How my Kindle cover saved my Kindle, OR How I got robbed of my DSLR and laptop

"Scene of Crime" by
"Scene of Crime" by

‘Robbed’ not in the strictest sense, but yes there was theft at my house yesterday. The lovely dudes took away my Nikon D90 along with the 18-105 lens, and Dell XPS (my lovely old wife). Yes, I’d recently ditched my wife for a super hot Macbook Air, but she still was a companion. Polygamy is amazing!

The Prologue

I come home from office, all hungry and tired, and find the iron gate without a lock. The first thought that hits me is that maybe my cook’s inside and has forgotten to lock the door. Sigh! If only it was true.
I enter the hall, switch on the lights and find the wash basin broken in pieces and lying on the floor. A whole lot of stuff lying on my study table. Thankfully, my bookshelf seems untouched. My bike is still there. I feel hopeful. I walk with a heavy heart, but high hopes, to Bedroom #2. The camera bag is lying on floor. I pick it up and it feels lighter than ever. I’ve always wanted it to weigh a little lighter while traveling, and my wish is granted. My Nikon is gone.
Then I remember my roommate’s camera pouch, which by the way looks like a camera bag unlike my camera-cum-laptop-cum-lenses backpack, and lies next to it. It’s still there. I lift it. It’s still heavy. Some joy. Some confusion.

Everything else seems to be in its original place, including the camera’s battery charger, and our newly washed and ironed clothes. I remember I’ve a Dell in the other bedroom. I don’t want to know, but I must. Alas and damn the human inquisitiveness.
Her cooling pad is in place. Her power cord is in place. But she isn’t. She’s left me.
Was it me cheating on her with an Air? No no, it can’t be. She still loved me. She loved my polygamy.

Bittu, in the golden days :(
Bittu, in the golden days 🙁

O’ 3rd generation kindle-cover-with-light, Thank you!

I notice my new and shiny, but slightly twisted kindle cover lying between the cooling pad and the new and shiny “Depths of the Ocean -Sushmit Sen” music CD (which by the way is as amazing as hyped). My heart sinks little more. I pick it up. It’s still heavy. It doesn’t make sense. I open the cover and there’s “Jules Verne” looking as thoughtful as ever (To non-Kindle users, Kindles have standby wallpapers). But he seems a little sad today.
On further investigation, we later realize that they did indeed try to snatch the device out of the cover, and twisted it in the process, but failed. And so they left it. Apparently, they like to travel light. Why else would they leave the laptop’s power cord, or my awesome camera backpack (which also had my small HD video camera in one of the lens pouches, along with my portable HD and some Macbook Air accessories).

Kindle and its cover, twisted but safe
Kindle and its cover, twisted but safe

Oh the plunder! Oh the horror!

At some point -I know not when, and for some reason -I know not what, I realize that if they’ve broken the wash basin in the hall, it is possible that they have made violent love to my other wash basin. Akin to characters who are about to die in horror movies, I open the door of my bathroom adjacent to bedroom #1. These characters in the movies know that what they discover besides the door might get them killed, but they still open the door. And so do I. Alas and damn the human inquisitiveness.

Lo and behold! There’s huge dirty stone lying on the floor along with the the pieces of my lovely wash basin. The basin which I’d cleaned and polished and shined just a couple of days ago. Lying on the floor, like a tired prostitute. (Not that I’d know what a tired prostitute looks like.)

Sadly this isn’t the end of the terror story. As my gaze rises from the floor and falls upon the walls, my emotions run an all time high. If I weren’t shocked with what I saw, I would have surely been proud of my emotions which run so fast and so high like a tide.
They have taken away all the water taps and shower knobs and flush pipes and shower thingy and the cloth hanging rod thingy.
And they haven’t unscrewed them. No sir!. Rather used stones to break them from the walls -an act which as we would later discover, may cost us around 20K. In the end, I do wish they’d unscrewed the components rather than screwing us like that.
I move to the other bathroom. It’s confirmed, they’ve screwed us here as well. Oh yes, how can I forget the kitchen!
Getting screwed at so many different locations in such a short span of time has left me tired. I want to sit down now.

