Monday, April 27, 2009

Last Hug

I guess its safe enough to assume that I won't get a supplee in my VLSI Design paper and I won't miss my supplee exam to become a college dropout.

Thus it can be logically concluded that today from 9 am to 12 noon I'd be giving the last exam of my life(finally I have learnt the difference between a Test and an Exam).

This means a lot of things:

1. No more studying something just to get good marks in a Exam, although that subject may have no other practical significance in my future life.

2. No more wasting about 3-5 days in the lead up to the exam and getting down to study the evening before. That too interlaced with FunnyStuff ( FunnyStuff has assumed values of Water Fights[this is not a computer game], Counter Strike, Age of Empires, Gtalk, Head Banging Sessions, Blogging, Bong Tutorials etc. through the semesters).

3. No more WarOnConscience before, during and after the Exam.

4. No more "Song you listened to before leaving for the exam hall" stuck in your head when you couldn't recall what you studied last night.

5. No more Souvik Ray trying to teach me a topic so that he could get his concepts revised, while all I heard was a crazy combination of Latin and Greek.

6. No more waiting for the Question Paper to know the Subject Name and Subject Code to write on the Answer Sheet.

And of course no more of a lot other things.

I really want to hug all my Department Mates after the examination tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GLUG, NIT Durgapur Annual General Meeting

Originally posted on by Kaushik Nundy, Journalist, GLUG NITD.

This write up took a long time coming. My apologies to all concerned. Nevertheless, this AGM took a long time coming too. When it did come though, it had little if any scope for complaint. The Annual General Meeting, 2008-09 of GNU/Linux User's Group, NIT Durgapur took place on Wednesday, the 8th of April, 2009 at the conference hall of the D.M.Sen Memorial building. It was finely attended, and the faculty was represented at the meeting by our very own S.Chowdhury sir, Sajal sir & S.Das sir, all from the I.T. Department. The meeting, scheduled for 6p.m. started in time. We were addressed by our teachers who shared a few kind words with us and assured us that their blessings and advise would always be with us. S.C. Sir told us that we should keep setting higher goals for ourselves, and be ready to overcome newer frontiers. He gave us examples of various people who had done pathbreaking work despite roadblocks and lack of support, including the illustrious work of S.Das sir. He also spoke of how our GLUG had, despite opposition from various quarters and a non-supportive administration, risen from a low to become a respected FOSS awareness hub, reaching new heights that had never been contemplated earlier, to become one of the best known GLUGs in the country. He praised the vision and tenacity of both the student members and the faculty advisors which had made this possible, specifically mentioning Debayan and Mayank among students. Sajal Sir encouraged us to turn our GLUG into an even larger entity, which would change the face of computer usage and the image of GNU/Linux as a geeky OS, at the least in our state, at the most...well, you know. He spoke of 4 things that had changed the recent world, namely Google, Wikipedia, MIT OpenCourseWare and Youtube! videos, and how we could very well be the fifth. He was followed by S.Das sir who spoke of the various opportunities we have and get and how we should go out and use them to our benefit.

This was followed by a presentation by Debayan, the outgoing head of our Software Development Unit. He spoke of the various shortcomings of GLUG in it's earlier avatar, which had caused it to partially collapse and how it had risen from that low, thanks to the undying enthusiasm and support of the concerned teachers and students. He spoke of the plethora of work done by GLUG, NITD in the past two years and of how this work can be carried on by it in the coming years. He spoke of the grand success of Mukti '09 in achieving it's primary goal, not that of pulling in huge crowds but of reaching out to the right places where spreading FOSS awareness mattered. Thanks to Mukti '09, new GLUGs have come up at several places like NIT Agartala, NIT Jamshedpur and KGEC, Kalyani. The working of GLUG, NITD has matured over its 5 year life, and it has grown to become a resource hub of sorts for the entire region, with other close-by GLUGs calling in for technical and logistic support. He spoke of the extremely helpful role of IOTA, Govt. Of West Bengal, in providing us with psychological and financial support when we were facing difficult times, and in its usefulness to the future plans and functioning of GLUG. He also gave us an idea and useful advice on the future tasks and responsibilities of GLUG, with plans like the FOSS helpline and Freedom toaster. We realised how much we had done recently and how much more needed to be done yet if what we did was really to bring about the change we wanted. Thanks to Varsha's efforts and survey, now 75 of 228 girls in our college used one distro or another of GNU/Linux, a positive tendency, to say the least, at the grassroots level. It was clear from his words that to make Free Software a true success, the basics were where we needed to go back to. The 3 mailing lists(well practically two,)received the much deserved attention in their role in popularising GNU/Linux, both in and outside the campus. The list of common interest would be .

