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Starting off with the new year

9 February, 2014 by Sunit Nandi

I think many of you may have been wondering where I’ve been for such a long time and why I haven’t written anything. There’s a reason for that which I’ll explain later. But before that, let me tell you what I was up to.

After the new year celebrations back in my hometown, we returned to Guwahati on 8th of January. Due to the temperature difference between Digha and Guwahati, I caught cold, cough and breathing difficulties. Assam is a few degrees colder than West Bengal, and that’s obviously a no-brainer. I spent a whole week in bed, unable to move or talk properly. As if that wasn’t enough, my digestive system decided to revolt, making me unable to eat anything. There were several visits to the doctor and another week of no activity.

After the whole illness drama got over, I was too weak to go to college, so I spent my time at home perfecting my coding skills and watching movies. During this time, I got myself a MicroTik RouterBoard RB-751, because I had this sudden urge to study routers and networks. I flashed a couple of firmwares, tested various routing options and attacks in simulation. But then, I felt I wasn’t doing anything practical. So, I tried to do what I wanted to do in the last 3 years: build my own home streaming network. It was successful in the end, and felt like a dream come true. I documented the steps and made a video out of it for TechnoFAQ TV.

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Here is the video:

In the meanwhile I ordered myself a Cisco Linksys X3500 ADSL2+ home gateway from eBay to replace my ageing DLink DSL-G604T. It was shipped but the courier (Blue Dart) decided to “cache” my shipment and delayed the delivery.

I began going to college, but classes were a hit or miss. Some were held and some weren’t, but being among classmates again felt wonderful.

In the beginning of February, my X3500 shipment arrived. I unboxed it and set it up, replacing the DLink and RouterBoard with a single device. It didn’t seem anything special at all, but the performance was epic. My DSL speeds were greater than 9000 Kbps, whereas the DLink would average at around 7000 Kbps. The X3500, being a dual-band N access point, performed better than both the DLink and RouterBoard combined. Now I get pretty good WiFi signal in my bedroom, the garden and toilets (heehee!) too.

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One day later, Alcheringa 2014 at IIT Guwahati began. I enjoyed the Saturday and Sunday to the fullest with my friends. I won’t be describing the events here as they are widely popular and published in the newspapers.

This was followed by Saraswati Puja. I spent the whole day at college with friends, hopping from hostel to hostel. Out of compulsion, I had to have the bhog (feast) 4 times at 4 different hostels. After the whole day, I was tired of eating.

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And the award for the best looking lady goes to:

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Okay, that’s enough, I guess. 😛

After that classes begin at full steam and labs start.

I also managed to set up OpenVPN despite being behind a proxy and firewall and was able to route some of my home traffic via Japan just for testing. My Android devices which could not play live streams like ShoutCast before could do now. So its music, music everywhere.

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Also I installed Mac on a non-Apple machine, a.k.a Hackintosh. So far, its pretty good, but the graphics drivers are not properly loaded and the video performance is poor.

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Now, I’ll come to the point where I’ll tell you why I haven’t written anything in a long while. Well, for some reason, the WordPress admin panels on all my hosted blogs were timing out for some reason or the other. After a whole day of troubleshooting alongwith the webhost’s staff yielded nothing in particular about misconfiguration or heavy resource usage, I made the plunge by requesting them to backup, delete, recreate and restore my userspace. We all thought that would not make any difference, but on the contrary WordPress was running stably again and I am now able to blog.

Before I left for my hometown in December, I made sure static content on my site be delivered from Amazon S3 and CloudFront. After 2 months of testing their service, I realised it was not worth it. CloudFlare serves static content faster than CloudFront, atleast in India. So I rolled back and deleted my S3 buckets.

SOVIC is an NGO that is based in my college. This NGO runs several child welfare schemes. They requested me to build a website for them, which is now live at sovic.in.

So, this is what life has been till now.

I’m waiting for my upcoming new camcorder and a workstation so that I can make awesome videos.

Till then, take care. I’ll be writing again soon.


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