I feel I had made a mistake.

For the first time in almost two years now, I feel I had made a mistake choosing Hardware Engineering as my field of study. I feel I would have been better off purusing a degree in Software Engineering.

The prospect of getting a decently paying job is not the reason behind why I feel that way. It is, simply, lack of interest in the field. Just that!

One could say this sudden realisation has, in part, something to do with poor initial performance in a wholly-engineering course of late, but, then, there is often always at least one course every semester in which developing interest is a daunting task. However, there is more to this than meets the eye.

A good piece of advice goes a long way!

I had the occasion once to watch intently a local soap opera being aired on a local station. The theme of the show had everything to do with an array of problems the society at large faces.

That day, particularly, the host was drawning upon a girl in her late teenage years who had been madly in love with a guy few years older than her. Among a myraid of issues that were discussed, one that overwhelmed me was the advice the host gave to the girl. It was something to the effect of, “Remember, never, ever, betray and forget, or be willing to, your blood relations for a person who is, no matter how much you know, still a stranger.”

That single piece of advice has made its way into that part of my mind from where it spouts up every once in a while and reinforces the point it carries. In light of what has been happening with my personal life, if twisted and turned a bit, that piece of advice fits perfectly. I keep reminding myself, “Never, ever, betray and forget your family for a person who is, no matter how much you know, still a stranger.”

Prioritise your things wisely!

Earthquake Survival Guides!

In wake of the recent, harrowing earthquake(s) that shook parts of Pakistan, there is an increasing need for people to understand what earthquakes are, how to distinugish between differently sized earthquakes, and, most importantly, how to prepare for and react to an earthquake.

While browsing for earthquake related information, I came across some pieces I would like to share with anyone who is interested in learning about earthquakes.

I hope these help!


Few hours short of noon today, I dialed in and got an IP from my ISP’s DHCP server. Before I could open up a terminal and execute fetchmail to fetch my e-mails, I noticed the two red lights on my modem blinking red and green. They were blinking fast. Seeing as nothing on the system had initiated any sort of connections, I suspected something was amiss. Frantically, I ran snort in IDS mode in one terminal, constantly monitoring the alerts file for any notifications, started tethereal in another terminal, and called up EtheRape to generate a dynamic, grahical model of network traffic my box was seeing.

I was shocked. More than hundred IPs were hitting me on port 6881. A quick grok of the /etc/nmap-services file against the port number 6881 turned nil. However, searching across Google, I found out port 6881 used by Bittorrent.

I captured a snapshot of one of my screens which was running the packet logging and network monitoring tools I just mentioned: wtf.png


Yesterday afternoon, a few friends at the campus were bent on taking me to offer prayers. I told them persistently that I don’t pray. They did not listen and wanted to force me to go with them, but I was equally stubborn and didn’t go.

It was not the first time something like that happened with me. What incidents like these leave behind in the mind to wonder about are questions like, “Is not religion a person’s personal affair?”, “Why do people swipe at every chance they get of enforcing their beliefs, their practices over others?”, and, “Why can’t people leave others alone in matters pertaining to religion?”.

I don’t pray, and I don’t believe in God. What buisness is it of yours to know and, not least, persuade me otherwise? None! Why do you feel the need to discuss religion with me when clearly I show no interest?

I could not care less what religion you follow, which God you have faith in. I don’t disapprove of your religious practices. I don’t derive any pleasure from mocking your religious inclinations. Why do you? (Although in my case religion is replaced by lack thereof.)

Sigh! Eventually, it all boils down to a single interrogative construction: Why?

Some day, I trust, I shall find out!

X-Forwarding via SSH!

I did not know X-Fowarding via SSH could be so easy. All it requires is that the directive X11Forwarding yes be placed somewhere on a line by itself in /etc/ssh/sshd_config on the remote system from which X applications may be forwarded, and sshd be restarted. The -X switch to ssh then hooks up an SSH connection to the remote host with X11Forwarding enabled.

Indeed, a bunch of security risks exists with such form of X-Fowarding, but I have decided to ignore them for the time being, seeing as my headless P-I, which runs the SSH server, is pretty neatly hardened behind a masquerading gateway.

Random Musings #10

It is often easier to overlook your mistakes and make a fuss over those of others. It is said that it takes a man to admit his mistakes. I say that it takes a man to first realise and then admit his errors, his wrongs.

Update: Night out with a couple of friends.

I went to Nandos, an eatery in one of the posh locations of Karachi that specialises in serving spicy, grilled chicken, with a couple of friends for dinner tonight. We ordered a spicy leg of chicken each, with a bowl full of fries and another with coleslaw and soft drinks. For dessert, we feasted on a small yet heavy chocolate fudge cake, and, having finished that, went out to an ice-cream parlour a few blocks away for some Vanilla shakes and sundae.

It was a nice night out. I enjoyed the ride and seeing what they call the City of Lights at night time. It was fun.