Bizzard's Hackshop
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Its now more than 2 months, that we(me and my colleagues aka Flipperz) attended the class. More precisely, we last attended regular classes on 14th of August. On 15th evening, we left for our 5 day tour and when we were back, it was time for study leave. Theory exams were like a marathon, which took more than a month to finish, even though there were 6 subjects. After that came the DSA Lab practicals. Mine was over on 14th this month, but exams continues till 21st as we have two batches in CSE. So, as a result, almost 2 and a half months without classes, which is one of the largest gap, in my entire school/college days. Still, one more practical is left and there are chances for it to be being scheduled by the end of this month. So, the gap will increase again.

When there are regular classes, we all will be looking for ways to get a leave. Now, as far as I know, all are hoping for the classes to start soon; not because of the thrive to study, but it feels being irritated staying home, without the company of friends and the jokes and other stuffs that happens daily @ college. For me, I spent most of the time at Fastech Systems, doing this and that, playing network games, browsing net and so on.

What made me think about writing this post is the upcoming 5th semester, which we call by the pen name “S5”. Its just two months remaining to complete the portions and it makes me feel very HAPPY to think that 2 subjects have NOT yet started and there are more than 3 modules left in the rest. In this short time, we must attend two internals too…

Oh God, please have mercy on us. Please don’t make the teachers think of taking extra classes 🙁

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Its a question, lot of my friends asked. I explained them that the name was a typo error(or spelling mistake or what you may call it). Many are not happy with the explanation and hence I thought of making it a blog post. You might feel it autobiographical. It covers major things that happened from my high school till now.

All my web hosting and designing stuffs started when I was in 9th standard at THSS Vattamkulam. We there had a subject based on Computers in 8th, 9th as well as 10th. It was a subject special for THSS. So, we didn’t have any prescribed text books. The IT club decided to make a organized digital copy of all the content and make it available for all. It was Hari sir who led the team and me and Krishnaraj were assigned the work of collecting the stuff for 8th. Unfortunately, not much among the groups took it seriously and the project was abandoned. We had some content, roughly about 10 pages. So, we decided to put it up somewhere. We went out in search of free hosting and came across few ones with ads. We decided to put it under our class name and thus, we became the first internet club from our school. That was the Comrades group. The website later become entirely focused on the class and the activities within. It was Krishnaraj, who worked more than me as he had a computer that time.

Inspired on seeing our work viewed by lot of people, I started a site for my on, which was of the form of a portal that time with just raw HTML. I still remember the account and it was on Then came the problem with name. I needed some name which sounds interesting and has a meaning. So, I started checking out the Webster’s dictionary page by page. The book was so big and looking word by word was really horrible. After a few days, I came across a word with the meaning “small storm”. Thus, came to exist. For long time, I believed that the word was “Bizzard” itself. Time to time I shifted the hosting and ended up with profusehost. Profusehost was really great, having C-Panel and 2GB space, still having ads, but with the freedom to place it according to the site theme. It was from there, I came in touch with Coppermine and WordPress. All these happened during 2003-05 period. During the last of 2005, I came across an ad of .info domains @ just RS 100 from an IT magazine. I checked for Bizzard and it was there. Thus, came, which was parked to my Profusehost account. During those days, I was depending the school library for the HTML books and the lab for the internet and computer facilities. Whenever the classes were left early, I ran to to the Internet cafes at Edapal for updating the site. The site had nothing serious, just some photos, so and so, but I was really crazy with it.

After my 10th, during the vacation, on 5th May 2005, I became a proud owner of a P4 2.4GHz system with *0GB HDD and 256MB RAM, which I continue to use now too.

I don’t exactly remember, who pointed me the spelling suggestions that showed up, when googling for Bizzard. It usually comes when such a word is not in the dictionary. I rechecked the Websters and I had to accept the fact that the name Bizzard was a spelling mistake from my part. The real word was “Blizzard”. I missed out a “l”. But it was too late to correct as it gained popularity among my friends. No domains with the name “Blizzard” was available and that made me somewhat happy. I decided to continue with the name and so, its still Bizzard.

At profusehost, I moved to post for host without any ads. Had to make 30 posts a month in the profuse community forum(later reduced to 15). The forum will be almost dead for the first three weeks a month and the fourth week, it will be crowded with posts. The situation still continues. Along with, I maintained the Comrades site and a personal site for myself;

I completed my +2 from THSS itself, joined MESCE for B-Tech and by the time, I changed completely to GNU/Linux and became interested in free software, studied CSS, PHP, MySQL, worked a lot with blogs, galleries, CMS, etc their theming and plugins and started making websites as a freelancer.

As my work increased, two months before, I handed over the control of to my friend Jom, who seemed to have interest with it and had his own ideas. But, two times, he failed to complete the post quota at Profuse community and the site got suspended. So, I reacquired the domain and now using it as my personal site. I started loving to be called bizzard in the E-World.

