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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Feburary Fury

Sometimes life comes to us with all guns blazing and we have no choice but to keep up with it. This was one of those times. February this time was quite special for me. No, I am not talking about 14th Feb. 14th was all normal for me. But other than that, nothing else was.
It all started with the final year Project presentation. Making an application (using Django and Android) to control different electronic equipments in a house using bluetooth or the internet. It went smooth. But then came the Final fest of my engineering life. Though i would have kept my distance keeping in mind the busy schedule ahead, the college asked every club to come up with events. Being vice-president of Linux club, it was unfeasible for me to do so. So, we (the club members) thought, WTH, lets do it and proposed an online and an on-the-spot competition. The online competition was immensely successful after taxing on a few nights sleep (thanks to Python and Django). The on-the-spot one also did fairly well considering the fact that all the events had a clashing schedule.
The very next day of the end of fest came the biggie. GATE 2012. Having performed quite well last year, this year added an extra pressure. GATE being a national exam test students on all the subjects they have read during last 4 years of their engineering covering all the basic fundamentals. 6 semesters with 5 main subjects makes 30 subjects at least. It got neglected amidst the everything above hence the hopes weren’t high enough. But still I enjoyed appearing in the only exam which tests the logical abilities instead of my capacity to mug up and reproduce in a beautiful handwriting.
The evening ended with a refreshing Wikimedia monthly meet which gave me an opportunity to meet the active contributors from Delhi.

The next in line were the college internal exams. It was time to and arrange for notes and mug up the exact same lines to clear the exams. This ordeal took a whole week to end.

Now was the time for NIITAT. A national level IT aptitude test conducted every year to test the students for their aptitude and their industry readiness. All it required for me to do was go to the center on the lazy sunday afternoon and give the 2 hour test. As expected, it went pretty smooth.

Since it was a long time since we had lectures(firstly there was Fest and then the Minor Exams) it was time to go back to my actual project and finish off the assignments given in college only to realize that another week has gone by.

This brought me to the final exam left in line for this month on the last sunday of the month. Serving the nation and community is what i want to do with my full capacity. Air-Force gives me such an opportunity. Getting into army means competing with the best of the nation. The morning started off with a message from NIIT informing me that i stand among top 1000 among 63,000 who appeared for the NIITAT exam i gave last week. The day was chaotic. Even though i had googled my way to the Air-Force center for exam, i was a little surprised when i found out that i have reached the wrong center. Took another 1 hour of drive just to be in time for exam. It was fun to meet some of my buddies there who incidentally had the same center as mine. It was evening and last sunday and hence time for a long drive on my bike around the city in the cool soothing wind.

Its the end of February with 1 extra day that I get once every 4 years. Which reminds me that March is going to be a lot more Fun. Looking forward to participate in upcoming Tech Fests in other colleges of Delhi. Time to sharpen my skills and get down to coding. Tchao!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Geek Meetup -14th Jan

Geek Meetups are organized Delhi(almost once every month) to bring all the Geeks and Open source enthusiasts to bring everyone together and Hack. Usually the participants are those who wouldn't mind spending a lazy Sunday afternoon hacking and coding and talking about latest trends.

But in the recent times due to some unavoidable circumstances, the meetings got cancelled. It had been approximately six months since the last meet and 363 days since the last time it had been hosted at Amity. There was an urgent need for one now. Considering the fact that this is the last year and we(Students of Amity, as our semesters get over really early) would have busy months ahead, we decided to take the responsibility of organizing the meet in our campus this month. As the day when i would become a "Alumni" is getting closer, it makes me a little Nostalgic about the things that have been so close to me in the past. Me being the Vice-president of our tech club ALIAS (Amity Linux Assistance Sapience) was getting a little uneasy about the thoughts of the future of the club. We have students that are enthusiastic about Open source and like to learn more about it, but they haven't really got much of chance to interact with the real wizards. Hence this meet not only gave us the opportunity to bring the g33ks together, it also allowed us to introduce them to our juniors who would take various posts in ALiAS and take on the legacy forward. It was then that a thought occurred to me. Why not let the future leaders have a real experience of organizing an event. And so they did!

The meeting turned out to be the one with a good participation. Now only the old contributers, but also the freshers(who joined the college this year) took part in the event. This allowed the new comers to interact with the community which in turn enhanced their enthusiasm and exposed them to a whole new world. I am sure that the open source culture that had been initiated during my tenure will continue to flourish in the campus long after I am gone.
http://lug-iitd.org/Geek_meetup_-_14_Jan_2012



Friday, December 30, 2011

Expand your Root partition in Linux. [Tutorial]



Here is a demo of how to expand the size of any partition in Linux. It could be either Root or Home or any other partition.

