Sunday, August 24, 2003


What would you do if one of your best buddies flew down to meet you a week before he started an MBA at Kellogg? I threw him a party... Leveraging all the experience I garnered living with Jay, Spineb and co., I had all the party essentials nailed a couple of days before D-day. Copious booze, corny invite, a list of 25 people on the guest list, 200 odd songs on the playlist and Tortilla chips - that was easy. But ensuring it was a surprise for Ishmeet till the last second, oh well, that took some work...

Right at the outset, I'd like to thank some people for helping me out in organizing this - Rob for coming through with the lighting at the very last minute, Geni for covering the bases I forgot about or just couldn't cover, Arun for getting the party started (he's gonna gloat at this till the end of time regardless of my mentioning it) and everyone else for showing up. Ishmeet really had a BALL...

So yeah, the party was all set up by 9 (NOT, I got dressed at 10 with guests in the house) and everything was quiet till around 11 when a whole bunch of people showed up. Somewhere between then and 15 minutes later, the place was rocking. People were swinging to some great old school hindi tunes but the place went amuck when I switched to hiphop. The music was loud but didn't hinder conversation so there were tiny transient cliques forming all over the apartment - the smokers, the couch talkers, the kitchen alcoholics and the dance-floor hogs. For my part, I shuttled between making martinis, DJing and dancing - talking can be done at other times, can't resist foot-tapping music now can we? And yes, what is a party if it doesn't get BUSTED by cops. Apparently, around 1am, the cops finally decided that the 911 calls they were getting from the apartment complex had hit critical mass - it was time to tone the party down... Instant fame! But I wish the residents here weren't so tight-assed and that the sound insulation in the apartments was a little better. I never complain when I can hear my neighbours go at it till 3 in the morning, so why rain on my parade? Oh well, people hung around till 3 maybe and I did most of the cleaning up tlll much later. And Ish, he's got something more to remember now...

Friday, August 22, 2003

Life goes on...

and with the passing of every day, I feel a void larger than the previous day. Maybe I'm a little depressed at the hand that life has dealt me but that can't be the only reason for how I feel. As Killing Me Softly plays in the background, I wonder why I am feeling this way and think of what one of my favourite actors, John Travolta, said in his interview on The Actor's Studio - "There is so much unhappiness around me that I can sit down and cry for the rest of my life, but would I be doing myself any justice then?" Motivational words eh? My take: it takes courage, determination and another level of optimism to be happy and I'm in a stage where I can't find one of the ingredients, just one...

Can I brush off my angst ridden feelings, no not this time. I've dealt with situations in the past by just ignoring them, by letting time enable the forgetting of it all. But the issue never goes away, because I haven't dealt with the issue at all, the loose ends are never tied up. My failed romances, unmentioned crushes, unfulfilled ambitions, the list seems to be endless already and I'm only 25 - haa! Hmm, hearing Santana and Rob Thomas make me wanna be Smooth, but that's the last of my worries. Getting my way has never been a problem, the problem has been finding the way to get...

To quote Eminem, Back to reality - Ishmeet is going to spend Saturday through Thursday in Seattle - the timing couldn't be any better. Ishmeet, Sachin and I have been through a lot since we took that first train ride to BITS; we graduated (an achievement), got jobs and now Ish is on his way to Kellogg - shows what faith and perseverance can bring your way (those 2 have brains, I'm daft so I needed some luck too) :) Aite, that's it for now, adios...

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Catching up

I met Mr Jayant Madhavan this evening for dinner and dessert in downtown Seattle. It was fun talking about our crazy times together in Ruparel - playing catch up is so fun. I got the lowdown on what made his life go round and he got the gossip from my side of the world - a humble feast at Dilettante and I drove back to the East Side. Ho hum...

Ishmeet graces Seattle with his presence this coming Saturday. I am pretty excited about his visit, his last outing before he puts his head down and grinds his way through Kellogg's Management Program. Strangely enough, it gives me great pride to announce his admission into the revered program; it's as if his getting in is the equivalent of me having being admitted - queer!

Today was a great day at work - there have been some pending tasks that I really hadn't gotten around to doing during the week gone by because of some HCT issue or the other. With all the administrative knots being straightened out, I can now focus my energies on what I love doing - writing code :) Aite, my five minutes of free-form are up, it's time to hit the powerpoint slides again. But before I go, here's a shout out to my man, Kartik - the whiz is now helping me compile my first Hip-Hop cd - so many talents in one person, geez ;)

Monday, August 18, 2003

RPC Worm Cleanup Worm Appears

This is funky, if not anything else. There is actually a worm out there that cleans up another worm's mess and tries to secure a system. So can this be actually called a worm - it's like a sentry... Or is it? This new worm's author honestly wants the greater good of people using Windows: his worm downloads itself on the host machine, deletes all the bad stuff put there by Blaster, tries to download the patch applicable to the host, patches the hole and then self terminates - voila... Is this a positive step?