Stone that they used to break it all in the bathroom
Stone, which they used to break it all, lying in the bathroom

12 Angry Men (or may be just 5), and their analysis

So I call my roommate Abhijit, and my friend Dabbu in the meantime. Dabbu also gets his elder brother and roommate with him.
It is important to note that both of these men have had theft at their previous houses. Both have lost their laptops. Yeah, same pinch. I know!

All the five do what any reasonable person who’s had a theft at his place does. Socialize with neighbors and police, analyze, and bitch about it.
No, none of this matters and it seldom makes any difference. But you must. It’s a social custom. Ask Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

We talk to neighbors, call police, analyze and discuss and analyze again. The modus operandi is investigated and debated. Police guy, who is a rather soft spoken guy for a change, notes down details in his diary, sympathizes with us, and leaves.

Here’s how our final analysis looks like:
* It could have be my roommate. After all none of his stuff was stolen
* While we are at it, it may have been Dabbu. Apart from the fact that he loved my camera, he’s studied in a KV (Kendriya Vidyala), the same school where my younger brother went. And we all know how talented KV products are

Abhijit, Dabbu, and the wash basin that was
Abhijit, Dabbu, and the wash basin that was


The entire post may present a jovial outlook. Part of it is forced, but mostly natural. I owe the jolly response for materialistic loss to a certain event in my life.

Years ago when I was in B.Tech, one fine evening my hard drive crashed. It wasn’t out of the blue. Remember the text mode Linux installations? Yes yes, fdisk and stuff. Yeah! So the hard drive crashed and I lost everything. All the songs, and the movies, and the songs, and the software, and the songs. It was the end of my life as I knew it. I crashed on my bed too.

As I was brooding on my cot, trying to analyze my options of data recovery, one question constantly and repeatedly came up –Now what?
The question was rather simple, and I didn’t have any answers, but it did have a profound effect on me.

It’s funny how we existentialists look around for answers all our lives, and how a simple question can liberate us.
It’s funny how we brood over our problems, and the acceptance of lack of a solution helps us reconcile.

Yes I loved my Nikon D90. I have been getting better with every picture I clicked. I loved when my friends smiled at the pictures I’d taken of them. I was looking forward to handing over the Dell to my brother, who’s been having problems with his laptop.
But well, it can’t be anymore. If it can’t be, it won’t be. If it won’t be, what am I going to brood over?

As Ghalib said:

Na tha kuchh toh khuda tha, kuchh na hota toh Khuda hota,
Duboya mujhko hone ne, na hota main toh kya hota.

[P.S. All said and done, why did those bastards have to take the taps man. There’s no water at home. Sigh! :'( ]

Update 1: Apparently, these thieves may have been addicts. It’s easier and quicker to sell off bathroom accessories.

Update 2: I finally managed to get an FIR filed. One the 11th day, mind you. Yeah, I know. We might be better off without a police department.

No more lectures now…

Randy Pausch, fondly known as the Last Lecture Guy, is no more.

If you have not heard of him, I suggest you watch his “last lecture”. A summary of the lecture and Randy Pausch’s life can be read here.

@Johnny: Thanks for updating me.
@Slashdot-ters: Thanks for not making stupid and mean remarks this time.
@Randy Pausch: Rest In Peace dude.


I have a special likeness for T-Shirt with quotes. More Geeky the quote, more geekier… I mean better.
I got this T-Shirt made for myself a couple of days ago.
I case you didn’t get, it’s a mockery of the crippled iPhone.


Oh by the way, this is my first post on the new blog, and this pic is a response to Swenny’s post on Adding an “i” 🙂

How about a Better & Cheaper MacBook Air!

Those were the days when I used to be a Apple fan.
aah.. the harsh reality that they produce nothing more than crippled products at sky-high prices.

Moreover, Apple isn’t just about cut-throat business. It’s also about making people feel bad about themselves.
Don’t trust me?
See here yourself.

The Web is Broken

Update: I somehow managed to make a blunder. A part of slide no. 12 was taken from David Kierznowski’s (of GNUCitizen and Blogsecurity group) presentation for OWASP Belgium Conf. I missed out on mentioning David’s name in the credits. Apologies David. I’ve updated and re-uploaded it.

Yesterday, I presented my first Webinar (Seminar on Web). It was titled, The Web is Broken -Why every feature is, in fact, a loophole. A great experience.

