. T'is more like a penseive or a log sort of thing, where i put in information that sometimes may make nuff sense only to me. No, they will not be encrypted, but out-of-context or irrelevant sometimes.
This uncool thing was forced on me one dreary day...
I went to ssn engg college to attend their IT symposium, Rezzitech. This, i suppose is the third and final time that i attend this symposium. Participated in all but Paper presentation. Though I couldn't participate because our paper was not selected at the last moment, i wish the paper was chosen. I could have practised presenting the paper there. Anyways, I couldn't and I did badly in all the other events' prelims. Before the announcement of the preliminary round results, we had a lunch break. That won't be forgotten easily. It was simply the worst lunch I was served, albeit for free. The "queue", more like an unruly mob, was simply too "dynamic" to stand, literally. After some half or so hour of being pushed and pulled by various college students reveling in the crowd, we were pushed inside the dining hall where there was a queue that was as long as the "queue" outside was wider. After some slow progress, finally got some food on the plates. I figured i can't stand in the queue again in case I ran out of food and so asked for extra helpings of each (food) stuff that was being served. Since i was too hungry, I ate some of them without complaint. But the revulsion to such foodstuff overtook me and i abandoned the plate on the floor. The organizing committee figured that most of us would be so stuffed with that food, that they thought only some will ever need ice cream and so I was left with no ice cream. No ice cream! Can you believe that?
Disappointed, me and my friend Anguraj, went to the proper canteen and bought ourselves a Fanta and a Sprite. Of all the firsts in my life, that was the first time I actually drank a hot fanta. The man serving there said that he kept it in the refridgerator just then. We sat inthe canteen for some time, hoping that our fanta and sprite wud cool down to room temperature. We gulped it down anyway because that never happened. The hot wind that was blowing prevented it.