Monday, October 31, 2005

My house: Bachelor pad + WiFi hotspot

Why bachelor pad? well, I'm not saying anything about that here. Those who were present will know :p
Wifi hotspot ? Its obv. only for me, so hotspot isnt really the right word. Lets just call it the Zone(2). Coz Zone(1) is another place.(read: tapri near my place, where we hang out for "coffee").So, I bought this and it has arrived ! Woohoo !!
Its really sweet, extremely compact, and packs a whole bunch of features like 802.11g , has mixed mode too, wpa, wpa2, firewalls, 4 port switch, and shit loads of admin. stuff. I already had the BSNL dataone 256kbps modem, so all I did was hook it up to the AP, configure it for auto-dial, and route it through the AP, to the clients through dhcp. So, all I need to do is just power it ON, and voila, we have Wifi ! Since its soo compact, my guess is that Linksys must have used a standard mini-pci card in there, with its own antenna. So, there's no pointy black things sticking out of it, although if you need range big time, they've got another slot which is nicely hidden away, for attaching another antenna. So, all in all, its pretty neat, I get really good connectivity throughout the house. On the terrace, its a little problem, I need to place the AP near the window to get range. Actually, I think its because of the encryption mode, and power saving mode on the laptop. I get 55% sig. strength, but I cant ping. So, putting it in Open mode, should do the trick. With WPA , the shared key is reset every (configurable) ms. So, some bandwidth goes in that itself, to keep the connection alive. Also, powersaving mode, keeps the Tx off , and is alive only in the recv. mode after some intervals( like reduced bandwidth usage). So, time is spent in kicking the transmitter out of sleep. Therefore, perhaps, there's some packet loss in there, and causes for timeouts and retries. Anyway, its working really fine now, and I'm having a great time !

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Tao... of programming

For the uninitiated mortals .... Tao is a chinese philosophy about "the way and its virtue".
Over the years its principles are applied everywhere possible, but I'm referring to software, the land of confus-ion. I've made attempts to read the real Tao book, its the basis of the Buddhist way of life. But, the book seemed so damn confusing, I could'nt even get the gist of it. Now, I realise, thats what the Tao is! Its wierd, yet sensible, not stupid, seems strange, but is wise. I've just found the perfect link to what The Tao of programming is. clickey
Its a little long, but entertaining too. I've come across several quotes and jokes in the geek world that adduce the Tao, some of the hilarious ones are in that link above. For those too lazy to read the whole thing ( although recommended ) here are some excerpts:

Thus spake the master programmer:

``After three days without programming, life becomes meaningless.''

A program should follow the `Law of Least Astonishment'. What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the way that astonishes him least.

A novice asked the master: ``I have a program that sometime runs and sometimes aborts. I have followed the rules of programming, yet I am totally baffled. What is the reason for this?''

The master replied: ``You are confused because you do not understand Tao. Only a fool expects rational behavior from his fellow humans. Why do you expect it from a machine that humans have constructed? Computers simulate determinism; only Tao is perfect.

``The rules of programming are transitory; only Tao is eternal. Therefore you must contemplate Tao before you receive enlightenment.''

``But how will I know when I have received enlightenment?'' asked the novice.

``Your program will then run correctly,'' replied the master.

A master was explaining the nature of Tao of to one of his novices. ``The Tao is embodied in all software - regardless of how insignificant,'' said the master.

``Is the Tao in a hand-held calculator?'' asked the novice.

``It is,'' came the reply.

``Is the Tao in a video game?'' continued the novice.

``It is even in a video game,'' said the master.

``And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?''

The master coughed and shifted his position slightly. ``The lesson is over for today,'' he said.

When managers hold endless meetings, the programmers write games. When accountants talk of quarterly profits, the development budget is about to be cut. When senior scientists talk blue sky, the clouds are about to roll in.

Truly, this is not the Tao of Programming.

When managers make commitments, game programs are ignored. When accountants make long-range plans, harmony and order are about to be restored. When senior scientists address the problems at hand, the problems will soon be solved.

Truly, this is the Tao of Programming.

Hardware met Software on the road to Changtse. Software said: ``You are Yin and I am Yang. If we travel together we will become famous and earn vast sums of money.'' And so the set forth together, thinking to conquer the world.

Presently they met Firmware, who was dressed in tattered rags and hobbled along propped on a thorny stick. Firmware said to them: ``The Tao lies beyond Yin and Yang. It is silent and still as a pool of water. It does not seek fame, therefore nobody knows its presence. It does not seek fortune, for it is complete within itself. It exists beyond space and time.''

Software and Hardware, ashamed, returned to their homes.

A master programmer passed a novice programmer one day. The master noted the novice's preoccupation with a hand-held computer game. ``Excuse me,'' he said, ``may I examine it?''

The novice bolted to attention and handed the device to the master. ``I see that the device claims to have three levels of play: Easy, Medium, and Hard,'' said the master. ``Yet every such device has another level of play, where the device seeks not to conquer the human, nor to be conquered by the human.''

``Pray, great master,'' implored the novice, ``how does one find this mysterious setting?''

The master dropped the device to the ground and crushed it underfoot. And suddenly the novice was enlightened.