Thursday Dec 18, 2008

XVM VirtualBox 2.1 released with a bang!!!!1

VirtualBox is like magic for most of the students in my college because whenever I talk about it, people are awestruck and look at me gaping, asking me “How the hell is it possible to have Linux running inside Windows or vice versa??!!”...

Much to their amazement, I show them the demo and they all immediately want to try it out.

VirtualBox indeed is something truly amazing which does not stop to amuse and surprise people. Most importantly its safe to use as you do not really have to install an new OS on raw machine, rather its just a file on your hard disk which you can use/modify/delete in a second's time.

Not just in my college, its extremely extremely popular all over the world, check the facts:

8 million downloads worldwide, 2.5 million registrations and 25,000 downloads a day!!!”

Woah.... that's a helluva number!!!!!.....

I am extremely pleased to tell you about the latest version of VirtualBox, released yesterday which xVM VirtualBox 2.1 (my room mate who works for xVM team here at IEC, Bangalore) couldnt be any happier, infact we celebrated with balloons and stuff at home... :D

The main features of this new release are:

1.New Accelerated 3D Graphics – wow!!!!!
2.Improved Network Performance – much needed change!
3.Storage Support (built-in iSCSI support to connect to storage systems ie Amber Road)

4.Mac OS X on Intel's Virtualization Technology (VT-x) –
5.VMware's and Microsoft's Virtualization Formats -
now this is super coooool!!!!!
ntel Core i7 processor
64-bit guest OS on 32-bit host platforms

So what are you waiting...... get the “new improved VirtualBox” here.....

Cheers!!!!!! :D :D

Wednesday Oct 08, 2008

Love at First Boot and SFD festivities at Manipal........ :D

The very first time I heard about Software Freedom Day was by Gary during our induction program in Bangalore. Ever since then I was all excited and had started planning things for it to involve as many students as possible and make them a part of what I think is the revolutionary “Open Source Revolution”.... I am emphasizing on the word revolutionary a lot because I feel its certainly like a tide of new technology which will overturn the existing one and in a big, big, big way!!!. The bubble is growing and growing every day, every moment, every second.....
Anyways in my dreams of evangelizing Open source like never before, I completely forgot to take into account, the monthly exams which we have in our college whose dates coincided with SFD and all my dreams came crashing down like a sand castle..... But then I thought why should I not do it a week ahead and again with a new ray of hope, I called up Rajesh and Ganesh who gave me a thumbs up to go on...Then another miracle happened, while I was talking to Rajesh one day over the phone, Abhishek seemed to be around and I asked him if he would like to come to our college and give a lecture. The extremely enthusiastic and passionate Abhishek at once said that he would check out his project plan and let me know. So in a couple of days, I got a mail from him that he would be ready to come here at a cost that I would have to introduce him to all my beautiful female friends and juniors. Just kidding Uncle!!!... :D
Then began the usual work of getting posters designed,printed, putting them up, setting up info
desks at strategic places all across the campus, we ( my volunteers and me) managed to get a huge registration list, so much so that we stopped registrations and announced that seats will be on a first come first serve basis only....
Finally on a lazy Saturday afternoon, with our Lecture hall completely full i.e. With 200 participants (about which I was a bit sceptic as Saturdays in Manipal are synonymous to sleeping and partying only), we began with a talk on “Open Source technologies and You” where participants had a gala time and were laughing their heads off with Abhishek's interesting anecdotes. Then we did a hands on and demo session on NetBeans where we installed NetBeans on each and everyone's laptops and then followed it up with some simple programs which everyone would follow...Thus the first day of the two-day SFD celebration got over with the hall full to its brim till the last minute.....
The next day again we all met at the same venue and in the first half we did Open Solaris installations in VirtualBox in everyone's laptops, and it was such an overwhelming scene. I had tears in my eyes looking at the familiar dark blue Open Solaris desktops of about 215 laptops all at once.....
After lunch, we had a PHP and MySQL demo session where Abhishek told us about the basics of Internet, HTTP and then took us through an interesting journey of creating cool websites using the deadly duo PHP and MySQL. After that, Abhishek did the most comical intonation of “SHIFT HAPPENS!!!” and everyone present there was rolling with laughter. Then we ended the program with “Three cheers for SFD” and an extremely generous and warm round of applause for the king of the show i.e. Our UNCLE............
Never before did the MIT junta enjoy a technical seminar so much, this was evident in the fact that not one person in the whole audience wrote a single negative comment about anything in the feedback sheets we distributed at the end of the event, instead showed a lot of positive interest in Open Source technologies and said that they were willing to know more about them in detail, in future....
I would rate the event as 10/10 and I would give all the credit to Abhishek for his sheer excellence in the way he interacts with the crowd, keeps them hooked and interested and makes all of them fall in love with him literally( a few girls actually left their phone numbers on the feedback sheets for him, not that he was complaining!!! and a couple of guys too....lolz...... :D).....Thank You Uncle for all the pains you took to make this event an out and out success.......
I would like to heartily thank Gary for infusing the spirit of Software Freedom Day in us, giving us useful tips and suggestions all the time and personally dealing with all our little problems...
I would also like to thank Ganesh and Rajesh for being so supportive and encouraging at all times and being there, only a phone call or email away.....
I hope as a CA, I will be able to contribute in my little way in making the Open Source revolution bubble big till it encompasses every student living under the SUN (no puns intended!!!!) ...... Cheers!!!!!!! :P