Although after listening to my own recording, I felt that a number of things went wrong (mostly because of problems in connectivity and slow internet speed). The issue I was worried about was that it was targeted at developers with beginner to intermediate level knowledge of web, but the topic was very broad. Fortunately, I received some good feedback along with requests to conduct more such sessions. The talk was scheduled for 1.5 hours, but it stretched for 2.5 hours.

Here is the presentation:

I hope you like it too. 🙂

M$ WindowsXP just got a newer version of Update with new Components!

I am not sure if anyone is aware of it or not, so kindly spare me if it’s not NEW in the sense I wish to convey. (Or may b, you didn’t discover it the way I did) 😛
For no particular reason, I visited the windows update page today (using IE7) and got this message:


As you can see, the *latest version* of Windows Update requires a few components to be installed on your system. There’re also some details regarding the components, which are hidden using a javascript function.

I’d encourage you to read all the benefits that are provided by the latest version. Once you are done reading them (and figuring which of them are new and which makes sense), proceed to discover the *special component*.


Yahoo! gone Insane!

No Yahoo! hasn’t changed it’s name to Insane!. It’s just their behavior that has gone insane.

If you’ve been a member of some online group for quite some time, chances are that the group is on Yahoo! Groups. Same with me. This story is concerned with my college batch online egroup. Yahoo! groups has a very useful feature which let’s you specify ANY email address for your mails to be delivered (and receive mails from, obviously). I had configured it to my company mail id.

Now like a lot of people, I have two Yahoo! ids, NB and AS. The group is configured with NB. Today, I decided to change it to one of my other Yahoo! id AS, mostly because I use it as the primary id.

….but it won’t get changed. The error

  • Your email address “” is in an invalid format.
  • Invalid Email Address.Your Email address of belongs to which is restricted from use in Yahoo! registrations. Please choose a different email address.


I thought, they might be allowing only “” addresses. So I changed my input to “, hoping for an error message that the specified email address doesn’t exist… but what I get is:

  • Invalid Email Address.Your Email address of belongs to which is restricted from use in Yahoo! registrations. Please choose a different email address.


Now WHAT IN THE HELL are the Yahoo! developers thinking? They don’t think that it’ll stop people from creating more than one id… or do they?

Apache Headache: “no listening sockets available”

Update 1: I was unable to configure MySQL. Reason: It was installed in C:\(blah-blah) and , probably, do not have write rights in the directory. Installing it to D:\(bigBlah) solved the issue. Duh!

Update 2: I see a fairly good traffic coming here searching for the same problem. So, in case you are in a hurry, this is mostly a summary to inform you that in all probability, YOU HAVE SOME SERVICE RUNNING ON PORT 80. Check out using TCPView (if you are on windows). Hope that helps. 🙂

I am currently working on an official XSS (Cross Site Scripting) presentation. I needed some screenshots of alert boxes and defaced site. So I installed Apache, configured it to work with PHP. (If you need help in installing and configuring MySQL, Apache and PHP, look here).

But this was day before yesterday. Yesterday, I needed to make a quick manipulation to the script, but… Apache won’t start. The error I was getting (using eventvwr) was:

>>> (OS 10048)Only one usage of each socket address (protocol/network address/port) is normally permitted. : make_sock: could not bind to address .

It’s pretty apparent that some other jerk was sitting and listening at port 80. Yesterday, however, was too hectic to discover the rat. Today, I ran TCPView (thanks to Shruthi for suggesting) to discover that inetinfo.exe was the ra**al. TCPView is one of the nicest tools created by the guys at SysInternals, which was later acquired by Microsoft. Rats!

Anyways, the fun part was stopping the service. I couldn’t kill it. Neither using TCPView, nor Task Manager. It would again span back to life 🙂

So, finally I opened services.msc to stop the IIS server and change the automatic start mode to manual mode. Heck! I should have disabled… or even better, deleted the scoundrel. 😀

So, if you have the same problem, you are in all probability in office right now and hence may not be aware what services are running. Use TCPView to discover all those unnecessary network services. It’s a great tool. Further, you might also want to switch some stupid services from automatic start mode to manual (or disable :P). Use Services.msc.