Shreyank, or Shrink as he likes to be called, spoke of his 4yr tryst with GLUG, from its early days to its current state. Entwined though his words were in his characteristic PJs, his dedication and love for GNU/Linux and Free Software was hard to miss. It's people like him, with their delicate balance of sanity and dedication, that our GLUG would miss the most.

The Director shared a few kind words with us, about our future course of action and priorities.

Following this, the new GLUG committee was announced and the outgoing committee was issued certificates of appreciation.

The committees are as follows :



The meeting was then concluded at around 8.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

In Your Face

An 'in your face' to all the Windoze Box users! I'll tell you why my GNU/Linux box is better...

We have a huge syllabus, and we get a lot of class notes. I earlier used to photocopy the notes from others, which used up a lot of my allowances. It would have been welcome if I had studied from them. So spending huge sums of money on something I won't be using so much is, well, a Waste!

So came up the concept of scanning/taking pictures of the classnotes into a bunch of JPEG files. Its difficult to study from the JPEGs because the continuity is somewhat lost (assuming I am studying from the notes)

So here is what I need to do. Convert a bunch of JPEGs to a single PDF.

Last sem what I did is I copied the pics one after another to a ODT file on's the GNU/Linux alternative for MS Word), and then I convert it to PDF.

But that was too tedious...

(ODT/DOC to PDF is easier. Just open it using amd use the "Export to PDF" option in file menu. Its fast!)

Today I found an awesome tool called ImageMagick(well not technically today, I have used it earlier when I created graphs on my Ruby on Rails app [The Free Market] ).

I installed ImageMagick (its free) into my Mandriva box by doing a simple

urpmi imagemagick

as root user.

Other distro users can substitute urpmi with apt-get/yum install/zypper install or whatever package manager you use.

Then I used command line to move into the folder where I had the JPEGs ( cd path/to/images ) and here is how I converted my images to pdf. Wait for it.... wait for it... ok, here goes..

convert *.jpg sanyal.pdf

Beat that Windoze users!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I had been leading a life on Auto-Pilot for the past few months. Things were happening as they were supposed to happen. But when I switched off the Auto-Pilot, things got stranger.

  1. Finally after an year of dirt and mess, just when a few days are left, I clean up my room. It feels better!
  2. I try to install a new distro. I tried out Fedora 10, Ubuntu 8.10 and OpenSuSE 11.1. None worked. Finally I install Mandriva again, but just for a change I settle down with KDE 4.1 (ok, that was by mistake)
  3. I have paid my semester fees, but I am yet to pay my Mess Dues (cos I have spent some of it)
  4. I have let go of some of my bad habits. I don't know whether the end result is better or worse!

Time when I noticed:
  1. I am out of all money, and I am in deep debt(read shit).
  2. My college life is coming to an end and in a few days (which won't take long), I will lose contact with most of my friends.
  3. I have a whole New Life, New Places, New People and many more News ahead of me.
In the course of these four years, I have made some great friends. I would like to thank those friends heartily for making my college life worth remembering.

(I deeply apologise for the lack of humour in this post. I guess I have lost it permanently.)