Tuesday Sep 02, 2008

Second day of the Induction Program (28th July 2008,Bangalore)

Let me begin my blog by making a confession, that by this day I was so excited to learn new things, listen to great minds talk passionately about the bleeding egde of technology and spend more time with my new friends that I did not sleep the whole night. I woke very early in the morning, woke up everyone else in my flat enthusiastically (I am sure they must have hated me for doing that.. sorry guys!!)..
We reached the venue, took our seats for another brain storming day which could have no better beginning than Gary addressing us on the CA program, FY09. He told us that we (the Indian CAs) consist of one-fifth of the total number of CAs all around the globe and thus we have an important role to play. He talked about the various goals the company has set and how we will help the company to achieve them in our little ways, as Sun Microsystems was formed by four students of Stanford University and still derives a lot of inputs from the student fraternity. So we do have an important role in evangelizing Open Source technologies back in our colleges.
After Gary’s inspiring and refreshing talk, we had Srinidhi who told us about JAVA which had the interest of almost everyone present in the auditorium since it is preferred by all to any other programming language. He talked about its various features like it is platform independent, secure, has no problems of malloc/calloc etc. He mentioned the uses of the different versions of JAVA like ‘enterprise, standard and micro editions’ in the industry.
Then, we had Mr.Anoop talk about the Sun Certification exams and how important they can be for us in future because of the value addition they do to our technical abilities. Pearl talked to us about “Enhancing presentation skills” and gave us a lot of ideas about how to go about things smoothly, increasing level of confidence, keeping cool if things are out of hand and how we should be our own roadies. We all a good time listening to her but she couldn’t finish her talk as we were running low on time. Then we had a fun session organized by Ankit and Abhishek where we had to claim for a bottle of packaged water by giving cheesy answers. I was also chosen as one of the participants unfortunately in the event and did make a fool of myself in front of everyone by saying that I wanted the bottle most as I wanted to be like Angad (who was coincidentally drinking water from a bottle of the same brand, Thank God for that!!!) as he was the 'CA of the month' and a Netbeans expert. Gary finally got to keep the bottle as he won the game hands on. But we did have some great fun listening to people coming up with cool answers like Rashmi said she wanted to feed it to Glassfish, Lalith did a mono-act etc. and Ganesh said that he wanted to resolve the water fight between two states.
After this we all had a lab session on Netbeans and Open Solaris installation and then we left for the India Engineering Centre, Sun Microsystems’ office in Bangalore. It was like a dream come true for me as I had waited for this day all along this time. We were taken inside the Data centre which was a huge place full of servers and wires which were helping run millions of computers all over the world. It was an absolutely overwhelming experience for all of us. We were also given a demo of the Ning community and how we were supposed to use it. Then, we taken to Eva Mall to this really chic restaurant called “Café Masala” where we had the time of our lives. Apart from the amazing food, ambience, crowd, and not to forget a chocolate fountain we played this ‘nickname game’ which was Ganesh’s idea where we all were rechristened with new names given to us by everyone else. Gary was called “Godfather”, Ganesh was “Teddy bear” and many others like Olive oyl, Dexter, Hulk, Sub-title, Uncle, Tweety etc. to name a few. I was given the nickname “Mentos” and now that is what has become my identity in the Ning community… :P
This day was so much fun and action-packed that I don’t think I’ll be ever able to ‘delete’ it from my memory. The much awaited Induction program was actually happening and must say it was “HAPPENING”!!!!........

