Life and Personal Tech and Culture

NCSU retires the dial-up access Modem pool

Not everyone remembers using dial-up networking to get on the Internet. This is more true for people who started using the Internet, in general, around the last 6-7 years. I used a dial-up connection to get online up until Fall 2002, which was when I finally got a 3Mbps cable connection.

Hence, after reading the announcement by the NCSU IT Department that they were retiring all their RAS modems, I was compelled to reminisce my first few days as a grad student. I ran Linux on my cheap hand-me-down desktop PC, and that meant (at least back then) that I couldn’t use AOL or any other dial-up service with the operating system without using some kind of a “hack”. Then, I discovered that NCSU had a pool of fast, albeit insufficient, modems that could be used for free off-campus network access provided you had an active campus ID.

The TCP/IP modems were pretty hard to dial into, considering that they were insufficient in number, and that most TCP/IP sessions are expected to last long. The shell access modems, on the other hand were always available. For those unfamiliar with shell access, it was basically a *NIX shell modified to fit the needs of remote dial-up users without providing them the capability of forwarding, or even running, any X server apps. You could still browse the net all you wanted using a text based browser like Lynx.

RIP, NCSU Dial-up RAS!

Life and Personal

To all of you … American Girls – m4w – 26

Came across this “interesting” personals on the local Craigslist:

The biggest challenge I have faced in life is finding company and ways to do things which I desire. Not everything is as much fun alone otherwise Adam and Eve could very well have been created of the same kind.

I am 26, grad student, 5’11, brown eyes, black hair, decent, ever smiling, inquisitive. Would not label myself as glass breaking looks but surely smart looks. As a person I am creative and surely intelligent. I enjoy movies, music, cooking, writing, poetry, reading, interesting conversations, travel, dreaming, sleeping, sports, photography, silence, emotions, occasional partying, blah blah. I love going out for walks, food or even to sit in the library with coffee. I am good with most things related to a computer. Haven’t been clubbing for long. I am easy going, peaceful, something between an extrovert and introvert, humorous, philosophical and friendly. I am the types who would go to a concert on the eve of an exam or could be awake for an entire night discussing world peace or which country has the hottest girls. I have missed entire semester of classes and still got an A. I have written 40 page love letters and chatted online 12 hours non stop. I am the kind who could dance the night away or sleep for 24 hours at a stretch. Nothing about me is deterministic and that is even an enigma for myself. As a person I have always lived maverick – my ways, my style and my choices.

I am only looking for friends or activity partners. I can be a great dependable friend and thats all I need. If you have different taste in music, have different choice of movies, drinks, places, culture, fashion, food and style – even better since it might turn out to be new and exciting to share and explore. As I said you should be different from the rest and confident about that. If you are special, you would be treasured. I believe there is always someone better than us and always someone worse but no one as unique as who we are.

I would love to play sports or go to a movie or share music, hang out for a coffee or meal, sit and have interesting conversations, go for a outing, for photography. We can listen to music together. We can be bored together, we can smile together. I don’t mind going shopping and have a classy taste. Probably we can play tennis or go for a swim. Probably you want to start gymming, so do I. Maybe we can share some stories about our lives and places we have been. I am interested in learning to play Guitar or dance. Maybe visit NY or CA or Greece or Switzerland sometime in the summer. I can teach you anything about computers and you can teach me something else. Maybe just interact on email or maybe just meet or maybe something else. I don’t know. There are too many choices.

My only expectation from you would be to find a kindred mind and a smart personality, rest all is relatively inconsequential.

BTW, I am not American. I am from India. Does this disappoint you? Well, sorry to waste your time.


Now, since I had spare time on my hands, I began to analyze the person behind the post. This is what I concluded:

  1. He’s not fat or “weight challenged”.
  2. He has trouble finding friends even though he’s not an introvert — he could be an extremely unreliable/selfish person.
  3. He writes 40 page love letters — he is pretty obsessive/stalkerish, or is easily infatuated.
  4. He has tried Craigslist to meet women before, but failed, and attributes this failure to his being an Indian.

Now, this is what the female friend of an accomplice had to say about it:

  1. “I am afraid of him”.
  2. “He has written 40 page love letters than sticks in female’s minds as slightly obsessive stalkerish”.
  3. “What the heck do you write for 40 pages? unless you have issues”.
  4. “and he is Indian but only interested in American girls? hmmmm”.
  5. “its the same as people who are close-minded and only date within their own race”…”yet even more odd….because they are only interested in one race and it isn’t even their own”…”or in his case culture more than race”.
  6. “yeah but even more odd…so a russian girl that is studying…she is off limits….just sounds odd to limit yourself”.
  7. “maybe he wants his green card”.

I gave the guy the benefit of doubt and take it that he simply meant ‘Girls of America’, but for some reason the accomplice’s friend wasn’t willing to give him such a discount with words.

In any case, can I now say that I understand women?

Life and Personal

New walking shoes

Thorlo Logo I went to a store called 9th Street Active Feet yesterday to get new shoes. It had been recommended to me by my manager, who seemed to remember going there a long time ago. After coming back from the store, I have to say that it was the best shoe shopping experience I have ever had!

First off, someone on the staff examines your feet and gait cycle to point out any irregularities or “over-pronation“. After that, they measure your foot size, insisting that you wear a new pair of socks to help pick out the best comfort level for your feet. I tried out 3 pairs of shoes before I settled for a pair of Brooks Addiction shoes with pronation correction. I also bought 4 pairs of the Thorlos socks. Now, these are padded sole socks that are not cotton, but acrylic, giving the foot enough breathing room. They are also the most comfortable socks I have ever worn.

Now, the interesting thing that happened was that the Marketing Director of the “sock company” was there while I was shopping, and he offered me a buy 3 get one free deal. He was really glad that I was trying out their product, and talked to me for a bit. After coming back, I did some reading up about the company and discovered that they’re NC based, with manufacturing facilities in this state itself!

I would have definitely gone to a Dick’s Sporting Goods or similar chain-store had this independent shop not been recommended to me. The service and satisfaction I received far exceeded all of my expectations from a shoe store.

So, basically, if you live in the area, and need new shoes, head over to the 9th Street Active Feet, Inc.!

Life and Personal


This is what Voltaire had to say about marriage:

I CAME across a reasoner who said: ” Engage your subjects to marry as soon as possible; let them be exempt from taxes the first year, and let their tax be distributed over those who at the same age are celibate. “The more married men you have, the less crime there will be. Look at the frightful records of your registers of crime; you will find there a hundred bachelors hanged or wheeled for one father of a family.

“Marriage makes man wiser and more virtuous. The father of a family, near to committing a crime, is often stopped by his wife whose blood, less feverish than his, makes her gentler, more compassionate, more fearful of theft and murder, more timorous, more religious.

“The father of a family does not want to blush before his children. He fears to leave them a heritage of shame.

“Marry your soldiers, they will not desert any more. Bound to their families, they will be bound also to their fatherland. A bachelor soldier often is nothing but a vagabond, to whom it is indifferent whether he serves the king of Naples or the king of Morocco.”

The Roman warriors were married; they fought for their wives and children; and they enslaved the wives and children of other nations.

A great Italian politician, who further was very learned in oriental languages, a very rare thing among our politicians, said to me in my youth : “Caro figlio, remember that the Jews have never had but one good institution, that of having a horror of virginity.” If this little race of superstitious intermediaries had not considered marriage as the first law of man, if there had been among them convents of nuns, they were irreparably lost.

Interesting that it still holds true!