Memory Test

Let's see how many of you remember the name of the song with these lyrics:

No.1 in a the Bombay chart
Indian me a tear them apart
When me come me bring a new stylee
So listen crowd of people and you have to follow me

This isn't all that tough but if you were in India in '93, you couldn't have not heard this song - Chok There - Apache completely took the Indian masses by storm. And then he went ahead and remixed his super duper hit - more money - more fame. And then he disappeared to a life of relative obscurity. I remember, we'd cut our hair like in his brazen style - those were the days...

Whenever man starts reminiscing about his past, HE's old... I guess that's what I feel now, old, older than those younger than me. The optimist in me wants to convince myself that I'm wiser, but that's just solace. Saw a nice movie this evening, Indian Chai - made me miss home more than just a bit. Can there be a concept like India-overdose. Oh, if there isn't, I think I'm close to being there. But one thing's for sure, I'm having the time of my life - if getting older means having more fun - ohh man, bring it on...

Sunday, August 17, 2003

The Blaster mess continues

Am sitting in a training right now to help deal with support calls being made to Microsoft by third-party customers. The person is going on and on about how to do support stuff and we've been in this training for more than an hour now. I've figured that I have a super short attention span - gotta stop now, I'm getting super dirty looks from my neighbours. "Don't make any politically incorrect statements" ...

Friday, August 15, 2003

August I5th

Nanna Munna rahi hoon, desh ka sipahi hoon
Bolo mere sang, Jai Hind Jai Hind

So far away, the flame of patriotism burns with redoubled intensity, but is it enough to take India forward on it's path of development? I wonder...

Thursday, August 14, 2003

CRICKET meri jaan!

With the summer winding down, we've been cramming in as many sessions of cricket as we can into the week. I didn't mention this earlier but some guys from work (who watched the World Cup together) got together and formed a team that is now in the Cricket League. Hmm, we have 5 matches to go in this round and we need to win all five to qualify for Round 2. This is partly because we replaced another team that had lost all it's matches :( but something's better than nothing, eh?!

We played last evening with a team that called itself Fateh - and yeah, yeah, they did win. Interestingly enough though, we put up a good fight (I failed with the bat for the first time this season) and the game exposed serious chinks in our armour. Playing warm-up games is always educational, what I wonder about is whether we can actually remedy the chinks and play more as a cohesive unit - analysis is one thing, implementation though is a totally different ball game...

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

More about Blaster

After the initial update, I spent a couple of hours helping people clean their systems at work. Here is a quick list of things you can do to diagnose and protect yourself.

Worm Info - This link provides a ton of information about the worm
Worm Cleanup - provides a link to patches to protect your system from the worm

The worm is pretty smart - it infects your machine by exploiting a vulnerability in Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 - all three OS versions are susceptible to the attack. The worm has also targetted the Microsoft site providing the patch so the download times for the patch might be high and if you have trouble downloading the patches, send me email and I'll email the fix to you.

Lines of Defence:
1. Your first line of defence should be to look for any suspicious exe running on your system by inspecting the list of processes in Task Manager. 2 likely candidates are:
- msblast.exe
This also installs an entry into the registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run - Windows Auto Update - msblast.

You can access and delete this value by following these steps:
1. You need to open the registry: Start -> Run -> regedit.exe -> Ok
2. The registry is organized like a tree - Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) - Click on the plus to the left of HKLM
3. Now, like you would in Windows Explorer - navigate the tree under HKLM to find the path Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run
4. When you've found Run, click/highlight Run - you should see a list of names, the first being Default
5. Find the entry for mblast.exe - Select it and press Delete - Confirm the deletion by clicking "Yes" in the dialog that pops up after you've decided to delete the key

- monfiles.exe
Monfiles.exe resides in it's program files folder under %programfiles%\monfiles - and has an uninstall exe - use it to first uninstall and then delete the entire folder by hand

2. Download and install the patch on your system - this takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Then update your computer through Windows Update -
The irony is this vulnerability was patched on the 17th of July 2003 but the worm is spreading like wild fire. Update your systems and save atleast 1 hour of your time...



MSBlast.exe and Working Out

All of you running Windows 2000 and Windows XP should read this news item very carefully: Cleaning up the MSBlast worm. This worm exploits a buffer overflow in the DCOM and RPC implementations in the operating systems listed. What do people achieve by doing this - writing worms to exploit badly written code :) ;)

So I worked out last night for the first time with a partner and realized how weak my left hand is compared to my right. Geez, I really felt stupid, but there is only one way to get better, to keep at it. My new workout, Wesley, didn't seem to have any such trouble though. He lifted nearly twice the weight I did and seeing him workout has motivated me enough to be consistent. Another 3 months I say, and I'll be fit and fine... Now if only I remembered to eat before going to the gym :)