Monthly Archives: February 2011

Lift-Off From Moscow


“We treat them like babies who cannot speak.” – Oleg Gazenko

I may have come across as pompous, a snob even. Truth be told, Father, great Siberian husky that he was, imbibed in me restraint. He often lay by, watching drearily, even as his comrades before him took to each others throats over the night’s last morsel. I never knew Mother. I was told she was a dainty terrier, which might give some meaning to my slightness. Living thus phlegmatic, and of meager means and form, I must admit, kept the life in me quite supple. Then I turned three.

I was picked up from the dusty Moscow streets by a burly comrade, snarling about Khrushchev, or so I could discern with all my pitiful grasp of Human. My last gaze at Father was, quite literally, unblinking, uneventful. I turned forward, thirsty for a world more colorful.

This is part one of three; take a look at part two and part three


“I wanted to do something nice for her: She had so little time left to live.” – Dr. Vladimir Yazdovsky

Kudryavka, they called me. Little Curly. I was gifted a small but tidy contraption to spend the night in, dinner with the chef’s complements. Flattered as I was, I found the platter queer, unused to the semi-solid delicacies I was being treated to. The next nineteen days saw me being transferred to alternate accomodation by the day, each contraption smaller than the last. It had been days since I defecated. The colorful world had lost its sheen. I didn’t like the food anymore. I missed Father.

It wasn’t long before I was finally taken out and transferred to a peculiar contraption. It wasn’t unlike my earlier homes, in size. But the metallic finish, the lights and switches adorning the walls, gave no aura of warmth. I whined, to get away, and also in fear that I wouldn’t fit the crevice that seemed to be my placeholder. It was only after they fastened me in that I realised just how much slighter I’d become. I could feel my heart against my ribs; it seemed to be beating faster since the past few days. I spent the next two days adjusting to my metallic shelter. I could sense something in the air. Something was going to happen. Soon.

This is part two of three; take a look at part one and part three

The Metal Ball With Legs


Day three in the metal ball with legs; November 3, 1957. I couldn’t turn around in my metal shell, my harness was a taskmaster. The chamber door was clamped down a few minutes ago, leaving me with the blinking lights and a few rations of food. The Moscow streets I’d so gaily escaped from beckoned to me. I began making plans to leave. Then my shell started trembling.

The tremors grew massive, Digging my nails into steel, I dreaded my shell falling apart. I could hear many voices, agitated, excited. Gradually, they grew distant, until all was still but the constant roar from the outside. A force pulled me to the ground, unseen but strong. I stayed down, tongue hanging limp, trying to soothe the bloody muscle pounding against my frame. Silently, I pleaded to the blinking lights, asking to be taken back to my old kennels. They soon stopped blinking.

The air was thick. My tongue lolled constantly, reaching for nothing. It was hot. I spread myself out, trying to cool down. Another hour. Hotter now. My limbs seemed like another’s, lying somewhere in my shell. I heard yelps. Mother. Or was it me? Hotter now. Another hour.

After 2,570 orbits, during re-entry on April 14, 1958, Sputnik 2 disintegrated, along with what remained of Kudryavka, known to many as Laika, the space dog. She breathed her last on November 3, 1957.

This is part three of three; take a look at part one and part two

M.A.D.: Our Winning Entry

Our winning entry for the event M.A.D held during Quark 2011 at BITS – Pilani, Goa Campus. Designed by Tanmay Binaykiya and I, the theme of the contest was to conceptualize and design an A3-sized print advertisement endorsing the theme Mahindra Scorpio: The Iconic SUV.

Verilog On Linux: Defenestrating Modelsim

This tutorial’s to the victims of the Modelsim user experience, forced to design hardware in chains and gracefully handle the precious rear end of the popular musty racehorse that’s Mentor Graphics’ stable-star. If you’re on Linux, freedom’s a nice option.

Defenestrate /diˈfɛnəˌstreɪt/ (verb) : to throw (a person or thing) out of a window. The word originated from a couple of incidents in Prague, back in the 14th century, when a bunch of guys stormed in and tossed seven town officials out the window (quite literally).

I’ll walk you through the steps to start coding in Verilog on your Linux box:

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Getting Android Sources Behind A Restrictive Proxy

I’ll have to assume you’re suffocated by both the following bottlenecks in getting the Android Open Source Project code:

  • Blocked git:// protocol and port
  • A limit on the amount you’re allowed to download

The Android sources amount to around 6GB in total, so anonymous proxy programs like Your-Freedom will choke up after a fixed time limit; and repo sync (git) does not resume downloads between projects; though you may resume from the last project you downloaded. To smoothen out the rough edges, do this:

  1. Set your git proxy using this command, replacing what’s necessary: git config –global http.proxy
  2. Follow the steps here until you reach Getting The Files: this is the part that won’t work behind a restrictive proxyy.
  3. Switch to the directory where you initially ran repo init -u on the command line and then type in ls -a; you should be able to see a .repo folder. If you don’t, it means your repo init -u failed for some reason.
  4. Type in gedit .repo/manifest.xml and change line 4 to read: fetch=””
  5. Type in gedit .repo/repo/repo and change line 5 to read: REPO_URL=’’
  6. Download the modified repo script here and replace your old repo script with the modified one.
  7. Continue with Getting The Files at the Android Open Source Project website and things should be working fine.

Image Credits: Android Stickers

apt-fast: Accelerate Apt-Get Downloads

apt-fast accelerates your apt-get downloads using axel as a download manager. Axel segments the downloads and fetches them from multiple servers; typical download manager stuff. The developer claims an increase in speed up to 26 times. To use this:

A. Install apt-fast

1. Add ppa:tldm217/ to your Software Repositories
2. sudo apt-get update
3. sudo apt-get install apt-fast

B. Configure Your Proxy

1. sudo gedit /etc/axelrc
2. Look for the line:

# http_proxy =

Change this to:

http_proxy =

Ensure you remove the leading “#” and replace “” with your own proxy address and port.

3. Save and close gedit

C. Try it out

sudo apt-fast update
sudo apt-fast upgrade
sudo apt-fast install <your package here>