Fake Steve Jobs Revealed

Arpit had a joint post on the probable revealation of FSJ (Fake Steve Jobs), along with the info on Exif Data revealations of the Harry Potter book images.

Anyways, the new news is that FSJ has been busted for real. It’s work of a New York Times reporter Brad Stone. The FSJ is Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes Magazine.


Although Daniel says that he’s surprised that it took so long for people to reveal his real identity, yet it doesn’t really seem that he’s happy about it… or even okay. He looks pretty upset with Brad though 🙂


Bill Gates wins me!

I realized that the title of this post has a contrast with my previous post, only after I wrote the topic. Thus, I feel that it is obligatory to mention that I am still Anti-M$. I still do not support there business model. Phew!
…and yes. The contrast in the names is just a mere coincidence. I know it’s tough to believe, but then I don’t lie.

Now coming to the topic.
I have always appreciated the way Bill Gates (and, of course, his wife) has spent time and money on Melinda Foundation. I remember posting my views a few days ago on Arpit’s blog.

A few minutes ago, I read Bill Gates speech transcript that he delivered at Harvard.
He starts the speech on a light note and calls himself a “bad influence” by reminding that he made Steve Ballmer drop out of B-School (Oh! How I wish that Gates had failed in convincing Ballmer 😉 ).
He continues his speech by talking about how ignorant he was about the socio-economic and health problems of the developing nations, when he joined Harvard (and even later.)
The thing that blew me was that for the most part of his speech, he talked about how technology can and should be used for the help of these people.

I won’t mention the details. I’d pursue you to read it. I hate to say, but Bill seems to be a bright candidate for my future plans (after he drops out of M$, of course).

Dreams… and (huh!) Reality.

Disclaimer: The post may give you a notion that the author has surpassed all the heights of patheticism; which actually is sort of true 😀

Have I ever posted that I am a *crazy* person?
Probably a number of times.
This post is another proof; which I am shamelessly sharing with a hope that my *unconscious* realizes the heights of pathetic-ism it has reached. I refer to my Unconscious mind because *the proof* is related to some of my dreams.

To build the foundation, let me take you back to my school days- class 10th.
That was when I was introduced to programming for the first time. Language was BASIC.
Might I boast that I was good.
I remember to be the fastest coder around and to have coded sound and graphics programs in BASIC. That was the time when I wrote my first (and the only game).
Where did I get the inspiration from?
A dream.
No kidding. I saw the algorithm in a dream 🙁

Scene 2:
I was kind of frustrated during my B.Tech. days when I wrote *factorial* and *Fibonacci* codes in C. The most frustrating event was when my teacher blamed me for *wasting* my time coding a Solar eclipse in C instead of what he asked for; a DDA algorithm. You can find the glimpses of those days here and here.
I do not deny the fact that I could have channelized my frustration and anger; something that I did a little later. I wasted my first 3 years.. (this, however, is not really relevant to this topic.)
During these B.Tech. days, I spent my first summer training (and consequently the second too) learning Java. I somehow fell in love with the language. (Off-Topic: If I don’t wish to be thrashed, I must mention that Raga helped me with most of my Java codes (and C codes, and C++ codes, and…) back then. It doesn’t mean that I was ignorant though 😉 )
There was a time during the training days when Abhu bhaiya tried waking me from sleep and I spoke something in sleep.
I was explaining Java concepts to him :((
…and if I am not wrong, Priyo (my roommate) too *lived* a similar experience.

Several other such events happened in past, which I don’t feel like mentioning. I’d rather speak about present.

Dream 1
A few days ago… no weeks ago, I saw a dream
I was coding a cross platform desktop applications in Qt4.

You know what’s weird about it?
The fact that I had just *heard* of Qt4 and knew that it was somehow related to KDE. (I am more of a GNOME guy)
That’s it.
Nothing less, nothing more.

I scribbled about the dream on my mini-diary, that I use as a portable “To-Do list”, and forgot about it.
A few minutes ago, I stumbled across this link:
How To Create a Linux Desktop App In 14 Minutes For Beginners (Using QDevelop and Qt4)

Dream 2
A few days ago, I saw a dream that I am *purchasing* a book on Wireless Security.
It was priced somewhere between 390/- and 400/- (Don’t ask me how I remember the price)
Today I bought a book on Wireless hacking… :((
Don’t ask me either the price or why I bought it. The price’s is anyways not really the concern here.
I really wonder if these dreams are some sort of sign.