The First Day of the Induction Program (Bangalore)

I somehow managed to get out from my warm quilt after cajoling myself for a long time in the typical, chilly Bangalore morning and get ready for the first day of the Induction program. We had breakfast consisting of Dosas and hot tea (which was a big relief!!!) and left for MSRIT which was the venue for the program.
Here we were warmly welcomed by the Sun team consisting of Ganesh, Vijaya, Rajesh, CA coordinators and tech leads, given our offer letters and asked to introduce ourselves to everyone.
Then, began our formal initiation into Open source Technologies by an enthusiastic (read hyper-energetic) Abhishek who went on talking for ages but none of us could do anything but listen to him with rapt attention. He talked about the “Age of Participation” and how we have graduated from the “Age of Information” where information was broadcasted not shared or discussed. Apart from this, his main emphasis was of course Open Source technologies like Solaris, Netbeans, Java, Glassfish and many others. So much so that Ganesh had to interrupt him mid-way as he went going blah-blah with no stopping him( No offense Abhishek!! :P ).After his talk, Anil took stage and he gave us a talk on Open Solaris in detail, telling us about its salient features like Dynamic Tracing Toolkit, Zeta byte file system ( which he called the Nexgen File system) and various other cool things.
Then we had a Netbeans session by Angad Singh who is a tech lead for us (whom I also consider my mentor in the Sun team :D). He began the presentation by a really cheesy one liner which said “Netbeans is not same as coffee-beans!!!” and then took us on a ride exploring Netbeans and also demonstrated a piece of code using the same. It was pretty intriguing and it definitely caught my interest.
Next, we had another session on Solaris 10 also called as Indiana by Vijay Upreti, who also happens to be the person who had taken my interview during the CA selection. He talked about the enhanced features of the latest version of Solaris out now in the market. He showed us the same presentation which he usually gives to customers, so we felt quite privileged and honoured at the very thought of it.
The icing of the cake was the arrival of Gary, who suddenly came into the auditorium and addressed us for a couple of minutes. We all immediately fell in love with his friendly, funny and captivating personality.
Tirthankar (who insists on being called the “Photographer guy” :D) took the picture perfect snap which was just the right ending to an amazing, enlightening and enriching day…..

The Day before the Induction Program ( 26th July,2008 Bangalore)

I stepped out of the boundaries of my cozy and comforting hostel in Manipal, sat in the taxi to Mangalore airport, filled with a lot of apprehension, excitement, enthusiasm and in anticipation of the journey I was about to herald, which I didn’t know would change me, my life and my views in more ways than one.
My parents, thousands of miles away, were calling me every second possible to find out if I was safe and sound and constantly pouring words of advice into my ears over the phone much to my annoyance. :D But I guess parents will be parents…
Anyways, reached Bangalore, the hub of the Indian IT industry,which looks magical at night. But that day it had a veil of darkness on its face thanks to the hideous bomb blasts which shook the city, a day before.
Then I finally reached Orchid Inn, the place where all the CAs were being put up, after a couple of phone calls to Mr.Azeez and a few wrong turns. I was allotted a nice, posh flat with a TV (plus it also had a really cool couch :P ), where Shobhna and Nagratna where already staying. We started talking to each other and got friendly at once, and here I must add one thing I noticed in general about all the Campus Ambassadors, is that they were very friendly and went out of their ways to know each other better.
After this suddenly the lights went off and we were left in the cold, dark night at the mercy of a meager candle and no water in our flat. I was terribly hungry, sleepy and exhausted after the journey and wanted to go to bed as soon as possible.
Then, comes Abhishek, with a big smile on face, humbly apologizing to us about the slightly poor conditions and suggested we all meet our fellow CAs to make good use of our time .We also met Ankit, who had taken a bunch of CAs out for dinner. Both of these CA coordinators were extremely friendly and made us feel at home. Next, we had a small, informal, interactive session which was really interesting and a good way to break the ice between all of us. Dinner consisting of loads of yummy things, came a little later and we all didn’t waste even a second in finishing it off.. Then we reluctantly retired to our flats out of sheer necessity as tomorrow would be the first day of our Induction Program, the reason why we all had gathered from all over the country, beating the terror of bomb blasts, undertaking long journeys, yet feeling supremely confident, joyous and eager about the events going to happen in the next three days…
Such is the spirit of the CAs of Sun Microsystems that each and every CA appointed and invited for the program was present here, despite all odds, which I believe is an amazing feat!!!...I salute each and everyone involved in the program: Gary (the person whose presence made the program so much more special and interesting), Ganesh, Vijaya, Rajesh, Angad, Tirthankar( ya the “photographer guy” :D), Shyam and everyone else who left no stone unturned to make it a great success….Kudos to you all !!!!!! Cheers :D

Vasudha Amrit


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