Shiva's Blog

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Computers With Generation Next Kids

Until a few weeks back if someone would have asked me to teach computers to illiterates, those who even don't know alphabets, then the first thing I would have said, "You are kidding!" but I am a changed man now. My 2 years and 4 months old son has made me realize that indeed it's possible.

Recently while my son was viewing his photos on my laptop, he started Winamp and played a song. I thought it was accidental. To confirm, I asked him to change the song to another one, which he likes too. To my surprise, he immediately clicked on the open button, selected the corresponding song from the file listing and played the song. Now I was really thrilled. I asked him to change few more songs and he did all correctly. A 2 year and 4 months old kid doing all this amazed me. He can't even read but he knows what is where, thanks to the people who invented GUI computers.

Although it's not new to see him using computers. He has been doing so since he was one and half years. At very early age he learnt to control the mouse. Until lately he only used to browse his photos and play his own videos by doing a double click. Over the time he had learnt about "My Computer", "My Documents" and "Photos". But his ability to identify the songs from file listing without knowing alphabets surprised me. It was his practice of playing songs that he knew what is where.

He made me realize that there is no prerequisite to use and learn computers. I started learning and using computers at the age of 22 and later I started my profession as a software developer. I wonder where these next generation kids, who have started using computers even before knowing alphabets, will take the future computing.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

MSN Spaces & Yahoo 360°

I recently bought one digi cam, Kodak CX7430. Unlike few of my other friends, I am not very trendy in spending money for every new thing arriving in the market. That's the reason that so far I was managing with the traditional camera. With the new camera, it was the time for me to take my snaps and update all my profiles with it. I did it on Yahoo Profiles, Messenger, my blog page, Skype and all other places except my Windows Messenger it doesn't support. So I decided to download MSN messenger.

Needless to say that I don't like Bill Gates very much. Not because he is rich and I am not, its because of his anti competition policies. Unfortunately many of my friends use MSN messenger. So far I had been using Windows Messenger to talk to them. But now the time had come for me to download the MSN messenger as I couldn't put my photo there :-).

I went to the MSN site to download the messenger. On the top right corner of the site I saw "Claim your space with MSN Spaces". I had read about MSN Spaces free service in news last month but didn't elaborate it. I was wondering what it is and how it works. I clicked on the link and took a brief idea of it. I don't like praising MS but if they do something good, I have to. I liked their concept of MSN Space. Actually its all about having your web space where you can post categorized blogs, keep photo albums, music listings, links etc etc. Like a personal website. Its integrated with MSN messenger. You can keep private contents where only your MSN friends can have access. When you update your content, your friends will get notifications on their MSN messenger. Sounds good na.. Why to left behind, I signed up immediately - http://spaces.msn.com/members/shivanandt/

As I said before I don't like Bill Gates very much, so now I started looking for alternates. While searching on the web I found that Yahoo is also about to launch the same concept known as Yahoo 360°. Now, I was happy to find an alternate.
I checked on their website http://360.yahoo.com/reg/whatis.html and was pleased that it offers everything what MSN space does. However its under beta and hopefully should be made public soon.

Interaction between internet users is increasing everyday. Website portals keep bringing new ideas to keep their users. Its one of such efforts and I feel its good. Its going to be next big hit after the Email, Chat & IM. There were few sites like it before, like hi5.com but MSN Space and Yahoo 360° will capture more share because of their huge user base of IM software. These contents are integrated with IMs so your friends will get notification instantly when the content is updated. They don't have to come to your site just to see if you have something new.

Ok, bye for now. Go and start building your pages. Have fun.
Keep visiting my blog. Suggestions are always welcome.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Internet Security, Be Serious!

An Internet intruder attacked the firewall of our office today. I had read about such attacks but for me it was the first one to see in real. Not to mention that I was quite thrilled while handling it.

After a thorough investigation I managed to find that initially some automated robot from the internet attempted to connect with random combination of user and passwords. While doing so, it managed to crack a weak password of a non root user. Then, after some time someone from another location on the internet connected with the same user and managed to perform critical tasks. The attacker changed many system commands with its own binaries, deleted logs, installed packet sniffers, stopped syslog, installed its own version of ssh server and did many things like wise. Even when I connected to machine over ssh, it managed to sniff my root password. While looking around I found my root password sniffed in a text file. I tried deleting that immediately but the intruder was too smart, he had overridden the rm command as well. For an immediate rescue I managed to cat the /dev/null to the sniffed log file.

My traceroute results showed that the automated robot, which initially cracked the password, was from Chili (South America) and then later somebody connected either from Taiwan or Australia. To my surprise, later I found that one of the binaries installed by the intruder had established continuous connection with a server in Switzerland. All these results reveal that the attacker was a master minded. My conclusion is that he already had many machines on the Internet under his attack and he connected to our machine using few of those. If I couldn't have detected it, he might have started using our machine to intrude else where on the Internet.

You can imagine the level of this attack. It was fortunate that there was no real data on the firewall. It was just a dumb machine to protect the LAN and it did its job. The lesson from this event is to be more security cautious now. If you use your home PC to surf the net then its highly recommended to use the firewall. If you are not firewalled and roaming on the Internet then it's like leaving your house open and going to watch the cinema. You will probably never do that, then why do it with your Internet connection.

Don't forget - Prevention Is Better Than Cure. Its better to act before it becomes to late to act.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My First ****

By those 4 stars in the title if your imagination took you to mean that for "Love" and started visualizing some interesting story here, then, I am sorry to disappoint you. Those 4 stars are actually for BLOG. Its My First Blog post :-)

It has been a long time since I had the desire to start my blog. But the fact is that, desire and reality are quite far away till we really do something at the ground level. Today while on my way from office to home, I was in my deep thoughts and was wondering if I can ever eliminate this gap between reality and desire. I took the resolution to do it today. Not to mention that even after taking the resolution I wasn't too sure. It wasn't my first resolution :-)

Anyway, I am happy to be here finally. There are still many people who ask "What is blog?". No wonder, even those who know about it today, had asked the same question yesterday. Therefore before I go further, I feel that it would be good to tell the readers about it.

The blogger.com describes a blog as the following:
A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules.

As the blooger.com says that its a personal diary, mind it, its not a private diary. In my simple words, BLOG is all about sharing your thoughts, feelings, ideas, experiences, opinion, life events etc etc.. with the world. Your blog diary is a gateway for the world to know about you. Today's technology has made it possible and millions of people around the world have access to the information you post. So, its the time to go and let the world know about your presence.

Wish me a Good Luck for the new beginning. I hope that I don't have to take resolutions to do further posts.

Shiva