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Archive for January, 2009

I do loads of blog crunching mostly in the weekend time to stay ahead in my shallow learning curve. “Something isn’t right with you and why do you have to refer back to MIT every time, when you are stuck here?” You asked.

Well, I have always had a dream to study at MIT, since I long I had been accessing ftp servers at project Athena to get offline newsgroups with ftpmail. I think it was the year of 1996!

Yesterday I accidentally stumbled across Shannon’s blog. She just got in to MIT last December. Her profile writing skill is fabulous; I simply love her witty titles! And, the best part? Let me copy that for you …

Consequently, this makes me new here. But in the time that I’ve been at MIT, I have managed to learn two very important things:

1. There are many things you can let go of in life, but NEVER let go of the tiller.
2. Life is much funnier if you’re laughing at it.

Beyond those two lessons, I’m not sure how much else I could possibly have to learn here…

Looking back the years, there were plenty possibilities I let go of in life just to make others happy.

Well, she is right. But my days are numbered. Is that something like … Dreaming Impossible Dreams”?

You might say that in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

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mitocw1

Yes, MIT had always been an inspiration to me. Back to the time when I used to access newsgroups, I guess it was in 1996; MIT’s RTFM* ftp servers had been hosting older postings even after actual news server purged its contents. Accessing offline ftp servers through FTPmail worked like charm. Bangladesh first got connected to online Internet in the year 1998.

The same MIT did even something more. MIT’s OpenCourseWare, which has the motto “unlocking knowledge, empowering minds,” has offered free access to MIT course materials from 2002, the same year I went to visit MIT’s Media Lab.

I wrote it for our Bengali daily “Prothom Alo” in 2005 but got it published a year later. It is in Bangla.

* RTFM = Read The F**king Manual, but I would say, Read The Fine Manual.

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MPLS Material Released: UIU

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I was requested by our class teacher Mr. Sumon Ahmed Sabir to cover/teach MPLS, one of the topics in our “Advanced Networking CSE 6067” segment for MSCE (Masters in Communication Engineering) in UIU. And, I gladly accepted! Yes, I’m doing MS despite the fact I’m passionate about my work, when it comes to serving the country. Somewhere it needs little balancing.

I have tried to cover the MPLS basics which also encompass the real world scenarios. Let me share some of the materials which were released targeting my own class. Thanks to BSNL to train me up to the limit to pass on the knowledge torch to others.

I do hereby acknowledge our class teacher and fellow students for letting me to cover it for rest of the class. I have modified and recompiled BSNL training materials to suite our need. MPLS Fundamentals from Cisco Press was a life saver! Hope these following materials do help.

Class Time: 0600 PM – 0900 PM, Friday, January 23, 2009
Venue: United International University

Main Slides

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MPLS Lab Configurations

The Materials [If you wish to download]:

If you want to refer these materials to someone, please google with keywords like “MPLS UIU”. Previous materials as released for my classes can also be found here.

Thank you.

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If That Were Me

Could you ever forgive my self-pity?
When you’ve got nothing and you’re living on the streets of the city.
I couldn’t live without my phone.
But you don’t even have a home.

I wasn’t ready for this. As I was crossing one of the busiest streets in Dhaka, she got hold of my hand. I wasn’t taken aback, but felt awkward. It happens all the time. I might have something in my face, something weird.

“You do have a kind face”, Hridi once told me, “it starts out so innocent, compelling.” I cannot say if that was a compliment but I think that’s serious.

“But, look can be deceiving” I shrug, unlike the popular believe prettier thing are much better but in most cases it is not true at all.

It’s her turn to shrug now. She is back to woolgathering.

“You’re nice Rashed, but then most men are. Once you get to their hearts, anyway. Staying in their hearts is the tricky part.” She paused.

I was instantly drawn to present by an angry car-horn. I fell back to other side where I started. She left my hand. She’s quiet, but she’s staring at me, and the signs in her eyes are so easy to read.

Her intense stare directed me doing the same on her. Cuts, black eyes, bruises, torn stained clothing or disheveled appearance are all cited in her. And, the child she is carrying portrays severe malnutrition… which is actually characterized by this baby’s loose skin folds, dry skin, loss of adipose tissue and muscle which also shows why the child is skinny and bony. It’s cold, and the baby is wrapped in polythene sheet with a visible children anti-suffocation warning notice.

I thought of warning her what that polythene sheet can do to that baby, then I hold back. I could feel the chill in the wind.