I now work with Cool-Works Web & FOSS Solutions, founded by me and my cousin Prakash, with the support of my friends, especially Krishnaraj, who was with me from 8th and still in same college, same class, same bench 🙂 I now deals with Web Designing, Consultation, Design, SEO and other web related stuffs.

Hope its all clear. Its now more than 5 years in am onto this field. I am always happy to share my knowledge and experience with those who are interested. You can also contact me for any consultation during my free time and its always free of cost 🙂 You can call me, mail me or come to chat with me. Please don’t give me miss calls. I am tired of having many.

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Today, almost all in my class(May be all @ college) came to college thinking of strike. But surprisingly, nothing was there in front of the college gate(For all strikes, we usually see a lot of students gathered there blocking the way to college). So, everyone went to classes sadly… 🙁

There were rumors that the class will be suspended by noon. After the 2nd period, few seniors came with the notice and all was happy. I have nothing to do at home, so, I stayed at college and with the permission of HOD, continued with the Debian installation in the Internet and Multimedia lab of CSE department. Though Mahesh was present, he was busy with some other works. My classmate Mansoor KPA also helped me in the installations. By 4.30PM, we installed 15 systems with Debian and the one alloted for GNULab with gNewSense.

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The first thing related to todays workshop I heard was that Mahesh is having fever and he won’t be coming and his session will be handled by Shyam. We really missed you Mahesh…

During the starting, there were a few problems with registration of students from ECE, EEE and AEI, as the HOD’s allowed a maximum of 5 per class to participate, but there were more than 15 from some classes willing to participate. And because of that, the participation was more than what we hoped and we had to go in search for more chairs.

Writing down the registration details was another problem. Writing down the name and roll number is not at all convenient(Its from my experience), especially after the students enter the auditorium. So, for next time, its better to find an alternative way for recording attendance, may be it could be computerized(hmm…. Another topic for time pass programming).

Anyway, a few of us including me, lost the first two sessions due to the rush and confusion. So, no comments about the first two sessions. In the introduction, the only thing I heard was “GNU is not UNIX”, not once, but more than thrice. Can someone tell me what was going on there?

Among the other 3 sessions, Hiran’s was the best(According to me). The tool, Inkscape attracted many and some were asking us for Inkscape software CD’s. We somehow managed to convince them that it is included in the Debian and Ubuntu DVD’s and made them buy those. Also, it was new to me that Inkscape could generate XML codes, which will be much helpful during web designing. So, now onwards, I am going to spend some time on it…

The unconference session was also interesting by the participation of students, even though the number reduced to 1/4th of those present during the starting. Everyone really enjoyed the videos shown, especially the animation movie made with blender.

Among the distros for sale, Debain Lenny recorded the most sale and there was hardly a CD of it left after the workshop. The cost was RS 20 per CD and RS 40 per DVD. I wonder why students brought it for that price; even though its available in the digital library.

A few students asked me how to change the interface to Malayalam. I think it was not explained during the workshop. So, here is how to do it in Debian.

1) Downloaad a Malayalam Unicode font. Its available in the SMC wiki.
2) Copy the font to /usr/share/fonts/truetype/. Suppose you downloaded “Meera_04.ttf” and you have it in your desktop, use the command “cp /Desktop/Meera_04.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/
3) Now, you have to change the permissions of the font file. For that, use the command “chmod a+rwx /usr/share/fonts/truetype/Meera_04.ttf
4) Take Root Terminal and type: “dpkg-reconfigure locales“. You will get a screen as below:

5) In it, select “ml_IN UTF-8“, using arrow keys and by pressing space, so that a “*” appears on its side. Then press OK. Use ‘Tab’ key to navigate. You will get a screen like this now:

6) Select “ml_IN” and press OK. The locales will be generated.
7) Now restart your system. All the menu’s will be in Malayalam after restart. It can be changed back to English by selecting the Language option in the Login Screen.

Today, I also got a few new distros including Fedora.

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Tomorrow, there is a full day workshop on “Introduction on GNU”. The IT department has been suspended. Though we tried, CSE department was not suspended, but allowed duty leave for all who wished to participate. The program is conducted by IT department along with MES-FSF chapter.

Here is the final draft for the workshop.

**Topic** **Speaker** **Duration** **TimeLine**
Inauguration 30 mins 9:30-10:00
Various dimensions of Freedom Madhu Sir 30 mins 10:15-10:45
Introduction to GNU operating system Mahesh M 45 mins 10:45-11:30
Introduction to Designing Graphics in GNU Hiran 45 mins 11:30-12:30
Importance of Freedom in Scientific Domain Jinesh 45 mins 1:30-2:15
GNU Build Tools Raghesh Sir 30 mins 2:15-3:00
Unconference – GNU in college General Discussion 60 mins 3:00-4:00
Hackerdom Unni 30 mins 4:00-4:30
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