Prerequisites:
=> An empty partition just before or after your partition that needs to get expanded.
=> A separate installation of Linux in case you are expanding the root partition. Since the drive getting expanded needs to be un-mounted at the time of expansion.
=> Gparted Partition Editor. (usually comes pre-installed with Ubuntu)

My Laptop has 80GB of hard disk and currently has 4 OS installed. The pic below shows the scheme.
34GB for Windows
10 GB for ubuntu B
10 GB for Ubuntu N
and remaining 20 GB partitioned between swap, home and root partitions of my another Ubuntu installation that i generally use.
I realized that i was running out of space on my Ubuntu B partition while i was rarely using Ubuntu N. So, i decided to format the Ubuntu N installation and allocate the free space to Ubuntu B.

To format a partition, right click on the partition and format it. Gparted doesn't format it rightaway, but queues the action. Now the Free space is being shown as "unallocated".

To re-size the partition, right click on the partition to be modified and click on "resize".
This would prompt the box as shown in the above pic. you can either change the values or drag and shift the blue bar position to increase the size according to your requirement.

This is how it looks when the partition has been re-sized. I allocated the complete space to my partition.


Now it shows the new size of my Ubuntu B partition and 2 operations as pending.

Click on the green "tick" button to apply the operations. All the changes made till this point can be reversed as these are only the queued operations. Once the changes are applied, they will be permanent on the hard-disk.





Voila!!! The task is done. Now my Ubuntu B partition is of approx 20GB, without formatting the installation of Ubuntu B.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Expand Linux Partition.


I started off using Linux as a hobby and eventually fell in love with it over the due course of time. Now my Linux partition has solution to all my computing problems. But, when i started, i wasn't sure if i would be using Linux full-time. So, i allotted the resources which were just enough to get my system running, i.e. just 5 GB of hard disk space to my Ubuntu's "/" partition(root partition). Recently, i realized that i was totally out of space on my root partition and needed to expand it. The advice from friends and Google was to "Format and re-install with new partition scheme". But that meant, me loosing all my installed softwares and their settings that i have used during past year and a half. Also, the Ego of a Computer Engineer was not allowing me to simply format the system. My efforts paid off and I was able to successfully expand the size of partition.


For demo, i expanded the size of my Ubuntu 8.10(Ubuntu B) after deleting a different version of Ubuntu (Ubuntu N) that i had once installed for testing purposes. Here is the tutorial showing how to safely Expand your Linux partition.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Clean-up your mess off your Hard-drive.



Here is the first post when i will be discussing about something for which i originally thought about blogging. Every thing has brighter and darker sides and this topic is no different. The dark side of good things is hardly known but they are sometimes an eye-opener.

This post is about your filesystem and how the files are stored and deleted on the physical disk. A majority of people think that if you want to delete a file from your system shift + delete is all you need to do. Or at max, if you would format the drive, all the data is gone permanently and for-ever. But here i would like to tell you that you couldn't be more wrong if you think so. I have personally recovered deleted files as well as partitions using Free tools.

Surprised? Don't be. Because when a file is deleted, the operating system deletes the pointers to the file and in the FAT or MFT the space occupied by the file is mark as available. The computer does not delete the actual data that was contained in the file. Same goes for a deleted partition. The pointer to the start of the partition table is deleted and not the whole file structure.

From next time if you delete a file/partition by any chance, google for "file recovery software" and you should find quite a few tools to recover the file for you. If you are using Linux, they would all be free. For windows you will get trial versions who recover files but have some constraints.

Now coming to the dark side of it.
A hacker can read your data if he gets access to your hard disk and What should someone do if he really wants get rid of file(s) from the system permanently because he want to hide his activities?

There are 2 ways to do it if the files are limited.
a) Use file shredding software.
b) If the file is simple text/word/readable file, open the file, make it a blank file, save it and then delete it.(not completely safe)

But what if the number of files being deleted is large? Or you dont know what all have you deleted in past but now you have to mask it. This process is actually called Wiping Free disk space. There are tools available to achieve it. But as i always prefer to avoid searching and installing tools, here are the simple ways to do it on your own.
For Windows, the best way to achieve it is that once you are done deleting all the files, make a folder and add some random files to it untill the file system drive is full with no space remaining.(You can add multiple copies of the some movie inside the folder to fill up the disk fast). In this way, the bits of the memory locations of the whole drive would change, thus making the file impossible to recover. Once it is done, Delete the folder and the task is done.
You can also defragment the disk. As it involves moving of data from one place to another, it would pretty much over-write any un-used space.
For linux, It could be done by simply typing the following commands at the terminal.
dd if=/dev/zero of=zero.small.file bs=1024 count=102400
cat /dev/zero > zero.file
rm zero.small.file
rm zero.file
This sets all the bits of free memory space to 0. Some advanced commands could be found here.

So next time don't fret if you have Shift+deleted some important file by mistake or have truncated a partition. Also, if you are into something dirty or plan to sell/hand-over your old machine/hard-disk containing personal and important data to some other person, don't think that your system format would take care of all your past.

Happy Hacking.