Dream 3
You CAN go crazy on the wilderness of my other dream, mentioned below. So you can discontinue the rest part of the article.

Still reading?
Okay! Read at your own risk.

I am appearing an exam.
The syllabus is…… Amir Khusro’s composition, “Chhap Tilak sab Chhini ray” 😀
I am wondering what sign does this dream carry :(( :(( :(( :((

You cannot even imagine how I feel after writing it here and realizing the fact that this post will not only be read by a number of random people but will also be indexed by bots.

Anyways, now the wish-list part.
If the dreams have to finally turn into reality (in one or other form); then why don’t I ever see something good… something romantic. 😀
Hey wait!
Does the reverse count? I mean other people seeing me in their dreams… 😀 [Huge-Grin]

Footnote: The author would like to apologize to all who have are experiencing anger and/or depression . He would also like to thank GOD for what he mentioned in the last line. 😀

Is Google Bomb REALLY Diffused?

I posted a very small article on Google Bombs; and quite co-incidentally few days later read that Google has started diffusing the bombs. Now “started diffusing…” makes sense when it has to be done manually, but aren’t we talking about terabytes and petabytes of data? We can never expect it to be done manually. Moreover, Google’s official announcement said the same. It also admitted that “…the impact of this new algorithm is very limited in scope and impact…”.

The phrase, however, seems to make some sense to me now, that I’ve discovered that some bombs are still lying around.
Try making a search for the word “BAD“.
Who do you see as the topper?
Quite interestingly, it was African Development Bank for me. Surprised?
I first thought that BAD might be the acronym for the bank’s name, as in case of NEHA, which is an acronym for National Environmental Health Association.
After a little playing around, I found that a few days ago, appealed to make Stephen Colbert as the Greatest Living American. And apparently, he has become the Greatest Living American 🙂

Quite honestly, I am pretty happy that the algo is flawed.
An attempt to diffuse the bombs, in my opinion, was more public image oriented rather than result improvement oriented.

Footnote: May be BAD is not linked willingly (I firmly believe that it’s not), but then who said Google Bombs are all about linking willingly. May be they have some process which forms an acronym of the same name. But then how relevant is such and acronym if it doesn’t even appear on the home page?

Idle Nights: Devil’s Mind

I stay back in the office during night and return back at around 6-7 am, when everybody is coming :). These nights are supposed to be LONELY as I am the only one in the building (actually in all the four buildings combined), apart from the security guards and office boys, of course. However, I’ve found my companions, and ways to refresh myself. I’ll list some of them.

1. Online Web/Security Cameras: Some of you who know that Google provides an API for refining the search queries (with a capital “R”) also know that the giant’s database is like an ocean. And you never really know what’s inside an ocean unless and until you dive in it. As you dive deeper, your jaw drops in awe.
Long story cut short, I use the query to discover (a part of) all AXIS cameras online.
For curious lot, the query is: inurl:/view/view.shtml AXIS and sometimes intitle:”Live View / – AXIS” | inurl:view/view.sht
[As I am writing this, I wanted check the second query. So I chose one of the results and something spooky happened. Someone was already controlling the camera. hehe.
I was moving it right, he/she was moving it left. We fought for a while but then I closed the window. I am nice guy you see :D)

Okay let’s proceed.
So I have a bookmarked folder called “PastTime” on my browser, which has my favorite cameras bookmarked. My most fave are:
i) A coffee/wine shop camera, which is more lively during the night. Luckily, the camera is provided officially, so I can provide the link without any worries. Find the link to the camera here: buzzjunction_webcam

ii) A camera in the study room of a Polytechnic school of NewYork. It’s a small room with a coffee machine, a microwave oven (?), a printer, a sofa, a bookshelf, and an elliptical table with power connection for the laptops and notebooks.
And that’s the best part. People come here with there laptops, and sometimes I sit down looking at there screens, trying to figure out what they are doing. 😛
I have also become acquainted with some regular visitors.
A spectacled guy with a cap and a laptop. (He is leaving right now. No kidding. What a coincidence [jawdrop])
A black girl, who has the headphones exactly like mine.
Two Muslim girls, with one Dell XPS laptop (probably).
The bad part is, there are no visitors on sundays 🙁
iii) A micro/nano lab camera of one of the world’s most famous universities. There’s nothing engaging about this, apart from the fact that the guys (or girls) roam around in spacesuit sort of dresses.
iv) A set of four surveillance cameras. Three of them pointing to car parking locations and one focussed inside some kind of room. I am still not able to get it yet. The only thing that makes me stick to it is the word “surveillance” 😀

