INSIGNIA ’08 – HACKERDOM

September 1, 2008

INSIGNIA ’08

HACKERDOM

Computer Science and Engineering Department of Govt. Engineering College, Thrissur brings before you Hackerdom, the third edition of its annual event Insignia, this time in association with the Free and Open Source Community of Kerala.

Its not only a meeting place of hackers. It also aims at bringing in users and turning them hackers. The motto of our program is “Come a User, Return a Hacker”. Free Software has got firm grip in India and especially in Kerala. But it has always been limited to certain range of people. We aim at taking it to one and all by destroying all barriers. When there are wide doors we can open to come out, why take a small window?

Hackerdom comes with a well defined theme – “USERS + DEVELOPERS = COMMUNITY”. In that sense its a community event. It is conducted by the Compsciz of GEC, Thrissur which makes it special.

The curtain raiser for this was held last Friday, 29th August, 2008 at our college’s Seminar Hall at 10:30 AM. The chief guests for the occasion were M.L.A. Therambil Ramakrishnan and IT advisor to the Cheif Minister Mr.Joseph Mathew. The function also included the official release of the theme music (which was done by Jain of S3,CSE), trailor and the mascot Kruger. That was all for the morning session.



The afternoon session was an unconference for discussing plans to take the event forward. Beside the students, Mr.Joseph Mathew, HOD Prof.Manoj Kumar and several prominent Free Software workers from thrissur too took part.

“Computers are like air conditioners. They stop working when you open windows”


ONE NIGHT @ THE RAILWAY STATION

September 1, 2008

ONE NIGHT @

THE

RAILWAY

STATION

GEC experiences are vast, varied and full of enthusiasm. The hard work and toil and tension never spoil the excitement. Such an experience happened on 25th of August 2008. One of my classmate Aswin was coming back from his home in Kozhikode. His train got late. There are no buses in our hostel’s route after about 9 PM. There was no chance of the train reaching Thrissur before 10. He called us and ‘requested’ any one of us to take a bike and go pick him up.

Here at GEC we dream large, plan large and execute them in no time. Soon there was a party of 7 who wanted to go to “receive” Aswin and a Sierra which could only accommodate 5 as per rules. As we were going, we wanted to do the receiving part in full style. A chart paper was bought and a bold message “ASWIN – GEC WELCOMES YOU “was made. A print out of a cartoon of him was taken and pasted on this chart. (This was drawn by a cartoonist called Sajeev whom we met at the Blog Camp).

As it was mandatory for us to be late, we were around 15 minutes late. It was 10:15 PM by the time we started. No sooner than we started the vehicle, Aswin called to tell he was at the station. We didn’t want him out of the station before we reached. We told him there is a way on the other side of the station and asked him to wait there. We were almost sure there was no such way. We just wanted him to spend some more time in the station. But 5 min later he called again to tell he found the way and was on the road on the backside of the railway station.

We reached the station by 10:30 and called him and said we were at the main entrance of the railway station. We stood in front of the entrance with the welcome chart high up majestically. Every passing people never did leave without a glance at us. Soon we were quite a center point of attraction for the crowd. But it didn’t last long. Aswin reached in no time. I must say, the look on Aswin’s face when he saw it was good enough a homage he could have given. He looked dumbstruck! (The photo is a living proof.) I am sure he will never again call us again even if he would have to spend all the time till morning in the Railway station.

For all who thought it was the end of all excitements for that night, it wasn’t so. We were all hungry by the time and wanted to eat something. Where is not question for food after usual business hours. “Double X” is the only place and the best choice. Then our driver Johney recollected something which the Sierra owner had told him. Something related to fuel shortage or something like that. We raced to a petrol pump in the Swaraaj Round, Thrissur. What we saw there was a long queue in front of the pump. I looked around to confirm there were no beverage shops nearby. There were none. I just couldn’t figure out why so large a queue for fuel at this time of the night?

But doubts exceed imagination. And I who belong to Thrissur and knows there are lots of petrol pumps in Thrissur told them to go to the next pump. We did go, but found that it was closed. And the for loop continued. Finally someone said there was a pump near Big Bazaar. As a final option we went there just to find that it was closed. We decided to go back to the first pump where there was long queue. But Man proposes, god disposes. The fuel got over in front of Big Bazaar. Right in the middle of the road lies the Sierra!! Soon we all got out and pushed the vehicle into the parking area of Big bazaar.

The watchman came running thinking we were some dacoits. I spoke with him about our situation. But he replied back in some language which I don’t understand. Gokul who was near me started talking with him. I understood that the language was Hindi. Luckily there was an auto stand in front of us. Two among us went to that first pump in an auto and brought diesel in a bottle from the first pump.

Johney came with the key and tried to open the fuel tank’s knob. It was not opening. This made me realize Murphy’s Law does exist. Each of us tried and never got successful. Suddenly a bus came; we threw ourselves in front of it and stopped it. The driver came out. We asked him to help us open it. He too tried for long.

Johney who then realized that this wasn’t going the right way called the Sierra owner. A female voice came from the other end and told something in a language Johney didn’t understand, guess it was English. Now we were in a fix. The owner of the car, Denny was our senior. We remembered that Bristow another of our senior used to take the Sierra frequently for trips. I called him. He took the phone and said he was in a theater and disconnected it. I called again. This time he came out of the theater and attended the call. I explained the situation yet again.

I don’t know why, but he started laughing. It took a while to stop and when it did, he told us to open without the key. We just tried to pull it out without the key and it got opened. And we all felt like saying a Malayalam word, but restrained ourselves since the bus driver was near us. We poured the petrol. The bus driver sat on the driver’s seat and started the car. He took off on the car and soon was out of reach of our eyes. Now we were in another fix. But Aswin consoled us by saying that if he took the car, we take his bus.

That was an idea. So we came near the bus. And at that moment he came back with the car. So we left he bus and took the car. We went again to the petrol pump and refueled the car. All of us were hungry and wanted to eat something. But we decided against it. We were almost exhausted by the night’s experiences and didn’t want more. All problems had occurred in the first place because we wanted to go to “Double X”. And Double X was not on our way back. So we left towards Pallimoola.

And to all who says God does not exist, here comes the answer. In the way we saw a light, as we neared it we saw a small hotel. I am sure none existed there till then. We ate from there to our heart’s content. And after that we got the bill with a figure of 128 etched on it. We all put all our money and just could make Rs 126. We gave the money to the hotel owner and gave him a big smile. I guess he too is an engineer because he too appeared like knowing the situation we were in. He said Rs 126 was enough.

So as Enid Blyton puts it, All’s well that end’s well.