October 30, 2001

I’ve been not quite at the top of my game since I got back from Sri Lanka – the main reason was the fact that my body hadn’t quite adjusted to the time changes but I was also a bit despondent (and disheartened) about a few other things … but I finally seem to be back today :-) I actually slept through and woke up only when my alarm clock went off instead of automatically waking up at the crack of dawn and I was able to think through some of the stuff that I was trying to come to terms with on the way to work and make sense out of all of it – or at least come to terms with it :p

The problem was that I was becoming increasingly more negative in the way I viewed the world during the last month or so. I have always thought that each one of us can make a difference in this world and that we can all touch those closest to us in some way and that if that interaction was positive, that there would eventually be enough of a ripple effect to change at least a small corner of the world. When I went to Sri Lanka this time, I realized that my brother, my uncle and my Dad all thought that I was hopelessly idealistic and that none of us could really change the world. This, couple with all the stuff that’s been going on recently – or rather the constant media barrage pointing out all the negativity -, has made me sort of retreat into myself and lose the joy that I had normally felt in interacting with people and doing stuff to help others.

I was thinking about all of this today while driving to work and I realized that the world will be what it is and people will always have their own opinions – even those closest to me – but that I must do what I feel is right and I feel good when I can help somebody or do something to make somebody else’s life a little better. So that’s what I’m going to do – end of story :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 8:16 am  |  No Comments

October 25, 2001

Well … it’s been a long time that’s for sure :-) I’m finally back – actually I got back a couple of days ago but there were still things to be done after being away for so long and so I didn’t get the time to update my blog till now … Anyway, the trip was great and I finally came to appreciate how much fun Sri Lanka was and how much I missed being there. Of course, that’s not to say that all the stuff that I found in Sri Lanka was agreeable – the driving for instance is insane :p But all in all, it was a great experience and it has made me realize that Sri Lanka is where I want to be …

Haven’t done much in the way of coding at all and probably won’t do much for a while anyway since I’m going to be busy with quite a few things – one of the main things is actually going to be a new project that I kind of thought up … Yeah, I know … another project – as if I didn’t have enough to work on already <vbg> This is kinda neat though since it’s got to do with gaming – one of my former employers in Sri Lanka wants to set up a workshop for developing games and I wanted to check out how feasible the whole deal was from a coding point of view. So I’ve been doing some work since I got back and would you believe it? I’m already well on the way to doing a pretty good looking game!! I’ll write more about that once I do get things to a level where you can actually try it out – and you can try it out easily since it’s a web/browser based game :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 9:02 am  |  1 Comment

October 12, 2001

I couldn’t figure out how to get Blog to upload from Sri Lanka till today. So, the entry I made soon after I got to Sri Lanka finally went online. In fact, in trying to upload that entry, I had managed to completely wipe out the main page for my Tripod site but couldn’t even look into that since I had been away from Colombo (the capital of Sri Lanka and where I normally live when here …) visiting relatives and doing the normal rounds that are to be expected after being away from Sri Lanka for so long :p I finally got back and am now able to try to chronicle all the stuff that’s been happening at my end …

First on my list of course is the initiation of the assault on Afghanistan – which as far as I can tell has had not much effect on the Taliban or Bin Laden but has certainly resulted in the deaths of at least four US citizens (who were incidentally in an identified US location – the current story is that that was the result of a “rogue” missile … wonder how many of those are going around these days what with the other rogue missile which took down a passenger air craft a week or two ago …) and perhaps more innocent civilians than anybody remotely connected to the Taliban – but who really cares about the deaths of some unknown people in a country far away, right? Of course, the US stance now is that it might take months or even years instead of the initial three days that they claimed was necessary to take down Bin Laden and the Taliban. I just hope that this won’t turn into another Vietnam but I do have this dreadful suspicion that that’s exactly where the US is headed …

Aside from that rant, the other major rant is about politics here in Sri Lanka since nothing really seems to have changed but since not much of what I say will make any sense to anybody, I will refrain from saddling you with that particular verbal barrage :p I haven’t really been doing much here except to travel around all over the place visiting relatives from both my parents’ families. The first day or two since I got to Sri Lanka was spent on shopping for gifts for everybody and the last two days have been spent visiting about ten to twenty different families of my parents’ siblings and their kids. Now I’m finally back in Colombo and will probably start visiting my former work places and catching up with people I’d known and worked with somewhere around Monday. Time seems to be whizzing by since there is only about nine more days before I am to leave for the US – and that too only because I had to revise my flight plans due to the fact that certain flights were canceled due to the current situation in Afghanistan …

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Posted by Fahim at 8:42 am  |  No Comments

October 7, 2001

OK, I’m in Sri Lanka :-) In fact, I’ve been here for slightly over twelve hours already … and it’s kind of strange and kind of like coming home. But let’s begin at the beginning – the trip was much less eventful than I’d feared it might turn out to be :p Nobody wanted to throw me off the plane and they didn’t even want to search my baggage though I had lots of wires, electronic equipment etc. If I’d known that I’d have brought more electronics than I did with me :p The bad part was that they didn’t have any power outlets on any of the aircraft’s that I traveled in (at least not the economy/coach section <g>) and so I couldn’t watch DVD’s all the way as I’d planned :-( I did watch half of “Finding Forrester” till I had about an hour’s battery life left but then decided to conserve the battery in case I needed to refer to my notebook for anything.