I look down at her lap, wondering if the baby was fed in the morning or if I had even thought to buy the baby something for rest of the day.

Most of all, every time I see a woman begging with child, sleeps. Perhaps, they are tired with this cruel face of the world; or they might have been intoxicated. The women beggars while hiring the children from their parents [mostly sex workers] make sure that they don’t cause troubles crying all the time.

As they are not their mothers, they tranquilize the babies with some kind of sedatives [as I’ve noticed couple of times] to sleep even under scorching sun, rain and deafening hydraulic horn in heavy traffic areas. It’s a heartbreaking sight when most of the children as hired for begging, are not fed for the whole day. But, chances are good on feeding the child when the beggar returns the infant at night.

childbeggingOn a day like today, I usually go back and buy some infant food just to ensure her feeding the child. But, I know it’s not a smart move, I always intend to reach to a short term objective, feeding the child first.

You might argue, helping them is not the answer and will only increase the child’s chances of being sent begging on a regular basis. I call it being another short term relief from my guilt or obligation when I and my children get to eat every day. Sometimes I seek to know how to deal with these social issues and sometimes I believe I have succeeded in getting a grasp on these intangibles, until I realize it was merely an illusory victory.

“Is that your child?” I start my age old drill even knowing what she might answer. My brain has already activated my eyes to look for a shop that sells baby food.

Rather reluctantly, she starts with a different version that I expected.

 

***

Currently Listening to: If That Were Me, Album “Northern Star” — Melanie C.

This was released as a charity single. All money from selling this CD went to help people who are living in the streets.

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Design Process, Explained!

To say that Dan and Didier are talented is to say Iceland is cold — Dave Shea, on Budget Design

Yes, I was reading Budget Design from Sinelogic. This 17 pages booklet is about producing quality interface (site design) under tight deadlines and low budget. Well, these two catch words are really very persuasive for developing creative work in weeks! For me, that’s sounds impossible. Cause, when I design something, or writing for techno magazines or code in CSS/C/C++, I leave it for days … and get busy doing something else. Yes, I know you might call it procrastination. Okay, I’ll leave that for another posting. Good example for procrastination? You tell me!

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This booklet is amazing even for the beginner. It’s all about discovering the clients needs, planning what and for whom you are developing for. Setting expectations for the time frame as client dictates and at the same time, clever recycling of design elements really speeds up the whole process of designing. The misconception starts from the time when you fire-up your graphics software not even consulting that plain old technique, a pencil and paper. Yes, it works so well that it can save a week time for the designers/coders for making css and what graphics to be used and those to be repeated or not. The whole designing process should start on paper, let others to talk about it, getting feedback from people around you (non techies are better) will lead to new revamp design. This book says it all!

I’m sure you can fill in the final word for the KISS acronym (“Keep It Simple Stupid” for those not indoctrinated with web designer’s talk). I do believe on that. Best would be, using CSS to replace huge graphics, cause it takes minutes to load, at least for dial-up users … and soothing and subtle design make visitors to stay little longer. Need some examples? Start here at stop design, simple bits and zeldman! My favourites, guys! But, wait, don’t dare clicking anywhere until you see this, this, this and this!

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Successful military operations actually requires continuous input of intelligence and that’s what I did while writing about “Inter-connection regulation”. We have to gather intense intel on the enemy’s motive and the terrain itself, and factor that into our battle plan.

interconnectionIt was way back then when I was posted back to Ghatail Cantonment after I had done my time over Congo. Peaceful place without Internet [How could you?], my family stayed back in Dhaka, my daughter just got in to a school of Dhaka. Evenings used to stand still, no family, used to bleed inside … then I preferred wasting that to libraries. Somehow, I picked up inter-connection issue as small operators were at the mercy of dominant operators. I started digging the existing regulation. And, the by-product?

Duh! “This write-up?” You smiled back.

Inter-connection Regulation [Mirror]

It was published in Daily Prothom-Alo way back before I joined BTRC last to last year. Datewise, It was written in 2005. Who knew, I’ll join the same department which as well looks after “Inter-connection” itself!

And the hardest part
Was letting go, not taking part …
And the strangest thing
Was waiting for that bell to ring …

I could feel it go down
Bittersweet, I could taste in my mouth
Silver lining the cloud …
I wish that I could work it out

Listening To: Coldplay: The Hardest Part, from the album “X&Y”.
Reading: Transport Wars: MPLS-TP vs PBB-TE; John C. Tanner.

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