June 30, 2009

A Week In karadi Maligai

Before i went to Chennai on June 14, i spent a week in a place called Aruppukkottai, some 60 Kms from Madurai. It was a strange experience. From Madurai, it takes a 90 minute bus ride through wind mills and barren land to reach this place; a dusty, hot and incredibly overcrowded piece of land. There are no decent hotels. The only lodge with decent enough rooms is called 'Karadi Maligai' (Bunglow of Bears). Strange name to put for a Lodge, it seems. But to the people here, there is nothing strange about it.
The main industry is textile and they have a number of textile mills in and around Aruppukkottai. Almost all the main banks, except the new gen banks, have branches in here and lending it is big business.
There is nothing much to see here. Outside its hot and dusty. Water is salty and there are constant power cuts. In short, i have no idea how all these people are coping with life here.

June 11, 2009

Linux Adventures: Intorduction

So at last the X-Windows system was up and running. Now i had a way to explore Linux!!It wasn't eye candy, even when compared to Windows 98; The screen resolutions were bad, the color depth (i.e number of colors that the screen will display) was even worse. But it was better than the dark screen of the command prompt.

In those days the only commands i knew were 'startx' (to start X-Window after booting) and 'poweroff'(to shutdown the system). With these 2 commands at my disposal, i was able to login, start the X-Windows and then play the preloaded games (mostly the one called X-Boing) for hours. The most attractive feature of Linux, for me, was the preloaded games. It came with much more entertaining games than 'Solitaire' and 'Mines'!

When i was spending time playing games, my brother at the other end continued his exploration work. After making the X-windows work, he revised his mission targets. Now he wanted to make it look prettier!! He used to spend hours exploring the file system to find a way. I would sit near him watching every move and trying to understand the process, Sometimes by asking some stupid questions which frustrated my hot- tempered brother. But he was more than willing to answer my queries. Thus these exploration sessions considerably expanded my knowledge of Linux as I learned more commands, learned to 'learn from man (for manual) pages' and also to use the command terminal more effectively. My database of known commands increased as i started to experiment with them in the safety of the command terminal instead of spending time playing X Boing.

My playing time gradually went down and slowly i was getting used to punching commands in the darkness of the Terminal!!


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