While the flying time itself was only about eighteen to twenty hours split over three different flights, I think I spent about ten more hours waiting for connecting flights, sitting on the tarmac while repairs were made to the plane etc. I tell you that I felt as if I’d been totally put through the wringer by the time I got out :p And actually the whole immigration and customs deal was kinda anti-climactic since they didn’t bug me too much at all – and I’d thought they might think I was trying to smuggle something in because I was returning to Sri Lanka after four years with just carry-on luggage :p

Didn’t do much during the evening as I was feeling the effects of jet lag. Didn’t go to bed either since I needed to stay up till night-time over here so that my body would adjust to the night-day cycle over here. There are power-cuts in effect in Sri Lanka at the moment – three hours a day! Jeeze! That really hits the point home that I”m in Sri Lanka :p If there were power cuts like that in the US, somebody would be in big trouble … and I don’t mean the consumers :p But this is part and parcel of life in Sri Lanka – just like the army encampments and dugouts with guns sticking out around the airport because it had been attacked a few months back by terrorists. Ah well, terror is a day-to-day occurrence in some parts of the world – I guess you just get used to it after a while …

Hmm … I just realized that I should put some sort of a time-zone stamp template on Blog to show which time-zone somebody is in since if I’d set my notebook to the Sri Lankan time, this post would have said 6:40 am or something instead of 8:40 pm at night EST but then I realized that I hadn’t switched over the time on the notebook yet. So I guess all is good :p Well, gotta go do things, meet people etc. I’ll post an update again when I get some time :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 8:33 pm  |  No Comments

October 5, 2001

Ok this is my final (not “final” final :p) post till about Monday (or rather Tuesday here in the US depending on whether it’s Monday morning or afternoon) when I should have Net access back again. I’ll let you all know how the trip went and whether I got thrown off any flights for behaving in a suspicious manner <vbg> I am hoping that I might even get some work done on some of my apps during the flight if they do have power outlets on the airplane for my notebook. Guess we’ll see … talk to you all soon … hopefully :-)

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Posted by Fahim at 2:53 pm  |  No Comments

October 4, 2001

I do have a rant about racial profiling since they had a pretty interesting segment yesterday on “20/20” about it where they interviewed many Americans and almost all of them seemed to be for targeting people of probable Middle Eastern descent as possible terrorists. What was even more interesting was that a majority of the African Americans were for this kind of profiling but when they were next asked how they felt about the police targeting African Americans on the highways because majority of the crime in the US is committed by black youths, they said that wasn’t right because that was racism. I fail to see the difference between the two cases but that must be just me because the majority of the people in the “land of the free” feels it’s all right to target a specific demographic – especially of course if they aren’t American. Ah well … why talk about it? I’ll probably have more to say about it after I fly tomorrow since I have a distinctly Arabic name :p

Speaking of flying, I’ll be in Amsterdam airport on the 6th from about 11:30am till around 2:30pm on my way to Sri Lanka – anybody wanna visit me? :p I’m kinda looking forward to the trip since I haven’t been home to Sri Lanka in about four years and it will be good to see my parents and brother and sister. Plus, with the way things are here in the US, I am actually considering going back for good because the whole American attitude at the moment is kinda souring me on America. To be fair, none of my personal friends or most of the people I know of personally on the Net who are American have expressed these negative attitudes but when you hear the same thing from so many different sources about Americans, you feel hemmed in. I know I’m being unfair to the one’s who aren’t like that but all the same it feels very uncomfortable. Plus, if it did happen to me, I’d probably make a big fuss and end up in jail anyway :p

As far as coding goes, I did get very far along with Bandit and KuhnDog seems to be very happy with it :-) But I won’t have the time to do any more work on any of my apps till I get back from Sri Lanka (or decide to stay there for good <vbg>) I wish I’d got the time to release Blog 5.0 Beta 2 before I left or even done some work on the next release of Scope but I guess it’s best not to rush these things. So bear with me :-) I’ll probably update my journal even while I’m over there (if I do get there that is :p) but probably not as frequently since I’ll be moving around a lot visiting relatives, kissing babies etc. :p But keep watching this space and I’ll let you know all that’s going on …

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Posted by Fahim at 9:18 am  |  2 Comments

October 2, 2001

Been pretty busy with work related stuff and I’ve also been working on a couple of coding projects. The first one was to get Mozilla 0.9.4 to compile on my machine so that I can get back to work on Scope. They are really making things complicated for Mozilla – now you need the Mozilla tools, Cygwin, Perl and Info-Zip to simply get Mozilla to compile. Even then, you can’t do a full build if you don’t have the MFC libraries and headers (like me) on your machine. I did get the client built yesterday but haven’t had time to look into it any further because of the second project.

