Work as usual

I guess I finally may have a use for GMAIL – collect all the porn from Yahoo Groups there, I was almost heartbroken when Yahoo stopped storing attachments in the group archive 😉 Jokes apart it will interesting to watch how GMAIL evolves…

I finally got to handle the Nikon D70 and the verdict for now is that I am sticking with my Nikon 5700. The kind of pictures I want are only possible with a lens which costs more than the D70 itself and the default lens which comes with it is too puny, plus there are also several small usability issues like fixed LCD screen etc.

I guess the studio kit and my Coolpix will be a great combination. Several (well three to be precise) have asked if I was considering going commercial / shifting profession. I would like to put on record – NO – this time I am determined not to let a hobby become a profession.This has happened at least three times in the past and every time I discovered that, soon the pressures of commercial work rob away the pleasures no matter how much you love doing what you are doing…

In tech lessons of the week I learnt what the file /etc/security/limits.conf does after a brain dead sys-ad set the user CPU time to 2 seconds on a remote server

Started learning XUL (and RDF, XBL etc etc ) in earnest, the very first day screwed up my local install of Mozilla, solving the mystery as to why the book recommended using separate install for development, however I would like to get to the bottom of the fact that how can a chrome mess a user install… I ultimately want to create an XUL based client for Coppermine which will also allow you to maintain a local mirror of your album on your HDD.

The new programmer has taken to the new techs very well, I hope to put her on to commercial work the comming week, In other work related stuff our aging and overloaded UPS is again showing signs of illness – this time it looks like it will be terminal.
Thankfully Friday and Saturday saw some rain which cooled down the temperatures considerably. Today we tried out a new recipe for Prawn in Coconut milk curry – turned out to be very good.

A mini vacation and a bit more

Returned on Friday from Vizag. For the first time it has happened that nothing major got screwed up in the office or home while we were not here. So how was the trip?

The days essentially consisted of catching up, sleeping in the AC and cursing the heat… the evenings however were great

We landed at Vizag on Sunday afternoon, was taken by my brother to see all the ships of Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy – Aasim had a grand time it was his first time on a ship and that too a fully armed naval ship!! The next evening was spend lazing in the huge swimming pool, the evening after that we all went to the Erada beach via the newly constructed Naval Officers colony which is situated on top of a hill, superb roads and gives a great view, the beach itself (at least stretch where we were) was very clean and almost empty. 14th evening was spend in the town culminating in a nice dinner at some place I don’t remember the name of… Unfortunately my brother had to sail on 15th….

Saturday evening Aasim opted to go to Swati’s parents to spend the night leaving us to… So we went out for a dinner at one of our favorite places. Sunday itself was spent doing nothing in particular but still a lot of things happened, we managed to do something which we had tried a lot of times but never got it right.

Oh yes I did take some displayable photographs during the week – they can be found here

Tomorrow I am appointing a new programmer – hope she turns around fast enough for commercial work…

hARP Storm

The highlight of the week was – Vivek – *the* fashion photographer of the city (also happens to be Swati’s friend) calling up to say that he had been to and was very very impressed. He wanted to help me and wanted to me to help him as well!!

Me an Swati promptly landed up at his studio with my camera and he helped me try out real pro lights. The best news is that with a hot shoe my Nikon can handle everything 🙂

On Wednesday Aasim’s WinXP install fried itself…. and I was reminded once again why I hate installing Windows. This time I have put the My Documents folder on a Network Drive.

I had very naively presumed that switched networks are safe from sniffing but after discovering Ettercap and Ethereal I have gone right back in to the voyeuristic pleasure of network sniffing 😉

First there was connection to SQL database using Mozilla then QT and KDE based applications using JavaScript, things are really going to be exciting. Those of you who haven’t already seen the, now bit dated, Mozilla Amazon Browser take a look here

Today evening we are leaving for Vizag to meet my brother for a few days – its been a long time since we met. We will be back on 16th morning, I hope being away from work will help in forgetting about it. Yes we did survive the week and it was not so bad either.

Mail, males, and run of the mill stuff

After nearly 4 years of faithful service I decided that it is time to retire my current local mail server, so I got a headless box with 1gig of RAM.

Whoa! I don’t need that for a mail server, mail servers are puny machines in dusty corners which nobody notices quietly doing their work till something goes wrong with them…. so much like some people.

So much for a mail server setup, I ended up configuring Apache and PHP to my liking, this will be the test bed for optimizing code etc, I hope that running Apache (along with my experimental apps) will not kill the server too often 😉 In short it looked like I had already messed up the plan for a cleanly laid out mail server. None the less I did manage to get Postfix along with Spamassassin running on it with a bit of help from here and there. It has been running for three days without any problems and behaving exactly as I wanted it. On experienced advise I chickened out of installing IMAP and continued with POP3

Swati wanted to try scouting for experienced PHP programmers, so we gave an Ad in the paper – the kind of riff-raff we got was hilarious in the very least, needless to say that I did not appoint anyone. So we are back to our original method – get freshers who know at least one programming language well and train them. In six weeks the right candidate is ready for commercial work. The problem arises when they leave too soon (< 6 months). I don't like to bind people in contracts and bonds but it looks like the outsourcing boom will result in job hopping as a side effect and I feel that serving 6 months (on a decent salary) is not too long a period specially if I have imparted a vocational skill. On the hobby front I need a better/more professional set of lights I have been losing out on too many fantastic pictures because of either camera or model shake which occurs due to long exposures required for tungsten lamps. Watched for the first time today, a movie which had been recommended by my parents "Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam". The coming week is threatening to be very very tough on the work front - just hope to survive