There are couple of others focussed on traffic, colleges, hostels (I guess), lake, parks… but they are pretty boring and pictures are not really clear.
I’d like to try my hands on other cameras like linksys too. Let’s see when.

2. Google Again: Google queries can be real fun.
Have you ever come across a search result when Google tells you that the original number of results is pretty large, however, most of them are sort of repetitions hence they have been truncated.
Have a look at the following two pictures.

This one’s the normal result.


You think that’s funny?
I leave it up to you to decide.

3. Slashdot, and blogs of others friends (and their friends) and some geeks like de Icauza etc. Initially I was a Digg addict, but then got completely fed up.
So guys, keep blogging. 🙂

4. Movies and Documentaries: Net speed during the night is awesome (generally). So I don’t mind downloading them. Though I don’t get time to watch them.

5. Off late I’ve also found some vulnerabilities in the policies and network of my company. I try to keep the management informed.
After all it’s my company. I’d definitely not like any jerk to poke his nose in.

That’s it.
These five (along with the songs being played ALL the time) are currently more than enough to consume my free time (In fact more than JUST the free time).
But even after all this, it gets freaking lonely sometimes… not that I am complaining 🙂

Amazing Interrupt Handling!

Q. Where do you think will you find an amazingly crafted code that would give priority to a Screensaver over a Keyboard/Mouse interrupt? No Kidding. Think.

Ans. If you guessed it to be an Operating System designed by the Redmond Giant, you are stupid. It’s not something to be guessed.
I just posted to let you know that I experienced this amazing feature when a (stupid) piece of Java code (along with Winrtgen, Cain’s Rainbow table generator) resulted in 100% of System process usage.
Lucky me 🙁

A program called "3~" (Om)

I was returning back to my room at around 6:30 in the morning after spending the whole night, as usual, in office. Suddenly this though struck me.
I always talk about codes and related stuff and ask people to map their algorithms to real life while coding, especially in OOP languages.
I asked myself, what would it be like to describe myself as a code, a script… a program.
So I (climbed two my cabin, which is on the second floor) and here is my honest attempt. 🙂

Om, unlike other programs, wasn’t really planned. There were no plans usually made back then in the early eighties; at least not in India. He was an additional functionality (a small script back then) of two programs, M & R.

However, since M & R were pretty solid codes in themselves, Om inherited most of the good features and was pretty healthy (I mean robust 😀 ) even as a tiny script.
So far so good. But it could never rely on conventional ways of compilation and execution. It was a rebel. Some people call such programs as “malfunctioning programs” :). Programs that do not do what they are meant to do.

Time passed on.
It received formal education that helped him access various code repositories to incorporate other functionalities. It gathered data about various modes and environment of operation. It also learnt efficient memory and execution-time management.
However, these all came at the price of dependencies on various libraries, viz., friends, relatives, emotions, money, etc.

Microsoft has some strange reason for assuming that all human beings use IE and are on a windows box. This assumption makes most of their products, even the web applications, dependent on these assumptions.

Dependencies are bad.
Bad were they for Om as well…

It gradually got frustrated (a human emotion).
It got frustrated at lots of things… at almost everything.
It got frustrated on the formal way of code development, the conventional way of execution, the hypocritical nature of the IDEs that are supposed to facilitate development, and lot more.

There’s an unwritten law, which says that all rebels become an outlaw sooner or later.
So did Om.
Most of the libraries on which it was dependent had grown up to be pretty matured libraries and the outlaw was no more supported.
Dependencies are bad…

…but some codes die hard.
Since most of the libraries on which Om was dependent were under GPL, it simply incorporated the required code snippets instead of referencing the libraries. This has made it a pretty complex and buggy code… but hey that’s why the saying goes:
There is code in my bug” 🙂