This actually started as a quick and dirty app (as they all do <vbg>) for KuhnDog since he wanted a way to take a screenshot of his desktop and upload it to an FTP server while creating a thumbnail image of the file as well. I started work on a new app called Bandit which I hoped to complete in no time at all. In fact, I had a prototype ready last week for KuhnDog but since I had no Net access over the weekend, I didn’t see KuhnDog’s reaction to the app till I got back to work yesterday. Turns out that Bandit wouldn’t run on his machine due some problems with the image manipulation components that I’d used :-( Since I am planning to go on vacation on Friday, I promised KuhnDog that I’d get the app done before that and so I’ve been working on that whenever I have the time and today I was finally able to get Bandit working the way I wanted to. It has evolved a bit beyond what it was initially supposed to be but it is also lacking a few of the original features :p Basically, it’s still a work in progress but hopefully it won’t be something I will work on for too long since I don’t need another app to eat into my time <vbg>

In non-coding related news, I was able to test out the ATI all-in-wonder card yesterday as a PVR and was able to record around two hours of “The Fly” at fairly good quality with no problems at all! I’m pretty satisfied with the card and it’s performance and am now thinking of getting a big hard disk – I mean a really big one :-) Since I just saw a Maxtor 60GB for around $145, that might not be a bad idea since then I could have over 20 hours of recording time as opposed to the five hours I get now :p Ah well, some day ….

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Posted by Fahim at 12:58 pm  |  1 Comment

October 1, 2001

I hate ISP’s that can’t provide good enough service to see that their customers have uninterrupted Internet access! When it happens to be a “major” ISP – that’s worse!! I have Prodigy access (it’s one of those three year deals so that I could buy a computer and get $400 off …) and recently they’ve been very consistent in their service outages. It happened a few weeks back when there was a long weekend and there was no access for the whole week and then it happened again on Friday. I am sick and tired of not having Net access for the whole weekend and wondering who might be trying to contact me and wanting to do research on something or other and then remembering that I don’t have any Net access. Guess I should talk to Prodigy customer service today and see whether I can get out of their stupid contract since I see no point to having Net access with no actual access.

Since I had no Net access over the weekend, I kind of stayed completely away from the computer :p I did spend some time Friday evening working with the new ATI all-in-wonder Radeon card that I got since I just got rid of my satellite connection from Dish Network and instead wanted to set up a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) on my desktop. I removed the 17MB hard disk that’s inside the DishPlayer 500 that I got from Dish Network as part of the promo I signed up for and put it on my desktop and then set up the ATI card. Things actually seem to be working pretty well and I can get about 5 hours of good quality recording on the 17MB drive :-) Of course, I’m still having problems setting up the recording stuff but that seems to be mostly due to the settings I choose and I haven’t made a serious effort to look into the recording aspect since I was too busy watching TV :p

Speaking of TV, I watched two new shows yesterday that I found very interesting and engrossing. Both seem to be taking a leaf out of the world of movies and trying to make TV shows look like mini-movies and while they might not have succeeded all the way, the shows were still interesting enough for me to want to know how things progress. The first show was on ABC yesterday and it was called “Alias”. It’s about this girl who believes that she’s working undercover for the CIA only to find out that she is actually working for the “enemy” and that her Dad (whom she’d believed all her life to be a guy who sold aircraft parts) is part of the same group. The episode ended with her going over to the CIA and agreeing to work as a double-agent only to discover that her Dad is a double-agent for the CIA as well :-) Interesting stuff ..

The other show comes on right after “Alias” but is on NBC. It’s called “UC: Undercover” and is about the life of undercover agents. This show actually said that they wanted each episode to be a mini-movie and the previews seemed to show that there were plenty of action-packed sequences but I missed the opening since “Alias” ran on for an extra 10 minutes but the rest of the show had only one action sequence a la John Woo but it was interesting enough (and they left a cliff-hanger at the end …) for me to want to know what happens next week. Unfortunately, I’ll be flying home to Sri Lanka (at least I hope to …) on Friday and I’m gonna miss the next episodes of both shows unless my PVR works :p

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Posted by Fahim at 8:37 am  |  No Comments